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The Gift

Advent 2014

Day 8

[youtube http://youtu.be/YQJiqBD7veE]

Some say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But they’re wrong. We are the reason for the season.

It was God’s plan since the fall of man to send a redeemer into the world to save all mankind from their sins. Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to the prophets about His plan of salvation and our need for a Savior.

Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies. Several came to pass in the event of His birth.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Luke 1:26-38 gives the account of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and give birth to a son who shall be called the Son of God

When her fiancé, Joseph, heard about her pregnancy, he planned to break the engagement. But another angel appeared to him in a dream, reassuring him that the child was in deed God’s Son. Joseph married Mary immediately according to Matthew 1:18-24. Joseph took Mary back to Bethlehem to comply with the new tax law imposed by the Roman government. While there, Mary gave birth to her first son, thereby, fulfilling another prophesy found in Micah 5:2 about the location of the Messiah’s birth.

The night Jesus was born, shepherds guarded their sheep on a hillside close to Bethlehem. An angel appeared to them, proclaiming the messiah’s birth. Immediately, many angels joined in a chorus praising God and declaring peace on earth.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child (Luke 2:15-17).

How about you? Have you heard the good news concerning the Messiah? How can you help spread the news?

Tomorrow, we’ll look the Gift in Israel. Prepare by reading and meditating on Luke 3:21-22—Jesus demonstrates obedience to the Father.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

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The Skeptical Shepherd Part 2

Advent 2014

Day 7

Luz and Kasiff sat up straight with mouths agape. I swallowed hard and shivered, but not from the cold. My heart stopped. Run! Run, hide, save yourself. I tried to scream, but sat frozen to the ground.

A Multitude of Heavenly HostsWas I now hearing things as well? A voice of sheer ecstasy echoed through the hillside. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ¹

Then the sky lit up as though the noonday sun shone. I flung my arm across my forehead to shield my eyes from the splendor. Countless angels joined the first one in a breathtaking song …

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Tomorrow, we’ll recap the past week’s meditations via an art video.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda

The Skeptical Shepherd

Advent 2014

Day 6 

Do You See What I See?

Do You See What I See?

As the night closed in around us, I pulled a sheepskin around shoulders.  The fire dwindled to a few ember coals. Snores and snorts rumbled from the lucky shepherds who had the privilege to sleep. Me? I drew the lot to keep the midnight watch with Luz and Kasiff—two of the biggest story weavers in all of Judea. At least the night would not grow dull.

“Come, Efraim.” Luz motioned for me to move closer. “Sit here between Kasiff and me. We will keep one another warm.”

“I’m not a child. You need not protect me.” The men laughed as I sat on the ground between them.

“Indeed, you are a man betrothed, so I hear.” Kasiff chuckled as he opened a pouch of figs and offered some to Luz and me. We each took a handful.

“Yes. I am fifteen years of age and betrothed to Dvora, the daughter of Baruch.” I spit a seed toward the fire pit. “But she will not come of age for six years.”

“Aw.” Luz nodded. “Waiting can be burdensome. Meanwhile, let us fill your head with the traditions of our people.”

“I have heard all the tales since my youth.” I pulled my fleece tighter. “Frankly, I’m not sure that they are any more than old shepherds’ wild imaginings dreamed up on chilly, starry nights such as this.”

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This is a fictional story based on the Biblical account of Luke 2:8-20

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of the story.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda

Who’s Inhabiting Your Atmosphere?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 13

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalms 22:3 KJV)

 

Atmosphere Created by You.

Atmosphere Created by You.

Have you ever noticed when you complain about one small thing, it starts that proverbial snowball of complaints? Before you can say snowman, it has accumulated a myriad of troubles and everything that’s wrong in the world.

I’ve been working on my complaint factor. In the process, I’ve discovered the opposite also exists. When I find positive things to talk about, the conversation blossoms into a delightful garden I want to return to often.

As with winter and summer, atmosphere determines the climate of our existence. We have the power to create atmosphere within …

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about James 4:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

I Celebrate the Day

Twenty-fifth Day of Advent, 2013

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:5 and 10 NIV)

As much as our methods of celebrating Christmas vary, so do our reasons for celebrating. Many observe the day because of family traditions. They enjoy exchanging gifts, family get-togethers, and parties. To some, it’s an excuse to take time off work and go on long vacations. (I’m amazed at how many people in the United States don’t want to say “Christmas” or have anything to do with Jesus, but take advantage of time off work. If the opportunity to work arises, they’re the first ones to decline. Just a rabbit trail, but it puzzles me.) Still others commemorate the day because of the money they make.

Read More and View I Celebrate the Day

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas as you prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Silent Night

Twenty-fourth Day of Advent, 2013

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 1:4-5, 3:19)

Christmas LightsCommunities all over the world exhibit wondrous displays of lights during the Christmas season. People travel for miles to view the spectacular, colorful, often animated presentations. Even our small community has a Christmas decoration competition each year.

Have you ever thought about what the lights represent? The stars…The Star that shone for Jesus and led the Magi to His birth place in Bethlehem comes to mind. Or perhaps the bright light the shepherds saw just before the angel appear to announce Jesus’ advent could be the image being portrayed.  Or is itthe multitude of angels as they joined the first in a splendid array of dazzling light and song?

Still, there’s another light mentioned…

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See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Twenty-first Day of Advent

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent… (Revelation 3:3 NIV)

Pipe OrganThe beautiful organ music in today’s video brought back so many Christmas memories for me. In our Tiny-town, USA, we have two churches and three denominations, all worshiping the same God separately and holding on to different traditions. But the late-night, Christmas Eve service drew our community together. We packed away our differences and worshipped God and Jesus with song and word. I especially remember the choir, made up of people from all denominations. Their songs were lavished with harmony and praise to the King of kings and were accompanied by one of the oldest usable pipe-organs in the country. Beautiful, rich, welcoming notes flowed from those pipes…still do.

However, not all my Christmas memories are so precious and heart-warming.

Read More and View Hard the Herald Angels Sing.

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas as you prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks