Tag Archive | Jesus

Good News

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV)

Jesus is Coming Soon

Jesus is Coming Soon

 

This morning I called my mother. She wasn’t feeling well. She thought her heart “acted up” again last night. When that happens, she feels tired and not quite with it the next day. I’m thankful she’s doing as well as she is.

As our conversation continued, I told her my mother-in-law fell over the weekend. She, too, was okay … stiff and sore, but nothing broken … another blessing. Then, I told my mother that one of my former classmates passed away last week suddenly. I was so very sad to hear about it. Mother was as well.

Then she said, “Don’t you have any good news?”

I said, “Yes, Jesus is coming soon.”

“What?”

“Jesus is coming soon.”

“What?”

“Jesus is coming soon.”

“I think I suddenly went completely deaf. I still didn’t catch what you said.”

“Do you have your hearing aides on?”

“Yes.”

“Jesus … is … coming … soon.”

“Who’s coming soon?”

“Jesus.”

“I’m still not getting it.”

“J-e-s-u-s, Jesus.”

Silence.

“Mom, did you hear me?

“No. I’m sorry. I still didn’t understand what you said.”

“It’s okay. Look it up in the Bible.”

“Oh!” She laughed. “I get it now. It’d be great if He came today.”

“Yes. It surely would be.”

Funny how she heard all that bad news without any problem isn’t it? I promise I didn’t talk any louder. She just couldn’t quite comprehend what I said.

Isn’t that how people are though? We hear all the bad news, all the negative comments, and all the meaningless dribble. But when someone mentions the Good News of Jesus Christ, something goes amiss. Our hearing suddenly deafens. Our batteries die. A bird sits on the phone wire. We simply fail to comprehend the significance of the message.

I told Mother Jesus is coming soon, because she wanted some good news. I couldn’t thing of anything better than that.

I shared our conversation with you, because I thought you needed to hear some good news too.

How about you? With whom can you share the Good News today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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The Vine

This is the first of three posts pertaining to my art class in which we talk about The Vine, The Branch, and The Fruit.

The Vine:

 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5 KJV)

Grapes #1

Grapes #1

Jesus is the vine that produces life within us. I don’t know much about gardening let alone vineyards. But I do know you can take a healthy branch and graft it into a healthy vine. The branch adheres to the vine, grows, and produces fruit through the life-giving nutrients within the vine. The branch in and of itself withers and dies fruitless. If it rejects the vine’s nourishment, it withers and dies. Therefore, the fruitfulness of the branch depends on its connection to the vine. Through the process of grafting, farmers develop hybrid fruits and vegetables. One example of this is the tomato we use today. I didn’t know a couple hundred years ago tomatoes grew in clusters much like grapes. But through grafting, farmers developed the much larger single fruit that we now enjoy.

Similarly, Jesus has taken the unrighteous—you and me—and grafted us into Himself. He supplies us with spiritual nourishment and expects us to bear fruit. If we reject Him even though our fruit appears good to the human eye, it is rotten to the core and useless to the Husbandman (the Father, John 15:1). Only through our connection with Jesus will our fruit please the Father and serve His purposes.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Perseverance

Advent 2014

Day 24

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

During my darkest hours of oppression, I learned the meaning of perseverance. Through my thoughts, the enemy tore at the very core of my faith, my purpose, and my self-worth. At first, I had no control over the negative input. He hammered me continuously with all the wrong I’d done throughout my life. He told me I was unlovable and worthless. But somehow within that flood of lies, the Lord spoke the truth. He said He loved me with an everlasting love; with loving kindness He had drawn me to Him (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord said He had plans for me and would give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He told me the truth would set me free (John 8:32). And it did. However …

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Tomorrow, we’ll consider the gift of amazement. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 20:11-18.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Love

Advent 2014

Day 22

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 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

On His way to the cross, Jesus demonstrated the Father’s love and offered gifts along the way—gifts that keep on giving like forgiveness.

Affirming her gratitude for forgiveness, a sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She also anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Although her actions disturbed those present, they pleased Jesus. He said she had prepared Him for His burial and her deed would be told as a memorial to her for all time. Jesus gave the gift of forgiveness to us as well. We affirm our gratitude by forgiving others. It’s a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of obedience.

Obedience isn’t always easy, especially when it seems to lead to a difficult situation. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He knew the road lead to His crucifixion. But He marched into the city with victory on His shoulders in obedience to the Father. Obedience is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of authority.

Jesus exhibited His authority over sin and injustice the day He cleansed the temple. He also verified His authority over death a week later. He gave the gift of authority to His disciples and sent them out to spread the word of His appearing and to cast out demons. In turn, that gift has been passed down to every believer. Authority is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of prayer.

Through prayer, Jesus knew and carried out the Father’s will. The Messiah encouraged His followers to pray often, especially on the night of His arrest. Jesus knew His fate. He needed time with the Father. He knew the fate of His disciples and their need for strength as the horrific events took place. He gave them the gift of prayer to help sustain them. And He offers the gift of prayer to each of us. Prayer is a gift that keeps on giving like the gift of surrender.

Surrender often implies defeat. But Jesus showed us it denotes love and can lead to victory. Had He not surrendered to the Roman soldiers that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, the prophecies concerning Him would not have been fulfilled. Jesus’ surrender was His greatest act of love. He had told His disciples that no man would take His life. Rather He laid down His life willingly in obedience to the Father who had given Jesus the authority to take it up again.

Jesus also said, “Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for a friend.” He called His followers His friends and gave us the ultimate gift of love—His life.

Love is a gift that keeps giving.

How about you? How can you offer the gift of love to someone today?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the gift of defeat. Prepare by reading and meditating on John 11:1-14.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Surrender

Advent 2014

Day 20

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Jesus' ArrestSurrender: the acceptance of despair; the verbal act of accepting defeat. According to the definition surrender is a negative outcome of a struggle or fight. We probably think of it most frequently in terms of war and associate compromise with the term.

However, not every surrender is a compromise nor is it a sign of defeat. But it does mean a shift in priorities. When Gene and I decided to start a family, I surrendered to Gene’s desire for me to become a stay-at-home mom. There was really no compromise or defeat there for me. But I did have to shift my priorities. Being a stay-at-home mom meant sacrifices had to be made. I could no longer pick up and go as I pleased, buy the latest fashions, or sleep in Saturday mornings. It also meant doing without big things like new cars, extravagant vacations, and a hefty retirement fund. To some, my surrender may have looked like a form of defeat and compromise. Nevertheless, I set my focus on the welfare of my children. Nothing I could have earned monetarily speaking could have made up for the time I invested in Melinda and Rachel. They were my primary purpose in life while they were growing up. And they were well worth the sacrifices Gene and I made.

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Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the Gift of Sacrifice. Prepare by reading and meditating on Matthew 27:32-50

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Prayer

Advent 2014

Day 19

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

The Gift of Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

I enjoy having my devotion time first thing in the morning. Yes, the day does seem to go better when started with time alone with the Lord. However, I also stand guilty—if I don’t take time first thing, I don’t find time later in the day. It just doesn’t happen. Too many other things, time-consuming things get in the way. I’d like to also mention that my mind is more alert after a good night’s sleep. But that’s not the case either. When I pray, I find my meditation drifts into slumber. I occasionally reread a Scripture passage five times before I get to the end of it. I often read aloud just to keep from dozing off. So, when I read the passage about the disciples falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, I get it…BIG TIME!

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Tomorrow, we’ll ponder the Gift of Surrender. Prepare by reading and meditation on Matthew 26:47-55.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Grace

Advent 2014

Day 15

[youtube http://youtu.be/pzhdo0wz7jE]

Jesus became God’s gift of grace and the gift that keeps on giving.

1.  The Gift of Submission

Although He never sinned, Jesus submitted to John the Baptist to be baptized. In doing so, Jesus identified with sinners and demonstrated complete surrender to the Father.

2.  The Gift of Humility

Although He had much work to do, Jesus welcomed small children.  He said adults must become humble as a child if they want to enter heaven. Children lose themselves in the moment. They act without hesitation. They accept the wonder of the miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth without trying to overthink. They understand with their hearts

3.  The Gift of Compassion

Jesus showed compassion to the multitudes of sick, blind, deaf, and disabled people who constantly flogged Him. He turned no one away. He never rushed past someone in need. He took time to speak to them, to encourage them, and to meet their deepest needs—needs of the spirit as well as the body.

4.  The Gift of Satisfaction

The miracle of the two small fish and five loaves of barley teaches plenty about satisfaction

  1. When we look to God for sustenance with grateful hearts, He supplies more than enough
  2. His provisions come from unexpected sources
  3. Jesus can do great things with small things
  4. Jesus will NOT send anyone away who diligently seeks Him
  5. Jesus supplies an abundance so that we have “leftovers” to share

5.  The Gift of Trust

Trust is one of the most delicate gifts we can give to another person. It breaks easily and must be handled with extreme care. But when we put our trust in Jesus, we need not worry about Him ever breaking it. Here are a few things we learn from Peter’s experience:

  1.  Focus on Jesus, and He’ll enable us to do the impossible
  2. Focus on our circumstances, and they’ll overpower us every time
  3. Prayers don’t have to be lengthy or complex
  4. Even when our faith fails, Jesus is there to help
  5. No matter how severe the storm, Jesus is always in control.

6.  The Gift of His Presence

Jesus’ presence is God’s gift to each of us. Many get caught up in the wrappings—His glorious birth, the miracles, signs, and wonders He performed, the ideal of living a life full of peace, joy, and love. And God’s gift of grace through Jesus is all of that and more. But His presence brings with it His holiness, which cannot tolerate sin. Therefore, we stand convicted. Our guilt pushes the gift away. Instead of immersing ourselves in it, we hide from it unwilling to open the package in its entirety.

Let’s not return the gift unopened this year. Let’s unwrap it and experience the true miracle of Christmas—God’s grace, mercy, and love through Jesus Christ.

How about you? Have you opened God’s gift of grace?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks