Tag Archive | Light

Welcome to Your New Norm

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

April 2017, I had my first brain MRI. The technician said, “Welcome to your new norm,” as she strapped me onto the bed of the machine.

Her comment stunned me. I tried to pass it off. But like a pesky fly buzzing around my head, that comment tormented me for the past year and a half. This can’t be my new norm. I refuse to accept it. I have better things to do, a life to live without all these annoying tests.

It doesn’t matter how much I argue. My old norm has gone. The new norm is here.

As you read this, I’m lying on another table at another medical facility. My CT scan from two weeks ago revealed a few new spots on my right lung. Yep, my concerns were validated. And here I am. Tomorrow, I go for a lung biopsy. My oncologist said not to jump to conclusions. He’ll give us the results and the plans on September 10th. Meanwhile, we wait.

I’m trying very hard to stay focused, to trust, to wait, to pray.

I find it much easier to wait on the Lord than to wait on a doctor’s report. But there isn’t anything else I can do. Just go along with the suggested tests and pray.

And I’m working on total surrender, not to the disease, but to the Lord. I know He can heal me immediately. I know that because the other night, I felt the Lord’s hand on my shoulder and the pain subside. I’d been having pain in my shoulder for quite some time. I assume it was arthritis acting up. It doesn’t matter. I prayed in Jesus’ name for the pain to let up. And it did. I have slept pain-free for the past two nights. Praise the Lord.

But healing my cancer might not be His best plan for me or for those He has for me to encourage. Jesus said hardships will come. We shouldn’t be surprised when they do. The Father has purpose in them.

Hardships teach us things about God and about ourselves we wouldn’t otherwise learn. They, also, give us opportunity to reach out to others in ways we couldn’t do without difficult experiences of our own. These are dark times. But we shouldn’t fear the dark. We should be thankful for the opportunity to let our lights shine.

He has turned my thoughts concerning hardships around. He has taught me to trust Him. He has kept my mind steadfast and in perfect peace.

How about you? What are your hardships teaching you?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

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A Witness in the Devil’s Den

Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

Although most bars stir my spirit in a negative way, I occasionally enter one for the food. I don’t know why they have such good cooks. Such was the case at a bar near our cabin, that and the fact that there are few places to eat out in the northern tier. I must admit I felt very uncomfortable the first time we went there to eat. I didn’t even enjoy my meal. Regardless, I agreed to go there several more times and found certain foods to my liking.

This spring Gene offered to take me there again. It was a slow night. The owner/waitress paused at our table for conversation. It led to Gene telling her about my cancer experience. She was most sympathetic as I added the events of the previous year. In 2016, I was treated for melanoma. Gene’s psa began to climb again, eight years after having his prostate removed. He had to have 38 radiation treatments, Our younger daughter had thyroid cancer and had to have the gland and all the lymph nodes on the right side of her neck removed and radiation three months later. My one sister had a benign tumor on her adrenal gland and had to have surgery. My other sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer, had a lumpectomy, and radiation. My mother fell, was placed in a nursing home in November and met Jesus January 5, 2017.

The waitress shook her head in dismay and said, “Some say God won’t give you more than you can bear. I never understood that. It seems to me He gave you and many other people I know more than you can handle.”

I may have read too much between the lines, but I heard a cry of despair and a desire to believe. She looked so puzzled and forlorn. Her heart obviously ached and struggled with why God expected people she cared about to bear up under great hardships.

I agreed with her and told her so. “God does give us more than we can handle. It’s His intent to bring us to a place where we have to give up on our own resources and strengths and fully rely on Him. That was what this journey through cancer wastelands taught Gene and me.”

The waitress smiled and nodded. Her eyes glistened. “That makes a lot of sense to me. I can believe that.”
She seemed to have had a great burden lifted from her shoulders at that moment. And so did I.

Jesus would eat there. He would share His message of repentance, love and grace with her. He wouldn’t judge me for going there either. In fact, I believe He sent Gene and me there that evening to have that conversation with His bewildered child. Too often we limit our area of witness because of self-righteous thinking.

I look forward to going to that establishment now, not because of the food, but because of the waitress and other people I may meet. Who knows. God may have another opportunity waiting for Gene and me to share His wonderful news of salvation.

How about you? What unlikely place have you found opportunity to witness?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

The World is Dark,,,Be the Light

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

I’ve learned a lot of lessons on this cancer journey. One pertains to light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). It amazes me how true this verse has become to me. Although darkness has encompassed me every day, I have never walked in darkness because of the Light of Life within me.

Somewhere along the way, I realized the darker the path seemed to grow, the brighter the Light shone. Now, that’s not rocket science or even a huge revelation. Yet, for me, it became an epiphany of sorts. Not only was the Light within me bursting forth to guide me along the path, it seemed to lift me higher…above the path. That’s when I understood the purpose of the Light was not so much for me, but for the lost souls, the wanderers, those shipwrecked, and those who searching for rest.

A deeper meaning of Light dawned upon me. I formed an acronym to remind myself of the Light Jesus give to each of us:

Life is the gift of Light. Jesus is the Light and in Him is Life. Without light nothing worthwhile can grow. All life forms have seeds to reproduce. Seeds insure life. Jesus planted seeds of faith within every believer.

Integrity is the first seed. We must be morally sound and united with Christ in total allegiance to bring others to Him.

Grace brought us to safely to Him. Likewise, we must extend that same grace to others no matter how much they seem unworthy. We too were unworthy, but He said we were worthwhile.

Hope for a future belongs to the believer. It’s our responsibility to plant this seed in the hearts of the lost and dying.

Truth comes from fellowship with Christ. It partners with hope to bring Life and Light to the world of darkness.

How has your light shined in the darkness to help others find their way?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K Hendricks

Advent 2016 Day 1

I’m starting this a little late, but better late than never, right?

I wanted to follow the Jesse Tree idea this year. If you never made a Jesse Tree, you can get some great ideas here: http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Jesse-tree1.pdf 

While I’ll be using Scripture provided in the above link, I’ll be writing my own devotions and using my own images and drawings. I pray your preparations for Christmas will be blessed as we journey through this Advent together.

Day 1

In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 AMP)

Reading: Genesis 1:26-31; John 1:1-4

In order to understand who Jesus is and why He came, we have to start in the beginning. I hope you took time to read the passages. (I added links to them for your convenience.)

Midnight moonIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them from nothing. He simply spoke and it happened. Not only that, it was good. On the sixth day, He created humans in His own image … not so much in physical appearance, but rather in spirit and moral ethics. In other words, He created them to be eternal beings and gave them minds from which they could create, plan, and make their own decisions. They had a body, soul, and spirit just like their Creator was/is a three-in-one being.

John expounds on the concept that God the Son, Jesus, was with God the Father at the time of creation. Jesus was the word, was with God, and was God. Through Jesus all things were created. He was also the light of the world, not a created being. He was God from the beginning. If you read the entire account of creation, you’ll discover God created the sun, moon, and stars on the third day. But on the first day, He said, “Let there be light.” Where did that light come from? Jesus, the light of the world. He said so Himself … When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Paul and John made other references to this fact. 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 1:5-7; Revelation 21:23 and 22:5. (Links provided for you convenience.)

May the Light of the world shine upon you today and throughout this Advent season.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright Morning Star

 “For you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)

Bright Morning Star

Bright Morning Star is one of the choices your group may select for an art class. More Information

Working on a black canvas conjures up a lot of thoughts for me like the beginning of creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:1). I often think about that darkness so void of life and light, so vague and meaningless. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Genesis 1:1). Then God spoke light. Within that light, life existed. What wonder! What power!

Then I think of the darkness of my life as I walked in sin. Spiritually blind, I stumbled, was bruised, lame, and torn. No good thing existed in me. Then I cried out to Jesus and His light shined in my heart. For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8).

Although I now walk in the Light of Jesus Christ, there have been periods of darkness—loneliness, depression, grief. Yes, Christians do travel through tunnels, sit in dark corners, and weather storms. But we have hope of seeing the Light again if we persevere. The darkest of nights give way to the Bright Morning Star. Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

The final area I tend to see when I look at my black canvas is this dark and dying world in which we live. As Jesus is the Light of our lives, we are to be reflectors of that Light. Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16 AMP)

As I study my canvas, I have choices to make. Read More.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Good Deeds—Spiritual Weapons

 “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14 and 16).

Who has not looked at the sky in admiration and wonderment of its vastness and beauty?

Who has not looked at the sky in admiration and wonderment of its vastness and beauty?

Light is amazing, don’t you think? Without it, we’d all be like moles running around in a dark world, bumping into everything, and mindlessly tunneling in endless circles.

Not only that, nothing could grow. And there’d be no color. What a bleak picture!

Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, created light as part of His first day’s work. Then, He separated the light from the darkness. But He didn’t stop there. The fourth day, He fashioned the sun, moon, and stars to govern the seasons and tides on the earth. How marvelous is His passion for His creation!

As though all that light wasn’t enough, He sent the Light of the world, His Son Jesus Christ, so we wouldn’t have to live in spiritual darkness. It gets even better. Jesus, in turn, imputed His light in every believer that we may shine in the darkness like the sun. With the Light of Jesus Christ, our spirits grow and produce an array of color for the world to see, enjoy, and even crave. The Light dissipates darkness and sends the enemy running.

How do we let our light shine for Jesus?

Read More

Next week:

We’ll talk about fueling optimism. Prepare by studying Ezekiel 37:1-3.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

The Gift of Light

[youtube http://youtu.be/uaEbWgGJ24M]

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Years ago while watching TV in our den, my daughter and I suddenly found ourselves sitting in the dark. The veil blanketed us in darkness as black as Dracula’s cloak. We joked about ax murders, monsters, and aliens at first. But the longer we sat there the more spooked we became.

“Let’s go upstairs now.” I headed for the door. “There’s a flashlight in Dad’s closet.” Rachel, although a teenager at the time, clung to my shirttail. As I opened the den door, a wave of darkness cascaded into the room almost bowling me over. It was so eerie our dog decided to stay in the den. Rachel and I clutched the banister and followed it up the stairs. No light, not even from the moon or stars, greeted us through the kitchen window. We walked our fingers along the wall as we pussyfooted down the hall to the bedroom and into the closet. I stretched, grasping the coveted flashlight and flicked on the switch. We blinked and squinted, adjusting to the light—glorious light.

Walking in spiritual darkness can be as scary as suddenly finding yourself in a dark room. We wander around searching for light … any light … to illuminate our way and give meaning to our lives. Eventually, we discover there are as many spiritual light sources as there are physical ones. And as our flashlight overcame the darkness that night, these forms of spiritual light override spiritual darkness to a degree. However as sure as there is only one sun in the sky, there is one true spiritual light source. All man-made lights can only simulate the sun. Similarly, all man-made religions can only emulate the true Light God has sent into the world.

It was no accident that the Light came in the darkness of night during one of the darkest periods in history. It was no accident that the Light opened the eyes of the physically blind. It was no accident that the Light suffered the cruelty of the cross, illuminating the darkness of the human soul. It was no accident that the Light overpowered the darkness of the tomb and rose again. As our world grows darker in this present day, it is no accident that the Light stands ready to return to claim His own.

How about you? Are you standing in spiritual darkness, searching for the Light? Why not grasp the spiritual Light of Jesus Christ? He’ll overpower the darkness and lead you to a safe place where you can thrive in His presence.

Next time, we’ll unwrap the gift of hope. Prepare by reading and meditating on Romans 5:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks