Tag Archive | obedience

Enough with the Surprises Already (Part 1)

Be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)


unexpected guestsFriday evening as we approach our cabin, a car has taken up residence in our yard along with its driver and passenger, who are sitting in beach chairs, sipping wine coolers, and enjoying a campfire.

If you know me, you know I need solitude … not company at the cabin.

Gene looks at me before climbing out of the truck and says, “Who is that?”

Too befuddled to speak, I shrug.

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in years. How are you? Brenda, this is one of my hunting buddies …”

Turns out the intruder had been invited several times to hunt, but hadn’t been there for about 5 years. He and his fiancé had dropped his daughter off at a college in northwestern PA. Our cabin was closer than traveling home. So they thought they’d spend the night. I guess, since he knew where we kept the extra key, he assumed he didn’t need permission to use it.

Excuse me—not your cabin. There’s a name for this. It’s called trespassing. I say little and make my way into the cabin, laptop in tow.

Another Surprise

Gene, however, offers them our Bar-BQ sauce for their hot dogs, sits with them all evening, chatting about old times, and shows them pictures he’s captured with trail cams.

Meanwhile, I’m in the cabin, screaming in my spirit—“Why are they still here?” Yes, I am an introvert. I thrive on solitude. Gene comes in and assures me they’ll be gone in the morning.

In the morning? Seriously? The morning begins at 12:00 a.m. and ends at 11:59 a.m. During what part of that 11 hours and 59 minutes do they intend to depart? Gene gets up at 5:00 a.m. to check his trail cams. That means I’ll be alone with these people for … . Will they expect coffee, eggs, pancakes, and pleasant conversation? Yikes! I’m not prepared for this.

By now I’m in tears. I know I should be more like Jesus and Gene, accepting the uninvited guests with open arms. Show them kindness. Show them hospitality. But all I want to do is show them the road.

The Biggest Surprise

So I pray for forgiveness. I get an unexpected answer as I sense the Lord speak to my spirit.

What did you come here for?

I came to spend some time with you, Lord, to write, and maybe get a painting done.

So why aren’t you doing that?

I pause. This isn’t a test of hospitality. It’s a deterrent to keep me from doing what I’d come to do. If I let my emotions control the situation, I’ll waste precious writing and painting time. Peace floods my soul. I get busy on my synopsis and get it about halfway finished before bedtime.

The woman comes in for blankets. They’ve decided to sleep outside—under the stars or in their SUV, I’m not sure. Gene hands her an armload of blankets and pillows. I offer her sleeping bags for extra cushion and tell her they’ll be more comfortable outside because it’s so stuffy in the cabin, especially in the bedrooms with their small sealed windows. In the summer, humidity is almost unbearable back there.

I wake up the next morning about 7:00 a.m. to find the blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows on a tidy pile on the coach closest to the door. I have the cabin and a couple hours to myself. I finish my synopsis and two cups of coffee.

Then Gene comes back from his mountain excursion with another surprise. I’ll tell you about it next time.

How about you? How have you handled one of life’s surprises?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks


Be a Service Dog

All Scripture is God-breathe and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

Lab 3 4 webBecause of a disabling disease, my friend Joan employs a service dog. This dog tirelessly caters to her every need from handing her shoes in the morning to replacing them at night. There seems to be no task he can’t accomplish short of driving her van and paying her bills. Impressive animal in deed, but he’s new at this. Although he’d been trained for two years and had earned service dog status before entering Joan’s household, he still has somethings to learn. You see, Joan is also deathly allergic to latex. The agency, which trained him, did not train him to detect latex. Joan has to do that herself. Not to worry, she trained her previous dog for her specific requirements. No doubt, she can train her new companion.

Joan hasn’t told me exactly how she managed to train her first dog to sniff out latex. But the end result saved her life more than once. One of the funniest stories she told me about it was, the dog grabbed a bag of chips from her and won’t let her open it. The only thing Joan and her husband could figure out was the company must’ve changed the ingredients in the glue used to seal the bag to include latex. Now that’s a sensitive sniffer. Joan could tell you many instances where that dog spared her a trip to the hospital and perhaps saved her life.

Like Joan’s dog, we are in service to our Master. He is training us to “sniff out” dangerous situations and warn those around us. We need to heed our Master’s voice. We need to develop sensitivity to demonic activity and satanic devices that could potentially destroy not only our faith, but also other’s souls. We need to warn those around us of the pitfalls set in their paths.

The only way to accomplish the “service dog” status is by studying God’s word and praying for discernment. Then put into practice what we’ve learned.

How about you? What have you noticed about your environment that could be a potential threat to those around you, and how have you shared your concerns?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks



Nothing Can Stop Our God

Impressive Biblical Figures

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Zebra The first half of 2016, health issues have targeted my heart. I was diagnosed with melanoma. Gene’s prostate cancer came back. A few other concerns trouble me, which I’m not at liberty to disclose at the moment.

Thus, far the prognosis and treatment has been effective for my melanoma. Gene begins the first of 38-consecutive, radiation treatments next week. His prognosis, also, is very favorable. Praise the Lord. Even so, please keep him in your prayers. The other matters have just become known, and may or may not be serious. Time will tell. God knows about them and prepares the path for all of us. We just need to follow and trust His judgment, right?

Oh but it’s so very hard to hold God’s hand and simply trust. My mind wonders into the “what-if zone” and the “why-is-this-happening-now district.”

Recently when I pray about all the struggles different members of my family are facing, the Lord reminds me of several people in the Bible whom he loved, had plans for, and took through deep trials to accomplish those plans.

I’m learning, through biblical examples to trust God’s plan. Whether the difficulties we face turn out the way we’d like them to or end up in the worse possible way, God’s promises hold true. He never goes back on His word. He has not promised any of us a life without trials. In fact, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). He didn’t leave us hanging, however. He concluded His discourse with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

If we’re trusting in His promises, we can face our trial with confidence. Our hope, our vision is not of this world, but of His kingdom. Therefore, we can become faithful just like the people mentioned in the Bible.

What impresses me with many people mentioned in the Bible is their determination to hold on to their visions—their God-given purpose—against all odds.

Here are a few examples:

God revealed to Joseph in a dream that he’d rule over his brothers someday. That vision calmed Joseph in the pit. That vision kept him from temptation. That vision delivered him from prison. That vision enabled him to forgive his brothers.

Ruth, a foreigner, caught the vision of a loving God from her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth’s vision compelled her to leave her own family and follow Naomi back to Bethlehem. Ruth’s vision led her to Boaz’s fields to glean the leftover grain as provisions for Naomi and her. Ruth’s vision motivated her to seek a kinsman-redeemer in Boaz.

David’s vision, involving his knowledge and relationship with God, defeated bears, lions, and a giant. David’s vision gifted him with music to sooth the disturbed king’s soul and eventually, delivered him from the king’s wrath. David’s vision won wars, set him on the throne, and brought the arc of the covenant back to Jerusalem. His vision opened the path of humility and brought him back to God.

How about you? How is your vision actively working in your life?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

P.S. If you thought last week’s mystery sketch was a zebra, you were absolutely correct.




Horse Sense

Horse 4 webThis past Saturday, I had the opportunity to introduce my seven-year-old grandactive Sydney to the world of horses. She approached the mighty beast with caution and bravely petted his neck. It took a little talking on my part, but finally, Sydney stretched her wary hand out to touch his velvety nose. The horse chose that moment to nicker, frightening Sydney a bit. A little later, I convinced her to ride a pony. She climbed into the saddle with the help of a handler. Poor Sydney looked petrified. A few trots down the path, my little girl’s eyes sparkled. A small smile transformed her expression into a look of approval.

When the ride ended, she hopped down pleased with the experience. I suggested she try one of the horses. She declined. So we moved on to participate in some other activities.

About an hour later, she said, “Can I ride the brown horse now?”

“Of course.” I led her back to the area, surprised at her decision. The brown horse was the biggest one.

When she finished her ride on the brown horse, Sydney grinned so broad I thought her cheeks would explode. Then she wanted to ride the other horse. On the way home, she said riding horses was the most amazing thing she’d ever done.

It didn’t take much to convince Sydney horses are one of the most majestic, beautiful, trustworthy animals God has ever created. I think God agrees too. Did you know horses are mentioned about 170 times in the Bible? It says they are strong, valiant, and dependable in battle. It also says Jesus will return ready for battle on a white horse followed by His army of believers. Woo Hoo! We’ll have horses in His kingdom.

As I drew the above picture, I thought of all the admirable qualities of a horse. How beneficial would it be if we simulated some of their good traits? I made an acronym to help remember some of the well-trained horse’s attributes that would be good to develop ourselves.

H umble

O bedient

R eady

S ensitive

E nergetic

These positive horse traits don’t have to be explained. We all know we should be humble, obedient, ready, sensitive, and energetic. But I wanted biblical verification. What I found surprised me. Instead of Scripture that endorsed positive horse behavior, I found verses that said, “Do not put your trust in horses” (Psalm 20:7). “Do not be like the horse” (Psalms 32:9). “A horse is a vain hope” (Psalm 33:17).

Proverbs 21:31 states the reason the previous statements were made. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”

No matter how strong, noble, or majestic a horse appears, only God controls the battle. Only God deserves our praise. And if we want to develop noteworthy character, we should emulate only God.

How about you? Whom do you trust and emulate?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

P. S. If you guested a horse for last week’s mystery picture, you were right.


Y is for Yield

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife [Mary]. (Matthew 1:24)

And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

Mary and Joseph Yielded to God's will.

Mary and Joseph Yielded to God’s will.

Joseph could’ve ignored the angel’s message and carried out his original plans to divorce Mary privately. But he yielded to God’s will for him.

Likewise, Mary could’ve refused to become the mother of Jesus. She had the option to say, “No, thanks.”

From the beginning, there were options. Adam and Eve could have refused to eat the fruit of the tree. Perhaps they did many times prior to the moment recorded in Genesis. But eventually, Eve yielded to Satan’s ploy to become like God.

Since then, as we have seen through this study, the Bible portrays people who have had choices to make. Some chose well and yielded to God’s plan, while others yielded to their own desires and/or to the enemy.

To the day, we all yield either to God’s will or to Satan’s temptations. One or the other wins. We choose. However, God is faithful and will provide the strength we need to yield to Him rather than temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

May God grant you the strength to yield to Christ throughout the duration of this Christmas season and the New Year?

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter Y?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

R is for Repent

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” (Matthew 3:1-3)

Jesus--Our Example in All Things

Jesus–Our Example in All Things

Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist fulfilled one of Isaiah’s prophecies (Isaiah 40:3). As the prophet predicted, John lived in the wilderness, dressed in clothes made of camel’s hair, and wore a leather belt. Locust and wild honey became his diet. His message was a call to repentance—turning from sin back to God. He cautioned the people that the kingdom of God had come near. When the time had come, John baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him the Messiah (John 1:29-34). (All four gospels mention John the Baptist. Read about his miraculous birth in Luke 1 and about his ministry in John 1:19-34.)

While John called for repentance, Jesus came to fulfill that call in that without Jesus we cannot maintain a repentant heart. We, like the Israelites continuously turn from God to our own selfish desires. But through Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us continue in the righteousness of the cross.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter R?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Q is for Quick

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah

When God asked “whom shall I send,” Isaiah answered, as we should, “send me” without hesitation. Isaiah’s quick response proved his eagerness to serve God in faith. This willing servant became one of Israel’s greatest, if not the greatest, prophets of all time. Through Isaiah, God warned the nations of hardships, wars, famines, and destruction. But Isaiah’s most noteworthy prophesies are the ones about the Messiah. And Jesus Christ fulfilled them all. (Read some of Isaiah’s prophesies about Jesus in Isaiah 1:10‐20; 6:1‐13, 9:1‐7.)

Isaiah is a good example of how God can use a willing person who is quick to answer His call.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter Q?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks