Tag Archive | obedience

Advent 2016 Day 4

“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. (Genesis 22:8)

Read: Genesis 22:1-14

God’s Provision

Every time I read the account of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, I wonder if I’d be as obedient and as trusting as Abraham was. He took the promised son to the altar as an offering to God. But in his heart, Abraham believed even if he’d slay Isaac, the Lord would bring him back to life. He trusted God for the promise. And he trusted God to provide all that was needed to hold that promise in place.

God met Abraham’s expectations and provided the necessary ram for the burnt offering. He has also provided the necessary atonement for our sins through Jesus Christ.

We can trust Him to meet our needs far beyond our expectations.

How about you? How has God met your needs today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Advertisements

Continue on the Path

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:11 – 13 NIV)

fall-path-4-webDuring a painting session with my daughter, we worked on fall paintings in practice for an art party I had planned. Rachel, recuperating from surgery, enjoyed the calmness of the experience and worked diligently for two hours. Her energy spent, we called it a day and signed our “masterpieces.” Hers looked great.

Mine not so much. I lugged it home and analyzed it for several days. With the art party growing closer, I had to figure out what annoyed me so much with the painting and “get it right.” Gene pointed out that all my trees were basically the same size and color. I watched videos on YouTube. Studying the experts’ methods helped me determine what I had done wrong. I took Gene’s advice and varied the size and color of the trees. I incorporated some of the experts’ methods. I worked over five more hours on this painting until I was satisfied. Now, I’m ready to tackle another similar painting in preparation for the art party. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson—rushing through artwork can cost you a lot of time.

Rushing through life costs a lot of precious time as well. I think I know what I want to accomplish and how to achieve my goals. I rush in without much thought and even fewer plans. I fail. Then, I spend time researching the outcome. I seek advice from knowledgeable people. I even consult the Bible for answers from God. I work on fixing the problem, which now takes three times as long as it would’ve had I taken the time to do all those things before I messed up.

Ah, but all these things are part of the discipline our Father teaches us. No, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, repeating processes hurts. But God is at work in us, teaching us to turn to Him first. He’s producing righteousness and peace within us. He’s making our paths straight so we don’t stumble the next time or maybe the time after that. But eventually, we get it. Our wimpy arms and our shaky legs grow strong. And He places us on a path where we can reach out to others, teach them His ways, and encourage them to continue on course.

How about you? What discipline is the Father using in your life to strengthen you and to make your path straight?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

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)

Surprise!

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