Tag Archive | Truth

Words—the Power to Change Lives

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15-16)

My hatA couple of weeks ago, I wore this hat to my doctor’s appoint and received several favorable comments. Later that day, someone made a negative dig. It shattered the positive remarks—all of them. I wrestled with my response for hours. Why had one ill-mannered knock overridden the many positive reinforcements? Why do we take such disagreeable tones into our spirits and allow them to push out what brings peace and assurance? Why did I?

It took a lot of self-talk to overcome the potential destruction. Did the offender mean to cause me hurt? No. I really don’t think so. Although her remark stabbed me like a knife, she thought she was being funny. I held back tears as I struggled to put things into proper perspective.

Here’s the thing:

  1. This person has always enjoyed making crude remarks just to get a reaction from her target (by her own admission). I had to consider her nature.
  2. Forgiveness is the only key to unlocking the chains that can enter our spirits from such attacks. I had to count her as innocent … as though she didn’t know what she was doing.
  3. I had to reassess all the positive input. Sure, some people give compliments as unthinkingly as others give insults. Nevertheless, there are just as many sincere people who, not only want to make us feel good, but truly are pleased or impressed with our choices of style. I worked hard to latch onto those comments, allowing them to nurture my spirit instead of permitting the condemning statement to tear me apart.

I need to move on from this experience, keeping in mind I’m not the only one sensitive to sarcastic comments. And my friend isn’t the only one prone to make them. I can’t change her. But I can bridle my own tongue.

God has given us a tremendous power and responsibility through words. Whether written or spoken they can destroy or build a life.

I want to be a builder.

How about you? How can you build someone else’s life with your words?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Putting Myself in Timeout

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

 “Will you hold me, Mommy?” Eli said.

“Sure, come here.”

“I can’t. I’m in timeout.” Eli made a pouty face and looked at his grandfather.

Mommy looked up at her dad. “Can he get down now?”

Grandfather shrugged. “I’m not the one who put him in timeout. He put himself on the chair.”

Eli had misbehaved. Anticipating the typical response to his behavior, he climbed up on the chair, putting himself in timeout. This wasn’t the first time he had done so. He knows when he ignores instructions and continues to do what he’s don’t supposed to do, he eventually receives timeout as his reward. So to save us all from the aggravation of scolding and sitting him on a chair, he does it himself. The funny thing is, he often does so when we (the adults in charge) have no intentions of giving him timeout.

This little routine taught me a lesson about being a child of God. Occasionally, I do things that most likely don’t … perhaps don’t … well, okay, definitely don’t line up to my Father’s standards. Take procrastinating for example. I know He has specific tasks for me to do and guidelines for me to follow everyday. But I get sidetracked. I do things my way. I don’t get the tasks completed.

Then my guilt steps up to confuse the issue, allowing the enemy a foothold. The enemy tells me I’m lazy and unworthy of the task. So I put myself in timeout … procrastinating all the more.

Eventually, I confess to the Father that I’ve been worthless, unfaithful, and deserve to be punished. Do you know how He answers me? He answers by bring to mind the Scripture above–“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” He also says, “I have not put you in timeout. Now get up and get busy doing the work I have called you to do.”

How about you? What’s keeping you from doing the work the Father has called you to do?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Words Matter

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Man and Woman 4 WebThere’s a fine line between reckless words and wise ones, especially when those words appear on social media. This is a difficult post to write because I want to end up on the healing side of that line.

Here’s what happened:

One of my mother’s friends visited her during the final days of her life. The friend sat on a chair at the foot of my mother’s bed and posted on Facebook that she was saying her final goodbyes to a dying friend. She mentioned my mother’s name and tagged my sister in the post. Her words were then read not only by her own “friends” but by all my sister’s acquaintances, include my mother’s oldest living sister. She and a number of other readers misinterpreted the message to mean that Mother had already died. To make matters worse, all my aunts thought we deliberately did not contact them with the news.

Another family member took it upon herself to make the announcement to the rest of the family again using the vice of a Facebook page. After she submitted the post she thought it reasonable to find out the facts, but never thought to contact the administrator of the page to delete the post after she found out the information was false.

The post appeared again two weeks after my mother’s funeral. I was very distraught about it and requested the post be removed from the family page. Admittedly, I was as bad as the others, although I did most of my damage in a private message to the family member. Yes, my words were more reckless than healing at one point. And I’m not making up excuses for my actions.

In the wake of all of this, some relatives have unfriended one another. There has been a lot of needless hurt and stress at a time when we should all be pulling together. Why? Because of one reckless post on Facebook. So unnecessary.

Here’s the takeaway:

  1. Your words matter whether spoken or written. People take your messages seriously.
  2. Never post someone else’s private matters on social media even if they’re true!
  3. Respect the rights of others. If the immediate family has remained silent about their situation, you have no right to publicize it.
  4. Verify everything you read on Facebook before sharing. Ask those involved, NOT relatives, when you can. If you can’t, don’t assume the message is correct and re-post it. Let it alone!
  5. Mind your own business. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but you can see how much suffering one reckless word has caused our family. Just tend to your own matters and let others tend to theirs.
  6. Ask for permission to re-post personal information and photos. Regardless of who posted the information, you don’t have the right to re-post personal information or photos on your timeline without permission.
  7. Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth, or fingers in motion.
  8. Gossip hurts. Stop it.

Social media would be so much more enjoyable if we’d all use words of the wise to bring healing.

How about you? How have you used your words today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

T is for Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

fall-path-4-web Please forgive me for skipping out on you the past two weeks thereby, dropping the ball on our P.A.T.H acronym. My mother has had some serious mishaps and is now in special care at the local hospital. We covet your prayers for her and the rest of our family.

If you’ve read any of my posts over the past several months, you know our family has been hit pretty hard with health issues this year. And it doesn’t look like the struggles are ending as the year comes to a close.

Nevertheless, we have hope in Jesus Christ, which brings me to today’s letter in our acronym. T is for trust. As we praise God for who He is, we learn to appreciate His attributes in new and higher ways. Praise unfolds adoration. Adoration opens the door to trust.

Trust is a key element in any relationship. But with God, it’s essential. It’s living and growing in us. And like every other living organism, trust must be exercised. We exercise our trust muscles in various ways. However, we reap the greater benefits through trials. When we stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, facing a momma grizzly bear with three hungry cubs to feed, we either have to trust our parachute and jump or lie down and say, “Dinner is served.”

Sometimes on this path we call life, we have no choice but to trust and jump. Come to think of it, we have to trust God for every breath every day. He supplies our needs. He is the sustainer of the universe. He never fails, is always faithful, and completes the work He has begun in us.

Trials are part of God’s work. As He creates the image of Christ in us, He uses trials, calamities, and yes, health issues to chisel away at our pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness. With those same tools, He softens our hearts, develops compassion, and gives us a testimony of His mercy, grace, and abounding love.

God uses all things for our good to bring about good things for those who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28 paraphrased).

It’s difficult to live by that verse at times. But God sends reminders to help us keep our faith as we exercise our trust in Him. Today, He graciously sent me one of those much-needed reminders while I read my devotions. We are able to confidently say, “this day” – with all its troubles – “is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24) – The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables by Jared C. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s words lifted my spirit. With that reminder, I realized the path God has prepared for me is straight and smooth. However, this physical path is full of twists, bumps, and roadblocks. But let’s not be perplexed by the physical, the more important path is the spiritual path that leads to our eternal home. Jesus said He is the way and He knows the way … follow Him. He straightens the path, smooths the bumps, and removes the roadblocks. We can trust Him to lead us to His kingdom.

How about you? How has God reminded you to trust Him more today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Seeing Ourselves Through God’s Eyes

What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Mystery Eyes Seeing ourselves through God’s eyes isn’t always easy. In fact, for the most part it’s pretty difficult. Before we know Him, He sees us as crippled, blind, deaf, lost, and hungry and thirsty. We are empty and avoid of good. The best we can do appears as filth rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Paul described us this way, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Dead! It’s very difficult to view ourselves as dead when we are living, breathing, feeling. But if we don’t know Jesus Christ on a personal level that’s exactly what we are…dead.

However, God loves us even though we are nothing more than dead. He wants to bring life, and not only life, but abundant life to us. So we accept His invitation through Jesus Christ to be born into eternal life. And our position changes. We no longer hunger and thirst, for He has filled us with the Bread of Life and has giving us Living Water to drink. We are no longer lost, for He has found us. We are no longer blind, deaf, or crippled, for by His stripes He healed us.

We now possess a crown and a garment of righteousness. We are children of the King of kings. And as difficult as it was to see ourselves in reality without Christ, it seems equally difficult to see ourselves as God sees us with Christ. Pure, worthwhile, royalty as well as servants, heirs to Christ, redeemed, and loved.

Looking at ourselves as God looks at us takes courage and practice.

However, our vision must also become farsighted. We must learn to look at others through Christ’s eyes. See the truth in their condition whether it be with or without Jesus. Then we should act with as much love, mercy, and grace as we received.

We are all unworthy. But not one of us is worthless as the enemy would have us believe.

How about you? Through which mirror do you see yourself?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

PS Guess whose eyes are in the picture and come back in a few days to find out. Better yet, follow me via email and be sure to get my updates. Thanks.

 

Tiger

Tiger

Trust

Trust

 

A tiger has never stalked me. In fact, I have never been in a country where that’s a real threat, have you?

Nevertheless, troubles seem to follow me and attack me unexpectedly like a ravenous tiger. I buckle under the assault. I scream. I cry. I feel torn. I crawl to a corner and lick my wounds, praying the “tiger” never returns.

As I recover, I seek a better way of surviving in this jungle we call life. And sure enough, after much thought and prayer, the answer comes—in the form of an acronym using the word TIGER. Ironic? Perhaps. But God uses our greatest struggles to teach us His precepts, His faithfulness, and His loving kindness.

Here’s the acronym He gave me this morning to share with you and for you to share with those you know who wrestle “tigers” in their world.

 

Turn your concerns over to God (Psalm 34:14)

Invest time in Bible study and prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)

Guard your thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Endure all hardships (2 Timothy 4:5)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Next time a “tiger” leaps at me, I’m going to fight back with words of truth and trust. How about you? What Scripture do you use to ward off the beast?

Prayer:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 4:5).

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

L is for Lamb and Lion

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” (Revelation 5:5)

The Lamb and the Lion

The Lamb and the Lion

While waiting on his mommy at the doctor’s office, three-year-old Eli walked with me, exploring the halls of the hospital. I picked him up so he could see out the window. He wrapped his arms around my neck and said, “Yes, carry me,” an unusual request from that active little fellow. I relished the opportunity to snuggle him.

At home, the little lamb in Eli often sleeps while he chases the dogs, jumps off the furniture, and otherwise, terrorizes his mother. He’s a healthy, happy boy. We all understand healthy, happy boys run, rip, and roar. Not a problem. But then, the lion in the child shows up. And Eli not only roars, he attempts to add biting, hitting, kicking, and wrestling to the mix. Of course, the little cub finds himself in time out. Meanwhile, I scratch my head, wondering what happened to the little lamb.

We all have “lambs” and “lions” within, waiting for a cue from us as to which we’ll release in any given situation. It seems to be part of human nature.

Even so, can there be two animal natures less alike? A lamb—meek, vulnerable, dependent—relies on a shepherd for his very existence. However, a lion—independent, fierce, murderous—prowls around, seeking those he may devour.

Both characteristics fit most people at one time or another. Even the gentlest people have “lion” moments. Likewise the most ruthless person has a “lamb” moment every now and the. When we consider Jesus’ attributes, we often hear Jesus referenced as the Lamb. And that’s how we prefer to think of Him—meek, loving, and sacrificial. Nevertheless, the Bible also refers to Jesus as the Lion of Judah—a mighty force, a consuming fire, THE CONQUERING KING. When He returns, Jesus will be prepared for war and will destroy all those who oppose Him. If you don’t know Him, the thought should strike fear into your soul like the breath of a lion on your neck.

How about you? What “L” word comes to your mind that describes Jesus?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks