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Advent 2016

My apologies for falling behind on our Advent 2016 devotions. I’ve missed them. But sometimes life gets in the way of our good intentions, causing us to fail at the things we value most.

I have, however, found the time to create a short time-lapse art video to wish you a blessed Christmas.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

Suspended by Grace

This video is dedicated to my sister, Janie Neff Haines and her husband Gene Haines as a memorial to their son, Clint who was killed in a tragic motor cycle accident September 2013. May God’s sustaining grace continue to carry you forward into His everlasting presence.

With much love, Brenda

[youtube http://youtu.be/O5QErV44sRY]

 

Suspended by Grace

The brightness of the day succumbed to angry storm clouds. I scarcely noticed them. The turmoil bellowing within my soul created a far greater threat, shoving me to the very edge of destruction.

Stones shifted beneath my feet. I teetered, arms flailing to regain my balance. The crackling of debris cascading down the side of the cliff echoed through the valley. Several rocks crashed on the wall before splashing in the raging sea below. Was that to be my fate after all?

A scream … a cry of despair drew my attention eastward. At first one, then several close relatives slipped over the edge and plummeted toward the crag that stuck out of the icy water. “No!” I screamed with them. I stood paralyzed on the edge unable to do anything more than pray. I wanted to rescue them, to throw out a lifeline … something to prevent the inevitable. But I had no rope, no vine, no means of aide. Their screams tightened into shrieks and sobs … then silence. Their anguish-filled hearts impregnated the atmosphere with inaudible songs of grief.

Yet, instead of crashing into the sea, they floated above it as if suspended from parachutes. They rose and drifted farther eastward toward the sun. In the far distance, a beautiful city graced the horizon.

I suspected the refugees didn’t realize God’s grace had sustained them, not at first at least. But inch-by-inch they rose upward and eastward into the brilliance of His presence. As they live out the remainder of their lives, they radiate with an inner strength, of which they seem unaware.

I, also, suspected then, as I do now, that eventually I too will slip over the edge of despair. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I can trust Him in the darkest night, in the midst of the storm, in the depths of despair. He will keep His word. By the testimony of my friends and family who have lived through the horrors of this world, I see Jesus’ sustaining grace. And I know the breath of God will lift me up and propel me into His Light and eventually into His everlasting presence.

Thank you for viewing. Please share.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Perfect Gift

I know you received this a few hours ago. But I discovered there was no sound to the first one. Sorry about that.

This is the final product of the project I’ve been sharing with you since the beginning of December. I hope it blessed you. I sure enjoyed creating it. It now hangs in my mother’s living room. She was delighted to receive it for her 87th birthday.

Next week, I’ll share another art video pertaining to God’s grace. In preparation, study Ephesians 2:1-10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Victory

[youtube http://youtu.be/ZhT2j_1gJho]

 

 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5 NIV)

The hope of victory over the curse of sin began centuries before King David sat on the throne. God had made a promise to Adam and Eve that a son would be born who would take away that curse, which sentenced them and everyone after them to hard labor. Decades later, Lamech, at the age of 182, prove his faith in the promise when he named his son Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed” (Genesis 5:28-29 NIV). This took place generations before God called out a nation unto Himself from Abraham’s seed.

Through the ages, the Hebrews failed, were enslaved, and freed many times; but they held onto the hope of Israel—a messiah would come to save them and to rule the nations.

Jesus was that Man. However, God’s plan of victory differed from that of the Jews.

  • They thought He came to overthrow Caesar, but He came to defeat the prince of the air.
  • They thought He’d ride a white warhorse, instead He rode a donkey of peace.
  • They thought He’d organize a mighty army, but He surrendered without a fight.
  • They thought He’d reign on earth, but His kingdom is in heaven.
  • They thought He died for a lost cause, instead He died for lost sinners.
  • They thought death won, but Jesus conquered death and lives today.

We are now on the other side of the cross looking back in awe with gratitude and looking forward to His second coming. Then He will return on that white warhorse as the conquering King the Jews anticipated. His army of saints will follow Him to war and celebrate the victory over the fall of the enemy—Satan.

How about you? Are you enjoying the victory that overcomes the world through faith in Jesus Christ?

Next time, we’ll review The Gift via another time-lapse art video that brings the whole subject together. Prepare by studying Romans 6:19-23.

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