Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Heart Tease

A few years ago, my roommate and I allowed our hearts to be led into sorrow by one of the cutest kittens EVER. She was a manager at a local pet store, so I frequently visited the store to see the kittens, puppies, and fish. The exotic birds were big, and they scared me. I stayed close to her when we approached, lest I loose an eye or facial appendage of some sort! Maybe that's a little over-dramatic, but that's my imagination for you.

Anyway, she said we could invite a pet home overnight, and she'd take it back to work the next day. We didn't have fuzzy pets in our apartment, so the invitation was quite tempting. I withheld from the offer for a long time, because I tend to get emotionally attached to cute fuzzies.

"I'm strong," I told myself. I won't be led into grief over a simple little, cute, fuzzy kitten. Several months down the road, I asked if we could bring this super-cute, white kitten home to play with. We brought her home, and to our detriment, named her within the hour. By the time a few hours were gone, we were talking about what it would require to have her as our new pet!

Pets are require responsibility, and I tend to be a traveler. An apartment is also a small space for an animal. These were two big road blocks for me. Reluctant, but totally wanting, we started to seriously make some calls to inquire about pet deposits, vet bills, etc.

All night long I got up almost every hour to make sure she didn't want to come cuddle in my room, to make sure she was sleeping OK, etc. Come morning, she had to go back to the pet store until we made a final decision. Later that day I called my roommate...AND THE KITTEN WAS SOLD! We hadn't made a firm decision, so the cutest little white kitten had a new home. Both of our hearts sank.

We knew this would happen!

Isn't that such like a girl. We tease our hearts all the time. If we are crushing on a guy or even without a crush and longing for something else, we tease our hearts by our thoughts, music, name it. Somehow, our conversations and attention become centered on the very thing that may be untimely in God's eyes. I've had many a moment of teasing my heart with chick flicks. Afterward, my emotions lead my mind into thinking about the male relationship that simply isn't a part of my life right now. Music, the internet, and our own daydreams can tease our hearts in the same way. Wanting a husband or new car isn't a bad desire, but seeking after it in an untimely way is distracting. By teasing our hearts, we might reject or miss the very thing that God has placed in our path.

I knew that I would get attached to the kitten and then grieve when I couldn't keep it. But immediate gratification feels so good! I got to pretend and make up a false life with the kitten as my own. I totally do that with guys, too. Girls, if you are like the majority of us, then your heart and mind are easily convinced to go places that encourage untimely lust of something. And it doesn't even have to be a male relationship!

The next time you feel like a heart tease might be around the corner, talk to a godly friend or spend some time in the Word and prayer. First, set your mind on God and let Him know that He is the greatest romancer of your soul. Then, after you've reminded yourself of what matters most, make a wise decision that will help instead of hinder your pursuit of purity.

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Do any of these words describe you: Hephzibah (my delight is in her), rejoiced over, Beulah (married), sought after, no longer deserted, watched over, provided for, or a splendor for others to see?

This morning I was amazed to read Isaiah 62, with its wonderful descriptions of how God will rejoice over His people. The descriptions are not that of quiet affection. They are boastful and bold descriptions of His heart toward us. What a wild realization, that our God delights and rejoices over us as a groom does his new bride! We will be a part of the new Zion in Heaven. We will be among the Holy People and the Redeemed of the Lord (v. 12). If God delights in the whole lot of His children so greatly, how much more does each and every one of His children bring Him delight.

Is this hard for you to grasp? It is for me. Some of us, including myself, may cling to a lie or be wrestling through the process of replacing a lie with truth. In the past, I accepted the lie that said, "Because the knowledge of a good marriage wasn't given to me, I have the right to harbor unforgiveness or bitterness toward those who influenced the degradation of marriage in my soul." Then, when I looked to God, I transposed those same unmet expectations onto God. In my deceived mind, I accepted that God did not have a good gift to give me, because He was no better than those sinners that influenced me negatively.

Whoa! Hold on a minute. Through one unreconciled experience in my life, God moved from being GOD to being no better than a sinner. Where does truth come experience or from God himself? In the old way of thinking that I just described, truth came from me and was limited to a sinful, shameful reality. By believing a lie, I limited the knowledge of God in my heart and mind. My experience wasn't good, therefore (I assumed wrongly) God wasn't good. After my understanding of God was successfully diminished by Satan's lies, then everything about my view of life developed from that same small, wrongful picture of God. When I would go to weddings or read about God loving me as a husband does His wife, that sure wasn't a promising thought.

Praise God that He heals us through the processes of time, counsel, and truth! Today, I can wrestle with the idea of being called Hephzibah, or for God saying of me, "My delight is in her." I am learning to trust God for things I have not seen, including being loved like Isaiah 62 describes. It is a process. I'm still working towards it, but I can trust that God's truth is better than my own judgment. When trials come, God remains unchanged. I pray that anyone reading this would grow in their knowledge of who He is and how much He loves them.

What is the result of believing how greatly you are loved, delighted in, and delighting in whom you are married to? Isaiah 62:10 says, "Raise a banner for the nations!" As ladies, we know what that means. When we put our trust and love into a man, every girl within a 50 mile radius knows about it. We identify ourselves with that person through social status and obvious affection. So, is that how we react to God's great love for us? Are the nations, or even our neighbors, aware of how great His love is? If you are soundly believing in God's delighting in and rejoicing over you, then consider the raising of the banner for the nations your challenge.

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Crocs at Hallmark

This afternoon, I've been searching the mall to try on a pair of running shoes, but sadly learned that I will have to go to a specialty store to try the appropriate pair on. As I walked the mall, Hallmark's bright display of Crocs (foam mule shoes for anyone confused) caught my eye. Shoes being sold in a greeting card store? That's wild to consider!

Some things in life simply don't fit together. Here are some examples:

  • Me and trying to get my voice to carry across a crowded, or even semi-crowded room with no microphone
  • The little boy's rabbit pajama suit in A Christmas Story that his mom forced him to try on
  • Feeding nose excrement to your beta fish (only a youth minister from Indiana!!!!!)
  • Taping the dead beta fish to the fishbowl after it had jumped to waterless freedom
  • Inviting the cutest kitten you've ever seen home for the night (just one night) and then crying when it had to go back to the pet store to be sold
  • Pornographic media being displayed on public TV
  • Crocs at Hallmark!

"Crocs at Hallmark" reminds me of a holy God choosing to dwell among sinners. It didn't fit together, but He wanted us to be with Him. Isn't grace amazing?! My studies in the Old Testament have taught me so much about the extent God has gone to for people to dwell with Him and Him with us. His character remained unchanged throughout time and all the way to the cross.

Next time you see something that strangely, seriously, or humorously does not fit into its context, just say to yourself, "Crocs at Hallmark," and remember the great extent God has gone to to enable us to dwell with him. We were those Crocs at one time, but through Jesus, we have become a beautiful public display of...greeting cards...for the world to view.

This analogy is ending here!

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

God-Centered Decision Making

I'm at it again...job searching. My Bible training program ends in May, and I am on the hunt just like last year at this time. I never would have imagined moving to Texas, but God opened the door. It has been a perfect shaping and growing habitat for me. I'm so grateful for this unique time. How often does someone get to take a whole year of their life out to study the Word and be mentored by Godly women?

I'm privileged to walk through the decision making process with God on my side. I can't imagine it without His ear, His guidance, and His values to guide me. Today, I wanted to take a moment to emphasize two things that have been on my heart as I look forward to the unknown times ahead.

First, I've been praying in the likeness of Acts 1:24-25. In the early church, there was need to replace the apostolic position that Judas had filled. They needed a faithful eyewitness to join them in their leadership. They chose two men, and then laid the matter out to God. Their prayer said something like, "God, you know the hearts of these men. Show us which one of these you would choose to fill this ministry."

I want to be the type of person whom my husband and my future employer would choose because God showed his favor and approval of my inner life. I want God to be able to say to my husband and my employer, "Have you considered my servant, K."

Second, I want to begin processing decisions in a way that will be an asset for the rest of my life. I want to create a prayer and listening groove so worn out on my path of life that I can't help but fall before God to get His counsel. Making a decision without Him would be absurd...and I need to make sure that I am practicing that attitude while I am a young woman. I will also prepare myself for action and watch for Him. I want to be ready!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Car Wash

Today, I washed my car. It hasn't been washed since August when I made a mad dash back into the country from Northern Ireland and immediately hauled my stuff in storage from Indy to Kansas to Texas. So...I greatly needed to get 'er done. In all of her 1993 splendor, my little car needed a bath.

Sitting in the car in the auto car wash is kind of fun. You never really know what's coming at you, except that the car will hopefully keep you dry and free from soap suds. I likened my faith to that car today. I take care of it and nurture it so that when action is needed, I can go. When the storms of life appear on the horizon or random things come at my spiritual windshield, I am safe and protected. My car and I, we see our rough roads and our smooth ones, but God holds us together and directs us to His purpose.

I have a mentor who is helping me to learn speaking and thinking skills to aid my verbal teaching. She challenged me to begin thinking of analogies in all areas of life that might help someone to understand spiritual things easier. You can thank her for this little effort, confusing and odd as it may be!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Learning to Excellently Display the Holiness of God

Last night in one of my evening church classes, the teacher was encouraging us in development as leaders. She showed us that in the Bible, leaders were seasoned over time. Their titles didn't magically give them maturity, but their willingness to be a moldable piece of clay in God's hands did. With this encouragement came the warning of seeking a title or position before seeking to be a student.

As a Biblical example, consider two different censuses of the Israelite people in Numbers. Those able to go out to war were numbered beginning at the age of twenty. Those in the tribe of Levi who were counted began at the age of 30, and these were the men who would serve with the priests in the Tent of Meeting. We discussed this a bit, and noted the difference in age. For those whose hearts are willing, God will shape you for the service He calls you to. God takes seriously the honoring and exalting of His holiness among people. When you come to lead, you come to serve the nation like the Levites did. They were set apart to Him, and would spend the first thirty years of their lives preparing towards that service.

Today, us young ones are so eager to display our zeal and watch it come to fruition. Zeal is good and honors the Lord. But, I don't want to mistake a title or position as the "arrival point" of my maturity. The truth is that I have a lot to learn, and can honor God by my excellence and humility. As I seek to serve, I seek to learn about how to excellently carry the holiness of God as a display for the world to see.

May the Lord test our hearts through His Word and prayer, to reveal to us those things that are pleasing and those things that set themselves up against Him.

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And the Plague Was Checked

Today, I read this really great verse in Numbers that reminded me of Jesus. It is in chapter 16, where Korah and 250 influential men in Israel rebelled against Aaron and Moses. God called Aaron and Moses to lead the people, which he confirmed many times in miracles and even by the mouths of the people. Yet, some of the men (Ladies, we're in danger, too.) get jealous of these leaders in their exalted position. They rally other "men of renown" from among the camp to rebel with them. As they take their stand before God and in opposition to His chosen leaders, he whispers a little disapproval as the ground opens up and swallows the rebels.

The very next day, the people as a whole gather against Moses and Aaron. God's glory comes again and begins to discipline the people through a plague causing death. Moses and Aaron fall on their face before God, and Aaron runs to offer incense as a pleasing aroma before God. The NASB says that Aaron "took his stand between the living and the dead, and the plaque was checked." Aaron, the high priest, fulfilled his role as mediator between the people and God. He did just as God had commanded in the Law, and God honored Aaron's obedience by checking (ending) the plague.

Doesn't that sound familiar?! Jesus, the high priest who is interceding before God on our behalf, took His stand between the living and the dead to check the sin's plaque of death to eternally save us. I like to think of Jesus standing, a strong and valiant Son of God, who is able to separate the living and the dead. Spiritual death cannot cross His boundary and kingship over those who believe in Him. Death has been checked through the pleasing aroma of death upon the cross.

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Multitude and Solitude

After Passion 06 in Nashville, TN...with its 18,000 college students and workers, concerts, worship gatherings, crowded hallways and elevators, excellent teaching...I returned home. I came back to small town Texas. The pace of life was a bit of a shock as I bought groceries and entered an almost silent house. Where were the crowds of students? Does anyone have a wristband I can check (one of my jobs as a volunteer at Passion 06)?

I love that our God is in the midst of the multitude and in the solitude. The heart of worship glorifies Him in both.

On the mountain, you are there.
In the valley, you are unchanged.
Along the rolling plains, My God, you still have splendor.
There is none like you.
© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.