Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Cut

I was chillin' with my friend Tessa this evening (she's 4). I studied hamartiology while she played with my big green excercise ball and nesting dolls from Russia. She asked me how old I was.

"I'm 30."

"So you can cut?"

Apparently I have been entrusted with the very responsible task of using scissors. I was feeling inadequate studying hamartiology (study of sin). But now I feel quite accomplished in life. Using scissors safely and without adult help must be one of Tessa's upcoming developmental feats. =-)

We soon then moved on to the "fingers not teeth" rule in opening the Russian nesting dolls when they are difficult to pull apart. Teeth marks on the nesting dolls will surely give them lasting character.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Baggage (1 Samuel 30:21-31)

First gear went out. Reverse refused. Then second gear froze. By the time my car rolled into the driveway, I was unable to shift into any gear other than neutral. The car wouldn’t budge.

A thousand dollars later, my Ford is functional again. But the car placed me in a familiar and humiliating place - a place of financial need. I began to get angry with God, realizing for the first time that I had much in common with the men of 1 Samuel 30, who were exhausted and stayed behind with the baggage. Few people desire to watch others rescue their loved ones, to know that what they can muster in the moment is simply not enough.

I have been the recipient of many gracious gifts: a scholarship to school, a home to live in, a computer, car repairs, running shoes…the list keeps going. It is mostly a testimony to the obedient church body I am a part of. Yet, I grew up on a farm. I’ve done chores and worked most of my life, learning independence and being prideful in what my hands can accomplish. The place I rest now as I study in seminary is humbling. I vacillate between thanksgiving and humiliation, letting pride occasionally douse the flames of my joy and worship.

David’s rebuke to the wicked and prideful warriors in our story held much authority, so much that it became law in the nation of Israel. Those who fought on the front lines and those who were exhausted, staying behind to protect the baggage, were of equal standing. Their reward would be the same. David saw the army as a unified body under the headship of a mighty God. Their victory came not by man’s might, but through His participation and will - even for those resting with the baggage.

Romans 12:3-5 says it this way, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

The Word of God is clear about how we are to view ourselves as Christ followers. We are a family. As stewards of what we have been given, we support the whole family, investing as each of us has been enabled. Each one of us is just as likely to face hardship, financial trial, medical emergencies, weakness, grief, etc. With one unified heartbeat and one Lord as our head, we will move forward in the will of God, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations and seeing one another built up into Christ.


Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible (R), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Celebrating Jesus ~ International Christmas Banquet 2007



More pictures of the ladies! I obviously love them and enjoy studying the Bible with them every week. Only two more weeks and our study of Ruth and Esther will be over. I has been absolutely amazing to worship through His word on my own, and then worshipping with these sisters in Christ. Together, humbled at the foot of the cross the wonder of our amazing God is amplified ten fold. I hope that they have received as much as I have in our study.

The pic is from our international Christmas banquet last night. Represented among us: Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Italy and the USA. Isn't that such fun!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

International Banquet


Vicky (left) and Nadia (right) are the two Taiwanese students who are doing Bible study with me this semester. (Not pictured: Karen from the USA)
We attended an International Banquet for students. There were instrumental presentations, an international fashion show, lots of dancing - from South America, Egypt, and Africa to name a few. So many dressed in native costumes or clothing. I wished it could have been a celebration about Christ!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pursuit (1 Samuel 30:9-20)

His heart pounds like a tribal drum calling the warrior to battle.
His skin beads sweat with the loyalty of a husband and the passion of a lover.
His hand instinctively palms the familiar, smooth handle of a sword that will speak on his behalf.
David is a man in pursuit of his stolen treasures - his wife and family and nation.

I recently found myself asking, "Lord, what does it look like for a man to treasure something? What does it look like for You to treasure me?" His Word says:


Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place
and other peoples in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4, NAS


The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy.
He will be quiet in his love.
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Zephaniah 3:17, NAS

In a covenant relationship with Israel, the Lord promises (through Isaiah and Zephaniah) to discipline the disobedient nation. Yet, in His discipline, he will once again choose to pursue and redeem. Judgement will come, but His love will be expressed even more strongly once wrath has passed. Like a victorious warrior, He will honor and treasure his precious covenant Love whom He has rescued from the hands of enemies.

I can't help but think that David, too, has this knowledge of God pulsing through his veins as He pursues the Amalekites who have His treasures. A husband is in covenant relationship to the Lord and to his wife, he seeks to rescue what has been lost to the enemy through his sin. His pursuit is an expression of renewed spiritual responsibility and deep love. Through prayer, he receives the permission of God to pursue and the promise of every life being returned.


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible (R), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mountains Rise

But mountains yes rise like kings to thrones and when they rise with able voice so clear and crisp like water cool will whisper a message a call a bidding that sails like feathers dancing and flirting on sapphire breezes for glory of Yahweh's majesty and for laud of Yahweh's gift and will betray with lovingkindness idols that cannot speak or see or hear nor smell or feel or walk without men and women who worship stones for minute and hour and four with twenty yet feel not the dread of receiving their wage.


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Anatomy of a Wave

Dedicated to the Passion movement (www.268generation.com)
"The wave is growing into a global awakening."

They lull the trusting to sleep with an ebbing, reassuring roar. They refresh the playful, inspiring splashes of energy and movement. They humble the watchful by their ability to change the face of the earth. Who has not known the powerful and graceful impact of a wave?

Had I not been enlightened with the anatomy of a wave, I would have accredited the swell its own honor. Yet, diving below the surface of the deep, I have come to realize the necessity of the wind and the individual water molecules in shaping coastlines – the boundaries of nations.

A wave looks like it is moving from one place to another, but it is not. Rather than a team of molecules moving independently over the surface of the still ocean, a wave is the result of shared movement. It begins when the wind disturbs the surface of the water, causing individual molecules to move in vertical circles. The molecule circulates in an up and down motion in its own “neighborhood.” That excited molecule then affects neighboring molecules, who dance in the same vertical pattern. Energy is passed from one molecule to the next, slowly building into a wave that represents the energy of a whole, unified movement being driven by the breath of the wind. Molecules are passing their energy along, instead of traveling along with the wave.

As a wave approaches the shoreline, the energy is not absorbed any longer in the deep. It roars with power and spills over onto the nations’ boundaries, transferring its energy and shaping what seemed immovable. By these faithful movements of waves, mountains bow their knees and become beaches. What seemed impossible to move is actually being transformed by the work of many individual water molecules in motion.

The power of a wave is in the cumulative effect of its individual particles.

Selah.

The wave is growing into a global awakening, driven by the Spirit of God and according to His trustworthy Word. And gaining momentum by the movement of many individuals who are willing to affect those around them. Even powerfully changing the boundaries of the nations and moving mountains to their knees.


Written by Kendra Hinkle, 2007. Wave information accumulated through random findings, discussions, and thoughts over the past year, and through a diagram burned into my memory from who knows where.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Lovely and the Precious (1 Samuel 30:1-8)

Those things most lovely and precious in life are often subject to our barbarian flesh. We denounce our values by seeking immediate gratification through sinful means. For example, have you ever avoided conflict resolution by gossip or "prayer requests", ultimately demeaning the one you should be actively loving? Have you tuned out difficult people, hopeless situations, or overwhelming emotions by overeating, sleeping, or drunkenness? Have you been negligent to show appreciation and value for your family or spouse? If you have, you know that sinful desires distract us from obedience to God's Word, devaluing those things that are lovely and precious before God.

For David, those who were lovely and precious were taken captive. The Amalekites burned Ziklag with fire and swept away all of the women and children. And such destruction overtook them while David was follwing after the Philistines to war against his own people, Israel.

Remember that Saul punctured David's side like a thorn, so much that David had sought rest in the land of the hated Philistines. Given Ziklag to live in, David and his men established a new home. The displaced Isrealites then became obligated to the Philistines during wartime - even against their Israelite brethren. Yet, beyond this military alliance David led his men to war by choice. With the destruction of his nemesis close at hand, imagine the sweet revenge!

Unexpectedly rejected from the war march , the displaced Israelites tucked their tails between their legs and returned home (1 Sam 29). But home did not exist. During David's ungodly attempt at war against Saul, the Amalekites obliterated Ziklag.

Consequences weighed hard upon David as the leader. His men smoldered like embers of anger and bitterness, desiring to stone him. Grieving his own loss of wife and children, the emotion of his men's loss came back to him ten fold. His barbarian flesh had fallen short of providing and protecting them. Instead, they stood humiliated and stripped for their neighbors to see.

But God showed himself gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness (see also Ex 34:5-7). David relinquished his pride and independence, strengthening himself in God's presence and seeking permission to march in war once again, but this time against the Amalekites.

Wonderous and merciful, God answered David. David received the command to go, for ALL would be rescued. Every precious life and every lovely woman was promised to return.

What abundance our God wills for those who reptent and turn from their wicked ways! Rather than giving us leverage to satisfy our barbarian flesh, the Lord's work on David's behalf should encourage us to run to God in our conviction of sin. He has redeemed us, and His promise will sustain us. Let's turn to him in the sin of our flesh. Not distracted any longer, but setting our desires upon Him and seeking His counsel through the Bible, prayer, and godly counselors.

Will you repent and return in order to gain what is lovely and precious? Return, despite the consequences of your sin, and be strengthened in the Lord.


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible (R), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Regarding Christian Accountability

"We all need someone who loves us, but is not impressed by us."

Howard Hendricks
9/15/07

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When in Conflict, Read Proverbs 18

I don't get you men. Period. You make me crazy. I want to put you in a headlock for hours on end and rub onion on your face or peanut butter in your hair. Will you ever make sense to me?

The past week has been a bit stressful for me. I've had a lot of animosity towards a brother in Christ. Withholding from quarrelsome attitudes and honoring him despite my feelings was hard, and I definitely failed a lot.

In the midst of my trial, the Lord was faithful to lead me to Proverbs 18. Therein my heart was humbled. The power of the tongue and the speech of the fool spoke loudly to me. In addition, separating oneself from people (even in avoiding conflict) is both self-serving and unwise.

When trouble arises, it needs to be reconciled between brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not biblical to avoid conflict, to continue in quarrelsome attitudes, or to grant your tongue freedom of expression. The "we" is greater than "me," and reconciliation needs to happen within the scope of honesty, love, and forgiveness.

If you'd like to be humbled in your communication, taught wiser ways, I suggest opening up to Proverbs 18. I can come help shovel you up off of the floor when you are finished worshipping through it. That's where I was as the Spirit lowered me to a place of humility.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Not Easily Forgotten (1 Samuel 29)

I wish I could forget, and I wish my family could forget, the legend of Kendra - hummingbird whisperer. Of all the things to be tormented by when I get the rare chance to be with extended family. . . I wish the memory would die!

When I was small, I occasionally had the patience to focus uncanny amounts of energy and time on whatever I was interested in. One summer day, it happened to be the myriad of hummingbirds on my grandmother's feeder. Hovering and fleeing, the tiny birds didn't stop for a moment. My company of relatives eventually went to see other farm wonders, leaving me standing alone among my migratory friends. I stood there so long that the little bitties decided it safe to return to the feeder only an arms reach away from me.

I wanted one of those little birds to sit on my hand, so I held it out for what seemed like hours. No luck. Since that didn't work, and they weren't scared of me anymore, I figured I would help one out a bit. I picked one of the hummingbirds off of the feeder with two of my fingers and placed him on my hand. I think we were both equally surprised by the tactic, because he just sat there staring at me for a while and I back at him. One of my aunts noticed my open palm with the bird on it and began to yell. Soon everyone gathered around and he flew off.

That's the day the legend began. Unfortunately, none of them saw me pick up the bird from the feeder, so the legend states that the bird flew and landed on my hand. As an adult I've shamefully informed most of the family of what really happened, but my sweet grandmother still believes the lie. My heart broke when I heard that several times since I was a child, she's tried to replicate the instance by standing for very long periods of time next to the feeder with her palm out. I couldn't bear to smash her hopes of one day becoming a hummingbird whisperer!

David can definitely understand my remorse as a man of legend himself. God displayed His power through David many times in battle. Songs were sung of him, and the Philistines remembered his triumph over Goliath. Having fled from his countrymen and living among the Philistines, David marched to war against his brethren.

His legend as a vessel of God's action was a concern to the Philistines. They rejected David from their midst as they readied to war with Israel. David's faith and service to God through King Saul's leadership was not easily forgotten.

Closed doors often confuse us or worry us. But closed doors also show God's direction. Here among the Philistines, David and his men are rejected and sent home. It is a decisive and sovereign act of God through the Godless Philistines.

What is God doing? We will soon see. Unexpected changes in life, especially closed doors to the things we want, are often the beautiful and sovereign hand of God working on our behalf.


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rescued (A Testimonial)

From the dark of night I could not see,
My eyes unprepared for light.
How thick that darkness was, how heavy its chains!

Hidden in a child's sorrows,
I was told to hate because I was hated.
Deep within, the Destroyer made his wicked claim.

Convinced that I could not speak
I was bound in weighty chains of deceit.
As a child of death, I lived out lies
And filled my flesh with sorrowful gain.

Lost and drowning, the tide washed over me.
Sharks surrounded me to take my life,
Trapping one precious life named for the Light.

Upon the sea He walked with strides of strength.
My mighty One came near as I sank.
I took my last breaths of death below the sea of sorrow
Until His hand plunged down to me.

Lifeless I lay in His arms 'til He breathed His breath in me.
The dark of night fled as I choked on perfect life.
In the sweet Savior's arms I lay.
My adoring Rescuer came to me.

What love He has! What might that makes the demons flee!

I now walk at His side.
Wisdom is my lot.
For truth has shone brightly and pierced my broken soul.

Oh, unending Love, amazing gracious One.
You are my Light and my Portion.
No death shall do us part.

I am Yours and You are mine.

May that name which I was given
Cause the demon's world to quake
For thy Word accomplished
that for which it was sent in me.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One Thing (Psalm 27:4, Mark 10:21, Luke 10: 41-42)

For a little topical study in relation to prayer, I have been looking at some "one thing" verses in Scripture:

Psalm 27:4 David's one thing
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek;
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His Temple.

Mark 10:21 Jesus to the rich young ruler
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

Luke 10:41-42 Jesus to Martha, Mary's sister
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."


"One thing" rules out everything else. It is an expression of importance and devotion. Most of my own life seems to be in competition with devotion to this singleness of heart and mind. "One thing" is intimidating to approach because of my sin. Yet, the more I approach with the simplicity of "One thing" in my sights, the easier it is to realize the grace that is extended to me.

From the busyness of life which competes with devotion to One, I come to my busy mind that fights the simplicity and necessity of One. From there my emotions fight the reality of holiness and grace in comparison to my sinful self. Approaching, each resistant part of my life breaks from my spirit's own desperation for Jesus Christ and God the Father. Then, through the doors of the temple of His presence, I find myself prostrate in His glory - amid the beauty of His holiness.

I received the invitation, and I have come.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Scripture marked “NAS” is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Finishing Well (Summer is Over)

God orchestrated some really great collisions this weekend. I flew to KC for some family events, and was able to meet up with Isa. Isa and I have been doing an IM Bible study through Esther this past semester while she was preparing for college in Germany. My flight for a baby shower coincided with her time in KC. We actually got to talk face to face!!! Also I met up with Brooke, a great gal who I met while traveling and homeless and working a friend's church camp (same way I met Isa). Brooke gave her first months out of high school to serving in Africa, since she didn't know what she wanted to do in college. It was an amazingly mature kingdom decision. We all had lunch this weekend! They are gals I appreciate and am so blessed to stay in contact with.

The international gals study went so well this summer. Through our relationship built with the Baptist Student Ministry (using their facility for the women's study), we are now moving our ministry's main night onto UNT. It's at the heart of campus and very accessible to the international students, who don't usually have cars. AND...for Marilyn...it has a kitchen to serve dinner from! God is continuing to build and move. He always does for His name's sake. Sadly, I won't be able to be as involved this semester because of seminary classes. Yet, I knew my time would be changing in the coming months. My spring prayers have been abundantly overfilled through God's grace: for the women to be encouraged in knowing the Lord and His Word and for workers to be raised up into the harvest within this ministry as I was being moved out of my normal roles. The ministry is now teaming up with the BSM to reach out to international students on UNT and TWU campuses for the coming year. The Lord has been gathering our many prayers and moving us into His plan for the future.

I'm too tired to think of anything else. Good night!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Waiting On a New Day (1 Samuel 27-28)

Just before the dawn of a new day, darkness lingers. Twighlight's blanket of stars and quiet stillness do not give a hint of the day that will soon come. One must wait with anticipation for daybreak.

In chapter 27 & 28 of 1 Samuel, David waited in the dark of night. His new day to come was the fulfillment of the God's promise to his throne in Israel. Likewise Saul awaited the fulfillment of God's promise. Yet, Saul's lingering darkness was the coming night of death. God promised Saul that the throne was no longer be his, but that it belonged to his neighbor David (15:28). Both men are waiting on God's word to become sight. Neither realizes how soon it will happen.

The pace of our story slows as God allowed the lingering darkness to expose the lack of faith that both Saul and David had in God's word. For David, hope waned, and he joined the Philistines to find temporary rest. For Saul, a mystic witch was sought to force God's answer to his question.

Waiting on God, especially when He seems silent, requires trust in His absolute determination to keep His word and His immutable character. Situations lure us to make decisions without recounting the character of God, yet doing so brings peace. He is a strong tower of refuge when the storms of life come at night and leave us anticipating daybreak.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's All Up to Me

Knip, tuck, squeeze, suck in, lift, reveal, plunge, low, shade, color, sleek, exfoliate, accentuate, reduce, lose, enhance, fight, shimmer, glow, wink, flirt...

Aren't you exhausted? Do you really have to control your hair, face, body, personality, and behavior in order to get his attention? Will he only notice you when God is univolved and you are in control of presenting yourself to him in just the right lip color, pencil cuts, and heels?

Pretending to be in control of attracting men IS exhuasting. Yet, I look in the mirror time and again thinking of how I should probably lose weight, cut my hair, change products, or bolster my personality in order to be more attractive. Waiting on God's man and for God's timing is hard. It means I have to learn to let trust sink down to the level of the everyday, mirror-gazing moments. Peace - I'm free to be pretty, to be me. God will help direct that man's eyes, even when sleek has gone frizzy for the day.

Christian women who shield their hearts from so much of the advertising barrage can still easily lose faith when wanting to be noticed by a man. With the mouth we recite the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but with our hearts and actions we reveal so badly how we want to ensure our own desire to attract that man!

We look into the mirror time and again, hoping it is attractive enough to ensure success. Yet, can God's place as the Lord of our lives truly be enough to help us in finding our husband? I've been reminded lately, that it is NOT all up to me. God has a place even in attraction.

Be you. Be pretty. Style it your way. But give God some elbow room to highlight your best qualities to that man. If he doesn't notice, then something better is on the way. Just ask Rebekah (Genesis 24).

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Monday, July 02, 2007

Plumbline of the Heart (1 Samuel 26)

I’ve been sitting on 1 Samuel 26 for a while, feeling like a lump on a log. Reading, rereading, praying…not wanting to move forward without being able to speak from a heart of conviction. It’s simple for me to speak information from my head, but I want to learn more in communicating from my heart as well. Thanks for being patient.

* * * * * * * * *

My sister in Christ from Taiwan, Nadia, joined me this weekend for volunteering at a Christian music festival. In our down time she talked about a storytelling class she’s taking for her master’s program. Her interest in storytelling got me thinking about how the author of 1 Samuel lays out our historical account in chapter 26.

The book is a historical narrative, purposing to preserve the story of Israel for future generations. As a narrative, the history is recorded as a story with people and events that we can relate to or learn from. It draws us in and enables us to better remember their life lessons and the history of God’s people. We get to experience and watch David in this way.

To review chapter 26, word got out about David’s hiding place in the wilderness. Saul took 3,000 chosen men into the wilderness looking for David (Hmmm…David must be quite a threat to necessitate such an army). David learned of and prepared for Saul. Instead of mustering his best men and strategizing like Saul had done, David asked for one man to join him to go into the camp of Saul. Matching his leader’s bravery, Abishai joined David by night.

By the time David and Abishai made their way through the camp of 3,000 men to the center where Saul is sleeping, I’m holding my breath…waiting for someone to wake up and for David to be caught. Then, instead of eradicating Saul, David honored the Lord’s sovereignty to do for Saul what had recently happened to Nabal in chapter 25. David did not take vengeance, but would teach Saul a lesson about the Lord’s ways. By exiting the camp and waking them up, David gave Saul proof that they had full opportunity to slay the King. God was with David, and Saul needed to bow his knee to that sovereign choice.

The author chose to let us walk with David into camp, beside Saul as he sleeps, and then out of the camp, withholding until the end that the Lord enabled David’s plan to succeed by supernatural intervention. By doing so, our own thoughts as readers are shown for what they are – either lacking in faith or full of it. The author shows us the plumbline when he says, “because the LORD had put them into a deep sleep” (26:12 NIV).

From this recognition of the Lord’s unseen presence, I can begin to note principles about the character of God and the nature of man…to be compared with what He says throughout the rest of Scripture:
~ God works on behalf of the man of faith.
~ The sovereignty of God is not threatened by the plans of man.
~ Faith in a man’s heart reveals itself through works.
~ Sometimes we are required to act in faith, without seeing God’s protection ahead of us.
~ If God is for us, who can be against us?

Aren’t these great reminders, applicable to the challenges of our present lives?! I can compare several of my life situations to David’s experience, drawing upon the character of God for direction and encouragement. Sometimes I feel like Saul, pursuing after doors that I know the Lord has shut. Sometimes I am brave like David, pursuing plans and watching God work supernaturally to cause victory. Both men had the opportunity to listen and watch for God’s direction. Yet, only one man was listening and bowing His knee to the Lord’s sovereignty. Saul had hardened his heart and cycled in sin until there was no conviction even in murdering God’s chosen man.

May our hearts be like David’s - learning to listen, to act in faith, and to bow our knee to the sovereignty of God.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society.

© Kendra Hinkle 2007.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mudfest 2007

I spent the past four days playing in the mud with thousands of people. My friend Charis works for an organization involved with a large Christian festival, and I volunteered to help her out. Running the event was CRAZY!!! It stormed off and on the whole time. I got to go mudding in golf carts and then to push them out of the mud. Galoshes were the trendy garb of the event. You should get some.

During the event, kids were covered from head to foot in mud. Parents basically had to give up. The constant foot traffic brought all the moisture to the surface and mud was inches deep all over the field. The mainstage didn't go up completely until the day of...everything was sinking in the mud as they tried to build. I've not seen such a big event - and so many people - willing to embrace the mud for an entire weekend. Only in Texas!

Check this out...
I got a hotel room with Charis' assistant (Aurora), who I found out goes to church with my former pastors from Indianapolis (now in Texas). We know a bunch of the same people! Also, I brought to the event my friend Nadia, a sister in Christ from Taiwan who is studying in Texas. Aurora lived in Nadia's city in Taiwan as a missionary kid. We all had these really cool connections from the Lord and collided in one hotel room this weekend. It was so funny and refreshing!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Great Start!

Last week we began our Tuesday evening "Women of Influence" study with the international college gals and int'l. wives. There were 28 of us there, and I taught on the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair (Luke 7). I can tell the tide is turning in my teaching. I'm consumed less with the presentation and rigid structure and more with content and their understanding, which is new for me. Being in front of people has been so scary most of my life, it is amazing to see what the Lord is doing!

What a privilege! I'm no great teacher by far, but I love bringing the Word and sharing my joy in Him with them. I can see Him changing me as we spend more time together in life. =-)

The gals interacted so well. With internationals, it can be very difficult to get discussion going or for them to ask questions. Their excitement in the discussion was surprising. Then, they even shared aloud with the whole group after discussing in their tri's. I could see how the Lord had directed the discussion questions. I had no idea they would be significant the way they were, but He knew.

I picture Him breathing His great self into their minds and hearts throughout this summer. "I AM," He says to them. "I AM."

A young single woman will be teaching on Rebekah and watering your camels. Her catch phrase for serving wholeheartedly as a single is, "May I water your camels, also?"
She's vibrant and fun, so I think the gals will enjoy her. Other cultures often have much more pressure to marry sooner than later as a young adult. I pray that God will show them that they are right where they need to be, learning about Him first and foremost as a single.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Wisdom and Love (1 Samuel 25)

David had been fleeing from Saul for some time. He lived his life on the run, seeking God's direction as he led his band of 600 men around the countryside. In chapter 24, Saul unknowingly discovered the hiding place where David and his men were sheltered. Instead of avenging his unjust treatment through murder, David put himself in a vulnerable position and sought peace with the King. Saul seemingly repented from his wicked pursuit to kill David and returned home.

In chapter 25 David next found himself mourning the death of the prophet Samuel, a mentor to him. Afterwards he and his men ventured to the wilderness of Paran where they protected the shepherds and sheep of a wealthy buisinessman. In return for their service, David sought to provide for his men by requesting remuneration from Nabal. "Harsh" and "worthless" in reputation, Nabal consistently acted accordingly by refusing provision for David from his excess wealth (25:3, 17 NAS). Nabal even went so far as to pretend that he has not heard of David, accusing him to be a runaway servant. David responded in anger toward Nabal, planning to take vengeance upon him and his household.

Caught in the middle between two hot-headed men protecting their territory, Abigail was an example of both wisdom and poise. Abigail knew who David was, and when informed by a servant of her husbands idiocracy, she acted quickly to bring peace. She secretly sent out gifts before her to David and his men, following with her own self to request forgiveness. She acknowledged David as the future King and blessed him. David's heart was protected from manslaughter as he heeded the kindness and wisdom of Abigail. His anger subsided.

I believe that God was preparing David's heart for a second man-to-man encounter with Saul. 1 Saumuel 25 is sandwiched between the two accounts of David sparing Saul's life, though he has the opportunity for vengeance. Between these two instances, Abigail acted wisely to protect her own household as well as David's moral purity. Soon after Abigail's wise actions, God himself caused the Death of Nabal. Vengeance belonged to God, not David. This was the lesson that David probably needed to hear as he would soon have the opportunity once again to end his life's current trial in fleeing from the wicked Saul. Though Samuel the prophet was gone, David must trust that God will continue to act toward His own will in David's dealings with Saul.

Oh, that I would be a woman like Abigail. She is so wise to know of her infuence and her place. She humbled herself and sought God's best. What a blessing she was to David. Through Abigail God says to David, "Trust me. I'm still in control." Through Abigail, David's moral purity is protected and honored. Through Abigail, both David and her household are able to rest. Through Abigail, God prepares David's heart for what is ahead.

How I want us women to know our place of humility and wisdom, to be a blessing the men around us! We are women who have influence in the lives of men. May we choose to protect their moral purity by our conduct and our gentle humility. Let's be influential women that God can use to speak boldly to the men in our lives.

If you are married, then pray for wisdom as you serve your husband in love. If you are single and wanting to be married, then pray for wisdom in shaping your life after the pattern of God's ways of peacemaking, instead of the world's. If you are single and content in that place for your life, then pray for wisdom as an influential person in the lives of many men. Let's be a blessing to men. Let's help them to rest and know that we want God's best for them.

Scripture marked “NAS” is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Personal Doctrinal Statement on the Bible

Inspiration
The Bible is God-breathed. Its source is divine, while its authors are human. Through His supernatural influence in the cognizant and willing lives of chosen men, God insured the accuracy of His revelation.

Inerrancy

The Bible is a wholly true word from God communicated through the hands of men. Therein the original documents are an accurate and purposeful testimony of the person of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Authority

As God’s holy writ, the Bible is an extension of God’s sovereign rule.

Sufficiency

The Bible is purposed for the benefit of human life, able to be understood. By it alone may a human measure his/her life against the holiness of God and be completely sure of God’s purpose in his/her conduct, thought, and values.

Canonicity

Originally authored as separate entities, God oversaw the preservation and collection of His inspired documents for their purpose in the Bible, using the process of maturation in the early church as a preparation and motivation for careful selection and canonization.


The Bible was divinely given with its purpose resting in the lives of men. The humanity and situation of Scripture’s process, from the original documents to the canon – and then onto interpretation, requires humility and holy reverence in the acting human agent. Scripture is purposed for humanity, resulting in the recognition and exaltation of the one true God. His authority, His truth, and His concern for the smallest details of life are evident through the Bible’s unified and unique set of documents. Yet, this Book’s value is not subject to the determining authority of men. It is instead a document of discovery by which God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; may be known with surety and intimacy. Therefore, my mission in reading the Bible is this: to spend my life seeking to know God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, being wonderfully transformed into the image of Christ and exposing His greatness to the world around me and the generations behind me.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

I Have a Home!

At least...and earthly home for the time being. I'll be living with a great woman I highly esteem, who has generously welcomed me into her home. God is such a great provider.

Friday, June 01, 2007

An Excellent Gift

I finally finished the homework from my week-long theology course! I seriously had already made my mental plans for moving home with my mother when I failed the course. Three weeks is not much to finish a whole semester's worth of reading, exam, Scripture memory and papers. How am I still cognizant? My boss let me off of work a half day...he gave me grace. BUT it was after he asked me how my weekend was. I told him I cried. Yup. The crying girl card. I pulled it, but not crying in front of him. And I really did cry. And it takes a lot to make me cry. Does that justify my using the crying girl card?

Friends, I'm moving again. The house I'm living in is selling, and I could use your prayer as I find a new place to live by July 15. The Lord has had me moving every year for the past three years. God has me on the move. The Lord is working in me and around me. I'm learning to rejoice in difficulty, but mostly by seeing how horrible I am at it. This is small potatoes. Living life with Him...that's the good stuff!

On June 12 we kick off our international college women's Bible study. I am teaching that night on the prostitute who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair. I've been consumed by school work, but am continuing my dive into the Scripture. Content is my focus. If you know me, you know how I confuse when trying to verbalize. So let's pray that the women will know it is the power of God reaching out to them, becausee the woman who will be before them (me) is simply a woman...doing the best she can to glorify her Lord and Savior.

The excellent gift from the title...it's Him. I'm house/dog sitting out in the secluded countryside. Silence. No TV or radio. No internet (came home to turn in my last paper on-line). After this week and the worries about finding a new home, honoring my church's scholarship by doing well in class, progressing in the plans for the summer study, and preparing our rental house for showings...I need to fall into the arms of Jesus. So don't look for me. I'm right where I need to be, all alone with Him for a while. He is an EXCELLENT gift.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Life to Dead Bones

(A Creative Paraphrase of Acts 3:1-10, 16)


From dust made and in dust I sit.
I earn my keep at the Beautiful gate.

Longing to worship,
Longing to embrace.
The worthy gather, while outside I wait.

So.
I sit.
I lay.
I remain.

Is a man still a man when he cannot walk,
Cannot work,
Cannot earn?

Is a beggar worth more than dust of the earth,
A glance of pity,
Alms from a man’s hand?

Day.
By day.
They pass by.

But news.
Of One.
Gives me hope for new life.

He gave sight,
Gave truth,
Gave life.

But.
He died.

No man like that has ever lived,
To give to the blind what no man can give.

If only Jesus could pass by me,
One last time and set me free.

This body is a prison,
A mule that will not budge.

I cry out to men, I cry out to God,
I hold out for hope for the news of One.

He has died, but his students still live.
They preach and pass by,
And by His name forgive.

Better than money,
Better than esteem,
These men speak truth,
And in power they pray.

Now.
For me.

My legs did not know to walk or to run,
Since birth they have been numb.
Yet I walk, I hop…I RUN!

Stronger than ever.
Have I become,
Like the body of Jesus,
Life has come to dead bones.

Indeed this is a Beautiful gate!
Today I have supped with hope on my plate.

A banquet today,
A feast for the King!

Compassion He has,
Power He brings.

Can.
You trust.
In the name.

Of one.
Whose love.
By death is displayed?

The lame will walk,
The blind will see,
Have faith my friend.

Follow me!


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Your Defender is With You (1 Samuel 24)

In the peak of the tension between David and Saul, our scene slows to take in the moments of their confrontation in the cave. I can imagine the silence of the dark, cool cave that echoed every small sound. Even the breaths of David and his men might have given away their hiding place. A drop of sweat might have been a danger...in my imagination. Yet, they went unnoticed.

So close was Saul that David cut off the edge of his robe. Cut off his robe?! Why the pity? Saul had been trying to kill David since he was a therapeutic harp player. Saul chased him out of his home, tried to pin him to the wall with a spear, attempted to convince his servants to kill David, and even sent him into battle hoping for death. After David's constant flight to spare his life, is it possible that this sinful human would still lean toward faith and hope in dealing with such a hateful person?

With a soft heart of conviction, David walked out of the cave toward the hungry pack of wolves. He laid himself prostrate on the ground in a position of surrender and weakness. It placed David without the ability to defend himself in their presence. God was the defender who would see David through yet another perilous meeting.

In their confrontation David thrice indicated to Saul that the Lord was His judge and avenger - a concept that required both wisdom and faith. David had no reason to retaliate. God promised David that He would be King. Thus it was sure to happen. Yet, beyond the promise, God gave no plan. David had to wait with hope and act in obedience until God chose to discipline Saul and lift David up. Being lifted up for others to see was an act belonging in God's hands, not David's. The stresses of want, uncertainty, and discord in David's life could have convinced other men to retaliate against Saul. Yet David knew that God was with him as he came out of the cave.

Surprisingly, Saul responded with repentance in his hatred toward David. Tears were shed and promises made between the brethren tribes of Benjamin and Judah. David's wisdom and loving confrontation convinced Saul to completely change his course of action.

I appreciate David's dependence on God. He first rebelled a little bit in secrecy by cutting off a bit of Saul's robe. Then, in conviction, realized that he must lovingly confront as well as confess. Secret backlashes are not befitting of God's people. We must deal honestly in the light with our weaknesses and our stregths as we relate with others. Our place is not to lift ourselves up against one another as if we are in a competition, but to lift Him up as we deal in uprightness by the faith and hope that are ours as children of God.

Likewise, Paul also upholds the same conduct and teaching as he faces unfair treatment. He too shows us exemplary conduct in the midst of trial. Read below and note the similarities between David's and Paul's attitudes:

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with shich you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showimg tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3 NAS)

"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and therby fultill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is notheing, he decieves himself..." (Galatians 6:1-3 NAS)

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other...Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:12-15 NAS)

Probing Questions to Think About:
When we are surely grounded in the place and hope of God in our life through Jesus Christ, it flows from the faith in our hearts into the actions and behaviors we exibit to others. Is God's approval through the blood of Jesus Christ enough, or do we need to secretly cut off the corner of another person's robe to prove our worth to men? Are we competing with another for a prize that will not outlast this life? Are we secure enough to be lovingly honest and to receive loving honesty from others? In what way can you be building up a suffering relationship in your life?

Please remember, your defender is with you. You are not on your own.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Scripture marked “NAS” is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Vote is In: I Ate Worms

Yesterday at lunch I was eating the last of my chili. It was the last bowl of the batch, which I had eaten over the course of the week. About halfway through lunch, I discovered small, scary wormlike objects in my bowl. Frightened, I decided to take a poll of my office co-workers to see if there might be hope that I was not eating worms.

The poll came in at a saddening 50%. Half thought worms. Half thought part of the chili beans.

50% simply was not strong enough of a vote to continue eating the chili. Should someone have offered money for a dare, I might have taken them up on it...being that I had already surely consumed some cooked worm-like unknowns prior to that point.

Warning: Stay away from cheap cans of white northern beans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tuning with the E String (1 Samuel 23:1-14)

For a couple of years in high school, I played around on my mother's guitar and then took a guitar class in college. Musical gifting is not one of my strengths, so the skill did not develop like I had hoped. One useful thing I remembered, though, was that I could tune the E string to a standard, and then tune the rest of the strings according to that one accurate pitch. When the low E string was tuned to the standard, I could descend down the other five strings, tuning each accordingly. Should the reference pitch be off and my E string be out of tune, I won't be able to reproduce good music.

As a reminder, do you remember Saul in one of his first acts as King (1 Samuel 13)? He was to wait for Samuel to offer a sacrifice before God prior to going to war. As stress mounted and the Philistines gathered in mass quantity for battle, Saul's men began desserting him. Saul chose to reject God's instruction to wait, offering the sacrifice himself impatiently. Saul's internal heart strings were not tuned to an accurate E pitch. Without God as the accurate reference pitch, his actions were out of tune and the nation would falter.

In contrast, David was also surrounded by stress in 1 Samuel 23:1-14. He had lost his home, was daily on the run for his life with 600 men depending on his leadership, and had come into knowledge of Keilah's (a city) need for defense from a Philistine attack. David approached God to inquire what to do. In those moments, David was using God as his reference pitch. He was tuning his low E string by which he would be prepared to tune his others decisions as a leader. As tuning goes, you tighten and loosen the string to find the correct pitch. It's not an immediate find. David similarly was tuning his heart to God. It was not a perfect first try, but as the relationship was growing, David was learning life with God.

With a heart accurately tuned, he led his men into battle against their will, trusting that God's sovereigty and power would act on their and His own behalf in victory.

What is your reference pitch? Are you, like David, able to daily tune your heart to the solid truth of Scripture and active, prayerful relationship with God through Christ? Or, like Saul, are you depending on your own actions and flesh to deliver you through the day, thus tuning your heart to an out-of-tune pitch that will affect all other parts of your life?

Tune well, my friends. Find the reference pitch that is accurate, beautiful, and immutable.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Light in the Darkness (1 Samuel 23:15-29)

David obediently rescued the city of Keilah from Philistine attack, but was then divinely directed to leave the city's protective walls before they would turn against him. He was considered a hero while the need existed, but would be rejected into the hands of King Saul should he stay.

On foot and fleeing from Saul with his growing band of nearly 600 men, David was expending himself according to God's will. We can see that God's eyes are closely on him, twice providing light in David's situational darkness.

Firstly, Jonathan came to David's hiding place to remind him of their covenant in friendship. Jonathan, son of King Saul, rejected any future claim to the throne. Jonathan respected God's anointing on David and subjected himself to it, loyally serving David as the future King. Jonathan's arrival brought a welcome word of encouragement following the deliverance of Keilah. He specifically reminded David of the future throne over Israel, of his loyalty to their covenant (18:3), and of Saul's inability to find David. What a timely encouragment to help prepare David's heart for what comes next!

A second light in the darkness came just before Saul trapped David and his men. So close to capturing the small Davidic army, Saul abandoned the chase. God's hand allowed the sin of the Philistines to again rise up against unfaithful Israel. As King, Saul rejected his pursuit of David in order to protect the land and the people. Saul decided that this in-house scuffle between a Benjamite and a Judean would have to wait.

The Lord's encouragment to us is not a promise to remove suffering, trial, or difficulty. Instead, his encouragement to us often comes as a reminder of who He is. Trials seem to encompass us on the dark mountain. Nearly surrounded, God gives us the light of hope to see His ability to bring us to what lies beyond our dark moment. He is a God who communicates hope, and allows our situation to teach us to cling to Him in trust. David was learning to cling and to rest in a God of hope as he lived in a world of darkness.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Live by the Spirit, not the Flesh (1 Samuel 22:3-23)

The transition of authority and power for Israel's Kingship is at hand. Suspense is heightened as Saul's rage and jealousy have consumed him to the point of large scale murder.

The feeling in my gut when I hear about Saul, as he slayed the priests and people of Nob, matches that of 9/11. That morning I watched television reports displaying horrid evil deeds. Something is so very wrong, so my gut says. In each instance human depravity (our sinful nature and its evil potential) reared its ugly head in the form of mass injustice and hatred. This should cause our hearts to react.

Saul called the priests before him, accusing them in the same way that he had formerly accused his servants (22:8). With Saul's hatred seeking a target, the fate of the priests was chosen before they appeared. Saul was in rebellion against God, and the victims of his rage were ultimately an act of spite toward the God who had disciplined him and taken the throne of Israel from him.

He killed Levites that day. They were priests whose life work involved worshiping God by serving the Israelite people in the sanctuary. They were not warring men in their God-ordained role. This tribe of people represented God's holiness in interaction with humanity. Levites were an example for the nation of Israel. They were a living example of life with a holy God.

In sin we, like Saul, are not theocentric. Rather, we are egocentric. It takes God in us to regain a theocentric life. Saul's progression into greater rebellion and hatred was a process. According to God's Law, Saul had a responsibility to keep his heart theocentric. Yet, the life he developed convinces me that he did not. Sin became a driving force in his life, not held to account by his relationship with a holy God.

To me this is a reminder of the importance of the work of a sanctification in my life. I have a personal responsibility in working with the Spirit of God in the process of being made like Christ. My sin nature always has the potential to rebell against God's ways. But the Spirit in me gives me hope that I can continue to be made into a reflection of God's holiness.

My potential to hurt, hate, and live out the sinful nature is as real today as it was before I came to know Christ. Yet, I have the gift of the Holy Spirit teaching me God's ways through faith in Christ Jesus. I can't speak divine judgement upon Saul, but for Christians today we have teaching that bids us toward obedient love:

"So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:12-14 NAS)


© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Scripture marked “NAS” is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The View from Above (1 Samuel 22:1-2)

One of my last summers in college I was riding out the remains of my groceries and protecting the small bit of gas money I was saving to travel across the country for a ministry internship. My meals consisted of things like eggs, green beans, refried beans, pancakes, etc. I barely had enough to last until I left. Then came a knock on my door.

Standing outside were a brother and sister from Ecuador that attended my small Christian College with me. She needed a place to stay for a while and to be able to fix meals for her and her brother. They came without provision so it was my unique assortment of foods that fed us at first.

I'll never forget the feeling of having next to nothing and being asked to extend it to my neighbors in need. Sometimes when you feel you have nothing to give, God calls you to to feed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21). Leading you to act upon faith instead of ability, God plans to provide and intervene. Because He is your God, you can freely give.

This incident reminds me of David, in hiding at the cave of Adullam, while his family and four hundred distressed and outlawed persons gathered to him for leadership. He literally had fled for his life, having to approach the priest in Nob for bread and a sword. This was a desprate measure for a man in crisis. We don't find David sitting upon a seat of wealth and leadership. We find him hiding in a cave.

That cave, though, was a place for remembering and transformation. The caves of Adullam were located in the Elah valley. High upon a hill where he could watch for coming attacks, this hill overlooked that valley of significance. Waiting and watching, David was overlooking the place of his victory against Goliath. The hard knocks of life had David seeing the Giant from a new perspective, but this was a great place to stop and remember what the Lord had done through his faith in days past. I believe he gained strength and new hope from remembering what the Lord accomplished in that place.

When the many began to gather under David's leadership uninvited, David had to turn his perspective away from his own difficult situation. God forced him, in the midst of trial, to lead with others in mind. The time of remembering only lasted for a moment, and then David had to move on with his newly formed band of four hundred men.

God requires much of us some days. He wants us to grow in making decisions according to His ways and provides opportunities for us to practice an ever increasing gift of faith. May we push on toward our goal in Christ Jesus, remembering the victories and facing trial through the eyes of faith.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Where Will Help Come From? (1 Samuel 21)

The storyline of 1 Samuel is intensifying very quickly. From the euphoria of being devinely favored to the desperation of fleeing for his life, God's promise of David's future reign as king seems under attack. Does the adversity in David's life threaten the spoken will of God? Is David able to rise up as a king amidst his life's chaos?

David first fled to Ahimilech, the priest at Nob. We have no explanation as to why David chose to deceive the priest. Yet, we are told that he lied in order to receive provisions and the sword of Goliath. There in the midst of the nation's worship and their relligious leaders, David found momentary provision. Yet, even while pretending to be great (on a mission for King Saul) he was not safe from danger. Doeg the Edomite, chief shepherd, saw him there. David was forced to leave a sacred location of worship in fear of his life.

Next, David escaped to his enemies in Philistia. With the sword of Goliath, the huge Philistine that he conquered, David enters into the chief city of Gath. His renown as God's champion has not been forgotten. The enemy remembered David. In response to their recognition, David chose to pretend to be useless, a madman. Drueling and scribbling, the king rejected the Hebrew madman from his presence.

Neither the priest nor the enemy could offer David refuge. At most he finds temporary support. Where will his help come from? David used desperate human ideas protect himself, but ultimately learns that he must rely on God to find strength, daily rest, and peace. This chapter should leave us with many questions. In narrative style, we can see that David used sinful ways to protect himself. Yet, the author does not give us a moral absolute. We are watching a life rather than laying down law in 1 Samuel. Through relationship and life experience, God has something to teach us about Himself, His promises, and His relationship to us as sinners.

Through our questions and the unknown ahead, we and David must trust that God's sovereignty is still active. A human situation cannot nullify the will of God. As you go on your way today, consider what situations in your own life seem to threaten you. Is there a promise in God's word or a characteristic about Himself that you can rest in and learn to trust?

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Beauty of the Lilly

Strong she stands amidst her fellows.
From kindness to kindness,
She is a gift.

To radiate glory
To reveal His praise.
No voice to sing, she is but a flower.

Silently waiting,
Yet ever teaching
Should her beauty begin to fade

Her life well lived,
She gave Him glory.
Scolding the anxious by beauty great.

Solomon will know
His glory was temporal
At best a showing of what will burn.

Then what will I
A simple worker
Set my heart upon at last?

Should clothing fade
And skin so wrinkle,
Will my beauty within endure?

Clothed with splendor
Washed in blood
I have been dressed by heaven's hand.

The lilly's beauty
Sits before me,
Striking my heart and humbling my head.

Truth be told
The Master has spoken
The lilly's beauty began in heaven.


Sometimes I worry about my clothes. I let my simple life and looks be compared to the creative and fun styles that are beyond what my wallet can afford. It is a selfish, though common, worry for women.

As I sat upon my bed in quiet moments talking with the Lord a few days ago, I looked to the boquet of flowers my housemate had given me in thanks. I had seen them so many times, being "wowed" at their beauty. They caught my eyes differently this time, realizing that the big beautiful ones were lillies. My mind remembered the Lord's teaching in Matthew chapter 6. The sweetness of the Lord's timing, with the worry in my heart, was both discipline and love.

The beauty of the lillies in my room, though they will fade quickly, reminds me of a great Provider and Lover of my soul. I can rest in Him.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vehemoth

I should be writing about 1 Samuel, but I've no focus for it at the moment. I've just been through a crisis.

This evening I did a lot of cleaning and straightening for a party happening at my house tomorrow evening. Last on my to-do list was to finish some laundry. It was a load of whites. Pure white, fluffy, warm. Everything comfortable and nice. Relaxing and enjoying our living room, I put all of the items in piles and began to put them away. I walked partially into my bedroom and was rudely confronted.

A roach the size of Texas....I repeat, the size of TEXAS....was coming at me. He wasn't scittering along the baseboard or crawling along the ceiling. This boy was strutting right down the middle of the hallway of my bedroom as if he owned the place. I expected him to try and pick up the lunch I made him on his way out the door to work!

What does a girl do when Vehemoth is coming straight for you? Scream and dance around. Because that remedies the situation quite well, scaring and stirring up the thing. (I tried it once with a bat flying around my dark apartment. It works like magic. I jetted the shared room, and my flatmate at the time sat in her bed half awake as I watched the bat circle her head.)

I trapped Vehemoth under a dish and my roommate let it loose outside. Crisis averted within moments.

Now that Vehemoth is gone, guess who's not getting any sleep? Yeah. ME! The girl who hasn't bought a bed frame yet and who sleeps on a mattress on the floor. What's worse is that Vehemoth and I have probably been cuddling ever since the weather got warm.



I seriously just heard a strange noise....



© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Extra Grace Required

I've found it! My life's quote...

Accountability partners have been some of the sweetest and deepest relationships in my life. There's nothing quite like coming to the cross of Christ humbled and broken with someone who knows that they have also been saved. Deeply grateful, and still dependent. Together we bury our faces at the foot of the cross, opening our lives to one another for enouragement, rebuke, teaching, and fellowship in the precious name of Jesus.

I'm no longer in Indianapolis. In fact, I'm in a "whole other country." Yet, my times to talk with A on the phone bring me a joy and peace that aren't easily matched. Yesterday, I called A to wish her a happy birthday. We shared our lives while I drove out of the city. Amid the traffic, while wishing I could be in the HOV, A told me a story about finding a post-it note in the midst of her frustration with a difficult situation. The post-it read, "Extra grace required." She was immediately reminded to extend grace to others, because great and amazing grace had been extended to her.

I've attached the phrase to my mind, keeping it as a reminder of God's grace to me as I go throughout my day. Really, I would like to wear it as a banner accross my own forehead. Jesus is the source of my worth. I won't be able to please you fully. I can't do everything perfectly. To love me you must read my label which says, "Extra grace required." I will also have to apply this in order to love you.

Christ is at the center of grace. Know it. Receive it. Give it.

...And stick a few post-its around to remind you that relationships are going to need an extra ounce of grace, both being given to others and being received from others in the name of Christ.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Sunday, February 18, 2007

OK Lord, I'm Listening...

In honor of a friend that I will be hanging with next weekend, I wanted to relate to you part of her story:

I worked for Kanakuk Kamps a couple of summers in college. My first experience with true discipleship came from J, a young adult employed as my shepherd while I served on the kitchen staff at Kanakuk. The discipleship and investement that took place that first summer at Kamp impacted me strongly. I returned to my college on fire for discipleship among the young women I had been commissioned to lead.

Discipleship has been a fire in my belly that has not been quenched since that time. J's influence has gone far and wide through my ministry to young women.

I moved to D in 2005 without knowing much of my new church except for the well-known pastor and his ministry. While getting established in D, I began to think of J quite often. Soon enough I figured out that she had attended this church that was now my new home. I wondered when and if I might run into her, but we had lost contact over the 10 years since Kanakuk.

Growing stronger on my heart, I still was not sure what to do with the recurring reminders of her in my head.

The year went on and I kept watching and waiting, but not remembering to pray. Prayer finally became obvious to me when I pulled out a recyle file from amid a stack of hundreds at work. Her name was on it. I said immediately in my mind, "OK Lord, I'm listening. I will pray for her."

One year after I moved to Texas, I began to attend a bible study on the book of Esther. I walk in one day, and she was there! The moment was a suprise and a laughing matter to me. How hard headed can I be when He puts names and faces upon my heart? Pray, woman!

We scheduled a time to get together to catch up on the past 10 years. She no longer lives in D, but came frequently into town to bless her mother and father as he slowly was dying. Her father was not a Christian, very opposed to the idea. After our talk, the year of having her so frequently on my heart and mind began to make sense.

Needless to say, I joined in with the team of saints who God was calling into prayer for this man. As you might expect when God begins moving, you can expect solid foundations to be shaken. Her father became a Christian not long before he died.

Bittersweet. Evoking awe and wonder at our amazing God. Who are we to be involved in the sweetness of salvation?

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Friend's Open Hand (1 Samuel 20)

Three times today the phrase "open hand" has come to my mind ~ one in a blog, one from remembering a sermon, and one from my 1 Samuel study notes. I was originally awakened to the phrase in a church sermon outside of Kansas City. The pastor was describing the faith of Abraham in allowing Lot to have the first choice in land division (Genesis 12:7). Becuase Abraham rested in God's ability to provide, He did not need to protect the situation for his best interest. God promised. Abraham believed and rested.

Likewise, Jonathan befriended David wholeheartedly. As typical heir to the throne, Saul hoped Jonathan would be territorial over his future kingdom. Instead, Jonathan acted with an open hand toward David, God's anointed. With active faith Jonathan helped time and again to save David's life, working against his own father and his own future role as King. His hand toward David was open. God was working toward His will, and neither Jonathan or David was outside of His care.

In my reading today, I was convicted of my attitude of late. I've been facing new stressors and protecting my best interest as I make decisions. I have been close-fisted instead of resting in God's consistent character and watchfulness over me. I've been my own protector and providor, my own best logic and my own source of wisdom. On the contrary, what I need most comes from without, instead of within. Living without faith is egocentric. When I take control, my fist closes to God and to friends. When I relinquish control, my hand joyfully opens to offer the best to others as I trust God to take care of me.

Are you an open-handed friend?

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Friday, February 02, 2007

Divine Will (1 Samuel 19)

I suppose David might have been excited to be anointed by Samuel as a chosen king, but he faced years of trial before actually being positioned as such. Through the many challenges, like Saul's pursuit of his life, David learned to trust in God's divine will. Chapter 19 of 1 Samuel shows us the persistence of God toward his divine will and its inclusion of everyday challenges that shape our character. We'll look at it from two different perspectives.

DAVID'S PERSPECTIVE
Saul was bent toward David's destruction because of jealousy, so much that he attempted to kill him. Saul commanded his servants to murder David, but was assuaged by Jonathan's plea on his friend's behalf (19:1). Saul next tried to pin David to the wall with a spear in an angry rage (v.10). After escaping, David was chased down in his home with the wife present (v.11). Lastly, David fled out the window and to the prophet Samuel. Thrice Saul sent messengers who were inhibited from completing the task by the Spirit of God. Saul's last, personal attempt to apprehend David from Samuel's protection was also thwarted by the Spirit of God.

David fled for his life with the echoing promise of God's will in his heart. Life as a fugitive tested David's trust in God's word. Is the God who gave His promise able to carry it out without David being the one to accomplish? The victory with Goliath and over the Philistines in war (v.8) had David looking pretty good. He accomplished much through God's blessing on his own physical ability. But in Chapter 19, we see divine favor acting on David's behalf. Disappointment was met with reminders of hope.

SAUL'S PERSPECTIVE
Saul tried exhaustingly to accomplish his personal goals outside of God's favor and outside of God's stated will. Each time, the diminishing King had doors shut in his face...his son pleaded otherwise, his daughter betrayed him, his servants could not withstand the power of the Spirit of God and neither could he. God's divine will was set against Saul, inhibiting every step.

Both perspectives, that of David and that of Saul, operate within the divine will of God. Both likely experienced disappointment and disillusionment, but only one could claim hope. David could face the daily challenges in light of hope, because he was within God's will. Saul had no hope because he treated God as his enemy.

If we have aligned ourselves within the stated will of God, imperfect as we may be, God is working for our best end. Disappointments may come, but they may be faced with hope. God is faithful to accomplish His word, His stated will. He is not a liar. Disappointments and challenges will be a part of our character formation and a part of this fallen world. Yet, we have a secure hope in God.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Danger Zone (1 Samuel 18)

On my older sister's wedding cruise, I was snorkeling off of Grand Cayman in beautiful blue water. The wedding ceremony had been completed and the rum cake eaten. Thus, many of us changed out of our "formal" beachwear and began to swim along the surface of the water, occasionally diving below to see different kinds of fish and sea decor. You kind of get lost in the beauty and uniqueness of the water world, which unfortunately made it easy to venture far from shore.

Getting tired and realizing that we were too far out, my little sister (high school) and I decided to swim back in. I headed up our little school, soon realizing that the swim to shore was exhausting. We swam for quite a time and were barely making headway to the shore. I kept going, not wanting my little sister to get scared or give up, but inside I was beginning to worry. Three times the effort and only a portion of the distance! What I didn't realize when we went out was that we were near a forbidden swimming area. The water current was flowing in an odd direction as it neared the rip tide and created resistance for us.

We eventually made it to shore, but I learned some lessons along the way. Mostly, I learned to keep an eye out for danger zones. Those red floats had a significance that I did not personally understand, but luckily someone else was wise enough to place them there for protection.

Reading through 1 Samuel 18, I see David's gained favor among the people by God's divine direction. The young anointed one acted in wisdom and humility, while Saul's jealousy festered and spilled out through speech and action. Having lost the favor of God, and in decline as the most popular man, Saul chose to act according to a fleshly and self-centered heart. How I long for him to see the red floats indicating danger!

What do you see as red flags that Saul should be noticing and repenting of as a man of God?
1. Anger at David's success, though they are teammates (v.7)
2. Watching David with suspicion, an undeserved and insecure response (v.9)
3. Internally enraged and loss of inward peace (v.10)
4. Returning evil for good (v.11)
5. Distancing the relationship (v.13)
6. Plotting tactics for revenge (v.17,25)
7. Involving unnecessary parties in the conflict (v.22)
8. Honey words and whiskey deception (v.22)
9. Complete hardheartedness toward a brethren (v.29)

Well! That list brings more conviction that I really wanted this evening! Can we stop now? I relate with most of these danger signs. Moments earlier, I wanted Saul to see the danger signs that could have saved his life from striving against God. Now, I'm concerned for danger signs that pop up in my own relationships. Isn't it so tempting to want to involve others in our conflict by gossip? Isn't it terribly easy to talk sweet to someones face while harboring a grudge in the heart? Distancing people and hardening the heart toward someone alleviates the need for confrontation and honesty, and we set ourselves up for character decay. Maybe God knew that you and I have a lot more similarity to Saul than we recognize! We need to watch out for the danger zones, lest we begin to swim against God's tide.

My course of action tonight is this, that I begin to agree with God in the continued conviction of the Holy Spirit about sin in my life. Then, I need to begin to make things right by actively loving like I am commanded to in 1 Corinthians 13. My place under God's authority is to obey.

Being changed to look like Christ is a life-long process. We need to help one another to see warning signs like these, which takes honesty and a willingness to invest in one another like Christ did for each of us. Let's exhort and encourage one another toward the safe waters.

© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Five Smooth Stones (1 Samuel 17)

Then he took his staff in hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
(1 Sam 17:40, NIV)
Facing a giant has a way of shaking us down to our true selves. No matter if that giant is a large and intimidating person or an overwhelming circumstance like cancer or life transition, the reality of the challenge ahead of us dispells lofty and unrealistic thoughts. As seen in chapter 17 of 1 Samuel, David faced Goliath with a full measure of faith, but how? Can we face our challenges and fears without being dreamy-eyed and wishful, hiding our fear that God might abandon us as we step out to face the giant?
Saul originally presented David with a solution. The king's armor would be the best in the land, and it was offered to David for protection in facing Goliath. Fortunately, David was wise enough to know that armor and a sword would not be his strongest option. David was not trained in fighting with armor. He spent years in the fields with flocks, protecting his sheep from predators. Out in the wilderness, a sword and shield was of no use when a bear or wild cat attempted to feast on the flock. A sling and a staff were David's normal mode of fighting off danger. He was wise to turn down Saul's armor in favor of using the sling. David chose to go to battle with the tool that God had allowed him to be trained in.
To further prepare for the battle, David had to select five appropriate stones. Down to the stream he went, carefully choosing his basic, simple ammunition. Shapely and smooth, David placed the stones into his shepherd's bag. Thus, David was ready to face Goliath.
Are you prepared to face your giant?
What I learn from David is the need to consider wisely the method I use to seek out victory. My current "giant" is the pursuit of a seminary education. It is a very large goal - financially, in terms of time and energy, and in the sacrifices it requires. As I progress through this goal, I may need to be reminded of the sling and the stones that I carry. For future encouragement, I decided to name five smooth stones that God has given me to seek victory in my goal:
1. I belong to Him. I bear His name.
I am no orphan in any challenge that I face. God is with me and has named me with his own glorious name. Together we are facing this giant.
2. God is faithful.
He will continue toward His will through my life. He will continue to love me. He does not change.
3. Words of God
In my grasp I have the Words of God to encourage me, to remind me, to nurture me, and to direct me in knowing Him. They are a lifeline for my soul.
4. A passion to cummunicate the treasure of Him
I am convinced that my life's work will be to communicate to others the treasures found in God through Christ. I am driven toward it, and have not built this passion on my own. It wells up within me and is purposed to come out. Therefore, I will continue to build my skills in knowing Him and revealing the treasure of Him to others.
5. The body of believers
I am surrounded by a great body of believers in this world. Together we face our giants, encouraging, praying for, and supporting one another. We will endure.
I am ready to face my giant. I gain strength from knowing that using these five stones is nothing new. I have been practicing and using them in the wilderness for many years. To me they are familiar and a strength by which to trust God in this new seminary challenge.
Are you ready to face your giant? Have you taken the time to remember what God has already equipped you with as you fight for victory in your current battle? Someone else's armor will do you no good. Get alone and choose with God five smooth stones that will remind and challenge you toward greater faith in Him.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R). Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The End















We finished our 1 Samuel Bible study this week! Sung-Jin returned to South Korea and Mu-Chia is still in the USA from Taiwan. The other two are full blooded Texans! Thank you faithful ladies for treasuring the Lord with me this past semester.

My writings will progress throughout the whole book of 1 Samuel, though I have taken a momentary break after chapter 16. More to come soon!