Monthly Archives: March 2013

Training for Godliness (Pt 3)

This week, I’m doing a series on training for Godliness. Many Christians don’t look at the life they lead as a marathon and therefore don’t train their spirit to handle struggles that come. These lessons will provide you with the tools you need to keep your spirit strengthened for a lifetime. Our core scripture I Timothy 4:8. It says, “Physical Training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. (NLT)”

Links to previous parts Part 1 Part 2.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential when in training. It will keep you strong and keep you going. You need to have a steady diet of God’s Word in you. Thats what will keep you strong in your faith and keep you going in the difficult times. When researching nutrition for a marathon, they recommended that your diet should consist of 65% complex carbohydrates, 25% unsaturated fats and 10% protein. As a Christian, I believe you should be getting 65% of your nutrition from your study of God’s Word and in prayer. It is important that you are feeding yourself.

You should get 25% from your church. It should not be the bulk of your diet. The food you get there should balance out what God is giving you personally. It should help give you more nutrition beyond what God is speaking to you. For too many of us, the only time our spirit gets nutrition is on Sunday morning. Your physical body won’t last long eating once a week and neither will your spirit man.

The final 10% should come from other trusted places. I recommend reading books or blogs on living a Christian life. There are a lot of places where you can get daily doses of God’s Word. Find books or blogs that challenge you to do more than you’re doing now. Some book authors I recommend are Mark Batterson, Chip Ingram, John Bevere and Max Lucado. These men write things that challenge me to grow and help change my perspective.

Hydration

You will go no where if you get dehydrated. You must carry water with you and drink it often if you are running a marathon. Dehydration causes weakness, dizziness, confusion and sluggishness. Spiritual dehydration causes the same symptoms. If you are weak, you are vulnerable to attack. If you are dizzy or confused, it is easy to get lead astray. If you are sluggish, you should go to the ant and consider her ways according to Solomon! These things will slow and stop your spiritual growth. Just as dehydration physically is dangerous, it is more so to be dehydrated spiritually.

We all go through the dry times our lives. We must continuously pour the water of God’s word into our spirit. In the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13:3-9, Jesus talked of the seeds that fell among the rocks. It says, “But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. (NLT)” You need roots to get water. The water for your spirit is in God’s word. Dig deep into it and plant your roots in it so you can stay spiritually hydrated. If you don’t read the Bible much because you don’t speak personally in “thee’s” and “thou’s”, then read a different translation. I recommend the New Living Translation. It’s easy to understand and is in language that you speak.

Tomorrow we will look at how to avoid injury and some pre-training things you need to do before you really start training for Godliness.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Training for Godliness (Pt 2)

This week, I’m doing a series on training for Godliness. Many Christians don’t look at the life they lead as a marathon and therefore don’t train their spirit to handle struggles that come. These lessons will provide you with the tools you need to keep your spirit strengthened for a lifetime. Our core scripture I Timothy 4:8. It says, “Physical Training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. (NLT)”

To read Part 1click here.

Setting Goals

The next important step in spiritual discipline is setting goals. Each of us set goals in our daily lives whether it’s for work, retirement, our family or leisure. Why don’t we set spiritual goals? Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity. (NLT)” We need to plan out our spiritual growth. Where do you want to be in your walk with God one year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? What would that look like?

It’s going to take hard work to achieve those goals. Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen over night. It takes time, planning, dedication and hard work. I also encourage you to write out your goals. Read them out loud every day. Tell yourself where you’re going and keep your eye on the prize. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. (NKJV)” You are not running a sprint race. You’re running a marathon. If you’re going to run, you need to write it down and read it so you can continue to run in the hard times! Having the right goals for the right reasons will help you to be successful. A few months ago I wrote an entire post on setting spiritual goals. You can read it here.

Wearing The Right Gear

In physical training and exercise, the right gear is of utmost importance. Your gear can help you or hinder you. In I Samuel 17:38 – 40 we read where David was about to go out to fight Goliath. Saul wanted David to be dressed for battle so he put his own armor on him. The Message says that “David tried to walk around but he could hardly budge… Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five stones from the brook, and he put them in his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.”

Knowing what gear you need to be spiritually disciplined is key. While Saul’s armor was too big, God’s armor is just right. It was tailor made for you! Ephesians 6 tells us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood so physical armor won’t do any good. We need spiritual armor. It also tells us that we should put on God’s complete armor. Half way dressed for this won’t cut it. You will be in trouble quickly unless you fully suit up.

In a marathon, your shoes are one of your most important pieces. It’s the same in our spiritual race too. Ephesians 6:15 says, “And having shod your feet in preparation to face the enemy with firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news of the Gospel of peace. (AMP)” If you’re going to resolve to be spiritually fit and to grow spiritually, you need to be prepared to face some opposition from the enemy. You need the Word of God to help you keep your footing while you are fighting. Jesus used the Word of God to keep His footing while being tempted and you should too.

Tomorrow, we will look at having the proper nutrition and staying hydrated.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Training for Godliness (Pt 1)

This week, I’m doing a series on training for Godliness. Many Christians don’t look at the life they lead as a marathon and therefore don’t train their spirit to handle struggles that come. These lessons will provide you with the tools you need to keep your spirit strengthened for a lifetime. Our core scripture I Timothy 4:8. It says, “Physical Training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. (NLT)”

There are several parallels between physical exercise and being spiritually disciplined. Both require time, hard work and dedication. There is more to it than just wanting to do it. You must make being disciplined a priority or it will not get done. Weight loss and exercise are among the most common new year’s resolutions each year. Christians typically resolve to read the Bible more and to pray more. Resolving is good and we’ll see why in a minute. However, most people don’t maintain their resolutions because they are unprepared mentally and physically to achieve their resolutions.

It’s the same when it comes to spiritual disciplining. Many Christians aren’t mentally, physically or spiritually prepared to handle spiritual training. Their heart is in the right place, but their ability to carry it out lies in the battle of the mind. We end up where Paul was in Romans 7. In verse 21-23 he says, “I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. (NLT)”. The first battle you need to win is the battle of the mind.

Motivation

My sister in law recently ran a half marathon. I researched some things to help her and I discovered several things that apply to us who are training for Godliness. Like I said earlier, resolving is the first step. If you never make a resolution, you will never begin. The next thing is to be motivated. There is a difference in being motivated to start being disciplined and being motivated to keep going day after day, week after week. You must learn how to discipline your mind first.

David understood this principle well. He was referred to as a man after God’s own heart, yet he struggled all the time. Just because you struggle it doesn’t mean you don’t love God or that you aren’t a good Christian. It means that you’re human. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (NLT)” In Psalm 43:5, again David gets his mind prepared. He says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! (NLT)”. He had to tell himself these things over and over.

You need to start each day talking to your self. Out loud. Seriously. Your mind, heart and soul need to hear you say, “This is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.” An article in “Psychology Today” says, “Practicing this technique reprograms the mind and body, allowing them to release unwanted habits and tendencies while supporting positive change. The mind is very powerful, and it needs to be spoken to.” If David did it, we should do it.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at setting spiritual goals and wearing the right gear.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Playing Pilate

I’m playing the part of Pilate for our church’s Easter drama. As I’ve been rehearsing my lines and getting into character, it dawned on me that I’m sentencing Jesus to death. My first thought was, “I don’t know that I want to play this part.” Of all the characters in the drama, I’m the one who has the power to save Him and keep Him from being crucified. Even though I find no fault in Him, I still release Him to the mob to be killed.

As I struggled with playing that character, it hit me that it wasn’t Pilate who sentenced Jesus to death. It was me. Me. Chris Hendrix. It was my sin that condemned Him. It was my faults that nailed Him to the cross. These are things that I’ve known my whole life, but as I began to play the part of Pilate, I realized I’ve not really accepted blame. I’ve been shifting it to those who actually crucified Him.

There were all kinds of accusations being brought against Jesus in the different courts that night. The religious courts made up charges against Him, but they didn’t stick because the people they paid off couldn’t get their stories straight. They continued to harass Him and finally found a “guilty” verdict for Him speaking the truth. They just didn’t want to hear it.

In Pilate’s court, the religious leaders shouted accusations. In fact, the Message says, “The accusations rained down hot and heavy.” During all of the accusations, Jesus didn’t say a word. He fulfilled the prophesy in Isaiah 53:7 that says, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word.” Pilate was impressed that He was silent among all the false accusations and tried to pass the buck to Herod in Galilee. He didn’t want to be the one to condemn Him.

When Jesus came before Herod, all Herod wanted was to see Jesus perform a sign or a miracle. When Jesus remained silent, Herod became offended. He dressed Him up like a king and joined in with the others and began to mock Him. They insulted Him to try to get Him to speak. Finally, He got bored and sent Him to Pilate. He couldn’t find a reason to condemn Jesus either.

We all fit into one of these courts with our lives. We can be like the religious leaders and say that He wasn’t the Son of God. We can accuse Him of lying and deny that He was who He said He was. We can be like Herod and mock Him and those who believe in Him. We say, “Show me a sign and I’ll believe.” Or we can find ourselves like Pilate. We are impressed with Him and find no guilt in Him, but refuse to act on it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what court you’re in, it was each of us who condemned Him to death. He went willingly to the cross for those of us who lie about Him, those of us who mock Him and those of us who don’t bow to the pressure of sin.

Each of us in our own way condemned Him to death. Even though I thought that as Pilate I had the power to save Him, I really didn’t. His ultimate plan was to die on the cross. If He hadn’t been crucified, we would still be in our sins and without hope. He kept that in mind as they hurled their accusations at Him. He loved them enough to stay silent in the face of their lies. He loved them enough to not perform a miracle for Herod. He loved you enough that He willingly died so He could pay the price for your sin. The real power was in His hands and He used it for us. He took our “guilty” verdict on Himself to make us “innocent”.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Comet Watching

I have tried to see the Pan-STARRS comet a few times this week. I’ve had clear skies, a decent view of the horizon and have been outside at the right times. I just haven’t seen it yet. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Clearly it is. I’ve seen pictures of it on the Internet and friends have reported that they’ve seen it. So why haven’t I seen it? It turns out there are a number of factors that could be keeping me from seeing it: light pollution, my location and my vision.

I think seeing God sometimes is a lot like looking for this comet. We can know something is true without being able to see it. Often in our lives things are going on that cloud our vision. We aren’t looking through the right lenses. Just like a pair of binoculars will improve my vision and ability to see the comet, God’s Word improves our spiritual vision and helps us to see His hand at work. Psalm 119:105 in The Message says, “By your words I can see where I’m going; they cast a light on my path.”

Just like my location determine what if I can see the comet, my location in my walk with God determines how well I can see Him. When I’m on His path for my life, I’ve found it’s easier to see Him and to follow His voice. It’s when I stray off the path that I can’t see where I’m going. At times, I forget which way the path is and lose my way. God is faithful to put me back on the path when I admit I’m off of it and need His help again. All of a sudden, things become clear again.

Light pollution is the other thing that seems to keep that comet out of my sight. To see it best, I need to get away from the things that are preventing me from seeing it. There are people in our lives, places we go and problems that arise that we allow to block our view of God. The light that they are putting out changes our focus and keeps us from seeing Him. Jesus made it a habit to get away from the things that polluted His vision of God. He went away to desolate places to regain His focus so He could see. Even in the darkest moments of Gethsemane, He moved away from His disciples to pray.

God wants you and I to focus on Him and to see His hand in our lives. He wants to show Himself to us. In Ezekiel 38:23, God says, “I’ll show you how great I am, how holy I am. I’ll make myself known all over the world.” Just like that comet is there and can be seen by some, God is there and wants to be seen by you. Make sure you improve your vision of Him by reading His word, change your location by walking down His paths and get rid of the pollution in your life that limits your view of Him. Get alone with Him today and spend some time with Him. I bet you’ll see Him. In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. He’s when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mystery of Fine China

One of the great mysteries that guys wonder about is why do we get fine China when we never use it. It sits in a cabinet for years never being used. It looks good. It’s expensive. It’s on display for all to see. When are we ever going to use it? On special occasions is what we’re told. Those rarely come about, so those plates just sit there. They’re waiting to be used. They’re perfectly capable of being used, but they’re on display. They rarely reach their potential.

What we end up using are our daily plates. They cost a lot less, but get used often. They’re pulled out of a cabinet that you can’t see through, they’re used for every meal, washed and hidden again. These plates earn their keep and are always reaching their potential. Constantly being used for every day use. That’s the way I want to be used by God.

Some people are like fine China. They look good, they’re on display for all the world to see, but they are rarely used by God. I think it’s mainly because they think they’re fragile and stay in a place locked up and away from where they can reach their potential. Being used by God is messy business. You get dirty. You need to be washed often. A lot of us don’t like that so we stay away from situations where we can be used all the time.

I’m not like that. I don’t mind being hidden and out of sight as long as God can use me daily. I realize that it means I’ll need to be washed by the Word often. It also means that Im in that place of full potential where God sees fit to use me for His every day purposes. It may not be glamorous and it may not get much attention from outside of those that are being helped, but I’m being used for what I was made for.

I guess it boils down to what we’re content with. Are we content by being on display and never used for our purpose or are we content when we’re being used by God? If it’s the latter, are we placing ourselves where He can best use us? Are we willing to get dirty doing His work? Do we mind that it’s not glamorous or a special occasion? If not, then chances are we will be used by Him. It just won’t garner a lot of praise from others. You’re doing what you were created to do. Serve.

Each one of us has a purpose. We have a destiny to fulfill. There are things in this world that God needs accomplished and only you can do it. Your experiences and the things you’ve gone through were allowed and designed by God to prepare you for your purpose. Instead of looking at those times in your life as hindrances to your purpose, embrace them as preparation for your purpose. Be who God made you to be and put yourself on the table to be used by God for your every day potential.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

God’s Distracting Hand

I love my son with everything in me. He’s funny, he’s got a great personality and is always wanting to learn. He loves to show me what he knows and often points things out as we pass them by. At two years old, his world is ever changing and his knowledge is ever increasing. Often when I try to talk to him, he gets distracted and points to something else and starts talking about it. Other times, I try to get his attention, but he’s too involved in what he’s doing to pay attention. I have to put my hand between his eyes and whatever he’s doing so he will look up to see me.

He and I are a lot alike. We’re both easily distracted, visually stimulated and get so engrossed in what we’re doing that the outside world fades away to the point that we can’t hear or see anything outside of what we’re doing. When God tries to speak to me, my mind runs away and I start thinking of the possibilities. I change the subject on Him and point to other things that aren’t a part of the conversation. Other times, I’m so involved in what I’m doing that I fail to hear Him.

He has to put His hand in my way, block my vision and do what it takes to get my attention. When that happens, like my son, I get upset. My stubbornness kicks in and I move around His hand so I can continue doing what I was doing. I even try to move His hand out of the way at times because I’m not thinking about His will, I’m only thinking of my own. I think about what I want to accomplish, not what He wants me to accomplish. His hand in my life often frustrates me.

It really shouldn’t bother me though. As my Heavenly Father, He knows what is best for me. He tries to teach me new things, redirect my attention to what matters and show me what’s important to Him. His will for my life is what is most important and I often ask for His hand to guide me. The funny thing is that I often don’t recognize His hand in my life for what it is. Instead of seeing it as Him pointing to something better, I see it as a nuisance or a problem.

When things are happening in our lives that knock us off our daily routine, I believe that it’s probably God trying to get our attention. He’s putting His hand in front of our face to get our attention off the daily routine and to focus on what He wants. Sure, we have to-do lists and things that must get done. He understands that, but when He needs our attention or tries to speak to us, it’s important to look up and to listen. I’m not there yet. I have a ways to go, but I’m starting to recognize His hand in my life. I’m making a point now to not try and get around His hand, but to stop and give Him my full attention when He intervenes.

What’s going on in your life right now that could be God trying to get your attention? Are you fighting against it or are you stopping what you’re doing so you can pay attention to Him?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized