Monthly Archives: April 2014

Prayer For Wisdom

Heavenly Father,

I want to start this prayer by saying, “Thank you.” There is so much in my life to be thankful for. You have blessed me in so many ways that I often over look some of them and treat them as ordinary. The truth is, nothing that comes from you is ordinary. Nothing you give me is common and I don’t want to treat it as such. When I sit down and think of all the ways you bless me daily, it gets overwhelming. I don’t deserve your goodness, but I’m thankful for it. I can’t repay you for the blessings. I can only offer a heart full of gratitude.

I confess that I don’t always appreciate the gifts you give. In fact, sometimes I even complain about people and things you bring into my life. I lose perspective on why you bring them into my life. I forget that you want me to make an impact on them by treating them with your love. I look at them as problems, distractions or annoyances. I don’t want to think about people or things in my life like that. I want to love them the way you love me. I want to treat them like you treat me, but I need your help to do that. Open my eyes to see beyond the distractions so I can see their needs. Give me wisdom in how I react and treat them.

You said in James 1:5 that if I lacked wisdom, I could ask you for it. Today, I’m asking for wisdom. I need divine wisdom for the situations I’m facing, for how to handle the relationships you’ve given me and with making decisions about my future. I can’t see very far into my future, but you already have it scripted out. My future is already history to you. I just want to make sure that I make the best decisions so I can have the future you have planned for me. I don’t want to make decisions based on knowledge. I want to make them from a position of wisdom and understanding.

I know that you have plans for me. I know that you want what is best for me. I understand the mindset of a father who wants the very best for his child. I know the love that pours out of me towards my own flesh and blood. If I feel this way about my own child, how much more do you feel for me? I can’t even grasp the depth of your love and desires for my life. I can’t comprehend the magnitude of what you want for me. Just like my child doesn’t understand the full concept of my love for him, I don’t understand the full concept of your love for me. I want to, but I don’t have the capacity.

Help me to live my life out of gratitude for all you’ve done. Show me the paths you want me to walk down in order to receive the future you’ve written out. Give me the courage to make the hard decisions that I have to make in order to be where you need me to be. Let your peace reign in me when the hard times come. Help me to make right decisions based on your wisdom instead of my emotions. Lead me along the paths of righteousness. Open my eyes to see people you’ve placed on my path to help along the way. Open my hands to give away what you ask me to give away. Open my mouth to speak wisdom into other’s lives and open my ears to hear your voice above all else.

I ask these things in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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Spring Up, O Well

I was reading in Ezekiel 47 about the angel that showed him a river flowing out of the Temple. He took Ezekiel outside and showed him where it came out of the wall. From there, the angel followed the river and measured off 1,750 feet and they walked across ankle deep water. They measured off another 1,750 feet and crossed again. This time the water was to their knees. They measured another 1,750 and crossed through water that was waist high. After that, they measured another 1,750 feet and couldn’t cross because it was so deep. Then in verse 6, the angel looks at him and asks, “Have you been watching?”

Up to that point, I had just been reading the chapter. When the angel asked that, I thought, “What am I missing? What was he to watch for? Is there significance in the depth of the river? Why did they measure 1,750 feet at a time?” My mind kept going trying to figure out what the angel was getting at because he doesn’t tell what he was supposed to see. I re-read it in several versions thinking I’d get something more. Then I was reminded that you and I are the Temple now. After that, my mind went back to when my mom was in the hospital just before she passed. I heard her singing, “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.”

Now, all of a sudden, I see what the angel was saying. Each of us as Christians have the River of Life in us. It comes from the Spring of Heaven and passes through our hearts. It isn’t intended to stay in us though. It was designed to flow out of us to others. The closer we keep it to ourselves, the more shallow it is. The further we let it go, the deeper it becomes and has a greater effect. Too many times we try to bottle up that river flowing out of us. We don’t want to offend. We don’t want to force our religion on others. We hold it in so we can fit in. The problem with all of that is that we withhold life from others when we do that.

In verse 7, with fresh eyes, Ezekiel looks at the riverbank and sees life. He said, “I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river.” The angel then said, “This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure… Life will flourish wherever this water flows.” For those who have yet to receive Christ, they are dead in their sins. The water that flows out of you can flow into the desert they are in. It can fill the valley that they are walking through. It can make the dead parts of their life come alive.

It all starts inside of you. Another part of that song that my mom loved so much said, “Spring up, O Well, within my soul!” The well within each of us needs to spring up so that we can bring life to a dying world. The well inside of us needs to spring up so we can water trees that will bear fruit. The well inside of us needs to spring up so that it flows more than just a few feet from us at ankle deep. The well needs to spring up so that we can bring healing to those who are hurting. How much water is your well producing? Have you been letting it through your walls or have you been trying to contain it? Let God’s Word and love flow through you today to others. His love is deep and wide. Don’t hold it in.

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Don’t Be Intimidated

When we do what God wants us to do and live how God wants us to live, there will be others who oppose us. They will do everything in their power to prevent your growth, your rebuilding or your ministry. When you get opposition, you know that you are where God wants you. The enemy doesn’t try to thwart the plans of people who aren’t making an impact for the Kingdom. They aren’t a threat to his control. The ones who are taking light into the dark places, the ones who build themselves and others up, the ones who are on the front lines of ministry are the ones who face opposition.

Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were working hard when Tobiah found out about the work they were doing. The Bible says that he was displeased that someone was helping Israel. In Nehemiah 4, he began to mock those who were rebuilding the wall. He criticized their work and made fun of it. Verbal abuse is one of the greatest tactics of the enemy. He knows that if he can get in your head, he can slow you down or stop you from doing why’s God has called you to do. You can’t listen to the voice of the enemy that says you are going to fail. It will say that your work is worthless and meaningless. Nothing God calls you to do is meaningless.

The first thing Nehemiah did when Tobiah and his friends started mocking him was to pray. Prayer gets your mind back on God. Prayer causes God to move. It waters the seeds that you have sown and causes them to grow. It thwarts the plans of the enemy. It is powerful and needs to be your first response when the enemy comes in and starts playing mind games with you. Don’t get into a battle of words with him. Don’t get slowed down by arguing. Keep working on what God has called you to do and pray for God to help you.

When Tobiah learned that his mocking didn’t stop the work, he then threatened to harm the workers. Instead of panicking, they continued to work, but were prepared to fight. The had a sword in one hand and worked with the other. When that didn’t stop the work, Tobiah tried to trick Nehemiah into not working. He pretended to be his friend and ally. He made a false accusation to try to get Nehemiah to stop the work. In Nehemiah 6:9, Nehemiah said, “They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued with even greater determination.”

No matter who your Tobiah is or what tactics they are trying to use against you, don’t stop doing the work God has called you to. Don’t let their tactics get to you or keep you from doing what you are supposed to do. Do not be intimidated by others that the enemy would use to keep you from going where God has called you, from building what you know you are to build or from saying what God has placed on your heart. The enemy wants nothing more than for God’s people to be silenced and dormant. In the face of intimidation from the enemy, we should continue the work with greater determination. Pick up your sword and keep building, God is on your side.

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10 Questions For Chris Hendrix

A friend of mine from “A ‘Mike’ For Christ” interviewed me for his blog. I thought it was a good interview and that it would give you the opportunity to know me a little bit better.

Chris, your readers are familiar with a series of events in your life that influences the character of your blog; you’ve also shared those details on this blog. So what happened to you on and around September 25, 2003?

I hit rock bottom in my life. In the previous five months my wife ran off with another man; the building I leased for my business didn’t renew my agreement; I had to find and build out another rental space while being gouged on rent where I was; I had to take on a business partner to help; I continually ran into issues with the build-out; the IRS came after me for back taxes; and I faced bankruptcy. On September 25th my partner, seeing I was against the ropes, took my business from me.

My brother called me hourly to make sure I was alive. He told me that he couldn’t have survived everything that was happening to me and would have ended his life. I actually considered it when the business was taken from me. That’s when I laid on my living room floor, crying, and told God, “I can’t do it anymore. This has got to be the bottom. I won’t survive if it falls out again.” I felt God say, “Finally.” He reminded me of his words to Paul: “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

I went to the calendar and wrote “The Bottom” on it and vowed that no matter what happened or how long it took, I would climb out of that hole. Each year I celebrate September 25th as the day I learned to fully trust God’s strength in my life. It reminds me that I can’t make it through life alone. I wasn’t created to; I was created to need God. I fail in my own strength, but in his strength I am more than a conqueror.

What is the purpose of Devotions by Chris?

The purpose of my site is to bring daily encouragement to other believers who struggle how I once did. I use everyday life stories, analogies, and God’s Word to help believers grow in their relationship with God. I want readers to start their day thinking about God by reading one of these short devotionals. I hope they find practical advice for taking that next step of faith.

How do you respond to the question “Why does God allow pain?”

I wrote about this in a piece called “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People“. I believe God uses these times of pain in our lives like a gardener uses pruning shears. In order to grow, we must be pruned. In order to fully trust God, we have to come to the point where we trust his strength more than our own. I like to say that the amount of pain you endure is proportionate to the amount of joy you are capable of experiencing. I know joy because I’ve known pain.

You’ve led several mission trips to Haiti, including one from which you’ve just returned. What is the focus of these missions?

James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion is caring for orphans and widows. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Between the 2010 earthquake, the AIDS epidemic, and 70 percent unemployment, there are over 400,000 orphans in Haiti. Parents have to choose whether they will live or their kids will live. In every case, the parents choose themselves.

I work with an organization called Coreluv. What I do is take teams and introduce them to the problem. I put them to work in the orphanages and show them how the little they have in their hands is enough to be used by God.

We work all day painting, feeding, building, or whatever is needed to make life better for these orphans. I call it putting sweat equity in the Kingdom of God. We love on the kids, play with them, and share the hope that Jesus brings. We also visit one of poorest communities to feed kids whose parents can’t feed them. We’ve built a school to educate these children and hopefully help them break the cycle of poverty.

How else do you serve in ministry?

I’ve always considered myself a part-time minister, but my pastor called me out on it a few weeks ago. He told me about his ordination; my grandfather was the presbyter of his ordination. My grandfather told him, “There is no such thing as a part-time minister. You can have a full-time job on the side; but if you are called to ministry, you should be doing it full-time.”

That said, I blog daily, I volunteer with Coreluv, and recently I assumed leadership of a young couples group at my church. Also, I connect with people through church or my website and pray daily for them. I have a rule that if you ask me for prayer, I stop everything that I’m doing and pray for you right then. That way you know for certain that I’ve prayed for you.

You say that your drive to work is a prayer time in which you focus on a blog topic. What is your writing process?

I spend several hours a day in prayer as part of my daily routine. I once heard that D.L. Moody prayed for eight hours a day. That’s been my goal. I start each day with a quick prayer thanking God for the day and asking him to speak through me in his word. Then, I read scripture for thirty minutes. After that, I continue praying as I get ready for work.

I commute an hour each day, so I use that time to pray instead of listening to the radio. Once I get to work, I pray that God would speak through me so I can write the right words; then he can bring the right people to read them at the right time. Thereafter, I sit in silence until I hear from God, and I write once I do. I post to my site and use HootSuite to time tweets and Facebook posts throughout the day.

What are “Free Fridays” on your blog?

I got the idea for “Free Fridays” at the Re:Write conference last year. I kept hearing how fearful writers felt putting their work out there for others to read. I realized how much fear plays a role in keeping so many Christians from doing what they are called to do. I decided to write a post each Friday that would help Christians get free of something that holds them back. Then, I decided that I would drive traffic to these posts by offering a free book to one reader. So not only do people get practical advice, they also get the opportunity to win a book.

What Christian WordPress blogs do you regularly read?

Bea MusesUnshakeable HopeDirector BDeeply Rooted in Him, and A ‘Mike’ for Christ

Where do you see yourself ministry-wise in 10 years?

In full-time evangelism. I believe I am called to be a part of the next Great Awakening and will be instrumental in winning, training, and utilizing laborers to bring in the final harvest. My first post, “The Vision”, is about this.

What are two things readers would be surprised to know about you?

1. I do all my writing and publishing on an iPad. I don’t do any of it on a laptop or desktop.

2. After three years of marriage, my wife and I invited her parents to move in with us. So my in-laws and my wife’s two sisters live with us.

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Free To Endure

It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “God Is In The Small Stuff For Changing Times” by Bruce & Stan. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

One of the first things that I tell new employees at the company I work for is, “If you don’t like change, you’re in the wrong company.” Let’s be honest, not many of us like change. We don’t embrace it, we fight it. We don’t welcome it, we begrudgingly accept it. We don’t like things to be different, we like them the way they were. In this world we live in, things don’t have a beginning, middle and end like they used to. It seems like it’s one crisis after another. It’s one painful moment after another. But change brings about better things.

It reminds me of when my wife was in the hospital giving birth to our son. To induce labor, they gave her medicine to force contractions. They kept increasing the dosage until she was in a constant state of contractions. She never fully came out of one before the next one started. She struggled to catch her breath before the intense pain returned. That’s where our world is these days. That’s where our lives are. We face struggle after struggle. Heartache after heartache. Trial after trial and we get very little reprieve.

When we are in a constant state of struggle, we tend to turn our focus and energy away from God and onto surviving the circumstances. Instead of digging deeper in the Bible, we dig our feet deeper into the trenches to hold our ground. Instead of praying to God, we complain to anyone that will listen. It’s just who we are and how we are built. As Christians, we are called to go against that human nature. We are called to crucify daily the flesh that wants to do opposite of what God would have us do. The question is, “How do we do that?”

I believe the answer is to look ahead, beyond the trials. Look to what God wants to produce in you through the changing times. If you can find meaning in the trial, you can find joy in it. James 1:2 says, “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” The struggles that my wife had in pregnancy and in labor produced a child that we love very much and has brought joy to our home. Your struggles will also produce something in your life that will bring great joy. You just have to think about the end result of your current struggle. You have to remained focused on what God is producing in you in order to survive. Hope is a powerful thing. It can get you through the darkest night.

Verse 3 of the same chapter in James says, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow.” The choice is yours. Do you back out of the trial because it’s too hard? To you throw in the white flag because you’ve had enough? Do you tap out because it’s too painful? No! God is developing endurance in you. Let it grow! Max Lucado once wrote, “God may send you through a storm at 30 so you can endure a hurricane at 60.” God knows what your future holds and these changing times are producing in you what you need in order to endure. Embrace the change and get free of the things that keep your endurance from growing.

If you would like to win “God Is In The Small Stuff For Changing Times” by Bruce & Stan, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (April 26, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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Broken Vessels

I was listening to Tullian Tchividjian speak about the disciples that Jesus chose. He mentioned that Jesus didn’t choose religious or wealthy men. He chose men who had nothing to bring to the table. He also said that God doesn’t need perfect vessels to carry out His will, He needs broken ones. There’s a lot in just those few statements that speaks to me. I think that the 12 men whom He chose to give His life changing message to says a lot about who God is and what He sees in people.

I was teaching a sales skills class by Brian Tracy recently and he talked about he studied companies with the lowest turnover in employees. He found that those companies had one thing in common: they didn’t hire based on qualifications. Instead, those companies hired based on attitude. I think God does the same thing. He doesn’t care what credentials you hold, how many times you’ve failed, how little you have to offer or how much you make. What He cares about is your willingness to do what He asks.

When Jesus chose the disciples, He pretty much walked up to them and said, “Come follow me.” They didn’t ask Him who He was. They didn’t say, “Let me finish doing this task.” They didn’t ask to go say goodbye to family and friends. They dropped what they were doing, left family and friends to follow Jesus. They were chosen because their attitudes were the type that was willing to do whatever a God asked without worrying about everything else that typically stops us from doing His will.

These men were not perfect either. Peter had a big mouth. Thomas was a skeptic. Judas was self righteous. Matthew was a tax collector who had cheated people. The list goes on. God does not choose people to carry out His will based on what they offer. He chooses people based on their inabilities. If we could do everything He asked on our own, where would faith come in? If we were confident enough to say what He tells us to say, we would think we were doing it in our own strength. If we had the credentials and expertise, pride would swell up in us. Instead, He finds broken and chipped vessels to put together to do His will so He can get the glory.

Have you limited yourself in what you feel God has called you to do because you don’t have the skills or ability? Have you thought God wanted you to do something that was over your head but turned Him down because you couldn’t do that on your own? You don’t have to have a degree in Public Speaking to share what God has done for you. You don’t have to have a Masters in Anthropology to help the needy. You don’t have to have a Doctorate in Theology to discuss with others what you found in God’s Word. You simply have to be a vessel that’s been broken and ready to use by Him for His purpose and His glory. He will give you all you need to be successful in your calling.

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Prayer For Difficult Times

Father,

Some days I feel like David. It seems like the world is chasing me and I’m in an endless cycle of running for my life. I try to hide out in caves of seclusion, but the darkness can be unbearable and lonely. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown and fear of dropping the ball keep me from doing everything I should. I feel like I’m juggling everything and barely keeping it together. I worry that if I drop something, everything will all come crashing down. It’s overwhelming at times and my mind rarely gets to rest. I need your help.

Like David, I reach out to you in my despair. I call on your name to be my refuge when others are attacking me. I know that you are my rock when everything else seems to slip beneath my feet. You are the one who holds me in your hands when I miss the mark. I thank you for being my shield that protects me from the fiery darts that the enemy throws. You give me strength to stand when that’s all that I can do. You have never failed me nor have you ever left me alone. I’m asking that you continue to stand by my side.

When I feel you standing with me, I get encouraged. I know that nothing can come against me that will defeat me. I know that even though I can’t see the path to my victory, it’s already won. Just because I can’t see how you will move or act on my behalf, it doesn’t change the fact that you will. You have always come to my rescue in my time of need. You have been the one constant in my life that I always knew would be there no matter what. Your hand has guided me through tough times in the past and you will continue to guide me no matter what I face.

I pray that you would help me to keep my thoughts on you as I face these struggles. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on your promises rather than my circumstances. Your truth is greater than what my reality tells me. Your Word is the light to my path that shows me where to go when I can’t see what my next step should be. Above all else, I will hold on to you through difficult times. You are the anchor that keeps me from going out to sea when the storms of life try to put me on the bottom of the ocean floor.

Thank you for hearing my prayer. You are a faithful God who is concerned about my life, my needs and the things that I face each and every day. Because I know you hear me, I know that you will answer me. I love you for all that you’ve done, all that you’re doing and all that you’re going to do. I know that you love me despite all I’ve done or am going to do. Your love and concern for me has nothing to do with my actions. You simply love me and care for me because you created me and I am your child. Help me to be at peace just in knowing that. Calm my fears, help me to catch my breath and to walk in your strength.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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