Monthly Archives: February 2019

Hope Returns

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been desperate for hope. When I was in my early twenties, my mom was in ICU at the M.D. Anderson cancer center. I remember we were living in that holding room for families. Each family in there lived day to day desperate for good news. Some families got it, but most of us didn’t. We were tired, exhausted, mentally drained, and were looking for a ray of hope that might mean our loved one would walk out of there.

To be without hope is a dangerous place, yet so many of us live there. Our lives seem to have no future, and we just want something we can believe in to brighten up the darkness a little. The writer of Lamentations was there too. He was in a desperate place having lost everything. As he recounted his trouble in chapter three, he then wrote in 3:21-22, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue” (GNT). His hope returned when he took his eyes off his situation and focused on God.

I love what he goes on to write in verses 25-26. He says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—.” God sees us in our hopeless darkness. Looking back, He used hopeless times to shape me and to polish me. Trusting God when you can’t see a future is hard, but be patient. The Lord is good and is working things out for your good. Hope will return because God has not forgotten you.

Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Getting Unstuck

At one of the lowest points in my life, I felt like I had failed at everything. I began to believe that I was a failure as a person, and I had forgotten who I was. I went to a bar so I could forget about what was going on inside of me. An old friend walked in and saw me sitting there. He said, “Chris Hendrix?!? What are you doing in here?” I told him what all was going on in my life and how I felt. Afterwards, he stood up and said, “You’re not the Chris Hendrix I know. That Chris would have never given up on life. He was someone I looked up to and that challenged me. I’m not going to sit here and see you like this. You’ve given up, and you’re stuck in a rut.” With that, he walked out.

That was a wake up call to me. When he said that, it resonated in my soul, and for the first time in months, I saw me with my old eyes. He was right, I had forgotten who I am. As I looked around the bar that night I realized I was in a rut going nowhere. I had been crushed and defeated so I began to identify with something that God didn’t put in me. The words he spoke to me gave me the strength to walk out of that bar and out of that place in my life. Things didn’t get better overnight, but that was the start to me moving back to identifying with the person God created me to be.

If you’ve forgotten who you really are and have been identifying with something God didn’t put in you, call out to Him today. Ask Him to remind you who He created you to be and to put people in your path to speak life into you. Psalm 138:3 says, “At the very moment I called out to you, you answered me! You strengthened me deep within my soul and breathed fresh courage into me” (TPT). God can speak deep into your soul and wake up the parts of you that you thought had died. He’ll give you the strength to get out of your rut to begin the process of returning to your true self, the person He created you to be.

Photo by Christopher Windus on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Loving God For Real

Several years ago I read a book called “Primal” by Mark Batterson and it wrecked me. It was based on Deuteronomy 6:5 that says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]” (AMP). It’s a verse we all know that Jesus said was the greatest commandment. Think about that. Everything in the Bible, all the wisdom, all the lessons, all the do’s and don’t’s are below what this commandment says. The most important thing we can do with our lives is to love God with our entire being.

In the book he described how loving the Lord with all your heart is about having a heart filled with compassion for the things God is compassionate about. Loving Him with all your mind is about having a holy curiosity to know who God is. Loving Him with your soul is to love Him with a sense of wonder and awe that once wowed you about Him. Finally, loving Him with your strength is about being energized to do things for Him because He excites you. As I read those, it hit me, I wasn’t loving God in all four areas. I was good in some and just ok in others. That wasn’t ok with me.

God didn’t command us to love Him in one or two of these ways. We must love Him in all four. The call to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2, goes out to us. We must return to our first love. We must reignite the passion we once had. God is calling us to step out of the complacency of our relationship with Him so we can serve and love Him with everything in us. If we’re going to change this world, it starts with you and getting our relationship with God right first. Search over this verse today and ask God to show you what areas you’re missing the mark in. After you repent like I did, start doing something about it. We all have room to grow and get our love for God firing on all four cylinders.

Photo by Rohit Guntur on Unsplash

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Journey

I remember as a senior in high school, my English teacher had us write a research paper on our chosen field of profession. We had to interview at least two people in that profession, discuss the educational requirements and career path. Even though I wrote it all out, I still found myself lost after high school. I felt like it was just going to happen without my putting in the work. I wanted to accomplish God’s plan for my life and to walk in His path for me, but I wasn’t moving in any direction. I found that it’s hard to follow a path and get direction if you’re standing still.

After David was anointed king, he didn’t get to go to the palace. He went back to the hills to watch the sheep. He took his brothers food while they were at war. He played the harp for the current king. Even though God didn’t take him to the palace right away, he continued moving and doing things that prepared him to be king. He understood that God had a plan, and for that plan to be executed, he couldn’t just sit around and wait for it to just happen. As he did things, God put him in situations that grew him and showed his strengths as a leader.

If you feel like you’re wandering or if you’re just waiting for God to move and place you in position, pray what David prayed in Psalm 25:4. He wrote, “Lord, direct me throughout my journey so I can experience your plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you” (TPT). God will direct you, but you have to be moving. I believe God has created you with a specific plan in mind, but it won’t just happen. You need to invest time, energy and money into the areas He’s directed you to, and you need to be ready to face any giant in your way. God’s not finished with your journey yet, nor has He given up on you. Start today down His path and He will direct you.

Photo by Michelle Spencer on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Escaping Consequences

We learn about consequences from the time we are very young. As we grow up and face more of them, we begin to try to hide our actions so we don’t have to face them. Then there are times when we blame others for what we’ve done and they have to suffer the consequences for our actions. No matter how old we get, there will always be consequences for our actions. It’s part of God’s design of reaping what we sow. I’ve found that some seeds take a lot longer to harvest than others. The results of our actions can sometimes be felt years later rather than immediately.

When it comes to sin, there’s an eternal consequence that comes with it beyond just the one we get here. I remember over 20 years when Texas was about to execute its first woman on death row. She had become a Christian while in prison, and there were many people trying to keep her from being executed because of her faith. She ended up paying the price for her actions on earth, but didn’t have to suffer the eternal effects because Christ paid the price and took those consequences for her. When we accept Jesus as our savior, it doesn’t relieve us of our I’m consequences, but thank God we don’t have to pay the eternal ones.

Here are some Bible verses on Jesus taking our consequences.

1. Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

Hebrews 9:27-28 MSG

2. Whoever seeks to save his life will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] will keep it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].

LUKE 17:33 AMP

3. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin].

EPHESIANS 4:30 AMP

4. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].

ROMANS 5:10 AMP

5. God made Jesus, who never personally sinned, experience the consequences of sin so that we could have a character that is right as God is right.

2 Corinthians 5:21 FBVNTPSALMS

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Leadership Change

Several years ago, I owned a childcare center. One of the conversations I had with new families to the center was about authority. I would tell them, “Once you walk through the door into my center, I am your child’s authority figure. I need you to take a back seat. No man can serve two masters including your child. They will test the boundaries to see who is in charge, and they need to know it’s me. Otherwise, I won’t have any authority over them when you walk out that door.” I learned early on that if a child thought their parents had more authority over them than I did, they would start breaking the rules the moment their parents showed up, and the rest of the class would follow.

I tell you that story because you and I have a very similar issue with our flesh. It likes to do whatever it wants, and quite often, we let it get away with it. When it’s hungry, we feed it whatever it craves. When it’s sleepy, we go to bed or hit the snooze button. Also, when it wants to satisfy its sinful desires, we give in. That’s why it’s so hard for us to stay awake to pray and also to fast. Our body throws a temper tantrum because it’s not getting its way, and we appease it to get it to calm down.

When we walk through the door of salvation, we need to cede authority to Jesus. Our flesh needs to understand that you and it are not in control anymore. Inviting Jesus to be the Lord of your life means that you are giving up your authority over your flesh. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat – I am” (MSG). Giving your life to Jesus is about giving up authority over your flesh. It’s telling it, “I am no longer your authority. Jesus is. You have to obey Him.”

The hardest thing for any of us to do is to give up that authority. I’m sure that’s why Jesus compared it to being crucified daily. It’s a hard process, but a necessary one if we are going to follow Him. We have to let Him lead us, and our flesh, which means we have to get out of the driver’s seat of our life. Being a Christian is more than saying a prayer. It’s the transition of leadership in your life. It’s a lifestyle change that you’ll battle your flesh over ever day of your life. If you truly want to follow Jesus, give Him the authority He’s asking for in your life.

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Grasshopper Complex

Have you ever felt like you weren’t smart enough, spiritual enough, good enough or just enough? Self doubt is something each of us deal with at some point whether we want to admit it or not. It comes up at the most inopportune times too. Whether you’re going to an interview, a date, a meeting with a group of people or just looking in the mirror. How we feel about ourselves often makes us feel inadequate, and that holds us back from so many things. It shows up in our actions, our body language and even facial expressions. It’s usually rooted in comparing the worst part of ourselves to the best part of someone else.

When Moses sent spies into the Promised Land, 12 men saw the same things, but 10 of them let how they felt hold back a nation for 40 years. In Numbers 13:33, they said, “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (NLT) Did you catch that? They compared themselves and felt small. They lost sight of who they were and forgot that they were created in God’s image. Even though the Lord had promised them this land, they chose how they felt over the Word of God.

When we compare ourselves to others, and allow self doubt to creep in, it holds us back from our own promised land. When those thoughts of inadequacy arise, remember Philippians 2:13. It says, “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure” (AMP). You will always be enough through the power of God in you. You are the temple of His Holy Spirit and He is at work in you to be enough for whatever you face. Push out the lies of comparison and self doubt and replace those thoughts with the truth of who God says you are.

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized