Tag Archives: don’t give up

Running To Win

I went to a pretty small high school where if you were athletic, you pretty much played every sport. If you ran track, you didn’t just run one race, you ran several which meant several heats for each race. We had to be in great shape. I remember my running coach teaching me to breathe a certain way so that I wouldn’t get that pain in my side. She also taught me aerodynamics so that my body would channel the wind. Then there was the conditioning to get my body in shape to survive so many races. I put a lot of miles on my shoes so that I could win the races I ran. After high school, I decided had ran enough miles for a lifetime, but in the course of it, I had won many races.

Running takes discipline and mental strength to push through when your body wants to quit. It’s a lot like living out your faith. It takes being dedicated, being mentally focused and being disciplined. Your flesh is always fighting against you and is trying to slow you down so you have to be prepared mentally to push back. It tries to play against your sympathies to get you to stumble and fall. You have to be disciplined enough to catch it early so you can stop that line of thinking. You also have to keep your eyes on what’s at stake in your life and in the lives of others. It’s not a 5k Fun Run. This is more like a marathon or an Iron Man. Every part of you must be disciplined so that you’re making determined progress and are be becoming more like Christ every day.

1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours!” (AMP) Each of us are running the race God has called us to. No one can run your race for you. It’s up to you to run your race in a manner that you’re not just providing traffic for the other runners, but that you’re running in order to win. When you’re running to win, you push yourself to stay in the front of the race. You lean on lessons you’ve learned from the past and ensure that you’re spiritually fit. You use the discipline of reading and applying God’s Word to keep you on track. You continually seek God and His presence so you can endure. You invite the Holy Spirit into your life to encourage you daily to keep going. If you’re going to live a life of faith, be 100% committed and give it your all.

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Bouncing Back

One of the things I love to do is to go to the beach. To me there’s something fun about going in up to my waist where the waves are crashing and leaning into them. I start off feeling like I could fight them all day, but after a while, they just keep coming and I get wore out. I’ve had it happen before where I’ve lost my footing. When I would try to get up, a wave would knock me back. Then I get into this cycle of not being able to get back up, and I have to switch into survival mode. The good news is that I’m close to shore and if I can time it right, I can get back up and breathe because it’s not very deep.

We all like to think we are resilient with the ability to bounce back. Life sometimes looks at that determination and says, “Challenge accepted!” None of us are exempt from tragedy, death, sickness, loss of a job, emotional pain, disappointment or devastation. We sometimes get hit over and over with things and have to switch into survival mode. There are times when it feels easier to stay down than to try to get back up, but we can’t stay down. Life is about getting back up. Christianity is about doing it with God’s strength rather than your own. He is our firm foothold in our time of desperation. He is the One who helps us get our head above water.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again” (TPT). God creates purpose in our suffering and has a way of working it out for our good. When we get back up from being knocked down, we show that our faith is stronger than what gets thrown at us. People also find hope and healing from their situations when they see that someone else survived disaster. By being resilient and getting back up, we show our faith isn’t based on circumstances. The same God who makes you lie down in green pastures and leads you beside the still waters, is the same God who walks with you through the valley of the shadow of death. Don’t stay knocked down by what you’re going through. God is your firm footing and will help you bounce back.

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The Empty Gym

A couple of years ago, I read about a high school basketball team that went to play another school. When the game started, they noticed that the other team had no fans. It didn’t feel right. The next time they played this team was going to be in their own gym, so the boys put a plan together. They asked all of their fans to show up and cheer for the other team. When the other team showed up, they were surprised to find signs encouraging them and fans who rooted loudly for them to win.

I’ve loved that story from the moment I read it, and I’m proud that it took place in my home state of Texas. I love it because there are times where all of us feel like that other team. It can feel like there is no one on our side. No one to cheer us on. Oh what we would give to have someone encourage us. It’s a difficult thing to be in a position where no one is on your side. It’s tough to keep going to be honest.

I’m sure all of us have felt that way at one point or another. I know I have. David felt that way too. He had been anointed king, but Saul was still on the throne and was out to kill him. Instead of being in the palace, David was hiding for his life in a cave in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. But then, in Psalm 56:9, he reminded himself of something important. He wrote, “I know this: God is on my side” (NLT). When it feels like no one else is on your side, remind yourself that God is.

As Romans 8:31 puts it, if God is for you, who can be against you? No matter what you’re going through in this life, no matter how badly things look, know that God is on your side. He’s cheering for you to succeed. He’s giving you the tools you need to make it through. Even if no one is there to help, God is. I’ve always heard that you plus God equals a majority. You have the King of the universe in your corner rooting for you. This too shall pass, and you will be victorious.

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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.

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Get Back Up

In high school, I played basketball, but our school was very small. One night we were playing a much larger school and we were down by 20 at the half. Coach threw the door open coming into the locker room. He screamed, “Are y’all scared of them because they’re taller than you? Are you scared because they’re more athletic? It must be something because you’ve quit. You’re a bunch of quitters! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a quitter…If you quit, I quit!” He stormed out as loudly as he came in. Our captain said, “Let’s Open with the starting five in a Black Diamond defense. Lets get out there and win!” Coach returned halfway into the third and we won that game that night because we got back out there and played hard.

Not long after the Israelites defeated Jericho, they went to fight a small town. They only sent 10% of their warriors. The other city beat them, chased them down and embarrassed them. Joshua returned to the camp and fell on his face before the Lord. He laid there all day giving up. In Joshua 7:10 the Lord said to him, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this?” (NLT) God told him to get back up, fix the problem, get back out there and fight. After finding and removing sin in the camp, they went back to that town and soundly defeated them.

How do you deal with defeat? Do you quit, hide or get depressed? One defeat doesn’t not define you. Ax God told Joshua, you need to get back up, make adjustments and get back out there. Your life is not over. There is still a lot of fight in you, plus you’re not fighting alone. God is with you. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again” (TPT). No matter how many times you’re defeated or fall flat on you’re face, get back up and fight. Don’t quit. You’re victory is ahead.

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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.

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Fight For Your Dream

There will always be people who will tell you that your dream is too big, that you’re not qualified or able to accomplish it, or that you should give up on it. No one thought the Wright brothers would be the ones to get their plane to fly, but they kept at it. They didn’t receive the media attention that others did, nor did they receive a government grant to build their plane. They believed in their dream when almost no one else did. They put in the work, shrugged off the doubters and built the first airplane that flew successfully. They made their dream a reality.

I’ve always heard, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.” The dreams that God calls us to do are usually bigger than our ability. I believe He plants these dreams we’re unqualified for in us so that we’ll learn to depend on Him and know that there is no way we could ever do it on our own. There will be people who stand in your way, discourage you or even laugh at you when you tell them what God has called you to do. Be careful who you share your dream with and surround yourself with people who will lift you up in prayer. Most people won’t see the potential in you that God sees.

Think of David as he told the soldiers he would fight Goliath. His brothers laughed at him and mocked him. When David told King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:33 that he would fight and defeat Goliath, Saul replied, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win!” (NLT) David still stepped onto the battlefield and defeated Goliath. Like David, we need to trust God to accomplish what he put it our heart despite what others say or do. Don’t let fear or intimidation keep you from stepping onto your battlefield. Obey what God tells you and let Him handle your giants.

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Keep Working

Positive reinforcement is a great tool to encourage people to continue doing what they’re doing. It rewards them for a job well done. Many companies are like mine where they give bonuses if you meet the goals the company sets for you or if you help the company meet their goals. For me, that last one comes once a year. After several months it’s easy to forget several months that I will be rewarded next year if I help the company achieve its goals long term. Sometimes it feels like a chore having to do the things I have to do because I forget about the reward at the end.

In II Chronicles 15, King Asa must have been feeling the same. He was the first king in a while to remember God. He got rid of most of the idols and shrines. He even removed his grandmother from the role of queen mother because of her love for idols. He also defeated armies with over three times as many men. God was blessing him, but he was starting to lose sight of the positive reinforcement that God was using to bless him for doing what he was supposed to do.

The spirit of God came on Azariah and he went to the king to deliver a message from God. In verse 7, he said, “But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded” (GNT). I believe God is saying that to you and I today. He wants to encourage us to continue doing the work He called us to. I know that we can feel like God has forgotten us as we focus on completing and doing the work He’s given us, but He hasn’t forgotten us. We will be rewarded.

Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.” God believes in positive reinforcement. He has given us many promises in His Word to keep doing the work even though it gets tiring and mundane. If we will continue to do what He’s called us to, we will reap a harvest and a reward. Don’t quit doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t give up. God sees what you’re doing even if others don’t. He won’t fail in delivering on His promise to you.

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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.

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Just Do It…Again

Have you ever had to start over at square one? It’s one of the most frustrating things there are. After you’ve done the work and made progress, something happens and you have to start over. I’ve had to do that in life, with dreams God has given me, with work and in relationships. I don’t have many pet peeves, but doing work I’ve already done is one of mine. It’s redundant, but I’ve learned to not look at what I’m having to do over. Instead I focus on the outcome. The work is worth the payoff in the end.

After Isaac inherited all of Abraham’s wealth and land, people became jealous and didn’t like him. They poured dirt into the wells that Abraham had dug and forced him to leave that area. Genesis 26:17-18 says, “So Isaac left. He camped in the valley of Gerar and settled down there. Isaac dug again the wells which were dug in the days of his father Abraham but had been clogged up by the Philistines after Abraham’s death. And he renamed them, using the original names his father had given them” (MSG).

I’m sure Isaac was frustrated, but he did the work anyway. I believe that’s what you and I need to think about today. You may be frustrated at how clogged up life is at the moment. You may feel like you’re at square one with the dreams God planted in you. Don’t quit or give up. Do the work with gladness and push forward. There is a reward and times of refreshing coming, but you’re going to have to do the work. It may require sacrificing other things, spending more time in prayer, reading the Bible or fasting, but God’s rewards for you are on the other side of your obedience. Pick up a shovel and start digging.

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Stay The Course

The phrase, “Stay the course,” has been used by military commanders to muster their army in the face of obstacles. It is meant to give them courage to keep going and to keep pursuing victory no matter how the battle appears at that moment. Rarely is any victory won without several twists and turns with ups and downs. If warriors quit at the first sign of struggle, they could never win a battle. They must learn to persevere and push forward with their eye on the prize while listening to their commander’s orders. Staying the course is often difficult, but a necessary step in achieving victory.

When you accept Jesus, you are put on course for Heaven. There will be many ups and downs, as well as battles. The road to victory is not easy, but we must persevere. There have been times when I’ve felt like giving up and accepting defeat. There have been times where I’ve been pushed backwards as well, but I’ve had to remind myself to stay the course, fight the battles and keep moving. There’s a reason that Paul told us to take up the full armor of God. We need it because we are pressed on every side in the midst of a lifelong battle to pursue all that God has for us.

Hebrews 6:12 encourages us, “Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them” (MSG). If you and I will keep persevering, keep fighting and keep moving towards victory, we will get all that God has for us. Remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is against you. Now is not the time to stop and rest. Now is not the time to accept defeat. Now is the time to pick up your feet, to stay the course you were given and to fight until victory is won.

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Fighting Discouragement

Discouragement is something that each of us face. Whether we got bad news, things aren’t going the way we planned or we’re facing an uphill battle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. In those times we may wonder why we should even try. Discouragement really takes away our will to move forward or even to put up a fight. It causes us to see defeat before the end is even near. What it doesn’t take into account is the favor of God who is willing and able to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or think. With Him all things are possible.

In those moments, I remind myself to do whatever I can do, then let God do what He can do. If I want God to show up, I need to show up too. The Bible is full of hope in hopeless situations. All that God required of them was to not be discouraged or give up. When the Israelites walked around Jericho, the walls fell. When David walked onto the field of Battle and put a stone in a sling, the giant fell. When Peter stepped out of the boat, he didn’t fall. Whatever you’re facing today, meet it with faith and determination instead of discouragement. Let God show up and do what only He can do.

Here are some Bible verses about not getting discouraged.

1. So I say to my soul, “Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be disturbed. For I know my God will break through for me.” Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again. Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!

Psalms 42:11 TPT

2. Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:16 AMP

3. David continued to address Solomon: “Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. GOD, my God, is with you in this; he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch.”

1 Chronicles 28:20-21 MSG

4. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 NLT

5. But now don’t be discouraged, any of you. Do the work, for I am with you.

Haggai 2:4 GNT

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