Tag Archives: dont quit

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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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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Useful Service

When I first started working for my boss, he asked me, “What do I need to know about you to be an effective leader for you?” I replied, “I hate busy work. I don’t like doing things for the sake of doing them. I’m happy to do anything productive if there’s a reason for it. I don’t want to put my effort and energy into something only to be told later, ‘Thanks for doing that. We don’t really need this right now, but one day we might.’” I tend to think that all of want to do something that has purpose and meaning.

When you think about the work you do for the Lord, do you see it as meaningful or busy work? As a person who leads volunteers at a church, I sometimes get people who want the spotlight jobs. Holding a sign for people walking by, or opening a door or picking up trash around the parking lot can seem insignificant to them. To me, nothing you do for the Lord is insignificant. All of us have a role to fill. All of us joined together doing our part, no matter how small it feels, is what makes the Body of Christ work. Preaching can only be effective if there are people in the seats listening. The rest of the teams who serve are the ones that make sure people are parked, feel welcomed and find the sanctuary effortlessly.

1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless” (GNT). No matter how big or small you feel your work for the Lord is, it is never useless. Don’t do it for the spotlight or so that others will praise you. Do it as work for the Lord because that’s what it is. God has called each of us to play a role in building His Kingdom. The approval of others is not what makes your work significant. The fact that you keep doing it for the Lord, even when no one seems to notice, is what matters. Don’t give up. Your Father in Heaven sees and will reward you when the time is right.

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