Tag Archives: never give up

God Loves Underdogs


When I was a Sophomore in high school, our basketball team made it to the state championship. We didn’t look like much either. Our pre game warm up clothes were grey sweat pants and our gym shirt. The tallest guy on our team was only 6’1″. I’ll never forget going into the locker room before that game. Coach had a newspaper in his hands and said, “I want to read y’all something before we go out there. This is the Dallas Morning News. It says, and I quote, ‘This game is nothing but a formality. Lifestyle (my school) doesn’t stand a chance against their stronger, taller, more experienced opponent.”

He put down the paper, looked at us, and said, “Now the world thinks we’ve already lost, and we haven’t even stepped foot on the court. They’ve already decided that trophy belongs to the other team. I say we go out there and prove everyone wrong. I say we go out there and give it everything we’ve got. And when that final buzzer sounds, let’s see who’s on top!” Immediately we began to shout what sounded like war cries. We began to beat the lockers making noise. We ran out of that locker room and played the game of our lives and won.

II Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36, tell how the king of Assyria was destroying cities across the land. He moved his conquest into Israel and continued his victorious streak. He had a psychological advantage over any city because he hadn’t lost. When he turned his eyes to Jerusalem, King Hezekiah didn’t fear though. It made him curious. Isaiah 36:4 says, “Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?”

He wasn’t used to finding kings who weren’t afraid of him. The world knew when the Assyrian King fought you, it was just a formality, but something was different with King Hezekiah. This chief of staff came and spoke loudly in Hebrew about how he was going to destroy everyone and everything in Jerusalem. He told the people it was foolish to trust Hezekiah. He told them to disobey and to just open the gate so the inevitable would happen quickly. He even told them that the Lord their God told him to come destroy them.

Hezekiah’s had confidence because he knew God loves an underdog. In II Chronicles 32:7-8 he told his warriors, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” That day, God got rid of the Assyrian King. He proved why those who trust in Him can have confidence even though everyone else says they’ve already lost. You may not have the power, ability, or strength to win your battle, but you have a power far greater on your side. Don’t let fear cause you to trust what seems to be a formality. Have confidence in our God. His report is what matters.

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You Are An Ironman

This weekend there was an Ironman race in our town. If you’re unfamiliar with an Ironman race, they start at 7:00 AM with a 2.4 mile swim, then they ride their bike for 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles. That’s a 140.6 mile race! Oh, and they have time limits for each portion of the race. To be qualified as an Ironman, you have to finish within those time frames. For the marathon run portion, you have to cross the finish line by midnight. That’s a 17 hour race if you’re keeping up with the math.

We had a friend racing in it so we thought we would go cheer her on at the finish line. I wasn’t prepared for that. It was an amazing experience to watch these Ironmen old and young, skinny and not so skinny cross the line. The music was pumping and the crowd was electric. Every time a runner would cross the line, the announcer would call out their name and say, “You are an Ironman!” The crowd would roar in celebration for that person. Some walked across the finish line, some limped, so ran faster, so took time to high five the crowd as they passed and some slowed down to take it all in and asked the crowd to cheer more.

As I was cheering, I thought about my own finish line in life. I thought, “This must be what it’s like when we die and go to Heaven. There must be a crowd of people cheering us across the finish line as the Father says our name and then says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!'” My mind also went to Hebrews 12:1 that says, “Since we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

In a 140.6 mile race, I’m sure there are places in that race where there isn’t a crowd cheering you on. There are placed where it’s just them and the road. They’re going through the motions fighting a mental battle to push on. I’m sure there is every reason in the world to want to quit and only one reason to stay in the race. There are walls in their mind that they have to push through. There are times where they need water and sustenance to give their body energy to keep going. But there are times where someone hands them a drink, offers a nutritious bar and times where there is a crowd that cheers them on. But there’s nothing like the crowd at the finish line.

In our personal race, there are times you will face where no one is there to keep you going. There will be times when you have every reason to quit. There will be walls that you will face to try to stop you. You’ll need to drink from God’s Word. You’ll need supernatural food to sustain you along the way. God will send encourages along your path, but there will be nothing like crossing the finish line in Heaven. There will be music and a great crowd of witnesses cheering you home. You will hear the Father say your name and then, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” So keep pushing today. You aren’t in a sprint or even a marathon. This life is an Ironman race. You can make it.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8 NLT)

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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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Climbing The Mountain

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As I hiked up a small mountain with a group of people recently, I began to see a lot of parallels spiritually. It wasn’t long before others in the group had moved quickly enough up the mountain side and left a few of us behind. We called out to them to wait until we caught up. We wanted to go up the mountain as a group. Every so often they would get pretty far ahead and then wait for us to catch up. It’s the same in this Christian life. For some, it’s easier than others to live. Some people struggle their whole lives trying to live according to God’s ways. It’s important to stop and help others along the way.

There were times along the path where the rocks were loose and slippery. One wrong move and you would slide backwards, fall down or something worse could happen. As we went through these parts, we talked to each other, encouraged each other and showed them which rocks they needed to avoid. At times the person in front, who had a more sure footed place, would turn around and pull the other person up. In this spiritual journey, there are places where our feet slip and we fall backwards. It’s up to us who are behind them to catch them. It’s also important for those who have been through there to offer advice and a helping hand.

As we got closer to the mountain top, it got harder to climb. We needed breaks more frequently. One person in our group said, “Just go on without me. I’ll stay here for a while.” Too many times in life we give up just before our break through. We quit when things get the hardest. Yet in those times, we don’t realize how close we are to experiencing pure joy. We pushed through the desire to quit. We decided that we weren’t going to stop when we were so close to victory. We pushed through the desire to quit and it was worth it. We have to do the same thing in life. Don’t let others quit when they’re so close to victory.

As we hiked the final bit, there was a church being built up there. Members had hiked up too and were praying over the land, the city and the community around there. They were hungry and thirsty for God to move. They made the journey up in order to pray and sing praises. It was beautiful to stand there and listen to them. I have no idea what they were praying or singing, but I recognized the presence right away. God is calling us to pray over our family, friends, neighborhood, community, city, county, state, nation and world. God desires that none would perish. We need to be praying for others who are looking at the mountain of Christianity and choosing whether to climb it or to stay in bed asleep.

While we made it to the top of that mountain, we have not yet arrived spiritually. There are still twists and turns ahead. There are still difficult paths each of us will have to walk down. There will be times of rest and times of pushing forward. We cannot forget why we are climbing this mountain so that we never become content with how far we’ve come. We must keep climbing, keep helping others who are behind us and keep listening to those ahead. Our journey continues. Victory is close. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. The mountain top will be worth the climb.

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