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Watching And Waiting


Have you ever been around a person who loves to hear the sound of their own voice? How does it feel when you try to engage them in conversation and they never give you the opportunity to speak? After a while, you either quit trying to talk to them or you just don’t say anything at all to them because you know it’s going to fall on deaf ears. When you see them approaching you or their caller ID shows up on your phone, you almost sigh because you know what’s coming.

If we don’t like it when people do that to us, then why do we think God likes it when we do it to Him? Think about your prayers to God. How often do you stop talking and start listening? Prayer should be a conversation between you and God, not a wish list of things you’d like to see done to make your life easier. There’s a time for you to talk and a time for God to respond. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard God speak to you, ask yourself, “When’s the last time I was quiet in my prayer time?”

I know it’s a hard concept to some because we think of prayer as a list of things we want, but prayer is so much more than that. It’s designed to be the time you communicate and have a conversation with the creator of the universe. It’s designed for us to spend time with Him getting to know His heart. We have to learn that it’s ok to spend your prayer time listening. If we never listen, how will we know His heart, His desires for our life, or His thoughts on how we should respond to social issues as His representatives on earth?

David said in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart]” (AMP). David understood that God wanted to hear his prayers and that God wanted to speak to His heart so he built time to watch and to wait into his prayer time. God wants us to do the same so He can speak to our hearts. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard God speak to you, try watching and waiting today to see what He says.

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Letting Go


Tug of war is a great game we learned to play as kids. You can have one on one tug of war or team versus team. Either way, it’s a battle of strength and will. Each of us has played with that person who just lets go of the rope. Your body was used to keeping the tension by pulling against the weight of the other side, and when they release that tension, you go flying backwards. Now, any time you hold any weight with tension, you’re afraid you’ll fall down if that happens again.

Just like our body gets used to keeping the tension in tug of war, our mind can get used to the tension of carrying a burden. There’s a struggle. There’s tension. There’s the fear of what it’ll do to you if that tension is cut. You don’t feel like you can let go of the burden for fear of flying backwards and being made to look like a fool. Fear keeps you holding on to the weights you should’ve let go of long ago even after God has told you to let go.

You may not know it, but God gave you a promise in Psalm 55:22 about letting go of those burdens. It says, “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail)” (AMP). If you will release the weight of your burden, He will catch you. He won’t let you fall and look like a fool. His desire is that you let go of that heaviness and hand it over to Him.

Just like in tug of war, it’s a trust exercise. You’re going to have to be the one to let go though. You’re going to have to be the one who releases the tension and says, “God, I’m letting go of this burden. You can have it.” God cares about your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Carrying a burden affects all three. That’s why He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28NLT). You’ll be more productive, happier, and better rested when you let Him do the heavy lifting. 

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Acting In Anger


I’m not someone who gets angry often. I’ve been angry many times in my life. At one point, I got so angry I couldn’t sleep. I allowed the anger to consume me. Every time I closed my eyes, I would visualize how I would exact my revenge. I wanted to lash out, hurt, and even destroy the other person. The anger boiled inside and pushed me to the edge of bitterness. I tried fighting back, but it was pointless. I tried to reason with myself, but I got nowhere. I ended up putting the TV on one of the Christian stations that played praise and worship all night while showing images of nature with scriptures superimposed on them.

When an opportunity arose for me to get revenge, I had to make a choice. Was I going to do something I’d regret for the rest of my life or get away from the situation? Before I could think too much, I got in my car and drove about an hour away. I got to the edge of town, pulled over on the shoulder, and weighed everything out for what seemed like forever. I ended up going to a friends house. I gave him my keys and said, “Whatever you do, don’t give me these back until at least tomorrow.”

Years later, I’m thankful God saved me from acting on my anger that night. Psalm 4:4 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent” (NLT). Every time I read that, it reminds me that no matter how angry I get, I still have a choice in what I do with it. Being angry when bad things happen is a God given right and an emotion He gave us for those occasions. However, He didn’t give us the right to exact our revenge from that anger.

When we let anger control us, we act very selfishly. We might be deemed justified in our actions by people around us, but God is the only one whose judgement matters. Anger is best released by letting go of it, not by directing it at someone. When you hold onto it and allow it to consume your mind, you hand over the reigns of reason to a volatile emotion. God’s desire is that we let go of it so it doesn’t control us. Let Him take revenge for you. It may not come when or how you want it to, but if you let Him do it, you’ll have fewer regrets and a better life. I’m proof of that.

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The Body In Harmony

  
I recently attended United Cry in Washington, DC. It was a multi-generational, multi-denominational, and multi-cultural group of Christian ministers who gathered together to join in prayer and repentance for our nation. It was a beautiful thing to see the Body of Christ working together. There were no discussions of doctrinal differences or jokes being made at the other’s expense. There were charismatics, liturgicals, blacks, whites, Asians, non-denominationals, small churches, and mega churches joined together in harmony with a single purpose: to pray for repentance and revival.

It reminded me of the church I worked at in Cairo, Egypt. There were over 15 denominations represented and more nationalities than that in one church. It was called a microcosm of Heaven. It was incredible to be on staff and watch as people from various backgrounds, denominations, and nationalities worked together to further the Kingdom. The Body of Christ can function as one and these two prove it.

Psalm 133:1 says, “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (NLT) It is possible for us as believers to focus on what we have in common, instead of what divides us, and to live in harmony. I Corinthians 13:13 says, “But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” We do have differences, but so does a hand and a foot. They have different functions, but are apart of the same body. It’s time that we as believers started to live in harmony and work together to win this world for Jesus. It will take all of us doing our part to handle the coming harvest. Will you be one who differentiates body parts or will you be one working in harmony?

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The Best Friend 

  
I don’t know of a greater friendship in the Bible than that of David and Jonathan. I Samuel 18 says their souls were knit together. Jonathan knew he was next in line to be king, but also knew that God had anointed David for that role. He gladly gave up his rights to the throne for his friend. His loyalty was to what God wanted and not what he was entitled to, and it showed in his actions.

When Saul was desperately trying to kill David, Jonathan would warn him. He helped David escape. On one such occasion in I Samuel 23, Saul was trying to find him, but God hid David. In verse 16 it says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God” (NLT). To me, that’s what real friends do. They go to their friend in need and encourage them to trust God and to stay strong in their faith.

David didn’t have to tell Jonathan he was tired of living in caves, constantly having to hide, or that he was hungry. He didn’t have to tell him that he was doubting that God knew his situation and was telling God to wake up. As a friend, Jonathan proactively went to David and encouraged him. He prayed for him and stood by him in the struggle even if it meant his own father would kill him. He didn’t care about the consequences to his own life.

I would venture to say that many of us don’t have a friend like that and aren’t willing to go to that extreme for someone. However, each one of us can encourage another friend to stay strong in their faith. Each one of us can go to someone in need to stand in the gap for them and to pray for them when they don’t have the strength or faith to do it themselves. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity” (AMP). Be like Jonathan and love your friends in the good times and in the bad. Be there for them in adversity and encourage them when they’re weak. God will honor you if you do.

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Don’t Panic

  
It didn’t take long after David killed Goliath for Saul to despise David. He tried to kill him underhandedly over and over again by putting him in positions where the odds were against him. Each time David was outnumbered or up against the wall, God made David victorious. I Samuel 18:14 says, “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him” (NLT). This only made Saul hate him worse.

Even though David was successful each time, it was still stressful for him. In Psalm 59:4, David cried out in prayer, “Wake up! See what’s happening and help me!” He was scared and felt like God was asleep and not even paying attention to his situation. He was afraid and unsure that God even knew what was happening to him. He prayed long and loud for God to deliver him.

I find it interesting that one writer says that God was with him and made him successful and David’s own words were, “Wake up, God!” I wonder how many times in my own life that God is with me and I don’t even realize it. Just because I’m going through a difficult  situation, it doesn’t mean that God is asleep or has abandoned me. It doesn’t mean that He’s not paying attention.

Instead, God uses these times to prepare us for greatness. The struggle is what gives us the character and strength to do what God is calling us to do. Just because we can’t see God’s hand in a situation or don’t feel His presence, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there with us. Whatever we are facing, God is there with us. We can change our prayer from, “God, where are you” to what David said in verse 9. “You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress.” Even though David had moments of panic, he remembered where his strength and protection came from. We can do the same.

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Spiritual Eyes

  
When I was in high school, I played basketball. We had a great team every year except for my senior year. We had a sophomore on the team who was 6’8″ tall. The problem was, he wasn’t very good either. Before every game though, while the other team was warming up, I would send him out to the court. I would say, “Here’s what I want you to do. Go out there to our side of the court, reach up as high as you can on the net, hold it, and just stare down the other team with a mean face. Do that for about a minute, then walk back in here.”

I knew that the other team would judge him by his size and not his ability. That’s just how we are wired. God knew that when He sent Samuel to Jesse’s house to find a new king for Israel. I Samuel 16:6 says, “When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!’” (NLT) He was looking for a person who looked like a king. God was looking for someone who would act like one.

In verse 7 the Lord said, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” He wanted Samuel and us to learn to see people the way He does. He doesn’t look at the brand of clothes we wear, the car we drive, the job we have, the neighborhood we live in, or the people we are connected with. God looks at our ability to serve Him and to be obedient to His voice.

In the next chapter, when the Israelites faced Goliath, they made the same mistake. When they looked at him, they saw a mighty warrior. When they saw David, they saw an inexperienced boy. David won the battle not because of who he was on the outside, but because of who he was on the inside. He had spent time with God in prayer and in worship. He had been on his knees long before this battle began. In the spirit realm, their size was flip flopped. David was the giant and Goliath was merely a little boy.

Whatever you’re facing today, let me encourage you not to be discouraged by what you see. It is not as it appears. Quit looking at it through your physical eyes, and learn to see it with your spiritual ones. You are more than a conqueror. You are a child of the King of Kings. You have the One who is greater than anything living in you. Rise up with the confidence of knowing who you are inside, fight, and win your battle. If God is for you, who can be against you?

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Saving Jesus

  
A few years ago, i played the part of Pilate for our church’s Easter drama. As I rehearsed my lines and got into character, it dawned on me that I was the one sentencing Jesus to death. My first thought was, “I don’t know that I want to play this part.” Of all the characters in the drama, I’m the one who has the power to save Him and keep Him from being crucified. Even though I find no fault in Him, I still release Him to the mob to be killed.

As I struggled with playing that character, it hit me that it wasn’t Pilate who sentenced Jesus to death. It was me. Me! Chris Hendrix. It was my sin that condemned Him. It was my faults that nailed Him to the cross. These are things that I’ve known my whole life, but as I began to play the part of Pilate, I realized I’ve not really fully accepted that blame. I’ve been shifting it to those who actually crucified Him.

There were all kinds of accusations being brought against Jesus in the different courts that night. The religious courts made up charges against Him, but they didn’t stick because the people they paid off couldn’t get their stories straight. They continued to harass Him and finally found a “guilty” verdict for Him speaking the truth about who He was. They just didn’t want to hear it.

In Pilate’s court, the religious leaders shouted accusations. In fact, the Message says, “The accusations rained down hot and heavy.” During all of the accusations, Jesus didn’t say a word. He fulfilled the prophesy in Isaiah 53:7 that says, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word” (NLT). Pilate was impressed that He was silent among all the false accusations and tried to pass the buck to Herod in Galilee. He didn’t want to be the one to condemn Him.

When Jesus came before Herod, all Herod wanted was to see Jesus perform a sign or a miracle. When Jesus remained silent, Herod became offended. He dressed Him up like a king and joined in with the others and began to mock Him. They insulted Him to try to get Him to speak. Finally, he got board and sent Him back to Pilate. He couldn’t find a reason to condemn Jesus either.

We all fit into one of these courts with our lives. We can be like the religious leaders and say that He wasn’t the Son of God. We can accuse Him of lying and deny that He was who He said He was. We can be like Herod and mock Him and those who believe in Him. We can say, “Show me a sign and I’ll believe.” Or we can find ourselves like Pilate. We are impressed with Him and find no guilt in Him, but refuse to act on it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what court you’re in, it was each of us who condemned Him to death. He went willingly to the cross for those of us who lie about Him, those of us who mock Him, and those of us who bow to the pressure of sin.

Each of us in our own way condemned Him to death. Even though I thought that as Pilate I had the power to save Him, I really didn’t. His ultimate plan was to die on the cross. If He hadn’t been crucified, we would still be in our sins and without hope. He kept that in mind as they hurled their accusations at Him. He loved them enough to stay silent in the face of their lies. He loved them enough to not perform a miracle for Herod. He loved you enough that He willingly died so He could pay the price for your sin. The real power was in His hands, not Pilate’s, and He used it for us. He took our “guilty” verdict on Himself to make us “innocent”. This Easter weekend, if you haven’t thanked Him for that, let me encourage you to. If you’ve never accepted Him for who He was and is, it’s time to recognize Him as the Son of God and invite Him to be Lord of your life. He died for you. Will you live for Him?

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A Fast Decision

  
As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I’m forced to make a lot of fast decisions. When people suddenly brake, I have to decide to slam on mine or change lanes. I also have another fast decision to make. Do I bless them or curse them? I would love to say that I hand out more blessing than cursing in traffic. The truth is, in those moments, we default to calling the other person a name, yelling at them, gesturing at them, and or using our vehicle to inform them we don’t like their driving.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz had to make a quick decision. He knew who Ruth was and what she had done for Naomi, so he was very kind to her. On one certain night, Naomi told Ruth, “Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4 NLT).

Imagine Boaz sleeping after a hard day’s work and then being woken up by someone pulling the covers off his feet. More than that, he notices it’s a woman. His thoughts may have been, “What if someone sees me laying with a woman?” They could have been, “How dare a servant take my covers!” Whatever they were, when he made a quick decision, it was to bless and not to curse. He told Ruth, “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz not only blessed her, he admitted that there was another family member who was a closer relative to her than he was. Boaz was willing to give up Ruth because it was the right thing to do. He acted with integrity and with a heart that blessed before it cursed. Each of us should adopt that kind of heart. As followers of Christ, we should be about blessing instead of cursing, giving instead of receiving, loving instead of judging, and building instead of tearing down. Our light shines brightest when it blesses. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” ‭(MSG‬‬).

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No More Hiding

  
I always enjoy reading about Gideon. There is so much to glean from him and how God used him. At the time, Israel was being bullied by the Midianites. When their crops would grow, the Midianites would trample them. They would also steal their livestock so they had no meat to eat. It was a scary time to be an Israelite. Even Gideon was hiding when God called him a mighty warrior. He couldn’t see how he was a mighty warrior or that God was with him because of what was going on in Israel.

In Judges 6:14-15, the conversation continued, “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’” (NLT) Not only did he feel like God wasn’t with him, he thought of himself as a nobody from nowhere.

God doesn’t care where you’re from, how unimportant you think you are, or what your circumstances look like. He doesn’t pick His leaders that way. God looks at the posture of your heart and your availability. You will never have the capability on your own to accomplish what He’s calling you to. However, with His help, you will be the mighty warrior He sees in you and is calling out. It takes faith and courage to come out of hiding in order to be all that God has called you to be.

Gideon had to come out of the wine press if he was going to lead Israel against the Midianites. You’re going to have to come out of where you’re hiding too so God can accomplish His will. He won’t force you out. You have to choose to step out. He has already spoken to you. He has already called you more than you are. It’s time to quit making excuses and be who God called you to be. If you do, God’s promise to you is found in verse 16. The Lord said to him, “I will be with you.”

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