Losing Fear

By Jarrod Spencer –

It lurks around, a g-force, always present and more powerful than gravity, keeping you down. It is fear. It lurks even in the daylight. It doesn’t have to jump out to scare you anymore; you’re already past that point. You know it is there. It has encompassed you to the point that you think about it throughout the day.

What causes this fear for you? Would you like to be free of that fear? Would you like to be fearless?

To identify the possible fears that many people share would be a writing that would be way too long. But, all fears have similarities. They consume. They errode common sense thinking.

Jesus’ followers also were afraid when the storm came while they were on the water. They exclaimed in panic, “Lord save us!” Similarly, in a loud voice, since it was in the midst of the storm, Jesus replied, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?!”

In the midst of your storms, times of panic, or times of desperation Jesus is calling these same words out to you.

Perhaps we can use this section of text to help us conquer our own fears. First, make a list to identify your fears. Writing them down may make it easier to visualize, which may make it easier to confront and overcome.

Secondly, remember that as the thunder roars, Jesus snores. Imagine trying to sleep on a hammock while it was being tossed back and forth. I don’t know if the storm was that rough, but Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of it. I find value in the fact that He was able to sleep, which should bring peace to me in my storms, knowing that I can “sleep” as well.

Thirdly, you’re not just a “number.” We are so valuable to God that He knows the numbers of hairs on our head and our worth is greater than the sparrow (Matthew 10:31). God finds so much value in you that He gave up His son for you.

Finally, Jesus is always available. He is on call “24/7”. So, “do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1-3) and take advantage of that availability whenever you feel fear weighing you down.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for calming the storms in my life.

BIBLE VERSE: “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-25 NIV).

“Emergency, Emergency”

June 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Jarrod Spencer –

“What are you going to be when you grow up?” If you ask my son this question, his answer will be “a fireman.” Over his short forty-seven month life, he has told us that he is going to be a Chinese-food worker, a Pizza Hut worker, and a few other occupations when he grows up. The latest, a fireman, has come after being introduced to the movie “Fireproof.”

Wanting to be a fireman has invoked a wide range of imaginative play. He takes the plug-in side of a cell phone charger to be the walkie-talkie that a fireman uses. He has used his bicycle helmet to be fireman’s helmet. He uses a small oatmeal container with a bungee cord through it as an oxygen container. It is rarely a dull moment when his imagination is in full swing and “Fireman Caleb” comes out to save the day.

Recently, I picked up a play fireman’s hat for him. The other night my son was going through his pre-bedtime ritual when I heard him exclaim, “Uh oh, Dad, your razor is in the toilet.” I ventured into the bathroom to find that one of the attachments to my mustache trimmer was located at the bottom of the toilet. My fourteen-month old daughter decided to exercise her new talent. As I reached into the water my son exclaims, “Emergency, emergency!” He had gone into his room to put on his newly acquired fireman’s hat. Now he came into the bathroom with only a t-shirt, underwear, and his toy fireman’s helmet. As I pulled the attachment out of the toilet, I couldn’t help but laugh.

As I thought about this situation, I think that God must have his moments where He watches us scurry around in our “emergency” situations and is thinking, “Relax, I have this all under control.” Do you go through situations like that? However, in the grand scheme of things they are pretty little? Maybe it is losing your keys, missing a turn, forgetting an assignment at home, or a host of other issues we face.

Does God become worked up over those types of examples? I seriously doubt it. So why do we?

Are you in the middle of an emergency? Remember that God has these things all under control.

PRAYER: Father, may I rest in You. May your Spirit prompt me to rely on You and not me in matters I deem as an emergency.

BIBLE VERSE: “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV).

“Before” Still Gives You A Choice

June 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

If you are like me, you’ve probably had many moments where you either knew or felt that you shouldn’t have said something, could have said something differently, or wonder if someone took it wrong what you said. These are not fun moments. They can aggravate you like a rock in your shoe. You think about it, worry about it, and want to fix the situation.

Though easier said than done, there are some ways we can prevent that feeling. It comes from a poem titled “Before You”, by William Arthur Ward…

Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.

Not all of these are situations where you make a mistake and have to go back to correct it. However, they are some simple, everyday, applicable phrases to help us through some situations in life. Some of them may impact you more than others. Some may make you really look within. Some might be what you wish someone else would keep in mind.

“Before” is a powerful word that says things are at the fork in the road. “After” is when you chose to take a path. “After” is no turning back; “before” is when the option of taking another route is possible.

Try to put the “Before You” tool in your pocket to pull out at the many opportune times that will come about in your lifetime.

PRAYER: Father, help me to listen, think, earn, investigate, wait, forgive, try, save, and give as I go through life.

BIBLE VERSE: “The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (I Kings 19:11-13 NIV).

Buckle Up! Adventure Calls.

By Jarrod Spencer –

“In this world you will have trouble.” “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

These Bible texts are not likely what people would put into an evangelism book. John 16:33, Acts 14:22, and II Timothy 3:12 are the verses above, and they paint the Christian life in a way that may not be appealing. Usually we emphasize a life that is attractive to people by talking about grace, forgiveness, and the new life that will follow one’s conversion.

Those topics are important for people to hear and there is nothing wrong with these supporting texts. However, the Christian life is filled with lots of adventure – some peaks, some valleys.

In a new television series titled Pan Am the pilot episode ends by one experienced stewardess telling a rookie stewardess as they are getting ready for takeoff to “Buckle up! Adventure calls.”

As I heard that line I thought of the life of a Christian. Some Christians may have rarely experienced such adventure. I would challenge those to look over their life and consider that they may be “pew warmers.” They come to the church building, take part in the activities, and go about their life. They experience nothing deeper in their Christian life. It is superficial Christianity.

Why is it superficial? Partly because they do not take risks. Risks in putting their faith in an invisible God. Risks in showing their faith. Risks in getting out of their comfort zones. They do what is safe.

About a year ago, someone contacted me to ask if I could help them with their marriage. This kind of help does not mean putting a band-aid on the bleeding wound and sending them out to play. It requires an investment of time, and I had a schedule that was full. Buckle up – adventure calls.

“I need to talk; I think I may be going to jail.” I was met head-on with a statement like this once, immediately after coming home from the office. I was ready to be home for the evening, but I left to invest time in that person, and did not make it home until eleven o’clock that evening. Buckle up – adventure calls.

I never know what is in store for the day. As I “take off” each day I need these words – buckle up, adventure calls!

PRAYER: Thank You Father for letting me team up with You and see the adventures that have come my way as a result of making faith more tangible. I love teaming up with You to see what we’ll join together on throughout the day.

BIBLE VERSE; “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17b-18 NIV).

What Will You Do With Tomorrow?

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. You’re only a day away.”

Most of you probably know that line comes from one of the main songs on the movie “Annie.” Tomorrow allows freedom. Freedom to start over. Freedom to have a new set of 24 hours. A new set of 1440 minutes. A new set of 86,400 seconds.

How we use each “tomorrow” is up to us. Most days, “tomorrow” is something I look forward to because I enjoy my job. Only a few days, job or otherwise, do I not look forward to its arrival.  Either way, it is still a new day, and you can do with it however you wish. This brings us to this quote by Lyndon B. Johnson, “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.”

Tomorrow is not here yet. Yesterday has already past and you cannot change that. Now is present and you can choose how you deal with the choices you face. However, what will you do with tomorrow? How will you make it a great day? How will you make someone else’s “tomorrow” great? What will you do? Wave, smile, buy lunch/dinner, etc.???

Go and make someone’s tomorrow great!

PRAYER: Thank You for my “tomorrows.” May I use them to glorify You, to point people to You, and make others’ tomorrows be better by how I reflect You to them.

BIBLE VERSE: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV).

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