The Goodness of Where We Are

By Jarrod Spencer –

What is a better time to celebrate than the present? When you start to add up all the blessings you have, you tend to appreciate life more and more.

The past has already happened, so to bring it to the future is only carrying unneeded baggage. This is usually easier said than done, especially when you are emotionally attached to some of the past baggage. I have negative memories of my childhood that I can remember pretty vividly. I have found that those memories may come with me, but how it affects my future depends on me. I can decide if it will permeate into other areas of my life, or I can try to release it and go on with life.

This has been a struggle at times, but it helps to leave the baggage in the past and move on with the future so I can also appreciate the present. Gigi Galluzzo has a quote that is poignant to the idea of appreciating the present. She says, “Life is indeed grander than ever, when we take the time to understand every bit of the goodness that exists right where we are.”

Have you ever been in search of something, then discover that it was literally right in front of you? I have, and it kind of made me feel like a foot at that moment.

That is similar to how we should react when we are caught looking backward and forward and not appreciating the present. Time is something you cannot take back. It is here for the moment but then it is gone. Moments add up to minutes which add up to hours. Hours add up to be days which add up to be weeks. Weeks add up to months which add up to years. To drift from one to the next can create losses in life.

I lost a friend recently to a fatal motorcycle crash. With no warning, he and his wife did not have the opportunity to share any final words together. They didn’t know that hours after they said ‘goodbye’ he would be gone.

May we all learn to appreciate the present as we never know how much future you will have in this world.

PRAYER: May I always appreciate the present, even in times I am in my valleys. Help me to see the good things, even when times are rough. You are the great Creator.

“Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells” (Psalm 26:8 NIV).

The Journey to Porcelain

By Jarrod Spencer –

When I was studying art in college, I had to take a pottery class. It was a medium of art I had never had the privilege of working with. To say the least, it was difficult. I improved my skills throughout the semester, but did not come close to “having a handle” on this art form.

I remember being a bit frustrated when I would go to “paint” my pots and not know what colors were going to appear. Some colors will appear a different color as when they go through the extreme heat of the kiln.

Mildred White Struven shares this thought: “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go though the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.”

As life hands each one of us our fair share of challenges, we may forget what we can become by going through the heat, because of those challenges. Sometimes life can be tough and cause us to experience heat like that from the sun. And our goal is never to come out on the other side so hard that we are no longer flexible. Still, in order for us to be molded and reshaped, we are required to go through the deep heat of the furnace.

It is only through the heat in the furnace that the clay can become porcelain.

PRAYER: Father, may I always be moldable, never becoming so hard that You cannot work with me.

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

A View From Above

By Jarrod Spencer –

Recently I had the opportunity to take a trip halfway across the United States by air. Several years had gone by since I had flown. On this trip, I had a window seat each way. On the initial flight, I could see down to the ground. I couldn’t help but notice how small everything looked from that altitude.

I don’t know how high we were flying above sea level, but I knew it was well above 10,000 feet because at that height they turn on the Wi-Fi.

As I am looking out the window and noticing how small things were, I couldn’t see a single person who was outside. They were simply too small. This made me wonder that if I cannot see them, of what importance are they?

Of course, everyone has value and I was thinking sarcastically. I was trying to put myself in God’s position as I was looking down. If I couldn’t see anyone, He could. He can see each and every one of us, no matter if we are outside or inside. He cares for us from our “nose to our toes.” As simple as that seems, it is a powerful motivator. Having someone care for us, fully and wholly, is what each one of us craves.

Just because I could not see people from that distance doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. In all actuality, they do exist. They existed in droves and each person was important. They are important to God. You were one of those I couldn’t see. You are one of those people who are important to God.

Enjoy life by knowing you are not a “number” and greatly matter to God. I know it gives me goose bumps! May you have a new spring in your step by knowing you matter to God!

PRAYER: Loving Father, thank You for making me such a priority in your “day.” May I never forget how important I am to You. Thanks for making me important!

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV).

Idleness Stagnates, Involvement Excites

February 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

Have you ever noticed yourself being more tired on a day that you could lay around than on a day that you had to get up and go all day? I have. It seems odd that our bodies would be constructed in such a way that you get energy by expending energy.

I think that this principle holds true in the Body of Christ. If all who make up the Body are laying around, spiritually, then we are going to have less energy than we would if we were busy. As energy is given to the physical body, I think there is a parallel to the energy given to the spiritual body. I’ve been guilty of being lazy for God. I’ve felt that feeling of “church is just a few songs, some prayers, Lord’s Supper, a sermon, and an hour” feeling. Then, after you are done, you either chastise your experience or are grateful that you are finished and can move on to more fun things. I’ve lain around all week, spiritually. Looking back, I was more tired from not doing anything for God, than by accomplishing something.

John warns the lukewarm in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 3:16) Paul warns the idle of Thessalonica. (I Thessalonians 5:14) Zephaniah warns the complacent (Zephaniah 1:12). So, we can see that the less busy for God we are, the more likely we are to be spiritually tired. Busy for busy sake is not the same as being busy for God. Being involved with the church family and its activities is one way to be busy for God.

Based off of my personal experiences, I’ve learned that being involved keeps me excited to be a part of the Kingdom. I hope you will too!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for creating opportunities that I can be a part of which allows me to be involved in Kingdom living. Keep the opportunities coming because I love to team up with You!

“At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad’” (Zephaniah 1:12 NIV).

Wondering What Happened

January 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

Have you ever returned to a town you used to live and noticed, in your time of absence, things changed? Changes such as businesses closing, buildings torn down, and town expansion, etc. We reflect back to the days when we lived there and the way the environment used to appear.

I remember taking my wife to a town where I used to live. It was very small and it only took about 15 minutes to “tour.” I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, returning to the “Prairie Chicken Capital of the World”, with a population of 130 (in 2000), according to the Wikipedia website.

Change is happening in our world all the time. In order for change to take place, someone must be willing to work and carry out the work that creates change. For those that do not put in the work, they may wonder what happened while they were away. This brings us to a quote from a friend of mine, DudLee Brennfoerder, that challenges me as I think about change and the effort it takes to implement. “There are those that work, those who talk about those working, and those that wonder what happened.”

Which category do you generally fit into?

Usually those in the latter two categories have a difficult time seeing the purpose in a project. The more we’re a part of a project, the more we see the purpose and develop a passion in the project.

As you look around your community, workplace, or church, think about how you will be involved with a project/program. If there isn’t a work going on to be involved in, think about an area that you are passionate about and see how you can make it happen. Your passion may end up being magnetic to others, creating a desire in them to also be involved.

I am continually energized by being involved. It is very enjoyable to be involved in areas we are passionate about. It motivates us to the point that we may find it hard to quit. Get involved. Who knows what fun adventures are right around the corner that we never would have known without choosing to pursue our passions.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for giving me passions and open doors of which to practice those passions. I can’t wait to see what You have planned next for me to be involved in.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” (I Peter 4:10-11 NIV).

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