Hungry for Something Chocolate

November 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Jarrod Spencer –

On occasion, my schedule will allow me to take my four-year-old to work with me for a couple of hours. These occasions will generally be in the morning before lunch during weeks which I am ahead of schedule. During one of those “ahead of schedule” weeks, I was completing my preparation for a new sermon series by placing a compilation consisting of 30 pieces of paper, tiled to make one big picture, on the wall in the auditorium.

While I worked, I set up a movie for my son to watch in one of the classrooms at our church. During that time, he made several trips to my office to tell me about something that just happened, to play with something in my office, or just ask for some M&Ms I have on my desk.

It was nearing lunch time and he came to me in the auditorium. He asked for some M&Ms. But nearing lunchtime, I said “no.”

He responded, “I really want some, I’m hungry for something chocolate.”

His sincerity and vocabulary made me laugh.

Upon reflection, I considered that when we are hungry for or craving something, we know it will really hit the spot to eat that item. Maybe it is food or something you drink. Either way, we simply anticipate the moment that we receive it so that moment can be savored.

That same day, we were expecting our new “single cup coffee maker.” It was a name-brand and I could not wait to try the coffee. Once I did, it really lived up to its branding, and I looked forward to the next cup.

The same is true for God. When we experience special moments with Him, we crave similar moments. We look forward to the next encounter. As my son had experienced the good taste of chocolate and wanted more, so we should want more of God once we experience Him and His goodness.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for being so tasty that I simply crave You. You are an amazing God and please use me to Your glory as I continue to look forward to our next encounter to help people know more about You.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)

Don’t Make ‘Em Hunt For It

November 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

Last year, I pulled in to Sonic Drive-In to get a late night snack. As I was perusing the menu, I noticed the Easter-themed promotion of the Sonic Card (aka gift card). It read, “Don’t make ‘em hunt for it.” That phrase grabbed my attention.

One of the common events around the Easter holiday is egg hunting. When I was younger, I enjoyed hunting for the hidden eggs when I was younger. The mystery alone was fun to solve: where are they hidden? In addition, who can resist the candy that waits inside? That delicious, cavity-enhancing material is very appealing.

Easter should be about the tomb and the Resurrection. In the early morning, the tomb was found empty. However, in the days prior to this, it had been filled. Though it wasn’t filled with chocolate, marshmallows, or jelly beans, it was filled with something sweet to the soul. Jesus occupied that tomb. Jesus had been flogged and tormented, resulting in His death on the cross. To make sure he was dead, they pierced His side. Then, they took Him down and laid Him in the tomb.

Three days later, on the first day of the week, two women approached the tomb, only to find it empty. Others looked inside, but there was no Jesus. Where was He?

He had risen. And Jesus chose not to make His followers hunt for Him. He came to them.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:16) doesn’t instruct us or allude to the “come” concept. The first imperative in Matthew’s account is for us to “go.”

Easter is this month. Go. Go to the people and let them know the greatness of your Savior. It may lead to questions. It may eventually lead to someone being saved. You never know. However, accept His mission to go to the people, not expecting them to come to you.

The sweetness that comes as a result of the Gospel will also create a cavity. A cavity created as Satan and self are pushed out, now can be filled with Jesus!

Remember, don’t make ‘em hunt for it…Go!

PRAYER: Father, may I reveal to others what You have revealed to me. May the ‘good news’ of my sin-disease cure be something I share with others. Thank You for making a way for me to return to the glory I lost as a result of sin. Thank you for clearing the Tomb where Jesus’ was laid and demonstrating the power that comes through You.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

No Victory in Mud Slinging

October 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

Complaints are a dime-a-dozen. A child complains about what’s for dinner. A fan or player compains about an official’s call, or lack thereof. A customer complains over dissatisfaction with their food. We complain over an actor’s work in a play/film, the weather, the government, or how a church operates. Quite simply, we find it easy to complain. We want to be satisfied, so when we’re not, we don’t give second chances and we let people know about it.

Have you been receiving complaints?

I’ve had my fair share. I once thought I wanted to be a “famous” preacher. However, after knowing all that they go through from skeptics, I reconsidered, and no longer want to be well-known.

If you have been experiencing some complaints lately, the following quote from Rubel Shelly is for you: “If criticism is mistaken or mean-spirited, rise above it. Maintain the high ground when you’re under fire. No victory is worth winning at the expense of picking up the mud that has been slung at you and throwing it back.”

Would you agree it is easy to throw mud back? There are people out there that will always complain about something I have done. They have slung mud when they were upset. It took a lot to imitate Christ and not sling it back. Though it may make me feel good to throw it back, there is no victory found in mudslinging.

If you are thinking about slinging some mud, don’t. If you’ve been slung at, don’t sling back. There is no victory in that. Rise above being under fire! You can gain victory by rising above, rather than lowering yourself to their level.

I am ever trying to maintain the higher ground, with his help.

PRAYER: Father, may I imitate Your Son’s example when He was on the cross and did not sling the verbal mud back that was hurled at Him.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:21-23 ESV).

Surprise Me, God

September 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

One Sunday morning about five years ago, I was taking a shower to get ready for the day ahead. As I was praying, I asked God to surprise me. To be quite honest, I cannot remember if anything amazing happened that day or not.

What I do know is that that phrase in my prayer changed the way I looked at things from that point forward.

It was as if I was the blind man that Jesus placed mud upon his eyes, then scraped it off so I could see clearly. Or Saul, after his sight had been returned. I could now see things I had not been able to see before. It changed my outlook on the people I encountered throughout the day. I looked forward to situations that came about as “God-sent,” and not just coincidences.

I anticipated something great happening when I would go out into the world. I wondered, with an on-the-edge-of-my-seat anxiousness, what God was going to do with the people I came in contact with or where He was going to send me that day. I could sense the Holy Spirit working to connect me with people that needed Him. I felt so much a part of God’s earthly team that I was in the game the entire time, no sitting down to rest. I was looking forward to the next mountain-top experience that may be waiting around the next corner.

I would be lying if I said that everything I encountered was a mountain-top experience. However, as with sports, when you hit that “sweet shot” in any sport, you look forward to the next opportunity. Even though the next shot may not have been as sweet or powerful, I looked forward to the next opportunity.

I do know that about six months after praying this prayer regularly, we found out that we were going to have our first baby. This came after eight and a half years of not being able to have kids. Our excitement was indescribable!

As I mentioned, I am still praying that prayer and look forward to whatever, or whomever, God has in store for me on any particular day.

I challenge you to ask God to surprise you as you look to the future. It’s a wild ride, but quite rewarding!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the many surprises You have given me. May I continually keep my spiritual eyes open to see what You bring into my life at any given time. Keep them coming, God! I cannot wait to see all that You will surprise me with tomorrow.

“She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, ‘Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus’” (Luke 1:29 MSG).

212 Degrees: The Extra Degree

September 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Jarrod Spencer –

Missing something by a fraction can make a huge difference. A kicker on a football team may miss a field goal because he went a bit too far right or left. A chemistry experiment may become volatile because the mixture was measured with just a little bit of error. There can be so many things in life that a small difference can make “all the difference” in the world!

Two hundred eleven degrees in water is nothing but hot water. It will burn you, but other than that, there isn’t much of anything special about it. But if you cause that water to become just one degree hotter…magic happens. Bubbles start to form. Power comes forth from where there was no power.

Two hundred twelve degrees is the boiling point of water. When water boils things happen that didn’t happen prior. Think of all the recipes that direct you to bring something to boil. Think of the first locomotives that were driven by steam, and the power they produced to carry heavy loads from one coast to another. Think of the germs that are killed through steam or the wrinkles in clothes that are ironed out because of steam.

Steam comes as a result of the boiling water. There is a lot of power that comes in steam and boiling. But it all “boils” down to the fact that none of that would have happened if it had not been for the extra degree …from 211 to 212 degrees.

As you are in your second month of 2012 think about moving from the degree you are now to moving another degree and imagine the impact that you/we can make for God as we produce some amazing power!

PRAYER: Father, You are amazing. You blow me away! You were willing to go to the extra degree for us to make sure that we could regain the glory we lost when sin separated us from You and that is simply awesome! Thanks for thinking of me (and others) by allowing us to have Your Son to make us whole again!

“And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:12b NIV).

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