Using What You Have

August 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

I love, love, love being able to do things that I am talented in and passionate about. I tend to put a lot of mental time on things that would fall into that category. Sometimes it is my sermon, sometimes an art project, or sometimes it is a speaking project. All these things I love to do and when I get an itch for an idea, I just run with it.

The above areas are some of the things that I have been blessed with talent and competency, to various degrees. One of the running themes in all of the areas are creativity. I like to be creative.

Another thing I like about spending my time doing anything that would fall into those categories is that it generally benefits others. I believe that when we are doing things that will benefit someone, in the end, it is definitely worth the time spent.

On the contrary, if you are doing something that doesn’t benefit others then it may not be worth the time spent. There are very few tasks that cannot be used to benefit others. Helping someone out makes me feel good and think my talents are worthwhile.

We all have things we like to do which can benefit others. What is it that you can do? Can you help someone move, cook/bake, crochet, cross-stitch, draw, paint, carpentry, tutor, etc.?

Whatever you have, use it…so that it may benefit others and glorify God!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving me the talents that I have. There have been many open doors to use these talents, especially when I offer them to others rather than keeping them back for myself. You have opened door after door to let me use my talents. I can see how not burying the talents helps to multiply them.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more’” (Matthew 25:19-20 NIV).

The Best in the World

By Jarrod Spencer –

As the 30th Summer Olympic Games drew to a close, I had some remorse. It is always fun to see the “best in the world” come together to compete in the various sports that make up the Summer Olympic Games. Some sports gain more attention than others; some are iconic.

Through the years there have been Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis, the “Dream Team” of 1992, Mark Spitz, Florence Griffith-Joyner to name a few.

One “Cinderella” athlete this year was in women’s gymnastics, Gabby Douglas. She helped lead her team to gold in the team competition and won individual gold in the “all around.” Her story is unique. Four years ago, she mentioned that she wanted to be in the Olympics in 2012. She also wanted to be with the coach of 2008 Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson. Gabby said that it looked like Shawn and her coach were having fun, also stating that Shawn’s coach seemed to push her more than she’s been pushed before.

In order for her to have the coach she wanted, she had to go away from her home in Virginia to West Des Moines, Iowa. This meant leaving her family to go live with a sponsor family. She went through highs and lows during her time of training in a seemingly uncomfortable situation. She even wanted to quit and go back home. I know she’s glad now she didn’t!

I want us to think about how many times we may be put into an uncomfortable situation when it comes to sharing our faith. That doesn’t mean simply inviting someone to church. Maybe someone is struggling in life and we don’t know if we should say “Let’s pray” or “I’ll be praying” because we don’t know how they will respond. Imagine what the outcome might be if you would “go for the gold.” I challenge you to work through any areas of discomfort and follow through with what you might be passing up.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father for how you work in our lives to make us potential “winners” in the Kingdom. May we work through our uncomfortable tendencies and “go for the gold” for You.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (II Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

Leaving a Legacy of Yourself to Yourself

By Jarrod Spencer –

Legacy is defined as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” As a parent, I am conscience of the choices I make with and in front of my children will affect them long-term. I am creating a legacy for how they will operate (act, prioritize, associate, etc.). For example, how I treat their mother, how I walk the Christian walk, how I treat others, or how I raise them.

I think that when we go day to day, as parents, we may forget that compromising on some areas in life may have some detrimental outcomes to our children’s future. But think about how some of the same areas of compromise can have detrimental outcomes to our own future. That reminds me of this quote from Foster C. McClellan, “Create the kind of self you will be happy to live with all your life.”

If you’ve ever played Jenga you know that it is inevitable that the tower will fall. You build and build, but sometimes things happen that causes the tower to fall and you start the game over. Each day is a building process, even adding to others’ lives. Some days we may “tear down” others with a choice we made. Then, other days we are building back up. Hopefully, there is more building than tearing down!

As you are building on your own life, you should look to create a legacy, within you, so that the future will be a good one.

I am not talking just about morals, treating others, the Christian walk, but also our physical health is important. Other choices we make now will reflect on ourselves in the future. One nutrition fact I heard of late, that it takes about 60 minutes of walking to expend a 12 oz. can of soda. So, you can either increase your exercise for the day or decide to cut out that extra and drink water for one meal. That really put it into perspective for me, both from a personal and parenting perspective.

What will the “you” look like in 5, 10, or 30 years? Will you be happy to live with yourself at that time in your life?

PRAYER: Father, thank You for my children. May I always be conscience of the choices I make affecting me, my family, and others.

“Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. A man will reap exactly what he plants” Galatians 6:7 (NIV).

A Benefit of Failure

By Jarrod Spencer –

Failure is a part of life. No one is going to have a life (from birth to death) without some areas of failure. Also, there will be repeated failures. Not all failures are going to represent “giving up.” However, they may facilitate the idea of giving up.

It can be frustrating as a parent when you know your child is capable of achieving something and they are not seeing it yet. They are failing and want to give up. You see the bigger picture, know their abilities, and try to help them to make it to the next mountain peak, rather than be sullen in the valley.

One of the few benefits of failing is to learn from it and have a new tool to be able to help you through life. Thinking on that brings me to this quote from Samuel Becket, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

As I mentioned, it can be difficult for a parent to be able to cause a child to go forth with something that they know the child can accomplish. With that said, don’t you think that God, as our Heavenly Father, may look at us sometimes and think “You can do this” while we are saying “I just want to quit.”

We are like that more often than we think. Our challenge is to try to look past the obstacle and see the opportunities. So even if we do fail, we fail better!

What have you had success in regarding a “do over” and what have you learned in the process? Remember, even if you fail, you fail better.

PRAYER: Father, I am thankful that though I fail, I am a new creation in You. I am thankful that You allowed Your Son to die for my sins. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have my sins forgiven when, by faith, I am baptized, being immersed, into water. I am thankful that even when I make a mess of things later, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses me from those wrongs. Thank You!

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ESV).

A Benefit of Failure

May 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith

By Jarrod Spencer –

Failure is a part of life. No one is going to have a life (from birth to death) without some areas of failure. Also, there will be repeated failures. Not all failures are going to represent “giving up.” However, they may facilitate the idea of giving up.

It can be frustrating as a parent when you know your child is capable of achieving something and they are not seeing it yet. They are failing and want to give up. You see the bigger picture, know their abilities, and try to help them to make it to the next mountain peak, rather than be sullen in the valley.

One of the few benefits of failing is to learn from it and have a new tool to be able to help you through life. Thinking on that brings me to this quote from Samuel Becket, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

As I mentioned, it can be difficult for a parent to be able to cause a child to go forth with something that they know the child can accomplish. With that said, don’t you think that God, as our Heavenly Father, may look at us sometimes and think “You can do this” while we are saying “I just want to quit.”

We are like that more often than we think. Our challenge is to try to look past the obstacle and see the opportunities. So even if we do fail, we fail better!

What have you had success in regarding a “do over” and what have you learned in the process? Remember, even if you fail, you fail better.

PRAYER: Father, I am thankful that though I fail, I am a new creation in You. I am thankful that You allowed Your Son to die for my sins. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have my sins forgiven when, by faith, I am baptized, being immersed, into water. I am thankful that even when I make a mess of things later, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses me from those wrongs. Thank You!

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ESV).

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