Working Hard by Doing Hard Work  

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We have a common phrase we say when it seems we are not able to complete a task..."I can't". You've said it, I've said it, and those yet to be born will say it. I remember saying it in school when trying to find an answer to a question. However, there are times it feels that way with God. That feeling where you just can't go on another minute/day with the situation the way it is right now.

Schools have started; practices have started; life has always started. All these things require us to work hard. This brings us to this week's quote...

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~ Newt Gingrich

Usually, when we say "I can't" we haven't even arrived at the point of perseverance. However, when you get to the point of thinking you can't do it any more after putting in the hard work, you have to continue working hard to complete your goal.

I encourage you to keep on working hard in your marriage, Christian walk, at your job, at school, a giving up bad "habits", at starting good "habits", in your friendships, in your sports practices, in coaching and in other areas of life.

Work hard at working hard!



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Summer is a common time for families to go on trips. Kids are out of school and the weather is good; a good time for traveling. Vacations allow for adults to get away from work for a period of time, too. Getaways provide for families to grow together, as this may be one of the few times they can be together for period of time without the interruptions of life. Now that summer time is ending, getaways will be coming to an end.

Where do you like to go? A few years ago, my wife and I went to the Mt. Rushmore area and camped for over a week. We were with my in-laws and we didn't have any kind of "schedule" and it ended up being very relaxing. It also gave me a refueling to return to my job. That brings us to this quote...

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. ~Seneca
We are in a state of traveling at the moment. It has been nice to get away from the normal life and take a "road trip" with my wife and son. We have been meeting new people and seeing family. We are not going to be done for about a week, and we are yet to meet more new people. I have been able to clean out the "mind" and forget about things at home (well, kind of forget) to enjoy the trip.

Traveling, whether it is just out for a country drive or a trip, has held true for me to the point of this quote. I like getting away and allowing the "renewing the vigor of the mind".

May you have opportunities to get away to renew your vigor or reflect back on your family trips as memories to remind you how blessed you are to have the family you have been given.

Getting away...

Seeing Life Differently  

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One of my biggest annoyances is waiting. Whether it is waiting on a phone call, a service technician, or traffic, my attitude towards these instances of waiting do not rank that high on the scale. The longer I have to wait, the worse it can get. How about you? What are things that cause your attitude to go south? Weather, slow cashiers, or atmosphere at work may be areas that affect your attitude. As we focus on the idea of attitude, be inspired to be different as you read this quote...

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude. ~ Katherine Mansfield
As I look to apply this quote to my life, I would focus on waiting. Waiting on a phone call could enable me to pray for that person who is supposed to call me back. Waiting on a service technician could enable me to pray for the person coming and the opportunity to share Jesus with them. Waiting on traffic could enable me to pray about the person in front of me or to praise God for various abilities He's given me.

What areas would apply this quote toward? If the weather hasn't been what you've wanted lately, maybe it is an opportunity to be reminded that we're not in control. If you are fortunate to have a slow cashier, maybe it is an opportunity to encourage them. If your job is getting you down, maybe it is an opportunity to pray for your coworkers, bosses, or employees.

As you look at those areas that affect your attitude, see how you can view it differently so that your attitude can be different. I will bet you will be surprised how your life will start to develop a different appearance.

Anxious to see the outlook of my life as my attitude looks different...Share/Bookmark

He Bore Our Sins - I Peter 2:20-24  

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What have you done that you felt guilty over? Break something of someone else's, lie to someone, or any number of other things. Guilt causes us to carry baggage that we are not equipped to carry. Too much will weigh us down. When it comes to our sin problem, it is nice to know that Jesus bears our sins, so we don't have to bear them.

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus and how He took the sins of ours and placed them on His body, so that His sacrifice could take them away. Here are some applications to use from this lesson...

  1. Give Him Your Guilt ~ We've all sinned. Some are very impacting on our lives. Make it a regular practice to give Him your guilt by confessing your wrongs. The wrongs of the past may be lurking, depending on what they were. If they were "washed away", then they are no longer on the record books to be judged against. Acknowledge the wrongs and leave a lot "lighter".
  2. Confess Your Wrongs ~ When you've done something against someone else, practice the action you were taught since you were a child...Tell them you're sorry! Sometimes, just making the call or "coming clean" can make all the difference in the world. It is probably worse on you than it is on others (depending on what it is).
  3. Breathe a sigh of relief ~ As Jesus has "bore our sins", praise Him for doing so, but then take a deep breath and sigh with a sense of relief, knowing what He's done for us.
Once you do not have to carry the guilt or you've confessed to the crime, you can breathe a sigh of relief because that baggage is no longer weighing you down. You may have to suffer the consequences, but you don't have to carry the weight.

Walking lighter...Share/Bookmark

Striking the Flint  

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If you've ever watched the reality show Survivor, you know how important fire is to the participants, regarding their survival. Fire is one of the things that they need to boil water, keep themselves warm, ward off predators, and various other needs. Without fire, they are in trouble. If they go too long without fire, they are doomed to starve or dehydrate. In the early part of the show, there will be a game that gives flint as a prize. Though the winner may have flint in their possession, they must use it correctly to produce enough spark to get fire.

Fire, sometimes associated with passion, is also important to the survival of the soul. Food and water keeps the physical body alive, but passion feeds the soul. That leads in to this week's quote...

Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel
We are all just "possibilities". There is a possibility that you could be a host of different things. But, when you have a passion about something, you will inevitably start to move toward it.

Want to see a change in something? Don't just be the flint that sits on the shelf, never to strike the iron; rather, be the flint that moves toward the iron. Your fire may not start with the first few strikes, but the collection of strikes is sure to get a flame going.

Without food and water, the physical body is in trouble. Without fire, the soul is in trouble.

May passion create a fire within you so that you will not be just "possibility and latent force".

Striking the flint...Share/Bookmark

Lifted Up  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

Things have been a bit rough over the past few weeks, but there are silver linings that God brings about at just the right time. This is an entry to help remind myself when things are looking down, I can look back on here and re-read. So, if you find this entry not like the others, that's OK.

Since April, the local newspaper has been running some of my blog entries to run as a column. As a way to get into peoples' lives, I thought this could be something to reach people in our community. I have no idea who reads the articles and who doesn't. However, I do know that there have been a good number of people who have told me how much they have appreciated reading them.

About a week and a half ago, I received an e-mail from someone letting me know how much they enjoyed my articles. Last week, we were getting our son his booster shots and the receptionist mentioned her appreciation; I was getting a haircut and the lady who cut my hair said that she and others had enjoyed the articles. Just today, within 10 minutes of each other, I was told by two people that they recognized me from the paper and enjoyed reading the articles.

Even in the rough patches of life, God can use you for the benefit of others and can lift you up at the same time!Share/Bookmark

Fullness of Christ - King - Luke 23:2-3  

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Have you ever anticipated the arrival of someone or something and, upon arrival, you were disappointed? Be it a surprise that wasn't what you expected, a person you pictured differently, or a package that arrived broken. I've been there before in the case when I was expecting a package to give as a gift, and it came, at the nick of time, but wasn't what I expected. It was heartbreaking. I bought it without seeing the actual item and when it came...disappointment.

I wonder if people felt like that at all when Jesus came on the scene? They had anticipated the coming Messiah, royalty. They didn't get a "great" son of a well-known family. Instead, the people received a "carpenter's son". A blue-collared Savior was not what was expected. Disappointed, probably (at least by some). "This is it. I've been looking forward to a Messiah, and he is it?!" Not a very good welcome into the world, would you agree? Yesterday, we looked at Jesus as a King. Here are some applications to choose to use this week...

  1. Jesus wasn't a disappointment, after all. We see only what we choose to see. See a forest or an adventure? A mountain or extra time to spend with God? May we recognize Him as the "ruler" that He is and submit to His authority, as "all authority" (Matthew 28:18) has been given to Him.
  2. Jesus' Kingdom is not bound by earthly limits. Kingdoms bring about a sense of protection and security. Praise Him for setting up His Kingdom and giving us the chance to be a part of it!
Christ is the king of many things: truth, salvation, grace, peace, righteousness, glory, saints, the ages, kings, and is eternal. (Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:38; Hebrews 7:2, 1:8; Matthew 25:31-34; Revelation 19:16, 12)

May we appreciate Him all the more as He is, hopefully, the King of our lives, as well!

Seeing Jesus even "fuller" and letting Him rule...Share/Bookmark