How Do You Carry?  

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Recently, I was talking to my wife, after seeing our niece carry our 7 month old around, about the way girls carry small children “on their hip.” You have probably seen this be performed, if you haven’t carried a child that way yourself. The carry is to the side, on top of the hip bone.

My comment leaned toward not understanding how girls typically carry children like that. I cannot do that, and it be comfortable. I will carry kids on the front, somewhere – right or left or with both arms.

Given that, everyone carries children differently, but we all still carry them. Some like to carry on the front, in a harness-like apparatus. As they get a bit older, you may carry them on your shoulders or piggy-back. It is all different, but it is all carrying.  This brings us to this week’s quote…

Everybody carries some type of burden. It's how you carry it that counts!  ~ George Bernard Shaw

How do you carry your burdens? Around your arms, on your hip, on your shoulders, piggy-back, or in a back pack? Maybe you just load them up in the back of your figurative pick-up. Maybe you put them in a box and push them around on a dolly (aka hand truck) and take them wherever you go.

The Bible instructs us to do two things with our burdens: 1) give them to Him (I Peter 5:7*), 2) give them to others to help us with them (Galatians 6:2**).

The way I carry a small child may be easier in certain ways than others, either way I am going to carry the child. It is up to me to decide how. The same goes for you, my friend, you can carry your burdens any way you decide to. Some are easier than others, but how you do it is up to you. The best way is to combine the two ways the Bible instructs.  Carry on!

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*I Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

**Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other's burdens , and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)

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Get Out Your Dust Cloths  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Is it time for a little “spring cleaning”? Time to get the rubber gloves out, the work clothes on and get to work.

It might be time to do a little spring cleaning on ourselves, which brings us to this week’s quote…

The final step in our spring cleaning is to dust off your dreams.

Take them for a spin. Is there something you really want to do? Go out and do it now. There's no point in waiting until you are dead to start living.

It's never too late to make a New Year's resolution. After all, when is the year newer than when the birds start to sing and the flowers are popping up and the days are getting ever lighter (via “The Happy Guy”)

Are you ready to break out the spring cleaning on your dreams? What dream will you be dusting off to pursue?

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Demanding From the Father  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

“GIVE ME! GIVE ME, IT’S MINE!” Ever heard something like that? I have. In fact, I’ve probably said something like that years ago. Possessiveness seems to parallel selfishness when it comes to being demanding.

We also are demanding when we use the place where we stand on a situation as the standard. With religion and politics we label conservative or liberal. With time it is too fast or too slow. With knowledge it is smart or dumb. Where we are determines what word we use to label someone else. When we place expectations on people to become closer like us, we are demanding of them to become like us.

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) we see a young, immature son who is placing demands on the father. He is demanding his inheritance from his father. He requests his inheritance with little patience couched in the statement. As we reflect on Sunday’s lesson, here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  • Who Holds the Possession ~ Impatiently asking for something from the father creates a false sense of possession. As the item requested is being held by someone else, at the time the request is made, we must understand they have the right to give it to us or not. Our father’s may hold the ability to get their child’s car fixed, butt hey do not have to get it fixed in the time that the child wants it. The father holds all the power of the distribution of the possession, but decides when to use it, not when you cannot wait any longer.
  • Humble Yourself ~ Last time I checked, the sun, which the earth revolves around, was in the sky, not a person on earth. No matter what position we hold on the earth, we are not the center. May we be less demanding and challenge ourselves to live in humility with others.
  • Gifts are Given Voluntarily ~ Whether it is an inheritance or a general gift, they are given out of care for the person. Understanding that they can be revoked or change should cause us to think about how much we should appreciate them when we receive them.

We have started our son out on a pretty good path when it comes to demanding things from us. Rarely will he say anything close to “give me,” and when he does, we are there to remind him that saying it like that is not polite.

May we all be reminded to ask from the Father with patience, not with an expectation that is wrapped in a demanding command.

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Make Up Your Mind  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

It is no secret that one of my pet peeves is to be in a group that has a difficult time making decisions. Whether it is “what to do” or “where to eat,” they all are involved in that category. Just this week I was involved in a situation like this. I was the “newbie” of the group, so I did not feel comfortable putting much input into the decision. For one, I was fine with anywhere to eat, but it seemed so many people were that we took at least fifteen minutes trying to decide. The ironic part of it was that our first pick was closed, so we had to go to “Plan B.”

I must admit that there are times when I have a difficult time making up my mind in certain situations, which made me “make a decision” to use this quote for this week’s quote…

The highways of life are full of flat squirrels who couldn't make up their minds.  ~Unknown

When I first read this, I found it to be humorous. Within the humor, I found the the truth.

When it comes to doing things in life, may we make decisions quick enough so that we do not “get ran over.”

May we not join the group of “squirrels” that are on the road of life, which failed to make a decision quick enough. So –– make up your mind!

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Leaving Behind Footprints  

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I was reading an article this week that was discussing Charlie Sheen. He is getting a lot of media coverage. Reports say that he is more “popular,” based on attention he is receiving, right now than President Obama and Lady Gaga.

Within the article, it mentioned something to the effect that it was sad how Sheen was going about presenting himself to the public. Some of it is on national television with interviews, but he is also recording his own rants and putting them on the internet for people to see — a free way to express yourself.

A portion of the sadness, as expressed in the article, would be that his sons would most likely be seeing these interviews and rants due to the electronic and technological age that we live in.

When I thought about it, I did think it was definitely sad for children to see their father (or mother) do things that are not only embarrassing, but saved in the archives of the electronic age to be continually embarrassing.

My parents may have done something crazy at one time in their life, but they were teens in the late 50s and young adults in early 60s. That was before there was anything electronic like there is now. If they did do something crazy (which I cannot imagine they did) I would likely be embarrassed or lose respect for them.

As we go about life, we must remember that we are leaving behind footprints. With the electronic age we currently live in, the footprints we leave behind have the potential of being permanent. Think about the crazy pictures and videos people post to their social media accounts. Think about that twenty-five years from now when the teens have teens or the parents are grandparents. It will be interesting to see what footprints are left behind. May we not only keep in mind those kind s of footprints, but also the spiritual footprints we leave behind. May our footprints be worth following.

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A Man Who Had Two Sons  

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How many people are in your family/household? In my household we have the “ideal” family of four. One gender of each child. We are blessed, not because of our family’s make-up, just because we are a family.

Family consists of a group of individuals with a common tie. Maybe it is ancestry or common beliefs. We all come into a biological family but are you a part of a family group outside your biological family?

Another question is “Are you committed to that family?” Each family needs to be have commitment behind it. Without commitment the relationship is fragile.

As we looked at the eleventh verse of Luke 15 that read “a man who had two sons.” The verse simply mentioned the concept that the man had a family which consisted of two sons. Family is where we are focusing with our applications to choose from to use this week…

  • Appreciate ~ Your family is unique, whether biological or spiritual. Either way, you are blood related. Being related by blood should keep you appreciating each other, even when you may not like each other too well, for whatever reason. Family is forever
  • Celebrate ~ If you were to win a big lottery amount, you’d likely want to go out and celebrate. In essence, as family is priceless, you’ve won the lottery. May we take time to celebrate the family that we’ve been blessed with.
  • Love ~ This is the “I’ll do about anything for you” kind of love. This goes past just about anything that is said by people. This is the “action” side of things – what will you do to prove it. With your family, love them. Do everything possible to show you care and that they matter.

Family is important. Family is priceless. Family is forever. Through it all, we’re still family.

 

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Experience…  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

What would you say to your 18-year old self if you could go back in time (or in the future)? Most are probably over 18 that are reading this, so I will write with the aspect of going back in time. 

Most of us wish we had the knowledge we have now when we were eighteen. That time of life is when things start happening. You jump off the edge of the nest to spread your wings and fly. Your first flights may not be too far away, but they are still away from the safety of the nest.

It would be interesting to hear what you would say to yourself if you could go back in time to that year when you turned 18. Experience does amount to a lot of knowledge, which brings us to this week’s quote…

"Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him."  ~ Aldous Huxley
This was said to be on someone’s resume. It seems very true when you think about experience. Lots of things can happen to you, but if you don’t learn from it or do something with that “happening,” then is simply happened.

However, if you have something that happened to you, like when you were 18, and you did something with it, you have gained experience.

What would you say to your 18-year old self if you could go back in time? leave comments…Share/Bookmark

Why Do I Need to Be Saved, I’m a Good Person  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Why would God allow good people to not go to heaven? Good people are esteemed in society. They are sometimes given awards. Sometimes they just fly under the radar and continue to do good things. Good people may be your friends, neighbors, and relatives. Good people are everywhere. However, good is subjective. Salvation is not.

Sunday, we looked at a lesson that dealt with salvation. Specifically addressing those that are needing a nudge or two because they feel they are a good person and do not need to be baptized. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  • All are “Good” ~ If I were to pick out people you interact with on a daily or weekly basis and ask which ones are “good,” you’d have your select ones that you’d put into that category. Your basis would be if they operated their life according to your “good” standard. When God made man, he said that creation was good. One time, describing it as “very good.” All are “good” because Jesus died for all people, not just the one’s who you decide are “good.” Appreciate how much God did for you this week. Say some praises to Him this week!
  • “Good” is Exterior ~ Generally the way we measure goodness is to see what they are doing with their life. How do they treat people or how they are dealing with life. Most “good” people are going to have a heart that is aiming to do what is right, even with the occasional stumble. Salvation is deeper than the heart, it is the soul of a person. What I view someone on the outside may not be what condition their soul is in. They may not be what I view as “good” but their soul is “saved.”
  • Good Will Not Get You Into Heaven ~ Jesus was asked about getting into heaven by a “good” person. Unfortunately, this person was not able to enter, at that time, because his soul wasn’t ready to commit to following Christ. Good is good but it will keep you on the earth. Salvation is the only way to arrive at the land of “no tears.”

Are you a good person – you probably are. Maybe a deeper question would be – Are you a saved person?  If the answer is “I think so” or “I hope so” or something that is not an emphatic “yes,” then you need to find out how to make it a “yes.”

Please feel free to contact me directly by leaving comments or e-mailing me at ichthus_man@hotmail.com.

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Don’t Pass Up Opportunities  

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I enjoy going to auctions. I have learned to like auctions and garage sales from my father. He enjoyed going to garage sales and looking through the miscellaneous to try to find the hidden treasure. He would go to consignment auctions when I was a teen and sit there and watch the crates of miscellaneous pass by. Bidding on some…letting others pass.

He disappointed me many times in the sense that I didn’t get what I wanted. It wasn’t something I think negatively about, but at the time I wanted things and disappointed by not getting them. However, I really enjoyed looking at the boxes and crates of stuff he would buy. I would look through them in search of a treasure.

One thing that common about an auction is if you don’t bid or bid high enough, someone will be there to take it from you.  That is the way it is with opportunities, which brings us to this week’s quote…

Opportunities are never lost, someone always takes the ones you miss.  ~ Unknown
Life is like an auction. You go through life seeing crates and boxes of opportunities pass before you. Will you bid on them? Will you keep bidding to buy them? Or will you let them slip pass you. If you let it slip past, someone will take it from you.

You didn’t lose the opportunity, based on this quote, you just let someone else take it.
Look at the opportunities as potential for someone…make sure that someone is you!Share/Bookmark

Your Big Break  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Go to a place like Nashville, Tennessee and you are bound to find people that have come there looking for their “big break.” This is an opportunity to make it big in a field that is constantly flooded with talent. There is talent for the younger and the older, the up tempo and the slow tempo.

Did you ever imagine a time which you would be one of those who’d receive your “big break”? Maybe it wasn’t music. The big break you might have imagined was to be discovered in a particular sport or other talent. Has it come yet? If not, mine hasn’t either.

Most of the time we think about a big break as something we gain some physical prosperity. However, what would happen if that formula was not even close to what we received?

Instead of receiving a contract for an album that had a minimal life existence, we received a life-long contract for a relationship with Him?

Working on trying to get a “big break” in the music or acting business takes a lot of time and patience. Practicing, writing, practicing, and doing laundry. However, no matter how long, He will make a way for us to be freed from sin. Being freed from sin can be our “big break” — a break away from sin to salvation.

As you see people who are hoping “to make it big” (in the spiritual sense) but just haven’t yet, remember that you have an ability to let them know how they can make it.

Someone may be looking for Jesus, but do not know it. It is your job to let them know how they can “make it big” and be a part of the greatest “big” opportunity there is!

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