Persistent or Stubborn?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Failure. Such a non-desired word to be labeled. It is what the "F" on a school assignment represents. I hardly ever received them in school, and because of that, they were so gut-wrenching to see. Who wants to be a failure, in school or in life? Some are not failures but a few mistakes and they are now stricken with that label.

Failure ultimately means when you quit trying. You may fail a test/assignment but that doesn't mean you failed the grade. Giving up and failing the grade would mean being a failure.Why do people meet up with failure? That brings us to this week's quote...

The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those, which fail. ~ Napoleon Hill

Sometimes there is a fine line between "persistence" and "stubborn." I can have a difficult time unscrewing a screw and I may need to be persistent in doing so. However, there are other times when I need to get a different tool or, if it's been stripped, just drill it out.

There is a guy in my family that has tended to use the "hit it harder" method when things don't go well. It has led to things breaking. As funny as it appears I know there is a lot of pent up frustration to cause the harder hits to come!

It is in those times we must "create new plans" and go from there.

For those of you involved with churches, I think churches can fall victim of this philosophy. They use methodologies that are not working anymore, but continue with "persistence" (in their mind) that really is being stubborn about "this has to work." Just because it worked years ago, doesn't mean it does anymore.

May we back up to try something else rather than continually walking in to the wall at the dead end of a labyrinth.

May we be persistent in trying new things, when others don't seem to work, and keep from failing by not being too stubborn with the "hopes" of something working.

Bank of Heaven  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Where do you do your banking? Bank of America, Western State Bank, People's National Bank, Farmer's and Merchant's Bank, First National Bank are just a few of hundreds of banks that are out there, especially when it comes to a "local" bank. How secure are these banks? They may have the latest lines of defense to cause them to be secure, but for every security plan out there a thief is trying to break through it. This could make you not feel that secure.

With all the breaches in security that could come about on any given day, it is a great relief to know that there is still one place that is the most secure...heaven. What you "deposit" there cannot be taken. When you place your belief in the promises of God, those cannot be broken into.

I feel pretty secure in my home, but it would only take one time for someone to break in for me to be very nervous about the possibility of a second time (or even a third time). After having our car broken into once and my church office on another occasion, I have been through the feeling of "lack of security" and it isn't enjoyable.

It has been said that we can lose "things" but we'll always have it as a memory. That is a much more secure place, however, there is a more secure place - heaven - and that is what we talked about this week in our lesson. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

  • Learn From the Past ~ Have you ever had something "broken into" or "stolen?" Maybe it wasn't just your locker, car, or house. Maybe it was in a relationship. Could have been a romantic relationship that you though was secure. But come to find out the other person did something to rock that relationship. Maybe they did something behind your back or took away your trust. Maybe it was a biological relationship that you thought was secure. Your parents got a divorce. You were the victim of abuse (physical, sexual, or psychological). All of these things are areas that will cause you to think your security is not that secure. Hopefully, they will cause you to look to heaven and not to anything on earth for security.
  • Prioritize Your Treasure ~ If you haven't seen a show called "Hoarders," you ought to some time. I've never watched a whole episode. People on there have so much stuff around their house it isn't even funny. When you have to turn sideways to go down your hall or move stuff around in your room just to go to bed then you have definite problems. Not to mention the ones with bug or mice issues. One of the main issues is that they prioritize EVERYTHING. The principle here is not so much on the "things" but where the "things" line up accord to God. Make sure He is above everything!
  • Stay Focused ~ When I was playing baseball, specifically as a pitcher, the key is to not "aim" but rather "throw to the glove." Where your eyes are headed your body will follow. Symbolically when you are looking at something you like, you will pursue it - whether it is being pursued with your legs or your attention.

As you think about where you're going to "bank" the great suggestion is to use the "bank" of heaven for the greatest security!


Are You Rusty?  

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Kids tend to like to play with dad's tools or older siblings toys, but they have a tendency to forget to put them up. I can remember getting into trouble by leaving either my father's or my brother's things outside. If a metal item, like a tool or BB gun, is left long enough, it can start to rust. Rusting is an oxidation of the metal, but it also gives a bad appearance to the item.

My son, a three-year old, is no exception. He also likes to play with my tools, but has a tendency to play with them a short time, put them down to go get something else or go to a neighbor's house. This causes him to forget about the item he was playing with and sometimes it is a "rustable" item. I have found screwdrivers and pliers outside my toolbox getting rusty. This summer he decided to put some toys and my tools in our "kiddie pool." I found a pair of pliers left in there after he had cleaned it all out.

Unprotected metal mixed with moisture creates rust. The longer the moisture stays "on" the metal, the more it will continue to rust. Rust will sit there and continue to oxidize, weakening the metal. This thought brings us to this week's quote...

It is not work that kills men, it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is rust upon the blade. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Are you worried about something? I know I am. There are all kinds of things to be concerned about. Our car recently had some issues - so each time I drive it, especially if long distance, I am concerned. There is not a local dealer for my make of car, so I don't know if someone really can look at it effectively. That is just one of the many things that concern me. And the thing is, it sits. I may get side tracked with daily tasks, but the concerns are essentially still there.

This weakens my potential. I know that if I could just have some concerns off my plate, I would be more free to be more effective - as a person, a husband, a father, a breadwinner, and as a minister. The good news is, there are times when things are taken off your list of concerns, it is like a grinder taking off some rust off the blade. That is always a good feeling.

There are times when I give it to God and feel a lot of relief. That is the real "rust remover." Philippians 4:6-7 keeps me on check to give things to God, and peace will come as a result.

I enjoy being able to have the rust removed! I would guess you do too. Maybe one of the answers would not be to leave our tasks of life outside of God. Keep putting them back where they belong - close to God, and they will stay rust free. Just a thought...


Fasting: A Warning - Matthew 6:16-18  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Fasting to attract attention is what Jesus was talking against in Matthew 6:16-18. How many of us have moments when we may do something to attract attention. It could be someone dressing or acting a certain way.

Those that are on the dating scene are always trying to draw attention to themselves to try to attract the opposite gender. Some that have been married a while may title their spouses "hypocrites" simply because they don't act the way they did when they were dating.

To fast by looking gloomy and drawing attention to yourself is absolutely hypocritical. Something Jesus was speaking against. Something that was happening in Jesus' day.

May we do our best to let ourselves look normal in life, whether we are fasting or exercising some other discipline, and not draw attention to us, but reflect everyone to the Savior!Share/Bookmark

Champions Are Not Made In the Ring  

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Who will be the winner of the 2015 Cy Young award(major league baseball pitching award)? What about 2018 NCAA Wrestling National Champion in the 150 weight range? 2022 Women's Wimbledon Champion?

All those are hardly even predictable because they are so far off. I will guarantee that those people are working hard in their field to try to achieve that goal. It is probably not just one person that is preparing for those events but several are looking forward to that day, whether they realize it or not.

These individuals are going to have an understanding that they will be crowned on those dates, not before. This brings us to this week's quote...

Grind! Practice! Grind! Practice! Champions are not made in the ring they are merely recognized there." ~ Joe Frazier

I don't believe that the only players that are successful stay after practice. There are several successful ones that have practiced those traits and it payed off for them. However, I think that a person who is dedicated to their field, putting in the time to improve their skills, will do well in the long run.

This week's quote has a lot of truth woven in it. At game time, it demonstrates how well you've been putting in work prior to the game. It is like a comparison of the results of a test, which are going to be reflective of how well you studied.

As you go through life, may you put in the time and effort outside "the ring" so that you will be recognized once you're inside "the ring." Share/Bookmark


Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Two hundred thirty-five years ago a group of people were “up to here” with the way the government was conducting themselves. Logic tells me that this unrest had been brewing for several years. Some probably thought “this was the way it will always be,” where others were thinking “we have to do something about the way things are.” Nevertheless, the people who had come over to this land from England were ready to start over. The problem, England didn’t want to let them.

This can sound a bit like us and our “old life” (II Corinthians 5:17). Our new life wants to be independent, but our old life doesn’t want to give it up. It wants to remain connected and have you ruled under that old life. All this results in having a continue battle for independence. Not inviting that old life back, but yet the old life will battle with us because it doesn’t want to separate.

Start to dissolve your connection between your old “selfs” and the new self for the sake of freedom. Be prepared for a battle that will inevitably come your way. Here is the concluding paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to see what they said as they concluded with this document.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. - John Hancock

Prayer: Why Must I Be Persistent?  

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I was a poster child for persistence when it came to trying to get something from my parents. Just this Father's Day (2011) I sent my father a card which I found in the store that modeled this past behavior. The card had a lot of questions in it, as if it were coming from a kid, asking over and over. It gave my father a good laugh (in fact, he comments often about "Where do you find these cards?").

Finding people's prayers or prayer life in the Bible is very fascinating. To see how they prayed, when they prayed, possibly the obstacles that they had to overcome in praying, the depth of their prayer, etc. are all interesting. Are there any particular areas that display prayer or praying, in the scriptures, that you find most appealing?

As we reflect back to Sunday's lesson, here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

  • Builds Relationship ~ When beginning a romantic relationship, a lot of times the first few minutes of the initial interaction may cause you to really be attracted to the person, aka "love at first sight." However, you really don't know the person, even if you're attracted, until you spend time around them and with them. That has similarities to our relationship with God. You may have some emotional connection at one point in our life, but spending time with Him continually in prayer, is how you will develop that strong relationship you need.
  • Relieves the Load ~ Having pent up emotions can play a number on your body. The longer they are kept in, the more they weigh and the more you want to tell someone. Ever felt good after telling someone what was on your mind? It might even be gossip that you have to tell someone. Regardless, you understand that feeling of getting it off your chest to tell someone. Take time to tell God about things that are on your mind - good and bad. Let Him take some of the load.
  • Haven't Forgotten ~ They say when you are applying for a job to check in once in a while to see how the search is going. It lets the employer know you are still interested in the job. Similarly, when we approach God with a request more than once it lets Him know that it is still on our minds and it hasn't left us.

Constantly asking of God will not be the answer to "getting what you want." We don't always receive what we want, even if we do ask more than once. However, I believe there is good that comes out of being persistent in our prayer life.

Have a great Fourth of July! (2011) Share/Bookmark