The Intent of This Blog

This blog is intended to be a tool for the growth of whoever wants to use it. It is a daily journal intended to help us be more introspective. Every day I will do my best to supply a motivational quote, a Bible verse, a vocabulary word, and a personal message from myself. Use these if you like as motivation to improve yourself. Then, simply answer the daily questions provided honestly and see if it has an impact on your life. Zig Ziglar said, "If you don't have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer." Lets not be just dreamers but doers. Remember Martin Luther King Jr not only had a dream, he also had an objective. Thanks for reading, Jake

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Monday, July 21, 2014

To Serve or Not to Serve

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” - William Shakespeare

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. - Philippians 1:21

Vouchsafe: “to grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” To be honest I’m not a Shakespeare buff. And to be more honest I’m kinda ripping this message off from one of pastor Rick Warren’s recent podcasts. Not in words, but in subject. This question posed by Hamlet tells of the struggles of life. Is it worth it to live when life can be so hard? Is it worth living to see a loved one die? Is life worth dying for? Contrast that to what Paul had to say about life. Paul was one of the most persecuted people to ever live. Eventually he was martyred for his faith. But he understood that living and dying for him, was of God. Yes, life brought struggles, and death could assuage them. Yes, life brought joy, but as Hamlet would say, “What dreams may come?” Yes, life is vouchsafed us graciously, but it’s also grace that can take it. It’s grace that can make it into something new. It’s grace that gives us a hope and a future. A hope and a future of better things to come. A hope and a future of promises yet unfulfilled. A hope and a future of perfection never-ending. Grace makes all the difference. It’s that grace that leads us into servanthood. And it’s in that servanthood that we understand that life is not about us. It’s about what we do for God and what we do for others. In his statement, Hamlet was contemplating suicide. And in his statement Paul accepted whatever God’s grace would grant. “To be or not to be” is not the question. To serve or not to serve destroys the argument. Because it’s in service that we find our purpose. It’s in service that we find contentment. It’s in service that we see what we were really meant to be. We were meant to be children of God. That is what He calls us, and that is what we are. The problem is that many of us live in a dichotomy between serving something greater and serving ourselves. In that dichotomy we usually decide to serve ourselves first and others if there’s time. But it’s in the service of others that we serve ourselves best. Because it’s in the service of others that we find that God will fulfill all our needs. “To be or not to be” is the question of someone who has lost the perspective of purpose. They’ve lost the value of service. And in so doing have lost the value of life itself. We are not valuable to ourselves only. We are most valuable in the service of God and His will for our lives. Join me in deciding to serve. Join me in propagating God’s grace. We will struggle and fail. But we can persevere. The beauty of it is that we can serve wherever we are. Be it at work or at home. In the mission field or in the park. It’s a life worth living when it’s in service.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Bridge

“The two hardest test on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.” - Paulo Coelho

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. - James 1:12

Gauntlet: “go through an intimidating or dangerous crowd, place, or experience in order to reach a goal” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes it’s not for us to know path, or even the destination, but to just take the next step. There will be times when we don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do. Times when we simply need Jesus to be with us. Times when only God can understand. But what about the times when you just can’t seem to feel His presence? It seems like maybe He’s abandoned you altogether. What about those times? It almost seems unspiritual to think about those times. What must our relationship with Him be like if sometimes it feels like He’s not even there? I don’t know the answer for you. I’m not sure I even know the answer for me. But that is why it’s important to build our faith in the times when He seems close. Faith is what bridges the gaps in our spiritual lives. It can suspend us over the valleys between the peaks. Build on it at the mountain tops and it will carry you through the plains of life. Because that’s what life feels like sometimes. A vast desolate plain. We’re just hoping for the next “World’s largest ball of twine,” or “Cadillac Ranch,” to keep us somewhat satisfied. Sometimes if feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere and the gas needle is starting to touch the E. Heck, sometimes if feels like it’s buried in the red with no fill-up in sight. Hold onto Him. Keep trusting. Take the next step in faith, even if it’s all we have. Because sometimes that’s all He’s given. Just one more step. And then He’s there. So what’s this gauntlet of life for anyway? Why can’t we just hang out in peace by the river with no worries? Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” - John 10:10 We’re the “they” He was talking about. It’s not God’s gauntlet, but the thief trying to steal and kill and destroy. He’s the inventor of these vast dry lands we go through. He’d love for us to stop moving in the desert. He doesn’t want us to find peace. He wants us to struggle. Ultimately he wants us to die without a savior. But we have a savior. We have Jesus, the Savior. Willing to search for us in the desert and to even die for us in the heat, so that we may be saved, if only from ourselves. Trust in Him, put one foot in front of the other and let Him lead you to the other side.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grasping At Perfection

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. - Romans 7:18

Zenith: “the time at which something is most powerful or successful” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Don’t settle for what you think is perfect. Henry Ford built 19 mostly unsuccessful cars before he built the Model T. But he almost destroyed his company because he believed the Model T was the perfect car. He was a pioneer in wages. People called him crazy for trying to pay his workers five dollars a day. But later in his life he was seen as an abusive employer because he refused for so long to admit that five dollars was not enough. Henry Ford did some great things, and he was called a great man for doing them. But then he refused to move forward. Perhaps he believed that he was great too, and that he didn’t need improvement. Perhaps he felt towards his utopian world, towards his company, the way he felt towards his Model T; that it was perfect just the way it was. The Model T shows us a glimpse of what we believe is perfect. From our human perspective it was the perfect car in 1910. However it’s far from adequate in 2010. What in our lives do we view as perfect? Is there anything we believe can’t be improved upon? If so, we are in danger of becoming stagnate. Sure, there’s plenty of perfection out there. But we don’t have the ability to know it. God’s Word is perfect because it comes from a perfect God. Other than that, everything in this world could use some improvement. When we look at nature we can see something greater than humans have ever made. But it’s been tarnished by us. When we look at what we make we can see ever improving products. But they’re often used to damage what God has given. The digital and the analogue ages have given us many things that have improved our lives. We can know what’s happening all over the world in an evening now. We have the opportunity to spread the gospel to millions without ever leaving a bedroom. There is good that can come from human invention. But let’s never assume we’ve reached the zenith of achievement. A flower may not be connected to the internet, but its technology is many times greater than the greatest invention made by man or woman. We make roofs, but God made the sky. We build airplanes, but God made the birds. Nothing we do will ever amount to what God did and can still do. Let’s remember that when we’re tempted to believe anything we make is perfect and worth holding onto. 

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Number 20

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” - Henry Ford

Then Peter cam up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As man as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” - Matthew 18:21-22

Fail: “be unsuccessful in achieving one's goal” - New Oxford American Dictionary

How many of us want a little more for our lives? I’m not talking about money or things, but rather, difference. How many of us want to make a little more of a difference? I think most of us do. We want to raise our kids to become great people. We want to make life better for others. We have a burden to ease suffering. But it’s hard. It’s sad how hard it is to make a good impact on this world. Want to make this world a little worse? No problem, just live entirely for yourself. But a positive impact, that will take the most work you’ve ever done in your life. Over and over you’ll fail. Over and over people will tell you to stop trying. Over and over you’ll want to stop too. A good life is hard work. Don’t let the work stop you. Embrace it in fact. Find joy in it. Growing up on a farm Henry learned the value of hard work. But it wasn’t farming that he wanted to work hardest at. He had a desire to make a difference. Eventually he found himself working for the Edison Illuminating Company. Maybe it was there that he became inspired by the stories of Edison’s perseverance. Maybe he had heard what Thomas Edison said about creating a production light bulb. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Maybe we will too. There will be times and days when everything we do seems to fail. It’s only failure if we give up. That’s the thing about success, it never gives up. Start with A and move through the alphabet. If plan A doesn’t work, move to plan B. If it fails move on. Keep going. That’s what Henry Ford did. He moved through the alphabet all the way to T. Number twenty became the most significant car in history. Ford had to try and fail and try again over and over to finally find a way to make a difference. And not just in automobiles, in lives as well. People thought he was crazy when he introduced the five dollar work day. But he wanted more than to just make a car. He wanted to make people. He wanted his workers to be able to afford and enjoy the products they were making. That was revolutionary at the time. And it wouldn’t have happened if he had given up at plan S. He had to make it all the way to number twenty, plan T. Who knows how many times we’ll have to move on to the next step, the next plan. Maybe that forgiveness we need to grant just won’t stick. Maybe that project we’ve been working on for years now needs just one more try. Maybe we’ll have to suck up our pride and go against advice one more time. Whatever it is, make it about doing good. Not just success, or breakthrough, but significance for what is right. Let’s be revolutionary in our desires. Let’s let God lead us to His ultimate goal for our lives. Don’t be afraid to dream. Even after the last dream was smashed. Do it again and again. God can and will make a difference through you. It’s hard work, but what a world we could have if we all tried just one more time. 

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How To Delete Time

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Nelson Mandela

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. - Ephesians 5:15-17

Procrastination: “the action of delaying or postponing something” - New Oxford American Dictionary

“Just four more minutes!” How many times have you heard that? Four more minutes of watching TV before bed. Four more minutes of sleep before getting out of that same bed. Four more minutes of relaxation, then I’ll do the chores. I feel like the word procrastination was made just for me. You can’t spell it without pro, and I’m definitely a pro at it. But there are times when it absolutely kills. Whatever it is we have to do isn’t going to be easier in another four minutes. In fact it will probably be more difficult if anything. Maybe we need a new perspective. Maybe we need to focus on the future just a little bit more. I know, the common wisdom these days bombards us with the idea of “living in the moment.” And that’s fine if we’re just trying to find the most joy in every moment no matter what our activity. But too often I think we take living for the moment to mean simply, have fun all the time. But that’s not possible. Sometimes we need to set up the moments. We need to take advantage of those four minutes and instead of wasting them, add them up so that they become significant amounts of time to enjoy later. Don’t feel like mowing the lawn? Doing the dishes? Are you dreading cleaning out the car? Instead of wasting time avoiding the activities we don’t want to do, what if we did them right away and banked that 15 or 20 minutes? Then in the end those minutes will have a much greater potential to bring enjoyment, because they’ll be filled with relaxation instead of tension. If this whole thing sounds like a speech your mom gave you in sixth grade I’m sorry. However, it holds truth. I know, many of us find joy in those few minutes on “snooze” in the morning, and that’s ok. However, sometimes we just need a little reminder in order to get back on track. We need a different perspective from someone else to encourage us to adjust what we’re doing. Time is one thing we can’t earn more of. It’s one thing we all have the same amount of. Are we managing our time wisely? There will come a day when time will be infinite with Jesus, but today is a finite day, how will we live it? Will we waste it, or will we use every bit of it on purpose? Remember the parable of the talents Jesus told? His point was that we should use everything God gives us to its full potential. We don’t have to be busy in every moment, but we can do our best to ensure every moment counts. In doing so, we can add quality time to our lives, instead of deleting the time we see as having no potential. Every minute has potential, it’s up to us to find it. Every second was given to us by God, it’s our responsibility to use His gifts wisely. How will we use our time today?

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake