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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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fill In The Blank


“That others may live.” - USAF Pararescue Slogan

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:5-6

Slogan: “a war cry especially of a Scottish clan” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In US Air Force Pararescue training you’ll be drowned. By drowned, I mean given a task to do underwater until you can’t hold your breath any longer, inhale water, and would die if it weren’t for your trainers rescuing you. Why? It seems so cruel. But they don’t do it to be cruel. It isn’t a pleasant experience for sure, but it isn’t to be cruel. They do it to remove a persons fear of drowning. “But we need to fear drowning to stay alive,” you might be saying to yourself. And you’re right. However, an Air Force Pararescue man or PJ can’t fear death either. They’re slogan, “That others may live,” is a sentence that purposefully leaves out the expectant subject and their action. There’s an unstated blank before the statement that begs the question, “Do what?” so that others may live. The answer is, “You fill in the blank.” And now we know the answer as to why a PJ can’t fear death. It’s because they have to be willing to be tortured and die so, “That others may live.” It’s their job and they’re proud of it. My question is this. Could we live by that slogan? By that war cry? Certainly we’re not all called to be military rescue operators, but we are called to save. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13 We may never have the opportunity to save a physical life, but there’s no doubt we’ll be faced with saving a spiritual life. “But how?” You may be wondering. “Will I have to pray in front of people?” “Will I have to ask people if they know the Lord?” “Will I... (state your greatest fear hear)” Maybe… That’s why it’s important to train. So that our greatest fear loses its power. Drowning is pretty high up on most people’s fear list, that’s why to be a PJ you must be drown. But as scary as drowning my be, speaking to others about Jesus may be higher on many people’s list of fears. We need to remove that fear. But how? Answer: I’m not sure. It may be different for you than for me. However, I do know this. Dirty jobs always seem much worse before you get your hands dirty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling evangelism a dirty job. But it does take some getting used to. It requires we get involved in things we may not be comfortable with. It requires... Fill in the blank. So that others may live. So that others may have the “Peace of God which passeth all understanding.” - Philippians 4:7 So that others may see Jesus face to face. That’s evangelism and it’s something to be proud of. Not because of our own efforts and what we do, but because of who we’re serving. God and others. “That others may live.” At first glance it seems like an incomplete sentence. However, upon further inspection, it’s as complete as it needs to be. Who’s the subject? Others. What’s the action? Live. Could a sentence like that be written about our lives? And what would it take for that sentence to apply to our lives? Fill in the blank.

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keep Your Claws


“We can’t avoid reasoning; we can only avoid doing it well.” - Peter Kreeft, Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. - Psalms 119:105

Apologetics: “systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

My wife and I have a little Persian cat named Millie. As you may know, Persians don’t make very good outdoor pets. Their long fine hair makes it impossible for them to effectively groom themselves. So they get matted and dirty very easily. On top of that, it’s dangerous to let them outside because they’re often stolen. So Millie is an indoor cat, despite the fact that she loves to run and climb and try to kill things, like most other cats. The problem is her claws. Like I said, she likes to climb. But we have no trees inside our house, so couches and chairs have become her trees. It’s a constant struggle to keep her from trying to climb those “indoor trees.” We’ve even thought about having her claws removed so she can’t do any more damage. She would certainly be easier on our furniture without her claws. However, cats are made to have claws for a reason. They provide the ability to hunt, defend themselves, and escape danger. So much of what a cat is, is found in their claws. They may not need them inside, but they’ll always need them outside. And even indoor cats escape to the outside every once in a while. As Christians, many of us reside in the proverbial “indoors.” There is no danger to our lives, no challenges to be faced. We go to church and hang out with other like minded Christians. We go to work and don’t talk about our faith. We walk the streets of our cities and towns looking no different than any other person. For most of our lives we have no need to defend our beliefs. And so we often become “Declawed Christians.” Our identity is in Christ, but we have no way of defending ourselves, of sharing the Gospel, or escaping ridicule. It’s true, most of our lives will be lived unchallenged. However, we will all be challenged at some point. I want my cat to have her claws just in case the next time she tries to explore outside the house she’ll be able to escape a neighbor dog. And I want the same for you. So how do we retain our claws for Christ? And what in the world is a claw for Christ anyway? Our claws for Christ are anything that can help us defend the Gospel. Their technical term would be “Apologetics.” They consist of a knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, the ability to understand and form arguments, and the ability to think logically from the Christian standpoint. It’s important as believers to know what we believe. It’s important to have a firm foundation to our faith. And it’s important to be able to recall the sources of our spiritual identity. Many books have been written about apologetics, so it would be impossible for me to talk about everything pertaining to it here, (and I’m not really qualified). However, here’s a start. Get into God’s word. Listen to it, read it, memorize it. You’ll never know when you’ll need it. It’s not as hard as you may think. Sure there are hard parts to the Bible, but you don’t have to start there. Start with the gospels, continue with the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. God will lead you to His word if you give Him a chance. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn and how your perspective on everything can change. God is our source of life and His word is meant to be food for our souls, able to strengthen and sustain us. What’s more important however, is that it builds a relationship with Him. And it’s out of a relationship with Him that these words of Jesus can become true in our lives. “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” - Luke 12:11-12

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, November 21, 2014

Love What You Do


“We all need a job, but if we love what we do, we’ll do a better job.” - Jack Georges (Owner of Jack Georges Inc.)

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13

Dictation: “the action of giving orders authoritatively or categorically.” - New Oxford American Dictionary

What can we say about a God that’s in control? 1 John 5:4-5 says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” What kind of way is that to talk? That as Christians we overcome the world! But it’s not for us to be rulers of the world, rather, over-comers. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of control. There are more Christians on this planet than any other group. Does that mean we get to control everyone? That we get to dictate Christianity? Not at all, rather, as Christians, it gives us the opportunity to serve the entire world. In a conversation Jesus had with His disciples about authority He said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:25b-28 Our victory is not for ourselves in a way that makes us victorious. It’s a victory of Jesus’ that gives us salvation. It’s a victory of faith because of what Jesus did for us. As Christians we are to be like Christ in that we are to follow His example of servanthood. Our positions of control and power are to be used as positions of service, not dictation. We were given the greatest service ever known by Christ when He lived and died and rose again so that we can have a hope and a future. Can we continue that service? I hope so, because it is our job as Christians. It’s our job as Christians to love. And when we take that seriously, how could we not love our role as Christians. To love… It’s at the heart of Christianity, because it is the heart of Christ.

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, November 20, 2014

All Things New


“And You’re making all things new
You are making all things new
God You’re making all things new
We are free.
You’re love never ending
You’re grace never failing
Redemption is calling us home.”
-Excerpt from the song All Things New by Elevation Worship

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. - Psalm 51:10

Steadfast: “firm in belief, determination, or adherence” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

For some, this may have been a tough week. Tough on the heart. Tough on the mind. Maybe even tough on the body. There are a lot of weeks like that. The fact is, there are a lot of months, years, even lives like that. But no matter what, He makes all things new. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” - John 14:2b-3 He also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” - John 8:35-36 Sin has us all in captivity. It deprives us from good and depraves us to pain. It tarnishes everything and enhances nothing. There are times when it appears attractive, times when it contains excitement. However, it always brings pain. It always brings suffering. We can’t escape on our own. But we can be free of it. We can be saved. Jesus did the work. The Son set us free.  So now, whatever it is that weighs heavily on our minds. Whatever it is that holds us back. Whatever it is that guilts into shame… It’s gone. Through the power of the Cross they’re all gone. He is making all things new. He is capable of creating a pure heart. He is the source of steadfastness. I’ve often heard the phrase, “I’m too far gone for Jesus to love me.” You’ve probably heard it too. Maybe you’ve even said it. Bull s#*t. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” None of us can earn His love on our own merit. We’re all too far gone for that. If you could see inside the heart of someone who you thought never did anything wrong, you would see cancer and disease. But Jesus saves. He’s making all things new. And one day all things will be new. We’ll live in perfection. Sin will no longer bring sorrow. It will no longer bring death. It will no longer tarnish what is good. Can you imagine? All things new…

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, November 19, 2014

Under God

No Mountain, no valley
No gain or loss we know
Could keep us from Your love

No Sickness, no secret
No chain is strong enough 
To keep us from Your love
To keep us from Your love

How high?  How wide?
No matter where I am 
Healing is in your hands

How deep?  How strong?
Now by Your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands

Our Present, our future
Our past is in Your hands
We’re covered by Your blood
We’re covered by Your blood

How high?  How wide?
No matter where I am
Healing is in Your hands

- Excerpt from the song Healing Is In Your Hands, by Christy Nockels

Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen - Ephesians 3:20-21

Palliate: “allay or moderate (fears or suspicions)” - New Oxford American Dictionary

I’ve heard it said that while visiting the grounds of Gettysburg before his address, Abraham Lincoln committed his life to Christ.  I can’t remember where I heard it, and if I could, I doubt it could be proved.  What we do know however, is that Lincoln’s faith in life was evolutionary.  What we do know, is that his faith grew.  What we do know, is that he was like all of us.  He was on a journey with the Lord.  Gettysburg was by some accounts the bloodiest battle ever fought in the western hemisphere.  And so, on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln came to honor the dead at their memorial there.  And it’s in that speech that Lincoln by many accounts inspired our nation’s motto.  “Under God.”  It was in that speech that Lincoln stood with our nation’s founding and with God and repurposed a country to its Creator through an improvised line.  In his original draft Lincoln wrote, “We here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  However, Lincoln strayed from what he wrote leading up to the visit and speech.  Not significantly in words or length, but profoundly in meaning.  The words he orated that day have never been forgotten and they still ring in our nations ear.  “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”  And so today as we look back seven score and ten years we can be thankful for a nation that through its faults and failures has always been under God.  May we realize that, when we see the division in our midst.  May we realize that, when we see destruction.  May we realize that no matter our opinion; no matter our belief; no matter what others think of us; we are all under God.  And that in God, there is healing.  Healing from Civil War.  Healing from deep disagreements.  Healing from this world.  His is no palliation, but a healing.  No assuagement, but a cure.  He is the only cure.  Healing is in His hands.

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