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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Friday, October 31, 2014

Purposely Consistent


“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” - Charles Kuralt

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:58

Consistent: “marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

There is definitely something to be said for consistency. It’s not always easy, being consistent, but it’s almost always easier than the alternative. And it almost always has its rewards. For years I didn’t go to church, not because I didn’t want to, but because I wasn’t consistent. I went when there was nothing else I wanted to do and when I felt like it. That equalled pretty much never. We all know how to be consistent. We consistently go to work. We consistently watch our favorite TV shows. We... But we often consistently fail at the most important things. Why? Family, Relationships, God, why aren’t we consistent in those things? Is it because there’s no paycheck involved? Is it because there’s no enjoyment involved? The answer is something we’ll have to figure out for ourselves. Too often we abuse forgiveness. Our families will forgive us for not being near. Our bosses won’t. God will forgive us for not having a relationship with Him. After all we’ve earned an entertainment break. But from God? In fact God will forgive us. And we do need to take breaks. Work is important, but so is purpose, so is relationship, so is God. What’s the point of a great job if it destroys our family? What’s the point of a relationship if we spend no time in it? What’s the point of God if we don’t need Him? The things we’re not consistent in, will become things of the past. That’s why work lasts our whole lives. We’re consistent in it. That’s why TVs are always around. We’re consistent with them. And is that why families often fail? Is that why, in a country where about 70 to 80 percent of people claim to be Christians only about 15 to 20 percent make it to church? “But I get paid for work.” Is pay the only thing that’s important? “I need time to myself.” When that time comes at the expense of someone else, is that selfish? “You don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God.” That’s true, but do you have a relationship with God? “My husband is a jerk.” Was he a jerk when you used to spend the majority of your free time with him? I know this is harsh. And I know it may not apply to you. But it does apply to me. And maybe something I didn’t talk about applies to you. It takes purpose to be consistent. We can easily name the purpose of the things we are consistent in. What about the things we know are important but fail to be consistent at? Do we ever think of their purpose? Very few will ever remember that you never took a sick day off work. Chances are, more people will remember you for getting them sick at work. And it may be that very few people will appreciate how good a parent you were. But the most important people will. Maybe no one will care about your relationship with God. But then again. With its ability to transform the type of people we are, I think most will appreciate it. Even if they’re unaware of it. We have the ability to change lives through what we’re consistent in. However, it takes purpose. I pray that we see the purpose in the most important things in life. I pray that purpose brings consistency. And I pray that consistency brings blessing. 

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, October 30, 2014

Mountain Of God


Even  though the journey’s long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who’s gone before me
He will help me carry on
After all that I’ve been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

- Excerpt from the song Mountain of God by Third Day

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Vista: “an extensive mental view (as over a stretch of time or a series of events)” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy!”
The every-man’s twangy voice of John Denver plays over the radio.  Sunlight glinting through the windshield. The gears whirr as they creep along the narrow path slowly. This is what a Jeep is made for.
“Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.”
It’s a bright summer day in the Pacific Northwest. Everything is still green, but a little dryer. It looks as though a small layer of dust has dulled the vegetation and by now, any native north-westerner is secretly hoping it will rain again soon. The sun is beautiful, but it’s always a shame to see the greenery fade. It seems unlikely, but by the time August rolls around many in Washington and Oregon are feeling the effects of seasonal depression. Not for the lack of sun, but for the overabundance of it.  

A thin tree branch bends then slaps her in the face after being displaced by the frame of the windshield. The top’s off laying in the garage at home. Of course it is on a day like today. Who wants any interruption between the great outdoors and the interior of a vehicle built for adventure. There’s something about being able to look down towards your feet and see the ground blur by while driving. But right now it’s slow going. The trail is narrow and winding and a little dusty.  It’s hard to say whether the destination or the adventure is more compelling. Don’t mistake anyone in a Jeep. They will reach the destination, but the adventure is just as much a motivating force. Maybe that’s why they all wave to each-other? 

By now the old John Denver tape is starting to noisily play the old standard Rocky Mountain High and the foliage is beginning to break. The terrain is beginning to steepen. The view of the top is coming into sight. This isn’t Colorado, but the lyrics still seem perfectly fitting.
“Rocky Mountain high Colorado
Rocky Mountain high...”
Finally it’s the summit. The destination has been reached. And it’s worth it. It’s doesn’t matter how old someone is here. It doesn’t matter what there name is, or who they are. This view’s for everybody. Lakes formed by rivers in canyons. The city in the distance. Home...  
The world we live in looks so different from above. Somehow we seem small when we see in perspective. Somehow this sort of perspective makes what life should be, make a little more sense. And the thought crosses a mind. What are we doing? Why are we constantly trying to conquer. We’re so small. This mountain is what matters.

Metaphors are everywhere. God created them on purpose. Definitely... He made them on purpose. We’re all on an adventure. There will be beautiful ones and muddy ones. But there’s always a destination. Mt. Zion God calls it. The summit is unlike any other. It’s view dwarfing any peak man’s ever stood upon. Upon that peak not only will we be able to see life fully, but Jesus’ arms will be wrapped around our shoulders. There will be an explanation for everything.  Maybe we’ll wonder why. Maybe we’ll just know. What matters now is the Mountain. What matters now is the Cross upon it. What matters now is that we’re on it. If you’re reading this, you’re still on the adventure with me. It’s enjoyable and it’s beautiful. Hopefully the top is down and the scenery is beautiful. But there will be tough times, times when it would be easier to turn around. However, we’re following Christ and no one can underestimate His power. It’s something we all have in common. Maybe that’s why we like to wave.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learnt 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, October 29, 2014

Always Compete


“If you want to win forever, always compete.” - Pete Carroll

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Compete: “to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (as position, profit, or a prize): be in a state of rivalry” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Pete Carroll has a philosophy towards life. He brought it to the USC Trojans and now it’s with him at the Seattle Seahawks. It’s simple, “Always Compete.” On the face of it that sounds, well, not very appealing to someone who’s supposed to be, who’s called to be, who’s been instructed by Jesus Himself to be... Humble. It sort of sounds like an oxymoron to what a Christian should be. However, to always compete doesn’t mean we’re always trying to beat… someone else. Or that we’re always trying to win at someone else’s expense. Our biggest competition is not a rival at work, on the field, or in a church. Our biggest competition is always the part of us that wants to give up. That part that succumbs to temptation. That being who is after the destruction of our souls. Always compete with that part. Only through running that race as fast and as hard as we possibly can, can we become the mother, the father, the grandparent, or employee we’re truly capable of and meant to be. Even our salvation and our lives as Christians rely on a competition. That’s why Paul referred to His life and ministry as a race. That’s why he referred to his reward as a winners trophy, a crown of righteousness. God is still pushing you and me to be something more than we currently are. Can you feel it? Yes, the blood on the cross means salvation for the failures, for the imperfect, for the sinners, for all of us. We’ll never reach perfection, or any semblance of it on our own. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be the absolute best we can be. No team has ever won a championship in any sport without trying. Sure, there have been extremely talented teams who won everything they’ve attempted. But they still had to try. In some ways, the more talented teams have to struggle more. They have to struggle against laziness, against complacency, against themselves. And so it is with us. For some of us, our temptations aren’t like others. Don’t take for granted the atonement we have from Jesus. Even if we can’t find a sin we’re pre-disposed to, we still need Jesus. We still need to fight to be all that He calls us to be. In everything we do, to be the best we can be, we need to… “Always Compete.”

Daily Journaling Question:
  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, October 28, 2014

The Truth Is...


Walk blindly to the light and reach out for His had
Don’t ask any questions and don’t try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
And you will see that you and me aren’t very far apart
Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find a way

Excerpt from the song I Believe by Blessid Union of Souls

Anyone who does not know love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Agape:  “Christianity  Love that is revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity.”  thefreedictionary.com 

The truth... What is it? Where does it come from? Who knows it? Just try looking it up on the internet. Truth isn't something most of us think about much. We tend to take it for granted. Probably because we rely on its existence. Many philosophize that truth is ever changing. That it's impossible to know. That the more we know the better society will become. And yet people fight over truth every day. People literally kill each other for not believing in the same truths as one another. Not one of us believes in the same truths, but we all hold our beliefs to be true unless proven false. And sometimes not even then. John 8:31-32 says, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.'" Then again in John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Furthermore, John starts out his Gospel with a truth statement designed to lay out the source of truth. He says in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." He goes on in verse 14 to say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." So now, what is truth? The truth is God. How do we know it? Through a relationship with Him. Can we know every detail? Someday, when that relationship with Him is fully realized. In the mean time however, we have a problem. How do we live in truth? How do we express it? On its own that question is unanswerable, because every person's answer is going to be different. They would range from scientific based answers to solutions found in worship. All would fall short. However, since we know that God calls Himself love, we can rephrase the question to ask, "How do we live in love?" "How do we express love?" Again the answers will vary. But somehow, when truth becomes love, everything changes. Our fighting gains purpose, when it's for love. Our relationships gain meaning, when they're in love. Our lives are more fulfilled, when they express the greatest truth of love. So what can we all believe? "That love is the answer."
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, October 27, 2014

The Right Path


“Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one.” - Mark Twain

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. - Titus 2:11-14

Extort: “to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Stop!”
A tall black man, eyes blazing in contrast to his dark skin, holds his palm up toward the oncoming driver.
“Stop!”
The little white van squeaks to a stop beside the man in the road. No need to roll the window down. It’s hot and the air has stopped working more than a year ago. Naturally it’s already lowered.
“What do you want?” The driver of the little white van asks.
“Toll” is all the man standing in the sun replied.
“But this is not a toll road sir.”
“It is today.”
“This is extortion!” Came the voice from the van.
With a rev of the motor and a pitiful spin of a wheel the van rolled off into the dust.

Extortion was right. No one had placed a guard on that road. No one told this man to collect a toll. But that didn’t matter. He was there. He was demanding payment. Payment for no service rendered.  

Relief filled the van as the road guard shrank in the mirrors and the cloud of dust.  
“Too many people have paid that man.” Stated the driver.
“He’s been able to get away with it for years now.”  
“Why?” Asked one of the passengers.
“Because there’s no one to stop him. What law there is, has been corrupted by laziness and bribes.”  
“Why?”
How many “whys” can be asked until there’s no answer?  
“Because...” Was the only answer left to reply.

What happens when God leaves your life? What happens when there is no standard of conduct, or measuring stick of behavior? Why wouldn’t someone collect a toll to a road with no control? Why wouldn’t powerful gangs set up rackets to fleece the poor and powerless? Why wouldn’t people take advantage of each other for personal gain? Because of laws? Because of a government? What happens when the laws and the government become the source of mischief? Where will morality come from then?

“Kids... I want you to remember this. God is the source of law and morality. God is the center of this world. He builds up governments and He takes them away. I could have paid that man. But what would I be doing? I would simply be encouraging Him to continue in a lie. Remember the source of morality. Remember that God is always in control and that we are always to follow Him. Remember that while sometimes there are tolls on the roads we travel, the most important path is the one following Jesus. And there will never be a toll on that road, because Jesus already paid the price on the Cross.”

The vans motor rhythmically oscillated in revs as they passed over the bumps of the jungle dirt road.  

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone 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