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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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Miracle In Purpose


My Father said,
“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, child
See heaven’s got a plan for you
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.”
(Excerpt from the song Don’t You Worry Child by the band Swedish House Mafia)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future 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. - Paul - 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Enlist:  “to participate heartily (as in a cause, drive, or crusade)”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Want a miracle in your life?  Be a miracle to life.  “Well how do I do that?”  You might be asking.  I don’t know.  I have no idea what you could do to be a miracle.  But here’s a start.  You don’t have the power to work miracles.  Confused now?  Let me clarify.  You don’t have the power to do anything.  Now you’re thinking that I’m just crazy.  Obviously you’re reading this.  And that’s something in and of itself.  Let me be specific.  You don’t have the power to do anything without your Creator.  The power to work miracles is not in you or I.  It’s not in our dads or our moms, or anyone whom we hold in high regard.  The power to work miracles is in the Lord.  However, He calls us all to enlist in His miraculous work.  God in His wisdom has built into us innate abilities and talents.  However, we are not forced to use them for Him.  In fact, He allows us to use the abilities He’s given us, in an effort to destroy Him.  But He will not be destroyed.  How could He be?  He’s God!  But still, too often we use His talents, on loan to us, as tools for us.  And we miss out on the very thing that could work miracles in our life.  Sure, there are plenty of people who have done amazing works in their lives and the lives of others who could care less about God.  There have been, are, and will be many atheists who do amazing things for humanity, while at the same time hating the very idea of God.  But this isn’t abut what we can do with our lives, but what God can do in our lives.  Want a miracle in your life?  Give your life to the only one capable of working miracles.  Become a slave to Him and His divine purpose for your life.  For some that may mean volunteering at the local food bank in the name of Jesus.  For others it may mean traveling the globe spreading the Gospel.  Without God, there is nothing but cause and effect.  With God their is purpose.  With God there is intervention.  With God there are miracles in wait.  It’s not enough to volunteer at a food bank.  It’s not enough to give a billion dollars to the poor.  It’s not enough to smile at everyone we see.  Those are great acts of charity, but they’re not enough without God.  No act, whether for ourselves or humanity can fulfill our lives.  Charity cannot satisfy our need to help.  No amount of profit can satisfy our desire to earn.  And no amount of belongings will ever satisfy our want of more.  Satisfaction is a miracle, and sadly it’s getting hard to find.  Because it’s nothing we can ever get on our own.  Not completely anyway.  It’s a gift; a miracle from God.  Our lives may not turn out like we planned.  In fact, nobody’s has.  But don’t worry.  Like the song says, “Heaven’s got a plan for you.”  Our lives will be rocked with disappointment and tragedy.  But a purpose for God will steer us through any hardship.  What if we were to die?  Could we say, “Praise the Lord?”  What if when we died the first thing we saw was Jesus saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master?”  Matthew 25:23  That would be a miracle.  A miracle that is fully attainable through the power of God in our lives.  That’s what the purpose of God in our lives can do.  

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, September 16, 2014

Not For a Moment

“You were reaching through the storm
And walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me
Not for a moment did You forsake me
After all, You are constant
After all, you are only good
After all, You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me.”
- Excerpt from the song Not For a Moment (After All) by Meredith Andrews

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward - to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. - Philippians 3:12-14  The Message Bible

Sovereign: “being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.” - Dictionary.com

I was in a hurry.  I didn’t want to waste any time. I had stuff I wanted to do. Driving to my parents house and back was not one of them. But it was something I had to do. God was going to show me His power. It was a corner I had driven a lot. It was between my girlfriend’s and parent’s house at the time. This time I thought I would see if I could go around it at 70 miles per hour. I’m sure I could have. However, what I didn’t know was that something had spilled gravel on the road. I spun one way, corrected, then the other. The car I had at the time was notorious for oversteer in situations like that and I couldn’t get it back under control. I remember sliding backwards towards the rocks, thinking to myself that this was going to be a bummer, because I was going to dent my car. I didn’t feel the impact. But I’ll always remember the sound. An overwhelming crash that I don’t think I could ever reproduce. Then I remember being dropped on my head. I was upside down in the middle of the road. There was only one window in my car big enough to crawl out of. It was also the one widow that hand’t broken. It was what I thought was the drivers side window, but as it turned out was actually on the passenger side. But I couldn’t break it on my own. It was too strong. I was trapped in a car laying upside down in the middle of the road. The thoughts about what could happen ran through my head. My car might be hit by another driver. It might catch on fire. It might... Then I remembered the emergency glass breaker I kept in the car that my grandma had given me. Who ever thinks they’re going to need one of those to get out of their car? I’m the only one I know of who’s ever needed to use one of those things. It worked like a charm. I broke the last remaining window in the car and crawled out. I called 9-1-1. I was told someone had already called. I had no idea who that could have been. I couldn’t remember seeing anyone else around or passing by. My back started to hurt. I began to hesitate to move. My whole body felt like a sprained ankle that couldn’t take its own weight. I couldn’t wait for the ambulance to get there. I needed to be stabilized. I don’t remember the entire ride to the hospital, but I do remember being uncomfortable. Fortunately that’s all I suffered. A little discomfort, a relatively minor back injury, and maybe a small concussion.  
I’ll never forget going to see my car the next day at the salvage yard. When I first saw it I didn’t think it could be mine. It wasn’t how I remembered it. But then it had to be. The lady working was surprised to see me there. She was confident no one had lived in the accident. It didn’t look like anyone could have. And well, you can see the picture. The drivers side is flattened. You can see where the steering wheel and dash slid on the pavement. What you probably can’t see is that the dash is crushed a couple inches lower than what it should be. And what I know you can’t see is a tuft of my hair in the drivers side window sill near the seat belt attachment point. I knew I should have been dead.  
I knew I had been saved for a reason. I’ve always known that I was dedicated as a baby to work for the Lord and that up to that point I hand’t fulfilled that purpose. I thought that I might write about what happened to me. About God’s purpose for our lives. But I didn’t. It took probably a year to stop thinking about it. But eventually I did. I forgot the miracle. I went on living just like before. “Not for a moment did He forsake me.” He hand’t forgotten my purpose before the accident and He hasn’t since. It took years for me to start to honor the purpose He had for me. Eventually I did. That’s why you’re reading this right now. That’s why on July 12, 2010 I started the Daily Self Growth Journal. That’s why I knew it had to include the world of God. And the verse I used at the time was the same verse I used today. Funny thing is... I didn’t even know I was on this journey at the time. I’m sorry it took so long to respond to His calling. But I’m glad you can read this today. And I want to remind us all that God has a purpose for us. That He will never forsake us. That He has a journey for all of us. The journey towards Jesus. A journey with 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?
Drive Safely,

Jake

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Good News Of Intimacy



“I wonder if this is how people always get close: They heal each other’s wounds; they repair the broken skin.”- Lauren Oliver

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:13-14

Intimate: “characterized by a close or warm personal relationship” - The Free Dictionary

Intimacy is always important. We all need it. We all want it. But we don’t always give it. I remember the day my wife Whitney and I got married; how nervous I was in the morning and how excited I was to be her husband. Somehow everything smelled differently and better that day. The colors were a little bit brighter. The love a little bit stronger. It’s a day that changed my life. We all have days like that. Days we look back on as being pivotal in our being and who we are. For many of us those days involve a sense of intimacy; with a friend, a wife, or a parent. Graduation day! A big birthday! A wedding day! They’re events in our lives that drive us to make new events. They drive us to protect the legacy that is our lives. They drive us to new horizons with a sense of cheer in honoring our past. Anniversaries, reunions, even memorials harken us back to those moments of intimacy. I remember friends asking me what the most important decision I ever made was. The answer was easy, and it may be surprising to you. But the most important decision I feel I ever made was to start writing the Daily Self Growth Journal. Why? Because it brought me into intimacy with the source of intimacy. It’s brought me closer to God than I ever thought it would. I didn’t start out writing to be close to God. But I knew I couldn’t exclude God from it either. And the thing about God is this, if you let Him be intimate in a little part of your life, He will start to be a part of all aspects of your life. Being intimate with God gives us an even greater capacity for intimacy in all our relationships. He’s the source of intimacy and He desires to be intimate with us. Furthermore, He created us to be intimate with others. He said of Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone.” - Genesis 2:18 So He made Eve to be with him. And just like Adam, it is not good for us to be alone. We’re not all meant for marriage, but we all need somebody. And somebody needs you. Don’t let your love go unused. God gave it to you for a reason. He gave it to you to share. And here’s the thing about love. It can’t be spread thin. It doesn’t run out. Rather, the more we use it, the more we give it away, the more we have. The more we have to give and the more we have in our hearts. Physically that doesn’t make sense. A cup of water if poured out will run out. But a heart of love if poured out will overflow. The Bible says the things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned (see 1 Corinthians 2:14.) Love is of the Spirit. Love and intimacy are of God. Maybe that’s what Jesus was referring to when He offered the living water to the Samaritan woman in John 4. Maybe that’s why later in their conversation He told her, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” - John 4:23-24 Intimacy is something of the spirit. It is created through love in relationship. It was created to heal and console. And its greatest form begins in a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to be intimate with us in a healing relationship. Reading from Isaiah, Jesus proclaimed at the beginning of His ministry, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recover of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” - Luke 4:18-19 That “Good News” is made true and palpable through an intimate relationship with God.

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, September 12, 2014

There Are Miracles

“The unthankful heart... discovers not mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet fins the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” - Henry Ward Beecher

Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet the valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. - 2 Kings 3:16-17 (King James Version)

Plastic: “capable of being deformed continuously and permanently in ay direction without rupture” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Where’s the water?”
Mike asked in a curious shout, as they descended deeper into the canyon. Wondering not so much where the water was, he knew it was long gone, but where the water used to be.
“I don’t know, we’d have to go back and ask.  Do you wanna go back?”
“Oh no, that’s ok, let’s keep going.”
Replied Mike to their tour guide Stephanie.
Oddly he noticed that there were people cultivating what looked to be a garden plot to their right.  
“With no water, how were they going to grow anything?”
He wondered to himself.
Mike and a few of his friends had come to this canyon as tourists to see where, a long time before, water had miraculously filled a ditch in the bottom of this dry and crusty crevice in the earth.  He considered the event to be miraculous because no one could explain how the water got there in the middle of a drought. In the middle of a desert, no less. The water was long gone by now, but it had appeared just when it was most needed.

“It’s mine, all mine. Come on Grace, hurry!”
Steve was a cattleman on the dry and crusty plains of, well, who cares, it was the middle of nowhere in seemingly God-forsaken country. He had heard of water in one of the dried-out canyons about a mile away. Now he was galloping full bore on Gracie, his appaloosa mare, trying to get there first. His cattle were thirsty. He knew many would be lost without water. He’d been waiting for water, for rain, for weeks now. It would be a miracle if it were true. If there was water in the bottom of that canyon. It seemed like just the other day that he had been reading in the Bible, in 2 Kings 3 that God filled ditches with water to save His people from drought. He remembered the verse clearly. In it Elisha said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Thus says the LORD, ‘I will make this dry stream-bed full of pools.’ For thus says the LORD, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that stream-bed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’” - 2 Kings 3:16-17 (English Standard Version)  In the midst of drought, in the midst of a dehydrated herd of cattle, Steve prayed that God would once again fill a dry stream-bed with pools.
“It’s a miracle!”
Steve kept repeating, rushing as fast as he could to this thing he had prayed for.

“What are those people doing? Why are they gardening way out here?”
Mike asked Stephanie
“They’re hoping to see a miracle.”
She replied simply.
Mike was wondering what in the world was going one when.
“In today’s news...  Syrian rockets have been landing on the Golan Heights in Israel and...”
It was Mikes alarm reminding him gently that this is the real world. He had been dreaming and now it was time to get ready to go to work.
“What a strange dream.”
He whispered to himself as he pulled on a clean pair of socks.
But he knew what it was about. He’d been feeling lately that his life was worthless. That he was useless. Like he was merely a drone. Going to work, doing a mediocre job, then coming home to be a lousy husband, and going to bed to get some poor sleep, just to wake up and start the cycle over. He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be those gardeners in the desert. He didn’t want to be the cowboy. His miracle had already taken place. He didn’t want to be the tour guide either, she didn’t seem to care. Or the tour group, they were looking for something that happened in the past. He wanted to be those gardeners. They were expecting a miracle. They were expecting water in the desert. That’s what he wanted. He was familiar with the story of Elisha and king Jehoshaphat and he knew what he was supposed to do. Dig some ditches. He knew that for his life to be able to receive God’s blessings, it had to be able to hold God’s blessings. That’s what the ditches were for. Mike knew he wasn’t worthless, but he hadn’t made his life available for God to work in. He was still going to go to work. He was still going to come home. But now it was going to be different. He was going to go to work with a higher purpose in mind. He was going to come home to be a godly husband. And he was going to make his life available to the Lord. Somehow it seemed better now. Somehow Mike knew that no matter what, God’s blessings would be seen in his life.  
“It is a new day.  A new life!”
Mike thought with a smile.

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, September 11, 2014

The One

How many times have You heard me cry out
“God please take this?”
How many times have You given me strength
Just keep keep breathing?
Oh, I need You
God, I need You now.

- Excerpt from the song Need You Now (How Many Times) by Plumb

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. - 1 Corinthians 15:22-25

Don: “to wrap oneself in” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

There is sickness in this world. There are people who hate others for simply being alive. There are people who’s goal it is to destroy life, peace, and happiness. We persevere and sacrifice and even die with the desire to rid our streets of as many murderers and terrorists as possible. We want to keep our neighborhoods safe from future threats. But there will be more. There will be persistence. Death will continue. Evil will persevere in the persecution of this world and this life. That’s why we cry out, “God please take this.” We search for comfort in the face of hardship. We search for meaning in the presence of confusion. We search for leadership... But we’re all just guessing. Adrift on the ocean of humanity we look for destiny and purpose. There is but one true north we can set our compass towards. The one who said, “I am the way the truth and the life.” - John 14:6 There is but one in whom we can rest. The one who said, “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28  There is but one who can heal. The one of whom we put our trust and say, “For we know, all things work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28 There is but one who can save. The one of whom it is said, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” - Revelation 5:12 Through our suffering and death we cry out, “God please take this.” Death and suffering is not something we were designed for. If it were, our hearts wouldn’t break. But since sin entered this world, they’re something we must live with. Our broken hearts… The only thing that can assuage the sting is what we live for. Rather WHO we live for. Because it’s in WHO we live for that determines what we live for. As good as it may sound, we don’t live for one another. Not even our children. We must live for Jesus first. He’s the oxygen mask we must don first, in order that we may help others. God will take this. He has taken this. It’s through His Son on the Cross that we have hope of a better future; a perfect future. A life of continual joy void of suffering and hardship. The work was done when Jesus proclaimed, “‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” - John 19:30 Let us grasp hold of that truth, of that everlasting love. That while we invited imperfection and evil into our lives, He interceded with His own life as the ultimate and only worthy sacrifice. In order that the devil might be crushed and death might be forever beaten. “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:4-7

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