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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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Check Yourself

“Your silence will not protect you.” - Audre Lorde
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. - Ephesians 6:11

Armor: “a person's emotional, social, or other defenses” - New Oxford American Dictionary

This morning I had the opportunity to remove 10 tics from my two dogs. Nine from the face of Clyde and one from behind Boone’s right ear. Sorry for the gross story, but I think there’s something to be learned. First, watch where you go, and second, remove the things that aren’t supposed to be there. Our bodies are filled with a fluid that nourishes our life, it’s called blood. Our spirits are nourished too. Their source of life is God. Just as there are things out there that want to suck out, or otherwise contaminate our blood, there are things that would do the same to our spirits. Maybe it’s an activity, a device, or even a person. Sometimes we just have to stay away from and protect ourselves from those things that would take our lives or contaminate them. Sometimes those places are attractive. Many dangerous things live in God’s beautiful creation. And it’s tempting to explore those dangers. But they can bite. They want to suck the life from us if they can. Pornography doesn’t just apply to men and their attraction to the female body. It can be found all over the place. It’s the misuse of beauty. It’s in that misuse that we find danger. Let’s guard ourselves from it. Sometimes we can stay away, however, there are times when we have to go to those dangerous places. That’s what the full armor of God is all about. Don’t want to get a tic out in the woods? Wear clothing that covers and protects your skin. Don’t want to be infected with the poisons of this world? Put on the armor. But we’re human. We’ll do the wrong things. We’ll get infected with things we don’t want. Spiritual tics will attach themselves when and where they can. Check yourself. Often they go unnoticed until it’s too late. Then they’re almost impossible to remove without doing some damage. They must be removed. Don’t be ok with sin hanging onto you. Pornography might not seem like such a problem now, but it will cause some large problems eventually. Check yourself. Like I said, pornography isn’t just about sex. Maybe you don’t have a problem with sex, still, look closely, we all have problems. You may or may not know about them. Check yourself. Think of those problems as spiritual tics. Maybe then they won’t seem quite so ok. Many of those things are completely normal to the world. The world wants you to have tics. It wants something sucking the life right out of you. And it doesn’t want you to notice or complain. But they’re gross. They change you in ways you don’t want to be changed. And sometimes they’re hard to see. That’s why I say, we must constantly check ourselves. When we find that tic, that thing that must be removed, take it straight to God. You can try removing it yourself, but it’s not so easy. However, God is able. He’s able to remove the most tightly attached infection. He’s able to heal and destroy. Able to destroy those things that once contaminated us. Able to heal the wounds they leave. Be careful. Be careful where you go. Be careful of what’s attached to you. They make a difference. Check yourself! 

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, April 23, 2014

Shut It Off

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” - John Lennon

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Jesus - Matthew 28:20b

Life: “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Some things are just more important. Who’s ever tried to chew as much bubble gum at one time as they could? We who’ve chewed bubble gum probably all have. There’s something that’s attractive about putting a giant mass of chewy gum into your mouth. Kinda like spraying whipped cream straight from the can into your mouth. It’s just irresistible somehow. But notice that you can’t do much with all that gum in there. You can hardly think, let alone chew or talk effectively. It’s sorta like that in our lives as well. When we occupy our time and our lives with things that really don’t matter, we block out all of the room for what really does. Your kids, your wife or husband, your co-workers, Jesus. Are they blocked out by entertainment. Can we even think clearly half the time. The things of this world will try to own you. The Thursday night sitcom wants you to make it your highest priority. The Sunday night drama wants to be the most important thing to you. However, what should be the most important? I don’t think any of us think that football, or any other sport should be the most important thing in our lives. But too often we accidentally live that way. Too often I’ve found myself impatient with my own daughter because the attention she wants distracts me from a 60” television. Shut it off! My daughter is far more important, and far more rewarding than anything on TV. We were built to live and to love. Love God first, then people. Jesus said it Himself. You can read all about it in Matthew 22:37. But do we? Or do we love our entertainment? Shut it off! Life is far better lived in love than entertained, because love provides the greatest joy. Remember the first time you felt in love. You didn’t need a TV to occupy your time. All you wanted was an empty space and the thoughts of that other person. What if we had a relationship like that with Jesus? That’s exactly the relationship He wants. One where we could just sit and think and be with Him. No doubt there are some people in your life that feel the same way. No doubt there are things in all of our lives that are keeping us from relationship like that. No doubt we could all use shutting off our distractions for a while. Replacing them with relationships of love. No doubt we could live much fuller and more satisfied in a real life than a synthetic one. If you’re like me. If you’re easily distracted by the shiny things in life. If entertainment has a way of overwhelming everything else. For your sake, shut if off! And let’s live in the real world again. And let’s remember where Jesus is. Right where we are.

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, April 22, 2014

Understanding

“We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we shire know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team”
- Excerpt from the song Team by Lorde

Then Job answered the LORD and said:
“I know that You can do all things,
  and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Hear, and I will speak;
  I will question You, and You make it know to me.
I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
  but now my eye sees You;
therefore I despise myself,
  and repent in dust and ashes.”
- Job 42:1-6

Misunderstand: “fail to interpret or understand the words or actions of (someone) correctly” - New Oxford American Dictionary

“When you’re right, you’re right; I’m not gonna argue with you.”
A quick backhanded wave was the response, and without turning around, John simply said he’d see him in the morning and continued his walk up the sidewalk to his house. Jim just sat there. John had been right, but why did he feel so strange about it.

What is it about right and wrong that has us all up in arms. Literally, countries and people take up arms and go to war over right and wrong. The perception of what’s right and the actualities of what is wrong.

Slowly and with a bit of brake squeal, Jim’s truck came to a stop in front of John’s house. The old Ford V8 rumbling smoothly but with a tone only 150 thousand miles could give. 
“How’s everything going this morning?” 
John asked, as he shut the old pickup door with a firm swing.
“Good, and yourself?”
It was the typical first conversation of the day. A forced formality that we all know is a little uncomfortable.
“You know I’ve been thinking about what you said last night. Maybe you’re not right. I know I said I wasn’t going to argue with you, however, some things are worth talking over.”
John rolled his eyes, somehow he knew what was coming.
“John,” Jim continued, “You’re not right about what you and Angela are about to do. That baby is a person too. You might well be correct that having a baby right now isn’t what’s best for the relationship with your girlfriend, and you guys probably aren’t ready to raise a child. But it’s hard to argue that taking that babies life is what’s best for it.”

Right and wrong… We have to live with it everyday. Is something right if it brings hardship? Can something so easy be wrong? Doesn’t it seem like the right thing should be followed up by good. We all know that’s not true. We all know that often, usually, the right thing is the hard thing to do. And often it comes with the greatest consequences. Was it right for Jesus to be our Savior? Yes, and it led to His crucifixion. And so it will go in our lives. Hopefully we won’t be met with something like a murder, but we will be confronted with hardships because of doing the right thing. Getting bullied at school, having less money and possessions, a baby when we don’t know how to raise it. 

“I know, I know,” John replied, “In fact, Angie and I talked about it last night. We’re going to continue the pregnancy. But I’m not sure what we’re gonna do. Do you think you can help us with that?”

It’s easy to determine right from wrong when we’re talking about someone else. But when it comes to us, to our hardship, to what we should do… Not so easy. It’s easy to tell a little girl to keep the baby growing inside her. It’s not so easy to be faced with a life forever changed. It’s not so easy to tell a judgmental mom or dad about a pregnancy when she doesn’t have to. There is a right and wrong. Not only for others, but for us too. 

Jim was a little surprised by the question. But the answer was easy, “John I will help you in any and every way I can. You know Mary and I love you guys. Anything you need, we’ll be here to help.”

Right now we have an opportunity to go out into this world and do the right thing. What will we do? Maybe we could start by first trying to understand. Then getting on the right team.

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, April 21, 2014

It's Our Turn

“When I wake up in the land of glory
And with the saints I will tell my story
There will be one Name that I proclaim
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, just that Name”
- Excerpt from the song Name (Yours Will Be)  by Big Daddy Weave

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen - Jude 1:24-25

Tool: “a person used or exploited by another” - New Oxford American Dictionary

It’s Monday, it’s our turn now. For three days Jesus was gone. In those three days He achieved something no one else could. For three days no one knew what would happen. But on the third day He rose. His work of Salvation, His work of forgiveness, His work of Savior done. He is still doing a work in our hearts, but the heavy lifting is done. He died so that we can live. He was crucified so that we could be with Him. He felt the pain of humanity so that He could save us from it. Now it’s our turn. To leave our solitary confinement with Him and to go into the world to tell of Him. Now it’s our turn. To do what it takes to let others know of His sacrifice for us. Now it’s our turn. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”* He says. Are you willing to be His knocker? Are we willing to live in a way that tells of Him? Could we live in a way that reminds of Jesus? The reason I write this blog is because at one point in my life I had a burning desire to be successful. I refused to live a normal life, a life that controlled me. I wanted to be in charge. And that was exciting. It was exciting to think that the world was at my fingertips, all I had to do was try harder than anyone else. Success would not be denied, because I would not be denied. But then I heard that success was not about me, it was about others. Zig Ziglar reminded me that it’s not important to be successful, rather, to be significant. That significance is about making a difference and the only way to make a difference is to impact others. To serve others. Zig Ziglar brought me back to Christ. He was for me, the knocker for Jesus on my heart. A motivational speaker reminded me of Jesus. Can you hear the knock of Jesus? Whether you believe in Him or not, He’s the only reason we exist, because He’s our only Creator. Whether you care or not, He’s our only opportunity to escape suffering, because He’s our only Savior. You’ve heard it a thousand times. Jesus is risen! It’s our turn now.

*  Revelation 3:20

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, April 18, 2014

Take A Break

“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” - Mother Teresa

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. - Genesis 2:1-2

Break: “an opportunity or chance, esp. one leading to professional success” - New Oxford American Dictionary

We need breaks in our lives and in our work. God made us with a built in stop function. We call it sleep. Even during creation God set for us an example of how to work. He created and then He rested. And so should we. When we do nothing but work, we leave little time for family, friends, and maybe even God Himself. When we do nothing but work, we may gain the ability to buy, but we lose the ability to enjoy. Life is pointless if it’s all about work. Don’t misunderstand, work is a requirement. We have to work. But we have to balance it as well. When we don’t, work can turn from a blessing to a curse, from a source to a suck on our lives. So take a break. Sleep at night. Be with those you love. Make time specifically for a relationship with the Lord. It will make a difference. Let’s let God give us perspective on work. What it’s for. What it does and cannot do. Let’s work for Him no matter our job or position. Because when we work for Him truly, we truly work for love. And when we work for love our work will become more powerful than we could ever empower it ourselves. But we are made to get tired. We have to stop at some point. Make that point appropriate. Go home. Enjoy what you’ve earned. Be happy with what God’s blessed you with. If for nothing else, stop and love someone. Maybe even love yourself a little. Take a break.

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