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 28, 2014

Thought-Fullness

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” - Norman Vincent Peale

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

Thought: “careful consideration or attention” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Most of us, all of us, have a problem with our thoughts. Our thoughts have the power to bring life. They also have the power to destroy happiness. How often have we treated a person wrongly, simply because of our thoughts about them? How often have we even hated people because of a thought? And how often are we wrong in what we think? Our moms told us not to speak unless we have something nice to say. What if we extended that notion to our thoughts as well? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” - Philippians 4:8 Perhaps it’s the hardest thing we’ll ever do, but how much could we change about our demeanor if we restricted our thoughts to good? Over the next couple of weeks I want to investigate Philippians 4:8. What it means to think about truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, commendableness, excellence, and praise. How those things can chase out the things that are driving us crazy. A negative thought can empty our lives of everything that’s good, but a positive attitude can bring the fullness of life. Trust me, I don’t have this figured out. I struggle with my thoughts at least as much as you. And I’m looking forward to learning this all with you. Until tomorrow, let’s try to think good thoughts first.

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 25, 2014

Stop Trying To Be Like God

“We are 100 percent responsible for the pursuit of holiness, but at the same time we are 100 percent dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us in that pursuit. The pursuit of holiness is not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps approach to the Christian life.” - Jerry Bridges

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:13-16

Holy: “(of a person) devoted to the service of God” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Christianity has a problem. All of us Christians have a problem. The problem of what we should be like. Of course we are taught to be like Christ. And rightly so, that’s what the Bible teaches as well. However, too often we forget that Christ was fully human as well as fully God. In trying to be like Christ we naturally gravitate towards the God part. It’s in our nature to want to be like God. We’re still being fooled by Satan’s first lie in the Garden of Eden. Part of us believes that we can be like God, knowing good and evil. The lie is so powerful because it’s partly correct. Truth is, after all, the best way to empower a lie. We do know a little about good and evil. At least we recognize and suffer the effects of evil. The problem is that we often think we know all about good and evil. The problem is that we think we know what it means to be good. And thus, we know how to be like God. There’s a reason God keeps judgement to Himself. There’s a reason why Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” - Matthew 7:1 He knew, because He was God, that we aren’t capable of perfection; that we aren’t even capable of recognizing it. Still, we want to set up borders and rules and boundaries. We want to play on teams where one is good and the other bad. Then we see an atrocity in the name of Christianity. We can only make excuses for so long. But one day, when our perfect team can no longer be defended, we have no where to go but out. I wonder how many have lost faith in God, in Christ, because of Christianity’s failures? The problem with Christianity however, is not with Christ, it’s not with His divinity or humanity, it’s with us; our humanity and our desire to be like God. There isn’t anything we can’t corrupt with a little power. Christians will fail throughout the world. Horrible acts have, are, and will continue to be done in the name of Christ. But Christ will not fail. His will, will not be hi-jacked. And His love will not be defeated. He gave us the best example of how to be, through His life with us as a human. He was perfect because He was God, and His perfection was manifested through service. In our quest to be the best people we can be, is it in service and love that we manifest our goodness? Or is it in a profession of being like God? We are to be godly for sure, but our godliness should always look like the life of Christ. It is not for us to strive for the divinity of God, for it is a wholly unattainable goal. It is for us to strive towards, in emulation, the service of Christ, in which lies the power of God Himself.

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 24, 2014

Will Jesus Take My Stuff?

“Leaders can let you fail, and yet not let you be a failure.” - General Stanley McCrystal

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! - Psalm 27:14 (A Psalm of David)

Stubborn: “having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, esp. in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so” - New Oxford American Dictionary

“And when those who were around Him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” - Luke 22:49-51 How must that servant of the high priest felt? Put yourself in his position. You come out with a mob, led by Judas one of twelve disciples, to finally arrest this Jesus whom you think is a false prophet and a traitor, you get your ear chopped off, then Jesus heals it on the spot. Who’s side are you gonna be on? How intrenched is this mob that they ignore a miracle in order to kill someone they think is going to take their power and or authority? It’s easy to look back on this event, and many other events in the Bible, and see the actors as pure foolish. But if we’re honest with ourselves, how often do we do the same things? We want miracles without the allegiance. We want to be saved but hold all the power. We want God’s power to act in our lives and we want to keep Him invisible at the same time. Make no mistake, Jesus will take your power. God will demand allegiance. Jesus came to save us all, but so often we deny His presence. What are you willing to give up to be one of His followers? An ear? A clean conscious? Control? And what will it take for Him to win us over? How many miracles will we deny or forget about? Having trouble remembering a miracle? Take a breath. There’s your miracle for the second. “That’s just air,” you might be saying. “I chose to breath it in,” you might be thinking. And you’re right, but who made the air, who made the lungs you’re breathing with, who created and sustains all life? And when’s the last time we thanked God for His miracles in our lives? The last time you prayed for something and got it, did you say thank you? I know I’ve forgotten, I’ve let miracles slip by unnoticed, I’ve left God hanging without a simple thanks. We’re all a little like that mob come to arrest our Savior. He heals us and it’s back to the cross for you Jesus. Thank you very much. There’s a greater life to be had. A life where Jesus takes all our stuff and makes it priceless. A life of appreciation for Him. With Him the birds chirp just for our enjoyment. With Him the rain puts out the forest fires. With Him life is a blessing to be shared. Jesus’ followers mourned His crucifixion, but how they enjoyed that Sunday morning when the tomb was empty! What side are we on? The side of miracles, or a life of coincidences, luck, and misfortune? Not everything will go our way. But we can take the advice of King David and “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage, wait for the LORD!” - Psalm 27:14b Like I said, Jesus will take our stuff, but He has a reward that is more valuable than anything we could ever imagine. We may fail, but with Him we will never be a failure. We may lose, but we will never be a loser. Wait for the LORD! And see the miracles for our benefit. Wait for the LORD!

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 23, 2014

Entrepreneur For Christ

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their  abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” - Luke 21:1-4

Entrepreneur: “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so” - New Oxford American Dictionary

“A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over the cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’” Christ intends us to be entrepreneurs for Him. He expects us to risk everything for His cause. That’s the point of this parable He told that I just recounted from Luke 19:11-27. He’s given us all some of His minas. What will we do with them? Will we drop them into His service like the poor widow her last two coins? Notice that the servant who ended up with ten minas did not start out with more than any of the others. He started out with one, just like the servant who ended up with his one taken away. The difference is that he chose to risk his minas for a greater return. He chose to be an entrepreneur for his master. It’s easy to hold onto our blessings. To keep them safe and sound. Wrapped up and buried away where we think nothing can get to them. That’s not God’s intention for His blessings on us. He intends us to put them to risk. To leverage them for His account. To invest them for His gain. What do we have that could be used for a greater gain? How could our home become a tool for the Kingdom of God? How could our car bring a soul to Christ? I don’t ask flippantly, like they can’t. Everything we have can be used for good. We don't have to get rid of what we have, rather we are to invest it. Maybe that does mean we should sell some things in order to give more. Maybe that means we should open our house up to a Bible study. Maybe that means we use our car to transport some kids to a youth group. The possibilities for the Lord are endless when we choose to see our things as investments, rather than treasures. What did Jesus say? “Store up your treasures in Heaven.” Right. So why do we store them for ourselves here. They’re only going to rot away. Then what will we be left with? Nothing. Invest, invest, invest. Invest in the Kingdom of God. Use what you have, everything you have, for Him, and see what reward can come.

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 22, 2014

The Fog And The Goal

“I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” - Florence Chadwick 

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. - 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Fog: “something that obscures and confuses a situation or someone's thought processes” - New Oxford American Dictionary

How often do we feel like we’re in the fog of life? Sometimes it feels more like a war than a life. Perhaps you’ve heard of something called the fog of war. Wikipedia talks about it like this, “The fog of war is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one’s own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign.” Are you ever uncertain of what’s out in front of you? Do you ever wonder if you can win anything? Or if everything is out to conquer you? If you’re like the rest of us, of course you have. Because you’re a person and people don’t have all the answers. Think of a subject, any subject; is everything known about it? No, of course not. We are continually discovering and learning and adjusting what we think to be true. The same can be said of all aspects of our lives. Spiritual, physically, mentally, and socially; we are all in a state of fog at times, if not all the time. That fog causes our minds to fill in the unknowns. We try to guess at what’s ahead. We make assumptions and draw conclusions from the gaps in our knowledge. Sometimes we are tempted to just give up and allow the currents of life to drift us along; unaware of the victory just a short distance off. In 1952 Florence Chadwick found herself in the cold Pacific waters between the California coastline and Catalina Island. She was attempting to swim the 26 mile Catalina Channel. After she felt like she could go no further, she swam for one more hour. With no land in sight she gave up. Soon after getting into a boat the fog lifted and she saw the distance between herself and the goal; one mile. In the wake of that failing boat ride she said in a press conference, “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” Two months later she did make it. In fact she swam the Catalina Channel faster than any other person had done before. What made the difference? The same fog set in. The gap between shores did not diminish. Physically she was in the similar condition. What helped her make it was her mental image. According to Wikipedia, “She said she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.” What image do you need? What could make the difference in your life? How far could you go if you realized the goal? God gave us His Word for a reason. Christ died for a reason. They have the power to save despite the fog. If heaven is our goal, Christ must be our Savior. If Christ is our Savior, His Word is the image we must keep in mind. With God we are stronger than we think. He is able to beat any foe, conquer any giant, protect any soul. With Him we don’t have to worry about the fog, because He is the all knowing guide. We don’t have to be confused, because He is the author of knowledge. We don’t have to worry, because He can see us through. The shore is closer than you think. Picture that.

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