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, March 20, 2015

A Bad Deal


“This I know, that God is for me.” - King David - Psalm 56:9b

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9

Pang: “a sudden sharp pain or painful emotion:” - New Oxford American Dictionary

“In order to be successful you must learn to be self-reliant.” “It’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up.” “If you get bucked off, get back on that horse.” These are some hallowed creeds of american ideology. They say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” They speak of ownership. They speak to individual power. To the ability in us. And we have ability. I agree with them. But then again. They’re completely wrong to most of us. And so they stop being affective sayings and simply become discouraging rhetoric. They’re not genuine to the average person. Because there is something more needed. We need something more than just ourselves. Yes we have power in us, but that power is not of us or from us. The power we have is bestowed on us. And we have it for a reason. That reason may be unknown right now. But when we follow the One who gives us strength and courage and ability; that reason will be fulfilled. It’s a hope we have. A hope of something greater. As you watch a toddler learn to walk then run, you will watch a human being get hurt and get back up again. If you were to watch a young man peddling his bicycle with all he has, you’d be watching a boy dreaming of riding a motorcycle as a man. When you observe the care a little girl puts into her party with tea, you’re watching a person dreaming of becoming a woman. We all want growth. We all need growth. We all feel the pangs for growth. And we all want to take that step forward into being more than what we are now. We were built for it. But we don’t have the power. We can’t make ourselves grow any more than we can change the color of our skin. But it happens doesn’t it? We do grow. And if the sun hits us just right, the color of our skin changes too. But the power is not in us. It’s in the One who created us. We can eat the right things. We can lay under the sun. But God is the one who makes it work. He’s the one that designed our bodies to use the energy we put in. He’s the one who gave us sunlight and melanin. He’s the one who provides the very air we breath. But too often we place all the weight on our shoulders. We make or dream up ourselves to be the captains of our destiny. But God propels the ship. Jesus floats the boat. His love uplifts life itself. Are we willing to trust in Him? Are we willing to do what we need but rely on His doing? This is His creation we live in. It’s His love we live for. It’s Christ’s death we’ll live because. It’s not about you. It’s about the one who LOVES you. Do you believe that? Trust me, it’s a better deal than what we’ve been sold.

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, March 19, 2015

What You're Made For


“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” - Harriet Tubman

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, - Genesis 12:1-4a

Endemic: “restricted or peculiar to a locality or region” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If you were to go to a major aquatic entertainment center to watch the whales and dolphins jump around and do tricks, you would be watching animals that most likely were born and raised in captivity. 12,000 pound Killer Whales swim around in a tank the size of a large swimming pool for decades. And while they’re beautiful, and they stick their tongues out at you, and they do tricks, they have no idea. Those whales have no idea the world they were created for. They have no idea that they were meant to swim hundreds of miles a day, and that their swimming should actually get them somewhere. They have no idea the problem solving their brains were meant for. They have no idea the family they were meant for. That they were meant to stay by their mothers for the majority of their lives until she died. That their brain capacity for love and family probably exceeds that of their human trainers. They know the tank. They know that the proper jump, the proper wave, the proper action will get them a couple fish. We are not whales, but can you see yourself in the life of a Sea World Orca? Do you live a life of endemic captivity? Are we living up to our life’s capacity? Just a question…

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, March 18, 2015

Accept Joy Today


“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” - C.S. Lewis

You make known to me the path of life;
  in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
  at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Psalm 16:11

Beatitude: “a state of utmost bliss” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In an interview on 60 Minutes years before his death, Philipp Seymour Hoffman said, “The best you’ll ever feel is when you’ve done a good job.” Stop for a second and think of the implications. Really. Just stop and think about them. What happens when you can’t do a good job? What happens when life limits your ability to do much of anything? And have you ever done a really really good job? I mean a perfect job? There are a lot of perfectionists in this world, but no perfects. That’s probably why most people don’t like perfectionists. They’re serial hypocrites. But we all are, aren’t we? How many times have I said that no one is perfect? A ton right? So I don’t have to say it again. You already knew anyway. In light of our failure, how happy can we be, when happiness depends on our doing good? It’s a beautiful quote from Mr. Hoffman, a quote of an artist. And I know what he means. I don’t want to disagree with him, because I do know where he’s coming from. Doing good makes us happy. It’s what we were designed for, and following our design makes us inherently happy. However, we’re fallen. Doing good will never satisfy in this life again, because we can’t do the good we’re meant for. We can make a difference. We can be significant. We can help. But good… I mean perfect good. We just can't do it. And so when happiness depends on us, when it depends on what we do, it will remain mysteriously aloof, like the end of a rainbow. Who knows where we can overtake it. It slips like a stream through our grasp. So where can we find happiness? A happiness that satisfies like no other? Certainly not in or from us. We’ve tried. And we may have found some. But the pinnacle?  Joy. Where is it found? It’s found in Jesus. It’s found when we surrender to Him and let His Spirit fill our hearts. I once said I would never use the word “joy” outside of the context of Jesus, because joy is something different than mere human happiness. It’s the happiness we receive from God. Happiness we can have in a prison cell or a penthouse sweet. JOY… It doesn’t depend on us, rather we depend on it. The good news is that it’s completely free of charge. It’s something our Creator desires for all of us. It’s not the result of something we do, rather what we do results from it. It’s a gift of God for simply being. However, it does take something. It takes acceptance. Do you accept it? Accept joy today.

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, March 17, 2015

You Did It To Me


“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Her at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, you storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips.  ‘Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
- The New Colossus, a poem by Emma Lazarus, inspired by and found on the Statue of Liberty

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirst and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” - Matthew 25:31-40

Sate: “satisfy (a desire or an appetite) to the full” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Need exists. Are we helping it? People sleep on the streets. Are we doing anything about it? There is a divide between the needy and the sated. Are we working to break down the wall? There is a reason people live on the streets in need. More often than not, drugs and crime got them there. And sometimes there is nothing that can be done. But we can be His hands and His feet. We can minister in real ways to those in need. Notice how Jesus didn’t say, “I was wrongfully imprisoned and you helped me.” No, He said, “I was in prison and you visited me.” If righteousness was the requirement for receiving help, we’d all be lost. Help for the unrighteous… Isn’t that why Jesus died? Jesus didn’t look down on us and say to Himself, “Those poor helpless good people. Someone needs to help them.” Rather He promised death would result from sin. He looked down on us and recognized the punishment we deserved, then took the punishment on Himself. We will never solve the problem of poverty and all that goes with it. Otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have said to His disciples as Mary washed His feet with perfume. “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.” - John 12:8 Fortunately He sent the Spirit to always be with us. And it’s the fact that the Holy Spirit is always with us that empowers us to reach out to those in need. It’s our primary mission. A mission that I’m not good at. A mission that is scary. A mission of the Gospel. Everyone needs Jesus.

As a warning, before opening your life to someone you don’t know, someone that probably has a criminal record, learn how to most affectively help their needs. There are those who target people trying to do good, and it is easy to become prey while trying to help.  

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, March 16, 2015

Keep Your Soul


“There are two great forces, God’s force of good and the devil’s force of evil, and I believe Satan is alive and he is working, and he is working harder than ever, and we have many mysteries that we don’t understand.” - Billy Graham

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. - Ephesians 6:10-17

Magic: “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Power is power, right? No... None of us really believe that. Sure, we believe in power, but we also believe in good and bad. Right and wrong. So why are there so many who are willing to use power, no matter the source. There is power on the side of wrong. Just as there is power for good. Supernatural powers even. In the west when we think of powerful figures, we think of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, maybe even Ronald Reagan. But we also know that countering powers have existed as well. Slavery, Nazis, barbarism. But why? Certainly God works His power in our lives and in this world. And there are those who have chosen to do what is right and gained influence from it. There are also those who desire power, whatever the source. “The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be Yours.’” - Luke 4:5-7  We all come across that temptation. The devil wants to give us power. But it comes at a price. Whether we know it or not, it comes at the price of worshiping him. Whether it’s wealth, knowledge of the future, the desire to see someone lost to us. The power exists for those things to happen. But they don’t always come from God. God is not a god of magic, but the God of miracles. The Bible says, “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” - Leviticus 19:31 Satan promises anything we want. And sometimes he even delivers. God asks that we follow Him. And while it may not lead to everything we want here on earth. His promise of salvation stands. His promise of everlasting life in perfection is the ultimate goal. Satan’s rewards are temporary, they lead to death every time. Jesus knew that. That’s why when Satan tempted Him with power, He simply replied, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” - Luke 4:8b Make no mistake, the power exists to rule many nations through evil, the power exists to talk to people who have died, the power exists to divine the future. Magic does exist. But we have to be careful to discern between the power of good and the power of evil. The power of God and the power of the devil. The Bible is clear on what God is willing to do in our lives. It’s clear we are not to dabble in sorcery, in witchcraft, or in fortune-telling. It’s clear that we are to trust in Him and Him alone. He is jealous for us because He loves us. He wants the best reward for us. That is a life in heaven with Him. When we put our trust in other powers besides His, we’re rejecting His love and His promises for our lives. We’re saying in our actions that we don’t trust Him. And without trust, there can be no reward. May we all put our full trust in Him. The old saying, “The good die young,” may come to pass. A life of trust in Him may not bring wealth and power. But Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” - Philippians 1:21 Jesus said this to His disciples. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” - Mark 8:36-38

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