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, October 23, 2014

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful Face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
- Excerpt from the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2

Envisage: “to view or regard in a certain way” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary  

Tradition... The following of a template in an activity. Trick-Or-Treat, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas presents. Church? People in many ways were designed to follow. Along that line of followers are leaders, preachers, and traditions; only to name a few. All of the characters in that line are following something. Maybe it’s the person in front, the horizon, a tradition, or all of the above. And we get led astray. We go down the wrong paths. We miss our goals. All in the attempt to follow something we envisage as worthwhile. There is nothing wrong with following a tradition in itself. There is nothing wrong with following a leader at work, or a pastor at church. There’s nothing wrong with following, as long as it never takes our eyes off of the Good Shepherd. Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” - John 10:14-15 Humanity will lead you in the wrong direction. Your boss at work will be wrong. Your pastor will be wrong. I will be wrong. It’s not that we disregard all respect for the leaders and influences in our lives, but that they need to be placed in their proper perspective. If another person ever asks for your ultimate trust, run the other way. If a tradition requires undivided attention, break it. We all know that every human venture fails. We try our best to be right and to get better, but we’re not and never will be perfect. And so everything we do is wrought full of mistakes. And so to give our trust and allegiance to a mistake prone entity is foolish. We’re bound to be disappointed and disenfranchised, and they’re guaranteed to be set up for failure. But somehow the failures of humanity shrink when they’re put into perspective, when they’re put in their proper place. Because it doesn’t matter if my pastor was wrong last week, because Jesus still saves. It doesn’t matter if the President was wrong, because Jesus still saves. It doesn’t matter... Jesus saves! Do mistakes matter? Is corruption wrong? Are faults damaging? Yes, of course. But how much can this world hurt me when Jesus has already saved me? How much can this world hurt you, when you’re in the fold of Jesus. Pain, ridicule, disappointment. They’re all gonna hurt. But there’s something greater. Something that can assuage the impact of our setbacks, pains, and fears. Simply put, He’s Jesus 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?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Because He Lives

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” - Martin Luther

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” - Acts 13:2

Alacrity: “promptness in response; cheerful readiness” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In the past I’ve written that satisfaction is what life is all about. On the face of it, that statement seems true. What is the point of life if its not satisfying? But dig a little deeper and its meaning seems to crumble. What if my purpose is to be persecuted for Christ? That doesn't seem like it would be satisfying. However, dig a little deeper and it begins to be truer and truer. Because of one truth. What matters most is God. He created us. He's in control. And He has a purpose for everything. With that purpose, in His gentleness, He throws in satisfaction. Do you think the apostle Peter was satisfied while being crucified upside down? Do you think the apostle Paul was satisfied as he was martyred for Christ? Yes! They probably weren't completely satisfied with their bodily predicament, but I'm confident they were satisfied with their lives and their relationship with the One who matters most. Why? Because God has the ability to grant satisfaction in the worst circumstances. Because with Him there is something that can shine a light on any situation. That thing is HOPE! Hope is His supernatural, proverbial, "light at the end of the tunnel." Hope is His source of peace. Hope is the driving force that sustains life. I heard pastor Rick Warren say this once, and I believe it. He said, "You can live 40 days without food, you can live three days without water, eight minutes without air, but you can't live a second without hope." I'm reminded of the hymn Because He Lives in which it states, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives." Life is certainly worth living because He lives. He's our hope and our salvation. He lives and we can live because of that. That's why what matters most is God. And He's why life can be about satisfaction. 

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, October 21, 2014

The Prosperity Gospel

“I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” - John F. Kennedy

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. - Ecclesiastes 5:10

Prosper: “to become strong and flourishing” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Ever heard of the prosperity gospel? It often gets a bad name because people claim that it’s all about asking Jesus for stuff and Him giving it. I’m not sure that’s what the prosperity gospel is all about. I do know however that Jesus is able to give us the greatest prosperity we could ever imagine. I don’t blame Joel Osteen for preaching happiness and joy. It’s what he does. Is there anything wrong with teaching that there is happiness, or joy, in following Christ? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend or prosecute anybody. I can’t get into the hearts of prosperity teachers and see if they are humble in spirit or if they actually believe God will grant us whatever we desire. What I can do is read God’s Word and listen to what He says and see what He has done. Many of God’s servants were more prosperous than anyone reading this. Many of them, God says, He personally blessed with wealth because they chose to serve Him. And many of them also suffered for their service as well. There’s one common denominator among all of them. That is, they loved the Lord and served Him. For some that means wealth, for others sadness, but for all there is joy. I’ve heard it said that the day the Forbes Magazine top 50 wealthiest people list comes out is a rough one for some. The funny thing about that list is that it’s depressing. Not for the average person reading it but, oddly enough, for some of the people on the list. Do you know how much money you have to have to be on that list? No one could spend it all. But for the guy or gal who lost a spot, $35 billion isn’t enough. But before we get all judgmental and high on our horse, let’s see the ways we’re the same. If you are a fellow American, you’re one of the richest people in the world. To someone who makes a dollar a day and eats rice for every meal (like the majority of the world’s population), worrying about the kind of car you drive is just as stupefying as worrying about your wealth ranking. God provides...  He provides us with what we need. He can bless us with much more. He should be all we need. If we’re blessed with wealth; praise the Lord. If we’re scraping by; praise the Lord. If the worst has just happened; He is there when we’re ready to be comforted. Prosperity. Wealth. Joy. They’re all from the Lord. They can all be a curse or a blessing. That’s largely up to you and me. It depends on how we use the things we have. If we view everything we have as strictly for our use, I guarantee they will turn into a curse. But if we give out of lack, I guarantee we will be blessed. If with nothing more than a smile. And that’s really the pinnacle of the prosperity gospel isn’t it? To have a smile. I can’t help but think of Paul and Silas in prison, in stocks none-the-less. What did they do? They sang joyfully. What happened? They were set free. That to me is the prosperity gospel. It’s not God giving us everything we desire, but Him giving us everything we want. That is simply joy. And joy is something God can use. Can you imagine walking up to a person with a horrible frown, and upon asking what’s wrong, they simply respond, “I was just thinking about Jesus.” No! More often than not the love of Jesus looks something like this. “You’re going through so much, can I ask how you’re able to smile so much.”
“Oh, I was just thinking about Jesus.”
That’s the prosperity gospel. That’s what Jesus can do. There’s wealth and wisdom in that. There’s strength and restraint in that. And there’s power in purpose through that. Praise 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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Desiccant


“Satan is not afraid of your words, but he is afraid of God’s Word.” - Rick Warren

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. - Ephesians 6:12-13

Insidious: “developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

With all its qualities, water has a problem. It has a few problems, but we’ll focus on one of them for now. It’s actually not necessarily a problem at all. It’s only a problem to us who have to deal with it. Water corrodes. It aides in the oxidation and decay of just about anything. It causes the metal on our houses and cars to rust. It causes wood to rot. And it makes our skin super wrinkly when we spend too much time in a hot tub. Ok, so that’s not a huge problem, but still... Speaking of water, kinda, have you ever noticed those stupid little packs of mystery in our bottles of pills? I hate them because they seem to be the only thing that wants to readily come out of the bottle when I’m simply trying to get a vitamin. Those packs are something called desiccant. They’re made to absorb the moisture in the air around them so that the pills or vitamins they protect stay dry and ready for consumption. In fact, most valuable items that are stored in containers are packed with desiccant to fight corrosion caused by moisture. Our lives aren’t much more different. Our minds, our spirits, and our souls can be corroded. Not by moisture of course, but by everyday life. The old adage, “You are who you associate with,” is true. Hang out in a gang? You’re going to be a gang member. Party with alcoholics? Chances are you’ll drink too much too. Associate with people who swear a lot? It will be hard to keep a clean mouth. What we collude with will collude with us. However, it’s impossible to completely segregate ourselves from all harmful influences. In fact, that’s not what we are called to do. Therefore, we need a desiccant in our lives to protect us from the things that would destroy our lives. The question is, what can serve as a life desiccant? There is only one thing... That is God. Spend time in prayer and meditation with Him. Spend time in His word. And spend time with His people. These things help to re-orientate our lives towards Him. Prayer helps us realize that we are mortal and weak. Meditation can clear our mind of distractions to focus on Him. His word teaches us what is right and true. And fellowship encourages us to keep going; that we aren’t alone in our struggles. Of course there are a myriad of ways to add God into our lives. The important thing is to add God into our lives. He is able to protect our minds, our hearts, and our actions. He is the desiccant able to preserve and save our souls from the insidiousness and corrosion of sin and temptation. “The Lord is good to those who wait on Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” - Lamentations 3:25 Let’s wait on Him. Let’s seek Him. Tired of being tarnished by this world? Let’s see what God can do in our lives.

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, October 17, 2014

Keep Going!

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” - Mother Teresa

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. - James 1:2-8

Digress: “to turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

So what about faith? If you don’t think it will take faith to have a relationship with God, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise at some coming point. Faith is a key element in our spiritual lives. No, it’s not always active to its highest extent, but it always needs to be available. It’s in those times when there is no doubt, when God seems like He’s sitting right beside you, when nothing could rock our belief that we need to strengthen our faith all the more. If you have an active relationship with God, you know He has a purpose in and for your life. That purpose will be tested. And it is faith that keeps us strong during the testing. No matter what, keep going. For  years now I have been writing the Daily Self Growth Journal. It’s possible that for years you’ve read this blog almost every day. I’m here to tell you, there have been many days when I didn’t want to write. There have been many days when I felt like a phony because I wasn’t feeling what I was writing. There have been many days when I’ve felt like a complete failure. Keep going. In faith I’ve known God has a purpose for my life, for my writing. In faith I wrote happy messages in the worst moods because of that one person whom it may influence. Keep going. If there’s anything I’ve learned from following Jesus it’s that. There can never be a break through without chipping away at the wall that’s holding us back. We all have walls that hold us back, and we’d all love to have a proverbial wrecking ball to knock them down. However, it’s often the case that our wall busting toolshed seems woefully inadequate. Get out whatever there is and start chipping. Maybe it’s a carpenters hammer, a mechanics wrench, a bicycle, or even a pen. That wall needs to come down. It will take work. Keep going. Often the work will be joyful. Sometimes it will seem pointless. At times we’ll wonder if what’s on the other side is attainable, or even worth the effort. Look up. I think you’ll see in the distance a cross. A cross that makes all the difference. A cross that makes all the struggles and tears worth the effort. What’s behind us will never motivate us all the way. Rather, it’s what’s before us that will draw us ever farther down the road to Him. Hell and consequence can never dissuade our hearts from sin, it’s the Gospel earned on the Cross that assuages our temptations and calls us to keep going. And it’s through faith that we hear the Words of Jesus calling our names. Keep going!

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