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, April 16, 2014

The Healer

“I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
And when I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy
Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me
I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
And Your voice fills the night - I raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not still my joy
Because You are good to me good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise
Ya your goodness and your mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise
Oh your goodness and your mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise
Because You are good to me good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me”
- From the song Good To Me by Audrey Assad

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized Him [Jesus] and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard He was. And wherever He came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored Him that they might touch even the fringe of His garment. And as many as touched it were made well. - Mark 6:53-56

Heal: “alleviate (a person's distress or anguish)” - New Oxford American Dictionary

This is one of those days when I feel a need to say something important. I had a message ready to publish this morning. But I feel like there is something else that needs to be said. It’s simply that Jesus is so good. Today is April 16. Yesterday the countries taxes were due. And I feel like the process of our tax system is so hard on us. I wonder how many marriages this year were lost because of a tax return. I wonder how many people yelled at someone because of a lost piece of paper. I wonder if Jesus could heal. If He could be good to us in these moments of stress. I know, it’s such a small thing. Why should something like taxes be so stressful. After all, the reason they’re probably so stressful for many is because of the large amounts of money we Americans make on average. And I feel somewhat reluctant, because there are billions of people around the world who would love to have our tax problems. But still, for many a real damage has been done. Maybe it’s not taxes for you. Maybe it’s something far more important. Everyday damage gets done. And that’s why I’m so thankful for Jesus. Because in all the hurt, through all the damage, with all our sickness… He heals. Because He is good to us in lives that don’t always seem so good. Because He holds a promise towards us throughout lives of struggle. Because He died for us so that His promise could hold power. Life isn’t always good to us, but He is always here, always near, waiting for us to simply reach out to touch a fringe of His garment. Feel the power and the joy that He can bring to any situation. He heals when nothing else can. He loves when no one else will. He is strange that way. Strange in the absolute best way possible. He’s more than unusual, He’s the only Savior of this world. He’s the only Savior for you and me. Let’s reach to Him for healing 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, April 15, 2014

Relevancy

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
- Excerpt from the song You Love Me Anyway by the band Sidewalk Prophets

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. - 1 John 3:13

Relevant: “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand” - New Oxford American Dictionary

What will we do to be liked? What would we do to be respected? What could we do to be loved? What have we done!? Relevant: it’s what the church wants to be. It’s what any system of beliefs wants to be. But it’s not up to us to make our beliefs relevant. It’s up to us to know that what we believe is relevant. Too often we want to shape our beliefs to fit the world. We want to be cool once again. We want people to like us because we’re not judgmental and we’re accepting and we’re part of the crowd. But does that make us loving? We were called to love. But does true love set aside judgment in order to accept? Of course the answer is yes and it’s no at the same time. We are not to judge people, that’s Jesus’ job. Rather, we are to accept people like Christ. However, should we throw away all the rules just so that we can be nonjudgmental and accepting? Of course not. While it’s not our job to judge a person, we should have judgement. We should know what is right and wrong, and we should stand for what is right. Even if it means we don’t fit in. Christ stood for what was right, and He died for what we do wrong. If there is one thing our life is for, it is so that more people would get to know Christ. It’s not our job to make sure society is perfect, but that society knows what perfection looks like. It’s our job to show Jesus to the world. And so we don’t say it’s ok to do whatever we want because who is anyone to judge. Rather we say that Jesus is able to forgive. We have to be able to tell right from wrong so that we can tell that Jesus forgives wrongs and makes right. If, as Christians, we simply accept all behavior, then why would anyone need Jesus? Likewise, if we reject people because of their behavior, they will likely reject Jesus as well. And so we try to be relevant; not in a way that adjusts what is acceptable, there is no sin that is acceptable to God, but in a way that relates Jesus to humanity. Because while sin is unacceptable, we are all acceptable through Christ. He died to become relevant to all of us. Indeed, He is the definition of relevant., because ultimately, we all need Him. 

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 14, 2014

True Character

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure.  I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle.  But if you can’t hand me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”  Marilyn Monroe

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

Unsated:  “not satiated: not satisfied”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Often the last thing we give away is our grace and our kindness.  We give of our time and our money, and whatever quantifiable thing we have.  And at the same time we hold onto what matters most.  Our spirit and heart.  It’s easy to give a few dollars to someone in need.  It’s easy to help someone move on a saturday afternoon.  It’s easy to...  Those things are measurable and temporary.  What’s hard is to give of ourselves.  Maybe not for you.  Maybe it’s harder for you to give the quantifiable things.  However, for most, giving of ourselves is harder, if not impossible.  Giving of ourselves is timeless.  It lasts forever.  It is kindness to someone we hesitate to like.  It is a smile towards someone who’s wronged us.  It is a good spirit when we want to be in a bad mood.  It’s hard to give of ourselves, because it requires that we change our feelings.  It’s possible to mow our neighbors lawn out of kindness and retain bitterness in our spirit towards them.  It’s possible to change someone’s tire and resent them at the same time.  It’s possible to mask our feelings, be content with our actions, and forget our spirits.  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”  Notice that those are the fruit of the Holy Spirit with a capital “S.”  Those are not the fruit of our spirits with the lowercase “s.”  It’s possible to act out some of those fruits in our own spirit.  But time will reveal our true identity.  There is at least one of those fruits we struggle with.  We’ll lose control, our temper will flare, and those fruits we worked so hard to produce will rote in a matter of milliseconds.  But the fruits of the capital “S” Spirit are everlasting, and they’re not an act.  When we have the Spirit in us, those outward actions are a natural byproduct.  They’re the effervescence of a healthy relationship and heart with the Lord.  But it requires the relinquishing of our spirit.  It requires that we commit our hearts to the Holy Spirit.  It requires a change on the inside.  Facades and masks can be swapped regularly, but interior renovations take a change of heart.  We all know how to act civilized in public.  But do we know how to feel civilized inside?  It’s the heart that really matters.  It’s what we feel that makes the most difference.  It’s our spirit that bears fruit.  Not when everything is going well, but when it seems like everything is falling apart.  It’s after the careless fender bender, the rude comment, the negligent bump that reality shows up.  We like to think of ourselves as bing pretty good, but how do we respond in those roughed up moments?  Rather, who responds?  Is it our often hateful, grumpy, strident, impatient, unkind, bad, unfaithful, harsh, out of control spirit?  Or is it His Spirit?  You may be saying, “I’m not that way, I’m kind and considerate.”  I know that’s what I want to say.  But is it really true?  I know I’m kind and considerate when I’m in a good mood.  But it takes everything I have to put a smile on my face when my mood is lacking.  And that’s not uncommon for me.  Let’s lose the act.  And let’s gain a life.  Let’s admit our true characters.  And gain true character.  With His Spirit it’s not only easy to offer a helping hand, it’s also easy to offer a loving heart.  With His Spirit people won’t have to deal with our bad days to get a good one.  With His Spirit we can be changed, we can be renewed in our minds and our spirits. 

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 11, 2014

You Can't Handle The Love

“I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Ask yourself ‘How has He loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?’ Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love. Work without love is slavery.” - Mother Teresa

Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. - Psalm 63:3

Agape: “from Greek agapÄ“ ‘selfless love’” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Agape… Unconditional, selfless love. We all wish we had more of it. It could, it would change the world. But who’s ever thought of what it really feels like to experience agape? Can we even comprehend it fully? “You Can’t handle the truth.” So goes a famous movie line by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. And I think that’s a little how we relate to agape. I’ll never forget the way I felt the first time I held my daughter Cora. She’d just been beat up, bruised, and poked with needles. Just a few minutes old and wrapped in that familiar hospital receiving blanket she just was. And I wonder how much agape I felt at that moment. I’m not sure what percentage of the love I felt was agape then, but all I can remember is being completely broken. There was nothing I’d ever loved more. That little baby, still swollen and red, unable to do anything by herself, had complete control over me. It was the most beautiful moment I’ve ever experienced. To parents, I don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining it. It was agape. It was something we don’t know how to handle. Imagine feeling that way about everything. Imagine living a life in which a son or daughter died every moment. It’s not something we can handle. Now you know a little of what separates us from God. God has agape for everyone. “He is agape,” the Bible says in 1 John 4:8. Agape is what Jesus felt for His crucifiers. He died on the Cross because of His agape for us. Can you imagine? No. We can’t handle love. Not fully, not completely, not in its purest form. But someday. Someday when this world’s evils are abolished. When perfection is normal. When love is unlimited. When agape is in every heart. But until then… Until then, let’s at least let it inspire. 

Daily Journaling Questions:
How did I help someone in kindness today?
What did I learn today?
What am I thankful for?
Who did I love today?
What am I dreaming of?
What about today do I want to remember forever?
What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This Is For You

“I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” - Alice Roosevelt Longworth

As He [Jesus] was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged Him that he might be with Him. And He did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” - Mark 5:18-19

Touch: “archaic a thing or an action that tries out the worth or character of something; a test” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Studies have shown that the more people have the less empathetic they are to the plight of others. Studies have shown that the more money someone has the lower percentage of it they generally give. And studies have also shown that the best way to spend money in a way that makes us happy is to spend it on someone else, or to give it away. The problem is, we don’t trust these studies very much. We don’t apply them to our lives, because we say, “We’re different than everyone else.” 
If you’re reading this, look around you. Look at all the things you’ve been blessed with. Now think about someone who has less than you. A lot less. Think about a little girl who has nothing, with no prospect of ever having anything, a little girl with no hope. There are millions of little girls like this. Now think about a a grown man who’s having trouble providing for his family. It has nothing to do with motivation or laziness, he simply has no opportunity. Millions of men are in this situation. But we earn and we enjoy or things and we forget about others because we think we got all this stuff on our own. And if we can do it, well then anyone can. But it’s not true. We’re believing a lie. Hard work and determination go a long way. But blessings have to come along side as well. 
However, we forget. We forget where we came from, what it was like to have little. Or maybe we’ve never experienced having a little. Still, we forget what it is that provides so much for us. That we are not just hard workers, we are not just smart, we are not just enterprising. We are blessed as well. Blessed to live somewhere where our efforts can pay. Blessed to be surrounded by opportunities. Blessed by God Himself. So we ignore the studies, we ignore the needs, we ignore God. We need to stop. We need to look around and see the needs. We need to stop ignoring our blessings and start sharing them. Don’t worry, they won’t go away. We won’t be disappointed in a life of giving. God has an endless supply of blessings He wants to share with and through our lives. Don’t fit into the study’s statistics. Break the trends. Show the world what you’ve been blessed with and use it to bless the world. In the words of Jesus, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19b 
You might be reading this trying to feel your blessings. And none come to mind. None can be felt. Then reach out for Him. He’s there to bless anyone who will come to Him. On His way to heal a sick little girl, a woman who’d tried everything to be healed of her sickness, a woman at the end of everything, with nothing more to lose, decided she’d give Jesus a try. She was unclean in her society. The rules said she couldn’t even touch someone. But she decided to give Jesus a try. So as He walked, she simply touched His clothes in faith. “For she said, ‘If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.’” Mark 5:28 Then the Bible says, “And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’ And His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’’ And He looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happen to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’” - Mark 5:30-34    
This is for you. This is for all of us. This is Jesus. Simply reach out to touch Him and He will touch you. 

Daily Journaling Questions:
How did I help someone in kindness today?
What did I learn today?
What am I thankful for?
Who did I love today?
What am I dreaming of?
What about today do I want to remember forever?
What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake