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, August 29, 2014

Better Hands Now

It’s like the sun is shining
When the rain is pourin’ down
It’s like my soul is flying
Though my feet are on the ground
So take this heart of mine
There’s no doubt
I’m in better hands now
Excerpt from the song In Better Hands Now
by Natalie Grant

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth.  Proverbs 127:4

Hoard:  “a supply or fund stored up and often hidden away”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Sir look, a chimp.”
“A what?”  The captain asked looking out at the plain of tall grass through his binoculars.
“A chimp, you know, a chimpanzee, a great ape.”
“Ya, I know what a chimp is Scott, but what is a chimp doing here?”
“I don’t know sir.  Shall we try and find out?”
“Go ahead...”
“Oh, and Scott, be careful.  You never know what one of these things is up to.”
“Yes sir.”

It’s crazy what life can bring.  Things unexpected and exciting.  Things to be explored and wondered at.  New things to learn and understand.

“Can I get some cereal?”
“What do you want cereal for, it’s not breakfast time?”  Replied their cook.
“There’s a chimpanzee outside camp, it looks like he needs something.”
“You’re crazy, you know that Scott.”
“Ya, I know that.  Just give me some cereal.”
“Here you go.  But be careful.  You never know what one of these things can do.”

Life can be scary.  Not everything to be learned is enjoyable.  There are dangers in life.  Dangers we are powerless to overcome.  Dangers we must face to make a difference.

“It ran off sir.”
“What ran off?  Where?
“The chimp.  I gave him some cereal and he took it and ran off.  In fact he’s done it everyday for the past week since that first day we noticed him.  Poor thing, he looks so bedraggled and hungry.”
“Sir, this is weird I know, but can me and some of the boys check out what this thing is up to?”
“Are you caught up on all your duties.”
“Sir...  Have I ever been known for slacking?”
“Ok then, just be careful.  You never...”
“Know what these things are up to.”  Scott mumbled the end of the captains phrase before he could finish.
“I’ll be careful...”

Sometimes things are different than what they seem.  “It is what it is.”  Isn’t that the phrase we use when life isn’t exactly satisfactory?  “It is what it is.”  Is it?  

“Sir, you remember that chimp?”
“Ya, why?”
“Well, it seems the food I’ve been giving it.  Well, it’s not been for him.  He’s been taking it back to his group and sharing it.  It looks like another clan of chimps has been keeping them from hunting and foraging.  They’ve been starving.  I think the little food I’ve been giving them is all they’ve had.”
“It is what it is.”  We’re all starving.  Scratch that.  God has a plan.  He gave us His word.  We don’t have to starve.  But too often we see people starving and do nothing about it.  We take the food, we take His Word and keep it to ourselves.  As if there isn’t enough to go around.  As if we don’t know how to hand it out.  As if we don’t have the means to do His work.  That sort of thinking always starts and ends with us.  “I can’t.”  I don’t know how I...”  Recently Whitney (my wife) and I announced that we are going to have a baby.  If you know much about us, you know that we have been in the process of adopting for a while now.  Nothing about that is going to change.  However, along the way God decided to give us a biological child as well.  I don’t know what our children will be like yet.  However, one thing I do know.  God said children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior.  What does that mean?  For me that means that my children aren’t just for me.  Arrows are useless to a warrior until they’re nocked, drawn, and released.  And so it is with everything God’s given us.  This world is our clan.  Many are starving for God’s Word.  Are we sharing what’s been given us?  I don’t know if a chimp would ever share food with its starving clan.  But I do know that too often we’re in the same position and we hoard.  We worry about our kids being good.  We worry about our retirement savings and our house.  We worry about everything as if everything is for us.  Imagine the worry we would have if we lived like everything was to be shared.  Like everything was for the purpose of Christ.  God wants us to share Him through our children, through our homes and our money.  There’s nothing He’s given that can’t be used to share Him.  And there’s nothing that He’s given that can run out.  Like that chimp, we only have two hands.  We can only carry so much.  That’s why God blesses us with tools.  His blessings expand our ability to care, like arrows expand the reach of a warrior.  And so I’m not going to worry about what our children will be like.  Because I know God has blessed us with them to do His work.  Whatever that may be, and however that may look.  Why worry?  Why worry about how our kids will turn out?  Why worry about our home and our savings?  Why worry if it’s all for the Lord anyway?  Of course that doesn’t mean we neglect our children, home, or bank account.  However, it does mean that when we put our lives in God’s grasp we will truly see.  We’re all in better hands now.

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, August 28, 2014

Motivation To Serve

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, but I do know what I can do.” - James T. Kirk - From the movie, Star Trek, Into Darkness

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. - 1 Peter 4:10

Onerous: “involving, imposing, or constituting a burden: troublesome” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Life is full of things we have to do. Things we can’t wait to accomplish. Things we dread. And sometimes things we spend some time refusing to do. Life is also full of distractions. Distractions from reality. Distractions from God. And distractions from the things we have to do. Most of us have to go to work at some point during the day. Most of us have to pay some bills. And we all have a purpose for God. All of these things have their distractions. Sometimes sleep is a distraction from getting up and getting to work. Sometimes shopping is a distraction from paying a bill. And Satan is always trying to distract us from our purpose for the Lord. Those distractions come in many forms. They’re different for everybody, but we all deal with them. So how do we overcome them? How do we accomplish what we have to do? I think the answer lies in our motivations. What is your motivation? Are we motivated by our own desires? Does entertainment motivate us? Are we motivated by making life better for someone else? Distractions will never fulfill our desires. Sure, they may be enjoyable for a little while, but the requirements of life will always catch up to us. The plan God has for our lives will always affect us. Remember Jonah? God had a plan for him to preach to Nineveh. So what did Jonah do? He boarded a vessel for someplace in the opposite direction. How often do we do that? That phone call we know we should make. That visit to the person we know needs a friend. That mission needing a volunteer. Knowing what to do isn’t as hard as we think. After all, we know what everyone else should do. Want to know what to do? It’s easy, just pretend you’re someone else. But somehow, when the onerous is on us, we vacillate and struggle over what we should do, when in reality there’s no question. Sometimes it’s just plain hard. Sometimes we have to struggle with God Himself for motivation. Sometimes we have to fight distractions and fears with all we’ve got. And the reward is worth it. The satisfaction of making someone’s life better is always worth it. A clean kitchen is always worth doing the dishes for. And a child is always worth the raising… God’s plan for our lives is no different. It will take struggle and perseverance. But it’s always worth it. We won’t always know exactly what we’re supposed to do. But more often than not, what we can do is just what we need to do. Especially when our motivation is to serve.

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, August 27, 2014

Unfailing Power

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

- Excerpt from the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26

Deprave: “to make bad” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” Ever heard that phrase? Probably, most of us have. Is it true? And if so, why? Ever heard this one? “Misery loves company.” If I had to guess you’ve heard that phrase too. Why? It seems to me these little observances are, for the most part, true. But why should fun last only a little while according to our perception? Why should we try to bring others down with us? Is humanity that focused on negativity that it seems to slow down time? Are we so proud of our unhappiness that we want others to join us in it? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” - Luke 6:31 “Perception is reality.” Are you seeing a pattern in today’s message? So many of us live by simple little phrases that influence our life greatly. But I’m not sure if we ever spend much time trying to determine if they’re worth living by. Here’s what I once thought was a Bible verse, “God helps those who help themselves.” That’s actually a quote by Benjamin Franklin and you’ll never find God saying anything close to it in His word. The closest you’ll get to that quote in the Bible goes something like this. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” - 1 Peter 5:6-7 It’s no wonder societies around the globe have trouble functioning. We make up these little sayings and then either live by them, or worse, measure ourselves to them, knowing full well there’s no excuse for bad behavior. Love him or hate him, Bill O’Reilly is right when he says, “You can’t excuse bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior.” But as humans we like to live by averages. We say to ourselves things like, “Compared to the average person, I’m doing pretty well.” That may work for our salaries, but it doesn’t work for our moralities. “Nobody’s perfect.” That’s another line we like to use, especially when we’ve been called out. It’s true though, no one is perfect. So how do we reconcile ourselves to a God who requires perfection for salvation? We don’t, we can’t. “I’m too far gone.” That’s one of the saddest lines I’ve heard. “Jesus could never love me.” Could anything be more false? Satan loves to inject these little phrases into our minds and call them wisdom. Jesus injected Himself into this world to bring truth. Like a coward, Satan wants to bring us all down with him. Jesus came down under His own accord to die for us so that we could be lifted on high with Him. What a contrast. Satan is constantly accusing, constantly injecting false negativity into our hearts. Jesus wants to lift us from our depravity and sorrow. It’s true, God requires perfection. However, He knows we would never achieve it. That’s why He sent His Son to erase our imperfection with His perfect sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus died a perfect man so that we could be perfected, not through our own efforts, but through His. Let the truth shine in your heart today. Reject the negativity of the world. Who cares if someone else has more things than we do. Who cares if someone else has the day off. With Jesus in our hearts, who could be more joyful? Answer, no one. And here’s why I say all this. We have too much to do. There’s too much at stake to let negativity and the devil drag us down into depression. There’s too much at stake for us to believe in failure. There’s too much at stake for us to succumb to depravity. There is no failure with Jesus. He has a plan for our lives that can overcome and circumvent any obstacle. He loves us too much to leave us to fail when we’ve called upon His name to save us. Reach out to Him. Let Him pull you to new heights, let Him give you hope and courage. Then follow Him in reaching out to our fellow man. We may not have the strength in ourselves, but we have the Savior. In Him lies the strength to pull a soul from the depths. It is for us to guide a helpless hand into His saving grasp. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26
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, August 26, 2014

The Action Of Words

“Honor lies in honest toil.” - Grover Cleveland

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, Selah. - Psalm 67:1

Selah: “a term of uncertain meaning found in the Hebrew text of Psalms and Habakkuk carried over untranslated into some English versions” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What did he mean when Grover Cleveland said, “Honor lies in honest toil?” I think we all know what it means. But when we think about it from all aspects, could that phrase mean a lot of things? Could one honestly toil at making the world worse? Could you or I honestly work at being evil? The word “Selah,” is a word in the Bible that cannot, as of yet, be translated into English. It’s technical meaning is unknown. But taken in context, it has meaning. It’s a word of affirmation and recognition. It’s an “amen,” a “please,” a “yes,” and many more words rolled into one. It’s like the phrase by Grover Cleveland. We can interpret it into confusion, or we could take it for what it means, in reality. Honor does lie in honest toil. And no, we can’t honestly work at ruining lives. We all know what it means to labor honestly. That it means to work hard for what is good and right. And we all know that when we work for what is good and right it brings satisfaction. Satisfaction that comes from knowing that we did something honorable. God is a God of action. There’s nothing wrong with talk. There’s thinking and ideas in talk. But at some point, for words to make a difference there must be action. That’s why God gave words power. Notice how God’s words throughout the Bible led to happenings. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” - Genesis 1:3 Sure, there are times in the Bible when we get a glimpse into the thoughts of God through His conversations. However, none of God’s words are left without action. How much do we talk and expect honor to come from our words alone? Can honor come from words alone? What difference does it make when we talk without putting our words into motion? More than we think. There is potential in words. They are a spring that stores up energy in order for something to happen. They do things even when we don’t intend them to. All words have an impactful meaning. When we use them, disregarding their potential, we risk doing harm. So while we understand that honor can be gained through an honest days work, let’s understand that words can do work too. And honor can come through words as well as anything else. We were given words and mouths for a reason, and we should use them for a good reason. The same as we would use our bodies. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31.

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, August 25, 2014

Galvanic Life

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of Your hands. - Psalm 138:8

Galvanic:  “having an electric effect: intensely exciting” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I wish I had finished... I should have gone to... I was stupid to have... Ever found yourself saying sentences that start out this way? We all have. It’s easy to wonder if life would be better if we finished college. There are things we all know we shouldn’t have done. Now we’re trying to add up the cost to our lives. They’re lessons lived. They’re experiences that can be used to teach others. There’s nothing wrong with admitting the mistakes we’ve made. However, we can’t go back. And to lament how our life could be if we would have only... Well, that’s to reject what God is doing in our lives. We’d all like to know what life would be like if we would have gone down better paths. However, I don’t think many of us would sacrifice our families for a degree, a job, or a mistake erased. I’d love to know what it would be like to be an engineer. But not without Whitney (my wife). And in many ways, not without the job I have now. I’d love to say that I’ve never been divorced. But not at the sake of the baby girl born January 9, 2014. I’d love to be able to say all kinds of things about my life, but I know God had a purpose through it all. And I won’t reject that purpose. I know there may be someone reading this who can’t see that purpose right now. Some who are asking, “Why?”  Some who are in the midst of one of those, “Learning experiences.” Keep going. Keep trusting. Commit to the Lord. I’ve been in those times. I’ve let my life float aimlessly. I’ve seen what the world can do. And I’m sure there are more of those times to come. However, looking at what I have; who I love, and who loves me; seeing what God has done in my life... I wouldn’t change anything. I love this galvanic life that I’ve been given. That’s what God can do.  

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