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, 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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Start Broken

After all You are constant
After all You are only good
After all You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Not for a moment will You forsake me
- Excerpt from the song Not For A Moment by Meredith Andrews

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. - Psalm 23:1

Sovereign: “an acknowledged leader” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Sometimes I wonder how people do it? How people commit their lives to a service and don’t turn back? What’s in them that makes the difference? Through discouragement and despair they must keep going. But how? Through sorrow and pain they forge ahead. But how? Through it all they remain faithful. But How..? And then it occurs to me. They’ve already given their all. Out of the abundance of their heart they’ve given all. But not to a service. Not to a person. Not to a need. No, they started in need. Then gave. They do not break easily because they’ve already been broken. Broken by the Spirit of God. They’ve been broken, but a new strength is instilled in them. A strength that can face any challenge. So if today, you’re wondering how you’ll make it through. If today, you don’t see the strength in you to carry on. If today… Fall at the feet of Jesus to be broken anew. Give God your tears and your heart. Give Him everything you have. Give Him your strength too. Because it’s only through Him that we can ever receive a new and a greater strength. Our pride, our weakness we call strength, our humanity; they must be broken. A rider cannot go far on a horse that is not broken. And God cannot show His strength through a soul unwilling to yield. Want strength for today? Want to make a difference? Want to meet a need? Start on your knees. Start bowed down. Start broken… At the feet of Jesus.

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 15, 2014

Between The Yin And The Yang


“The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:21

Pernicious: “highly injurious or destructive: deadly” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What lies between the Yin and the Yang? Between the tear drop shapes that curve around each other to fit neatly into a perfect circle? It’s clear that good and evil exist in the world. We’ve seen their effects throughout history. And we’re affected by just the thought of them. We’d like to make them black and white and identify one from the other with clarity. Indeed they are easily distinguishable. However separating them is a challenge to which we’re not up to the task. We long to destroy evil and live in a world where only good exists. But it’s not possible for us. So there lies good and evil. It doesn’t matter what shape you draw them to be. The fact remains, they exist. But what do we separate them by. A line, a border, a wall? Tears... It’s the longing for good when evil touches that produces our tears and sorrow. When a loved one dies. When a treasure is lost. When pain is perceived. We can build walls and gates to separate places and objects, but there is no barrier that protects the good from bad. And nothing can hinder the view of good from bad. While we suffer the effects of sin we realize what could be. No more death.  No more sorrow or pain. And while we rejoice in good we are continually drug back to evil. In the space between there is suffering and strife. But the gospel proclaims a way out. A way of escape from the continuous circle of good and bad. Jesus promises a place of only good. A place where tears no longer form the boundary between good and evil, but a clear distinguishable wall bars evil from ever affecting good again. What a place that will be! To no longer struggle with death. To no longer struggle with temptation. To no longer kill to eat. A place where love has conquered hate entirely. What a place that will be! We look forward to that place where sin is no longer pernicious. However, we know that we still live in a world of good and evil. We must live with it, but we must not be conformed or conquered by it. It’s only through love that we can overcome evil and it’s effects. It’s with love that we can say to death, “Where is your sting.” It’s with the love of the Gospel, the love of Christ, that we know hate will be conquered by love, evil by good, and struggle by peace. What a place that will be!

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 14, 2014

Where's The Power?


There is power, power
Wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb
- Excerpt from the song Power In The Blood by Lewis E. Jones

“Never allow a person to tell you no, who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Eminence: “a position of prominence or superiority” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Recently I saw a video of a cat playing in a bathtub full of water. It’s not unusual to see videos like that anymore. But it is unusual for cats to like water. I guess that’s really what makes videos of cats in water all the more popular. But just in case, I thought I would see if my cat liked water too. Nope! We filled the bathtub with water. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too deep, but not too shallow either. Nothing we could do could get our cat to like a bath of water. Everyone knows that cats don’t like water. Well, most of them anyway. It’s a very unusual cat that likes a bath or a good swim. No matter how bad they need to be cleaned. And isn’t it kinda like that with us at times? Isn’t there something good for us that we just can’t handle. The thought of brussels sprouts to most six year olds is nauseating. Working out just doesn’t sound appealing to many 35 year olds. And how many times do we have to be reminded before we finally get busy on that task we’ve been putting off? There are so many things that just don’t seem appealing. No matter how good we know they are. They’re different for everybody. We all have strengths and weaknesses. However, no one is perfect. No one likes to do everything they know they should. No one has it all put together. Fortunately our salvation, our relationship with God, isn’t determined by how well we’re doing. Some people like going to church. Some are literally afraid of crowds. And while it’s a good thing, we’re not saved by going to church. Some people like to pray. Some people have no idea what they could say to a perfect God who knows everything. We’re not saved by praying either. Some people love to read the Bible. Others have trouble understanding it. The Bible alone can’t save. Only Jesus can save. He came to die for everyone who would accept His sacrifice. Not just the people who like to go to church, who feel fulfilled in prayer, who love His Word. Everyone! Everyone who’s made a mistake. Everyone who thinks they’re perfect. Everyone who can’t stand religion. That’s the power in the blood. That power has the ability to change. It has the ability to heal. And it’s the only thing with the ability to save. Lewis E. Jones starts his famous hymn Power In The Blood, this way. “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There’s power in the blood, power in the blood; would you over evil a victory win? There’s wonderful power in the blood.” The power is not with us. It’s not in the church. It’s not in the Bible or on our knees. While those things are all good. And a life lived for Christ will have those things more often than not. The power is eminently in the blood.

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