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, December 31, 2010

Message for December 31, 2010

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Perpetuity: “a thing that lasts forever or for an indefinite period” New Oxford American Dictionary

Our lives on earth are not something of perpetuity. They are finite, and they are a gift from God. While we do have everlasting life with our Heavenly Father to look forward to, we also have our earthly life to enjoy right now. On this day let's celebrate the time we've had on earth and look forward to and be thankful for the remainder of our days in this world. No matter how bad or good the past year of our lives have been we have endless possibilities to look forward to in the coming days, months, and years. That in itself is worth a celebration, don't you think.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Message for December 30, 2010

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38

Remission: “the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty” New Oxford American Dictionary

With tears in his eyes James Knowles offered whatever apology he could. “I've already forgiven you,” was the answer he received from Beulah Mae Donald. There was hardly a dry eye in that courtroom, and the southern jury quickly ruled in Beulah's favor to the tune of seven million dollars. Two years earlier James Knowles and Henry Hays, both members of the United Klans of America had killed Beulah's son Michael Donald in a racist attack. The seven million dollar verdict bankrupted the klan and with it severely disabled racist and klan organizations around the United States. Forgiveness can be the hardest thing give, but it can also be the most powerful weapon we have against ill treatment. I can't help but wonder if the forgiveness that Beulah Mae Donald was able to find in her heart made clear once and for all, to all involved the evil of racism. Of course there are still evil people out there doing evil things. But no longer can good people in good conscious sit on the sidelines and allow clear racism to exist. Remission of sins can do something punishment can rarely do, it can change a heart. As an experiment, let's see how man hearts we can change, and see how we're treated because of it, you may find a reduction of your mercy needed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Message for December 29, 2010

Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” Michael Caine

Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
 They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

Vigorous: “strong, healthy, and full of energy” New Oxford American Dictionary

Sir Michael Caine is a British actor famous for leading roles in movies like “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “The Italian Job,” and “Secondhand Lions.” Many people don't know this about him, but Michael Caine is a Korean War veteran. In an interview I heard recently he said he experienced things in Korea that made him realize the great things in life, things that made him want to live life to the fullest. So since the age of nineteen that's what he's been doing. I think there's a lesson to learn from that. So many of us live waiting for life to begin. When we're in grade school we can't wait for high school, then we can't wait to get a job or go to college, then we can't wait to earn better wages and buy a house. The list goes on and on till we're elderly and telling our grandchildren to enjoy life cause it goes by so fast. Whether you're reading this and you're eight years old or eighty, right now is the perfect time to start living life to the fullest. If you don't start now, you'll always look back wishing you had. Right now can be the best day's of our lives if we choose to appreciate them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Message for December 28, 2010

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” Swedish Proverb

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Altruism: “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” New Oxford American Dictionary

In society there is something most people don't think about called social capital. It is measured in the number of bonds people have to one another and the strength of those bonds. It is what keeps cultures, communities, and families together. Sadly that capital has been decreasing over the years. Many attribute it to the the widespread use of technologies such as computers and phones. Years ago people took the time to hand write letters (on paper no less) to one another. Slowly that faded into phone calls, then emails, now texting is the preferred method for many people to communicate. While it has become easier and easier to talk to one another, I think the ease of it has reduced its value somewhat. It's time people band together again and form networks of altruistic support for one another. During the mid eighties the Moose Lodge had nearly 1.8 million members, by the looks and the numbers of their buildings, I'm afraid to know what their current membership level is. For a lot of people it's not an easy world to live in right now. Support is needed more now than probably the last 70 years. Let's all try to remember that when we contemplate the importance of taking time for our friends and family and make sure they know they're all valued a whole lot more than our TVs. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Message for December 27, 2010

I have a tremendous amount of hope, because I believe in Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead.” Billy Graham

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, Psalms 33:18

Hope: “grounds for believing that something good may happen” New Oxford American Dictionary

We live in a world where hope seems to be a fading commodity. Everywhere we look we see wars, famines, floods, pollution, the threat of global warming. You name it, if it can ruin your life, it's out there and it's a threat. But we have a hope that can surpass all doubts and depression, a hope that nullifies the woes of this world. What is death if it means we get to be permanent residents of heaven? When life seems like a hopeless existence full of toils and turmoils, remember we have a heavenly father that has guided this world through disasters, wars, and catastrophes before. He can and will again.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Message for December 26, 2010

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson (U.S. Declaration of Independence)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3.28

Egalitarian: “of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities” New Oxford American Dictionary

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the words I quoted out of the United States Declaration of Independence it was with the knowledge that slavery still existed in the world, the new states, and in his home. Abolishing it would be a long uphill fight. Still he wrote the words that would become a beacon for the freedom of all people throughout the world. Some have charged that Jefferson was a hypocrite and that he doesn't really deserve his place on the mantle of U.S. or world history. While Thomas Jefferson was not a perfect shinning light for morality an all he did throughout his life, I believe God impressed upon his heart to write what he knew was true, what was nearly the entire reason for the fight for independence from Great Britain. Sometimes when God calls us to do His work every part of us wants to refuse, citing imperfections and delinquencies that seemingly would prohibit our involvement in the work of God. But if God were to wait for perfect people to do His perfect work could you imagine the progress that would be made? God's perfection is almost always represented through imperfect mediums. No matter what our situation in life, whether we are in prison, or living in a monastery we are all in a position to do the work of God. Let's forget the accusations of hypocrisy, reject the labels placed on us, and give our lives for more than ourselves. I think we'll all be surprised at how trying to change the lives of others can change ours.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Message for Christmas 2010

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Roy L. Smith
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
Gift: “a thing given willingly to someone without payment” New Oxford American Dictionary
Wilmington is a charming small town of about 12,000 people located in the midwest United States in the southern part of Ohio. In 1995 it was included in a publication called “The 100 best small towns in America.” Until late 2008 it was the home of a major DHL shipping hub that employed a large majority of it citizens. On november 10, 2008 DHL announced it was moving it's shipping operation elsewhere. Since then over 6,000 residents in Wilmington lost their jobs, making it one of the least employed areas in the country. An employment impact of that magnitude could easily destroy most any community. But instead of giving up, the people of Wilmington decided to band together and take care of each other. People trade eating at neighbors houses, churches rotate providing meals on a regular basis, and a 24 hour prayer center is open to facilitate thoughts and prayers for one another. On this Christmas let's remember what the day actually represents. It represents the day God gave the ultimate gift, His Son, in order that we would be saved from our plight. It's a day set aside to forward that gift, albeit a small representation of it. On this Christmas let's follow the example Wilmington Ohio sets and remember our fellow citizens that may not be able to afford gifts for their family, or may not have a loving family to share it with and show them they are loved, that's what Christmas is all about anyway.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Message for December 24, 2010

When I broke my arm, I knew there was something a lot bigger than baseball (about to happen)... I had a sense that God has something for me, something bigger than baseball.” Dave Dravecky

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Grace: “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings” New Oxford American Dictionary

As I was driving home from work I was listening to the life story of Dave Dravecky, a major league pitcher known for coming back to the major leagues after having half his deltoid muscle removed because of cancer. Later he broke his arm during a pitch, his cancer had return and resulted in the amputation of his throwing arm. He said a couple things that really made sense to me that I think most of us don't really think about all the time. He made the point that stuff doesn't grow much on top of mountains, stuff grows in the valleys; the majority of farms are found in valleys because that is where the soil is the most fertile. Life can be a lot like that, when we are in what seems to be the lowest of lows that's when God is there to pick us up and lend us His strength so that we can grow strong and surpass the peaks of human achievement and touch the heavens. There are always going to be down times in life, but let's not forget what the strength of God can do for us and remember the valleys are the most fertile area for growth. After all Paula Deen started her business with 200 dollars, no job, and a severe case of agoraphobia.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Message for December 23, 2010

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.  Matthew 17:20

Create:  "cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions"  New Oxford American Dictionary

When you look at how such small things in theworld can make such huge differences it becomes a motivating factor to not let even small ideas pass without action.  Almost everyone has an idea they think could change the way people live or even improve the world; few however act on their ideas, believing they couldn't possibly succeed, or that no one cares.  But what makes a guy like Steve Jobs any more special than the rest of us?  He's smart, but not unusually so, he's rich now, but hasn't always been.  At one point Steve Jobs was a regular guy with an idea.  The difference is, he pursued his idea and worked at making it succeed.  We'll never know what our ideas can accomplish without pursuing them.  Imagine if everyone who had a good idea had faith in it and tried to produce it, what kind of world would this be?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Message for December 22, 2010

"God didn't call us to be superstars, He called us to be servants; He didn't call us to be successful, He called us to be faithful."  Pete Maravich

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

Servant:  "a devoted and helpful follower or supporter"  New Oxford American Dictionary

I think many people are afraid to commit their lives to God because they believe in doing so they will sacrifice what they have on earth.  But what many don't realize I think, is that God wants to provide us with happiness.  In doing so He is capable of providing more earthly possessions than we ever thought possible, on top of that, a relationship with Him has a way of making us supremely satisfied with what we have.  Remember king Solomon asked God for wisdom and he was granted not only wisdom, but the greatest wealth that had ever been known.  Let's try to build our relationship with our heavenly father in order to better realizes His presence, ask Him to bless us, and see how satisfying a life devoted to God can be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Message for December 21, 2010

"Make your work to be in keeping with your pupose."  Leonardo da Vinci

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.  Romans 8:29

Constancy:  "the quality of being faithful and dependable."  New Oxford American Dictionary

God has a purpose for all those who choos to live for it.  Throughout history we have seen great people succeed when they submit to the purpose God had for them and develop a constancy to that purpose.  How else can we explain all the bullets George Washington and Wisnton Churchill escaped?  They should have been killed many times, but they escaped for some reason.  You could explain it as luck or dumb fate, but it becomes more and more difficult to explain the events they survived when you consider what they accomplished later in life and what the resultes of their accomplishments were.  I challenge all of us to study the events of human history and see if we can't see the hand of God in action.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Message for December 20, 2010

"Oh, the places you'll go": "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.  So... get on your way!"  Theodor Geisel

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12

Aspiration:  "a hope or ambition of achieving something"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Throughout history successful people and influential events have been driven by a motivational force rooted in hope and aspiration.  There are very few people or nations in history who have had greatness or achievments forced on them.  At some point they decided to jump at an opportunity and in doring so achieved greatness.  After WWII Theodor Geisel visited Japan still harboring animosity toward the nation for their actions leading up to and during the war.  The personal relationships he was able to foster in Japan helped him move past his feelings and he wrote an allegorical book about the American post war occupation of Japan.  It made clear the importance of people, even though you may not be able to see them and the importance of rebuilding a strong country with goodwill.  Today Japan is one of the United States' strongest and most important allies and the book "Horton Hears a Who" by Theodor Suess Geisel (Dr. Seuss) still teaches children that people are imortant no matter how small and anything is achievable no matter how big.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Message for December 19, 2010

It is true, we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give, or more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us, but we can still love them. We can love completely... without complete understanding.” Richard Friedenber (from the last sermon in the movie, “A River Runs Through It”)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

Love: “In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. In religious context, love is not just a virtue, but the basis for all being, and the foundation for all divine law.” Wikipedia

It is the holiday season, Christmas is quickly approaching. And while it is a joyous and momentous occasion for most of us, it is a crushing time of year for some. Let's celebrate the time we have with our families, the love we have from God, and the sacrifice made by Christ, but let's not forget to show love for one another. Money and gifts are finite and only go so far, but our love can circle the globe and last forever.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Message for December 17, 2010

The truth is; people will give there lives for what they believe to be true, they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.” Charles Colson

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Veracity: “habitual truthfulness” New Oxford American Dictionary

If God is all powerful and is all good, why do bad things happen?” I hear this question all the time and it's always difficult to answer, and I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand until I meet God. But here's an example. I just googled Charles Colson, three out of four of the the first results had to do with Christian outreach. When I opened them I found out he is the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, he has written at least 20 books on Christianity, he has received 15 honorary doctorate degrees, in 1993 he received the Templeton Award, the largest religious annual award in the world. And when Mike Wallace asked him about the Watergate scandal during the Nixon presidency he replied, “I thank God for Watergate.” You see, before he became an active Christian Chuck Colson was president Nixon's Special Counsel, known as a brutal hatchet man, he became active in covering up the Watergate scandal, and eventually served seven months in prison for obstructing justice. But he thanks God for it because without those events happening he would have never found God the way he did. So in that way I think we can all thank God for the Watergate scandal, an event that divided and left a mark on our country, because it gave the world a person like Chuck Colson to change so many lives and in the end make it a better place.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Message for December 17, 2010

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot chang; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."  Reinhold Niebuhr (from the "Serenity Prayer")

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Serenity:  "the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled" New Oxford American Dictionary

Every day I see problems that upset me, problems that may even keep me awake at night; problems I cannot fix.  One of the things I liked about being oversea's is the lack of knowledge of current events back home.  Don't get me wrong I think it's very important to be knowledgeable about what's happening in the world around you, but every once in a while I think it's good to have break from it.  There are so many things we can all get so stressed about, but when it comes down to it, we usally can't do anything about it.  But we all can change something.  Let's try to focus on the things we can change and work hard on those things.  If we do that, I believe all those other things will affect us less and less, because we will know we're being as affective as possible at fostering change in our lives and in the world.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Message for December 16, 2010

"The harder you work the luckier you'll get."  Paula Deen

The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord.  Proverbs 16:33

Lot:  "one of a set of objects such as straws, stones, or pieces of paper that are randomly selected as part of a decision-making process"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Every part of me agrees witht the statement I quoted by Paula Deen.  But I think she would agree with me that luck isn't quite what it seems.  Especially in the light of what is said in Proverbs.  There's no doubt, when we work hard we creat more possibilities for ourselves.  It's not a matter of luck so much as cause and efeect.  What's more, we have a loving God who is working hard for us this very moment.  But many times we either choose not to try, or actually work against God's will.  Hard work with the right motivation will ensure we're working towards a goal that has been laid out by God, a goal that would seem impossible in human terms but is readily attainable with the help of our Creator.  So let's cast our lots, see what comes of them, but make sure God breaths on them for a little "luck."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Message for December 15, 2010

"A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things."  Thomas Carlyle

They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved; you and your household."  Acts 16:31

Faith:  "complete trust or confidence in someone or something"  New Oxford American Dictionary

So I grew up a Christian, most people I know did.  I can't count how many classes I've taken, debates I've been in, and opinions I've heard about how to be a good Christian and be saved.  The bottom line is this; God loves us and wants us to be in heaven with Him.  Alll we need to do is believe in Him, He'll take care of the rest.  I've found in my life that since I've put complete faith in the grace of God I no longer struggle with my actions because I no longer do things to build favor with God but because I'm influenced by His love for me.  Let's try and see what God has done for us in our lives, if we do we will fell the love He has for us and our lives will be changed forever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Message for December 14, 2010

"Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."  Jack Handey,  "Deep Thoughts," Saturday Night Live

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.  Proverbs 17:22

Mirth:  "amusement, especially as expressed in laughter"  New Oxford American Dictionary

I know today's quote isn't very serious and doesn't really have a lasting message, but that's the point I wanted to make.  Sometimes it's important to just laugh.  While serious thought and selfless actions are always important, you can lose motivation without humor.  Some of the most stressful times in my life were times when I have laughed the most.  I think our mind natually looks for ways to ease stress, and the best way to do that is to laugh; and it's ok, while laughter may not always cure disease it will almost always relieve tensions, and that's healthy for your body and mind.  So let's approach life with a little humor.  We know we're gonna mess up so why not laugh at our shortcomings, that way we won't take ourselves too seriously.  After all, if we didn't take ourselves so seriously we probably wouldn't get so disappointed in ourselves.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Message for december 13, 2010

You don't have to feel like a waste of space, you're original, cannot be replaced. If you only knew what the future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow. Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road. Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow, and when it's time, you'll know. You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine, just own the night like the fourth of July, 'cause baby you're a firework.” (Katy Perry from the song “Firework”)

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16

Radiate: “(of a person) clearly emanate (a strong feeling or quality) through their expression or bearing” New Oxford American Dictionary

We all are fireworks, we've been given qualities that are unique and valuable unlike any other person. Every one of us can change the world around us, and we will whether we want to or not. But it is our choice whether we want to celebrate the qualities we've been given, so that God's nature can be radiated through us and throughout the world. Let's try to remember that we are God's fireworks and He wants us all to be a part of the most amazing grand finale we could never imagine, all we need to do is let Him light the fuse.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Message for December 12, 2010

"Whether or not you think you can or you can't.  Either way, you are right!"  Henry Ford

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

Ability:  "talent that enables someon to achieve a great deal"  New Oxford American Dictionary

After a construction accident that left him broken in a hospital room and his father dead, Washington was ready to give up on his dreams and responsibilites.  He tried to inspire friends and colleagues to take up his responsibilites and finish the work he had started, but it was useless, no one felt they could achieve what he was asking them.  It appeared he would not be able to accomplish what he had started before he was injured.  Then he realized he could still use one finger, his mind worked perfectly, and he had a loving wife willing to help him.  He used his finger to tap messages on her shoulder, which she in turn communicated to Washington's foremen, workers and partners.  It took 13 years but Washington Roebling finished the work his father John Roebling started and today we have a Brooklyn Bridge as a statement of what perseverance can accomplish.  We all have abilities beyond what we think, and in a way we're all trapped in a situation that seemingly limits us.  But if we focus on our goals and have the will and courage to explore our capabilities I think we'll all be surprised at what we can accomplish.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Message for December 11, 2010

It is our decisions, not our conditions that determine the quality of our lives.” Tony Robins

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 1:5-8

Upbraid: “find fault with (someone); scold” New Oxford American Dictionary

I think we could all agree that most of the time our decisions determine our conditions. So if we want to improve our conditions we need to make the correct decisions. But the question remains, being fallible people, how do we make the correct decisions, how do we make wise decisions? I think James make's it clear. God want's to be a source of wisdom. He is waiting for us to let Him guide our lives and our decisions. He doesn't want to upbraid us, He want's to assist us, so that we can have better conditions in life than we ever thought possible. So let's never forget to ask God what He thinks, it's not like we'll hear an audible answer, but we will get one if we're paying attention in faith.

Message for December 10, 2010

"If it's not a passion, I think you can't do it well."  Ron Howard

I know that there is nother better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  Ecclesiastes 3:12

Passion:  "strong and barely controllable emotion"  New Oxford American Dictionary

For a lot of my life I lived like any other person, I worked hard, believed in God, and hoped for a successful future.  At some point I began to see God's work in my life and the lives of many others in history.  I began to believe that God has more to do with what happens in my life than I ever thought before.  Now I believe God has a purpose for my life, and yours.  Since believeing that way my attitude toward life has changed dramatically.  I no longer worry about my future, I'm happier with what I have, and I have a passion for everything I do, because I know God has a path and a goal for me.  Furthermore, I know God has a plan for everyone who will accept it, a plan that can transform their lives from mundane to extraordinary, a plan that will change their outlook on life from hopeful to confident.  Let's all just try to see God's work in our lives and the lives of others, I know we won't ever be the same again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Message for December 09, 2010

"Rich is a state of mind more than anything else."  Donald Trump

But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.  Deuteronomy 8:18

Substance:  "the quality of being important, valid, or significant"  New Oxford American Dictionary

When I opened the Wall Street Journal page this morning I saw a picture of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and the headline, "Sixteen Tycoons Agree to Give Away Fortunes."  The world is in a crisis and it seems like there are a lot of people out there blaming the worlds problems on wealthy people, and coalitions are forming to figure out how to take their money back.  While it's true, some wealthy people have ill gained riches and some deserve to have their possessions reclaimed, it's also true that there are wealthy people that are good, and desire to use their money to make the world a better place.  As humans, let's try not to lable each other based on income or possessions, let's try to see people's real substance, and value them for who they are, not what they have, and appreciate what they can contribute to society and life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Message for December 08, 2010

“When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters; one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Crossroads: “a point at which a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences” Hew Oxford American Dictionary

Ok, so we all know what the word “crossroads” refers to. But the reason I decided to put it in today’s message is because it happens to be a synonym of crisis. We all have times when we go through particular crisis’, and in most cases we can’t change that. What we can do is change the way we react to crisis’. The best way to do that I think is to change the way we define crisis, from a definition that is completely negative to a definition that is as much positive as negative. Yes, every crisis comes with its challenges, but also with opportunity. Let’s try to view crisis as a crossroads in life where we can choose to make the best of the opportunities it affords instead of succumbing to its challenges.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Message for December 07, 2010

“A penny for your thoughts, oh no, I'll sell for a dollar, they're worth so much more after I'm a goner. And maybe then you'll hear the words I've been singing, funny, when you're dead how people start listening.” Perry Kimberly (from the song “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry)

My command is this: love each another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Rumination: “think deeply about something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Ok, so I know today's quote seems kinda strange, but I think there's a message in it. So many of us go through life feeling completely ignored. We may be happy one day, sad the next, and nobody seems to notice, maybe we don't want people to notice. But we all have opinions we think are important, ideas we believe could improve things, and knowledge we know could change something. But people don't always want to listen. What I want to get across today, is that your ruminations are valuable, and they do matter. So keep expressing them, even when it seems like no one is listening. The day will come when they will be valued. And at the same time try to remember, others are going through the same things you are. Here's your chance to make them feel valued.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Message for December 06, 2010

You oughta pray for people who mistreat you, cause God doesn't take it kindly.” Joyce Meyer

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isiah 43:2

Solicitous: “characterized by or showing interest or concern” New Oxford American Dictionary

People often wonder why bad things happen to good people. In fact it can be difficult to understand God at times. People have been debating what His role is in our lives for centuries. Luckily we have an example; Jesus, and I think it's a safe bet we can view God the way Jesus did, as a Father. We are like children, able to hurt ourselves, but often times lacking the knowledge to know what can hurt us. He is ever watching over us, wanting to help and protect us, but like a human father allows his children to learn from mistakes, God waits till we ask, to step in. So let's invite God into our lives, trust in Him, and not worry when other's try to damage our lives, because we have an all powerful Father in heaven that is solicitous to our problems. Like Paul said in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Message for December 05, 2010

All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don't discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others.” Danny Thomas

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. Psalm 37:25-26

Foundation: “an underlying basis or principle for something” New Oxford American Dictionary

You can change the world! It was 1940 something a young comedian and entertainer, so impressed by a church service put his last seven dollars in the offering. Being an expectant father with looming hospital bills and the last little bit of money he had gone, he prayed for help. The next day he scheduled a role that payed him 70 dollars. For the next couple years Danny struggled in his career. So once again he prayed for help. He prayed at the feet of St. Judas Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, saying, “help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine.” In the following years Danny's career boomed and he became famous around the world. Remembering his promise Danny used his fame and popularity to begin raising money for the shrine during the early fifties. It took approximately ten years but in 1962 Danny Thomas opened the doors of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A facility that has saved thousands of children's lives, comforted families across the globe, and has never required payment from those without the means. Without a dollar to his name or even a job to provide a steady paycheck, Danny Thomas built a foundation that changed the world, you and I can too, it begins with one act of random kindness at a time. (For more information about Danny Thomas and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital I encourage you to visit you won't regret it.)

Message for December 04, 2010

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” Kenyan Proverb

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Phalanx: “a group of people or things of a similar type forming a compact body or brought together for a common purpose” New Oxford American Dictionary

Teamwork; we all know the concept, we know what it can accomplish, and most of us have experienced it at one point or another. But why is it so difficult at times? I just watched an episode of Top Gear where the objective was to drive a car to the North Pole, and in the meantime try to beat a dog sled there along the way. We all know the Arctic is a inhospitable place, freezing cold, home to deadly bears, with no efficient means of rescue. The Arctic is a perfect example of an obstacle requiring teamwork. But it's cold and inhospitable environment also fosters short tempers, despair, and hatred. All things needed for affective teamwork. Life is kinda like that, full of obstacles and trials requiring more from us than we are sometimes willing to give and at the same time, it seems like there's always something trying to beat us. But sadly, when we need it the most, we have a tendency to reject help, and the concept of teamwork can seem revolting. Sometimes it can feel like there's no one that would even want to be on our team. Remember, there is no point at which we can't call on our Father in Heaven for a helping hand. No matter what we've done, He's always wanting to join our team. He's on the sideline asking to be put in the game. The decision is ours, He's not going to force His way into our lives, but He's always available when we choose to let Him in. During the difficult times in life, lets try to remember what we need the most, forget our pride and ask for it. Likewise, when times our good, lets remember, it's the best time to build a strong team, a phalanx, so that we will be able to meet any obstacle and overcome it, experience any trial and survive it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Message for December 03, 2010

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Abraham Lincoln

Out of my distress I call on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5

Liberty: “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views” New Oxford American Dictionary

Ok so I'm a wimp, I admit it. It was very emotional for me to watch the last mission of the space shuttle Atlantis a few months ago. Since I was a child, space has been the final frontier and a pinnacle of human achievement. The US space program was a huge source of pride for me because it says to anyone interested, “you can do anything you put your mind to, if you're willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices.” Who didn't dream of going to space as a kid because of the American space program? In times of recession like this, the final days of the space shuttle program seems like the last gasping breaths of American achievement. But this morning the X-37b, a miniature unmanned version of a space shuttle landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I can't help but smile because, when it seems like the efforts of free societies around the world are under attack and failing, it's so good to see a success. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm passionate about freedom, liberty, and democracy; places where self reliance, volunteerism and free teamwork join to foster lasting achievements beyond what was thought possible. Freedom, no doubt, is guilty of many wrongs, but it also bears the scars of abuse and vandalism. It's something that is shaped by its members, it's up to you to make the best of your freedom, be proud of it and fight for it, not everyone has it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Message for December 02, 2010

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Serendipity: “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way” New Oxford American Dictionary

We're all humans and we all make mistakes. I just read a story in Readers Digest about a high school baseball pitcher named Cameron Hall who by chance injured himself playing tackle football for fun one afternoon. His symptoms were severe enough that he was rushed to the hospital and was administered an emergency CT scan. This all happened the day before he was supposed to pitch in a tournament in front of college scouts where he was expected to be recruited. To injure himself like this Cameron had to make a number of what most of us would consider bad or unlucky decisions. As it turns out however, the CT scan revealed a colloid cyst in his brain. Fortunately the diagnosis was made soon enough to administer a successful operation and a full recovery was possible. Sometimes bad decisions aren't bad at all, sometimes they turn out to be the best decisions of all. As humans we can't see future results of current decisions, but we have a maker that is watching over us and if we trust in Him we can have faith that unfortunate events can prove serendipitous in the end.

Story taken from “From Brain Surgery to Ball Field: The Luck of a Teen Athlete” by Michael Rosenwald from Readers Digest

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Message for December 01 2010

In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.” 
Albert Schweitzer

So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. Psalm 61:8

Worth: “sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action; deserving to be treated or regarded in the way specified” New Oxford American Dictionary

I recently read a blog by a man who was writing about how he and his wife like to take horseback trips in Utah's desert canyons. He said he likes the desert because there aren't a lot of trees, so you can focus on just one and really see it's beauty. It reminded me of a quote I heard one time and I can't remember it exactly, or who it was by, but it said something like, “that which is most common is most often forgotten.” We pass by so much beauty in our lives and forget to value it because it is so common. When hear a someone say thank you to a stranger, see a snow capped mountain, or experience the smile of a friend let's not forget to value it because all those things have worth and it's the only way to make the positive things in life outweigh the negative.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Message for November 30, 2010

Every single person that I’ve been with deserves to wear it, deserves to . . .They are just as much of me as I am. This isn’t a one-man show.” Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta (Commenting on receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Sacrifice: “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy” New Oxford American Dictionary

Upon first read I understand that the quote for today isn't too inspiring or uplifting. But in light of the story behind it becomes a beacon of what it really means to be a part of a team who's members are willing to sacrifice everything for their team and their team mates because they view others as more important than themselves. SSgt Salvator Guinta recently received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic actions in Afghanistan. He's the first living person to receive the medal since Vietnam and the quote is what he had to say about receiving the highest decoration the United States can bestow on a person. I have nothing more to say than that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Message for November 29, 2010

You may not like it, but you have to deal with it…. If you want better for yourself, you won’t stop looking at yourself. You will try to change things. You either have a chance to fix it or you can soak in it for the rest of your life.” Mary J. Blige

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1,26

Beatific: “blissfuly happy” New Oxford American Dictionary

Many of us, without knowing it surround ourselves with negativity. As an example, I'm a person who's into information, I see questions everywhere in everything. As a result I'm constantly on google, watching the news, or listening to commentary in search of answers and information. That's all well and good, but as you all know news and commentary can be very depressing. Very rarely do you turn on the news or open a paper and see a positive and uplifting story. All this consumption of negativity has the result of making a lot of us depressed or pessimistic. Thankfully we are also surrounded by positivity; most every song you hear on the radio, business you visit, or car you drive has a positive success story behind it. But it takes an optimistic attitude to see them. Optimism is like binoculars, it allows you to see things that are often difficult to see, it can make things more beautiful and enlightening, the more we use it the more we value it. So let's try to use our optimism as much as we can so that when we look in a mirror we will see a beatific, not a depressed person looking back at us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Message for November 28, 2010

My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.” Ronald Reagan

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Assuaged: “make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense” New Oxford American Dictionary

From time to time in all of our lives we all come to crossroads that require us to make decisions. Decisions like; what kind of house or car to buy, whether to drive after a few drinks, or whether to stay up all night before work. Obviously sometimes decisions are easy and sometimes they can be very difficult. But when we view every decision as having a real effect on our lives I think they can become easier. For example, the decision to go deeply into debt by the temptation to buy more than we can afford could be assuaged by the goal of being happily debt free, or the desire to cheat on a partner could turn to disgust when weighed against the rewards of a happy family (another good goal). The point I'm trying to make is, if we set deliberate goals in our lives and focus on those, what were once torturous decisions can become simple and immediate. Let's all try to set firm and deliberate goals in our lives and focus on achieving those, once we do that, the decisions almost decide for themselves.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Message for November 27, 2010

If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” Brian Tracy

Do not conform 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

Rote: “mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned” New Oxford American Dictionary

It can be the hardest thing at times to resist the temptation to conform to the pressures of your peers. As kids we grow up with adults telling us to resist peer pressure when it goes against our conscious, but as we grow into adults most of us still have not mastered the practice. It's natural, we are humans and we have desires that aren't so good at times. Like a 12 step program for addicts we need to admit our weaknesses so that we can begin a rote program to constantly improve ourselves. At the heart of our lives should be the only one we can find perfection in, God. So when those moments arise, and we are tempted to join an activity we know is not morally just, we have a higher point of reference to put things into perspective, and the desires of human life will become less and less important in the light of Godly rewards.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Message for November 26, 2010

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” William James

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, 
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 

Function: “an activity or purpose natural to or intended for a person or thing” New Oxford American Dictionary

I like to watch shows on television about nature, one of my favorites is “Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge.” I'm always amazed at the images he captures, how he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to capture rare animals in beautiful photographs. One of his assistants even remarked one time (and I paraphrase) that he'll spend months trying to find a particular animal with no luck, but when Art Wolfe show's up the animals just seem to appear. In light of cases like this, I can't help but believe that God really does have a purpose for us all. The animals appear for Art Wolfe because God's purpose for him is to share the beauty of nature with the rest of public. I believe we all are called for something, that God has a purpose for all of us. I don't believe it's something that we can figure out on our own, but when we find it, I believe it becomes abundantly clear, that it is what we were made for. What's more, I believe if we follow God's purpose for our lives we will live a more fulfilled and happy life than we could imagine for ourselves. So let's trust in God, let His will lead us by living a good a honorable life, pray for His blessings and enjoy the life He is so willing, able, and desirous to give us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Message for Thanksgiving 2010

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:9,10

Gratitude: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness” New Oxford American Dictionary

The story of Jesus turning water into wine shows that, what we can provide will always run out, but when we trust in God our blessings will never end and will be far better than what we can provide for ourselves. It's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States and in the light of the holiday I've been reading “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford, one of the original pilgrims and the second governor or Plymouth. In his recount of what happened during the early days of Plymouth he describes a horrid situation. When the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America it was eight months after they had lost half of their companions to disease, starvation and exposure. If it weren't for the kindness of the natives like Squanto and Samoset who knew English they would have surely all died. In return the pilgrims provided their new friends with new technologies and protection against more aggressive tribes. In times of dire need God blessed both the natives and the pilgrims for their kindness and provided a reason for that first Thanksgiving feast. Centuries have past since then but God is still blessing us, still turning our water into wine. So on this Thanksgiving day, even though most of us have gone through tough times throughout this past year, let's all try to show true gratitude by appreciating what we have and striving to provide something someone else can be thankful for in the coming year.