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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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.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Message for November 24, 2010

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way it's animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

Disdain: “the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect” New Oxford American Dictionary

I actually heard this quote from Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer and I think there's a lot of wisdom in it. Animals for the most part are pretty helpless to the whims of humans. And if we chose to abuse the helpless what does that say about us. I'm not encouraging anyone to stop hunting or eating meat, certainly the Bible is full of people who hunted, fished, and ate meat, Jesus being one of them. But we should have respect for God's creation and do our best to see the beauty He created for us. When we show disdain for what God has given to us as a gift, isn't it in affect showing disdain for Him as well? The Lord gave Adam charge over His creation and we still have that responsibility, so lets be the best stewards of all God's creation we can be. In doing so I know we will be rewarded with much more than what we sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

message for November 23, 2010

By seeing the seed of failure in every success, we remain humble. By seeing the seed of success in every failure we remain hopeful.” Unknown

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

Extol: “praise ecclesiastically” New Oxford American Dictionary

As I was watching TV I happened to see a commercial that featured a kite. It struck me, kites fly exceptionally well, but only if they are held back by a string. Life is kinda like that, life presents us with winds of opportunity and failure, it both extols and denigrates us. Without something grounding us, providing control in our lives, we can be blown out of control, and while we may soar high, eventually without something to provide a base in our lives we will crash. Our job is to find a base so that no matter what life presents, we will be able to harness it for our advantage.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Message for November 22, 2010

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Lou Holtz

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! 
Psalm 8:3-9 (KJV)

Zeitgeist: “the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time” New Oxford American Dictionary

We all know how history has changed the way people view the world, it is always changing how we feel about our lives and our situation in in the world. But when I look at the beauty and greatness of nature I see a reality that is largely unchanged by our human history. The wildebeests still migrate the plains of Africa, the salmon still spawn in the streams they were born in, and the monarch butterfly still migrates through generations across North America. Nature goes about it's business without thought of borders, politics, or wars. While our human view and feeling of the world is always changing, I can't help but think, when we focus on things made with higher powers, our zeitgeist remains unchanged throughout history. While we are constantly improving on things like buildings, cars, science, and even human relations, nature remains constant because it was designed by a higher power with higher intentions. And I can't help but think that Adam thousands of years ago looked at creation with the same wonder Ansel Adams had as he captured images of Yosemite, and as I do when I see the snow falling and blanketing the valleys and hills with a beauty that could have only been deliberate. Thank you Lord for providing us with beauty beyond our abilities to produce, and give us a desire and knowledge to maintain it the best we can.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Message for November 21, 2010

““Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” A.A. Milne
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, Hebrews 12:28
Supposition: “an uncertain belief” New Oxford American Dictionary
How exciting is it having the knowledge of our future with God? I'm so content having the belief that God will work in my life to make it better than I can imagine. It is no supposition of mine that God has a better future in mind for us than we can fathom, rather I am certain of it because of what I have seen God provide in my life and the lives of those who ask Him for His blessings. I can't count how many times I've seen God's blessings after asking for them. We can't know exactly what blessings will come since we don't have the knowledge to know exactly what is best for us, but if we ask God for His blessings and then watch for providences in our lives, we are sure to see them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Message for November 20, 2010

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.” Harvey Fierstein

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Ephesians 1:7

Righteous: “(of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have you turned on the TV or opened a magazine to see a celebrity, politician, or businessman completely vilified because of a mistake they made. Now how many times have you been in a situation where you acted foolishly and your mistakes were magnified to make you feel like a horrible person. I'm not saying faults or wrongdoings should be dismissed and automatically forgotten, but for those who have made mistakes, don't let the judgements of your peers determine who you are and what you will become. It makes no difference what you've done, it is up to you what you will become. God holds the power the determine your righteousness, not you, or anyone else. To be a righteous person in the eyes of God all you need is to ask Him for forgiveness. We may pay the price for wrongdoings on earth with our physical bodies, but our souls belong to God, and it is our soul that matters most.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Message for November 19, 2010

The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken.” 
Henry W. Longfellow“

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Assurance: “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise” New Oxford American Dictionary

As I was flying home yesterday I was looking out the window of the airplane. Being fall, most of the ground was covered by clouds. As I was flying over the clouds I noticed as I'm sure many of you have, that the sky is so beautiful above the clouds. It made me think about life, in life we all go through rough patches where happiness seems scarce. But we have an assurance from God that, like the text says, He has good plans for us. Those rough patches are like the clouds that cover the sun. They're temporary, and there's always a beautiful sky waiting for us when they pass. Even when life itself is a struggle, we know God is waiting to take us home with Him above the clouds.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Message for November 18, 2010

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” Helen Keller

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die. John 12:32-33

One of the best and most widely known symbols today is the cross, but the cross is not known because of it's shape or it's purpose, and it was not arbitrarily chosen to be the symbol of hope for the Red Cross or the Christian church. The cross as a symbol, is known for what happened upon it. 2000 years ago Christ chose to die on the cross to save humanity from sin. In that act He accomplished what no human could ever fathom. Now when a cross is seen, people around the world automatically see it as a symbol of hope and salvation, whether it be on the side of an ambulance, the steeple of a church, or on a donation center to alleviate world poverty. It is not a symbol chosen by man but rather realized. So when doing God's work, remember, it's not your accomplishments that matter, but Christ's. We only need to lift Him up and what He did will speak for itself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Message for November 16, 2010

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care, some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” Garth Brooks

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. 1 Chronicles 4:10
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

Grant: “agree to give or allow” New Oxford American Dictionary

You'll notice I included two Bible verses in today's message. I did, because I didn't want anyone getting me wrong. I don't think God will give you anything you want if you just ask and believe He will give it to you. Likewise I believe God will grant us more than we can possibly imagine if we have faith in Him. There are a couple things we need to look at to explain; first, God wants what is best for us, second, God grants us things he doesn't give us things. In order for God to grant us something, by definition, He is agreeing to give it to us or allow us to have it, and he would not do that unless He agreed is what was good for us. So when we ask for something, let's have an open mind that God knows what is best for us and trust that if we don't get exactly what we want, God has something far better for us right around the corner.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Message for November 15, 2010

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho

Moreover, stop judging, and you will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned. Keep on releasing, and you will be released. Luke 6:37

Renunciation: “the formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action” New Oxford American Dictionary

Unfortunately people have a tendency to see the differences in each other. That characteristic combined with the fact that no two people are the same often creates conflict between people. What if we could look past our differences and disagreements and see people for who they are, what they've gone through, and the extenuating circumstances that are shaping their view of the world? What if we could see our actions through the viewpoint of others? What if we tried to improve upon ourselves instead of justifying our faults by finding faults in others? If we did all theses things there is no doubt in my mind, (and I think you would agree) many of the conflicts and hurt in the world would be eliminated. Let's try to see the world from more than our selfish viewpoint, renounce conflict based on misunderstandings and change the world around us for the better.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Message for November 14, 2010

Be grateful for your problems, for they stimulate an "I-can-solve-it" attitude.” Mark Victor Hansen

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6

Stimulus: “a thing that rouses activity or energy in someone or something; a spur or incentive” New Oxford American Dictionary

I don't know anybody who likes problems. But I think we can all learn to appreciate them. Without problems it is very difficult to gain knowledge. But what about the problems we can't solve. If you like inspirational stories and and motivational speeches you probably have heard over and over that there is no problem we can't solve. I disagree with that statement, while it is motivational to believe we can solve all problems, it is also relieving to have faith that we can't solve all problems, but God certainly can. And that brings me to my point. In life we're gonna be faced with problems that we have not power to solve, but just as arithmetic problems in primary school built our knowledge of mathematics, impossible problems can build our faith in the Lord. As we see God's ability to solve the problems in our life it makes all life's would-be problems more bearable and life becomes less stressful, more rewarding, and completely satisfying.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Message for November 13, 2010

In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” Sid Caesar

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17

Joie de vivre: “exuberant enjoyment of life” New Oxford American Dictionary

I was recently watching SportsCenter on ESPN and they ran a rather lengthy story on a little boy named Josiah who had Hutchison Guilford Progeria Syndrome a disease that causes children to age prematurely. As a result he will most likely never be a great sports hero, but Josiah loves the game of baseball. Never mind his disadvantages Josiah loves to put on a baseball uniform and get out on the field to play. He loves the game for the playing, not the winning. From the time I could play any sort of sports I wanted to be good and to win. It's human nature and I think most of us are that way. It's not necessarily a bad thing and sometimes winning is a requirement, i.e. WWII, but how much more happy could we be if instead of always looking for ways to win at whatever we do we tried to sit back and enjoy life for the living of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Message for November 12, 2010

"Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal." Jerome Fleishman
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
Solace: “comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness” New Oxford American Dictionary
Yesterday was Veterans day in the United States and I heard many people thanking veterans for their service. I got to thinking, for most every veteran who is overseas working for their country there is a spouse back home. Many times they go unnoticed and unthanked, but they're always there, providing solace and cheer. I want to take the time now to thank all of them, they are an integral link in the chain of a countries services and they deserve our thanks because they go through many difficulties while their spouses are are away, and in most cases they did not volunteer for the trials they have to go through. My greater point however is that behind every achievement and achiever is a support system. So in life when you think you're not accomplishing much or you're not getting the glory for what you have accomplished remember how many people couldn't do what they do without you, and likewise if you're getting the praise for something remember how many people were there to support you in your effort.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Message for November 11, 2010

“The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

Castigate: “to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Most of us grew up learning a certain set of values that we live by. And sometimes in life we are tempted, encouraged, or even threatened with force to compromise our values. People may try to castigate or persecute us for our values, but throughout history values have always won. In fact persecution often strengthens the fight for values. The inquisition did not restrain protestants and resulted in the Bible being available to everyone, and abuses by the Church of England was one of the driving reasons to populate what is now the United States. Every time we compromise a value it opens the door for another value to be threatened. It is our job to look within ourselves and define our values, then stick with them and defend them, only by doing that will the assaults on our values diminish.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Message for November 10, 2010

Tonight, tonight, I'm on my way, I'm on my way, home sweet home.” Tommy Lee, Neil Sixx

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

Home: “place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates” New Oxford American Dictionary

Ok, so this message is a little bit for me. I've been away from home for the last six weeks in the middle east and am starting my journey home tonight. While you're reading this I'll already be in Spain. But although I'm really excited for that, that's not really the point I want to make. In life we all go through trouble spots, times where we long for the past, when we were kids just along for the ride hanging out with friends. Let's remember, we're all still on that ride, but as life goes on, eventually if we have the courage we can slide over to the drivers seat and take control. There will still be bumps in the road and at times it'll seem like we've lost control, the cool thing is, God has his hand on the wheel too and he knows the directions, all we have to do is let him guide us and we'll end up home with him. Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Message for November 9, 2010

A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.” Rabindranath Tagore

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Logic: “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity” New Oxford American Dictionary
If you've ever watched “Star Trek” I'm sure you're familiar with the half human half vulcan character Spock. Spock's vulcan characteristics make him great at solving logical problems, but those same characteristics seem to fail him when the problems he faces stem from emotional causes. When Spock is at his best is when he is able to use both emotions and logic to decipher and solve problems. Now I know we don't live in “Star Trek” but I think there is a lesson to be learned. Neither emotion or reason can solve every problem we face. Emotions can lead to better understandings of daily life and relationships, and strengthen our bonds with fellow humans and animals. In short they are the driving force behind living. But pure emotion can lead to intemperance and foolishness. On the other hand pure logic separates us from our emotions, and reduces our value of life. In life we should understand that logic goes hand in hand with emotion and neither should be seen as disabling the other but complimenting it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Message for November 8, 2010

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them every day begin the task anew. “ Saint Francis De Sales

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Psalm 37:7-9

Patience: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many people do you know strive for perfection? A lot of us do, and all of us fail. Just like a car that needs to have it's oil changed and filled up with gas, God is there for us, to repair, maintain and improve us. All we have to do is ask for His help. Too many times people give up entirely trying to become better people because no matter how hard they try they cannot abstain from sin. The truth is that none of us can, we are all sinners and pre-disposed to sinning. Non of us are, ever have been, or ever will be perfect in our thoughts or actions. But we can be perfect through Christ who died to wipe away all our sins. So instead of giving up completely on righteousness, let's understand our own nature and realize, we are going to make mistakes, but that God sent his Son to die for us because He knew we would. He's up there right now checking us for imperfections and just waiting for us to ask Him to remove them. So let's ask.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Message for November 7, 2010

Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.” Benjamin Franklin

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Humility: “a modest or low view of one's own importance” New Oxford American Dictionary

Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for pride. It is important to take pride in our work and our daily activities because it can help insure that we do the best we can in whatever we do. But along with our pride it is important to be humble and remember the source of our successes and abilities. I'm reminded of the Monarchs of old who were surrounded with the want of power. Many people sought pride by gaining power thinking that they could be the sole source of their pride. But since they were not humble many became cruel and became caught in a power trap, they became infamous and many lost their lives for it, ironically, usually by people again seeking power. So let's remember the real source of our pride and remember to give all credit to God, because sooner or later He will receive the credit anyway.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Message for November 6, 2010

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Commit: “to put into charge or trust” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I found this quote by Mark Twain and immediately knew this is what I wanted to talk about today. Then I found this Bible verse and immediately knew I wanted it to support my message. But then I put them together and they didn't seem to fit. But I knew these are the statements I needed to use. Then it hit me. While both statements are valid in their context there is a lesson to learn about what success really is. There is getting ahead, but without a team that is all it will ever be, winning can never come without a team. In the life of mortal man all we can ever do is get ahead, but we will never win without the Lord on our team. If we always put the Lord on our team by committing our plans to him I think we will begin to see the world and mankind in a different way. What if we saw mankind as a team instead of a group of rivals to overcome. What if when we found a way to succeed, instead of using it to get ahead of our competition we used it to reach back and bring as many as possible with us. I have a theory that, whatever we do it should benefit everyone. That would go a long way in reducing rivals and it would ensure that we were always a member of the best team on the right side.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Message for November 5, 2010

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.”
Albert Einstein
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10
Meek: “enduring injury with patience and without resentment” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I have a dog at home that my wife bought for me. He was from the Peugeot Sound area, a good distance from where I live. It so happens he was the last puppy of the litter, maybe he was the runt I don't know. In any case, being a Golden Retriever he was rejected probably eight or ten times by people choosing puppies. Does that mean he was the least valuable puppy of the litter? That puppy has grown up to be the best companion anyone could ask for, and if you're a dog lover you know what I mean. So what does that have to do with todays message about being valuable? It is not what we have, our personal status, or our looks that make us valuable. It's what's inside that determines or value, we call them values for a reason. When Clyde was a puppy there were obviously people who looked at him and decided for some reason he wasn't as valuable as the others. What they couldn't see is the heart that is within that dog. Let's take picking out puppies as an example for picking who we value and remember our judgement of what they are on the outside has nothing to do with their true value.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Message for November 4, 2010

Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.” M. Scott Peck

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Differentia: “a distinguishing mark or characteristic.” New Oxford American Dictionary
Difference: “a point or way in which people or things are not the same” New Oxford American Dictionary

Differentia is a root word for difference. Notice how positive the definition is. It highlights how things are distinguishable. Now notice the definition for difference, it focuses on how things are different. Everyone one knows people are different. Everyone has heard that we should celebrate our diversities. But not everyone acts like they understand the beauty in our diversities. When we make fun of others, pointing out their flaws and bolstering our ego by finding ways we are superior to others; remember we were all formed by the same creator. We were all given a purpose here on earth. So when we disparage others, what we really are doing is saying that God failed and we are mocking Him. Is that something we really want to do? Remember these two words, “differentia and difference,” while the definitions for both are accurate, what would you like people to point out about you, differences, or distinguished characteristics?

Message for November 3, 2010

What marks whether you're going to be successful is how well you deal with the bad days, not the good ones.” Condoleezza Rice

And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Genesis 39:2-3

Progress: “forward or onward movement toward a destination” New Oxford American Dictionary

Joseph is a pivotal character in the saga of judaism, he was the catalyst in transforming the tribe of Abraham into Israelites. He is known for his successes in all he did, such as head of Potiphar's household, head of an Egyptian jail as a prisoner, then head of much of Egypt's infrastructure. Records of him can be read in the Old Testament and in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Joseph achieved all his successes through hardships. The day when he was thrown in a pit to be sold as a slave to traders could not have been a good day, and they day he was thrown in jail after being falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife could not have been a good day. But Joseph persevered through those bad days and stayed true to his purpose, God's purpose for him. Because Joseph was unwavering in his purpose, the bad days he endured actually put him in a position to succeed. He would have never interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams if he had not been sold as a slave and thrown in jail. So let's remember Joseph on those days that aren't going so well, he went through much more than most of us ever will, yet he found success through his hardships, and so can we, if we choose to be true to our purpose and the purpose God has for us.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Message for November 2, 2010

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:26

Opportunity: “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something” New Oxford American Dictionary

I recently read a story from the New York Times about a seven year old little boy named Owen Cain with a severely disabling motor neuron disease. His parents and caregivers tried many different things to help the boy communicate and give him an escape from his disease. One day the boys nurse brought in an iPad and propped it up in front of the little boy. Then according the New York Times “he did something his mother had never seen before. He aimed his left pointer finger at an icon on the screen and touched it.” Immediately a new world was opened up to Owen. This world can be a harsh place for all of us. In times of doubt, discouragement or despair, don't give up, there is always an opportunity. If Helen Keller would have let her difficulties in life define what she could accomplish the world would not be the place it is today. Maybe this little boy will enlighten the world through his window of opportunity. I guess he already has enlightened mine.
There is also a message for everyone out there. We may not be in this little boys situation, but through our efforts in everything we do we could be changing the world for somebody. I'm not sure if the people who helped develop the iPad ever thought that it would be used this way, but it was, and it changed little Owen Cain's world. So whatever we do, let's do it to the best of our ability and remember that we could be changing someones world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Message for November 1, 2010

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” Meryl Streep

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Empathy: “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” New Oxford American Dictionary

I just read an article about what people need once they realize they are dying. Among the things they needed was someone to go through the experience with them. Humans need companionship and and love; they need empathy. Imagine if no one ever cared about you or what you were going through. Isn't it helpful when someone understands your emotions and wants to be there for you? So in life, whatever our situation, let's try to be empathetic to the situations of others. Before getting mad because someone is driving slow in front of you, remember the last time you were trying to find an address in the dark somewhere you'd never been and some jerk was impatiently tailgating you (I say that cause have a tenancy to be that impatient driver). And remember, empathy is rewarding, no matter what side of it you're on.