The Intent of This Blog

This blog is intended to be a tool for the growth of whoever wants to use it. It is a daily journal intended to help us be more introspective. Every day I will do my best to supply a motivational quote, a Bible verse, a vocabulary word, and a personal message from myself. Use these if you like as motivation to improve yourself. Then, simply answer the daily questions provided honestly and see if it has an impact on your life. Zig Ziglar said, "If you don't have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer." Lets not be just dreamers but doers. Remember Martin Luther King Jr not only had a dream, he also had an objective. Thanks for reading, Jake

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Living Ensconced, January 31, 2011

"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."  Abraham Lincoln

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.  They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.  Psalm 20:7-8

Ensconce:  "establish or settle (someone) in a comfortable, safe, or secret place"  New Oxford American Dictionary

I was listening to a story of a tank battle in WWII by an british man that fought in the battle.  As he was describing the position of the Germans he said something like "a well ensconced adversary can do considerable damage."  I started thinking to myself on how that can relate to our lives?  Obviously in a military battle it helps to have a fortified position, but how can we fortify our everyday lives?  Many of us live in a world with many pitfalls and adversaries and when under attack it helps to be able to dig in for protection.  But digging in doesn't always lend itself to successful living.  As productive humans we are forced into society and must face the challenges it presents.  There is one way I know to remain ensconced and safe even while we live within this world.  That is with the help of the Lord our Saviour.  He has our front, our back, and our flanks;  if we're determined to be on His side the adversaries presented by life will be of no challenge to us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Universal Language, January 30, 2011

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.” Gustav Mahler

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

AIR: “a tune or short melodious composition, typically a song” New Oxford American Dictionary

There's a truth in music that can't be found in words alone. A melody can draw honesty from our soul when our mind seeks to hide the truth, it communicates with the heart instead of the logic, and there's no one it can't tell its story to. What's more, music can bypass the abilities or disabilities of the human body. The Grand Ol Opry member and award winning country singer and songwriter, Mel Tillis, had a terrible stutter that completely vanished when he sang. Beethoven was deaf, but he still expressed himself through music and is one of history's great composers. Evelyn Glennie is the first musician to maintain a full time career as a solo percussionist, and she is deaf as well. The great blues musician Jeff Healey learned to play guitar and was even featured in the Patrick Swayze movie “Road House” as a blind man. Reams of paper could be filled with the stories of unlikely musicians, but the truth is, music is a gift our Creator has blessed us with so we can express what can't be communicated in human terms. I think you would agree, music is most prevalent and meaningful when we find ourselves speechless. Sometimes it's good to be quiet, sit back, stop trying to explain the logic of things and enjoy the beauties of creation that have been given to us. Music is one of them.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Eclectic Life, January 29, 2011

All of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who I am, so many stories of where I've been, and how I got to where I am. But these stories don't mean anything, when you've got no one to tell them to. It's true, I was made for you. Brandi Carlile

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21

Eclectic: “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources” New Oxford American Dictionary

As humans we define the word eclectic. Events in our lives, good and bad have combined to make our worlds what they are today. But nothing in the world can change who we are without our permission. We have a heavenly Father that promises in Romans 8:28 that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It is true, God has a purpose for all of us and the lines on all our faces are formed by events that can work together to fulfill that purpose if we choose. Our stories are not necessarily something all of us can celebrate, but a relationship with God can help so that we can at least appreciate them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Optimism Through Purpose, January 28, 2011

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Harry Truman


Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4-7

Factotum: “an employee who does all kinds of work” New Oxford American Dictionary

Isn't it amazing how Joseph was able to see God working in his life through all the challenges and hardships he endured? I am continually amazed at the way Joseph, through all his hardships, knew and understood that he was a factotum of God and was able to realize the purpose God had for him. What if in all our life challenges we were able to see what Joseph saw? What if like Joseph we were all able to realize that God has a purpose for our lives? It is my sincere belief that working for God and realizing His purpose is the best way possible to become that “continual optimist.” Let's all strive to have the faith Joseph had and use the events, good or bad, in our lives as stepping stones for God's work instead of stumbling blocks towards our own success.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Live with Mettle, January 27, 2011

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."  C.S. Lewis

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Mettle:  "a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way"  New Oxford American Dictionary

When Viktoria was suggested to be like a mother to Hanni Levy, Hanni was sure to correct, "no, she was not 'like' my mother, she was my mother."  Years earlier in a brave and somewhat foolish decision made in desperation and fear Hanni approached Viktoria Kolzer, a movie theater cashier for help.  At that point Hanni was alone in the world with no where to go and no one she could trust.  She took a leap of faith that Viktoria would act according to her values with courage and approached her.  Hanni's leape of faith proved to be a wise choice.  Not only was Hanni, a jew in Nazi Germany who's real name was Hanna Weissenberg able to successfully evade the Nazis with the help of frau Kolzer, a special bond was formed between them that lasted a lifetime.  When faced with decisions requiring mettle in the face of adversity, let's try to remember stories like Hanni's and what could have happened if Viktoria had not acted with courage on what she knew to be right.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

He'll Never Forget, January 26, 2011

"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."  Abraham Lincoln

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.  Hebrews 6:10

Adulation:  "obsequious flattery; excessive admiration or praise"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Chances are you haven't heard of a company called "Center Rock" or its president Brandon Fisher.  I know I hadn't, not until I head the names recited by President Barack Obama during the 2011 State of the Union speech.  You see those are the names responsible for something called "Plan B," a plan that turned out to be the successful operation that rescued 33 trapped miners from 2000 feet below ground in a Chilean mine.  Brandon Fisher and Richard Soppe from Center Rock arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after the miners were discovered alive and stayed there for much of the rescue operation offering their expertise and help throughout the process.  It was their plan that those miners owe their lives to.  But on October 12 and 13 while the news cameras rolled on the miners appearing one by one from the half mile long rescue tunnel neither Brandon or Richard were anywhere near, instead they opted to watch the rescue from their televisions at home and celebrate far away from any source of public praise or adulation.  Even though they may not have received the public appreciation they deserved everyone in that company felt deep pride in what they were able to accomplish.  We'll all accomplish things in life from time to time that go without immediate recognition, but that should not sway us from using our talents in the most effective way possible to help our neighbors.  It's not the rewards we receive here on earth that we should be striving for, but the greater rewards we earn from our Father in heaven.  He will never let us down and will never let our accomplishments go ignored forever.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keep Positive, January 25, 2011

"Men's best successes come after their disappointments."  Henry Ward Beecher

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.  And the keeper of the prison put Jeseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison.  Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.  The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him.  And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.  Genesis 39:21-23

Indomitable:  "impossible to subdue or defeat"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Joseph is the quintessential example of success through adversity.  He found success in Potiphar's house after being sold as a servant to him and he found success after being thrown in jail on charges of raping Potiphar's wife.  Joseph did not enjoy the things that happened to him and the situations he found himself in but he must have had an indomitably positive attitude and willingness to work because in every situation he was able to far surpass what would be expected of someone in his predicament.  Normally you would hear a speech about improving ourselves to the status of Joseph, but the good news is we can't.  Let me clarify.  It wasn't Joseph who was responsible for his success, it was his trust in God that gave him the ability to keep a positive attitude and accomplish what he did.  When we put our trust in God and allow Him to work in our lives He has a way of blessing us in every way beyond what we could ever imagine accomplishing ourselves.  Let's put our faith in God and trust that He has a purpose for our lives and see where he can lead us.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Compliment Someone, January 24, 2011

There is no effect more disproportionate to its cause than the happiness bestowed by a small compliment.” Robert Brault

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

Blandishment: “a flattering or pleasing statement or action used to persuade someone gently to do something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Do you know the power of a compliment? One day a teacher had her students write a compliment about every other student in the class. Over the weekend the teacher wrote on a separate sheet of paper for each student the compliments they received and gave them to the respective students the next week. She was surprised to see the joy it brought to the kids and was impressed by the success of the exercise, but I don't think even she knew the impact of those compliments. Years later that same teacher found herself eulogizing one of those students after he had died in the Vietnam war. Following the funeral she was approached by the soldiers parents who showed her something they thought she would be interested in. It was the note of compliments he received in school and it was with him when he died. By this time it had been folded and refolded, taped and repaired, and worn thin after years of use. By this time other students from the soldiers class gathered round and shared with her how important those notes were to each one of them, they all either carried their compliments with them at all times or kept them in a cherished place. What we say and do to others can last a lifetime. Let's make sure that the lifelong impression we make is a good and kind one.

For a longer version of the story by Gayle Shemezis I encourage you to visit http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/thepower.html

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Living Our Purpose, January 23, 2011

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” Edmund Hillary

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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 5:14-16

Askance: “with an attitude or look of suspicion or disapproval” New Oxford American Dictionary

To be sure, no one has ever been, is now, or ever will be perfect. But we can all be perfect representations of God's purpose for us. Consider a duck, while on dry ground they are clumsy and seemingly uncoordinated and if that's all we ever saw of them it would be easy to look at them with askance. They would exemplify the name “ugly duckling.” But put a duck in water and they form a natural and graceful bond with the surface, put them in the air and they inspire awe and wonder. If a Red-Breasted Merganser being recorded flying 100 miles per hour doesn't inspire you maybe the fact that an airliner flying at 21,000 feet once struck a Mallard will, and if that doesn't do it I'm sure the migration of the Black Brant, a nonstop flight from Alaska to Baja Mexico a distance of 3,000 miles taking 60 to 72 hours will. Maybe we're not good at everything we've tried, maybe we're not good at much at all, but we're all great at something. Walking, a ducks seemingly easiest task is their most difficult, not because they are faulty creations but because that is not their purpose. Let's be inspired by ducks and ensure our lives take fantastic flight by living our purpose.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding Happiness, January 22, 2011

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. Doug Larson

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!”  Matthew 6:26-30

Indolent: “wanting to avoid activity or exertion; lazy” New Oxford American Dictionary

I've been sitting here trying to write a message about how to be happy. As if I have the answer? Sometimes I have to tell myself to get a grip and realize where the knowledge is and it's not in me. It's so simple. Want to find happiness? Look out the window at the trees, at the morning mist over the fields and the sun shining through the faint clouds in the blue sky. That's where happiness is. I would love to watch TV all day and look at the shiny things people have made. And that's great, I'm proud of what humans have been able to accomplish. But those things aren't guaranteed to create happiness. Realization that God created a world full of beauty and perfection just to bring happiness to people. That's guaranteed to create happiness. What if we all became a little more indolent at trying to create our own happiness and a little more reliant on our Creator to fill our life with joy and contentment.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What is "Self Reliance" January 21, 2011

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it."  Jonathan Winters

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 4:5

Espoused:  "adopt or support (a cause, belief, or way of life)"  New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have we heard the virtues of "self reliance" espoused?  You may have even heard me talk about it before.  I have always had the idea that it is important to be self reliant.  Maybe it comes naturally to me because I'm a stubborn man who never likes to ask for directions or help of any kind, I don't know.  The funny thing is, as I was preparing today's message I was searching for a Bible verse about the importance of self reliance.  Guess what?  They don't exist.  In fact the Bible talks about people who trust in themselves as being foolish.  Benjamin Franklin who was a prolific writer of sayings and short quotes penned the phrase I think most people take as scripture, "God helps those who help themselves."  And I do believe there is some truth to that, you see it when Jesus told the crippled man to pick up his bed and walk, and in the story of the woman seeking to be healed desperately throwing herself at Christ only to barely touch the hem of His robe.  If we were to examine them closely, most of Jesus' miracles involved action from the person requesting His help, but the beautiful thing is, the only action required was and is trust in the Lord.  So in the future let's try to put our trust in God and transform our self reliance from, us against the world, to "If God be for us, who can be against us."  Romans 8:31

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fire Your Doormen! January 20, 2011

Opportunity knocked. My doorman threw him out.” Adrienne Gusoff

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Contingency: “a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty” New Oxford American Dictionary

I know, the quote I chose for today isn't very inspiring, uplifting, or even encouraging. But I think there is a lesson to it... Sometime in 1905 Edwin C. Barnes showed up on the doorstep of Thomas Edison's laboratory asking for a partnership. By this time Edison was already an accomplished inventor, and Barnes was, well he hadn't accomplished much of anything at all. But he saw an opportunity to go into business with Edison and jumped at the chance. When I say he jumped at the chance I mean, he hopped a freight train to Orange, New Jersey to beg for a job from someone who had every right to dismiss him like any other common beggar. Edison later said of Barnes, "he stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.” It took years of hard work but eventually Barnes did become a partner with Thomas Edison and made millions selling his dictating machine now called the Ediphone. It even came with slogan “Made by Edison and installed by Barnes.” I think we all see opportunities in ourselves like Edwin Barnes did, but unlike Barnes I think we allow our inner doormen to dismiss them far too easily. Let's try to make a promise to ourselves right now, let's promise to fire any doorman we've installed in our imaginations and to never dismiss an idea or opportunity because we or even somebody else thinks it's impossible. Anything is possible if we put our minds to it and make it our purpose to achieve it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Message for January 19, 2011

"When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback."  Bill Copeland

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  Luke 16:10

Scrupulous:  "(of a person or process) diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details"  New Oxford American Dictionary

"It was thanks to Ultra that we won the war."  Winston Churchill told King George VI after WWII.  After WWI the German military developed a code machine call enigma to transmit secret messages.  They put so much faith in their machine, that they relied on it throughout WWII to deceive the Allies.  What they didn't know is that the Polish had almost completely decoded enigma and gave their work to the British to finish shortly before WWII began.  The information garnered from the decoded enigma signals was called Ultra and it was so affective a British intelligence officer commented, "the fastest way for a German officer to get his orders would be to ring the Brits."  Sun Tzu, the author of "The Art of War" said, "All war is deception" and I'm not trying to conflate our personal lives with war, but the downfalls of deception during war gives a perfect example of what can happen to us when we rely on deception.  No one can keep a lie permanently and few can hide their lies even temporarily from everyone.  When we choose to live by deception we open ourselves up to being deceived, much like the Germans during WWII.  For a lie to be affective it has to be committed to, meaning a lie told must be a lie lived.  The problem is, scrupulous people have a way of detecting dishonesty and the world is run by scrupulous people; and since it's hard to trust dishonest people with much of anything valuable, how far do you think dishonesty can get us in life?  Bernie Madoff was able to amass a great fortune though his dishonesty, but even he was not able to make his lies last and when his deceptions were ciphered he was destroyed; he will never see life outside of prison again.  Like the saying goes, "honesty is the best policy."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heart Work, Message for January 18, 2011

Don't despair too much if you see beautiful things destroyed, if you see them perish. Because the best things are always growing in secret.” Ben Okri

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

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

Daniel Ruettiger was five feet five inches tall, weighed 165 pounds, suffered from dyslexia, and was a perpetually reminded of what he couldn't do. But he had a dream that was bigger than what anybody thought he could achieve. He wanted to go to school at the University of Notre Dame and he wanted to play football there. His poor academic abilities meant he had to attend Holy Cross College and was rejected three times by Notre Dame. His size and lack of athletic ability made it impossible for him to get a sports scholarship there as well. But his heart made up for what he lacked in academic and athletic ability. He worked so hard in the classroom at Holy Cross that he was eventually accepted into Notre Dame and worked so hard on the tryout field that he was able to make the practice squad for Notre Dame Football. Eventually his hard work lead to him playing the in the last two plays in the last game of his college football career. For all his hard work he got to suite up for one game and play in two plays. But at the end of that game he became the first player to ever be carried off the Notre Dame field by his teammates and to this day there have only been two. Today “Rudy” works as a motivational speaker, and is involved in helping student athletes through the Rudy foundation. He gives Rudy awards based on his four C's “courage, character, commitment, and contribution.” His story also inspired one of the most inspiring movies of all time “Rudy.” Hard work and character may not always get you exactly what you want, but we can be assured it will always be recognized in one way or another. Whenever we feel we aren't getting anywhere in life, let's remember Rudy and what he has accomplished through his four C's and hard work, or should I say heart work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding Strength, January 16, 2011

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Venture: “a risky or daring journey or undertaking” New Oxford American Dictionary

I dreamed a dream in time gone by...” Those opening song lyrics from a “Les Miserables" thrust an unlikely Scottish woman into the world spotlight and a lump into millions of throats. Success and fame followed quickly, and it was a struggle for her to cope with it at times. To get where she's at now required courage and strength. She had to accept a venture that she had little experience and no success in, but she had a dream to sing and the talent to pull it off and that is what she did. Like Susan Boyle, we all have talents for success, and weaknesses that distract from them. But what if instead of focusing on our weaknesses, we focused on our strengths and let the struggles that come with venturing after them grow our character and build our success? We will all undoubtable fail and feel like no one cares but remember Susan Boyle didn't win “Britain's Got Talent” and afterwords she felt as though no one wanted to hear her sing again, obviously that was not true, but she did not surrender and her loss gave her the strength to cope with future struggles as a celebrity. Let's take advantage of our struggles, learn from our failures, and remember who we're really serving to ensure a successful future.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Message for January 15, 2011

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” George Herman “Babe” Ruth

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

Fortitude: “courage in pain or adversity” New Oxford American Dictionary

Recently I heard of a man named Peter White. He does a documentary series for BBC called “Blind Man Roams the Globe.” When I heard of him I knew I had to hear his show. I wanted to get a perspective of world adventures through the senses of a blind person. It was fascinating to hear San Francisco described without visual descriptions, to hear it described using sounds, smells, and feelings. But as I was listening I was struck by something else, I was impressed with how courageous this man was. Not only does he travel around the world constantly having to ask people for help and directions, somehow he had the idea that he could travel through and describe the world as a blind person. Then he stuck to it and followed through on his idea. If Peter White has the ability to be a blind tour guide what do you think we can accomplish? Let's all try to be a little more like Peter White, forget about our fears and doubts and follow through on our ideas. What if we could all eliminate our biggest obstacles, ourselves?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Relax, January 14, 2011


“It is one of the great ironies of my life that only when it became virtually impossible for me to keep my body from moving would I find the peace, security and spiritual strength to stand in one place, I couldn’t be still until I could—literally—no longer keep still.”   Michael J. Fox
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Psalm 46
Refuge:  “anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape” Dictionary.com
I tried to write a personal message today, but when I read through the entire message; my words just didn’t do justice.  We live in a world torn apart by war and politics, almost every day there is a new disaster somewhere, and it seems our environment may be crumbling.  I cannot speak with wisdom as to all that is happening in our world, but luckily we have a God who can and did in Psalm 46. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Be Genuine January 13, 2011

"The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship."  Amelia Earhart

Love must be sincer.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Romans 12:9-10

Authentic:  "relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significan, purposive, and responsible mode of human life"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Handing out gifts, the young actor realized he didn't even know what the Christmas presents contained.  His manager had picked them all out.  But those kids in the Chinese childrens hospital loved the gifts they received and thanked him over and over.  At that point he says, "I felt like such a fraud."  You see the gifts were mostly a part of a public relations event.  The kids didn't know and the audiences watching didn't know either, but Jackie Chan knew and he vowed he would never do it again.  Today after 48 years in the movie business he is still focused on charity, but now it's genuine and authentic, he picks the gifts (as many as he can) himself.  He says, "I realized that when I see somebody smiling, I'm happy, so one by one, year by year, I do more charities and it makes me happier."  I think being genuine is a key to being happy.  No matter how many cars we have, what kind of house we live in, or even what we do to help others, if they're meant to impress others they will never make us happy, they will never be fulfilling.  People will see through our insincerity and even our good works will fall flat, their effectiveness will be reduced, and their satisfaction all be eliminated.  LETS BE GENUINE.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Be Temperate, January 12, 2011

"It's nice to be the best, but not when being the best brings out the worst in you."  Rodney Dangerfield

If you find honey, eat just enough-too much of it, and you will fomit.  Proverbs 25:16

Intemperate:  "having or showing a lack of self control"  New Oxford American Dictionary

In 2007 Scott's, the large manufacturer of gardening products sued a small company named TeraCycle because its packaging was too similar to their Miracle-Gro brand packaging.  You may think that such a large company could destroy a small startup, but that was not the case.  According to Tom Szaky, one of the founders of TerraCycle, it was "the best thing that ever happened to us."  The suit against them meant their name appeared all over the news and when word got out about TerraCycle's high quality products and responsible manufacturing processes their sales went up 122 percent, leading to company growth and new product lines.  Sometimes being too big and too successful can lead to downfall.  I think we've all seen large companies try to protect their brands by attempting to damage new companies or other brands.  In most cases I think  people see through their schemes to maintain power and reject it.  In the pursuit of our dreams, let's remember to be temperate in our seccess.  Success at the detriment of others is no success at all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Testify, January 11, 2011

"You know it's a God thing, ya know I thank God every single day, I'm just His instrument and He's usimg me on a consistent basis daily...  He's using me to extend His word...  I'm a prime example of how God can turn something that was bad into something that was very great."  Cam Newton (statement after winning the 2011 BCS football championship)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Attest:  "declare that something exists or is the case"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Whether Cam Newton was being truthful or not during his state after winning the BCS Championship Bowl Game is secondary as to what he accomplished.  Instead of talking about his accomplishments and his victory over the opposing Oregon Ducks, he testified for God in front of an audience of millions of people.  Some could say that he did it to alleviate pressures and criticisms leveled at him by people who believe he cheated the collegiate athletic system to recieve payment for playing football, but to me it makes no difference.  In the eyes of many he gave God the credit for his accomplishments and if there is just one kid out there influenced by Cam's testimony God's work was accomplished through him.  So much or our success can be attributed to God simply by the positive attitude faith in Him can foster.  Let's all try to remmeber that, not only when we're tempted to glorify ourselves, but also when we don't feel too positive about life;  God's love has a way of changing our hearts and attitudes when self satisfaction in ourslevs will always fail.  And it was good to see a famouse athlete attest to that.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's Your Weakness? January 10, 2011

If one does not fail at times, then one has not challenged himself.” Ferdinand Porsche

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


Paucity: “the presence of something only in small or insufficient quantities or amounts; scarcity” New Oxford American Dictionary

I think we all know we're gonna fail from time to time. I remember when I was going to college to be a pilot. The classwork was easy for me, flying the airplane wasn't hard either. So at the end of the quarter when I had to take the private pilots written test I went in confidently; but when I received the results from the test it turned out I had failed. My instructor told me he though I had the wrong test booklet to go with the computerized questions. Whatever the reason I was crushed by the results of the test. I had hardly failed at anything up to that point and I couldn't believe what had happened. But I will never forget what a friend said to me after I told him what happened. He said to me, “whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger.” Now I'm sure you've heard that before as have I, but from that point on I not only remembered the statement but have tried to apply it to my life. I still hate to fail but I realize I have a paucity of intelligence and skill at certain things and that failure results in more learning than any successful accomplishment ever could. Let's try to realize our imperfections, use them to drive ourselves to learn, sharpen our skills, and seek wisdom from God. Then we will be more prepared to challenge ourselves, face failure, and build upon our character to ensure future successes.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Latent Power? January 9, 2011

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Abraham Lincoln

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

Latent: “(of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed” New Oxford American Dictionary

Don't think for once God doesn't want you to be powerful... Having said that, I grew up struggling with the beatitudes given by Christ in the sermon on the mount. If you're poor, meek, or sad His blessings come as needed support and encouragement, and that's good. But if you have dreams of success it can sound discouraging and instill guilt. But the Bible says that “love conquers all,” it doesn't say love always loses but is the most honorable, it says “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength and mount up on wings as eagles,” it doesn't say believing in God will lead to sorrow and weakness. So what was Christ really saying? Was He actually giving instructions on how to succeed? When Jesus instructs us to turn the other cheek or go the extra mile is He really telling us how to gain power in a powerless situation? Think of it this way; if we're forced to carry a soldiers gear for a mile there is obviously nothing we can do about it, right? But if we volunteer to carry it another mile, that soldier becomes in debted to us does he not? Not only does it change that persons attitude towards us, it solidifies and publicizes our righteousness in the situation, winning our support from others. Next time we're faced with a humbling situation let's try our best to humble ourselves, let Christ's character shine through our actions and let the power of God do our battling. It may be latent now, but in this life or the next we are sure to earn victory and power beyond explanation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Go Live Life! January 8, 2011

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

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

Animation: “the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness” New Oxford American Dictionary

“Go live life,” read the note by the door of a Gary's apartment. The man had been an executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield but lost much of his short term memory ability in a car accident and had to use sticky notes to remind him of what to do at certain moments in life. Things like “brush your teeth,” “take a shower,” “or go to bed.” But the most telling note I think is the one to remind him to go live life. I think we could all use that note by our door. So many of us our so busy with work, play, or whatever that we forget to really live life. So let's get out there and take a note from this man with limited memory, go live life, become animated, and see what miracles we can find.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What's Your Impression? January 7, 2011

Sometimes new ideas can come from something as mundane and functional as your windshield wipers.” Donald Trump
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Impression: “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression” New Oxford American Dictionary
Phasing is a musical technique that requires two instruments to play the same melody but at slightly different tempos. The effect produces an almost warbling ring to the music. The style has influenced many electronic composers and produced the minimalistic music movement. But phasing was not the product of a mind alone. It was the product of windshield wipers on a rainy day in New York and creative observation. Steve Reich is one of the only composers living that can say they influenced music composition and some say he's America's greatest living composer. No doubt Reich was a gifted musician and composer, but his inspiration and fame came as a result of his impression of windshield wipers. What's your inspiration?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Message for 06 January, 2011

"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places."  Author Unknown

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into His grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:1-5

Encumbrance:  "a burden or empediment"  New Oxford American Dictionary

In 1996 Ted Williams' road to success diverted down a road of alcoholism, drugs, and homelessness.  He had hopes of entering the radio business and using his voice to earn a paycheck, but his dreams were encumbered by damaging addictions.  For more than a decade Ted made the streets of Cleveland his home.  But in 2010 he celebrated two years of sobriety and said he found a"new sense of spirituality" to help him deal with future success.  Recently a reporter of a local station discovered the "Golden Voiced Homeless Man" panhandling and recorded an interview with him on video.  The video quickly went viral on the internet and in a matter of days, if not hours Ted Williams recieved high level job offers from many sources and was featured in a Today show segment.  Ted's mother says it's all an answer to her prayers.  Ted Williams is an example of how a life can change completely in just moments.  Let's try to remember Ted while we go through tough spots in life and that we have a source of ultimate wisdome and power, able to drag us out of the deepest holes if we just grab the rope.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is it OK to be Rich? January 05, 2011

No Legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare

How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 
Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it. Proverbs 1:17-19

Probity: “the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency” New Oxford American Dictionary

Do you know anyone who hates “rich people?” I think we probably all know a person or two who have a healthy skepticism of wealthy people. In some ways they're right, there are a lot of so called rich people that gained their wealth by taking advantage of others and that is wrong. There are others however that are good and honest people. Consider the author of Proverbs, Solomon, who is one of the richest people to ever live. God granted him his riches. Then there's the idea Donald Trump puts forth that “rich is a state of mind more than anything.” My point is, wealthy people, like all other people come in all shapes, sizes, and moralities. But why should we even worry about other's ill-gotten gains when we’re told the problem will basically take care of itself? I don't think there's anything wrong with having possessions if we're honest and demonstrate probity in gaining them. At the same time riches can bring misery when they come at the expense of others. Let's try and cast our nets to gain riches where only our Creator can fill them. If we do that we will ensure the greatest riches possible for ourselves.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life is Worth Living, January 04, 2011

"No fist is big enough to cover the sky."  Africa Proverb

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.  Colossians 3:2-4

Sustenance:  "the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence"  New Oxford American Dictionary

When we live life for ourselves it can become a miserable venture.  Bad situations and unfortunate events seem to happen for no reason with no redeeming value.  I'm not trying to convince anyone that when we live for something bigger than ourselves sadness will somehow disappear and all will be well all the time.  But when we live for a higher prupose tradgedies and failures can become more bearable because we will know we have a home above us that far exceeds this world.  So let's try to improve our perspective on life by focusing on the sky above, make the good news of Christ our sustenance and in doing ensure that life will be worth living.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Message for January 03, 2011

"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thnking.  Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary."  Steve Jobs

The LORD said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation."  Genesis 7:1
And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.  Genesis 7:5

Innovate:  "make changes in something established"  New Oxford American Dictionary

Common knowledge in the world today would state that the easiest way to get along is to "get along."  Innovators like Steve Jobs or Noah might disagree.  The success they found in their lives resulted from doing things differently.  They had a vision for the future; whether supplied by God or their own imaginations, their visions proved successful, what matters most is that they had the courage to follow through on them.  Let's be confidant in our ideas and have the courage to follow through on them.  After all, the world doesn't care so much about our ideas as much as our accomplishments and accomplishments most often happen through the execution of innovative ideas.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Message for January 02, 2011

The better your attitude doing the things you don't really like to do, the more likely you are to be given more of the things you do like to do.” Zig Ziglar

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Ardent: “enthusiastic or passionate” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have we heard someone say, or even said to ourselves, “I'm too good for this.” I used to work in the construction business and there is never any glamour in digging a ditch. No matter how good you are with a shovel no one will probably ever compliment you on a hole you've just dug. But many people have gone from digging ditches to running companies, not because they showed they were exceptionally good at digging ditches but because they had an exceptional attitude while digging ditches. Whatever we're doing right now, whether it be digging ditches or earning a comfortable living there's always room to grow in our lives and careers. It is our attitude that will determine if we will or not. So let's become ardent in everything we do, enjoyable and miserable and see what a difference it can make in our lives.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Message for New Years Day 2011

When befriended, remember it; when you befriend, forget it.” Benjamin Franklin

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13

Solute: “a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment” New Oxford American Dictionary

To Guido Farinaro, USMC, these [stars] are yours, not mine! With love and respect, your platoon leader, Pete Pace.” This statement was found on a note at the foot of the Vietnam Memorial. To the notecard were pinned the four stars of General Pete Pace. He left the note card with his stars pinned to it shortly after he gave up his post as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Throughout his career he kept a list of the soldiers he lost as a lieutenant platoon leader in vietnam. Even as a four star general he could recall the names from the list. He never forgot them, or the sacrifice they made. On this new years day most of us have made a commitment of some sort for success in the upcoming year. Let's hope we all reach success, but in it, never, ever forget the people we owe our successes too. They are the lynchpin of our past and future triumphs and we owe them our gratitude.