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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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Stepping Stones of Life

You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Martin Luther

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11-12

Wile: “devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one want” New Oxford American Dictionary

In “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren says. “On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing.” Our lives are often defined by the choices we make. All of us are tempted every day to do something we know we shouldn't do and all of us do something every day we know we shouldn't do; we're human after all. But temptation does not have to beat us, the Bible says Jesus struggled with temptation like we do, but He did not allow it to beat Him. Instead He used temptations as a method to beat the devil. We have no way to fight the devil on our terms, he has to declare war on us, not the other way around. The only way to fight him is on his terms; the only way to defeat him is by resisting him. The world is the battlefield, the devil is our adversary, and God is our defense; as long as we're on His side He'll be fighting for us and protecting us and the mere act of choosing sides determines the outcome.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Inanimate Representatives, March 30, 2011

Give me liberty, or give me death.” Patrick Henry

I will walk in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalms 119:45

Precept: “a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought” New Oxford American Dictionary

Today while I was driving home, I passed a colonial style brick house. I've passed it many times, but never have thought much of it. It's a nice house, one most would be proud to own, but it's not a mansion, it's an American upper-middle class home. This time while I passed by, I noticed something about it, not something that makes it stand out per se, but a feature on the house reminded me of something. The entrance of the house has an unfinished, unprotected copper roof. Over time, oxidation has turned the roof from a beautiful copper color to a patina'd green turquoise that copper oxidation produces. But it's not the roof that stood out in my mind as I passed by, rather, it reminded me of another copper formation that is substantially more famous. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” These words written by Emma Lazarus can be found on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, they perfectly describe the cause and struggle of freedom throughout the world. That emerald statue of oxidized copper stands magnificently above the New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Next time you pass by a piece of tinted copper, remember the Statue of Liberty and the pride you feel because of her. Many have sacrificed their all for the values she espouses and many have risked everything to realize her qualities. Next time were struggling with something in our lives, remember the struggles of those on the path to freedom, the struggles she stands guards against. Yes she is just a statue, and yes that was just a roof I passed by on my way home, but some of the most valuable objects we have in life do not find their value in their physical worth, but in the values they remind us of.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Talent For Others, March 29, 2011

Hide not your talents. They, for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” Benjamin Franklin

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21

Metier: “an occupation or activity that one is good at” New Oxford American Dictionary

We all have unique talents that if properly used could make us successful people. But I don't want to talk about success right now. I want to talk about using talent for others. We could listen all day long to people telling us how to find our talents, harness them, then let them cultivate our careers for success. And there is nothing wrong with that; like the parable teaches, we should all absolutely try to use our talents to the best of our abilities. But there come's a point where it becomes important to live for something more than ourselves. It is my belief, putting a smile on someone else's face is the best way to put one on ours. Talents are a gift from God, realizing that, can turn a simple ability into a conduit for God's blessings and gifts to others. How cool is that?

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Heart of Worship, March 28, 2011

I'll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
is not what You have required
You search much deeper withing
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
All about You, Jesus
I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You
It's all about You Jesus

Matt Redman (Heart of Worship)

Sing to Him, Sing praise to Him; tell of His wonderful acts. 1 Chronicles 16:9

Venerate: “regard with great respect; revere” New Oxford American Dictionary

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14 Praising God is the most gratifying and satisfying thing anyone can do, but it is not about us, it's about God, He is what makes it great, not us. Let's praise God with all our hearts, bodies, and minds, but always remember the reason we praise. Let's always remember how God created the heavens and earth, how He freed the Israelites from Egypt, how He bestowed wisdom on Solomon, how He sent His Son to die for us so that He could say. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3 The best thing is, it's not because we deserve it, but because He loves us. Now that's worth our praise, in comparison there is nothing we could ever do to deserve veneration. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Value of Truth, March 27, 2011

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:22

Equivocate: “To be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or to avoid committing oneself to anything definite.”

No matter how good you are at your job, how kind you are to other people, or how honest you are on a regular basis; one lie can ruin your reputation. It's easy to be tempted into a lie, we may not even be trying to gain an advantage for ourselves, we may just be trying to defend our reputation. But as the saying goes, “one lie leads to another.” Sure, a person could tell thousands of lies before they're caught, but once they are, the rest become easier to detect and a life built around lies can begin to crumble. Let's try to be truthful at all times, whether it's a small matter or large. If we can't be trusted with small truths what's to make someone believe we can be trusted with large. No one ever said, “since I can't trust this person with a little task I'm gonna see if I can trust them with a large responsibility.” No, we have to prove ourselves in the small things before we can be given the opportunity to prove ourselves with consequential things. But in the end, we all know we're gonna make mistakes and our peers will judge us accordingly. Luckily our salvation does not rest on our perfection. God sent His Son to cleanse us of all imperfections, so that one day we can be with Him in heaven. It's good to know that while our life is being constantly scrutinized by fellow people we can say like Abraham Lincoln, “this too shall pass.”

Enduring Love, March 26, 2011

"Talent is God-given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be Grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful."
John Wooden

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1

Brook: “tolerate or allow” New Oxford American Dictionary

Psalm 118 describes God's love as enduring forever, it doesn't say God's love “lasts” forever, is says it “endures.” Let's face it, as humans we don't always deserve love and God's love hasn't just lasted, it's had to endure through generations of our conceit. We mess up almost everything we do, relationships being one of them. But while human love is often finite and given with boundaries and conditions, God's love endures forever. Let's try to be thankful for everything we have, including the love we receive, whatever the source. Let's try not to be so conceited that we feel we deserve the love we get, but let's try to always humbly reciprocate the love we receive, so we will ensure enduring love in our lives.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do You Work? March 25, 2011

Let love dictate what you do next.” Robert T. Kiyosaki

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9

Hyperbole: “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally” New Oxford American Dictionary

Love is a staple of life and I've written about it a few times. But the love I want to talk about today is not the love you feel for another person, a dog, or a cat. The love I want to talk about today is the actions we love. Too many of us live a life without loving what we do. Too many go to jobs we don't enjoy, drive cars we don't like, in traffic jams we hate. If you don't love your life and you're in a position to change your life (and everybody is), what would it take to turn your life into something you love? Very few successful people hate what they're doing. In fact almost every entrepreneur who has found prosperity would advise you to find something you love, then do it, do it to the best of your ability and use your love for it to drive you towards triumph. We've all heard the saying, “work at something you love and you won't work a day in your life.” Are you working everyday? If you are, why? Don't you think you'll be so much better at what you do if you love it? There are two things you can do if you're not loving life: one, you could change the way you feel about what you're currently doing, or two, you could change what you're doing. But actually I'll suggest a third, do both. Let's get to love what we're doing and see how much more fulfilling life can be. That way we can say we never work a day of our lives; and it won't be merely hyperbole.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God's Word, March 24, 2011

“The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge, but change our lives.” Dwight L. Moody

Now I'm turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what He wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends. Acts 20:32 (The Message Bible)

Transmute: “change in form, nature, or substance” New Oxford American Dictionary

The Bible is unquestionably the most tested book to have ever existed and it has never been proven false. Still many choose not to believe fully in it. Some believe there are parts of it that are accurate and parts that are flawed, some believe it was perfect but has been tampered with through the ages and still others believe it is a farce created by humans to control other humans. But no matter where you stand in your belief in the Bible it has probably changed your life. If you believe in it, I have no reason to continue, you fully understand the power of God's word. If you don't believe, I'm sure you have ancestors who did and you would probably agree with me, their beliefs helped to shape or even create your life. And if you're on the fence, I'm sure you've seen what it can do and the influence it's had around you has affected you in some way. This world is full of people who don't have hope, it's not that they're without potential, but they can't see it, they need a purpose. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, it's acting believers never lack for purpose. It's teachings transcend Christianity, and it's sayings are inscribed in the minds of believers and atheists alike. It has the ability to transmute the hardest heart into the meekest spirit. It has the ability to speak to us in a way that supersedes words alone. The Bible has changed the world we live in, in ways no other entity has. We owe it to ourselves if anything its trial. We study history and theories everyday, why shouldn't we test histories biggest influence?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Fearless End, March 23, 2011

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life in a manner
so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.” Native American Proverb

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21

Quietus: “death or something that causes death, regarded as a release from life” New Oxford American Dictionary

Many people are afraid to die, I've been afraid to die. But why; why should we be afraid of dying? Don't get me wrong, I'm afraid of the possible pain of being killed, I'm afraid of my death causing sorrow, and I, like most other people have a strong will and desire to live. But we are promised an eternal life after this one, a life full of perfection and joy. When told He was too late to save a little girl from her sickness because she had already died, Jesus shrugged it off referring to her death as merely sleep. I like to think of heaven as a sort of Christmas. Who as a child didn't want to go to sleep on Christmas eve, looking forward to presents in the morning? I can't recall anyone I know who liked going to bed on a school night; but when faced with an overwhelmingly exciting day like Christmas, we couldn't wait to sleep. We may have even raced our brothers and sisters to sleep, in the hopes of waking up and getting to the gifts first. Let's all put a little perspective on death. Let's realize as Christians, the slumber of death holds with it so much more than that of Christmas eve. We all have work to do and a purpose for our lives; and God has granted us the gift of living on this earth He created for us. But the trials of this earth are all relieved when we reach heaven. Let's live a life for God, ensuring we will not experience quietus, but rather a release into a perfect, eternal, and blissful life when we die.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Timeless Integrity, March 22, 2011

“It's not what we eat but what we digests that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.” Francis Bacon Sr.

So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Acts 24:16

Compunction: “a feeling of guild or moral scruple that follows the doing of something bad” New Oxford American Dictionary

Integrity transcends partisan beliefs and values. In the moment, people may disagree, ridicule, or even hate you based on decisions rooted in integrity. But time has a way of uncovering immoral desires and vindicating virtuous motivations. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were not popular with everyone when they led this country, but today they are unanimously respected and loved by democrats and republicans alike because their decisions and values were not based in partisanship or malice, but in integrity and love for their country and the people inhabiting it. From now on, let's do our best to make decisions based on eternal values that foster respect, if not good will. Let's make every choice as if it were being critiqued by our peers and judged in a court of law. And let's value the compunction we feel after a bad decision, because it can guide us to an improved lifestyle based on the trust of our peers and the respect of even our adversaries.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Living Life, March 21, 2011

My business is not my life, my life is my life.” James Malinchak

Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

Lacuna: “an empty space or a missing part; a gap; a defect” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The struggle for success in life has a tendency to lead us down a road that emphasizes work over everything else. We think we couldn't make our family happy with a nice new house and car if we don't work long hard hours. As a result we start to spend more and more time at work trying to provide for our life and family and miss the very thing we are trying to create. Life isn't just about work, it's also about play, and relationships, and loving, and just plain enjoying what comes from being in the world God created for us. While it's honorable to be a hard worker, and it's very important to work with integrity it should not be our sole focus, because in the end, it's a means to living, it's not living in and of itself.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

You Can't Earn a Blessing March 20, 2011

There's no disaster that can't become a blessing, and no blessing that can't become a disaster.” Richard Bach

Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, oh sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever. 2 Samuel 7:29

Vicarious: “experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person” New Oxford American Dictionary

Like a rainbow, God's blessings are present and accountable for, but like a rainbow they are something we can't fully grasp. Everything we have in life is a blessing, but still we have a tendency to believe we have earned what we have. Those who would argue that a person can earn anything they want are misguided. What difference is there between a person like Hellen Keller and Donald Trump? Donald Trump has as many possessions as nearly any person in the world. Hellen Keller was largely poor, blind, and deaf. She could not earn sight or hearing. But despite her physical disadvantages she would not have said that Donald Trump was more blessed than she was, likewise I don't think he would either. He says that being “rich is a state of mind.” Hellen Keller was blessed, and even though she couldn't see the world around her, she could see, recognize, and enjoy God's blessings. God doesn't just bless us with possessions to enjoy, He blesses us with enjoyment of our possessions. If we live with the realization that everything we have is a blessing we will need not live vicariously through anyone. Everyday will become like a child's Christmas day.

Celebrate! March 19, 2011

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!” Amanda Bradley

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Roister: “enjoy oneself or celebrate in a noisy or boisterous way” New Oxford American Dictionary

Everything has to have a balance. Just like too much roisterous celebration is not productive towards a fulfilled life, too much serious contemplation can negatively affect certain aspects of our life as well. When the Psalmist, King David got excited about something he celebrated. When the prodigal son returned home, his father celebrated. And we're told that when one person comes to Christ, all of heaven rejoices. It is important to celebrate the gifts we have in life. It's important, not only for our own psyche but also to our loved ones who share an interest in our lives. Let's not go overboard, but let's try to notice the blessings we have and recognize ours and others accomplishments and make sure they're celebrated. After all if they're not appreciated, what value are they?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Commit to Something, March 18, 2011

Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you.” Rick Warren

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Fidelity: “faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support” New Oxford American Dictionary

What are you committed to? Millions of people go through life hardly ever making a commitment. Probably the most common commitment made by people is marriage; and by the divorce rate these days you would hardly think that is a commitment. It's about time we find something to commit to in life. Without commitment the buildings we see in big cities wouldn't exist, the shows we enjoy on television wouldn't play, and the books we read wouldn't be written. All the accomplishments we enjoy in life are the direct results of commitments. We all have the ability to do great things, but non of us can achieve much at all without commitment. It's obvious I know, but for some reason most of us still don't get it. We float through life hoping a good job will come our way or a decent house will fall in our laps; and sometimes those things do happen. But great things are never achieved without fidelity and commitment to a cause. Let's all try to find something of value we can be committed to and see what it can accomplish. I know it can be hard to specify a cause to commit to, but we could start with committing ourselves to God, in that way we can assure we will receive the benefits of God's commitment He's made to us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Failure's Qualities, March 17, 2011

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Forge: “make or shape (a metal object) by heating it in a fire or furnace and beating or hammering it” New Oxford American Dictionary

When iron is cast it is usually full impurities and voids that make it susceptible to breaking at weak points that are often invisible to the naked eye. The process of forging, or hammering, drives out the impurities in steel and ensures the metal is as dense as possible, with uniform strength and hardness. The steel used to create the legendary katana, or samurai sword is folded and hammered out many times to ensure its quality; you can see its effect in the layered appearance of the blade. Like the metal used for swards, in the beginning we are cast with a future purpose, but we are not prepared or ready for that purpose without forging. The trials and failures in life are the hammers that forge us into something we could never be without experience. While the process is can be painful, let's try to appreciate the qualities that can be formed in us through the trials of life. Impurities such as greed, selfishness, and arrogance are most effectively removed from our character through the hammering of failure. Failure may never be desired, but it can always be appreciated, because with it a new opportunity of success is born, but this time we are stronger to meet the challenges through the forging of past failure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love Stands By, March 16, 2011

Love is, without question, life's greatest experience.” Napoleon Hill

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Diffuse: “spread or cause to spread over a wide area or among a large number of people” New Oxford American Dictionary

Every once in a while, I'm come across a message that is so perfectly true and summed up so succinctly that what I have to say seems utterly insignificant and hopelessly redundant. When love is experienced whole heartedly with honesty and passion, it cannot help but become diffuse around whoever experiences it. That's what makes it so great. Love truly conquers all. Just read the lyrics to this song performed by “The Pretenders” and Carrie Underwood and see if you can't feel the love it conveys.

I'll Stand by You
(Songwriters: Billy Steinberg; Tom Kelly; Chrissie Hynde)

Oh why you look so sad
The tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now

Don’t be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
Cause I’ve seen the dark side too

When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you

So if you're mad get mad
Don’t hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now

Hey, what you got to hide
I get angry too
Well I’m a lot like you

When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
Cause even if you're wrong

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you

Take me in into you darkest hour
And I’ll never desert you
I’ll stand by you

And when, when the night falls on you, baby
You feeling all alone
You won't be on your own

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you

Take me in into you darkest hour
And I’ll never desert you
I’ll stand by you
Oh I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Building Courage, March 15, 2011

Only the fearful can be courageous.” R.C. Sproule

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Loath: “reluctant; unwilling” New Oxford American Dictionary

So much of what we do as humans is influenced by fear. People like myself miss out on the rush of adrenaline induced by jumping off a bridge by choosing not to go bungee jumping. It's because I'm scared to do it. Some people take a little longer to travel places because they're scared to fly. And most of us fall far short of our potential success because we're afraid to take risks as entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and investors. Most of us have jobs or careers in which we do things everyday that we didn't know how to do before; and it was probably scary taking on new responsibilities that we weren't sure we could handle. But it was expected of us, so we did it. What if we expected greatness of ourselves? What if we expected to follow through on the ideas we know could be successful? We all have an idea or two we think could make a difference, but are probably a little frightened to enact them for whatever reason. It's natural to be scared, but courage is what makes the difference. Let's try to trust in God and be courageous in the knowledge that He loves us and promises to be with us. I think we'll find if we try to build our courage, the more it's exercised, the less it's needed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Benificiary of Satisfaction, March 14, 2011

"It's not what they're doing to you, but what you're not doing." Bill Cosby

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:23-25

Exploit: "a notable or heroic act" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Sometimes it's easy to start to feel like the world is stacked against you, like there us a class of people that don't care about you, or care only enough to ensure your productivity for them. It's easy to wonder why liars and cheats can get rich while descent, honest people struggle to get by on the leftovers of the corrupt. But that attitude is a trap that will only serve to ensure you remain a servant of the elite. The only difference between the so call "successful" and the nine to five worker is action. You may never have a million dollars, a house on a hill, or an exotic automobile; but we all have a heavenly father that created us to exist as equals. Not in talents, abilities, or looks; but in purpose. Taking action on your dreams with the knowledge of your purpose will ensure that you will never be the victim of someone else's success, but the beneficiary of your own satisfaction.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pray! March 13, 2011

"Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth. It is not overcoming God's reluctance but laying hold of God's willingness."
Richard C. Trench

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Entreaty: “an earnest or humble request” New Oxford American Dictionary

There are times in life where calamity seems to be lying in wait around every corner. Every time we turn on the news we're amazed at a new disaster or crime. It seems sometimes that every day brings with it a new hardship for someone. Even though we may be doing well personally, it's hard to hear about all the sadness and struggles that happen around the world moment by moment. And we are helpless to stop it all. As humans we can do good around the world and it is noble to make an effort at assisting those in need. But sometimes it wold seem there is nothing we can do. But the power of prayer is more effective than we know. When all of life seems to be crashing down, there is still something we can do; pray. There's an old adage, “there's no such thing as atheists in foxholes,” we're all in a foxhole from time to time and there's no shame in asking for help, it's the only thing we can do. But let's remember the foxhole when everything is good.

Can You Heal Your Hood? March 12, 2011

If we don't heal our own hood, who will?" Cornell Hayes Jr (Nelly)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Caritas: “Christian love of humankind; charity” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have you heard or thought the words, “I wish 'they' would do something about that?” Most of us can identify deficiencies in life that can be improved or even eliminated and almost all of us know some way to improve the plight of humankind. But we all hope somebody else will act on our wishes. We vote for presidents, senators, and representatives on the basis of the hope they'll enact our ideas. I once heard a statement from an air force general who said, “never pass by a mistake.” I think most of us pass by mistakes everyday. At some point it becomes our responsibility to make a difference. It can be difficult to take on responsibilities we don't really want, but if we don't, who will? The record books of historical heroes are filled with people that had ideas and then acted on them. As Christians let's show our caritas and do what we can to heal the wrongs around us. What can you do to heal your hood?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Majestic Creation! March 11, 2011

Elizabeth: “Ooh, my duck can do a wonderful trick, my duck can lay an egg.”
Mrs Higgins: “And just what is so wonderful about that?”
Elizabeth: “Well, can you lay an egg?”
(Exchange between Shirley Temple and Rafaela Ottiano in the Movie “Curly Top”)

Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, Psalm 105:5

Resplendent: “attractive and impressive through being richly colorful or sumptuous” New Oxford American Dictionary

Properly trained they can navigate home over a distance of 1000 miles, and travel at a speed of over 60 miles an hour. They've saved thousands of lives on the high seas, forests, and cities. They've won medals from France and England for their bravery. They've been shot while on missions and still completed their tasks. They are a symbol of peace and have represented the spirit of God over His only begotten son, Christ. They are pigeons, and/or doves. For all that people have accomplished, sometimes it's amazing to consider the resplendent creation God gave us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recipes For Success, March 10, 2011

People want a recipe. Recipes guarantee that if you follow these steps in this order, you will get a favorable outcome. But team building is not about a recipe, it’s about taking the necessary time to build this team for this purpose.” Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K)

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1

Proxy: “a person authorized to act on behalf of another” New Oxford American Dictionary

Turn on the television anytime after midnight and a good portion of the channels will be running paid program ads, many of them espousing ways to get rich this way or that, ways to stay healthy with certain kitchen products, or ways to stay fit with certain machines or contraptions. They're selling recipes for success. They usually feature people claiming wildly successful results because of the product, claiming that the recipe being sold changed their lives. And they could very well be right. At the same time however, try to interest the average person in a get rich quick scheme and they'll laugh straight at you; because they've seen the failures and disappointments those recipes can bring as well. My point is, we're all different, we all have a different purpose, and no human recipe can work for everyone. But there is one who has a specific recipe for each one of us, because He has a specific purpose for each one of us. He wants to build a team with us, not one with identical interchangeable ingredients, but a team made of ingredients that compliment each other. Let's take pride in the idea that we're a special part of a team God is putting together, not every role will be right for us, but we'll be right for a role that is key to the purpose God has for His team. Let's follow His recipe.

What's Your Royal Jelly? March 09, 2011

What's Your Royal Jelly? March 09, 2011

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others” St. John Chrysostom

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Transcend: "to rise above or go beyond the limits of" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

For two days nurse bees feed a female bee larvae royal jelly, after that they get pollen or bees bread. But every once in a while the nurse bees continue feeding a female larvae royal jelly until she spins her cocoon, when she emerges she is a queen. What is our royal jelly? To the Samaritan woman at Jacobs well Jesus said "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst." Jesus offered her "living water." Jesus offers us all His living water, it's our royal jelly to transform us from ordinary to extraordinary creatures of God, transcended from what we once were. Let's make an effort to ask for the living water that is eternal and put our mortal quenching into it's proper perspective.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Courage to Grow, March 08, 2011

“Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.” Tom Krouse

David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20

Fidelity: "the quality or state of being faithful" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

For most of his reign, King David wanted to build a grand temple to God. A temple to replace the tent that made up the Jewish tabernacle. If anyone could have done it, it was David and he longed to do it, because he knew he could. I imagine him lying awake at night with thoughts of a magnificent temple running through his mind. It would be a temple that honored God with a grandness that would be known throughout the world. But God had different plans, He told David he could not build the temple because of the blood on his hands. Instead God put the responsibility on Solomon to build His temple. But apparently Solomon must have had some reservations and fears, being a new ruler with little experience as a contractor because in 1 Chronicles 28 we can hear David giving his son a pep talk of sorts to encourage him. Sometimes we all need that little pep talk. Wether it's a promotion at work, requesting a home loan, or even riding a motorcycle on the freeway for the first time; learning new things and growing as a human can be scary. But it helps to remember we've got the Almighty in our corner and He's got our back. God wants us to be His employees, His contractors, His representatives. How cool is it that God wants us to do His work? Lets not be afraid of challenges, because, in doing His work he will never leave us without courage and without wisdom, as long as it's requested.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Have a Song? March 07, 2011

"Those who wish to sing always find a song." Swedish Proverb

Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain you: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalms 55:22

Chuffed: "quite pleased" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Smiling is much better than scowling. And singing is much better than yelling. So why do we find ourselves frowning and yelling at times? Yes there are things that insight justifiable anger and outbursts, but so much of the time people find themselves unhappy with no discernible reason. We gather possessions and don't find happiness, plunge into desired relationships without finding satisfaction, and sometimes even give to charity without finding peace of mind. I believe so much of our loathing comes from self indulgence. The idea that we can provide for our spirits as well as bodies. We forget we have a loving God that set aside His Holy Spirit to tend our souls. Nothing we can do can replace what He can achieve in our hearts. When we don't have a song He has one, when we don't have desire He can plant it. With Him we can rest assured of many songs to be sung.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Credit, Who Needs It? March 06, 2011

"The most important thing for a young man is to establish credit - a reputation and character." John D. Rockefeller

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Esteem: "the regard in which someone is held" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Most people want to receive credit for their actions; at least the good ones. But for many, no matter what they do, public credit may not ever come. Politicians abound on radio and TV seeking credit for something they've done or accomplished, usually at the same time trying to discredit someone else for their actions or lack of accomplishment. One of the highest regarded politicians in American history is President John F. Kennedy. He is noted and takes much credit for destroying segregation in the US with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, greatly weakening organized crime in the United States, and skillfully handling a nuclear emergency during the Cuban missile crises. But without his little brother Robert, JFK would likely have never achieved those three things. RFK was the instigator, motivator, and enabler of those accomplishments. After the Cuban missile crises John Kennedy even commented, "thank God for Bobby." While Robert Kennedy is also a beloved figure in American politics and gets much credit today, at the time he felt very overshadowed by his family and felt very insignificant, rarely getting much credit. So much so, that after JFK's death before giving a speech to a cheering crowd on his senate campaign trail he lamented, "they're cheering for John." No matter what our ideas or accomplishments may be, let's remember, credit is not the reason for action; results are. We may never get much credit for what we do, but if we act according to our conscious with integrity and good will, we will be highly esteemed. To the wise, that is worth far more.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ya Gotta Get Dedicated, March 05, 2011

“Dedication is not what others expect of you, it is what you can give to others.” Author Unknown

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:15-16

Christen: "to name or dedicate (as a ship) by a ceremony suggestive of baptism" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Throughout our lives we see the christening and dedicating of multitudes of things, sometimes even humans. There's a reason for it. Dedicating something immediately places value on it because it makes its purpose known and understood. The object dedicated becomes a tool for the purpose it is intended for. If dump trucks weren't dedicated to hauling dirt and gravel they would stop being useful and become wasteful hulks of steel menacing the streets and highways. If ships weren't dedicated to crossing oceans and seas they would rust in port and waste away towards ruin. In the same way, if we're not dedicated for a purpose a part of us is being wasted. Just as engineers create machines for a purpose and industries dedicate them towards it; God created us for a purpose, but it is our job to dedicate ourselves to it.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Acknowledging What We Need, March 04, 2011

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And Today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.” 
Babatunde Olatunji

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

Munificent: “larger or more generous than is usual or necessary” New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes what we need the most is mostly unwanted. How come encouragement comes easiest when we don't need it? How come bliss comes easiest when we are at peace? And how come it can be so hard to accept a word of encouragement or even praise when we feel discouraged and maybe even angry? The truth is, I don't have an answer for those questions. Everybody is different and the answers will no doubt be different as well. The important thing is to recognize when we are rejecting what we need. Encouragement when we don't want it is probably when we most need it. Praise when it is unwelcome is probably most warranted. And motivation when it is not desired is probably when we need it most. To be able to see beyond our momentary desires and attitudes is to be able to hold the key that can unlock the door to a new attitude. We've all been given a munificent gift, the gift of life. We should, as the old adage goes, “count our blessings.” Maybe our moods could be changed, and maybe if our moods were changed, our lives could be changed as well. Whatever it is, our attitude starts in us, and a change in it has to start at the same place. Fortunately, God gave us the Holy Spirit to work within us to transform us by the renewing of our minds. All we have to do is acknowledge what we need and ask for it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heroes and Tragedy, March 03, 2011

"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy." F. Scott Fitzgerald

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Dauntless: "invulnerable to fear or intimidation"

"December seven, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy." Those were very serious words spoken in a very serious moment; and truer words have rarely been spoken. In that statement President Franklin Roosevelt spoke like he knew his country and the world had been forever changed. He was right, the attack on The US Navy at Pearl Harbor accomplished the opposite the Empire of Japan intended. Instead of tearing apart their foe, it galvanized an opponent against their desires to dominate the pacific with tyranny. That day, though tragic in the moment brought heroism out in so many and created countless men and women who were dauntless in their efforts to help those around them. We can all take an example of the heroes who showed their true colors during the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. No one knew who the heroes were on December six, but millions know of their heroism decades later. Who knows the heroes we share our lives with today? Do we have what it takes to be the heroes of tomorrow? Can we say, we are watchful, standing firm in the faith? I think we all have what it takes to be heroic. We just need a cause.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's Have Fun, March 02, 2011

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." Dale Carnegie

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
Ecclesiastes 2:24

Jollification: "lively celebration with others; merrymaking" New Oxford American Dictionary

It goes without saying, life can be stressful, hectic, even plain upsetting at times. That's why some say it's a "rat race." Even trying to do what's right and living a meaningful life can cause distress. There comes a time for everyone to just have fun, to have a little bit jollification; maybe even a lot. You'll remember Jesus used a miracle to supply a wedding party with wine when it ran out. Apparently He thought it was important enough to have fun, He performed a miracle for it. Can you think of another time Jesus performed a miracle for anything remotely frivolous? Maybe He thought having fun wasn't quite as inconsequential as some may think, maybe he thought it was important too.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Opportunities of Imagination, March 01, 2011

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunities." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Tenure: "the act, right, manner, or term of holding something" Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Not many ever imagine or dream of a world worse than the status quo. Imagination most often creates dreams of a future full of opportunities and advantages greater than they currently are. When we're kids, our imaginations are boundless, we dream of walking in space, exploring the unknown, and diving to the deepest parts of the oceans. But as we grow old and our dreams are systematically smashed by so called realities, as a result we forget to dream and our imaginations begin to dwindle. But for those whose imaginations remain active, the world seems to be captive. Imagination created automobiles, lightbulbs, and airplanes. Men and women have walked in space, explored the intricacies of the atomic structure and dove to great depths because of it. Let's hold on to our imaginations with dear life and see what opportunities it can afford us; and remember, we have an everlasting tenure to a place greater than the greatest imagination can conjure, in Christ.
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