The Intent of This Blog

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

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flowers in Garbage

Hope grow's, in a dump.” Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute from the TV series “The Office”

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Enigmatic: “difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious” New Oxford American Dictionary

It's not often you get inspiration from a TV sitcom; but while I laughed at a funny scene, I couldn't help but be inspired as Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute sat pitifully in a pile of garbage at a dump and imagined the beauty of a single flower growing in a vast land fill. Any one of us has the opportunity to be that flower; and there is no better example than Martin Luther King Jr., who once said. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” There is nothing much uglier than the Jim Crowe south, but despite the difficulties of segregation, King became that flower. After his death he was eulogized with one of his own previous speeches. In it he said... “If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long…. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that’s not important…. I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody…. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.” Martin Luther King Jr. realized that he was a temple of God, it's evident in his life. Because he lived as a temple of God, he couldn't help but stand apart from and above the ugliness of racism. He was truly a flower of hope, growing in a dump.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone today?
      2. What act of kindness did I perform today?
      3. What did I learn today?
      4. Who did I love today?
      5. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading,
Jake

Monday, May 30, 2011

Heavenly Management

The best people don't need to be managed.” Jim Collins

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4

Preside: “be in the position of authority in a meeting or gathering” New Oxford American Dictionary

I heard a statement by Joel Osteen today, he said. “You're destiny is to big to get there on your own.” We all have a heavenly manager. While today's quote I chose fits in perfectly well in the micro events of life, God has a plan for us so big, it requires a supernatural manager. You may or may not believe in coincidences, but I know the Bible promises providences. Every providence brought in life is the result of the highest level of management. God is no micro manager, He's a macro manager, because He desires macro things for our lives, He desires for you and I to have eternal life in a state of perfection. As Jim Collins would say; no, “the best people don't need to be managed.” But I believe the best people do need a manager. Not for direction, but for alignment. Alignment of assets and opportunities, of goals and people, and alignment of the stars if need be. Doesn't it feel good to have the ultimate, all powerful manager on our side? He'll never throw us under the bus, He'll never treat us unfairly, He'll never do anything but love us. He even sent His Son to die for us, just so He could manage us into eternal life with Him. He's a manager bent on and presiding over our success. Yes, we all need a manager.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone today?
      2. What act of kindness did I perform today?
      3. What did I learn today?
      4. Who did I love today?
      5. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading,
Jake

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Concentration

At the same moment you are doing something that nobody else is able to do. The same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile.” Ayrton Senna

If you have God on your side, everything becomes clear.” Ayrton Senna

"Nothing can separate me from the love of God" Ayrton Senna's gravestone epitaph (in english)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Concentrate: “focus one's attention or mental effort on a particular object or activity” “increase the strength or proportion of (a substance or solution) by removing or reducing the water or any other diluting agent or by selective accumulation of atoms or molecules.” New Oxford American Dictionary

In under one minute 20 seconds, you will shift gears 54 times, reach speeds in excess of 170 miles per hour and as low as 30, you may rub a tire or two on a guard rail and brake for corners you can't even see; on a race track that is never much wider than 30 feet. Once you've done that you'll have to do it again 77 times (if you had to shift manually you would probably develop blisters on your hand). Throw in a couple well executed pit stops and a little fortune and you've just won the Monaco Grand Prix. I know, Formula 1 racing may not be what you're into, but if you want to study an exercise of bravery and extended concentration, there are few things that can match it, especially the Monaco Grand Prix, a place where one of the greatest racing drivers who ever lived was able to win a record, six times. Ayrton Senna sadly died in a racing accident, but he left a legacy that is insurmountable. As good a driver as he was, one of Ayrton's team principal's, Frank Williams, said, “he was an even greater man outside of the car than he was in it." Because he had kept it a secret, it was only after his death that it was discovered he had given an estimated 400 million dollars towards children's charities. On the morning of his death, Ayrton opened his Bible to a page that promised “he would be with God.” That day his abilities on the racetrack were eclipsed by a faulty steering column that cause him to lose control and hit a wall going around 135 miles per hour, he later died at the hospital. Ayrton Senna's physical blessings gave him the ability to be the racing driver he became, but his spiritual commitments made him the man he's admired for being. God gave him the ability to concentrate on the racetrack on a level that was above and beyond what most others could aspire to, and because of his faith, concentrated in him a spirit that is adored to this day many years later; it is with almost hushed tones that his name is ever mentioned. Chances are, you will never reach the heights of Senna on the track, you may never have the money he did, or the fame, but we can all aspire to be what he was as a person. Vessels filled with the concentration of God's love.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone today?
      2. What act of kindness did I perform today?
      3. What did I learn today?
      4. Who did I love today?
      5. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading.
Jake

Anticipate the Bang

There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Alfred Hitchcock

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

Anticipate: “to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to” Merriam-Webster

Many times I've found myself worrying about an event coming up. “What will I do if, or how will I do this?” My goal in the future is to replace worrying with anticipation; it takes the negative out of an upcoming event. For example I could worry about a test coming up, which will lead to sleepless nights, cramming, and an overall negative attitude about what's going to happen. Or instead of worrying, I could anticipate a test coming up, which has a much better chance of leading to an orderly process of learning, an effective way of studying, and an overall positive attitude towards the test. The test will then become a way for me to prove I know the material instead of a way for the instructor to prove that I've been a poor student.  Let's try to be more anticipatory in the future.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone today?
      2. What act of kindness did I perform today?
      3. What did I learn today?
      4. Who did I love today?
      5. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading.
Jake

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Charter to Shine

Wherever you are shine
Whoever you are shine
Wherever you are shine
Whoever you are, shine
Wherever you are shine
Whoever you are shine
(From the song “Top Down” by Kasseem Daoud Dean aka Swizz Beatz)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Charter: “a written grant by a country’s legislative or sovereign power, by which an institution such as a company, college, or city is created and its rights and privileges defined.” New Oxford American Dictionary

As Christians we've been given a charter from God. Our task is to spread the love of Jesus to as many as we can, because we've been granted salvation through the death of Christ. Our Christian charter does not require us to arrest, prosecute, or judge; rather it is a command to shine. Not just shine with our own power, but with the power and brightness of God our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. There is nothing we can do in ourselves to shine for God, likewise, when we accept His Grace, we are powerless to subdue the radiance of His love. It's unexplainable, but God's love is the most powerful thing anyone could ever experience. I hope you're experiencing it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Stroll with Purpose

When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” Bertice Berry

And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Genesis 5:23-24

Adjunct: “a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part” New Oxford American Dictionary

What does it mean to walk with purpose? When I was in basic military training I was taught to do things with a sense of urgency. Meaning everything, including waiting, was to be done as if it were urgent, important, and had a purpose. It's easy to fall into a rut in life, where almost everything is meaningless. We go to a meaningless job, to come home to a house we've earned, a family we've created, and a life we somehow deserve. Notice in a meaningless life, how everything revolves around one person, and all of a sudden we become entitled to everything we have. But the second we become entitled to something, it becomes meaningless; because it's only purpose is to please us. Objects can only please us for a short period of time, if that's their only purpose. Without purpose, a mansion can quickly become an inconveniencing behemoth, a sports car can become hard and noisy, and even family can become boring and annoying. But when our lives become purposeful, our possessions turn in to blessings, our jobs into career paths, our family's into higher callings, and our futures into destinies. Purpose cannot be an adjunct part of our lives if we want to fulfill our greatest destinies, it must be an integral part. We'll always have a destiny, it's up to us if we want to enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Feeling of Success

Success, true success, is often that which cannot be touched, but rather felt.” Benjamin Edwards

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Exploit: “a bold or daring feat” New Oxford American Dictionary

We all have the ability to be the most successful people in the world; if we change the concept of our success. No matter what our situation, we all have the susceptibility to be the greatest failure in the world; if we can't change our concept of what success means. When we view success as something we feel, we can achieve it anytime we wish. When we view success as what others can see of us, we will never be happy with what we've accomplished. When you can put a smile on a face, you're a success. When you can raise a spirit, you're a success. And when you can help a neighbor through a difficulty, you're a success. Achievements like the ones I just listed don't just add up, they don't even just multiply, they spread exponentially, they create a pyramid from top to bottom. Every smile has the potential to spread from one recipient to another, to another, and another. Every kind deed has the power to travel the world and back. So what does success mean to you? Is it an exploit you can achieve tomorrow?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Help Yourself

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. H.W. Beecher

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Matthew 8:2-3

Will: “a disposition to act according to principles or ends” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Imagine a World where everyone was willing (like Christ) to reach out a helping hand to their fellow citizens; there would scarcely be a needy person. I'm reminded of the Good Samaritan. The man in need was passed by people who were better able to serve him than the Good Samaritan but they did not have a strong will to do so. We should all persevere in using our abilities as good samaritans, so that when asked for help, we will have a strong will to offer our abilities, instead of being obstacles to good will. Our efforts in helping ourselves are much more efficiently spent helping others. Who is remembered more, the pharisee, or the Good Samaritan?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who Needs Pragmatism?

If not us, who? If not now, when?” Scott Harrison (founder of Charity: Water)

And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? Genesis 17:15-17

Pragmatic: “dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations” New Oxford American Dictionary

I heard the word “pragmatic” today, and I knew I had to write about it... Because I don't believe in it. The greatest things in life don't make sense. The worst things we endure, don't make sense. So what does sense have to do with reality? The only way we can make sense of reality is in a faith in God. It makes no sense to grow a nation from two infertile people over ninety years old. But that's exactly what God did. It makes no sense that one billion people don't have access to clean drinking water. But that's the reality. It's time to realize that living pragmatically in a seemingly senseless world is futile. It will only lead to confusion and depression. But with the realization that the Almighty God has a plan and a purpose for every person in this world, a little peace can come, because we know we can make a difference through Him. There are so many things we can do to make this world a better place, and none of them really make sense from a selfish standpoint. But the feeling of making a difference in the world can leave us with a satisfaction no amount of money or possessions can create. It makes no sense that gaining wealth can create depression, but giving it away will create satisfaction. But that's the way it is... and it's not pragmatic, it's Godly. So let's do something that doesn't make sense and find the value in it.

Thank you so much for reading. I was inspired to write this by a speech I saw Scott Harrison give to a group of people from Zappos. I was so moved by what he's doing to help others I had to write about it. If it makes any difference to you at all, take a look at Charity: Water's website at http://www.charitywater.org/ and see what they're accomplishing. You might be amazed and inspired.
Jake

Install Your Mud Tires

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (From the poem “The Road Less Traveled”)

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Atypical: “not representative of a type, group, or class” New Oxford American Dictionary

It's not always easy to take the road less traveled. It's often strewn with brambles and overgrowth, making the journey difficult. But the rewards can be amazing and are never typical. The path used to summit Mt. Everest is difficult and deadly, but many feel the reward for standing on the top of the world is worth every dangerous step. I'm reminded of an audio book by Zig Ziglar called “A View from the Top.” In it he describes some of the things it takes to not only be successful and happy, but more importantly, how to be significant. In the morning I'm going to get up, get in my car, and drive down the interstate to get to work. It's a wide road with multiple lanes to accommodate a myriad of people. Like many others, I will be on a road much traveled; but in life roads aren't always what they seem. It's possible to share a roadway with many, but be traveling a different path, with a different goal. The destination is what matters, it's what determines our path, it's what makes “the road less traveled.” What's your destination, are you on a pathway to significance, are you on the road that leads to eternal life? I have a car that I chose to put mud tires on. It's not that I'm always driving in mud, I rarely do, but when my path becomes rough I want to know I can pass through the difficult terrain. In one way, having a relationship with our Creator is like putting mud tires on a car. It will ensure life's difficulties on the road less traveled are manageable. It will give us the traction and motivation needed to pass through and get to a place where we can look down on the peaks of the highest mountains and say like the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Your Competency

Never outsource your core competency.” Tony Hsieh

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Adept: “very skilled or proficient at something” New Oxford American Dictionary

The story of David and Goliath is a great example of people outsourcing their core competency. Basically, the Israelites were too scared to do what it took to defeat the philistines. But David knew what he was good at, he had already stood up to and killed a bear and a lion, so he had confidence he could stand up to a giant. He knew he could do these things because he was confident in the abilities God gave him, and he had faith that God was on his side. While Saul and David's brothers were just waiting for someone else to take on the philistine giant, David took it upon himself to do the work of God. Meanwhile the philistine's had also outsourced their competency to Goliath, and relied on him to win the battle for them. In the end the battle between two nations was fought between two men, and the difference was God. When David killed Goliath two things happened to those willing to rely on others to do their jobs. The philistines ran away and were defeated, and Saul's affective power quickly evaporated and was transferred to David. At some point in life we're all going to be in a situation like David. There's gonna be a difficult task to be accomplished and we're gonna have a decision to make. Either we can hope someone else will take care of it, or we can rely on our own adeptness and take care of it ourselves. Before we reach that point, let's define our own core competencies and recruit the best help we can muster, the help of our Creator. No, we wont be good at everything we attempt, and there will be times when it will be better to outsource to someone with greater abilities. But I think we all know when we're copping out of something because we don't want to do it. In those moments we need to remember David, have confidence in our God given abilities and rely on His help to accomplish greater things than we could or would on our own. What is your core competency?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Your, no, You're Capabilities!

It's my failure to sound like my heroes that's allowed me to sound like myself.” John Mayer

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Ambiguous: “capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Do you know full well that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? We are all meant for a purpose, and like no fingerprint matches another, no purpose is quite like another. So when discouragement tries to creep in because you can't do what your dad, mom, or hero can do; know that you have something great and special about you that is powerful and wonderful. In a way we are all ambiguous beings; on one hand we're flawed and our abilities are shoddy at best, but on the other we can change the world. You know Donal Trump has terrible hair. If he found his value in his hair and compared himself to and wanted to be like someone with great hair he would be a complete failure. Instead he doesn't focus on his hair, he focuses on his abilities and those are what have helped him accomplish so much. Because we live in a world of sin and sin has tainted our once perfectly designed bodies we all have something about us that is terrible. Maybe it's how we react to our favorite football team losing on sunday, maybe it's our ability and desire to maintain a nice yard, or maybe it's our ability to walk, or even talk. Guess what, all those things can be out shined by our abilities. Stephen Hawking, one of the great minds in current history can't walk or talk, but he manages to write books and influence the scientific community because he focuses on his abilities. God will not allow imperfections authored by sin to overshadow the abilities He's blessed us with. So what abilities do you have, and what can you do with them?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Gift of Gifts

Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised Him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised Him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised Him from the tomb?

(African American Slave Hymn)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-9

Present: “give someone (something) in such a way” “a thing given to someone as a gift” New Oxford American Dictionary

Something happened when I started today's message. When I typed 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 I accidentally held the shift key down while I pressed the 9 and the colon key and I inadvertently made a smiley face (:, it's besides the point I know, but it made me smile. I wanted to talk about God's ultimate gift to us, not because of what He did for us, but the example it sets for us. And I don't want to talk about what our charity can do for others either; what I want to talk about is what giving can give to the giver. I don't think it's a coincidence that in the English language the word “present” can be used in so many ways. When we present a gift to someone in need, it has the power to become a present in return. Never have I missed any amount of money I've given away, and never have I given without receiving a priceless return. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, I'm not talking about monetary returns, or physical gifts, but the feeling of helping, the feeling of being a difference, the feeling of happiness and satisfaction that is received by giving. Great characters in history are much less known for what they received than what they contributed. Today, let's make charity a priority in our lives, not only for those in need of aid, but for those in need of purpose and fulfillment; I'm talking about you and me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Child or a Progeny

Every child deserves a home and love. Period.” Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's and an adopted child)

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:5-6

Progeny: “a descendant or the descendants of a person, animal, or plant; offspring” New Oxford American Dictionary

When is a child a progeny? Is it when a mother gives birth to her baby? Is it when a father impregnates a woman? I say it's when a person decides to make a child their own and raise them as a descendant and a family member. Whether it's a blood descendant or adopted makes little difference. Every child deserves to be loved and cherished by a parent. If they have no birth parent alive or willing to take care of them, it becomes our responsibility to care for them. This isn't a subject that's often written about in the context of motivation and encouragement, but I'm determined it's a subject that deserves attention from all of us; and I'm convinced there is no better motivation, or encouragement than to help someone or something in need. We may not be in a position to adopt, but most of us are in a position to donate our time and or money to care for children in need. There are too many children around this world who need a home and a hope for us to sit idly by. Time and again the Bible talks about God's people caring for widows and orphans. Let's not be rebellious against God's wishes, let's do what we can to follow His desires and the examples He set forth in His word. Even if it's 10 dollars to an orphanage, that's 10 dollars to help a child that would likely die without help. What is a child's smile and full belly really worth? Like the MasterCard commercial ad campaign would say, it's “priceless.” What would you do to put a smile on a child's face?

Living Motivated

Living on purpose is the only way to really live. Everything else is just existing.” Rick Warren

Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. Genesis 24:1

Accord: “give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition)” New Oxford American Dictionary

It's good to be reflective, but sometimes it's important to also be motivated. The apostle Paul was motivated by righteousness and the gospel of Jesus Christ. King David was motivated by justice and the love of God. And Job was motivated by his integrity and hope in the faithfulness of God. What are you motivated by? What are your goals in life? Each of the Bible characters I just listed had human characteristics that God used for His purpose. Paul was so motivated by righteousness that he began hunting down and trying to kill Christians. After his conversion on the road to Damascus Paul's motivation to spread righteousness remained, but his purpose changed. As Christians let's make sure we remain motivated and have a godly purpose to go along with it, so that God will be able to use whatever we do for His glory. Let's see if He doesn't bless us in every way along with it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our Perfection

I’m gonna miss that smile
I’m gonna miss you my friend
Even though it hurts the way it ended up
I’d do it all again
So play it sweet in heaven
Cause that’s right where you wanna be
I’m not crying 'cause I feel so sorry for you
I’m crying for me
(From the song “Cryin' for Me / Wayman's Song” by Toby Kieth)


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Perfect: “to bring to final form” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
As my wife and I pulled into the hospital parking lot to be with our family, as her grandpa, his life in the balance, underwent a very dangerous surgery, she said something to me. She said, “it will be a miracle if he lives through this.” Death is a part of life, it's a part of the human experience, it's a part of living that is undeniably difficult and is often experienced as the low point of life. But it doesn't have to be the end, while it's the sunset of our life on earth, it's also the sunrise of our immortality and the zenith of our earthly experience. While we mourn the loss of every loved one because of the value they added to our lives, we can still rejoice in the promises of our Savior, and be glad for their perfection through Christ. So while my wife was right to identify our grandpa's survival as a miracle, not only because of the physical hurdles to leap, but also because of the blessing of his presence; I couldn't help but think of the miracle of being able to meet Jesus face to face and have Him say as He did in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Truth, Truthfully

Truth is a spur that is best kicked hard... and often.” Fred McGhee

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Ronald Reagan

The truth is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Steven Furtick

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

Veracity: “conformity to facts; accuracy” New Oxford American Dictionary

Truth is something that seems to be slipping through our fingers a little more every day. To the question, “what is truth?” there are people who could argue it and water it down to a meaningless slogan. Because as the lie goes, “the truth is different to everyone.” You've heard the phrase, “there's two sides to every story.” I'm here to challenge you, there is only one side to every truth. Stories have multiple sides because stories are inherently inaccurate. Jesus said in John 14:6, He is “the way the truth and the life.” We all know the source of truth and the source of lies. As people, we fall in the gap between the struggle of light and darkness. When we try to determine for ourselves what truth is, we quickly become confounded, because it is almost impossible for us to be completely veracious. You can see it in politics; politicians are scorned for their assumed dishonesty, yet when they are truthful, people are quickly offended and their opponents seize the opportunity to magnify the disparity between truth and opinion. Far too often, truth is assumed to lie somewhere in the mean of opinions, but opinions are merely the result of untruths and ignorance. When I drop a rock from my balcony, the fact that it falls is not an opinion. Yet when evidence is not so apparent, such as an object being seen to fall, opinion sets in and all but blocks out the possibility of truth appearing. There is only one source of truth; that is God... and that's the truth. We will never know full truth here on earth, but when we know the source it becomes much more palpable. Let's put our faith in the source of truth, and guard against the fog of opinion that masks understanding. Let's commit to doing our part to insure the source of truth is known to the world, so that “the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Asking for Medicine

When we hurt the most, we hurt the most, the people we love the most.” James McDonald

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Palliate: “make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe or unpleasant without removing the cause” New Oxford American Dictionary

I've been depressed, I've been really angry, and sadly, the words, “I hate my life” have crept into my head; to sum it up, I've been human. I know you've gone through a lot of these same emotions. Not exactly the same as mine, but I know you've been hurt, and sad, and angry too. We all have a virus in our lives, and these are some of it's symptoms. The virus is called satan, and it wants to kill us more than anything. But before it kills us, it wants to spread it's evil symptoms to as many as possible. Just like influenza, the first thing it attacks through us is those closest to us. Not only that, but it leaves a trail behind us on everything we touch. Fortunately we also have a cure, a cure that that doesn't just palliate the virus and it's symptoms, but will eliminate it in time. He's called God, and He wants more than anything for us to live forever. The dosage of His medicine is found on our knees in prayer. But you may have noticed, it's often hardest to pray when you need it the most. Ask someone to pray for you. I promise you, the person you're closest to, would rather pray for you than be attacked by you. And you will feel it. When it comes to rebuking the devil, God is a fast acting capsule. Satan's trials are allowed so that we will learn to trust God. When we show faith and ask for His help it says in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Let's confess our sins, ask God for help, and enlist others to ask God to help us as well; so that He can sanitize our unrighteousness. Trust me, I need it a lot, and it helps.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Abuse of Purpose

Where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” Myles Munroe

Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

Decorous: “in keeping with good taste and propriety; polite and restrained” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember as a kid riding my moms road bike off road kinda like a mountain bike. It didn't take long to get scolded for improperly using the bicycle. The truth is I grew up ruining or damaging a lot of things by not using them properly. It wasn't because I wanted to be malicious or ruin anything, I just didn't know the true purpose of the things I was using. Road bikes are for the road, dirt bikes are for trails and dirt, and electronics aren't necessarily meant to be taken apart to see how they work (but that's another story). Our lives are the same. We were created for a purpose. Not living for that purpose creates abuses; to ourselves, to others, and to God. Some people's purpose is not to drive race cars. They could literally kill themselves and or others, that would be an abuse. Some people are not meant to be preachers. For them, attempting to be one might turn people away from God instead of bringing them closer, that would be an abuse. God's purpose for our lives will become apparent in time, and trying to find it on our own could be futile. Let's realize that we do have a purpose, but it isn't necessarily what we think it should be. If God is God, He can find a way to work His purpose in our lives. One thing we can know, God is calling us to be fishers of men.

Involved in the Future

With meaning, many things are bearable.” Ravi Zacharias

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Laconic: “(of a person, speech, or style of writing) using very few words” New Oxford American
Dictionary

Speeding away from the University of Oklahoma, being chased by multiple tornados, Edna urged Kenneth to stop in a ditch to park their car under a large tree for safety. What made him accelerate past the tree is unknown, but he continued driving until they reached Anadarko. Returning to the university later they discovered the tree was gone. Years later married with two children and living in Seattle, Edna and Kenneth decided to take their family to the 1962 World's Fair. As Paul Allen puts it. “The official goal of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair was to inspire young people to pursue careers in science. The unofficial goal was to show that the United States had caught up with the Soviet Union in technology and the space race.” These two events, unbeknownst to the people experiencing them, helped shape the world we know today. If Edna and Kenneth Allen had died in those tornados in Oklahoma, or had avoided taking their son Paul to the World's Fair, where his imagination was sparked with the possibilities of technology and physics; there is a good chance he would have not formed the partnership he did with a young Bill Gates. A partnership that fomented ideas and confidence in both of them, and drove them to create a company called Microsoft. The aforementioned two events in history helped shape what we know to be personal computing today. Every trial, every happy event, and every circumstance we experience in life, puts us on a path to change the future. We should be aware of the limitless possibilities of the path we're on right now. It has the power to lead us to change the world, if we're willing to follow it in earnest. Or we may choose to be bystanders lining the paths of others. We'll still be influencing the future, but we may not be involved. Let's get involved.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smile Power!

If you're not smiling, you're like a person with a million dollars in the bank and no checkbook.” Unknown Author

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

Rapture: “a feeling of intense pleasure or joy” New Oxford American Dictionary

If you're reading this smile... I promise I'm smiling as I write too. I feel better doing so, and I hope you do as well. Even though it's an outward expression, smiling has a way of affecting our attitudes from the inside out. Our expressions represent, to some extent, what's inside. I don't know how to describe it, but even a forced smile helps to uplift our spirits. Our facial expressions not only represent us to others, but can even affect them, as well as ourselves. Let's try to make sure we're affecting people in a positive way. People close to us will still know when we're going through hardships; and we will justifiably go through sorrows and anger, but the ability to bring a smile to our faces will in itself tell of our character to others. Everybody likes to see a smile, it doesn't need to be on a handsome man or beautiful woman, it just needs to be there. It makes me smile to think that no matter what we look like, we can compete with the best looking, most attractive people in the world with just a smile. Who hasn't experienced a rapturous feeling in the presence of an infectious smile? I truly hope and pray you experience countless smiles in your life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Love Means 100%

God's perspective of marriage is me giving 100% of myself to my mate, and him giving 100% of himself to me.” Holly Furtick

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4

Amalgamation: “the action, process, or result of combining or uniting” New Oxford American Dictionary

I was watching some music videos on TV today and the song “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas came on. If you haven't heard it, the song asks the question over and over, “where is the love?” If you're a Christian and love God, I know you know the answer. But somehow that love is not spreading to the ends of the earth. Only the love of God can create an amalgamation of peaceful citizens in this world. So what does this have to do with you and me? It has everything to do with you and me. God's love is spread one person at a time. It's your job, it's my job, it's the job of Christians to love one another. In the 22nd chapter of Matthew, Jesus said to love was the greatest law, first to love God, then our neighbors. God's perfect love is first spread to us, then through it's undeniable influence it naturally spreads to our neighbors, like water overflows any damn eventually. God's love isn't about equality, it's not about sharing responsibilities and commitments in our relationships. It's 100% about us, it's our responsibility to share it without expectation of returns. God's love doesn't depend on what someone has done for us, it depends on what can be done for someone. What can we do with God's love? Does it shine through us? It's impossible for we humans to love perfectly and unconditionally like God, but we can at least try, and the effort begins with loving Him. No matter where we're at in life, let's get started.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beware of Virtues

To be greatly and affectively wicked a man needs some virtue.” C.S. Lewis

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

Virtue: “behavior showing high moral standards” New Oxford American Dictionary

I know what you're thinking, virtues are virtues, they're good... right? And you're right. Virtues are virtuous, they're good works. But they don't define the soul, they define appearances; and as you know appearances don't necessarily define the heart of a person. Bravery is a virtue, patience is a virtue, temperance is a virtue, kindness is a virtue, and the list can continue. But I know you can imagine how each virtue I just listed, and any virtue I could list in perpetuity, could be used for corrupt purposes. In many ways, Adolf Hitler was brave to set up the government he did in Germany; many people wanted and sought to kill him. Even the devil himself perseveres to capture our souls in the face of the Almighty, and many unsuspecting victims have been lured to their fate by kindness. Let's be mindful of our virtues, they are qualities we could and should use, but let's be vigilant that we use them for God's purpose. If we don't, they are just another weapon to be used for good or for ill.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Be the Harvest

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson (Author of “Treasure Island”)

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:8-10
Disseminate: “to spread abroad as though sowing seed”Merriam-Webster
I think most people do things all the time without receiving immediate credit. I mean, that's life isn't it? We all know we're not going to be praised for every good thing we disseminate and most people don't let it bother them too much. But what about this, what if we tried to constantly notice what others do for us and let them know we appreciate them? How much could we improve our environment if our actions were to become the harvest of the good deeds others sow?

A Mother's Love

I think the most pure form of love is the love between a mother and her child.” Unknown

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Matriarch: “a woman who is the head of a family or tribe” New Oxford American Dictionary

I recently read a statistic by “Every Mother Counts” that over seven million women are injured and 350 thousand women lose their lives every year during childbirth. I'm continually amazed that women risk their lives to have children they don't even know and many would knowingly give their lives to birth a healthy baby. Women are made to love their children. Years before many women even become pregnant they are in love with their future offspring. As a man I can't imagine the love a mother has for her children, but I'm eternally grateful for it. Throughout history, mothers have sacrificed everything they had for their babies; and I don't believe there is anyone who hasn't been affected by a mothers love. On this mothers day, let's try to appreciate the love mothers give and treat them like what they are, the matriarchs of our lives.