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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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Consider the Source


"Be somebody who makes things happen. How? In the words of a famous shoe manufacturer:" "Just do it!"
Glenn Van Ekeren

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

Detractor: “a person who disparages someone or something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Life is full of criticisms, blame, and mockery; and it is easy to be deeply affected by them. Christians sometimes get made fun of for their faith, leaders are often criticized for their decisions, and everybody is blamed for something during their lives. All these things can tend to tear our spirits down and cause us to hide away our skills, knowledge, and beliefs, in order to guard our feelings. But there is a way to guard our spirits that is productive and conducive to responsible living. “Consider the source,” is a phrase many of us have probably heard, but I don't know if we all take it to heart. Often the sources of criticism and mockery don't have the slightest clue of what they're talking about, and the realization that a certain judgement has no merit makes it's value insignificant. At the same time however, it is also important to identify sources that do carry a certain weightiness. We all will make mistakes and do things that aren't exactly advisable, especially if we strive for greatness. It's imperative that we have a source that is edifying to our thoughts and actions. No one gains much success without a mentor and leaders around the world tell of its value. In life, let's do our best to ignore would-be detractors and replace them with valuable mentors, and in doing so, lay a path for ourselves that is upward-leading instead of downward-drawing.

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 about today do I want to remember?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Perspective


A flower is a weed seen through joyful eyes.” Jonathan Lockwood

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all he Has made. Psalm 145:8-9

Perspective: “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When Derek Fisher asked to be released from his contract with the Utah Jazz, then signed with the LA Lakers, many basketball fans, especially Jazz fans, were skeptical about his motives. Many, no doubt, saw him as a traitor just wanting to be on a different team. All they could see was that their star point guard didn't want to be on their home team anymore and wanted to move back to LA to play with Kobe Bryant for another championship. With that kind of perspective, it's very easy to make opinions about his character and integrity; with that kind of perspective it's easy to even grow hatred for someone. When President Barack Obama was asked why some people hate him, he responded, “because they don't know me.” It's sad that people form opinions of others based on what they see on TV or hear in a rumor. If people knew half the people they hate, there would be approximately half the hatred in the world today. If people knew that Derek Fisher's daughter had a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma and that he asked out of his contract with the Utah Jazz to be able to move to LA so she could be close to cancer specialists and that he was moving with no guarantee to play basketball; if they understood that he was sacrificing his career because of his daughter's needs, they may not have been so skeptical of his motives. Let's try to understand and see the other side of everyone's story before we let hatred form for them. I don't think any of us have a friend or family member that we would consider perfect, but we don't hate them. Why should we hate someone we don't know just because they may not be perfect in our own eyes from our own perspective?

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Rise


And I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.  I will rise on eagle’s wings, before my God fall on my knees, and rise.  I will rise
Words and Music by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Matt Maher, and Louie Giglio, (from the song I Will Rise)
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  God, Isaiah 43:1b-3a
Kowtow:  “act in an excessively subservient manner”  New Oxford American Dictionary
If you’re reading this, you’ve been through some tough times, you’ve shed some tears, and you may have even kicked a wall or two.  Actually, if you’re alive you’ve been through all that.  We all go through tough times, shed tears, and feel angry and powerless.  And guess what?  You and I and everyone we know is powerless as well.  That’s a good thing.  I’m reminded of the children’s song that states, “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” He does, that includes you and me.  God has the power.  God has the power to protect us, God has the power to sustain us, and God has the power to empower us.  God has the power.  I don’t care who or what has physical or positional power over you, either their power is derived from God, or it is fleeting.  There are times when it seems like we are ruled over by the evil in this world.  It’s true, there is evil that influences our lives.  However, while it can influence, it can only control us if we let it.  Too often we kowtow to the obstacles in life, as a result they begin to loom ominously over us and control us.  But we all have the ability to rise above whatever those obstacles may be.  God will not allow evil to overcome us if we call on Him.  He has called us all by name.  He has promised good for our lives.  And He keeps His promises.  With God we can rise higher than any mountain, soar with the magnitude of stars, and see all eternity.  With God, all things are possible.  But to rise, we must first fall.  Fall on our knees and answer His call.    
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Unrequited Love


Moon River, wider than a mile, I'm crossing you in style some day. Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker, wherever you're going I'm going your way. 
Two drifters off to see the world. 
There's such a lot of world to see. We're after the same rainbow's end-- 
waiting 'round the bend, my huckleberry friend, Moon River and me.” Johnny Mercer

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Unrequited: “(of a feeling, esp. love) not returned or rewarded” New Oxford American Dictionary

There is no better feeling than when another person who knows you better than any other accepts you and loves you. There are few feelings worse than when a person who knows you better than any other, rejects you and your love. These are emotions that can be produced in human relationships. People have an innate desire and hope to find a soulmate they can relate to, love, share their lives with, and adventure with. Yet so many times our love goes unrequited and our spirits are dashed on the shores of our “Moon River.” But there is one who knows us better than any person can, accepts us unconditionally, and loves us no matter what we do. Unfortunately His love for us many times is not reciprocated. In fact, it is impossible to requite God's love for us. When we think on the Cross and what God sent His only begotten Son, Christ, to do for us, it is unbelievable and consuming. Today our hearts might be breaking, or they might be celebrating as a result of our human relationships. But as gold is often used as a hedge against market investments, it is imperative that we hedge our love with the love of God, so that no matter what happens to us here on earth, our spirits cannot be destroyed.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Win the Race!


“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliot

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11

Adventitious: “Happening or carried on according to chance rather than design or inherent nature” New Oxford American Dictionary

Wendell Scott won hundreds of races in NASCAR's low level leagues during his first years of racing. He went on to drive in NASCAR's highest level of racing and routinely finished in the top 15 in points during a season and in the top 10 at races. Despite some confusion (most think it was deliberate) he won the 1963 Speedway Park race in Jacksonville. It was the peak of his accomplishments throughout his racing career. Wendell Scott was undoubtably a talented race driver, having accomplished all he did with old, used, and inferior equipment. However, it was not the races he won or the places he finished that define his career. He became one of the most appreciated and well liked drivers in all of NASCAR, yet he was always the underdog. Wendell Scott is still the only black driver to win in NASCAR's elite series. Despite all the setbacks and disadvantages he faced in an almost completely white sport, his determination earned him what most drivers could only dream of during some of the darkest times in era segregation. It showed what character could accomplish, and through it, he won the respect and admiration of so many people for himself and for his race. He broke down the walls of segregation in many people's hearts, showing that people are valuable no matter what the color of their skin. We can all look to Wendell Scott as an example of how determination and a strong character can help anyone achieve their dreams, no matter what their challenges. While determination alone may not earn us what we desire, it eventually leads to success, if only adventitiously.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Friday, February 24, 2012

Love and Popcorn


“And He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy,
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, How He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all”
John Mark McMillan (from the song How He Loves by the David Crowder Band)
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you; and be gracious to you; the LORD lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26
Stoicism:  “the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint”  New Oxford American Dictionary
You should see my dog try to catch popcorn.  I can throw a tennis ball as hard as I can from about 30 feet and Clyde can catch it.  But gently toss a kernel of popcorn at him and he can’t do it.  He wants it so badly he can’t wait the fraction of a second for it to get to his mouth, so he always misses, franticly trying to catch a piece of popcorn that isn’t yet there.  And that’s how it is so commonly with us.  Whether it be a car, a house, or even a new Bible, there are things we want so badly we can’t wait patiently.  Ironically, our desire is often the very thing that prevents us from achieving some of those things, simply because it fosters impatience.  For example, many of us have reached our debt limit from buying things we only kind of wanted in the first place and definitely don’t care about anymore.  Meanwhile, what we really want is placed just out of reach by our obligations created by impatience.  He says in Matthew 6:20, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven, where neither moss nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  Patience by its very nature will not provide instant gratification.  However, the gratification it provides is much fuller.  There is no buyers remorse with patience.  There is no guilt with patience.  And there is no burdensome debt with patience.  God loves us and wants to bless us. He says so!  Sometimes we just need to be patient and wait for the popcorn.
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Being a Plenum


“It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.”  Mother Teresa
So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel.  But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.  Genesis 29:20  (New Living Translation)
Plenum:  “an enclosed chamber where a treated substance collects for distribution, as heated or conditioned air through a ventilation system.”  New Oxford American Dictionary
Why did Steve Jobs provide Apple to the world?  Why did Henry Ford use the production line to manufacture automobiles?  I’m sure a lot of things will run through your mind while trying to answer those questions.  Possibly it was to gain wealth, and maybe that’s true.  Possibly it was for notoriety, and that may be true as well.  Or maybe it was the desire to love or be loved.  The truth is I don’t know, and I’m not sure they even knew.  Sometimes we all just do what we do because that’s who we are and what we want to do.  There is one thing I do know however.  If what we're doing isn’t full of love, than what we're doing is missing something.  Without love, we won’t perform at our best.  Without love, we will lack motivation.  And without love, we run the risk of being hated.  Many of the great men and women of history were and are hated because the great things they did were done without love.  Without love, capitalism becomes a dirty word and success is despised.  Without love, we're just jerks trying to take advantage of someone else right?  God has a plan and a purpose for us and for this world.  We can choose to work for or against Him, but no matter what, His will, will be done.  I’m not sure if there was a lot of love in what Steve Jobs or Henry Ford did, certainly they didn’t announce love as the motivator for their achievements.  On the other hand, Mother Teresa publicly built her life’s work around love.  No matter what the personal motivations, I’m convinced God’s love was at work in all three’s achievements.  I’m convinced all three were plenums for God’s love to be distributed in this world.  I can see God’s love in the Apple products used by many every day.  I can see God’s love through the use of automobiles.  And I’m sure we can all see God’s love in the life of one of the greatest philanthropists to ever live.  Can God’s love be seen in what were doing?  
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heavenly Diaspora


I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” Bob Hope

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

Diaspora: “the dispersion of any people from their original homeland” New Oxford American Dictionary

They called him “the peach man,” they called him “the wood man,” I call him uncle Jerry and he will always be known as a kind man. I remember when my uncle Jerry passed away at the age of 71. He was not the oldest man, but his years were a great service to anyone who had the chance to know him or come in contact with his infectious personality. Whether he was selling you peaches, firewood, or just talking, he had an impact. A car accident when he was young left him unable to work for most of his life due to epilepsy, and as a result, his favorite phrase he would leave you with was always “don't work too hard, I ain't gonna do nothin.” Of course when he could work, my uncle Jerry was known for his integrity on the job, and he encouraged a strong work ethic. But he knew something about life that many overlook. While hard work is essential, it is not the meaning of life. It is also important to have fun, laugh, and love. I will miss my uncle Jerry and the joy he brought to my life whenever I was around him. But I know he is in the hands of our Heavenly Father and I can't wait to be in heaven with him, where we won't work too hard and at times, probably won't do anything. I know we all have someone we look forward to seeing again and probably many, but it's comforting to know that we are all part of the diaspora from our maker and will in time be rejoined in our homeland free to have fun, laugh, and love more than at any time we'll ever know on earth.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Living with Reliance


We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” Ronald Reagan

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil. Proverbs 1:33

Reliance: “dependence on or trust in someone or something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Lincoln once remarked that, “[He] would be the greatest fool on this footstool called earth, if [he] ever thought that for one moment [he] could perform the duties of [his] office without help from one that is stronger than all.” Many believe Lincoln to be the greatest president in United States history, yet there are so many who believe faith in an unseen God to be reckless if not down right foolish. In times of difficulty, let's all try to remember Lincoln. While leading this country through some of the most difficult times it has ever known, he was not afraid to rely on the Almighty. It gave him the courage to carry on with tasks never asked of anyone before him or since. In that light, why should we hesitate to trust in God in whatever we do? I don't think there are many who would call Lincoln a foolish man, so let's not take it seriously when anyone tries to label us as foolish for following his example. We can all be great, God promises that.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tough and Competent


Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.Alex Karras

He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Isaiah 40:29

Competence: “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently” New Oxford American Dictionary

”Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: Tough and Competent. Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write ‘Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.” These are the words spoken by Gene Kranz to his mission control team the monday after the fire of Apollo 1 killed all three of it's crew members. I couldn't dream of improving upon his point so I won't try. But what if we made the words, “Tough and Competent” our motto?

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finding Motivation


When I quote others I do so in order to express my own ideas more clearly.” Michel de Montaigne

We love Him because He first loved us.
 1 John 4:9-10

Axiom: “a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true” New Oxford American Dictionary

When the Packers and the Steelers won their respective division championships, I have no doubt players on both teams were elated. The win gave them a chance to play in the biggest game of the season, Super Bowl XLV, for the chance to be named the best team in the National Football League. However, only one team can win, so for some, what was happiness to be playing, was turned to misery by defeat. And so it is for everyone, moments of complete joy are offset by sorrow and moments of victory by defeat. But for every negative emotion and every failure, there are reminders that happiness and accomplishment are just around the corner. That's why I chose today's quote. There is a Chinese proverb that states. “Good sayings are like pearls strung together.” And the French moralist Joseph Joubert once said, “Proverbs may be said to be the abridgment of wisdom.” Whatever our mood, whatever our predicament, it is good to realize there are sources of wisdom that can help lift our spirits and enlighten our minds. That's why I chose today's Bible verse, it is an axiom that gets to the heart of our relationship with God and the greatest motivation for life; that is love. Like Zig Ziglar says, “If you're somebody to anybody, you're somebody.” We're all somebody, let's remember that.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ability and Purpose

“For me, ultra running is 90 percent mental, and the other 10 percent is mental.”  Ray Zahab
The God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.  He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure in the heights.  He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  Psalm 18:32-34
Fortitude:  “courage in pain or adversity”  New Oxford American Dictionary
“I have no clue how I do it, I’m not a great athlete, I was a smoker and a drinker.”  But guess what?  That doesn’t matter to Ray, he does it anyway.  So on the first of november 2006, along with Charlie and Kevin, he set out to run across the Sahara desert.  They began in St. Louis, Senegal with their feet in the Atlantic Ocean and finished in Egypt with their hands in the Red Sea.  It took 111 consecutive days of running to span the distance of the Sahara.  They ran for over 4300 miles, the equivalent of 170 marathons without ever taking a day off.  That’s what they did with their bodies and with their minds.  With their inspiration they were on a quest to do something much more difficult.  They were on a quest to change the world.  By running across the Sahara, Ray, Charlie, and Kevin inspired many to do something more than live their own life,  they have inspired many to make the lives of others better.  God has blessed us with abilities most of us leave untapped.  Those abilities, when coupled with His purpose can conquer the world.  Countless Africans have access to clean water today, not because Ray Zahab decided to donate a few dollars to a charitable organization, not because Charlie Engle decided to investigate the problems of the African continent, not because Kevin Lin wanted to help the worlds poor.  No, countless Africans have clean water today because these three men decided to run.  What ability do you and I have to make a difference?
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Latent Power


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

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

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

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

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be a Valentine


"I've decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." Martin Luther King Jr.

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

Proclivity: “a tendency to choose or do something regularly; an inclination or predisposition toward a particular thing” New Oxford American Dictionary

Legends abound about who St. Valentine was, why exactly he was executed, and when he actually died. One common belief is that as a priest, he continued to marry couples even after Emperor Claudius II outlawed the practice because he believed single men make better soldiers than married men. Another belief is that he was killed for trying to help Christians escape from Roman prisons. Whatever the story, St. Valentine is known for losing his life defending love. How much could this world be changed if people developed a proclivity for love instead of rivalry, distrust, and hate? Like Dr. King, we could do so much good for ourselves and society by letting go of the burdensome load of hate and grabbing hold of the uplifting forces of love. Today is a great day to start.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I helps 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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading. I hope you love today.
Jake

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jesus Loves Us


“Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is Strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
From the song Jesus Loves Me by Anna Bartlett Warner
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14
Haunting:  “poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget”  New Oxford American Dictionary
“If I should stay, I would only be in your way, so I’ll go, but I know, I’ll think of you every step of the way...”  Those words written by Dolly Parton shaped the start of one of the most loved ballads of all time.  But the words were transcended by one of the greatest voices to ever be recorded.  “Bitter sweet, memories, that is all I’m taking with me, so good bye, please don’t cry, we both know, I’m not what you, you need...”  Now that voice is only a memory, and the words of the song that made it so loved are a haunting of the life that once made them famous.  “I hope, life treats you kind, and I hope you have all you dreamed of, and I wish you joy and happiness, but above all this, I wish you love.”  A life that wasn’t always filled with love, and was often abused by its search wasn’t taken without it’s gift.  I can hear it now, I can hear it like it’s the first time I’ve ever heard it.  The single strike to a snare and a voice that only a loving God could have graced this creation with.  “And I will always love you.”  A voice so perfect, I can hear in it our loving Savior speaking to all of us.  “I will always love you, I will always love you, I will always love you, I will always love you, I, I will always love you.”  Whitney Houston’s last known public performance occurred the day before she died, it was an impromptu performance with a friend.  She sang, Jesus Loves Me.
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  Jesus loves you.
Jake

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remember the Foxholes


"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. What's more, 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 seems there is nothing we can do. However, 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. I'm sure you've heard the old adage, “There's no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.” Well, we're all in a foxhole from time to time and there's no shame in asking for help, sometimes it's the only thing we can do. But let's remember the foxhole when times are good.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mentors and Pedagogues


Innovation has a tendency to slow down, so I’m constantly learning and listening to others.” Dan Cathy

But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. Job 32:8-9

Pedagogue: “a teacher, [especially] a strict or pedantic one” New Oxford American Dictionary

He told me how he always opened his meetings by listing all of the mistakes he’d made that week. I thought that was genius. It says to people that if it’s okay for a CEO to mess up, then it’s okay for them to mess up. And that allows for creativity.” These words of wisdom were given by Bernie Marcus while giving Dan Cathy the COO of Chick-fil-A a private tour through the company he helped create, Home Depot. I think there are a couple things we can all learn from this story. One, it's always helpful to seek the advice of others no matter who you are or who they are; and two, leadership is always aided by humility. Mistakes are the pedagogue of everybody, but if we seek wisdom and knowledge through the mentorship of others and the word of God, we can avoid many of the pains that come with life. Learning is a fact of life, so let's try to learn from the gentle teachings of mentors and tutors.

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Friday, February 10, 2012

Old Glory


O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Francis Scott Key (from the “Star Spangled Banner”)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep  your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (King James Version)
Subsist:  “maintain or support oneself, esp. at a minimal level”  New Oxford American Dictionary
Captive aboard the British ships HMS Surprise and HMS Minden, Francis Scott Key watched helplessly while those very ships bombarded Fort McHenry.  He could see from the lights of the bombardment that the forts smaller storm flag kept flying.  However, when the attack ended and the skies went dark he could no longer see the flag.  He was left in darkness and uncertainty until the light of a new day could reveal whether the fort still stood.  When morning broke he recognized that indeed the storm flag had come down, but it had not come down in defeat, it had been replaced with the forts larger flag, the now famous “Star Spangled Banner.”  As humans we are daily bombarded by hardships and temptations.  And sometimes it can be hard to know whether our Savior is even still there, whether He was ever there.  But one look at God’s creation reveals His presence.  It may be tattered in places by the effects of sin, but His majesty still shines through.  The parallels between solar systems and atomic structures show the genius in the building blocks of His design, and the synergy of creation tells of His presence and the victory that’s already been won on our behalf.  As a fledgling country, one our first acts was to commission a flag as a symbol of our existence and sovereignty.  Francis Scott Key referred to it as “The Star Spangled Banner,” others know it as “Old Glory.”  Whatever its name, it tells the story of America and our trust in God.  God in His majesty has left us with His creation as a banner of His presence.  And it does not simply subsist, its beauty is unmatched by our endeavors, its existence unswayed by our pollution, and its secrets unknown to our sciences.  It is the first, the true, “Old Glory.”  
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Taking Sides


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

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


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

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

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 about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Light Up


"Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you, dear"
Gary Lightbody, Jonathan Quinn, Mark McClelland, Nathan Connolly, and Ethan Archer (from the song “Run” by Snow Patrol)
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The Apostle Paul, Romans 8:38-38 (New International Version)
Fissure:  “a long, narrow opening or line of breakage made by cracking or splitting, esp. in rock or earth”  New Oxford American Dictionary
I heard the song “Run” by Snow Patrol on TV as I was falling asleep one evening and immediately I knew it was saying something more to me than what the writers intended.  It’s a song between two loves, and if you’ve ever been away from someone you love for long enough, you know exactly how it feels to want to tell them that you love them when there is no way to communicate.  So you say it out loud, “I love you,” you say it in your head, “I love you,” you say it earnestly, “I love you,” hoping they will somehow feel the love you have for them and know what you’re trying to communicate, that you’re “right beside them.”  And often those messages are felt.  A little note on lunch napkin, a picture given as a keepsake, a ring on a finger; they all have a way of communicating love when contact is not possible.  In the same way Christ loves us and is right beside us.  He doesn’t speak to us through His voice, but we can feel it through His Word, we can feel it when we bow down to pray, and we can feel it when we worship with fellow believers.  Like the song says, “Light up, light up, as if you have a choice,” when we feel the love of God there is a power that lights us up.  It may be as if we have a choice, but it isn’t.  Like water breaks apart a rock when frozen in it its fissures.  The love of our Savior can crush the hardest of hearts by simply seeping in.  No, there is no choice but to light up for the one who said, “Let there be light.” 
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 about today do I want to remember forever?
  6. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake