The Intent of This Blog

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

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Running With Lions


Running in place will never get you the same results as running from a lion.” The Dos Equis (XX) guy (AKA The Most Interesting Man in the World)

How can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

Travail: “painful or laborious effort” New Oxford American Dictionary

It's a simple statement, one that seems to make no sense at first, but then takes on more meaning the more it's contemplated. “Running in place will never get you the same results as running from a lion.” I think so many of us are running in place. We're either content with our everyday lives, or believe it's impossible to move beyond our current position. However, when we put ourselves in a position to be overtaken by something we fear, our motivation is expanded exponentially. Yes, taking risks means we will travail in life at times. But don't we do that anyway? Risks generate rewards; whether it's taking a promotion we feel unqualified for, investing our money in a retirement savings account, or putting our faith in God. If we want to be rewarded in life, sometimes we have to take risks. Let's run like there's a lion at our heels and harness the power of motivation to see what we can accomplish through the exercising of our God given abilities. Everyone loves a doer, let's be doers, not just dreamers or talkers. At the very least, we'll go to bed at night knowing we put an effort into life, and we'll sleep well after the exertion of running with lions.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Acting With a Sense of Urgency


Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Jim Rohn

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

Exigent: “pressing; demanding” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember watching an NBA basketball team lose a playoff game and series a while back. And I remember them losing because they could not enact a sense of urgency consistently. There's no doubt in my mind the players wanted to win, but they didn't make the full effort required to win. Like in a basketball game, we all come across exigent times and at those moments our ability to meet the demands required of us make a difference for our future and quite possibly the future of others as well. No matter how much we want something, we won't get it unless we make an effort for it. You might have noticed, most people who have more than us have also spent more time trying to get what they have. They may not be justified in their desires and actions, but their efforts made a difference. Don't get me wrong, pushing people out of our way to gain an advantage towards our desires is wrong and the Bible speaks out against selfishness and covetousness over and over. But there are things that need to be worked for, such as sustenance for our families, protection for those who cannot protect themselves, knowledge, and wisdom. We should all strive to build a foundation of knowledge and wisdom that is based on the precepts laid out by God in the Bible. Then we will have a better understanding of what our role in the world should be and what we should try to gain or accomplish. As Christians, don't you think we could accomplish so much more if we tried as hard accomplishing tasks for God as some do trying to become accomplished? Let's make a commitment to act with a sense of urgency for what we know is right instead of just acting with a sense of urgency in our own right. That way so much more of what we accomplish will be for the good of all, not just ourselves.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 28, 2012

Remedial Laughter


A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” Carolyn Birmingham

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them. Psalms 162:2

Remedial: “giving or intended as a remedy or cure” New Oxford American Dictionary

Imagine a sterile, cold, hard hallway with rooms full of suffering, fear, and sorrow; for many I've just described the average hospital corridor. There is nothing fun about a hospital. Nobody wants to be there and unfortunately some who go there don't leave. Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing, unfortunately they're usually seen as places of sickness. But there's a movement around the world to change the hospital environment. A movement to link the “best medicine” with professional medical care. We'll never be able to eliminate the seriousness found in sickness, but we can relieve it and make it more bearable. Studies have shown, people who laugh can withstand more pain longer, they're stress levels are reduced, and their bodies often heal faster. Right now, clown doctors are visiting children in hospitals all over the world. They're not medical doctors, but their treatments are remedial none the less. Their mission is to transmute the focus on suffering to joy. With all the sorrow that can be found in the world, we need to remember humor. Sometimes it's the only anecdote for whatever is ailing. Laughter is indescribable, and personally, I can't fake it for anything. It has an affect that is undeniable. It's a gift from God and it has a purpose. However, I don't think most of us realize its power. Speaking of hospitals, I heard there was a man admitted the other day after losing his left arm in an accident. He's all right now. Sorry for the bad joke.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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 so much for reading,
Jake

Friday, April 27, 2012

Decisions and Mistakes


“In every race, you're making split second decisions; in every race, you make a hundred mistakes, sometimes those are the days you end up in victory lane.” Jeff Gordon

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Proverbs 24:16

Cataclysm: “A large-scale and violent event in the natural world” New Oxford American Dictionary

Life is full of decisions with unknown outcomes. Every time we get in our car to drive to work in the morning we have no certainty we will make it back home. But we make the decision to set out because it is what we must do to support ourselves and our family. We don't think of driving to work as being a mistake unless we were to get into an accident, even then we probably wouldn't blame ourselves for being foolish. While this is a silly example, I know, every decision in life is just like it. We know what needs to be done and we attempt it, no matter what the possible outcome, because we know the probable outcome. What if we considered great feats with the same sort of analysis? What if we thought of reaching our dreams as a probability instead of a possibility? Would that give us the courage to set lofty goals? When a race car driver straps into their seat, they are strapping in with the probability they are not going to win, but it's the possibility of winning, the belief that they can win, and the joy of the experience that drives them. What if we were to strap on our dreams and take them for a ride to see where they could take us? Even if we don't ride them all the way to ultimate success, couldn't we still enjoy the ride? Being correct can't always be the driving motivation behind our decision making process. Sometimes being wrong is what makes life worth living. If we didn't make mistakes what would we learn from?

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 26, 2012

No Know


You have to have some kind of objectivity in life if you want to be taken seriously.” Bill O'Reilly

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but
that his heart may discover itself. 
Proverbs 18:2

Objective: “(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts” New Oxford American Dictionary

We're all wrong a lot of the time, I'm wrong most the time, and if you think you're right the majority of the time, you're probably a lot like me, wrong. As mere mortals we need to understand that our knowledge is just like us; flawed, imperfect, partial, self-serving, slanted, and I could go on. What's more important than knowledge is wisdom and trust. Wisdom means understanding the value of objectivity and application of flawed knowledge to the best of our ability. Trust is gained by communicating the idea that our decisions are not made solely on the basis of knowledge, but through the application of wisdom, honesty and objectivity. We will never have perfect knowledge in this world. Everyday we learn more about ourselves and our environment, but with every addition of knowledge comes even more questions. Personally, I can't wait to meet our Creator and pick the brain of the only being containing all knowledge. Let's do our best to understand what knowledge really is and that we don't have it all; and that wisdom is gained through understanding, not knowing.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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 so much for reading,
Jake

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Purpose and Penguins


What are we going to do without animals? If they die, we will all die." Aghelos Kouvaras

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

Steward: “a person whose responsibility it is to take care of something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes as adults we can overcomplicate issues so much that the problems get lost amid the arguments. Sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to set a matter straight. The fact is, there are animals on this earth that need our protection. They are gifts from God and He gave us the ability and responsibility to care for them. Aghelos Kouvaras understands that responsibility. After being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma sometime in september 2010 he endured six months of chemotherapy treatment. During that time he found a purpose for his life in caring for animals. He wanted to help save endangered penguins. And just weeks after ending chemotherapy treatments, Aghelos participated in the Wildlife Conservations Society’s third annual Run for the Wild on April 30, a 5k run meant to help endangered penguins. His desire to help wildlife not only gave him something to live for, it was effective. Thousands of dollars were raised because of what he stood for while lying in a hospital bed and thousands more are sure to be donated because he wished for something more than just his life. Aghelos was right, if all the animals died we would be dead as well. Sometimes it takes a child to lead, and we should all follow the example of young Aghelos Kouvaras. Did I mention he was six.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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 so much for reading. I hope you found the story of Aghelos Kouvaras as inspiring as I did. Sometimes I just have to thank God for the people He's blessed us all with in this world. Hope to see you back here tomorrow.
Jake

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Realizing Value


Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now, and then got it back again.” Francis Rodman

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

Recoup: “regain (something lost)” New Oxford American Dictionary

Have you ever had a dream you lost something of great value to you? I know I have, and I'm sure you have as well. While that kind of dream can be miserable, there is not a much better feeling than waking up after the nightmare of losing something precious to find out it was all a dream. Dreams like that are useful at putting perspective on the value of the things we have. It's easy to fall into the trap of entitlement, expecting what we have as something we deserve, then taking for granted its value. Everything we have is a gift and we are lucky to have it. I'm not saying we should obsess over the things we have, but we should strive to remain grateful for them. What's more, if we live like we couldn't be happier with what we have, chances are we will be rewarded with more things to be grateful for. What boss would want to promote an employee who constantly complained about their job as if they weren't happy to have it? Even if that employee was good and affective at their work, their attitude would probably prevent them from excelling. Likewise, what uncle would want to buy their nephew a Swiss Army Knife if they knew their nephew didn't appreciate the toys they already had? I think it's clear, gratefulness breeds good will towards us and opens the doors for more blessings, more gifts, and a deeper happiness. Let's try to be happy with what we have and realize the value of our blessings, so that we won't have to be reminded while trying to recoup them after their loss.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, and hopefully I'll see you back hear again tomorrow.
Jake

Monday, April 23, 2012

Use What You Have


“When you die, there's gonna be a tombstone, it's gonna have your name, it's gonna have the year you're born, it's gonna have the day you die, in between there's gonna be a dash, and that dash is gonna represent everything that you did in your life, good and bad, that's how you're remembered. What do you want your dash to represent?” Tim Tebow

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Abaft: “to the rear of; aft of” Dictionary.com

It was the 2009 NCAA BCS national football championship, the most popular google search was John 3:16. Why? Because the quarterback for the Florida Gators was wearing the verse on his eyeblacks. Over the weekend of april nine and 10, the University of Florida revealed statues of their players who had won the Heisman trophy in their careers. Tim Tebow was one of them. The statue depicts him right down to John 3:16 under his eyes. Some say there never has been and never will be another collegiate football player that eclipses what Tebow was able to do on the field. I say we should all strive to live up to the example he's set for us off the field. Tim Tebow used his fame to spread the word of God. Do we use our abilities to do that? Tim has won two national football championships in college, he now plays in the NFL and has a bright future ahead of him. In a world where common knowledge suggests one has to be slightly shady, dishonest, or even vicious to succeed, it's good to see someone with steadfast values reach heights of accomplishment unknown to most. To think that doctors suggested Tim be aborted during his mothers pregnancy because of a suspected defect makes his accomplishments all the more purposeful. I'm determined that Tim Tebow is God's example of what He can accomplish in a life lived with His purpose. We all should examine our lives and strive to live them everyday purposefully for our Maker. With God on our side, and with God at the head of our lives, I can't imagine being abaft of anyone.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Talent and Skill


“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” Larry Bird

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

Dexterity: “skill at performing tasks, especially with the hands” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember watching a basketball game one evening, and I remember one of the first things that came to my mind was the word “skill.” Skill is fundamental to success in life. But it's one thing that is entirely our responsibility to attain. You've heard the saying I'm sure, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.” Skill development is kinda like that. Our parents can encourage and even mandate skill building exercises, but they can't force ability on their children. Businesses develop training programs to enhance the skills of their workers, but employees must accept the training and take it seriously for it to be affective. Unfortunately, no matter what the training, none of us will ever be skilled at all the things we would like to be good at. I would like to be a major league pitcher, but I don't have the gift of a laser rocket arm. Likewise, I'm sure there are things you would like to be able to do, but just don't have the ability. Fortunately we all are blessed with talents from God. Gifts that may not be recognizable or even desired, but if cultivated and valued could change lives. Talents are the canvas on which skills come to fruition. It's our responsibility to turn our blank canvases into works of art, to develop our talents into skills that can be used to make the world a better place. Let's try to identify the areas of potential we have and develop dexterity in those fields. If we base our skills on the God-given talents we poses and work hard at honing those skills and using them for the betterment of others, there is no doubt in my mind we will find, not only success, but something much more important. As Zig Ziglar puts it, we will find “significance.”

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 21, 2012

Real Family


Family is who you make it.” Khloe Kardashian

When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:48-52

Kindred: “Similar in kind; related” New Oxford American Dictionary

What family does an adopted child belong too more? Of course the answer is that they belong to the family who chooses to make the sacrifices, accept the rewards, and take the time to raise them, love them, and support them as family members. As humans, we share blood relations with specific people, but that is not necessarily who we share our kindred relations with. While having a father in heaven, Jesus was raised by adopted parents. Jesus knew His true relations, but He also valued and respected His chosen family. DNA is far less important in a family than love. A genetic family without love is no more a family than a room full of strangers. It doesn't share commonality, it fosters strife, and it is unproductive, even destructive to the plight of humankind. A family unit with love is far more likely to produce citizens that are productive to their cultures and communities. A family unit with love is far more united in values and interests. And a family unit with love is a family, whether or not its members share blood relations or not. If you don't have a family, it might do you well to seek one. If you know someone who doesn't have a family, it might do you well to accept them as a brother or sister. And for everyone who can't find a family, take comfort in the family of our Creator. I'm reminded of the Crystal Lewis song that states, “People get ready, Jesus is coming, soon we'll be going home.” Like Christ, we all have a family waiting for us that supersedes any earthly family we are born into. What a blessing we have.

Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 20, 2012

Vision's Experiences


“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

Vision: “a mental image of what the future will or could be like” New Oxford American Dictionary

“A morning without coffee is like sleep,” unknown author. Coffee has become much more than a drink in recent years. People have loved coffee for many generations but it's taken on a whole new identity in the last couple decades in the United States. Coffee is an experience. It can't be described much better than that. People are possessive of their coffee, it's often called “my coffee,” people go to Starbucks and order venti non-fat caramel machiatos with two pumps of caramel and three shakes of cinnamon. People love good coffee and are proud of their personal abilities to concoct a good cup. Here in the North West United States coffee has become an art form for many people. Roasting coffee is no longer just a factory job, artisan roasters put their hearts, souls, and pride into creating the best blend and roast of coffee beans possible. You may be asking why I'm talking about this right now and what it has to do with inspiration or motivation. I'm talking about it right now because much of the attitude towards coffee is the result of one person's vision; you may have even seen him around the media lately, his name is Howard Shultz, he's the owner and CEO of Starbucks and his vision of coffee has made him a billionaire. I've traveled halfway around the world, have been on both coasts of the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and have hardly ever been more than a short drive away from getting a cup of Starbucks coffee. In the United States Howard Shultz has changed coffee from a mere necessity to some to a desired experience for many. Before Starbucks became what it is now, Shultz had the vision of creating a “coffee experience” in the United States, now millions of people understand his idea without ever hearing of him or his vision. What vision do you have that could change your community, country, or world? Maybe it's a small thing like a commitment to smile at everyone you see, or wave to everyone you pass in the car (if you're a Jeep owner you know the power of a wave, “it's a Jeep thing”). I think we all have an idea or vision that could change at least one person; and if one life is changed because of a vision you have, wouldn't that make it worth it. I have a vision to empower people to impart their visions, I hope you see it.

Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, it means so much to me that you take the time to read what I have to say. I hope you find it worthwhile to spend time on what I write and I hope you come back tomorrow.
Jake

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We Need a Home

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I'm all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I'm all the way back where I belong

Chantal Kreviazuk (From the song Feels Like Home)

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5

Asylum: “shelter or protection from danger” New Oxford American Dictionary

Real quick I want to speak from the heart. My wife is a photographer and she has a blog she uses to showcase some of her work. Lately she's had this song Feels Like Home playing in the background on it; and it always sticks in my head, it's comforting and beautiful, especially in conjunction with the portraits that emanate love and a rich feeling of home. There is so much love in the world and when we notice it, it is overpowering; unfortunately its absence creates hate. My heart breaks for anyone who feels homeless, whether it's the man or woman on the street with no shelter, or the tycoon who feels worthless and alone while being surrounded with wealth. We all need a home, a place we know we're loved and cared for. We all need the warm feeling of companionship and empathy. While there are many in the world who don't have the great luxury of a physical home, we are all blessed with a spiritual home. A place we can dream of and look forward to at any moment. A place we are promised will be greater than anything our vivid imaginations could conjure. A place where we are loved beyond compare. We all have a home with our heavenly Father who waits for the perfect time to provide us with the perfect asylum. I don't know about you, but the thought of that puts a smile on my face.

Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 18, 2012

Truths and Their Opinions


Ask, don't tell. The goal is developing an exchange. Force your opinion and you'll end conversations before they begin.” Craig Reiss

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, and they said to Him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me." And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But shall we say, 'From man'?" they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things." Mark 11:27-33

Confabulate: “engage in conversation; talk” New Oxford American Dictionary

How do you convince someone of anything? I'm sure I don't know the answer. If I did, everyone in the world would want to read the “Daily Self Growth Journal.” The truth is everyone has a preconceived notion about most things. We all form opinions on things by what we see from our vantage point of them. Being prideful people, once we build an opinion on believed truths it becomes nearly impossible to change it. My best guess on how to be persuasive is to first shake the foundations of our beliefs. We should ask ourselves: who do we believe (most opinions are based on someones influence), what do we actually believe, when did we begin to form our belief, why do we believe the way you do, and how were we convinced of what we believe. If we practiced basic journaling technics on ourselves we will either polish the core of our beliefs or solidify their foundation so that we will be all the more confident in them. Jesus rarely taught anything that was substantially progressive. He taught basic truths most of the time. When He was confronted with doubters and people who wanted to trap Him in an unanswerable predicament, He did not rely just on stating who He was and what the truth was. Instead, He quoted scripture (known truths) back to them and used their own beliefs to escape entrapment. Of all the people who ever walked the earth, Jesus knew the truth. Yet we don't read of Him getting into unending philosophical debates, instead He simply stated the truth (which was usually already known) and stood by it. In the end, I cannot advise on how to convince someone of the “the truth,” but I know one thing, none of us know all of it. So let's try our best to become experts in truth based on evidence, not opinion, then always strive to tell the truth. If we do a good enough job at building a reputation of truthfulness and contemplation, I believe we will be more often asked about our beliefs of what the truth is, instead of challenged on our opinions of it.

Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      4. Who did I love today?
      5. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      6. What are my goals for tomorrow?

As always thank you so much for reading. I truly hope you find it worthwhile and I hope you come back again to for tomorrow's message.
Jake

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm No Better


“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” Charles de Montesquieu

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

Servile: “having or showing an excessive willingness to serve or please others” New Oxford American Dictionary

I will make today's message short, mostly because I don't know how to expound on it any more than this. Never ever, ever, ever, believe you're better than somebody else.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 16, 2012

Do It!


See it. Say it. Do it.” Dr. Lynn Hellerstein

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

Acquit: “conduct oneself or perform in a specified way” New Oxford American Dictionary

Being in the military I hear from general officers every once in a while. Like anyone in leadership positions, they have a lot to say about things. So they try to communicate their ideas with others in their chain of command. Like most bloviations, the majority of what they say is disregarded within a short period of time. But there is one thing I heard that has stuck with me. I can't remember who said it exactly but I will always remember it. “Never pass a mistake,” it's a simple phrase and you can take it for what it's worth, but I try my best to hold true to the spirit of its meaning. What if we all tried to pay attention to our surroundings a little bit more than we do? What if when we saw garbage on the sidewalk we took the time to pick it up, or when we saw a person we could help we offered assistance? What if when we saw opportunities for significance we chose to act on them? What if we forged ahead with goals no matter the risks? You might be saying to yourself, “I have a good job, why would I risk my livelihood chasing a dream?” And you might be right, it may be unwise for you to drop everything you've been blessed with to follow an unproven idea. But I'm sure you would agree with me that there are things you could do to increase your significance. And I'm sure if you're in the situation where your hesitant to sacrifice what you have, you've already done some of those things. My point is, let's not be stagnant, let's be explorers and pioneers in whatever we do. And whatever trail we blaze, let's leave a wake of significance that people will see, appreciate, and maybe even emulate. What if, when people studied our lives they could say that we “saw it, said it, and did it?”

Journaling Questions

      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Doormen


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

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

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

I know, the quote I chose for today isn't very inspiring, uplifting, or even encouraging. But I think there is a lesson to it... Sometime in 1905 Edwin C. Barnes showed up on the doorstep of Thomas Edison's laboratory asking for a partnership. By this time Edison was already an accomplished inventor, and Barnes was, well he hadn't accomplished much of anything at all. But he saw an opportunity to go into business with Edison and jumped at the chance. When I say he jumped at the chance I mean, he hopped a freight train to Orange, New Jersey to beg for a job from someone who had every right to dismiss him like any other common beggar. Edison later said of Barnes, "he stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.” It took years of hard work but eventually Barnes did become a partner with Thomas Edison and made millions selling his dictating machine now called the Ediphone. It even came with slogan “Made by Edison and installed by Barnes.” I think we all see opportunities in ourselves like Edwin Barnes did, but unlike Barnes I think we allow our inner doormen to dismiss them far too easily. Let's try to make a promise to ourselves right now, let's promise to fire any doorman we've installed in our imaginations and to never dismiss an idea or opportunity because we or even somebody else thinks it's impossible. Anything is possible if we put our minds to it, make it our purpose to achieve it, and seek the blessings and help of the One standing outside the door to our hearts. The One who no other doorman can throw out.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 14, 2012

Champions!


“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”  Tim Notke
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of the rams.  1 Samuel 15:22
Champion:  “a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else”  New Oxford American Dictionary
Malicious obedience is exactly what it sounds like.  Chances are you either have committed it or seen it exercised it from time to time.  It’s when someone gladly does exactly what another tells them, knowing, and even hoping it will result in failure.  It’s generally caused by a lack of trust.  Trust is like a rope, cut someone off from your end and you’ll be cut from theirs as well.  Leadership requires trust, but the truth is, no one who is in a leadership position is perfect, and it’s best that the leader recognize that before their champions are turned into subordinates.  Subordinates and bosses let each other hang themselves with their own rope.  Subordinates and bosses have relationships based on hierarchy and not on respect.  Subordinates and bosses are maliciously obedient to eachother.  The world of leadership is constantly trying to perfect the balance of hierarchy and trust.  But the truth is, relationships based solely on trust will always result in disappointment, and relationships based solely on hierarchy will always foster skepticism.  Except one.  1 John 4:16 says that “God is love.”  And so He is.  We can feel it throughout our relationship and life with Him.  But He is also a God to be obeyed.  Sometimes we treat God like He’s another human.  In wanting a close relationship with Him, we humanize Him, creating something we can understand.  But just as humanizing our pets promotes them from the animal world.  Humanizing God demotes Him from the divine.  In Him is perfection.  Trust in Him will never disappoint and obedience to Him will never fail.  As leaders of men we must, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.”  But as followers of God, trust is verified through obedience.  There is a time to worship, and there is a time to get off our knees.  God’s work cannot be done through us when His words stop in us.  We are His hands and His feet.  We are His champions.  Champions don’t sit, they work, they act like champions.
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  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

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Symbol of Life


Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God.  You’re altogether lovely, altogether worth, altogether wonderful to me.  I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sins upon that cross.”  Tim Hughes (from the song Here I am to Worship)
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”  John 4:34 (New International Version)
Supplication:  “the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly”  New Oxford American Dictionary
On a hill in Camp Pendleton stands two crosses.  They stand to honor fallen Marines and serve as a place where comrades can pay their respects and mourn the loss of a friend.  The hike to them is grueling.  It’s steep, slippery, and by all accounts a difficult ascent.  On the way, Marines carry rocks, sometimes boulders up the hill to place them at the feet of the crosses in remembrance of Marines who have lost their lives defending freedom, liberty, and justice.  But those crosses ultimately don’t represent the Marines who died.  They aren’t a memorial to human sacrifice.  Those crosses represent the sacrifice of our Savior.  They represent the price He paid to redeem us.  For centuries we have been marking our graves and paying respects to the fallen with crosses.  But why?  Maybe it’s to represent the faith of the deceased, maybe it’s a supplication to the Almighty to extend his grace to the one entombed, or maybe it’s to honor the sacrifice made in the life and death of the buried.  For each individual the reason will be different, but the symbol remains.  On easter we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and on Christmas we celebrate His birth.  But it’s not known what time of year Christ was executed, and He probably wasn’t born on December 25th.  In fact those holidays we use to celebrate Christ originated as pagan holidays.  But God has a way of destroying the monuments of the world and making them His own.  The cross was created to be a tool of death, but Christ turned it into the ultimate representation of life.  For those Marines honored by the crosses on Camp Pendleton, they represent life.  Their lives are remembered, honored, and continued in hearts and minds of those who lay stones and memorials on the hill.  And God willing their lives and all of our lives are spared through the grace of God who sent His only begotten Son to die for us on The Cross.
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  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, April 12, 2012

Quintessentially Perfect


You're not gonna play perfect.” Brad Stevens (University of Butler men's head basketball coach)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

Quintessential: “representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class” New Oxford American Dictionary

Zig Ziglar say's he has a friend who tells him “You can't climb a smooth mountain.” It's true, without footholds we have no grip to climb. The obstacles we face in life can become footholds for progress, if we choose to see them that way. Life is not perfect, and we aren't perfect either. We'll trip up and make mistakes, we'll stumble and fail, and we'll go through times where it seems we'll never succeed at anything. But all those stumbling blocks we experience in life can be turned to building blocks with the proper attitude. Brad Stevens, the head coach for the Butler University mens basketball team posts in the locker room today's quote because he want's his players to understand that perfection is not expected of them, he expects them to make mistakes because mistakes are a result of effort. There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player. Remember, the quintessential basketball player, Michael Jordan, missed more shots than he made. I can't tell you if the spirit of today's quote makes a huge difference for the Butler basketball team, but over his first three seasons as a NCAA head basketball coach, Brad Stevens has set the NCAA record for the most wins in their first three seasons, became the second youngest coach to ever take a team to an NCAA championship game, became the youngest coach to ever take their team to the final four two years in a row, and didn't stop there, he took his Butler team to the NCAA championship game two years in a row. Commentators have taken note that his team seams to be able to play more effectively than most others while not playing well. University of Purdue coach Piggy Lambert said, “The team that makes the most mistakes will probably win.” For imperfect people like ourselves, mistakes are a result of effort. What if we lived like that, like the person who makes the most mistakes will probably find the most success? It's not that mistakes a good thing, but they show that we are willing to try, willing to make an effort. We could lay in bed all day and not screw up a thing, but that would never lead to a fulfilled life.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 11, 2012

Venerate the Promises


Only me on my knees
Singing holy, holy
And somehow
All that matters now is
You are holy, holy

Nichole Nordeman (from the song Holy)

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. 
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55

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

There are times when honestly it's tough to think of something uplifting, encouraging, or motivating to write. But the Lord never fails. My words will always fall short at some point and their meaning will always be shallow. Like every other man or woman who has written anything, I'm not perfect. Thank goodness there is a source of everlasting inspiration, a source of immeasurable depths, the Word of God. Everyday we can see His promises fulfilled, realize His power wielded, and feel His love, if we choose to let Him into our hearts. To be truthful my heart is not always open the way it should be, probably you feel the same way too. That is the time to ask Him in. I've never been disappointed after asking for His help, no matter what my mood. When it's hardest, that's when we need Him the most. Don't take my word for it. God's Word has been tried and proved throughout the ages, and we should venerate it in our hearts everyday. God is the source of all wisdom and inspiration, let's not forget to go back to it regularly.

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
      2. What did I learn today?
      3. What am I thankful for?
      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, April 10, 2012

The Head and the Heart


Can you catch the wind?  See a breeze?  It’s presence is revealed by the leaves on a tree.  An image of my faith in the unseen.  In my mind’s eye, I see your face, you smile as you show me grace.  In my mind’s eye, you take my hand, we walk through foreign lands.  The foreign lands of life.  Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, Mark Heimermann (From the song Mind’s Eye, by DC Talk)
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4 (New International Version)
Rationale:  “a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or a particular belief”  New Oxford American Dictionary
“You know my head here, would say to you Jonathan...  Dump her.  And then my heart would say, there was something kinda magical at moments together as well.”  It makes no difference who said that.  Enough people have said it that I think the credit for messages like that could go to just about anybody.  Unfortunately, it’s an attitude that is far too prevalent.  It’s an attitude that is far too accepted.  Too quickly we separate the head and the heart.  We assume too quickly that the heart is not logical and the head is emotionless.  Of course the head and the heart are terms we use to describe logic and emotion.  But what about the logic in emotion?  What about the emotion in logic?  Often believers are ridiculed for their belief by those who would say that God is just our imagination trying to compensate for our lack of personal fortitude, or our innate desire to follow a leader that is greater than anything.  Sigmund Freud, an atheist, suggested that God was humans attempt to replace their father after he proved inadequate to protect them from the world.  To Freud I guess, God is created by an emotional reaction in humans who feel vulnerable.  But sometimes the key to logic is found through emotion.  Love is an emotion, that can’t be explained.  I know my mother loves me, I can’t prove it through logic alone, but I can prove it through emotion.  Just as dried leaves scuffling their way down a lonely street indicate the presence of a breeze.  Emotion indicates the presence of love.  Like Jesus indicated to the devil in Matthew 4:4, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from that mouth of God.”  I think a lot of times we assume logic is bound to earth, that it is always visible and provable.  But logic also belongs to the unseen.  We live in a world that doubts everything we cannot see.  We build more and more powerful microscopes, telescopes, and atomic colliders; trying to find what gives the universe power.  We live in a world where we can change a person’s heart, liver, or kidneys.  We live in a world where we can explain the orbits of planets millions of miles away from ours.  We can predict the northern lights based on our observations of solar storms.  We’ve even landed on the moon.  But we cannot explain the source of gravity.  But no one doubts gravity.  Why? because we feel it’s effects in every moment of our lives.  The moment gravity changes, we know.  In the same way God’s love affects our being every moment of our lives.  Whether we can see it, explain it, or believe it, just like gravity we can feel it. 
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  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

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Called Shot


“This is the great reward of service, to live, far out and on, in the life of others; this is the mystery of Christ, - to give life's best for such high sake that it shall be found again unto life eternal.”  Joshua Chamberlain 
David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.  And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.  1 Samuel 17:37 (King James Version)
Envisage:  “contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event”  New Oxford American Dictionary
The called shot.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll explain it.  It was the 5th inning of game three in the 1932 World Series.  At bat was perhaps the greatest pure hitter to play baseball.  As he stood in the batters box waiting for the pitch, he pointed his bat towards the bleachers behind center field, calling his shot.  The pitch came and the Great Bambino hit a home run to center field.  It is a great moment in the history of baseball, and lives in the hearts of many who desire greatness in sports.  But there are a couple called shots in our history that a much greater.  In a valley somewhere in Israel, a young man said to the greatest fighter the Philistines had to offer.  A man over 10 feet tall, wearing body armor weighing over 125 pounds, and using a spear who’s head weighed nearly 20.  “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou commest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s and He will give you into our hands.”  I’m sure you know the outcome of that battle.  Everything that David envisioned came true.  God did deliver Goliath and the Philistines to Israel that day.  It was a precursor to the greatest called shot in the history of mankind.  One in which God sent His Son to die on the cross for us.  Then rise three days later and fulfill His promise to defeat sin and give us a means to live forever in heaven with our Maker.  Like David said, He didn’t do it with a sword and a spear, but His own life, love, and resurrection.  I can’t envisage anything greater than that.
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  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