The Intent of This Blog

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

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Difference


Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Munificent: “(of a gift or sum of money) larger or more generous than is usual or necessary” New Oxford American Dictionary

Today I had a friend offer to pick up a cup of coffee from Starbucks during a break at work. When they came back to deliver my cup and I reached for my wallet to reimburse her, I was surprised to find out it was free. As it happens we're in the military and she went to get the coffee in uniform. When she tried to pay the cashier, she was informed that another man had already paid for them. The generous man thanked her for her service to the country and we all got a free cup of coffee. I will never know who paid for my coffee today and I will never be able to thank him. But I know his kind deed will come back to him. He will never know how he changed my day, but I hope he knows that he made a difference. Ronald Reagan said, “you can accomplish much if you don't care who get's the credit.” This kind man will never get the credit he fully deserves, but he accomplished a much. Everyday, we all have opportunities to be like this unknown philanthropist. Who knows how many people we can bring a little happiness to, by one act of kindness. We may not get the credit, but we will get a reward. If nothing else, we will know we did something that made a difference to somebody, and there's nothing much more satisfying 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?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The "Why"


The genius of this nation is not in the least to be compared with that of the Prussians, or Austrians, or French. You say to your soldier, do this, and he does it, but here, I am obliged to say, this is the reason why you aught to do that, and then he does it.” Baron Von Steuben

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26

Wiredrawn: “Finely spun; extremely intricate; minute.” Dictionary.com

Barron Von Steuben was a Prussian officer who came to the colonies to train American soldiers during the American Revolution; and to be honest, I'm not positive I know what he was implying in his statement, as seen in today's quote. But I'm going to take it as a compliment to the American soldiers he was trying to train. Skills based on knowledge and reason produce sustainable abilities that are tangible and able to be passed on. For example, one may be the best aircraft mechanic in the world, when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks on an airframe. They may be able to follow instructions meticulously and know how to accomplish prescribed actions flawlessly; never fully knowing the reasons for doing them. But if they can learn the “why” behind their actions they'll be better able to predict problems, find innovative solutions, and teach new generations to be self sufficient in their responsibilities. In a lot of ways I believe Christianity is much the same. The cornerstone of Christianity is our relationship with God, but belief without knowledge can become cumbersome and easily doubted when obstacles appear. As believers, we would be well served to not only live by faith, but also seek knowledge of what we have faith in; so that, at the very least we will be effective apologists and able represent our beliefs in a convincing way. While God promises the aid of His Holy Spirit to His believers, He gave us His word for a reason. In no way is knowledge a requirement for a relationship with God, but a loving relationship with our Creator precipitates a desire for knowledge of Him. I don't believe any of us can fully understand the wiredrawn concepts of Christianity and salvation, but like a loving spouse continually studies how to better understand their mate, a faithful Christian can also seek to know more about their faith, without expecting to fully understand the intricacies of God.

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,
Jake

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lead! Innovate?


Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3

Innovate: “make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products” New Oxford American Dictionary

There's nothing that's much more exciting than innovation. Bronze and iron changed the power
structure of the world's cultures. The automobile changed the way we moved, and reduced the demand on animals. Airplanes ushered in a new age of world travel, exploration, discovery, and air power. Then, computers changed our capabilities and gave us the ability to calculate, communicate, and experience our world; and their continuous innovations change our world in ways unfathomable only moments before. All these innovations are fantastic and exciting, and many of us can't wait for new computing functionalities, new automobile capabilities, and the list continues. The thing that makes most innovations exciting is that, for the most part, we don't realize our need or desire for them. Every new innovation is like a mysterious gift under the tree on Christmas morning. Like the Hyundai slogan states, “The power to surprise” is what makes innovators such powerful leaders. They provide products and services that satisfy a need that was previously unknown, or at least unexpected. Human innovation has, is, and will continue to amaze. However, there is an innovator that is greater than any other rival. He created the ultimate innovation. He created the human experience. Without His original innovation, no other would be possible. But He didn't just create us and leave us to our own senses. He has continuously updated our experience. From Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to Moses and the Israelites, to Christ, and ultimately, to our salvation. There's a saying that goes, “To be a great leader you need to be a great follower.” What leadership and innovative qualities do we have to offer? And, are we following the one who created innovation? The answers to those two questions have the power to change our lives forever.

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Faithful Credence


Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.” George Mueller

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

Credence: “belief in or acceptance of something as true” New Oxford American Dictionary

Imagine a long table lined with children on each side ready for breakfast. Not a normal family of children, but a substantially large family of orphaned children. They say grace to bless the food they're about to enjoy, and end with an amen. But one thing is missing; the food. When the breakfast prayer ends there is a knock on the door, on the other side is a baker with enough food to feed all the children. It was an answer to prayer. So great was George Mueller's faith in the ability and will of God to provide, that he went about the morning meal the same as any other, even though there was no food. He gave credence to the promises of God. This was just one event in a long list of blessings that came with little surprise from him. Mueller began his ministry to orphans with the equivalent of 50 cents to his name. But money and possessions were not obstacles to him, because he knew the work God had in store for him and knew God would meet his needs. As a result, by the time George Mueller died in 1898 he had housed, raised, and educated hundreds of thousands of orphans and needy children. He had distributed what would equal around 180 million dollars by today's standards, and gave away hundreds of thousands of bibles as well. He had also traveled over 200 thousand miles spreading the word of God, before transportation by air was ever imagined. He did all that without ever soliciting anything from anyone but God. Through prayer, all his needs were always met. In light of what God was able to accomplish through George Mueller, what do you think he can accomplish through us, with a little faith and credence?

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, May 27, 2012

A Will to Help


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

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

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

Imagine a World where everyone was willing (like Christ) to reach out a helping hand to their fellow citizens. There would hardly be a needy person. I'm reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. The man in need was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. While he laid there, he was passed by more than one person better able to serve him than the one who eventually did. However, they did not have a strong will to do so. The ones who were thought to be the closest to perfection were obstinate to grace and charity. While the one supposed to be the least charitable of the travelers who passed was the one who helped. To the Israelites at the time, samaritans were commonly thought to be more like the robbers who beat the traveler than one who would help another in pure charity. But it was a samaritan who helped, after church leaders would not. It was a samaritan who gave his time and money when no one expected it of him. And it was a samaritan that can teach us all a lesson. We're all a part of that story. Whether we're the traveler, the robber, the samaritan or the church leader. But we don't have to be what others categorize us as. What matters most is that we help when there's a need. We should all persevere in using our abilities like the Good Samaritan. So that our will, will be to towards charity, instead of an obstacle to good will. Our efforts in helping ourselves are much more efficiently spent helping others. Who is remembered more in this story, the priest, or the Good Samaritan? Which one are we? And what do we want to be remembered by?

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, May 26, 2012

Start Changing


Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Fiduciary: “involving trust, esp. with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary” New Oxford American Dictionary

As responsible citizens of this world, we have been given responsibilities as stewards for our Creator. I'm sure you've noticed how people have a tendency to complain about certain things in life. How some people get more tax breaks, or how much luckier other people are than some. The truth is, there are injustices in life. Human laws are never going to be perfect, and no one is going to have the same opportunities as another. But there are advantages to be who we are. No one has the same capabilities we have; the same character, or ideas. Let's take advantage of our defining capabilities, and offer the world something it can't get anywhere else. No one but Steve Jobs could have delivered Apple Computers. No one but Jim Carrey could have made the movies he did. And no one but you can deliver whatever it is you will provide. We all are fiduciaries to this world and to the purpose of God. We all have a vocation God created us for. Let's do our best to fulfill our functions in the life we have been hand made for. If we do, we will never find ourselves jealous of anyone, we will feel in need of less and less, and we will be able to look at our lives and see the change we made in the world. Not by our abilities alone, but by our God given talents, assisted by His will and purpose. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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, May 25, 2012

Flowers in Garbage


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Heavenly Management


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

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

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

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

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, May 23, 2012

A Concentration


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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Journaling Questions:
      1. How did I help someone 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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Charter to Shine


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Stroll with Purpose


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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Feeling of Success


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Who Needs Pragmatism?


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 18, 2012

Install Your Mud Tires


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

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

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

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

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

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?
As always thank you so much for reading.
Jake

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Your Competency


Never outsource your core competency.” Tony Hsieh

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

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

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

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, May 16, 2012

Our Perfection


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

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

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, May 15, 2012

Your, No, You're Capabilities


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Gift of Gifts


Were You There?

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

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

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

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

(African American Slave Hymn)

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

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

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

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