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, July 30, 2012

The Power of Trust


“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”  Oprah Winfrey
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  Psalms 23
Struggle:  “strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance”  New Oxford American Dictionary
We all live in a world full of dangers, hardships, and setbacks.  But those things can only negatively control us if we let them effect our minds.  I often see babies put in positions that would scare most adults (for example being tossed in the air), but they don't cry or worry.  They smile because they enjoy the ride, not even comprehending the possible dangers they face, because they have complete trust in their loving parent.  We are all that baby being tossed around.  Just remember God has us in his grasp and He will not let us fall as long as we choose to stay in His arms.  
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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake



Friday, July 27, 2012

Get Tied Down


By seeing the seed of failure in every success, we remain humble. By seeing the seed of success in every failure we remain hopeful.” Unknown

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

Extol: “praise ecclesiastically” New Oxford American Dictionary

As I was watching TV on an occasion, I happened to see a commercial featuring a kite. At the moment it struck me, kites can fly exceptionally well, but only if they are held back by a string. Life is kinda like that, it presents us with winds of opportunity and failure. It both extols and denigrates us. Without something grounding us and providing stability in our lives, we can be blown out of control. While we may soar high, eventually, without something to provide a base in our lives, we will crash. Our job is to find a base, to get tied to something, so that no matter what life presents, we will be able to harness it for our advantage. Moreover, that we will be harnessed for our purpose with the 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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ged Educated!

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”  George Washington Carver
Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. Proverbs 16:22 
Manumit:  “release from slavery; set free”  New Oxford American Dictionary
One thing I’ve noticed about great leaders and innovators is that they all are continuously learning.  They make it their business to learn.  They enter situations with a desire to know what others can teach them.  I recently saw a statistic correlating education with unemployment.  It stated that in 2010; those with a doctoral degree had just a 1.9 percent unemployment rate, those with a bachelors degree had a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, those with a high school diploma had a 10.3 percent unemployment rate, and finally those with less than a high school education had a 14.9 percent unemployment rate.  It’s clear that education empowers people to follow their dreams.  How much greater a chance do you think you would have at finding a great job you loved if you knew you had a ninety eight percent chance at getting a job?  Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s too late for me to go back to school.”  And maybe it is.  Luckily, affective education comes in more than one form.  Education is around every corner, every life experience brings with it the opportunity to learn, every book read sharpens our ability to comprehend, and every educational audio program allows us to take advantage of knowledge during times normally wasted, such as sitting in traffic.  These alternatives to school may not give us a paper degree, but they do give us practical and invaluable education.  Most importantly, education, in all it’s forms is empowering.  No matter how you gained it, the knowledge of how to be a leader can get you a long way, not just with your employer, but with your co-workers or employees as well.  The ability to understand systems and how to create them can make you an indispensable employee, or a successful business owner.  And confidence in your abilities can open more doors than what you think.  The cool thing is, all of these skills are more easily gained in personal education than in a scholastic system.  No matter what our life situation, we can and should all be educated.  It’s the key to success in nearly everything.  But first, if we desire a life like Enoch’s, a life spent walking with our Creator, let’s educate ourselves on Him and His love.  But beware, that changes everything!
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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fish with a Net


“Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory.  He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”  Henry Ward Beecher
“But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be the first among you must be the slave of everyone else.”  Jesus (Mark 10:43-44)
Charisma:  “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others:”  New Oxford American Dictionary
You can catch more fish with a net than with a line.  It’s a simple idea, but the reality of it’s truth is lost among many of us.  For example, the other day I heard that somebody entered the United States Presidential race with a platform focused on reforming foreign trade.  While that is a very important topic, and in time may become a driving issue, such a narrow focus can get lost in the weeds with all the other problems we face.  Winning presidential candidates early in the process of campaigning often run on all encompassing platforms such as hope, or prosperity.  It’s the same for us as Christians.  There are dozens of Christian denominations that came into being because of small disagreements on issues we generally call doctrine, that most people don’t “really” understand and nobody can “definitely” define.  However, Jesus says in John 12:32 that if He be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him.  Doctrine is a line and Christ is The Net.  It’s not that doctrine isn’t important, but trying to bring people to Christ using doctrine is like trying to become president by running on the importance of reforestation in southern California.  Or trying to catch a brook trout using bait and hooks designed for a marlin.  Californian reforestation is just not something the farmer in Iowa is worried about.  And the brook trout won’t even be able to get his little mouth around the marlin hook.  Everyone is different.  Everyone has different hopes, motivations, and desires that cause them to worry about different issues.  That goes for every subject in life.  You see, the concept of the net goes beyond politics and religion, it applies to life in general.  No matter what the subject, situation, or obstacle we face, we need to remember the concept of the net.  Furthermore, as Christians, we definitely have to make sure we’re fishing with The Net.  Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19  Let’s do 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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let it Shine!


We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us”  Marianne Williamson
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Psalms 37:5-7
Manifest:  “easily understood or recognized by the mind”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary
As a kid you probably heard the song “This Little Light of Mine.”  If you didn’t, here are a few lines.
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine 

Hide it under a bushel no 
I'm gonna let it shine
How many of us live that way as adults?  God has given us all talents to share with the world, so naturally He wants us to share them with others.  That's how much of His work is done in the world.  Not only does He want to be involved in what we do, He wants us to be involved in what He does.  We have been given the great honor to do God's work.  What if we thought of it as a responsibility instead of an option?  That doesn't mean we have to run around professing our belief in God.  I've met a lot of people who are offended by people who profess their faith boldly.  However, I don't think I've ever met a person who was offended by someone who lived with a Christian nature.  Much of the time, the best way to share our Christianity is through our actions, not our words.  Living like we believe Christ died for us looks different then living for ourselves.  It’s noticeable!  If we live like that, there will come a time when we’re asked why we’re different, why we act the way we do.  When that happens the door is opened to explain the greater purpose we’re living for.  Christ says in Revelation 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone should hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.”  Sometimes that door is a question.  And sometimes it’s asked of us.  Our actions explain our character much better than words ever could.  Let's show a character that is shaped by Christ.  Lets act like we’re living for something greater.  I guarantee if we live that way we will be asked, “Why.”
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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me.
Jake

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freedom's Responsibilities


"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits." Thomas Jefferson

"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)

Liberty: “the power of choice” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Many of us who live in free countries take for granted our freedoms. The freedom to speak about what we believe most of all. There are many people who live in this world who do not have the freedom to speak out about what they believe. And their opportunities to make this a better world are much harder to come by. To those of us who live in free countries, let's strive to use the freedom we have to make this a better world. Many traveled and fought and died with bravery to establish a place that grants and allows for liberty. Let's honor their struggles. Let's continue their ideals of liberty. And let's prove that we deserve freedom, by using it in a way that is beneficial to all mankind. To Christians, we have a Savior who freely and willingly died for us, “The joy set before Him,” (Hebrews 12:2) so that we could have freedom in Him, a freedom we don't deserve. Let's do our best to honor His sacrifice. Sometimes the best way to do that is by simply telling of it. In doing so, let's also give thanks to those who've granted us that opportunity.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Speed and Angels


Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?” Dennis and Wendy Mannering


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Attitude: “the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel.” New Oxford American Dictionary

Speed and angels” is a term used by United States Naval aviators to describe altitude, and speed of course. In an airplane every foot of altitude could be the angel that saves your life. Speed, combined with attitude determine altitude. Without airspeed a wing cannot generate lift, and its attitude determines whether it is climbing or diving. So why all the aviation references? Just like in an aircraft, our attitude determines what direction we are going to travel in life. If we have a negative attitude, just like an aircraft we are going to head down, likewise if we have a positive attitude, we are going to head up. But distinctly unlike aircraft aviation, the more positive our attitude in life, the more speed we can generate. In life, not many people get anywhere with a negative attitude, it takes a positive attitude to get ahead. Let's set our attitudes toward heaven and in doing so ensure that we are always heading in the right direction. Let's develop some “speed and angels” and see where we land.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Defend Your Troops


“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Harold S. Geneen

I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remember the words of the Lord Jesus Himself said: “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:33-35

Placate: “Make (someone) less angry or hostile” New Oxford American Dictionary

If you work in an organization and have aspirations to advance in your career as a leader, you probably find yourself balancing the needs of your peers with the needs, wants and requirements of your management. There is the viewpoint that helping those above you will lead to your own success through theirs; and there is the idea that leaders should always work for those they have charge over. Both concepts have their merits, but how you act is decided by what you want. Do you want to be a leader, or do you want rank and status? You can have all the rank in the world and not be a leader. You could even say it's easier to follow your way to the top than to lead. Leadership can begin at whatever position you're in right now, it's even possible for you to lead someone that far outranks you. Leadership is best earned by the way you treat others and conduct yourself. You cannot be granted leadership by people with power, it can only be granted to you by those who wish to follow you. With leadership comes responsibility, even if it's not formal. When someone deems you worthy of leadership, their actions become your responsibility because of the influence you can wield. As the saying goes, “The buck stops with you.” You cannot blame their shortcomings on anyone but yourself and you cannot let them become lone targets of punitive action for their mistakes. A leader must stand with their peers and followers when the heat is on. As soon as you forget about the well-being of others your leadership will be stripped from you and you will be at best a boss. A boss has the power to discipline, correct, and drive; but they have very limited power to lead. As a boss, you are still responsible for the actions of your organization, but you will have very little influence over it. As a boss of a failing organization, you will have no support under you. Like a house with a crumbling foundation, you will fall. Let's try to be leaders. It requires no position of power and can be practiced at any time. If all you've got is a dog, lead it! Even a dog will reject poor or phony leadership. We may not get credit for our affective leadership at first, but it will always be recognized by someone and will most certainly be rewarded eventually.

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Search for Inspiration


“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Inspiration: “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Everyday I sit down and take time to put together a blog that I hope is inspirational or motivational to someone. If just one person is affected by what I do I consider it a success. Most of us have probably heard the story of the little boy throwing star fish back into the ocean. A storm had washed thousands of them onto the beach. And here was this little boy, throwing them back into the ocean, one at a time. Saving all of them was an impossible task for one little boy, but he continued anyway. Logically someone came along, seeing the futility of the boys venture, asked why he was throwing the starfish back into the ocean when he couldn't possibly save all of them. After a quick toss, wiping the sweat from his brow, the boy simply responded, “It makes a difference to that one,” and continued. To put together my blogs I have to search for inspiration everyday; and if anything, it's made a huge difference in my life. This blog is not only intended to help my readers, but also for me. Everyday in my search for inspiration I find something that helps me become a more positive, more motivated person. And that's the point I want to make. I have no doubt, the search for inspiration could make a giant difference in peoples lives and in the world, if they simply looked for it. Because I know they'll find it. So I'm praying that you find inspiration in your life and I ask you to pray that I find inspiration in my life. With that in mind, lets try and live the most inspired lives we can, and see how it can change our lives and the lives of those around us. Let's search for ways we can inspire others, and see how it can inspire us. We're all like those starfish stranded on the beach. No, not everyone will be affected, but to everyone who is affected we can say, “It made a difference to that one.” Even if “that one” is us.

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

Monday, July 16, 2012

Is that a Wall or a Door?

Every wall is a door.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. Exodus 17:17-19

Opportunity: “a favorable juncture of circumstances” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In life, opportunities are often disguised as walls. The thing about walls, is that they usually are in place for the good of the whomever they're serving. The problem with us, is that we need to adjust our outlook on them. My dogs are kept in my yard by walls. They don't really like it all the time, and I'm sure they don't see the good in them, but as their caretaker, I see the value in the walls I put around them. They may block them from the opportunities to chase a rabbit, but they also afford them the opportunity to live and not be hit by a truck. They are much safer with the walls than without. So are we... Next time we come up against a wall, let's try to see it as working for us instead of against. In that way we may be protected from whatever lies on the other side and redirected to a door custom built and beautiful, just for us. Everything in life happens for a reason, if we choose to see its value. Obstacles are no different. If we choose to understand the good that can come from them, we can use them for our advantage instead of a hinderance. In that way every wall will truly have a door.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Strength of Mercy


The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi


Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38

Remission: “the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty” New Oxford American Dictionary

With tears in his eyes, James Knowles offered whatever apology he could. “I've already forgiven you,” was the answer he received from Beulah Mae Donald. There was hardly a dry eye in that courtroom, and the southern jury quickly ruled in Beulah's favor to the tune of seven million dollars. Two years earlier James Knowles and Henry Hays, both members of the United Klans of America had killed Beulah's son Michael Donald in a racist attack. The seven million dollar verdict bankrupted the klan and with it severely disabled racist and klan organizations around the United States. Forgiveness can be the hardest thing to give, but it can also be the most powerful weapon we can ever wield against ill treatment. I can't help but wonder if the forgiveness that Beulah Mae Donald was able to find in her heart made clear once and for all, to all involved, the evil of racism. Of course there are still evil people in this world doing evil things. But no longer can good people in good conscious sit on the sidelines and allow clear racism to exist. Remission of sins can do something punishment can rarely do, it can change a heart. As an experiment, let's see how man hearts we can change, and see how we're treated because of it.  In the end, we may find that a reduction of our mercy is needed.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Getting Ahead


The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Commit: “to put into charge or trust” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When I found this quote by Mark Twain, I immediately knew it's what I wanted to talk about in this message. Then I found this Bible verse and immediately knew I wanted it to support the message. But when I put them together, they didn't seem to fit. However, I knew these were the statements I needed to use. Then it occurred to me. While both statements are valid in their context, there is a lesson to learn about what “succeeding” really is. And what it means to “get ahead.” We may get ahead at whatever we're doing, but without a team that is all it will ever be. Without finishing what good is it? In horse racing, pure speed does not necessarily lead to victory. Often the fastest horse breaks out ahead of the pack, and sometimes it leads all the way down to the wire. But to win a horse race you have to be ahead at the wire. To accomplish that, a jockey is needed, a team is needed. Often the jockeys restrain their horse from giving their all until the right moment, until the final stretch. In that way the greatest average speed is obtained. And we all know, any race is won through the greatest average speed. It doesn't matter who's ahead at three furlongs, it matters who's ahead at the end. That takes a team. Winning can never come without a team. In the life of mortal man, all we can ever do is get ahead. But just as a horse can't win without a jockey, we will never truly win without the Lord on our team. If we always put the Lord on our team by committing our plans to Him, we will see the world and mankind in a different way. What if we saw mankind as a team instead of a group of rivals to overcome? What if, when we found a way to succeed, instead of using it to get ahead of our competition we used it to reach back and bring as many as possible with us? I have a theory that I think you would agree with. Whatever we do, we should do it to benefit everyone. Unlike the horse race, LIFE is not a race to be won, in the sense of beating our rivals. It is a race to be ran. It is a race to be finished. But it is a race to our Maker and our home, one that we all want to finish and win together! In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul says, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Let's all do our best to run the race with the perspective of Paul.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Friday, July 13, 2012

Living!


“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”  Winnie the Pooh
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:22
Narcissistic:  “inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.”  Dictionary.com
Today I saw a commercial for a TV show about miraculous events.  The headline read, “One miracle can destroy the world.”  In light of that, I want to talk about the miracle that saved the world.  The miracle of a Man rising from the dead one Sunday morning.  The miracle of God’s Son destroying the bonds of death, destroying the penalty of sin, so that we may all live in eternity with Him.  As it happens, the commercial for the TV show I saw aired during a break in the movie “The Bucket List.”  It’s about two men, who, in the realization of their soon approaching death decide to do all the things they always wanted to do, but never found the time.  It’s a harsh look, not only at death, but life.  It makes the point that life is fleeting, life is temporary and meant to be enjoyed while we can.  But what Christ did for us on the cross changes everything most of us feel about death.  It can remove our anxiety about death, our anxiety to enjoy life while we have it, the anxiety about saying good-bye.  Salvation means that we can be immortal, it means that we have all eternity to perform the things on our bucket list, it means we can forget about the bucket all together.  With salvation we can view death, not as an end to life, but as a gateway to a new life, as a beginning to eternity.  That miracle performed on the cross changes everything, it saved the world, it saves us; it means that living without someone is only temporary.
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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me.
Jake

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Accomplishments of Optimism


Have you ever met a successful pessimist? Become an optimist, and see your world change before your eyes!” Chris Widener

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Optimism: “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something” New Oxford American Dictionary

You can't accomplish anything unless you try. So if you want to get something done, try, and then be optimistic about it. Imagine building the tallest building in the world; it seems pretty much impossible (at least it does to me). Now realize that all of the tallest buildings in the world were built by people who decided, that is what they wanted to do. Now imagine them saying to themselves as they broke ground, “I'll never be able to build the tallest building in the world.” What sounds more unrealistic, building the tallest building in the world, or the person who has, thinking that they couldn't? Lets get out there, dream big, have confidence through optimism, and remember to spend a lot of time asking God for help. Remember the promise in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens 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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Innocence of Dreams


“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”  John F. Kennedy
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Matthew 11:25
Benign:  “gentle; kindly”  New Oxford American Dictionary
Remember when you were a little kid, someone would ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  You’d inevitably answer that you wanted to be a fireman, a princess, or an astronaut.  Then something happened, we “got smart” and learned that we might not be able to be a firefighter or a princess.  But was that even true?  As Jose Bergamin puts it, “Ignorance is learned; innocence is forgotten.”  When we were kids we had no idea what the limitations of life were.  I remember thinking that my parents could buy anything they wanted because they had checks in the checkbook.  “We can’t afford that,” they’d say, and I would reply, “Just write a check.”  While my innocence made me wrong about finances, it didn’t make me wrong about my dreams.  Sadly knowledge often prohibits our capabilities.  Knowing how difficult it is to become an astronaut, we give up before ever trying.  Knowing the dangers associated with fighting fires, we decide to take a safer path.  All the while our knowledge makes us ignorant of our true capabilities.  Many times the only difference between the little girl who grew up to walk in space and the one who gave up on their dreams, was desire.  To the achiever, no one could tell them they couldn’t or they wouldn’t achieve their dreams.  Their dreams may have been born in innocence, but they were driven by desire, sustained by confidence, and realized through action.  Let’s get back to what made us innocent, let’s never let anyone tell us we can’t, and let’s see what happens when we believe we can.  And remember, the Almighty is always on our side...  If we so desire.
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Who Knows What's Going On?


“Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.”  C.S. Lewis
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.  Deuteronomy 29:29
Quandary:  “a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation”  New Oxford American Dictionary
When describing why he decided to leave a big secure company like Xerox, to work for an upstart software company called Microsoft, Charles Simonyi stated.  “[Xerox was] an old company in an old industry going downhill, walking in the dark.  It’s not that they didn’t know the answers.  That’s normal.  But they didn’t know the questions.”  I’m an aircraft mechanic and one time after a flight, a pilot attempted to describe to me a problem he was having with a particular jet.  He said that after a few minutes of flight he noticed that one of the tanks had less fuel in it than what seemed normal.  He described the problem as if that tank fed out more quickly while the other tanks took longer.  So with that in mind I proceeded down a path to solve the problem of trapped fuel in the other tanks.  Sure enough, with the help of a few others, I thought we found the problem and fixed it.  The next time a pilot was getting ready to fly that jet, he noticed shortly after startup that the fuel tank in question was low on fuel.  The problem I was trying to fix wasn’t the problem after all.  The problem wasn’t that fuel was trapped in the other tanks during flight as I had originally suspected, it was that on refuel, that tank was not filling.  The original pilot I talked to had not noticed that he took off with a jet that was low on fuel.  Once I knew the real problem, I could easily diagnose and fix it.  In trying to find the problem I failed to ask the right questions, as a result, I tried to fix a problem that didn’t exist.  Answering the wrong question correctly gets us no further than answering the right question incorrectly.  We’re all gonna have problems in life, problems where the solution is difficult to find.  But before we give up, let’s re examine the problem.  It may be, the problem is something different than the one we’re trying to solve.  And let’s never forget, we have a God that not only knows all the answers, but also the real problems, and He is always willing to help.
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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Continuous Zeitgeist


A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Lou Holtz

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! 
Psalm 8:3-9 (KJV)

Zeitgeist: “the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time” New Oxford American Dictionary

We all know how history has changed the way people view the world, it is always changing how we feel about our lives and our situation in in the world. But when I look at the beauty and greatness of nature I see a reality that is largely unchanged by our human history. The wildebeests still migrate the plains of Africa, the salmon still spawn in the streams they were born in, and the monarch butterfly still migrates through generations across North America. Nature goes about it's business without thought of borders, politics, or wars. While our human view and feeling of the world is always changing, I can't help but think, when we focus on things made with higher powers, our zeitgeist remains unchanged throughout history. While we are constantly improving on things like buildings, cars, science, and even human relations, nature remains constant because it was designed by a higher power with higher intentions. And I can't help but think that Adam, thousands of years ago, looked at creation with the same wonder Ansel Adams had, as he captured images of Yosemite, and as I do, when I see the snow falling and blanketing the valleys and hills with a beauty that could only be deliberate. Thank you Lord for providing us with beauty beyond our abilities to produce, and give us a desire and knowledge to maintain it the best we can.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Being the Poem


“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.” David Carradine

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it. 1Corinthians 12:27

Purpose: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember watching a video about a service dog in training. This puppy was great at everything but one, she couldn't contain herself from chasing birds. Because of that, she couldn't be a service dog. But what could she do? Her owners found out this little puppy could surf, and so that's what she did. In one fundraiser she surfed with a paraplegic boy, stabilizing the board for him so he could stay on and was there for him when he fell. Because of her, not only was a paraplegic boy given the joy of catching a wave, thousands of dollars were raised for the his treatment. God has a purpose for us all, it's not necessarily hard, and sometimes it's much easier than our own plan. God knows are strengths and our weaknesses, and He hand picks us for tasks He knows we can excel at. Let's Never let failure at one thing keep us from trying another. We can all live God's purpose, if we choose to follow His calling, let go of the things we may not be so skilled at, and embrace the talents we've been blessed with. One more thing... If we choose to follow God's purpose, we may find that He's there to stabilize our life and catch us when we fall. In the words of the Beach Boys, “Catch a wave and you're sittin on top of the world.”  Now that's poetry in 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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Instant Comfort


“Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm.” Thomas Fuller

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven. Psalms 107:28-30

Calamity: “an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster” New Oxford American Dictionary

We've all heard the phrase, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” It's true, we all have a tendency to develop a godlike complex when things are going well. However, when disasters occur, in our breaking, we plead for mercy and help from above. I remember as a child, every time I did something to get in trouble I would pray to God for Him to fix the problem I was facing, promising I'd never sin again. Of course, I've sinned many times since, and will likely continue to sin, as long as I'm bound to my sinful nature.  Like myself as a child, we have a tendency to in-debt ourselves for instant gratification, without ever desiring to follow through on our debts. We like to drive new cars, but hate paying the bill. We like having nice houses, but I can't imagine anyone enjoying paying the mortgage. We like being rescued from disaster, but don't necessarily enjoy paying the debt for our rescue. It's comforting however, to know that, while in life, men almost never forgive our debts, while God continually bails us out of our calamities and forgives our debts, with no expectation for repayment. He loves us beyond our imagination and desires more than anything to help us. That's why Jesus already died for us. There is a blank check waiting to pay off all our sinful debts. All we have to do is sign it. From that point on, our lives are changed forever. Our hearts are changed forever. Our wills are changed forever. From the inside out. In Him there may not be instant gratification, but there is instant comfort.

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 am I dreaming for?
      6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
      7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading, you mean a lot to me.
Jake

Friday, July 6, 2012

Following Jesus


“God places the heaviest burden on those who can carry its weight.”  Reggie White
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.  Psalm 23
Elucidate:  “make (something) clear; explain”  New Oxford American Dictionary
10:22 AM; Addie, Cynthia, Carole, and Denise are putting on their choir robes in a back room between sunday school and church.  Suddenly there’s a blast, one 11 year old and three 14 year old girls become martyrs for their faith and their race.  It was a blast that was heard around the world that September day in 1963.  Those four little girls were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that rocked Birmingham, Alabama and became an elucidative event in United States race relations.  Just two blocks away, on the same street, eight year old Condoleezza sang hymns with her parents in another church.  She recalls being able to clearly hear the explosion and feel the rumble of it’s blast.  She immediately knew what it was.  It was not a new thing, bombs were not too uncommon, and every African American recognized their notes.  But despite the hardships of their cause, black leaders knew their purpose, and every blast and every murder served only to forge their mission further.  Every act of violence tempered the wills of our future leaders, like little Condoleezza Rice, who would grow up to become the Secretary of State of the United States of America; the fourth person in line to the presidency.  Maybe it’s because, while they were walking through the valley of the shadow of death, they were following Jesus.  You see, the blast of that Sunday morning bomb, broke out nearly every window in that church and in the laundromat across the street.  It even destroyed two cars in the parking lot.  But there was one stained glass window that remained.  It depicted Jesus with his shepherd’s rod being followed by a flock of children.  Only one pane of glass was broken from that window.  It was the pane that held the face of Christ.  Through our walk as Christians, our Savior will be besmirched, ridiculed, and even destroyed in the minds of those who oppose Him.  But He promised His disciples that if they followed Him, He would make them fishers of men.  Condoleezza Rice is truly a fisher of men.  Let’s try to emulate her, let’s try to be those children, those sheep, in that stained glass window.  We may be surrounded by blasts and violence, but we can rest assured while following in the footsteps of Jesus.
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 am I dreaming for?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you so much for reading.
Jake