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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Friday, August 31, 2012

A Complimentary Life


A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.”
Rabindranath Tagore

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Logic: “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity” New Oxford American Dictionary
If you've ever watched “Star Trek” I'm sure you're familiar with the half human half vulcan character of Spock. Spock's logical vulcan characteristics make him great at solving logical problems, but those same characteristics seem to fail him when the problems he faces stem from emotional causes. Spock is at his best when he is able to use both emotions and logic to decipher and solve problems. Now I know we don't live in “Star Trek,” but I think there is a lesson to be learned. Neither emotion nor reason can solve every problem we face. While emotions can lead to better understanding of daily life and relationships, strengthen our bonds with fellow humans and animals, and be the driving force behind living; emotions in their purity can also lead to intemperance and foolishness. On the other hand, logic can separate us from our emotions, and reduce our value of life. In life, we should understand that logic goes hand in hand with emotion and neither should be seen as disabling the other but complimenting it. And isn't life so much better when it's full of compliments?

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learnt 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 make my day.
Jake

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Pride Trap


Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.” Benjamin Franklin

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Humility: “a modest or low view of one's own importance” New Oxford American Dictionary

Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for pride. It is important to take pride in our work and our daily activities. Indeed, it can help insure we do our best in whatever we do. However, along with our pride it is important to be humble and remember the source of our successes and abilities. I'm reminded of the monarchs of old who were surrounded with the want of power. Many would-be power players placed their pride in the influence and authority they could amass, thinking their own accomplishments could be the sole source of their prideful satisfaction. But the lack of humility caused many to become cruel, and they became ensnared in power traps. They eventually found themselves in a place where no apologies could satisfy their enemies, and power could no longer be grasped. As a result, many became infamous and eventually lost their lives for their pride. Ironically, it was usually at the hand of people seeking power in their own little trap. Let's remember the real source of our pride and remember to give all credit to the Almighty, sooner or later, He's sure receive the credit anyway.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindess 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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Differentia


Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.” M. Scott Peck

For yYou created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Differentia: “a distinguishing mark or characteristic.” New Oxford American Dictionary
Difference: “a point or way in which people or things are not the same” New Oxford American Dictionary

Differentia is a root word for difference. Notice how positive the definition is. It highlights how things are distinguishable. Now notice the definition for difference, it focuses on how things are different. Everyone knows people are different, everyone has heard that we should celebrate our diversities. But not everyone acts like they understand the beauty in our differentia. When we make fun of others, pointing out their flaws and bolstering our ego by finding ways we are superior, we should remember that, we were all formed by the same creator. We were all formed in His image. We were all given a purpose here on earth. So when we disparage others, we are really saying that God failed in His creation of them. Is that something we really want to do? Remember these two words, “differentia and difference,” while the definitions for both are accurate, what would you like people to point out about you, differences, or distinguished characteristics?

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Inveterate Love


“We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”  George Eliot

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Inveterate:  “having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change:”  New Oxford American Dictionary

God sends His love to us in many different forms.  Hawkeye is a brown labrador retriever, but I think there is a little more to him than that.  In God’s infinite wisdom, He has graced us with furry friends that often teach us more about humanity and life than most people can.  So as Hawkeye lay on that cold gymnasium floor, he may not have known why his master could not play with him, or why a large crowd was gathered in the gym with him.  All he knew is the man he loved lay in a wooden box.  And naturally, he knew his place was still by his side.  Maybe it meant nothing to him, certainly there was nothing he could do to bring his master back, he didn’t know the man he loved died as a navy seal.  He did not know his master died when the helicopter he was in came under attack and was destroyed by terrorists in Afghanistan on the sixth of August, 2011.  What Hawkeye knew was loyalty and love, and he showed it in an unwavering way that is often absent among humans.  On the day of his master’s funeral, he paid his respects and said goodbye in a way only man’s best friend can.  To thousands who have seen his picture, Hawkeye embodies a love that is seldom found outside a dog.  A love that is not judgmental, and is not dependent on appearances or circumstances.  It’s a love I can’t help but believe is bestowed on us by our Creator.  He has an inveterate love for us and He will not leave us or forsake us.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindess 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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Live on Purpose


Begin each day as if it were on purpose.” Alex Hitchins (From the move Hitch)

"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

Aspire: “to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I think we all suffer bouts of depression from time to time. It's source changes and no one is depressed by exactly the same things or feelings. But one source that I think we're all somewhat affected by, comes by way of purpose, or the lack of it. Depression often sets in as a result of feeling as though we're just floating along. That we're living without a real purpose. That we're useless. A key to avoid the feeling of uselessness and purposelessness, is to remember what we aspire to. When we begin each day on purpose, our life is sure to feel purposeful. And when we live with a purpose, so much more can be tolerated. Life's ugliness can be passed by, like a traveler passes by dilapidated house, when we have a purposeful destination. A bad day at work can be eased when our purpose is to work for the Lord and for our family, not simply our boss, or our ego. And a long plane ride can turn exciting, when we look forward to our destination and what we're going to do there. Trying events in our lives are bearable when we have something bigger to set our sights on. What's more, when our lives are focused on our Creator and what He would have us do, we will never be without a purpose. In the book, The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, (a 17th century lay brother from a Parisian monastery) who was renown for being happy in everything he did, let's us in on a little secret. Everything is bearable, even enjoyable, when we endure it with God. He say's, “Were I a preacher, I should above all other things preach the practice of the presence of GOD; and were I director, I should advise all the world to do it: so necessary do I think it, and so easy too.” So fulfilled was he in the presence of God, and so purposeful was he at it, that some 400 years after his life we are still talking about him. His purpose is still making a difference. He didn't have a huge role in Christianity. He didn't preach to thousands of people. He was a handyman But, he was so content with God, it made people wonder “why.” And when he was asked, he answered. When we live on purpose, people will wonder “why.” We may not be a dignitary or a noted leader, but we can make a difference. It comes through purpose. No matter who we are, or where we're at, let's live on purpose. Let's live purposefully for 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 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, August 23, 2012

The Smallest of Touches


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:26

Opportunity: “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something” New Oxford American Dictionary

I recently read a story from the New York Times about a seven year old little boy named Owen Cain who had a severely disabling motor neuron disease. His parents and caregivers tried numerous methods to help him communicate and give him an escape from his disease, but nothing was working. One day however, the boys nurse brought in an iPad and propped it up in front of him. Then according the New York Times “he did something his mother had never seen before. He aimed his left pointer finger at an icon on the screen and touched it.” Immediately a new world was opened up to Owen, possibilities and opportunities became apparent with one touch. This world can be a harsh place for all of us. In times of doubt, discouragement, or despair, don't give up, there is always an opportunity. If Helen Keller would have let her difficulties in life define what she could accomplish, the world would not be the place it is today. Maybe this little boy will enlighten the world through his window of opportunity. I guess he already has enlightened mine. While we may not be in this little boys situation, our efforts in everything we do could be changing somebodies reality. I'm not sure if the people who helped develop the iPad ever thought that it would be used this way, but it was, and it changed little Owen Cain's world. So whatever we do, let's do it to the best of our ability and remember that we could be changing someones world through the smallest of touches.

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Paths of Our Lives


“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”   Mark Twain

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  John 14:13

Providence:  “divine guidance or care”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Most of us live without ever tapping into a limitless source of comfort and power.  God promises over and over again in His word that He is willing to shower us with gifts and blessings, all we must do, is ask.  But most of us never think of asking.  Because most of us have never put much thought into what we desire in the first place.  There is a book called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill that is known as one of the first and still one of the best books on personal empowerment.  In it, Hill describes how people can change their lives simply by changing the way they think and desire.  Most people consider themselves lucky to have whatever life bestows on them.  If they have a good job, they chalk it up to hard work and favorable circumstances.  If they have a nice home, they chalk it up to a favorable housing market and the good fortune of having a well paying job.  Fundamentally, most of us allow people and circumstances to dictate our lives.  We work hard, then go home and simply hope to reap the rewards of our labor.  However, there are a minority of people who take life by the throat and demand of it.  They write down their goals and deliberately shape their lives to achieve them.  To them, nothing is luck, nothing is chance, everything is earned through desire.  That is the SECRET.  The difference is startling.  One group of people put in a hard days work at whatever task is given and hopes to receive a reward of some kind.  The other puts in a hard days work with a specific reward in mind and know they will get it.  But for both groups, the desire of their heart is the leader of their lives.  The difference is, knowing that fact.  With that in mind.  What is the desire of your heart?  Whatever it is, that is the path your life is on.  We should actively seek to know and shape the desires of our hearts.  Otherwise, our hearts will lead us to the next shiny object.  In many ways, we truly are like salmon swimming up river to spawn.  I’m sure they don’t know where or why they’re going, they’re just going.  Along the way, some of them are distracted by shiny objects and find themselves on the wrong end of a fishers line.  Let’s know where were going.  Let’s know what we desire.  Finally, let’s seek what God desires for us, then ask Him to bless us with it.  From that point on, our lives will be forever changed.  We will be much less likely to be distracted by the hooks and traps of life and much more likely to live on purpose.  It’s hard, the ways of society are so instilled in us that we can barely imagine the power that is in asking and in desire.  But try God, ask for His blessings and then watch for them.  Finally, let’s pray the desire of our heart is in line with the desires of our Maker.  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

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, August 21, 2012

Praise God and Live!


"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."  Martha Washington 

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.  Psalm 15:13

Spirit:  “the activating or essential principle influencing a person”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Curse God and die.”  Those were the words of Job’s wife in Job 2:9.  Job was in misery.  Just about everything he loved had been taken from him, his kids, his wealth, and his dignity.  But Job refused the advice of his wife.  He said he was willing to accept the good and the bad from God, Job 2:10.  But it was not God that was tormenting Job.  It was the devil.  Sure, God allowed the devil to torment Job, but that’s what we chose as a human race when we chose sin.  Satan’s goal for Job and for all of us, is to convince us to do just what his wife suggested.  “Curse God and die.”  If we’re honest, don’t we all feel that way from time to time?  Not to say that we’re suffering like Job, but sometimes it seems like the easiest way out.  “Curse God and die.”  Everyday we’re reminded of the sorrow that comes with life.  We all know that death and sorrow are a part of life.  But non of us understand them fully.  Certainly no one is completely comfortable with them.  That leaves us wondering.  Why?  If God is so good and almighty.  Why is there death and sorrow and heartache and pain and suffering and sadness and whatever else breaks us.  “Curse God and die.”  What else is there to do?  Many have done it.  Their anger at God for the work of the devil causes them to give up on the greatness of God.  Exclaiming that He’s, “not real,” they let their souls die.  C.S. Lewis did it after his mother died.  Sigmund Freud did it after he saw the weakness of his father.  And many more have done it after they were confronted with life’s mortality.  “Curse God and die.”  There are times in all our lives where we experience heartache.  But what is it from?  Love.  Our souls long for love.  And it’s love that breaks our hearts.  But love cannot support life.  It can only inspire it.  And it’s the inspiration of love that gives life meaning.  Our lives were inspired by the love of our Creator.  He longs to give us a life that cannot be broken.  A love that never fails.  And a spirit that will never fade.  So how do we keep our spirits alive, happy, and healthy in a world of sorrow?  Trust.  Trust in the love of our Creator.  Faith.  Faith that He wants to bring us home with Him.  And Grace.  The grace of God that offers us rescue, even when we don’t deserve it.  In times where heartache is unavoidable, our trust in God and the firm belief that He is with us is the best way to maintain a happy spirit.  Remember, God sent His only begotten Son to die for us in the most terrible way possible, on the cross.  So that we would not have to suffer eternal death, but could enjoy an eternal life of joy with Him.  Through all his pain and suffering.  When C.S. Lewis put his faith and trust in God he says he was “Surprised by joy.”  So much so, he wrote an entire book about it and used it as its title.  We can all be “Surprised by joy” when we refuse the lie of the devil.  The lie that says all can be made better if we could just, “Curse God and die.”  In the end, because of his faith, all that had been taken away from Job was returned to him, and much more.  That’s the promise to all of us.  In the mean time, “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7  Let’s praise God and live!

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Step One


People who don't take step number one, never take step number two.” Zig Ziglar

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

Grateful: “pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

How many of us are unhappy with things in our lives? We all of are, to some degree. One of the keys to happiness is gratefulness. According to some experts gratefulness is the most important trait we can have. Because if we live gratefully, we assure ourselves of happiness. Can you imagine someone being unhappy while honestly saying that they love their car, family, job, home, and life? Likewise, can you think of someone that is happy while describing all their possessions and life as being horrible and intolerable? I know we all have different levels of possessions, some people drive new Mercedes', and some drive used Kias. However, I can't tell you how many people I've heard complain about their premium German sports sedans, while very few complain about their 500 dollar junkers. I think it's because they're grateful that they just run. It's not about what we have nearly as much as our attitude towards it. If we have an ungrateful attitude towards our situation or belongings, we will never be happy. The first step towards solving that problem is to find the good in what we have, focus on it, and be grateful for it. Step two, is to be happy. It will come naturally, but only after we complete step one. Here's the key to step one however. Give everything to God. He says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:35 Nothing can help us see the good in things like the fulfillment of their purpose. Without purpose, houses are just wooden boxes that ruin the countryside, cars are merely a source of pollution, and our lives feel meaningless and contrived. But with purpose, houses are blessings that keep us comfortable, safe, and warm. Cars become beautiful works of art, able to give us pleasure in their performance. And our lives become the hands and feet of our Savior, able to change the world. Living for our Creator gives us, our lives, and whatever we have, purpose. In that way, giving everything to God will ensure our lives are fulfilled. We can be grateful for 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 for reading.
Jake

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Success Through Hardship

What marks whether you're going to be successful is how well you deal with the bad days, not the good ones.” Condoleezza Rice

And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Genesis 39:2-3

Progress: “forward or onward movement toward a destination” New Oxford American Dictionary

Joseph is a pivotal character in the saga of Judaism and Christianity. He was the catalyst in transforming the tribe of Abraham into Israelites. And he is known for his successes in everything he did. Whether it was as the head of Potiphar's household, the head of an Egyptian jail as a prisoner, or the head of Egypt's infrastructure as its prime minister. Records of him can be read in the Old Testament and in Egyptian hieroglyphs. He was truly a great and successful man, a man of significance. However, Joseph did not succeed the way many think people succeed. He achieved all his successes through hardships. The day when he was thrown into a pit by his brothers, to be sold as a slave to traveling traders could not have been a good day. And the day he was thrown in jail after being falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife could not have been a good day. But Joseph persevered through those bad days and stayed true to his purpose, God's purpose for him. Because Joseph was unwavering in his purpose, the bad days he endured were actually what put him in a position to succeed. He would have never interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams if he had not been falsely accused of rape and thrown in jail. He would have never become the prime minister of Egypt if his own brothers hadn't sold him. And none of that would have mattered if he didn't hold fast to the purpose God had for him. So let's remember Joseph on those days that aren't going so well. Chances are, he went through much more than most of us ever will. Yet he found success through his hardships. And so can we, if we choose to be true to our purpose and the purpose God has for 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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bad Things Happen


It's not whether you get knocked down, 
it's whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Resilient: “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions” New Oxford American Dictionary

I think we've all heard the phrase, “The good die young.” But is it true? A lot of people have the idea that living an upright life is boring or stupid. “We're all gonna die anyway, so we might as well have fun and do whatever makes us happy,” the logic goes. The fact is, bad things happen to good people and to bad people alike. Sin effects us all whether we deserve it or not. We all will be tried and tempted to give up on living an upstanding life. But it's worth persevering. Our reward for living a good life is the joy with which God can fill our hearts when we seek His communion. Our reward is the everlasting life we are promised after this one. Our reward is greater than we can comprehend. Looking at our lives with that perspective can bring more happiness than all the possessions and exciting activities the world can offer. Not only that, but communing with God makes suffering bearable and can even give it purpose. When we live for God's purpose, it becomes clear how the struggles we've faced have lead to the things and abilities we have. It's funny how we are so easily fooled by the rewards we can see, the rewards we can imagine, touch, and feel; that we completely disregard the rewards that go beyond explanation, that go beyond earthly happiness and touch on heavenly joy. I'm not saying we should give up all those other things that bring happiness. God gave us the ability to create happiness for ourselves and for others here on earth. However, there is something more, there is something greater. When hard times erupt in our lives, we can call on our Heavenly Father, who sent His Son to die for us, to rescue us from the despair that life on earth can bring. The apostle Paul said, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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, August 13, 2012

Be a Compeer

I'm not afraid,
To take a stand,
Everybody, come take my hand,
We'll walk this world together,
Through the storm,
Whatever weather,
Cold or warm,
Just lettin' you know that you're not alone,
Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road.”
Marshall Mathers (Eminem)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Compeer: “one that accompanies another” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The word compeer originally denotes more than just a companion. It's origin is from the anglo french word cumpere, which literally means godfather. We all have a cumpere and a compeer in God, the ultimate God Father. He will always be there to guide us through life's twists and turns. In turn, let's be faithful compeers to one another. When we see our neighbors in need, let's make the effort to lend a helping hand. When the chance arises, let's do something that will be remembered. When a need is made known, let's do our best to fulfill it. Sometimes it's hard to take time out of our schedule for someone else. Most of us have a plan for our lives that we don't want to be interrupted. Most of us have goals we want to reach. And we all have dreams of a good and rewarding life. However, let's remember, the greatest rewards are rarely found in the appointments on our calenders. The greatest rewards come when we live for something greater than ourselves. The greatest rewards are on a calender God has lined out just for us. However, we have a choice. We can choose to walk with Him, or walk alone. Sure, there may be friends and family that join us in life. But no one can fulfill the loneliness of our spirit like the Lord. As we walk this world, He wants to be with us. He never desired for us to be alone. Rather, He made us for companionship and gave us compeers to love and enjoy life with. He wants to be one of them. So let's be good companions. Let's be companions others would want to journey with. Let's always be willing to offer a helping hand and see how rewarding it can be. God's rewards come through working for Him, not for ourselves. And which are better, God's rewards, or ours? Let's make God our ultimate compeer through life and see how it transforms us and our companionship with others.

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, August 10, 2012

A Symbol or a Cross?

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” Helen Keller

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die. John 12:32-33

Consummate: “to bring to completion or perfection; fulfill” Dictionary.com

One of the best and most widely known symbols today is the cross. But the cross is not known because of it's shape or it's purpose. And it was not arbitrarily chosen to be the symbol of hope for the Red Cross or the Christian church. The cross as a symbol, is known for what happened upon it. 2000 years ago Christ chose to die on a cross to save humanity from sin. In that act He accomplished what no human could ever fathom. Now whenever a cross is seen, people around the world automatically view it as a symbol of hope and salvation, whether it be on the side of an ambulance, the steeple of a church, or a donation center to alleviate world poverty. It is not a symbol chosen by man, but rather realized. In the symbol of the cross, we can know that Christ consummated our salvation. In the symbol of the cross we have hope and faith in our future. In the symbol of the cross we have the gospel, which is no symbol at all, but a truth that crushes all lies. So when doing God's work, remember, it's not our accomplishments that matter, but Christ's. We only need to lift Him up and what He did will draw unto itself. What He did, 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 so much for reading, you mean so much to me.
Jake

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Rescue

Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.” Samuel Smiles

Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. Job 11:13-19

Faith: “complete trust” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

On the 13th of October, 2010, 33 miners were rescued after being trapped over 2000 feet underground for 69 days in a Chilean mine. No mine rescue of its magnitude had ever been accomplished before. The world wasn't even sure it could be done. But hope drove the mission. Hope kept the trapped souls alive. And hope rescued 33 miners that day. Without hope, I can't imagine those men staying alive and sane for the more than two months they spent trapped in an underground tomb. Without hope, all is lost. We can all take heart by this rescue. If those miners could go through what they did, without losing hope, we can go through whatever trials we face in our lives, with hope that a better day will come. Whether it be loneliness, fatigue, depression, or sadness we're experiencing. We have this hope that tomorrow can be a better day. The future holds unlimited happiness and joy when we realize the benefits granted to us by Jesus Christ. The One in whom true and ultimate hope is found. However, we must take action on our hopes and have faith in the fulfillment of them. Then we can look forward to the day when, like the master in Jesus' parable, our Heavenly Master will say to us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Mathew 25:21

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, August 8, 2012

It's All About Content


Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.” Thomas Paine

Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:19

Integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness” New Oxford American Dictionary

Have you ever heard the story about life being like a cup of coffee? If not, Youtube it. It talks about life being the coffee and the cup our possessions. So many times we become obsessed with the cup (our possessions), and forget about the coffee (our lives). We have faith that what we have can enrich our lives and bring happiness. Eventually we forget all about what we really want, the coffee. We forget that what we really want is a life full of happiness and beauty. We forget that a possession can't create any of that. A possession can't create anything. Only a creator can create. Furthermore, it doesn't mater what the vessel looks like if it's full of garbage. Being from the Northwest United States we love our coffee here. Seattle is the founding home of the venti latte, the caramel macchiato, and all the other indulging coffee drinks that Starbucks made popular in the US and the world. Can you imagine a business like Starbucks being successful if they filled their cups with a bitter and burnt concoction laced with nasty grounds? Probably not. Starbucks has been successful because they built a reputation for delivering good coffee. It's not about the cup they put it in, they give you a paper one. It's about the coffee they serve, they strive to give you the best. And people pay good money for it. For the average cup, a person could afford to buy drip coffee in a mug that could last them for years. But they don't, they buy the good coffee, then throw the cups away. Lets put our lives into perspective and realize what life is all about. It's about the love we share with others, whether they're near or far. It's about the relationships we have with friends and family, the warmth they provide. It's about he laughter and happiness we experience, the smile it puts on our faces. And most importantly. It's about our relationship with our maker, the joy He gives. He's the ultimate barista, able to fill our lives with richness beyond what could be imagined before. Don't settle for a bitter cup of coffee. Long for the best. Seek the best. And we will find the best. Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 We all know where to find our favorite cup of coffee. Jesus just told us where to find the best life. Ask for 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 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, August 7, 2012

Empathy is Rewarding


“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” Meryl Streep

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Empathy: “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember reading an article about what people need once they realize they are dying. Among the things they need is someone to go through the experience with them. Humans need companionship and love. We need empathy. Imagine if no one ever cared about you or what you were going through. It would be awful. Isn't it helpful when someone understands your emotions and wants to be there for you? In life, whatever our situation, let's be empathetic to the plites of others. After all, it won't be too long before we're in their same boat. We've all heard the phrase, “What goes around, comes around.” It's true, because we all go through many of the same life events. They may look a little different, but they're life's struggles non the less. How we react to them is what sets us apart. How we react to difficulties is what sets us up for trust, respect, and significance. We all have opportunities to act empathetically every day. It takes will power to do it. But if we can, we can change lives, we can change the world. So before getting mad at someone driving too slow. Remember the last time you were trying to find an address in the dark. In a place you'd never been. It wasn't nice having some jerk impatiently tailgating you. Remember as well, the times you've offered a hand in help. How good it felt to do something for someone else. Empathy is rewarding, no matter what side of it you're on. We need more of it in this world. Without it, we're not the creation God intended us to be. He gave us empathy for a reason. Let's learn it, practice it, and 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 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, August 6, 2012

Keep Swinging!


Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't.” Richard Bach


Don‛t you know that you yourselves are God‛s Temple and that God‛s spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 2:16

Thankful: “conscious of benefit received” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

To be honest, sometimes I feel very tested. Sometimes it seems like getting ahead in life is just too hard. The aspirations I have seem to require more and more sacrifices, and the steps toward them seem to be getting taller and taller. Sometimes when opportunities present themselves, I don't even feel like grabbing for them. Sometimes I'm not sure I have the will or the strength to reach for the next rung. I'm sure you know how I feel. Right now I'm imagining Tarzan swinging through the trees. The funny thing is, for him to get anywhere, he has to grab hold of every opportune vine that comes his way. Otherwise, his momentum would stop, he would stop swinging and he would be stuck to hang on for dear life, with no opportunity to go anywhere but down. Even though it's tough to reach for the next rung sometimes, it's vital to keep moving. We should be thankful for the opportunities we're presented, and remember their importance. Let's live thankful lives in the realization that we're here on earth to fulfill a mission. Let's keep swinging, let's keep grabbing for the next vine, and let's see how we can improve our lives and the lives of those around 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

Friday, August 3, 2012

Living Sagaciously

Knowledge is proud that she knows so much; 
Wisdom is humble that she knows no more.” Cowper

Wisdom is supreme; therefore make a full effort to get wisdom.
Esteem her and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honor you.” Proverbs 4:7-8

Sagacious: “having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment” New Oxford American Dictionary

Being wise is much different than being smart. We are all familiar with some very smart people who could care less about wisdom, and therefore do unwise things all the time. No matter who we are, or what our IQ may be, we have the ability to be wise and sagacious. For example, there are times when my dog shows more wisdom than I do. He knows all the words I should not say, and gets very upset when I use them. I'll try and console him, to let him know that everything is ok. But is it? I think he knows the power of profanity more than I do. From his perspective, he sees better than me what my words can do, that they reflect my heart, that they change my heart, and that they can control the way I act. Perspective is the key, all it takes is a little time to think with a different perspective. In fact, I believe wisdom is rooted in the ability to see situations from different angles. For example, I could view marines as crazy because they decide to put themselves in a situations where they could be harmed. Or, I could be very thankful for people who are willing to endanger themselves to protect my family. One perspective gives me a negative attitude towards them, the other, a very positive one. In the story found in 1Kings 3:16-18, two mothers came to Solomon to solve a dispute of child ownership between them. One's baby had died and she was in affect, trying to steal the other's baby, claiming it was hers. Solomon, by trying to understand the situation from both sides, knew the true mother would value her child's life above anything and that the phony mother was driven by jealousy and wouldn't mind the other mother losing her baby as well. He tested them by offering to cut the baby in two and divide it among them. He may not have known who's the baby was, but he knew the true mother would naturally protest to the baby being killed and divided. In the end, Solomon gave the baby to the one who protested and gave the baby up to avoid its death. It was a simple solution to a problem that could not have been solved without the knowledge from multiple perspectives. Often we're like the jealous mother, thinking only of ourselves. We demonize people we don't know, label groups without ever having a friend from one, and dismiss people we don't understand. Much of the folly of bigotry could be avoided if we all had the wisdom to make a friend from the other race, sex, or sexual orientation. Let's try to practice wisdom in all we do, let's try to see the world from multiple viewpoints, and let's see where a more sagacious in life can lead. It doesn't mean we have to lose our values, but it will reinforce the greatest value, the value of love. To live sagaciously is to search for “the 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 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, August 2, 2012

Use Leverage not Strength


The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” 
Vince Lombardi
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. Psalm 28:7
Leverage: “the power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome” Oxford New American Dictionary
On October 1, 1913, a small frail child was born in Brazil. Doctors told him early on to avoid strenuous sports activities, because he could be easily injured. He was a stubborn boy however, and chose to learn martial arts, specifically Judo or Kano Jiujitsu. But his physical build meant that he could not effectively use all the technics. Judo is a grueling sport and he was just not strong enough to be affective. However, instead of giving up, at the age of 16 he developed a system that allowed him to fight effectively against opponents of any size. He did it using leverage instead of strength. Because of his tenacity and unwillingness to give up, Helio Gracie created Brazilian Jiujitsu, one of the most effective and popular fighting methods known today. In life, like Helio Gracie, we are all undersized at some point. That's no excuse to ever give up, even if we feel overcome. Instead, let's use our God given talents as leverage to accomplish our goals and leave the strength stuff up to God. Three times the apostle Paul asked God to take a hardship away from him, but the Lord told Paul, “My strength is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 As a result, Paul decided to boast in his weakness. Our weaknesses leave gaps where God's strength can be flexed. If Helio Gracie hadn't been a physically weak child, he would likely have never created a better fighting system. If Paul hadn't learned to brag about his weaknesses he may have never become the man to write the majority of the Bible's New Testament. We all have a weakness of two. What are we doing to let God fill the gap of strength in us? In Deuteronomy 31, when the Israelites were afraid to go into the land of Canaan because of the people there, Moses told them to “Be strong and courageous... The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” That promise still stands when we hold to the Lord's work. Let's hold to the Lord's work and see how powerful we can be.

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Valuing Life


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
Mother Teresa

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Life: “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death” New Oxford American Dictionary

The question of life up to this point has always been controversial, and scientists can't agree on a definition of what it truly is. Therefore, our society struggles with the question of human life, especially on when it begins. For a lot of my life (like most people I think), I dismissed the question as unanswerable with the knowledge I have. As I've grown older however, and have experienced creating and losing life, the question has become very simple to answer. Ask any responsible adult who has tried to have a child, there is no point after conception (when a sperm implants an egg and cell division begins) when a parent would be ok with losing that child. It becomes their responsibility, and they will do anything in their power to protect it. Now, this is not an anti-abortion speech, it is a value of life speech. We've all made mistakes and fallen short of our full potential. But when it comes to life, let's do our best to value it and protect it. We should accept and embrace young women who are lucky enough to be carrying a life inside them, a life that could grow to change them and this world. “Life is life, fight for it.” Mother Teresa

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