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, September 28, 2012

Be the Water


“When you preach, preacher, give em heaven, cause everyone else is giving them hell all week.”  Unknown (mentor of Elevation Church’s pastor and founder Steven Furtick)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

Acolyte:  “an assistant or follower.”  New Oxford American Dictionary

Water has no ability to direct, instruct, or lead, but people will forge new paths and follow any trail to get it.  It’s a constant need that leads us from source to source, goal to goal.  Without ever demanding a thing from us, it continually leads us.  It seems funny to say, but water is inspiring.  Let me explain.  “General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it.”  That was the plea of a young Lt. Ord on San Juan Hill.  He was part of an American force fighting the Spanish to free Cuba from their control.  When Lt. Ord made that request to General Hawkins, they were pinned down by Spanish snipers in a seemingly impossible fighting position.  Knowing the attack would surely lead to heavy casualties, but also realizing they could not stay where they were, General Hawkins eventually told Lt. Ord, “I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it.”  At that, Lt. Ord got up and yelled, “Come on you men.  We can’t stay here.  Follow me!”  Inspired by his bravery, the men of General Hawkins 6th infantry followed the young lieutenant and charged directly at the Spanish Guns.  Lt. Ord was shot and killed shortly after he began the attack, but his men fought on bravely to eventually take the hill, accompanied by Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, General Jack Pershing’s Buffalo Soldiers, and other heroes in what Roosevelt referred to as “The Crowded Hour.”  When Lt. Ord stood up, he was a leader, his force of influence caused the others to follow.  But when he was struck down, like so many of the other leaders who lost their lives on that day, he became the water.  He became a reason to fight, not just a leader to the fight.  We are all leaders in some respect, but are we providing any water?  Let’s lead with water.  True, we may never become the water, but by leading from the front we put ourselves in the position to inspire.  What’s more, we can always lead towards the “Living Water,” our Savior.  Let’s give a little heaven.

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, September 26, 2012

The Opportunities of Imagination


"No great man ever complains of want of opportunities."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Tenure:  "the act, right, manner, or term of holding something"  Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Not many ever imagine or dream of a world worse than the status quo.  Sure, we fear, and even expect catastrophe’s, difficulties, or even bad economies.  But for most people, imagination taps into their deep desires.  It’s created Disney, and Harry Potter, and “happily ever after.”  There are exceptions of course.  However, imagination most often creates dreams of a future full of opportunities and advantages greater than what they currently are.  When we were kids our imaginations were boundless, we dreamt of walking in space, exploring the unknown, and diving to the deepest parts of the oceans.  But as we grew older, and our dreams were systematically smashed by so called “realities,” we forgot to dream and our imaginations began to dwindle.  For those whose imaginations remain active, the world still seems to be captive. “ After all,” they might say, “Imagination created automobiles, lightbulbs, and airplanes.  Men and women have walked in space, explored the intricacies of the atomic structure, and dove to great depths because of it.”  And those who would say that are right.  Imagination has always been the driver of innovation, and I think it’s about time we begin to use it for motivation.  Let's hold on to our imaginations for dear life and see what opportunities they can afford us.  A better world exists, if only in our imagination.  But that world can never become a reality if we don’t use our imaginations to inspire action.  One last thing.  Through Christ we have an everlasting tenure to a place greater than the greatest imagination can conjure. 

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Have a Song!


"Those who wish to sing always find a song." Swedish Proverb

Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain you: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalms 55:22

Chuffed:  "quite pleased"  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Smiling is much better than scowling, and singing is much better than yelling.  So why do we find ourselves frowning and yelling at times?  Yes, there are things that insight justifiable anger and outbursts, but so much of the time we find ourselves unhappy with no discernible reason. We gather possessions and don't find happiness, plunge into desired relationships without finding satisfaction, and sometimes even give to charity without finding peace of mind.  I believe so much of our loathing comes from self indulgence, or the idea that we can provide for our spirits as well as bodies. We forget we have a loving God that set aside His Holy Spirit to tend our souls. Nothing we can do can replace what He can achieve in our hearts. When we don't have a song, He has one, when we don't have desire, He can plant it, when we don’t have peace of mind, He can sooth our souls.  With Him, we can rest assured of many songs to be sung. 

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, September 21, 2012

The World's Stewards


The greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way it's animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

Disdain: “the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect” New Oxford American Dictionary

I actually heard today's quote from Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, and I think there's a lot of wisdom in it. Especially when you consider an article I saw in my local newspaper, The Columbian, about a rescued pit bull who had no front legs because its former owners had crushed them. How and why, I have no clue. I do know however that, it's not hard to find an abused pit bull these days. Too often they bare the scars of concocted fights and cruel training. Too often they bare the brunt of pent up anger and unsatisfied revenge. I don't mean to single out a particular group. Sadly, most of us are abusive in our own ways. We may not be angry in our abuse, instead we may be selfish, or just careless. Our abuse may not produce visible scars, but it wounds non-the-less. We may not fight our dogs, but we can all learn something of ourselves through its injustices. Too often when we feel we lack something, instead of filling the gap, we compensate for it. It's much harder to fill a gap than to compensate for it. In fact, it's often impossible to fill our gaps by ourselves. But compensation all too often results in abuse. The thing is... God wants to fill our gaps, not compensate for them. He wants to fulfill our lives, not numb them through distraction. Animals were given to fulfill, not compensate. Dogs for example, can fulfill our need to love and be loved in a way that nothing else can. The definition of abuse is the abnormal use of something. And when we use God's creation for something other than its intending use, we abuse it. We should have respect for God's creation and do our best to see the beauty He created for us. Animals for the most part are pretty helpless to the whims of humans. And if we choose to abuse the helpless what does that say about us? When we show disdain for what God has given to us as a gift, isn't it in affect showing disdain for Him as well? The Lord gave Adam charge over His creation and we still have that responsibility. Lets be the best stewards of God's creation we can be. In doing so, I know we will be rewarded with much more than what we sacrifice. We all have gaps in our characters and holes in our hearts. God wants to fill them, to fulfill us. In doing so, He gives us the ability to fulfill His work in our lives. Look at creation. Everything fulfills its purpose. Now look in the mirror. Do we fulfill our purpose? Let's pray we do. Let's pray that we become good stewards, not only of creation, but of purpose.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Judgement... Renounced


We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho

Moreover, stop judging, and you will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned. Keep on releasing, and you will be released. Luke 6:37

Renunciation: “the formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action” New Oxford American Dictionary

Unfortunately, as people, we have a tendency to focus on the differences we see in each other. That characteristic, combined with the fact that no two people are the same, often creates conflict. What if we could look past our differences and disagreements and see people for who they are, for what they've gone through, and the extenuating circumstances that are shaping their view of the world? What if we could see our actions through the viewpoints of others? What if we tried to improve upon ourselves, instead of justifying our faults by finding faults in others? If we did all these things, there is no doubt in my mind, (and I think you would agree), many of the conflicts and hurts in the world would be eliminated. I heard pastor Andy Stanley state one time that, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and we judge others by their actions.” How true is that? We are the only one who really knows our intentions. All others can see in us is our actions. Matthew 7:16 says, “We shall know them by their fruit.” Have you ever met a perfect person? Neither have I. Since we're not perfect, neither are our actions. As a result, our actions almost never match our intentions. We have to realize, people are going to judge us by our actions. It's only after our actions have produced good fruit that people will even consider our intentions. Let's try to see the world from more than our selfish viewpoint, renounce conflict based on misunderstandings, and change the world around us for the better. We're all on a different path. Some good and some bad. The only path that really matters, is the path that God has intended for us. In Psalms 119, verse 105, David said to God, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Can we say that? Do we want to be able to say that? If we did, how could it affect this world?

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let God be the Judge


Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.” Harvey Fierstein

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Ephesians 1:7

Righteous: “(of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have you turned on the TV or opened a magazine to see a celebrity, politician, or businessman completely vilified because of a mistake they made? Now how many times have you been in a situation where you acted foolishly and your mistakes were magnified to make you feel like a horrible person? I'm not saying faults or wrongdoings should be dismissed and automatically forgotten, but for those of you who are like me and have made mistakes, don't let the judgements of your peers determine who you are and what you will become. It makes no difference what you've done, it is up to you what you will become. God holds the power to determine your righteousness, not you, or anyone else. We may pay the price for wrongdoings on earth with our physical bodies, but our souls belong to God, and isn't it our souls that matters most? Let's let God be the judge.

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 always make my day.
Jake

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Anticipate the Bang


There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Alfred Hitchcock

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

Anticipate: “to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to” Merriam-Webster

Sea water splashes against your face. You can smell the life in it, and you wonder what will be of your life in a matter of seconds. As you look above the steel walls of your floating box, you can see the tops of the hills along the shore your motoring towards. But then a swell pitches your craft, the motor bogs and all you can see is sky. Someone throws up on your feet. Once again you realize your proximity to the other men on your boat. Your shoulders are rubbing together and you're all just trying to keep your balance in the surf as you near shore. Normally an ocean beach in the south of France would be a welcome place to visit. But not this day. The gate drops, it begins... D-Day. Nothing could have prepared you for this. Now it's happening. Now people are dying. Now you have to go to work. What must it have been like for the men attacking Normandy? For the men who endure the machine guns of war? It makes our worries, our troubles somehow seem a little insignificant. But they're not. What we do today could determine events far into the future. No matter how irrelevant it seems. Therefore, it's imperative that we anticipate and prepare. Without anticipation, there can be no preparation, and without preparation, anxiety becomes the master of our thoughts and actions. It's ok to worry, but worry must be accompanied by action. Without action, worry becomes a roadblock. Without action, worry becomes fear. And without action, worry will cause us to fail. Worry can become useful only if it leads to anticipation. The landing on Normandy was anticipated and the actions of that day were well prepared for. That's why the allies were able to win a foothold there. A foothold that would lead to the freedom of Europe from Germany and the world from fear. What about our lives? Are we using our worry to anticipate? By doing so we can eliminate much of the anxiety from our preparations. We will be tried in our lives. But that's a good thing. It's through trials that we can succeed. Have we anticipated them? Are we prepared? If we are, then there's nothing to worry about. The psalmist said famously in the 23rd Psalm. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; They rod and they staff they comfort me.” Indeed, God is with us. He's prepared for anything and with His help so are we.

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mutual Values


If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

Mutual: “held in common by two or more parties” New Oxford American Dictionary

There's a true story of an event shortly after WWI began. It was Christmas, soldiers were tired of fighting, killing, and dying. So what did they do? For that one day, against the orders of their commanders, soldiers on each side implemented an impromptu cease fire and shared a Christmas celebration together. On that day, politics failed to persuade them, orders failed to force them, even anger and vengeance failed to motivate them. The only thing that motivated them was their values found in spirituality. As we go through this election season here in the United States; lets all remember that, while we may disagree about politics, or religion, or whatever, we have so much more in common than those things. We all have mutual values. Values we can be thankful for. Let's find them. Let's cultivate them. And let's share them. And while we focus on what we have in common, the bigger picture will become more clear, and the way we treat each other will reflect it accordingly.

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, September 13, 2012

The Sky's Always Blue


The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken.” 
Henry W. Longfellow“

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Assurance: “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise” New Oxford American Dictionary

As I was flying home one day, I found myself looking out the window of the airplane I was in. Being fall, it was a cloudy day, and from my vantage point, most of the ground was obscured by clouds. As we flew over the clouds I noticed something. As I'm sure many of you have. I noticed that the sky was so beautiful above the clouds. And it got me thinking about life. In life, we all go through rough patches where happiness seems scarce and joy seems fleeting. But we have an assurance from God that, like the text says, He has good plans for us. Those rough patches are like the clouds that cover the sun, they're temporary. There's always a beautiful sky waiting for us when they pass. Even when life itself is a struggle, we know God is waiting to take us home with Him. Waiting to take us to a home where clouds can never blot out the sun. A home where nothing will ever again obscure the Son. Today, let's build on our relationship with God. Let's open the doors of our hearts to Jesus. He wants it to be His home. He wants us to share our home with Him so that He can share His with us. Seems like a fair trade to 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.
Jake

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Patient... With Yourself


Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them, every day begin the task anew. “ Saint Francis De Sales

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Psalm 37:7-9

Patience: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many people do you know strive for perfection? A lot of us do. And all of us fail. Just like a car that needs to have it's oil changed and filled up with gas, God is there for us, to repair, maintain and improve us. All we have to do is ask for His help. Too many times people give up trying to become better people, because no matter how hard they try, they cannot abstain from sin. The truth is, that none of us can. We are all sinners and pre-disposed to sinning. As long as we're living in this world, non of us are, ever have been, or ever will be perfect, in our thoughts or actions. Fortunately, we can be perfected through Christ who died to wipe away all of our sins. And we can be sanctified by the One who gave His life for us and called it joy. So instead of giving up completely on righteousness, let's understand our own nature and realize we are going to make mistakes. But that God sent his Son to die for us, because He knew we would. He knows our imperfections, He knows our weaknesses, and He knows our strengths. Do you know what God told His apostle Paul when he was being tried and was suffering? He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 That's true for all of us. His grace is sufficient for us. Let's let God empower that grace in our lives. Let's realize what we can be in Him. And let's forget what we succumb to in the devil. We all have a closet for of sin and skeletons. But there is Someone who can clean it out. He's just waiting for us to ask. Let's ask.

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, September 11, 2012

Giving and Living


“We get to make a living; we give to make a life” Winston Churchill

There will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor, in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

Altruism: “the belief or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” New Oxford American Dictionary

August 31st, 2010. 13 year old Brandon Johnson was laying in a hospital bed at Texas Children's Hospital with a malignant brain tumor. He had hoped to go to a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals that day. But because of his sickness, he couldn't make it. So instead, baseball came to him. After the game, Brandon was visited by a tall Dominican-American man who presented him with an autographed bat. The man was Albert Pujols, and it was no ordinary everyday bat, he had used that bat to hit his 400th career home run in major league baseball only a few days earlier. We could all learn from Albert Pujols. No matter who we are, or what we've accomplished, we are never above giving back. If anything, blessings from God give us a greater responsibility to care for others. Giving a bat to a sick child in the hospital is only one of many examples of what Mr. Pujols has done for others. His charitable actions go on and on. The banner for the Pujols family foundation is emblazoned with the words, “Faith. Family. Others.” I'm so glad there are people like Albert Pujols to look up to. People that are accomplished and have everything they'll ever need, but still take time to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world. I hope you take the time to visit www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org and join me in trying to emulate not just a baseball hero but more importantly a giving hero.

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, September 10, 2012

A Win Win Losing Proposition


“Any moment is a great moment.”  (old New York Yankee slogan)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

Vie:  “compete eagerly with someone in order to do or achieve something”  New Oxford American Dictionary

The dreaded bottleneck.  You know, when two or three lanes of a highway constrict to one or two.  There always seems to be a race to get to the front.  Well, I found myself in a bottleneck situation on my way home one night, right beside me was a car going for the same lane as me.  I had a choice to make, either step on the gas or tap the brake.  One of us was going to end up in front of the other, there were no two ways about it.  As I took a second to contemplate, I decided to let the other motorist take the lead.  A little ways down the road I began to think about what the real consequences of my actions were.  Sure, I know either way what I did was in no way consequential.  But I want to use the example, because, I think there are so many ways driving in traffic relates to all aspects of life.  The dynamics of driving encompass teamwork, individualism, personal capabilities, selfish and selflessness, destinations, origins, planning, risk, and the list could continue.  And even though we have defined lanes, rules, and officers to enforce them, unfortunately, like in all of life, competition too many times becomes a factor.  And since I am very, very far from perfect, I have to admit competition was definitely a factor in my decision making process.   In some ways my male brain was deciding whether to win or lose, if I chose to pass I might get the satisfaction of winning a “race,” and of course the opposite is true if I slowed down.  But there are so many ways to win while “losing.”  In my case, it felt good to help somebody out, that was a win for me, it also may have helped that other driver get home a little quicker, that was a win for them.  It of course helped me save a little gas, that was another win for me, and by avoiding a competition when none was required, it didn’t add any stress to the situation, and in our fast paced world, you know that was a win for both of us.  As the old Yankee slogan goes, “any moment is a great moment,” and in any moment we can be winners, but that doesn’t mean every moment has to be a contest.

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, it means the world to me.
Jake

Friday, September 7, 2012

No One is Perfect


“If you won't let yourself get so impressed with yourself, you probably won't get so discouraged with yourself.” Joyce Meyer

To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" John 8:31-33

Genuine: “free from hypocrisy or pretense” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone should give up on trying to be the absolute best person they can be. But perfection can only be found in our Creator. Too many times people try to put on a facade of perfection, trying to make an impression on others. More often than not however, people see through those attempts and realize that the person is not being genuine. More importantly, we know we aren't being honest. I often wonder how damaging it is to a psyche when a person feels they have to lie in order to gain respect. If you were able to stand on the border between North and South Korea, there is a place where you would be able to see two cities. One to the north and one to the south. The difference between the two? The one to the north is a sham, an outdoor studio meant to impress. Lights illuminate empty buildings, streets carry travelers with no destiny, and people simply “act” as if they're living. It's simply a show meant to impress somebody. Who that is I don't know. Probably themselves. Are we putting on a show to impress? While it is honorable to build upon our characters, the second we start to believe that we can reach or project an image of perfection is the second we enslave ourselves to a life of hypocrisy and self righteousness. When Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins He set Himself up as the keeper of our perfection. Paul says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It is not our responsibility to find perfection in ourselves, but to allow God's perfection to shine through us. If sin were water, trying to reach perfection would be like trying to dry off while swimming alone in the middle of the sea. Only our Heavenly Father can rescue us. Only He can pull us from our all encompassing surroundings. But like the parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25, we must keep our lamps lit and ready. We must have our hearts ready for Him at all times. And we must be genuine.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for today?
  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, September 6, 2012

Love's Values


The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

Castigate: “to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Spoken or not, we all grew up learning a certain set of values to live by. And throughout life we've been tempted, encouraged, and sometimes even threatened with force, to compromise them. While people may try to castigate or persecute us for our values, history shows that values always overcome. In fact, persecution has often strengthened their cause. The inquisition resulted in a committed protestant movement, filled with members willing to die for their faith. And the abuses by the Church of England became some of the driving reasons why the pilgrims populated what is now the United States. These are just a couple examples, there are countless more. Genuine values, when held firmly, can stand up to any hardship or persecution. However, every time we compromise a value it opens the door for another to be threatened and leads to the downward spiral of moral relativity. If we stand firm on values, relative only to the originator of values (God), we can be assured of rewards beyond imagination. Furthermore, only by standing on our values and principles will the assaults on our values diminish. But how do we know our values are worth living by? You might ask. Love. If whatever we're doing doesn't resemble, isn't rooted in, or doesn't feel like love, it's not love. God created the world out of love. He created us to love. And He created us for love. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says that “Love never fails.” There is a latin phrase penned by Virgil that states, “Omnia vincent amor,” “Love conquers all.” And don't we all at least hope that's a true phrase? Deep down we know it's true and we long for its truth to be manifested boldly I our lives. Unfortunately, many of us want others to treat us with our values, with love, while we treat others by the values of some other creed. If we want our values (our love), to be propagated, we must live by them. Not just state them. Not just expect them from others. We must live by them. We must live by love. In that way, we will ensure that our values are based on morals that everyone can live by. And we just might ensure our lives have significance.

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Enjoy the Journey


Tonight, tonight, I'm on my way, I'm on my way, home sweet home.” Tommy Lee, Neil Sixx

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:1-4

Home: “place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates” New Oxford American Dictionary

I remember coming home from a deployment to the middle east. It was a short and easy deployment in comparison to what many have had to endure. But I didn't realized how good home was, until I had to be away for an extended period of time. The journey home from the United Arab Emirates had to be the most exciting trip I've ever experienced. It was fun and stressful and long. And a memory I'll never forget. But the destination is what made it the most exciting. It was the destination that created the journey. And the destination that ended it. After weeks sleeping in a tent in the desert, being home with my wife, enjoying home cooked meals and a soft bed, was well worth the journey around the globe to get back. As epic as that journey was, it was nothing like the journey we're all on in life. We all know the journey of life has its trouble spots. Times where we long for the past, when we were just kids along for the ride. Times when we could hang out with friends and enjoy a carefree life. We're all still on that ride we started as babies. But as we get older, the carefree part starts to fade. Life becomes less about hanging out with friends and more about working with peers. More about stress management, and less about stress reduction. More about productivity, and less about happiness. However, we're promised a perfect destination at the end our journey through life. And for many of us, that provides the hope it takes to endure the hardships we encounter. There will always be bumps in the road. At times, it'll seem like we've spun out of control. But God has His hand on the wheel and He knows all the directions. All we have to do is let Him guide us and we're guaranteed to end up home with Him. So now, we can celebrate the words of the song by Tommy Lee and Neil Sixx, “I'm on my way, home sweet home.” But lets never forget to pray the words of the song made famous by Carrie Underwood, “Jesus take the wheel.” Having done so, let's enjoy the journey, it has much to offer.

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, September 4, 2012

The Winning and the Living of Life


In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” Sid Caesar

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17

Joie de vivre: “exuberant enjoyment of life” New Oxford American Dictionary

I was recently watching SportsCenter on ESPN and they ran a rather lengthy story on a little boy named Josiah. Josiah wasn't any little boy, he was a little boy with Hutchison Guilford Progeria Syndrome, a disease that causes children to age prematurely. As a result he will most likely never be a great sports hero, but he loves the game of baseball. Never mind his disadvantages, Josiah loves to put on a baseball uniform and get out on the field to play. He loves the game for the playing, not the winning. From the time I could play any sort of sports I wanted to be good and to win. It's human nature, and I think most of us are that way. And it's not necessarily a bad thing either. Sometimes winning is a requirement, i.e. WWII. But how much more happy could we be, if instead of always looking for ways to win at whatever we do, we were a little more like little Josiah and tried to enjoy life for the living of it not the winning of 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 so much for reading.
Jake