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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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Salvation is Free


“A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment,and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

Salvation:  “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

On halloween children run from door to door asking for candy.  They dress up like witches and goblins and presidents; trying their best to be scary and to be scared.  It’s one of the funnest things a child can do.  And the memory of a good nights haul of tooth rotting candy will last a lifetime.  “Trick or treat,” you’ll hear them say in a way only children can.  They have no idea what the origins of their playful ritual are.  And there’s no reason for them to know that in times past criminals would knock on doors promising awful tricks to the resident if they weren’t treated to something they liked.  There’s no reason for them to be actually scared, because we do our best to protect them from the characters they may be playing.  The Lord is sorta like that as well.  There’s no reason for us to fear life.  There’s no reason for us to fear death.  Jesus has overcome.  He died on the cross to beat death.  And He planned it.  In a world where sin and death is a reality, He made salvation and life a promise.  And what’s better than a promise from God?  Like children we sometimes want to bribe God, to convince Him we deserve something.  We’re kinda like the children at the door decorated with pumpkins, cobwebs, and cornstalks.  But instead of candy, we want the things grown ups want.  And we promise the things grown ups promise in order to get them.  We’ve replaced “trick or treat” with “I’ll do anything for.”  But God doesn’t care about our childish “line” we give Him.  God is not a “trick or treat” God, He’s a “treat” God.  He wants to treat us to more than we could ever imagine.  So next time we’re tempted to tell God we’ll never sin again if only we can have...  Think of the trick or treaters that are going to stop by your house tonight.  While we enjoy having kids ask us for things.  We’re not enticed by the threat of trickery.  Neither is God.  He’s perfectly willing, He’s perfectly capably, and He’s ultimately loving enough to have already promised us with eternal life.  We don’t have to promise anything but our gratefulness.  He’ll take care of the rest.

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 our my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cross...


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.  Galatians 4:4-5

Ethereal:  “of or relating to the heavens : heavenly”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Two timbers lashed together.  They form a cross, the tool used to sacrifice our King and Savior.  Although used to execute many, Jesus made it infamous as a symbol to portray His love for us throughout time.  But why a cross?  The point where the beam and the post form a crossing, an intersection, that is what gives the cross its distinct capability to carry out its purpose.  Its purpose to torture, maim, and kill.  But the cross is so much more than the intersection of two pieces of wood.  It’s the intersection of our mortal lives and our everlasting potential.  It forms the point at which we can cross from mere humans to justified, redeemed, and saved souls.  Like every symbol and message He’s given, God’s symbol of our salvation is so much, so much more than merely what meets the eye.  In everything, God provides a message and a lesson.  Finding them can change our lives forever.  The cross and the crossing is the ultimate example.

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, October 26, 2012

What's Your Impression?


Sometimes new ideas can come from something as mundane and functional as your windshield wipers.” Donald Trump

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Impression: “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression” New Oxford American Dictionary

Phasing is a musical technique that requires two instruments to play the same melody but at slightly different tempos. The effect produces an almost warbling ring to the music. The style has influenced many electronic composers and produced what some call, “the minimalistic music movement.” But phasing was not the product of a creative mind alone. It was actually the product of windshield wipers on a rainy day in New York and some creative observation. Steve Reich is one of the only composers living that can say they influenced music composition. And some say he's America's greatest living composer. No doubt Reich is a gifted musician and composer, but his inspiration and fame came as a result of his impression of windshield wipers. The greatest gifts we have are often like that. They're often accidental discoveries. But in order to make those discoveries, we have to be paying attention. It takes work to pay attention. However, once we decide to make an effort at noticing what's happening all around us, the world becomes a much richer habitat. No effective drug would have ever been made without a scientists observation of disease and life. No inspirational painting would have ever been created without an artists observation of beauty and soul. And no great automobile would have been produced without an engineers observation of physics and desire. God created us to observe and understand our environment. He created beauty around every corner, over every hilltop, and on every microscopes slide. There is nothing that bears the fingerprint of God that doesn't contain beauty. Those squeaky windshield wipers on that rainy day in New York that most would find distracting and obnoxious had a beauty. Most wouldn't notice it, but Steve Reich did. And he used it to produce even more beauty for the rest of us. That's what God calls us to do. Jesus taught it in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. He said to those who multiplied their talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful of little; I will set you over much.” We've all been given talents. How are we going to multiply them? Steve Reich did after being inspired by some annoying worn out windshield wipers. What's your inspiration?

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, October 25, 2012

What Innovation Can Do!


Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

The LORD said to Noah, “GO into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Genesis 7:1
And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. Genesis 7:5

Innovate: “make changes in something established” New Oxford American Dictionary

Common knowledge in the world today would state that the easiest way to get along, is to, “get along.” Innovators like Steve Jobs or Noah might disagree. The success they found in their lives resulted from doing things differently. They had visions for the future; and whether they were supplied by God, or their imaginations, their visions proved successful. However, what matters most, is that they had the courage to follow through on them. Let's be like the innovators of this world, confidant in our ideas, with the courage to follow through on them. After all, I think you would agree, the world doesn't care so much about our ideas as much as our accomplishments, and accomplishments most always happen through the execution of innovative ideas.  

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, October 24, 2012

The Helpful


“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr (from the Serenity Prayer)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Serenity: “the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled” New Oxford American Dictionary

Are you a little like me? Every day I see problems that upset me. Problems that can keep me awake at night. Problems that of course, I can't fix. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not a pessimist. I see the proverbial glass as being half full. I believe the promise in Romans 8:28 that says, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” But we can't deny that there are problems in our world. There is disagreement. There is hatred. And there is war. I remember a while back going on a trip for a couple months to the United Arab Emirates. While I was there I didn't pay attention as much to the problems back home. I didn't watch political commentaries or protests, or much news at all for that matter. Not that it wasn't available, I just didn't pay as much attention to those kinds of things as I did while at home. As it turns out, the lack of knowledge of news and current events back home became one of the things I liked about being overseas. Don't get me wrong, I think it's very important to be knowledgeable about what's happening in the world around us. However, we must be able to temper the way it influences our lives. There are so many things in life that can stress us to the limit. Many of which are beyond our control. So the question arises. Can anything beyond our control be of value? The answer is yes! The answer is God! It's when we lose control that God calls us. It's when we are helpless that God becomes helpful. We bonded most with our mothers while we were infants. It was through helplessness that we all learned to love for the first time. And so, while it's good to be able to temper our anxiety about the uncontrollable. It's also good for us to learn, grow, and love through life's events and circumstances. So how do we get there? What's the first step? In answering that question, let's remember it's been done before. Solomon was lost when he became king of Israel. He didn't know what to do or how to start doing it. So let's start like he did. When pressed, he asked God for wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1). That's the first step. It's through those qualities that our trust in God can grow and our lives can become empowered and effective in this world. It's through those qualities that all problems have a solution. It's no coincidence that when we admit our helplessness and ask for God's helpfulness, His fulness in us overflows and we can become a help to the 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?
Thanks for reading,
Jake


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is it OK to be Rich?


No Legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare

How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 
Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it. Proverbs 1:17-19

Probity: “the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency” New Oxford American Dictionary

Do you know anyone who hates “rich people?” I think we probably all know a person or two who have a healthy skepticism of wealth. And you know what? In some ways they're right. There are a lot of so called “rich people” who gained their wealth by taking advantage of others. That is wrong. That is called stealing. There are others however, who are good and honest people. Consider the author of Proverbs, Solomon. He was one of the richest people to ever live. When the queen of Sheba heard about his wisdom and wealth, she became skeptical. So she traveled from Ethiopia to see if what she had heard about Solomon was true. The bible says in 1 Kings 10, that when she saw his wisdom and wealth, “there was no more breath in her.” She exclaimed, “The half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard.” Remember, God granted Solomon his riches. So we know God is able to bless us with physical wealth. However, God is able to grant us more than that. He can bless us with contentment. Donald Trump puts forth that, “Rich is a state of mind more than anything.” It doesn't matter so much what we have, but how we feel about what we have. A person happy with 10 dollars is wealthier than a disappointed millionaire. My point is, wealthy people and poor people alike, come in all shapes, sizes, moralities, and contentments. And why should we worry about other's ill-gotten gains, when we’re told in Proverbs 1:17-19, that the problem will take care of itself anyway? What more punishment can a person receive than to be dissatisfied with everything? If nothing can satisfy, what is the point of life? There is nothing wrong with having possessions, if we're unselfish and demonstrate probity in gaining them. However, we should remember, riches will bring misery, if they come at the expense of others. The only way for riches and possessions to make us any happier is to realize that they're a gift from God. And what can bring happiness like a gift from our Heavenly Father? With that in mind, let's try and cast our nets to gain riches where only our Creator can fill them. In that way, we will ensure the greatest riches possible for ourselves. We will ensure contentment.

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, October 22, 2012

Will It!


“We put so much on skill, and not enough on will.”  Michael Irvin

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Will:  expressing facts about ability or capacity: a rock so light that it will float on water | your tank will hold about 26 gallons.”  New Oxford American Dictionary

“Je n'ai pas peur des soldats, car ma route m' a été ouverte, et si les soldats viennent, j'ai Dieu, mon Seigneur, qui saura comment libérer la route qui mène à Sieur le Dauphin. C'est pour cela que je fus nais.”  Translated, “I'm not afraid of the soldiers, for my road was opened, and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who knows how to free the road to the Sieur Dauphin. That's why I was born.”  Those words spoken by Jeanne d'Arc became what is known as her most famous quote which is usually truncated to simply, “I am not afraid...  I was born to do this.”  After decades of war that tore France apart, it took a 17 year old woman with courage, conviction, and will, to turn the tide against the English and Burgundies.  Joan of Arc became a commander of a French army when she was only 17 years old.  Naturally, she was doubted and excluded from meetings with other military leaders.  Nevertheless, she achieved great and undoubted success.  Some claim that she was merely an inspirational leader.  Other scholars site evidence from her opponents that she was a feared and respected military tactician.  But after being shot in the neck with an arrow and continuing to fight, there’s no doubt she was a tough leader.  And after leading a perennially defeated French army to eventually reclaim French authority, there’s no doubt she was an effective leader.  We all will be doubted, and our skills will be questioned, but it’s up to us and our Creator to determine our ability, and our ability is determined by will more than anything.  Remember, it wasn’t oratory skills that gave Helen Keller the ability to inspire so many, and it wasn’t her sharp eyesight that gave her the ability to learn so much by reading books.  No, she was in fact blind and deaf.  It was her will that inspired, encouraged, and for lack of better words, willed her to accomplish what she did.  Then again, maybe it was her inability to hear her nay sayers that gave her the ability to will.  Whatever it is we’re supposed to accomplish in life, there’s a good chance it has less to do with our natural abilities and everything to do with our will.  There are needs in this world to be met.  Will it be you who meets them?  Will 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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Valuable Ruminations


“A penny for your thoughts, oh no, I'll sell for a dollar, they're worth so much more after I'm a goner. And maybe then you'll hear the words I've been singing, funny, when you're dead how people start listening.” Perry Kimberly (from the song If I Die Young by the Band Perry)

My command is this: love each another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Rumination: “think deeply about something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Ok, so I know today's quote seems kinda strange, but I think there's a message in it. So many of us go through life feeling completely ignored. We may be happy one day, sad the next, and nobody seems to notice. And maybe we don't even want people to notice. But we all have opinions we think are important, ideas we believe could improve things, and knowledge we know could change something. Unfortunately, people don't always want to listen. What I want to get across today, is that your ruminations are valuable and they do matter. So keep expressing them, even when it seems like no one is listening. The day will come when they will be valued. At the same time, try to remember, others are going through the same things you are. Here's your chance to make them feel valued. In my experience I've found that there is no better way to feel valuable than to value others. Jesus says in Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Funny how when Jesus died, people started listening. And now, some 2000 years later, we're still listening. We're listening for the ruminations of our Creator for us.  We're listening for love.  What could be more valuable than that?

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What 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, October 18, 2012

Changing Lives


Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” Swedish Proverb

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

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

In society, there is something most people don't think about, it's called “social capital.” It is measured in the number of bonds people have to one another and the strength of those bonds. It's what keeps cultures, communities, and families together. Sadly, that capital has been decreasing and degrading over the years. Many attribute it to the the widespread use of technologies, such as computers, phones, and digital entertainment. Years ago, people took the time to hand write letters (on paper no less) to one another. Slowly, that faded into phone calls, then emails, now texting is the preferred method for many people to communicate. While it has become easier and easier to communicate words to one another, the ease of it has reduced their value somewhat, and the perceived emotion of true communication has been almost completely stripped away. In many cases, people aren't really sure what their friends think of them, or if they even value them as friends. It's time people band together again and form networks of altruistic support for one another. During the mid eighties the Moose Lodge had nearly 1.8 million members, by the looks and the numbers of their buildings, I'm afraid to know what their current membership level is. For a lot of people, it's not an easy world to live in right now. Empathetic support is needed as much as it ever has. It's important to take time for our friends and family. You never know, the simple act of ensuring that a friend feels more valuable than a TV show may change a life, maybe their's, certainly yours.

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, October 17, 2012

The Ardent Method


The better your attitude doing the things you don't really like to do, the more likely you are to be given more of the things you do like to do.” Zig Ziglar

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Ardent: “enthusiastic or passionate” New Oxford American Dictionary

On the 71st floor of the Chrysler building used to be a visitors center. In it visitors could come see an amazing view and the tools used to build the iconic Art Deco building, that for a few months stood higher than any other structure in the world. The tools are not tools one would use to construct a building. They're the tools used to construct an ethic. They're the personal tools of Walter P. Chrysler and they're the reason the Chrysler Building exists. Walter Chrysler was not born rich. His first job was as a janitor where he made 10 cents an hour. He went on to be a railroad worker and eventually was able to move his way into management. From there, the rest is history. I don't know if Walter P. Chrysler was a great man in all ways. I guarantee are he had his faults like the rest of us. But he proved he could work, no matter what the task. He was not too good to start at the bottom. How many times have we heard someone say, or even said to ourselves, “I'm too good for this?” I used to work in the construction business, and I know from experience that there is never any glamour in digging a ditch. No matter how good you are with a shovel, chances are, no one will ever compliment you on a perfect hole you've just dug. Nevertheless, many people like Chrysler have gone from digging ditches to running companies. Not because they showed they were exceptionally good at digging ditches, but because they had an exceptional attitude while digging ditches. Whatever we're doing right now, whether it be digging ditches or earning a comfortable living, there's always room to grow in our lives and careers. It is our attitude that will determine if we will or not. So let's become ardent in everything we do, whether it be enjoyable or miserable, and see what a difference it can make in our lives.

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, October 16, 2012

A Little Luck


The harder you work the luckier you'll get.” Paula Deen

The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord. Provers 16:33

Lot: “one of a set of objects such as straws, stones, or pieces of paper that are randomly selected as part of a decision-making process” New Oxford American Dictionary

Paula Deen knows what she's talking about. The food empire she controls today started with a measly couple hundred dollars. But that's ok with her. In fact, she's said she's thankful it started with limited resources. Why? Because she says it forced her to be wise with her money and prudent with her decisions. She had no room for error. So when she started her business selling home made sack lunches to people who worked in the city, she knew every lunch had to be made with love and care. Every lunch had to be great. Every ingredient had to be fresh and of the highest quality. She met that challenge, and because of it, she succeeded. So every part of me agrees with the statement I quoted by her today. Attention to detail, hard work, and honesty have a way of creating opportunity. However, I think Ms. Deen would agree with me, that luck isn't quite what it seems, especially in light of what is said in Proverbs 16:33. There's no doubt, when we work hard, we create more possibilities for ourselves. However, it's not a matter of luck so much as cause and effect. And I think that was her point in today's quote. I think she would be just as likely to say that there's no such thing as luck. That what we cause has an effect on our future. What we sow we reap (Gal. 6:7). And where are treasure is, there are heart is as well (Mat. 6:21). So instead crediting our circumstances on luck, let's examine our role in our own lives. What are we sowing? Where is our heart? We have a creator who wants the best for us. Who says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 That doesn't mean we will get everything we ask of God. Not everything we want is worth having. It does indicate however, that we have a loving God who is working hard for us at this very moment. That we have a God who wants what is best for us. But also gives us a will. It's with that that will that many times we either choose not to try, or actually work against God's desire for our lives. Hard work with the right motivation will ensure we're working towards a goal that has been set by God. A goal that would seem impossible in human terms but is readily attainable with the help of our Creator. So let's cast our lots, see what comes of them, but make sure God breaths on them for a little “luck,” and then get to work.

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, October 15, 2012

Small Things... Make Big Differences


Small Things Make Big Differences, Message for December 23, 2010

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

Create: “cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions”

I don't know about you, but acorns inspire me. In fact seeds and eggs and all of life inspires me. I'm inspired by the way life propagates itself. I'm inspired by the way it's propagated through the smallest of vehicles. When I look at how small things in the world make such huge differences, it motivates me to not let even small ideas pass without action. Almost everyone has an idea they think could change the way people live or even improve the world. Few however, act on their ideas; believing they couldn't possibly succeed, or that no one cares. Many believe that if something is worth doing, somebody else will do it. Or that, big feats are rooted in big circumstances and ideas. But big trees find their root in the smallest of seeds, sometimes in the tiniest of cracks on a windblown boulder. What matters is the life. Every idea has a life. What will we do with the life in us? Will we kill it by suppression? Will we give it up to be adopted by another? Or will we plant it, nurture it, and raise it up to fulfill its purpose and potential? I hope none of us kill our good ideas. Not all of the ideas we have are necessarily good. And some we know are blatantly bad. But of the ones we know carry honor; we'll never know their value unless they're given a chance to thrive. What makes a guy like Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, any more special than the rest of us. He was smart, but not unusually so. He died rich, but wasn't always wealthy. He was charismatic, but wasn't unusually attractive in personality. What was it that made him think he could change the world? At one point, Steve Jobs was a regular guy with an idea. The difference is, he pursued his idea and worked at making it succeed. He believed he could nurture and raise the life in an idea. So he planted his seed. We'll never know what our ideas can accomplish without pursuing them. We'll never know our purpose without being purposeful. And we'll never know if we could change the world unless we plant a seed. Imagine if everyone who had a good idea had faith in it and tried to produce it, what kind of world would this planet 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

Friday, October 12, 2012

When Trust is Better Than a Thank You


“Courage is not about knowing the path, it’s about taking the first step.”  Katie Davis

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.  1 Corinthians 4:2

Amazima:  Ugandan word meaning “the truth of Christ”

As she cared for an infected wound, caused by a broken bottle, on a boy’s foot, for the second day in a row, then taught him how to treat himself with antibiotics, she noticed one thing.  He never said, “thank you.”  She wondered why for a second, then the answer came to her.  He trusted her.  For over three years she had been in his community caring for children and anyone else who needed it.  It started as a mission trip helping in an orphanage, then transformed into a life full of adopted orphans and abandoned children, all calling her mommy, or auntie Katie.  It took less than a year for her to find out, helping Ugandans was more than a temporary mission.  It was the purpose for her life.  Katie Davis went from helping one child at a time as part of a team in an orphanage, to running an organization called Amazima, that among other things, pays for the complete education of 400 children and feeds 1000 children five days a week, and the numbers keep growing.  When she started on her journey in Uganda, she had no idea what the path would look like or where it would lead, but she had the courage to take the first step.  Since then she has followed the path God has laid out for her and the Ugandan people, step by step proving trustworthy by remaining faithful.  So now, when a child forgets to thank her, Katie Davis can hold her head proudly (though I doubt she does) because it’s proof of her trustworthiness.  As recipients of anything, let’s all strive to remember to say thank you.  It really does make a difference.  And as we give, let’s remember, the reason we may not receive a thank you is because we’re receiving something much more valuable, trust.  And that’s when trust is much better than a thank you.  

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?
Thanks for reading.  I encourage anyone who’s interested to check out the work Katie Davis is doing by visiting http://amazima.org/, I know you’ll be moved.
Jake

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ignite!


“You don't have to feel like a waste of space, you're original, cannot be replaced.  If you only knew what the future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow.  Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road.  Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow, and when it's time, you'll know.  You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine, just own the night like the fourth of July, 'cause baby you're a firework.”  Katy Perry, from the song Firework

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  The same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:15-16

Radiate:  “(of a person) clearly emanate (a strong feeling or quality) through their expression or bearing”  New Oxford American Dictionary

We are all fireworks.  We've been given qualities that are unique and valuable unlike any other person.  Every one of us can change the world around us, and we will, whether we want to or not.  But it is our choice whether we want to celebrate the qualities we've been given, so that God's nature can be radiated through us and throughout the world.  Let's try to remember that we are God's fireworks and He wants us all to be a part of the most amazing grand finale we could never imagine.  All we need to do is let Him light the fuse.

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, October 10, 2012

There is an Answer!


“It is our decisions, not our conditions that determine the quality of our lives.”  Tony Robins

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8

Upbraid:  “find fault with (someone); scold”  New Oxford American Dictionary

I think we could all agree, our decisions determine our conditions.  So if we want to improve our conditions, we need to make the correct decisions, right?  Well, maybe.  I guess we have to decide what it means to have a quality life.  Does a quality life look like a mansion on a hilltop with a view?  Or does it look like a hut somewhere in an undeveloped community?  For some it’s the hill.  For others the hut.  Quality of life has nothing to do with the satisfaction of our desires.  It has everything to do with the satisfaction of our souls.  Satisfaction can never be obtained through the fulfillment of our desires.  It can only be attained through the fulfillment of our souls.  But the question remains.  Being fallible people, how do we make the correct decisions?  How do we know what fulfills our souls?  James make's it clear.  In fact, it’s a recurring theme in scripture.  God want's to be our source of wisdom.  He is waiting for us to let Him guide our lives.  He is the one who put Israel on a path to the promised land.  He is the one who sent His Son to die for us so we could be with Him.  And He is the one who laid out His word for us to gain wisdom from.  He doesn't want to upbraid us, He want's to assist us; so that we can have better conditions in life than we ever thought possible.  When, where, what, why, and how we get there is up to Him.  So let's never forget to ask God what He thinks.  It's not likely we'll hear an audible answer in the form of a booming voice from up in the sky.  However, if we pay attention in faith, I think we'll discover an answer is there.  And usually it’s more obvious than we expect.  If the house on a hill requires a lie to get it.  It’s not for you.  If the hut ignites self-righteousness in your soul, it’s not for you.  God wants to grant us satisfaction.  However, His satisfaction never includes guilt.  His satisfaction is always a blessing.  I guess it comes down to the words of the classic praise song by Andrae and Sandra Crouch.  Jesus is the answer for the world today.  Above Him there’s no other.  Jesus is the way.”  There’s no blessing, no answer, greater than that!

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What am I thankful for?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What 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, October 9, 2012

Play With Emotion


“We gotta play with emotion but not let emotion play with us.”  Chip Kelly

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; 
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  
Romans 12:9-21

Pique:  “a feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, esp. to one's pride”  New Oxford American Dictionary

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?”  If you’re an American, those leading words in that song written by Alan Jackson probably stir emotions you’d probably rather do without.  Of course, I’m talking about the terrorist attacks of September 11, and I think we all have emotional reactions to it.  But it’s how we react to our emotions that determine whether our actions are productive or not.  If we let our emotions drive our actions, more often than not, our emotions will drive our behavior, steering us down a road with a grim destination.  On the other hand, if we use our emotions to inspire a purpose, those same emotions can be the fuel that energizes us down a predetermined path towards a fruitful goal.  Whatever we do, let’s remember the dangers and the importance of our emotions.  Let’s remember to approach everything with emotion, but to act in a way that would inspire positive and inspirational emotions from those around us.  In short, 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 so much for reading.
Jake

Monday, October 8, 2012

Come On... Have Some Fun


"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." Dale Carnegie 

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.  Ecclesiastes 2:24

Jollification:  "lively celebration with others; merrymaking"  New Oxford American Dictionary

It goes without saying, life can be stressful, hectic, even plain upsetting at times.  That's why some say it's a "rat race."  Even trying to do what's right and living a meaningful life can cause distress at times.  There comes a time for everyone to just have fun, to have a little bit jollification; maybe even a lot.  You might remember, Jesus used His first recorded miracle to supply a wedding party with wine when it ran out.  Apparently He thought it was important enough to have fun that He performed a miracle for it.  Can you think of another time Jesus performed a miracle for anything that was remotely frivolous?  Maybe He thought having fun wasn't quite as inconsequential as some may think, maybe He thought it was important too.  But before we get any ideas, remember what Proverbs 20:1 says, Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”  I think we all know that to be about as true as anything.  So let’s have fun, let’s be wise, and let’s be happy.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindnss 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, October 5, 2012

Just Give it Away


“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.”  Jesus  (from Luke 6:37-38)

"No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.  Matthew 6:24

Stipend:  “a fixed regular sum paid as a salary or allowance”  New Oxford American Dictionary

I am convinced, the only way we can be sure of keeping something is to give it away, and the surest way to devalue what we have is to hold onto it.  I don’t necessarily mean that if you have a car you love, you should give it away as a strategy to retain it.  I mean, give it away in your heart.  If we aren’t generous with what God has blessed us with, He has other uses for it.  I’ve lived in a lot of economic situations in life.  As a kid, my family was poor monetarily and economically.  Now, while I’m not rich, my needs are fully met with a lot of luxuries added on to boot.  But my economic value has never affected my happiness or my satisfaction with life.  In fact, and you may have noticed this too, many times in life, the more I’ve had the more I felt I needed.  Nothing has ever made me feel poorer than having a ton of stuff.  I know it’s sad, but I bet you’ve experienced the same phenomena.  However, as I’ve learned to trust God for my well being and learned to appreciate Him for absolutely everything I have, I could not be more satisfied.  I can honestly say, God makes me feel rich beyond description.  Viewing our possessions as gifts from our creator makes everything we have seem truly invaluable, and inspires a desire to share what we have 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 so much for reading.
Jake

Thursday, October 4, 2012

There is an Answer


It is our decisions, not our conditions that determine the quality of our lives.” Tony Robins

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8

Upbraid: “find fault with (someone); scold” New Oxford American Dictionary

I think we could all agree, most of the time our decisions determine our conditions. So if we want to improve our conditions, we need to make the correct decisions. But the question remains. Being fallible people, how do we make the correct decisions? James make's it clear. God want's to be our source of wisdom. He is waiting for us to let Him guide our lives and our decisions. He doesn't want to upbraid us, He want's to assist us, so that we can have a better quality of life than we ever thought possible. So let's never forget to ask God what He thinks, it's not likely we'll hear an audible answer (maybe we will), but if we pay attention in faith, we will discover, an answer is there.

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, October 3, 2012

Decisions, Decisions


My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.” Ronald Reagan

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Assuaged: “make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense” New Oxford American Dictionary

From time to time in all of our lives, we come to crossroads that require us to make decisions. Decisions like, what kind of house or car to buy, whether to drive after having a few alcoholic beverages, or whether to stay up all night before work. Obviously, sometimes decisions are easy, but sometimes they can be very difficult. However, when we view every decision as having a real effect on our lives, as having a real destination, they can become much clearer, if not easier. For example, the decision to go deeply into debt by the temptation to buy more than we can afford could be assuaged by the goal of being happily debt free (a good goal). Or the desire to cheat on a partner could turn to disgust when weighed against the rewards of a happy family (another good goal). Unfortunately, I think too many of us don't believe our decisions will ever make much difference, especially the ones with seemingly distant consequences. Since it's hard to imagine paying off our house 30 years from now, or saving enough money to retire with, some people never actually expect to do so. Therefore, they never start trying. The point I'm trying to make is this; if we set deliberate goals in our lives and focus on them, what were once difficult decisions can become simple and immediate. No, the decisions that lead us down honorable paths will not always be easy. The world and the devil will put up road blocks and distractions to avert our path. But perhaps the more dangerous temptations are the ones intended to divert our gaze. In practice, an NFL wide receiver will almost never drop a ball. So why do they drop it so many times in the game? The answer is distraction. The footsteps of a defender, or the thought of being hurt distract them from concentrating on the catch. They take their eye off the ball, and it falls to the ground. When we keep our eye on our destination, we gear our lives to overcome the obstacles towards it. The noise of its/our opponents fade into the background. It becomes us, and our goal. I'm not much of a poetry connoisseur, but I'm reminded of a poem by Robert Frost entitled The Road Not Taken. In it he finishes with the sagely observation. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The decisions we make today will make all the difference. Simply recognizing that truth is half the deciding.

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