The Intent of This Blog

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

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Indomitable Purpose


“Men's best successes come after their disappointments.” Henry Ward Beecher

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the Prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. Genesis 39:21-23

Indomitable: impossible to subdue or defeat” New Oxford American Dictionary

Imagine all your siblings hating you. Imagine them hating you so much that they decided to kill you. But then they discover compassion, they decide to just sell you as a slave instead of killing you. Now you have a life of tribulation ahead of you. However, after making the best of your situation you're falsely accused of a major crime. Now you're not just a slave, but a jailed slave. There is no system of justice to find your guilt or innocence. You're life is not your own. You're life is in the hands of a power greater than yours. Doesn't really sound like a path to success does it. But that's what I've just described. That was the path to success for Joseph, a servant of God. The story of Joseph is the quintessential example of success through adversity. He found success in Potiphar's house after being sold as a servant to him and he found success after being thrown in jail on false charges of raping Potiphar's wife. I can't imagine Joseph enjoying the things that happened to him and the situations he found himself in, but he must have had an indomitably positive attitude and willingness to work. Because in every situation Joseph was able to far surpass what would be expected of someone in his predicament. At this point you might be expecting to hear a speech about improving ourselves to the status of Joseph through self reliance and perseverance. However, that's not how Joseph gained success. It wasn't Joseph who was responsible for his success. It was his trust in God that gave him the ability to keep a positive attitude. It was his willingness to live God's purpose that allowed him to accomplish what he did. When we put our trust in God and allow Him into our lives He has a way of blessing us in every way, beyond what we could ever imagine accomplishing ourselves. Let's put our faith in God, trust that He has a purpose for our lives, and see where He can lead us. After all, our lives are not our own. We are all servants to a higher power. If it's not God then it's your spouse. If it's not your spouse then it's your employer. If it's not your employer then it's your customer. And so on... Let's make God the Master of our lives. He's the only higher power that is truly just, truly fair, and truly able to bless. Josephs miserable path to success ultimately led him to being the prime minister of Egypt. That's what God can do in in a life lived for His 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Stepping Stones of Life


You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Martin Luther

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11-12

Wile: “devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants” New Oxford American Dictionary

In The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren says, “On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block, when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing.” Our lives are often defined by the choices we make. All of us are tempted every day to do something we know we shouldn't and all of us do something every day we know we shouldn't do; we're human after all. But temptation does not have to beat us. The Bible says Jesus struggled with temptation like we do, but He did not allow it to beat Him. Instead, He used temptations as a method to beat the devil. We have no way to fight the devil on our terms, he has to declare war on us, not the other way around. The only way to fight him is on his terms; the only way to defeat him is by resisting him. Legend has it, that while translating the Bible at Wartburg, Martin Luther had an encounter with the Devil. It is said that Luther threw his inkwell at Satan and continued with his work. There is no way to confirm this story and most believe it to be a rather tall tail. However, whether the story is true or not, it's a useful example of our fight with the evil. James 4:7 states, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” A life lived for God will encounter obstacles. Rough patches will come up. And temptation will distract. But we are to hold on to our Maker, resist the devil and move on. That's what Jesus did in the desert and that's what He taught us to do as followers. The world is a battlefield, the devil is our adversary, and God is our purpose and defense. Lincoln has been quoted many times as having said something like, “Our concern should not be that God is on our side, but that we are on God's side.” That is not an exact quote and in truth no one is quite sure Lincoln ever said it. But here's what the Bible says. “If God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:28The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for though art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 As long as we're on His side He'll be fighting for us and protecting us and the mere act of choosing sides determines the outcome. Let's choose victory in the face of a stronger foe. Let's choose comfort in the midst of hardship. Let's choose peace in the presence of war. Let's choose Jesus.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Be Genuine


“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do; and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home and love and understanding companionship.” Amelia Earhart

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. Romans 12:9-10

Authentic: relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life” New Oxford American Dictionary

Handing out his gifts, the young actor realized he didn't even know what the Christmas presents contained. His manager had picked them all. Non-the-less, those kids in the Chinese children's hospital loved their gifts and thanked him over and over. At that point he says, “I felt like such a fraud.” You see, the gifts were mostly a part of a public relations event. The kids didn't know and the audiences watching didn't know either, but Jackie Chan knew, and he vowed he would never do it again. Today, after 48 years in the movie business he is still focused on charity, but now it's genuine and authentic. He picks the gifts (as many as he can) himself. He says, “I realized that when I see somebody smiling, I'm happy, so one by one, year by year, I do more charities and it makes me happier.” Being genuine is a key to being happy. No matter how many cars we have, what kind of house we live in, or even what we do to help others; if they're meant to impress others they will never make us happy, they will never be fulfilling. People will see through our insincerity and even our good works will fall flat, their effectiveness reduced, and their satisfaction all but eliminated. Nobody likes a phony. That includes ourselves. Perhaps we hate the phoniness inside us more than in any other. That's why it is so important to be genuine. To do the right thing for the right reason. Doing what's right is not just about us. It's about the recipients of our action as well. A good deed done out of necessity has little if any positive impact on our souls. However, a good deed done from the heart, without compulsion, warms the soul more than any cup of marshmallow laden hot chocolate could ever warm. A good deed done simply and genuinely for the sake of another, in turn, does more for us than anything we could ever hope to achieve for ourselves. So in everything we do, in everything we give, and in everything we wish to accomplish, let's 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?
  4. Who did I love today?
  5. What am I dreaming of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finding Strength


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Venture: “a risky or daring journey or undertaking” New Oxford American Dictionary

I dreamed a dream in time gone by...” Those opening song lyrics from “Les Miserables” thrust an unlikely Scottish woman into the world spotlight and a lump into millions of throats. Success and fame followed quickly; and at times, it was a struggle for her to cope. To get where she is now, required courage and strength. She had to accept a venture that she had little experience and no success in, but she had a dream to sing and the talent to pull it off; and that is what she did. Like Susan Boyle, we all have talents for success; and weaknesses that distract from them. But what if instead of focusing on our weaknesses, we focused on our strengths, letting the struggles that come with venturing after them grow our character and build our success? We will all undoubtably fail and feel like no one cares, but remember Susan Boyle didn't win “Britain's Got Talent.” And afterwords she felt as though no one wanted to hear her sing again, obviously that was not true, but she did not surrender, and her loss gave her the strength to cope with future struggles as a celebrity. Let's take advantage of our struggles, learn from our failures, and remember who we're really serving to ensure a successful future.

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Best Days


Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” Michael Caine

Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
 They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

Vigorous: “strong, healthy, and full of energy” New Oxford American Dictionary

Sir Michael Caine is a British actor famous for leading roles in movies like “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “The Italian Job,” and “Secondhand Lions.” Many people don't know this about him, but Michael Caine is a Korean War veteran. In an interview I heard recently he said he experienced things in Korea that made him realize the great things in life, things that made him want to live life to the fullest. So since the age of nineteen that's what he's been doing. I think there's a lesson to learn from that. So many of us live waiting for life to begin. When we're in grade school we can't wait for high school, then we can't wait to get a job or go to college, then we can't wait to earn better wages and buy a house. The list goes on and on till we're elderly and telling our grandchildren to enjoy life cause it goes by so fast. Whether you're reading this and you're eight years old or eighty, right now is the perfect time to start living life to the fullest. If you don't start now, you'll always look back wishing you had. Right now provide the best day's of our lives if we choose to appreciate them.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We Hold These Truths...


“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;” Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence Rough Draft

“So we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” The Apostle Paul from his first letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 2 verse 4 (1 Thessalonians 2:4) 

Ravel:  “to become confused or perplexed.”  Dictionary.com

Speaking in private, Thomas Jefferson referred to slavery in the United States as being, “like having a wolf by its ears.”  By the time the colonies were at a point where independence was a possibility, racist slavery was rooted deep in society and culture.  It was wrong, some knew it, some didn’t, and some ignored it.  And it is ironic that at a time when the American Colonials were willing to die for their symbolic freedom, they were also willing to kill in order to eliminate very real freedom from others.  However, it’s apparent to me that the formation of the United States was in many ways guided by the Hand of God.  Along the way we spoke in ways that enraged others, words that we weren’t ready to fully back, words that would go on to test our own hearts.  That’s why the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence would go on to haunt him as a free man and a slave owner.  That’s why Martin Luther King Jr. would repeat them in his most famous speech with the words, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”  That’s why today as a nation millions of Americans have died for the freedom of others.  So on this Thanksgiving Day, we should all be thankful for freedom.  Freedom our country has bestowed on us.  Freedom we have fought and died for.  Freedom we have fostered throughout the world.  And the greatest freedom of all, the freedom granted to us by Christ on the Cross.  While at the time, the words of the Declaration of Independence were ironic, they were also deliberate and true.  And I’m thankful that we as a fledgeling nation had the courage to pronounce them.  We may not be living up to them fully to this day.  But they have guided us to this point and I wonder what the world would look like if they didn’t exist.  So let’s also be thankful for truth, even when at times it appears to be raveled.  There will be a time when it will be fully known.  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Live with Mettle


“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” C.S. Lewis

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Mettle: “a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way” New Oxford American Dictionary

When Viktoria was suggested to be, “like a mother” to Hanni Levy, Hanni was quick to correct, “no, she was not 'like' my mother, she was my mother.” Years earlier in a brave and somewhat foolish decision made in desperation and fear, Hanni approached Viktoria Kolzer, a movie theater cashier for help. At that point Hanni was alone in the world with no where to go and no one she could trust. She took a leap of faith that Viktoria would act according to her values with courage, and approached her. Hanni's leap of faith proved to be a wise choice. Not only was Hanni, (a jew in Nazi Germany, who's real name was Hanna Weissenberg) able to successfully evade the Nazis with the help of frau Kolzer, a special bond between her and Viktoria was formed, a bond that lasted a lifetime. When faced with decisions requiring mettle in the face of adversity, let's try to remember stories like Hanni's and what could have happened to her if Viktoria had not acted with courage on what she knew to be right. We're all afraid of something. Whether's its approaching someone for help, or offering our assistance to a stranger. But the faith that God is with us can develop courage and mettle within us that can destroy all the obstacles created by fear. Sometimes those obstacles are real and dangerous. However, remember what the apostle Paul asked in Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And that doesn't mean danger will never come upon us or effect us. But that dangers and trials are trivial compared to the love of God. And when something is trivialized, it holds no power. In Romans 8 Paul went on to say in verses 38 and 39, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So I guess we're back to that same old, but never tired cliché, “Love conquers all.”

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, November 20, 2012

Compliment Someone!


There is no effect more disproportionate to its cause than the happiness bestowed by a small compliment.” Robert Brault

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

Blandishment: “a flattering or pleasing statement or action used to persuade someone gently to do something” New Oxford American Dictionary

Do you know the power of a compliment? One day a teacher had her students write a compliment about every other student in the class. Over the weekend the teacher wrote on a separate sheet of paper for each student the compliments they received and gave them to the respective children the next week. She was surprised to see the joy it brought to the kids and was impressed by the success of the exercise. However, I don't think even she knew the impact of those compliments. Years later that same teacher found herself eulogizing one of those students after he had died in the Vietnam war. Following the funeral she was approached by the soldiers parents who showed her something they thought she would be interested in. It was the note of compliments he received in school, and it was with him when he died. It had been folded and refolded, taped and repaired, and worn thin after years of use. By this time, other alumni from the soldiers class gathered round and shared with her their own stories on how important those notes were to each one of them. They all either carried their compliments with them at all times or kept them in a cherished place. That's the power of a compliment. What we say and do to others can last a lifetime. Let's make sure that the lifelong impression we make is a good and kind one.

For a longer version of the story by Gayle Shemezis I encourage you to visit http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/thepower.html

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Successful Temperance


“It's nice to be the best, but not when being the best brings out the worst in you.” Rodney Dangerfield

If you find honey, eat just enough-too much of it, and you will vomit. Proverbs 25:16

Intemperate: “having or showing a lack of self control” New Oxford American Dictionary

In 2007, Scotts, the large manufacturer of gardening products, sued a small company name TerraCycle, because its packaging was too similar to their Miracle-Gro brands packaging. You may think that such a large company could destroy a small startup, but that was not the case. According to Tom Szaky, one of the founders of TerraCycle, it was “the best thing that ever happened to [them].” The suit against TerraCycle meant their name appeared all over the news, and when word got out about TerraCycle's high quality products and responsible manufacturing processes, their sales went up 122 percent, leading to company growth and new product lines. Admittedly, I don't know all the details of this case. And I don't want to wrongly accuse Scotts of any injustice. However, it goes to show that, sometimes being too big and too successful can lead to downfall.  We've all seen large companies try to protect their brands by attempting to damage new companies or other brands. However, in most cases, people see through their schemes to maintain power, reject it and reject them. In the pursuit of our dreams, let's remember to be temperate in our success. Success at the detriment of others is no success at all. When we were kids our moms always taught us to share, right? And guess what sharing did? It taught us to play fairly and with others. And through sharing our toys, other kids were more likely to share theirs. The result was, more friends to play with, and more toys too. Success is no different. Success, like a toy, is a blessing. It's not the result of our efforts solely. It's a blessing too, and blessings are meant to be shared. Otherwise they can turn into curses faster than any of us want to think. So let's protect or investments, belongings, and blessings against theft, but use discernment in doing so. After all, if those of us who possess many blessings were more willing to share them, I wonder if the rate of theft would decline?

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Work on Purpose


Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.” Leonardo da Vinci

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

Constancy: “the quality of being faithful and dependable.” New Oxford American Dictionary

God has a purpose for all of those who choose to live for it. History has seen time and again, great people succeed when they showed constancy to the purpose God made them for. How else can we explain all the bullets George Washington and Winston Churchill escaped. They should have been killed multiple times. Each man had their clothes torn by enemy bullets, and yet each man went unscathed. We could explain their safety as simple luck, or dumb fate; however, it becomes more and more difficult, and looks more and more like divine providence, when you consider what they accomplished later in life. The results of those accomplishments can be seen and felt today. I challenge all of us to study the events of human history and see if we can't see the hand of God in action. Because it's when we see God's work in our history, and in our present circumstances that we are convinced and confident that He will work in our future. And when God's power is unleashed in our lives, a new purpose is found. And it's that purpose which empowers our lives in every way. So let's search for God's work in our lives. Let's ask for God's guidance on our journey. In doing so, I'm confident we'll all be inspired to towards a purpose, a purpose that can change 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Laugh a Little : -)


Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.” Jack Handey, "Deep Thoughts," Saturday Night Live

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22

Mirth: “amusement, especially as expressed in laughter” New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes it's vital to just laugh. While serious thought and selfless actions are always important, you can lose motivation without a little mirth. Some of the most stressful times in my life were times when I laughed the most. Our mind naturally looks for coping mechanisms, or ways to ease stress, and one of the best ways to do that is to laugh. Sometimes it may even seem a little inappropriate, but that's ok. While laughter may not always cure disease, it will almost always relieve tensions, and that's healthy for your body and mind. So let's approach life with a little humor. We know we're gonna mess up so why not laugh at our shortcomings, maybe then we won't take ourselves too seriously. After all, if we didn't take ourselves so seriously we probably wouldn't get so disappointed in ourselves.  And if you're finding it hard to laugh right now, remember, laughter is pretty contagious.  So if you can, find a video on youtube of someone laughing and watch it.  You'll be laughing sooner than you think.  Here's a link that may help.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc&feature=related

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

God Helps!


“If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it.” Jonathan Winters

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5

Espoused: “adopt or support (a cause, belief, or way of life)” New Oxford American Dictionary

How many times have we heard the virtues of “self reliance” espoused. You may have even heard me talk about it before. I have always had the idea that it is important to be self reliant. Maybe it comes naturally to me because I'm a stubborn guy who never likes to ask for directions or help of any kind. I don't know. The funny thing is, as I was preparing today's message I was searching for a Bible verse about the importance of self reliance. Guess what, they don't exist! In fact the Bible talks about people who trust in themselves as being foolish. Benjamin Franklin who was a prolific writer of sayings and short quotes penned the phrase I think most people take as scripture, “God helps those who help themselves.” And I do believe there is some truth to that. You see it when Jesus told the crippled man to pick up his bed and walk. And you see it in the story of the woman seeking to be healed, desperately fighting the crowd around Christ and then throwing herself at Him, only to barely touch the hem of His robe. If we were to examine them closely, most of Jesus' miracles involved action from the person requesting His help. However, the beautiful thing is this. The only real action required was and is trust in the Lord. So in the future let's try to put our trust in God. That trust will lead to action. And our stubborn, foolish form of self reliance will transform from, us against the world to, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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, November 13, 2012

Thank You!


"Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal." Jerome Fleishman
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:35-40
Solace: “comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness” New Oxford American Dictionary
Sunday was Veterans day in the United States, and over the last couple days I've I heard many people thanking veterans for their service. And we should all be grateful for the sacrifices others make on our behalf. However, for most every veteran who is overseas working for their country there is a spouse back home that helps them through every day. Many times they go unnoticed and unthanked, but they're always there, providing solace and cheer. I want to take the time now to thank all of them, they are an integral link in the chain of a countries services. They deserve our thanks for the many difficulties they endure while their spouses are away. In most cases they did not volunteer for the trials they have to go through. But for love of their spouse and their fellow countrymen you'll never hear anything but praise from them. Behind every achievement and achiever is a support system. For our servicemen and women, that support system is the person who writes letters to a loved one, the person who says thank you to a vet, the person who volunteers for the injured soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. A support system can never be stronger than the one built on the foundation of love, and we thank you for that love. So in life, when you think you're not accomplished or that you're accomplishments are largely unnoticed, remember how many people couldn't do what they do without you. Likewise, if you're receiving praise for an accomplishment, commitment, or sacrifice, remember how many people were there to support you in your effort. And on a personal note. I'd like to thank my wife, Whitney, for the support she's always given me. Through laughter and tears she's always loved me, cared for me, and been there for me when I've needed her. Thank, you.
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, November 12, 2012

Finding Happiness!


If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!”
Matthew 6:26-30

Indolent: “wanting to avoid activity or exertion; lazy” New Oxford American Dictionary

I've been sitting here trying to write a message about how to be happy. As if I have the answer!  Sometimes I have to tell myself to get a grip and realize where the knowledge is, and it's not in me. It's so simple. Want to find happiness? Look out the window at the trees, at the morning mist over the fields and the sun shining through the faint clouds in the blue sky. Look at God's deliberate creation He's mad for us. That's where happiness is. I would love to watch TV all day and look at the shiny things people have made. And that's great, I'm proud of what humans have been able to accomplish. But those things aren't guaranteed to create happiness. Realization that God created a world full of beauty and perfection just to bring happiness to people. That's guaranteed to create happiness. What if we all became a little more indolent at trying to create our own happiness and a little more reliant on our Creator to fill our life with joy and 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hope... Provided


“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” Author Unknown

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into his grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Encumbrance: “a burden or impediment” New Oxford American Dictionary

In 1996, Ted Williams' road to success diverted down a road of alcoholism, drugs, and homelessness. He had hopes of entering the radio business and using his voice to earn a paycheck, but his dreams were encumbered by damaging addictions. As a result, for more than a decade Ted made the streets of Cleveland his home. However, in 2010 he celebrated two years of sobriety and said he found a “new sense of spirituality” to help him deal with future success. Still, Ted Williams was homeless, the damages of drug and alcohol abuse could not be undone overnight. But providentially, in the first days of 2011 a reporter of a local station discovered the “golden voiced homeless man” panhandling, and was so impressed he recorded him on video. The video went viral on YouTube and in a matter of days, if not hours, Ted Williams received high level job offers from many sources and was even interviewed on the Today show. Ted's mother, who never gave up on her son, never stopped loving him, says it was all an answer to her prayers. Ted Williams is an example of how a life can change completely is just moments. Let's try to remember Ted while we go through tough spots in life. Let's remember that we have a source of ultimate wisdom and power able to drag us out of the deepest holes if we just grab the rope. “What rope?” You may ask. The rope that God has made available for all of us. His love. His love provides true hope. It was the love of God that gave Abraham Lincoln hope during the darkest hours of civil war and gave him the ability to utter the famous line, “This too shall pass.” Whatever we're going through, whether it be challenging, sorrowful, or joyful, remember God's love is there through it all. And it's His love that provides a joy that is remarkable, astounding, and unexplainable. And it's available for all of 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thank you for reading.
Jake

PS: Continue hoping and praying for Ted Williams.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living our Purpose


It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” Edmund Hillary

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Askance: “with an attitude or look of suspicion or disapproval” New Oxford American Dictionary

To be sure, no one has ever been, is now, or ever will be perfect. But we can all be perfect representations of God's purpose for us. Consider a duck, while on dry ground they're clumsy and seemingly uncoordinated, and if that's all we ever saw of them it would be easy to look at them with askance. They would exemplify the name “ugly duckling.” But put a duck in water and they form a natural and graceful bond with the surface, put them in the air and they can inspire awe and wonder. If a Red-Breasted Merganser being recorded flying 100 miles per hour doesn't inspire you, maybe the fact that an airliner flying at 21,000 feet once struck a Mallard will. If that doesn't do it, I'm sure the migration of the Black Brant, a nonstop flight from Alaska to Baja Mexico a distance of 3,000 miles taking 60 to 72 hours will. Maybe we're not good at everything we've tried, maybe we're not good at much at all, but we're all great at something. Walking, a ducks seemingly easiest task is their most difficult, not because they are faulty creations but because that is not their purpose. Let's be inspired by ducks and ensure our lives take fantastic flight by living our 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life is Worth Living!


 “No fist is big enough to cover the sky.” African Proverb

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:2-4

Sustenance: “the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence” New Oxford American Dictionary

We've all heard the story of the wealthy man sitting behind a massive desk, the world at his proverbial fingertips, while his literal ones grasp a revolver as he contemplates taking his own life. Wondering why he feels defeated, alone, and worthless. We've all heard the story of the wealthy but desperate housewife, observing the view from her mountaintop mansion while dulling her pain with alcohol and pills. Wondering why having everything she ever wanted has failed to fulfill her heart. Chances are we've even felt that way. Chances are you're like me and have at times hated life for no apparent reason, while surrounded by blessings most citizens of this world would envy. Life has a way of disappointing. It disappoints us when we have less than what we'd like. And it disappoints us when what we have doesn't bring the satisfaction it should. The evidence shows, that when we live life for ourselves, life itself can become a miserable venture. Challenging situations and unfortunate events seem to happen for no reason and with no redeeming value. Then again, we may find success. Good fortune may fall into place and it may seem as if the universe has aligned for our benefit. Only to leave us disappointed, depressed, and angry. So what's the alternative? The alternative is to live a life of service. A life devoted to our Maker and our fellow creations. A life devoted to something bigger than ourselves. A life of love. I'm not trying to convince anyone that when we live for something greater than ourselves, sadness will somehow disappear and all will be well, all the time. However, when we live for a higher purpose, tragedies and failures can become more bearable. When we live for a higher purpose we understand there is a reason for the circumstances in our lives that transcends solitary events. We know we're making a difference for others. We know we're making life a little better. We know that we're spreading love. And we know that, while our home on earth may not be much, we have the inheritance of a home above us that far exceeds this world in every possible way. So instead of merely trying to improve our lives for the sake of personal pleasures; let's try to improve our perspective on life by focusing on the sky above and make the good news of Christ our sustenance and His love is our fulfillment. In doing so, we will ensure life will be worth living. That our fist will never darken someone else's sun. That purpose will always prevail. And that love will always be felt.

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

E Pluribus Unum


“We sow a thought we reap an action, we sow an action we reap a character, we sow a character we reap a life, we sow a life we reap a destiny.”  Sinclair Ferguson

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

Principle:  “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

E Pluribus Unum, is a latin phrase found on the Great Seal of the United States which translated to english states, “Out of many, one.”  Today we vote.  Today we are many.  Tomorrow we are one.  That’s what it means to live in a democratic representative republic.  Every few years we get to decide who we want to lead this great nation.  By that I mean, we get to choose a person to represent us, to lead us, and in some cases direct us.  But let’s not forget our origins.  They can be seen in our flag, in our seals, and in our characters.  The United States of America is a unique country.  Our founders would not settle for mediocrity in liberty.  They fought and died for liberty from Great Britain.  Not because it would create a substantially better life for people in the American Colonies, although for some it may have.  Not because Great Britain was horribly tyrannical, although at times it may have been.  But because they believed in liberty and chose to fight for it.  They believed in principle and volunteered to die for it.  In life there are things so valuable they are worth fighting for and defending.  Among those things are the Godly principles people around the world share.  We may not share faiths, but there are principles which are unanimously agreed upon that cross cultural and philosophical boundaries.  You’d be hard pressed to find a respected person who doesn’t believe murder is wrong, that stealing is wrong, that lying is wrong that cheating on a spouse is wrong, that children should respect good parents, that people should not be enslaved to their work, or that people should’t live their lives in jealousy of others.  Those are the basic interpersonal values upon which most societies around this globe are based.  Those are the principles this country is founded on.  Those are the principles of our maker.  But there is one principle that they’re all founded on.  That is the principle of LOVE.  When asked what the greatest commandment in the law was.  Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40.  So when we vote, let’s remember one thing.  Love.  It was brought to many by One and it’s the only thing that can bring one from many.

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

We Have This Hope


I have a tremendous amount of hope, because I believe in Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead.” Billy Graham

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, Psalms 33:18

Hope: “grounds for believing that something good may happen” New Oxford American Dictionary

We live in a world where hope seems to be a fading commodity. Politicians and leaders promise hope, but it's seen as mere rhetoric at best. At worst, it's seen as a bold lie. The very word “hope” brings with it skepticism and doubt. And why wouldn't it? Everywhere we look we see wars, famines, floods, pollution, and even the threat of global warming. You name it, if it can ruin your life, it's out there and it's a threat. But we have a hope that can surpass all doubts and depression, a hope that nullifies the woes of this world. What is death if it means we get to be permanent residents of heaven? When life seems like a hopeless existence full of toils and turmoils, remember we have a Heavenly Father that has guided this world through disasters, wars, and catastrophes before. He can, has, is, and will guide it again. Ultimately He promises a new world. One without the effects of sin. One where hope is unnecessary, because what was and could ever be justifiably hoped for, is a reality. Living for that world can change our perspective on everything in this world. Living for that world makes hope a reality and not a dream. Living for that world means, “The peace of God, which passeth all understand, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 Let's live for that world. And in that way, exchange the ever promised but rarely fulfilled hopes of this world for a hope that will forever make a difference.

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, November 2, 2012

Go Live Life!


If something's important enough, you do it, even if the odds aren't in your favor.” Elon Musk

And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:9-10

Animation: “the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness” New Oxford American Dictionary

Go live life,” read the note by the door of a Gary's apartment. Gary had been an executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield. He was by all accounts a successful man. But sometimes our success has no bearing on our life. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And sometimes they take everything away. As it happens, Gary had been in a car accident that took his ability to remember recent events. If you can think of your brain kind of like a computer, we have basically two types of memory, short term and long term. The long term is like the hard drive of your computer, it stores the things important to you, the things you want to remember for a later date. The short term is like the computer memory, often called RAM or random access memory. It's what holds the functioning commands of your computer, so that it knows what to do when you double click on your internet icon for example. Our short term memory acts in the same way. It is how our brain knows to tell us we need to build a fire to stay warm, or go to bed when we're sleepy. The things our parents taught us as we grew up to be functioning people are stored in our short term memory, so that we act instinctively and without thinking when we're accomplishing simple tasks. That part of Gary's brain did not function any longer. It had to be replaced. So the part of his memory used to make everyday simple decisions was relegated to sticky notes. Things that come as second nature to us he had be told to do. Things like, “brush your teeth,” “take a shower,” “or go to bed.” He needed those notes to remind him of how to live. But to me, the most telling note, the one we could all learn from, is the one by his front door. “Go live life.” It would have been easy for Gary to give up. Life is terrifying when you don't know what to do. But he couldn't give up. He had to solve his problem and press forward. He had to live life. For many of us, life is terrifying as well. It's easier to stay home and watch re-runs of Seinfeld or Lost. But that's not living, that's not producing, that's not making a difference in the world. In order to leave our mark on this world, we have to “Go live life.” The world can't change with our thoughts alone. It changes with our actions. We could all use Gary's sticky note by our doors. So many of us are afraid to fail, we don't know what to do, so we never try. And there are some of us who our so busy with work, play, or whatever, that we forget to really live life. Most of us have something that's holding us back from our dreams. Whether they be publishing our book, starting a non-profit foundation, or building a well in Africa. So let's take a note from this man with limited memory, go live life, become animated, and see what miracles await. God has them waiting just for us, and they're incredibly exciting to find!

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