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, January 31, 2013

Jabberwocky


“You can’t see greed in the mirror.”  Andy Stanley

He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  Hebrews 7:25

Jabberwocky:  “Meaningless speech or writing”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Today is the 31st of Manuary 2013.  No, that wasn’t a typo.  Over the last month I and a few others have been celebrating Manuary.  In it we concentrate on what it means to be a godly man.  What characteristics they have, and what qualities God wants us to live by.  It’s been a great month.  A month to learn, not only what God wants from me and His men, but also where I’m lacking.  I always know I’m on to something when I struggle with the things I write about.  For example, I’ll write about how we need to control our tempers.  What do you think happens next?  I struggle with my temper.  I told my wife that it’s either the devil trying to convince me that I’m not qualified to talk about some things, since I struggle with them myself, or that it’s God humbling me.  She said that she thought it was the latter.  That hurt a little bit, but I think she’s right.  I know she’s right.  Certainly the devil will try to convince anyone who is doing the Lord’s work that they aren’t qualified.  However, whenever we espouse a value of God’s, He will make sure to show us how we can be doing better.  And that’s a good thing, He doesn’t want everything we say to be a bunch of jabberwocky.  Because sin is a part of this world, as leaders for God, we will be hypocritical.  That kinda sucks to hear and say, but God knows that more than you or I.  However, God is going to grow us.  If I’m having a problem with anger one day, that doesn’t disqualify me from saying that people shouldn’t let their anger get out of control.  What it does, is it forces me to take a hard look at my difficulties, the difficulties I can’t see by just looking in the mirror.  Talking about them has a way of bringing them into the light.  Then I have and pray that God helps me out.  And that’s what God really wants.  He wants to help us through and with our difficulties.  He knows we can’t fix our problems on our own.  If we could, the cross would have been in vain.  Most of all, God wants a relationship with us.  That’s why He wants us doing His work in the first place.

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, January 30, 2013

Discouragement's Motivations


“People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily.”  Zig Ziglar

Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21

Discourage:  “to deprive of courage or confidence”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Discouragement is all around us.  The other day I caught a glimpse of a show on TV about real estate.  The realtor featured was a woman who specialized in high end residences in New York City.  One of the apartments the show featured, she said, would rent for $100,000 dollars a month!  I did the math quickly in my head and realized that amounted to 1.2 million dollars a year.  And New York is filled with thousands of apartments like these.  My immediate thought was, “who are all these people who can afford this?  What in the world do they do?”  Well I still don’t have the answer to that question.  I suppose they could be athletes, stock brokers, VP’s, and the list could continue.  But what is the difference between a person able to afford $100,000 a month on rent and the rest of us?  Why is a kid who grew up in the inner city with nothing, more likely to end up earning less than a kid who grew up in a gated community provided with everything?  Is it because one is smarter than the other?  You couldn’t convince any kid from the inner city of that.  Is it because one has more opportunities than the other?  Maybe in some cases, but poor kids can usually get a free education if they try.  So what is it?  It’s motivation.  It’s discouragement.  It’s hopefulness.  It’s purpose.  It’s belief!  It’s what we believe in that drives our achievements.  If you believe that there’s no future for you anywhere but on the streets, you will probably successfully accomplish that belief.  If you believe a 100k a month apartment belongs in your future.  You’re much more likely to do what it takes to achieve it.  But who cares whether a person lives in a small apartment or a large house?  Does that really matter?  Not when you die.  Here’s what really matters.  If you believe that God has a plan for you, you’re absolutely, positively, 100 percent, right!  Everything I said earlier about socio-economic status and its affects are true.  But no one can guarantee they’ll be able to reach a certain level of wealth or influence.  More likely than not, we won’t get what we believe we deserve.  Certainly, the things of this world will disappoint us.  But living God’s purpose...  I’d like to say that it will never disappoint.  But it will.  As long as we focus on our stats.  If you’re a preacher, counting your congregation can often feel no different than a lawyer counting their money.  But our stupid stats don’t mean much to God.  What does it mean if you’ve only saved a single soul when that soul is worth more than all the treasures of this world?  What does it mean if you’ve never preached a sermon when you live in a way that changes the lives of your co-workers?  Yes, discouragement is all around us if we choose to see it.  However, it becomes harder to see when we’re motivated by God’s purpose and not by our numbers.

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, January 29, 2013

The Cause And Effect, Affect


“Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;”
Robert Robinson (from his song Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.  Hebrews 3:4

Affect:  “a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Effect:  “power to bring about a result”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

At this moment I can feel the swaying of the ship.  I’m not even on the ship anymore!  It’s been almost an entire day since I’ve been on a cruise vacation with my family, but I still feel its affects.  And that’s how all of life is, isn’t it?  Not only could I feel the effects of the ocean when I was at sea, I can still feel them here on my living room couch.  I think we all understand the affects of the ocean.  It’s the most powerful force of nature here on earth.  But what about us?  What power do we carry?  What possible affect could we have?  I just read an article in Relevant Magazine by Tyler Charles, called Suicidal Tendencies.  It stated that the second leading cause of death among american college students and americans 25 to 35 years old is suicide.  Why?  Because we’re ignoring hurt.  We’re ignoring what causes it, who has it, and what fixes it.  We do have a power.  It’s a power that is even greater than the power of the sea.  We have words, actions, and attitudes.  Our words can cut like knives.  Our actions can destroy like wrecking balls.  And our attitudes can affect a lifetime.  But we also have the ability to cause good.  Our words can lift a spirit.  Our actions can build a life.  And our attitudes show a character.  However, what we do with the powers we posses is a result of what’s affecting us.  So if we sway when we walk, maybe it’s because we’ve been effected by the tides of the ocean.  If we say a kind word, maybe it’s because we’ve been affected by God’s grace.  If we have a hateful attitude, maybe it’s because...  We do have an affect and an effect on this world.  And it’s what we choose to be affected by that determines our impact.  I’m reminded of what Joshua told the Israelites when he became their leader.  He said, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15  And it’s serving the LORD that has made all the difference.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I helps 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, January 23, 2013

Integral Improvements


If God is your partner, make your plans big!  D.L. Moody

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:20

Integral:  “essential to completeness”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Yesterday I bought some new memory for my wife’s computer.  She is a photographer and relies on her computer to do her work.  Without it, there is no way she could do her job effectively.  It’s pretty simple when it comes to my wife’s business.  She needs her computer and whatever other tools of her trade to function well at all times.  But when it comes to us, we often can’t find that same insight.  We often forget that we require care just like anything else.  This is especially a problem in the United States.  We wonder why our health care system doesn’t keep people alive longer or doesn’t keep our population free of disease.  So while we pump money into medicating the symptoms we often forget about the problem.  People aren’t taking care of their bodies.  I work for the US Air Force.  The Air Force has adopted a fitness policy that hinges on four discernible aspects it sees as vital to whole health.  They are, physical, spiritual, mental, and social.  If any one of these attributes of fitness is neglected the whole health of the person is in jeopardy.  I’ll tell you this, in the Air Force I bet less than ten percent could list those four attributes of fitness, but everyone could tell you how important physical fitness is.  Why?  Because the Air Force requires that we all perform a physical fitness test at least once a year, and twice for many.  No universal test exists for any of the other aspects of fitness.  You may be wondering why, but as you do, think about your fitness program.  Does it include being healthy in all areas?  The church focuses rightly on spiritual health, then social and mental, often forgetting completely about physical health.  But the physicality of our bodies really can impact every other facet of our health.  Like memory in a computer, it’s integral to our fitness.  I bought memory for my wife’s computer yesterday, not because it will in all situations change anything at all.  However, it will give the entire system the ability to do more with what it has, and allow it to more easily reach peak performance.  So with this simple example in mind, I’ll leave us with a couple questions.  Is there an easy way we can improve our ability to do more with what we have?  If God needed peak performance from us, would we be able to deliver?

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, January 22, 2013

Say Yes!


“Take the first step in faith, you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.   But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14

Esoteric:  “requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

It’s been said, and I’m sure you’ve heard, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  I think it’s more accurate to say that it begins with a “yes.”  And I bet that right now you’re thinking this is going to be a message that could be summed up with Nike’s slogan of “Just Do It!”  You’d be mistaken.  It’s a message about doing the hard things.  That doesn’t sound very encouraging though does it?  But keep going.  Everything good in my life has been a result of saying yes.  I’m blessed with a job that required I say yes to basic training.  Which for me seemed unknown and somewhat daunting.  My life has been forever changed because my wife and I said yes to adoption.  Even though we had no idea how we were going to do it.  And what you’re reading now is a result of saying yes to God.  Not knowing where it would lead and how much sleep I’d forgo.  However, don’t mistake me for meaning that “yes” always leads to success.  I’ve also gone through some troubles in my life as a result of saying yes.  I won’t go into those right now, they’re not very uplifting or encouraging and their’s not much point.  One thing I’ve leaned from those experiences however, is that, the easy yeses almost always lead to hard lessons.  It’s the hard yeses that lead to reward.  It’s easy to say yes to sex when you’re a teenager.  I guarantee it will bring challenges.  It’s easy to say yes to more money at work.  Often that money comes at a much larger price.  It’s easy to say yes to another drink.  It’s not so easy figuring out how to recover from a DUI.  I guess it comes down to this.  Saying yes to receiving almost always comes with a cost, while saying yes to giving always brings reward.  That’s why giving feels so good.  That’s why we sleep better after a good day of hard work.  And that’s why the greatest satisfaction is found in serving others.  Remember how I just said saying yes to receiving “almost” always comes with a cost?  There is something we can receive that brings it’s own reward.  That is the grace of God through His Son Jesus.  He is the only one that can freely give.  We’ll never see the entire staircase of God’s plan for us, but taking the first step in faith with a “yes” makes all the difference.  I’m reminded of the the famous lines of Robert Frost.  “Two roads diverged in a wood and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Monday, January 21, 2013

"I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King Jr.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

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."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Great Battle


“Each of us feels that we are just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that missing drop.”  Mother Teresa

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 6:12

Camelot:  “Any idyllic place or period, especially one of great happiness.”  Dictionary.com

Ever try doing what is right?  Ever try setting a good example?  Ever try being influential for God, for what is right, for what is good?  Then you know it’s hard.  Not necessarily doing what is right, or being a good example, or being influential for God.  What is hard is doing those things when no one is looking.  Doing those things where no one can look.  Doing those things in our heart.  Yesterday I wrote on my Facebook page that we should avoid destructive behavior.  Guess how I acted this morning?  You guessed it, destructively.  Has that ever happened to you?  When that happens, does that mean we should give up on trying to do what is right, set good examples, and be influential for God.  No.  No...  A thousand times no.  You know what that means?  That means we’re on to something.  There’s a saying we’ve all heard.  People use it every time we state how something should be or how something should be done.  “Easier said than done.”  It’s a saying that has been discouraging good works for centuries now.  Yes, it is easier to say that we should avoid destructive behavior than actually avoiding destructive behavior.  It is easier to say that we should control our temperaments than to actually control them.  But just because something is harder to do than say, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do them.  Everything is harder to do than say.  It was hard to go to the moon.  And it will be hard for us to be the people God wants us to be.  But we have to try.  There will be setbacks and hurdles.  We will fail and fall.  But we have to persevere.  Not all of life will be like Camelot, but God will see us through the fight.

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, January 17, 2013

God is Forgiving


“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”  Victor Hugo from Les Miserables

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalms 23:4 KJV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36 NIV

Dream:  “something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I’m sure you’ve heard the song I Dreamed a Dream from Victor Hugo’s great Les Miserables.  It is perhaps one of the most heart wrenching songs ever written.  Faced with disappointment, despair, and sorrow Fantine does her best to rip your heart out with her list of dreams that life has killed.  But there’s one line in the song I can’t get over, that breaks my heart, it’s a line that sadly I hear all to often.  “I dreamed that God would be forgiving.”  It breaks my heart to pieces because it says that because we go through sorrow, because our dreams are broken, that because our hearts are broken; God is not forgiving.  Nothing...  Not one thing could be farther from the truth.  Yes, life will break us, will torment us, will disappoint us.  But God does forgive, God does care, and God does redeem.  In life we reap what evil has sowed.  Sometimes we’re the ones who’ve sowed it, sometimes another.  However, Jesus did the ultimate reaping on the cross.  Being perfect, He died in the worst way.  He did not deserve that!  But He endured it anyway.  And do you know why? For us, whom He calls His joy.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  We have a rescue from the pains of this world.  We have a Savior through whom God freely forgave us if we accept.  And while our life may not be what we dreamed it could be.  If we run this race with patience, with our eyes on Jesus; we will be saved.  The Son has risen and the sun will rise.  That’s no dream.  Salvation is free.  Yes, God is forgiving.

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, January 16, 2013

Performing for Purpose


“If a man can take moldy bread and make penicillin out of it, consider what a loving God can make out of you.”  Mohamed Ali
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!  1 John 3:1a
Performance:  “the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary
There’s a scene in the movie Seabiscuit that always makes me emotional.  It shows the horses racing headlong around the last bend in the track, nostrils flared, eyes intense, pushing with all they have.  It makes me emotional because there is a effort in it that is rarely seen.  Seabiscuit was not supposed to win.  He was a small gangly horse that was often the butt of jokes in the stable during the beginning of his career.  He was known to be lazy and he liked to eat a lot.  As a result, he didn’t start out as a great race horse, however, that’s what he became.  I can’t help but think it’s because this country needed him.  It was the depression era and hope seemed to elude most Americans.  We needed overachievers and underdogs.  We needed hope.  For many that’s what Seabiscuit was.  He had a spirit that inspired a nation.  He performed for us and we still remember.  Performance is always inspirational.  That’s why millions of us watch professional sports and hang our emotions on the outcomes of games and people we don’t have anything to do with.  We want to see our favorite athlete overachieve.  We want to see them do something great.  We want them to perform.  And that’s what God made us all to do.  He made us to perform.  Of course we can’t all be professional athletes, but we can perform at what God made us for.  Maybe God made us to be a shoulder to lean on, to be a mother, a father, or a writer.  There are countless roles God made His creation for.  You and I have one too.  Are we performing, are we overachieving, are we inspiring with our efforts?  Imagine life as a race and it’s our purpose we’re racing for.  Would we be coming around the last bend giving it everything?  Seabiscuit had nothing to run for.  He didn’t get any of the winnings.  Notoriety didn’t matter to him.  He was a horse.  Racing was his purpose and he gave it everything he had.  That’s what makes me emotional about it.  That’s why people still go to movies about him.  We are children of God.  He made us for a purpose.  Are we giving our purpose everything we have?
Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I lean 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, January 15, 2013

The Beneficiary of Satisfaction


"It's not what they're doing to you, but what you're not doing." Bill Cosby

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  James 1:23-25

Exploit: "a notable or heroic act" Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Sometimes it's easy to start to feel like the world is stacked against you, like there us a class of people that don't care about you, or care only enough to ensure your productivity for them.  It's easy to wonder why liars and cheats can get rich while decent, honest people struggle to get by on the leftovers of the corrupt.  However, that attitude is a trap that will only serve to ensure you remain a servant of the elite.  The only difference between the so called "successful" and the nine to five worker is action.  You may never have a million dollars, a house on a hill, or an exotic automobile; but we all have a heavenly father that created us to exist as equals.  Not in talents, abilities, or looks; but in purpose.  Taking action on your dreams with the knowledge of your purpose will ensure that you will never be the victim of someone else's success, but the beneficiary of your own satisfaction. 

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, January 14, 2013

What's Your Royal Jelly?


“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” St. John Chrysostom

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Transcend: "to rise above or go beyond the limits of" Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

For two days nurse bees feed a female bee larvae royal jelly, after that they feed them pollen sometimes also known as bee’s bread.  But every once in a while the nurse bees continue feeding a female larvae royal jelly until she spins a cocoon, and when she emerges she is a queen.  What is our royal jelly?  To the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst."  John 4:13-14  Jesus offered her "living water." Jesus offers us all His living water, it's our royal jelly to transform us from ordinary to extraordinary creatures of God, transcended from what we once were.  Let's make an effort to ask for the living water that is eternal and put our mortal quenching into it's proper perspective.  To Satan in the desert, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4  It is not only the physical things of this world that empower us, it is the spiritual as well.  The physical nutrients of this world give us the ability to live in this world.  But it’s the spiritual things, like God’s Royal Jelly, that give us the ability to thrive, to be more than who we could be on our own.  Let’s be more than who we are!

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, January 11, 2013

Courage to Grow, Courage to Serve


“Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.” Tom Krouse

David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20 

Fidelity: "the quality or state of being faithful" Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

For most of his reign, King David wanted to build a grand temple to God.  A temple to replace the tent that made up the Jewish tabernacle.  If anyone could have done it, it was David and he longed to do it, because he knew he could.  I imagine him lying awake at night with thoughts of a magnificent temple running through his mind.  It would be a temple that honored God with a grandness that would be known throughout the world.  But God had different plans.  He told David he could not build the temple because of the blood on his hands.  Instead, God put the responsibility on Solomon to build His temple.  However, apparently Solomon must have had some reservations and fears, being a new ruler with little experience as a contractor, because in 1 Chronicles 28 we can hear David giving his son a pep talk of sorts to encourage him.  Sometimes we all need that little pep talk.  Wether it's a promotion at work, requesting a home loan, or even riding a motorcycle on the freeway for the first time.  Learning new things and growing as a human can be scary.  But it helps to remember we've got the Almighty in our corner and He's got our back.  God wants us to be His employees, His contractors, His representatives.  How cool is it that God wants us to do His work?  Lets not be afraid of challenges, because in doing His work He will never leave us without courage, and without wisdom, as long as it's requested. 

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, January 10, 2013

Credit... Who Needs It?


"The most important thing for a young man is to establish credit - a reputation and character."  John D. Rockefeller 

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2

Esteem:  "the regard in which someone is held"  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Most people want to receive credit for their actions; at least the good ones.  But for many, no matter what they do, public credit ma never come.  Politicians abound on radio and TV seeking credit for something they've done or accomplished, usually at the same time trying to discredit someone else for their actions or lack of accomplishment.  One of the highest regarded politicians in American history is President John F. Kennedy.  He is noted and takes much credit for destroying segregation in the US with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  He is also credited for greatly weakening organized crime in the United States, and skillfully handling a nuclear emergency during the Cuban missile crises.  But without his little brother, Robert, JFK would likely have never achieved those three things.  RFK was the instigator, motivator, and enabler of those accomplishments.  After the Cuban missile crises John Kennedy even commented, "Thank God for Bobby."  While Robert Kennedy is also a beloved figure in American politics and gets much credit today, at the time he felt very overshadowed by his family and felt very insignificant.  Rarely getting much credit at all.  So much so that, after JFK's death, before giving a speech to a cheering crowd on his senate campaign trail, he lamented, "They're cheering for John."  No matter what our ideas or accomplishments may be, let's remember, credit is not the reason for action; results are.  We may never get much credit for what we do, but if we act according to our conscious, with integrity and good will, we will be highly esteemed.  To the wise, that is worth far more. 

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, January 9, 2013

Heroes and Tragedy


“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13

Dauntless:  “invulnerable to fear or intimidation”

“December seven, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy.”  Those were very serious words spoken in a very serious moment.  And truer words have rarely been spoken.  In that statement, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke like he knew his country and the world had been forever changed.  He was right, and the attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor and across Hawaii that day accomplished the opposite the empire of Japan intended.  Instead of tearing apart their foe, they galvanized an opponent against their desires to dominate the pacific with tyranny.  That day, though tragic in the moment brought heroism out in so many, creating countless men and women who were dauntless in their efforts to help those around them.  We can all take an example of the heroes who showed their true colors during the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.  No one knew who the heroes were on December six, but millions know of their heroism decades later.  Who knows the heroes we share our lives with today?  Do we have what it takes to be the heroes of tomorrow?  Can we say we are watchful, standing firm in the faith?  I think we all have what it takes to be heroic.  We just need a cause.  And what better a cause than 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 forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And the Winner Is...


“To see the fight and resolve in these young people is really something special.  After these visits we don’t feel like we’ve helped anyone as much as we feel they have helped us see life a little more clearly.”  Tony Dungy

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Propinquity:  “nearness in place or time: proximity”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In 1995 Paul and Angela Brunette started a project called Basket of Hope after their six year old daughter Christina was diagnosed with cancer.  Fortunately Christina survived her illness, but along the way had to endure hardships and pain many of us will never know.  Unfortunately, there are thousands of children who are going through the hardships of cancer and serious illnesses every day.  As healthy people, God has given us the ability to help those in need.  Basket of Hope is an organization that does just that.  The mission of Basket of Hope is, in their words, “To give hope that comes from Jesus to newly diagnosed children and their families affected by cancer or other serious illnesses, primarily by delivery of a Basket of Hope filled with inspirational materials to nourish them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”  You may have never heard of the organization before, but they’ve been uplifting families for over a decade now with the help of supporters like Super Bowl winning coach, Tony Dungy, their spokesman.  Because of people like Coach Dungy and his propinquity to the Super Bowl, Basket of Hope was able to spawn a project called Super Baskets of Hope, a project that used the high profile of Super Bowl XLVI to gain publicity and support.  Because of the Super Bowl, Super Baskets of Hope was able to deliver 7000 Baskets of Hope to sick children in 32 NFL city children’s hospitals.  By now I’m sure you know that the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21 to 17, but I think you would agree with me, the real winners of Super Bowl XLVI may not have ever stepped onto a football field.

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, January 3, 2013

Tough and Competent


Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.Alex Karras

He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Isaiah 40:29

Competence: “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently” New Oxford American Dictionary

”Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: Tough and Competent. Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write ‘Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.” These are the words spoken by Gene Kranz to his mission control team the monday after the fire of Apollo 1 killed all three of it's crew members. I couldn't dream of improving upon his point so I won't try. But what if we made the words, “Tough and Competent” our motto?

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, January 2, 2013

Finding Motivation


When I quote others I do so in order to express my own ideas more clearly.” Michel de Montaigne

We love Him because He first loved us.
 1 John 4:19

Axiom: “a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true” New Oxford American Dictionary

When the Packers and the Steelers won their respective division championships, I have no doubt players on both teams were elated. The win gave them a chance to play in the biggest game of the season, Super Bowl XLV, for the chance to be named the best team in the National Football League. However, only one team can win, so for some, what was happiness to be playing, was turned to misery by defeat. And so it is for everyone, moments of complete joy are offset by sorrow and moments of victory by defeat. But for every negative emotion and every failure, there are reminders that happiness and accomplishment are just around the corner. That's why I chose today's quote. There is a Chinese proverb that states. “Good sayings are like pearls strung together.” And the French moralist Joseph Joubert once said, “Proverbs may be said to be the abridgment of wisdom.” Whatever our mood, whatever our predicament, it is good to realize there are sources of wisdom that can help lift our spirits and enlighten our minds. That's why I chose today's Bible verse, it is an axiom that gets to the heart of our relationship with God and the greatest motivation for life; that is love. Like Zig Ziglar says, “If you're somebody to anybody, you're somebody.” We're all somebody, let's remember 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 of?
  6. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  7. What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading.
Jake