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, February 21, 2013

What's Your Religion?


“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is, love, compassion, and forgiveness; the important thing is, they should be part of our daily lives.”  Dalai Lama

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.  Jude 1:24-25

Apropos:  “fitting; at the right time; to the purpose; opportunely.”  Dictionary.com

What is our highest allegiance?  What is our religion?  What do we worship?  The knee jerk reaction to these questions from many will be: God; Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, or some other religion; and our Maker.  But is that true?  Is God our highest allegiance?  Is our stated religion really our religion?  Do we really worship The Creator?  Maybe...  If you’ve read very much of what I’ve written I’m sure you’ve figured out I’m a Christian.  That’s the reason I’m writing this right now in fact.  However, I can guarantee that I don’t always act like God is my highest allegiance.  I guarantee I don’t always act like a Christian.  And sadly, I know I get caught worshiping things other than God.  And I don’t think I’m too different than many other people.  That’s why so often we see Christians on the battlefield fighting one another “For God and Country.”  That’s why we see Christians suing one another and enacting “cut throat” business policies.  And when we’re successful we have the audacity to say that we’re blessed by God.  Yes God does bless us and what we have we should always consider a blessing from God.  However, does God bless us in overcoming a rival business?  Does He bless us in defeating an innocent enemy?  I’m not condemning all war.  While we should all pray that war didn’t exist, it will continue to be justified as long as evil is present in this world.  What I’m saying is this.  We need to not only be introspective people, we need to invite God into our hearts, invite Him to inspect us.  Too often introspection leads to self worship and aggrandizement.  I say that out of experience.  It’s hard to see our own faults.  It’s difficult to open ourselves up to having our faults pointed out.  It’s humbling to have our grand ideas of ourselves crushed.  What we often fail to realize, is that we are constantly being scrutinized anyway.  Our friends, family, and God can see us.  Often it’s like we’re in this game of hide and seek with our faults.  They’re out there for everyone to see.  But we still deny them.  We’ll even claim they don’t exist, until we’re caught.  Let’s agree to be humble.  Let’s do our best to not just open ourselves up for inspection, but be willing to accept the results.  And most of all, let’s let God into our hearts.  He’s the only one that can effectively find a fault and then clean it out.  We want to be faultless right?  Let’s introduce Him who is able to present us faultless into our hearts and lives.  Let's make worshiping Him our religion.

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, February 20, 2013

Following God


“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.”  C.S. Lewis

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

Tensile:  “capable of being stretched or drawn out; ductile.”  Dictionary.com

Follow God’s lead...  What does that mean for us in this day in age?  To be completely honest, I’m not sure I can tell you what that means.  I know I can’t tell you what the path is going to look like.  This is what it includes however.  Following God’s lead includes acting like a follower of God.  That means we listen to Him.  It means we communicate with Him.  And it means we focus on good.  It means that we value the word of God.  We have a Bible that’s been proven over and over, it is the most tried book of all time, and it is the most verified book ever.  It means we use our voice, inner and outer, to talk to God.  Prayer has always been a part of the lives of God’s followers.  It may not always bring the answers we want, or any answer at all for that matter, but since when have we ever really known what we need.  It means we focus on good things.  There is a time and place for pessimism.  However, it’s always with other people.  When we’re walking with the Lord we can know that whatever happens is His will.  Somehow that brings peace to troubling times.  Does following God always bring happiness?  For many of us, not really.  Is following God always easy?  For most of us, no.  Does following God have a worthwhile destination?  For all of us, definitely.  You see, God has a destination that is unimaginable.  For most of us, death is the ultimate shaker of our faith.  However, should it be?  For those following God, death is just an offramp to His presences.  Those who leave us just happen to get off a little before us.  Now I know that’s extremely easy for me to say.  And I don’t want to take death lightly.  But for me it’s comforting to know that death is just a path towards a great destination God has in store for us.  So no matter where you are, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, you too can follow God.  His destination is out of this world, it’s beyond our dreams, and it is good.  It’s a goal worthwhile and with Him it’s within our grasp.  There will be struggles, but His strength gives us the tensility to be stretched.  When we put our trust in Him, He won’t let us break.  It’s never too late to dream a new dream!

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, February 19, 2013

War... What Is It Good For?


“I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it is laid on another man’s back.”  Abraham Lincoln

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Veracity:  “habitual observance of truth in speech or statement; truthfulness”  Dictionary.com

Remember the song War made famous by Edwin Starr?  “War... What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!”  Those words reflected the consciousness of many in the 60s and 70s.  It was a protest song against the Vietnam War and has continued to be a battle cry for anti-war activists ever since.  And we need to ask the question, “War... What is it good for?”  But is the answer, “Absolutely nothing?”  Not really.  I don’t think anybody really thinks that.  What we all hate, is the feeling of being used, abused, and hurt for no apparent reason.  Blood has been needlessly spilled in the history of humanity.  Wars have been waged without due cause.  And pride has foolishly hindered peace.  However, war has already been declared on us.  War was declared in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived Adam and Eve, convincing them that eating of the forbidden fruit would not actually harm them.  That was a lie.  How many lies are we being bombarded with today?  The answer is, more than one.  For some, the smell of a Burger King comes with the lie that, “A Whopper isn’t going to do any harm today.”  For some, “One last drink will be ok,” may be their lie.  And for others, hitting the snooze button one more time, may come with the lie that gets them fired.  You see, we are all lied to everyday.  We are confronted with truths that aren’t really truths at all.  They’re myths in the form of wisdom.  War is being waged on us as we speak.  So what good is war?  It’s good for saving our lives.  The Bible states in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  It’s easy sometimes to wave the white flag.  After all, acting a certain way, abstaining from certain things, could make us look like we’re trying to be better than others.  That’s a lie too.  “Flee the evil desires of youth, pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2:22.  We are at war, in our hearts and minds.  Some choose to fight, some choose to surrender.  And it is the result of that spiritual war that results in our physical wars.  Lets pray that soon enough the words “War... What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!” will be true.  Joseph Goebbels, the famed Nazi propagandist, stated that “Faith in ourselves will guide us to final victory.”  That’s the lie we all are dealing with.  It’s the lie at the root of all other lies.  It’s the lie that leads to war and death and hardship and suffering.  Please, let’s stop believing that lie.  Please, let’s start believing Jesus when He said, “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father accept through Me.”  John 14:6

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, February 15, 2013

Knowing


To love You - Take my world apart.
To need You - I am on my knees.
To love You - Take my world apart.
To need You - Broken on my knees.
(From the song Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.  Jeremiah 1:5

Obnubilate:  “to cloud over; becloud; obscure.”  Dictionary.com

The other day my wife bought a children’s toy for the kids that come over to our house from time to time.  In the bottom of the box was a little booklet that was filled with wise questions and observations that only kids can make.  One was a conversation between two year old Sebastian and his mother.  The conversation went like this.  Sebastian:  “Do you get younger as I get older?”  Mom:  “No, we both just get older.”  Sebastian:  “Hmmm... Well, then where was I before I was here?”  That’s a good question, one who’s answer has been obnubilated by our separation from God.  It’s a question that the Psalmist King David asks as well.  I’ll let his prayer speak for itself.

Psalm 139
LORD, you have examined me and you know me.
You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
You are all round me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
You knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.

Where could I go to escape from you?
Where could I get away from your presence?
If I went up to heave, you would be there;
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in the west,
you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
or the light around me to turn into night,
but even darkness is not dark for you, 
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there-
you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.
O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
how many of them there are!
If I counted them, they would be more that the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.

O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked!
How I wish violent people would leave me alone!
They say wicked things about you;
they speak evil things against your name.
O LORD, how I hate those who hate you!
How I despise those who rebel against you!
I hate them with a total hatred;
I regard them as enemies.

Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
test me, and discover my thoughts.
Find out if there is any evil in me 
and guide me in the everlasting way.

I pray that we all find our need for the One who loves us more than is imaginable.

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 do I want to accomplish tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fear

“It is not always possible in this life to do great things, but we can always do small things with great love.”  Mother Teresa

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3

Heartstring:  “The deepest emotions or affections ”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What in the world does fear have to do with Valentines day?  Fear and love go hand in hand.  Can you remember when you liked someone in school?  I don’t know about you, but liking somebody meant that I was pretty much deathly afraid of them.  And it was more like to manifest itself in punching than in hugging.  Fear comes with love because love can be rejected and our hearts can be broken.  Fear comes with love because love exposes our heartstrings.  Love exposes who we are at our deepest levels.  It tells of our motivations and our emotions.  Today, let’s not let fear get in the way of our love.  Today let’s act on our love.  It doesn’t have to be the type of love a couple shares.  It could be the love we have for our co-workers.  The love we have for orphans, both here and abroad.  Or, of course, it could be the love we have for our mates.  Whatever it is, don’t let fear get in the way.  We may not have the ability to do something that will change the world or go viral on youtube.  However, we do have the ability to do like Mother Teresa said and do something small with great love.  Maybe it’s just taking the Apostle Paul’s example and telling someone we thank God for them.  Maybe it’s a donation to a charitable organization.  Or may it’s committing our lives and our love to the One who loves us most.  The One who died for us.  If we do, I guarantee the love we manifest in our lives won't be contained to Valentines Day.

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, February 13, 2013

Entitlement vs Dependency

“Entitlement leads to weakness and weakness facilitates dependency and dependency is the mother of tyranny.”  Unknown Navy Seal

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Entitlement:  “belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

There is a saying you’ve probably heard.  My mom would always quote it to me when I faced problems to overcome.  She would say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  Now, to be honest, many of the problems I faced were not real problems, many of them were conjured and magnified by my desire to find a way out of chores.  Non-the-less that phrase stuck with me.  And it’s true.  We are much more likely to be able to solve problems we face if its a necessity.  But there’s one big problem we face.  It’s the problem of ourselves.  Guess what, there’s no solution we can imagine.  Think of all of the solutions we’ve come up with as people.  We drive cars on freeways.  Watch people entertain us on TV’s.  And sleep in houses wired to the entire world.  Now think of a plant, any plant.  What’s the difference?  We have no technology that can compare with any plant growing in your back yard.  Right now most of us rely on micro-technology.  It basically means that the engineering of that technology goes down to parts designed and manufactured that are measured in micro-meters or thousandths of a millimeter.  That’s pretty amazing, but it can’t compare to the up and coming nano-technology we are beginning to see.  It takes us down to parts measured in millionths of a millimeter.  It’s used to create longer lasting fabrics, electronics, and medical devices.  You probably used man made nanotechnology every day and don’t even suspect it.  And as great as nano tech is, pico technology is going to change our lives in the near future.  It’s measured in the billionths of a millimeter and is manufactured at the atomic level.  But come to think of it.  While we’ve changed our lives with theses technologies, God has been supporting us with immeasurable creations.  We create things that are square and round, straight and curved.  God creates things in the true shape they need to be.   They’re designed at the sub-sub-atomic level.  And when we’re able to see down to that level, they’ll be another one waiting to discover.  He’s the great creator, but His creation is marred.  God created us to be with him.  But we can’t with this thing we call sin.  That’s where God had to get creative once again.  He saw a necessity and invented a solution.  That solution is the cross.  It’s a solution non of us are entitled to, but that we are all dependent upon.  So while we make contact with His physical creations everyday.  Let’s remember His spiritual ingenuity as well.  Let’s remember the problem of sin and that we can never solve it.  And let’s be thankful He’s already conquered it.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our Superpower


“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”  Abraham Lincoln

I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19b

Lollapalooza:  “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.”  Dictionary.com

There was a time when all the world was right.  Sin existed only in choice.  It hand’t permeated creation yet.  That didn’t last long.  It didn’t take long for us to choose sin in the guise of knowledge of good and evil.  By now we’ve learned to accept the results.  We’ve all heard of the yin and the yang.  They’re symbols of good and bad.  They speak to the reality that good and bad coexist.  However, they also state that good and bad must exist for there to be harmony in the world.  The yin and the yang symbolize people treating good and bad like we treat physics.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Physically speaking that’s great.  But spiritually speaking?  God didn’t make us for this.  God didn’t design our bodies to die.  He didn’t want us to suffer.  But that’s what we do.  We live through this.  We die.  And we suffer.  Why?  Is it because that’s the harmony of our world?  It may be the reality of our world, but it’s not our world in harmony.  Our world in harmony is a world without death, without suffering, and without sorrow.  It’s a world where the sun shines perpetually and the grass stays green.  It’s a world where streams flow crystal clear, with no chance of pollution.  It’s a world where trees continually radiate their full beauty and flowers never wilt.  In reality, that’s something we don’t understand.  How can the world perpetuate without the circle of life?  No one knows the answer except our Creator.  He created a perfect world.  However, He also created us.  And when He created us, He gave us a superpower.  That superpower is called choice.  The ability to choose was so vital to man that He allowed it to corrupt His creation with sin.  However, He also created a way out of sin, out of the yin and yang.  And He promises we’ll one day be able to see His creation perfected once again.  But we’ll have to use our superpower.  We’ll have to choose Him.  We’ll have to choose Jesus.  He’s the only one good enough to govern without consent, yet He gave us the power to concede.  What a lollapalooza God we have!

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 do I want to accomplish tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,
Jake

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fullness in Jesus


“If you can only explain a why, you can endure a many a what.”  Victor Frankl 

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!  Revelation 4:8

Realize:  “to bring into concrete existence”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If I’m not mistaken, the highest form of existence in Hinduism is to be “Fully realized.”  But what does that mean?  I’ve heard it said by a famous Hindu teacher that a fully realized being’s mind is completely empty.  How does that happen?  I think what is being grasped at is a state of bliss called sat-chit-ananda.  Roughly translated, a pure and absolute state of existence in the consciousness of bliss.  Now I am not a Hindu.  So if I’m getting any of this wrong, I apologize.  However, as a Christian I have to ask the question.  Why would the highest form of existence not include thoughts?  I think the answer lies in this.  Without Christ, there is no hope of bliss without forgetting life.  How can we be completely happy while we realize suffering and death?  There is a term for happiness in this world with Jesus.  C.S. Lewis called it “Joy.”  It’s different than the “fun” caused by exciting events.  It’s not the “happiness” brought about in certain situations.  Joy is a contentment even when the world is wrong.  It’s a happiness when we are surrounded by suffering.  It’s a peace with our Savior.  It’s a peace described in Philippians 4:7 as, “passing all understanding.”  Obviously I won’t go on and try to explain it.  That would be foolish.  There aren’t words to describe it.  But it’s not the state of an empty mind.  Rather it’s fullness of spirit.  It’s joy!  Like Christianity, Hinduism teaches that Jesus was a great teacher, even God.  But Hinduism also teaches that we are all God.  What it can’t ascribe to Christ is this, His saving grace and His atonement for sin.  It’s Christ’s Salvation that can bring us joy without emptying our mind of the struggles and strife in this world.  It’s His love poured out on the cross that causes us to worship and realize we’re not God.  And it’s His promise of eternal life that gives us a hope in eternity.  That “Joy” can be had by anyone who chooses to accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

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, February 8, 2013

Love Is Forever

“Love is a great beautifier.”  Louisa May Alcott

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  1John 4:8

Facet:  “a small plane surface (as on a cut gem)”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

You may have seen the famous Bond movie, Diamonds are Forever.  If you have, you’ve heard the opening song of the same name.  It ends with these words.  “I don’t need love, for what good will love do me?  Diamonds never lie to me, for when love’s gone they’ll luster on.  Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.  Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.  Forever and ever.”  That’s great and all, but what if our love were like diamonds?  Not like raw diamonds, but like diamonds love has gone into.  When a diamond is found there’s nothing about it that is ready for a ring.  There’s potential, and some are beautiful, but they’re not what they could be.  It takes work to make them brilliant.  It takes chiseling, and breaking, and grinding away at them.  And when they’re done they still don’t shine on their own.  When done correctly, their many facets serve to refract light shown on them so that they radiate brilliance from within.  The tricky thing about a diamonds facets is that they must be as close to perfect as possible.  If they’re cut at too steep or too shallow of an angle they won’t refract the light back out towards their viewer.  They’ll appear dull and cheap.  However, when cut correctly, their facets serve to refract the light around them causing a brilliance that is unmistakable.  A well cut diamond excites like nothing else in this world.  We are to be like diamonds for God’s love.  While we may know how to receive His love, His love is empowered by its refraction.  Any diamond can be illuminated by a jewelers lamp, it’s their cut that makes the difference.  And so it is with us.  It takes God’s honing, at times breaking and grinding, to form us into the shape He needs us to be.  A shape built for the purpose of His love.  It should be our goal, to not only receive God’s love, but to refract it brilliantly to the world around us.  That way, no one can say about us, “What good will their love do me?”  That way, diamonds will appear insignificant when compared with God’s forever love, refracted from our hearts.  That way it can be truly said of love.  “It is forever, and it is brilliant!”

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, February 6, 2013

Open Doors


“Ignorance is bliss, but it’s still ignorance.”  Daniel Fusco

I know your deeds.  See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  Revelation 3:8

Importunate:  “troublesomely urgent: overly persistent in request or demand”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Whitney and I recently got a cat.  Her name is Millie and she’s an exploraholic.  There isn’t an open door she doesn’t absolutely love.  She’ll run the length of the house at the creak of a door opening in an effort to dart through and explore what’s on the other side.  My first thought when I saw this was to wonder what it would be like if people were more like her.  What if we had the courage to step through doors when they open, take opportunities when they arise, and explore the possibilities of the unknown?  Is that inspiring?  In some ways I guess it could be.  Having been exposed to a lot of people who make inspiration their business I will tell you that there are many who would encourage being like my cat.  They say things like, “Jump at every opportunity,” “Never leave a stone unturned,” and “Take advantage of every open door.”  That’s a bunch of hooey.  Yes, there are times when we should be ready to take advantage of opportunities offered us.  But we really aren’t that different than my cat.  We do have a tendency to be idiots (speaking especially for myself).  You see, my cat puts herself in a lot of danger at times to get through the open doors.  She has no idea what’s on the other side, only that she wants to see it.  People can be more like her than we want to think.  How many marriages have been torn apart by the luring opportunity to commit adultery?  How many people have lost everything by taking a job at an exciting but failing company?  How many people have lost their way in the curiosity of the excitement of drugs?  There are doors, and opportunities, and adventures we need to say yes to.  But first we need perspective.  I know Millie shouldn’t go through certain doors because I have a perspective greater than hers.  Do we have that perspective for ourselves?  No.  But there is one who does have that perspective.  Our Heavenly Father knows and can see all.  He knows what doors we should avoid and what opportunities we should take.  He knows what will bring hardship and what will bring joy.  And He knows the way out of the predicaments we get ourselves in.  And so, it’s on our knees that we find His guidance.  It’s with Him that we find the silver linings of hardship.  And it’s in Him that we find rest for our souls.  It’s not for us to pass through every open door.  It’s for us to seek God and pray for guidance from His perspective.  We will inevitably make mistakes, explore false opportunities, and get ourselves into trouble.  “And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

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, February 5, 2013

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

“I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.”  Elisha Hoffman

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.  Deuteronomy 33:27

Solace:  “to give comfort to in grief or misfortune”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

One day Anthony Showalter, a music composer and the principal of the Southern Normal Music Institute in Dalton Georgia, came home from work and discovered that he had received two letters from from a couple of his former students.  The letters bore the heartbreaking news that these former pupils had both lost their wives.  Looking to the Bible for comfort, Showalter selected Deuteronomy 33:27 and these words came to mind, “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.”  And so the chorus that would become so familiar and such a comfort to millions for decades to come was penned.  Showalter then commissioned his friend Elisha Albright Hoffman to write the rest of the words, after which he gave his nephew and student Sam Duncan a class assignment to compose the melody.  The resulting hymn has been giving solace ever since.  

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

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, February 4, 2013

More Than Conquerers

“Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.”  William Kerry

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes.  Ephesians 6:10-11

Conquer:  “to overcome by mental or moral power”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Is this what life is about?  Not knowing the next step to take, the next word to write, or the next move to make?  I don’t know, maybe.  Maybe, you’ve been asking yourself these questions.  There doesn’t seem to be an answer anywhere.  And you feel frozen in your place.  But it’s not for us to know our future.  Since the Superbowl was yesterday, I’ll use a sports analogy.  There is no greater event in sports than a comeback.  That’s what made Tim Tebow famous, it made yesterdays Superbowl exciting to watch, and it’s what keeps us rooting when our team is down.  We all hate to see our team losing.  But it takes losing to come back.  We all remember and talk about the greatest comebacks, but we pay little attention to past blowouts.  What is it that we love about a comeback.  Is it that our team won?  Maybe.  Is it that our egos are vindicated?  Probably.  However, I think it’s mostly because we like to see courage in the face of odds, perseverance in the probability of loss, and triumph through adversity.  We all know how it feels to be down, behind in the count, and beat up on.  But what if we could see our destiny?  That in it we could have victory no matter where we’re at in the moment.  We can!!!  The story of salvation is that of comeback.  We’ve messed up.  Other’s have beat us up.  And sin has caused it all.  But Jesus came to earth as a man so that we could have a comeback.  Christ died on the cross to vindicate righteousness.  And on the third day He rose again in triumph.  So let’s put on our rally caps.  Our lucky jerseys.  Our heavenly armor.  And know that while we may be witnessing a comeback in our lives.  If we could see like God sees, satan is going through the greatest trouncing of all time.  That we’re on the side of the biggest blowout in the history of the universe.  And that “In these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

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, February 1, 2013

The Ultimate Reaction


“The purity of man is the absence of something, the purity of Jesus is the presence of something.”  Ravi Zacharius

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Impregnate:  “to permeate thoroughly”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In a properly run business, leaders like to know the cost effectiveness of their expenses.  In other words.  If you’re a builder, you should know whether it’s worth the extra cost to buy better tools.  If you’re a doctor, you should determine whether having a nicely furnished office is worth the extra cost of the chairs.  And if you’re a person, as we all are, you should know the cost of your actions.  Newtons third law of physics states that, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  Does that apply to our spirituality and our humanity as well?  If we did a real analysis on our actions and their consequences we would find the answer to be yes.  One of the driving forces in civilization is our ability to legislate and enforce justice.  As communities and cultures we decide the consequences of wrongdoing in our societies, and specific punishments are determined for specific infractions on the rules.  We all know that by societies standards, if we commit murder we deserve to go to jail, or maybe even die ourselves.  However, we all try to cheat justice everyday.  I know that when I leave my house this morning, I’m gonna break the speed limit on my way to work.  And I’m pretty sure I will get away with it because I know everyone else will be breaking it in a similar way.  Who doesn’t know where they can drive five miles per hour over the posted speed and get away with it?  And don’t we all do this with God as well?  Most of us intuitively know right from wrong.  We know God wants us to live in a certain way.  And we all cut corners.  For example, I know that God wants me to follow the moral laws of the land, like speed limits, but I break them all the time.  It’s called sin and we all do it.  Eve knew the consequences of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but she did it anyway.  God said the consequences were death, but Satan said, “You shall not surely die.”  And she believed him.  She did something she desired believing there wouldn’t be an equal and opposite reaction.  We’ve been doing the same thing ever since.  Adam and Eve impregnated the world with sin when they decided to believe the devil.  We can’t escape it!  Not on our own.  And here’s where the gospel makes all the difference.  We don’t have to pay the real price of our transgressions.  We get to skip out on what we really deserve.  Because Jesus paid the ultimate price for us.  Physically speaking, when I step down on my floor, I hope it is able to counter my force equally and hold me up.  Spiritually speaking, I know there is nothing to counter my faults and failures.  Nothing that is, but the blood of Jesus.  Without His sacrifice we would forever fall.  With His sacrifice we are upheld by His love, and will one day even ascend to His presence.  Every action does have an equal and opposite reaction.  How blessed are we that Jesus reacted to our actions on the cross?

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