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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Monday, May 27, 2013

A Greater Hope


I’m not my own
I’ve been carried by You
All my life
Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free
Excerpt from the song Hope Now by Addison Road

A Song of Ascents
I lift up my eyes to the hills,
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
Psalm 121:1-8

Pensive:  “expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness”  Dictionary.com

Life can be disappointing.  For the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary, Hurricane Sandy, the Oklahoma tornado, and countless more disasters and hardships around the world, life has brought disappointment for sure.  And for the rest of us, we’re called to think pensively about the hardships of life.  We may not be sorrowful at the moment.  Life may be good to us right now.  However, life will bring sorrow.  We will be disappointed.  We will lose people we love.  So what keeps us going?  I remember when I was a kid wanting to be a race-car driver.  The only thing was, I didn’t want to crash.  I thought, maybe I could be a race-car driver who never crashes.  We all know that every race-car driver is going to crash.  Crash a lot in fact.  If you’re not crashing every once in a while, you’re not trying very hard.  Life is going to have crashes, and burns, and sorrows.  If it doesn’t, we’re not trying very hard.  The only way we can ever avoid a mistake is to never try anything.  But then, that’s a mistake in itself.  The only way we could ever avoid disappointment is to never trust anyone.  That would include ourselves as well.  And the only way to avoid sorrow is to never love.  And that would be the saddest thing of all.  In the beginning God created us perfectly.  However, one of the first things Adam and Eve did was to make a mistake.  That first mistake lead to all the mistakes, hardships, disappointments, and sorrows we’ll ever experience.  But in the beginning God also created plan to save us from all the junk we’ll have to go through.   A plan for His son to die for us.  A plan upon which we all rest our hopes and faith.  One day that plan will restore us to perfection.  It will restore us to what we were created to be.  We will succeed.  We will no longer be disappointed.  We will no longer sorrow.  We will love without fear.  And we will feel love forever.  That’s what keeps us going.  Let’s hope for that.  Let’s trust in that.  Let’s put our faith in Him.  He’s our only hope.
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, May 24, 2013

A Greater Performance

“If honesty did not exist, someone should invent it as a way to get rich.”  Unknown

For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Romans 7:15

Goldbrick:  “a person who shirks assigned work”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I’m a guy.  That means I love automobile racing.  And my favorite form of racing is Formula One.  The pinnacle of open wheel racing.  I love it because it is entirely focused on creating and racing cars to be the absolute fastest they can be.  I love that there are relatively few rules and regulations.  I love that teams must design and manufacture their own cars.  That the cars are built to take advantage of every possible loophole and weak-spot in the rules.  That the cars have become faster and faster, in spite of rules trying to slow them down.  In life there are no good excuses.  If something needs to be done, it must be done.  There will always be roadblocks and obstacles.  However, those who achieve greatness find ways around and over them.  They may even find advantages in them.  Formula One cars were the most powerful in the 80s, some thirty years ago.  In fact they had almost twice the power then as they do now.  In spite of that, they are much faster now.  Why? because engineers refocused their efforts from power, to downforce and braking.  Better brakes and aerodynamics gave the cars the ability to slow down and turn much better.  Their speed in the straights may have subsided, but they regained all that was lost in the ability to stop and handle the turns much better.  What if we treated our lives like a Formula One car?  What if we saw the limiting factors in our lives as opportunities to strengthen areas we’re weak in.  Maybe at one time we were a good athlete.  But injuries and age have depleted that ability and no one cares anymore.  Maybe at one time we were a good student.  But now we’ve graduated and grades no longer mater.  Maybe at one point in our lives we could attract a following simply based on our physical appearance.  Maybe...  God has the ability to give us the strength we need when we need it, where we need it.  God will never leave you unable to fulfill the purpose He has for you.  He will always empower us to do great things.  Unfortunately, we often forget about His abilities and focus on our inabilities.  Many Formula One teams have gone from winning championships to utterly failing because of their inability to see the opportunities in new rules and restrictions.  Our lives are no different.  There will always be new rules, new restrictions, new obstacles to achievement.  However, there will also always be new opportunities as well.  Opportunities afforded by those same regulations and restrictions.  God wants His work to be done in our lives.  He’ll guide us through the loopholes.  He’ll show us the path to significance.  He’ll be with us maximizing our efforts and our abilities.  It will be difficult at times to see a way through.  We’ll act in ways we know we shouldn’t.  We’ll make excuses.  We’ll be lazy.  God is there.  And if we open our lives to Him, who knows what can happen.  Miracles can happen.  Lives can be changed.  Wounds can be healed.  The race can be won.  “If God be for us, who can be against us.”  Romans 8:31b

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, May 22, 2013

It Takes Obedience

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!  Psalm 119:10

Canker:  “to become corrupted”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I have come to believe that obedience is like a muscle.  It must be used, it must be exercised, to be strengthened.  It’s not always easy.  It’s not usually easy.  But it can become a lifestyle with practice and repetition.  The beginning of a workout routine is always hard.  I don’t think most of us like the first few days at the gym or on the track.  But by doing it over and over it becomes almost habitual and failure becomes more and more disappointing.  With time it becomes a part of life, like brushing our teeth, or washing our clothes.  It’s the same with obedience.  It can be difficult, but to use a concept I learned from Tony Robbins, the things that are hard get easier when we change the way we think about them.  For example, the mere act of running can seem awful when all we think about is the pain and the boredom that can come with it.  After all, an evening of TV on the couch is much more enjoyable than an afternoon of, “I think I can, I think I can.”  However, if we concentrate on the rewards, the act of obedience starts to make much more sense and becomes a little easier.  Hitting the gym becomes easier when we concentrate on the results.  And sitting on the couch seems a lot less attractive when we see the results.  The same is true for God’s will in our lives.  Obedience to Him will always result in the happiest, most fulfilled lives possible.  However, it can be hard.  It’s not always easy to get up and pray early in the morning.  It’s not always easy to apologize for an unkind word.  It’s not always easy to act like servant.  It seems like living for ourselves and amassing all the stuff we can get our hands on would bring the most amount of happiness.  It seems like sleeping-in should satisfy more than getting up to be with the Lord.  It seems like forgetting about how we hurt another’s feelings would be the quickest way to smooth out a rough patch in a relationship.  Those are the souls equivalent of sitting on the couch.  They may bring peace and rest in the moment, but their results aren’t so desirable.  I think we all understand that.  Obedience may not bring wealth.  It may not bring the most restful night.  It may not even bring more friends.  But it will bring satisfaction, joy, and rest.  I’m not talking about the satisfaction of indulgence, but true satisfaction of an honorable life.  I’m not talking about the happiness of a pleasurable moment, but the true joy of the Lord.  I’m not talking about the rest found between our sheets, but the true rest in the comfort of Jesus.  To get anywhere and effort must be made.  Fortunately, our effort is not to get to heaven, Jesus works that out for us.  Rather, our effort is to reciprocate His love.  He knows what is best for our lives and in His love He shows us how to get it.  It takes obedience.

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, May 21, 2013

Through It All


“Hope is the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”  Rich Warren

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7-8

Envisage:  “to have a mental picture of especially in advance of realization”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“I’ll do my best.”
Replied Tom, the voice-over talent and relatively new believer in Jesus.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21”
Began the podcast.  Tom’s voice was as smooth as the surface of a mountain lake on a cool clear morning.  And about as deep too.  “This is perfect.”  Ted thought to himself.  “Tom’s voice is going to carry the gospel to millions of people.  I just know it.”  Ted envisaged  as he could hear Tom recording the podcast in the background.
“Have you ever experienced suffering in your life?  Have you ever wondered where God was?  If He even exists?  And if so, He must be a jerk to allow something like this to happen.  Why do bad things happen?  And why do they happen to good people?”
The podcast started out with more questions than answers.  Good questions.  Questions that have all been asked.  In fact the questions were good enough that Ted began to wonder if he should have included them in the manuscript for the podcast.  He wondered to himself whether some might lose faith because of them.  Maybe some had never questioned why God would allow children to die in storms.  Maybe some had never questioned if God was in fact all good.  Isn’t allowing evil to exist somehow conspiring with it?  Ted hoped his answers would be good enough for the questions.
“Trust in God.  Follow Him through the storm.”
Ted heard Tom read in the other room.  The recording was going great.  The sound was awesome and Tom’s voice was as good as any.  But was the message up to par?  Could it, would it, defend God.  “Wait, do I need to defend God?”  Ted wondered in His mind.  “If God is God, can’t He defend Himself?”  Now Ted had a question himself.  One he wasn’t sure he knew the answer to.  But then he remembered the parable of the talents Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 25.  “I have the ability to write and to form arguments.  Tom has the ability to speak beautifully and coherently.  These are the talents God has given us.  What would we be if we didn’t use them?”  The answer was clear.  Yes!  He could hear Tom’s voice continue.
“We’ll never have all the answers to life’s hard questions.  We’ll never know why children die in there innocence.  We’ll never know why good people have to go through so much pain and suffering.  However, we do know that a faith in God somehow comforts like He promised.  We do know that there is no other rescue offered but Jesus’ rescue.  Everyone knows that this world isn’t always a fun place to be.  And we know that there are times when we personally make the world a little worse for some people.  Most of us understand that trusting in our own actions to earn perfection is a shaky proposition at best.  Folks, Jesus died to rescue.  And He lives to give hope.  His word is steadfast and His promises sure.  So many have been comforted through faith in Him.  So many have found solace in His love.  So many have suffered through much and found hope in the Cross.  There will be questions that go unanswered until we meet Him face to face.  Hurt will remain until we are finally saved and sin destroyed once and for all.  Let’s listen to this song by Andráe Crouch the father of gospel music who has literally been through more than most ever will.  It’s called Through it All and we can all be encouraged by it.”
Ted heard the music began and listened.  He planned for the song, but didn’t know how it would impact him.  He heard...

“I’ve had many tears and sorrows
I’ve had questions for tomorrow
There’ve been times I didn’t know right from wrong
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That trials only come to make me strong

I’ve been a lot of places 
And I’ve seen so many faces
But in that lonely hour
In that precious, lonely hour
Jesus let me know I was His own

Through it all
Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all 
Through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word

So I thank God for the mountains
And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through
Cause if I never had a problem
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them
I wouldn’t know what faith in His word could do

Through it all
Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His word
Yes, I’ve learned to depend upon His word
I’ve learned to depend upon His word”

As the music subsided Tom’s voice gained volume.
“Folks, let’s remember that Through it All we can have peace.  Andráe Crouch wasn’t speaking out of ignorance in this song.  He was speaking through experience.  He lost his mother, father, and brother all within two years of each other.  He’s persevered through four different types of cancer and congestive heart failure.  He’s been there and has found comfort.  We all can in the arms of Jesus.  Thank you for listening.  May God richly bless your lives and your spirits.  On behalf of Ted Buckley, I’m Tom Bradley, I hope I’ll meet you here again next week.”

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, May 16, 2013

The Good Fight


“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  J. K. Rowling

Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  Timothy 6:12

Harrowing:  “hard to accept or bear especially emotionally”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

On the night of January 25, 2012, Jessica Buchanan, an American aid worker in Somalia, was rescued from pirates by a cadre of US Navy Seals.  You probably have never heard of the story.  You definitely didn’t know about it when it was happening.  And I’m sure you have never heard of her or that she was a hostage in Africa.  That is, unless you know her personally or worked on her rescue.  That night held what would be an unusual and harrowing experience for most any of us.  However it wasn’t that unusual for the operators who conducted the mission.  Every day there are warriors out there fighting for and risking their lives for people they don’t know and otherwise would have never even heard of.  That night, Jessica recalled in an interview on 60 Minutes, there was a point when her rescuers, fearing an attack from the Somalis, asked her to lay down, they then surrounded her and covered her body with their own to protect her until it was safe.  When the danger subsided they ran to a couple different helicopters.  She got in one, they got in another, and to my knowledge she hasn’t seen them since.  In a matter of minutes she was rescued by a group of men she had never and most likely will never meet.  But that didn’t deter them from laying down their lives for her that night.  We could all learn from that.  You and I will probably never be a Navy Seal.  We probably will never have to physically risk our lives for another person.  We probably will never be shot at.  But we can all emulate what happened that night.  Christians could learn dedication from a Navy Seal.  We could learn what it means to sacrifice from a special forces operator.  And we could all use what they do as inspiration for fighting the good fight.  Do Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Air Force PJs, or any other military men and women emulate what God wants for their lives?  Maybe sometimes.  Certainly not always.  But if they’re willing to die for someone they don’t know, why can’t we learn from that?  We can.  We’ve all been called to lay down our lives for others.  Maybe not literally, but at least figuratively.  We’re all called to be servants.  But there’s something even more important than human life.  That is the human soul.  That’s what we’re ultimately fighting for.  But while there are men and women brave enough to be shot at while trying to save a life, we’re often too afraid to risk embarrassment to save a soul.  I can see those Seals forming a human shield around Jessica that night.  It’s what we’re all called to do.  Maybe you have a friend struggling with alcohol or drugs.  Maybe you have a little brother or sister you see going down the wrong path.  Maybe you know a co-worker who can’t break the cycle of abuse.  They need a rescue as much as any hostage.  You and I are the first responders to the rescue for many of them.  And it’s on our knees in prayer, it’s in an encouraging statement, a kind word, or a thoughtful gesture that we form that spiritual shield around their hearts and souls.  The image of the warrior is for all of us.  It’s an example of what it takes to save.  Is it an example we’re living by?

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, May 15, 2013

He's The Only One Who Can Forgive

“Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don’t add up.”  James Magary

Therefore, get rid of all the moral filth and evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  James 1:21

Rapacious:  “excessively grasping or covetous”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Chances are you’ve seen a preview to the new movie just out The Great Gatsby derived from the novel of the same name.  If you have you’ve probably also heard the song they play with it by JZ, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean called No Church in the WIld.  It has a catchy hook, a good beat, and a question that many ponder.  The chorus states,
“Human beings’ in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to non-believer
Who don’t believe in anything?
Will He make it out alive?
Alright alright
No church in the wild”
What is God to a non-believer?  Life.  Will He make it out alive?  Yes.  Individuals have created mobs, mobs have overthrown kings, kings have created religions, God is in control.  In a famous speech at the Berlin Sports-house during the Third Reich Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister said this.  “What does Christianity mean today?  National socialism is a religion.  All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices, putting new ones in their place.  We lack traditions and ritual.  One day soon national socialism will be the religion of all Germans.  My party is my church.  I believe I serve The Lord best if I do His will and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery.  That is my gospel.”  Now let’s go back to the song I started with.  In it Kanye West states, “We formed a new religion, no sins as long as there’s permission.”  Freedom, it’s what we all want.  It’s how power attracts followers.  Some want the freedom from taking care of themselves.  Some want freedom from being told what to do.  Still others want freedom from judgement.  It doesn’t exist.  Freedom does not exist.  Not here, not now.  We all have our dues that must be paid.  We all must pay the cost of what we’ve done.  Rituals can never deny the truth, and permission will never erase the consequence.  There is but one way to gain freedom.  That is through Christ.  From the day Christ entered this earth He’s been changing this world.  From His mother, to you and I, He’s made a significant and measurable difference every day.  There is no one else who’s ever done that.  It really doesn’t matter what we think or believe as people.  We can’t destroy or control God.  His will, will be done.  The power of man is temporary and fragile.  No person can stop themselves from dying.  But One rose from the dead to save us all.  That again is Jesus.  He’s the only true Savior.  He’s the only way to freedom.  Because He’s the only one who can forgive. 

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, May 13, 2013


“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.”  John Ruskin

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.  Deuteronomy 15:10

Auspicious:  “showing or suggesting that future success is likely”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Raise your hand if you worry about money.  Don’t feel alone, I just had to raise mine too.  Except if you don’t worry about money.  In that case, feel alone.  Feel very alone.  Just kidding.  If you don’t worry about money I hope that you’re teaching other people how not to worry about money as well.  But for most of us, we worry about money.  I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying how it is.  However, the fact remains that we should not be worried about our provisions.  The Bible lays out plainly how we should live.  
That is, we should give.  It doesn’t necessarily say that we should give away everything we have.  Although for some that may be the case.  But that everything we have is a blessing and a gift from God and our hearts should desire to share it.  
We should save.  Much of our worry about money comes from the need of it.  Much of that need comes from the fact that too many of us spend too much money and save too little.  
The Bible also says that we should not go into debt that we cannot repay.  That makes sense.  Generally lenders won’t let you go into more debt than you’ll be able to repay simply because they want a guarantee they’ll be repaid.  However more and more debt is being piled up in credit cards and more than ever people are being allowed to build more debt than they can repay.  Sure we may be able to pay at the current rates and as long as we get our yearly cost of living pay raise, but rates will go up, and those yearly pay raises are getting farther and farther apart.  It doesn’t take long with a lifestyle of debt to find out that we can’t pay the debt we’ve accrued.  And I don’t have to tell you that having un-payable debt is one of the most distracting and life disrupting things we can ever live through.  Then there’s the age old principle of hard work.  
Hard work always pays off.  Maybe not in money alone, but definitely in satisfaction.  And isn’t that what life is all about?  Satisfaction.  Possessions can definitely bring some satisfaction, but they can’t satisfy completely.  Only God can do that.  And like everything else.  God wants us to be wise with our possessions.  They shouldn’t be the driver of our lives.  They shouldn’t be all we worry about.  They should be managed wisely so that God remains firmly in the center of our hearts.  And I’ll get back to the first point.  If we can’t manage them wisely, if they’re distracting us from tuning our hearts to God, maybe we’re the one that needs to give them away.  That sounds scary, but without our Maker at the center of our lives, no amount of possessions is going to make us happy anyway.  God is a giving God.  He’s a loving God.  He’s a fair, just, and wise God.  He’s given us everything we have and He knows how it can serve us best.  That is to be giving, loving, fair, just, and wise with them too.  That’s how we live truly auspicious 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

Friday, May 10, 2013

Be Quiet and Listen


“People see God every day, they just don’t recognize Him.”  Pearl Bailey

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  1 Kings 19:11b-13

Aeolian:  “of or caused by the wind; wind-blown”  Dictionary.com

It has to be quiet.  We’re not used to the quiet.  At least I’m not.  Most of us are addicted to stimulation.  Some of it we know is not healthy and some of it we consider good and wholesome.  For example, we all know that a gossip show on TV is a waste of our time.  However, most would consider reading a good book an honorable pastime.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash what you do in your spar time.  There are times when it’s appropriate waste some time.  And reading a book is usually a good thing to do.  However, I don’t think most of us make time for pure quietness.  Turn off the TV.  Turn off the computer.  Close that book.  Even turn the classical music off.  Be quiet.  You might be surprised at what you hear.  You might be surprised at how your brain can dump the things that are stressing you.  And if you listen, you might be surprised at what God has to say.  Our society leaves little room for God in our lives.  Sure, we may go to church on the weekends.  We may pray and read the Bible.  But do we listen for God’s direct voice into our lives.  Too often we ask God to catch up with us on proverbial “fly.”  We expect that if God has something to say to us He’ll make it known in some sort of aeolian way.  That’s when accidents happen.  “What was that?”  We ask ourselves.  “Was I just asked to pray for my sister?”  “Na, I’m sure it was just the wind and my crazy brain.”  Too often that’s our thought process.  Until one day...  Whack, God gets our attention.  But He’s not in the car accident.  He’s not in the flood, fire, or hurricane.  Those are just events to slow us down.  To get our attention.  To cause us to listen.  Listen!  We don’t have to wait for the hammer blow.  We don’t have to wait to be whacked.  We can listen, right here, right now.  Put a pause on life, if only for 10 minutes.  It has to be quiet.  Be available to Him.  He’s got something to say, if we would just listen.  Let’s listen.

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, May 6, 2013

Where to Start?

“Via, Veritas, Vita” - Latin phrase meaning, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father accept through Me.”  John 14:6

Commence:  “to begin, start”  Dictionary.com

Sometimes you just need to start!  We won’t always know where are starts will lead, but we can always know, we won’t get anywhere without starting somewhere.  So what should I start on?  How should I start?  Where should I start?  Who should I start with?  When?  And why?  All good questions.  All of them with good specific answers.  Answers we may never know.  However, there is an answer to all of them that can illuminate the central question to everything we do.  That answer is JESUS!  Having trouble knowing what your path is in life?  Start following Jesus.  Don’t know where to start?  Start at the cross.  Don’t know how to start?  Find a quiet place and ask that question on your knees, because that is the start.  Notice how every answer revolves around the who.  The answers to what, when, where, and why all become much more clear when the question of WHO has been answered.  And that answer presses us to respond to the questions of when and why.  Why? because Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father accept by Me.”  John 14:6  If we’re honest, I think we all want to be with the Father.  Now answering the question to when is simple.  Now!  No one can predict their lives.  The one thing we can all know is that are lives here on earth aren’t going to last forever.  How long they’ll last non of us know.  But there’s life in Jesus.  Everlasting life.  A life of joy and peace.  Why not start here and now, on your knees in front of the cross, worshiping the only One able to save?  It can, it will change your life.  It makes the decisions to all of life’s other questions easier, because it changes our perspective on them from “us,” to “Jesus.”  And I know this is a little corny, but you can’t spell Jesus, with out us.  Maybe it’s because it’s in Jesus that we are all truly taken care of.  Maybe it’s because it’s in Jesus that we’re satisfied.  Maybe it’s because Jesus fulfills all of us.  Come to think of it.  When we start with Jesus, we can all know our destination.  And that feels good.

Daily Journaling Questions:
  1. How did I help someone in kindness today?
  2. What did I learn today?
  3. What about today do I want to remember forever?
  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, May 3, 2013

Fear Itself


“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.  ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”  Thomas Paine

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

Inculcate:  “to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If we’re honest, life can be scary.  In his inaugural speech, faced with the hardship of an economic depression, Franklin Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  That sounds great and all, but the statement couldn’t be more wrong.  Imagine soldiers, bullets flying everywhere, land mines and bombs exploding all around, reminding themselves that the only thing to fear was being afraid.  It’s true that fear often makes a precarious situation worse, but it’s also true that people have experienced the worst while being perfectly confident.  Remember the battle of San Juan Hill in which Teddy Roosevelt gained fame with his rough riders?  It is famous for its bloodiness and difficulty.  The Spanish had a commanding position on top of the hill from which they continually kept the Americans from advancing with deadly sniper fire and a rain of bullets.  Fearlessly, a brave commanding officer confidently mounted his horse despite warnings from his crouching men.  Defiantly, he lit a cigaret stating something like, “No Spanish bullet can kill me.”  Before he could finish his statement, a bullet struck him in the mouth and fearlessly he died.  No, there are things to be feared.  Things far scarier than death even.  However, we don’t have to be paralyzed by fear.  The officer killed on his horse in Cuba that day may have acted with a little too much bravado, however, Roosevelt gained much of his respect for showing similar bravery.  Although he didn’t act as though nothing could hurt him, he did act courageously in the face of danger.  And it was through his courageous actions that his men were able to fight effectively on the hill.  Many of us avoid being afraid.  So we avoid doing things that might make us afraid.  In many of those cases FDR was correct.  Chances are, Martin Luther King Jr. was nervous and afraid before he gave his Dream Speech.  Chances are, Steve Jobs was a little afraid to start a new computer company before he could fully envision what Apple would become.  There are definitely things to be afraid of, but we’re often afraid of things that have little to no power.  In many cases, if we faced what we’re fearing with the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” we would realize that the “worst” isn’t really anything to be afraid of.  In those cases, fear often acts only to create things like stress, impatience, and anger; which only serve to make matters worse.  Let’s remember the Rock we stand on.  That it’s only when our foundation is secure in Jesus that FDR’s statement becomes ratified.  Let’s inculcate the truth of our salvation through Him in our lives.  That while the worst may come true, we have a hope and a future; in this life or in eternity.  God is good.  Life isn’t always pleasant and peaceful, but His purpose remains.  That purpose is to rescue us from evil and all its affects.  Let’s not let fear stop us from claiming that promise.  Let’s put on the armor of salvation and with the power of our Savior, brush fear aside and say like David, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

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, May 2, 2013

Questions... Questions


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  Albert Einstein

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  1 Timothy 4:8

Saccharine:  “exaggeratedly sweet or sentimental”  Dictionary.com 

What should we question?  There are times when my knee jerk reaction is that we shouldn’t question anything.  That we should just trust, obey, and let be what is.  Then there are times when I feel like everything should be questioned.  That nothing is quite what it seems and should be investigated.  I suppose you’re that way too.  And I would guess that it stems from what we inherently trust.  You may have heard the old phrase, “Nobody will care what you have to say, until they know you care about them.”  It’s because caring is at the root of trust.  Why would anyone trust someone who doesn’t care about them?  Or why would anyone trust anything built carelessly?  We don’t!  We don’t trust cars we feel are built carelessly.  We don’t trust people we feel don’t care about us.  And we certainly don’t trust fate.  It’s true, some believe in fate.  We probably all believe in fate somehow.  But why would we put our trust in it?  At best, fate brings us the phrase, “C’set la vie - Such is life.”  Fate guarantees all the hardships of life and offers no hope.  So my question is this.  Why would anyone put their trust in fate?  Is it because we work hard and have earned a break?  Is it because we’ve already had a bunch of bad things happen so something good has to be just around the corner?  Or is it because we put out good vibes and are attracting positive reactions from the universe?  Those are all things we should question.  Life shouldn’t be lived like a lottery.  Because in a lottery even winners end up losing.  To all our questions there is an answer, a bigger, better answer.  That answer is found in Jesus.  Want a break?  He says, “Come to Me... I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28  Wondering what direction to take in life?  He says, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.”  John 14:6  Wondering why the good die young?  He says, “I go to prepare a place for you... That where I am, there you may be also.”  John 14:2-3  So question, it’s good to question.  But let’s not disregard the One who not only claims to be the answer, but who also rose from the dead.  It’s like betting on a horse who’s already won the race.  It’s a good bet.

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, May 1, 2013

Right Here, Right Now

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.”  Helen Keller

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them.  The He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelves basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  Luke 9:16-17

Comeuppance:  “a deserved rebuke or penalty”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In many ways, we live in a jealous world.  Most of us want a little more than what we have.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with having things.  Where we go wrong is when we covet things. We go wrong when things come in the way of what is truly important.  Our relationships.  Relationships with family, friends, and most importantly God.  God has never left His people unblessed when they lived for Him.  However, it is continually a struggle for us to trust that a life lived for Him could be blessed.  When we think about living for God, often the first thing we think is that we’re gonna have to sell the house, or the car.  We’re gonna have to move to a third world country and live in poverty.  And how often do we say no to God because of what we have?  Even when there is no evidence that God wants to take away the things we have.  Maybe there will come a time when the house and the car will go.  Still, there is a place for the things in our lives.  Whatever we have, today, let’s start using it for the Lord.  But I’m digressing from the point I really want to make.  God doesn’t promise us the whole world.  However, that doesn’t stop us from wanting the whole world.  We visit a park and want to have it in our back yard.  We drive through the country and desire a cabin in the woods.  We go to the beach and wish we could buy a little strip of land on it.  We go out to lunch in the city and suddenly can’t stop thinking of how cool it would be to have a condo downtown.  Instead of enjoying the places we visit, we want to make them our own.  If you don’t struggle with that, praise the Lord.  I however struggle with it continually.  God has richly blessed His people throughout history.  However, He has never given anyone everything their heart could ever desire.  Why?  Because our heart has an unquenchable appetite.  Just look at Adam and Eve.  They had everything except one tree.  And what did they want?  That tree.  But thank God, He has the ability to change our hearts.  He has the ability to give us satisfaction.  It’s in Him that we are blessed and feel blessed beyond anything we could desire.  And it’s through Him that the promise of more than we could ever fathom comes.  The promise of an eternal salvation with Him.  Let’s enjoy the things we’re blessed with now.  Let’s ask God to bless us and to fill our hearts with satisfaction.  And let’s remember that He is the source of everything.  He wants us to be happy.  He’s a good God.  There’s no reason to fear living for Him.  Right here, right now.

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