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, October 31, 2013

Don't Be A Fake

“You can’t fake it when you’re alone with God, you know.”  Jim Bakker

“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’”  Jesus - Matthew 7:21-23

Ersatz:  “being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Today is Halloween.  As fake a holiday as there can be.  In celebration we dress up like weird characters and scary monsters to elicit some sort of reaction.  And it’s all in good fun.  However, what happens when our lives become fake?  There’s a picture going around the internet of a few Chinese officials visiting on elderly woman in what appears to be a hospital.  The problem is, a closer look reveals a picture so badly faked it’s comical.  You may also know Jim Bakker’s story.  I quoted him because his statement is self evidently true.  But his story isn’t.  He is the inventor of the typical televangelist persona.  You know the guy that tells you there will be rewards for you in heaven if you pay him your money.  That’s him and he was a fake.  You’ve heard the phrase, “Honesty is the best policy.”  It’s trite I know, but it’s also true.  However, honesty isn’t just something we do.  It’s something we are.  We can just as easily be an ersatz version of ourselves to ourselves.  We can begin to believe we are something we aren’t.  But God knows.  God knows we aren’t any sort of savior.  He knows that being a great athlete doesn’t make you deserve any more than a great husband or wife.  God knows that going to church doesn’t make you a better person than the guy at the bar down the street.  But we fool ourselves sometimes.  We say to ourselves, “I’m an inherently good person.”  Or, “I’m good, because I’m doing good.”  Maybe even, “I’m a good example, I deserve this…”  God knows.  God knows you can’t save yourself.  He knows we can’t be good.  God knows that Jesus is our only hope.  And so, we put our trust in Him, because everything on earth will let us down.  The Jim Bakkers will try to fool us out of our money.  We’ll be trick-or-treated every day, in very real ways.  In no way am I saying we shouldn’t go to church and listen to our pastor.  That we should automatically revolt from the government.  We need to be careful of who we trust, but we don’t have the ability to verify everything.  That’s why our full trust should be centered on God.  When He is at the center, not only does it become easier to see the fakes, but it makes it clear that our world is not, and cannot be destroyed by them.  Even if at one point we trusted them. 

Daily Journaling Questions:
How did I help someone in kindness today?
What did I learn today?
What am I thankful for?
Who did I love today?
What am I dreaming of?
What about today do I want to remember forever?
What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do What You Know

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”  Dr. Seuss

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Sere:  “being dried and withered”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

You’ve probably seen some of the Snickers commercials portraying a famous angry character, only to reveal that it’s actually a completely normal and regular person that’s lost control of their temper because they need something to eat.  That’s me.  I need food, otherwise I get grumpy.  That’s something I know about myself.  God is very able to help us with any problem we may have.  However, I’ve found that, if we have the ability to solve a problem, He usually lets us solve it.  He’s never done a math problem for me.  He’s never knocked 10 minutes off a commute because I was late getting out of the house.  And I don’t expect He’ll ever shut the TV off and do my work for me.  Ever!  TVs have power buttons.  We have clocks.  And I don’t generally have an excuse for letting my blood sugar get too low.  God is able to do anything.  But He expects us to do what we can.  Food may not always be available.  There isn’t always going to be a cure to our ailments.  We’re all gonna lose control of our situations.  And God will be there.  Sometimes to rescue.  Sometimes to simply comfort.  Those are the times when we ask, “WHY?” in big bold letters.  It’s not for us to know why.  Or even how.  But we can still trust.  We didn’t always like our circumstances when we were kids.  Parents didn't always seem to make sense.  And they didn’t always please.  However, for most of us, we could trust them.  And so I say it again.  It’s not for us to always know the “Why?”  It’s for us to simply trust.  Trust the God who made a nation out of a man and woman in their nineties who had not had children yet.  A God who made a ruler out of a slave in Egypt, sold by his brothers into captivity.  A God who brought His people out of slavery into a promised land.  A God who sent His Son to die for us in the cruelest form possible.  That same God still has promises for us.  He’s never failed to keep a promise, and He won’t fail now.  That doesn’t mean all our headaches will go away.  It doesn’t mean our blood sugar will never again fall below where it needs to be.  It doesn’t mean we won’t have a role.  It means His role is bigger than our control.  Do what you know.  Leave the rest up to a trust in God.  And always remember, God gave us the ability to know what we know.

Daily Journaling Questions:
How did I help someone in kindness today?
What did I learn today?
What am I thankful for?
Who did I love today?
What am I dreaming of?
What about today do I want to remember forever?
What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,

Jake

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We Need Help


“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.”  Victor Hugo

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10

Vice:  “a weakness of character or behavior; a bad habit”  New Oxford American Dictionary

Humans...  We don’t change much.  But then how can we?  Constantly thinking of ourselves.  What would make us feel better.  How we could have more things.  How good we are...  And I’m no exception.  Have you ever caught yourself listening to advice or council, simply to apply it to someone else?  Ever thought that a sermon or a speech was good because you could identify other people in it?  Just the other day I was at church finding myself agreeing with a point because, “I knew people like that.”  Guess what?  I’m people like that.  Too often we use wisdom as ammunition for our guns of righteousness, in order to blast all those “other sinners” away.  Maybe I’m an exception, but I think I could concentrate on myself just a little more.  On what I could do to be a better person.  How I could be closer to God.  How I could help others a little more affectively.  It’s really hard to see our own faults.  Ya, we try to become better people.  We try to learn how to manage affectively or be good friends.  But when it comes down to it, a lot of times, we’re trying to build on something we believe is perfectly acceptable, if not faultless.  As if we’re a building and we’re just adding onto its majesty.  However, we are not faultless.  We are far from perfect.  If we were a building, it’s not an addition we’d need, but a remodel.  I know I’ve often failed in my friendships.  I’ve been a poor husband.  I’ve been a lazy worker.  And even now, notice how I list my faults in past tense.  As if now I’ve got it all figured out.  As if now I’m a perfect husband, worker, and friend.  As if I’m not going to mess up again.  I know I will mess up again.  We all will.  We all know it.  But it’s hard to say it in present tense.  And often we shouldn’t.  Not to others anyway.  Apologize for our mistakes?  Of course.  Admit our failings and weaknesses to others?  Sometimes maybe, but not always.  And here’s why.  Because of Jesus.  He’s offered to change us from the inside out.  Not that we’ll become perfect in action, but that we’ll change in spirit and motivation.  Not that we’ll never sin again.  But that every sin is already forgiven.  To say that we’re imperfect, that we’re sinners, that we’re all messed up, is accurate.  But to identify with our vices is to deny the work of The Lord in our lives.  Every piece of advice, every word of counsel, every sermon; is useful for our edification.  However, the only thing able to perfect us is the Cross and the forgiveness of our sins because of it.  So let’s realize our imperfection.  Let’s strive to become better.  But let’s never forget Jesus.  He’s the reason we have a 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, October 25, 2013

Fishers Of Men


“Christians are the only gospel many will ever read.”  Unknown

And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus - Matthew 4:19

Gospel:  derived from the ancient Greek word euangelion, meaning “good news”

“Hop in!”
Fred opened the heavy door of the 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and let the suspension of the giant car gently take his weight.
“Mind if I smoke?”
Asked Fred’s business partner Mike, and who’s car this was.
“Go right ahead.”
Fred replied, knowing the smoke would probably give him a headache.
Two quick jabs of the gas pedal and a purposeful turn of the ignition woke the mighty V8 engine under the mile long hood.
“Let me ask you a question Fred.”
Mike blurted, left eye squinting from the fresh puff of smoke from the Marlboro between his lips.
“What makes you different?”  
“I’ll give you till the second exit.”
Fred didn’t need that much time.  His response was easy and immediate.
“I’m not sure exactly what you mean.  But I think you’ve probably noticed that there’s something more important in my life than this business.”
“Exactly.”
Mike replied, as if Fred had understood his question perfectly.
“What could be more important than being successful in your business?”
He followed.
“To be honest Mike, I follow Jesus.”
“But you’re not always telling me what I’m doing wrong.”
“Maybe because that’s not my business.  Living for the Lord doesn’t mean I have to go around correcting peoples mistakes and telling them what the Bible says.  It simply means in everything I do, I do it for Him.”
Mike reached behind the steering wheel and pulled the shift lever to “D” and jabbed the throttle.  The front of the car lifted and gently settled again as they sped away.

Following Jesus guarantees a leadership position.  It doesn’t take away from our roles here, but it does supersede them.  It doesn’t mean you can’t be a CEO of a fortune 500 company, but it does determine how you act as a leader.  There is no greater need than our need for the Savior.  There is no greater goal than salvation with Him.  And there is no more important path, than the one following Him.  In following Him He promised to make fishers of men.  However, we must first go back to the beginning and really learn what it means to follow.  Want to truly lead?  Lead to somewhere worthwhile?  Follow 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


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Follow The Path


On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it someday for a crown.

From the song The Old Rugged Cross by George Bennard

Surely he has born our griefs 
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned-every one-to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6

Integrity:  “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : Incorruptibility”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Thunk, thunk thunk...  Tunk tunk tunk.
Than it began in earnest.  What had been a mist for that past few hours had now progressed into a downpour.  The large tropical raindrops audibly crashed against the brim of Lt. Shaw’s woodland boony-hat.  The compound was just visible on the hilltop across the deep ravine.  It’s naked top set it apart from the other hills.  That, and the guard-towers, fencing, and shacks that formed the makeshift jungle prison that held the captives his fire team were after today.  Behind him was Jasper, Gareth, Simpson, LaSalle, and the obligatory Smith.  Each had his role.  Each was an expert.  They all relied on one another.  And for now at least.  They all were following him.  He had his goal, now it was time for them to get there.  They were to rescue eight prisoners.  Six innocent men, a woman, and a baby girl.  
Up to this point, the mission had been somewhat simple.  Stay out of sight and sound; and move towards the target.  Now it was about to get real.  A little more complex.  He wouldn’t say it was nervousness, but it was definitely a different feeling he had.  Anxiousness was probably the best way to describe it.  He knew his team could accomplish this task.  He had every confidence that the mission would be successful.  Still, this is a risky business.  And not the type Tom Cruise was into.  With any luck, no shots would even be fired.  But of course, that would take some luck.  He became aware of the functions and feelings of his body.  His breathing.  The way and location his feet touched the ground.  His thoughts.  They all had to work perfectly now.  But he knew that, soon muscle memory would take over.  His training would come into full force and his actions would be reactions more than anything else.  But the SEALs have a saying, “You don’t run to your death.”  So for now he and his men are careful.
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”*  He spoke these words knowing His goal.  It was night, but if He could have seen through the darkness, He would have been able to see the hilltop across the ravine.  Death set it apart from all the others.  He knew what was going to happen there.  That a cross with His name on it would stand.  And so now, He sweat drops of blood in anxiety.  Tomorrow He would follow that path that would become know as the Via Delorosa the “Way of suffering.”
A leader must not only understand the need, know how to follow, and know their goal; they must also be willing and able to follow the path towards that goal.  No one will ever follow a leader who has everything figured out, but doesn’t have the integrity to follow through and stay on target.  The first story I told was fictional, although events like it happen more often than we could imagine.  The second is true.  They are both stories of rescue.  One of a family of eight.  The other of the human race.  Both required grit and determination; courage and purpose.  Every one of us is in need of rescue.  Every one of us is in a makeshift compound that keeps us imprisoned.  The only way out is through the Cross.  We can’t jump the fence.  We can’t outsmart the guards.  The devil has us hemmed in on every side, whether we know it or not.  But God already planted the Cross in the midst of our hardship.  The only way out is to follow Him who hung on it. 
If you’re gonna lead, follow Jesus.  It’s the only path worth following.  It’s the only path that has a goal of eternal life through salvation.  And somehow it puts all other goals into perspective.
*Luke 22:42
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, October 23, 2013

Know The Goal


“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.”  Helen Keller

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes to poverty.  Proverbs 21:5

Goal:  “the terminal point of a race”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

You’ll never get too far without knowing your destination.  That rule doesn’t change in the realm of leadership.  No one wants to follow a leader who doesn’t know or have a destination.  That’s why businesses and organizations of all types, shapes, and sizes, work so hard to formulate affective and meaningful mission, vision, and goal statements.  They serve to set forth a goal and a purpose to strive toward and work for.  Could you imagine following a leader who couldn’t articulate a goal?  Could you imagine someone important asking you where you’re headed, and then, having no answer?  In reality, that’s probably too common.  How many days do we live without a goal?  If we’re completely honest, probably quite a few.  Probably more than the days of purpose.  This in itself is an indicator of our positions as leaders.  More so than even position of power.  Because position and power doesn’t necessarily come with a goal.  Leadership always has a goal.  The fact is, if we don’t have a destination, we will never be leading in a meaningful or compelling way.  Managing maybe, but not leading.  And so, it follows that, the most compelling leaders have the most fascinating destinations in mind.  Steve Jobs comes to mind.  His personal leadership may have been terrible at times.  Still, he had, and still has a following, simply because of where he wanted to go.  People don’t necessarily follow the leader with the best interpersonal skills, or the kindest hearts.  Those are good things, but they don’t matter much when the goal is void.  Destination is the spark that ignites great leadership.  And who’s goal is better than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ’s?  For over two thousand years He’s been compelling followers.  From the first disciple, to you and me!  Why?  Because there’s no better destiny than His.  And so, what is our goal?  Do we have a worthwhile destination?  There’s none better than the one we have as followers of Jesus.  Our earthly goals won’t always be spiritual in nature, but they can always be influenced by God.  I’m reminded of Joshua when he so wisely said, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the god your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:14b-15  From that moment on, he was cemented as the leader of the Israelites.  And where did they follow him?  To the promised land.  If you’re going to lead, have a goal.  If you’re going to have a goal.  Make it a good one.  And always remember the goal of Jesus.  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”  Jeremiah 29:11

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, October 22, 2013

Learn To Follow


“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.”  Solomon - Proverbs 22:4

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

Follow:  “to engage in as a calling or way of life”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In a world that focuses on leadership, it seems strange to say, but knowing how to follow is one of the greatest skills a person can ever have.  At any given time we could easily bombard ourselves with stories of great leadership.  Stories of Patton, Churchill, Lincoln, and Washington will stand the test of time for sure.  But those stories would have never existed without courageous followers in the background.  The movie, Midway, famously depicts the Naval chess-match between Admirals Chester W. Nimitz and Isoroko Yamamoto in the great battle that goes by the same name.  And while it’s true that great leadership helped win that battle, what is also true, is that Nimitz won because the American sailors were able to swap weapons payloads on their aircraft faster than their Japanese counterparts.  Whether the type of aircraft and the weapons used made a difference, I don’t know.  However, what I do know, is that the Americans could have never won without a cadre of experts who knew how to follow.  Who knew the importance of simply changing from torpedoes to bombs and vice versa.  It’s not always fun.  You’re probably not going to be glamorized in movies, but being able to follow is just as important as being able to lead.  In fact, it’s a pre-requisite.  I can remember my experience in basic military training like it was yesterday.  In everything we did, we followed a rule or a leader.  If the instructions said the t-shirts had to be folded into four inch squares, that’s what we followed.  When the troop commander marching the squadron said, “column left...”  on “harch!” we followed.  Without question.  More than anything else, basic training is meant to teach individuals, that by simply following they can do much more than they ever thought they could.  As teams and as an individuals.  It’s only after mastering the ability to follow that one is given the responsibility to lead.  That may sound strange and hard, but it’s really no different than for anyone else.  Every job, every public task, every day, requires the ability to follow.  It’s no different in our spiritual lives as well.  Too often we want to lead when we’ve refused to follow Jesus into the trenches.  Too often we try to dictate our service instead of simply doing what Gods asked.  Even Jesus, Paul said, “Who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:6-8  And it is because Jesus followed God to the Cross that He was able to accomplish so much.  It’s because He took on the role of a servant that we are saved.  And it is because of His servanthood that we follow Him all the more.  We need to learn to follow, learn to be servants; and be happy in it, before we can ever expect to make a difference as a leader.  Join me in learning how to follow.

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

Thank you for reading.  You mean a lot to me.
Jake

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Need


“A man who fails to lead is a man leading in failure.”  Sherman Smith (Seattle Seahawks running-back coach)

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.  Proverbs 29:2

Leadership:  “the office or position of a leader”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I am not your quintessential leader.  I’m not a “Type A” personality (whatever that means).  I am not qualified to teach someone how to lead.  Still... I have noticed what leadership can do, and what it can damage.  I have noticed the lack of it in our world.  And I believe that together we can learn how to become better, even great, leaders.  Leadership is important.  Leadership makes a difference.  It can change our lives, for the better or for the worse.  But then again, you already knew that.  We all know what it’s like to be influenced by a poor leader.  And hopefully, most of us have had the pleasure of following someone skilled in the art of leadership.  However, I’m not sure how many of us think about leadership and its role in our daily lives.  We know it when we see it and we appreciate it when we experience it, but do we practice it?  This is a call to practice.  This is a call to lead and be led.  It’s a call to think about our lives.  How we’re leading them, and their affect on the lives of other people.  Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not; we are all leaders, in that we have a profound affect on the people in our lives and the world around us.  God blessed us with a role to play in His leadership.  He’s given us an office and a position as leaders for Him.  It is our responsibility to take that role seriously.  And so, we should do our best to learn what it means to lead.  We should do our best to follow the physicians hippocratic oath in our lives as leaders, in that we should, “First, do no harm.”  Join me in accepting God’s call on our lives.  Join me in realizing the purpose we were made for.  We’re gonna screw it all up.  We’re gonna stumble and fail.  However, He has a way of rectifying our mistakes when our actions are for His purpose.  Together, let’s see how a coordinated effort to be leaders for the Lord can change the world.  Let’s see what God can do through our lives.  It’s not going to be an easy task, but...  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Romans 8:31

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Christ Alone


In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the Cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength 
My source of hope
Is Christ alone
From the song In Christ Alone by Brian Littrell

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Adduct:  “to act as a judge”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

God is not democratic.  Jesus isn’t followed through popular consensus.  What God says, simply is.  It is right.  It is the law.  It is the standard.  When God says something, when He instructs something, when He expects something; there is no negotiation.  There is only forgiveness.  We all disobey, fall short, and go too far.  We do what is wrong, even when we know what is right.  We fail to fulfill what is expected of us.  And we overstep the boundaries given to us.  When we attempt to change those boundaries, or lower the bar of achievement, or change the laws God’s set in place; we set ourselves up as a god.  But not only that, we disregard the Savior.  As people we are constantly trying to justify ourselves.  Why?  What difference does it make whether we’re perfect or not?  With the desire for perfection comes deep seated pride.  Pride says, “I can do it myself.”  Pride says, “I am a good person.”  Pride says, “I inherently know what’s right.”  It’s true that the Holy Spirit is here to guide us.  It’s also true that we cannot be perfect, we cannot know perfection, and we cannot save ourselves.  That is Christ’s role.  Through Him alone we can become perfect.  Through Him alone can we come to know perfection.  Through Him alone are we saved.  To expect, to believe, or to want anything different is to reject God.  In Christ alone there is hope.  In Him alone there is strength.  He is the only path towards glory.  Through Him God has given us mercy in His adjudication.

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, October 15, 2013

Following God... Progressively

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”  Albert Einstein 

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful,” but not all things build.  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.  1 Corinthians 10:23-24
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

Technology:  “the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary

We live in a progressive world.  By that I mean, we live in a world that is progressing towards new things.  New technologies, new ideas, and even new lifestyles.  How should a Christian respond to progression?  As Christians we often fear new things.  We fear them because we have to make judgements on them.  For the most part we don’t question whether we should use technologies like automobiles, or telephones, or medicine.  Those things have already been determined as good and acceptable things to use in our lives.  As long as we use them judiciously and wisely.  What about Facebook?  Or twitter?  Or smartphones and all that comes with them?  When should our kids gain access to them?  How do we protect our children, society, and selves against the negative aspects of the internet?  Like most things, the internet, smartphones, technology in general, is morally neutral.  It’s not about the internet.  It’s not about how connected we are to social media.  Salvation and righteous living is not about technology, or computers, or oil for that matter.  It’s about our response to those things.  How we use them.  How they affect our lives.  How they influence our minds.  Like language, the new things in life can be uplifting or degrading depending on their use.  It’s not a sin for a twelve year old to have an iPhone.  It’s not a sin to have a bunch of friends on Facebook.  It’s not a sin to purchase a new computer.  Neither is it good to give your child unlimited access to all that is wrong with society.  Or to slander friends in front of a thousand people on social media.  Or to use a new computer to ruin yours or someone else’s life.  Technology is not always good or useful, and it doesn’t always solve problems.  Often it creates more problems than it ever solves.  There are some kids that shouldn’t drive at 16.  Just like there are some who should never have a computer.  Then again, we can praise God for the advantages He’s given us.  Where would missions be today if we refused to fly on the latest airliners?  The internet gives us the ability to inject a positive message into millions, if not billions of lives from a single desk.  Progression now, just like at every other step of the world, doesn’t have to be scary.  With it comes opportunities to change lives for the better.  With it comes the opportunity to live out God’s purpose for our lives.  With it can come the Gospel.  Most objects aren’t inherently evil.  It’s what we choose to do with them that determines their cause.  So the question is not whether that new technology is good.  The question is, what good can come from it through our actions?  In every situation, in every experience, in every device, there is always a way to follow God. 

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, October 10, 2013

Losing


“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right.  That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me.  We all have to take defeats in life.”  Muhammad Ali

Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Corrigendum:  “an error in a printed work discovered after printing and shown with its correction on a separate sheet”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Losing is the worst.  Ok, well it’s not the worst, but it is pretty bad.  We call a lot of things, “The worst” don’t we?  Maybe not in those specific terms, but most of us have a problem with perspective on what is really bad.  A car driving below the speed limit.  Our team losing a game.  Missing a birthday.  None of those things are life ending.  Not in a well balanced life anyway.  However, we allow many small things to absolutely damage our livesEverything has a purpose if we’re willing to assign it one.  Even losing.  In a society that values winning and success over just about everything, we forget, losing builds character.  Trials build courage.  Breaking builds strength.  But only on one condition, that we don’t allow losing, trials, breaking, falling, etcetera, to stop us.  Change course, sure.  Slow down, at times.  Speed up, that too.  There’s no doubt life is going to change our courses and the way we travel, but it doesn’t have to stop us.  Instead of allowing things to discourage us, we should use them to embolden us.  We should fight back against the opposition to God given purpose.  No fighter ever became great without a fight.  No CEO ever became an affective leader without learning how to follow.  And we aren’t going to get where we’re meant to go without wading in the muck.  Can we appreciate that?  Sauna’s do there best work when they make us sweat.  Can we treat life like a that?  We’re not always gonna be winning.  It’s through losing that we can appreciate a good win.  And it’s through losing that we learn the lessons required to win consistently.  And through it all, the biggest win is in sight through Christ Jesus.  Losing is a reality for us.  It can be good.  But it should never become a part of who we are.  God said, “Let Us make man in our image.” Genesis 1:26  Through sin we have tarnished that image.  We know that.  But still, God is no loser, and neither are you.  That image, though faded, still persists.  It’s the image of beauty.  It’s the image of perfection.  It’s the image of redemption.  Although we can’t fully see it now.  One day it will be clear.  Keep going.  

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, October 9, 2013

Abba! Father!


“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”  William Shakespeare 

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15

Abba:  “an intimate term for God as father”

Near Portland Oregon there is a bridge called St. Johns Bridge.  Its gothic styled towers rise a little over four hundred feet above the surface of the Willamette river, suspending a nearly half mile deck below.  Of course, there are lights to mark the top of the bridge to aviation traffic.  And of course, those lights have to be maintained.  And if you look way up at the its spires from below you’ll be able to see a seemingly tiny ladder up to them.  Most of us live in such a sterile world, that it’s hard to believe anyone would have to climd a ladder four hundred feet above ground to change a lightbulb.  Now, I’m not scared of ladders, and I’m not particularly scared of heights.  However, I do have a healthy respect for the dangers of both and I’m not sure you’ll ever find me climbing the rungs of a ladder hundreds of feet off the ground.  And at the same time I know that climbing a ladder thousands of feet high is really no different than one just a few.  Still it takes something a little extra.  The consequences are a little greater.  The stakes a little higher.  The faith has to be strong.  Faith that the safety leash will hold.  Faith that your foot will not slip.  Faith that your courage will not waiver.  And by now you can see where I’m leading.  How much of life requires faith?  Answer...  All of it.  A careless driver.  A sleeping pilot.  A foolish shooter.  They all can take lives just as easily as gravity.  And still there’s a greater faith.  A faith that puts us into harms way without fear.  A faith that makes us vulnerable without shame.  A faith that comforts at the thought of death.  A faith that knows Jesus saves.  It produces the same kind of trust a child has being tossed into the air.  A trust that doesn’t even comprehend danger because daddy never fails.  How comforting is it to know that we are tethered, we are being caught, we are in the safety net of a loving Savior willing to give up all of His rights and luxuries as God to die for us a most cruel death on the Cross?  How comforting is it to know that there is more to life than a few years?  That there is more than this?  That there is perfection waiting?  We still fear.  We’ve been dropped by humanity.  We’ve been failed by our earthly safety nets.  And so it’s a little hard at times to trust in a Savior we’ve never met and cannot see.  But how good does it feel when we know He’s near?  When we feel His presence and His love?  When our faith is strong?  It feels like home.  It feels safe and warm in the coldest and dankest of places.  We’ve failed.  Sometimes we don’t even feel like we deserve the love of our Creator.  However, it’s still there.  Like the most loving of parents.  The strongest of ropes.  The steadiest of buildings.  It’s still there, no matter how hard we’ve tried to find its failing point.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Hold on to that faith.  That love.  That unfailing Savior.  In a world where very little deserves faith.  In a world where injustice takes place everyday.  In a world where...  He is faithful.  He is just.  He saves.  Jesus saves.

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, October 4, 2013

Love's Neighbor


I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Teresa


Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12 


Forgive: “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake” New Oxford American Dictionary

When I started out, I meant for today's message to be about giving. Then I came across this quote by Mother Teresa and had to use it. But hey, love is a gift too isn't it? And so is forgiveness. And that's what struck me while creating today's message; the definition of “forgive.” We all know the definition of forgiveness. But rarely do we really practice it to it's full meaning. Many times we forgive people just by telling them we forgive them or telling someone else we forgave someone. Meanwhile, we're still pretty much raging inside. That's not forgiving, that's pardoning. That's not healing, that's suppressing. We may release a person from the consequences of their actions by pardoning them, but does that mean we have really forgiven them? In his song, Just The Two of Us, Will Smith makes the observation, “Hate in your heart will consume you too.” While pardoning may remove outward consequences. Nothing but true forgiveness will remove the consequences we suffer on the inside when we feel animosity and hatred towards someone. True healing can only come through true forgiveness. Next time an opportunity to forgive arises, let's try to not only pardon, but to also forgive in our hearts. Because that's where forgiveness lives in the first place, right beside love... Its neighbor.

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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ya Gotta Get Dedicated


“Dedication is not what others expect of you, it is what you can give to others.”  Author Unknown

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.   Psalm 139:15-16

Christen:  "to name or dedicate (as a ship) by a ceremony suggestive of baptism"  Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Throughout our lives we see the christening and dedicating of multitudes of things, sometimes even humans.  There's a reason.  Dedicating something immediately places value on it, because it makes its purpose known and understood.  The object dedicated becomes a tool for the purpose it is intended for.  If dump trucks weren't dedicated to hauling dirt and gravel they would stop being useful and become wasteful hulks of steel, menacing the streets and highways.  If ships weren't dedicated to crossing oceans and seas they would rust in port and waste away towards ruin.  In the same way, if we're not dedicated for a purpose, a part of us is being wasted. Just as engineers create machines for a purpose and industries dedicate them towards it; God designed and created us for a purpose.  However, it is our job to dedicate ourselves to it.  Let’s get dedicated.

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Building Place


Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20

Idea: “a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The funny thing about gossip, is that it usually hurts the ones we love the most. We've all seen friendships destroyed, not because someone genuinely disliked their friend, but because one found entertainment in talking about the other in ways they shouldn't have. I know we've all heard it before, but we would be much better off if, when we had something to say about someone, we acted as if they were listening to everything we had to say. That doesn't mean all of our comments have to be something the other would want to hear however. One of the most important roles of friendship is to edify. But we should ensure that all of our talk is rooted in a proper foundation. A positive and encouraging foundation. A foundation of love. If we can't find the love in whatever we're doing, it's not worth doing. I know it's a massive cliché, but, “if we don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say anything at all.” Our words are often the most powerful tool we have. They can build up, or they can tear down. Do we want to be known as builders, or destroyers? There is a place to destroy, the human spirit is not one of them. There is a place to build, and what better place is there, than a friend?

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