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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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Fill Up

"This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified." - Martin Luther

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. - 1 John 2:29

Inept: "having or showing no skill; the inept handing of the threat" - New Oxford American Dictionary

As I watched my baby drink from her bottle this morning, the verse popped into my head.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”- Matthew 5:6  It was a statement by Jesus in His famous sermon we call, “The Beatitudes.”  A sermon where Jesus painstakingly took people’s expectations and turned them on their ear.  What did Jesus mean by this statement?  We all know some people trying their best to be righteous. Some of them are doing pretty well. Some are struggling and can't figure out why. Some think they've succeeded and we all know they haven't. But what did Jesus mean? To hunger and thirst are natural and common things. We all know what it's like to be hungry or thirsty. Our bodies are telling us we need something. We need sustenance, nourishment, and hydration. We can't live very long without those things. And neither can we receive Jesus' promise of everlasting life without righteousness.  That's why, when our hearts are on eternity, our souls naturally crave it. But we need something more than ourselves. Just like our bodies are inept at creating the nourishment we need, we are incapable of creating righteousness in ourselves. Notice, Jesus didn't say, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will achieve righteousness. No, He said they would be filled. That speaks to the Cross itself. The only tool and path towards human righteousness. Jesus is our righteousness. When we want Him more than anything else, when we realize our need for Him above all else. When we hunger and thirst for Him. He fills. 

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goodness

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” - Peter - 1 Peter 4:8

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. - Romans 12:9

Tolerance: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Sometimes I get frustrated when Christians get caught up in being what many would consider as “good.”  There are a couple issues with living to be good.  One is that goodness is too often measured by human relativity.  Another is that Christianity is not about being good.  I’ll come to that later.  First I want to explore what it means to be good.  How we define goodness.  Does goodness mean accepting everyone for who they are?  Or does it mean loving everyone no matter who they are?  No one should accept a bad behavior.  Just because someone excuses their actions based on their perceived identity doesn’t mean we should accept that behavior or identity.  Some grown men have a tendency to love little girls.  No one thinks we should accept that.  So why should we accept prostitution, or drug abuse, or whatever?  Acceptance, or tolerance, as we sometimes hear it, is not a measure of goodness.  However, love remains.  Love remains for the prostitute standing on the corner high on crack.  Love remains for the thief in jail.  Love even remains for the predator down your street.  Love remains.  But is love a measure of goodness?  Love is the measure of goodness!  I’m not talking about the love in tolerance, the love in acceptance, or the love of compromise.  I’m talking about pure love that doesn’t have to tolerate anything.  Love that doesn’t have to accept someone for who they are.  Love that loves despite who we all are.  That pure of a love can only be found in our Creator.  It’s call agape.  The greek word for unconditional love.  There is nothing more conditional that tolerance, acceptance, and compromise.  What are we tolerating?  What are we accepting?  What are we compromising with?  Those words can’t exist without a pre-judgement.  Pure love doesn’t have to look past the actions, motives, or tendencies of a person.  Pure love can look them in the face and embrace anyway.  I don’t want anyone to simply put up with my imperfection.  I know I have them and I want to be better.  However, I want more than anything to be loved despite of them.  We find that love utmost in God.  That love is what is supposed to be at the heart of Christianity.  Christianity is not about measuring up our goodness and comparing it with our faults.  It’s about that love.  Accepting it.  Returning it.  And spreading it as much as we can.  That love defines Christianity because it is what bears fruit.  That love causes us to be different.  To act differently.  And to be, can I say, “good.”  That’s why I get frustrated at Christianity being about goodness.  It’s about God’s love, for us, in us, and through us.  The rest - the “goodness” takes care of itself, with God’s love.

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, January 29, 2014

Keep Him In Sight

“If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” - Robin Jones Gunn

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
  and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
  my salvation and my God. 
- Psalm 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5


Follow: “undertake or carry out (a course of action or study)” - New Oxford American Dictionary

There’s a bumper sticker you may have seen, or perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “If God seems far away… Move closer.”  Part of me recoils at the suggestion.  “Don’t you know,” I want to say, “How hard I’ve tried to stay close.”  I think of all the good times with God and the times when I feel absolutely phony.  Phrases like that resonate like a gong in my God filled heart.  But when I feel far away, I feel out of control.  And when I feel out of control, how do I move closer?  And that’s the phrase isn’t it?  “I FEEL OUT OF CONTROL!”  That’s where the fault lies.  The control isn’t with me.  God is in control.  God is in the lead.  Our part is to follow.  It occurred to me how true that bumper sticker is, when I thought of how I want my relationship with God to be.  We have a tendency to want to remain babies in our walk with the Lord.  We’d love to be carried the entire way.  God wants us to grow up.  I want to stay in the place where I read my Bible for a few minutes a day and pray for my family.  God wants something more from me.  I want to feel blessed by every sunrise and song about Jesus.  God wants me to build the strength to carry His blessings to others in darkness.  I want every walk in the forest to tell of the Creator.  God wants me to see Him and be with Him in every situation.  Don’t let God out of your sight.  He’s the guide through darkness.  You can see it all through the Psalms.  David has moments of ecstasy and times of despair.  But the entire time he’s chasing after the Lord.  A walk with God is just what it sounds like.  It’s a walk.  The point is to get somewhere.  God wants to keep us moving.  To keep us growing.  He wants to grow us and prosper us in His purpose.  But just like every journey wearies, just like every workout exhausts, like every exam tires us; growing with God brings with it a struggle.  However, that struggle builds strength.  It increases our endurance and it gives us wisdom and knowledge.  God is pulling you to bigger, better, greater things.  But you have to hang on.  It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.  Greener pastures lie ahead with the Good Shepherd.  His promises abound in the struggle.  That’s why the Bible includes a verse like Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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, January 28, 2014

Stop Trying To Be Good

“Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally.  Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.” - Charles Stanley

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:13-16

Holy: “(of a person) devoted to the service of God” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Stop trying to be good?  Be holy?  This seems a little confusing I know.  But hopefully you’ll get what I mean in just a minute or two.  God wants you to live for Him.  The devil wants you to live for anything else.  So what does that mean?  That means that in everything you do, you should live to be set apart for the purpose of God.  That’s what it means to be holy.  Well, doesn’t that mean we should be good?  You might ask.  And I would say of course.  Than why would I say something like, “Stop trying to be good?”  Because trying to be good is often the first step the devil would like you to take away from God.  Because the devil knows you can’t be good by trying.  God is the one who holds the power of goodness in us.  If we could call it that?  Believe me, there are times when simply “being good” sounds like a relief from living for the Lord.  There are times when I, “Just want to be a good person.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  But who am I to judge what “good” is?  If I were to judge the character of another person I would soon be exposed as a hypocrite.  How good am I going to be at judging myself, who has a lot to lose by my judgements?  Just a little indulgence here and there never hurt anyone, right?  It’s good to have fun, right?  No one is perfect, right?  Those are the sort of things my brain says to my temptations.  Those things are true, but they’re not helpful in many situations.  Ask most anyone who lives for themselves and they’ll tell you they’re a good person.  That would include rapists and murderers.  They view themselves as decent, because they judge their intentions and see past their depravities.  But before we get on our high horse, we all do the same thing.  Andy Stanley once said, “We judge ourselves by our intentions, while others judge us by our actions.”  Intentions can justify and hide a lot of actions.  And actions don’t tell the whole story.  It’s a good thing God judges the heart.  “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7b  Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  That’s why God asks us to be holy.  He’s asking us to set aside our hearts for Him.  To treasure Him.  When He has our hearts, He has something to work with.  He can make a life good through a heart.  He can change a mind through a heart.  He can effect actions through a heart.  That’s why I say, “Stop trying to be good.”  Instead give your heart to God.  It won’t always be easy, but if I may say; it’s the only way to any sort of goodness in us.

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Make It Greater!

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.  I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterword.” - Kurt Vonnegut

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; - Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Exasperation: “a feeling of intense irritation or annoyance” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Ever get frustrated?  Maybe even outraged at life?  When things don’t go our way.  When that stupid piece of technology won’t work right.  When we can’t figure it, whatever that is, out.  Its easy to lose control.  It’s easy to lose control when we feel helpless.  When things take too long.  When too many distractions distract our concentration.  So how do we keep our patience?  How do we stay under control and navigate the rough patches?  Make it about something else.  Make it about something greater.  I don’t know what that “it” is for you.  Maybe it’s getting the house clean?  Maybe this morning it’s getting to work on time?  Maybe it’s really dumb, but you’re frustrated?  Make it greater!  Make it about your wife, husband, son, or daughter.  Make it about your mom and dad, or grandparents for that matter.  Make it about something besides yourself.  Something that involves love.  That problem on your computer.  Who will benefit when it gets solved.  Is it going to be you?  Chances are, you’re doing for somebody else in the first place.  Make it about them.  Or maybe it is about you.  Maybe the mess in the house is going to drive you absolutely nuts until it get’s cleaned up.  Still, don’t make it about you.  Make it about your piece of mind.  Make it about the good you’ll be able to do with a peaceful mind instead of a grumpy attitude.  Make your life missional.  Whether you like to hike or make movies, make those things a mission.  Hike for a cause.  Make your movie mean something.  You can even make your drive to work about something greater when you choose.  Be creative.  It may be difficult to see how whatever it is that’s bothering you could possibly be about greatness, but it can!  When you find that cause, life opens up.  How great is cleaning the house when the motivation is about making the world a better place to live for your family?  How great can your computer be when you’re using it to reach the world with encouragement?  How great can a simple commute be when it’s used to learn about life itself?  Get creative with your problems and see the potential in them.  It can make a world of a difference, and make a difference for the world too.

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Character And Traits

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.” - Ronald Reagan

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2

Character: “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual” - New Oxford American Dictionary

What are your traits?  Come on, I know you have some.  You don’t have to shout them to the world, but at least think for a second with me about the traits you naturally have.  And by traits, I mean your tendencies.  Do you naturally love people for who they are, not what they do?  If so, that is awesome.  Are you impatient, with a tendency to get angry and be discourteous to others?  If so, your like the rest of us.  And I use the word “us” deliberately, because I’m included in that bunch.  Good news!  Your traits don’t have to define you.  I know we often use the phrase “Character traits” to describe how someone acts, but we can stop that now if we choose.  We can stop using that term when Christ enters into our being.  It is very difficult, even impossible to change what we naturally do.  It’s in our nature to be fallen, imperfect, and downright bad.  Sure, we have good traits too, but our fallen nature usually uses them for selfish reasons.  You know; we’re nice so that we can be treated nicely, we’re apologetic because we want to be forgiven, we give simply because it makes us feel good.  Those are examples of good traits used to empower a not so good character.  But Jesus can change a character.  He can change us in ways we didn’t know was possible, maybe didn’t realize was even available.  With Christ in our hearts; we can start to be kind to people, knowing they will probably never be kind in return, we can apologize, even when forgiveness isn’t available, we can give without anyone ever knowing, simply because someone needs our help.  Our traits don’t have to define our character.  Simply put, Christ should be the One who drives who we are.  He should be the One we allow to create a new character in us.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beyond A Quote

“You can’t take it [your stuff] with you - but you can send it on ahead.” - Randy Alcorn
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21

Quotation: “a formal statement setting out the estimated cost for a particular job or service” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Have you ever thought of somebody differently because of what they had?  In all honesty I do it all the time.  And it’s not good.  I’ve found myself resisting going to certain stores because the people are different there.  So too, I’ve found myself uncomfortable in posh restaurants because those people are different as well.  The truth is, most people have difficulty relating to people they perceive to be different.  Unfortunately, a lot of times that difference comes in the form of wealth.  Why do we treat people in jobs that make little money differently than people who make more?  Why do we treat people with a lot more than us differently than people who have less?  It tells of the condition of our hearts.  It tells of what we value.  It’s difficult for us to value people for what they are; children of God.  Too often we view people with less as lazy and people with more as greedy.  Sometimes the stereotype rings true.  Often it’s way off the mark.  I’ve found that the physically harder the job, the less it often earns.  I’ve also seen wealthy people who are literally trying to give everything they have away and can’t do it.  God wants to bless us all with happiness.  For some, that may include possessions.  For others a simple living family.  For some that will include a nice wardrobe.  Others will care less about their garb.  Despite all our differences, we are all creatures of a loving God who has a plan for each of us.  Can we see past the material to gaze on the eternal?  Can we accept our fellow man, rejecting the things that don’t matter?  Can we guard our hearts from unfounded judgement and give them to God?  There are people worth being your friend in the slum down the road.  And there are respectable people in the mansions on the hill.  Our earthly differences don’t count up to anything when we consider our heavenly home.  If we were to treasure what is with God more than what is here with us, we could easily see people for who they really are.  Rather than who we want them to be.  Everyone’s value is beyond quotation when our heart is set on what really matters.

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, January 22, 2014

I'm Right Here

When you feel the sunlight
Fade into the cold night
Don’t know where to turn
Don’t know where to turn
And all the dreams you’re dreaming
Seem to lose their meaning
Let me in your world
Baby, let me in your world

All you need is someone you can hold
Don’t be sad, you’re not alone

I will be here for you
Somewhere in the night
Somewhere in the night
I’ll shine a light for you
Somewhere in the night
I’ll be standing by
I will be here for you

From the song I Will Be Here For You by Michael W. Smith

God is our refuge and strength,
  a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
  though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar with foam,
  though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
  the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
  God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
  He utters His voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
  how He has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
  He burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still and know that I am God.
  I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
  The God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

- Psalm 46

Impotent: “unable to take effective action; helpless or powerless” - New Oxford American Dictionary
                                                                                                           
When I hear my baby cry, something in me automatically says to her, “I’m right here, it’s ok, I’m right here.”  Because I’ve been in her footed jammies.  I’ve felt like her.  I’ve had needs I couldn’t meet.  We’ve all been there.  In fact, whether we admit it or not, we’re all there right now.  It’s called being human.  To be human is to be helpless.  Take away our support and we fall.  Take away our air and we suffocate.  Take the things we need to survive and we’re no more capable than a naked baby in the middle of winter.  It’s good to cry out in need.  It’s good to know we need help.  It’s essential to know where that help comes from.  It’s in a relationship with the Creator that we begin to be able to hear His still small voice in the midst of hardship saying, “I am right here.”  It’s because He is so close that we can have confidence in life.  Not only are we capable of survival with Him.  We can change the world.  He wants to affect the world through us.  So when your confidence is waning.  When the world seems harder than usual.  When we feel helpless.  Remember who’s right here.  “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” - Jesus - Revelation 3:20  I’m reminded of the Hymn that goes, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!”

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, January 21, 2014

Choose Grace

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” - Anne Lamott

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. - Hebrews 13:2

Grace: “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings” - New Oxford American Dictionary

I don’t think I’ll ever forget a night I went to bed with in a legendary mood.  And by legendary, I don’t mean good.  My wife simply reminded me that one of our friends, who is a NICU nurse had to watch ten babies die that week.  Perspective can change a lot of things.  How we feel.  How we treat people.  How we see God.  What perspective do you have today?  Is it the perspective that nothing should go wrong in your life?  Is it the perspective of perfection in the world?  True perspective lets us see the wrongs in our life.  It lets us understand that others are going through things we hope to avoid for a lifetime.  The laughter that comes after a newborn baby is born healthily into this world turns to tears when we consider all of those who aren’t.  Remember that many a doctor’s and nurse’s smile at a successful outcome has also been tempered by frustration and sadness.  Be thankful not only for those who care in the good times, but also those who care through the worst.  And be patient.  We don’t know what the other person we’re frustrated with may be going through.  In fact, we usually have no idea who they are.  Remember you need grace too.  And that our Savior freely offers it to you, for no other reason than He loves us all.  And remember too, His grace came at the cost of His life.  It came with suffering beyond what we can imagine.  Suffering of body and emotion.  Be thankful that our grace can be offered freely without suffering.  Grace is a gift we can give that has no legitimate cost, but comes with a great reward.  But even without a cost, it can be the hardest gift to give.  Because it often requires a little of ourselves.  That little part we don’t want to give.  The part we probably shouldn’t have anyway.  That part called pride.  Pride and grace, like oil and water, cannot naturally mix.  Which is it going to be?  Is it going to be anger when we don’t get our way?  Is it going to be blind judgement?  Is it going to be pride?  Or is it going to be Jesus?  Choose grace.

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Whats Due

“Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.” - Albert Einstein

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. - Jesus - Luke 6:37-38

Deference: “humble submission and respect” - New Oxford American Dictionary

We think we’re pretty good most of the time.  We’ve abolished slavery.  We do our best to reduce or eliminate violence.  We don’t force people to believe what we believe.  We respect people.  Or do we?  Are we that good after all?  How often do cab drivers get treated with dignity and respect?  And maids like they deserved better than to clean up our carelessness?  Or sales people like the customer isn’t always right?  We may pay people a wage, but we still like to have servants.  I dare you to talk to the next cab driver you use.  Often their story is much more interesting that you would have thought.  Take interest into the person cleaning your room.  Chances are, they went through a lot to get to be able to tidy your mess.  And what about police officers?  When we need them, we expect them to literally die for us.  But in the mean time they’re hated.  Oh we have our servants, that is for sure.  It doesn’t make much of a difference whether our cabby has been chased halfway across a continent by someone wanting to kill them with a machete.  We want them to drive.  It doesn’t make much of a difference whether the woman looking after our carelessness has three kids she’s not sure how to feed.  We want her to clean.  It doesn’t make much difference whether the person wearing blue has had people try to stab them, threaten their family, or have revenge enacted on them.  We want our protection.  And there’s nothing wrong with paying someone to do a service for us, when that service is something they voluntarily do.  It’s in how we treat and think of them that makes a difference.  Not everyone that does a service for us will be a great person.  But many are.  Many, if we could see their lives, could startle us with the respect they deserve.  With the dignity they live.  “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” - Jesus - Luke 6:31
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

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's Worth It

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions define us.” - Virginia Satir

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43:19

Ostentatious: “characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Come on write something.  Just get it down on paper.  Or on the screen, or whatever you call writing on a computer.  Just do something useful.  Have you ever been blocked?  Ever had the feeling of unknowing stop you from doing?  Just do something.  It doesn’t have to be big.  Some of the most affective things ever, have been small.  Sometimes I wonder how much good it does to tell someone, or write, that God can change a life.  That purpose can be found through Him.  That He can change the world through you.  Not everyone will become world famous because of God.  Not everyone will save thousands of lives because of God’s purpose for them.  Not everyone will feel alive at every moment because of Jesus.  Most people will appear to stay pretty normal.  But something changes inside.  Something that can pull you through the tough spots.  Maybe changing the world for somebody just means that you’ve given them the courage to get up in the morning.  For some people that is the difference between life and death.  Keep working.  Keep praying.  Keep trying.  It’s all worth it when you hear of a cancer patient cured you’ve been praying for.  It’s all worth it when you find out something you did made a difference to someone in need.  It’s all worth it, even if you don’t realize it personally.  God doesn’t work ostentatiously.  He works under the cover of faith.  Keep trying.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jesus As A Verb

Jesus loves me - this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong, -
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me - loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me - He will stay, 
Close beside me all the way.
Then His little child will take,
Up to heaven for His dear sake.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

- Verses from a poem by Anna Bartlett Warner
- Refrain from the Hymn Jesus Loves Me by William Batchelder Bradbury

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. - 1 John 1:3-4

Ian: a suffix that forms an adjective or a noun like Persian

“Like taking candy from a baby.”  Why is that the term we use to describe something as easy?  Sure taking candy from a baby is easy, but isn’t it easier to give candy to a baby?  The term speaks directly about humanity.  Humanity is too often about what we can get, instead of what we can give.  For many of us, it often doesn’t even occur to us that we could give.  And I’m not just talking about money.  I’m talking about time, about love, about a smile, about Jesus too.  If we could take a poll that asks people if they love Jesus, I bet there would be a lot who would say YES.  And if we could take an exit poll from those people after they encountered a Christian, how many of them would say it again?  And how many after leaving church would say, “Yes but, I need to stop…”  Or, “Yes but, I really should start…”  That “Yes but” is killing us.  There’s no “Ya but” about Jesus.  Only a YES!  Too often we Christians take Christ out of our lives leaving the world with a bunch of  “ians.”  Being a Christian isn’t about having an identity so much as it is about living a way.  In fact that’s what Christians were called at first, “The Way.”  Our lives should be defined with more verbs and adverbs than nouns and adjectives.  When we focus on what we do instead of what we are, we can more easily focus on doing what is helpful.  Just being isn’t helpful to anyone.  No drill can cut a hole without action.  And no Christian can help a world in need, without giving the love of Christ.  It’s easy to tell someone what they should and shouldn’t do.  It’s easy to point out the wrong in people.  But that doesn’t “Do” anything.  Does it ever occur to us that we should just give Christ?  It’s actually a lot easier.  We don’t ever have to worry about saying the wrong thing.  We won’t have to craft our words carefully.  We just have to share the love of Christ.  The teaching, the right and wrongs will come in time.  They will.  But for right now, just give.  What happens when you take candy from a baby?  We easily get candy, right?  But we also leave a crying baby.  What happens when we give?  We’re left with a smile.  And that’s one of the best things anyone can ever get.  Let’s give Jesus.  It’s like giving candy to a baby.  It’s giving salvation to a sinner.

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, January 15, 2014

Forget Much?

“Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” - John F. Kennedy

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. - Psalm 127:4

Cache: “a hidden or inaccessible storage place for valuables, provisions, or ammunition” - New Oxford American Dictionary

What if you could remember every day of your life like it was yesterday?  What if the hopes of your future were constantly bombarded by the disappointments of your past?  What if this moment right now could last forever?  What would you be thinking about it?  Would this be a moment worth remembering?  Of course, not all of the moments we experience are worth remembering.  Of course, we’re going to have those moments that are best forgotten.  And of course, every moment of our lives can affect every other part of our existence.  There is a condition called hyperthymestic syndrome that gives a person the ability to remember every day of their lives.  In fact it destroys their ability to forget them.  And it can be disabling.  The good days and the bad.  They’re all right there.  What would you do in their situation?  Would you make the most of your time?  I suspect that many of us often live moment by moment as if most of them are going to be forgotten.  Every drive to work.  Every moment spent on the couch.  Every walk through your neighborhood.  They can be either worth remembering or destined for the waste bin of forgotten experiences.  Make every moment count.  Moments are the key that unlocks a future full of possibilities.  It’s what we do with them that makes the difference.  All those times we normally try to ignore.  The times we’re not on vacation.  Times void of excitement.  The times we could care less about (and you know there a lot of them.)  They don’t have to be worthless.  They could be used to build a platform for the future.  They could be used to instill values into a child.  They could be worth remembering.  What we do with this moment determines whether it is worth lasting a lifetime.  Be thankful that every moment doesn’t stay with you, like they do to some.  But value every moment like it could.  How much difference do you think that could make in your life?  

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, January 14, 2014

Be Worth More

“Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” - Oscar Wilde

And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. - Matthew 6:12

Worth: “sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action; deserving to be treated or regarded in the way specified” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Ever been called worthless?  Ever seen someone else called that?  Ever called someone worthless?  If we stop and think about, that’s a pretty rough thing.  That a person could be viewed as worthless.  A person who was born in love, needing love, wanting to be loved.  What makes a person valuable?  Everyone is different but we can easily make a list.  A person is valuable if they bring profit to a life, if they improve the world around them, if they…  Ok let’s hold on right there.  People are valuable; period.  What makes anyone valuable?  The potential for their love.  What is this world here for, what are we here for, if not to share love?  We’re not here just to improve and create technology.  We’re not here just to be a good employee.  We’re not here to just anything.  We’re here to be conduits of love.  Love should infect and saturate every part of our lives.  The products we build should be crafted in love.  The way we entertain should be done with love.  We should work with love at everything we do.  Just as a computer chip is meant to manipulate and carry electricity and effect a result, we are meant to be conductors of love.  Our love should have a real result.  That’s what makes us worth so much more than can be quantified.  We are to be outlets of love.  And that begs the question; if we’re the output, what is the input?  That input, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, is our Creator.  He is the originator of love.  His keystroke of love put forth the keystone of our loves, the cornerstone of our existence.  We can see it in nature around us.  We can feel it from others.  We can feel it from God Himself.  But it’s something we must accept too.  You will never be worthless.  But to see your truest value, you must see His love.  You may not have to believe it’s Him, but you must see it.  However, when we see that it’s God’s love all around us, we will be forever changed.  Forever worthwhile.  Forever different.  Because God’s love is the light that makes everything a little clearer.  It’s the light that allows us to see fault, but to realize ours more.  It’s the light that allows us to see good, and to chase after it.  It’s the light that destroys darkness.  His love...  It’s what makes every one of us be worth more.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Father's Perspective

“How great is our God - sing with me
How great is our God - and all will see
How great, how great is our God.”
- From the song How Great Is Our God by Christ Tomlin

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. - Exodus 20-12

Honor: “a thing conferred as a distinction, esp. an official award for bravery or achievement” - New Oxford American Dictionary

Funny, up to this point I’ve never fully understood the fifth commandment.  “Honor your father and your mother.”  I’ve always seen it from a child’s perspective.  That to honor means to obey, to emulate, or even to respect.  Looking at my four day old little girl I see full well what is meant.  It’s not a law that has to be balanced in way that we don’t have to obey a parents faulty desires.  It doesn’t mean we balance respect for and safety from an abusive parent.  We don’t have to emulate a person just because they’re our parent.  That’s not the law’s intent.  It means so much more.  What I want from my daughter is not obedience, it’s not emulation, it’s not for her to live out my dreams for her life.  Although I will do my best to deserve those things, and will at times demand them.  What I really want from my daughter is for her to truly honor me.  That means she lives a life to be proud of.  That she lives a life that can be respected.  That she does what is right.  That she is just.  That doesn’t mean she’ll be perfect.  I don’t expect that from her.  But that she’ll…  I’m speechless.  But if you have kids, I think you know what I mean.  And if you don’t have kids yet, I pray you someday will.  Live with a parents perspective.  It’s the closest thing I’ve experienced yet, to seeing humanity from The Father’s perspective.

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Heart Work


Don't despair too much if you see beautiful things destroyed, if you see them perish. Because the best things are always growing in secret.” Ben Okri

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Assurance: “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise” New Oxford American Dictionary

Daniel Ruettiger was five feet five inches tall, weighed 165 pounds, suffered from dyslexia, and was perpetually reminded of what he couldn't do. But he had a dream that was bigger than what anybody thought he could achieve. He wanted to go to school at the University of Notre Dame and he wanted to play football there. His poor academic abilities meant he had to attend Holy Cross College and was rejected three times by Notre Dame. His size and lack of athletic ability made it impossible for him to get a sports scholarship there as well. But his heart made up for what he lacked in academic and athletic ability. He worked so hard in the classroom at Holy Cross that he was eventually accepted into Notre Dame and worked so hard on the tryout field that he was able to make the practice squad for Notre Dame Football. Eventually his hard work lead to him playing in the last two plays in the last game of his college football career. For all his hard work he got to suite up for one game and play in two plays. But at the end of that game he became the first player to ever be carried off the Notre Dame field by his teammates and to this day there have only been two. Today “Rudy” works as a motivational speaker and is involved in helping student athletes through the Rudy foundation. He gives Rudy awards based on his four C's “courage, character, commitment, and contribution.” His story also inspired one of the most inspiring movies of all time “Rudy.” Hard work and character may not always get us exactly what we want, but we can be assured it will always be recognized in one way or another. Whenever we feel we aren't getting anywhere in life, let's remember Rudy, and what he has accomplished through his four C's and hard work, or should I say heart work.

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

P.S. What do you think this world could be like if more people put their heart into everything they did?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Life

If you’re at all familiar with the DSGJ, you’ll know that I follow a strict format.  Forgive me if I stray for once.  But today is a little different.  Everyday is different, but this one is also special.  I want to use this opportunity to ask you to pray for Whitney and I as we become new parents.  This morning Whitney and I are going to the hospital to have our baby girl Cora Mae.  Which appropriately means Maiden of Faith.  It’s been a journey of faith, these five years.  Faith that Cora would come.  That God would bless us with a child.  And He has.  Please pray that we be the parents our daughter deserves.  That God blesses us with wisdom and knowledge.  That Cora grows to be a woman of God.  If everything goes the way it should, next time you hear from me, which should be tomorrow, I’ll be a dad for the first time and Whitney’s dream of holding her own baby will have come true.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
God bless you,

Jake