What God Sows

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Listen

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

I am not sure where the quote came from, but I like it: “Learn to listen. Listen to learn.” Many obstacles keep us from listening to others: noise, electronics, phones, games, distractions and interruptions from others, etc. When we are teaching kids, we work hard to get their attention before we start speaking. We say things like “Waterfall, waterfall,” and the kids respond, “Shhhhhhhhh.” They know they are to stop what they are doing and give us their attention when we say that.

Too bad we can’t do that with adults. LOL. The older we get the more we seem to be distracted. I watch the Principal and Assistant Principals at our school and wonder how in the world they ever get anything done?! They are constantly being pulled in different directions for some “emergency.”

I think we as adults need to learn this truth and teach it to the kids: Someone else may have an “emergency,” but that does not necessarily make it OUR emergency. There are times we have to turn off the phones, turn off the emails, turn off the walkies, and set our priorities. Sometimes we have to delegate the issue. Sometimes we need to seek counsel and collaborate for a resolution. Sometimes we have to say “No,” or at least, “Let me get back to you on that.” Sometimes we just need time to think!

Listening is a skill that we can all improve upon, but it will never improve till we learn to handle the endless distractions and interruptions that life throws at us. Another truth to remember is that everyone needs to feel that they are heard and understood. It is foundational to building healthy relationships. Give others the respect of being heard….whether or not you agree with them. That will defuse many of the ticking time bombs that might otherwise possibly explode on you or others in the area.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

danskognes.com

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Opportunity Knocks

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Behind every problem opportunity knocks.”

Daniel Skognes

Next time you are facing a problem, look for the opportunity that is presenting itself. There is an old quote that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” No matter what the problem, no matter how daunting it may seem, or how overwhelmed you may feel, there is opportunity.

Recently I was at work and realized I had misplaced my wallet! I was in panic mode trying to remember where I had it last. The two things that can put most people in a tailspin are losing their wallet or losing their phone. I retraced all my steps from that morning and mentioned to a couple of people at work the pickle I was in. My mind went to the worst case scenario with someone either throwing it away or worse, using my confidential information against me.

One of the people I mentioned it to was the campus policeman. He said, “You were wearing an overcoat this morning. Do you think you put it in your coat?” That was the thing that snapped my brain back to calm. I never put my wallet in my coat, but I had not checked it either.

Sure enough, there it was in my side pocket. I must have put it in there to free up my hands so I could enter the building that morning. I had been looking at a shopping list before I entered the school and kept the list in my wallet. Talk about a relief!

So what is the opportunity here? The lesson for me was to breathe and let my mind think! It is hard to think when you are in panic mode. I hope there is not a next time, but if there is, I am going to try to stay calm and let God direct my path. I’m going to the prayer room, not the panic room.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Love Your Enemies

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

This is probably one of the hardest things that we are commanded to do as Christ followers. It goes against everything our mind and heart wants to do. When we have been wronged, we want revenge, justice, and payback. We want them to feel the pain they have inflicted on us, and yet Jesus tells us to love them, to be kind to them, to forgive them!

I am just pointing out the obvious: That is a tall order! I don’t think we can do it on our own, either. It takes the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us do what is seemingly impossible. If you have people in your life currently or in the past who have become your enemies, let God help you do the right thing. Ask Him to help you forgive them….and to love them.

The enemy of our souls is constantly stirring us up to hate one another, to destroy relationships, and to get revenge. We will be tested in this area. I pray that God bless you and give you His perfect peace. I pray that He give you the power to forgive and to love those who have hurt you.

One of the best signs of forgiveness is when we can show them love. That is true forgiveness. That frees us to be the person that God has created us to be in His image. It does not mean we allow them to use or abuse us. They have to be held accountable. It does not mean we have to allow them in close contact to us if the situation is dangerous or unhealthy. Proper boundaries are good to have for everyone and are necessary to have peace. Pray for one another in this area that we may be able to live in freedom that God intended for us, and that strongholds be broken.

It is a choice. Choose to live in peace and to love one another. The alternative will never give you the desired results and will leave you feeling empty.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Permanent Markers

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Many years ago when I was first starting to teach elementary school, I was subbing in a first grade classroom. When I got there the kids were already in their seats and had these black markers. They were drawing all over the desks with them. I about fainted. I asked in a panicked voice: “What are y’all doing drawing all over the desks?”

The kids looked up at me with this puzzled look and just took their hands and wiped off the desks. I dropped my jaw and looked at them wide-eyed: “May I see one of those pens?” The kid closest to me handed me one. In bold letters it said, “Erasable marker.” I had never seen one before (I’m old school). I was so relieved that the desks were not ruined…and neither was my new career. LOL.

Sin is a lot like this in our lives. The Devil tempts us to sin and then condemns us when we do. He tries to convince us that we will never be good enough. We have these black marks all over us and we might even be tempted to believe the Devil’s lies that God can never accept us now. The truth is, we can’t be good enough without Christ. He is the one that has the magic eraser to make us like new again. That is great news for all mankind. We just have to admit we are messed up and need Christ to make us new. He cleans the slate, and He is the only one who can do it for us.

It is a beautiful thing when you realize how wonderful and perfect God’s love is for us. His mercies are new every morning. Have a blessed week.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

danskognes.com

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Broken People

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Have you ever been broken? Most people I know have been broken at least once, and some have been broken numerous times. I am one of the latter. Being broken is a terrible place to be, but I have learned that blessings can come from brokenness.

There are many reasons why a person might be broken: trauma, failed relationships, losing a loved one or a close friend, health issues, losing your job, natural disasters, poor choices, etc. Regardless of the cause of brokenness, the outcome can feel like the world is falling in on you. It is painful and begs the question: “Why is this happening to ME?”

If you have ever felt that way, or if you are in that pit of despair now, take heart. There IS hope. Tomorrow is another day and worth living. There is a purpose for your life despite being overwhelmed by the current circumstances.

When you are broken, consider these things:

1. Ask yourself, “Were there choices I made that got me in this pickle?” If so, own it and change your choices. Quit blaming other people for the storm you created if you indeed were the one who created it. You might have to change the people you hang out with, the places you go, or the things that you do. If any of those things are taking you away from God, then you need to change them.

2. Nobody is immune from bad things happening. Just realize that life is full of road blocks, detours, and dead ends. Anticipate them. Don’t let the set backs keep you from the blessings God has in store for you. When you are pressed upon, press in to Him! He is our guide, our comforter, our shield, and our strength.

3. Every problem is a test, but your test can become your testimony to help other people who are overwhelmed and going through the same thing.

4. Surround yourself with people who love God and follow His Word. Going through a devastating circumstance alone is unwise and may even be life threatening. Find people who will pray for you, speak God’s Word over you, and encourage you through the trial you are facing.

5. Remember that even in the middle of a storm, there is peace. Let the peace of God help you, sustain you, and encourage you.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

John 14:16: And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

Psalm 94:19: When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on God and He will sustain you.

Jeremiah 29:11: I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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The Human Race

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I know this post will not sit right with some people, but I encourage you to read it to the end before you argue the point. I wish to debunk the statement: “Life is not a competition.” I am not sure where that idea originated, but there is no truth to it, and I will prove it to you.

Competition is not a bad thing, in fact, it is very positive and helps us excel in our endeavors. The race begins at conception. Normal sperm count can range from 15 million to as high as 300 million sperm per milliliter. All of those are vying to fertilize an egg.

After birth, we compete as children for the attention we need from our family. The race continues as we compete for grades, athletic competitions, music and art competitions, etc. We compete to get into certain schools, and once we have our degree, we compete to either get more degrees or a job in the workplace. Even if we are self-employed, we compete with others for our market share.

We compete for dates and for spouses. When we are not competing with others, we compete with ourselves to improve, achieve, and excel in life. It is for our own good that we compete.

I realize that some are thinking everyone should get a ribbon when they compete. If they are special needs children or adults, that argument might have some merit, but even the special needs children and adults have Special Olympics. There is something inside each of us that wants to be recognized for doing the best we can, and have others see it as well. 

The Bible even talks about competition in a positive way. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So, run that you may obtain it.”

In the movie Chariots of Fire (an amazing movie if you have not seen it), Eric Liddell was to run in the Olympics. I realize the quote may just be from a Hollywood screenwriter, but it was based upon his true life events. In the movie he said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure.”

In the race we call life, isn’t that what we all desire: to know God’s purpose, run to win, and feel God’s pleasure?”

May you run to win!

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Walls

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

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Speak Your Mind

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

There is a problem with people speaking their mind. It seems that many folks just blurt out nonsense without considering the impact or consequences of their statements. I have seen purely innocent statements both in person and online attacked or belittled for no good reason other than to just be contrary or try to prove that they are right and you are wrong. Why do people feel entitled to make caustic comments?

Here is my advice: “Speak your mind, but mind your tongue.” In other words…think before you speak. Consider who you are speaking to, why you are voicing your opinion to the contrary, what the possible consequences could be for your statements, and is it even necessary to say? Just a thought, but sometimes it is best to hold your tongue and just scroll on or ignore it.

People seem to underestimate the power of their words. Words have the ability to do one of two things: heal or hurt. Once they have been expressed, you cannot take them back. You can apologize for offending someone, but you have still wounded them. Depending on their state of mind, they may be able to just shake it off (if they are healthy) or they may allow that wound to fester and affect their outlook on life and their own self-worth in a negative fashion (if they have been abused).

This sums it up: Speak the truth in love. You will never know what memories and wounds that person is already carrying. Don’t make their load any heavier or even impossible. If anything…encourage them!

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Overflowing

Posted in General

An age old question is, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” You might say a little of both or just one or the other depending on the day or the circumstances that you are facing. The thing is, we all have more choices than just having our glass half full or half empty. We can choose to have an abundant life…one that is overflowing with God’s blessings. The question is, “How do we get and maintain an attitude like that?”

You may be thinking that there is no hope, or that life has handed you a terrible hand to play, and you know what? You may be right on the hand you were dealt. Life isn’t fair, but I would definitely argue that life is well worth living despite the hand you have been dealt. Some of you are already getting ready to argue the point with me, but let me at least plant a few things in your heart and mind to consider.

1. Philippians 4:19 says that God will supply ALL our needs according to HIS riches in glory. Do you believe that? It does take faith.

2. Luke 17:6 says that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed (one of the smallest seeds on earth), you can move mountains! It is a matter of trusting God.

3. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says that we are to give thanks in all things. That does not mean we have to be thankful FOR all things, but IN all things we are to maintain an attitude of trust and thankfulness to God that He will see us through it. A thankful heart is a key to unlocking God’s blessings.

4. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Are you living a life of worry, or are you living a life of abundance? You HAVE to have faith, otherwise your prayers will go unanswered and you will never see the life of peace, joy, and abundance that you desire.

5. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plans for YOU, to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Receive it and believe it.

6. Romans 8:31 asks if God is for us, who can be against us? God loves you and wants the best for you. He is there with you in every storm you face. Allow Him to lead, guide, and protect you.

7. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that three things abide with us: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

8. 1 John 4:8 says that God IS love!

Next time you find yourself contemplating the glass half full or half empty illustration as it applies to your life, remember that you have another choice…a life of overflowing blessings. It is right there in front of you. Let your tests become your testimony, and remember there is purpose even in the pain.

Where He leads, He feeds. Where He guides He provides. What He sows, He grows.”

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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