Reality Check

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

When you look at the clock, what time do you think it is? At first glance it looks like it is a few minutes before 7, but if you look closer, you realize that it is backwards! It is really a few minutes after 5! I took this picture in the mirror because it brought home a couple of lessons to me that I think bears talking about.

This week I was talking with our music teacher and asking him how it was going trying to teach middle school kids music online. He shook his head and gave me a great example. He was showing kids how to hold a guitar properly, but this one kid had his guitar backwards because that is the way he saw it on his screen…just like the clock. It looked right…but it was wrong!

Much of life is like looking in a mirror, it seems. If you don’t do a reality check, you might be looking at something totally wrong! It is just another example of why in person teaching trumps online learning for a lot of kids.

I know that there are some kids who actually thrive with online learning because they have parents who are making sure they are on task and they work best with fewer distractions, but that is not the case for a lot of kids, and as my teacher friend pointed out…if a parent is not monitoring what the kids are doing, they tend to log on to the class and then play video games or play on their phones! My friend busted one of the kids this week during class. He called the parent of one kid who was not engaged and asked her to check on her son to make sure he was doing what he was supposed to be doing. Sure enough, she walked in and found him happily play his favorite video game! Busted! The teacher let everyone in the class know that if they were off task he would be calling the parents to check on them. You do what you have to do to get the job done!

The lesson here is that if we expect to raise emotionally healthy kids, parents HAVE to be involved in teaching the kids too. After all, they are the first teachers in their lives! If they don’t do their part…particularly with online learning, the child is the one who will suffer for it. Let’s each do our part and not expect someone else to do it for us. Future generations depend on it and need us to do the right thing for them…not just what is convenient at the moment for us.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Title

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Just because you have a title does not make you entitled.” Daniel Skognes

People that have titles are often tempted to let the titles go to their head. They take the powers that they have been entrusted with and abuse it. One thing I know about power and privilege: if you abuse it, you lose it! Think of all of the great leaders throughout time who went off the tracks at some point and eventually got derailed. This applies to corporate leaders, politicians, clergy, educators, and public servants.

We all have been given authority to do certain things within our job description. It is up to us to use it properly to serve others and contribute to society in a healthy way, or to use it, abuse it, and eventually lose it. Choose wisely, my friend.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Walking Out Your Purpose

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

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Worriers or Warriors

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If I asked you which one you were, you might be tempted to say a little of both, but I have news for you. You were never created to be a worrier. Worry is rooted in fear and fear is the enemy of your faith. So knowing that, which one do you want to be? If you realize that you are in a war (a spiritual one) that is real and deadly, which one do you need to be? OK. Now that we have that settled, let’s move on.

Much of our worry comes from our feelings. Here is the thing about feelings. They are like the sails of a ship. They change which ever way the wind blows. What we need is the Holy Spirit to be our compass and our faith to be our rudder. We can’t ignore our feelings, but if we allow them to rule us we will be headed for rough waters and possible disaster.

Sometimes well meaning friends and family give us advice about what we need to do with our relationships or our career. The problem comes in when they give advice that is not Biblical. Many a relationship and career have gone sideways because of bad advice. When you don’t know what to do, press through! Don’t quit, commit! If God brought you to it, He will see you through it (if you allow Him to). If God is in it, you will win it! That is a lot to think about and easier said than done…I know.

You might be saying, “Daniel, you don’t know my circumstances.” That would be true. I have no idea what you are facing, but I do know that God has a plan for each of us, and we need to allow Him to be in charge. We need to be asking Him for direction and seeking His help in facing our fears and concerns..

In the movie, Jerry McGuire, there was a famous line which said, “You complete me.” It sounded so romantic and indeed it was, but it is not Biblical. People don’t really complete us, God does. We can’t expect an imperfect person to complete us. They can never meet all of our needs, no matter how wonderful they are. We are all works in progress, and God is the one who puts us together. When we allow God to be God and direct us, wonderful things happen. When we are Christ centered, we have the peace that passes understanding. Here is something to keep in mind: you will never have peace outside of your purpose. If you don’t remember anything else, remember that. God has a purpose for your relationships and for your career. It is up to you to find out what that is (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Matthew 19:6 says, “What God has joined together, let NO MAN put asunder.” You will have peace if you walk in your purpose and don’t get distracted or discouraged.

Don’t twist this to mean that you should stay in a dysfunctional or abusive relationship or job. I am not talking about that and would never advise you to do that, but…God always completes what He starts. He is faithful and will help you find the truth and the way. You just need to have the faith the size of mustard seed and you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

So, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) and get ready for war. If you are in it to win it, you have to be prepared. Expect the unexpected. The enemy of your soul will throw every possible obstacle in your way to trip you up. After all, he has come to steal, kill, and destroy. He may even use people close to you to derail you. Don’t let what God ordained be twisted, perverted, stolen, or destroyed. Be careful who you tell your dreams and fears to. If their advice is not leading you back to the Bible for guidance, you might be making the biggest mistake of your life and live to regret it. Learn to let go and let God.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Circumstances

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Speaker of Truth

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

First Class

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I have had the privilege of traveling first class for many years due to 20 years of working in healthcare and traveling almost every week by plane. I have been to every state in the US and many foreign countries, and much of that travel was first class because I racked up over a million miles on one airline and got free upgrades. I am not telling you this to impress you. I am simply stating the fact that I know first hand what it means to go first class…and I like it! LOL.

Who doesn’t want to be treated like royalty? Let’s face it, we all like to be served and treated with special privilege. However, as a Christian, being served is not our calling. The Bible actually says that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. We are called to serve God and serve one another. It is a far cry from what most people think when they think of being successful and enjoying the fruit of their labors. I am not demeaning that either, by the way. I have no problem with seeing people enjoy the fruit of their labors, but it is a matter of perspective and priority.

Here is my challenge to you: learn the art of servant leadership. You may think that you are not a leader, but that is not true. We are all called to lead in some form or fashion. We might lead a family, our kids, our community, our organization, a small group, or wherever God puts us, but we will have the opportunity to lead at some point in our lives. The best leaders I know understand servant leadership and that it is not all about them. They practice humility, encouraging others, collaborating, and empowering people.

The school I work at has a motto: “Others before self.” I like that. It is pretty cool that one of my core beliefs is actually the motto of my school. It isn’t always easy to have a servant’s heart. Pride is an issue for most people to deal with when they lead. I think that people who have a lot of money often struggle with this concept because let’s face it, having money is a form of power and influence and can be a source of great pride and feeling we are in control.

I would encourage you to think about how God wants you to serve. How good a steward are you with what God has entrusted to you? Are you using your gifts, talents, and resources for Him and in serve to others, or is it all about you? It may be something small or something grand that God calls you to do. Whatever it is, just do it! That is indeed when you will learn to travel first class God’s way…when you become a servant leader.

P.S. We love best when we learn to serve.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Come Holy Spirit

Posted in Poetry, Spiritual

Come Holy Spirit

Join us Holy Spirit as we come to God today

Bless us as we worship, and bless us as we pray

Help us hear the word for us

And strengthen us this day

Protect our minds and protect our hearts

You love will not depart

You’ve given us your shield of faith

To protect from fiery darts

Help us now to face our fears

And wipe away our tears

Thank you for the peace you give

Throughout the living years

Daniel Skognes

The Crosswalk

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Crosswalks are pretty common around schools and busy intersections. They are there for a purpose…to keep people safe as they cross the street, and yet, many people ignore them and take their lives into their own hands. It is kind of ridiculous when you think about it, but people always seem to be in a hurry and are self-absorbed by nature.

Spiritually, there is a Cross Walk that is similar to the ones we are encouraged to use, but it is quite different too. Jesus gave us the spiritual Cross Walk. He is the way not only to Heaven, but also the way to find peace and purpose in this life.

The Bible says that Jesus is the way, so if you accept Scripture as true, then it is clear that we need a Cross Walk! We can’t do this thing called life without the help of a Savior. Left to our own devices, we are bent on destruction, evil, and selfish ambitions.

The spiritual Cross Walk requires our faith and a willingness to humble ourselves and let Him be God. It requires that we become disciples, and that means total commitment. We can’t walk on the crosswalk and then run out into the middle of the street. That doesn’t work in the real world and it sure doesn’t work in the spiritual world.

Christianity is different from every other religion in the world. We can’t be good enough to earn our way into Heaven. It is a gift from God. The cost is in discipleship. We are called not only to be disciples, but to make disciples. We are called to let everyone know about the good news that is found in Christ.

If you have never read the Bible, I would encourage you to read it for yourself and ask God to help you understand it. He will. Here are just a few key verses to think about:

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”

Consider the Cross Walk. It will change your life if you are willing to take a step of faith. By the way, it doesn’t just change it, it saves it…eternally!

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Heart Of The Matter

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

There is a constant struggle going on within us. The battle is between our heart and our mind. Both are vital to our health and daily lives, and yet they are a source of continual conflict. The mind might be considered the final frontier. It is more powerful than any computer and has incredible abilities to learn, adapt, and process information. The heart is the seat of our emotions and yet we also think with it!

Some people subscribe to the philosophy: “Follow your heart.” The problem is that feelings are like the waves of the sea. They are constantly changing. It is pretty hard to get from point A to point B if you are continually changing direction. At some point you have to set your sail and check your compass.

How many times have you known what to do but followed your heart in a different direction and had it blow up in your face? It has tripped up all of us from time to time as we try to resolve the battle between logic and feelings. Women seem to have an edge on us guys when it comes to being in touch with their feelings, but that is a double-edged sword for them as well. They may be more intuitive than men as a rule, but they are also more susceptible to worry (I know there are exceptions for men and women, of course).

What is the answer to finding some sanity in our lives? Balance. There has to be a balance between what we think and how we feel. We don’t want to be so mechanical in our thinking that we ignore how we or others feel, but we don’t want to be ruled by our feelings and ignore what is logical either. Like all things in life, balance is important for us to function as healthy human beings.

We have to get proper rest, eat a balanced diet, and get daily exercise for starters. If any of those things are missing, it will affect how we think and how we feel. Then, add to that the balance of our work life and leisure time. We work too much, we burn out. We have too much free time, we tend to sleep or eat too much. Spiritual balance is critical as well for putting things in proper perspective (at least for me).

Finally, think about the kids we are teaching and raising. All of these factors are complicated for them by how old they are and the hormones that are at work. Couple that with learning disabilities, dysfunctional homes, and other social issues…and you can see how critical it is for us as teachers and adults to be proper role models. It is up to us to help kids understand the balance between the heart and the mind. Their future (and ours) depends on it…but it begins with us finding proper balance for ourselves. We can’t give what we don’t have.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes