Lies

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Lies are strange things in that it depends on who you ask as to what constitutes a lie. Some people would argue that “white lies” or “bending the truth” are occasionally necessary to protect someone, and I can see how that could make sense at least on the surface. The problem is, half truths and white lies are still lies. Deceit in any form is just a lie which we justify for our own purposes.

Next time you are tempted to lie to someone, think about what the Bible says:

Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among the brothers.”

Proverbs 12:22 says: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.”

Proverbs 19:9 says: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”

Psalm 101:7 says: “No one who practices deceit shall dwell in My house; no one who utters lies shall continue before My eyes.”

Colossians 3:9-10 says: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.”

Proverbs 12:19 says: “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

Luke 8:17 says: “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

John 8:44 says: “For you are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Exodus 20:16 says: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

That kind of puts a different light on it, doesn’t it? The bottom line is, we will all be held accountable for what we say, and there are always consequences to lying. Better to tell the truth and not have to remember what you said. A clear conscience goes a long way to living in harmony with God and man.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Tragedy

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Tragedy does not have to define us, but it can refine us. Nobody wants to deal with a tragedy in their life, but it seems that it is part of life whether we like it or not. When life smacks you in the gut, how will you respond?

Whatever you face (loss of a life, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, etc.), look to God for help. He is there with us and He is for us. God is not surprised at what you are facing. He may have allowed it, but that does not mean He has forgotten or abandoned you. He has a plan for each of us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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.”

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

John 8:12 says, “Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Press in to God when you don’t know what to do. The light is always on.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Corona

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

There Is Joy In The Journey

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Sometimes we get so focused on where we want to go that we miss the joy of the journey. This can happen in our careers, in our current situation with the Coronavirus, or in our relationships. I am suggesting that we change our focus to the here and now.

The journey we are each on is unique. Some of it is by our own choices as to where we are now, but some of it is God’s hand too…moving and guiding us in the right direction. I know from experience that I can get so focused on the end result that I actually miss the blessings along the way.

I believe the Coronavirus is a double-edged sword. Harm has definitely come from it, but I believe good will also come out of this crisis. We are being driven to rely upon God, family, and friends like some of us have never encountered before. I know this is a unique situation for me and my family. I don’t believe any of us have lived through this kind of situation before.

You might ask yourself, “What good can possibly come from this?” This is where the joy of the journey comes in. Even in the midst of a storm we can have peace. The peace of God surpasses understanding. The one thing that will trip us up is FEAR, and that is all around us. If we allow fear to rule our lives, then we are missing the blessings that God has in store for us…even in the midst of the storm.

I know there are families who have lost loved ones to this virus, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of them. I don’t take lightly the loss of someone you love…regardless of the circumstances. The hope we have in this day and age is in God. He has our backs, He has our future, and He has our today in His hands. This is a wake up call for the world. It is time for each of us to look in the mirror and decide what we are going to do differently not just now, but in the future.

Do you remember 9/11? When that happened, the people of the US united in ways that were unprecedented. Churches were filled with people praying and turning to God for His help. What happened? Sadly, many people have short memories and they just turned back to their old way of living once the fear of the moment passed.

We need to learn the lesson, or we are doomed to repeat the test. This is a test not just for the US but for the world. We need to wake up and change what we are doing, what we are thinking, what we are believing, and what we are worshiping. I pray for that change to take place in people all over the world before it is too late. The next crisis could very well be the last one which devastates the world.

Where does all of this change start? With you and me. We have to do our part to get ourselves right before God, and we have to share the love of Christ with everyone. That is all we are called to do in the end. The rest of it is up to God. He will sort it out from there. Don’t let fear steal your peace and derail you from the joy of the journey. There is still work to be done, and we will get through this crisis with the help of God. Love God. Love one another. That is it.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The New Normal

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I don’t think anyone could have imagined how quickly our world could change. The Coronavirus epidemic has transformed the world into homes of isolation. People are having to learn to get things done in virtual communication forms.

This is stressful primarily because of the unknown. We all are wondering what will happen next? Here is my advice in the days to come:

  1. Be adaptable to doing things differently. At my school we are still teaching kids, but it is being done through Zoom and Google Classroom. Obviously there are preferable ways to doing things online, but at least the kids are still learning and educators still have jobs! Are we going to all go through a learning curve? Of course. But we have to choose whether we move forward or allow ourselves to wallow in worry and despair. There is hope! Just remain flexible and adaptive to doing things differently.
  2. I know it is very tempting to tune in to the media and listen to all the doom and gloom. Be selective in what you listen to and don’t buy in to all the hype. The end of the world is not here yet and we will overcome this. One thing I can say about people in the United States (and I suspect in many other countries) is that they are resilient. We have always found a way to keep moving forward even in the face of incredible odds. Stay positive and look to the Scriptures for strength and comfort. There is faith! You may need to pray for more of it, but faith can sustain you through times of terror and uncertainty. Faith can be your fuel for the future.
  3. Take this time to strengthen your relationships with God, friends, and family. This may be the first time in a long time that kids have actually been at home for meals with Mom and Dad. Use this time to form new bonds with each other. I realize that everyone needs some space, but this is an opportunity to have some fun, and strengthen your relationships. Learn to play games in the evening instead of just playing on the internet or watching TV. Read more. All of us could benefit from that thing alone. We used to do that when I was growing up, but somewhere along the way we got addicted to electronic entertainment. Just a novel idea, but what if we actually TALK to each other and PRAY for one another? That might freak some of you out, but there is power in prayer. God is on His throne. He is not surprised by any of this. There is love! God loves us and is there for us to help guide us through the days and months ahead. Quit the worry and press in to God. Get to know and love your family on a deeper level. Relationships with remote family and friends can still be done online. Don’t forget them just because you can’t physically be with them at the moment. Stay in touch. Encourage one another. Let them know how much you love them!

We will get through this.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Storm We Face

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

This is a weird time not just in America, but in the entire world. We are facing a crisis that has so many unknowns that the fear factor has become an epidemic itself. People have begun hoarding not just toilet paper and sanitizer, but food as well. I was at the store to buy some bread and the shelves were picked clean. It is ridiculous how fear has taken control of our world economy. The stock market is still tumbling because of all of this fear, and that isn’t good for anybody!

Here is what I know to be true:

  1. You can’t always trust what the media reports. Check out the sources before you repost or discuss with anyone.
  2. Quit hoarding. Unless you are buying things to give to the under-privileged, don’t buy more than you need. This is not the end of the world, folks.
  3. Panic is contagious, but so is the peace of God. We have to choose whether to live in fear or faith. As for me and my house, we will trust God and not worry about tomorrow.
  4. Is there reason for concern? Of course, but there is no reason for panic and fear to rule your hearts and minds. It is a choice. Keep things in perspective. Don’t believe everything you read or hear on the web or in the news. Start by putting the word of God in your heart.
  5. Life is going to go on and we have to adapt to the storms we face. Is it scary? Yes. Is it insurmountable? Absolutely not. There is always faith, hope, and love to sustain us through the storm.
  6. I know that God does not always remove the storms we face, but He is faithful to be with us THROUGH the storms and to guide, protect, and sustain us. This is still in God’s hands, and I believe that God has a purpose for all of this and He will be glorified through the process…regardless of how things appear now. Perhaps God has allowed this to happen to the world to get our attention and drive us to Him. That is a good thing if people turn their hearts over to God. Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes he calms the storm in us. We have to trust Him either way.

If you are an employer, do the right thing by your employees…especially the ones who are hourly wage earners. The ones who live paycheck to paycheck need to know that you are there with them and for them through this time of uncertainty.

If you are an employee, be thankful if you have a job…even if it looks totally different than the one you signed up for. It is better to have a paycheck than none at all.

If you are self-employed, look for creative ways to diversify and create new streams of income. I know this is going to be difficult and unnerving, but perhaps you can find new or unique ways to serve the public. For instance, I know a lot of restaurants and coffee shops are going to drive through only.

If you are unemployed, this may be the most awkward time of your life, Think outside the box and get creative with your job search. There will still be companies hiring even in the middle of this crisis. You may have to take something for the short term that is beneath your skill set and education, but it is better to have some income than none at all.

If you work for the travel, sports, education, or entertainment industry, this is going to be a period of adjustment perhaps larger than anything else we have faced as a world economy. I don’t have any pat answers or advice other than to trust God. Lean in to Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

It is time to wake up and trust God.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

danskognes.com

Blessing Blockers

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Fear

Lust

Lies

Envy

Pride

Greed

Anger

Worry

Hatred

Gossip

Idolatry

Jealousy

Laziness

Vengeance

Ingratitude

Witchcraft

Addictions

Selfishness

Immorality

Drunkenness

Unforgiveness

Judging others

Stirring up discord

Hanging on to the past

Not learning the lesson

Shedding innocent blood

A heart that devises evil schemes

Ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit

Mismanaging what God has entrusted to you

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

My Corona

Posted in Funny

(to the tune of My Sharona)

Ooh listen to me everyone, everyone.
Everyone is losing their mind, Corona.
Ooh your keeping us confined, so confined.
No gatherings of any kind, Corona
Gotta find some toilet paper now.

Never gonna stop, won’t give up.
Need sanitizer in the jumbo size.

Gonna shop. I’m not falling for the pack of lies.

My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Corona

Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.
Close enough to look in my eyes, Corona.
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Is the panic really a necessity, my Corona?
Never gonna stop, won’t give up.

Need sanitizer in the jumbo size.
Gonna shop. I’m not falling for the pack of lies.
My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Corona
M M M My Corona

When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.
It is just a matter of time Corona?
Is it just destiny, destiny?
Or is it just a game in my mind, Corona?
Never gonna stop, won’t give up.
Need sanitizer in the jumbo size.

Gonna shop. I’m not falling for the pack of lies.

My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Corona
M M M My Corona
M M M My Corona
M M M My Corona

Lyrics by Daniel Skognes

3Ts

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I heard a preacher recently say that there are three things that God expects us to steward properly:

  1. Our time.
  2. Our talents.
  3. Our treasure.

I like that list as it pretty well sums up everything that God requires of us. Once we accept Christ, then we take on the role of disciple. That is a full time job, and we are to give our very best in all three areas.

It is easy in this narcissistic world that we live in to lose sight of what really matters. We just went on daylight savings time. I don’t know why we still do this, but apparently it is not a priority to change it here. Anyway…we “lose” an hour when we “spring forward.” We “recoup it” later in the year when we “fall back.” I envy those places that just leave their clocks alone! We never really save or lose time, we just manage or mismanage it. It is a precious resource that God created for all of us. We have twenty-four hours every day…no more, no less. We are expected to use each day for His Kingdom. Whether we are fully employed, unemployed, or retired, we all have to give account for how we manage our time. The Bible says we are to work six days and rest on the Sabbath which is set aside to give God honor and glory. We are to get proper rest, and then manage the rest. It is about balancing all the stuff we want and need to do. I realize that it is easier said than done, but it is what God expects from us.

Talents are another resource that God holds us accountable for. He has given everyone unique talents that they can either use to glorify God, use for their own edification, or just totally waste. I saw a child prodigy this week on the news. This young boy is a gifted violinist that is getting to perform at Carnegie Hall. How cool is that? I am thankful that parents and teachers help kids identify what their talents are and give them the opportunity to use them. We just need to encourage them to use their talents to glorify God. When He gets the glory, He blesses our efforts in ways we can’t even imagine.

The last T is treasure. How we use our financial resources is a great indicator of our love for God and our fellow man. There is a story in the Bible about a very rich man who made so much money that he decided to build new barns to contain all his wealth. The problem was, his life was going to be taken that very night. All of his hording was for naught. We are called to manage whatever God has given to us. The better we manage it the more He will entrust to us. If we can just keep in mind that God owns it ALL and that we are just stewards of it, then it becomes much easier to let go. Learn to invest, save, avoid debt, and live within your means. Do that and you will have a lot less stress.

If you want to live a meaningful life, you must give of your time, your talent, and your treasure. There are two other Ts to remember:

  1. BE THANKFUL! When you learn the art of being sincerely thankful, you lose the need to always have more. Count your blessings!
  2. TRUST GOD! Trust Him with all that you have. When you put your faith in God, mountains will move, lives will be changed, and the Kingdom of God WILL be glorified.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

danskognes.com

The Real Deal

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Have you ever heard someone referred to as the “Real Deal?” What did that mean to you? That they were authentic? People of their word? Transparent? Well, it means all of that and more.

When someone is the “Real Deal” there is no hypocrisy. What you see is what you get. They are people who are comfortable in their own skin. They have no pretenses. They are people you can trust. They don’t judge others. They understand and acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses. They forgive freely and often, because they know how much they have been forgiven.

So here is the question: in a world where everyone seems to want to fit in and be accepted, how do you become real? This past week I was consoling a 4th grader. He was sitting in class with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was obviously upset, so I asked him what was going on. He said that some of the kids were spreading rumors that a girl had dumped him! I had to laugh. He is in 4th grade, for Pete’s sake! I said, “Buddy, let me point out a couple of things for you to think about. First of all…there will probably come a time that you do get dumped by a girl. It happens to most of us. That is not the end of the world. Secondly, if what they are saying is untrue, what does it matter to you? Don’t let what other people say or think control you. You know the truth in this case, so just brush it off. Let it go. It does not matter.” I saw him later that day and he seemed to be in much better spirits. Hopefully he took to heart my advice.

We all have a desire to fit in and be liked. The problem is when we allow what other people think or say about us define who we are! We have to KNOW who we are. If we believe what the Bible says, then we know who we are in Christ if we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. The Bible says that we are NEW creatures in Christ Jesus. We are no longer slaves, but God’s children. Our minds have been transformed to the image of Christ. That gives us a new identity that is not blemished by our past failings or future missteps. How cool is that? We are in the family of God. We are joint heirs with Christ. We have nothing to prove to anyone. It frees us to be who God created us to be: a reflection of Him.

My hope and prayer is that we can be the “Real Deal” when it comes to being authentic Christians. It is not about rules or religion. It is about relationship. To be the “Real Deal,” we simply have to get real. It starts with getting real with God, then with ourselves, and lastly with others.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes