Encourage

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Is it any coincidence that “encourage” sounds a lot like “in courage?” I think not. Look at the definition of encourage: Give support, confidence, or hope to someone. The definition of courage is: The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain or grief.

When you encourage someone, you give them courage. When you encourage, you “in” courage them. How cool is that? It is like emotional surgery, or maybe giving a transfusion to someone. Here is the truth: Everyone needs to be encouraged! There is nobody walking this planet that does not face a moment of doubt, fear, or insecurity. We all have to face those moments and we all need to know that there is hope for us and what we are facing.

Sometimes we have to encourage ourselves! Self talk is powerful and can either propel us or hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. Encourage yourself every day to face your fears, overcome the obstacles which have held you back, and reach for your goals. Just because you have failed does not make you a failure, Amigo. Learn from the pain, and go for the gain. The game is not over.

I hope that you will encourage yourself as well as others. It is like giving water to a thirsty soul, and we are all thirsty.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

When Nothing’s Going Right, What’s Left?

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

We have all had times where it seems like the sky is falling, everything you do is blowing up in your face, and the stress level is off the charts. Ever feel that way? Hopefully you don’t allow yourself to live in the stress zone. Stress is a killer. It will zap your strength and literally can take your life. It can make you focus on the negatives if you let it.

Don’t do that. There is nothing productive with whining, griping, and letting negative thoughts rule your life. When nothing’s going right, what’s left is trusting God. It should not be the last resort to turn to God, but sometimes we ARE trusting God along the way and things STILL blow up in our face. What is up with that? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know why God allows things like that to happen to us, but I still trust Him. I know God has our back even when it seems like there is no hope. He is still there…working for us. If He is for us, who can be against us?

Our feelings often get in the way of our faith. If we don’t “feel” the presence of God, we might think that He has abandoned us. That is a lie from the Devil himself. He wants us to believe that God does not love us and is not there for us. Don’t ever let that thought enter your head.

Life is hard for most people. I believe that we have a choice when we hit the wall in our finances, our relationships, or even in our faith. We can give up or we can get up. Don’t allow feelings to rule your faith. Trust God. Believe in Him and His Word. Surround yourself with positive God-fearing people. Pray…pray…pray. Praise God in the storm. Let Him help you navigate your way.

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.

Remember the lyrics from the song Waymaker: “Waymaker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness. My God…that is who YOU ARE!

Believe it, receive it, then live it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Good That Came Out Of Amber Guyger’s Trial

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The jury was only out for a short time before the verdict came down: Murder. The jury only took a short time to come to sentencing: 10 years. This verdict not only surprised most of us but it angered many who felt like justice was not served. People were already trying to stir up the public with the injustice that they felt they had witnessed.

Here is the miracle that unfolded before our eyes: Brandt, the brother of Botham Jean got on the witness stand to talk to Amber about the victim’s impact. He looked Amber Guyger in the eye and told her that he forgave her and only wished her well. He did not even want her to go to jail. He wanted her to know that the love of Christ was there for her, and he loved her as he did anyone. He then asked the judge if he could hug Amber Guyger. She said he could, and it was incredible! The two of them embraced and the tears flowed.

The miracle was not over. After the trial, Judge Kemp did something unconventional: she went to the family members of Botham Jean and consoled each of them and hugged them. She then went to Amber Guyger and did the same thing. She gave her Bible to Amber and told her that she needed Christ and to read the Bible starting with John 3:16. She then hugged Amber. It was an incredible moment in legal history. I don’t think anyone can recall such a moment of healing in a murder trial.

This is what grace looks like. This is what forgiveness looks like.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Growth Takes Time

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

We live in a microwave society. We want what we want, and we want it now! The problem is, growth takes time. Take a look at plants and how they grow. The seed has to be planted in good soil, watered, and given the proper amount of sunlight. It takes time for the seed to sprout and become what it is destined to be. Take away any of those elements and it will not grow.

If you are frustrated with your growth (spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, financially), take heart. Don’t get frustrated with the process. Keep the goal in mind and stay focused. Have faith! When you haven’t seen a child for a few months, aren’t you amazed with how much they have grown? The funny thing is that the child does not see what YOU see. Sometimes we are too close to really see the changes taking place in our own lives.

When a child is conceived, it takes 9 months for the child to be born. You can’t rush the process. It is nature’s way of preparing the child for living outside of the womb. Look at the obstacles you face with different eyes. God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time….every time. Quit worrying about how things appear and trust that God will help you through it. He will help you grow and fulfill your destiny.

Don’t try to rush the process. You just might miss the blessing of the journey. Enjoy the day you have before you and learn to live in the moment. Your destiny will unfold when it is time.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

But God

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Life can be frustrating at times for everyone. We have all faced times where nothing we were doing was working and failure seemed inevitable. Recently a young couple I know was trying to get the wife into a good hospital that would give her physical rehab as well as psychiatric help.

There was just one little problem: they had NO insurance. The first hospital that they were going to have to consider was one that had a terrible reputation for mistreating patients. Unfortunately there were few options because of the severity of the need. One quality hospital surfaced to offer help, but they wanted a tremendous amount of money. The mother was willing to do what she could, but the hospital requirements were just too much. They had pretty much given up all hope of finding a place that would help her get the care that she needed.

But God….

When all of their options had failed, God came through. Out of the blue the hospital agreed to take her and wasn’t haggling over the money. We can’t explain it. There is no logical or monetary reason that they should have helped, but they did.

I was thinking of a few scriptures (and there are many) that drive this point home:

Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Philippians 4:19 For my God will meet ALL your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

Next time your back is against the wall, remember….But God. He is with us, for us, and able to do what no man can do.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Teaching GPS

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Everyone knows how a GPS works. It calculates where you are and helps you get to where you are going. When you make a mistake….no problem. “Re-calculating” assures you that you will still get to your destination. It simply re-routes you from your current location. Is it perfect? No….but neither is teaching.

We imperfect teachers teach imperfect kids who live in an imperfect world. We hit a lot of obstructions on the road to success. We deal with kids who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Some come to school without being fed or even properly dressed. Some have learning disabilities and many just need to know that somebody cares about them. Couple all of that with the personal challenges that every teacher has and you can see that the journey is one that can be frustrating and tiring for everyone involved.

The teaching GPS mentality gives us the flexibility to deal with all the craziness that comes our way every day and not lose our focus or our mind. A sense of humor is part of the programming as well as reminding yourself that “This too shall pass.” If you can learn not to sweat the small stuff, it makes the journey a lot more fun. Anticipate roadblocks, potholes, crazy drivers, and delays. That is just the way life goes. Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it seems like it is all under construction.

Administrative support is critical to the ultimate success or failure of the academic journey. A school system will rise or fall depending on the leadership. If teachers and staff are valued, listened to, supported, and encouraged, they will have a great chance of reaching their goals. If they treat the staff as objects to be used for their own success, there will be a great deal of dysfunction, backbiting, and problems. High teacher turnover and teacher burnout will be evident where the staff is not truly appreciated and supported.

Failure is not fatal unless you give up. It just means you have not succeeded yet. Allow yourself and your students to learn from failures and from the journey itself. Encourage one another and learn from everyone you meet and everything you do. Life is a marvelous teacher if we are willing to observe and learn from it. Own your mistakes, but don’t let them define who you are or limit where you are going.

One of the best parts of the teaching GPS mentality is having a peer portal. This allows the sharing of ideas with your peers. The things that work and don’t work may easily be incorporated if everyone will share their best practices. Just knowing you are not alone is a great comfort when you are going though a rough spot in the road. Peers can teach you shortcuts and detours that may very well be the difference between success and failure for you and your students. I know that teaching can be draining, frustrating, and you may want to quit every other day. If you are called to teach, don’t quit, commit. Commit to the journey, the kids, to your peers, and of course…to yourself. Future generations are being impacted by what we do one day at a time…one child at a time. Investing in children is the best type of Social Security there is.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Walk the Talk

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Your character is revealed in what you do.

It has been said that talk is cheap, meaning that people will often tell you what they think you want to hear. It is a pet peeve of mine when people do that. I try to be a man of my word. I have not always succeeded at keeping it, but I don’t intentionally mislead people with what I say. When I can’t keep my word because of circumstances out of my control, I at least try to explain it.

I think I may be in the minority when it comes to keeping my word. Perhaps it is due to how I was raised. I admit that I am old school in many respects. I was taught to keep my word. In fact, when I was caught in a lie, Mom literally washed out my mouth with a bar of soap. LOL. I never forgot that lesson. Do parents still do that? Probably not.

Maybe I am too naive. When someone tells me they are going to do something, I tend to take them at their word and move on. Sadly, I have been burned many times in life by people who just tell me what I want to hear. I have had to learn the old adage the hard way: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I am eternally optimistic and trusting by nature, but I have learned that not everyone who calls you friend is a friend. Not everyone who says they love you really loves you. Their actions will tell the truth. Pay attention or pay the price.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Life Choices

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual
  • Be grateful or be resentful.
  • Laugh about it or cry about it.
  • Isolate yourself or have the fellowship and support of others.
  • Know and follow God or deny His existence.
  • Learn the lesson or continue making the same mistakes.
  • Live within your means or be enslaved to debt.
  • Trust God or go it alone.
  • Fill your mind with things that are good or things that are evil.
  • Read regularly or limit your learning.
  • Treat others with respect or find yourself becoming a target.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise or suffer the consequences physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Be kind to children, animals, and those less fortunate or find yourself in a time of need and nobody there to help you.
  • Learn to love yourself and others or live a life that is depressing and meaningless.
  • Find your purpose in life and pursue it or be frustrated for the rest of your life.
  • Never stop learning or find yourself ignorant.
  • Control yourself or others will do it for you.
  • Think before you speak or find yourself being punished, humiliated, or hurt.
  • Forgive everyone for everything or find yourself a prisoner of your past.
  • Learn to live in the moment or you will miss the blessing.
  • Live in faith or you will cower in fear.
  • Focus on the good and potential in others or you will be focused on their faults.
  • Choose your friends wisely or you will make stupid decisions.
  • Spend time regularly in God’s Word or you will miss His messages to you.
  • Use money wisely and don’t make it your god or you will find out firsthand what a harsh taskmaster it can be.
  • Seek wise counsel before making major decisions or you will be limited in your options.
  • Don’t make a major decision when you are too tired, too angry, or too hungry, or you will regret it.
  • Lead with love and understanding or you will find the followers rejecting you.
  • Be content with what you have or you will find yourself consumed with always wanting more.
  • Value your friends and family or you will find them avoiding you.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The 4 Ps

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual




Everyone has to face this question: Why am I here? It is not something to take lightly, and it is something that each person must answer for themselves. Nobody can tell you what your purpose is. They may help you identify it, but ultimately is is up to each one of us to figure out this great mystery.

I find it interesting that some people figure this out as little kids. They dream of being an astronaut and pursue that dream with great tenacity till they fulfill it. Other people go through life and never figure it out at all. That is one of the greatest tragedies I have observed. That is why you see people doing jobs just for a paycheck and hating every moment of their day. They have sold their purpose for a paycheck.

Someone recently asked me what they should do about their career, but they did not like my answer because it put the responsibility back on them. I told them: “Pray about it. Ask God to help you identify what it is that you should do with your life. Once you have identified your passion, pursue it till you find your purpose. Don’t let anything or anyone sidetrack you from it.”

Like many things in life, finding your purposes is both simple and complex. It is simple in that there are only 4 steps. It is complex in that you have to be discerning and be willing to fail. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from fulfilling your dreams. Everyone fails. Failure is not fatal unless you quit. The bottom line for each of us is that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make. If you are still trying to figure it out for yourself, pray. Ask God to help you identify your passion, then pursue it until you find your purpose.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

God Opens and Closes Doors

Posted in General, Motivational, Spiritual
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