Word Power

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Our words have power…more than we may realize. What we say either holds a blessing or a curse, and yet how often we say things that are not good, edifying, or even truthful. Proverbs 18:21 says: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

When you are facing the problems of the day, what do you say to yourself? What are you saying to others? The words you say to yourself may be even more important than what you tell others because they will forge your belief system. They will determine whether you walk in faith or in fear.

This Covid thing has so many people freaked out. I get it. I understand it is serious, but I don’t choose to walk in fear! That is a choice we make every day. I was speaking with a friend of mine recently who was literally making himself sick with worry over the Covid virus. I told him, “We can’t live in fear.” He said, “That is what my Father told me!” LOL. I hope he got the message.

Worry does no good. It eats away at our peace until we choose to speak life! I know life can be brutal at times, and I am not minimizing any of the pain and suffering that people go through, but I don’t understand why anyone would choose to prolong the pain and suffering.

Next time you or someone you know is going through something difficult, listen carefully to the words that are spoken. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says: “We take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” I know this is easier said than done, but sometimes you just need someone to remind you (or even to remind yourself) that “This too shall pass,” and think before you speak.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone to pray with you. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if are feeling overwhelmed. It can happen to anyone walking this planet. We all have days that we need someone to lift us up, dust us off, and walk beside us. That is what friends and family are for.

I will leave you with a powerful word of encouragement. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

Speak life to yourself and to others. We all need it!

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Prayer for the President

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you to lift up our President. We are at such a critical time in history, and I can only imagine the weight he carries on his shoulders every day for our country. I don’t know what the future holds for him, but I pray that we as a country become united. I pray that those who call themselves “Believers” repent and return to YOU, Father. I pray that You will direct him, our Congress, our Governors, our Mayors, and our Courts. Heal our land, Father, and restore what the locusts have stolen. Surround him with your angels to protect him. Give him the counselors he needs to help make decisions on our behalf. Help him to know who is being truthful and who is lying to him. Protect him and his family from those who hate and seek to destroy him. Protect him from enemies foreign, domestic, and those in the spirit realm. Help him, Father to lead our country with courage, integrity, and wisdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

danskognes.com

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A Life Worth Living

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

There are many things that make life worth living for me. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Faith in God
  • Hope for today and tomorrow
  • Love for God and others
  • My family
  • My friends
  • A sense of purpose
  • Children (our hope for the future)
  • The opportunity to never stop learning
  • Teaching and encouraging others
  • Laughter and tears, especially when they are together
  • Giving myself to God and to others
  • Music, art, and writing
  • Fishing
  • Traveling
  • Chocolate! :o)

What makes life worth living for you?

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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The Reset Button

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Here we are rounding the bend in 2020 towards the end of the year, and I bet you have wished we could have a reset button more than once this year. Not that we want to repeat the painful things we have gone through, but we want a do-over. We want a different outcome!

Well, I have good news for you: As long as you have breath, you have a reset button you can push. What does it do for you?

  • It gives you the ability to reset your focus on the opportunities, not just the problems you are facing.
  • It gives you a chance to change your course so you don’t keep making the same mistakes.
  • It gives you the opportunity to mend fences in your relationships.
  • It gives you the time to heal your heart and renew your mind.

Those are all pretty powerful tools that we have available to us every day if we will just use them! Why don’t people use the reset button that is available to them? Pride, stubbornness, stupidity, and ignorance may all play a part, but what about lies? A friend of mine gave me a good quote that his dad used to say to him: “Stop believing the lies you tell yourself.” I like the quote, but I got to thinking there is more to it than that. How about if we just stop believing lies period? It really doesn’t matter if we are believing the lies we tell ourselves, or if we believe the lies from others, from social media, or from the Devil himself.

Lies are still lies and here is something to think about:

If you buy into a lie, it will cost you more than you ever thought. If you hold on to the lie, it can cost you everything you’ve got.” Daniel Skognes

Don’t let lies keep you from the truth. You can’t be a person of integrity and be a liar. If you have lied, just admit it and ask for forgiveness. We need to be truth tellers. It is not your truth or my truth that matters, it is THE truth. Be willing to challenge your opinions, what you’ve been taught, and any lie you’ve bought. The truth shall set you free.

One of the things I loved about the Superman series when I was growing up was that he stood for: “Truth, Justice, and the American Way!” Maybe it is the patriot coming out in me, but wouldn’t this country be a better place if people stood for that? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if they understood and believed in truth? I think so. Call me an idealist if you like, but I am an eternal optimist and I am learning to hit the reset button as often as necessary to not just survive…but to thrive.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Good Advice

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Me and We

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

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Lesson In Leadership

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Before we talk about leadership, it might be good to point out that management and leadership are not synonymous. While having a title of manager does involve leadership at the very basic level, they are different in their purpose and function. For instance, managers tend to be concerned with the assignment at hand, while leaders are looking at not just the assignment at hand but also how it impacts the organization or project in the future. There are many nuances, but let’s just agree that they are different for the purpose of this discussion. I also acknowledge that there are good and bad leaders as well as managers, but I am focused on the ones that are better than average.

I love characters in the Bible because they give us not just history lessons, but also a road map to guide and help us. David is a Bible character that inspires me. He was certainly flawed in many ways, but he was an amazing leader. He rose to power when he was just a shepherd boy when he stepped up and did what no man in Israel had the guts to do….face Goliath…a literal giant of a man! I love his fearlessness, faith, and focus…all signs of a great leader. Moses was another patriarch of the Bible that was a great leader, but he did not start out that way. He did not like public speaking (not many people do!), and when he did step up to lead, he tried to do everything himself. He obviously felt like many managers do: “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” While I get the “why” he did it, it nearly killed him doing the work because he was totally wearing himself out settling disputes among the people of Israel. He finally got some wise counsel to delegate authority to people under him, and thus the organizational tree took root.

Jesus is my favorite example of leadership, and He goes against what most people think about when they think of leaders. Jesus was and is someone who literally changed the world with His teaching and His sacrifice. He understood being under authority, and He knew what authority had been given to Him by God. Jesus is the perfect example of servant leadership. He embodies strength, purpose, unwavering faith, humility, sacrifice, and obedience. He challenged the religious leaders of His day and their self-righteous attitudes. He understood that truth had to be told, no matter how hard it was for the people to hear. He was the ultimate encourager to His followers and gave us the Holy Spirit when He returned to Heaven.

Leaders are not necessarily born. They may be destined to lead, but whether or not they fulfill their destiny often hinges on the choices they make along the way. I would encourage you to examine your leadership role. Whether you are leading at home, at work, at church, or in society, are you leading to your potential? Do you treat the people you lead with respect? Do you micromanage them or empower them? Do you value their contributions and their opinions? Do you allow people to challenge your decisions? Are you rigid in your thinking, or flexible to adapt to the situation? Do you know the power of having a servant’s heart? Do you know how to lead with love?

I hope you rise to your potential, not to your level of incompetence (The Peter Principle). We all have the potential for greatness written on our hearts. It is up to us to find out what that is and then walk it out…in faith and with humility. You won’t go wrong if you lead like Jesus.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Plan B of Teaching

Posted in Business, Motivational

If you teach for any length of time you find a day or days where everything does not go as planned. Have you ever experienced any of the following:

  1. Your computer or one of the kid’s computer is not working.

  2. The white board or projector are not working.

  3. You don’t have the assignment for the class you took over.

  4. You just started a very important assignment with the class and they have a fire drill, disaster drill, etc.

  5. The answer key you were given is incorrect.

  6. You have an emergency at home during class.

  7. Someone gets sick or has an “accident” in the class.

  8. The kids don’t have good internet connection for Zoom classes.

I have experienced all of these and more in my time teaching. Why do I mention it? Because if you are going to teach, you have to remain calm in the midst of the storm. I admit I am not always the calmest when stuff hits the fan, but I am learning to go with the flow, expect the unexpected, and have a Plan B if need be.

It isn’t always easy to think clearly when things go wrong, and depending on the situation, it can become awkward and even weird at times. The one thing I know for sure is, problems are going to happen at the worst possible times (or so it seems), so you might as well be flexible and bend a little.

Since reading is so foundational to all levels of learning, I fall back on reading a lot…as a group and individually. I found just today an assignment that had a reading portion to it and as I read through it, it was apparent that the vocabulary was pretty advanced for the grade level and the kids were having problems not just with pronouncing the words but with understanding what they meant! I ended up reading most of it to them and stopped periodically to field questions or check for understanding.

I also have no problem reviewing something that they have completed earlier in the week. Often I find that everyone did not understand it the first time anyway, so the review is certainly a good fallback to recap and discuss.

Lastly, I try to have one key teacher that I can call or text for support if all does not go as planned. Whether in person or online, a backup support person is vital for your sanity!

What are your go to Plan Bs when you get thrown a curve? Feel free to share. I am always open to creative ideas in teaching.

P.S. I know that remote teaching has a whole set of unique problems, but we still need a Plan B for those situations as well.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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The Golden Rule Of Learning

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

As an educator it may be tempting to rely upon what is being taught as the primary means of learning, however, what is caught comes with experience. What goes into our brain takes root as we experience life, question the assumptions, and put what we have been taught to the test.

Experience is a powerful teacher and may be more accurate in spite of what we learn through lectures, reading, or teaching. Last year I was doing a class assignment and had been given the Teacher’s Key with the correct answers to make sure everyone was doing it correctly. As I was going through the math with the kids, it became apparent that the Teacher’s Key was flawed! Imagine that. LOL. I had the same thing happen this year in an English assignment. It is funny how often what we think is correct turns out to be wrong after we really question it.

In the words of a Russian Proverb, “Trust, but verify.” We as educators have to move beyond assumptions and test the validity of the curriculum. If we take the lazy way out and just trust teaching alone to educate kids, they are the ones who will suffer in the end. Just some food for thought.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Law

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

We have laws…lots of them, and breaking the law brings consequences, as we all know. Here are a few laws you may have heard of, and a few that you have not heard before:

The Law of Love: Love endures through time, conquers your fears, and covers a multitude of sins. There is no law against love!

The Law of Fear: Fear is false evidence appearing real. Don’t let it rule your life and derail you from peace and happiness.

The Law of Feelings: Feelings matter, but feelings can and will change. Don’t let them make your decisions.

The Law of Forgiveness: Forgiving someone for a wrong is the key to moving forward in your relationships, and only you can unlock the cage of bitterness, rage, and revenge that unforgiveness creates.

The Law of Listening: If you fail to listen, you are destined to fail.

The Law of Speaking: Think before you speak. Once the words are spoken aloud you can never retract them and the damage they do may be catastrophic. Your words will either hurt or heal.

The Law of Laughter: Laughter is good medicine. Use it liberally.

The Law of Success: Success is never owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.

The Law of Failure: Failure isn’t fatal unless you give up. Your breakthrough requires you press through.

The Law of Stupidity: Life is harder when you’re stupid. Learn the lesson the first time.

The Law of Truth: Truth always comes out in the end. There is your truth, my truth, and THE truth. It is up to each of us to find THE truth.

The Law of Lies: Half truths and white lies are still lies. Don’t fall for them.

The Law of Money: Live within your means. Invest and save. Don’t worship money, it isn’t God.

The Law of Encouragement: Everyone has issues. Be an encourager. You never know how a kind word may help someone who is battling depression or having suicidal thoughts.

The Law of Issues: Everyone has issues, but some people have “ISSUES.” Be careful that you don’t get invited to join their circus. Misery loves company and evil company corrupts good behavior. You may have to encourage them from a distance.

The Law of Friendship: There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Nurture those friendships. They are more valuable than gold.

The Law of Learning: We are students all our lives. None of us, even the experts, know it all.

The Law of Bullying: A bully will eventually find someone who stands up to him and puts him in his place.

The Law of Teaching: To be a great teacher, you have to give all that you have to all that you serve with humility, dedication, and a commitment to excellence.

The Law of Leadership: Great leaders have the ability to inspire others to greatness. They make the hard decisions and empower people to make decisions on their own. They lead by serving and have an unwavering focus on the goal at hand.

The Law of Power: Power that you abuse, you lose.

The Law of Opportunity: When opportunity knocks, if you don’t answer it, it doesn’t disappear; it simply moves on to find someone who is willing to open the door.

The Law of Purpose: Finding your purpose in life is the one thing that you have to find for yourself. Other people can help you identify it, but it is up to you to claim it and walk it out.

The Law of Peace: There are two types of peace: internal and external. It is possible to have internal peace in the midst of chaos, but that requires faith in something greater than yourself.

The Law of Freedom: Freedom isn’t free. It is paid for with blood, sweat, and tears. Protect your freedom because once you lose it, it may be difficult if not impossible to restore it.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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