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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Food For Thought

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I was driving today and noticed this sign on a car in front of me: “Don’t believe everything you think.” Wow. That was a very thought provoking bumper sticker. I have to admit I am curious as to why they put it on their car. Was he a preacher, a teacher, or someone running for office? I will never know.

What it did for me was give me pause and consider what I think. Thoughts are inevitable and yet sometimes we really don’t THINK for ourselves. We are bombarded with things to shape our thinking. The politicians tell us what to think, social media and the news are working towards that means 24/7, entertainment is certainly doing its part, and then we have the voices of friends, family, co-workers, and even the voice within our own head. Is it any wonder we sometimes really don’t know what to think? Add to that the spiritual dimension and warfare that is constantly warring against us, and you can see why this is a deeper issue than most even consider.

The Bible tells us to take EVERY thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). That is a tall order! Every thought? Really, God? God knew when He gave us the scriptures that we would be under attack in our thought life and we can’t fight this fight on our own. That is why the Holy Spirit and Bible were given to us: to guide, help, encourage, equip, and warn us.

Next time you are having some thoughts that are less than pure and maybe even evil, ask yourself where these thoughts are coming from. You may have to change what you are watching on TV, and you may have to even change your circle of influence. Who you listen to does matter. Boundaries are healthy and that coupled with putting on the whole armor of God will sustain you in the days to come. It is good to question what you are really thinking.

Ephesians 6: 11-18 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

What comes out of your mouth and the actions you take are birthed out of your thought life. Just some food for thought.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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Letter To The 4th Grade 2022

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Dear 4th Graders:

I wanted to take a minute and tell all of you how proud I am of you! This has been a tough year in a lot of ways, but you did it! I want you to know that you will do well in your life if you build upon the things we taught you this year, and I am not just talking about English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here are a few of the other things you have learned from us:

1. Taking responsibility for your own actions is a huge step in growing up, and if you remember to do that, it will help keep you on the right path.

2. There are always consequences to actions. Good one when you choose wisely. Bad ones when you choose poorly.

3. Your words either heal and encourage or wound and discourage others. You get to choose, but don’t forget there are always consequences.

4. You don’t have to like everyone, but you do need to show respect. Respect your Parents, your Teachers, your Classmates, and all those in authority. That one thing will make the road ahead a lot less bumpy.

5. Being able to forgive one another is also so important because we all make mistakes, and everyone needs forgiveness at some point.

6. Listening is critical to learning. If you don’t remember to listen, you may miss the entire point of the lesson.

7. If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend yourself. Choose your friends wisely, as they will influence you either in a good way or a bad way.

8. You get to play after the work is done! As you grow up you will realize the value of hard work. It is not a punishment, but a blessing…and there are great rewards to hard work.

9. Believe in yourself. That takes the pressure off of what other people think of you. Not everyone will like you. Let’s face it, if you are being honest, there are people who just rub you wrong. So, if you know in your heart who you are, then you need to trust that when others say unkind things to you or about you. That will make it a lot easier to forgive them and move on.

10. Do the right thing even when others have done you wrong. If you can remember to do that it will calm many of the conflicts that you will face in the future. You will never go wrong by doing right.

Some of you will grow up to be Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Construction Workers, Plumbers, Salesmen, or maybe even the President of the United States. Much of that will depend on choices you make and relationships you establish. I pray that God direct your steps and bless you and your families in the years to come. You will always have a special place in my heart.

Love,

Mr. Dan

Superman

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The Wrath of Man

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Have you noticed how many people are mad about something these days? We seem to live in a world filled with angry people and the media does not help. Social media allows people to vent anonymously on folks to whom they would otherwise show at least a shred of respect and self-restraint…and don’t get me started on all the knuckleheads on the highway!

It seems that people are looking for a fight and anyone that causes them the least bit of annoyance is going to get it with both barrels. We are in the last week and a half of the school year and almost everyone seems on edge. The teachers are burned out. The kids are tired of all the testing and being forced to be silent for 5 or more hours.

Just my opinion, but I believe we are witnessing spiritual warfare at it’s finest. You may not believe in God or the Devil, and I am not trying to convince you of their existence. I am simply pointing out the evidence is there for those who will see. The powers of darkness are working overtime to steal, kill, and destroy our families, our nation, and our very lives.

The Bible says that we are to avoid associating ourselves with angry people lest we become like them. Evil company corrupts. We are bombarded on every side with things to make us angry. The question is, “When you are tempted to become angry over something, how do you handle it? Do you react or respond?” We are often undone by a quick retort instead of just letting it go or at least thinking before we respond.

We expect a lot from others, don’t we? The biggest problem we seem to have is in managing unmet expectations and controlling our own emotions. Next time you are offended by someone, think before you speak, don’t react…respond, and don’t send an email or leave a voicemail when you are angry. It is OK to vent to God. He can handle it, but don’t dwell on it. The more you stew….the more you brew and eventually you will erupt just like a volcano…spewing on anyone in close proximity. Remember that words have the power of life and death, and once they are expressed, they can never be retracted.

Speak life, love, and peace into those who are distraught. God’s Word is our instruction manual, Jesus is our peace, and the Holy Spirit is our guide and comforter. Let God fight your fights, and when you pray, ask God to change YOU, not the person who offended you. In truth, there are many times where we are our own worst enemy and unless we address our own anger issues and lack of self-control, we are destined to a life of Hell on Earth. That is not what God intended. Don’t let the Devil steal your joy. Resist him and he will flee.

P.S. There is such a thing as righteous anger. That is Biblical. Just make sure it does not turn in to self-righteous anger. That never ends well for anyone.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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Change

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

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The Wait

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I don’t think I am the only one who has a problem with waiting, am I? I hate waiting in traffic, waiting for an expected call, waiting for money that is owed me, waiting for someone to apologize, waiting on someone to meet me, waiting in a fast food line, etc. Patience is not one of my virtues. I guess that is why God continually puts me in situations where I HAVE to wait.

Waiting on God is very hard to do. Obviously it requires faith, so I guess that is another area that I have to work on. It is easier for me to accept Yes or No from God than it is to have to WAIT. It is the waiting that drives me crazy if I let it.

I have become better about waiting on God as I have grown older for several reasons:

1. I have made some terrible decisions in my life when I second-guessed God and tried to “help” Him do what I wanted. He didn’t need my help, just my obedience, faith, and patience.

2. I have realized that waiting on God is for our good. God has a plan for each of us. We just have to trust Him.

3. I have found that many times when I thought something was what I wanted, I realized that it was not good for me at that time or perhaps not good for me at all.

We have a choice to make when we are waiting. We can stress out or we can chill out. If we look at the delay as a positive thing and praise God that He is in control despite what we see, what we feel, or what we think, then and only then are we are able to live a life of peace. Instead of stressing, try blessing.

Psalm 103:1 says, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

When you are waiting on God to open the door, praise Him in the hallway! All His promises are YES and AMEN.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Things I Learned From Mom And Dad

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

(They were married for 60 years)
Mom and Dad taught me many things as I was growing up. Here are a few of the gems they imparted:
1. Love the Lord with all your heart.
2. Don’t be afraid to tell others about Jesus.
3. Love your family.
4. Value your friendships.
5. Be a person others can trust.
6. Be on time, and that means early.
7. Play for fun, but play to win.
8. Respect authority.
9. Be kind to those less fortunate.
10. Go to church regularly.
11. Read your Bible every day.
12. Memorize Scripture.
13. Take time to travel.
14. Faith your fears.
15. Be a servant leader.
16. Tithe your income.
17. Laugh!
18. Take care of what you have.
19. Live within your means.
20. Save regularly.
21. Learn to cook from scratch.
22. Be careful who you call friend.
23. Pray, trust, and obey.
24. Be grateful.
25. Respect others, even those you don’t like.
26. Love your country.
27. Thank those that serve you.
I really miss my parents. Love you Mom and Dad!
Shalom!
Daniel Skognes

Common Sense Isn’t So Common

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

I sent out a question asking what needs to be taught in schools that is not currently being taught. I was surprised at how often I read that “common sense” needs to be taught. The question which I came up with subsequently was, “How do you teach common sense?”

Common sense is not part of any curriculum that I know of that is currently being taught in our schools. So…how do you teach it? Common sense comes from developing the ability to make choices that are positive and beneficial, but how do you get it? Is it hereditary? Can it be learned? Do you develop it from experience?

I don’t have all the answers here, but I do know that there is a lot of truth to the adage: “It takes a village.” When kids are taught in their homes right from wrong, consequences for their choices, self control, and the impact of their decisions, teachers are able to do what they are hired to do without the continual behavior interruptions.

Common sense comes from proper teaching at home, at school, and throughout life. It comes from making choices and seeing the outcomes…both good and bad, and learning the lesson hopefully the first time. I know that addictions and abusive behaviors can and will cloud a child’s judgment. We obviously need to protect kids from all harm.

There is no simple remedy to instilling common sense, but if we work together as parents, teachers, and as a community, we can teach it collectively. Certainly we need to model common sense for the kids. If we don’t have it ourselves, how can we possibly teach it? Common sense begins at home for all of us, and that begins with looking in the mirror.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Unpack Your Bags

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Have you every seen someone who is going on an overnight trip and they pack like they will be there a year? I have. It is funny in one sense, but it is disturbing on another level. The more you carry, the harder the trip is and the more people it will affect in a negative way.

Emotional bags are the heaviest things you will ever carry. I know adults that are still carrying emotional baggage from when they were just kids. They have never learned how to unpack, so sadly, their luggage gets heavier and heavier as they travel on the road of life. It sucks the joy out of their lives and destroys or disrupts relationships they could have had.

You can’t ignore emotional scars. The deepest wounds are often created by those we love and trust the most which makes it even harder to deal with. The wounds from someone you love can be healed, but it takes time, patience, love, and forgiveness. Whether you’ve been abandoned, cheated on, lied to, or abused, there is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

It is painful to confront our past, but I do know a therapist that is open 24/7 and he has the answers to any problem you might be facing. He is the Lord God Almighty. The Bible tells us that we are to cast our burdens upon Him. We were never intended to deal with all of our problems ourselves. God even gave us an instruction book to help us any time we are needing it. The weird thing is that so many people have never even opened up the Bible and read it, and then they wonder why their lives are a living hell.

Allow God to help you with any hurt that you are dealing with. He never promised us a life free of pain, but He did promise His blessing, His help, His love, His guidance, and His strength to help you through any storm you are facing. He can help you unpack your bags, lighten your load, and get you back on track and living a life that is meaningful, joyful, and hopeful.

I realize that many situations require a therapist with skin on them. Just make sure their advice lines up with God’s Word. Anything short of that will leave you with even more baggage to deal with.

It is never too late to unpack your bags. The sooner the better…for you and all those that will cross your path.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

 

 

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