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

Life

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Last week a 4th grader came up to me and asked: “Mr. Dan, what is the meaning of life?” I was caught off guard at the depth of the question from such a young child and I only had a moment to answer as the kids were transitioning to their next class. What would you have said?

I thought for a moment and replied, “Love God and love people.” That is what the Bible says. It sums up all that we are called to do. If we do that, we will find our destiny. The child smiled knowingly and went to their next class.

That may be the best thing I taught all day. :o)

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes