Need To Know

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Have you ever been kept out of the loop on something? If you watch TV or movies you have heard people use the term, “Need to know.” It is commonly used in the CIA, the FBI, and government meetings. Most everyone has had times where they ask about something they were not told about only to be informed, “It is on a need to know basis.” Nobody likes that answer, but it happens every day. I got news for you, God’s will is on a need to know basis. He reveals himself and His perfect will when the time is right…not a minute before…and not a minute after.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says it best: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

When we pass from this world, we will finally understand, but here is some great news: as we draw closer to God, He reveals more and more of Himself to us! It is still in His timing, but we can have a much deeper understanding of God and His will for our lives is we are willing to submit ourselves totally to Him. When we draw closer to Him, our faith supernaturally becomes stronger.

If you are struggling with understanding God’s will for your life, make a commitment to God and see what happens. God will give you the ability to see into His world and see your life and people around you as He does. That changes everything! That is true perspective, that is true peace, and THAT is something you need to know!

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

BC

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Everyone knows what BC stands for in a date…like 200BC. Most everyone knows it stands for Before Christ. Now a bit of trivia. Without Googling it, what does AD stand for in a date? Go ahead and guess. I will answer it at the end of this blog, so don’t cheat. LOL.

Some day we are going to look back at 2020BC. How can that be? Because BC in this instance refers to Before Covid. People ten years from now will look back and remember when life was normal. Wow, how things have changed, and not for the better.

Think about the things that have all happened to us in a matter of months:

  • Masks and social distancing are now mandatory for the foreseeable future, and maybe the rest of our lives according to some “experts.”
  • Online learning has become part of our education toolbox and for some people will be the sole path forward for learning.
  • Businesses which previously were thriving in our economy are now closed or severely restricted in how they operate. Some will never recuperate from their losses.
  • Churches are for the most part still closed and restricted to online broadcasts. Somehow they were not deemed essential businesses.
  • Funeral homes are backed up and have restrictions about how they operate.

I can hardly wait for Halloween. I am going to go Trick or Treating with NO MASK. Pretty scary, huh? LOL. Seriously, these are bizarre days to say the least. I can’t imagine what young kids must think that just a few months ago were going to school, going to church, playing with their friends, and just enjoying life. They have to be wondering what in the world is going on here?

I know people talk about the “new normal” as something we have to accept, but I have a problem with that. All of this is not normal. What we had BC was normal. Yes, we had problems. We had war, racial strife (which is still going on), social issues, poverty, etc…but we had the freedom to go to school, go to church, go to funerals, go to visit our loved ones in the hospital, get on a plane and travel the world without feeling paranoid, operate our businesses freely, go to sporting events, and much more.

Somehow we need (as a country and as a world) to figure out how to deal with something like Covid. We can’t live our lives in constant fear, worrying about “what if?” I do believe in using common sense. I wash my hands. I stay home and isolate myself when I am sick. I cover my mouth when I cough or sneeze, and wash my hands afterwards. I have done all of that for many years. Perhaps it is how I was raised, but my 20 years in healthcare didn’t hurt my thoughts about germ control either. Imagine if everyone would do those things consistently.

I know that everyone is praying for a vaccine to fix this issue, but what do we do with the NEXT pandemic? What if the vaccine doesn’t work? I am just saying, there are no vaccines made for future diseases that don’t even exist yet. I don’t have the answers…just pointing out the obvious problems we face in this country and around the world. Countries that have less sanitary conditions are obviously more at risk than the U.S. There are a lot of questions we have to face and problems we have to prepare for. I pray that our President, our Congress, our Governors and Mayors all work together to help us find a way through the wilderness we are now lost in and quit the political bickering. Someday we will look back at early 2020 and remember what life used to look like.

O.K. For those of you that have been chomping at the bit to have the answer to the trivia question, AD is Latin for Anno Domini, and means “in the year of the Lord” referring to the birth of Christ. Bet you didn’t know that! Anyway, stay safe, and pray for our world to find a way to return to normality. Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Stay In Your Lane

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

I am not sure who came up with the saying, but it has become a well known and necessary tool to use in this world gone berserk. It is a concept we teach in school at very early ages because kids don’t understand boundaries (a lot like my dogs!). Apparently there are a lot of adults that never learned the concept either.

Sometimes when I get a kid being nosy about something going on with another child, I tell them: “You know what that is? It’s noneya.” That usually stops them to ask, “What is noneya?” I tell them, “It’s noneya business!” LOL. They usually laugh and get the point.

There was a magazine years ago called The National Inquirer. I am not sure it they are still around or not. The tag line of the magazine was, “Because inquiring minds want to know.” It was just a gossip magazine about celebrities and apparently sold pretty well. We all have that tendency to want to know what is going on in someone’s life…particularly if it is BAD! That is kind of sick when you think about it, but I guess it makes us feel somehow better about ourselves that we are not as jacked up as they are (at least in our own mind). LOL.

Several years ago a pastor friend of mine was going to lunch with some of his staff. As they were pulling into the restaurant parking lot, a guy cut him off and took his space. The pastor did what most of us would do when he got out of the car. He gave the guy a dirty look and said, “What is your problem?!!!” Well things went from bad to worse and heated words were exchanged. My pastor friend went over to the car with the guy still sitting inside…only to have the guy in his car pull a gun out and point it at my friend! I asked him what he did and he said he told the guy, “Buddy, if you pull that trigger, you better make sure to empty the gun on me!” Wow. All of this over a parking space! Luckily both guys calmed down and no life was lost, but that could have ended very badly!

Here is the problem with not staying in your lane: you risk having a fight, an accident, or even the loss of someone’s life! Sometimes people have the best intention of wanting to help, only to have that person blow up at them in return. It is one of those “wow” moments that we wonder, “ Where did that came from?!!!” Well, here is some insight into this thing we call humanity: everyone is jacked up! We ALL got issues! None of us really know what is going on in another person’s life or in their mind, and we can end up stepping on a landmine…sometimes very innocently.

What is the answer? I call it the Aretha Franklin solution: “R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me!” We need to respect boundaries of other people. We all need our space. When you invade someone’s space, just know that there may be some very unexpected consequences.

I am not suggesting looking the other way or ignoring people who are breaking the law, abusing a person or an animal, or allowing them to do something that puts others in harm’s way. We have a moral obligation to stand in the gap when someone is being bullied, threatened, or abused…but we still have to respect the law and deal with it in a lawful manner. Even though I live in Texas…I believe we have to abide by the law.

The bottom line is, stay in your lane when possible. When you do venture into someone else’s lane…look before you do it and use your turn signal. This applies to traffic and to life itself. Let people know your intention (if it is to help). If it is not your business and you insist on proceeding, then expect a potential conflict and results that you may regret.

P.S. There are a lot of people who carry guns these days. I have no problem with that personally, but I think it makes me at least think twice about getting into someone else’s space…and maybe that is a good thing for everyone. If you assume everyone is carrying a gun, you might think twice about how you treat them. :o)

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Enough!

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Enough has a lot of uses in the English language. You may have heard someone say, “Enough is enough” meaning they have taken all they can take. Or possibly they might say, “I’ve had enough” after their third helping of BBQ. But…when is enough really enough? When you are faced with problems or major decisions in life, what do you do?

I heard a great sermon today from Brady Boyd. He pastors a large church in Colorado Springs and used to be on staff at Gateway Church. Today…he was at Milestone Church in Keller as a guest pastor, and he was preaching on hearing God. A lot of people want to hear God, but many are confused at how to actually hear Him. I admit when someone says, “God told me to _______” I wonder if God really told them or not. I do believe that God speaks to us but how do you really hear Him? How do you know it is God?

Here are some takeaways from the sermon today:

  1. God in intentional and persistent in wanting to have dialog with us. That is a good thing, as He does not just write us off when we rebel or refuse to listen to Him.
  2. God helps us hear Him! He gave us the Holy Spirit to help guide us and understand Him.
  3. When God becomes a priority, you will hear Him. The problem is that too many people see God as just another source of information. He is not Google…He is God. His knowledge is complete and always accurate.

Grady gave a great example of knowing God’s voice. He likened it to knowing his wife and her voice. Because Grady and his wife have been married for many years, he knows her voice completely and intimately…and that is because he made her a priority in his life many years ago. He has no competing women vying for his attention. The same goes for God. When we make Him a priority, we hear Him.

John 10:27 says: My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.

That is great news for people searching for God. Here is what I know about God. He is not just enough, He is MORE than enough! Whatever problems you have with relationships, with work, with money, with health, with temptations, etc., God is more than enough to help us, guide us, provide for us, and encourage us. God’s love is unending and complete, and He gives a peace passes our understanding.

One thing that I know for sure is that God wants to have relationship with each of us, but He is waiting for us to open the door of our heart to Him. Opening the door, however, is just the beginning. Once He walks through the open door, then it is a matter of us developing a relationship with Him. That takes effort and commitment on our part. He is more than enough for whatever we need, but He is not a genie in a bottle either. God expects us to love Him and obey Him. He expects us to love our neighbor as our self. God is all about relationship.

It really is not complicated. Grady gave us a 30 day challenge: Every day for the next 30 days, pray this prayer first thing in the morning, “Come Holy Spirit!” This is not magic, it is just inviting the Spirit of God to help you start your day. I like that. In this crazy world we live in…I need all the help I can get. How about you? Are you up for the challenge?

P.S. You can also hear God by reading the Bible. Just ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear Him. His Word is amazing and it will be a light to your path.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Truth

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

We Want Justice

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

I know you have heard people say, “We want JUSTICE!” You have probably said it yourself at one time or another. I get what they mean, but what they want and what they need are two different things. Justice goes hand in hand with judgment, and they have no heart. It is pretty easy to judge people these days. We can judge people on their race, their religion, their lifestyle, their work, their politics, what they own or don’t own, and even what they say. The list is pretty endless. Why do we do it? Because we CAN. It is easy to sit in judgment of other people, and let’s face it, sometimes it is even fun…particularly at Walmart. LOL.

Here is the problem: What we want is justice, but what we need is grace! Nobody is perfect. We all live in glass houses and have no right to judge others. In fact, Scripture tells us that we will be judged by the same measure that we judge others. I am not talking about our elected judges. They are part of our legal system to help us keep civil order. I am talking about you and me. None of us can cast stones at one another without some repercussions. Judgment is getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve!

When I was growing up, there was a courtroom drama called Perry Mason. It was a great show and well scripted. The main character, Perry Mason (played by Raymond Burr), showed how justice was served in a good way. We have come a long way from those days. Now we have Judge Judy and Better Call Saul. Judge Judy is known for sizing up someone in a matter of a couple of minutes and handing out justice. There is no grace in her courtroom. On Better Call Saul, Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk), the law is shown to be inadequate, unfair, and Saul is the master loophole finder. He can take a good law and twist it like a pretzel to his advantage. It is entertaining television…and yet discouraging to think how true to life this really is.

We want a fair and equitable judgment when we have been the victim. There is nothing wrong with that…but life is not always fair or equitable. That is why we need grace. Grace has a partner, and that is mercy. They don’t go anywhere without one another. They are filled with love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. They are the perfect prescription for what ails the world right now. We want justice and judgment, but what we need is grace and mercy!

I have been guilty of being judgmental at various times in my life. It is not something I am proud of, but I have asked God to forgive me for it and help me to see people through HIS eyes…with love. Jackie DeShannon wrote a beautiful song many years ago and the lyrics go like this:

“What the world needs now, is love sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now, is love sweet love.

No not just for some, but for everyone.”

Grace and mercy are gift wrapped in love! That is what we all need now.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Dare To Dream

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Don’t Despair

Posted in General, Motivational

Look Up!

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Journey of 1,000 Miles

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” The problem with the proverb is that many people don’t know which direction to go! That is why we have people graduating from college with degrees that have nothing to do with their gifts or their calling.

I had that dilemma myself when I first started college. I thought I would be interested in being a Dentist. The only problem was that I had no real love for science! LOL. I found out pretty quick that I had to change gears or I was going to be mismatched to my degree.

Business, as it turned out, was a great match for me. I took quickly to the business school courses and excelled (most of the time). I found out I was NOT gifted in accounting though! That was not my thing. My gifting seemed to be geared more towards marketing and sales.

I had been an entrepreneur since 7th grade. My dad made some business cards for me and a buddy of mine. We started a lawn care business and went to work. That was pretty good money for a kid, but not easy by any means.

When I got into high school, my brother sold me a sno cone business that he had run for a couple of years and done pretty well with. He sold me the route which included a 1948 Willis Jeep that already had a gazillion miles on it, but continued to run every day. Over the next two summers, I did pretty well. The second summer I made enough in 3 months to pay cash for a new car and put $500 in the bank for college. This was back in 1969 and 1970 when the dollar actually had some value. LOL.

I worked from sun up to sun down 5 to 6 days a week. It was a great business and I made a lot of money to help me get what I wanted…a new car! My dad instilled in me the ethic of hard work, being on time, and setting goals. My brother inspired me to compete and excel in my work. He and I have a great relationship…but we are both very competitive and both of us hate to lose.

My point in all of this is that if you are struggling with finding your path, look to how you are naturally gifted. Pray about it and ask God to direct your path. He will if you ask Him and follow Him. Seek counsel from people you truly admire. It is OK to try things along the way to test the waters and see if it is really something you could do for a living.

Later in life I was between jobs and interviewing for a job that would require me to sit at a desk all day and answer the phone. The lady took one look at my resume and did me a huge favor by being honest with me. She said, “You have been in outside sales all your life. This job would drive you nuts!” I was shocked at her brutal honesty, but I really appreciated her saving us both a lot of grief and frustration.

I had multiple careers over my lifetime, but all of my work has been interlocked with my gifting and my calling. In each job I was involved in not just sales and marketing, but also in training and development. I have utilized all of that experience even to this day as I teach kids in grade school.

Because I also have a gift for writing and motivation, I use that as well to help others and inspire people to find their path…beginning early in life. That is why I love teaching kids. They are like little sponges and just need to soak up the right stuff to help them make wise choices and find their way in this maze called life.

For each of us, this is one of the most important things we can do for our own happiness and sanity. Nobody wants to end up late in their career and realize that their pathway lead to a dead end, and yet it happens way to often. Find your calling then take your first step of 1,000 miles in the right direction. The journey is the blessing, not just the endpoint. Shalom!

Daniel Skognes