You Can’t Rush God

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find…you get what you need.” Mick Jagger

Do you ever wonder about God and why He takes so long to answer some of our prayers? It is easy to get impatient with God if we don’t see things from His perspective.

Our real problem is: we don’t trust God when we try to rush Him.

Here is what I know about trusting God and His timing:

  • He knows what is best for me including the timing.
  • God is teaching me patience. Patience builds character, and character gives hope. We all need hope to face the trials of life.
  • God’s ways are not our ways. We have to trust that He knows what He is doing.
  • It is not all about me. There are always other people affected when God moves. He is putting all the pieces together at the right time.
  • God wants me to be thankful for what I have already. He sometimes delays blessings because of ingratitude.
  • God wants my praise. After all, He is worthy of it.
  • God does not wear a watch. That is man’s way of counting time, not God’s.
  • He wants us to be careful what we ask for. He knows that many times we ask for something without really understanding the consequences.
  • God is faithful to His promises. If He said it, He will do it at the right time.
  • God won’t hear my prayers if I don’t forgive people who have wronged me.
  • Not waiting on God can have life-long repercussions. Look at the mess we still are dealing with because Abraham and Sarah did not wait on God to give them a child. The unrest we have today in the middle east was birthed out of that mistake.

If you are at a point in life where you are getting impatient with God, take a deep breath and rest in Him. He has everything you need…in His time. Start praising Him for all He has done, is doing, and is going to do in you, through you, and for you. Stand on His Word. Trust and obey…there is no other way.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Slender Man

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

(True Story)

I had never heard of this until the story aired on 20/20. In 2014 there were three 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin who had a sleepover. The girls had become enamored with a creepy fictional internet character called Slender Man.

Two of the friends became convinced that unless they killed their other friend, Slender Man would kill them and their families. At the sleepover the three girls walked out into some nearby woods. The two friends attacked the third girl and stabbed her 19 times! They then left her for dead and decided to run away.

Miraculously, the friend survived the attack. A man was riding his bike on a path that had been chained off. He came across the girl who was covered in blood and dragging herself to the path. Immediately he got his cell phone out and called 911. The bloody body was rushed to the emergency room. The Doctor who treated her said had one of the stab wounds been one millimeter over it would have killed her instantly. It took two nurses to count all the stab wounds.

The two perpetrators had become followers of the gruesome character on a website called Creepypasta.com. Apparently, people go on the site to get creeped out. This time it proved nearly fatal for a 12-year-old girl. When the police interrogated the girls, there was no remorse. One of the girls had been good friends with the victim since the 4th grade. The kids were tried as adults and determined to be mentally unstable. The girl who did the stabbing got up to a 40-year sentence in a mental ward. The accomplice got up to a 25-year sentence.

What is the moral of the story? Know what your kids are doing online and behind closed doors. Monitor who they are hanging out with. There was no mention by the parents of faith or spiritual grounding. Had they been grounded in their faith, this could have been avoided. If they don’t get the grounding at home, where are they going to get it?

The mother of the girl who got the lengthy sentence was aware of the Slender Man saga, but did nothing. Her comment was, “I was reading Stephen King at her age, so I did not think anything about it.” The young girl’s father had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and now the daughter had been diagnosed with the same issue. How was this missed previously? You know there had to be signs. When they searched her room they found mutilated Barbie dolls and numerous notes and drawings that were disturbing to say the least. In one note she said she wanted to die.

This is a tragedy on every level. It is a wake-up call. I wonder how many kids like these are walking the halls of our schools?

P.S. The girl who survived is now 16 years old. She has readjusted and is doing well despite the circumstances.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

In Courage

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

When we encourage someone they go out “in courage.” Pretty cool thought. Recently I had the opportunity to encourage a 3rd grade girl. She was in tears during lunch. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me a boy had called her fat. I looked at her and said, “What he said does not matter. You are a beautiful girl. In fact, what everyone else thinks or says about you does not matter either. What matters is what YOU think and say about yourself.” I pointed to my heart and said, “This is what matters.”

For many weeks after the incident this little girl would pop up around me when I was making my rounds. She would just stand there quietly smiling up at me. I let her talk to me and gave her my full attention despite the busy activities going on about me. I truly believe that these small moments will help her form a positive self-identity, Everyone wants to be loved for who they are. Now I have a BFF. :o)

There was a story in the Bible about a great warrior named Gideon. The funny thing about the story is that when God called him to battle, he was hiding in a cave and threshing wheat in a winepress! Not exactly the picture of a great warrior! But you know what the Angel of the Lord said? He did not make fun of him, call him a wimp, or anything derogatory. He called him “A mighty man of valor.” I think Gideon needed to be reminded that he WAS a mighty man of valor despite the circumstances. Gideon went on to defeat the enemy with just a handful of men…and the help of God, of course.

We have the opportunity to send people out in courage every day. Take the opportunities when you see them The results are remarkable because they can last a lifetime.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Who Are You?

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

That title may remind you of the lyrics from the theme song of the rock group The Who. It drives home the gnawing question we all have to unlock for ourselves. Who are we, and what are we supposed to do with our lives?

I was at a men’s conference where we were challenged on a multitude of levels to think differently, and it begins with knowing who we are. I was talking to a man that I met there and he admitted to me that he was unhappy doing what he was doing for a living. When I asked him what he REALLY wanted to do, he had some difficulty defining it. I realize it is easier said than done, but I told him that he had to figure out what he was really passionate about and do that. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he was processing it and trying to figure it out.

We all go through periods where we wonder who we are, what we should be doing, and how we should do it. Some people figure it out early in life and others never figure it out. Here are some noteworthy quotes from a couple of the speakers we heard at the seminar.

  • “We all want to kill giants as long as they look like dwarves. We think if God wants something for us He will bring it to us rather than through us. We have to go through great battles to achieve greatness.”
  • “Going through pain is part of the process.”
  • “Stop running from your future, lean into it.”
  • “Don’t aspire to be just great. Aspire to serve all. Fame is what you do for yourself. Greatness is what you do for others.”
  • “It doesn’t matter what anyone else does. I need to be the greatest version of me the world has seen.” Erwin McManus

 

  • “God did not give us a spirit of fear, yet half of us are afraid of losing our jobs. The other half are afraid they will keep them.”
  • “When a puppy messes in the house, you don’t love it any less. God does not love us any less when we mess up. We all make mistakes.”
  • “We don’t need people to hold us accountable and judge us. We need people to embrace us and encourage us. Don’t run away from people who mess up. Run TO them. Embrace them.”
  • “Do you know what you want to do? Activity does not equal productivity. Do the things that last. Challenge the boundaries.”
  • “It is easy to get a couple of degrees off course on your journey. That small mistake can make you miss your destination totally. Know where your true North is, and stay focused. Life is full of distractions.”
  • “Life is like flying a helicopter. You have to make a thousand movements the size of a quarter to stay on course.”
  • “Live your life so that you live life constantly and intentionally surprised, not fearful.” Bob Goff

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

RAK

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If you want to rock your world, RAK it. That simply stands for doing Random Acts of Kindness. We have a motto at our school, “Others before self.” How can you practice that on a daily basis? RAK.

The rules to do a RAK are simple:

  • It should be done anonymously if possible. If you do it to be thanked or recognized, you have done it for the wrong reason. You miss not just the point, but the blessing. Remember that the greatest gifts in life are those that can never be repaid.
  • Cost is not important. Everyone can afford to do a RAK. Of course, if you are blessed financially, then you should RAK accordingly. Just keep it anonymous.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Next time you go through a drive-through at a fast food place, pay for your meal and the car behind you. Just tell the person at the window to tell the person behind you, “God just wanted to say that He loves you.” :o) We all need to be reminded of that from time to time, don’t we? I know I am not God, but I can be a representative of His hands and voice.
  • If you see a single Mom and her kid having lunch or dinner, pick of the tab for them.
  • If you see a homeless person, buy them a lunch and have it delivered to them. With Uber, you can do this easily.
  • If you see someone broken down on the side of the road, see if you can help. I realize that if you are a lady you have be cautious about doing this, but you could pull over and let them know you are calling someone to help them at the very least.
  • Next time you have a meal, leave a tip that is the size of your check. Having been a waiter early in my career, I can testify that waiters and waitresses have tough jobs. They work long hours for very little reward. I am not talking about the ones in the high end restaurants. I mean the ones that work at IHOP, for instance.
  • “Adopt” a person who is incarcerated. You may not be able to do that anonymously, but you can do it without expecting anything from them. A letter written to them on a weekly basis is like gold to them.
  • Be a “Secret Santa” for an orphan. Find out what they want for Christmas or their birthday and send it to them. You can do this anonymously through services like Amazon.

I do think we need to do RAKs everyday with those we love. Here again, you may not be able to be anonymous, but you can do it without expecting anything in return. The ones closest to us are sometimes the ones we tend to take for granted. Let them know how much you love them or appreciate them. A love note stuck in a lunchbox or put in their luggage lets them know they are not forgotten. Leave a love note on the bathroom mirror. It will make their day. You can change your world…and theirs.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Investing

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

This is not a discussion on money. This is about life. It seems that many people become lazy in life after they have made an initial investment. We should not take for granted that life will turn out great if we don’t continue to invest in the things and people that we once thought important to us. Here are a few examples:

  • Invest in yourself. If you don’t get proper rest, exercise, eat right, and have balance in your activities, how do you expect to be happy? Investing in yourself is not selfish, it is for your own sanity. You will be no good to yourself or anyone else if you don’t continue to invest in yourself. Don’t let your body go. Stretch your mind. Grow your faith. Make getting in shape physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually a priority (if it isn’t already).
  • Invest in your marriage or relationship with a significant other. Take time to let that person know that they are important to you, and do it daily. Send them love letters. Call them for no reason other than to let them know you love them. Don’t let that relationship become mundane or worse. It takes work to keep any relationship alive. There is an old saying, “It takes two to Tango.” That is especially true in relationships. You both have to invest in each other. Make daily deposits of love, encouragement, and communication.
  • Invest in your friendships. You should have a few friends that are close to you that love you for who you are and don’t judge you. They just love you. They know when to hold you accountable, when to encourage you, and when to reprimand you. They are great listeners and will take your call 24/7. They are there in the good and the bad times. They know that you are there for them as well. It goes both ways. While you can have close friends from both sexes, I personally feel you need to have a few close friends of your own sex. There are some things that only guys will get, and certain things that only ladies will get. Share things appropriately…particularly if you are married.
  • Invest in your work. Are you giving everything you have on a daily basis, or have you gone into cruise control? It you aren’t growing on a daily basis, you are going to find yourself disenchanted and looking for a different career. Find ways to challenge yourself daily, and don’t go to work Monday thinking about Friday. You will miss a lot of blessings if you take the lazy way out.

Investing in life has some parallels to finances in that:

  • You need to know the risks involved.
  • You should count the cost of investing.
  • You should never underestimate the time required to reach your goal.
  • You should understand the power of compound interest.

Investing in life will pay lifetime dividends if you continue to invest in yourself, your relationships, and your work. Happy investing.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

What Is Your Word?

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Several years ago a dear friend of mine (we have been friends for nearly 50 years) asked me: “If you had one word to describe your New Year, what would it be?” That is a great question for anyone to consider. How would you describe your New Year with one word? I told him my word for the New Year was Shalom.

If you have read any of my work, you notice that I sign everything with Shalom. It became my word that year and I have kept it ever since. Some people see that and assume I am Jewish. I am not. I am Christian, but I love the word and what it embodies. Some people think Shalom means peace…and it does, but it means so much more.

Shalom means complete peace, complete health, complete wealth, and freedom from stress, and more. Who does not want THAT in their lives? Everyone I know would love to experience that on a daily basis. We live in a world that is stressed to the max, do we not?

Shalom is more than just a word, it is a person as well. Jesus is our peace. He is the one who gives us that anchor in the midst of the storms of life. There is a saying I like: Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.

I do realize there are other ways to peace outside of Jesus, but the peace that Jesus brings is the peace that passes understanding. It is truly remarkable what peace you can experience daily just letting Jesus lead the way. For many people is it “My way or the highway” mentality. I have changed that to “Not my way, but a higher way.”

My prayer for you as we wind down 2017 is that you find that type of peace in your life. May 2018 bring you the desires of your heart, and may your heart be turned to serve Him above all. God bless you and your family throughout the New Year.

Shalom! 

Dan Skognes

Let Go

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

(Dedicated to victims of abuse)

Let go of the hurt

Let go of the pain

Because if you don’t

It will drive you insane

 

Let go of the guilt

Let go of the blame

When you are the victim

Let go of the shame

 

Let go of the past

Let go of the dark

Hold fast to your faith

Hold fast to your heart

 

The journey is not one

That you would choose

But from here you decide

If you win or you lose

 

When you learn to speak

Of the pain you endured

The process begins

In finding your cure

 

The hole in your heart

Will heal given time

You’re not alone

For your journey is mine

 

Love,

God

 

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Merry Christmas?

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” Christine Caine

It has been a weird week. I am reminded that Christmas is not a merry time for everyone. Here is a list of things that happened to friends of mine this past week:

  • One friend’s wife passed away from a long bout with cancer.
  • Another friend told me her child was doing drugs and involved sexually with her boyfriend.
  • Another friend told me his child found out their spouse was cheating on them and living a double life.
  • Another friend texted me that one of the people I met on the mission trip to Guatemala was in a terrible accident last Friday and was on life support!
  • Another close friend told us that their pet died this week.

My head is spinning and my heart is breaking from the news. I feel like I have been on a rollercoaster and am emotionally exhausted from all of it. Whether you are personally going through tough times or know someone that is, my thoughts and prayer are with all who are suffering this Christmas.

May the Lord be with you and your families. May He give you peace in the storms you are facing, and wisdom in the decisions you must make. May He give you courage to face the day and faith to sustain you. May He be your light in the darkness. Amen.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Options

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

There is a TV show that my wife and I have come to love: The Good Doctor. Freddie Highmore plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, a very talented young intern who happens to have Autism. Nicholas Gonzales plays Dr. Neil Melendez, the Chief of Surgery at the hospital.

One episode had an African woman who came to America with her dying son to find a Dr. who could help them. Dr. Melendez was totally against operating on the kid because he felt like there was no way it could succeed. Dr. Murphy, however, came up with a slim but worthwhile option to try. When Dr. Melendez dismissed the idea, Dr. Murphy asked him: “Is the potential to fail a reason not to try?” Dr. Melendez admitted that it was not a good reason.

It was a great question and worthy of digesting. They started collaborating and came up with a few viable options. They went into surgery and through trial and error, found the way to help the boy’s heart keep beating.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Almost everything you face has options. There are probably a few exceptions, but most of the time you do have options; you just have not thought of them yet.
  • There are options within options. When you face one obstacle that does not mean it is the end of the road, just a detour. Look for other ways to make it happen, then determine: What is the best way?
  • Just because everyone says, “It won’t work,” does not mean they are right. If you have a dream for something you want to be or do, don’t let anyone steal your dream. Get creative, collaborate, and search for options.
  • Options give us two things: hope and choices. We need both in order to have any meaning to life. If there is no hope, then life is pointless, but….there is always hope. Hope is there when you can’t see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, or taste it. Even if you don’t believe it, hope is there. You just might have to be reminded of it.
  • Faith takes hope to the next level.

Whatever obstacles you might be facing today, don’t lose hope.  

Shalom!

Dan Skognes