1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Begin the New Year Right)


 

UNTANGLE

You must be honest with yourself and realize that you’ve taken this whole year to tangle yourself up in relationships, causes, theologies, politics and negativity that has every intention of bumbling its way into the month of January.

We do not engage. We tangle. And the reason we tangle is that we lack the confidence to believe we have the ability to do things with our own talent, and we cautiously collaborate with those who have less ability and we end up achieving only as much as they are able to accomplish.

  • We become sentimental when we actually need to be revolutionary.
  • We become revolutionary when what is required is wisdom.
  • And we try to act wise and often end up with arrogance.

Untangle:

  1. Your relationships

Get a piece of paper and write down the names of your friends. Then consider the number of times they were friendly to you as opposed to the number of times you were friendly to them. Don’t offend them but adjust your contact with them based upon this ratio.

If you were friendly five times and they were friendly three, then include them in your life accordingly. Your time is valuable. You don’t want to hurt anyone, but you don’t help anyone by letting them hurt you.

  1. Your goals.

Are they realistic? Have you ever achieved them? Has there ever been a hint that progress has been made? Don’t be stubborn. If you made no progress on your goals this year, then the problem is probably your goals, not your progress.

  1. Your clothes.

Go in your closet and inventory your wardrobe. If you have garments you haven’t worn for six months which aren’t seasonal, take them down and find homes for them. There are people out there who will rejoice over your rejects.

And finally,

  1. Untangle yourself from your failures.

If you have found the root cause of what precipitated your defeats and you’ve made adjustments, then don’t nervously wonder if the same things will happen again. They can’t because you’ve changed the playing field.

Untangle.

Because situations in our lives which are not useful or helpful will eventually wrap around our throats and strangle our life force.

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Be a Better Person

PROMISES ARE NOT PROMISING

Though for a brief moment, our pride swells, our hopefulness inflates and our prowess among our fellow-humans may appear to soar, promises leave us with a single difficulty:

WE MUST DELIVER OR WE WILL START LYING

Once we start lying we can’t be trusted. When we are not trusted, we are eventually relegated to a position where people are willing to dine with us but not work with us.

The difficulty with promises is that they become two desolate deserts if we fail to deliver the goods: arrogance and foolishness.

Arrogance because we said we would be able to accomplish something and not only shared our intent but sealed it with the covenant of a promise.

Foolish because everyone wonders why we didn’t account for the thing that brought our plans down.

Yet we continue to promise that we’re going to give the money, win the game, be there on time and even be faithful until death do us part.

There’s nothing that makes us look more ridiculous than an unfulfilled promise, but people continue to feel the need to look powerful while ending up with a powerless claim. Society promotes arrogance–but we are all drawn to humility.

We expect people to overlook our foolishness although wisdom is regarded as a higher virtue.

If you want to do better, stop saying “I promise.” Instead, reply, “I think I understand what needs to be done. Here’s where my ability lies, and it’s available if you’d like me to take a shot at it.”

Nobody ever won a game, won a love, won the lottery or won salvation by making a promise.

So if you want to gain strength or be perceived as intelligent, offer what you have with humility, and apply it with wisdom.

 

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Salient … April 9th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A couple of months ago I began a weekly podcast and decided to name it “Good News and Better News.” Of course, I was already using that title for my Monday segment of the Jonathots Daily Blog, but I knew it was time to find a different emphasis for my Monday endeavor–and therefore, a new name.

So the podcast remains goodnewsandbetternews.com, and today I am introducing my fresh Monday format, entitled “Salient.”

Please don’t feel I’m shooting over your heads with an unusual word. I didn’t know what it meant myself. For you see, this weekend, as I slept, having flashes of dreams and insights in my nighttime hours, this word–“salient”–popped up in one of those visions.

So I got up from my bed, pulled out my I-pad and looked it up. I discovered that “salient” is defined as “something notable and important.”

Then a simple bolt of wisdom from the heavens cracked across my brain. I realized that this is the problem in our country.

So much unimportant, non-valuable, meaningless, uncaring, vicious and selfish data is thrown at us daily that we begin to believe that things that don’t matter actually have some significance because they are over-touted.

We have forgotten what it important.

We have grown fearful of the practical because the arrogant have told us that pursuing such goals is the essence of ignorance.

Our survival is at risk. I don’t mean that we’re teetering on Armageddon–rather, I’m declaring that what makes our human survival special is often left at the curb as we dash into the street dodging traffic.

Therefore I would like to take each Monday and garner the experience of my weekend, explaining in gentle, common-sense terms a single piece of great humanity which has been sacrificed for the blare of over-production.

Perhaps in doing this, you and I can consider “salient.” We can once again become people who are energized by the goodness of the journey, the twists and turns of discovery and the overwhelming blessing of time and chance that happens to us all.

Salient: to pursue what is notable and important.

Please join me each and every week.

And be at peace, knowing that “Good News and Better News” has not gone away–just found a new, green pasture.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 34) Three Fronts … February 4th, 2018

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It didn’t take long.

Twenty-four hours after the announcement of Morgan’s murder, the country was ablaze with controversy, assumptions, conspiracy theories and accusations.

There were enough questions about the circumstances (and since it was well-known that Prophet had betrayed Jubal Carlos by holding interviews) it was determined that Jubal was to be brought to headquarters to answer some questions.

Unfortunately, Jubal and the band had hopped the jet, along with their merry patrons, flying to Europe for a five-city tour–which he had dubbed “The New Jesus.” London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Rome were about to get a healthy dose of “the gospel according to Carlos.”

It was a ten-day tour, so the authorities in Clark Country agreed to wait until Jubal’s return to hold the session.

At the same time, in Washington, Congressman Michael Hinston stepped out of the shadows, where he had been disguising his plot, and stirred up the House of Representatives and many in the Senate to demand that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation of the murder.

Normally such a request was ignored, but the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists added their “yeas and amens” to the demand. Since these two institutions were not known to agree on much of anything, the investigation was sanctioned and set in motion.

With Prophet Morgan dead and Jubal in Europe, the work in America was left in the hands of Sister Rolinda. She had been taken out of the spotlight and placed, as Jubal called it, “backstage” ever since she had ruffled the robes of the Pope in Rome. But now, since there was no one to take over the work in Las Vegas, she was called forth and put in authority, with the assumption, “What harm could she do?”

Matthew checked out.

He refused to take calls, only allowing his two old friends, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, into his sanctuary. It was all so crazy. All he had ever wanted in his life was to make money without hurting anyone, with his name in the paper every once in a while. Now he wasn’t making money, it seemed like people were getting hurt (if you counted a murder) and his name was in the paper with slanderous overtones.

He also received an accounting from his financial advisors on how much money had been spent of the 250 million dollars. $31,285,652.38. It was a staggering sum. Yet truthfully, in the world of advertising, the amount of publicity that had been received was worth ten times that much. Still, what did they have to show for it? Matthew mulled as he communed with Jack and Jim.

The press arrived for the first night after the announcement of the murder at the Las Vegas “warehouse-turned-church,” to see what would transpire. There was a large crowd, and since the band was overseas, Sister Rolinda had decided to invite a black choir from Los Angeles. They sang the place happy, they chorused the room sad.

At length, as the entire gathering fell silent, Sister Rolinda took the stage, wearing a little nun hat, a gingham dress and an apron.

She clumsily grabbed the microphone and began to speak. “I’ve lost my friend, Morgan. I hurt so badly I can’t breathe. He was not perfect. I suppose some of you wouldn’t even think he was good. He was arrogant–in a humble way. He was loving–with a spiteful streak. And he was a human, searching for his humanity.

“I saw him literally give the coat on his back to a stranger. I was with him when white supremacists beat him up because he condemned their ignorant bigotry. Did you know he was abused himself? But considering that, he tried very hard not to be an abuser.

“I loved him. Did you? Or did you find yourself judging something about him? Maybe it was his funny, overstated hair. Maybe it was because he was so young, he still had pimples. Maybe it was because he dressed like a 1950s backwoods evangelist.

“We feel very powerful when we can criticize. We think voicing our opinion is our God-given right. We have only one God-given right: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Suddenly Rolinda raised her voice to a scream. “Did you hear me? Love your goddamn neighbor as yourself!”

The building fell more silent than the silence it already possessed. Rolinda continued, softly.

“I am not a speaker. I am not glib. I am not full of wisdom. When I became a nun, I asked God to fill me with only one thing–compassion. That’s it.

“Tonight we need to rid ourselves of revenge, attitude, discussions of foul play and just general stupidity. We don’t need to celebrate Prophet Morgan. He would tear his shirt off in horror if he knew we were doing that. We need to acknowledge the Jesus who Prophet loved, and the best way to do that is to love one another.

“So since the press has shown up tonight, I am going to take this time to answer any questions they may have, to the best of my ability.”

Sister Rolinda paused, lifting a finger, ready to point in the direction of anyone who might want to pose an inquiry. But perhaps for the first time in the history of press conferences, no one had anything to say. There was nothing to ask.

Rolinda took a deep breath, and suddenly tears began to stream down her face. More and more she cried, until she was squalling. Buckling at the knees, she nearly fell on her face, catching herself with her hands, until members of the audience rushed forward to lift her and comfort her.

As if on cue, everyone else who remained turned to each other and embraced, then quietly moved toward the exit.

Meanwhile … Jubal and the band performed in front of ten thousand screaming, hollering Germans, sharing bratwurst and beer.

Meanwhile … Michael Hinston perused a private email from the CLO which applauded his efforts to instigate an investigation.

Meanwhile … the decomposing, chopped-up body of Prophet Morgan lay very dead in the morgue.

And meanwhile … Matthew just drank.

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G-Poppers … December 15th, 2017

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  • G-Pop mused the statement.

    “A moral victory.”

    The phrase was uttered by a news commentator who was characterizing the nature of the defeat of Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senatorial race.

    “A moral victory” is what Judge Moore normally would have applauded, touting it as a shout of glory for the conservative Christian movement. But in this case he found himself in the middle of Pharisees who were bound and determined to stone the sinner.

    G-Pop wants to make something very clear. If all men aged 32 were to be considered pedophiles by ogling a teenage girl, we would have to turn the state of Alaska into a prison farm. Sins of the flesh are something we humans certainly understand, though we cannot condone.

    What is difficult to comprehend are sins of the heart–those iniquities that come off our tongues as we try to defend ourselves instead of facing the music.

    Yes, Judge Roy Moore followed what a myriad of politicians have done, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt: When confronted about the nature of your business, deny.

    Of course, Judge Moore would have to admit this is not a Christian concept–rather, a secular one that seems to work because people become exhausted with all the tawdry details. Eventually the public walks away in disgust.

    Judge Moore is a great advocate for the Ten Commandments. But like a lot of us, he may have forgotten that Jesus broke the ten down to two:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”

    Jesus prefaced the second commandment by saying it was “like unto the first.” In other words, it’s impossible to love God without loving people, or to love people without tipping your hat to the Creator.

    When dealing with the stories coming from his accusers, Judge Moore became vehement, claimed he did not remember and insisted they were lying.

    Now, G-Pop is not about to say he knows what Judge Moore should have done in this situation. G-Pop is just explaining that what Judge Moore did had nothing to do with being a Christian. He became a cornered animal, growling at his surroundings, hoping to scare the intruders away.

    Nobody got scared.

    But what happened to our dear friend in Alabama can happen to us also if we allow our ignorance to mingle with our arrogance in an attempt to create dominance.

    Every sinner saved by grace needs to remember the grace–or they soon forget they were ever sinners.

    That’s what G-Pop thinks happened in this particular case.

    G-Pop’s suggestion for Judge Roy Moore? Wisdom would declare that we have less of “Moore,” and that he refrain in totality from “judging.”

    Maybe just work on being Roy.

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3 Things… November 2nd, 2017

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Three Things That Will Endear You to Other People

1.  Admit you have made a mistake

2. Forgive quickly

3. Be self-sufficient without being arrogant

 

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Good News and Better News… June 19th, 2017

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Dislike–deciding to “diss” liking.

In the pursuit of what we call love, and even unconditional love, we’ve reached a point where we just don’t like each other anymore. We have the appearance of Atlas carrying the world on our shoulders because we feel compelled by our civilized natures to be as calm as possible.

We “diss” liking. We claim great affection for souls around us while privately rolling our eyes, communicating that they are annoying.

So when I arrived yesterday morning at the Ruskin United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who like each other. Because here’s the truth–a paraphrase of John the Apostle: I don’t think you can love God if you don’t like people.

It seems that God is really proud of His creation.

I know we portray an anxious deity, constantly perturbed over our sins, but since He gave us the ability and even the permission, I seriously doubt that He will be terribly upset when we occasionally go errant.

The greatest arrogance, the most self-righteousness, and perhaps the sin of all sins, is to believe that human beings are not worth liking.

  • It’s in our government.
  • It’s in our religious system.
  • It’s in our movies.

We are training ourselves to be suspicious, and failing to acquire great moments of human fellowship that just demand a little bit of mercy and grace.

I’m not one to advocate looking in the rear view mirror and assuming that the past was better than the present, but I will tell you, if there was any era when people were given the chance to excel without being pre-judged, then we might want to reach back into that span of time and regain some of that tenderness.

For the good news is, God likes people.

And the better news is, He loves those who like them, too.

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