1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Be More Patriotic

 

Be A Peacemaker

It’s the best way to wrap yourself in the flag.

Because you can:

1. Really support the troops by letting them serve without dying.

2. Free up money to build roads and bridges here in America, instead of rebuilding them in countries we have bombed.

3. Send foreign aid to Kentucky, Mississippi and Idaho.

4. Sleep soundly, knowing you have the victory of negotiation instead of the gnawing aggravation of aggression.

5. Find ways to be more creative each and every time to avoid a conflict.

6. Walk in the bliss of discovering what you can affect and what needs the input of others.

And if you’re wondering if any of this will make a difference, start being a peacemaker by contacting your latest “grudge” and making peace with him or her. If thousands of folks who might read this would actually do that in a single day, there might be a shift in the cosmos which could “trickle up” to Washington, D.C., Moscow, Jerusalem and Beijing.


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1 Thing You Can Do This Week That Will Always Make You Seem More Successful

 

Stop Announcing

Put down your trumpet.

Cease clapping your hands to your own beat.

Let the braggart be silent.

Don’t share your plans

Why?

Your plans are susceptible to chaos, the natural order or the fact that you may sleep through your alarm clock.

Hush. Please don’t tout your prowess.

There’s always someone better than you.

There’s always someone more talented.

Endurance and Humility

What makes quality rise to the top is its endurance and the blessing of humility, which allows other people to lift it up instead of needing to put it down because it’s pompous and arrogant.

And please, for the love of God:

 Stop proclaiming your purpose

Your purpose should be obvious as the fruit of your work. Telling people what you intended to do does not qualify for actually doing it.

If you simply stop announcing your great battleplan for your life, then you will be able to acknowledge the small victories instead of having to win every single conflict to prove your point.


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G-Poppers … September 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is encouraged.

While other folks are sorely distressed over the fussy argument about the correct posture to take in honoring the National Anthem, G-Pop feels the discussion is not only warranted, but well overdue.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve defined peace as being a lack of conflict. Actually, peace is the creative resolution of conflict.

Therefore, it is misplaced idealism to contend that human beings will agree, or even follow a code of ethics or morals from a single source. It’s never going to happen–not in the United States, where we tout justice for all.

The reason G-Pop is encouraged is because the balance in patriotism has been askew for many years.

There was a time when those who disagreed with the war in Vietnam were considered traitors. Now they’re regaled as prophets.

In the early part of this century, we were convinced that supporting the troops meant rubber-stamping the campaign in the Middle East, which now lumbers along, tripping over its own red tape.

May I offer a definition for patriotism? Patriotism is loving my country so much that I will disagree with the stupidities that rise up to tempt her.

Candidly, there is much that the black athletes in the NFL can learn from those who take a rigid salute to the Star Spangled Banner. Equally, those who think they have cornered the market on nationalism should certainly stop off and take a look at the neighborhoods that these talented athletes grew up in, and the brothers and sisters who concern their hearts.

It’s a simple process. You can do it for the nation, you can do it for your marriage, and you can do it in your personal life:

1. What are we doing right?

There are many things that are honorable and even eternal about this country. Criticism can take a temporary back seat to celebration. Let’s find what rings all of our bells before we get too specific about our “favorite chime.”

2. What are we doing wrong?

Anyone who insists that a nation is incapable of error simply by its name or birthright needs to read the Good Book and comprehend that God doesn’t call only people to repentance, but also countries and ideologies. There is much wrong with this country. It won’t kill us to know this. It won’t destroy us to admit it. And we do not need to be at each other’s throats in order to generate dynamic plans.

Which leads to:

3. How can we do more right without doing wrong to each other?

I have absolutely no authority to make fun of someone who stands at attention and salutes the flag when Francis Scott Key’s song is played to honor our country. Likewise, I have no purpose for condemning those who sit or take a knee to express that they are not abandoning this nation in despair, but are demanding that certain ailments be treated.

When the flag becomes more important than the freedom and the integrity of people, we are too engrossed in the flag.

When our cause seems more relevant and valuable than respecting those who take a more traditional profile to loving this country, then we are equally as ignorant in our understanding of liberty.

So I honor my country as I tinker with her.

I stand with those who stand, and I kneel with those who kneel–as we pursue improving the true expanse of freedom.

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G-Poppers … February 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Feelings.

They normally travel around with a forlorn adjective: hurt. Hurt feelings.

It is the most common malady of humans–even more prevalent than the cold.

Feelings are hurt for one simple reason: each one of us feels that we are more important and valuable than what others may feel at any given moment.

99% of the conflicts between nations are based on hurt feelings. Some of those painful emotions go back generations.

And even though we try to use education and religion to tamp down our need for recognition, deep within our hearts, we want to be treasured instead of trashed.

So we fight.

We argue.

We struggle.

We promote our value in comparison to the worth of others.

So we start grasping at subtle differences like skin color, sexual orientation and even gender.

  • “You can’t be as good as me because you’re a woman.”
  • You aren’t my equal because you’re black.”
  • “I’m more important because I’m an American.”

G-Pop wonders if his readers might want to become part of the solution instead of clogging up the train station heading to confusion.

It’s really simple: walk into your heart and fire apathy–as you hire appreciation.

Everyone needs the grace of gratitude.

The amount we receive determines how much fuel we have to fire up our engines toward success–or crash down in revenge.

G-Pop thinks it boils down to a sip, a cup and a bucket.

1. A sip: “Thanks.”

That just cools the dry, complaining, achy throat of anyone who is tired of being unappreciated.

2. A cup: “Thanks, we could not have done this without you.”

Not only cooled, but a quenching of the aggravation over a history of being used.

3. A bucket: “Thanks. You are just so freakin’ awesome.”

Now you’re tying generosity into the power of their character. It drenches them in joy.

Of course, you can overdo the bucket and you can under-do the sip. But if you’re wondering why human relationships don’t work, it’s because the fluid of thankfulness that should be flowing among us has dried up in favor of the desert of distance and ignorance.

G-Pop will tell you that most of us humans need at least a cup of appreciation a day. That’s a lot of sips–but certainly can be handled with one bucket.

The next person you meet will be parched from the lack of gratitude. He or she feels they’re important.

God has not given you the job to humble others, but instead, to moisten their feelings with legitimate appreciation.

 

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Ask Jonathots… September 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am always suspicious of superstition–blaming resistance on outside forces and nefarious entities. But at the same time I believe the blessings in life are always wrapped in hassle and difficulty. How can you tell the difference between the resistance that comes from a bad idea and the resistance that come from the brink of greatness?

In the moment of conflict, our personal reaction cannot be controlled.

Even though people insist they can “count to ten, take a deep breath” or “breathe a prayer” to muster a mature response to difficulty, we have already locked in our profile.

This is the essence of “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus is saying that we must literally choreograph our reactions. Otherwise we will spill out the abundance of our emotional turmoil.

Therefore, it really doesn’t matter if something comes from a nefarious source or if it’s just an inconvenience.

Our reaction determines if it will be elongated or eliminated.

So we should be working on an emotional sense of security. We are heart creatures. We don’t answer tribulation from our spirit. All communication comes from the abundance of our heart.

So where should we start?

We should work on the dance–the ability to know how to move when life tries to stop us. To do this we must learn to recognize the triggers that cause us to fall back into genetic or pre-programmed training instead of making our own pure choice.

1. If I’m angry and I do not reveal it, it will turn into frustration, which will make me incapable of handling any unwanted surprise.

2. If I feel cheated and don’t voice my concerns, I will accidentally look for ways to diminish the ego of others to match my depleted profile.

3. If I’m tired of trying, I will stop doing the necessary steps that make my effort productive and start acting entitled.

4. If I believe that I’m supposed to find my enemies in order to isolate and avoid them instead of love them and overcome them with wisdom, then I will become paranoid and find myself making new adversaries.

Even those evangelicals who fear Satan and his wiles need to realize that the punishment of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was to be cast down to Earth. In other words, evil has to work with Earth-bound fussiness to get at the believer.

So any way you look at it, the more you prepare for life by choreographing an emotional outlook that is not shocked by the arrival of setbacks, the better the chance that you can conquer problems–whether you believe they are natural or supernatural.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

Click here to get your copy now!

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Good News and Better News … April 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Salem composite

Salem United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tennessee.

It was my pleasure to be with the dear citizens yesterday morning.

“Salem” means “a peaceful completion.” Ironic, since it’s contained in the name of the city, “Jerusalem,” which is hardly peaceful or completed.

But as I looked out at my new friends yesterday morning, I asked myself, what is peace?

Because Jesus told us that we are certainly meant to be peacemakers. As in most things in life, I think we get confused as to where to start.

The more religious among us believe we should make our peace with God first and foremost.

Those who are more secular-minded contend we should make our peace with ourselves–find our inner sanctum of tranquility. Then we would be in a position to make peace with others.

Even though these two schools of thought are very popular, they have not brought peace to the world.

Often when we feel we’ve made our peace with God, it makes us prideful of our salvation and therefore critical of others.

On the other hand, when we make peace with ourselves, we tend to get a bit pompous over our own satisfaction, feel no need for God, and pity the weaker humans around us.

Yesterday, while sharing with the Salem gathered, I realized that our job is to make peace with others.

Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. He said if you get to church and you remember that somebody has something against you–maybe a grudge–you should leave church and work that out first. Otherwise, nothing good will happen.

Conventional thinking is that going to church would soften our hearts to be more forgiving, or that the solitude of prayer would prepare our souls for a peaceful resolution.

But Jesus said nothing is really achieved until we make peace with the offended. (By the way, that doesn’t mean we have a bone to pick with them, but instead, we recall that they want to pick our bones.)

I’ve got to be honest with you–sometimes those around me get miffed at something I’ve done and I couldn’t give a hoot owl’s “who-who” over it. But that’s because I think I can have peace of mind and peace with my God without having peace with my brothers and sisters.

That kind of attitude is the formula for conflict, feuds and even wars.

God has peace with me. He knows who I am. He still hangs around.

Generally speaking, under normal circumstances, I find a way to love myself–even if it’s the “ooey-gooey” of self-pity.

But true peace is when I become passionately concerned over trying to understand the situation of the individuals around me.

I can’t get peace with God or really have legitimate peace with myself until I attempt to make peace with others.

That’s the good news. Here’s the better news:

If we believe this to be true, we can get a jump on the situation … before misunderstandings become lasting conflicts.

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The Third Story… August 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Story One

constructionI was driving along in Grand Rapids in my 1997 Toyota Tercel, late to pick up my wife from her shift at the Meijer Grocery Store. As often happens when one is running late, I looked ahead and they had closed off one lane, the road diminishing to one passageway, with traffic backing up. The last thing I needed was to be late again. Last week I had arrived tardy to pick up my lady, and she told me how frustrating it was to sit at the picnic table outside the store waiting for my arrival after a long shift, with her friends asking her if everything was okay. I did not want to be a jerk again.

As I neared the closing of the lane, I looked up and suddenly a big, black van pulled out in front of me, causing me to slow up my progress. I even had to brake. The person in the van needed to realize that his vehicle required more clearance, so I pulled into the next lane, even though I had only 100 feet before it closed. He speeded up so I was side by side with him, and I had to cut him off because he wouldn’t let me take my place.

When the road widened about two lights later, the driver in the big, black van–a  fat, bald guy–wouldn’t even look over at me, apologize or acknowledge his mistake. It really pissed me off.

I arrived five minutes late and explained to my wife that I had been delayed by a stupid dude with Florida tags who thought he owned the road.

Story Two

Stopping in to pick up some groceries at Aldi, Janet and I were heading out of the parking lot towards our headquarters and home when I noticed there was a sufficient space to pull onto the road in front of a Toyota Tercel. I realized that he might have to slow up a bit for my entrance, considering how large the van is, but thought he might not mind since the second lane was closing, and all traffic was having to adjust accordingly.

I acquired my place in the flow of traffic and was surprised to notice that the Toyota had come up beside me, even though there was no remaining lane. I didn’t know whether to slow down to let him in, or speed up to try to get him to go behind me. Because I delayed my decision, when the lane closed he swerved in front of me, barely missing my front bumper. I slid off the berm to miss him.

When I arrived, two lights later, past the construction, and was about to turn, I saw that he had pulled up next to me. Not wanting any confrontation with a local, I looked straight ahead and turned right.

I didn’t give it much more thought–but it did seem a little bizarre.

Story Three

When a big, black van is about to enter a flow of traffic that is closing down to one lane, the driver needs to know that like it or not, he probably should make eye contact with the next car to see if it will let him in. Whether he sees a space is  immaterial. And local people driving Toyota Tercels should realize they represent their community and offer a little graciousness, even if it means they might be forty-two seconds later to pick up their wife at work.

Evaluating your own character by choosing one minute of convenience over mercy is not necessarily a very good trade-off. And pulling a very large van out in front of a Toyota Tercel whose driver had not motioned to give permission for such an adventure is certainly failing to recognize the right of passage.

You see, this is life. As long as we have our own story and those who confront us have their story, and no one discovers the third story, we are constantly at each other’s throats, believing the worst.

May I learn and know … we just can’t afford the unnecessary conflict.

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