Good News and Better News… August 7th, 2017

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It is truly amazing how God’s plan for my life works so much better when I make good decisions.

Maybe that’s because God, who gave every human being free will, does not “plan our life.” Instead, he offers wisdom, strength and grace to those who remain humble. I see this every single day of my time on Earth.

Some people are waiting for God to do what He’s already done.

Others take what God has done and go out and do something with it.

I was a blessed man to be granted the opportunity to share at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Palm Harbor, Florida. I ran across people who were thinking about making good decisions.

One fellow candidly told me that when he walked in and saw that there were guest ministers, he wanted to walk right back out. But he decided to sit down –n a grumpy sort of way–and ended up being thrilled with his choice.

Another fellow was recovering from stomach problems and decided to come in spite of them, and departed exhilarated.

I ran across person after person who explained to me that the facts set before them did not necessarily warrant optimism or faith, but they chose to rearrange circumstances to their better advantage.

Jesus never criticized anyone for showing initiative to change his or her life. In our religion we often connote that too much ambition, or even an overload of passion, is detrimental to Godly humility. In the process, many of those who darken the door of the church are plagued by insecurity.

I am a human who truly has been granted a great opportunity of possibility–I get to go and share my thoughts, my songs, my words and my good cheer, with the aspiration of inspiring others. Did God plan for me to do this? He certainly is grateful for my efforts–and I, for His mission.

The good news is that we have been given the tools, the opportunity and the potential to make fruitful lives.

The better news is that our Father in heaven, from a position of support, is admiring our growth.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Three Ways to Help a Friend Help Himself (Herself, Too)… April 9, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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spotter

Life is about moments.

We all have our moments.

There are occasions when we realize a weakness needs strengthening and a vice, elimination.

Sometimes we even speak it aloud. We ask other people to hold us to a promise.

Part of being a friend is knowing how to help without condemning. It’s becoming familiar with ways to communicate hope without seeming silly–a process of standing with someone while simultaneously asking him or her to take a second look at their committment.

It is certainly a work better suited for angels, but apparently, they are quite busy.

So I will offer you a three-step process for helping people once they have found out they want to help themselves. But I will tell you–if you are the suggestor of repentance, you are a judge, not a friend. But if your comrade has expressed a desire to change some aspect of his or her life, then these three ideas will be greatly advantageous.

1. Praise.

When there is progress on the promise, make a big deal about it. It doesn’t have to be a huge transformation–it is the little victories that eventually add up to winning the battle.

The best thing you can do for friends is to remember what they want, and let them know it’s important to you by praising the progress on the promise.

2. Ignore.

Every once in a while, people who make promises develop severe amnesia. Matter of fact, if you insist that they’ve backslidden from their original goal, they will point out in great detail how mistaken you are and how you’ve misunderstood their intent.

When a friend purposely goes against something they’ve decided to do, rather than criticizing them, use the power of ignoring them.

You don’t have to praise, but you don’t have to condemn. You can just pretend that you didn’t see it and it didn’t happen.

I have been around friends who were trying to quit smoking, and when they lit up in front of me, I just quietly excused myself from the room. Absence is a powerful statement, when presence is expected.

3. Remind.

Sometimes a door is opened by a friend, and he or she is actually curious about your feelings. There will always be a question mark at the end of their statement.

  • What do you think I should do?
  • I was wondering what your feelings were on this?

These are opportunities to remind a friend of his or her purpose.

But to insert an opinion without hearing a question is to proclaim yourself a superior instead of an equal. It is a difficult thing to remember, but essential to the well-being of both friendship and the promotion of self-improvement.

So use praise when you see progress.

Ignore when the friend has temporarily gone crazy.

And remind when the question is posed.

With these three tools, you can help anyone follow their dream to a glorious completion.

 

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Published in: on April 9, 2015 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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