Cracked 5 … May 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Other Names Considered for Jesus (and also the ones who proposed the “handle”)

 

A. Temple Tumbler–presented by the sarcastic Pharisees after Jesus “turned the tables” on them.

 

B. Winey Boy–a quickly devised name by some very drunken souls in Cana who suddenly found themselves slurping a burgundy made out of water

 

C. Jim Bay Luben–a proposal by the Southern Galilean Baptists, who were hoping it might promote Jesus to be more like his cousin, John

 

D. Carpo the Carpenter–a business-package idea by the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce

 

E. Bastard–a never-dying rumor by old, disgruntled Nazarenes who were “month-counters” for Mother Mary.

 

 

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Three Ways to Parent Your Money… September 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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disgruntled teenagerMoney is much like the disgruntled, snotty teenager who decides to get even with you by running away from home because you told him or her that the pair of shoes the young’un desires will have to be put off until the next paycheck.money

Also, money will embarrass by going out during this little misadventure and humiliate you, overindulging and even getting in trouble with the law.

What I’m saying in a nutshell is that money needs parenting. Without parenting, it begins to run your household with its bad attitudes, making you cringe in the corner of your bedroom, fearing a knock on the door.

So let me offer three ways to parent your money, making sure that you are still in charge:

1. Always be prepared to give an honest report.

Not only does money fail to grow on trees, but it never sprouts through lies. Pretending you’re something you aren’t is the quickest way to poverty. Failing to recognize the signs of difficulty is not optimism, it’s just stupidity with a smile on its face.

The best way to get in control of your finance and welcome money into your life is to assess your situation without becoming giddy with potential or suicidal with the facts.

2. An organized plan.

Give yourself the greatest gift you can–stop insisting that you’re not an organized person. It’s like taking a dagger and sticking it in your heart and reaching for the band-aids. Life without organization, a plan and clarity to your actions is like walking on the edge of a cliff blindfolded. It is much easier to be organized than it is to put out the brush fires ignited by too many spontaneous choices.

3. A slower pace.

It is a lie that the race goes to the swiftest. It doesn’t. The most important attribute in success is endurance, followed closely by foresight.

Slow down.

If you need five hundred dollars by the end of the month, try to make fifty dollars by the end of the week and see where it takes you.

Life is a much better teacher than opinion. So learn from experience.

And to do so, slow yourself down so you can enjoy the scenery and see the berries hanging from the trees as you go by, and never be hungry.

Just like a teenager, money will try to run your life if you don’t develop a sense of humor and know that you are in charge.

Teenagers don’t have to be insufferable brats. But to stop them, just like with money, you have to make it clear who’s boss.

 

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A Spring in My Step … January 12, 2014

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Cypress Trails

Two words. Just a pair of words, which if applied well, makes life so much easier, happier and smoother.

Don’t complain.

“Easier said than done!” squalls the cynic from the back of the room.

Actually when it comes to complaining, the solution for this malady is easier done than said. For no single action has created more sour pusses, disgruntled souls and unwilling participants than complaining. It deteriorates every situation down to a sad conclusion, where you not only are failing to do what you want, but you’re miserable stuck doing what you’re doing. doctor tongue depressor

I would suggest we all become a doctor–an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist:

Eye: stop rolling your eyes and squinting every time something comes along that looks like it’s a little different from your normal purview, and instead, be flattered that you get to try something in a fresh way and maybe for a noble reason.

Ear: stop listening to negative sayers, who have lost all hope in anything excellent being achieved and settled in to pursue the mediocre, strongly suggesting that you join them.

Nose: get your nose out of the air and stop following the ridiculous notion that you are better than anybody else or that your pedigree gives you a pass on the kitchen duty often required in the household of humanity.

Throat: if out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, you might want to build a toll booth in your throat to approve all words passing northward which have an attitude to drag down everybody in the room, southward.

And by the way, you could work on the abundance in your heart. If you change it to good cheer and hope, your words will follow.

Complaining is the exhausting, unnecessary trip around the block, only to end up back where you started, more frustrated.

As I spend the day in Spring, Texas, at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I will suggest that they gain the ability to be doctors of the eye, ear, nose and throat.

It will give you a clean bill of health, free of complaining. And once you cease to have anything to fuss about, your load will be lightened and your steps will be more joyful … in Spring, Texas.

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Unwise… December 23, 2012

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They followed a star. Folks thought that was crazy.

Folks be wrong.

They left their homes. The real estate community frowned.

Realtors were erred.

They went to a foreign land. The Chamber of Commerce was concerned.

The Chamber was short-sighted.

They were individuals who looked up to the heavens, believing that something better than what they had might just be hatching.

They were right.

How could they have possibly known? Knowing is over-rated. Believing and having the tenacity to follow your faith while simultaneously learning from your experience is the only path that really brings fulfillment.

Yet even though they were wise men, they did do one thing very unwise. Upon arriving in Judea, they decided to check in with the local king–Herod–to see if he knew anything about this magnificent vision in the heavens which was proclaiming the birth of a new king. I’m sure they weren’t ignorant–just naive. It’s really the only mistake they made.

And those people who believe in God today, who trust politicians to pursue noble causes, make the identical boo-boo. Politicians suck–and when they stop sucking, they get more money to make sure they can continue to suck. They struggle for power, with no idea of how they are going to use that energy to benefit mankind.

Even though the wise men try to later correct their error by avoiding Herod upon their exit from Bethlehem, they set in motion the wrath of a jealous political despot, who ends up killing children, saddening men and women, and temporarily exiling the hope of the world. It is important for us to learn from their misstep. So here is the greatest formula for finding the Spirit of Christmas: Follow the star. Ignore the king.

There you go. Take this wonderful season to find your faith–what you really believe is important–and then be wise. Don’t try to market your ideas to the kings of commerce, government and religion. They will just take the purity of your intentions and use it for disastrous conclusions.

So how can we follow the star? How can we keep our eyes lifted up to discover the light in dark circumstances? I will give you two philosophies to follow which will always lead you back to Baby Jesus. If you successfully stay away from the kings–that mainly being religion and politics–you will keep these nasty forces from slaughtering off the innocent souls of human beings. Here are the two principles:

  1. NoOne is better than anyone else.
  2. Don’t complain.

You put those two together as a lifestyle, and you will find yourself not only empowered with greater hope, but of deep value to those around you because you will abandon your agenda to be superior while simultaneously eliminating your annoying sensation to be cantankerous. What do religion and politics love? They love to make some people better than other people, while inciting their constituencies to complain about the condition of the world. The end result is disgruntled people who are looking for reasons to fight with others.

The wise men followed the star but tried to involve the king. It didn’t work. Neither can you propose to work in a religious system that is non-responsive to human need and a political one that is oblivious to truth, justice and the American way, and ever achieve anything wise.

Keep a good attitude, believe deep in your heart that no one is better than anyone else, do your best to stop complaining, and you will find yourself kneeling at the cradle of the Messiah.

Now, there’s a Christmas message:

Follow the star. Ignore the king.

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Stop and Start Traffic … November 21, 2012

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“No thanks.”

Those two words don’t really seem to go together, do they? “No”–which works very hard not to be negative but always ends up part of the nay-saying family; and “thanks”–an expression of gratitude, which always carries some semblance of appreciation. So what is negative appreciation?

Negative appreciation is the infection eating at the soul of our society. (Boy, does that sound strong.) Even though the statement may be a bit overwrought, it’s still true. And as we come into this Thanksgiving season, I am overwhelmed with a sense of awareness that for the average American, going through the gestures of being truly grateful is riddled with many insecurities, misgivings and dare I say, objections. Yet we still feel, at our root, we need to express our awe and wonder. Basically, it becomes nearly impossible to do so when we allow one ugly monster to live inside of us and control our disposition.

Complaining.

As long as we allow an attitude, a spirit or a willingness to complain into our existence, we will never be truly thankful. Because complaining is always the “but” hanging off of the “body” of praise.

  • I am happy, but …
  • I appreciate what you did for me, but…
  • It truly is a beautiful day, but…
  • I love to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving, but…
  • It’s always great to get the family together for the holidays, but…
  • I even enjoy driving in traffic, but…

Somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that we are allowed a disparaging remark to follow our proclamation of joy. Let me give you a definition of complaining:

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances.

That’s an annoying definition, isn’t it? Some objections are necessary, right? If it’s 1843 and you’re a slave on a plantation in Georgia, objecting–or if you will, complaining about being beaten–would only be logical. But no matter how much basis there may be for your lamentation, it would still be useless, and therefore … just complaining. Because the truth is, you are twenty years away from being set free, and in that twenty years you need to do something with your life other than objecting to your circumstances. Verily, verily, I say unto you, life does not have a suggestion box.

We have given ourselves permission to complain about everything, therefore setting ourselves up to be ignored because often our opinions don’t matter.

I realized in my travels this year that there was still a seed of that disgruntled American spirit in me, which is unfulfilled even in the presence of bounty. I now am walking proof–or maybe limping proof–that bounty can be lessened. Then we have to find a way to survive with our portion.

Complaining is ANY objection to circumstances. It is a waste of time.

It is the fifteen minutes you take setting your GPS when you’re driving five minutes down the road. It’s the extra paragraph you add onto an email sent to your children which you know more than likely will not be read. It is insisting on asking for thirty extra minutes to get dressed for an evening out when the fact is, you’re getting older and becoming prettier is less likely.

Somewhere along the line we have to deal with our circumstances without objecting to them and mollify the world around us by being more intelligent than we are complaining. If we don’t, we never actually feel thankful or grateful–just go through the motions, waiting for an opportunity to point out why something wasn’t exactly “perfect.”

If you want to have a good Thanksgiving this year, stop complaining. Otherwise, you will surface the holiday with platitudes of being conscious of your physical world without ever allowing the true depth of appreciation to reach your heart.

And once you stop complaining, the greatest aid in making that decision stick is to start moving. If something is objectionable, come up with an ingenious plan to move yourself away from it at the earliest possible convenience. Don’t stand in the middle of the fire and wonder why your pants are burning. Don’t sit in the council of the ungodly and lament feeling uninspired. And don’t think you’re going to get around family members who have abandoned many of your ideals and generate a sense of fulfillment and fellowship.

You not only can’t get blood out of a turnip, it is also very difficult to get taste out of one. So stop expecting negative issues to change because of your attitude and instead, start moving away from that which is a deterrent to your peace of mind and cruising in on solutions that satisfy your soul.

I think it’s virtually impossible to be thankful if you don’t stop complaining and start moving. How do we start moving?

1. Decide what you really like.

2 Stop apologizing for liking what you decided.

3. Don’t judge other people’s choices, enjoy your own.

4. Let your happiness be your testimony instead of your complaining becoming your epitaph.

It’s really that simple.

I raised a family. I let them know what I like. Some of them do not share my likes. I love them dearly. I pursue my likes. They can judge for themselves what they feel about it by noting the ecstacy I feel over my pursuits.

Stop objecting to your circumstances and start moving towards environments that make you want to be thankful to the point of gushing to God about His glories. Anything short of that is life with a side order of misery, which only makes you grumpy and unpleasant to be around to those you insist you love the most.

So on Thanksgiving Day, give yourself a wonderful gift. Stop complaining. Don’t object to your circumstances, but instead, start moving toward the things you like without apology, without comment, without fanfare and even without explanation. If you do so, you will end up with a heart that is full of immense appreciation for the goodness of life and the gentleness of your Father, which art in heaven.

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What’s the Problem? … May 9, 2012

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 It never works. It just doesn’t. 

I know I’m not supposed to say “never” but sometimes, if you don’t use the word “never,” you will foolishly continue to pursue avenues that cause you to slide off the road and fall into the ditch of dopiness. 

What never works? You come upon a person, or even a group of people, who are disgruntled, and ask them the question, “What’s the problem?” 

No problem in life is ever solved from a position of superiority, fear or dissatisfaction. Somewhere along the line, we have to relent to the notion that our dreams are not fast-food from McDonald’s, where we roll up, place an order and pick it up in less than a hundred and twenty seconds. 

Life is not difficult—it’s just life. It contains rules and regulations, which are frequently changed—refreshed, if you will—just to make sure that the participants are paying attention. But people become disgruntled because they feel that somehow they’ve been “dissed” and they’d like to grunt at you about it. 

You see why I say it never works? Because life doesn’t “diss” anyone, and there is no one willing to listen to perpetual complaining from another human being. What we all admire are humans who suffer quietly while they actively plan their next adventure. Now, we don’t admire it enough to actually imitate it, but we do understand the power of such a profile. 

This is why politics doesn’t work. By the time politicians and law-makers get together to try to resolve a conflict, the public is so frustrated by the situation that every overture towards solution is dashed on the rocks of cynicism. And then it becomes more entertaining to complain than it does to refrain from the insane. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that much of the humor in our country is merely disgruntled grumbling, which the audience nervously laughs at because there seems to be no reprieve. 

What is the answer to the economy? I hear people in a disgruntled way articulating on the elements of the situation, but no one really takes a great stab in the dark at a possible plan of action.

We have the same problem in religion. I’ve listened to countless ministers lament that numbers are dwindling—but I hear no ideas. The original purveyor of our message, Jesus, didn’t seem to have much problem drawing people to himself. No one knew he was divine—they just liked him. Does the world like the church? Does the world like politicians? 

The problem is not that we have a problem, but instead, that we are beginning to address the problem after we’re already disgruntled about it. It stymies us. And, returning to my original theme—it never works.

So I’ve decided to contribute my little portion towards the formulation of a new attitude in our world. Here’s my contribution:  I’m going to keep from being disgruntled so that I can articulate my feelings more clearly about what I desire, pray my prayers with more intelligence, and be available to enact the next good idea without negativity. To do that, I have to realize four principles about this thing called life:

1. It’s not limited. Most of the time we feel like we’re in a box that’s closing in around us. The box is our finance, which we believe is continually dwindling. The box is our talent, which we contend was too small to begin with. The box is the amount of love we receive, which we fear is uncertain. Once you believe life is limited, you start rationing, withholding, cheating and even lying. It may be difficult to allow yourself to expand your thinking to the notion that there are resources yet uncovered which can benefit your soul, yet without that boost of energy you will become exhausted every time a problem dares to lift its ugly face to stare at you.

2. Life is not for us or against us. The best way to describe life is that it shows up in the morning at work, punches the clock, does its job and then goes home at the end of the day. It has one purpose—to keep things as even and level as possible, so that every human being has the potential for success and the opportunity for failure. Trouble ensued when you believe that God is for you and the devil is against you, or the Republicans or Democrats are for you and that other group over there is against you. There is no bogey man, just creaky floorboards and dark closets.

3. Life is not sympathetic. I have stood by the side of the road staring at a flat tire for at least five minutes, wondering why the depleted rubber circle that is now completely “smushed down” will not rise up and improve its situation and bless me. I could have checked my tires. That would have helped. I could have noticed that my tires were going bald. Ingenious. So my flat tire feels no sympathy towards me whatsoever, no matter how many times I kick it, curse it or glare at it. Mercy is given to the merciful. What does that mean? To be merciful to someone else means that you are aware that life is not sympathetic—and therefore, it is your job to be so. That sensibility invigorates your entire being. It helps you in your own life—to be aware of upcoming problems. Life is not sympathetic.

4. But finally, life is not impossible. Oh, we get grumpy and fussy and insist that no one has ever suffered such slings and arrows. Job just had bad acne; we’ve got real problems. We’re just a bunch of babies who can’t find our pacifiers. I learned a long time ago—nobody I owe money to wants to put me in jail. They just want payments. The thunderstorm is not out to destroy my plans—just water the earth. And evil is not meeting in a board room somewhere, plotting the demise of all that’s good. Rather, evil occasionally books a room for the night in my heart and tries to trash the location like some traveling rock band. Yes, I am my own worst enemy, because I always give up one idea short of God’s plan to save me.

Nothing is impossible. It just takes time—and a belief that we are not limited, nothing is for us or against us, but sympathy is not available—only opportunity.

So the next time you are tempted to ask, “What’s the problem?” understand that if someone is not asking you for assistance, they are probably not ready to receive it. Instead, they are in that no man’s land, where complaining sounds like righteous rhetoric.

We can do this. We can solve all the problems in this country as soon as some brave leadership steps forward and soothes the common mania that has transformed us into disgruntled gripers. Once we do that, we will gain the faith that we are not limited, life is not for us or against us, nor is it sympathetic, but always prepared to respond to those who believe that nothing is impossible. 

  

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