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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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Be Smart)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

To Be Smart

The vocal chords and the tongue have very little to do with intelligence. Surprisingly, the brain is also often a deterrent to being aware of the truth.

The best way to be smart is to be honest.

And the preferred path to honesty is to get rid of the fear of being considered out of step or not in the know.

So this week, try one thing to open the door to becoming smarter: That which you’ve seen and that which you’ve heard is the only thing you will declare.

In other words, if you read it on the Internet or catch wind of a rumor, restrain yourself. If you haven’t seen it and you haven’t heard it, don’t confirm it.

The most powerful part of your life is your personal testimony and journal about your own discoveries.

When something comes up that you have not seen or heard, simply reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t have much personal experience in that matter.”

It does not make you look stupid. For after all, the only way to look ridiculous is to pass along ideas which end up being false. The better way to come across intelligent is to let people know that you will only offer insight if you have personally seen and heard.

Other than that, you simply listen and see if you can garner some data which might be tested and proven to be true.

A great man once said, “Be careful how you hear.”

He also said, “The light of the body is the eye.”

True.

So take this week, and instead of going to the trough of the Internet or the news services to discover erroneous stories which you pander off to your friends, speak only what you have seen and heard.

It is a powerful way to look smart.

 

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G-Poppers … August 24th, 2018

“People are stupid.”

This is a statement that seems to be flying through the air twenty-four hours a day, as our society becomes convinced that gaining supremacy over other people is best achieved by insulting them and striking out at their character and intelligence.

Unfortunately, there is way to stop this onslaught without getting ground up in the gears of the mechanism.

So today I offer my last G-Popper.

It has been a great run.

Sharing the wisdom of cordiality and gentleness through the eyes of a grandfather was something I felt, many months ago when I began this column, to be a kind way of expressing the change that needs to be set forth among us all.

But it is important for all organisms on Earth to evolve with the times.

So starting next week I will have a new column on Friday entitled “Sit Down Comedy.” It will be a combination of observations mingled with a humorous peek into how we turn our everyday journey into a sixteen-lane freeway instead of just honoring a path.

And of course, in the process we will determine the difference between a stupid idea and trying to tie that misstep with the people who often accidentally stumble into believing it.

We will use video. We will use audio. We may use music. And just a little bit of writing to express the ways to escape stupidity without declaring people stupid.

It will be simpler than G-Poppers but no less sincere.

So I look forward to seeing each and every one of you next week for “Sit Down Comedy,” when we can sit down and reason together… and use the comedy to ease some of the pain.

 

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Good News and Better News… January 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-jon-hat

Every January 1st, a preacher friend sends me an email with his prophecies for the new year.

His predictions are always pretty general–and also grim. I guess he thinks it’s a safe bet in a world of tribulation, to foretell disaster.

  • Yet there is no love without giving.
  • Faith dies without passion.
  • And hope disappears without dreams.

It’s just too easy to be upset.

It’s way too predictable to continue to complain about the circumstances.

Yesterday morning when I arrived at Carteret United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who were fed up with being depressed.

I think Pastor Frank was pretty surprised at the turnout. After all, it was New Year’s Day and a tremendous opportunity for folks to use it as an excuse not to come to church.

But they didn’t.

We gathered, we sang, we mused, we laughed, we cried, we fellowshipped and we left–believing that certain things must be honored, or honor will leave our world.

1. Love your neighbor is not optional.

Although we spend much time in diplomacy and negotiations with countries which are determined to hurt one another, the truth of the matter is, our greatest possibility lies in the souls who still insist on loving and believing in each other.

2. Be of good cheer.

Nothing is ever accomplished from a defeated position of gloom. If knowing the facts upset you, then choose the bliss of ignorance–because in the long run, it is not intelligence or education that saves us, but rather, the wisdom we garner from the data that gives us the power to believe.

I so enjoyed the congregation in Beaufort, South Carolina–and may I tell them:

The good news is that there’s a song of praise that needs to be written every day.

And the better news is that I, for one, want to meet my Creator with that song in my heart.

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G-Poppers … June 3rd, 2016

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Jon close up

“It is the mingle that produces the mangle.”

G-Pop will freely admit that the phrase may sound a little too cute, but nevertheless, bears repeating.

How we mingle our thinking determines whether virtue, progress and intelligence will become mangled.

It all revolves around two insidious but often blended ideas:

  1. It’s not my fault
  2. God will take care of it

Yes, in an attempt to free ourselves of any responsibility for failure, we seek villains to blame for the destruction in our society.

Or we stand back, feigning helplessness, reciting our prayers, waiting for a divine being to intervene and make the world a better place.

And then, there is the ridiculous mingling of the two:

“Since God will take care of everything, why should I force myself to do things that are unnatural to my present thinking?”

It is the mingle that invites the mangle.

Because once you convince a generation of human beings that they are without fault and that God has a plan for everything, you scrawl a permission slip for people to continue their ignorance and prejudice.

Even though we contend “the truth makes us free,” we fail to realize that this freedom is only achieved if we’re willing to know the truth.

And here’s the truth:

G-Pop tells all of his children that if any one of us is within three feet of a problem, we probably have some responsibility for the situation.

And if we’re not within three feet, we still have the potential–within that yard of our jurisdiction–to improve the world.

  • There is no progress without repentance.
  • But there is no repentance minus confession.

“If we confess our faults, we will be healed.” If we don’t, we remain sick.

The more we insist that we are guiltless, the more intensely others look for our guilt.

And the idea that a God who created the universe and made human beings with a brain attached to their hands and feet without expecting them to use the connection, is just pure farce.

If you want to stop the mangling of truth, justice and mercy, you will have to attack the credibility of “it’s not my fault” and “God will take care of it.”

Unless we repent, we will perish.

And not even a God of mercy will stand in the way of our disappearance.

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Jesonian: Faith Without Smart Is … October 5, 2014

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woman touching

She had tried everything, depleting both her funds and energy.

A small trickle of blood was constantly flowing from her body, leaving her weary and exhausted, threatening to take away the will to persevere. But she knew one thing for certain: long before we arrive in the tomb, we haunt the graveyard of self-pity.

So she kept looking.

One day she heard about a young man who was touted to have healing powers. Too decimated by her illness to compete with the crowds that surrounded this wonder boy, she devised a plan. She would wait until he was passing her way, and then crawl through the sea of legs surrounding him, touch the hem of his garment and in so doing, trigger her needed recuperation.

She did not allow herself to second guess her own inkling. Such a reflection would have made her doubtful, causing her to give up.

It worked.

And her healing friend told her that it was her faith that made her whole.

****

He was a Roman Centurion, a stranger in a strange land. He was hated simply for the uniform he donned. When his servant became ill, he was frustrated that there was no remedy. All the Roman and Greek cures failed to provide comfort.

He heard about a carpenter from Nazareth who was supposed to possess a linkage with God, granting supernatural powers. He sent a messenger, telling this fellow of his situation.

When he realized that the young preacher was heading his way to assist, his wisdom told him that this was foolish. There was no need to come to his house. The Centurion was deemed unworthy by the citizens, and if the healer came, his reputation would be tainted by assisting a Roman.

“Just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

The Miracle Man smiled, shook his head and replied, “I’ve never seen such great faith.”

By the way, the servant was healed.

****

A prodigal son lying in squalor and self-imposed poverty comes to himself one night, realizing that it is prideful and unnecessary to remain indigent. He devises a plan, and because his humble reasonings produce faith, he ends up being returned to his position as son.

****

A Gentile woman comes to the young prophet of Galilee, wanting her daughter to be freed from demons. She is a bit surprised that he rebuffs her, being surrounded by bigots who deemed her less than human. But rather than being offended or full of self-contempt, she instead banters with him, explaining that although the people around her believed her to be a dog, that “even the puppies get the scraps from the table.”

The Galilean chuckles. “Your daughter is healed. Your faith has made you whole.”

****

Faith without smart is fear–and fear is always the unwillingness to conjure an idea. If it is faith that makes us whole, then our wholeness is determined by coming up with our own inspiration.

Sometimes we don’t know what to pray. (In that case, the Spirit intervenes on our behalf.)

But more often, we have the brain to attain what we are blessed to possess.

For after all, intelligence is not a rejection of grace. Intelligence is grace … with a map to Jesus’ house. 

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Turning Kids Into Humans (Part 5) 6-9: Humble Intelligence… September 15, 2014

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Humanating

Probably the most terrifying interlude in the journey of parenting is needing to release your young offspring into the general care of the educational system. This is not to cast shadows of doubt on knowledge nor the teachers who impart it.

But in the pursuit of teaching empathy and gratitude to change kids into humans, you may discover that others do not share the importance of such values. Unfortunately, the goal in our social order is to pass on knowledge and leave it to the hearer to determine application.

As I said, a bit frightening.

So knowing that for the first time in your child’s existence, he or she will be away from you for nearly forty hours a week, under the tutelage of a structure which is not necessarily completely in the flow of what you have set in motion, you need to have special times, when you take the intelligence being passed along to your little one and translate it into a practical humility.

It is humble intelligence.

For we well know that humility without intelligence is basically useless in the human family, and intelligence without humility is often belligerent and abusive.

So it is during this 6 to 9-year-old period that three things need to be established in the life of your son or daughter:

1. With knowledge comes responsibility.

Believe it or not, the goal of knowing stuff is not to make other people feel ignorant or to be able to answer Jeopardy! questions. Knowledge is afforded us so we can better our lives and the lives of other.

2. With prosperity comes the need for generosity.

It may sound a little bit ridiculous, but there are those folks who do not understand the concept that to alleviate poverty will take the assistance of those who are not impoverished. Merely telling people to “get a job” will not guarantee their financial stability. With the acquisition of finance and possessions comes the joy of giving to others.

3. With victory comes the awareness of defeat.

Yes, I will say it aloud: I find it ridiculous to analyze failure because all it does is add guilt and fear into future projects. The time to be analytical is when you’ve had a success and you can fine-tune it without feeling despair.

So let’s put these ideas into “working man’s clothes.” How can you take your 6 to 9-year-old and teach him or her to be responsible for knowledge?

Motivate them to tutor another kid in the class who’s not doing as well. I don’t know why it escapes so many people in our society, but children learn much more easily from their peers than from adults. It’s amazing that we do not have tutoring programs among the students, allowing the accomplished learner to further learn by imparting the data to someone who needs assistance.

Secondly to teach the generosity which should come through prosperity, you must be willing to give your children a weekly allowance and then teach them how to budget it–with charity being included in the process. If you’re going to pay the way of your child, but not instruct him or her about how to pay for themselves, they will have some severe problems when they get into their twenties.

And finally, to make them aware of the need to improve, celebrate their glorious moments of achievement, but help them to realize how they can do it better the next time. Self-awareness is the best way to teach your child how to avoid being criticized.

So even though they’re no longer solely the product of your teaching, you can still establish these necessary guidelines, which will allow for the process of making a kid into a human being continue without interruption.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

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