1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Smooth Out the Wrinkles in Your Life

 

Fix the next thing

Although we may insist that problems come in piles, what they actually do is accumulate because they are avoided or feared. Then we suddenly find ourselves with a heapin’ helpin’ of horror.

Intimidation sets in.

Intimidation brings a friend. That comrade is worry.

Worry takes twice as much brain power as reasoning and planning.

Why?

Worry demands that you remember something from the past that you think is going to happen in the present and makes you wonder if it will play out in the future. It’s exhausting.

Reasoning, on the other hand, suggests that you take what you know and apply it to the ongoing situation.

When you start fixing the next thing, you find that you not only are repairing things, but also eliminating the overwhelming sensation of being drug down by your insistent problems. Rather, you’re enlightened by them and given the opportunity, through them, to prove your prowess.

Fix the next thing.

Keep your other problems waiting.

After all, some of them deserve to be snubbed.


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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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G-Poppers … April 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson peered at him quizzically.

The idea posed by G-Pop had left the boy perplexed.

“Let’s go find a tornado.”

The little grandson was not sure where to begin, so he ran to a nearby set of books, found a picture of a tornado and presented it to G-Pop, hoping he had fulfilled the mission.

“No, not a picture,” said G-Pop. “I want a real tornado.”

Now, G-Pop’s grandson is pretty sharp, so after contemplating for a few seconds, he replied, “You can’t find a tornado without storms.”

Exactly.

Throughout the annals of human history, mankind has desperately tried to personify wickedness in the form of an incarnate evil.

  • Mephistopheles.
  • Satan.
  • Old Nick.
  • Beelzebub.

All these names, and many others, were created to strike terror in the hearts of humans, to warn us that apparently we are part of some sort of cosmic chess game, in which God and Lucifer move us around from place to place at their whim, to establish prowess.

Matter of fact, you can be alienated from the Christian community simply by failing to adequately believe in Satan.

But the devil, just like a tornado, fails to be around when there isn’t a storm created by the winds of uncertainty, anger and lust.

That’s how you make a tornado, you know–cold winds meet hot winds and swirl until there’s a physical manifestation of the conflict, which we call a twister. But without the cold and the hot, tornadoes do not exist.

It is amazing how evil the world seems when the cold indifference of people runs headlong into the hot anger of fools. All at once, it seems as if we have an uninvited Hell Being.

But is it true?

Is there an actual Evil One who stalks us? Or is he only made manifest when we arrive at the Garden of Life looking for trouble?

It’s a great question, and one that should be discussed. But I will tell you, if such a creature actually does exist, its efforts are greatly deterred if we remove the frigid apathy and the searing rage which build up because we have ceased to believe in the power of goodness.

G-Pop’s grandson asked, “What can I do to stop evil?”

G-Pop paused and replied, “Well, you see…”

(to be continued)

 

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G-Poppers … February 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

Even though G-Pop knows that his children are smart and sharp enough to make good decisions for themselves, he is a bit concerned that the recent redefining of leadership is quite confusing.

Leadership is not an accumulation of stats and facts to place on your resume, or the ability to get people to vote for you to confirm your prowess.

Leadership is very simply an awareness. It is a two-part principle.

Anyone who is going to be a great leader:

  1. Tells the truth.
  2. Hears the truth.

Yes, there is a truth we know. It is our treasure-house, holding the contents of our understanding.

Telling the truth is essential. And even though lying has jokingly become a national pastime, everyone eventually becomes weary of a liar and unceremoniously boots the scoundrel out the door.

But we can’t stop with our truth. We can’t halt in the middle of the road, build a fort and say, “We need go no further.”

Telling the truth has to give way to hearing the truth. A leader must be submissive to listening to what he or she does not know. It requires a stillness in the soul, remaining silent for a season in order for personal truth to grow from acquiring new information.

If you cannot tell the truth and hear the truth, you will never be a good leader.

So G-Pop hopes that his children will ask four very important questions when they consider what leaders to honor:

1. Do they tell the truth?

2. Do they honor the truth?

3. Do they know there is more truth beyond themselves?

4. Are they searching for that unknown truth?

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Three Ways to Avoid Arrogance … July 24, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ThunderlipsIt’s always easy to identify the loser.

On a show like America’s Got Talent, you can always pick the ones who have absolutely no ability by how much they jabber about the quality of their gift, and also brag about winning the contest.

Yes, I will say it clearly: talent does not dissipate with age but certainly dribbles away with much-speaking.

It’s called arrogance.

Even though we live in a society which insists that a certain amount of self-confidence is necessary to get the job done, every single one of us despises another human being who touts his or her prowess.

With that in mind–fully aware that the herd of humanity will kick you out of the corral if you become too bossy–let’s look at three ways to avoid this nasty tendency for over-wrought boasting:

1. Never talk until you “do.”

Even if someone asks you about the extent of your work, always choose to demonstrate instead of becoming demonstrative in your language. Each one of us has a market value. Certainly, we have personal value to ourselves, our families and even to God. But our market value is what the other travelers on the road consider our attributes to be worth.

Let your light shine. Then you have a chance to be proven successful and rather than needing to bolster your own ego, you can be uplifted by others, and therefore choose an adequately humble response.

2. Don’t “do” without a story.

In other words, if you don’t have something to say or share, don’t jump into the race just so you can tell folks you were there for the running.

After all, is there anything more comical than a fat person saying they plan to start an exercise regimen tomorrow?

Or in my profession, I run across people who claim to be writers but have no daily output. Can you tell me a job you can do once a year and still be proficient at it?

Have a heart that can tap your experience that gives you a reason for what you do, which makes you precious to others.

3. Let the story bring the glory.

If you’ve got a good message and you’re sharing it with people who need a good message, then a better message will come out of it as proof of the value of your efforts.

It’s why Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”

  • Not their claims.
  • Not their degrees.
  • Not their position.
  • And not even their potential.

Does your story create another story which brings glory to the situation?

There you have it.

Anything you do to try to convince people of your quality before you do it is wasted time. Trying to do something without having experience and a goal of edifying is equally as annoying. And finishing up what you do without having an obvious experience for the common good is just aggravating.

Arrogance is where non-talented people go when they feel they can intimidate the audience into being appreciative.

 

 

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Well… March 17, 2013

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It was June 1995.

I got really sick. I didn’t know how to “do” sick. I had never been sick. I had the occasional colds, flu and some bad Chinese food that ran through me quicker than Genghis Khan‘s army, but I had never been check-in-the-hospital sick.

Although I never believed in macho, I certainly strove for strong. I needed to be strong. I liked to be the guy who picked up equipment and carried it in the door, sweating profusely and panting to the inspiration of surrounding admirers. I liked playing tennis on a 100-degree day in Shreveport, Louisiana, drenching my clothes with perspiration as people walked by shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone would be outside doing anything but trying to breathe.

It wasn’t an issue of pride–or maybe it WAS an issue of pride, but I was too prideful to see it. I don’t know.

Suddenly I was sick. Not only sick, but the doctor informed me I had diabetes. In the brief time I had known this gentleman–my caregiver–we had struck up a friendship. So when he came in to talk to me about the disease, he looked like he had been sucking on lemons for a week or had just attended a foreign film. He told me that diabetes was serious, that it would be with me all my life–certainly with me when I died.

It was depressing.

So on October 8th of last year, when my legs disappeared overnight, replaced by the lower limbs of a 92-year-old nursing home patient, I was torn between sensations of gratitude that it was just my legs and not a stroke or heart attack, and feeling cheated of the ability to lift heavy burdens and sweat like a pig.

It got me to thinking about the word well. I was always thrilled at the prospect of feeling well–I liked it.

And tonight when I went to the United Methodist Church in Lumberton, Texas, to set up, and I needed to climb into a wheel chair to make it into the building to do my sound check, I temporarily felt robbed of the sensation of wellness. Yes, I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

There was this wonderful gentleman, about my age, who helped us carry in the equipment. He was so strong and capable, and here I was, wheeling my way around from place to place. But as I took a moment in the lobby of the church to reflect before I went up to check out the sound in the room, I considered that there are two ways to be well: you can FEEL well and you can DO well.

And even though physically I am still pretty fit and healthy, the ability to impress with my stride, strength and the sheer sense of muscular prowess is not in my grasp. But God has still given me the blessing of DOING well.

I have not lost my mind (unless you want to include sharing so candidly in an essay openly and publicly on the Internet). I have not lost my talent, such as it is. I have not lost my anointing and the touch of God on my life.

I asked myself in that lobby tonight, can I be happy doing well without feeling well?

I wheeled myself up the ramp onto the stage to practice my latest song. I don’t need an answer–just enough life to give me opportunity.

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The Sexiest Thing … December 29, 2012

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Everyone thinks they’re sexy. If you don’t believe me, just challenge their prowess in the bedroom between the sheets on the magical bouncy bed. Total and complete prudes will turn into defensive, cornered animals at the notion that they lack any ping in their pong.

I remember counseling a minister a few years back who had fallen from grace by having an affair. Actually, he had fallen ON his secretary, Grace, causing quite a scandal in his congregation. He was in tears. He was contrite. He wanted to make a new start with his wife. And then I asked him to explain how the relationship had flowered. Suddenly he transformed into a sixteen-year-old boy, telling a tale of romance and first love with complete detail, including the lavish compliments his lover had heaped upon him for “rocking her world.”

It was so gross. (But as a counselor, you have to listen to such nonsense while nodding your head and choking back the gag reflex.) Our society is the worst. Somehow or another, women have begun to believe there are magical men out there who have cornered the market and know how to “oom-pah” better than other polka performers. It’s embarrassing.

Here’s the truth: sex is just as good as the excitement we feel prior to it with the person we’ve decided to include in our personal fantasy. If you’re not excited over the person, the magnitude of the thrill of the roller coaster diminishes greatly. That’s why I’m going to briefly share with you the sexiest thing I’ve ever done.

I was seventeen years old and had invited my girlfriend over for Thanksgiving dinner. We barely made it through dinner, which included turkey, dressing and all the trimmings–each one prepared in some way with Mazola corn oil, which my mother was convinced was the least offensive to heart health. We stayed at the table as long as our young hormones would allow, finally excusing ourselves to trip down the stairs to our basement, where our “couch of love” awaited.

Now, we didn’t have sex. What we did was every contortion, exercise, endeavor and passionate move that was permitted to us while still allowing us to sport the chastity card printed for the senior high youth group at the local Church of Christ. The whole marathon of lovey-dovey was exhilarating and exhausting, especially on a full meal. After about an hour of pursuing the odyssey of carnality, I pulled away, fully satisfied that I was Mark Antony and she, Cleopatra.

She, on the other hand, looked a little green. The first words out of her mouth were, “I feel nauseous.”

My thought was how cool I was to be dating a girl who used the word “nauseous” instead of “sick to her stomach.”

The second proclamation from my dear girlfriend was, “I think I’m going to throw up.”

This was immediately followed by her fulfillment of self prophesy. She vomited all over the basement floor. It wasn’t very sexy. It was nasty, and I was hoping that no one upstairs caught ear of the process. My girlfriend was embarrassed–mortified.

I glanced down at the ever-expanding circle of ick, and nearly got sick myself. There were only two things I knew at this point: (1) God, I wish I was somewhere else; and (2) somebody will need to clean this up–quickly.

I didn’t want to do it. But on the other hand, I thought it really cruel to make my girlfriend get on her hands and knees and scrub up her own urpings. So I did something really sexy. I grabbed a bunch of paper towels and Clorox, and I cleaned it up. In the background, as a soundtrack to my project, was a chorus of varied apologies from my make-out partner.

But I did it. It was then that I realized what it means to not only love somebody on the outside, but to love their insides, too–even when the contents are the unnerving remains of a Mazola-oil-soaked Thanksgiving dinner, digested for only one hour.

It was sexy. And even though that girlfriend of mine, who is now my wife of forty-two years, probably doesn’t remember everything I’ve done or said, I guarantee you that she will never forget the night I got on my hands and knees and instead of proposing marriage, cleaned up the remains of her tummy-wummy.

That’s sexy. It’s not pleasant to relate to you, but it is sexy.

Sexy is when we realize that somebody is willing to see us naked without laughing or later whispering her personal disappointment to her girlfriends.

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