Three Reasons to be Kind … June 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hands in mirror1. Mean is a major commitment. Kind, on the other hand, allows room for adjustment.

2. You never know who you don’t knowknows.

3. Joy is not about what we do, but the feeling that remains after we do it.

I don’t have time or energy to maintain a sullen, suspicious or fearful profile. It is exhausting.

If there is no god, then the world needs my help even more. If there is a God, how I treat people is what I think of Him.

I want to be happy.

To achieve that, I must avoid regret and grudges. There are no guarantees … but being kind is safer than being mean.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Always Starting Over … January 13, 2013

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shoes

Above are the shoes I was wearing tonight as I set up my equipment at All Saints Lutheran Church in Tamarac, Florida. (All Saints Lutheran–you really have to admire a church that makes sure it doesn’t offend any divine possibilities.)

I took a picture of my shoes because they are a symbol of what I do. I travel. Perhaps many people would find that difficult, boring or even impossible to achieve, but the challenge I receive in journeying across this country enables me to put into practice a precious principle. For you see–I’m always starting over.

I can finish up sharing at one venue and make great friends, receive hugs and an occasional kiss on the cheek, but as soon as I climb back into my van and turn out of that parking lot, my next destination has absolutely no idea of the magnitude of the affection just extended my way–or, for that matter, how much I treasured the folks I encountered.

Each time I stop off, my shoes join me in being a stranger. My philosophy of life is constantly being tested, because rather than being continually surrounded by patrons, family, friends and beloved well-wishers, I am usually in the presence of cautious and even suspicious individuals, who are trying to figure out who I am simply by eyeballing the cut of my jib.

So if I don’t know who I am, I certainly will not be able to convince anybody why they should care. I will tell you right now that a good percentage of the problems in this country are due to the fact that we are all encouraged to have an overblown assessment of ourselves and our abilities, which, when put to the test, come up short, making us look like we’ve been freshly smacked in the kisser with a coconut cream pie. There is power in knowing who you are. There is also a great blessing in my life of having that identity continually questioned, so that in the process of reestablishing daily the factual nature of my true character, I also can bring glory to God by every once in a while sprouting a good work or two.

After I establish who I am, I am then given the gift of sharing why I am. Once I share why I am, I can answer the question that fills the heart of every human being. Why should I care?

If we all walk around this planet expecting props for the magnificent manner with which we breathe, we will eventually destroy one another because we feel offended by the lack of appreciation for our yet-undisclosed abilities.

I like starting over. It adds muscle, credence and intelligence to what I believe and teach. It means that my talent can win over my looks. It confirms that having heart is not a lost art in a society that boasts its indifference.

I will put on my shoes in the morning and go out to meet more people who don’t know anything about me except the propaganda written on a piece of paper, which many of them will never read and the rest rarely believe. If I don’t have a gift out of my soul to carefully place into their souls, I am of little use.

So tonight I will do three things:  (1) clean out the basement of my emotions of all unnecessary and unwarranted ego; (2) think about funny things so I’m ready to be of good cheer in the atmosphere of what could be sour dispositions; and (3) spend some time with my heavenly Father, feeling valued–just in case His human creation forgets to grant me that courtesy.

I can recommend starting over. Otherwise you live under the delusion that everybody around you is madly in love with you and thinks you’re the coolest person on earth. They really don’t. They’re just trying to do the best they can and would certainly welcome any overture on your part to make their lives easier.

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Mood Stings … June 12, 2012

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In the spirit of complete disclosure, I will tell you that I have consumed so much crab at an all-you-can-eat buffet that for the next four days, it smelled like the little critters were crawling out of every pore of my body. Like every good, red-blooded American, I have over-eaten my share of all sorts of delicacies over the years.

I remember one Thanksgiving, my son, Jasson, who is a normal-sized fellow at about 180 pounds, decided to weigh himself prior to the meal and also following. In the pursuit of great turkey and dressing, he gained seven pounds in less than an hour. Yes, eating is a great American pastime which normally culminates with either indigestion or constipation. These two obstacles don’t seem to stop us.

Everyone has suffered from eating too much or from ingesting the wrong foods at the wrong time. But it amazes me why we don’t understand that taking in large doses of entertainment and information will equally cause us to have mental indigestion or emotion constipation.  For some reason we think we can watch or do anything and just sweep it away from our thinking at will.

I am not suggesting that watching a murder mystery is going to make you go out and kill your next adversary but I am telling you that the entertainment we select, the information we absorb and the attitudes that pummel our minds DO leave behind what I shall call mood stings.

Yes, they affect our mood. And depending on how long we stay in that mood and what opportunities and problems may come our way which need to be addressed while we are still smarting from that sting, we can end up with lost revenue or even disaster.

I can always tell when people have spent too much time in front of the TV or movie screen. They get plagued by three moods that are very difficult to shake until you replace the experience with something that enriches your heart and plumps up your soul. Here are the three mood stings that can puncture your life with their nastiness:

1. Feeling vacant. Yes–sometimes after watching entertainment, rather than being filled with inspiration, you are instead engulfed in a sense of emptiness. Much of what we consider to be enlightenment in our society is really a sharp nail that pierces our souls, causing the air to seep out of our spirits. It leaves us feeling vacant.

I see it all the time. When my kids were growing up they would go to a movie and get up the next morning devoid of energy or any sense of drive or passion. They would insist that the movie was “fabulous,” but they never realized that it had drained them of all motivation.

2. Overly sensitive. How many zombies do you have to watch being killed before you lose all sense that life is being lost? How many women raped before they all look the same? How many bullets ripping through flesh and pouring out blood before human life doesn’t have as much meaning? We become defensive that human life is so worthless. If the end of the world is so near, why make a fuss over doing anything of quality? So instead of stepping up to pursue excellence, people become overly sensitive about their own space.

3. Suspicious. If you’re listening to a news report about cheating politicians, philandering ministers and terrorists around every corner, it may be a little difficult to allow any form of trust to exist in your dealings with your fellow-man. For instance, I was walking out of a door a couple of days ago and held it open for a young mother and her child. The woman was not grateful, but rather, suspicious about why I was being so nice. She even tried to take the door away from me so she could hold it for herself. I wondered what had caused her to become so careful in an environment where blessing was possible.

The wrong type of entertainment, news programs and even books can make us suspicious. And when we’re suspicious, we always close the doors to possibility and open them to attack.

These are mood stings.

Just as eating too much food gives you indigestion or constipation, taking in input from the outside world that is laced with hopelessness, despair and disrespect for human life can make you vacant, too sensitive and suspicious. And if God sends you a blessing in the midst of one of these stingings, you are certainly going to miss it because you are recovering from the shock of your ordeal.

So what am I saying? Should we avoid all entertainment? Should we stop watching things that might be a little bizarre? Not at all. But just as in the case of eating, you have to know when to push away from the table, and you also have to occasionally reach for an antacid to overcome your gluttony.

When I know I’ve run across a piece of entertainment or some broadcast that brought darkness to my mindset, I never end my day with that particular experience. Sit down and read a book. Say a prayer. Play a game of cards. Take a spiritual antacid to counteract the over-indulgence in material that was not intended to refresh you.

Remember–entertainment and news programs try to bypass the heart and soul and go directly to the mind. When you bypass the heart and soul you are speaking to a mind which is not rejuvenated or revived by spiritual regeneration, but rather, carries its own fears, prejudices and cultural upbringing. If you want to have a true experience in entertainment, the heart and soul have to be involved in order to renew the mind.

I never write a movie script unless it reaches the heart, which I know will expand the soul and therefore give the mind something fruitful to chew on.  But not everyone who writes agrees with that premise. So it is our job to beware. We shouldn’t turn into nuns or join an Amish clan, but rather, be more intelligent, introspective viewers. And when you do catch some program that lays a human body out on a slab like it’s a chunk of meat for dissection, come out of the theater and go do something else before you close your eyes and go to sleep.

Replace the gore with something more. If you do that, you can avoid the nasty mood stings of feeling vacant, being too sensitive and ending up suspicious.

After eighteen months of traveling across this country, what would I say are the main weaknesses in our nation? We seem to have a vacancy in our soul. We are way too sensitive, and certainly, overly suspicious of each other. It is the effect of mood stings.

And just like when you’re stung by a bee, the sooner you acknowledge it and treat it, the less itching will follow.

   

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Chasing Hippos … February 21, 2012

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There are five things I just don’t like. (Actually, there are probably more, but it’s only Tuesday. No need to get over-eager.)
 
1. Honking horns. I don’t like it when I pull out into traffic, finally finding a slot that seems acceptable, only to be honked at by someone who apparently feels that under no circumstances whatsoever should I be in front of them.
2. Bratty attitudes. Here’s a clue–just because you spent twenty dollars at a restaurant does not mean you have purchased the waitress. He or she is a busy person doing a difficult job and could certainly use a bit of your patience and a lot of your appreciation. Honestly, if you were born a king or a queen, someone certainly would have let you know by now.
3. Suspicious minds. Sometimes I actually giggle when I see the facial expressions on people when they meet me for the first time. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen one too many shows with serial killers, watched too many programs about terrorism or they really have gas and it’s being released through their facial features. I’m not sure. But I will guarantee you this–no mugger or murderer is deterred by your sour expression.
4. Bible quoters. That would also go for people who choose to borrow the inspiration from Shakespeare, Bob Dylan or even recite to you their favorite Doonesbury cartoon. It’s just important to know that you don’t become smarter because you can quote smart people. You aren’t more clever because you know two or three sentences uttered by a clever individual. And you don’t gain depth of spirituality by memorizing Bible verses.
5. Cynics. You know why I don’t like cynics? It’s too easy. There’s nothing simpler in life than to be cynical about everything. After all, it takes a few minutes to start a fire but only a second to douse it. There are people who feel it is their mission to discourage any attempt at progress, happiness, intuition, gentleness or even success. They are cynics and they are not limited to those who are unbelievers. No–many who claim to have a devotion towards God are convinced that He must be on some sort of permanent vacation.
 
But as aggravating as these five things may be to my soul, there is one devilish doodler worse than all five put together: complaining. Specifically, ME complaining. I realize that there is nothing that is more of a sexual, psychological, emotional or spiritual turnoff than citing all of the things that I find unfavorable. So instead of becoming angry at those who honk, are bratty, suspicious, quoting quotables and cynical, I spend most of my time … chasing hippos.
 
Now, I spelled  the word h-i-p-p-o-s for ease of recognition, but actually it should be  h-y-p-o-s–because it is the abbreviation for hypocrisy.
 
Of all the creatures who walk the face of the earth, the hypocrite is ultimately the only one that is never allowed a moment’s peace. Those who know him or her are aware of the hypocrisy, and unfortunately, when he or she is left in their private moments, a guilty conscience allows no rest for the weary. Hypocrisy is what we do when what we really want to accomplish is complaining and we feel no energy towards self-inspection at all.
 
So BECAUSE I don’t like honking horns, I will often sit at a light behind a car driven by a daydreamer in front of me who fails to notice that we have arrived at “green.” Out of principle, I refuse to honk. (I really don’t need to worry about it, because there is always someone behind me that bypasses my discretion and lays on the horn. But I, myself, will not do it.) I honk my horn only to let people know I love Jesus if I happen to see that bumper sticker–“Honk if you love Jesus”–or if I think somebody has gone to sleep at the wheel and requires a quick awakening.
 
I also chase my hippos–or hypo–by refusing to be a brat. Even though I have reached a certain age that perhaps gives me a bit of clout, and have a background to reinforce it, I will not demand ANYTHING. If people do not want to provide me general hospitality, I will settle into the atmosphere and cuisine available and make it work. Am I resentful? No. Because inconvenience doesn’t last very long.  Sometimes it just seems longer because we fuss and fret about it. And for every person who is inconsiderate to me, there are ten who will step into the gap and replenish my experience.
 
I also will not be suspicious. Yes, I lead with a smile. Does it make people think that I am a pigeon, or a mark for their devious scheme? I think that’s foolish. I believe if folks are out to hurt me, they actually might be less likely to do it if they think I have an open heart than if I look like their frowning uncle who molested them.
 
I also don’t quote–especially the Bible. The Bible should be consumed, enjoyed and then regurgitated in your own words. You do not impress anyone by adding King James language to your thoughts. And it might be nice to give people your rendition of the truth–what the Bible refers to as a testimony. It is what has saved us and it is really what is of interest to others.
 
And finally, God forbid that I ever allow a cynical bone in my body. In many ways I view myself as a walking miracle, although occasionally at the end of a long day, it may look like a hobbling mishap. Either way, I am still going forward. I’m not so sure there are many of people my size who have journeyed as much as I have who are still kickin’ and living. So if you don’t mind, I am not going to be cynical even if part of me believes that the things being done might be a bit redundant, if not ridiculous.
 
There is nothing we can do about what other people do. Such a simple statement. But we forget. So then we turn around and perform a worse atrocity than what we’ve just seen by complaining about it.
 
I can recommend to you dear friends that ones great mission in life is chasing your hypos. Find what you don’t like, don’t complain, but instead, extract all versions of your aversions from your human practice. It’s fun. It keeps things interesting. And you don’t have to bend someone’s ear with your nastiness.
 
Chasing hippos (hypos)–finding little pieces in myself of the big problems that make life really stink.
   
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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