Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Daniel in the lion’s den: Bible story about bravery.

Mark, Sandra, Jackson, Benjamin, Bartholomew, Crystal, Jesse and Thomasina also found themselves cast into the lion’s den.

They were just as brave as Daniel.

They were equally as faithful to their God and their purposes.

But they got eaten.

The writer of the book felt that their stories would not be quite as dramatic as Daniel—who survived a full night with lions without being devoured.

We don’t know why.

It could have been that the lions picked up a stomach virus and couldn’t keep anything on their tummies.

It could be that the cave he was thrown into was darker that evening because of a rainstorm outside.

Yet we choose to believe that Daniel was spared because Daniel was special.

But if you choose to believe that scenario, then you have to assume that all the good saints and souls who have lost their lives for a cause selected to be self-sacrificing on a week when God found them somewhat mediocre.

I don’t think that’s the way it works.

The big stories always make the news–and a man surviving a night with lions is certainly worth some print.

But let us not forget those who were faithful, whose deeds were not rewarded on this side of mortality—did hopefully receive great prominence in eternity.

Daft

Daft: (adj) senseless, stupid, or foolish.

Which is worse: doing something foolish or being required to admit it?

Take a moment and think that over.

Your answer to this particular question will determine your human-soul worth.

Realizing we need to experiment and try things that are often beyond our scope makes it necessary to familiarize ourselves with failure and acquaint ourselves with how to handle it.

For if the spectrum of being wrong, mistaken or flawed seems frightening, then you’re left with a person who is always on the lookout for the next best lie.

We are all a bit daft.

Especially until we get to the point that we can claim “mediocre.”

Every once in a while, we excel, with only brief clouds of near perfection floating our way.

This is the truth.

So what are we more likely to do?

Understanding our passion to try new things, even nobly attempting to contribute to the common good, we will still often find ourselves daft—like a newborn calf at the barn dance.

If this frightens us, we construct an existence in which we are always at least well-intended, if not right.

When this happens, we can’t be trusted.

We can’t improve.

We can’t excel.

And we certainly cannot be valued for our honesty.

So—back to the original question.

What scares you the most?

Being foolish and temporarily daft?

Or having to stand in the ashes of your present burnout and confess you set the fire?

 

Commemorate

Commemorate: (v) to recall and show respect for someone or something

Mediocre is always so busy dragging down excellence that it doesn’t have the time to lift up inferior.

Because of this, mediocre keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the sag of inferiority, desperately trying to change the rules of operation and the requirements for the rewards provided.

We have a system of entertainment and information that streams in our country, which feels the need to commemorate events by finding the heroes, the standouts and those who fared well, interview them, extol them and then, within short weeks, dig up dirt on them to prove there was really nothing exceptional about them in the first place.

Why? Because without this kind of reporting, Ma and Pa Kettle, sitting at home, start getting depressed–thinking less of themselves because they don’t measure up.

After all, the problem of going to a nude beach is that you’re fully aware that everyone is stuck with an eyeful of you.

How do we commemorate the attributes, the virtues, the kindness and the intelligence that sets the human race on fire with an explosion of knowledge and unveiling of great cures and advances?

Well, we certainly can’t do it if we spend all of our time mocking initiative and making it seem that those who portray a classy morality are really just stuck in the past.

These are the three great things we should commemorate if we expect to shine:

  1. Empathy

Any time someone feels for someone else, it is miraculous.

  1. Research

Stop settling for the status quo, and find a better way to accomplish things.

  1. Humility

The only way to achieve the first two is to be humble enough to know when you’ve made a mistake so you can change it quickly and improve your cause.

May we step out of our doldrums of self-satisfaction and begin to commemorate–and therefore imitate–those who are actually doing matters better than us?

 

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Chuckle

Chuckle: (n) a quiet or suppressed laugh

He drove me crazy (even though that would not require many miles of journey.)

He was a theater critic who came out to watch my show, and even though I settled my inner being by insisting that I would not glance his
way, my left eyeball seemed to deny the commitment and wander over to view his reaction.

I was hilarious–at least as hilarious as I ever get.

I was on–which is merely the opposite of off.

The audience was with me–though you’re never quite sure how much of it is sympathy.

He just sat there. He didn’t smirk. It was like someone had bet him that he could remain emotionless during the entire affair.

I had never met him before, but I hated him. Not with a ferocious anger, sprouting a rage of violence–just a normal, temporary, human hatred, which could be assuaged merely by the introduction of a simple compliment.

After the show he came backstage to see me. I was surprised. I thought the next thing I would receive from this fellow would be his review, in which he used as many synonyms for “mediocre” as possible.

But turns out he thought I was hilarious.

I had to ask him, “Did you ever laugh?”

He frowned at me as if concerned about how much I might have hurt myself falling off the turnip truck.

“You don’t have to laugh out loud to chuckle inside,” he explained. “I am an internal chuckler, who simultaneously admires the material that amuses me.”

I stared at him, but decided not to pursue the conversation, since at this point, the outcome was in my favor.

But as I considered his insight, I realized that I often watched things on television or at the movies, and would tell people how funny they were–yet I wasn’t really sure my face exuded anything other than a death growl.

All I can say is, you can feel free to chuckle, even if it’s done inside your closet of appreciation.

But thank God–oh, thank God–for those who spill and spew their laughter.

 

 

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Channel

Channel: (v) to take possession of a spirit’s mind for the purpose of communication

Standing in line at the local department store, I was listening to two young women discuss philosophy. Girl 1 said to Girl 2: “No one’s gonna tell me what to do. I’m my own person.”

It gave me pause for thought.

If we have eight billion people on this Earth trying to “be their own person,” we have an emotional explosion which is greater than any
megatons of bombs.

I don’t want to be my own person. I have met him. He is bland, mediocre, nervous, insecure and adds the disgrace of pomposity.

I need to channel greatness.

I would love to channel the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who uttered, “with malice toward none and charity toward all” just a few days before he was murdered in a theater.

I would like to channel the moment that Thomas Jefferson decided to sheepishly write the phrase, “All men are created equal”–even though he knew he owned slaves.

I would enjoy channeling the fresh, creative, youthful energy of John, Paul, Ringo and George when they brought such singable and danceable music to America.

How about channeling the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, who in the midst of ignorance and war, told the Earth to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

I would like to channel the spirit of the bear, who has the sense to know when to hibernate, the loyalty of the dog and the devotion of a woman to her man, her children and her cause when she feels that the circumstances are righteous.

And of course, it would be wonderful to channel the moment when God said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

I am not enough and never will be.

When I settle for me,

I end up cheating everyone I see.

 

 

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Bottom Line

Bottom line: (n) the final total of a financial document

If you’re not willing to flirt with some poverty, you’ll never make out rich.Dictionary B

It’s true.

There is such a thing as “safe money,” which remains the same because it is a salary given to you to procure your services by someone who owns a company–who is risking that paying you will end up paying him or her more.

If I had trusted the bottom line in my life, I would not have done ninety percent of the things I pursued. And even if fifty percent of those ended up either failing or having mediocre results, I still have a tremendous compilation of miracles, experiences, friends, creations and adventures to tout because I took a chance … on good things.

 

 

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Block

Block: (v) to make the movement or flow in a passage difficult or impossible.

Dictionary B

It is easier to get coverage on the news of evil than it is to receive attention toward even an intriguing good.

The media would argue this point, and would stubbornly insist that they are merely providing what interests the public, and therefore, stimulates their advertisers to contribute revenue.

But meanwhile, many things are being blocked from the common good.

We don’t ever hear the best music because it mingles the melodies of the past with innovative tunefulness. Too risky.

We’re blocked from the best inventions because they don’t necessarily appeal to immediate marketplace requirements, but instead, address longer-lasting concerns.

And we’re blocked from the best people to govern us because they cannot pass the scrutiny of purity, or haven’t learned how to lie about it.

So we settle for the mediocre, discussing levels of inadequacy, assigning excellence to the more promoted portions.

I suppose at this point I should offer some alternative to this paradox.

I have none.

As long as finance is the determining factor in what is paraded, we will have to learn to hang to the rear to escape the clowns.

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Bleak

Bleak: (adj) without hope or encouragement

Dictionary B

The abiding sense of superiority is generally accompanied by a pious smirk.

Often, when I involve myself in discussions about hope, possibilities and even the importance of kindness, a roomful of pseudo-intellectuals will smirk at me. Matter of fact, the entire entertainment industry seems to be on a dismal journey to convince the world that “dark is the new light.”

Yes, we’re supposed to take unseemly, nasty characters and find a tiny stream of goodness within them.

It’s a convenient assertion.

After all, if it turns out that I am a bit more righteous than the average protagonist, I leave the theater feeling really good about myself.

But it is a dangerous practice–giving human beings too much rope. They will not only hang themselves, but also use the slack to cut none to others.

  • If the whole world is mediocre, then what is the definition of good?
  • If evil is the norm, then why pursue excellence?
  • If politicians are all liars, then how should we listen?
  • If religion is possessed by “greedy Gantrys,” then why should we pray?

In the pursuit of realism, what we have discovered is a bleak bitterness which promotes the decay of mankind … minus the possibility of redemption.

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Befit

Befit: (v) to be appropriate for; suitable.Dictionary B

Flirting with the possibility of overstatement, I will tell you that it was one of the greater revelations of my life. It struck me like a bolt of lightning (even though I have no true encounter with that sensation.) I think it would be better phrased that it was like waking up from a bad dream.

It was the day I realized that I was way too fussy about meaningless things and very mediocre about important ones.

The matters in my life that were insignificant I had turned into major issues, and the opportunities for me to be an individual and creative, I had relegated to the back burner, or worse, to the great pit of procrastination.

And so I started rating my activities from 1 to 10.

  • I’m buying a toothbrush today. In level of importance, shall we call that a 2?
  • I’m writing a letter to a friend in need. That sounds like an 8.
  • I’m paying my bills. Shall we give that a 5?

After doing this for about two weeks, I saw that I had been selecting to be bratty over small things in order to avoid improving my life in the more essential areas.

I realized that it did not befit me to be so nasty about the trivial, leaving the greater possibilities the scrubs of my time.

If it doesn’t make any difference, then make sure you don’t give it too much significance.

It does not befit a child of God to pretend that he or she is an orphan, worrying to the point of frustration.

I am able to discern the better portions of that which makes me a better person.

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Barker

Barker: (n) a person who stands in front of a theater or sideshow and calls out to passersby to attract customers.Dictionary B

The two problems with self-promotion are that they contain a pair of dangerous concepts:

First, self. And second, promoting.

Combined, they create the nervous energy we all feel when people are thrusting themselves into the role of “barker,” to make us aware of what they consider to be a needful idea or product.

Basically, in our age most of the forms of communication are all about “barkers.”

Politics is full of barkers. Supposedly, the more you push, advertise, criticize and self-aggrandize, the better your chance to get a vote. No one stops to ask if this is actually true. It is a foregone conclusion by the pundits that if someone punches you, you should punch back, or if you remain silent too long or simply state your beliefs, you will be overthrown by the mass hysteria of those who generate a mob.

I was always a little uncomfortable with the idea of the evangelizing associated with Christianity. Because even though salvation is promised in the religious community, we first find ourselves barking at people, telling them how evil and destitute they are before we grant them the package of eternal life.

Of course, social media is nothing more than a bunch of technological barkers.

  • “Look at my beautiful this…”
  • “Check out my kid picking his nose, but in his case it’s cute…”
  • “I just got promoted and bought a new car, so don’t you see how much better my life is than your mediocre one?”

Is it possible to quietly succeed?

Is there a path that takes us to heaven without a marching band?

And is there a way to enrich the lives of your brothers and sisters in the world without startling them with your approach?

If there is, I will seek to find it.

And if it is not possible, I will still refrain from being a barker … and quietly walk away into gentle and blissful obscurity. 

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