Did She? — November 16, 2011

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The story is clear. (I must give props to the Bible for always being fairly candid about its characters and not trying to make them look better than they are to promote the idea of righteousness.) In the story we are told that a woman was brought to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery.  In other words, there is no possibility that she was framed, was part of a ploy to trick Jesus or even that she was merely necking behind the stable. No, this was a really nasty situation about “doing the nasty.”

You know the rest of the story. The scribes and Pharisees wanted to stone her because that’s what the law of Moses commanded. Actually, if you understand the history of the period, the Romans had forbidden the Jewish populace to execute anyone without permission from the state. But there was still the possibility that some vigilantes might grab an errant soul, take him or her out behind the Mount of Olives and rock their world. So this woman was in some danger from this group of religious fanatics who were determined to achieve two goals: (a) prove that they were willing to kill a woman to honor God; and (b) tempt Jesus by making him side with the woman and end up looking soft on theology and maybe even too weak towards females.

I repeat. Nasty business.

Jesus takes a moment and tells the scribes and Pharisees that if they want to stone the woman, that they should do so only if they, themselves, had no sin. Long story made shorter–they all leave and Jesus is left alone with this woman who was caught in adultery.

But what happens next? Jesus asks her if anybody has condemned her.  She says, “No man, Lord.” His reply? “I don’t condemn you either, but go and sin no more.” It is a statement that satisfies neither conservatives or liberals. Conservatives would like a little bit more edge of rebuke and liberals may not be quite pleased that Jesus brings  any judgment whatsoever to her by asking her to stop her sinning.

But what I’d like you to focus on is this: did she? Did she walk away from that near-death experience, only saved by the gracious cleverness of Jesus of Nazareth, and swear off immoral affairs? Was that her determination? Well, here’s what I am sure of:

1.  The laws of religion would kill her, giving her no pathway to repentance.

2. Those who believe in intervention would insist that such a traumatic encounter as this near-stoning would be enough to stimulate change.

3. The zealous Christians of our day would put forth the notion that merely coming into the presence of Jesus transformed the woman into a new creature.

4. Common-sense individuals would say that she, having been scared to death, would refrain from her activities for a season, only to resume them again when the impact of the event had faded from her consciousness.

Now, here’s what I think Jesus believed–I think Jesus believed that the law, without mercy, always ends up killing people–emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically. I think he also felt that condoning sin was not an attack on God, but rather, giving people license to commit suicide. And I believe Jesus knew that God, social pressure, intervention or even knowledge do not prevent people from being nuts. It is a decision they must come to on their own.

Jesus gave this woman a chance to have her moment with herself. Religion would have robbed her of this moment, destroying her on the spot. Jesus weighed in by saying that her lifestyle was sinful–but that there was no condemnation in his heart for her.  Yet she was destroying herself in the process.

If you want to know how to help people, you must be willing to take away the sting of judgment and replace it with the commonsense of human growth. Then it’s up to them.

There are many things I do not believe in and don’t like. Many of my family members and friends still participate in these activities at will. There are two things they do know–I love them and do not condemn them, but I feel that they are doing harm to themselves. Is that enough evangelizing on my point to create change in them? It is irrelevant.  I do not create change in people. It is my job, through mercy, to save them from judgment and to challenge them to excellence.

Did the woman go and sin no more? Well, it wouldn’t have been because she was afraid.  Fear passes.  It wouldn’t be because she had an encounter with God, because her face-to-face with the Divine was based upon grace, not self-realization. And it wouldn’t be because Jesus gave her some mystical stare that translated her into a new woman, because Jesus was just a man, filled with the Spirit and no more. It would have to be because this woman came to herself and decided to stop the foolishness.

So here’s what you do with all your friends who really distress your soul with their activities: take away the judgment, give them mercy, but let them know how you stand on the issue. 

And then say that wonderful prayer: “Into your hands, Father, I commend their spirit.”

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Writer–not “Righter”–November 15, 2011

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She was so angry with me. Having purchased my book, Living a Legendary Life, she became incensed with Chapter 1, where I assert that it really doesn’t matter what we call God. We can even call him Larry as long as our deity teaches us to love people. She felt the concept I was putting forth was theologically incorrect and contained a bit of heresy.

I looked at her, bewildered–because I am not a theologian. I don’t even play one on television. Without being too critical, I don’t usually like to find myself in the company of such creatures. I am a writer–not a “righter.” It is my job to shed light upon subjects, and get people to think and feel again, instead of merely reacting within their denomination, political party or social structure’s platform of believing. Cleverness is my greatest tool, not necessarily accuracy. I am an observer of human behavior, not an explainer or controller.

It is my job as a writer, when things are not going well, to remind us of our better selves, and if necessary, chide us into believing that being human is a blessing rather than a curse.

I chose to be a writer because I never found that people who are trying to “right” all the wrongs in the world necessarily begin with a good agenda that would actually set the direction in a forward motion. It’s hard to be “right.” Not quite so difficult to write. Maybe that’s why I chose to be a writer instead of a “righter.”

Possessing a bit of laziness and unwillingness to attach a bibliography to everything I say, I have chosen a path where I can be erred and still be entertaining and enlightening. Do I occasionally discover things that are right as I write? Only God and time will prove that to be true. But as a writer, it is my job to explore all four of the human cavities of experience–the heart, the soul, the mind and the strength.

I am supposed to get people to feel again. Also, can I construct a sentence that might cause folks to consider the existence, or even the purpose, of God? Sitting behind my desk, might there be a concept that I conjure from my imagination that will cause human beings to think beyond their culture and apprehensions? And, as one of those writers, I am not afraid of the human body, sexuality and the expression of our physicality to one another. I examine the language, the tendencies, the trends and add my own little spice of humor and wit, such as it is, to make things a bit brighter.

I am not suggesting to this woman that she call God Larry. Actually, Frank would be just fine. Seriously, I would just like her and everyone else who has become intransigent in their pursuit of eternal righteousness, to consider for one moment what is really important, and if it is important, why it might be the first thing that pops to God’s mind when He meets us. I am not bound by conventional wisdom, nor am I limited to conventional morality. Yes, I can even explore the more unseemly portions of mankind’s behavior.

I have always feared those who believe they’re right. It’s just because I know how inadequate my own efforts can be and I have not yet found anyone else who supersedes my potential by enough of a margin to make me think that they have discovered the one true path to God.

So I write.

In the process, maybe occasionally I come up with something “right,” but I will guarantee you that I say enough wrong that you must not trust every word that comes from my pen and think it is an oracle of the divine.  Shoot, often it’s not even my own best work.

It will not be our prophets that will bring our country to a state of repentance. Politicians would never have enough organization to change the world through laws. Corporations are bogged down with their own profit margin and therefore don’t always seek the best for the consumer. And in my mind’s eye, religion spends too much time trying to please a God who already seems pleased.

It is our writers who will shed light on the dark corners of human selection and make us wonder if we can actually do better. If I really believed that God was angry about being called Larry, I would suggest that He take a course in sensitivity and turn His ego down a notch or two.  After all, I have taken my share of criticism and scrutiny, and have been able to survive it and grow through it. I think God, who certainly made some interesting creations that would be well worth questioning, is perfectly able to handle any mere writer’s imaginary journey.

If you gave me a choice of Allah (who supposedly is very angry at anyone who is not a Muslim) and Jehovah (who kills Amorites because they still have a foreskin) and the thousand gods of the Hindus (who certainly tend to collide with one another) or even the God of the New Testament (who often is perplexed about whether to be more like Jesus or Paul), I think I might prefer a God named Larry, who just really would like to see people get along and be happy. Because after all, you couldn’t have a name like Larry and take yourself too seriously.

So just to make it clear to you and all future critics, I am a writer, not a “righter.” I will leave such decisions of truth and accuracy in the hands of the angels. My hands are flesh and blood–and simply write of such matters.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Here You Aid–November 14, 2011

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Damaged people end up doing damage. People correctly being repaired desire more repair. Healed people want to heal.  Three eternal points–that’s really how simple it is. If you allow yourself or those around you to remain damaged, supposedly miraculously coated in a candy-shell of God’s grace, they will continue to rot inside that enclosure. Eventually, if you crack them, they will spew out their pain.

Jesus told a great parable–or maybe it’s more like an analogy–about how we cannot possibly assist someone in taking the speck out of their eye if we have a log in our own. Yet–we try. And because we make this feeble attempt, we end up doing more offense than setting our brothers and sisters free. On this last day of our series on the “Here Philosophy,” I want to conclude with the concept of what it takes to cease being offensive and to actually become of assistance to those who are damaged or need repair.

Until you deal with your own emotions, accept your feelings as legitimate and own them instead of denying them and hiding them deep in the recesses of your fear, you are not fit or ready to minister to other individuals who are equally imprisoned in their own cells of inadequacy.

Here you go. If you really want to start the process of living and ultimately turn it into loving, you must cease your trepidation over being. Deal with your feelings instead of pretending that they are  innately good OR evil. Once you do this, you acquire:

Here you got. Instead of having a mythical idea of what you think you can do because it’s what you want to do, you are granted, through your spirit, an awareness of your true abilities. You suddenly become valuable. For after all, no one is of much quality to anyone else if they can’t pipe back a faithful inventory of what they are prepared to contribute in any situation or relationship. It is at this point that you reach the capacity of:

Here you adopt. You are initiated into a realm of thankful thinking. Rather than destroying possibilities through negative sensations or oversimplifying life’s opportunities by being too positive too soon, you just become grateful for what you actually have in your possession. It allows for:

Here you adapt. Adaptation is what really frightens most people–because it demands that we begin with one concept but adjust, on the fly, to what needs to be done based upon the new data that has been provided. You can see it would be impossible to do that without being pure of heart–knowing what you have and functioning with thankful thinking. The ability to adapt turns the jungle of life into our own living room of potential. In other words, if life can’t come up with an angle that’s going to throw us, more than likely we’re not going to get thrown. Which makes room for:

Here you add. If you’re confident in what you can do, that assurance gives you the energy and faith to risk your talent to make more. Case in point: not everybody will come to your house and enjoy eating your famous chili recipe. Some people just don’t like chili. But the fact of the matter is, if you know how to brown ground beef and put onions in it, you can stop short of chili, make Sloppy Joe and satisfy your surprised guest. I’m not trying to trivialize the complexities of life–I’m just saying that our worst enemy is stubbornness, and when you have a soul that is ready to add on new possibilities to existing repertoire, you’ll surprise yourself with a new tune. This brings us to our last step: 

Here you aid. Emotionally fulfilled people, who have a soul for what they’ve got, have learned to adopt the thankful thinking which has generated the energy to adapt to the circumstances that pop up in the explosions of everyday living and have added new substance to their talent as a tribute to the Giver of all talents–these individuals have the self-confidence and easiness of style to actually aid people who are emotionally locked up in a tomb.

Resurrection.

Because if you know you’ve got a log in your eye and you remove that log BEFORE you do the delicate surgery on somebody else’s speck, they are more confident about your surgical ability because they’ve seen you do major work on your own being.

Politics is ineffective because nothing changes. Religion impresses no one because we lack poster children for the cause. If you want to make an impact, you must first impact your own life and stop the damage that has occurred and set repair in motion, replacing it with healing. The log and the speck–a fortuitous comparison of Jesus–because he places the responsibility for changing the planet into the hands of the people who have the power to do it.  That’s you and me.

Stop asking the heavens to change the course of earth. Change your own course–and the earth may just turn towards the path of heaven.

  • Here you goget a pure heart.
  • Here you gotdevelop a truthful inventory.
  • Here you adoptthankful thinking. Allow your brain to be a center of joy instead of a coffin of fear and worry.
  • Here you adaptdon’t be surprised if things change. It’s their job.
  • Here you addknowing you have talent, step out and be willing to see it multiply to your benefit and the delight of those around you.
  • Here you aidfree of an agenda to be noticed, you begin to notice those who need to be freed of their agenda.

It’s the “Here Philosophy.”  Where did I get it? I got it from studying life–and Jesus.

For Jesus is not a religion nor is he a “theology” about God. He has a lifestyle. He is a life coach, teaching us that “here” is the “now” that we have, which lays the foundation for our “forever.”

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Here You Add–November 13, 2011

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She was sad, having absolutely no idea how to rise from the ashes of a devastating relationship which had produced three young whelps who had plans of their own which certainly did not include her well-earned Master’s Degree in Music and virtuoso ability on the oboe. She sat in a room with me, having fresh tears on her cheeks, the veteran of an abusive situation with the man who was the father of her children, but certainly not the husband of her dreams, leaving her financially destitute, with no recourse but to find the best job possible in the quickest way possible. She said, “I guess I’ll never play oboe again.”

I was saddened, alarmed, infuriated, passionate and bewildered–all in the same moment. “Why?” I inquired.

“Because I have messed up so badly and I need to be a mother to these children and make money as quickly as possible, and that just doesn’t have anything to do with blowing through a horn.”

She was speaking conventional wisdom, which is great if you’re going to a convention, but usually doesn’t do much for the personal welfare of an individual human being. It made me think about my situation–not because I was trying to be selfish, but because I realized that the purpose of having a clean emotional slate is to make you able to evaluate what you’ve really got and muster a thankful thinking that allows you to take your mustard seed of ability and faith and plant it in the right direction. 

I had been successful doing things that were musical and had achieved some prowess with writing. Now I wondered if I could compose music for the oboe and take this dear woman’s abilities and keep them moving forward, generating some finance for her family and also producing some new possibilities for my own career. I prepared myself for the multiplication of talents.

The reason most people never multiply their talents is because they’re unwilling to admit they have talent. Why? Because the admission of talent brings forth two crazy “r’s” in our lives.  The first one if responsibility.  If I have a talent, it’s safe to assume I’m responsible to do something with it instead of burying it in the ground or hiding it under a bushel. Yes, most people “bushel their talent” because the responsibility of using it is so frightening that they would rather pretend they weren’t granted such agility. 

Because the second “r” is rejection. What happens if you share your talent and people tell you you’re not very good? What if you decide to live off your talent and the daily wage necessary to sustain life doesn’t come trickling in? Yes, responsibility and rejection often keep us from admitting we have the talent–and the lack of confessing our gift eliminates the possibility of expanding it and multiplying it, to foster new areas.

I had written gospel music; I had written plays. I had written a few books and I was working on a novel. Could I have the faith, with my little mustard seed, to believe that I could write music for oboe with a symphonic bend, that would allow this dear woman to continue her work in a craft that brought her joy, so that raising her children would be a pleasant experience instead of an adult burden?

The power of discovering your mustard seed of talent is that you no longer have to convince yourself that God has blessed you. The only challenge that remains is how far you can stretch that blessing before it breaks. 

I asked her if she wanted to work with me. That was fifteen years ago–two novels, seven books, fourteen CD’s, eleven symphonies and seventeen screenplays completed.

Once you free your spirit of the burden of unrequited emotions, your brain becomes thankful and a mind of gratitude develops the faith to use the mustard seed of talent, to launch out in trust with what you have and in the process, avenues appear for potential multiplication.

I do not know what I would have done that day if Janet Clazzy had shared her burden about her life and I had been emotionally bound up, unaware of what capacity was within me, distrustful of being grateful about my life, and had not already learned to plant my mustard seed into the ground to let it grow. But because I had gone through the “here you go,” the “here you got,” the “here you adopt” and the “here you adapt” phases,  by the grace of God, I was ready for “here you add.”

I sat down at a keyboard and started writing music that we will be sharing in front of a congregation even this very day.

Fresh things don’t happen if we allow our beliefs to become stale. Joy is not spawned from trepidation. And talent does not overtake us–but is taken over by our desire to believe that we can actually contribute something of quality to human life around us.

I am so glad she didn’t quit playing the oboe.  Aren’t you? I am so glad she learned how to conduct a symphony orchestra, and began one that reached tens of thousands of people in Tennessee. And I am so glad that she is sitting right here with me now, typing this document as my friend and co-producer of all sorts of new ideas.

If you want to have good spiritual and mental health, you need to stop being afraid of the responsibility and rejection that often accompany talent–because burying your talent in the ground only makes it invisible to the masses.

You still know it’s there.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Here You Adapt–November 12, 2011

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If  you believe in your dream strongly enough, it will come true.

I’ve heard that for so many years. Of course, this statement is not factual. The reason we have stories on the news about people achieving their dreams is because it’s a rarety. It’s the same reason lottery winners end up with their picture in the paper. If everybody was fulfilling their dreams or winning the lottery, there wouldn’t be enough space in the media to cover the stories.

So is there a power to a positive attitude? I would have to ask you what you mean by a positive attitude. If you are referring to a tenacious presence in your thinking, causing you to pursue one particular line of success fervently, then I would have to say no. If by positive attitude you mean taking the benefits of thankful thinking and finding a place to begin with your abilities and make a start of things, knowing that any semblance of being able to do what you dream would be fantastic–then I would say yes.

It’s what Jesus meant by the mustard seed. Once we adopt thankful thinking, we have the clarity of mind to actually segment off our heart’s desire and begin to pursue it with an available avenue. It is the mustard seed. It is the tiniest of seeds, which does not necessarily represent the vision we have for our ultimate goal, but is the seedling of what we desire to be.

When I finally discovered that I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t contact Random House and ask them if they were interested. Why? Because Random House wants to make money, not promote unknown authors. I realized that the time and energy I would expend trying to impress them with my prowess with the pen would be wasted–because their bottom line would scream disapproval over taking on such a literal unknown quantity. Since I wanted to be a writer, what I did was to start writing–paragraphs, song lyrics (which turned into actual songs), little booklets which I passed along to people with some of my ideas–any chance I got to plant my mustard seed of passion about writing I pursued with great perseverance and energy.

Because my emotions were clean and I knew the rudiments of what I possessed, and was granted a thankful brain, I therefore was not afraid to begin small and plant my mustard seed in the ground–daily presenting evidence of what I ultimately wanted to accomplish.

If you think someone else is going to come along and make your dream come true because they possess the connections, money or vision for your project, you not only will end up disappointed, but very often duped by charlatans.

Thankful thinking promotes a positive attitude that causes us to be willing to plant our mustard seed of a dream into life and give it a chance to grow. Do I think it would be better for me to be on television than traveling to churches, sharing my heart? No–because this is my mustard seed. And if I do it well enough where I am, then very possibly I will be given chances to do it more.

If I had become famous at nineteen years of age when I finished writing my first book, my popularity would have lasted six months to a year and by age twenty-one I would have been a has-been. But because I had thankful thinking, I was able to plant my mustard seed, and now, forty-one years later, I have a flourishing work which journeys me all over the country, sharing and granting me tens of thousands of readers for my daily column. It has also given me four decades of blessing, rejoicing and being with beautiful people instead of being a flash in the pan. My mustard seed has grown.

It’s because I was not ashamed to take what I had and with a thankful mind, go out and do something that imitated the ultimate success I desired. If you’re waiting for life to afford you opportunity, you will never find the opportunity already afforded you by life.

Do you want to start a business? Plant your mustard seed. Go out and discover if your product actually sells, face-to-face, with the public. Do you want to be a singer? Go to a nursing home or to a homeless shelter and see if anyone is moved by your voice. Do you want to be a farmer? Start a small garden before you purchase twenty acres of land. Do you want to play sports? Toss the ball around with your neighbors until their abilities no longer challenge you and you’re ready to move to the next level.

I have a friend who wanted to start a business cleaning houses. He did not go out and line up twenty or thirty clients and then develop the ability to conduct his affairs in a professional manner. Instead, he started out by cleaning a couple of houses–including mine–to take in a little bit of money, finding out if he enjoyed it and could discover a way to do it in excellence. He now has more customers than he can handle. His mustard seed has grown.

When your emotions betray you because they are not clean, which causes you to take a poor inventory of what you’ve got, making you mentally ungrateful, you may end up thinking you’re better than what you are because you haven’t planted your mustard seed–you’ve just insisted on being recognized.

  • Clean your emotions. (Here you go)
  • Find out what you really possess. (Here you got)
  • Renew your mind with thankful thinking. (Here you adopt)
  • And begin doing what you desire to achieve–in a mustard seed way. (Here you adapt)

I am a blessed man because I did not sit around waiting for people to make me famous. I realized that the best way to be famous was to leave behind an audience which was impacted by my message. I do it every week.

You will not see me on network television, but by the grace of God, because I have planted my mustard seed, I am still everywhere. I wish the same for you. It is the definition of a positive attitude:

I will adapt my dreams by taking my mustard seed and planting it in the earth that surrounds me instead of demanding opportunities beyond me.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Here You Adopt–November 11, 2011

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Is it supposed to work? Life, I mean.

Sometimes I feel that politics wants to eliminate the possibility for resolution so as to create the climate where we all need a new candidate, so that individual can receive our votes. I feel that religion requires us to succumb to the futility of mankind so as to generate a dependence on God. And of course, corporations want us to feel that the present line of products is insufficient to our needs, prompting us to buy new “everything.” No wonder people’s faces look like they just emerged from a tunnel into the sunshine, and would really like to escape back into the darkness again.

Here’s a piece of information you might find fascinating: the brain doesn’t learn anything if the emotions are clogged up with a lack of revelation, therefore forbidding the spirit to be enlightened and creating the chance for new ideas to renew our minds.

It’s why people spend a lot of time feeling dumb. And even though we may resent that implication, we gradually sense that the knowledge we have is deteriorating and new reinforcements are NOT arriving daily to aid us in fortifying our position. Don’t feel bad–because it’s true. If you are emotionally bound and unable to release your frustrations and feelings, you have closed the door to spiritual insight which would allow you to challenge the thinking that was infused in you as a child.

This is why we believe that certain areas of the country think differently than other areas of the country–because rather than all of us garnering an explosion of knowledge, we revert back to our training and pump out the answers that we were given when we were too young to object. This process creates the problem which fosters prejudice, bigotry, war, murder, hatred and devastation. Pretty heavy-duty, huh?

We are heart creatures. If we do not deal with our emotions and find God, a mirror or a friend to share them with, we will close the door to our spirit from receiving the eternal insights that take us from our temporary imprisonment of thinking into more enlightened reasoning. And how will you know when your brain actually begins to be inputted from your spirit because you have cleaned up your emotions? Jesus answered this. He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

In other words, when you take the time to cleanse your emotions of the fatalism of the previous day’s activities, it opens the door for your spirit to see God in life instead of looking for a devil or blaming your problems on other folks.

And how will you know that you see God? How will you know that you have spiritual insight that is beginning to filter in joy instead of sadness? You will develop thankful thinking.

The brain, by its very nature, tries to find reasons for NOT doing things. When you add your cultural training of warnings and punishments into the mix, you have a cranium crammed with inhibition and apprehension. It is only spirituality that allows the brain to become thankful for opportunity instead of suspicious of it. You will know that you are actually renewing your mind when being thankful for what you have is predominant over regretting what you lack.

Here is a fact of life: no one ever gets what they need in the beginning. We all get just enough to start with and if we allow gratitude to initiate a great plan of action, we will be granted more. It’s just human nature. We give to those who are getting and we bless those who are blessing. This is why some people don’t like to pass off a dollar to a bum on the street–they just don’t think the investment is going to pay off.

Thankfulness is a sign that we have abandoned the futility of expecting on evil conclusions and have ceased resisting the darkness around us, but instead, have decided to pursue a mental health that believes fuel is given as we journey–and never when we sit.

So how do I get there? Here you go: we get there when we allow our emotions to cease to fester and we share candidly, without fear AND without being convinced we are right, but to cleanse ourselves from the unrighteousness that builds up inside of our beings. This opens the door to a spirituality that says, “here you got.” We start celebrating our success instead of hoarding it. Just this action by itself renews the mind to become thankful instead of jealous, giving us the ability to take the better parts of our upbringing while gently resisting the portions that limit our talents.

You will know that your brain is functioning under your guidance instead of the will of your ancestors when thankfulness comes to your mind before complaint. It may be as simple as saying, “It could be worse” or “You know the really funny thing about this thing that happened is that I would never have gotten this without it…”

Thankful thinking is a sign of a brain that has stopped just learning, but has actually come to the knowledge of truth.

I can tell when I have good mental health by a sense of gratitude that permeates my thoughts instead of lamenting over my plight. To get there you have to cleanse your emotions and then you can see God, and once you see God, your first instinct will be thankfulness.

Yet each one of us struggles and nearly chokes on the words “thank you” from time to time because we have been taught to be the bearers of the bad news of our descendants.

Do you want to win or do you want to confirm what you were taught? Make up your mind.

And to make up your mind you must clean up your emotions, let God show you what you’ve really got and then develop thankful thinking, which will give you the ability to open up the full potential of your brain. It is powerful.

A mind renewed is a unit energized with thankfulness that uses the sensation of gratitude to increase the storehouse for knowledge.

Yes–here you adopt thankful thinking.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Here You Got–November 10, 2011

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EC + W = IND.

Looks like a formula, doesn’t it? I guess it really is. We do live in a material world, chemically charged, and we are part of that process. So what is this little formula? Let me break it down for you: EC stands for “emotional counting.” The W signifies “worry” and the IND is “indecision.” So what IS emotional counting?

Emotional counting is when we fail to come clean with the feelings from the previous day and carry them over without self-discovery into today’s activities, allowing them to color how we view our possibilities.

In other words, if I had a bad day yesterday and failed to clean myself out emotionally with God, the mirror or a friend, and then I look at the little dab of what I have, that little pile of potential will always look insufficient.

Yesterday’s unresolved problems always make today look impossible—and when we think things are impossible, we commence to worry. Worry, very simply, is pitching a fit that “life is unfair.” Let me tell you—life is unimpressed. Life does not care that we are spoiled brats who threw a temper tantrum because we didn’t get what we wanted.

Next, when worry fails to produce inspiration, we choose the dastardly position of indecision, which causes us to finish our day in greater frustration, compiling our emotional upheaval. This is why those who have problems continue to be plagued by more problems, which we deem to be bizarre and unrighteous.

You cannot count your blessings or even assess the value of what you presently have if you’re still distressed over yesterday’s failures. Looking back on yesterday causes us to worry about tomorrow, making us squander today. Just go back and read that sentence to yourself again. It is a powerful thought.

Emotional counting is allowing ourselves to be ungrateful for what God has given us and what has been provided by our own hands because of fear of yesterday’s inadequacies following us into this 24-hour period. It makes us lose all faith in ourselves and God to supply the need.

So emotional counting produces worry, which is the arrogance of thinking that things should be different, which incapacitates us with indecision.

 And what is the danger with indecision? Is it necessary to make decisions every day? Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s a jungle out there?” It’s true. And when we choose to be indecisive because we’re worrying over our lack, due to being emotionally clogged up, we leave much of our destiny in the hands of others—who just go ahead and decide for us.

Emotional counting is when we cease to believe that we have enough if we just can come up with a very good angle. So can I give you a better formula? How about this one: C + P = A

Yes, simply Counting what we have and know instead of coloring it with a dark crayon energizes us to do a bit of P—Planning. How can I take what I have and make it work for today without allowing myself to be overly concerned with tomorrow? And when you legitimately count what is available to you and permit yourself the grace of planning instead of worrying, it always leads to A: action.  Yes, as human beings we just feel better when we’re in motion. “And a body in motion shall remain in motion and a body at rest shall remain at rest.” Likewise, a body that’s emotionally distressed will remain that way and one that is worrying will eventually turn into the proverbial wart.

Ingratitude is not merely acting like we don’t appreciate what has been provided. Ingratitude is also believing that it’s just not enough.

God does not have any victory in making us look stupid. God does not receive glory by abandoning His friends in the middle of the desert. But God is quickly rejected by those who will not deal with their emotions and begin to view their possibilities through a clouded lens which produces worry, causing them to land with indecision.

“Here you go” is when we allow ourselves to be emotionally clean by speaking out our worst fears to God, the mirror or our friend. And “here you got” is when we view what is available to us in a positive light because our cleansed emotions do not prompt us to begin to worry and become indecisive.

If I will clean up my emotions, I can count my blessings and plan to use them well in this day’s period, which will prompt me towards action. Remember, often our problem is not that we are destitute, but rather, that we look beyond today’s need and project what tomorrow will demand.

Counting + Planning = Action. 

But to count with a sense of joy what God has given us demands that we remove all the emotional frustration of the previous day … and give God a good chance to bless us right now.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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