Three Ways to Find Yourself… November 13, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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bigger man in the mirror gif

Even though there are individuals who contend that we’re better off losing ourselves to either religion or a noble cause, what you end up with is an army of souls possessing no map. So even if you fortify them with self-confidence and knowledge, they still have no internal compass as to where to go or determination to press on.

All of us must find ourselves.

If we don’t, we become too disappointed over the success of others or too jubilant over minor improvements which don’t have lasting quality.

If you’re going to find yourself:

1. Set aside all expectations placed upon you by others.

From the time you were a small child, you were informed, instructed and even invigorated to pursue certain activities because some relative, teacher or minister believed that you were “born to be some profession.”

These voices haunt us.

They especially spook us during times that we feel we have failed at our present exploits and may have missed our destiny.

There is one voice you should listen to, and it is the still, small one inside your own soul, speaking the wisdom set aside for you and you, alone.

2. Start doing what can be done in the moment, using good cheer.

You don’t save the good china for special occasions. There’s no guarantee that any of us will ever reach the pinnacles we envision. So we might as well enjoy the plateaus by giving our very best and making sure That we’re overjoyed to still be in the hunt.

I’m not so sure there is anything such as “a big break.” But if one does afford itself our way, it will certainly be a surprise, catching us off-guard and we’d better be doing our top-dollar work when it intrudes our direction.

3. Start looking for movement, not approval.

We would all be astounded at how many times people’s praise will take us in the wrong direction, simply because they’re trying to gently nudge us into doing their will.

If you are dependent on people’s appreciation and vote of confidence in order to function in your journey toward excellence, you will certainly stall in some quagmire of mediocrity.

There will be movement.

If you’re heading in the right direction, doing what you want to do and keeping a good sense of humor along the way, a glimmer of light will twinkle in the foreground and inspire you onward.

You and I can only ultimately please others and God by finding ourselves.

Denying yourself is not ignoring your heart’s desire–it’s refusing to believe that what others desire for you has come from your heart.

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King Jesus … November 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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crownI don’t like kings.

They give me the creeps. Too much pomp for the circumstance.

On the other hand, I like Jesus.

So imagine my surprise when I discover that the church wants me to call him a king.

Yes.  Christ the King. Here’s my problem:

Kings live in castles. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes but the son of man has no place to lay his head.”

Kings always possess land. Jesus told us that “his kingdom was not of this world” and therefore couldn’t be measured in acres.

Generally speaking, being a king comes with a certain gaggle of servants. Yet Jesus told his disciples that he didn’t come to be served, but to be of service.

How about a lavish throne? For Jesus, that was the back side of a baby donkey, bouncing his way into Jerusalem.

Then there’s fine clothes and a royal family. Yet Jesus’ philosophy was to “take no thought for what ye shall wear” and his mother was a peasant woman.

Here’s a question: can you be a king without an army or a treasure chest to fund that force? If I recall, Jesus said “we shouldn’t lay up treasure on earth, but in heaven.”  And concerning the military, he warned us that “they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

Even though Jesus was surrounded by devoted women, he possessed none of them as his queen.

And at his coronation, he was crowned … with thorns.

Christ the King Sunday.

He was a king. But he was a king because he came to testify to the truth: the truth that faith is the part of belief that we use, like a mustard seed. Hope is the desire we pursue. And love is the God we give to others.

All hail, King Jesus, who taught us that the only way to be a master … is to become a servant.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

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Practical … October 24, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Nuts-and-Bolts1Meanwhile, back at our dilemma:

The problem we face here on the road at the end of our yearly odyssey will not disappear just because we throw some cynical attitude its way. Trials and tribulations are not impressed with our disgust. And also, you must understand that heavenly conclusions cannot be achieved without pursuing some sort of earthly application.

To put it bluntly, prayer becomes useless if we haven’t tuned our senses to the world around us and find ourselves ready to move out on the opportunities that come our way.

Therefore it is just as possible to pursue a darkened path by saying we have faith in God, but not taking the cues from the world around us, and instead, insisting that our particular miracle must float down from the heavens.

This lends a second possibility in approaching our human quagmires: practical.

Amazingly enough, the Good Book, which is often portrayed as ethereal, is actually better presented as a handbook for planet living. Practical divides into three parts:

  • Count
  • Contend
  • Control

First of all, we should count what we actually have. Don’t expect any progress to be made if you’re not willing to invest what you already possess. Much of the cynicism and darkened conclusions will depart when we realize we have resources.

Case in point: when you’re trying to feed five thousand people, five loaves and two fishes don’t seem like very much, but they aren’t nothing–and at least it affords the opportunity for in-depth conversation.

Secondly, after we know what we have, we need to contend. What does that mean? It means, “Where are we?” Knowing our resources will not always stimulate faith, but sometimes will weaken our resolve. There will be some human effort involved in achieving divine conclusions, so it is necessary for us to understand our emotional state, our spiritual belief, our mental awareness and our physical strength. If we are going to be an army, we need to be well-fed, well-trained and well-armed.

And finally–control. Sometimes the whole problem cannot be whipped in one whack, so we should work on our negotiation skills, to buy time to take on our difficulties one piece at a time.

For instance, here on the road, it is ridiculous for me to worry about what we’re going to do at the end of next month. Instead, I should focus on what happens today and at the end of this week. Won’t that get me closer to my goal?

Count: what do we have?

Contend: where am I emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically?

Control: can I divide this up into smaller pieces?

Pursuing this path removes the specter of darkened cynicism, which opens the door to our Creator being willing to link with His creation. Once that relationship is initiated, our third possibility comes to play.

See you tomorrow.

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Dreary’s In … July 8, 2012

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I think I have prepared myself to be considered the proverbial “stick in the mud.”

For in our present social structure, any attempt to question existing forces of power and money does generate grumbling and accusations of provincialism and censorship. By no means do I believe that any government, institution or political influence should censor the freedoms in our country. I’m just a little curious whether we might like to perform a little self-censorship for the “good of the hood.” Because whatever we are currently doing in the realm of entertainment, spirituality, education and corporate advertising–it is doing very little to encourage the populace, but instead, is producing a dreariness among the citizenry.

The new favorite color seems to be gray. It is shown forth in our mood, our clothing, our attitudes and our indifference towards both God and our fellow-man. How did we get here? How did we get to the point where happiness, joy and a good outlook on life is viewed as infantile? Why is it necessary to define the action of growing up as being permitted entrance to movies where worse and worse atrocities are committed in the name of “realism?”

I’m a bit confused. But still, I have no intention of being dreary? If you are a politician and wish to alarm me with facts about the injustice of the opposing party, I will turn a deaf ear in your direction. If you are a minister who senses that the only way to gain my fervor is by declaring war on the world around you and preparing for Armageddon, I will probably pass on your passages.

I have no intention of being part of a society that not only plans its own demise, but marches towards it, waving a ten-dollar bill for admission. Here is what I feel is creating the dreariness in our society:

1. Using our entertainment, books and even many discussion groups to mingle sex and violence. Sex and violence are not related in any way. Sex is the presence of pleasure; violence is the absence of the same. When you begin to believe that these two can intersect and intercourse, you have created an atmosphere of danger for women and certainly abuse for children. Yes–don’t sit and watch the case of a pedophile being acted out on the television news and pretend to be shocked if you are viewing other so-called entertainment programs which present these same deeds as the fodder for storyline. It is damned hypocritical.

2. Our nation has become dreary because we blur light and dark. The explanation for light is rather simple–light illuminates with the goal to teach something better. Dark blackens, to eliminate learning, absorbing the status quo. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or non-religious. If your material presents a bleak message of doom and gloom, you are completely eradicating the possibility for repentance, which is central to the theme of the gospel. We cannot continue to pretend that the world is dark, insisting that we’re merely portraying “reality,” when light and possibility are still available. You also cannot isolate the underbelly of society, bringing it to the forefront under the guise of producing knowledge, and think that you are performing a service to mankind. Human beings need light. Without it, they become paranoid and depressed.

3. Dreariness is caused by being ignorant of the difference between human and inhuman. In the course of one evening’s offerings on television, paraded before me will be a cavalcade of all sorts of atrocities. I am led to believe that these are a major part of human behavior which must be included as discussable, if not acceptable. No thanks. I understand there are people who are hurt, abused, wounded and mentally ill, who certainly need our time and attention. What they don’t need is a screenplay written about them.

Human is finding God in our image; inhuman is denying God in our possibility. It really is as simple as that.

If at the end of the day, I believe that human beings are more likely to do evil than good, then I have ingested poison into my spirit that will certainly give me indigestion.

4. And finally, our political, entertainment and even educational systems seem incapable and confused about the difference between decent and descent. Decent is any adventure, idea, proclamation, speech or sermon that instructs and encourages people to include others. Descent is an attempt to reverse evolution in our species and return us to a jungle mentality, where we always choose to be selfish. If you are watching entertainment or reading propaganda telling you that hoarding for your own concerns is normal human behavior, then you most certainly will start making choices which fail to recognize the needs of those around you. Racism is not maintained in this country because regions of our nation are promoting the cause. Racism is maintained because there is an undercurrent of selfishness that makes us believe that only our personal families matter, and everyone else needs to be shoved to the back of the bus. Once we accept that “decent” is not necessary, but rather, a high-sounding virtue, and we are given permission to be self-involved, the descent into nastiness and bigotry is the bottom of the slippery slope.

I do not believe you can solve your problems in a cloud of dreariness. I do not think that being mature means walking around with a forced sober-mindedness and frowning countenance. I believe that these things have come upon us because we’ve allowed our society to pummel us with negative images of the human spirit under the banner of creative license and introspection.

  • Hurrah to sex! And boo to violence.
  • Show me the light, even if there’s some darkness we have to escape to get there.
  • Edify me with images of human beings superseding the world around them to find the God within them.
  • And please, show me the decency of those who are part of the human family, and have actually reached out to welcome others.

You can continue to be dreary if you want to. You can insist that you do so because you’re more intellectual than I am, and open to “broader ideas.” But Jesus told us the broad path leads to destruction. Sometimes, to find beauty, you have to narrow your vision and look at things that sparkle instead of spit in your eye.

That is my choice. How about you?

Like many other things in the past–such as prejudice, bigotry, fear, anger and selfishness–I am going to choose to pass on the current trend: to be dreary. I am prepared to be accused of being out of step. Because to me, being out of step with this particular army is good … for they seem to be marching toward our destruction.

   

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