Good News and Better News… December 19th, 2016

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“Jesus was born to die.”

That’s what the preacher said.

He seemed pretty sure of it, too, because he kept repeating it over and over again during his “sermonic” pursuit.

I listened carefully. Here was the premise for the assertion–the best I understood it:

God, who created the universe, decided on His own, from the foundation of the world, that He would save the human race (which was not yet placed in the Garden of Eden) from their sinful nature, which they had not yet manifested.

It seems that since God made these creatures called humans, He placed within them a self-destruct switch, which is triggered and causes them to pull up lame, inept and basically evil.

So God put Himself in charge of them and each of their destinies, plotting their lives, and moved them about like fleshy chess pieces, understanding that in the long run, the end result of the game would be “checkmate.” In other words, they would need a Savior, and such an individual would have to come to the world as one of them, but be secretly enhanced with the dynamic advantage of knowing that his preaching, healing, conversations, or even established relationships were basically doomed, and that ultimately, his purpose for arriving on the planet was to slowly bleed out on a cross and die for the irreconcilable imperfections of humankind.

Although there are many scriptures from this God which inform us that He completely disapproved of animal sacrifice and found it gross, we are led to believe that He ignored those sentiments and killed a human being to prove that His initial idea of “original sin” was correct.

We are to ignore the birth of this son named Jesus in deference to his death.

We are to consider his teachings, but understand that basically, because of our faulted and feeble frame, we are incapable of living out his ideas.

Motivation to aspire, dream and grow is removed from us because basically without this “saving plasma,” we are completely lost and without remedy.

We are never to look on the cross as something that happened to Jesus, but rather, for some mysterious reason, something that Jesus caused to happen.

Even though we tout that human beings have free will, we quietly negate such a notion in favor of destiny, God’s will and a pre-formed path for each and every human unit.

Then we stand back and wonder why these human beings that were created seem vacant of expressing passion or goodness, but are constantly weeping over their failures in an attempt to be worthy of their salvation, and therefore feel a need, to some degree, to constantly re-start their appreciation for the blood atonement.

We just can’t wait to get the baby to the cross.

We have a lapse in our theology because we do not understand that God, being God, is completely able to give us choice while simultaneously having insight on where things might be going.

We do it with our own children. We have fears and apprehensions that they will struggle in certain areas, but we never take away the opportunity for them to surprise us. In other words, a disobedient five-year-old who breaks a lamp and giggles about it is not immediately sent to jail.

No, we give him another chance.

So during this blessed season, I wanted to offer a counter-view to this preacher who was so positive that Baby Jesus is just a prop on the way to Calvary.

For here’s the good news. It’s found in John 3:16:

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.”

But the better news is in the next verse, where it’s made clear why Jesus came. It states:

“God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world.”

 

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Ask Jonathots … December 1st, 2016

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Do you think Christmas is too commercial?

Every year when I watch the original movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” there is a small speech delivered by one of the young men in the cast. Even though the movie was done in the late 1940’s, he laments, in his soliloquy that Christmas is too commercial.

So it is nothing new.

I would never question the sincerity of those who are concerned about keeping the purity and message of Christmas. But I will say that such complaining is contrary to the story itself.

The first Christmas was a tiny, nearly unnoticed intrusion on a world of commercialism. Augustus Caesar was taxing the empire, innkeepers were making so much money that they had no room for two vagabonds coming in the middle of the night, and the shepherds were busy watching their flocks.

Things were bought, things were sold.

In the midst of that, an absolutely miraculous event occurred–which rattles the world to this day.

The message of Christmas did not need much space to gain place.

If department stores want to make a dollar and other folks wish to focus on decorations and North Pole shenanigans, Baby Jesus still seems to always win out–just like he did that First Noel.

Why?

  • Because “peace on Earth, good will toward men” is necessary to keep the stores open.
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself” creates the environment for capitalism to flourish.
  • And Saint Nicholas probably wouldn’t give a crap about children if he hadn’t learned it from Jesus, who made young ones a strong part of his mission.

So when you hear people sneer about the “commercialism of Christmas,” please understand that the first time angels were heard singing on high, the world was either asleep, gambling or finding ways to increase the profit margin.

Caesar is dead, the innkeeper has passed along … but Baby Jesus is still rocking the world.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Unwise… December 23, 2012

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They followed a star. Folks thought that was crazy.

Folks be wrong.

They left their homes. The real estate community frowned.

Realtors were erred.

They went to a foreign land. The Chamber of Commerce was concerned.

The Chamber was short-sighted.

They were individuals who looked up to the heavens, believing that something better than what they had might just be hatching.

They were right.

How could they have possibly known? Knowing is over-rated. Believing and having the tenacity to follow your faith while simultaneously learning from your experience is the only path that really brings fulfillment.

Yet even though they were wise men, they did do one thing very unwise. Upon arriving in Judea, they decided to check in with the local king–Herod–to see if he knew anything about this magnificent vision in the heavens which was proclaiming the birth of a new king. I’m sure they weren’t ignorant–just naive. It’s really the only mistake they made.

And those people who believe in God today, who trust politicians to pursue noble causes, make the identical boo-boo. Politicians suck–and when they stop sucking, they get more money to make sure they can continue to suck. They struggle for power, with no idea of how they are going to use that energy to benefit mankind.

Even though the wise men try to later correct their error by avoiding Herod upon their exit from Bethlehem, they set in motion the wrath of a jealous political despot, who ends up killing children, saddening men and women, and temporarily exiling the hope of the world. It is important for us to learn from their misstep. So here is the greatest formula for finding the Spirit of Christmas: Follow the star. Ignore the king.

There you go. Take this wonderful season to find your faith–what you really believe is important–and then be wise. Don’t try to market your ideas to the kings of commerce, government and religion. They will just take the purity of your intentions and use it for disastrous conclusions.

So how can we follow the star? How can we keep our eyes lifted up to discover the light in dark circumstances? I will give you two philosophies to follow which will always lead you back to Baby Jesus. If you successfully stay away from the kings–that mainly being religion and politics–you will keep these nasty forces from slaughtering off the innocent souls of human beings. Here are the two principles:

  1. NoOne is better than anyone else.
  2. Don’t complain.

You put those two together as a lifestyle, and you will find yourself not only empowered with greater hope, but of deep value to those around you because you will abandon your agenda to be superior while simultaneously eliminating your annoying sensation to be cantankerous. What do religion and politics love? They love to make some people better than other people, while inciting their constituencies to complain about the condition of the world. The end result is disgruntled people who are looking for reasons to fight with others.

The wise men followed the star but tried to involve the king. It didn’t work. Neither can you propose to work in a religious system that is non-responsive to human need and a political one that is oblivious to truth, justice and the American way, and ever achieve anything wise.

Keep a good attitude, believe deep in your heart that no one is better than anyone else, do your best to stop complaining, and you will find yourself kneeling at the cradle of the Messiah.

Now, there’s a Christmas message:

Follow the star. Ignore the king.

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