G-Poppers… June 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop received an email from one of his children.

“Dear G-Pop: Why is there so much killing going on?”

He sat for a moment, thinking. Then he sent back this note:

We are in a struggle with anti-matter.

There are human beings who have decided that nothing matters. Once they come to that conclusion, they believe life is insignificant.

You can walk around the fringe of the problem by trying to remove guns, increase background checks and ask law enforcement to be more enforcing. But until you address the heart of the “matter,” these frustrated killers will slip through the safety net.

It is up to each one of us to take care of the “crazies” who surround us and make sure we do our part to prevent the next massacre.

Learn what to listen for.

1. “I don’t matter.”

Whenever you hear anyone state these words, stop what you’re doing and get involved. Listen to them. Take them someplace positive. Give them a reason to exist. Work with them shoulder to shoulder and see if it doesn’t improve the outlook.

2. “You don’t matter.”

Yes, there are folks who will decide for you exactly what your value is and limit the scope of your power. When you run across these people, take them into your home. Let them walk through some of your journey with you. Show them how your faith has feet.

3. “God doesn’t matter.”

Even though many of these murderers use the name of God to justify their mission, they obviously have given up on a Divine Being because they contend He’s given up on all of us. For example, it’s impossible to kill a deer if you think it has a soul or if it has the capacity to talk to you. To turn into a creature of mayhem, you have to believe that human beings are just ants.

And since Jesus told us that each human life is worth “many sparrows,” those who come to the conclusion that God doesn’t matter become dangerous.

At this point, you should invite two friends in. Don’t lay this on yourself. You’re dealing with a serious issue. You have to counsel with other people about the deteriorating scenario with this troubled soul.

The three of you should gently go and share with this person, to reason with him. Perhaps you can get him or her to once again believe in a loving Father and Creator or seek professional help.

4. “Nothing matters.”

When you hear a friend, relative, acquaintance or co-worker state that nothing matters, it’s time to contact the authorities.

You will certainly be afraid that you’re jumping the gun, but in this case that may very well be true. You may be jumping ahead to avoid the destruction of a gun.

When people begin to believe that nothing matters, they are susceptible to dark and evil suggestions which can lead to lasting tragedy.

With every single vicious, gun-slinging event that happens in this country, there are always at least four people who are fully aware of the pending calamity and decide not to interfere.

  • Law enforcement will not be able to solve this problem.
  • Making guns more difficult to acquire will only have limited effectiveness.

We need human beings who are attentive to the situations that come their way–when “anti-matter” tries to turn friends into demons.

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Confessing … December 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XXXI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Three unwise men.

I met them many years ago.

They came my way one at a time, but quickly clumped together because each one was well aware of the exploits of the others, and had gone on many missions together chasing stars.

They had mental problems. This was not my opinion–they had the certificates and hospitalizations to back it up.

Yet I found a place in my heart for each one, and likewise, they were grateful for acceptance, and nestled up close to me.

We worked on Basic Humanity 101: courtesy, respect for women, getting a job, paying your bills, eating well and not putting substances in your body making you Jekyll instead of Hyde.

There was some progress.

Matter of fact, for a few months I felt as if a transforming miracle had swept over the lives of this trio, causing them to sing a new song.

But then it stopped.

I don’t know what it was. The creeping insanity that lingered dragged each one of them down into the pit of despair. Maybe they stopped taking medication. Maybe they saw flaws in me that gave them license to challenge my credibility. I don’t know for sure. But somewhere along the way it became necessary for me to try to salvage their families, their concerns and especially their children.

Yes, eventually these three unwise fellows became my enemies. They didn’t like me anymore. They accused me of being crazy.

My heart was broken because my dream of repairing the breach in their souls was devastated by crumbling results.

I failed. At least, that’s the way I felt.

I took them to the water but they weren’t thirsty enough to drink. So then my mission was to save the children and the wives.

I guess I’m happy to report that the offspring of these three disturbed individuals are no longer under the pressure of being subjected to insanity.

It is a victory.

But I loved these three gentlemen. I still do.

And every day I work a little harder to become understanding, gracious and clear-headed enough to be of value.

But please, don’t tell me that you’re unaware when craziness sets into your friends. Don’t go on television and claim that you were “completely surprised” by the fact that your kin became unkind.

I not only saw that these three guys I worked with had turned a corner, but I was fully aware that they had rejected reasoning in favor of calamity. I had plenty of time to free their kids from danger.

I feel humbled by my lack, encouraged by what I learned, but fully cognizant of the fact that salvation is God’s business … and He is the only one who has the power to truly transform lives.

(Perhaps there is a fourth…)

Confessing The three

 

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Acts-I-Dent… May 22, 2013

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dentAmazing grace is only amazing if it helps us find a way to stop being so stupid.

Even though I am very grateful for grace, mercy and forgiveness, somewhere along the line, I would like to grow up, mature a little bit and not always be standing in the bread line of neediness. If you don’t agree with this, I understand. There are many religious AND non-religious people who find submission to inadequacy to be appealing–or maybe even the definition of humble. I happen to think that you don’t get the CHANCE to be humble until you do something great.

So you see, on Monday when I backed my van into a truck, denting my door (see above picture), I did not feel humbled by the experience because I did NOT achieve anything great.

What I would like to describe is the process my brain unleashed following this little piece of idiocy. When I felt the thump of making contact with the pick-up truck, I thought:

1. “Oh, crap.” Truthfully, it wasn’t crap–but for the sake of discussion, let us keep that word. It is my normal reaction to difficulty. I have not become a supernatural being who welcomes adversity because it builds patience and character.

2. “Oh, no.” The realization came very quickly: I was entering a world of insurance companies, phone numbers, complaints–and fussiness. I hate those places. Sometimes I pursue extra work just to make sure I don’t have to do THAT work. So realizing I was now in an unwelcome realm, I moved to:

3. “Oh–who or what  can I blame?” Let’s be honest–no one wants to look like a loser, so even when we do loser things, we want to make sure that everybody thinks we are winners doing loser activities. To achieve that requires some back-pedaling and manipulation of the story. But since I don’t like to blam eother people for my mistakes, I had a fourth notion, which was:

4. “Oh. Where can I run?” I don’t have very good legs at this point, so escaping the scene of the accident was unlikely (unless I was being trailed by a herd of turtle-constables). So in that split second, when all these conflicting thoughts were jockeying for attention, the first viable inclination surfaced:

5. “Oh. I’m not gonna lie.” I was not going to tell the guy I hit that it was his fault because he hit my rear end. I’ was not going to tell my friends in the van that it was their fault because they distracted me. The cleanliness of that notion quickly took me to:

6. “Oh, It’s my fault.” Okay, okay–no one likes to say it. But the sooner we get to that freeway of understanding, the faster we can exit from our calamity. It was my fault. I can give you excuses. I can tell you I was tired. I can tell you I should have already been in my room instead of out shopping. I might even get your sympathy. But my series of explanations would never get your respect.

It was my fault. And I have the dent to prove it.

That wonderful admission to myself brought about another reassuring ointment to my mind and heart:

7. “Oh–I’ll survive.” I always have. There’s no reason to think this is the one that’ll take me down. Not until I am unconscious, flying away to eternity, will I run across a problem which is beyond my power–based upon my willingness to adjust.

I was not proud of my stupidity. I don’t ask God’s grace to cover it. God’s pretty busy in Oklahoma right now. What I want is to tell you is that the Acts that I put forth Dented my van.

It was me. I am better because I survived the seven-step process–which only lasted two or three seconds in my mind–to finally land in the reality that I will “never be left nor forsaken.

Stop being afraid of the truth and give yourself a chanceto be made free.

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Lame Excuses… October 25, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Woosies, wimps and weenies.

Truthfully, we all probably take our turn donning one of these unfortunate personas. As human beings, we aspire to be sympathetic toward the weaknesses of others, but privately, we really desire that people suffer quietly and find their own means of overcoming. When they don’t, at first we muster a reserve portion of compassion that we save for such an occasion, and then, after an hour or so, we want to either excuse ourselves before we blow our brains out with a gun out of boredom, or accidentally say something mean.

You may not feel as strongly about this as I just stated, but overall, most of us do admire bravery and kind of shrink back from cowardice.

This is why, when I have pulled up lame recently, I have been careful to share–both on jonathots and in my personal life–a sense of well-being along with my candor about my exploits. So I went into my performance last night feeling quite brave and filled with a shield of valor over mixing the joy of honesty with the power of faith.

But you see, somewhere in the cosmos there is a little creature. I envision this booger to be about two feet tall, with fuzzy blond hair sticking straight up, a turned-up nose, a silly grin and big feet, similar in appearance to those of a rabbit. This being seems to have one function–to run into our lives in the midst of what we consider to be an outstanding presentation of balanced living and intelligent choices, and to hop up and down on everything around us, destroying all of our plans while giggling hilariously at his own antics.

I have even given this creature a name. He is a jeeber. His job is to take human beings who have become self-righteous, self-involved, self-piteous or self-aggrandizing about their own efforts, and expose the woosie, wimp and weenie lying beneath. He is so annoying that some people have actually referred to him as the devil, but in reality he possesses no Satanic attributes whatsoever–just a naughty predilection for disruption. Let me give you an example based upon last night.

I was feeling very self-assured that I was handling my current situation with my legs with fortitude. Now, I did have a set-back earlier in the week, when I got my emotional cart before my physical horse and tried to do too much, and ended up falling down in the parking lot of my motel, wallowing for a few moments in the left-over grease of a 1996 Ford Escort. But I was able to recover from that little piece of embarrassment, make better choices and literally regain my footing.

So as I headed off to the church last night to do my show, Janet revealed to me that this particular building had no ramps, so I would be required to roll in and then climb up five or six steps on my ailing limbs. This would also have to be accomplished in front of a few strangers, so I sucked it up, thinking that I was being extraordinarily broad-minded in expressing supernatural willingness.

The the jeeber showed up. The jeeber had all sorts of things planned for me last night in an attempt to expose all of my woosie, weenie and wimp. The steps were not easy, and then, arriving at the top and preparing to do our sound check, I discovered that the power amp for our public address system was not working. Reaching over to try to pick up the amp to do some repair, I jammed my thumb into the piano and began to bleed. No Kleenex could be found to help staunch my bloodiness, so I took a piece of paper to cover up my leakage.

We took the amp back into a room, where I planned to rewire the plug, and the knife I was working with to achieve this purpose slipped from my grasp and I cut the thumb on my left hand. Now I was bleeding in two places. It wasn’t a great loss of blood, just a continual reminder.

I could hear the jeeber laughing.

So I worked on this power amp for about fifteen minutes, realizing the true depth of my intelligence and the full extent of my ignorance. In other words, I couldn’t fix it. So I had to humbly ask our sponsor if we could use one microphone from their system, and Janet procured an amplifier from our car to play her wind machine and we quickly glanced over our program to see which songs would sound just short of horrible without our own security blanket of sound system.

Meanwhile, people were arriving and I was trying to hide my blood flow from the masses, which I think is always an act of extreme courtesy. It was obvious that we were not going to be able to make any kind of normal entrance onto the stage, as most performers are permitted to do, but instead, we remained in the front of the auditorium, trying to piece together a program, resembling janitors cleaning up confetti after a political convention.

While I was trying to figure out how to sop up some of the excess blood from my thumbs, I looked up and suddenly there was a woman standing in front of me, greeting me with the frightening statement: “Do you remember me?”

I could hear the jeeber laughing.

I don’t know how I did it, but I was able to retrieve her name. She was one of my comrades forty years ago in high school. She looked absolutely lovely, and was filled with great spirit, and I looked beleaguered, and perhaps in need, at this point, of a blood transfusion.

I had no idea what was going to happen.

“Woosie Jonathan” wanted to show up and make excuses. He is very good at that, especially when there is so much material available to justify the reasoning. I resisted him.

“Wimpy Jonathan” suggested that we make some sort of joke about the cuts on the hands to gain both sympathy and possibly make an adequate diversion from the lacking of equipment and sound. I dodged him.

Meanwhile, I could hear the giggling of my jeeber from the corner of the room.

Then “Weenie Jonathan” made an appearance. He’s the one that always makes the point that things “aren’t fair.” He wonders why God has allowed additional hassle to arrive when there seemed to be a sufficient arsenal of the weaponry of pain already stockpiled. After all, I was battling my legs, I climbed the stairs … My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

It was a bit of a struggle, but I finally defeated Weenie Jonathan. For here’s the truth. Here is why jeebers exist. They are life’s way of reminding us that we are not as weak as we think we are. If everything actually went according to our aspiring notions, we would never experience any scenario that puts our abilities and talents to a complete test.

The evening was beautiful. The people were luscious. And woosie, wimp and weenie were shuttled off–exit, stage right. I think, around nine o’clock, I saw jeeber stomp out the front door with his big feet flopping, disappointed that he had not gotten more ha-ha’s out of my flaw-flaws.

Anybody can make an excuse, especially when you’re lame. Thus the name: lame excuses. But even though we think we have a case for being a woosie, a wimp and a weenie, there are no feelings of accomplishment when we give into the jeebers. All we feel is typical.

So jeebers, creepers–where’d you get those … well, I’m not sure. But I know this. Because we’re never tempted beyond what we can bear, when it seems that extra hassle arrives, it is one of those rare opportunities to find out if our talent has enough water … to get us through the desert.

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