Ask Jonathots… July 2nd, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I’m living with my boyfriend, and have been for over a year. About every six months, my mom and I get into an argument because she thinks we should get married. Honestly, I just don’t see the need. I love him, he loves me, and if that changes we don’t have to get a divorce. What’s wrong with that?

God looks on the heart.

I’m sure you’ve heard that. He does not look on the outward appearance, but instead, views our intentions.

Your mother is probably concerned about what’s happening in your bedroom, and God is much more concerned about what’s going on in your living room.

In the process of occupying the same home, what are the two of you deciding about living?

For I will tell you, if you’re living together because you want the opportunity to bail out of the relationship without having a lawyer, then it is an unfulfilling situation, which means it’s unrighteous.

This would be true about a marriage also.

There is one rule and one rule alone: we are to love people as we love ourselves.

Honestly, if that’s what you’re doing, then God, who has no intentions of rummaging through your drawer looking for a license, already considers you married.

Yet if you have a license but have no respect for each other, and you treat yourself better than you treat your spouse, God finds the arrangement immoral.

So let’s get it straight.

Long before we discuss marriage, let’s discuss relationship. Because just as surely as someone can go to church and not be a Christian, you can have a ceremony and not be truly married to one another.

God does not have the respect for marriage that we do. Matter of fact, Jesus used the process of being married and making plans to get married to describe the indifferent atmosphere which will exist at the end of the world.

So what are we looking for?

1. Commitment.

Have we decided that we’re going to hang together no matter what happens? If not, we’re just dating. That goes for married couples, too.

2. Do we have a legitimate interest in one another’s dreams?

Asking someone to come along to be a cheerleader is not a relationship.

3. Are we willing to include this other person in the private areas of our heart?

If God looks on the heart, the definition of a Godly love is to allow someone else to look on ours.

4. And finally, are we willing to pledge allegiance to the fidelity of our love?

In other words, when temptations come, rather than ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist, we share our fears and apprehensions.

If you find you have all four of these things with your live-in boyfriend, then you only have one other question.

Would there be an advantage to have a piece of paper which would allow Uncle Sam to give great tax deductions by filing jointly, and also keep your mother at bay, so that all she would have left to complain about is housekeeping?

Do I think marriage is here to stay?

Marriage will always be important if those who truly have a love that is inclusive of one another want to declare to the whole world … and seal it with a kiss.

Got a question for Jonathots? Send it to jacquelinebarnett76@gmail.com.

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Do You …?… July 28, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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eyes

Do you care?

Do you have a way to help?

Or do you feel the need to push your agenda?

I woke up this morning with these three questions percolating in my mind.

Emotionally:

Can I be more honest about the extent of my real commitment instead of making too many promises which cause people to glow with enthusiasm at first, and then, when I fail to deliver, just burn out?

Spiritually:

Do I believe in a caring and helpful God who lifts burdens instead of loading the heavens down onto frail, earthly shoulders?

Mentally:

Do I realize that my training and experience are a beginning of understanding instead of the summit of knowledge? Degrees from universities eventually must translate into some degree of common sense.

Physically:

Can I package and present myself well without competing in an ongoing beauty contest or centering in on the differences in others?

Being valuable means possessing value.

It involves care and help with a minimal agenda.

  • Does my God care?
  • Does He help?
  • Is He locked into an agenda that sounds righteous in a heavenly board meeting that isn’t very practical on the assembly line?

Three questions.

Great questions.

To question is to care.

 

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Arizona morning

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

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Three Reasons to be Kind … June 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hands in mirror1. Mean is a major commitment. Kind, on the other hand, allows room for adjustment.

2. You never know who you don’t knowknows.

3. Joy is not about what we do, but the feeling that remains after we do it.

I don’t have time or energy to maintain a sullen, suspicious or fearful profile. It is exhausting.

If there is no god, then the world needs my help even more. If there is a God, how I treat people is what I think of Him.

I want to be happy.

To achieve that, I must avoid regret and grudges. There are no guarantees … but being kind is safer than being mean.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Money Brick Part II … January 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hand money

I have had folks pat me on the back. Very nice.

Brothers and sisters have lifted me up in prayer. Divinely encouraging.

I have received a letter of exhortation from a stranger. Brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve gotten awards. Very rewarding.

I’ve had a hug and a kiss. No complaints.

I’ve received many standing ovations from audiences all across this country. Exhilarating.

But I can tell you that nothing is a greater pat on the back, prayer, letter, award, hug, kiss and applause than when somebody simply slips some money in my hand.

I don’t mean to sound materialistic. It’s just knowing that people are separating themselves from their own sustenance to give to me, with no strings attached, honoring me to do something beautiful with it.

I don’t know–maybe I’m just a little giddy over the first fruits of a new idea. For as I took my money brick this week, small as it is, and began to distribute off little morsels to the birds God sent my way, I felt empowered with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I didn’t give money to homeless folk. I have nothing against those without an address. But this week I sought out individuals who are keeping the faith, trying to maintain a great attitude, but finding themselves a dollar short of a smile.

  • A lady I met who’s trying to survive on her social security, which seems to be shrinking even as she holds it in her hands.
  • A young man who pursues what some people would consider a demeaning job, but rather than seeking other ways to procure his grits and gravy, he chooses to take on the task.
  • A young mother who is struggling with her three pre-school children, maintaining the sweetest attitude this side of heaven, who just needed a reason to stop and pick up something for herself.

Time and time again folks were brought in front of me who just needed encouragement.

I don’t know about you–sometimes I get tired of talking about the problems in the world, or honestly, just insisting that I’m going to share my thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I don’t think it’s any substitute for taking what’s in our hands and releasing it to others.

I encourage you to get your own money brick. At first you might feel a bit of embarrassment over how tiny it is, but five dollars divided into quarters is really quite impressive.

Somehow or another we have to express to one another the depth of our commitment, the desire to be connected and the willingness to endure.

Often a pat on the back is not enough.

But a dollar, given at just the right moment, is a statement that not only “in God we trust,” but that we also trust … one another.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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So, Sow… December 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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farmerEveryone wants to be unique–yet no one wants to be peculiar.

Unique means “one of a kind.” To gain that individuality, you have to step away from the herd, chew your grass differently and end up producing fortified milk.

But in our society unique is defined as “doing what I want in the moment.” The absence of finding a position makes it unclear to those around where to find you.

Our culture teaches this ridiculous concept: let me reap and then I’ll sow–I promise.

In other words, “give me a reason to become excited and I’ll become excited.”

“Give me money and I’ll invest.”

“Give me a climate where everyone agrees with my philosophy, and I’ll embrace them with love.”

“Give me the funds for education, the books for reading and the classroom for receiving and I will eventually turn into a student.”

“Give me sex and I’ll consider love.”

“Grant me financial security and I will give my best impersonation of happy.”

“Take away hassle and I will try not to be grumpy.”

“Remove intimidation and bullying and I will show up to give you a better adequate performance.”

“Take away all the things that make life human and I will show you how divine I can be.”

This insipid thinking revolves around the word “unconditional.”

  • Unconditional love: take me as I am and critique nothing.
  • Unconditional faith: believe as I do and question nothing.
  • Unconditional politics: be Republican or Democrat, swallow the pill and support the party.
  • Unconditional romance: love me even though I have stopped loving myself by refusing to move in the direction of improvement.
  • And on top of this, we use the dynamic of God‘s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy as the model for this ludicrous acceptance of mediocrity.

Let’s look at the way it was meant to be from the foundation of the world:

I promise to sow so I can reap.

There is nothing that will be harvested from our life journey unless we have first planted our seed.

There is nothing that is guaranteed without our focus and commitment.

And there is no way that reaping will occur before sowing–or the entire cosmos will implode.

I sat around a table last night with family and friends to celebrate my birthday. But we did not celebrate the passing of a year adding to my longevity. What we celebrated was my belief in the treasure of sowing … to reap.

Stop cheating yourself out of the joy of human life. You will never reap until you sow. No matter how much you plead and beg for a loan from the universe, the heavens will turn a deaf ear … until you can bring collateral.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

I “Loke” You … November 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I heart youOf course, it will never catch on.

Even though my made-up word, “loke,” is the perfect blending of like and love, and in so being, expresses the balance necessary for human relationships, we will keep the two words, like and love, as distant fourth cousins.

But after many years of travel, sharing, writing and counseling, I will tell you that like and love are the best way to build a life with another human being without feeling compelled or forced.

You may say to yourself, there are people you like and people you love, but if you analyze it, you might discover that the very best interactions you have with others are when these two words merge and become as one.

Let’s look at the word like. What does it mean?

  1. I have confidence in your abilities.
  2. I enjoy being with you.
  3. We have fun.

Now, no one would believe that those three elements are enough for building a marriage or lasting partnership. But they certainly make life more pleasant. After all, lacking confidence in another human being, failing to enjoy their presence and not having mutually satisfying experiences brings “duty” to the forefront and pushes “party” to the rear.

How about love?

  1. I have made a decision to commit to being with you.
  2. Because of that, I have forgiveness ready and at hand.
  3. You make me want to be loyal.

Love is a sealant to commitment. It creates confidence that even when things aren’t likable, they don’t have to end. It is God finding a way to forgive, even when the sin or iniquity may seem to be insurmountable.

So when I hear people say they love me, or that God loves me, I understand they’re saying they have decided to make a commitment, forgive me when necessary and be loyal. But honestly, what I want to hear is the word like included in that proclamation:  I want you to have confidence in my abilities, enjoy being with me and come to have fun.

The marriages that work are those that blend like and love to create my manufactured “loke.” The relationships that merely endure focus on the love and tend to give up on likability.

I would encourage you to learn how to “loke” people.

Because even though I’m glad that God loves me … I really want Him to like me.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Ah-choo … September 10, 2012

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I like to sneeze. I didn’t used to like to do it. At one time in my life, I thought every sneeze was a precursor of the common cold, lending itself to bronchitis or even pneumonia. I now realize that a sneeze can be quite a pleasant experience–the body’s way of expelling something unnecessary in the nasal passages so the little troupers can work better. If you think about it, a sneeze feels good–clears the head and lends itself to an invigorating nose blowing. It’s not only healthy to sneeze, it’s also quite beneficial to accept the fact that sneezinghappens (although I don’t think you’ll ever see that on a bumper sticker).

Original caption: Not faked. I was trying to t...

Original caption: Not faked. I was trying to take a hankie photo cos I have a cold and sneezed! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the question: what else happens? What other factors are so common to us as human beings–and needful–that they pepper our existence every day?I can immediately think of two: failure and fear.

Let me play prophet. I predict that you, sometime during this twenty-four-hour period, will experience a failure, and will need to deal first-hand with a fear cropping up in your life. You see? That’s a guarantee.

After all, chances are you won’t win the lottery. It’s unlikely someone will walk up on the street and tell you how beautiful you are. You probably won’t get that promotion. And rainbows are saved for special occasions–or we wouldn’t pull the car over to stop and look at them. What IS going to happen to every human being every single day is failure and fear.

Now, nobody wants to talk about this because it sounds negative. But believing that failure and fear are negatives is similar to thinking that every sneeze is going to lead to death. Just as the common sneeze is available to us to expel unnecessary invaders in our sinuses, failure and fear come into our lives to excavate and evict emotional, spiritual and mental intruders. It’s just hard to understand that. It’s difficult when anticipation paints such a beautiful picture of what could be–to end up, in its place, with a smeared finger-painting done by a five-year-old.

Failure hurts. Then fear comes along to try to relieve the pain by replacing it with an ache of its own. And then, of course, we have the compounding situation that we begin to experience failure because we’re afraid. So on top of the natural conclusions that happen via time and chance, we add unnecessary decisions brought about by weakness and anxiety.

So how can we learn to be the kind of people who approach failure and fear like we do sneezing? After all, spirituality is not expressed through the amount of study we pursue, but through the confidence that is left behind through the graduation.

If you believe in God, your face should look more hopeful than the face of someone who doesn’t believe. It can’t be faked; it has to be real.

Since I am going to fail, what is my best reaction to the inevitable shortcoming that invites my long-suffering? Jesus said it was good cheer. Of course, good cheer sounds like something we wish people at Christmas time, as we are surrounded by bows, presents, pine trees and holly. But good cheer is the awareness that filure is our friend. Good cheer knows that most failure is the way to get rid of bad ideas, and if we stop resisting the natural conclusion to pursuing an inadequate path, we don’t have to waste time having our feelings hurt or wondering where we made a bad turn.

The only real certainty in life is uncertainty. So how can I co-exist with an uncertain life plan and still be of good cheer? It’s really quite plain: prepare to adjust.

For instance, when they repair your car, they tell you to come in later on to have it adjusted. We don’t question that–it makes sense. Driving down the road can shake things up, make things different and loosen up parts. We gladly comply. Yet when we make repairs on our lives, we think they should be air-tight and never need a good screw-down. Ridiculous.

Good cheer is the willingness to watch out for signs that tell us we need to adjust, and then to go ahead and do it without feeling loss or frustration over the revision. That is what keeps us from fear.

Fear is what comes into our lives when we lose love. What is love? Love is a committed affection. So fear enters our thoughts when we lose our commitment. And what should we be committed to do? Pursuing our plan and preparing to adjust. It’s not merely pursuing our plan. We must be willing to commit to the evolution that is inevitable in all things earth-bound.

And then we have to maintain the affection. You see, there are people who make corrections to their previous plans, but they do it in such a nasty, angry way that they abandon the joy and fun in the process. Is there anything uglier than feeling compelled to do good? Affection for life is what gives us passion for each other, ending up with yearning to have a closeness with God.

When we lose our commitment, the fear of what is going to happen next overwhelms us. When we walk away from our affection, the fear that we’ve placed our faith in the wrong project taunts us.

Ssince failure and fear are as common as sneezing, and we intelligently follow the action of sneezing with, “God bless you,” we should follow all failure with good cheer and all hints of fear with love–a committed affection.

In conclusion, I will tell you that in touring on the road, my plans are dashed dialy without apology or the courtesy of a phone call. I am often frightened by the mortality of aging and the limitations of my skill and finance.

What I do is maintain my sense of good cheer by fully being aware that God has nothing to gain by making me look like a fool. I overcome my fear by recommiting to quality ideas that are evolving and finding new reasons to give a big hug to why I do what I do in the first place.

Failure and fear are much like sneezing. They help us expel foreign objects from our being that intend us no good. If you can learn to at least understand them, if not enjoy them, you gain the control of your next move and brighten the countenance of your future.

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