Enlightened … October 25, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


child-prayingThere may be nothing more pitiful than a believer who has ceased to have faith in the power of prayer, yet continues to mumble the words,  fearing sacrilege.

Even though churches continue to host seminars on the precepts of prayer, thinking they will unlock some magical formula, the true essence of communicating with the Father as a child is to be forthcoming, and to make sure you arrive at the meeting with all your chores completed.

Did you follow that?

If you will allow me to continue my story concerning arriving at the end of our year in solvency, you will agree with me that being darkened, or cynical, about our problems, is not only useless, but veers toward destruction.

So being practical–counting the cost, finding out how we can contend, having all the ends meet, and controlling as many factors as we can–is ALWAYS the preamble to prayer. After all, any child in a household who shows up asking for more, having not completed the agreed-upon household activities, is certainly headed for a rebuff.

You can’t remove the practical and think you’re going to arrive at the spiritual.

You can’t be Andrew, from the Good Book, asking Jesus to feed the five thousand, without letting him know there are five loaves and two fishes available.

After we finish the practical aspects of counting, contending and controlling, we are ready to have a great one-on-one with our Father in heaven and boldly enter His presence–because we KNOW we have done all we know to do and we can stand.

Then prayer works.

About three years ago I realized that telling people I was going to pray for them without  doing something to assist, was worthless. Even if it was just an encouraging email, a few dollars sent their way, or linking up other people to help them, prayer works best when people have let God know they are invested by offering what their possessions and talents.

Why would God want to invest in a project that we’ve decided is not worth our own time and effort?

Sometimes, for me, it can be hearing about someone who has a brain tumor and putting myself back in a hospital room so many years ago, recalling the sensations of fear that flooded my soul.

It is my investment. So then, when I pray, I am merely trying to get God to follow up on my backing.

It creates a sensation of being enlightened.

I would describe that jubilant revelation as the result of a four-step process:

1. I refuse to focus on the problems and become cynical.

2. I have become practical by counting the cost, deciding how I will contend and taking control where necessary.

3. I am satisfied that my contribution is complete, yet I find there is still a need.

4. I rejoice that I can solicit God to come in to the project and cover the need that is beyond my scope.

There it is.

I feel a great confidence that our traveling team will end this year in total victory. Avoiding the darkened countenance of cynicism while applying the practical of what we have available, we can come with assurance to our heavenly Father and ask Him to contribute.

It’s a great way to live.

The best way to become an agnostic is to pray thinking that God manipulates everything. You will soon become a liar who pretends to be faithful–or you will walk away from your belief because you childishly thought that your Daddy should take care of everything while you watched.

Prayer is powerful because it asks God to believe in what we have already decided to pursue.

Make up your mind:

  • you can follow the world and be darkened and cynical.
  • Or you can apply the practical, which is necessary to fulfill the natural order in which you live.

Having completed that task, you can become enlightened by including your Father in everything you do.

I am confident–not because I’m a religious man, but because I have escaped religion and have begun to move out in everyday workable faith.

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What You Get Is What You See… December 22, 2011

Jonathan in Miami

He handed me a pamphlet. He was obviously very proud of it. It was an advertisement for a seminar on leadership–twenty-four weeks. I glanced down and read the first line written on flap one.  “Training leaders is a complex process.” I felt a big “uh-oh” shudder through my soul. I knew the gentleman was well-intentioned but he had committed the cardinal sin of motivating and working with people. He began his spiel by making it clear it was hard–or as he phrased it, “complex.”

I do not know when it became a symbol of intelligence to portray the follow-through on a plan as being difficult. I guess we feel more noble when there’s some pain associated with our ultimate pleasure. I suppose we fear that unless there are some bruises, there’s no evidence that we’ve survived a conflict.

It just doesn’t work.

When Jesus came to earth, he tried to explain to the religious leaders that they had made everything so difficult that no one could possibly achieve it, let alone desire to pursue it. Simultaneously these same religious leaders failed to offer assistance to their flailing congregations on how to survive the processes.

Jesus said his way was easy. He said, “Come and I’ll give you rest.” He told us to stop worrying. He encouraged us to count the cost and if we found out we couldn’t do it, just to discover a way to make peace with ourselves over our present lacking.

Making things complicated does not make them better. Do you hear that? It is a two-fold problem caused by a two-headed monster. The problem is that most people want to control their lives when the best we can hope for is to contribute. I am fully aware every day as I walk into the great arena of humanity that I certainly do not have all the answers and may not have any. What I have is a backpack of talent and a jug of grace. Those are my two great offerings to humankind–a backpack of talent, which hopefully I have tried and tested and can confidently assert as being intact and ready to go–and a jug of grace, which I am ready to pour out to others for their foibles (and to myself when some of my efforts turn comical).

I am a contributor, not a controller. I would dare say that most people are not happy unless they feel they have control over their lives–and the absence of control is not only inevitable, but may actually be necessary for us to maintain emotional balance, spiritual maturity and mental health.

The reason we feel that life is complex is that deep in our inner parts, we think that when push comes to shove, it will be all up to us. We do not anticipate that other contributors will come along and bolster our contribution to a mutual conclusion. Why is that?  It is caused by the two-headed monster which prompts us to believe that we need to control instead of contribute. Here’s why:

1. “I need to be perfect.” Of course, we aren’t. So when we fall short of the glory of our own expectations, we are forced into a profile of lying to make things look better. Even though people will say they are not perfect, they will go ahead and stomp and stump to make themselves look righteous in every endeavor. Freeing oneself of the need to be perfect–or even to come close–is allowing your being to contribute to a potential blessing instead of trying to control the final score.

But the reason we feel the need to be perfect is the second head of the monster:

2. “We believe that God has a plan.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Almost Biblical. Part of us wants God to be manipulative so we don’t have any responsibility. But how could God have a plan?? He created human beings and gave them free will and then told them that He loved them no matter what, fully aware of their capacity to fall short of the glory of His ideal. If God really had a plan and we kept  turning in “incompletes” in His class, then aren’t we speaking of a salvation endeavor that is doomed to failing grade? God cannot work with human beings and have a plan. Let me reinforce that. I can’t work with human beings and have a plan! Can you? Because if I have a plan and insist on maintaining every iota of its premises, I will end up hating everyone I work with and privately want to kill them.

  • God gives free will.
  • Free will breeds eccentricity.
  • Eccentricity produces evolution.
  • Evolution sparks change towards the more workable.
  • More workable ideas lead to greater understanding and easier labor.
  • Easier labor lends itself to peace of mind
  • And peace of mind takes us right back to God.

This is the glorious circle of life.

So even though my friend thought he was being extraordinarily deep by claiming that training leaders was a complex process, unless he simplifies it down by teaching people to become contributors without needing to control, and that perfection is not necessary to participate because God has not locked into a plan, waiting for us to measure up, he will end up laying a foundation and never constructing a house.

Life is not “what you see is what you get.” Rather, life is “what you get is what you see.”

In other words, today’s opportunity shows up and the fruit of that possibility is borne out only through how we see it and decide to contribute to it. I realize this morning that my day will unfold. My reactions are unknown even to the heavens and the best I can do is contribute, surrendering the foolish notion of controlling.

Contribute. Don’t control. Stop trying to be perfect. Settle for using your talent and extending your mercy–and rejoice because God doesn’t have a plan.

Because if He did … He would probably have to snuff us.


Merry Christmas! Listen to Jangled, below — the snazziest mix of Jingle Bells, Carol of the Bells and Silver Bells you’ll ever hear!


To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!


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