PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Little Laddy

Come, get a look at me

Learn the ways from what you see

Total, whole, completely

I am the sample

Your living example

Of what you need to be.

Should you smile

A surly profile?

Fishing perch

Pray in church

Treat her kind

Blow her mind

I am ever-blessin’

A bloodline lesson

When facing defeat

Should you cheat

Never cry

Don’t be shy

Savor the lie

Don’t ask why

Always be a man

Share what you can

Feed the strong

Try to get along

But don’t back down

Love the loveable

Honor the usable

Cling to those of your own mind

Gather with folks of your kind

Watch, listen, don’t object

Note results

Practice affect

When you’re older

You’ll be bolder

The world grows colder

Justify to her

While life seems to blur

What you heard, saw and trust

It will make you one of us

So relax and observe, my little laddy

Someday you’ll become just like Daddy.

 

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-where-did-we-go-wrong

Take What You Can Get

How you treat me

I can’t predict

How I treat you

Is in my power

Waiting for your appreciation

Stalls my progress

Giving forth your portion

Cleans my conscience

Do I want to be powerful

Or find solace in generosity?

Is there any victory in your defeat

Or just a hollow chest thump?

Where did we go wrong?

How does winning become joy

If losing destroys my warmth

Leaving me cold and vacant?

We don’t need to be friends

To cease the gnawing strife

Agreement may escape our grasp

But sweet Spirit grants space

Everything doesn’t need to be right

To chase the wrong away

Just a respect for one another

Manifested each and every day

 

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Good News and Better News … September 19th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-marlette

It is utterly amazing how many potholes on the highway of progress can be gloriously filled in with the marvelous cement of enthusiasm and repentance.

Although many people tout the power of thinking and prayer, our thoughts are often stuck in the past, and our prayers can be pious.

When I arrived in Marlette, Michigan, to meet up with Pastor Dave and the human beings who inhabit that region, I was looking for enthusiasm and repentance. Nothing of any significance is going to happen without this pair of miracle-workers.

Enthusiasm has a simple message: “I want to be happy.”

And repentance comes along cleansing the process by offering, “And I realize I may have to change to get it.”

Without enthusiasm. we eventually regress to complaining. And absent repentance, we always become “makers of great excuse.”

I was so pleased to encounter one friend after another in this gathered array of Michiganders, who expressed enthusiasm, and with tears in their eyes, realized the necessity of repentance.

Throughout my journey I have discovered that politics does not work because it’s so afraid of failure that it lies.

Education is limited because without the spunk of perseverance, it may not survive.

And religion is nearly comical because it pursues salvation without revering personal responsibility.

But the magic of enthusiasm followed by the anointing of repentance turns the human race into a livable sort, making folks able to co-exist with one another without gossip and murder.

I think this begins with how we answer the question, “How are you?”

We can decide to hide our feelings and say “fine” with varying degrees of apathy, or we can launch into a series of woes about our present condition, hoping for sympathy.

But I have found the perfect answer to “how are you?Here it is: “At first, a little overwhelmed, but by nightfall, kind of surprised at how well things turned out.”

I shall always remember the folks in Marlette with Pastor Dave and his evolving outreach. They brought to the sanctuary enough enthusiasm to welcome repentance.

That’s the good news.

The better news?

It turns out that enthusiasm and repentance are much easier to work with than defeat and stubbornness.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Three Ways to Overcome the Blahs … July 10, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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blahThe “blahs” are when the blues collide with the “bah” from your “humbug.”

This occurs if we decide that the present circumstances seem to lack promise, so we are pre-prepared for sadness and defeat.

In my opinion, it is the struggle of the conscience, procrastination and disappointment–our conscience being the part of us that wants to do right; procrastination, the urge to put it off until tomorrow; and disappointment, the bad mood we find ourselves in because of the results so far.

Yes, when these three are conflicted, emotions dull, the spirit goes to sleep, the brain goes on automatic pilot and the body becomes overly demanding and aggressive.

Therefore, we over-react, over-compensate and over-eat.

So what can we do?

Well, it’s a good idea to minister to these three parts of you, since they’re not going to go away.

The best way to convince your conscience that you intend on participating in a righteous path is to:

1. Tell the truth.

Yes, first be honest with yourself. Sometimes simply stating aloud what is troubling you is enough to break the dreariness of the blahs.

In handling procrastination, my best suggestion is:

2. Do something dreamy today.

Yes, instead of ignoring what you’ve always said you wanted to do, find a simple representation of your goals and aspirations and put it into practice immediately.

If you’re a fisherman and you can’t go out fishing, simply go to the store and purchase a new lure for your tackle box.

If you’re a person who wants to be a seamstress and you don’t have time to sew right now, buy a beautiful bolt of cloth as a reminder.

Yes, bring to remembrance why you do what you do, for procrastination is not a terminal disease that infects us, but rather, a blemish on our skin that needs treatment and will go away if we don’t insist that it’s here to stay.

You have a dream. Find a piece of it and enact it.

And finally, when disappointment threatens to close down all motivation:

3. Go out and give something away that you’re not using.

It seems a little contradictory that the best way to handle feeling cheated is to become generous, but actually, since receiving must always begin with giving, you will be astonished at how quickly your disappointment leaves when you bring joy to another person over something you’re not putting to use anyway.

  • Tell the truth.
  • Do something dreamy.
  • And give something away.

You’ll be astonished at how your “humbug” will no longer feel any “bah” … and your blues will brighten into a new day.

 

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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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Jesonian: Show Me the Father … June 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus talking to a discipleAnd Phillip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father and it will be enough for us.”

Jesus said, “Phillip, don’t you realize after all these years of traveling together, that my goal has been to not only show you the Father but to be a good Father.”

Because a good father gives his children permission to be happy. He gives them a path to happiness. And he walks them to the door.

Even when they feel poor in spirit, he tells them that they can survive the tough times.

Don’t be afraid to cry, says a good father. I’ll be there to comfort you.

And by the way, be meek. You don’t have to be mean to get what you want.

But it’s very important to get an appetite for life, because if you’re hungry and thirsty, you will be filled.

A good father shows mercy because he knows it’s the only way to get mercy.

“Son, don’t be macho. And my daughter, please don’t use your feminine wiles. Have a pure heart. Be prepared to feel.”

Make peace. Ignore trouble makers. It may sound simple, but where you find peace, you find God.

You will be beaten, but you don’t have to lose. You will be attacked but defeat is unnecessary.

You will be humiliated and mocked. Do yourself a favor–let it go.

For my son and my daughter, I am your father. What you’ve seen me do, make it your own. And in the end, we can rejoice and be exceedingly glad … together.

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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

 

 

Earthy … April 22, 2013

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mother earthAn interesting thought: what if it ends up that God welcomes people into heaven based upon how they honored the earth?

What if all the religious practice, doctrines, commandments, orders of service, liturgy and religious shenanigans were unimportant, and what really matters is what we’ve done with our home–earth?

There is basis for it, you know. The Bible says  “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Jesus said that the lily is more beautiful than the wealth of kings. He pointed out that not a single sparrow could fall to the earth without God’s full attention. Of course, we should never forget that even the Lord’s Prayer, which is a basic staple of religious function, states clearly that God’s will is to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Yes, what if Father God is most concerned about how we treat Mother Earth?

We do know that He arrived to find earth without form and void. Can I be honest with you? Sometimes that’s the way it appears to me. It just seems that nothing is coming together correctly and often no one cares.

But rather than giving up on it, conceding defeat and accepting it as formless and empty, God moved across the face of the waters. Is that what He wants me to do? Does He want me to leave my perch of piety and interact with the earth with my presence? Am I sitting around waiting for Him to change the world while He is waiting for me to do the same?

And then, God said, “Let there be light.” Am I going to be evaluated on how much light I bring to the darkness? Am I going to be questioned about how I treated the earth, loved the people of the earth and even about how I took care of myself while on earth?  And do I have the patience to work with this habitat around me until something good happens? (Of course, I would still need to be able to discern good and bad.)

On this Earth Day, it is well worth considering that perhaps this entire adventure we call human life is about producing evidence that what we feel and believe actually can affect our environment.

I’m not so sure a prayer opens the gates of heaven. I’m not positive that just believing in God, without loving people and honoring Mother Earth, will make me a candidate for eternal bliss.

So while we believe in grace and we’re thankful for salvation, it certainly wouldn’t hurt us to take a moment to honor Earth by bringing the light of hope, the presence of our passion and the willingness to see good … to this ailing planet.

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Losing It … August 17, 2012

  • Loser — Part 4
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“He that would gain his life…”

Behold, my dear, sweet friends. We are a nation of control freaks. Unfortunately, we only recognize the vice in others while failing to acknowledge the behavior in ourselves. When we are accused of being manipulative, we respond by saying that we’re only trying to take control, maintain control and eliminate defeat. It has become a mantra–defending indefensible positions with the idea that he who yells the loudest and curses the most will win the day and therefore, be proven correct.

Here’s an insight: there is an actual truth that often exists outside of our willfulness. With that reality at work, we must understand that when we take control and we are erred, those around us–and we ourselves–are in danger and at the mercy of poor judgment. If we maintain control without allowing in fresh ideas, then we are trapped in the scenario of our own making, which has already been proven to be unsuccessful (just look at the economy). If on top of taking and maintaining control, we insist that the way to eliminate defeat is to prove that we are walking in a victorious life, we will find ourselves needing to deceive, embellish and lie to keep from being discovered as a failure. This philosophy, although popular, is not only fallacious, but dangerous.

” … shall lose it.”

Yes. “He that would gain his life shall lose it.”

When you try to take control and you, yourself, are not really in control, you end up losing out because you’re ill-prepared for the natural hassle that comes along to question your authority. Hassle is the great equalizer that bypasses race, ethnicity, religion and gender–and just makes us all wiggle and squirm under the same uncomfortable conditions.

If you’re trying to maintain your control, you will find yourself in the dastardly position of being unwilling to evolve with the revelation of truth. Isn’t it amazing that we have fought wars to defend concepts that were already against our better interests? Hundreds of thousands of Americans died between 1861 and 1865 over the institution of slavery, which had already been determined by many nations of the world to be immoral and arcane. But the war raged because men and women were unwilling to evolve towards inevitability.

And the final reason that “he that would gain his life shall lose it” is that rather than being challenged and enlivened by difficulty and defeat, we are taught to recoil, pull up lame and be bruised by our setbacks. I don’t know whether we get an opinion on anything–it is a luxury that ignorant people often take, delaying a better path–but I tell you this: you definitely do not get an opinion on your losses. The only thing you can do is acknowledge them, learn from them, adjust to them and grow through the experience as you try afresh.

As you can see, the greatest opportunities in life do not occur when we are winning, but rather, by the repositioning we do when confronted by inevitable failure.

“He that will lose his life …”

Now THERE’S something nobody wants to do. But we’re not speaking of totally forsaking all of our individuality, but instead, just taking a moment to count the cost of the pressing transition that is coming our way. Yes–actually thinking about what is around the corner and how it may be different instead of assuming that yesterday’s life will be Xeroxed. If we finally relinquish our pettiness to the joyful conclusion that life IS changing, we have the ability to begin to maintain our good cheer. Good cheer is just the awareness that nothing is going to be the same, but God will go with us as long as we don’t give up.

This grants us the flexibility to do one of the more intelligent maneuvers in life–adapt quickly. Everyone who stands against a reasonable premise ends up being ground under by the wheels of progress.

Count the cost of change. Maintain your good cheer and adapt quickly. It may feel like you’re losing your life, or at least your sense of domination, but it always ends up …

“…shall gain it.”

Yes, “he that will lose his life shall gain it” because he or she will avoid the delay caused by stubbornness. I’ve even seen folks who knew they would eventually have to give into new ideas continue to dig their heels in to make some sort of foolish point about their freedom to object. What a waste of time. If you’re not stubborn, you can actually join the committee and be involved in the process of the change.

I do not know what is going to happen in this country on any given issue, but there is one central theme that is universal in the United States of America: we never take liberty away from any individual without paying the price and feeling completely foolish afterwards. Every race and nationality has taken its turn at being the underdog, and those who stubbornly held that position and repelled these individuals always ended up looking like the villains in a Stephen King movie–black hats and all.

If you can be involved in the process of change, you get the privilege of surviving, to end up living better.

“He that would gain his life shall lose it, and he that will lose his life (for my sake),” Jesus said, “shall gain it.”

Losing is not painful. It is predictable. It is what we spend most of our time doing and the least amount of time training for. How ridiculous.

  • Just like the Olympic athletes who win bronze, we need to take as much out of the experience as we possibly can without insisting that we’re all equally winners.
  • Just like Jesus, who hung on a cross, sometimes the reasons for our affliction are not obvious on Day One. Often, it is on the third day that we will rise to the occasion.
  • And just like me, you don’t need to feel beautiful to do beautiful things. Apparently, only one person is the prettiest, so everybody else better get a grip, because beauty will not win the day. Wisdom always trumps comeliness.
  • And if you would gain your life, you must learn how to lose. Lose with style, grace, awareness, flexibility and good cheer.

May I close this whole series with three easy-to-remember thoughts?

1. Don’t be sure, be pure. (Be honest about what you know and what you don’t know–and be prepared to know more.)

2. Don’t resist, persist. (Keep moving towards liberty and justice for all. God is always right there somewhere in the midst.)

3. Don’t be right, capture the light. (The ability to win an argument is not a guarantee that you’ve won the day. There are principles at work that will always carry on no matter how well you argue and fuss about your own opinion.)

Losers–we share it in common. It makes us love each other. It’s what we all understand about each other. It’s what makes us all … brothers and sisters.

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