Jesonian … November 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Throughout the history of Christianity, a debate has raged over Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Early in the 20th Century, a doctrine arose which found favor with many people because it stressed that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The fact that this blending is ridiculous didn’t come to anybody’s mind at the time, and so the concept endures. If you study heresy and false teachings, you will find that most of the error centers in on trying to make Jesus too heavenly, instead of focusing on his humanity.

I think the clarifying statements are found in the Book of Hebrews. Allow me to give you three which center my mind on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived a completely human life, while filled with the Spirit:

1. “He was tempted in all ways like we are yet found without sin.”

2. “He was touched by our infirmities.”

3. “He learned obedience through the things he suffered.”

That list just describes a typical human life. After all, nobody talks about how grumpy Uncle Ed was after he’s dead; likewise, the notion that “Jesus was perfect” was not touted during his lifetime.

The truth is, Jesus’ actions were found to be perfect. In other words, after the passage of time and working out of circumstances, we can say that he lived a perfect life.

Needless to say, when we’re told he “learned obedience,” it is perfectly understandable that he did nor arrive with it. Like all of us, instruction was in order.

But if you go to the statement, “touched by our infirmities,” a definition is in order. What are the infirmities of all human beings?

A. We get physically sick.

B. We get emotionally depressed.

C. We get spiritually misguided.

D. We get mentally confused.

These are our infirmities.

And since Jesus was touched by them, if we would take the time to more carefully study his life instead of working so desperately to discover a new twist on communion, we might just welcome in a new generation that would be blessed and astounded by His choices.

Now, I will not bore you with my many rambling examples of how Jesus suffered under these infirmities. To me, that’s what church and your search should be about.

Christianity could advance its cause by studying Jesus.

Did Jesus become physically ill? There are numerous activities that have no explanations–like him slipping into the wilderness for seclusion, or the fact that he waited four days to come and tend to his friend, Lazarus. Was he sick? Under the weather? Fighting off the “Galilee bug?”

We can make a good case for him being depressed. After explaining to 5000 people that he was not going to be their caterer, but that they needed to come to “learn his ways,” the Bible says they all left him–except the twelve. In a moment of true humanity, he turned to those twelve and said, “Will you go away also?”

Was Jesus ever spiritually misguided? I think choosing Judas to be a disciple, and on top of that the treasurer of the troop, was at least spiritually optimistic. And the faith he put into the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, who didn’t really want help–but Jesus healed him anyway and then the fellow turned into a snitch and sided with the Pharisees–shows that he was a bit misguided.

Was he mentally confused? He certainly stayed too long in Nazareth–so long that they resented him and tried to kill him. And I think he was a little confused by his upbringing and prejudice, when he called the Syrophoenician woman “a gentile dog.”

The Gospel writers had no problem including the foibles of the personality of Jesus in their story lines–and he was apparently fully aware of some indiscretions, because he came to John to be baptized. Was it just pretense, or did he have things he regretted?

We are also told by Jesus that we would do greater things than he did–because he was going to the Father to cheer us on.

If the church wants to survive the present dispersion, it needs to bring the focus back onto Jesus–his style, his personality, and his humanity. In doing so, he can become the Elder Brother we so desperately need, and he can truly fulfill his mission … which was to show us the Father.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

 

Dear Man: Have you done any thinking about our discussion?

 

Dear Woman: Discussion? What discussion?

 

Dear Man: Are you getting senile?

 

Dear Woman: Don’t you have to be old for that?

 

Dear Man: No, just forgetful.

 

Dear Woman: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. The flirting thing.

 

Dear Man: “Flirty Thirty.”

 

Dear Woman: You know, it’s really true. I just feel better when I know that I’m attractive, and I also feel that I am giving good things to people when I let them know that they have beauty also.

 

Dear Man: That was really well said.

 

Dear Woman: So therefore I’m not senile?

 

Dear Man: We shall see. Let’s continue. After you get done with the “Flirty Thirty”–that 30% of each of us that needs to feel attractive–you move into the “Heavenly Seventy.”

 

Dear Woman: The name’s a little cute.

 

Dear Man: I know. But it does help you remember it.

 

Dear Woman: I suppose. So what is the “Heavenly Seventy?”

 

Dear Man: It’s the part of the relationship between men and women which is completely lost because we’re so self-absorbed with maintaining differences, hoping that the thirty percent of flirtation will carry the relationship through.

 

Dear Woman: Thirty percent isn’t a whole of anything.

 

Dear Man: Exactly. But what we’re afraid of is the word “human.” Matter of fact, we’re so frightened that anyone who says “human being” or “human race” is looked on as a doctor–or a hippie from the 1960s.

 

Dear Woman: Why do you think that’s true?

 

Dear Man: I don’t want to subscribe to conspiracy theories, but there is an abiding notion that if we can keep each other separated by color, culture and gender, then we can continue to feel superior to some group and therefore, establish our dominance.

 

Dear Woman: I don’t want to be dominant.

 

Dear Man: Good. Then you’ve got a chance at being human.

 

Dear Woman: So what makes us human?

 

Dear Man: Are you really interested, or is it just that you can’t find a way to get out of this conversation?

 

Dear Woman: To be honest, I don’t know if I’m interested because I don’t know if what you’re going to share is interesting or not.

 

Dear Man: More than your approval, your affection or even your genitals, I need your humanity.

 

Dear Woman: That’s a bold statement. So what is my humanity? What makes up this seventy percent? How do we break down the walls and become human beings?

 

Dear Man: Well, this is just my opinion, but it’s kind of a process. And it starts with, “Will you listen to what I say?”

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, I listen.

 

Dear Man: No, I mean that being human is listening to what someone says without having an opinion about it.

 

Dear Woman: So what you’re saying is, you hear them. You just stop for a moment, listen, and hear what they have to say.

 

Dear Man: Exactly. And then you try to encourage what you can of what you’re hearing.

 

Dear Woman: Obviously, if they’re trying to commit suicide, you shouldn’t suggest methods.

 

Dear Man: Very funny. Obviously. But once you encourage what you can, then part of being a human being is gently but firmly holding them to their promise.

 

Dear Woman: That’s tricky. Some people would call that interference.

 

Dear Man: Not if it’s their idea and their words.

 

Dear Woman: What if they change their mind?

 

Dear Man: Then help them to forgive themselves for failing. It’s okay. It’s all part of being alive. If life was about success, most of the time we’d be depressed.

 

Dear Woman: So it’s important to forgive them and help them forgive themselves for falling short. I see that. So that gives them the chance to start over.

 

Dear Man: That’s why most people are miserable. They’re stuck in a failure from years ago without feeling they have the grace to start over.

 

Dear Woman: So it’s our job to help other people achieve that.

 

Dear Man: And it’s also our job to help them laugh. It’s rather difficult to forget stupidity unless you can laugh at it.

 

Dear Woman: That’s powerful stuff.

 

Dear Man: It’s why the “Flirty Thirty” makes us attractive, but the humanity makes us enjoy each other.

 

Dear Woman: Why isn’t this taught? Why are we so ignorant about this? Why is it all romance and flowers?

 

Dear Man: Because if every problem can be solved by sending flowers, then we don’t have to really care that much, do we?

 

Dear Woman: It’s a great process.

 

Dear Man: Now, let’s make it our own.

 

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Jesonian: Expressing the Light … December 14, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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flashlight

“This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine…”

I do have a little light.

And surprisingly, it’s not as tiny as I think. But how do I let it shine?

A fellow named Paul said that the three greatest forces on earth were faith, hope and love.

My faith is in God, the Father. Not just God, who is like a boss who might fire me at the end of a particularly unfruitful work week. No, He is my Daddy and is joyfully stuck with me.

My hope is with the Kingdom of God within me. If I spend all my time evaluating my efforts, I will become depressed. If I spend too much energy trusting that God’s grace will cover everything, I become lazy. Because of an experience called being “born again,” I have been restored with the benefits and blessings of the original Garden of Eden, if I choose to put my hope in that direction. I don’t look for God to be my crutch. My hope is with the Kingdom of God within me.

And love is for everybody else who have the image of God deeply impressed within their beings. When you give your love just to family, there’s nothing unique or unusual about you. We’re all brothers and sisters. Until we realize this, we will look at our fellow humans as competing enemies.

Possessing a light is a wonderful gift as long as you know where to point it.

I do not put my faith in religion or people. It is in God the Father.

I don’t hope for the best unless I allow myself to be involved in the process, to use the gifts that have been given to me to create fresh opportunities.

And I’m learning to let my love be given freely to all of those, who just like me, were created in the image of God.

This is how I shine.

 

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Click here for information on "567"--the Sermon on the Mount retold in story, song and music

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WINona … October 5, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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lightAfter my show in Circleville, Ohio, a woman asked me where I was heading. I told her I was going to Winona. She frowned and inserted, “Winona? Are you kidding? They don’t even have a stop light.” (I was completely unaware that having a stop light was the new criterion for village viability.)

But I guess everybody has standards for what they think is normal in their surroundings. I personally like the fact that Winona has “WIN” as the first three letters of its name. I know it’s a little silly, but I believe a bit of mirth is necessary in our lives to keep us from becoming dark “doodis” or “doodats.”

And that got me thinking about the word “win.” I think we have the mistaken idea in our society that some people are born winners and the rest are innately losers. I don’t agree. I think there are easy things we can do which cause us to chalk our efforts into the win column more than in the loss. Actually, these steps are so simple that people might consider them to be trivial. But it might be a mistake to call something ridiculous until you put it into practice and find out how the wheel rolls.Winona UMC

What will I tell the good folks of Winona this weekend, encouraging them to win instead of lose?

1. Stop blaming other people. One sure way to lose control in your life is to insist that someone else holds the key to your success, which they have swallowed and you are now waiting for it to come out their back side. I am tired of finger-pointing, folks with their noses out of joint, and stiff-necked grown-ups who just don’t take personal responsibility for their own actions. Do you want to do something really exciting? Blow everybody’s mind and take the blame for something you DIDN’T do. It gives you the power to change the circumstances while feeling free from the guilt.

2. Do one thing better. Don’t try to change your whole life. Just find one thing that comes up every day and do it with a bit more flair, finesse, attention and care. It will be noticeable. Acting like you are trapped in your own haplessness with no remedy guarantees that you will stay a failure and have those around you testify to your inefficiency. How can you advertise being a loser? Act disappointed, depressed and dismal. All of your friends and enemies will fill in the blanks.

3. And finally, to chalk one up for a win: Be of good cheer. All losers have three things in common. They’re grumpy, they’re glum and they’re gloomy.

Just removing these three things from your life and replacing them with a bit of humor and perspective sets you apart from the masses, which are determined to paint all dark brown rooms black.

That’s what I will share with the good folks of Winona. I will tell them to cease to be ashamed of their lack of a stop light and instead:

  • Stop blaming other people
  • Do one thing better
  • And be of good cheer.

In that way they will be able to live up to the first three letters in their name.

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Doorways… March 12, 2013

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doorToday my left knee hurts. I had plans for it, including a lovely walk in the park. Yet my knee is reluctant, if not rebellious to the concept, and truthfully, will  become very sore with me if I pursue present plans.

So now what?

I have outlined to you is the whole quandary of life.

We have ideas. We make plans. We probably even become enthusiastic about the prospects. Often we purchase things to enhance these desires.

Then the whole thing falls apart. We universally refer to this malady as “problems.”

For instance, I could tell you that I was planning to go for a walk in the park, but a “problem” has arisen because my knee hurts. Most of you would nod your heads in agreement, sympathetically aware that such trials and ttribulations are just a part of our existence and that we patiently need to trust talent, life, God or whatever comes to our minds, to pull us through these hassles and hindrances.

But let me ask a question. What if it isn’t that way at all? What if the only real “problem” with human life is complacency? What if God–who is much smarter than us, by the way–knows that the only way to progress the human spirit, is by digressing our tendency to settle in on one thing, determined to remain.

For if God and life were to leave us to our own devices, we would find the most comfortable corner of the room with a pillowy chair, and cozy up to the least challenging possibility surrounding us.

What’s wrong with that?

The second most dangerous condition in human beings, after complacency, is boredom. All sin is born out of some form of boredom.

So problems come along to move us through the path of life so we don’t have to deal with nearly as many disasters. They are similar to the little earthquakes that occur to release the pressure on the fault lines, inhibiting a larger, more destructive shaking.

So let’s stop calling them problems. They are doorways.

My knee hurts today because for the past forty-eight hours I have given it a real workout. Without the pain, I might overdo it and create more permanent damage instead of temporary discomfort which can be alleviated through a day of rest.

In other words, without pain, there is no healing. Without healing, there is no improvement in health. And without improvement in health, there is no sense of enthrallment with the continuation of life.

What if everything that happens to us is a doorway to get us from our bedroom and  into a more expansive living space? Is there any basis for this idea?

“All things work together to the good … ”

You ever hear those words? “All things work together to the good…”

Really? Does that mean my aggravated knee, if viewed as a doorway instead of a problem, is going to take me on a journey today, which if I do not resist, will generate a new goodness unforeseen?

My answer is yes. And if you don’t believe that, you might have a tendency to live a life of a ping-pong ball, struck by divine inspiration, only to be propelled across the table to a paddle of evil, which smacks you back down to earth.

I will not be pinged and I will not be ponged.

I will not fight my pain. My pain is necessary; my pain is revelatory. My pain is divine information that there is something good out there waiting for me if I will just refuse to become depressed by the change of plans and instead, propel myself through the doorway.

For after all, there are many adventures yet to be experienced, where we discover that life is more than just a walk through the park.

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