3 Things… September 20th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3801)

To Follow That Lead

1. No one is better than anyone else

 

2. Revenge is useless

 

3. Be of good cheerDonate Button

 

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Magnify Your Character)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Magnify Your Character)

William Shakespeare contended that “all the world’s a stage and each one of us, merely players.”

So who are you?

In the world of theater, it is impossible to play too many characters without coming across anemic in the roles. Also, if you establish your character onstage and then drastically revise it, the audience doesn’t buy into your leap.

The one thing you should think about this week to magnify your character is:

Don’t let your problems give you stage directions

Unlike true theater, in everyday life we have a tendency to adjust to the settings, the surroundings, the spotlights, the poor audience reaction or the failure of others around us to remember their lines, and either attempt to revise our dialogue to fit the circumstance or freak out because our the revisions cause us to lose all credibility.

Here is this week’s question: who are you?

And don’t try to tell me that you are a multi-faceted individual with many different layers of being. That’s the best way to describe a liar. Who are you?

Once you find the answer to that, remaining faithful to the role, no matter how the play unfolds in front of you, is how you gain the reputation of being solid and trustworthy– well worth knowing by your peers.

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Who are you?”

I replied, “I am a character addicted to good cheer, so no matter what you hand me, I will do my best to give you back joy.”

The definition of immaturity is feeling the need to change the script simply because there’s been an unforeseen twist in the plot. But in doing so, we sully our character and make ourselves seem unreliable.

Who are you?

Answer that question–and then don’t let your problems or your mishaps give you stage directions.

 

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Jesonian … August 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3768)

There was an old gospel song that used to get the hometown folks clappin’ and snappin’. It had a lyric which proclaimed, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”

I grew up in a small town that believed, like most small towns, that if the world behaved like they did, there would be eternal peace. But since the world didn’t behave, all the children needed to be careful going into the big city, or worse yet, into the world.

Matter of fact, like most small towns, over half of my graduating class still lives within ten miles of the place where they got their first kiss.

It’s easy for people who have religion to attack the world. Matter of fact, there are many preachers who wouldn’t have anything to share if they couldn’t criticize the world, sin and the souls around them. Even those practitioners of philosophies which portend to have more open-mindedness will still gladly join into a conversation of discussing how damnable things are on the planet.

Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible to be so in love with God and so hateful of the home He’s given us.

Now I remember. I forgot the lyrics: “This world is not my home.”

It makes me wonder why Jesus prayed that heavenly things be done on Earth.

God is a good Father. As a good Father, he knows His children. And the Earth is filled with His children.

He understands that the world is stuck in a rebellion resembling a sixteen-year-old: snotty, bratty, selfish, indulgent, unappreciative–but certainly unwilling to go anyplace else. That’s a sixteen-year-old.

So maybe we should walk away from our gospel songs and even our theology and take a careful look at what Jesus said about the world.

Two things:

1. “In the world you have tribulation.”

I suppose you could blame God for that–not because He steps back and lets things happen, but because He gave us free will. Honestly, if I had created beings that possessed as much intelligence as humans, I would have curtailed free will.

It doesn’t make sense. For people to have imaginations from the time of their youth, but for those musings to be generally evil, doesn’t bode well for blessings to flow across the land.

But it was God’s way.

He made us smart, with the ability to choose to be stupid.

Therefore, at one time or another, somebody is always being stupid, which makes it seem like all matter is about to fall apart. Jesus called this “tribulation”–a sense that things never find peace or settle down.

Now most religionists love that particular verse about tribulation in the world. Matter of fact, they stop right there and use it as a platform to preach against every sin that comes to their minds. They never factor in the second thought that Jesus had on the world:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. And He didn’t send His son into the world to condemn the world, but so that they could choose to be saved (paraphrase).

Of course, the key coupling there is “so loved.”

Not a passive appreciation.

Not a duty of being a parent of something you wish you could abandon.

But a deep emotional commitment, free of condemnation.

So here’s the truth of the matter, although I don’t want to anger some gospel song writer: this world is my home, for the time being, and I am passing through.

My job is to have good cheer when I see the tribulation, and make sure, through my face, my actions and my tenderness, that those around me know exactly how much they are so loved.

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G-Poppers … July 13th, 2018

G-Pop loves his children.

Of course, most folks claim they do. Even that lady in the courtroom who “offed her young’uns” insisted she adored the little tykes.

Love is the delicate balance between affection and correction. And who has ever found the balance? Some people are too affectionate–other people are just hard-asses.

How can you tell the truth in love?

G-Pop wants you to know that the world is segregating itself into clumps of misunderstanding.

For instance, over here on the right you’ve got the “He” crowd–“He” meaning God:

God is everything.

God is good.

Yet … God seems indifferent about the plight of children killed in war. (But that’s because we don’t understand His will.)

God, who is supposed to make us happy often leaves us sad, failing to return our messages.

So escaping “He,” we become…

Well, “you.”

I find myself having to contend with–you. After all, you have such great potential. If you would just listen to me, you would become amazingly fruitful, but you persist in your own ideas when you know that mine are proven better.

So you, who could be a companion to me, suddenly become a problem.

Conversations with you. I become convinced things are going to be better, and then you just end up being you.

Worse than that, many “yous” become “them” which is closely associated with “they.”

This is not an issue of prejudice or racism. These “yous,” who have clustered together in regions, have generated a serious predicament.

Maybe it’s skin color–but not exclusively.

Maybe it’s their customs.

But certainly, at the heart of it, they just aren’t quite as good and certainly not as adequate.

They need to be set apart.

Let’s not get mean about it. (Matter of fact, if we can get them to think it’s their idea to promote their own flag, their own skin tone or their own religion…)

Just keep them away.

I guess the only true way this can be achieved is for us to become a “we.”

We’re just so damn cute. We’re clever, we’re creative, we’re concerned about the world. We hold meetings and share ideas, relating with one another.

We are not animals.

We are not part of the ignorant masses who support foolishness.

We have culture.

We even have a mission statement.

Shoot–all we need is a song. Yes, a rallying tune to make it clear where “they” end and “we” begin.

So as the world drags on with devotion to “He,” criticism of “you,” bigotry about “them” and the self-righteousness of “we”, G-Pop notes that something needs to emerge that speaks the truth with love.

It is “I.”

But it is “i” in the lower case. It is an “i” that has not yet arrived.

And the tiny “i” is a way to signify that we understand that we’re empowered, but have not yet capitalized on all of our possibilities.

“i” am the beginning and the end of the significance of my life.

When “i” look to “we, them, you or He,” “i” drain energy from my existence–leaving a huge hole in my soul.

What do “i” need to do?

A. “i” need to repent of my fear of being wrong.

B. “i” need to make that repentance as joyous and as full of good cheer as possible, so “i” won’t resent doing it.

C. “i” need to focus on my work instead of trying to live off the efforts of others.

D. And “i” need to be humble.

G-Pop loves his children–enough to tell them the truth with affection.

G-Pop is an “i.”

He is an “i” who’s working everyday on trying to dot himself.

 

 

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Jesonian … June 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“When are we going to stop all this stuff you’re teaching and go back to who we really are?”

This statement seems to ooze from the twelve disciples throughout Jesus’ entire three-and-a-half year ministry.

They didn’t mind being taught, just as long as they didn’t have to learn.

And they didn’t mind learning sometimes, as long as they didn’t have to apply.

And applying was alright every once in a while, as long as it was a one-time thing that didn’t need to be repeated.

You can look at the disciples as either some of the whiniest men that ever walked the face of the Earth, or be candid and admit that they were typical.

Typical of us all.

Every one of us arrives at the Gospel with too many pre-conceived ideas. No wonder Jesus referred to the experience as being “born again.” Otherwise, we try to join a club that pursues all the traditions we have contrived since our birth.

Why are we going to Samaria?

Why was this man born blind?

Why do you talk so tough to the Pharisees?

Why can’t we divorce women?

Why are we supposed to love our enemies?

Why don’t we kill the Romans and start over again?

Why can’t I be scared in a boat when there’s a storm?

Why are we inviting tax collectors into our really neat band of brothers?

Why can’t we bring down lightning and thunder on the Samaritans?

You see, the Gospel is not just a plan of salvation, it’s also salvation from our plan.

Because without the Gospel, everyone would run hither, thither and yon, starting their own renditions of what Jesus said, coming up with funny-sounding names, and focus on one doctrine over another.

Wait. We’re already doing that.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself is to know that Christianity is a lifestyle, not a religion.

It is not a revolving door, where we enter to worship, and leave to catch the beginning of the football game on Sirius Radio on the way home.

The Gospel is the essence of eternity, functioning on Earth. No other philosophy, no other interaction and no other manifesto ever came along which included God, Nature and people.

Instead, each of these other religions focus on one of these factors. In some religions, God is over-emphasized. Other approaches place too much importance on Nature. And of course, there are philosophies which contend it’s a human situation–i.e., every man for himself.

The Gospel is not going away. It is not going to be replaced or even mingled with provincialism. It took the disciples a long time to understand this.

But if we all join together with good hearts and good cheer, we might be able to shorten the process and get people rejoicing again, with exceeding gladness.

 

*****

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G-Poppers … May 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3676)

G-Pop would like to address two words with his children: constraint and restraint.

Although they have similar definitions, their application is quite opposite.

Constraint is normally a commandment or demand placed on others, and restraint is a restriction we apply to ourselves.

Even though we certainly would love to place many constraints on the world around us and guide it into deeper understanding of what we envision for an excellent planet, the fact of the matter is, no one really listens to anyone else, especially when controlling through instruction.

When constraint is in the air and cultures, religions and political parties are attempting to convert one another, the end result is usually violence. Of course, long before the mayhem, painful discourse ensues, often punctuated with insult.

G-Pop wants to tell his children that it is time for good-hearted people of good cheer to take on some selected restraint, with the goal, in so doing, of making it much easier for people to see the vision of the choice–and judge for themselves what they want to do.

Here are G-Pop’s Four Posts of Personal Restraint:

1. I will live and let you live.

2. I will be odd, and not get even.

3. I will make more and take less.

4. I will be kind and ease my mind.

No human being will be able to pull these off every day, or even for the preponderance of a week. But just doing it every once in a while changes the quality of the air we breathe, and lightens the burdens of the load we bear.

You can try to force these on other people, but they will resist you.

Or you can simply take them on as a goal, a mission, a blessing and a great relief to your own brain.

Constraint leaves the world bickering over details and never taking on the “weightier matters” of mercy and love.

Restraint opens the door, showing others what it’s like to clean up your own house before you try to dust the furniture in someone else’s living room.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3653)

Walk Away

Upon this rock a church to build

And then we pray, “Pews be filled”

Waiting for the sinner man

To accept the Christ, be born again

Giving that tithe once a week

To fund this haven for the meek

But the gates of hell are unafraid

Evil seems to have it made

We perch, debate the Holy Ghost

Wondering which of us has the most

Of God’s favor, we call grace

A free pass to heaven, the Holy Place

Yet where’s the salt or the light of Earth

Evidence that we truly have rebirth?

We gather and make a pious scene

Every week at ten-fifteen

And listen to David, Moses and Paul

With stained glass on each and every wall

Or strum a guitar, beat the drum

Standing still, we barely hum

Time to find something clever

While spouting “nos” and certainly “never”

The younger humans are leaving each day

Looking to achieve a better way

And the old saints insist we keep it the same

Searching to find a devil to blame

Jesus wanted to have a people

Not a gravesite with a steeple

It begins by respecting one another

That includes sisters–not just brothers

And walk away from the power of fear

Delighting ourselves to be of good cheer

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