Jesonian: Faith Without Smart Is … October 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2371)

woman touching

She had tried everything, depleting both her funds and energy.

A small trickle of blood was constantly flowing from her body, leaving her weary and exhausted, threatening to take away the will to persevere. But she knew one thing for certain: long before we arrive in the tomb, we haunt the graveyard of self-pity.

So she kept looking.

One day she heard about a young man who was touted to have healing powers. Too decimated by her illness to compete with the crowds that surrounded this wonder boy, she devised a plan. She would wait until he was passing her way, and then crawl through the sea of legs surrounding him, touch the hem of his garment and in so doing, trigger her needed recuperation.

She did not allow herself to second guess her own inkling. Such a reflection would have made her doubtful, causing her to give up.

It worked.

And her healing friend told her that it was her faith that made her whole.

****

He was a Roman Centurion, a stranger in a strange land. He was hated simply for the uniform he donned. When his servant became ill, he was frustrated that there was no remedy. All the Roman and Greek cures failed to provide comfort.

He heard about a carpenter from Nazareth who was supposed to possess a linkage with God, granting supernatural powers. He sent a messenger, telling this fellow of his situation.

When he realized that the young preacher was heading his way to assist, his wisdom told him that this was foolish. There was no need to come to his house. The Centurion was deemed unworthy by the citizens, and if the healer came, his reputation would be tainted by assisting a Roman.

“Just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

The Miracle Man smiled, shook his head and replied, “I’ve never seen such great faith.”

By the way, the servant was healed.

****

A prodigal son lying in squalor and self-imposed poverty comes to himself one night, realizing that it is prideful and unnecessary to remain indigent. He devises a plan, and because his humble reasonings produce faith, he ends up being returned to his position as son.

****

A Gentile woman comes to the young prophet of Galilee, wanting her daughter to be freed from demons. She is a bit surprised that he rebuffs her, being surrounded by bigots who deemed her less than human. But rather than being offended or full of self-contempt, she instead banters with him, explaining that although the people around her believed her to be a dog, that “even the puppies get the scraps from the table.”

The Galilean chuckles. “Your daughter is healed. Your faith has made you whole.”

****

Faith without smart is fear–and fear is always the unwillingness to conjure an idea. If it is faith that makes us whole, then our wholeness is determined by coming up with our own inspiration.

Sometimes we don’t know what to pray. (In that case, the Spirit intervenes on our behalf.)

But more often, we have the brain to attain what we are blessed to possess.

For after all, intelligence is not a rejection of grace. Intelligence is grace … with a map to Jesus’ house. 

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Jesonian: Depraved or Saved? … August 3, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2311)

Jesus healing

For those who are saved by grace, it would be wonderful to see them become more graceful. Otherwise, salvation by grace generates an insecure people who have lost hope, and threaten to become a disgrace.

What is salvation?

Is it as the fundamentalists believe–an admission of our entire, depraved, sinful nature, which has to be reborn through baptism so that we become acceptable in the eyes of God?

Or is it as the mainline denominational people believe–a submission to the teachings and philosophy of Jesus, while applying the traditions of the church?

I am most comfortable looking at salvation through the eyes of Jesus rather than the permutations brought about through denominations.

A Centurion once sent word to him, asking Jesus to heal his servant. He believed Jesus could do it from a distance, since he, the Centurion, felt that he was unworthy of a personal visitation. Jesus said he had never seen such great faith.

There was a woman at a well with five previous husbands, and was living with a man, but became the conduit for a revival in her town because she brought her curiosity, which was accounted unto her for salvation.

Zacchaeus decided to make reparations for all he had stolen from people, and Jesus said “this day salvation had come to his house.”

The woman caught in adultery hung around after the crowd departed, to receive a final verdict from Jesus. He confirmed her salvation by telling her that he did not condemn her, but challenged her to go and sin no more.

The woman with the issue of blood brought a plan. “If I just touch the hem of his garment, I’ll be well…”

The Prodigal Son came to himself and offered common sense. “I would be better off being a servant in my father’s house than starving out here in the wilderness.”

  • Faith.
  • Curiosity.
  • Reparations.
  • Humility.
  • A plan.
  • Common sense.

These are all part of the process of salvation. When we believe that the depravity of man must be established in order to prove that God’s grace has been extended, then we close the door to those who don’t require a complete overhaul, but instead, just a way to identify the source of the beautiful life that God has given them.

We must be careful that in the pursuit of proving that God is great, we allow for the disciples of Jesus to mature instead of becoming more meager in their character, to bolster the doctrine. Because as the Gospel of John tells us, “to as many as believed in him, gave he the power to become the sons of God.”

Salvation is an empowering experience. It is taking our spirit, which has been unplugged, and uniting it with the Spirit of God … to recreate the beauty of Eden in our soul.

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Jesonian: This Ole’ House … July 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2283)

housePictured is a house I ran across in Janesville, Wisconsin, during my touring. It is owned by somebody, but unoccupied. There are no people on the premises because the residence is broken apart, the windows are shattered, and the general appearance is deteriorating.

A thought came to my mind. What does the owner think when he drives by the possession? Does he remember former times, when the edifice was beautiful and a source of joy to a family? Or does his mind race with ideas on how to renovate the surroundings, making them livable again and restoring the glory?

Or I suppose a third choice is that he turns their head away so as not to deal with the eye-sore.

I think this is the situation we face in the church.

We know that people are supposed to be changed. An encounter with Jesus historically, and certainly Biblically, always resulted in some sort of massive transformation.

But often, it seems the best we can offer to the congregant is the chance to give a testimony about how bad things were or how great things will be someday “when we all get to heaven.”

In the pursuit of showing compassion, we may have accidentally drained the actual passion out of the soul and faith of the believer.

For after all, we spend so much time talking about God’s grace and so little time reminding people that Jesus told folks it was their faith that made them whole.

Matter of fact, it doesn’t take a theologian’s understanding to comprehend that Jesus was in the business of making abundant life for people on earth, not just in heaven.

You can the teachings of Jesus balance beautifully on two axioms:

  1. He that endures to the end will be saved.
  2. Go the second mile.

After all, what got Jesus very excited was when people showed initiative, reached out and touched the hem of his garment, had faith for their servant to be healed, or lepers who tracked him down to gain cleansing.

He admired initiative. Dare say, he rewarded it.

Removing such initiative from our faith in an attempt to establish the supremacy of God is unfortunately the way we remove the glory from God, which He would receive from people praising our good works.

Jesus is to appreciate that he was a teacher who wanted to impart a lifestyle, not just a salvation plan.

I don’t know whether that house in Janesville will ever be restored, but for it to happen, someone will have to admit that it’s messed up, the glory days are not coming back and there’s no guarantee that the future holds promise for miraculous renovation.

It will need work.

We do need endurance. And we do require the energy and excitement to go the second mile.

So don’t rob people of the blessing of having Jesus speak to them admiringly: “Your faith has made you whole.”

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Arizona morning

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