Jesonian … February 3rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Slow, stalled, passed the exit.

These are positions we find ourselves in when it comes to the progress of our lives.

Sometimes it feels like things are going too slow.

Certainly we can feel stalled.

And those who possess a pint of wisdom are fully aware that you can go so fast that you pass the exit.

The human instinct is to cover up the situation–for after all, it’s difficult to admit that you’re slow or stalled, and confessing to being oblivious and missing an opportunity is extraordinarily painful.

Jesus was human–therefore he went through this.

After all, he didn’t get started until he was thirty. Talk about a failure to launch. History is kind to him because once he got going he was rather productive. Yet had he continued to minister with the same passion he demonstrated as a carpenter, the most famous Jesus in the world would be a baseball player from the Dominican Republic.

The secret to his emergence is found in John the 2nd Chapter. It’s a seven step process–which sounds formidable, but since it is so logical, it may be fairly easy to remember.

At thirty years of age, he decided to find himself.

1. Find yourself.

Yes, don’t annoy the world around you by arriving at your dream without a map–especially absent the GPS to your own soul.

Jesus went into the wilderness, he dealt with his appetites and emerged with the correct meshing of awareness and humility. Once he discovered himself, he went out to:

2. Find some friends.

It’s usually more a mutual discovery. When you clarify your position and you’re transparent, other humans who share your convictions stumble upon you.

Sometimes we try to make relationships work. Truthfully, if they don’t, they don’t. You can have a thousand conversations and never arrive at a point of agreement.

Embracing some friends led to the next step:

3. Find your place to start.

In the case of Jesus, since he had a message, his instinct might have been to preach or teach. He wanted to lead people to a greater understanding of themselves as children of God.

Jesus knew his goals. He aspired to share a manifesto which was simple to follow.

So Jesus went to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was the next thing on his calendar and it was his way of expressing that those who pursued him should welcome a celebration instead of a series of seminars.

Find your place to start.

And at this point in his ministry, five disciples came along to enjoy the festivities.

Almost immediately, Jesus was in a position where, like all of us, he needed to:

4. Find your calling.

This may surprise you, but Jesus was immediately cornered by a family member. His mother.

She felt it was her obligation to steer him in the right direction. After all, she was his mama, right?

So when she heard they had run out of wine at the wedding, she came to Jesus, explained the predicament–but also prodded him to use the occasion to manifest his workings.

At this point, Jesus chose his calling over his mother. Although he loved her, probably for the first time in his life, he referred to her as “woman.” Not “mother.” Not “my dear.”

He said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?”

In that moment, he established an adult relationship, letting her know that they would now be walking the Earth as peers, not as “Mother Mary and little Jesus.”

If you can’t break away from your family obligation enough to find your calling, you will use those binding responsibilities to excuse your lack of activity.

5. Find your time.

That’s what Jesus said to Mary. I’m looking for the right time for me. Not your right time. Not my disciples’ right time. The time that’s right for me to do what I believe I’m supposed to do.

After considering this, Jesus did the bidding of his heart.

6. Do what you do.

He had the servants fill up the ceremonial clay pots with water. Hours earlier the water within those pots had been used to cleanse dirty feet, but Jesus asked that they be put to work again. Once they were filled, the contents of the vessels should be drawn off and taken to the master of ceremonies.

Speaking of that, all of this process grants us the privilege to:

7. Do it with flair.

People weren’t turning water into wine. They certainly were not using foot-washing pots to do it. The most common phrase uttered by those who had an encounter with Jesus was, “Wow. We’ve never seen it like this before.”

Don’t expect to make a difference if you aren’t different.

If you plan on following the common grid, filling in the blanks faithfully, you will also find yourself standing in line your whole life, with no distinguishing gifts.

Jesus took a wedding feast to establish the fact that he had found himself, acquired friends, had picked the place to start, and was ready to walk away from family obligations to pursue his calling. He had selected this time to do what he was able to do, and he performed it with flair.

This was not only the first public miracle of Jesus–this was his coming out party.

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Jesonian… January 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesus knows us because He was us. (What a great title for a praise band song).

He didn’t come to Earth to stand afar and consider our befuddled actions from his undergirded, divine nature. He was human.

He learned, he grew and he found favor through trial and error. I didn’t make that up. That’s what the Gospel of Luke says.

So by the time he reached his thirty-first birthday and was sharing the Sermon on the Mount, he had a firm comprehension of the human reaction to life.

It is in four phases:

  1. We feel
  2. We muse
  3. We think
  4. We do

There are folks who reject their feelings, muse over their failures and go to their brain–only to find it a library chock-full of old information, and therefore end up doing things repetitively, wondering why they can’t change.

Our emotions exist to tell us what we feel. They are not definitive, they are not final–they are sensors.

Our spirit is there to muse–to add that gentle balance that “all things will work together to the good.” Muse is the root word of music. The spirit should be the soundtrack to our solution. Sometimes it takes an hour; sometimes it takes a year. I suppose there are even things that take a lifetime.

But when we enter the third phase, we must be careful. We think.

Contrary to popular opinion, the mind is dangerous. Why? Because it is already programmed. It has our culture, our bigotry, our training, our prejudices and our false statistics. It’s the reason Jesus told his disciples, “Don’t think so much.”

Because if you come across a problem, feeling it may be a difficult one, and you muse over it in your spirit, but then decide to seek an answer in your brain, you’ll consider data that is often only worthy of the trash bin.

But do we put it in the garbage? No.

So when we start thinking, we start worrying, which negates our spirit and frustrates our emotions. We literally do the first thing that comes into our head–and it’s often wrong.

So what did Jesus suggest? What is the Jesonian?

Take your feelings to your spirit and muse over them until you get the music of wisdom–either from God, your own fresh experience, or even the counsel of others. Then move on that tuneful wisdom and do what’s right. At this point you can come back and renew your mind. It’s like putting another book in the library.

Your brain starts gaining flexibility.

The Sermon on the Mount is not a wish list by a religious boy who came from God, possessing an advantage. It is the observation of a man who lived in a household with at least six other brothers and sisters, worked as a carpenter, flushed out some bad demons in the wilderness, and was prepared to look at life as it really was … instead of trying to think he could handle everything.

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The Book of Us … March 18, 2012

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“The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

It is part of a verse from the Gospel of John, describing the mission, purpose and life of Jesus. But I must tell you, as dynamic as Jesus’ life was and as valuable as it is for us to study it and appreciate his deeds and desires, it has been a long time since he was human.

We often hear the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together”–usually used as a pretense for keeping the races separate. But if you apply it to the fact that human beings crave human contact, then I think we might be onto something. Candidly–Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Moses or any human being who used to walk on this planet, gain credibility when we are transported into their time and visualize them as living beings who had contemporary problems requiring practical solutions. Even though we sometimes object, people need people, and require “people stories” about “people solutions,” handled in a “people way.”

It is the weakness of religion that it requires of its adherents that they pursue God without finding that divinity in themselves or the lives of those around them. Incarnateto place something in the flesh to give it proof of existence.

I guess you can feel free to study the life of Joshua or the deeds of Elijah or the predilections of John the Baptist one more time if you are so inclined, but human beings are much more likely to be moved by the stories of those who are still living and breathing than they are by the tales of those who have already passed on to their reward. How can we make spirituality emotional enough that we actually think about it and when we do contemplate its workings, apply some facets of that experience to our everyday lives?

Rather than offering another series on the end of the world, the tabernacle of Moses or a deep, introspective look at prayer, the church would do better to publish The Book of Us. Every six months, merely put together a small booklet of stories from people in the congregation who have discovered that the word is still living. Simple. Easy to understand. Vulnerable. Human.

The stories should be three-act vignettes.

  •  Act I–this is who I am.
  • Act II–this is how I screwed up.
  • Act III–this is how God helped me find a way out of my mess.

This type of story reaches humanity. It is when the Bible becomes of use to the congregant–on those rare occasions when we actually allow Jesus or one of those fellows or gals who walk the pages, to emerge from the holy of holies to display their spots and blemishes, but also to proclaim the victory they received through their faith in God. But don’t you think it would be so much easier if the person who told the story was still alive to confirm it–an ongoing example of transformation?

It wouldn’t be hard to do. Why do all the heroes of belief have to be in the Bible? Why can’t they be our next-door neighbor, who like us, has frailties, but also like us, can be uplifted through love and understanding? If we do not find ways to make truth incarnate–in other words, evident in flesh and blood–all the greatest concepts of true Godliness and righteousness could be lost to the ages.

Yes, if every church in America would put out a small booklet every six months called The Book of Us, with a handful of wonderful stories telling the immediate evidence of God’s presence, then people would have a reason to believe that the mercy of the Almighty is not merely extended to the prophets.

Each one of us profits from the experience.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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