Salient…July 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

“I’m just human.”

This statement has been used to excuse murderous behavior. It also has been the opening refrain of a testimony offered in appreciation of God’s grace.

But if being human is a weakness, then what are eight billion people supposed to do with their lives? Are they to walk the Earth as emotional zombies, never able to connect with a good idea two days in a row?

Or must they give in to the dark human trinity?

  1. Complaining about circumstances
  2. Lessening expectations
  3. Lying if necessary

Is this really what God intended? Did He create an inferior race as worship slaves to His glory? Or, as the story goes, did He breathe into them the breath of life, give them His image and declare them living souls?

It’s time for us to decide:

Are we created in God’s image, tempted by evil?

Or are we born in sin, struggling to do even a little good?

I don’t think I’m alone in needing a reason to get up in the morning other than, “I’m going to go to heaven when I die.”

So let us turn to Jesus to see what he said about this situation. He summed it up in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

What did he mean by perfect?

He’s talking about a perfect human life. And a perfect human life is defined thusly:

“I will continue to try to do better until it’s unnecessary anymore for me to try.”

Even though we may be captivated by sin, we still have free will. How many victories can we chalk up before we fail? How much fun can we have learning how to improve?

  • We are human.
  • We are honored to be human.
  • We have the breath of life.
  • We are created in God’s image.
  • We are living souls, which means we do have the ability to walk between two kingdoms–Earth and Heaven.

The power we possess is in choosing. The gift we’ve been given is the breath of life. And we have a personal kinship with God.

So here is your salient moment:

Start acting more like your Father or be prepared to be a monkey’s uncle.

 

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G-Poppers … January 26th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop has grown extremely weary of hearing the human race demeaned, disgraced, denigrated and caged in with the animal kingdom in attempts to explain away some of the more nasty aspects of our carnal ways.

He wants his children to know that humans are neither good nor evil, but as the story goes from the Garden of Eden, they are inundated with the knowledge of both.

Yes, they have the perception of good and the deception of evil.

The battle that wages inside every son and daughter of Adam and Eve is whether we deem it more fruitful to be good or more successful to be evil.

It’s a decision we make every single day.

Case in point: G-Pop went to the grocery store today. He was sitting in his wheelchair. (He uses this perch for such occasions because he is not so fleet of foot in getting around.) As he was waiting outside the store, a woman drove up in a car, and even though Janet Clazzy was standing nearby, attending, the dear lady rolled down her window and asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

It was transcendent. It is for such moments that G-Pop continues his desire to habitate the Earth. And even though he was probably over-appreciative in his thankfulness to her, she knew when he said that he was fine that it was true–but that she had made an overture.

After all, without an overture, there is never going to be a symphony.

She possessed the singular attribute that makes human beings God’s favorite creation.

She was aware.

G-Pop is sure she had many things on her mind, but it suddenly became more important for her to be of use to another.

Aware. And after being aware, she made an offer.

G-Pop doesn’t know what she thought she was going to do. But she made the offer, knowing that the offer comes with a parenthetical thought: (“You understand there are only certain things I am capable of…”)

She was a forward-thinking person simply because she was aware and made the offer.

Honestly, most of the time when you make the offer people will turn you down because they’ve already made plans. And on those rare occasions where immediate help is needed, you have a story you can tell for all time, which both promotes the glory of charity and professes that you are a true believer.

As she drove away, G-Pop said, “God bless you.”

G-Pop honestly didn’t need to say that, because anyone who is created by God in His image, is a human being with the knowledge of good and evil, who is aware of the predicament of another and offers to become a conduit for help, is already saturated in blessing.

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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

Click here for information on “567”–the Sermon on the Mount retold in story, song and music

 

G-29: Flooded With Doubts … June 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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arkAn unacceptable level of arrogance manipulated its way into human kind, generating an intolerable volume of violence.

Drunken on self-esteem and pleasuring itself on the shedding of blood, the human race had scampered away from all reason, teetering on the verge of mutual insanity.

  • The Creator had doubts.
  • The Father of all sensed regret.
  • Was there any way to salvage the situation?

For previously in the evolutionary process, the passing of years eliminated the scoundrels who failed to adapt, rendering them extinct.

But since the decision was made to create a caretaker who possessed both “jungle” and “garden”–both animal and the image of God–something different would have to be done rather than waiting for the creatures with big brains to think up new ways to kill each other.

Those who were meant to be caretakers had rejected all care and only pursued taking.

This is where the story begins about a man named Noah.

There are those who doubt the existence of this individual and certainly question the validity of a Great Flood covering the earth. And whether you believe that the Creator spoke to one man, asking him to “go-fer” wood to build an ark is insignificant to the fact that a communication was sent across the ages to us–through a childlike story–that God regretted His decision to make Homo sapiens.

This shows us the emergence of His character from being an over-attentive and perhaps even overly critical parent, to changing His mind and becoming a loving Father who provides opportunity to one and all.

Believe what you will about the story, but know this: at some time in the history of the Universe and the genealogy of our planet, a Father who spawned us created a Mother who guides us.

After the alleged flood, the Creator decided to welcome an environment with “seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, cold and heat and day and night”–a planet where it rains on the just and the unjust, and it’s up to those who find justice to use that knowledge and the elements of the earth to their advantage.

Isn’t it important for us to believe that the Creator regretted making us, but also regretted destroying us? Since repentance is an intricate part of our own lives, it’s good to know that our Father had a similar revelation.

People will always be people–but because we have Father God and Mother Nature, we have the parenting necessary to give us a sense of the spiritual and a respect for the natural.

This gives us the opportunity to be the caretakers we were meant to be … taking what we need in order to care for the world around us. 

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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

 

 

Five Moments … May 10, 2013

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hand

In my not-always-so-humble opinion, there are five moments necessary to experience in order to generate a human life that is valuable and not detrimental to others. Without this quintet of encounters, certain levels of presumption, insecurity, arrogance and frustration overtake us, rendering us ineffective and at times, even nasty.

  1. “I am not God.”
  2. “I am not saved.”
  3. “I am not better.”
  4. “I am not guaranteed.”
  5. “I am not right.”

My particular disasters which instilled these important truths deep within my internal organs were terrifying and even life-threatening. Yet without them I would be a self-reliant egotist, determined to push my will to the forefront, even when it was of lesser quality than my peers.

I found out I wasn’t God when I was a nineteen year old kid. I wrote a series of bad checks, thinking that the Almighty would bless them, covering them at the bank because I was pursuing His will. Fortunately for me, before they bounced and turned me into a felon, I came to my senses, slapped myself around a bit and decided it was better to have money IN the bank when you promised someone he could retrieve it.

I found out I needed to be saved when I was in my early twenties. At the time I was constantly hurting people’s feelings, wondering “what the hell was wrong with them.” I was convinced I was talented and that this was all that was necessary, requiring no common decency or gentleness towards humanity. Fortunately again, God and His friends–people–gave me a very quick lesson in humility.

It became clear to me that I was not better than anyone else when I started to compete in the marketplace and realized there were many people just as good as me, and some even more accomplished. At first I was in denial, making excuses or even attacking my competitors to find holes in their abilities. But eventually I realized that the purpose for having those around you who are equivalent to you is to have collaborators, and the reason for having individuals who are more established than yourself is to have angels, promoting more heavenly results.

Likewise, my concept of feeling guaranteed that God’s grace was always sufficient for me was challenged one night in Mobile, Alabama, when I looked down at the body of my son, the victim of a hit-and-run accident. I realized that misery does not “passover” those who are called to minister, but instead, teaches us to minister more effectively.

And finally, every day of my life I find out that I am not right when my ideas are quickly shown to be errant, weak, outdated or ill-timed. At that point I have a choice. Do I persevere in stupidity, acting like I’m a resilient fellow? Or do I evolve and learn from my mistakes, discovering the beauty of transition?

If you haven’t experienced these five moments in your life, do not despair. Yet you should understand that each one of them is essential in forming a human being from the dust of the earth who truly is in the image of God instead of  one who merely munches on the knowledge of good and evil.

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Do Get Me Started! … March 8, 2012

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On those fascinating, invigorating occasions when I get to meet humanity face to face in my presentations as I travel across the country, when Mother Nature and the weather don’t scare them away, or some particular re-run of Bonanza on TV Land might cause them to be lured back into their easy chairs, I suddenly am given the opportunity to taste the fruits and view the creative mindset of God, who decided to place His image and trust in mere mortals.

People–the unpredictable and often unidentifiable delicacy of earth’s smorgasbord. I convey two primary messages to these lovely folks:(1). God is not an old fogey grouch; and (2) NoOne is better than anyone else.

You might think on first reading of these concepts that they are fairly universal–acceptable. But since most of us occasionally believe that God kills people with tornadoes or that our neighbor down the street has done something so disgusting that we are assured of our superiority, the dual thrust of my mission statement can produce some intriguing results.

But mainly, I have folks come to my table after the presentation, and in varying degrees, ask the following question: “How do I get started being more like Jesus as a Christian instead of being so much like religion?”

Rather than the negative phrase, “Don’t get me started,” what I sense from my audiences is: “Do get me started!”

Now, I learned a long time ago that human beings can be a prickly species. For instance, we often ask questions because we think we already have the answer or we secretly believe there is no answer. So when someone asks me how to get started being more fruitful in their humanity, I am very careful not to stir the waters with too many words or continue to lecture them on deeper truths. Actually, you only get five to seven words when answering any question with efficiency.So I choose one of the following four points, knowing that any one of them, if applied, will change the temperature of their spirituality and increase their potential. But since I am in my “writer mode,” let me languish in the luxury of sharing all four with you. Posing the question again for the purpose of understanding and ease: “How do I get started being more like Jesus and not just religious?”

1. Be honest with yourself. You may not be ready to be honest with everybody, but “have truth on the inward parts.” There are two enemies to spirituality–optimism and pessimism. Optimism, because it causes us to puff up with hope, which may have no foundation in reality. Pessimism, because it often eliminates the involvement of our own talent and the intervention of God’s spirit in a given circumstance. The only thing that is of any advantage in spirituality is self-awareness. It does not kill me to know inside myself that I am fat. It does not kill me to consider the level of my mobility. It does not limit my experience to admit that I have a high school education. But if I am not honest with myself, someone will eventually do the job for me and send shock waves through my system which will make me too vulnerable and therefore, defensive.

2. God is God, people are people, and you are you. Let me simplify it even further–God is a spirit, so don’t expect Him to show up and sit next to you at your job interview. And people are self-involved, so don’t expect the job interviewer to be legitimately interested in you as a person. And finally, you are on a mission to represent yourself and what you want, using the depth of your talent to surprise the people around you without dishonoring the integrity of the faith you have in God. God gives us wisdom, people give us attitude and we must bring intelligence. If you get that confused, be prepared to stay in confusion.

3. Life seems more miraculous when you work. Most of the people I know who become depressed somewhere along the line have dropped their shovel and headed for an easy chair to contemplate their doom. I have never met anyone who is still working who has given up. And I’ve never seen a miracle happen without human beings bringing all they’ve got. God is smart. If He’s going to plan a party, He’s going to share the responsibility and not merely spread the table to ungrateful patrons. You want to see miracles? Keep working the gig you know has brought them before.

4. And finally, what I tell these unbelievably inspiring friends is that life is about pursuit and acquisition. Learn the difference. To everything there is a season. There is a time to pursue and to learn how to enjoy doing it. And there is a time to reap–or acquire–and to celebrate the harvest. If you mix them up and impudently demand acquisition when pursuit is necessary, you will become the annoying brat that is the fodder for gossip every time you leave the room. If you are the person who is incapable of celebrating the victory, but is trying to clean up the party hats and plates before everyone is done eating, you will be known as the nasty nudge who certainly will not be invited to the next shindig. Life is about pursuit and acquisition. Before you begin, determine if this is a pursuit or a mission to acquire. Then, enjoy it accordingly.

There you go. And if I may be so bold, I will say that I guarantee that if you follow any one of these things, your life will change from the mediocre mirroring of our society’s grayscale to brighter colors of promise. Try two? Double your results. And if you want to eventually embrace all four–philosophically, emotionally and spiritually–be prepared for the peace that passes all understanding.

Do get me started. Yes, it is a most holy decision to admit lack, knowing that such a confession is the only way to achieve abundance.

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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.

Powerful — October 12, 2011

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It’s what every human being wants, even though some would insist in false humility that they are perfectly satisfied with owning the lower seat.  Yes, we all want a sense of power, control and destiny for our journey.

Matter of fact, if Jesus had presented his material for his Sermon on the Mount, seeking assistance for organizing his ideas, no modern-day speechwriter worth his brackets, commas and syntax would ever have suggested that he begin with the Beatitudes. They all would have thought he was bringing too much responsibility to the hearers before giving them the chance to become sold out on the more appealing proposals.  No, I think any ghost-writing helper for Jesus would have insisted that he begin his Sermon with, “You are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world.” Here would be their conclusion–empower the people and bury the personal difficulty more deeply within the context. But that’s not what Jesus did. He made it clear that if we don’t “get simple” and begin to realize that if our choices don’t determine our success, then we’re at the mercy of nature, other people, or dare I even say?–God.  Get simple–realize that the only way to change the complexion of your own situation is to pop your own pimples.

Now, after completing this successful personal analysis and realizing that our own progression is determined by our decisions, we then reach the point where we can be powerful.  We ARE the salt of the earth and we ARE the light of the world.  Why? Because we have walked into a room filled with mediocrity, and rather than joining in, we have established our own standard. We’ve tasted the soup and rather than eating a bland broth, we’ve selected to flavor it. We’ve entered an enclosure that is totally dark and lit a candle.

And the reason we have done so is that we don’t want to spend one minute of our lives in regret. Regret is what people who could have accomplished much more feel when they’ve given in to the blandness around them instead of reaching into themselves to turn their seed of talent into a fruit of success. When I get around folks who regret something or other, I know that I’m also in the presence of individuals who have decided somewhere along the line to do less than they could have done.

So what makes us powerful?  It certainly is not being granted power. Dare I say that most of the people who have held the position of President of the United States are not only forgettable, but in many cases, they ended up through their mediocre choices, doing more harm than good. Granting power  to us is like giving the keys to a Ferrari to a five-year-old. You can perch him behind the wheel, but he doesn’t have the foggiest idea how to start the car, let alone drive it.

Actually, we become powerful when we decide to take on our own lives without blaming anyone else, get simple, and make three very important choices:

1. “I don’t want to hurt me.” Rather than rationalizing all of our bad habits, fears, insecurities and prejudices, we confront them because we know they’re hurting us–and the only way pain will leave is when we force these ridiculous vices out of our circle of influence.

2. “I don’t want to hurt you.” Once I realize that the relief of pain is so comforting and joyous, I become evangelistic to make sure that you, too, do not have to experience the agony of ridiculous propositions. I will never learn to care about you until I sufficiently care about myself. And I will never care about myself until I realize that my personal pot of gold is located at the end of my willingness to deal with my inadequacies.

3.  “Because I don’t want to hurt me and I don’t want to hurt you, therefore I can’t hurt God.” God is not angered by sin that is acknowledged and confessed. God is not infuriated with those who fail if they quickly discover the error and set in motion restitution. There are only two things that cause God to feel alienated from you:  (a) when you don’t care, and (b) when you’re willing to lie about the fact that you don’t care.

How apropos for Jesus to refer to us as salt–a common flavoring–and light–illumination of the surrounding environment. It’s perfect. And what an excellent time it is to live in this society!  Because I will tell you, this is one of the most mediocre periods I have seen in six decades of living. We have learned to settle for so little that if people would just step the game up in a tiny increment, they would be like a  bright beam in the cosmos.  As Jesus said, people would be able to see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven.

I am often astounded that we expect our congregations to come in to praise and worship God when their lives do not demonstrate any improvement or sign of progress. What are we praising? What are we worshipping? Jesus made it clear that nobody glorifies God without seeing other people’s good works! If we can’t raise up a body of believers who have decided to “get simple” and discover their own frailties and move them into the realm of improvement, why do we think anybody would be interested in the message that propels us? After all, I do not walk into a dirty house and ask the owners what kind of cleansers they use. It would seem cruel, not to mention stupid. Neither do I walk into a place where people preach a gospel which leaves their constituency dull and unfeeling and inquire as to how I might become a member.

We become powerful when we get simple and set into motion three holy practices:

  • I don’t want to hurt me.
  • I don’t want to hurt you.
  • Therefore, I can’t hurt God.

With that trio of breezes at our back, we can sail on with confidence and feel energized by our beliefs instead of ransacked. The Sermon on the Mount WAS put in the right order–Jesus began with personal evaluation–informing us of the miracle of “getting simple.” And then he followed it with the power we discover through that evaluation and those choices, which begins to remove the hurt so that we can feel pleasure again. I even sense an explosion in my soul as I write this to you because I don’t want to hurt me anymore–and I don’t want to hurt you. And because of that, I know that it’s impossible for me to be separated from the love of God.

So what’s next? What do we acquire after we decide to “get simple” and be powerful?

On the morrow.

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Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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