Jesonian … April 14th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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If you are in search of the ultimate right, all you will discover is the ultimate wrong.

Trying to purify humanity into a collected horde, responsive to a single code of behavior, is not only futile, but Jesus declares it fatal.

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”

And Jesus did not leave that statement open for interpretation. He went on to explain that the way we judge–the approach, the intensity, the verbiage, the facial expressions and the incrimination–will be identically applied to how we are evaluated by people and spirits.

This is why Jesus said that he, himself, does not judge. He insisted that he could, and would work very hard to make it just, but it’s absolutely useless.

Here’s why: God does not give the same amount of grace to everybody.

It’s one of the foolish teachings being propagated in the Christian church today. God does not pour out 14.2 ounces of grace for every convert and call it a day.

Some people get more grace.

Some people can do shit that you and I cannot get by with, and receive no judgment from their heavenly Father whatsoever, while there are those who had better not misquote a scripture, or they might be in danger of great tribulation.

For you see, grace is not a gift. It is a heartfelt consideration from a Creator who loves us, who only seeks one fruit from the human race: humility.

You may possess great Bible knowledge, and have never, ever looked at a piece of pornography in your life, but if you try to enforce that conduct on other people, you will be judged harshly merely for missing Sunday School. Grace will only be trickled your way and you will discover that the forces that be, including Mother Nature, resist you.

The deal that Jesus was making with his disciples in Matthew the 7th Chapter, when he told them not to judge, was not a “liberal, devil-may-care, who-has-the-right-to-throw-the-first-stone” proposal.

Rather, it remains the realization that as humans, we are required to exude a humble spirit, or else those around us will plot our destruction.

The Good Book says clearly, “God gives grace to the humble.”

The more we judge, the more we drain our humility.

The more we critique, the less able we are to bow our heads in comprehension of our own weaknesses.

You and I do not have the same amount of grace.

But since in our life span, gracious mercy is needed, our goal should be to stay simple instead of aggravating the journey of those around us.

Our mission?

To discover the many ways that we can remain humble.

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Good News and Better News … February 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3581)

You are not a farmer.

You are not called to plow, plant, kill weeds and fuss about the weather.

You are a sower.

Your parents were wrong–life is not about “being careful” so you won’t accidentally reap some undesirable result. As long as you’re not starving to death, hurting yourself or interfering with others, get out there and sow.

Your caution only hurts you.

Your intimidation robs you of the experience for which you yearn, and if you fail to achieve, makes you grumpy, old and judgmental. “How dare other people have fun in my presence?”

The story goes, “A sower went forth to sow seed.”

The end result of the process is as follows: Once you drop, you end up with a flop or a crop.

That’s how easy it is. And according to this tale, most of the time it is a flop. Yes, we sustain enthusiasm through many a disappointment, reveling in the sweetness of pleasure.

Some seed will just miss. It won’t get anywhere near soil. Forgive yourself. Laugh it off. “Okay, it landed by the wayside.” Maybe you can aim better next time. It didn’t do anything you wanted it to do. Get over it. Keep in mind, when you refuse to partake of life, you sit in your own sediment until you stink.

Some of the “drop” lands on stony ground. Yeah, the idea started out good, but it didn’t have sustaining power. This doesn’t mean you don’t get joy out of the undertaking. It’s the power of knowing when to walk away. And here’s a clue–when it stops being fun, you should start looking for your shoes.

Some of the seed you drop lands in the middle of thistles. Now, this is soil that’ll grow anything–good and bad. The trouble is, sometimes the bad eats up the good, so it’s not the greatest climate to maintain a cherished mission. Keep sowing.

And some seed miraculously lands right in the middle of rich soil, grows and gives you a crop. This is why we celebrate. It’s why we praise. It’s why we reflect. Why we testify.

We do all of these because success doesn’t happen as often as failure, and if you refuse to try because “doom is more likely than bloom,” you will only guarantee yourself the failure of nothingness.

And if you’re surprised that things don’t work out the way you planned, you may just hang up your bag of seed and pout.

The good news is, we are not farmers–we are sowers.

The better news is, every once in a while we sow into the right soil, and the meaning of life grows right in front of our eyes.

 

 

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Good News and Better News… May 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3294)

I spent the weekend with the “Life of Brian”–once again reminded to “always look on the bright side of life.”

Yes, Brian is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Frostproof, Florida. Aside from being personable, gentle and caring, he has intelligently chosen to embrace the work that is set before him and enjoy it instead of complaining about the difficulties or lamenting its limitations.
That is remarkable. (So therefore, I did.)

Because of this spirit which radiates from him, the congregation allows itself to believe that they are not boxed in to either a social or a religious format that makes them run around in circles like gerbils looking for a wheel.

I must tell you–any church that advertises that it is presently on the path of righteous pursuits may very well be deluded. We are all intoxicated by an environment which challenges us to be rough and tumble instead of kind and merciful.

Very simply stated, that must change or nothing will happen.

If we truly go into a deeper study of the Word, we will end up as Paul did, proclaiming that the only commandment that’s necessary is “love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we pursue an existence of prayer, we will find, as Jesus taught, that our best supplications are done in the closet, without letting anyone know that we are seeking divine guidance.

It really comes down to a simple back-and-forth:

What should we slow?

What should become quick?

I use the word “slow” because none of us are without silliness and foolish iniquity, so we will occasionally slip up. Right now we are obsessed with the notion to be quick to judgment and slow to love. For some reason, we insist that this is a sign of maturity, caution or caring for our loved ones. Because of this, the people in our society sometimes look like they’re sniffing the room for nasty odors instead of including the inhabitants of the room.

We are quick to judge yet slow to love.

And no matter how much you learn about the Tabernacle of David, the death of Christ or the Apocalypse, you will make no progress in the Kingdom of God until you become quick to love and slow to judge.

Matter of fact, if I were pastoring a church, I would teach on that subject for at least six months–until everybody in the congregation, including the toddlers, was fully aware that the mantra of our mission was “quick to love and slow to judge.”

This does not mean that prayer, worship, fasting, giving and study have no merit–it just means they have no muscle. They do not bust through the cement of the walls we are building between each other. The only thing that will do that is love and a refusal on our part to judge others.

So the good news is this: if we can learn to be quick to love, even if it seems a little awkward at first, at least we will be stumbling in the right direction.

And the better news is, if we are slow to judgment, we can begin to tear down the dark image of the Christian faith, which has turned us into prudes instead of proof.

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G-Poppers … September 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

When G-Pop was a younger man, some of his friends suggested that he go seek the wisdom of an “image consultant” to help guide him in his writing career.

The concept was that this expert in marketing would have great ideas on how to make G-Pop more relevant to the public.

The two-hour session, which cost $150, garnered one very important insight: everything we do projects an idea.

It’s similar to the genesis of the creation of the universe. After God set science and planetary formations in motion, He settled in to generate the working friendships that would highlight the essence of His feelings.

  • God created humans in His own image.
  • Therefore we are God’s image consultants.

What people will think about God is based upon how they view us–and to some degree, how they perceive our being comes from their ideas about God.

It’s really very simple:

  1. Humans need God.
  2. But God needs humans.

A covenant began in a garden. The rules were understandable. Humankind received free will, and God asked humans to become caretakers of the animals, the Earth and each other.

G-Pop knows that when this system is honored, the love of God, the love of humans and the love of Earth is manifested. But if we insist we love God but misuse the Earth and mistreat one another, we portray an image which is contrary to who He is, and therefore infuriating.

So returning to the simplicity that human beings are God’s image and therefore God needs human beings to propel His nature, we begin to grasp the beauty and magnitude of our mission.

G-Pop has free will. For the pleasure of making his own plans, his own selection of friends and his own life’s work, God requests that G-Pop be a good caretaker of the Earth and all of its inhabitants.

If you think that’s religion, then may we all be religious.

But if it is what the Bible calls it–the breath of life–then may be all start breathing deeply.

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G-Poppers … September 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3066)

Jon close up

Every human being has a seed.

The mission is to find it.

G-Pop discovered at an early age that he had the ability to make people laugh. He was also delighted to uncover a craft for taking words, forming sentences and compiling them into paragraphs which evolved into complete stories.

And then there was a song. Yes, a song–the blessing of making music.

Finding that seed was truly the greatest revelation in G-Pop’s life. Without it, worshipping a God of power made him feel too insignificant. Seeing the successes of others could tempt him to be envious.

After finding the seed, it was then G-Pop’s responsibility to plant it.

Sounds simple enough–yet it is essential to avoid planting seed where others suggest, or feeling that unless it is planted in a big field it is meaningless. Here’s the message:

  • Plant where you are.
  • Plant where available.
  • Plant in the vicinity of your heart–and your feet.

Then, after finding the seed and planting it, the only other responsibility G-Pop had as a human being was to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone. There is only one way to truly hurt others and it always begins with a lie.

The serpent lied to Eve, Eve lied to Adam and Adam lied to God. The end result was hurt.

It is time to stop complicating the situation. It comes down to finding a seed, planting the seed … and not hurting anyone.

 

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Good News and Better News … April 11th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Grays Chapel

Yesterday I was at Grays Chapel United Methodist Church.

It is located in a place called Grays Chapel, North Carolina, which has been granted the blessing of a name despite its size.

I liked them.

I’m not so sure they liked me at first because after all, I was a stranger. Because I was a stranger, I was therefore suspect.

Isn’t it interesting that most of the problems that come to us in life are hatched by friends and family? Rarely are we inundated by a predicament brought about by someone we don’t know.

That said, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to say to these fine folk. I mingled my words with songs, music and a bit of humor.

Yet, it is important to have a core message.

My core is so simple that it probably leaves some people attending my events a little disappointed–because I fail to attack the right people or praise those usually deemed worthy. So my success rate is very good, but is also plagued by the lack of having an adequate enemy we can all hate. Matter of fact, you can boil down what I have to say to the following:

1. The Gospel is good news.

I know people can find bad news in the Good Book, but I’ve never been one to try to turn it into the “Bad Book.” Maybe that makes my mission seem a little too simple or fluffy.

I don’t care.

People get enough bad news without having me set up my equipment and blare it from the PA system.

2. Jesus lived a human life.

Every attempt we make to turn Jesus of Nazareth into Apollo– who was purported to be half god and half man–makes him none of either.

The power of the life of Jesus is that even though he was driven by a calling and anointed by Spirit, he was bound by flesh.

It makes what he has to say much more pertinent to our lives, instead of him coming across as some professor from heaven, wonkishly trying to explain how things work to a bunch of dumb students.

3. Run from what’s complicated.

I do it all the time.

I meet individuals who think it takes a committee meeting to turn on a light switch. They spend more time discussing the Rules of Order than ordering someone to step in and rule.

Jesus said his way was simple and easy. My thought is, whenever things are is no longer falling under that gentle approach, they are probably also no longer Jesus.

So that’s the good news I had to share with the people of Grays Chapel. I don’t know whether it impressed them. Perhaps they wished I would attack the Republican, curse a Democrat, or whisper a stance I hold on what people should do in their bedrooms.

I don’t care.

The good news is:

  • The Gospel is good news.
  • Jesus came to be human.
  • And life is not meant to be complicated.

Oh, by the way–there’s one piece of better news:

Don’t leave love.

No matter how much you get tempted to redefine your commitment to the human race with some other emotion than love, abandon it. Even when you disagree or you think something is evil, don’t leave love.

May God find each one of us in a loving state of mind … when He, and He alone, decides to judge the world.

 

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G-Poppers … April 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson peered at him quizzically.

The idea posed by G-Pop had left the boy perplexed.

“Let’s go find a tornado.”

The little grandson was not sure where to begin, so he ran to a nearby set of books, found a picture of a tornado and presented it to G-Pop, hoping he had fulfilled the mission.

“No, not a picture,” said G-Pop. “I want a real tornado.”

Now, G-Pop’s grandson is pretty sharp, so after contemplating for a few seconds, he replied, “You can’t find a tornado without storms.”

Exactly.

Throughout the annals of human history, mankind has desperately tried to personify wickedness in the form of an incarnate evil.

  • Mephistopheles.
  • Satan.
  • Old Nick.
  • Beelzebub.

All these names, and many others, were created to strike terror in the hearts of humans, to warn us that apparently we are part of some sort of cosmic chess game, in which God and Lucifer move us around from place to place at their whim, to establish prowess.

Matter of fact, you can be alienated from the Christian community simply by failing to adequately believe in Satan.

But the devil, just like a tornado, fails to be around when there isn’t a storm created by the winds of uncertainty, anger and lust.

That’s how you make a tornado, you know–cold winds meet hot winds and swirl until there’s a physical manifestation of the conflict, which we call a twister. But without the cold and the hot, tornadoes do not exist.

It is amazing how evil the world seems when the cold indifference of people runs headlong into the hot anger of fools. All at once, it seems as if we have an uninvited Hell Being.

But is it true?

Is there an actual Evil One who stalks us? Or is he only made manifest when we arrive at the Garden of Life looking for trouble?

It’s a great question, and one that should be discussed. But I will tell you, if such a creature actually does exist, its efforts are greatly deterred if we remove the frigid apathy and the searing rage which build up because we have ceased to believe in the power of goodness.

G-Pop’s grandson asked, “What can I do to stop evil?”

G-Pop paused and replied, “Well, you see…”

(to be continued)

 

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