Catchy (Sitting 26) Amaze On … December 10th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3517)

She struggled to regain consciousness as the sweat poured off of her forehead into her lids, burning her eyes. She closed them tightly, trying to think, which was virtually impossible because her head was throbbing.

Where was she? Who was she, for that matter? What was going on?

Her whole body stung with a variety of wounds. Gradually she opened her eyes, blinking away the perspiration, to stare down at herself. She was lying flat on her back, wearing a bra and what appeared to be cargo shorts, pinned to the ground by a very heavy snake.

Horrified, she resisted the inclination to stand up screaming. As the snake crawled across her belly, she felt the undulations of its skin against hers, propelling itself forward.

She nearly went crazy. Instead, she forced herself to wait. She waited until the snake had stilled itself, and then, in one swift motion, she grabbed it with her hands, leaped to her feet and threw it into the air. She hadn’t realized how heavy the snake was, so it didn’t go very far. She scurried quickly away to what she hoped was a safe place.

Looking around frantically, she realized she was in a jungle. She had never been in a jungle before, but from everything she had heard or read, this appeared to be a rain forest. The heat was suffocating and the humidity so high that water was dripping from the leaves. The ground beneath her was teeming with life, giving an eerie sense of continual movement.

As she looked down, she saw that her legs were covered with little black bugs, which she tried to remove and as she did, tiny red welts remained as residue. But she patiently pursued the task.

On her left, she noticed a small pile of supplies. She rummaged through a knapsack and found two large canteens, which she opened and discovered held water. There were also power bars, a flashlight, matches and a map. On the map was a note, scrawled in magic marker, which read: “Compass in front pocket of knapsack. Walk north. You will find civilization.”

Stunned, terrified, abandoned, Jo-Jay burst into tears. How did she get here? She thought back to the last thing she remembered. She had gone to a Thai restaurant to meet up with an informant, who was supposed to give her a contact on the CLO and a fellow named Joshua.

Arriving at the restaurant, she was greeted by a lovely woman of Eastern extract, who motioned Jo-Jay to follow her down a narrow hallway, through a door and some hanging beads. Jo-Jay recalled pulling back the beads.

And then… well, now waking up with a snake on her chest.

As she stood, convinced she was doomed to die, she conjured the words of her Grandma, who explained that the only truly priceless gift in life was in all circumstances finding a reason to be grateful. This gave Jo-Jay a blessed laugh, considering how little there was to be grateful for out in this wilderness.

But she did have water. And apparently her abductor possessed some sort of conscience, to spare her life and give her a fighting chance to become suburban again.

It then occurred to her that the longer she stood there, the more the communication in the animal kingdom would view her as a target instead of a participant. So she grabbed the compass and knapsack, located north and started walking.

Three hours. Five hours. Was it seven hours? It seemed like even more. She trudged through the jungle.

At first she was totally horrified by the tiny stings on her legs and swatting at the creatures that tried to suck the moisture from her eyeballs. But she finally calmed her spirit and energized her body. She stopped every hour or so to eat a bite and drink a little.

When it occurred to her that evening was coming, she realized she could not survive a night in the jungle.

Suddenly she had an instinct to stop and listen. Over the sounds of chirps, squeaks, hisses and howls, there was another vibration–actually kind of a mumble.

She thought it resembled human voices.

She quickly turned in the direction of what she hoped was life. As she stumbled forward, she emerged and found herself in a clearing. Fifty yards across the expanse stood a man, woman and two children.

Jo-Jay screamed, “My God, my God! I need help!”

The man turned and ran toward her as the woman followed and the children trailed. When they arrived, she related her story–as much as she knew.

They listened intently, and then explained they were the Paulsons from Winterset, Iowa, missionaries to the local tribe, and were clearing off this section of jungle to build a church.

Jo-Jay tried to explain her situation and her own mission, which seemed to confuse the provincial Paulsons. She calmed down and then simplified. “I need to get back to America as quickly as possible.”

Reverend Paulson explained that four times a year, he drove their big truck three hundred miles into Brasilia, the capital, to get supplies, but that he had just completed the journey last week and there was no fuel for the truck.

Jo-Jay asked about other transportation. None.

Airplane. None.

Boat. No water that would take her anywhere she wanted to go.

She felt hopeless. She couldn’t stay with these missionaries until the next supply run. She needed to get back.

Something was very wrong–some danger in the air, which she needed to relate to her friends.

Questions cluttered her mind and suffocated her thinking. Why did they spare her? Why did they abduct her? Why did they feel it necessary to take such drastic measures for such a silly little thing as a bunch of Jesus rallies in the United States?

Then one of the children spoke up. “Papa, we do have fuel.”

Jo-Jay pursued. “Do you? Do you have fuel?”

The reverend nodded his head. “Yes, but it’s for us to survive for the next three months.”

Jo-Jay giggled, baffling the family. “Tell you what,” she said. “If you will drive me to Brasilia, I will guarantee you all the fuel you want, and as a donation, will pay for you to make another run of special supplies for your congregation.”

Reverend Paulson stared at the woman before him, adorned only in a bra and cargo shorts, with a doubtful, furrowed brow.

Jo-Jay looked down at herself and laughed. “Listen–I usually dress better than this. I have the money, if you can give me the time.”

Right in the middle of the clearing, the Paulsons knelt in prayer, as a family, as Jo-Jay, slow to join in, caught the idea and knelt down herself.

Papa prayed. “There are no accidents, God the Father. We know this. So meeting our friend today has to have some meaning. You told me that I cannot take that which was given for your work and give it away for others. So I come to You and ask which is more important–this woman’s request, or taking care of those you have commissioned to us.”

He kept his eyes closed and remained silent. The family joined in the profile. As Jo-Jay listened, she assumed he was going to take care of his own. It was only logical. After all, some crazy woman comes out of the jungle, you don’t follow her like she’s a freakin’ Pied Piper.

After a few moments, the reverend opened his eyes. The family peeked out to see if it was time to stop. Reverend Paulson looked at his wife and children, and said not a word. One by one, a smile appeared on each face and they nodded. He, the last of the four, smiled and nodded also.

He turned to Jo-Jay and said, “God wants us to go to Brasilia.”

They wasted no time. They hiked three miles to their camp, climbed into an old truck and drove through the jungle, making their own road as they went.

Jo-Jay became quiet, thinking to herself.

For heaven’s sake, what the hell is going on? 

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G-Poppers … October 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3458)

In the course of human humblings, it becomes the responsibility of sane souls near and far to pose the blessed question: “What is truly important?”

Without pursuing this answer, we are soon bumbling, fumbling and stumbling our way to utter dissatisfaction, leaving us…well, grumbling.

Unfortunately, the answer to “what is truly important?” can not be derived by forming a committee. Committees critically over-analyze, dismiss with no resolution, to sip bitter coffee and crunch day-old Danish.

Some brave individuals seek solution in politics–but anything that has to be voted on can be controlled by either buying off the voter or fooling the electorate.

Pious souls across the globe go to prayer, asking God to bring solutions, believing their praise is sufficient involvement. But as most of us find out, God rarely does a one-man show. He works with an unrehearsed cast on an available stage.

I guess some people believe money is the most important thing in the world because it can buy the things we want, which keeps us from feeling in need. Yes–we are scared to death of being without. But then we encounter those souls who possess it all, who end up feeling they have nothing.

What is really important?

What is the reason for us to still be here in the midst of a common struggle for a common good?

For we do find some things to be self-evident.

Since God created us all, we have a common Father. It is a good place to start.

Since science and Mother Nature are at work in our world, there is much we can learn about ways to get along just by studying the atmosphere around us.

But it is the territory within our three square feet–where we live, breathe, eat, think and wrestle with our own appetites–that determines our true sense of worth.

So what is really important?

  • Find what you can do.
  • Do it well.
  • Let other people do the same.
  • Help out where you can.

Like so many solutions, it may seem simple and inadequate to cover the variety of conflict that threatens us. But when you look it again, you will grasp its scope.

Wisdom begins with knowing what is important:

This is what I can do. I will work on doing it better. I will give you the freedom to do the same. And if something comes up within my ability, I will try to help out.

G-Pop just wanted you to know.Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

G-Poppers … August 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3395)

Jon close up

G-Pop spends more time thinking than he does talking. Long before he offers a chat to his children, he tosses the ball of confusion around in his brain to see if he can get it to bounce right.

Such is the case between caring and involved.

Normally we think that if we care, we will become involved–but the danger of becoming involved is, with our assistance, we bring our opinion.

This year G-Pop has learned this lesson with great clarity. He aspired to be helpful and involved. Why? Because he cared.

But he did not believe that caring was enough–caring being that action of expressing concern and standing ready with prayer or even some financial support, to help those around him achieve what they set out to do.

  • “Caring” comes without interference.
  • “Involved” often brings a bit of nosiness and mouth along with the tender touch.

For instance, does God care for us or is God involved? And if He is involved, where does that place free will?

In other words, can you be involved in other people’s lives and still completely honor their choices, without displaying a disgruntled expression?

G-Pop believes the answer is no.

Here’s a truth: it’s better when people work out their own problems. We need things to be our idea. If possible, we need the idea to be born of our will.

Following advice does make you a follower.

G-Pop now realizes that he needs to care, but not get so involved. Caring will always be received well but involvement can be interfering.

So G-Pop says to his children, be careful not to intrude and then become offended because people treat you like you’re an intruder.

“All I was trying to do was help.”

What we should try to do is care–and encourage people as they find their path. Because if we stand afar and care more instead of involving ourselves, the number of people we can bless increases.

Because here’s the fact: involvement is downright exhausting.Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

Good News and Better News… July 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3371)

Church attendance is dropping.

The statement is so widely accepted that no one is objecting, nor considering the ramifications.

We are absolutely terrified if the ocelot become an endangered species, but barely flick an eyebrow over losing an intricate part of our society–the church.

Those who hate the church smile in a bit of wistful glee, and those who still attend look around at the empty room, shrug their shoulders and quietly head to the altar for communion.

If the American church dissipates to nothing, what are we losing?

We are forfeiting a place where once a week we can come and admit that we’re sinners. The humility does us good.

Also, it’s a location where we can rejoice over being forgiven.

Where else in America do you sit in a room and sing with other people?

How about the message? A lesson on the power of good.

It gives us the chance to be quiet. Everything roars around us–and we have a tendency to roar back.

When I was growing up, I was suddenly around kids from other school districts, who became my “church friends.”

It gives me a chance to think about possibilities other than myself.

While I’m trying to stay awake, I have the realization that I’m part of something.

I have to look for a shirt that matches my socks.

I find myself giving.

I also am put in the position to receive.

I’m actually leaving my home for something other than shopping, games, movies and dinner.

I am in a room full of people who will pray for me.

When church is done right, I can question. I can doubt. I can shout.

I can see, hear, feel and touch the gospel.

We certainly should be concerned about baby seals–they are a part of creation.

But if we allow the church to go the way of the dodo bird, we should stop wondering why things are not flying high and straight.

The good news is, there is still a church out there.

The better news is, that church is waiting for our unique input.

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Good News and Better News… July 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3363)

There’s only one rule.

Everything else is suggestions based upon respect to that principle.

The one rule is simple: love your neighbor as yourself. It also has a valuable addendum: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, while you’re loving yourself and your neighbor, you’ll probably end up doing something, so start learning to:

Do for two.

Me and you.

So powerful is this rule that it has intelligently been dubbed “Golden.” It is not a thought. It is not a point of discussion. And it is not debatable based on our particular definition of “neighbor.” Matter of fact, it affords us the expansive notion that these others we are to “do unto” include dogs, cats, trees, the sky and the entire cosmos. (He that has an ear, let him hear.)

But this Golden Rule cannot be replaced, displaced or even considered equal with other practices.

For instance, I believe in prayer. Sometimes it’s very helpful in assisting me to love my neighbor as myself. But it is not a substitute.

I like to read the Good Book. It gives me insights on better ways to communicate with my neighbors. But reading is not living.

Going to church offers fellowship and encouragement to pursue the goal–yet attendance to such a worship experience does not guarantee adherence to the ultimate truth.

Jesus did not die for the sins of the world–he died for the Golden Rule. Because without it, the world is beset by sin.

I just thought I should mention this to you today, just in case you were getting caught up in recent spiritual fads and Biblical chicken tracks.

The good news is, there is a rule.

The better news is, when applied, the gold makes us all rich.Donate Button

 

 

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 57) Epilogue… June 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3327)

Reverend Meningsbee

It was at a rest area in the state of Oklahoma, on I-35, that the Rettner family stopped to enjoy some lunch before traveling on to their home in Dallas, after visiting Grandma in the great state of Missouri.

Grandma had made turkey sandwiches and was known for putting some butter on the top piece of bread and cranberry sauce on the bottom. They were always scrumptious.

So Bob Rettner and his wife, Jenine, along with their son, who they called Little Mike, had decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, to sit outside at a picnic table and talk about the beauty of their Christmas and munch the delicious delicacy prepared by Grandma.

But Little Mike was a bit fidgety. He brought a ball with him and was kicking it along when it bounced against a car and rolled out into the thoroughfare at the rest area.

The little boy didn’t even think twice. He started chasing the ball when suddenly a pick-up truck was bearing down on him. It was a tragedy in the making.

Suddenly, from nowhere, a man came running and snatched the boy up, lifting him out of harm’s way just in time. He set him back on the ground and they walked over together to retrieve the ball.

By this time, the parents, who had been watching in horror, unable to do anything but shout, ran up to thank the stranger.

The mother grabbed Little Mike and the father shook the gentleman’s hand. “Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say.”

“You already did,” said the stranger. “Thank you is quite enough.”

The mother interjected, “We’re just sitting down here eating some delicious turkey sandwiches left over from Grandma’s table…”

“Grandma’s table?” queried the stranger.

“Yes, the best you’ll ever eat,” said the father. “Would you join us?”

The stranger paused, looked over at the little boy, who smiled at him. “Yes. I would be honored,” he said.

They all walked over to the table and introductions were made.

“I’m Bob Rettner, this is my wife, Jenine, and this is our son. We call him Little Mike.”

The stranger gave the boy a hug and said, “Little Mike–ball chaser.”

They all shared a relieved laugh.

“And what is your name?” asked Bob.

“They call me Richard.”

“Are you returning from Christmas vacation?” inquired Jenine.

“Yes. Yes, I am. I’m returning, I’m going, I’m coming…I guess we all are, aren’t we?”

Bob handed him a sandwich. “Thank you again,” he said. “We’re a family that believes in prayer. Would you like to lead us in grace over these wonderful sandwiches?”

Richard thought for a moment. “Bob, I, too, believe in prayer. But you know what I’d like? I would like Little Mike to pray. Because… well, because I like to listen.”

 

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Jesonian… April 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3270)

jesonian-cover-amazon

The Disagreeable Disciple

Disciple: I love you, my Lord.

Master: Well, thank you. So let’s get to work.

Disciple: I’m all ears.

Master: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Disciple: I pick up that the key word there is “neighbor,” which connotes they’re neighborly. If you mean being kind to neighborly people, then I get it.

Master: Your neighbor is everybody.

Disciple: I understand your heart, but that seems a little unrealistic.

Master: Judge not lest you be judged.

Disciple: I hear you. Gossip is a horrible thing. But there are things that need to be spoken against. Things that you, yourself, certainly don’t condone. So I believe there’s a difference between speaking up against evil and judging people.

Master: What if I told you that I don’t make that distinction?

Disciple: Interesting.

Master: When you pray, enter your closet, and when you shut the door, pray to your Father in secret.

Disciple: At our latest prayer seminar, we were discussing the power of thousands and thousands of people praying together over a common theme. Sometimes my personal prayers seem so anemic–lonely, if you will.

Master: And the Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

Disciple: Once again, interesting.

Master: In the Kingdom of God there is neither male nor female.

Disciple: Yet you want is to keep our social roles, am I correct? Women as mothers, men as fathers. Also good to study the different personality traits and emotional leanings. Is this true?

Master: Kingdom of God. Neither male nor female.

Disciple: Much to think about.

Master: And whenever you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.

Disciple: Now I know we’re on page! We have a food pantry at the church and we take care of hungry kids in after-school programs. We’re tracking this one down.

Master: By least, I don’t mean social order or poverty. I mean the ones you personally consider the least among humanity. The prisoners, the terminally ill, the outcasts, the individuals who don’t necessarily conform to your moral code.

Disciple: Sounds like you’re suggesting we condone sin.

Master: No, I’m telling you that you’ll be judged by how you treat the people you have deemed to be least.

Disciple: Wow, you’re sure giving me a lot to ponder. But you have to be pleased when you see your people gather to worship you every week in church.

Master: In vain do they worship me, because they teach their traditions as if they are commandments of God instead of mere preferences of this generation.

Disciple: But you do like praise and worship?

Master: Worship should be in spirit and truth–a mingling of our hopes with the impact of reality.

Disciple: You know, I haven’t thought about these things from this perspective for a long time.

Master: I’ve never thought about them from any other perspective.

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