The Alphabet of Us: R is for Repent… April 6, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2553)

Building block R

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

“It’s not my fault.”

Those words sound so sweet to my ears whenever I suddenly find myself cramped up with guilt over some piece of stupidity which has caught up with me and now demands my full attention.

Matter of fact, the sentiment of “it’s not my fault” is so popular that both the religious and the secular communities have adapted it into their own particular mission statements.

In the secular world, it’s, “Relax. You were born that way.”

In the religious community, it becomes, “Relax. You were born again this way, and grace covers your sins.”

Humanity seemingly takes a deep breath of gratitude and resumes activities without change.

Yet a humanity appeased never finds real peace.

70+ years of daily life requires much more attention than a simple Hallmark-card-statement of “I’m OK.”

  • Successful people repent.
  • Losers make excuses.

But what is repentance? What does it mean to repent? Are we talking about crying and confessing our deep-rooted faults in front of some priest or counselor? Is repentance kneeling before God to admit your frailty and weakness?

Actually, a spiritual and historical look at repentance offers us a three-fold, interwoven process:

1. Come to myself.

Nothing happens in our lives without personally discovering the reality of our lacking on our own. Whether you’re speaking of the Prodigal Son or a criminal who decides to turn himself in to avoid the ongoing pain of running from the law, there is a moment in each case when they realize that they’re better off admitting the truth of the situation than continuing to avoid revelation.

2. Come to others.

There is an abiding principle that lingers in the truth of all time, which informs us that it is useless to try to have a relationship with God unless you have first mended your relationship with your fellow-humans.

We must always recall that we are to be reconciled with those who are angry with us before we bring our gift to any altar for spiritual redemption.

I first owe it to myself to admit my weakness; then I owe it to those I have offended, to let them know that I have made a discovery and I’m on the mend.

3. And finally, come to God.

Even after coming into synchronicity with reality, having acknowledged my error and then sharing it with those who were affected, I still need to be cleansed of my unrighteousness in order to resume a life of good cheer.

Without good cheer, self-pity will soon wrangle me to the ground for a repeat performance of my foolishness.

If you are human, you cannot live without the valuable transformation to repent.

But to repent, you have to reject all notions that you have no fault in the matter, come to yourself, come to others and then come to God … to be washed whiter than snow.

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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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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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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: God’s House … June 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2278)

Simon Zealotes Jesus Christ Superstar (7)Word has it that God has a house. At least, that’s the popular belief by most folks about the church building.

Even though there are a few folks who try to go cosmic and insist that “the people are the temple of God,” it is still generally considered that His Holiness’s address is somewhere on Church Street with a steeple above.

It is a building filled with individuals who have a history of attending such conclaves, and believe they should be conducted in a particular way. This proposed “God’s House” usually has organ music. Men and women usually only hear an organ three times in their lives–weddings, Sunday church and funerals.

They blur.

But what would God’s House be, and what would the sounds of His domicile consist of, if we really felt He made a visitation within four walls?

I know this–when I go to Steve and Sharon’s house, there’s the buzz of business, papers everywhere and the sound of phone calling to promote new ideas and commerce.

Arriving at Jerrod and Angy’s house, there’s the ruckus of two young women growing up in an exciting environment, with little constraint on their level of joy.

If you pop into Jon Russ and Tracy’s house at any time, you’ll hear the hum of machines and editing bays, and films being pieced together like giant jig-saw puzzles, with unfortunately, many pieces often absent.

Jasson and Deahna’s house has the sound of two young boys, who certainly believe that screeching is permitted in every room of their abode, to the delight of the young parents.

Yet what are the sounds of God’s House?

Jesus described it as an enclosure filled with the sound of music and dancing. As he told the parable of a prodigal son who returned home to the delight of his father, to be thrown the greatest party ever known, the overwhelming exuberance of the visitors and the young lad who had miraculously received a reprieve from his misdeeds, vibrated into the night air.

The only person upset with all the noise, and felt it was disrespectful, was an older brother who was accustomed to somber ambience and the sounds of silence.

He complains.

The father does not apologize. He explains that it’s necessary to have the sound of music and dancing if you’re going to adequately commemorate human beings making progress.

Here’s what I think: as soon as we realize that church is not for our ancestors, nor a gig for the chancel choir, and also not a platform for sermons, responsive readings and overblown special music, is when we actually will build a house that God is comfortable living in.

For if it’s going to be God’s House, it must be a place in which human beings are allowed to cut loose and “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

As the father in the story of the prodigal son said to his older, complaining offspring, “It was right to party. Your brother was lost and is now found.” (He was gracious enough not to add, “What in the hell’s wrong with you?”)

God’s House should resound with music and dancing–to the best of our ability.

Maybe that’s a little too far for you.

But subsisting on the same repertoire program that might be used at your funeral is a bit premature, don’t you think?

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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

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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

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