Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 9) Leavening … January 31st, 2016

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When I looked at the parable again, it just made me laugh.

Jesus often had a dry sense of humor–and in this particular story, he refers to the society in which we live as “the lump.”

Could it be personified any better? Just a big pile of dough, laying there with no prospect of becoming anything in particular, susceptible to being manipulated.

Even though we are tempted to become part of the dough, Jesus suggested we become the leaven–the yeast–the ingredient that quietly slips inside the lump, ends up affecting it by expanding it and making it into bread.

It is the reasonable expectation of all people who are followers of Jesus–thus Jesonian: to contribute to the world around them by adding their yeast into the mix to produce the bread of life.

The problem is that many Christians, instead of using emotional leavening in their outreach, end up with spiritual “littering. ”

  • They waste their witness.
  • They cast aside the power of the Gospel.
  • And they limit the scope of how they can affect their brothers and sisters by offering tracts and little bits of scripture.

This spiritual “littering” occurs in three distinct ways:

1. A generic God.

Yes, in an attempt to become all things to all men, we talk about God instead of Jesus. It seems safer. It appears to be less offensive.

But since Jesus did not come to start a religion and is not in competition with those who did, the way to gain emotional ground with others–to leaven the lump of their lives–is to share the compassion, the heart, the tolerance and the mind of Jesus.

God is an idea. Jesus is a feeling.

2. We also spiritually litter offering an invitation to come to our church.

May I give you a clue? The people who are inclined to go to church at this point are already there.

So the next step for creating a spiritual awakening in this country will not be church attendance. It may lead to that eventually, but to leaven the lump–to put your yeast of emotion into people’s lives–you have to participate in social interaction where they live.

The Internet, dinner invitations, parties, or even going to a movie with a friend is much more effective than the spiritual littering of inviting them to your congregation.

3. And the final step of spiritual littering is feeling the need to make a stand on social issues or moral questions so as to separate our “sheepishness” from those who are more “goat-like.”

We achieve nothing with this.

Whether we are vigilant or vindictive in our assertions makes no difference because we are still accused of being judgmental.

The emotional leavening that Jesus wants us to bring to life is good cheer.

Rather than looking at the tribulation of the world and having a disagreement with it, he tells us to leave the world to him and instead, pursue a life of good cheer.

It’s just a fact–people like to be around happy people.

This does not mean we are free of difficulty, but it means we come into trial in good cheer, survive it, and come out the other end also cheered by the good.

We have too much spiritual littering going on in our society today which renders the Gospel weak because it is at the mercy of people’s perception of the church.

Jesus said the world is a lump.

Put your emotional leavening into it, and let the yeast expand the experience of those around you.

Share Jesus, eat with them … and be of good cheer.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 8) Priority … January 24th, 2016

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I am often reluctant to quote directly from the Good Book.

It is not due to a lack of respect or devotion to the volume. I would have a similar sensation about reading passages from Moby Dick if historically the Melville work had brought about horrific division and chaos.

But sometimes a particular passage from the Bible needs to be shared in its simplicity–and entirety–to point out how misunderstanding has driven us away from the consensus of what makes things good.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

It is virtually impossible for a theologian to interpret that verse without adding his or her religious convictions, practices and pious overtones.

Yet it’s really quite simple. It’s divided into three sections:

  1. The kingdom of God.
  2. His righteousness.
  3. All these things.

To identify what these mean, you must have an awareness of the overall and abiding principles that are represented.

The kingdom of God is not a church, a belief system or a denominational approach to religion. Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God is within us.

So the first step to establishing priority in our journey is to find ourselves.

The creation story tells us that God breathed into humans the breath of life and we became living souls. So if we can’t find that breath, we don’t know how to breathe. And all attempts we make to find the kingdom of God outside the confines of our own created space are not only futile, but often lead us in the wrong direction–trying to become sanctified without really being holy.

Here is the kingdom of God: I am happiest when I can be strong enough to help others.

  • We are not happy when we are weak.
  • We are not happy if we have sufficiency and choose selfishness.

The breath of God is the blessing of finding ourselves and then dispensing mercy to others.

We are told to seek this first.

Dare I say that many religious people are so riddled with insecurity and superstition that the only way they know how to express salvation to others is to load them down with guilt, intimidate them over their lifestyle, then stand back and judge their actions. It is a waste of time.

Get happy, be happy, and from that position of joy, find a way to make others happy.

Which brings us to His righteousness.

This is not my righteousness. This is not a general righteousness. This is God’s righteousness.

It doesn’t take too long in perusing the Good Book to discover that God is content when we grow in confidence so we can help others around us whom He would love to touch with His grace.

If you believe that God is stomping around Heaven, angry about the Ten Commandments being broken, you should probably read the Good Book a little more carefully.

“It’s not His will that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.”

Exactly.

Which brings us to the final thought: “all these things.”

While Wall Street and business tycoons try to figure out the secret to accumulating loot, the process is accessible. Satisfied souls who manifest a creative and passionate life become a magnet to material goods.

It’s just the way it works.

Everybody who chases money, fights for money or kills for money always ends up vanquished by those who are stronger. All the things we desire in life will be at our disposal when we find the breath so that we can breathe, become creative and allow our lives to be filled with passion.

So this little journey we have taken in the Gospel of Matthew is summed up best in this way to discover priority:

I will find the breath of God within me, which will enable me to breathe and become strong so I can help others. I do this because God has one great mission statement: help people. And in the process of finding my confidence, being creative and having a passionate life, the opportunity to gain what I need will be readily available.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 6) Humility … January 10th. 2016

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A humbling experience.  Normally considered to be a negative encounter in our lives rather than an enriching one.

Why?

Because it has been the banner carried by our society over the past fifty years, touting that the more autonomous, self-reliant, confident and determined we are to maintain our opinions and identity, the better off we are.

We fail to understand that success is the inheritance given to the humble as they acquire the Earth. Thus, humility is deemed to be idealism and weakness rather than basic human understanding.

So as an influenced member of the present cultural thinking, are you prepared to do what is necessary to escape the insanity of overwrought self-esteem? Can you find the reality of your ability in the human family?

Acquiring humility is a simple three-step process:

1. Deal with what you see.

Dare to give yourself an honest report. There is a reason we have two eyes facing forward and two ears to the flank. It is to inform us of the actual possibilities we have, and to also warn us of limitations.

If you think you will be able to talk your way out of every situation or merely usurp a bad attitude to scare away critics, you are sorely mistaken.

2. Find what you can do.

This is what I call an honest effort. The last thing in the world you want to do if you desire to acquire humility is explain away your failures.

Finding what you can do always shortens the list of what you wish you can do, but guarantees you the ability to accomplish your realistic goals.

It is only when we are achievers that we have the opportunity to be humble. Humility without the evidence of fruit appears to be nothing more than sour grapes.

3. Finally, find what you believe.

This is what I call an honest vision. Don’t ever ask God to give you something that you’re not willing to follow up on. Don’t ask others to give you a chance if you can’t endure. Belief has no power if it’s theory. And the way you take belief out of theory is by deciding how dedicated you will be to the cause.

Humility is how we determine the substance of one another. It’s the only tool we have in our shed that works in every situation, because it allows those around us to be forewarned of our weakness…in order to truly praise our accomplishment.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 5) Mercy … January 3rd. 2016

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Our greatest fear is having our weakness exposed to others. To avoid this horror, we pursue positive attitudes, lies, anger, defensiveness, deceit, prayer and self-righteousness.

Yes, the absence of candor is the open door to deception. And when we are dishonest about our true selves, we have the ugly by-product of prejudice, which robs us of our better nature.

Why do we become prejudiced? In order to keep the attention away from the beam sticking out of our own eye, we try to bring focus to the speck in our brother’s eye.

So I can tell you of a certainty, honesty has a little brother and its name is mercy.

Without honesty, we feel no need whatsoever to be merciful, but spend all of our time drafting plans to escape notice of our vice. And maybe it’s not even a vice–perhaps it’s just a piece of us that requires grace instead of criticism.

It is time to become reasonable.

If the Gospel of Jesus does not afford us the humanity to confess our faults one to another, then it merely is a temporary pain-killer, or worse, a dangerous diversion.

Here’s a beautiful process–maybe better phrased, a way of thinking that actually produces thought:

  1. I have a weakness.
  2. You have a weakness.
  3. We have weaknesses.
  4. Therefore, we choose mercy.

If I do not believe I have a weakness, I certainly will not tolerate your peccadilloes. And if I discover that you are weak and I am unwilling to admit my weakness, then I will focus on yours and attack you for having it.

Thus, mercy is avoided, ignored and cast aside.

A world without mercy is always a lie, ready to be prosecuted.

For it will only take you a few moments after you meet me to discover that I have weaknesses, whether I confess them or not. It will not take me any longer to uncover yours.

So the only advantage we have is to get in front of these revelations by admitting that we have weaknesses, encouraging others to make the same confession, and then humbly allowing mercy to do its healing work through understanding and the passage of time.

Nothing happens until we realize how weak we are.

Strength is not owned; it is given by humbly admitting weakness.

 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 2) … December 13th, 2015

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Liberty.

Find God, discover liberty.

Stumble upon liberty, see God.

It was something that the Apostle Paul said. He equated God and liberty–an inseparable pair.

He also went on to intelligently point out that human beings initially use their liberty to generate sins of the flesh.

Yes, they do.

It does not matter. Just as free will is more important than love and law, liberty is the evidence that free will is in motion.

So what is reasonable? We deal with two dangers:

  • Being so meticulous in trying to control people’s choices that we suppress human passion deep inside, where it becomes perverted;
  • Or there is the danger of having an “anything goes” philosophy, which makes people think they have a free pass, creating equal peril.

Being reasonable is understanding what your job is, doing it well, and not assigning yourself the mission of quality control for others.

As human beings, we have two areas where we can interact with each other without fear or intimidation: the heart and the spirit.

At any time, I can cross paths with each and every one of you, and as long as I am trying to help you feel deeply about life or encouraging you to increase your faith, I am on solid turf, free of being a condemning force.

Yet I will tell you that your mind and your morals are your business and your business alone. I have no authority to control your thinking nor judge your choices.

The church should take this position.

We need to trust that exploding good emotion with spiritual renaissance is enough to allow human beings to renew their own minds and define their morality.

I have no intention of taking these daily essays which flow from my heart and do anything but stir your emotions and touch your spirit. It is up to you to use them to replace ideas in your brain and to reference your own behavior.

As long as we think we control the minds and morals of those around us, we are not only annoying to our brothers and sisters … but completely out of the will of God.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 1) … December 6th, 2015

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Reasonable: being able to reason.

It seems like a noble idea until you realize it requires you to sift through your beliefs and discard the unreasonable portions.

The process of becoming a good Earth-citizen is acknowledging that there are billions of others, and the goal is to find a way to peacefully co-exist with your brothers and sisters without compromising the power of truth.

So what is the first step to being reasonable?

Free will.

We are not on Earth by God’s plan, by luck or to be guided by superstition. There is a way things work and a way they don’t, and the first step in understanding that process is comprehending that every human being has free will.

1. God died for free will.

Using the flesh-and-blood passport of Jesus of Nazareth, God came to Earth and submitted to the decisions of arrogant religionists, who gave a verdict of death because he preached love.

God did nothing to stop the process. But after it was completed, He used the bravery of Jesus as evidence of salvation.

2. You have free will.

Don’t ask God to live your life. He won’t.

You may convince yourself that certain events link together to form a plan, but actually, they happened because of your action or inaction.

Jesus characterized God as Father, and no good parent would ever try to control the life of His child.

3. Human beings have free will.

Therefore you can’t force your beliefs on others.

We have to learn the power of influence.  And how do we influence people? By making them jealous of our success–so jealous that they imitate our actions in their own way, without ever giving us credit.

4. Because free will is immutable, if we’re going to impact others, we need to make sure that we’re constantly making our choices simpler and easier.

I can always tell when I’m in the presence of someone who is a novice to the human experience.

They talk about complexity.

Becoming mature is resisting difficulty.

We make progress by using our free will to find paths to greater ease and simplicity.

You will never be reasonable until you understand that human beings have been granted free will, and therefore will quite often choose ignorance over wisdom.

Selecting to blame God for this malady is not only a waste of time, but also puts you in a world of superstition … where you nervously await the next disaster. 

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

 

 

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