Salient…June 25th, 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.

Shall we take a look at a fascinating window of time that occurs in all human beings, from birth to about five years of age? Each one of us is so vulnerable, so needy, so inquisitive and so desperate that we are prepared to be taught to be Earth-dwellers by our parents. Sometimes this extends all the way up to age ten.

Three very intricate systems are introduced: manners, morals and motivation.

This is the period when we develop our ethics–perhaps a work ethic or a social one, but certainly a mental gear we adopt to deal with life and with others.

Most generally this instruction is completed by age eleven, because here comes puberty. For the average parent puberty can be best defined as this: “My children have lost their hearing in favor of their genitals.”

It is difficult to provide additional instruction during this period. Sometimes after a serious error, there will be a brief season of curiosity from the adolescent, but then the trio of temptation, taunting and teasing pulls them right back into the melee of mayhem.

This lasts until about age twenty-five. (Of course, it could be twenty-two, or thirty, depending on the person. But for the sake of this brief essay, I shall characterize it as twenty-five.)

At twenty-five young folks wake up–sometimes after a hangover or after getting their first threatening letter from a bill collector for their student loans, or perhaps realizing they might be in love.

A realization strikes: “Maybe me, an individual, could become us, a family.”

So three new friends show up to invigorate manners, morals and motivation. They are concern, confidence and clever.

We, as humans, develop a legitimate concern for others while building confidence and finding clever ways to use what we have more expansively.

It is a massive transition–a needful one. Without it, many young persons never become actual adults at all, but linger around their families, particularly their parents, coming back for another schooling in morals, manners and motivation.

This concern, confidence and clever births some children, buys a house, acquires job promotions and takes us, as people, to about the age of fifty. (Once again, this could be younger or a little older.)

At fifty, having tapped the fruit of concern, confidence and clever, people want more. There is a wrinkle in the spirit of human beings which causes them to wistfully wish to make a difference and leave behind a legacy.

It is at this point that we pursue wit, words and wisdom. It carries us through to our dying breath.

Yet we certainly know individuals in their seventies who have never escaped concern, confidence and clever–or maybe never even learned morals, manners and motivation.

This is a passage. All human passages are entered only through the power of repentance.

So here is your salient moment:

Gather up all your manners, morals and motivation, and stir in your concern, confidence and cleverness. And if you have reached the age, add on your wit, words and wisdom.

Finish the job.

Of course, if you’re led of the Spirit and you’re a creature who knows how to use faith, you don’t have to wait for birthdays to dictate your future.

As the Good Book says, “today is the day of salvation.”

 

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G-Poppers … January 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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18 years of age.

G-Pop’s granddaughter is celebrating today.

She is so excited. She has waited a lifetime for it–at least, her lifetime.

She is ready to be a person instead of a passenger.

A participant rather than a daughter.

A mover and not just a child.

G-Pop could share many superlatives about this young woman and bore you to tears.

She is intelligent to the point of being sharp.

She is clever and creative.

She is tender-hearted and allows tears to flow without shame.

Even though her life has been peppered with missteps, she went back, corrected them and took responsibility for the stumbles.

She is talented, she can sing, and dear Lord, she even plays the ukulele.

The canvas set before her is prepared for the beautiful colorations of her dreams.

But she is still plagued by one concern:

She doesn’t want to miss anything.

She doesn’t want to be considered an “also ran.”

She does not want people to believe she’s just a preacher’s daughter who cushioned herself from the realities of human life.

She wants to do it all.

She is frightened of becoming a “goody-two-shoes.”

It is a sensation that jolts the heart of every person who dares to pursue goodness. Can you chase the star of purity and still enjoy the cosmic journey?

But here’s the reality: nothing bad ever made anything good.

No vice ever actually promoted a versa.

No inhalation stimulated respiration.

No liquid spirit ever conjured a Holy Spirit.

Side-tracks. That’s what all those are–little temptations to distraction that we’ve convinced ourselves are necessary to add to our diary to make our lives seem plausible instead of merely a fairy tale.

What G-Pop would like to tell his granddaughter on this glorious day is that good is the only thing worth living for.

But you must never preach it.

Preaching good always leads to self-righteousness, selfishness and anger over missing out over some sort of sinful delicacy.

The more the reverend reverberates against iniquity, the more he is drawn to it. It is a historical fact.

God never gave us permission to preach good–thus the warning, “Don’t judge other people.”

G-Pop would also tell his granddaughter that being good is the curse of a thousand yearnings.

None of us are good. No, not one.

So every time we try to be good, we punish ourselves, incriminate our hearts and tear down our confidence. It’s why the phrase, “I’m sorry” needs to be at our tongue-tip, prepared to be uttered at any moment.

We’re just not good.

And those who try to be good often end up either lying or preaching. (I’m not sure if there’s a difference there.)

What G-Pop wants to wish to his beautiful, creative, gentle, comical granddaughter is the mission of doing good.

Good becomes very obvious because it’s always the thing that includes somebody besides yourself. It’s not hard to find–and even though you’re not going to preach against evil nor claim to be pure, the least you can do for a battered, bewildered and betrayed mankind is grant them the touch of grace brought by a moment of goodness.

I’m always enamored by the story that comes out of the 1969 music festival, Woodstock. Even though all the parents were critical of their young ones who went off to this “den of iniquity”–and perhaps there was a farm-load of sin being perpetuated in every field–when it was discovered that the purple acid was hurting people, they interrupted the concert and got on the microphone to warn their brothers and sisters to stay away from it.

They did good.

I suppose some pious parents might suggest that if the children were not taking acid in the first place, there would be no reason to avoid the purple.

But you see, that’s not life.

Life is realizing that wherever you are, whoever you’re working with, and whatever the rules for that environment, there is still a way to do good.

It does not make you a goody-two-shoes.

It means that you walk with feet of blessing.

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G-Poppers … October 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop’s thought for the day:

Stop explaining.

Don’t do it yourself and certainly quit demanding it of others.

Explaining leads to lying, lying ends up in mistrust and mistrust is the seed that sprouts hate.

It is very important to understand human beings:

  1. Human beings make mistakes.
  2. Human beings are selfish.
  3. Human beings insist they don’t make mistakes and are not selfish.

So if you ask one of your fellow-travelers about a mistake that was made or a piece of selfishness you encountered, they will definitely explain how you misunderstand.

The best way to live this Earthly life is to answer yes and no.

“Who ate the last doughnut?”

I did.

Truthfully, most people won’t leave it at that. They will ask why or sometimes even how it happened. If you give in to the temptation to produce a storyline about your clumsiness or lack of attention, you will probably find yourself, like Brother Adam and Sister Eve, making really lame excuses and eventually pointing fingers at each other.

Because of that profile, Adam and Eve went from being prosperous gardeners to “Paradise Lost.”

The more explaining you do, the more you try to convince yourself that you’re a victim of unusual circumstances.

No one buys it, no one believes it and everyone is quietly thinking to themselves, “Please shut the hell up.”

One of the greatest ways to contribute to the peace and harmony of Earth is to stop explaining and certainly refuse to make others go through the agony of the process.

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Ask Jonathots… October 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I’m in a group of co-workers who play sports together–a great bunch of guys. Here’s the problem: one of the guys in the group lies to our boss at work all the time. He lies about being sick. He lies about relatives being sick. He lies to take unwarranted credit for work. He thinks that because we have this “sports connection” that no one would ever turn him in. So far no one has. I’m going to confront him about this. Suggestions on the best way to do it?

Here’s my suggestion on the best way to do it: don’t.

Any form of self-righteousness is actually doomed to failure, and truthfully, will prolong the evil you are trying to expose.

Built into the natural order is a system which protects us from destruction by unveiling the stupidity and mistakes of those who dare to ignore honest relationship.

In other words, it’s against the laws of nature to be a jerk.

Sometimes it takes a week for these individuals to be caught in their error, sometimes a year. But you will never successfully turn in a traitor or an offender and be considered anything less than a pious baby.

Here’s what I would suggest you do:

1. Make it clear to everyone, including him, that you are not party to deception.

2. Tell your friend that you will not judge him for his actions, but you will also not cover his butt if he gets caught.

3. Make sure that you are never at the scene of the crime.

In other words, proximity to his lies may actually convict you as a participant. When you know he is starting something ridiculous, step away.

4. Quietly leave a trail of sincerity and honesty at the feet of your boss so that if push comes to shove there will be no doubt as to your veracity.

Human beings make two major mistakes: they either give in to temptation and absorb the iniquity around them, or they foolishly think it’s their job to clean up the planet by pointing out all the sinfulness.

Don’t do either.

Believe me when I say that arrogance, indifference and deceit always get caught … and always get punished.

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The Alphabet of Us: S is for Simplify… April 13, 2015

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Building block S

You are not a god.

You are not a devil.

You are not an angel.

You are not an animal.

You are a human.

Your greatest temptation is to complicate.

The reason this temptation comes into your being is that you feel more powerful and intelligent when you’re figuring things out instead of finding the simpler solutions and pursuing them.

There are “complicators” who will try to make you seem idealistic because you do not wish to join their complexity.

But you are not complicated:

  1. You need to feel love.
  2. You need to believe.
  3. You need to be creative.
  4. You need to be active.

When these things are at work, you will simplify your life.

And if you grant yourself the added blessing of wanting these things instead of just needing them, you will have discovered a little piece of heaven on earth.

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G-31: Provider … July 4, 2014

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 bigger star of david“God, you are not a good Father,” pined the Creator Almighty. “You can’t make ’em and then break ’em.”

A rocky start.

For you see, my friend, no matter what you think of the story contained in the black leather-bound book, or what accounts you hold dear, the tale begins with a series of misfortunes, and dare we say, mistakes.

For instance:

  • Creating man with no woman.
  • Welcoming woman with no direct communication about the goals of Eden.
  • Creating a rule while keeping the temptation readily available.
  • Then allowing a tempter to aggravate the reality of free will.
  • Having no idea how to deal with the human penchant for lying.
  • Kicking them out with no destination.
  • Separation.
  • Murder.
  • Ego.
  • Violence.
  • And then the erroneous decision to kill them and start over.

The whole experience was terrifying for the Creator, not to mention bruising to the creation.

How do you become a good Father once you’ve decided to bear children?

The Creator quickly chose to become a provider–to bring blessing and opportunity to a handful of favored souls, who would trickle down the wealth and prosperity to those around them.

A lineage was selected, commencing with a man named Abram, who later became the internationally-famous Abraham. He was promised a great nation and given all sorts of door prizes for every door he entered.

Unfortunately, he still continued to maintain some of that penchant for lying, and ended up being a bit of a wimp–because when he bore children by two women, he selected one over the other, thus setting in motion a custody battle that still rages today.

Abraham had a son named Isaac, who ended up raising two children of his own–one a wimp and one a liar. Esau, the oldest, gladly exchanged his rite of passage as a leader for a good meal. And the younger, Jacob, lied his way into inheritance. He wrestled with angels, suffered the consequences of being lied to by others and had twelve sons, although he really liked one the best–a boy named Joseph.

All through this process, the Creator is practicing Fatherhood by being a good provider, attempting not to interfere too much in the gears of human emotion and transition.

Finally, on the fourth try, he ends up with a decent fellow.

Joseph not only isn’t a liar, he gets in a helluva lot of trouble for telling the truth. And because he’s not a wimp, thousands are saved from starvation in Egypt, finally granting the favored generation a seat of power next to Pharoah.

For the first time in ancient, and even present, history, the Jews and Arabs were living side-by-side, in peace, under mutual agreement.

It seemed that everything was going pretty well, and that this “provider” approach was really paying off.

That is, until Joseph died.

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G-25: Insulate or Isolate? … May 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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handsSo you found yourself in the middle of a raging feud with your brother and a festering jealousy exploded into a violent rage, ending up with you murdering your sibling.

When confronted with the facts, you lied and then got caught–and instead of being executed for your crime, you’ve been exiled to the Land of Nod, East of Eden.

Now what?

The truth of the matter is, life doesn’t stop with the latest happy event, nor does it cease at the conclusion of a tragedy, but goes on.

How? The immediate temptation is to insulate yourself:

  • Why did this happen and how can I avoid it ever happening again?
  • How can I improve my image as quickly as possible?
  • Going forward, how can I play it safe?

This is what happens when people are bruised, offended, battered or just intimidated by the sheer, brute force of responsibility.

They begin to seek protection instead of opportunity. They request a reprieve from interaction instead of gaining strength through fellowship.They lessen their workload, insisting that being overwhelmed was what caused the problem–only to discover that being underwhelmed leaves them bored.

It’s a tough decision, but the most crucial moment in our lives–when we realize that the next thing we do needs to be important –and also better.

There is another path.

Isolate.

1. What did I do?

Sometimes we don’t totally realize the magnitude or the insignificance of our deeds and either overblow them or downplay them, never having an actual assessment of the event. Without this, it’s difficult to repent.

Yes, repent–the magnificent blending of “I’m sorry” and “this is how I’m going to change.”

2. What can I do?

Even though a certain desperation and futility can follow a defeat, the sooner we start convincing ourselves that we can be fruitful and contribute to our own efforts and the common good, the better off we will be.

Yes, as we’ve isolated off our deed, now we need to isolate off the abilities that remain.

3. Where do I start?

I hope it’s not an overstatement to say that the greatest danger in life is to either try to do too much or too little. Too much puts us right back at being overwhelmed–which may be the cause of our deviation in the first place. Taking on too little causes us to feel inadequate and weakened.

Where do I start? Isolate off a beginning point–and get busy.

It is a true statement that there is no sin or action that cannot be forgiven, but even little mistakes can stall us forever if we insulate ourselves from the truth instead of isolate the mishap…and discover a reason to commence.

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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

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

 

 

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