Salient…August 13th, 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.

 

Grace is a pardon.

Mercy is a second chance.

Grace is considered “unconditional love.”

Mercy is love that helps us change our condition.

Grace covers a multitude of sins.

Mercy gives us a shot at being free of sin.

Grace is given to the humble.

Mercy tolerates us while we work on our humility.

Grace is a gift from God.

Mercy is a gift from our brothers and sisters.

Grace does not critique.

Mercy believes we can do better.

By grace we are saved through faith.

Mercy sustains us through our doubt.

 

So here’s your salient moment:

Be thankful for the grace of God, but live your life like it’s not there.

 

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Jesonian… April 1st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesonian-cover-amazon

Unconditional love.

The phrase has been so overused that now it is tossed off as a given.

It is a symbol of tolerance, a byline for acceptance; a teary-eyed sentiment conveying that we are truly embraced by affection.

If by unconditional love you mean verifying and legitimizing everything people do, then absolutely not. But if by unconditional love you mean a decision to stay with people and continue to be supportive, even though they are struggling or having problems, then assuredly.

But the definition is a slippery banana peel which needs to be clarified. It takes seven verses from the Good Book in Matthew the 16th Chapter to do so. These define what unconditional love is from the perspective of Jesus, who came to show us the attitudes and mind of the Father in Heaven.

In the 16th verse of that 16th Chapter in Matthew, Peter has a brilliant moment. When asked by Jesus, “Who do you think I am?” he quickly replies, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

Jesus steps right into him with praise–and not only praise, but offers the status of a new name, and says that because of his great answer, he will be given more authority.

But just a few verses further, when Jesus is explaining to the disciples where the Jerusalem experience might lead, and that he will be killed by the Jewish elders and leaders, Peter rebukes him. I don’t know–maybe the disciple was high on his own praise–but he says that Jesus is mistaken–nothing like that could happen.

Under the popular concept of unconditional love, we would expect Jesus to say, “That’s all right, Peter. It is a bit difficult to comprehend. But hang in there–you’ll eventually get the idea.”

Under the umbrella of unconditional love, we would not expect, Jesus to call him Satan simply because he didn’t understand what was going on. But that’s exactly what Jesus does.

Because even though it says that “God so loved the world because he gave his only begotten son,” everlasting life is contingent upon us accepting that gift.

We are told that we are saved, but we are also warned that we will have to endure to the end to receive the realization.

The definition of unconditional love from the aspect of the Jesonian is as follows:

“I will love you enough to tell you the truth, because the truth will make you free–and only when you’re free do you really learn to love.”

When you remove the truth from love, what you have is flattery. It may feel the same, but it lacks the veracity to sustain us through the hard times, where our weaknesses will obviously be exposed.

To love someone is to tell him or her the truth. The truth grants the individual the ability to be free of the humiliation of being exposed. And once absent fear, a freedom to love is unleashed.

I am afraid that people who accept unconditional love as a guarantee that they will never be challenged will never truly learn to love.

  • Jesus loved Peter enough to praise him–when it was the truth.
  • He loved him enough to call him Satan when that also was the truth.
  • And even though Peter denied Jesus, Jesus never denied Peter.

Get your definition of unconditional love correct and then you can implement it:

“I love you enough to tell you the truth, so you can be free to learn to love.”

 

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Getting in Character…June 22nd, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Chalk art 2

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Let the scene speak for itself.

The problem in the world of theater is that we often spend too much time on costuming, scenery and promotion.

If the quality is not present in the writing and the characterization, it will soon become evident that we’re just trying to tie a ribbon on a mutt.

Such is life.

Yet if you are determined to get in character you have to decide what you’re going to pursue.

Is it excellence or is it merely acceptance you’re seeking?

Excellence is finding what you want to communicate and then practicing it until you’re completely satisfied with your take.

Acceptance, on the other hand, is hoping to be received well without actually doing well.

In a generation which screams for “unconditional love,” we end up with a phony representation of the sentiment without the transforming power of the true emotion.

Excellence is a quiet determination. Acceptance tends to sport some arrogance: 

  1. Accept me.
  2. I’m fine.
  3. What’s your problem?
  4. People are stupid and don’t get it.

Excellence stands and faces the world without fear proclaiming, “I am satisfied and overjoyed with my profile. Come and see.”

Acceptance, on the other hand, is only fulfilled when praised.

There’s a gentle meekness in the pursuit of excellence which allows the scene to play out while we faithfully insert our portion, inheriting the stage.

And souls who pursue excellence end up getting what they want because the work itself is the blessing instead of a flaccid universal acceptance.

 

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***************************

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Populie: You Can’t Trust Anybody … August 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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ColbertI’m not so sure when it became so popular to be cynical. Under the guise of being streetwise or intellectual, we seem to have become so jaded to one another that relationships are difficult to begin.

Matter of fact, if you go to an average church service, somebody will tell a story about how bad things are and how evil people can be.

It’s difficult to go to a movie or watch television without being pummeled with a revelation of the depravity of humankind.

And politicians are always asking for trust from the public while treating us like ignoramuses.

The general population seems to agree on only three things:

  1. People are no good.
  2. Protect yourself.
  3. Matter of fact, strike first.

So the popular belief that there are dangers in the world becomes the populie that “you can’t trust anybody.”

I refuse to live that way.

To make sure that I’m not devastated by unruly individuals, here are three precepts I use in dealing with the world around me:

1. People are self-involved.

It doesn’t make them bad. It just means that if you can’t establish how your project is to their personal advantage, they will either ignore you or lose interest very quickly.

2. It’s up to me to know my stuff.

For instance, I’m going to purchase an amp today. I did my homework. I read up on it, I found out what it should cost and I have a fairly complete comprehension of what I’m willing to do. Remember–it’s not that people cheat us, but rather, we set ourselves up to be cheated by being ignorant of our material.

3.  And finally, go the second mile.

You will be astounded at how good you feel if you do your part, but also bring along a little extra in case others fail.

It’s not that you can’t trust anybody. but rather, that trust is based on the knowledge that we’ve done all we know to do, and we’re not expecting anyone else to do our part.

I do not know how we can live in a world that talks about unconditional love while simultaneously sprouting horrible attitudes toward one another.

You can choose to indulge in the nagging negativity of our society, which targets our fellow-men as losers if you wish.

I just believe it’s impossible to ask God for His grace and mercy…if all you give to your brothers and sisters is a nasty, bratty shove-off. 

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

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

 

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

Three Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Life… June 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jan lipsIn a great push for unconditional love and accepting people “just as they are,” we have closed the door on the benefit and blessing of self-improvement.

Here’s my take: I don’t want your unconditional love.

I want you to let me know how I can do things better, and then grant me your unconditional mercy as I move forward and try.

I don’t want you to accept me just the way I am if it’s going to make me obnoxious, shorten my life or pull me away from my potential success.

Minus condemnation, please clue me in on an idea which will enhance my possibilities.

Here is a truthful statement–it is much easier to repent of silly foibles than it is to constantly offend other people and try to cover one’s mistakes.

Candidly, the process is not complicated. Matter of fact, I would like to suggest three things you can do today which could change your life. If you pursue them for a twenty-four hour period, they will produce such obvious blessing that you may choose to continue.

1. Tell the truth.

Every one of us has found shortcuts and side streets from the path of honesty. I don’t know if we think it’s clever, intelligent or just fun to pull the wool over people’s eyes, but you will be astounded at how freeing it is to answer yes or no, or give an accurate account of your present situation.

Just try it for one day.Jan eyes

Now, I am not talking about going into your past and confessing all of your sins. I am merely speaking of taking today’s situations and baptizing them in the truth.

2. Don’t make promises.

If you don’t want to do something, try to tell people your real feelings. If you can’t do that without hurting them, don’t promise to participate, but instead, tell them you will think about it or attempt to participate.

People are quick to jump on our words and turn them into promises, so you must make sure you are clear that you’re either unwilling to join, or undecided.

3. Avoid excuses.

Jan earThe most annoying attribute in the human personality is explaining our motivations, hoping it will replace positive action. What a bunch of hogwash.

Stand behind what you did or apologize for it–but never try to persuade people who have been affronted by your actions to understand why you slighted them.

These are the three things you can change today which will not only make you a better human, but will immediately increase the trust people have in you, and therefore open the door to more acceptance.

Somewhere along the line, our culture needs to realize that accepting one another as we are is negating the power for human beings to evolve.

Isn’t it interesting that a generation which touts the importance of evolution wants to emotionally and spiritually stay the same?

 

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Arizona morning

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

 

 

So, Sow… December 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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farmerEveryone wants to be unique–yet no one wants to be peculiar.

Unique means “one of a kind.” To gain that individuality, you have to step away from the herd, chew your grass differently and end up producing fortified milk.

But in our society unique is defined as “doing what I want in the moment.” The absence of finding a position makes it unclear to those around where to find you.

Our culture teaches this ridiculous concept: let me reap and then I’ll sow–I promise.

In other words, “give me a reason to become excited and I’ll become excited.”

“Give me money and I’ll invest.”

“Give me a climate where everyone agrees with my philosophy, and I’ll embrace them with love.”

“Give me the funds for education, the books for reading and the classroom for receiving and I will eventually turn into a student.”

“Give me sex and I’ll consider love.”

“Grant me financial security and I will give my best impersonation of happy.”

“Take away hassle and I will try not to be grumpy.”

“Remove intimidation and bullying and I will show up to give you a better adequate performance.”

“Take away all the things that make life human and I will show you how divine I can be.”

This insipid thinking revolves around the word “unconditional.”

  • Unconditional love: take me as I am and critique nothing.
  • Unconditional faith: believe as I do and question nothing.
  • Unconditional politics: be Republican or Democrat, swallow the pill and support the party.
  • Unconditional romance: love me even though I have stopped loving myself by refusing to move in the direction of improvement.
  • And on top of this, we use the dynamic of God‘s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy as the model for this ludicrous acceptance of mediocrity.

Let’s look at the way it was meant to be from the foundation of the world:

I promise to sow so I can reap.

There is nothing that will be harvested from our life journey unless we have first planted our seed.

There is nothing that is guaranteed without our focus and commitment.

And there is no way that reaping will occur before sowing–or the entire cosmos will implode.

I sat around a table last night with family and friends to celebrate my birthday. But we did not celebrate the passing of a year adding to my longevity. What we celebrated was my belief in the treasure of sowing … to reap.

Stop cheating yourself out of the joy of human life. You will never reap until you sow. No matter how much you plead and beg for a loan from the universe, the heavens will turn a deaf ear … until you can bring collateral.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Finding Freedom… March 28, 2013

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freedom sign“The truth will make you free.”

No one believes that.

To most of us, in our more candid moments, we will admit that the truth is a frightening proposal which seems to lead to a path where we will no longer feel special and might be in danger of losing acceptance. All you have to do to destroy human beings is convince them that if they open their hearts and reveal who they truly are, they would be rejected. From that lack of candor comes all lies, deceits, cheating, unfaithfulness, larceny and even murder.

Why does the truth make us free? Because for the first time in our lives we can stop juggling–bouncing back and forth between the life we want to portray to others and the life we actually live.

How do we find freedom? It is such a cheap word, thrown around in our world as a philosophy of government rather than the liberation of the human soul. How can we avoid the ridiculous notion of thinking, “I am special, I am unique and I deserve to be accepted?”

It starts with true humility. May I give you a new definition?

Humility is when we stop being ashamed of who we really are.

There you go. Humility is not acting as if we’re nothing and it is not pretending we are something we aren’t, which will make us more blendable. Here are the three steps to freedom:

1. I am not special, but …

2. I am part of a special creation and…

3. My Creator loves me as much as I love others.

That little trio of ideas enacted in our everyday lives grants us the energy to pursue our talents to excellence without pretending we are already talented enough. It gives us license to appreciate others because we don’t feel that we’re competing with them all the time. And it lets us know that our foolish interpretation of “unconditional love” needs to include an awareness that sometimes love makes a stand, requiring that we respect ourselves and others.

I am not special. There is no power in me proclaiming my superiority if all my efforts are inferior. It just makes me look like an arrogant jerk.

I am part of a special creation. No, I do not believe that the lions in the jungle or the sparrows flying in the air are equivalent to the mastery that was chiseled into the human experiment.

And because I believe my Creator loves everyone equally, I honor His premise by loving others more and more every day.

Walking around believing you’re special puts you at odds with everyone else, who believe they are special too when we discover that we’re vying for positions. Insisting that you’re unique, like a snowflake, is denying the obvious fact that you are snow. And believing that God loves you even when you act like an absolute uncaring human being may be the most egregious example of stupidity known to man.

Find your freedom–and in the process, gain inclusion and a wonderful embrace of self-worth.

I am not special, but I am part of a special creation and my Creator loves me as much as I love others.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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