Nothing Is As It Seems!

The Trap of Human Perception

22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?” ~ Luke 5:22 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Insight on Perception: Know that the Lord Our God is perfect in His understanding of every person who has ever lived on this earth, every thought that we have ever entertained and those which we have dismissed, every reason behind every decision whether justified or not, and every impulse that leads to each action or none action we take or do not take. In this God is the only true judge of our actions. Hence Jesus warns against judging others; (Luke 6:37 & Matthew 7:1). Our perceptions are not like Gods, and therefore inherently flawed which leads us into making some of the greatest mistakes, misjudgments, and emotional betrayals.

Guiding Questions: How many times have you or your actions not been fully understood by friends or family? How many times have you misjudged someone you care about and accused them of something which later is proven false?

Our Perceptions Do Not Always Lead Us to Truth!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I truly say unto you do not pretend to know what your brother or sister is thinking and do not fool yourselves into the assumption that you know what is in another person’s heart! Actions they have taken only speak of a specific set of circumstances which are between God and that person (Job 19:4-5). As Christians, we can only do our best to be a support and serve as a reminder of God’s perfect love without judgment or condemnation.  When we allow ourselves to perceive the reason why a friend or family member has done something, we fall to speculation that allows in the seed of distrust and sews deep into our hearts contempt for that individual. I know all to well the guessing game which ensues, the acceptance of falsehoods because they seemingly fit into the puzzle whether they truly do or not, and the outright rejection of any explanation that is offered especially if in our own mind it does not match what we have judged to be the truth do-to personal biases. I say unto you, my brothers and sisters, only God knows what is in our hearts, minds, and soul, and in this truth, judgment is His alone! Therefore, when you are tempted to accuse, remember that this is not from God and is not in our jurisdiction rather remember that it is the game of Satan to trick you into the mindset of division for the sole purpose of sowing discord. Resist from telling your brother or sister in Christ that he/she is not a true Christian, again this is a judgment and God will judge you as you have judged them with the same measuring stick of intolerance and prejudice (James 4:12). Do not be that scribe or that Pharisee who through falsehoods allows doubt into your heart rather trust in the Lord that all things are in his purview and be like the Saints who reach out anyway, loves anyway, believes with an open heart trusting in friendship, and practicing the wisdom of nonjudgment and compassion.

Let Us Pray

Posted by: Mark and Jill Herringshaw – Pray Plain and Simple

Father,

I lay down my self-imposed responsibility of judging the heart, motives, intentions, and actions of the people in my life. You have instructed me in this, and I will obey you. I remove the back-breaking burden of being the judge, and I repent of the pride in my life that is evident every time I have a critical, judgemental thought. You have commanded me to walk in forgiveness and love, to rise above offenses, and to walk humbly with you. I choose that road today. I submit my thoughts to you – each and every one – for approval, choosing loving thoughts and not condemning thoughts, compassionate thoughts not critical thoughts. And kindly remove the log in my eye. Thank you.

In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember your never alone.

Amen, Alleluia!

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us.Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Gifts of the Holy Spirit

 “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 11:2 (NRSVACE)

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For those who do not know how Private Catholic Schools work as it relates to rehiring teachers the month of March is known as the ‘Month of Discernment’.  A lot of crazy stuff happens in this month. For starters teachers and principals are given the opportunity to decide on whether to return to their school or not.  This is done through the use of a ‘Letter of Intent’, where one marks what they intend to do. The options are quite simple really, either one wants to return, not return, or simply hasn’t made up their mind. In any case, March 31st is the deadline, (but each school can set their own deadline), and if each teacher and principal have done their work properly in this month they would have prayed to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help guide them in the proper direction.

I chose this topic for exploration and reflection because the process can bring new in sites on your job, mission, friends, boss, career, and even on family matters. To actually take a month to reflect on what you are doing in every aspect of your life and the effect you are having on everyone else around you is a humbling process. To embark on such an inwardly journey is really to search like Jesus after His baptism. Therefore, in this posting, I will dive headlong into this process and offer new thoughts and hopefully bring everyone closer to accepting whatever decision they have made.

The Spirit of Wisdom

4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was famished.” ~ Matthew 4:1-2 (NRSVACE)

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When we undergo discernment it is like Christ who purified his body by fasting, knowing he would have to prove himself against temptation. The land is barren, desolate, and utterly unforgiving. Our souls are racked with the temptation of the world and all it has to offer, and the enticements of money that force most catholic teachers to move on after gaining their credentialing to a higher paying public school job. Here is the difference between staying for little money and moving on for much more money;  usually those who stay normally do so because the ‘job’ is not a ‘job’, rather it becomes a mission to serve others. Whereas those who move on find out that what started out as a mission has now turned into a job! The spiritual aspect is removed and teaching becomes a profession of academics rather than professionals invested in every child’s future and year to year outcome.  In other words, in the religious institutions teaching and learning reps greater intrinsic rewards. Each temptation is met with the strength of Jesus, the Wisdom of Jesus, the knowledge of Jesus rather than relying on yourself. There is much more support and much more satisfaction in the ‘job’ / mission being done in the classrooms. With that said, teaching becomes more about the personal relationships you make with your students and the ability to connect in many ways; the most important way being through the moral aspect of religion, which roots them in the understanding of right and wrong developing in them the gift of the spirit of the fear of God. So, each year this is what is at steak, each year every teacher must decide to continue serving or to move on and take up an earthly pursuit.  Each teacher must ask themselves,

“Is the money I earn a replacement for the intrinsic rewards I received daily from seeing my students grow and learn?”

 Which Spiritual Gift Should Teachers Ask For?

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Clearly, thirty days is not a long time. The healthy practice of faith requires much prayer and reflection. Therefore, the spirit of wisdom and understanding would be the most powerful gifts during this time of discernment.

The prayer usually goes something like this;

“Dear Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus your only son, I pray for the wisdom, the words, the understanding to hear your instructions for me, for my family, and for my students. Dear Lord, guide me in the ways I should go, give me the understanding needed to stay on the path you have put me on. Dear Lord help me stay effective in my teaching, help me stay faithful to your Holy words, and I submit my life to you and to your Holy Spirit. I come to you humbly asking your blessing, your guidance, your strength, your wisdom in the next stage of my life, may my steps reflect your will for me and for all the students I teach and or will teach in the future. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.” 

I cannot tell you how many times I had prayed that prayer. How many times I fought off the temptation of more money, better benefits, better housing, car, and or better life that money can bring. But each time God has shown me how I affect the students and how my relationship with them has helped do his will through my mission; the mission he put me on, one that has also molded me into a better human being. In the end, it’s really a no-brainer!

Amen,

Ways to Communicate

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

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Acceptance of the Unchangeable Thinks


8  “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8  (NRSVACE) 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I say to you… I hear your voices, your many pleas for things I cannot provide you. Instead, I offer these words of wisdom: In times when our lives spiral out of control or when people with power over us decide to do ungodly things or when rudeness through favoritism overcomes that special place in associates hearts; know your place and stifle your frustrations, choosing instead to do what is good.  For what will come from a confrontation when the other person or members of a group have already twisted your words or have bore falsely against you?  For I say to you if they have done it once what is stopping them from doing again? Instead, let the love of goodness overtake you and give your frustrations to God. Therefore, goodness in your hearts will be preserved in the eyes of our Saviour, our actions will then have confirmed the sacrifice of the cross.

A wise man once offered this prayer; “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, that when walking with God you have serenity, love, peace, forgiveness, absolution, from God; therefore you are blessed and made holy. Let not temptation bring you down by allowing your mind to be filled with the many things you would like to change but have not the power to make happen. Let not your heart be deceived by the actions of a few who would lead you to ruin. Instead, make preparations for only those things you have the power to change, and when you take action let those choices be filled with goodness done for the sake of holiness only.  Fill your heart with courage to make the tough choices, to take action on them, to carry out fully the goodness of the needed change. Forget not to pray to our Lord in Heaven, asking Him alone for the path which you must follow and be confident that God will give you the wisdom to tell the difference between what you can and cannot change.

6 “For wisdom is a kindly spirit, but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words; because God is witness of their inmost feelings, and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues.” ~ Wisdom 1:6 (NRSVACE) 

Thus, my brothers and sisters in Christ, your obligations have also been given to you through the Holy Spirit which loves kindness and who is gentle to the people of God. Stay away from those who curse the Lord, those who have filled their hearts with hypocrisy,  walk away from the blasphemers for all these individuals will be judged accordingly. Rest assured the twisted words and actions will come calling upon them and for the holy – such as you – my brothers and sisters, for you surely do not want to see this judgment when it comes. Hence walk away and be confident in the power and uprightness of our God. Know there will always be those who profess to be Christian and thus dwell among you the faithful flock of God yet they are truly sent by Satan to do the work of evil; be aware of whom you speak to, befriend only those you can trust and have professed their faith in public. For God hears all, sees all, knows all, and will give you the rights to make only the changes which he wills to be changed that which fits within His overall plan for your life. Therefore, you have heard it said,

14 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ ~ John 14:1 (NRSVACE)

Amen,

visit-with-me

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication is by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

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