Miracles of the First Pentecost

Sounds of a Strong Wind!

Pentecost (SOL)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. – Acts 2:1-4 Message Bible (MSG)

For the Vigil of Pentecost – Click Here
Pentecost – It’s All About Math!

Lesson Starter 1

The word Pentecost means, “fifty” which is a Greek word. Biblically speaking Jesus was with the disciples for about 40 days after his resurrection, then after he ascended the disciples waited “ten” more days equalling “fifty” days or Pentecost. However, this also coincides with a Jews festival known as Shebuot or “Weeks” originally a grain harvest festival that later was associated with God giving the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. Taking this information we can connect the disciples being Jewish having to wait mere weeks before Pentecost. Also, interestingly enough Jerusalem was filled with people, (primarily Jews), from all over the Middle East because of this celebration of  God giving to Moses the Torah or the law. Therefore, in both Christain and Jewish traditions, this day is the starting point of God’s declaration of a new life with Him; one being of law and the other being of the spirit. Moreover, this connects both religions in a very profound way; the fulfillment of a divine plan for all mankind under “one” all-powerful God.

PENTECOST QUESTION ONE: How would you summarize the math of Pentecost and how does it affect our time today?

Pentecost – It’s All About SYMBOLOGY!

Lesson Starter 2

Pentecost is full of miracles chalk full of a rich heritage that at its core is all about stoking the fires of our souls and receiving a new purified life with God. In a sense, we are purified by God’s holy flame that burns deep inside us. We are brought to this new life by God’s very breath as He breathes into our nostrils via the Holy Spirit.

DID YOU KNOW? There are several symbols in the bible that clue people into the idea that God or those he has sent has shown up. Consider this example;

WindEzekiel 37:9  Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ – New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit comes as a wind, as in how Jesus describes to Nicodemus the new birth experience – John 3:8, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Thus the work of the Holy Spirit breathes into us a new – reborn life and as it does so we human beings cannot see it nor completely recognize it but instead it is something we feel deep down inside. As in the case of Pentecost the Holy Spirit does not come as a gentle breeze but a rushing wind – symbolizing His power and His guidance. That sound of the rushing wind is what drew the crowd. Jesus told his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit, and in this act, The Spirit serves as the sovereign God which is dynamic, irresistible, and unstoppable.

PENTECOST QUESTION TWO: Why are symbols so important? Doing some research on this topic what other symbols are attributed to the Holy Spirit?

Pentecost – It’s All About one Dramatic sermon!

Lesson Starter 3

With the crowd assembled they hear those in the upper room talking in tongues, astonished the people begin saying among themselves, “They’re speaking our own languages, describing God’s mighty works!” – Acts 2:11 (MSG) In this crowd was hundreds of people from what are now Israel, Iran, Irag, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Italy, Crete, and Jordan.

“That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen: “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams. When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit on those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy. I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billowing smoke, the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvelous; and whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.” 

“Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him. David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope, I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.” Acts 2:28 (MSG) 

Many more things were said then Peter finished with this;

“Peter said, ‘Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.’ He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!Acts 2:38-40 (MSG) 

In all about 3000 Jews were converted to Christianity! (Acts 2:41) Simply put God breathed into the world a new movement that would spread all over the world and convert millions. In many ways, we can say that this was the Birth of Christianity & Birth of the Church! This is why Pentecost is the very core of our Religion and why it is a time of new life. “For Catholics, this is when we dare to hope for our own resurrection and eternal life with God.”The Catholic Faith Handbook For Youth 3rd Edition, pg. 178 (Easter Season) Saint Mary’s Press

PENTECOST QUESTION THREE: What does Pentecost mean to you personally?

LET US PRAY
Christian Prayer:

The Liturgy of the Hours

Lord, open my lips.

– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father, and Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia.

PSALMODY: Pentecost Sunday: Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia.

PSALM 63:2-9

A SOUL THIRSTING FOR GOD

Whoever has left the darkness of sin, yearns for God.

O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.

– Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia.

For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praises. So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.  

– Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia.

On my bed, I remember you. On you I muse through the night for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings, I rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.

– Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come, let us worship him, alleluia.

(To Pray the Liturgy of the Hours as in the PENTECOST SOLEMNITY click here

PRAYER

Father in heaven, fifty days have celebrated the fullness of the mystery of your revealed love. See your people gathered in prayer, open to receive the Spirit’s flame. May it come to rest in our hearts and disperse the divisions of word and tongue. With one voice and one song may we praise your name in joy and thanksgiving. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Happy Birthday Church… may your love, light, and peace shine on in the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

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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Reflection I: What You Can Expect From Life: According to Anger; pt 1

“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry.” ~ Ecclesiastes 7:9, NKJV

In this life we experience so much, and so I thought it appropriate to start the new year with a new series of blogs dealing with each of life’s experiences. This posting will explore anger in the context of its usage and its qualities for both good and bad. The focus will center around the effect upon others in each category as it relates to how our God has used anger in the past. We will delve into the model left by Christ on this topic and how it applies to every single human-being today, and how Satan does his best to thwart our efforts and then to pull us down through anger.

Anger as a noun is defined as, “A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.” ~ Thefreedictionary.com/anger

Therefore, in our life when we feel angry it is neither good or bad. It is simply a reaction to something that has happened to us. It is logical to then state that one does not willfully make ones-self angry, but rather an external force is at work that which we are reacting too that makes us feel this natural and neutral emotion. In my life I have seen things which I have  taken a strong disliking too, however by nature I am very slow to anger, but once there I am angry for a long time. In my youth as all kids do, I misused anger and in doing so said a lot of things I would later regret having ever said. In this manner anger can be used for evil deeds, but most of our children simply misuse anger for lack of training and experience. In the context of angry emotions being used for good is found simply in the recognition of the fact that you are angry, this is of course rudimentary logic. Interestingly, in our society feeling angry is often looked upon as being a bad emotion and is shunned. Ironically, the shunning of this emotion leeds to burying it deep inside and if left to fester will cause great damage to the person and all those around them as they erupt like a volcano uncontrollably. In that sense we create the evil in what was otherwise a neutral emotion. The simple act of recognizing that you are angry is a pure, honest, and healthy way to handle this feeling. In most cases it is not enough to simply recognize your angry, but rather develop the ability to know why your angry, what was the trigger, what external force brought you to this emotion. In understanding anger in this manner you bring control and wisdom to the next step of the process, which of course is the actions you commit while being angry.

Anger as it is a verb is defined as, ” To make angry; enrage or provoke.” ~ Thefreedictionary.com/anger

In this perspective anger is the act of being provoked into action. Thus, if full control is not first asserted those who have provoked have a distinct advantage over the one who is being provoked. Think back if you will to when as a child your sibling called you a name that you disliked, or kept you from doing something you wanted to do. Most of us fired back without thinking, not to simply keep your sibling from making you angrier, but as an act of revenge. This in turn proved yourself, (not evil), but immature, lacking the ability to control your anger, and thus at a distinct disadvantage to your sibling or aggressor. In large part this lack of control is due to the rush to action while ignoring the honest recognition of being angry. Had we stopped, taken a breath, then thought it through most of us would have brushed the insult off. But by nature children do not do this because their brain is not yet developed enough to process the “why” aspect of this honest emotion. Most of us where spanked into submission and took this punishment for being angry or becoming angry, rather as it should have been explained that the punishment was not for becoming angry, but what we did with it. Therefore, the evil in the emotion is found within the action taken while experiencing this honest, natural, neutral feeling of being angry.

I have often times told my own daughter that, “it’s ok if your angry at me or your mother. But instead of acting out on your anger stop and remember that you love both of us equally. It is ok to tell me that your angry, as long as you do it in a respectful manner.” I remember having many conversations with her about angry emotions, about acting out in anger or rage. I always made her the promise that I would listen to her. In more recent times our relationship has become rocky at best, partly because of needless events that were outside both our control. There have been many things said to me, about me, in front of me, and be-hide my back which my daughter should have never been apart of or in its hearing. To some degree our hearts have been hardened, and angry emotions have been left to run rampant in our conversations. In this aspect anger is not yet evil, but is hurtful, destructive, malicious, disrespectful, and the actions taken are not pure, and thus are not controllable. Subtle changes have occurred in her language over time such as the absence of words like, “I miss you”, or “I love you”, or “I am sorry”,  have all but disappeared, which reveals her anger is due in large part to the secrets she has been forced to kept from me. But never-the-less the disparity between us if left unchecked will grow more divisive and become spiteful at which point it will be pure evil. I bring this up not to disparage my daughter, who is about to be seventeen, but to point out the difficulties within interpersonal relationships built into high conflict marriages, and the pure immaturity to which anger leads to the mutual destruction of the family unit, and in this manner anger is evil.

On the other hand God has never used anger for evil means, though He is blamed for it all the time. Rather that deed belongs solely to Satan. Evidence of this in the Bible is found in how Jesus handled anger and thus left us a perfect model to follow, though admittedly it is in part shrouded in mystery.

“23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense unto me: for you consider not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” ~ Matthew 16:23

In reading this specific scripture the love Jesus held for His disciple Peter is hard to find. One’s mind instantly snaps to Peters defense as the justification was not apparent that supported Jesus’s reaction to Peter’s words to him. So it is tradition in reading the Bible one must dig further and read what Peter had said that angered Jesus so;

“20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” ~ Matthew 16:20-22

If we take away the word “rebuke” and simply put, “Peter took Him aside and said to Him,” this passage would have an entirely different meaning. In fact Peter was acting with good intentions, (far be it from Jesus, that He must be made to suffer so.) To anyone else this would have been seen as a act of compassion. But because Jesus was the Christ, Peter inadvertently rebuked Him. For Jesus to not complete His mission that He had just revealed to His disciples would have been tantamount to failing God and in that Satan’s reign would be assured. In no other manner of  Heavenly thinking could this be allowed, and thus in the mind of Christ, Peter proposed an abomination in the face of the living God, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This abomination rightfully angered Jesus, though this was a mystery to Peter. Waisting no time, Jesus did the following within a split second; He first recognized He was angry at Peter for having voiced this abomination; for had he not His actions might have been to smite Peter where he stood. But Christ did not smite Peter rather He answered the devilish notion Peter proposed calling it what it was; and idea placed into Peter by Satan. Therefore, Christ’s action was mature in nature and swift in scorn out of  both love for Peter, and out of a mature, controlled, resounding anger that was aimed at Satan;

“23 Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense unto me: for you consider not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” ~ Matthew 16:23

To apply this new found knowledge to life as we know it in the modern era of the twenty first century, then we must first delve into  anger from the perspective of how it progresses through each stage as stated above in the example of how children perceive hostel external forces and then apply scripture to it. So as a child being picked on by a sibling or other children at school the external force is in the buttons pushed by the name calling or other aggressive action which the target child internalizes and thus begins to show a resounding disliking too.

(Note the usage of  “child examples” are also relevant to how grown-ups react and thus are also very much acting out as a child would. In addition, when children are punished their is a layer of mystery to the “why” aspect of the punishment much like the “why” element Peter experienced with Christ as described in Matthew 16:23. These moments are not unique to just Parent child relationships, but extend out to envelop all relationships at all levels of life.)

When children or adults willfully pick on each other the buttons being pushed which trigger the anger is done in a willful manner. These proverbial  buttons are pushed deliberately, in this example as much fun as it may be, the evil is still found in the action of the aggressors, but this evil can be transferred to the one being being picked on as these repeated actions cause real, physical, pain, and suffering. Anger swells up, emotions take over, and negative actions are bound to take place. However, in the spirit the aggressors themselves are also being prodded to commit these acts of teasing. In this example of children evidence of Satans involvement is found in the uncontrollable action to continue the undesirable behavior. Think back to how many times you teased someone, or did so without ever thinking about it. Allow yourself to remember how effortless it was and in many ways fun to keep doing it. That behavior is not intrinsic of humanity, but rather was introduced by Satan to humanity. How easily was Peter taken that he did not even realize it, and if this was easy for Satan to take one of Christ’s disciples then how much more simply will our children be influenced to commit evil deeds.Thus, applying this logic the reaction the victim will have from being teased is also uncontrollable as it can also be attributed to Satans influence. This is exemplified in how the Sanhedrin seemingly revolted at the idea of Jesus being the Christ. They, (supposed spiritual leaders),  actively sought Him out to kill Him.

Now in the example of my daughter, the notion of having to rebuild a relationship, her anger with the events of her life dealing with our interpersonal relationship that has taken a beating from external forces that we both could not control, that progressively led to both of us becoming frustrated and angry at each other for allowing these external forces to have such a devastating effect in the first place, has led her to misplace her anger. Like Peter she has proposed disastrous ideas, which in large part where placed there not by me but by many other people; so called professionals in the Family Court Industry. Thus, some of what she has been indoctrinated with could have never possibly worked  because like Peter those notions where of Satan, they were derived or conjured up in the spirit of division, separation, and thus destroying our relationship. But to her, like Peter everyone else wants to come to her defense when I try to correct her. (Note: I am not rebuking my daughter, rather the ideas that which she has proposed, much like Jesus did to Peter. i.e. these ideas given to her by other people who’s spirit have been influence by Satan that which she has acted out on.) Because these ideas did not originate within her, her anger is caused by the ill effects of the actions taken which did not work, thus misplacing her anger at what she thinks is the cause rather at the true source. Therefore,  she becomes frustrated and angry at me when in fact she needs to direct her anger at those whom gave her those disastrous ideas in the first place. Because she is still in large part a child her brain has not developed enough to be able to decipher the complete realities and in truth she has only been told what was required to prod her into doing the things she has done that did not work, and which has forced her to simply ignore not just me, my entire family, which is indicative to an unhealthily (all or nothing) mentality.  In that context abuse has taken place as she is completely left defenseless, this abuse is from all the other adults whom willfully destroyed our relationship. My justification in punishing her actions, like Jesus, is hard to see but nevertheless justified because I bared witness to all the events from their creation, (like Jesus to Peter), and in my struggle to prevent them from happening, and in the fight to protect my daughter whom I love just as Jesus loved Peter, there has been conflict that was completely unnecessary.

(Note: Jesus was not about to take this abomination from Peter, and thus no parent should ever have to suffer such evil as what has transpired through the Family Court System of our day an age.)

From a parent perspective much sacrifice is required, so it is that in the spirit of Christ who sacrificed His life to save humanity, we in modern times sacrifice ourselves, our time, and in some instance we are called to do the unthinkable no matter how unfair it seems at the moment, no matter how upset our children get at us, they are still children, (liken to Peter), and we are adults, (liken to Christ).

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'” ~ Luke 4:12

The usage of anger for good is best exemplified in the the term; “Righteous Indignation.” Jesus placed himself in a position to be tested, to prove His divinity, and His rightful place next to God. Satan played the role of tempter, as he had prior to being thrown from Heaven by God. In all these temptations we can extrapolate the role of Christ as being the role of parent, and the role of Satan as the spoiled child who is trying his best to get his way. Rules have been laid down for both to follow, and when this line has been crossed by Satan, i.e. your children, then you, as Jesus the parent turn with righteous indignation to punish or present to alternative which keeps the rule intact and this both prevents the child from harm, but also teaches the lesson that all rules must be followed. Admittedly, Satan has no intention on following any rules, and thus the lesson is wasted upon. But the point of the lesson Jesus was exemplifying even Satan could not ignore. In this role play, Jesus as parent retained the right to use His anger in a justifiable manner.

Again taking from the example of my daughter, in this struggle she, like all those who have lined up to test me, to test my resolve, to test my role and right at being a parent to her, all of whom continually finds new and very interesting ways in which to dethrone my rules, (and the courts rules), my thoughts, my opinions, my wants, my desires, and to manipulate all my time for the sole purpose of wearing me out so that I will quiet trying be her father.

(Note: This drama is very much an earthly drama and open rebellion against authority and against the very laws of nature itself. Much like the drama found in the Bible as we, men, women, and children, rebel against our father in heaven.)

Admittedly this goal is not apparent to many who have been involved nor has it been apparent to my daughter who as a child naturally rebells, which is liken to Satan who disguises his attacks and methods so as to make it look like someone else or something else entirely, thus throwing everyone off track continually without end. So my reaction like that of our Lord, using His example, in my anger my response has always been to confront the problem, to address the rules, and to attempt to enforce the stated rule. Unfortunately, I am not Christ, and the courts have no backbone and refuse in enforce their own rules as it relates to my ability and right to parent, and their judgments do not follow State Statute. Thus, the frustrating no-win scenario  falls to an unhealthy imbalance that swings the pendulum permanently to one side and thus no lesson of any value is taught to my daughter and there is a false sense of security built up into a false teaching that dictates there is no repercussions from your ill actions against others and you can do whatever you want to whom ever you want as no one will stop you. This is the underlying philosophy of Satan himself. This is what Satan tried against God in heaven, this is what he again is trying against Jesus found int he temptation scripture of Luke 4:12. This is at the core of all interpersonal relationship we experience when open rebellion occurs. No matter how righteous we are, we are taken Satan, as we are all sinners and thus susceptible to his influence.

Therefore, I say to all those people whom have cost me so much, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” for the Lord our God protects his children whether it is apparent to you or not. For the fact I am still here should be proof enough, thus I say these things to you with righteous indignation.

“And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” ~ Matthew 12:32

Anger can lead us all to do the most stupid of things. It can confuse us, disorientate us, and force us to commit the most grievous of sin. I teach all my children and thus I teach to all of you through my writings here on this blog, that there is one sin which God chooses not to forgive. This if you will is the surest way to anger God, to call upon yourself His most devastating of punishments and that  punishment no one can erase, argue for you in your defense, ease your pain, or take it away, for this curse is so resoundingly devastating there is no coming back, there is no second chance, there is nothing you can do to make amends to God. That act is the act of blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God, to utterly reject God. Coupled with this grievous of sins which has two stages, Jesus Christ gave us a warning prior to this one about His reaction to all those people whom reject Him in public;

“33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 10:33

Therefore, to reject Jesus Christ in your life, to ignore His commandments, to place man’s law above His, to think you are better than, to spite in His face, Jesus will rebuke you to His father, to our father in Heaven. Most of the time this action is done out anger, and it at this point can be forgiven, but to continue in your anger, in your rage, in your sinful act of rebellious revenge than and curse God Himself, the Holy Spirit, to reject God completely as Satan has tried to make us do, that he himself has done, which forces God hand, then there is no salvation.

In putting this into our modern day examples the simple truth is this, children need both parents, they need our love, our guidance  our understanding, our commitment to their mutual success in life. When outside forces willfully disturbs this balance built into nature then anger in both parent and child naturally occurs. It always dumbfounds me when courts ignore this and take form child a parent whom loved them. The courts mandate is to always do what is in the best interest of the child, but there actions are of the exact opposite  Train professionals seem to have a an axe to grind when told something negative  that which is given to them by the child, in some instances taken out context, warped  twisted, and misunderstood by the child. In my personal experience the therapists  social workers, lawyers, and the judges themselves have a deceived the masses into a false sense of security, and thus get away with the destruction of our families. Jesus stated he was not here to create peace, but to bring the sword. In His perfect example in dealing with ideas of Satan, or evil intonations we must reject those ideas, we must shut the door to the sin they bring with them. And when people, be them your family or friend denies you, rebukes you, spits in your face, lies about you, then they have done so out of anger, and if your a true believer in God then they have sinned against you, but also against God. Your testimony must then reflect this sin, it then must be atoned for in order for that person to be truly forgiven, the compassionate words of a sorrowful heart is the only path to redemption. It is this drama that anger brings to bear, as most of us are still very immature in handling it in comparison to Jesus. I am always open to a sorrowful person, I am always available to a person whom has sinned against me and wishes to make amends, but I am not as Jesus was not available to those who wish to keep on hurting me, for I am about our fathers business. In fact Jesus instructed  us, His disciples to do the following;

“And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” ~ Luke 9:5

Therefore, be slow to anger, be forgiving to one another, use compassionate words always, be ready to apologize and ask for sincere forgiveness, be tolerant of others, be mature in your actions, always investigate fully before assigning blame, always ask what your actions have done to others that which would have cause strife, and above all use the examples of Jesus when angry.

In Jesus’s name I say these things to you as a witness to His Devine mercy. May God Bless in all that you do, in all your endeavors  for the rest of your life. I ask that you never stop learning, growing, walking, and listening to our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen

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Brian Keith

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God Bless,

Brian Keith

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi 

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Special Reflection: Sin Series e-Book Release

So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sistersins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ~ Luke 17:3-4, NIV

DID YOU MISS THE DE-BEAU OF OUR FIRST BOOK ON AMAZON? TO PURCHASE THE SIN SERIES CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK!

Listening Faithfully Blog: Sin Series

What you will find is a biblical account of SIN found in the scripture applied to our modern day lives.

The nature oJesusf sin as it was introduced is based upon the most grievous of acts known as Pride. This act as the base sin brings us to the most inhuman levels of existence as it glorifies such emotions as selfishness, greed, wrath, rage, violence, madness, the want for instant gratification, and ultimately leaves the human soul depleted and filled with anger that turns the heart as black as coal. Within this series now in e-book format SIN is discussed in a more understandable, conversational manner that brings the reader through the Origin of Satan, the introduction of the first sin, and then finally through the various pitfalls of sin better known as the Seven Deadly Sins. There is in great detail the path everyone can follow to avoid these sins and their affects on our lives. This Armor Plating which repeals SIN is found in scripture and always starts with forgiveness.

If your life is overtaken with SIN and you want out of its grip, or if you simply want to educate yourself on this topic, then there is no better resource than this short e-book produced from the pages of this blog, Get Your Copy Today!

Listening Faithfully Blog: Sin Series

 

May God be with you always, Amen.

 

 

Special Posting: Growing in your Relationship with God

I believe that God wants to communicate directly to each and every one of us here on earth. I believe that God brings about new methods for us to communicate with him and each other so that we can build our faith in him, through the collaboration with each other. I also believe that there are so many of you out there who have been asking for a way to communicate directly with me, so you can learn more and grow more in Christ Jesus. I think everyone knows I am first an educator and I love the idea of using technology to accomplish everything I have stated above for the sole purpose of bring people to God. Therefore, I am happy to announce that I have created a Facebook page so that everyone can collaborate, can send me personal messages, and so we all as one community in Christ can help each other lead a more Christ- centered and Christ-directed life. As we continue to grow spiritually I ask all of you who read weekly to use the new Listening Faithfully Facebook page as a way to help cleanse or purge your personal sins through confessing them as you seek help for those sins which have placed a massive burden upon your shoulders. In doing so you will claim the fullness of the Spirit, and I believe that you will experience a deep relationship as you walk closer to God that in short will enable you to grow in Christ. I hope everyone enjoys this new Facebook page and I am excited to be able to offer it to all of you first.

If you have troubles finding it on the Internet  then please send me your email address and I will send you a personalized invite.

Send your emails to: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com

Subject Header: Personal Invite to Listing Faithfully Facebook Account
God Bless,

Reflections 4: Damnation

“11Then I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.  12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  14Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  15And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15, NKJV, Pp.1188).

Damnation: 3. “Theology . Condemnation to eternal punishment as a consequence of sin” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/damnation ).

The living and the dead whose names are not written in the Book of Life, according to the Holy Bible are damned, and will burn forever in the lake of fire and brimstone. Forever damned for ones sins against God. When I read this I think about those people who have rejected God, rejected the teachings of our Lord and Savior, reject morality as it is so described in the Bible, and who think there is no consequence to their actions, I want to scream out loud, “Fools wake up!” Satan as described in Revelation will burn in the lake of fire. So if this is true my logical-self demands me to believe anyone linked with Satan, doing his bidding will also parish in the lake of fire and brimstone, not for a day or two, or a week, or a month,  or a year, but forever. Is this wicked behavior worth it? I dare say “No! It’s not worth it!” But for those among us who are truly lost will be blinded by their sins, which mount into a multitude, stacked so high they themselves have lost count, lost all feelings and emotions, and will burn in Hates forever. The told sum of sin-debt Jesus talked about and which the Apostle Paul wrote about so eloquently in I Corinthians bears enough testimony for the logical thinker to turn about and rethink ones actions while here on planet earth.

“8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6: 8-11, NKJV, Pp. 1102).

The most dramatic of these things which are of the wicked, according to the Bible and where supported by Jesus can be found in various New Testament Books such as Mark;

“18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments; Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother” (Mark 10: 18 – 19, NKJV, Pp. 979-980).

In the above verse from 1 Corinthians, Paul supports Jesus as found in Mark, by mentioning specifically, adulterers, thieves, and extortioners, or in the words of Jesus defraud.

Moreover, the unchanging word of God is supported by Jesus and Apostle Paul in the following verse from Leviticus as it relates to homosexuals and sodomites;

“22 You shall not lie with a male as with a women. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV, Pp. 111).

For those of you who require a less known voice as it refers to all sexual sin which permeates throughout the entire bible, and which supports the word of God, Moses, Jesus, and all the Apostles, then this one verse from Jude, a bond servant of Jesus and brother of James,  sums it up nicely;

“7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality, and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7, NKJV, Pp.1173).

For it is these people to which is being referred too, that will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible is vast with a plethora of sins, all which are seen by God as an abomination. There are so many who live lives divorced from God, who will speak in a manner as to try and convenience the people of God that these sins mentioned above are not sins, but rather man’s nature, thus is not punishable by God. There again, my logical-self argues violently against such immoral arguments, as again God is unchanging in his will and is perfect, thus needing not to change. However, the words from Jesus as it relates to those who boast in their own works, in their own defense, and who argue matters which come from Satan because they are blind to their own sin, is indeed the most telling;

“42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murder from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:42-45, NKJV, Pp. 1035).

Jesus also points out that their will be those who will be expecting to be saved but are not;

“21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV, Pp.941).

Damnation if taken seriously is a punishment that will last forever. It is shared by those who have been fooled by Satan, which is one third of all the angels, and all those who are blind, rebellious, hard of heart, staunch in their attitudes, with the conviction they shall suffer not. It is the most twisted joke which is being played upon humanity by a master deceiver, one who has indeed deceived himself. By virtue the path of the damned is wide, but the path of the righteous is narrow. To be sure God’s judgment is final and righteous. It is absolute without blemish or flaw. There will be neither argument nor rebuttal. For God’s judgment is eternal and fair.

“23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”  24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:23-24, NKJV, Pp. 818).

It so completely amazes to me that so many people rather live for their own wants and desires, all of which are a sign of contempt and selfishness. The road signs are clearly marked we only have to read where they are leading too. Jesus was very specific on this point, as is God. Our immoral behavior will be judged according to their own works. The real fear I have every time I read Revelation, Leviticus, or any passage that I recognize where I have sinned against God, I have to stop and ask myself, “Where am I when my life is done?  Am I in the Lake of Fire, or am I with God?” Each time I contemplate this question it takes the breath from me, because though I have not sinned as much as others, I have sinned, and I have no other choice but to own it, as does the rest of humanity.

“23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 6:23, NKJV, Pp.1089).

It is all too easy to say that if we just ask for forgiveness then we are forgiven. When hearing this message some of us nod their heads and reply, “Right… I have heard that all before.” All while discounting the simplicity of God’s love, compassion, and want for all of to join him in eternal life in the kingdom of God. But never the less, if you are sincere in you’re asking God through his son Lord, Jesus Christ for forgiveness, your name will be written in the Book of Life and your sins forgiven. The truth is there is no sin which God cannot forgive.  But be warned, you must mean it, because when your sins are forgiven you can feel it deep down in your soul, and you begin to express this in your everyday life, much like Apostle Paul. However, the first step as outlined by Jesus, as written by Matthew if followed, will radically change how you act, and what you believe in;

“22 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ ” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV, Pp. 959).

Challenge question: If we don’t ask for Jesus’s forgiveness and live a righteous life now, then when?

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

Reflections 2: When We Follow Him

“24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24 – 25, NKJV, Pp.952).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is so direct, so cunning with His words I think sometimes we hear them, read them, and can even feel the emotion behind each and every phrase that he spoke, but somehow we fail to allow his message to sink in and really touch our souls. I feel we erect a barrier, a shield of shorts around our hearts that allows nothing good in, which prevents His healing touch to really work the miracles in our lives in the way they were intended too.  As I reflect upon Our Lord Jesus, His message, His longing for us all to put down our troubles and worries and pick up our cross, I have to also suggest that the faith Jesus exhibited in God is what gives meaning to His words, to His message, to His command to Follow Him.

I am also led to the conclusion that Jesus’s message was delivered in such a way that for those men and women who heard his voice, touched his skin, and who had the privilege to hug and interact with Him, they understood exactly His intent, for the message was crystal clear. Some of them, as some of us today just refuse to submit to Jesus. In fighting this unwinnable battle of wills we are also fighting against God our father in heaven. In propagating this strength test of sorts somewhere down the line we make a conscious choice. Some of us rebuke God because it is an easier road to follow, leaving our cross to rot where it is. Still others are so horrified that it is our very life we are required to willingly sacrifice that we simply panic and do everything imaginable to save it, condemning ourselves in the process.  But the majority of us are like Apostle Peter, we have no problem with the sacrifice of our own life, if it would mean Jesus didn’t have to die, and as innocent as that may sound it was against the very purpose of Jesus Christ being here in the first place, because through our death, we die a sinner, a rebel, and are ultimately separated from God Our Father. So to Peter, Jesus replied the only way he could and in doing so he also was talking to every man, women, and child that would ever live on this planet.

“22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:22 – 23, NKJV, Pp.952).

To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us. It is this requirement that separates the people of God from every other people in the world. It is this one prerequisite that keeps the people of God focused on the end game, thwarting any distractions.   Yet, some of us can hear His calming voice, but with our eyes we see the enemy coming closer and like Peter, we become fearful which leads us to become irrational and then we sin before God.  I find this response to be ironic, because Peter knew as did the other disciples, as we all know today, why Jesus was headed down the road that he freely chose. Yet, even armed with this knowledge Peter still allowed fear to momentarily blind him making him unable to accept the truth of Jesus’s mission. In retrospect Peter was coming from a place of earthly concern, fooled into believing this concern for Jesus was coming from a place of love. In allowing this Peter momentarily allowed Satan in, and Jesus saw it, heard it, and was responding to it. In that moment, Our Lord was also responding to each and every one of us each time we allow Satan in, speaking directly to our immortal soul as he cast Satan out.

“26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV, Pp.952).

As I have stated before and will state again, it is righteous to have a healthy fear of God and a massive amount of respect for Him. For it is with His grace we continue to multiply, to live, and be so blessed. It is because God loves each and every one of us that we exist at all. It is so mind-boggling to me that some of us are so lost, so hungry for God’s love and yet run so fast in the opposite direction. Grant-it for many it is out of ignorance, but for those unlucky people who continue to practice willful disobedience in living an immoral, offensive life that which is chalked with sin, so much so it physically destroys them and hurts everyone around them, while ignoring God’s many pleas, for them we must pray for Gods mercy. For in all they do, in all their efforts they have accomplished nothing, for we are nothing when compared to God, as all things are accomplished through Him and by Him alone. I know God must really shake his head in wonder every time He looks down from heaven, hearing our many complaints, requests, and cries for help, only to turn the other cheek when He presents us the answer. Truth is Jesus asked this very question over two thousand years ago when He frustratingly announced;

“26 But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, NKJV, Pp.998).

Jesus went on to explain the many differences in a person’s heart that does what he says, from one who does not in the following two verses, and as straight forward as His commandments are, none of them was as direct and as skillfully aimed at our human hearts as when he said over and over to the multitude, “Follow Me.” He said it because we are lost, and within Him, through Him we are found.

I am constantly inspired by those of us Christians who confess their faith and live a day-to-day life filled with God’s commandments, but I morn for those who live their lives as they see fit, absent of remorse while skillfully executing their own set of faulty morality. I can tell the unmistakable difference in a person who is filled with love from God, from one who is filled with love of self. The person filled with the love of God is peaceful, and holds a heart that strives to do good not for themselves, but for those who are around them. In their presence you feel safe, secure, and at peace, because they are humble before our God. But the person filled with selfish ambition and blind, reckless greed, well for them they betray their own self-serving intentions by the words that come from their diseased hearts.

Challenge question: Now that you know what is required what will you do in your own life today to honor God our most deserving Father?

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

Reflections 3: Gods Plan

This week I wanted to cover an element of the mission God has handed down to all of us, his children. A mission, so profound, that it is impossible to really understand, to truly appreciate, every aspect or even the tiniest single element in this wonderful blessing we call God’s plan. As a child I remember asking my parents when we’re going to grandma’s? How soon are we going to be at the cabin? How much further until we arrive? What is the plan? I remember my mother sighing as she replied, “If I had a dollar for every time you asked me that today I would be a rich woman.” I can imagine God feels the same way every time we ask, “When Lord? When are you coming back?”

The fact is God has a plan. His plan is so complete, so perfect that none of us could ever make it any better. I laugh every time I hear someone say in church; “Just tell me Lord, what’s the plan.”

I have never heard him tell those who have asked the plan…the full plan. I will go on the record and say I never will. Why should God tell us, his children the plan? How many times have you told your own children the full plan? I have never told my daughter the full plan of the day’s events. I have never told any of my students the complete plan for the semester. Why would I and give up all the fun pop quizzes? But never the less it does not stop my students, and my daughter from asking, nor does it stop us from asking God of what he intends to do next. A really good passage on this very fact can be found in Mark chapter 13, verses 32-33:

32 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

In this passage Jesus spelled it out with his warning to be alert. Each day is a gift, each moment is not promised, make every second on this earth count. Trust in the fact that God has a plan, as Jesus had to also trust his father had a plan for him. In fact all the disciples trusted in the fact that Jesus had a plan, and even though some of them could not accept his plan, they obeyed him even still. The beautiful thing about is that Jesus, like God, never said to stop asking of what the plan was, like our parents would once they got tired of us asking.

Mathew Chapter 7, verses 7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The fact is God has a plan for every single person who has ever lived, and those who will ever live on this earth. His plan is so inclusive it includes the angels, the devil, and the entire universe. His plan was set into motion before time began. God’s plan is so sovereign, everlasting, unchangeable, and unbreakable, that it includes all things. His plan encompasses when and where we live, go, act, and it anticipates our sins and our good deeds. God has left nothing to chance, but rather it is his will, both the good and the bad. He is constantly testing us, just as he had his own son Jesus in the garden the night he was betrayed, in Luke chapter 22, verse 42:

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

God was so generous in his plan he allowed for forgiveness, as Jesus states by showing his disciples how they should pray in Mathew 6, verse 9-13:

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray; Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day your daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

In conclusion, Gods plan is above all merciful, one filled with never ending joy and love. God has his plan for your life, and mine. He works his miracles through us on a daily basis, and if we look hard enough we can see his greatest plan in action, that of the new born baby, who breathes for the very first time. As is with life so is it just as miraculous as when we breathe our last at death. His plan has meaning, it gives us purpose, and it fills our lives with hope.

Amen