“Convert and Believe in the Gospel”

From the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time to Ash Wednesday 2018

Lenten Season 

ASH WEDNESDAY

Yet even now, says the Lordreturn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. – Joel 2:2-3 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Dear brothers and sisters, I truly hope you all are enjoying my new blog postings and the cleaner look and feel of the overall website as we move forward this year in the grand journey we are all on.  Again, I welcome all of you back and as many of you may already know the main goal of Listening Faithfully is to impact each of you in a positive way.  Guiding you, gently motivating you in the best ways to emulate God the Father while allowing in the Holy Spirit.  Mentorship is about teaching specific lessons, leading through clear and purposeful activities, and sometimes being the first to swallow their pride and be the example no one else could be. Truly, I say to you I hope and pray you find the stories of my ou\wn experiences inspiring and uplifting and through this ministry, every corner of your hearts will be filled with the agape love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I hope this happens in a similar way as described in this past weekends message, for we were all asked to believe and have faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  So, I say to all of you we must pray and show grace to each other so that we ourselves may be shown God’s grace, forgiveness, and undeserved love; granting to us the opportunity to change our hearts and turn our faces towards God. 

Human Struggles Overcome with God’s Help!

45 The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ 46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. – Leviticus 13:45-46 (NRSVA)

I have been through a lot this year, seen unexpected changes that quite honestly I would have never imagined. Some of those changes were positive, others scary, and still there are some lingering which poses a huge challenge in both my professional and personal life. I have questioned my friend’s trust, loyalty, love, etc. Some of them have questioned my resolve, direction, and sincerity. I know that sometimes that could lead us to frustration, anger, hate, resentment, and these sorts of feelings can be harmful to our trust relationship with others and with God.  In turn, these feelings if left unchecked can motivate us to make a truly sad and regrettable decision; that of blaming and even eventually walking away from God.  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I tell you that by listening intently to God’s message this past weekend in church my heart was moved in such way I could not ignore what God was really saying to me through the readings in Leviticus 13:1-3, 44-46 and in the Gospel of Mark 1:40-45. So, like Jesus cleansed the lepers, God’s word cleansed my heart. I pray that after reading my reflection today you all will also find and receive this glorious feeling of hope, love, joy, and experience the grace of God cleansing your heart as well.

Prepare Your Eternal Soul

40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ – Mark 1:40-41 (NRSVA)

As you know Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, February 14, 2018. We are asked to pray, fast, and participate in almsgiving. The Gospel also commands us all to come back to the Lord our God with clean hearts, so that we may have the opportunity to be shown His mercy.  The connection to last Sunday’s Mass is found in the gospel where we hear about the leper going to Jesus begging him to heal him. The leaper shows humility because of how he speaks to Jesus, saying;

 “If you wish, you can make me clean”.

The leper is putting every ounce of his trust in Jesus as he so humbly asks for help all within a contrite heart.  This is a good example of how to approach our Lord, putting aside our egos and pride.  Sadly, there still are those of us who are filled with anger, jealousy, ambitiousness, hate and have perfected the art of lying.  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, we should fall upon our faces before the Lord, filled with remorse for our sins which are punishable by death. We need to deeply reflect on our actions and take responsibility for what we have done wrong.  In that way we can truly be sincere when we pray for mercy as we present all our trespasses to the Lord, hoping He forgives us, cleansing our souls, washing us clean, and making us new. 

Morality Lessons Found in Modern Day Disease

13 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of his body, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. – Leviticus 13:1-2  (NRSVA)

Leprosy in our day is not a significant matter as an illness. But, rather the importance of the illness itself is found within the symbology which remains just as meaningful for those who lived during Jesus’s time as it does for us to this very day. For there are similar characteristics of suffering and marginalization with other more deadly diseases we face today. HIV comes to mind, homosexuality, (though it is not a disease), people who identify themselves in that sexual orientation are treated as if they are unclean, drug addiction, the scourge of mental health issues…and again compare many other similar issues of the day back then to now, which force other social issues to be brought to the forefront. It is not fear but love which is the positive force in history, for it is love which invites us to reject no one, and it is love that makes us deeply believe and trust in God; for he knocks at the doors of our hearts asking us to let Him in. Though we are sinners, murders, vile creatures in comparison to His grace, God sees the good in all of us, for it is He who helps us see past the social issues and reach out to our fellow man, lift up our brothers and sister who are being marginalized; and it is God who endlessly offers His divine forgiveness to this undeserving world.  Indeed,  there is a huge morality tell being told in Sunday’s Gospel that still has deep farreaching significance for all who live in this, the so-called modern world. 

The Love That Conquerors

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NRSVA)

Even though someone has betrayed me, or not kept his or her promises, or was not the person I thought he or she was, I do not hate them. No! I do not allow my self to hate! Yes… deep inside me, there is a war raging, one that is fighting to keep me from loving those who do not love me.  Despite this struggle, I still find room in my soul to discover love in my heart for those people,  because I do not want to saturate my heart with hate!  I know that people need love in their hearts and require compassion, understanding, and forgiveness just as I crave those same things.  For who am I to withhold anything from my enemies, though they may do so against me?  I strive to make full my heart with the love and compassion of the Lord, as I struggle daily to emulate Him. For I know there is that love which conquerors hate, despair, rage, jealousy, and the darkest of evil acts.  In fact, no one said it would be easy, no one promised me a rose garden, rather I was told about all the thorns I would encounter. I find in my own life it’s better to rise above the narrow-mindedness of others and strive to be that shining star everyone sees from afar.  This Wednesday is Lent and Valentine’s Day, therefore brothers and sisters, spread the Good News and the Love of Jesus Christ.

Reflect

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things. – 2 Timothy 2:7 (NRSVA)

  1. When have I felt rejected?
  2. Have I rejected others?  
  3. When have I justified the rejection of others because of my own errors or conditions?
  4. When have I been tempted to judge and reject others?
  5. When have I caught myself questioning the loyalties of those I call family or friends?

The Call to Contribute

13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. – Romans 12:13 (NRSVA)

Please share, like, and comment on this post. Let everyone you know hear about the good news of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and make a commitment to renewing your lives with Him just as I have made the commitment to renew my love for all of you expressed through Listening Faithfully blog renewed look and feel. I hope the reflections to come will motivate you to renew your mind, heart, body, and soul. I pray that each of you joins me on this journey of mutual learning as we grow together as a community of believers and followers of God. I pray that you all allow the Lord in so that He may remodel your hearts, convert your spirit and make you all ready to run that race through the next chapter of our lives. Keep reading and reflecting on the gospel my dearest brothers and sisters, and let’s be like the leper and together ask God to help us and heal us from all of our sins that is preventing us from leading healthy and happy lives.  Reach out for His strength to find His agape love and allow it to well-up within you until your cups runneth over! Have a wonderful Ash Wednesday and Valentines! 

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us 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,’

Amen, Alleluia

Now go spread the word!

Reaffirming Our Mission

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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“Let’s grow together as children of God”

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

Prepare the Way of the Lord

The Prophecy to Prepare

December 10, 2017 – Second Sunday of Advent

 “A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lordmake straight in the desert a highway for our God.'” ~ Isaiah 40:3 (NRSVACE)

In this season of preparation, self-reflection, and in accord with the theme of Advent we have now reached an important milestone of how we receive our savior. In that this preparation for a savior, the son of man, is an idea that spans time. It is an idea which was deeply ingrained in our human ‘higher cognitive process’ or in our way of thinking about God Himself. Prophet Isaiah taught that God is compassionate, loving, forgiving, and in those writings can be found the promise of salvation. This intangible, unattainable, most elusive promise of God called ‘salvation’ was also rooted deep within the people of Judah, for it was as much on their minds in the 8th century before Christ as it is ours today. Simply put my brothers and sisters, salvation takes center stage in the need for a savior, it demands there to be great preparations so that this singular event could come to fruition. In the first post of this Advent Season,  “Adventus – Time of Preparation, we can see God’s plan for a savior. In the second posting of this Advent Season, The Christmas Angel – Gabriel“, we see and celebrate God’s plan now put into action. In this, the third posting of this Advent Season we focus on yet another player sent by God which helps us navigate His complex roadmap that is designed to produce a savior – enter Isaiah the Greatest of all the Prophets. For the preparation that he delivers to us is one of ‘hope’; the spreading of this central idea that our savior comes and that he fulfills the prophecies told to countless millions throughout the ages. This same ‘hope’ remains as meaningful for those who had first experienced it as it still has for us today. For the plan was to spread the word first, then act upon it, and now to receive all the blessings that come with this new covenant with God. This season of preparing for Christ makes us ready to renew our love, faith, understanding, grace, and humility that Jesus himself bestowed all of which was rooted within the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah. For God granted Isaiah a special relevance within history; one that rings the bells and foretells the blessings that God pours out from Heaven; the first draft of what was to come.

The Messenger

1 “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”’ ~ Mark 1:1-3 (NRSVACE)

Isaiah foretell’s a forerunner to Christ, a person who would set the stage for salvation through repentance – enter John the Baptist. John serves as a messenger, as a baptiser filled with the holy spirit. He was first mentioned by the Angel Gabriel to our Mother Mary at her conception, then later Mary visits Elizabeth her cousin, the mother of John and he leaps in her womb. Nothing more is recorded until we get to the story of Jesus who stands before John in the river Jordan. John was a giant in his day, teaching about the coming of the Messiah, the savior and of the kingdom to come. The way to make your own personal path straight was through the act of baptizing, or submersion into water. Water universally had been the symbol of cleansing and was deeply rooted in the Jewish world with having to bathe before entering the temple. Jesus uses water to wash the feet of his disciples at the end of his ministry. But John takes this idea of salvation even higher through the process of baptizing as he states clearly;

‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” ~ Mark 1:7-8 (NRSVACE)

Again, the hope for a far greater more powerful authority, one to which the heavens and earth belong, the promise of salvation within the coming savior, son of God; all of which is still within the realm of preparation. John was tellings us to get right with God! He was bringing people closer to our creator through the only method available at the time; baptize. But more to the point John was also not neglecting to support the mainstream school of thought established by the writings and teaching of Isaiah. In many ways, these two men help us to receive our Lord and Savior in the right way, in the most meaningful of ways. The very message of salvation starts with getting your life in line with God’s plan for you, getting ready for the conversion of mind, heart, body, and soul. To be prepared for the coming of Christ Jesus so that your heart is renewed and your faith restored. To receive Jesus as our savior in the hope of his triumphant return.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Primary Goal: To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017 

The Seven Gifts From God

The First Gift Given Freely

55 “The Lord says, ‘All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.'” ~ Isaiah 55:1

The Lord God does not need our money, He does not require us to repay Him for all that He has done for in truth there is no way that we ever could with earthly goods. From the goodness of His divine heart God created us from the dust of the earth, He feed us; gave us food and drink freely and without cost.  Thus, in every measure God gave to us life and allowed us to make our own choices freely independently with free will. In this He gave to all mankind dominion over the earth to take freely our food and drink to sustain our earthly bodies. All this was done outside of our power and monetary abilities and no matter how much we as people think we are great there in truth is nothing more great than our one true God, the giver of life, and the only true nourishment of the spirit.

The Second Gift Given Freely

30 “God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?” ~ Matthew 6:30

The Lord God created everything in your sight, everything in your hearing, everything you eat and drink, and everything you use for shelter. Yet when you walk into the far-off places still untouched from the hand of man you can see His truest work the beauty in nature. God created every tree, every flower, every blade of grass and every creature giving to them exactly what they need and dressing up in such magnificent colors that would put any work of mans to shame. Yet our loving God did the same for us and in His eye we are called His most magnificent masterpiece. For God dressed us up in His image and His likeness giving us intelligence and the ability to have faith. The second most important gift from God we all receive from birth is hope and the ability to believe in Him who has created all thinks no matter how long it lasts, it comes from His divine hand.

The Third Gift Given Freely

9 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” ~ Luke 11:9

God gives to us our hearts desires, look at King David who was given strength to slay the giant Goliath, his son Solomon who asked God for wisdom in saying, You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”  in 2 Chronicles 1:8-10. From the mouth of God Solomon was given what He asked for and many thinks more that he did not ask for, all given to him freely by our loving and gracious God. Therefore from Jesus Christ’s own lips was this gift also extended to every human on earth, thus the third gift was the ability to speak directly to our one and only God. For it is His divine desire to speak directly to us from His eternal throne in Heaven. God so desires a relationship that consists of much more than one way communication, for our God gives us a voice and an audience with Him alone to ask of Him our hearts desires and to come to Him humbled asking for forgiveness. For this gift of a voice and an audience is our greatest gift for this is our direct line to the divine, our safety net when we are in raging waters, and our comfort when we pray.

The Fourth Gift Given Freely

34 “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” ~ Luke 23:34

The Son of Man could have never applied to God the Father had it not been for the very forgiving nature of God Himself. Evidence of God’s forgiveness is everywhere in every book of the Bible to every word in Christ’s plea for those who nailed Him to the cross. God is so ready to forgive and restore our sinful ways and touch our harden hearts with His divine love. God knows all the pain we endure for Him and so it was within His divine will to give us the ultimate path to salvation through His only son Jesus Christ. In the last hour when Jesus breathed His last forgiveness was no longer in the hands men, but rather given freely to every human being on earth by God through Jesus Christ sacrifice. No longer was the burnt offerings acceptable for the sins of man was placed on the blood of the most High. Forgiveness is yours for the asking, as every action God has made is to bring you closer to Him, to mold you into the most-perfect version of you through His divine forgiveness. If any proof was needed then we only have to look at one sentence Jesus uttered while he was riving in agony when asked by a murder for forgiveness,  42 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'” ~ Luke 23:42-43.

The Fifth Gift Given Freely

12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:12

The Lord God gave the gift of Salvation, through His only son Jesus Christ. In truth nothing else needs to be written, nothing more said, for no one could ever out do this gift from God, no other work is greater than this. God send Jesus from Heaven to fulfill something no man could ever do on his own and that was to wash away our own sins. God saw our desperation, our separation and filth, He saw the state of abuse in both the Laws of Moses and in the Laws of God and washed us clean. God in one single act saved all of humanity from ourselves and He did so out of love. For it was this message being so important and great out weighed all other divine messages and thus it was commanded of us to spread it throughout the world that we are saved through His only son Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. For the message and gift of salvation as we wait for His return is to be said as found in Titus, 13 “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” ~ Titus 2:13-15.

The Sixth Gift Given Freely

10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

The Lord they God freely gives to all people His divine protection from the evils that which we could never properly conceive. The Lord thy God has stretched out His hand as a shield to protect us from all manner of sin and vile things. God has shielded us from our enemies who are both present and not yet present, from those who have threatened us in the past and in the future for goodness and holiness shall reign under the Lord for ever and ever. Put on the armor of God for He freely gives us this most magnificent protection and if we truly believe in Him we will be under His shield which nothing can penetrate. This is the sixth gift of God we can realize in our persona walk with Him, and it is one of the most precious as again it comes from God alone.

 

The Seventh Gift Given Freely

54 “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’  55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-58

In death Jesus Christ was raised from the grave in a perfect resurrection body. His is what ours shall become, from death we shall rise and become more like God. Therefore, the sixth gift will be that of renewed life in God, a life with God, and a the reward promised through salvation.  In this way we are given the hope of life ever after. The hope of walking with God the Eternal Father, the maker of all things for nothing is impossible for God.

Amen,

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Reflection 10: What You Can Expect From Life: According to JOY

GOD OF JOY

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” ~ Luke 10:16

Imagine if you will the light of Heaven raining down upon your face. Feel the warmth and love as it cascades through your body tingling every part of you. Let the love turn into absolute joy in your heart, mind, and soul. This is what God feels like when you meet him, this is Jesus as He stared into the eyes of His disciples and accusers all the same. Joy and love is God, and is in all of us even though we are all sinners. In this light there is only one truth, one happiness, one reason for living and it has nothing to do with our own ambitions  or selfish motives for all that in this light has died and past away. In this light God is the reason, the source, and His power and glory is yours freely because number one you accepted Him and in turn He accepts you just as you are. Imagine for a moment if everyone knew this, accepted this, and practiced this in every aspect of their lives, in how they spoke to friends, family, and strangers alike. Going farther imagine this governed our actions, in how we treated our neighbors, children, and strangers alike, doing random acts of kindness daily. The people in this world would have no need for money, carnal pleasures, or even grandiose possessions because they would have God. There would be no war, hunger, no need for lawyers, judges, Presidents, or governments because all men no matter their race or color would love one-another as they had been commanded to do by God.   Imagine a world that believed in God so much that everyone put down their wants and desires and felt love, really experienced true love, unconditional, open, free, unrestrained love and joy. In this paradise men and women would marry and never forget their love, families would never fight among themselves, and children would grow up with two parents and a village full of love. This is our God, our wondrous forgiving, patient, kind, considerate, all powerful God of Joy. This far off place in our imagination was one possibility in the beginning, one fork in the road we could have chosen but did not because of Satan. As a singular race we all have been robbed the bounty of God, we have been cheated and sold a bill of goods by Satan. This reality we live in today is from Satan’s imagination and his plotting, scheming, selfish battle with God for absolute control, dominance, and power over everything in existence. Satan wants so desperately to destroy joy, peace, tranquility, and even love that his cruelty knows no bounds, for there is no respect for creation and life within Satan. For his hate has fueled this battle or rejection of God and for Satan this is a war he will loose for he cannot conquer God, and all who believed in him will parish with him. This is the good news, the Gospel of God, for this dream we could have had we still can if we chose Him. In doing so God will rejoice in your name; He will count you as one of His many children whom was lost and now is found. God will throw a feast in your honor and your soul will be filled with such abundance like nothing else you have ever experienced in your life, for God will hold you tight to His bosom and love you for all eternity.

Our Mission of Joy

17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ 18 He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” ~ Luke 10:17-20

In Luke we find that Jesus appointed seventy-two people to go before Him with specific instructions which included, to not greet anyone on the open road, and when entering a house say, “Peace to this house”, they were to eat and drink what ever was given them, and they were to stay there not skipping from house to house.  Jesus knew he was sending these people out into the world of wolves and sin, He knew they would be rejected, and in some instances humiliated for their belief in Him. But upon their return to Him they reported with great excitement of their adventures and in truth all where turned into disciples of Jesus all spreading the word of God. Jesus however did not stop there, He has sent millions of us out into this world of wolves just as He did then, He still does to this very day. The rules have never changed, the servants of God are always blest and rewarded, and His love and grace is upon all who really commit to His will. Little by little God is transforming the face of the Earth back into this paradise lost, and will in His absolute grandest style pull all His children to Him and rejoice in their stories and experiences as Jesus had done two thousand years ago.

The Expectation of Joy

12 “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” ~ Isaiah 55:12

What we can expect from life according to joy is much like what Isaiah described, for when your heart is filled with the Holy Spirit nothing is to big, nothing is to hard, nothing is impossible, and your heart sings the songs of laminations to God the Father. In turn everyone and thing who crosses your path also fills with your love and joy, this in-turn creates a spontaneous reaction of harmonious singing within every fiber and adam in every organism which was blest enough to be present when you passed by. Think for a second how many people you see and meet in your lifetime, and who talk with you, or who really get to know you. In each of these instances you are presented with the opportunity to bring joy into the other persons life. How effective is this joy when this opportunity is embraced, is recognized for what it is, and is celebrated and freely given to everyone. Sadly all to often we allow our life to get in the way. We allow our anger, frustration, hatred, ambition, selfishness, and even monthly, weekly, daily mood-swings determine our level of joy and the spreading of Gods joy to others. When we do this we act in a childish manner, not fully grown in the ways of God, and thus we are left in our squaller. In all my life that I have known and loved God I can honestly say that He has never left me or let me down in any way shape or form. I have been presented with many chances to make things right and in many of these instances I have failed, but I never blamed God, rather I have done the opposite. In each moment of failure I have asked God to forgive me and to make me better and more useful and to help me learn and grow in His will. I accepted what He allows or does not allow in my life, because the people I have impacted with God’s Joy out weighs the many failures of my own efforts. Time tested and proven is the will of God, is His promise, is His forgiveness, is His joy. I have found more success in this life when I have accepted this one basic truth, share God’s joy and He rewards this with His unending love. It is a radical shift within our mind that has to take place because of how we as carnal sinners are wired from birth, but if we alter our mind we can unlock Gods power, truth, might, and His joy, in essence we unlock His promised bounty. Again, I have found more success when I allow God’s joy to radiate through me and into others. I have inspired more people by sharing with them God’s message, His promise, His love. It is true what is said about the force of action, (for ever action there is a reaction), if given freely it is of God, if forced it is not of God.

The Difference Between Joy ans Sorrow

15 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. 16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” ~ Psalm 89:15-16

To often people mistake the sounds of joy to be something other than what it truly is. Just a few of us hear it and recognize it when it comes along. To often do we replace this sound of joy in our minds to comfort us, to console us when we have done bad to others. We lie to ourselves when the true sounds of joy ar replaced in our lives, and it is very obvious the problem but the solution eludes us because the stain of the lie is so great and we are so fearful the effort to fix the problems have become like climbing Mount Everest, it becomes to tiresome: to heavy to bare.  Those people are easy to spot in a crowd for they talk a good talk, but refuse to walk the walk, they do not sing the joyful songs of God in their hearts and they do  not seek Gods countenance. Likewise, these people do not rejoice in the things that bring joy to others and to God, instead they hide from it. In all its totality righteousness is not within them because they do not know God. There is a stark difference between these people and those of us who call ourselves Christians and actually practice our faith daily. What makes a person of faith loyal to God is His joy that we experience with each good deed privately done for others, with each loving act randomly done for a stranger, in every kind word that inspires others to be better than they currently are, and in the awesome love given freely to Gods children who are so full of joy its contagious. In everyone of these things joy is at the root, it exalts God, and it is righteous.

A perfect example of what I am talking about can be found in my own life’s experiences here in California. The kind of person I am is known by what I do and say to other people who are around me; as this general rule holds true for everyone of us in this life. I choose to help others, I choose to teach, I choose to write, and I choose to share the message of God’s word for no monetary reward, as I do not earn money for this blog, or any other writing I do that are published online or in print. It is true I have published a book that costs money to buy it, but the money earned goes back into all my activities that help the children I teach at school, so there is no real impact on my financial gains, instead its a write off as donations.  In my professional life I earn money for my efforts but it is so far below the national average it really cannot be called a pay-check. In addition to this my ex-wife has chosen to steal from my little amount in my bank account, she has chosen to force me into poverty as the Family Court System is mandated  by California law to enforce  child-support, by way of reducing my time to the point I would owe money where before I would not have based upon the timeshared agreed upon in 2003, (even though we had previously chosen not to partake in this and to support our child by giving her an education and food, clothes, and presents, ect. on our own custodial time), thus decreasing the little I earn by 50% of my total earnings. Yet in comparison she earns over $100,000.00 a year, thus her actions are ones taken by a person who does not know God. Her actions does not bring joy to our daughter, nor anyone involved except for herself. I write this to show how cruel people are and how money has corrupted their eternal soul. I would rather live in poverty, suffer daily without food or a shower, I would rather live in a hole in the earth than to bring such suffering to another human-being, to be so unfair to my fellow man. I do not see my daughter because my ex-wife has chosen to move her 800 miles away, and has placed in her heart all the wrong things, involving her in all the court action, forcing her to say the most cruel and hurtful things which do not honor anyone other than herself. All of this was done for monetary gain on behalf of my ex-wife, as she took advantage of California State Law. No court in the land will stop her, no one on this earth could bring an end to this suffering but her, and she refuses to do so. I do not write this to bring shame or to make anyone feel guilty, rather I write this as an example of how people have chosen to believe in the ways of Satan, in the lie he spread that made man sin and to separate us from our God. I am not the only one by far who has suffered in these ways, and I will unfortunately not be the last. There is sin and corruption in our laws, in our courts, in our hearts which make such things possible. It is important to call everyone out into the light of God to make it visible before the world to end it before it harms others. Forgiveness can be granted if only the wounds would be left to heal, if only my child would be allowed to have that time given by the Courts, that ironically the courts themselves refuse to enforce. Forgiveness can be granted if only a sincere apology could be given in its stead. But forgiveness starts with the one who committed the affliction, and it is between them and God first. Therefore, I say to you these things bring no joy, only pain, and is abomination in the eyes of God. Remember I said to you that true Christians bring joy to others selflessly, true people of God bring joy to those who are in pain, mercy to those who cannot help themselves, and they do not ask for monetary reward for doing the work of God. Everyday I get up I try to help others and this is my true mission with or without money being earned because God always provides and I will not lie that this has been a hard path to follow. But my God is so great that He shows me everyday that He is with me because I chose Him, and there is nothing more joyful to God than one of his lost sheep coming home for good.  In truth I hope all those who suffer in these ways and for those who seek this manner to force the other biological parent into poverty that the light of God be shown to you to both give you mercy, to help you forgive, to force your heart to sing the laminations of God so as the pain is lifted forever from your collective hearts for your children’s sake.  Again, we fool our selves and commit such depravity and hurt upon our children when we as adults act like children and do things in such a selfish way. I say to you all… STOP IT! Allow God’s joy to penetrate your heart, mind, and soul: do His will and your life and relationships will be forever altered into what God originally intended them to be. 

The Joy of Jesus

11″These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” ~ John 15:11

Remember Jesus loved us so much that He willingly died upon the cross for our sins. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to accomplish salvation. In this is the ultimate message of joy, which is linked to love. To truly love another person is to also find joy in them, joy in their actions, joy in their thoughts, joy in their very presence. God finds joy in everyone last human being in this manner and thus loves us more than our own hearts could every possibly understand or comprehend. In it’s totality God is Love, He is Joy, He is all that we truly need. With this truth know it is not hard then to understand why God wanted a paradise full of joy for us, he wanted mankind to live in peace and harmony. God wanted something that man could never attain on his own and our world would be so much more blest with His bounty ever present, His love raining down upon our faces, His joy filling our hearts, His peace upon our souls. God’s promise can be granted by choosing Him, believing in HIm, by trusting in His wisdom, love, joy, peace, and mercy. Jesus left our world better than when he found it, He lived, so we could also live, He did so we would not have too, He rose so we could be with Him forever. 

THE CHALLENGE

To spread joy is to spread hope and love to everyone and in this we are commanded to freely give these things to others on behalf of God. Therefore I challenge you spend every day of the rest of your life doing spontaneous acts of kindness that bring joy to others. It doesn’t have to cost you money, but it does have to bring joy to a stranger. As Jesus once said what good is it to be kind to those you know, where is the good in that? So you must do something for a complete stranger which brings joy to their heart. It could be something as simple as listening to them, helping them across the road, buying them dinner, or even opening the door for them. Remember it must be random and it must be joyful and you must not boast about what you have done because this act of kindness is between you and God. 

Amen

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Brian Keith

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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

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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.

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