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Teaching Our Children

9 “But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children” ~ Deuteronomy 4:9 (NRSV)

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Teaching children is a huge task and awesome responsibility entrusted to every adult by our loving God.  For it is God who grants the birth and formation of all life in every corner of the universe. God is an all-powerful God, for He alone is Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end.  Now that I have said this, putting it in this context, we must place all our duties squarely upon the teachings of God found in the Bible. Our children deserve nothing less. So today I will highlight the main responsibility  that every human being holds in the education of all our children which is love in different forms.

3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” ~ Psalm 127:3 (NIV)

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The Lord God is first and foremost loving,  He loves all of us (His children) with absolute perfect agape love.  He calls all of us to love each other with the same perfect love, though hard enough with adults we are called to love all the children equally.  For God’s love for us results in children who He entrusted as offsprings in many ways a living testament to their family and living representative of their ancestors.  With that view, (Parents), why would you do anything else but love them with all your heart and soul as the Lord God loves you?

Yet, in today’s current time the news is filled with parents leaving their children at home to go play a stupid video game, others leave their children in a hot car during the heat of the summer with the windows closed to go shop, trusting parents leave their children with nannies who are unqualified and end up hurting the innocent child, and parents who say to family members, teachers, and or friends after shipping their kids off to the grandparents house or to camp, “Finally, I have some alone time!”

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My friends – you have children! In participating in this sacred duty you gave up your alone time, your personal time, your privacy, and your personal belonging and space! You chose to love, raise, and teach your children everything they must know to survive and be productive human beings who also is God fearing, God loving, and God-centered adults! That is your duty as a parent. The school community you have placed your child in was not setup to replace you, (the parent). My friends as parents, (YOU), are your children’s first and most important teacher!  The children live with you… not the teacher, the children listen mostly to you, (the parent), not the teacher, the children watch everything, (you – the parents), do, say, and watch on T.V. and incorporate those habits – good or bad mostly from you, not the teacher.

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As a parent I admit making mistakes, looking for help, being pushed around by society and societal norms which are absurd and not grounded in the biblical teachings given to us by God.  The hard truth is some parents don’t place their children first, some parents go after money, career, personal happiness instead of finding happiness within their children. That was never my sins as I wanted to give my child every advantage in life and often times was persecuted for that, other people who called themselves professionals took all my time away from my child.  In the end, I found myself alone and without my child all for teaching the Bible, uphold Christian morals, showing the truth, and uncovering the lies being spread. I hope those examples stuck!  So, it angers me whenever I see or hear parents complain about spending time with their children, as that is all I wanted to do with mine.

Here is a list of things which parents are responsible for in raising a child, all within moderation and using a just hand;

  • Love absolutely and fairly in everything you do and say.
  • Discipline your children for the things they do wrong namely,
    • Disrespecting others
    • Cursing
    • Stealing
    • Bulling
    • Lying
    • Cheating
    • Acting a fool
    • Not being responsible for their own actions
    • Not being loving or showing mercy
    • Not living up to their word
  • Teach your children to respect – give appropriate consequences
  • Teach your children values
  • Teach your child obedience – for it is a learned skill
  • Teach your children politeness and proper etiquette
  • Teach your children responsibility
  •  Teach your children humility
  • Teach your children good manners
  • Teach your children to be friendly – but also wise
  • Teach your children honesty
  • Teach your children not to be rude
  • Train them in everything you know about your life, so they can pass these lessons on to their children
  • Make them educated in all their academics – teach them the excitement of reading, learning, and exploring the world around them

Everyone Else

In all these activities be Godly, find your wisdom from the lessons found in the Bible. There is no excuse to do this as the bible is online and made accessible to everyone in the world. This brings me to Everyone else who are not parents. Your duty is to not harm the children, do not influence them in wicked ways, do not place hardships upon them, and do not turn them from God.
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For the Classroom Teachers

Educate each child with passion, and excitement, show there is more than one way and that there is wisdom in the very act of learning. Look at all your students with love and care for each one of them without prejudice. Be the students best example always, and be the parent’s parent in the education of the children. Always defuse difficult news with compliments and meaningful questions – seek not preach. Push your students to learn and to love learning by challenging them and by giving them expectations. Set the bar and live it in the classroom, this will show you both serious and care for them by presenting material that they can reach. Help students and parents set goals, set aside time, and above all listen to all stakeholders. Discipline with purpose and allow the child to know why they are being corrected. Let them think about their actions and give them the space to save face and apologize. Remember, no one wants to hear they are wrong or have wronged another person. Be sensitive and be responsible for all your words and actions. Lastly, educate the whole child by addressing all the things in the list above.

Amen,

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

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

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

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Announcing Listening Faithfully Bible Study

GENESIS

7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” ~ Matthew 7:7 (NRSV)

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I humbly invite everyone to join me – Brian Stark as I review the first book of the Holy Bible – GENESIS in the month of August. This event begins August 1 – September 3. This inspiring reflection approach will leave you thinking about the creation of our world as never before. The questions asked will drive discussion and deepen understanding.
The method of delivery will be short assigned readings, periodic podcasts, and an answer sheet via Google Forms to help you get ready for the big event – Connecting Live through Google Hangouts! Each session will be recorded and posted on the Listening Faithfully Facebook Blog Page for those who could not attend.
If there is a question – ask, if your heart is yearning for answers – search, If you want to come to the table – knock and the door will be opened for you.
I look forward to meeting all of you soon.
Join the Bible Study Group Today! – Click Here!  
Please take the survey… Click Here!
Contact Me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com so I can add you into the Google Hangout pool in preparation for our group meeting.
Amen,

 

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

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

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

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Give It To God!

Try Something New!

22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”~ Psalm of David, 55:22 (NRSV) 

What I find interesting is that when people hear they can put their troubles aside they don’t. Instead, they elect to hold on to all the nasty feelings and roll around in it and seek answers that are on their own terms.  What I find is people trust in themselves more than their loving and forgiving creator. So my first message today is simple when you have doubts give them to God, when you have worries that keep you up at night give them to God, and if there is something you know is wrong done to you to someone in your family or a problem you cannot solve then give it all to God.

I recently was told of a new Bible called, ‘The Message’ by a friend of mine named Fr. Tom who is a retired Preist.  I wanted to get his opinion on several other Bibles I had purchased as it relates to the translation. Well, as always Fr. Tom shocked me with The Message. So I went to the store and bought a copy  even though I was a little nervous because it’s not written like any other Bible I have ever read! What is awesome about it is that the author scripted the Bible to be more fitted to our generation.

So I wrote all that to say this, The Message has the same message as does all my other Bibles regardless the verbiage.  God still wants you to give him all your worries.

22 ” Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders-he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.” ~ Psalm of David, 55:22 (The Message)

Therefore, my brothers and sisters if you have never really given your problems to God, trust in this message, trust in the fact that there is a God who loves you so much he is willing to take care of all your problems for you. Try something new!

7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7 (NRSV) 

Try This on for Size!

6 ” So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. 7 Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7 (The Message)

Live freely before God is hard if you’re not trusting God with your pain, mistakes, worries, regrets, sorrows, problems, and / or hopes, dreams, and wishes. Living freely before God is hard if you’re too busy hiding everything you’re into.  Living freely before God is impossible if you have never called on him, never asked a single question, never listened to his words and promises, and never truly developed a real relationship with him. Thus, if you have never done any of those things then this is for you….

7 ” Look at me – I shout ‘Murder!’ and I’m ignored; I call for help and no one bothers to stop, God threw a barricade across my path – I’m stymied; he turned out all the lights – I’m stuck in the dark. He destroyed my reputation, robbed me of all self-respect. He tore me apart piece by piece – I’m ruined! Then he yanked out hope by the roots. He’s angry with me – oh, how he’s angry! He treats me like his worst enemy. He has launched a major campaign against me, using every weapon he can think of, coming at me from all sides at once.” ~  Job 19:7 -12 (The Message)

Blaming God is not the answer to your problems, Job was being tested by Satan. Perhaps God is doing the same with you, testing you, seeing if you will come to him. Statements your heart is too engaged in that pulls you down look like this;

1.) “I’m completely in the dark!” – Then get up light a candle and ask God for help.

2.) “My life is just an illusion of security!” – Open your eyes and look around, God’s promises are real and are the very definition of security!

3.) “I have no place to hide!” – Why are you hiding in the first place? God knows everything, he is everywhere, and the best part is you are never alone so talk with Him he’s calling you!

4.) “Why is God not on my side?” – Who said that he wasn’t on your side? God wants everyone to be saved and to meet Him in heaven and live an eternal life with Him! The word, ‘EVERYONE’ is all inclusive because God is all inclusive. Ask for His forgiveness and pray, know He hears you, loves you, and forgives you of all your trespasses as if you had never done them!

*If you have any more statement’s that pull you further into the nine-hole then write to me and I will add them to my next reflection and back them up with Scripture.

God is always the answer, He is always there with you, he is never off ignoring your problems rather he wants to be engaged in solving them. Put yourself in God’s shoes – millions of people are praying to you, millions of people refuse to pray to you for help. Who are you logically going to help first? Just saying! Just calm down and think with a level head, God sent his only son Jesus to die for you, for me, for the world! What more do you want?

CLOSING PRAYER

by Germaine Copeland (Gold Letter Edition – Prayers that avail much – 2012)

Adoration:

“Your Name Be Honored as Holy”

Our Father in heaven, I honor Your name as holy.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul! I call on my entire being to praise Your holy name. You have my adoration and love this day.

I praise Your name, Elohim, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who was in the beginning. It is You who made me and You have crowned me with glory and honor. You are the God of power and strength. I honor Your name as holy!

I praise Your name, El-Shaddai, the all-powerful One of blessings. You bless me with blessings of the skies above and of the deep springs below. I honor Your name as holy.

I praise Your name, Adonai, my Lord, and my Master. You are Jehovah – the Completely Self-Existing One, always present, revealing in Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I honor Your name as holy.

I bless Your name, Jehovah-Jireh, the One who sees my needs and provides for them. I honor Your name as holy.

I praise Your name, Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer and the One who makes bitter experiences sweet. You sent Your Word and healed me. You forgave all my sins and healed all my diseases. I honor your name as holy!

I praise Your name, Jehovah – M’Kaddesh, the Lord who makes me holy. You have set me apart for Yourself. I honor Your name as holy!

Jehovah – Nissi, You are my Victory, my Banner, my Standard. Your banner over me is love. When the enemy – the one who hates me – comes in like a flood, You lift up a standard – a mighty wall – against him. I honor Your name as holy!

Jehovah – Shalom, I praise Your name. You are my Peace – the peace which exceeds anything I can understand. Your peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus. I honor Your name as holy!

I bless You, Jehovah – Tsidkenu, my Righteousness. You made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for my sin so that I could be made right with God through Christ Jesus. I honor Your name as holy!

Jehovah – Rohi, You are my Shepard, and I have everything I need. Because I trust in You, I will lack no good thing. I honor Your name as holy!

I praise You, Jehovah – Shammah, the One who will never leave or abandon me. You are always there. I take comfort and am encouraged and confidently and boldly say, the Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm – I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me? I honor Your name as holy!

I worship and adore You, El-Elyon, the Most High God, who is Possessor and Maker of heaven and earth. You are Eternal God, the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God, the Merciful God, the Faithful God. You are Trust, Justice, Righteousness, and Perfection. You are El-Elyon – the Highest Sovereign of the heavens and the Earth. I honor Your name as holy!

Father, You have made Your name and Your Word greater than anything, and You have magnified Your Word above all Your name. The Word became a human and lived among us – His name is Jesus. I honor Your name as holy! Amen.

Scripture References

Matthew 6:9 HCSB

Psalm 103:1 GNT

Genesis 1:1-2 NIV

Psalm 8:5 NLT

Judges 6:24 NLT

Philippians 4:7 NLT

Jeremiah 23:5-6 NLT

2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT

* For more information about the names in the prayer please click: BLUE LETTER BIBLE

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

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

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

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45 “Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’” ~ Luke 8:45 (NRSV)

People need Jesus, people instinctually know that Jesus can heal them of their discomfort, pain, and diseases. Normally the healing is intentional, but Luke tells us that Jesus heals through faith and if you have faith then it is your faith that heals you! This is best illustrated when the women confessed to Jesus that it was she who indeed had touched him. Knowing that she had been immediately healed Jesus said to her;

48 “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” ~ Luke 8:48 (NRSV)

So, today I called upon all of you; my brothers and sisters in faith, to extend your hand and reach out to Jesus and collectively ask for the healing, the faith inspired, all encompassing healing powers of God to be directed to a very good friend of mine who is suffering from a sudden loss of vision as her retina is coming detached and was rushed into surgery this morning here in Los Angeles. Extend your prayers of healing and make it such a powerful request that Jesus once again asks, “Who touched me?” 

So altogether let us pray for Sedonia so she does not become physically blind.

Prayer of Physical Healing

Dear Lord, God in Heaven hear my voice, feel my heart tremble, look upon my face and know I come to you with the uncertainty of this world, but still I am filled with faith that is placed in you, my God. For it was your words My Lord which spoke:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8. Here I stand Oh Lord of all the Universe, 

Here I ask for healing of Sedonia who is in surgery, I seek your healing hand to extend down to her and take all fear and uncertainty away from her, and I beg of you; my God that the door of your blessings is opened and pours down upon Sedonia in your loving grace. 

St. Lucia {Lucy} of Sicily, patron Saint of eyes

Dear Lord, My King of Kings, my Lord of Lord, my God of Gods, hear my plea as I call out your name in the faith which has been made strong by your love. For again it was you who taught me that it is through unshakable faith that makes us well. So we, the Listening Faithfully Community converge today in faith asking that you heal our dearest of friends and sister in faith Sedonia from every sickness, disease, illness, and the medical problems facing her today and to the end of all time. Lord your hand I know shall be upon her as she faces her fears and endures the pain within her retnia. I also know we receive our healing through faith in you. Therefore, it is right and just to ask these things on behalf of your daughter Sedonia, who I know loves you with all her heart and soul, as we who listen faithfully love you and believe in you through faith alone.

Through your Son Jesus Christ do we pray these things.

Amen

Dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray this prayer for our sister in Christ Jesus, Sedonia today at least three times and continue praying this week and next. For it through the collective prayer can we see the heart of God be moved and to heal as a result of our display of unshakable faith.

Ways to Communicate

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

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

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

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“The righteous gives and does not hold back.” ~ Proverbs 21:26

If I said to you my brothers and sisters that money was not important and that acquiring money was also not important would you believe me?  Many of you would disagree, and many of you would not understand to what I am talking about after first reading Proverbs 21:26.  I want to say now money is nothing more than a tool. Money is the necessary evil we have to content with if we want to live healthy, productive, comfortable lives. Money is not the end all to the end all. So, you might ask why start out this way if I was going to ask for support?  Well my brothers and sisters because I have never used Listening Faithfully to raise money with, I have never asked anyone to give money in the name of God for my own personal gain.  But, today I am going to ask something of everyone on behalf of the Inner City Children I teach and will be teaching this summer. But before I do I am going to ask a question that I need you to really think about.

Do you think of yourself as a righteous person?

In other words do you serve the morally good, do you follow religious or moral laws, ideas, oaths, or even listen to your conscience. If the answer to that is yes then I am speaking to you directly.  This year I opened up the Summer Tech Team at my school for the first time to 2nd and 3rd grade students. I wanted them to join this year because of what I saw when teaching them during the academic year of 2015-16. These two groups have the hunger, the want to learn, and they are so excited to spend 3 weeks during their summer break learning more about computers, about blogging (which is what I am doing right now), and they want to know more about making movies with software, they want to become better typist, and authors…  As a group they really moved my heart!

Now let’s talk about economics for a second… Money is hard to come by for most of the parents who go to my school. They work two jobs and have little time with their children, (my students), let alone to supply extra stuff like my summer program which the school does not support from their own budget. If there is to be a Tech Team 2016 I have to find the money, simply put!  Do I have some parents who pay upfront? “Yes”,  I do and I want to thank them for doing so. But the larger community of parents don’t because they can’t.  If I allowed that simple fact to deter me from finding the money each year I would have never held not one Summer Tech Team! So, I ask for everyone to donate as much as they feel comfortable with, but to support my entire summer program cost’s $3,000 which is really not that much. So, what does this do for the students? Here is a list of topics I will be teaching this year to my 2nd and 3rd grade computer geniuses:

Philosophy: “Students who have access to the Internet learn can manage their own learning.”

1.) Blogging about Computers and Terminology (This Supports English Language Arts)

2.) Computer Instruction – (They learn all about what makes a computer work putting their little fingers all over the parts! This supports Science & Engineering)

3.) Research computer parts and their costs to build a budget (I integrate Math with Google Sheets)

4.) Google Apps that will be used during the year in their Google Classroom. (This supports the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)  Standard: 2 Communication and Collaboration / 6. Technology Operations and Concepts.)

4.1) DuoLingo – language learning platform

4.2) OpenEd.com

4.3) SAS Curriculum Pathways – Analyzing Public Speaking (This Supports English Language Arts)

5.) America’s Navy – STEM for the CLASSROOM (Discovery Education) Robotics and Future Technology – Science Topic “PHYSICS” (This of Course id STEM related – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)

These are but a few of the target projects that students will engage in during the three short weeks they are in the class. The impact is huge as these little ones grow and begin to be immersed into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

So, I ask you again… If you are a just person, moral person, a righteous person please help by sending a check or money order today.

Donations or gifts to Ascension for the Summer Tech Team 2016 are tax deductible as we are a 503c organization. 

An individual may contribute up to $150 per students tuition or sponsor two for $300. By becoming an Ascension Catholic School Sponsor,  you agree that STEM, NGSS, Common Core, and ISTE is and should be part of the curriculum in all classrooms within our school and by donating today you proudly support our efforts to bring this higher rigor of instruction to our community, families, students, and to our instructors through ongoing training.  By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls where we will reach out to you to thank you for all your support.

When contacting us by mail or phone please provide us with your name, mailing address, email address, and occupation.

Mail: To contribute by mail, please send a personal check made payable to “Ascension Catholic School” to:

Ascension Catholic School
500 W. 111th Pl.
Los Angeles, California 90044

Please include your full name, address, phone number, email address, and occupation in the envelope with a note – “Proud to Support the 2016 Summer Technology Team!”

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, I humbly invite you to contact with me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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Visit: Listening Faithfully Facebook Page: CLICK HERE  Don’t forget to leave a “LIKE”.

Wisdom1.0

2 “Because he is found by those who do not put him to the test, and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.” ~ The Wisdom of Solomon 1:2 (NRSV)

Orlando has suffered a grave attack that is motivated by hate, therefore, hate seeped into the soul of the aggressor.  We can blame the parents who raised him, the wife who loved enough to not get him help, the community which he attacked, and the list goes on. But God is not found in the manner we seek if it through hate. God is found when we come to him not to put him to the test when we open our hearts and beg for forgiveness for our trespasses. But Orlando has also suffered another attack that is quite different from other terrorist killings. One that is not talked that much about – that attack comes from the Christian Community because it was not just people killed but people of the LGBT Community specifically. So this is what I heard and saw and wanted to immediately disavow as dangerous Christian rhetoric that is on the same level of Radical Islam which both is founded within an evil doctrine of repression.

Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento told his congregation that Christians ‘shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites.”

“People say, like: ‘Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?’ ” Jimenez said, referencing the initial death toll in Orlando, which authorities later clarified included 49 victims plus the gunman. “Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: ’Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?’

“Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight.”

He added: “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!” ~ Bever, Lindsey, The Washington Post, June 15, 2016

God hates fags.
God sent the shooter.
God hates murderer Omar Mateen.
Omar Mateen & slain fags are in hell.
REPENT! pic.twitter.com/XwkX7jGYpp

— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSaysRepent) June 12, 2016

“Kill the Gays” Preacher Kevin Swanson: “God’s on His Side” ~ by DAWN ENNIS of the Advocate.

Pastor Jimenez, Pastor Steve Drain of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, Pastor Kevin Swanson of the Reformation Church of Elizabeth, Colorado, and so many others from the Baptist / Orthodox Churchs has publically called those who died, sodomites and pedophiles teaching their congregations that there was no tragedy by killing them and that they wished more had been killed.  In no manner, in no place in the bible does it say this teaching is correct. What these supposed learned men are referring to is found in the Book of Leviticus which is one book of four believed to be written by Moses who received this knowledge directly from God.

22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” ~ Leviticus 18:22 (NRSV)

This to an untrained eye this passage is a direct commandment that describes a behavior which God Himself has said to be wrong, as something that you shall not do.  As a God fearing man without doing the research I am inclined to read this and think all who do this is evil.  But those who wrote this, if it was Moses or Aaron, existed in a different reality than from us today. So we must always read the Bible with one eye to the source and one eye to the present, always asking how does this apply today. Back then Moses had a different agenda, the people were in the survival mode, and God saw their wickedness and sought to do something about it in a more direct way than from how he operates in our modern world.  So, the setting was Mount Sinai where Moses was attempting to sanctify the people so that the Lord might appear unto them. To do this God specifically told Moses the following;

18 “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the Lord your God.You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the Lord.'” ~ Leviticus 18:1-5 (NRSV)

The objective was to create a new nation with a new statute, a nation more holy than any that had come before, and a nation with a direct connection to God. Here in America, we like to think we have a direct connection to God. We like to think we are more holy than the rest of the world. We like to believe we are special and try to preserve Biblical Laws that at the time of their creation as they are today were cumbersome, laws which shackled the people. God did this because from the parents who were slaves and born in Egypt and who had grown fat and uncomplacent but also lazy and self-serving and who God loved and wanted to change them by reminding them of where they had come from, could only happen over time. So the promise land was more the children and grandchildren who had been forged by a Godly fire, subject to a higher standard would this new nation arise. For detailed information please click the following link: Journeys and Events in the Life of Moses by  Edward J. Brandt of the Department of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, The Church of Later-Day Saints.

What is the Relevant Argument?

So the argument becomes less about behavior and more about the time period of the laws that prohibited that behavior. Again looking in the Bible we find a more recent passage that holds the same message that speaks out against the aforementioned behavior.

24 “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason, God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” ~ Romans 1:23-27 (NRSV)

Again, about two thousand years ago people for the sake of not spreading diseases held fast to the moral principle found in these scriptures. A morality clause that upholds the biblical ideas and beliefs of true marriage as it was between Adam and Eve and is celebrated to this very day. Two opposing arguments on how to live is the debate we face today. Nothing more nothing less. No matter which side you come down on our great nation needs to place only one truth before the population which is more superior to any of these scriptures and any scripture on this topic which I have not mentioned. These supreme truths will help solve this delima and help people from all faiths to join hands, this truth will heal all people of all hatred and will promote only Godly interaction with each other and with God Himself. So you might ask what is the Supreme Truth I speak of?

Examples of Jesus

Example 1: Forgiveness even unto death.

39 “One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ ~ Luke 23:39-43 (NRSV)

Example 2: Not Judging Others

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye” ~ Matthew 7:1-5 (NRSV)

Example 3: Serving two Masters

24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” ~ Matthew 6:24 (NRSV)

Example 4: Supreme Blessedness (The Beatitudes)

5 “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak and taught them, saying:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’

5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.’

6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.’

7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.’

8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’

9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’

10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'” ~ Matthew 5:1-11 (NRSV)

Example 5: Blind Faith in Jesus Alone

24 “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them was written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” ~ John 21:24-25 (NRSV)

Example 6: Love Part 1

18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 19:18 (NRSV) 

44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ~ Matthew 5:44 (NRSV)

27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” ~ Luke 6:27 (NRSV)

27 “He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’” ~ Luke 10:27 (NRSV)

30 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:30 (NRSV)

Example 7: Love Part 2

21 “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me, and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” ~ John 14:21 (NRSV)

Summation

God is not found in acts of violence, rather finding peace and forgiveness with the lord comes from self-reflection, self-attainment, self-understanding, and applying the most recent laws of morality Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savour left us with, which when listed in this order do they make perfect sense of how we are to treat our fellow man and how others should treat us.

1.) Forgive others even unto your last breath. Not for them but for yourself so that you may be forgiven in the eyes of God the All mighty.

2.) By forgiving others you cease to judge them, you stop judging others actions, their words, their plots, their beliefs, and how they live which is different from yourself.

3.) By forgiving and not judging others you are able to decide whom to serve. The question posed to us all from God at birth is simply this, “Will you serve me the Lord your God or will you serve mankind which is imperfect and will some day cease to exist?”  

4.) By cleansing your soul and dedicating your life to God, you then receive the supreme blessings and begin to practice them with fidelity.

5.) Finally, by doing all these things God bestows his most precious of gifts upon you; that of His most perfect love. Your cup will overflow with love and your life transformed through love which enables you to replace hate with love, replace greed with love, replace lust with love, replace laziness with love, replace wrathfulness with love, replace envy with love, and replace pride with God’s most perfect love. In this, you will love others no matter who they are or where they come from or what they believe and how they live. In this way, love equals tolerance for your fellow man and peace is the product. For I say to you my brothers and sisters this is the message all ordained Priests, Deacons, Bishops, Preachers, Ministers,

For I say to you my brothers and sisters this is the message all ordained Priests, Deacons, Bishops, Preachers, Ministers, Pastor, and Church leaders from all faith groups should be preaching about when it comes to any mass killing, any natural disaster, and any act of God; but especially when people who hold a different perspective on life than they do are murdered with such hatred, it should always be meet with love, not condemnation! All religious organizations need to rethink the true message of God, which is love and forgiveness. When a gay is killed every preacher needs to preach how wrong murder is, not glorify it because the one who lost their life was gay! We are all human beings and therefore by default children of God! It is God’s domain to judge not ours! Rather our most supreme commandment is and has always been to, love one another!” John 13:34-35 (NRSV)

For I leave you with this: 11 “Beware then of useless grumbling and keep your tongue from slander, because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.” ~ Wisdom 1:11 (NRSV)

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, I humbly invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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

Message to the LGBT Community

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On Sunday, June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen walked into Pulse Night Club and shot and killed 49 people. He did this because they were different from him, they  embraced a different lifestyle than him, they believed in something different than he.  In many ways if we search hard enough all of us could find differences in each other that we completely disagree with, the management of those difference is found in one word, tolerance.  The problem with Omar and anyone else who would kill another person because of differences in belief or lifestyle is found in the innermost place within their soul which has been taken over by hatred, perhaps even by Satan himself.  Their actions can be in some instances a cry for help, but the in the end these actions show a lack of humanity.  I write this though I disagree with the LGBT or GLBT community and the political movement they have been pursuing to change the idea and legal definition of marriage from its biblical roots, though I would never campaign against them, slander them, or take a gun and or harm any member of that community.  We are all people, we all have the right to voice our disagreements and to disagree in a humane manner.  So, instead of focusing on the evil act, let us turn this negative into a positive and allow God to be the supreme judge for everyone who harbor ill thoughts and beliefs within the innermost places of their soul, and let God judge us all based upon are words we speak to each other as well the messages those words relay to the community of mankind. For the reaction of this killing is as important and carries as much if not more meaning than the act itself. True wisdom begins with love and ends with love and on this point, I join hands with the LGBT community in prayer for those lost in such a brutal way… Let Us All Pray.

Prayer of Love

Dear Lord, my supreme savior hear my voice and the voices of the families of the Pulse shooting of which so many you have called home. Dear Lord, I humble myself in the

Dear Lord, I humble myself in your presence as I call upon you to fill my heart with love, love which takes away the pain, love which takes away the heartache of those who have suffered because of this one selfish act.

Dear Lord, my creator I boldly stand against those who believe they have the right to murder for the sake of murder, to take away what you have given, but I do so with my words which you shall be the judge.

Dear Lord, let those who have lost, mourn within the comfort of your love, let them feel your love, let them know your love.

Dear Lord, it is in these things I pray through your son Jesus Christ our savior who died and was raised from the dead and who did these things out of a perfect love.

Please pray these words every night until the United States Government actually takes meaningful action on Gun Control.

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, I humbly invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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13 “And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.’ 16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them”. ~ Mark 10:13-16 (NABRE) 

Essential Question

“Are we adults behaving like the little children Jesus blessed?”

 There are many measurements of how to live a Christian life. It seems to me that every page in the Old Testament is giving us moral laws to follow, and the New Testament is no exception. The many thousands of things written can feel at times overwhelming and confusing to most. History is littered with the many thousands of arguments that have arisen since Christ’s death and resurrection because of those words and beliefs that split the New Church into many different pieces each with their own ideas of what a Christian Life should look like to others. We have been arguing for centuries amongst ourselves and in those arguments, we find in our modern age of technology even more ways to be anti-Christian which is laced with temptations that lure us away from God. There is deception of all kinds in our churches and people who profit off those descriptions.  Our sins with each passing century grow ever higher and the smell of our human lies that are designed to allow us to live as we want, do as we will, and not as God would have us live, is simply continuing to mount against us in the halls of Heaven. Perhaps, that is what Jesus was alluding too when he saw the disciples pushing away the children?

Living in a Sinful World

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13 God will judge those outside. “Purge the evil person from your midst.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:13 (NABRE)

In the twenty-first century of which we live, drama is the new law! Social Media is filled with people posting everything about their lives, even the most private accepts and problems they are facing. People are caught up in watching reality TV, they are exposed to sin that is changing our culture and beliefs. Examples of which I speak is “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” where everything from marital issues is perverted to modern fashion which influences and corrupts our children. Another Reality TV Series is “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”, where everything about marriage and dating is glamorized and set in a make belief settings where it’s ok to date more than one person, have sex with more than one person and hold relationships with more than one person!  Another show which perverts marriage and is setting such a bad example for our children as it relates to relationships and marriage is “Sister Wives”. It’s all in the title! One man multiple wives! This lifestyle was prohibited by God thousands of years ago!  So when I say we are corrupting our own children, that this corruption is perverting their morals and the morals of their children who are not yet born, and this corruption will pervert children for thousands of generations to come, then I think it is no wonder or mystery of why our children have no chance at seeing the gates of Heaven! Sure, there will be a handful who will repent, I say a handful because frankly when calculating the billions of people on earth today verse those who want to be real Christians and truly believe in God solely is determined by how their parents brought them up, and how closely to the Bible where those morals linked. Thus, a handful of the world’s population of true believers is a much smaller group than those who see nothing wrong with the world and call themselves Christians!

The Reality of Respect

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18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” ~ Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NABRE)

Respect thy neighbor, respect thyself, respect the world and all of nature, respect others as you would have them respect you. Yes, I took out a few words and replaced them with the word respect, but isn’t that what our world has done with the sanctity of marriage, haven’t we for our own selfish purposes took out words that would hold us responsible for our actions and replaced them with words that make us feel better about our sin? New laws which are giving even the most conservative of Governors a reason to pause, siding with the heretics of this world so they can be reelected. The controversy which I speak is to those who want such perversion and say – HE/SHE bathrooms in public spaces are ok! There is no respect in how people relate to one another because we have taken God out of the equation! No man will fear man’s laws as much as he will that of God’s laws if they are taught in the manner they were written taken nothing out, even those parts that make us cringe! As a teacher in a Catholic School, a place where you would think is steeped in discipline and a healthy fear of God, but sadly no, for all the Nunes have gone and the Priests have not a clue of how children should be raised. Yes, the Bible is unchanged, but how we teach it has changed. Because of these things in our sinful world we find ourselves mired in sin and helpless in teaching respect.  Our children see TV, play Adult rated video games, parents treat their kids more like friends than their children, and the basic teaching of how to act in public has been forever torn apart! So, the next time you look at a rude child, one who mocks you, one who talks back, one who does hateful things to others, one who thinks they are smarter than you, or one who does stupid things just to see what would happen (DUMBASS THE MOVIE), then as an adult / parent  have only yourself to blame!  Education begins at home not in the school building! Laws that suppress educators from fulfilling their job requirements as it relates to teaching discipline, morality, respect, religion, self-worth, love, and forgiveness is the major culprits to green lighting sin in our society! Perhaps, this is what Jesus saw when the disciples rebuked the children?

The Commandments that Matter

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34″I give you a new commandment: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.'” ~ John 13:34-35

Respect and discipline are all part of living a Christian lifestyle. But Jesus commands us that everything stems from love, an innocent like love in the Lord.  From this agape love we find the path to faith and armed with faith we find the path to a disciplined, respectful, honorable, holy relationship with God the Father. From this point is it then possible to show love and respect to others, and teach these things which God has commanded parents to teach to their children. For this duty is a sacred and holy duty given to parents alone!

6 “Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not veer from it.”~ Proverbs 22:6 (NABRE)

4 “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!  Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NABRE)

7 “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” ~ Proverbs 1:7 (NABRE)

1 “Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise, 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.’” ~ Ephesians 6:1-3 (NABRE)

23 “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, 24 knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.” ~ Colossians 3:23-25

3 “Certainly sons are a gift from the Lordthe fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will never be shamed for he will destroy his foes at the gate.” ~ Psalm 127:3-5 (NABRE)

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NABRE)  

Wrap Up

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What we teach our children as parents is what our children will do when they are grown. “Be a role model. This can help you teach your children to appropriate behavior, self-control, responsibility, and accountability while increasing their self-esteem.” ~ American Humane Association, (Child Discipline) 

Don’t come to their rescue so easily, don’t rave about them so easily, rather show them leadership! Help your children make calculated risks, have many discussions on making decisions, tell them stories of your childhood so they may bond with you, don’t let your guilt keep you from being a good parent and from making the hard decision. By making those hard decisions you are giving them the proper example, like Jesus, did for the world on Calgary. Teach respect, love, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy and these things will come back to you and make you proud. Finally, become partners with your children’s teachers and follow their examples upholding their expertise within the realm of education. In all these things allow Jesus to be part of your children’s lives allowing them to know God their and your creator.

Amen,

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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A Humble Heart

1 “My heart is not proud, Lordmy eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. 3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 131:1-3

Bailey

I write to you today my brothers and sister on behalf of a dear friend who I love with all my heart and soul who contacted me some time ago.  She wanted me to compose this special prayer for a family member and loyal friend that happens to have four legs.  So, today I ask everyone to pray for Bailey Prets, a Dachshund that for many long years has been the inspiration and focal-point of my friend’s love who has requested to remain anonymous and the apple of her eye.  Bailey has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and as of yet we do not know what can be done.  So, with this news, I am greatly saddened and hope there is a cure for Mr. Bailey Prets.

Let Us Pray

Dear Lord in Heaven hear our hearts as we reach out to you with our mortal concerns, with hearts that are not proud nor are they longing for the greater things in this life. No, Lord we reach out to you in prayer with calm concerns that are like a weaned child from our mothers; for we are almost content.

Dear Lord our savior who loved us with all your heart, who through that love defeated death, and who has redeemed us with love and divine mercy. It is to you Oh Lord that we pray for the inspiring love to be sent to our loyal four-legged friend Bailey Prets, for we ask for you to set your hand upon his head to heal him and give him consolation within your spirit as you heal him of his ailments.

Dear Lord hear the many who pray to deliver Bailey into your loving arms as you set his soul at ease and give him everlasting life, but not before his time here is done. Lord, it is to you we pray with the deepest of concerns and love for Bailey that we ask these things for we put our hope in you Lord, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’s name … AMEN!

OUR FATHER

9 “Pray then like this: ‘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 our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”~Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)

My brothers and sisters if you pray these words for Mr. Bailey Prets I believe God will heal him, I believe God will give Bailey a new leash on life. I urge you my brothers and sisters to join me in prayer this next week May 1- May 7, 2016 at least once per day for our loyal four-legged friend who desperately needs your prayers.

 

Peace Left by Jesus

27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

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Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to never be able to find peace in their lives? Have you ever wondered why they are always sower towards others, nothing is ever fair or just in their eyes, and they seem to enjoy this self-inflicted agony? I’ve known people like this. I’ve seen how they imitate happiness but it never lasts for long. Things that have happened in their lives are never their fault because it’s easier to blame others. Responsibility for their own actions is a foreign idea and never seems to apply to them. So why the misery, why the drama, why do they run so far and fast from peace?

Self-Worth vs. God’s Peace

11 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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To understand this behavior we first must understand why the human race ignores God’s ministry of Peace. At this point, it would be all too easy to say that we are all sinners. Yes, that is part of it, but not the whole picture. Rather we must dig deeper and look for that character flaw that some people exploit more so than others called self-worth. It works like this, many people have lived hard lives, as children they are subjected to crappie things that are at the first outside of their control. The craziness of their lives become addicting, much like a drug. The older they get the more they are told how worthless they are until they begin to believe it. At some point, they begin to expect the bad in life, and they chose to ignore the good. This becomes a routine of bad choices that cascade one after another. Now logically speaking they know they should strive for peace in their life, but they are their own worst enemy as the choices they make repeals peace. These broken people believe that they do not deserve to be happy as every attempt fails. So they ignore that singular voice within their hearts and run away not feeling good enough to receive God’s peace. They run and hide because the cannot believe that God has a plan for them that includes happiness and peace here on Earth. They cannot believe that God wants to take control!  But I say to you my brothers and sisters who are broken, God wants to instill his plan into your heart and take all the bad and turn it into good which glories His love for you!

Remember that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

Every time I read this I feel at peace. Why? Because I believe with all my heart and soul that God’s peace is everlasting. I believe blindly in the idea that Jesus really said that.  I believe that Jesus is real and loved us so much that he would die to give us a chance at receiving that everlasting peace.

So, why can people like me believe and other people just can’t quite make that leap of faith? Because they believe they do not deserve God’s love, because they expect nothing but the bad in life. The difference is I do not expect to be saved rather I hope to be saved according to God’s word. Whereas, the broken person dwells in the expectation that bad is all they can hope for, which leaves them without hope of salvation. Thus, if you give in to hopelessness then you in truth shackle your life to this world and to the expectations of a life mired in sin! You give up on the hope God has for you, the salvation he won for you, and the everlasting peace he left in your care.

Conversion

19 “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,” ~ Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

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Again, logically speaking the only way out of this hopelessness is to be converted! This means you must die to your sins and be reborn in the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ! Scary sounding… right? Well to the nonbeliever it is the scariest thing they will ever do. Ok, so how do you convert someone who is broken?  Believe me, when I say it’s easier said than done, but it begins with being the example in every aspect of your life, teaching that God’s grace can be found in everything be it in the good or bad things of this world. Yes, being the example by living your faith, practicing what you preach, do what you say, believe with all your heart, mind, and soul in the words and promises of God. To be a witness to others who need help in believing, who need you to be their a road map to faith, and a guide to those broken down and beaten by this world who expect nothing but bad and show them kindness, love, and mercy. Conversion doesn’t happen overnight, rather it takes time for people to hear, then reacts to God’s call. But know God is calling and He is using you to make that connection!

There is hope, there is love, there is mercy, and there is peace in this world. But the peace we all should strive for is the peace of salvation in the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Amen.

My brothers and sisters, if you enjoyed this message today then I invite you to contact me directly at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com. Let’s open a dialog and share the good news with each other.

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Ye of Two Minds!

Power of the Tongue

 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly,” ~ James 3:1 (NABRE)

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The Lord see’s our sins, see’s our reproaches, he knows your heart!  We as teachers in both common education and of the education of the Lord have a sacred responsibility that influences those whom we teach in a stricter manner.   Therefore, temptations to mislead are among us in every manner hiding around every corner.  It takes a strong character indeed to repress the desire to put your own thoughts above those found in the Bible which have been written to guide our behaviors of a moral nature within these things I speak today. For I am deeply moved and concerned about some whom I have witnessed in my community of believers who have acted out in a grievous and spiteful manner to mislead and in doing so have done the works of Satan while claiming to do the works of God.  I know this is harsh language but God demands that we admonish our brothers to help them stay straight in the ways of our God.  Now many of you may be asking what was it that I heard?

In My Hearing Point 1

11 “Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor?” ~ James 4:11-12 (NABRE)

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What I heard were several teachers who felt they had the right to scorn our community, saying that the wheels have come off our community, that teachers are not teaching, that teachers do not communicate with each other.  To this I say, many of the first year teachers I have lead try to control their classrooms with a heavy hand.  They try to extend this range of control through boasting about their successes which may not be complete as a sufficient amount of time has not yet passed to have developed a baseline to prove success.  Their ideas sometimes are lacking the experience of implementation or understanding in what they are trying to teach.  This specific teacher is new to our community and in fact has on many occasions boasted of how they wish to change our community.  Again, without the sufficient training or experience affecting positive change is simply out of range of this specific teacher’s ability to make happen.  Therefore, speaking about other teachers in a very public space in the presence of a small parent population allowing everyone to hear a very scud perception of what he / she thinks is true is very troubling not to mention unprofessional as this is how rumors are started, for this action on this teacher’s behalf will, in fact, bear the fruits of gossip and more strife for everyone in the community.  For it was written the Lord hates, “A false witness that utters lies and the one who sows discord among brethren.” ~ Proverbs 6:19 (NABRE)

Indeed, I say to you my brothers and sisters everyone experiences troubles in their practice, and everyone feels a certain level of frustration in their practice.  But yet this teacher has gone one step further than most by making a scornful public announcement of what they think they see, while never coming to me nor others in our teaching community with these complaints.  Not to mention that it was this specific teacher who blocked all my efforts to help solve many of the problems they seem to now be feeling. Not one piece of advice was taken, not one suggestion listed to, not one constructive comment from my lips did this teacher accept, and nor have they shown contrition in knowing their place among the community.  This teacher’s willingness to speak in public without the permission of our Principal and or Pastor shows the desire to be more of a renegade than a team player.  This bothers me greatly because you cannot have positive change come from scornful comments, nor can you have lasting change if the efforts where done in a scud manner and jealous heart. For I have seen all too often in the past teachers try to change their school without the support of the administration and every time the change the teacher wanted failed as the administration chose to let them go to find employment elsewhere.

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Therefore, by not seeking, this teacher will not find, and this teacher’s words are mired in ignorance of how to truly lead. What I took the most offense to was the comment that teachers are not teaching.  To this I say, turn in your lesson plans for all to see your teachings as I have, lead through doing and affect change through positive means not by blaming and not knowing of what you speak about but rather educate yourself by having an open mind and building a partnership with every teacher not just those whom you feel comfortable as I have.  For I teach not by words but by my practice which is steeped within professionalism and love for all I serve.  Thus, I advise once more to this specific teacher, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” ~ James 1:22 (NABRE) For I say to you my brothers and sisters I always have an open door, I will always be ready to help, to give advice that is just and moral, and I welcome this teacher to come talk with me in hopes they may see that there is a better way forward.

Once more to the second teacher whom I am very disappointed in and surprised to the depths they have sunk to speak falsely about their colleagues practice to parents without the knowledge or foresight of what their actions may bring is simply uncontainable.  For to be a rumor starter, to allow jealously to overtake reason is not professional and what makes their actions worse is they are trained in peace making, they are trained in the Biblical Theology, they are currently engaged in being a Teacher Leader as I am, and know all too well the responsibilities we now have to unite our community under one flag, not divide it by petty disputes and a hardened heart.  For far too often I hear this teacher condemn the community, placing themselves higher than the community, to act independently claiming a moral cause to condemn others while they in their own practice is hoity and misleading, bearing falsely about their fellow teachers whom which they have targeted and yet keep this vailed is the actions of a none Christian and are not deserving of the moral cause claimed, rather the actions of a hypocrite caught in their own hypocrisy. I return the comments I heard in church, for if they have a problem with me then do what Jesus commands them to do, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.” Matthew 18:16 (NABRE)  I say to this teacher whom I have known for years – come and win me over so that I may show you a better way.

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I write these things not to start controversy but to end it.  To put into the light, the things which are keeping all of us from that great achievement which we aspire too. For as long as we all act with two minds that constantly countermand the other we will never become truly successful. As long as there are those in our teaching community who air private problem to the community in public spaces there will never be respect, nor the avenue made for mercy and contrition will never be apart of what we strive to be as a community.

Amen,

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12 “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” ~ Proverbs 23:12

As most of you are aware I am a full time Technology Teacher in a private school down town Los Angeles. I teach in an area that is cited to be the highest crime rate in the past ten years. The students I teach I love with all my heart and soul. I write to all of you to let you know that education is the greatest en-devour of all time and is one people have sought sense time began. In our current world we have technology which affects every aspect of our lives, and in this there is nothing more important than to be computer literate. In the face of this challenge in teaching I can only affect the students in my school but technology allows me to reach out to the world. I say that to introduce all you my brothers and sisters that I have created a Teach Pay Teacher account in which for a small sum my Technology Lesson Plans can be bought and shared and so that millions of children can benefit of my many years of experience and research based instruction. Please click the following link to go directly to where you can receive the Common Core and ISTE aligned technology Lesson Plans. CLICK HERE

Soon I will be also making available Religious lessons Plans that continue my ministry here at Listening Faithfully Blog. When I get this complete I will post that also.

I am commented to delivering the highest level of education to all children and deeply appreciate all who support education in any manner.

Amen,

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GOD LOVES US ALL!

20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” ~ Revelation 3:20

 

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My message today on Divine Mercy Sunday is simple, it’s perhaps the shorts but most direct one. God is love, and because God is the love he wants peace throughout the world. But more to the point, Jesus is also love and He is knocking at your heart. So, say ‘YES’ to Jesus, say ‘YES’ to His divine love, say ‘YES’ to His mercy and spread the word of God throughout the world. Be humble and ask God for His divine mercy, then go out into the world and be compassionate to others, and finally trust completely in God, trust in His only son our Lord, Jesus Christ. In these things, I tell you so that you can be one with God, and let His son in to break bread with you and be blessed by His words and touch upon your heart forever.

What is the Divine Mercy?

The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

 

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Divine Mercy Devotional

 

The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us —
no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that
His mercy is greater than our sins so that we will call upon
Him with trust, receive His mercy and let it flow through us to
others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message
we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

A — Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach
Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and
asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon
the whole world.

B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
to us.

C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will
receive.

 

Divine Mercy Diary

 

(The Above information came from – The Divine Mercy Devotional  click the link for more resources.) 

AMEN,

If you enjoyed “Celebrating the Divine Mercy!”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” ~ Author Unknown.

Each year my reader base grows thanks to you who faithfully come back and read new posts and or share the posts with others; for I am truly inspired by you the readers.  So I want to reach out and thank everyone who reads Listening Faithfully Blog every week, month, and /or year. The following is a map of the world for 2015 that shows all the countries that have found Listening Faithfully Blog online.

2015 LFB MAP

2015 Views per Country

3,209 visitors and 4,382 views

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If you come from one of these countries listed above I urge you to share Listening Faithfully Blog with everyone you know if you have not done so already.  Also please visit Listening Faithfully Facebook and Listening Faithfully Community

New Features

Finally Listening Faithfully Blog via Facebook can offer a forum page where questions about the current blog posting can be discussed by you the viewers, with me, the author – Brian Keith. To take part in our discussions please click the following link – FORUMS

I look forward to sharing the results from 2016 with all of you in 2017!

Again, thank you for taking the time to read my posts as well as for your support. –Brian Keith

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Fanatics at Large!

LOVE vs FANATISM 

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” ~ Luke 6: 27

Love needs not the blinded zeal of a follower who demonstrates excessive enthusiasm, unreasoning fervour, or wild and extravagant notions of our God.  Rather the Lord came to us as a sheep amongst the wolves and through His undying love freed us from our sins without the lofty words that put others down while raising Himself up, no Jesus saved through the love of humility alone.  Jesus realized that there were fanatics in every religion, there are people so filled with blinded zeal for the God they choose to serve that instead they fail to emulate peace they become dangerous as they grab for power.  So, today my brothers and sisters I argue that instead of allowing ourselves to become blinded by the rules of our religion instead we need to become freed by our faith placing all confidence in our Lord and Savour in every situation for the rest of our lives filling our hearts and minds with the quiet resolve of our own salvation granted to us through the mercy of our God.  I argue we should not become so zealous for God that we ignore and otherwise become callous to others who may believe in something different, rather we need to always remain humble within our hearts and constantly ask ourselves, “How would Jesus handle this?” , thus seeking the guidance of our God in everything and in everyone.  For this is what the fanatics have forgotten as their faith is a bitter one as they choose to believe in a God of their own design, as they live in a moral Delima where faith, love, and compassion have become the shell they hide in and where their own humility and obedience to God is simply not enough. So they seek the absoluteness, the black and white rules that are written in some book which outlines their religious order, like a lawyer they prosecute anyone who does not conform to these man-made rules instead of allowing the grace of God to shine through. The fanatics are very much like a Cameleon portraying themselves as something they are truly not, and in this portrayal they thrive on the collection of things and vanity which seemingly grants them power.

THE FINGER POINTERS

“Do you indeed speak righteousness, O’ congregation? Do you judge uprightly, O’ you sons of men. 2 You, in your heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.” ~ Psalm 58: 1-2

Yes, God is real! Yes, God is the most powerful being in the universe! Yes, God is absolute righteousness, and Yes, God is in love with imperfect humanity!  God’s love is so great that our hearts could never contain the entire breath of His perfection and most perfect love.  But what we can do is accept the gifts given from the Holy Spirit and spread the word that God would have you spread, ignoring your own message, ignoring the temptation that would want that message from God.  For I tell you, my brothers and sisters, God’s message is completely and utterly simple; love one another, treat each other with respect and love, be tolerant in all things, give to your brothers and sisters what they need whether or not you know them or not.  God wants harmony, love, mercy, and obedience which is how we supercharge our lives.  In this none of the elements in the message of God is there any room for judgmental believers, there is no room for finger pointers who are unrighteous judges.  For who are you to judge, who are you to call someone a name, who are you to stand in objection as a false witness?  For I tell you not everyone will stay in the place where you claim to find God, not everyone will worship God in the same way but yet God still accepts them as He does your system of worship.  Not everyone is open to religious persecution nor should anyone in the days we now live should have to conform to the rules of men who dictates the rules of that religion.  For man is imperfect, we are all  lost, trapped upon a huge ark as sinners and we are all equally taking every wave that sin can throw at us!  Again, there is no room to be greedy or zealous in our faith. There is no reason to try and tout how holy we are in our own faith, for again my brothers and sisters God despises those who boast, for in this boasting is hidden the original sin; that of pride. For it was pride which brought down the greatest of all angels named Lucifer, (The Morning Star).

EGO vs HUMILITY

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

According to Sigmund Freud who created the modern psychoanalytic personality theory which gave us the understanding through the three facets of human development listed as, The Id, Ego, and Super Ego.  Within this understanding, Freud explains the Super Ego as, “developing last, and is based on morals and judgments about right and wrong. Even though the superego and the ego may reach the same decision about something, the superego’s reason for that decision is more based on moral values, while the ego’s decision is based more on what others will think or what the consequences of an action could be.”  In this idea, we find God’s will for us within the values and morals the Bible teaches and to keep in check the Ego and Super Ego God introduced Humility. For I tell you my brothers and sisters humility cares not what others think, humility allows us to be calm in the face of hostility, humility allows us to exhibit restraint from the boastfulness of both the ego and superego.  I say this because your belief in something greater than man’s will is God’s will, for His thoughts are so far above ours which forces us to think deeply, to contemplate, to humble ourselves in the communion of the soul with our God as we connect in the struggle to understand and gain in His almighty wisdom.  God demands his followers to be thinkers, questioners, and a people who believe based on His words and messages.  God desires a people of wisdom and who exhibit self-control in all matters they may face.  For these qualities were shown in Jesus’s words and actions from start to finish. But the greatest example Jesus exhibited was the ability to put down sin and pickup righteousness,  to upstage evil and save the world.

Amen,

 If you enjoyed “Fanatics at Large!”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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Prayer for Herbert

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

The sickness that we endure, the day-to-day hardships of life, even the stubborn illnesses that refuse to go away which we face yearly are but nothing to our Lord who heals everything, mends everyone, uplifts every person, and through these trials we are given the evidence that God is with us no matter what?  Do not assume that God is not there my brothers and sister, do not make the mistake of thinking  that God has ignored our suffering, and do not make the mistake of thinking you are alone, because you are not alone, we are never alone for God is always there molding us; making us better versions of ourselves that resemble our God in Heaven.  Yes, there are moments in life where we wrestle with God, we wrestle with the bad things that happen to us, and often we blame God when really self-reflection is in order. When we suffer remember there is always a reason, one that we may not truly understand until God reveals the purpose to us. Many times the result is a person stronger in their faith, stronger in their will to survive, and more loving, kind, and forgiving towards others. Suffering changes us all, not just the one who is burdened with the extra hardship but also the family and so they too are strengthened, molded, made more loving, kind, forgiving, and filled with Gods grace. There is nothing better than strife to make us crave hope from our Lord. There is nothing better than hope to restore and redeem our souls within the agape love of God.

Calling Everyone to Pray

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So it is that I call everyone from everywhere to come together to pray for a man, a father, named Herbert Sutton. Beloved by his children, Herbert became ill and his illness grew into pneumonia which put him in Kaiser hospital this past Saturday, February 27, 2016.  Our brother Herbert also suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema which is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.  Many people who suffer from COPD become sick easier and often need extra oxygen. Some are anxious about traveling with oxygen tanks so they stay home instead of enjoying time away. But when our brother Herbert became sick and went to the hospital it was discovered that he also now has fluid on his lungs.  So it is with some urgency I come to you my brothers and sisters to pray for Herbert Sutton as his suffering literally takes immense effort for him to breathe in each life-giving breath.

Prayer for Herbert Sutton

Say these words as you pray for Herbert;

Dear Lord, God in heaven I know your loving grace is with us, for you see and hear our prayers for our brother Herbert Sutton. Oh’ Lord, God in Heaven I call upon you and your healing touch to take the pain away, to make each breath easier, to give hope and love to this man who has so much to live for namely his many children and grandchildren who love him as much as you love them. Dear Lord, I humbly ask you the master of all things, master of the living and the dead, savior of all who love you to show your grace upon Herbert who lay in pain and who is long suffering, and I humbly ask you to heal him allowing him to stand, walk, and talk so it may bring glory to you alone. Oh’ my God of mercy I pray to you, the only one who can grant salvation and who sent your only son to die on the cross only to be raised on the third day, to hold Herbert in your ever loving hands, to carry him for he is weak, and to redeem him filling his soul with your love calming him, giving him reassurance, and the will to live. Oh’ Lord, God in Heaven let it be so that our brother Herbert hears your voice as you say unto him,

“I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” ~ (Jn. 10:10)  As we all pray, “For

In response to the Lord – We all pray, “For the Lord is my shepherd; I shall want for nothing;
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” ~ (Ps. 23)

Amen

Dear Brothers & Sisters, please pray this prayer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so that our God will send his love to Herbert in abundance and allow Herbert to breathe effortlessly once more full of life.

 

Suffering Servant

12 “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” ~ Isaiah 53:12

The vision given to Isaiah was one of a suffering servant. It painted an image of a man willing to be counted as the rest of us sinners, who would bring healing and salvation through his suffering. It also was a portrait of the Spiritual Works of Mercy as our suffering servant would ultimately forgive his accusers, captors, and a murderer who begged for forgiveness as he also hung on the cross. Through Isaiah, many people got to know the future plans of God and they found comfort in what they heard. This was especially true within Jewish population who began looking to the day when their messiah would come with their hearts filled with hope.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a religious conference where I heard three men speak about our broken Criminal Justice System. I heard numerous stories of how this system breaks down and crushes the human soul, how it constantly eats away at the humanity of the inmate, how the value of a person is reduced to zero, and this condition is how millions of people who are behind bars live each day of their lives. I heard the statistics of those who are on death row, how they are made to wait for the grim reaper to visit them, and how much money we are willing to spend to impose this arcane system we call justice. Here are a few facts;

1.) 2,220,300 adults were incarcerated in US federal and state prisons, and county jails in 2013 – about 0.91% of adults (1 in 110) in the U.S. resident population. ~ US Bureau of Justice Statistics

2.) African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.  African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.  Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one-quarter of the US population ~ NAACP, Criminal Fact Sheet (2016)

3.) As of January 1, 2016, there were 2,943 death row inmates in the United States. ~ “Death Row U.S.A. Winter 2016” (PDF). NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. January 1, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2016.

4.) Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row. ~ Death Penalty Information Center

5.) California Spends Millions More on Capital Cases – California spends $90 Million dollars annually above and beyond the ordinary costs of the justice system in capital cases. $78 million of that total is incurred at the trial level (Sacramento Bee, March 18, 1988). In January 2003, despite a budget deficit, California Governor Gray Davis proposed building a new $220 million state of the art death row. ~ (“San Quentin Debate: Death Row vs. Bay Views, New York Times, December 18, 2004).

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What We Are Spiritually Called to Do! 

12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” ~ Matthew 6:12

We are called to enter into the wideness of our mercy on a daily basis! We are called to treat each other with: “love, kindness, and respect, because every person needs to be heard, to be loved, and to be respected”. (God’s Desire for Man, Reflection 1, April 18, 2009)   On this point, I would like to say that in truth none of us are better or worse than the most murderous criminal because first we are all sinners, and second because “there are no monsters there are only people with illnesses who are called to carry more burden than the rest of us.” ~  Fr. Gregory Boyle, (2016).  If you enter into the wideness of your mercy then you can begin to see people as God sees them. We are sinful and so His divine mercy was to wipe away our sin through the death of His only son.  Jesus is the Messiah of forgiveness and mercy, for He knows your pain because he went through it Himself.  Therefore, if Jesus could call on God’s divine mercy to forgive sin and to forgive offenses then so can we. Our God is a God of inclusion, God takes inclusion seriously – acceptances and non-violence seriously!” ~ Boyle, (2016).  Thus, if God can include everyone then so can we!  For “God looks past our faults and sees our needs.” ~ Chubs, (2016).  Again, if God can look past our faults then so can we do the same for each other!  The true message behind the Spiritual Work of Mercy; “Forgive Offenses” is found in daily prayer for those who have hurt you in some way, to pray for the grace to forgive them in your heart, and if you find it exceedingly difficult to forgive then call upon God’s divine mercy to help you enter into the wideness of your mercy. Letting go of grudges, finding commonalities, always remaining in your heart and in your actions with the love and kindness of our savior, and remembering that we are all sinners, especially if your kindness is not returned.  

One shining example of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, ‘Forgive Offenses’,  is a man who was the first speaker at the conference I had attended yesterday in Anaheim California, Aqeela Sherrills who has dedicated his life to campaigning against gang violence and the death penalty.  He currently lives in Watts, Los Angeles.  In 1992, Sherrills brokered a peace agreement between the Bloods and the Crips and his “current focus is on what he terms the ‘Reverence Movement,’ a peace process that allows people to see the sacredness in one another.” ~ The Shift Network, (2016).   The reason why I was so moved by his personal story was because he told the history of how he brokered this amazing deal of peace between the Crips and the Bloods in order to save thousands of young lives both in the gangs themselves but also innocent by standards within the community. Then he told the gripping events of the death of his oldest son Terrell who had his whole life ahead of him after just graduating Verbum Dei High School, (a High School the majority of my male students attend after graduating the 8th grade), so there was an immediate connection.  Then Mr. Sherrills accounted the stunning events that lead to his son’s death. “See he went to a party and was shot to death!”  Many people at the party witnessed Terrell die became angry because to see this  is traumatizing. But after the trauma, many began calling for revenge. But what happened next is what truly caught my attention, see I was expecting the pain and grief to be all Mr. Sherrills could see, I would have expected Mr. Sherrills to want some sort of revenge. But instead, when Mr. Sherrills heard what was going on in his community on behalf of his son he drove over to the place this was going on and got out of the car and said, “This is not what my son’s legacy will be about! If you go by street justice which is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, then it will leave us all blind and toothless!” ~ Sherrills (2016). So here is a man of great compassion and mercy, because the next thing he said was just astounding for what we wanted was to meet the 17 year old shooter find out about his life, talk with his parents, find out if there was some sort of relationship between them be it bad or good, and then help heal this boy through forgiveness, through counseling, and spiritual guidance. He would do that because the murder was also a victim of the culture and of our society. In retrospect, Mr. Sherrills not just demonstrated the Spiritual Work of Mercy but he also was following in the footstep of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.   It is role models like this which are leading a campaign to end the suffering of millions who are both victims but who are also incarcerated on death row. 

My final point is this if Jesus could forgive a murderer then so can we.  If Mr. Sherrills can forgive his son’s killer then so can we.   If we all make it a point to change the way we perceive justice and throw away this double standard that says’s, “spiritually we believe every person has the right to life on one hand, then on the other hand freely say the government has the right to kill.”   How does that even work?  If you believe in the Right to Life, then killing a human being for any reason should be against your moral code!  But yet many people past and present would go to church and say one thing and then stand in the courtroom proclaiming the exact opposite.   There should be no special cases, there should be no exceptions, there should be no selling out when it comes to your Christian obligations and moral code, and when defending these principles you, in fact, are standing up for Christ himself who has already stood up for you through his death on the cross.

Please sign the petition that will abolish the Death Penalty in California. ~ Click Here

Also please visit National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for scheduled executions and please pray for them. ~ Click Here

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Amen,

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2016 Wishes

NEW YEAR – NEW CHANCES – NEW CHANGE

30 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:30 – 31

 The calendar is the method we use to measure linear time.  We structure our lives around time, around dates, around events, and around lives anchored to the material things that will pass away in the end when everything is said and done.  People from all places cling to material possessions for the unwritten rule is the more you have the better you are, thus the more power you acquire. Money is very much an example of how we as people cling to materialism as it takes time and effort to acquire. The instant reward for acquiring this wealth, (i.e. things),  is that there will be more doors called opportunities, (generally entrenched the individual into a specific lifestyle based on money), therefore the more money it takes to keep the doors open. In this lifestyle the harder a person has to work to make everything flow as everything which is devised from man will. Though there are many more examples of this the way we approach life as mortals is very much linked to our beliefs and priorities. If money is a persons priority then all their efforts will be to acquire wealth and in that frame of mind nothing else will be as important. That single decision will dominate that persons thoughts in both their professional efforts at others expense and their social life for it will be anchored in spending time with people who have wealth in order to make those connection to enhance their professional life.  Their friends become business opportunities and their time spend will only be based on the surface, nothing deeper can grow in this environment. Sadly, the people of lesser means that God sends into life of the aspiring rich person will be deflected away because of their perceived status and the important lessons God is trying to teach is lost. Eventually a crisis will accrue and the hunger for a deeper relationship will become the center piece of that crisis because we are designed to function as social beings, we are hot-wired to build deeper relationships with other people absent of status, absent of what other people can do for you, for our lives must have meaning, and this is achieved through the hope that others first accept the person you are in this world. Within this hunger of a meaningful relationship we all strive to be heard, respected, liked, and understood this translates into the feeling of being loved which impacts our hearts and influences future behavior in a very deep meaningful way. The fix for the aspiring rich person does not come easy as their dedicated linear time is spending building the things of this world, rather the only fix is found in the love we are given from God. Whether people want to accept this truth or not the matter-of-fact is that all people are born with God being present within them; the key is to accept His divine presence in their earthly lives. Therefore, Isaiah states very clearly that those of us who live a life based on earthly pursuits grow weary, but those of us who place hope in the risen Lord find strength and renewal in Him alone and thus soar like eagles in all areas of our lives. The driving force in this scripture is that we are given many opportunities for change and in the effort for making positive changes in our lives is the reality of having a rewarding relationship with our God in Heaven.

NEW YEAR

8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” ~ Philippians 3:8-9.

Within the theme of a New Year and making “New Years Resolutions”, the more meaningful the resolution and the more we place God within the core of the change we want to make the better chance it will be that the change will be lasting. For God demands us to make changes with every revelation He gives to us. In this way become more like God, for our actions will then reflect God within our lives and we can be found in Him, Our Lord and Savior. So when it comes to a new change the mindset must fit the transformation God wants to make within us. To say, “I want to lose weight.”,  misses the mark unless you make the adjustment by adding, “I want to live healthier in both my life and in my spirit.” This adjustment anchors your change and reflects a new mindset in your faith and thus activates the power of God within you and instead of one flawed person trying to do something different there is the creator of the universe giving them the strength to make the change permanent.

NEW CHANCES

2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4

Each trial and tribulation in our lives is also a way God gives us new chances to believe in Him. Each test we are given a new chance to prove ourselves and to be as God is trying to mould us. There is in my book not one chance with God, not two, not three chances, rather our Lord and Savior is a God of many chances. God walked among us, he felt the same temptations as we feel, and so his sympathy is without limit and his forgiveness is always available for the asking. Therefore, we should not look at the new year as a second chance to do something, rather every day is a new chance, every second we live is a new chance to make an effective change in our life for the positive.

NEW CHANGE

2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:2

Contemplation helps to bring the truth to our hearts, it is the door to discovering our true self, it is the tool God wishes us to utilize before acting and to always be asking for guidance within the divine will of God. If there is one change most people need desperately to make in their lives it would be to contemplate, to make time to think of their spiritual concerns, and to align themselves with the effective change God is calling us to make. Again, every change is directly linked to living a life free from the worlds trappings and instead living our lives for God. The next change that will drive all future positive change is the acceptance of God within us so we can be found within God and truly build that relationship He is yearning to have with you. If there is any New Years Resolution I would ask for for all of you it would be for all of you to become closer with our one true living God. Happy New Year 2016!

Amen,

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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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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Special Spanish Treat

18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ The Puritan’s Mind

From the start Thanksgiving has deeply rooted the American Christian Tradition and the need to bring the family together. This was especially true when the Native American Indians and the First Settlers came together to celebrate their joint efforts in a successful harvest way back on June 20, 1676. Yet, it never occurred to me when I was growing up that there was different ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, let alone different foods people ate in different places around America.  But this was brought to my attention when I first came here to California back in July 1991 where I was to met people from different places especially from the Hispanic Culture. Though the American born Hispanics largely celebrate Thanksgiving as the rest of Americans those who come from Mexico celebrate in giving thanks for a completely different reason that is largely related to many of the same reasons as that of the first Americans; that being to bring the family together and to create community; though it is called Thanksgiving an American Holiday mainly for the kids. So like every feast of celebration the Hispanic Community eat foods on Thanksgiving like – Tamales, Pozole which is like a Stew, a fruit salad with Beetroot juice soaked with Apples, Beetroot, Jicama, Orange slices and whatever other fruit you want to add in. Pollo enchilado, carne asada, menudo and is another Mexican Dish that Hispanic people would want to eat for Thanksgiving among many more. It doesn’t have to be these specific types of dishes, it could be other dishes too like tacos, Mole de Olla, or Mole. Other side dishes like dessert would include Flan, yogurt, and fruit salad or like any other dinner it could include other American desserts like pie, corn or Jello. Normally, the drinks would be wine, soda, juice, champurrado, ponche, tequila, and beer.

 

 

 

Church on Thanksgiving 

8 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8

The Hispanic culture at large is very devoted to their faith and can been seen going to Church on Thanksgiving Day. It their Mexican American children who are largely absent if given a choice. There are many families who have developed a Thanksgiving – Church Going tradition and to those families the Mexican Americans generally attend church in a variety of special hours, starting at 7:00am – 9:00am – 12:00 noon – 5:00pm – 10:00pm and then some have 11:00 – 12:00 midnight. These masses are setup to create the feeling of community and to give thanks, to have that togetherness within both the biological family as well as in the extended families. The idea is to give thanks for everything for what they have and do not yet have. In fact in the earliest mass church goers within some of the churches in the inner city of Los Angeles especially in the lower economic areas actually set up a feast for the entire community; all are welcome, from any denomination. However, I have to say that food is very important to the Hispanic culture so much so it is used to create the “Spirit of Thanksgiving” not just on Thanksgiving but in all celebrations they hold dear year round! As a teacher running the Summer Technology Team the last day is set aside to celebrate the students accomplishments and the parents would bring food of every kind quit literally it was a feast every year! I can not say this about other cultures of America, and I often reflect on this with a smile because wasn’t the Pilgrims and Native Americans who are accredited with the having the first Thanksgiving for many of the same reasons the Hispanic community celebrates it? The giving of thanks for a successful harvest, the giving of love within a community setting, to bring two cultures together that worked together to survive, the giving of thanks for things they did not yet have and of all the wonderful things they were given from above. In reality food is the constant that binds us together and it is this commonality that is truly being celebrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amen,

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 Special Note

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As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team Click Here for more details and to show your support.

The Will of God!

The Great Surrender

5 ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

The will of God is not a mystery as some would have you believe.  God is not far away on vacation, nor is His blind eye turned to us.  Rather the very opposite! God is with us, He is all around us, He is in your heart and from time to time God makes His will known whether we want to hear it or not.  The Bible is filled with dysfunctional people who God has saved but their walk to salvation did not truly start until they handed all their troubles and surrendered it to God.  I call this, “The Great Surrender”, because in every facet of your life God is present and has a plan for you that if you listen close enough you can hear Him guiding you step by step.  It’s not an easy thing to give over all facets of your life to God, it’s not a simple thing to trust in what we cannot see, in fact for most people this great surrendering is like hitting the bottom rung on the latter of life, you have only one way to go and that is up.  In this desperation people often times experience a panic, a depression, and go through a crisis that marks their journey and often times results in a complete self confession where everything is revealed, where all that we thought we knew and believed was wrong.  This confession generally follows a release and an out pouring of emotion that allows God to show you things you would otherwise not able to see.  I know this because I went through this exact surrendering process.  My “Great Surrender”, came in a time when I was emotionally led astray by the one person whom I had given everything up for and that was my ex-wife.  It came to me the realization that I had put all my hopes and dreams into a person who didn’t or could not return this out pour of love and in the process I had inadvertently alienated myself from those in my life who loved me the most.  I did so because I want to make my marriage work and I wanted to be a father to my only child who I loved with all my heart and soul; and who I still do.  I knew if I did not move away from my parents and family I would never see my daughter and she would never know who I was.  In that moment I opened my heart and cried out to God, I begged for relief or a reprieve something to end this pain and suffering that I felt in my heart and that is when I heard God speak to me.  The most interesting thing is that it wasn’t like I had never prayed before, nor was it that I had never heard God before, but this time I heard His voice so loudly that it shook me to my core and in that experience I instantly saw my error, my failings, misconceptions, and what shook me the most is how wrong I was in everything I had done for my sins sat in the seat next to me in the truck as I drove all I owned from Missouri to California in the summer of 1995.

Walking With God

17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

To walk with God is the most honest walk you will ever have for as long as you live.  From the moment you accept God into your life you begin the process that will lead you to, “The Great Surrender”.  Each step is like a small act of trust you hand over to God and each time a hardship happens your heart is moved closer to the solution.  As your conversation with God increases your mind and belief system is changed to see what before was invisible and a world of possibilities comes into view.  God’s will slowly becomes your only real concern as your life is transformed.  It is this which I call, “Becoming New”, as the actions you would have taken before are made straight and are different from the actions you take now.  God is the constant which moves your heart as life experiences leave questions that bring you back to God time after time. Becoming new in Christ is a belief which is the absolute power a person can actually see grow incrementally over time.  In my own life experience I have seen many years where Satan challenged my ever decision and God was always standing right beside me helping me, guiding me, and consoling me. There were many years I was left alone with my own thoughts and time after time God was talking to me through my pain and heartache the world seemed to always lay at my front door step.  When I say this, it sounds crazy, but God has never let me down and He is the only constant in my life. Though I am not perfect I have the confidence to know that God is there helping me through the troubled times I face constantly molding me into a better version of me!  God wants to do this for every human being on earth both past and present. For He is the only constant in the universe.

Amen

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____________________________________________________

 Special Note

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 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team Click Here for more details and to show your support.

SERVICE

20“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’” ~ Deuteronomy 20:1-4

The other day the choir came into my room to practice their songs for church and one song  I had forgotten as I have not heard it for a very long time. It goes something like this:

 I sat in my chair in the computer lab at my school and smiled from ear to ear.  As a veteran myself I think it is an awesome song. I also think it ties in great with our faith because let’s face it, if you serve you have to believe that  you will survive your service.  For me it was about family, it was about having a family, I had an idea of kids, a wife, and a house with a white-picket fence. I thought my children would be waiting for me at the front door when I came home from my service. For many of the men and women who service this is a reality, and it is a beautiful one. But to also have God in your heart and to feel secure within your service then you really have something there. So to all the veterans I wish you well and hope all your dreams come true, I shall pray that God blesses you daily for all that you do for this great and wonderful country.

For all my Listening Faithfully Followers please click on the link below and submit your wishes to all our veterans. MY PERSONAL FACEBOOK

GO NAVY! 

Amen,

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 Special Note

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 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team Click Here for more details and to show your support.

Relationship Truths

16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” ~ John 15:16.

Relationships are tricky and in some regard takes a lot of hard work to maintain. In light of this it is always amazes me to how awesome God is and how hard he works to maintain a relationship with His people. The greatest of these efforts on behalf of God was the act of sending His only son to our sinful and selfish world with only one goal in mind, that of salvation out of grace.  The love of God is so enormous so astonishingly perfect that His desire has always been to pull us closer to Him, protect us from evil with His most beautiful love and His most forgiving nature that always extends to us His most-perfect grace.  I know in many of my past posts I have written about how much God loves us, how awesome His grace is, and as many times as I write it I still find it hard to imagine how this – God’s perfect love – could ever truly be real, but I know it is. I know because God chose us and despite our sinful nature He continues to be present in our everyday lives. 

4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Each relationship we have should be modeled after the relationship God wants to have with us. Every relationship no matter the type will have four main elements in common that if explored will enrich our own lives and help bring us closer to God the Father. The first of these four elements is obvious, for it is love. For in everything we do there must be traces of love in it. The best place to begin looking for traces in our love is by examining how we fight with each other, how we argue with each other, how we disagree with each other. For it is easy in those moments of great heated emotion to say things that would completely damage the person to whom we are fighting with. It is all to easy to bring up painful events or to never let a topic go, even to be judgmental for the sole purpose of winning the argument. I have seen in some people how they plot and plan to create events that they can later use against the person to whom they are constantly fighting against and in that example those who would plot to bring another person down and to purposefully destroy the relationship certainly does not know that their own fruit has already fallen and is rotten to the core where it lays. For in every argument, disagreement, fight, we need to show our love for God by being graceful and kind, by showing restraint, by being purposeful with each word, by using our body language to show inclusion and not rejection.  For who are we to reject another person or to point out their sins when we have plenty enough sins of our own to contend with. For I tell you now my brothers and sisters that God is the final judge, His is the final word, His will is the final objective.  So, instead of dealing with our anger as children, let us be mature and deal with each other out of love by demonstrating restraint with our words and actions and in this manner we demonstrate love for others and for God.  Another excellent place to examine our own love for others is in what we do for others without them asking for it. I call this random acts of kindness, and in this we should always practice giving to others things they would not expect or think they would receive from you.  It doesn’t have to be big or be purchased from a store, rather it could be something as simple as a smile, a hug, a handshake, saying hello, asking the other person if they need help with something, or it could be listening to them when they need you to just listen. In fact the name of this blog is Listening Faithfully because I make it my practice to take time out for God to just listen to His voice, read His words, tune into His will. In practicing this it’s not to hard then to do the same for others whom you claim you love. For love in it’s purest form listens, it is kind, it builds, it is forgiving, and it is the most powerful emotion we experience in this life and in the life after this one for it is of God for God is love. 

“This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” ~ Matthew 6:9-13 

The second element comes with love for if you love and know God’s perfect love then you will naturally desire forgiveness and will naturally forgive others.  In this desire words like suspicion, motives, and mistrust falls away to a child-like love, unselfish, and pure.  Your forgiveness will grow to include all wrongs done against you no matter how painful no matter the person or people who were involved.  True forgiveness comes from the heart, it comes from the deep desire to not harp, but rather move past the harmful or hurtful event. In this we must surely focus our attentions on the idea that when we forgive it is more for ourselves, rather than the wellbeing of others.  In addition to this point I must forewarn you my brothers and sisters that not everyone will ask or want your forgiveness. Again in those moments it is better to purify your heart, do not take stock in the unwillingness of others rather the purity found in the act of forgiving and knowing that God will help you to reach this point.  Those who are locked into the cycle of not forgiving and or not accepting or wanting others to forgive them generally have a hardened heart and thus, they are not rather cannot be open to this most gracious act you would bestow, and thus once again they are blind to the idea that their fruit has fallen and is rotten to the core upon the ground where it landed. Let this not be your fruit, for God wants all fruits to be good and lasting.  

15 “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” ~1 Peter 2:15-17  

Relationships cannot be forged if respect is not present, nor can there be a real relationship if fake respect is given. In this there was a fraud of the heart and in that you have not only defrauded yourself, the other person, but also God, the one who made you. Therefore, in all your relationships treat them with the respect you would like to receive and rejoice in the grace which follows. For it is God’s will for every man, women, and child ought to revere the works of the Lord, to respect every human being without prejudice, and to celebrate the whole of natures bounties as one work, and accepting all these things as the singular work of God; thus, in the denial of these truths is the same as renouncing God Himself. Again, to show respect is also demonstrating love, it is demonstrating forgiveness,  it is demonstrating the Godly lifestyle we all are called to by Our Lord Jesus.  Remember that God though is merciful he is also the one whom we are always answerable too, in this respect God first, yourself second, and mankind third, but the division between them is so slight not even the finest hair can be pushed in between.  This is where the work becomes harder because there will be times when your respect for a person will begin to erode because of things they may have done in the past. In these moments love takes over, your forgiveness becomes anointed, and then your respect renewed, but it takes time and it takes the love you gain from knowing God first.

37 “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” ~Matthew 22:37-38

Commitment is God’s legacy, one that he graciously gave to all of us, a promise that he has kept from the word words spoken that created Adam to the last word which will wipe away humanity within the rapture.  For if nothing else God is committed to saving every last person that he can and His message has always been a faith message of salvation. So too should our words in our relationships resemble the words of God in that they are never-changing and reflect true commitment in every thing we do. Words made into action is the strongest testimony others could ever give on our behalf once we have passed away. Those words we all should aspire to be words of love, fond remembrance, and of true commitment. For in all relationships if you are committed to them will build you up, make you stronger, and will be blest by God. It is through this commitment in others will love be able to take root, when we make mistakes our loved ones will forgive us, and when we are renewed find a higher level of respect. Commitment is the one element most people seek and few of us every really find because it take work to maintain. Hence coming full circle we find the root of Gods commitment with us. Again there is no greater advocate, no greater protector, no greater savior, no greater love, and no greater devotion than that which we receive from God. In that fact if we make others feel this way in our relationships then surely goodness will follow you all the days of your life.

Amen,

If you enjoyed “Relationships pt. 3 – Relationship Modeled After Christ”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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Email: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com

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____________________________________________________

 Special Note

_______________________________

 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team Click Here for more details and to show your support.

ALL SAINTS DAY – THE HISTORY

TO THE SAINTS KNOWN AND NOT KNOWN

9 “What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

According to the Roman Catholic Church, we are all saints, like we are all teachers. However, there are some who have demonstrated a special ability to impact others in such a way that it leads to the conversion of many.  So it is these people who we uphold and celebrate their life lived for our Christ Jesus,  a life lived unselfishly, and perhaps a life lived with purpose and grace which shines like a beacon throughout the world in every culture, country, race, and creed; for there is a Saint for every one of us. So the question I think which is most important for those who are not Catholic or Orthodox; “How can we, people of many beliefs, and many religions connect our faith to Saints?”

To start with if truth be told, Saints are ordinary people who lived and died and were venerated long before the Catholic Church was formed, and the tradition of veneration was one that came about because of the Roman persecution of the Christians. Those who died at the hands of the Romans were called Martyrs with which after their death were celebrated as being Holy, One with Christ because they died for Christ. As written in the The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) to answer the question, “When did the custom of canonizing saints start, and is it true that canonizations are infallible?”, this being a question that many Catholics were asking at the time, and was answered by two unnamed experts who wrote, “The faithful of the primitive Church believed that martyrs were perfect Christians and saints since they had shown the supreme proof of love by giving their lives for Christ; by their sufferings, they had attained eternal life and were indefensibly united to Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body.”  Therefore, to celebrate the life a person who died for Christ is in a way celebrating the life of Jesus because Christ Himself died for us. On the other hand I have heard it said that it is wrong to venerate a person who was sinful in their life and who “Yes”, was a believer, and “Yes”, was a Christian who did wonderful things for others, and who was loving, caring, merciful, and gracious during their life, but “Yes”, was a sinner none the less. To this charge I must advocate the following after much contemplation, that we are all sinners, we are all in need of God’s divine mercy and forgiveness. But the idea that a person can be so stead fast in their love and faith for Christ, exhibiting the same love Christ showed for us, then “Yes”, they indeed should be remembered and their name written down for all time. The example we celebrate has to do with the exhibition of love and faith in Christ, and less to do with the sins that is common among all of us because Christ forgives us our sins, because Christ died to cleans us of our sins. In this way we are all connected to those who are officially and unofficially canonized as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, by the Pope. Because if we look past the religion, the man made traditions, and look at the humanity within the celebration of a life lived for Christ, then in this special and most basic way are we all connected in the celebration. In this way we are all sitting at the same table in observance of a feast for Christ.

Mary – Mother of Jesus a Saint?

26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” ~ Luke 1:26-28

In the history of Saints there are many who died and martyred on behalf of their faith and belief in the sanctity of Christ. However, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that Mary – Mother of Jesus is the first Saint. To many who are not Catholic the veneration of Mary is troubling because many religions acknowledge that though Mary was Holy, being chosen by God to give birth to Jesus, she served her purpose and after the events of the Nativity became a mother and a wife rearing other children of Joseph’s and in a large degree lived an ordinary life doing nothing more than the rest of us. So when the Catholics hold the May Crowning, a veneration of the Holy, Blessed Mary, and call her the Queen of Angels this upsets people from other religions who do not see or celebrate what the Catholics do on behalf of Mary. I know all this because I was one of them. However, it is my policy to be open-minded and to study the facts and try to see the viewpoint of other people as they see them. I urge this of everyone, especially those who follow Listening Faithfully.

So as written by J.C. Tierney and modified by Michael Duricy, on behalf of the The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio, who declared, “Following Christ means doing as he does, and as much as possible being as he is. Early Christians believed that martyrs were perfect followers of Christ and saints because they had shown the supreme proof of love by giving their lives for Christ. Later on this was extended to people who defended the faith and excelled in Christian faith (doctrine, charity, virtue, austere life, etc.). In all of this the likeness, proximity, intimacy with and the following of Christ remains of paramount importance. Here is the real reason why Mary is a Saint.  Mary has been the first and faithful disciple of her son as his mother, educator, follower to the foot of the cross, and steward of his legacy and mission among the first Christians. Mary’s cooperation for the sake of the world at the side of her son continues even now and until the end of times. All of this was and is possible because of God’s special love and help, promised to her by the angel at the Annunciation and reiterated by Elizabeth during Mary’s visit. To be blessed or full of grace means to have the Spirit of God, which is also the Spirit of Christ. We all receive this Spirit that Mary had received in a special way. It helps us to make our lives ever more like that of Christ, in other words, to become Saints. It is in this sense that the Church recognizes in Mary the greatest of all Saints.” (2008)  Therefore, it is these things which enabled Jesus to be born, lived and was able to die on our behalf, thus if it was not for Mary, His mother we would not be saved. Again by celebrating these facts in a sense do we also celebrate all mothers who give life to the world by being present in their child’s life, teaching them, loving them, and by raising them up in the ammunition of the Lord. In this model we see the humanity, we see the non-religious reasons why we love, if it was not for God who first loved us, allowing us to receive the Holy Spirit we would not be able to celebrate Mary our mother through Christ, which is an idea we all can rally around regardless of religious affiliation.

How Should We Revere a Saint?

43 “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”  ~ Luke 23:43

The argument many non-Catholics have against the Saints as the Catholic tradition celebrates them is for many non-Catholics a stretch. Why? The best answer for this question comes from the website, Got Questions.org, Where the question, How does the Roman Catholic understanding of “saints” compare with the biblical teaching?  Answer: “Not very well. In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshipped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone.”  These statements, in general make the common man/women argument against Saints in general. Still another argument which is also popular among non-catholics goes something like this, “Who gave the right to the Catholic Church to make Saints?” Again, these issues come form a lack of understanding about the subject matter in general and the lack of knowledge of Christian history. In addition, before the Roman Catholic Church was created by the Roman Emperor Constantine who also established himself as the head of the church in 313 A.D by issuing the Edict of Milan that decriminalized Christian worship, and which made this new “Christianity” the official religion of the Roman Empire. Secondly, in AD 325. This first ecumenical council was held to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. The major outcomes of the First Council of Nicaea was to settle two issues of the early church, that being first the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father and then second the construction of the first part of the Creed of Nicaea which established the uniform observance of the date of Easter and the creation of early canon law.

The New Definition

27 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” ~ Romans 8:27-29

In short, the Romans created the Catholic Church as we know it today. However, more importantly the root of all Christendom does not being in 313 – 325 with Constantine, rather it begins with the acceptance of  Mary to be the Mother of Christ Jesus as written in Luke 1:26-38, it begins with the our Lords birth into this world of sin, and His message that was delivered to the world through His ministry which lasted three years and is validated through His death and resurrection and ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. To believe in the life of Jesus, in his message to mankind, to understand the significance of the work of which He accomplished here on earth is the foundations of which every human being is too aspire and is the true justification of how we should revere people who bring others to God. In this every one of us is a Saint, every one of us receives the same message from God through the Holy Spirit, and this message spans beyond any time frame of man. So, we as Christians with this new definition can look at any religion and see past the man-made laws and traditions to reveal the Godly message to which we aspire too exhibiting them in our own lives. “Yes”, Saints are here on earth, for this is the proving grounds, and “Yes”, Saints are in heaven because this is the promise of Jesus as he died on the cross as written in Luke 23:43, and “Yes”, Saints are also sinners because they are human beings just like everyone else born here on earth with the important exception of Jesus the Son of God. To say someone is a Saint – to revere them – to honor them – to celebrate their actions as mortals is just and is right. But, to set aside legal means to declare someone a saint isn’t necessarily a biblical edict but it does satisfy mans need to assign categories over his surroundings that which gives him power and sets his mind at ease. In this regard we should dismiss legality and celebrate the attempt our earthly Saints have made, the sacrifices they were willing to endure, and the message they send as it connects all of us to our creator. This is how we should properly revere Saints, and so in doing this observance of All Saints Day we are truly celebrating the known and the unknown men and women who gave their life for Christ as he gave his life for us so that we could have the hope of salvation. One does not need to be a martyr, or hear special messages from God, or be a Catholic, but rather believe in God, believe in Jesus, believe that Our Holy Father works His divine will through us and for us and in that even Gandhi – a man who lead the peaceful Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, Pope Francis – a man who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and devout Catholic and who was named the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and the first Pope from the Americas, and even the 14th Dalai Lama – a man who is the longest-lived head monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and who’s message is of peace, and finally even Mother Mary – a women, ( a Jew), who was given the choice to be the mother of God and in doing so became the mother of the world; thus all can be called Saints for Saints are universal. For there is room for everyone from every  walk of life in the eyes of God to be saintly and to be revered as a Saint.

Amen,

If you enjoyed “Special Reflection – All Saints Day ”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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____________________________________________________

 Special Note

_______________________________

 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team Click Here for more details and to show your support.

The Walk We Take

33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33

In last weeks post,  “Relationship – Where We Begin”, I attempt to illustrate how the foundations are poured that will affect us for the rest of our “religious life” and in our “earthly relationships”.  If at a young age we teach to our children by example the best kind of relationships our children will then begin to make the connection of how real relationships work and relate these examples to our Holy Father in Heaven.  In this parents, schools, and churches is where our children’s lives are most impacted from the time they are born to the time they are about 18. Their personal walk with God by this point has been laid-out for them, but after age 18 their walk becomes their own. So, it is a test of our teachings and our abilities to mold our children correctly that begin to either bear fruit or not by this pivotal age.  The walk we take is either a good one or a bad one, it is largely determined by the foundations we received as children, but it also is greatly impacted by the company we choose to keep. Good people who honor each other can be spoiled by one bad persons lack of morality because we are all not walking at the same degree of committment to God. Therefore, some of us tetter while others walk tall. That is why in our most weak of convictions we need to seek out the Christian Community that best builds us up. Children who are not exposed to this vulnerability often tend to walk away from the church and from God with the intent to experience the world on their own, in the way they choose, and in this mind-set they often are lead astray and are overcome by the world. For without a strong conviction in God they are open to the experiences that corrupt good character. According to Drew Dyck a staff writer from Christianity  Today who wrote an article called, “The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church”, that stated, “There has been a corresponding drop in church involvement. According to Rainer Research, approximately 70 percent of American youth drop out of church between the age of 18 and 22. The Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be “disengaged” by the time they are 29.” ~ Dyck (Nov. 2010)

The Right Relationships

20 “Walk with the wise and become wise,  for a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~ Proverbs 13:20

A priest came to my school when I was new into the Catholic Schools as a teacher with this perplexing problem; “How can we keep more people in the church?”  The teachers in the room suggested stuff like cater better to the community by holding different masses in the languages of the community. One suggested that our parents need to be Catholic from the start i.e. all our children would then be Catholic and the numbers would be better for retention. Still another teacher who did not like any of the suggests said, “The Church needs to be more accepting to people from other denominations and other faiths.” I sat back and thought, (as a Baptist), ‘that God does not discriminate so why should there be any discrimination among His many churches?’ This idea became something that bothered me for many years after that first conversation with that priest. I after changing my views many times, debating this question with many different people from many different Christian upbringings have sorta settled upon this on core idea. It’s not about retention as much as it is about our morality, what we do, think, feel, when we are alone in our personal lives. It is about our beliefs in both humanity and in the eternal forces which guide or shape our lives from cradle to the grave.  It is about the accepted statuesque that is constantly shifting and changing. For religion to grow man must have-buy in, but for there to be belief in God, we must first know God, view His never-changing word and actions. We must understand that the right model for man is the model God has already demonstrated over two-thousand years ago. If we teach what we believe and do it daily and it is based in the word of God then our children when they ask the proverbial, “WHY” then our answers will be aligned with Gods answers to those questions that others had asked in biblical times. Because the word of God is never-changing the answer will be the same for our children’s children and so on as it was intended by God. The gift we then give to our children is an ever lasting relationship with our creator without blemish, stain, or misconceptions. The relationship with God allows all of our other earthly relationships to grow, and thus our wisdom grows with others who are like-minded and the fools of the world will be left to toil alone and condemned alone.  Therefore, our walk with God would begin at birth and remain with God throughout our entire lives.

Amen

If you enjoyed “Relationships – Where We Stray”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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Email: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com

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____________________________________________________

 Special Note

_______________________________

 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

Support the Boy’s & Girl’s Tech Team

 Click Here for more details and to show your support.

The Beginning of Any Relationship

18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~1 John 4:18

Take a deep look into your heart, think about all the relationships you have ever been in. What was your first relationship? Was it with your parents, grandparents, were you adopted, did you have any brothers or sisters whom you became very attached too as a child? Did you have a favorite teacher who you wished would be your teacher for life? Who was that person that you could say that what you had was real? I ask this because the answer for me was God. Yes I loved my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, and I will never forget my 3rd grade teacher Miss Rice who broke not just my heart but all the boys in the class when she got married. I fondly remember we all got together and refused to call her by her married name. My point is that all the relationships I had in my life as a young boy was not real. What do I mean by that? I mean the relationships where not forever relationships. Remember what Jesus said about things of this earth: everything shall wither and die, everything on earth shall pass away, nothing here is forever and that includes your relationships.

19 “We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” ~ 1 John 4:19-20

Relationships start with love, every relationship in our lives always begins with fearless, open, non-judgmental love. Think about the new born babies and how they lay in anyone’s arms. Think about how their heart is absolutely pure, this is the closest we will ever come to experiencing  perfect pure love. They only cry for two reasons, when they are hungry and when they are in need of a proper changing. But God in his infinite wisdom also hot wired us to crave love, so babies tend to grow and be healthier when they are touched, held, and when they have two parents that supply this love. “Sarah Tufano, a nationally certified massage therapist, certified educator of infant massage and owner of Massage Therapy of Boston in Boston, Massachusetts, notes that infant and preemie touch and massage are “a powerful means of teaching children, from day one, that they are loved and deserving of love.” ~ Budzienski, Jaime (The Effect of Touch With Preemies: The power of touch helps preemies to thrive). We love because God first loved us, our spirit comes from God, therefore our first relationship is with God.

21 “And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” ~ 1 John 4:21

As a professional educator in an urban inner city school I see on a daily bases children who are not and have never been told they are loved. Ruffly  20% of the children in my school crave hugs,  and when I give them these hugs they hold on for dear life. I am blessed to work in a Catholic School because I can tell them all that I love them and that I want only the best for them. In many instances these children focus better, work harder, try to excel once they know I am there for them. In my humble opinion that is what is wrong with our schools and our society at large. Our children are not being given the attention they need to grow and be successful. Parents instead give them electronics and call this love, they sent them on their way to play and entertain themselves and in the end because our children crave love they grow up not understanding what love is nor what a real relationship should be. A good example of this is when my older students say to me when I assign homework, “What do I get for doing this work?” Because some of the older kids have younger brothers and sisters this mentality  rubs off on them. Some of my younger students say to their teachers, “What do I get for cleaning my mess? Are we going to get a prize?” Because they are not taught about love they also do not have respect: respect for themselves, nor others, because again their parents and our society has accepted this norm and we as a nation cannot fall in love with God let alone with each other. We see in our early lives that love equals fear, fear of being punished for something our children will never understand nor will be taught if it first does not come form their parents, the educational system, and from our churches. This is the beginning we have as children when it comes to relationships and love in the 21st century. How can we possibly love one another if we don’t begin practicing with our families, with our parents, and with God.

Today’s Challenge: Parents – write a letter to your children telling them that you love them. Children – write a letter to both of parents telling them how much you love them and are grateful for all the things they do for you. Everyone – write a letter to God telling him how much you love Him and need Him in your life. Ask Him for His divine mercy and everlasting love.

Amen

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 Special Note

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 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

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Feeding the Multitude

Matthew 14:11-20

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. ~ Matthew 14:13-14.

THE CROWD

God see’s what we need. He see’s not just the physical but also the spiritual needs of every human being. In this God cares for use through grace, and it is this grace we call compassion do we the human race find true healing. The crowd followed Jesus not out of curiosity, but through the hunger they felt deep inside. The spirit within them needed to be feed. This crowd Jesus took compassion upon and healed the sick, but through their faith in him so too was their soul also mended. If you read the scripture just before Matthew 13 you will discover that Jesus had been told about His cousin John being beheaded. It was this which made Jesus seek seclusion. But even in this state of mind of grief Jesus was very much aware of the multitude and of their many needs. It was not His grief which took center stage but it was the needs of the living. Our God loves us so much He puts all other things aside and tends to us filling our heart, mind, and soul with the spiritual food we crave. For our God is truly a loving and compassionate God, one of grace and compassion.

15 “As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’” Matthew 14:15

MAN’S COMPASSION

In this we see the compassion of man for the disciples of Christ noticed only one need, that of the flesh. For the people had by this point been following Jesus for some time, they had not gone home to eat, to take a bath, to tend to their flocks nor had they brought provisions. For the disciples, food took center stage in their compassionate plea to Jesus. But again as mentioned before God see’s all of our needs. So Jesus argued against not sending the multitude home for food, but rather argued to keep them close to tend to all their needs personally.

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” ~ Matthew 14:16.

GOD’S COMPASSION

Let’s take a moment and break this statement down as the disciples must have. There were hundreds of people of all ages. They were all in the wilderness nowhere close to any immediate food source and night was upon them. So to the disciples the question of feeding the multitude became one of,  “how”, shifting from their first concern of, “where”. For in this one statement by Jesus the responsibility then shifted from allowing the people to feed themselves to the disciples feeding them just as God feeds us.  Their confusion and misgivings, or lack of faith in both Jesus and in themselves prevented them from seeing this miracle which was to unfold and replaced it with blindness making it impossible for them to comply and is seen most readily within the comments they make next to Jesus,

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.~Matthew 14:17

BEGINNING OF THE MIRACLE

Here we see two concerns happening, the first is the amount of food, which is to be the disciples dinner. Secondly, the amount of food was not enough so logically it made no sense to keep the multitude with them.  Therefore, what must have struck the disciples the hardest was if they give what they have away then how or what were they going to eat. This disbelief of the disciples is the failing of every human being as we all tend to see the facts and discount the possibility of things we do not or cannot see in those facts. This then leads to lack of faith in God and His ability to see past the facts and pull forth the impossible. This also leads us to forget the love God holds for us, his caring nature, and his want in taking caring of all our needs. These two things lead us to falter and stumble even when we have seen His love in action before as the disciples had. The power which gripped the disciples in this moment was rooted in their inaction to believe in what they could not see, it was their refusal to look beyond the physical or to admit that they could feed thousands with so little food and this instead lead them to question if it could work even with the Son of God present, for this is called the power of doubt.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. ~ Matthew 14:18-19.

OUR GOD…

In all things our God is one of order, He is one who takes great care to account for each instant perfectly calling out each detail of our lives, deeds, misgivings, loves, worries, and triumphs. Our God is one of prayer, giving thanks for what you have for it was so delivered to us by God. Our God is one that provides everything that we need, in every instant that we live for all things belong to God. Our God is one that calls us forward to be His helper, teaching us what we need to know in every facet of our complicated lives. The lesson we see here is that God can do anything for His people, He can move mountains, build empires, create planets, and die a brutal death to cleanse us our sins, for there is nothing our God can not do. In giving the disciples the responsibility of feeding the multitude He teaches them how it is possible within the right frame of mind, heart, and soul to connect to our loving father in heaven who feeds us making the impossible possible.

20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces that were left over.21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. ~ Matthew 14:20.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

The miracle was in the belief that so many could be feed with so little food, with the prayer of thanksgiving, and with the compassion of God. For the Lord left no one out as everyone was feed and within this so too did the servants of Christ find that the love of God even extends to those who doubt such as they had. Our God leaves no one out from his gift giving as he keeps everyone in his sights like a good Shepard. Our God is fair and unchanging in his love that he gives to everyone of us. He calls each one of us to Him by name and within this He again knows what we individually need and so He cares for us the same. He leads us not astray but rather holds us close to Him and shelters us from evil and forgives us our sins in the same manner.

Amen

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_______________________________________

 As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

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I Do Not Know!

28 “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” ~ John 5:28-29

Have you ever looked at your child and truly have no clue what they’re thinking? Have you ever looked at a co-worker and thought, “This person has totally lost their mind!” Have you ever wondered what makes people do the things that they do? In today’s special blog posting I wanted to put forward an idea that is not new but rather very straightforward and more logical than we would like to admit. That simple idea is that none of us have any clue of what’s going to happen in our future or what happens after we die. And that idea scares the hell out of everyone of us! Sin is such a major part of our lives and we hear almost on a daily basis from so called men and women of faith which sins will get us condemned forever. I was thinking not to long ago how thinking about sin is equal to walking in a mind field, take the wrong step and bam you are gone forever! Shortly after I had that thought I heard on the radio ministers talking about after life, and how some people have had “life after death” experiences then wrote about them, only to later admit after selling thousands of books and making hundreds of thousands of dollars that they made it all up. In that I know those authors may have been influenced by money but even still is money worth risking your immortal soul? “What are they thinking if death is not the end of life?” John tells us very plainly that those of us who have lived good honest lives even though dead will come to life once more to God and eternal happiness, but those who have done evil will come back to a life of judgement. If this is true then we must also assume logically speaking that when we die we are dead, or asleep as Jesus puts it, and only until we are all called do we live again at some future date. For the critics why believe in this crazy idea of judgement or even life after death or salvation of the soul anyway? I mean doesn’t that make a person live under a gloomy cloud always knowing that sin is real but is the punish also real? Death in a way is a punishment for sin isn’t it? Or is death just a natural process of life as scientists like to tell us? What should we believe in this age of technology and modern day miracles anyway? What I would like to assert on these points is history. We should believe in the resurrection of Christ as an example of our own impending resurrection, because John himself faced death for his faith in the risen Christ by being boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. But yet through his faith was he delivered, only to later be sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. It was here that John has visions of what life was like after death, and what the ultimate judgments of sin where within the Book of Revelations. Being set free John then became the Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. John was the only apostle saved from martyrdom. John was once a fisherman catching fish, and was transformed into a fisher of men! I use John as the example because it was John who told us what to expect after we die and he got his information directly from our Lord Jesus Christ who was risen on the third day.

28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” ~ Matthew 10:28

“Because the Bible says so doesn’t make it real!” How often have you heard this? I would be rich if I received a penny every time someone said this to me. The idea that John would be willing to die for his faith in Christ allows me to make that jump in faith that indeed there is life after death and because I tried all my life to do good, I will be resurrected to life and not judgement. But, I can not prove it true and that very fact is what faith is all about. Matthew’s testimony is also very appealing because it assures us that no man no matter how powerful or cruel can not take away or kill our life force, or our immortal soul. The cloud of impending gloom and doom of judgement should be lifted with this assurance, because again Matthew, like John got his information directly from the risen Christ Jesus. Matthew also goes one step further however and gives a purpose of there being a Hell, which is to destroy both resurrected body and soul. I think what also makes these scriptures relevant in our age of technology is that no matter how smart we get as a species we will never unlock all the mysteries of God. Thus, I would argue in the light of this truth it is easy to understand why all the disciples of Christ never once denounced their faith in Jesus even when it was obviously leading them to martyrdom. In fact they all did exactly what Jesus had also done years before. Faith was the core to their strength and unity and it was based on truth because a lie about the resurrection would eventually fall apart and be discounted, yet the truth has span two thousand years and is still a matter of faith for millions.

13 “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” ~

I tell you now my brothers and sisters that the time has not come and we have a sliver within the eternal calendar of God to get our lives right before God. We who are alive have a responsibility to build the best model of faith for our young, to be the greatest generation leaving behind a better place than what we found it. We are called to leave behind the negative attitudes of our ancestors, walk away from their petty differences and prejudices and instead live as one race with God and rejoice in His splendor for He is our creator and our Lord of Lords, King of Kings. We do these things without doubt as we have all the teachings before us to have ample faith in God, and it is assured over and over that live does not end after death, but what I and you shall find I will admit I do not know, but yet I still believe and so should you. Never again wonder about what others do, think, or feel as there is a reason that is a mystery kept from us as God Himself has kept some things as a mystery known only to Him.

Amen,

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9 “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” ~ Titus 3:9

Political Candidates in America today love to say when it benefits them the most these three words, “GOD BLESS AMERICA!” Most of them do not attend church regularly on Sundays, and most of them supported voting out the Ten Commandments from public government buildings. But where they shot themselves in the foot is taking religion out of the public school system and stopping the flag solute. According to Titus of the old testament all of these issues where fools errands! Yet if you look hard enough as our politicians preach their message in this years run-up to the Presidency you will not hear anything about God except when it benefits them! I urge everyone to look at each candidates record while they served in public office, look hard at what they voted for or against, and compare that to the Bible, how did they represent our Lord and Savor, how did they protect the rights we fought and died for when creating this great nation in the first place? Ask yourselves if their views on such issues as abortion, gay rights, immigration, helping third world nations, war, the homeless within our own country, veterans benefits, education, ill trained police, racism and racial profiling, economics, and / or protecting our religious beliefs in America today is in line with your beliefs. Ask will they stand up when the time comes to fix these problems and address these social issues which are completely against our God? Will any of them stop their foolish talk, their controversial opinions, cease and subsist the stupid quarrels about the laws they have passed and / or are trying to pass, and admit that these activities are fools errands!

17 “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” ~ 1 Peter 2:17

Think for a moment on how controversial this was when Peter said it. “Honor the emperor.” Honor a man who forced many christians underground and who killed thousands of christians and for a few well-known ones were made into martyrs through this gruesome process?  For them to stand up for the issue of the day was also in line with defending God, preaching the gospel as Jesus instructed them and us to do. For us the idea of “Honor the emperor” is a command to honor our leaders,  pray for them and ask God to give them the wisdom to make decisions that affect us all in a meaningful way. My criticism is strictly based within defending God, defending the Bible, and defending what our founders fathers fought for because again they all where religious men who honored everyone, they loved their brothers and in doing so they all where God-fearing people. That generation that sparked a revolution did so within their righteous indignation and we all could use some of their spunk, focus, and drive. God is the master, the creator, the alpha and omega, He alone protects us and is the source of all wisdom. With that said Peter was also saying in a very indirect way to “Honor your God the Holy Father which resides in Heaven!”  That statement back then as now is controversial; it is an idea that if preached allowed could get some arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and even killed over. But ironically our politicians and presidential hopefuls can spread a line of craps for as far as the eyes can see, some of which becomes policy and which harms millions and no one gets into trouble for it, none of them get arrested, convicted, jailed, beaten, or even killed over it! In fact few of them ever really give too much thought to what they say because ninety-nine percent of it is after all just how the “game of politics” is played. No one has to agree anymore, and in this standoff millions of people lose their jobs and even lose their houses. Few if any of them can really say they have protected Gods Children, protected the country, protected the sanctity of marriage, and protected our economic standing in the world by fighting for these things in the trenches. For many of them who shall remain nameless in this post but I will explore their past in future postings, can not tell the American people that they have any experience in defending God’s people because they are to focused on defending their own self-interest. Now is that someone you want running Gods nation?  To be honest; I thought I would never say this let alone write this, but I agree with Donald Trump on only one of his comments and I am a Democrat. Politicians aren’t going to make our country great again, “Politicians are never going to solve all the problems we have. They’re too deep-seeded.” ~ Donald Trump April 2015, WMD.  Donald Trump also recently stated that, “He argued ‘the greatest social program is a job,’ vowing to be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’” ~ JUNE 16, 2015, BY , again this statement is one example of  how potential presidential hopefuls use God in their sentences when it benefits them the most, again another promise to get the votes that is coming from a person who does not need a job!”

34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” ~ Proverbs 14:34

To define the most harmful sin in America today is that of  gay marriage and most of our politicians though they oppose it in private applaud it in public.  Their sin is to stand by and watch as a sinful act is happening, and those who live the life of a gay person their sin equals that of an abomination against God in the highest order. Sin does not beget good but rather the opposite, sin begets sin until stopped! Therefore, there is no righteousness within homosexuality, there is nothing honorable in this life style that people enter into out of a personal choice. Yet these people would like God’s people to ignore the sin and embrace their culture of continuous sinning while looking away with a blind eye; within that forcing Gods people into sin also. The web of sin demeans humanity which the devil hates with all his unrighteous being and tricks us into hating ourselves, tricking our morality into impure acts against God, and in this humanity has no more respect for itself and thus we being the long decline into tearing ourselves apart. Lies is the devils practice that which brought many great nations into ruin. We only have to look back into history to see the politics of  Egypt, Israel, Greece, Roman, the Soviet Union, Germany, and so many other countries in the ancient past and within the last seventy-five years which all have fallen from some sort of perversion within the hearts and minds of the people, sin that was allowed to flourish unchecked and without question by the leaders whose sole focus was to gain power and popularity. For our own politicians there is a stark reminder of how fragile righteousness is and how it can lift up a people into a super power, and how quick sin can; be it personal or on a national level, bring that nation to ruin. To not stand up and address modern-day sin in our political system, in our religious organizations, and in or modern culture is tantamount to ignoring it for profit, and in the eyes of God there is no greater sin even if that sin is an abomination in the highest order because to some degree it takes national buy in from everyone. When this happens we can see the corrosion on our national and social programs such as education, jobs, and the denigration of our american nuclear families which leads to higher crime and imprisonment of our nations youth. To ignore social issues is a sin simply put and I personally do not see any 1%er defending Gods people from any of these problems by fighting in the trenches with us rather they secretly work against us as they make all the profits then boast that they are richer than snot! I ask you all my brothers and sisters how this is a prerequisite to the presidency?

13 “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ~ Luke 16:13

Politics in America today is about money, our politicians use money from donations and if they are wealthy enough their own money to fund their campaigns. Long dead is the poor man and his aspirations to become President unless he has the right connections, with the wealthiest of Americans, and spouts all the right things that will get him or her elected. This is the political game as fueled by political capital. Ironically everyone loves an underdog, but no one loves a liar, yet capitol hill is filled with them. Long dead is wisdom for there is nothing which has come out of our government lately (past 15 years) that resembles wisdom. I mentioned above how no one has to agree anymore, but yet to not agree constantly is viewed to be strong. I remember the day when disagreeing with purpose was honorable but only if it led to some sort of resolution. But now to disagree to make money is the popular thing, I just want to remind every one of the past Government shut down, the fanaticism of some in the conservative party who pushed this country into a lower credit rating all while keeping their jobs, their pay, their positions, and who are now running for President on a record of moral depravity that stretches all the way to hell and back! Again we cannot elect morally bankrupt leaders no more than you would want a morally bankrupt teacher, priest, social worker, judge, or even a police offer.  To do so is tantamount to looking the other way when there is someone directly in front of you who is in need of your help but because it’s not a popular thing to do you continue to ignore their pleas. There is real repercussions to our votes and to vote without wisdom is unacceptable as each vote needs to held as sacredly as those who fought and died to create this nation. In fact we need to look at this right to vote as a holy duty and we all need to pray very hard in asking God to guide us when we contemplate on who to vote for. No one can serve two masters and if this is your creed then God will be what is in your heart because honestly God is who you honor in all your actions.

Amen

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THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

A very honored friend and Catholic Priest; Father Thomas Welbers is going on another Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Below is the general announcement that he published on his blog; The Pilgrim Shepard.

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12 “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.” ~ Job 42:12

The Dilemma

From the beginning of the Bible to the end there is one form of compensation which is better than the other. The lessons we are taught in church point to God being all that we need. But the fact that we live in a human – man-made world where nothing is free seems to fly in the face of this biblical teaching that compensation is worthless if it is given to you here on earth. We struggle with this misnomer and many cannot reconcile which to go after. The moral question or better put “dilemma” is made even more profound when we see churches handing their collection plates out for your money calling it tithing, but could this also be seen as pandering? If mortal money wasn’t what we needed then why do churches prize it so? These and many more questions linger in the back of many people’s heads, but the ones who become confused and disenchanted with religion is our children. They hear us grownups say, “You can’t take it with you when you die.”, but yet we work for it everyday, we can’t live without it, and if we tried society would curse us as if we had the plague. Yet after everything there can be found in the Bible itself such verses as these which talk about earthly compensation. God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith in God and the first test Satan gave was that of attacking Job’s money. Money after all is viewed to be very desirable if you don’t have it, but Job had it in abundance.  Job had more than anyone else and because of this his status in his community was very high. But take his money, his friends faded away, take his family he is seen as cursed even unto his wife, give him a couple of diseases and he is left for dead. Did Job complain? Yes as a matter of fact he did. But did he lose faith in God? No. Job did not ever lose faith in God. So, can we pull from this a lesson about wealth and earthly compensation that could answer the dilemma of why people view money as being so important even though we can’t take it with us when we die?

Jesus Said to Give Away Your Wealth

25 “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” ~ Luke 9:25

Going off this principle teaching that we cannot take our money with us when we die, many rich people donate their earthly wealth to non-profit organizations which they hold in high esteem instead of passing it down to their surviving relatives. On T.V. we see law suit after law suit of disgruntled family members who fight over their loved ones wealth often times destroying family ties over something that quit frankly is not as important as that of family. In a way people sell their souls for money in a way Job never did.  In this we cast ourselves away to money and lose family where is the good in that? Finding a better perspective Jesus taught that we should give our wealth away as we cannot serve two masters, it comes down to the brass tax; serve money or serve God. This message is stark in contrast to the dilemma mentioned above until you get to the question, “If I give away everything then how am I going to live? How am I going to buy my food and support my family?” To this Jesus also had a teaching…

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:25-34

So, money looses value after reading this, if you believe in what Jesus said in Matthew. Jesus acknowledges that we need food, drink, clothing, and a certain amount of money in our life which is required to live. He acknowledges that we need to work for these things but in doing so our focus should be on the kingdom of God and in doing so we will be rewarded with everything we could ever need both here on earth and in heaven. This promise is both daunting and is rife with fear. Why? Because we are being told that though God knows we need money we should not seek it out as the end all of end alls because God is the Alfa and Omega. He alone knows how many hairs you have on your head, He alone knows your needs and with faith you are compensated for your faith. Wow! Replacing the word rewarded with that of compensated we have a whole new meaning to the passage found in Job 42:12. Job was compensated for his losses, rewarded for his faith in God and given more than what he had before. If Job was the only example of this in the Bible on its own is a very strong argument for the truth on Jesus’s words found in Matthew 6:25-34, but there are thousand of such examples of God rewarding or compensating people for their loses. In fact Jesus was raised from the dead by God as a reward or compensation for His faith and doing the will of God here on earth. I for one have to say God has never let me down when I have needed him the most. I may not have gotten all I wanted but God has always given to me what I needed. When we begin to live our lives in this manner money really loses it luster as it becomes nothing more than just a tool no different from that of a shovel or plow.  However, that doesn’t mean Satan isn’t there tempting us to look away from God even if for a moment. In fact it is because Satan is ever-present flashing money and things in our faces we have such troubles in the first place. Which should we hold most dear, money or God? What really makes me shake my head at this temptation is that so many people fall into it knowing the teachings of God. Knowing what happened to Satan and knowing that his punishment is eternal for ever and ever. Why listen to Satan? That is my question to you my brothers and sisters when all we need is God.

Work and Rewards

4 “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” ~ Proverbs 10:4

The idea of working for your money also can be confusing if all we are to do is to trust and believe in God and He will provide. This notion I have heard from my students over and over though they may not have stated it so bluntly. No where in the Bible does it say to not work, rather the opposite message is given time after time. God wants us not to be ideal because the scripture found in proverbs is so true, if we work then we make something of ourselves and bring in a livelihood for ourselves and family. But when we do nothing then we give ourselves and all those whom we love to poverty. This idea is best represented in the following passage…

27 “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.  28 An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.  29 Wickedness loves company—and leads others into sin.” ~ Proverbs 16:27-29

Therefore, to those who employ you God also see’s and hears their heart. For the Lord commands there to be struck an even balance of both pay and fairness in the work place…

9 “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” ~ Ephesians 6:9

4 “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” ~ Colossians 4:1

28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28

We are all one in Christ Jesus. Simple and straight forward and to the point. There is no slave or master in the eyes of God because in actuality we are all employed by God in heaven and thus, as a child of God we are commanded to treat each other fairly and justly. We are in a sense commanded to work so that we are not ideal and do not invite evil, but yet we are not to strive for the sake of money because we cannot serve two masters. In the end Evil is wrapped in the things of this earth and everything of the earth will pass away and we cannot take our belongings and prized possessions with us when we die. It seems to me to be rather clear on what God wants and expects and if we follow this edict then we, like Job will be given everything we need.

Amen,

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THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

A very honored friend and Catholic Priest; Father Thomas Welbers is going on another Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Below is the general announcement that he published on his blog; The Pilgrim Shepard.

To sign up for this journey with Fr. Welbers please click on the link: SIGN ME UP! 

Meet Fr. Tom!

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Fathers Day 2015

FATHERS DAY TRIBUTE

24 “The father of one who is right with God will have much joy. He who has a wise son will be glad in him.” ~ Proverbs 23:24.

On this special day I wanted to highlight the, “Why” behind Fathers Day, its history, it’s meaning, the many struggles of fathers, and the hope it gives to all us. For past posts on this topic please view: Past Father’s Day Post : Click Here.

The “Why” Factor

So, why do we celebrate Father’s Day in the first place? To answer this question we must first examine the role fathers play in the lives of their children. If you are a Godly father, or a child who was raised by a Godly father, then you already know the answer to this question. However, the easy answer is that children need both parents, and thus it is only right that both parents are recognized for the roles they play in the lives of their children. But this does not address the core reasoning we celebrates our fathers. For this the deeper answer is rooted in the emotional bonds fathers also have with their offspring. Fathers bring to the table many things that are unique to the role of being a father within the family. One of the many assists fathers provide is serving as the spiritual head of the household. Children receive the “Word of God” more directly from their fathers than from their mothers. Reading the bible and explaining it is a core function of fatherhood that stretches back to Biblical times. Fathers teach their children about faith, courage, strength, fortitude, and even demonstrate bravery in problems they face which the family is keenly aware of.  Good fathers make better disciplinarians as men traditionally make decisions based on logic more often than by emotion. In this fathers also teach and demonstrate love, compassion, mercy, and morality in a way mothers can’t. Fathers serve as provider, protector, nurturer, and even teach life skills of basic survival again in ways that are unique to fathers alone. As a father myself I found great joy in reading and telling bible stories, teaching morality lessons, and even explaining real-world problems I faced and how I planned to solve them in the hopes that my daughter would see and later use these same techniques and teachings in her life when she faces similar problems. Unfortunately, some men fall victim to our Family Courts who all to often make bad decisions which end up exploiting fathers and these sacred duties we are endowed with by God alone. Most often the role of provider has been twisted and undermine with forcing more men than women to pay child support often ending up in arrears that financially devastate most men and often separates men from their biological children. This perversion cuts so deep as it has been said in my hearing, “Fathers are natures bank.”  God gave to all humanity the perfect model of family, and this is demonstrated in every part of nature. So for it to be said of fathers worth being only to “provide” is simply a gross and ignorant description of fatherhood as its underpinnings serves only to destroy the whole worth of men and the role God Himself designed for fathers within their families.  I can only pray this is not the path we continue down as it will destroy our fabric of family’s and nation as it strikes at people’s ability to be trustworthy, moral, and loyal.

Joseph’s Example

1 “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.  13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;  guard it well, for it is your life.” Proverbs 4: 11-13

Our Lord and savior gave to all men the perfect example of fatherhood. His human role model was that of Joseph who through the grace of God was able to sacrifice much for the protection of his new family and in this example we see yet another sacred dynamic of the role that belongs to fatherhood alone in the precise form God had designed. In the same way did our Godly father instruct us in the ways of wisdom and in this all men who teach the message of God to their  children will there be found much wisdom in their words and actions. So to in this fashion  did Jesus make straight the path of God for all humanity,  again leading by example and showing there is no nobler a mission than to be the good Shepard of your flock… i.e. your family and children. I remember telling my daughter when she was about five years of age and afraid of walking down the stairs at my old apartment that if she held onto my hand she will never fall. To this day when she has clung to me she has never stumbled. This idea and example did not come naturally from me alone, but yet from the Bible and the messages and examples that are taught within its Holy pages.

The Mandate of Fatherhood

13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. ~ Psalm 103:13

History has not been kind to fathers as we are the ones most often asked to sacrifice something for the benefit of all, this just being the main expectation of our society. However, in recent years the idea that fathers matter in the lives of their children is slowly becoming a reality again after many decades of fatherless homes and relentless persecution of any man who has a job and a child and is not paying child support.  Again, the State Doctrine of Child Support and the system it employs is not just broken, but an abomination in the eyes of God as it is nothing more than a tool to destroy homes and punish fathers while degrading the noble roll of fatherhood altogether. There is simply no other way to categorize it than to call it what it is;  that being a tool of Satan. I say this with righteous indignation and contempt for the Family Courts for they are nothing more than a pit of vipers, corrupt and shamefully depraved for their judgments are for sale and can be and often are bought making any of the so-called Family Codes a cheap meaningless money pit of lies for any father today trying to navigate it’s murky waters.  The idea that any State or Government assumes the right to tell its citizens that it the State or Government knows what is in the best interest of your child is simply not true as no bureaucracy or bureaucrat cares about your person conflicts nor are they ever truly invested in the outcome.  The fake authority they assert is not supported by the Laws of God. For God alone knows what is in best for you and your children and He alone grants the right to make these determinations. In having children, God mandated that both parents share equally in the raising of whom He has entrusted into our care. I cried inside when the court refused to hear this stipulation of its own legislative body who the court is sworn to follow: Family Code 3020.b. “The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy, except where the contact would not be in the best interest of the child, as provided in Section 3011.” Thus the presumption that the mother had the right to move away and that this right was some how greater to my right to be part of our daughter’s life was in all regard ignoring this family code. Because if this code was truly followed no move away order could ever be valid as both parents have equal rights that first must be protected. I write this to show preferential treatment and to illustrate how man’s law is inferior to that of God’s Law and in this way the State and it’s courts have no legal binding on matters dealing with parenting. For this is a sacred obligation given to us by God alone for no man to put asunder or interfere with. The best way to see this in by examining the following scriptures in the Bible:

Titus 2:4 – “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, “

Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Genesis 18:19 – “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” 

History of Father’s Day

According to Sam Price of the internet webpage, Heavy News, who wrote, “June 21, 2015 is Father’s Day in the United States. It was invented by Sonora Smart Dodd, whose single father, American Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, raised her and her five siblings. It was first celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington, two years after the first Mother’s Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia. But while Mother’s Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Father’s Day didn’t wasn’t recognized until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed it.”   In this we see a child, (female), who was so moved by her father’s abilities of child rearing that she promoted an idea that took over half a century to become a national holiday and in this regard proving true Proverbs 23:24, The father of one who is right with God will have much joy.” But in another regard also proving the bios that exists against men in this country with the example of  Mother’s Day taking far less of a time to become a national holiday in comparison to that of Father’s Day which took over half a century, not to mention the observance had waned in the 1920’s.  Though there can not be found a day in the Bible were fathers specifically where to be celebrated there are references in the bible that make it clear of how God felt about the role fathers play within their families lives.

For example;(Genesis 17:5), God renamed Abram changing it to Abraham, then proclaiming to Abraham, “I have made you a father of many nations”, clearly indicating fatherhood as a place of honor in His eyes.

“Furthermore, we can follow this theme of fatherhood in the very person of God Himself through countless scriptures (Matthew 5:45;6:9,32;Romans 1:7;15:6;1 Corinthians 8:6). There are many instances that speak of Jesus Christ, the Son, honoring His Father and honoring the will of His Father (e.g.,John 17:1andJohn 17:5). The apostle Paul taught that to honor one’s earthly father is not only a commandment but the first commandment that, when obeyed, has a promise of things going well and living long on the earth. “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).” ~ Got Questions

No matter the struggles we face as fathers the outcome is ultimately proven through scripture of how well we did or did not do with the raising and instruction of our children. But suffice to say that fathers of all walks of life now have a legally recognized day of national celebration that both includes ans honors their role within the family and community of in which they live. Many children live healthier, longer, more full and rich lives by having known and being active in their father’s life. It is easy to say honor your parents, but it is harder to actually openly celebrate one parent, to single them out to thank them for all they do. But do this with an open heart is more Christianly than we might think.

Amen

If you enjoyed “Fathers Day Tribute”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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Email: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com

Facebook: CLICK HERE         _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Closing Reminder to Pray

Scott Spinks

Please do not stop praying for our brother Scott Spinks who is recovering from a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body while he was visiting his step-daughter who lives in Bangkok, Thailand. He is feeling much better and is now awaiting to be discharged from the hospital. This is the first time I have been able to meet a person whose relative have asked me to publish a Prayer Request on Listening Faithfully Blog. To Art I just wanted to say it was and is my great pleasure to post on your step-fathers behalf. It is my sincere privilege to have been able to visit you and your family as well this opening week of April 2015 – till we meet again.  I urge everyone to remember the power of collective prayer and to remember to pray for our brother in Christ – Scott Spinks. May the Lord be with him and his family throughout his recovery.

  1. To visit the original Prayer Request Click Here
  2. To stay connected and updated with Scott’s Condition Click Here (My Personal Facebook Page)
  3. To send your prayers please Click Here (Listening Faithfully Community Facebook Page)
  4. To Join Listening Faithfully Community please Click Here ____________________________________________________________________________________

THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

A very honored friend and Catholic Priest; Father Thomas Welbers is going on another Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Below is the general announcement that he published on his blog; The Pilgrim Shepard.

To sign up for this journey with Fr. Welbers please click on the link: SIGN ME UP! 

Meet Fr. Tom!

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“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” ~ Exodus 15:2, NIV Bible

Trustworthiness – The Want

The word ‘trustworthiness’ is first a want; everyone wants their name to be associated with it. People want others to view them as being ‘trustworthy’ and in that if this word does not appear on the personal description of friends and family then people genuinely get their feelings hurt. Mostly it is indirect comments through general conversation that this word is implied in the good or negative and because of its meaning that we associate with it the word, ‘trustworthiness’ it has the power to build a person up in the eyes of others or assign them to a lowly level on mankind’s social latter. Here is a question I want one needs to think very carefully about; “How many times have you heard your teacher in primary school talk about the importance of being trustworthy?” If you are anything like me you will have heard comments made about this word at least a million times by numerous teachers throughout grade, middle, and upper level school. “Why… I ask?”  Because as kids we do not see this word in all it’s glory, but when becoming an adult it becomes everything. It is how we are judged as caring human beings whether anyone wants to say it or not. So here is another question we need to ponder, “From where did we get this idea about trustworthiness? How did it ever become so important?”

Trustworthiness – The Bible

16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV Bible

When researching the word, ‘trustworthiness’ I found roughly 40 different bible verses which are talking about the meaning of the word whether the word itself was mentioned or not including those used in this post. Trustworthiness first and for most is a descriptor word; meaning that we as people unknowingly through the basic function of the need to survive place people we meet into two different categories. Therefore, because we see others as being trustworthy, (which equates to becoming an ally) or not being trustworthy, (which equates to being a foe), we first search for certain qualities in strangers we meet and or continue to probe for the same qualities in our family members and friends. In the days before religion man needed to know who to trust and who not to trust for the simple sake of survival; pick the wrong person and it could lead to disastrous consequences. In that trustworthiness is the first human assessment ever devised. Likewise, these characteristics bleeds into our numerous religious beliefs as time went on because again the more complex man becomes the more complex this word also becomes and the more descriptions of what it means grows as does it’s importance in our daily lives.

Quick Self Assessment Question: “How many times have you felt someone let you down?” 

If you are human then you will have felt others may have let you down almost ever single day you live. Before the bible this led people to disown family members that had made a single mistake in judgment and did something that was considered a taboo, to groups of people being outcast from society because they had a disease, to and including people being murdered for the act of cheating on a spouse. This led man to create societal rules that could be easily followed and maintained. The Bible when first being developed was in fact not a singular book of wisdom, but rather a host of singular writings from a plethora of different authors who wrote about trustworthiness and in most instances of the Bible you will find it is either a command from God to trust Him and His divine judgement or a tool to judge others by. From this humanity also found a way to test everything in nature including God Himself. Therefore, the teaching of the Bible follows the theme of the root word of trustworthiness which is trust, (which equates to trust in God.) It was easier to trust in something that was more powerful, something that could be viewed as responsible for the unexplainable which scared the hell out us. With each new description mankind either adopted the teachings or rejected them always keeping in mind; can one trust what is being taught and be viewed as being accurate? This fight still rages on today in our modern society. We need to trust in something that cannot be proven right or wrong because that is the very foundation of faith, and faith allows man to jump past the fear of the unknown element we face in nature and in ourselves. Thus the Holy Bible and other religious texts from the many different faiths around the world serve this most basic of human needs, the need to trust others, the need to believe in something more powerful, and the need to examine both our relationships and ourselves within those relationships.

Quick Self Assessment Question: “How many times have you felt that you let someone down?”

Again, if your human then you will feel this way almost ever single day of your life. In some way we let others we care about down, we make decisions that let events happen that affect negatively someone we care about, and in this process we generally put ourselves first which again satisfies the need to be either trustworthy to a group or to ourselves. In this way also does the Holy Bible help us feel better about our actions through the process of justifying our actions to both the larger group we associate with and in the singular – to ourselves. Our moral conscience or compass in the end only needs to be justified in our own mind before we can be satisfied with any outcomes of those action we took. The link to religion in this way is best illustrated when we pray for forgiveness because this act helps us to make the jump past our guilt of letting others down. Because God is primarily responsible for forgiving our sins and because we never see Him in the physical it is easier to say that we are forgiven because we felt God say so. But for the hardened sceptic religion also has the work around for the absence of God by endowing a person namely a Priest or Pastor that can also forgive our sins which reinforces the presence of God and in other religions idols sever as this reinforcement. How many times have you heard someone else say this? “I prayed so therefore I am forgiven.”

At this point I want to put in this disclaimer: In no way shape or form and I saying or advocating that God is not real or does not exist, rather I am saying we as human beings us the very idea of God as a tool within our own minds to push down negative emotions we are faced with. In this post the topic is ‘Trustworthiness’, but this same line of logic can be applied to almost ever other human emotion.

God is… in every single way necessary and important to human survival. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves because mankind is flawed. We are not in any way perfect, but in every single way in the eyes of God we can find hope, mercy, love, and forgiveness; all the things we need to be healthy and whole. God fills our spirit with the strength to deal with life and all its happenings. Though we no longer need to prove trustworthiness as our ancestors had too, being trustworthy is no less important. God is the connector and we need His grace and wisdom to help navigate our complicated and complex world. God is the justification when we cannot explain events or cannot see the full plan, especially when we fall from the path we set ourselves on. Because we are taught that we first can trust in God, we can view the world with wonder and excitement because even though bad things will happen we have the confidence that we are not alone and more importantly when others let us down we have a place to run too and be consoled. When we let others down god is ready to take us in and forgive us our sins against our brothers as well because God is love.

Trustworthiness – The Moral Guide

5 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.'” ~ Jeremiah 17:5 NIV Bible

To have your name associated with this word, ‘Trustworthy’ doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect in all things. Because that is completely missing the point of life in general. We are not perfect because we have free will, we make our own choices and suffer the consequences of those choices we have made. So therefore my brothers and sisters I say to you;  “Be true to your heart, listen to God who lives in your heart, and know your not perfect but that is also no excuse for seeking to be better, to be worthy, to be trusted by others namely your family and friends, and most importantly to be trusted by God.” I have found in this life the best way to become trustworthy is by saying what you mean – then doing what you say. There is no stronger example than by standing for your own beliefs and openly practicing those beliefs. But this takes character and a strong understanding of your inner person. So it would not be far for me to tell you to do something without giving you the tools to do it. So beyond simply having faith in God, which many people struggle daily with, I am going to give you a blessing I found while visiting a special friend in Thailand.

 THAI BUDDA 1

Blessings

Not to associate with fools.

To associate with the wise.

To pay respects where they are due.

This is the highest blessing.

To reside in a suitable location.

To have previously done meritorious deeds.

To have set oneself on the right path (to emancipation).

This is the highest blessing.

To have much learning.

To be skilled and knowledgeable.

To be restrained by a moral code.

To have beautiful speech.

This is the highest blessing.

To support one’s parents.

To cherish wife and children.

To earn one’s livelihood without difficulty.

This is the highest blessing.

To be generous.

To live in accord with the Dhamma.

To assist one’s relatives.

To do blameless actions.

This is the highest blessing.

To cease and abstain from evil.

To refrain from intoxicants.

Not to be heedless of the Dhamma.

This is the highest blessing.

To be respectful. To be humble.

To be content. To have gratitude.

To hear the Dhamma at the right time.

This is the highest blessing.

To have patience.

To be easy to admonish.

Associating with monks.

To discuss the Dhamma at a suitable time.

This is the highest blessing.

To practice austerities.

To lead the Holy Life.

Seeing the Noble Truths.

The realization of Nibbanā.

This is the highest blessing.

A mind unshaken by contact with the world.

Sorrowlessness, stainlessness and secure.

This is the highest blessing.

Having accomplished this one is always unconquered,

one goes everywhere in peace.

These are the supreme blessings.

~Maṅgala Sutta, Sutta Nipāta 2.4

THAI DESIGN

Though these blessings are Theravāda Buddhism published in a book called Without and Within and can be downloaded @ www.bia.or.th ; which explains the basics of the faith, all of the ideas have something in common to the basic Christian tradition. Both are teachings of moral qualities a person should desire to have. I believe these teachings are a contributor to how soft-spoken and welcoming the Thai people are in general. These specific blessings will help build ‘trustworthiness’ and personal character and if you seek to make all these things come to fruition that are found within these blessings then in your life I will guarantee that people will see you as a trustworthy person. Side note to following moral code is that people will begin to notice your faith and practice of your faith grow and this will also exude trust naturally, people will want to follow you and learn from you, and if you take on that responsiblity and treat it with the respect it deserves then the true benefits are unspeakable and indescribable for in this you will have attained the blessings above.

I could have easily stated that trustworthiness is simply being trusted by others, but in doing that it would not have expressed the importance of being a person who is worthy of another person’s trust. In this it is hard for me to simply place my trust in a person without first seeing some evidence, but in God I need no explanation nor evidence. I trust in God above all others in my life because simply put people have let me down. How I deal with it and how you my brothers and sisters should deal with it is by first praying to God, asking Him for guidance, understanding, and grace.  Then fall back onto your moral teachings as described above in the first set of blessings which are also found in the Holy Bible, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~ Proverbs 13:20, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Proverbs 13:7, all of which is a shared belief by most people world-wide. I tell you the truth practice grace and understanding and seek commonalities then there will be peace given to you in all aspects of your life, for that my brothers and sisters is the true goal, peace and harmony in your daily life.

Amen

If you enjoyed “Trustworthiness – A CASE FOR GOD!”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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  1. Email: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com
  2. Facebook: CLICK HERE         __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Closing Reminder to Pray

Scott Spinks

Please do not stop praying for our brother Scott Spinks who is recovering from a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body while he was visiting his step-daughter who lives in Bangkok, Thailand. He is feeling much better and is now awaiting to be discharged from the hospital. This is the first time I have been able to meet a person whose relative have asked me to publish a Prayer Request on Listening Faithfully Blog. To Art I just wanted to say it was and is my great pleasure to post on your step-fathers behalf. It is my sincere privilege to have been able to visit you and your family as well this opening week of April 2015 – till we meet again.  I urge everyone to remember the power of collective prayer and to remember to pray for our brother in Christ – Scott Spinks. May the Lord be with him and his family throughout his recovery.

  1. To visit the original Prayer Request Click Here
  2. To stay connected and updated with Scott’s Condition Click Here (My Personal Facebook Page)
  3. To send your prayers please Click Here (Listening Faithfully Community Facebook Page)
  4. To Join Listening Faithfully Community please Click Here _________________________________________________________________________________________________

THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

A very honored friend and Catholic Priest; Father Thomas Welbers is going on another Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Below is the general announcement that he published on his blog; The Pilgrim Shepard.

To sign up for this journey with Fr. Welbers please click on the link: SIGN ME UP! 

Meet Fr. Tom!

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2 ” Oh Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.” –  Psalms 30:2

In this life we experience things that are both painful and unexpected. In all truth these events are controlled by invisible currents that sometimes takes us down a path we ourselves would not go down, but in this we have no choice as we are left with nothing but our faith. But it is also true that we are made stronger from those experiences.

It is in this way are we directly  connection to our creator and He to us. Our collective pain and triumphs are shared and celebrated equally by our creator and it is His divine will that allows this singular life experience to be filled with all the wondrous things there is to see, hear, and do within our short time here on this Earth. So it is right to celebrate everything the good and the bad, because both motivate and change who we are as human beings.

Thus, it is with a heavy heart  I ask all of you to pray with me for a dear friend named Scott Spinks of Texas, that when visiting his family in Thailand suffered a debilitating stroke and is currently paralyzed on the left side of his body. Let us pray with his family who has loved and cared for him in his hour of need. Together in Christ do we pray for our brother Scott Spinks.

Let Us Pray

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Oh my precious Lord, God in heaven, master and ruler of all things living and dead, do I humbly pray to you on behalf of a brother who has suffered and needs your healing hand upon his body and his soul. Let the power of collective prayer and a unity in love bring him closer to you Oh Lord, and may your mercy bring him back to his family whole and healed. I ask you, my God, for this miricale to be granted so that all will believe in you and your son Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, and was resurrected by your hand, and that on this day of Easter the pain and shock of this life experience for our brother Scott will be lifted, set right, in your Holy Name. So that it is holy from your hand it comes, as it is so that in you we live, and in your divine will do we stay forever and ever protected and made whole. So we pray for these things in your son’s name Jesus Christ,

Amen

Dear Brothers & Sisters please pray this prayer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so that our God will send his love to Scott in abundance and allow Scott to stand and walk once more.

Days of Triumph

9 “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ~ Zachariah 9:9

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When I think of Jesus Christ as King it sets a warm loving fire to my imagination for God’s mercy is endless and that is something of a wonder in my heart, mind, and soul. In that I wonder what life for Jesus was really like? I often ask myself the question, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to travel back into time to have seen Jesus, to have witnessed His birth, Baptismal, His anointment by Mary, His Ministry… especially when He picked the twelve disciples, His temptations by Satan.’ The moments that matter most in most Christian’s hearts is celebrated with as much religious ferber now as it was then, and that is Holy Week; the seven days preceding his crucifixion and resurrection. I feel closest to God in this time frame as do most Christians because it is here we begin to see Jesus rule over His people, sacrifice everything for His people, and ultimately demonstrate God’s perfect love for His people, all of His people which in this context is everyone alive then to now and that will ever live in sin; for His love saved all of us with His blood. We celebrate Jesus’s arrive into Jerusalem as a victory, a triumph, and His ride into the Holy City marks the beginning of the Kingdom of God.

Many scholars argue about the meaning of the colt, donkey, or foal. They try and find purpose behind the acts of Christ by the connections they can make to the gospel. But it is not what Jesus rode or whether or not it was really palm branches that was used to herald His arrival, but the fact our King came in the first place and that He loved us so much that He was willing to enter into the city that He knew was ultimately going to judge then put Him to death for crimes He did not commit. In this way we can begin to see life as Jesus saw it, experience His last week on earth as a mortal man, the Son of God.

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” ~ Matthew 21:10-11

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To have seen Jesus riding into Jerusalem first hand must have been something, or at least for those who where in the know of what was happening. The fact is most people during this period of time were clueless to the real event that was going on because they where blinded by what they thought was happening. To explain this further I have to add that in life we all see events one way when they are happening to us, then see them completely different many years later. But rarely do we ever see the underpinning facts of the event which caused it to happen in the first place in the moment, and if we could see the “WHY” that is driving the event we could have the chance, (the choice), to do something completely different. Again, few people in this period of time understood what was really happening as they could plainly see the “WHY” of Jesus, His mission and ministry, they saw first hand within the moment His ultimate goal and stood by Him until His arrest. Jesus on several occasions revealed this secret to His disciples, and all but one rebuked the idea and questioned the “Why” of His death. They say it was love they felt for Him that made them not want to see Him killed. But Jesus saw this in a completely different way. Judas Iscariot understood it and put the plan into action, as he was the only one strong enough to do so.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Matthew 6:33

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To write this in this fashion is controversial to say the least, but what drives me to this conclusion is found in the many different texts that had been buried, forgotten, that in their own time was outlawed and destroyed. For in the traditional Bible we have but a sliver of the true history of the events we celebrate. Therefore, we see with clouded eyes, we believe in traditions that come from completely different origins, and we collectively call it Christianity. In part I think that is what drives the truth seekers within the various faiths and sciences to conduct such magnificent research to find the truth in our Biblical history. This journey of seeking, documenting, and exploring is one that even the Catholic Church is involved in today. It is not wrong to try and peace together the truth of Christ, but it is wrong to celebrate and declare that we know things that in reality we truly do not know. In faith we believe that Jesus is the messiah, the King of Heaven and of Earth, but until we find factual evidence will truly know. In this we all are like Thomas who needed to put his finger in the side of Christ, touch his hands and see the wounds. Thomas is every man living today and it is this need to see before we believe that makes our faith stronger and more relevant. I say to you all never ask ‘Who is this?” but rather, ‘I know him who came and saved me.’ For truly God did send His son, and His blood needs no proof, His love needs not the “Thomas Factor” nor does His authority over all of His children need to be proven. It is good to know the facts, but it is better to celebrate the man, savior, son of God who came. Seek first the Kingdom of God that is rooted deep into your hearts, and reserve your questions until you meet Him face to face.

Amen

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15  “”Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” ~ Colossians 3:15

Scripture reads with one single solitary goal that is expressed using words like “LET”, the peace of Christ rule your hearts ~Colossians 3:15…. “LET” the message of Christ dwell among you richly, ~Colossians 3:16…. “LET” go of your concerns! Psalms 46:10…. In these three examples the word “LET” is a plea to your heart, mind, and soul. The word “LET” is the giving of free will and is the evidence we crave that God truly loves us for in this He is allowing you to choose to either believe He can help you, solve your problems, hold your hand, and to lift you up or not. It is one word that rings clear and dispels the devils lies about God in that He is giving you His chosen people the right to make up your own minds rather than to control us like robots. God wants all His children to be whole, to love wholly, to be free, to be with Him because they want to be. Some think they can manipulate their way into Heaven by controlling everyone around them. They create chaos in the world, in others they claim to love. Some say one thing and do another and thus are hypocrites. Still more people walk away from God because of guilt that has been burned deep into their hearts by so-called loved ones. Even more people walk away from God in disbelief as they no longer feel God working in their life. In every one of these examples the key element is found within the false idea that we need to be in control all the time. Many times people do this or think this because they are trying not be hurt because they were hurt badly by someone they trusted in their life. To most the very fact that God loves them with perfect, forgiving, merciful love is so scary and so out of this world because of their sins they can’t bring themselves to let go and to let God in! We humans play the blame game with each other. This is evident in the amount of hate there is in the world. This is evident with how we treat our fellow-man. This then causes unrest and war, and on a micro level it destroys families and separates life long friends. So what does it mean to “LET” God in, “LET” the message of God in, “LET” the peace of Christ in? Because we are His children, His chosen people, and because we are granted free will, we are given His body and we become one in Christ. God thus lives within each one of us, and as Jesus instructed our body is His temple.

16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

In many ways the human soul is sanctified and is washed clean by the merciful hand of God. We can experience the entirety of God’s love by doing the simplest thing which is in our reality one of the hardest things we could ever do; that being let God in and let God love us, let God control our heart, mind, and soul, and let Him set us free of the earthly burdens we are weighed down with. It comes down to a shift in thinking, a shift in our core belief and perception of who we are and who God wants us to be. In that pursuit we are prohibited from sinning in such ways as passing judgement on others, acting outside of our moral teachings, and thinking negative or manipulating the situations we find ourselves in for our own personal gain. If held as a sacred oath between the believer and God love will flow freely, love will transform our actions, love will fill up our hearts and our life will become enriched beyond our wildest imaginations. This perfect love will burn deep into our heart and let the hidden world be seen as if reborn into a new one. What was holding you back will be leveled, what was giving you grief will be removed, and what was troubling your mind will be taken away within your growing transformation from a carnal sinful person to a true child of God.

6 “That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philemon 1:6

So it is to you my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, let it be your words more so than anything else which gives testimony to your core belief in God, let it be your mouth which is the horn that brings people to God, let His words fill your heart, mind, and soul always and spread His message. LET GO AND LET GOD LIVE IN YOUR LIFE, IN YOUR HEART, FOR YOU ARE HIS DIVINE TEMPLE!

 Amen

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THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

A very honored friend and Catholic Priest; Father Thomas Welbers is going on another Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Below is the general announcement that he published on his blog; The Pilgrim Shepard. To sign up for this journey with Fr. Welbers please click on the link: SIGN ME UP! 

Meet Fr. Tom!

It Is Accomplished!

8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” ~ 1 John 4:8

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From the start to the end of the Holy Bible, example after example, story after story, we read about a God who loves His creations so much that he allowed His only Son to become human, to live and die and to spread His divine word. Every story was filled with imperfect people who all sinned greatly and all of whom God loved. We read about the dysfunctional psyche of people who prayed and then committed horrible acts against their brothers and all of whom God loved. We take great care to make villains of those we do not understand and in this we close off the possibility to think that perhaps even those we do not like God stills loves. The Holy Bible is filled with emotion the strongest of which is love. I find it nearly impossible to tell the stories of the Bible without finding Gods divine love mixed in some where, even in those moments man has felt Gods wrath. Therefore, in 1 John 4:8 we are told who God is, and if you know Him you will know love because God is love.  If you take away anything about the message of God you have to be left with the one single fact staring you in the face, that if you have ever been loved, felt loved, been in love, or been surround with love then odds are you have felt God moving mountains in your life. I write this with all sincerity that in all the troubles I have gotten myself into and all the problems that found me without my help God has never let me down and I have always been surrounded by loving people be them family or friends, and in all this drama I can honestly say I was also loved. Because of this I am aware of God moving the mountains in my life and within that knowledge I know God also loves me as much as He loves His only son Jesus, King David, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and all the other people who lived before me and will live after me. God fulfills His devotional cup of love to every single human being that has ever lived on a daily bases. God’s love for us is “accomplished” every night, every morning, for every day of your life!

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New Year Challenge: Write down every time you have ever felt loved and some obstacle has been moved for you.

 Amen

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The Time of Waiting!

Purpose of the Season

14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” ~ Isaiah 7:14 (KJV)

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The traditional view of our modern – Western Christmas – is one that devolved over time from a pagan tradition to a more religious Christian tradition then finally into the economically driven holiday we have now.  In others words, what we celebrate is less about Jesus and the anticipation of the coming of Christ from Godhood to man, less about that singular miracle,  to something that is at a lesser state of being than what previously came before it!  We have softened the message of this miracle of Christ’s birth over time, we have sidelined God’s wanting to become flesh and blood as well as His love for humanity which is partly His motivation in becoming flesh and blood. We have changed the very definition of God’s purpose to fit our own less intensive version that is more politically correct and less threatening and less controversial.  We have changed the paradigm of God and turned Him into a jolly old man that gives tangible gifts instead of the intangible gift of salvation! Our modern Christmas for the majority of westerners leaves out this moment where we reflect and make ready our hearts in anticipation of Jesus the Son of Man  in His return so that we will finally and forever be with Him in Heaven. To me, this is the ultimate gift. It is a gift which cannot be bought, it never rusts or fades, it will be ours for all time and will never be taken away. It is the ultimate promise, one that is bigger, better, and more fulfilling than anything in Saint Nick’s green and red bag of toys. Because when we celebrate Christmas in it’s entirety we do not need toys to excite us or keep us from boredom because salvation is not boring!

So I say to you my brethren, the Lord Himself foresaw and provided for this time for the world to wait, hope, and pray for His triumphed return. The signs were all around the people of Judea, they are all around us today recognizable only if you believe and allow ourselves to see the true message of this remarkable holiday. For I tell you now that when a person understands the full meaning, knows the path yet to come, and fully comprehends what each word God spoke really meant, then the totality of that one miracle of Christ suddenly opens our eyes, hearts, minds, and His love becomes more accessible to us as we grow in the confidence that God is working towards our ultimate salvation through Jesus Christ. It is this miracle message we need to be celebrating and not the gifts that cost hundreds of dollars, the bling bling of modern day living, or even the decorations we allow to influence our motivations for celebrating Christmas in the first place. Our excitement of this season should be that which makes us ready to receive our savior.

6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

Christian tradition as observed for most Catholics and some of the other religious denominations of Christianity in general believe in the coming of Christ in two parts. The First coming is typically called Christmas or the Nativity. However, a more appropriate term is “Advent”, which in its more basic meaning is, “Coming”. Breaking advent down more completely you have “Ad” = “To” and “Vent”=”Come”, leaving us with “TO COME”. Before the birth of Christ it was prophesied  that the word would become flesh and dwell among us in scriptures from Isaiah to Zechariah. Thus, within the Jewish teachings just before the birth of Christ the hearts and minds of the people where in this hopeful anticipation of the Savior or Messiah.  For those who understood prophecy also understood the signs to look for and in this case it was the Star of Bethlehem.  Christian tradition and the telling and retelling of the Nativity story has become the basis for the modern reason why we celebrate Christmas as a holiday. At first the meaning of Christmas was all about the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ. The celebration centered on the miracle of Jesus being sent by God, the act of the miracle of God made flesh. There was great excitement because to the Jewish people this would mean the end of Roman oppression! Oddly, it would be the Jewish leaders who would advocate Jesus’s death and the Roman Empire that would later embrace His divinity, thus combining two different holidays into one and called it Christmas complete with our modern Christmas Tree. But even then gifts where never at the center of the season, it was all about the hope and anticipation of Christ’s return or the Second Advent! So I say to you my brethren take time to prepare your hearts for God and reflect and be filled with the hope, love, joy, and anticipation of Christ’s return!

Advent | Sound Shore Media

ADVENT VIDEO ~ Concordia Publishing House, (2014)

Amen,

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Why We Reject God!

14 “For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” ~ Psalm 94:14 New International Version (NIV)

Rejection

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We reject God for many reasons, most if not all of those reasons are selfish and immature! Most of our reasons are shortsighted; the result of decisions made out of some sort of emotional response to something or someone else that has hurt or embarrassed us. It is our ego which stokes the fires of rebellion against God and this unwarranted knee jerk reaction always goes awry and never in our favor! But most notably we reject God out of fear, disappointment, and because sometimes we are too busy playing the blame game. As imperfect beings we do not see the Godly picture; rather we view events within a single solitary moment that is focused so tightly the connections with all other events is out of focus and lost to us. Therefore, there is always this lingering question that we ask that invariably starts with, “WHY”!

Blame

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We blame God when things in our life go wrong, we blame God when something bad happens. We say to ourselves inwardly, “How could this possibly be happening to me?” Within that statement we proclaim ourselves innocent so that we are justified when we finally come around to lay the final blame on God! After all we reason that it is God because He has all the power so why didn’t He prevent it from happening in the first place? We take our anger out on God because I think sometimes our own personal pain is too hard to bear. We humans come up with a thousand reasons to blame God for our own torment. We are an inventive lot in our blaming and in our rejection of others and in our rejection of God. But I tell you that God does not reject us, so this rejecting of God is strictly a one way street!

The Truth About Rejection

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The truth is we all have experienced rejection of some sort and that we all reject not just God but also our fellow man. Tragic as it is we stop using logic when Satan introduces a personal pain intermixed with the rejection. Rather than to see it for what it is we reject those who have rejected us many times out of hand! In doing so we fall to Satan’s master plan of destruction through division! As unforgivable as that is it becomes even more so when we turn that pain into anger only to focus it squarely on our Lord and Savior. Within that action we reject His divine words, His promises, His miracles, His love, and in doing so we are rejecting our own inheritance! We are bullied out of it because rejection is something that we all fear, because no one wants to be rejected.

What It Means To Be Rejected

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I think that when we are rejected it makes us feel hurt because of what it means to be rejected.

So what does it really mean when someone rejects you or when we reject God?

Definition of Reject:

1.) Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste.
2.) Fail to show due affection or concern for (someone):

Synonyms: rebuff, spurn, shun, snub, repudiate, cast off/aside, discard, abandon, desert, turn one’s back on, have nothing (more) to do with, wash one’s hands of;

So why did Jesus say he must be rejected by this generation?

Perhaps so that he could live again, so that he could be our savior, so that Jesus could take on fully our sins and so He alone could wash us all clean.

My mother used to say this to me when I was a little kid, ‘Nothing worth fighting for comes easy.’

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So if we apply this to God then; God being rejected really meant that He in His divine wisdom was fighting for our souls. In our rejection of Him do we really find his eternal acceptance of us?

So in reality God rebuffed our sins, He refused to snub us, cast us off as a failure, an experiment gone wrong. God refused to discard us, abandon, or desert us. God did not turn His back on us nor did He wash His mighty hands clean of us. Rather He washed us clean with His blood, with His sacrifice, and with His perfect Love!

None of this was easy and it was only God who could have conceivedthis plan and then pulled it off!

Amen,

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Listening Faithfully Blog 2014 Post

18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In past posts I have talked about Thanksgiving in the historical sense, explored the religious meaning, and I have delved into both sides of the human drama, (that being of the Native Americans and the English Pilgrims),  from a moral view.  But this year I wanted to write about what it means in a more detailed manner from the general view of family.

The very word, “Family”,  is the root that brought about the fight for freedom both here on Earth and in Heaven. In a broad sense God uses “family” as the template of every social group known to man. In every way we learn and grow from the bounty of our families. But this interaction is not exclusive to humanity rather almost every other bioligal life form that we know of on this planet thrives through lessons learned which both develop and mold such things as character, morality, compassion, survival, and even the idea of justice at some basic level. In the animal kingdom there is social order and hierarchical structures that are put in place to teach and which promotes the survival of the group or family. So in this broad sense family is the root of survival. But what does this hypothesis have to do with Thanksgiving, a man made tradition turned Federal Holiday? Well for this I share a deep secret found throughout the Christian Bible.

God is called the father! What is a father? In olden days a father was the head of the house, the disciplinarian, provider, protector, leader, mentor, teacher, and general supporter of all family activities. The same is true for Priests who are also called father for the same reasons but within a religious context.  Thus, it is from the father our families find a foundation and in this we see God as the head of every family both secular and religious. This structure within our families is from the divine and is pre-programmed into us from the start. In our celebration of family we are celebrating our very nature which we share with the animal kingdom under God. Because we are all related we are told by God to give thanks for the many blessings we receive from the father that which is in heaven from which everything is given. So Thanksgiving is the celebration of both blessings we receive throughout the year and is a celebration of  our families; the survival they provide on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis independent of our religious beliefs.

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In examining Thanksgiving from this perspective I asked my fourth grade students to write seven sentences about what they are thankful for and it is not surprising to me that they overwhelmingly wrote about their families. Few of them wrote about God though I teach in a Private Catholic School. Still fewer mentioned their teachers and the support we give them. Rather the majority was focused on their families love, kindness, sacrifice, and the many things they receive daily from their families. Many of those things are the necessities of life in general. Their paragraphs became evident to me of how we are all programmed by God to need the same things from birth till death. At the core of this need is the family unit!

So this Thanksgiving I celebrate the family in all of its forms be it biological, religious, social, political, economic, traditional and non traditional, friendships, and in a global community of beings sharing the same Earth, the same resources, and sharing the same needs. For it is within God the father’s plan that we celebrate our shared blessings, our shared needs, as well as our differences. Thus, I say to you in Jesus’s name are we to love one another and to jointly celebrate the role our many different types of families provide as it is granted first from God the father who art in heaven.

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Have a joyous Thanksgiving and remember to celebrate all things which are good that God has made.

I also ask that you keep the family and friends of our beloved sister Theresa Marie Mehan, born June 18, 1922 and who went to meet the Our Lord this past November 18, 2014 in your prayers this holiday season. 

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Amen

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Special Prayer Request

Many times I receive a request for those who are ill and not expected to live past a given date. When this date is given loved ones begin to morn even though the family member has not yet given up on life. Then sometimes the person lives past that date by a few hours, days, or weeks. I truly believe death can be stayed for some if prayers are sent out in ernest and in a great enough number. So today I ask all of you to keep a good friend – well within her 90’s – who has been ill and not expected to live past this Thanksgiving in your prayers. Her name is Theresa, of which her family request all other information to be kept private. So in Gods name we pray this prayer together as one world community:

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Prayer for a Small Miracle

Dear Lord, God in Heaven, hear my prayers and the prayers of your faithful who pray in Theresa’s name today, tomorrow, and for all time for a small miracle.

Hear my heart Lord, for it was you who gave Theresa life, allowed her to live within your heart; doing your will here on Earth, for this reason I ask of you a small miracle.

Hear my thoughts of grief Lord, for the life lived and richly rewarded by your humble hands, for this reason I ask of you a small miracle..

Hear my soul Lord, as I raise my eyes to you, pleading to breathe more life into Theresa so that she may be alert, happy, and be able to spend one last meaningful Thanksgiving with friends and family, for this reason I ask of you a small miracle..

Hear my words O’Lord, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Almighty One Everlasting God of my heart, I beg of you to grant Theresa one last stay Lord, not for our selfish desires; rather so to allow Theresa to smile and pray with us one last time, for this reason I ask of you a small miracle…

Hear my words O’Lord of Lords – Master of all the Universe if  it pleases you within your divine will; within your all knowing heart of hearts, I ask this small miracle on behalf of Theresa and all who love her dearly.

My God – My Prince of Life and of Death, I fear your wrath and am soothed by your all consuming love, I am humbled in your presences, and if you chose to bring Theresa home then Lord I pray it be quick and within your divine protection; for these reasons I ask of you this small miracle of life and of time for her to live among us for just a short while longer…

The Hands of Jesus

Lord I ask you to protect Theresa and keep evil from her door, keep sadness from her heart, and fill her with the holy spirit of your conviction and love.

Amen.

It is within God’s hands do we commit this prayer, and in His divine will to grant as we all pray daily.

May love and peace be with you all for all the days of your life.

Amen.

18  “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’  19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” ~ Genesis 2:18-22

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I love falling in love. I love how it makes me feel and the rush that it gives me. I love the intensity of love and the way it alters my perception on everything I am facing in life. I love the way love opens us up and allows us to see life from many different angles all at once. I love how this emotion takes us over making us consider accepting things we otherwise would not accept. I call this stage, “Wearing the Rose Covered Glasses”.  Many times because we become so tuned into and taken over by this unrealistic love we refuse to take those rose colored glasses off and thus we stumble around in love and blind to the realities and to the dangers that are in front of us. We fail to recognize a rose from the snake which is wrapped around and covering the thrones on its stem. We ignore the fact that love and the act of falling in love is biblical! Therefore, I say to you before falling in love with another person go back and read the bible from Genesis because love as awesome an emotion it is again originates from God because He is love! We need to act responicable in our love with both God and the other person we have fallen for. Thus, I warn you all now that rushing in to grab the fruits of such a personal relationship that love can establish can quickly be turned into a sin! I write this mainly for the young who are exploring love for the first time, for those who have never acted upon their impulses, who are still pure in the body and flesh for to you the goal is clear. Your goal is to fall in love once so that you never have to repeat the process of dating, marriage, and having children, so that you never face divorce or rejection in your relationship and so that you never lose that Godly love you were blessed with in the first place. Many young people have unrealistic expectations when they fall in love or become infatuated with another human being. Many young people cannot discern real love from infatuation because they ignored the first step in establish a lifelong love relationship with their potential partner. Young people often rush in for the main prize that God reserved solely for those who have dedicated their lives to each other in holy matrimony. Only to then be disappointed when their relationship falls apart.

God’s First Gift Within Your Love Relationship

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As Genesis indicates God made a partner for you; equal and ready to help you face life and all of its challenges.  God created Eve from Adam not so that Adam could dominate her, subdue her, and imprison her, but rather so they could live within that perfect union called marriage as a team for, “There is no ‘I’ in Team!”~ Author unknown.  Thus, if you first understand this simple concept then you can face life as a whole person, as a productive member of your society, loving member of your family, and a leader, teacher, and mentor to your children and all who you meet. God created mankind in His image and thus the image of God is love. We only have to take off the rose covered glasses to see ourselves in the light of God; in the light of purification and joy. Thus, marriage is sacred, it was created by God and anything outside of His will for our happiness and personal relationships is a sin.

What Is Acceptable

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The fine line between the loving relationship God accepts and the one he does not is the absolute starting place. I say to you all now that everything in your life must be God centered. There will be some people who take this with a grain of salt and ignore this teaching and just run with their emotions. “But what do you have in that?” Nothing! Absolutely nothing! You cannot save yourself without God in your life, for He alone made you! God alone granted you the privilege of life! He alone granted you this time on this Earth to be happy and without Him you have nothing! Yes, you could become the wealthiest person on Earth, have the most handsome or beautiful spouse, the best kids, the best possible life and not believe in God, but what do you have after this life? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! For everything in this world is temporary and will not last, but your eternal soul will carry on, thus the love and respect, courage and faith, even the time you give to God is in full measure what you will receive when you are judged by Him. It is a stupid notion to think you can escape God and His prefect judgment. To love God is to not just be happy now but to also be happy later, to choose to be with God now is in reality choosing to be with Him later. To rejoice in God is not just to be fruitful now but to be fruitful forever and ever. The loving relationship you have now with God will spill over into your loving relationship you will share with your spouse, with your family, and with all whom you meet. Thus, with God your life is truly blessed and without Him in your life you will be eternally lost. As I see it and hope that you all see it too is that in reality there is no real choice between them. I choose to live with God, to be blessed all the days of my life, to live with Him now and forever so that all my relationships are also blessed by God forever. I say this to you because my friends I would hope that all of you would choose the same in and for your life.

The Blessing in Taking Your Time

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I truly believe that taking your time – thus spending time – to understand, to learn, and grow in a friendship first relationship is the best avenue to building that skyscraper relationship that provides the loving, caring, and personal lifelong marriage relationship that we all crave. I say this because if you are not in a rush then you can learn to communicate, become comfortable within that communication and thus give the foundations the core attribute that is needed; or better known as “trust”. It is no secret I prize trust over everything else in my life after God. I would end any relationship if I feel I could not trust the other person. I would rather walk away than to live with a person whom I questioned at every turn. Trust is the core of all your relationships at every level of life, for it was intended by God that Adam and Eve implicitly trust one another to survive. What do you really have without trust? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! I have seen many people breakup because their trust was broken, marriages fall apart after decades because the trust was destroyed. I look at this word “trust” as like the “trusses” built into every building or bridge, you break them they fall and collapse in upon itself! Therefore, it takes time to build anything and this includes marriage relationships! I teach all my kids at school to be weary of, “so called friends” on the internet; people whom they have never met in person because this activity can lead to a very dangerous place. The question I pose to them is, “How can you really trust someone you don’t really know?” In this “How can you trust someone you have never met?” This extends into their life the older they get as they begin to examine and question all their relationships through a moral campus. It takes face to face connections, real life experiences where both parties see, hear, and understand each other in a real way. This teaching in some regard is contradictory to my own actions in my personal life where I have met people on the internet, became friends in the real sense of the word, and I have flown to various countries trusting the other person would be there when I landed and would fulfill their promise of taking care of me while I visited. I have created good relationships from this activity, but I have the experience of being in the Navy, traveling the world, understanding different cultures, and I can discern friend from foe. I present this without wearing the rose covered glasses, without expectations, without the fantasy younger people inter into their relationship with while trusting in a person they don’t real know nor trust. In the other sense of the word “trust” I have also befriended people who I seen, meet in person, and have been duped by them. Thus, “trust” should be something that takes time to build, takes time to affirm, and takes time to explore; in that time to earn.

 The Promise of a Healthy Sexual Life

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God made Adam, then he made Eve. This is a simple enough concept as it is implied that God made Eve to help Adam, to be with Adam, to love Adam. But this love Eve was given for Adam was also given to Adam when Eve was presented to him, flesh of his flesh bone of his bone, for they were one and the same within their love they held for each other. To have sex with your mate is to become one and to share in an action of passion that is either blessed by God or not blessed by God. Again I ask, “What do you really have apart from God?” Nothing! Absolutely nothing! This includes having sex with your partner, because if you engage in this activity outside of God’s blessing then it is not blessed. Sex for sex sack is not of God, for the promise of the fruits of marriage would thus be taken and spoiled. Too many people indulge their carnal cravings and live a never ending emotional rollercoaster that ends at the station forcing the rider to again wait in line to get back on the ride. “What do they have in their addiction to the highs and lows of the ride itself?” Momentary pleasure perhaps? “But what is that in contrast to a lifelong loving relationship with your equal?” Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Because God is eternal and we are made in his image we are also filled with a spirit that is also eternal, and thus to be with God is to follow God’s instruction for a pure heart, mind, and soul. To wait, to seek, to find, and to grow into a lifelong committed relationship is the only way to be filled with God’s love, and again this spills over to your spouse. “What then do you have if you are loved by another person with the same intensity as that of Eve’s love for Adam?” You will gain the very promise of God and will become filled with a burning love that no man could ever put asunder! For there is no rose covered glasses need within this relationship because it is real!

Amen,

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Brian Keith

The Making of a Saint

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” ~ Matthew 7:21-23

The fact is you might think your saved, you might do all the right things according to man’s laws, you might lead a so called “godly life”, but the reality is the Gates of Heaven is your goal! Salvation through Jesus Christ is your goal! As Matthew points out getting to heaven has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with your works here on Earth! It has nothing to do with simply going to church every Sunday because everyone else does it, praying because everyone else does it, following the crowd because that is what you have been told to do! I like to think getting to heaven is much like becoming a living Saint, there is many steps because it is a process as everything in life is a process, and if you ignore that process then all your deeds however good if not rooted in God’s eternal love will be as nothing, will count as nothing,  and Jesus will turn from you as if he did not ever know you.  Thus, lets look at how people become Saints in our modern era, and then balance the process against humanity which is so flawed.

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THE PROCESS

The process according to the Catholic Church in becoming a Saint is as follows; (Click Here For Article).

In stage one Sainthood for the Catholics begin with the personal testimony of people who knew the candidate. Personal testimony much in line with the personal testimony given after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this the person who is being considered did something which affected people in a profound way, something that was earth shaking to those who were affected by them. It could be as simple as giving joy, or love, the taking care of those who could not take care of themselves, to being humble and gracious. In all of these things the list is to long to write here but the actions of the candidate surely moved many peoples hearts.

Stage two information is gathered and the candidate is examined from all angles, their sins, their weakness, their worst moments to their best moments, as their very character is examined in its totality.

Stage three even more discussion and evidence is gathered; specifically within everything they wrote or published. Every act as the complete picture is becoming clearer of who this person was in life and what they stood for.

Stage four is the active prayer life of everyone who knew them and the Church looks to see if other people are being brought to pray by the candidate after their death. In this stage possible miracles are weighted and the total affect of that person’s life finally comes into full view.

Stage five yet another miracle is required that proves God has elevated this person to a high place in Heaven.

In all of these stages the candidate is judged by his/her piers, family, community, by the Church, and the world. I call your attention to the act of judging as this is something God will do to all who breath and who die. For God’s judgement is final and absolute, the picture of your life is clear to Him from day one. Therefore, His judgement of you is also just. In this I can honestly say that the process of becoming a Saint in the eyes of man is flawed when compared to God’s judgement, however this process is as close as we can get if followed to the letter.

THE UNNAMED SAINTS

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With all this said, I humbly offer that I truly believe that there are living Saints who are regular people who you see and do not know, whose name you will never hear, their ideas never published, and their works go unnoticed.  These unnamed Saints I believe are placed here on Earth to purposefully go undetected while working God’s will. After all it comes down too working the will of God, believing in God, trusting in God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength – for that is the true path to Heaven.

ST. VINCENT

This past Friday I saw St. Vincent staring Bill Murray – a man deeply flawed who to a boy was a Saint. It reminded me of all the reasons why people are judged and who are really never given a fare judgement by other adults. But through the eyes of a child that judgement is justified in ways adults simply cannot grasp. I bring this up because Bill Murray’s character is called into question by everyone and like Saints of the past and present those who are considered though judged on a larger scale; nevertheless every aspect of their lives are looked at. Bill Murray’s character would be a good representation of a modern day Saint who goes unnoticed and undetected as he simply is going about God’s business here on Earth and like the movie suggests there is a wonderful activity as a teacher I feel everyone should do. That activity is simple and straight forward and yes very powerful if completed by following it to the letter!

PICKING A PERSONAL SAINT

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Challenge – Think about the qualities of a real life Saint. (Though we cannot nominate everyone to be a Saint via the Catholic Church we can do the following in our own lives…) We start by asking this question: “Who do  you know that would make a good candidate for Sainthood in your life”? When thinking about this remember Saints are flawed human beings and so it is necessary to look past their flaws as God often does. Here is the list of qualities needed:

1.) Humility – Saints exhibit humility never calling attention to their good deeds.
2.) Sacrifice – Saints make huge sacrifices for the betterment of others which is often not in their own personal best interest.
3.) Persistence- Saints never give up.
4.) Love – Saints show the love of God in their daily actions.
5.) Faith – Saints demonstrate faith, thereby teaching others to have faith.
6.) Forgiveness- Saints always seek peace and the making of peace through forgiveness.
7.) Trust – Saints give you their word, their honor, and trust and do so blindly always looking at the good in all people. Therefore, they are people you can trust with your heart.

Amen

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Silence As A Weapon

3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lordkeep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” ~ Psalm 141:3-4

I am not going to make this long nor am I going to mince words. God did not intend for us to use silence as a weapon against members of our families whom we disagree with, or friends who have made us mad, or children whom are being hard to handle as children often are. God did not intend for us to use silence as a weapon and exile people from their homes or to make them feel uncomfortable in their own skin. His desire was not to give people the most mighty of weapons to make others guess where they stand or force them to jump through hoops to earn affection! God did not give us tongues so as to not use them, rather he wanted us to voice our opinions respectfully! Likewise, love is not silent! If you have ever said to someone that you love them, then turn around and use silence the first time or second time or any time they have disappointed you, or made you mad, or upset you for any reason, well then you obviously did not love them as much as you thought!

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God gave us free will to use as a guiding force to learn, to grow, to become more like Him. I have never known God to be silent in my life. I have wondered from time to time where He might have gone, why He may not be as vocal, but I have always heard His loving voice in my heart. I cannot say the same for some people in my life which will remain unnamed, as it is not my intent to single them out, but rather use their silence to show how irresponsible it is and how much of a waste of time it is to chose silence over forgiveness, over true love, over the opportunity to grow closer through your arguments. It is certain to me that God made all of us different, with our own thoughts, feelings, likes, and dislikes and each of us have a tongue to express these differences. It is a choice not to voice your feelings or to share them through communication! The notion you had no choice, well that is stupid! Recently I have been told by a friend they where silent because they felt they had no choice. My friends… you always have a choice! You always have the power to share or not to share, to give or not to give.

I do not pray to God to watch over my mouth to keep me silent, rather I pray that He watches over my mouth so I speak with respect, honor, dignity when addressing those who I disagree with. I do not pray to God to seal my lips, for this will happen at my death and I say to you all now that I am not dead and will not be dead for quite some time! I have a lot to say and a lot to share. There will be no one who I will allow to take my voice from me, no one will I allow to keep me so bottled up I react with silence!

Let’s explore this from another angle…. If I say that I love you then you can expect me to voice when I am happy with you, when I am disappointed with you, when I am upset at you and in that I may ask for some time alone but in no manner am I withdrawing from you and will use silence to punish you. You can expect the truth at all times no matter how painful that may be. I was given the opportunity and honor to love you and therefore I will guard that love with my voice, with my words, with my actions, with the truth! That my friends is what God does every day for every one of us here on this rock we call Earth! God is not going to sit on His throne in Heaven and look at you on judgement day and say nothing! Jesus is not going to defend you against Satan on judgement day with His proverbial silence! So why should I recoil from those I love and punish them with silence. To do anything that God would not do is not perfect, and therefore a sin. Silence as a weapon is a sin! Silence used to punish those you do not like is a sin!

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15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17

Conflict is not settled through silence, rather it is settled by everyone knowing what everyone else is thinking and feeling. How could I ever settle an argument if I have no clue why your angry? Out of ever tool God gave mankind – mind reading – was not among them!  Jesus could have never settles disputes had the two parties not come to Him first with their grievance. So I call it stupid for people to think the other person should know why, should understand, if no words had been exchanged which highlighted the grievance in the first or second or any place! At that point the angered party is just being willful which is also a sin! Why? Because God is love, and God is not silent, he does not lie, He does not alienate, He does not remain quite. Therefore, love is all about inclusion, forgiveness, mercy, and communication. Love is patient, it is kind, it is not quite, it is loud and sometimes obnoxious and painful, but more than anything else it is real and it is there with you every day for the rest of your life if you let it in. But silence is the mark of a hardened heart, and to be such a person is liken to condemning yourself to sin.

So I say to you all… be not silent, be not cowardly, be not weak, be not sinful, through away your ignorance, cast out your stubbornness and give in to the noise of love. Give your soul to the sharing of love, to the giving of your thoughts and feelings, for to do anything else is against your nature and against our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen

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The Differences between Love and Hate

In this first installment we will explore man’s definition of love, and in that the two all-consuming passions that utterly take us over and blind our reason forcing us to do both heroic and barbaric things to others depending on whether we feel love or hate for them.  In reality there is a very fine line between love and hate and in our brain there is virtually no difference between them.  That I know is a shocking statement in and of itself, but never the less this strange and scary construct has been scientifically proven to be true.  But before we go there let’s begin with scripture and then apply man’s definitions we have created for these two all-consuming emotions.  Let’s examine them biblically first then move into science.

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8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9

The Perfect Example of Love

The simple message carried throughout the Middle East and into Europe in the decades after the death of Christ by His disciples was a very basic one, “Love one another.” The absolute “Love” of God or “Agape Love” was the example and is today the hardest to achieve. I have to think that God would not have shown us such a perfect love if we as mortals could not attain it and in that we look to Jesus who throughout all the hateful things others did to him and others he loved never once acted out with anything in his heart other than this agape love of Gods.  So with that said we can extrapolate this purest of all love is attainable and should be our starting point in our search for the true definition of what Jesus really meant by;

John 13

34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” ~ John 13:34

Love Defined

It has been long debated what love is, how we should love, what love looks like, how to handle heartbreak, and the strong emotion love overwhelms us with. We have undoubtedly struggled with this concept we call love and in our rational mind love makes us do things which makes no sense to our personal well-being but rather fulfills a basic need all people are born with from the start.  This struggle all people contend with in both their personal and professional lives is further complicated with our struggle to understand an equally overwhelming emotion known as hate.  Hate presents the same questions as does love and it appears as strongly in our hearts as does love. One could even argue that hate is loves evil twin who twists loves goodness into a pool of unrecognizable film of darkness.  Therefore, love is an emotion which is equal to hate, and the line which divides them is much thinner than we could have ever imagined.  It boggles the mind how love could be at the root of a hateful act, and vice-versa, how hate could ever be linked to love.  In an attempt to explore this paradox we must first start with the modern definition of love;

Love is defined as –

  1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
  3. Sexual passion or desire.
  4. A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
  5. (Used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
  6. love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
  7. Sexual intercourse; copulation.  ~ Found online at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/love

First Form of Love

Each of the seven definitions covers a huge realm of emotions, feelings, and actions that are linked to other emotions that help to build this intense feeling of love.  An example of this is found in the first definition: a profoundly “tender”(the word “tender” is different than the word love and is uniquely described as being: weak, immature, easily moved, soft, young, delicate, not strong or hardy, and or gentle. ~ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tender ).  This word “tender” must then be viewed as nothing more than a supporting feeling of love linked in our actions for or against others while always playing a minor role in the background.

Example: I can argue in a “tender” way and thus be perceived as not being strong or weak on the argument. I can console another person “tenderly”, and thus be perceived as being soft and delicate. I can have a crush on another person and thus be perceived as being young or immature in my actions towards them, even biased when compared to others. None of which equals the emotion of love, but are qualities found in love. I could easily argue with my girlfriend or wife in a tender way so as not to hurt their feelings, I could console them softly, and act childish in my actions in private and when defending them become very bias because of my love for her. This extends to our children and other family members. We say this is love but in reality it is the expression of love in its weakest or mildest form.

Love Me Tender

So being “tender” is the first act of showing a growing emotion for another person and consequently the step to becoming vulnerable and complete exposed. It is proceeded by the second definition of love: a feeling of warm personal attachment – (here again we now are part of something bigger than ourselves and this most basic of emotions fulfills a primal need programmed into every person on earth by our creator – the need to belong. ~  https://listeningfaithfullyblog.com/2009/04/18/reflections-1-a-real-relationship-with-god-relationships-series/ )

In this first ever blog posting of Listening Faithfully I try to point out how we are hot-wired from the start by God in order that these emotions should guide us to serve our Lord emphatically.  However, the love that manipulates our choices and decisions are profoundly linked to first becoming willingly subdued to the strong over powering emotion of love. Therefore, the first sign of this would be to do something for someone else that in reality you would not have otherwise done and in this your actions are “tender”, others may perceive you as being silly or weak and even soft.  This perception can be both good and bad and carry with it a diverse volume of consequences, both unintended and intended.

Example: The irrational act of giving flowers or presents to a person you’re infatuated with without knowing their true feelings for you first – spending money you probably should have kept – defending a person even if it puts you in a weaker position with others – and my personal favorite, the games we play with ourselves when trying to justify these actions either to ourselves or others who have called us out on it.  However intense the act of being “tender” is in our own mind we are in reality sending signals out to the world like a probe in search of love – to test if this new connection will fulfill our most basic needs of belonging.

The Evolution of Love

Again, in all of this love is becoming stronger, our actions more manipulated, our ability to reason is more compromised, and this wonderful all-consuming emotion drives further into our heart and mind as it progresses into the next more powerful definition of love – that being: sexual passion or desire.  In this stage of love we as human-beings are able to express the deepest of emotions – the power to share without fear of being compromised – the need of confession is realized as is the bond between two people is thus born into it’s infancy not unlike an impenetrable bridge made of iron and concrete.  Sadly many people confuse the pleasures of this stage of love with the act of having sex which is a primal effort to pass ones genes on so as to insure the survival of one’s own lineage. In this confusion of feelings love becomes the act of having sex rather than the tenderness of giving flowers, or the soft manner we hold each other’s hand, or even the ability to argue softly with love in our voices. These pleasures are then lost as our bodies begin to crave carnal pleasure and our mind and emotions become detached from the true purposes of love. Therefore, what some would call love is in reality a sin and an abomination in the eyes of God. For no other reason is there so many divorces and children born out of wedlock.  For no other reason is there the crimes of passion we see played out nightly in the news, and the broken hearts of children who are left wondering why their parents are absent in their lives. ~ For a deeper explanation Click Here

FAMILY

On the other hand when these emotions are handled in a mature responsible way with dignity and respect do we see the miracle of God in the faces of our children, is there the foundations drilled deep that support a whole productive and balanced family unit, and in this do we see couples love and honor each other until death do they part.  But even this outcome is dependent fully on the trick of our minds and emotions that love weaves that allows us to do things we would not otherwise do with not clear benefits to ourselves but yet greatly benefits others around us. In this more complete definition offered by the bible do we find the root of love and also it evil twin – that of hate.

With that firmly rooted in your mind, I am always called back to the biblical definition of love – a definition where love is defined in a broader and more diverse way; one that goes far beyond the online dictionaries we have at our fingertips today and which I have quoted from in this posting.

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“4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

With this universal standard we can begin to understand what love really is and how powerful it can be.  We begin to fully view the greatest gift of all and how it manipulates our thinking, alters our actions, and provokes both heroic and barbaric deeds. We literally scratch the surface of this gift given to us by God and yet just start to uncover the deepest consequences it holds for all man-kind.

Amen

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Prayer for the Son’s and Daughters of Man

4 “O God, you have declared me perfect in your eyes; you have always cared for me in my distress; now hear me as I call again. Have mercy on me. Hear my prayer.  2 The Lord God asks, ‘Sons of men, will you forever turn my glory into shame by worshiping these silly idols, when every claim that’s made for them is false?’  3 Mark this well: The Lord has set apart the redeemed for himself. Therefore, He will listen to me and answer when I call to Him.   4 Stand before the Lord in awe,  and do not sin against Him.  Lie quietly upon your bed in silent meditation.   5 Put your trust in the Lord, and offer Him pleasing sacrifices.  6 Many say that God will never help us. Prove them wrong,  O Lord, by letting the light of your face shine down upon us.   7 Yes, the gladness you have given me is far greater than their joys at harvest time as they gaze at their bountiful crops.   8 I will lie down in peace and sleep, for though I am alone, O Lord, you will keep me safe.” ~ Psalm 4: 1-8

~ Pray Silently ~

Dear Lord, O’ God, how I tremble before you, how I fall to my face and pray with such excitement.  You hear my words before I can utter them and you answer my fears with resounding love and grace.  I hear your voice in my heart; I feel your presence working throughout my body even unto my very bones.  I so long for the silence within each day so I may spend it with you My Lord, My God.  O’ How I fall into your arms through meditation as I lay still at night.  O’ Lord, My God, I hear your voice calling out to me and I hear what you say, the questions you ask that I am afraid to answer for many of them lovingly convict me in my sin.  I hear the might in your voice and feel your absolute authority over all your people; your child.  I feel you chase away the evil which would attach itself to my heart; O’ Lord I am relaxed within your divine salvation.  With this I testify to you my God, I know you work your will through me and I ask you to do the same for all your children.  O’ Lord, My God, I beg of you to hear my prayer – baptize your elect with the Holy Spirit, Anoint our heads with your kiss, confirm your love with ever lasting peace, and forgive the sons and daughters of man.  Reassure their mind, heart, and soul that faith in you is never lost, let them feel you as I do, let them know your sacraments lead to a positive change,  and that this is your holy invitation to come home to your everlasting grace.  I ask of you O’ Lord, My God to enable your children to once again believe.  In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen ~ Brian Stark (2014, Jan. 18)

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Prayer When in Distress

A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom

“O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies.  2 So many say that God will never help me. 3 But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame.  4 I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me from his Temple in Jerusalem.  5 Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me.  6 And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. 7 I will cry to him, ‘Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!’ And he will slap them in the face, insulting them and breaking off their teeth.  8 For salvation comes from God. What joys he gives to all his people.” ~ Psalm 3:1-8

~ Pray Silently ~

Oh Lord, it is to you that I pray.  It is to you I hang all of my hopes and fears upon, for it is only you who truly knows my heart.  Lord, I call out to you as my redeemer; as my savior; for you have never left me when everyone else has abandoned me.  Oh Lord, I know you see my struggles, my hardships, and all my difficulties I have endured.  I know you have been there with me because I can feel you every moment of every day.  Though my head is bowed, and I am weak from the fight, I have your assurance I will prevail.  Though there are many who would bring me low, I have your promise that in that hour you will lift me high upon your shoulders.  You will keep watch over me when I sleep and vanquish all who would come after me in the darkest of night. Oh my Lord, My God, with these truths I have no reason to fear or be in any distress, for you are with me and I am with you.  For you give me your divine peace and holy security and it is through this I know I am truly saved.  In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen ~ Brian Stark (2014, Jan. 16)

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Prayer for our Nation!

2 “What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God!  2 For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King.  3 ‘Come, let us break his chains,’ they say, ‘and free ourselves from all this slavery to God.’  4 But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans. 5 And then in fierce fury he rebukes them and fills them with fear. 6 For the Lord declares, ‘This is the King of my choice, and I have enthroned him in Jerusalem, my holy city.’   7 His chosen one replies, ‘I will reveal the everlasting purposes of God, for the Lord has said to me, ‘You are my Son. This is your Coronation Day.  Today I am giving you your glory.’”  8 ‘Only ask and I will give you all the nations of the world. 9 Rule them with an iron rod; smash them like clay pots!’  10 O kings and rulers of the earth, listen while there is time. 11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear; rejoice with trembling. 12 Fall down before his Son and kiss his feet before his anger is roused and you perish. I am warning you—his wrath will soon begin. But oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him!'” ~ Psalms 2:1-12

~ Pray Silently ~

Oh’ Lord God in heaven; you who are the mighty one, I pray for your mercy, your wisdom, your forgiveness.  Give your mighty hand rest against this Earth, against our leaders who have fallen into idleness and confusion. Touch their heart with love infusing them for all time with compassion for your children who are sick, hungry, tired, and weak.  Show them their path is not righteous and holds no promise without your blessing, please Oh Lord, bring not your wrath to their plans but show them the blueprint of your mighty justice.  Lord my God, lift up those leaders who hold your name in reverence, bless all they do in your name, help them lead as your will provides it, and show them ever lasting love and glory.  Lord I ask for forgiveness against all my sins as I am a sinner who prays for other sinners.

Lord, I know your words are mighty, I know your ways are not mine, but I ask for your grace against my bones who you created, mold, and hold up against all adversity.

In these ways do I ask for you, Oh Lord, to hold together all your children, hold together all the weary, and hold in your hands all of us, giving your divine grace to everyone who asks especially our leaders… as we are all your children.  In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen ~ Brian Stark (2014, Jan. 14)

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Pray For Strength

1  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers:  2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night.  3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  4 The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.  5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  6 For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish.” ~ Psalms 1:1-6

~ Pray Silently ~

Oh’ Lord God in heaven hold my hands as they tremble, calm my mind as it struggles with doubt, bestill my heart for it will not relent, Oh’ God renew my faith.  Lord, I ask you – the one who knows all things, the one who knows my troubles and tribulations, the one who knows best the next course I should travel, Oh’ My God, My Savior, I pray that you might renew my strength. Oh’ Lord in heaven, take me past these people of wickedness, these people of selfishness, these people who are so blind with sin, Lord My God I beg you to deliver me from this place and shield me forever with your love, might, and mercy so that I might know peace.  I pray not for an easy life, but that of the will to endure this difficult path which tho has called me to travel. Oh’ my Lord give me strength.  In this I pray, Amen ~ Brian Stark (2014, Jan. 13)

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Jesus Holding the world

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5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” ~ Jeremiah 1:5

The Divine Spark

God declares through Jeremiah how He knew him, and in turn how God knows all of us before we are born.  God consecrates everyone of us, from Adam and Eve to you and me;  he kisses us on the  forehead and whispers the words that bind us with our everlasting souls, for it is God who ultimately gives life and blesses you.  If you look hard enough you will begin to see in the eyes of your children; especially when they are little, that blessing of Gods.  You can see the spark of life which God gave and which makes our children so happy, always putting a smile on their faces and a laughter to their voice, that my friends comes directly from God.  As a parent I witnessed this miracle, and I fought so hard to preserve these wonderful laughs, smiles, and kisses my daughter would shower my face with daily; always knowing that someday they would end as life caught up to her.  I tried to keep her innocent because as her father I was sworn by God to protect her, that and admittedly I hate change, and  there was always this threat of change on the horizon.  As a parent we watch our children grow and become smarter and then they become independent.  As painful as this process is this too comes from God.  It happened to your parents and their parents before them and so on from the first to the last parent this is the natural order of things. We are bystanders to the growth and development of our children because let’s face it, there will be things your children will learn that you did not teach nor agree with but they learned it anyway.  As a teacher I see those unwanted teachings that our children glen from other children and or from the violent video games they play, the songs they listen too,  to the very movies and T.V. shows they watch every single night.  I see some parents who become lax in their responsibilities and stop teaching God in their house and or stop attending Church, and this accumulates into some parents who actually stop teaching the  Bible as their own personal faith wains.  In those cases if as parents we stop teaching God then we inadvertently stop teaching such things as respect, honesty, and morality that is at this moment so absent in all the other modern media and thus if we don’t teach these things to our children then how can we say before God we lived up to our responsibilities in raising them?  How can we possibly expect our children to be respectful to us and others, to be honest, to be and lead a moral life?  Thus, if we cannot expect these things from our children then why would we expect others to treat us with dignity, honor, and show compassion and love? Thus, when God Himself asks each one of us on judgement day to explain how we did or did not protect our children, I pray you can give awesome examples of how you personally protected his divine spark within your offspring.

Modern Day Examples

The perfect example of how godless our society has become can be found in the United States Congress who for the past two – three years has gone after our democratically elected President, tried to end his signature law that has and will prove over time to benefit millions of Americans by trying at all costs to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.  Some even tried to “Shut Down” the Federal Government costing Americans $14861.0 billion and are prepared to try this radical tactic again! What about those States who refuse to expand Medicaid? Do they have the best interest of all Americans at heart? What about those who have passes laws to suppress the African American Vote, the Female Vote? Who’s best interest are they truly serving?   These same lawmakers claim a 20 year war on poverty but fail to count all the years from President Johnson to this day all the Republican Presidents and Representatives who tried to end those policies which hurt millions of Americans through such reckless and thoughtless actions as President Ronald Wilson Reagan’s fabled and failed, “Trickle Down Economics”, policy.  Indeed it did trickle down; for the wealthiest of Americans grew richer and the poorest of Americans grew poorer, and the fabled Middle Class disappeared!  In fact according to Zach Anderson who wrote, “Clearly we do not live in a representative democracy if the majority of people wants something and yet congressional votes portray the opposite of those desires.”, (August 8, 2012, Policy Mic), and I agree completely! I think the one comment that was made in public by North Dakota, Republican Congressman, Kevin Cramer  who voted; ” to deny food to 1.8 million low-income seniors and people in low-income working families, 170,000 veterans, 210,000 children would lose school breakfasts and lunches in 2014″, (Jason Easley, Saturday, September, 21st, 2013, 7:05 pm, Politicus USA), which sums up this humanities issue, or crises which is caused when the Bible and it’s teachings is not taught properly in the home, instead we manufacture idle representatives who misquote the Bible by saying what Mr. Cramer had the never to say in defense of his reprehensible vote, “’If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  This is the very passage in the Bible he is attempting to quoted,

“Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Here is the full passage: 10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” 

2 Thessalonians 3: 10 if read in it’s full context is talking about idleness which is a sin.  As I have always taught on this blog to read the full passage and to also read the two passages before and after so that the passage one wants to quote is understood in it’s full context. Thus, here is the full reading as I teach it;

7 “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9 This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Thus, as an example we need to do our best and not be idle, not take for granted, not deny anyone the right to live comfortably when they are unable to provide for themselves as Jesus states very clearly as he wanted us to imitate him to the letter!

36 “I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” ~ Matthew 25:36

So I here command the Congress to heed the following:

11 “For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:11

Because if they don’t this is what will happen:

 40 “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,  you did it to me.’41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'” ~ Matthew 25:40-43

~ The Truth Shall Set You Free ~

It makes me angry that our Representatives would misquote the Holy Book to justify their idleness, (sin),  in not doing their jobs! It makes me angry when they deny God’s children food, deny the elderly who worked all their lives and then call them lazy, it makes me angry when veterans who answered our nations call, sacrificed their life and limb and who deserve to be feed, clothed, and taken care of mental as well as physically and then have our Government call them lazy!  It makes me angry when our Representatives who are not doing the work they where elected to do in representing our best interest and then misquote the Bible taking out of context God’s message to mankind, thus sending lower-income working families further into poverty! Where is it that these people can be found to be undeserving or lazy? I say to you these people are on the right hand of God and shall be saved and those who vote in congress to dismantle this great country, misquote God’s very message, and deny the needy then you shall suffer long with Satan as you have already hardened your hearts and sold your soul!

The same can be said for those parents who do not protect your children and who do not preach or teach the values which this country was founded upon, and the rights God gave all men to know Him!  For you have deprived your children of the promise and fruits of Heaven and of God’s undeniable singular truth!

22 “Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” ~ Romans 21: 22-25

By allowing our children to see perversions on T.V. or music award shows where Miley Ray Cyrus, (and she’s not the only one),  is exhibiting immoral behaviors, or movies where men sleep with men, and women sleep with women, to actually condone such behavior then as a parent you have stopping protecting your child or children, stopping protecting your family as well as yourself and have sold them a lie.

26 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” ~ Romans 21: 26-32

Defiling the Divine Spark

It makes me angry that some of us would vote to change our moral teaching to suit those who work such evil!  For they twist and misrepresent the very words which would give them salvation, and instead exchange these blessings to make our children thing evil thoughts, and to practice evil deeds as they, our children, are impressionable, who need our protection and love; but whom also are looking to their parents to imitate; looking to their parents to learn how to act, how to live, how to love, how treat others, how to believe, and even how to function as a moral person.  If you do not believe that the teachings of God in under attack then you are sadly mistaken!  You only need to look at America’s divorce rate as reported by Enrichment Journal on the divorce rate in America:

  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

If you do not believe that this spark of life that God gave freely is being defiled then you are sadly mistaken!  You only have to look at all the fatherless homes in America ,

  • 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, Vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]

If you do not believe our very freedoms are being stripped from us then you are sadly mistaken! You only have to look at how our officials punish others for not supporting their views; you only have to look at the lies our Representatives are spewing, our Governors are vomiting, our Governments are try it’s best to sell to the masses by allowing laws to take affect that are morally wicked, and attempting to destroy those laws which give aid to the needy!

  • Traffic trouble has NJ governor Chris Christie in a jam of his own – Read more!
  • Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians. – Read More!
  • What’s wrong with letting same-sex couples legally “marry?” – Read More!

I say to you my friends then you are sadly mistaken!  The very words of God are under attack, just as our values, morality, beliefs, and that precious spark that God gave to all of us is also under attack! If you don’t believe me then look at the 2013 chart of Americans abortions;

outcomesunintpreg

5 “And Jesus began to say unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray. 6 Many shall come in my name, saying, I am he; and shall lead many astray. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled: these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be earthquakes in divers places; there shall be famines: these things are the beginning of travail. 9 But take ye heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in synagogues shall ye be beaten; and before governors and kings shall ye stand for my sake, for a testimony unto them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations. 11 And when they lead you to judgment, and deliver you up, be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children shall rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. 14 But when ye see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not (let him that readeth understand), then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains: 15 and let him that is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out his house: 16 and let him that is in the field not return back to take his cloak. 17 But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that it be not in the winter. 19 For those days shall be tribulation, such as there hath not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never shall be. 20 And except the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ; or, Lo, there; believe it not: 22 for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have told you all things beforehand. 24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 and the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send forth the angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 28 Now from the fig tree learn this parable: when her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; 29 even so ye also, when ye see these things coming to pass, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” ~ Mark 13:5-31

Therefore, I say to you I wish no ill on anyone, but rather wish to show the truth as the truth and the light as the light so as no one shall be confused, so that everyone who wanted to be among the elect can be saved.

Amen,

If you liked this Reflection on The Divine Spark … please leave a comment. Also please “LIKE” and “SHARE” this post with others.

Brian Keith

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