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Archive for the ‘Family Series’ Category

A Warning Not to Forget God in Prosperity

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8 “This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:1-2

The journey of Moses is the same journey that every father lives from the first day our first child is born to the day we breathe our last breath. The journey of Moses is the same journey as Christ when we reflect on the word “Charity”. This reflection I hope will take you on the perfect journey of what we are truly celebrating, that being first “The Most Holy Body And Blood Of Christ” and secondly that of “Father’s Day”.

Let’s begin with Moses, the Father of Isreal. We begin with a warning to not forget the hardship, the daily testing, the formation process, the charity God had provided His people through Moses.  God, the Father is the provider of everything we need, His word alone is all we need, and the daily ritual of living; if done through God’s commandments, will result in great prosperity.  This message of Moses is the same message every good father tells their children when it’s time to let them go experience the world. Most particularly Moses reminds the Hebrews about the gifts of God, i.e. when they were starving in the desert God provided them with manna from Heaven, when they were thirsty God provided them with water from the rocks. Let’s fast fast-forward, in our world today every father works hard to provide for his children, works one, two, and even sometimes three jobs to provide food, clothes, a place to sleep, and education for his children. A good father provides just as God provided for the Israelites through His prophet Moses. In this way through, “Charity”, basic necessities are provided for us as children by both our earthly father and our Heavenly Father. In both instances, the manna from God is the provision and the first partaking of the body and blood of Christ thousands of years before His birth. Moses prayed and God delivered in the times of need what they needed. So too does our earthly fathers work hard and pray and God makes it possible for them to deliver what is needed to his family.

CONNECTIN 1: So we celebrate both the provision of manna, “The Most Holy Body And Blood Of Christ”, within the celebration of what our earthly fathers work hard to provide to their children. 

Aren’t We All Called to Participate in One Body?

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16 “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NRSVACE) 

If Moses’s journey through the wilderness was an act of Charity, if God sending Moses to confront the Pharaoh in Egypt was an act of Charity, and if earthly fathers providing for their children are  an act of Charity then so too is the greatest of sacrifices we have ever seen in history; that of the perfect lamb, Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is His body we take into our body and together we become one, one body and blood with Christ, one body and blood with God, and one in Christ with our many brothers and sisters worldwide! It is an act of Charity that leads all of us to Costly Discipleship which is provided by God’s Costly Grace.

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“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1995). The Cost of Discipleship, p.45

The case for a man to provide for his children is the same sacred duty that God Himself carries out in our everyday lives. It is the Holy Body and Blood of Christ that makes us all one and it is through this act of Charity have we found Discipleship and Grace with God the Father. Mankind could not be saved with Sacrifice because we are inherently born in sin. To this point, Jesus was born Sinless, and thus the perfect sacrifice to save our souls and to become one with our Father in Heaven. However, this comes at a cost; our salvation came at a cost. So it is proper to say, aren’t we all called to participate in the sacrifice of Christ, to eat from one loaf?

3 “Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.” ~ Deuteronomy 8: 3-5 The Message (MSG) 

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So we learn that God disciplines us out of Charity to disciples us, in the same ways Earthly Fathers disciplines their children out of Charity, to make disciples out of them.

CONNECTIN 2: God provided food for the starving Isieliriates out of Charity, which was bringing them into costly discipleship, or costly grace. In the same was earthly fathers bring their children into discipleship through partaking in the one loaf, by educating their children to partake in the eucharist of Christ. All of which could not be a reality with great sacrifice. 

Truest of Intentions

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51 “‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53 So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.’” ~ John 6:51-58 (NRSVACE) 

Every day we live we are tested by God. That statement is a scary one because it makes us accountable. Each test we pass we grow in our faith, and each test we fail we must repeat. God is true to His words and that is what makes His word life for the sinner. Moses knew this and saw many perish in the desert, many more passed and became a nation. God tests us to prove to our own mind, heart, and soul that we are ready and that our intentions are honorable, that we will obey His commandments. God knows who will and who won’t, but as it rains on the evil doer it also rains on the righteous by this we then are all given the same equal opportunity at His testing, His molding, His teachings, His word.

The Eucharist is the one body, the one loaf we all partake, as each test builds our faith, and we, therefore, become disciplined in the ways of God. This is passed down from Moses to modern man, each Earthly Father has a sacred calling to bring up his children in the admonition of the Lord. Each Earthly Father is rightfully, therefore, called a provider acting out of charity to his children. Each Earthly Father is, therefore, rightfully, tested in his abilities to provide, to partake in daily sacrifices for his children. Each Earthly Father is proven worthy when he obeys the commandments of God and brings his children to the Lord as disciples proving daily that each moment is God-centered, God-inspired, and God tested! We all are made worthy through this process and we are all saved through each word of God, for that is all that we need. Moses is warning us today to not forget what God has done, not to forget what Jesus Christ has done, not to forget the Lord our Heavenly Father when we become prosperous in our earthly lives for each thing given is from God.

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Today we celebrate our Heavenly Father, His son Jesus, and all our Earthly Fathers who partake in the one loaf of eternal life. We celebrate each man who takes up this sacred vow and which moves mountains for his child/ren, and who willing is tested, willing makes sacrifices, willingly takes on the responsibility to discipline his child/ren into disciples of God. It is the greatest act of Charity these things can happen and it is through His Costly Grace we are saved. As an Earthly Father, our sacred duties begin with the first breath of our first born child and ends at our last breath.

“Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son; ye were bought at a price”, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1995). The Cost of Discipleship, p.45

CONNECTIN 3: God tests us daily, He provide us with manna from heaven and His sons Holy Body and Blood so that we may have everlasting life. God proves to our hearts and minds the knowledge of our truest intentions as he is molding us, making us disciplined in His ways so we too can become His disciples. This is a costly process because it cost God much. 

Challenge Question: Can you list the many ways you have shown others Charity? Can you list all the people you have discipled, or how many people you have won over for God? How about listing how many times you have heard God directing you to show Charity through your own discipleship?

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 2017!

Video Version of Reflection: Click Here

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

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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Mother’s Day Message

4 “Rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” ~ 1 Peter 3:4 (NRSVACE)

With Mother’s Day upon use let not the moment fade without there being the proper sentiment being spread throughout the world. For what do our mothers do for us on a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily basis which gives our lives such meaning and which gives rise for such celebration? In that idea, the perfect way to celebrate this special day is to see our mothers through the prism of how Jesus see’s and celebrates His own mother, Mary.

Introduction of Mother Mary

26 “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” ~Luke 1:26-27 (NRSVACE)

Imagine if you will the town in Galilee called Nazareth. It would have been a small place complete with a small town environment where everyone would have known everyone else. “The people of Nazareth were essentially farmers, so they needed space between the houses for livestock and their enclosures, as well as land for plants and orchards. Nazareth would have had a population of around two to four hundred in antiquity, that is to say, several extended families or clans.” ~ Elizabeth Fletcher (2012) Basic Facts about Nazareth.

Now imagine a girl who was completely nieve to the world and yet was engaged to be married and according to scripture; Mary was pure in heart and mind. I think that in this moment Mary’s true attractiveness to God was her purity, her love, her faith in God.  Another consideration is that God fulfills his promises in the most unlikely of ways. But interestingly enough God fulfills His promise of a savior through scripture, marking the savior as being born from the house of David. Both Mary and Joseph was descendant from King David; Joseph from David’s son Nathan, and Mary from David’s son Solomon. In this way we see the perfect parents to God’s only son Jesus and for scripture to be fulfilled.

Look at your own parents, particularly your mother’s family tree.  How did God make it possible for your parents to meet? Remember that God fulfills scripture and He can make the impossible happen; so think big and outside of the box. God brought Mary and Joseph together in order that His son would be raised within the loving home as the descendant of King David.  God brought you into the world from a special family and for a special purpose. Look deep and see the connections that God has placed in your own families story.

26-28 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: ‘Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.'” ~ Luke 1:26-28 The Message (MSG).

The Archangel Gabriel came from heaven to deliver a message straight from God. His words within this message indicate a radical departure from the life Mary was leading to one that was completely blessed by and one with God.  In that moment Mary was elevated from a normal human being to a Holy Bride. Mary was chosen to give life to the savior in our mortal sinful world. But what Gabriel explained to her next would have scared anyone else away, but not Mary for again, she was pure inside and out!

33 “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.  He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever— no end, ever, to his kingdom.” ~ Luke 1:26-33 The Message (MSG).

Because Mary had observed every Jewish custom she had never slept with nor had any sexual relations with any man. So naturally, her thoughts begged the question; “How could this be?” Gabriel went on to explained;

35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.” ~ Luke 1:26-35 The Message (MSG). 

The purity of mary shined through when she finally understood because it led her to open her heart and answer God with love;

38 “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.’ Then the angel left her.” ~ Luke 1:26-38 The Message (MSG). 

 Mary’s Love For Jesus and God

21  “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” ~ Luke 6:21 (NRSVCE) 

Mary so loved Jesus that she protected Him from all harm, she loved Him with all her heart and soul, she cared for Him as only a mother could. She afforded Him an up bring and teachings every Jewish mother had. But, what Mary had done that was most outstanding was to give her family the gift of love.  She taught Jesus and all her children from Joseph the acts of mercy, love, forgiveness, and truth. In that, many of the words Jesus used on the topic of love are maternal in nature and therefore, coming from his mother. Think about your own words you use with others. How many of those words could be contributed to your mother or your father? Yes, Jesus’s overall message is a Godly message, but remember the spirit of God was also in Mary, the message she taught Jesus was one and the same. Mother’s generally reinforced behaviors throughout our entire life, so the behaviors passed onto Jesus from Mary were holy, pure, and Godly. Mary’s influence spans the individual moments that Jesus experienced as being poor living as all other poor Jews lived under the hardships of the Roman oppression. Mary’s influence overshadowed the moments when Jesus was physically hungry or when He was sad and cried, for her words to Him was uplifting, caring, considerate, and heartfelt.

Give yourself a minute and remember the funniest moment you experienced with your mother, remember the joy in your heart, the sense of security, love, and protection. Remember the sound of your mother as she laughed with you, the feel of her touch upon you, the smell of her clothes or perfume as she hugged you. I think this is as close to heaven as we can get here on earth; to experience the pure love of your mother. Jesus had this in abundance! It is my sincere hope all of you do as well!

Mother are also instrumental in teaching the hard lessons of life, most particularly the lessons which set children free of what makes use feel safe and secure.  The older we grow hopefully the wiser we become, and the troubles we experience are lessened by our mother’s advice. I remember calling my mother every day asking her deep questions when I faced my deepest hurts. It was the strength of my mother I drew upon when confronting the scary things in this life. In this way, Mary also excelled as she knew the faith of her son the redeemer of the world. Think about the fear which penetrated her heart every day from His birth to His death helpless to do anything about it. Mary was indeed a brave and strong woman. Reflect upon your own mother, how much of a help she was in your times of need, how brave she was when she gave advice, how courageous she was for seeing your hurts coming but could do nothing to stop them?

Reflect upon your own mother, how much of a help she was in your times of need, how brave she was when she gave advice, how courageous she was for seeing your hurts coming but could do nothing to stop them?

In reflection, I will say to you my brothers and sisters in Christ that our Mother Mary was strong, courageous, and true to Jesus until the very end, as she stood there on Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), and watched grief stricken as Jesus drew his last breath. Mary remained by her son’s side until they brought Him down from the cross and had buried Him. She was among the woman at the tomb of Jesus, and she was instrumental to the spreading God’s message to the world. Mary was loyal to her husband, family, and to God all the days of her life. Her example is as a perfect for how to be a true servant of God as it is to being a beautiful human being and mother. In this way, because Jesus saved us from our sins, Mother Mary is the mother of the world; the world freed from the debt of sin. Her message of love, nurturing, and forgiveness is the very essence of God’s (Agape) love. Look deep inside your own hearts and you will find the same love from your own mothers here on this special day we celebrate called Mother’s Day.

Amen,

Ways to Communicate

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

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

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

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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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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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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!

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“Don’t acquire gold, silver, or copper. Carry no purse, no knapsack, no sandals. Don’t bring a second tunic or a staff. Don’t stop to greet people along the way.” Q29, Lost Gospel Q.

There are many people in today’s cynical world who write blogs, magazine articles, report various viewpoints on T.V. and radio, and even some who preach the word of God that would have you believe that God’s economy is the same as man’s economy. There are some who would tell the stories of the bible linking them to our current-fiscal crisis; the political storm which took over the United States Government and  which was successful in closing the Government partially and treating the world economy at large, all while linking these events to God. Some even use the bible to condemn rich people, the wealthy establishment, those who do not have to worry ever of where their next meal is coming from. But I tell you that money which fuels the United States Economy, and the world economy is not and has nothing to do with God’s economy for God has no use for those things of the this world for everything in this world will someday pass away. Jesus did not preach about how to collect wealth, but rather how wealth was to be used in this life to help those in need, for to transfer man’s earthly wealth to heaven cannot be done. Man’s creation or false sense of security we lovingly call our economy is just that a creation of man, not God, therefore nothing we make, build, or invent can be taken with you when you die no matter how hard one tries.  The ultimate example of man trying to take his wealth with him is found throughout the world in the great tombs of long lost Kings and Queens, most notably that of the Egyptian Pharaohs, of which great riches where buried and then later plundered.  But yet the economy of God in this posting refers to your relationship with God, his riches that which he shall bestow upon those who served him in this life and who proclaimed His name to all the Earth  in this life.  For Jesus stated quit clearly do not collect  gold, silver, copper, and in this he was telling those who believed in Him as the son of man that these Earthly things will not be of any value in the world yet to come.

The Command of “Don’t”!

“Don’t be blinded by the pursuit of food, clothing, and possessions. Stop worrying about these things. Only those who lack spirit and soul pursue them. You have a Father who knows what you need. Set your heart on God and these other things will be given to you.” Q53, Lost Gospel Q.

The word, “Don’t” is very clearly a command to “Not Do”, it is very clearly a, “Do Not”,  from the Lord!  He is guarding us from the same sin which took down Eve in the Garden of Eden, He is trying to keep us safe from the sin of Pride which Lucifer had fallen from grace over thus spawning original sin.  It is a sign-post to take exceptional note of and to obey completely and faithfully. Over and over in the Bible one can find the basic story of how mankind is corrupted by jealously, lust, and greed, all of which leads to violence and crime.  “Do Not build your wealth here on Earth”; “Do Not be blinded by money and wealth”; “Do Not acquire gold, silver, or copper”;  All are implicit commands to stay away from this most damning of temptations because those who fall to this sin will not be sharing the riches of Heaven, those people who fall to this sin are in Jesus’s words, “lacking in spirit and soul”.  So, I find it very troubling that man completely and utterly ignored this command from Jesus and instead created great wealth and through that wealth, (which continually grows for a small select few of the world’s population), that we now have great poverty thrust upon those who have not the same resources in-which to compete against a person of means. The sin is not in the act of acquiring  but rather in the larger picture of destruction it reeks upon the world at large; i.e. the rich man who does not spend his money to help the worlds hungry, or to educate the worlds illiterate, and / or the rich man who does not use his money to build homes for the homeless; all of this is in-fact the acts of the rich who are lacking in spirit and soul.  What good is there in giving to those who have while ignoring those who have not? How simple it is to keep building wealth while ignoring the abject poverty their lack of action in helping those lesser off than they creates!  Reaching further into the roots of this sin of wealth building for the sake of building wealth we find this guiding question; “What good would have come if those who are rich in economic resources had helped to build homes, schools, pantries and soup kitchens, and to care for the sick and elderly, what impact would this kindness have brought?”  But rather the sin is in the decision to willfully deny  God’s people by not sharing the wealth but rather using it to buy bigger and better homes for ones-self, to buy outlandish yachts to display ones-own wealth and personal power, to buy businesses for the sole purpose to fueling ones-own greed and to keep the money rolling into a singular coffer so as to be spend on foolish things which do not improve the world or it’s population by any degree of measure.  The sin is profoundly rooted in the question;  “What miracles could have been worked for the benefit of all mankind?”  For the repercussions of greed is rooted in the impoverishment we see worldwide, thus it is not that God hates rich people rather God hates the greed the rich are subjected too, God hates the lust for power that the massively wealth entertains daily!  God hates the politics which rich people endorse that leads to the buying of  a bigger home rather than to help in the purchasing of homes, (plural),  for the thousands who are homeless, the lack in soul which prevents and distorts that beautiful and graceful miracle of helping people of all walks of life to be feed, or educated, and / or to be cured of their life zapping illnesses. God hates the choice some of the most wealthy partake which serves ones-self, (in the singular), interest by commiserating in the blissful spending of wealth on selfish and self-serving things!

 The same is true with great nations like the United States, Great Britain, the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Britannia, Rome, Egypt, and the great Central American empires of the distant past. History records God’s wrath played out upon those people who refused to build better for the common good and defense of all, the sharing of resources and wealth, and who rather played the politics of man rather than to set their eyes upon God.  All these great empires with the exception of the United States lost their position because they rather set their collective sights on the power that their economics brought to them than the good they could have done with it.   Every single empire sought out war to increase their collective wealth, sacrificed millions of their own son’s to secure their dominance over their neighbors and to plunder resources which did not belong to them. The United States in some of these sins share an equal part of the over all punishment and damnation which all other nations have been burned by, and yet there is one specific sin which the United States vastly out weights every other nation on earth for, that sin is PRIDE!

The American Pride is exceptional in all the Earth, it fuels the American erogance which has brought low the economic worth of the dollar to the point which the United States Government shows off its complete and utter futility to fight against it’s self, to guard against it’s own self interest, and too in the greatest of political struggles manage to boast of how the world needs it’s security when in fact it was the security of the American Dollar that the American Government came so close to devaluing for a second time in the course of the past three years of infighting!   No other country would have allowed its currency to be devalued through it’s own governmental system or construct, for no other country is as erogant as the United States!  The American sin is illustrated in no greater way than the political hemorrhaging of the Republican Party from 2009-to  the current date due largely to an inflated ego that allows the American Federal Legislature to exhibit over confidence, the sin of wealth has produced unrivaled political brinkmanship, and all this has put on display before God and the world something which God does not tolerate, hypocrisy!  How can representatives spout that America spends to much if their own strategy spends more money in a 16 day period than the law it was trying to unfunded will spend in 10 years? How can representatives vote to destroy an economy their constituents voted them in to save? How can representatives justify putting millions out of work, keeping them from paying their bills and yet receive a pay check to do the same thing they have keep millions from doing and which by virtue of their actions prevented the nation from doing? This American hypocrisy runs so deep that it even allowed a small fraction of the House of Representatives, (The Peoples House), to take hostage the entire Federal Government, paralyzing the nation and the world, forcing millions to go without food, housing, education, medical care, and it was the sole cause of the shut down! Yet these 144 members blame the President who refused to allow them to continue playing this game, refused them from hurting more Americans, and possible the world economy!  In doing further investigations it is apparent their own hypocrisy spilleth over, for many use the government resources they fought to shut down for the masses, many of them have taken from the purse of the nation in support for their own families and constituents, while spouting the evils of big government!  It would seem that the Peoples House no longer serves all the people, it is in these deeds of man that God said to “Not Do”!

The 144 Hypocrites 

Aderholt, Amash, Amodei, Bachmann, Barr, Barton, Bentivolio, Bishop (UT), Black, Blackburn, Brady (TX), Bridenstine, Brooks (AL), Broun (GA), Bucshon, Burgess, Campbell, Carter, Cassidy, Chabot, Chaffetz, Collins (GA), Collins (NY), Conaway, Culberson, Denham, DeSantis, DesJarlais, Duffy, Duncan (SC), Duncan (TN), Ellmers, Farenthold, Fincher, Fleischmann, Fleming, Flores, Forbes, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Garrett, Gibbs, Gingrey (GA), Gohmert, Goodlatte, Gosar, Gowdy, Granger, Graves (GA), Graves (MO), Griffith (VA), Hall, Harris, Hartzler, Hensarling, Holding, Hudson, Huelskamp, Huizenga (MI), Hultgren, Hunter, Hurt, Johnson (OH) Johnson, Sam, Jones, Jordan, King (IA), Kingston, Labrador, LaMalfa, Lamborn, Lankford, Latta, Long, Lucas, Luetkemeyer, Lummis, Marchant, Marino, Massie, McCaul, McClintock, Meadows, Messer, Mica, Miller (FL), Miller (MI), Mullin, Mulvaney, Neugebauer, Noem, Nugent, Nunnelee, Olson, Palazzo, Pearce, Perry, Petri, Pitts, Poe (TX), Pompeo, Posey, Price (GA), Radel, Reed, Renacci, Rice (SC), Roby, Roe (TN), Rogers (AL), Rohrabacher, Rokita, Rooney, Ross, Rothfus, Royce, Ryan (WI), Salmon, Sanford, Scalise, Schweikert, Scott, Austin, Sensenbrenner, Sessions, Smith (MO), Smith (TX), Southerland, Stewart, Stockman, Stutzman, Thornberry, Turner, Wagner, Walberg, Walden, Walorski, Weber (TX), Wenstrup, Westmoreland, Williams, Wilson (SC), Woodall, Yoder, & Yoho

God’s Currency

“Don’t pile up your treasures here on earth. They will be destroyed by moths and rust and stolen by thieves. Store your riches in heaven where moths and rust are powerless and thieves cannot break in. Wherever your treasures is, your heart will also be.” Q 54, Lost Gospel Q.

God’s economy is vastly different than the examples of the economy of man above.  God’s economy is anchored upon principals that build faith in God.  This economy is in general one of faith, obedience, loyalty, love, forgiveness, mercy, and is secured upon the corner stone of  God’s grace.  Therefore, Jesus instructs us to not build up treasures hear on earth, rather store your riches in heaven. The riches Jesus is talking about is not currency that comes from earthly materials but rather the love and grace you bestow upon those less fortunate than yourself.  God’s currency is your obedience, your willingness to set your sights on Him alone.  Through this Jesus also uncovers a mystery of how God measures this obedience for Our Lord states quit clearly, “For wherever your treasure are, there to is your heart”, and God lives within your heart, He breaths in the same air you breath if you willing accept His presence in your life.   God promises to never let you down, to always be with you and to guide you, and most importantly to love you no matter what.  This does not mean that He agrees with everything you do, or endorses everything you endorse, but He promises to mold you into a more perfect person if you allow Him too.  Thus, the 144 Congressman who voted to keep the United States Government shut down and to ruin the economic power of the United States and to destabilize the world economy, God does not endorse their politics or political brinkmanship, but God still loves them and is open to forgiveness  even though the vast majority of Americans will not.  That in and of its-self is the best example of Gods grace in action.  In this Jesus is also adamantly expressing the totality of treasures awaiting us in heaven, for it is better to be loved by family than to have a million dollars of man’s gold, silver, platinum, or a million acres  of prosperous crops, for the real reward is rooted in the deep love of family and this love is eternal even during periods of fighting and name calling.  In this way to be called a son of God, a brother or sister of Jesus Christ is ultimately the best treasure anyone could ever hope for because this at its core means God so loves you that he sees you as one of His sons or daughters, and this implies by all of God’s promises that you shall eat from the table of the Most High God. This treasure cannot be destroyed by moths or rust, nor stolen by thieves, and God never takes back something which he has given in good faith. The attainment of Heaven is in and of it’s self the full embodiment of the victory of the cross, for even death cannot permanently take away what God has blessed you with.  The economy of God is not fickle and never will it sway in the wind.  God knows every one of your needs and he places those needs above your wants, taking good care to love you and to provide for you those things that will sustain you.  The treasure of God’s love exceeds all known currency of man, it is priceless among the measures of men, it over shadows all nations wealth and power by such an amount there is no way for man to completely comprehend what is truly gained for such a small act of faith in God.   All of this might sound lofty but the proof has already been shown within the life and times of Our Lord Jesus Christ, proof has been exhibited by the conversion of the Roman empire to Christianity by a small group of believers.  The word of God is the expenditures Our divine Lord has made on our behalf, it is the greatest of purchases for it redeemed the entire world forever and ever.   By stark contrast one cannot be a true believer if one votes to destroy something which God has granted, or to act for the benefit of a small group who wants to enrich themselves and impoverish the entire world within the same selfish act.   Jesus called these people lacking is spirit and soul, and His proof is found within His own deeds and beliefs as He took on the sin of the world.  For I shall argue that there could not have been salvation without the obedience of Jesus Christ, there could have been no salvation if Jesus had not been willing to die for it.  Likewise, Jesus was not dying to save man so that man could boast, or quibble about silly power which in and of it’s self is an illusion cast over mankind’s eyes by Satan, but rather Jesus saw the fruits of His efforts in their full and absolute entirety which is something that Satan nor man could ever do.  God’s currency freed us, helps and guides us, and is ever present in every action we take when we accept His will in our own lives, just like Jesus did.

The Importance of Being On Guard

“If the owner of a house knows when a thief is coming, he will be on guard and not let anyone break into the house. You too must be prepared -the son of man will arrive when you least expect him.” Q55, Lost Gospel Q.

The mere fact that the United States Government could be brought low by a handful of Republicans is a sign that the House of the People is not on guard, that its eyes are not set upon God!  In fact this could easily be said about every government in the world who has succumb to such faithlessness that it would allow it’s actions to bring such harm to it’s population.  The same can be said of individual people who have allowed their lives to be controlled by a radical family member, or the harlot who allows her body to be defiled every night by different men in the pursuit  of money or pleasure, or the greedy man who has allowed his heart to be hardened so that his mind can be eased by the deceitful act of murder, theft, or slander for the pursuit of personal gain. The powerful among us have available to them many pleasures, but they like the poor shall be judged by God’s perfect measure of the heart.  The faithful man or women will be ready as their house will be in order, all things in it’s proper place ready for the Son of Man.   There will be no thief that will be able to break in the house of the person devout in spirit and of soul, for there is no rule of law that could take their children away, no spouse that could take away the responsibility to always love and to forgive, and there is no child that could hate their own parents so completely they would through their parents to the wolves.   For those who practice such evils are not the children of God, but the devils belonging to Satan.  For being ready means to never give evil an foothold, to never turn the blind eye to evil deeds, and to always stand up for truth and justice even at the risk of a high personal cost or damage to personal reputation and popularity.  For surely God does not reward the unrepentant, the unloving, the unfaithful, nor will he condemn the repentant heart who openly accepts the responsibility of their own sins.  God is just in all measure and shall use your own methodology you use to judge others on yourself justly so.  For in this is a sinful heart never taken nor be unprepared and not ready for the Son of Man when he knocks at the front door.   For the wise would argue emphatically  “Yes”, and so the wise never ignore, never close and eye, never loose faith, never spreads misinformation or bolsters lies. No the wise are the children of God who are always ready to do good, never tiring, never running away, never handing out false hope, but rather giving love and spreading mercy everywhere they go.  This too is the currency of God exhibited through mankind in all the deeds God works through those who are faithful and who are on guard.

Amen

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Brian Keith

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5 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Family is Everything

Family is everything.  Family is so important that it is the overriding topic God concerned Himself with in every inspired religious text known to man.  So if the creator of the universe viewed family as having such an important role in the lives of everyone of His creations and it plays such a heavy role to our salvation then why is there so many broken homes, broken children, broken marriages, and broken relationships?  By contrast we all should be family oriented, protecting our relationships be them, friends, family, and with God.  Our country if not the world is headed head-long into a relationship crisis, but more about that later. For now the question which underlines this reflection is extraordinarily simple, but never-the-less paramount to our role in this life as it was designed by God.  Could modern man have forgotten that our relationships are inexplicably linked to loyalty, love, and trust?

Families: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head :Household (as defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary – Found online @  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/family

According to the standard dictionary the first meaning of the word family or families concerns the household.  This definition is loosely linked to individuals who live under the same roof, spending day and night together through thick and thin, through hardship and pleasant times alike.  This idea of a household is defined by the head of that household, it is a reflection of the policies which are in place that all members adhere too.  In this way the head of the household carry’s tremendous weight and influence with all the other members and to some degree they are subject to the rule of the head of the house for better or for worse.  It is interesting  that when breaking this word down under such a meaning we can see how stark our own families complex and in some regard dysfunction becomes clear, and the root of the problems or boon can be traced to a singular person within the family who wheal the most influence. Often times in our humanity we fight and cause strife with that one person in order to declare dominance or to prove ones worth or specific knowledge but by-in-large all families fight among  themselves and in the family of God we are given some specific guidelines to help ease and end our inner struggles.  Chief among all commands to people at large and to families is simply;

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Here we see Jesus, the head of God’s household here on earth commands everyone to love one another, this is a direct reflection upon the kind of rule Jesus wishes to impose, and the world surly would recognise a member of Jesus’s household by how they love others.  Surely Jesus’s household then is one of peace and tranquility.  In practice fighting would be shunned, so would bulling, manipulating, and divisive tactics because people who love others could not sink to such depths for love holds us automatically to a higher standard, true love holds us accountable to our actions.  This also draws in a higher level of respect for each member of the family and all those out side the family unit or household.  In this context morality rules, the fight between good and evil is revealed, and evil is concurred.  So it goes without saying that when we submit to this command from Jesus and apply it to our lives it’s not surprising that our life is forever changed, as is our relationships within our family and household.  But Jesus did not stop there, he also commanded;

12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 7:12

Jesus in His commands for the family used an all-inclusive word when he said, “In everything”, which no fancy expensive lawyer could argue the meaning whether implied, inferred, or stated boldly.  Jesus commanded us to treat others the same way you wish to be treated in every action, word, deed, and dealings you have with other people.  The awesome part of this command is simple physiology; no one wants to be treated badly.  If every person adhered to this command there would be no fighting, no killing, no violence, no cussing, harassing,  and there would be no person who would treat another human being rudely or with disrespect because no one wants those things to be done to them.  Again we are lifted to a higher level of living and it again transforms every aspect of life.  Together, these two commands are all we need to end wars and skirmishes alike.  Not surprising these two commands also automatically endow loyalty, love, and trust. Therefore, a household ruled by these two commands found in John 13:34-35 and Matthew 7:12 is a household filled with God’s love and His divine blessing.

Above we have two extraordinary edicts that we as human-beings are to live by, they give us a way to build internal happiness and joy in our lives through the members of our household that can extend out to our external families and friends if we let it.  Likewise in the first scripture of this post we see in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 that God clearly wanted us to treat others outside the family unit with the same level of respect, love, and forgiveness. This edict also overlaps how we are to treat those members of our family which we do not see as often or spend as much time with, but again Timothy extended the reach of this by including old men, old women, young men and young women. These people do not need to be part of your family at all therefore by logic we are to treat everyone as if they where part of your family.  Because in reality we are all part of Gods family and therefore in the eyes of God we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Families: a group of persons of common ancestry :  clan (as defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary – Found online @  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/family

In this second definition of family we find the main focus within small groups of people who identify themselves within a specific population. This meaning can also encompass words like tribe or kin.  Most specifically the word clans deal with traditional kinship groups sharing a common surname and heritage and existing in a lineage based society prior to the 17th century, where as the word tribes are more indicative of  a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship. The common thread within this definition of family is found in the word “kinship”, which is a word that denotes a people who may or may not be members of the same family but cooperate for the benefit of all members of the group, tribe, or clan.  In these organizations men and women intermingle with a set rule or law that resembles closely to the aforementioned commands of Jesus.  The most striking aspect of this could be found within the one particular christian teaching that also finds it’s roots within the Jewish faith;

Q77 “Jesus Explained to His disciples, “If a companion does something wrong to you, go to the person and point this out. But do it privately. If your friend listens and says, ‘I’, sorry,’ forgive and your bond will be strengthened.” “But how often must I forgive the same person?” asked one of his disciples. “Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Most clans and tribes had a means for two people within the tribe to settle their differences most often privately.  Indeed this made the members of the specific tribes or clans grow closer and in the harshest of times the treads of unity ran so deep that it was not uncommon for all the members to support a single person or family within the group that faced difficulty from either internal  or external forces, and all members of the clan or tribe took this struggle personally, rallying to the aid of the one standing united; not ever leaving the one family to their fate.  Like bee’s you attack one then expect the whole hive to chase you down.  However, the root cause of this closeness within the tribal culture is in how they dealt with internal conflict and forgiveness played a huge part of that internal bond.  Thus, we see if applied properly deep strife can be overcome within the family unit, as it was within tribal societies, and or clans both of which viewed themselves as a larger family extended out beyond the immediate family.  In this manner we all should protect our families, safeguard them from the outside world much like the tribes of the Americas or the Clans of Ireland.  Find ways to forgive your family members in the exact manner Jesus described in Q77 and do this as instructed in Matthew 7:12, “In everything”, you do, linked to John 13:34-35, “love one another.” The family that loves reflects the blessing of God and the family that protects it’s members is a family that God loves greatly.

Strengthening Families Spiritually

I could never write the meaning of the goal our God endows us all with in the area of strengthening our families spiritually, the responsibilities God placed at every persons feet, especially fathers and mothers alike, than that of  , Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke on this topic so eloquently. See below;

Amen,

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

Brian Keith

Your invited to stay in contact with me!

EMAIL: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com

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God Bless,

Brian Keith

P.S. NEVER GIVE UP!

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3 “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ 3 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” ~ John 3:1-3

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Metaphorically speaking;  every time I look down into one of my students eyes I see the Kingdom of God.  I see in their happiness the love of God, the promise and mercy of God. I can hear their hearts rejoicing and I can feel this joy they share every time they say hello, or reach out to slap may hand in the traditional “high five” as they walk by.  In some of them there is the Kingdom of God, as there was once this kingdom within all of us before we grew up.  So, this message is more for us adults than for our children, but all are welcome for let this stand as a message you keep long into your life even when you are old for it will serve you well to remember it.  Jesus Christ brought with Him a peace of the Kingdom when he came, he reveled it to some and purposefully hide it from others. He stood in the face of evil and commanded the demons and Satan himself all with the power and majesty  of the Kingdom of God backing him up.  Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God as if it was a real place you could touch and see with mortal eyes, and some who heard this message became confused as some of us today are confused.  I often wondered what this Kingdom would be like as a child, I imagined great golden gates, with angels standing as guards and God sitting upon a mighty thrown proclaiming the laws of His Kingdom.  But the older I got the more I started to understand that this Kingdom is not one mortals can see, hear, smell, or touch but rather is that place known only to God that our immortal souls dwelled before we became mortals, and is the same place we will return after our death providing that we have prepared ourselves for it as Jesus had instructed us too.  Found in John,  Jesus is speaking to one of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a man who knew Jesus was the Son of God and a man who knew the hearts of men and of the denial Jesus would undergo.

 It is not by accident that this Pharisee came to Jesus asking this question; “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  and it was by design that Jesus responded in the manner that He did,  “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” For Jesus was telling Nicodemus that his faith in what he had admitted about the sovereignty of Jesus, that he has thus seen the Kingdom within Jesus himself.  I say this because there was at this time a burning question that few dared to acknowledge let alone answer.  That question was, “Who is Jesus? Where did he come from?” The majority of the Pharisees wanted to put the flesh and blood man on trial, but others saw more than flesh and blood in Jesus, and indeed how do you put a spirit on trial here on planet Earth, let alone the very spirit of God?  This created a controversy within the hearts and minds of everyone who wanted to use logic and their earthly senses to come to some sort of a conclusion before they could allow themselves to believe.  Yet it was foretold of the Jesus’s coming and still most did not believe even though he presented to them the path to believe, reassurance, and the over all picture of their final destination so that everyone would believe; sadly few did.  

3 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)” ~ Ephesians 5: 3-9

It was this light of God Nicodemus was responding too and it was this light that he saw in Jesus.  Therefore, his words reflected his belief and his willingness to follow Jesus.  It sounds simple, but when putting this into practice it is one of the hardest things any human-being will ever do because it goes against the very laws of our earthly nature, our very sense of being, and no one wants to deny themselves for something they can not see nor touch.  Thus, when Nicodemus confronted Jesus our Lord saw the qualities of a believer and it was those qualities the real Kingdom of God would be built upon.   So the real Kingdom of Heaven is in each one of us, but we are blind to it unless we have allowed ourselves to believe in God, to believe in Jesus, and to be willing to be born again. 

4 “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” ~John 3:4-7

The doorway to the Kingdom of God is clearly through the spiritual cleansing, the making ready of you heart, mind, and soul.  It is found within the denying of the body, the wants of the impure heart, and sins of the flesh.  Our hearts must be focused on God, our minds must be focused on Heaven, and our spirit must be ready to accept Jesus Christ as our our Lord and savior. Again the Jews conducted ritual bathing, but what Jesus proposed was that of Baptism just as John the Baptist had conducted in the Jordan many years before.  Therefore, it was no accident or something which happened by happen-stance, but rather by design.   Nicodemus’s conversion was no different than anyone of our own conversions today as the Kingdom of God is a real place, it was built for you and me, and it had a creator who intelligently designed it’s exits and entrances just as a builder builds a house with a front door and a back door, complete with windows, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.  God has left nothing to chance and he alone has provided for our every need all the time forever.  The only difference between our house and God’s Kingdom is that he wants us to live up to a higher ideal, to be pure, and we in our own houses fail to act as we should thinking no one else will be the wiser.  But the old adage is true; what we do in private is what our actions and words reflect in public.  In all reality Nicodemus wanted his house to be supported by Jesus, and so should everyone of us aspire to the same ideal, but first we bust ask and answer those hard questions the Jewish leadership ran away from,  “Who is Jesus? Where did he come from?”

13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14

In reflection I think every person must ask the question,  “Who is Jesus?”, so that we will begin to search, so we will begin to read the Bible.  No one reads the Bible for entertainment, though it is very entertaining.  The people which lived in those times which are found in the Bible are just as dysfunctional as we are today, nothing has changed in that regard.  They needed salvation then as much as we do today.  Their sins are no worse than our sins today, for all sin was invented by Satan and no human could ever re-invent what the Lord of Darkness has made perfectly evil.  Therefore, it is up to each person to look for, to knock on the door, to step through the doorway, to open up one’s own heart and to try and imagine a world filled with love, because it’s real, it does exist, and it’s worth the effort.  I have always thought that if Satan could expend such energy in finding ways to condemn us, and Jesus over through that with His love then wouldn’t it be logical we reciprocate by some effort of our own.

I also think it proper that after we have begun searching that we question what we read and seek more answers never forgetting what we have found, but rather accumulating a wealth of knowledge so that we can use all the evidence found to formulate the basis of our answer and belief in God.  For I do not believe God would be insulted if we, his creations, asked and search for the truth.  In my many years of reading, listening, and following the lessons in the scripture I have always felt God  in the background urging me to continue even though at times I had become frustrated, angry, and tired.  God has always been their in my life working miracles that are not written in scripture but where just for me.  So I believe He does the same thing for everyone who searches for evidence of God in their own life.   I also believe it is through this journey of Baptism do we find God, will we then be able to answer the first and the second question and do we really become convinced of where Jesus came from, who He is, and why He saved mankind from damnation.  To me there is no other definition of family I could ever possibly hope to find that fills the void as completely as to confess that I am a believer, and a member of the family of God.  I can think of no other assurance that will allow my soul to rest within peace as to admit that God will uphold His promises and take those who identify themselves as His beloved children, (family), with Him and share with them all that the Kingdom of God has to offer forever and ever.

Amen,

* For more research on this topic, “Kingdom of God”, please click: Got Questions ?.org   And from the Berean Bible Society on this topic click here.

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Brian Keith

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God Bless,

Brian Keith

P.S. NEVER GIVE UP!

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