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Solidarity in Suffering

10 ‘”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:10 (NRSVACE)

On May 20, 2017, I wrote a post called ‘Hope for the Persecuted – China’s Christian Revival!’ where I wrote about how for centuries Christians have been persecuted for their faith. I introduced an author who had spent a lifetime writing about Christian persecution and the power of faith, prayer, and the overall price of discipleship. In that post and in all the research I conducted was introduced to the truth of ‘Cheap Grace’ as written by  Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1937) The Cost of DiscipleshipI bring this topic back up because there are still modern day Christians being persecuted. Moreover, starting November 26, 2017 – December 2, 2017, many people from around the world are holding a ‘Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians.’ Cheif among the organizations are the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Knights of Columbus (KofC) who are taking donations for Christians at Risk.

Corporal Works of Mercy

As Catholic Christians and as followers of Jesus Christ we the children of God are called to show mercy in various ways for those in need. Part of this is to help feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, give alms to the poor, and I would add to this list we are also called to come together to support those who are suffering because of their faith. Our Christian brothers and sisters need you to take action and spread the word of the many thousands worldwide who are imprisoned, beaten, starved, tortured, and even put to death for their Christian beliefs. I call all of you my brothers and sisters to take action. There are a variety of ways to help those brothers and sister in Christ who are made to suffer for their – our beliefs!

Here are two links to get more information and to donate what you can to help stop the persecution.

Video: Click Here

Donate: Click Here

 

Action Center: Click Here

Donate: Click Here

I thank you all of you my brothers and sisters in advance for taking action in the above various ways.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

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

Ways to Communicate

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

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

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

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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

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Thanksgiving 2017

11 “On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14 When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’” ~ Luke 17:11-19 (NRSVACE)

On Thanksgiving, we celebrate the historic event of two different cultures coming together and being thankful for each other and being thankful for the growing partnership that was forged which ended up as our traditional day of thanksgiving. But, brothers and sisters I have already written that posting many times over. I would rather reflect on something more outside the box and less traditional. For this past week, I have heard this passage from Luke now in two different settings in two different church ceremonies. The first time I heard it was in a school play just prior to ending the two day week of teaching. The second time I heard it was today in Mass. In both accounts, the two different priests said two completely different things but in my heart, God was showing me how similar these two messages are. So, my brothers and sisters, if you could indulge me I would like to add to what I had heard and hopefully do justice to what God showed me in this most unconventional Thanksgiving post.

Jesus heals ten lepers, but only one came back to thank him. His gratitude was deeply genuine and heartfelt. Jesus comments to what happened to the other nine, ‘where are they?’, he inquires. This line of questioning is critical and poignant to the core of our salvation for as Christians and believers we must ask ourselves how many times have we been the recipient of great gifts but never took time to came back to the source in sincere gratitude.  Often I think God gives us gifts and our response is one of puzzlement just short of responding with, “And? Is this it? What am I supposed to do with that?”  Or perhaps if it was something you had asked for and really wanted then when you get it your so excited the words ‘Thank You!’ never seem to be stated. Our culture is one of instant gratification, ‘I want what I want and I want it now!’ Please and thank you are missing. As a teacher I have this same thing happen to me with my kids I have taught, few come back and thank me for all the hard work I did for them to prepare them for the next more difficult level. To date, just a hand full ever really reach out in true thanksgiving. I could easily ask what happened to the other thousand plus.  But even if I did ask that question in my heart I know what happened to all my other students just as Jesus knew what happened to the other nine. In this world, it’s far easier to receive than it is to give.

Now here is another thought, what if when we received those gifts from God that puzzled us or gifts we receive from people we do not particularly like and made a conscious effort to change our own mindset to one of instant thanksgiving and gratitude. What would our life be like? How would that simple act affect others? Instead of pointing fingers and looking for people to blame for our own inadequacies what would happen if we thanked God for the criticism?  But this is small potatoes to what is really possible, no my brothers and sisters lets go one step further and examine all those deep dark happenings that we couldn’t find any way to be thankful for at the time it happened. In the heat of the moment of a firing, or a bashing from a boss or coworker, or maybe even that one comment which cut to the bone and crushed our heart. What if we look at those hurts again and look for the tiniest thing to be thankful for. A good example of this in my own life happened this past summer; on the record, I was not offered a contract to return to my elementary school after ten successful years because of a lack of money. But the real reason was other teachers playing politics thinking if I was not there then they could get away with destroying my lab, taking the laptops whenever they wanted, they would not have to worry about me observing them as I was trained to do to help them become better teachers. No, they wanted the easy way out even if it cost me my job and cut me from ever seeing my students who I deeply love and who needed a professional computer teacher such as myself.

Now watch Gods actions in this moment: In this scary painful loss I have found growth and was given a better opportunity elsewhere. In looking for that tiniest of miracle perhaps the last ten years God was developing me, molding me, preparing me for the responsibilities of today. Yes, it was painful but being a Christian means I listen and do the will of God, He alone directs my path into the future. He alone knows what I need to do next and how to get it done even if I don’t see it yet; especially if all I can see is the injustice of the act itself which caused the hurt. I tell you, my brothers and sisters, there is more to be thankful for in this life than all the wonderful gifts which we had asked for and then received. I humbly ask you my brothers and sisters what about those bag of hurts you locked away and tried to forget about? How thankful can you make your heart for those?

The other nine lepers Jesus had healed ran away in joyous thanksgiving never to be seen or heard from again. Rather it is that one leper who came back to the source and received the complete and total healing from Christ; that Samaritan, that foreigner is who we remember. I tell you my brothers and sisters lets mimic the one and be thankful for everything we are given in this life, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the expected and unexpected treating all of them in kind, with love and deep heartfelt gratitude. Keeping in your memory the blessing of leprosy is what led all ten to God, but it was God’s love and compassion which brought back the one.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

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

Ways to Communicate

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

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

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

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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

 

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‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ~ Matthew 21:5 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Excitement is in the air! Can you feel it? The Lord has begun his passion and our King has come on the back of a donkey! The world is about to change forever! Prophecy is about to be fulfilled! In reflection, this moment in history would have been one of the most awesome spectacles in all of human history. There would have been no other time we would have seen Jesus at his best, bringing Gods message to the masses. I often think that He must have had a great smile on his face, the weight of the world resting on Him and He knowing the mission was about to be over. Soon, He would seal His fate and Gods people would soon be saved.  In retrospect, I also think how awesome this moment would have been for His disciples; think about what they had been through, all the miracles they had seen, all the words of wisdom and truly electrifying preaching they had heard. So when Jesus told two of His disciples to go get a donkey and her colt and that they will be waiting and if anyone asks what they were doing for them to say, ‘The Master needs them!’ and the animals will be handed over, must have left in their minds the question; ‘How would Jesus have to known about the Donkey and the colt and what their owner would say before it happened?’ No wonder Jesus tells us mortals, “Yeah of little faith!” Honestly,  the disciples should not have any wonderings or questions regarding what Jesus was doing because by this time they should truly believe and trust in him. But as is mention in the bible the disciples do not say they are his followers or friends of Jesus when the soldiers took him.  Some of us are still like that crowd that went to see Jesus entering into Jerusalem. We say that we follow God but we do not know why, we have wonderings, we are seeking answers, or like sheep asleep in our faith we simply follow the crowd.  We should be more focused on the ‘GOOD NEWS OF GOD!’  Jesus was entering into Jerusalem already filled with humility, peace, and victory; which he was sent on this earth to bring to us, His perfect love, peace, and justice. Truly in this moment, Jesus was teaching us by modeling with actions and by His words of how to treat others as well as how to live the commandments of God!

Even though Jesus knew that people were going to deny him and betray him, he still talks to them and reached to them and prayed for them.

Personal Reflection

Jesus Concurs

59 “Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, ‘This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.”’ 62 The high priest stood up and said, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ 63 But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, ‘I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ 64 Jesus said to him,

‘You have said so. But I tell you from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death.’ 67 Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, 68 saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?’”~ Matthew 26:57-68 (NRSVACE)

The doors to Jerusalem is thrown open! The Lord of life eternal is riding down the road! People are throwing their garments and stripping palms from the trees before him! The crowd is praising Him! But this is not how Jesus concurs, for the way He fulfills His mission is through blood and through death! In this moment I am struck by how happy everyone was and how willing to praise and glorify Jesus yet days later they would all but abandon Him. How many times in my life have I turned away from God, yet through reflection can I see his mission working for me, through me, and with me!  Each task I am given is the next stone higher being supported by the foundations laid for me on that day for my personal salvation through Christ as his house is being built within me through His victory on the cross! How many times have I been called names, my words twisted so unjust charges can be hurled at me, how many times have people let me down personally.  My human emotions tell me to cut them off, to walk away from them forever, but my heart which is with God tells me to forgive and to build and to love them anyway, as I have given it to God.  Thinking of how Jesus dealt with those who betrayed Him, I have to say not one word of hatred came from His mouth. How disciplined His words and actions when being interrogated. How quickly He showed true authority over the word of God. This is the model we all need to follow when people test our character, morality, and our faith! He never told lies about people, Jesus never twisted others words who ridiculed Him; Jesus indeed is the way, the life, and the light of the world.

The Sacrifice

49 “But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection, they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ ~ Matthew 27: 49-56 (NRSVACE)

How many times have we thought someone had done something against us then to find out they did not or that they were innocent?  How many times have we ourselves been blamed but was innocent? In either case, we are not as innocent as Jesus on that day He was crucified. I often think how much we have to learn when it comes to being a child of God. There is nothing we can do about our own sin, but Jesus could and did in giving His perfect life to bring us closer to God. To be forgiven, I mean truly forgiven means we need to first forgive others and rebuild the bridges that had been burned. In this time of Holy Week, we need to contemplate our own salvation; our relationship with Christ. Our Father in heaven so loved us that He gave to us His only son Jesus. That is so powerful, so humbling, and so merciful of our God to have done what He did. Let now your contemplation connect with God and let his spirit fill your heart renewing your soul and dedication to God and the mission he has set us all on.

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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The Word Becomes Flesh

1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him, not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” ~ John 1:1-5 (NRSVACE)

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Starting with Adam and the fall of man, to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Salmon, to King David; God has been with us. He sent many prophets to foretell of His only son, God hinted through all this time that sin equaled death and that He only wants life – salvation for all of humanity.  Isaiah’s message gave details; his words would become the road map, bringing us closer to the fullness of God’s plan; bringing to us that new life for all mankind.  God promised there would be a day when sins could be forgiven and that men could be saved because the light and the life had come to pay the price.

6 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” John 1:6-9 (NRSVACE)

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John the Baptist came with a specific mission and through his mission he accomplished three specific things with his ministry of baptism. First,  John stated that he came as the voice in the wilderness. (Matthew 3:3).  Second, John witnessed before the Pharisees that he came baptizing with water, (Matthew 3:11).  Finally,  in John 1: 29 –  he testifies to the divinity of Christ.  John describes in detail what he saw and experienced.  In these three scriptures, we are given the outline of what it means to be called to serve with fidelity.  These descriptions of John’s service required of him specific talents so that scripture would be fulfilled.  Within his service to God –  John the Baptist gave witness to the signs which directed him to Jesus and which drove him to accept his call to serve with his whole heart, mind, body, soul, and strength – never shying away from the good work of God – even unto death. In John’s voice we can hear his testimony come to life as found in the Message Bible;

29-31 “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about! ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was – only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”  

32-34 John clinched his witness with this: “ I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  That’s exactly what I  saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”  

10 “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13 (NRSVACE)

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 Jesus finally is born to his people, the people of Israel, the very people who ironically had been calling on God for a savior to come deliver them from the Romans.  Yet when He was born the world did not know Him, and the people of Israel would not recognize their prayers had not just been heard but now answered. To the Israelites Jesus was not the Son of God, for He did not come with a sword, or a legend of Angels to smite the Romans, nor was Jesus the Zealot they were looking for. But there were many who began to hear his words, follow Him as He went working miracles and demonstrating His divine authority over the natural world who believed and thus saved.

But on Christmas day we celebrate the word that became flesh in the body and blood of the baby Jesus, born to Joseph and Mary who are within the line of King David. We celebrate the love and mercy of Jesus who was with God who chose to come for the salvation of all mankind. We celebrate the gift of salvation that His divine blood grants to all who repents and walks in His divine light as a child of God. Finally, we celebrate the very fulfillment of the promise of God who has always been there with us throughout all of human history and who paved the way for the day we all can be with Him forever and ever.

Merry Christmas!

Amen

 

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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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The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways

 2“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. ~ Isaiah 9:2 (NRSVACE)

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Human rulers have a tendency to do two things that drive God absolutely crazy. First, they view their subjects as pawns not much different than how the pieces are moved around on a chessboard.  This view ignores the humanity within each person of whom God specifically created and gave life too. Secondly, they cling to power ignoring the needs of the many under their charge. How many famines have happened because of one bad decision of a King, or a war start because of a King’s ego, or the over taxation of the populous so one that one so-called King could grow richer rather than poorer? Indeed, under any of those circumstances, the people would be walking in darkness praying to see that light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, our God, the God of Love, Mercy, and Kindness would have to send help to a land – a people who live in a land of deepening darkness.

3″You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing the plunder.” ~ Isaiah 9:3 (NRSVACE)

Jesus Holding the world

Who wouldn’t want to have great riches? Who wouldn’t welcome an increase of food, money, resources, and a bigger harvest? In that environment, people tend to feel exalted and important as they receive more than they could ever use or need. But this bounty would have to be coming from somewhere? Something massive would have to have changed to bring about such richness. In history, such a shift usually comes from a change in leadership – as in a new King. Now let’s think for a second if God the Father heard His people cry out from a deep depression like state where tyrants took rather than gave to their people  – clearly an intervention would have to be looming. After all, God did literally respond twice before.

4 “For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.” ~ Isaiah 9:4 (NRSVACE)

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The promise, the absolute gift of mercy is when a people have been delivered from bondage.  There is nothing like the hope of freedom to drive a people to the brink. The power of justice is on the lips of those who wish to be freed and the yoke lifted from their backs. To escape the rod of torcher and punishment is engraved upon every unjust scare the multitude now bears.  Indeed, God of Love could deliver such justice, such relief, but how would He come this time? It is not so outlandish to think that the people Isaiah is addressing even prophesying to would think God would come down out of Heaven riding a White Horse wielding a fiery sword in order to smite these unjust Kings, or perhaps God would send another person who would start a revolution?

5 “For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.” ~ Isaiah 9:5 (NRSVACE)

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If the promise of God was freedom and the people under a revolutionary new king took up arms there would be great bloodshed. This historically speaking would give rise to zealots and freedom fighters not unlike we see today. The difference is an unjust king and over taxation and plundering of all the nations resources. Men would be slain in the most horrific of ways and in every instance it would up close and personal. This is the price of freedom, prosperity, and abundance. But think of the new kingship the washing away of darkness and the fulfillment of the light that shines on the blessed. Enticing isn’t it?

6 “For a child has been born for us, a son is given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NRSVACE)

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The light shines brightly for all to see. Under God’s true plan only one will shed his blood and only one needs to pay the price for man’s sins and indiscretions. Under God’s plan, there needs not be a war because after all God is not a tyrant, He has no ego, He does not cling to power rather He is power, He is love, and He is just in all things that he does. Under that logic, Jesus makes sense, to be born as the son of God, to be of a poor family, to be a man of peace and love never once raising a sword rather his words and wisdom. Again, man’s plan is in the short term, God’s plan is eternal and is implemented on an eternal time scale, in short God is not in a hurry but we are. Therefore, it is right and just to accept the fruits of God and show tolerance and patience for our fellow man. Rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus has the authority and that He is the Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

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Our action before the return of God is a very simple one, for it is to wait, prepare, and pray. Be faithful to God in every word and action, be specific in your kindness, and chose your friends carefully for they could stand beside you or lead you to ruin. God is with us in every breath we breathe, and every thump of our hearts. Be grateful and look for God’s many daily blessings and give thanks for His salvation which we – the faithful shall enjoy for all time. God does move in mysterious ways.

Amen

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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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“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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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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