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LOOK AT WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD

26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’” ~ Matthew 19:26 (NRSVACE)

Imagine if you will a moment at which the world for you comes to a crashing halt! Something horrible just happened and in that singular moment, it looks as if everything has been lost! My brothers and sisters in Christ I tell you your world is not lost, no matter what had happened because God loves you in every second of the day, in every moment you live, and in every way you could possibly imagine and not imagine. Need I remind you that there is nothing that could have happened that hasn’t already happened to Jesus, he has seen it all and been through it all and He did so for you and me and all of Gods children. Do not fall into despair, disarray, or needless self-pity for you will be given the strength and the wisdom to move forward regardless of the event that was life changing.

On the other side of the coin, think of a moment where you lost your job, then out of nowhere a person whom you had contacted a while back but had turned you down is now in need of your services. That my brothers and sisters is God calling. How about you meet a person by chance and they begin talking with you only because you said hello and the conversation spills over into a job offer. Hello! That too is God calling! I tell you the truth my brothers and sisters both things have happened to me recently and I am constantly amazed how God is silently working in the background like an awesome software making good on His divine promises. God has never let me down nor left me alone in moments of need, God has always been there for me.  Another perfect real-life experience that happened recently to me was my ex-principal pulled me into the office and said to me that I have one day to secure 17 students for my yearly summer technology class or else she was going to shut it down. I turned to God and asked him to give me the sincerity and wisdom to make this happen for our children. I felt God in that moment and I was given the strength and words to make good on all my promises to my students. So I picked up the phone and talked with countless parents, asked them to call others I did not have phone numbers for. I worked the phones like no bodies business and in the end, God pulled together 21 students. I also was blessed to be given a large donation so the cost could be less of a burden for the parents. God provided as He had promised he would. Ironically, one set of students, (brother and sister) I had asked the parents countless times to send their two children to my class but was rejected over and over because they didn’t have the money to came but somehow, some way God provided for them too because they showed up in the second week and they also received scholarships for the class.  So my brothers and sisters, look at what is possible with God!

Think of it this way, God will move mountains, change the course of mighty rivers, and even bring the hardest heart to bow before Him. God is the armor we all should be wearing, God’s love is what we all need to be in the streets celebrating, God’s might is what we all should respect openly and faithfully every single day. Our God is truly great and anything and everything is possible through His son, our savior Jesus Christ. In terms of money of which most people today are struggling with in these economically challenging times, I tell you the truth my brothers and sisters God provides what you need when you need it! God gives the financial support when you open your heart and mind to the possibility that He is with you and wants to help you. I always am so amazed at the fact that the creator of everything loves us so much that He is willing to be with you, guide you, build you up and support you if not carry you to the finish line if need be. How awesome is that? Money is only a tool printed on green paper that allows us to acquire what we need and to live our lives in our human based society. But God does not follow this standard for His Kingdom is greater and more powerful than anything we humans could devise so why do so many struggles with asking God for help? I tell you the truth my brothers and sisters my life is God centered and I go where he tells me to go, (by the way my life is very mobile), and I do what he tells me to do without question! God is truly with me in everything, in every moment, and in every task that He has given to me to accomplish.

FAITH IN ACTION

11 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1 (NRSVACE)

I hope for many things in my life to come true, slowly little by little I see some of those things coming into sharper focus. Many of these things I hope for are on the precipice of becoming reality.  God does not fool around… No he is working hard! Here is an example: Many of you know that I started this blog in 2009 at the height of my struggles with my ex-wife who constantly took me to court to gain sole custody of our only child. She did everything she could and wasted so much money and precious time, forced me to waste so much money and precious time and in the end, she got what she wanted sole custody but it came at a price. What was the price?  Our relationship with our daughter, the direction of her life was redirected into the hell of court when she should have been playing and being a child… FORGET THE MONEY! But as my relationship with my daughter suffered into extinction and she was moved from Los Angeles to San Fransico in 2012 based on a promise my ex-wife had no intention of keeping I lost contact with my daughter and I was emotionally devastated.  See it was for my daughter I left my family in Missouri, it was for her I altered my life so I could be in her life and be a real father; tangible and present! I did not want to raise my daughter in a broken or fractured home, but that is what my ex-wife made happen – what she did and how she did it was needless and pointless! Again, forget the money! But as terrible as that was, as emotionally devastating as that was, and as horrified and upsetting as that was; God had greater ambitions for me that He had laid the seeds for years earlier. I had been a teacher, becoming a better father and human being, I was being molded in such a way so not only could I survive this horrific event, but I could give my daughter the wisdom to survive this horrific event all of which was unseen by my shattered heart. What I hoped for the most was to see my daughter again, reconnect, start from scratch, and give her the peace in her heart that I am still here for her no matter what happens, just like our Heavenly Father. I am proud to report I have reconnected, though I have not still seen her in person, we do communicate and it is the laying of those foundations that will blossom into a beautiful relationship, one stronger than the last, one better than before because it was God made – God supported – God tested!

On that note, I give a huge shout out to all the men and women around the world who suffered and is still suffering from Alienation of Affection by their ex’s and which this horrible suffering ends within our court systems. I hope I live long enough to see this come to fruition.

2351 MIRACLES OF JESUS

32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13: 32-37 (NKJV) 

The Lord is a miracle worker, He is a forgiver of sins, He alone can lift you up in your darkest hour! Look at what God can do!

2351 Supernatural acts of Jesus Christ, revealing and confirming his Messianic credentials, and the coming of God’s kingdom. The miracles of Christ are to be seen as an integral part of his ministry.

CLICK HERE

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

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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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Persecution Equals Revival!

18 ‘”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.” ~ John 15:18-19 (NRSVACE) 

History is against those who persecute others, no matter the reason for the persecution, history almost always is in favor of the underdog.  Case in point the Roman Empire; here we have a powerful nation that controlled vast lands and forced other nations to pay homage to them. The people of Rome worshiped many different gods and thought in their ignorance that Rome was blessed by those fake gods and would last forever. Many religions perished and or were assimilated into an ever-growing pool of fake beliefs and government controls which ultimately led to monumental corruption. “The decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire’s fall.” Andrews, Evan (2014) 8 Reasons Why Rome Fell. In this Christianity was the underdog much like it is in China with many new converts to the religion being persecuted for their beliefs, killed, tortured, imprisoned, and the main symbol of Christ’s Church being taken or destroyed. Nothing new, for this, has been going on for centuries. You would think people would learn from history. But, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself told us why the world hates us, “believers” so, for the world first hated Him.  See it works like this, being a Christian means you no longer belong to the world, a world filled with sin, a world filled with people trying to save themselves through their own deeds, and as hard as they try to earn their place in heaven the people of the world have fallen short of the glory of God. So like Satan, they are powerless to save themselves and despise those who believe in Christ and therefore are saved by His blood on the cross. The symbol of the cross that once was something to fear turned into a holy symbol by early Christians and therefore overcame the world yet again. Which is why the Chinese government during their raids takes this holiest and powerful of symbols from the churches they raid. Therefore, I say to you my brothers and sisters of China, stand strong and replace the many crosses stolen from your places of worship with yet another, and if that one is also taken from you, fashion another until finally, one becomes permanent in your church. Let the hatred flow off your backs and let Gods love convert millions more because you have suffered for our Lord and Savour. Like the Christians of Rome, let there be a revival that overtakes your country until the name of Jesus is said in every household of new believers and Christianity becomes the one religion the Government can’t control and must submit to. All of which is done by the power of peace and of love and by remembering those who have fallen in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ…. (Their Feast Day is July 9)

Cheap Grace!

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” ~John 15:26-27 (NRSVACE)

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.” Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1937) The Cost of Discipleship.

As implied, Bonhoeffer was one of many advocates sent by God to call out the many sins of the evil-doers. Bonhoeffer, as described by Yu Jie, who authored a post titled, “China’s Christian Future”, in a blog called First Things, wrote, “Chinese Christians also see in Bonhoeffer a man who dared wage war as an ant on an elephant. He found wisdom and courage in Jesus, knowing that Jesus exists for others, and those who follow him should do the same.”  So on this point made by Yu Jie, I want to reflect most, for it is true that Jesus gives His people strength no matter their race, color, or social standing, for if you claim Jesus as your personal savior and then are baptised you are washed clean and are no longer a part of this sinful world. This is as true as being the underdog, “waging war as an ant on an elephant” because sin is so pervasive, so under the radar that it is hard to spot but when it raises it’s ugly head we believers can spot sin a mile away.  So, in the spirit of Bonhoeffer, I tell you my brothers and sister of China believe in Jesus, belief in the salvation His blood purchased for all of mankind. For God loves everyone the same, He gave all of us the way back to Him so we all can sit together as one nation under God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our creator if you let Him will give you the strength and the fortitude to move mountains, raise up the poor and down trotted, give life to the lifeless, and the wisdom to rule with love and dignity with a just hand. Remember, my brothers and sisters of China, those who kill over religion are seen as murders, therefore let your prayers and crosses be your weapons and God’s transformational power to convert those who are ignorant and do horrible things to you. Do not fall into “cheap grace” for it is morally bankrupt and evil. Instead, stand within the thousands of years of history of masters, saints, and prophets have walked, receiving God’s grace and His love will convert millions more to aid you in your cause.

The Power of God to Convert the Nonbelievers!

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:12-15 (NRSVACE) 

Paul of Tarsus was the chief of sinners, he persecuted many early Christians, was a blasphemer, and an insolent opponent who hated Christ! But Jesus showed him mercy, converted him and pressed him into His Holy service. Jesus appeared to Paul in a way that was meant specifically to prove His divinity and His mercy. Jesus’s words were not filled with hate but yet love for a man who hated Him. Jesus’s grace was upon Paul of Tarsus in the same way His grace is upon you, my brothers and sisters of China. Paul testifies that he after his conversion had acted ignorantly within his unbelief and it was the power of Jesus’s love which opened his eyes for the first time. Paul also declares before everyone, most particularly early Christians who deemed Paul their enemy that, “15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:15 (NRSVACE)

So the message is clear, God’s love extends to every human-beings on planet Earth and in His eyes, we are all His children. God forgives the murder, blasphemer, persecutor, and people of violence when their eyes are truly opened for the first time. Grace comes to the repentant heart, The baptized communion, the transformed sinner into a child of God. When this occurs there is a specific charge all Christians must live by;  “We are not to conceal our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel but to let it circulate in our life, in our relationships, in concrete situations, as a strength that galvanizes, purifies, and renews.” ~ Pope Francis, (2017), Embracing the Way of Jesus, pg. 5. 

My brothers and sisters of China, embrace your new found beliefs and worship openly, be not afraid as through your worship you convert many, and allow God’s grace to galvanize your hearts allowing your faith in Christ circulate throughout your entire life and in every relationship and in every action you take. God walks with the faithful, he is your armor, shield, and protection. profess your beliefs and educate yourselves and others in the ways of Christ and your days shall be many. Remember the promise of God, the promise of everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.

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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‘Oh, God… I am a Sinner!’ 

5 “All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin.” ~ Psalm 56:5 (NIV)

I begin today with a confession… one that every person is obligated to make, “I am a sinner.”   Have you ever felt bound, held down, kept quiet, ignored, made inconsequential, pushed away, rejected, and even made fun of behind your back because you are a sinner?  King David did, all the apostles did, every great leader has. I imagine King David must have said something that he didn’t write down, something like this. ‘Oh, God I am a sinner…  Is my sin so great that my every word is twisted and used against me? How many more times will those with power come calling my name wanting me to give up and quit through their relentless targeting and hateful sneers?  For the words they say harm me and my reputation, will my community be able to tell the difference and know I have been lied against?’

King David felt hounded for sure! His Kingship outright challenged! Not by strangers did these things come, rather it was through his own family. Jealousy is the devil’s weapon blinding a person and keeping them from doing good while bending their very nature into a twisted mess that does nothing but evil. King David knew this and was armed with the sprite of God.

Guiding Question: How many times in your life have you felt that way…  felt lied against, felt your words twisted because  you are a  sinner? 

In reflection, I can honestly say these feeling as a teacher has come to me more than once from different sources and its root was mainly from other people feeling jealous or because of a perception of me having more power than they or  the perception of my earning more money than they, and maybe because they saw my good works. In any case, it never had to do with me being a sinner… because that my brothers and sisters is between God and I!  For it is to these whom I speak could see how much effort I put into building relationships with people and see the response from that effort. Sadly, those people were very good at small talk but lacked the social skills to really build community and so they felt threatened. Many people in my life have twist my words in conversations and yes they did what no Christian should ever do… bear falsely against me. Why do I share this? Because many ordinary people feel like the world has closed in on them and that they are being hounded and their words twisted which deeply impacts their lives in a negative way.  Regardless of whether you personally like someone or not does not give you the right to work such malice against them! I say to you who feel this way, never give up and keep your head held high, let them be evil while you continue to do God’s work!  To that theme, I wanted to point out that King David wrote about his experiences in such detail that it is inspiring to read about, but he was not the only one in the Bible to have felt this way. In fact, there are many people who have felt hounded! To have felt their words twisted and evil being done against them. In each case, we draw inspiration from their experiences and know God was always with them by how the story developed and eventually ended. So again my brothers and sisters, turn away from the world’s sinful hate and gain God’s never ending inspiration through His message found within the Holy Bible and allow yourself to truly be inspired!

Gaining Inspiration through Comparing Scriptural Translations

5  “All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.” Psalm 56:5 (NRSVACE)

The message in this translation is more modern, a little more impactful. The hurt King David felt becomes more understandable to our advanced sensibilities. Instead of the word “twist”, it is replaced with, “seek to injure my cause”. The charge in these words are more server and cuts deeper and becomes more personal.  In comparing them we can see how words have meaning, words are powerful, words, if used wrongly, can do real damage.  They impacted King David as they do use all today. It is easy to drum up chaos from nothing, but it is much harder to develop and create real lasting true friendships and relationships.  With that said, my community has always known the difference between the truth and the lie being told. For God walks with my community, my friends, and throughout all my relationships. Like King David, I have faith in the one true God, and money has never been my motivator nor has power. God has been my motivator throughout my teaching career and in all aspects of my life. I write this to give inspiration to those who are feeling hounded… I can relate. But you have one powerful relationship with God I wanted to remind you about. Having a real relationship/communion with God will get you through the toughest of times!

Guiding Question: Can you see God’s power working in the background of this scripture: Psalm 56:5? 

5-6  “They don’t let up— they smear my reputation and huddle to plot my collapse.  They gang up, sneak together through the alleys to take me by surprise, waiting for their chance to get me.” Psalms 56:5-6 (The Message Bible – MSG)

This translation is very clear… King David’s voice is really heard! “They don’t let up!”  Now we can see the effect of harassment and bullying as it is seen by those who are receiving this treatment. “They just won’t stop!”  These words imply a timeless – never ending cycle of hurt through the spoken and written word. I find this interesting because now we have completely moved into the modern era with this language. Now we have our enemies huddling up, plotting and active in gossip! Broken down to its finest parts King David was being harassed and gossip was being spread against him. Wow… people have not changed in over two thousand years! With this added information it is easy to see how hopeless King David must have felt. Again, this reflection is written for those who are feeling this way today… right now in 2017! Remember, God has never changed in how much he loves us, how much He will protect us, and what He will do to ease our pain. Again, despite his feelings, David’s love for God was greater and his comfort from God given in abundance. So I tell you, my brothers and sisters, we all have been plotted against, harassed, marginalized, made fun of, been the object of gossip, and even ridiculed for something, by someone. I say draw inspiration from these Bible stories, be inspired by others you know – be it me – or someone else who has told these kinds of stories. But most of all stay inspired by how God is working in the background to comfort you and lessen your pain. Remember, we are all confessed sinners… but we are also saved by the blood of Christ!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone Else

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

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

Amen,

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

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

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

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