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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,

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The Differences between Love and Hate

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

1 peter

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

The Perfect Example of Love

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

John 13

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

Love Defined

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

Love is defined as –

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

First Form of Love

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

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

Love Me Tender

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

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

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

The Evolution of Love

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

FAMILY

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

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

1Corinthians_spread1.0

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

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

Amen

If you liked this Reflection – The All-Consuming Passions of Mankind pt.1… then please leave a comment.  Also please “LIKE” and “SHARE” this post with others.

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20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20

Faith in most of our minds is this mystical,  magical, and even almost other worldly supernatural power that only certain people have in abundance. We read about awesome acts of  faith helping the condemned to survive when anyone else would have perished. We find stories of people who thank God for their recovery claiming it was their faith that pulled them through and we feel they are out of our league.  We in our minds dismiss these people and their stories because we feel that, “we the normal person” is not somehow worthy of this high honor bestowed on just a select few. Well, the truth is that “Yes”, there are some of us who hold onto faith in every aspects of their lives and “Yes”, faith is ingrained into their DNA. “YES”, miracles do happen to some of us because of their faith in God but, “NO!” they are not magically blessed and the rest of humanity is less fortunate.  The truth is God gave all of us the power to believe, and it is this power which we must surrender too in order to have true faith in God. Faith equals trust, trust equals belief, and like a circle bending back upon itself belief equals love. Because “Love” is “God” and those who love God also trust God, again, we find that this equals faith which equals trust. People who choose to live their lives in this manner exhibit characteristics that scare the rest of us because they seemingly have something that we don’t.  People of faith seem to possess absolute resolve in all the trials and tribulations that is placed in their way on a daily basis and seem to handle it better with more fortitude and with greater grace than the normal person could ever muster. But this I tell you is also an illusion, because even though we see something on the out side, the pain and turmoil still has its grip on the inside. We all have the same weakness that which is sin. We all sin, we all fall to sin in our daily lives, it’s just that some of us handle sin better because of their faith, because they trust in God for his promise of forgiveness of their sins. If there was anything which took root in the Roman world after the death and resurrection of Jesus it would have to be this one simple fact that more Romans needed faith in something more real than what they where being offered and Christianity gave them this anchor as it still does for all of us today.  So the simple fact is as Jesus had stated so brilliantly, faith is so powerful because it is show in your actions trust in the word of God. This builds belief in God and in that there is nothing which you cannot do or accomplish even move mountains.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

How many times have you been told to, “Have Faith.” ? What does this really mean? I had one of my students tell me flat out when I told him to have faith, “Why should we have faith?” Obviously this was coming from frustration, but I assured him it will all work in the end. Did it? “Yes! it did.” It always works out in the end. God makes sure things that go wrong in our lives according to us, He can and will fix. But how do we have faith when we don’t know the plan? This and so many other questions rest assured will be the road block to your faith if you let it. But, if you don’t and you let go and let God then your faith is multiplied by infinity and with that kind of faith there is nothing you cannot do.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Faith is a journey, it is a real hand-in-hand walk with our creator. It is the constant listening, or listening faithfully in faith that we all share in common as we only have one God. No one can ignore the sin in our heart as surely as we cannot ignore the path we are all called to take, the journey called faith in God.

My faith journey has been one built up over forty years of  constant reading and asking questions to clergy and people I loved and respected. I finally came face-to-face with all my sin and troubles which had broken me to the point I could n’t stand myself and it was then I saw the clearest I saw the path and heard, really heard God calling my name to walk hand-in-hand with him. I had to hit the bottom of the barrel to find God, to find His mercy, His love, and His devotion that He so freely had given to me which had been before me for ever in plan view. It was that I simply could not see past myself, I was blind with pride, drunk with lust of this world I could not see God. I will not lie, my faith journey has been the hardest journey I have ever had to endure.  I have been tested in every way, shape, and form, every obstacle has been planted with deep roots in front of me, it seems that once I over come the obstacle another is already in the first ones place. Each new test become harder to beat, testing me in new more uncomfortable ways always forcing me to step outside my comfort zone and think outside of the box. But in all these trials and tribulations God has allowed to happen in my life, I have never wavered and in my faith has become stronger and stronger just like Jesus promised. “HAVE FAITH.” Is more than just a saying that makes most people cringe with fear and anxiety, it is the calling card of love sent straight to you from God himself. It is a commandment for the faithful to uphold, always and forever. The best part about it is I know I am never alone in my trials and tribulations that life beats me down with. Because I am on this journey, I am assured that God is with me, right beside me, holding my hand through every part especially the worst parts always giving me strength and resolve.

Without faith there is no hope, and without hope their is only depression and despair. You can expect to fail for sure with that formula. Added to that you are not pleasing God. The actions of those who feel no hope is to rob others of their hope, to pull others down into their sorrow and pity.  All of which is against God and against what He has commanded. God does not reward bad behavior, but rather there is hope in the reward of trust and love He holds for us for he gave his only son.

The one question that always comes to my mind at Easter is really when you thinking about it, when you remember the love of God; His grace that He so freely gives to all man kind is simple in retrospect, “How much more faith in God did Jesus exhibit in His last hour here on Earth as He suffered and died on the cross? How much more faith did Jesus demonstrate than anyone of us in any hour of trouble we face in comparison to being crucified ” Jesus’s stated mission according to the four Gospels of the New Testament was that He had to die for our sins. Jesus had told the Pharisees that He would be seated at the right hand of God. Clearly this was the reward for sacrificing himself for all mankind? But what if Jesus had misplaced His faith in God, what then? Certainly Jesus had thought this in the garden as he prayed before His arrest. Surely Satan had tempted Jesus with this doubt in the Desert. Had it not been for Jesus’s resurrection on the third day we all would be left without faith, without hope, without the trust in God we all so desperately need. We know Jesus was who he said He was, His father is God, and we know beyond doubt the power of Faith by His example and obedience which “Yes” pleased God immensely. Jesus’s faith in God was absolute, unwavering, and never ending. It is this we celebrate at Easter, and it is this truly gives man hope, faith, and love.

“And Jesus answered saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in hid heart , but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”  Mark 11:22-23

Happy Easter Everyone.

Amen

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

Brian Keith

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“47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47, NKJV, Pp.1000).

Last week, and in many other posts, I have said that there is one requirement that we Christians have before God. This requirement is to have absolute faith in Jesus Christ no matter where he should lead us. In fact my exact words where, “To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us.” In addition to making this point, I also gave many examples of how some people just can’t come to grips with this, and in fact one of my readers commented to me personally, “God also wants us to question and not follow along like a blinded sheep.” Admittedly, after reading this comment I was somewhat taken aback. I wondered where I had gone wrong, so after a full week of contemplation I want to bring all of you full circle on this point.

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty, 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:40-42, NKJV, Pp.1000).

I ask, “Did this forgiving of debt have anything to do with mercy, with love?” Simon is being given a test that it took Apostle Paul half a lifetime to learn. Paul prosecuted Christians in the beginning. He was actively hunting them down watching them die at his own hand. His heart was filled with anger and violence, so much so his life was overflowing with such torment. His love was little, thus he loved little. What did it take to bring Paul from this pit of darkness, and give him a new lease on life? It took a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It took Paul the very breath of Jesus in his ear, the blinding of his eyes, in order to instill and wipe away his old habit of hatred and persecution of others, and allow himself to be persecuted in order for him to truly find faith in God. Paul’s conversion was a new found unquestionable, unshakable faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  What a radical transformation from the old angry Christian hater to the new Christ follower. Like Paul, Simon is faced with the one true test of love.

43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then he turned to the women and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this women has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this women has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore, I say to you, her sins are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:43 – 47, NKJV, Pp.1000).

This woman had a choice, she had free will, and she could have chosen not to accept Jesus in this manner. As the story unfolds we find not only did she completely surrender to Jesus, but she sought Him out, and she faced the many men of so-called faith who accused and cursed her. The word forgiven could have been replaced by accepted, but then the granting of forgiveness would have been mute. The table was prepared, the house filled with Pharisees, Jesus could have said you are accepted, and avoided criticism, but his purpose would have been unfilled. What a shame all that would have been, what a great opportunity would have slipped by unnoticed? The question, the criticism, which sparked this great test of love was one filled with scorn.

“39 This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of women this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39, NKJV, Pp.1000).

But I ask, “Are we all not sinners?”

Yes, we are all sinners, yes; we all have free will, and yes; God wants us to question why we believe what we believe. If our God was not such a forgiving God, He would not have forgiven us our many indiscretions. If our God was not a loving God he would not have given us free will, coupled by an inquisitive nature that often times gets us into trouble. If our God wanted us to be blind automatons He would not have sent His only son Jesus to open our eyes so wide to His most perfect grace, His most perfect unconditional love.

It is because we are sinners we need God’s forgiveness, His divine mercy. No matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves. Without being tested by love, we love little. Without God showing us love, we would never know God. Apostle Paul would have forever been blinded by his hatred of people of different faiths, Simon would have never seen the light of day, the Pharisees would have never been moved to question God in the manner they did, and our daily struggle would be unbearable, as we would truly be forsaken. Historically speaking, Rome would never been converted to Christianity, and if that didn’t happen, you and I would not be having this conversation.  Without questioning our faith, our journey with and too God would be meaningless, for we would cease to seek, and we would never find. The only right answer is to do what the sinful women did before Jesus; the only action we need to show is our gratitude. The daily walk through our lives is filled with meaning when we surrender completely, and demonstrate with every breath in our bodies’ absolute faith in Jesus. Only then are we truly set free of our earthy shackles and begin to live the many blessings God had in store for us all along, but first we must pick up our cross and follow Him.

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the women. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:48 – 50, NKJV, Pp.1000).

Challenge question: Where would we be if we did not have Gods love, if we were never tested by that most perfect love? Then without Gods love wouldn’t we be even more lost than we currently find ourselves?

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

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An Easter Message

As I reflect on this Easter holiday, or season depending upon your faith, I am forced to correlate the words God used in the Bible, with his actions he expressed within Jesus Christ his son.  I am forced to review what God meant by the word “Love”, and the power it holds coming from God. I also have to admit that I am very humbled by the potency to which this word works its miracles. I am humbled by how many ways God uttered it in the bible, always teaching us to love each other as he loves us. I am amazed how merciful God has been, and by being merciful he illustrates his perfect love he holds for us, even in his wrath when he punishes us. In fact the very notion of his power can be summed up by this most powerful word, “Love”. That is ultimately the true story behind Easter, God fulfilling yet another promise out of love of all mankind. So I thought it proper to begin this Easter reflection with these words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, The Son of God,

“16For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not parish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men, loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:16-21).

Within these words eco’s the remainder of Jesus’s stay here on earth, it hints at the mission he was given by his father, our father in heaven. He speaks with reverence about his own life and death and what we would come to know as Easter, the day Jesus would be resurrected from the dead. All of these events where propelled not by Jesus, but rather by God, because God so loved the world. This is proven by what Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was praying,

“1Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:1-5).

Jesus speaks about the intervention of God on behalf of man. He sent his only son to save all of mankind. Without this act of divine mercy we all would still be condemned, without Jesus, and forever separated from God. His love knows no bounds; there is simply nothing he will not do on our behalf. Our Father in heaven loves us so much he gave to us his most prized possession. The very fact and proof that the Holy Bible it’s self is the very testimony of God, is simply found in the amount of times the word “Love” is   written into it, this single word is the backbone of every message found within it pages. But God from the beginning gave us the very definition to which we are to us and remember each time we utter the word, “Love”. God defines his love as being of a completely different nature, vastly different than that which we feel for our brethren, wives or husbands, our own children, and family. Rather God’s love is termed as being “Agape Love”. A love which is self sacrificing, loving the unlovable, and is seen through the acts of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Most clearly through his only Son Jesus Christ who gave his life in order to save every last person on Earth, who ever lived, or will ever live until the end of all days. God’s love is so complete, absolute, so powerful, that it is the basis of all life as we are created in his image. There is nothing more powerful, nothing more absolute, as God is love.

This Easter I ask that you simply look at the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the glorification of Jesus, which Jesus had asked for in the Garden three days before. The complete healing of his body, as it was turned into a heavenly body, was an act of agape love on God’s behalf, made possible first by Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice. I ask that we look at our fellow man and try very hard to reach down inside and find that agape love of God’s, pray that God pours it out over you until your cup runneth over. Ask God to grant you this special mindset, and practice what Jesus preached in the loving of one’s neighbor, doing good to those who have done ill to you. For there is no other better example we could illustrate our belief, our faith in him, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on this holy of holy days.

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you. Amen.

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This week I wanted to cover an element of the mission God has handed down to all of us, his children. A mission, so profound, that it is impossible to really understand, to truly appreciate, every aspect or even the tiniest single element in this wonderful blessing we call God’s plan. As a child I remember asking my parents when we’re going to grandma’s? How soon are we going to be at the cabin? How much further until we arrive? What is the plan? I remember my mother sighing as she replied, “If I had a dollar for every time you asked me that today I would be a rich woman.” I can imagine God feels the same way every time we ask, “When Lord? When are you coming back?”

The fact is God has a plan. His plan is so complete, so perfect that none of us could ever make it any better. I laugh every time I hear someone say in church; “Just tell me Lord, what’s the plan.”

I have never heard him tell those who have asked the plan…the full plan. I will go on the record and say I never will. Why should God tell us, his children the plan? How many times have you told your own children the full plan? I have never told my daughter the full plan of the day’s events. I have never told any of my students the complete plan for the semester. Why would I and give up all the fun pop quizzes? But never the less it does not stop my students, and my daughter from asking, nor does it stop us from asking God of what he intends to do next. A really good passage on this very fact can be found in Mark chapter 13, verses 32-33:

32 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

In this passage Jesus spelled it out with his warning to be alert. Each day is a gift, each moment is not promised, make every second on this earth count. Trust in the fact that God has a plan, as Jesus had to also trust his father had a plan for him. In fact all the disciples trusted in the fact that Jesus had a plan, and even though some of them could not accept his plan, they obeyed him even still. The beautiful thing about is that Jesus, like God, never said to stop asking of what the plan was, like our parents would once they got tired of us asking.

Mathew Chapter 7, verses 7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The fact is God has a plan for every single person who has ever lived, and those who will ever live on this earth. His plan is so inclusive it includes the angels, the devil, and the entire universe. His plan was set into motion before time began. God’s plan is so sovereign, everlasting, unchangeable, and unbreakable, that it includes all things. His plan encompasses when and where we live, go, act, and it anticipates our sins and our good deeds. God has left nothing to chance, but rather it is his will, both the good and the bad. He is constantly testing us, just as he had his own son Jesus in the garden the night he was betrayed, in Luke chapter 22, verse 42:

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

God was so generous in his plan he allowed for forgiveness, as Jesus states by showing his disciples how they should pray in Mathew 6, verse 9-13:

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray; Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day your daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

In conclusion, Gods plan is above all merciful, one filled with never ending joy and love. God has his plan for your life, and mine. He works his miracles through us on a daily basis, and if we look hard enough we can see his greatest plan in action, that of the new born baby, who breathes for the very first time. As is with life so is it just as miraculous as when we breathe our last at death. His plan has meaning, it gives us purpose, and it fills our lives with hope.

Amen

 

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