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Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’


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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The First Gift Given Freely

55 “The Lord says, ‘All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.'” ~ Isaiah 55:1

The Lord God does not need our money, He does not require us to repay Him for all that He has done for in truth there is no way that we ever could with earthly goods. From the goodness of His divine heart God created us from the dust of the earth, He feed us; gave us food and drink freely and without cost.  Thus, in every measure God gave to us life and allowed us to make our own choices freely independently with free will. In this He gave to all mankind dominion over the earth to take freely our food and drink to sustain our earthly bodies. All this was done outside of our power and monetary abilities and no matter how much we as people think we are great there in truth is nothing more great than our one true God, the giver of life, and the only true nourishment of the spirit.

The Second Gift Given Freely

30 “God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?” ~ Matthew 6:30

The Lord God created everything in your sight, everything in your hearing, everything you eat and drink, and everything you use for shelter. Yet when you walk into the far-off places still untouched from the hand of man you can see His truest work the beauty in nature. God created every tree, every flower, every blade of grass and every creature giving to them exactly what they need and dressing up in such magnificent colors that would put any work of mans to shame. Yet our loving God did the same for us and in His eye we are called His most magnificent masterpiece. For God dressed us up in His image and His likeness giving us intelligence and the ability to have faith. The second most important gift from God we all receive from birth is hope and the ability to believe in Him who has created all thinks no matter how long it lasts, it comes from His divine hand.

The Third Gift Given Freely

9 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” ~ Luke 11:9

God gives to us our hearts desires, look at King David who was given strength to slay the giant Goliath, his son Solomon who asked God for wisdom in saying, You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”  in 2 Chronicles 1:8-10. From the mouth of God Solomon was given what He asked for and many thinks more that he did not ask for, all given to him freely by our loving and gracious God. Therefore from Jesus Christ’s own lips was this gift also extended to every human on earth, thus the third gift was the ability to speak directly to our one and only God. For it is His divine desire to speak directly to us from His eternal throne in Heaven. God so desires a relationship that consists of much more than one way communication, for our God gives us a voice and an audience with Him alone to ask of Him our hearts desires and to come to Him humbled asking for forgiveness. For this gift of a voice and an audience is our greatest gift for this is our direct line to the divine, our safety net when we are in raging waters, and our comfort when we pray.

The Fourth Gift Given Freely

34 “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” ~ Luke 23:34

The Son of Man could have never applied to God the Father had it not been for the very forgiving nature of God Himself. Evidence of God’s forgiveness is everywhere in every book of the Bible to every word in Christ’s plea for those who nailed Him to the cross. God is so ready to forgive and restore our sinful ways and touch our harden hearts with His divine love. God knows all the pain we endure for Him and so it was within His divine will to give us the ultimate path to salvation through His only son Jesus Christ. In the last hour when Jesus breathed His last forgiveness was no longer in the hands men, but rather given freely to every human being on earth by God through Jesus Christ sacrifice. No longer was the burnt offerings acceptable for the sins of man was placed on the blood of the most High. Forgiveness is yours for the asking, as every action God has made is to bring you closer to Him, to mold you into the most-perfect version of you through His divine forgiveness. If any proof was needed then we only have to look at one sentence Jesus uttered while he was riving in agony when asked by a murder for forgiveness,  42 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'” ~ Luke 23:42-43.

The Fifth Gift Given Freely

12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:12

The Lord God gave the gift of Salvation, through His only son Jesus Christ. In truth nothing else needs to be written, nothing more said, for no one could ever out do this gift from God, no other work is greater than this. God send Jesus from Heaven to fulfill something no man could ever do on his own and that was to wash away our own sins. God saw our desperation, our separation and filth, He saw the state of abuse in both the Laws of Moses and in the Laws of God and washed us clean. God in one single act saved all of humanity from ourselves and He did so out of love. For it was this message being so important and great out weighed all other divine messages and thus it was commanded of us to spread it throughout the world that we are saved through His only son Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. For the message and gift of salvation as we wait for His return is to be said as found in Titus, 13 “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” ~ Titus 2:13-15.

The Sixth Gift Given Freely

10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

The Lord they God freely gives to all people His divine protection from the evils that which we could never properly conceive. The Lord thy God has stretched out His hand as a shield to protect us from all manner of sin and vile things. God has shielded us from our enemies who are both present and not yet present, from those who have threatened us in the past and in the future for goodness and holiness shall reign under the Lord for ever and ever. Put on the armor of God for He freely gives us this most magnificent protection and if we truly believe in Him we will be under His shield which nothing can penetrate. This is the sixth gift of God we can realize in our persona walk with Him, and it is one of the most precious as again it comes from God alone.

 

The Seventh Gift Given Freely

54 “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’  55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-58

In death Jesus Christ was raised from the grave in a perfect resurrection body. His is what ours shall become, from death we shall rise and become more like God. Therefore, the sixth gift will be that of renewed life in God, a life with God, and a the reward promised through salvation.  In this way we are given the hope of life ever after. The hope of walking with God the Eternal Father, the maker of all things for nothing is impossible for God.

Amen,

If you enjoyed “The Seven Gifts from God”, I invite you to stay in contact with me through the following ways and please do not forget to rate this posting below.

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Matthew 14:11-20

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

THE CROWD

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

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

MAN’S COMPASSION

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

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

GOD’S COMPASSION

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

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

BEGINNING OF THE MIRACLE

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

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

OUR GOD…

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

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

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

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

Amen

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 Special Note

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

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

Trustworthiness – The Want

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

Trustworthiness – The Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trustworthiness – The Moral Guide

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

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

 THAI BUDDA 1

Blessings

Not to associate with fools.

To associate with the wise.

To pay respects where they are due.

This is the highest blessing.

To reside in a suitable location.

To have previously done meritorious deeds.

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

This is the highest blessing.

To have much learning.

To be skilled and knowledgeable.

To be restrained by a moral code.

To have beautiful speech.

This is the highest blessing.

To support one’s parents.

To cherish wife and children.

To earn one’s livelihood without difficulty.

This is the highest blessing.

To be generous.

To live in accord with the Dhamma.

To assist one’s relatives.

To do blameless actions.

This is the highest blessing.

To cease and abstain from evil.

To refrain from intoxicants.

Not to be heedless of the Dhamma.

This is the highest blessing.

To be respectful. To be humble.

To be content. To have gratitude.

To hear the Dhamma at the right time.

This is the highest blessing.

To have patience.

To be easy to admonish.

Associating with monks.

To discuss the Dhamma at a suitable time.

This is the highest blessing.

To practice austerities.

To lead the Holy Life.

Seeing the Noble Truths.

The realization of Nibbanā.

This is the highest blessing.

A mind unshaken by contact with the world.

Sorrowlessness, stainlessness and secure.

This is the highest blessing.

Having accomplished this one is always unconquered,

one goes everywhere in peace.

These are the supreme blessings.

~Maṅgala Sutta, Sutta Nipāta 2.4

THAI DESIGN

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

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

Amen

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

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Closing Reminder to Pray

Scott Spinks

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

  1. To visit the original Prayer Request Click Here
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THE PILGRIM SHEPARD

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

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

Meet Fr. Tom!

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GOD OF JOY

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” ~ Luke 10:16

Imagine if you will the light of Heaven raining down upon your face. Feel the warmth and love as it cascades through your body tingling every part of you. Let the love turn into absolute joy in your heart, mind, and soul. This is what God feels like when you meet him, this is Jesus as He stared into the eyes of His disciples and accusers all the same. Joy and love is God, and is in all of us even though we are all sinners. In this light there is only one truth, one happiness, one reason for living and it has nothing to do with our own ambitions  or selfish motives for all that in this light has died and past away. In this light God is the reason, the source, and His power and glory is yours freely because number one you accepted Him and in turn He accepts you just as you are. Imagine for a moment if everyone knew this, accepted this, and practiced this in every aspect of their lives, in how they spoke to friends, family, and strangers alike. Going farther imagine this governed our actions, in how we treated our neighbors, children, and strangers alike, doing random acts of kindness daily. The people in this world would have no need for money, carnal pleasures, or even grandiose possessions because they would have God. There would be no war, hunger, no need for lawyers, judges, Presidents, or governments because all men no matter their race or color would love one-another as they had been commanded to do by God.   Imagine a world that believed in God so much that everyone put down their wants and desires and felt love, really experienced true love, unconditional, open, free, unrestrained love and joy. In this paradise men and women would marry and never forget their love, families would never fight among themselves, and children would grow up with two parents and a village full of love. This is our God, our wondrous forgiving, patient, kind, considerate, all powerful God of Joy. This far off place in our imagination was one possibility in the beginning, one fork in the road we could have chosen but did not because of Satan. As a singular race we all have been robbed the bounty of God, we have been cheated and sold a bill of goods by Satan. This reality we live in today is from Satan’s imagination and his plotting, scheming, selfish battle with God for absolute control, dominance, and power over everything in existence. Satan wants so desperately to destroy joy, peace, tranquility, and even love that his cruelty knows no bounds, for there is no respect for creation and life within Satan. For his hate has fueled this battle or rejection of God and for Satan this is a war he will loose for he cannot conquer God, and all who believed in him will parish with him. This is the good news, the Gospel of God, for this dream we could have had we still can if we chose Him. In doing so God will rejoice in your name; He will count you as one of His many children whom was lost and now is found. God will throw a feast in your honor and your soul will be filled with such abundance like nothing else you have ever experienced in your life, for God will hold you tight to His bosom and love you for all eternity.

Our Mission of Joy

17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ 18 He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” ~ Luke 10:17-20

In Luke we find that Jesus appointed seventy-two people to go before Him with specific instructions which included, to not greet anyone on the open road, and when entering a house say, “Peace to this house”, they were to eat and drink what ever was given them, and they were to stay there not skipping from house to house.  Jesus knew he was sending these people out into the world of wolves and sin, He knew they would be rejected, and in some instances humiliated for their belief in Him. But upon their return to Him they reported with great excitement of their adventures and in truth all where turned into disciples of Jesus all spreading the word of God. Jesus however did not stop there, He has sent millions of us out into this world of wolves just as He did then, He still does to this very day. The rules have never changed, the servants of God are always blest and rewarded, and His love and grace is upon all who really commit to His will. Little by little God is transforming the face of the Earth back into this paradise lost, and will in His absolute grandest style pull all His children to Him and rejoice in their stories and experiences as Jesus had done two thousand years ago.

The Expectation of Joy

12 “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” ~ Isaiah 55:12

What we can expect from life according to joy is much like what Isaiah described, for when your heart is filled with the Holy Spirit nothing is to big, nothing is to hard, nothing is impossible, and your heart sings the songs of laminations to God the Father. In turn everyone and thing who crosses your path also fills with your love and joy, this in-turn creates a spontaneous reaction of harmonious singing within every fiber and adam in every organism which was blest enough to be present when you passed by. Think for a second how many people you see and meet in your lifetime, and who talk with you, or who really get to know you. In each of these instances you are presented with the opportunity to bring joy into the other persons life. How effective is this joy when this opportunity is embraced, is recognized for what it is, and is celebrated and freely given to everyone. Sadly all to often we allow our life to get in the way. We allow our anger, frustration, hatred, ambition, selfishness, and even monthly, weekly, daily mood-swings determine our level of joy and the spreading of Gods joy to others. When we do this we act in a childish manner, not fully grown in the ways of God, and thus we are left in our squaller. In all my life that I have known and loved God I can honestly say that He has never left me or let me down in any way shape or form. I have been presented with many chances to make things right and in many of these instances I have failed, but I never blamed God, rather I have done the opposite. In each moment of failure I have asked God to forgive me and to make me better and more useful and to help me learn and grow in His will. I accepted what He allows or does not allow in my life, because the people I have impacted with God’s Joy out weighs the many failures of my own efforts. Time tested and proven is the will of God, is His promise, is His forgiveness, is His joy. I have found more success in this life when I have accepted this one basic truth, share God’s joy and He rewards this with His unending love. It is a radical shift within our mind that has to take place because of how we as carnal sinners are wired from birth, but if we alter our mind we can unlock Gods power, truth, might, and His joy, in essence we unlock His promised bounty. Again, I have found more success when I allow God’s joy to radiate through me and into others. I have inspired more people by sharing with them God’s message, His promise, His love. It is true what is said about the force of action, (for ever action there is a reaction), if given freely it is of God, if forced it is not of God.

The Difference Between Joy ans Sorrow

15 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. 16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” ~ Psalm 89:15-16

To often people mistake the sounds of joy to be something other than what it truly is. Just a few of us hear it and recognize it when it comes along. To often do we replace this sound of joy in our minds to comfort us, to console us when we have done bad to others. We lie to ourselves when the true sounds of joy ar replaced in our lives, and it is very obvious the problem but the solution eludes us because the stain of the lie is so great and we are so fearful the effort to fix the problems have become like climbing Mount Everest, it becomes to tiresome: to heavy to bare.  Those people are easy to spot in a crowd for they talk a good talk, but refuse to walk the walk, they do not sing the joyful songs of God in their hearts and they do  not seek Gods countenance. Likewise, these people do not rejoice in the things that bring joy to others and to God, instead they hide from it. In all its totality righteousness is not within them because they do not know God. There is a stark difference between these people and those of us who call ourselves Christians and actually practice our faith daily. What makes a person of faith loyal to God is His joy that we experience with each good deed privately done for others, with each loving act randomly done for a stranger, in every kind word that inspires others to be better than they currently are, and in the awesome love given freely to Gods children who are so full of joy its contagious. In everyone of these things joy is at the root, it exalts God, and it is righteous.

A perfect example of what I am talking about can be found in my own life’s experiences here in California. The kind of person I am is known by what I do and say to other people who are around me; as this general rule holds true for everyone of us in this life. I choose to help others, I choose to teach, I choose to write, and I choose to share the message of God’s word for no monetary reward, as I do not earn money for this blog, or any other writing I do that are published online or in print. It is true I have published a book that costs money to buy it, but the money earned goes back into all my activities that help the children I teach at school, so there is no real impact on my financial gains, instead its a write off as donations.  In my professional life I earn money for my efforts but it is so far below the national average it really cannot be called a pay-check. In addition to this my ex-wife has chosen to steal from my little amount in my bank account, she has chosen to force me into poverty as the Family Court System is mandated  by California law to enforce  child-support, by way of reducing my time to the point I would owe money where before I would not have based upon the timeshared agreed upon in 2003, (even though we had previously chosen not to partake in this and to support our child by giving her an education and food, clothes, and presents, ect. on our own custodial time), thus decreasing the little I earn by 50% of my total earnings. Yet in comparison she earns over $100,000.00 a year, thus her actions are ones taken by a person who does not know God. Her actions does not bring joy to our daughter, nor anyone involved except for herself. I write this to show how cruel people are and how money has corrupted their eternal soul. I would rather live in poverty, suffer daily without food or a shower, I would rather live in a hole in the earth than to bring such suffering to another human-being, to be so unfair to my fellow man. I do not see my daughter because my ex-wife has chosen to move her 800 miles away, and has placed in her heart all the wrong things, involving her in all the court action, forcing her to say the most cruel and hurtful things which do not honor anyone other than herself. All of this was done for monetary gain on behalf of my ex-wife, as she took advantage of California State Law. No court in the land will stop her, no one on this earth could bring an end to this suffering but her, and she refuses to do so. I do not write this to bring shame or to make anyone feel guilty, rather I write this as an example of how people have chosen to believe in the ways of Satan, in the lie he spread that made man sin and to separate us from our God. I am not the only one by far who has suffered in these ways, and I will unfortunately not be the last. There is sin and corruption in our laws, in our courts, in our hearts which make such things possible. It is important to call everyone out into the light of God to make it visible before the world to end it before it harms others. Forgiveness can be granted if only the wounds would be left to heal, if only my child would be allowed to have that time given by the Courts, that ironically the courts themselves refuse to enforce. Forgiveness can be granted if only a sincere apology could be given in its stead. But forgiveness starts with the one who committed the affliction, and it is between them and God first. Therefore, I say to you these things bring no joy, only pain, and is abomination in the eyes of God. Remember I said to you that true Christians bring joy to others selflessly, true people of God bring joy to those who are in pain, mercy to those who cannot help themselves, and they do not ask for monetary reward for doing the work of God. Everyday I get up I try to help others and this is my true mission with or without money being earned because God always provides and I will not lie that this has been a hard path to follow. But my God is so great that He shows me everyday that He is with me because I chose Him, and there is nothing more joyful to God than one of his lost sheep coming home for good.  In truth I hope all those who suffer in these ways and for those who seek this manner to force the other biological parent into poverty that the light of God be shown to you to both give you mercy, to help you forgive, to force your heart to sing the laminations of God so as the pain is lifted forever from your collective hearts for your children’s sake.  Again, we fool our selves and commit such depravity and hurt upon our children when we as adults act like children and do things in such a selfish way. I say to you all… STOP IT! Allow God’s joy to penetrate your heart, mind, and soul: do His will and your life and relationships will be forever altered into what God originally intended them to be. 

The Joy of Jesus

11″These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” ~ John 15:11

Remember Jesus loved us so much that He willingly died upon the cross for our sins. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to accomplish salvation. In this is the ultimate message of joy, which is linked to love. To truly love another person is to also find joy in them, joy in their actions, joy in their thoughts, joy in their very presence. God finds joy in everyone last human being in this manner and thus loves us more than our own hearts could every possibly understand or comprehend. In it’s totality God is Love, He is Joy, He is all that we truly need. With this truth know it is not hard then to understand why God wanted a paradise full of joy for us, he wanted mankind to live in peace and harmony. God wanted something that man could never attain on his own and our world would be so much more blest with His bounty ever present, His love raining down upon our faces, His joy filling our hearts, His peace upon our souls. God’s promise can be granted by choosing Him, believing in HIm, by trusting in His wisdom, love, joy, peace, and mercy. Jesus left our world better than when he found it, He lived, so we could also live, He did so we would not have too, He rose so we could be with Him forever. 

THE CHALLENGE

To spread joy is to spread hope and love to everyone and in this we are commanded to freely give these things to others on behalf of God. Therefore I challenge you spend every day of the rest of your life doing spontaneous acts of kindness that bring joy to others. It doesn’t have to cost you money, but it does have to bring joy to a stranger. As Jesus once said what good is it to be kind to those you know, where is the good in that? So you must do something for a complete stranger which brings joy to their heart. It could be something as simple as listening to them, helping them across the road, buying them dinner, or even opening the door for them. Remember it must be random and it must be joyful and you must not boast about what you have done because this act of kindness is between you and God. 

Amen

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

Brian Keith

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P.S. NEVER GIVE UP!

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So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sistersins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ~ Luke 17:3-4, NIV

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Listening Faithfully Blog: Sin Series

What you will find is a biblical account of SIN found in the scripture applied to our modern day lives.

The nature oJesusf sin as it was introduced is based upon the most grievous of acts known as Pride. This act as the base sin brings us to the most inhuman levels of existence as it glorifies such emotions as selfishness, greed, wrath, rage, violence, madness, the want for instant gratification, and ultimately leaves the human soul depleted and filled with anger that turns the heart as black as coal. Within this series now in e-book format SIN is discussed in a more understandable, conversational manner that brings the reader through the Origin of Satan, the introduction of the first sin, and then finally through the various pitfalls of sin better known as the Seven Deadly Sins. There is in great detail the path everyone can follow to avoid these sins and their affects on our lives. This Armor Plating which repeals SIN is found in scripture and always starts with forgiveness.

If your life is overtaken with SIN and you want out of its grip, or if you simply want to educate yourself on this topic, then there is no better resource than this short e-book produced from the pages of this blog, Get Your Copy Today!

Listening Faithfully Blog: Sin Series

 

May God be with you always, Amen.

 

 

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“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 59.9

Many times I have heard that God of the Old Testament was a God of wrath, of punishment, a God of testing, and of laws which placed many conditions upon His people. Very different God from the New Testament who is a God of mercy, forgiveness, and of love.  But I argue this point and ask you all to consider this about our God. Our God in heaven has never changed because he can not change, He is forever the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and yes He is also the God of judgement and punishment, and from last weeks Reflection we see He takes no pleasure from punishing the wicked instead He only wishes them to turn away from their wickedness and come back to Him. This clearly demonstrates that our God is a God of many chances. Our God loves us, He has always loved us and the only thing that has changed is humanity. The greatest of all miracles can be found in this one simple thing, His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His love is of a different order than our love, and God seeks and has always sought to love each and everyone of us since before we where born. It is humanity that has changed, we have forever altered how God can respond to us and thus changed the conditions in which God shows His love in your life;

59 “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.” ~ Isaiah 59:1-4

In Isaiah we can clearly see that it is not God who has lied, spoken falsely, or have blood upon His hands. In fact it is our sin, our lack in faith, our indiscretions which God has had to deal with over our short history here on earth. Think of each lie told as a small needle which God has had to defend against, each word uttered to condemn an innocent person to death as a razor blade cutting away at Gods justice, and look at each action that harms another human being done purposefully as a sword thrusted into the side of Jesus and then you will have just barely scratched the surface to the pain and suffering our Lord endured upon the cross.

2 “And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would beborn blind ?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents ; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” ~ John 9:2-3

By sending Jesus, God again shows His unyielding love for all man kind, He finds the most awesome ways to prove His love over and over again. In healing a blind man who was blind from birth Jesus illustrates His love and mercy for us. This miracle is a two fold miracle, one that shows the power of God, but also shows the love of God. The lesson Jesus was teaching was that it mattered not to the blind man whether it be day or night, but as long as Jesus was in the world His light would penetrate every soul and make them see, even the blind who where blind from birth a medical condition which there is no cure. But moreover, this miracle shows that it matters not what we suffer, that God can take that suffering and us it to glorify Him, to bless us, and to show to others His unchanging love.

4 “We must work the works of Him who sentMe as long as it is day ; night is coming when no one can work. 5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” ~ John 9:4-5

The very notion of being the “Light of the World” is one that also proves Gods love, and the lengths He has gone to not just save us, but to also lift us up in His perfect love despite the many sins we have committed. The term Jesus uses is a technical one in heavenly speech, a term that Satan knows well as he was once the Morning Star in heaven. Jesus is the truth, the light, and all who follow will walk in ever lasting life. Satan, does not want this, so the scriptures tell us that Satan entered into Judas to betrayed Jesus. Think for a moment how glorified God was within this moment, think how magnificent God is to be able to shine through this great deception of darkness. Understand that God not just opened the eyes of a blind man, but of all men and women on this planet in that one moment of darkness, the light of the world indeed still shown through it.

Because we have so completely changed the scope of how God communicates, and how he sends His divine love to us each occasion is then an opportunity for God to prove His love in our life, even in times of our greatest suffering.  The bible points out four unique  types of suffering which we endure, that are in large part connected to our sinful nature, thus connecting suffering with sin. The first is found as follows:

22 “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” ~ Genesis 22:1-2

2 “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:2

6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” ~ Job 1:6-12

In these three examples God uses person strife to work the biggest miracles. He uses every occasion to test and mold each one of us into a more perfect person. He tests us to prove our loyalty and love to Him, which is the true miracle and the prove of His never changing love. God tested Abraham by having him offer up his only son to God as a burnt offering upon Mt. Moriah. Though Abraham did not want this test he proved his belief in God and trusted in his wisdom enough to follow through with God’s request, even up to the very moment of raising the knife high above his head, only then did God send His angeles to stop him. Again, God tested the people in the hot desert for forty years to hone them and to test each one of them. To bring them from a complacent slave like nature to one that was sharpened in every aspect of God, even unto their very last breath would they obey to build a nation in hostile lands. Finally God shows us the test of love through the greatest suffering of Job. Here was a man who had everything, and in Satan’s hands was brought down lower than low and still he refused to turn away from God. We are tested in our faith, in our actions, in our words, through our suffering.

The next form of suffering God uses as a means to mold us into a more perfect person, to edify us and to raise us up higher than we where before, consider;

5  “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” ~ Hebrews 12:5-8

God chastens each one of us in order to bring us through each hardship, to prove his love on a personal level. God calls out to us and encourages the goodness to always shine through much like we see in Jesus upon accepting His divine mission here on earth.God Speaks about chastening his own son, and without this specialized attention we are like the lump of clay that has been cast aside. Jesus talked about praising God in the mists of your troubles, rejoice in your pain as God is always with you, and if you turn from this then indeed you have proven to God you are not one of his sons or daughters. Again this is not what God want’s for He prefers your heart to turn from wickedness and your spirit should have ever lasting life.

The third form of suffering we, (the human population),  have brought upon ourselves by rebellion against God, examples of this can be found  in the following scriptures;

22 “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” ~ Genesis 3:22-24

“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” 13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them. ~ Numbers 20:8-13

14 “All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the chastisement of a cruel one, For the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased. 15 Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.” ~ Jeremiah 30:14-16

God punishes but takes no pleasure in it. In Genesis Adam and Eve are kicked out of the Garden of Eden because of their collective sin against God. This was brought upon them by their actions. We see this repeated throughout the bible as this theme is again brought forth with Moses and Aaron who are told by God to gather the people and strike the rock to glorify God’s love for them by giving them water to drink. But Moses does not mention God before striking the rock, and in essence stole from God the glory due Him. In the last example found in Jeremiah God specifically states His wrath and punishment is due because of the sins and increase of the inequity of the people. Our suffering is forever linked to our sins, and the increase of our sins are linked to our increased suffering. Again God takes no pleasure form this but He does and will bring you closer to His perfect love through all your trials and tribulations you may suffer throughout your life.

Finally the fourth kind of suffering is brought about specifically to show Gods might and glory which can be found in the following examples;

5 “‘Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?’ 11 She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’ 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.'” ~ John 8:5-12

9  “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” ~ John 9:1-7

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” ~ John 11:4

In these final three examples we see Jesus using sin, blindness, and death as a way to communicate His love, Gods power and might, all which glorifies God in the Highest. Jesus over and over gives new life in each action he takes, this proves beyond all reason of how much God truly loves us, to what lengths God goes to show His love, thus proving He has not changed, His mission has not changed, but rather God has always been the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and a God of many chances.

Amen

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