14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” ~ Isaiah 7:14(KJV)
The traditional view of our modern – Western Christmas – is one that devolved over time from a pagan tradition to a more religious Christian tradition then finally into the economically driven holiday we have now. In others words, what we celebrate is less about Jesus and the anticipation of the coming of Christ from Godhood to man, less about that singular miracle, to something that is at a lesser state of being than what previously came before it! We have softened the message of this miracle of Christ’s birth over time, we have sidelined God’s wanting to become flesh and blood as well as His love for humanity which is partly His motivation in becoming flesh and blood. We have changed the very definition of God’s purpose to fit our own less intensive version that is more politically correct and less threatening and less controversial. We have changed the paradigm of God and turned Him into a jolly old man that gives tangible gifts instead of the intangible gift of salvation! Our modern Christmas for the majority of westerners leaves out this moment where we reflect and make ready our hearts in anticipation of Jesus the Son of Man in His return so that we will finally and forever be with Him in Heaven. To me, this is the ultimate gift. It is a gift which cannot be bought, it never rusts or fades, it will be ours for all time and will never be taken away. It is the ultimate promise, one that is bigger, better, and more fulfilling than anything in Saint Nick’s green and red bag of toys. Because when we celebrate Christmas in it’s entirety we do not need toys to excite us or keep us from boredom because salvation is not boring!
So I say to you my brethren, the Lord Himself foresaw and provided for this time for the world to wait, hope, and pray for His triumphed return. The signs were all around the people of Judea, they are all around us today recognizable only if you believe and allow ourselves to see the true message of this remarkable holiday. For I tell you now that when a person understands the full meaning, knows the path yet to come, and fully comprehends what each word God spoke really meant, then the totality of that one miracle of Christ suddenly opens our eyes, hearts, minds, and His love becomes more accessible to us as we grow in the confidence that God is working towards our ultimate salvation through Jesus Christ. It is this miracle message we need to be celebrating and not the gifts that cost hundreds of dollars, the bling bling of modern day living, or even the decorations we allow to influence our motivations for celebrating Christmas in the first place. Our excitement of this season should be that which makes us ready to receive our savior.
6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
Christian tradition as observed for most Catholics and some of the other religious denominations of Christianity in general believe in the coming of Christ in two parts. The First coming is typically called Christmas or the Nativity. However, a more appropriate term is “Advent”, which in its more basic meaning is, “Coming”. Breaking advent down more completely you have “Ad” = “To” and “Vent”=”Come”, leaving us with “TO COME”. Before the birth of Christ it was prophesied that the word would become flesh and dwell among us in scriptures from Isaiah to Zechariah. Thus, within the Jewish teachings just before the birth of Christ the hearts and minds of the people where in this hopeful anticipation of the Savior or Messiah. For those who understood prophecy also understood the signs to look for and in this case it was the Star of Bethlehem. Christian tradition and the telling and retelling of the Nativity story has become the basis for the modern reason why we celebrate Christmas as a holiday. At first the meaning of Christmas was all about the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ. The celebration centered on the miracle of Jesus being sent by God, the act of the miracle of God made flesh. There was great excitement because to the Jewish people this would mean the end of Roman oppression! Oddly, it would be the Jewish leaders who would advocate Jesus’s death and the Roman Empire that would later embrace His divinity, thus combining two different holidays into one and called it Christmas complete with our modern Christmas Tree. But even then gifts where never at the center of the season, it was all about the hope and anticipation of Christ’s return or the Second Advent! So I say to you my brethren take time to prepare your hearts for God and reflect and be filled with the hope, love, joy, and anticipation of Christ’s return!
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.
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.
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“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV Bible
This past couple of weeks I have been reminded of how much Jesus loved us. How He alone showed perfect absolute love no matter the situation that He faced. God’s love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the most absolute description to date of God’s perfect love. If you read it completely and then ask yourself where you stack up in your daily life using these standards I am sure you will find that your actions or words to others are no match for this description above. “23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23 NIV Bible
However, don’t get to discouraged just yet, no one is perfect as we are all flawed and filled with sin, that is why God’s love is so perfect because it has to be for our Lord to love us so. It is no ascendent that this description begins with love being patient, because how patient is God when dealing with humanity? How patient has God been in dealing with Satan?
There have been a few people over the years as I have been writing and maintaining this specific website and blog who have not been patient, and have been fast to judge me, to presume they know me, who cannot put down their own personal demons, and sadly who are fast to make inaccurate accusations, and then pretend they can judge this body of work I have published here in. All I can say to this is simply the word “patient” implies long suffering, tolerance, and as described by the Webster Dictionary in English; “1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.” God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who are not patient or kind.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23 NIV Bible
As an educator in dealing with children with different learning aptitudes the temptation is always there to be short or curt with those who ask the same question over, and over, and over, or those who ask a question to which in the start of the lesson I had already answered. Moreover, in this I will say patients must be connected to kindness so the love can shine through. In this situation each teacher has a coping mechanism and mine is simple, I smile underneath the frustration and remind myself by saying in my mind, “You just gotta love’m.” This always brings me to Jesus who exhibited both patience and kindness to everyone most especially his disciples. How many times did Jesus repeat himself in the bible, how many lessons did He teach to the masses then reenforce to His disciples? How many ways did Jesus repeat His message of love to His disciples? In all the ways we can possibly count in the bible of God’s kindness we can also correlate the idea that love is about genuinely being kind to your fellow man. Again in the Merriam Webster Dictionary in English kindness is described as being, “2a : the quality or state of being kind” It is a mental attitude, a choice, and in some instances a rewarding lifestyle. I also find it interesting that the synonyms are listed as, ” benevolence, boon, courtesy, grace, indulgence, favor, mercy, service, and turn.” I must argue that these are the qualities of a kind heart, and a patient loving soul. Again, God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who are not kind.
Love does not envy, boast, and is not proud. I am constantly reminded of how prideful some people are, or how some people envy what others have, still I see these same people boast about their things or accomplishments. This is especially troubling because any victory achieved without praising God for it is hollow. The words envy, boast, and proud are what the wicked do, this is the description of sin. Biblically speaking Satan fell from heaven because he was first prideful, he envied God, and second Satan boasted about how great he was, for his throne would be above Gods in Heaven. Pride and Envy makes up two of the original seven deadly sins wrote about by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century who took this list from Greek monastic theologian Evagrius of Pontus (345-399). The saying, “Pride comes before a fall” is the most modern and clearest reference to the fall of Satan, the fall of one-third of all the angels in heaven, and the fall of mankind as found in Genesis. I also must warn everyone against being prideful, but the ear marks of a prideful person is found in how much they boast. There can never be love in an envious, prideful, and boastful heart because there is no room left for anything else, not even for God. Once again, God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who are envious, boastful, and prideful.
“46 Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” ~ Luke 20: 46-47
Love does not, “5 dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” In this I find our sin is shown to all for what it is, dishonorable, selfish, angry, and never forgiving. I have been told by some of my harshest detractors that this description would fit me nicely. But, then again they mistake my enthusiasm that I hold for God and His perfect love for something evil and vial. In this Jesus said to rejoice when others persecute you, so my voice on this subject is I hope very loud and very direct. People who go around blaming others all the time, seeking to destroy the love in their targets hearts, seeking to split families and make children chose between two parents they love is selfish, is dishonorable, is angry, and yes these people never forgive because their hearts have been hardened by Satan and influenced by his lies. I can truthfully testify to the world my walk with God is strengthened with each curse word thrown in my direction and makes me hold tighter to God’s hand and abide more in His perfect love, and this is how your own trials and tribulations should make you feel deep inside your heart of hearts. We are not here to judge others, but rather love one another. You cannot love your fellow man or women if your heart is wracked with selfishness. You cannot love others if everything you do is dishonorable. You cannot love people if your angry all the time. You cannot keep records of other peoples wrongs and be truly forgiving. God does not work that way, life in general does not work that way. I have always said that I enjoy everyone’s comments even if they do not agree with me, because my walk with God is different than your walk with God, and so in this we all must be tolerant with one another and celebrate our vast differences. Once more, God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who are dishonorable, selfish, angry, and never forgiving. “1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” ~ Romans 2:1-4 NIV Bible “6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” The idea of telling the truth is a sacred obligation every human-being is born with. It is like a program written into your heart that which zaps you every time you lie. These zaps build up over time and leads to a weight so heaven upon your heart that it has been know to cause a plethora of anxieties that can be mortally fatal. One of the best examples of how we as a society have tried to reflect God in our laws is found within the need to make a person swear an oath in court before testifying. Sadly perjury or bearing false witness is not something we are very aggressive in prosecuting. On one hand we appear to be moral, but on the other hand we embrace the sin of testifying falsely as through our reluctance to stop it and punish it, therefore in God’s eyes man’s laws and processes found within our judicial system are nothing short of corrupt and filled with hypocrisy. The best example was in the trial of Jesus Christ, when the High Priest took testimony from people who where known liars.
“55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.” ~ Mark 14: 55-65 NIV Bible
Bearing false witness is a sin as it is breaking the eight commandment of God; “ 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” ~ Exodus 20:16 KJ 2000 Bible.
Each and every time I see this happen my heart hurts for those who are perpetrating this sin, moreover, my heart hurts for those who also instigate it from the innocent. For the Lord Jesus Christ also warned; “Obstacles to faith are sure to arise, but beware to the one who creates them. It would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around the neck than for that person to mislead one of my followers.” Q 76, The Lost Gospel Q.
Again pray, God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who revel in their sin, who delight in evil, and for those who rebuke the truth.
God’s agape Love; “7 always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The placement of this verse is essential to bring home the true nature of God, His love, and the same message of Jesus. The seventh verse, in numerology is sacred, for the number seven is revered as being holy. The nature of God is a protecting one, it is God’s first line of defense in defending you against evil. God then builds trust within your heart, and your protective actions should also build trust in those you love and protect. God is filled with hope, evidence of this is that two thousand years after His son’s death and resurrection man-kind is still here, God still loves us, and He through His perfect love fills our hearts with hope. Thus, when you protect the ones you love, your trust in them spawns their trust in you. Hope is then poured to form the strongest foundation to all your relationships, again anchoring them upon God’s grace that naturally perseveres and blesses you and all those whom you love unconditionally. Love is patient, love is kind, love rejoices with the truth, love always protects, love always trusts, love always hopes, and love always perseveres, for this is what love is. Finally, God instructs us all to emulate Him and He knows we will fall short so we are also instructed to pray for those who do fall short and pray for those who try their very best to be protecting, trusting, hopeful, and always preserving with their love.
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ANNOUNCES TO THE COMMUNITY OF FOLLOWER, FRIENDS, AND SUBSCRIBERS;
In the spirit of charity and from the necessity to provide for all of Gods children, together in this mission, Listening Faithfully has teamed up with a wonderful charitable organization in East Texas whose name reflects their good works, “God’s Hand Ups” and their work is accomplished by a Godly motivation to help every children throughout their community. I am honored to have them as good friends in the Lord. I can testify before you all today, that my good friend who is a founding member of this charitable group has truly been tested in the manner described here in this blog posting and who has consistently passed this test of giving and working for the benefit of all in her community. I introduce you all to Tonia Allen, who currently has a wonderful new campaign in raising money for children in need. Please visit her donation site: “GOD’S HAND UPS NOT HAND OUTS ” and please be very charitable.
“Someone once told me that compassion was not simple. They believed compassion was huge. Compassion is SO simple as it is an act of kindness from one to another. It is only huge when it becomes over thought. God’s Hand Ups was founded by the vision of a 17 year old junior in high school who believed the world could be saved–“one person at a time.” ~ Tonia Allen, Gods Hands Up, 2013.
Author Brian Keith, writer and publisher of Listening Faithfully Blog offers to you his first e-book:
Listening Faithfully: The Sin Series (Nov 28, 2012)
Taken from the most successful and popular series of postings on Listening Faithfully Blog in 2009-10, then edited and repackaged for your reading enjoyment, Brian has put together a comprehensive chronicle of sin! With a massive amount of research and based upon Biblical Scripture each chapter reveals the shocking and revolutionary message of our Lord, while describing how each type of sin can destroy your life if left unchecked. It is a must read for-everyone to avoid the penalty of spiritual death.
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“Whenever you enter someone’s home let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a person who loves peace lives there, they will accept your blessing. If not, your words will come back to you. Stay in this house, taking what food and drink they offer, for the laborer deserves his reward. Do not keep moving from house to house. When you enter a town and the people welcome you, eat the food they provide. Heal the sick who are there. Say to the people of the town, ‘The realm of God is at your door” (Lost Gospel Q, Q30, p.64).
The words, “Peace be with you”, strikes a chord so deep into our hearts, it’s a greeting that wishes nothing but goodness, peace, and love for the person we are addressing. How often do we normally do that? How often do we take the time in our daily lives and wish someone else like our friends, our loved ones, even a complete stranger, and wish them well? The time taken is so small, so minimal that it takes hardly any energy at all, so why don’t we do it? The “Time Spent Series” is my reflections and observations on the biblical teachings that illustrate the amount of time God has spent teaching the human race how to love, how to honor one another, and how to properly spend time. It is my thoughts and feelings on how we need to spend time with those whom we love, our families, and close friends, but also in the smallest of ways why we need to be ready to give that one greeting that changes lives.
Our Lord and Savior took out the time to teach us about God, about Heaven and Hell, he taught the Jews about relationships. Not just our relationship to God, but more importantly our relationship to one another. The crowning glory of his ministry was his simple, but powerful greeting, “Peace be with you.” He says it to his disciples after his death in Luke 24:36 and again in John 20:21. Before that Jesus prepares his disciples for the Holy Spirit before his death and resurrection found in the bible in John 14:27 where he says to them,“Peace I leave with you my peace I give you.” This greeting can be found later in John 20:26 when Jesus greets Thomas after the other disciples saw the risen Christ. He said this to calm their souls, to build them up, to show his love for them.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’, If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:5-7, p.1591, NIV).
In fact Jesus was so specific to include what you say when entering a person’s house and as illustrated above how to greet a town. He was preparing them how to greet people one-on-one, on their own terms. His anointment on the chosen seventy two happened after he was rebuked in the village of Samaritan, as found in Luke 9:51-62, still he taught his anointed to greet people with peace in your heart.
Time spent traveling from village to village as told in the bible, was Gods method of spreading the words of peace, love, and joy, because that is all we, his disciples, his children can do. Knowing this Jesus taught us all how to greet each other, brothers and sisters in Christ, and despite ones beliefs his example even extents to those who are not Christian, but from other faiths. Jesus embraced the idea that we are all one in the same, one family in God, and our respect is shown to God by greeting people in the proper manner, using his perfect example.
The time Jesus spent was used so strategically that we hardly take notice of the smallest of his examples because all our time is spent looking at his biggest accomplishments. His efforts in his eye-to-eye contact, to his smile, his gestures, and in his greetings, all took no energy on his behalf and changed the hearts and minds of his hardest of critics. His examples in soothing the soul, calming the mind, while spending quality time with all whom he meet and talked with revealed his perfect intent. Jesus’ overriding message throughout the bible has been proclaimed by many, but none so eloquently spoken than by the Apostle John who wrote, “21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” (1 John 4:21-23, p.1951, NIV).
The words that most often change lives are not ones of malice and hatred, rather they come from the heart, and as Jesus illustrates, they are a blessings. If we obey his words, then there is no viable reason we cannot find ways to find common ground with strangers who do not hold to our same principals. If indeed our first words which role smoothly of our lips to our fellow man was a blessing, how long would it take to achieve peace in our own hearts.
“10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10-12, p.843, NIV).
Challenge question:If Jesus could chose to come down from Heaven, be born in a dirty, sticky manger, and know he was going to die a brutal death just to spend time with us; shouldn’t we make the effort to bless our fellow sisters and brothers with the words he taught us?
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.