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.
17 “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” ~ Proverbs 19:17
I want to start out today’s reflection expressing in great detail of why I am so grateful to our Lord. As you read all I ask is for you to think of all the way you are also grateful to the Lord. Then put yourself in the shoes of my 5th grade students who are underprivileged living in the heart of Los Angeles and many of them do not see their parents very often because they are working to makes ends meet. In a few instances some of my student’s parents have been or are in jail for various reasons, not withstanding there are also a few parents who are present and make time for their children; but needless to say those parents are very few and far between. So when I tell you these children need every advantage I am not lying to you nor am I making any of these things up, rather I am being forthright with you and need your help this Christmas Season. Please visit our website and buy your T’Shirt Today! https://www.booster.com/listeningfaithfully
God Is Our Constant Companion
God has been so gracious to me personally this year, because there has been so many trials and tribulations Satan has put me through. The first trial has been living without seeing my daughters face or hearing my daughters voice for over a year as my ex-wife won a move-away and took my daughter 800 miles north to San Francisco. There has been no communication because my daughter and I largely because my ex-wife prohibits my daughter from making contact, so all I get is one text every holiday from my daughters iPhone. Technically, I get visitation but have no money to travel to see my daughter, even though that was precisely the thing my ex-wife promised the judge that she would make happen by buying a monthly flight for my daughter to Los Angles to see me: as she makes 4 times the income I make as a teacher. In addition to these things my ex-wife after 16 1/2 years filed for child support after she and I agreed to wave it back in 2003, not to mention she also stole $645.00 dollars from my Chase Bank account in 2012 which forced me to be late on rent and later because of that was forced to move from my apartment after 7 years of being on time. It is no lie I have had to file for Bank Bankruptcy as the bills I incurred fighting for my parental rights in court which ended with the judge refusing to obey the law and order my ex-wife to pay legal fees; end result I had no other recourse no other options available to me. I have also suffered massive car troubles after ten years of owning my truck it finally needed over $3500.00 worth of repairs. But through all of these things God has been with me, He has helped me endure the long cold lonely nights, and He alone files my heart with such love that my heart over flows with it and I have to write and share it in every way I can using the gifts He has bestowed upon me. It would be easy to sit here and write and complain about these trials I have faced, but I tell you they have made me stronger, wiser, more capable, more crafty, more in-love with God, because through it all this year has been about adapting and overcoming. God has given me the strength to know the things I can change and the wisdom to know the things I can not change, He has granted me mercy with reuniting me with a friend lost in those horrible struggles with my ex-wife which stretched from 1996-2013. I have regained a friendship that I thought was forever gone and which I so desperately needed. God has put angels in my path that have helped me over come those struggles with my ex-wife, my daughter, my friendships, family, contributors, and now lastly my truck. God has given me eagles wings to sore high above all these troubles and to be able to look past the darkness of these events and move past them. God has given me angels who have provided ways to maintain some level of lively-hood despite 1/2 of my income now goes to my ex-wife out of her shear hatred and spite for me, which is not in our daughters best interest. God has given to me a mother who has almost died three times within the past four years, and He has given her the strength to keep going even though her lungs no-longer produce the oxygen she needs as she struggles with COPD. God has given to me a father who is deaf, but who finds ways to bring a smile to my face by building me various wooden objects he has pored his love into with me in his thoughts. God has given me a sister who every day of her life has used it to help young men who are incarcerated to find their way and become a success in our unforgiving society. God has also given unto our family a new baby who is filled with all the love a child can hold and her smiles and voice remind me of better days I had with my own daughter, and better days I will yet have. So “Yes”, God has been my constant companion! It would be easy to sit and moan about my many losses that I have suffered through this past year, but for every loss I have suffered God has opened the door and has given unto me a magnificent victory within His love, mercy, and kindness by allowing the many angels to intercede and lift me up when Satan has knocked me down. Please visit our website and buy your T’Shirt Today! https://www.booster.com/listeningfaithfully
25 “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:25
Just as I have been lifted up most of my time is spent with children who I fight for, who I love with all my heart, and who on my own I could never give them the resources they so desperately need. My school does not have the money to purchase new Hardcover English textbooks or new work-books for the students to write in and learn from which supports the new curriculum’s the State and Federal Governments are now enforcing. As a school we have now begun cutting back on printing out worksheets and the purchasing of ink for our various printers. The economic times we are now facing has hit private schools extremely hard and all the families they serve, and it is our children who suffer the consequence for the few greedy people who seem to ignore this growing divide between rich and poor. This economy is a man-made problem, and Pope Frances had it right when he, “attacked unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny’, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.” ~ Holland, Joshua, (Nov. 26, 2013), The Poverty Line: Pope Francis Calls Unfettered Capitalism ‘Tyranny’, http://billmoyers.com. Pope Frances sees what is a sin against mankind, he has stated very clearly the problem, and the injustice of not fixing something we have created that forces millions into a different kind of slavery, that born of our own sinful economic greed! So it is that I am reaching out with a heavy heart, but one also filled with love and hope to you today and ask that you may find it with in your heart to become a supporter of Listening Faithfully by purchasing one T’Shirt that will show your pride in both this website, but also your support for education. My students need their little angels this holiday season helping them just as I have been so blessed with in my own personal struggles. Please visit our website and buy your T’Shirt Today! https://www.booster.com/listeningfaithfully
2014 Educational Enrichment Program!:
42 “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” ~ Matthew 5:42
You click the following link below and purchase one T’Shirt, or as many as you would like. The money raised then goes to purchase the Sadlier; Level Blue; Vocabulary Workshop paper-covered work books for my students. Within two weeks of the ending of this Christmas and News Years campaign you will receive the T’Shirt and can call yourselves an official supporter of Listening Faithfully and of Education. I will also have a private page here on this website just for you as I am kicking off the Sin Serious 2014 Revisited ~ An invaluable resource that highlights the Seven Deadly Sins as they apply to us in our modern day lives. Below is scanned copies of Unit 2 From the Sadlier Workbook that will be purchase for the students with your help. Again I ask you to please visit our website and buy your T’Shirt Today!https://www.booster.com/listeningfaithfully
Please Support Listening Faithfully Blog Language Arts Book Drive!
Show your Listening Faithfully pride and help us reach our goal! Together we will raise over $10,000 to directly support inner city students with brand new Language Arts Books published by Sadleir if we sell 1000 shirts. How awesome is that?! What a great way to help spread the wealth of Christ while celebrating our 5th year online reflecting on the word of God! Help show your support of Pope Frances’s which has so eloquently been outlined while also helping our students overcome this sinful poverty; be that little angle of God today! Book Drive will end within the first week of January 2014 so please hurry and be the first to show your support. In addition your shirts will be delivered to you within 2-weeks of the campaign closing – guaranteed! Please visit our website and buy your T’Shirt Today! https://www.booster.com/listeningfaithfully
This initiative is sponsored by the Listening Faithfully Blog 2014 (EEP) Language Arts Book Drive!
Thank you in advance to all of our supporters!
Extra Special Request:
I have a friend, his name is Joseph. He lives in San Diego and his ex-wife seven weeks ago stole his daughter and fled the country. He asks a simple question that I would like our Justice System to answer: “What would you do if your one and only child was taken from you, without prior notice, and whisked away to a foreign country?” I would like our judges held accountable for giving one parent more rights than another based on sex or money! This false notion that children need their mothers more than their fathers is archaic at best and if you read the Bible at all you will find that God gave to Fathers and Mothers different but equal responsibilities to their children. I repeat…. FATHERS ARE NOT NATURES BANK! Our justice system is sick and in need of repair – reform; whatever you want to call it! But that won’t happen until every American…. every parent and non-parent stands up and forces our Federal and States Governments to stop Alienation of Affection of a Minor Child! In the mean time I ask you to help my friend Joseph by visiting his website and giving whatever you can afford. Let’s bring his daughter Dani back home!
“The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death.” ~ Proverbs 14:32
Death is summed up with one word, separation. We are separated from God through sin, and it is this sin which Christ had to die on the cross in order to pay our sin debt in full for all of humanity. This is the most pragmatic of all the types of death we as human beings can experience, that being a physical death. This topic of death is a complicated one and is diverse in its nature, it holds permeant consequences and is to many people it is a topic which scares but also fascinates us. So the real question is what can we expect from life according to death? To completely immerse ourselves within this topic in an attempt to answer this question we need to first understand there are categories of death, or better put categories of separation; some good and some bad; but in all each category the wicked will die without hope and the righteous will have hope in their death and resurrection in Christ Jesus because again our sin debt has been paid in full, that is the good news of our Saviour.
In life we experience different types of spiritual separation not all lead directly to a swift physical death; as was the case with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Neither then is all spiritual nor physical separations evil as was the case with Job, who won favor with God by never turning away from his faith in God when tested. Satan introduced to both Adam and Job great toil, pain, suffering, he separated both mortal men from God through testing them. This is exactly what Satan does to everyone of us and has done to all who has ever lived or will ever live. Some of these tests mold us into better people, others condemn us for all time.
Consequently, the categories of death can be best described as “Death According to the Mind”, (which are divided into two separate sub-categories and will be the main topic of this posting), “Death According the Spirit”, (Again having two sub-categories, the first dealing with true repentance and the other dealing with blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God ), and that of, “Death According to the Flesh”, (Which is the physical death we all must someday face.) As mentioned above this first main category has two sub-categories that henge on mortal suffering that does not lead necessarily to a physical death but one that includes the death or loss of self identity and impeeds self actualization, this then is called, “Death of Self”. The apposing sub-category then is one where we have found our spiritual center, and have grown close to God and have allowed Him to mold us into a better person as advocated by John the Baptist and Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, this then is called, “Death unto Self.” Nonetheless, both sub-categories impact our future after we have passed and await judgement by God. Equally important to note the second main category, “Death According the Spirit” deals explicitly to our moral center drilling down to our very core revealing who we truly are. It is very much a “Good vrs. Evil” scenario with no gray area in between. On one hand we can be forgiven and on the other we can never be redeemed and risk eternal damnation or spiritual obliteration.
Sub-Category One: “Death of Self”
The first separation, “Death of Self”, refers to a death in character, a life changing event which forever changes who we are as a human being, a drastic change from who we once were or was intended to be. Most notably this kind of separation from our true self is one that is the most painful and is caused by evil of the highest order. Because we are naturally separated from God through sin at birth we are opened up to a greater amount of suffering in our lives. These types of sufferings come from a variety of life experiences that mainly derive from the relationships we have with others. To be more specific, “Death of Self”, occurs when a person is entangled in a suffocating relationship where by one person becomes poisonous to the other. The individual being poisoned will begin to do things that (he/she) would not otherwise do in order to save or preserve the relationship. These attempts involve such efforts as to make unrealistic sacrifices for the sole purpose of make the poisonous person happy. These sacrifices will eventually lead to resentment, anger, and if not stopped can mentally harm the target person and in that event will forever change the dynamics of the relationship as the victim will continue to undergo an unhealthy metamorphous that can not be reversed. Such targets who undergo these stresses and unjustifiable sacrifices are no longer who they once where as they risk loosing themselves in the constant struggle over power, control, and grapple with their self-identity, all while trying desperately to understand the “why” of each preceding event that just drags them further in and closer to absolute destruction as a person with a separate identity and belief structure.Each choice they are thus forced into making is without the benefit of all the facts therefore each decision is a flawed one with repercussions that are equally devastating to their ego, and self identity. The person who has been suffocated will eventually become numb to all other emotions, be them good or bad, as their perspective shifts from one of light (equating to hope), to that of darkness, (equating to hopelessness and helplessness), for they live day-to-day in a tourcherous cycle without mercy, and absent of any promise of ever finding a way out. The victim in this instance could be living next door to blood-relatives and never reach-out for help as in their mind they have been conditioned to believe a twisted scenario they would never under any other circumstances would have subscribed too, but because of this desperate need placed into their hearts by the poisonous person the vicim cannot imagine life with them and indeed this become a very sick reality one without end. Some of these people I have personally known have committed suicide and others have walled themselves off from life so completely they refuse to let anyone else in for fear of being hurt or their secrets being discovered, which is a sham response that is programed into them by all the manipulations they have undergone. The saddest part of this is there will come a point where the pain and sacrifices are to much to for them to digest, and they disconnect not just from the manipulator but from life in general as the struggle is just to great. In this process of disconnecting they simply given up, they allow the very life they had once held so dear to be slowly be sucked away from them. The other sad reality is the ability to ever trust another human-being ever again is completely smashed, with that having another relationships becomes impossible as the overwhelming fear of being treated like this again is so powerful its simply easier to deal with life complete separated from everyone and everything. If the victim does eventually, (years later), venture out then they do so with great inhibition as their new program constantly tells them they where at fault, they made the last relationship fail, they where not good enough, and no one else will love them or accept them. In the worst case scenario the ego has undergone such a beating that the victim’s self esteem is so repressed that when others do accept them the contradiction in their mind brings them unbearable pain and complete disbelief as again their new belief pattern has been altered and so in their mind they perceive these new people and the attention they are receiving as an inherent lie and outside the framework of being trusted. Unfortunately the damage done within the process of this needless death of self and absences of socialization will take many, many years to undo if ever, and at best these victims might trust one family member, might reach-out to one friend they risk everything on, but never to the same degree they would have otherwise.
Examples of the poisonous personalities that will do this to a target person fall into several categories all their own, some are very benign and others are very toxic. One category is people who suffer from certain types of mental illness toping this short list is those who suffer from type 1 & 2 Bipolar disorder, and those who suffer from Narcissistic behavioral disorders as they are masters of manipulation and pathological liars. I do notsuggest that these people are any-more , or hold a greater amount of evil tendencies than the typical “sane” person, but I do acknowledge that if you are involved with a person be it a family member, child, or spouse who suffer from these illness your life can quickly become enveloped by them and if you are not careful they will begin to suffocate every ounce of life from various manipulations to control the relationship and it is never logic based, which is the chosen method to wear the target person out. These personality types will commit the most hurtful as well as harmful acts against those they have targeted which range from withholding love,(Narcissistic Trait), to a higher degree of selfishness resulting in the “creation of”, (in the sense conflict was none existent prior), an ever increasing degree of conflict within marriages by the practice of separating paternal parents from their children, (Parental Alienation Syndrome), to the personality that destroys the one thing their victim loves the most in order to control them all while feeling no remorse for having done so, (Sociopathic trait), just to name a few. All these actions from the poisonous personality are focused on division and separation, thus causing the perfect environment for “Death of Self” to occur in their chosen target. Again, people who have died in this manner often times walk away with some mental disorders that was caused by such treatment by these varying poisonous personalities. Example of such illness are, Anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, Acute Stress disorder, Generalized Anxiety disorder, Major Depressive disorder, Dysthymic disorder, and a host of Personality disorders. (For a full listing of definitions of all disorders listed please visit; The New International Standard Medical & Health Encyclopedia.)
Again, a person who is filled with such venom given them by type 1 & 2 Bipolar disorder, and those who suffer from Narcissistic behavioral disorders and Sociopathic disordersare not inherently evil, but their acts if left unchecked will eventually lead them into deeper and deeper sinful and seemingly inhuman manifestations that will cause those they target to be sucked in only for those innocent unsuspecting victims to suffer a protracted“Death of Self”.
In instances where children are in contact with such personality types their development is either halted or slowed and the child will live with a heightened since of fear, anxiety, and will develop a plethora of personality disorders due to the lack of proper socialization most normal children experience, thus these child undergo a death in character that forever alters who they were supposed to become, destroying their characters, and overwhelming their nature since of order and stability as a human being, disrupting their lives to the point they no longer remember ever having any peace, love, whipping clean all memories of fun and encouragement and leaving behind a shell of a person who will grow to become more conflicted and confused and will live without hope dead unto the world! Despite the mental disorders that the venomous person holds and thus causes the act of “Death of Self” to happen in the first place, be them adults or children they themselves have sinned greatly against our Father in heaven for they have become prideful, arrogant, selfish, lacking in morality, and their hearts so hardened they fall easily into sin and thus will fall like King Nebuchadnezzar for it is written;
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.” ~ Daniel 5:18-21
Likewise, those who suffer from mental illness and seek out the Lord will be saved and will be healed as it has repeatedly been illustrated in scripture;
24 “News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures,and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” ~ Matthew 4:24
For our Lord Jesus heals everyone of their illnesses and forgives all who seek him out while proclaiming that“nothing is impossible for one who believes.” ~ Mark 9:23
Note: The failure to properly recognize such depravity which leads people to sin with such repute from the stand point of man’s legatees and current court structure is what plagues our since of justice from truly being realized. In other words if Judges and lawyers, social workers, therapists, and psychologists who work for our family courts do not stop to realize the personality types they are dealing with and do not commit to basing their judgements off of issues of morality; then their actions will cause, (and have caused), a systemic entitlement and enablement susceptible to manipulation of the current laws. Furthermore, this manipulation and pressure does not serve anyones best interest especially our children’s and thus, is in fact such a server sinful act that those who perpetrate it for the sack of money, power, and / or self glorification will be damned to hell for eternity for it is written;
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! ~ Matthew 18:6-7
Sub-Category Two: “Death unto Self”
Likewise, in contrast the “Death of Self”, to that of the “Death unto Self” is found in that the first forces a mental change in personality preventing a person to grow naturally into who they where meant to be, verse a growth in spirituality and a oneness with God. This second form of death was advocated by Jesus who in his many teachings outlined a path to Heaven, where as “Death of Self”, is a path to greater separation,greater darkness, and greater despair. Examples of “Death unto Self” is littered throughout the Bible, for God wants to be in your heart, He wants a relationship with you, He desires to mold you into a better version of yourself. God inspires your soul, he feeds your needs through love, mercy, understanding, patiences, and virtue. God is the supreme master of all things in creation and He alone is the master of death though resurrection. If you give your life over to God, believe in Him alone, live as He commands you to live, then you will be called one of His children, belonging to God the Father, thus in this instance you have died to your old ways of living, and you are a new person in Christ Jesus.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17
This is thus a cause for a celebration, as the old is gone, and the new has come! John the Baptist also advocated this through His ministry of baptizing with water as found in The Gospel According to Mark, Luke, and Matthew:
4 “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” ~ Mark 1:4-5
2 “during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Luke 3:2-3
1 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” ~ Matthew 3:1-6
Indeed, both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ understood and talked similarly about the condition of the spirit and the requirement of to repent all sin. The acknowledgement of this was to be baptitised with water. In this sense of the word, a person has died unto their sinful ways and suffered, “Death unto Self”, one of the most positive ways for us to die because we become forgiven of our sins, and thus become closer to God in the process, open to His divine will and prosperity. Only then can we truly begin to live and to understand His goodness in all things in life, be filled with hope and love and His mercy daily.
“But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16
In short within these first two forms of separation we find that we are being separated permanently form two separate things, with the first we are being separated from God and our true self, and in the second we are being separated from sin and our old sinful life.
Category Three: “Death According to the Spirit”
As stated above, this third category affects your future life after death known as, “Death According to the Spirit”. Again there are two sub-categories which are parallel with both holding permanent consequences, and both is based upon your action while alive in the physical world. The first sub-category according to the Holy Spirit is known as the, “Repentant Heart”, a sinner redeemed, a person who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit of God.
“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:15
Signs of such a person are found in in many aspects of (his/her) life, starting with the acceptance of God the Father. In doing so the repentant person will cease to sin, or make great efforts to ending their sinful ways. This requires a strong will to turn your back on the flesh and the many desires found there in and to commit to a life of Christ. This commitment according to the Holy Spirit is a carefully orchestrated, planned, purposeful attempt to changing old sinful habits. Because your body becomes the temple which God now resides the need to protect your heart, your faith, is now linked to protecting your soul in every aspect of your life. Old concerns fall away one by one as your trust and faith grow in Christ. One of the most exciting changes affecting your immortal spirit is found in the first major change after accepting Jesus as your savior, that being the ability to confess all your sins, not just the sins that brought you immense trouble, pain, anxiety, heart break, and despair, but the ability to confess all your sins. I liken this to the notion that Gods knows everyone of your sins anyway, you can’t hide it, you can’t run away from Him, and the more you try the farther away from God you get. Therefore, the days of holding secrets and flying under the radar is over, for good. This will be an obvious shift in your heart that others will most certainly pickup on and may even start asking you about.
The next exciting shift in your thinking and wholeness of spirit is found in the idea that as a repentant person, (child of God), you will find the strength that had been given to you by God to face the pain that your many sins had caused the various people in your life that you love, that you care about, that you may have worked with, or had known briefly before sinning against them, or someone you had dated or married. The Holy Spirit will move you, require you to take part in what is called the “invitation to forgive”. This is when you can no longer deal with your sin and your heart burns to be forgiven by everyone you have sinned against, thus you invite them in and you make a sincere attempt at making amends, because many times people will not come to you rather they will burn in their hearts quietly.
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be lost in heaven.” ~ Matthew 18: 15-18
By opening the door you allow others to come in and share with you all their bottled up intense emotions, some may harbor anger, resentment, deep hurt,unfathomable sorrow, and unabated disappointment in your previous actions. But as a repentant person your conviction within your heart will give you the strength to offer no excuses or shift blame. In reality you chose to sin against them and the Holy Spirit will require you to take full responsibility for that behavior.
Consequently, these actions of confessing and being convicted in your heart is how your faith becomes stronger. Throughout this process you realize there is no way you could ever hope to pay back what you have taken by your sin, and this one realization is where you sin and your spirit part company as your forgiveness will be assured by our Lord Jesus Christ. The real trick, if there is one is remaining accountable t others, to yourself, to God. Always being quick to ask for forgiveness when you have offended someone or when you have incidentally sinned against them. This one action releases you of the fear of conviction, releases you of the grips of sin, this again builds your faith, you love, your ability to forgive others when they have sinned against you. You spirit become clean, and ready for God, ready for that final mortal death we all must endure.
In contrast to the “Repentant Heart”, the act of, “Blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God”, is without doubt the one sure way to force God to condemn you into eternal damnation. In terms of death, this is the absolute separation from God. This is the absolute denial that God is your father, to speak with contempt about God, or to be resoundingly irreverent. Blasphemy is slander and libel directed at God. Moreover, God is so gracious that He is willing to forgive you of this sin unless you blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
31 “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” ~ Matthew 12:31-32
The sin in and of itself is committed in two stages, the first being putting the Lord to the test;
7 “Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” ~ Matthew 4:7
Putting God to the test is like putting your parents to the test when you where no older than just being able to walk and talk in comparison. It is not appropriate because it is deeply insulting that you, a mortal being could ever possible have the full knowledge to question the authority of God if Lucifer could not be as great as God then who are you to even try? I often refer to the idea that can we create the universe? Can we create planets? Can we save ourselves and do enough good works that we can put ourselves into heaven? To think we can is simply the denial of our own limitations. So to hear others make outrageous claims as to know the mind of God and to predict the time He will return when Jesus himself did not know the time or the place, but only the Father knows is blasphemy in and of itself. To state false doctrine and lead others into sin is also putting the Lord God to the test, and I say unto you this is not advisable as it will lead to eternal damnation.
The second stage is to sin against the Holy Spirit, or rather denying the miracles the Holy Spirit worked through Jesus Christ and then also attributing these miracles done by Jesus to the power of Satan. This idea of placing Satan on-par with Christ is offensive enough, but then to deny Jesus worked these miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit is blasphemy. It suggests that Christ was Satan incarnate, and not God incarnate, it is the removal of good and replacing it with evil. It is that classic argument between absolutes, between (Good vrs Evil). To defile the power of God, to reject God, to ignore the slender of God, to separate yourself from God, all on purpose is putting the Lord God to the test. It is indeed taking the very word of God and then depositing it with repute.
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” ~ Matthew 10:28
“Death According to the Flesh”
The final death which was caused by sin, is the “Death According to the Flesh”. Within this final category we find that God had cursed man to not have eternal life, but rather have a defined number of possible years that he may live her on earth. Jesus examines this final death as simply going to sleep;
11 “After he had said this, he went on to tell them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.’ 12 His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.” ~ John 11:11-13
Jesus also refers to going away to prepare a place for us in His fathers house;
14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” ~ John 14:1-3
Jesus also refers to death in the power given to him by God and that those who have died will hear His voice;
26 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” ~ John 5:26-29
According to Jesus death is merely falling asleep, there is no pain, no more suffering, no worry, no memory of past failures or sins. The body is unconscious and so the logic that follows concerning death is it is like being asleep with any dream.
5 “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:5
All suffering ends, and eternal rest begins in the physical narrative. Some have equated this form of death as a gateway which will either lead us to heaven or to hell depending upon how you lived your mortal life, thus, this final category is also a temporary death death.
25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.'” ~ John 11:25
This idea of being resurrected after you have been dead, no matter the length of time nor the condition of the body when Jesus comes back to fulfill His word has often puzzled many people. How is this to happen? How is it even possible? Simply put How was it possible for Jesus to live after His death? If this was possible for God, the truly there is nothing impossible for Him. Death is necessary in order to complete the curse God placed upon us starting with Adam and Eve, but hence forth from this death we will be raised up and for those who believe and who submit to His everlasting Glory shall have immortally in an incorruptible body just like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our final death is not our last defeat, but through Jesus Christ we will have our final victory, which is the resurrection after death.
50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
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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:
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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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Prayer Request for Parents of Parental Alienation Syndrome: If you are a parent and have children which have been kept from you by the Primary Parent, then you know personally the pain and anguish that not just accompanied the divorced you suffered through, but also the pain and anguish of a no contact policy with your children because of an alienating parent. You know the tragic pain that the courts and unethical lawyers can inflict upon your family. The following prayer goes out to all parents who have suffered these inhuman and unjust policies and for all the children who loose one parent through this unholy process. Let God hear our prayers for our children’s sake :
“Dear Lord in heaven, you know the pain caused by isolation, derogation of a parents life, and of our values that you have handed down to all of use equally. Lord you know the evils in peoples hearts that seek to destroy the family unit and then pretend they have done so in your name. Lord, God in heaven I know you can feel how horrified alienated parents are when told they will no longer play a major role in their children’s lives. I pray you give them strength to endure such hardships, and wrongful accusations. Lord, God in Heaven I pray you give then wisdom to know what to say and for it to never be said in anger. Lord, God in heaven I ask that you bring peace to their hearts, minds, and souls so that they are no longer burdened with this miserable yoke that they have been forced to carry. Lord, please unshackle their lives and give them meaning once more. I also ask for our children’s hearts not be hardened by bitter fighting, and by being forced to choose one parent over another. Lord you know all our children need both parents equally and that any law which gives more time to one parent is simply violating your heavenly command. Please, Lord free our children of this unfair yoke which has been placed upon them by selfishness and cruelty and deliver them into your abiding love forever. ” Amen…
May the Lord Be with all alienated parents and be also with you until your last days here on this Earth. Amen
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Help Support Listening Faithfully by getting the word out to all you know and by sending this link to all your family and friends in the Spirit of God the Father. Then make a commitment to pray this prayer this Sunday, November 4, 2012 for all those parents and children who are facing the unjust courts this upcoming week and month.
PLEASE DON’T LET OUR CHILDREN BE SOLD A BILL OF GOODS WHICH FORCES THEM TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO PARENTS THEY LOVE. iT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!
9 “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. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. 4 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. 2 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. 7 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.” 8 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.” 9 “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, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’ 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 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
8 “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.” 9 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?’ 6 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. 7 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.’8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3 Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6 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, 7 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
“4 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.
If you have been moved by this message then I urge you to also find it in your heart to help support Listening Faithfully by donating today. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life. May he protect you and fill your heart with peace and wisdom to do his will every single day until the end. Amen
“6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God,compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” ~ Exodus 34:6-7
The road to living without expectations from others is a road to freedom. It is a choice, a frame of mind, a deep force which is made whole through action and faith. It is like saying, “Enough with this world, I want God only!” It is a transition within your heart, one that leads you from looking for acceptance, looking for repayment, looking for love, and yes looking for satisfaction. Turning from the world to not looking, or yearning, or expecting, but rather knowing your loved, knowing your accepted, knowing your treasure is infinite for all time in God. For our Lord God in Heaven has already given us, His children compassion, grace, abounding love, truth, life, forgiveness, and He sealed it with His blood on the cross. Why, then would you turn to evil, do evil and sin in His presence, rebel against Him who is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving? Why fight when all you have to do is surrender your heart to God, and allow Him to work in your life. For know this simple truth, God does not delight in the punishment of sinners, or the evil or wicked, rather He has given many chances for those people to turn form evil works and to turn instead to righteousness. For God hath spared many, yearns to spare millions more if only they wake up and live. For our God will punish the wicked, and He alone will curse the multitude and all who come from their line. Therefore, the road to life is a road without living in the world, but rather living in the abundance of God in its wholeness, it is taking hold of his hand and never letting go, never looking back, and staying convicted in the truth of God all the days of your life.
“11 Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” ~ Ezekiel 33:11
Expectations in the world demands so much effort, it demands so much time and gives nothing back. It is like a heartless taskmaster who works you to the bone without mercy, yet almost every human being accepts this fate without question. Do we not get angry when someone tells us they will do something in return for something we have only for them to not deliver. Where have then placed our faith? Know that it was not intended by our God to ever be so, yet Satan delivered to mankind sin. Satan gave us sin and taught us to rebel with the simple idea that God is not love. This lie is the same lie we hear everyday when we place our faith in other people instead of God. For Satan’s undoing was found within the death of CHRIST ON THE CROSS. So our fate can be with God, with eternal love, with abounding joy, with our Lord forever if we simple make one shift in our heart, mind, and soul and open the door to God and forever close it to Satan and this world.
Be on guard for the attacks that follow when you make this transition, as Satan will try his best to turn you back to a life filled with sin, for it is written;
“18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it.” ~ Ezekiel 33:18
But again God does not take pleasure in the punishment of the wicked, therefore God offers to you repentance for it is also written;
“19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them~ Ezekiel 33:19
I say to you that it is better to emulate God, than Satan, it is better to live without expectations in man than it is to live within the world slaving away for nothing but dust in the grave. For it is a much fruitful life to live with your eyes open and your filled with the glory of God than it is to be blinded, condemned, and torchered for eternity.
“45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” ~ Luke 24:45-47
Jesus Died for all men, Jews and Gentiles alike, His sacrificed Himself just as Abraham was asked by God to do to Isaac.God stole from Satan his victory and tore the cloth from the synagogue and brought down all evil for all time. God, through His son Jesus Christ made all things new, and this was their plan since before the foundations of the world where poured.
“6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
To live without expectations is to live within God and His perfect wisdom, wisdom given by the Holy Spirit. Therefore turn from your wicked ways and live.
If you have been moved by this message then I urge you to also find it in your heart to help support Listening Faithfully by donating today. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life. May he protect you and fill your heart with peace and wisdom to do his will every single day until the end. Amen
” 15 And he said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.‘” ~ Luke 16:15
Life is a journey of immense struggles pitted with many victories and defeats. It is a race to the finish line of judgement, once there many will have ran a good race but will have done it without moral conscience and will be damned to hell for all eternity. Many will have ran the same race but prevailed with great love, faith, and ethics, and will be allowed passage into the Kingdom of God. The difference between the two is incalculable if coming from the filter of modern life, celebrating our many luxuries and comforts afforded those with what is termed as the good life. But if viewed from the prism of our Lord and Savior then it becomes more personal, deeply ethical, riveted with countless moral guidelines that help to forge a sinner into a born again child of God. It is not an easy path, in fact it is filled with much sacrifice and with many painful defeats. For to choose to be a child of God is not for the faint of heart and in the end, within the very hour of our death, Jesus promises for the faithful that they shall never taste death.
“47 Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” ~John 6:47
For many of us it is hard to put into place a moral life while being surrounded with such temptations which we find at our fingertips on a daily basis. It is hard to not give in to the world of excess and comfort with so many voices telling us we don’t have too. The prevailing belief advertisers drown us with daily is, “Life doesn’t have to be so hard”and “Why wait when you can have it now!” We have become a society of capitalistic carnivores devouring everything while ignoring the implications it places upon our life and our immortal soul. We make recluse justifications to explain away why we can, when the Holy Bible has clearly stated we should not. A world that places more value on things, property, and money, over relationships, love, honor, ethics, and that of our christian savior, who is the savior of every man, women, and child on planet Earth as we know it, is an abomination in the sight of God. There are so many sins, so many fruitless attempts at winning Gods favor while pleasing the flesh. People can be so awesomely good, and in the same breath find ways to be just as evil and destructive. When we look hard at who we have become, the choices we have made, the justifications for actions which caused countless others to suffer, it is then that our deeds will be told, despite the lies of our mortal legacies. For you can preach good all the days of your life, but in private do evil, it is in your heart and therefore God see’s the truth of your life. He can discern the proper judgement from the web of misleading, randomness and noise of sin which has permenantly blacked your heart.
“33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”~ Luke 14:33
Jesus warned against collecting wealth and then not sharing it but rather hording it. He warned against ignoring your own sins while calling to the carpet others sins. He warned against hypocrisy for in the eyes of God it is nothing more than “lip service”. Jesus warns against denying the poor food, clothes, shelter, and mercy. He warns against not raising your child up in the ammunition of the Lord thy God. For he also warned against excess of all kinds, depravity of all kinds, blasphemy of all kinds, and evil works of all kinds. Yet we do them daily, we ignore Him daily, and in doing so we mock Him daily!
“32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 10:32-33
Be on guard for those who refuse to speak the truth of God, who refuse to hear you speak the truth of God, be warned they are filled with Satan.There are people who get upset when they are shown their immoral ways and are convicted by the light of God, and by His son’s moral teachings and inwardly repress God, reviling against all righteousness, for they are filled with the spirit of Satan. Stand firm and do not waver from the light of God for instead bask within its glorious rays for it shall purify thy soul. Profess daily the miracles of God in your own life, for each day is a true miracle as it was not promised to you before you went to sleep the night before. Be on guard of those who would manipulate your words, the words of others, and the words of God to suit their lying ways, for such is the arch tool of Satan himself. Walk away from profane, perverse, corrupt, immoral, and impure people as they will as soon suck you down with them than to see you happy and free in the light of God. For to disown God is a rejection of the miracle of ones own birth and life; for Satan does not hold the keys to these things; for only God can create life and can bring about death; for only God can destroy thy very soul. Be on guard of those who wish to systematically take from you all the things in your life which bring you happiness, for they have no conscience, no remorse, no ambivalence to using deceit to accomplish their goals. For these people are expert in their disguise and can make the most illogical thing sound logical, the most profane thing sound holy, and the most hurtful thing look to others as self-defense. For God has no tolerance for them and though in the moment they grasp victory, in reality they have only clutched defeat because what God meant for you and was stolen, he will give to you in abundance in Heaven, a reward they shall not reap for they chose a selfish and self serving path.
“21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have I not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” ~ Matthew 7:21-23
It is truly important to not just know which side of the tracks you are on, but to also profess it, teach it, embrace it, and above all love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul; to do all things for God with all your strenght and might. It is simply not enough to say you love God to close family and friends then in private do wicked, but rather love God enough to always do good in public and private, for there should only be one message of your life, because there is only one God. Be sure to never take credit for the things which you have accomplished in your life for each accomplishment was first a gift from God, to do so would be to say you willed it to be so and that is a lie. For remember Moses who took credit for the miracle of the rock which sprang water; for the rod was from God, the power was from God, and the very words which Moses spoke to bring forth the water was from God, for such a sin he was denied entry into the promised land. Remember also King David who committed adultery and who God took from him the first born son in payment of the life he had stole from Bathsheba’s first husband Uriah the Hittite. Rather be like Christ who complied with the will of God even until the point of his own death.
Spiritual accountantcy is the means which we review our own place with God, it is the act of asking where are we in our relationship to God. “Have I done things which God disapproves of, am I saved?”, is the question we need to ask daily and then we need to repent daily. Be assured God loves you, wants you, cares for you, and will never leave you if you never disown Him.
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May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life. Amen
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Who Am I…”not” to forgive others of their transgressions against me, when God himself has commanded it to be so? (Matthew 18:15-17). Even if those same people hold on to their perceived complaints about me. Who Am I…”NOT” TO FORGIVE? (Matthew 18:32-35) For as a christian I am commanded by God to love my enemies, to clothe them if they go naked, to feed them if they are wanting for food, to love them as I love God…for the same God loves them equally as He loves and forgives me. (John 13:34-35) In the light of this truth, Why should I “not” forgive? Who Am I to deny others what God Himself will not withhold?
“11Then I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15, NKJV, Pp.1188).
The living and the dead whose names are not written in the Book of Life, according to the Holy Bible are damned, and will burn forever in the lake of fire and brimstone. Forever damned for ones sins against God. When I read this I think about those people who have rejected God, rejected the teachings of our Lord and Savior, reject morality as it is so described in the Bible, and who think there is no consequence to their actions, I want to scream out loud, “Fools wake up!” Satan as described in Revelation will burn in the lake of fire. So if this is true my logical-self demands me to believe anyone linked with Satan, doing his bidding will also parish in the lake of fire and brimstone, not for a day or two, or a week, or a month, or a year, but forever. Is this wicked behavior worth it? I dare say “No! It’s not worth it!” But for those among us who are truly lost will be blinded by their sins, which mount into a multitude, stacked so high they themselves have lost count, lost all feelings and emotions, and will burn in Hates forever. The told sum of sin-debt Jesus talked about and which the Apostle Paul wrote about so eloquently in I Corinthians bears enough testimony for the logical thinker to turn about and rethink ones actions while here on planet earth.
“8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6: 8-11, NKJV, Pp. 1102).
The most dramatic of these things which are of the wicked, according to the Bible and where supported by Jesus can be found in various New Testament Books such as Mark;
“18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments; Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother” (Mark 10: 18 – 19, NKJV, Pp. 979-980).
In the above verse from 1 Corinthians, Paul supports Jesus as found in Mark, by mentioning specifically, adulterers, thieves, and extortioners, or in the words of Jesus defraud.
Moreover, the unchanging word of God is supported by Jesus and Apostle Paul in the following verse from Leviticus as it relates to homosexuals and sodomites;
“22 You shall not lie with a male as with a women. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV, Pp. 111).
For those of you who require a less known voice as it refers to all sexual sin which permeates throughout the entire bible, and which supports the word of God, Moses, Jesus, and all the Apostles, then this one verse from Jude, a bond servant of Jesus and brother of James, sums it up nicely;
“7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality, and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7, NKJV, Pp.1173).
For it is these people to which is being referred too, that will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible is vast with a plethora of sins, all which are seen by God as an abomination. There are so many who live lives divorced from God, who will speak in a manner as to try and convenience the people of God that these sins mentioned above are not sins, but rather man’s nature, thus is not punishable by God. There again, my logical-self argues violently against such immoral arguments, as again God is unchanging in his will and is perfect, thus needing not to change. However, the words from Jesus as it relates to those who boast in their own works, in their own defense, and who argue matters which come from Satan because they are blind to their own sin, is indeed the most telling;
“42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murder from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:42-45, NKJV, Pp. 1035).
Jesus also points out that their will be those who will be expecting to be saved but are not;
“21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV, Pp.941).
Damnation if taken seriously is a punishment that will last forever. It is shared by those who have been fooled by Satan, which is one third of all the angels, and all those who are blind, rebellious, hard of heart, staunch in their attitudes, with the conviction they shall suffer not. It is the most twisted joke which is being played upon humanity by a master deceiver, one who has indeed deceived himself. By virtue the path of the damned is wide, but the path of the righteous is narrow. To be sure God’s judgment is final and righteous. It is absolute without blemish or flaw. There will be neither argument nor rebuttal. For God’s judgment is eternal and fair.
“23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” 24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:23-24, NKJV, Pp. 818).
It so completely amazes to me that so many people rather live for their own wants and desires, all of which are a sign of contempt and selfishness. The road signs are clearly marked we only have to read where they are leading too. Jesus was very specific on this point, as is God. Our immoral behavior will be judged according to their own works. The real fear I have every time I read Revelation, Leviticus, or any passage that I recognize where I have sinned against God, I have to stop and ask myself, “Where am I when my life is done? Am I in the Lake of Fire, or am I with God?” Each time I contemplate this question it takes the breath from me, because though I have not sinned as much as others, I have sinned, and I have no other choice but to own it, as does the rest of humanity.
“23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 6:23, NKJV, Pp.1089).
It is all too easy to say that if we just ask for forgiveness then we are forgiven. When hearing this message some of us nod their heads and reply, “Right… I have heard that all before.” All while discounting the simplicity of God’s love, compassion, and want for all of to join him in eternal life in the kingdom of God. But never the less, if you are sincere in you’re asking God through his son Lord, Jesus Christ for forgiveness, your name will be written in the Book of Life and your sins forgiven. The truth is there is no sin which God cannot forgive. But be warned, you must mean it, because when your sins are forgiven you can feel it deep down in your soul, and you begin to express this in your everyday life, much like Apostle Paul. However, the first step as outlined by Jesus, as written by Matthew if followed, will radically change how you act, and what you believe in;
“22 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ ” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV, Pp. 959).
Challenge question: If we don’t ask for Jesus’s forgiveness and live a righteous life now, then when?
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.
“24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24 – 25, NKJV, Pp.952).
Our Lord Jesus Christ is so direct, so cunning with His words I think sometimes we hear them, read them, and can even feel the emotion behind each and every phrase that he spoke, but somehow we fail to allow his message to sink in and really touch our souls. I feel we erect a barrier, a shield of shorts around our hearts that allows nothing good in, which prevents His healing touch to really work the miracles in our lives in the way they were intended too. As I reflect upon Our Lord Jesus, His message, His longing for us all to put down our troubles and worries and pick up our cross, I have to also suggest that the faith Jesus exhibited in God is what gives meaning to His words, to His message, to His command to Follow Him.
I am also led to the conclusion that Jesus’s message was delivered in such a way that for those men and women who heard his voice, touched his skin, and who had the privilege to hug and interact with Him, they understood exactly His intent, for the message was crystal clear. Some of them, as some of us today just refuse to submit to Jesus. In fighting this unwinnable battle of wills we are also fighting against God our father in heaven. In propagating this strength test of sorts somewhere down the line we make a conscious choice. Some of us rebuke God because it is an easier road to follow, leaving our cross to rot where it is. Still others are so horrified that it is our very life we are required to willingly sacrifice that we simply panic and do everything imaginable to save it, condemning ourselves in the process. But the majority of us are like Apostle Peter, we have no problem with the sacrifice of our own life, if it would mean Jesus didn’t have to die, and as innocent as that may sound it was against the very purpose of Jesus Christ being here in the first place, because through our death, we die a sinner, a rebel, and are ultimately separated from God Our Father. So to Peter, Jesus replied the only way he could and in doing so he also was talking to every man, women, and child that would ever live on this planet.
“22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:22 – 23, NKJV, Pp.952).
To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us. It is this requirement that separates the people of God from every other people in the world. It is this one prerequisite that keeps the people of God focused on the end game, thwarting any distractions. Yet, some of us can hear His calming voice, but with our eyes we see the enemy coming closer and like Peter, we become fearful which leads us to become irrational and then we sin before God. I find this response to be ironic, because Peter knew as did the other disciples, as we all know today, why Jesus was headed down the road that he freely chose. Yet, even armed with this knowledge Peter still allowed fear to momentarily blind him making him unable to accept the truth of Jesus’s mission. In retrospect Peter was coming from a place of earthly concern, fooled into believing this concern for Jesus was coming from a place of love. In allowing this Peter momentarily allowed Satan in, and Jesus saw it, heard it, and was responding to it. In that moment, Our Lord was also responding to each and every one of us each time we allow Satan in, speaking directly to our immortal soul as he cast Satan out.
“26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV, Pp.952).
As I have stated before and will state again, it is righteous to have a healthy fear of God and a massive amount of respect for Him. For it is with His grace we continue to multiply, to live, and be so blessed. It is because God loves each and every one of us that we exist at all. It is so mind-boggling to me that some of us are so lost, so hungry for God’s love and yet run so fast in the opposite direction. Grant-it for many it is out of ignorance, but for those unlucky people who continue to practice willful disobedience in living an immoral, offensive life that which is chalked with sin, so much so it physically destroys them and hurts everyone around them, while ignoring God’s many pleas, for them we must pray for Gods mercy. For in all they do, in all their efforts they have accomplished nothing, for we are nothing when compared to God, as all things are accomplished through Him and by Him alone. I know God must really shake his head in wonder every time He looks down from heaven, hearing our many complaints, requests, and cries for help, only to turn the other cheek when He presents us the answer. Truth is Jesus asked this very question over two thousand years ago when He frustratingly announced;
“26 But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, NKJV, Pp.998).
Jesus went on to explain the many differences in a person’s heart that does what he says, from one who does not in the following two verses, and as straight forward as His commandments are, none of them was as direct and as skillfully aimed at our human hearts as when he said over and over to the multitude, “Follow Me.” He said it because we are lost, and within Him, through Him we are found.
I am constantly inspired by those of us Christians who confess their faith and live a day-to-day life filled with God’s commandments, but I morn for those who live their lives as they see fit, absent of remorse while skillfully executing their own set of faulty morality. I can tell the unmistakable difference in a person who is filled with love from God, from one who is filled with love of self. The person filled with the love of God is peaceful, and holds a heart that strives to do good not for themselves, but for those who are around them. In their presence you feel safe, secure, and at peace, because they are humble before our God. But the person filled with selfish ambition and blind, reckless greed, well for them they betray their own self-serving intentions by the words that come from their diseased hearts.
Challenge question: Now that you know what is required what will you do in your own life today to honor God our most deserving Father?
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.