Aloha Friday Message – September 6, 2019 – Whom do you prefer?

1936AFC090619 – Whom do you prefer?

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     Luke 14:26 26 Whoever comes to me and does not hate1 father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.

1 μισεῖ (misei) from μισέω (miseó) {mis-eh’-o} miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else; that is,  to renounce one choice in favor of another. To choose one person, thing, place, or idea above all others.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today’s post is, in a way, a continuation of last week’s post And me, your worthless servant. We will take a look at what is required to be a “good and faithful servant.” To help us with that, we will also look at Matthew 10:37-39 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Looking at our Key Verse from Luke’s Gospel, we might be surprised by the word hate. That is why I have included the Greek root word and the explanation of it in context. The word itself – μισεῖ (misei) – carries a connotation of comparative language. If you will use the link to the Key Verse to open Bible Gateway, on the right side of the screen you will see this:

Luke 14:26 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”  New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. You will find similar language in the NLT if you use the link for Matthew 10:37-39. What, then, is the cost of discipleship? How do we even begin to be “good and faithful servants?

Jesus’ answer is the same as God’s command: “GOD FIRST, ONLY, AND ALWAYS.” Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever God must be the most important person in our lives, period. Jesus is God, so Jesus tells his Disciples (that’s you and I, too) “If I am not more important than every facet of your earthly life, you are not fit to be my Disciple. I have to be more important than family, food, football, church, chess, chakras, music, medicine, or merchandise.” That is what God wants – to be FIRST in every moment of every life in every circumstance. Is that hard to do? Of course it is! If it was easy everyone would do it. It is so hard to do, in fact, that nobody does it because nobody can do it. That is not to say however that we cannot be Disciples. In our human, sinful nature, about the best we can hope for in this life is to be unworthy servants who can’t even do the minimum expected of them. Guess what? Jesus loves us anyway, died even for us anyway, conquered sin and death for us anyway, and welcomes us home to the place he has prepared for us anyway. There is nothing we can do on our own to achieve that outcome because it is – absolutely every teensy-tiny bit of it is through – GRACE. That Grace is freely given as it is freely received. We just have to make room for it by making room for him.

I can tell we this: If we cannot find room for Him in our hearts, in our lives, in our future, then we are literally in for one Hell of a surprise when we die. Please don’t wait. Please don’t hesitate. Please don’t rationalize away the opportunity to let Jesus come into your heart. If you don’t think a church is the way to associate yourself with Jesus because churches are full of hypocrites, be aware you are putting a hypocrite as an obstacle between you and God. You can find God at the beach, or in the mountains, or maybe even the golf course; but you cannot enjoy the fellowship and communion of the community of Christ’s people without going to where they are. The People of God are literally out of this World – of the World but not in the World.

All the World can give you – at its very best – is physical comfort, and that is only temporary. In Christ alone we can find the Peace that surpasses all understanding eternally.

Why would we want anything less than that? We can have eternal, everlasting Life through Him, with Him, and in Him only. Seek Him with a sincere and humble heart. Nothing else and no one else can take His place as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Not Nature, not meditation, not “The Force,” not self-enlightenment, not drugs, not gurus, not the World, not money or fame or personal glory, and believe-it-or-else not even religion can save your Life forever and ever. Even pagans are super-religious, but they are not saved. Beloved, go to Him, and your Joy will be complete. Turn your life around by turning it over before you’re turned under. Before that happens, Jesus expects us to help each other to be open to that Grace by relying on and living in the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul eloquently put it in 1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.

We often hear questions like “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior?” or “Do you know in your heart you are SAVED?” If we love our neighbor, if we love God, if we love his Creation, if we LOVE – we can confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved (See Romans 10:9) because that is all that it takes to put Jesus first.

Can we do that just one time and take care of Salvation forever? Before I answer, let me first ask, “Can we do that in thought, word, and deed Every Moment Of Every Day?” (↔ Music Link) I know I’m a sinner, so I have to answer that “Negatory. I often fail to keep Jesus in the Top Spot position ‘in thought, word, and deed every moment of every day.'” I’ve gotten sloppy at taking up my cross (I am  my cross) and following him. I take my hand off the plow and look back. I wander off the straight-and-narrow (are you recognizing some past themes here?). My story is full of holes and the Light of my Life shines through them to show me The Way. My problem has always been “the wrong attitude.” The Apostle Paul told us in Philippians 2:5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Please us that link to see this in context; it is an import theological statement from the Apostle Paul.) Jesus gave up everything (↔ Music Link) for us. How can we know that’s what he expects us to do? Surprise, surprise, he said so in Luke 14:33 – 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Recall this: “Any of the things you have that you can give away are your possessions. Everything you cannot give away possesses you.”

If we can live a life where our only possession is Jesus, then we will keep what we prefer most – Jesus himself. Granted, we will change or preferences frequently but – by the Grace which makes us whole – we can repent and believe the Gospel and declare in the Holy Spirit “Jesus Christ is Lord.” (← Check it out!)

Let us again ask “Why would we want anything less than Jesus?” Those of us who are “of a certain age” may recall George Beverly Shea answering that question so powerfully during many televised Billy Graham Crusades. I went to one at the Denver Bears Stadium in 1965. Here is Mr. Shea answering by singing I’d Rather Have Jesus Than Anything (↔ Music Link). All I can say to that is ME TOO! AMEN. Jesus is the One whom I prefer because Jesus Christ is Lord.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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