Aloha Friday Message – October 18, 2019 – Use What We Know

1942AFC101819 – Use What We Know

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     Exodus 17:11-12 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is [also] useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. New Living Translation (NLT) Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the 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.

Luke 18:7-8 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! This coming Sunday, all three readings point toward one specific characteristic of a well-lived Christian life: Perseverance. Moses obeys God by holding up his hands and staff as Israel battle against Amalek. The effort is supported by Aaron and Hur who help him keep his posture of perseverance. In the second reading, the Apostle Paul counsels Timothy to persevere in his teaching and preaching – in living out his mission or spreading the Gospel – because he know that what he has learned is true and the people who taught him are trustworthy. Jesus gives us a parable about a corrupt judge who finally gives in and renders a just decision for a woman whose perseverance leave him little room to do anything else. Jesus tells us that God, who alone is the Just Judge, will surely grant justice for those who persevere in crying out to him. In Ephesians 6:18, the Apostle Paul tells us further, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

“Persevere” is one of those interesting words that we hear often, usually in the context of difficulties impeding our efforts. We have other ways to say the same thing – Stay the course, keep on track, persist always, keep going, never give in, don’t take no for an answer, stand your ground, go the distance, leave no stone unturned, eyes on the prize, stick to your guns, and these days the ever-popular “hang in there.” All of these carry with them the implication that we will continue to pursue a goal or path under arduous circumstances regardless of any opposition, danger, difficulty, or doubt. For those who deem themselves “self-reliant,” this is a formidable challenge. For those who know the power of Scripture and prayer – especially prayer in and through Scripture – this is almost second-nature because we remember that God speaks to us through his word and listens to us through our prayers. We have learned to use what we know.

Why is this important for Christians to remember? We’ve touched on this before in Mark 10:28-30 28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” Jesus told us in John 16:33 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! In the Letter of James we read, “My brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (See James 1:2-4) James follows up in his letter on ethical conduct for Christians with this in James 5:7-11 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 

     Let’s look at the three Key Verses presented above and see what they tell us. Let’s begin with the Gospel selection. That last sentence is kind of a shocker: “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” We earthlings have a bad reputation for giving up hope when our expectations of deliverance are long delayed. It seems in God’s economy that his swift and complete action arrives just when we have foolishly given up hope. Jesus, while in the flesh, told us not even he knew when the day of deliverance or justice would come. Are we still waiting with perseverance? When the relief we seek finally does come, it seems almost too good to be true – after 70 years in Babylon, Israel suddenly learned they were going home! It was like a dream: Psalm 126:1-2 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” We know this is true and trustworthy because we have a record of all that in Scripture. It is Scripture that God uses to teach us, and Scripture is the best Authority because it is inspired by God.

The Apostle Paul clearly told Timothy, “  All Scripture is inspired by God and is [also] useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” If we know the Truth, perseverance is easier to accomplish because we know we can trust it – we can use what we know to give us hope, strength, perseverance, quietness, and – above all – FAITH (Fully Aware I Trust Him). We see this expressed in Lamentations 3:22-26 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. And what about Deuteronomy 8:3? He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord [by anything the Lord decrees]. And again in Psalm 119:9 (a memory verse from “long-time-ago”) – How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. And Psalm 119:11 11 I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you. All of these Timothy knew in his heart, and that gave him – and his flock – greater perseverance, enough perseverance to overcome evil and publicize the Gospel.

In our Key Verse excerpt from Exodus, we see one of the Heroic Men of the Old Testament, Moses, doing the hard work of persevering – and he accepted the help of his brethren Aaron and Hur. Oh, Belovéd, how often we fail at that small but important commitment to perseverance! So often we tell ourselves, our loved ones, and even or God like a two-year-old child, “NO! I do it myself!” Now there’s a case for God’s perseverance! It is indeed a good thing that “his mercy endures forever,” and that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” With that to hold onto, perseverance is basically a matter of remembering, and as Catholics, we’re pretty good at that.

We Remember How You Loved Us.” (↔ Music Link) “Do this in memory of me.” “Remember your love and your faithfulness O God.” “Remember your Saints …”Remember your servants who have gone before us …” ” … and in communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ” We can choose to remember, to pray, to feed on The Word, to speak to and listen for God. We can recall how the many who have gone before us have cried out, “How long O Lord, how long?” (See for example Psalm 13) When it gets to be too difficult, which others of the earthlings around us will stand with us in prayer, or even at our bedside as we wait?

To persevere is to bring to bear the power of Love. Even the greatest of sinners will find Peace and Perseverance in Christ Jesus. We’ll close with this testimony from the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:12-14 – 12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  As well as Psalm 46:10a10 Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”  This we know because we know The Word and the Lord. What we know, we use to enrich our lives and the lives of others by testifying to the Truth no matter what.

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer. You already know how, but just in case – How: Romans 8:26-27 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

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.

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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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