Aloha Friday Message – November 8, 2019 – ALL For Christ

1945AFC110819 – ALL For Christ

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2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. It’s clear that when I’m weak, I’m strong.

2 Corinthians 12:15But I cheerfully also shall spend and I would even give up my person for the sake of your souls, even though, the more I love you, the less you love me.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! May Peace always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!

Nowadays, people would say, “What’s wrong with this guy, Paul? How can he be strong when he is weak? Has he got a persecution complex or something?” I would answer, “Definitely no. A persecution complex is a delusional state and usually has no foundation in reality.” Paul was under no delusion when writing this second letter to the Corinthians. In the first letter he had admonished them to crack down on one of their members who was causing division within the church. Earlier in this letter he chides them for taking things too far and states he has forgiven the repentant man and certainly they should as well.

Paul’s statement should not be interpreted as fatalism, or as false humility, either. In his perspective there is a complementary and harmonizing connection between suffering and sanctity. When his mind, his spirit, and his body are at rest in Christ, he is “in the world but not of the world.” The verb translated “accept” in the first passage is εὐδοκέω (eudokéō) { yoo-dok-eh’-o} which carries connotations of to think well of, or to choose gladly, or willingly accept, or to think best. It is like our expression “It comes with the territory.” If someone had told Paul that his stance was heroic, Paul would reply much the same way suddenly-noticed heroes do: “I’m no hero. I was just doing my job.” And so, Beloved, we are called to look on our own actions when encumbered with weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. Do we become histrionic like the Pharisee in the temple, tooting our own horn about how deeply we suffer? Do we become tranquil and self-restrained like Paul? Not that Paul didn’t moan and groan a little about his suffering as a prisoner; he let others know he was hurting, but he also let others know that the hurt he experienced was gladly and fervently offered up for the sake of the Body of Christ. Belovéd: All who are of the Body of Christ are called to serve as Paul served – For the Sake of Christ. (↔ Music Link)

When we are troubled, we are often led to prayer, as in “There are no atheists in foxholes.” God always hears the prayers of faith we offer up, but his answers are sometimes – perhaps often – are not what we had on our wish-list. Sometimes when we ask for direction, instead of a push in the right direction we might receive a smack up alongside the head. Sometimes when we are asking for things that will harm us, he withholds them in love; and other times he grants them so the lesson we learn will be indelible. When we don’t get what we want, sometimes, childishly (different from “child-like”), we pout, and grumble, and cry out in the anguish of our suffering that God has abandoned us. If instead he covers us with his Grace we are easily led to believe our own strong faith has saved us. When, however, we accept everything – good or bad, sweet or bitter, bliss or pain – with equanimity, poise, and self-control, we are allowing that Grace to work in us.

    That Grace-at-work (↔ Music Link) fortifies, enlivens, and encourages us. Through this, we show others the centrality of Jesus in our lives and God is therein glorified. Though on the Road to Calvary, we are also climbing the road to Zion and God’s own Heaven. When we are humble enough to glorify God, we are strengthened in ways that overcome every trial, every false accusation, every painful torment our adversary imposes on us. In that way, also, the adversary is defeated and Christ is victorious. (←Hint: Right-Click on the picture and select Open hyperlink!)

In our own right we are weak, but he is strong (↔ Music Link – it’s a POWERFUL one!) . When we hold our peace, we are held in peace. Many years ago I wrote a song called “Man of Peace.” It was so long ago that I can no longer remember all of it. However, this little scrap has existed for well over fifty years, and it still speaks to me.

I am a man of Peace. I own no other name.
I stand before you, gird about with gifts of Love.
You ask me of my Peace, and how I hold it so.
Good listener, I do not hold my Peace.
I am held in Peace.

The Lord waits for us. Why does he do that? He does that so we will turn to him so he can be gracious (pleasant, friendly, generously gently) so that he can bestow on us the Light of his Glory and Grace (↔ Music Link) Whenever we begin to doubt his presence, we can be sure that it is not him who has moved away; it is us – always us. When we ponder how evil can penetrate even the most sacred things – innocent life, Servants of God in The Church, Matrimony, even the very Presence of Christ in the Sacraments – then we are putting our faith in an institution, and denying our confidence in HIS faithfulness. If evil men do evil things because they value their subjective selfish evil more than God’s objective generous Truth, that does not – indeed cannot – make my faith in God hopeless or inadequate. Abraham offered up Isaac because “He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead.” (See Hebrews 11:19) What other earthlings do is important, but not essential to my belief that God is alive, God is here, and God loves us enough to give us all that is good; he will never give us anything that is bad, so whatever is bad is not from God, and not something for me to fret over. We can wait for the evil to be conquered while still trying not to get caught up in our own subjective selfish evil.

When we wait on God, God fulfills us. When we are quiet, he is pleasantly present and we hear and feel that presence. When we reason that God is trustworthy so that when he tells us that all will be well, we realize that whatever is happening to us is what God has desired and intended for us because of his Love for us. That is his promise (one of thousands) to us. We have only to claim it, then live it – forever because YOLOF. (In case you’ve forgotten, You Only Live Once – FOREVER.)

And how do we claim this promise? Behold!

Isaiah 30:15cIn quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

and

Exodus 14:14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

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

at your service, Beloved.

I love you, but our El Shaddai-Olam* loves you infinitely more!

* All Mighty, Ever-Living God

Isaiah 30:15 (Read the whole verse here, especially the last line)

“The Lord is my Shepherd. That’s all I need to know.”

Why? Because, for the sake of Christ, and by the Grace of Christ, I am held in Peace flowing like a river. (↔ Music Link)

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

Hebrews 12:14 14 Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

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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