Aloha Friday Message – March 6, 2020 – Do you hear what I hear?

2010AFC030620 – Do you hear what I hear?

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     Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Belovéd Son; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!

Aloha pumehana, a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! Warmest Aloha, and may God bless you, Belovéd! Today we anticipate the Second Sunday in lent, and the emphasis this week is on listening to God and trusting what he says. Abram listened and ultimately became the Progenitor of Nations. David attests in his Psalm 33 that great Joy is found in acknowledging and obeying the Lord. Those who trust and obey him have hope in him, hope in his kindness, and hope for deliverance from death. The Apostle Paul testifies to Timothy that God has given us such Grace through Jesus Christ that it “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” When Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop (Perhaps Mt Hermon or Mt Tabor?), three of his Apostles are with him and they see Moses and Elijah – representing the Law and the Prophets, conversing with Jesus who has become radiant with Light (some translations say his face “shone like the sun”). It is the time of year for the Festival of the Booths – Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles – which begins on the 15th day of Tishrei and ends on the 21st of Tishrei (usually occurs during the month of October). During this Pilgrimage Feast, celebrated by all Jews, the faithful build small booths, and spend time there praying and rejoicing over the harvest as well as the 40-year pilgrimage of Israel in the desert. Peter is so excited and confused about seeing Jesus, Moses, and Elijah that he suggests the three Apostles build a booth for the three resplendent persons they see. Then something happens that literally “puts the fear of God” in them. Let’s go back to the top, then, and see how all of this fits together starting with Moses in Genesis 12:4a So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

Notice first that this is Abram. God has not yet appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham. (See Genesis 15 ff) Notice also that God spoke to Abram, and Abram listened, and then obeyed what God said. Abram set out on a very long, very ambiguous journey which was more than a “leap of faith.” It was a journey of hundreds and hundreds of miles. God spoke. Abram acted. God Loved. Abram reverenced that love. By the time Abram was leaving Haran, he was committed to obedience whenever God spoke. He was absolutely convinced of the omnipotence of The LORD God. Another biblical person convinced of the Power of God was King David.

David tells his people (including us) in Psalm 33:20 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Belovéd, you know how hard it is to wait – for anything! In this era of instant gratification, instant communication, instant everything – from instant coffee to instant potatoes to instant addiction even to premature (assisted) death – there are so many things for which we refuse to wait because these are things we want. In this verse, however, the Psalmist is saying “wait” as in “longing for.” There is tremendous value in lingering during our journey for a while so that we can be in God’s presence. We tarry awhile, deescalating our lives so busied by wanting, and look to him for succor – support, relief, rescue, comfort – and we trust he will provide this because he is known to be our protector. One of God’s “titles” is Shield of Israel, and the Hebrew word “Magen” is identified with “Magen David” the familiar six-point star that serves as a traditional symbol of Judaism. We know if we just “be still and wait upon the LORD,” his tender love will save us from the coveting of things so that our heart’s desire is only HIM.

I understand love well enough to know how important it is in my life, in your life, in our lives, and even in The World. God’s love is what stirs us to compassion, lifts our spirits, and multiplies our strength every time we give away the love we have received. I do not understand Love, agape love, God-Power Love, well enough to comprehend Golgotha. I can only shudder in awe and dread as I contemplate crucifixus etiam pro nobis – crucified even for us.

Beloved, that is the LOVE to which we are called, that is the cross we are asked to carry. But first, we get to stand on the mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, James and John, Moses and Elijah and listen to God’s voice telling us in tones only a loving father can make, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him.” Later on we are again asked to listen, not by the Father but by Jesus’ Mother when she says, Do whatever he tells you.” Are we listening?

When God speaks to us, do we obey? Does our obedience lead to action? Is our action based on our response to God’s Love? Are you interested in learning more about Hearing the Voice of God? I’m going to invite you to visit Brendan Case’s dynamic course on just that topic – HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD. It is there for you, thanks to God’s generosity and Brendan’s cooperation, FREE. In Matthew 10:8b, Jesus says, “Freely you have received; freely give.” God wants to make it that easy for you; take a free course and learn how to discern God’s voice out of the thousands of voices contrary to his Word. In 1 Corinthians 2:12, Paul says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” Belovéd, all the benefits assured to David (See Acts 13:32-39 and Isaiah 55:3) are YOURS, freely given to us by God.

I challenge you to hear, accept, and act on The Word. The first challenge is: Do you know someone or someplace where The Word is unheard? Help pump up the volume by delivering it. Do it contemplatively through fervent prayer or actively through fervent evangelization. The second challenge is this: Do you know someone that has heard the Word of Christ but rejected the Grace of Faith? Evangelize them. Give him or her the reward, the gift, the Grace of the Good News. Share your Testimony. If you hear the Word, but ignore or scoff at what you heard, please try again. If someone is telling you, “I want you to know Jesus,” please try to meet Jesus. If someone you love is resisting the opportunity to find faith by hearing the Word, love them enough to keep witnessing, asking, encouraging, edifying – and praying for, with, and about them. Whoever has listened but has not heard has not come to Faith.

Christian Fundamentalist, Christian Evangelical, Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Protestant, Universalist, Mormon, or even just “Religion-Curious,” whatever your particular persuasion, you have been called to hear, and by hearing you are called to faith, and by faith you are called to accept the Gift of Love in Christ Jesus. Did you know you can be the voice through which The Word is heard? It is often said, “Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.” Beloved, consider making your life an audio-book as well as a pop-up action book. Whatever your calling in Christ, honor the Giver by accepting – and sharing – the Gift of The Living Word. “Now hear ye the Word of the Lord.” He is calling! If you listen, you will hear; if you hear, Faith is just a “yes” away.

Do you have a child, a parent, a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or an acquaintance that needs to hear the Word for the first time, or hear it again? Do it now. Both of you might not have another chance later. God himself is telling you to listen to his Son, and upon hearing, do as he says. What benefit is that to us? Ponder these words in Luke 8:21 21 But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” If he speaks and gives us direction, will we obey? If his Word can bring us comfort, will we accept it? If Jesus asks us to follow him, will we leave all behind and go where he goes? I Hear Jesus Calling. (↔ Music Link) Do you hear what I hear? (↔ Music Link) Then let’s get up and go where he sends us. (↔ Music Link)

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

at your service, Belovéd!

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

 

“Listen to Him.”

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About Chick Todd

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

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