Aloha Friday Message – April 24, 2020 – Calling for Change

2017AFC042420 – Calling for Change

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     Psalm 16:7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

    Acts 2:16-17 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.’

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Are you in the mood to experience a little more Grace and Peace? Have you a place in your heart or in your mind that you hope can be filled with an assertion of calm in the midst of calamity? Are you sick of hearing about COVID-19 VIRUS 24/7, and hoping that we can “get back to normal” sooner rather than later? ME TOO! But, as we all know, what was “normal” before will never be that way again. We’ve changed. Life has changed. We have changed. The World has changed (but not quite enough, yet). It seems EVERYTHING has changed – except God, of course. Malachi 3:6-7 For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished. Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”

Indeed! How shall we return? When will we return? What shall we return? Now that we know a different life, a life that includes being aware of how much we depend on each other and how much we can affect the World and the Earth by working together in sacrifice rather than greed, will we really want to “get back to normal,” the kind of normal that offends God and wounds the Earth? Honestly now, is it wise to forget all that we’ve learned in these past five months? I cannot say for sure, but I strongly suspect, that all of us hear the Voice of the Lord in our hearts and minds during the night. We awake each morning and the nightmare is still there – all the Major Syndicated Mass Media are abuzz with it. We’re walking around like a generation of bandits, all wearing masks and even gloves, washing like our moms told us when we were kids (but ignored then and resent now), and we can’t/don’t hug or kiss or cuddle or sit next to each other because we are afraid. We wake up afraid, we go to sleep afraid, we deny we are afraid (“I’m just being cautious for the sake of everyone else …”), and – if we are honest – we are listening to that voice that is trying to scream (but cannot, like when we have a bad dream), “I want out of here!” What if I told you there is a way out, and it’s easier than any of us believe?

Let’s go back and look at what the Apostle Peter was saying, and then look at the passage from Joel he quoted: Acts 2:16-17 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.’ Here is the passage in Joel he quoted: Joel 2:28-32 28 Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. How does this news help our current situation? To understand that we need to understand what Joel was describing.

Israel had “hit a rough spot” with a scanty spring rainfall followed by an invasion of locusts that left the land decimated. The citizens adopted an “ah, well” attitude thinking they could work their way out of it on their own – somehow. Joel was warning them this was not “nature at work;” this was the work of God and they needed to wake up and acknowledge him. God allowed these events, but also promised restitution in abundance as recompense for their return to obedience. As part of that recompense, God assures them that not only will their fortunes be restored and increased, but also that he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh – every living soul – so that all who returned to him would prophesy, dream dreams, and be blessed with visions. Male and female, young and old, masters and servants – all would declare his Glory and Goodness through the power of the Spirit. Isn’t that what our hearts are telling us, even as we sleep? God is good all the time because God is God all the time. And isn’t it clear (it certainly should be by now) that God has “poured out his Spirit on all the Earth?” That is certainly what Peter was talking about in our quote from Acts today.

What God told us through Joel is that a lot of terrible things can happen, but after they have happened, Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. What does it mean to “call upon the name of the Lord?”

When we call on the Name of the Lord, it is not merely shouting his name. It becomes reality in consideration of our knowledge of God’s Being, it requires that we acknowledge  him, and that we act on our desire to be near to him, to rely on him always and all ways. This requires genuine sincerity in our confidence in God by demonstrating a diligent obedience to him. It is “all” that he requires of us – that is to say he requires all there is of each soul who calls him God and Father. On such as these, God pours out his Spirit, and “renews the face of the earth.” (See Psalm 104:30) Listen to this (↔ Music Link) “But wait,” someone says. “What about “not everyone who calls out to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”? What about it? We are missing something there; the rest of the verse says, “but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” How are we to know his will? By knowing his Word, we learn his will – as well as his Mercy, and Justice, and Peace, and Love, and Joy, and every Good Thing that comes from Heaven above. His Word is written upon our hearts and treasured in our minds if we accept the Grace which comes by listening to what he tells us. He is telling us to change; we must change our minds, our hearts, our ways so that all of that is his.  There is a mountain of Good Things that comes to us when we return to the Lord. It’s good to remember, though, that there’s a deep pit to fall into if we forget we do not change our “ah, well” hearts on our own. John 3:36 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath. You know, I know, we know it’s time to change and to meet God where he is.

A statement mistakenly attributed to C. S. Lewis said, “Meeting God changes us, not the other way around.” As for us, we can meet him day or night, here or there, now or then. Sometimes we even meet him on the road – even if it’s not the Road to Emmaus, or at work, or in the grocery store. He can be hitch-hiking, asking for spare change, speaking wisdom in the guise of a child, or delivering a sermon at church. We meet him in Scripture, and we meet him in Prayer. That’s pretty much the whole idea behind these Aloha Friday Messages; you have links to the Scriptures so you can encounter him there. You have whatever it is the Holy Spirit has stirred up in me and then – added to that – you have whatever the Holy Spirit stirs up in you when you read this message. Pray for change, Belovéd. We are called to Change Our Hearts (↔ Music Link) in This Time. We have been called. It’s time to return the call. We have a Dream to dream.

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.

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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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