Aloha Friday Message – October 2, 2020 – Think about these things

2040AFC100220 – Think about these things

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    Philippians 4:6-9 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Belovéd, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

¡Que la bendición esté siempre con ustedes y que Dios los bendiga, Amados! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!) Today will be another session that is mostly Scripture. The question to be dealt with is, “What can we do?” There is so much anger, turmoil, even outright evil happening today. What are we to do about that? What do we think about what’s happening? What are we doing to change it? Perhaps the most important question we should be asking is, “How did we arrive at this?!?! Let’s start with admitting that all of this is nothing new.

Ecclesiastes 1:9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. As I researched this, I remembered a snippet from a sermon for long ago: “When Adam bit the apple, he got the bite with the worm in it – the worm of death.” We know that sin and death are inextricably linked. The sin and evil, the chaos and destruction, the hopelessness and anger by which we are surrounded are not unprecedented. Perhaps the only precedent we are experiencing is the magnitude of these things, a magnitude that is reminiscent of the 430 years Israel was incubating in Egypt while Canaan devolved into absolute putrefaction. When with America hit that mark? Are we there yet? Let’s look back to what the Lord said to Abram in Genesis 15:13-16 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; 14 but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” God says he will not drive out the Amorites until they become so wicked that all hope of repentance and redemption is lost and they must be punished. I know there are people reading this that think perhaps all of these goings-on are God’s punishment. I’ll not try to counsel God, so I’m just going to say that if that’s what he has in mind, I’m all for it. Even if this is “just the birth pangs” before things go completely destructo-mite, I believe and accept that none of this could happen without God allowing it. I do wonder, though, if we might be coming up on that demarcation-line where God says, “Well, that’s it. You’re done. There’s nothing new under the sun, you know.”

In that case, there’s a passage from the Prophet Micah that we might want to look into: Micah 7:2-7 The faithful have disappeared from the land, and there is no one left who is upright; they all lie in wait for blood, and they hunt each other with nets. Their hands are skilled to do evil; the official and the judge ask for a bribe, and the powerful dictate what they desire; thus they pervert justice. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand. Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; your enemies are members of your own household. But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Does that sound familiar? It’s a bit like what’s going on today, I submit. It might sound familiar because Jesus quoted this passage referring to himself in Luke 12:48c-5348c “Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given. 49 I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to receive, and how distressed I am until it is over! 51 Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division. 52 From now on a family of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 Fathers will be against their sons, and sons against their fathers; mothers will be against their daughters, and daughters against their mothers; mothers-in-law will be against their daughters-in-law, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law.” Good News Translation (GNT)[1] As individuals, we know we are blessed with much, and hopefully we thank and honor God for all our gifts – our charisms – by accepting and using those gifts. We who love and serve the Lord should know that’s doing the right thing. It is those who do not love and serve the Lord that seem to be bringing us closer to the fullness of iniquity. Have the faithful truly disappeared? Are they just too silent, too hidden, too complacent perhaps? Some view the World as being afire with the Holy Spirit. Others say the Holy Spirit as left the World, left the Church, and left us to await the Doom ahead brought on by the godless heathens who are destroying all that is good. Where is the wisdom we need to turn this around?

I truly hope you are recalling the several times we have mentioned James 1:5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. Sometimes we are unwilling to pay the price for Wisdom. God does give it generously to all who ask, so how can there be a price for it? The price we pay is to use the Gifts with which God graces us. The Gifts are ours to use or lose. When we use those gifts, we profit by that. When we disdain those gifts … well, let’s just say there’s no profit in that. Here’s one way to look at it:  Sirach 4:11-18 11 Wisdom takes care of those who look for her; she raises them to greatness. 12 Loving her is loving life itself; rising early to look for her is pure joy. 13 Anyone who obtains Wisdom will be greatly honored. Wherever he goes, the Lord will bless him. 14 Wisdom’s servants are the servants of the Holy One, and the Lord loves everyone who loves her. 15 Those who obey her will give sound judgments; those who pay attention to her have true security. 16 Put your trust in Wisdom, and you will possess her and pass her on to your descendants. 17 At first, Wisdom will lead you along difficult paths. She will make you so afraid that you will think you cannot go on. The discipline she demands will be tormenting, and she will put you to the test with her requirements until she trusts you completely. 18 Then she will come to you with no delay, reveal her secrets to you, and make you happy.

So, Belovéd, what would Wisdom tell us in this current mess we’re in? Wisdom will tell us that patience is the virtue of the Wise. The Worldly will watch as the righteous’ lives end and believe they have triumphed. But see here what Wisdom says of that:

Wisdom 4:16-17 16 The righteous who have died will condemn the ungodly who are living, and youth that is quickly perfected [ended] will condemn the prolonged old age of the unrighteous. 17 For they will see the end of the wise, and will not understand what the Lord purposed for them, and for what he kept them safe. Is the Parousia just around the corner? Will there be weeping and gnashing of teeth where there is now rebellion and desecration? Belovéd, you’ve heard this before: “God knows, but he’s not tellin’.” What do we do? We live in the Promise. We trust in the Lord. We do the right thing. We test the spirits; which spirits produce things that are good, and which spirits produce things that are bad? We seek Wisdom and her discipline. We honor the Giver by accepting the Gift. We pray for the hearts and minds that are deceived. We discern what is good, and follow all that points to the Love of God in Christ Jesus. We never, never, never, never give up Hope! We place Faith as our mast, and Love as our sail, and with Wisdom as our rudder we follow the course laid out in Scripture. We stop all the worry, because Why worry when you can pray? (↔ Music Link). Here is the secret to finding that Wisdom:

     Finally, Belovéd, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. We know these things are true because We Have Been Told (↔ Music Link). Jesus has overcome the World, and the World cannot overcome us when we are in Jesus. Remember 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!” Remember also that the Apostle John has told us in 1 John 4:1-6 41 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess* Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. *Literally dissolves, annuls, or severs.

Stick with the good stuff and you’ll be much better off. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a lie. If it sounds like it’s not true, don’t go there, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Now that’s Wisdom!

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

 

[1]  Scripture quotations marked (GNT) are from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission

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About Chick Todd

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

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