Aloha Friday Message – September 4, 2009

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Happy aloha Friday, Beloved!

Today I am thinking about Bible verses I learned when I was a kid. I’d like to share some of them with you. There’s no doubt in my mind that these have shaped my life in many ways. I’d also like to “hark back” to some previous notes and thoughts from days gone by.

I guess we could start with John 3: 16-17. That’s one passage which everyone has heard – at least in part – because it is so popular. 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. That second verse is too often overlooked. To me, it is comforting to know that the whole purpose of Jesus coming was Salvation and not condemnation. Sometimes our sense of guilt overlooks that fact.

One of the earliest memories I have is of my first-grade Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Wright. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents (in the Lord), for this is right. My mom used to love to tell the story of the first time I recited this verse in her class. When I said it, it came out, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for Mrs. Wright.”

There was another passage from Ephesians that was often quoted to the six of us kids at the Todd House. With five brothers and one sister, you can imagine there were “a few” squabbles. We’d hear Mom or Dad quote this verse: Ephesians 4:32 (And) be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. I’ve often found that recalling that verse can make me take a breath and settle down in situations that light my short fuse. I truly wish it would pop into me head and heart every time I get the urge to be unkind!

One passage that has stayed with me for over fifty years is Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. As I grew (and grow) older, that verse has been and will be the needle in my compass. It reminds me that when I need to know what’s what, go to the Word, especially the Word in my heart. The verse just before that was also one that forms a strong childhood memory. Together they look like this: Psalm 119:10-11 How can the young walk without fault? Only by keeping your words. 10 With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commands. That is a pretty good formula for happiness – if you can consistently keep it in your head and heart. It really is a good compass.

Speaking of a compass, there are a couple of verses that, for me, are essential parts of the map that points to The Way. The first is one I learned as a teen: Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure. 4 Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire. The lesson I learned with that has helped me find my direction many, many times. If I want to live my life for God, I must trust Him and do the right things; trust and obey. There was a hymn we sang called “Trust and Obey.” The first stanza said, “When we trust in the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory he sheds on our way. When we do His good will, He abides with us still, if we only will trust and obey! Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way to be Happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

For Psalm 119:4, which I had heard many times, I eventually came to understand that “my hearts desire” did not properly come from within my heart; it was placed within my heart by God. When I made enough room in my life for God to load me up with His gifts, He did not give me – will not give me – the things my imagination craves because those things are usually not good for me. Instead, if I get rid of the junk, He places a treasure in me and invites me to use it.

As an adult, I still sift through the Bible and find passages that I can “hide in my heart.” One of these is a verse I have often quoted in these Aloha Friday messages. Micah 6:8 You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. I try to remember that every day. Honestly, it doesn’t always work; I forget even though the concept is part of my morning prayers: “Good morning Lord! Thank you for this day! As we go out to help the world together, be beside me all the way. Teach me to be just and merciful, to live righteously and to walk humbly before you wherever you Spirit guides me. Let the constant hope I have in you be the light that drives away the darkness and draws me and everyone I meet to your perfect integrity, endless mercy, and eternal salvation through Christ our Lord. Amen.” People who know me well, can tell you it doesn’t take long for me to forget that request to ” be just and merciful, to live righteously and to walk humbly before you.”

Being reminded I’ve forgotten is truly humbling, sometimes even humiliating; I resolve to do better, but sooner than I wish – I forget again. Fortunately God is patient. When I ask Him “What more do you want?” He says, “I don’t want more. I want it all.” Yikes! Talk about Amazing Grace!! He wants all my imaginations about what I am, have, and can be, and He will replace that with all I am created to be. That’s a pretty good deal! So why don’t I always accept the terms of that deal? I forget to remember what He put there and displace it with what I put there.

Still, it is the desire God has placed in my heart, and it is so much better than the worldly things that displace it when I forget that God is with me, that I can dwell in the land secure by delighting in the Lord. That’s what makes Him and me happiest.

Well, I will move on to some requests for intercessions. The first comes from an MBN member and is circulating around the net. It is a genuine petition for help. You can find the information here: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/prayer/bish.asp *. Read it, pray it, pass it along.

I have heard from so many people who are really up against it because of the economy – really, who among us isn’t?

But so many people are literally losing everything. Please pray that God will “see to their temporal needs and continue to draw them all to a deeper spiritual awareness of and commitment to Jesus.” All of us, including me, have family members who are teetering on the brink of catastrophic change. It evokes a feeling of helplessness when we see the whole world literally crashing down around us, knowing that we too can be swallowed up by the consequences caused by a handful of greedy people. Scary stuff. Pray for all of us who are depending on God to get us through the hard times.

There are also many prayers for healing. There are cancers and other tumors, depression, injuries, betrayals, unimaginable physical pain, spiritual needs, and all of these lead to such suffering! I know you are probably tired of me harping on this, but would you please find that copy of the MBN Prayer and just give it your best attention daily? Pray for all the MBN, for everyone who takes a moment to intercede for someone else. Pray for the people, all the people.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service.

chick
*The CaringBridge site reported that Sam Bish passed away on August 20, 2010. Thank you for your prayers of support for Sam and for his family and friends.

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About Chick Todd

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

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