Aloha Friday Message – July 2, 2010

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Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved. Today is our Goddaughter’s 22nd birthday, and it is a joyous occasion. We love her very, very much and are so proud of everything she has accomplished. Happy Birthday Meghan!

Speaking of Love, do you ever get those moments when a song, or a photo, or a scent gives you goose-bumps? (We call it chicken-skin in Hawaii). That happened to me this past Sunday. One of the hymns was I have loved you with an everlasting love. The line after that says, “I have called you, and you are mine.” I always, “know” I am His, but I don’t always realize it, I don’t fully understand what that means. I’ve thought about that all week and did a little list-making. Here are some thoughts for you.

The Lord says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

1. God is righteous – he is the ultimate in integrity, justice, and mercy – and his righteousness is manifested in his love.
2. God’s love is not a sometimes-thing like our love. It is ginormous, humongous LOVE that lasts forever and always and spills over into all generations drenching all persons in pure, unabated love.
3. This LOVE has always been there. It is there right now. It is always going to be there. Where is “there?” Everywhere, Beloved, God’s love is everywhere – except where it is not wanted. In those places, love exists, but is unknown.
4. God takes care of his stuff. Whatever he made, he made it to last. Even when we are broken hearted, he can set everything in our lives back in order just as easily as he controls the heavens and the earth. Is power is so far beyond our understanding, it’s almost scary. That’s why we call him an awesome God.
5. Satan wants us to hate each other and to hate God as well. He lies to us and tells us we are sovereign unto ourselves – that was Satan’s big mistake – and the ancient liar is incapable of repentance. You are not. Only God is sovereign. You are not. Acknowledging, accepting, and sharing God’s love proves that.
6. These two commandments that summarize all the law and the prophets sound too easy. “Love God and love each other.” Are you thinking, “Easier said than done.”? And yet, we have something inside us that compels us to keep trying. That something is the love of God. How? Why? Simple: We are created in his image – he made us using himself as the archetype.
7. So why is it that Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John are a “New Commandment?” The two we just looked at were commandments of law and were obligations of the law. Jesus’ words say, “as I have loved you.” Under the law, at Jesus’ time, something could be sacrificed to expiate sin. In Jesus’ new Kingdom, someone is sacrificed to expiate sin. Jesus calls us to enter into this sacrificial love with him, in him, and through him. That idea of sacrificial love replacing law-based obligation was extraordinary in Jesus’ time.
8. It is this sacrificial love that literally converts us from sin and death to virtue and life. We become more and more like him by loving ourselves and others in the same way Jesus loves us. But there is an unexpected prize in that.
9. The prize is this: God has always wanted us to know and to show his love. From the time of Abraham to this moment in your life, all God wants is to give you his love and for you to love him back. Again, it sounds so easy; but, we know it is not because for us humans find it easy to sacrifice something but very difficult to sacrifice us. We never seem to get it quite right. So, because he loves us, God helps us out with that.
10. God takes care of the second half of that. He loves us, and we know that. We just can’t fully reciprocate that love, so he gave us The One and Only Son – fully God and fully human – to link his love to our love. Genius! Not sure you love him enough? Act as though you do love him enough, and you will. Do what love insists upon. In God’s name and for love of him, give yourself for because he gave himself for you.
11. He made it easier for you by doing it for you. Every good thing you have in your life is a gift you can give to others. Whatever you do not give will be lost, so give it all. Because God has asked you to do that and has shown you how, he blesses you with abundance every time you give so you can give more. It never stops even though sometimes we might believe it has (“the dark night of the soul”).
12. It is true. Loving God and serving others – which is following The Way, The Truth, and The Life – always entails suffering. It is suffering that enables us to see God more clearly, to emulate the sacrificial love of Jesus. It is the way we understand how God works. Our sacrificial love opens our eyes to the Light in the heart and mind of God. Once you’ve seen the Light, darkness becomes unnecessary.
13. Well, John really hit the nail on the head with this. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.”
And so in the end, Beloved, it is God who Loves us enough to see us become holy, it is by loving God that we become holy, and it is by loving one another that holiness glorifies God. I think this is expressed wonderfully well in the Letter of Jude 1:21-25

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 On those who waver, have mercy; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.

24 To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, 25 to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen

Make it a great day, Beloved. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad! And in our gladness, let us love each other in the same manner as Jesus loves us right this minute.

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

Praise report from GW: Total absence of tumor. It’s confirmed. It’s over.
Another celebration: July 4 is the birthday of two of my brothers. It seems they, too, are finding that the older they get, the longer they live. Happy Birthday Dan and Dave!

Maybe next week we’ll go to the movies. 😀

chick

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About Chick Todd

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

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