Aloha Friday Message – September 3, 2010

KJV Ps. 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
NIV: Ps 55:22. Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
NAB: Ps 55:23. Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. God will never allow the righteous to stumble.

This was one of the verses I had to memorize when I was a kid – probably about 5th grade. It seemed pretty important to the people who expected me to memorize it. I think there was even a hymn something like this one As time went by the verse sort of fell through one of the holes in my head and I forgot about it. When I saw it on my list today, I was surprised it was there and surprised I remembered it. Then I looked at it again and read it more carefully. Somehow it didn’t seem as reassuring as it had in the fifth grade.

There are some kind of sketchy words there – “burden” “sustain” “never suffer” and the heavy-duty “righteous.” I though about those for some time, and decided it was that work “Righteous” that got me. I’ve often been seen as self-righteous, but not really even understood how anyone but Jesus could actually be righteous – like with a capital R righteous.

To me, being righteous is well-nigh impossible. One must be constantly acting in accord with divine or moral law, and that means free from guilt or sin. I don’t really have very many days when I feel righteous to the level of that standard. I agree with David:

Psalm 51:4-8 4 Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me. 5 For I know my offense; my sin is always before me. 6 Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn. 7 2 True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me. 8 Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.

A lot of time I start out thinking I am doing something morally right or justifiable, and then I find out I’m just being selfish – again. I might get all worked up with anger arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality, but then learn I’m just being judgmental – again. Being righteous is hard to do if you haven’t got a good handle on humility. I’m likely to “stumble” or as some call it “backslide.”

Now, in the context of Christian living, to stumble is to fall into sin or waywardness. Waywardness? What the heck is that? Well, my thesaurus says, “following one’s own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations.” Sounds like those days when I get a wild idea and won’t let it go, even when I know it is wrong – again.

Folks, that really gets me down – trying to be righteous, I mean. Overdo it and you come off all sanctimonious. Miss the mark and you look like an idiot. Who among us is righteous? (check out Psalm 14 and Romans 3:10-18). Well, again, David had the right idea: Nobody. Fortunately God doesn’t see it that way once you give your life to Jesus because you are clothed in His righteousness. Do you have to be a born-again-Christian to get God’s help? I don’t know if I can answer that except to say “it couldn’t hurt.” So, I want to dump my worries and cares, my burdens, my struggles, and even my sins off my back and plop them down in front of The Lord. What does that require of me?

Throw away the burdens of anxiety and fear –
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. And also: Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Move forward in the shelter of his protection –
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) 58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

It seems to me that, quite simply, I just have to trust Jesus to take care of the stuff, but I can’t expect him to take care of the stuff I don’t hand over. That stuff I need to dump off – it’s all my fault, that’s for sure. It doesn’t seem fair that anyone else should have to deal with it, but Jesus says he’ll be able to handle whatever I throw is way. Sometimes I think we act as if we believe we cannot or should not be forgiven. We think perhaps God is going to say…

Now, that’s crazy, I know, but sinners do crazy things. We’ll hold onto the very worst about our lives as if God didn’t know they were there. And eve if we ask God to help us with laying that burden down, when we ask for the graces we need to be righteous, we sometimes don’t trust the answer he give us. Take this story for instance. This guy learned an easy lesson the hard way:

So, Beloved, our help is in the Lord when we are in him. We may not know how to deal with our fear, our burdens, the things we hide even from our own eyes, but Jesus know where all of it is, and he really can handle it. That’s why I’m asking you to pray for these:

That’s a wrap for today, Beloved. I’m thinking about doing another series for Advent. Any suggestions?

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

PS: I hope the photos displayed for you. If not, please let me know, and I will send them to you as attachments.

Chick Todd
Age quod agis.

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About Chick Todd

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

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