Aloha Friday Message – December 3, 2010 – First Friday of Advent

1049AFC120210 Please be sure to read the last 2 paragraphs!

A blessed Aloha Friday to all! Today we have three topics to consider; nonetheless I will be brief. First, today’s bible passage is from Revelation. Second, we begin a series on The Whole Armor of God. Third and last, there is news about a big change in the way these messages will be sent out. Let’s start with the passage from Revelation 21: 6 & 7

KJV
6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

NAB
6. He said to me, “They are accomplished. I (am) the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. 7. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.

In this passage we are assured that the Kingdom of God has been established and has indeed begun. It is established by The One who is the Alpha (beginning) and Omega (end). Those who enter the Kingdom will drink from the River of Life (See Revelation 22:1). Christ has overcome The World and all evil, and those who live in and through him share a Divine membership in the Family of God, inheriting a place in The Kingdom through adoption (See Gal 4:4-7; Romans 8:14-17). Thus we become citizens of Eternity, sharing in the worship, praise, honor, and glory given to God by the Angels, The Elders, The Four Living Creatures, and all the believers saved by the Blood of The Lamb. That is a choir I eagerly anticipate joining!

During the four weeks of Advent, I want to do a series on The Whole Armor of God. Here is the Scripture passage in Ephesians 6:10-18.

NIV (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A10-18&version=NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Here is the plan for the discussion that follows:

2010 Advent Series

Paul, like everyone in the Roman Empire, was very familiar with Roman soldiers. A Roman solder had saved his life in Ephesus and Jerusalem, there were Roman solders with him on his travels to Rome for his trial, and Roman soldiers were his guard in his long imprisionment. The Roman Army was the best trained, best prepared, most efficient, and best outfitted army in the world at that time. The uniform they wore was indeed “uniform.” Paul describes it on the basis of, and probably in the order of, the way the uniform was put on. First was the belt.

BELT
This was not a belt like the one we think of today holding up a pair of trousers. The Roman soldier’s belt was the foundation of the uniform, and its use was far more important than just decoration and its purpose far more important than simple utility; it was the ultimate Utility Belt. This belt was a remarkable tool that carried a wide variety of basic fighting equipment. It was this very wide belt which was used to fasten the sword to the soldier’s side (“sword”: coming December 17th). It had places to attach rations, smaller weapons like darts, lengths of rope, and other weapons for close combat. The belt was so important that it was always put on carefully, tied in several places so that it would not shift. This ensured the soldier would always be able to find and use the implements attached to the belt without fumbling or hesitation. No matter how he moved or what terrain he was covering, the belt stayed in place and assured him the quickest-possible access to weapons of defense and offense. The belt even contained “testimony” of the soldier’s valor, battles, and victories. This belt, when properly prepared and correctly set up and mounted, marked the man as a true soldier of Rome. The completeness of his training in using this belt and everything carried on it made him a formidable foe and a pragmatic protector.

Paul tells us to put on the Belt of Truth. Bearing in mind this description of the soldier’s belt, we see first that Paul is telling us that Truth is the foundation of our uniform. The Truth we learn through careful and accurate training is the foundation of everything a Christian does. Everything we need to keep handy in our spiritual battle with The Accuser is right at our fingertips, supported and organized by Truth. No matter what we’re going through, if our belt has been well-made (accurate and valid) and our training has been carefully learned, we will be well-prepared to take on the enemy. The Truth will also bear testimony to the virtue, valor, and victory we achieve when in uniform.

BREASTPLATE
This was a carefully crafted device which covered the front and back of the upper torso (“thorax”). There were a number of designs and each design was based on the purpose of the protection needed. The idea was to protect the vital organs of the wearer without compromising his ability to move. It had to be lightweight and could not restrict movement. It also had to be strong enough to protect the wearer from the kind of battle he was likely to encounter. Seasoned, more senior warriors with the highest skills would have the best armor. Newer soldiers whose function was to be part of an initial skirmish often had lesser-quality armor. As one might expect, the breastplate had an intimate connection with the belt. The two were attached in such a way as to make them quite nearly a single, flexible, strong unit. The solder put on the belt first, and next came the breastplate. Once these were secured and tested, other pieces of the armor were added; however, without these two pieces, the other parts of a soldier’s armor were almost ineffective – certainly ineffective for war and close combat.

Paul assigns to the breastplate the term “righteousness.” I confess for many years I thought this meant the righteousness of the soldier – my righteousness. I believed that was my lack of righteousness – such as feigned virtue, personal immorality, easy duplicity, and lack of integrity – which created “holes in my armor.” This made sense to me – until I learned that the righteousness Paul intends is the Righteousness of God. It is His righteousness that protects me, not my self-righteousness. If I had to rely on my own righteousness, well, I’d be at a considerable disadvantage against our enemy. God’s righteousness, however, is unassailable, invincible, and impenetrable. When I connect God’s Righteousness to well-ordered Truth, I have basic protection that will help preserve my life, make it more difficult for the enemy to wound or overcome me, and a foundation upon which I can place additional armor that further protects me. What I gain in protection is strong enough to last but easy enough to carry that it is not a burden; it does not weaken me before or during battle by wearing me out.

Next week we will look at another passage from The List of 52 Verses. Then we’ll look into the Gospel of Peace and the Shield of Faith.

In closing, I need to tell you about an ongoing project. Many of you got a sample last week when you clicked on a link that took you to a post on https://www.aloha-friday.org. That is the blog-site for the MBN. It is a wonderful gift from a dear friend who has been an active supporter of the MBN. He also happens to be one of the finest Information Technology practitioners in the world. With a lot of hard work from him and another equally talented – and very artistic – team member, the initial rough outline of a blogging website was crafted into a beautiful place for all of us to use and to share. All of the Aloha Friday cards and messages have been uploaded to the archives of this blog. In the future, when I post something there, it will automatically be mailed out to everyone who is a subscriber.

For the next couple of weeks, I will continue to send out the messages to you via E-Mail; but, I will also include the link to that week’s message at aloha-friday.org. It would expedite matters if each of you would take a moment to enter your own subscription information. If you open our home page, look on the right column of that page. The fifth item down says “News Letter Signup.” Click on that link and you’ll find the Invitation Letter. At the end of the letter there is a box where you can type in your E-Mail address. When you click on the SUBSCRIBE BUTTON, our anti-spam control gadget (feedburner) will present you with a message telling you an email will be sent to your address. You’ll see on of those boxes with distorted text. Type the text (case sensitive) into the box provided and then click on the button that says Complete Subscription Request. You’ll see a thank you note, and if you open your E-Mail you will see that we are asking to confirm your email address and your desire to subscribe. Click on the link in that message, and that’s it! You’ve just subscribed. And even without subscribing, any time you want to see the latest post, just open https://www.aloha-friday.org and take a look. There will also be places for you to make comments, to make prayer requests or praise reports, and just many ways to enjoy sharing The Word together. Please, try it out, sign up, get on the Moon Beam and Network!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved
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Share-A-Prayer
Jorey Cantu had her second surgery December 1. She will have a long recovery, but we hope that will be the end of this tumor that has disrupted her life for so long. Pray for her and her family to have strength to endure the healing that comes next.

FO – Please continue your prayerful support for her as she begins dealing with a newly-diagnosed cancer. Please also remember the family members who will be an integral part of her support system.

TH, CD, KD, TO and the tens of thousands displaced by lack of work, foreclosures, and other financial disasters.

For our colleagues in Haiti, Zambia, the Philippines (particularly Cebu, Leyte, and Luzon), Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico, and Chile – pray that Peace will cover them, disease, starvation, and war will leave them.

Pray for one another. I am praying for you.

chick
AGE QUOD AGIS

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About Chick Todd

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

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