Aloha Friday Message – October 7, 2011 – The Bounteousness of God

1140AFC100711 – The Bounteousness of God

Read it online here.

Philippians 4:19-20
My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

Aloha pumehana. (Warmest Aloha) E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika’i ‘oe! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you!)

I love these two verses. In fact the letter to the Philippians is one I often turn to when I have questions that need answers or situations where encouragement is needed. Just a few verses above these two (next Sunday’s readings) is the favorite of many a trouble soul: Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In the King James version it reads I can do all things through Christ which strengthenest me. Truly, Beloved, it is in Christ that we find awesome strength, and it is indeed He who gives us that strength we need and in such perfect proportions as to always meet our need and then still have some strength left over. It is that thought which often comes to mind when I read the KJV version “which strenthenest me.” Just knowing Jesus gives me strength in and of itself strengthens me! I have strength from Jesus, and knowing that makes me – and the effect of Jesus’ strength – even stronger. It’s like forging a sword out of iron and another of bright steel. The one is strong; the other is stronger; yet both are stronger than I alone can be.

It is something like that for Philippians 4:19. We all know to whom Paul is referring when he says “My God.” Paul is consistently reminding us of the Holy Trinity – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:13) – in his Epistles. The Trinity is an indivisible Community comprised of three distinct personages, and all of them act in accord with one another yet separately. The fact that this is an impenetrable mystery does not faze Paul in the least. In that respect, I think of him in the same way I think of Abram.

God chose Abram over many others and assigned him to a task of God’s choosing. Abram means something like “exalted father.” He was renamed by God at the beginning of the first covenant – he became Abraham – “father of many nations.” Saul of Tarsus was renamed by God at the beginning of the Second Covenant. Saul was the name of Israel’s first king, and the popular meaning of the name was “prayed for.” Saul of Tarsus assumed a task whereby he meant to choose God and exterminate The Way as Jesus-followers first called their faith. Saul became Paul; Paul is rooted in a Latin word which means “small” or “humble.” You remember Simon was renamed Peter, and sometimes in the Gospels we hear both together – Simon Peter. But you never hear Abram Abraham or Saul Paul in any scripture. That is how total the change was – more than just a name, it was the designation of an entirely new person refashioned by God on the spot.

Abraham went on to do many astounding things, but none as astounding as his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and we know Paul also did many astounding things including healings and resurrections. Both of them had been prepared by God to do those things; that is why God changed them. He had a plan, and a job, and needed the right person for that job. He did what only God can do. He created a job and then created a person to do that job. Paul and Abraham both had that figured out way before their contemporaries did.

Now, let’s look at “fully supply.” This word “supply” in Greek is an interesting word – `πληρόϖ pleroo {play-ro’-o}. Among other concepts related to completion, it is used as: to make complete in every particular, to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the fullest; to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally. Paul’s meaning here is that God can completely repay – with more left over – of Paul’s debt to the church in Corinth. There is where our eyes often go first. “God chooses to be generous with me, and I accept his generosity.” Then we pass him a list of what we want from him.

DING-DING-DING-DING! WRONG!! God’s absolutely – in the most literal sense of that word – ABSOLUTELY Generous Will DOES fully supply all our needs. And so while we want to focus on the thought of his generosity, we know “God gives us all we need, not all we want.” This leads to those silly prayers where we tell God, “I really need this | promotion | new house | personal renewal | sense of forgiveness | anything else I usually want to put in this sentence when I pray | … BUT Thy will be done. I don’t want to be greedy.” (Can you get that here before Tuesday, please? Thank you God!)” “Fully supply” in this passage is like we read about in Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Do you see? The Church in Philippi had gone to extraordinary measures to help Paul in times of great need and great danger. They had given of their own temporal and spiritual riches to support Paul. Paul has absolutely no way to repay their kindness, but he knows God has seen their generosity and will answer it with his own version of GENEROSITY. He is saying, “I cannot repay the debt, but I am confident God will repay you out of his own riches.

God has already been incredibly generous with you. How are you using the riches of his generosity? Use them well and there is a better likelihood that he will fully supply all your needs in the way of generosity only he can provide.

We’ve got some members on the road. Pray for their safe travel and return.

FO had to go back on Chemo after only four months. It’s slow and uncomfortable, but she’s getting what she needs, especially if you remember her in your prayers this week.

We’ve got friends who are in terrible need just to make ends meet. Pray for local-style generosity to start flowing their way.

We have members who are evangelizing, witnessing, preaching, teaching, prophesying, and giving the Devil Hell. Pray for those who want to go to Hell with him to ask you about going to Heaven with you instead. Go ahead! You can handle it (Philippians 4:13, remember?)

Praise Reports
JE continues to heal after yet another double-surgery this week! It’s slow and uncomfortable, but it’s happening.
TO is getting clean again. It’s slow and uncomfortable, but it’s happening.
KG is standing on The Rock to be a Beacon for her kids. It’s slow and uncomfortable, but it’s happening.
Our MBN cancer survivors are continuing their lives of service. It’s slow and uncomfortable, but it’s happening.
The White Wolf and the Black Wolf are still fighting, but the white is winning. It’s slow and uncomfortable, but it’s happening.

A condensed version of a story I heard from Brendan Case: A woman told him, “I had a dream where I was in a line of people going into heaven. I look across at the line of people going down into Hell. I saw the face of a friend. She looked over at me and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” You know what, Beloved? There is a very good chance you are part of God’s intent to “fully supply all” that person’s (and even many others’) needs! What’s stopping you? Whatever it is, there is an eternal life-or-death decision you must make before it is too late.

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

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About Chick Todd

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

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