Aloha Friday Message – October 21, 2011 – Hope you’ll like our Guest

1142AFC112111 Special Guest Columnist

Read it online here.
Matthew 22:37-40 “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Beloved, today I am thinking about distractions. What is it that keeps us from always, always, always putting God first in our lives? Well, as you know there are many, many, many things. Family, television, cellphone, computer games, sports broadcasts, disinterest, laziness, bad habits, anger, confusion, a spouse, a child, misinformation, other “obligations,” indifference, ignorance, and perhaps you can take a moment here to think about more.

I have often written in these messages over the years a question something like this one: “Why would you ever settle for less than God Himself?” Yet I do that, you do that, we do that so often – maybe even dozens of time in a single day – and many times we come back to Him and say, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” And next time we break that promise, too.

Hope for the asking ...

It almost seems hopeless, doesn’t it? But I say almost. Today we have a Guest Columnist who will come in right now. You will recognize his works because you are familiar with just about everything that comes from him. What I’m going to present are several excerpts from this long-standing greatest among the greats. All the excerpts are about HOPE. As you read through these excerpts, you will doubtless realize that the authority and knowledge on display in this short collection demonstrates the wisdom and power of our Guest today: The Holy Spirit. I’ll try to keep my comments between the excerpts as short as possible, but listen now to what the Spirit has to say about Hope (and I do mean listen; read the excerpts out loud so their full Power falls on you).

Job 14:7-9 7 For a tree there is hope, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again and that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Even though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the dust, 9 Yet at the first whiff of water it may flourish again and put forth branches like a young plant.

Think of the sprig that sprouted from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) That sprig is the Hope of All Israel – Jesus!

Isaiah 40:31 They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

Hope descends to those who will receive it ...

Jeremiah 29:11-14 11 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. 12 When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, 14 you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you, says the LORD, and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, 4 and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Hope supports Peace and is centered in Love

Romans 8:24-28. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. 26 In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. 27 And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. 28 We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 12:8-12. 9 Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
10 love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. 11 Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in pray

Romans 15:13 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope Fulfilled

1 Corinthians 13:13. 13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Galatians 5:5 – 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.

Hebrews 10:23-26 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.

And the People of God said AMEN!

Faith - Hope - Love: First you must believe.

Beloved, if you have given your life, your heart, your attention, your intentions, and your service to any of the distractions named at the beginning of this piece, and if you would rather be in that state of distraction than in the Lord’s house with the Lord’s people singing the Lord’s praises, then you have chosen that over God. You have also chosen to set aside the Hope from God that is yours through trust and obedience in your service to him. You have hammered the First Great Commandment into the ground, and are very likely ignoring the Second Great Commandment as well.

“Why would you ever settle for anything less than God Himself?” How can “third down and 17” compare to John 3:17? How can “Go Dallas” compare with “Come Holy Spirit?” How can the NBA Final or the Super Bowl compare with Holy Communion? If these are your gods, and if all you hope for is that your distraction wins, or makes you happy, or distracts you from God Love and Grace, then where you find Faith and Love? “So these three things abide – Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is love.”

The Gifts of Hope

Beloved, Grace builds up Faith. Faith builds up Hope. Hope builds up Love. And Love is our greatest treasure. Why? Because the only reason we have it is so that we can give it away! That’s all it’s good for because it’s Good for all.

Ah, but the converse of all this is the FACT that when your god is The Living God, then the Hope, and Peace, and Joy, and Love that fills your life is so AWESOME that life is a constant blaze of Glory and Praise to Our God / who alone gives Light to our days. Many are the blessings he shares with those who trust in his ways. Beloved, Trust is the inner spirit of Hope. God calls us to that Hope by asking us to simply believe he will keep his promise. In that beliefe is the greatest of all hope which is that some day in the future will bring us face to face with the light of his Glory and Grace.

Share-A-Prayer
EL, CW, GW, FO, MG, TN, and all our members, family, friends, and colleagues who are literally in a life-and-death struggle with cancer: God grant them the HOPE needed to carry out that fight to victory by utterly vanquishing the cancer.

KB, TO, MC, KG, SS, MK, and all our members, family, friends, and colleagues who are dealing with the dissolution of loving relationships: God, grant them the HOPE that comes from renewed Trust in their relationships because they focus their Trust in God.

Special Request for prayers for Polly F. from her brother, Chuck, and sister, Mary. Polly was readmitted to the hospital October 17 and experienced cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated, but had not been stabilized as of Thursday. Polly has had a difficult series of illnesses and hospitalization, so please pray for a successful treatment and stabilization.

In addition we pray:

Be a Beacon that Shines from The Rock

For the marginalized, the oppressed, the wounded, the ill, the terrified, the lost, and the lonely: God, grant them the HOPE which sees only Victory over Death, Salvation countering Sin, Faith overthrowing Despair, and Wisdom overwhelming Ignorance.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

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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