Aloha Friday Message – September 13, 2013 – Keep Your Eyes Open

1337AFC091313 – Keep your Eyes Open

Read it online here, please.

Proverbs 20:13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

    Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit Divine!

“Yes, to use a mirror effectively, it has to be clean, intact, and you have to keep your eyes open.”

Recently we looked at the idea of using the Bible as a mirror to show us who the Lord wants us to look like – HIM. (click on the link open above).Again this week we turn to an old, old hymn to help focus on that concept of wakeful readiness. These days you have to be sharp, look share, see sharp in order to keep ahead of that tide of advancing evil sweeping across the world and into our own lives. So you remember these words from Paul in his letter to the Ephesians?

 11 Have no part in the things that people in darkness do, which produce nothing good. Instead, tell everyone how wrong those things are. 12 Actually, it is shameful to even talk about the things those people do in secret. 13 But the light makes clear how wrong those things are. 14 Yes, everything is made clear by the light. This is why we say,

“Wake up, you who are sleeping!
Rise from death,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. 16 I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times.

How are we to make sense of all that is going on in the world? There is so much gone amok, so much mayhem and chaos; we are constantly bombarded by horrific images, dreadful deceptions, and blatantly wicked teachings. And it fascinates us! We are glued to the TV so we can get all the lurid details.

As I thought of this, I recalled some images from one of my favorite newspaper comic strips, Calvin. Take a look at these:

Calvin-worship-TV_3852

calvin-tv-webIs your family altar manufactured by Visio, Panasonic, or Emerson? Do your kids see you in front of the TV Sunday morning instead of in front of the pulpit? If it’s true that what you see is what you get, then TV can give us everything we need – food, entertainment, information, education, life, liberty, and happiness. But you know that isn’t true! I’m afraid more of us use the TV as our mirror than use the Bible as a mirror. Does that seem unfair?

 

Is it possible that TV has replaced God in the lives of millions of Americans, and maybe billions of others in nations around the world? Possibly. But so what? There’s a lot of good that comes from television, too. There’s the 700 Club, and EWTN, and those Billy Graham Crusades we all used to watch. There’s real educational television on PBS, and all TV stations have to do something about children’s programming. There are TV shows of all genres in many, many languages here in the USA. So, understand Beloved that I am not saying TV is evil. I’m saying the way we use it can lead to evil, or in itself be evil.

In addition to all the good things just mentioned, TV also brings us pornography, and incredible violence in nauseating detail. TV brings us foul-mouthed “comedians”, “twerking,” and voyeurism unrivaled in history. TV clobbers us with messages that insult our intelligence, insult our nation, and insult even God. As a medium, it has incredible power to penetrate our homes, our minds, and even our hearts with messages contrary to the Gospel such as: It is right to support same-sex marriage, it is right to fight multiple wars for years and years with no foreseeable closure. It is wrong to feel like you have to go to church instead of stay home and watch the game on your 52″ LCD TV. It is right to use lewd actions and vulgar language to promote your own popularity or notoriety.

Why take so much time to blast television? You know that I sit there every evening and watch it. I don’t really like sports, so it would be a very rare occasion for me to watch a sports broadcast at all, much less on Sunday morning 9:30-10:30; but that’s said not to boast but simply to clarify. Our TV viewing habits at the Todd House are pretty tame. I think probably the same is true for everyone who is reading this right now. We know that TV – and the Internet and the movie theater and magazines and books and any for4m of mass-media – can be a vehicle for the devil’s use. But, are we awake with our eyes open? It’s not just bread that comes to us when we are diligent and stay awake (think of the 10 young women who had to light their lamps when the bridegroom came at an unexpected hours). We have to be awake spiritually. These are evil times. When the TV – or the mass media which are your distractions – is the mirror we use to gauge how we are expected to look, then we’re not going to look the way God intended. I know it is easy for me to forget which mirror is the right one. I get distracted, and that does not turn out well. Whatever I use to “replace” God becomes my god, and I suffer for it until I repent. How about you? Is it like that for you, too?

You can bet that God knows we have precious few moments when we see clearly. The “glimpses of truth” mentioned in the lyrics above are our cue to redirect our focus away from us, away from the world, away from our temporary gods and home in on the One, True, Eternal, Almighty God. It is true that we often fail to catch even those brief glimpses sometimes. But every time we make the effort to replace a personal god with the one-and-only real God, our gracious, generous, omnipotent, loving God illumines us with a jolt from the Holy Spirit. Do you remember the time when Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone, “Even as many as seven times?” Our Lord replied, “As many as seventy times seven.” If we, as sinners, can forgive that often, how much more will God forgive?

I am asking all of us then to hunt down and kick out those little puny gods that distract us from the Goodness of God. If it’s the Internet, or disinhibiting chemicals (even if they don’t become addictions), or televised-whatever, if it isn’t of or for God, then maybe it is your personal idol. Open your eyes and look hard at it. Is it really so essential. When God asks you at the judgment day how many times you replaced him with something or someone temporary, remember that he already knows – it’s written in the book – and you’ll probably wish you had spent more time looking at him than at the other gods who gave you so many temporary pleasures. Me, too, Beloved. Me too

We can use our eyes to see many things. Some of the things we see are Truth and bring us satisfaction, and other things we see are lies and bring us cravings. We should ask God to open the eyes of our heart so that in whatever we see, we see him.

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

Please pray for Syria, and all the places where oppression, death, and godlessness rule the lives of the people.

Pray also for all the millions dealing with cancer and other chronic diseases. Some of our members are still in hospice, so pray for their families, too.

And just a personal note about the unexpected passing for Father Smart Chinyanwa from Zambia: A wonderful Priest, a great friend of the MBN, and a much-loved and well-respected Servant of God. We’ll see him again when the roll is called up yonder.

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About Chick Todd

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

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