Aloha Friday Message – October 17, 2014 – Hope Revisited

1442AFC101714 – Hope Revisited

Read it online here, please.

As I reflected on where to turn for this week’s message there were a lot of things on my mind: Ebola, enterovirus d68, Hurricane Ana, ISIS, Hurricane Gonzalo, Super Typhoon Vong Fong, a 7.3 earthquake in Nicaragua, mass shootings across the country, war in Sri Lanka, persecutions in North Korea, Somalia, Nigeria, Rhodesia, Sudan – especially Darfur – and in Ethiopia, Zambia, Zaire, Libya, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria, and even in Texas. That’s a lot of bad things happening! Some folks find all that overwhelming – a hopeless situation. For others it reminds them of Matthew 24:4-14 (Go ahead, read that. I’ll wait.) That’s the eschatological passage where the disciples have asked when the dire predictions Jesus had just made would come to pass. It is this passage where we hear about wars and rumors of wars, many claiming to be the Messiah, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, persecutions, false prophets, and rampant lawlessness. And yet, there is Hope. This is the message the Holy Spirit sends out again, today as well as on October 21, 2011. This is an edited version of that message.

Matthew 22:37-40You 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.”

HopeButterflyBeloved, 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, cell-phone, 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 such as those in the first paragraph.

I have often written in these messages over the years a question something like this one: “Why would you ever settle for anything less than God Himself?” Yet I do that, you do that, we do that so often – maybe even dozens of times 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 ...

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

 

 

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

Isaiah 40:31They 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.

Jeremiah 29:11For 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.

Hope descends to those who will receive it ...

Hope descends to those who will receive it …

 

Romans 5:1-5Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope ἐλπίδι (elpis) {el-pece’} of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, 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.

Romans 8:24-28For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. 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. 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. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

 

 

Hope supports Peace and is centered in Love

Hope supports Peace and is centered in Love

Romans 12:8-12Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;

 love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

Romans 15:13May 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.

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

Hope Fulfilled

Hope Fulfilled

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

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

Hebrews 10:23Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

And the People of God said AMEN!

"Our Hope is in the Lord..."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 (next to the butterfly), 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 cast the First Great Commandment onto 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’s Love and Grace, then where you find Faith and Love? If, instead of “fear of the Lord,” you have fear of illness, persecution, violence, hunger, and crime, how have you allowed these passing evils to steal your Hope? “So these three things abide – Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.”

The Gifts of Hope

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 belief is the greatest of all HOPE which is what some day in the future will bring us face to face with “the light of his Glory and Grace.”

Share-A-Prayer

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 conquering Sin, Faith overthrowing Despair, and Wisdom overwhelming Ignorance.

Be a Beacon that Shines from The Rock

Be a Beacon that Shines from The Rock

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.

 

 

You remember GI-GO – Garbage In – Garbage Out? GI-GO can also be Gospel In – Gospel Out. Think about it.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

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

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