Aloha Friday Message – January 9, 2015 – Now would be a good time

1502AFC011114 – Now would be a good time

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Isaiah 55:6-9Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Last week we read about living on the borders of temptation, daring God to slap us a good one up the side of the head and put us back on the Straight and Narrow. We saw that God allows us to play in the dangerous neighborhood because we have the Gift of Free Will. God wants us to choose him, not the Devil’s wily tricks. We saw that Samson believed he was strong enough to escape the Tempter’s snare, so he crossed over the border at Timnath, hooked up with Delilah, and lost everything including his life. Only in that moment when he brought down the temple of Dagon did he truly turn back to God and give his life to him. Why only then? Why wait so long? In fact, why wait at all?

God is always ready to welcome us into his embrace, and he is always happy when we go there. He calls us constantly, even when we’re dallying on the borders, sitting on the fence, or diving into the depths of degradation he waits for us with open arms. See what Isaiah says about God’s readiness for our response. Isaiah 65:1 I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name. He has made ample time for us to hear that call. Can you imagine how great it would be if he heard us also saying, “Here I am! Here I am!!”? Just imagine the joy when he notices us jumping up and down saying “Oo! Oo! Pick me! Pick me!” and then he does! He’s listening for that from us. He’s been listening for that for a long, long, long time! It may seem like he’s never going to stop listening for that, right? But it’s a limited-time offer and the limit is literally the length of your life. If you don’t know when you’re going to go, then now would be a good time to answer back to God, “Here I am! Pick me!” Paul expanded on that idea when writing to the Church at Corinth:

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (See Isaiah 49:8)

“There’s no time like the present.” Why is that? Because the present is really all we have. The past is gone and cannot be undone, the future is not inevitable and cannot be fabricated, but the present is something that can change both. “How can that be?” you say. It is true that what is done is done and nothing will change it; but our actions in the past can be forgiven. It is true that what is future is unknown and unknowable, but it can be extended eternally and that eternity can be either unimaginably good or unimaginably bad. What we do in the present determines the effects on our past and future. As long as we live, we can make the choice that leads to forgiveness, remission of sins, and eternal life. Why not make that choice now? And then make it again when your recent past is clouded by recent sin and your near future is threatened by negative consequences? How often can you do that, anyway? The answer is simple: Often enough to make a difference. There’s no time like the present because the Present – the Gift from God – is the time you need to chase him until he catches you.

How do we learn to know and love him? Who will testify on his behalf? The Holy Trinity testifies. It is God the Father who calls us and offers us his only begotten Son. It is the Son whose blood was shed for the  complete expiation of our sins. “Expiation” the reparation, the recompense, the payment, the penitence, the penance, the punishment, and the pain of our sin is totally wiped out. The past is still there, but it is forgiven. The future is still there, but it is blessed. Here’s what the Apostle John has to say about that:

1 John 5:6-12This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. 10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Even if you do not have life, you still have a future because – like it or not – your life is eternal. You will be resurrected to Everlasting Life. I do not lie. It’s coming to a future near you – Eternity. It’s your choice where you spend that Eternity. You can do it with God and his friends or with Satan and his friends. Choose life! Unless of course you think God is no longer interested in you. Really? After eons of calling every living soul, he could decide to leave you out, stop calling you? I think not! Let’s us suppose that at one point you decided to claim that promise of Eternal Life, but at the last second you changed your mind and decided God wouldn’t reach out for you, or that he couldn’t hear you yelling (or mumbling) “Pick me! Pick me!” Isaiah again has words of reassurance for you, reassurances directly from God: Isaiah 59:1-2See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, or his ear too dull to hear. Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

You and I should be “somewhere listening” as recounted on July 25, 2014, where we also learned about HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD. And what will we do if he does hear? We will give our present to him so he can forgive our past and bless our future. Oh, you say you’ve already done that? You have already accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Want to do it again? (Couldn’t hurt!) Ah! You haven’t done that yet! Would you like to do it now? (No time like the present.) Not sure you know what to do or say either way – renewing or beginning a life of faith. NO PROBLEM! Take a breath, fold your hands, bow your head now and pray –

Lord Jesus Christ, I have come to believe that you are truly the only Eternal Son of the only Almighty and Everliving God. I know in my heart, in my mind, and in my spirit that you can forgive me of my sins, and I ask you now for forgiveness of all my sins. I accept that you died on the cross for me to make full payment for my sins. I trust in your unconditional Love for me and place my life in your hands knowing that through faith in you I will attain eternal life. I firmly believe in my heart and I confess with my mouth that you will always be my Lord and Savior, my Master and God, my Brother and King. Send me your Holy Spirit to be my Comforter, Companion, and Advocate to help me to obey Our Father in Heaven. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen

Sit quietly for a moment and you will hear, “OK, my Beloved Child, I pick you!

 

 

All scripture passages from New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Please remember RH in your prayers this week. In addition to several chronic illnesses, recent diagnostic procedures indicate the possibility of liver cancer. Let’s pray for successful diagnosis and treatment.

 

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Creative Commons License
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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