Aloha Friday Message – April 22, 2016 – Next …

1617AFC042216 – Next

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you!

Hebrews 12:1-3 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

John 13:33b – You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’

John 13:34-3534 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Happy Aloha Friday, Belovéd! I am excited about bringing you this topic today because I think it is something we all reflect upon from time to time: What’s next? Sometimes in our day-to-day lives, we focus on just making it through today, or even this hour; in times of stress and strife, we press on minute-by-minute. For us, time is linear, so “what’s next” is always in the future and we have to keep moving in that direction. If we get bogged down in the past, we don’t move forward – we make ourselves and everyone around us miserable. When the future looks promising, or joyful, or blessed, we look forward to the future with a positive attitude. But the future isn’t always rosy in this earthly life of ours.

We have a lot of things in our lives that can bring us down: Pain, hunger, disease, terror, fear, war, greed, persecution, and certainly sin. But we have even more things that lift us up: Comfort, fullness, healing, safety, courage, peace, generosity, help, and certainly forgiveness of our sins. In that quote from Hebrews at the opening of this post, Paul reminds us that Jesus is always with us and we should look to him when times are tough. He is the pioneer, the champion, the founder, the author and perfecter, the source and substance of our faith. He came to us knowing what he would have to endure to fulfill his Father’s will that he should “go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt.” (See Mark 9:12)  Jesus told his disciples in Mark 10:33-3433 …  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles;34 they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”

Jesus knew what was next, yet – as St. Paul says of Jesus – ” 2b who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.” Oh, Belovéd! How easily we sometimes grow weary or lose heart! We know that we can go to Jesus when we face trials, but we either don’t believe he will help us, or ask for the wrong thing. We asked to be completely excused from the trial rather than to faithfully endure the trial – as Paul did; as Jesus did.

Remember, Jesus told us in John 16:3333 “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” We are afraid of pain and suffering, but we also know it is an integral part of the Christian life. Still we should set aside our fear and remember Jesus saying to us in John 14:2727 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” But we are afraid; we keep looking for Jesus to come and rescue us or to take us where we can be with him. Jesus anticipates that when he says in John 13:33b – “You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.'” Not until it’s time. You know that saying, “It’s always good in the end.” Well, if it’s not good yet, IT’S NOT THE END!!

NewJerusalem

If we look at the “very-last next,” we will see this:

Revelation 21:3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them …”

There will be The New Jerusalem, the New Heavens, and The New Earth. He is making all things new! (See Revelation 21:5 and this collection – scroll down the page to see several verses)

But how do we get there? How can we last that long? We want to be with Jesus, to see him as he is. The answer is in John 13:34-3534 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” I deeply believe what John says about Jesus in 1 John 3:2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

Jesus knew what was next, and so do we! Therefore we also should, “for the sake of the joy that was set before” us, trust in that “great cloud of witnesses” who have – like Jesus – laid aside “every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1212 Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Jesus tells the disciples – and us – in Matthew 10:21-2221 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Do we want our lives filled with Peace and Joy? Of course we do! Do we want to be there when the very-last next happens? Of course we do! Then what shall we do? Love God. Love one another. Press forward through every “next” you find, “so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.” Then indeed, “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the 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.

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

Remember in your prayers this week SW, AW, and TW whose journey in faith took them to a wonderful new life through Word and Sacrament on 4/21/2016 including 2 baptisms, 1 confirmation, 1 first communion, and one Marriage Convalidation. God is so GOOD!

And many thanks to all who wished us well for our 47th Wedding Anniversary on 4/19/2016.

Also: Special prayers of hope and thanksgiving on behalf of KD who was gravely ill, but is now out of ICU and progressing toward recovery. God is GOOD!

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About Chick Todd

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

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