Aloha Friday Message – May 6, 2016 – Thus saith the Lord.

1619AFC050616 – Thus saith the Lord.

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Ephesians 1:17 – 21 – 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord (↔ Music Link)

~ by Paul Baloche

Open the eyes of my heart Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You. I want to see You. (2x)

To see You high and lifted up,
Shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
As we sing holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy, holy, I want to see You. (2x)

Aloha pumehana, Belovéd! Today we look forward to the celebration of the Lord’s Ascension. “Ascension Thursday” is 40 days after Resurrection Sunday – this year Ascension Thursday was yesterday, May 5th. In many churches around the world, this coming Sunday, May 8th, will be the day this event is celebrated. For us, the first reading will be Acts 1:1-11. This is my second-most favorite Bible passage (My #1-most-favorite is Psalm 138, especially verse 1). I like these passages because they are good descriptions of how I feel about my relationship with God. Here’s what I mean:

In the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), as well as in the Vulgate (the Latin translation originating in AD 382), David opens by telling God that he will praise God with all his heart in the presence of the angels. Many English translations use the word “gods” instead of angels. The word in Hebrew is אֱלֹהִ֣ים (‘elohiym) {el-o-heem’}. Some of you will recognize that as one of the “names of God.” It can also mean messenger, judge, “God-like one,” or angels. In Greek that is ἀγγέλων (aggelos) { ang’-el-os} and in Latin it is angelorum. That’s how I want to spend my Eternity – at the threshold of the Throne Room listening to the myriads of angels ministering to God with songs of worship and praise, and I will be singing along with them – in their presence and HIS – with all my heart. I am impatient to get that started. It is that account of the Ascension the fuels my impatience. We’ve covered this before, but I just want to pull up something from the past that speaks to the power of that passage, so from May 15, 2015 (and even earlier in 2009) we have this:

This week, yesterday in fact, there was another kind of looking up that we commemorated: The Ascension. To me, that event is so reassuring. It is a very strong central tenet of my faith. And in a way, it’s one of my favorites because the angels in that account have a little bit of attitude about them.

Ascension - by CopleyHere’s what I mean. Jesus has just been talking with the disciples, and suddenly WHOOSH! He’s on the Cloud Elevator going back to spend eternity with His Dad – Abba. Very, very cool. And if we could be there watching (and we are – I’ll tell you about contemporaneous concomitance sometime), we would see the disciples standing there literally dumbfounded. Then two angels show up and say, “Men of Galilee, why-y-y-y are you standing there looking into the sky!? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into Heaven will return to you in the same way you saw him going up into Heaven.” Man! How great is that?!?! I think that passage is just amazing. I guess some scholars can debate about “in the same way” or “in like manner” but for me the word that jumps off the page and makes my ears ring is SAME as in THIS SAME Jesus. Now for those of you who are true Biblicists, really-real Bible scholars, I may be stepping out on a limb here. In the Greek used in Acts, the word for same is houtos I can put the Greek letters here, but they might not display correctly on your screen: οὗτος. So it turns out that this word, which is used in a bunch of places in the Bible, means this one, the one visibly present here, the one just named and none other than this one. There’s not another one, there’s no way it could be someone else. It will be precisely, exactly, permanently that same guy you just saw take off into the clouds. It is HE who will return to you.

Jesus told the Apostles he was going to die a terrible death and then come back to life on the third day after his death. Jesus told the Apostles he was going back to his Father to make a place for them to live with Him forever. Jesus told the Apostles that he would send them the Holy Spirit. And then two angels – two of those myriads of ministering to God – told the Apostles Jesus was going to come and take us all Home.  All of that is absolutely crystal clear in my mind and heart. I want to see Jesus like that – shining in the light of his Glory, and then I will take up the songs of Praise and cry out Holy, Holy, Holy. (See Isaiah 6:3 and its echo in Revelation 4:8.) Some folks say they have no idea what God says; they claim he never listens to them so they don’t listen to him. That’s not my experience – at all!

Take this post for example. I usually start working on the next post the Saturday after the current one. But this past week, it just didn’t click like it usually does. That happened because I wasn’t paying attention. Then one of those 2X4 moments happened. I was cruising Facebook and came across a little video about an 10-year-old kid named Christopher. He was blind, autistic, and his adoptive father – his uncle actually – introduced him. His dad told a little about him and said he was going to sing a song called Open the Eyes of my Heart. (↔ Music Link – check our Christopher’s performance!)

WHAM!!

I love that song! It takes everything from Psalm 138 and Acts 1 and makes it fit together like peanut-butter-and-jelly – all rich and sweet and full of goodness. I love that song! Now, if you read these fairly regularly, you’ll know I often talk about songs I knew as a kid. This one, though, I learned as an adult. It was written by Paul Baloche – a prolific writer of Praise Music – in 2000. I probably heard it first on KHJC here on Kauaʻi. Maybe you’ve already clicked on that link I provided – that is Paul singing his song in front of a live audience. In describing the song, he says that it sort of wrote itself one night. He was just noodling around with his guitar that night, and the lyrics and cords flowed out. He relates it is based on Ephesians 1:18. (Take a sec and scroll up to look at the underlined part.) Are the words redundant? Yep. Is the melody simple? Yep. Does it make me want to sing? Yessiree! Suddenly, I realized Ephesians 1:18 was what God wanted me to write about. Normally I look at the reading for the coming Sunday to see if there’s anything that catches “the eyes of my heart.” I hadn’t done that until I heard Christopher. I decided to look to see what the readings were for this weekend, to see if there was anything that would tie in with the verse in Ephesians. Guess what? It IS the reading for this weekend! Well, it’s one of the options; the other one is from Hebrews.

WHAM!!

Not only were the eyes of my heart opened, so were the ears of my heart. I got the message. It was one of those “Thus-says-the-LORD” kind of moments. I could see why Paul wanted us to be looking toward God, and Paul says we want to see Jesus 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. That is the Sh’khinah Glory I long to see when I meet him face-to-face. You may have heard this Paul Baloche song sung by Michael W. Smith (↔ Music Link). I hope it gets stuck in your head and heart, because whenever it pops up, you’ll be reminded that – with The Apostle Paul – 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.

Now, allow God to open the eyes and ears of your heart. See him high and lifted up, shining in the Sh’khinah light of his Glory. Feel the outpouring of his Power and Love and sing:

Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! – Holy! Holy! Holy! Repeat ceaselessly for the first 10,000 years in Heaven because we’ve no less days to sing his Praise than when we’d first begun.

Blest be El Shaddai Olam!

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

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

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

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