Aloha Friday Message – October 14, 2016 – Again?

1642AFC101416 – Again?

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Luke 18:7-8 “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

¡Que la bendición esté siempre con ustedes y que Dios los bendiga, Amado! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Beloved!) First, thanks be to God and one mighty-fine IT company, I have my DELL back, so I can get this out to you today. That was a pretty awful feeling – maybe you’ve been there before – when you see these words on the screen:

UNABLE TO FIND A BOOTABLE DEVICE

For me, that’s like standing at the edge of Canyon de Chelly overlooking Spider Rock at the edge of the cliff with the wind blowing 35 mph at my back.

Spider Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, I didn’t die; but I did get to my trusty IT guys immediately. The hard drive keeled over – sort of the electronic equivalent of a brain aneurysm – and after installing a new drive and transferring tens-of-thousands of files, mira! I’m back in business. I just lived out my faith in my friends at Kukui-IT and at DELL that somehow it would be OK eventually. I know it will work because I’ve been through about a dozen of those “Big Blue Screen” moments, and I know there’s always hope that much of what was there can be recovered. It’s a lot like that in my Christian life as well.

The passage I cited today is at the end of the story of The Unjust Judge. He’s being pestered by a very persistent widow to rule in her favor. It’s important to recall here, that as a widow, she had practically zero rights, no standing, not a prayer of being heard. But because of her persistence, the judge finally said, “If I don’t take care of her she’s going to talk me to death, so I might as well give her what she wants.” (In our family we have a saying, “It’s a terrible death to be talked to death!) This is reminiscent of another “what-if” story about a man who wakes his neighbor in the middle of the might to get something to feed a visitor that has just arrived. The man has nothing to feed to his unexpected guest, but he trusts his friend will help him out, and keeps entreating for his help despite the fact that the neighbor doesn’t want to get out of bed. In that parable, Jesus asks in Luke 11:11-13 11 “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” and of course we all remember this one found just up the page at Luke 11:9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”

In the past, we have also looked at James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Not only are we to “ask in faith believing” (See James 1:6 and Mark 11:24), but we are also to ask in righteousness – that is, we ought not to ask for things that actually pull us farther away from God and from the Faith that brings us to his Throne. Jesus tells us to be persistent as well as confident. Consider these events where confident faith in Jesus made a huge difference:

“OK, I get that, but that was over 2,000 years ago. Things like that don’t happen nowadays.” Well, of course they do! We see miraculous things happen all the time, but we just don’t pay attention because we’re too busy focusing on the tragic and hurtful things – politics, wars, terror, weather events, scandal, and our own troubles. We need to ask ourselves, “What do I believe about God’s help?” Here are some typical answers I hear:

  • God helps those who help themselves (no, that’s not a Bible verse)
  • God helps fools, children, and drunkards (odd combination, but true)
  • God helps the most desperate (true, but not always readily visible in ways we understand)
  • God can’t help anybody because there is no God (not true at all)
  • I don’t understand how God can help them but won’t help me. (Think about it. How do you know?)
  • I can’t have faith in a God who would allow things like this to happen. (Time to find out why that is.)

Some of these sound like the viewpoints of people who have not examined their faith. Consider these words of advice from the Apostle Paul:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!

1 Corinthians 11:28 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

When we look at our lives – especially our prayer lives – do we see evidence of faith? “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Are we truly trying to live a righteous life where we “… do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?” (See Micah 6:8 – again) Could it be that the biggest or all the tests of faith is whether or not we believe God is listening, that we’re not just talking to the inside of our heads when we pray? Do we have the faith, the determination, the discernment, the patience and perseverance, and especially the humility to ask again? Can we, should, we, will we keep that faith until the very day when we meet the Lord? And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” How do you know, how do I know, how do we know we have faith? We must check our hearts for evidence of sin.

Is there any? Of course there is! Do we know what to do about that? Of course we do! What do we want? Salvation! When do we want it? Now and forever!  From whence does it come? From Above, as we read in John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” What? Born again? How do I know when that happens?

You will know it happens when you take to heart what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. 4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.

Every time you sin, you are in the grip of Death; every time we repent, we are in the arms of Grace, born again through repentance and faith in the efficacy of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ the Lord. We are alive again, we have faith again, and we are ready for Christ again. We have faith; we need only to use it. Ask for it, seek after it, open the door to it – keep doing that until Jesus comes, and he will find faith on the Earth. Look to him; he is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (See Psalm 121) If “seeing is believing,” LOOK!”

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passa ges 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.


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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