Aloha Friday Message – July 28, 2017 – What Do You Think?

1730AFC072617 – Think about it.

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!

Romans 8:28 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

There is also this interpretation of Romans 8:28 in J.B. Phillips New Testament: Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.

¡Que la bendición esté siempre con ustedes y que Dios los bendiga, Amados! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!) What you think about this passage? Is it one with which you are familiar? Have you heard it somewhere before? Have you ever pondered what it all means? Me too. Here’s why.

One of the most wonderful things about living a Christian life is that it is a life based on Hope. We are given the assurance of eternal life with God when we become believers. Sometimes that’s hard to believe because it seems so intangible. Not only is it difficult to imagine living forever, but also it is difficult to imagine living without worry, or pain, or fear, or (best of all) without sin. I think that last bit is the part I most look forward to when I contemplate eternal life. Somewhere in me there is a hope which cannot be extinguished, a hope that says, “You know it’s true, somehow, that God loves you enough to create you in his image and that includes everlasting life.” We’ve commented many times in the recent past about the absolute fact that every human soul is predestined for eternal life – all of us are going to live forever, because that is what God has ordained in his wisdom and through his creative power. Where we spend eternity is something we really need to think about. If you’re going to live forever, which of the two possible choices do you prefer? Here’s the thing: You get to choose.

There are some pretty clear guidelines about making that choice. In today’s passage it says all things work together for good for those who love God. That sounds great, doesn’t it? I love God, so I’m all set, right? But what do we do when things are not working together for good? Among the people reading this today are folks who are desperately ill, or in a deep financial crisis. Perhaps there are others who seem to be “doing OK,” but their marriage is falling apart, or their addictions are tearing apart everything they love. There may be others who work night and day to support their family, but they just never catch a break. Is this what the Apostle Paul means by saying all things work together for good? If you’re going through those kinds of trials, you’re probably feeling miserable, and overwhelmed by what God seems to expect of you. Why does he keep calling you to do that which is not only painful but also seemingly impossible? If you love him, shouldn’t things be good? Here’s another Golden Oldie to partially answer that question:

With God, it’s always good in the end. If it isn’t good yet, it isn’t the end yet.

We wait as patiently as we can; we try hard not only to persevere but also to prevail; we live our lives as humble servants; and still the suffering never ends. Sometimes we ask God, “Why isn’t my love good enough for you? I love you as much as I can, but I’m still down in this muck trying to find whatever you think is good about it. What gives with that? What is the purpose of all this?” Ah. Purpose. That must be important. It is tied to things working together for good for those who love God and who are called according to his purpose. Now, some of us might say, “Oh, dear, what are we going to do about that? There’s a purpose for all this misery? And what does it mean to be among those who are called? That sounds suspiciously like predestination to me!” That’s certainly something to think about, isn’t it? How do we deal with the idea of “predestination?” It’s an important question because the term appears in at least four passages of Scripture: Acts 4:23-28, Romans 8:28-30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Ephesians 1:3-12. (You really should click on those and see what they say. Many Christians – and non-Christians, too – just ignore those passages; that’s not a wise thing to do. Just read’em.) Now, I’m not going to set aside millennia of theology by saying, “That’s not important.” Of course it’s important because we know that God planned everything and that his plans always work better than our plans because our plans are imperfect and his are not. Here are a couple of easy examples.

From the instant God spoke the first “Let there be” command, God had a plan for salvation; that plan is still working. You and I are part of that plan. Everything that goes on in the universe was and is and will be something planned by and for God. Salvation has to be part of the plan because the potential for sin was also part of the plan. Once that potential became a reality, the rest of the plan fell into place. Now you might ask, “So if God knew Adam would sin, why didn’t he just stop him?” Well, you know the answer, right? Without the necessity for salvation, you wouldn’t be here and neither would I. The deeper question is, “Why did God allow sin? Here comes that other mysterious doctrine: Free Will. God’s not going to force you to love him. He predestined you to love him by creating you in his image; but he allows you not to love him. Oh, no; now someone is thinking, “God must think I don’t love him well enough to make my life good.” Well, that’s not quite right, either.

When we think about what we mean when we say, “life is good,” we think it means we’ve got it made. Everything’s going to work out OK, so don’t worry about it. It’s all God’s will. Don’t worry, be happy. Again, that’s not the way it works, and it’s not really what is meant by “works together for good.”

If you clicked on those links I asked you to read, you will recognize this passage from Romans 8:28-30: 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. The GOOD is being conformed to the image of his Son – it is to be like Jesus, to be with Jesus, to be eternally alive for Jesus and that “eternally” began the moment we were conceived in the womb. He chose us to be like him. (And take note here that Paul used past tense to describe future glory. He’s saying “It’s as good as done!” We only must choose to be conformed to Jesus’ image.) Too often too many of us choose to be unlike him! I have to admit, my life is often uncomfortable, and I make others around me miserable by grumbling, moaning, and groaning about it; but my life is nowhere near as difficult as billions of others in this world. On a scale from 1 to 10, my present “suffering” is in the .000x range. However, my future is good because day by day I choose to be conformed to the image of his Son. And you are correct in pointing out that I’m not all that hot at that job either. I’m still a sinner, but I’m a redeemed sinner. I want to take a quick look at an excerpt from the Gospel for 7/30/17:

Matthew 13:47-50 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It’s going to happen like that. I heard the Gospel call, and I answered. (I hope you will let me share with you again how that came about by reading Aloha Friday Message – August 12, 2011 – Would you get that call, please?) Your life, my life, our lives, the lives of the people all around the world who are suffering horrendous persecution, war, and all manner of evil – all of us can choose to be conformed to the image of his Son, and that is how everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. It is not the “good” the World expects.

The World is not conformed to the image of Christ. Consider this nugget from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. 14 Those who are unspiritual* do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. 16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. *The unchanged man without the Spirit – “natural” man, the sensuous human nature with its subjection to appetite and passion.

The gift of God’s love is constantly set before us, constantly available to us, constantly available for us to reclaim even after we have spurned it. The call to receive the gift is unending and cannot be denied because the gift is unending. If you look at that message from 2011, you’ll see this verse: Romans 11:29 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. That means the calling and the gifts are final, unalterable, permanent, set in stone …unless of course we decide not to answer the Call or not to accept the Gift. Here is the ending of that post from 2011:

However, if you heard the call and accepted the gifts, you are happy with your life because “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB) And what is his purpose? Beloved, it is simply to be able to spend all eternity with you, one of his all-time favorite bits of creation, so that your Joy will be complete.

Now, isn’t that good? His purpose, the one to which you are called, is for HIM to enjoy your presence while you enjoy his, together, always and all ways. Think about it. While you do that, I strongly recommend you read 2 Peter 2. Click that link and think about it even more.

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

Share-A-Prayer

  • NAS – Acute stage 4 liver failure caused by Hep-C infection after Harrington-rod surgery in the late 80’s. Palliative care while waiting for a transplant. This after a lifetime of serious chronic health issues. (But still an amazing Christian!)
  • ICD – Continuing with aggressive chemo for breast cancer. Experiencing some of the unpleasant side-effects already (about 12 weeks of therapy left), but hanging on to a positive outlook.
  • BC – Eager to get back to work as a Catholic Lay Missionary. Access is limited by gastrointestinal health issues and insufficient financing.
  • RB – Chronic illnesses; pending surgery recovery
  • RB – (NOT RELATED) Recovery from chronic domestic abuse
  • JMR – A summertime of one illness and discomfort after another. Getting ready to go back to school and to work and needs to be back in top form AQAHP.

 

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.

 

Creative Commons License
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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

About Chick Todd

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Type answer *

Pages Email Newsletter Categories Archives Connect