Aloha Friday Message – December 8, 2017 – Waiting for God

1749AFC120817 – Waiting for God

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2 Peter 3:8-9 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Has anyone ever said to you, “What are you waiting for? Just do it already!” or words to that effect? This challenge is usually meant as a form of encouragement, a little prod to move us toward a goal. That’s great if you know what and where the goal is. Sometimes we need help in clarifying our goals. Forming goals and objectives is something we begin to learn as children, and – if all goes well – we get better at it as we get older. When we choose a goal, we need to set up the steps – the objectives – that we must accomplish to reach the goal. If we want to shop for groceries for example, we may choose to make a shopping list as the first objective. A second objective might be to decide which store we want to visit. Next we decide the route and departure time for shopping. And we make hundreds of these little decisions every day without thinking about the “planning process.”

Other things in life, of course, are more complicated. We ponder where to go to college, when to start a family, how to choose a career, and what to do about God. I confess to be astounded by how many people have a problem with deciding on their relationship with God. Someone looking at my life would probably say, “It’s the way you were brought up. You didn’t really make any choices; it was hammered into you as a kid.” Well, … yes and no. Yes, I did have the benefit of growing up in a faith-filled home where God was honored and Scripture was taught. No, I didn’t always stick with that upbringing without experiencing some skepticism and doubt – even some rebellion; OK, a lot of rebellion. Waiting for God to swoop in and save me from my poor choices was my expectation for God’s Goodness and Grace. It took me quite a while to realize that I had to make the second move because he’d already made the first move – the first several moves – and met a bunch of objectives toward knowing what to do about God.

He created the universe and put me in it (you too, Belovéd). He provided for my salvation. He called me to be his servant. He put me where I could learn everything I needed to know about him and what to do with that knowledge. When I finally started paying attention to all that he had already done, I had to reassess my plans. OK, not just reassess my plans, not just rethink my plans, but pretty much dump my plans and get on board with his. Compared to what he had laid out, my goals and objectives were worse than silly. They would end up taking me in the wrong direction – farther away from God instead of closer to God. I realized I had become one of those people whose prayer was, “What are you waiting for, God? Just do it already!” I was not paying attention; he had already done everything. I simply ignored most of it.

The first thing I decided I needed to know about God is what to do about sin. I am a sinner. I don’t like that. It’s not something I want in my plan. I find my sinful nature very irritating. I find myself saying with the Apostle Paul (See Romans 7:15) “15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Why doesn’t God fix that? Well, he did. He gave us Jesus, the Christ of God. The fix is simple: Follow him, walk with him, love him, serve him, and be his forever. And that requires making a choice – setting an objective.

I find some encouragement here: 2 Peter 3:13-15a 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Yes, I am the one who must be striving to be found at peace without spot or blemish; but I must do that while I regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. As it turns out, I am not waiting for God – God is waiting for me. How about that?!? We are waiting for a new Heaven and new earth from God and God is waiting for a new objective from us. He is patiently waiting for us to accept his plan, his Grace, his salvation. Now, who among us is included in “us?” well of course, Belovéd, you know the answer. EVERYONE IS US! As it states in Revelation 7:9from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. Take a look at these excerpts from Scripture:

Mark 11:17 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (See Isaiah 56:7)

Mark 16:15 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.

Mark 13:10 10 And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.”

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

We see WAR all around the world and it is in sharp contrast to this season preparing for and commemorating the birth of Jesus. We see unprecedented natural disaster, atrocious crimes, staggering poverty, rampant disease, and we wonder, “What can I do about that? It’s more than I can handle!” So many people around the world are asking “God, what are you waiting for?” God is patiently waiting for the people who are not asking that question, people who have not heard the word in their hearts; God is waiting for us – EVERYONE – to say yes or no. God has a plan. He wants us to live out that plan. You and I have a plan. Is it his, too? How do we choose?

Beloved PRAY. Here’s one you’ve seen before. Philippians 4:6-8: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these.

And if that’s still not enough to get you started, sing Let There Be Peace on Earth.” (↔ Music Link) The concept comes highly recommended. Recall the Herald Angels’ Song: 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”  (Luke 2:14) And upon whom does his favor rest? Those who have made his plan theirs. His plan is infinite Mercy and Grace. It’s a very Good plan!

He is there with his unlimited mercy before we sin. He is there with his unlimited redemption after we sin. He is overflowing with tender, loving compassion and sympathy for each of us. He knows every living soul. He knows the “good, the bad, and the ugly” about everyone. Even though we don’t deserve mercy, he makes it readily available in such abundance that we can never use it up. Although we are completely lacking in personal merits, he always tips the scales of justice in our favor. He forgives thousands of generations of sin because it pleases him to do so. Even people who are blatantly evil will be forgiven when they repent of their evil. Whether we sin willfully or unknowingly, in malicious rebellion or carelessness, he is immediately prepared to redeem us and make us righteous. No matter how many times we repent and then fail again, he forgives everything of which we repent, but never remembers how often that happens. Only he can do this because only he is Omniscient. He knows everything about me and yet he still loves me; sometimes even I don’t love me, but his love never fails. HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS. That is because God knows every living soul more intimately than we know ourselves.

Let us then stop waiting for God. He is patiently waiting for us so let us do everything we can to bring everyone to him. One day is as a thousand years for him because he exists outside of Time. What do we do? How do we get out of this mess? Look at Joel 2:12 12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. We go back to him with all our heart. We repent. We give God glory and honor in worship and in day-to-day living. We trust God’s Mercy for us and for our enemies. We rely on God’s Justice for us and for our enemies. We do not tolerate evil and give it permission to enslave us, or harm us, or destroy what God has given. We oppose evil. We serve God. We give obedience to God above all others. We give all who willingly disobey God whatever justice he plans for them. Meanwhile, in this season of Advent, we share the Joy of expectant waiting for the King. It is a wait filled with Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Repent, therefore, and believe the Gospel! Amen.

It works like this: Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

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

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About Chick Todd

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

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