Aloha Friday Message – July 6, 2018 – When Will They Ever Learn?

1827AFC070618 – When Will They Ever Learn?

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   Mark 6:2 On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!

Mark 6:6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! I hope your Holiday was celebrated well and safely. It’s always a special day for us because my brothers – Dan and Dave – were born on July 4th. I remember my dad saying he’d be bringing home his little firecrackers. They came to our family just a bit over a year after my first brother, Ken, was born. Dad was an accountant in the Air Force and so the progression of his family’s growth was interesting. First to be born, had the house to myself for the first four years. Then along came Ken, and the number of kids doubled. Then a year later, along came the twins, and the number of kids doubled again. So, a couple of years after that when mom got pregnant again …. Well, fortunately the trend stopped there with our sister, Merilee. It took another seven years for our youngest brother, John Edward Todd to show up. The six of us made quite a scene traveling in our station wagon every Sunday – and several other days during the week – to go to church at Corona Presbyterian. We were a Faith-Based Family, and living our faith as a family with our parents was the foundation of everything we later became. It was wise of our mom and dad to teach us their faith-based wisdom. I can attest that it definitely stayed with me even to this day. Last week, we looked in to the concept of wisdom and read from the Book of Wisdom. Today we will see that wisdom and faith are akin to each other – much like our siblings are.

Faith is Wisdom because Faith surpasses and overcomes fear. If you need more faith, ask for it – along with the wisdom to use it – for he will generously bless you with more of ALL his gifts. After all, he is omnipotent and omniscient; he knows everything you need for your life, and faith is one of his most abundant gifts. You’ve heard that saying “waste not, want not.” Here is an even better adage that is true and well worth remembering: “Fear not, lack not.” We should never be afraid to lose what we have or to ask for more of what we need. “Fear not. Just have faith.” (See Luke 8:50 and Mark 5:36 in the story about Jairus’ daughter.) You have already heard it does not take much faith to move mountains. A life lived in faith is a life lived in wisdom; it is wise to love and serve our Creator. How marvelous if all of us were immersed in the Wisdom of Faith.

Wisdom seems to have fled the World in so many ways these days! So many go to the streets – especially if the action on the streets is being broadcast over major media outlets. We are inundated almost hourly with this group protesting that group and that group protesting just as loudly that this group is WRONG! Wisdom gets drowned out in that cacophonous flood of anger and vitriolic cursing. If we could hear Wisdom about all of that, she might be saying (as found in Proverbs 1:20-22)

20 Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
21 At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?

Many in these shouting forays claim to be “People of Faith.” As you know, one of my favorite adages is “What we do says who we are. Actions speak louder than words.” If hating your neighbor for being unlike you is the proof of faith, then it’s not the Faith of our Fathers upon which our Republic stands. That is not the Faith that leads to Salvation; indeed, it leads instead to condemnation. The Faith and Wisdom that lead to Salvation come when the message of the Gospel is preached, then believed, and then affirmed by any earthling called by God to receive the Gift of Faith. (See Romans 10:17). Salvation is something for which I ardently hope, a state of being that I believe is completely possible because God said it is ours for the taking. Salvation, the Grace that makes us wholly holy, is from God and the Salvation we hope for in Faith is the defeat for Death brought into this world through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it. (See Wisdom 2:21-24). In the ancient World, before God called his people out of Egypt, there was no Law. God gave them the Law so that they might find Hope in obedience. However, we read in Romans 5:20-21 20 But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Check the CJB version at that link.) the Law implied Hope, but did not confer hope.

I have hope only in those things which I perceive to be beyond my comprehension – in the things I cannot see, for – as the Apostle Paul says – what hope is there in things we can see? (See Romans 8:24-25 and Hebrews 11:1). We can be, and should be, deeply grateful for this astonishing gift of Hope. It’s right here, within our reach. Just as Moses said, it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. (See Deuteronomy 30:11-14). Moses was speaking about the accessibility of the Law, but Christ – for our sakes – fulfilled that Law so that if we are in Christ, we are secure in the Grace of God so that grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here is where we are reminded of the importance of that “attitude of gratitude.” Giving thanks is – believe it or else – a sacrifice which God thoroughly enjoys: Psalm 50:14-15, 22-23 14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” 22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver. 23 Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

 

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus tells us our faith is too little, too weak, too flimsy to do even the simplest things like hurl a mountain into the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus was in the boat crossing that Sea of Galilee, he rebuked the storm disturbing the Sea. The disciples who were there didn’t grasp what they had seen – the Son of God speaking “louder than words.” He looked at them “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” (See Luke 8:25) Something, it seems, blocks our faith. Something makes us miss out of the certainty which come by believing in the power of prayer. Many times I have been speaking with persons who have complaints that they just can’t get past a certain point in their lives. I always ask, “What’s stopping you?” Often the reply is “I don’t know.” My response will always be, “If you did know, what would you say?” often this question breaks whatever is blocking their path forward (I call it a “Block Buster” question), and progress ensues. Sometimes though we need to look deeper and find the Spiritual obstacles that hold us back and defeat our Faith in Hope. It usually turns out we are not acting wisely, but instead acting sinfully. Here’s what James had to say about that in James 3:14-18 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.* 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. *This word is δαιμονιώδης·(daimoniōdēs) {dahee-mon-ee-o’-dace} which means demonic, demon-like, or as demons have and do.

  This is the point the Apostle Paul was making when he said in 1 Corinthians 2:4-8 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Belovéd, when we take over God’s job and say, like a spoiled three-year-old, “I do it myself!” then we are unwise; we are lacking Wisdom. Some of you will doubtless be thinking, “Isn’t there something like that in the Bible?” Yes, and here it is: James 1:5-8 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

What???? If we ask wrongly we get nothing? Yes. “WHY?” you ask? Simplest answer: Because God said it over and over and over. How then do we ask? With faith, with hope, and with thanksgiving we may have the Wisdom to ask for that which will please him most – according to his will. Does that always end our suffering? Again, just look at the Apostle Paul. He led thousands to Christ, but got beat up for it – literally – dozens of times. He willingly accepted weakness: 2 Corinthians 12:10 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

That was wise. It was the Wisdom of Faith. I pray to God that all of us might learn such wisdom so that Jesus will never look to us and be amazed at our lack of faith. How can we deal with all this dissension, hatred, violence, selfishness, and all the grief and sorrow that come with all that? Romans 12:21 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Just remember, the one who is wise will know s/he is the one who is weak and perfectly capable of being and staying evil. Give thanks to the LORD for he is good. His love and mercy are everlasting. God alone is Wise, but those who live as the LORD commands are also those who share, through Faith, in the Gifts of his Wisdom. Learn this. Live this. It’s not “live and learn.” It’s “learn and live.” Do it now.

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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