Aloha Friday Message – March 23, 2012 – Fifth Friday in Lent

1212AFC032312 – Catholic Letter Series

Read it online here.

KJV 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

NIV 1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, the living Stone– rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

NAB 1 Peter 2:4 Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, 5 and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Today we are going to look at a beautiful letter attributed to Peter, also called Cephas (KAY-phus) which means Rock in Aramaic and is also a Greek word for rock Κηφᾶς.

In this letter, Peter gives us many beautiful images, draws many examples from Old Testament writers, and presents a wide array of topics that address many aspect of life in the early Church. The one I chose for the open in this message is one of my very favorites. In this he makes a connection between Christ, “the stone which the builders rejected,” and believers who have become “living stones,” that is to say like Christ in that they are to be Holy, submissive to God, and to build a holy dwelling which will be a Holy Nation serving God. The word for “living” used here is ζῶντα zaonta {dzah’-on-tah} from za,w zao {dzah’-o}. za,w is the verb “to live,” and ζῶντα is “living.” But it carries a much deeper connotation that being “merely alive.” One example is in the term “living water.” This is water that has “vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul.” It is living that is fresh, strong, efficient, active, powerful, and efficacious. We come to Christ as living stones animated with the same capacity for holiness found in the Apostles because that holiness comes from and through Christ. What a mighty image that brings to mind!

Peter tells us Christ was “chosen by God and precious to him.” Christ, the Messiah is “called ‘elect,’ as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable.” And we are called to that same life as his servants. We are called the elect, the chosen because “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4) This word is ἐκλεκτός eklektos {ek-lek-tos’} and it denotes the best of its kind or class.

As living stones, we are to be built into a “spiritual house,” a family for generations, offering up ” spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” WOW! That is such a powerful statement, because it describes not only our calling, but also the fulfillment of that calling.

In 1 Peter 1:8-9 Peter tells us, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” What is that inexpressible joy and how do we feel it? How do we recognize it? It is the power of his love as delivered to us in and through the Holy Spirit that makes our hearts and minds leap for joy as we raise hearts and hands and voices to praise god for his generous love, unfailing promise, and awesome presence in our lives.

In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter tells us the reason God has fashioned us a living stone. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” God is Light. We are called to live in the Light, to let our Light shine, to be the Light shining in the darkness. In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

There are dozens of power-packed images like that in this single short letter. Scholars generally agree that it was written by Peter, with help from Silas (who may have been a “professional writer,” helping Peter achieve a very polished Greek text which might have been a bit out of Peter’s reach normally). The letter is addressed to churches planted by Paul and his fellow sojourners in Asia Minor: Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. That may have been the order in which a courier might have delivered the letter to those churches.

The letter mentions persecutions, suffering with Christ as we daily take up our cross, even dying under persecutions for the Gospel and for the joy we have of being so close to our Savior and God. I looked at several analyses of how this letter is put together, and here is a listing based on those reviews:

 

  1. 1 Peter 1:112: The JOY we have in knowing God loves us so much he provided a Perfect Sacrifice for our salvation – his only begotten son.
  2. 1 Peter 1:132:3: God’s love should inspire us to v-be some much like him that we strive mightily to be holy as he is holy.
  3. 1 Peter 2:412: Israel, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was the People God chose to be distinctly his own, the People of the First Covenant. Despite the many times they ignored that, God honored his promises, and not only made Abraham the father of many nations, he also us part of Abraham’s descendants through Jesus sacrificial suffering.
  4. 1 Peter 2:13-23: We can share in, identify with, and submit to persecution and suffering with Jesus and for the Gospel. Whenever we do so, we die a bit to ourselves and to the world, but we also glorify God.
  5. 1 Peter 2:2425: Jesus’ expiation (The complete reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus) of our sins is a powerful, awesome, incomprehensibly valuable gift – it is a gift given through the Grace of God, and that brings us back to the “Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls – our Creator, God. How can we begin to measure how grateful that can make us feel?!?
  6. 1 Peter 3:17: God is community as the Trinity. He established family as a community through the sacrament of marriage. Husbands and wives can honor this sacred vocation by honoring one another, loving one another as God has loved them. Dishonoring one’s spouse is point-blank dishonoring God.
  7. 1 Peter 3:822: This passage begins, ” Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” Peter goes on to say that under no circumstance or persecution and suffering should we seek to harm those who bring about that persecution and suffering. If we suffer for doing what is good, that is so much better than suffering for doing evil!
  8. 1 Peter 4:111: The World wants us to be like them, and constantly entices us to live “in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” They make fun of us for being “religious nuts,” but when Judgment comes, they will have one hell of a time coming to them. As for us, we are to ” keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (theirs and ours). Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another. Jesus blood cleansed you of your sins – the ways you have hurt yourself, your community, and your God; is blood also cleansed the sins of those who hurt you, hurt your community, and offend our God. His sacrifice covers all completely, permanently, eternally.
  9. 1 Peter 4:1219: “No matter how you struggle or strive, you’ll never get out of this world alive.” And struggle and strive as we might, we will always be facing situations where our suffering persists. Rather than wail and gnash or teeth, we can rejoice because are blessed, in that suffering when “the Spirit of glory and of God rests” upon us. ” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
  10. 1 Peter 5:16: When the World sees us acting this way – joyous in serving, joyous in suffering – they will want to know more about our joy and more about our shepherd. Those who are chosen for servant- leadership through the gifts of God will serve gladly, equitably, humbly – as did Christ. I probably will never be easy, but Peter tells us ” after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
  11. 1 Peter 5:714: God will do all these powerful and wonderful things to and for us because of his intense, eternal, infallible LOVE. No matter what Satan tries to do to us to destroy our relationship with God, that relationship is always restored when we reconfirm our alliance with God and rejoice in the wonder of his uncompromising love and care.

Share-A-Prayer

M&PC wrote to tell us, “We are praying for whole world for peace, safety, and wellbeing everywhere.” What an excellent prayer intention. Maybe you can add it to your list of intentions. So many places around the world are experiencing terrible weather, terrible acts of evil, terrible acts of violence. Pray that Peace will rule the planet, and let it begin with you.

Please continue to pray for the family of Baby Cheyanne. She lost her battle with multiple health problems. It has been so difficult for Mom and Dad, and for the whole family. They know Cheyanne has found 100% healing in the Light of His Glory and Love. The loss of that sweet child, however, was a hard blow. Pray for them to return to the joy they anticipated the moment she was born.

Pray for those who suffer for their faith. You would think that “in this day and age” religious persecution – even to the point of martyrdom – would be nonexistent. But it is not.

Pray for everyone who suffers poverty, injustice, hunger, loss of work or loss of income; for those who suffer through illnesses like cancer, mental illness, chronic disease, acute or chronic pain; pray for those whose family are falling apart and for those whose families are just beginning or just beginning to heal.

Finally beloved, pray for one another. You know there is a Daily Intercessory Prayer List. Whenever you pray the MBN prayer, that short prayer includes all of the intentions in the Intercessory prayer list – over 100 now.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

chick

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

Aloha Friday Message – HOSANNA! – Sixth Friday of Lent

1115AFC041511

Happy Hosanna Friday, Beloved!

Today I am thinking about Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. What a wonderful story is there. We’ve heard it before, maybe seen it enacted in a movie or a play, and we have a pretty good idea of the events. I want to look at some of the characters and symbols in this story. In Matthew it goes like this:

Matthew 21:1 When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. 3 And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” 4 This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: 5 “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.

7 They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. 8 The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. 9 The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

And in Luke 19 we have these details:

29 As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples. 30 He said, “Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.'” 32 So those who had been sent went off and found everything just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying this colt?” 34 They answered, “The Master has need of it.” 35 So they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the colt, and helped Jesus to mount. 36 As he rode along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; 37 and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. 38 They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He said in reply, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

In Zechariah 9:9 we read: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. So the fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was, in part, a fulfillment of scripture. But there’s more. In Jesus day, and in many Eastern cultures, a donkey is seen as symbol of peace. A king who rides in on a donkey is coming peacefully. A king who rides in on a horse is coming in war. It is also significant that the colt Jesus’ disciples borrow is one that has never been ridden. Here the King of Peace is so gentle and so humble that even a young colt never before ridden submits to Jesus’ presence. Instead of bucking him off, the colt meekly carries a full-grown man. It is interesting to me that the disciples who went to fetch it did so without question, and then they put their own cloaks on the back of the colt to make a more comfortable seat. I think it might have also been more comfortable for the colt! And you know, I think that colt’s mama walked next to him on that journey. Read it again and see if you think so, too. But how did this come about?

How did the owner know it was OK to lend his animal to Jesus’ Disciples? The gospels don’t say, but as often as Jesus traveled through that area, he sure must have had more friends than just Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Since this must have been shortly after Lazarus was raised, maybe the guy who owned the colt had told Jesus, “If you ever need anything at all just let me know. It’s yours!” Just speculating about that is kind of fun, but really, we don’t know exactly what happened in that part of the story.

Jesus was in Bethany, close to Bethphage (“Place of new – or unripe – figs”) somewhere perhaps around the Mount of Olives. He gets on the colt in Bethany – about 2 miles from Jerusalem, and heads into town. On the way people who have seen him, who know him – some intimately, some only be reputation – get excited about seeing him, and they begin to remember Zechariah 9:9. They start pulling down palm fronds and laying them on the path in front of him or waving them in the air. The palm was a symbol of victory – even Holy Victory. In addition people were laying their cloaks down in the road and letting the little donkey pass over them. A similar event is reported in 2 Kings 9. [They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”] Elisha had just anointed Jehu (“Yahweh is He”) as King of Israel, and had ordered him to go avenge the murders committed by Jezebel’s forces when she had the prophets slaughtered. The king, Ahab, had permitted this, and Jehu was told to destroy Ahab as well.

Spreading cloaks or other object to “pave the way” was a common demonstration of respect for the dignity and power of a person – a King, a general, even a prophet. So now we have Jesus on a baby donkey (my mind keeps hearing the Christmas Carol “Little Donkey, Little Donkey, With a heavy load,”) and everyone is shouting and happy and cheering and dancing and running ahead and coming back and just going nuts over what Jesus is doing. He is finally defining himself as the Messiah, the Ruler of Israel, The Son of David! And, they surely thought he was about to kick the Romans out of town as the Rightful Ruler.

But, he was on a donkey, not a horse.

Can you imagine what’s going on in Jesus’ head? He’s going to Jerusalem in just six day to celebrate Passover for the last time. Then he will die a most horrible, terrifying, painful death. And he will be forsaken by his Father. On the way into town he looks out over Jerusalem and sheds tears because of what they have missed out on while he was with them, and then He just goes into town and busts up … Not the Romans! The Temple!!

Whoa! That was a surprise! And from there on, things sort of unfolded into The Last Supper, The Garden of Gethsemane, the pavement at Gabbatha, and finally Golgotha. In less than a week he went from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!”

Now you know a little about the story. When you are holding your palm branches Sunday, think about that little donkey and what a privilege it was to carry Jesus. Beloved, you can carry him too; in your heart, not on your back. Spread out your best things for him and invite him to have a seat. Carry him wherever you go and once in a while, just for the sheer JOY of it, shout, I said SHOUT, “HOSANNA!!”

Share-A-Prayer

• A special request from WT to pray for J. Joseph who was admitted to the hospital in her continuing fight with cancer. Pray for hope, healing, and health.
• Our MBN friends I Haiti report that many of the children and the workers too are ill. Sounds like a virus is sweeping through their numbers. Pray for return to health, and that the many new infants they have with them can stay hydrated and be strong enough to recover.
• Thank you for your prayers over the past few weeks. Please go back and look at the prayer requests from the beginning of Lent. I believe as you take the time to look at them, God will move your heart to make a special effort to embrace one or more of those requests.
• Thanks for the family of EW for sharing the news that E had gone to meet his Lord. He was – and still is – a remarkable man. You might remember him here.
• Thanks also from KV who reports prayer has been working for her and she feels pretty darn good!

Thanks everyone. Next week the message will be about Good Friday – sort of. Please watch for it on a computer screen near you!

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

chick

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

Aloha Friday, August 10, 2004 – The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

437AFC081004
Aloha, dear friend! Another week comes to an end. For so many people, this has been a week of severe testing – Florida, Iraq and Afghanistan, Sudan and Indonesia. For some it has been a struggle in their own homes, and for others a deeper struggle in their own bodies, or their hearts and minds. How are we supposed to respond to all of this? It is, in all honesty, overwhelming.

These difficulties are so prevalent that we can sometimes feel – and see – hope is defeated. Not so. If you look at the terrible and difficult things that are happening in the world and in our lives, it sort of follow that old Pareto rule, that 80/20 thing. Pareto’s rule states that a small number of causes is responsible for a large percentage of the effect, in a ratio of about 20:80. Expressed in a management context, 20% of a person’s effort generates 80% of the person’s results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one’s results absorb 80% of one’s resources or efforts. And we could extrapolate that to say that 80% of the things that try our spirits are caused by 20% of the things that happen. Or maybe even that 20% of the things that we view as catastrophic are natural physical events – like volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, lung cancer, plagues of locusts, and the like. The other 80% might be spiritual like war, terrorism, pornography, crack and speed, infidelity, hopelessness, depraved indifference to human life from the moment of conception to the moment of death, and so many other things that often make being alive more difficult than it should be for so many millions of people.

What can we do about all this? Perhaps we can choose to live a spiritual life at home, at work, at school, at play, and even (incredible!) at church. Here’s a little quote from NIV Bible:

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Well, at least there shouldn’t be. We find ourselves confronting those “unwritten laws” that say living a spiritual life is not acceptable; we are out of touch with reality if we believe such things really make a difference. In the world’s views, that is. In God’s view, these things ARE life. And they’re not so difficult to live with either. In a recent article that appeared in THE CATHOLIC HERALD the diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Honolulu, Fr. William J. Byron, SJ, had this to say about these seven gifts of the spirit:

Love is service and sacrifice.
Joy is balance at the center of the soul.
Peace is good order.
Patience is the ability to endure whatever comes.
Kindness is attentive regard for the other.
Generosity is the habitual disposition to share.
Gentleness is courageous respect for other.
Self-control is a voluntary check on the appetite for success.

We are created in God’s image, and part of the heritage of that image is the gift of self-determination. If we choose to remember what these things actually mean, we can bring that choice, that spirituality into our lives, our world, our 80/20 mix. Here’s the thing: It’s also true that 80% of the good things in this world come from the 20% of our spiritual gifts we share with each other. Today I challenge you to go for 21%. Print out this note, or cut and paste Fr. Byron’s examples into another document you can print out and hang on your wall (I made a really pretty one with fancy lettering and images). It’s just a reminder, but it’s also just a way to change the world and maybe even the future population of heaven.

Love in Christ,

Chick

PS: Here’s a bonus just for you. http://m11.t3media.net/t/15274/8554348/694/0/

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

Aloha Friday Message – June 14, 2019 – Trinity Too

1924AFC061419 –Trinity Too*

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Gospel Readings for Trinity Sunday

Year A – Matthew 28:16-20    This is The Great Commission. It is the command given to all Christians to evangelize the entire world.

Year C – John 16:12-15 – This is from the discourse at the Last Supper. Jesus is telling the Disciples that he will be leaving them soon; they, of course, do not understand, but he assures them that the Holy Spirit will come to them and help them to remember and understand everything he has taught them. This is the reading for this current Cycle.

Year B – John 3:1-17 – One of the best-know, most-quoted passages in the Bible, this passage describes in just a few words the amazing plan God has implemented by sending his Son for the Salvation of the World.  I respectfully ask you to follow that link and read that passage. Here’s a way to reflect on it:

Tom and Margaret went to the same high school from their freshman to senior years. They always “sort of” got along, but both of them were fiercely independent and a bit feisty. Still, they did make a good couple. They were often seen cruising in Tom’s clunky old ’58 Chevy pickup. He’d be driving with one hand, and Margaret would be snuggled up right next to him. Toward the end of their Senior year, they were practically inseparable, and by the week after graduation, each was feeling a yearning emptiness for the other. They were headed for different colleges in the Fall, and it seemed they’d never really get back together. In less than a year, they lost touch with each other. Neither made the effort to reach out, although Margaret still thought about Tom now and then.

At their Five-Year Class reunion they seemed to pick up right where they left off. Within just months they were married. Twenty-two years and four kids later, they were taking a Sunday drive in their 1958 Chevy Apache pickup they’d restored together just as Tommy was graduating from high school. Margaret looked over at Tom and said, “You know, twenty years ago when we were younger, we never sat this far apart.” Tom’s response was quicker than it should have been and he knew it was too late to snatch it back when he said, “Well, I haven’t moved.”

Beloved, how close to your Heavenly Father do you sit as the two of you travel through your life? Have you ever experienced the comfort of snuggling up with Jesus as you travel down the Road of Life? Does the Holy Spirit brighten your way even in the worst of traffic? If you don’t feel as close to God as you used to – or want to – think about the reason for it. Why does God seem so far away?

The three readings at the top are reading from the Solemnity of the Holy Spirit for each of the three cycles of readings – A, B, and C.  I want to focus on the Year B reading for this message.

John 3:16 is probably the most-cited and most-quoted verse in the Bible. Upwards of 80% of the world has seen JOHN 3:16 on television, in print, on the Internet, on billboards, in pamphlets, and heard it on every kind of broadcast media. It is a favorite memory-verse, quoted by millions of Christians worldwide. You might say it’s the basic tune of Christians everywhere. That phrase, “whosever believeth in Him” is brandished with unrelenting fervor as believers confront unbelievers to ask them, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” If you say no, they may try to move you in that direction – push, pull, or carry you to the foot of the Cross. If you say yes, then perhaps the next question will be, “Do you have a church home?” That’s often followed by an invitation to make their church your church, their Jesus your Jesus, their religion – the only right and true faith – your religion because anything else falls woefully short of God’s plan for your salvation. It’s like, “Join us or go to Hell.” Maybe you feel that is a mischaracterization, a caricature if you will, but when I am confronted by that style of evangelization, I will often ask, “What about John 3:17?”

Most people don’t memorize that one. Some people slide right past it, so sure of being redeemed eternally because they are confident they are in the group called “Whosever Believeth in Him” that they have no qualm whatsoever in roping off their part of the world with the Personal-Relationship Clause of their religion. So, what about John 3:17? 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him …” It seems to me that if God sent Jesus for Salvation and not condemnation, I shouldn’t be condemning either. It seems too impersonal to write someone off because they disagree with me about how my relationship with Jesus works. “Of course I have a personal relationship with Jesus,” I tell them. “In fact, I have a close, personal, and deeply satisfying relationship with the whole family – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, our Blessed Mother, and all the Angels and Saints.”

Perhaps it is unkind to respond that way, and I confess I have taken the wind from the sails of an occasional evangelizer by saying, “Yes I’ve accepted Jesus and my personal Savior. Have you accepted Mary as your personal Mother?”  I believe a personal relationship with Jesus is a very good idea, certainly attainable, and I do continuously reassess the relative distance between us (and it’s always me who has moved).  It is the Trinity, however, to whom I gravitate. When I say, “God,” I mean “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” When I say, “God bless you,” I am asking the Trinity to bless you. They are, after all, three distinct Persons all in one Being. Because I am created “in the image and likeness of God,” I can see the same patterns in me. (See Genesis 1:26-27) Image and likeness are two different things that mean the same thing. In Hebrew, image is from צֶ֫לֶם – tselem {tseh’-lem}, and likeness is from דְּמוּת demuth {dem-ooth’}. Belovéd,  I looked at all kinds of explanations about the differences and similarities and  it got pretty complicated – it’s like an emphatic way of confirming a given quality (like saying “shape” and “form”) – so maybe I can state it this way:

“You know, Tommy’s just a chip off the old block. He’s got his dad’s good looks but also his stubborn streak and his great compassion.” Tommy looks like and acts like his dad. We were created in such a way that we look like and act like our Heavenly Father – we should be like him. God is Spirit; we are spirit. God creates everything from nothing; we make many things from what God created. God chooses to do his will; we can choose to do his will or choose not to. God is community; we are born into community and are stronger as community. God is infinitely intelligent and wise; we use our God-given gifts of intellect and wisdom to shape our lives and the world around us. God communicates to us through creation, through scripture, and through our gifts; we communicate with God and each other in the same ways.

God gave us himself as a Father and Creator. God gave us himself as a Brother and Savior. God gave us himself as an Advocate and Companion. God is always and everywhere present in our lives as Trinity, the Almighty and Ever-living God, Father, Son, and Spirit. If we move away from his Fatherly care, Jesus’ brotherly love moves closer to us. If we turn away from Jesus, the Holy Spirit speaks the words of our hearts into the heart of God. If we mistrust the Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit, God the Father and God the Son inundate us with even more gifts – so much of a deluge of gifts that the flow of that generosity, like a River of Life, carries us to the Presence of God in and through our ways of looking like and acting like we belong to God.

I once heard something on the TV series The West Wing that never left my mind. It went something like, “If you are not sure you are a righteous man, act as though you were, and you will be.” I believe it’s based on a quote from Aristotle: “Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.” If you are saved by believing in Jesus rather than condemned by sin, act accordingly. BE a son or daughter of God (John 1:12 again), BE a sister or brother of Jesus, BE a vessel or conduit of the Holy Spirit. You are body, mind, and spirit. So is God. If you want to be nearer to him, be nearer to all of him, our Almighty, Ever-Living, Triune God and we will be closer to The Trinity, too!

And so, Belovéd, now you may better understand what Saint Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:14 – which I repeat to you here:

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

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

* Parts of this were posted under Aloha Friday Messages at http://www.aloha-friday.org – The Moon Beam Network as 1424AFC061314 – Blessed Trinity

 

 

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

Aloha Friday Message – June 7, 2019 – Siblings of Fire

1923AFC060719 – Siblings of Fire

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

    Romans 8:15c-17 … you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! We have arrived at the Birthday of the Church – Pentecost Sunday. This year it seems more important than ever to be aware of the movement and power of the Holy Spirit in each of us, and through us in The Church. Christians everywhere know that the Holy Spirit is actively countering the massive attacks against righteousness all across the world. If ever there was a time for us to exercise our spiritual authority, NOW IS THE TIME! (↔ Music Link)

Several years ago I mentioned another of those songs that shaped my childhood. It was called The Assurance March (↔ Music Link) The message referenced “Chapter 1 verse 12 of John.” That particular line was part of the bridge (the connecting music between verses) and the whole line of the lyric goes “Chapter 1 verse 12 of John is the ground we (firmly) stand upon.” So that verse is a foundational verse, one on which tenets of faith are built – part of the Christian creed. This is a tenet of faith in that it helps us define “the children of God … born … of God. Long story short is that comes about by believing in Him (John 3:16-17) and through baptism. Baptized believers are children of God, joint-heirs with Christ, and recipients of Christ’s participation in Creation which is and was and will be the Light of Life. That Light is, was, and always will be Christ. Everything that is Good comes from that Light – “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, Begotten not made, One in Being with the Father, Through Him all things were made.” (From the Nicene Creed; the Profession of Faith). Here is that verse so that you can see how it is foundational to Christian living:

John 1:12 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God …

Often reviewing this verse leads to a discussion of how to survive those tests of faith we encounter so often in our lives. Sometimes things happen that we just cannot understand – like the death of a child, the betrayal of innocence, or pointless violence. These things are often difficult to comprehend even within our Christian understanding of life. This too is something about which much has been written – why bad things happen to good people (and the converse of that, why good things happen to bad people). Again, there is a short answer which is inadequate only if you don’t believe that the longer answer isn’t any different from the short answer. The short answer is, “with God all things are possible.” The good and the bad happen, but it all happens within God’s knowing of it. Victims exist and God knows the how and why of that existence. He does not produce the victim or the circumstances that result in victims.

If we look at both of these Scripture passages, we see they are both about the children of God – and that is a very apt description of a Christian. Popular culture wants to tell us that every earthling is a child of God. That’s not necessarily so. What does this passage in John say? It says “ … all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” And how is that power exercised? We become his children through adoption as God’s sons and daughters which is why we name ourselves as brothers and sisters of Jesus.  This is such a magnificent Truth that we can scarcely take it in, yet it is so believable that we often overlook its enormity. Jesus – through whom all things were made (See John 1:1-5) – humbled himself to share in our humanity (See Philippians 2:7-8). He, the Creator, became one like his creation – flesh and blood, sinew and bone, body-mind-and-spirit human, in every way like us except in sin. He IS our brother, and we are his siblings; that means, of course, that we who are the children of God are siblings to one another:

Hebrews 2:14-18 14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

He suffered so that we can become the children of God and as such we inherit all of the Life of Christ because as children of God and Jesus’ siblings and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Therefore we indeed cry out with Jesus, (Use this Music Link)  “Father, I put my life in your hands.” (See Psalm 31:5) “Abba, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (See Luke 23:46) This reality of familial relationship grows from the Eternal Relationships in the Holy Trinity. It is Spirit and takes on flesh, and flesh enlivened by Spirit (See Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 2:7) Then, in the magnificent perfection and integrity of God’s plan, the Holy Spirit came to us at the Feast of Pentecost – Shavu’ot, (See Leviticus 23:15-16, 21) the giving of First Fruits and the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. On the Pentecost we celebrate this weekend as Christians, we rejoice in reading and hearing the Second Chapter of Acts. (See Acts 2:1-11) THAT SAME Spirit is what unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ. God said it, and thus it was so, and God saw that it was very good.

It was God’s decision to offer us a place in the Kingdom as His children. It was God’s decision to let us live in The Kingdom as a free agent, able to choose good over evil, life over death. It was God’s decision to create us and call us by name to enjoy everything in our lives – even the tough stuff. Believe me; I have seen a lot of the tough stuff in your life and mine. One of the free choices we have is the choice to accept Him and His forgiveness. We are all already forgiven, every single one of us from every single sin. Only one thing is required to make that truth complete in our lives: Become a child of God. Accept Him through whom all things were created. It is the ground we stand upon (See Ephesians 5:10-17 See especially Verses 14-16) and we can stand on that ground only because Jesus showed his love for his Father and for us in ways we cannot begin to understand.

We are the children of God, joint-heirs with Christ in the Fire of the Spirit! The indelible mark of baptism identifies us as such; it animates – brings to Life – each soul called to the Supper of the Lamb. We are the Siblings of Fire ablaze with the vigor of Everlasting Life. How? Why? Look to 1 Corinthians 12:3b no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. As God’s child, you are his Belovéd and so, as the Apostle John tells us 1 John 3:1-2 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

And so we close with this benediction:

Ephesians 3:16-22 16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Happy Birthday to The Church and a blesséd and most Holy Pentecost to all!  Let there be Fire in the Whole!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

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

 

 

When I Write

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

Aloha Friday Message – May 31, 2019 – Moving on UP.

1922AFC053119 – Moving on UP

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.
Acts 17:28-31 28 For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.” 29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd! This Sunday will be celebrated in most American Parishes as Ascension Sunday. The actual Feast of the Ascension was yesterday, May 30th – 40 days after Easter. (It’s also the “Saint Day” for Crucita whose middle name is Ascensión. The reading from the First Chapter of Acts is one of my favorite passages; I mention it often because the Angels tell the flabbergasted Disciples that “this same Jesus” will return again. Regular readers of this blog will recognize that theme, but you can follow the link if you’d like to do a quick refresher. Acts 1 is a wonderful place to deep-dive into Scripture.

Today, however, I want to spend a little time with the Apostle Paul in Athens. What he tells the Athenians is more than meets the eye – in English. We will begin with Acts 17:28a – 28 For “In him we live and move and have our being”. Paul is generalizing a Scripture passage from Job 12:10 10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Paul is using examples from not only Jewish Tradition with Job, but also with Greek tradition. He references a Greek “Mystic” from around 500 BC named Epimenides (epi-men-i-deez) from Knossos (on Crete) who is credited with something that is called “The Liars Paradox.”: All Cretans are liars. Since he was from Crete and therefore a Cretan (krehten) it is a sentence which says of itself that it is false, thus being true if it is false and false if it is true. The Greeks in Athens loved this kind of debate, and Paul certainly had their attention. We, too, want to pay attention to not only what the Apostle Paul said, but also how he said it. For that we need to take a little detour into Grammar.

The verse in the Greek text has a very specific grammatical structure for these words:

kinoumetha kai esmen
Κινούμεθα καὶ ἐσμέν
are moved and exist

What we have here is an expression with the verb “to move” in the passive voice. Usually in American English sentences with an action verb, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb. “I moved the rock.” This is called the active voice. In the passive voice, this becomes, “The rock was moved by me.” The subject in this sentence is “the rock,” and it is acted upon by me. Now, why is this important in this passage?

In this Chapter 17, the Apostle Paul, along with Silas and Barnabas, have really stirred up the Thessalonians – they got kicked out of Thessalonica and ended up in another town some 45 miles west of there in a place called Beroea (also spelled Berea) (beREEah). They found some success there, but when the Thessalonians heard about it, they sent a group of angry Jews there to further displace the Missionaries. Some of the folks from Beroea hustled Paul to Athens – a distance of about 325 miles! – to get him away from danger. (See Acts 17:13-14) Paul used his time to scout out Athens. He was dismayed there were so many idols in that city. Eventually he found one that really caught his attention. He presented the Gospel story to them and his audience even included not only Jews but also noteworthy Gentiles including members of the philosophy schools – Epicureans and Stoics. His approach was through philosophy – the study of the fundamentals of knowledge. This means, of course, that his arguments were philosophical in nature. “So? What’s the Big Deal?” you say. Paul’s statement describes three states of existence studied in philosophy.

  • We live – The physical creature that has the traits of life – nutrition, respiration, excretion, movement, growth, reproduction, and sensitivity.
  • And are moved – This refers to the emotional aspect of being a sentient creature; it is the ability to suffer and feel pain physical and mentally (and I would argue spiritually as well).
  • And have our being – We exist, and this is the elemental and crucial metaphysical component of human life.
  • With these three brief statements, the Apostle Paul illustrates his point that HIS God is so eternally Omnipotent that his creative power is the source of every aspect of human existence.

Thus he says that in God (the Athenians “Unknown god”) everything covered by Philosophy is brought together in one immortal being – physical, emotional, and spiritual. THAT really got their attention! It set them up for his closing statement in Acts 17:30 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by ‘raising him from the dead.’

Now, once they heard that, some of the listeners called the Apostle Paul’s claim ridiculous, but a few engaged with him further and more than just a few became believers there in Athens. In this short passage we can gather much about the sort of man Paul was: He was a Jew of the Pharisees, a Roman Citizen, a scholar of Jewish Scripture and Greek philosophy; he spoke Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (or the common dialects of those languages). He was a pretty sturdy fellow as is evidenced by the number of times he was chased, imprisoned, and beaten with whips or rods. So we have a Jewish Roman who was multilingual and became the foremost Apostle to the Gentiles, and the founder of numerous churches. In my book that’s quite a résumé!

He finishes up this set of brief statements by quoting a famous Greek poet who was also a mystic, and states that “since we are all ‘the offspring of God’ we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.” (See Acts 17:29)

It is my sincere hope that when you hear this passage in the future (hopefully this weekend!), you will remember what a brilliant man the Apostle Paul was (is!), and how hard he worked – and how much he suffered – to spread the Gospel. God grant that each of us can follow his example more closely. Then like Paul, and all the more like Jesus, we will actively move UP to be with them just outside the door of God’s Throne Room.

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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

Aloha Friday Message – May 24, 2019 – There you go again!

1921AFC052419 – There you go again.

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

    John 14:28-31 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.

¡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!)

Let me begin by expressing our appreciation for all the condolences and prayers offered from all y’all after my oldest surviving brother – Kenneth Dean Todd – who died earlier this week. Ken has been on our Intercessory Prayer List for quite some time. He had all four ball-and-socket joints replaced many years ago and also had severe COPD with extensive scarring in his lungs. His was a difficult life which has only just settled into everlasting Peace.

Today’s Key Verse includes another of those passages some folks delight in misquoting. We’ll touch on that, but briefly, and look more deeply into what Jesus is conveying to his Disciples (and that includes us Belovéd!) in this fascinating passage. This week I’m going to try to be a “little less technical and preachy.” We’ll try to spare you the biblical language inserts.

Let’s begin with verse 28: You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” When did Jesus say he was going away? Here is a collection of applicable verses:

John 7:33 33 Jesus then said, ‘I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.’

John 14:2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

John 16:28 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’

John 20:17 17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’

So, Jesus had told them several times – and these few are just the ones that were documented – that he was “returning to the Father.” Now, logically, if one is to return – depart from one’s current location – then one must have arrived; we have arrival and return. Jesus arrived here on Earth as a human child conceived in the Power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Now, in this passage he is telling his Disciples he is preparing to return to his Father. Once he returns to his Father, he will prepare to return for us – not just to us, but for us – so that we can go where he has gone: To be with his (and Our) Father. (See John 16:28)

In verse 29 he says I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. Jesus’ lessons were designed to help all Disciples do the main requirement of discipleship: BELIEVE. “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” Here are some examples of what Jesus said about believing HIM:

John 13:18-20 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I AM He*. 20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’ *(or I AM WHO I AM = Messiah)

John 8:23-24 23 He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he*.’ *(or I AM WHO I AM = Messiah)

Luke 22:67-69 67 They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I question you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’

1 John 5:10 10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in the Son have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. (See also Isaiah 28:16, James 2:19, and 1 John 3:23)

Moving on to verse 30: I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me. We only need to look around at the sorry state of this sin-wracked World to see who is ruling – Satan, the Prince of the Power of the Air, The Accuser, Adversary, Dragon, Old Scratch, The Lord of Death, and the toothless roaring lion. Indeed he has no power over The Christ of God! Thus, in verse 31, he continues but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.

Jesus Loves The Father. The Father Loves the Son. The Father and the Son are bonded in the Holy Spirit and these three – “whom all the world cannot contain comes in our hearts to dwell.” (↔ Music Link) Only the Holy Trinity can say “I AM the same in all of each of us as I AM in each of all of us.” (It may take a few rereadings to grasp that one.)

And what of If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I in today’s Key Verse selection? Does this mean Jesus is not equal to the Father? No; in fact it is an affirmation of his statement about being God’s Son in John 5:17-19 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the Sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. 19 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. Jesus has the same authority as the Father, so why does he say the Father is greater? The Father called, the Son, spoke to and through the Son, the Son heard and obeyed the Father, the Son did whatever the Father did. This makes them equal, but also reflects the order of the Trinity’s model of interaction. We can take the statement above and add action to it: “I AM doing the same in all of each of us as I AM doing in each of all of us.” Only the One who is asserting his own divine essence could state it in such a way. The Son’s role as an agent of Creation and the preservation thereof. Therefore his going to the Father is of gain to Jesus as well as to the Apostles. At the Right hand of the Father, Jesus will exercise more power to bring fruition to the Kingdom. Where Jesus goes, we too will go because he is going to return to take us there. He has come here before, he has returned to Heaven before, he will return here again, and we will return to Heaven with him. There we go because we’re on our way, and he said, ” Rise, let us be on our way.”

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

 

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

Aloha Friday Message – May 17, 2019 – It’s All Over

1920AFC051719 – It’s All Over

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home* of God is among mortals. He will dwell** with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them”

* σκηνὴ (skēnē) {skay-nay’} = Tabernacle, tent, booth, dwelling, mansion, habitation, over-head covering; ** σκηνώσει (skēnōsei) {skay-no-say-i} “I dwell” as in a tent, encamp, have established and set fixed my tabernacle. This is my chosen residence where I live and will live. In this passage, “tabernacle” is dwelling in intimate communion with the resurrected Christ – even as He who Himself lived in unbroken communion with the Father during the days of His flesh. Note the similarity between the sounds of “skay-no-say-i” and שכינה (shekinah) {sheh-kai-nah} – perhaps chosen because of their assonance, i.e.,, the repetition of similar vowel sounds between two words.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea!

Today we will explore another aspect of Scripture we don’t often think about: What God says about his home. You can see in the notes above what the Lord himself speaks as his intention. When his intention is fulfilled, it will affect everyone everywhere eternally BECAUSE his presence will be all over everyone everywhere eternally. Although we are now separated from him because of our sinful nature – which is incompatible with his Perfect Integrity – it is his will that humanity become wholly holy and be reunited with his Divine Majesty in his dwelling because his dwelling will be where we live.

That’s a bit difficult for me to get my head around. I can understand that God’s plan has always been to “walk among us” in the place he created for himself and for us. He states that many times in Scripture, so I’d like to give you a few examples which will include links to examples of the original language.

Exodus 25:8 And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.

In this example, “sanctuary” is based on a root word which means a place set apart for Holiness – a dwelling for Divine Presence. It was part of the Tent of Meeting which Moses set up based on God’s specific instructions. Later we find this declaration from God.

Exodus 29:43-45 43 I will meet with the Israelites there, and it shall be sanctified by my glory; 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests. 45 I will dwell among the Israelites, and I will be their God.

In this example, the tent of meeting can also be translated as tabernacle – so we need to know what tabernacle means. In the Old Testament, particularly in Exodus, there are two words used to describe the structure God ordered Moses to build: ’ō-hel and mišh-kān. Both are translated as the following synonyms: dwelling, dwelling place, habitation, tent/tents, resting place, tabernacle, and abode. God’s instructions to Moses were to set aside a certain space meeting certain (complicated) criteria, for the express purpose of defining a space or location where God himself could interact directly with Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites.

Ezekiel 37:27 27 My dwelling place [mišh-kān] shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This same Divine Design is also expressed, as we have seen, in the New Testament as well. Here is another example from the Gospel of John that corresponds with the above quote from Revelation: John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh and lived [tabernacled]  among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Hebrews we find in Hebrews 8:1-2 – 1 Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary [hagios] and the true tabernacle [skēnēs] that the Lord, and not any mortal, has set up.

If we return to the book of Revelation (note there is no s at the end of that word), we find other examples of this.

Revelation 7:15 15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter [skēnōsei – tabernacle] them. If you’ll do the the favor of following that link for Revelation 7:15, you will note a term in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) spelled phonetically as Sh’khinah. This manifestation of the Almighty Ever-Living God – El Shaddai-Olam – was found in the Temple in the Holy of Holies above the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. If you’d like to look into that further, please spend a few moments with a lesson from 20-12 here.

We will examine one further example in Revelation where the concept of Tabernacle is expressed in two different ways: Revelation 22:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home [skēnē] of God is among mortals. He will dwell [skēnōsei] with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.

After God finishes restoring everything (“Behold I make all things new….” Please review Isaiah 42:9, Isaiah 43:19, these passages, and especially Revelation 21:5-8 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless [unbelieving] the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” This last passage should be especially heeded by those who studiously argue against the reality of Hell. Our “Jehovah-Shammah,” (The Lord is Present) will be with us in a New Heavens and New Earth in a New Jerusalem. El-Elyon — The Lord Most High – will be all with all in all and all will be tabernacled with him in the Tabernacle built by his Word. Everything present will be all over because everything Divine will be Over All and all will be All in him:

1 Corinthians 15:28 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

Belovéd, when it comes to things in this World, we can rejoice and proclaim “I’m over it!” It’s all over but The End, and The End isn’t here yet because in The End everything is Good because: It’s always good in the end. If it’s not good now, it’s not the end yet.
If you follow the link above for  end you’ll see what God has planned for our end.

However, that is the end of this post! See you all in the Tabernacle (and did you know you can have a tabernacle in your own heart? Check the link for an example.)

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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

Aloha Friday Message – May 10, 2019 – One is the only number

1919AFC051019 – One is the only number

    John 10: 27-30 27My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd! Today we will spend a few moments looking at something one often misses. It’s one of those verses that one sees, reads, hears, … and often ignores. We will be looking at one of the root words, too, but I’ll try not to get too carried away on that one. In fact, ONE is the word for The Word today.

It’s that last statement, verse 30, that we often slide past without a second thought. The Father and I are one. But how can that be? Some folks argue that Jesus himself said there are things the Father knows but the Son, and they cite Mark 13:32 32 But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father as proof. A parallel passage with a different emphasis is in Matthew 24:36 36 But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. That phase, nor the Son, complicates things because it gives the appearance of scriptural discrepancy. How can Jesus and the Father be one if Jesus doesn’t know what the Father know?  Let’s look at the idea of “ONE” in some other passages and then come back to that question.

The first and most obvious place to see God’s oneness is in Deuteronomy 6:4. I’m going to put it here  with some “added emphasis” so you can see how it is recorded in Scripture.

 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.

שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ יְהוָ֥ה ׀ אֶחָֽד ׃

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad.

καὶ ταῦτα τὰ δικαιώματα καὶ τὰ κρίματα ὅσα ἐνετείλατο κύριος τοῗς υἱοῗς Ισραηλ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου ἄκουε Ισραηλ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

(In the Greek – from the Septuagint – shown here, the bold-italicized words are demonstrative pronouns like we recently studied.)

We often find the phrase LORD God – this is YHWH-Elohim. We have records of many names for God. Does that mean that God is actually many gods? We can say with confidence “Most certainly not!” God is ONE and our understanding of his Being is clarified by using descriptors that help us grasp the magnitude of his Majesty. This is one of the many ways God reveals himself to us. YHWH wishes to be known, to be loved, and to be integrated into our lives. That aspect of his Perfect Integrity (he alone is eternally integral) is how we know him best. Let’s look at just a smattering of how God and his prophets showed us his Oneness. There is only one God and that One God is one Entity.

Malachi 2:10 10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?

Deuteronomy 4:35 35 To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.

2 Samuel 7:22 22 Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1 Chronicles 17:20 20 There is no one like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Isaiah 43:10-11 10 You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11 I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.

Thus we say that there is only One God, the LORD God, and God is One. God is intrinsically, inherently, constitutionally, and uniquely singular in his own fundamental nature. As part of his copious revelation to us, he has shown himself to be One that is knowable by his deeds and Presence. He is present to us as a SINGLE Triune God, for he says,

Genesis 1:26 26 Then God said, “Let us make [נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה] humankind in our image [בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ], according to our likeness [כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ]; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. (The Hebrew words show in brackets, […] are “first-person-plural” verbs – these constructions are not artificial forms put together after the realization of the Triune Nature of God. They are actually the basis for that understanding.)

Genesis 3:22 22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”

We know that the “Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the waters” (See Genesis 1:2). God is Spirit, and we might also say God has a Spirit. It is one of those ineffable mysteries which only faith can embrace. God himself is One in Essence but Community in Being. To all earthlings this makes no sense at all. The LORD God, however, insists that we accept his own words about His Word who was and is God, was and is with God, and through whom as God all things were created. (See John 1:1-5) Here we come to the realization that what God does, is, and says does not have to be comprehensible in order to be True. In the Synoptic Gospels, many statements of Jesus are recorded which present to believers that fact that Jesus IS God.

Matthew 3:16-17  1And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

John 8:16-19 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18 I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” 19 Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

John 8:53-58 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [ has Abraham sent you?] 58 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

John 10:35-39 35 If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— 36 can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 17:18-21 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be [one] in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

John 20:28 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Further, Jesus emphasizes that it will be the Spirit of God – his Spirit, the same Spirit who hovered over the deep – who will be given to us: John 16:13 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. The Spirit does not “speak on his own” (and that does not mean he won’t “talk about himself” as some try to claim), but speaks what God speaks because the Spirit is God who was with and in God when all things were created (again, back to Genesis 1:2!). Jesus assertions that in the Infinite and Ineffable El Shaddai-Olam the Son is One In the Father, the Father is One in the Son, and the Spirit is One in the Father and the Son. In short:

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad.

It is not “just unity of will,” it is not “merely different personalities,” it is God in Three Persons as ONE God because as Jesus said of his Father, You, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be [one] in us, and all will be All in One.

Colossians 3:11 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

1 Corinthians 15:28 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

Just as Jesus and the Holy Spirit perform only the will of God the Father (because, of course, all are God who is One), Jesus knows only that which God says and God said he was not telling anyone what will become the end of all that is ONE.

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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

Aloha Friday Message – May 3, 2019 – Answers with Love

1918AFC050319 – Answers with Love … ?

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

   John 21:15-17 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Beloved!) Today I want to begin with a thank you to all the folks who sent their ALOHA for our 50th Anniversary Celebration. It was a beautiful event with a wonderful mass, renewal of our vows and exchange of additional rings. Five of Crucita’s nieces and nephews came over from NM, and the friend who was Crucita’s original Maid of Honor 50 years ago also came to be with us! My good buddy from those Air Force days was unable to make it due to health limitations, but another wonderful friend stood in for my Best Man (who is also my Godfather and sponsored by Baptism on 4/5/69). We got to show many people the effects of a Christ-Centered Marriage. Thousands of precious memories were created this past weekend. It was a powerful testimony to the Power of Love for everyone who participated.

Love truly is among the most powerful forces earthlings deal with; the strange thing about that, though, is that they often are unaware of just how powerful Love is. We know the powers of nature can certainly be formidable and can easily overwhelm our capacity to resist the immense energies they transfer onto us – sun, ocean, wind, storm, temperature, gravity, fire, earthquake, volcanoes – all of these can wipe out any of us in an instant. Love, though, can save us from the effects of many of these. Most importantly, Love can transfer an energy that is intangible to the senses but superbly self-evident to the soul. When our intentions and actions are informed by Love, great things happen. Those things can and do happen because Love is literally the Power that keeps us alive; it is the Power that created us. It is the Power that delivers to us our Salvation and Eternal Joy. When Love acts on us, we cannot help but be changed by it. Most of the time, those changes are positive and enlighten us to the Goodness of Life. Nonetheless, there are times when our sinful nature distorts the influence of love so that it leads to darkness instead of light. I have believed for many years that this happens because we misuse the word LOVE so often. Back in 2015 we had a message named Do you love me? (See 1519AFC050815) and looked at all the different ways we use that word LOVE. “I really love ___________!” we can fill in the blank with everything from peanut butter to football to music to any and all whatevers. But, what is love? And why should we care about that anyway?

In that same essay you can find examples of all of the Greek words used for love here’s a quick summary:

  • XENIA ξενία, (xenía) {zeh-NEE-ah} – hospitality
  • STORGE στοργή (storgē) {store-gee} – as with parents and children
  • PHILIA φιλία (philia) {fil-i-ah} – often defined as brotherly/sisterly love
  • EROS ἔρως (érōs) {eh-rohs} – passionate and sensual
  • AGAPE ἀγάπη, (agápē) {ah-gah-pee} – pure and unconditional love

In today’s Key Verse, we hear the exchange between Jesus and Peter as Jesus helps Peter to confess that his love for Jesus has overcome his fear of death which led him to deny Jesus three times during Jesus’ Passion. In this passage, there are some interesting combinations of words to compare and contrast. First, there are two Greek words for love used – philia and agápē. Secondly, there are two nouns used to describe sheep – lambs (ἀρνία – arnia) and sheep (πρόβατά – probata). Jesus uses two different verbs to describe how Peter is to attend to the needs of the sheep. The first is feed (βόσκε – boske) and the second is *tend (ποίμαινε – poimaine) which actually means to act as a shepherd – “shepherd my sheep.” There are also two different words – each having a unique connotation – for the verb know. The first is οἶδας – oidas which is to be aware, to behold, to consider, or to perceive as in I know, I remember, or I appreciate. The second is γινώσκεις – ginōskeis which carries the additional sense of experientially knowing through perception and discovery – through firsthand experience. I’ve prepared a little table for you to see how the words for love are used in our Key Verse:

Jesus → Peter Jesus Peter Jesus Peter
ἀγαπᾷς → φιλῶ Do you agapao me? I phileo you. Do you truly love me? I am fond of you.
ἀγαπᾷς → φιλῶ Do you agapao me? I phileo you. Do you truly love me? I am fond of you.
φιλεῖς → φιλῶ Do you phileis me? I phileo you. Do you have affection for me? You know I am fond of you.

In the first two exchanges, Peter says, “You know I love you.” This is the first sense of knowing we listed – οἶδας – oidas “Yes Jesus, you are aware that I love you.” In the third exchange, Peter says “Lord, you know [οἶδας – oidas] everything; you know [γινώσκεις – ginōskeis] that I love you.” Jesus, you have direct, firsthand experience that shows I love you.”

In this short passage of 126 words, Jesus shows to Peter and the other Apostles (as well as to you and me, his Disciples) that Peter has the authority to Shepherd Jesus flock – the new members (lambs) and the preceding members – the converts from “no religion” (gentiles) and the converts from Judaism. His responsibility is to feed and lead Jesus’ flock. Every question Jesus asks in this exchange is rooted in LOVE. We might put it like this:

“Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?” Peter’s final answer is a resounding affirmation that he does indeed LOVE Jesus – Peter loves him enough to become Kephas (sometimes spelled Cephas) – Petra, The Rock. Every question is about LOVE. Every answer is love. How shall we answer when Jesus asks us, “Do you love me?”

Well, of course we all want to answer, “Yes Lord. You know I love you.” Sometimes though, that answer isn’t as solid as we’d like it to be because we are apprehensive about that possible follow-up question, “Then why don’t you act like it?” We’ve talked about this verse previously: John 14:15 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” If Jesus were to sit down with us and say, “Do you love ME? Why or why not?”, we would certainly want to answer, “Yes! I love you!” Maybe. I say maybe because maybe I think the next thing I’ll hear is a thunderous voice demanding to know

THEN WHY DON’T YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS?!?

How do I, do you, do we answer that one? Let’s see:

  • Because I’m a sinner
  • I just don’t have the will power
  • My faith is weak
  • I don’t know what your commandments are
  • I don’t love you enough
  • Any or all of the above?

It all sounds pretty watered-down, doesn’t it? Jesus died for every single one of us; which of us will die for him? Even if it’s “only” to die to self and to think of other more highly than of ourselves (You may recall reading something like that in Philippians 2:1-5 early last month.) What if each of us – just you and me together – could feel confident about telling Jesus that his own personal experience with our love for him clearly demonstrates that we do, in fact, love him above all things and persons? Would he be convinced?

I am really unable to answer that even for myself. There is one thing about that which I know with absolute certainty: Jesus would answer with Love. He might even say, “Little lamb, follow me and I will be your Shepherd.” Jesus always answers with Love because Jesus’ love is all the answer we’ll ever need. And what about the times we mess up, as Peter did, and fail to keep his commandments, fail to live up to the agápē Jesus gives us? It is at those times when we should recall the Apostle Paul’s letter to Philemon. No matter how badly you’ve messed up, God always has a solution, but you are not that solution; Jesus is. Thank God for that because God is Love and Love is the Answer.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd! Why? Because “you know [γινώσκεις – ginōskeis] that I love you.”

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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

Aloha Friday Message – April 26, 2019 – THIS is important.

1917AFC042619 – THIS is important

    John 20:20b-23 – Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Today I want to follow the occurrence of something called a “demonstrative pronoun.” Sometimes these words are also called “demonstrative adjectives.” The most common words with this designation are this, that, these, and those. There are some other words that are sometimes used as demonstrative pronouns – such, none, and neither. When using demonstrative pronouns, the pronoun takes the place of the noun (the name of a person, place, thing, or idea) referenced. Here are some examples.

  • The perfume you are wearing is intoxicating → That is an intoxicating fragrance.
  • My new shoes are too tight. → These don’t fit me.
  • I want you to do exactly what I tell you → Do this like I said.
  • The roses in your garden are beautiful → Those are so beautiful in your garden.
  • Life can be difficult → Such is life.
  • The are no substitutes allowed → We will allow none.
  • Both of the choices are unacceptable → Neither will do.

In addition, some of the demonstrative pronouns also act as demonstrative adjectives. A demonstrative adjective modifies a noun or pronoun in a sentence while emphasizing its importance. This is for things close by or current things – This is the day the Lord has made so this song is about that. That is for things farther away or not current – That tree was so beautiful before that happened.

In this post, I want to share with you some of the reasons I show you passages in Greek or Hebrew. The New Testament was originally in Greek, not Aramaic or Hebrew. Greek was the lingua franca – the common language used by a wide variety of persons who used it as a common language between persons whose native languages are different. It was the language of business and travel throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region in the time of Christ. It is surprisingly complex with many rules that define how words are used – voice, case, attributes, mood, tense, and a slew of definitions for various clauses. Because of that it is also a very precise language. The way a word is used defines how the root-word is changed to give a specific meaning. For today I want to look at the demonstrative pronouns we have previously highlighted in specific Scripture passages.

One passage that comes up perhaps a couple of times a year is the account of Jesus’ ascension as described in Acts 1:6-12. I have commented previously in 1512AFC051515 – Look him up about the word οὗτος (oútos) {hoo-tohs or oo-tohs} as it appears in verse 11“Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.” This Greek word is very specific and 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. Another occurrence we looked at recently was Luke 22:19 – 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The Greek words used here are τοῦτό and τοῦτο which are two of the many forms of the root word οὗτος we just looked at. As with the passage in Acts, the meaning is very clear. Here is what we can learn from their usage.

When Jesus says, “this is my body,” his declaration is that what he is about to share – pieces from the broken loaf of bread – IS HIS body. He is not saying, “this represents my body,” “this is like my body,” “this is a symbol of my body,” or “pretend my body is bread.” He means what he says: “this is my body.” In the next sentence, there is another declaration in the form of a command: “Do this in remembrance of me.” He is telling the Apostles they are to do and say exactly what he has done and said. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the presiding Priest does NOT say, “This is his body,” or “This represents his body.” The Priest, in his ministry as the alter christus, repeats what Jesus told the Apostles to repeat: “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Here again, the meaning, intent, and purpose is perfectly clear. It is the same with the communion Chalice – as in Matthew 26:27-28 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Here is the Real Presence of the Body of Christ, here is the Real Presence of the Precious Blood of Christ, and here is the exact expression of what Jesus commanded should be said and done. Wherever we find one of the demonstrative pronouns in these passages, there we will also find the meaning this one, meaning the item actually present here, the one just named and none other than this one; and also this action, meaning the action actually performed here, the one just shown and none other than this one. The first time we come across τοῦτο is in Genesis 2:1919 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The Hebrew word there is ה֥וּא (hu or hi) {hoo} which is an emphatic form for the pronoun it replaces, in this passage it would be the name Adam gave.

Now, let’s go back to why it is useful to understand the purpose of the tiny, seemingly insignificant words like this, that, these, and those. Such words improve our understanding of content when take in context. The whole purpose of the Aloha Friday Messages is to shed light on Scripture and make it more readily understood. The ability to examine the antecedent – the linguistic foundation – of Scripture is a great way to maximize its impact on our lives. Now that you know what “this” can mean, when you hear it in a passage of Scripture, you will be more aware of what the Scripture is telling us. God speaks to us through Scripture, and Scripture is his Living Word (the Logos). Remember when we talked about being “engaged” in Mercy, in Mass, and in Life? We can be engaged in Scripture as well if we have our ears, hearts, and minds open. When you are in Church this weekend, listen for those demonstrative pronouns this, that, these, and those. Then recall how precisely they point toward a particular noun, action, or event. I believe our understanding of “this same Jesus” will be just as clear as this is my body or this is the day or as in John 16:4 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

Whaddya think about that, eh? This is a much more useful way to hear The Word.

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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

Aloha Friday Message – April 19, 2019 – Return to The Truth

1916AFC041919 – Return to The Truth

Μετάνοια εἰς Την Αλήθεια – Metánoia eis Tin Alítheia ~~ Repent toward The Truth.

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

     John 18:37-38a 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

During this season of Lent we have been exploring applications of the word μετάνοια – metanoia. We have seen that it means a “turning around” or “turning back to” God. It is a mental, visceral, actionable decision to reform one’s life so as to live in a way that honors and glorifies God in thought, word, and deed. All of us are sinners, so all of us have sinned. That means all of us need to repent – turn around – and go back to being what God created us to be – Holy, like him. We pretty much understand that we probably will never be wholly holy until the Day of Resurrection, but we really should be headed in that direction – toward God rather than away from God. What happens, though, if we don’t turn back to God, if we don’t reform our lives, and instead we keep moving away from God? What is out there if we just ignore the warnings – internal and external – to turn back, to repent, to reintegrate into Truth?

Returning to God, to Truth, is returning to holiness, to good, to Light. Fleeing from God, from Truth, is leaving holiness, good, and Light behind so as to be immersed in Darkness. Who would choose that, any of it?

The answer is heartbreaking. Millions and millions – indeed billions with a B – intentionally and deliberately move farther and farther from God in every moment of their lives. How is this possible? What enables any earthling to ignore all the clues, and hints, and communiqués that God has given us, all of which testify to the Truth? The only answer I can see is that we choose to believe the primordial lie that somehow we can do it ourselves – we don’t need God’s help to find God and Truth. We’re perfectly capable of figuring that out ourselves, thank you very much. That’s what our First Parents, thought, too; how’s that working out for you and me today? Not so hot, is it? And yet, each of us obstinately clings to the idea that it is our own effort that causes Grace to be part of our lives. What utter rubbish that is! There’s an adage I coined (at least I think it was me) about 25 years ago when facilitating the Zenger-Miller Toward Excellence training program that applies to this line of reasoning: “If you really knew as much as you think you know, you’d know it’s not enough.” The result of assuming we are sufficiently wise to figure out God on our own is that we completely miss the Truth: God is God and I am not. When this basic Truth is corrupted by Satan’s favorite tool – lies – we carom off away from God and create our own Fantasy Land where we call the shots, we make the tough decisions, and we set the rules. Regrettably, many of those BILLIONS of souls who have followed this course without wavering will have little recourse on The Day of Reward. They will share the fate of those described in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

I entreat you with all sincerity to read the following passages ( with emphasis added) with your utmost attention so that you may gain a clear discernment about the battle we are in:

Isaiah 53:1 1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Jeremiah 2:19 19 Your wickedness will punish you, and your apostasies* will convict you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, says the Lord God of hosts.

*Apostasies from Apostasy – the total rejection of Christianity by a baptized person who, having at one time professed the Christian faith, publicly rejects it. It is distinguished from heresy, which is limited to the rejection of one or more Christian doctrines by one who maintains an overall adherence to Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:3-5 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those who did not believe.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.

2 Peter 2:1-3 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 1 You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Titus 1:15-1615 To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

This awareness informs the ministry of the Moon Beam Network – that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, but how can they call if they have not heard (See Romans 10-13-18, please.) Yet we know that even many of those who have heard have not believed and instead made their own foolish constructs to disseminate their apostasy. One such organization has the boldness to proclaim that the Church – the entirety of Christendom – was in a state of apostasy until Charles Taze Russell “discovered” that apostasy and set up an offshoot of the Bible Study movement in 1879. His goal was to find biblical evidence that God would never send any anyone to Hell because there is no such place. This organization’s ironic claim is that they – who are in fact apostates – are in the World to correct the previous apostasy of the preceding 18 centuries!  In 1931, the group adopted the moniker “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and decreed that God alone should be worshipped by his correct and proper name which they claimed to have ample evidence to prove was supposed to be pronounced jeh-ho-vah. While this concept was “already out there” as popularized by William Tyndale, the KJV, and the Geneva Bible, the temerity of Russell’s group was that its discovery of this revelation disqualified all other believers. As they regressed farther and farther from Truth – and Jehovah – they even reinvented Holy Scripture by publishing, in 1950, The New World Testament (NWT), a thoroughly bad and deceptive mistranslation of Judaeo-Christian Scripture. One quick example: At the institution of the Eucharist we read in Matthew 26:26 26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is* my body.” (See also Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, and 1 Corinthians 11:24)

* ἐστιν (estin) from εἰμί (eimi) {i-mee’} – I am, I exist, ergo, is. In the NWT, this passage reads as follows: “26  As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: “Take, eat. This means my body.” (See in context here.) I’ll put this as plainly as possible: Claiming that “this is my body” is properly understood as “this means my body” IS A LIE.

Recall now Jesus’ words in John 8:44 44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Belovéd, this is but one of thousands of misconstruances of Truth circulated today as the “one true religion” – but a clever and well-worked-out scheme of deception worthy of Old Scratch himself. He would have us believe, as he himself believes, that Truth is mine only if I create it. God’s Truth is merely another version of what in our hearts and minds is the explanation for everything. As that famous author Anonymous has said, “There is an explanation for everything that happens in the Universe. Unfortunately many of them make no sense whatsoever!” Satan’s assertion that Truth is allocated to 144,000 who are part of a “heavenly class” – which persons deny the Holy Trinity as being “unbiblical” (the word “Trinity is not in any Judaeo-Christian Scripture) – and who are “the little flock of 144,000 (another term which does not appear in any Judaeo-Christian Scripture) simply makes no sense whatsoever. What does make sense is returning to The Truth.

Let the reader beware! What is Truth?

GOD ≡ LIGHT ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ MERCY ≡ GOD

(↑ That’s a Music Link)

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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

Aloha Friday Message – April 12, 2019 – In My Right Mind

1915AFC041219 – In My Right Mind

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! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

   Philippians 2:5-8 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. This Sunday is the beginning of Passiontide, Palm Sunday of the Passion of The Lord. At week’s end, we will be in the Triduum. Friday, April 19th is Good Friday. You’ll probably get next week’s message on Holy Thursday, rather than Friday. The 19th also happens to be the 50th anniversary of our marriage, and Crucita and I are planning to celebrate with friends and family the following weekend. Lots of things happening in this month of April!

Today’s Key Verse is part of the Second Reading (Philippians 2:6-11) for this Palm Sunday in Year C. Based on its lyrical arrangement it is, perhaps, based upon a hymn, or perhaps some creedal form, known to the Apostle Paul and his intended audience in Philippi. It is a beautiful summary of everything about the reality of the Christ, not just historically, but also prophetically and theologically. There is a very powerful meaning in the opening words – Let the same mind be in you – and that is what we will investigate today.

We’ve all heard someone say, “He must be out of his mind!” Or “Nobody in their right mind would think or do such a thing.” When the Apostle Paul speaks of being “of the same mind,” he is presenting a very specific teaching. The little meme up there expresses it in more modern English – have the same attitude that Christ has. In this case, the root word is φρονέω (phronéō) {fron-eh’-o} (from /phrḗn, “the midriff or diaphragm; the parts around the heart,” J. Thayer). This form, phronéō, connotes something internal and visceral being manifested cognitively – what we feel becomes shown in what we think and do. Our personal opinion, our “self-talk,” our attitude – these come together so that they conform cooperatively with the personal opinion, presentation, attitude of another (or others). Whose attitude(s) should we try to match? The Apostle Paul lets us know it the next five words: that was in Christ Jesus. This is an important concept, something we should try to understand. The Apostle Paul felt it was important enough to spell it out several times: Romans 12:16, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 2:2, Philippians 2:5, and Philippians 4:2.

The Apostle Paul is exhorting us to take on Christ’s humility for though he was in the form of God, [he] did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited …. Now, one thing we can see right off in this short phrase is that he was in the form of God. I include that for the folks who somehow mistakenly believe that Jesus set aside his divinity so he would be 100% human. This is a heresy. Jesus was fully human and fully divine simultaneously. It is a Mystery of Faith earthlings cannot and do not understand intellectually, but can accept as a matter of Faith. Christ, then, being fully human and fully divine lived in humility so great that he surrendered everything to God The Father. Even everything he said and did was from The Father. His will, his attitude, his opinion of himself and his mission was from God. Jesus put everyone – yes, EVERYONE – ahead of himself. That was his mindset, his attitude, his self-image if you will. Here is the result as it is found in Philippians 2:1-4 1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

When The World sees us even trying to act like that, we get painted as “Little Goodie Two-Shoes,” a children’s story written by that World Famous Poet, Anonymous, and published by John Newbery in London in 1765. The story gave rise to the use of the phrase “goody two-shoes” as a derogatory label for an extremely righteous and even intrusive person while at the same time it surreptitiously mocked the main character as being too-good-to-be-true and actually self-important. Jesus isn’t like that. In our right mind, we shouldn’t be like that either because – despite what The World thinks – being good for goodness’ sake is an unambiguous form of humility similar to this: And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. That’s no “Goodie Two Shoes” attitude. That is the attitude of The Suffering Servant, the kind of person who understands and commits to – Servant Leadership. How many of us can really Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves? That list of verses I gave you a few lines back demonstrate the value of that mindset. Yet how in the World do we attain it?

The answer is, of course, that we cannot attain it in The World. It comes through the Holy Spirit, and it comes in the Spirit when we can arrive at that point in our hearts and minds (and souls, it seems) of metanoia. We repent of our arrogance and take on the nature of Christ. Here in Romans 8:9, we find another of those “pesky” conjunctive phrases: You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed* the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. New English Translation (NET) NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
*εἴπερ (eiper) {i per} – since, if it is true that, if perhaps, if indeed, if after all, if only. How, indeed, does the Spirit of God live in us?

We do that by imitating – even better, emulating – Christ Jesus. When we imitate Christ, we try to copy, model, mimic, or style ourselves to simulate his thoughts and actions. When we emulate Christ,  we live so as to equal or match his mindset and actions; we desire to excel at being as well-esteemed and correct as Christ, not just copying him. Honestly, Belovéd, I find this to be extremely difficult. As I said last week, I’m not a Perfect Loser. There are things within my sphere of influence that I believe I should be able to control, but cannot. There are things outside my sphere of influence that in know I cannot (i.e., should not) try to control, and yet I do. I cannot even imitate Christ, much less emulate him. It seems hopeless.

And yet …

The Holy Spirit provides. Here is another way to look at this whole idea of being wholly holy. It’s one of those Internet floaters that I often think about but can never remember. It’s called

The Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us our lives were laid out like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare, and empty, like binding air together with smoke.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, somehow only to muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. A gasp of surprise filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.”

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through! God determines who walks into your life….it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.
~~  Anonymous

And so, Belovéd, it is not we –  not you, not I – who can emulate Christ to “be of the same mind” as his, for it all depends on if indeed only the Holy Spirit is emulating him in us. Then, truly, are we in our right mind because our mind in us is right.

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.

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

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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
Pages Email Newsletter Categories Archives Connect