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

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Aloha Friday Message – HOSANNA! – Sixth Friday of Lent

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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

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

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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/

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

1749AFC120817 – Waiting for God

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Message – December 1, 2017 – DO get caught!

1748AFC120117 – DO get caught!

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.

Isaiah 64:5a You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.  (In the New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE), this sentence is in Isaiah 64:4a and reads: Would that you might meet us doing right, that we might be mindful of you in our ways!)

Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

One of the most important things I learned as a manager was the necessity of catching people doing the right thing. After all, isn’t that what we expect of employees, that they will be motivated to do the right thing? Truly we all like to be told that we are doing the right thing more than we like being told we are doing the wrong thing. There are times when correction is important, and there are times when we appreciate correction as long as it is fair and nonjudgmental – what we call feedback. Sometimes feedback can help us be aware of our lack of attentiveness and encourage us to be more engaged in what we do. Sometimes, no matter how often we receive correction, praise, or other feedback, we just keep doing the wrong thing, and we get caught doing that more often than we get caught doing the right thing. When faced with a situation like that, it would be wise to make a deep examination of the fundamental assumptions we have about our position in life.

Back in September 2014, I wrote a piece called My 4,357th Second Chance. I asked what would happen if we really could change. One of the most important – and most difficult – changes to make is repentance. To be repentant, we must ask for forgiveness – and that is what usually trips us up because … we have to admit we were WRONG! Why is that so hard to do? Well, that one is a three-part deal.

First we have to get past our pride that makes us feel we are superior to everyone else because – although we may not always be right – we are never wrong. That’s also what did in Adam: “It wasn’t my fault! She made me eat it!” You’ve been through that enough times that I don’t need to spell it out.

Next, even if we can wrestle down our pride and admit we were wrong, we have to be willing to say – and mean – that we are sorry. “I’m sorry” gets stuck in our craw for the same reason as admitting we’re wrong: Pride. It takes humility to apologize and most of us are wired to avoid humility.

Lastly, we have to make up our minds not to do “that” again. We have to repent. We have to reform. We have to go back to being without that intention to gratify our egos and, in so doing, hurt someone else – or even ourselves.

That’s how we should deal with correction, but what about dealing with getting caught doing the right things? I can recall hearing sermons and parental admonitions that went something like “If Jesus walked in right now, would you be ashamed for him to see you doing that?” Wow! Talk about a downer! Honestly, if Jesus walked in right now, I’d be so happy that I would stop doing anything – good or bad – just to embrace him for real. Of course, the idea is that, since he can come at any moment like a thief in the night, I should endeavor to do only that which is right and good – to be perfect, to be wholly holy – as he commanded me to do. That would be a rare feat indeed! Who among us can claim perfection? To do so would be the sin of pride, and pride is what gets us in most of our messes anyway. So, how do we manage being caught doing the right thing?

While we know we cannot be perfect, we can still try to be better. Better is always better, always a positive move toward doing right things better and better things right. This is what is called intentionality. We rarely succeed at being or doing better without intending – without consciously trying – to improve, or at least to remain consistently good. God, in his infinite grace and generosity, accepts our intentionality as readily as he accepts our good works. In short, it’s not impossible for God to catch us doing the right thing as long as we are intentionally and consciously trying to be obedient to him.

In the first of our two key verses today, we see the word meet. The connotation of this word is to meet, to encounter, to reach, to touch, to welcome, to help. God intentionally and consciously seeks to catch us doing the right thing. He always is present and open to our actions; if we do well, he blesses us with a clear conscience; if we fail, he blesses us with loving correction. He is generous with both sorts of blessing because he always wants to help us remember his ways, his conventions, his Everlasting Love. When he looks at our lives, he sees what we do, and if we are doing what he asks – if our actions are consistent with trying to be like him – he is pleased, he is blessed, and he blesses us before, during, and after we act. He is always shaping us in ways that help us conform to his image – the image in which he created us – his own. He fashions us with the capacity to do the right thing. If we remain flexible in his hands, we are well-formed indeed! That brings us to one of the most famous verses in the Bible – the potter and the clay.

Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. We might look around and wonder how that can be when we see the tsunami of evil rolling across the world. Terror, wickedness, greed, suffering, disease, famine, and defiance of God’s laws are occurring at every moment of every day. How can these things be done by all who are the work of his hands? Those who behave so contrary to what God requires – and provides for – are proud in their rebellion. They refused to be shaped by him who made the universe. There is another passage in Isaiah that addresses this: Isaiah 45:9 Woe to you who strive with your Maker, earthen vessels with the potter! Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”? or “Your work has no handles”? In another version it reads like this: One who argues with his Creator is in grave danger, one who is like a mere shard among the other shards on the ground! The clay should not say to the potter, “What in the world are you doing? Your work lacks skill!” New English Translation (NET) Yes! We sometimes speak to God like that! And he has an answer for it through the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me:” Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done?” says the Lord. “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” God is not fooled, and he is always in control. He will always try to reshape us properly. If we cannot be reshaped, it is possible we can end up on the floor like other pieces of broken pottery, like a mere shard among the other shards on the ground!

Beloved, we are all clay in the potter’s hands (remember, “from the dust of the ground” – Genesis 2:7), but remarkably some of us still try to call the shots and shape our own lives in our own image. As it was with Israel, so it is with us. We earthlings find it so difficult to relinquish our will to anyone – or so we think. We let friends, or family, or peers influence us into doing things that do not honor God. “What do you mean you’re going to church instead of watching the Ostriches versus the Echidnas? What kind of a fan would miss that?” “C’mon. One little toke won’t hurt you!” “If you really loved me, we’d stop wasting time talking about it and just do it.” “Hey, just one more for the road. Drink up! Ya only live once!” (And don’t forget YOLO forever.)

Those comments, that outlook, these distractions will guarantee a shattered future somewhere along the line – perhaps even as far down the line as Death’s Door. We willingly give our bodies, minds, and spirits, even our allegiance, to things that are impermanent; but we will not give an entire day once a week to the God who created us, who sustains us, and who fills us with only the finest things, “gift of finest wheat” (Psalm 81:16, John 6:35, 2 Corinthians 4:7), and “treasure worth more than gold.” Beloved, that is the way to destruction!

We know we are going to “get caught.” God is all about looking for ways to catch us trying to be like him. When we do that, he likes it, and he rewards it. When we don’t (or won’t) do that, he doesn’t like it and – like the potter in Jeremiah – will try reshaping the clay for another purpose. I see that as a win-win situation, and I am grateful God’s work is done in me when I yield to his hands. I’d love to be caught doing that!  Maran atha! Marana tha! We need to tell our God Have Thine Own Way, Lord! (↔ Music Link)

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Message – November 24, 2017 – DON’T Do It Yourself

1747AFC112415 – DDIY

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Ezekiel 34:11-12 11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.'”

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Are you enjoying the endeavor of finishing up the Thanksgiving Feast? We did our “Turkey Day” on Sunday, the 19th, as a combined birthday and Thanksgiving celebration. Crucita and Timothy picked up a nice small turkey for three bucks at Safeway. Then Crucita worked for hours preparing the turkey, the cornbread-and-pecan stuffing, the homemade pumpkin pies, scalloped potatoes, turkey-stock gravy, Orange-Marshmallow Glazed Yams, and I opened the can of cranberries. She and T did amazing work and most of it from scratch. They did it all themselves, and it was good; it was very good. It was quite a creation.

Do you remember what God said about his “homemade” creation? Genesis 2:1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. In Hebrew, that word looks like this: וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ The Hebrew word for finished is וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ way-ḵul-lū which comes from the root word כָּלָה (kalah) { kaw-law’}. The expression finished here means “consummated” or “to perform the last act which completes a process, to accomplish, fulfill.” Everything that needs to be done has been done. It is a fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. Whatever can or needs to come next can succeed because the perfect preparation for it has been completed. Remember? The verse immediately before this one says 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31) All the other days of creation ended with “And God saw that it was good.”At the end of the sixth day, indeed it was very good, so good in fact, that God could rest for a day after all the work he had done creating the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in them. It was the perfect ending of all he had done. And he did it all himself; we know because he told us so. Check it out.

In another passage he declares that he, and he alone, is God: Isaiah 43:11-12 11 I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. 12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed – I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.”

God loves us so much he decided that he, and only he, could save us from sin and death. There are many passages in the Bible where the Lord uses this emphatic reference – I, even I or I myself – to describe the punishments he will mete out for those who are disobedient. God also uses this strongly-reflexive idiom when describing how he will protect, love, and comfort his people as in our key verse today. God did all of that himself because we could not do it at all. He began this Great Work of Salvation in Eden, and God himself proclaimed its completion from the Cross saying “It is finished.” (More on that shortly.) God himself cared for his people as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his flock. He promised them restoration to the good things they lost through their disobedience and lack of love. They – we – cannot do that ourselves. We cannot restore our lives which are lost to the wages of sin. We cannot bring salvation. There are no animal sacrifices, not a single sacramental holocaust, no redeeming acts or prayers that we can perform which will accomplish what only God himself can do. But, we still try anyway, and God himself still loves us as the sheep of his flock.

This was an image well-understood by the Children of Israel. For the nation Israel, livestock was a central component of everything from worship to shelter to clothing. Animals were important, and they were cared for as the investments they truly were. We know the story of the lost sheep. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to realize that losing one lamb would be a bad setback. Losing a ewe and her unborn lamb would be far worse. God says that he himself will be the shepherd to Israel, and for the Israelites that was a brilliant illustration. God’s “hired hands,” the Priests who were supposed to lead and protect the people, had failed in their job, so God announces, “I will do the job myself because I care about my sheep so much I don’t want them to suffer like this any longer.” Then he promises to send another Davidic Shepherd, the heir of David’s throne, and like the shepherd David, this Good Shepherd will lead God’s people in the right way, defeat God’s enemies, and establish a Kingdom where God and his Shepherd rule with justice and equity for ever.

Beloved, that is – of course – the Kingdom of God, and you and I already live there. So does every living soul on this earth. All of us live in the Kingdom of God, but not all of us are part of the Kingdom of God. If Jesus is your Shepherd, you are part of His Kingdom. If Jesus is not your Shepherd, you live in the World, but not in the Kingdom. No one is excluded from the Kingdom by the Shepherd. The only way to be excluded is to ignore the Shepherd. And if Jesus is your shepherd, then you have to go where Jesus goes; that’s what we mean when we say, “follower of Jesus.” We go where he goes, and conversely, we do not go where he does not go. God himself went to the ultimate end of it all to finish what he himself began “In the beginning,” and we must also go there, because that is where it is very good. It is where redemption is finished by God himself, and he alone can make it וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ way-ḵul-lū – completely finished. When God finished the universe, he took a rest. Then came sin, and God had to end his rest and start the process of redemption. That work was completed by God himself. How?

John 19:30 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.”Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“It is finished.In Greek, this is Τετέλεσται, (Tetélestai) {teh-TEH-les-tie}. Some translations read, “It is consummated, “which is another appropriate translation of the word Τετέλεσται. This expression comes from a Greek word τελέω teléō  {tel-eh’-o}, which also means consummation, or to complete a process all the way through the final step which means everything that needed to be done has been done. It is a fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. Whatever can or needs to come next can succeed because the perfect preparation for it has been completed. Wait. That sounds familiar! So, could it be that way-ḵul-lū in Hebrew and teh-TEH-les-tie in Greek have the same denotative and connotative meanings? Certainly! Jesus was there when the words of Genesis 2:1 were spoken (think of John 1:3aAll things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.) God did all of it himself. We don’t have to do it – in fact, we can’t do it. We seem to have a hard time remembering that even now. Many times Israel was briefly able to toe the line, to repent and do what God had commanded; but then they forgot and went right back to ignoring good and enjoying their own version of This is MY Life. We believe we can compromise- broker a mutual agreement – with God and get a better deal.

Compromise is not a biblical word, it is not a Biblical concept, and it is not an acceptable approach to living with God in his universe; he made it, so he gets to make all the rules; we don’t. The word compromise is pretty difficult to find in the Bible. In all the versions I have, I could only find it in one – the New Jerusalem Bible, and then in only 1 verse: 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

We still believe we can substitute our idols, our ideas, our points-of-view for what God himself has decreed. Belovéd, DON’T Do It Yourself! God has already done it. It is finished. And God is uncompromisingly clear about what we must do to be what he created us to be – wholly holy. (See Leviticus 19:2 and 1 Peter 1:15-16) Come away from the World with all its compromises. Abhor and avoid what is unclean. Don’t try make a deal that will land you in the Devil’s condo at the end of time when the King separates the sheep from the goats (See Matthew 25:31-46. Seriously! Go read that while you listen to this (↔ Music Link)). God has a mansion for you that he himself has made. It’s yours for the asking because that’s what God does – he does it his way for us, with us, and about us but never without us. Why? Because he loves us!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

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

 

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Aloha Friday Message – November 17, 2017 – The Answer is … 46

1746AFC111717 – The Answer is … 46

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.

Today I’m doing something a bit unusual. I’m taking excerpts from previous posts and combining them together. The Gospel for this Sunday is about the King who gave his servants large sums of money – talents of silver. In Israel, a talent of silver weighed about 100 pounds. That’s a lot of money! The men who received this were expected to invest it and return it to their master with the earnings of their investment. That has something to do with how I approached this post.

The Old Testament reading for this weekend is about the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” You may know a few women who fit that description – well, at least one, perhaps. There is also a very good description of the blessedness of a man who has a good wife in Sirach 26. As I thought of these two passages, I remembered writing about The Proverbs 31 Woman. I looked for it on my blog and found a lot of other things that also sparked my heart. I also thought of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the number 42. Douglas Adams claimed he chose that number totally at random; I like that idea, so I looked at the index number for this post – 1746 – and then I got that familiar little murmur  from the Holy Spirit and decided to pick 46 as my guide. Then the message went something like this: “Look for something in every #46 in the list.” This compilation is in response to that directive! I’ve converted each of the index numbers to links so you can go explore if you like what you see and want some more.

346AFC110203 – A Love Story

In Sister Act and Sister Act II, we saw Whoopi Goldberg and a gaggle of singing nuns take standard secular songs and turn them into hymns. That’s been happening in my head this morning, so I thought I’d share with you how it works. Remember the movie “Love Story?” And what about the theme song? “Where do I begin to tell the story of a love that could not be? A great love story that is older than the sea? Where do I start?” I kind of started hearing the melody first, then some of the lyrics drifted into my Swiss-cheese brain, and then it dawned on me that that’s the story of Jesus and me. It’s part of Thanksgiving, I guess, because I sure do feel thankful to have a message like that rolling around in my head. And today as I meditate on what that all means, I hope that lyric is the story of Jesus and you, too.

646AFC111706 – Coffee and God

“Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.”

God brews the coffee, not the cups . . . enjoy your coffee.

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, it means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections.”

746AFC111607 – The kid said what?

  1. Where there’s smoke there’s – – – pollution.
  2. Happy the bride who – – – gets all the presents.
  3. A penny saved is – – – not much.
  4. Two’s company, three’s – – – the Musketeers.
  5. Don’t put off till tomorrow what – – – you put on to go to bed.
  6. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and – – – you have to blow your nose.
  7. There are none so blind as – – – Stevie Wonder.

846AFC111408 – Suffering

For me, in those times when God seemed farthest and I seemed most desperate, the only thing that made any sense was to keep doing what I knew to be “the right things:” To pray, to read the Bible, to serve, to give, and to expect healing. I also realized I had to be open to the help, the empowerment, and the encouragement given by others who might not have fully understood my despair, but who nonetheless held out helping hands and hearts. They were Christ for me when I could not be Christ for anyone. When JOY returned, it was different in texture, content, and context. I realized it was a rough trip, but well worth it. I also realize now that there are probably some other stretches of “25 miles of bad road” ahead. I’m OK with that. I would not have found JOY as readily, I believe, had I not persisted in the common things and accepted the many and varied gifts of family and friends, I would still be kicking at the darkness and wrestling with the drought caused by doubt.

947AFC112009 – The Most Beautiful Heart

(This is one of my favorites. I hope you will read the whole thing sometime this week. It says a lot about how I feel about you.)

I am very grateful for the pieces of your hearts I carry in my heart. Should the time ever come when the pieces of your hearts far outnumber the leftover pieces of my heart, then our heart will begin to look a little bit more like His heart. That is why I pray each day, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto your heart.”

1046AFC111210 – The Economics of Sin

We all know of persons who claim to be antireligious or irreligious, and still they are kinds and generous and do many things that benefit many people. God alone knows the depth and breadth of their faith. I still hold that whatever good they do is only done because “all good things come from above.” (James 1:16-18 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.) The good we are able to do is possible because God put Good into the world through Jesus so we could understand how to worship God together. More and more the world is turning inward and worshiping confusion. Why worship God when you can worship yourself?

1146AFC111811 A Handful of Seeds

Beloved, where is your crop? Where is your mustard-seed bush, your acres of wheat, your vineyard of grapes, your orchard of fruits of the spirit? You cannot expect a harvest if you do not commit to the stewardship of planting. […] When you plant the Word in the “good soil” of your heart, you have to plant more than one seed to get a harvest. You must also add to the stewardship of planting the stewardship of nurturing. And if you nurture the seeds, the crop they bear will require you to add the stewardship of harvest. It is from the harvest that the sower gets seed for the next crop and grain for the bread to feed himself and others.

1246AFC111512 – 3-D Discernment

Today I am thinking about discernment. Recently I received a Word from the Lord about discernment, and I want to share with you what I found. The Word came as “3-D Discernment.” 3-D Discernment is a Discernment that is Direct, Deliberative, and Descriptive. Direct in the sense that it is confrontational as when Jesus spoke directly to the demon that was oppressing someone. Deliberative because it weighs the evidence of Good Fruits versus Corrupt Fruits. Descriptive in that it lays out in no uncertain terms where the errors are and defines them so that only a demon or a fool would be unable to see the differences between Truth and error.

1346AFC111513 – The War rages on!

Do you believe in God? If you do, then you must also believe in Satan, because God is not a liar, so he would not warn us against him if he was not real. Do you believe in Angels? Then you must believe in demons, because Satan took with him many of the Holy Angels who joined him in his rebellion against God. Do you believe the souls of our Faithful and Obedient departed are with God? Then you must believe that the souls of the faithless and rebellious departed are with Satan. Think of all the people you know – not just the ones you hang out with – all the people in the news, all the people in the nations where war is happening right now, and all the people whose “spiritual ideologies” exclude any aspect of the reality of the Holy Trinity. Now think of all the people who claim to know God, to serve Christ, but whose words and actions contradict everything they claim. Next, think of all the people whose words match their lives, who can say with absolute certainty “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Run a quick tally in your head. Which of these three groups is the smallest? Which of these three groups is most likely to become allies when the battles intensify? Finally, if you know in your heart how to distinguish one group from the other, then you know how to “test the spirits.” In the end, we will all have to answer these questions, so it is best to answer them today – and every day – as we test the spirits we encounter. Paul refers to one of those spirits as the Spirit of the antichrist. (Read the rest of the article to see what “antichrist” really means.)

1446AFC111414 – I Ain’t Lyin’!

This Sunday, many of us will hear a reading from Proverbs 31. I have mentioned this section of scripture before when I wrote about the Virtuous Woman. Check that last link for a list of 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman. I have known a number of women who are worthy of the title, Virtuous Woman – or Proverbs 31 Woman. If you look through that list of 10 virtues, you will perhaps think of someone who fits most, if not all, of those descriptions. For the passage about the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31, see Proverbs 31:10-31.

1546AFC111315 – What’s next?

How, then, can we get to heaven? It is only through the Grace of God who gives eternal Joy to all who will believe in the Christ of God. One must repent, believe the Gospel, be baptized, love God and Neighbor, and be a witness (testify) to the Salvation granted by our God through Christ Jesus. Outside of those criteria, only at the Day of Judgment before Christ will we know. I encourage you to follow this link to read Matthew 25:31-46. This is the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, the division of the nations (all humanity) into two groups: The Righteous and the Unrighteous. Christ will judge. God will award. That is what’s next. All of us will go down to the dust of the earth. All of us will be raised up on the last day. Some of us will spend the rest of eternity with God and all the Angels and Saints. Some of us will not. What’s next for you? Is it Philippians 2:9-11? I sincerely hope so!!

1646AFC111116 – Can I get a Witness?

A witness (n.) is one who testifies. To witness (vt.) is to see personally in present reality. Martyr is one who gives up life for the sake of a promise to God. To martyr someone is to kill them because of their faith. In this day and age, in places around The World, hundreds – perhaps thousands or even tens of thousands – are responding to Jesus’ call, “Can I get a witness?” Stephen said yes. Paul said yes. Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Bartholomew said yes. Who among us can say yes? Who will shed her/his own blood for Christ? […] Our idea of being a witness for Christ, pretty much stops at getting up in a tent-revival meeting and answering the altar call. But there are remarkable exceptions. Many of us – whether Catholic or Evangelical fundamentalists, or Buddhists, or Jews, or you-name-it-faiths – are content to quietly go to services and live unmolested about our faith when in society. We often barely have courage to “Stand Up for Jesus.” (↔ Music Link). What’s that you say? You disagree? Where is your zeal?

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Message – Friday, November 10, 2017 – God did that

1745AFC111017 – God did that

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! I’m back to being able to actually see what I’m doing on the computer. My monitor was getting flaky, and I finally had to replace it. Thanks again for those of you who have been praying for our needs here in Kapahi. I can assure you that it is making a difference. I especially thank you for your continued prayers for the persons named in the Share-A-Prayer list over the past few weeks. Lives are being changed! The recent news about not having to go to surgery – yet – was a nice surprise. Hopefully the PT will relieve the inflammation in my left shoulder and I will be able to regain a greater range of motion with much less discomfort; if that doesn’t work, then it’s go ahead with the surgery and do the PT all over again. Meanwhile, my hips are competing for attention, but until the shoulder issue resolves, not much will be done for those worn-out parts. Whatever the outcome, I am trying to be ready for God’s will in all things. Being ready means you don’t just assume that when the time comes you’ll be prepared for whatever happens. You have to be paying attention to “the little things.” Jesus taught several lessons on being ready. We will hear one such lesson this weekend – the 10 Virgins at the Wedding Feast. Here’s what I’d like to use as our key verse today:

 Matthew 25:10 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.

In this story, there are 10 virgins who are waiting for the bridegroom to return so that the Wedding Feast can start. All of them fall asleep. Five of them have brought extra oil; they are referred to as the wise virgins. Five of them did not bring extra oil; they are referred to as the foolish virgins. When the bridegroom arrived, the wise were ready to go into the feast with him because they could refill their lamps and trim their wicks. The foolish ones begged the wise for more oil. The request was not granted. Instead they were sent out into the darkness to attempt to correct their foolishness. The wise went in with the bridegroom. The foolish were locked out. Although the parable does not say it directly, we can come to a reasonable assumption that the door was locked by the bridegroom after he entered the feast with the 5 who were ready. It is very apparent in this parable that Jesus is the bridegroom and the 10 virgins represent his followers – all 10 are invited to the feast. You may recall in the parable of the King’s Wedding Feast, the servants went out and brought in strangers, everyone they could find, people who would not normally have been invited. In this parable of the virgins, all of them are invited to share in the celebration. How can the bridegroom shut them out, and why? And what about the people who were never invited? What became of them? Why are they left out?

The series of parables in this part of Matthew are addressed to the Disciples – not just the Twelve, but to all who have answered the Gospel call. Jesus frequently pointed out that answering that call required a radical change in one’s life (we’ve discussed metanoia previously). If a Disciple was not able to sustain that level of commitment, they “fell away” from discipleship. They were left out. This is the basic message of everything in the Bible. We are to love God and love our neighbor. In and through that love, we find ways to obey God, to draw ever closer to him, and to find the strength to keep our commitment to his love. As stated here repeatedly, everyone is called, everyone is invited, the Wedding Feast is open to anyone who will come in and honor the bridegroom. In the Wedding Parables, those who could not do that were “bound hand and foot and cast out into the darkness where there was weeping and grinding of teeth” (paraphrasing there). Yes, we can be thrown out of the party, even if we think we belong there! Check out this passage:

Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” Just who are these who are the “many,” the ones who expect Jesus to wave them into Heaven along with all the righteous? They are the “Sunday-goin’-t’meetin'” Christians. They are the folks who associate with the Church because they like hanging out with believers, but are only superficially tied to the church. Many passages in the Epistles and catholic letters deal with members of the early church who are abusing the fellowship (koinónia) of the Christian community.

The Apostle Paul tells those early Christians that faking it isn’t going to work. We’ve looked at this passage previously: 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. All are invited, few are called, and many are excluded because they won’t “stick with the program.” Just as the people who would not honor the traditions in these parables were left out of the benefits enjoyed by those who would honor them, God will not allow those who dishonor his Son to enjoy the benefits of his heavenly reward – eternal life with him. Some folks just don’t believe God will do that. If you’re in that group, I have only one response: Read your Bible! Here are a few reminders –

Genesis 7:16 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in. Yes, God did that. He shut the door and no one else could enter.

Psalm 145:20 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. Yes, God did that. He allowed the nations in Canaan 400 years to repent and reform. When they did not, Joshua and the nation of Israel came in and utterly destroyed them – men, women, children, livestock, cities … everything. At least that was what he ordered them to do. Some of his people refused to give their obedience, and they suffered the fate God intended for their enemies.

Psalm 34:15-16 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. Yes, God did that. It’s abundantly clear throughout the whole Bible – and visible in all of earthly life – that God favors the righteous, but he will destroy those who are evil along with everything they do.

Matthew 13:41-43 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen! Yes, God did that. He planned it in a way that if we think we can go along for the ride just because we hang out with his Disciples, we will be left out – thrown out – with Satan and all his followers. Believe it or else.

Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Yes, God did that. He gave us the gift of Grace that empowers and inspires us to love God and neighbor, but to abhor all that is Worldly like the five virgins who thought being invited was sufficient.

These are the false followers without truly being Disciples. They want the benefits of being a believer without doing the work. They are too self-centered to make Jesus the focal point of their love, preferring themselves instead, and expect the genuinely-committed to bail them out in the end (See verse 8 here.) The foolishness of this assumption is the whole point of the parable. At the outset, we may think that their foolishness was “failure to prepare.” In a way, that is true, but the real kicker is in the consequence of that failure. One’s faith in, and obedience to, Christ’s Law of Love cannot be bartered off to save someone else. It is only Jesus who saves, and he saves only those whose faith – the oil that lights the lamp – is consistently ready. Yes, God did that. We must not forget that it was God who created the universe, blessed it, and called it Good. The door is his to close at his chosen time. Right now, it’s open for everyone who can trust and obey (↔ Music Link) God’s Divine Plan. There is another who has a plan for you, but it is most definitely not good!

If we’re invited to the feast but never show up, we can be certain the door will be shut when we try to go in to the Feast. If we try to fake it, we will not make it to the Feast of the Righteous. On the Day of Reward, our reward will be eternal life – as it is for all souls – but it will be eternity without happiness of any kind. Yes, God did that. He offered Mercy to all and richly rewards all who will accept that Mercy. To those who refuse his Mercy, he gives his Perfect Justice. Yes, God did shut the door of the Ark, and that was the beginning of Justice for all who were not inside. Yes, God did warn the wicked in Canaan that their lives and property would be destroyed and the land would be handed over to his People. Yes, the Apostle Paul did tell the flatterers who wanted to be seen as Christians (like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day) that they can’t fake their way into Heaven or invent their own Gospel. It is true that God commanded that the Ark be built, but it was Noah’s obedience that God honored by protecting him and his family at the time of that dreadful Justice. Mercy opens the door; justice closes it. Yes, God did that, but those who have eyes to see can see that the door is still open just a crack.

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Message – November 3, 2017 – Easy Does it – NOT

Aloha Friday Message – November 3, 2017 – Easy Does it – NOT

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!  Thank you for your patience this week.  With my monitor out, it was difficult to do any research or writing.  Let’s begin right away with our key passage:

Matthew 23:11-12 – 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

Although we hear this passage frequently,  when we hear it we don’t really listen to it.  We know that Christ expects us to be humble.  We accept that intellectually, but as a practical matter we usually don’t do too well in fulfilling this command.  Sometimes, we manage to “fake” being humble by being self-deprecating.  This is most definitely not what Jesus asked us to do.  God created us in his image and in his likeness.  God does not make junk!  We cannot call ourselves junk without failing to recognize this important fact: We are wonderfully made.  As the Psalmist tells us in Psalm 139:1414 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

When we look into our past, way back to Eden, we remember how the Serpent deceived Eve lied to that Father of Lies when she said in Genesis 3:2-3 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” God only said not to eat of that tree; he said nothing about touching it. This is a reflection of the same sin that Lucifer committed: PRIDE. Eve’s pride prompted her to believe that she could be equal to God – as did Lucifer. As we learned in our 2016 Lenten Series, The 7 Deadly Sins and Their Corresponding Virtues, Pride and Humility are opposites. What it boils down to (and what it’s always about) is choice. We choose between sin and virtue. We can work on being humble or we can just wallow in our Pride. What does it take to be humble, anyway?

Thomas À Kempis put it this way in The Imitation of Christ – Study to do another’s will rather than thine own. Choose ever to have less rather than more. Seek ever the lower place and to be subject to all; ever wish and pray that the will of God may be perfectly done in thee and in all. Behold such a man enters the bounds of peace and calm. Like I am always saying, “It’s a choice given to us through the gift of free will.”

There is a wonderful litany which is (incorrectly) attributed to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X called The Litany of Humility . This short spiritual exercise, when prayed in earnest, is a good daily reminder of the many things we can set aside that will help us learn the value and power of humility. The original author of the Litany of Humility is that famous writer and poet, Author Unknown. I recall a little vignette in which a clergyman decided to work of each of the Seven Virtues for a year at a time so that he could master each. He decided to begin with Humility. After the passage of many years, he confessed that he had still not mastered it. But he never gave up trying!

It seems that is the only way to get there – keep trying! Here are some other reminders:

Psalm 10:17 17 O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear

Proverbs 16:19 – 19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 29:23

Proverbs 29:23 23 A person’s pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Matthew 18:4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 14:8-11 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

There are at least as many places in the Bible where we learn how much God loves us and is hoping we will love him in return, he gives us everything we need to be humble, to be happy, and to be his! Think about these things:

Psalm 8:4-6a what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

Isaiah 49:15 15 Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

John 3:16-17 16 “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. 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.

Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 4:11 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

2 Chronicles 7:12-14 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 Peter 5:5-6 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”* Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.  * (See Psalm 138:6 and Proverbs 3:34)

James 4:10 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

St. Augustine wrote “Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.”

Like the cleric who humbled himself by realizing he was a failure at being humble, and like the writer of the Litany of Humility who faded from the view of the world, let’s just keep trying, fully aware that it is not easy, but also fully aware that the effort is worth it, win or lose.

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

 

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Aloha Friday Message – October 27, 2017 – Who was that who called?

1743AFC102717 – Who was that who called?

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. PLEASE BE SURE TO READ THROUGH TO THE END SO YOU CAN SEE OUR PRAYER REQUESTS AND MEMORIAL. THANK YOU!

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.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For the people of those regions [Macedonia and Achaia] report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

1743AFC102717 – Who was that who called?

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. PLEASE BE SURE TO READ THROUGH TO THE END SO YOU CAN SEE OUR PRAYER REQUESTS AND MEMORIAL. THANK YOU!

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For the people of those regions [Macedonia and Achaia] report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

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 is from the second reading for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Let me begin with a little background on this passage and the book of 1 Thessalonians in general.

Thessalonica (alsoThessaloniki) – Θεσσαλονίκη, (Thessaloniké) {thes-sal-on-ee’-kay}, is currently the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Greek Macedonia. Paul went there with Silvanus (Silas) after Paul and Barnabas had a heated disagreement about taking “John called Mark” with them (See Acts 15:36–41). Later, Paul called upon Timothy to travel with him. This was what is usually referred to as Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. They made many converts in Philippi and then began teaching and preaching in Thessalonica. In both locations, they were harassed and assaulted by both Greeks and Jews who opposed their message. Paul moved on to Berea and then Athens while Timothy and Silvanus continued working in Thessalonica. Paul sent word for Timothy to rejoin Paul and to report on the conditions in Thessalonica.

That report prompted Paul’s first letter to that faith community. In this letter, Paul expresses his thankfulness for their perseverance in faith and optimism in their willingness to accept not only the power of the Gospel, but also the responsibilities of living according to the Gospel he preached so patiently to them. He insists that they recall the selfless love shown by the missionaries and to model their behavior after those recollections. At the time, there were numerous roving hucksters of “new” religions – many of them heretical involutions of The Way. Paul therefore reemphasized not only the substance of his gospel but also his gentle approach to teaching it. He asked them to recall and consider the content of his message as well as the form in which it was presented. By considering both, Paul hoped they would come to realize that in and through the Gospel, God’s grace is always generously given and is unequivocally powerful.

Paul did not want any of the early coverts to forget the power of the Gospel. He knew that many of them would find it difficult to remain faithful in the face of vigorous persecution. He emphasized the absolute availability of salvation to all who would accept the gift and the responsibilities of using the gift. We might recall the words of Jesus when he was instituting the Eucharist. When he blessed and offered the chalice, the gospels recount he said the blood he would shed would be “for many: 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.” Paul expounded on that later in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all – this was attested at the right time. Many (all) are called, but few are chosen. This is stated in the Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14. We’ve studied this before and commented on how the family giving the wedding also gave all the guests a special garment to wear at the wedding feast. One guy showed up without the freely-given garment; this was a terrible insult, worse even than those who were the first invited later refused to come to the wedding at all. The point of the lesson is that God give us everything we need, every “good and perfect gift,” to make it easier to answer his call. Many are called; not all accept. Who is calling us, even now? Yes, it’s true, God is still calling us and he’s given us everything – absolutely everything – we need to answer the call; so many gifts, and still we squander them – including his unrelenting love! I know. I, too, have ignored it, refused it, squandered it. Like the foolish steward who did little with the great gift he was given, I have failed to be a good steward of the many gifts he gives me, especially his love.

He has given me so much love that I can’t keep track of it, and I can’t give it away fast enough and deeply enough to reduce the overflow. And even with all those blessings, I can still act like the unfaithful steward and can be a real jerk, someone even I don’t like to be around. I have been entrusted with much; the expectations of my Master, my family, and my friends are high; my performance under those expectations often fails. The recompense for failure is loss – loss of gifts, loss of respect, loss of resources, and usually loss of comfort. This recompense, however, never includes loss of Love. It seems no matter how much I lose anywhere in my life, Love floods in to fill the void, and then the Love nurtures and restores the gifts I have wasted.

It is scary to think that having received much, I must meet higher expectations. All I have to do is choose to be generous with my gifts, and if I can try my hardest to be as generous as my Master is, then all will be well for he more than replaces what I give to him and to others.

If it is scary to realize I have frittered away my gifts, it is just as scary to see gifted people (meaning of course everyone in the world for we all have gifts) ignoring and even abusing their gifts, squandering them on everything that is dissatisfying. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” is a poignant reality. It is sad, shocking even, to know that all of us are called to Life in the Spirit, but only a few accept that gift. Indeed, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) “The Call” here is perhaps not what we might think. The Gospel is present among us ready to be heard and acted upon. Do you remember what the first requirement of the Gospel is? Yes, you are right: Repent. In the Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast mentioned above in Matthew 22:1-14, The King’s invited guests snubbed him, so he ordered his servants to bring in strangers, stragglers, and seat them for the banquet. Then there is a strange incident of a man who did not wear a wedding garment. How could he? He was drafted as an impromptu guest. Yet the other guests were prepared. What does this mean? How does one prepare for the Wedding Banquet of our King? What is our “wedding garment?” First of all, it is our repentance. The man had not changed his apparel before entering the feast and for that he was kicked out. He was called but not chosen because he dishonored the call. He had not changed before entering the feast; the unrepentant also have not changed and are not prepared for the Wedding Banquet to which all are called.

Who is calling us? Did you know that It’s not just God? Satan has literally flooded our lives with entertaining little examples of what a great guy he is. Through movies, “mediums,” astrologers, cartoon characters, TV series, gurus with meditation tricks, and even right-in-your-face fantasy worlds inhabited and ruled by demons. Demonic possession is made to appear cool. Sin is downplayed as personal choice and it is politically incorrect to even mention sin. Satan has the World telling us religion is poison. (Hence Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.“) The faithful can find contradictions to The Truth everywhere. Even among Christians there are doctrinal divisions so starkly in contrast that an outsider might wonder if Christianity is really any different from Marx’s concept of all religions.

As a Catholic, I often see or hear things that make me wonder how Christian Christians are. Some Catholics don’t understand their faith at all. Many Christian Evangelicals don’t understand that Catholics really are Christians. Growing up I can remember being warned against “those idolaters.” The fact that those divisions and contentions exist is not as important as the source of those positions! Christianity has had some spectacularly bad moments – years, decades, even perhaps centuries – and yet it endures, it spreads, it grows in knowledge and wisdom, and it sustains Life by proclaiming Truth. In this era of Mankind – which many are beginning to believe are indeed “the latter times” – the advancing tide of evil claims billions of innocent lives through abortion, euthanasia, war, genocide, and – sadly – just rampant indifference. Satan wants us to believe it’s hopeless, wants us to believe he’s an OK guy, wants us to believe nothing else matters but our own comfort; and then he works as hard as he can on making us uncomfortable with everything that is Truth.

Matthew 24:10- 1210 Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

Heed The Call, the Gospel Call. Paul reminded the Thessalonians – and us – that “in and through the Gospel, God’s grace is always generously given and is unequivocally powerful.” There are many voices calling us, but only One is True. We are to turn from our idolatry of Worldly things – power, fame, popularity, money, political jockeying, self-righteousness – and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming. You have been called; I have been called; we have been called to repent, be baptized (in water and fire) and to believe the Gospel. What a gift, this Gift of Love! How, then, are we to answer The Call? It’s simple really. The Bible tells us so. Jesus summarized it for us in Matthew 22:37-40 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Who’s calling us? Are we listening? I’ll somewhere list’ning for my name. (↔ Music Link) How about 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.

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

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

In Memoriam:
Maurice Wayne South
Mentor, leader, Belovéd friend, MBN member
Affectionately known as “Encyclopedia South”
REQUIEM IN PACEM

Today would have been my mother’s 91st birthday.
Rest in Peace Zeta Lorraine Lamke-Todd

Share-A-Prayer

AD – continuing her fight against breast cancer and making progress

AL – one of my godsons. He’s a great kid and I would like to cover him with many blessings of love

ALG – recently diagnoses with breast cancer. Lost insurance. If you can help with Go-Fund-Me, let me know

BC – a fellow coworker in The New Pentecost who needs health, invitations to conduct missions, and who gives all of us much prayerful support

MC – working on getting back to Jesus

EP – MBN brother in faith with multiple chronic illnesses and yet has that tireless love for Jesus

FO – part of our AZ family staying in remission; HOWEVER – she is experiencing failures multiple organ-systems. Please pray for her and for her caregivers and family.

RB – a sister in MT facing multiple surgeries, multiple chronic health issues, and much in need of a new place to live AQAHP with access to better healthcare and better neighbors

DP – cancer survivor, husband with Alzheimer’s. She really needs some respite!

ICD – continuing her very aggressive chemo regimen. We’re praying for sufficient success that surgery will be unnecessary

JR – looking forward to meeting her infant son in a few months. Praying for uneventful pregnancy

KT and hubby ET – K has very fragile bones and history of multiple painful back fractures. Hubby E is an amazing and loving caregiver

KL – the first friend Crucita and I found at St. Catherine’s. Blessings for her generously loving support

M&KW – K has multiple orthopedic problems. M not only provides her with essential care and support but also is an amazing steward in our Parish

NS – also multiple chronic congenital health issues. Got Hep C at about age 10. Now needs liver transplant. Hope, healing, and health, please.

TO – reaching out to know the Lord. Pray for an open heart and mind to hear The Call.

And of course, we pray for everyone in the MBN – everyone who prays for us and everyone who asks for our prayers.

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

May our Almighty Everliving God continue to richly bless you in all things and all ways with his Perfect and Generous Love! (You want to get that call, please?)

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Aloha Friday Message – October 20, 2017 – Who knew?

1742AFC102017 – Whaddya think of that, eh?

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 2:7-11 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

Isaiah 44:24a, 28-45:1 – 24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, …

28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,
and he shall carry out all my purpose”;
and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”

45 1 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
and the gates shall not be closed!

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!) This weekend we celebrate the 29th Sunday in Ordinary time. You can find the readings here. Today I am going to be looking into the passage from Isaiah. I believe many churchgoers will hear about the passage from the Gospel where Jesus lays out the basis for his followers to submit to civil authority in Matthew 22:20-21 […] “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” In other gatherings, the faithful may hear about the power of the Gospel and how it was preached to them in the Authority of the Holy Spirit as the Apostle Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:5our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.

This is an early testimony to the concept of Apostolic Authority; believers know the source of that Authority, and should therefore respect because it is Authority that comes from God through God’s chosen emissaries. The civil authority of Rome and the Divine Authority of the Church were readily seen. They were part of the day-to-day life of the contemporaries of Jesus and later of Paul and the other Apostles.

But what if you were told about a man who would come into civil and divine power simultaneously? That would be pretty amazing! Even more amazing is that this man’s entry into biblical history would be made 150 years before he was born. To top it off, the LORD gave the name of this man to the nation of Israel. Yes, 150 years before this brilliant soldier, politician, ruler, and benefactor of Israel was born, God told his People, that Cyrus would be God’s Anointed, a redeemer who would restore Israel. Wouldn’t that just knock your socks off? Who knew?

Isaiah was actively prophesying from about 740 to about 700 BC. Cyrus was born in Anshan, Persia sometime around 598-600 BC. Isaiah received from God not only the man’s name, but also the ways Cyrus would quell Israel’s enemies and restore Israel – and the temple – to the Israelites. You are aware that several nations had overrun Israel and carried of hundreds-of-thousands of its citizens to Assyria and Babylon. In addition, the city had been sacked and burned and the Temple obliterated. The Temple vessels were carried off and scattered to various nations and cities across the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. Toward the end of Babylonian’s iron rule, God sent Cyrus – the son of Cambyses I,  a.k.a. Cambyses the Elder – to conquer and subdue a huge area of “the known world.” He was the leader of the Persians, conquered the Medes and united the Iranian people under one ruler for the first time. Cyrus became the first king of the Persian Empire; under his remarkable leadership he was able to establish one of the largest and most enduring empires in history. He was very tolerant of other religions (he himself appears to have followed Zoroastrianism), and in short order determined that the violent and dehumanizing repression of Babylonia against the Hebrews must be reversed. He sent several delegations back to Israel with instructions to rebuild the altars, the temple, and the city walls. It was at this time that the Second Temple was built.

At one point the work on the Second Temple was suspended for 18 years but was restarted under the benevolence of Darius II. It’s difficult to assign an exact date to the completion and rededication of the Second Temple, but it would have been around 514-518 BC. It was nowhere near as grand as Solomon’s Temple, nor were they able to return to it the Ark of the Covenant; nonetheless, the Altar of Sacrifice was restored. This is the Temple at which Jesus worshipped. It is the same temple what was utterly destroyed by Rome in about 70 AD. Now, that’s enough history. Let’s go back and see how the history supports the prophecy regarding Cyrus. I ask you to scrutinize these to passages from Isaiah, please. Please use the link to see them properly laid out. I apologize in advance for taking them out of their poetic form:

Isaiah 44:6-8 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

Isaiah 45:18-19 18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other.19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek me in chaos.” I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.

This week’s readings all center on authority. Jehovah alone is God; there is no other deity who commands power and truth as he does. Jesus tells his Disciples (and his enemies) that God’s requirements are not the same as Rome’s requirements; we are to respect the authority of both. Paul tells us that through Jesus’ Divine Authority as the Son of God we are given the inspiration, empowerment, and Apostolic Authority to share the Gospel ” … in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”

In the Second Chapter of Acts – quoted above – we have a list of locations that include much of Cyrus’ empire. All these nationalities are brought together through the authority and protection of the Holy Spirit as God’s Anointed, the Christ of God, establishes the Authority of God in Heaven and on Earth, over the Divine and the Human. The “Promised of Ages” has come to rule the World, not through the power of might, but through the Authority of the Law of Love – the same Law through Which and by Whom all of Creation was formed. It was, is, and will be through God’s Authority (which includes all the “Omni-” words we have studied) that the universe – including you and me – was created. In God’s Omniscience, he meticulously named Cyrus 150 years in advance to show how the Mercy of God surpasses any human expectation or understanding. There is no greater Authority than Truth, and the LORD declares “I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.” The Truth is what is right.

In the past, I have mentioned Frank Peretti’s explanation about the truthfulness of Truth (You can find the quote here.) He said, “There has to be a truth that is fixed and objective and separate from you. It has to be true whether you believe it or not! (Pthum) It has to be true whether you like it or not! (Pthum) It has to be true whether you ever heard of it or not! (Pthum) It’s just true!” God and God alone is Truly Truth. Remember now, when we say “God,” we mean our El Shaddai-Olam, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity:

LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ JUSTICE ≡ OMNIPOTENCE

≡ ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS

Let me reiterate: There is no greater Authority than Truth, and the LORD declares “I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.” The Truth is what is right. God grant that none of us is foolish enough to say, “Well, what’s true for you may not be true for me, and what’s right for you may not be what is right for me.” Saying that denies God’s Authority over us and all the rest of his Creation. That is the favorite deception of the Father of Lies. Give God what belongs to God (hint: that’s us – you and me). Give God what is Right, not what is left. Submit to Divine and Civil Authority whenever Truth is found in them.

Who knew? Anyone who knows the Truth!

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

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Aloha Friday Message – October 13, 2017 – Sí, se puede!

1741AFC101317 – ¡Sí, se puede!

¡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!) Whew! I don’t know about Lake Woebegone, but I do know it’s been a long week in Kapahi! I want to begin by thanking all of you who so graciously offered your prayerful support during my recent illness. I still have a lo-o-o-o-ng way to go, but I am making incremental steps toward recovery. As new sequellae develop I’ll keep you posted. We also appreciate the prayers for my Dearest Darling Wife, Crucita. She, too, is making progress. That bug that caught us was one vicious little brute! I also want you to know that our son, Timothy – who moved here to take on the role of caregiver – has been a wonderful help to Crucita and me. He got here in the nick of time! So, again, thank you everyone. Now, let’s get into The Word.

Today I’d like to make my launching point from one of the readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time which you can find here.

Philippians 4:19-20 19 And my God will fully satisfy [supply] every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I love these two verses. In fact the letter to the Philippians is one I often turn to when I have questions that need answers or situations where encouragement is needed. Just a few verses above these two (next Sunday’s readings) is the favorite of many a troubled soul: Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In the Authorized King James version it reads I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (A little more on that later.) Truly, Beloved, it is in Christ that we find awesome strength, and it is indeed He who gives us that strength we need and in such perfect proportions as to always meet our needs and then still have some strength left over. It is that thought which often comes to mind when I read the KJV version “which strengtheneth me.” Just the knowledge that Jesus gives me strength – in and of itself – gives me strength! I have strength from Jesus, and knowing that makes me – and the effect of Jesus’ strength – even stronger. It’s like forging a sword out of iron and another of bright steel. The one is strong; the other is stronger; yet both are stronger than I alone can be.

It is something like that for Philippians 4:19. We all know to whom Paul is referring when he says “My God.” Paul is consistently reminding us of the Holy Trinity – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:13 2 – Cor 13:14 AKJV) – in his Epistles. The Trinity is an indivisible Community comprised of three distinct personages, and all of them act in accord with one another, yet separately. The fact that this is an impenetrable mystery does not faze Paul in the least. In that respect, I think of him in the same way I think of Abram.

God chose Abram over many others and assigned him to a task of God’s choosing. Abram means “exalted father.” He was renamed by God at the beginning of the first covenant – he became Abraham “father of many nations.” Saul of Tarsus was renamed by God at the beginning of the Second Covenant. Saul was the name of Israel’s first king, and the popular meaning of the name was “prayed for.” Saul of Tarsus assumed a task whereby he meant to choose God and exterminate The Way – as Jesus-followers first called their faith. Saul became Paul; Paul is rooted in a Latin word which means “small” or “humble.” You remember Simon was renamed Peter, and sometimes in the Gospels we hear both together – Simon Peter. But you never hear Abram Abraham or Saul Paul in any scripture. That is how total the change was – more than just a name, it was the designation of an entirely new person refashioned by God on the spot.

Abraham went on to do many astounding things, but none was as astounding as his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and we know Paul also did many astounding things including healings and resurrections. Both of them had been prepared by God to do those things; that is why God changed them. He had a plan, and a job, and needed the right person for that job. He did what only God can do. He created a job and then created a person to do that job. Paul and Abraham both had that figured out way before their contemporaries did.

Now, let’s look at “fully supply.” This word “supply” in Greek is an interesting word – `πληρόϖ pleroo {play-ro’-o}. Among other concepts related to completion, it is used as: to make complete in every particular, to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the fullest; to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally. Paul’s meaning here is that God can completely repay – with more left over – all of Paul’s debt to the church in Corinth. There is where our eyes often go first. “God chooses to be generous with me, and I accept his generosity.” Then we pass him a list of what we want from him.

DING-DING-DING-DING! WRONG!! God is ABSOLUTELY – in the most literal sense of that word – ABSOLUTELY-Generous Will DOES fully supply all our needs. And so, while we want to focus on the thought of his generosity, we know “God gives us all we need, not all we want.” This leads to those silly prayers where we tell God, “I really need this | promotion | new house | personal renewal | sense of forgiveness | anything-else-I-usually-want to put in this sentence when I pray | … BUT (we so righteously add) Thy will be done. I don’t want to be greedy.” (Can you get that here before Tuesday, please? Thank you God!)” “Fully supply” in this passage is like we read about in Luke 6:3838 “give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

WHOA! Back UP!! Curve ball!! We were talking about God being generous and giving us what we need, not about giving others what they need. Think again. Read the passage in context. Go ahead. I’ll wait (you really should click on the link you know. It will take less than 60 seconds to read this, and it’s really good information.)

Do you see? The Church in Philippi had gone to extraordinary measures to help Paul in times of great need and great danger. They had given of their own temporal and spiritual riches to support Paul. Paul has absolutely no way to repay their kindness, but he knows God has seen their generosity and will answer it with his own version of GENEROSITY. He is saying, “I cannot repay the debt, but I am confident God will repay you out of his own riches.”

God has already been incredibly generous with us. How are we using the riches of his generosity? Use them well, and there is a better likelihood that he will fully supply all our needs in the way of generosity only he can provide. This cycle of receiving, giving, and receiving more is what enables us to “… do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It doesn’t make me superhuman – if one of the things I want to do is climb a building like Spiderman or lasso a jet like Wonder Woman – but, whatever God asks of me can be done through the strength I have in Christ Jesus. Even my old friend Abraham was able to do extraordinary things because he reasoned that God’s Word is true; if God said Abraham would be the Father of Many Nations, then somehow – no matter what – Isaac would be alive to carry on that Covenant. We can do all needful (requisite, necessary, required) things in the strength of Christ’s Glory, Grace, And Love. ¡Sí, se puede! How and why does that work? OUR “God will fully satisfy [supply] every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

How about a practical example? We have MBN members who are evangelizing, witnessing, preaching, teaching, prophesying, and giving the Devil Hell. Pray that those who want to go to Hell with Satan will instead ask you about going to Heaven with you instead. Go ahead! You can handle it (Philippians 4:13, remember?) Also, please remember Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (←New Living Translation). What a GOOD & GENEROUS God we have! Look at what he’s given us:

Jesus loves me. This I know. All Creation tells me so.
It’s so easy to belong. Just believe and sing this song!
(↔ NOT a Music Link, but a decent read from a 2008 post.)

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

Share-A-Prayer
IDC – A treasure since we first met her as a child. Got smacked hard by her latest treatment with Adriamycin – a real wrecking ball for cancer but also poisons bone marrow (and everything else), thus putting her capability to fight off infection very low. Please pray for the miracle of remission through combining faith and medicine.

ALG – A much-loved friend, wife, mother of three, coworker, and also – diagnosed last week – with breast cancer. She lost her QUEST healthcare protection not long ago. If you would like the address for her Go-Fund-Me link, please message me back and I’ll email it to you. For all of us in the MBN, especially our other cancer patients or cancer survivors – you know the power of prayer is what is most needed.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

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

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Aloha Friday Message – October 6, 2017 – Aloha Friday Good News

1740AFC100617 – Aloha Friday Good News

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! This will be very short. Last week I told you I hadn’t the wherewithal to do the research and writing for a fresh post and referred you to that Sunday’s readings as well as a message from 2013. Today all I can do is update you on what has happened. You won’t find this online anytime soon. This entire post will go to Facebook without any online links.

First, please look at this Scripture passage. From Philippians 4:6-7 – 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, many of you know Crucita and I have been quite ill for the past couple of weeks. We caught some kind of flu that was very debilitating and is still holding on relentlessly. It involved both an upper respiratory clobbering as well as a lower GI component. Hydration and nutrition became seriously impaired for me. The end result was that my blood plasma got super-concentrated. That caused the concentration of medications I take to also become super-concentrated. The result was that my blood pressure meds made me hypotensive and my anticoagulant medication was about 4 times more concentrated so that it became toxic. I was coughing so much and so hard (because my lung secretions were also concentrated) that I tore muscle and fascia in my abdominal muscles. Blood leaked out through the tears and I ended up with a 6-7″ band of bruises around my tummy and blood also leaked into the organs below that. This happened around 2 AM Sunday, 10/1/17. It was time for action.

I went to the ER. After a thorough exam, I was admitted to get the bleeding under control. My percentage of red blood cells in my veins had decreased from 46% to 33% – despite the dehydration! I was discharged 10/4/17 after receiving 3 units of blood products (FFP – Fresh Frozen Plasma) used to control the bleeding. They also had to treat my coughing as that was still an issue. It addition, I had consistent pain in my left shoulder so upped my pain meds (Tramadol) for that. Today I came back to Wilcox Clinic and was seen by a Physiatrist (use the link). She (and Crucita and I) were hoping it was just a bad bursitis. It turned out to be a tear in the Rotator Cuff Tendon – about halfway through – that will require surgical repair later this year. I was so relieved to know why the pain was so intense and so localized! She went ahead and injected the joint with long-acting cortisone to within 48-72 hours I expect significant release from that pain. I’ll have to be extra-special careful not to tear it any farther; and, no, I have no idea whatsoever I could have done to cause such an injury. If you know me, you know I’m not the sport-and-fitness type! I expect to be in the healing process for the next 6-8 weeks, then the surgery on the shoulder!

Now, look at that Scripture again. Every healthcare professional or paraprofessional I spoke to said, “Well, good thing it wasn’t an intracerebral bleed!” (A hemorrhagic stroke.) And so I choose in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God as my message for you today.

Many of you sent words of encouragement, prayers, and concern; Mahalo nui loa! I continue in my prayers for MBN members who have asked for our prayer, for the folks suffering the terrible tragedies in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, all along the Gulf Coast, and in the Great Northwest as well as everyone with cancer.

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

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

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