LENT WEEK 2: FEELING BLOCKED?
Contributed by Shontell Calina, KSH Christian Education Instructor
(Reflect on this devotional from Sunday, February 25 to Saturday, March 3)
ʻO ka mea noho iho ma kahi malu o ka Mea kiʻekiʻe loa, e moe ʻo ia ma ke aka o ka Mea mana loa. E ʻōlelo aku au iā Iēhova, Kuʻu puʻuhonua, kuʻu puʻukaua hoʻi. Kuʻu Akua, e paulele aku au iā ia. ʻOiaʻiʻo nō, e hoʻopakele mai nō ʻo ia iaʻu i ka hei o ka mea hoʻohei, A me ka maʻi make ahulau. E uhi mai nō ʻo ia iā ʻoe i kona mau hulu, a e holo nō ʻoe ma lalo iho o kona mau ʻēheu. No ka mea, ʻo kona ʻoiaʻiʻo, he pale kaua ia, a he pākū nō hoʻi. – Halelū 91:1-4
You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection. I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.” God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases. You can go to him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. You can trust him to surround and protect you like a shield. – Psalm 91:1-4 (ERV)
Several weeks ago, my husband Kūlani and I took our 1-year-old son Rāwiri to Lili‘uokalani Park in Hilo. It was a beautiful day. The kind of day that’s not too hot, just right with a crisp breeze floating in every so often. Rāwiri loved it!
Although he doesn’t yet really speak, he was like, “There’s so much grass!” He pretty much ran everywhere. Kūlani and I took turns blocking him from running right off the edge into the water. I was bussin’ out some football feet to keep Rāwiri from the dangers of falling. By no means am I an athlete, so you can imagine how graceful this looked!
My son was determined to go to every spot that we tried to block. We were successful in keeping him from going off the edge, but it was a lot of work. I was tired! If we had let him have his way, he most definitely would have gotten hurt, possibly severely. He had no idea of the dangers before him, but we did.
As we spent the day protecting him from danger, hurting himself and getting a good cardio workout too, I realized something. In my spirit, I heard God say, “This is what I do for you.”
Wow. God, our faithful and good Father, consistently keeps us from danger or choices that are not good for us (Isaiah 40:11). He does this by His word, His example, His supernatural guidance and His immense love.
But, like Rāwiri, we are sometimes determined to go to every “spot” that God wants to protect us from. And unlike Kūlani and I, God however, does let us have our way. He is not a bully or a tyrant. He doesn’t want to force us on the pono path, he wants us to choose. He knows about the dangers before us, and honestly, so do we at times, but we often still choose what is not pono.
Whether it’s giving into anger, gossip, judgement, dishonesty, unforgiveness, greed or pride, God created us to know deep in our spirit, our na‘au, to choose what is right (Genesis 1:27). If we do choose the wrong path though, our God is so faithful that He will do whatever He needs to do to get us back on the pono path. In His great aloha, He will gladly pick us up when we fall, comfort us and bind up our wounds (Psalm 147:3). He will not ever keep a record of our hewa (1 Corinthians 13:5). He also will not ever get tired of doing it. Let’s be real, God no need cardio!
So be encouraged, in this season of Lent and even every day after, when at times you may feel like you’re being blocked from something, maybe it’s because God knows the “dangers” that lie before you and He is trying to keep you from going right off the edge.
Think back to times where you felt blocked but experienced a blessing because you were kept from that “thing” you wanted or wanted to do. Maybe it was a clear choice that was hard to make, but you did it. That is the evidence of God living and being active in your life. That is now your testimony of His goodness to share with others. What is your testimony? Or perhaps you are currently experiencing a block or a tough decision now. Take this to God in prayer. How will you trust God in His perfect, loving guidance?
E ke Akua mana loa, Almighty God, kuʻu Makua lani, my heavenly Father, mahalo nui loa for loving me so much! Thank you for knowing every detail of my life and what is before me. Help me to pili to you deeply so that I will clearly hear your voice and know where my next step will be. Help me to trust and have the koa to follow your leading and know that even if I take a misstep, You are right there to redirect. You are my pu‘uhonua, my pu‘ukaua, a ku’u Akua. May my life be a blessing to your name. Ma ka inoa o Iesū Kristo, in the name of Jesus Christ, ‘Āmene.
LENT WEEK 3: KEU A KA MŌLIAOLA: THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
Contributed by Vince Acohido, KSK Christian Education Instructor
(Reflect on this devotional from Sunday, March 4 to Saturday, March 10)
Akā, ua hoʻākāka mai ke Akua i kona aloha iā kākou, no ka mea, i ka wā e hewa ana kākou, make ihola ʻo Kristo no kākou. – Roma 5:8
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
I was made aware of Lent as a little boy because my father would woosh me to church where they would participate in Lent. Every year my mother-in-law does not eat meat on Fridays. I also taught PE at a school that participated in Lent every year. I would be asked by my students, “Coach, what are you giving up this year?”
Personally as I grow older, Lent has become less about giving up something like food, social media, or a hobby etc. Yes, Lent may include giving up those things, but more importantly it is a time for me to recalibrate my heart back toward Ke Akua. I do this by spending quality time reading the Bible, communicating to Ke Akua in prayer, and digging deeper into my relationship with Jesus. The good, the bad, and the ugly!
During this season of Lent the word that comes to my mind is sacrifice. We read in Matthew that Pilate released Barabbas, a convicted thief, and murderer to go free. Pilate then had Jesus scourged beyond recognition and handed over to be crucified as a sacrifice for us. (Matthew 27:24-26) In Hawaiian, this kind of selfless sacrifice for others is called mōliaola.
I am reminded in the Bible that, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) When I think about ka Mōliaola o Iesū Kristo to save His creation from their sins and unrighteousness, it humbles me and makes me fall to my knees in hoʻomana (worship) to Ke Akua.
Why would God love me so much that he would sacrifice all that for me. In essence, itʻs as if God bankrupted Heaven just so we could have an opportunity to live life to its fullest on earth and one day live with Him in heaven.
I wonder if Queen Kapiʻolani thought about Iesū’s mōliaola when she too was willing to sacrifice her own life to demonstrate her devotion to Ke Akua and His love towards all his children.
In December of 1824 she made a journey from Hilo to the Halemaʻumaʻu crater to show her hoʻomana towards Ke Akua. Her ʻohana and closest friends pleaded with her to turn around and go back, fearing she would surely die if she defied any laws of Pele.
Here is a translated response taken from a journal in 1819 of what she said about her faith journey:
“The Lord is my God. It is He who kindled the fires not Pele, and if I am destroyed by Pele you may hoʻomana her, but if I am not destroyed by Pele you must turn back to the one true God. For great is the goodness of Jehovah God who sent the missonaries to turn us from these vanities to the living God and the way of righteousness.”
So she travelled barefooted 96.7 miles from Kona to Halemaʻumaʻu. It is recorded that one of the priestesses of Pele met her there to challenge her. From a journal, a conversation was translated between Kapiʻolani (K) and the Priestess (P).
K: “Who are you?”
P: “I am one in whom the gods dwell!”
K: “If God dwells in you then you must be wise, and you can teach me, come and sit down.”
P: Begins to read from a blank piece of tapa, but she said it was a letter from Pele to Kapiʻolani. “This is a curse to you!”
Then she began to say some uninteligable words to all in attendance, which she claimed was the dialect of ancient Pele. When she was done, Kapiʻolani looked at her and said. “You have pretended to deliver a message from Pele, but we have not understood it at all. However, now I will read for you a message that you can understand, “I too have a letter...” She proceeded to open her scriptures and read to her the messages of Salvation, Hope and Eternal life. Then she and her group began to sing hīmeni and the Priestess stood in silence. Then Kapiʻolani went to the edge of the crater and began to pray and she then descend into the crater to proove there was none greater than the Lord God. When she retured safely, the people cheered.
Queen Kapi‘olani was baptized the following year and devoted the rest of her life following Ke Akua. For myself, I do not believe she was suggesting to abandon her moʻolelo of Pele, or any of the other Hawaiian gods, but her message was clear that Ke Akua was worthy of hoʻomana by all people.
We can find many stories of heroism and sacrifice that can sometimes discourage us from wanting to live a life reflective of mōliaola. I believe there will never be a greater sacrifice ever recorded in all of history, then the sacrifice of Iesū dying on the cross to forgive us and save us from our sins.
Simply know that any sacrifice we choose to apply in our lives should not be motivated by the amount or size of the sacrifice. Sacrifices we apply to our lives are best done as an act of aloha!
Have you ever considered Godʻs sacrifice of Jesus? (Matthew 27:26, Romans 5:8)
Have you ever trusted Jesus to forgive you of your sins? (John 3:16)
Have you ever considered to live a life sacrificially from a place of love? (Mark 12:44)
Have you ever done an act of sacrifice for Godʻs eyes only? (Matthew 6:1, Matthew 6:4)
Have you ever considered to live your life in sacrifice to God? (Ephesians 5:2)
I wonder? As Queen Kapiʻolani made her way down the crater at Halemaʻumaʻu, I wonder if one of the songs she sang was “Majesty” to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!
Majesty, worship his majesty,
Unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise,
Majesty, Kingdom authority,
Flows from his throne unto his own
His anthem shall raise.
So exalt lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify come glorify Christ Jesus the King,
Oh Majesty, worship his majesty,
Jesus who died now glorified,
King of all Kings.
KALANI Ē (Translated by Kahu David Kaʻupu)
Iesū ē, pule Kalani ē
I ka Haku ua nani, mana i pai
Kalani ē, noho Aupuni ē
Aia Kalani, i ponoʻī he nani nō
Kiʻekiʻe, e kū ka inoa o Iesū
Hoʻonui, Hoʻonani no Kristo Kalani
Iesū ē, e pule Kalani ē
I make ia, e ala hou, Kalani o Lani
February 14, 2018
KS Kapālama Interim Kahu Sherman Thompson shares how Lent can not only be a time for abstinence, but redemption as well. And KS Hawai‘i Christian Education Instructor Kensy Apaka gives his mana‘o on how to avoid falling into the “If only” trap.