While America grapples with mass murder in schools, and Jamaica with murder every day, Good Friday and Easter cometh. Hope in Christ Jesus!

How does one cope, when you live in a small country, Jamaica, where, year after year, for many years now, quoting popular singer Etana’s Wrong Address, ” people die there every day”. And where so far over 200 persons have been brutally murdered. Mostly by the gun!

How do people in devastated Syria cope? With aircraft raining weapons of death on innocent people, including children, day after day. Or when ISIS was active, how do you cope with relatives being beheaded, or with acts of mass raping of your women. How!

How will children in the richest and technologically most advanced country in the world, America, cope with continued and heart wrenching episodes of mass murder in their schools? How will that society respond?

How do people cope with the devastating news of the sudden death of a loved one? Or ” bad news” about cancer, or HIV or a broken relationship? How! And why!

One Perspective about Life

Isn’t life not supposed to one where boy meets girl, fall in love, dance to the music of Drifters, Temptations, Bob Marley and Skatalites in one era. Or Chronixx, Protege, Rihanna Beyonce and Adele in another era.
Get married, or shack up if that’s your thing or a visiting relationship, have children, work hard, love neighbor, vote in or vote out governments. Stay home and build a nation or go abroad and send money back home ” as you quint the money reach “. Send for your family or go back home and apply for the post of Commissioner of Police, or start a business and make some other contribution to nation building. Watch TV, enjoy Carnival, or Dancehall music, hang with friends in a club or at the local bar. Eat roast yam, jerk chicken or pork, go to the beach on a Sunday while others worship God, or watch Messi play for Barcelona, cuss Arsenal’s coach, live for Basketball, play dominoes and try don’t ” colt de game. Dig yam hills, carry your tomatoes and lettuce to ” Curry” or the local market to sell. Run the ” One Order” hoodlums, or pay the ” tax”. Beg the taximan or Coaster bus driva to slow down.
Send your children to a good school and pray that they will come out to something good, don’t disgrace you, and look after you when you get old.
Then retire early, call Hotline regularly, capture your children’s children, grow them up too, or refuse because you have a life to live. Grow old with your partner, serve God, when you are old and have nothing else to do, or start when you are young in obedience to your mother’s teaching. Or continue to wonder who God is. Die and go to one place or another. Or doesn’t everybody get to go to heaven! Or don’t we all turn to dust, and that’s it.
Isn’t that the story of life!

I have been reading, again, a book which I started before Lent, entitled ” Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by New York Times best selling author Rev. Timothy Keller. And he paints an entirely different picture about life. And argues, in my view, successfully, that Christianity alone of all the world’s religions, and ideologies and philosophies, best prepares us for the inevitable suffering and pain which are natural parts of human life and existence.

Keller’s opening statements in his book:

Introduction

The Rumble of Panic beneath Everything

I think that taking life seriously means something like this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation….of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false.
– Ernest Becker, The Denial of Evil

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. ( Psalm 34:1-3).

Suffering is everywhere, unavoidable, and its scope often overwhelming. If you spend one hour reading this book, more than five children throughout the world will have died from abuse and violence during that time. If you give the entire day to reading, more than one hundred children will have died violently…..thousands die from traffic accidents ( crashes) or cancer every hour, and hundreds of thousands learn that their loved are suddenly gone…..

Shakespeare understood this when he wrote:

Each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry,
New sorrows strike heaven on the face.
….. and Becker expose the common ways in which we try to deny the rumble of panic. This book is an effort to do what they urge – to take life seriously. I want to help readers live life well and even joyfully against the background of these terrible realities. The loss of loved ones, debilitating and fatal illness, personal betrayals, financial reversals, and moral failures – all of these will eventually come upon you if you live out a normal life span. No one is immune.

Therefore no matter what precautions we take, no matter what how well we have put together a goid life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable, with friends and family, and successful with our career – something will inevitably ruin it.

No amount of money, power, and planning can prevent bereavement, dire illness, …..human life is fatally fragile and subject to forces beyond our power to manage. Life is tragic.
We all know this intuitively, and those who face the challenges of suffering and pain learn all too well that it is impossible to do using only our own resources. We all need support if we are not to succumb to despair. In this book we will argue that inevitably this support must be spiritual.

Final comment: I am preaching, in part, tomorrow at my church, St. Andrew Anglican Parish Church, on familiar words from the Gospel about suffering. Pray for discernment and revelation. And to speak boldly!

Some of my friends are going through a challenging time dealing with life threatening ilnesses. We need to pray without ceasing for each other. For mercy and comfort!

We have to be very careful and be willing to be nuanced in our understanding of the Gospel. Which is why I posted this message from Keller’s book on Twitter last night.

So suffering is at the very heart of the Christian faith. It is not only the way Christ became like and redeemed us, but it is one of the main ways we become like him and experience his redemption – #TimothyKeller #WalkingwithGodthroughPainandSuffering

Nuance! However, ” I don’t want to celebrate suffering, prescribe it for everyone, or minimize the moral imperative to to reduce it where we can. I don’t want to ignore the pain that ripples out from each diagnosis of cancer…God is grieved at our grief – Keller https://t.co/oTBvMHrJaY

Hope at the end of Lent

#Parkland shooting and #100murdersin20days, as well as other tragic events across the world continue to pose serious questions about what is life all about. But as we journey through Lent to Good Friday and Easter we are assured that God not only cares, but He cares even to death on a Cross. And He is still sovereign. And is willing through the Ressurection of His Son Jesus to offer those who believe, new and unending life.
Peace

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Chose ye this day who you shall serve today: The Eternal God or the Wisdom of this Age

I lived through, and worked in a hospital in a volatile area (Kingston Public Hospital ) in the build up to, the violence in 1980; largely due to the tension between the two major political parties approaching the general elections

At the end of which year, 899 Jamaicans, not PNP or JLP, but persons made in the image and likeness of God, lay dead

Jamaica murder rate over the years:

Year # of Murders
1970 152
1971 145
1972 170
1973 227
1974 195
1975 266
1976 367
1977 409
1978 381
1979 351
1980 899
1981 490
1982 405
1983 424
1984 484
1986 449
1987 442
1988 414
1989 439
1990 543
1991 561
1992 629
1994 690
1995 780
1998 953
1999 849
2000 887
2002 1045
2003 975
2004 1471
2005 1674
2006 1340
2007 1574
2008 1601
2009 1680
2010 1428
2011 1125
2012 1097
2013 1200
2014 1005
2015 1192
2016 1350
2017 1608

There was great fear in the society, at that time. But the general feeling was that if you did not venture into certain areas the violence, for the most part, it was unlikely that you would be affected.

The mood now, and has been for a while, is quite different; as the murderous rampages and other violent crimes, have become so random, so unpredictable, so heinous, so brazen. Broad daylight no longer offers any protection. Being a woman, even pregnant, or a child, is no longer a “safe zone” with the current lot of criminals. A church or the pastor is no longer ” off limits” to the #wicked. As they fear neither man nor God. Much less #ZOSO or #StateofEmergency!

And so a pall of fear hangs heavily over my beloved country. Affecting ordinary citizens and even a pastor I met recently. I’ve never seen it like this!

The Response of The Church

How does the Church respond in a time like this. For those who lay dead, all 1608 last year and #100murdersin20days at the start of 2018, are not just scammers, or goat thieves, or gang members “fighting for turf”, or victims of reprisals or contract killings, or….. but persons, Jamaicans ( and a few from abroad) made in the image and likeness of God.

Suffering

And so a nation suffers. Loudly sometimes! Otherwise quietly in the ” sanctity” of their homes. Praying to God for mercy. Some! While others invoke the name of feared crime fighter #RenetoAdams. And more, sign a petition, requesting that he become the next Commissioner of Police. A man widely viewed, and remembered, as one who was not a strong opponent of the use of extrajudicial executions as a crime fighting tool.

So as brazen and unafraid gunmen continued to place my country under siege, I turned to Timothy Keller, to find some comfort in the midst of the madness and suffering. And was led to post this message on Facebook.

FACEBOOK

Theism without certainty of salvation or resurrection is far more disillusioning in the midst of pain than is atheism. When suffering, believing in God thinly, or in the abstract, is worse than not believing in God at all – Rev. Timothy Keller #WalkingwithGodthroughPainandSuffering
#Jamaicableeding

Why? Robust, distinctive Christian beliefs offer comforts that secularists cannot give:
1. Belief in a personal, wise, infinite God who is Sovereign over all the universe vs fickle fate and random chance.
2. In Jesus Christ, God came to earth and suffered with and for us sacrificially.
3. In Jesus Christ and Him Crucified we have an assurance of Salvation vs karma

4. Assurance of a bodily resurrection just like Jesus.. one of the great desires of the human heart is love without parting…..in the Ressurection of Jesus we have more than consolation; life is restored vs nothingness and an impersonal spiritual substance.

Thank God for Jesus indeed vs “The Immanent Frame” ( The view that the world is a completely natural order without any supernatural). A shift which did not remove all belief in God but altered it……Deism – God created the world for our benefit, and now it operates on its own, without any His constant or direct involvement. More anon!

” If one does not find consolation in these Christian doctrines ( beliefs), then I think total disbelief in God is better preparation for tragedy than the thinned-out, secularized belief in God that is so common in our Western world. Many people today believe in God, and may go to church, but if you ask them whether they are certain of their salvation…….Jesus’ sacrificial death on a cross…..bodily resurrection of Jesus and believers……..”

Comment: I believe I was led to share this post as the big question that we face as a nation is not who to appoint as the next Commissioner of Police, or whether or not, given recent events, there ought to be a review of the constitutional provisions for the appointment of the Chief Justice, or how do we achieve economic growth or tame the crime monster, but whether or not as a people we will trust in the God of Jacob.

The same God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom our slave forebears trusted. And based on this choice fashioned, in large measure, a once relatively peaceful society.
The very same question posed by the Jewish leader Joshua thousands of years ago: Chose ye this day who you shall serve…..as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

I believe, if we listen carefully, we can hear the same question as we consider the gun lyrics #bountykiller #Adi. As we listen and dance to the beguiling music of #Carnival #Temptedtotouch #Followtheleda As we spend quality time watching #Netflix. As we place allegiance to party, green or orange, over God. As we quote the words of our favourite talk show host #MuttyPerkins and discount the Word of God. As we, in the Church, ” seek first all other things #prosperity #popularity before the kingdom of God and His Righgeouesness ( who is Christ and Him Crucified).

No wonder that I was led to post this other and closely related, message from a Saint of yure.

For sadly, the reality is that the Church, we who are to be ” Light and Salt” in a dark and confusing world, have, in too many cases, become indistinguishable from the world in which we are called to be witnesses – the final post.

FACEBOOK

A Warning and a Blessed Assurance #bedtimedevotions:

Francis Schaeffer ( 1912-1984). Presbyterian minister who together with his wife Edith founded a international study and ministry community in Switzerland: L’Abri. Wrote 23 books. Including ” The God who is there “: how modern thought has forsaken the idea of truth ….and the tragic consequences of this abandonment.

WHY CHRISTIANS LOSE REALITY
Acts 17: 29

An important issue to consider as the Church offers Hope to a nation in crisis, #Jamaicableeding and some are looking ( back) to #RenetoAdams. While others believe we can fix it ourselves.

“Our generation is overwhelmingly naturalistic. There is an almost complete commitment to the concept of the uniformity of natural causes as a closed system.
This is the distinguishing mark. If we are not careful, even though we say we are Biblical Christians and supernaturalists, nevertheless the naturalism of our generation tends to come in upon us.

It may infiltrate our thinking without our recognizing its coming, like a fog creeping through a window open only half an inch. As soon as this happens, Christians begin to lose the reality of their Christian lives…..All too often the reality is lost because the ” ceiling ” is down too close upon our heads. It is too low. And the ” ceiling ” which closes us in, is the naturalistic thinking.

Now the Christian spirituality……does not stand alone. It is related to the Bible’s view of the universe. This means that we must understand – intellectually, with the windows open – that the universe is not what our generation says it is, seeing only a naturalistic universe…..For example, we have said that we love God enough to say, ” Thank you “, even for difficult things. We must immediately understand, as we say this, that this has no meaning whatsoever unless we live in a personal universe in which there is a personal God who objectively exists…..

We have also considered Christ’s redemptive death, which has no meaning whatsoever outside the relationship of a supernatural world.
The only reason the words ” redemptive death ” have any meaning is that there is a personal God who exists and more than that, has a character. He is not morally neutral. When man sins against that character, which is the law of the universe, He is guilty, and God will judge that man on the basis of true moral guilt.
In such a setting, the words, ” the redemptive death of Christ ” has meaning, otherwise they cannot.”

Renato Adams

Therefore, to think #RenetoAdams as ” Savior “, is to allow the naturalistic fog to come in through the window. Let us be patient, in prayer and in action, and wait upon the supernatural power of God in and through Jesus Christ. For our God is not morally neutral. And will judge. One day. In the meanwhile ” He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…..of those who wait upon Him”. Isaiah 40

Comment: And so the final post on Facebook this week places a bookend on the message from the Lord. At a time of great confusion in my country. Confusion in the Police Force. Confusion in the Political Directorate. Confusion in the Judiciary. Confusion in the Church. And palpable fear and suffering in the land.

FACEBOOK

#earlymorningdevotions

THE CASE FOR JESUS
Acts 1:8 ” You will be my witnesses”

“Jesus’ disciples had been asking about the Kingdom of God – when was it going to be established and when was Israel going to be restored to its former glory” – Chris Tiegreen

The Bible – He replied, ” It us not for you to know the the times or the periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…..

My thoughts…projecting the thoughts of the disciples into our age : ” Lord, when will you rescue Jamaica and restore our nation to its former glory”.

Chris Tiegreen – It wasn’t the right question to ask apparently, as Jesus answered in the way that He often did; indirectly.
They weren’t to be preoccupied with the Kingdom. They were to be preoccupied with the King.

Then the words of this wonderful song by BTC . A song I had not heard for a long time. So I searched in YouTube ” Lord I want to be your witness” and what a blessing in the early morning it was. Praise God. On a morning when all of us are praying for a New Jamaica. To be returned to its former days of peace!

Pray God that we will be occupied with thoughts and direction from following King Jesus, as we deny self, take up our cross and become witnesses for Him. In #Wrongaddress #Etana #Tivoli . In #BloodyStJames #Clarendonbleeding In #GordonHouse At #BelmontRoad At #HopeRoad In the #boardroom. On #Radio #OnTV In the #Starheadlines #JDF #JDF #Twitter #Instagram #Facebook to the ends of the earth

The Sermon at The National Leadership Prayer in Jamaica. And more!

I am inviting all who read these weekly blogs, to watch the sermon shared at the annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast in Jamaica, on Thursday morning, January 18th, 2018. It can be found in the link below on YouTube. If you wish you can fast forward until the sermon appears, or watch the entire program.

The preacher, Rev. Astor Carlyle of the Webster United Church in Kingston Jamaica, inspired me to write the following comment on my Facebook page:

A CALL FOR A MORAL REVOLUTION

Search through this link and you will find a great treasure. A call for a moral revolution otherwise we will always be in a state of emergency – Pastor Astor Carlyle speaking at the #NLPB this morning morning. And more!
Spent time tonight listening to the entire sermon all over again. And from Buju Banton through Jeremiah, from Clear mindedness and Truth telling, from Community mindedness and Justice, to Clean mindedness and Righteousness, the same Truth rang out like a clarion call. Only God can circumcise the heart. Only God can lead us to a moral revolution and away from moral insensitivity. Only God!

COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK

And among the comments which this post triggered were the following:

First: Veteran broadcaster Fae Ellington –

“Wasn’t able to watch it live but I did so last night. Rev. Astor Carlyle, my pastor’s message at the National Prayer Breakfast, to all of us Jamaicans – at home and abroad – is exactly what this nation needed to hear.

I have one concern however. This timely message was delivered on the same morning that the state of public emergency was announced. So although the leaders of both political parties were in attendance, they may not have ‘listened keenly’ because their minds might have been focused on what was happening in St. James, the Prime Minister moreso.
This also applies to others key functionaries in that room.

My point is borne out as most media missed the nexus between the Rev Astor Carlyle’s message and the real reason for a state of public emergency. On this count #CVM did much better than #TVJ.

Those media houses which only gave it a ‘lick and promise’ or no coverage at all need to revisit that message and be bold in the reporting and critical analysis.

I think we all as a nation would benefit from a full panel discussion on this message. Criminalogist. Psychologist. Political analyst. Sociologist. We don’t even need a theologian on this one.”

Second: Well known human rights activist and Anglican Pastor – Rev. Sean Major-Cambpell

“This message should be put on cd and sent throughout the country. Imagine this message feeding the minds on buses versus the filth that is often played. Imagine a portion being played at school devotions across Jamaica. Imagine a few minutes of this being played in the tax office and the banks and some crowded spaces where people spend a long time in lines. #FeedingTheMinds”

Third: The most unapologetic, strident and ‘ Truth telling ‘ journalist in town – Erica Virtue

“There are No guarantees that without an impending State of Emergency they would have listened any keener. But I can tell you they heard. You could see them wince as the truth hit home. He gave them all a righteous slaughter. Serve them right. And good for him.”

THE TEXT FROM THE PROPHET JEREMIAH

Having watched the sermon again, and having spent some time reflecting on the many contextually relevant and pointed observations: ” Truth is closely allied with trust; and without trust people will not sacrifice to help build a nation “, I went to the text from which he preached. Jeremiah 4: 1-4

THE WORD OF GOD

“If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the Lord . “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.”
This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord , circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it.
Jeremiah 4:1‭-‬4 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.4.1-4.NIV

CONTEXT

And then during #mylunchtimedevotions on the following day, I went back to Chap 3, in order to better understand the context in which the Word of God was ‘ lifted up high’, in, and on, the nation yesterday. And found this:

THE WORD OF GOD

“I myself said, “ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord . A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the Lord their God.

“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the Lord our God. Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.

From our youth shameful gods have consumed the fruits of our ancestors’ labor— their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters. Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the Lord our God.”
Jeremiah 3:19‭-‬25 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.3.19-25.NIV

GOD’S PLANS FOR JAMAICA

And so I understood better the Word from this anointed man of God, that The Lord has a wonderful future in store for Jamaica. But to attain that preferred future, we have to choose well. Make a choice to, as a nation, as they say in the language of the streets ” bun fyah for moral insensitivity and tun up moral revolution“.

For our God is longing for us to call Him Father, and not turn away from Him. In #StJamesbleeding! In #Clarendonbleeding! And in #Jamaicableeding.

Then I gave thanks for Jesus in an intentional way. Why?
Read again about God’s wrath in verse 4: “Which will flare up with no one to which it. Forever!”

THANK GOD FOR JESUS

That is, no one but Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. ” For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”!
Not just Israel. Not just Judah. Not just the wicked gunmen in St. James, and in the heart of New Kingston the day after the #NLPB was held…and not far from the hotel. Not just ISIS. Not just #Kartel. Not just #Ninjaman. Everybody! The Governor General, Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Church leaders, me, you. Everybody!

” But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus”. That’s why we love the Lord Jesus. Because He died for me. And for you! And so we sing the sanke that came into my head:

” Are you washed, are you washed, are you washed with the blood of the lamb. Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow, are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb”.

So My Lord, God who became man, Incarnate, died so that the wrath of God, may not destroy all of us who have sinned viz., ” perish”.

REPENTANCE

The reality then, us that, with all the preaching in the world, with all the Prayer Breakfast, with all the State of Public Emergency now in force in St. James, unless we, confess our sins before a Holy God, repent, abd are ” born again “, baptized and become a disciple of Christ, we will never have a ” circumcised heart”.
And thus a nation will always be in a state of emergency.

And not just Jamaica. For if truth be told whether they accept it or not, America is in a state of moral emergency. So too most of Europe. Despite their great wealth! For all that glitters is not gold. Perhaps in an even more dire state than #Haiti and parts of #Africa.

OLD COVENANT AND THE NEW COVENANT

Finally I was led to read one of the great teaching passages in the Bible:

THE WORD OF GOD

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:12‭-‬14‭, ‬16‭-‬18 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/2co.3.12-18.NIV

This then is the ” preferred future” for all mankind. To perceive the ” new thing “, that in Christ, God is doing. To move in the direction that the Prophet Jeremiah pointed. To a New Covenant with God written in! The Blood of the Lamb on Calvary And where no ” veil ” covers our faces, and no ” veil ” covers our minds and make them dull. But rather looking to the Lord Jesus, we are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory.
That is the heritage of all faithful believers.

Only then will ” streams of living water ” The promised Holy Spirit, flow from us, and help to heal this #ZOSO land. This #StateofEmergency land. And bring Peace to Montego Bay and Kingston. And grant us a ” circumcised heart “.

PRONE TO WANDER

Otherwise as the song writer so profoundly observed, in the words of a song that came into my heart last night; we will always like the people of Israel, be ” prone to wander from the God we love “.
With devastating consequences!

THE HYMN

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy praise!
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
And teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
praise the mount! Oh, fix me on it,
mount of God’s redeeming love.

Here I find my greatest treasure,
hither by Thy help I come,
and I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God,
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
let Thy goodness like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love, oh
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.

1600 Murders in Jamaica in 2017 and The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast

Prophecy doesn’t always have to come from Scripture; sometimes an old nursery rhyme, which came into my head last night, will suffice.

” Humpty Dumpty sat upon a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall.
And all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again “.
Jamaica in Trouble

My country is in big trouble. Serious trouble! With over 50 persons murdered since the start of the new year, and 1600 plus last year, my once relatively peaceful nation, has suffered a great Fall. And all our political leaders, on both sides of the fence, all our judges and lawyers and human rights activists, all our intellectuals, all our private sector leaders, all the leaders in civil society, all the police and soldiers, all the trained journalists, and the ‘ village ones’ on Twitter, can’t seem to get it right. To put Jamaica ” together again “!

The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast

So next week, as it has done for many years, at The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, the Church, will, again, call the nation’s leaders, and members of the diplomatic corps, to pray to the Almighty God, for mercy.

David’s Act of Mercy

But, after I read about a great act of mercy……David and Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth…..” Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”……” what is your servant that you should notice a dead dog like me…….last night, this verse of Scripture came into my head:

” What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:4

God’s Great Act of Mercy

So why should a Holy and Righteous God , The Holy and Immortal One, care about mankind? Why does He continue to show kindness to :

” We, all like sheep, have gone away,
each of us has turned to his own way”. Isaiah 53:6;

Why! Two reasons.
One is that, as revealed to us in Holy Scriptures, (not on Netflix, not on CNN, not YouTube, not on Facebook, not on Instagram or Telegram, where far too many people ‘ live and breathe and have their being ), God created us in His own image and likeness. And as the Psalmist continued:

” You make him ( man) over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet”.

Two, is that like Humpty Dumpty, in the Garden of Eden, because of Adam’s disobedience, Sin entered and good and perfect world, and thus man suffered a ‘ Great Fall’.
Since then, the gates were opened, and all manner of wickedness and illness and disasters entered the hearts and bodies of mankind, and into creation itself!

Manifestations of The Fall

How else would you explain rape of old ladies, one’s own child, and rape as a weapon of war! How else would you explain not just murder, but murder most foul; a baby, a toddler, a pregnant women. A whole family. Good God!

How else would you explain the ravaging of a precious child, dear friend, a wonderful mother, by the unrelenting and insatiable growth of cancer cells. Or the devastation news of sudden death from a heart attack or stroke or Pulmonary Embolism!

How else would you explain the evil of racism and ” cry my beloved country ” in South Africa? And Fanon’s ” Wretched of the Earth”. A plague which divides countries and communities, and which evil continues to be stoked from surprisingly high places. #ElSalvador!

How else would you explain the devastation and loss of life caused by Ritcher Scale 7 earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Cat 5 Hurricanes!

How else would you explain the evil of The Holocaust, Transatlantic Slavery, Hiroshima, Rwanda, and the Killing Fields of Cambodia!

And all the great professors, philosophers, scientists, Roman soldiers and Greek poets, the Industrial Revolution, The Age of the Enlightenment, The Discovery of Nuclear Power, The Advances in Medicine and Technology, have never been able to restore man to Holiness again. To reconcile sinful man to God and to each other again.

God’s Response

But God! So loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believeth on Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. The most popular verse in the Bible!

This is the only basis, the only reason, why a nation like ours, which has ‘ gone it’s own way’, and is now reaping what we have ‘ sowed by disobedience’, can turn to a living Father in heaven, and ask for mercy.

Yesterday, I was led to write the following reflection. But was prevented from posting it on Facebook. Instead I showed it to s patient at work who was at wits end, on account of some pressing challenges. Having read it, she smile and nodded in agreement, as she is a child of God.

I pray God that others be similarly inspired to hold fast to a God, who in Christ, has proved himself faithful to those who trust Him. Even in dark places. And remember that ‘ other prisoners are listening to us, as we ‘ sing songs of praise’ to God, at The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Even in the midst of a Great Fall in our country.

Yesterday

#earlymorningdevotions

WHERE DO YOU DWELL?

A Deeper Worship
Chris Tiegreen One Year Wonder of The Cross Devotional book
September 1

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

What do you do when your hostile environment seems to get the best of you? If you are like most people, you fight back, lament your losses, or just get depressed. Not Paul and Silas. They sat in a dirty Phillipian jail in the dark of night singing hymns to God.

The reason they were in jail to begin with was because they were obedient to God…..

Where do you dwell? If you are easily swayed by your circumstances, your quality of life will be manipulated by the enemy of God. If you live at a deeper level than that, grounded in the Word of God and filled with His Spirit, your quality of life cannot be shaken.

Every situation will be an opportunity to worship, or at least to acknowledge the Sovereignty of the Father.

This is a crucial principle to grasp if you are going to maintain your sanity in a fallen world. You cannot live zealously for Jesus while living as a victim of circumstance.
You have to read in between the lines of your life and recognize both the enemy’s surface tactics and the underlying will of God. The spiritual war requires great focus – and ability to worship in dark places.

Then the Spirit of God brought two passages of Scripture to my mind:

1. Psalm 91…in which I have been led to spend quality time for years.
He that dwells in the secret place of the most high……

2. For you have been granted the privilege not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer with him ( the Christ).

Fallen world – of sin, and sickness…cancer even.. .. and attack from evil forces, of temptation, of family turmoil, of financial challenges, of murder most foul, and rape and mayhem, of corruption in high places, and of death so final.

Thank God for Jesus, in whom and through whom, and because of whom, we can worship in dark places. For we have learned, by obedience, and faith, to dwell in Him. And Him Crucified.

Christ The Only Hope in the midst of Darkness

It’s good, if fact more than good, vital, to have hope. Otherwise the spirit of a man or a woman is broken. And worse, the spirit of a nation is broken! But what is even more devastating is false hope. Hope that has no foundation.

Such was the case in Britain just before Hitler unleashed his might and fury on a largely unsuspecting, perhaps in denial, neighbours in Europe. A situation which provoked the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938, to declare on his return from talks with Hitler, ” Peace for our time”.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_for_our_time

I thought about it after the public outcry following the #PalisadoesRoad madness on new years eve. And this morning, again, as I was a as I am led to awakened early read a passage from 1 Thessalonians 5; and then to write this message, having posted the following note on Facebook earlier in the week.

FACEBOOK

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20180103/nightmare-odpem-alarmed-over-traffic-build-palisadoes-plans-high-level#.WkzThwnN3YM.facebook

Is there a link between the chaos on Palisadoes Road on New Year’s eve, and God’s Word. This is what came to me as I spent my #earlymorningdevotions reflecting on one of the most profound messages in Christian Hymnody:

Two verses of a popular hymn tell a sorry tale.

Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
when thou camest to earth for me;
but in Bethlehem’ s home was there found no room
for the holy Nativity.
Refrain
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus;
there is room in my heart for thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
that should set the people free;
but with mocking scorn and with crown
of thorn
they bore thee to Calvary.

Refrain.

All of this madness on our roads and in many aspects of our ‘ livity’ is a fulfillment of the Word in Proverbs that reveals that:
“Where there is no vision the people ( cast off all restraints) perish”.
And Democratic Socialism was a slogan. Not a vision. So too ” it takes cash to care”, Capitalism and a Market Determined Economy. Even worse Prosperity.

We need to ” take sleep and mark death ” in this nation. As the signs of ” casting off all restraints ” has not come upon us suddenly like a thief in the night. It did not begin with #BloodyStJames not #Clarendonbleeding.
It began a long time ago when ‘ bright people ‘ in this basically Christian country, where ordinary people ” invited Christ into their hearts and homes and communities”, decided that Christ was not sufficient. We needed something more! And led a nation astray.

Now it is only by the grace of God that we are still in some respects, a civilized country. But time is running out. For if we do not turn back to the One who left his throne and his kingly crown to bring the Living Word that should set us free from indiscipline, greed, and Evil, then what happened on #Palisadoes may overtake the whole country in a flash.
All because we have no vision of where we are going as a people!
May God have mercy on us. As we blame others and institutions for what is a deeply rooted problem that police cannot solve by themselves.

Then this morning, sad news greeted me from a friend’s Facebook page, as I went to copy the message above :

Mark Dawes on Facebook

My cousin’s husband, Wilton, was murdered this morning. A gunman entered the family home in Greater Portmore about 5:30 am. Wilton confronted the man and was shot in the chest. He died within a few minutes.

The shot woke his wife and young adult daughter. They held him. He told them: “I love you” and then shortly after died. He was a decent and Godly man, a deacon in his church, and a faithful husband and loving father.

The crime problem is bigger than the security forces can handle. You could triple the number of police and soldiers in Jamaica, the problem would not be solved. The problem is FUNDAMENTALLY a spiritual problem. A spiritual problem cannot be solved by physical means. Only a repentant church can stop the gun-violence in Jamaica.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:14

All of this happening as the news on Television last night reported 25 people murdered in the first 4 days of the new year.

Finally, a tweet I read last night, no doubt from a secular and rationale point of view, a fair statement:

Damion King on Twitter

No. No. No. No. No. The traffic gridlock at Palisadoes was NOT caused by “unruly motorists”. Motorists want to be unruly everywhere. It was caused by Jamaica’s chronic, persistent failure to police traffic laws and the rules of the road. https://t.co/r1kCccbJw2

So what revelation did a reading of 1 Thessalonians 5 ‘ bring to the table ‘, in the midst of all this grief and chaos. And longing for a ray of hope!

THE WORD OF GOD

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13‭-‬14 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/1th.4.13-14.NIV

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:1‭-‬11 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/1th.5.1-11.NIV

And this inspiration to read about ‘ the day of the Lord’, began earlier in the week, when was led to read the book of Malachi. Which ends in this fashion:

The Word of God

See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Malachi 4:5‭-‬6 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mal.4.5-6.NIV

What do I understand by all of this revelation? In light of the well intentioned review of #PalisadoesRoad madness by one of Jamaica’s well known economist, and an intellectual with excellent credentials. And in light of the well intentioned call by Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently, for Pastors to preach more about refraining from vengeance. This said at a Prayer Vigil, in response to the alarmingly, and some would argue, out of control, murder rate in the island; many caused by retaliation provoked by a lust for vengeance!

Two points! Both of which I posted on Facebook this week. One provoked controversy, while the other was met with universal acceptance. And both of which I have been led to incorporate into a sermon to be delivered at my church tomorrow.
The first is that:

Jesus didn’t come primarily to solve the economic, political, and social problems of the world. He came to forgive our sins – Timothy Keller

The second:

Our rent to continue living on Planet Earth is our service to our fellowmen”

– Pastor, in a prelude to praying for us in my office at the start of a new year. Touched my soul. Profound message.

So the two points, in this context of confusion on earth, and revelation from God, are as follows:

1. That there are two sets of people who live on earth. Those who dwell in the Light who is Christ and Him Crucified and have received forgiveness of sins , and those who dwell in the darkness; regardless of how enlightened they may think they are, or how others view them.

This is the existential reality ever since Adam caused sin to enter into the world. And the fact that people live in darkness, viz, without having The Light who is the Crucified and Risen Christ shine on and through them, is the reason for the ‘ season of #BloodyStJames and #BloodyJamaica. And also for #PalisadoesRoad. And one day, The Terrible Day of the Lord will come. Like a thief in the night! On all who reject the Light who is Christ.

In the meanwhile, sadly, people like Mark Dawes’ friend, good Christian people, will suffer and die, as long as the darkness remains. Thank God, however, we can encourage each other, in the midst of the tragedy and terrible grief and pain, because Jesus rose from the dead, we have a Hope of Salvation and Eternal Life. So we shall be together again in Christ. No matter what evil can do to us, or sickness.

2. Because we are Children of The Light who is Christ and Him Crucified, we are called to serve. All mankind. Including, and especially the people who live in darkness!

And singing the song which the father of John the Baptist sang at his son’s birth ( known as the Benedictus, and a song constantly in my heart ), ” that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies: might serve him without fear”, we will serve without fear of evil.

We shall serve in our preaching of the Gospel: ” And thou, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of Salvation unto his people: for the remission of their sins……To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

We shall serve in the power of the Holy Spirit who anointed our Savior Jesus to go around doing good:

” preach good news to the poor…..to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. Luke 4:18-19

That’s why children of Light are found in every ‘ nook and cranny’ of this world. In politics, sweeping the garbage, visiting the sick, rescuing lost young men in the ghetto, attending to the poor and orphans. In trade unions, in the media, in the courts, in the police force, in the universities. All over!
Are we serving well. Can we do better? Have we always represented our Saviour faithfully? Thank God Christ will be our only Judge. And not man!

For as the songwriter of a well known hymn I was led to reflect on this week puts it:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
no merit of my own I claim,
but wholly trust in Jesus’ name

Refrain
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When weary in this early race,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every wild and stormy gale
my anchor holds and will not fail.

Refrain

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand….

A New Year’s Message: Good and Evil, and Christ, The Hope for The Ages

Yesterday morning in Church, on new year’s eve, it suddenly struck me, as we gave thanks for The Light that is Christ who came into the world at Christmas, that we live in time of great contrasts. And in a real sense paradox.

Over 1500 persons brutally murdered this year, many in the tourist capital ( Bloody, according to the headlines of The Daily Gleaner and with 320 murders, the Newsmaker of the Year 2017) St. James, and yet tourists still flock our country; the land branded as ” Jamaica no problem “.

America ” the home of the free and the land of the brave”, produced,
in one era, a Barack Obama and a Donald Trump.

The Athletics world ‘celebrates’ the exploits of a Usain Bolt and Justlin Gatlin at the same time.

Mankind has left its footprint on the moon, ‘ one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind’, and yet on earth, the members of tge Pol Pot Regime Regime in Cambodia’s ” killing fields ” recently apologized for committing mass murder of over 3 million people ( more than the population of Jamaica).

Or in #LasVegas or #Manchester people filled with so much hate can shock a nation and a world by committing mass murder, while the same time firemen still risk their lives, and a young man reflexively dives into a angry waters, displaying the best of humankind, to save lives.

Prince Harry and his multiracial fiance are to be married and live in Royal Peace, and yet #BlackLivesMatter still has currency in many parts of the world; or in words of the streets, ‘ racism still a keep’.

In the hills of Kingston some are able to live in extreme opulence with all the creature comforts available, whilst, just a few miles away, young girls bath naked at the back of the shack, and people carry out their natural ablutions on the gully bank, or wrap it up in plastic and throw it away.

A country can ‘ throw up ‘ in one era, the evil that Kartel ( #Adi to his still faithful followers and #Gaza crew) represents , and the literally, in that context, ‘ breath of fresh air’ that #Chronixx brings to the entertainment scene.

And a man can possess in his heart, at one time, such tender and compassionate love for a woman, and the mother of his child, and then turn around in true ‘ Jekyl and Hyde’ fashion, and either beat her repeatedly, mercilessly, or ‘ blow out ‘ her brains in a fit of mad jealousy.

But perhaps the inspired song writer has the most profound thing to say about the state of the world as expressed in that wonderful and instructive hymn, Thou didst leave the throne and thy kingly crown, with the refrain, ” Come into my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee”:

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living
word that should set thy people free;
but with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn they bore thee to Calvary.

CHALLENGE FOR 2018

The challenge as we begin a new year is that although we have made significant progress as mankind, in solving some of the world’s great problems: poliomyelitis, smallpox, bubonic plague; and made spectacular advances in telecommunications and transportation, wars and rumours of war still abound.
As malice, pride, greed, selfishness, slackness, plain wickedness continue to live deep in the human heart!

And so the single greatest problem, the state of the human heart remains, in a world populated by
” The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ”
Where good and evil reside in close and intimate proximity!

WHERE IS THE HOPE

Where then is the Hope for what Press Association of Jamaica, #Djmller calls the once ” Friendly City”; Montego Bay, the capital of ” Boody St. James”? And not just #StJamesbleeding but #Clarendonbleeding and the entire #Jamaicableeding!

Where then is the Hope for a better life for inner city girls, often blighted by teenage pregnancy, and boys, who are targeted by the Don; and sent out to ‘ make duppies’. One of the most chilling street phrases, which reveals in a very profound way, how we have, according to the Diocesan Bishop of Jamaica, Howard Gregory, “lost an appreciation and value for the mystery of human life”.

Where then is the Hope for a church battered and bruised by #TheMoravianPastor, and #TalktheTruth a scandal which has deep tentacles in other denominations?

Where then is the Hope for a Political System which has the power to transform the lives of so many people in desperate need of help( and thank God for the many good things achieved over the years, but is hobbled by a desire to retain power ( in some instances at any and reportedly in some instances, nefarious means, not unconnected to #BloodyStJames) rather than pursue the common good, and do the right and principled thing, ‘ come what may’?

THE ANSWER

I begin an answer to this burning question which is, no doubt, occupying the minds of our people on this the first day of the new year, with a quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. This From a meditation that I’ve spent quality time thinking about, and shared in an earlier blog, entitled ” The Death of Evil ”

” ……..Pharaoh stubbornly refused to to respond to the cry of Moses, even when plague after plague threatened his domain. This tells us something about evil that we must never forget, namely, that evil is recalcitrant and determined, and never voluntarily relinquished its gold short of a persistent, almost fanatical resistance.
But there is a checkpoint in the universe: evil cannot permanently organise itself…..

And from another entitled ” He who Turns Blackness into Dawn”.

“Midnight is a confusing hour when it is difficult to be faithful. The most inspiring word that the church may speak is that no midnight long remains…..Faith in the dawn arises from the faith that God is good and just. When one believes that he knows that the contradictions of life are neither final not ultimate.”

The final part of the answer to the question of quo vadis, from whence cometh, the Hope that people desperately need, in this time of #BloodyStJames, comes from Holy Scriptures. A simple yet profound Word that has ‘ haunted ‘ my soul all week long:

” All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me……And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age “. Matthew 28:20.

The last word recorded by this disciple before Jesus ascended, and returned to His Father in heaven, from whence He came at Christmas.

CONCLUSION

So yes, PM Andrew Holness has some authority. And so do the members of the security forces ( whether or on sick out or not). To his dismay, Kartel has found out that Judges wield awesome power.

Over the years Jamaica has experienced the awesome power of the ‘ market place ‘ controlled by powerful men and women in the private sector. In their own and too often, in a perverse way, taximen and coaster bus drivers, arrogate unto themselves the power to drive where they please. Leaving in their wake, mayhem and chaos!

Doctors have power, so too the ‘ fourth estate ‘, the media, and also teachers. Even garbage collectors have power. And we all know of the power which #Realshellyann and Usain Bolt have ; and the #Reggaeboyz. To send a nation into frenzied excitement and rapture ( kryptonite seems to have affected the once vaunted West Indies Cricket Team).

But ultimate only God in Jesus can touch the hearts of sinful mankind. Only Jesus has the Authority to create ‘ a clean heart and renew a right spirit’, in wicked gunmen who cause #Jamaicableeding. In abusive husbands and partners. In selfish and greedy men who ‘ wallow in luxury ‘, whilst their brothers and sisters suffer in poverty and subsist on low paying salaries. In dangerous politicians who profess to love and care publicly, whilst in dark corners contribute to #BloodyStJames. In lost pastors who prey on young girls at night, whilst praying for the flock by day. In my heart, and your heart, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

As church, as the Redeemed of God in Christ, as Ambassadors of Christ, and ministers of the message and ministry of reconciliation, our duty in 2018, as it was in 2017, and will be in 2019, is to ‘ lift up the Name of Jesus’, The Crucified One, in how we live, and what we preach. And He ‘ will draw all men into Himself ‘.

For Christ is the checkpoint in the universe for evil. And Christ is the only Hope for the dawn at this confusing hour of midnight in #BloodyJamaica. For He alone has been given all Authority in Heaven and Earth.

Lest we forget, and like others, attempt to, on our own, and with the best intentions on the world, but totally unequipped, try to conquer the evil or murder, greed, selfishness, lust, jealousy, pride, and just plain wickedness. Which have been, on account of Adam, since the world began. And only The Blood of Jesus can wash away all these sins.

HAPP NEW YEAR

In that context then, I wish for all those, both believers and non believers, who the Lord has placed in this ministry, Happy New Year. And in Christ peace profound.

A Christmas Message: Jerusalem, Trump, Murder and lasting Peace

So Christmas is almost here. Two more days, as I write, and then millions of people across the globe will celebrate the birth of Emanuel; God with us in Christ Jesus.

However, three families, in particular, will not ‘ enjoy’ Christmas 2017, as much as others.

1. The late Ian Boyne’s family. Shocking news of his, a man who was virtually a ‘ family friend’ to all Jamaicans, on account of his hosting of two very popular TV programs, sudden death this week was the ‘ talk of the town ‘.

2. The Palestinian families who are outraged because the USA, as reported in a very well written editorial, by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, broke a U.N. security council resolution which had the ‘ imprimatur of International law’. And Jamaica’s abstention this week in a vote called by the United Nations to, inter alia, denounce America’s action, in the face of threats of reprisals by Donald Trump, was also ‘ the talk the town’ yesterday. Especially on social media!

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20171222/editorial-whats-deal-jamaicas-jerusalem-vote

3. The ‘ family ‘ of the over 1500 persons brutally murdered in Jamaica, so far this year; especially, one which struck me as so egregiously wicked, when as reported in the news, a 16 year old girl was shot in the forehead after she refused to be in a relationship with a grown man. A national issue which, by far, is the most pressing problem that we face as a nation, as we look to a new year 2018.

As I pondered these issues, Ian Boyne’s sudden passing, loomed large in my mind. And really brought into very sharp context, ‘ the genius ‘ that Ian Boyne was, as described by the Daily Gleaner, in another editorial.

For we shall sadly miss his deep insight, well researched and nuanced, comments on these complex national and international issues.

And as I read some of the social media comments, they reaffirmed some preliminary thoughts which came to mind in respect of the Jamaica ‘ non vote ‘ at the U.N.

” When yu hand in lion mout, tek time draw it out’ – Jamaican proverb.
“Coward man keep safe bones.” – Jamaican proverb
“We are not for sale ” – former Prime Minister Michael Manley, in another era.
” Because you are neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth”
– The Bible

Tweets

The decision of the Holness admin to abstain in the UNGA on Jerusalem is cowardly. Our record on this has been principled and brave. It’s a bad and shameful decision Mr. Prime Minister. – from a senior and well respected journalist Cliff Hughes

Sample of the Reactions to his tweet

I support abstaining. Once the US cancel two visas Jamaican would kill Andrew for their visa. US is free to do what they want because they have the resources. We are still beggars of Aid

An absent appreciation of the new world order, is perhaps behind this perspective. The welfare of the nation is non-negotiable. Why risk derailment of our economy unnecesarily? We did not vote for the resolution, there is no endorsement, hence no abandonment of principle.

A man should not attempt to ride two horses at the same time…sometimes it is more prudent to sit it out. #RoevsWade

This is the same Ja that took a stance on apartheid?! In 2017 Ja too licky licky

Think you are wrong Cliff. He is big enough and brave by abstaining. Don’t get involve with big giants of the world. You see where God put us on the map. We need to stay away.

We can’t eat principles Cliff. It’s not like we haven’t been there b4. We’re dealing with an international pariah w/a thin-skinned megalomaniac president who’s not perturbed by the niceties of morality & decency. Membr Angola & M Manley? & 40 yrs later we still haven’t recovered.

END

Really makes you wonder which country Michael Manley was representing, as most of the responses were similar to the final one quoted. Unless we have changed as a people. Or social media folks are a ‘ different breed! For clearly Trump’s bellicose and provocative utterances have resonance far beyond the response or non response, of individual states. They undermine the very foundation of the United Nations and the work of it’s many agencies; not the least of which is their human rights commission. All of which, ironically, was birthed out of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime Hitler during World War 11; when the world collectively, in establishing the U.N. in 1947 said ” Never Again”, to authoritarian madness.

And as I struggled to come to terms with this new Jamaica, and this new world order, The Lord came to my rescue, in a powerful Word. A reminder really, as I had been pondering on it all week.

What Word? The Old Testament reading for this Sunday, the final one in Advent. David had a plan, but a ‘ revelation from God’, sent him in a different direction.

THE WORD OF GOD

When the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest
from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See
now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.”
Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my
servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?
2 Samuel 7.

A Word and a message which was validated by my reading another passage of Scripture early this morning.

Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint ; but blessed us he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

And finally:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me….
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14.

The challenge we face as individuals, families, and nations of an international community, is that we have not accepted the ultimate ‘ revelation ‘ from God, who is Jesus Christ. Born on Christmas day! But like King David attempted to ‘ set our own agenda’.

And so Donald Trump, with the economic might, if not the support of the American people, behind him, can ‘ cast off all restraint ‘, and act unilaterally. And bully others to go along with him. Or attempt so to do!

And so an evil gunmen, casting off restraint of the eternal value of a human life, can snuff out the life of a young girl, like a cockroach, with no remorse, and a nation cries out momentarily, and then it is business ‘ Christmas shopping’, as usual.

And so we allow, in the name of a plural society, all kinds of strange religions, the worst of the dance hall culture, the most outrageous distortions of Christianity ( if you want to reap in US dollars, sow in US, heard it myself) atheist and enlightened views, to invade the minds of our people, unfiltered, because as a nation, we have ‘ cast off all restraint’ taught to us by our slave forebears, who loved Jesus.
And then expect Jamaica ‘ under God’, to prosper!

No! For Christmas is not just a time for families to gather and drink sorrel, eat ham, have Christmas cake and exchange gifts, presumably after having attended a church service.

No! For Christmas is above all about Jerusalem. And life more abundantly for Jews and Gentiles alike. Including Palestinians. About murder. And murder most foul. About death. Even sudden death.

For Jesus is God’s ultimate and final revelation. That in Him, and in Him alone, ‘ Adams helpless race’, afflicted by Sin, battered by evil, and threatened always by the fear of death, can enjoy lasting and real peace. Enjoy eternal life. Beginning right here on terra firma.
In Trump’s country! In Jerusalem. In Palestine. In Jamaica.

But we must be bold and accept this gift. For to be lukewarm is not an option. Not a vote! Otherwise we will be cast out into eternal darkness where Trump’s threats of reprisals and wicked gunmen will seem like child’s play.
For it is appointed once for man to die and then the judgement. By the One who was born on Christmas day. That’s the Gospel Truth.

So there will never be peace in Jerusalem, regardless of whosoever recognizes it as a capital of wherever, peace between Palestine and Israel, peace in Jamaica, and peace in Donald Tump’ s soul, until, as God’s creation we accept the revelation that, it is only through Jesus Christ can we, sinful man, be reconciled with a Holy God.

For Jesus’ declaration that, ” I am the way, the Truth and the Life” is an eternal and unshakeable revelation. No matter who thinks otherwise!
Merry Christmas!