Trials in Jamaica, trials in the USA, trials in the Middle East; and Peace in and through Christ Jesus

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing – John Newton

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s) – Prayer for a  Decade of Evangelism  a long time ago.

Challenge: God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede – Oswald Chambers. 

NEWS 

This week the news in my country, about which people are talking , is the issue of  the access of the journalists to the current Prime Minister, following on an incident where one media worker, in an effort to get a reaction from the PM, was accused of being disrespectful. And a video clip of the incident raised questions of whether or not, members of the security detail had been over zealous in preventing the journalist from placing his microphone before the Prime Minister. This incident triggered a heated debate about the style of this PM vs that of former leaders, in terms of her policy of engagement of the media and by extension the wider Jamaican society ; and when should a journalist stop trying to get a reaction from a public official when that official is unwilling, for whatever reason, to engage the journalist.

Also continuing in the news was the firestorm which broke over the handling by  the Leader of the Opposition, of Senators appointed by him who had not been in ‘ his corner’ during the recent leadership contest in his party.  Charges and counter charges, of arrogance and of ‘ disrespect of the leader’ continued this week. Further, an injunction was taken out in the courts seeking to bar the Opposition leader from appointing any new Senators until the matter s resolved. A ruling is expected early this week.

In the meanwhile, the rate of homicides, and clear up of those murders by the police, continue to be unacceptably high in the former instance, and far too low, in the latter. A situation which had led to at least one prominent group calling for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police, and the influential Daily Gleaner, publicly asking the PM, whether or not both the head of the Police and the Minister of National Security, still enjoy her confidence.

Then in the midst of all of this national angst over the state of our politics in Jamaica,  the most popular and highly influential dance hall artiste in recent times,  and one whose  x-rated and violence promoting  type lyrics, for which he has been studiously unapologetic, has led countless youngsters astray,  Adejah Palmer aka, Vibes Kartel, along with  a number of his co-accused friends went on trial for the  murder of  a young male this week. 

Then late this evening news broke about a deal brokered  by the USA with Iran in connection with their  uranium enrichment programme; a project  which has attracted severe and internationally applied sanctions. The result of which deal  was hailed by the parties as historic. But not by the Israelis who termed it an historic mistake. Ominous sounds indeed, given their track record of preemptive strikes against nations who in their estimation have the capability to attack them.

 
Tragically also this week a young man died. In his forties! And his young wife cried. Both are children of God. And no doubt serious questions will be put to God. But it will change his status, as he is now assured of hope stored for him in heaven, that can ‘ neither spoil nor fade”.

THE WORD OF GOD

So God who is faithful in all that He does, in my relationship with Him, through early morning devotions and the reading of His Word,  provided messages of clear instructions about how one should conduct one’s self in this world. Whether we be national leaders or the ordinary  man on the street. As the day of trouble comes sooner or later for every jack man and woman. Whether it is for Obama in the USA over Obamacare or other yet to arrive political or social challenges; for the President of Iran over the  ‘enrichment of Uranium” for purposes of war on Israel as the Israelis are ominously unhappy with the deal struck with the USA this weekend,  for ‘ red hot’ dance hall artistes or for those of other genres of music who continue to like the Pied Piper, lead  youngsters into trouble and trials. Or for children of God who face the wrath of Satan on account of their faith in Christ Jesus
As the day of trouble comes when we least expect it.

THE FIRST MESSAGE –  To my own children and some of those ” under my tent”, whose lives have been closely intertwined with mine.

Find comfort then in Psalm 35 today.

” May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame,
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of The Lord driving them away.”
Psalm 35:4-5 NIV

Remember also that it is in this way that you ” put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood….” Ephesians 6:11-12. It is in this context that we see God at work in every situation, every circumstance; and  whether it appears to be happenstance, or by human engineering, so too we often find the devil at work – not in all situations, as he has limits. But in many. And we must constantly be discerning and not fretting, or worrying, as that’s the work of evil. But rather like Jeremiah, constantly crying out to God, ” And I will show you great and wonderful things of which you know not”. 
Or like the Psalmist:

” One thing I ask of The Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of The Lord 
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of The Lord 
and so seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me,
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music t The Lord .
Psalm 27: 4-6 NIV

This is the same Psalmist who declares:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.
all the days of my  life,
and I will dwell in the house of The Lord
forever.
So we thank God for Jesus without ceasing, as only by His Blood which purifies us from all sins, can we approach a holy God, and live constantly in His presence.
Amen.

Sent from my iPad

THE SECOND MESSAGE  – again sent to folks ‘ under my tent” on the same day as a follow up, as The Lord directed.

A follow up to the earlier message today from the Word of God.

” The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” Romans 16:20. 

That is,  whatever troubles you are currently going through,  on account of the enemy, once you trust God, and persevere, The Almighty God will soon remove Satan from that situation, and set you free. It will not mean the end of all your troubles, but that, in this case,  you will soon have release. So be patient and trusting under great trials, and you will soon see the mighty hand of God working in your life. A key point to remember in all of this, is that for God, and His Son Christ Jesus, the end is not His goal. It may be our goal – oh to be free of trials – but it is certainly not His.  But rather the deepening of your relationship with Him, your trust in Him, your love for Him, your commitment to Him and to no other, in the midst of the fire. So if there was no fire, there would be no great desire and apparent need  for Him. And which great tragedy is part of the human experience which The Lord will, over time,  remove from our souls, in and through trials and suffering.  And so bring us to the point where we can identify  with the words of the hymn-writer:
My goal is God Himself….
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.

Peace.

THE THIRD MESSAGE

This is the third and final part of this series of messages. Fittingly it culminates in a recommendation from one of the great mystics of the church – Brother Lawrence ( 1605-1691) a Roman Catholic whose writings were more widely received in the Protestant church than in his own. I have down loaded his famous book: The Practice of the Presence of God the Best Rule of a Holy Life,  into my ibooks on the ipad. The section which is featured in my Classic Devotional Bible is preceded by an introduction which you may also find useful

“I received this day two books and a letter from Sister ——, who is preparing to make her profession, and upon that account desires the prayers of your holy society, and yours in particular. I perceive that she reckons much upon them; pray do not disappoint her. Beg of GOD that she may make her sacrifice in the view of His love alone, and with a firm resolution to be wholly devoted to Him. I will send you one of these books which treat of the presence of GOD; a subject which, in my opinion, contains the whole spiritual life; and it seems to me that whoever duly practices it will soon become spiritual.”
“ The heart must be empty of all other things; because GOD will possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there, and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him.

CONTINUE IN HIS PRESENCE

Brother Lawrence
Verse: Proverbs 8:30

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with GOD. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because GOD would have us.

Were I a preacher, I should, above all other things, preach the practice of the presence of GOD; and, were I a director, I should advise all the world to do it, so necessary do I think it, and so easy too.

Ah! knew we but the want we have of the grace and assistance of GOD, we should never lose sight of Him, no, not for a moment. Believe me; make immediately a holy and firm resolution never[…]”
Put your hand to the task! If you do it right, you will soon see the results.

Excerpt From: of the Resurrection Lawrence. “” iBooks. 
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/jm/book/practice-presence-god-best/id508675065?mt=11

Peace.
LWJ
Sent from my iPad

Finally The Lord led me to reflect on one of the great passages in the Bible which transcends time and status. A deep understanding of which ought to place life in its proper perspective. As at the end of it all, whether you are President of  the USA –  a superpower, the Prime Minister of Israel – a country which possesses nuclear power, or the President of Iran – a nation aspiring to be a power broker in the Middle East, the Jamaican Prime Minister or Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition – a country of no consequence in the wider International scheme of things,  they all will meet the same fate as :

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24, 25 NIV)

It is only when all people everywhere  accept that, in a flash,  circumstances change, and that the only relentlessly unchangeable thing in life is God’s Word, that we will humble ourselves before this Almighty God and find peace in this world.  Real, lasting and,  life and nation transforming peace. As one day The Lord will indeed crush Satan who is the cause of so much crime and violence in my country and across the world. Whether in my time or not, it will happen according to God’s unchangeable Word.  In that assurance then, we continue to pray without ceasing for my country Jamaica, and for world peace and peace in the Middle East .
Amen!
LWJ

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