Evil in New York City; Evil in Kingston Jamaica and The Power to overcome evil In 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 the church that the church may renew the nation(s) – A Prayer for the Decade of Evangelism

NEWS

This week a puzzled and distraught nation continued to agonize over the gruesome death of that young woman last week. 
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140217/lead/lead4.html

Further, an autopsy  revealed that Karen Rainford, a mother of six young children, was also pregnant with another child.

Then, just yesterday I saw  a report on twitter which grabbed  my attention. More babies are aborted by black women in New York than those  ( allowed to be)  born. And which I copied and sent out to my TL. ( Twitter list)

@lucienforJesus: ericmetaxas: More Black Babies are Aborted than Born in NYC. When will we wake up? http://t.co/XnyuQoBGps #Madness @Petchary @souldancing

So the madness is not confined to our shores but has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Finally, not news, but all week long I sat and listened to teachers lamenting the behavior of the children in the classroom. Not a new thing, but just a lot of people talking about it this week. One said to me: ” I would not wish for anyone of my relatives to see me in the classroom”.  As so many have reached their limit in trying to deal with children who have no intention to learn;  and consequently spend their days fighting and creating mayhem in the classroom. Is there a connection to the general decline in the morals of a nation? Is there a connection to the  egregious violence  sapping the collective energies and will of our people?

THE WORD OF GOD

So what did The Lord say through His Word and His inspired word this week?

First up was a letter to an individual who needs our prayers. And no matter how I try to edit this note, and so I have not, it is fairly obvious to whom it was directed. To others also, but primarily to our Minister of National Security. A note which recalls a note I once wrote about the late Rev. Peter Marshall,  a former Chaplain to the United States Senate, and whose life-story, written by his wife, was such an epic one that it was made into a movie;  ” A man called Peter”. The note is self-explanatory; that only when we reach the nadir of life, and  realize how desperate we need God,  will we then cry out for ” Divine Intervention”. A ‘conversation’ triggered by a cri de coeur , a cry from the heart, by the Minister some months ago. And which cry, coming from the Minister of National Security,  set off a a veritable fire-storm of comments in the nation. Most of then questioning his ability  and resolve to continue to lead the nation in this ‘life and death’ struggle against the criminals, and evils powers in our midst.  No doubt there is a message in there for for America; at the very least for Black women in New York City where the madness is very much in eveidence too. In the land where all Us Presidents are moved to repeat in speech after speech, the words; ” God Bless America”. makes you wonder to which God are they praying.

THE MESSAGE  – ENTITLED DIVINE INTERVENTION

In the aftermath of evil raising its ugly head, once again in our country, I read the report about your ‘religious’ comments in the Gleaner this morning; that we are  not fighting against flesh and blood alone but against evil powers, and gave thanks for the wisdom God has granted you.
And tonight as I prepared to go to bed, and commit myself to God’s care and mercy, this reflection by the late Rev.  Peter Marshall – which was shared in a previous Sunday night message – who once served as the Pastor for the US Senate, came to mind. In the sense that we are now realizing that these are indeed desperate hours in Jamaica, and we need to  – have the courage – to confess that we really do not know what to do. And as Marshall prayed, only then can you ‘lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom’ to He alone who has the answer.
A message followed by an observation shared with you at that time; and which thoughts, I would suggest are still relevant as we contemplate the shocking news of the day, which led to the march.
Peace
LWJ

FOR GOD’S GRACE IN OUR HELPLESSNESS
Verse Judges 7:2

We know, our Father that at this desperate hour in world affairs, we need thee. We need thy strength, thy guidance, thy wisdom.
There are problems far greater than any wisdom of man can solve. What shall our leaders do in such an hour?
May thy wisdom and thy power come upon the President of these United States, the Senators and Congressmen, to whom have been entrusted leadership. May the responsibility lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to thee. Give to them the honesty, the courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do. Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to thee, who alone has the answer.
Lead us to this high adventure. Remind us that a ‘ mighty fortress is our God’- not a hiding place where we can escape for a easy life; but rather an arsenal of courage and strength – the mightiest of all, who will march beside us into battle for righteousness and world brotherhood.
O our God, may we never recover from our feeling of helplessness and our need for of thee! In the strong name of Jesus, our Lord, we pray. Amen

Peter, I am not sure that you understand clearly the ‘seed ‘ that you have sown in this nation. But be of good courage and persevere, in the midst of the criticism from any quarter. For those who follow history closely will recall that the USA was a ” reluctant bride” in WW11. And had to be convinced to enter the struggle to defeat Hitler. Then came the pain of Pearl Harbour. And other issues not well publicized too. The point here is that God moves in mysterious ways always. We just have to trust him now, as  others, like Rev. Peter Marshall,  have urged leaders in the past,  to place all their trust in The Creator of Heaven and Earth. Why?  Despite our apparent wisdom and power, without Him we are helpless. But with Him all things are possible.
Peace.
LWJ

THE SECOND MESSAGE – ENTITLED DIVINE INTERVENTION CONTD

..was a follow up to the first as I continued to listen to The Lord. And introduced me to a hymn which  influenced my prayers greatly throughout the week, as I prayed with the assurance that A mighty fortress was my God indeed…against evil.

THE MESSAGE
I woke this morning with ” A Mighty Fortress is our God” in my heart. It is not one of the hymns in the Anglican hymnbook, so to Google I went. And found the history of the start of the Moravian Church, as well. These are indeed powerful words sent to us at at time like this.
One more thing. Matthew Henry, another stalwart of  in the history of the spread of Christianity across the ages, wrote a reflection which I ‘happened upon’ yesterday. He suggests that ‘ to be in communion with God, you need to be in Covenant with Him’. Something for you to think about and to make a decision as  you continue to lead this country, at one level, in the fight against evil in our land. That is if you really wish that ” His truth to triumph through you’. Otherwise you run the risk of finishing up like one of the first set of people in the parable of the sower of the seed, and not producing the fruit, ‘ a hundred times over’, of the final example. In that respect, I believe there is a word for you in the final verse of the hymn. And indeed for all who accept Christ’s invitation to follow Him.
Peace
LWJ

A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD

“God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Words & Music: Mar­tin Lut­her, 1529 (MI­DI, score); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Fred­er­ic H. Hedge, 1853.

This song has been called “the great­est hymn of the great­est man of the great­est per­i­od of Ger­man his­to­ry” and the “Bat­tle Hymn of the Ref­or­ma­tion.”

This hymn was sung at the fun­er­al of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Dwight Ei­sen­how­er at the Na­tion­al Ca­thed­ral in Wash­ing­ton, DC, March 1969.

In 1720 a re­mark­a­ble re­viv­al be­gan in a town in Mo­rav­ia. Jes­u­its op­posed it, and the meet­ings were pro­hib­it­ed. Those who still as­sem­bled were seized and im­pris­oned in sta­bles and cel­lars. At Da­vid Nitsch­mann’s house, where a hund­red and fif­ty per­sons ga­thered, the po­lice broke in and seized the books. Not dis­mayed, the con­gre­ga­tion struck up the stan­zas of Lu­ther’s hymn,

“And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.”

Twenty heads of families were for this sent to jail, in­clud­ing Nitsch­mann, who was treat­ed with spe­cial se­ver­i­ty. He fin­al­ly es­caped, fled to the Mo­rav­i­ans at Herrnhut, be­came a bi­shop, and af­ter­wards joined the Wes­leys in 1735 in their ex­pe­di­tion to Sa­van­nah, Georg­ia.

Sankey, p. 106

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – ENTITLED  DIVINE INTERVENTION..THE FINAL WORD..FOR NOW

Then, in my early morning devotions,  I  turned to the Psalm appointed for this Sunday in the Anglican Church and found this powerful  Word of Prayer and Blessed Assurance which begins thus:
In you , O Lord, I have taken refuge,
let me never be put to shame……

and ends:

My tongue will tell of your righteous
acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and 
confusion.
Psalm 71.

I would strongly recommend that you keep this Word from The Lord  in your heart, as I and no doubt many others, have been led to do for a long time now, in the days and months ahead. For the devil will not allow you to lift up the Name of The Lord in the manner that you are doing, and not attack you. Either directly or through others and circumstances.
We will continue to pray for you.
Peace
LWJ

THE FINAL MESSAGE – SENT TO ONE OF OUR LEADING JOURNALISTS AND OTHERS

…..is essentially a message which heralds the power of The Living God; in the same way that the story about David and Goliath did, and which ‘revelation’ I was led to read this week. Especially: 

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1 Samuel 17:33, 34, 36, 37, 45 NIV)

The point here is that there is power available to the nation to defeat evil. What the Living God is requiring is that we depend on Him and Him alone through His Son. So that no one may boast before Him. An eternal lesson to which all  the law and the prophets testify; and which  reality is manifest, and climaxes on the Cross of Calvary. As all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are in need, in desperate need of His help. Available only in and through the life, death and resurrection of His Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All other help is like sinking sand indeed, and will be proven so on the day of evil, or reckoning. 

THE MESSAGE

As we try to come to terms with yet another  gruesome murder in our country – and to add horror to horror I am told the video of the headless woman is now being spread like a contagion on the internet – the following things came to my notice.

Yesterday in my devotions, the New Testament reading for the Anglican Church  for Sunday coming, 1 Cor. 3;10-11, 16-23 spoke to the building of the correct foundation;

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11 NET)

And I pondered on this revelation for a while and wondered what kind of ‘foundation’ on which we have built the church in Jamaica.  I also wondered why Cliff Hughes, one of our leading journalists, chose to ‘pour cold water 
‘ on the march led by the Minister and members of the Minister’s Fraternal at the end of his programme; and suggested that the gunmen were all laughing at them.

Later in the day, in discussing this terrible news with a member of my staff at work, she told me that the mother of the young lady was well known in her community and  lived near to her. Her name is Jean, And that the girl who had been beheaded was also from the community. 
Last night for my bedtime reading, Matthew’s account of what  transpired as  Jesus died on the Cross and took his last breath, was the focus. What struck me, was not that that Temple was rent in two, as that is so familiar, but rather a more dramatic event. Holy men were raised from their graves ; and walked about and were seen in the Holy  City after the resurrection.

And I pondered this and marvelled  for along time. This was power! This was very impressive.

Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split apart. And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised. (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.) Now when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:50-54 NET)

Then this morning I  woke up with an ad in my head. A Sherwin Williams ad from way back when. What I can recall goes like this: Pictures of one of the American spaceships going to the moon comes up. We are told that Sherwin Williams paint was used to paint the craft. Next up is a bathroom back here on earth. Then comes the tag line. ” if we can handle the ” Apollos” surely we can handle your bathroom.

And connecting the Power  of Jesus last night with the ad, then surely if  Jesus can raise the dead, surely He can bring new life to the people in Mountain View. And wherever evil abounds in this land.  So why have so many of us deliberately decided to ignore this mighty power ; and  try to build our communities and homes on another foundation.  The uselessness of which  is being so tragically exposed across the entire world.

Finally, can it be coincidence that this morning, I was led read a reflection on  Luke 6:46-49. And which passage of Scripture opens with the dramatic words:

” Why do you call me , Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say”. To wit, why do you sing ” Eternal Father, bless our land….. guide us with thy mighty hand….” And not believe in me.
Then Jesus went on to speak, again,  about the foundation on which we choose to build, and the consequences of our choices.
Coincidence! I think not.  A clear message to those who have ears to hear, and who long and wish for a different Jamaica. And the media has a seminal and particular role in helping to spread this good news  and not to ignore that which our forebears passed on to us.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49 NIV).

Peace.
LWJ

Evil in our midst: A Time to cry out to God, in and through Jesus Christ

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5 NIV)

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing.

NEWS

The  Winter Olympic Games currently n the way in Sochi in Russia attracted my attention, but nothing dramatic happened there. So too the trial in the USA, mostly on Twitter, involving a white male Michael Dunn accused of shooting to death a young black male Jordan Davis. I did not really follow it until the results lit up on Twitter. Seems like the Zimmerman case all over agin though. A case of deja vu.
@the nation: Michael Dunn has been found guilty on 3 counts of attempted homicide and 1 count of firing into a vehicle http://t.co/RiIg60rPxC #DunnTrial

What I did hear on http://www.radiojamaica.com on Beyond The Headlines with @djmillerJA was an interview she had with :
@djmillerJA: :next:I iv Robert Wintemute, human rts professor following lecture he gave at UWI – wd decriminalising buggery affect religious freedom?
And which interview she highlighted in her blog on WordPress.

http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/would-decriminalisation-of-the-buggery-law-restrict-religious-freedom-in-jamaica-and-the-caribbean/

Two things in the interview grabbed my attention. One was his suggestion, my interpretation, that resisting ( the 11 Caribbean states)  the global trend was almost pointless, as eventually the decriminalization of the law would happen. Almost as if global trends should be the premise on which sovereign states ought to make their decisions on matters of this sort. Secondly,  the not so veiled threat of sanctions to be applied against resisting states; either by gays in numbers of eg tourism, or by nation states. So I struggled with the issue during the week. What was the Word from The Lord on this matter What ought to be the Christian response?

Finally the headlines below and the accompanying story sums up the week in my country; a nation which continues to grapple with crime and violence. A national issue which is dapping the collective energies of my people and condemning too many young and old persons to an early ‘grave’.
Terror in the east: Rockfort residents living in ‘hell’ – Lead Stories – Jamaica Gleaner – Sunday | February 16, 2014
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140216/lead/lead1.html

In response the Minister of National Security plans to lead a march in that area tomorrow to publicly demonstrate his absolute condemnation of the horror taking place in that part of the nation’s capital.

THE WORD OF GOD

in the midst of all of this, and more, what did The Lord lead me to read and to write?
First up was a note  to my Rector following a powerful sermon which he delivered last week Sunday in church. And my being ‘educated’  by C. S. Lewis  through a re-read of his famous  book ” Mere Christianity”. The question of spiritual warfare is raised in the note; especially against the background of the ongoing trial of world famous dance hall artiste Vibes Kartel for murder, and the gruesome details being revealed to us  who have followed the trial.

THE MESSAGE

@lucienforJesus: Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself, for the present the Prince of this world #MereChristianity #somuchevilaround

@lucienforJesus: Enemy occupied territory – that’s what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed.#CSLewis  #childmurderer

Father, when I mentioned the first part of the second tweet to you – and Rev. Kuck –  yesterday morning, in the vestry, you smiled and were a bit cautious in your response.

But this morning I woke and was led to read and reflect on ” Be thou my vision….”, about which I wrote last night. And ” Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight…” led me to to the great chapter in Ephesians about the struggle against evil.

” Finally, be strong in The Lord and in his mighty power. 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……but against……”  Ephesians 6:10-26.

So then my dear ‘Father’, unless the church is mobilized to go to war in this ‘enemy occupied territory’, your wonderful sermon about us being ‘light and salt’ yesterday, and not ‘pepper’- drawing attention to itself – will fall on deaf ears. As our people do not have this sense of urgency, of the need to be constantly prepared for war; in our homes, at the workplace, in our communities, and in our very churches. For this ‘roaring lion seeking whom he will’ is alive and very active. In all kinds of places! And most dangerously of all – in our minds. For the hearts of men is desperately wicked. And out of the heart comes all  kinds of wickedness……

So to do battle with God’s mighty power, is to pray the communion prayer, accept the invitation, minutely, ” …….that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us” . To pray for the same experience that the children of Israel had…” that God may go before us in all situations. To pray like the Psalmist in Psalm 20….that ” the name of the God of Jacob may protect us”…minutely…that we may call upon on the Name of Jesus without ceasing. In all situations.

Failure to do so, on account of all the distractions around us, some mentioned in the parable of the sower of the seed, and  others more obvious ones, account for the lack of ‘the mighty power of God’ in our church. And so Satan rules in our schools, in our inner cities and in the homes on the hills of St. Andrew, in our Politics, in the police force, in the media, and even in the church. All because we are not mobilized for war in this ‘enemy occupied territory”.
This is ( part) of what…as the Spirit directs my mind to the book of Hosea….Hosea meant when he prophesied in that terrible scene …bloodshed follows bloodshed…in chapter 4. ” My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge”.  #onwardChristiansoldiers

So we give thanks for the reality of the second  part of the tweet, as God in Christ has indeed landed. And Satan has been vanquished on the cross of calvary.
So the struggle is not ours but indeed the The Lord’s.
#thankGodforJesus
Peace
Lucien

COMMENT:  Very few person in Jamaica, and those abroad who take an interest in our affairs, would disagree that some evil has descended on this once very fair isle. How else can we explain the Kartel phenomenon; or the other dance  hall artiste well known for glorifying ‘demons’ in his music – you cannot get more evil than that- and who is now behind bars accused of being involved in the lottery scamming. or the beheading of that young woman,  allegedly by her boyfriend, which I just  read about on Twitter moment ago. How else! My God, have mercy!.

THE SECOND MESSAGE

Not really a message per se but a series of tweets sent to DjmillerJA and a couple others as I continued to read C. S. Lewis and struggled with the Wintermute ‘doctrine’:

@lucienforJesus: https://t.co/7EIb2fpOgd a response from #CSLewis When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less…@djmillerJA

@lucienforJesus: @djmillerJA A moderately bad man knows he is not very good.A thoroughly bad man thinks is alright #Interview @souldancing @Petchary #CSLewis

@lucienforJesus: @djmillerJA good people know about both good and evil;bad people do not know about either #CSLewis does the law protect usfromevil @Petchary

Lewis is just about finishing a discussion on Morality and Psychoanalysis; of the philosophy of Freud and the Christian ethic. Lewis speaks about two things which are involved in making a moral choice. The act of choosing; and the various feelings that the man’s psychological outfit presents to him and which are the raw material of his choice. Further, the raw material  may be normal – consists of feelings common to all men; or it may consist of quite unnatural feelings due to things which have gone wrong. He then shares examples, among which are:
The fear of things that are really dangerous would be an example of the first kind: an irrational  fear of cats or spiders wold be an example of the second kind.
The desire of a man for a woman would of the the first kind: the perverted desire of a man for a man would be of the second kind.
Now what psychoanalysis undertakes to do is to remove the abnormal feelings, that give the man better raw material for his acts of choice; morality  is concerned with the acts of choice themselves.

And so Lewis concludes:
” One last point.  Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness les and les. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. ….

As  I read Lewis and read what Wintermute said to #DJMillerJA I thought about King David and the Prophet Nathan’s response to his involvement with  Bathsheba and the death of her husband. ” This thing you have done is evil”.
My conclusion then is that this thing, this perverted desire of a man for a man is evil. Even though God still loves all who do evil, and would that they turn from their evil ways and live – Ezekiel. And if it is thoroughly evil, ought not the law to  so written prevent  a people, individuals and a nation from evil?  Regardless of whether or not others have elected to call evil normal, and further argue that they should be left alone to go to hell if they so choose.

@djmillerJA: Robert Wintemute, human rts prof-Jcans shd treat gays as they treat ppl frm oth religions, they may be going to hell but it’s their business

But it is not a individual issue. A nation’s future before an Almighty God is at stake here. As God knows that evil is already here in various forms. Why then should we let loose more evil  on our already beleaguered nation. Is not what happened in East last night enough madness!
Mr. Wintermute and company limited are in need of God’s mercy, as they don’t even begin to understand the evil which has overtaken them. They are need of our  prayers, as we too are in need of the prayers of the faithful. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. # ThankGodforJesus. So listen respectfully yes! Change the law because of predicted pressure or by the force of his argument, no!

FINAL MESSAGE: THIS MORNING AND SENT TO FOLKS AS DIRECTED BY THE LORD.

After suffering much in my dreams last night, and having been awakened and led to read about Samuel and the faith of his mother  Hannah; and the sins of the sons of the Priest Eli, which led to the defeat of the israelites by the Philistines, I  have been instructed to write to you about the following revelations.
“And  without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. Hebrews 11: 6 NIV

” I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and I am  persuaded now lives in you also”.  2 Timothy 1:5 NIV

” Consider Abraham: He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scriptures foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham. All nations will be blessed through you. So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith”. Galatians 3: 6-9. NIV

No doubt The Lord intends for this Word to teach you more than is obvious here. But my role is to remind you that your faith began with your mother.  As was the case with Samuel whose mother Hannah  who cried out to The Lord for a son.  In turn Samuel would be led to cry out to God to protect Israel  from  the Philistines.

And even before your mother, your faith began  with your grandmother. And the faith of all of us had its Genesis with Abraham. So even now, if you have doubts, draw on the faith of your forebears, and God will bless you. And bless this nation through you. As the good news, the gospel of  faith in Jesus Christ, and Christ crucified for the salvation of souls, and for the blessing of our beloved country, has a long history. But at some time you must believe, as otherwise it is impossible to please God. And if you believe God, then that belief will lead you to believe in His Son Christ and to become His disciple. And cry out to God for mercy in word and in deed, for this nation. As Samuel did for Israel, and God heard his cry, as He heard the cry of Hannah.
Peace
In obedience
LWJ

COMMENT: Lord have mercy on my country. Christ have mercy. ” I believe. Lord help thou mine unbelief”.
“If you believe, streams of living waters will flow out from you”.  A promise from God
” For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and  every pretension that sets itself against the knowledge of of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2. Cor. 10:3-5. NIV

As I moved to send out tonight’s message, The Lord reminded me of a  note written to ” my dearest and my best”, from last month,  and for some reason, not sent. A message which is appropriate for tonight’s  reflections as the words of the hymn which dominate the message offer us the only basis on which we can appeal to God for mercy. In and through the One True Perfect Sacrifice of Christ.
Peace.

THE MESSAGE

And now, O Father, mindful of the love
that bought us, once for all, on Calvary’s Tree,
and having with us him that pleads above,
we here present, we spread forth to thee
that only Offering perfect in thine eyes,
the one, true, pure, immortal Sacrifice.

Look, Father, look on his anointed face,
and only look on us as found in him;
look not on our misusings of thy grace,
our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
for lo, between our sins and their reward
we set the Passion of thy Son our Lord.

And then for those, our dearest and our best,
by this prevailing Presence we appeal:
O fold them closer to thy mercy’s breast,
O do thine utmost for their souls’ true weal;
from tainting mischief keep them white and clear,
and crown thy gifts with strength to persevere.

And so we come: O draw us to thy feet,
most patient Savior, who canst love us still;
and by this food, so aweful and so sweet,
deliver us from every touch of ill:
in thine own service make us glad and free,
and grant us never more to part with thee.
Words: William Bright, 1874

The words of the hymn above came into my heart in my devotions this morning. It’s a hymn we sing during Holy Communion,  or Lord’s Supper in your tradition. But it’s really a hymn for daily life as it has within it the basis of the Christian life  which is captured so succinctly in the very last line……grant us never more to part with thee. For it is only in turning to God, whom we need,  according to another song writer, every hour, that we can hope to live a happy and meaningful life. And not end up like Justin Bieber or…….( just added Kartel  and Wintermute)
And one can only live in this oneness with God if we brood constantly on the Cross and remember how much,  in Christ,  God has shown His love for us, and forgiven us of our sins….dim faith and languid prayers only come from a heart that is not mindful of God’s mercy.

That’s a temptation that all of us face daily. To forget in the heat of the battle! To forget in the midst of our trials! To forget when life is good! To forget when life is without any interruption! To forget when we are upset with each other! To forget when life is not going the way we wish!

Then having reminded ourselves and cried out to God, to ‘ look only on his anointed face and only look on us as found in him’, we then place before Him our dearest and our best…which as time goes on you will find that all persons whom you meet fall into this category. As that is God’s purpose in sending people into your life – that you, with a restless spirit, may speak to them about Him ( The final reflection from last night’s message which you will soon receive…it’s on http://www.danielgodsurelywilldeliver.wordpress.com/

To be one with God, to turn to Him every hour, is the most severe discipline that a Christian can begin. And it takes a life time to achieve. But begin now and you will soon experience the joy of the Living God being with you as your Friend, Advocate, Judge, Protector and Savior as you go through each day. But that only happens if you are prepared to ‘ carry around with you the death of Christ, so that the life of  Christ may be revealed in you’. 2. Cor.4:10

And now O Father mindful of the love…

The Lord’s peace be with you today and always.
Dad/Dr. J/LWJ

Killing our children in Jamaica and in the USA: A reminder from the Lord about the real enemy

Be Thou  my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Verse one of a hymn we sang in church today which I believe captures  a lot of what The Lord spoke about this past week.

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

NEWS

This week the news in my country was dominated by the reports and responses to the continuing killing of our young children; and  a call to ‘rise up’ and protect them,  from the Prime Minister of our country. The online edition of the Daily Gleaner carried the following report:

PM Condemns Murder Of St Thomas Minor
Published: Friday | February 7, 2014 11 Comments
While holding true to her Christian conviction, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday declared that the murder of eight-year-old Celeena Headman in Top Hill, St Thomas, on Monday was an unforgivable act.

“Let us see to the security and protection of our children,” said Simpson Miller. “What happened in St Thomas is unforgivable, and the Master knows that although he says we are to forgive, when you murder a child, it is unforgivable.”

The PM, who was giving the keynote address at the handover ceremony for housing units to relocated sugar workers at Spicy Hill, in Duncans, Trelawny, implored those in attendance to return to the concept of an entire village raising a child, as these children could become very valuable contributors to Jamaica’s development, if they are given the chance to live.

“That little girl could have become the next female prime minister of Jamaica or a scientist who could discover the cure for cancer,” she said. “We must return to the community values of loving, sharing and looking out for the little ones, (this is) barbaric, wicked, evil.”

Also news broke about the death of one of the country’s  most popular artistes, not just a reggae singer – Bunny Rugs of Third World Fame. Someone who had achieved International  acclaim and had ushered in, together with Inner Circle and the late Jacob Miller,  a refreshing and exciting new  addition to the other many different styles of reggae music which the country has produced over the years. His death is a tremendous loss to nation and indeed the world.

THE WORD OF GOD

In the midst of all of this soul wrenching news about our nation, and the ‘future’ of our country, what did The Lord say. What did He point to? What did He remind us about?  The first message was written on  Thursday morning and was addressed to senior  members of the Media and Political leaders. A group of persons who can make a huge difference in how my country progresses over the next few years. Going forward, or moving progressively backwards! A scenario handled with the genius and insight by one of the most gifted poets of our time; and  around which the poem the message is constructed, as I was led to write on the vexed issue of  murder most foul in my country. Perhaps  issues raised in the poem ought to exercise the minds of policy maker and media practitioners in the USA also as they try to come to terms with the continued reports of  violence on their campuses.  Finally the question which struck me most forcibly as I listened to the tribute to Bunny Rugs on #Radiojamaica94fm with #DJMiller on BTH, was whether or not his soul was at peace with God.

THE FIRST MESSAGE

What’s the link between the eight children who, iN a few minutes of madness, suddenly became orphans and the almost bestial-like killing of eight year  Selena Edmund  in St. Thomas this week? Mental illness! Drug addiction! Savagery!

It’s more complex or more simple than that, according to one of the most profound commentaries on changing values of ‘modern’ man that I’ve beem led to read in recent times. It happened during my lunch-time devotions, when I ‘came’ upon a wonderful poem by  T. S. Eliot ( 1888-1965…’arguably the most influential English writer in the twentieth century. ….American born and graduate of Harvard…he settled in London and became a British citizen….A Nobel  Laureate who famously penned the lines …Those who talk of the Bible as a ‘monument of English prose’ are merely admiring it as a monument over the grave of Christianity…..his Christian convictions are seen in ” The Journey of the Magi”….and ” Ash Wednesday” which depicts the need for repentance. ” The Four Quarters” is Elliott at the apex of his poetic strength. it deals with the relationship between time and eternity…….’  – according to the ‘blurb’ in my Bible.

The entire poem  ( found on Google) from which the except which appears in my Bible is taken, begins in a grand and dramatic fashion…..

Choruses from The Rock – T.S. Eliot

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

then this version in my Bible, perhaps a combination of two poems, I am not sure:

THE MOMENT OF MEANING
T. S. Eliot

Verse: Zephaniah 1:14

Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in
time, and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call
history: transecting, bisecting the world of time,
a moment in time but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time, but time was made through that
moment; for without the meaning there is no
time, and that moment of time gave the meaning.

Then it seemed as if men must proceed from light to light, in the light of
the Word,
Through the Passion and Sacrifice saved in spite of their negative being;
Bestial as always before, carnal, self seeking as always before, selfish and
purblind as ever before,
Yet always struggling, always reaffirming, always resuming their march on
the way that was lit by the light;
Often halting, loitering, straying, delaying, returning, yet following no other
way.

But it seems that something has happened that has never happened
before: though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where.
Men have left GOD not for other gods, they say, but for no God; and this has
never happened before
That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first Reason,
And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.
The Church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells upturned, what have we to do
But stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards
In an age which advances progressively backwards?

Comment: What I gained from tis message from The Lord is a reminder that  B.C…. Before Christ, and Anno Domini…..in the year of our Lord…After Christ’s death……and more specifically Christ Crucified…..a predetermined moment in time…gave the meaning to time.

That through this ‘passion and sacrifice saved in spite of their negative being…sinful state….ought to proceed then in light of this revelation from God…His Living Word…..bestial as ever……yet struggling always to live by the Word of God.

Then drama!…..Something happened …..which ….inter alia….led us to ‘invite Kartel into our University”….and Dudus into our politics….dialectic into our vocabulary ….  ‘ demons’ into our music…and  evil into our hearts…and thus ‘ they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed…as prophesied in  Hosea 4.

What’s the drama? Men have left God, not for other gods….but to worship Reason( the Age of Enlightenment )  Money, Power…….. So the Word is largely ignored…although like Herod some like to listen to John the Baptist….like to listen to the Word; until the Word accuses them of evil, and then then they turn around and ” chop off his head”….persecute the church….in so many many ways.

So what do we have here in Jamaica but ” the Church disowned”….and the faithful praying …with palms turned upwards to God….praying for a country, and indeed a world,  which is ‘progressively advancing backwards’….all because people have elected to ignore that which gave meaning to Time. The Cross of Calvary.

Perhaps Ash Wednesday this year should be declared a National Day of Repentance by people who are determined to be saved, and not to ” place another monument over the grave of Christianity’…as the God who listens to the prayers of those with ‘upturned palms’…is a God who revealed Himself in Zephaniah 1:14…and also John 3:16……therefore perishing is not a threat for those who join in the backward progression …away from He who died and gave TIME meaning. And which turning away from the Cross has given rise to our children becoming orphans and dying at the hands of evil men.
So this is not a time only for declaring ‘ outrage’. Again!  Yes for that too. For the umpteenth time!  But rather for national and personal repentance. Beginning with me! For all have sinned…..and have contributed in some way, shape, or form, to the madness.

Peace
LWJ

The second and final message was written the very nest day, as a follow up. To the same group of powerful people. I had heard the call from the Prime Minister to “rise up”, and protect our children on the television news on @televisionjam. Then I continued my reading  a book written by one of the greatest, not just Christian writer, but one of the greatest minds in all history, C. S. Lewis. And his seminal book ” Mere Christianity”.  A combination of which inspired the message. And which message was validated by the powerful direction of God’s Holy Spirit. The question here is who is the enemy causing the death of our children; and how best to engage him?

THE MESSAGE

The Prime Minister is right on target. Indeed we must, both mothers and fathers rise up and protect our children from evil.
The problem with waging war however, as any good general will tell you, is that you must know who the enemy is. Last night I sent out Tweets after continuing my reading of C S. Lewis’ seminal book ” Mere Christianity”. Messages from one who God used to inspire and teach a whole generation in the UK and beyond, through his many books, in very simple and easily understood terms, the nature of God, the purpose of man, and the reality of the devil. The real enemy who is responsible for murdering our children and  causing our society to descend into madness. Not just flesh and blood.

@lucienforJesus: Enemy occupied territory – that’s what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed.#CSLewis  #childmurderer

@lucienforJesus: Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself, for the present the Prince of this world #MereChristianity #somuchevilaround

@lucienforJesus: If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad.And free will is what has made evil possible;so too goodness and love and joy.#Lewis

@lucienforJesus: https://t.co/5qkBudDoiB The problem of free will. That’s why we need Jesus.Because evil has perverted this world # enemyterritory #praiseGod

https://twitter.com/lucienforjesus/status/431625276536401920

A clear understanding of not why, that’s not our business…says Lewis, but how God’s decision to allow us, His creatures, free will is the key to understanding good and evil.  How I wish people would read more good books than watch so much television or listen to so much distracting stuff.  There is more,  from Lewis….as cars were made run on fuel…people were made to function only in God…….but that will come on Sunday night God willing.

Finally on continuing my journey with Matthew, a verse of two per night is sufficient, from being instructed to love God with all my heart and love neighbour as self, I was led to Deuteronomy. Where the instructions had its genesis….in so many ways. And opposite chap 7, which begins with the grand words, ” Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, The Lord  is one, Love The Lord your God with all your hear heart…….”, highlighted in yellow ink, years ago, is the following verse.

” Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it may go well with them and their children forever.”  Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV.

Coincidence?  You must be joking. No, a very clear message that the children of Israel ignored. That the world has ignored. That Jamaica has ignored. To our great peril. So rise up yes, But only in Christ to fight valiantly against evil in this ‘enemy occupied territory’.

I’ll conclude with a very clear instruction of how to wage war; how to successfully rise up, against this enemy. A Word which I keep in my heart and raise up as a standard against evil, night and day. Even in my dreams.  And when I forget, as we all  do, if we do keep our minds on God all the time – trouble.  This Word is also highlighted in my Bible.

” For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with have divine power to destroy strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV.
#thankGodforJesus in whom we have righteousness. By whose death our sins have been forgiven. And in whom alone we can wage war against evil.
Peace
LWJ

Three other things of note took place in my life. One was,  being led, for a strange reason, again,  of Daniel and his rescue from the den of the Lions. All because of his faith and trust in God! Not really. Read again the concluding section in which the glory of God was pronounced all over the world then; and even since.

” Then the King of Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:
May you prosper greatly!
I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel…… Daniel 6:25-27  NIV
The issue here is who is to be glorified in the life and experience and trials of man. Only God, and God alone! That is the eternal message from the creation of man. And that is what Satan fights against at all times, and in all situations. In that quest, in that eternal struggle, in which there is only one ultimate winner, already pronounced on the Cross of Calvary, we find all the troubles of the world.

The second one was a vivid and dramatic dream. About ‘prayer warriors’, assuming that it was their responsibility …leave it to me ….to ‘pray out’ evil from an individual. And I was led to say no. No! It is only God alone  who can protect us from evil. I say no more.

Finally the words from Psalm 20 got into my soul. Deep inside my soul this week. For good reason as the ‘devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he will’. So I thanked God for the ” protection that only the name of the  God of Jacob” can offer. And for the promise of help from Zion and from the sanctuary.
So as we strive to give God the glory this week, and seek His protection in this ‘enemy occupied territory’, let us call upon the Name of Jesus constantly. As only He can rescue the soul of Bunny Rugs, no mater how much good he did on earth and how well he performed. As only, in the final analysis, despite all the measures, all the “horses and chariots’ we bring up against those who would murder our children,  and blight our nation’s future, ‘the Name of  The Lord our God’, about whom the Psalmist writes, can save us. So to Him be all the glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.

Death by man: Life in Christ

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 the church that the church may renew the nation(s)  A Prayer for the Decade of Evangelism

NEWS

Of all the reports that grabbed my attention this week, the one which had the greatest impact on me was : Eight children orphaned in a few seconds! A barbarous act committed by heartless killers, who shot to death a mother and a father in front of the children in the western part of the country. And which act of sheer wickedness shocked the entire nation.

THE WORD OF  GOD

What then did The Lord say to me, and through me,  in various ways this week, in the midst of this continued madness?

The first message this week  went out on Thursday morning during my devotions and was addressed to my church brothers and sisters at St. Andrew Parish  Church. It’s a message which really began on Sunday when my pastor preached a short but powerful sermon about ” Follow Me” – the call of Jesus for every Christian. And the question which the meditation from a well known preacher of yure raises, is whether or not we can really truly follow Jesus, except we yearn for a ‘deeper life with Christ”. Further, unless can ‘worthily’ praise Him, it is hardly likely that we would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to wage war against the evil that is so very present in our nation.

THE MESSAGE

Last night the song in my heart was ” New every morning is thy love”. And so that was how I began my devotions this morning with a reflection on the words of that wonderful hymn. When I got to  the second verse….new mercies each returning day…and the last line…new thoughts of God…my mind for reasons unknown to me led me to Psalm 139. A Psalm which we all know well! So I read, and read, and marvelled and marvelled. Again! Verse 14 in particular caught my attention,,,,I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. To the right of the page is a reflection by A. W. Tozer ( 1897-1963)…an acclaimed lifelong pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance with a rich pulpit ministry…was without any formal education beyond grade school….he was intensely devotional and well read and mystical…..drew from the writings of others including Francois Fenelon, Bernard of Clairvaux, Julian of Norwich…Shakespeare…wrote many book in which he encourages his readers to know God personally and experientially…..include The Pursuit of God, The Divine Conquest, The Knowledge of the Holy.

I was about to leave the psalm and read the NT lesson appointed for Sunday, as I had read the reflection by Tozer before, but  I was ‘arrested’ and led back to Tozer whom I now present to you. Watch carefully for a familiar prayer and a further word on Father Sirano’s sermon on ” Follow me”.

SEARCH ME O GOD
A. W. Tozer
Verse: Psalm 139:23

The author of the celebrated devotional work, The Cloud of Unknowing, begins his little book with a prayer that expresses the spirit of the deeper life teaching: ” God, unto whom all hearts are open….and unto whom no secret thing is hid, I beseech thee so far to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of thy grace, that I may perfectly love thee and worthily praise thee. Amen.”

Who that is truly born of the Spirit, unless he has been prejudiced by wrong teaching can object to such a through cleansing of the heart as will enable him perfectly to love God and worthily to praise Him. ( as I write …not worthy to gather up the crumbs under thy table..comes into my mind.)
Yet this is exactly what we mean when we speak about the ” deeper life” experience. Only  we mean that it should be literally fulfilled within the heart, not merely accepted by the head.

Nicephorus, a father of the Eastern Church, in a little treatise on the Spirit-filled life, begins with a call that sounds strange to us only because we have been for so long accustomed to following Jesus from afar off and living among a people that follow him afar off. ( This morning as I read the psalm, I wondered what kind of man ..fearfully and wonderfully made by God…and other such  ‘revelation’ in the psalm could so cold blooded murder those two parents in Westmoreland and leave eight children orphaned…yet many of them walk with a bible in the back pocket….of course a train of thought which leads us to wonder who else is guilty of ‘following’ Jesus from afar off)

” You,  who desire to capture the wondrous divine illumination of our Savior Jesus Christ – who seek to feel the divine fire in your heart – who strive to to sense and experience the feeling of reconciliation with God – who, in order to unearth the treasure buried in the field of your heart and to gain possession of it, have renounced everything worldly – who desire the candle of our souls to burn brightly even now, and who for this purpose have renounced all the world – who wish by conscious experience to know and to receive the kingdom of heaven existing within you – come and I will impart to you the science of eternal heavenly life – ”

Such quotations as these might easily be multiplied till they fill half a dozen volumes. This yearning after God has never completely died in any generation. Always there were some who scorned the low paths and insisted upon walking the high road of spiritual perfection. Yet, strangely enough, that word perfection never meant a spiritual terminal point not a stae of purity that made watchfulness and prayer unnecessary. Exactly the opposite was true.
In obedience to He who ‘arrested’ me this morning and who called us to truly ” Follow Him”. No doubt as we reflect on these words and ponder the state of our beloved nation, stained with the news sex videos and blood of the innocent flowing on our streets, and even the not so innocent, we may rightly conclude that only when we truly follow Christ will we be so empowered to help to rescue our people from evil.
I pray that The Collect For Purity that we pray Sunday after Sunday,  may take on a new and  more urgent meaning after having read this meditation by Tozer.
Amen
LWJ

SECOND MESSAGE

The second message was short. Twitter short.And was addressed to some folks in the media and some in leadership positions in my country

Lucien Jones (@lucienforJesus) tweeted at 11:16 PM on Fri, Jan 31, 2014:
Christianity tells people to repent and offers them forgiveness… It does not begin with comfort but with dismay #merechristianity #CSLewis
(https://twitter.com/lucienforJesus/status/429468353091366912)

Something to think about very carefully.

It came to me as I began reading another one of C. S. Lewis’ books – Mere Christianity. And so far,  Lewis has gone  to great lengths to argue that,  The Moral Law, or The Laws of Nature, deeply embedded in the human soul and psyche, whether or not we are Christians, and which ‘encourages’ us to do what is right – not steal, not murder, not rob an old lady – but which we fail to keep, as humans, is ultimately a sign that there is a God. And He is speaking to all of us! Regularly in our souls. The argument has not yet arrived at Christianity and Jesus. But in the interim comes this powerful reminder of our helplessness in ‘keeping the law of Nature’. And so Lewis makes the ‘early Christian’ point that, in this way men ought to seek God. In dismay at our helplessness in doing what is right all the time. And then we will find comfort. Otherwise, we will seek comfort and never find it. Perhaps this gives us  hint of why the church is so ineffective in some countries, and in some communities, and why evil flourishes as a consequence. This the essence of the ‘something’ to think carefully about; especially in  this  age of the ‘prosperity gospel’. Which is no gospel at all. And has no power to rescue Jamaica and other countries from evil.

THIRD MESSAGE – sent to my church again. And addresses in even more detail – retrospect it is amazing how God works – the reason why we need to be helpless before God. And in dismay!  We need to read it also with Malachi 3:1-3 in mind. The Old Testament lesson for the service this morning.

“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past. (Malachi 3:1-4 NLT)
And Revelations 3:19
I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. (Revelation 3:19 NLT)

The point here is that God will ‘refine’ all those who call upon his  name, so that we may better serve Him in this ‘demon possessed valley. And that includes dying to self. But then, praise God,  the powerful promise of 2 Cor 10,  which The Lord led me to read and use, in the midst of severe attacks from the evil one this week,  will be available to all who pass through the refiner’s fire. So that we can help to rescue our country, our family, our neighbors and the entire human race.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)

THE MESSAGE

I could not recall hearing a ‘song in the night’ as I woke up this morning. So I wondered what to read in my devotions. Then I ‘ heard’ Peter. So I began with Peter, and found this quote nestled in the midst of a promise  about a ‘Living Hope’ …that can never perish, spoil of fade….though  now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials….these have come to that you faith …may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:3-12. NIV

” Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them, and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust in His skill and thank Him for His prescription”. – John Newton ( the same one who spoke about newspapers and Bibles)

Then without any pause my mind went to another quote this time in the ‘vicinity’ of a passage which I have read time and time again.

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20 NIV

Hannah Hurnard  ( 1905-1990  In 1929 she traveled to Palestine and began a ministry to both Arabs and Jewish settlements. Spent several years serving in Missionary hospitals…and from 1949  until her death she devoted herself to writing and speaking on behalf of her missionary work….Watchmen of the Walls……Hinds’ Feet on High Places  Thou shall Remember are some of her well known inspirational books
– It is through accepting the circumstances that come to us in life that we self is crucified.

I am not Pentecostal, like many of my patients who ” curse Diabetes” when informed of the diagnosis, and even my ‘self’ rebels against Hannah’s observation. The problem which then confronts us,  is that we cannot reject Hannah and accept Peter and Newton’s revelation/observation. As they are essentially saying the same thing. And then if not an acceptance of our circumstances which then leads to ‘death of self’, what other means is there to be employed? As comfort and peace and prosperity will never lead to ‘death of self’. And self has to die if Christ is to live in us…”the old has passed away, and behold…..”

Does acceptance of our circumstances then prevent us from crying out ” Lord have mercy on me a sinner”. Absolutely not! Remember the two blind men…who the disciples tried to ‘hush’. And they cried out even more…and they were rewarded  for their faith in ” The Son of Man”. The same thing happened to the woman with the issue of blood!
Last night I sent the following note by e-mail to a few persons,  and many others on twitter, after reading some very profound words by C.S. Lewis – a good discipline for Lent.

Lucien Jones (@lucienforJesus) tweeted at 11:16 PM on Fri, Jan 31, 2014:
Christianity tells people to repent and offers them forgiveness… It does not begin with comfort but with dismay #merechristianity #CSLewis
(https://twitter.com/lucienforJesus/status/429468353091366912)

Something to think about very carefully.

So is this discussion this morning happening by coincidence? I think not! One of the many things we learn if we ‘listen’ carefully as the journey with Christ continues, is that ‘self really has no intention of dying’. Trials then, come to the aid of our soul and keep us focused on the mercy and goodness of God. That’s why Jesus warns us to ” Take no thought for your life’ – one of the most severe disciplines in which a child of God can can engage. In the midst of sickness, financial distress, providing for your family, murder on the streets…… “But be careful about one thing, your relationship with me”…Oswald Chambers Jan 27.

And the relationship with God has to begin with dismay before it can end up with comfort. Whether driven by Sin, or Sin plus trials, or trials because of Sin!
Otherwise we enter through the ‘wrong gate”. And start a battle which we cannot continue. Then the world counts us as irrelevant and Satan is happy and the madness continues unabated around us.  Because power to fight against evil only comes with our recognition of our need for Redemption. So we thank God for the ‘ remnant’ throughout history who have accepted what God has ‘ thrown at them’, trusted Him and done wonders in His Name. And because of  which wonders  Satan trembles, peace reigns and God is glorified.
From Martin Luther to MLK Jnr. From John Wesley to Nelson Mandela. From Mary the mother of Jesus to  the army of Christian mothers  in inner cities across the globe, who despite living in poverty,  and often times persecution, taught their children to love Jesus, ensuring the spread of the Gospel, and thus preventing the absolute decline into anarchy and immorality in many a country. Including Jamaica! And who are far more deserving of being celebrated as ” Women of The year”, over Tessanne and Shelly, despite their ‘super’ performances last year..
But I digress! Or do I?  Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s).
Peace
LWJ