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.
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.
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
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.
@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.
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: @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.
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.
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.