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
1. The news that dominated the discussion in my country, and has caused a serious split in the University of the West Indies according to a newspaper report, was the ‘firing’ of Professor Brendan Bain from the CHART program. An issue which was mentioned in this ministry last week, but since has developed dramatically and controversially.
Pressure mounts on UWI as Bar Association criticises firing of …
OPPOSITION to the sacking of Professor Brendan Bain continued to mount Friday as the influential Jamaican Bar Association (Jambar) took the University of the …
The essence of the story is that a highly acclaimed Professor of Infectious Diseases, and one who has received accolades for his contribution to the struggle to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica and in the Caribbean, under pressure from the lobby groups, was removed from his post as Director of the CHART program by the UWI. For very controversial reasons! …for details see the link above. And the reasons proffered for his dismissal by the UWI has provoked a firestorm of debate about the power of the Gay Agenda, and freedom of speech in Jamaica. This appears to be a story which is going to be in the spotlight for weeks and months ahead in my country.
2. Four children died in tragic circumstances in my country in four days.
ST JAMES HORROR – 14-yo in custody for murder – Jamaica Gleaner
2 days ago – “Seeing the dead bodies of four different children in four days is not an easy experience. I feel truly troubled by this. This is really too much.”.
This was an extremely painful week for my country and for the parish of St, James in the western part of Jamaica. First it was the tragic death of twins boys who perished in flood waters leading to a public debate about how we care for our children in times of extreme danger in our communities. Then the news broke of how one youngster was stabbed to death by another young child; and the news tonight confirmed that the accused child has confessed and had been taken into police custody. Along with his grandmother who is accused of ‘ attempting to hide the murder weapon’. And that was not enough madness, and evidence of evil in that community, news broke of the death by suicide of a teenager. Wow! heavy stuff indeed to contend with as a nation. Especially at a time when we are battling to understand what some feel, is a grave injustice that has been meted out to a good man. All orchestrated by powerful forces!
3. Finally some good news. Jamaica placed second – to the USA -in the just concluded IAAF sponsored World relays where one of our teams ran a word record time. And where young Johan Blake proved himself to be a worthy successor to the legendary, and still a contender for further greatness, Usain Bolt.
Report: Men’s 4x200m – Nassau 2014 WORLD RECORD
International Association of Athletics Federations - 18 hours ago
Jamaica’s men’s 4x200m quartet improved the world record* by 0.05 … on time from the first heat, the former with a national record of 1:22.18.
IAAF: Report: Men’s 4x200m – Nassau 2014 WORLD RECORD | iaaf.org
Two warnings, this one is by necessity, as you read you will understand, a bit long. But please persevere to the end. Secondly, if you can, try and listen to the report on That’s a Rap on rjrfm94 at 6;30 Jamaica time for a good perspective on the Professor Bain issue.
THE WORD OF GOD
So in the midst of all of this what inspired word, and what Word did The Lord lead me to read. First all let me confess that it was a struggle for me, as the principal actors in this story about Professor Bain, are for the most part, active in various fields, and playing different roles, are colleagues of mine. And two, Professor Bain on one side, and Professor Figueroa, on the other side, I consider to be friends. Along with Professor Archie McDonald the Principal of the UWI Campus, and the Chancellor of the UWI, Professor George Alleyne who is one of my mentors but who was not involved, and also just an absolutely wonderful human being. The Vice Chancellor I know, and also Dr. Carolyn Gomes. But not well.
So as I was led write, quite a few times, to a group of influential persons in my country, including the principal actors, save one, I had to try very hard not to insert my own feelings, but depend on The Lord for His inspiration. And which dependence of God has been the hallmark of this Internet Ministry spanning the years.
THE FIRST MESSAGE -SENT ON THE MORNING THAT THE STORY BROKE
For obvious reasons, I’ve included Professor Bain in this ‘conversation’ today. This is a dangerous time, as Brendan is a friend and colleague and Christian brother. And one who, as we say in Jamaica, ” cannot mash ants’. As he is such a gentle soul, even though he is from Trinidad and has spent much of his life in ‘rambunctious’ Jamaica. He really ought to have hailed from Barbados. Dangerous for me then, in the sense that even though I felt a need to write this morning, I do not, and will try never to write on my own feelings. But rather wait on a ‘word’ from The Lord .
Then the words of one of my favorite, and most instructive, hymns, in recent times, came into my head.
God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died, to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives
How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he brings
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days because He lives
And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to vict’ry
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives
But even then I was not sure, so I asked The Lord to send me a Word. And He did. In the form of the second reading, in my church, for next Sunday ( One of the great things about the Anglican Church is that we know the readings for each Sunday and can therefore prepare for service in a very special way).
THE WORD OF GOD
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31 NIV)
COMMENT – Stripped of all the legal arguments, stripped of all the debate about the science, stripped of all the debate about human rights and issues of discrimination, stripped of all the arguments about the role of leadership and the responsibility of the UWI, deep in this desire on the part of Gay Lobby to remove Professor Bain is the struggle between ‘God’s commands’, and the determination of man to have the right to determine his own future. Free from the shackles of an Omnipotent God. It’s as simple as that. Nothing more and nothing less. And therefore it is a debate which is, as we say in Jamaica, ‘ as old as the hills’; or in the language of the theologians, a manifestation of ‘ The Fall’. Which as we know describes what took place when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and ever since, ‘ all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
So in this era, those who are determined that they should have the right to engage in homosexual acts whether in the privacy of their homes, or in full public view if they so desire, and further, to be free to promote that lifestyle, as an alternate one to that commanded by God, are now the ‘talk of the town’. And with support from powerful forces.
So what is the word from The Lord saying to us this morning. Two simple things.
One that life, ultimately, is all about, what will happen when you die. Secondly, regardless of who feel that they have power in this life, and have the right to determine their future, only God both knows and holds the future.
I close by drawing your attention to the fact that it is not a coincidence that the two big stories of the day are about death. The untimely and tragic death of those two precious little boys, and Professor Bain’s removal from his University Post at the behest of the Gay Lobby – the apparent demise of an opponent.
But in the same way that only God, through the church, can comfort that mother, and that father and that family, with the assurance that because Jesus lives, those children and that family will have a certain future, so too will Professor Bain a child of God. The question then arises what is the future of those who persist in resisting the commands of He who holds the future. I would suggest that the Word from Acts is very instructive, to all of us in this nation, and the entire world. Whether we are unrepentant homosexuals, heterosexuals, or guilty of any other sin for which we have not repented. For the important news of the day is that ‘ God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31 NIV).
Professor Bain’s future is secure. So too that of those two children. All of us should seek that assurance rather than rejoice over Pyrrhic victories.
THE SECOND MESSAGE – AGAIN SENT TO THE SAME GROUP, BUT THIS TIME WITH THE FIRST OF THREE WARNING ABOUT THE DANGER OF SATAN IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE
Yesterday in my office, in the heart of rural Jamaica, where many persons still trust in God, the ‘firing of Professor Bain’, at the behest of the Gay Lobby, was a hot topic. But even before reading the meditation below I cautioned against leaving out the gays in our prayers. As we are called to pray for those who persecute us.
Last night as I watched All Angles on TVJ, hosted by Dionne Jackson-Miller, her interview with Vice Chancellor Nigel Harris was particularly riveting. As she was able to get him to reveal some of the deep pain that this issue has inflicted on him because of his friendship with, and high regard for, Professor Bain. So he too needs our prayers, as well as Professor Bain. So too the forever strident Dr. Gomes, and others who engineered his dismissal from the CHART program. So too Shirley Richards, the indefatigable head of the Christian lawyers, who in her own words, uttered during her interview with DJM, ‘ had been warning the nation that this day would come’. My impression was that she was angry. Very angry! And perhaps rightfully so, and so too countless other Jamaicans who do not support the homosexual lifestyle, the preservation of which, in my understanding, lies at the heart of this issue.
But we have to be careful, ‘ for the Devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he will”. And the reminder of that reality is the central message in a mediation I was drawn to read this morning. A message that has resonance far beyond this debate, and ought to inform the Christian position in every circumstance; whether in politics, in business, in the schoolroom, at home, in the community…wherever. Only then will peace reign in our hearts and in our nation, and between nations. For at the heart of Christ’s suffering and death on Calvary was the ‘forgive them Father, for they know not what they so’.
Can you imagine what could happen if forgiveness, like a strong wind, were to blow across Mountain View, McGregor Gully, Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Majestic Gardens……….Syria, Israel, The West Bank ; Ukraine, Russia; North and South Korea; Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India…….. wherever
DEEPER WARFARE – CHRIS TIEGREEN
” When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins”
” if there is the tiniest grudge in your mind against anyone, your spiritual penetration into the knowledge of God stops”. Oswald Chambers.
IN WORD There is a direct link between the forgiveness in our hearts and the efficacy of our prayers. Those who are reluctant to forgive others are out of sync with God’s Character. Those who know the depths of God’s forgiveness for themselves apply that depth to their forgiveness of others and are at one with the Father’s purposes. They therefore pray consistently with godly character and are aware of God’s purposes in the world. Their prayers avail much.
It is on this point that we often misstep. When we run into difficult people, we focus on resolving our relationships with them. We may believe that Satan’s warfare against us is also focused on those relationships. If he can disrupt them, he wins battles; if we can maintain them, we think we win. But there is a deeper battle going on. The enemy uses contentious relationships as a tool to a more profound warfare. if he can sow seeds of bitterness and resentment in our hearts, he hinders our prayers. And he is far more interested in hindering prayers than simply seeing people argue.
IN DEED When we try to resolve broken relationships, we cannot afford to focus on the externals, seeking to preserve civility and keep the peace. There is a much more intense and high stakes war going on in our hearts. A restored relationship is fine with the evil one if we lose a worshipful, joyful, prayerful, forgiving attitude in the process.
This is one reason God often puts His people in difficult and even oppressive circumstances. When we have learned to remain worshipful in an oppressive situation, we have won the battle, regardless of the outward resolution. This is the ‘standing firm’ referred to in Ephesians 6:13. And our prayers can remain unhindered.
THE THIRD MESSAGE – A SHORT ONE, PERHAPS IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM MEMBERS OF THE GROUP
A final thought on this issue. At least for tonight. The worse thing that can happen to anyone is not the contraction of HIV, or full blown AIDS. Nor is it the abrogation of one’s human rights. The one thing which this forum, brought together fully on a Sunday night, and sent to people by God’s grace, to all sectors of our society and also internationally, for many years, has tried to do, is to ‘save souls’. To educate people about salvation. As what does it profit a man or woman to be healed from HIV, to have his or her ‘ human rights’ safeguarded, to rise to the pinnacle of his or her chosen profession, to be rich and powerful, and yet lose their soul. And perish. Eternally!
For that most profound reason, John 3: 16 has become the most well known verse in the Bible. And in most areas of Jamaica, whether among believers or not, if you start the verse, they will finish it:
“For God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.
That is why the battle is well and truly joined. As from time immemorial, men who became wise in their minds, and thus became foolish before God, are in complete opposition to that world view. But to what end? As who can fight against the Living God.
My friend Peter became very emotional this evening on BTH, and admitted it. As he was upset that, apparently, despite his attempts to convince various governments over the years to repeal the buggery law, he has failed, and which inaction, in his view, has contributed to the relatively high prevalence of HIV among MSM in Jamaica and Guyana, when compared to Cuba and the Bahamas where no such law obtains. He is convinced that he is correct. Others are of a different view. But more importantly, can you then imagine the angst and the pain that we who claim Christ, experience, when our friends, and fellow Jamaicans die and we don’t know they are gone. Eternally! In comparison with the joy, regardless of the attendant grief, that we feel when we are certain that a friend or a loved one is gone to glory with Christ.
Forever your friend and hopefully one day your Christian brother, with a promise to keep you and others in my prayers.
That is why, by God’s grace I am led, and inspired to write to you and others in this particular forum, who are not believers, and to strengthen the faith of others, so that one day we may all come to know and obey Christ. To the the glory of God and the rescuing of this nation which in so many ways has lost its way.
THE THIRD MESSAGE – INCLUDES THE FIRST OF TWO WARNINGS ABOUT SATAN THE LIAR
Usually by today I would have gone through the readings for Sunday’s service and thus prepare my soul adequately for worship. So this morning I read the last one usually of four – the OT, The Psalm, The Epistle(NT) and The Gospel – but for this week there is an alternative reading for the OT. So I read it, but was somehow drawn to also read Chris Tiegreen’s 2008 One Year Devotion at His Feet. So I read the one for today May 23 and was amazed at how God speaks so directly sometimes.
Recall yesterday the conversation included observations like, ‘ Text and subtext’. And Going Beyond The Headlines in order to understand The Cover Story. As you read the meditation below, consider the reality that the same ‘received wisdom’ of ‘International Agencies’ which is the major force behind the move to decriminalize the buggery law, is also the the same force that is pushing for abortions to made legal. So the same people who would like anyone who so desires, or ‘was born that way’, to be free to sin sexually, are the same people, by and large, who are promoting the argument that taking the life of an unborn child is not murder. And therefore not sin. And why? On the face of it, for admirable reasons. So that homosexuals may be encouraged to come out of the closet and seek access proper health care and thus reduce the prevalence of HIV among MSM in particular, and the population in general as MSM’s also have sex with women. So that women who have ‘backstreet’ abortions, which are often botched, end up in hospital with infections and often die. So the argument is that, which reasonable person, especially Christians filled with compassion for the suffering of others, can resist that kind of compelling argument to save lives and prevent the spread of disease.
One can only fall for that kind of beguiling and subtle argument when you take your mind from ‘off the cross’. The most dangerous thing a Christian can do! Why? Because Christ did not die because women were dying of botched abortions. Or because MSM’s were contracting HIV more frequently than heterosexuals, or because people were starving in The Sudan, or because people were dying of Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa, or because Jamaica was prophesied to become the second most murderous country in the world in respect of gun related crimes. No, Christ died because ‘in Adam all men sinned’…and fell short of the glory of God. And that ‘Sin’ has led to all the trials and troubles and disease in the world. Further, since ‘the wages of sin is death’, God in His mercy and love, that is beyond all human understanding, sent His Son to die as an Atonement for sin.
And the essence of sin, is man’s desire to have his own way and the right to do what he pleases. Thus rebelling against the very God who gave him breath and life.
So the question is, can we ‘save ‘ people from disease and trials, can we protect a nation and the world from illness by disobeying our Creator God. And send a message that God did not know what He was doing when He sent His Son to die. Or that people have misinterpreted the Bible. Or worse that the Bible is of no use to mankind in this modern world. The sad reality is that if people were to obey God, then HIV and AIDS would disappear from the face of the earth. So too would death from botched abortions. So does that mean that Christians ought to ‘ leave disobedient people to suffer’. By no means, as the essence of the message of the Cross is that God cares about sinful people like me and you. So much so that He Himself, in Christ, a most mysterious thing that the Jehovah’s witnesses and Rastafarians and many others cannot comprehend, in love, died on the Cross, that those who believe may not perish. So all disciples of Christ are mandated to care for, and to do everything in their power to prevent the spread of HIV, and the death of young pregnant and desperate girls, to reduce poverty and disease in Africa, to help to reduce the incidence of murder in Jamaica and elsewhere. But we can never encourage or be party to sin, if we are to remain faithful to the God who died because of sin on the cross. In that context then, and only in that context, would there be any space for a debate on whether or not to decriminalize the buggery law is to encourage sin, or be a party to it- as that is a very complex matter. It is also in this context that I encourage you to read the meditation below, and which reflection I did not plan to read this morning.
DISCERNING THE LIAR – CHRIS TIEGREEN
‘When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’ John 8:44
IN WORD The best lies are slight variations on the truth. Anyone can pick out an obvious counterfeit. The ones closest to reality are the most difficult to detect. So it is with the father of lies. He is only overt when no discerning eyes are around. But the more we discern, the more subtle he gets in his perversions of truth. He will taint the gospel with the slightest of heresies – if we let him.
That is why some of the most deceptive cults have begun with Christianity as their starting point. The gospel plus a bit of paganism or a dash of secularism is an appealing formula for the liar. We must always guard against anything that modifies the purity and simplicity of the message that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected as our hope.
Our culture has fallen for the lies. It has no problem with our saying that Jesus is a way, a truth, and a life. It’s when we say that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life – the only way to the Father ( John 14:6) – that the enemy gets uncomfortable. He hates the exclusivity of the gospel, and has inspired our culture to rebel against it. It is, and has always been, a scandalous proposition that there is only one way of salvation. The world rails against such particularity. it can tolerate anything but truth.
IN DEED Jesus tells us we are to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves ( Matthew 10:16). Paul tells us that he is not – and neither should we be – ignorant of the enemy’s schemes ( 2 Cor. 2:11). And we are urged to, even commanded to put on the armor of God against the scheming weapons of the enemy ( Ephesians 6: 11).
It is a treacherous world, with deceptions scattered about like well-hidden land mines. The terrain is difficult. There is no way through it without strict adherence to the map. Let your mind absorb it; use it well and discern the lies.
My only comment: In the context of the ongoing discussion about Professor Bain and his dismissal as head of the CHART program, is this a coincidence? I think not! Let those who have ears to hear, listen well as it is a very treacherous world out there. That’s why Jesus died and was raised from the dead with power, so that we can live a new life. And why in a very profound sermon delivered at my church recent, our Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory observed that ‘ since Jesus has gone ahead of us, and empowered us with the Holy Spirit, so that we can more effectively go on Mission – to rescue the perishing and care for the dying among the other five marks of mission , our best days are always ahead of us.
So Brendan my friend, despite going through what some may perceive as the worse time of your life, in Christ, your best days are ahead of you. In your struggle to reduce HIV and in your calling to spread the gospel of Christ. Both of which, evangelism and doing good works, are part of the Christian journey. For that is what Christ did. All to the glory of God, His Father and in Christ, our Father too.
THE FINAL MESSAGE – AND PERHPS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. FEATURING THE EXPOSURE OF HOW THE LIES OF SATAN ARE MANIFEST IN THIS ISSUE. AND OF WHICH LIES WE CALLED TO EXPOSE.
This revelation, well not revelation in the purest sense as the release from the Council of Churches drew our attention to it. And certainly Shirley Richards has been speaking about it for a while now. But ultimately, any revelation from God has to be personal, in the sense that you have to come to understand it yourself. That’s how in my experience God works. What’s the revelation? As revealed yesterday from John that the devil is a liar. Not just a common everyday liar, but a master of deceit.
DISCERNING THE LIAR – CHRIS TIEGREEN
‘When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’ John 8:44
I am not sure where it started, but the truth is that The University of the West Indies, headed by the Vice Chancellor, who in his defense has no idea of the forces behind this, has put Professor Bain on trial for a crime committed by someone else.
Follow me carefully. According to the Bible, the very Word of God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, created the earth, the sea and everything in it and declared it good. Then He created man from dust and blew breath into him. Then He fashioned woman out of man as it was not good for man to be alone. And then we are told ‘ for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.
Then comes the story we all know well. But many have rejected both the story and the entire Bible. That mankind, who God created with His own hands ‘ fell’ under the influence of the master of deceit. ” Did God really say that you must not eat of the …..”
Then literally all hell broke lose after that incident. As the disposition of all mankind after that was to rebel against a Creator God. If you read the Bible carefully you will see that, and one has to be very careful in the interpretation, God ‘lamented’ that He made man, but one man Noah, ‘found favor with God”. And after the cleansing by water, mankind was given a ‘second chance’.
Now we all know the story of ‘ God chosen people’, and how apostasy, rebellion against a God ‘ who carried them on eagle’s wings’ , quickly and repeatedly set in.
And how God promised Moses, ‘ to raise another from among you to save Israel’.
Which promise was fulfilled, not just for Israel, but for the whole world ( John 3:16) in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. To save men from their sins.
This is the context in which we have to understand the miscarriage of justice which took place at the UWI. One of the sins clearly outlined in Bible is homosexuality. All the experts agree – what a thing Jamaican people would say, after Massa God done tell you long time – that to engage in this (sinful) sexual act is ‘risky’ as it facilitates the acquiring of the HIV much more ( efficiently) than – what God ordained – vaginal sex. Homosexuals, having acquired the virus, in an effort to, which we all subscribe, to reduce the spread, the same experts now tell us that one of the major planks in the reduction in the spread is to reduce stigma and discrimination. So that homosexuals will feel comfortable to come forward and access care and take preventative measures. And one of the main obstacles to that ‘coming out of the closet’ in Jamaica and Guyana and in any other country which has in place is this ‘ unjust law’.
Well how did this law come on the books? What philosophy has influenced the development of Caribbean Jurisprudence over the years? The Judeo-Christian Ethic. And quo vadis, from whence cometh, this influence. From our colonial masters, via the Baptists…William Knibb et al, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and others. This then was the prevailing influence in Western Europe to where the Judeo- Christian ethic spread from Palestine.
So it is the Christians who are in opposition, are the ‘stumbling’ block, to the relief of the suffering that homosexuals, who not only spread the virus among themselves, but according to Professor Figueroa in an interview on BTH this week, many also have sex with women thus complicating matters. Therefore every ( right wing..whatever that means) Christian, every Jamaican who does not believe that the law should be changed is also a co-conspirator in this case…what a preckeh!
So my friends, as the Vice Chancellor mentioned during that fascinating interview with DJM – she ought get a prize for it – even if Professor Bain was correct – I hope you heard that, if not watch it again – with his data, the overriding concern, I am paraphrasing, at the UWI is the human rights of the LGBT community. In the sense that the buggery law is an affront to their human rights.
So here is the thing now. The question of whether or not Professor Bain erred in appearing on the behalf of a group which is opposed to the removal of the buggery law, is not the problem. Further, the question of what led to, if it is true, the loss of confidence in his ability to lead the CHART program is not the issue. The problem is that, not just Professor Bain, but every Christian who upholds the truth of the Bible, and believes that homosexuality is a sin, is being condemned for ‘ preventing Gays from feeling free to access care and thus prevent the spread of the disease”.
Not even the buggery law is the problem. As that’s only a manifestation of the deeper problem – the thought process of the Christian community and those whom they influence. For if by fiat you remove the buggery act in Jamaica tomorrow morning most Jamaicans would still be in opposition to the homosexual act in their minds. Preachers would still inveigh against that sin, and all sins in the pulpit, and call all sinners to repentance. No law can overcome that reality. The culture of opposition to the gay lifestyle would still be intact. And it is the culture influenced by the Judeo-Christian ethic which is the problem. And so in the minds of the homosexuals they would still feel stigmatized. Why do you think the LGBT community recently sought to inform journalists what terms were acceptable to them and what was offensive eg ” Gay Agenda” is offensive! That’s the reason, in my opinion, why Professor Figueroa lamented the disproportionate high prevalence of the HIV in blacks in the USA where recent data from CDC indicates that HIV among MSM’s has increased by 12% . And they have no buggery law. But by inference, the black community is influenced by the culture of the ( backward) Judeo-Christian ethic.
So because of the master of deceit, he who influenced mankind to rebel against God, and has been ‘on trial’ since then, has now masterminded the reversal of roles. And so in the instant case we have a situation, across the world, not only in Jamaica, where Christianity is now on trial, for ‘ the abrogation of the human rights of Gays”. Wow!
I got up this morning to write, even before my devotions, about what The Lord said last night. And I almost missed two things.
One is a set of prayers I read each morning, and spend sometime reflecting on them. Including:
” Protect me from all lies and and falsehood, helping me to discern deception wherever I meet it.”
The other is a another perspective from Chris Tiegreen on the master of deceit.
EXPOSING THE LIAR
IN WORD The father of all lies will try to deceive us in many ways. But he seems to have an overarching strategy that is twofold. (1) He wants to tell us we’re more than we are; and (2) he wants to tell us God is less than He is.
There is a huge gap between sinful humanity and holy God. God bridged that gap with the perfect blend of justice and love – the Cross. Satan wants to bridge it is any alternate way he can. He elevates us and devalues God. If we can be reconciled with our Creator by our being a little bit better and by God being a little more reachable, then he has nullified our sense of need for the Cross. He has undermined the legitimate craving we have for the Only.
How does the devil elevate us? He tells us that we’re not as bad off as the Bible makes us out to be; or that sin isn’t really that serious; or that sin doesn’t really exist ; or that we’re able to overcome it with our good works; or, as in this passage, that our heredity is enough – we’re of decent enough stock as children of Abraham or any other tradition.
And how does the liar devalue God? He can’t, really, but he can change our perspective. He makes God appear unloving and distant, not worth pursuing; or so loving that He has no real concept of sin and tolerates all we do; or that He is pleased as long as our good works outweigh our bad; or, as in this passage, that our own thoughts and judgments seem so right to us that they must have come from God Himself. Regardless of the lie, our twisted perspective makes God the sanctioned of all we want Him to sanction.
IN DEED Expose the liar. The gap between the infinitely holy and the utterly sinful can only be bridged by the blood of the Savior. Satan will do anything to convince us otherwise. He wants us to compromise the truth of the gospel of salvation. But he lies. Always has, always will. Expose him everywhere you go.
Comment: I pray God that you will discern, as I have, how much this meditation speaks to all the issues about which we have been discussing in recent times. And further, how much it is warning us that it is time to ‘escape’ from the clutches of Satan and turn to the Only One who can put us right with a holy God, Jesus Christ our Savior.
Comment: So as I watched my country perform so well in the World Relays in the Bahamas, competing against athletic powerhouses like USA and Kenya, national pride reached it’s climax, as the Jamaican standard rose majestically to the top of the flag staff; and the strains of ” Eternal Father bless our land’ played quietly in the background. But then we turned to news and watched the story of how evil forces conspired to cause grievous bodily harm and death, to a young child – over argument abut a cell phone – we, deep in our hearts, with unspoken word, no doubt with countless other Jamaicans, in our souls quietly cried out to God for mercy. For Who else can rescue my country from evil, even as we celebrate in the best of times on the track. But God knows that there is, as the dramatic opening words of that great novel testifies, ‘the worse of times’. This week in my country then saw the best of times, and the worse of times. Together at one time! Who knows what will take place in the coming weeks and months. Only the God of Abraham, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who both knows and holds the future in his hands; and not evil forces operating in St. James, nor powerful forces outside the Caribbean threatening to destabilize the tried and proven foundations of culture shaped and nurtured by the Judeo-Christian ethic. We only have to look to Yohan Blake making the sign of the Cross during his celebrations, and listen to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce speak about , ” He that is within me is greater than that which is without’ to appreciate the depth and value of that ethic, against which the ‘gates of hell shall not prevail”.
IAAF: Report: Men’s 4x200m – Nassau 2014 WORLD R…
Jamaica’s men’s 4x200m quartet improved the world record* by 0.05 with a run of 1:18.63 at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, The Bahamas, on S…
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