Electricity Theft, Sex Tourism, The Homosexual Lobby and Christ the Solid Rock

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

NEWS

1. The big news in my country this week was an attempt by , and the response to, the local Light and Power Company’s , Jamaica Public Service ( JPSCo) determination  to to put a stop to the widespread stealing of electricity. And which electricity theft is threatening the viability of the company, on the one hand,and also partially responsible for the high cost of generation of power. A problem, about which, the high cost of electricity, everybody is concerned.
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/JPS-cuts-service-to-communities-with-high-levels-of-theft
2. The other news which caught my attention this week came by way of a BBC story about Sex Tourism involving  under age children in Kenya carried by a local station rjr fm 94  during it’s flagship Beyond The Headlines program this week.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27427630

Kenya’s hidden sex tourism in Malindi

Africa / 15 May 2014
Kenya’s coastal town of Malindi may look like a tropical paradise but is host to a hidden child sex trade. Children as young as 12 say they are…

The host of the program  Dionne Jackson-Miller warned her listeners that some aspects of the story might prove to be offensive and disturbing. And she was quite correct. The story was extremely disturbing indeed and demonstrated how sick some members of planet earth are; especially when pursuing, what they deem to be, sexual pleasures. For featured heavily in the story was the phenomenon of bestiality, and how much money people were prepared to observe and thus promote this kind of depraved  behavior.  Absolutely sickening!

3. Then just over the weekend I came across a story which perfectly demonstrates just how powerful the homosexual lobby has become in the  Caribbean and in Jamaica. A situation which is accepted as the norm in North America and Western Europe. A friend, colleague, and well known expert in  Infectious Diseases and Christian brother, and one who reads and critiques from time to time,  this Internet Ministry,  Professor Brendon Bain of the University of the West Indies, has come under fire recently for  testifying  in Belize in a landmark case concerning the buggery law,  in respect of the increased risk,  to which men who have sex with men, are prone:

Gay advocates want UWI professor sacked
Jamaica Observer ‎- 17 hours ago
… rights groups is pressuring the University of the West Indies (UWI) to fire Professor … The 33 lobby groups, from a number of Caribbean islands, are also … However, the groups and the UWI administration, which appears to wilting under the …

It means as Christians who speak the truth about any situation, especially when it affects powerful interests in our society, will come under attack and persecution. But that is part of the suffering which from time immemorial,  
those who claim Christ as Lord and Savior, and hold steadfastly to the Truth, have been subject. And what the world does not quite understand, is that when ” we are weak, Christ is strong”. And then supernatural things happen in the fight against evil! So pray for Professor Bain, but also watch how God will act in and through this situation. Whether right now, or in the future according to His perfect timing.

THE WORD OF GOD

So this week as we were subject to all kinds of challenges, as a nation and as a world –  look what is happening to that young woman in The Sudan – accused of apostasy and sentenced to death:  In Sudan, Pregnant Woman Accused Of ‘Apostasy’ Sentenced To Death
Huffington Post ‎- 3 days ago
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — A pregnant Sudanese woman who married a Christian man was sentenced to death Thursday after she refused to …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/sudan-woman-apostasy_n_5331117.html

– what did the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob reveal through His Word, and by His inspired word?

THE FIRST MESSAGE – Sent to influential persons in my country.  And features the very topical story about electricity theft. But offers another perspective on the matter, and ends with a wonderful and comforting  assurance shared by the song-writer in the words of a well known hymn. So let us fear not, as Christ is the Solid Rock on which we as Christians stand in any situation.

THE MESSAGE

Many of us are guilty of stealing electricity.  High in the hills, where there is no excuse, and in the inner cities, where  the situation becomes more complex; in the sense that poverty, even without using the more popular and dramatic phrase, is still very much  a debilitating thing. And in some areas up to 70% of the people who live there steal light. Also disturbing is that, according to the police data, although murders are down 8% when compared to last year, Jamaica ranks # 2 in the world in respect of murders caused by gun related violence. In recent times,  a significant part of our popular music has been given over to the promotion of violence, unapologetically pornographic type lyrics and in the language of our neighbors in the eastern Caribbean, sheer ‘wutlessness’. Further, we have  far too many  extraordinarily unruly,  ill mannered, indisciplined  and people given over to lawlessness. And no where is this more evident than the way we drive on our roads; closely followed by the behavior in our communities and increasingly in our classrooms.  Also, whether by cause or by  effect, one is not sure, the behavior, inside and outside Parliament  of some of our elected officials, is not an insignificant matter in this context. Perhaps the worse, and most ironic feature of the modern Jamaican society, given its seminal role in constructing the kind of people of whom we were all once proud, is the behavior of some churches, and what they promote – greed, sin barely covered in fancy clothes and fast talking, false doctrines, and no accountability; neither to man nor to God.

So Jamaica must be a cursed place and forgotten by God! Not so, writes St. Paul in a very profound letter to a young Christian leader as recorded in 1 Timothy. And to which passage of Scripture I was drawn, as I woke up this morning singing, ” Christ the solid rock on which I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”. I could not recall the entire hymn so like any sensible 21st century person I went to Google and found the words as set out below – and a reference to 1 Timothy 1. A verse which explained the ‘Hope’ that Christians have, and which on further reading led to this very instructive Word. And in order that we may better understand it, I have included some verses which precede it for context.

THE WORD OF GOD

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen”. (1 Timothy 1:1-5, 7-17 NIV)

COMMENT: The single most important lesson that the Christian faith teaches us is that Christ died for sinners. And as St. Paul , who was there when the Jews stoned Stephen and killed him, claims, he was the worse of the lot. But, thank God for mercy, in him the life of Christ was displayed so that people would believe.  Therefore our society is far from hopeless, as we serve a God for Whom,  ‘nothing is too hard for Him to do’ – as Sarah, Abraham’s wife,  was told when it was revealed to her, in her old age, that she would have a child. The challenge then for our society, is much much more than to form committees to seek to find ways to prevent people from stealing light, as important as that is, but  to present  them with the gospel in word and deed, so that they might believe in Christ,  repent and live a new and ‘abundant life’. In Jacks Hill and in Majesty Gardens! For Christ Jesus and Him Crucified,  is the only Hope, ultimately that Jamaica has, as the solid rock on which any society can stand. So that we may be rescued from the madness which has overtaken us, and so we find ourselves  ‘ outing fires’ day after day; at Sangster Airport at one level, and deep in the hearts of our people, at an entirely different level not amenable to change except by the Living Word of God. Christ the solid rock and His Blood and Righteousness.
Peace
LWJ

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn #370 
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento
Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Tune: “Magdalen”

THE SECOND MESSAGE – Sent to the same individuals, features a reminder of the Power of the God who dwells in the bodies of believers in any country. And the implication for the rescuing of a society. from any and every kind of evil.

THE MESSAGE

Every morning I include at some stage in my devotions three prayers written many years ago by  Jacob Boehme (  1575–1624…an influential German Lutheran mystic…whose influence extended to John Milton and  Isaac Newton) , and entitled “A Morning Watch”. There is also a set for bedtime.
The first one goes like this:

ON WAKING

Living Lord you have watched over me, and put your hand on my head, during the long dark hours of night. Your holy angels have protected me from all harm and pain. To you, Lord, I owe life itself. Continue to watch over me and bless me during the hours of say.

The other two are captioned  ON RISING, and ON GOING TO WORK. All three are inspired by a very popular verse of Scripture – 2 Chronicles 7:14…….If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves…..

This morning I was led to read the story about King Solomon again, and like the famous singer Lauryn Hill who was ‘miseducated’, as I read about Solomon and then was led to from the Old Testament to the New Testament, I thought how much so many people have been ‘miseducated’ about the things of God. As yes, God does dwell among men in Christ Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. A reality which the great, wise and very rich, but very humble before the Almighty God, King Solomon found difficult to fathom. 

Perhaps if more of our leaders, in all spheres of national life, and not just the politicians,  really, really believed that God does dwell among men,  and  helped to  ‘exorcise’ from the minds of unbelievers, the  miseducation that He does not, Jamaica would become a special country, instead of being an especially challenging nation to manage. As it is hard to manage  a country where 150,000- 200,000 households  are allegedly guilty of ‘tiefing’ light; the implications of this reality for maintaining law and order are  hugely challenging.

JPS wants stiffer penalties for electricity thieves … – Jamaica Gleaner
jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=52311
Apr 15, 2014 – The Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) is calling for stiffer … there were about 150,000 to 200,000 households stealing electricity.

THE WORD OF GOD

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said: “ Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. “Now, Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ And now, Lord, the God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true. “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive. (2 Chronicles 6:12-21 NIV)

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:12-16, 18-20 NIV)

Comment: A couple of thoughts. Firstly what would be so wrong if, calling the nation before God one day, in the presence of all our  national  leaders and ordinary people, the church were to call a nation to humble itself and repent and turn to God. The atheists and some groups in civil society would be outraged, as ‘this is not a theocracy’. But  do we really believe that without the power and forgiveness of an Almighty God, this country can be rescued from the madness into which we have descended?
Secondly, apart from the obvious and hugely important issue of  the consequences of sexual immorality before God and for society, the key point in the second reading, is that God really does dwell among mankind. As our bodies, if we are believers,  are ‘ God’s temple – His dwelling place on earth. The problem is that not even we in the church, the body of Christ, really, really believe that. For if we did, then the possibilities  for changing this nation would be literally ‘ beyond this world’.
O my God, ‘ If my people would just humble themselves……..’ then things would be so different. I pray God that one day it will.
Peace
LWJ

THE THIRD MESSAGE – Came early this morning, as The Lord woke me up ‘with a heavy hand’, and directed me to Isaiah 66:13.

” As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you”.

A very timely message coming at a time the last remaining member of  the generation on my Father’s side – he had 12 siblings – is mourning the loss of the  second of three children. The funeral was held yesterday. After having lost her husband, and a grandchild. Only God, alone in His mercy can comfort anyone in the midst of that kind of pain. Which is exactly what the Preacher, Bishop Daniel shared
in a wonderful sermon based on a Word from Psalm 46:
” Be still and know that I am God” vs 10. The very same Psalm which begins with the grand assurance:
” God is our refuge and strength,  ( an ever)  a very present help in times of trouble”.
And so the Bishop indicated that the God who calls us to be still, is the same God who called the children of Israel to be still in the face of mortal danger. And who has called so many others throughout history to be still and trust in Him, ” even though the earth give way”. Even though, what we consider as disaster, strikes, and we feel much pain, this God is a faithful God and will not leave us alone in out time of need.
This is the ‘comforting’ message, from Isaiah, coming in the ‘dead of night’,  which we need to keep in mind in the months and years ahead:  in Jamaica and across the world. For the same evil which is the root cause of  the breakdown in law and order in Jamaica, and which has spawned the terrible blight of the inner city communities where people are so ‘at risk’ to all kinds of miscreant behaviour, is the same kind of evil that promotes Sex Tourism and bestiality in Kenya. And which set of forces  is occasioning the ‘harassment’ of  Professor Bain because he has spoken the Truth; and the Truth hurts. It is the same evil at large in The Sudan which seeks to kill that young woman.  And without being paralysed by the reality and thought of Satanic influences, we underestimate that evil at our own peril, and the peril of our nations.

This is therefore a time, and has always been, when at Christians we, as Baptised children of God, must rely on no other but  on the power of the Risen Lord. And who in a sermon at the Confirmation at my church tonight shared by our Diocesan Bishop, The Right Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, offers us comfort and an abiding assurance in the face of danger in the words of John:
” Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me……” John 14-1-14

Words which were spoken when Jesus was preparing to leave and go back to His Father, after being crucified and raised with power from the dead. And at which time, our Lord was seeking to encourage His disciples with the assurance that the Power of the Holy Spirit would come upon them, and, on us in this generation also, and enable us to do ‘greater things then he had done’. As long as we ask according to His Name – in order that we may go on Mission to fight against evil and to bring the good news of God’s love to the world.  And not the foolishness of ” Name it and Claim it ‘ that some religious groups have mistakenly or deliberately drawn from this passage of Scripture. This assurance then, and comfort,  is what will keep us going. Not our power. But the Power and the might of the Risen Lord, living in us – the Temple of God about which we spoke earlier.
So let us be ‘of good courage’ as we face another week and proceed in the strength of The Lord; and see how much supernatural things will take place all over the world. Whether in The Sudan, Kenya,  or Jamaica.
Amen.

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