I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing – John Newton ( Former slave ship owner turned Anglican priest)
Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation- A Prayer for the Decade of Evangelism
1. The Israeli Palestinian conflict in Gaza, which has now spread into the West Bank, continues to dominate the news here in ‘ the land of the free and the home of the brave’.
Gaza campaign on pace to become deadliest Israeli conflict in recent years
Washington Post - by Anne Gearan - 12 hours ago
The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour …
The latest news on CNN this afternoon is that both sides have been accused of breaking the ‘ humanitarian’ ceasefire brokered by the US and the Egyptians ; the Palestinians claim that six persons died and the Israelis reported the firing of rockets which fell into a home and injured a woman. Whatever the outcome, with 1000 Palestinians dead and 6 K wounded and thousands displaced, vs, 30 plus members of the IDF dead and two civilians dead, despite the claim of a ‘rain of rockets ‘ falling on their territory, Israel is danger losing the ‘propaganda’ war despite their military victories. With possible dire consequences for the future as the Jhihaddists are now all fired up and recruitment of many young Arab men into radical groups now the danger. How will Israel continue to legitimately defend itself while avoiding so much ‘collateral damage’ is one question? How long before people in the Gaza strip will be able to escape the air, land and sea blockade by the Israelis, thus making them prisoners in their own land, is another?
2. The pain and anguish suffered by the relatives of the downed Malaysian Airline M17 continued this week with the delivery of the remains to the Dutch, and other nations, by a military plane flying out of Ukraine. It will no doubt takes weeks and months, and reported even the use of DNA, to accurately identify the bodies and allow some closure, in respect funerals, for the relatives.
What will take a lifetime is the deeper understanding of this latest manifestation of ‘man’s inhumanity to man”.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Bodies of 40 Victims Returned to Netherlands in Solemn Ceremony
International Business Times UK - 3 days ago
1000 relatives of the victims and members of the Dutch royal family attended the emotional ceremony..
3. In the midst of all this disaster two other other planes went down this week with tragic loss of life, fueling fears about traveling by plane and causing more pain and suffering across the world
Taiwan TransAsia plane crash: Likely impact point discovered, says investigator
The Straits Times - 2 hours ago
TAIPEI (The China Post/Asia News Network) – A line of trees about 500m away from the crash site of flight GE222 is suspected to be the …
Air Algerie crash: ‘Disintegrated’ plane found in Mali – CNN.com
3 days ago – (CNN) — French forces secured the site of a crashed Air Algerie flight in Mali, and found one flight recorder but no survivors, French President …
THE WORD OF GOD
What then did The Lord send through His Word of through His inspired word this week.
THE FIRST MESSAGE
First up was a note to leaders in my country featuring a meditation from one the most celebrated scientists of all times – Blaise Pascal. The message is clear. The human race needs a ” Mediator”. Much more than the need for one to end the war in the Middle East. News that is repeated in the second message also. Both sent to leaders in my country triggered by my understanding of the role of current events in helping us to understand the God who Created heaven and earth and all mankind.
Recently, editorials in both newspapers, in attempting to ‘mediate’ between the two ‘warring factions’, so to speak, in this matter of the Buggery Law, have speculated, at best, about the ways of The Lord.
Perhaps, all of us, believers and non-believers who claim an understanding about God, should ‘listen’ to the words of one of the most celebrated scientists of all times, Blaise Pascal. Who more famously was an eminent Christian apologetic of his time, and the author of these profound words; ” The last function of reason is to recognize that there are an infinity of things which surpass it”.
AN EXCERP FROM ‘ JESUS CHRIST THE MIDDLE WAY’
Verse: Psalm 51:1…..Have mercy on me , O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.
The God of Christians is not a God who is simply the author of mathematical truths…………Nor is he merely a God who providentially disposes the life and fortune of men, to crown his worshipers with length of happy years. Such was the portion of the Jews. But the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the God of Christians, is a God of love and consolation, a God who fills the souls and heart of his own,a God who makes them feel their inward wretchedness and his infinite mercy………..
All who seek God apart from Jesus Christ…find no light to satisfy them, or form for themselves a means of knowing God and serving him without a mediator
……The God of Christians is a God who makes the soul perceive that he is her only good, that her only rest is in him, her only joy in loving him, who makes her at the same time abhor the obstacles which withhold her from loving him with all her strength. her two hindrances, self-love and lust, are insupportable to her. This God makes her perceive that the root of self-love destroys her, and that he alone can heal.
The knowledge of God without that of our wretchedness creates pride. The knowledge of our wretchedness without that of God creates despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle way, because in him we find both God and our wretchedness.
Comment: Perhaps this is why the Jews filled with pride about “Ersatz Israel”..greater Biblical Israel….and who have ‘stumbled ‘over Jesus, have lost their way, and feel justified in waging a war in which 70-80% of the casualties are civilians.
No doubt, the knowledge of Allah, without that of their wretchedness has spawned a theology which resulted in 9/11 and the continued waging of war against the Jewish state.
For those Christians who have lost their compassion for the plight of the gays, perhaps they too have forgotten their own wretchedness. For non believers, and those who presume to write confidently about the ways of The Lord , and who assume that God’s love and mercy is all that ought to apply in any and every situation that mankind faces, have forgotten that we can only know God through a Mediator. And His name is Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of all mankind.
So at the root of knowing God, is an acceptance that we need a mediator because of our wretchedness.
Until and unless we start there, then the sin of judgment and lack of compassion, in concert with the sin of lust and self-love will continue to haunt our nation, and spawn murder, immorality, error masquerading as the ‘ prosperity gospel’, injustice, corruption and drought.
May the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, and of Jesus Christ help us to perceive our own wretchedness and the desperate need for a Mediator between sinful man and a holy God.
THE SECOND MESSAGE – is up front and very personal. As Oswald Chambers in a very profound meditation locates in each one of us the propensity to do what is evil, based on ‘words’ from our Lord Himself.
The Way to Purity
Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart . . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . -Matthew 15:18-20
Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. Then when we hear these strong statements from our Lord, we shrink back, saying, “But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart.” We resent what He reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”? If I will take an honest look at myself, becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and putting it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I will be appalled at the possibilities of the evil and the wrong within me. But as long as I remain under the false security of my own “innocence,” I am living in a fool’s paradise. If I have never been an openly rude and abusive person, the only reason is my own cowardice coupled with the sense of protection I receive from living a civilized life. But when I am open and completely exposed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.
The only thing that truly provides protection is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will simply hand myself over to Him, I will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity.
Comment: the song dates me but, Nat King Cole’s, ” It’s not my brother Lord, it’s not my sister Lord, but me standing in the need of prayer” comes to mind as I write. So having read the above meditation on some very profound words from our Lord Jesus, the message is clear. It’s not just the Jews and the Palestinians who need prayer and the love of Jesus to transform their hearts. And it’s not just Dudus and Kartel who need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness. Not just the gays and the cross dressers. No, it’s all mankind who are in need of of Jesus, in whose presence we come to understand how wretched we are; and in need of salvation. That’s the key message of the Christian faith. That all have sinned, and fallen short of the imago dei in which we were made. Not just a few miscreants. The good news then, the gospel of Christ, then, is that Holy Spirit of God, imparted to us in baptism, can set us right with God again. Forever.
THE FINAL MESSAGE
Finally, a message not sent to anyone, but one which touched my heart on the two occasions that I was led to reflect on it. As within this Word from the Book of Proverbs, lies the answer to the why mankind began and continues to suffer so much. Whether in Jamaica, the Middle-East or in war torn Ukraine.
The consequences of the rejection of the Wisdom of God, A sad feature of human life placed in proper perspective by a quote attributed to William Blake – one of England best known poets.
” Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rosseau; Mock on, mock on’ ’tis all in vain! You throw the sand against the wind, and the wind blows it back again”
Thus raising with poetic grandeur the seminal question of ‘what’s the point of ignoring, and even mocking God, when He controls your very life”. A reality which disturbs my very soul every time I consider the issue. As life could have been so much different in my beleaguered and embattled country, if men and women had just learned to ‘fear The Lord’ and obey His commands and learn from His wisdom.
THE WORD OF GOD
Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:20-33 NIV)
Thank God for Jesus, though we all have many, many sins, the Blood of Jesus has washed them all away, and through the Holy Spirit, imparted to us, by faith, and through suffering, the same righteousness is in our Lord Jesus. This then is the only way to end the conflict in this world. But not everyone believes, and so ‘bloodshed continues to follow bloodshed”. And the God of compassion and mercy continues to wait on us to accept His Wisdom in and through Christ Jesus. The only Mediator between God and man.