Both President Obama and PM Simpson Miller of Jamaica need the wisdom of Solomon to pursue Justice and Mercy on behalf of the vulnerable

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

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s).

THE NEWS

1. @WhiteHouse: “Pass a bill.” —President Obama to Republicans in Congress on immigration reform: http://t.co/5Vubai1j1Q #ImmigrationAction

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/us/republicans-immigration-obama.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

Perhaps because I was in the USA, attending a wedding, and a birthday party, for two different but special people in my life, President Obama’s speech on #ImmigrationAction struck a chord in my heart. It was classic ‘no drama’ Obama style. Short, to the point, and very compelling. How could, he argued most persuasively, a nation of immigrants, ever forget, that they too were once aliens -coming from elsewhere. And quoting Scripture, no doubt sending a message to the so called ‘religious right’, he reminded them that the God of the children of Israel, had warned His people not to ill treat aliens in their midst, and they too, had been aliens in Egypt – and in bondage. It was in that context then, that he set out his deal to , ‘attack felons not families’; and thus to shore up America’s defenses against would be criminals, whilst giving protection, but not granting citizenship, to those illegal immigrants and their children who were in the USA for five years or more. And whose presence in America contributes greatly to the economy on the one hand ; whilst at the same time these same people, live in fear of being deported, suffer great indignities and are forced to accept low paying wages.
The Republican response, for the most part, has been furious, immediate, and entirely predictable. What will happen over the next 180 days, before the Executive Order can become law, will no doubt be attended by drama and controversy, as the American political system goes through yet another spasm. All because, at the root of it all, human beings have forgotten to have compassion on others, and to rid themselves of irrational fears.
Yes, other news across the world came to my attention: the ongoing crisis with the spread of the EVD in West Africa; spams of violence in my home country Jamaica; non-Muslims reportedly murdered in a bus in Nigeria, five family members killed in a motor vehicle crash en route to Disney in Florida; the ongoing debate in my country about the appropriate use of tax dollars used to fund The National Housing Trust, and whether or not it had the mandate to purchase a debt ridden Tourist Attraction which sits on acres of land which could arguably be used to build homes, or for the NHT to make it a viable concern. But President Obama’s speech, as a human interest story affecting reportedly 5 million undocumented ‘aliens’, affected me the most.

THE WORD OF GOD

So what Word or word of inspiration did the Lord send this week in the midst of this challenging week for many across the world.

TTHE FIRST MESSAGE

First up was a message sent to some leaders in my country. A Word from the ages, and from one of the reputedly wisest men who ever lived on the earth. A word for President Obama. A Word for my own Prime Minister and all who have the responsibility to rule across the world, in every sphere of life where leadership is critical to a nation, to an organization or to any group of people.

THE CAPTION – EARLY MORNING REVELATIONS…FOR WHO IS ABLE TO GOVERN THIS GREAT PEOPLE OF YOURS.

One ( revelation) very early. At 4:00 am. In the midst of controversy and claims and counter claims!

THE WORD OF GOD

‘That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask for whatever you want me to give to you. Solomon answered God………..Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people for who is able to govern this great people of your?’
2 Chronicles 1:8-10 NIV

One very early. At 4:00 am. In the midst of controversy and claims and counter claims!

THE WORD OF GOD

‘ That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘ Ask for whatever you want me to give to you.’ Solomon answered God……….Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
2. Chronicles 1:8-10 NIV

The other, this morning during my devotions, featuring The Gospel reading appointed for this Sunday in The Anglican Church worldwide.

THE WORD OF GOD

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all his angels with him, he will sit on this throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘ Come you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger…………….I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me……..

THEN ON THE VERY NEXT PAGE IN MY CLASSIC DEVOTIONAL BIBLE THIS;

“WHATEVER YOU DID NOT DO”

William Temple – 1888-1944….( former Archbishop of Canterbury)
Verse: Matthew 25:44-45

It is Christ who pines when the poor are hungry; it is Christ who is repulsed when strangers are not welcome; it is Christ who suffers when rags fail to keep out the cold; it is Christ who is in anguish in the long-drawn illness; it is Christ who waits behind the prison doors. You come upon one of these who have been broken by by the tempests of life, and if you look with eyes of Christian faith and love, he will lift a brow ” luminous and imperial from the rags’, and you will know that you are standing before the King of kings, Lord of lords……….

Civilization, as we know it , produces much human refuse. Slum dwellings, long hours of work, underpayment, child labour, lack of education, prostitution – all these evils are responsible for the stunting and warping the development of human souls. Things are improving, we hope. But unless we are exerting all the strength that Christ gives us in ending these bad conditions, then the responsibility for wasted lives lies at our door, and from the streets of the cities or the lane of the countrysides, the cry goes up through the lips of their Savior and our Judge: ” Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me”.

I pray God that we may discern very carefully, the link between the two ‘early morning revelations’; and as leaders in this great nation that belongs ultimately to God, and to whom we shall one day be required to give an account, act accordingly.
Peace
LWJ

Further this morning, prior to retuning home this evening, at the church where my son worships in Florida, The Holy Sacrament Anglican Church, the pastor, Rev. Anthony Holder, in delivering a sermon on the occasion of their Harvest celebrations, make the following points based on the Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy.
– That prosperity can be a very dangerous thing, if not handled properly; as it has the potential to poison your relationship with God. In this context he made reference to the living standard of Americans being one of the highest on the planet, despite the inequality and the complaints about the efficiency or lack thereof of Government Agencies.
– That the three warning that the Prophet Moses gave to the children of Israel in the Deuteronomy passage
( chap 8:7-18) who having been rescued from slavery by God in Egypt, and having been protected in their forty year sojourn in the desert by the same God, were now about to enter the promised land and to receive the many blessing promised by Yahweh, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And so, in as muchas Moses reminded them of God’s promises to give his children a land of great bounty and peace, the prophet also reminded them;

1. To be careful, lest when they had built their houses and reaped the crops, they might be tempted to forget from whence they came. And that all they were about to receive , and all of their deliverance, had come from God

2. To practice the habit of thanksgiving in all situations and for everything, for God is the provider of all things for His created order and for His people. Furthermore, people who develop the habit of thanksgiving, in all situation, live a much happier life than those who don’t – and therefore often spend their time complaining, even in times of plenty.
3. To be obedient to the command of the Lord. And not just the Moral law, but also to make sure, as the Torah, the book of Jewish Law, commands, that we remember to promote Justice, especially for the poor and vulnerable among us.

When you consider how certain elements of the Great Old Party, GOP, are reacting to Obama’s call for compassion and Justice, and stack that kind of behavior against the warnings from Moses via Rev. Holder, it makes one stop and think how much America has, in the midst of its prosperity, forgotten from whence its early settlers came on the MayFlower, fleeing religious persecution in Europe. Prosperity is indeed a potential poison; and can most definitely lead you far from God, even though you may be busy saying ” Lord, Lord”. But the Republican hardliners are major players in American politics, and cannot be dismissed easily. Here is where is President Obama needs the wisdom of Solomon, to rule ‘ this great nation of God’. And so too our very popular among the masses, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. But such popularity is in serious danger of dissipating, if the PM does not begin rule with an iron hand, and with the wisdom of Solomon, steer clear of any further issues which have surfaced with the NHT debate; lest people think that she is not in charge of her government. especially when the hue and cry is on the behalf of justice, the same thing Moses warned about, for the poor and needy. And which call for justice is the essence of what President Obama is fighting for. And the same call for justice and compassion implied in the teaching of Jesus about the least of these my brethren; a call which former ArchBishop William Temple made also.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp is really a call, in this context, for those who would seek for justice and mercy for their people, and those of us who work for God’s kingdom in various way, and are determined to ‘lift up the name of Jesus’, in all we say and do, to persevere. Even in the most difficult of circumstances. Someone needs to tell that to Obama.

THE WORD OF GOD

Therefore, brothers, since we confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with purr water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one other on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day of the Lord approaching. So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just s little while,
” He who is coming will come and not delay.
But my righteous ones will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him”.
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved
A CALL TO PERSEVERE HEBREWS 10:19-39 NIV

THE THIRD AND FINAL AND SHORT MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp, is a message of hope, of certain hope, and of better things, that God has promised for those who seek the joys of ” Zions city”…….” With salvation’s wall surrounded, you can smile at all your foes…….Fading is the world’s best pleasure. The words of a hymn which fit very neatly into Father Tony Holder’s sermon today. Words which ought to cause us to pause, and ponder ‘whither goest I’ on this journey of life. In pursuit of the American prosperity dream, which may be so easily poisoned by forgetting the God from whom all good things come. Or pursuing Justice and mercy on the behalf of the poor and needy, and so be assured on sitting on the right hand of Jesus the King, when he shall come again, to judge the living and the dead. Those who belong to the Democrats and those who belong to the Republicans!

THE MESSAGE
Two verses of a hymn that spoke to my soul in a special way this week……a week in which I was privileged to take part and witness the marriage of a very special child of God and one of the many ‘ daughters’ that God has given me.
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode.
Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s wall surrounded,
thou mayest smile at all thy foes……….
Saviour, since of Zion’s city
I, through grace, a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy name.
Fading is the world’s best pleasure,
all it’s boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion’s children know.
Peace
LWJ

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A 19 year old man is held for murder: Can the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Youth and Culture help unless they turn to God in Christ Jesus

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

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s)

NEWS
1. Teenager held for questioning in the murder of a mother and two sons.

I am not sure why this particular story affected me so badly, as it would not be the first time that such a young person had been either accused of, or convicted for, the most heinous crime that one can commit against another – murder. But it certainly did. Perhaps it just came at a time when, as noted below, so much else was happening in country. No doubt the fact that this wicked act took place in a town where I have worked for over 35 years had something to do with it. But for God’s sake man, why did such a youngster commit such a wicked act! And not just him, but others, at ages 16, 17 , 18, and now 19. At that age I was in love with, as the song says, ‘a beautiful woman’, who would at age 22 years become my wife. At that age we were into soccer and partying and champs, and making sure to attend church on a Sunday, no matter what time you got in on a Saturday night. Not wickedness! And if wrongs were committed, as were not ‘angels’, certainly not of that extreme nature. So what has gone wrong in my country? Only God He knows. But all I know is that the situation is terrible, despite the good news about which we read this week, that violent deaths are down 22% year to date; murder down 17%; and police fatal killings down 53%. And the police hope that we will achieve below 1000 murders this year – for the first time in many years.

http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/teenager-charged-for-killing-mother-and-two-sons?utm_source=rjr&utm_medium=news

@rjrnews: Police probe abduction and murder of nurse: The police are probing the abduction and murder of a nurse in Whi…http://t.co/hRoLnOvQe2

@rjrnews: Gunmen in St Elizabethe kill student – others injured: A 16 year old student is dead, while two other persons… http://t.co/aVu9Frvui6

Yes other news came to my attention – the evolving debate on the NHT’s purchase of Outameni, with further ‘revelations’, and counter claims featuring at the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Annual Conference today; the ongoing ravaging of the society by the medium term effects of the Chickunguynya Virus, and the constant fear of Ebola reaching our shores; the ongoing wicked acts committed by ISIS; the tragedy of the EVD outbreak in West Africa. All these came to mind, but 19 and a murderer, at least an accused murderer. That’s just so sad. Not sure why but sam Cooke’s wonderful song, which dates me I know, but so what, came to mind.

She was only sixteen, only sixteen
I loved her so
But she was too young to fall in love
And I was too young to know

How are ever going to help our young people preserve their youth, and consequently protect our women and children from marauding gunmen, especially when in a debate on the age of consent this week, we were told that 25% of children in Jamaica were born to young girls ages 12 – 19. And in that age cohort, at 16, the numbers spiked dramatically.

THE WORD OF GOD
So in the midst of this pathos and angst about my country, what Word, or inspired word did the Lord send this week. The first four messages are short ones. The first, second and third are prayers that I have been using for years. In the morning and at bedtime. There are six of them. I was moved to share three this week with members of my WhatsApp family. The essential message I believe which courses through the three prayers, is a realization that we depend on God, and God alone, for our protection at night and our our guide during the day. A point that will be made again in the final message. All our hopes and desires then to rescue our young men and women from evil; all our plans and strategies must be rooted in this one central fact – that ‘ unless thee Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain”. Psalm 127:1 NIV. This is not a palatable nor welcome message in today’s modern age. As it runs counter to to the spirit of the age, the zeitgeist, that encourages us to ‘pull up our own bootstraps’, and to, ‘chart our own destiny’. Which when stripped of its sophistry, is really a ” New Age ideology’, seeking victims. In the same way all other philosophies and ideologies, have in the past led people astray, much to the pleasure and satisfaction of the evil one. So even though may find it ‘ impractical’, we are not ‘ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of their souls”. And God knows how much the souls of the young and the old in Jamaica are in jeopardy.

A Morning Watch
Jacob Boehme
Verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14

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 harm and pain. To you, Lord I owe life itself. Continue to watch over me and bless me during the hours of day.

ON RISING
Rule over me this day, O God, leading me on the path of righteousness. Put your Word in my mind and your truth in my heart, that this day I neither think nor feel anything except what is good and honest. Protect me from all lies and falsehood, helping me to discern deception wherever I meet it. Let my eyes always look straight ahead on the road you wish me to tread, that I may not be tempted by any distraction. And make my eyes pure, that no false desires may be awakened in me.
As I began my devotions this morning this Word came into my mind:
I am not ashamed of the gospel…. Romans 1:16. Read it and keep it and this prayer in your heart today. For the glory of God.

AT EVENING
Vs. Luke 24:15. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked with then
I thank you, O God, for your care and protection this day, keeping me from physical harm and spiritual corruption. I now place the work of the day into your hands, trusting that will redeem my errors and turn my achievements to your glory. And now I ask you to work within me, trusting that you will use the hours of rest to create in me a new heart and new soul. Let my mind, which through the day has been directed at my work, through the evening be wholly directed at you.

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – sent again to my WhatsApp friends, features one of my favorite hymns. O Jesus I have promised….
And the accompanying message is all about the fact that we are all in need of a Savior, because of the evil thoughts that flow from our sinful minds. And which minds can only be cured by the acceptance of the Atonement for sin wrought by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. So no gunman can by himself, be cured of evil. Whether thoughts or action! No young girl, no young man, no older man, can be cured of the kind of wanton immorality which leads to the levels of teenage pregnancy in any society – with the attendant social problems. One of which is murder! So yes, the Minister of Youth and Culture needs to act, and so too the Minister of Health, and others include the Minister of National Security. But it will all be on little and certainly no lasting avail, until and unless the hearts of men and women are changed. That’s the history of the world. Why do we think we can change it with a few well thought out and properly implemented programmes.

THE MESSAGE

My bedtime reading last night was Mark’s (7:17-23) version of : ” For within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts……..” And I remember crying ‘ unclean, unclean’, in the same way that the lepers of old were required to announce their presence. And then thanked God for mercy in Christ Jesus, ‘ for He is all our righteousness, and we stand complete before a holy God only because of Him’. Then into my head came.
‘ Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Cross I cling, Naked. ….Helpless…..Foul I to the fountain fly. Wash me Savior lest I die.’
Then this morning, and during the night too, the first verse of this great hymn came into my head.

O Jesus I have promised
to serve thee to the end:
be thou for ever near me,
my master and my friend:
I shall not fear the battle
if thou art by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if thou wilt be my guide.
Let us all pray without ceasing, for our own sake, and for the rescuing of our country, that Jesus may be by our side and be our guide, this day and forever more. Amen

THE FINAL MESSAGE – sent out to leaders in my country, features the writings of a famous poet. A very timely message indeed for this age, when it would appear that, people are gone mad. And the world is indeed steadily going backwards. For a simple reason!

THE MESSAGE
Someone famously said that ‘a picture is worth more than a thousand words’. So true! But sometimes one finds a few words, penned by a master, which speaks so much more to one’s heart and soul, and captures the essence of an age, far better than any picture can. This morning I ‘happened’ upon T. S. Eliot ( 1888-1965) , Nobel Laureate and ‘ arguably the most influential English writer in the 20th century…American born and Harvard trained, he settled in London and became a British citizen and famously wrote: ” Those who talk of the Bible as a monument of English prose are merely admiring it as a monument over the grave of Christianity”.
And the following excerpt from one of his poems, in my mind, speaks so eloquently about the state of my country, caught up , ‘ in an age which advances progressively backwards’. As you read the poem think B.C and A.D.

All of this after being led to read the Psalm appointed for this Sunday in my, church. And in that Psalm (90) is a pearl of wisdom.
vs 12…”teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.

THE MOMENT OF MEANING

T. S. Eliot

Verse: Zephaniah 1: 14….”The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly.
Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there”

Then came, at a predetermined 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,
Bestial as ever 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 where.
Men have left God not for other gods and worship gods, professing first
reason,
And then money, and power, and what we 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?

As I wrote the words: Men have left God …into my mind immediately came a Word from B.C, from the Jewish experience which preceded that, about which Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote:

” For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.
In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling place
He shielded him and care for him…..
The Lord alone led him;
no foreign god was with him……

Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, he became heavy
and sleek.
He abandoned the God who made him
and rejected the Rock his Savior.
They made him jealous with their
foreign gods
and angered him with their detestable idols.
They sacrifices to demons, which are
not God –
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your fathers did not fear…..

The Lord saw this and rejected them
because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
I will hide my face from them, he said,
and see what their end will be
for thy are a perverse generation,children who are unfaithful.
Deuteronomy 32: 9-20 NIV

It is in this context then we can understand the love and mercy of God, when Jesus declared on the Cross of Calvary, ” Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. That’s why we love the Lord Jesus and worship Him, as He is all righteousness, and we stand secure before God only in Him.

Comment: Briefly! I would suggest that somewhere in this profound piece of literary writing, can be located the reason for many of our social, economic and moral problems. An so too the solution!
Peace
LWJ

New York people trim up your lamp; Jamaican people trim up your lamp. For Christ has died, Christ is Risen and Christ will come again

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

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church, that the church may renew the nation(s)

NEWS

1. The Vote against President Obama and his fellow Democrats, was the big news out of the USA this week. As in mid-term elections Republicans now control both the Senate and the House, thus thus threatening to relegate Obama to a really fully ‘lame duck’ President in his last two years.
@NBCNews: ‘We got beat’: Obama takes responsibility for GOP-heavy results of midterm elections http://t.co/KK4EA6Tlr6http://t.co/hVS9UHbOF8

But POTUS has no intention of allowing that to happen and has signaled that he fully intends to carry out his legislative agenda until he quits office in 2016. What occasioned this significant shift and decline in the popularity of Obama. A number of things, but one of the biggest issues, was the decision by some Democrats to ‘abandon ship’, and leave Obama to sink on his own. Was this wise or foolish? Only time will tell. Although the pundits are already pronouncing on this issue.

2. In my country a firestorm of a debate has arisen following the decision of The National Housing Trust, a Government Agency established by former Prime Minister Michael Manley to provide housing solutions, and funded by tax dollars, to acquire Outameni, a Tourist attraction mired in debt.
http://jamaicachamber.org.jm/jcc-jma-and-psoj-question-nht-purchase-of-outameni-attraction-call-for-investigation/
The Chairman of the NHT has sought to defend the purchase, whilst civic groups are up in arms about the ‘misguided’ use of tax dollars whilst contributors who need houses are unable to qualify. The PM is to address the issue this week.

3. Finally the Chikungunya Virus, Chik V, continues to wreak havoc in the society, with persons, who having contracted the illness two, three, four weeks, ago, now complaining of severe joint pains, and in some cases completely incapacitated.
What next they ask, will this ‘allegedly’ mosquito born disease do to them?

THE WORD OF GOD.

In the midst of all of this conundrum, one single revelation/reminder came home to me very vividly this week. That, with all the discussions taking place, and news circulating around the world, there is another narrative being written at another level in this Universe. And the narrative keeps two foundational Biblical principles in tension.

One from Jeremiah 27, to which the Lord led me this week; ” Pray to the Lord for the city, for if the city prospers, you too will prosper”. The other, words from the end of the Gospel appointed in the Anglican church for this week. ” Keep watch, for you know not the day nor the hour”. Matthew 25. The implication is that Christians have to be in constant prayer for, and involvement in, the place where God has places us in this life. In all aspects of the ‘city’. But with a particular focus on the plight of, ‘these the least of Jesus’ brothers; those in prison, the sick, the naked, the hungry. While at the same time being mindful of the second coming of our Lord. This is the narrative that supersedes the ‘flexi-rape story about which much has been said and written in recent days. This is the story that is far more important to world affairs that Obama’s demise aat the mid-term elections in the USA. For at the heart of the narrative is the wonderful news of, ” Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked”? Declares the Sovereign Lord. “Rather am I not pleased when they turn from their ways that live”. Ezekiel 18

The reality is that God in Christ, has given fallen mankind a second chance. So though ”out of the hearts of man comes all kinds of wickedness”, including murder, violence, immorality and vindictiveness and envy and strife, we don’t have to live like that. We don’t have to expect that nothing can and will change; and thus fell prey to the pessimistic French philosophy that, ‘ plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose’. The more things change the more they remain the same. Trouble is, that such a narrative is only evident to a few, and accepted by a minority in the world. While most people accept the news according to CNN, ABC, Nationwide News, and RJRFM94’s Beyond The Headlines, and The Gleaner as ‘gospel’. While the real Gospel goes largely ignored.
In this context then messages were written. On WhatsApp and elsewhere.

THE FIRST MESSAGE – sent to some leaders in my country. Essentially restating the point that a relationship with God is possible only when we come to point where we realize that we cannot manage without Him. And then and only then will we cry out for help.

THE MESSAGE
Humility is the key that opens the door that brings us to the place where our need for Jesus is urgent and desperate. Otherwise His Redemptive death is only interesting, but not essential to life.

-Jesus did not come to this earth to teach men to be holy: He came to make men holy, and His teaching is applicable only on the basis of experimental Redemption.

The teaching of Jesus is not first; what is first is that He came to give us a totally new heredity, and the Sermon on the Mount describes the way that heredity will work out.
Oswald Chambers – The Teachings of Jesus

-Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3 NIV

-The man who is poor in spirit is the one who has realized that things mean nothing, and that God means everything.
William Barclay

-Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to you for dress,
Helpless, look to you for grace.
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me Savior lest I die…Rock of Ages

A wise man, now gone to glory, the late Bishop Herman Spence, my spiritual Father and mentor, once said to me, ” You can’t give what you don’t have”.
Question is, in the context of Bog Walk, Rockfort and Bucknor, what does our country need? And who is to provide. We need leaders who are ‘ poor in spirit’. Then ” Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, will be the focus of prayer for a nation that has lost its moral compass. For if our leaders are not in mourning for this country, and determined, with the help of God, to make a difference, of what lasting value are they.
Peace
LWJ

THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp was inspired by what I was led to read in my devotions that morning. And which message raises this question of humility again. And again! For in order to hear the higher narrative, the one which speaks a better word than ” bruk out of brukness with Lotto’, and that shared by superstar and top female money earner for 2014 Beyonce, Taylor Swift, or Rhyana or J- Lo, we have to humble ourselves before an Almighty God

THE MESSAGE

Two revelations touched my soul in particular this morning. And they go right to heart of the Christian faith.
” He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. Micah 6:8
” Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thess.5:16.
So in all that is taking place in our personal lives, and in many cases the burden is great, and as we follow the news in our country and beyond, let this Word from the Lord sustain us as we pray for self, family, each other and nation. Peace. LWJ

THE THIRD MESSAGE – and final one of this short Sunday Night Internet Ministry, places a focus on the need for prayer. A matter on which on which I was inspired to write this week. Again the message is that God responds best to people who realize they cannot manage without Him. Hopefully, this is one of the lessons that ” Leader of the free world” POTUS, is learning! Hopefully too, this is a lesson that our local politicians are learning. One response to this WhatsApp message came from a young lady whose brother and wife were involved in a motor vehicle crash with both of then suffering severe life threatening injuries. And who had been crying and crying for her relatives, and thus the Word found favor in her heart.

TTHE MESSAGE

Martin Luther the author of The Reformation writes on Prayer: You must learn to pray and not sit alone or lie about…..brooding about your thoughts worrying about how you can escape and looking at nothing but your yourself and your sad and painful condition……fall on your knees, lift up your eyes and hands towards heaven, take a Psalm or the Lord’s prayer and pour out your trouble with tears before God lamenting and calling upon him.
…..He wills that you should be too weak to bear and overcome such trouble, in order that you may learn to find strength in him, and that he may be praised through his strength in you. Behold this is how Christians are made. Verse: Isaiah 30:19 O people of Zion…… How gracious he will be when you cry for help. As soon as he hears he will answer you.

And so I close with a message from a wonderful sermon delivered in my church today by a young pastor, and inspired by the Gospel reading about the five wise and five foolish virgins. Using the name of the ‘city’ in which my church is located he sang. “Half-Way-Tree people trim up your lamp, trim up your lamp”. And so all of us in this troubled world need to ‘keep watch’, as we all have an appointment with God. For as Scripture declares, ” it is appointed for all men once to die, and then the judgement”. And further I was struck by another passage of Scripture this week: ” For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing that about what would happen when the flood came and took them all away.”
Therefore we ought not to limit our news to the narrative according to CNN or to our circumstances, but rather humble ourselves, in all situations, and pray to The Almighty God for mercy.
And pray for the city, for if it prospers, we too will prosper.
Peace.
LWJ

When all hell breaks loose on account of evil, don’t’ respond on your own. Listen to Christ!

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church, that the church may renew the nation(s)

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

NEWS

Strange week. No ‘big’ news that touched my soul deeply thus triggering an inspired message which I would then share publicly. Yes, the Minister of Information in my country, Hon. Sandrea Falconer, came under fire from social media and the Opposition, for stating candidly, that in treating with a major public crisis like Ebola, governments will make mistakes. Which in my view, was not a particularly helpful statement in a country, and indeed, a world, in full panic mode, on account of fears about this dreaded disease.

Yes, just yesterday, a senior Government Minister, Senator AJ Nicholson, ‘lost his head’, completely, when he made a ‘bad joke about, ‘flexi-rape’, in response to an Opposition Senator’s concern about a bill – FLEXI-WORK – during a discussion in the Upper House, that could place women in danger if they had to work late at nights. The Minister was forced to issue an apology, and even though the Opposition Senator, Malahoo-Forte, has accepted his mea culpa, and reportedly moved on, calls for the Minister’s resignation continue.

Yes, the ‘boasting’ by Boko Haram, that the kidnapped Nigerian girls, had been ‘married off’, provoked a sense of outrage and unbelief about the extent of the wickedness of mankind; but no message.

THE WORD OF GOD

But not because there was no message means that the Lord did not speak. He certainly did. In the midst of anger and outrage, of despair and various manifestations of the brokenness of the human condition, before a holy God.

First up – a word about Satan revealed in an abridged version of a meditation by Chris Tiegreen, sent out on WhatsApp. The point here is that, once we we live in this world, one day, ” all hell will break loose in our lives”. Whether we are believers or not! The antidote to this inevitability, is to rely completely on God, at all times. For we who trust in God, and have a relationship with Him, in and through the shed Blood of Christ Jesus, we have in Christ, a Warrior, a Victor and a conquering King. And even if the attack by Satan, is not so dramatic, but much more subtle, but equally devastating, over the long haul …..leading us away from trusting in Jesus…evil is relentless and very malicious.

FIRST MESSAGE
I know where you live – where Satan has his throne Rev. 2:13………..He runs rampant on this planet. John confirmed it in one of his letters: ” The whole world is under the control of the evil one.” ( 1 John 5:19).
If you have been a child of God for long, if your home has been the body of Christ for any time at all you know: That evil is not a force to explain; it is far more personal than that…..we wrestle with the evil one. We are not harassed by a concept. ” Our struggle is…..against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ( Ephesians 6:12)
This is a frightening task, but it is our only way to victory……Recognize that there is a relentless, malicious intelligence behind all the pain you see. Some of Satan’s minions know you by name…. How does that help us in our daily struggles….. When the Bible tells us to overcome evil with good….It means that we are to overcome the evil one with the Good one. We have a Warrior, a Victor, a conquering King. Read Revelations and see. And when all hell breaks loose against you, rely completely on Him – TIEGREEN
” The enemy will not let you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.” C.S. Lewis

THE SECOND MESSAGE

The second inspired word from the Lord came again from Chris Tiegreen. And speaks very directly to us about the need for forgiveness, and to do good to those who do us wrong. No doubt a word for those who are quite correct in either condemning Minister Nicholson’s ‘bad joke’, or disagreeing with Minister Falconer’s reflections about the ability of Governments to handle crises. Does this extend to the heinous crimes committed by Boko Haram? Or those who wreak havoc daily in my country, by murdering people using high powered weapons? Interesting questions aren’t they! Not necessarily for unbelievers – they can choose to live their lives controlled by thoughts of revenge, and condemnation without forgiveness, of those who do them wrong. But Christians have no such luxury. Certainly not if they have, ‘decided to follow Jesus’, and declare that there is ‘ no turning back’. For the Cross of Calvary demands of us, a different way of life.

THE MESSAGE

RADICAL BEHAVIOUR – CHRIS TIEGREEN
” if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? ”
Luke 6:33 NIV

IN WORD It’s hard learning this new kingdom culture, especially for those of us who would prefer to blend in with the crowd. But with Jesus, there is conformity to His character, and His kingdom, but there is no blending in with this world. Jesus was uncompromising in His behaviour, whether he was tempted in the wilderness, proclaiming the truth at the Temple, preaching from a mountain, or pointing out the hypocrisy of His adversaries. Truth never took a back-seat to protocol in Jesus’ ministry. Neither did good works ever take a back-seat to crowd preferences and political agendas. Jesus did only what He heard the father tell Him. No other voice really mattered.

Can we say the same thing about our behaviour Do we follow only the voice of the Father,to the exclusion of all other voices Are we uncompromising in our stance on wrong and right and god and evil? More than that, are we kind and looking out for the welfare of of those who are bitter and wicked toward us? That’s our high calling, you know. God expects us to stand out from the crowd with our display of good works, and the only way to stand out is to do them for people who don’t deserve them. Everyone can do them for those who are good to them in return. Only a God-filled person can uncompromisingly benefit an ill-spirited person.

IN DEED Yes, this is unnatural. But where in Scripture does God ask us to act naturally? Our nature is fallen; we inherited it from Eden;s disaster. No, we are to act according to a different nature. It nay feel strange to us at first, but it is offered freely nonetheless. We must accept the radical promptings of the Spirit of God and be clothed in the character of Jesus. Then we must move out into this world with a different agenda than we ever thought we’d have. We must be radical in our behavior and display the radical nature of our God.

Final Comment – I am always disturbed when I go to a Christian church and The Cross of Christ, is either absent or placed in a very ‘lowly’ place. As only by the constant living, ‘under The Cross of Christ’, can empower us to live this kind of difficult life. And it takes time and determination, in the face of the relentless attempts by the evil one to distract us, and cause us to take our eyes of the Cross of Christ. For in order to love our enemies, and to do good to them that persecute us, we have indeed to become ‘ a new person in Christ’. The ‘old man’ cannot be so gracious and forgiving. And the things is that, perhaps now more than before, Jamaica, and the world is desperately in need of this counter-intuitive lifestyle. For revenge and constant condemnation cannot rescue a nation so bitterly divided, and deeply suspicious, if not openly resentful of any kind of authority. Only unconditional love. The full manifestation of which appeared when Christ died for the sins of all mankind, ‘even when we were all enemies of God’.
I pray God that the people in the USA will come to appreciate this truth, as they struggle with a President who many ‘love to hate’, but who, so far, has refused to ‘do to them, what they have manifestly done to him’. I pray God that we here in Jamaica, a nation rooted and grounded in the love of the Jesus, whose great act of Redemption, moved men to struggle against the evils of slavery, and thus as a people we were ‘set free’. may come to believe once again in the very same God. A God who is merciful to the ungrateful and to the wicked. Full of compassion and kindness, and willing and able to rescue this nation from malice, murder, poverty, disobedience and pride. And from the snares of the evil one, who is relentless and maliciously causing troubles and trials to occur in this world, and sometimes to ’cause all hell to break loose”.
Peace
LWJ