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.
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.
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.
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”.