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)
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.
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.
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.
-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.
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
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.
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.