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. Between the two daily newspapers in Jamaica, the story was featured prominently, on the front or inside page at least three times. And triggered widespread discussion in our country. The heartbreaking story of Jamaican man who went to the UK at age seven, lived there without returning to his native home for over fifty years, and having returned, found himself stranded in Jamaica. Unable to return to the only life that he knows! All because he never took the time to apply for a British citizenship – a privilege to which he was entitled under British law.. The good news is that ‘all’s well that ends well’, as the exposure touched the hearts of local British officials, and so he was grated a visa to return the UK.
2. On Twitter, in the mainstream news, even in the famous Half-Way-Tree square usually reserved for mass gathering when our Olympians ‘strut their stuff’, on the world stage, Kaci Fennell was the ‘talk of the town’. If you followed the discussion on social media, ‘just give her the crown from now’, was the prevailing mood, as everyone expected this strikingly beautiful and someone who possessed the legendary ‘ wow factor’ to win the Miss Universe. With ease! Well for whatever reason, that was not to be, as ‘our Jamaican girl’, came in fifth. Behind Miss Columbia the winner, and runner-up Miss USA. A disappointing end indeed, but what an excitement! But was she robbed of the title? According to one newsroom, there was a raging controversy at the end of it all. Who knows! However, ‘win, lose or draw’, our KC is a winner.
3. Last year we celebrated, and gave thanks for ‘divine intervention, as there was a significant drop in the rate of homicide in Jamaica.’. Or did we really! In any case ‘ murder’ is again the number one problem in my country, according to the latest crime data released this week, even as we give thanks for the reduction in the numbers for tother serious crimes. Information which was shared on TVJ news during the week.
.SERIOUS CRIMES JAN , 2015 – JAN 24 VS 2014
1. Murder is up by 31%….76 vs 58
2. Shooting down by 18%….70 vs 85
3. Rape down by 27%….32 vs 44
Yes, President Obama’s state of the union address provided some memorable moments and quotable soundbites. Yes, the issue of freedom of the press is still a live issue following the recents events in France- an excellent satirical review was shared in The Daily Gleaner yesterday by Daniel Thwaites….www.go-jamaica
but none of them struck me quite as much as the top three news items
THE WORD OF GOD
So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send in the midst of the “Good, The Bad and The Ugly” side of Jamaica life this week. Inspiring hymns to remind us of the faithfulness of God, in the midst of a troubled world. A focus on the Word of God in a time when, in a heartbeat, gunmen can destroy those whom you love and turn your entire world upside down; and when disappointments come, as they surely, will God is the only constant in our lives. And also to remind us, that we have citizenship in heaven and a relationship with the Creator and Redeemer Father, that no one can take away from us.
THE FIRST MESSAGE – sent out to my WhatsApp contacts, really does not require much comment. Only a commitment to regularly, and without ceasing, call upon the Only One who can help us in this confusing world. Whether you are KC Fennell, Lloyd Bogle, or Minister Bunting, our hardworking Minister of National Security, but who does not quite understand, along with others in the body politic, against whom we are fighting….not flesh and blood, but power and principalities of evil, as recorded in the book of Ephesians – The Word of God.
I opened my hymnbook this morning and found one of the all time great teaching hymns of the Church. Written by Bernard if Clairvaux, one of the great Saints of the church (1090 – 1153)
Jesus! The very thought of thee
With sweetness fills the breast:
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest…..
There are five other verses including:
O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall how kind Thou art,
How good to those who seek!
But keep the first one in your heart today, and always, commit yourself, make yourself available to Him, without seeking any reward except to delight in His presence, and you will experience great peace. Even in this confusing world of Trials Pain and Suffering.
O Jesus: the very thought of Thee..
THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp, and features a hymn, which in essence represents the foundation of the Christian message. That we are to love Jesus, not for the ‘prosperity that some seek, or the ‘ fame’ that others desire, and not even to ‘go to heaven and escape the fuss and fighting’, but all because He suffered and died for me and for you. Praise God! And anyone who learns this lesson well, will be empowered to help to rescue this country out the ‘misery’ of shame and disgrace occasioned by wicked men armed with guns. And allow us to celebrate in peace the exploits of K C Fennell, Alia Atkinson…our golden girl in the pool…and the contributions of so many others.
My mind was led to this wonderful teaching hymn, as I began praising The Lord with the words of Praise to the Lord the Almighty. The message from the words of this foundational Christian hymn, is that if you love Jesus for any reason which does not have His Atonement for our sins on the Cross at the center of it all, you have built your ‘ house on the ground without a foundation’. And when the floods and torrents of life come, that house may collapse and be completely destroyed. Luke 6:46.
My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.
Thou, O Lord Jesus, thou didst me
upon the cross embrace;
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself; and all for me
who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
should I not love thee well,
not for the sake of winning heaven,
nor any fear of hell;
not with the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;
but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever loving Lord!
So would I love thee, dearest Lord,
and in thy praise will sing,
solely because thou art my God
and my most loving King.
Then the Lord sent a ‘follow up’…. which ought to cheer the hearts of all of us, who struggle daily with our many, many sins. And thank God for Jesus!
Think about it in the context of Psalm 130: 3-4. The Psalm appointed for our service next Sunday.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness ;
therefore you are feared.
THE THIRD MESSAGE – again sent out to WhatsApp, triggered a message of thanks from an Anglican Pastor who does not normally listen to ” Praise and Worship Music”. But his soul soared as ” My God is awesome” touched his soul. In the same way, that ” My God I love thee! Not because I hope for heaven…..” a hymn we sing in the Anglican Church touched the hearts of my Pentecostal friends on WhatsApp, who are unaware of these kinds of hymns. All for the glory of God.! As really and truly everybody ought to aware of the awesomeness of a good God. Even, and especially, in ” valley of despair”.
Watch “My God is Awesome” on YouTube – My God is Awesome: http://youtu.be/22qo19WmOqI
As reflected this morning on a meditation on :
” Simon, Simon. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail…..Like 22:31
A voice in my head said ‘ somebody needs to hear this’.
For the writer Chris TIEGREEN reminds us of the awesome truth, that even though Simon denied Chris three times, and apparently failed Christ, as many of us have done, repeatedly: Jesus does not dwell on the individual failures, as bad as they are, but sees the big picture. That momentary faltering does not determine the final outcome. He, Christ, does not dwell on the toddler who stumbles; He knows us as the nature adult who walks… So don’t let your failures define you; as that’s how the enemy wants to measure you, that’s why he asks to sift you. Trust Jesus He has prayed for you. And remember how Simon Peter became great and help to strengthen our faith. And as I read ‘ My God is awesome’, came into my mind, and that somebody ought to watch and listen to this video which highlights the fact that Jesus heals us when we are broken. And strengthens us when we are weak. Amen
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – again sent out on WhatsAppp….features a promise about the Word of God, that I will send out during this week and discuss next Sunday. But for now the message is that we have to learn to trust and obey – the God who is faithful in His love for us. Even to death on a Cross! So we must learn to walk in His Word. And not merely the news of the day, which will be replaced by other and more important news tomorrow – “and the papers used to wrap fish”…according to a local wit…The Hon. Barbara Gloudon…an outstanding journalist, play-writer, and wonderful human being – but the Word of God stands forever.
GM: The Lord continues to do amazing things. Yesterday He led me on a journey about the vital importance of the Word. About which I will write in the regular weekly internet message tomorrow night ( google my name and the blog will appear).
Then as I began praising the Lord for watching over me last night: ” 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….”: from On Waking…. the first part of, A MORNING WATCH, by Jacob Boehme; the words ‘ trust and obey’, came into my mind. So I went looking for the song in an old Song Book and found this:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
I pray God we will all spend quality time in The Word, which is Living and Active, very active, each day. And thus learn to Trust and Obey The Lord in every circumstance, and become truly happy, only in that Peace which comes from being in Christ Jesus.