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 thy church that the church may renew the nation(s)
1. The news coming out of the Tivoli Gardens Commission of Enquiry, that the former Minister of Justice, Dorothy Lightbourne, did not follow the news of the day, as, ‘it was too depressing’; but dutifully took an interest in ‘the foreign news’, was simply shocking. Especially when one considers how our Westminster Parliamentary Democracy places a heavy burden of collective responsibility on the members of the Cabinet. A revelation which therefore raises all kinds of questions about governance in a country where the political management of the country’s affairs plays such a vital role in whether as a nation, we ‘sink or swim. And it can be argued, that in many aspects of our national life we have been ‘drowning’ for a long time.
2. The season of Lent, and all that it represents, although not ‘hard news’, continues to occupy my thoughts and plans.
Yes, there was other news; the continued debate on the ‘mini constitutional crisis…should the bona fide Opposition Senators resign, or take their rightful place in the Senate regardless of whether or not the Leader has ‘lost confidence in them; the extremely cold weather in the USA where so many of our relatives reside; Cricket World Cup ‘down under’…a gentleman called into a cable television show tonight asking if anyone knew when the West Indian cricketers intended to peak, as he was losing sleep, staying up to watch them ‘play badly’……and ‘was there a plot to kill the leader of The Opposition”, or was there a plot, to use an alleged plot, to plot mischief……O what a tangled web we weave…..but none of those rose to the level of ‘ big news’ of the day’. At least for me!
THE WORD OF GOD
So at the beginning of Lent, and in the midst of the continued revelations coming out of one of the most keenly followed Commission of Enquiry in recent times, just like the Mannatt Affair some years ago, what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week.
Most of the messages, that the Lord inspired me to write about this week, focused on Lent. Offering what the lawyers term, ‘more and better particulars, and challenging my readers, WhatsApp and Church, to look deeply within, as we ponder some of the issues which confront us personally and as a nation. And as I left my Anglican church, and turned my radio on to catch one of my favourite preachers, Rev. Shuttleworth of The Tarrant Batiste Church on TBC Radio- 88.5 FM, I heard a most profound story which reinforced in my mind the vital importance of responsible parenting; of the need to ‘dwell in the Word of God’; and the need to share the Word. With everybody, but especially with your children lest someone else teach them what the devil wants them to learn.
He recounted the story of a faithful Jewish dad, who, for years, took his family to the local synagogue in Germany many years ago. Then son was reportedly very proud of his dad and the way he kept his family grounded in their faith in God. Then one day the family was forced to move to another town, where there was no synagogue. But there was a church, which was the hub of the town. All the people went to that church.
So one day the father announced to his family that he was going to carry them to the church and change from being a devout Jew. Deeply disturbed the boy questioned why? Only to be told that ‘it would be good’, for the father’s business’. Over the years this boy grew more and more angry and embittered with his dad and with God. All because of his father’s ‘betrayal’.
To cut a long story short, that boy grew into a man whose Ideology, rooted in the notion, inter alia, that, ” religion was the opium of the masses’, Communism, would indeed cause profound problems for the entire world . For years! As Karl Marx, famously taught his followers that God had no place in their lives. And the effect of such a movement still bedevils many nations in this 21st century.
No doubt then, we have not even begun to understand and appreciate how Modern Human Secularism, alive and well in the USA – 30 % of Americans, from a recent poll, no longer consider themselves religious – will manifest itself in years to come.
THE FIRST MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp. The take home word! While others are busy watching the Oscars and The Grammy’s and all kinds of shows and movies – Fifty Shades of Grey – that are of little moment in the grand scheme of things, where the ‘devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he will’, we the people of God have to be vigilant in our sole reason for being – Christian Mission. And with The Highest Authority in the Land.
The Purpose of Life
I opened CHRIS TIEGREEN Devotional guide this morning after praying:
Master! Speak thy servant heareth,
Longing for thy gracious word:
And found this:
” Christian mission is the only reason for our being on earth “…Andrew Murray.
THE MISSION OF ” ALL AUTHORITY”.
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”
Our God is the God of the incomprehensible huge – the vastness of the universe….. Our God is also the God of the infinitesimally small – the human cell.
In the vastness of creation, we begin to glimpse the height, depth and breath of the power of God, which is the same power that is working in us to conform us to His image. It also the same power that sends us out to accomplish His agenda….to make disciples of all peoples, baptising them and teaching them(vs 19-20). The highest goal of the God of the infinite and the infinitesimal is to be worshipped everywhere. And although all creation testifies to His glory, there are places in this world where He is not even known…. What a sacred charge!
Something to think about as we go into a period of repentance and fasting and prayer – Lent.
THE SECOND MESSAGE – again sent out on What’sApp. Take home word? There is a war going on for the souls of all who we meet. And the Lord has put them in our path for their rescue. But look out, as the devil will attack you too. And make you either oblivious of the ‘news’ around you, or uncaring about what what is happening to our own ‘flesh and blood’. Whether we are high-raking politicians, parents or church workers! So my friends Lent is an ” opportunity’ not to be missed by anyone. To spend time reflecting on the state of affairs of our own hearts, and how we have contributed to the state of affairs of our country and the world. And to repent of our ‘sins’ and start all over again!
WAR AND PEACE
This Word began yesterday at work, and continued last night until almost daybreak.
Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Mark 9:28-29 NIV
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ”
With those two Words, the Lord powerfully impressed on my soul the following truths.
1.All our relatives. All our friends. Everybody we meet who are disobedient to the Word of God, whether in church or not, is under the influence of ‘ the spirit of the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
2. That kind of evil can only be driven out by prayer… and fasting.
3. Two of the prayers we can use came to me in a very vivid dream last night, as I held down a big dog who was intent on attacking someone about whose disobedience I had been praying.
” In the Name of Jesus”. And ” At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow”. That means, every evil force spirit will have to flee.
4. Satan will attack you as you pray for the rescue of others. The dog was about to bite me, when the Lord woke me up….going to bed is a dangerous thing without covering prayers. And also the person for whom you are praying. Remember in the second reading, the demon threw down the boy just before Jesus cast out the demon.
5. It may take a while, but persevere in prayer. The greatest Bishop of the ancient church, Augustine of Hippo, whose writings profoundly influenced western civilization – his mother laboured in prayer for over 25 years for his ‘ salvation’.
So, let us then, as a army of God pray, without ceasing, for those who are disobedient, and stop criticizing them. Including ourselves first of all. And pray for me too. Call my name Lucien. That any thought, any ambition, any desire which is not of God may be cast out my soul, your soul, and the souls of all whom we meet. Amen
THE THIRD MESSAGE – again on WhatsApp. This one perhaps more than the others carries the ‘more and better particulars ‘ of the Lenten tradition. O my God, I pray that more and more, especially our young people could really apprehend these truths…prone to wander fromthe Lord I love……and help to change our outlook on life. Especially with regard to the burning topic: ” How to train our men to treat our women with love respect? #FiftyShadesofGrey #AbuseofWomenonCampus. And the growing movement of the secular worldview #godisdead or irrelevant or uncaring!
ALL ABOUT LENT
Words from a hymn which, ‘ appeared’, as I opened my hymnbook this morning, explain very clearly this age old Christian discipline. And if you did not know, or have forgotten, that the Christian life is about being disciplined by God, then read Hebrews chapter 12.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger
interposed his precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee,
prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the Lord I love;
here’s my heart, oh take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
Words from the hymn ” Come thou fount of every blessing ”
So Lent is really a time to repent of our human tendency to be,’ prone to wander’ , from the God who shed His precious Blood for us on Calvary. Jesus the Christ.
Whether or not it is your tradition or not use the opportunity well. For we are well aware of the Scripture that tells us to: ” Be very careful then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. And Lent is an opportunity to draw closer to God in prayer and fasting and sharing of oneself with those in need. But it all begins with repentance, and asking God, like the Psalmist for a ” clean heart” and to ” renew a right spirit within me.
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp, is really a cry for all of us to learn the fundamental truth about life. That all our help comes from the Lord. No matter how bright and brave and innovative we think we might be! Part two of which came a couple of days later.
BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED – FOR LENT AND FOR ALL TIMES
This message came in three parts. Last night. Early this morning in my sleep. And at the very end.
As I read and reflected these thoughts came into my mind.
That whatever ‘ forty days and forty nights’, each one of us is going through in our personal lives, or in that for which we bear responsibility, if we fear God, He is at work. Ultimately teaching us that ‘ our help in all circumstances comes only from He who suffered…by His stripes we are healed…. died, and was raised from the dead for our salvation. And for all those ‘ under our tent’ – our neighbors. Everywhere!
Whether it be physical trials – health issues; emotional – family issues; financial – a big problem in Jamaica; or spiritual – as we come under attack from the evil one.
Let not thy heart be troubled. Rest in the assurance that our God, is a God who does the impossible – raises the dead. So that we may learn to trust Him. And in Him alone. Not self!
……my help cometh from the Lord. Psalm 121
EARLY THIS MORNING
“By His stripes we are healed”. Part of the theme for this year’s Healing Conference.
” We do not want you to be uninformed brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Cor.1:8-9 NIV.
AT THE END
Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey
FINAL MESSSAGE – as mentioned, really a Part Two. And closes with a great song from one of the all time great choirs of this age. A indeed, ” all of of my help comes from the Lord. In the USA, in Israel, in Russia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Nigeria and in Jamaica.
MY SONG IN THE NIGHT LAST NIGHT
Early this morning, again again, the message came. That the Lord’s intention is to teach us that, ” my help, all of my help cometh from the Lord”. And He will allow life’s circumstances to bring us to that point, again and again, until there is no ‘ shadow of a doubt’ in our minds. To the end that we resist Him, to that extent life becomes a trial, and not a joy.
TWO PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE WHICH CAME WITH THE MESSAGE
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Ps. 3:5
Consider how the lilies grow. They neither labor nor spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown in the fire. How much more will he clothe you. O you of little faith! Luke 12:27-28
WORDS OF A HYMN
New every morning is the love…
The greatest’ help which cometh from the Lord’ is the gift of Salvation in Christ Jesus
AND THEN THIS GLORIOUS SONG. PRAISE GOD
Watch “My Help (Cometh from the Lord) by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir” on YouTube – My Help (Cometh from the Lord) by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir: http://youtu.be/qtZX7a44fMI