I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and red 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
1. Murders could reach 100 by weekend, says Bunting…This week our Minister of National Security, whilst updating the Parliament on the state of crime in the island, advised the legislators that once again murder was a serious problem in our land. This compared to last year when we welcomed the news of a significant decline in the murder rate. An announcement which, as expected triggered a lot of disquiet and alarm in the country. And which ‘panic’ the Minister tried to deal with , by appealing for patience, and assuring the nation , that the fight against crime is being waged aggressively, but will take some time to show sustained results.
2. The others news which ‘caught my eye’ was the attempts by neighboring African nations, to assist Nigeria in dealing with the Boko Haram , Jhihaddist terror being waged against people in the northern part of that country, and its neighbours.
The tweets below give us some idea of the scale of the atrocities committed by this terrorist group in Nigeria; and the response from the Chad Governtment.
Yes, Serena Williams’ fabulous reign in Women’s Tennis warmed my heart. And to a lesser extent the exploits of Djokovic…I am really a Nadal fan, with Federer somewhere up there too. Yes, the tragic death of two young children in my country by drowning was an awful event; as was the untimely, and perhaps avoidable death of a disabled man who was involved in motor vehicle crash, this week – and I have ‘something’ to do with road safety in my country.
But the security concerns of my country, and worldwide, as terror continues to haunt the lives of so many people across the globe, continues to be a huge national and International problem. Sparking fears, alarm and anxiety everywhere.
THE WORD OF GOD
So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send for my reflections this week, and for me to share with you. Essentially messages of hope in dark and dangerous times. And messages which speak to the issue of SOUND DOCTRINE. As it is in the darkest hour that we really come to truly know God. Not in times of joy and celebrations! A message that the entire world needs to hear, and especially the political directorate in my country. This was the message that Christianity brought to all people everywhere it spread- giving hope to the hopeless, and a voice to the voiceless. Rescuing, with authority, the helpless and demon possessed. Which was the thrust of a wonderful sermon preached at my church by Canon Sirano Kitson, based on the gospel message in Mark chap 1, vs 21-28…where the Scriptures revealed how Jesus cast out a demon from a man who was in the synagogue. And the people were amazed! For those who ruled them, those who only could talk and complain, those who had no compassion on them, did not compare favorably with the Son of God, who came , in love, and with power, to ‘call sinners to repentance’, and to ‘set the captives free’. Much like the ‘chattering classes of this age’, who have no power, but only spend their time complaining and spreading doom and gloom; thus causing anxiety and fear to be spread, rather than with compassion, bringing hope. Which is what the true confessing and believing church offers in Christ Jesus – to break very chain, and to cast out every demon of fear and wickedness, and to speak up against every activity which is ‘ not of God’. And it is only by paying attention to, and discerning what is Sound Doctrine, at a time when our ears are being bombarded by all kinds of strange teachings, will we in the receive the Power to speak and act with the authority that Jesus demonstrated.
THE FIRST MESSAGE – sent to WhatsApp contacts. The problem is that security issue will forever remain a problem for the human race unless it submits to God’s commandments. For wherever God is absent Satan rules. That’s a fact of life, ever since the Fall in the garden of Eden ; whether we wish to believe it or not. So unacceptable rates of murder in Jamaica, flare ups in peaceful Norway or not so peaceful France, and in populous Nigeria will continue. And if we are not careful, life will be dominated by anxieties and fears! So, in the midst of ‘the storm’ in my country, the Lord ends a word to calm our fears.
The second of my early morning prayers from, A MORNING WATCH BY JACOB BOEHME, 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…..led me to this familiar Word from Philippians.
Philippians 4:4-9 NIV
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
And nestled in between the words in my devotional Bible is this nugget of wisdom for us to consider along with the Word of God, in an age, and at time, when so many things are happening to tempt us to worry and be anxious; and thus miss the opportunity to experience God’s Peace in the midst of the storms of life
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.
THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp, and reinforces the sound doctrine of our ‘ helplessness’ and evil state, before we were rescued by The Blood of The Lamb. And therefore no one can ‘boast before the Lord’; and further, we all need salvation which comes only in and through Christ and Him Crucified. Otherwise, terror and anxiety will continue to reign, in our hearts and in our nation.
There is a prayer of the faithful, firmly rooted in Scripture, which we either say or sing in my church, just before Holy Communion.
O Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on my soul Repeated x2…then:
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.
Recently, we have started singing it to a rasta beat..with a slight change in the words…..O Lamb of God, you taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy pon mi soul….. Yes in my Anglican church! Have mercy! And this prayer with the beat has ‘ gotten into my head,’.
So yesterday during my devotions, I was singing it in my mind the whole time. Then this morning as I began praying the first of ‘ A MORNING WATCH PRAYERS BY JACOB BOEHME’….Living Lord, you have watched over me, and put your hand on my head during the long dark hours of night…..thoughts of The faithfulness of God, came to my mind. And so did the words of that wonderful hymn: Great is thy faithfulness…..morning by morning, new mercies I see, all I have needed, thy hands have provided….
Then one line remained with me, to show that what I and all mankind need, desperately, is not happiness, whether in marriage or or otherwise, though we need that too; nor success in politics in fighting crime, or at the workplace earning money, though we need that too; nor to be rescued from illness or evil, though we need that too: but rather forgiveness of sin.
” Pardon for sin, and a Peace that endureth.”
In that context then, as I was led to read, Ephesians 2:1-10 ought to ‘ get into our heads’. As it explains, in graphic terms what we were Before we committed ourselves to Christ, and the reality of those who have not yet done so, no matter how ‘ good’ we think we are: and the blessings which flow into our lives After we commit fully to Christ. And receive ‘ forgiveness of our sins,’ our former wretched state before a Holy God; from The Lamb of God
The Word of God – sound doctrine.
Ephesians 2:1-8, 10 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. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
THE THIRD MESSAGE – again on WhatsApp, features a wonderful, wonderful song, which reassures us of God’s love and mercy. Of which grace I was well supplied with during some very ‘dangerous times’ this week. And which grace we all need, and is available, whether in Kingston Jamaica, or in Nigeria. Or for that matter in the USA, the UK, or in Europe.
Watch “Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – So You Would Know.wmv” on YouTube – Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – So You Would Know.wmv: http://youtu.be/2Y5knH45QJk
The Lord was with me in a special way last night. And this evening also. But more importantly on the Cross of Calvary. Just because He loves us so much. Thank God for Jesus
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – again on WhatsApp. The point here is that the single greatest threat to the church possessing and demonstrating the authority of Jesus, in our fight against ” principalities and powers’, the evil forces of this world which spawn Boko Haram ISIS, murder in Jamaica, and the gun crimes in the USA, is strange doctrine, that takes our minds off the Cross of Calvary – and which doctrine is not of God. And the “Prosperity Gospel” is very much part of the evil plan.
LAST NIGHT – TIMOTHY KELLER’S WALKING WITH GOD THROUGH PAIN AND SUFFERING :
…….The accusation of Satan was that Job did not actually live or serve God – he was loving and serving him through compliance with God’s will. And that is partly true of the best of us. But it it is because we don’t fully live God just for his own sake why we are subject to such great ups and downs depending on how things go in our lives.
So what Rev. Keller explains is that God is teaching each one of His children, allowing Satan to test us, so that we may learn to love God for His own sake; and not what we can get from Him. Whether protection from evil or prosperity in one form or another
THIS MORNING AS I WOKE UP A WORDS FROM A HYMN AND GOD’S WORD
Hark my soul! It is the Lord,
’tis thy Saviour, hear his word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
‘ say poor sinner lovest thou me?
You can google the rest of one of my favourite all time teaching hymns.
Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you…..It’s in Luke….hurrying to church.
Also read Hebrews chap 12:1-13. Which reveals that all of God’s children undergo testing and discipline…. so that we may achieve holiness
I pray God these thoughts will help all of us to stay far from the ” prosperity gospel “, which is no gospel at all.