GermanWings Crash, World Cup Cricket, High School Athletics in Jamaica ( CHAMPS) and Palm Sunday

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)

NEWS

1. Like so many others across the world, especially those of us for whom traveling by plane has become a way of life, the news that another aircraft had gone down sent shock waves across the globe. But there was worse to come as we were soon informed that the loss of over 150 precious lives, was as a result of a’deliberate act’, by an apparently mentally ill co-pilot. As I write, investigators are still trying to come to terms with this possible reason, whilst not excluding any other possibilities. In the meanwhile so many families and friends are left to mourn their dead. Once again! In a world where so much evil seems to abound.
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot acted deliberately – CNN.com

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Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot acted deliberately – C…
Germanwings Flight 9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, killing all 150 people on board, officials said.
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2. Like so many others across the world, I had hoped for a New Zealand victory – just tired of Australia winning all the time – over the Aussies in the One Cricket World Cup finals. But this was not to be as the Kiwis lost. Badly! I am happy then that I did not lose too much sleep. But sad that Brendan McCallum’s team which had played such entertaining cricket in the preliminary matches missed out.

Australia crush NZ to win World Cup

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Australia crush NZ to win World Cup
Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets to win the World Cup for a fifth time at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
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3. Like so many others across the world, that is really true, Champs – the greatest event of its kind featuring world class performances and titanic struggles between competing high school track and field stars – held my attention for most of this week. And all of Saturday evening. One youngster ran the second fastest time over the 400M for the year on planet earth! While another one served notice, that he will be a force to reckon with over the 400 M in the not too distant future by breaking the old record.And so the Track and Field ‘beat goes on’ in Jamaica, as both the boys and girls demonstrated why we are ‘world class’ in this sport.
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20150328/calabar-boys-edwin-allen-girls-retain-champs-titles

4. Today is Palm Sunday in Jamaica; a day which is also celebrated in many Commonwealth countries. A day which marks, ending of Lent, and the beginning of Passion Week which climaxes in Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) | Twitter

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Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) | Twitter
The latest Tweets from Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus). Latest news from Guardian Australia. Australia
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THE WORD OF GOD

So in the midst of a terrible plane crash, with the attendant now very familiar mourning, suffering and pain, what Word or inspired word did the Lord send? And was this Word ‘drowned out’ by the celebration of top class sporting activities in two very different parts of the world? And where does Good Friday and Easter fit into all of this. I believe that the word perspective is the key to all of what took place this week. And the central point of the story of Good Friday is the victory of Good over Evil. Where the Atoning suffering and death of God’s only Son, Christ Jesus, Redeemed ‘Adam’s sinful race’ from the ‘thief’ , the evil one, whose has come to ‘ steal, and kill and to destroy’. AS opposed to the ‘ Good Shepherd – the Lamb of God- who came to give life and life more abundantly.
This is the perspective, the worldview and the Truth that the Christian faith offers, in a world where high class entertainment and the pleasures of life, can easily become a distraction, even in the face of the kind of evil which sent those folks aboard the GermanWings airline to an untimely death.
And so the following messages were sent out on WhatsApp.

THE FIRST MESSAGE – a word that reinforces the Truth as told in the Word of God that ‘ the heart of man is desperately wicked’, and therefore ‘evil ‘ can, and has manifested itself in various ways throughout history. Causing much pain and devastation.On a grand scale as in the The World wars, and many other smaller wars. And on a smaller scale like what happened in the Swiss Alps last week. Thank God therefore for the mercy, and new life, that the Lord offers in the death and resurrection of Christ.

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY

LAST NIGHT
God does not ask us to be good men and women, He asks us to understand that we are not good; and to believe that ” none is good save one, even God”, and that the grace of God was manifest in the Redemption that it might cover the incompleteness of man – Oswald Chambers

THIS MORNING
1.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away,
it was there by faith I received my sight,
and now I am happy all the day – refrain from ‘ Alas! and did my Saviour bleed.
2.
Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die – third verse of ‘ Rock of ages, cleft for me’.
Lent is a good time think on the grace and mercy of a God whose amazing love could move Him to die for ‘ a wretch like me’.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent again on WhatsApp features one of the tenets of the Christian faith; ‘that the righteous shall walk by faith”. A Word which springs from one fo the most important books in the Bible, where God makes it clear that faith in Him is strengthened, not when ‘the good times roll’, but rather when we can see no way out. Which is what is facing our nation at this time in our history! Which is what many are faced with in their personal lives! Even the horrible death of loved ones. Wherever! So while other religions and world views proffer promises which have no basis, our God asks us simply to ‘ trust in Him who rolled back the Rea Sea’; that is the Living God who performed a great miracle in the early life of His people. And even more so, by raising Jesus from the dead on Easter morning, He has proven once again that He is a God in Whom we can place our trust

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY
This morning I was led through a hymn, ‘ Praise my soul the King of Heaven’, to the book of Habakkuk. And specifically to:

THE WORD OF GOD

” Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no cattle in the stalls,
yet will I rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

Contained within these few words is the essence of the Christian faith. Even better expressed in chap 2:4

” The righteous will live by faith “.

So even though we may be going through the ‘ worst of times’ in our personal lives, and certainly as a nation – morally and socially with the death of Kayalecia Simpson, and economically with the IMF ‘ necessary bitter medecine’, we have hope and trust, and even rejoice in God. Long before He rescues us. Why? Because we serve a God who ‘ raises the dead’. Who does the impossible!
That’s the eternal lesson from Good Friday. And the Blessed Resurrection at Easter. Whether it is our private and deeply personal affairs, or a disturbing national problem like crime and violence; or even an International crisis which ISIS represents. One day, ‘ and if the vision tarries wait, for it will not prove false’ ( 2:3), God will act.
So let us dry our tears, and banish all fears, leave behind the foolishness about Easter and bun and cheese, and take up the tambourine and cymbals and sing:

How Great Is Our God
How great is our God
How great is His name
How great is our God
Forever the same
He rolled back the waters
Of the mighty Red Sea
And He said, “I’ll never leave you,
Put your trust in Me
Amen

Lent is a good time to think on these things.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – again on WhatsApp, features a song which explains the basics of the faith, and a Word which validates it. That the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, died for the sins of all mankind. That’s the Gospel in a nutshell. Nothing more, nothing less. A Gospel which all mankind needs to hear. In Germany. In Jamaica. In New Zealand. In Australia. And across the entire world. For nothing is as important as that to sinful man. Not The Olympics. Not World Cup Football. Not The Super Bowl. Not the mecca of Tennis World, Wimbledon. And definitely not the Cricket World Cup, nor Champs.

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY
Tomorrow will be Palm Sunday; a day in the Christian Calendar that marks the beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s week of Passion.
With this reality deep in my soul, as we have journeyed through Lent together, the Lord placed the song below in my heart as I awoke this morning. Words which encourage us to worship and praise, give thanks for, and lift up the Name of the Precious Lamb of God, and about whom the Book of The Revelations records:

” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain…….And they sang a new song:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and open its seals,
because you were slain
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation “. Rev. 5:6&9 NIV
O praise the Lord.

I’ve also uploaded a version of the song from YouTube. The Kirk Franklyn version is more dynamic, but I found this one very haunting to my soul.

Lent is a good time to think on these things, and not just to give up chocolates or ice cream, or whatever.
O precious Lamb of God You are indeed Worthy to be celebrated as The One who comes in The Name of The Lord on Palm Sunday, with festal boughs and palm branches. For they who acclaimed you on that day were the same ones who crucified You on Good Friday. And O my God ‘ I was there when they crucified my Lord’; as my sins ‘ carried Him to Calvary’.
Lamb of God

YOUR ONLY SON, NO SIN TO HIDE
BUT YOU HAVE SENT HIM
FROM YOUR SIDE
TO WALK UPON THIS GUILTY SOD
AND TO BECOME THE LAMB OF GOD

YOUR GIFT OF LOVE THEY CRUCIFIED
THEY LAUGHED AND SCORNED HIM
AS HE DIED
THE HUMBLE KING THEY NAMED A FRAUD
AND SACRIFICED THE LAMB OF GOD

O LAMB OF GOD SWEET LAMB OF GOD
I LOVE THE HOLY LAMB OF GOD
O WASH ME IN YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD
MY JESUS CHRIST THE LAMB OF GOD

I WAS SO LOST I SHOULD HAVE DIED
BUT YOU HAVE BROUGHT ME TO
YOUR SIDE
TO BE LEAD BY YOUR STAFF AND ROD
AND TO BE CALLED A LAMB OF GOD

O LAMB OF GOD SWEET LAMB OF GOD
I LOVE THE HOLY LAMB OF GOD
O WASH ME IN YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD
TILL I AM JUST A LAMB OF GOD
LAMB OF GOD

And written on the same day was a word about really ‘who killed’ or caused Jesus to die? For whether or not you were in church this morning, recovering from Champs in Jamaica, or from Cricket at the MCG in Australia, we were all there ‘when they crucified my Lord”. For my sins and your sins placed Him there.

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY CONTD.
You know we serve an amazing God. Amen! So the same God who inspired me to write and ask, ‘ were you there when they crucified my Lord’, directed my thoughts to this song on YouTube. And if this does not touch your very soul, something is wrong. For as the singer herself admitted, ‘ I can’t take too much of this song’.
Why? For it takes us right to the foot of the Cross, along with the Roman soldiers, the Chief Priests, The Scribes, Herod, Pontius Pilate, Judas etc, etc. All whose sins, for whom our precious Savior died. O Jesus! Have mercy on my soul!
Marion Williams — Were You There When They Crucified My Lord: https://youtu.be/xu_GW2osRVA

And still the Lord was not yet done. For he inspired this ‘final message’ for that day. One of obedience! As we can spend all the time reading His Word, and His inspired word, if one day we do not commit to being totally obedient to the Lord, then evil awaits us.

THE ESSENCE OF LENT AND THE CHRIST FAITH ARE LOCATED IN THESE FEW WORDS APPOINTED TO BE READ IN MY CHURCH TOMORROW ON PALM SUNDAY. ONCE AGAIN.
” But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought our peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NIV
If we understand these things, there is not great deal more to learn about the Christian faith. For it’s not about the right denomination, or the correct doctrine, the brilliant preacher or the right prayers; but all about Christ and Him Crucified. So that all of us may be rescued from sin and death, and enter in Eternal Life – the gift of God in Christ Jesus.

All that’s left then, really, is to be obedient to the One who is always calling us to Himself. In so many different ways, and through so many people and circumstances. But principally through His Word. Written and ‘ made flesh’ – Incarnate. In and through Christ our Lord.
We pray then for discernment of, and obedience to, The still small voice of The Holy Spirit of God, as we enter into The Week of The Passion of Christ our Lord and Savior. Final word for today.

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