Trouble in Baltimore, Disaster in Nepal, Teen Death in Jamaica, and Christ The Balm in Gilead

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 so that the church may renew the nation(s).

NEWS

1.The big news of the week came out of Nepal, where last Saturday another major disaster took place in the world. As I write, help is pouring in from major relief agencies and countries which specialize in search and rescue operation so badly needed in times likes these. In the meanwhile, people are sleeping outside on account of the many, many and severe after shocks. The problem the people in Nepal now face comes from another quarter – the wet season. They are therefore badly in need of prayers and help.

Relief efforts to find survivors intensify amid powerful aftershocks

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Relief efforts to find survivors intensify amid powerful…
The Katmandu area of Nepal was struck by a magnitude-6.7 aftershock Sunday, just a day after a massive earthquake in the region killed over 2,000 people a…
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2. The other story which grabbed my attention this week was #FreddieGray the death of a young black male, again, whilst in police custody in Baltimore USA; thus sparking major demonstrations last night. Some of which turned ugly, and riots and looting took place.

Baltimore Freddie Gray death protest turns violent – BBC News

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Baltimore Freddie Gray death protest turns violent – BBC…
A protest march in Baltimore a week after Freddie Gray, a black man, died in police custody, turns violent with at least a dozen arrests.
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3. Finally,the death of yet another pregnant teenager, sent shock waves across an already beleaguered nation, reeling from far too many similar cases in recent months. So the name Jamelia Johnsonage age 12, will soon become forever etched in our collective memories as one who has ‘gone too soon’. And scandalously so!

Murder of 12 year old girl Jamelia Johnson distressing : ChatyChaty.com

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Murder of 12 year old girl Jamelia Johnson distressing :…
It’s a beautiful thing. Your home for news, lifestyle, reggae, dancehall, entertainment and current affairs.
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THE WORD OF GOD

So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send in the midst of yet another weekly reminder of the kind of ‘broken world’ in which we live. Where things are ‘wild and tragic’ and not calm and predictable as some would have us think. And so we are all need the ‘salvation’ which only Christ can give. Instructive and timeless Prayers from across the centuries; a reminder that God alone ‘restores’ our individual souls – one of the great messages from the most popular Psalm across the ages, ” The Lord is my Shepherd….” Psalm 23; an assurance of the Supernatural nature of the God whom we serve – in nthe face of desperation ; a feature on ‘ There is a balm in Gilead – a comforting word needed far and wide in this world, and finally just before the news of Jamellia’s death broke, a reminder that ‘nothing remains hidden forever’; but everything will be brought into the open one day.
So words of comfort for those suffering in Nepal, words to calm seething anger in Baltimore, and words to comfort us here in Jamaica where we are busy ‘slaughtering’ the future of our country, and marring the collective soul of the nation.

THE FIRST MESSAGE – Early morning prayers to set our day right. Triggering a prayer for ‘times of refreshing’ to come upon our land. As we cannot take any more tragedies, any more acts of vile wickedness like that which befell Jamellia, any longer. God knows! And as I write, Ian Boyne’s excellent article in the Daily Gleaner today, where he quotes our Prime Minister imploring parents to ‘send their children to church’, comes into my mind. And his scholarly defence of the social benefits to our society which has resulted from children being exposed to Christian values.

ALL ABOUT TRUSTING IN GOD

A GOOD WAY TO BEGIN EACH DAY – I USE THEM EVERY DAY

A MORNING WATCH

THREE PRAYERS FROM JACOB BOEHME ( 1575-1624 an influential Lutheran mystic in the early church) BASED ON 2 CHRONICLES 14:7 A WELL KNOWN PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE QUOTED BY A PASTOR WHO PREACHED AT A SERVICE TO COMMEMORATE THE MURDER VICTIMS IN JAMAICA YESTERDAY, ” IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME….. ”
AND GOD KNOWS THAT THIS COUNTRY IS IN NEED OF HEALING.
THEY ARE WRITTEN IN SECTIONS BUT I USE THEM ALL AT THE START OF MY DEVOTIONS EACH MORNING. AND SOMETIMES AFTER I AM LED TO SEND OUT A MESSAGE. AS THE LORD DIRECTS MY HEART.

ON WAKING

Living Lord, you have watched over me, and put your hand on my head during the long, dark hours of night. You have protected me from all harm and pain. To you, Lord, I owe life itself. Continue to watch over me and bless me during the hours of day.

ON RISING

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. Protect me from all lies and falsehood, helping me to discern deception wherever I meet it. Let my eyes always look straight ahead on the road you wish me to tread, that I might not be tempted by any distraction. And make my eyes pure, that no false desires be awakened in me.

ON GOING TO WORK.

Give me, dear Lord, a pure heart and a wise mind, that I may carry out my work according to your will. Save me from all false desires, from pride, greed, envy and anger, and let me accept joyfully every task you set before me. Let me seek to serve the poor, the sad and those unable to work. Help me to discern honestly my own gifts that I may do the things of which I am capable, and happily and humbly leave the rest to others. Above all, remind me constantly that I have nothing except what you give me, and can do nothing except what you enable me to do.
Amen.

I pray that you may find these prayers written hundreds of years ago, as timely as I have. Day by day. And night by night. As he has night time prayers also. I will send them one day, in obedience, as I am directed this morning. And who knows, that if like a mighty army, together we, with regularity, approach the Throne of Grace, in this manner, perhaps God will send ” times of refreshing ” on our land.
Peace.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – which features to core doctrine of the Christian Community, religion and Doctrine viz That Jesus Christ is enough for all the needs of any human being.Why? Because ultimately, he is The Only one Who can forgive us our sins, protect us from evil and restore our souls.

After sending out the message yesterday, I was led to read one of the two Psalms appointed for reading in my church this Sunday; Psalm 23. And the verse which remained with me was, ‘He restoreth my soul’. And the revelation that this is what Jesus came to do: restore our souls.

So all the way to work, I found myself singing, ‘ O Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world have mercy on my soul. And thus I prayed for the restoration of my own soul, through the indwelling of The Holy Spirit, the souls of my family and friends, the church and the nation. For as recent events have shown, we are becoming a nation which has lost its very soul.

Then drama last night! In the dead of night, almost four o’clock, I awoke with a forbidding sense of evil. Somewhere! Near to me, family or in the nation. And I was led to read the Psalm which has sustained me over the years in the presence of evil. Psalm 27. ” When evil men advance against me…… they will stumble and fall “, remained with me. But then, I don’t know if you have noticed, the ‘ surrounding’ Psalms all offer comfort in challenging times. eg. ” In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge, let me never be out to shame – Ps. 31.

But having read them all, I was reminded that ‘ every promise that God made is answered Yes in Christ Jesus. And then we say the Amen”.
And then led to read Jesus’ prayer, on the night before He died, as recorded in John 17, where He prayed that those who believe in Him, ‘ may be protected by the Name His Father gave Him.
The central message in all of this is that believing on the Name of, and Person of, Jesus Christ, The Crucified. Resurrected, Ascended, and Ever Interceding One, is ( more than) enough to restore the soul of this nation. Individually and Collectively. And protect us from all evil. Whether it rears its ugly head in Vere, in Tivoli, in our homes, in our Police Force, in our Politics, in our Schools, at the work place, in the Media, in our Popular Music Forms, in well dressed men and women, in our street people, in the very Church, or within our hearts.

O Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on my soul – in and through Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
I leave you with a wonderful video which I shared with my church on Sunday, after writing a report on the sermon entitled, my words, Jesus is Enough. And the haunting song ( you can watch it later) by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir declares that Jesus in more than enough for all our needs.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – in case we have forgotten this message reminds us of what Jesus did for all mankind, even for the vilest offender who destroyed the life of Jamellia – at least on this side of eternity. But we have a blessed hope that all who have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, and forgiven by God, will meet up in heaven one day. That’s the hope that keeps us alive in the midst of the madness; in Baltimore, in Nepal and in Jamaica. For the God who we serve is God of Power and mercy

ALL ABOUT JESUS

Two experiences. Two messages

First: Found myself singing yesterday at work, in response to a discussion on the Christian Faith with a patient;
“All the way to Calvary, he went for me…”. And this morning it is in my heart again.

All The Way To Calvary Lyrics

[Chorus:]
All the way to Calvary,
He went for me,
He went for me,
He went for me.

All the way to Calvary,
He went for me,
He died to set me free
[Verse:]
Although I had so many, many sins,
Jesus took them all away
and He pardoned me.

Although I had so many, many sins,
Jesus took them all away,
and He pardoned me.

Second : One of the readings appointed for Sunday in my church features an assurance of the Power and might of the Supernatural God whom we serve.
Acts 4:23-30 NIV

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ’ Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The two interrelated messages are first that, as disciples of Christ, living in a ‘ strange land’, where our faith, our values, and what, and Who we believe in, is under attack from powerful forces outside, and inside the church, we must always remain faithful and never forget, that Jesus died, not only, for our many, many sins, but for the sins of those who oppose us. Wherever! Whether those who make laws in the Parliament, the Editorial of newspapers, leaders of powerful nations, nations whose culture is different from ours, a ‘ gospel’ which ignores the suffering of Christ, States that pursue and behead Christians, people who produce and promote Music which encourage people to ,’ bruk out’, evil men who cannot make life, but filled with murderous intent destroy lives. Whoever! And pray for them as Jesus did. ” Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. As we continue to confess and pray for our own sins.

But equally we must never forget, as the passage from Acts reminds us, that we serve a Supernatural God, and
‘ nations and individuals rage against Him in vain’. And that He knows and hears about those who threaten and are opposed to those who remain faithful to Him. He will, if we trust Him, enable us to continue to speak boldly, regardless of the circumstances, and He will in the Name of Jesus, continue perform miraculous healings in this ‘ strange land’. For His own Glory.
Peace.

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – Features one of the all time great African-American Negro spirituals, the like of which kept our forebears, slaves out of Africa, sane in the midst of their kind of madness.

I awoke this morning with, New every morning is the love’. And as I began my devotions with this wonderful hymn:

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice…

when I reflected on the third verse in particular, that even while doing the most menial or routine task, day after day, if we ‘ hallow it’, i.e. give glory to God in whatever we do, then such an attitude, will in fact ‘ bring us daily nearer God – the last line of the fourth verse. And which intention, to draw daily nearer to God, should be the goal of everyone.
As I thought this ‘ revelation’, that there are two narratives, two stories, being played out every day in our lives.
One, we hear about, listen to and watch on the news. Most of which is very discouraging and even frightening.
The other, taught to us by the slaves who sang Negro Spirituals as they worked in the most oppressive circumstances, with their minds and heart fixed on the hope that God was at work in their lives. Teaching them. Encouraging them. Protecting them. And would one day grant them freedom. Whether in this world or in heaven.
And so I went looking in my Bible and found this. May it be a blessing to our souls, as we listen to ‘ another story’, and sing while we work, giving God the Glory, even as RJR and CNN, and life’s circumstances, tell us a different story.

A BALM IN GILEAD
African-American Spiritual

Verse: Jeremiah 8:22

Jeremiah 8:22 NIV

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my work again.

If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say he died for all.

Have mercy! As I began typing, my spirit soared, as ‘ something good is going happen this day’. Something good dear Jesus. Something good. For in the midst of the tears, and the pain and the fears, God knows, there is indeed a Balm in Gilead. For Jamaica. For our downcast souls. And His Name is Jesus. O Blessed Redeemer God, we thank You that there is another story to be told to our children and grandchildren and suffering humanity.

THE FINAL MESSAGE – send out on the same day that news broke about Jamellia’s death in the ‘ dark of night’. With an assurance that one day, one day, all evil will be exposed. And Christ shall reign, and all who depended on their own ‘strength and wisdom’ will be amazed and astounded. Will it be too late? Only God knows!

ALL ABOUT JESUS

There are some burning issues that as a people living, ‘ under the gun’, both literally and metaphorically, we would love to have resolved. Who first brought guns into this country; and let loose the ‘ angels of death,’ which are now wreaking havoc in every nook and cranny if this land?
Who continues to import them, and can we put an end to this madness?
How come we have one of the worse performing economies in the world, this consigning a huge section of our people to live in grinding poverty? Who is responsible? And what is the solution? Who, or which group of persons are responsible for the corruption of the morals of a once mannerly, gentle, loving, neighborly, respectful of the elderly, parents, teachers, people in authority, and God- fearing people? And Who is the solution? Since when have Christians began to, take such ‘ liberties with a Holy God’, to the extent that we are so brazen and unrepentant with our sins?
These are the thoughts which coursed through my mind as I was led to read the edited meditation below during my devotions this morning. O God have mercy on our country. O Christ have mercy on your Church.

TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
CHRIS TIEGREEN

There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed. Luke 12:2

Most of us have a well-cultivated private side. There are things we don’t want others to know about us. Some of those things would perhaps reflect badly on us; others are simply personal and private. While some people are more open than others, none of us is a completely open book.

Or are we? The book may be closed now, but it will eventually be opened. God already sees all. He sees into our hearts even more clearly than we do. The private things we think as we’re lying down to sleep at night are not hidden from Him; He even knows the motives and causes behind them. And one day, all sin will be exposed. That’s frightening.
We can take comfort in the fact that…..Sin that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus is cleansed indeed, removed from the mind of God…..
This is a problem for minds trained by our culture. We’ve been taught to think that our personal behavior is….well personal. As long as it is not harming anyone. We’ve heard it far too often. But sin always has corporate ramifications. It affects our society, and for Christians, it affects the body of Christ….

Jesus speaks of hypocrisy more harshly than any other sin. The cost of hiding our secrets is higher than the cost of confessing them…..We might as well be transparent now; one day, whether we like it or not, we will be.

Quadruple Murder in Jamaica: Forgiveness of Murder on Calvary

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).

THE NEWS

The big and only news for this week, from my perspective, was a quadruple murder event resulting in the death of three teenage boys and an adult male. They were all shot to death by a single bullet, lying down on their faces in a professional execution style.
In all my life, and I have lived in a country where murder most foul has become unfortunately a way of life, I have never been so badly affected and emotionally and spiritually traumatized, as was the case with this event.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20150417/quadruple-murder-leaves-peaceful-community-shock

THE WORD OF GOD

So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send in this, one of the darkest moments in my life as a Jamaican? Lots. First of all the Lord prepared the way by sending a word about ‘ tracing the rainbow through the pain’, viz, resting on the blessed hope, that in the midst of the pain, God is at work; even when we cannot see the way clearly. So our role is to pray to ‘see Jesus in all situations’.

THE FIRST MESSAGE
ALL ABOUT JESUS
Last night as was falling asleep the words, the first verse, of this hymn came into my mind.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee:
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depth its flow
may brighter, fairer be

Then this morning as I prepared to worship the Lord, at one service, and then preach in an inner city community, at another service, the words of the third verse, explained why the Lord placed it in my heart.

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee:
I trace the rainbow through the pain,
and feel the promise that is not vain
that morn shall tearless be.

Why? I am preaching on Mary Magdalene words to the disciples after the Resurrection of Jesus.

” I have seen the Lord “.

Remember now that this the same lady ” out of whom had been cast out seven demons”. Thus she was the first to see the empty tomb. And having searched for her Lord she was the first to ” see Him”.

Why? Has Jesus delivered you, the Love that wilt not let you go, from demons of anger, fear, doubt, unfaithfulness, greed, envy, immoral living, a superficial Christian life, a life that did not need Him?
For if not, if all Jesus has ‘done for you’, is provided you with material blessings, then you will never, lead a Resurrected life in Him. For only a life which can trace the rainbow through the rain, that longs for the morn that shall tearless be, in short a life that is desperate for salvation, will seek to
” see Jesus”. And find Him!

Sadly the converse is also true. Remember the story of another man who was delivered from demons, and then they came back and found ” the house swept clean “. And Scripture records that” after they returned, the man’s condition was worse than before “. I pray God that all of us will be convicted of our many, many sins, so that we may, with tears repent, and seek to find Jesus, like Mary did. Otherwise, who knows what our final condition may become, as Satan is like a roaring Lion seeking whom he will.

Finally, yesterday as I wrote out the sermon as the Lord directed, He placed this song in my heart

Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart Lord.
I want to see you

Let this song/prayer abide in our souls this day. As we want to see Jesus high and lifted up. The Resurrected Christ Himself.

And as I am about to press SEND news broke of a three year old child ‘ accidentally ‘ shot his mother dead with his father’s firearm, and a Jamaican teenager reportedly trying to fly to link up with ISIS

THE SECOND MESSAGE – Looking back now, it is almost uncanny, how the Lord was ‘preparing the way’ for the disaster that was ahead of us, when we had not idea, that a ‘terrible storm was looming’. Sadly, this is the case as long as we live in this ‘broken’ world, that ‘trouble’ is, literally, and not just figuratively, always ‘just around the corner’. And it is only the mercy of a supernatural God, who can then help us to have mercy on others, who can help in all situations. A point a very discerning Priest would make after the disaster in a a very timely sermon preached today. But more anon

ALL ABOUT EASTER

Obama’s visit, and the issues being discussed in the wake of this historic event, to a certain extent, if we are not careful, can be a distraction to a child of God. And so too many other issues of the day, if not understood in the light of Christ’s suffering and death on Calvary.
For what Good Friday teaches us, is that the basis of life is Tragic, Wild, and Beyond our understanding. But thank God for Easter, we can, as Psalm 98 ( appointed for next Sunday’s service) teaches, ‘ Sing to the Lord a new song’, even in the midst of the madness of a 3 year old child allegedly being responsible for the shooting death of his mother. The madness of ‘ Wild Gilbert’ or Katrina! The epitome of Evil which ISIS represents and how that evil is spreading it’s tentacles abroad! The devastating news of an incurable Cancer or life threatening illness! News of a loved one killed on our roads. And the pain and devastation that unfaithfulness, manifest in the birth of an ‘ outside child’ or not, and abuse, whether emotional or physical, brings to a previously happy relationship.

Why then can we , ‘ sing a new song’ to the Lord, even in the midst of pain?
Read carefully the passage to which I was led this morning and the words of the hymn with which I began my devotions. For the Blood of Jesus, washes away our sins, and His Resurrection gives us ‘ new life’, and allows us, sinful mankind, to enter into the very presence of a Holy God. And ask for mercy and help in times of trouble. And worship Him, and serve others humbly with our lives, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit and in Truth

THE WORD OF GOD
Hebrews 10:19-23 NIV

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

THE HYMN

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit!
O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we troubles and temptations!
Is there trouble anywhere…..

The reality is that ‘ trouble’ in this world, for which Jesus died, and rose from the dead, is always ‘ just around the corner’.
The tragedy is that those who have ‘ rejected the chief capstone’ have no Almighty Savior to whom they can turn in the midst of madness. And even then The Father is still waiting with His Hands wide open on the Cross of Calvary. And He has called us to bear witness to someone Today, that ‘ softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling’ – all of us to share in The Peace that only a Friend like Him can provide. In the midst of Pain. For God is faithful, and full compassion and mercy.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – is a kind of second phase of the preparation process. And at the end comes the shocking news of the week. For the reality is that The Verdict of God hangs over everyone who has rejected the offer of The Lord to “Come into the Light, Jesus Christ, and escape from the darkness. For it is men of the darkness who carry out all these atrocities.

ALL ABOUT JESUS

Last night as I read God’s Word before bedtime prayers, this passage from John, which I had read countless times before, hit me like a thunderbolt, as I recalled Oswald Chambers, the great Bible teacher expounding on this same passage

THE WORD OF GOD

This is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he had done has been done through God. John 3:19-21.

The truth is my friends, in a real sense, too many of us, including myself, in the past, have become distracted. And such distraction only comes from the master of deceit , Satan.
For the truth is that it does not really matter if someone is gay or straight, Muslim or Buddhist, President or Chronnix, Rasta or bald head, follower of the teachings of Marcus Garvey or a lover of Bob Marley’s music, PNP or Labourite, smoke weed and ‘ bun fire’ for Babylon or a nice ‘ christian yute, lives in Tivoli or Norbrook, drives a deportee or a ‘Bimmer’, is The Girl dem Sugar or a faithful One Burner man, have a Coco Cola body that can ‘ stop’ traffic or a lady who would not get a second look, if you have not committed yourself to The Light of the World, Christ Crucified on Calvary, you are under God’s condemnation. Not, man’s! That’s the Verdict in the Word of God.

So our role as children of the Light of God, and the Body of Christ Crucified, is not to spend too much time arguing with people and trying to, with our wisdom, teach them the truth. Our role rather is to present The Truth to others, who alone has the Power to convict people of Sin, as ‘ the battle is the Lord’s’ and not ours.
Then this morning I awoke with ‘ He lives within my heart’, in my heart.
And as I reflected on just the first verse, thoughts of mercy, an assurance of His Presence with us, and most importantly, the question of whether or not we are demonstrating to others that The Risen Savior lives in us, came into my heart. Everyday, and not just in Lent, is a good time to think on these things. Who do others see when they look at us? Jesus at work in our lives or someone else? And have we come into the Light, or are we still living in the darkness with the Verdict of God hanging over our heads? Further, have received the promised salvation, which is the only question The Judge of all the Earth is going to ask us one day. “For it is appointed for all men once to die, and then face the judgment “.
Let us choose well today my friends, and encourage all who we meet, to come into the Light, whatever their beliefs, for ‘ there is no other name given to men by which we must be saved’, except Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. And no one knoweth when the Son of Man shall come again. Neither the day nor the hour.

I pray God then that Christ may truly live in my heart, and yours Today. As we do battle against the evil one who is always , ‘ like a roaring lion’ , seeking to distract people from concentrating on Jesus and Him Crucified: The Truth, and The Light.
Peace.

I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

And as I opened the WhatsApp to send this message, I see this message. May God protect us from evil. As only He can. Nobody else.
Jamaica Gleaner: UPDATE: Three students, one man killed execution-style in Clarendon shooting.

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – and so having heard the full details, I poured out my heart before the Lord and asked for mercy for my embattled nation. And I know that the Eternal God has already began to answer my prayers. And the prayers of countless others. For mercy!

A PRAYER FOR MERCY

NEWS

Fourteen-year-old Ricardo Briscoe, 14-year-old Raymond Givans, 15-year-old Alex Turner and 35-year-old Marquis Hamilton, all of Clarendon addresses, were murdered execution-style.
O God tonight our hearts are troubled. Tonight as a people we are filled with grief and pain. And Lord if we, so far removed from the scene, though very much there in spirit, are so distraught and perplexed, O God, how much more so the families, friends, and teachers of those three young boys and one adult who were so brutally murdered last night.
And O God you know that as a nation, we have been down this road before. O God so many, many times. We are tired of it Lord. We are worn out grieving for our nation. Young girls, old people, babies; no one is safe O God.
But we are still trusting in you O God. For your Word, which cannot be broken tells us that : ” God confides in those that fear him”. So Lord, in the midst of this madness, in the midst of the pain, O Blessed Redeemer God, we are begging you; tell us how to counter this evil that has taken root in our land. Because we fear you and believe in your Son Jesus Christ.
O God forgive us that as a people we have ” opened the gates and let in the pirates “. In many, many ways. Whether in our Music, our Culture, our Politics, and in the spreading of a ‘ prosperity gospel’, that has no power.
Forgive us O Lord that we no longer give high priority to your Word, in our homes, our schools, in our communities, and so O God far too many of our people fear neither man nor you, O Almighty God. And so evil abounds in our land, and we just cannot manage.

So Father God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, hear our cry tonight, send your Spirit to empower us, and revive us again O God, that the dawn of this long dark night might soon appear. That wickedness may not rule over us any longer, and snatch away our children.
O God we remember your warning in the Book of Deuteronomy that you gave to the children of Israel, and tonight we offer it up as a prayer. So that being obedient to your Word in and through Christ Jesus and Him Crucified, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, you may grant us mercy. And times of refreshing may come upon this land. For we are desperately and urgently in need of your mercy

” Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it may go well with they and their children forever “.

THE FIFTH MESSAGE – and the following morning the plea continued.

A PRAYER FOR MERCY CONTD
Although a version of this Psalm has become a popular song in the Carnival/Soca culture, ” Lord forgive them for they know not what they do”, in the midst of the pain last night, the King James Version brought peace in my heart ; as I was reminded that My God ‘ has been a shelter and a strong tower against the enemy’.

PSALM 61: 1-3 KJV

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy”.

And if you listen carefully you will hear the Spirit saying:

This Rock is Jesus, and:
In times like these, we need a Savior
In times like these, we need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the one
This Rock is Jesus, The only One
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

In times like these oh be not idle
In times like these we need the bible
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

That Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the one
That Rock is Jesus, The only One
Be very sure, oh you’ve gotta be sure
That your anchor holds, and it grips the Solid Rock
Your anchor it holds, and it grips the Solid Rock

In times like these, I have a Savior
In times like these, I have an anchor
I’m very sure, I’m very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

That Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the one
That Rock is Jesus, The only One
Be very sure, oh you’ve gotta be sure
That your anchor it holds, and it grips the Solid Rock

I pray God that in times like these we will cry out to God, and return to the Only One Who can help. The same one on whom Sam Sharpe and our grandparents depended. Puppa Jesus and Massa God.
O God have mercy on our souls for we have committed the very same sin about which Jeremiah warned the children of Israel, thousands of years ago ( the more things change…… remain the same: unless you have been made new in Christ Jesus):

” My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13.

Hear our prayer this sad day, O God, and let our cry come unto thee. Amen

THE FINAL MESSAGE – Which captured the views of a well known Anthropologist. And whose research I respect. So in combination with the Truth, the message makes a powerful argument to line up the secular and spiritual on this matter, as they point in the same direction. The need for Justice and Mercy. And the need for us to remember the God who has served us a nation well over the years. Lest we forget! Lest we forget!

ALL ABOUT GRACE AND MERCY

Yesterday morning as I was led back to the passage from Jeremiah in which there is a lament about how God’s ‘ chosen ‘ people had rebelled against Him, time and time again, one question captured the enormity of the ‘ sin’. And that question applies to us, a people, whose forefathers, for the most part, were rescued from slavery by the Power of the Gospel. Hence the strength of the Church, and the relatively peaceful ( very few murders) in a society where people feared God, respected their elders, and loved their neighbours – treating their children with the same love as their own. Then in the late 60’s and early 70’s ‘ all hell broke loose’.

THE WORD OF GOD
What fault did your fathers find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
Jeremiah 2:5 NIV

This verse had been ‘ in my head’ from yesterday and during my sleep last night. For make no mistake, the wickedness which is being visited upon our once quiet and peaceful country has a history. It did not just happen overnight. And that history had two parents. One secular, the other spiritual. Both are interrelated!
On the Secular side – Parenteral neglect of their children; chiefly fathers. And grossly uneven distribution of state resources resulting in extreme poverty. The combination of which, fatherless children and social decay, produce men who become our ‘worse nightmares’. This according to University Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Herbert Gayle speaking on Nationwide news yesterday.
In the Spiritual realm – a verse which came into heart last night, captures the the reverse side of the equation.
Jesus, speaking with His disciples on the night before He died on the cross of Calvary, at the end, before praying and heading off to complete His Mission on earth, left them with this assurance.

” I have told you these things, so that on me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. “.
John 16:33 NIV

A verse which affirms the fact that all those who do not belong to Christ cannot truly find peace in this troubled world. And that in the midst of pain and suffering and temptation we can find peace in Him. Further that those who are ‘ unredeemed’ have great difficulty overcoming the evil influences to which they are subjected, by all kinds individuals – in high places and those in their communities.
So, here is the link between the two challenges the nation faces – rebellion against the Only One who can truly provide ultimate peace, and injustice – Jesus died that we who enjoy a ‘ new life’ in Him, are empowered both to call people to repentance, and also to fight against injustice everywhere.
Then amazingly, in the dead of night, the words ‘ It is well with my soul,’ came into my head. And the first three verses of this glorious hymn, which I googled this morning, as it is not in my hymnbook, speak a comforting word to the grieving relatives of that quadruple murder scene, and to a confused and troubled nation. Although it makes this message a bit longer, I believe the context in which it was written will help also.

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor trau­mas in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). Short­ly af­ter, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words. They speak to the eter­nal hope that all be­liev­ers have, no mat­ter what pain and grief be­fall them on earth.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

A Sermon delivered by The Venerable Archdeacon Patrick Cunning at a Service at my church today in commemoration of the 40,000 murder victims since 1970 provides a ‘bookend’ to this terrible week of terror. It’s in summary form. But the essence of it, is the essence of the Christian message. ” Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”. So too we are called to forgive our enemies, and them that hate us.

SERMON TWO – BY THE VENERABLE ARCHDEACON PATRICK CUNNINGHAM

Drawing from his Text, Micah 6:8:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you
To act justly and to love mercy ( tenderly)
and to walk humbly with your God”:

ArchDeacon made the following points.
1. In a nation that has witnessed the murder of over 40,000 persons since 1970, with one third of the total cases ‘gone cold’, and 50% unsolved for last year, and with a 13% increase in child murders for this year, we need to find a way to move on. And that requires ” Divine Intervention. For only God gives life, and for us to walk humbly with God we have to remember that reality always. Walking humbly with God allows us, as difficult, as extremely difficult, as it is, to see providence in the midst of Life. In the midst of Tragedy. For in that way, and in that way alone, we find healing by having a personal relationship with Him. For The Resurrection of Christ gives us the hope that our loved ones will be raised with God. All because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow.

Yes there will always be the hard questions we have to ask the Lord. How could He allow such evil to happen to good and innocent people…..here he referenced the four persons brutally murdered last week, and other such savagery. Where is a good and compassionate God in the midst of this? The answer is that some have used their free will to do evil…and since the hearts of men are desperately wicked, such tragedies will inevitably take place in this ‘broken’ world. But we have to recall the famous Word from God, that ” If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves…..” God will one day heal this land. So our role is to learn to walk humbly with the Lord.

2. How do you respond to a man who kills your child? Robs you of your most precious gift? The ‘natural’ reaction is to seek revenge. And at the very least, if we cry, ” we want justice”: that justice it is retributive justice. If we are going to ‘love tenderly’ then we have to give up this natural desire for revenge, this hate, and ‘ with great difficulty’ seek to forgive. Because we have two choices. Life with hate and being miserable, and life with forgiveness and freedom. We are called to love, as difficult as it is. On the Cross Jesus called for Forgiveness i.e. ” Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do. The greatest need that murderers have , as paradoxical as it sounds, is for someone to love them. For in the darkest and most wicked of hearts is a core of decency…..data shows that most murderers lack love from parents, have often been abused and seen many murders. And therefore only love can create the kind of environment and unearth that core of decency and lead to repentance and restoration.

3. Retributive and restorative Justice. Interestingly, the latter is more common in tribal primitive communities than in the modern communities. God is more interested in creating ‘new life’, in restoring people to their former and even better life, than retribution. The problem is that failure to capture the criminals affects the pursuit of Restorative Justice, and no closure can be found for communities and individuals.

The question posed by the ArchDeacon ought to spread abroad wide and far in this country: ” Can we find it in our hearts, as difficult as it is , to not only forgive the murderer, but to find a way to restore him into the community in order that there may be complete healing? Is it possible to demonstrate this kind of love. In the same way Christ loved us and died for us – calling sinners to repentance, not the good people – and to the restoration of our relationship with God our Father. Otherwise reprisal killings will continue and Jamaica will continue to have blood flowing on our streets and in our homes. So every day we must attempt to make the highest choice that God offers.

And what does the Lord require – To act justly, to love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.

Obama’s Visit to Jamaica: God’s Gift to the World

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)

THE NEWS

1. The top news of the week, which overshadowed everything else, was the historic visit to Jamaica by The President of The United States of America, Barack Obama.Obama came, he saw, and he conquered the hearts of many Jamaicans, who were simply enthralled to share the same space with the first black President of the USA. Eloquent in speech; perfect in diplomacy – even when obviously critical and pushing hot button issues; the quintessential politician – ‘what a gwaan’, ‘ Big up UWI’, Jamaica, as he demonstrated a more than passing familiarity with the local dialect; strategic in his plans – a visit to the Bob Marley museum cemented his place in the hearts of Jamaicans; and encouraging in his actions – a fund to help young entrepreneurs, a prod to the IMF to help with Jamaica’s growth agenda. People were even sad to see him leave, although a few triggered social media discussions on his stewardship as a Black President; with one in particular was in my opinion, distasteful – pun unintended.
Obama, White House impressed with Jamaica’s preparation for his visit

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Obama, White House impressed with Jamaica’s preparatio…
United States Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno says both the White House and the US State Department were delighted with the level of preparation ma…
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THE WORD OF GOD

So in the midst of Obama madness and excitement, what Word, or inspired word did the Lord send. Perhaps, a Biblical phrase, which I employed in one message, best describes what I heard from the Lord. Give to Obama, what is due to him; but give to the Lord what is due to Him. So yes, while we respect, and love Barack and Michelle Obama and his girls, and while we were thrilled by his visit to our small, and perhaps insignificant in the wider scheme of things globally, as one of our highly rated journalists Ian Boyne pointed out in his column today; Obama must aim higher, let’s maintain a clear perspective. Obama is not a Savior! Does not claim to be. And will never be.

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Obama must aim higher
A telling and poignant indication of Jamaica’s vastly diminished geostrategic significance was demonstrated when the one American journalist who was g…
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THE FIRST MESSAGE – early in the week, before Obama arrived, a disturbing event, troubled my soul. Once again! And speaks to the need for us to be ever aware of, and fight against evil in our land. As only God, who ‘forms the heart of all mankind’, and therefore knows it very well, can ultimately help. No one else, whether here or abroad. Interestingly, I had been toying with the idea of asking Mr Obama, if ISIS posed a existential threat to western Christian civilization, of was it filled with misguided angry Muslims, with no ‘end game in mind’ – just anarchy? But the behaviour of some of our young people makes you aware, that the ‘spirit of the wickedness of ISIS’, is alive and very well in Jamaica.

FROM EASTER BACK TO GOOD FRIDAY

Last night on TVJ news a report of gunmen chasing killing another man, and an almost one year old child, triggered a tweet: that the spirit of the wickedness ISIS is alive and well in Jamaica.
This morning after giving thanks with, ‘New every morning is thy love,’ I was not going to write, but a voice in my head said, ‘ be not weary of doing good’.
And so the words of the Psalm appointed for today presents a message from the Lord in times like these as we await Obama and ISIS continues to murder in Syria

THE WORD OF GOD

Psalm 33:10-22 NIV
The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord , the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord ; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord , even as we put our hope in you.

So let us continue to wait on the Lord’s unfailing love, as one day there is going to be a Resurrection from the Good Friday of murder and wickedness in Jamaica. In the name of Jesus

THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent out on the morning of his arrival, enjoins us to ‘give to God what belongs to God’. To worship Him Who only can and has worked mighty miracles, to set mankind free, with Power, through the workings of the Holy Spirit. So the great need is not for a ‘human savior’, but rather to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit in times like these. And who knows how the Lord might have mercy on us!

ALL ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT

NEWS

The head of the most powerful nation on earth comes in own plane. With hundreds of secret service agents, helicopters, no doubt fighter jets, ships, helicopters and others in his entourage. A veritable army of people. Very impressive. But when he leaves, crime, poverty, wickedness, slackness and injustice will still be pervasive in this land.

EARLY MORNING REVELATION

The promise of the first covenant God established with His chosen people was the ‘ promised land’. And He worked a mighty miracle through His servant Moses to ,’ set my people free’, in the land of Egypt. His Presence was with them in many ways as they made their way to the Promised Land through challenging times

The Promise of the New Covenant, Jeremiah 31, is ‘ The Forgiveness of Sins and Wickedness’ – through His Word written in our hearts. And God sent His Son Jesus, The Living Word, The Word made flesh, to work a mighty miracle to achieve this. And then left His Holy Spirit to ‘ work out our Salvation through our many challenges in life. Jesus, came as a baby and few took notice of Him. But wherever He went, the lives of people were changed forever. And powerfully so.
The goal of believers in this age then is to be guided and directed by the Power of The Holy Spirit. Let us then make it our solemn duty to pray for the Gift of The Holy Spirit, more and more each day. ( rather than material blessings) for ourselves and for others, including Obama, as lasting blessings and Justice for the poor, protection against evil, and Eternal Life with God come only through a life indwelt and controlled by The Holy Spirit of God.
And pray according to the words in Psalm 85:6.
” Wilt thou not turn again and quicken us O Lord, that thy people may rejoice in thee”.
Who knows, the Lord might hear us, and send ‘ times of refreshing’ , a Revival, on our land.
Amen

THE THIRD MESSAGE – The lament in this message is, ‘how could you wish to meet Obama more than you wish to know the Living God in Christ Jesus’. Which is really the attitude which some people have in respect of how we treat with ‘stars’ in our life vis a vis, Jesus Christ. I pray God we wlll repent of this madness, and be obedient to the words of the old hymn.
Nothing in my hand I cling,
Simply to the cross I cling…..

Foul, I to the fountain fly,
wash me Saviour, lest I die.
For ‘all have sinned”.

ALL ABOUT JESUS

So President Obama is in Jamaica. Watched the excitement and saw history unfolding on TV. Great moment for Jamaica. And if everyone could have been invited, including myself, the entire Jamaica would have gladly turned out. As He is truly ‘ The People’s President’. And to make matters worse, he went and paid respect to Bob Marley. #BobMarleyMuseum. They almost crowned him King on Twitter last night.
Contrast this to an invitation to ‘ meet’ the Lord Jesus and commit your life to Him. To meet with Almighty God, Father God Himself!
” Soon come man”! ‘ Don’t want to rush into church and then come back out like some people’. ‘ Have to fix up my life first’.
So what does the Word of God appointed for today in my church, Thursday in Easter week, say about this kind of ‘ ignorance? And what instruction is given and promise made? For really every time we read the Word we are to expect to receive a message for Today.
Read it carefully. As it makes for very interesting reading as we ponder last night’s events, consider our reaction to Obama and the last sentence from yesterday’s WhatsApp message
Peace.

THE WORD OF GOD

Acts 3:11-20 NIV

While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

THE FOURTH MESSAGE -speaks very clearly the need to ‘ Give to Barack what belongs to him – respect; and give to god what belongs to Him – obedience to the Word

ALL ABOUT JESUS
So President Obama’s visit has ended. It went well. For some, beyond expectations. For others, less than they had hoped. I watched his Town Hall meeting with young leaders and word ‘ magnetic’ comes to mind. He is special, not just as a politician, but a special human being. So he came, ( he saw) and he conquered the hearts of many, left some ,’ goodies’ , and departed.
Then last night, by God’s grace, I read His Word and this struck me:

THE WORD OF GOD

John 1:21-23 NIV

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”
Then this morning I was led to worship the Lord with words from The Benedictus – the song sung by John the Baptist’s father Zachariah, when his speech returned.

And it begins very dramatically, and contextually:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: for he has visited and redeemed his people:
And hath raised up a mighty salvation: in the house of his servant David…….
And thou child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.

Luke 1:67-79 KJV

Then I recalled in the middle of the night, that Psalm 119 came into my head. This is very dramatic stuff! Trust me. My God is amazing.
So I opened the Bible and found this:

” How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word on my heart that I may not sin against you.” Psalm 118: 9-11.

So what’s the message from all of this. Two messages in one!

1. That like John the Baptist, all who claim Christ, including Barack Obama, our role in life, regardless of, or with, whatever gifts and responsibilities that God, in His wisdom and mercy, has given to us, is to ‘ prepare the way of the Lord’, by pointing to Him as The Savior of the world.
2. Therefore, when that young lady from his home town Chicago, asked the question that is ‘ burning in our hearts’, how to stop the murders in his city, and our city, ( yesterday they charged a bus conductor with Kayalecia’s murder) he gave a good answer. But kind of skirted over the best response by mentioning the importance of values; in addition to other things. But if he was faithful to his ‘ divine calling’ as a Christian, and so too all the young leaders who attended, many of whom I know are Christians, pointing to the importance, as the Psalmist does, of training up a child in the Word of God, the living Word Christ our Savior, is our only and high calling.
For ‘ yes we can’, is a hope. But God has indeed visited us, and has raised up a mighty salvation.
And His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And everybody needs to know that: from Obama to Portia and to those who did not get to see Obama, but need Christ.

THE FIFTH AND FINAL MESSAGE – addresses frontally one of the controversies which emerged in the wake of Obama’s visit. The ‘distasteful’ one mentioned earlier. But in keeping with the nature of this ministry, goes way beyond critiquing Chronnix, and points us to the goal of every Christian, and I dare say that which ought to be the goal of every human being who has ‘fallen short of the glory of God’ – the possessing of The Mind of Christ. I pray God that all of us may come to this realization soon. And not to late, when the ‘door’, not of Airforce One has been closed, but that which leads to Eternal Life. And away from eternal damnation – a life permanently separated from God. The ultimate meaning of ‘perishing’; which is why ” God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. John 3:16. The most popular verse in the Bible. Far more well known and loved than Barack Obama.

ALL ABOUT JESUS

Went to my bed last night with Chronnix’s ill advised statement, ‘ that Obama is a ‘waste man’, and Minister Hanna’s contrasting carefully worded balanced response, on my mind.

Check out @groupiemet’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/groupiemet/status/586315908588515328?s=09

http://reggaevibe.org/news/439-culture-minister-responds-to-chronixx-s-obama-outburst

Awoke early this morning praising God, and Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s worship song, ‘ I believe in you’, came
into my mind. Also as I pondered on Obama’s visit, and the issues he ‘ put out there’ for our consideration, including, how we treat with gays, and also his own stewardship as the first Black President of the USA, which is what, despite his #wrongmove, Chronnix, was trying to say, a more profound thought came into my mind:

The mind of Christ.
So off I went, first to YouTube, and then to Philippians 2:1-11. I liked the song, but it did not really move me.
But the build up to, and the results of having, ‘ the mind of Christ’ , touched my very soul:

Philippians 2:1-8 NIV

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

One of the thoughts that has ‘ come into my mind’ on pondering the significance of Obama’s visit, and nothing happens to a child of God by coincidence, is, ‘ Give to Obama what belongs to Obama – Respect: and give to God what belongs to God – worship and obedience’.
For in ‘ placing two black girls’ on the lawns of the White House, despite his debatable ‘ failures’, Barack and Michelle, have provided a role model, and a level of inspiration for black and oppressed people everywhere, which as our own Michael Manley would have said, is ‘ impatient of debate’. With all due respect to Chronnix et al.
And only the mind of Christ will allow us to assess his position on the moral issues of the day.

Having said that, despite the respect due, and love for Obama, only God alone and His Son Jesus Christ is to be worshipped; and more importantly, to be obeyed. For this is what having ‘ the mind of Christ’ teaches us. As having read the Word, I went back to YouTube, and found, with great joy, that the next song in line was, These are the Days of Elijah. A powerful worship song :
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – Days of Elijah: https://youtu.be/rqTLsIyx3I0
which offers the long view of history. That, despite our preoccupation with the ‘ hot topics of the day’, the Day is fast approaching when, He who in humble service, and in obedience to His Father, suffered and died for the Sins of the world, shall come in Glory to Judge the living and the dead.
So yes, by all means reflect on the issues raised by Obama and his visit, but let us as a nation, rescued from slavery by the Word of God, be obedient to the mind of Christ’, Who lives in us by the Power of The Holy Spirit – by faith and by obedience to the Word of God.
Peace

HEALING  CONFERENCE  2015

A CONFERENCE YOU MUST NOT MISS!

 

The Annual Healing Conference can be classified as one of the renewal movements in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands today.  For the past 40 years it has consistently placed emphasis on the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, ministered to the various areas of human need.  He was Saviour, He was Teacher and He was Healer.

 

The emphasis placed on healing is not intended to diminish in any way the significance of the teaching and saving activity of Jesus, but is rather a recognition that this important aspect of the ministry of Jesus needs to be given the place in the church today that it rightfully deserves.

 

What can you expect from the conference?  Sound teaching, rich fellowship, soul-stirring music, spirit-inspired worship, sharing of stories, and the experience of healing, all in an atmosphere of unceasing prayer.

 

What do we expect of you?  That you will remember that you are in God’s awesome presence; that God loves you and wants to extend his love to others through you; that blessings are in store for you and that you must be open and receptive to appropriate them.  That you will spend much time in prayer.  That you will be willing to share with others your stories of healing, blessing, joy, victory, and hope in Christ Jesus.  That you will continue to walk and talk with Jesus and be ready at all times to share him with others.  That you will speak to others about the Ministry of Healing, and be prepared to form groups in your local congregations to pray for and participate in this ministry.

As you prepare for your Healing Conference experience 

may this be your prayer:

“Lord, you are a present help in trouble.  Come revive, redeem, restore. In our darkness come as light; in our sadness come as joy; in our troubles come as peace; in our weakness come as strength.  Come to our aid.  

Open our eyes to your presence.  Open our minds to your grace.  Open our hearts to your love.  Open our lives to your healing, and be found among us.  Amen”. (David Adams in Living Prayers for Today)

 

 

 

DIOCESE OF JAMAICA AND 

THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

 

HEALING CONFERENCE 2015

 

 

Venue:

Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort

Montego Bay

 

DATE:

FRIDAY, MAY 29- Sunday, MAY 31, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

Please read carefully

 

This Registration Form, will serve as your Hotel Reservation for the weekend.  We would greatly appreciate if it is completed and returned by February 06, 2015 with a minimum payment of half of your Conference Fee.  Full payment, however, would be very helpful to the organizers.  Only the names of persons sharing one room may be put on one form.

 

Any outstanding balance must be paid by April 15, as the Hotel requires full payment a month in advance of the conference.

 

The preferred method of payment is by lodgement to the “Healing Conference” at any branch of the Jamaica National Building Society, Account Number 7286511 in the name of one of the participants.  

 

The original receipt and completed forms may be faxed to 876-941-5901.  Alternatively forms with cheques or lodgement receipts may be mailed to The Church of the Transfiguration, 3 Meadowbrook Main,  Kingston  19.   

 

The full cost for the weekend per person is as follows:-

Single Occupancy$42,000.00

Double Occupancy$26,000.00 

Triple Occupancy$22,000.00

Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.$14,500.00(All meals incl.)

Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.$10,000.00 (lunch only)

 

N.B.

1. For any further information contact Fiona Simpson at  the Office of the Church of the Transfiguration, Meadowbrook 925-4188,             313-8302©, 924-5245(h).  Kindly indicate on the form,   if considered necessary, the accommodation you prefer  (e.g.1st floor, 3rd floor; 3 beds for triple as some will only have two, etc.)

 

2. Please note that early substitutions of names may be made.

 

 

      

 

 

 

REGISTRATION FORM

 

NAME:  …………………………………………………………………..….

               (Mr. Mrs. Ms. Rev. Dr.)

 

ADDRESS: ..……………………………………………………….…………….

 

……………………………………………………………………….

 

TEL. NO:………………FAX……………………EMAIL…………………….

 

CHURCH:……………………………………….………………..…………….

 

RESIDENTIAL [   ]    NON-RESIDENTIAL [   ]DATE:

 

 

NAME:  …………………………………………………………………..….

               (Mr. Mrs. Ms. Rev. Dr.)

 

ADDRESS: ..……………………………………………………….…………….

 

……………………………………………………………………….

 

TEL. NO:………………FAX……………………EMAIL…………………….

 

CHURCH:……………………………………….………………..…………….

 

RESIDENTIAL [   ]   NON-RESIDENTIAL [   ]  DATE:

 

 

NAME:  …………………………………………………………………..….

               (Mr. Mrs. Ms. Rev. Dr.)

 

ADDRESS: ..……………………………………………………….…………….

 

……………………………………………………………………….

TEL. NO:………………FAX……………………EMAIL………………….

 

CHURCH:……………………………………….………………..…………….

 

RESIDENTIAL [   ]  NON-RESIDENTIAL [   ]  DATE:

 

Easter, President Obama’s Visit to Jamaica and Chaos and death in Kenya

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)

THE NEWS

1.The big news across the western world, no matter where you live, is that today is Easter Sunday. A day when millions if not billions of Christians celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ some 2000 years ago. So Lent is not officially ended and it’s time to shift from a focus on repentance to one of celebrating the faithfulness, power and goodness of God.
Why Easter Is the Most Important Christian Holiday

image

Why Easter Is the Most Important Christian Holiday
Easter is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. Learn what Christians celebrate on Easter.
View on christianity.about.com
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2. The second big news, at least in my ‘neck of the woods’, is that ” Obama Cometh”. And Jamaicans are getting very excited and looking forward to seeing the first African- American President of the most powerful nation on earth. Security is expected to be tight, with hundreds of secret service personnel arriving to protect the President.
No room in the inn as Obama visits

image

No room in the inn as Obama visits
AT LEAST five major Kingston hotels are fully booked between Monday, April 6 and Friday, April 10, days ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit. Eff…
View on jamaica-gleaner.com
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3. The third big news is a horrible story out of Kenya, as this week news broke of an awful massacre of 147 University students by a militant Sudanese group. The Kenyan government has responded by declaring that there will be retribution and the attackers have vowed to ‘let more blood run’. What a calamity as the western world continues to discuss strategies to deal with extremist Muslim groups including ISIS

5 arrested in attack on Kenyan college – CNN.com

image

5 arrested in attack on Kenyan college – CNN.com
Kenyan police have arrested five suspects in connection with Thursday’s attack at Garissa University College that left 147 people dead, an official said.
View on edition.cnn.com
Preview by Yahoo

THE WORD OF GOD

So, in the midst of the excitement,of the author of ‘ Yes I can”, coming to Jamaica in the flesh; the suffering of fellow human beings in Kenya; and the author of ” It is finished…yes I have”, coming in the flesh, God Incarnate in Christ Jesus, who suffered and died for the sins of all mankind, including Obama and the militants and the victims, what Word, or inspired word, did the Lord send? Chiefly messages which help in a deeper understanding of Passion Week. The period which culminated in the death of our Lord, and the achievement of His Mission. And the relevance of this event which changes the history of the world forever, to recent events which confront us personally and as a nation, and indeed a global community.

THE FIRST MESSAGE -one of the many important things which a journey with Oswald Chambers, who is the author of the world famous and highly acclaimed devotional, ” My utmost for His Highest”, over the weekend included this statement which I send around to members of my church. All under the heading of ” Christian Thinking”.

Man as he is ;
…and were by nature children of wrath ( Ephesians 2:3)

The love of God, and the wrath of God are the obverse sides of the same thing, like two sides of a coin. The wrath of God is as positive as His love. God cannot be in agreement with sin. When a man is severed from God the basis of his moral life is chaos and wrath, not because God is angry like Moloch ( an Old Testament tyrannical power requiring sacrifice to be appeased) – maybe like the present day ISIS and the ‘required’ killing of the students in Kenya – , it is His constitution of things. The wrath of God abides all the time a man persists in the way that leads away from God; the second he turns, he is face with God’s love. Wrath is the dark line in God’s face, and is expressive of of His hatred of sin. Civilization is the gloss over chaos and wrath; we are so sheltered that we are blinded to our need for God, and when calamity comes there is nothing to hold on to. Over and over man has made life into chaos ( Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot and the Slave Trade and 9/11, and now ISIS come to mind – on the world stage. Locally – he or she or they who introduced gun violence into my country.

The reality is that when Satan has his unfettered way with those who are not ‘ under the Blood of The Lamb’ chaos results. So Satan is very real. Which is what the first message deals with. And which is what confronts the world in Kenya, in the Middle East, and even in so called civilized America and Europe. Chaos breaks out from time to remind people that they do need God, even though they might not appreciate it.

Today on Palm Sunday we begin our journey, once again with Christ as He experienced His last days on earth. His Mission, in front of Him, viz., Good Friday. An event which opened the door to the reconciliation of sinful man with a loving, compassionate, holy and Almighty God – Redemption.

Last night, whilst still on a ‘ national high’ after one of the most exciting CHAMPS ever, I calmed my soul to read and pray, as usual at before going to sleep . And the following word from The Last Supper made for very sobering yet reassuring reading

THE WORD OF GOD
” Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when guy turn back strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31
Last night and also as I woke, the following thoughts came into my head. I pray that you will consider them carefully this week as we recall our Lord’s Redemptive Suffering, and death on , ‘ old wooden cross’.

– that even though evil forces are always attacking God’s people, The Crucified, Risen and Ascended Jesus, ever lives to intercede, to pray for His disciples.
– that God allows such ‘ searching’, such persecution to strengthen our faith. And when our faith has been tested, and strengthened, our role, is to help others to attain a strong faith.

The troubling question, for which there is no easy answer, is that, Satan may not have ask permission to attack those who are not ‘ under the Blood of Jesus’. Not an easy question as ‘ God makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust’. And bad things happen to Christians too. But definitely a troubling issue in the midst of the very real presence of evil in the world.
Good Friday, and Passion Week is a good time to think about these things.

THE SECOND MESSAGE is about that which ‘ sets our hearts on fire’. And right now President Obama’s visit is the ‘talk of the town’; as that is what Jamaicans who love him are doing. But if you really had an informed choice, who would you more likely invite into your home, and your heart. One who says, ” Yes I can”, and cannot do very much unless Congress allows him. Or The One who uttered the life changing words, ” It is finished”, and whose work in the work is complete. All mankind has been reconciled to God. All mankind has been set free from sin and death, and from enslavement to ‘chaos and wrath”. The only limiting factor is our belief and obedient acceptance of that ‘gift’. So let us become excited about Jesus. Far more than Obama, as we once again recall the events of Good Friday and the new life offered in and through the Resurrection of The Crucified One. Even Christ Jesus!

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY
There is nothing like sports and the ‘ old school tie’ which brings out the passion in all of us.
So this past week, cheers and screams and even tears of joy and disappointment ‘ Rocked’ for C’ Bar, Fortis, Fervet, Edwin Allen, Holmwood, Jago, Hydel, Vere and other schools.
How much more then ought we to be passionate about our Lord’s sacrificial death on the Cross of Calvary for all mankind. Regardless of where we went to school, which country we were born, where we live, uptown or downtown, our skin color, our status, and most importantly what kind of sins we have committed!
This morning then the Lord led my fingers to a hymn, two verses of which in particular, challenge us love the Lord Jesus even more than how we love our very selves. As this is the high calling that Passion Week and Good Friday beckons

Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life my all.
I pray God that wherever we may be in the world Good Friday will always be a special time for us. Regardless of our school tie, or denomination. Amen

THE THIRD MESSAGE – the great problem that ‘moderate and civilized Muslims face’ , in the light of the revelation of ISIS and other militant Muslim groups, as is the case in Kenya, is that young impressionable men across the globe, has given their all, ” a God who they believe will reward them with virgins and a special place in heaven’, if they kill ‘infidels’…..read Christians. as I write ‘whispers of Bob Marley’s ” You think you are in heaven but you living in hell’, come into my mind. Contrast that with the ‘doctrine’ in the song which featured in this message:

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY CONTD
As read the Scripture passages appointed for Monday in Passion week, and began to pray, this song came flooding into my heart. Amazing!
I Surrender ALL
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain:

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – the one thing I am at pains to point out all the time, is that, under normal circumstances, I could not write this kind of stuff on my own, and have it linked up so powerfully. God must be in the midst of it, and also for the Ministry to last for well nigh over 8 years now. Week after week. So think about the following message after the one before. Muslims and indeed all mankind need to know Jesus. Otherwise chaos and wrath will always attend their actions. Whether moderate or extremists. Whether ‘civilized’ Europeans or ‘war torn’ Africans. Whether ‘cash rich’ Chinese, and Japanese or poverty stricken Pakistan and Afghanistan. Everybody needs to ‘enter through the narrow door’. And that door is Jesus. For one day the door will be closed. And chaos will last forever.

ALL ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY
Just finished listening to the story of a Muslim on YouTube and how he became a Christian.
To cut long story short, after being convinced, intellectually, he asked God for a dream. And then another. And another, as he tried desperately to hang on to his original beliefs. One of them that he shared, helped to lead him to ‘ the sinner’s prayer, and to confess that he believed that Christ died for his sins, and was resurrected from the dead to give all mankind new life.
The dream was about Luke 13:22-25. A very disturbing passage of scripture for anyone who knows the Truth, but is unwilling, or fearful, of giving up everything dear to him: as was the case for Nabeel Qureshi.
http://www.creed26.com
I pray God that the reenactment of the events of Good Friday, this year, will inspire someone to make the seemingly, and perhaps very really, difficult decision. to ‘ surrender all to Jesus’.

THE WORD OF GOD

Luke 13:22-25 NIV

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
#HolyWeek is a good time to think on these things.

THE FIFTH MESSAGE – asks the question really what have we learned about Lent. And therefore what state of mind do we carry into Good Friday and Easter. Thoughts about the trials of this life. or a repentant hearts which allows the Creator of Heaven and Earth to come into our hearts, our homes and our nation and rescue us from the ‘trials of life’. There is a big difference between two. One allows you to celebrate Easter, the other mindset finds no peace of joy anywhere except through his or her power. or Sista P, or Obama!

ALL ABOUT LENT – FINAL THOUGHTS

So we have journeyed during Lent together. Some were there from the start on Ash Wednesday. Others have joined along the way. But now we must part company and face Good Friday alone before the suffering and Crucified Christ. However, not before tonight’s Maunday Thursday service – featuring ,’ the washing of feet by the priest’. After which we leave in silence. Return on Good Friday in silence. Keep vigil with our Lord on Holy Saturday, and then, O my God, and then, the glorious celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection on The Blessed Easter Service on Sunday.

But whether you share in the tradition of my church or not, the reality is, that like Peter, you cannot truly celebrate Easter unless you have been through the pain and agony, introspection and repentance that Lent and Good Friday demands. And ultimately we must all stand before the unwavering eye of the suffering Christ, as Peter did. When I read the story, again, last night, it touched my very soul.

THE WORD OF GOD – Luke 22:54-62. NIV

“……About an hour later another asserted, Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.
Peter replied, Man I don’t know what you are talking about. Just as he was speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him. Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

The question is, what thoughts are occupying our minds as we approach the suffering Christ this Good Friday? Obama’s visit! Financial woes! Health concerns! Relationship issues! The brutal killing of our children! All important issues. But there is a more profound and existential issue raised in Psalm 78, appointed to be read today in my church. It is a long Psalm and when you find the time, have a read. It chronicles the story of how God’s people, time and time again, rebelled against Him. Even after He performed many miracles and rescued them from trial after trial.
So too Peter who had seen Jesus perform many miracles. So too’ all of us who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
After the Resurrection Peter was restored to grace. So too we who are offered the gift of grace and mercy on Good Friday.
But first, ‘ we must weep bitterly’. For all of us have ‘ denied’ Christ, repeatedly, in what we have done, and what we have left undone. In the choices we have made!
I pray God, that after the agony of the Crucifixion, which we must all face alone, we can, together, celebrate with Mary, ‘ He is Risen’, on Easter morning.
Until then, may the Peace of the Crucified, Risen, Ascended, and Coming again Christ be with us all. Amen

FINAL MESSAGE – this morning. A simple yet powerful understanding of Easter. That in Jesus we have a friend, who alone has the Power to make a permanent and eternal difference in our lives. Wishing for you all then, and for President Obama, and even for the people of Kenya, a Peaceful and Holy Easter.

ALL ABOUT EASTER

GM, a Holy and Blessed Easter to all of my WhatsApp friends who have journeyed with Christ through Lent. And we celebrate the Blessed Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I awoke with:

1. a song in my heart. Words which express the essence of the gift of The Resurrection of our Savior.
What a friend we have in Jesus….so let us not suffer unnecessarily because we forget to ‘ take it to the Lord in prayer’.

2. thoughts of a sermon preached on Good Friday. It is finished. So it’s all done. And we can therefore claim victory over every situation and circumstance in our lives. Regardless of how challenging it might seem.

3. God has done His bit. It is now time for us to do ours. To work out our salvation…… To crucify all thoughts and habits in our lives which do not please Him, and which affect the honor of the Christ who lives in us. To ask continually for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and not just for blessings, so that we may truly have, ‘ the mind of Christ’, and apply His thinking to every situation we face.

So let us go forth in confidence and thanksgiving, and sing Hallelujah to the Risen Lord
May His Peace rest and abide with all of us now and forevermore. And let us remember those in hospital, those who are alone, and those who face many challenges even as we give thanks for the Risen Christ. Amen