I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing.
Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s)
1. 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.