Chaos at a Passport office in Jamaica, The Irish Vote, ISIS in Iraq and Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing.

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s)

NEWS

1. Chaos as citizens respond to hike in passport fee.

Passport hike pushed back

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Passport hike pushed back
As chaos reigned at offices of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) across the island yesterday, the Government announced it has push…
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The big news of this week in my country was the absolute chaos which ensued at the PICA office in Kingston as there was a mad rush to apply for passports before the date of the prosed increased in the cost to own this precious document. Some are blaming PICA for the short notice – a few days – while others like myself wonder why our people have to descend to this kind of behaviour. The television clip of a young lady being hauled quite unceremoniously over a high fence, and news of children being injured, poses all kinds of questions about the kind of society we have here in Jamaica. Was it really the desire to save a few dollars, in a challenging economy, that triggered this action of action; are people suffering that badly that they would assemble from 4:am in order to get a ticket so that they would be processed early; how many folks would willingly pay much more than the proposed hike for less important things in life ; was there another and more compassionate and sensitive way that the Government could have acted, especially in these harsh economic times; have we learnt anything from this madness?

2. The National spotlight focusing on our abused children continues and this video from JIS gives us an update on the Governments’s response.

FOCUSING ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN.flv – Jamaica Information Service

FOCUSING ON SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN.flv – Jamaica Information Service
People should accept their civic responsibility to report cases of child abuse.
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However, I found an article by award winning journalist Ian Boyne on this issue, riveting. it appears in today’s edition of The Daily Gleaner, and poses serious questions to Church, Civil Society and State about our response to this serious national issue. I would urge all to read it, as although poverty alone cannot explain away a lot of what is taking place, equally so moralizing alone, or adopting harsher laws alone,will not work either, says Boyne. I agree with him. We need the fabled wisdom of Solomon to solve this issue. And what a day to contemplate this kind of challenge! Pentecost;the birthday of the Church.

3. America is exporting ‘sexual anarchy’. So says Dr. Kay Bailey, a member of The Jamaica Coalition for a healthy Society, in a well researched and cogently argued article which appeared in the Daily gleaner today.

US exporting sexual anarchy

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US exporting sexual anarchy
Barely 12 weeks after his appointment as United States special envoy for human rights of LGBT persons, Randy Berry is currently paying a visit to Jamaica…
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This defense of the God ordered marriage between a man and a woman, coming during a week when the Irish voted overwhelmingly in national vote, to allow same sex marriages. And also on the heels of the recent visit of Randy Berry, Obama’s special envoy on LGBT issues to Jamaica. No doubt some will pose the question back at Obama, ” What a gwaan Mr. President”. Why ‘big up’ the gays so much? However the Gleaner editorial appearing on the same op-ed page of Dr. Bailey’s article argues that this international move to lobby for same sex marriage is a Human Rights issue; and therefore ought to supported by all.

THE WORD OF GOD

So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week, in the midst of the chaos, the controversy and on Pentecost?

The first Message – sent out by WhatsApp.

Watch “I Know Who I Am Lyrics” on YouTube – https://youtu.be/tKo3KFi7osk
A worship song to praise the God who in Christ calls us to live a life of victory regardless of how others regard us for we know who are. O praise the Lord. For in him ‘ I know who I am’

The great difference between Christians and non-believers, and even people of other faiths, is that because our salvation has been purchased by the Blood of Christ, ” We know whose we are, and therefore ‘who I am’.”. There is no greater philosophical, existential, national, social or moral way of separating us from other. We know who we belong to – Christ Jesus. And that single fact affects our response to all that is happening around us. Whether it be family issues and how we treat with our own children or the children of the less fortunate, controversial issues of human sexuality, issues of justice for all, and the crushing and dehumanising effect that poverty has on our people. And more importantly, not just our response to issues in the society, but how people view our actions. Lastly, because we know whose we are, we know that acts of wickedness are not the final word about life. So though we mourn with those who mourn, we have no ‘ enduring city’ in this life, and so our hope is built on a different and more solid hope – Christ, who is the Resurrection and the giver of Eternal Life.

The Second Message – again on WhatsApp. And features a song of both lament and victory – empowered by the Pentecostal Holy Spirit. Features a Word of promise from The Living God, which we as a people have ignored, and hence our ‘feeble’ attempts to right an egregious wrong that is at the heart of the problem of child abuse – disobedience to the Word of God. For what Boyne fails to argue, at least in today’s article, is that the very same ‘dirty old men’ , who are ‘purchasing sexual favors’ from ‘girls who hail from economically challenging circumstances’, are victims of living in a society which no longer fears God, and Judgement. But we know that, ‘ it is apointed for all men once to die, and then the judgement’. In the meanwhile, as Church, as the body of a compassionate and merciful God, we do our best to lift people out of both the moral and economic quicksand which is ‘sucking’ the very life out of our people. Both young and old!

MESSAGE
These are dangerous times for young people who are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Children are being killed. Jobs are hard to come by. And influential people with access to mainstream media, and skilled at using Social Media are posing serious questions about the existence of God. Some with clear agendas; others genuinely searching for The Meaning of Life in a Democractic Society. But ultimately all being led astray by, ” the lying lips and deceitful tongues”, of the ‘ roaring lion ( Satan) seeking to devour whom he will’.
What shall we do to protect our young ones, and rescue even those, who having been led astray, are like the ‘Pied Piper’, successfully leading others away from a Loving and Merciful God?

The key thing to remember is that, ‘ the battle is not ours but the Lord’s’. And the only weapon, and we don’t need any other, otherwise praise and glory will not be given to God, is to ‘ lift up the Name of Jesus’, in all that we say and do. And this same Jesus ‘ will draw all men unto himself’.
In this context then, in the midst of agonizing over the ‘ foolishness’ of turning away from God, and leading others astray, and then ‘ marching’ to protect our children, a Word and a song cane into my heart. Again!

Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

There Is a Balm in Gilead
By: African American Spiritual

Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus and say, “He died for all.”

So let us be of good courage. and not become weary of doing good, become discouraged and feel like giving up on frustration. And reminding everyone we meet, that Christ died for all. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
For we too were once disobedient, and ‘enemies of God’, when we too followed the ‘ spirit of the air’ which is at work in those who are disobedient. But thank God for Jesus, who died for all, including those who are leading our people astray, so that we may enjoy eternal life – a life of victory over the many and varied temptations offered by the Master of deceit, Satan. And which temptation to disobey God, the Creator of all life, born and unborn, is at the root of the problem of child abuse and teen murder.
Peace.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – features a question for all mankind. Do you want to see Jesus? And further, do you know who He is? The great fact that we celebrate on Pentecost is that The Holy Spirit has come to reveal all Truth. And to convict people of Sin, Righteousness and Judgement. So the battle to convince people about the futility of desiring same sex marriage is not our but the Lord’s. And the question of Justice for all then becomes not a just a Human Rights Issue but one of Mercy and Compassion and Justice. All of which the God of the Prophet Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Christ Himself spoke about. But always within the context of obedience to the Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is within it. In effect, for us to seek Christ first, to want to see Jesus, and the the Holy Spirit will reveal all things to us. For the problem that Obama and his envoy faces, and even the Irish and others, is that they have elected to seek Justice for all first, and perhaps last also. And do not wish to see Jesus. At least not the One who died for the sins of all mankind. No doubt they and the writer of the Gleaner editorial today, feel that the force of their argument has greater merit that the Word of God. But then again, that’s not a new position for mankind to adopt. For men full of the rightness of their cause, crucified the Son of God. And to their amazement, out of death came Life, and Life more abundantly. The message of Pentecost for all then, is that it is time ‘ to pour contempt on all our pride’. In the light of the ‘wondrous cross’.

Last night my ‘ song in the night’, as I slept, was the well known prayer by St. Paul. ” I want to know Jesus”; as recorded in Philippians. Then I woke up with the two songs we sing at the start of our service on a Sunday morning. One of which is, ” Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus”.

As we are gathered Jesus is here
One with each other, Jesus is here
Joined by the Spirit, washed in the blood
Part of the body, the church of God
As we are gathered Jesus is here
One with each other, Jesus is here

Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch Him
And say that we love Him
Open our ears, Lord
And help us to listen
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus

Philippians 3:10-11 NIV
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

What do I make of this? As I thought about it, a verse of Scripture from Revelations came into my mind.

Revelation 2:4 NIV

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

In the midst of the mad rush of life, listening and responding to the news of the day, attending to our own needs, the needs of family and attending to the pressing needs of others, if we are not careful we can become guilty of ” forsaking our first love” – Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. And who is more that enough for all our needs. St. Paul, from whom we have learned so much about the Christian faith had no such problems, as he was determined to know Christ, as his first priority in life. And everything else he considered ” rubbish ” – including his reputation and position in the church of the day, and all his earthly possessions. We too should have the same focus.

And then, only then can we declare like St. Paul, ” I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”.
Which was the attitude, ‘ the same mind which was in Christ Jesus’, that we ought to have if we are going rescue our country from #TeenMurder and other social and moral ills.

Note also, ‘ as we are gathered Jesus is here’, that Christians do not, and cannot operate alone. We need each other to see Jesus and to spread the Gospel of forgiveness of sins and of eternal life – right here on earth and the life to come in heaven.
Then can you believe that as I went searching for this passage in 1 Cor. 9:22, in my devotional Bible, I came upon:

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.
Amazing! Peace.

THE FINAL MESSAGE – there were two others, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll stop here, as this message features Pentecost. For in the final analysis, although this Ministry goes out to believers and non-believers alike, it is the renewal of the Church which is really going to make a difference in my country and indeed the entire world. Whether the problem is ISIS and the apparent ‘cowardice’ of the Iraqis, the war in Syria, the controversy on human sexuality, poverty alleviation efforts across the globe, equality among the sexes, workers rights, climate change, child abuse, it is the children of the Resurrection of Jesus, who empowered by the Holy Spirit can make a difference. And how? ” Feed my sheep”. Remember that God has the whole world in his hands. Including child abusers! So they too need to be ‘fed ‘ with the Word of God. It is then left up to them, and the Power of the Holy Spirit to work out whether they and others accept of reject the Word. Our role is to ‘spread the tidings all around’. And be of good courage.

THE MESSAGE

This Sunday, in my Anglican Church, along with other denominations that follow a Liturgical Calendar, we will celebrate Pentecost. The wonderful day when the promised Holy Spirit was ‘ poured out’ on the early church. And which Third Person of The Blessed Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit, continues to ‘ Teach us all things’.
As I read the passage in John, one of four Scriptures appointed for Sunday, into my mind came one the most powerful hymns of the Church.

THE WORD OF GOD
“……And with that he breathed on them and said, ” Receive the Holy Spirit “……John 20:22

THE HYMN ( FIRST VERSE)

Breathe on me, breathe of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

Then I sat there pondering on what does God love! And the answer came swiftly.

“…… Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘ Do you love me?’. He said, ‘ Lord you know all things; you know that I love you’.
Jesus said ” Feed my sheep “….John 21: 17 NIV
God loves ” His sheep”. And God in Christ Jesus died for all His sheep. Remember the song:
“In his hands, he got the whole world in his hands”.

So let us commit to feeding everyone we meet today, with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Jesus saves. In how we live, and what we say. Whether it be family, friend, neighbors, stranger, persecutor. Whoever! Wherever. For to ” Feed my sheep” is what the Holy Spirit came to do in and through us, to the glory of God.
And as I wrote, this wonderful song below, came into my heart. So my friends, it is not ganja, medical or industrial, that will ‘ save Jamaica’. Not the much talked about Logistics Hub. Nor expansion of the Tourism Industry, nor an Export led economy. All may have a role to play in growing our economy and improving our standard of living.
But only you and I, ” feeding God’s sheep”, will be able to ” Save ” Jamaica, and help it to ‘ play it’s part in advancing the whole human race.

THE SONG

We have heard the joyful sound:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves

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Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – obedience to man: and give to god what belongs to God – obedience to His Word

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing.

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s)

NEWS

1. The Baltimore story continued this week, as #BurnBaltimore thank God turned into #HealingBaltimore after the police officers accused of causing the death of #FreddieGray will have to face charges laid against them; unlike what occurred in Ferguson and other cities. of note is the role of the faith based organizations in the Rally today and in the continued healing process

Baltimore protests largely peaceful – CNN.com

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Baltimore protests largely peaceful – CNN.com
[Breaking news update at 11:20 a.m. ET]
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2. Once again, our nation was plunged into shock and unbelief, that this is the land that we call home, as as gunmen snuffed out the lives of three persons this week. Even while we are still grieving over the #QuadrupleMurder last week.
3 shot dead execution-style in Central Village – Latest News

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3 shot dead execution-style in Central Village – Latest …
ST CATHERINE, Jamaica — Three people were shot dead Saturday morning in Central Village here by unknown assailants. The identities of the deceased hav…
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3. The World Relays held in The Bahamas again this year captured the hearts and minds of Jamaicans this week. For the first time in seven years we lost the Mens 4×100; and the former hapless now turned ecstatic USA team could not contain themselves that they had really defeated Bolt. What followed, as they celebrated, was in our minds extremely distasteful, but true champions always bounce back. So tonight we are celebrating.

GOLD! GOLD! GOLD – Jamaica’s 4x100m women’s team take gold at World Relays Champs – Latest News

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GOLD! GOLD! GOLD – Jamaica’s 4x100m women’s team …
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s 4x100m women’s team won the gold medal a short while ago at the World Relays Championships taking place in The Bah…
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THE WORD OF GOD

So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send in the midst of this week of pain and joy?

A series of messages. All pointing to two things. One the need for us to depend on the Word of God in all situations that we face in life. And two, that the role of every child of God, whether experiencing the joy of victory in The Bahamas with our athletes, or the pain of death in Baltimore or in Kingston, is to point others to the Word. So that people everywhere may find the peace that all of us so desperately need. The context of the message in set in a time when ‘ majority rules’. When democracy faces a conundrum. In the sense that faith based organisations in general, and the Christian ethic in particular in Jamaica, have so much to offer in good times, and especially in rough times. And therefore ought to be not just encouraged, but actively promoted by any sensible government. But in doing so, politicians come up against the very undemocratic, ” Thus says the Lord of Host, Creator of heaven and Earth, the sea and all that is in it”. And attempt to banish The Word from nay discussion in the public square! A case in point is the latest input by Minister Hanna into the discussion on the Abortion law in Jamaica vis a vis the Prime Minister’s call, in the wake of #QuadrupleMurder for parents to send their children to church. Question is how can, perhaps well meaning people, intent on protecting women’s rights, as they see it, successfully challenge the Word of God. It has never happened, for any sustained length of time in history. And it never will, for mortal man has to learn well the Biblical injunction to : ” Give to Caesar, what belongs to Caesar; and give to God what belongs to God”. Otherwise who knows what may happen if ‘the thing we do displeases the Lord’.

THE FIRST LESSON – needs very little comment.Just beware of temptation. From all quarters. Especially when you are convinced that you are on the right track. Note the three part message.

THE THING THAT DAVID DID DISPLEASED THE LORD
I had already turned off my phone for the night when this message came. One from the Word, the other an edited version of a reflection on Temptation by Charles Spurgeon ( 1834-1892). He was a famous English Baptist minister and Orator whose sermons were delivered to a congregation of 6000.
Though it’s a message send out to many, it is an intensively personal message. For me and for you. I pray God that if we have done anything which we know has displeased the Lord, anything at all, let us resolve to repent and do better. For the glory of God, and the protection of our children. Lest we become guilty of doing what displeases the Lord. And suffer the consequences!
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord . 2 Samuel 11:26-27

Spurgeon
Temptation’s Reach

Verse 2 Samuel 11:2

2 Samuel 11:2 ASV

And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home or abroad we are likely to meet upon the allurements to do evil; the morning opens with peril, and the shades of the evening find us in jeopardy…. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to danger than any
other. The armor-bearer of sin is self-confidence….
Satan can climb houses and enter closets…..Reader beware of evening temptations. Do not be secure. The sun is going down but the sin is up. We need a watchman for the night as well as a guardian for the day. O blessed spirit, keep us from all evil this night.

Part 11

I had no intention of writing again this morning. But I was awakened at 5:00 am by strange noises in my yard. Tried to go back to sleep, but again noises, so I began to read Psalm 27, and which prayers for mercy led to Psalm 32, which I read every night at bed time.
Here I found an answer, which I had pondered on many times, to the sin that ‘ displeases the Lord’. Repentance. And a dire warning. ‘ before the mighty waters rise’, for those who do not repent. Have mercy!
Psalm 32:1-6 ASV
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this let every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: Surely when the great waters overflow they shall not reach unto him.

Part 111
The final Word on the issue of Temptation and sin. Found in the Psalm appointed for next Sunday, and to which readings I was led this morning in my devotions.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God had surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:17-20
Let us then resolve not to ‘ cherish any sin ‘ in our hearts, today. Tomorrow is another day.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – Warns that certainly in Jamaica and in the western world in general, we have no excuse for ignoring the Word of God. For we have all heard it. Again and again.

I was actually searching for a Word in the Book of The Acts of the Apostles appointed for this Sunday, and found this one instead

THE WORD OF GOD

” And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace
Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God”. Acts 20:22-26 NIV.
Yesterday, whilst reading the Gospel lesson for Sunday, although having read this verse many times before, I was struck by the awesome nature of this revelation:
” If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” John 14:15 NIV.
What do I make of all of this? Two things. First, that in the light of the recent renewed debate on the Abortion issue, which I have thinking about a lot, it is clear that the two ‘ sides’ are poles apart. And in a democracy, unfortunately, the Word of God does not automatically hold sway. Majority rules! At least for the time being! Therefore, and this is the second point, and applicable to many other issues, including, #QuadrupleMurder, #TeenMurder, #FreddieGray and the burning of Baltimore, and some aspects of the Gay Issue, that like St. Paul our role is to ensure that ‘ we are innocent of the Blood of all men”. That is we must testify to all who we meet about the Gospel of God’s grace manifest in the Atonement wrought on Calvary by Jesus Christ and Him Crucified . For the teaching of the Gospel is the only power that a child of God has in building the kingdom of Righteousness and Justice in a ‘ strange land’.
In that context, I commend to you an inspired word from across the ages, which I ‘ happened upon’ this morning. Part One.

SATURATED WITH HIS SPIRIT

Hilary of Poitiers ( 315 – 368) A Bishop in the early church.

Verse: Acts 20:24

The chief service I owe you, O God, is that every thought and word of mine should speak of you. The power of speech, which you have bestowed on me can give me no greater pleasure than to serve you by preaching your gospel.
But in saying this, I am merely expressing what I want to do. If I am actually to to use this gift, I must ask you for your help – ask you to fill the sails I have hoisted for you with the wind of your Holy Spirit, inspiring my mind and my voice. I know that I am often heavy with stupor, so I am too lazy to speak of you. And I do not spend sufficient time studying your Scriptures, to ensure that my words conform to your Word. Give me the energy and the courage to share the spirit of the apostles, that like them I may truly be an ambassador of your grace

THE THIRD MESSAGE

GOOD NEWS – references an intriguing column written by a relatively young journalist. And who is concerned about how do we ‘construct ‘ right and wrong in this age of ” The Rights Brigade”. Where everybody has rights. Even immoral people. And the Lord declares that he is Sovereign over all, and offers forgiveness to even the ‘vilest offender’, in and through the death of Christ Jesus

The gruesome murder of a 15 year girl who was living with an adult male, both of whom were chopped to death, allegedly by a male assailant over a ‘ minor’ incident, was, in a sense the subject of a useful column in the Gleaner by talk show host on Nationwide News, George Davis. The dilemma that he identified, and lamented without offering a solution, is who in our society, where essentially ‘ all have sinned’ my words, but a fair summary, could with any authority, lecture the adult male about his ‘ keeping’ an underage girl. And he has a point, if you think about it carefully. And lest we forget, he referenced the ‘ sins of those in the church’ among the group of morally compromised persons.
As I read the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, appointed for Sunday in my church, this verse caught my attention:
” Then Phillip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus”. Acts 8:35. NIV
The point here, is that, as the Spirit of God guided my thoughts this morning, we as children of the Resurrection, have to be ready at every opportunity to tell the good news of salvation to all whom we meet. Even ‘ the vilest offender’! Which is part of the message that one of the all time great hymns of the church which I was led to read this morning, reveals to us. And we can therefore use hymns, the inspired word of God, and any passage of Scripture, to tell the good news to a people who are intent on doing the most vile and morally outrageous things. In every section of our society.
THE HYMN

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Refrain

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Refrain

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – is a continuation of the Third. In that after all is said and done, God’s will is going to be done. So we might as well ‘get with the programme from now’, and seek to be obedient. And obey the Holy Sprit who is the Spirit of Truth.

It was as if we were having a conversation. Myself and the Lord. In my deepest sleep. About The Lord’s Prayer. When last have you spent some time reflecting on the words:
“Thy will be done, thy kingdom come”.
What’s the importance of this reminder, and what is the context in which this message was sent?
The following experiences may help to concentrate our minds.
1. A line in one of my bed time prayers forms a request:
‘Let me rest tonight in your arms, and do may the dreams that pass through my mind be holy.
2. Last night I was reading Oswald Chambers’, The Complete Works, and the following extract triggered, ‘ Lord have mercy on my soul’. In the sense that, God, how could I be so manipulative; or attempt to, as the Lord will have none of it.
‘ Ye ask, and receive not, says the Apostle James, because ye ask amiss. We ask amiss when we ask simply with the determination to outdo the patience of God until He gives us permission to do what we want to do’. There is more from Chambers, but if this does not make you exclaim ‘ ouch’, then you have on spiritual blinkers. Which is not good, and will not lead you to repent from asking ‘ amiss’.
3. As I thought about this encounter with the Lord last night, two powerfully instructive verses came into my mind. One familiar to all of us:
“Not my will Father, but your will be done”.
Words uttered by our Jesus as He prayed in Gethsemane, and struggled with own humanity, as we often do, but was determined to do His Father’s will, regardless of the cost. Out of love for all mankind, and faithfulness to His Father.
The other may not be as well known, but is of equal importance:
It does not therefore depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:16
So what’s the context?
Yesterday I wrote about the dilemma, indeed the conundrum, about which the talk show host and journalist George Davis wrote in a column which appeared in the Daily Gleaner this week. Posing the profound challenge as who in this Jamaican society has the moral authority to lecture an adult male about ‘keeping’ a teenager. You may answer, ‘ the law’: but that in and by itself, as we know from history, will never solve the problem.
I believe our response to this question of praying and asking according to God’s will, and not our will, is going to be the single most important action that God’s people can embark upon in order to rescue this morally confused nation. Where everyone, as Mr. Davis observed, is concerned about their own individual rights! And what will happen when members of these Rights Brigades clash, as is happening right now. In Jamaica and in the Supreme Court in the USA.
For ultimately, as the Word of God states, it is not our prayers and actions that will eventually rescue this nation, but God’s mercy! And that offer of mercy is fully manifest in the Atonement of Christ Jesus.
Our prayers then are to ask this Jesus to send His Holy Spirit into our hearts, so that we may be empowered to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God in righteousness. For prayers for ourselves alone, cannot and will not rescue our children. And wayward adults too. For that is not God’s will. And that is not how His kingdom is built.

FINALLY – a word to those who look beyond the cross for revival. Look no more. Look only to the Word of God. And Jamaica will change. Baltimore will change. And according to God’s will and purpose ‘ the whole world will be full of His glory’ one day.

Do we really wish to witness a Revival in Jamaica – so that our children, and adults too, may be rescued and brought into a renewed relationship with God?
One of the prayers I use for my early morning devotions has a line: ” 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”. And as I arrived there this morning, the old sanke, ” I want a revival in my soul’…no doubt in response to the many, many, trials that as a people we are experiencing……came into my head….as I asked the Lord to ‘ send down the gospel rain’….So I went to google the sanke and found this very interesting take on the entire matter. Would to God that all of us would earnestly feed on The Word of God, and be obedient. Even more interestingly, this morning I was also I led to read Chris Tiegreen’s perspective on John 12:26 ( Whoever serves me must follow me) entitled :
Believers of Followers
…….Jesus makes it clear that faith in Him does not mean simply an intellectual agreement with His claims. No, to believe in Jesus is to serve Him and follow Him. It is absolutely meaningless to claim faith in Jesus and then live contrary to His teachings with no apparent interest in aligning ourselves with them…..
Who knows then, that if we really trust, follow and serve Jesus, perhaps the Lord may hear our cry and send down ‘times of refreshing’ on our troubled land.
LWJ
Sunday, August 7, 2011…Man O God…Blogger
I Want a Revival in My Soul
There was an old song that we used to sing quite frequently in The Salvation Army when I was a child. We would sing:
I want a revival in my soul
I want a revival in my soul
I must apply to the blood of Jesus
To get a revival in my soul
Send down the rain
Send down the rain
Send down the Gospel rain

I was taught, like many of us, that revival meant having a meeting or series of meetings with special guests to get people saved or excited about coming to church. It seemed to be a natural part of the church to do this every year. But did you know there is no biblical support for revival meetings? In fact the first revival meeting wasn’t until the 1700’s. This actually makes sense because to be revived means that you had life but lost it. You have reached a comatose state and need to be brought back to life. What you need is a spiritual defibrillator.
As Christians we shouldn’t need revival. Christ has come to give us life and give it more abundantly. We shouldn’t need revival because we weren’t meant to lose life. We were already dead and Christ gave us life, new life; we were born again. If we have life then why would we need to be revived?
Maybe it has something to do with Revelation chapter 3:1 – “I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” The life has gone out of us. We have become a valley of dry bones. We have removed ourselves from the river of life and we have dried up.
Verse 3 gives us the answer to our dried up life: “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard, obey it, and repent.” This corresponds with the Lord’s words to Ezekiel in 37:4 – “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!'” The key is hearing and responding to the Word of the Lord. It is God’s Word that will revive us. If we feel like a pile of dry bones then we need to hear and respond to the Word of the Lord. Too many people hear sermons, week after week, year after year and still seem to be without life. That is because they hear but do not respond to or obey God’s word. James said do not be only hearers of the word but doers. If we want to experience the abundant life that Jesus promised, then we must obey the word of God. I don’t need a revival; Jesus has already given me life. What I need is more of his WORD!