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 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!