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).
1. The issue of same- sex marriage continued to be a big news item, and the subject of much discussion in my country. And for me especially, as The House of Bishops my /Anglican Episcopalian church , meeting in Salt Lake City, against the wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, voted to support same-sex marriage. With the caveat however, that no priest would be forced against his or her wishes to do so.
Justin Welby expresses ‘deep concern’ after Episcopal Church bishops vote for same sex marriage | Christian News on Christian Today
Justin Welby expresses ‘deep concern’ after Episcopal Ch…
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And as I mulled over, and prayed about this development, I had the privilege of attending, and taking pictures of one of my many ‘daughters’ who got married to a member of the opposite sex, this weekend. At a time when Yahoo has just introduced a prompt, much like WordPress and other Blog platforms to allow for the insertion of pictures,and other material. Coincidence! Who knows, but I believe it is a useful addition to the Yahoo service.
Also, a useful contribution to this debate appeared in the Daily Gleaner today – from one of Jamaica’s most respected journalists.
Ian Boyne: Holy war over gay marriage
Ian Boyne: Holy war over gay marriage
An intense, bitter and deepening war of words has erupted since the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage in America. Reason is the biggest cas…
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2. Violence in my country, with just over 600 murders, as reported on the news tonight, continues to be a major problem.
Western News – News from Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril & More – Jamaica Observer – Western News – JamaicaObserver.com
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From Montego Bay, Negril, Mandeville, Ocho Rios & St. Elizabeth, news and local information about Western Jamaica from the Jamaica Observer.
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What is to be done about it? To be fair,the Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting has been doing a good job, and last year’s significant decrease, just above the 1000, mark, the best in many years, can be attributed to he and him team in the Police Force. However, this year, we are again heading in the wrong direction. The Minister’s cry for “Divine Intervention”, sparked much controversy and debate last year. Perhaps he needs to revisit that option, with more commitment and faith and obedience. And who knows, perhaps the Lord will send ‘showers of refreshing’ on our land.
THE WORD OF GOD
So what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week, in the midst of the continuing saga of Violence and Crime, and controversy in the Church in the America.
Sent on WhatApp, the central message was God’s Grace and Mercy. Available to all in and through the Atoning death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on a Cross on Calvary. And that this Grace, this sacrifice for Sin, is sufficient for all our needs. A message which has been unchanged over two millennia!
THE FIRST MESSAGE – CALLS US TO HOLD TWO THINGS IN BALANCE. oNE TO PREACH THE WORD WITHOUT FEAR. THE OTHER, TO REGARD OTHER PEOPLE, AS WE REGARD OURSELVES, ‘SINNERS IN NEED OF GRACE’. A VERY CHANGING BALANCING ACT TO FOLLOW. THAT’S WHY WE ALL NEED GRACE – WHICH COMES IN AND THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD
Last night, after writing the Sunday night Blog, inspired by God’s grace for many years now, entitled, ‘ #RevPresident in Charleston vs. POTUS AND SCOTUS; Justice in America vs Sin in the Bible’, and which was emailed to others, this was part of my bedtime reading from Oswald Chambers’ Devotional Book.
” …What you are to preach is determined by God, not by your own natural inclinations. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not to bear testimony only, but to preach the gospel…….. Never water down the word of God: preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are – not a special being made up in Heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.”
You can open the link and read the blog at your leisure as it is not short. But the central point made as we continue to grapple with the hugely important judgement – for man, not for God’s and His faithful people – handed down by the Supreme Court in America, is that the pursuit of justice cannot become more urgent that than the need to repent of Sin. Which is the very point Chambers makes; ‘ preach the word in its undiluted sterness viz. Homosexuality is one of many Sins.
However, and this is an important caveat, which we all need to remember carefully, for the balance is key, ‘ in your dealings with your fellow men, viz homosexuals, remember who you are – a fellow sinner, a fellow wretch, but now saved by grace……I once was blind, but now I see.
Therefore even though we hold firmly to the undiluted Word, we are called to treat other sinners with compassion and mercy and not with judgement.
Then this morning I read the OT reading appointed for next Sunday and found this prophetic Word.
http://bible.com/111/ezk.2.3-8.niv He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
So my friends, with the Prophetic Word of God in our hearts, let us not fear either POTUS or SCOTUS, nor anyone who opposes God’s Word, but preach the word in season and out of season. But always pray for, and have compassion, and love all our fellow sinners, for ‘ there goest I but for the mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus. Amen
THE SECOND MESSAGE – offers some deeper thoughts on Grace and Mercy. Especially the revelation that , God has bound over all men to disobedience, so that he may have mercy on them. An issue which deserves much thought and reflection. In the same way that President Obama, found himself struggling with question of Grace.
GM: In recent days the first verse and the refrain of ” Just a Closer Walk with Thee”, have become almost like an anthem for me. I wake up with it in my heart. We sang it at church on Sunday, and I posted part of it on Facebook.
I am weak, but thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
as I walk , let me walk close to thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
daily walking close to thee,
let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Why? Two things! First: This #38deadinTunisia, and #doublemurderinHanover, and #SameSexMarriage and #GascylinderPressingDance is a very confusing world to live in. And to make sense of!
Second: Ever since the Fall, when Adam and Eve, representing the potential that is in all mankind – free will to disobey our Creator – choose to listen to Satan rather than obey God, ‘ all hell has literally broken loose’.
The lesson we learn from God’s ‘ chosen people’ – chosen, but not exceptional, through whom God revealed Himself in a special way to all mankind – is that despite the knowledge of God’s commands, despite the knowledge of the Bible, we cannot manage, we can never be ‘ good’ or ‘ perfect’ before a Holy God.
Which is precisely what God created this world and mankind to be. ” Good”.
That’s why we all need to have a Closer Walk with Jesus. Otherwise all the manifestations of Fallen Mankind will ” flow out of our hearts “. Thus resulting in #38deadinTunisia……
So what is the practical solution to ” sexual immorality, greed, anger, rage, malice, filthy language, lust, slander”….Colossians 3……?
Last night this passage, which has often challenged my soul, came into my mind. And I posted it on Facebook.
” For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them”. Romans 11: 32. And as you read the preceding verse, the context is precisely what we are discussing. The behavior of God’s Chosen people and His plans for them. And us ” Children of The New Covenant “.
What is that plan? Mercy in and through the shed Blood of Christ.
So as I wrote on Facebook last night, this is not a time for seeking Justice, but for begging for Mercy. For having sex before and even ‘ on the outside’ during marriage! For not being there as a father, to our children! For not being merciful and compassionate to the poor and people of #WrongAddress! For being greedy and unmindful of the needs of others! For being blatantly disobedient to God! For not going to church anymore on a Sunday or on a Sabbath. For an unforgiving heart. For gossiping and slandering our neighbor. For throwing scandal bags through our car windows and affecting the environment which God created to be Good. For thinking and acting as if we are more compassionate than Who God reveals Himself to be in The Living Word, Christ the Crucified One.
And so Romans 11 ends with these challenging words.
” Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.”.
A final short, but very relevant Word, for those who would interpret God’s Word and seek justice over mercy. I am now reading ,the Book of Acts before going to bed. Having just finished John. And this Word last night touched my heart.
” They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the breaking of bread and to fellowship”. Acts 2:42.
The question is then, in our desire to Walk Closer with Jesus, whose teaching are we following? The Apostles’ , or our own imagination, or understanding of justice. Or who God is!
I close with words of a song which ‘ lifted my soul’ in thanksgiving, after one of the darkest periods of my life.
Your grace and mercy, brought me through. Oh Jesus, I’m living this day because of you….. I want to thank you, and praise your name. Your grace and mercy, Oh Jesus, brought me through. Amen.
THE THIRD MESSAGE – speaks to the Supernatural Intervention of the Lord in my life this week. And the Word of Isaiah, puts into very clear perspective, who man is and who is God! That’s why we are all in need of His Grace and Mercy. In Jamaica, and in America, and in Greece also, as they struggle with different trials in their national life
GM: At one time in my church, during a kind of ‘ musical revival ‘, inspired by the youth choir, this song was very popular. Not having heard it for a while, a few weeks ago they sang it, and ever since this song has been in my soul. The tune is haunting, but more importantly, Shekinah means the presence of the Glory of God.
Into the chamber
Be free Holy Spirit
Speak thru me gently
As I close the door
Let Thy presence cover
Is all I long for
So think about God’s Glory as I recall what happened last night. Actually there is history that precedes last night’s drama.
A few night’s ago, while journeying with the Lord before retiring to bed, in the Book of the Acts of The Apostles, I came across another verse a follow up to the one I mentioned yesterday,
which left a great impression on my soul.
” By faith in the name of Jesus, this man who you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus name and the faith that comes through him that has given the complete healing ” Acts 3: 16. NIV
So back to last night drama, after pondering on The Presence of God’s glory, Shekinah, and the Supernatural Power of The Almighty God as manifested in and through faith in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.
False alarm. Literally! At 2:00 am, the alarm at my house went off. To cut a long story short, after all the checks were done, nothing amiss was found. But in the midst of the F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real a small voice in my head, reminded to do what much trials in the dead of night has taught me – open my Bible, randomly. Read and pray. So I forgot about the alarm and was obedient and found this profoundly intriguing and contextually important Word.
” Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he? “. Isaiah 2:22
And so having had my soul ‘jogged’ to remember that we serve a Supernatural God, before going to sleep I prayed. And prayed.
Prayed for my own situation, and my family, that The Supernatural God would intervene powerfully, especially in any situation provoked by False Evidence Appearing Real.
Prayed for the renewal of Righteousness in The Church, and for us to stop being so concerned about the decision of the Supreme Court in America, supported by a mere man, #RevPresident, and latterly The House of Bishops of The Episcopalian Church in America.
Prayed for The Presence of the Supernatural Power of God to fight against evil men who are killing and causing mayhem in my #QuadrupleMurder and #Scamming country.
Prayed for The Presence of The Supernatural God to protect our people from the ‘ roaring lion ‘ of Pornography which is wreaking havoc in the minds, and behavior of young and old; badly affecting relationships, family life and performance at school. To the extent that, coupled with other socially damaging issues, many of the young teachers are ‘ dying ‘ to get out of the classroom and away from these young ‘ vipers’.
The challenge for us as children of the greatest miracle performed by an Almighty God, the Resurrection from the dead of His Son Christ Jesus, so that in Him we may have forgiveness of our sins, and life eternal, is to remember that we serve a miracle working God. A God who as Lazarus knew, is a God who ‘ raises people and situations from the dead’.
It is in this context then, that I believe the Lord, very dramatically, reminded me, and through me, all of us, especially, but not exclusively believers, that the pronouncements or actions, or fears, or unbelief, of ‘ mere man’, who has but ‘ breath in his nostrils’, is of no account in The Presence of The Glory of God as manifested in the Birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let us then, all the more, remember to stop trusting in our own efforts, or place our trust and hope in ‘ wise men and women’, and ” fix our minds on the author and perfecter of our faith ” , Christ and Him Crucified, in all situations. No matter how powerful ‘ mere man ‘ may appear to be. Or how dreadful a F. E. A. R. situation may be. Whether armed with ‘ Legislative Power’: weapons of destruction; or weapons which lead to immoral behavior and social disintegration; or potentially bad news. For our God is a miracle working God. Amen
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – calls us to spread the Word about God’s Grace and Mercy in all situations. For as we have had mercy from God, so are we called to be witnesses, to be Ambassadors of the Gospel of Peace and Love and Mercy. That’s how a nation is changed! That’s how a world is changed! That’s the reason why Christianity has played such an important role in the history of mankind over the centuries. Because, in obedience, faithful members of the church, have committed themselves to be witnesses of Christ’s Love and Mercy. That’s the Vision that the church has for Jamaica. And without a Vision of Hope, the people perish
GM: Havergal is a famous all girls high school in Toronto, Canada. Perhaps at the same level of our own Immaculate High School for Girls or St. Andrew High. This morning, in preparation for a preaching assignment at my church on Sunday, at the 10:30 am service, I ‘ happened’, again, on a mediation written by its founder Francis Ridley Havergal ( 1836-1879….an English woman who wrote many remarkable religious poems and hymns…..one of which is ” Take my life and let it be”).
I recommend it you, especially since the verse which accompanies the song/poem, is one which all Christians, and even those not yet baptised, but fear the Lord, should take seriously. In this #ISIS, #MiddleEastConflict, #Atheist, #Pornographic, #Abortion, #QuadrupleMurder, #SelfLove, #Prosperitygospel, #PeopleWhoHaveTurnedAwayFromTheLivingGodtoIdols, #PeopleWhoHaveNotYetHeardTheGospel, world!
LORD, SPEAK TO ME, THAT I MAY SPEAK
Francis Ridley Havergal
Verse: Isaiah 6:8 ” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘ Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’. And I said, ‘ Here am I. Send me!’ “.
Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of thy tone
As thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children lost and lone.
O teach me Lord, that I may teach
The previous things thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
O fill me with thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart overflow
In kindling though and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, thy praise to show.
O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as thou wilt, and when and where;
Until thy blessed face I see,
Thy rest, thy joy, thy glory share.