Jamaica vs The USA and Kenya and the rest of the world: Jesus for The entire World

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

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

NEWS

1. @DamienWKing: USA compared to Jamaica: 100 times the population; 700 times the GDP, 900 times the land area; fewer gold medals. #IAAFWorldChampionships

2015 IAAF World Championships: Medal Leaders
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 5 5 6 16
2 Kenya 6 4 3 13
3 Jamaica 6 2 3 11
4 Poland 3 1 4 8
T-5 China 1 5 1 7
T-5 Canada 1 3 3 7
T-5 Germany 1 3 3 7
8 Great Britain 4 1 0 5
T-9 Russia 2 1 1 4
T-9 Ethiopia 1 2 1 4
IAAF.org

Actually if you go by the standard way of reporting, Gold medals determine the placings. And thus Jamaica came second and the USA third. Kenya only beat us because they had more silver medals

One tweet from Damien King and the Results of the medal standing says it all about the news this week. #Jaminate, #TeamJamaicaBeijing2015, #RealShellyAnn, #OficialAsafa and #KickoutBolt ruled on social media all week as Jamaicans ‘burnt up ‘ the Track in Beijing all week. Perhaps just for completeness sake, it is important to add that Kenya’s population is 44 million compared to Jamaica’s 2.6 million.

THE WORD OF GOD

So in the midst of the third greatest show on earth – World Cup Football #1, Olympics #2 what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week. A strong message all week. Put Jesus first in your heart at all times. For the temptation to idolize self, sporting heroes – in this context – achievements, money, power, loved ones, and anything else that we ‘enthrone upon in our hearts’ is very strong.

FIRST MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp, features a wonderful haunting and very instructive song about what ought to occupy the deepest longings of our hearts and why. And speaks very definitely about the central message of placing Christ first in our hearts. Very unusual as it was written on a Sunday morning which does not happen very often.

THE MESSAGE

GM: I leave for home today after spending a wonderful holiday with family here in Miami. And attending a wedding where a family member got married to a wonderful bride made it even more special.
Special also, at a different level, was the opportunity to worship with family and spend quality time reading God’s Word and listening to Him.
And so as a ‘ parting gift’, the Lord placed in my mind this very special hymn in my heart early this morning. Words that offer a divine perspective on life, even as we celebrate ‘ the best of times’; and lament the ‘ worse of times’.
Further, it did not come by itself, but was a follow up to a challenging mediation from Oswald Chambers, which I read and reflected on last night, before retiring to bed.
Finally, the Spirit of God lead me to a timely Word in James, which speaks to the ungodly ‘ longings in our hearts’ which only lead to strive and ‘ trouble’ with the Lord. A problem which has bedeviled mankind since time immemorial; and led to all kinds of addictions, murder, greed, and wickedness, about which we lament today. And sadly despite all our ‘ longings’, we find no lasting Peace. No ‘ Rest’.
The solution then begins with a longing for ‘ the divine guest, though we unworthy be’.

THE HYMN

1. My spirit longs for Thee
Within my troubled breast,
Though I unworthy be
Of so Divine a Guest.

2. Of so divine a Guest,
Unworthy though I be,
Yet has my heart no rest,
Unless it come from Thee.

3. Unless it comes from Thee,
In vain I look around;
In all that I can see
No rest is to be found.

4 .No rest is to be found
But in Thy blessèd love:
O let my wish be crowned,
And send it from above. Amen.

THE MEDITATION FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

I indeed baptize you with water . . . but He . . . will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire -Matthew 3:11
Have I ever come to the point in my life where I can say, “I indeed . . . but He . . .”? Until that moment comes, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means. I indeed am at the end, and I cannot do anything more- butHe begins right there- He does the things that no one else can ever do.
Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come and do His work in me as long as there is anything blocking the way, whether it is something good or bad. When He comes to me, am I prepared for Him to drag every wrong thing I have ever done into the light? That is exactly where He comes.
Wherever I know I am unclean is where He will put His feet and stand, and wherever I think I am clean is where He will remove His feet and walk away.

Repentance does not cause a sense of sin- it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John is not speaking here of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. “He will baptize you . . . .” The only experience that those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit are ever conscious of is the experience of sensing their absolute unworthiness.
“I indeed” was this in the past, “but He” came and something miraculous happened. Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.

THE WORD OF GOD

http://bible.com/111/jas.4.1-10.niv What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ? But he gives us more grace.
That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent on WhatsApp remarkably as led by inspiration from The Lord, continues in the same vein – do not enthrone anything or anybody on your heart except Christ.

GM: By God’s grace I write a message every Sunday night. For years now! And send it out by email and blog it on Word Press danielgodsurelywilldeliver.wordpress.com
The theme for last night message was : Keep your focus on Christ. And was contextualized in the celebrations triggered by the remarkable victory by Usain Bolt in the men’s 100 M at the IAAF World Games yesterday.
Then this morning I woke up with a similar message in my heart.
” There must be no rival in your heart for Jesus’.
Then the Spirit of the Lord placed in my heart this Word from The Book of The Revelations of John.
‘ You have forgotten your first love’.
So I read the entire account in Revelation 2.

THE WORD OF GOD

http://bible.com/111/rev.2.1-7.niv “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
In my study Bible, Nicolaitians are said to have practiced the same thing as Balaam – the one whose donkey spoke to him.

So I read the account in Numbers 22-24, and came away with the following revelations.
God hates the practice of idolatry and sorcery, as they ‘ displace’ Him from the ‘ throne of our hearts’. And therefore leads to disobedience, which provokes the wrath of God.
So when ‘ Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor, the Lord’s anger burning against them’. Numbers 25:3. And the resultant plague which killed 24,000 was stopped only when Phinehas acted to dramatically to ‘ defend God’s honor.
All because :
http://bible.com/111/num.25.1-2.niv While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods.

The Lord will warn us, in sometimes mysterious and uncomfortable even frightening ways, whenever we embark upon a ‘ reckless path’ as Balaam did.
Who God bless let no man curse.

As I write in a few minutes Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce will compete in the women’s 100M and hopefully go on to win the final later on this morning. And there will be more cause for celebrations if she wins as expected.

The challenge for all believers, and the message to even those not yet Baptised, is the same as I received it this morning. God will not permit another rival to the throne of our hearts.
If it is not Bolt and Shelly Ann, it will be money, or family, or work, or some great pleasure. Whatever it is, let us be careful, less we become so excited and either ‘ forget our first love’, or be forever chasing ‘ another love’, the pursuit of which leads us further away from loving Jesus.

The Church in Ephesus has the distinction of being the place where those who followed Christ were first called ‘ The Way’. Perhaps fittingly so, as once we lose sight of the need to have Christ reign in our hearts, at all times, in the midst of big and small and even subtle temptations, then we will have indeed ‘ lost our way’.

I pray God He will give us the grace to always have Christ rule in our hearts, as ‘ The Spirit gives life ; the flesh counts for nothing “. For by ourselves we will always ‘ forget our first love’ as the children of Israel did, and as the ‘ congregation’ of the early Church in Ephesus did. But when we are one with Christ, and empowered by His Holy Spirit, as we persevere in the midst of trials and temptations, we will overcome and bring honor and glory to out Savior.
For God has blessed us in Christ Jesus – there is therefore no more condemnation, no wrath, for those who are in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8:1) – and in Him will protect us from all evil – the Powers and Principalities of this world where Satan’s days are ‘ numbered’.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – sent out on WhatsApp features one of my favourite hymns; inspired words which encourage us to ‘listen carefully’ to Christ. Spend time with His Word, which is ‘ Spirit and Life”. And which enables us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

GM: A verse of Scripture has been ‘in my head’ ever since I read it for, and heard it at, Church on Sunday. Even more so because the preacher, did not refer to it at all during his sermon. A good honest sermon it was, but, in my humble opinion, it could have been so much better.

THE WORD

The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing ( one version says ‘ the flesh is useless). John 6:63 NIV
The point here, which is far much more important than the excitement being generated in #Jamaicalandwelove by our success at the IAAF World Games in Beijing, #RealShellyAnn, is that we really have to ‘ die to self’ , the flesh, and live entirely by The Spirit of God, to love and serve and be obedient to Him.

The context then, was Jesus’ ‘ hard saying’ that if we believe in Him, trust Him ‘ that He would one day ascend to where he was before – return to His Father, repent of our sins and participate in Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper regularly, we would ‘ live forever’.
But the Word can be applied to every situation in life. For if we are to ‘ wage war’ successfully, and ‘ let Justice roll down like a great river’: if we are to live Righteousness lives and become ‘ Light for others in this dark world of an obsession with pornography, and in particular child pornography; if we are to ‘ search for the lost, strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the wounded, and bring back the stray, then the flesh, our own strength, is useless. Determination, in and by itself, to do good, is admirable but not sufficient to ‘ wage war’.

And since we know that ‘ we fight not against flesh and blood….but against the evil forces of this world’, we the children of The Resurrection, are called to live by the Spirit. This was the message from Joshua to the children of Israel when they all, every single one of them, pledged to ‘ serve the Lord’.
And Joshua responded by saying ‘ You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a Holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.’ ( Thank God for Jesus…for in Him there is no more condemnation) Joshua 24:19
And this is the same message Jesus, the Second Joshua, according the theologians, said to His disciples, and says to us in the 21st Century. Viz. Our own understanding and knowledge and determination to ‘ follow Him, is of no use. We must be ‘ born again of The Spirit.

To live by the Spirit of God is a life long journey, but note the revelation and encouragement that Jesus immediately gives.
” These words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”. John 6: 63b. NIV
So at least on the basis of this Word, if we earnestly wish to live by The Spirit, we have to ‘ feed on the Word of God’. And not just merely read it, but as James reminds us in his very practical book, ‘ we must be obedient to the Word. James 1:22-25 NIV.
And also based on this Word we need to ‘ feed regularly on the Body and Blood of Christ’, regardless of how we understand what it means.

Finally in support of the need to listen carefully to Jesus, and the need for grace to love Him and to be obedient, the Lord placed in my heart one of my all time favorite hymns. A hymn which has been a huge support to me during the darkest hours of my life. And from which I have, and continue to learn, so much about the true nature of the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, the God of Jacob, and The Father of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

THE HYMN – all the verses are instructive, but in this context, the first and the last are the most important.
Peace.

1. Hark, my soul, it is the Lord!
‘Tis thy Saviour, hear His word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
“Say, poor sinner, lovest thou Me?

2. “I delivered thee when bound,
And, when bleeding, ( wounded says some versions) healed thy wound;
Sought thee wandering, set thee right,
Turned thy darkness into light.

3. “Can a woman’s tender care
Cease toward the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
Yet will I remember thee.

4. “Mine is an unchanging love,
Higher than the heights above,
Deeper than the depths beneath,
Free and faithful, strong as death.”

5. Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee, and adore:
O for grace to love Thee more!
Amen.

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – short, and carries us a step further and reveals why we need to have Christ first in our hearts. For God’s power is amazingly made perfect in our weakness

GM: I had read this particular passage of Scripture many times before, but the full meaning of it never came home to me as it did yesterday. So during my brief devotions, as I had lunch, having been ‘ strangely led’ to the 2 Corinthians passage about Grace, it hit me like a Usain ‘bolt of lightning’. And stayed’ in my head’ all evening. SoI just had to write this morning and ‘ deliver the message’, almost as if I was giving birth.

THE WORD OF GOD

http://bible.com/111/2co.12.8-10.niv Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Comment: Yes the revelation about Grace is a strong message in this passage, but it comes only when we are ‘ weak enough to receive it’.
This is what struck me so forcibly. For in my Jamaican culture weakness in a man ‘ is not a good thing’. In some women, that may be ok. But ‘ man haffi run tings’….be in charge. Give his woman instructions; beat the pickney when they give trouble; beat up any boy who ‘facety with him’….and don’t back down or apologize when he says or does something which wrong. And God help him if he is a politician or worse a Minister of Government! For any sign of ‘ weakness’ in the political culture is like a ‘ death sentence’.
And it is a worrying sign that, increasingly, either because their men do not stand up to their responsibilities, or just a sign of the times, many Jamaican women are being forced to, or wish to become, a ‘ strong woman’, who don’t ‘ tek no foolishness from nobody’.
And in the middle of this reality the Word of God calls us to:
‘ delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties’.
O Jesus I have promise to serve you to the end….enters my mind at this time.
It is also very instructive that as I pondered on this profound message, words from my favorite ‘Communion hymn’ came mind.

Here O my Lord, I see thee face to face….. and in particular the last verse
I have no other help but thine; nor do I need
another arm save thine to lean upon:
it is enough, my Lord, enough indeed,
my strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Final thoughts:
1.Thank God that the ‘ battle is the Lord’s’ and not ours. And that it is only the Holy Spirit Who can convict men of the need for Salvation. And therefore the need for ‘ strong men and women’ to humble themselves, like John the Revelator, before ‘ He who is the Alpha and Omega, the Living One, who was dead and is alive again and who holds the keys of death and Hades’. Christ the Crucified One.

2. No wonder Jesus warned that ‘ not all who said Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of God’. For this thing called Christianity literally demands, as the hymn writer penned’:
….love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
For the foundation of the Christian Religion and the entire thrust of the Gospel message, is the revelation of God in Christ. Who because of love ‘ which passeth all human understanding’ died, was raised from the dead, and calls all men and women, weak or strong to die to the old self of sin and death, and live only for Christ. So that all who believe in Him may live forever.

3. What a joy to know that, in our weakness, glory and honor comes to the God who we love so much because of the events of Good Friday.
And that we have no need for any other help but the ‘ strong right hand of The Living God’ which is more than enough to help in times of trouble.
And trouble comes to every man and woman sooner or later. Whether we are Bolt or Shelly-Ann, or Donald Trump or Sister P. Weak or ‘ Strong’.
Peace

THE FIFTH MESSAGE – goes even a step further than the last one and explains that as Christians we are always ‘ at war’. And thus the need to have Christ ‘with and before us ‘ in the battle’.

GM: Which war are you fighting at this time? None! Well you cannot claim to be a follower of Christ, and an adherent of the teachings of The Apostles.
‘Listen’ to the Word of God to which I was led, again during a brief lunchtime devotions yesterday, and see if you don’t agree.

THE WORD OF GOD

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ .
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

And there are many other passages of Scripture which make the same point: that Christians are war with evil in the world. So much so that one famous hymn opens with the words;
Onward Christian soldiers……

The context of this Word is Paul’s defense of his ministry, but the way this Word came to me in the midst of my own struggles and those around me, suggests that we ought to apply the same principles to every aspect of our lives.
One, that we must always be ‘ at war against evil’. Two, that our ‘ weapons,’ are much different from those the world uses to fight wars. Three, that we have ‘ divine ‘ power available to us in our struggles against evil.
Praise God.

So which war are we fighting today?
Satan attaching your marriage – in many and varied ways? O Jesus have mercy!
Attacking your children – leading them astray, enticing them to use drugs, get involved in early sexual activity, become ‘ little terrorists’ to the teachers at school, thus provoking the Minister of Education to ‘ wrath’…..I have many patients who are (young) teachers ‘ dying’ to leave the classroom on account of uncontrollable and deviant behaviour of, both young and older students.
Is Satan attacking your mind: placing all kinds of negative thoughts in your head at work; at school ; whenever you are in an airplane; when you are driving; in your sleep; even when you are praying or at church?
Do you know of children and adults addicted or attracted to pornography – the craze among young people today with their smart phones; is Satan placing all kinds of unwelcome sexual thoughts in your head and in your dreams; are you coming under ‘ pressure’ even from friends and those you least expect to behave in this fashion, O God, even from your Pastor, your own father, and other close relatives?

Are we deep in the struggle against the evil that would keep people made in the image and likeness of God in poverty; living in #WrongAddrresses; illiterate and unable to function in a modern world; people locked up in prison or mistreated in any way by the police and have their rights trampled upon; against corruption in high places; against International forces that would keep former enslaved peoples forever marginalized in the global market place.
Are we disturbed and distressed how our music forms have been hijacked by the dance hall and ‘ out of order’ the real ‘ leggo beast’, Soca Culture. A music which helped to liberate ‘ Zimbabwe’ has deteriorated to ‘ devil worship’, encouraging ‘ underclothes ‘ behavior’ and explicit ‘ buss a gunshot’ lyrics. And who knows how such a ‘ culture’ has contributed to the plague of murder and Violence and immorality in our society, where someone who is accused of ‘ chopping up a human being fine, fine,’ is still glorified in the minds of some people? Where so many of our young girls become pregnant as teenagers with disastrous social and economic consequences! Are we really, really disturbed! And distressed.

Are we disturbed by the growing number of people who claim that there is no God – with the attendant breakdown in the morality? Are we deeply distressed about the conditions and eternal future of souls of those who don’t know Christ? And not Baptized and may die thoroughly unprepared for Judgement? Are we deeply disturbed by the ‘ False Doctrines’ masquerading as Christianity and leading people astray. And even worse the ‘ splintering’ of the Body of Christ, for which, on the night before He died, Christ prayed that we may be one as He and the Father are one.

My friends, most of you can add to this list, but the central point is that we ought to pray without ceasing and not give up. As, though by His permissive will, for the time being, but not forever, God has allowed Satan to be ‘ like a roaring lion seeking to devour the careless’, we have Divine Power available to fight against all kinds of evil.
If our only concern is whether or not Bolt beats Gatlin, or if our church is the most popular one, or the concerns of our immediate family and friends, then our claims to be Christian will ring hollow. Now and at the time of Judgement.
For Jesus famously said, Not everyone who says Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of God, but those who are obedient to Him. And He died for us ‘ even when we were still sinners’. Still like Tommy Lee. Still like ‘ leggo beasts’. Still like Kartel!
So whatever you are facing today, wage war, call upon the mighty Name of Jesus, use the ‘ sword of the Spirit – The Word of God, in fact put on the ‘full armour’, and with confidence ‘ destroy every stronghold’ in your life, and every ‘ pretension’ that sets itself against the knowledge of God. For if God is for us, who can be against us. In Jesus name. Amen.

THE SIXTH MESSAGE – most of them are relatively short, picks up on the issue of original and the devastating nature of sin. And the wonder of God’s grace. The only complete answer to the Problem of Sin in the world

GM: Yesterday, during my early morning devotions, as I gave thanks for yet another day using the first part of Jacob Boheme’s ‘A Morning Watch’, about which I have written several times:

ON WAKING

Living Lord, you have watched over me, and put your hand on my head, during the long hours of night. Your holy angels have protected me from all harm and pain. To you Lord I owe life itself. Continue to watch over me and bless me during the hours of this day:
…..The Spirit of God reminded me, immediately about a profound reality.
That we are here living on earth only by the mercy of God. The first time I read the passage of Scripture below, I was so ‘ frightening’ that I sought counsel from my spiritual mentor.

THE WORD OF GOD
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move on the ground, birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Genesis 6:1-8 NIV

Having read, again, this profound revelation about the mercy of God, I didn’t even stop to think about how nothing much has changed since then. And who knows ‘ the heart of man which is desperately wicked’ according to God’s Word, may have gotten worse since then. But that was not my immediate concern.
My soul just praised the Lord with one of the greatest praise songs ever written.

THE FIRST VERSE

Your grace and mercy brought me through
I’m living this moment because of You
I want to thank You and praise You too
Your grace and mercy brought me through

For, if though Noah found favor with God, and because of his ‘ Righteousness’ grace and mercy flowed, O Jesus, how much more we ought to give thanks to you.
For in the words of the hymn writer:

‘ Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
upon the Cross embrace;
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace.

and grief and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself – and all for me
who was thine enemy. ( My God, I love thee; not because…)

Then yesterday during the day, wearing my ‘ road safety hat’ I had the heavy burden of writing an appeal to the nation, in the wake of the tragic, sudden and entirely preventable death, of two young university students who died in a motor vehicle crash the day before. Sadly, as a nation we’ve been this way before. And only God can help the relatives and friends to deal with this kind of life changing and life shattering event.
That is why we should never take this gift of life for granted, but rather than being ‘ distracted’, and either getting upset or worrying about the many challenges we face on a daily basis, always give thanks for life. For it could have been so much different for all of us. And not just those who die suddenly and tragically.

Finally, as I looked for another praise hymn this morning in my devotions,
these words, from ‘ Rock of ages cleft for me’, the third verse, reminded me of what our attitude to God in Christ, on account of His Grace and Mercy to us, ought to be:

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to the for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

I pray God that as we ‘ walk through this valley of the shadow of death’, as we contemplate the reality of the almost 800 hundred persons who have been brutally murdered in this #quadruplemurder country, and reflect on our own ‘ many, many sins’ before a Holy God, that we may give thanks for the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
For only in Him can we find Peace in the midst of trials, as truly, according to the Word of God, as I was reminded this morning just now, of our Blessed Savior’s Word according to John:

” The thief only comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and life to the full ( I like the KJV ….life more abundantly) “. John 10:10 NIV

From Adam allowed Satan to deceive him, at The Fall, ever since then there have been trials and troubles and disease and various tragedies in the life of mankind. On the roads, in our homes, communities and nations. For that is His only purpose – to destroy. And to keep us from praising and being obedient to The Living God.
Thanks be God then, for the gracious gift of Life, and Life more abundantly in Christ Jesus.
Your grace and mercy, brought me through…..O Jesus, we bless your Holy Name this day. Amen.

THE FINAL MESSAGE – challenges us to respond to the grace very carefully, and in communion with others. Not to ‘hug it up ‘ for ourselves, but to spread the Word of Salvation far and wide. In Beijing, in Washington DC, or in Nairobi. Wherever we have an opportunity. On Twitter, FaceBook, WhatApp, WordPress, email, Instagram, Imo or the old fashioned face to face.
Peace

GM: I did not watch the W 4×100 nor the M 4×100. Me, not just a track and field fan, but a former athlete who ran at Champs! Why? For while #RealShellyAnn and company and #KickOutBolt and company were bringing glory to #Jamaicalandwelove The Lord God was teaching me a profound lesson in my early morning devotions, and early morning walk.
It came during a reflection, again, on one of my favorite songs in our Anglican Liturgical worship form for Morning Prayer.
Words written by Zechariah, the Father of John the Baptist, as recorded in Luke 1:68-79, KJV when he regained his speech. In our Church it is known as :
The Benedictus…….Edited

Blessed by the Lord God of Israel:
for He hath visited, and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouths of his holy Prophets: which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from all our enemies: and from the hands of all who hate us;……
That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies: might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him: all the days of our lives.
And thou, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people: for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God: whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us:
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be: world without end. Amen.

Comments:

1. A revelation from God, that once we repent of our sins and accept the free Gift of The Mighty Salvation wrought by Christ on Calvary, we are ‘ Delivered’ from all our enemies, and those that hate us.
In this context, we have to recall, as I was led to write earlier this week, that we do not ‘ fight against flesh and blood’. And therefore, that our enemies are really the spiritual forces of evil in this world.
What Satan, the captain of these forces wishes to do, and which evil began with Adam’s disobedience, The Fall ( after God made everything good and perfect), is to hold us ‘ captive to Sin and Death’. And both of these terrible things from the ‘ pit of hell,’ are manifested in many and various ways in the lives of all mankind.
Including the the list of evil which come from ‘ within’ as revealed in the Gospel appointed for tomorrow at my Church.
” …..evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness ( leggo beast), envy, slander, arrogance and folly ”
Mark 7 : 20-22 NIV
And just in case anyone is so presumptuousness to declare that he or she ‘ is not on that list’, recall the Word that says: ” All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
So whatever Satan has used to hold us ‘ captive’, whether it be irrational fears, or real issues; evil thoughts in our hearts which sometimes ‘ bruk out into actions’ , for which we may or may not be sorry; disobedience to the Word of God, seeking other things first, instead of God’s Kingdom; sicknesses – in some but not all instances as God sometimes uses illness to teach us lessons; and it the wise person who knows the difference – financial problems ( the same caveat applies here too) ; whatever, in Christ we have been ‘ set free’ – Delivered.
But most important of all Delivered from Sin and Death unto Eternal Life.
So who must rejoice more? Those who are pleased with our Gold Medal performances in Beijing by #TeamJamaica or those who have been Delivered by A Mighty Salvation in and through Jesus Christ?
Your grace and mercy……

2. As we celebrate this mighty Salvation let let us not miss the following revelations:
That we should live now without fear. For if God in Christ is for us, who or what can be against us.
That we should live Righteousness lives. For, in Christ, living by The Spirit , we no longer ‘ have to sin’. And if we do, and repent with ‘ a pure and contrite heart’, immediately ( repentance is never a tomorrow story) then a merciful God will forgive us.
That we are called now to ‘ spread the Word, the Gospel’ to ‘ them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death’.
That means all with whom we come in contact who are not yet ‘ Saved’. Have not yet committed their lives to Christ. All! Whether they be JLo, Serena, Bolt, Gatlin, Beanie Man, Chronixx, the person who sits next to you at work, whoever , and wherever.
And if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to that person, pray for their souls, as we are only here to ‘ prepare the way for The Holy Spirit ‘. And Prayer opens doors for the Lord to act.
Finally that ‘ people who sit in darkness’ can be interpreted to mean many things. But the Word of God always speaks about Justice in the same breath with Righteousness. They are inseparable. So we are also ‘ Delivered’ so that we can work to set free others who are held captive by Injustice anywhere. Whether it be as a result of breeches of Human Rights or Human Trafficking or Exploitation by Unjust Economic systems, Illiteracy, whatever, we the children of the Resurrection are called to ,’ set the captives free.
So my friends what is of greater importance to you. Victory by Bolt and Shelly Ann or Deliverance from Evil!
Peace.
O Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus.
Amen.

Bolt and Shelly Ann on the Podium in Beijing: Christ on the Cross on Calvary

GM: I did not watch  the W  4×100 nor the M 4×100. Me, not just a track and field fan, but a former athlete who ran at Champs!  Why? For while #RealShellyAnn and company and #KickOutBolt and company were bringing glory to #Jamaicalandwelove The Lord God was teaching me  a profound lesson in my early morning devotions, and early morning walk.

It came during a reflection, again,  on one of my favorite songs in our Anglican Liturgical worship form for Morning Prayer.
Words written by Zechariah, the Father of John the Baptist, as recorded in Luke 1:68-79, KJV when he regained his speech. In our Church it is known as :

The Benedictus…….Edited

Blessed by the Lord God of Israel:
for He hath visited,  and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouths of his holy Prophets: which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from all our enemies: and from the hands of all who hate us;……

That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies: might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him: all the days of our lives.

And thou, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people: for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God: whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us:

To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be: world without end. Amen.

Comments:
1. A revelation from God, that once we repent of our sins and accept the free Gift of  The Mighty Salvation wrought by Christ on Calvary, we are ‘ Delivered’ from all our enemies, and those that hate us.

In this context, we have to recall, as I was led to write earlier this week, that we do  not ‘ fight against flesh and blood’. And therefore,  that our enemies are really the spiritual forces of evil in this world.
What Satan, the captain of these forces wishes to do, and which evil began with Adam’s disobedience, The Fall ( after God made everything good and perfect), is to hold us ‘ captive to Sin and Death’. And both of these terrible things from the ‘ pit of hell,’ are manifested in many and various ways in the lives of all mankind.

Including the the list of evil which come from ‘ within’ as revealed in the Gospel appointed for tomorrow at my Church.

” …..evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness ( leggo beast), envy, slander, arrogance and folly ”
Mark 7 : 20-22 NIV

And just in case anyone is so presumptuousness to declare that he or she ‘ is not on that list’, recall the Word that says: ” All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

So whatever Satan has used to hold us ‘ captive’, whether it be irrational fears, or real issues; evil thoughts in our hearts which sometimes ‘ bruk out into actions’ , for which we may or may not be sorry; disobedience to the Word of God, seeking other things first, instead of God’s Kingdom;  sicknesses – in some but not all instances as God sometimes uses illness to teach us lessons; and it the wise person who knows the difference – financial problems ( the same caveat applies here too) ; whatever, in Christ we have been ‘ set free’ – Delivered.

But most important of all Delivered from Sin and Death unto Eternal Life.

So who must rejoice more? Those who are pleased with our Gold Medal performances in Beijing by #TeamJamaica or those who have been Delivered by A Mighty Salvation  in and through Jesus Christ?
Your grace and mercy……

2. As we celebrate this mighty Salvation let let us not miss the following revelations:
That we should live now without fear. For
if God in Christ is for us, who or what can be against us.
That we should live Righteousness lives. For,  in Christ,  living by The Spirit , we no longer ‘ have to sin’. And if we do, and repent with  ‘ a pure and contrite heart’, immediately ( repentance is never a tomorrow story) then a merciful God will forgive us.
That we are called now to ‘ spread the Word, the Gospel’ to ‘ them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death’.
That means all with whom we come in contact who are not yet ‘ Saved’. Have not yet committed their lives to  Christ. All! Whether they be JLo, Serena, Bolt, Gatlin, Beanie Man, Chronixx,  the person who sits next to you at work,  whoever , and wherever.
And if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to that person, pray for their souls, as we are only  here to ‘ prepare the way for The Holy Spirit ‘. And Prayer opens doors for the Lord to act.

Finally that ‘ people who sit in darkness’ can be interpreted to mean many things. But the Word of God always speaks about Justice in the same breath with Righteousness. They are inseparable. So we are also ‘ Delivered’ so that we can work to set free others who are held captive by Injustice anywhere. Whether it be as a result of breeches of Human Rights or Human Trafficking or Exploitation by Unjust Economic systems, Illiteracy,  whatever, we the children of the Resurrection are called to ,’ set the captives free.

So my friends what is of greater importance to you. Victory by Bolt and Shelly Ann or Deliverance from Evil!
Peace.
O Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus.
Amen.

Of Celebrating with Usain Bolt in China: Of praising Christ across the world

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

Lord renew the Church beginning with me; Lord renew the Church that the Church may renew the nation(s).

THE NEWS

1. Bolt wins again. And it was almost as if the World Games in Beijing China was ‘not happening’ as far as American Television was concerned. So I had to turn to Twitter and facebook to catch some of the excitement that such a phenomenal win – against all expectations as Gatlin had been winning everything and in very fast times too- except Jamaicans who know that Bolt is a #BigOccasionMan.

http://espn.go.com/olympics/trackandfield/story/_/id/13493294/usain-bolt-beats-justin-gatlin-win-100-meter-title-world-championships

By the time many would have read this message #RealShellyAnn might very well have provided #Jamdown with yet another Gold Medal; to add to the bronze we got in the Men’s Shot Putt from #HeAlmostWonGold from O’Dayne Richards.

Yes, there were other newsworthy stories : The brave Americans and one British man in France; An American Actress and gay rights advocate ‘taking on’ Presidential candidate Tom Cruz, asking him why he did not seem to be concerned about ” lots of Gays being killed in Jamaica”. Seriously! I wonder where that came from; and of course the Donald Trump phenomenon continues with recent polls showing him moving even further ahead ‘low energy” ( his words) Jeb Bush. But this 100M race had been anticipated all summer long. And it did not disappoint. So that’s the big news in Jamaica, as I returned home this evening.

THE WORD OF GOD.

So with all this excitement in the sir, what Word did the Lord send or inspired word?
All through the week ” Keep your focus on Jesus”. For if truth be told, Boltmania can easily become a ‘distraction’ for Christians, whose main focus is to be One with Christ in all that we do. And to give Him all the honor and glory as we seek to spread the Gospel of His Atonement for Sin on the Cross of Calvary, His Resurrection so that in Him we too may be raised to a new life, and His Coming gain to Judge the Living and the Dead. So yes, let us celebrate Bolt’s famous victory, but understand that the greatest Victory in the lfe of Humanity was won on the Cross of Calvary. Amen.

The First Message – sent out on WhatApp – essentially poses the question, ” How much do you love Jesus”? And do you love Him to the point where ‘there is no remedy’ but to die ‘to self’ for, and in Him?

GM: Last night’s bedtime reading of the Word was very dramatic, as in Acts 20, St. Paul declared that he was ‘ innocent of the blood of all men’. And he did not hesitate to give a reason for this confidence.
Earlier on in the chapter he told the leaders of the early church, that his only role in life was to complete the task that his Lord Jesus Christ had given him – ‘ the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace.
And later on, in justifying his claim to be ‘ innocent of the blood of all men, he declared: ‘ for I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

This Word raises several questions for us 21st century Christians. How much do we love the Lord Jesus? Why do we love Him? Do we understand that if we do not testify to others about their need for Salvation, purchased by His Atonement for Sin by His shed Blood on Calvary, then ‘ their blood will be on our heads’. viz. Their unrepentant sins which will lead to eternal separation from God in this life and the life to come? Do we understand what it means to ‘ proclaim the whole will of God – that all men should hear of and understand, and long for a relationship with the Crucified, Risen Ascended, and soon Coming Christ?

I love weddings. I went to one a couple weeks ago. And I am going to one, God willing, this week. There is so much joy at weddings, as ‘ love is in the air’. And there is no ‘ remedy’ for true love, as both husband and wife would willingly die for each other.
Last night, inspired by St. Paul’s love for and obedience to Christ, I read a beautiful reflection on this love, which touched my heart deeply. I hope it will touch your soul also. But remember always that we love, so that others may come to love Him too. And be rescued from Satan and life in hell, unto Eternal Life with The Almighty God. And that’s the Gospel Truth.
No matter what CNN or The Gleaner or Google may tell you.

SATURATED WITH THE SPIRIT

Hilary of Poitiers ( 315-368…formerly a pagan, who became a Bishop in the early church and one who defended the doctrine of The Trinity against those who held a position that Christ was ‘ created by the Father’, and therefore not eternal)

Verse: Acts 20: 24.

Hoisting My Sails

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……

Saturated in His Love

Although I am dust and ashes, Lord. I am tied to you by bonds of love. Therefore I feel I can speak freely to you. Before I came to know you, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of life, and I had no understanding of myself. I have no doubt that you had a purpose in causing me to be born, yet you had no need of me, and on my own I was of no use to you.
But then you decided that I should hear the words of your Son, Jesus Christ. And that as I heard his words, you enabled his love to penetrate my heart. Now I am completely saturated in his love and faith, and there is no remedy. Now, Lord, I cannot change my attitude to my faith; I can only for for it.
May this attitude to the love of Christ be yours and mine today, by God’s grace. So that we may spend our lives testifying to His Grace and Mercy according to the gifts God has given to each one of us. And to whoever He places in our lives. So that we may like St. Paul, declare that ‘ we are innocent of the blood of all men’.

THE SECOND MESSAGE – on WhatApp, features a song, which continues the theme of ‘keeping a focus on Christ’

GM: I woke up with this song in my heart.

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Refrain:
Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Thou the spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee,
Whom in Heav’n but Thee.

Then read the Psalm appointed for the worldwide Anglican Church for next Sunday. Psalm 84. And verse 10, on particular, touched my soul.

” Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

Then I thought of, at one level #DonaldTrumpIllegalMigrantsareRapists and what he represents ; and at another level #Member of Parking Everard Warmington and his outrageous behaviour, and what he represents. Thought of our celebrated recording artiste #Etana and her video #WrongAddress and how the #desperateforajob young lady almost succumbed to the lure of sexy dancing in nightclub to survive. About a sermon I heard last Sunday on :
” Be very careful, then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil “. Ephesians 5:15.
Thought about life here in rich America where your every desire can be satisfied; and you can live our dreams without any regard to The Word of God.
Perhaps, on reflection, this is why the song came into my heart this morning, and the words from the Psalm, as we do live in ‘ evil times’. Times where money and power can buy anything. Perhaps even a Presidency, for US$ One Billion, as DonaldTrumpIllegalMigrantsareRapists is reported to have said. Then ‘ all hell’ will indeed ‘ let loose’. In America and the world!

So, if you are like many others, who are disturbed about #QuadrupleMurder in Jamaicalandwelove, #TeenagePregnancy in Jamaicalandwelove and #GrossImmorality in Jamaicalandwelove and the madness which the candidacy of DonaldTrumpIllegalMigrantsareRapists represents in America, all of us need to decide ‘ in whose courts shall we live’? In the ‘ tents of the wicked or of the Lord’?
Once we have made that decision, whether we are politicians, teachers, nurses, lawyers, students, bankers, doctors, work in IT, Management, part of ground staff, whatever job we have, even if we are unemployed, matters not, we should all implore the Lord to:

Pass me not today, O blessed Savior
Hear my humble cry…..
For the times are indeed evil. And the Devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he will.
And only God in His Mercy can help us.
Peace

The Third Message – sent on WhatApp features a wonderful song which if taken seriously will help us all to ‘keep our focus on Christ’ at all times

GM: The words of one of my favorite hymns are never far from my heart:

” O Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to end….”. And they came into my mind this morning during my devotions.
Why? I had read about it before, but it came up again yesterday during my holiday reading of a good book. The remarkable story of Christian love in the early Church.

” The Greco-Roman world tended to despise the poor, but Christians gave generously not only to their own poor but to those of other faiths…… During the terrible urban plagues of the first two centuries, Christians cared for the sick and dying in the city, often at the cost of their own lives “. An excerpt from Rev. Timothy Keller’s New York Times bestselling book ‘ The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism’.

In fact Augustine the Bishop, and one of the Fathers of the early church, who greatly influenced Western Democratic ideals, in his seminal book ‘ The City of God’, makes the point that, because of how Christians cared for the sick and dying, while the aristocrats ran away to save themselves, the ordinary Romans responded by accepting Christ as Saviour. And hence the rapid spread of Christianity in the early centuries.

So when I turned to the readings for the Sunday in my church and found the famous chapter where Joshua posed the question to the children of Israel: “Chose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….”, I understood why the Lord raised up this song in my soul, on this day, in this country, the USA.
The point is that if one is not very, very careful, ‘ the god of this age’, which rules in America, the ‘ almighty dollar’ will lead even the most devout Christian astray. For the blind pursuit of it can foster selfishness, greed and personal ambitions, all of which have and can lead the Church far from the self-sacrificing ideals of the early Church.
And this kind of culture presents many other temptations which can destroy the soul of a child of God.
This is why it is so critical to spend quality time with the hymns of the church, in addition to The Word, which have so much to teach us about spiritual warfare and the battles which confront us in our journey with Christ.
I leave you with one more thing to think about as we live out our Christian life in this age. Did you know that:
” Recently a large array of scientists and philosophers ( in America) signed A Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism, which called on the leaders of our government ‘ not to permit legislation or executive action to be influenced by religious beliefs’?
So when we promise Jesus to ‘ serve him to the end’, let understand what like, Joshua, who declared, ‘ as for me and my house we will serve the Lord’, we are committing to do.

1
O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.

2
Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.

3
Oh, let me hear Thee speaking,
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh, speak to reassure me,
To hasten, or control;
Oh, speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.

4
O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory
There shall Thy servant be;
And Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Oh, give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.

5
Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Savior and my Friend.

The Fourth Message – sent on WhatsApp was a ‘ birthday gift ‘ from the Lord. Reminding me and all of us of the need to be One with Christ at all times. In good times and in bad times. So Gatlin ought to stop placing his focus on beating Bolt, but rather on ‘knowing Christ’, if he is not there yet.

GM: This morning as I began my devotions with the On Waking prayer by Jacob, the Lord placed on my mind a special gift, on a special day, which I share with you.

Jacob Boheme

On Waking

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

And now for the blessing! Words from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John came into my mind.

” I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the one you have me – so that they may be one as we are one. ” John 17:11 NIV

As we give thanks for protection from all evil by the ‘ power of the name of Jesus’, do not miss the profound implication of ‘ so that they may be one as we are one’. For one of the great challenges in the age of ‘ rugged individualism’, is to pursue the notion of ‘ personal salvation’. Here Jesus says absolutely not. ( And when Jesus says no nobody can say yes). For He died so that all who find Salvation through Him may become One – the body of Christ. That’s why St. Paul could declare that ‘ if one is hurt we all hurt’.

That’s why we should feel pain and pray without ceasing for the persecuted church in China, in Pakistan, in India and other parts of the world. That why we should all feel pain and pray without ceasing when ‘ doctrinal’ differences affect the witness of the Body of Christ. When people believe that they can stay home, or even come to Church, and ‘ privately’ ‘ worship’ God.
In plain Jamaica language, Jesus is saying ‘ no sanke don’t sing so’.

Finally, all of this, I believe, began last night with a mediation – an excerpt of which I share – by Oswald Chambers.

……..Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one- “Come to Me . . . .” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.

I pray that : as we confront the disturbing sentiments which run deep in the psyche of some Americans, and which are being revealed by the phenomenon of DonaldTrumpIllegalMigrantsareRapists; that as we confront the very present reality of #QuadrupleMuder in Jamaicalandwelove; as the world prepares to deal with the phenomenon of ISIS; as we confront the reality of pedophilia and its multiple manifestations currently in the news in the USA, hunger and poverty and disease across the world, all on account of Sin, we may indeed be one with each other and with Christ, as Church. So that The Holy Spirit of God, may indeed ‘ pour out through us’, as promised, to bring Justice and Righteousness and Peace to a dying and suffering world.
The Fifth Message – sent on WhatsApp is a bit different as it is a “praise message’. Underscoring the fact that our chief mission in live is to praise God and bring Him honor and glory ; far above what we give to Bolt and #TeamJamaicaBeijingGames.

GM: Perhaps because it was my birthday yesterday why the words of the Psalmist came into my mind last night. Twice. As I gave thanks deep in my sleep to a loving God. And in the more familiar King James Version which I memorised early in my life.

” Bless the Lord O my soul,
let all that is within me bless his
holy name.
Bless the Lord O my soul
and forget not his benefits;
who forgives all your iniquities,
and heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:1-3

And as I read about this wonderful God who is worthy of so much praise: Yahweh, The Great I Am, The Holy One of Israel, The God of Abraham, The God of Issac, The God of Jacob, and Father of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; the God who ‘ redeems your life from the pit and crowns you love and compassion’, this thought/question came into my mind.
How can we convince 21st century individuals who are ‘ hip and smart’, self sufficient and cannot identify with The Word which located them ,’ in a pit’, from which they need to rescued?
I would suggest that this issue ‘ of the need to be rescued’, the need for Salvation, is the great challenge of the age for Evangelists, and equally so for those disciple young and old Christians.
For unless you come to appreciate this need deep in your heart, it is very difficult for you to love Jesus, and Him Crucified.

Thank God that such a task is given to the Holy Spirit, Who alone can ‘ convict’ people of Sin. And as I thought about this question, and a few individuals in this WhatsApp ministry who I pray will commit themselves to Christ one day, The Spirit of God led me to one way many, if not most people, come ‘ know and love Christ’.
The answer is located in one of several Psalms I read and reflect on regularly before going to bed. One of two repentance Psalms written by David. 51 and 32.

” Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle”. Psalm 32:9
T
he message here is that God in Christ, on the Cross of Calvary, by the shed Blood of our Savior, is ‘ Softly and tenderly calling for us to to come home to Him’, to repent and turn to Christ, the Son of God and Co-Creator of heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that is within it. For all have sinned and fallen short of his glory.
For those who continue to ignore his Word, or who having come to a clear understanding, continue to be disobedient, then the God ‘ who wilt not let us go’, according to the words of the hymn writer, will in His great compassion sometimes, send ‘ trouble ‘ to bring us to our ‘ senses’.
For as the Psalmist reveals, this is a God who:
” ..will not always accuse,
not will he harbor his anger forever,;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquity ”
103: 9-10 NIV

Let us then, depending entirely on the Power of the Holy Spirit to convict people of Sin, and the need for Salvation, which is to found only in Jesus the Christ, so live our lives in oneness with Christ – seeking Justice for all, and promoting Righteousness and Peace – and spread the Word that Jesus Saves; so that all who we meet, and love, may join in praise of our wonderful God. And not wait until trouble comes to turn to Him The Holy One of Israel, The God of Jacob; who alone can save us from evil and trials.

O Bless the Lord O my soul,
and let all that is within me
bless his holy name.
Praise God.
Peace.

Finally, A Message for all times. Sent out on WhatApp. A focus on Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper. For in that Holy Sacrament we ‘ see our Lord face to face’. The Hope and Joy of every believer. In this life and the next. With or without Bolt; with or without #RealShellyAnn; with or without #DonkeyManOneforTheFuture.

GM: Went to a wedding last evening. Took lots of pictures. Heard the groom, my brother-in-law spoke so lovingly about his ‘ queen ‘ the bride. What joy to be married to the love of your life!
Then this morning, as I began my devotions, the words of a hymn which stirred my soul several times yesterday, came to mind. It’s all about Jesus, ‘ The Love of every Christian Heart’.

The First Verse.

Jesu, the very thought of thee
with sweetness fills the breast;
but sweeter far thy face to see
and in thy presence rest.

Then I turned to Gospel reading in my church for tomorrow. And the very same theme continued. ‘ Jesus, the very thought of thee’.

Read it carefully and see if your soul is not stirred with the thought of ‘ in thy presence rest’, as John explains one of the foundation doctrines of the Church. The importance of Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper.

THE WORD OF GOD

http://bible.com/111/jhn.6.52-63.niv Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

So whose Presence would you prefer to be in day by day, and or rising each morning? The love of your life, or The Love of your Heart?
Actually there is no need to choose, as if you love Jesus first, all other loves, which are gifts from Him anyway, will become even sweeter.

So today we thank God for ‘ young love’. But even more so, that ‘ whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, remains in me, and I in him’. And O what a Joy to be the very Presence of God.
No wonder then that the hymn writer was inspired to pen these words. Words which I ponder on every Sunday morning before going to church.

THE FIRST VERSE

‘ Here O my Lord, I see the face to face;
here faith would touch and handle things unseen;
here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon thee lean.
So, as the summer holidays end, and life happens again, let us give thanks that in Jesus we have a Friend. And in Him alone we find true Peace. And true Joy.
Amen.

Holidays in Miami with family; Life with God’s family in Christ Jesus

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. My big news this week is all about family. My wife and I  spending time and playing games  with grandchildren. Watching movies, going out for dinner,  attending church, and having great conversations with our children. Looking forward to a family member getting married this week. And before you know it, it’s time to go back home to Jamaica.
So yes the possibility of both Joe Biden and Al Gore entering the presidential race caught my attention. So did the various acts of terror across the world. And thank God we got some rain in Jamaica after a long dry spell; while it’s raining ‘cats and dogs’ here in south Florida
 
 
THE WORD OF GOD
 
So in the midst of experiencing  the joys of  family, we live in Jamaica and they live in Florida, so  no popping over on a Sunday evening story, what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week.
First a reminder of the importance of praise:
 
THE FIRST MESSAGE – sent on WhatApp.
 

GM: Hanging with my with one of my ‘ sons’,  my daughter’s husband, we watched ” Exodus: Gods and Kings”….the latest movie about Moses. Then, this morning as I began my devotions with one praise song, ‘ Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation, and then went to another, a few words of old Saint came into my mind.
That, whatever time we have available to spend with the Lord in the mornings, a significant portion of it should be spent in praise. For that is what we were created to do: to praise God. And in praise, the soul is released from all the trials and petty issues of life, and brought into glorious Communion with the Almighty God.
So, let us, in the words and spirit of one of the great hymn writers, Charles Wesley:
‘ O for a thousand tongues to sing,
My dear Redeemer’s praise
The glories of my Lord and King
The triumphs of his grace!

..,.sing one of  the  greatest praise hymns of all time: to the Glory of God. Sing as we remember how the children of Israel suffered for over 400 years as slaves in Egypt until God rescued them with His strong right hand. Sing as we celebrate Independence, and how God ‘ rescued our fathers in distress’,  with His strong right hand, after almost 300 years of slavery in the Americas. And sing as we celebrate our rescue from Sin and death, over 2000 years ago, unto Eternal Life, in and through the shed Blood of Christ.

O, praise God. Praise His Holy Name

THE PRAISE HYMN


Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
evermore his praises sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!

Praise the everlasting King.

Praise him for his grace and favor
to our fathers in distress;
praise him still the same for ever,
slow to chide and swift to bless:
Alleluia, alleluia!

Glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like, he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hand he gently bears us, 
rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Widely yet his mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore him;
ye behold him face to face;
sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Praise with us the God of grace……
Words: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847), 1834
MIDI: Lauda anima (also known as “Praise, my soul”) (John Goss, 1800-1880)
Meter: 87 87 87

 
THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent on WhatsApp….features a  a reminder of the mercy and compassion of a God who loves, and loves, and loves. And forgives, and forgives, and forgives. Makes you wonder how can folks not love, or worse ignore, much less to declare that he does not exist, this awesome God.
 
GM: On Sunday at St. Thomas’ Episcopalian Church in South Miami, I heard a wonderful sermon on ‘ I am the Bread of life’. One of the many profound revelations found in John 6. 
The preacher told us a story, contextualized in the importance of receiving Holy Communion ; in response to Jesus’, at that time and even now, radical invitation to ‘ eat my flesh and drink my blood’.
A touching poignant story. Perhaps, to some even a controversial story. Of a Jewish man, who had not been faithful to his religion, attending St. Thomas one Sunday. At the time, unknown to anyone he had leukemia, and tragically succumbed to his illness  a short time later.
On that Sunday, responding to the Rectors’ invitation for ‘ all children of God’ to take part in Holy Communion, rather than the usual, ‘ all Baptized’, with tears in eyes, he received The Blessed Sacrament. And later reported, to the preacher, how ‘ never before had he ever felt so included, so loved, so welcomed’.
When the preacher told the story to other priests, many were scandalized and ‘ horrified’ that someone who was not Baptized, had ‘ taken’ Communion/Lord’s Supper. Interestingly, the preacher, who was in support of the man’s act of faith,  closed by reminding us, that ‘ you cannot take Communion and not be changed’. Food for thought isn’t it!

Then this morning, as I began my devotions with prayers, I was led to Philippians and was struck by the following revelations.

” I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus “. Philippians 1:3 NIV

Further in vs 9-10:
” And this is my prayer for you: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness, that comes through Jesus Christ – to the Glory and praise of God.

Finally  in 2:13.
” ….continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Comment:
1. Do not write off anyone, no matter how disobedient, in whatever way, he or she may be acting out. Do not even write off yourself. For God is the one who is working in people and us to bring us to Christ. 
2. Therefore be patient and pray for people instead of getting upset and disappointed with them. We have no idea how our prayers may help to touch somebody’s heart. Much more so that all our ‘ arguments’.
3. Always, always, pray for those who will deliver the Word, on a Sunday or a Sabbath.
4. Please pray for me and others in this ever increasing ministry, as I pray for you ‘ that God will give us depth of insight and discerment into his love 
5. Pray for all non- believers, whether you know them or not. For by such prayers is the kingdom of God advanced, in this #DonaldTrumpIllegalMigrantsareRapists and #QuadrupleMurder world.
Peace.

THE THIRD MESSAGE – Sent out on WhatsApp features foundation theology. We all have ‘unclean thoughts’…we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. yet Good in His mercy, loves us and pursues us in and through the Atonement for Sin on Calvary wrought   by His Son Christ Jesus.
 

GM: The Lord woke me up, after years of this happening I knew, early this morning. To read and to write. But I hesitated. I was on holidays. Then my granddaughters favourite song came into my head, I and ‘ dead serious’, ” When Jesus says, nobody can say no”.
So I got up opened my Bible and found this :

‘ What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All of these evils come from the inside and makes a man unclean’.
Mark 7:20-23. NIV 

The key to this passage of Scripture is to be found in vs. 8:
‘ You have let go of the commandments of God and are holding on the tradition of men.’
As Jesus was admonishing the Pharisees and other ‘ teachers of the law’, for their focus on the externals, and not what was happening inside a person’s heart. All caused by Sin, (the wages of which is death) the Atonement for which was His Mission.

So why would the Lord wake me up to read this passage and write?
Two reasons come to mind.
1. Life in general.
2. I am reading a, scripturally based,  biography on the life of Abraham by Charles Swindoll – a  celebrated Christian author and pastor, whose writings were very helpful to me many years ago as I went through a dark period in my life. I had since moved on to Oswald Chambers, John Stott, Chris Tiegreen, the very deep Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and of late Timothy Keller.
However, most of all, I am learning, by God’s grace,  to ‘ dwell in the secret place of the most high’, and thus to spend time listening. And learning from the ordinary events of life! Praise God.

So I have rediscovered Swindoll. And so far, early in the Book, Swindoll is setting the stage for the life of The Father of The Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith. And to whom came the great promise from God, that ‘ I will make you into a great nation’

But Abraham, like all other us, had ‘ feet of clay’. And out of his heart also came all kinds of evil; deceit, and disobedience.

In this respect, so far, the following things struck me.

1. When confronted with a ‘ Divine Test’  – Famine – according to Swindoll,  Abraham who had listened to God, in faith left his home to go to Canaan, built altars to worship God, forgot about prayers and faith and went down to Egypt to find food. According to Swindoll, a trained Bible Expositor, In the figurative language of the Bible, Egypt stands for alliance with the world. Making your own decisions rather than depending on and trusting in God.
A ‘ Divine Test’, that we will all face. And God in His wisdom will design  a test for every believer.  For it is easy to be obedient and trust God in good times, but the real test comes when God, apparently, ‘ withdraws His blessing and His very self. And ‘ famine’ of one kind or another cones along. Sickness, death of a loved one, financial crisis, marital problems……
Will we trust in a faithful God then, and bring Him honor and glory, or ‘ go down to Egypt – buy Lotto, get into shady business deals, withhold taxes, God forbid,  turn to  Obeah or other forms of spiritualism, keep a man or a woman on the ‘ side’, file for divorce immediately,  leave church and turn to the  ‘prosperity gospel’, or listen to Job’s wife and ‘ curse God and die’ – abandon church altogether. Serious questions!

2. Abraham compounded the problem of ‘ going down to Egypt’, by lying – deceit. A half lie, but a lie nonetheless. As Sarai was His half-sister, but still his wife.
And Swindoll poses a serious question. How many people have yet to embrace the God of the Bible because they continue to live in the shadows created by our own moral failures?  As he wondered what impression Pharoah had of the God who Abraham served, and who had lied to him and gotten him into trouble.
In this respect the fourth and fifth principles which we ought to learn from Abraham life so far, resonated with me.

4. Every compromise jeopardizes a Sarai. For, until God sent a plague on Pharoah’s house, and rescued Sarai, Abraham’s lie had almost caused her to  become Pharoah’s wife.
And so Swindoll writes : your life consists of relationships arranged in concentric circles. Those living in the closest circles have connected themselves to you, and as a result, they trust you. Your victims might not be aware of the loss you have caused them, bit they lose nonetheless. There is no such thing as a victimless sin, including the sin you keep private. You may sin in secret, but you never Sin alone.

5. Every Egypt had a Pharoah. 
…. we live among people who do not know God. They serve the gods of wealth, possessions, power, status, self and others – too many to list. Then they hear someone talking about having a relationship with the One true Creator……when they see us blindly blundering through life, making unwise or sinful choices, we bring shame to God rather than glory. Furthermore we confuse the curious.

In all of this, however,  God continued to bless Abraham and remained faithful to His promise to, ‘ I will make you into a great nation’.

So we go back to the beginning. And to yesterday! For all of us have sinned, all have ‘ all kinds of evil coming out of our hearts’. Thank God for Jesus, we who fail today, morally and spiritually, can ‘ rise again’, tomorrow, because of the Covenant relationship we have with our Creator God. And if we can, so can everyone  else who may be a spectacular failure today.
God did not write off Abraham. God does not write off anyone. Not even the worse ‘backslider’.
How do we know this. 
‘ At the Cross, at the Cross – comes into my mind – where I first saw the light, and the burden of my sins fell away… 
God is indeed a good God. Abraham knows!

THE FOURTH MESSAGE – again on WhatsApp, and features a hymn which I am sure has influenced the lives of so many people across the world. And which words, sum up the correct attitude we ought to have in a relationship with a merciful and all knowing God. ” Have thine own way”.

GM: Last night after a lively discussion, with my son and his wife, one of my many ‘ daughters and her mother’, and my wife,  on infant Baptism, Adult Baptism, who has the authority to include or exclude books from the Bible, the early church, the controversies then and now, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed, the importance of Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper,  ( high power praise and worship)  worshiping in a particular  Pentecostal Church in Miami vs a particular Episcopalian/Anglican Church ( quiet and contemplative),  I woke up with this song in my head. 

And then as I spent some time on the powerful message which climaxes at the very end, I wondered.

Does it matter what church you attend as long as ‘ all can see Christ, only, always, living in me’?

THE HYMN

1. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. 
Mould me and make me after thy will, 
while I am waiting, yielded and still. 

2. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Search me and try me, Savior today! 
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now, 
as in thy presence humbly I bow. 

3. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Wounded and weary, help me I pray! 
Power, all power, surely is thine! 
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! 

4. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Hold o’er my being absolute sway. 
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see 
Christ only, always, living in me! 

Then the Spirit of the Lord reminded me of a passage in the same chapter in Mark that featured in yesterday’s message. It’s a warning contextualized in a story of Jesus’ engagement with a set of Jewish religious leaders and teachers, whose worship and understanding of God was very superficial.  That as a friend of mine puts it: Its a matter of the heart, and not the head knowledge.

” These people worship me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain, their teachings are but rules taught by men”.
Mark 7 : 6-7.

Which I suppose aligns very well with the Jesus’ warning that ‘ Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of God’. But only those who are obedient, ‘ deny self,  take up the Cross, daily,  and follow him’.

In the final analysis then, it is not that important which form of worship you engage in, but rather how much the Son of God is being formed in you, in and through the Power of the Holy Spirit, as you grow to love Him above everything else in this world.
And in that respect only God can judge, and those with whom you interact. Especially the ‘ wretched of the earth’  viz. the poor, the suffering, the lonely, the lost, the stray, the ‘wicked to whom mercy is shown’, the  unbeliever who comes to know Christ because of you, the ‘ ‘backslider’ who you engage, the drug addict, the prostitutes…
All those who the world has forgotten  and who become fodder for ‘ the devil who is like a roaring lion seeking whom  he will’.
Pray God, that God will have His own way in the lives of all who love the Lord Jesus, and have ‘ decided to follow Jesus, no turning back , no turning back’. No matter how strong the storms of life may be, no matter the power of the temptation, for we have an anchor, and a solid rock. Christ and Him Crucified.

THE FINAL MESSAGE – features one of  the best teaching hymns about our faith. ” My God, I love thee, not….”

And also, one life’s most important issues. Self-love! And the response that every Christian ought to cultivate in respect of this spiritually dangerous flaw in our character. Death to self-love! That’s what Martin Luther King and countless others throughout history did; and thus influenced the world for good. But most importantly, that  was ‘ the mind of Christ’, as recorded in Philippians.

“Who being in nature God……made himself nothing….and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. 2:5-8 NIV

For those whose live’s are controlled by self-love, and self-ambitions cannot follow Christ. And will not gain eternal life. And then what would have been the point of this life which is like a ‘mist’, which passes away so quickly.

GM: Yesterday  I visited a friend who went with me to Singapore for a three week Leadership Course in Evangelism in 2002. Most of the attendees were evangelicals. Only two or three of approximately forty men, including yours truly were from traditional churches. Went back in time to where this E mail  then blogging Ministry on a Sunday night, and now ( almost) daily WhatsApp Ministry started. And which Ministry, by God’s grace, has grown so much over the years. Praise God! 

All because of a very profoundly moving public display, with tears, during an early morning worship service,  by one the attendees; because he loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart. 
Having, therefore, witnessed this ‘ phenomenon’, previously absent from my experience in church, I wrote to tell a dear friend, a sister in Christ, and a Priest in my church,  about it. She responded by encouraging me to spend some time reflecting on the words of a hymn in our Anglican hymnbook.

THE HYMN ( A SLIGHTLY EDITED VERSION)

My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
upon the Cross embrace:
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace.

and griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself – and all for me
who was thine enemy.

Then why, O blessed Jesu Christ,
should I not love thee well?……

not from the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;

but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever- loving Lord…..

Then last night, during my devotions, not sure what reading triggered it, came this thought:

” If you love the Lord Jesus  you have to love people “.

Then this morning, the Lord woke me early to read about the ‘various laws’ in Leviticus chapter 19. And about the dangers of self- love 

THE PROBLEM OF SELF-LOVE

Francois Fenelon ( 1651-1715…an influential Bishop in the UK; writer lecturer and administrator)

Verse: Leviticus 19:18

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

THE REFLECTION

Self-love must be uprooted, and the love of God take it’s place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are. Then the same principle that enables us to see our imperfections will destroy them……
It is a sensitive self-love that cannot forgive the self-love of others. The more self-love we have , the more severe are our censures.
There is nothing so vexatious as the collision between one excessive self-love and another still more violent and sensitive. The passions of others are infinitely ridiculous to those who are the dominion of their own.
The ways of God are very different. He is ever full of kindness for us, he gives us strength, he regards us with pity and condescension, he remembers our weakness, he waits for us. 
The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others. We wait for providence to give the occasion, and grace to open their hearts to receive it. If you would gather the fruit before its time, you lose it entirely.

Comments:  
1. In pursuit of brevity, I left out about a third of this reflection, and have spent a fair amount of time, in the past, trying to plumb the depths of it.
2. I would recommend that all married couples, of recent or otherwise vintage, matters not , take this reflection seriously. It will certainly prevent a lot of the inevitable ‘ teeth and tongue’ from meeting.
3. Would to God that all politicians and journalists, and Priests, and all  who are so quick to criticise others, would spend time thinking about the profound truths embedded in this reflection.
4. Finally, this reflection, very profoundly, addresses the way we ought to engage in Evangelism. Beginning with love for others, in the same way God loved us. And who as the hymn writer reminded us. ‘ was thine enemy’. Followed by patience, triggered by love and an  appreciation of our own imperfections. And a warning at the end; that if self-love and all that comes with it, if not replaced by the love of God, will  cause us to ‘ lose the harvest (fruit) completely.
Pray God that one day we may all achieve this death of self- love…it really has to die….and witness the birth of the love of God in our souls. For the sake of self, family, community and nation; ultimately, however, for the Glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ. And who is to be worshipped in Singapore, in the USA, in #Jamaicalandwelove and the entire world.

 

 
 
 
 
 
      Press

      From Singapore to Jamaica with the Love of Jesus

      GM: Yesterday  I visited a friend who went with me to Singapore for a three week Leadership Course in Evangelism in 2002. Most of the attendees were evangelicals. Only two or three of approximately forty men, including yours truly were from traditional churches. Went back in time to where this E mail  then blogging Ministry on a Sunday night, and now ( almost) daily WhatsApp Ministry started. And which Ministry, by God’s grace, has grown so much over the years. Praise God!
      All because of a very profoundly moving public display, with tears, during an early morning worship service,  by one the attendees; because he loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart.
      Having, therefore, witnessed this ‘ phenomenon’, previously absent from my experience in church, I wrote to tell a dear friend, a sister in Christ, and a Priest in my church,  about it. She responded by encouraging me to spend some time reflecting on the words of a hymn in our Anglican hymnbook.

      THE HYMN ( A SLIGHTLY EDITED VERSION)

      My God, I love thee; not because
      I hope for heaven thereby,
      nor yet because who love thee not
      are lost eternally.

      Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me
      upon the Cross embrace:
      for me didst bear the nails and spear,
      and manifold disgrace.

      and griefs and torments numberless,
      and sweat of agony;
      yea, death itself – and all for me
      who was thine enemy.

      Then why, O blessed Jesu Christ,
      should I not love thee well?……

      not from the hope of gaining aught,
      not seeking a reward;
      but as thyself hast loved me,
      O ever- loving Lord…..

      Then last night, during my devotions, not sure what reading triggered it, came this thought:

      ” If you love the Lord Jesus  you have to love people “.

      Then this morning, the Lord woke me early to read about the ‘various laws’ in Leviticus chapter 19. And about the dangers of self- love

      THE PROBLEM OF SELF-LOVE
      Francois Fenelon ( 1651-1715…an influential Bishop in the UK; writer lecturer and administrator)

      Verse: Leviticus 19:18

      Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

      THE REFLECTION

      Self-love must be uprooted, and the love of God take it’s place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are. Then the same principle that enables us to see our imperfections will destroy them……
      It is a sensitive self-love that cannot forgive the self-love of others. The more self-love we have , the more severe are our censures.
      There is nothing so vexatious as the collision between one excessive self-love and another still more violent and sensitive. The passions of others are infinitely ridiculous to those who are the dominion of their own.
      The ways of God are very different. He is ever full of kindness for us, he gives us strength, he regards us with pity and condescension, he remembers our weakness, he waits for us.
      The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others. We wait for providence to give the occasion, and grace to open their hearts to receive it. If you would gather the fruit before its time, you lose it entirely.

      Comments: 
      1. In pursuit of brevity, I left out about a third of this reflection, and have spent a fair amount of time, in the past, trying to plumb the depths of it.
      2. I would recommend that all married couples, of recent or otherwise vintage, matters not , take this reflection seriously. It will certainly prevent a lot of the inevitable ‘ teeth and tongue’ from meeting.
      3. Would to God that all politicians and journalists, and Priests, and all  who are so quick to criticise others, would spend time thinking about the profound truths embedded in this reflection.
      4. Finally, this reflection, very profoundly, addresses the way we ought to engage in Evangelism. Beginning with love for others, in the same way God loved us. And who as the hymn writer reminded us. ‘ was thine enemy’. Followed by patience, triggered by love and an  appreciation of our own imperfections. And a warning at the end; that if self-love and all that comes with it, if not replaced by the love of God, will  cause us to ‘ lose the harvest (fruit) completely.
      Pray God that one day we may all achieve this death of self- love…it really has to die….and witness the birth of the love of God in our souls. For the sake of self, family, community and nation; ultimately, however, for the Glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ. And who is to be worshipped in Singapore, in the USA, in #Jamaicalandwelove and the entire world.

      Of Donald Trump, Jamaica’s Independence and Salvation in Jesus Christ

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

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

      NEWS

      1. Here in the USA,  news about Donald ‘Trumps’ everything. His decision, however,  to take on the popular Fox News anchor,  Megyn Kelly, because she asked him some difficult questions about his treatment of women during the first Republican debate, has clearly backfired.

       http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/us/politics/donald-trump-disinvited-from-conservative-event-over-remark-on-megyn-kelly.html?ribbon-ad-idx=12&rref=politics

      Folks are now  waiting for the next poll to see how much the entire event has affected his chances. Meanwhile on the Democratic side,  Hillary Clinton appears to be the clear frontrunner.

      2. Back home in Jamaica, politics seems to have taken a back seat during the recent Independence celebrations. Folks will now turn their attention to the performance of the Sunshine Girls in Australia, and our athletes in Beijing.

      THE WORD OF GOD

      So, in the midst of holidays, Donald ‘trumpeting’, his own cause, and holidaying with family, what Word or inspiring word did the Lord send this week.

      The word from Bishop Gregory featured again this week, as the Lord continued to teach important lessons from the  profound story about Caleb and Joshua and the ‘ bad report’ issued by the majority of those who went up to survey the promised land. The clear message is that there are two narratives at play in the world. One written by by men, and women at various times in the history of mankind, about  life as they understand it. The other narrative is  under the sovereign rule of God; which mankind can never comprehend, but which at all times, is the only one that matters. Regardless of how important or even ‘earth shattering’, it is:  and anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this past week is one example. For although WW 11 ended soon after this cataclysmic event occurred, life on the planet, for all intent and purposes, continued. Without a pause! So, the media could focus on the antics of Trump, as long as the think it is newsworthy, in the grand sheme of things, under the sovereign rule of  God, such reportage is no  significance.

      THE FIRST MESSAGE- sent out on whatsapp.

      GM: Yesterday  church our Bishop preached a wonderful Emancipation Day Sermon which I choose to entitle ‘ Whose report shall you believe’?
      Which is also the title of a wonderful song by Ron Kenoly, and which question was raised by a patient who having had surgery found herself in my office with complications. So rather than feeling down and sad and overcome with negative feeling, she posed the question: ‘ Whose report shall I believe about my life’? Praise God!
      As you read the text which inspired the Bishop’s sermon, ask yourself, as I have been doing since yesterday, whenever negative feelings threaten to overcome you, both on a personal and national level, ‘ whose report shall  I believe’?  My own imagination, the devil or the report of the Lord, who in Christ has empowered us by the Holy Spirit to overcome everything that is against us and is not of God.

      THE WORD OF GOD

      http://bible.com/111/num.13.26-33.niv They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”  Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

      I would encourage you to read the climax of the story in Numbers chapter 14, as eventually Moses had to beg for the lives of those who refused to believe ‘ the report of the Lord’. In the same way Jesus died for us who,  as sinners,  were always rebelling against the Lord. So we sing ‘ More about Jesus, would I know’.

      Finally, although we are surrounded by people of negative report, who do not believe that we can overcome the many challenges we face as a #QuadrupleMurder #TeenagePregnancy #CorruptOfficials #RebellionagaistGod country, read again about the power of prayer in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles to which I was led recently. And which story has been in my mind ever since.
      ” For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power”. 1 Cor.4:20 NIV.

      THE WORD OF GOD


      http://bible.com/111/act.13.6-12.niv They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

      The point is that even though the Lord  may not give us the power to smite agents of evil who oppose the Word of God ( a good thing as most of us would abuse such powers), what is undeniable,  is that we have the power to rebuke such evil thoughts from our minds. And everything begins there.

      So starting today, whose report about yourself, your family, your community, and your nation shall you believe? The devil’s or the Word of God.
      If therefore, as children of the Resurrection, we are faithful, even though the vision of a better society, tarries, let us wait upon it, for He who promised the victory over evil is faithful.
      And who knows, like Esther, we may have been appointed to be in #Jamaicalandwelove at a time like this.
      Peace.

      https://youtu.be/tk_Z0QSVF04

      THE SECOND MESSAGE  – one of the things we who are,  by virtue of our Baptisme, children of of God, is that an important  part of the narrative that we need to appreciate, is that God is a good God. And therefore ‘ to grumbling and murmuring’ are signs that we really doy do not trust this God who has promised ‘ provide for all our needs”. Which is the exact opposite of the ‘bad report’ given by those who ent p to survey the ‘promised lan’. And which attitude is very prevalent among Christains today, when we perceive that things are not going according to our plans. A very dangerous thing to persist in doing.

      GM: This story about Caleb and Joshua and the ‘bad report’, the grumbling, the murmuring, given by those sent up to ‘ explore the land’, is one that all of us should read very carefully in Numbers 13 & 14.
      Why?
      Two reflections, one very short, the other a bit longer,  give us some insight . And both of which I found nestled in the pages of my Devotional Bible in and around where the story is located.

      The first one:
      ‘ He that complains or murmurs is not perfect, nor is he even a good Christian’ – John of the Cross…. One of the early Church Fathers.

      The second one:

      THOSE WHO MURMUR

      Charles H. Sthsnkn 1834-1892….A great English Baptist preacher who preached to a congregation of 6000 for years until he died.

      Verse: Numbers. 12:1-2

      There are Murmurers among Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, ” Why am I so afflicted? What have I done to be chastened like this?

      Allow me a word with you who murmur. Why should you murmur against the dispensations of your heavenly Father? Can He treat you more harshly than you deserve? Consider what a rebel you once were, but he pardoned you! Surely, if He in his wisdom sees fit to chasten you, you should not complain.

      Does not that proud, rebellious spirit of yours prove that your heart is not yet sanctified? Those murmuring words are contrary to the holy, submissive nature of God’s children. Is not the correction needed? But if you murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers.

      But know one thing – ” He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men”. ( Lamentations 3:33, KJV)
      All his corrections are sent in love, to purify you, and to draw you into himself. Surely it must help you bear the chastening if you are able to recognize your Father’s hand. For, ‘ whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons’. Hebrews 12:6-7. ‘ Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10.

      Two things we need to learn from this story. One is to look back, and forward also, and recognize God’s love and mercy  in the midst of the trials, the chastenings of life. And to give thanks, as individuals, and as a nation for the times when a merciful and wise Father has been, and will continue,  to ‘ draw us until Himself’. Ultimately, in and through Christ Jesus, who suffered more than any man ever did, so that in Him we might find Peace with God.

      The second point is more sobering. Don’t play with God’s mercy, love and authority. Don’t keep on rebelling, and rejecting the shed Blood of His Son. Note that all of those who ‘ gave a bad report’, died of the plague. Every single one except Caleb and Joshua. Further, none of the ‘ murmuring children of Israel’, who God rescued with a mighty hand from Pharoah, reached the promised land. They all perished in the desert. Every single one. Only their children were allowed to enter the promised land.
      So, my friends:
      ‘ Today, if  you hear his voice,
      do not harden your hearts
      as you did in the rebellion,
      during the time of testing in the desert’….Hebrews 3: 8 NIV.

      A word to the Baptized and equally so to the Unbaptized. Amen.

      Lucien W. Jones

      THE THIRD LESSON – Towards the end of his seminal lecture/sermon, Bishop Gregory reminds us to engage the future within the framework of God’s covenant relationship with His people. In that context then, it is imperative that as a nation, we begin to understand and relate to the different narrative than what the ‘daily diet of negativity’ being trotted out to our nation daily by folks with another agenda, and serving up a different narrative. So ‘whose report shall we believe’ ought to become a national debate. That of the media, and our own appreciation of life. Or that of the Lord.

      GM: On this Independence Day, ‘ whose report shall we believe’? That the new powerhouse in Media, the Gleaner and RJR combination, along with the music industry, will continue to alert us, in subtle and overt means that :
      Crime and violence is the # 1 problem; that ‘ young girl business mash up Jamaica’ in many and varied ways: that there is no end to the ‘ warring by the two political tribes’ ; that growing the economy should be our main priority in the coming years; that ‘ the church has a limited role in forging national unity and planning for national development’; that the church ought to ‘ stay out of people’s bedrooms; that education is more about preparing a people to compete effectively in the global market place than about learning to live in peace with one another; that we will see very little change in people having ‘ wrong addresses’ in our lifetime; and that having a just and moral society is just  a ‘ pipedream’.

      But there is a different ‘ report’ carried in the Book of Ephesians to which I was led this morning. A Report that tells us about  our Creator God’s plan for mankind in and through Christ Jesus. For in the Creator’s unfathomable mind, the single greatest problem mankind faces is to be reconciled to God and with each other.
      Yes we must ‘ pray for the city, for if it prospers, we too will prosper’, according to Jeremiah. In the sense that all of us are called to live in community in one form or another. But, as the ‘ exiled people of Israel’, on this earth, to whom the words of Jeremiah inspired by God, we mankind, are only passing through this world. This is the perspective we need to keep in mind as we celebrate  Independence today.
      For ultimately, our Freedom, in the eyes of our Creator,  has been won by Christ on Calvary. And so St. Paul writes, and then prays a wonderful prayer. The end result of all of this ought be a desire to :

      More about Jesus would I know
      more of his grace to others show
      more of his saving fullness see
      more of his love who died for me.

      For the Eternal Reality is that all of mankind’s problems, all of our National problems are rooted in Sin. Sin which produces injustice, murder, sexual immorality, greed, envy: all of which are at the heart of Jamaica’s problems in 2015.

      THE WORD

      http://bible.com/111/eph.1.3-10.niv Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

      THE PRAYER – for all of us to, reflect on deeply, and to use regularly. For the reality is that God had appointed, and anointed,  the Church to rescue Jamaica. And not the Commissioner of Police, nor the Prime Minister, nor the PSOJ, nor the IMF, nor the self-appointed gurus in the Media.

      http://bible.com/111/eph.1.15-23.niv For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

      Comment: So as we celebrate our Independence this remember that in life perspective is everything. Especially when revealed by He who Created everything, and gave us breath so that we might live. And then gave us ‘ new life’ in Christ Jesus. God Almighty. To Him be all honor and glory and power, this day and forevermore. Amen

      THE FOURTH MESSAGE  – OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGES ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE THAT I’VE BEEN  LED TO WRITE. WHICH SOBERINGLY ENDS WITH JUDGEMENT

      GM: Deep in the bosom of family,  and inundated by the American media’s reportage of Donald Trump madness, some clear instructions/reminders from the Lord.
      Most importantly, last night, all through the night, on and off, with our eldest grandson nestled between us:

      Christ has Died;
      Christ is Risen;
      Christ will Come again…..a Doctrine we repeat every Sunday at Church.

      And with an explanation:
      The first Revelation, Christ has died is beyond our understanding.  We can neither touch nor comprehend what happened on the Cross of Calvary. We can only accept this amazing Gift of God’s grace and mercy. An Atonement for Sin, whose plans were hatched long before Creation. And long before The Fall in the Garden of Eden.

      The Second Revelation is where mankind lives, and where we make our choices. Where we ‘ pray for the city, for if the city prospers, we too will proper. Where we grow up either in the fear of the Lord, or without Him, and without hope in the world. Where we marry, or ‘shack up’, have children, bring them up in the fear of the Lord, or leave them open to ‘ wolves on sheep clothing’. Where we go to the movies, to the beach, hang with friends, or just stay home and watch XBox.
      Where we cheer on the Fins, or Man U or Liverpool or The Gunners and stay away from ‘ the special one’. Where we root for the Sunshine Girls, the ReggaeBoyz #GoldCupruunerup, and Bolt and #RealShellyAnn.
      Where our children grow up in #Jamaicalandwelove or in the #USA or #Canada or #TheUk. And they have children, and the cycle begins all over again.
      The challenge is that if we don’t Rise with Christ, if we don’t become Children of the Resurrection, if we do not become ‘ a new creation in Christ’, then the Third Revelation will be a Terror for us, and life, despite it’s many joys and sorrows would have been pointless.
      For the reason why Christ will come again, the Second Time around, is not to Save the world, but to Judge it.
      As Scripture reveals that: It is appointed  for all men once to die, and then the Judgement.
      So the time to make a choice is now. And not when we are unable to choose!
      So what’s it going to be. Making money, seeking Power, enjoying all the pleasures of this world, without any regard to the death of Christ on the Cross of Calvary?  Or accepting the revelation that ‘ all have sinned’ and fallen short of the Glory of God’; and therefore gratefully accepting the free Gift of Salvation wrought on Calvary?

      That’s the only choice that really matters in life. Much more so that who you marry, how many children you choose to have, which country you choose to live, or which politician you elect to run your country.

      Furthermore choosing to truly and humbly live ‘ in Christ’, makes us better citizens. More compassionate. Gives us greater wisdom. Makes us kinder and gentler. More willing to sacrifice self and our desires for the good of others. In this life! And grants us entry into Eternal Life with our Creator God. All by the power of The Holy Spirit Who comes to live with us at Baptism. And whose life in us grows more and more as we live a life of Prayer, regular Worship, participate regularly in Holy Communion or Lord’s Supper, serve the Poor and Testify to everybody the Gospel of Jesus.

      Joshua famously chose to serve the Lord. Along with his family. What choice will we make today, as ‘ no man or woman knoweth when the Son of Man, Christ the Judge, will come again? #Judgement.

      Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence, a word from Bishop Gregory and ‘whose report shall you believe’. The Lord’s or that of men!

      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. Jamaica’s ‘Emancipendence’ celebrations, a marriage of Emancipation and Independence, began yesterday on August 1. And this celebration has dominated the news in my country. Yes, news about the ‘ lost’ Malaysian Plane was welcome. Yes, an analysis shared by the Minister of National Security, which revealed that gang on gang violence accounted for much of the 70% year on year increase in murder, was very newsworthy. So too other happenings in the world, but at age 53, and celebrating, celebrating, this trumped everything else in my mind.

      Emancipation Day Celebration – Emancipation Park Jamaica

      Emancipation Day Celebration – Emancipation Park Jamaica
      HOW WE CELEBRATE EMANCIPATION DAY
      View on http://www.emancipationpark.org.jm
      Preview by Yahoo

      Further,the Anglican Diocesan Bishop of Jamaica, the Rt. Reverend Howard Gregory delivered a sermon that ought to be a must read, for all who are seeking solutions for Jamaica’s many social, economic and moral ills; and are willing to experience a different perspective and a different narrative from what we see and hear in the media day by day. Having had that experience today, I blogged the sermon and circulated it on Twitter and other social media sites. Hopefully it will gain the attention that such a sermon on such an important day in the life of the country deserves.

      Sermon on the celebration of Jamaica’s Emancipation by Bishop Howard Gregory

      image

      Sermon on the celebration of Jamaica’s Emancipation by B…
      This sermon was preached at St. Andrew ( Anglican) Parish Church in Kingston Jamaica by the Rt. Reverend Howard Gregory, The Anglican Diocesan Bisho…
      View on danielgodsurelywilld…
      Preview by Yahoo

      THE WORD OF GOD

      So, apart from Bishop Gregory’s sermon what other Word or inspired word did the lord send this week? Four messages were received and sent out on WhatsApp. And they feature the words of a hymn which touched my heart at church last week. More about Jesus would I know….a song which I have decided to make my anthem and would recommend it strongly to everyone. For the knowledge of Jesus, and a life committed to Him, despite the media attention that Donald Trump, is receiving, and what President #Whatagwann Obama attracts every time he open his mouth, Jamaica’s salvation rests squarely on the advice of The Psalmist – Except the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. 127:1

      The First message – When you read the Bishop’s sermon, we will find out that despite our best efforts, no one can obey the commands of a holy God. And the quote from Matthew below, brings everything into very sharp focus. That is why we need not just #Emancipationfrommentalslavery as sung by Bob Marley, but ‘salvation’ by the Blood of Jesus, for our many, many sins. hence the importance of both hymns!.

      GM: For those of us who have ‘ good opinion’ about ourselves, this is going to be a rough ride. At least initially! For those of us who cry out night and day for mercy, as sinners before a compassionate God, this message will be comforting.
      It all began last night when my heart had settled after the brave #ReggaeBoyz lost the match. And as I read the meditation below from Oswald Chambers, I realized how important this passage of Scripture is in our need for Salvation in Christ Jesus. And to foster and create this desire for Jesus, is the only goal of this WhatsApp ministry.
      Actually it might even have began at church yesterday when we sang, to a very lively tune, the words of the hymn:

      More about Jesus would I know,
      more if his grace to others show;
      more of his saving fullness see,
      more of his love who died for me.

      Chorus

      More, more about Jesus,
      more, more about Jesus;
      more of his saving fullness see,
      more of his love, who died for me……

      So now to the reason why we have #quadrupleMurder and #Teendeath and #KillingofPolice in our country. For these things can happen to anyone of us, and for which reason Christ died. This reality, like it or not, believe it or not, forms the foundation of a very ‘ disturbing’ mediation by Chambers.

      The Way to Purity

      Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart . . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . -Matthew 15:18-20

      Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. Then when we hear these strong statements from our Lord, we shrink back, saying, “But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart.” We resent what He reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”? If I will take an honest look at myself, becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and putting it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I will be appalled at the possibilities of the evil and the wrong within me. But as long as I remain under the false security of my own “innocence,” I am living in a fool’s paradise. If I have never been an openly rude and abusive person, the only reason is my own cowardice coupled with the sense of protection I receive from living a civilized life. But when I am open and completely exposed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.
      The only thing that truly provides protection is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will simply hand myself over to Him, I will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity.

      Comment: This morning I was arrested by one of my favourite hymns. A hymn which speaks to many of the issues raised in the meditation above. And most specifically of our tendency to be ‘ prone to wander’ from the God I love. Vs 3. The hymn begins with a prayer for a song of praise. For ‘ streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise’. Vs 1.

      And in verse two, the reason why we ought to sing loudly forever is revealed: ‘ Jesus sought me when a stranger….
      I pray God we will also learn to sing praises to a compassionate God who in Christ has rescued us from the ‘ evil which resides in all of us’.
      And which evil if not cast out by #Jesus will continue to wreak havoc in high places and in low places in my country. In #RightAddresses and in #WrongAddrresses.

      1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
      tune my heart to sing thy grace;
      streams of mercy, never ceasing,
      call for songs of loudest praise.
      Teach me some melodious sonnet,
      sung by flaming tongues above.
      Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
      mount of thy redeeming love.

      2. Here I find my greatest treasure;
      hither by thy help I’m come;
      and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
      safely to arrive at home.
      Jesus sought me when a stranger,
      wandering from the fold of God;
      he, to rescue me from danger,
      interposed his precious blood.

      3. O to grace how great a debtor
      daily I’m constrained to be!
      Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
      bind my wandering heart to thee.
      Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
      prone to leave the God I love;
      here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
      seal it for thy courts above.

      Peace.

      THE SECOND MESSAGE – one of the biggest challenges we face as nation, is how to free the minds of our young people, in particular, from enslavement to lusts of the flesh. So the Lord sends a message in this respect. Again, more about Jesus would I know….

      GM: Yesterday the word from the Lord placed a focus on the evil within us, and then why we ought to sing praises to Him who ‘ interposed His precious Blood’ to rescue us.
      This morning as I began my devotions, expecting to be guided by one of the readings for Sunday, into my mind came a Word from Colossians. A difficult Word for some, who have been led astray by human regulations, and fanciful preoccupations with Angels, and have lost touch with the Head, who is Christ alone.
      Very disturbingly, and a clear warning to those who get too excited about anything else in their Christian walk, apart from Christ, is that the Word ends like this:

      ” But they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence”.

      Now sensuality is not all about sexuality, but it certainly includes it. And the temptation to engage in premarital sex, and extra marital sex and pornography is a very serious matter in the Church. And without a doubt an even greater problem outside the Church. And which part of the ‘ lack of restraint in sensual indulgence’, including our music genres ‘ tempted to touch, tempted to touch’, constitutes one the major problems in our #TeenMurder #ChildAbuse #Sexatanearlyage #BreakdowninFamilyLife #TeenagePregnancy #STD #HIV #Rape #FourBurner country.

      The call then is to focus on Christ and Christ alone, to rescue us as individuals, and collectively as a nation.

      THE WORD OF GOD – Colossians 2:6-23 NIV

      http://bible.com/111/col.2.6-23.niv So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

      More, more, about Jesus
      More, more about Jesus
      More of his saving fullness see
      More of his love who died for me.

      THE THIRD MESSAGE – one of the ‘lost’ features of a well developed life is the appreciation of how trials and troubles serve to strengthen us. A lesson our enslaved forebears learnt well. And which life skills honed in the fires of ‘troubles’ helped to forge a society which knew how to ‘wait upon the Lord’. Compare this with the ‘wisdom’ of the present age, which encourages us to ‘forget about God’ and seek your own salvation.

      GM: I was very pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the hymn, ‘ More about Jesus would I know’. So many folks responded, and before we sang it in church last Sunday, I had never heard it before. Praise God!
      In fact, one day this week, having read the meditation in which it featured, my nurse and two other patients, presented themselves in my office, and sang the first verse for me. And of course I duly recorded the event.
      So we want to know more about Jesus. Last night, and validated by another mediation which I was led to read this morning during my meditations, the Lord sent a clear message to us who would know more about Jesus.

      OSWALD CHAMBERS

      Do You See Jesus in Your Clouds?
      Behold, He is coming with clouds . . . -Revelation 1:7
      In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds- He does not come in clear-shining brightness.
      It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn. something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child- a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?
      There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.
      “. . . they were fearful as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is “no one anymore, but only Jesus . . .” (Mark 9:8 ; also see Mark 2-7).
      COMMENT: Not much comment is needed after such a clear message. But during my lunchtime devotions yesterday, I was led to ponder briefly on an important Word from Peter. And it came into my head last night as I slept.

      ” All men are like grass,
      and all their glory is like the
      flowers if the field;
      the grass withers and the flowers fall,
      but the word of the Lord stands forever. “. 1 Peter 1:24-25 NIV

      There are many possible reasons why the Lord wished me, and all of us to focus on this Word. And each of will no doubt come to different conclusions. However, in this context of ‘ until other people become shadows to us’, especially our religious leaders and ‘ stars’ like T. D. Jake’s, Osten and others, there is a clear warning for us to ‘ use the clouds of life’, to learn to depend on God, and God alone to direct our thoughts so that we may indeed ‘ know more about Jesus’.
      This is therefore not a call to abandon our relationship with those who have been, and continue to be, the leaders of the flock, nor to undermine the important role they play in discipling the flock. But rather a warning not to depend on man alone to lead us into a lasting relationship with God, but only Christ and Him Crucified – The Living Word of God.
      The other point which we need not belabor, but which we dare not forget, is that there are ‘ no clouds’ associated with the ‘ Prosperitygospel’. I say no more.
      Finally, if we, as children of the Resurrection, have been foolish enough, to place our faith and future in the hands of our favorite political leader, whether local or international, this Word calls us back to our ‘ right senses’.
      Pray God that as we wait, in faith, for the rain to fall, and the economy to turn around, and the Crime and Violence to decline, and our personal troubles to recede, we may indeed come ‘ know more about Jesus’ in the clouds of life. Peace.

      THE FOURTH MESSAGE – again the hymn is featured. Along with a popular Word with lots of relevance for our present day situation.

      GM: I have decided to make ‘ More about Jesus would I know’, my daily anthem. My daily prayer! My goal in life! My anthem to be sung regularly!
      So this morning as I reflected on the entire hymn, but with a focus on the first verse, I was blessed once again.
      Further, as I remembered to hunger and thirst for a deeper knowledge of ‘ the love of Him who died for me’, my regular early morning prayers, which those who are a new to this ministry may not know, became more alive.
      Especially, as I read again the context in which they were written, or presented to us.

      A MORNING WATCH
      Jacob Boheme ( 1575-1624.. an influential German Lutheran mystic whose writings were based on ‘ Divine Revelations’, and spiritual experience…. )

      Verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14. NIV.

      A very well known and often quoted passage of Scripture. But what may not be appreciated is the context in which those verses were given to Israel. Listen carefully and see how the Word applies to us here in #Jamaicalandwelove.

      The Word of God

      http://bible.com/111/2ch.7.11-15.niv When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal the land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
      So my friends, has the Lord ‘ shut up the heavens that there is no rain’? Has the Lord ‘ sent modern day plagues’ among us, in the form of Chik V and HIV?. Has the Lord sent ‘ locusts’ in the form of wicked gunmen to ‘ devour the land?
      These are serious questions for a Nation, whose forefathers were set free from slavery by the mighty hand of the Lord, and which children have now turned away from the Living God to ‘ idols’, who cannot help us in times of trials.
      So now when Jamaica is ‘ covered by many clouds’, God, a merciful God, is calling us, in the midst of the clouds, to ‘ know, and to return, to the love of Him who died for us’.
      For to know and to love #JesusismyLordandSavior is the proper response to :
      “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
      So as we pray for relief from the drought, from the modern day plagues, and from the ‘ locusts’ let us sing:

      More about Jesus, would I know,
      more of his grace to others show;
      more of his saving fullness see,
      more of his love who died for me….

      And let us pray the prayers written centuries ago by a man of God. Jacob Boheme.

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

      ON RISING
      Rule over me this day, O God, leading me on the path of righteousness. Put your Word in my mind and your truth in my heart, that this day I neither think nor feel anything except what is good and honest. Protect me from all lies and falsehood, helping me to discern deception wherever I meet it. Let my eyes always look straight ahead on the road you wish me to tread, that I might not be tempted by any distraction. And make my eyes pure, that no false desires may be awakened in me.

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

      THE FINAL MESSAGE – is suitable an Emancipation message. One of the things which distinguishes Christianity from all other movements and religions, is the verse which reveals that ” The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power”. 1 Cor. 4:20 NIV. How else can we explain the similarity between the text in the Bishop’s sermon and the one below, other than the power of the Holy Spirit at work.. Which is precisely why we should ‘believe the report of the Lord’, the minority report given by Caleb and Joshua, in Bishop Gregory’s sermon, and not the report of those who would spew negativity, and prevent Jamaica, from under God, realizing its full potential as a freed people.

      GM: Happy Emancipation day to everybody. As I awake, and go to prepare coffee for her, and hot ( Swiss already prepackaged…smile) chocolate for me, my wife turns on the radio and strains of Third World’s hit song, ” Now that you have found love, what are you going to do with it”?
      And so while I am thinking, what have we as a country, done with this precious gift of freedom, secured by the blood, sweat and tears, of our forebears, the Lord led me to a very profound meditation.
      But first last night’s experience with Oswald Chambers.

      TILL YOU ARE ENTIRELY HIS
      Verse: ” Let your endurance be a finished product, so that you may be finished and complete, with never a defect. James 1: 4 (Moffatt)
      What CHAMBERS wrote, as inspired by this verse, was interesting, and I’ll share it one day, by God’s will. But remember the verse as we contemplate a serious challenge from the Lord on this Emancipation Day. A Day that Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, and the Clapham Sect led by William Wilberforce, all inspired by the Word of God, played an important role, enduring to the end, in securing our Freedom.

      THE CONCLUSION OF THE TASK Chris Tiegreen
      Verse: Joshua 18:3

      Joshua rebuked the inertness of the people. He said to the children of Israel, ” How long are ye slack to go in to possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?” 18:3 KJV.
      At that point the twenty-one commissioners arose to walk through the land and surveyed it……It may be that the account of what they had seen was the means under God of arousing the people from the apathy into which they had sunk.
      Too long have we been slack to go in and possess that fullness of the Holy Spirit that might be on us as a living spring, making us perfectly satisfied..
      There is a knowledge of Jesus, a participation in His victory, a realization of blessedness, which are as much beyond the ordinary experience of Christians as Canaan was better than the wilderness. But how sad, that of all this we know do little.
      How much we miss! The nomad life could not afford those seven tribes so much lasting enjoyment as their own freehold in Canaan. But the comparison is utterly inadequate to portray the loss to which we subject ourselves in refusing to appropriate and and enjoy the blessedness that is laid up for us in Jesus.
      Let us come to Joshua at Shiloh, and ask him to lead us into each of these.

      Comments:
      1. I am constantly amazed how the Lord leads us, and provides material, at the right time, to reflect on. And more importantly to be obedient.
      2. During my lunchtime yesterday, I was led to read Solomon’s prayer as he dedicated the Temple to God. Which then led to the famous quote: If my people…..
      And the thing that struck me was that, as he listed the many ways in which Israel had sinned against the Living God, kneeling on the ground in humble submission before God, and leading the Intercessionary prayers, he cried out: ” Hear and forgive “.
      I pray God that as individuals and as children of the Resurrection, we, contemplating how we have ‘ lacked the endurance to become a finished product’; and how we have ‘ slack to possess the fullness of the Holy Spirit’, we like Solomon may cry out to God, ‘ hear and forgive’.
      For the reality is that we have far too satisfied with a ‘ superficial Christian life’, which poses little or no threat to the evil forces, ‘ the locusts’, about which we read in 2 Chronicles, yesterday, which have captured our country. And the kind of superficial Christianity which blends into the life of the world, and the unredeemed, so that people often cannot tell the difference.
      3. This kind of ‘ superficial witness’ which has no power to effect change, is not what Sam Sharpe and others gave their lives for; and more importantly not what the shed Blood of Christ was given for.
      For the reality is that ‘ unless the watchman builds the house they labour in vain’. And the only watchman which God had appointed is the Church of Jesus Christ. For unredeemed people cannot successfully and sustainably fight against the evil of #quadrupleMurder.
      So the answer to the question of ‘ now that we have gained Emancipation what are we going to do with it’, lies squarely in the hands and hearts of the Christian community.
      Therefore if our anthem is not ‘ more about Jesus would I know’, but more about the world would I experience, then Jamaica will continue to suffer under the hands of evil men.
      4. Our role this Emancipation then, is to humble ourselves, kneeling on the ground before a merciful God, and cry out for ourselves and our Nation, ‘ O God, hear and forgive.
      Then, and only then can we go out wearing our bandana and denim, and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, 53 next week.
      Peace.