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).
Because we know what it is to fear the Lord we try to persuade men
The news out of Sophia in Romania about the 27 young people who perished, and 80 plus badly burnt, in a fire touched me deeply. This happened is folks were out to celebrate Halloween and got permission to use pyrotechnics in a Night Club which had only one entrance and one exit. What a tragedy and eminently preventable waste of precious human life!
The terrible waste of human lives in yet another plane crash; this time a Russian plane carrying tourists from Egypt to St. Petersburg. Again what a tragedy!
The continued standoff between Opposition and Government Senators in Jamaica, with no apparent resolution in sight.
The circumstances surrounding the terrible loss of young lives, 19 premature babies died recently in two hospitals, and the public’s overwhelmingly negative reaction to those who they assume to be responsible.
THE WORD OF GOD
In the midst of these tragedies and controversy in the Senate, what Word or inspired word did the Lord send this week.
THE FIRST MESSAGE – sets the stage for the entire mail out this week. The ominous presence of Sin; which has wounded the entire human race and led to so much trials and trouble. And which condition can only be rescued by the ‘ Blood of the Lamb’.
GM: THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
As I awoke early this morning to finish, by God’s grace, a sermon on Healing, I was struck by the profound summary of the essence of the Christian faith which two verses of a wonderful hymn provides.
The first one I have been inspired to use as a prayer at the beginning of the Sermon. And the other at the end.
One captures the essence of the human condition – wounded by Sin, and held captive by the Prince of Darkness – and describes fulsomely the great rescue plan by God in Christ. While the other is a prescription for how and why and what ought to occupy our thoughts, influence our prayers, and fill the yearnings of our hearts. All because God in Christ, with the kind of love that passeth all human understanding, died for us on that wondrous Cross. And which kind of Love demands, ‘our life, our soul our all’.
Can you imagine how our nation would change, overnight, and would be healed of so much evil and challenges, if more and more of us would consider deeply, and be obedient to this word; even as we go to the house of the Lord to worship on this glorious Sunday morning. Or stay at home, having worshiped on the Sabbath. Or just stay at home. Or be otherwise occupied.
THE HYMN – HARK MY SOUL IT IS THE LORD.
The opening prayer/verse two
I delivered thee when bound,
And when bleeding, healed thy wound;
Sought thee wandering, set the right
Turned thy darkness into light.
The closing prayer/verse six
Lord it is my chief complaint,
That my love for thee is weak and faint;
Yet I love thee and adore,
O for grace to love thee more.
Please pray for me, as I continue to pray for all who receive these messages as appointed by the Lord.
THE SECOND MESSAGE – features a history lesson on the UK in the 18th Century and how much we in Jamaica can learn from that experience, as we struggle with our own ‘savagery’. All caused by Sin.
GM: THE DAWN WILL COME ONE DAY
I woke up this morning with verse two from yesterday’s message in my head.
I delivered thee when bound,
and when bleeding healed thy wounds;
Sought thee wandering, set the free
turned thy darkness into light.
Then out out nowhere came a familiar verse:
‘ Have you ever given orders to the dawn’
Initially I thought it was from one of the Psalms; and went there searching for it. But then, rather than have me waste previous time on a busy Monday morning, I was reminded that it came from Job.
Here’s the full text:
” Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
Job 38:12 NIV
The significance of this Word, in this context, is that it came when Job, having trusted that ‘ his Redeemer lives’, in the midst of his suffering, stood before the Lord, and was about to see the ‘dawn’. Was about to have his ‘ darkness turned to light’.
Yesterday, during the sermon on Healing, I made reference to John Wesley, of whom it was said, by his preaching and social activism, brought about a Revival in 18th Century Britain, and helped to ‘give back Britain it’s soul’.
I share with you, under instructions by the Spirit, the situation in Britain then. In order that we may appreciate that, with the help of people who trust in Him, God will, one day, turn Jamaica’s dark days of Crime and Violence, Corruption in high places, Suffering and Injustice and wanton Immorality in #WrongAddrresses and in #Muchsoughtafteraddrresses into light. The dawn will indeed come one day, when the ‘ wicked will be shaken out’. Those who persist in doing evil, and refuse to accept the free Gift of Salvation, despite the fact that God is patient. And waits, and longs for the Prodigal Son and Daughter, with open arms. To forgive!
EXCEPT FROM THE SERMON
Listen carefully then as we journey back to 18th Century Britain and see if we can find any hope for our nation.
“Wesley Bready described the deep savagery of much of 18th century Britain, which was characterized by the wanton torture of animals for sport, the bestial drunkenness of the populace, the inhuman traffic in African negroes, the kidnapping of fellow countrymen for export and sale as salves, the mortality of of parish children, the universal gambling obsession, the savagery of the prison system and penal code, the welter of immorality, the prostitution of the theatre, the growing prevalence of lawlessness, superstition and lewdness; the political bribery and corruption, the ecclesiastical arrogance and truculence….the insincerity and debasement rampant in Church and State – such manifestations suggest that the British people were then perhaps as deeply degraded and debauched as any people in Christendom.
But then things began to change…slavery and the slave trade were abolished, the prison system humanized, conditions in factory and mine improved, education became available to the poor, trades unions began.
And so the historian posed the key question – Whence, then, this pronounced humanity – this passion for social justice, and sensitivity to human wrongs. The answer he suggests lay with the Evangelical revival of that time in British History which did more to transfigure the moral character of the general populace than any other movement British History can recall. Wesley then, a preacher of the gospel and a prophet of social righteousness was the man who restored to a nation its soul.”
Remarkable similarity to today’s Jamaica is it not? And we are always reminded that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forevermore. What He has done before, He will do it again. We just need to believe, and be obedient to His calling to have mercy on the least ‘ of these my children’. The naked, the hungry, those in all kinds of prisons, the sick and the destitute – suffering humanity. Including the wicked and the ungrateful.
I close with a final except. One that requires no additional comment.
There is a popular gospel song, the chorus of which reminds us that ;
‘We need to get back
To the basics of life
A heart that is pure
A love that is blind
A faith that is fervently
Grounded in Christ’
THE THIRD MESSAGE – begins a narrative which continues in the next message on the importance of ‘abiding in Christ’. Before we hurry to ask Him to ‘fix the world’.
GM: JESUS THE HIGHER GROUND
Yesterday I woke up with this verse in my head. The King James Version.
” If ye abide in me, and my word abides in thee, then ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto thee”. John 15:7
So I read the entire chapter. Other revelations came into my head. Then one of my favorite hymns came also.
” I’m pressing on the upward way.. “.
Conclusion: While the many challenges that we face move us to ‘ ask Jesus what we will’; the crime and violence; the deeply polarized political culture – a disagreement in a debate leads to Senators becoming ‘ enemies’ #SouthAfricanThanksgivingPrayer; can’t pay the light bill; husband giving trouble; pickney giving trouble; sudden illness; having a hard time at work or studying….. all kinds of stuff… put a stop to #DonaldTrump: what Jesus would have us do is simply to first ‘ abide in Him’. Just spend time with Him and love Him and worship Him. For He is the Higher Ground that we all seek.
Then we shall ask, pray, and it shall be given unto us. Including removing the doubts and fears, and protection from Satan’s darts. Preventing us from doing ‘ our will and not His will’ – the great temptation that every child of God faces daily. In the Senate; in media; at home; at work; on WhatsApp; at work; wherever….a lived reality which a Baptist Pastor and member of this WhatsApp ministry reminded me about recently… Amen
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
Lucien W. Jones
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – The instruction to ‘ abide with Christ’ continues.
GN: QUALITY TIME WITH JESUS. SHAKINAH IS ALL I ASK FOR
Premature babies are dying from infections. The business of the Senate is still on hold: with no resolution in sight! Murder is up by 20% compared to last year; even though thank God all other major crimes are down. Motor cycle fatalities have just about doubled since last year, thus pushing up road fatalities sbove 300. And we have two months to go before year end! Breast cancer month is coming to an end as we mobilize all efforts to ensure ‘ early detection’.
So the natural tendency is to cry put to God in prayer. And so we should! But in continuation of the message a couple days ago, ‘ If ye abide in me….’
the Spirit of the Lord led me to reflect of our need to seek the Glory of God first. In and through one of the most haunting songs I’ve heard. We used to sing it regular in Church, but of late not much anymore.
♥ ~IN THE CHAMBER~ ♥
Enter the chamber
Be free Holy Spirit
Speak thru me gently
As I close the door
Let Thy presence cover
Is all I long for
For if all we really long for is to ‘ lift up the Name of Jesus’ then our work as Missionaries, or those who choose the ‘ moral high ground ‘ will become much more rewarding. And effective!
The same message came a couple of nights ago from Oswald Chambers Devotional readings.
Oct 27. THE METHOD OF MISSIONS
Verse: Go ye therefore and disciple all nations. Matt. 28:19
…..The challenge to the Missionary does not come on the line that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, that there is a ‘ wadge ‘ of callous indifference: but along the line of his own personal relationship to Jesus Christ.
” Believe ye that I am able to do this “.
Our Lord puts that question squarely, it faces us in every individual case we meet. The one great challenge is – Do I know my Risen Lord?
Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit?
For a child of God to be fully empowered by the Holy Spirit, there must be a desire to spend quality time, to have a relationship with the One who died for our sins. And not for us just to seek Him in times of trouble.
And yesterday as I spent time praying for the desire to just ‘ Abide in Him’, rather than rushing to ask, this familiar verse from that real old time hymn, Rock of Ages came into my mind. One which speaks graphically about both abiding and seeking.
3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
May we, daily, cultivate the desire in our souls to see the Glory , the Shekinah, of the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
Then, and only then will we be able to, with the Power and Wisdom of God, intervene effectively in the standoff in the Senate; fight against, not flesh and blood, but the powers of darkness which cause men to kill and rape and do all manner of evil; to rescue our people from death and injury on our roads; to put a shield around our neonates in hospital and in the womb, and to mobilize all our forces to fight against cancer.
Lucien W. Jones
THE FINAL MESSAGE – AGAIN ON WHATSAPP FEATURES A GREAT THEOLOGICAL TRUTH – THAT EVERYTHING COMES FROM GOD. AND THAT THEREFORE MUST BE NO BOASTING. A LESSON THIS AGE COULD DO WELL TO FOLLOW AS WE GROW TO DEPEND SO MUCH ON TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTERS IN OUR LIVES
GM : I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME
And as I began my prayers before writing what the Lord laid on my heart all day yesterday, in respect of the theme above – about which He has been revealing to me a long time now – a voice said, ‘ no hymn today’. Seriously! I kid you not. And immediately ‘ I must have my Saviour with me, for I dare not walk alone’ came into my mind’. #AlmostFrightening.
Even though I am eager to share, excited even, the latest revelation from the Lord ( always in context) the Prayers I use in the mornings come first. Good thing! Think about the opening verses of all three – ON WAKING: ON RISING: ON GOING TO WORK respectively – and see how they are, not just relevant, but of critical importance to the message.
‘ Living Lord, you have watched over me, and put your hand on my head, during the long dark hours of night…….’
‘ 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……..’
‘ Give me dear Lord, a pure heart and wise mind, that I may carry out the my work according to your will……..’
The third one ends with this profound truth:
….Above all, remind me constantly that I have nothing except what you give me, and can do nothing except what you enable me.
So how did all of this start? It’s not always easy to say, but looking back, words from the Old Testament reading for my Church this Sunday were the possible trigger.
” Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul, and with all your strength…… Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you you walk along the road……”
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 NIV
And what is the context? Life in general but three things in particular.
The continued derailment of the important debate on which court ought to be the final appellate court for #Jamaicalandwelove; and the hijacking of the nation’s business by the standoff between the opposing Senators. The various press conferences, the interviews, the response to the motion in the Senate yesterday, and outside the Senate. Where is Wisdom in all of this?
A documentary, I saw last night. Long Road to Hell: America in Iraq hosted by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. And how wise or unwise was it to have invaded Iraq; and which incursion, some have said, has given rise to a ‘ failed state’, ISIS and refugees flooding Europe. All matters of great concern to the International community.
A ‘ revelation’ yesterday at the Tivoli Inquiry and broadcast on #RJRFM94 about the diary of a notorious gang leader -Stonecrusher. A gangster who pledged his guns in open allegiance to ‘ my Don’ ‘Dudus’ Christopher Coke – now incarcerated in the USA, and the pursuit of whom led to the deaths of so many persons and triggered the need for the Inquiry. The diary was retrieved after the gangster was killed by the police, and also revealed that he was part of the ‘ army of gunmen’ who went to TG – Tivoli Gardens – to protect Coke. How did we ever get there? What wisdom have we rejected? For amazingly, the dead man, also claimed to ‘ trust in God’.
One of, if not the great theological truths, about which I have often pondered, and which entered my mind yesterday, is to be found in the story about Gideon. In the Book of Judges.
A simple Word says it all:
” The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men for me to deliver Median into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce….. “. And we all know how the narrative played out in Judges chapter 7.
So from the profound and the Eternal, the Atonement for our Sins on the Cross of Calvary, as ‘ we cannot save ourselves’; to the mundane and the everyday viz. the wisdom to choose the right partner, the strength to survive another day, the discernment to make the correct decisions, the message of a life with Christ is the same. There must be no dependence on our strength, nor our own wisdom. There must be no boasting that my Political Party has achieved anything, nor my President has acted wisely, nor my Denomination is the right one.
I pray God we learn these lessons wherever we are being discipled. As that is the essence of the call to be ‘ born again of the Spirit’. As flesh and blood, our wisdom, our understanding of how things should proceed, cannot and will never gain us entry ‘ into the Kingdom of God inaugurated, in this dispensation, on the first Good Friday.
Further, such an approach to life, forgetting that we have nothing that He has not given to us, will never achieve the peace and prosperity we see. Whether in 2030 or beyond in Jamaicalandwelove! Or whether as announced by the new Sustainable Development Goals according to the UN sponsored Post 2015 debate Internationally.
That is the reason for the ancient command to love God with all our heart. And since a wise and loving God knew that on our own we cannot love Him, as He is worthy of being loved and obeyed, He sent His Son so that ‘ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.
That is why, every morning, and every hour, whether in the Senate, in the White House or in Tivoli Gardens, or wherever, we must make sure that:
I must have my Savior with me, for I dare not, and cannot walk alone. Otherwise, ‘ in the name of god’ we will do all kinds of madness. Call it wisdom. And boast!