It takes a special kind of evil in one’s heart to rape, and stab to death a woman with Down’s Syndrome. Which is what happened in my country recently. And caused so much pain in the hearts of so many of us!
It takes a special kind of bare faced evil in one’s heart, to provoke a 60 year old Pastor of Church, and ‘married man’ , to ‘ interfere ‘ with a 15 year old girl. And to be found in a compromising position with her in a parked car on a lonely road by a passing patrol police vehicle! Which is part of the big news in my country , thus attracting all kinds of adverse comment about the Pastor in particular, and the church in general. A sad state of affairs indeed.
It takes a special kind of ‘exceptionalism’, – Israel, and people like Donald Trump and some misguided Christians have yet to understand that God is not partial – on the part of Israel’s Prime Minister ‘ Bibby’ Netanyahu, to ‘sanction’ countries which supported a UN resolution, demanding that Israel halt building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. And which resolution, inter alia, called for all parties to work towards a lasting peace in the Middle East. A call for restraint on the part of Israel, which many believe is essential for the achievement of a two -State solution.
It takes a special kind of naïveté, or twisted logic, from a President elect, to call for his country to ‘move on’ in response to confirmation by his own CIA, that Russian hackers attempted to interfere with the American Presidential elections, while condescendingly agreeing to meet with the agency and elected officials.
It takes a very wise man to realize that he was very badly mistaken by the beguiling influence of ‘liberal thought’, and to turn back to the foundation teachings of his early life. Which is what caught my eye, as I continued reading the New York best selling author, Rev. Timothy Keller’s book , “Encounter with Jesus”, and which ‘ revelation’ led to this post on Facebook night before last night.
A passage which also grabbed my attention, in the context of the liberal thought which flows freely in the discussions on your page, is this one from the famous English poet W. H. Auden. He had abandoned his childhood faith in the Church of England, as had most of his friends in the British intellectual classes. But after World War Two broke out, he changed his mind, and he embraced the truth of Christianity and shocked many by going back to church ( which is what happened when my friend Norman Girvan went back to church……long before he died tragically)
” If I am convinced that the highly educated Nazis are wrong, and that we highly educated English are right, what is it that validates our values and invalidates theirs?
The English intellectuals who now cry to Heaven against the evil incarnated in Hitler have no Heaven to cry to.
The whole trend of liberal thought has been to undermine faith in the absolute. It has tried to make reason the judge. But since life is a changing process the attempt to find human space for keeping a promise leads to the inevitable conclusion that I can break it whenever I feel convenient.
Either we serve the Unconditional or some Hitlerian monster will supply an iron convention to do evil by. W. H. Auden
All this and more caught my attention this week as very soon we will usher out 2016, a turbulent year for many, and welcome 2017, which we hope will be a better year.
What also grabbed my attention also , in the context of the ubiquitous nature of Sin and death in the world – and the bad news for ace journalist Cliff Hughes et al, whose anguished tweet caught my attention;
The cussed year of 2016 – Bowie…Prince and now George Michael dead on Xmas Day. Not to mention it gave us Trump as well. To hell wid u!
is that so in 2016, so it will be in 2017 – was this meditation from Chris Tigreen ….excerpt
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ” Now the dwelling of of God is with men, and he will live with them.”
……….We live in a strange time in human history ( written in 2009 but still true) when the fallen, corrupt, sin-saturated world is overlaid with the redeemed who love God and are called according to His purpose. Our job as members of this bridge between the ages, is to bring the future into the present, to exibibit all the characteristics of the Kingdom of light in this place of darkness, to pray that God’s will be done on earth , right now, as it is in heaven.
Part of that role is to display the presence of God – to be the ambassadors of heaven and the temple of God’s Spirit – in this world. We alone are able to demonstrate truth that ” the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them”…….”
Now tell me if coincidence, or the power of God did the following.
While reflecting on Revelations 21: 3, and in particular , “. ..and he will live with them”, into my mind came the scripture , ” But will God really live among men”. A most profound question which no less than the wisest man even to trod the earth, Solomon, when dedicating the Temple to God, posed to God Himself. And above all things, Christmas, walking closely with John 3: 16, is the response from a loving God. Who in the fullness of time, and with love that passeth all human understanding, sent His Son, became Incarnate, to die for the sins of all mankind. A thought which led me to this famous passage from 1 Corinthians :
THE WORD OF GOD
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV
In my heart I believe that there are. a number of take away messages that this reflection provides. And in the end perhaps only one.
That the juxtaposition between Christmas and New Year is not by chance…”left to Pharisees and Scribes”, the modern day equivalent of those who believe they know everything, and leave no room for God’s Sovereign power to bring ‘ light out of pagan darkness…..Christmas would have been celebrated near to April. And not at the end of December just before the New Year. Thus validating the Scriptures which declare that, “Jesus is the same. ‘Yesterday, today and forevermore”. And it is His Birth which gives birth to anything new. Including a New Year. A New Century. A New Millenium.
And therefore, 2017, will only be better than 2016, if more people repent of their wicked, self-centered, and disobedient ways, and turn from darkness into Light. And from the power of Satan to the power of God. In and through the Atonement wrought by Jesus on Calvary!
There is no other way to rescue Jamaica, permanently, from the scourge of having in excess of 1000 people murdered year after year.
There is no other way for the church to purge itself of pedophiles and ‘sick’ Pastors. Of whatever age and marital status!
There is no other way to rescue Israel and peace in the Middle East, from being held captive by, ‘Zionist’, aspirations. And equally there is no other way to disabuse the Palestinians and their allies, including Iran, of the notion that Israel is not a Sovereign State to be respected and welcomed into the family of the Middle East.
That despite all his missteps, which a ‘sensible’ voting public would have otherwise punished severely, including his bombastic approach to modern governance, which amazingly won favor with a huge section of the American people, it is only a redeemed Trump who can ever hope to make America truly great again under God.
That children of God, born again, and washed in the Blood of the Lamb, are the only. ” salt and light” who, together with the Power of the Holy Spirit – God living among men – can call people to Repentance. That the great challenge of the Church is to be United and determined to be faithful to the Crucified One. He who came and dwelt among men. On that first Christmas. And ushered in not just a New Year. But a new dispensation altogether. The Kingdom of God.
Then this wonderful hymn came into my mind, the first verse and refrain is shared, and provided a ‘book end” to my thoughts . At least so I thought.
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
Then this meditation on the penultimate night of the 2016, from Oswald Chambers world famous ” My Utmost for His Highest ” places Christmas and the New Year in true perspective. For Jesus came, not just to make that conflicted pastor, wicked murderer, confused President Elect, and disobedient Israel, and all of us, wiser, or smarter, or more morally upstanding, but completely new and Holy. Just like He was. And is. And will be forever. That’s the Gospel Truth. In 2016. In 2017. Until the New Jerusalem, the City of God, comes to dwell among the faithful. ” But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators……their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.
AND EVERY VIRTUE WE POSSESS
All my fresh springs shall be in Thee…..Psalm 87:7
Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues. He remakes the whole man on the inside. ” Put on the new man” – see that your natural human life puts on the garb that is in keeping with the new life.
The life God plants in us develops it’s own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power that you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the ressurected life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience…..It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity…..
No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that are characteristic of the Lord Jesus.
And every virtue that we possess is His alone.
Happy New Year in Christ Jesus.