A CHURCH IN CRISIS, A NATION BLEEDING AND WORSHIPING ONLY THE LIVING GOD
Other issues occupied centre stage in my mind this week, including the ‘ phenomenon ‘ that is Donald Trump.
A reality that the Americans, and unfortunately the rest of the world will just have to live with for now. And which sense of shame and utter amazement was best captured in post on Twitter by one of America’s rising stars #Goldenglobe.
Not the #merylstreep one which was so controversial – and she was basically venting about Donald Trump- but Viola Davis whose comments were ‘ deep’. ” We need to understand a people who could elect a man like Trump”…my summation.
However murder in my country, 34 dead in 11 days, as revealed a couple days ago on the popular public affairs television programme #AllAngles aired on #TVJ, and the continued revelations of shocking acts of immorality – and apparently an attempted cover up – in the Moravian Church, caught my attention.
A situation which explains in a profound way, two quotes which the Lord led me to discover and place at the beginning of a Sunday night email ‘ blog’. Which has been ongoing for many years. And to which ministry has been added these whatsapp messages.
” 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).”
Finally, by way of introduction of this message, every so often, in different ways, the Lord would wake me up at 4:00 am to read His Word. Opening the Bible randomly. And then to write. This is one of those mornings. And in the name of Jesus, this is what caught my eye.
THE WORD OF GOD
“But you—come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
Who are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue?
Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars?
You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags…….
“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?
I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.
When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.” And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me— the very people I have created. I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways. I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israelʼs mourners, creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord . “And I will heal them.”
But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Isaiah 57:3-5, 11-21 NIV
To plumb the full depths of this very profound word from the Lord would require serious Bible study which is beyond the scope of this ministry.
However it doesn’t take much insight to understand the revelation that ” the One who dwells in high and lofty places”, The Living God, hates idol worship. And disobedience!
Both of which – ‘ stripped down to metal’, or ‘ at the heart of the problem’ – have led to the sorry state of affairs in the Moravian Church. And also the main reasons for the heinous crimes being committed across the length and breath of my country.
And thought which inspired the following tweet:
#thebanalityofevil one day what you worship if not Christ will ‘ bite you’ #sex #power #denomination #politicaparty #whistleblowing #money :
was the subject of a warning which appeared in a previous message:
David Foster Wallace – American award winning best selling post modern novelist……known for his boundary-pushing story telling……A few years before he died he shared this at a commencement speech at a college:
“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some kind of god….to worship….is that pretty much anything you worship will eat you alive.
If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough……
It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a thousand deaths before ( your loved ones) finally plant you….
Wallace was by no means a religious person, but he understood that everyone worships, everyone trusts in something for their salvation, everyone bases their lives on something that requires faith. A few years after giving that speech, Wallace killed himself. And this non-religious man’s parting words to us are pretty terrifying.
” Something will eat you alive “.
Because even though you might never call it worship, you can be sure you are worshiping and you are seeking.
And Jesus says” Unless you are worshiping me, unless I am the center of your life, unless you’re trying to get your spiritual thirst quenched through me and not through these other things, unless you see that the solution must come inside rather than just pass by outside, then whatever you worship will abandon you in the end – Rev. Timothy Keller extract from
” Encounters with Jesus ”
The message then for Jamaicans, for Americans, and indeed the whole world, is be careful what or who you worship.
For, if like the children of Israel, rescued from the ‘ hand of Pharaoh ‘, by He who called them to Himself to live in a Covenant relationship ( Deuteronomy 32 is a fascinating history lesson….they sacrificed to demons, which are not God, gods they had not known….which is the same accusation in Isaiah 57….the more things change…..), we who are created in His Image and Likeness, and ‘ washed in the Blood of the Lamb, continue to worship power and sex and denomination and political leaders and music instead of The Living God, then ‘grief’ will happen sooner or later. As certain as ‘ night follows day’! Whether in the Church or outside the Church.
No wonder then that this warning came into my mind this morning as I pondered on these things. From memory:
” If your right hand offendeth thee….cut it off. For it is better to enter the kingdom of with one hand than to be cast into hell…..”
So people be careful about #ObamaFarewell; listen carefully but do not join in #4moreyears.
Be careful about who you elect to #makeamericagreatagain as only God Almighty can perform that miracle according to His plans.
Be careful about #Prosperity and #Progress and in whom you place your trust.
Be careful about protecting deviant Pastors from shame and disgrace. Men who no longer ‘ fear God’. And be more concerned about about being obedient to The Living God.
Otherwise when you cry out in trouble He will say, ‘ let your collection of idols deliver you’.
For too long now, as a people, we have worshiped ‘demons’ in our music, in our culture, in our politics, in our homes, and in our communities. Idols on radio, on TV, in the movies, and on the Internet, rather than the Living God. And now ‘ the chickens have come home to roost’, in the form of murder most foul, and unbridled and widespread immorality.
Thank God for Jesus, for He who dwells in high and lofty places also is with ‘ those who are contrite and humble in spirit.
For, in Christ Jesus, the Good News of the Gospel, we know that Peace and forgiveness is available for all who repent. Thus fulfilling the Isaiah prophesy that:
” I will not always accuse, nor will I always be angry; for then the spirits would grow faint before me.”
Finally in the midst of the madness came this ‘ word ‘ from a Christmas hymn. It just came into my mind. Just like that!
” Hush ye men of strife and hear the angels sing”. From, as I searched and found, ” It came upon a midnight clear….”
And as I spent some time meditating on this profound hymn:
The Third Verse
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the angel-strain have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not
the the love song which they bring;
O hush the noise and cease your strife
and hear the angels sing!
I was led to the angels singing in the Book of Revelation:
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and glory and power, for ever and ever ! 5:13
And so as God is renewing the Moravian Church, and Jamaica even in the midst of murder, and America in ways we cannot fully understand, but time will tell, let us worship only He who dwells in high and lofty places. Even Christ Jesus the Crucified One.
Otherwise, literally ‘ all hell ‘ may break out in your life. And you will only have your idols – who cannot walk or talk – to deliver you.