Trump, Kartel and Christ is Sufficient 

Cry the beloved country“, is the title of a book about the plight  of black  South Africans during the Apartheid era. It evokes memories of  the legendary Steve Biko, and others, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their struggle for, freedom and justice.
And as I began writing about my beloved country Jamaica, and the country where my children and grandchildren live, the USA, the title  came into my head. As tears are flowing, prayers are being offered up, and much debate is happening about the fact that, to quote Shakespeare ” Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. 
For, as in Hamlet, not just ghosts, but demons, ‘ have climbed over the walls of the palace’, and entered into the hearts of our people. In America. In Jamaica.
How else can you explain  the bizarre behaviour of Donald Trump and his team, which has caused so much ” chaos and confusion ‘, in America? After just one month in office! And the rise to power of Steve Bannon who reportedly said that,  ‘ darkness is good’.
How else can you explain the continued high murder rate in my country. A blot on our nation’s conscience,  which ‘ caught in its web’, the 90 year old defenseless Peter Abrahams; a South African who made Jamaica his home, and  contributed so much to national development. But then sadly,  to our everlasting shame, only to perish at the hands of the wicked.

Must we then not ” Cry about our beloved, and adopted country”. 

Must we not cry, when, rushing to defend their ‘ god ‘, the internationally acclaimed dancehall artist, Vybes Kartel, hundreds of people took to social media to denounce, and even to threaten with rape and death, a Jamaican parliamentarian, Lisa Hanna.
All because she had the ‘ temerity’ to suggest that songs of murderers, Kartel is serving time for murder, ought  to be banned from being played on radio. A story that provoked a lot of discussion about whether or not people in jail ought to be allowed to record songs in jail, have them played on radio and earn an income from that activity.
Must we not cry, when the defenders of America’s hard fought for democracy, the Free Press, is increasingly coming under attack from the Trump administration. All of this happening in the context of threatened mass deportation of even naturalized citizens of the USA, who have broken the law. Even a traffic violation! In the ‘ home of the free and the land of the brave’. 
Must we not cry when the wicked abduct and rape and kill, and throw the bodies of  our young girls into bush like garbage ; and evil men molest our children. Thus inspiring one of our popular social media activist Dr. Michael Abrahams to produce a very probing,   no holds barred song,  entitled ” Break the Silence”.

@dennisbroox @kalilahe A dem song deh fi get awards….Michael Abrahams song on sexual abuse. Best song I’ve heard in a while.

Break The Silence @mikeyabrahams exclusive New Tune @FreshStart93FM https://t.co/9cZoxdd4a8
And in the midst of this madness the Lord sent a timely word into my heart one night. And which I posted on Facebook. 

FACEBOOK ONE 
Going to bed tonight with the discussion with Dionne Jackson Miller and Dr. Donna Hope #UWI  on #beyondtheheadlines…about #Kartel and lyrics and #LisaHanna and banning…… and producing music while in prison……on my mind. 
And how do we rescue our society from #MurderinJamaica  #rompinshoponthebus music #teenagepregnancy. #Garrisonculture
Then found this in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers:
Except the Lord build the house, they  labour in vain that build it : except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Ps.127:1
So it’s not just the music alone gone bad……but: 
“…If I do not countenance God in every relationship of my life I shall end in disaster”…...
……In prison……25 with five children…….murderer…..transactional sex….sex with young girls……daggering…..get on baad….I loose…..tempted to touch……corruption #WhyNationsFail  ….creating  and sustaining garrisons…..mommy where is daddy…..daddy let go of mommy’s hair…..DADDY! …..paying less than the minimum wage……going on preretirement leave as the pickney dem too bad……#transrights #FreeKartel  ….what have we done with our country……the world #SteveBannon #chaosanddarkness
Perhaps we ‘ talk but in vain’ as the blind cannot lead the blind. God help Jamaica. And the world! 

#BedtimeDevotions

And after that another ‘gift’ from the Lord came by way of a reminder of a meditation from Francois Fenelon ( 1651 -1715….a former Archbishop in the Church and a deeply devotional man).
I pray God that our people may immerse themselves in truths like these. For setting up  Kartel and Trump, as your ‘ gods ‘  will only lead to chaos and confusion. And lead to  wickedness ‘ climbing over the walls of the palace ‘. Thus causing us  to cry for our beloved countries.

UNCEASING DEPENDENCE: CONTINUAL PEACE – ABRIDGED 
Francois Fenelon 
Verse: Levitucus 25:21 ( About the year of The Jubilee…..and remember that ” All of God’s promises are ‘Yes ‘in Christ Jesus.

Do not dwell upon remote events; this anxiety about the future is contrary to the religious state of  mind. When God bestows  any blessings upon you, look only to him in the comfort that you receive it, and take every day the manna that he sends you, as the Israelite did, without making yourself any provision  for the morrow.
A life of faith produces two things. First, it enables you to see God in everything . Secondly, it holds the mind in a state of readiness for whatever may be his will. We must trust to God for whatever depends upon him, and only think of being faithful ourselves in the performance of our duties.
This continual,  unceasing dependence, this state of entire peace and acquiescence of the soul in whatever may happen, is the true, silent martyrdom of self. It is so slow, and gradual, and internal, that they who experience it ate hardly conscious of it.

Comment: If read carefully and understood and obeyed, this reflection will go a long way to explain how we arrive at the ultimate goal of the Christian journey, viz, “ I have been crucified in Christ. Nevertheless I live. Yet not I but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2.
Finally it will also help us to understand that all the meditations in the world, all the blogging that we do, are of little moment when compared to what Karl Barth reflected on. And about which I posted this message on Facebook this week.

FACEBOOK TWO
My ‘ song in the night ‘ last night was, ” My grace is sufficient for you”. 
And as I read the passage this morning, nestled in the words of the  Holy Scriptures,  was this quote from Peter Marshall;  a former chaplain of the  United States Senate. 
God is sufficient for all our needs, for every problem, and for every difficulty, for every broken heart, and for every human sorrow“.
Then on the next page this extract from one of the most prolific writers of all the theologians – Karl Barth..…a German theologian and contemporary of Bonhoeffer – a Christian martyr and theologian  in Nazi Germany. ( And but for the grace of God we would all be speaking German now….if alive at all)  
“……..Some of you may have heard that in the last forty years I have written many books, some large. I will freely and frankly and gladly admit that these six words say much more and better things than all the heaps of paper with which I have surrounded myself. They are enough – which cannot be said even remotely of my books…..and when my books are long since  outdated and forgotten, and every other book in the world with them, these words will still shine with everlasting fullness. ” My grace is sufficient for you’. #earlymorningdevotions  and  #biblestudylastnight #fakenews  #alternatetivefact 

So as we cry about our beloved countries, let us never forget that ” My grace is sufficient for you “. 

In Kartel’s Jamaica and Trump’s America. And will continue to be sufficient long after they have gone.

As: ” For all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flowers of grass.  The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.”

Peace.

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SERMON DEVLIVERED AT ST. ANDREW’S DEANERY DAY SERVICE 

 THE VERY REV. FR. LEROY JOHNSON

FEBRUARY 12, 2017

THEME:   “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, “ – Called to Ministry in such a time as this     Luke 4: 17-21

Greetings from the wild, wild west.

In our Catechism the question is asked        “What is the mission of the Church?”

Response:   The Mission of the Church is to bring all people into unity with God and with each other in Christ.  (Sounds like mission impossible – isn’t it?)

It further asks     “Through whom does the Church carry out its Mission?

Response:    ”The Church carries out its mission through the various ministries of all its members.”

Both the Catechism and the Canon of the Church state that every baptized person with the Diocese is a member of the Jamaica Church Missionary Society. 

Your theme and Gospel reading suggests that ”We have been given a divine mandate at that point in time, but also the resources to effect same.     My aim then in this sermon it to first of all provide you with the basis for the universal mission of which we are a part; and then to work the theme and text with  a view to affirm and challenge us in our exercise of Ministry – especially in such a time as this.

The story of the fall in Genesis Chapter 3 speaks to humanity’s  inclination to stray from God’s design and purpose for us  – hence we keep missing the mark, and thus threaten our relationship with the divine ground of our being.    

 But the story does not end there; it continues with the high drama of the first game of hide and seek between Adam and Eve and God in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were found and thrown out – but not abandoned – for the nature of God is always compelling Him to seek new ways of drawing us into conversation and relationship  e.g. Cain, Enoch, Noah.     In this regard God used the Jewish people to become a catalyst for other nations to be won over to Him.
Throughout the Old Testament Gentiles and Jews and the whole world for that matter, have been the focus of God’s search and rescue mission.  The mission’s emphasis of the Godhead continues with the arrival of God’s Son whose mission statement was “for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost”( John8:28-29) – which was also reflected in His own ministry.  God’s will is that the mission task is passed on to the Church.     God sent His Son, and the Son sends us.   Jesus declared “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).

The early Church accepted this as both a privilege and a responsibility.   David Livingstone summed it up when he said “God had an only  Son and He was both a Missionary and a Physician,   A poor imitation I am or wish to be” unquote.      So then God has reconciled us to Himself in Christ, who has now committed to us the Ministry of Reconciliation  (2 Cor. 5:18).   So we are reconciled and Mission Ambassadors in the world.

Let us now examine more closely the theme and the text ….Luke 4:17-21.    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach good news to His people under siege.

After some time, Jesus already famous, passed through Nazareth where He was not welcomed.  In this account Luke shows why Jesus attracted so many people and why particularly in Nazareth.  

He was rejected (local boy) .     On the Sabbath He went to the synagogue and took up the scroll and found the place where it is written :”the Spirit of the Lord is upon me….” This paragraph is from Isaiah 61:1-2, the Prophet  is referring to his own mission.

  God sent him to the Jews in exile to announce that God would visit them, yet his words prove even more appropriate in the case of Jesus who was sent in order to bring real freedom to a people waiting for it. 

    By declaring that to day the scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.   Jesus was in fact saying – The days of prophesies and promises are over for I have come to inaugurate a new age in which God becomes present, and reconciles His people.

There are two crucial points that must be registered in the hearts and minds of every would be missionary – if their effort in mission is to prove fruitful.    For Jesus’ mission, and the spirit of mission exhibited by the early Church is not just a description of the way things were, but a prescription of the way things ought to be.   

SO FIRSTLY – our passion for mission will only be heightened when we recognize and accept that we are operating under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.      Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to bring good news.”   

The mission of the Church  involves a clash of two kingdoms – God’s and Satan’s.  Our mission is to mount raids on Satan’s kingdom and free his captives.   The warfare and our weapons are not related to human ingenuity, but spiritual power.  

  So mission is a supernatural activity, and neither the world, the flesh nor the devil yields territory without a fight.   Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and forces of darkness that govern this world so we have to put on the whole armour of God.    

  We need spiritual weapons – such as prayer, scripture, faith and the sword of the Spirit to guarantee victory.     We have to pray for discernment to detect and respond appropriately to the movement of the Holy Spirit in and amongst us.

One of the biggest weaknesses in many of us is a serious lack of conversion.   We are oftentimes considered qualified for the task based on our degrees, our status in society, and financial strength – but these in their own , may I say, are powerless in the mission field.    

Too many of us are not sure of our spiritual status – not sure if we are Christians.  .

Too many of us are ego driven.

Too many of us are crippled by fear –  dancehall and go-go clubs are opened while the Churches are locked down.

Too many of us fail to see the deeper implications of our baptism.

Many Church Committee members are profilers  – no time for their own growth ; – no Retreats, Bible Study, Prayer meetings.     

Organisations move around in circles because they don’t have proper devotions an d seek God’s direction and will in their plans, deliberations and decisions.

So many operate as little private clubs having little or no impact on those they are mandated to serve.      (Blind can’t lead blind).

Some members have no testimony – Jesus is their best kept secret ;

No flame of excitement – when Jesus touches a life and transformation takes place, it evokes a certain kind of reaction, for example the man born blind; the woman at the well; Bartimaeus; the crippled beggar.

So the Holy Spirit has to be a real presence in us for Mission to be effective.  Christ has to be more than a second hand story for us.   Like Peter, we have to b e able to declare that He is the Messiah and Lord of  our lives.    It is only then that we will be convinced that this is still our Father’s world;  that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world  – and operate like Victorious People.

The Apostles knew this, the early Church knew that they were God’s anointed and Chosen People.    Too many of us are still operating like God’s FROZEN People, too cold – too lukewarm.

At this stage I don’t need anyone to come and convince me that I am the Lord’s anointed, that I am His chosen vessel – for I know

Chorus:   He lives, He lives……………………………………

                               So often I feel like fire shut up in my bones. (sing the chorus)

So successful Mission involves a consciousness of the presence and the equipping of the Holy Spirit.

SECONDLY for Mission to be effective especially in such a time as this, the Church must be aware that it is “under Divine Authority”.   Divine Authority suggests that we have been given an mandate by God from which we cannot back down.  It is a mandate of our Baptism.   Through our Baptism we have been enlisted in the army of Christ.  So being a Christian involves more than just being,  but doing also.

To act a Christ’s ambassadors is both an honour and at the same time a weighty matter.    

 Discipleship must soon result in Apostleship.   To desire Christ without sacrifice said Detrich Bonhoeffer is what he termed “cheap grace”.

Jesus knew that His Mission was spirit led from the moment of His Baptism, the scripture says He was led by the Sprit.    So again in the passage He declares, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to fulfill a specific mission purpose.  “    To bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, release those who are held captive, open the eyes of the blind, to declare the year of the Lord’s favour.       He knew He had no choice but to accept His Father’s will.  Mission demands a surrendering of our will to God’s.   Mission has with it its own share of pain and suffering, as well as its joys and victories.

Jesus gaive up His very life in the process of the world’s redemption.   It is into this life that we are sent, this risky situation, to engage the world especially in such a time like this in which  we must exercise Ministry. – Clergy and laity alike.

We must be prepared to be bruised, scoffed at, rejected, criticized and even put to death –  some of us for the cause of the Kingdom.    Yet we go because we are sent  – and we do so trusting the Divine Wisdom and grace in it all.     We go as the life boat – to rescue the perishing, to care of the dying, to tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

We are charged with the responsibility of confronting the sins of injustice and oppression, and immorality of all kinds in high and low places.    To be broken with the broken, to mourn with the sad, to be shoulders for the weak; to use every opportunity we get to share the love of Jesus.

We are called to Ministry at a time – 

When evil has taken on new shapes and forces;

When people are operating in the reverse;

When even the Church’s authority to be God’s voice in different places is being called in to question;

A time when if we are not careful even the very elect could lose their way;

A time when greed, lust, materialism, a growing lack of piety, loss of identity, rapid shift in values, relativism – and the list goes on – all confront us.

It is the Church that the Lord sends once again with a Divine Mandate to lead the charge of bringing nations back to Him.    A part of Eucharistic Prayer ‘A’ reads   “Again and again we have turned away from you yet in every age your steadfast love has called us to return to live in union with You: for it is your eternal purpose to put new life into all things and make them Holy.”    So instead of sinking into despair or fear, the Church must take up its rightful position once more. 

 We have to find new and creative ways to reach this generation with the Old Old Story ever new, ever relevant – for Jesus is the only means of salvation.   John 14:16 

We will not reach this generation by sitting in our ivory towers and pray; by winning the first prize for bench warming.    It will only happen through meaningful engagement.   By meeting them where they are. 

  I have found for example – Sports Evangelism and my Domino Ministry to be very effective  – even though a bad word pops out sometimes.   Choose best whatever will work BUT doing nothing is not an option – some members are not moved by these things – they think its not Anglican.   But we have to consider operating out of the box.

The evils of this present time cannot be solved by Scientists, Doctors or the Obeah Man, for Jamaica’s problem is a spiritual one.  – Insufficient love for God, neighbor and self. 

  So when the former Minister of National Security said of the crime situation in Jamaica “That the solution requires divine intervention” he never said a truer thing for with all the different crime fighting strategies, and blame game   –    things are only getting worse.
Through the various Ministries of the Church, guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, I believe that God will redirect His people back to basics. – to a time when people feared God; valued the sacredness of life; loved self and neighbor – and it was counted unto them for righteousness.

Peace and the salvation of humanity is still achievable if we believe, accept and act in partnership with Christ.  We have been given the keys to the Kingdom to bind and to loose.   May we become once again emboldened, open, and obedient to the movement of the Holy Spirit until we become so  “afflamed with Christ”   enabling us to be……………(DUB)

The beacon’s oh yes, the beacons an analogy to fit the Christians

The testimony of our salvation is our light that shines like a beacon

We have to shine all through the night that the world may see it

Bright for the hope of the world are the beacons.

CHORUS:    You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine……………

2

So Jesus call us at a time like this

When the world is in deep crisis

And the yute dem a join Isis

And we a cry what is dis, what is dis.
We have to shine like a beacon my friends

Shine the light to the remotest end

Up the road, down the lane, round the bend

Bearing witness to the soul’s best friend.
Ref:     You can’t be a beacon……………….
3

This world is chaos and darkness,

 One hardly receive real justice

People  are so cold and selfish

Often our true self image gets tarnish

Now the Christian has to try to teach men how to live and die

For the Hope of the world are the beacons.
Some Christians only bear the name

Let it neva be said that Saint Andrew is cold and dead

With all your hearts and minds  please try to lift God’s praises very high

For the Hope of the world are the beacons.
Ref:     You can’t be a beacon……………….
4.
Did you hear when Jesus call you

This is a question to each and all of you

The call, the call did you hear when Jesus call you

Did you hear the call, the call?
5
Do you hear Lord Jesus calling

Nuh badda hide if you see Him coming

What about your brother/sister who is crying

Is there a message that you should be proclaiming
Ref:     You can’t be a beacon……………….
Did you hear when Jesus call you

Did you hear when Jesus call you

I think He calls you (-point finger)

And call you

And you,         and you        and all of you.
Today if your hear His Voice harden not your heart.

AMEN

The Word of God Trumps  Donald, Pence and even Death.

It’s not that the continued  bizarre behaviour of  #DONALDTRUMP ….leaving VP Mike Pence out of the loop, and his now infamous press conference…. didn’t catch my attention this week. 
Nor the continued acts of egregious wickedness resulting in murder in Jamaica and the spread of  #fakenews on social media!
Nor the death after a long struggle with illness of a dear childhood  friend.
But when the Lord sends His Powerful Word, ” which sustains all things….speaking about Christ in Hebrews 1:3…..that Word trumps everything else. 

THE WORD OF GOD IN CONTEXT
The children of Israel were in desperate straits. God had ‘ hardened Pharaoh’s mind’, and so with his powerful army he chased down God’s people who seemed to be in ‘ chaos and confusion ‘ by The Red Sea. Pretty much according to a script written  by Trump’s right hand man, Steve Bannon. Alternative facts were about to replace reality, and not even Vice President Pence was ” in the loop”.
Or in the Jamaican context. Evil hovered mightily over the place. Girls were about to be abducted, raped and killed by wicked taxi men. Rampaging gunmen were about to kill everybody in sight…..even dog and puss.
So the once oppressed people, who had been rescued by mighty acts by God, became afraid. And ‘ longed for the security of slavery in Egypt’! Less they perish in this ‘ god forsaken’  wilderness at the hands of Pharoah. Read the account in Exodus 14 through the ‘ lens’, of your 21st century eyes and see if , Jamaica and The USA, both countries which owe their freedom to the Living God, do not ‘appear in the text’. 
Together with the whole world which has been rescued from Sin and Death….and slavery, and war, and pestilence, and drought, and Tsunamis, and genocide, and wanton immorality, and injustice…..by the hand of The Living God. From the days of Noah to the Cross of Calvary. From the rampaging Muslim armies in early European history to Freedom from Apartheid in South Africa. From The Killing Fields of Pol Pot’s Cambodia to Peace  between Hutus and and Tutsis in Rwanda.
But God had a plan. ‘ I will gain glory for myself……and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord’. A blueprint for the relationship between sinful and what Satan would like us to believe ‘ God forsaken  humanity’. 

Which is why rather than trusting in God in the midst of ” Tribal  War inna a Babylon ” … Bob Marley, we’ve decided to ‘ go back to Egypt….to our own devices…..in our struggles against evil or #MurderinJamaica and  the phenomenon of #DonaldTrumpallmexicansarerapists 
And so the Eternal Word of God, from across the ages reminds us, in one of the most dramatic scenes in all of Scripture,  of The Power and the Intent and the mercy of The Living God.

” Moses answered the people. ‘ Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”. 14:14-14.

And as they say, ‘ The rest is history’.
So when we are confronted by an even greater act of mercy, Christ’s death on Calvary ‘…..for the sins of all mankind’ and yet yearn to ‘ go back to Egypt ‘ in the face of danger, or to enjoy the flesh pots, ought we not to be heart broken with remorse. A challenge which I was to led to write about on Facebook this week.

FACEBOOK ONE

Experimentally the meaning of life  is to attain the excellency of a broken heart, for that alone entails repentance and acceptance, the two great poles of the Bible revelation.

” The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit ” ( Ps. 51:17) why, – we don’t know, but God has made it so. The one thing we are after is to avoid getting a broken heart – Oswald Chambers ” The Base Impulse ” 

#BedtimeDevotions 
I don’t think I have  ever understood the need of the human heart for Christ’s healing love and mercy  explained as profoundly as this. Deserves a ” Grammy Award”, especially on a night like this. Especially doing ministry ‘ in a time such as this ‘ #MurderinJamaica. 

Comment: A time for serious introspection.  How deeply do we grieve for our own sins, and for the  sins of the nation?  Are we really ‘ brokenhearted ‘ before a merciful and Holy God?  Or are we just angry and determined to do better and ‘ right every wrong’. Stop the violence. Make men understand that women are not to be ‘ objectified’, not to be seen merely as ‘ sex objects’, nor as chattel to be ‘ owned’. Get more involved. Join the March.  Wear black. All good thoughts. 

However Oswald Chambers suggests that in the face of the reality of a compassionate God, who in Christ died on Calvary for our sins, repentance and a crying to God for mercy, is a much better way to rescue our beleaguered nation.
As I ponder these things in my heart, the other powerful Word from the Lord places a bookend on this message 

” Now,  Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your  hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” 

 Acts 4:29-31. NIV 

The context. In the time of the early church; persecution. In our 21st century times; persecution still rages. In different forms. Where is God? Does He not see the suffering of our women and children? Why did He allow Donald Trump  to beat Hillary Clinton. All Pastors are like those caught molesting young girls…..we don’t trust the church. Forget about them…..we’re on our own in this struggle……the church is irrelevant in today’s modern world.
And so our challenge in the Church today, is to follow the example of the early church. And repent of our many sins, what we have done….fall into temptation….sexual and other sins;  and what we have left undone….ignored the wretched of the earth in their  suffering….lacking in compassion to to those who speak ill  against us, and persecute us and do evil…..how many of us are praying steadfastly for Donald Trump……

In other words…..a broken and contrite O God you will not despise!

And then, appeal to God in the midst of the trials and challenges of life. For His healing mercies!
The question is; do we still believe that God can do the impossible in Jamaica.  And in the USA….and across the world in Aleppo and in Palestine? And do we still pray in our churches with this kind of faith….so that the very church walls  ‘ tremble’ with ‘ signs of the Holy Spirit. Or are we just going through the motions! God have mercy.  Christ have mercy.

 

I leave you with two short Facebook posts. Neither one requires much comment, as both of them in essence call us to ” Look to Jesus, and ye be saved”. And stop depending on Egypt!

Facebook Two

You need to watch this video after reading Exodus 14. Especially ” But Moses said to the people, ‘ do not be afraid , and stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you. You only have to keep still”.

For God is indeed a ” miracle working God”, Who can do the impossible. #MurderinJamaica. #Violenceagainstwomen  

FACEBOOK THREE

Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37. One of the readings in my Church for Sunday #earlymorningdevotions……and then  this wonderful song came flooding in my mind. In an age of non stop watching of  #MiamiVice and progressively more sophisticated but basically the same template of #Youngandrestless.  And then we wonder ‘ how did we ever get here in a land of murder and gender based violence……..because we have spent too much time looking at, and listening to, worthless things #ayahsuhnice  0, Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. #Nottheonlyproblembutpartofit 
Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full into His wonderful face,

and the things of this world 

will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

Peace.

Trump on America, Murder in Jamaica and Jesus on The Cross

​Two things continued to be out of control this past week; Donald Trump in America and murder in Jamaica. And both malfeasances spring from the same root. Evil!
The kind of evil which moved even  a well known political commentator,  and avowed atheist, Mark Wignall,   to invoke the name of Satan, in a recent column dealing with #MurderinJamaica. Thus triggering this tweet:

Mark Wignall | Murder as sport and payback https://t.co/nLZ4jSnGOE  Mark Wignall an avowed atheist writing about satanic influences #Reality

The kind of evil which flew in the face of common decency,  and ethical considerations,  as manifested in this tweet:
https://goo.gl/photos/hv3DyZY2wqzyu8hm9
The kind of evil which touched down in my, usually fairly safe,  neighborhood last night,  in the form of wicked gunmen,  leaving one man dead in its wake, another injured,  and a entire community traumatized. Thus causing us to experience what  world famous conscious reggae artiste #Etana has been highlighting in her music; #wrongadresses,   where,  ‘ lady where you come from,  people die there every day’, captures the sentiment which prevent people from the ghetto getting a ‘ fair chance’ in life.
So how does one counteract this kind of unmitigated and unfettered evil?  In the USA people are voting with their pocket books as Nordstrom’s shares took off dramatically after an initial fall. 
Further ‘ the land of the free and home of the brave’, in the form of one branch of Government, The Judiciary,  has began to push back against The Donald.
#Trump – “see you in court ” but he’ll see the court is a higher authority than him #FridayFeeling #MuslimBan 9th Circuit Court of Appeals https://t.co/CvH0KOUR0e

In  respect of an answer or answers to the problem of murder in Jamaica, this week the Lord led me through some serious revelations.

Facebook Monday morning 

How the faithful city

has become a whore!

She that was full of justice,

righteousness lodged in her –

but now murderers! Isaiah 1:21 NRSV
Last night after the excitement of the only  narrative that people in the time of Noah knew before The Flood, #Superbowl, #LadyGaga #Trump and  O’Reilly.   I read this. And trembled inwardly! And grieved for my once peaceful and God-fearing country. 

 ” But Noah found favor with God “…..in today’s transcendent narrative translates into,  ” The Blood of Jesus washes away all sins”. Thank God for Jesus, for if it wasn’t for Him, ( Psalm 124)  only God knows what would have become of us. And others in the North too!

Then  a promise of restoration followed a prophecy of judgement.
“Zion shall be redeemed by by justice,

and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

But rebels and sinners will be destroyed together,

and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed”

Isaiah 1: 27-29

In obedience, as, The Word of God is indeed living and very active. 

Peace

Comment: One of the challenges for Christians  to be aware, is that as much as we follow the news of the day, in order to know how to pray and how to relate to this world, there is another ‘ conversation ‘ taking place in the ‘ Spirit world ‘. Which we can only hear, as Isaiah did, by remaining in God’s presence – through God’s Word, Prayer, Meditation and worship. 

And then to  respond ‘ hear I am Lord send me’, when the Lord speaks.
So even though #Jamaicanoproblem is spread abroad as a great calling card, in reality, the once faithful country to ” Puppa Jesus and Massa God, has become a ‘ land of murderers ‘.

And Zion can only be rescued by #repentance! Not a new crime plan, or even a ‘ minority report’ as some are describing it on Twitter and in the newspapers.

Facebook on Tuesday morning.

“Moses said, see I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity…..Choose life”. Deuteronomy 30:15-20. The OT reading for my Anglican Church worldwide on Sunday.
Old Testament Theology differs from New Testament Theology only in respect of Jesus being the manifestation of the complete revelation of God’s will and purpose. But the same principle applies for individuals and nations. Choose Jesus and you will have life and prosperity. Reject Jesus and you have chosen death and adversity. The Gospel Truth. Anything else is #alternatetivefact and #fakenews 
For ” there is no shadow of turning with God”.

So ” wearing black” is good. But choosing Jesus is the only answer for a land where ” bloodshed follows bloodshed, and the land mourns”. Just as the prophet Hosea warned.

Peace

Comment: The scripture quoted is part of the OT reading for Sunday in my Church.  And the great challenge for policy makers and ordinary people alike, is that as a people, too many of us have chosen death and adversity over life and blessing. In America and in Jamaica!
 Rejected the Gospel which directs how we treat our women and children – born and unborn-  how we regard material things, how we regard ourselves before a holy and Creator God, and then wonder why there is so much bloodshed in the country. Or so much madness happening in the first 20 days of  the Trump era! For as they say in Jamaica ‘ everything is everthing’. Everything is connected. Murder and a rejection of the Christian ethic.

Facebook  Tuesday morning part 11.
” For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘ how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news”. Romans 10:14 & 15.
And in case you are hesitant and believe that you were not sent!
” As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. The words of Jesus himself to disciples then and now. For Jesus is the same yesterday,  today and forevermore.  ” No shadow of turning with him”. ….the song in my heart as I woke up this morning. Great is thy faithfulness.
So if people do not hear the Gospel and choose life over death,  guess who is to be blamed. Not Trump. Not Andrew. Not PSM. And certainly not Bountikilla and Beenieman! Nor CNN and RJR.

Just maybe then  there is a reason why The Lord allowed Facebook and Twitter….. to be available ‘ at a time like this’.

End of my devotions for this morning.

Peace

Comments: Even though we are counting on the courts in the USA, and the Government of Jamaica to play a central role in rescuing both countries from evil, ultimately it is The Salt of Earth and The Light who are the disciples of Christ, the Christian community which is responsible.
That’s what the Scriptures mean by  describing those ‘ whose feet bring good news, as beautiful. Compared, for example to the darkness espoused by Steve Bannon, the architect of chaos and confusion. And one of Trump’s top advisers!
So the army of God need to get going. For peace is fast becoming an elusive dream in this world. On account of madness in the USA  and in Jamaica.
The good news is that God is a sending God. As as The Father sent the Son, to die, so that murder and political madness and other forms of evil, do not have the last word in God’s creation, so too The Son continues to send His disciples to spread to the  Gospel of Christ.
News captured very powerfully in this Facebook post this week:

Facebook 
Then ” Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling ” came into my mind.

Especially verse two.
2. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, 

pleading for you and for me? 

Why should we linger and heed not his mercies, 

mercies for you and for me? 

(Refrain) 
Refrain: 

Come home, come home; 

ye who are weary come home; 

earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, 

calling, O sinner, come home! 
For Jesus is the same, yesterday  ( in the time of Isaiah),  today ( in the time of the authentic church) and forevermore  ( at the day of judgement….for it is appointed for all men once to die and then the judgment) and eternally.  

The Gospel Truth and not #alternatetivefact 

“So Today if you hear the voice of the Lord calling do not harden your heart”. Hebrews 3:7-8

Final comments: For if you harden your heart you have become an accomplice to those who ‘ fly the gate and let in the pirates ‘. Messrs Trump and Murder’.  And then it is pointless complaining that ‘ satanic influences ‘ are at work, like Wignall  and Co.
 For Satan, the thief,  has come to steal and to kill and to destroy. While Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. John 10:10. And like it or not, believe it or not, the reality of life in God’s eyes , is that we have only two choices:  believing Jesus The Crucified One, or working for The Thief. Choose carefully!  Now! Today! As there is no repentance in the grave.
 But until then, softly and tenderly Jesus is calling….for you and for me…..for Donald Trump  and even wicked gunmen #ThiefontheCross. What a loving and merciful God!

Peace.

Donald Trump and Refugees; Shame in The Church in Jamaica and Christ The Light of The World


GM: Donald Trump, Murder, Shame in The Church and The Light of Christ.
This week was a tumultuous one for both church and state; in Jamaica  ( home) and America  ( abroad).
Abroad, newly installed President Donald Trump, behaving like the proverbial,  ‘Bull in a China Shop’, issued a rash of Executive Orders. One of which, a  temporary ban,  #alternatetivefact fact – a pause, on immigration to the US from 7 Muslim countries, even if persons had valid visas or were dual citizens of any country, and refugees from Syria indefinitely,  seeking asylum in America,   provoked a backlash of protests across, not just the US, but the entire world. 
https://www.google.com.jm/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2017/jan/28/world-digests-donald-trumps-order-to-ban-refugees-from-muslim-countries
And worse, triggered panic, and completely unfounded fears, at least so far,  certainly here in Jamaica and indeed abroad, that folks from countries outside the ‘ dirty 7’, would be also be turned back at American airports. Finally last evening word came that a Federal judge in Seattle had ruled against the  executive order, thus provoking a constitutional crisis.
That’s abroad. Here in Jamaica, another egregiously wicked act, the stabbing to death of a young schoolgirl, threw a nation, once again into mourning. And placed the young  Prime Minister Andrew Holness led government under further pressure to deal with this frightening crime monster!
Finally, for me, the most disturbing news this week, was the revelation coming out of an agency set up to probe sexual crimes SISOCA, that Pastors and Policemen topped the

list of individuals who were guilty of molesting young girls.

 

A major, major problem in our society!  People representing,  not just institutions created to provide care and protection for the vulnerable, but The Living God. Have mercy!
And so in the midst of this madness,  prayers which I reflect on mornings and at nights, from a German mystic  whose influence extended to to the famous poet John Milton, and equally famous Physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, came to my rescue, and I was led to post these messages on Facebook. Which also helped to comfort many others.
Facebook One

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 ( and all who read this in true faith…my waords) during the hours of day – Jacob Boehme  ( 1575-1624….an influential  German Lutheran  mystic) 
One of three daily prayers. This one to be prayed ON RISING in the mornings. In Jesus precious name we pray and give thanks for a new day. Amen.

Facebook Two
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170201/updated-police-and-pastors-most-prevalent-high-profile-sexual-predators-cisoca

ON RISING – Jacob Boehme:  The Second Morning Prayer 
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 to discern deception wherever I meet it. Let my eyes always look at right 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 within me.
In Jesus precious name I pray; for myself and all in positions of trust. Pastors, police, teachers, parents, caregivers, politicians, lawyers, journalists, managers, supervisors, colleagues…….; and also ‘ ductors’ and ‘ loadermen’, and ‘ drivas’. Amen

Facebook Three 

I thank you, O God, for your care and protection this day, keeping me from physical harm and spiritual corruption. I now place the work of the day into your hands, trusting that you will redeem my errors and turn my achievements to your glory.

And I now ask you to work within me, trusting that you will use the hours of rest to create in me a new heart and a new soul. Let my mind,  which through the day has been directed to my work, through the evening be wholly directed at you – a prayer At Evening by Jacob Boehme.

One of three late evening prayers.
So, having prayed for protection in the morning,  we give thanks to God in the nights. For grace and mercy!

So, having had my troubled soul  soothed by  inspired  prayers in these challenging  times,  The Word of God appointed in my Church for tomorrow posed further challenges.

And as I write, words from a song  we sing during Lent, which begins on March 1, came flooding into my mind. As it did last week before church.

THE HYMN
My spirit longs for thee 

within my troubled breast,

though I unworthy be 

of so divine a guest.
Of so divine a guest

unworthy though I be,

yet has my heart no rest,

unless it comes from thee….

Words which are a profound commentary on life and life’s many and varied challenges. Both at  home and abroad!  As one of the church’s most famous sons, and he who more than anyone else influenced Western Civilization through his seminal writing in,  The City of God, Bishop Augustine of Hippo, famously said, in another book, The Confessions of Augustine  that:

 “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

And so, at a deep level, Donald Trump’s antics, which has the power to affect the entire world, even ‘ down under ‘ in Australia, and in Mexico, home of ‘ bad hombres’, is nothing more than signs of  a ‘ restless soul’, that needs, and can find comfort only,  when ‘ the divine guest’ enters his soul.
 And so #DonaldTrumpallmexicansarerapists, so too those Pastors and Policemen who sexually assault young girls. So too those who abduct, rape and kill! Not only young girls, but men women and children! Those who engage in scamming, those involved in corruption, those who are ‘ sperm donors’, and absentee fathers!
And as the Word of God in Isaiah reveals, those who disobey The Living God. I really hope people like Donald Trump et al, and the Evangelical Christians  who  blindly support him,   get a chance to read this contextually challenging text:

THE WORD OF GOD…ABRIDGED 

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
  For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. 
They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.  ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 
 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord ? 
 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,  and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:1‭-‬10 NIV

http://bible.com/111/isa.58.1-10.NIV

This in essence is why,  deep in their hearts,  people across the world know it is wrong  for the ‘leader of the free world’, to turn his back on refugees; people fleeing oppression.
And why we in Jamaica will never find peace, for ( and unless)  as Burchell Taylor’s profund Prayer Breakfast sermon warned:

” we ought not to handle and treat people unjustly and in turn demand and expect a just social order

……#bankfees, #peoplelivingongullybanks, paying security guards $Ja.13000 fortnightly……growth without equity, a bane of modern societies, rooms on campus for the poor and others for the well heeled, the creation of garrison communities, alleged  involvement of Policemen and political activists in scamming…..
So what is to done? A question which is keeping our policy makers, and worried mothers, up late at nights.
But the Word of God gives clear instructions; a topic on which I have been led to preach tomorrow.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14‭-‬16 NIV

http://bible.com/111/mat.5.14-16.NIV
For our role as children of a Redeemer God is to allow the life of Christ to shine through us. And touch the lives of those who John the Baptist’s father, in the famous song,  The Benedictus’,  termed:


” To give light to those who sit  in darkness and in the shadow of death “. Luke 1:79.

For those who don’t know Jesus, whether in or outside of the church, whether in The White House or in the back room, whether pregnant in your face Beyonce, or a unknown  refugee on the high seas, whether whistle blowing Cliff Hughes  or a informer in the inner city, you are ‘ sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.’
And so we are called, as the only ultimate solution to the ‘ restless hearts of mankind’ , to present them with the ‘ divine guest ‘,  Jesus Christ, The Good News that Christ died for the sins of all mankind.
As He is the Only Light in a dark world. But first we have to invite this divine guest into our troubled breast, though we ( very)  unworthy be!

Peace.