Healing Conference 2017: Healing takes place in Community 

Leaving the debate about #RankingPumpkin ( she came in second), and men wearing #rompers  ( the new fashion statement for men), I journeyed across the island, last Friday,  to Montego Bay, the tourist capital of Jamaica.
And spent a deeply spiritually rewarding weekend at #HealingConference2017!

A gathering of mostly Anglicans, with a sprinkling of other denominations, going on now for over forty years. A weekend of teaching, fellowship, prayers, worshiping, and testimonies. Climaxing in a  deeply moving Healing Service on the Sunday morning, when ‘ healing hands’, anointed and empowered by God, are laid on persons. And who then receive healing according to the power and timing of a Sovereign God.
The first night, Friday night, was ‘ youth night’. Led by vibrant young Rev. Michael Elliott from Portmore. Missed it unfortunately as I arrived too late – long story. But from all reports his presentation ‘ why are you here ‘, among other things, set the stage perfectly for the working out of a Theme: God’s Healing; Turning the hearts of Individuals Nations and the World.
Next up was the early morning devotions led by a team from the Bahamas – they have been coming for over ten years.


Then the Diocesan Bishop of Jamaica, Rt. Revd. Howard Gregory, and popular Webster United Church  Pastor, Astor Carlyle, shared their presentations on the Theme.

In the afternoon sessions, two ‘ Sisters ‘, from a Religious Order in Canada, well one of them, shared their perspective. This after, almost forgot, a short ‘ exercise session’.

Following which, one of the highlights of Healing Conference, the sharing of Testimomies, took centerfold.

The day  closed with a night session led by Canon Horace Ward and his team, ten strong, who flew in from Florida.

And after the Healing Service on Sunday morning, reluctantly, very reluctantly, I went back down into the ‘ demon possessed Valley ‘,  of mothers ‘ pimping their daughters’, and gunmen chasing a mother and son; killing them both.
So what revelations, teaching, thoughts and prayers accompanied me back to Kingston.

That the Sovereign God,  who may seem to  be silent while we are going through  our ‘ valley of the shadow of death’, always stands in solidarity with us. For it is He who assures us that, ” Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us, all the days of our lives…..”.
That the unity of Scripture affords us a panoramic view of the Sovereign God who is always there for us when trouble comes. Even and especially when it comes suddenly.
That righteousness is the very essence of the nature and  character of God. And is very closely linked to  justice!  And if we wish for our nation to be placed on a path of healing, we have to take care of, the widow, the orphan and the stranger”, viz the vulnerable and the downtrodden and those who society abuse and treat unjustly.

” So, if the community of faith wants justice to “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” there must be first of all repentance of sin at a personal and communal level and the commitment to consistency of living between our professed faith and our deeds, finding expression also in advocacy for those who are being denied justice within the society.  But we must understand this call to repentance and renewal will not resonate with the entire society as it speaks to the quality and nature of human relations in community which are informed by faith in God and a consequent commitment to incarnate a life of moral rectitude which reflects the very nature of God.”

That Healing takes place in community. That we need each other. For it is the prayers and acts of kindness of others,  that sustain us when God appears to be silent.

So let us jettison overboard any concept of an ‘ individual ‘, Christian with his or her personal relationship with God, worshiping God in the privacy of their homes. Church then becomes,  not only a place to worship, but where we fellowship with each other,   build each other up; and go out to show mecy to others. In word and deed!

Thus lifting  up the Name of Jesus. To the glory of God!

That the end of our story, regardless of how grave the challenge may be, is still be written by a Sovereign and Compassionate God.
That Jesus turned to His Father, in His final hours before He died, and prayed for those who God had given to Him.
And that Jesus, having received them, gave them back to God. The owner of all mankind and of creation. We too,  therefore, ought to follow that example. That we own nothing in this life. Not our car. Not our house. Not our business. Not our ministry. And most importantly, certainly not the church. Pastors beware! And not even our own life.

For it is the Sovereign God who owns everything. And who then deserves all the honor and the glory and the praise.

That when unfettered, Anglicans  worship with passion,  and awe,  and joy. Yes joy!  It was a sight to behold.
That a weekend of glorious singing,

‘ For it is Jesus, yes it is Jesus……if I can just touch the hem of his garment…..can fill you with so much peace and joy. Sufficient to ‘ full your cup’, for months to come. Just praising God.

That a weekend of Praise and Thanksgiving and  Wrestling with God in Prayer, invites the very Presence of God to be felt in an awesome manner ” in the House”. Praise God.
So Healing of hearts and minds and souls and bodies took place over the weekend. Not because we were pious, or holy. Not because of the intensity of our prayers. Not because of the beauty of the singing. But because God was in the House. And all made possible because of the Blood of Christ shed on Calvary. Thus opening a new way for mankind to be still. And know God

That, a nation desperately in need of healing from crime and violence, corruption and hopelessness, needs to understand that the answer to our problems lies in how we cherish, shape and nurture,  this community called Jamaica. That we do in fact need each other.  Regardless of what ‘ power we may think we have’. And which power only belongs to a Sovereign God, who can, in a brief moment relieve us from any authority. Whether we sport green or orange vests; trod in Tivoli or Waterhouse; live  in #ClarendonFlooded,  mourn in #Trelawnybleeding or #Hanoverbleeding, have thousands of followers  on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, rule daytime, afternoon or night  radio, rate high on the stockmarket, or  run tings  in the dancehall.

A perspective which we need to hold dearly as we consider the cries of our brothers and sisters in Venezuela, Syria and Iraq. Community matters. Dearly! As a ‘ so de ting set’ by a Sovereign and Compassionate God.

Then this morning, with a heart still overflowing with the wonder and Glory of God, this wonderful song came pouring into, and out of my soul. ” His own Presence to cheer and to guide”.

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Refrain:

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
2

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Amen.

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Flooding or Judgment

  1. ​The heavens opened and the rain came. Of almost  Biblical  intensify. All night long!  It poured. And poured. One wit on Twitter wondered where was ‘ Noah ‘. Only to be answered laconically, by another smart aleck, ‘ Quickly putting together his  Ark.’ .

Check out @vidokti’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/vidokti/status/864582653592391681?s=09

I, however, was determined to go to work. Don’t like staying home unless sick. And very sick too.  But my staff and videos on Twitter warned against such madness. As the bridge that I would normally use to get to work had raging water just underneath it.

Check out @jovanthony’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/jovanthony/status/864452679476682752?s=09

All of this taking place in a previously dry river bed. Suddenly transformed into a threatening and angry mass of water. To the extent that another bridge further south of my intended route was,  not just completely inundated with flood waters, but almost wrecked. Which was  the fate of several other bridges in the rural areas!

Perhaps the flooding which took place in the same parish a few weeks ago, was a warning. Who knows! But this time the damage was island wide as a weather system took aim at our country  and drenched us with many inches of rain fall. All happening in short time.

Predictable everybody had a solution. Fix the drains. Prevent informal settlements. Build housing schemes with floods in mind. Don’t  build houses next to ” Big Pond”.

All good ideas.
But two ‘ conversations ‘, come to mind as I write.

” How can we fix our country”, I asked one of my patients as we discussed the latest vile act?

” Only judgement “, was the immediate and only response!. And that happened twice. On the same day! One proposing. The other in agreement.

Then this, as unusually  I woke up at 4:00 am this week, and being unable to go back to sleep, got up, opened my Bible ‘ randomly’, and began reading:

Judgment on Moab

Jeremiah 48. The entire chapter.

And in particular: ” Moab shall be destroyed as a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord”. Verse 42.
But always, a God who is full of mercy, and who famously declared through His Prophet Ezekiel,  that, ” I take no pleasure in the death of Sinners, but that they turn and be saved“, offered a Word of Hope in the midst of the revelation of judgement.
Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days, says the Lord”. Verse 47.

And as I discussed this issue of Judgement with another set of patients, one of whom had a similar perspective,  after the flood waters had receded and I was able to go to work the following day;  and after I read about the judgement on Moab, my thoughts went to Abraham and His conversation with God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I don’t believe this!  Have mercy. As I open my Bible  to find the story about Sodom and Gomorrah, right in front on me is:

” The Shameful Origin of Moab and Ammon.”

How Lot’s two daughters ‘ lay with him‘. How they both got pregnant. 

” The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. The younger one also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.

So on to Abraham:

Then  the Lord said, ” How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether to the outcry that had come to me; and if not I will know……..
Then Abraham came near and said, ” Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked..  . 

and began the great ‘ bargaining with God. Finally ending with:
Suppose ten ( righteous) men are found there. He ( God) answered, ” For the sake of ten I will not destroy it”.
Now fast forward to the New Testament and to the Book of  Romans, where it is revealed that:
” There is no one righteous. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Therefore it means that the modern day argument about whether or not this passage ought to used to condemn homosexuals, or not,  is ‘ missing the central point”.
Which is,  that God in His mercy did,  ” Come down to fallen humanity”. In the form of Jesus Christ. Not to destroy. Not to condemn. Not to judge. But so that everyone who believed in His Salvific Act ” The Atonement wrought on Calvary “, will not perish but have eternal life.
For all have sinned:

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Straight ” All bent out of shape “. Black, White, Browning (Of the  Beenieman version  or otherwise), Brazilian hair, bald head, Rasta, pork eaters, vegetarians, wearers of Rompin, bare it all dancehall or Carnival girls. Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, New Age.
Lying lawyers, corrupt politicians, and the narcissistic ones too. Gouging doctors, payola DJ’s, ‘ know-it-all ‘ righteous’ journalists, misbehaving pickney, four burner daddy’s, child abusing pastors….all have sinned. The great spiritual reality which is the essence of the Bible message!

But thank God for Jesus. Whose Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension reveal that:  God loves  humanity whom He created, He breathed life into us, He Redeemed us – From Sin and Death-  by The ( Precious) Blood of The Lamb. And He alone will judge us:

For, ”  In  the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere  to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31. A verse to which I was led to read.

So back to The Judgement story.
An excerpt from a message in October shortly after a young student ( from my alma mater ) was brutally murdered.

“Then at the Lecture I gave recently, Healthy Church: Healthy Nation, in the section ‘ Decisive Issues facing Christians Today, I  shared an extended version of this data. Data which chronicled the dramatic change after I left ” Fervet”.
1970 – 152  died from homicide in Jamaica
1980 – 899
1990 – 543
2000 – 887
2010 – 1447  ( 2009 – 1683 the worst year on record”

The reality is that as a nation we cannot continue to murder and rape and create mayhem,  with such impunity,  and not expect these ‘ vile acts’, to ‘ rise up’  before  a Righteous and Just God.

For those who would think that,  after such an event like what happened last week, I commend you to one of the signature songs of the late Frankie Paul,  whose picture is emblazoned across the front page of today’s Gleaner. ( May his soul RIP).
Fire dey a muss muss tail and Him think Seymour a cool breeze”.
For although God is indeed a merciful God and slow to anger, and full of compassion and mercy,  and although He sent His Son to die so that ‘ all who have sinned ‘, should not perish, this is not a God who we can ” magnify ourselves ” like the Moabites and expect no consequences.

A warning which I was moved to tweet yesterday:

Check out @lucienforJesus’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/lucienforJesus/status/865374397032521728?s=09

So we thank God for the witness of the authentic, Bible believing,  and confessing Church.

Otherwise God alone knows what would have become of Jamaica; one of the murder capitals of the world. And America, ( Trump is a distraction…not the real issue)  which has exported so much immorality across the world.

And in all of this, day after day,  this week, the words of this wonderful and challenging hymn, stayed with me.

1. O Jesus, I have promised

to serve thee to the end:

be thou ever 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. O 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. O let me hear thee speaking

in accents clear and still,

above the storms of passion,

the murmurs of self-will;

O speak to reassure me,

to hasten or control;

O 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;

O give me grace to follow,

my Master and my friend.

5.  O let me see thy footmarks,

and in them plant mine own;

My hope to follow duly

is in thy strength alone.

O guide me, call me, draw me,

uphold me to the end;

and then in heaven receive me,

my Savior and my Friend.

O give me grace to follow my Master and my friend!

Zoleka Mandela, South African Royalty. Jesus Christ, Heavenly Royalty 

​This week I spent quality time with South African ‘ Royalty ‘.  With Zoleka Mandela the granddaughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela! 

Of slight build. But  pretty as a picture. Quiet, but commanding voice. With the Miriam Makeeba lilt. An internationally-acclaimed road safety advocate. Moving people to tears! Our own Prime Minister confessed he was on the brink. I came close too. 
But fragile. And has been through a lot! Her story will be aired on the award winning #Profile on #TVJ, hosted by Ian Boyne;  not this Sunday but the next one. Riveting stuff. Painful stuff. But full of hope, as she rose like the phoenix from the dust. To become a much sought after motivational speaker!

The host of #HotlineonRJRFM #EmilyShields,  one of Jamaica’s best and brightest, graciously agreed to interview Zoleka. And when Emily  found out about the #FreeMandela connection,  she was ‘ over the moon’.  Estatic! Like seriously enraptured! As for those of us who grew up – ES must have been a yoing girl – during the ‘ struggle ‘, Nelson Mandela is like Royalty.

Emily even began to sing ” Bring back Nelson Mandela “. #HughMasekela. On radio. Live! And was accompanied by ‘ caught up in the fever’, rasta drumming, by one of the party. 


She even met Jamaican  ‘ Royalty’. And posed for pictures with the ‘ big man’. #UsainBolt. And ‘ coach ‘ too!

Spoke about ‘ Gone too soon ‘. And more!

So South African Royalty came. Conquered the hearts of many. The excitement at the Jamaica Cancer Society where she visited was palpable. And left. After three days. To catch a 15 hour flight back to Jo’berg. But first a short stop to NY. What sacrifice. She hopes to return. When? Who knows! But a little piece of her heart was left here. Treasured by those who took pictures with her. Gave her a hug. Prayed with her. And just loved her. Not just because she is Royalty. But because, as Taurus Riley sang. 

 ‘ She is Royal’! 
This week also I spent time, quality time, with Royalty. Of a different kind altogether! 

And He revealed to me, through His Word, one of the great lessons in the Bible. 
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound ? By no means! 

How can we who died to so go on living in it?  Do you not know that all of us were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him in baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6: 1-4.

The passage resonated so much with me, even though I had read it so many times before. As it reminded me of one of the fundamental truths of the Christian Faith. That we have died! In Christ. And in Him raised to a new life. Powerful stuff. Life and game changing stuff. The Gospel Truth!
A truth which led to the posting of this message on Facebook.
FACEBOOK ONE 

When things seem not to be going your way, try not to be suspicious of God. He is a good God. He is a faithful God! We need to trust Him in every circumstance, however bleak it may appear. Personal  stuff. Other people. Nation. That’s the ‘ mind of Christ ‘ we are to cultivate, for we have been buried with Christ at Baptism.  And just as how Christ was raised from the dead to a new life,  to the glory of God, so too with Him, we are raised from the ‘ old man who died’, to Eternal life. Romans 6 #earlymorningdevotions 

So to be suspicious of God is to allow the ‘ old man ‘,  now dead in Christ, to once again take control. Perish the thought. O for grace to follow thee more. For in Christ, the old man, the law,  sin and yes, even death itself, no longer rule. Only Christ in whom we have new and unending Life. Right now.

Comment – It’s great to ‘ hang ‘ with earthly Royalty for a while. Whether South African or Jamaican. And to love and appreciate them. But  that’s it. Back to Jo’berg.  Back to training. And still fragile. Regardless!

But with Heavenly Royalty, the Psalmist- which I was led to read tonight – gets it right. Heavenly Royalty is to be blessed. For only He is a Healer. And full of mercy.

Yet fragile. As the Christ child. But raised from the dead. With power. And therefore  always with us. Always healing.
PSALM 103

Bless the Lord , O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  …….


The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalms 103:1‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬12 KJV

http://bible.com/1/psa.103.1-12.KJV
Chris Tiegreen has the last word.

After Cleansing 
Verse: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!
“……Unfortunately, history is filled with Christians who have taken grace too casually. We have seen it abundantly and concluded that  with much of it to go around, we might as well spend it recklessly. 

Casual grace has led us to conclude that sin is not that big of a deal, that we weren’t that badly off to begin with, and that God is not really as uptight and holy as we once made Him ought to be. 
But while that’s the prevailing view of casual Christianity, it isn’t biblical. Grace was given to free us from sin, not free us up for more of it. Make sure you understand the difference. God is still Holy, and grace is still precious. Always live in a way that shows that both are sacred to you.”

The question is, have we truly died with Christ, by grace,  to sin and death and fear. If not,  then people won’t see the Risen Christ in us. Thank us for bringing Him to visit.  And get excited. Not about us. But about Him. For He only is King. And highly exalted!

ROAD DEATHS AND UN VACCINES: SIN AND SPIRITUAL VACCINES 

I have been  involved in managing and promoting road safety programs. Locally and Internationally. For a long time!
Most of my time this week, has been taken up with preparing for a major event to be held in Kingston,  Jamaica,  next Wednesday. 
On that day, a special United Nations  Envoy on Road Safety,  Mr. Jean Todt will speak at a UN  #SlowDownEvent. 
He will be joined by one of my favourite international colleagues,  Zoleka Mandela. 

The granddaughter of the famous Nelson Mandela, a UN Ambassador on Child Health and Mobility,  an exciting speaker, a  lady of especial charm and grace, but one  who has suffered much; her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. 

The  Chairman of the local road safety management team, The National Road Safety Council, and Prime Minister of Jamaica, will speak at the beginning of the Event.

However, after the thousands of miles traveled, the many messages crafted, the long hours of meetings and the years of advocacy, the essence of our work is captured very succinctly by this phrase:

” We have the vaccines, use them“.

What are some of these ” vaccines”?

#helmetssavelives 

#seatbeltssavelives 

#slowdown 

#dontdrinkanddrive

#donttextanddrive

The central message then,  is that if we use the vaccines, change our behaviour, then many of the #3500 people who die every day ( and one is a Jamaican….at 379 deaths last year) across the world will not perish.
But road safety experts worldwide are now,  ‘ taking it to a different level’. As they, we…not an expert but involved…realize that people will make mistakes regardless of how many ‘ vaccines ‘ we produce.

And so the,  ‘ best practice’,  now  is to create #SafeSytems,  so that no one ought to die on our roads.

#SafeSytems

#SafeRoads

#SafeVehicles

#SafeRoadUsers

A philosophy that will be discussed during the Event and after. That when, not if, road users make mistakes,  they ought not to be ‘ punished’,  with death or injury.

A revolutionary approach to modern day  international scourge. Thus placing the burden on those who create transportation systems and not just on those who use them.
More importantly, I have been an Evangelist for a long time. Called by the Lord, as all Christians are, to spread abroad the Good News of Salvation offered by the grace of God,   in and through  the shed  Blood of Jesus for the Sins of humankind on The Cross of Calvary.
The parallel between the use of ‘vaccines’,  and the Safe Systems Approach and Christianity,  had occurred to me before. But this is the first time I’ve been inspired to write about it. And to post on Facebook #earlymorningdevotions messages which are closely aligned.

Follow me now! The Ten Commandments are the original ‘ vaccines’, which if  we use them, be obedient, we would please God ‘ and live ‘.

But ‘ all have sinned….prone to wander from the God we love, on the one hand, and from the God who created us, on the other hand,  regardless of whether we believe or not.
We will make mistakes! We will continue to Sin. We cannot keep God’s Holy and Righteous  Rules for Living with Him. That’s one of the many  take home messages in the Old Testament experience of the Jews. His ‘ Chosen People’! 
And so in the  fullness of time God sent a ” Safe System”, His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. With a better promise…..so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
So that everyone at risk, the whole world, including Jean Todt, Zoleka Mandela, our Prime Minister Andrew Holness and myself, not just #3500, might not perish; die without salvation and be eternally separated from God. But in Christ, receive the grace of God and live with Him, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of South Africa and Jamaica, forever. Amen!

The key point is that although God in Christ offers us this ” Safe Systems “, through the precious Blood of The Lamb on Calvary,  so that no one ought to perish, we need His Grace, The Holy Spirit,  daily, to continue more and more to follow Him. A reality which the song writer captures well in this hymn in which I spent quality time this week.
O JESUS I HAVE PROMISED 

O Jesus, I have promised 

to serve thee to the end:

be thou ever 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.
O 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.
O let me hear thee speaking 

in accents clear and still,

above the storms of passion, 

the murmurs of self-will;

O speak to reassure me, 

to hasten or control;

O speak, and make me listen, 

thou guardian of my soul.

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;

O give me grace to follow, 

my Master and my friend.
O let me see thy footmarks, 

and in them plant mine own;

My hope to follow duly 

is in thy strength alone.

O guide me, call me, draw me, 

uphold me to the end;

and then in heaven receive me, 

my Savior and my Friend.

O give me grace to follow ….Indeed. 

 
That’s the Gospel Truth. And this week I read a meditation by Chris Tiegreen, and at the end of it,  was a poignant and unwelcomed by some, but unassailable Truth.

Truth carries  with it confrontation ” …Francis Schaeffer

CLING TO HIM 
CHRIS TIEGREEN 

 Verse : If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. Deuteronomy 18:19
The world does not understand that Jesus is a dividing line, the apex of history over which everyone must fall either to one side or another.

There is no in-betweens  when it comes to the voice of God. Either it is heard or not. 
Yet we I’ve in a salad-bar, fashion-trend kind of world that picks it’s and chooses its truth, as though truth could change with the times.

But the Ancient of Days doesn’t tell us to anchor ourselves in seasonal truth. He grafts into us the eternal Son.
We live in a culture that embraces  multiple ‘ realities ‘. The underlying philosophy of our age says that what’s true for one may not be true for another. It lauds those who are open-minded abd disdain those who think they are right. It believes that absolutist thinking is incompatible with love and kindness. It treats the words of Jesus as nice and helpful, not the dividing line of history.
According to Moses ( and many others in Scripture), God will hold everyone accountable for the words of His Son  – including us. The world dresses itself in ‘ trendy truth’ out of ignorance; when we do that, it’s out of reckless neglect  ( the very thing we accuse some  drivers ). Though God guides us through seasons of our lives, His character never changes. Neither does the foundation He laid for us . His words speak of eternal realities in heavenly realms, where shadows don’t shift and the night never falls. In heaven, truth is truth. 

When thd King of heaven speaks, His words are truth. There are no other options.
Comment: Makes you wonder if our political and other leaders in our society consider that they love and value humanity more than the Creator God. If not, why don’t they just listen to the Prophet who God promised He would send. Christ The Crucified One. God will indeed hold people accountable for presuming to  erect ‘ protective ‘ barriers, between The Word of God, The Life of Jesus Christ and State.
For the reality is that mankind cannot manage on its  own. We absolutely need the  spiritual vaccines – The Ten Commandments…..do not murder….do not envy and lust….obey your parents…..love God. #syria #Rwanda  #TheKillingFieldsofCambodia #HIV/AIDS #Pornography #Scammersextradited 
And manifest in our disobedience of the spiritual vaccines is  the behaviour of some of our children….far too many. And which behavior  is driving our teachers to despair; and to desire early retirement. The wanton immorality which has hijacked our music in particular and culture in general. And  murder most foul which plays  itself out in ‘ broad daylight ‘, and under the cover of darkness in our communities. Day after day. Thus driving many Jamaicans to look to ‘ greener ‘ and safer pastures.

But God in His Grace and infinite mercy, knowing full well that we cannot obey The Ten Commandments, unable to use the vaccines, sent His Son.

Pray God that as a nation and a world we will daily avail ourselves of His Holy Spirit. Listen and obey Him.  And thus  help to ‘ turn this ship around’; a ship which has sadly gone adrift. 
FACEBOOK ONE 

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own brothers …..you must listen to him. Deuteronomy 18:15
Politicians all over the world beseech us to listen to them. One Donald Trump,  even says repeatedly, ” Believe me”, and then on public television ” I don’t stand by anything “. Almost a hashtag trending now on Twitter.  #BTH  #djmiller  And we in Jamaica know that ‘ virus”, very well.
Chris Tiegreen, in a meditation on the words of Moses, prophesying the coming of Jesus, thousands of years before,  which I read  #earlymorningdevotions  however,  has another take on this issue of listening and believing.
” Many Christians, however, believe in Jesus without really listening to him. We read his words and try to follow them – a futile attempt unless His own Spirit gives free rein within us by faith. We become religious followers of Jesus without spiritually fellowshiping with Him. We listen to God’s word and miss His Heart”.
No doubt this is why my devotions began with the words of this hymn ( opened my hymn book randomly and found it). 
Come, thou fount of every blessing,

tune my heart to sing thy praise!

Streams of mercy never ceasing,

calls for songs of loudest praise…….
Jesus sought me when a stranger

wandering from the fold of God;

he, to rescue me from danger,

interposed his precious blood.
Oh, 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 Lord I love;

here’s my heart, oh take and seal it,

seal it for thy courts above. 
That’s what causes all the bitterness and anger, #Livity in the world, immorality #Adi and #Destra #TwoJamaicas fake news and #alternatetivefact madness in #Paris and #syria and #NorthKorea and #ConstantSpringRoad and  #Scammersextradited because we are so #pronetowander. And fixing the economy and locking up the #duttycriminals  alone will not suffice #Listen to Jesus. #obey Him. All of us. Me first. It’s not my brother, not my sister, but me O Lord standing in the need of prayer. #NatKingCole. Pray for me as I pray for you. And my country. Desperately in need of prayer!

FACEBOOK TWO 

This is what you asked of the Lord  your God. Deut. 18:16
After God thundered from Mount Sinai as He gave Israel the Ten Commandments, the people of God….asked not to hear His voice or see His fire anymore (vs.16). The intimacy was too overwhelming, His Holiness too heavy. His presence  got to be too much for them, they thought they were going to die…… 
So God promised to send His presence in a different format. The Incarnation didn’t come for many centuries, but it put the voice and fire of God into the midst of God’s people. They couldn’t handle it in the wilderness, and many of them couldn’t handle it when Jesus came. But God in His mercy gave them an option that wouldn’t kill them immediately.  He sent His presence in the form of a Person – Chris Tiegreen 
Not the complete reason why Jesus came ( Sin) but a useful perspective to reflect on. 

Especially in the context of the well known Jamaican proverb Fae A. Ellington ‘ Fire dey a muss muss tail an him tink a cool breeze ‘.
For the existential challenge is that we have become so ‘ familiar’  with Jesus’ , who is the Almighty God of Israel, God Incarnate,  the God of Fire and Thunder and Awesome Power and Judgment, that people have grown contemptuous of Him.

And forgot that :
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus

He came to love, heal and forgive

He lived and died to buy my pardon

An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
For God knows we can’t even walk without Him holding our hands. #WildGilbert #Earthquakes #Tsunamis #Cancers #Alzheimers #Ageing #Strokes #MurderinJamaica #Roaddeaths   #9/11 all remind us of our mortality and to an extent, of the daily if not minutely, need for His Grace and Mercy. 

Found in its fullness and completeness only  in Christ Jesus!   The Crucified One. Thank God ” He is Risen”. #Easter  O for grace to love Him more. ” I believe. Lord help mine unbelief”. 

#earlymorningdevotions

FACEBOOK THREE 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. Ps. 23:4. KJV
Come to me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28 KJV
I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful, but I have never read in either of them: ” Come unto me all ye that are labour and are heavy laden”. – Augustine 
” How do you teach a child who comes to school having spent the night watching pornography,  woke up with couple bad words in his ears and…….And when you send for the parents you spend more time discussing their problems than talking about the child .”. – A Principal in tears yesterday……about many things.  One of many. A lot.  #heavilyladen #Jamaicalandwelove

#earlymorningdevotions and reflecting on yesterday. And the day before……and the day before…One teacher calls herself ‘ birth control’; as she inserts herself, regularly,  into the male bathroom in an attempt to head off sexual encounters  between boys and girls. 

That’s the context in which we ought view George Davis’, disturbing article in the Gleaner yesterday Jovan Johnson Erica Virtue. A dance hall clash issue which ought not, in my view,  been elevated to #Headlines; but which unfortunately reflects that which ought to give us pause, and represents what is making many teachers ‘ heavily laden ‘. And in tears!

And only the Word of God, and not the wisdom of Socrates or Plato or guidance counsellors can help to rescue our children and our people from this ‘ valley of the shadow of death.