War in the minds of suicide bombers and wicked gunmen. Jesus vs. Satan
#Manchesterarena. #ManchesterBombing It’s not that the story didn’t touch me when news broke about the deaths of twenty three persons; with many more injured.
Ariana Grande says she is ‘broken’ after explosion in Manchester Arena that left 22 dead and 59 injured | https://t.co/aSeVWDCW3c | #Iran
In fact, like perhaps millions across the world, I was horrified beyond words. And like others, followed closely the saturated coverage of the awful story by both CNN and BBC. Further, even though I am an Arsenal fan #gunnerforlife, I’ve been there. And done that! Visited Manchester, and did what would be considered de rigeur; walked around in the Man U stadium. I know the place.
The ‘ revelation ‘ about the everyday material used in the bomb #nails, the repeated showing of the video with the terrible haunting cry of, ‘ O my God‘, the mad rush to exit the arena caught on camera, the banality of evil as shown by the middle class home where the suicide bomber lived, and the defiant attitude of those who gathered in the city centre to mourn and to comfort; all these images will remain in my mind for a long time.
And hopefully so too will the images of the over 80 victims of the #KabulBombing this week, stay with me for a long time. Despite the fact that there was no saturated coverage of that equally horrific event. None! Just a news item among many others. And then moving quickly along! Despite the fact that the objective was the same. Create terror in the minds of the ‘ target audience‘! Maybe it’s the novelty of a suicide attack in one city vs the regularity in another. Maybe! But for the Christian, we must never forget, that all are made equal and precious in the eyes of the God of Abraham, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Clearly then, news of four persons brutally murdered in seven days in #Trelawnybleeding, and three dying in St.Catherine over a weekend, and a mother and son gunned down in #Hanoverbleeding, was not going to make the International news. And who knows, perhaps people in Jamaica who don’t follow the news, unless it affects them directly, might not even be aware of such happenings.
And while the world searches for answers to the vexed question of how to stop the terrorists, or even how to deal with man’s inhumanity to man, I was led to read a profound meditation which speaks directly to this existential challenge.
Verse: You were taught….to be made new in the attitude of your minds. Ephesians 4: 22-23
You were taught…” In other words, this is something we should know. The renewing of the mind is a prominent New Testament teaching. When we become Christians we are to think differently.
“To be made new …..” We can take comfort in the fact that this is a passive command. We don’t do the renewing ; we simply subject ourselves to it. We submit our minds to God and let Him fill them with His truth. He is the guardian of our makeovers.
” In the attitude of your minds”. Our thought life is a battleground. You’ve probably noticed that. There is a war going on for the ideas and affections of men and women in this world, and it’s brutal. We are assaulted with falsehoods constantly, and sometimes they seem so close to the truth that we fall for them. But the enemy is devious, we are gullible, and the war rages on. Satan wants our minds, Jesus wants them even more.
How can we win this war?……
It’s hard. There is no easy way.
…..We are to fill our minds either truth and let God’s Spirit renew them. As we immerse ourselves in His Word and let His teachings sink into our hearts, eventually our minds will learn to decipher truth from error. We will learn to see things from a kingdom perspective rather than a worldly one. In effect, we will be made new.
Comment: I suggest that this meditation addresses the heart of the problem facing the ‘ body of Christ’, the Church in today’s Google Millennial Society.
The battleground for the hearts and minds of people, calling them to repent, to turn to God in and through Christ Jesus, is in the minds of our people. And by ourselves we would lose that war, and suffer a massive defeat.
For who among us can compete with Google, pornography, Netflix, iTunes and YouTube, for the affections and minds of unbelievers. And if truth be told, the Bible and prayer are no longer necessarily the #1 ‘search engine’ for many Christians.
So, for many, Truth and Morality are relative issues and not absolute! Something to learn and not a Person, Jesus Christ, to meet. And to ‘ covenant with’!
Therefore my truth tells me to bomb innocent people. In #Manchesterarena and in #Kabul. In the name of revenge. Or even Allah! #IamCharlieHebdo.
My truth allows me, a rated dancehall artist, so the story goes, not to be ‘ dissed’ by anyone. And thus exact revenge!
My truth says that women and children are fair game in the ‘ rough and tumble of life’. And thus as a ranking badman, it doesn’t matter how old. Or if she could have been my mother. Blam, blam. You’re dead!
My truth allows to me to live as if God is irrelevant, dead or ineffective. But yet I am in shock when disaster strikes. And yearn for a crime free Jamaica!
Thank God for Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts people of Sin. And lead them to turn to God in repentance.
Thank God for Pentecost which many churches will celebrate thisv Sunday. Marking the beginning of the Christian Church when the Holy Spirit was ” poured out on all flesh “.
When the first sermon was preached. Acts Chap 2. One of the readings for Sunday. And the people were told that God raised the man Jesus Christ – who they had killed – from the dead.
The people then asked what should they do? ” Repent and be baptized…..and save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”. Came the answer.
God then ‘ added to their number’, three thousand on that day.
So in the final analysis, it is God who convicts people of sin, when we lift up the Name of Jesus. In our homes! In the community! In the crusades! In the media! On social media! At Healing Conference! Everywhere!
No doubt it was for reasons as articulated above, why I was inspired to post this message on Facebook this week.
” Opened my Classics Devotional Bible randomly in my #earlymorningdevotions and found this:
THE SEEKERS COVENANT
Matthew Henry ( 1662-1714 … As a bible expositor, his multivolume Commentary on the Bible still enjoys popularity, even though they were written almost 300 years ago…..)
Verse: 2 Chronicles 30:6
“Yield yourself unto the Lord ” ( 2 Chronicles 30:8)
Before you can come into communion with him you must come into covenant with him……
The God you are called to return to is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a God in covenant with your first fathers.
Your late fathers that forsook him and trespassed against him have been given up to desolation; their apostasy and idolatry have been their ruin, as you see ( vs 7). You yourselves are but a remnant narrowly escaped out of the hands of the Kings of Assyria. If you return to God in a way of duty, he will return to you in a way of mercy….
Could anything be expressed more pathetically, more movingly? Could there be a better cause, or could it be better pleaded?
Comment: #Trelawnybleeding and #Hanoverbleeding and #StJamesbleeding and a 9 year old girl coming from school is struck down a few feet from her home by a speeding bus…. and #Jamaicableeds and #Jamaicatroubled came into my mind. For we have in large measure forsook the God of our grandparents, who were in a covenant relationship with ‘Puppa Jesus’ and ‘Maasa God’. And got taken up with idols, in politics, talk show radio ( it will take many years to recover from Mutty Perkins et al) , in our wallets, even in the Church( have mercy), on the Internet- we turn to Google more than we turn to the Bible or go on our knees –
And so our land mourns. The people are confused and increasingly becoming hopeless and cynical about the solutions to stem the flow of blood in our land.
Thank God, as Matthew Henry closed his profound meditation,
” In the worst of times God has had a remnant, so he had here….”
A people committed to ‘ yield themselves to Christ and Christ alone’.
To Whom will you pledge allegiance today? The Lamb of God. Or idols, about whom King Hezekiah faced with the threat of destruction by the King of Assyria declared:
“ Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him; for there is one greater with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us fight our battles. The people were encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8″.
Our duty then is lift up the Name of Jesus in Word and in deed. A lifestyle! Whenever. Wherever. To whomsoever. In season and out of season. Whether we get a visa or not. Whether we are ridiculed or not. Whether we appear on page 2 or not. Whether we are ignored or not. Whether we suffer at the hands of extremists, in Pakistan, India or in China. And in Jamaica. And the USA.
That is the context in which we need to reflect on the powerful message coming out of #HealingConference2017: that Healing takes place in community.
That we need each other. In war torn Afghanistan, in the ruins of Aleppo, and the human tragedy that daily unfolds in Syria, in the once tranquil and now devastated city of Manchester, and especially in ‘ Paradise Lost’ Jamaica. A togetherness which was a striking feature of first century Christianity as they witnessed to the love of God in Christ Jesus – the end of Acts 2. But which quest for unity, sadly, is no longer a priority in the ‘ body of Christ’, as each denomination ‘ does its own thing’, largely unconcerned with the activities of others outside their ‘ flock’ – one of the scandals of the modern day church.
And then this chorus which got into my soul during the Healing Conference weekend; in particular just before the powerful Healing Service on Sunday morning, reveals the only source that binds us together. Not doctrine! Not tradition! Not culture! But:
oh it is Jesus
yes it is Jesus
it’s Jesus in my soul;
for I have touched the hem of His garment,
and His blood has made me whole.
Pray God that His precious blood will make people ‘ whole’. In Manchester. In Kabul. In Trelawny. In Hanover. And across the entire world. If people would just reach out and ‘ touch the hem of his garment ‘.
And sing ( another Healing Conference chorus):
1 Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
hear my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.
hear my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.
Song in video. Early morning devotions on Saturday.