It’s 4:00 am as I write. The rain has started again. It’s been raining on and off since yesterday. Not with the same intensity like what happened a couple weeks ago, when torrential rains caused flooding, and great damage to our land. An national catastrophy, which, together with drought last year, according to the IMF, has affected our projection for economic growth this year.
But if the rains continues, devastation could happen again. And we are now officially in the hurricane season! A time of potential trouble.
A 4:00 am wake up call, always for me, means that there is a Word from the Lord. So I opened my Bible, randomly, and read. Read about Hoshea King of Israel who , “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”
” They did wicked things provoking the Lord to anger; they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, ‘ You shall not do this’…..”
But Israel, the Northern Kingdom, Judah was in the South, was captured by the King of Assyria and placed in exile.
“ This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them out if the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods and walked in the customs of the nation’s whom the Lord drive out before the people of Israel.”
But the story with Judah was different; even though, ” Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God….”.
Because Hezekiah, King of Judah, ” did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done”.
So when the King of Assyria came against Judah, “ he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord”.
Then he sent for the prophet Isaiah to inquire of the Living God what to do.
Then came the message from God to Hezekiah then, and now to we who trust in God in this age:
“Thus says the Lord……..”
The rain has stopped for a while now! It’s minutes to 5. Daylight may take a longer time to come up in this weather. And shine on this troubled land where ” Thus says the Lord” has largely been ignored. Except when it is perceived that the Church may vote en bloc against a particular issue and occasion a change in government. #Rape and a changing definition, is the current fear as expressed by a Cabinet Minister.
Otherwise it is ” Thus says the Editorial “. Or ” Thus says the UN”. Or #Thussays the Talk Show Host. Or #BigBusiness. Or #TheAmericans. Or #CivilSociety. Or the #HumanRights groups.
Therefore the land mourns. In Jamaica. In the UK. In America. In Syria. For the only reason why God decided to covenant with Israel, rather than any other people on earth, all of whom He created in His own image and likeness, was to reveal Himself through them. So mankind could know Who to worship! The story of Israel then , as the Word of God reveals to us, is captured thus :
” These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings to us on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”
The question, the existential question, which arises for all leaders, especially political leaders who claim Christ, therefore is, to whom will you turn in times of trouble.
Will, ” Thus says the Lord”, be the final decision? Or have we grown so sophisticated and pluralistic that the Word of God is only one of several options to be considered.
But there is another dilemma! Who or where is the Prophet Isaiah in Jamaica, to whom shall the leader look for an answer from the Living God to #Jamaicableeding ? Is he the same one in the UK, and in the USA.
The answer may not be located in the #TimFarron experience alone. But clearly there are lessons to be learnt, viz, ” Do they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ?”
” How is that relationship manifested ?”
” What sacrifices are they prepared to make, #DenySelf as a disciple of Christ?”
And clearly these are not a questions for our leaders alone. But for all of us who claim Christ. Are we going to be obedient when Jesus calls, or warns, or sends us. For if we ‘ walk with Him and talk with Him along the lonely way ‘, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will live in us ‘, as promised. And teach us, and empower us, to live in this troubled world.
And so I wrote last night before the Lord intervened and led me to read 2 Kings 17 – 19.
This has not been a good week. As events occurring locally and abroad have shocked us to the core. And left many of us deeply disturbed by man’s inhumanity to man.
First, a desperate cry from children about to die, among others images, haunted my very soul this past week.
“Please don’t kill wi”, screamed the headlines of The Jamaica Observer, as the newspaper reported on four persons shot dead by marauding gunmen in the once peaceful parish of #Hanoverbleeding . Two adults and two children prematurely ushered out of this life by wicked men with no heart! No mercy! No regard for the sanctity of human life!
Then the carnage continued. This time in #Clarendonbleeding ! In the center of the island. Far to the south east of Hanover. And left in the wake three dead; reprisals for another murder a few days before.
Then today, in ‘ broad ‘ daylight, yet another murder in #StJamesbleeding. And so the land mourns #Jamaicableeding, as over 600 persons have been murdered in less than six months.
#Judgmennt #LastDays #Goingtogetworse #Prayer #JamaicaneedsJesus say some!
#Moremoney ##SocialInterventions #LimitedStateofEmergency #MorePolicePresence #Moreinformatiomfromcitizens say others
Then in the midst of this madness #GrenfellTowerFire ! Again with desperate pleas for help, as lives were snuffed out by smoke and fire. Firefighters fought bravely, sweating, and who knows, perhaps a few tears too. But many died. And many are missing!
All of this followed by cries of injustice because it was a poor neighborhood! Thus explaining why basic warning signals were not in place.
Finally, a seemingly unrelated matter. Brought to my attention by a friend on Twitter who is an atheist. Not rabidly so, but very firm in her convictions
#TimFarron resigned as head of the #Libdems, one of the smaller yet well known parties in the UK. Why! Because his view as a Christian that homosexuality is a sin, was at odds with the party’s position and the general sentiment in what is now a thoroughly secular state. Despite John Wesley’ s legacy of ‘ restoring to Britain its soul’!
As I listened and read and pondered, the Lord provided inspiration to tweet:
He did the correct thing… surprised that as a practising Bible believing Christian he got so far in such a liberal and secular state. https://t.co/pwmPfpUeGz
@Petchary it is going to get worse. Not just if you believe that homosexuality is a sin. Regardless of how you treat all people with respect https://t.co/DlrPBLpHWM
@Petchary #OswaldChanbers on #Discipleship #DenySelf. If I do become a disciple my career may have to be ruined https://t.co/pwmPfpUeGz
If means that you don’t need to ( give up the right to yourself) unless you like, but you won’t be of any Account to me …. unless you do https://t.co/pwmPfpUeGz
Best choice: Forgiveness or Same-sex marriage? #TimFarron Party leader or lose your soul! @Petchary @dennisgjones @emily many are called but https://t.co/dFVYjrKYSZ
You alone are my strength my shield. To You alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire. And I long to worship you #TimFarron
And to write on Facebook:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2. Cor. 8-9. NIV
The most important lesson that any nation #Jamaicableeding or any individual can learn in our journey with the Living God. Ultimately manifest in Christ’s death and ressurection! But in so many other aspects of life’s journey. In simple and complex matters. The mundane and the profound; relationship issues even to the point of divorce, cancer or other life threatening issue, coping with Alzheimer’s disease or drug addiction, racial abuse wherever, financial challenges, growing up children in a challenging world, managing a business or a nation, teaching children who don’t wish to learn, coping with the death or disappearance of a loved one, pastoring a church, seeking justice for others, ministering to unbelievers or to other religious groups….God and God alone.
Last night the Lord led me through another 4:00 am message. Opened my Bible, randomly, in obedience, and read:
A short history of Israel’s repeated apostasy despite the goodness of the Lord; The Holy One of Israel who rescued them time and time again.
And the verse which stuck in my heart, and on which we in #Jamaicableeding ought to reflect, deeply, was:
” They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass”. Verse 20.
This reminder ( I was led to read 1 Cor. 10……these things occurred as examples for us, so that we may not desire evil as they did……) comes at time when Sports has almost become the new religion; as it now in the UK and Europe. #Fulldisclosure a #gunners fan. But not fanatic. A #Cavs fan. But not distraught. A #Bolt fan and I was there at #onelastbolt. Grateful but he is not my #idol.
Would to God that the 35, 000 vuveleza tooting, screaming, adoring fans, would also find themselves in church praising the Lord for His repeated goodness to this land of former slaves. Now free! And to this world all formerly under the wrath of God because of Sin.
But now a door has been opened for Salvation by the shed Blood of Christ.
A land, now where ” because there is no vision, no obedience to the Word of the God of Creation, the people have cast off restraints”.
And so blood flows freely because of revenge, whether on account of praedial larceny or scamming or a drug deal gone sour. Women have to pick up their girlchildren and run from Rape. The Gleaner Editorial, unconstrained by Christian Morality, recommends that we ‘low’ the prostitutes; as they are not troubling anyone, and in so doing we can reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS.
And so while we ignore the Word of God and concentrate on #TheresaMay running through wheat fields and #DonaldTrump and #Comey #Clarendonbleeding #Trelawnybleeding #Hanoverbleeding #StJamesbleeding confronts us. And to whom do we turn?
Last night the Lord provided an answer:
” Hear my cry O Lord
Attend unto my prayer.
From the ends of the earth
Will I cry out to thee.
And when my heart is overwhelmed
Lead me to to the rock
That is higher than I……from memory. Psalm 61
As I write another song comes:
This rock is Jesus. The only one.
Be very sure, be very sure.
Your anchors holds, and grips the solid rock.
The Lord does not need a lot of people, or powerful people #Quallo, #Holness, #Phillips, #Montague, #Bunting, to rescue #Jamaicableeding. Just a few good men and women who trust God and are obedient. #DavidandGoliath, #Gideon #Deborah #Judges. So that we may learn not ” rely ourselves but on Him who raises the dead”. #2Corinthians
For just as Christ Jesus was raised from the dead by the mighty Power of God #Resurrection so too are all who are in Christ, raised to a new life, by the same mighty Power. And then sent to do mighty works!
For thine is the Kingdom the Power and the Glory. Forever and ever Amen.
#earlymorningdevotions No Scripture, but still guided by Scripture. But #Revelation.
Yesterday as I was led to read again, the story of Gideon …..not to rely on self but on God….I rediscovered this profound message.
One which speaks a word in season as we grapple with the spiralling numbers of murders. And confidently assert that ” we shall prevail “.
A message also for the UK, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, the Palestinians, Afghanistan and the Americans also. #ManchesterBombing #ParisAttack #Hanoverbleeding
FOR GOD’S GRACE IN OUR HELPLESSNESS
Peter Marshall ( 1902-1949….Scottish emigrant to the USA served as Chaplain to the United States Senate….powerful preacher. Life made into a movie ” A man called Peter”. And a book.)
Verse: Judges 7:2
Context – World War Two
We know, our Father, that at this desperate hour in world affairs, we need thee. We need thy strength, thy guidance, thy wisdom.
May thy wisdom and thy power come upon the President of of these United States, the Senators and Congressmen ( Prime Minister of Jamaica the Cabinet and Parliament) to whom we have entrusted leadership.
May the responsibility lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to thee.
Give to them the honesty, the courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do. Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to thee, who alone hast the answer.
Lead us to this high adventure. Remind us that a ” mighty fortress is our God” – not a hiding place where we can escape for an easy life, but rather an arsenal of courage and strength – the mightiest of all, who will march beside us into the battle for righteousness and world brotherhood.
O our God, may we never recover from our feeling of hopelessness and our need of thee !
In the strong name of Jesus, we pray. Amen
O Mighty God hear our prayer, your prayer, for this nation today. Amen.
I don’t join in much, at least of late, as I grow to appreciate Gods mercy more and more, in the ongoing and inevitably bitter, debate on homosexuality and Sin.
But #TimFarron the Political Leader in the UK, #LibDems who chose allegiance to Christ, over party, in the ongoing debate in the UK, of whether or not homosexuality is a Sin, has been on my mind.
Exchanged tweets about him. Then I was led to read this. Only God!
For the challenge, existential challenge even, that both Christians, divided over this issue, and non Christians alike, is that we were all under the wrath of God; Gay and Straight, Black and White, British or Yard. For all have sinned! And only in Christ do we find peace with God – The essence of the message of the Good News, the Gospel. So in a sense, to reduce the argument about Sin to either sexual sins in general or Homosexuality in particular, would be to miss the point entirely.
For, but for the grace of God, ultimately manifest in Christ’s death and Ressurection, we would have all perished in our sins.
REVELATION ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF SIN AND GOD’S MERCY
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved….
For it is by by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God. Ephesians 2: 1-9.
So #TimFarron has opened up space for a greater and more useful debate. Sin and God’s mercy!
Was also led to tweet this. In context!
” If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared”. Ps. 139:3-4