This morning as I prepared to speak at a Road Safety meeting, the voice of an old favorite of mine came to mind. This, as the murder rate spirals out of control with over 700 murders for the year so far! And the realization that Road Crashes is the second leading cause of violent death in my country; 161 to date.
Sam Cooke 1962: I am in sad mood tonight…..oh my baby done gone away and left me.
Gleaner Headlines today 2017: Highlights and captures the mood, the indescribable sad mood, of the country as another life is #gonetoosoon. Cut down in a hail of bullets!
Is this Independence? The journey of a now sovereign nation, since 1962 ! What the ‘ devil ‘ has gone wrong?
Why have we become so evil that not even women and children spared by marauding gunmen. Not even 80 and 90 year old grandmothers are beyond rape! Not even babies are beyond sexual abuse.
Not even the church is beyond attack by thieves.
Not even pastors are beyond committing acts of gross indecency in public or in private.
Not even your wife and baby mother or girlfriend is beyond murder most foul.
This week the sad mood continued.
11 shot one night with five dead. 5 another night with 3 dead.
And while the carnage continued, and blood and tears flow freely #FleetStreetNightmare, we are busy debating Crime Bills. And wondering how the Church can make a difference!
This week, from the depths of my soul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, I wrote on Facebook.
This week also, I pondered on one of the most profound, encouraging and instructive passages of Scripture:
” For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but about power.”
1 Cor. 4:20
And as I journeyed with the Lord in prayer for my country, and delved deep into Holy Scriptures and inspired writings, this one fact became clear.
This power, although manifest in many and different ways across the centuries, is fulfilled mainly in God’s design to rescue our minds from being controlled by the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ.
And that power comes by grace flowing from Christ’s great Act of Atonement for Sin on Calvary.
So the battle to rescue our nation from #FleetStreetNightmare is well and truly joined in the minds of our people.
For that reason I believe I was led to read and write that ” we fight not against flesh and blood……”.
And also that at centre of all evil causing #Jamaicableeding #ManchesterBombing and #ParisAttack is Sin.
June 23 ( last night before retiring to bed…..My Utmost for His Highest ….Devotional Guide )
ACQUAINTANCE WITH GRIEF
Verse: A Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Isaiah 53:3
We are not acquainted with grief in the way in which our Lord was acquainted with it; we endure it, we get through it, but we do not become intimate with it.
At the beginning of life we do not reconcile ourselves to the fact of sin. We take a rationale view of life and say that a man by controlling his instincts, and by educating himself, can produce a life which slowly evolve into the life of God.
But as we go on, we find the presence of something which we have not taken into consideration, viz, sin, and it upsets all our calculations.
Sin has made the basis of things wild and not rationale. We have to recognize that sin is a fact, not a defect ; sin is red-handed mutiny against God. Either God or Sin must die in my life.
The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue. If sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is no possible ultimate but that.
The climax of sin is that it crucified Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will be true in your history and mine. In our mental outlook we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact of sin as the only explanation as to why Jesus Christ came, and tge explanation of the grief and sorrow in life.
“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 his benefits – who forgives all your iniquity and heals all your diseases”
Even death is healing. Healing from all the pain that cancer brings. And for those in Christ, death ushers us into the very Presence of the Living God. But for those without #Weddingclothes then death brings judgment. That’s what the Bible reveals. #Manyarecalledbutfewarechosen
Pray that we may live so that all whom we meet, may come to know the God who forgives all sins and heals all diseases. The God who knows that we are but dust and unto dust we shall return. A God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…..who does not deal with us according to our sins…..but who in Christ died on Calvary so that we may live a new and unending life.
Augustine ( 354- 430……became Bishop of Hippo, North Africa…..a figure of major importance in the Church.. ..He established the doctrine of the Church gave a clear statement concerning the person of Christ, and made the grace of God the theme of the Theology in the West……but committed himself to God late after much prayer by his Christian mother)
One of his most famous and penetratingly accurate observations, is still quoted often in the 21st Century:
“Thou hast made us for thyself O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee”.
– Lately have I loved thee. O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved thee; for behold thou wert within me, and I outside, and I sought thee outside and in my unloveliness fell upon those things that thou hast made.
Thou wert with me, and I was not with thee. I was kept from loving thee by those things, yet had they not been in thee, they would have been at all………
Part of the challenge in finding a solution to #Jamaicableeding #Gleanerheadlines #EdBartlett is that those things that we love, kill for, quarrel about, and are prepared to die for, all come from God. Including family. Including our ability to think and reason and reject God, or ignore Him. Including the concept of Freedom – the foundations of democracy, a free press and human rights. Read H. Orlando Patterson’s epic book on Freedom in the Making of Western Culture. And scholars argue that Augustine’s City of God heavily influenced the shaping of Western civilization.
Simply, very simply put, the call of the Church is then to embrace God, and not the things and gifts that He alone gives. As otherwise our hearts become restless and all sorts of evil emerge. Including #Hanoverbleeding. But it is better late than never. And a merciful God is always calling. Individuals and nations! For we just cannot manage on our own. No matter how bright we think we are. Which is what I was led to reflect on this morning. And share. There was more. But more anon. Peace. NB. Philosophy matters #IanBoyne #InFocus
Last night on #CVMTV. ” Crime has nothing to do with poverty” – A pastor with an inner city ministry. He was ridiculed on and off TV. By the religious and the irreligious.
Last night on #TVJAllangles A New Crime Bill was ‘ taken to the cleaners ‘ by a lawyer. Scrap it!
Yesterday in the Parliament the Attorney General and members of the Opposition Party ‘ locked horns’ over the same Bill which was advanced as part of government’s response to #Jamaicableeding
This morning in my #Earlymorningdevotions :
THE SPIRITUAL WAR
Three reflections by Chris Tiegreen ( randomly found….September) based on :
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against……powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
I’ll share some of the key points God willing, another time. But for now, on this day, when the #Gleaner Headlines agree with Earl Moxam and Emily Shields #BeyondPolicing #BeyondTheHealines ” Deal with the social issues”, the following quote says it all:
The devil wrestles with God, and the field of battle is the human heart – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Maybe the ‘ lowly and ignorant ‘ and unschooled pastor was not so foolish after all.
All of this is pure coincidence or a Word from the Lord! The choice is yours, but ‘ as for me and my house ‘, the words of this hymn came into my mind:
O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end.
Be thou forever near me
My Master and my friend.
I shall not fear the battle
As long as thou art by my side
Nor wander from the pathway
If thou wilt be my guide
Facebook Four ….this morning
Poverty and Crime contd. #Earlymorningdevotions
Randomly I opened my Classics Devotional Bible this morning and found this:
THE ENDS ARE SWALLOWED BY THE MEANS
Martin Luther king Jr
Verse: Amos 8: 4 ” Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring the poor to ruin…..”
Only an irrelevant religion fails to be concerned about man’s economic well being. Religion at its best realized that the soul is crushed as long the body is tortured with hunger pangs and narrowed with the need for shelter.
Jesus realized that we need food, clothing, shelter and economic security. He said in clear and concise : ” Your Father knows what you need”. Matthew 6:8.
But Jesus knew that a man was more than a dig to be satisfied by a few economic bones. He realized that the internal of a man’s life is as significant as the external. So he added, ” Strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. vs 33 .
The tragedy of the rich man was that he sought the means first, and in the process the ends were swallowed in the means.
Comment: The tragedy which is manifest on the #Gleanerheadlines #morethanathousandwords #EdBartlett #Jamaicableeding is that successive political leaders have paid attention to one, the economy, and largely ignored the other, the kingdom of God. And if truth be told it is a story writ large in the rising popularity of the #ProsperiryGospel.
For no New International Economic Order, no sloganeering of ” It takes cash to care”, can deal with the kind of evil which has been let loose in Jamaica ” land we love”. No #progress no #prosperity can replace the need for us to ” seek ye first the kingdom of God”, if we wish to remove crime. Not just from #Gleanerheadlines but from the depths of the human experience in #Jamaicableeding.
A message the Bible believing church has been preaching for years! But sadly men and women of influence have closed their collective ears to the truth. And so the land mourns. And we wonder why and spend our times ” debating the issues”.
Will someone please tell the PM. And the Opposition Leader! That Jamaica is in ‘spiritually naked’, in serious danger, and needs to repent.