The Buggery Law in Jamaica and Grace and Mercy in Christ Jesus

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/letters/20170727/letter-day-bishop-gregory-being-disingenuous

I must admit, both as an Anglican and as member of the wider Christian community I have been struggling with my Bishop inserting his personal views into, what is ultimately a political debate; the removal of the buggery law. And not just a moral issue vis a vis a legal problem as advanced by Rev. Garnett Roper. Both of whom have gained my trust and confidence on theological matters over many years of listening to them.

The letter then, written to the editor of the Daily Gleaner which appears at the beginning, apart from accusing Bishop Gregory of being disingenuous, for that’s not the person I know, comes closest to my understanding of the issue. For if one reads widely what is posted on both mainstream and social media, you cannot ignore the reality of the political agenda of some sections of the LBGT community.

Those members of the community that I know professionally, for the most part, just want to get along with their lives without abuse and discrimination. And be loved by others! And accept that their lifestyle is not compatible with Christianity. In that regard, they display more honesty than many who are baptized yet blatantly engage in fornication.

Then they are others who we read about, make the headlines, who do not accept that homosexuality activity is ‘ sinful ‘, and are intent on ‘ revising the scriptures ‘ to accommodate their theology. And in many countries they have been successful in lobbying for the passing of laws that permit same sex marriages. This, with the help and stamp of approval of ‘ the church ‘. All of which activity is pursued within the context of ‘ human right’s, the new ‘ holy grail’ of the ‘ enlightened ‘ society’.

But the political wing of the LGBT community is not satisfied with argument and debate, and so they have successfully inserted the concept of ‘ hate speech’ into the struggle for ‘ human rights’. A label which has been very adhesively applied to anyone, especially Christians, who cite the Scriptures and declare homosexual activity to be sinful.

Further, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why the very Liberal Democrats lost the last Presidential election in the USA, they have successfully lobbied to persecute Christians who choose not to take pictures at ‘ same sex weddings ‘, or to cater for such affairs. A matter which the award winning journalist Ian Boyne has written about extensively.

So although my Bishop’s motive and reason for calling for the removal of the buggery law, may be appear, on the face of it, but to make sense, for the law is difficult to enforce, and in addition his actions appear to show Christian compassion for a hurting group of people, one cannot ignore the political reality, and possible consequence of such a move. Which is the gravamen of the arguments advanced by the letter writer and others!

Then in the middle of this conundrum a Word in the middle of the night this morning. First Samson and His wife. And the Philistines! He comits arson on a grand scale. Why? He is mad, because ‘ they gave away his wife ‘. But the Lord was with him, as one of Israel’s judges. At least until he became disobedient! So The Power of The Holy Spirit was with him to defeat the Philistines. In battle! Fast forward then from the OT story, led to read as I randomly opened my Bible last night, to the new way of waging war.

THE WORD OF GOD

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3‭-‬5 NIV http://bible.com/111/2co.10.3-5.NIV

And as we consider the profound message in Word from the Lord, there is one more issue to be considered in this ‘ human rights being the new holy grail’ issue. For the challenge and context is far more dangerous and much wider than the political wing of the LGBT community. Yesterday I ” happened ” up on this article and posted it on Facebook.

It’s time for the UK to legalise some form of assisted dying. The experience and legal rules in the Benelux countries should form the basis for the discussion on reform. It is time to give people who are suffering – and not just terminally ill – the fundamental human right to control life and how to end it.”

Excerpt from a Tweet. This is part of what I mean when I quote Haggai ‘ where there is no vision the people cast off all restraint’. Just read it in a tweet sent out by the AG Marlene Malahoo. Someone is arguing that the UK should join other countries and pass laws that allow for assisted dying. And the basis for interfering with God’s Created order is the new holy grail – human rights.

The challenge for Christians is how do we respond without ‘ cutting off Malchus’ ears.

How do we wage war against immorality. Against corruption. Against Crime and Violence – the major problem in our nation. Against domestic abuse. Against political tribalism. Against poverty. Against Bernie Sanders ‘ Wall Street’ domination where the rich get richer and poor get poorer.

Here is where Bishop Gregory is on good ground. For although we ought not to be naive to the ways of Satan, and the evil powers of this world, the ultimate power behind the desire for sex between two men and two women, and the elevation of ‘ human rights’ over the Word of God, we will not win the battle with laws and traditions and defending morality. No! Evil can only be defeated by prayer which has the power to ‘ destroy strongholds’. Can only be destroyed by love and compassion and mercy. For the Word of God which came to me also this week was that:

” God has given over all men to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them.” Romans 11:32

But only the kind of prayer which flows from a relationship with Christ the Crucified One. For power to defeat evil, and rescue the captives – to homosexual activity , to murder, to corruption, to pastors having sex with the sisters – comes only from preaching Redemption and the miracle of the Resurrection. Peter, the impetuous one, drew his sword when they came to arrest Jesus.

And Jesus, very dramatically, taught him and us, a profound lesson by healing the injury to Malchus caused by Peter’s rash action. You cannot fight fire with fire. But Jesus also taught us to be wise. Not foolish. And not to be unaware of the devil’s schemes.

A final warning in this reflection. Writing about The Trap caused by the love of money, Rev. Timothy Keller the New York Times best selling author of The Reason For God, in his book Jesus The King, he had this to say:

TIMOTHY KELLER

Wherever the other great religions began, that is still their center today. …..Christianity is the exception. Jerusalem to Hellinistic Alexandra to Northern Europe and North America. In recent times the growth of the church in Latin America, Asia and Africa has been growing up to ten times the population growth rate. Compared to North America where it is barely keeping up with the growth rate and Europe where it receeded. …..In the next 50 – 70 years it is predicted that the center of Christianity will shift away from Nothr America and Europe. Why?

At the center of Christianity is the Cross….all about giving up power, pouring out resources and serving. …when Christianity is in a place of power and wealth for too long, the radical message of Sin and grace and the Cross can become muted and even lost. Then Christianity starts to transmute into a nice, safe religion, one that’s for respectable people who try to be good. And eventually it becomes virtually dormant in those places and the center moved elsewhere.”

Part of our problem in Jamaica, where Christianity still flourishes, is the infiltration of the prosperity gospel from the USA, on the one hand, and the infiltration of the ‘ age of enlightenment ‘, on the other hand. Both highly toxic to soul and nation.

May we be acutely aware of the dangers of both evils , and remain faithful to the foundations of our faith, viz, The Redemption wrought on Calvary by Christ the Crucified One. And the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus.

The one to grant us forgiveness of our Sins. The other to grant us the power to love and forgive our enemies, to promote Justice and Righteousness, with power to preach the message of reconciliation and to grant us new and unending life with a holy God.

Otherwise we too in Jamaica may witness the loss of the vital radical message of Sin and grace, which is the ultimate goal of those pushing ” human rights ” as a god, and the aim of the political wing of the LGBT community.

Pray God that He will continue to Order our steps in His Word. Music from the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir which haunted my soul this week.

https://youtu.be/A3FXgRHOXfE .

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Miss Lou and Ishawna,Crime and Violence, Humility and Pride and God

A vacation is a great time to reconnect with family. Especially when only my wife and I live in Jamaica. But it’s also a great time to spend with the Lord. Listening!

So, far from the ‘maddening crowd’, where the headlines scream ‘murder’, day after day, where a nation grapples with unattached youths who value the gun more than a job, where a hard core dancehall female artiste stoked, probably deliberately, controversy by taking liberty with a cultural icon, and in a land where there is speculation that President Trump may turn the Christian doctrine of Redemption on its head, and forgive himself, I spent some time, listening to the Lord this week. And ‘heard’ this message entitled, ” The End of Religion”.

An except from New York Times best selling author Rev. Timothy Keller’s Jesus The King: Understanding The Life and Death of the Son of God. But before you read these verses of Scripture come to mind:

“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Acts 20:25‭-‬31 NIV http://bible.com/111/act.20.25-31.NIV

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” John 20:11‭-‬13 NIV http://bible.com/111/jhn.20.11-13.NIV

Timothy Keller:

” At the end of this Sabbath encounter with the religious leaders Mark records a remarkable sentence that suns up one of the main themes of the New Testament,

” Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” The Herodians were the supporters of King Herod, the nastiest of the corrupt kings who ruled Israel, representing the Roman occupying power and its political system. Oen any country that the Romans conquered, they set up rulers. And wherever the Romans went, they brought with along with them the culture of Greece – Greek philosophy, the Greek approach yo sex and the body, the Greek approach to truth.

Conquered societies like Israel felt assaulted by these immoral, cosmopolitan, pagan values. Inntgese countries there were cultural resistance movements ; and in Israel that was the Pharisees.

They put all their emphasis on living by the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures and putting up big hedges around themselves to prevent contamination by the pagans. So what was going on? The Herodians were moving with the times, while the Pharisees upheld traditional virtues.

The Pharisees believed their society was being overwhelmed with pluralism and paganism, and they were calling for a return to traditional moral values.

These two groups had been longtime enemies of each other – but now they agree. ” They have to get rid of Jesus.” These two groups were not used to cooperating, but now they do. In fact, the Pharisees, the religious people, take the lead in doing so. That’s why I said this sentence hints at one the main themes of the New Testament.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to both religion and irreligion. It cannot be co-opted by either moralism or relativism. The ” traditional values ” approach to life is moral conformity – the approach taken by the Pharisees. It is that you must lead a very, very good life. The progressive approach, embodied in the Herodians, is self-discovery – you have to decide what is right or wrong for you. And according to the Bible, both of these are ways of being your own savior and lord. Both are hostile to message of Jesus.

And not only that, both lead to self- righteousness. The moralist says, ‘ The good people are in and the bad people are out – and of course we’re the good ones.’

The self- discovery person says, ‘ Oh no, the progressive open minded people are in and the judgmental bigots are out – and of course we’re the open-minded ones’.

In western cosmopolitan culture there’s an enormous amount of self-righteousness about self-righteousness …..we disdain those religious, moralistic types who look down on others.

Do you see the irony, how the way of self-discovery leads to as much superiority as religion does. The Gospel does not say, ” the good are in and the bad are out,” nor ” the open-minded are in and the judgmental are out”. The gospel says the humble are in and the proud are out.

The gospel says the people who know they’re not better, not more open-minded, not more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they are on right side of the divide are most in danger. Jesus himself said this to the Pharisees…..” It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.…. Jesus is teaching that he has come to call sinners: those who know that they are morally and spiritually unable to save themselves.

Because the Lord of the Sabbath said, ‘ It is finished ‘, we can rest from religion – forever.

Comment: That’s why the early Christians were converted to Christ, convicted of Sin, by the Doctrine of Redemption and the Miracle of the Resurrection. Viz, the need for forgiveness of Sin wrought by the Crucifixion of Christ on Calvary. They were humble enough to understand that they needed Jesus.

And the assurance that in the same way that Christ was raised from the dead to a new life, in Him, we too may live a holy and eternal life.

That’s why there will always be a song in the heart of a child of God. A wretch saved by Amazing Grace.

https://youtu.be/XFPNTY2Qp4c

So what does all of this have to do with Crime and Violence, Ishawna and Miss Lou, in Jamaica and President Trump in America?

A final ‘Word’ to which I have led repeatedly in recent times says it all:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the Lord Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain…. Psalm 127.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5.

And the humble are those who know that they cannot manage with God. That we all need the Redemption that the Crucified Christ offers. Amen.

The God of The Jews in Egypt is the same God of #Jamaicableeding 

​Fell ill this week. Flu like symptoms. Had to leave work early on Tuesday and Wednesday. Felt weird. No energy. Listless. Didn’t sleep well for the two nights. Had not been sick like this  for years. Then,  thank God, felt better yesterday after resting up, for the most part, on Thursday.

Lesson learnt! There is always a lesson. Life is about disciplines. Healing is not only in the physical realm. But more importantly in the spiritual. A reality I know  deep in my soul after many experiences.

So on both occasions when I struggled to sleep, I got up, opened my Bible. Read God’s Word. Went back to bed. And slept! An experience which always makes sunrise special. Very special. Praise God.

More importantly though, is that illness  drove me back to spending more time in God’s Word. Away from the ‘ maddening crowd ‘ of Social Media and Television. Not even Wimbledon  could  get me to reach for the remote.
https://goo.gl/photos/HepH9mjeCDFdP8PVA

And I didn’t have to wonder where to start. As on the night before I fell ill, again and again, very clearly in my deep sleep, I heard:


The Eternal God is your  refuge,  and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27

Clearly both blessed  assurance and divine  instruction! 

So I spent time with Moses and his ‘ stiffnecked ‘ people! With a faithful God who reminded his ‘ chosen people ‘, whom He rescued  out of the hands the Egyptians with an  outstretched hand and with great signs and wonders, not to forget their past experiences with Him.

Reading a narrative which reminded the children of Israel time and time again that ‘ they were called to be holy’. And that they  should drive out evil from amongst them. And not take on the evil practices – child sacrifice – of the nations who the Lord would drive out before them.

Being reminded by Moses that ‘ it is the Lord that goes before you in battle ‘. It is the Lord that provides for you! All you have to do is to be obedient. And love the Lord your God with all your soul and and strength!

Almost frightened by the description of God appearing to the people on the mountain ‘ with fire and smoke ‘. And whose voice was so awesome that the people begged Moses to tell Him to speak to them no more lest they die.

And yet,  shortly thereafter, they were busy ‘ building a detestable idol’. Thus provoking this same God ‘ who is a consuming fire ‘ to wrath. But Moses begged for them. On his knees for forty days and forty nights! And God relented from destroying them.

Then I returned to #Jamaicableeding. And wrote on Facebook each time!

FACEBOOK ONE

On  Sunday I was moved to write about one of my heroes – The Hon. Mike Fennell. Why? Because he did well. And has retired.
This morning I am led to write about my Savior – Jesus Christ. Why? This report in the Daily Gleaner:

“Law enforcement sources say Kala and her brother were playing with the 14-year-old inside the family’s home.
According to reports, the teen brandished a firearm asked Kala’s brother if he would tell anyone if he shot her.
Police sources say before the boy could answer, the 14-year-old fired one shot, killing Kala on the spot.
Commanding officer for the Police Area One, Assistant Commissioner Warren Clarke says preliminary investigations have revealed that the firearm is owned by someone who resides at the house where the killing occurred.
He described Kala’s death as a most unfortunate incident”.

Unfortunate is one way to describe this national tragedy. Another more instructive term is ” Neglect”. For both Kala and the teenage girl “Angel” from #FleetStreetNightmare died because a nation has become ‘ accustomed to murder by the gun”.  And we have not only lost the deep sense of outrage but have conspired to develop a ” gun culture”. Where having a 9 and a 16, and shoes and laces has become part of the Jamaican culture. Thus providing the  inspiration for the celebration of  agents of death as art #AlkalineVideos. 

And while we debate, Rome burns,  and Kala dies.

So into this mix the Prime Minister, in addition to other measures, throws in ” Using or asking Faith based institutions aka The Church, The Body of my Saviour,  to help in the fight against Crime. And no doubt they will respond, and will continue, as they have been doing for centuries to promote social justice.

But there is a catch. And about which the peerless Christian  writer C.S. Lewis warned many years ago in his famous book ” The  Screwtape Letters “. 
And to which I was led in my #earlymorningdevotions 
Screwtape you may recall, is the accomplished devil.  And he writes to his apprentice about their sworn enemy  – God. They discuss in general, strategy to defeat the Enemy. In diabolical ways. 

So we listen in to the conversation that the PM needs to hear.  Actually many years ago I sent the same quote to Peter David Phillips.  No doubt Sean Major-Campbell and his friends also need to listen carefully. Not gospel, but certainly wisdom acquired over the years of being close to God. 

C. S. Lewis

Quote from Screwtape Letters 
“…… About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow into their political life, #KeepChurch  for the establishment of anything like a truly just society would be a major disaster.  

On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as  a means to their advancement #ProsperiryGospel but, failing that, as a means to anything – even to social justice.
The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work on Him to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may  produce social justice.

For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs  of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemists shop ( pharmacy ).
Fortunately it is quite easy to coax human beings round this little corner…..”

The challenge from time immemorial for mankind is that God, the Enemy of the devil, is to be obeyed and worshiped. Not to be used even with the most lofty ideals in mind.

And so I write about my Savior. Why? Because  a large part the reason why, as a people,  we have gotten ‘ accustomed to murder ‘, lost the deep sense outrage about the ‘ the sanctity of human life’,  being treated so casually, is that we have ceased to be obedient to, and worship, the  Lord Jesus Christ. 

Listen in therefore,  to the conversation He started,  and then the hymn which His Atomenment for disobedience, mine and yours, inspired. Both of which if taken seriously would be of a far greater benefit to our nation than #AlkalineVideos And to which I was led to reflect on in my #earlymorningdevotions 

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it may go well with them and their children forever”.…..including Kala.  Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV

Then because ” all have sinned”, Jesus came and died. And inspired this hymn.

To God be the glory! Great things he hath done;

So loved he the world that he gave us his Son;

who yielded his life an atonement for Sin,

And opened the life gate that all may go in…….
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood!

To every believer the promise of God;

The vilest offender ( all of us, me first)  who truly believes,

that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. 
And then we rejoice:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!

Let the earth hear his voice………let the people rejoice:

O come to the Father,

through Jesus the Son

And give him the glory;

great things he hath done.
That’ s why I write about my Saviour. Hon. Mike Fennell, and others,  have done well. But my Saviour, great things he hath done. And will do. There  is no retirement. No shadow of turning with Him.   We just need to fear Him and be obedient to His Word. Then Kala would have lived. In peace.

FACEBOOK TWO

Old  Testament and then New Testament.  New and better particulars. But both riveting revelations. #Nighttimereading

OLD TESTAMENT 

In the future when your son asks you, ‘ what is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws, the Lord our God has commanded you?’, him:
We were slaves of Pharoah in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders – great and terrible – upon Egypt and Pharoah and his whole household.
But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness “
 Deuteronomy 6: 20 – 25. NOV

NEW TESTAMENT EQUIVALENT AND UPDATE

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 of the ruler of 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 flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1‭-‬10 NIV

http://bible.com/111/eph.2.1-10.NIV

In the OT, righteousness and holiness came by obedience. While in the New Testament Christ is our righteousness and through Him we become Holy. 
The challenge for the Church, in this time of #Jamaicableeding, is that if we are not careful,  we forget,  that ultimately, a nation is rescued by obedience to the Christ. Who Alone by the power of the Holy Spirit can convict men of Sin. And call them to be holy:
Do not murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal 

But yet all sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Hence the reason why Christ died, and rose from the dead, with the mighty Power of God. And by that same power,  we too, in Christ are raised to new and unending life in the New Jerusalem. 

So, yes, work hard to rescue the city from crime and wickedness , ” lusting after your neighbor’s gardner”. Pray also for the city. For if the city prospers, you too will prosper….Jeremiah.

But always remember that the final act of our rescue by God,  is not what happened at the Red Sea. But what took place on the Cross of Calvary – Redemption!

That’s why Neflix, Television,  social media and music – dancehall, Soca and other genres  – are potentially dangerous. Why? They pose a great threat to one of the most important commandments in all of Scripture:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road  ( Put away the iPad when driving….at least for a while).

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of  your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9. NIV
Thank God for Jesus, The Crucified One, through the Holy Spirit, these things are now firmly in our hearts. Or ought to be, if we are obedient.

If not #Jamaicableeding  #USAbleeding #Canadableeding #UKbleeding 

FACEBOOK THREE

This morning #earlymorningdevotions  I read about  the Lord’s Discipline in Hebrews 12:

My son,  do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son.
Endure hardship as a discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father………Our fathers disciplined us for a for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lane may not be disabled, but rather healed
.

Compare this ‘ new and better particulars ‘ with this Old Testament reading to which I was  led to read just now.

Be careful to follow every command I am giving  you today, so that you may live and increase  and may  enter and possess the land that the Lord your God promised on oath to your forefathers.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert  these forty years, to humble you and  test you  in order to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commands.
He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but from every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during those forty years. 

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord disciplines you.

Deuteronomy 8: 1-5 NIV 

Further last night the Psalmist reminded me that :

Your Name and your Word O Lord you have exalted about all things.

So do our children need to do better in maths and computer science for us to have a more productive society! Do we need more liberal,  open minded and clear thinkers to construct a kinder and gentler society! Do we need more billionaires  to  engage in philanthropy so that the poor and disadvantaged may be given a chance to share in the spoils of life! Do we need  earlier and more  targeted  interventions to reduce the rising numbers of divorces, the scary numbers of middle class American kids who are using heroin, and the  whole heap a yard kids ‘ digging out dem handmiddle all day long! 

Do we need more homeland security to protect our borders in the USA, or to establish  special zones to reduce Crime in Jamaica!
No! We just need to stop being ashamed of the gospel which is the salvation from God for all those who believe. 
Think about it. Life is clearly becoming one big long discipline. Despite the veneer of excitement which Dancehall and Soca brings seasonally or nightly.   Or the distractions  of Social media, Television, Netflix, along with ” hype funerals “.  And we are not doing well. From  North Korea to the Philippines – unstable leaders.

From Washington to London – unpredictable leaders.

From Syria to Venezuela  – chaos.
Israel and the Palestinians – Tribal war inna Babylon #BobMarley
Throw in #Jamaicableeding 5 deaths per day is no ordinary matter.   #ParisAttack  #Tsunamis  #Hurricanes  #Cancer  the constant threat of Ebola,  the threat of another 9/11. Extreme poverty. Rape. Human rights abuses…….. and we are right back in the desert with the children of Israel  being tested. For us to learn that fly high or fly low, ” if you have the Son you have life; if you have not the Son of God – The purpose and aim of God’s discipline  – you have no life.

As this world is a dangerous place filled with disease and war and evil.  It is wild, according to Oswald Chambers.  And although bad things happen to good people, murder, cancer, as well as to the wicked, a great mystery that God alone can explain, behind it all is a pathway leading to total and complete dependence on The Holy One of Israel. 

For just as Jacob’s  children were being led to the Promised Land, we too are on a journey to the New Jerusalem. For neither  Kingston Jamaica nor Atlanta Georgia nor Jo’berg in South Africa is not  our final destination as redeemed children of God.

For we were not created to try and manage without a Loving and Almighty  and Forgiving Creator. And the Creator’s will is that we should all become Holy, like Him,  in Christ. Or live forever without a relationship with Him – perish.  You think  you’re in heaven but you’ re living in hell ##BobMarley.  That reality is in the DNA of our civilizations. Past and present.   A suh de ting set. Like it or not.
Even if you are on #pagetwo every week.  Have nuff money in the bank account to be scammed. Or nuff credit.  Or fly First Class on Emirates and shower  in mid flight. Feature on e –  prime. Counted as an Uptown man with ‘ accessories ‘. Can send out  ‘angels of death’  from prison. Or have the driver waiting on you with the A/C running. 
That’s the #GospelTruth. All else is #Fakenews 

FACEBOOK FOUR

Do you want to know the real reason why KPH is under Pressure. #Gleaner and #Observer headlines on account of #Jamaicableeding?

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20170707/kph-bleeding-hospital-crisis-gunshot-stabbing-victims-pressure
Let us #Keepchurch this morning and read a part of the New Testament reading in the Anglican Church worldwide for Sunday:

ROMANS 7: 21-25

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!



Yes #HerbertGayle and others whose research point to the vulnerability  – to the inducements of the gang leaders – of young men without fathers,  or a father influence,  are on the right path. So too those who point out the  link between crime and teenage pregnancy,  between poverty and crime, and in some cases,  that between politics in #garrisonconstituencies and crime.

Yes, the availability of guns is a problem and the lack of policing of both our borders and from whence they come – including the USA #EarlMoxam.  Yes, we need to grow the economy – whether 4 in 5, or even 10 in 5…whatever. Yes, young people who pass through secondary and tertiary education are less likely to respond violently in certain situations. Yes, corruption in the police force, and to a lesser extent the JDF,  is a allegedly a huge problem – those who reportedly sell bullets, are involved in trafficking stuff, and have established links with the criminal underworld. And more too! Yes, we need  more ‘ boots on the ground’…in Sav and other towns. Yes, we need bipartisan support on efforts to fight crime. Yes…..

But at the heart of it all, is this thing, this thing that will not go away despite all attempts to  call it ‘ hate speech’. Sin! An issue  with which even the great evangelist Paul struggled.  The challenge for modern man in the 21st century is that we would prefer to attach a more manageable label on the problem – one that we can fix. Rather than call upon the only Name, Jesus Christ The Crucified One,  Who has the Power and the willingness – slow to anger and full of mercy – to rescue us from this body of death, caused by Sin. 

For like those who work in this great Hospital, we need to get the diagnosis right. Otherwise the prescription won’t work. And next year the lament will still be the same. For God knows, we’ve been lamenting #Jamaicableeding for a long time. And not only bleeding physically but morally ‘ lusting after your neighbor’s gardener …really ..was it Flair Magazine, socially and spiritually – both inside and outside the church. 

O Jesus have mercy on me a sinner! And #Destra and #Alkaline. For we are all in need of your Amazing Grace …to save a wretch like me. Have mercy on Jamaica. Land we love.
Yet I may love thee too, O Lord,

Almighty as thou art,

For thou hast stooped to ask of me

The love of my poor heart

FACEBOOK FIVE

Driving home late this evening after a long day. Times into #Nationwide94FM with #AbkaFitzHenley. Heard a ‘ man who lives in the streets ‘ reporting that this crime ting caan stop right now. Cause the ‘ de crimer dem ‘ a tek  it to de police. Have bigger gun. Have more ammunition. And is pure poor people a kill off poor people. So when dem kill off one aneder den a rich people aggo dead.

Then I reached home. Stopped to give thanks. Opened my Bible. Randomly! And found this other report: 

It’s good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High.
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night….  
How great are  your works, O Lord!

Your thoughts are very deep!

The dullard cannot know, the stupid cannot understand this:
though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever….. Psalm 92: 1-2 & 5-7.



Now whose report shall  I believe……we shall believe the report of the Lord.
” Yet I could love thee too O Lord,

Almighty as thou art.

For thou hast stooped to ask of me,

the love of my poor heart”

Final Comment 
‘ Every nigga is a star’ in today’s world. Everybody is telling a story. Competing for your time. And your mind. And your money. And your children’s understand of ‘ how the world turns’. On Instagram. On Facebook. On Whatsapp. On traditional media. And on #Fakenews.

The challenge,  as vividly outlined on Facebook Five, is ‘ whose story will you believe’.
Sadly, but that’s reality, sometimes the choice is only made when illness strikes. But unless you have been listening carefully,  ‘ I am listening Lord, what do you have to say to me, you may very well not hear then. Even when you discover that ” Jesus is all you have”.

Which is what happened to the children of Israel. Thank God for Jesus! In whom we meet a God, who yet still  being a ‘ consuming fire ‘, is still  ‘ slow to anger’ and full of compassion. Fully manifest on the Cross of Calvary!
And lovingly taught about in this wonderful hymn which ‘ haunted my soul’ this week.

HYMN
1 My God, how wonderful you are;

your majesty, how bright!

How beautiful your mercy seat

in depths of burning light!
2 How wonderful, how beautiful

the sight of you must be,

your endless wisdom, boundless power,

and awesome purity!
3 O how I fear you, living God,

with deepest, tenderest fears,

and worship you with trembling hope

and penitential tears!
4 Yet I may love you too, O Lord,

almighty as you are,

for you have stooped to ask of me

the love of my poor heart.
5 No earthly father loves like you,

no mother half so mild

bears and forbears as you have done

with me, your sinful child.
6 Father of Jesus, love’s reward!

What rapture will it be,

prostrate before thy throne to lie,

and gaze and gaze on thee.

#BetterthanSinach  #IhavebeentoldwhoGodis

#Thesame #YesterdayTodayandForevermore

#AlkalineVideos and a Faithful God in the midnight Hour

It’s midnight in Jamaica: #RJRFM94  news on Thursday evening on #BeyondTheHeadlines revealed that June was the bloodiest month since 2010. 141 persons murdered up to Tuesday ( 27th) of this week. 712 dead  Vs. 593 last year this time.

If this is not a national crisis,  then I don’t know what else could ever be so described. Precious human beings. Made in the image and likeness of their Creator. Cut down mercilessly. Wiped off the face of the earth. Ushered prematurely into another place. Never to return again. Leaving loved ones and friends devastated. With a lives never to be the same again. And a country tottering on the brink of anarchy, as appearing on our television screens,  are images of gunmen firing shots in broad daylight. In the middle of a major tourist resort.

And as  we prayed for Divine Intervention, and worked and argued together, in the Parliament to pass Crime Bills,  which hopefully will make a difference,  all hell, literally,  #AlkalineVideos  broke loose on social media this week.

Then spilled over into mainstream media when news broke that the police were  carrying out an investigation. To determine if police officers and a security company were involved in the production of these highly controversial videos.

You can watch them on YouTube if you wish. I don’t plan to. At least not in its entirety.   “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life”. Proverbs. Scarface and Godfather did enough damage to my soul years ago!

The clips on TV are sufficient. Along with commentary. For me to form an opinion that we don’t need famous influential artistes to be glorifying and celebrating gun violence. Not when #Jamaicableeding. Not anytime.
For although art and music need some level of freedom to thrive, there must be some  attendant responsibility.

For what we are facing is a national crisis. Not just a flare up in violence. Not just the bloodiest month in 7 years. But an erosion of any regard for the sanctity of human life! A cultural shift that has been long in the making. And which deterioration in our society will  take decades to turn around.

This is not the time, in my view, when the barbarians are not just advancing to the gates of the city, but are pouring in by the hordes to kill and main, therefore to be defending freedom of art. Freedom of expression. As if it is not time for radical surgery, but for dressing a minor bruise.

And so guided by The Holy One of Israel I wrote. And prayed. And pleaded. For a different song to be played. And a different narrative to be read. So that my country may be rescued from madness. And evil!
And a casual reaction to murder most foul. Dutty criminals or not. Goat thieves or not. Scammers or not. Revenge or not.

For the God that I serve declares that,  ” I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they turn and be saved”.
And if we leave them ” to kill off one another”. Who do you think they will  turn to next?

So where’s the hope!

Martin Luther king Jr wrote many ago that :

” Midnight is a confusing hour when it is difficult to be faithful. The most inspiring word that the church may speak is that no midnight long remains”.

Last night, long after midnight, at minutes to 4:am, the Lord woke me up to reveal the basis of this hope.
Got up,  opened my Classics Devotional Bible randomly, and began reading Lamentation  4. Then read the entire book for context.

These selected verses tell a better story that I can. As you read , accept that in this Word, the Lord is pulling back the curtains,  and revealing our nation as it appears to Him. Historically and spiritually. Revealing more importantly, transcending time, the fortunes of a nation in its midnight hour.

A nation that had turned away from a loving God  then. And now, a God who so loved Jamaica, Syria, the USA, the UK, the whole world, so much, a world  smitten with Sin, that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ so that whoever believes in Him should not live forever in a midnight hour, perish, but have hope, of everlasting life.

So forget for the moment about the spanking new highway to Mamee Bay; the easy access to the ATM; the access that Wi-Fi opens to de werl; the Porche in the showroom in New Kingston; the driving reggae music beat produced by Sly and Robbie and Usain in Bolt singing the National Anthem in Ostrava, and see our beleaguered country through a different lens. Literally #BeyondTheHeadlines

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal….

Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress…..

Her foes have become the masters, ( locked up in grills and gated communities)  her enemies prosper,( very few are caught….and they flourish and enjoy the hype life)  because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe…. ( Gleaner Headlines…Human Trafficking)

He has cut down in fierce anger al the might of Israel; he has withdrawn his right hand from them in the face of the enemy; he has burned like a flaming sword in Jacob, consuming all around ( a work in progress….pray God that his wrath may not consume is all….in Jesus’ precious Name we pray….its high time we come to understand that CNN and BBC news is not the only reality

For these things I weep; ( while others celebrate art) my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage ( Before Christ)…..

Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading  ( #ProsperityGospel; putting asunder what God has joined together Righteousness and Justice….forgetting to tell the woman caught in sin….go ye and sin no more ….don’t #KeepChurch in the Parliament….leave your Cross and Christian conscience at the door…..The sexual abuse by Church leaders….and members )

For the chastisement of my people has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment , though no hand was laid on it ( for those who make the rebuke of homosexuality  a priority while ignoring the greater sin – disobedience to an Almighty God and the rejection of the Salvific Blood of Jesus…not loving mercy and pursuing justice and walking humbly with the Lord)

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it and is  bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.
The Lord is good to those that wait on Him.. ..

Of course we all know that these last verses inspired the the writer of one the all time best  loved hymns.

And one that speaks about the Blessed Hope we have in a God for whom there is no shadow of turning. #BetterthanMargaretThatcher. #Thisladyisnotforturning No possibility of Him not having mercy.
No possibility of Him leaving us alone in our #MidnightHour. No hint of Him abandoning those He created and called to Himself. To be holy as He us holy. In and through Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah!

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!

FACEBOOK….Friday

I had forgotten about it until this morning in my #Earlymorningdevotions. A little boy pointing his finger at me like a gun. In a rural town!  This, instead of the traditional Jamaican greeting; a wave of the hand. This was like 20 -30 years ago. After the turbulent 70’s, when I believe the whole thing started. When de gate fly. And de pirate dem come in.

People became ‘ accustomed ‘ to murder’. To witnessing murder. To killing another human being. Who was his opponent. Who was in his way.

People became accustomed to guns. Hand guns! Then high powered guns. Then ‘ a what dat ‘. The gun was so frightening that people couldn’t find any other name!  To gun salute. At a dance. At funerals. So it seeped into the culture. And became a greeting.
In the mind of adults and children alike. Not just in anger would they point a finger at you. But as a form of greeting.

From then I knew we were heading for trouble. And over the years despite the warnings. From the church. From outside the church. From steadfast journalists like Ian Boyne and others. The thing has just steadily deteriorated. Into the Pit of hell. #Jamaicableeding

So I went bed praying. Weeping deep in my soul for my country after listening to #BeyondTheHealines on #RJRFM94 with #DJMiller last evening. The discussion was about the hugely topical issue #AlkalineVideos
I sent her this tweet which summed up my recollection of the part I heard. After I went home. #Donotextanddrive.

Listened.Disappointed. Art reflects life. Controversy sells. #Argumentdone Murder nothing to do with music & art. Seriously! God have mercy https://t.co/TIwjlsPzec

Then she responded.

we had different points of view on the issue, as i’m sure you heard though.

To which I responded:

Yes I heard one person trying to contextualize the issue. But saddened by the dominant view that ‘ low de ting’.  While #Jamaicableeding https://t.co/YyFujW5m3u

Finally with my heart full of pain and sadness I tweeted:

@djmillerJA kinda hard hearing a stout defense of the #AlkalineVideos when #RJRFM94 news highlights June as the bloodiest for years #Reality

For what really bothered me, is that, here were people, while for the most part, acknowledging the reality of #Jamaicableeding nonetheless were adamant that art, which reflects life, no matter how  dirty and ugly,  should be allowed its free rein. Perhaps reign too. My words. And that music is a business and controversy sells. So what are we really arguing about. #Argumentdone #EdwardSeaga.  In fact look how many people had seen the video in the last three months. 1.3 million !

One gentleman tried to point out that there’s a thin line between art reflecting life and art influencing behaviour. And therefore in that respect, and in the light of #Jamaicableeding   there ought to be some kind of regulation. And if not an official body then we are left with the consumers to reject or accept. I could almost hear a Michael Manley type response 1.3 million can’t be wrong.

I have no doubt in mind, that huge numbers of young people,  in particular, would have no problem with these videos. In fact the #Argumentdone came from one of the callers.

Then I woke with Psalm 103 in my heart. And as I read Psalm 40 cane to mind also.

Bless the Lord, O my soul…….who redeems your life from the pit.. ..

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire…….

There is more. But I need to go and walk. And go to work. So I’ll finish the journey in the Psalms in the weekly Saturday morning Whatsapp and blog which will then  appear on Facebook. Thank God that there is another narrative. Another end to this story of #AlkalineVideos and #Jamaicableeding It’s not just what we hear on #RJRFM94 or see on #CNN And ultimately it’s not only the views of the 1.3 million that count. But He who in Christ raises nations and individuals from the Pit of hell.  #Jamaicableeding

FACEBOOK   …Thursday

Who fly de gate and let in de pirates? #AlkalineVideos #Masicka and #Kartel  #Jamaicableeding  An indifferent, irrelevant and uncaring church! #Lukewarm The Politicians from  from way back in the ’70’s! Rapacious capitalism!  Socialism gone off track! Facilitating policemen ! An accommodating theology that is soft on ‘ sin’ but embraces love and is inclusive! Mutty Perkins et al in the media playing Pied Piper and leading people astray!  Communities and mothers and relatives that ” wash the bloody clothes “. Hide the guns. Cry ” we want justice “. The  human rights people. Indecom. Me. You.

All have sinned. Time for repentance. Not for recriminations.  As the floodgates are open and the ‘ Philistines’ are pouring in day by day. #Jamaicableeding 
Hear my cry O God …attend unto my prayers……when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock which is higher than I.

This Rock is Jesus….

FACEBOOK  … Wednesday

What really is the point of all the hype if at the end of the day all that matters is that ” the wages of sin is death”. #Jamaicableeding

How did a nation which once heralded Shadrach Mesach and Abendego move to celebrating Masicka Kartel and #AlkalineVideos #Jamaicableeding

Two tweets sent out on Twitter this morning. One before I began my #earlymorningdevotions.
The other after I read one of the Scripture readings for Sunday.

All of this as we say #GoodbyePortia #GoodbyeCaptain and #GoodbyeMikeFennell.
And goodbye to common decency and Bible Heroes and welcome to #FreeKartel #AlkalineVideos and #Masicka the new star.

Then I read the verses before the Gospel reading for context , ” whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me ” said Jesus.

Context: ” What I say to you in the dark  ( yesterday) tell it in the light.. ….Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell ” Matthew 10

So,  yes, celebrate and give thanks to those who have served well and moved on. Yes, mourn for our country and relatives  #Jamaicableeding

But after all of these emotions have  gone and life continues, for a while longer,  we will still be left with the unsettling reality, for some, and the assurance for others,  that ‘ the wages of sin is death  but the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus ‘.

Little wonder then, that “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand ” came to my attention ” in my #earlymorningdevotions  ….in every wild and stormy gale, my anchor holds and will not fail. His vow, his covenant and blood are my defense against the flood…..

And the place is being flooded by Masicka Allaline and Adi. May God have mercy on our country. #SolidRock. #BeyondPolicing #BeyondTheCrimeBills #JesusAlone Time to #KeepChurch everywhere #Facebook #Twitter #Instagram #WhatsApp #TheParliament  For the times are evil!
 

FACEBOOK …Tuesday

Yesterday- She was ready to #KeepChurch. Right there on the road! Why? She walking to work and me walking for life.  Me praising God for an overcast day which would cool down the place. She joining in the praise. “C’mon”, in true Pentecostal style, she said, encouraging more of the praise of the God she loves. So we walked for a minute together praising God, and declaring it to be better than #AlkalineVideos.
#Thehumblehelper

This week  – What I tell you in the dark shout it out in the day.

Early this morning in the dark – The Lord woke me  up. I randomly opened my Bible. And read about Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream in Daniel 4.

How the mighty tree fell. How The Mighty King of Babylon was made to ” eat grass” like an animal.

In order that all who live may know that the Most High is Sovereign over the kingdom of mortals; he gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of human beings “

In order to show mankind that God is Sovereign over The Parliament #KeepChurch and sets over it the lowliest of human beings who do not leave their Cross outside to cool with the driver in the air conditioned vehicle.

In order to show mankind that He is Sovereign over the Institution that He ordained #HolyMatrimony, and if a husband and wife love each other with His Love and sensitivity to each other, neither #Rape nor #Divorce will be at play.

In order to show mankind that He is Sovereign,  and the proud He sends them away  empty and to prison #Adi and #Dudus But gives grace to the humble.  And so #AlkalineVideos ought to be shunned as not even ‘ godly or parental ‘ guidance can help. Twitter Emily Shields

In order to show mankind that He alone is Sovereign over Crime and Violence and will #Intervene as He did for the Jews in the land of Pharoah. In  His own time! And for His Glory. #CrimeBills #FleetStreetNightmare #Angel  If we cry out to him day and night and humble ourselves so that we are not made to #eatgrass like Nebuchadnezzar. O Jesus  have mercy.

FINALLY FACEBOOK EARLY IN THE WEEK. A REFLECTION ON GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY

​Early morning instructions. Awoke with ” Saturated in His Love”, in my heart. Got up, gave thanks for sleep, and went and read what Hilary of Poitiers wrote centuries ago; and still relevant today. Then read the very instructive, and if you read carefully, prophetic, passage from Acts associated with the meditation. Finally, Oswald Chambers’ meditation last night’, finding yourself ( in relation to who God is and what He requires of us) in the midst of sorrow, as St. [  945 more words ]

https://danielgodsurelywilldeliver.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/early-morning-instructions-from-the-lord-to-be-saturated-with-his-love-in-jesus-christ-and-for-there-to-be-no-remedy/