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.
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!
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.
Old Testament and then New Testament. New and better particulars. But both riveting revelations. #Nighttimereading
” 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
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
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
Do you want to know the real reason why KPH is under Pressure. #Gleaner and #Observer headlines on account of #Jamaicableeding?
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
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”
‘ 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.
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.