Elections, Crime and The Cross of Christ

Next Monday, October 30th, 2017, will be ‘ Election Day, in Jamaica. Not a General Election, but important Bye-Elections. In three constituencies voting will take place. The Opposition PNP is heavily favoured to win two, while the third is ‘up for grabs’; with the governing JLP having the edge, according to recent polls. Predictably the accuracy of those has been challenged by the PNP.

The question is, after all the excitement and ‘ barefoot in the park’, helicopter rides, pictures, together with full page ads in the newspapers, and frenzied campaigning, by the party leaders, will victory for either side ‘ affect the price of cheese’? Will the results be a ‘ game changer’ for the nation in respect of crime and violence; issues which are causing many to wonder if Jamaica can ever become a civilized country again!

For this week, once again, the premier tourist parish, St. James, was rocked by a series of murders; ’13 dead in six days’, blared the headlines. One on a busy street! Including ‘King Evil’, a reputed gang leader! Thus prompting the business leaders to ‘ cry out for help’. And so our nation is on track to having yet another ‘ bloody year’. Just like the one before. And the one before that! For many years now.

So while many are caught up with the elections, some even ‘ calling it’, for the JLP, Cliff Hughes on Nationwide Radio, not one us knows whether or not we will be alive tomorrow, much less next Monday! Or Christmas! Or for the New Year!

Which of course raises the question of what really is the key function of any government? I would suggest that, despite the many advances we have made as a nation, with government and people working together, since Independence, we have failed, some would argue spectacularly, in keeping our people safe. And if a government, of any political party, cannot come up with policies and programs to prevent over 1000 people dying year after year, in a country with a population of a shade under three million, of what use is it?

Yes, we give thanks for the new highways; yes we give thanks for new life saving equipment at some hospitals; yes we give thanks for the availability of potable water and electricity and the wonderful advances in communications; yes we give thanks for the partnership between church and state in the quality of education provided for our children (although some might beg to differ) ; and so much more.

But God have mercy, when will our various governments, become as skilled in reducing the horrible murder rate, as they collectively are, in gaining state power!

Perhaps there is a link between this real and present secular issue, and in my view, a matter of far greater importance, the spiritual issue of the critical role of what took place on the Cross of Christ in the advancement of the Kingdom of God, and the spreading of the Gospel. For according to one wise man, ‘ those who are unwilling to have God rule over them are unfit to rule over people ‘.

So this week, I was led to write to leaders in my church about a ‘ game changing event’. An event which ultimately gave birth to the Christian Community which is now over 2 Billion strong ( roughly a third of mankind are Christian believers).

THE LETTER

I write in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Early this morning, about an hour before sunrise, the prayer for the decade of evangelism, which is a foundation prayer for the inspired Internet Ministry, kept on reverberating in my mind. And that something was missing!

So during my #earlymorningdevotions when I arrived at ” Put your Word In my mind” ( The Threefold Morning Watch prayer by Jacob Boehme), in obedience, I opened by Bible randomly and found this passage:

THE WORD OF GOD

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.

Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’ ”

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”

When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.) There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Acts 23:1‭-‬11 NIV

http://bible.com/111/act.23.1-11.NIV

Having read the passage, the following thoughts came into my mind. In addition to others which emerged as I began writing.

1. Are we as Christians, ‘ on trial ‘ for ‘ hope in the Ressurection from the dead?

Is that what we are known for, and thus elicited the opprobrium of Satan? Or have we been guilty of not ‘ ruffling anyone’s feathers’, in spreading the Good News, The Gospel of Christ Jesus.

Have we, as Church, experienced the Lord’s Presence, yesterday’s OT reading, encouraging us to be of good courage, because of opposition to the ‘ Hope of the Ressurection ‘

2. The profoundly important warning from Paul in 2. Cor.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:8‭-‬9 NIV

http://bible.com/111/2co.1.8-9.NIV

3. In this context, of ‘ not relying on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead’, how do we view the headlines calling for the Government to ‘ place a focus on family life’; in pursuit of ridding the nation certain social ills. As if Christian values can be taught without placing a focus on Christ and Him Crucified.

4. Do we, as Church, stand accused of St. Paul’s great concern, ‘ less the Cross be emptied of its power ‘.

5. Yesterday, I was led to share from words from the Epistle at St. Clements. That the Gospel did not come to us by Word alone, but with Power and full conviction. I don’t believe that there is any element of coincidence in my being led to write, respectfully, this morning, essentially about where the Power of the Gospel lies; that we should not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. The Hope of the Ressurection!

And who knows, if we consider these things in response to deep prayer about the Renewal of our Church, beginning with me, all of us, so that the Church may renew the nation(s), who knows how the Lord may send times of refreshing on us, and our nation. And the devil send his agents to attack us; but always we are aware of God’s Presence, saying ” Be of good courage, as you have testified in this place, so will you testify elsewhere”.

In obedience.

Peace.

LWJ

THE FOLLOW UP LETTER NEXT DAY

Part 11 – lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power

This morning on arriving at :

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. (OT reading for this Sunday):

I pondered on this great revelation, and wondered how much, what happened on Calvary, has added to this revelation. Then a hymn, on which I meditate every Sunday morning, before taking Holy Communion, came to mind:

“Here O my Lord I see thee face to face…….”

And so did that teaching passage, on the ‘transition’ from Moses to Jesus and Him Crucified, 2 Cor.

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us with unveiled faces seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for the comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Cor 3:12-18 NRSV

As I wrote a couple of thoughts entered my mind:

1. Can the church’s ministry in Jamaica be accurately described as ‘acting with great boldness’?

2. If not, why?

I believe, that the Word on which I shared on Sunday, given to us at this time for a reason, words from the Epistle, that the Gospel came not only by word, but with Power and full conviction, has much to teach us, about ” seeing God face to face in Jesus Christ; and thus acting boldly as ministers of justification, vs ministers of condemnation.

Could it be, that we, as church, have not been fully convicted of Sin. That, what transpired on the Cross of Calvary, with great power and love and mercy, has not yet been fully received in our hearts. ” Against you, you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight”, said David! The challenge for us as leaders and as teachers, I believe, is to lovingly and humbly lead people to accept, as we have accepted, for as Bishop Herman of blessed memory, said often, ” You can’t give what you don’t have”, that even though we might not have walked the road that David walked, we were “born and shaped in iniquity”, and at one time, according to St. Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus: ” we were without God, and without hope”, until the Gospel came to us Gentiles.

There may be more, but I don’t believe that it is coincidence, that last night, in my bedtime devotions, now going through Luke, I was led to read, again, with some deeper insight, the cry of the common man, vs the prayer of the Pharisee, ” Lord have mercy on me a sinner”.

Perhaps, then and only then, will we really like Moses, in Christ and Him Crucified, be able, ” see God face to face”. And be bold! To the glory of God, and for the renewal of Church and Nation(s). All because, then, we have not have allowed the The Cross to be ” emptied of its power”.

Peace.

LWJ

FINALLY A MESSAGE WRITTEN ON FACEBOOK

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20171024/mobay-panic-13-murders-six-days-spark-questions-about-zosos

Headlines in the Gleaner yesterday!

Last night the Lord placed this ‘ headlines’ from thousands of years ago in my soul! And so I woke with great anticipation to read it:

” My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water”.
Jeremiah 2:13

We, in the 21st century don’t like to use this kind of language, but for those with ears to hear and eyes to see, it is clear that Judgment is upon the land. For just like the children of Israel, centuries ago, we have turned away from the Living God and turned to idols ( in the entertainment sector #Adi a convicted murderer still very popular with the young people; twice a day on #TVJ #Lotto #Brukouttabrucknesss; our favourite politician….I will follow …til I die; three and four burner lifestyle.. ..a body to die for; scamming has become a way of life and not just a St. James problem; the #prosperitygospel which is no gospel at all; Netflix run tings until the wee hours of morning; our favourite talk show host….dont touch that dial; and worse of all self-love.
Thank God for Jesus, there is a way back to a loving God, for Prodigal People. A Way back as prophesied by the same Jermiah, and sung by our slave forefathers:

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.

If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say he died for all.

And an even better song about God’s mercy which lifted my soul, to which I was led, as I began my #Earlymorningdevotions

https://youtu.be/Mxz-c8MLAoU

The message then, for me is crystal clear. For the church to be able to assist this nation in reducing crime and violence, we have to be clear about out priorities.

Can it then be coincidence that in a time of such great need in our nation, when many are zealously feeding the poor, defending human rights, healing the sick, preaching sermons, organizing their denominations, arranging meetings, while ” bloodshed follows bloodshed”, that this week, the legendary theologian Oswald Chambers posed a serious question in a meditation I was led to read:

MY UTMOST GOT HIS HIGHEST

WHAT IS A MISSIONARY

OCTOBER 26

As my Father hath sent Me, even so I send you. John 20:21

A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before.
The tendency today is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success.
In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God’s call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus…..

We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ – ” Go ye and teach all nations “.

Final comments:

It is a good thing to feed the poor, educate our children and defend the rights of the marginalized. But to do so with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, one has to be first rightly related to the source of all Power, Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. And the lack, or breakdown, because of shifting priorities (and perhaps, just perhaps to be fair, for pride lurks deep in the human heart, on account of the pressing needs of people) in this life changing relationship with Christ, is the main reason why the Church no longer has the Power to call a nation back to righteousness.
And this is precisely what St. Paul warned about when he declared ” lest the Cross be emptied of its power”.

So two fundamental changes need to take place in Jamaica land we love. First, Christians need to renew their allegiance to the Lamb of God, the Crucified Christ. And not to the needs of the poor and the marginalized; as legitimate a concern as that is for all mankind. A difficult but necessary lesson to learn.

And second, just as Christians need to get their ‘ act together ‘, and reestablish their priorities, lest we be accused of ” forsaking our first love”, so too governments.

For what shall it profit a political party to gain state power, provide a stable macro-economic environment, attend to the infrastructure needs of a nation, and yet be unable to provide a safe environment for its citizens: going to work, to school, to church, hanging out on the corner, sleeping in their beds, having fun in a session, going to look for a girl. By 2030! Or tomorrow.

Advertisements

Of Life. And of Death. And of the Goodness of God in Christ Jesus

A dear friend died and was buried yesterday. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend. So her husband, a schoolmate, and one of my closest friends, sent me a very touching pictorial tribute, with beautiful music in the background, which was shown at the funeral. Including a video of her giving thanks to, and praising, the Lord Jesus.

I know she is gone to heaven to be with the Lord. And so does my friend and their two wonderful Christian daughter’s and their family.

I enjoy a great privilege to attend a National event in my country each year. An event when National Honors are given out by the Constitutional head of our nation, The Governor General. Very distinguished and deserving persons receive awards. And families rightfully celebrate. My cameras, cell phone this year, or professional, help to capture these moments. But, often, and this year, attending right there with me, has been this thought: ” What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul”.

For the only certainty in life, ironically, is death. No, paying taxes, at least in my country, as the Minister of Finance is well aware, is not inescapable!

So whether ” Sugar Shane” losing, and by a wide margin, is a ” Dunn Deal “, or a figment of someone’s imagination, is interesting, but ultimately, not a critical issue.

So too, whether or not President Trump’s conversation with the widow of a ‘ fallen soildier’, was filled compassion or marked by the absence of such emotions, may be newsworthy for a while. But ultimately not critical, in the grand scheme of things as ordered by a Sovereign God.

Whether Man U, or City, or Chelsea, (no my team The Gunners will not….but a fan for life….not a wagonist) will win the Premier League in the UK, this year, may trigger lots of passionate debates. But at the end of the day? Hardly an issue to be mentioned at one’s funeral.

Then last night, #bedtimedevotions, I came upon one of the most important stories in the Bible – a Book which is always read at funerals, regardless of whether or not the dead person loved the Lord Jesus. Interesting isn’t it!

Luke 16:19-31.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

Luke 16:19‭-‬31 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.16.19-31.NIV

A story about poor man, whose sores were licked by dogs. So destitute was he. And a rich man, who had everything going for him. Lacked nothing. On earth!
They both died. Inevitably. One went to be with ” Father Abraham”, and was at peace. The once poor man!
The other went to another place. And was in torment.

A number of existentiallly important messages are contained in the one story, told by Jesus. Including:

1. That there is a great chasm between heaven and hell. Those in hell cannot receive any help from those in heaven. There is no road between the two places.

2. A plea for a warning to be sent to the rich man’s brothers, was met by an assertion that there is sufficient warning in the Bible; specifically the Old Testament.

3. A final desperate plea, that if someone from the dead, were to be sent to issue a warning, his brothers would repent. ( O Jesus have mercy! Isn’t that why you came from heaven, died and was raised from the dead). This was met by a very intriguing response. That if one does not read and believe God, in the Old Testament, people will not be convinced even by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It raises the issue, which has been well ventilated by theologians, and by the Lord Jesus Himself, on The Way to Emmaus, that Jesus Himself was very active during the Old Testament times. And therefore, a thorough understanding of Moses and the Prophets, is key to believing in the Lord Jesus.

All of this is to state the following truth. A good education is critical to personal and national development. But at the end of the day, a deep appreciation of God’s love for mankind, as manifested in the Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, born of David, is critical for our understanding of life.

That the reason for the great injustice of poverty in a world of plenty, has its roots in Sin. That the reason why some reject the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, until it’s too late, despite the many and various warnings, including the cruel death of Jesus on Calvary, has to do with Sin. And that the reason why men and women, prefer the accolades of man, rather than the blessings in Christ Jesus, offered by a compassionate and Sovereign God has to do with Sin.

Our role then, as redeemed children of God, is to present the undiluted Word of God, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to family, friends, colleagues, and all whom we meet on this journey of life. That ‘ all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. So that, at the end of the day, there may be no regrets. No desperate pleas for help. No cries from beyond to warn loved ones.

For politics is not forever. Nor sports and entertainment. There is no Netflix or CNN. No Twitter, no Facebook where we go when we die. National honors cannot get you there. We need a different kind of passport to allow us to be where my friend now resides – in the bosom of Abraham. And Isaac. And Jacob. And our Lord Jesus Christ!

And the process of changing our citizenship ( and whether you are Canadian, Jamaican or a US citizen is of little moment) starts with Repentance and acceptance of the free gift of the Atonement for Sin, wrought by Jesus on Calvary. And ends with us ‘ wearing wedding clothes ‘; putting on Christ Himself!

So yes, #ZOSO is important. So too poverty reduction measures, growth in the economy, public sector transformation, pumping money into the Justice system, improving the educational system, providing more housing solutions.

But at the end of this short life, where we spend eternity is the critical issue. And we cannot say we have not be given sufficient warning.

And so the Lord placed this song firmly in my soul all of this week.

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
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.

2

Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.

3

Oh, let me hear Thee speaking,
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh, speak to reassure me,
To hasten, or control;
Oh, speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.

4

O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory
There shall Thy servant be;
And Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Oh, give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.

5

Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Savior and my Friend.

Peace.

Archbishop John Holder, Sin and Homosexuality, and Redemption in Christ Jesus

LAST NIGHT:

This morning on Friday October 13th, 2017 I wrote to my Diocesan Bishop ( of the Anglican church in Jamaica), The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory.
The subject was the contribution of the Primate of the West Indies, His Grace The Rt. Rev. John Holder to The Intimate Conference. The reason; the report on the front page of The Daily Gleaner, and a particular quote.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20171013/sodom-and-gomorrah-does-not-support-sodomy-law-says-anglican

Citing scripture after scripture in his attempt to explain the Bible’s take on the controversial, and still criminal, offence in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Holder said that the practice of homosexuality has long been part of the human sexual experience, predating the modern concepts of sexuality

My reaction! Disappointment. Why?
Three reasons.

1. Why address a conference in Jamaica on a known controversial topic, and not, as one would expect of the ‘ Chief Shepherd ‘, first engage the flock?

2. My own experience, both locally and the USA, with priests who do not regard homosexuality as a sin. And who justify their position by promoting a doctrine which declares that God’s love for all humans is all that matters.

3. That the select quote would leave one with the impression, that the Bishop’s understanding of the genesis of homosexuality is at variance with the widely Christian perspective of the Fall. One of four foundations of Christian thought on ‘ how the world turns: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Judgment.

And before I wrote, during my #earlymorningdevotions after I opened randomly, Chris Tiegreen’s Devotional Book, The One Year Wonder of the Cross, and found this:

The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5.

A passage of Scripture which was used to conclude the note to my Bishop. And which underscores the importance of the role sin played, every kind of sin, including homosexuality, in God’s decision, ‘in the fullness of time’, to send his Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, because of His great and unfathomable love, to suffer and die on Calvary. For the sins of all mankind!

Then, this evening on Nationwide Radio, I heard the Archbishop, engaging in a very civilized and gracious discussion, with the Head of Alliance of Evangelical Churches in Jamaica, Bishop Alvin Bailey.
This time my reaction was beyond disappointment. Amazed!

Why? With my own two ears I heard an explanation from a reputable source, I had heard it before from spurious and self-serving sources, that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality. But with them being ‘ inhospitable ‘.

That Jesus welcomes all who were outcasts of society, and therefore so should we. ( Go ye and sin no more …..your many sins have been forgiven for you loved much…..seems to have escaped the attention of those who subscribe to such a limited, and increasingly popular, view of God’s love.

And that, in his view, when asked the question, the contribution of Bishop Howard Gregory on the repealing of the Buggery Law, represented the position of the Anglican church in Jamaica. An answer which was surprisingly uninformed, as Bishop Gregory had been very clear. That his contribution to Parliament was a ‘ personal’ one, and did not represent the position of the Diocese of Jamaica.

I was, however, very impressed with Bishop Holder’s calm and measured responses to an accusation that he was an ‘ apostate’. And one who was a supporter of the ‘ Gay Agenda’. Also with his insistence that dialogue and discussions were critical, if people who held opposing views were ever going to arrive at a common position on how to deal with a difficult issue. He also refuted the impression that he was in the ‘ employ’ of any lobby group, and insisted that he was invited as an Old Testament scholar.

Finally the Primate, admitted that, we in the Caribbean, were not yet at the same place, on this issue, as people in other countries were.

To which on another program, on CVM TV, Bishop Alvin Bailey responded, that the churches’ role was not to achieve consensus, but to present the gospel with a hope that all sinners might repent. And accept the free gift of salvation; ” while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

No doubt the Lord knew how this conversation would have affected me. And thus He prepared me for it. How?
Reflect with me on these postings on Twitter and Facebook last night:

We are not here to woo and win men to God we are here to present the Gospel which in individual cases will mean condemnation or salvation OC

The bedrock of Christianity is repentance #OswaldChambers

The religion of Jesus Christ is not a religion of ethical truth, but of Redemption #OswaldChambers

Everything that has been touched by sin and the devil has been redeemed. Unless we have faith in the Redemption…..

….all our activities are fussy impertinences which tell God He is doing nothing #OswaldChambers https://t.co/tT3kly8VEw

Warning ! ( My words) Social service that is not based on the Cross of Christ is the cultured blasphemy of civilized life against God; for it denies that God has done anything, and puts human effort as the only way whereby the world will be redeemed – Oswald Chambers

The final quote touched me the most. And is so contextually on target. For unless we begin with the Cross of Christ, where the full extent of God’s transforming and redeeming love, transects with the full extent of God’s wrath and Judgment against Sin, and not a desire to uphold human rights, or bring the gospel to sinners, in and by itself, we are missing the mark.

And have no power to fight against evil, to promote Justice, and no sustained ability to have mercy. And to forgive those who persecute us, and call us all kinds of names!

For the Word of God is true. That the kingdom of heaven is not about talk, whether of the Intimate variety or publicly on Radio or TV, but about Power. And about Righteousness and Peace in the Holy Spirit. And entry to which kingdom requires, not a Canadian passport, not a Jamaican passport, not a US passport, not consensus on whether or not we ought to repeal the Buggery Law, but ‘ wedding clothes ‘. The central message in the Gospel appointed in the worldwide Anglican Church for Sunday!

And only those who have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb of God, who acknowledge and accept this free gift, grace, from a merciful God, will be able to ‘ walk in Jerusalem just like John’, with Wedding Clothes. A privilege and joy which begins, once we repent and accept Christ as Lord and Savior! Right here on earth.

Otherwise what’s the point of it all. That a man or woman should gain the whole world, win every debate, have the support of many on Twitter and Facebook, and yet stand to lose his or her soul. If they don’t repent and accept Christ’s Redemption! What’s the point. Really!

Prayers which came to me over the past week:

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s).

O breathe on me breath of God;
Fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou wouldst do.

Will thou not turn again and quicken us O Lord, that thy people may rejoice in thee…

Saint Augustine states: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”.

THIS MORNING:

At 4:30 am, the Lord woke me up to read this:

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, Lord , your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord , are good.
Psalm 25:1‭-‬7 NIV
http://bible.com/111/psa.25.1-7.NIV

This verse was highlighted in my Bible, from years ago; and still so important today.

Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

A scriptural validation of a prayer from a saint of old, to which I was drawn this week.

Lord, Speak to me, that I may speak

Francis Ridley Havergal
Verse: Isaiah 6:8

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of thy tone;
As thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children lost and lone.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

O fill me with thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart o’erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
The love to tell, thy praise to show.

O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as thou wilt, and when and where,
Until thy blessed face I see,
The rest, the joy, thy glory share.
Peace.

God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

It’s really true. God really does: ” give strength to the weary, and increases power of the weak”. Isaiah 40.

I did not send out a message last week. Too busy preparing for a preaching assignment. Then just came home after a long day. Its now 10: pm, and instead of relaxing and preparing to go to bed, I’ve been given strength and instructions to write.

Late not only account of work, but delayed by car troubles. This morning and this evening. Thank God for help along the way.

Going home, began praying about the car. That I may reach home safely. And that I need a reliable car to go back and forth to the country daily. Then recalled preaching about Bonhoeffer’s ( The great German martyr and theologian) admonition that :

“Anxiety for food and clothing ( and by extension a motor car) is clearly not the same thing as anxiety for the kingdom of God, however much we would like to persuade ourselves that when we are working for our families and concerning ourselves wirh bread and houses, we are thereby building the kingdom, as though the kingdom could be realized only through our worldly cares.

The kingdom of God and his righteousness are sharply distinguished from the gifts of the world which come our way. That kingdom is none other than the righteousness of Matthew 5 and 6, the righteousness of the Cross and the following of Jesus below the cross…..”

Accepting the mild rebuke, I began instead to pray for the Church. For renewal. ” Lord renew thy church beginning with me…..”.

Then the main ” take home” message of the sermon came back to me:

“Jesus did not just come to patch us up, He came to make us new”. – a quote from Oswald Chambers.

And the Biblical inspiration:

If any man is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and behold, all things are made new”.

So having been praying for a, ” spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened “, this is what the Lord revealed to me tonight on the way home.

That if anyone is in Christ, they really have to a new person. We cannot be the same old ‘ fraidy fraidy ‘ person, afraid of even our own shadow, worried about everything in life, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old cantankerous, miserable, unforgiving person, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old selfish, totally lost in our own little world, unaware and uncaring about what is happening around us, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old person, easily tempted to sin, worshiping our own gods ( political party, our favourite TV show, for example) rather than spending quality time in God’s Word and in prayer, and claim that we are in Christ.

We cannot continue to be disobedient to God, and claim that we are God’s people ( like the Children of Israel did when Moses took a long time to return).

Christians are possessed of supernatural power to do good; to love enemies; to forgive those who persecute us; and people must see the Jesus in us.

Like Jesus, we must have a vision for the entire world, and not just our own parochial affairs, however pressing they might be.

The vision for the Church then, is not only to be on mission in the world. But, rather to disciple persons to become ‘ new creatures’. As if we are not made new, we cannot effectively be on mission. For to be on mission for a supernatural God, is to be empowered by the supernatural Holy Spirit to wage war against evil forces and not flesh and blood.

There is more. Much more. And will continue to be revealed. Perhaps by others. But this revelation is sufficient given the Theme for the Sermon:

Healing and Wholeness: Body, mind and spirit.

Finally the Lord reminded me of a meditation by a saint of yure, which describes the experience of one made new in Christ. Like the ‘ Gerasene Demoniac, Legion, who after an encounter with Jesus, was found, ” dressed up in his right mind”.

Finally the Lord reminded me of a meditation by a saint of yure, which describes the experience of one made new in Christ. Like the ‘ Gerasene Demoniac, Legion, who after an encounter with Jesus, was found, ” dressed up in his right mind”.

EXPERIENCING THE LORD

A. B. Simpson ( 1844 -1919)

Verse: Matthew 17:8 ” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone”.

Once it was his blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is his word;
Once God gift I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half of salvation, now the uttermost;
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, now he holds me fast;
Once ’twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once I hoped in Jesus, now I know he’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, now they brightly shine;
Once for death I waited, now his coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored safe within the veil.

All in all forever,
Only Christ I’ll sing;
Ev’rything is in Christ,
And Christ in ev’rything.
Amen!

In obedience.
Peace.

.

Amen!

In obedience.
Peace.