As Murder continue to stalk the land, what shall we do: Follow Bustamante or Christ ?

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20171124/twelve-shot-st-james-four-fatally

It’s hard, very hard, to live in a country where murder has become so common place. And where guns are so freely available, and used to shoot people with such heartlessness! “Puppa Jesus tek de case”! An ejaculatory prayer of many older folks who trusted in the power and goodness of our Savior.

Yes, there are other problems, as this week torrential rain aided and abetted by poor drainage and people intent on ‘ duttying up Jamaica’, caused massive flooding in the, capital city of the West, and tourist mecca, Montego Bay.

This week also saw the continued saga of, The people vs The Government, being played out in the introduction of the National Identification Sytem ( NIDS).
With most in favor, but many unimpressed with the need to pass the bill right away! Especially as they see the possibility of fundamental rights being placed at risk.

But my God, how long shall we have to put up with these murderous gunmen, who fear neither God nor man. Men who have no heart. Men who pump bullets mercilessly into women and children. How long Lord? How long!

That’s the question residing deep in the hearts of our people. Not #NIDS. Not #Mobayflooding.
As our people are living in absolute terror. Afraid of every shadow. Afraid to sleep too soundly. Can’t sleep at all as the guns sometimes ‘bark’ for hours.

Where do they get all these high powered, ‘ bigger than police’, guns?
Where do they get so much ammunition? Are some police ‘ mixed up’ ? Are some politicians ‘ mixed up ‘ ? Are some businessmen ‘ mixed up’?

This madness cannot continue. No civilized country ought to tolerate this kind of brutality being unleashed on its people. Day after day. Night after night! What’s to be done?

Then I recalled thst in the wee hours of the morning this
week, the Lord woke me up to read this:

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord ’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord .
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young…

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.

Lamentations 3:19-33

The historical, and even existential challenge that has confronted civilizations ever since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, is that:

Unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain “, a Word ( Psalm 127) to which I was led to read and ponder in last night.

And so, intent on ‘ doing their own thing ‘, the great Roman and Greek civilizations perished; one, from which ashes, Europe and the West rose, got sacked by ‘ barbarians’. So too the famed British Empire on whose lands, the sun, ” would never set”, is now struggling to find a place in world affairs outside the orbit of the EU, The USA, Russia and China. The great Napolean, Ghengis Khan, Alexander the Great, and pretty soon Apartheid South Africa, and racist Rhodesia, will only be names in a history book.
Unlike #FreeNelsonMandela who will live on in the hearts of millions forever.

The current Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the one in waiting Peter Phillips, would do well to reflect on history as they and their colleagues, seek to rescue Jamaica from marauding gunmen.

They ought not to be fooled by the ‘ shiny object ‘, that the lives of ‘ successful and developed ‘, countries portray. For really ‘ all that glitters is not gold’. For those who have eyes to see, understand that many of these countries are a ‘ time bomb ‘, ticking away, imploding, like a quiet storm. For history has taught us, that a nation, and leaders, without a moral foundation will fall one day.

That’s the lesson that Mugabe’s life teaches us. And so many others in the ‘ kleptocratic states’ of Africa!
That’s the lesson that’s emerging as the opioid addiction epidemic sweeps across the land of ‘ anything goes’, and the home of comfortable Christianity, which is what America is fast becoming. Thus sowing the seeds of its own destruction. And don’t forget to probe deeply into the highly touted Scandinavian countries where things appear to be perfect without any overwhelming presence of the God of Abraham. Where, in one country, God is no longer to be addressed as He, or She, but gender neutral. Really!

As a country we have for far too long flirted, with disastrous consequences, with ” isms and schisms”, as our Rastafarian brethren would say. With Democratic Socialism! With unbridled Capitalism! And now the political and economic, and even in some churches, Holy Grail is, ‘ Prosperity ‘. With ‘ Progress ‘, being consigned, for the time being, to subtext in the conversation.

But then the nagging historical reality confronts us once again; ” Except the Lord builds the house we build in vain.”

Have we really not learnt anything, as one by one our ‘idols’, like Ninjaman, and Kartel are jailed for murder. As one by one, people like Mutty Perkins, who became a veritable ‘ god ‘, for many Jamaicans, disappear, without a trace, like the proverbial grass, while the Word of God lasts forever.
As the hype associated with the lifestyle of scamming comes back to haunt us with a veritable explosion of murder and mayhem.

All because we have, in large part, as decision makers and shapers of our culture, appearing on Page Two or E-Prime, holding sway on social media or in Hotline, Beyond the Headlines and Nationwide , chosen Barabbas over Jesus. Even in the Church. Have mercy! The hype of being enlightened over the substance and only life giving and heart changing reality of the Cross of Christ.

So what’s to be done? The same question posed to Peter when he preached the first sermon after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of God descended with Power on the Disciples of Christ, the Crucified One. ” What shall we do”?

And the same answer ought to come from the collective Church, following the example of the one to whom Jesus said: ” If you love me feed my sheep”.

Repent and be Baptised and save yourself from this corrupt generation”.

It is really time we ceased ‘ following Bustamante til we die’! Or Andrew! Or Peter! Or Kartel! Or Dudas! Or the latest ‘ flavor of the month’, in the media, in business or in entertainment industry. For we are dying off like flies – Gleaner headlines this morning:

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20171125/three-killed-st-james-murder-count-nears-300

Yes we must ‘ give to Ceasar what belongs to Caesar’, and pay our taxes ( and not keep two books); join together to improve parenting skills and not brutalize our children; advocate for better living conditions in inner cities and unplanned settlements; work to reduce teenage pregnancies and help to find jobs for our youth in particular; join up with people like Diana Macaulay ( retired after doing a really great job) in protecting the environment; do our part in helping to reduce crime and support the government’s crime plans #ZOSO; work with Civil Society Leaders like Carol Narcisse and the ‘ born again ‘ Dr. Trevor Munroe, to help mobilize the ordinary citizen to play his or role in the shaping a society.

But more importantly we must commit as a nation, and as individuals, to ‘ give to God what belongs to God; which essentially is our lives, our talents, our children ( the next generation) and the environment in which live and breath; all we have. And worship Him and give Him all the glory in and through Jesus Christ The Crucified One.

Otherwise we will continue to wake up with the kind of news the Gleaner headlines reports. Day after Day! And continue to lament. For we have not accepted and believed that, “The Eternal God is our ( only ) Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms “.
And that the mercies of this God are new every morning. Just waiting for us to enjoy. Forever ! In and through Jesus Christ.
Peace.

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Murder, Sexual abuse of Women and The Cross of Christ

Usually I have an idea about what I going to write on a Saturday morning. And I thought I did, for this week I was moved to write a letter to The Church, but the Lord changed up everything.

So on a morning after the Police High Command called a press conference, or briefing, in response to the continued bloodletting, over 1400 murders, and up 25% over last year, to tell us what they plan to about it, the Lord led me back to Oswald Chambers for Christian Education.

At the end of a week, when the #Metoo campaign continues to reveal the sordid details of powerful men’s sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior towards women, ‘ out of the hearts of man comes all kinds of evil’, the Lord reminded me of two messages He inspired me to post on Twitter this week concerning Christian Education:

Twitter

The outstanding value of the bible is that it makes shameful things appear shameful because it never analyses them – Oswald Chambers

The discovery of the desperate recesses in the human heart is the greatest evidence of the need for the Redemption – Oswald Chambers

So the Police, inter alia, among other things, wish to educate us about the chief ‘ violent producers’, in our country. The really bad men responsible for much of the homicides in Jamaica! And also to allay our fears by telling us about human strategies to reduce murders.

And the #Metoo campaigners, quite rightly, seek to expose, and hopefully , to rid a society of, the evil and the presumptuousness of sexual abuse. At all levels! Thus helping to create former President George Bush’s ‘ more gentle ( and caring and respectful) society’. And protect the rights of women.

In the midst these national and international calumnies, always, the God of Abraham, reminds a broken world, through the ‘ body of Christ’, The Church, of Christ’s death and resurrection. For the sins of all mankind! Through the revelation of His Holy Word.

Oswald Chambers – Facing Reality

WHICH

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

God or Sin

God or Sin must die in me. The one elementary Bible truth that we are in danger of forgetting is that the Gospel of God is addressed to men ( and women) as sinners, and nothing else…..

Christ or Barabbas
And they crucified Him. Matthew 27: 35.

Christ vs. Barabbas – we have to choose. For a long while we can ignore sin and dwell in the fact that God is our Father, but if we mean by that, that He forgives our sin because He is loving, we make the Atonement a huge blunder and Calvary a mistake.

What does Barabbas represent? The expedient to Jesus Christ, something less radical, less emphatic, less against what we want……

Christ or the Old Man
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him.…. Romans 6:6

What is our “old man”? The disposition of sin in us discovered by the incoming Spirit of God when we are born from above. A Christian experiences the first work of God’s regenerating grace begins to discern this disposition, and the issue is clear that the old disposition must be crucified or the Sprit of Christ must be crucified, the two cannot remain long with each other…..

Christ or I
I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, and no longer I, but Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20.

Christ or “I”? I means the religious ” I”, the spiritual ” I”, the pride of spiritual possession. Have we learned the glorious, unmistakable privilege of being crucified with Christ until all that is left is Christ’s flesh and Christ’s blood in our flesh and in our blood where once the world, the flesh and the devil had their way?
These are tremendous things to say in light of the way the modern mind looks at things, but not too tremendous in the light of the Gospel.

Christ and the World
...by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14

What is the world? The set of people with the ambitions, religious or otherwise, that are not identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul says, ” I am crucified to that world, and that world is crucified to me”.

When the world comes before us with its fascination and its power, it finds us dead to it, if we have agreed with God on His judgement about sin and the world….

A final word from Chambers on the Bible; for ultimately the Bible is the Word of God. Not Chambers’. Although in my journey the Lord has led me to read Chambers and so through his inspired writings gain deeper insight into God’s Word.

THE FACTS OF THE BIBLE AND THE THEORY OF INSPIRATION

The Bible is a world of revelation facts, and when you explain the Bible, take into account all the record of it.
The Bible nowhere says that we have to believe it is the Word of God
before we can become Christians. The Bible is not the Word of God to me unless I come at it through what Jesus says, it is of no use to me unless I know Him ( hmm?…corporal punishment….spare the rod and spoil the child ).
The key to my understanding of the Bible is not my intelligence, but personal relationship to Jesus Christ. I begin my theories after I have got on the inside. You may believe the Bible is the Word of God from Genesis to Revelations and not be a Christian at all.

Comment: So it’s all the work of the Holy Spirit that will change the hearts of violent producers and men who sexually abuse women. The church therefore, being part of the world must play its part in ridding the society of both evils.
But more importantly, the Church, being not of this world, but a manifestation of the supernatural power of God, must choose carefully if it intends to be what God has, in Christ Jesus, called us to be; ministers of the message of reconciliation of sinful man to God.

For ultimately, only God has the power to change the hearts of murderers and abusers. And all others sinners, a category in which we all fall. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That’s why Christ came at Christmas and died. And once again it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas again. At least the need for Redemption. Not the glitter. The substance. Not the hype.

That’s what the Bible teaches. A far greater and more important lesson than what the head of the IMF left with us this week!
That ” all of my help cometh from the Lord”. Psalm 121.

Whose Report should we believe? The United Nations or God!

As part of Western Civilization, The Americas and Western Europe, Jamaica faces a serious problem; to whom do we report. Who ultimately, ‘run tings’ in this world? It’s a question that is not necessarily on the minds of our politicians, especially the younger ones, University professors, civil society leaders or the ‘ fourth estate ‘, the media, but it nonetheless a very real issue.

And one that was brought into very sharp focus in my country recently with the reopening of the debate on whether or not abortions should be made legal. Also the issue of corporal punishment; should it be banned not just in schools but in homes as well.

The challenge for the Western Civilization is that, democracy, in its pure sense a full package of freedom of the press, separation of powers – the executive and the judiciary – and universal adult suffrage, flourishes only on a Christian foundation of individual freedom; because we are all made equal in the image and likeness of God. And set free from any kind of ‘enslavement’ by the death and resurrection of Christ! ( Freedom in the making of Western Culture by Professor H. Orlando Patterson)

That’s why Christmas, although, the cultural, but never the spiritual, part of it has been hijacked by the marketeers, is celebrated in the Western World. That’s why politicians end their induction ceremonies with the words ” so help me God”. That’s why, until recently, when filling out a form, your ‘ Christian’ name was requested. So too people still, or used to, give testimonies in court by swearing on a Bible, ‘ to tell the truth……so help me God’.

That’s why, perhaps one of the very few in the world, Jamaica’s National Anthem really a prayer to the Eternal Father ( reminiscent of one of the most comforting verses of Scripture: The Eternal God is my refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms).
That’s why, although not surprisingly, they are trying to change it in the UK, history, in the West, is divided into BC, before Christ. And AD. Anno Domini ( in the year of our Lord).

But we now have a new ‘ Master ‘; the United Nations! An organization, the need for which was rooted in the horrors of World War 11. A time of genocide. A time when the rights of man were trampled upon by Hitler. A time of evil. A time when a free world sought to institutionally, say ‘ never again’.

It’s against that background that we must understand the U.N. and its many bodies, all in pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals for the world, becoming, if we allow them, the ultimate arbiter in the affairs of man.

For it is this body and its work that the Jamaican Prime Minister and other highly regarded officials, referenced recently, in the hot debate about the banning corporal punishment. Even in homes! So too the need to revise the abortion laws. So too the very controversial, in Jamaica, the repeal of the Buggery law. So too the issue of Capital punishment.

And when you combine with new ‘ authority, with the age of ‘ enlightenment ‘, purportedly supported by science, of a diminished, if not, no role for God in this modern world, you have a recipe, in my view, supported by The Word of God, for disaster:

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1 .

Which, for good reason, is one of the most popular verses in the Bible; with both believers and nonbelievers.

No doubt for the same reason, early this morning, I was half asleep, the Lord reminded me of these two verses. One I believe triggered by a conversation, a most distressing one, with a patient who related how a young man, a ‘ bad man’, in the area, ‘ everybody fraid of him ‘, even his own mother, abusive to his mother, was cut down in a hail bullets recently. A tragic reminder of how violence, practised by a ‘ few, has become so endemic in our society. And which issue poses such a huge problem to sustainable national development!

” How could one man chase a thousand or two put ten thousand to flight, unless the Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up”. Deuteronomy 32:30.

And the other one, no doubt triggered by the corporal punishment issue, and how do we effectively discipline our children.

” 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”. Deuteronomy 5:29.

It can’t be a coincidence, then, that the Lord placed on my heart two passages from His Holy Word from a book that is a ‘ reminder’ of His Laws!

So this life changing and life giving matter of the fear of God, and who is this God, by whom we swear ‘ so help me God’, and not ‘ by the instructions of the United Nations’, no doubt led the Holy Spirit to inspire me to post the following message of Facebook yesterday.

FACEBOOK

Last night the Lord turned my regular #bedtimedevotions upside down, and led me to read John 15 -16. What Jesus told His disciples on the night before He died. A number of these revelations touched my heart; including His assurance that, after His death and resurrection and Ascension to heaven, He would not leave us as orphans, but He would ask the Father to send another Counsellor, the Spirit of Truth who would real all things to us.
A promise which has reinforced in my mind that which has ‘Haunting’ me for this week; that the main request that we should place before the Lord consistently, is for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Then I went to bed, and before awakening this morning, the Lord placed this passage below in my mind. Reinforcing Oswald Chambers’ profound observation that, “Christianity is not this I do, but this happened.”

THE WORD OF GOD

“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Then if people are reconciled to God, our nation would not find itself in such a difficult place where young politicians, as reported in the newspapers yesterday, who, like Norman Dunn recently, end their swearing in with the words ‘ so help me God’, then turn, with no doubt great compassion and with a determination to do good, seek to revise the abortion law, and in the end, if they are not careful, commit the sin of murder of the child, who the Word of God, says, ” For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. Psalm 139:13.

And, this is the same God, who, in our National Anthem we call, and pray to, Eternal Father bless our land.
I wonder really, if the writer of the recent Gleaner editorial, and others who have a similar view, on this very complex, long standing – going back a long time in history – challenging, intensely personal, yet at the same time national, issue, considered to Whom this nation prays collectively, when we sing the National Anthem. If they did not, hopefully this post, as instructed by the Lord, might serve to enlighten. Lest we end up like Pharaoh and his men at the Red Sea, “fighting against the Lord”. Whilst ‘ bloodshed follows blodshed’ in St. James and May Pen and all over Jamaica. And Category Five Hurricanes threaten. To Whom then shall we turn for mercy and rescue!
In obedience.

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:11-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And I write this’ conversation, written by one of the great Russian writers Dostoyevsky, came to mind;

…….” It’s God that’s worrying me. That’s the only thing that’s worrying me. What if he doesn’t exist. What if Rakitin’s right – that it’s idea made up by men? Then, if he doesn’t exist, man is the chief of the earth ( through the U.N. my words), of the universe. Magnificent!
Only how is he going to be good without God? That’s the question. I always come back to that. For whom is man going to love then? To whom will he sing the hymn?….. ”

Serous question for PM Holness, Opposition Leader Peter Phillips, and Civil Society Leaders!

But if Western Civilization has a problem, the Church, the body of Christ, has bigger problem! For the U.N. and its goals for mankind, are driven by altruism, a desire to protect human rights as it understand it, and just plain common sense. A combination of which qualities and goals, is appealing to governments and people alike. Especially in this world of uncertainty and injustice! The U.N. provides us with a certain kind of stability and collective response to humanity’s growing and diverse problems.
Why the need for Church! And, listening to a conversation on Nationwide last night, hosted by the well respected journalist Cliff Hughes, on the decline in numbers and leadership in the traditional church, I didn’t hear a New Testament defense of the need for Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.

I didn’t hear, well articulated, that the church is not another part of the social sector, but a supernatural body, empowered by the supernatural power of The Holy Spirit; the Third member of the Blessed Triune God.
I didn’t hear, well articulated, that ‘ all have sinned ( Prime Minister, President, Cliff Hughes, Usain Bolt, Bill Maier, and even Pope Francis) and fallen short of the glory of God’.
And that ‘ the wages of sin is death, and the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus’.

I did not hear, what the theologian Oswald Chambers declares that every time we, as believers, preach the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection, new life is created.

For the problem the church, and consequently, sinful unbelieving society faces, why ‘ one man can chase a thousand’, in #Jamaicableeding, is that far too many churches have ‘ graduated’ from preaching and teaching as led by the Holy Spirit. And so ‘ because of a lack of knowledge’, Jamaica, and America, ‘ mourns ‘. Repeatedly!

The key lesson that we can never forget, and the Lord led me back to John 14, last night, is that when Jesus was about to die, and be raised again with Power, He promised not to leave us as orphans. But instead He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us who believe – that He was the Son of God, and that He was sent by His Father, so that men would not perish…John 3:16. By far, the most well known verse in the Bible.

So, why we need the church? To preach, and live out, the Gospel of the Good News that Jesus Christ The Crucified One, died for our Sins, and was raised from the dead so that we may have new life. All, as empowered by the supernatural power of The Holy Spirit.

For the reality is that unless unbelieving sinful mankind, humble themselves, and in faith repent of our sins, in response to the preaching of the Church then, Jamaica and the world, regardless of the best efforts of the U.N. and its agencies, will continue to mourn.

Mourn the presence of HIV/AIDS and other STI’s. Extrajudicial killing by the police. Genital female mutilation in Africa, The trafficking ( into prostitution) of Muslim girls expelled from Myanmar and now living in the refuge camps in Sri Lanka ( News from RJRs Beyond the Headlines yesterday). The wickedness of the raping of women in India and in ISIS held territories. 1300 murdered in Jamaica and counting. 26 dead in Texas. People arrested in Europe for child pornography, and the list goes on.

For at the heart of the Gospel is the existential reality, that ” out of the heart of man ( not just Hitler and Bin Laden and Dudus and Timothy McVeigh and Bill Cosby) comes all kind of evil”. And only the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, manifesting the Love and Mercy and Grace of a Good and Just God, can Atone for it. And grant us new and unending life by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Not the U.N. !

So let us ‘ give to the U.N. what belongs to the U.N. – a listening ear; and to God, what belongs to God’ – reverence, fear, love and obedience. Because we ‘ were bought by the price of Blood ‘.

Record numbers of Murders in a Land with record numbers of Churches! Why?

1300 murdered in 10 months in country with a population of around 2.7 million people is no small matter. That’s averaging 130 per month; and a shade over 4 per day. Day after day after day. Month after month. Year after year.
And if you use international ratios that’s 48/100,000.

But it gets worse, as Jamaica is no ordinary country in Christendom; with reputedly more churches per square mile than any other country.

The challenge we face as a nation where the Christian ethic ( a way of life and not just a philosophy preached from a pulpit) is pervasive, is that things were not always like this.
In fact, writing a few years ago shortly after the Tivoli Incursion, former UWI Professor Don Robotham observed:

” When Jamaica gained political independence in 1962, the murder rate was 3.9 per 100,000 inhabitants —among the lowest in the world. In the last 10 years, homicide rates averaged 55 per 100,000 inhabitants, soaring to 62 in 2009, or the astonishing figure of 1,680 murders in a population of just under 2.7 million. In comparison, in 2009 drug violent Mexico had a homicide rate of 14 per 100,000 inhabitants while Brazil had one of 25 and South Africa of 37; Canada, for its part, had a rate of 1.8.”

So what has gone dreadfully wrong? Many things! And the historians and social scientists have highlighted issues over the years; including a stagnant economy, huge gaps between rich and poor, political tribalism, gang warfare, erosion of the family unit, increasingly violent musical lyrics and television/movies content….

But all of this happening in country with so many Christian people who are supposed to be ‘ salt and light’ in any society. So, why have we not been a powerful force engaging in spiritual warfare against this evil which has permeated our land?

In a word. Prophesy! As this week, whilst processing the fact that one of my patient’s sons was brutally murdered last year, and last Sunday evening her daughter was shot dead by marauding gummen, the Lord led me to read and write about prophesy.

First from the Old Testament and then from the New. Prophetic words to use to destroy myths and false doctrines which have taken root, not only in the Jamaican psyche, but in the very church of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the ‘ salt ‘ goes bad, and the ‘ light ‘ flickers, because unless we believe that all Power comes from Christ and Him Crucified, the Church becomes just like any other useful social group; with good and laudable intentions but no power.

And which emasculation of the Power of God’s church is the goal of enlightened people, New Age people, Atheists, and others who are working night and day to undermine the work of the Church. On social, and in traditional, media

Therefore unless we believe, and commit to, and urgently and systemstically, engage in Christian Education about Basic Christianity, captured in one of the most important verses of scripture, and to which I was led to read last night:
” I am crucified in Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ who lives in me ” ( Galatians 2:20):
we will not accept Jesus’ sole condition to follow Him, ” Deny self, and take up your cross”. And remain captive to the greatest socially and morally destructive philosophy of every age, self-love.
One profound meditation by Francois Fenelon with which I’ve been trying to understand for years begins like this:

Self-love must be uprooted, and the love of God take its place in our hearts before we can see ourselves as we are”.

And towards the end observes that:

” The less we love ourselves, the more considerate we are of others. “

For self-love, vs. complete abandonment to the love of God, who died for us, sinners ( for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) a cruel death on Calvary, so that in Christ we may become a ‘ new creation’, is where the battle is well and truly joined in our hearts.

And it is the effects of this cosmic and spiritual warfare which produces teenage pregnancy, transactional sex in various forms, in all kinds of relationships, and in high and low places, ‘ four burner lifestyle ‘, all of which have destroyed family life in too many homes ; which crowns Kartel a convicted murderer as Dancehall King, and excuses the highly socially destructive yet lucrative for some, practice of Scamming; which validates in the minds of some politicians the creation of Garrison Communities with its attendant social and criminal problems; which maintains the status quo, despite the sophisticated labels of socialism, capitalism and market driven economies, of a huge gap between rich and poor, the marginalized and the powerful.
And which self-love, ultimately blinds us to having a healthy fear of God, and love for our neighbor. The lack of which is the root cause of our problems; this, as we are busy treating, largely unsuccessfully, with the effects.

Thank God then for the remnant that has not ‘ bowed down to Baal’; and that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. Prophetic words.

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Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for inequities;
the punishment that brought us peace.was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6 #earlymorningdevotions

And yesterday in my #Lunchtimedevotions

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:2-4.

And what is the season? Terror in #NewYork where they are, on social media, blaming Obama for allowing Muslims to come into the USA and commit acts of terror.

Murder in Jamaica, and our solution is more effective policing, establishing #ZOSO and effecting social and economic change including better parenting, and promoting better values and attitudes.

The age of ‘ enlightenment’ which tells us, inter alia, that God is love, and we are to love everybody unconditionally; be courageous, set human rights as our highest goal, don’t focus too much on Sin and Calvary and suffering, and all will be well.

All of this happening because we, like sheep, have gone astray. And gotten caught up with the ‘ hype’, that we run tings, and that appealing for Divine Intervention is evidence that we are intellectually bankrupt and brainwashed. Rather than accept the ‘ substance ‘, the reality that it is Sin, in New York, in London, in Syria, and in Jamaica which is the root of all our problems.
And only the Blood of the Lamb can bring us Peace. So we thank God for His Love and Mercy fully manifested on the Cross of Calvary.

And Thank God that some Jamaicans still sing and believe that: There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious Blood of the Lamb. And are therefore not ‘ ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May God’s Grace, Mercy and Peace abide with all who believe that ‘ by the wounds of Christ we are healed’, from Sin, Death and Evil. For that’s the Gospel truth now, was 500 years ago in the season of Martin Luther and will be forevermore.

The second posting taken from my Facebook page features a message from the noted theologian Oswald Chambers ( author of the celebrated devotional guide ” My Utmost for His Highest). And continues in the same vein the prophetic word that it is God in Christ, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, who ” works in us” to do His good and perfect will.

FACEBOOK TWO

CHAMBERS CONTD.

.…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Philippians 2: 12-13

……If you are trying to be a Christian is a sure sign that you are not one. Fancy trying to be the daughter of your mother! you cannot help being her daughter. But try being the daughter of someone else’s mother!
Unless God has worked in us we shall hinder Him all the time by trying to be His children; we cannot, we have to be born from above by the will of God first, be regenerated; then our working is not working to help God, it is working to let God express through us what He has done in us so that we can prove that we are the children of our Father in heaven ( see Matthew 5: 43-48).

So many of us put prayer and work and consecration in place of the working of God; we make ourselves the workers. God is the Worker, we work out what He works in. Spirituality is what God is after, not religiosity.

Comments: As I write and reflect at the same time, the following thoughts enter my mind.

1. The absolutely critical need for authentic Bible based Christian education. A reality that the Minister of Education ought to take on board , himself a Christian, as he positions the ministry to assume the lead role ( no longer the ministry of National Security) in the fight against crime as reported in the Gleaner today.

2. A nation which is agonising over the evil of 1300 murders so far for 2017, is desperately in need of the Transforming Power of The Holy Spirit flowing out of the hearts of born again Christians, who believe that Christ Died for the sins of all mankind; and was raised from the dead with Power, so that those believe in Him, having died with Him, are also raised to a new and unending life. And not the puny efforts of forever busy people trying to live a Christian life!

3. Belief in Christ and Him Crucified is the starting point, and that Christ is sufficient for all our needs, for Rev. Devon Dick’ s call for Unity in the Church in today’s Gleaner. A prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Fittingly this morning I was led to post my ‘ song in the night’, last night. The first verse of a hymn which has haunted my soul in recent years:

THE HYMN

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay!
Mould me and make me after thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

The reality then is that unless the Churches in Jamaica accept the teachings of the entire Bible, that, The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power, and that power comes only through Christ and Him Crucified, living in and through us, murder most foul will continue like a plague on the land.

Time then to repent of our foolish belief that we can fight against evil; powers and principalities that have invaded the souls of our people with our own wisdom and strength.

And just like how we have learned well the key lesson, that all politics is local, so too we need to learn that, in our relationship with God, repentance is key. To be genuinely sorry that “against you, you only O Lord have we sinned and done evil”.
And then and only then will we be able to :
” Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.”
Thus be ‘ salt and light’, and help to rescue our nation from murder.