Cry the beloved Country: Jamaica and America. Thank God for Jesus there is Hope

As I began this message last night, Alan Paton’s classic book on South Africa, ” Cry the beloved Country“, came flooding into my mind?

Why? My soul wept for my country this week. No, not because the Parliament descended into chaos and confusion; amidst talk of #Holdhimback, #meetmeoutside, #middlefingersigns, apologies, and Prime Ministerial silence.

And no, not because as soon as there was a reduction in the numbers of the security forces in Denham Town ( an inner city community under siege by criminals toting high powered guns) the deadly violence flared up.

But all because of what triggered a post on:

FACEBOOK ( with some material added for the blog)

While it is important to find out ” How did we get here” at Cornwall Regional Hospital, of far greater importance is, ” How did we get here” in respect of murder. And murder most foul!

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180425/pregnant-mother-and-her-two-children-killed-hanover-alleged-attacker-custody

And the reading of that heinous act is made even more graphic by the video of the news story on #TVJNEWS

#Earlymorningdevotions verse which ” came into my mind” gives us a clue…..as to how we got to this point where, the father of two lovely, precious girl children, can ‘chop them up’ . And then turn and carry out the same wickedness on the pregnant, reportedly eight months with child, mother of his children.
‘ Whispers’ of ‘jacket’….not his child, have surfaced. Suggestions that perhaps he was not in his right mind have emergered. Whatever! As the young people would say. This is no ordinary matter, but a manifestation of the kind of evil which has been let loose in country. And like the proverbial genie, it is the living hell to put it back in the bottle!

THE WORD OF GOD

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.

And we know from the Bible that neither the children of Israel nor anyone in history has ever been without the sin of disobedience.

” For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God “.

That’s why Jesus died. And was raised from the dead. So that in Him we might have a new beginning.

So Carlene Davis is right; This island needs Jesus. Ultimately!

#ZOSO and #StateofEmergency And Parenting and rescuing our at risk boys are all part of the solution #TVJALLANGLES but ultimately the problem we face is Disobedience to the Word of The Living God.

And promotion of Human Rights Economic growth and protecting our borders all good things, will not reap a harvest of peace if we continue to be Disobedient.

Did anyone hear Al Dawes crying out for help last night on #Nationwide Westmoreland is under siege from gunmen firing bullets that are meant to cause maximum damage to human flesh!

Comment: For the fact is that for far too long, as a nation we have allowed, and in some cases, facilitated, people to ” fly de gates” and ” let in the pirates” of sin and disobedience and wickedness.

Labeling some dancehall lyrics art, and culture and people’s reality, rather than condemning the gun lyrics and plain out of order lyrics, and calling it out. Lyrics, new lyrics, lyrics that carry us down and not lift us up. Lyrics that our fathers never knew. And lyrics which have competed, in some measure, who knows how much, successfully, with the message music of reggae.
Thankfully Chronixx and others have started a new thing. While Etana and others have kept ‘ the thing ‘ at a certain level, even ‘ up top’, the sky is the limit….streetalk.

Labeling some of the worst aspects of Carnival, culture, and Caribbean expressions and diversity in the music. Get on baad music, which ‘ tempt people to touch’, and jam what don’t belong to them, and which under ordinary circumstances ‘ would not be available ‘. Music which has, in some measure, replaced the biting social commentary, though not for Sunday School, of Sparrow’s Calypso genre.

Failing to call out those who have been responsible for introducing guns into the hands of poor and vulnerable youths; thus starting a fire which has brought the living hell into this country. And all the ‘ firefighting ‘ has failed to extinguish this cauldron of death which has been unleashed on our people.

Failing to deal with institutional corruption in both government and the private sector; which has ravaged the good name of our country abroad and devastated our economy at home.

Failing to manage the affairs of our country over the years; placing political and ideological considerations above the national interest. Causing us a people, too many people, to be living in the kind abject poverty, which often result in previously held high moral values to be ‘ sold for a pound of sugar’. Or one bag juice !

But most egregiously, ” creating cisterns, broken cistern, that can hold no water “. Within and without the Church. #ProperityGospel #Brukoutofbruckness #Lotto #Followdeleader

And in the process ignoring the Word of the Living God which was the foundation of life for our forebears. A life built around the fear of God, and love for ” Puppa Jesus! The removal of which foundation has occasioned the change in our society from a relatively violence free one, to this present age, where, ” Cry the Beloved Country ” is now a national lament.

But even though we lament and ” Cry the beloved Country “, we don’t behave as if we have no hope. For we are Easter people; children of the Most High God, who in Christ, on Calvary, and the Resurrection from the dead, offers us new life. Even in the midst of this madness!

One message of Hope came from the Gospel reading for the worldwide Anglican Church this Sunday.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, then you shall ask what you will, and it shall be given unto you”. John 15:7

So how can we abide in Christ? And have his words abide in us! So that, we can ask, in prayer, for the release of our ‘ beloved country’. From the evils of murder and slackness, and corruption, and disobedience to God’s Word. Which have all descended like darkness over our land? Stygian darkness!

The key word is abide. And to abide in Christ is to follow him. The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who paid the ultimate price for his resistance to evil during Hitler’s reign of terror in Germany, says this: ” When Christ calls a man or woman to follow him, he calls him to die” ( To self).

The challenge for leaders in the Church, with dire consequences for our society, which ought to be served by ‘ the salt and the light ‘, that is the church, is that too many, ‘ Easter’ people don’t understand that Good Friday came before Easter.

That the same Peter and Paul, who uttered the famous words: ” Silver and gold have I none, but in the Name of Jesus, get up and walk“, who previously ‘ denied’ and ‘ persecuted’, Christ, died to self. Under the cross, and at ‘ high noon’!

Perhaps then, as a reminder to live under the Cross, before we begin each day, we should all sing and pray and reflect deeply, on the words of this powerful hymn:

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.
Refrain:

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.

2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine.

(Refrain)

Then, and only then, we will not be tempted to touch what does not belong to us. And not just touch, but rape, and not just rape, serial rape. Like Bill Cosby ‘ America’s Dad’! What a shame. For in America too, many ” Cry the beloved country”.

And kill those we love. A gift from God and what ultimately does not belong to us. Life! Like what that wicked man did to those children. What a tragedy.

All because we have preferred ‘ hype over substance ‘. Preferred Excitement and Material things over the very Word of God, Jesus and him Crucified? Thank God the door for repentance is still open. But for how long we don’t know!

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Not in my Cabinet, and All are welcome in the Kingdom of God, if you repent and believe the Gospel

I begin most days with a set of prayers. Thanksgiving, for Righteousness and for Wisdom. Unless the Lord intervenes and ‘ stirs up things ‘! As I reflected on what I am about to write, two parts of the prayers from A Saint of old, Jacob Boeheme, touched my soul. Again!

” Rule over me this day, O God, leading me on the path of righteousness. Put your Word in my mind and your truth in my heart, that this day I neither think nor feel anything except what is good and honest…….

Give me, dear Lord, a pure heart and a wise mind, that I may carry out my work according to your will……
Above all, remind me constantly, that I have nothing except what you give me, and can do nothing except what you enable me to do”.

Why? This matter of homosexuality; whether or not the Bible says it is a sin, and whether or not Jamaica ought to join the ‘ civilized ‘ world and repeal the buggery law, was a huge topic of discussion this week.

What sparked this controversy?
Do you remember the famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective ” Not in my cabinet” statement, by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding? When asked by the host of a popular UK TV programme ” Hard Talk“, if gays would be allowed to sit in his cabinet! The context being Jamaica’s refusal to ‘ bow’ to International pressure and remove the offending buggery law from its books.

This week PM Andrew Holness offered up a different answer when quizzed while on official duties in Brussels. I found a video online and the also the report by the Gleaner.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20180417/no-problem-gays-my-cabinet-holness

The video seems to in sync with what the Gleaner reported and offered a bit more information – A projection for the future. Also it places the issue in its historical context. Don’t know anything about the producer. Not in support of his ideals. Just did a Google search and found it.

What was my reaction? I understood what the PM was trying to achieve; to assure the international community that, and rightly so, Jamaica, as a state, was not in the business of ‘persecuting’ gays. And that a honest conversation was taking place on the issue of the repealing of the buggery law. What was a bit surprising, was his view that the ‘ church ‘, in Jamaica, elsewhere yes, had ‘ multiple positions’ on the matter of homosexuality. And that we were becoming more ” liberal “!

I am not sure how he arrived at that position. A view which appeared, more to be his wish, than reality.

The writer of the Gleaner Editorial also weighed in on this matter. As a Bible based Christian I found one aspect in particular, ” archaic index of morality “, more provocative than helpful, in trying to arrive at some kind of national consensus on this matter. Otherwise it provided useful information albeit biased in its support of ‘ normalizing homosexuality ‘.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20180417/editorial-jamaica-next-battlefront-against-gay-discrimination

Then I posted this ‘ alternative view’ by well Christian lawyer Shirley Richards, all of which views I did not necessarily agree with, but which were topical, on my Facebook page which sparked a long, heated and at times, an acrimonious, discussion, with 99 comments to date.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20180418/shirley-richards-gay-mad-britain-has-lost-its-soul

At the end of which discussion, having been reminded by the Lord, that one needs the wisdom of Solomon to resolve this issue, I posted this comment.

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It would seem to be the commonsense approach ( having more important things to do than going around snooping in people’s bedrooms). But is that what the Lord is saying? Listening carefully to what I was led to read last night while …. was faithfully doing battle with ‘ giants ‘.

” There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”. Proverbs 16:23.

How did I get there? Proverbs 14:34, came into my mind as …… persisted in asking how does the buggery law affect marriage….as asserted by Shirley Richards.

” Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people”.

Sounds like the good Lord has heard this conversation before. As this whole thing turns on whether or not we believe God’s Word that homosexuality is a sin. And I don’t necessarily expect a non-believer like…..to agree, but certainly those of us who believe, that, “ the Word of God is living and active…..it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. Hebrews 4:12.

So the question is whether this particular sin ought to attract the attention of the law in any society? My ( perhaps limited) understanding of the Bible leads me to say no. But then the wisdom of Solomon comes into the picture. And so I am listening to what the Lord is saying when, in Christ, He died, to ‘ remove the disgrace ‘ and more, to forgive, and more, enable us to live a new life, rather than,
elevate sin, and call it ‘ right’ in our commonsense understanding of ‘ how the world turns’.

Which is why the other post from Oswald Chambers about ‘ the supernatural ‘ is not a coincidence. There is more, but I plan by the grace of God to write about it tomorrow. Meanwhile Rockstone, be of good courage.

The post about the supernatural is as follows:

Do we make room in our faith for the impossible along the lines of the supernatural? Or have we reduced our religion to such commonsense platitudes that there is no need for Jesus to have lived at all – Oswald Chambers.

So, having listened to what others had to say on this ‘ weighty ‘ matter, what was the Lord’s answer to the signature declaration of this weekly, formerly email alone, but now whatsapp has been added, ministry for many years now:

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing.

Firstly, a week before all of this controversy erupted, yet again, out of the blue, I was led to read the first part of the prophet Ezekiel. And received the message as part of God’s Church. And as an Ambassador of Christ.

THE WORD OF GOD

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.

Ezekiel 2:3‭-‬10 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/ezk.2.3-10.NIV

Secondly a Word from Ezra, which came as the battle raged. And this in particular:

O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you O God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our forefathers until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings have been subjected to the sword and captivity…..” 9:6-7

Sin is a very dangerous thing to “hug up”.

Thank God for Jesus: ” But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God, has been gracious in leaving us a remnant. .…vs 8.

Finally an offer of God’s mercy, in the midst of the storms of life. Whether concerning homosexuality, crime and violence, Sick buildings and calls for a Commission of enquiry, the situation in Syria and even the investigations into the alleged interference of the American elections by the Russians. For ultimately Christians are to be reconcilers !

A RECONCILING MISSION – CHRIS TIEGREEN

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2. Cor.5:18

The world is fragmented. That wasn’t the case in Eden, where creation was new and complete. But sin has far reaching effects…..

A RECONCILING VIEW

From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. 2 Cor. 5:16

You size people up. We all do. We make snap judgments about people’s attitudes and personalities based on what they wear, the expression on their faces, the look in their eyes, the social group they come from, or any other criteria we can get a handle on .

Most of our efforts are aimed at putting people in categories we can easily understand. There is no shame in that ; that’s how our mind works. The problem is that our categories are not God’s. When we use our own judgments, we end up associating with people who are a lot like us in terms of skin color, economic status, political opinions, religious views, etc. We are most comfortable with similar people because we are most familiar with their characteristics. We have a lot in common with them – at least on the surface.

But such associations don’t spring exclusively from the love of Christ. They don’t take us on an adventure with reconciliation. They don’t always lead us where God wants us to go. They see people in terms of the kingdom of this world, and not in terms of the kingdom of God.

According to God, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are in Christ and those who are not. Those who are in Christ are one with us – no distinctions of language, economy, race, gender, or heritage. We are united in a common Savior. Those who are not in Christ are sought by God. And if they are sought by God, they ought to be sought by God’s ministers of reconciliation…..

Final comments

The primary challenge for us as God’s ministers, I would suggest, is not to mount a defense of the buggery law, but how do we seek reconciliation with members of the LGBT community, without labeling them as Gays, but seeing them as people who God loves.

It may mean that the buggery  law ought to be left alone. Or repealed! I dont know. But I continue to listen. For such a mission absolutely needs the wisdom of Solomon. And the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, given to those who believe in the New Testament account of the Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. For always, there is a balance between God’s Justice and His Mercy.
Peace.

I need thee, O I need thee, every hour I need thee…..

#GoldCoast2018, Jamaican #GoldRush, #SCHOOLCHALLENGEQUIZ and Christian Warfare

Taking a break from the Battle

Jamaicans are a sports loving people. And so it’s ” pure excitement ” up here, as the #GoldRush is on, ‘down under’, at the Commonwealth Games in #GoldCoast2018 Australia. And as of the time of writing this Saturday morning, based on a points system ( awarding points for 1st to 8th) little Jamaica, with 7 Gold Medals, is third. Just behind mighty Australia first, and England ( with less Gold medals) second, in the Track and Field Section.

And the ‘ picture of the day’ says it all: poetry in motion, as Gold Medalist Kimberly Williams ‘ flies’ during her Triple Jump performance.

This week also saw ” pure excitement ” in Jamaica as the eagerly awaited Schools Challenge Quiz Final between ‘ up town’ Campion College and ‘ country school’ St. Jago took place. And only in Jamaica could there be such ‘ hype’ over an event like this. The match lived up to its expectations and Campion won, for the first time, in an exciting match. St. Jago, however, were worthy opponents. And having won the competition four times previously, went home, ‘ holding their heads high’.

But all this ” pure excitement ” is only a break for Christians. As a message I posted on Facebook after having read a powerful and challenging meditation this week says it all:

Christianity is not a playground but a battleground!

The Battle for Souls

And as I thought about the other events which took place during the week, renewed calls to change the Abortion Law in Jamaica, and the landmark repealing of Buggery Law Trinidad and Tobago, and then last night the announcement of a once off military strike by the combined forces of USA, Britain and France, to ‘ degrade’ the capacity of Syria to launch anymore chemical weapons against civilians, The Cross came to mind.

As without the Victory won on the Cross of Calvary, Christianity might still be attractive, interesting and even a profoundly important religion, but would lack the supernatural power to not just change, but transform, the lives of those who have faith in the power of the Risen Christ. Those who have repented, accepted the forgiveness of sins, and are ‘ born again ‘ into a new and unending life. And further, that without Christianity, properly understood, human life, properly understood, a life without God in Christ, can contribute much to humanity and self, but at the end disaster awaits. Patiently and inexorably!

” For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul”.

To win a ‘ bag of gold medals’, to find the cure for cancer, to climb the highest mountain peak, to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, to have a ‘ trailer load of girls’, to be able dance like the legendary Michael Jackson or Bogle ( the late dancehall star), to be to able to sway a ‘ crowd of people ‘ like Barack Obama, to be popular on Facebook or ‘ The Gram’ ( Instagram for the uninitiated…thanks to Yendi  and DJMiller) and yet lose your soul. For eternity!

For who without the assurance of Victory on the Cross can withstand the pressure, real pressure, to abort a child, when a woman gets pregnant, for whatever reason, and faces serious social, financial and emotional challenges. Often alone!

Who, without the assurance of Victory on the Cross of Calvary, can deal with the very real and live issue of being attracted to someone of the same sex.

Both of which human tragedies and controversial issues, ‘ when does life begin’, ‘ whose decision is it anyhow ‘, ‘ many women who seek unsafe abortions die’, ‘ what’s wrong with loving another person of the same sex, ‘ Is it really a sin’, ‘ the state has no business in people’s bedrooms’, and ‘does the Bible really condemn homosexuality’? ….only Almighty God can sort out. Not man! Hence the need for Christian soldiers to be aware and alert.

So what’s the nature of the Battle?

The meditation below explains better than I can:

ALWAYS AWARE – Chris Tiegreen

Let us be alert and self-controlled. 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Imagine soldiers at the front lines sitting around playing cards and laughing. Is it appropriate? It depends, doesn’t it? If there is no engagement with the enemy at the moment and if guards are are posted, it might not be an inappropriate scene. If, however, the bullets are flying, the shells are exploding, and the injured ate being brought out constantly ( in Syria, off Maxfield Ave, and in Palestine) , a friendly card game would be the last thing you’d see.

But that’s how many Christians live. The darkness of this world isn’t a silent shroud; its chaos. The bullets are flying, and the shells are exploding. There’s a war on – and while there are times when we can take a break and disengage from the action ( and cheer on Aisha Praught-Leer and others) – God doesn’t want us to be constantly stressed, after all – we must always be alert. A soldier who isn’t alert is a soldier who is endangering his life and the life of others.

If that is true, we can be awfully cavalier about the dangers we face. We forget the life-and-death nature of the spiritual battles we face. We have a hard time remembering that a little lack of self-control isn’t just a character flaw, it’s an opportunity for the enemy to cash in on our weakness. We need to be reminded, as St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians, that lifestyle matters to the Kingdom of God and to its citizens. Our prayers, our work, the condition of our hearts, and the degree to which we live in the Spirit are critical. Eternally critical.

…….The Christian life is not a playground but a battleground – Warren Wiersbe.

Christians live in A War Zone – And Christ says ” I know where you live”. Thank God for Jesus.

I carried a Word in my heart all day yesterday. A Word which headlined a meditation I read during my #earlymorningdevotions. And shared it with many people: ” I know where you live – where Satan has his throne i.e. a broken world. Said Jesus through John in Revelation 2:3 to the church in Perganum.

Fast forward from AD 81 -96 to the present age, and the profound words of comfort, and promise, and don’t leave out the warning ( do not compromise). And hear Jesus speaking to our real struggles.

Politics and Christianity

I know where you live – where there is a ‘ sick’ building at Cornwall Regional Hospital. And while Health Minister Dr. ( Phd) Christopher Tufton, and Opposition spokesman on Health, Dr. (MD) Dayton Campbell, engage in a very public discussion about a difficult policy decision, ” to close or not to close” the hospital, poor and marginalized people living in a broken world of sickness, caused by one thing or another, anxiously await the ‘ resuscitation ‘ of this important institution. While questions of benign neglect or blatant mismanagement hang over the head of successive admistrations! And whether or not if such a situation had impacted the lives of the rich and the famous, would it have been allowed to ‘fester’ like this? A challenge for all politicians, especially Christians, as how does one serve effectively in an organization, which has the power if elected, to profoundly impact the lives of Franz Fannon’s ‘ the wretched of the earth’. And be faithful to the God of Jacob!

Righteousness and Justice

I know where you live – where young boys and girls are being sexually abused. Leaving them emotionally and physically scarred for life. And where a passionate young, self-confessed Christian legislator, Lisa Hanna, recently married, and herself a mother, is calling for ‘ parity’ in how the law treats with the act of buggery – ten years imprisonment, and the act of rape – 15 years to life. And her solution, and that of the human rights lobbyists, is to change the law and categorize both abuses as rape. In direct opposition to the Christian group of lawyers well versed in matters like this, and whose views I respect, vis a vis, those who would label them ” fringe and ultraconservative”. And whose long standing and well documented position, is that any such action by the Parliament would open the gates for the repeal of the buggery law. An extremely contentious issue in Jamaica, and internationally, where ‘ pressure ‘ is being applied to equate the Biblical sin of homosexuality with God of the Jacob’s anointing of ‘ male and female ‘ relationships. MP Hanna et al, are apparently unimpressed with any such arguments and have tried to frame the issues in black and white, while ‘ Kodak’ issues abound. And with the Biblical call for Righteousness and Justice to cohabit, have parity, in the lives and hearts of all who claim Christ! Hopefully, she and all of us, who are on a journey with Him who died on the Cross to conquer Sin, and Death and Evil, will find the right balance between seeking Righteousness and promoting Justice on this very ‘ live’ issue.

Justice and Righteousness

I know where you live – where according to the Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman islands, giving his annual Synod charge, was quoted in the Daily Gleaner calling for Justice for Workers in the prevailing climate. Contextualized within the call for all Anglicans to become ” Intentional Disciples of Christ”, and how that call plays out in a time when ” love for mammom” trumps everything.

When we think of the breakdown of morality in the society, we tend to be very selective in who and what we identify as typifying such moral failure. It does not only reside in the lower echelons of society, but it sits at the top of our society where we can find philosophical and economic reasons to justify such actions, and so our most profitable institutions can cease to employ persons who can enjoy basic terms and securities which have characterized civilised society as we have become prisoners of mammon. So employees must be on renewable contracts with no health insurance, no pension benefits, no leave facility, and no job security while profits soar, management makes excessive salaries and shareholders enjoy bumper dividends. “

A Bishop who is clearly cognizant that in the ‘ economy ‘ of the God of Jacob, Righteousness, and Justice ‘ kiss’ each other. As declared by the Prophet Isaiah, and exemplified in the life of the late Martin Luther king Jr.

The challenge we face as Christians, is not the Road March which will take place in city Kingston tomorrow, as the revellers ” get on baad again “, but the more fundamental issue, that we, the children of God, are in a great battle with the forces of evil. And many are blissfully unaware!

Perhaps this is why I was inspired to post this challenging message from noted theologian John Stott this week.

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Theologian John Stott writing in 1984:
Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today.

” If the house is dark when night falls, there is no point in blaming the house, for that is what happens when the sun goes down.

The question is ” Where is the light”?
If the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no point in blaming the meat, for that happens when bacteria are left alone to breed.

The question to ask is, ” Where is the salt?”.
Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline, till it becomes like dark night or stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society, for that it what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked.

The question to ask is ” Where is the church?”. Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?
It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows and shrug our shoulders or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world’s salt and light. If therefore darkness and rottenness abound, it is our fault and we must accept the blame.”

Finally, the first two paragraphs of the meditation sum up our dilemma, and challenge and warning, living in a broken world. And provides a bookend to this message.

NO COMPROMISE – Chris Tiegreen. ” The One Year Wonder of The Cross Devotional book “.

I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Revelation 2:3

Jesus’ words to the church at Perganum could have been spoken to any one of us. We may not live where ‘ Satan’s throne’ is, but we live in territory that is heavily under his influence. No matter how many churches we have on the street corners of our communities, our culture is saturated with the philosophies of this world and the deceptions of our enemy. Until we are in heaven, we are living in a war zone.

It’s comforting to know that Jesus is aware of where we are ( that was the key message I held on to yesterday as I considered the plight of friends battling cancer, and grieving over the loss of loved ones, patients dealing with problem children, and the reasons for #ZOSO and #StateofEmergency) and that He will affirm us for remaining true to His name, as He did with the believers in Perganum.

It isn’t easy to stubbornly insist on our identity in Him when the culture is trying to pull us in every other direction. We find pretty quickly that
we can’t live the Christian life on cruise control; it’s a constant choice and constant focus on who we are in Him. It requires a certain degree of stubbornness to swim upstream…..”

No wonder we are told that after Easter comes, not Mother’s Day, not Labour Day, not Independence, but Good Friday. All over again! For in this life, we are called to ‘ deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Christ’. Into battle against Satan! Wherever he raises his ugly head: Trampling down Justice, and throwing Righteousness through the window!