O for a thousand tongues to sing
My dear Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim
And spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of the name
Jesus! the name that charms our fears
And bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life and health and peace.
No matter which headline you read, whether the Daily Gleaner:
Or The Jamaica Observer ;
after murder most foul was caŕried out by men with evil in their hearts, this week in my #CryTheBelovedCountry #Jamaica we can come to only one conclusion; #ThisIslandneedsJesus. Like so badly. Like right now dear God!
And so I tweeted:
A State of Emergency can only stop evil hearts from carrying out wicked acts in one area. But ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men’ cannot cure evil #ThisIslandneedsJesus @AndrewHolnessJM
@GGSirPAllen @The_PSOJ @BishopRobertKgn
Then after the madness in Westmoreland, there was further madness in Kingston, as an liscened firearm holder ” select him gun”, fired at a windscreen street cleaner, missed the intended target, and hit an innocent bystander.
And a few days earlier I was moved to post this message on:
Mohammed couldn’t do it….Buddha couldn’t do it….Marijuna couldn’t do it ….Cocaine couldn’t do it. Do what? Grant me peace, sings Helen Baylor. And hopefully Bill Cosby now realizes that profound Truth.
State of Public Emergency can’t do it…..My favourite Politician #Followdeleader can’t do it…..My Denomination ( Sabbath or Sunday) can’t do it. Only Jesus!
So declares the hymnwriter…..the essence of the Gospel in a few verses
” Jesus sought me when a stranger
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let the goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee”
Turn up the volume and help Helen Baylor to ” Lift up the Name of Jesus”.
But ” Lifting up the name of Jesus ” in this challenging world of murder, and scamming, and gang feuds, and political tribalism, and widespread poverty and human rights abuses, and human trafficking and poor parenting skills and absent fathers and teenage mothers, and child abuse and domestic abuse, is no ” walk in the park”. Preparation and understanding is key.
Listen again to what the Word of God said to us last week. Or perhaps the week before:
If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, then you shall ask what you will, and it shall be given unto you. John 15.
The challenge therefore is to allow God’s Word to abide in our hearts. Not lyrics from #Kartel or even #Chronixx as conscious as he is: not the words of our politicians #Followdeleader however well meaning they may be, at best…. : not the advice of the most celebrated philosopher, whether Socrates, Plato or Aristotle: and certainly not the words of our favourite talk show host, however useful they may be, at best ……for at another level, like the one that comes to mind readily, they sometimes come pretty close to the infamous ” Pied Piper” leading us over the precipice….like sheep.
So what did the Word of God say to me this week:
” I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name”.
Acts 9:16 – After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, Jesus spoke these words to Annanias.
A reminder to all who would seek to rid this island of madness of various forms, whether crime and violence or road traffic injuries, that first we are called to suffer for Christ’s sake. As we follow the path of the ” Suffering Servant ” of God, who Himself first suffered on Calvary.
Further, as it is not only a matter of suffering, but daily dying to self, the ultimate goal, and living by the Spirit, Galatians 2:20 awaits us.
” I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ who lives in me”.
And nestled among these an other important messages in my Classics Devotional Bible is this very useful quote and explanation:
” It is through accepting the circumstances that come to us in life that self is crucified ” – Hannah Hurnard.
A position which ought to accepted only after critical review, as somethings are to be resisted. But the point is that the God who allowed them to come our way – excluding those which arrive because of disobedience – sends them for a reason. So that we may be truly ” Crucified in Christ”, and allow Him alone to become our Lord and Savior.
Finally, in this journey of dying to self through hardship, it is hard to match any other word of scripture with the one that came to me yesterday during my #Earlymorningdevotions. This as I pondered how to make a difference in Westmoreland and elsewhere.
THE WORD OF GOD
….or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
Then, and only then, and not by ” sowing seeds “, and preaching a #Prosperitygospel which is no Gospel at all, will we have peace and be able to collectively smile like these children in caught by the photographer of the Daily Gleaner. In this life and the next! As when we are weak we are strong in and through Christ who lives in the weak and of no account on this ” hype world”.