William Wilberforce and Slavery, Sri Lanka Bombings, Evil and in Christ the Victory

What kind of mind, what kind of evil in the heart of mankind, recommends as something useful, the enslavement of a another race, in pursuit of one’s own economic advancement, as occurred during the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th century?

And in that same time in the history of mankind, it boggles the imagination to comprehend how British Society became so degenerate and vile, that according to Metaxas, writing on the life of William Wilberforce, alerted us that, “ The sexual trafficking of women was another staggering problem, one whose scope is almost inconceivable: fully 25% of all single women in London were prostitutes. And their average age was sixteen”.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sri-lanka-bombings-isis-support-easter-attack-targets-australia-2019-04-26/

What kind of mind, what kind of evil in the heart of mankind, reportedly provoked by a desire for revenge, plans to plant bombs in churches and hotels, to kill and maim and frighten hundreds of Christians on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka? What kind of mind, what kind of evil, kidnaps a young teacher, transports him to another parish, and having carried out the vile act of murder, ‘dash oil ‘ on him to prevent the inevitable decay of a body once loved and cherished, from attracting early attention.

What kind of mind, what kind of evil, attacks a young eight year girl, allegedly sexually molests her, and then then adds murder to the wicked act of rape? What kind of mind, what kind of evil, has been let loose in our society, as reported to me, by more than one persons, appears on a stage show in Jamaica land we love recently, and is caught on video fondling the breasts of a half naked woman, clad only in her panties, while the crowd roars with approval and excitement. I could go on. And add the sickening behavior of priests raping young girls and boys, and being ‘rewarded’ by being moved to another cure,or pastorate!

The challenge here is for us in our Christian journey, and even the non Christian, but basically decent and law abiding citizen, to understand the reality and power of evil in this world.

A very real and present and past danger! And then be comforted and assured that, “ in Christ we have the victory “. Over evil! For “ It is finished” – One of Jesus’ seven words from the cross.

Two things then come to mind as I write this morning. One a verse from Scripture:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/bible/111/jhn.10.10.niv

The other a letter from the grave! From the mind of John Wesley, the great Methodist evangelist, whose itinerant preaching,is said to have “ given back England it’s soul”. Writing n his deathbed to the young and brilliant Parliamentarian William Wilberforce, who fought valiantly, and eventually successfully, along with his friends in the “ Clapham Sect”, to overcome the “execrable villainy” that was slavery.

Dear Sir,
Unless the divine power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra undue ( against the world), I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion,of England, and the of human nature. Unless God has raised you up Fr this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils.
But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of then together stringer than God? O be not weary of well doing. Go on, in the name of God and and in the power of his might, till even American slavery ( the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.
Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance, that a man who has a black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress;it being a law in all our Colonies that the oath of black against a white goes for nothing.What villainy is this!
That he who has guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things is the prayer of, dear sir,
Your affectionate servant,
John Wesley.

CAUTION

A word of caution however. From the eminent and well respected theologian and former pastor and evangelical Anglican John Stott writing in The Cross of Christ on ‘ the conquest of evil ‘:

“ For Christians, as for Christ, life spells conflict. For Christians as for Christ it should also spell victory. We are to be victorious ( over evil) like the victorious Christ…..Yet the parallel is only partial. It would be utterly impossible for us by ourselves to fight and defeat the devil; we lack both the skill and strength to do so. It would also be unnecessary to make the attempt, because Christ has already done it….
It is not quite so simple as that, however. For though the devil has been defeated ( on the cross), he has not yet conceded defeat. Although he has been overthrown, he has not been eliminated. In fact he continues to wield great power……

On the one hand,we are assured that,having been born of God, Christ keeps us safe and ‘ the evil one does not touch’ us; on the other we are warned to watch out because the same evil one ‘ prowls around like a raring lion looking for someone to devour’.

ADVICE

And a word of advice from the same John Stott in his ( other ) seminal book “ Decisive Issues facing Christians Today”. ( 1984) In which he identifies the main but certainly not the only key issues which we need to consider. And in my mind some, but maybe, just maybe, not all, of these issues arise from the “ roaring lion seeking someone to devour”.

The chapters are on inter alia :
The Nuclear Threat: Our Human Environment: North -South Inequality: Human Rights: Work and Employment: Industrial Relations: The Multi -Racial Dream; Poverty, Wealth and Simplicity: Women, Men and God, Marriage and Divorce: The Abortion Dilemma: Homosexual Partnerships.

The more I journey with Christ, is the more I have come to realize that we cannot even begin to under the love of this merciful God, and His grace offered to us through the Life and Death, Resurrection and Ascension of his holy servant Jesus Christ. Unless we understand how evil has inserted itself into a good, in fact a very good, creation, and thus invoked the wrath of a holy God who cannot countenance sin. A wrath against “ all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, me and you, all mankind because of evil. And which wrath, in the greatest act of mercy and love that a confused and sinful world ever witnessed, was ‘satisfied’ by the suffering and rejection and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace, costly grace, according to the German martyr and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which ‘provoked’ the hymn-writer to pen these famous words,
“ Love so amazing so divine, demand my soul, my life, my all’’.

Understand how evil has inserted itself into the behavior of the taxi-men and minibus drivers, in HWT, and in every town in Jamaica. How evil has corrupted the body politic in Jamaica and ruined our once beautiful and peaceful country. How evil has corrupted our music and culture, and inserted itself into some aspects of the dancehall culture, encouraging the rise to stardom and pervasive influence of Kartel et al.

How the evil of the transatlantic slave trade is very much alive and and well, in how some workers are treated by the rich and powerful in Jamaica today. How evil has inserted itself into how we treat one another; in the home, at school and in the community!

The question is what is to done? And there are many answers! But for me, the key thing I learnt this week, came from that famous letter from John Wesley to a young and determined William Wilberforce. A very insightful note which warned against the opposition of men and devils. Warned against ‘going it alone’ without being called by God. But assuring Wilberforce and all of us who are determined to fulfill our ( Anglican) Baptismal vows to “ fight valiantly against evil”, that, “ if God be with you, who can be against you”.

I close with a verse of Scripture which has kept me going this week:

“ Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonder through your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30

We need to pray more and more in this ” demon posessed valley” , that is Jamaica, and the world, as the songwriter recommends, ” order my steps in your word O Lord”. For indeed only the God in whom William Wilberforce and John Wesley trusted in their fight against evil, can rescue this country.

A Good Friday Message on Saturday before the Glorious Easter

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing – A Saint of yure.

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

Because we know what it is to fear the Lord we try to persuade men – Holy Scripture.

It is finished! One of the seven “words”, spoken by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. It’s all done. Good Friday! Victory over Sin, Death and Evil has been accomplished by the Lamb of God. Tomorrow, Billions of Christians across the world will celebrate Easter – the Resurrection of the Crucified and now Glorified Christ.

Both events are linked together in the Bible. And we in the Anglican Church proclaim Sunday after Sunday, ” Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again”!

For, according to the highly esteemed Evangelical Theologian and Priest, the late John Stott, writing in his Classic ” The Cross of Christ”, which I read again, as has become my tradition on Maunday Thursday night and Good Friday, after Church, :

” There can be no salvation from son unless there is a Living Saviour, : this explains the emphasis laid by the Apostle Paul on the resurrection. But the living One can be a Saviour only because he died: this explains the emphasis laid on the cross.
The Christian believes in a living Lord, or he could believe at all; but he believes in a living Lord who died an stoning death, for no other can hold the faith of a soul under the doom of sin…….the gospel includes both the death and ressurection of Jesus, since nothing would have been accomplished if he had not been raised from it. Yet the gospel emphasises the cross, since it it was there that the victory was accomplished. The ressurection did not achieve our deliverance from son and death, but has brought us an assurance of both. It is because of the ressurection that our ‘ faith and hope are in God’ ( 1 Peter 1:3,21).

So ” it is finished “, the Victory of the Suffering Servant of God for the Salvation of all mankind. That’s why, as we continue our journey with Christ through Lent and Holy Week, I can write, after Good Friday, and before the glorious Easter Sunday tomorrow.

LESSONS LEARNED

What lessons did I learn during this experience? Especially when O recall the assurance of the hymnwriter:

New every morning is the love, our wakening and uprising prove…

New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

So what ‘new’ thoughts of God came into my soul during this ‘ awakening’ at the veritable end of Lent.

A. From the Old Testament, part of my Lenten discipline, and continued life’s journey of reading the Word of God daily:

” Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. And the Lord said to Moses, ” How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have done among them”. Numbers 14: 10-11.

Why? Because all the congregation cried out against Moses and Aaron….and threatened to ” choose a captain and go back to Egypt….and threatened to stone them”! Why? Because they were afraid, the same people whom God had with a mighty hand rescued from slavery in Egypt, were afraid of the people who occupied God’s ” promised land”.

The point here is that God is a God of wrath. Righteous and holy anger, which destroyed those who rebelled against Him, in the wilderness, time and time again. A lesson we in this dispensation are urged to remember according to a Word in the New Testament.

B. From the New Testament coming as a ” word for the day” on my phone:

” Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be used for his own advantage.” Philippians 2:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Wow! Can you imagine Butch Stewart’s son, or President Trump’s son or daughter, or Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren, not using their status, to their own advantage? Can you imagine, even, people who know people, refrain from ‘ dropping names’; one of the favorite pastimes of Jamaicans?

This passage really brought home to me, the amazing love of God. In the same way that, the first one set indelibly in my mind, the wrath of God. Both of which attributes of God we need to hold in very careful balance in this increasingly secular and confusing and confused world.

For, this young man, Jesus Christ barely 30, being able to command legions of angels to protect him, being able to raise the dead – Lazarus, being able to heal the sick – the woman with the issue of blood, had power. Power to swat away the entire Roman army, much less a few soldiers! Power to send Pilate to an early grave! And power to come down off the cross and save himself and the two criminals!

But no! Out of ‘ amazing love’ for me and for all who have sinned:

” He humbled himself by becoming
obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross”. Verse 8

No wonder the hymnwriter, mystified by this love, but yet deeply appreciative of this love, penned these famous lines, which we, and no doubt millions of the faithful, sang on Good Friday:

1 When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

3 See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

C. A Word for the ages, in this world where, with the advent of Google and Twitter, ” Truth” has been democratized. And absolute Truth ‘ spat upon’. Literally!

” All men are like grass, and all their glory like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of God stands forever”. 1 Peter 1: 24, 25.
This as I sat in church on Good Friday, and pondered how over the centuries, faithful people of God have celebrated the death of Christ; and His Atoning death for the sin of mankind.
And yet there are so many voices ( from time immemorial and very present now) who ‘ bun fyah’ for the Word of God in the Bible. Yet they are no more, in the same way, the present voices will soon be no more, while for eternity, the death of Christ, the Lamb of God will be celebrated.

http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/body-believed-be-missing-8-year-old-girl-found-bushes

Finally, in this time of mourning , two words for the parents and those who loved Shauntae Skyers and the many, many children who have been brutally murdered in the spasm of evil which has broken out every so often in this besieged and beleaguered nation.

One from the Old Testament reading during my #latenightdevotions last night:

THE WORD OF GOD

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!
Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.5.29.NIV

The other from John Stott:

JOHN STOTT

THE CONQUEST OF EVIL.

….For although the devil has been defeated, he has not yet conceded defeat. Although he has been overthrown ( on Good Friday), he has not yet been eliminated. In fact he continues to wield great power. This is the reason for the tension we feel in both of theology ( understanding of God) and our experience…..On the one hand, we are assured that, having been born of God, Christ keeps us safe, ‘ and the evil one cannot touch’ us’; on the other hand we are warned to watch out because the same evil one ‘ prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’.

Stott warns us not to be ‘ Triumphalists’ – those who only see the triumphant victory of Christ and overlook the apostolic warnings about the powers of darkness. Nor to be ‘ defeatists’ who see only the fearsome malice of the devil and overlook the victory won by Christ.
I would suggest that it takes great wisdom and faith to hold these two realities in proper balance. And thus bring hope to a nation, deeply in need of the love and mercy and grace of God!

“Daddy please don’t kill mommy”, and Christ The Redeemer : The Story of Passion Week, Good Friday and Easter

This is it! Lent is almost done, as next week is Holy Week; the most important week in the history of all humankind.

Far more important than the Constitutional Court’s decision about #NIDS yesterday. Far more important than Action Ann’s historic win in Eastern Portland; and which event was featured in the famed Essence magazine recently. Far mote important that the fact that “Damion Crawford stays”, ; to fight another day.

Far more important than Martin Luther King’s iconic “ I have a dream”, speech. Far more significant than the defining moment in medical history when Scotland’s Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin; and the world is now hoping that very soon, we can come up with more powerful antivirals to ‘sort out’ H1N1 and other ‘dangerous diseases’ threatening the very existence of humankind. And far more important than, although some young people might disagree, WiFi and the Internet.

For, come Sunday, billions of Christians across the world will begin a celebration of the week which culminated in the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Good Friday; The Son of God who died as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.

Then the glorious Easter, a celebration of the resurrection of this same Jesus, so that all who believe in His death may have, in Him, Eternal Life; become a new creation, right here on earth.

And for those who are skeptical about the reality of Satan, we just need to recall the news we heard and read about this week! An issue about which I tweeted, and which Tweet triggered a lot of responses on Twitter.
“Daddy don’t kill mommy”! “ I just want to kiss my mommy” ! Plaintive cries from the lips a young girl, which broke the hearts of all Jamaicans this week. Words which announced the fact that “ Satan really let loose in Lent”: a feature of last week’s blog. It is this kind of wickedness, along with the crazy behavior of our local taxi men and mini-bus drivers that must lead us to think deeply on the reality that there is a solution for the world’s problem.
That there is indeed a ‘balm in Gilead’! But to access this ‘gift from God’ we have to be obedient to the call from Jesus Christ to surrender all, ‘take up our cross’, and follow Him, and Him alone. The Crucified One! But that will only happen when we acknowledge the reality of Sin in our lives.

A separation from God which happened during the ‘earth shattering’, moment at “The Fall”, when Adam, the first human being , created in the image and likeness of God, became distracted by the Evil one, Satan, and disobeyed the Creator God. Since then the virus of disobedience, Sin, has been passed on to all mankind “ For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” – that’s what the Bible tells us. And the only cure for Sin, is the shed “ Blood of the Lamb of God”, Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

As I pondered, once again, on the significance of the death and resurrection of Christ, and observed my Lenten discipline of reading and reflecting, the Lord led me to the meditation below which has a deep impact on me. This matter of Christian maturity! What really does it mean to follow Christ? As, I read it, I found it contextually relevant to our political and religious scene and thus shared accordingly by email
United Christian Broadcasters Ltd
It’s time to become mature
7 APRIL 2019
‘We must try to become mature.’
Hebrews 6:1 CEV
Paul writes: ‘May God himself…who makes everything holy and whole…put you together – spirit, soul, and body – and keep you fit for the coming of…Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!’ (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 MSG). Are you growing into spiritual maturity?
Before you answer, read these words: ‘Maturity is the ability to control your anger and settle your differences without violence or resentment. Maturity is patience; it’s the willingness to pass up short-term pleasure for long-term gain. It’s the ability to “sweat it out” in spite of heavy opposition or discouraging setbacks. It’s the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration without complaining or collapsing.
Maturity is humility. It’s being big enough to say, “I was wrong,” and when you are right, never needing to say, “I told you so.” Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through with it instead of exploring endless possibilities and doing nothing about any of them.
Maturity means dependability, keeping your word, and coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of alibi; they’re the confused and the disorganised. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business, and good intentions. Maturity is the art of being at peace with what you can’t change, having the courage to change what you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’
The Bible says, ‘We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught.’ So the word for you today is: it’s time to become mature.
Finally, as we travel together on this road called life, and arrive at Holy Week, pondering like the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, on the ‘events of the past week”, a meditation from Chris Tiegreen, based on the Word of God, is timely in respect of our desire to ‘help a hurting world’; and help to prevent another young girl from crying out “ Daddy ( please ) don’t kill mommy”.

For at the end of the day, this is precisely what the Christian Life is all about: to bring relief to a hurting world. A dying world on account of Sin. Don’t make the hype and glitter fool you!

INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP – A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
“ Revival of the Church Life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the Scriptures “ – Bonhoeffer “ Introduction to The Cost of Discipleship”
#Earlymorningdevotions
Opening Chris Tiegreen’s The One Year Wonder of The Cross Devotional, randomly, this happened :
THINGS ABOVE
Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Then I read the entire ‘passage’. Conclusion! Their are consequences if we are not intentional, if we are not obedience to the Word of God. Negative and positive. It’s not a matter of some ‘volunteering’ and others declining. And there is a sense of urgency!
THE WORD OF GOD.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Tiegreen:
Paul once told a group of Christians to fill their minds with everything good, true, noble, pure and worthy of praise ( Philippians 4:8).

Now he tells the Colossians ( The worldwide Church in this dispensation) where to set their hearts – or more literally what to seek. They are to gaze at things above where Christ is. Why? Because that’s where we, as believers, have been raised to live.

Many readers of this verse think Paul meant for Christians to ignore the world and focus only on heaven, but that’s not what he says. Because we have been raised with Christ we have access to heaven’s blessings. We are no longer slaves to the sinful ways that one healed us down. We are no longer powerless to meet the needs of a hurting world ( That reminder and assurance alone was worth my reading this wonderful meditation on the Word). We are no longer victims of circumstance, or ordinary people who are trying to get by.

We are companions on the King, seated with Him at the Father’s right hand ( Amen !). It’s His life that works within us, if we give Him the freedom to do so. We are fundamentally different creatures than we used to be. Our hearts should reflect that reality.

Our new nature doesn’t mean that we’ll never have trouble or get discouraged. Neither does it mean that we’ll walk on water or always have instant answers to our prayers. It does, however, mean that our lives are rearranged around an eternal purpose and empowered by an invincible Spirit. We can hinder the Spirit’s work within us if we set our hearts in the wrong direction and focus on unworthy things, but why should we? If we seek the things above – His will, His strength, His Work, and His ways – we’ll reap the blessings of the Kingdom.
Determine to do that. Not many people consistently set their hearts on things above and live according to their new nature, so you may have to go against the flow. But do it anyway. be intentional about it. Fix your focus on eternity, and your life will bear eternity’s fruit.
Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity – Charles Spurgeon.

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The Devil let loose in Lent, in Calabar, in Adam’s disobedience. But captured and defeated by Christ on Calvary!

He’s dead now. Gone to glory! But one of the many things my good friend John Levy used to say, is that, ” The devil let loose in Lent”.

Which is precisely what happened this week at, Calabar, one of Jamaica’s finest high schools. A Christian School, founded by the Baptists to provide high quality education to children of former slaves, and Baptist ministers; and one which has produced five Rhodes Scholars. Including the current Minister of Finance Hon. Nigel Clarke! And former Prime Minister The Hon. Percival James Patterson.

If you haven’t seen the Video, with the derogatory lyrics, you don’t need to watch it. In essence, it captured students in the school chapel, chanting lyrics, lashing out against the winners of Champs 2019, Kingston College, another Church School. And one which had dethroned Calabar, after they had won this prestigious athletic championship for the past ten years.

Not surprisingly the video went ‘ viral’ on social media and sparked a raging debate, including editorials from both of our two leading newspapers. The reaction was that huge! And no doubt will be ongoing for a while. The video also inspired me to post some thoughts on Facebook.

However having heard from at least two persons, one of whom was present at the school when it happened, I am even more convinced that ‘ the devil really got loose’ at Calabar that morning. As the inside report revealed that all was well, until a few boys inserted the lyrics, like the weeds in the Bible story’, into what had previously been a very well behaved and appropriate drumming and singing by the boys. Then all hell literally broke loose. But only for a few minutes as the ‘ performance ‘ was quickly shut down by the teachers, including the much vilified Vice Principal.

FACEBOOK

#CalabarVideo Calabar is in pain. They have grown accustomed to winning Champs. Now KC the ‘the owner’ has come back for the cup. KC has been in pain for years. Now they celebrate! For too many winning Champs has become their ‘god’. Just like Brazilians fans and the World Cup. We were all there once. In both cases. Elevating school and Brazil to the ‘highest’ place. When they crash, we are devastated. Not so Paul. #earlymorningdevotions. “ I consider all things as rubbish because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ”. This ought to the goal of all human beings. Lest family, ‘ a body to die for’, possessions, titles, money, class, political party, “ who will be devastated tomorrow and lash out”, having a good time, become our gods. And when we lose them, or someone ‘diss’ them,or they ‘diss’ us, we lash out #wifeabuse.
Handle the Calabar boys with care. Point them to Christ. As we adults are not much better at handling our emotions in the face of a crushing defeat. I well recall, as a responsible professional, ‘leaving my job’, and going home to ‘weep’ when Brazil lost one year. And it wasn’t even the finals! Did I accuse the opponents of being …whatever? No! And that’s why the situations needs careful handling as the prevailing culture is now far different. Accusing someone with whom you have a disagreement of being a “….man” is now a common practice. That’s why I agree with my friend and Christian brother Rev. Karl Johnson, Chairman of the Calabar Board who denounced the sentiments expressed in the video as ‘disgusting’ on #Beyondtheheadlines with #Djmiller last night. And they were! Disgusting! How do we fix this?

Big question with many answers. Short term and long term. But ultimately, Carlene Davis is correct; “ This island needs Jesus”. For those who love Christ, learn to love everybody else. Even, and especially , your perceived ‘ enemies’. And KC is no enemy. They just won Champs. They did not annex any part of Red Hills Road. And next year my school JC will beat both of them….lol

One response, after a well known human rights activist, argued that the offending lyrics represented a common Jamaican view on ” sexual diversity”, which in itself, the ‘ intolerance, is a human rights issue, announced a conference to be held at UWI next Friday on ” Toxic Masculinity “.

And these and clearly other seminars and discussions are needed, but from my perspective, fighting against the devil let loose in the entire Jamaica calls for Christian warfare. Not sociological or anthropological or whatever ‘ logical’ warfare!

In that context then one of my favourite teaching hymns came into my mind. And as I received the Word. I shared it on Facebook. For the real issue, as people made in the image and likeness of the God of Jacob, is that we are so ‘ prone to wander ‘, from the God who made us, and redeemed us with the blood of the Lamb; Christ Jesus.
And therefore Satan will easily insert his wicked self into our schools ( Church School?.. you think him fraid…..pastor even….you think him fraid….me and you too if we keep ourselves careless…you think him fraid….and Satan loves those who are over confident about their own ability to ‘ deal with his case’….not me. .Satan can’t manage me….Seriously!)

FACEBOOK

Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy praise…
Woke up with this song in my heart. And it has nothing to do with Action Ann’s win or Forward with Crawford’s good showing but with the key verse;

Jesus saw me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he to rescue, me from danger, interposed his precious blood. Praise God. #Thatswhywesing #earlymorningdevotion. #repentinlent

Finally, as the Spirit of God moved mysteriously, it cannot be by coincidence that I wrote to members of my church, and others, about the devil let loose from the days of Adam. This, by reporting on a book that I am reading as part of my Lenten discipline. Bonhoeffer’s, the great German Christian ‘ martyr’ and theologian ” The Cost of Discipleship ”

THE EMAIL

When the world began, God created Adam in his own image, as the climax of his creation. He wanted to have the joy of beholding in Adam the reflection of himself.“ And behold, it was very good.” God saw himself in Adam. Here, right from the beginning, is the mysterious paradox of man. He is a creature yet he is destined to be like his Creator. Created man is destined to bear the image of uncreated God. Adam is ‘as God”.
His destiny is to bear this mystery in gratitude and obedience towards his Maker.

But the false serpent persuaded Adam that he must still do something to become like God: he must achieve that likeness by deciding and acting for himself, his own action. He wanted instead to unravel the mystery of his being for himself, to make himself what God had already made him. That was the Fall of man.

Adam became “ as God”- sicut deus – in his own way. But now that he had made himself god, he no longer had a God. He ruled in solitude as a creator-god in a God-forsaken subjected world.

Comment : And ever since then ‘all hell’ has literally broken loose. Including the robbery of the tourists in Montego-Bay, the Two men murdered in St. James, the presence of the H1N1 Virus and other ‘ most dangerous diseases’ and acts of wickedness.

Only in Jesus Crucified on the Cross of Calvary, Resurrected and Ascended, is the image of God, fully restored in Fallen Man.

So Bonhoeffer concludes: “ If we would bear the image of his glory, we must first bear the image of his shame ( and suffering). There is no other way to recover the image we lost through the Fall”.

You may not understand it! You may not believe it! But this is the basis, the foundation of Christianity- God becoming man, to re-create in Fallen humanity, the image of Himself. “ For if any man is in Christ,he is a new creation”.

But before this can take place, the ‘brave will have to yield’ and surrender completely to Christ, suffer, deny self, and become a ‘ new creation’. To the glory of God, and for the ‘salvation’ of this embattled nation. Jamaica Land we Love!

For neither “ Action Annie”, nor “ Forward with Crawford”, not Andrew nor Peter can rescue Jamaica, as they too need to become a ‘ new creation’ in Christ Jesus

Then This morning as I gave thanks for a new day, with Jacob Boheme’s prayer, On Waking:

“ Your holy angels have protected me from all harm and pain”, and On Rising, “ Rule over me this day…..Put your Word into my mind, and your truth into my heart, that this day I neither think nor feel anything except what is good and honest”,

into my heart, without any conscious thought of the hymn, but thinking about ‘a new creation’, flowed this prayer,

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.

Comment: God is a good God. If we pray the words of this wonderful hymn daily, in faith, one fine day, we’ll see wonderful changes in our lives, our family, the church, and in due course, the nation. For Jesus Himself enjoined us to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit, more than anything else. More than good health. More than prosperity. More than protection from evil. More than church renewal. More than renewal of a nation. For everything begins with ‘ a new creation’ : a gift given to the faithful and the believing and the obedient through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In obedience
LWJ