The Abandoned Car – Daily Gleaner Newspaper

Twitter

A Constable assigned to PSTEB was this morning mowed down by men occupying a black Toyota Wish motor car licensed PP 6379. Be on the lookout for this vehicle, as the occupants have resisted multiple attempts by the police to be stopped. Please help us find these men.

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The incident above was very troubling for me when I heard about it. And clearly very troubling for many others, especially on Twitter! Interestingly I heard about this vicious attack on someone, a Policeman, who represents the state, very visibly, shortly before delivering the keynote speech to the islandwide sub-officers of the Traffic and Highway Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force ( Police) on Road Safety . The Theme: Beyond a Boundary.

Extract:

RENEWING OUR FOCUS: IMPROVING SAFETY ON OUR ROADS

Beyond a Boundary – C. L.R. James

UNRULY TIMES – POPCAAN TIMES. SO IT WOULD APPEAR

⁃ Crime

⁃ Minibus and taxi drivers..and others in the society …break every rule on the roads….overtaking long lines of traffic and perishing in multi-fatality crashes

⁃ Intimate partner violence

⁃ Children at school …some teachers

⁃ Corruption in high places…CMU..one example

⁃ Even in the church…some pastors are behaving shamelessly

⁃ Society has become unruly

POLICE CALLED TO SERVE AND PROTECT generally and in respect of PSTEB – Renew your Focus and improve Safety on our Roads

⁃ Hobbes …ACP Blake….OPM…….social contract…without it a society disintegrates

Before this kind of social arrangement where mankind sought protection for life and property, and undertook to respect each other and live in peace and harmony: Man lived in a chaotic condition of constant fear. Life in the State of Nature was 􏰃solitary􏰂, 􏰃poor􏰂, 􏰃nasty􏰂, 􏰃brutish􏰂, and 􏰃short􏰂.

This initial agreement grew and developed into another arrangement where people pledged to obey an authority and surrendered part or whole of their freedom and rights to an authority.

The authority guaranteed everyone protection of life, property and to a certain extent liberty….which was the forerunner of a system of governance by the state.

And the chief means of policing this arrangement was the enactment of laws and the enforcement of those laws by the state – the Police

So we come to the first point I wish to share: That as a society we have become far worse than unruly, as in a sense we have returned to solitary, nasty, brutish and short. How else can one explain the kinds of beheadings which have both shaken and shocked the nation to its core. The three recent cases of men on the loose killing their partners, the murdering of even pregnant women and babies without any remorse or hesitation. Aren’t these examples of a society that has grown course and wicked and uncaring; and if clearly not the entire society, but far too many of us are behaving like this.

And in respect of the 437 precious lives lost on the roads in 2019 and already 27 for this year, not missing a beat, not all, but many, far too many, are dying because, if truth be told, we simply do not care. Not about our own lives and the lives of others. Into this breech, into this steaming cauldron of societal degeneration the members of Police Force are being called to help reduce death and injuries on the nation’s road. And to help shore up the social contract that Jamaicans have entered into as we pursue this democratic ideal.

What assistance, what guidance, what encouragement, therefore are we in the NRSC offering the PSTEB as you, not by yourselves by a long shot, but in collaboration with other agencies, seek to revive the social contract and make Jamaica a better place to live, do business, bring up our children and enjoy life.

For the truth is that you in the JCF, and you specifically you in PSTEB and on the Highway cannot Improve Safety on our Roads this year, and contribute to a better outcome than the disaster of last year 438 dead and counting until the month ends, unless you have the right tools with which to carry out your job effectively……….I listed them….New RTA etc…then I cont’d:

So were are back to the social contract. Back to CLR James Beyond a Boundary – of road safety. And to the second point wish to make. Part of the challenge that policemen and women face is that they are both enforcers of the social contract and part of the society that they are called to be enforcers, or to serve and protect. Therefore they are not immune to the same forces which caused the society to enter into a social contract in order to prevent the society from descending in the the natural chaos and becoming brutish and short and nasty. In other words Uncivilized. So when lower rank policemen and I dare say even those who are ranking officers in the force, succumb to the temptation to to take a bribe from someone who is caught speeding, in exchange for not being issued with a ticket, or some other infraction the whole dolly house will come tumbling down. For in so doing, such policemen or women, are not just guilty of fattening his or her pocket, but are guilty of breaking the social contract which he or she is called to uphold and to enforce. And when we then return to being brutish and short and nasty all hell literally breaks loose in the society. So people run red lights with impunity and undertake rather than overtake, and overtake long lines of traffic and crash and many die. Yes I agree that it is not only the cop who is guilty, the politicians too in their quest for power, the dancehall artistes in their desire to get a forward, the pastor in some cases in their lust for the flesh, and the well dressed and respectable businessman in his desire to get rich, and the officer at the ITA who sells a liscences or passes a car when neither driver nor vehicle has ever seen the inside of a ITA depot. All break or bend the rules and the society descends into chaos and mayhem.

So who watches over the watchman! To whom is the cop on patrol accountable ? How does he or she Renew Their Focus as they both inhabit a society which is not just becoming Unruly but fast descending into chaos; and at the same time they are called to not only to Improve Safety on our Roads but to chase down gunmen, track down trafficked girls, and put a stop to intimate partner violence?

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/front-page/anguish-8-y-o-boy-killed-as-domestic-dispute-takes-deadly-turn_185556?profile=1373

COMMENTS:

The challenge for us in this society under siege from our return, in part, thank God ‘ a remnant’ of civility and those who still observe the Social Contract still remains, is to link this attack on the state, with the news of corruption in the CMU, the deterioration in family life, a huge problem, murder most foul being committed daily, and in fact several times daily. For sadly most people don’t make the connection and view incidents as being isolated at best, and at worse, as a result of a society which has, all of a sudden, developed serous mental health issues.

But the erosion of the Social Contract, between People and the State, is one matter, the erosion of the Covenant established between God and mankind in and through The Grace, Who is Jesus Christ, is another, and more serious matter. And yet, the two are inextricably linked. For people who know about the Grace of God, are far more likely to observe – and in fact are duty bound as children of God to promote it – the Social Contract that promotes peace and harmony and love for each other, rather than the “ dog eat dog”, or “ crab in a barrel”, mentality which is fast becoming in the “ New Norm” in Jamaica land we ought to love.

No doubt in anticipation of this topic the Lord led me to write this week. To my church before the incident , and on Facebook, after the fact.

EMAIL TO MY CHURCH FAMILY AT STAPC

The Gospel

Matthew 4:12-23

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

In a couple of hours I am scheduled to give a speech to an all island Traffic and Highway Sub-officers conference on the Theme: “ Renewing Our Focus: Improving Safety on Our Roads”. And I am just completing the speech, right after my #earlymorningdevotions.

And this came to me, from the Gospel reading, about “ fishing for men with Jesus ”. Hopefully such an application of the Gospel will also feature in some way in our Annual Congregational Meeting at STAPC this Sunday.

That although the amount of people who died on our roads represents Charles Dickens, “ The Worst of Times”, once I am following Jesus to ‘fish for men”, the reality is that, such an ( as the song writer puts it “ High”) adventure with God, is always, regardless of the trials and troubles “ The Best of Times”. Now and forevermore ! Whether the theatre of activity be our Roads where law and order have retreated, or our Communities where murder most foul lives and thrives, or in High places where Corruption threatens to erode the very fabric of our society ( a matter on which our Archbishop has rightly shared his views.)

In obedience

Peace.

Lord as we follow you to fish for men, Renew thy Church, beginning with all of us; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s) – Venezuela as only You can, through your Church, and not only the OAS.

FACEBOOK

BEFORE THE INCIDENT

My God, I love thee; not because I hope for heaven thereby, nor yet because who love thee not are lost eternally. Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst bear the nails and cross and manifold disgrace – and griefs and torments numberless, and sweat of agony; yea death itself – and all for me who was thine enemy. Then why, O blessed Jesu Christ should not love thee well – hymn for Holy Week. Words to guide our thoughts about why we love Jesus. Regardless!

AFTER THE INCIDENT

Gospel Truth: Amazing Grace. “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”. Ephesians 2:1. There’s scarcely a better summary of the plan of salvation than Ephesians 2:1. Not only is it the spiritual history of mankind, but it’s also ours individually. We were dead in our sins – thoroughly dead – and God rescued us. We were as St. Paul tells us, without hope in this world ( Eph 2:12) completely helpless and unaware of or condition. Chris Tiegreen

You can’t sing Amazing Grace with honesty unless you accept St. Paul’s assessment of the history of mankind in Ephesians 2 : “ What a dreadful condition it was! Paul’s assessment of the human condition is nothing like the ‘ I’m okay, you’re okay” philosophies of our culture’s gospel of tolerance. In fact he’s terribly blunt in his political incorrectness ….Humanity, in it’s rebellion was completely, utterly lost – Chris Tiegreen. “ Saved a wretch like me”.

This was the gradual realization of the early Christians. In light of the Cross, the human condition could not be sugarcoated. One does not observe the agony of Jesus, interpret it as a payment for sin, and then minimize the sin. If a bloody beaten Savior hanging from a crude splintery stake is a picture of judgment, the sin under judgment must have been enormous, catastrophic, and deadly – Chris Tiegreen #earlymorningdevotions #AmazingGrace

THIS MORNING

Blaise Pascal comments on Grace as found in Psalm 51:1: The God of Christians is a God of love and consolation, a God who fills the souls and hearts of his own, a God who makes them feel their inward wretchedness and his intimate mercy, who unites himself to their inmost spirit, filling it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, rendering them incapable of any other end other than himself. #earlymorningdevotions

Blaise Pascal cont’d: …..The knowledge of God without that of our wretchedness creates pride. The knowledge of our wretchedness without that of God creates despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle way, because in him we find both God and our wretchedness. #earlymorningdevotions

FINAL COMMENTS

One of, and not the only one, the lessons, and the insights gained from the Christian faith, and which God is intent on teaching us, is this: Without Him, without being Redeemed in Christ Jesus, and becoming “ A New Creation”, mankind will always return to being “ short brutish, nasty and solitary”.

In short “ wretches” !

No matter how sophisticated a life we live with smart phones at our disposal and Netflix at our fingertips. No matter if we live in the “ Hood”, or in a “ Gated Community”. No matter if we have ( think we have) power as Politicians, Religious Leaders, successful Businessmen or women, Professionals, leading lights in the media or entertainment industry; or if we ( think we are of no account ) have no power to influence how society runs. This tendency to return to our Natural selves is in our DNA. We just can’t help it. And that’s the essence of why we have had two impeachment trials in the USA in recent times. And why there is a major issue in the Courts today involving high ranking members of the Society. People who you would expect to be enforcers and promoters of the Social Contract, rather than lovers of Hennessy and other delights, that tickle the hearts of man, while people of “ wrong address “ suffer immeasurably.

Thank God for Jesus that help is not just on the way, but available. If we confess our sins, through the “ excellency of repentance”, and seek the Grace which is available to all in and through the shed Blood of Christ and Him Crucified. Then, if is the will of the Lord, He may allow us to do bring up children, and do business in a new Jamaica land we love, under a different Contract.

Better than Netflix – Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps

Three of us were sitting together at the Breakfast. The Annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Old friends. One, to my right, a male and senior member of the Baptist church. The other to my left, a female and senior member of the Anglican Church – with all kinds of possibilities open to her in the future given the historic event which took place in the UK last year. And me, a lay preacher in the Anglican Church. The Preacher, Bishop Conrad Pitkin had just concluded his sermon. People were standing. Showing their appreciation for a challenging and timely sermon – Give Peace a chance, as the well known song says, was the essence of the message. This against the background of the honorific murders, and murder most foul, which have been plaguing the nation for many years now. And already this year we are well over 70 by now. This against the background of the heartbreaking news of three women murdered by their intimate partners for this year. This against the background of the church being the largest constituency in the nation, and thus the preacher exhorted the church to look into itself first, and then get out of the pews and make a difference in the communities. Make a difference in the levels of corruption, and crime and violence – the twin headed monster that is draining the very lifeblood of the nation.

The three of us agreed that given the constraints of time and the occasion, the context, what was delivered by the Preacher, was a very thought provoking and challenging sermon on which a church and a nation ought to act. But if truth be told I felt a bit uneasy in my soul. For I have, over the years, absorbing the views and teachings of many theologians, especially Oswald Chambers and John Stott, become laser focused on the Cross of Christ. And I expressed my view that, to my two partners in Christ, that I would have loved to have heard a bit more theology in the sermon. They agreed, but again pointed out that in this context, and given the mandate, the preacher had done what was asked of him. And did it well!

I went home and later this question emerged in my mind: Since the NLPB was started 40 years ago, in 1980, when the country was in a virtual state of civil war, with 800- 1100 persons ( the figures shared were not consistent, but the long and short of it is that a whole pile a people died) murdered during the run up to the national elections at that time. And the Church said “ never again”. And thank God for Jesus we have now come a long way from the ‘bad old days’ of politically motivated killings, because of the spirit infused into the political process, including the success story of the Electoral Commission, and no doubt other untold stories. But the reality is that, we are still left with a society with even greater numbers of people being killed. Year after year. Month after month. Day after day. Sometimes six for the day! Not because of politics, at least not directly so, but still very dead. So what new thing will the Church promote in this dispensation which will draw a red line in the sand and say “ never again”! Or more appropriately, what is the Call of God on the Church for the next forty years, in this dispensation?

I don’t have a comprehensive an answer to that question. But I have long ceased believing in coincidence. And so I share with you an email sent to my ( local ) Anglican Church, to whom I have been ‘gifted’ to write on a regular basis:

LETTER TO MY CHURCH

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

to raise up the tribes of Jacob

and to restore the survivors of Israel;

I will give you as a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Extract from :

Old Testament

Isaiah 49:1-7. The OT reading for next Sunday

Without any deep thought on my part, so its not flesh and blood speaking or writing, it came to me that :

One of the great challenges for the Church of the Living God, is that we have become far too parochial, too insular, even too self-absorbed in our thinking about the Kingdom of God.

For if in the wisdom and mercy and Vision of God, Global Rescue of Mankind from “ hands too strong from us”, was provoked by Love, all churches ought to be Mission oriented. And our Mission must always be Global in Vision otherwise our love is is too small.

How many years now we have been “ boasting about” the outreach programs we have without either a clear assessment of how much more we can do, and more importantly, where else, locally or internationally, is the Lord directing us. But are we listening!

Maybe that’s one reason why our numbers are declining and also our collective witness in Jamaica. And as with all things directed by God, it all begins with a deep understanding of, and commitment to, the Word of God.

Followed by prayer to undergird and be the foundation of our instructions to go on Mission. So what is the Nature and Substance and Passion of our Prayer Life as a Christian Community? What is the Desire of our Hearts?

is it the same as the God Who declared that “ the Suffering Servant of Isaiah”, Jesus Christ The Crucified One, who declared that to Rescue The People of Israel from their Sins, was insufficient a mandate – and it is not that he changed His mind, or had an Epiphany for God had already purposed in His Heart “ in the fullness of time to send His Son” (Ephesians)- and that He should be Savior of whole world “ to the end of the earth “?

Or have we only accepted a piece of the Vision of God! Not wonder we are floundering and lacking in the Pentecostal Zeal to “ Lift up the Name of Jesus” in the uttermost corners of the world.

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s) – Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Antigua, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Australia, New Zealand, DRC, Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, USA, UK……

SCREWTAPE LETTERS

The out nowhere, I was going through my Classics Devotional Bible to another passage, this ‘letter ‘ came to my attention’. A letter which triggered a post of facebook and which allowed me to unburden that which made my soul a bit uneasy after the Sermon at the NLPB

WARNING

When it comes to explaining the Christian faith, you cant get much better than C. S. Lewis. This morning I was led in my #earlymorning devotions to to read an extract from one of his more famous characters – Screwtape. This master Devil, created by Lewis ( among a host of other characters who, through books and movies we have come to know over the years) and Screwtape, who writes to one his apprentices telling how to counter the plan of the Enemy – God. We would do well to “ listen “ to this warning as we quite rightly, and with great passion attempt to rescue Jamaica from the scourge of Crime and Violence in general, and Domestic Violence in particular.

I believe that the juxtaposition to the Prayer Breakfast yesterday cannot be a coincidence. For though I agree with much of what the Preacher, Rev. Pitkin said, something deep in my soul was troubled, for if men and women can achieve Peace in this world by exhortation, then there would have been no need for Jesus to die. Yes, the Preacher quoted the famous “ My peace I give to you…I do not give give you as the world does”, but we need to understand this passage clearly, otherwise if we are not careful we might leave out The Cross, and the demand, made in blood for, repentance and then for reconciliation. So yes he was right, first the church needs to get its act together. But what does that mean? Not only, and I agree, is there a need to leave the pews and get into the communities, but to my mind, first to get back to what salvation means. And then, only then will we have the authority to “ go into the uttermost ends of the world”.

For to go into the world to achieve Justice without first committing oneself, abandoning oneself to the demands of the new self “ if any man is in Christ he is a new creation”, to love God with all our heart, and then to love neighbor, is to fall into the trap of Screwtape. And C.S. Lewis warns that many politicians and perhaps even some of us in the church may have fallen into the trap of “ using God as a convenience”, rather than loving Him and His Son the Crucified One, with all our hearts. Without any reservation or any ultimate goal. And you cant get any worse in this regard by the oftentimes self-promoting ‘blessing’ of “ God bless America”, and locally “ God bless Jamaica “.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20200117/church-leader-tackling-violence-needs-more-preaching

SCREWTAPE’S STRATEGY

C.S.LEWIS

My Dear Wormwood,

….The “ Historical Jesus”, however dangerous he may seem to be to us at some particular point, is always to be encouraged. About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over to their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably , of course, as a means to their own advancement, but failing that, as a means to anything – even to social justice.

The thing to do is to get a man as first value social justice as a thing which the Enemy ( God) demands, and then to work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice ( O Jesus have mercy – my words). For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience.

Men or nations who think they can revive the faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop ( In our dispensation – the Pharmacy). Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans around this corner. Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that “ only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilizations. “ You see the little rift?” Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.” That’s the game,…

COME JUST AS YOU ARE

Finally again, the Lord came to my rescue and brought the words of this well known hymn to my attention. Why? For in the same way that C. S. Lewis warned through the fabled Screwtape character, that “ The Enemy, God, will not be used as a convenience “, will not be used as the basis for making Jamaica a better society, but He is to loved for Himself alone, because in my view He is worthy and He died for us on Calvary, then “ all other things will be given unto to us”; so too the hymn writer exhorts us, even imports us to, “ Come Just as I am – without one plea. Not asking for the rescuing of Jamaica, at least not initially, but to come “ because thy blood was shed for me”.

JUST AS I AM

Charles Elliot

Verse. Exodus 12:3

Just as I am, without one plea,

But that thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not

To rid my soul of one dark blot,

To thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,

O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, poor wretched blind,

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive;

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,

Because thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown

Has broken every barrier down.

Now to be thine, yea thine alone,

O lamb of God, I come, I come.

In obedience.

Peace, for thou we may not have heard the Call of God on our lives in the midst of the madness and mayhem existing in our country, let us like Isaiah present ourselves to the Lord, “ I Come”, and like Isaiah we may hear God asking “ who will go for me”? And answer in faith. I will go Lord, in the strength of the Holy Spirit. To heal this land, and bring peace.

Even a picture of this convicted criminal will frighten you! And tell a story in far greater detail than that reported by the Daily Gleaner this week. But the fearless, and becoming legendary, Director Of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewelyn, in the words of another, musical this time, legend Chronixx, “ she nah pree nobody “, nuh fraid a nuh big defense lawyer when it comes to ensuring that justice is served in Jamaica.

“The swagger may slow to a shuffle and the piercing eyes fade to a squint. Tesha Miller will be a grey-haired old man, aged almost 80, when he walks out of prison, a humbling blow delivered by the State to the Jamaican mafia boss whose Clansman Gang tormented Spanish Town and bathed its streets in blood.

But even as defence attorneys prepare to mount an appeal for the convicted gangster, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has vowed that her office will put up a fierce fight when the time comes.

The DPP made the commitment yesterday while speaking to journalists less than an hour after Miller was sentenced to 38 years and nine months in prison in relation to the 2008 murder of then Jamaica Urban Transit Company chairman Douglas Chambers.

“In the Court of Appeal, which is where we practise every day from the Office of the DPP, we will be ready to beat any arguments from my learned friends as a matter of law in any area,” Llewellyn, QC, said.”

For if truth be told, if we were a banana republic, and not a country ruled by The Law, which in the minds of some is too much of a “ shackle”, Tesha Miller and many of the gunmen who are wreaking havoc on a once peaceful society, would not only be in jail for a ‘ hundred years’, but strung up and hung, or dispatched by a firing squad many years ago. As it is not that people don’t know which gunmen and their cronies are causing us to become the murder capital of the world and thus profoundly change the quality of life in Jamaica land we love, where we wish to bring up our children and do business and serve God. It’s not that we don’t know who has “ sponsored them”, who has encouraged them, and who now protect them, but that these people’s ‘hands are too strong for us”. We can’t manage. On our own we can’t fight them. So we depend on The Law, to be a shackle and protect us from evil. But until The Rule of Law succeeds, 1300, one year, and 1400 another year, die; and die violently and without mercy at the hands of the wicked. So to whom shall we turn for help. Thank God for Jesus and for the Christian Ethic which has influenced the development of Jurisprudence here in Jamaica and the Caribbean, thus preventing us from becoming a “ Banana Republic”. And facilitated the need for the Social Contract about which Philosophers Hobbes and Rousseau advocated centuries ago.

Thank God for Jesus also that Christianity offer the ultimate Hope for us, Humanity, in need, desperately in need of protection “from the hands of those too strong for us”; Sin and Death and Evil.

Thank God for Jesus, that I was inspired to write a note to my church earlier this week, long before I began to think about what to write in this blog today. As in this email, many of the big questions about who will rescue us from : hands too strong for us” are answered.

THE EMAIL – MESSAGE

For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,

and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

Jeremiah 31:11 NRSV. From the OT reading scheduled for last Sunday.

A Word which explains so much about our lives as Christians. In the past and now in this dispensation. That the forces of evil are far stronger that we are by ourselves. We cannot manage temptation. We cannot resist resorting to living by the flesh when provoked; and so anger comes easily. So does malice which is really sustained anger. And according to one of my favorite writers, Chris Tiegreen, “ every time the Devil says boo, we jump”. Fear, often uncontrollable and irrational, enters our hearts! What can we do, as we are really a hopeless bunch, as ordinary human beings. Think how, left to ourselves, we fall prey, so easily, to lust and greed and envy. Idolatry! Which is really allowing something else apart from God to enthrone our hearts.

It’s a struggle for the best of us, and as happened to the children of Israel in the desert, many perished on account of these things. A story repeated again and again wherever the human story is told. With honesty!

The fall from grace of the famous may be announced publicly, and if we are not careful, there is no empathy, no sympathy, but rather condemnation. Until we too succumb to the power of the flesh. For the truth is, that it is only our upbringing which prevents many of us from physically harming someone who really annoys us to the max, like the taxi drivers. But we’ve long ago executed many of them in our hearts. Which is, dare I say it, the heart of the problem, with mankind. For Jesus said it well and profoundly so, and we dare not miss it, and think it applies to other people, that “ out of the hearts of men ( and women) come all kinds of evil”.

So when God declared though Jeremiah, prophetically, that “ he had ransomed Jacob, and rescued him from hands too strong for him”, we now, know, what He was saying. That in Christ, we have been rescued from “ hands too strong for us”. Within and without! From the wickedness which previously flowed from our sinful hearts, and from “ all our enemies”. Which is what the Benedictus announces :

BENEDICTUS

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel : for he hath visited, and redeemed his people;

And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of his servant David ;

That we should be saved from our enemies: and from the hands of all that hate us…..

But here comes the important condition(s):

That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies: might serve him without fear;

In holiness and righteousness before him: all the days of our lives……

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people: for the remission of their sins ( first order of importance);

……..To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death ( second order of importance )

For those who ask the obvious question. What about deliverance from wicked gunmen and from illness, the following prayer ( extract) appears in my Classics Devotional Bible on the opposite page of the Jeremiah passage quoted above:

A PERSONAL PRAYER FOR LOVINGKINDNESS

JOHN BAILLE

Jeremiah 31: 3

God, immortal, eternal, invisible, I remember with gladness and thanksgiving all that thou hast been to this world of men……..

Give me faith now to believe that thou canst be all in all to me, according to my need, if only I renounce all proud self dependence and put my trust in thee….

Show thy loving kindness tonight, O Lord, to all who stand in need of thy help.

Be with the weak to make them strong. Be with the strong to make them gentle. Cheer the lonely with thy company and the distracted with thy solitude. Prosper thy church in the fulfillment of her mighty task, and grant thy blessings to all who have toiled today in Christ’s name. Amen.

Peace.

In obedience

Lord renew thy church beginning with ( all of us); Lord renew thy church that the church may renew the nation(s). Iran, the USA, Australia, Syria, Jamaica.

Whenever I travel abroad, I try and find a good bookstore. Any Barnes and Noble in Florida I would recommend. Over the holidays I bought, and set about reading, Eric Metaxas’ “ Seven Women”. A follow up to his very popular “ Seven Men”.

And in the Introduction Metaxas inserts this interesting and perhaps controversial editorial:

“ I am privileged to be friends with someone whose husband was born in 1889. ….Alice von Hilderbrand – her friends call her Lilly – is a delight, so much so that I’ve now twice had her as my guest as Socrates in the City, a forum that encourages busy and successful professionals in thinking about the bigger questions in life. ( Jamaica needs one desperately; in my view). Her age ( ninety-one as I wrote this) gives her a great measure on authority, but it has not dimmed her fire even slightly. It would not be inaccurate to to describe her as a pistol. I mention her now because she has written two books that deal with the issue of man and women. One is The Privilege of Being a Woman, and the other is Man and Woman: A Divine Invention.

As she fiercely declared in my most recent interview with her, she is tremendously pro-woman – and she was that evening we spoke – but she also made it abundantly clear that that it is for this same reason that she is a devoted and lifelong opponent of feminism. She fiercely believes that feminism to be anti-woman because it pressures women to become more like men….

The lesson in all of this is that to pit women against men is a form of denigration of women, as though their measure must be determined by masculine standards. The worst standards of masculine value -power usually as the top of those long – become the very things that some women are told that they must aspire to meet. How ironic that modern cultures, by so often intimating power as the highest good, should force women to accepts what amounts to nothing less than patriarchal thinking, in the most pejorative sense of that verb”.

An editorial which explains why he chose these Seven Women; “ who stood on their own as women, but not as in a defiant stance that pitted them against men. On the contrary, they were large-hearted enough and secure enough in who they were to show remarkable magnanimity toward men, with whom they had notable warm relationships.

Joan of Arc’s relationship with the soldiers who served under her is nothing less than moving; Susanna Wesley’s love for her sons and their reverence for her speak volumes; Hannah More’s relationship with her four sisters were at the very heart of her life, but she had a pronounced capacity for friendships with men, including William Wilberforce….

Why did I include all of this as a prelude to writing the blog today? This post on facebook on New Year’s Day explains it all. Well, a part of it:

Had a long talk with a friend today. Essentially “ How to make goodness fashionable”. And went home to continue reading Eric Metaxas “ Seven Women”. Including Hannah More, the companion – in the struggle to abolish slavery and improve the manners of the British – of William Wilberforce. In pursuit of one of the objectives she wrote a poem to “ make goodness fashionable”. Coincidence! I think not.

This friend is a woman. And a close friend. Went to see her at home on New Year’s Day, and the three of us, her husband, herself and I, while lamenting the state of our nation, Crime and Violence and Road Deaths and general lawlessness in the society, also spent time trying to solve Jamaica’s problems.

And as I went home and delved more and more into this very informative and inspiring book, I continued to post:

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Seriously! If you wish to rescue Jamaica from slavery to Crime and Violence and “ ill manners”, you need to read about Hannah Hope in Eric Metaxas Seven Women.

Did you know that Sunday School which she started in 1789, were not church schools of religious education, but schools open on a Sunday for workers on their day off – to train up lower classes to habits of industry and piety.”The poverty, ignorance and immorality of many was shocking”……..

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And one of the greatest threats to British Society was the French Revolution which caused “ blood to run on the streets in France”. Hannah Hope ( and John Wesley’s Vital Christianity ) is credited by historians with saving England from the “ destructive ideas” – the deep anti-clericalism which lay behind much of the French radicalism – put forward by Thomas Paine. As she began in direct opposition publishing the highly acclaimed and influential Village Politics

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Has anybody heard the recent upsurge in anti-Christian arguments been spewed out with much destructive effects on the minds of the rich and poor alike? If you haven’t heard and don’t believe that it has anything to do with the downward spiral in the morals of our people, then perhaps we are either not very discerning, or listening to too much “ skim milk type of preaching “. #SevenWomen #HannahHope #EricMetaxas

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Back to #SevenWomen by Metaxas: “ ..she prayed, often on the cold floor, always asking God to reveal Himself to her, to help her live as she should. But at last her love for the poor had found its focus. “ I knew their only need is Jesus “ – St. Maria of France. Born in Russia. As Christians we need to get our focus right in this Crime Infested and poverty ridden nation. Jesus first, then in Him fight for Justice for the poor and vulnerable. #Piety #Justice

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Just last night I went though the section on Corrie Ten Bloom, who was credited fr saving many Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland, and for which she was sent to a concentration camp, and shared this in a thread on Facebook in response to others who had a different view of what constitutes peace in this world:

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” Despite modest circumstances, the small house above the Beje was a deeply happy one, and gratitude to God was at the center of their happiness “. Can’t be coincidence that I am currently reading Eric Metaxas new book entitied ” Seven Women”. And one of them, from which the extract quoted was taken, is Corrie Ten Boom. A great woman of faith who helped to rescue the Jews during Hitler’s occupation of Holland. Her story was made into a popular movie; The Hiding Place. Happiness, ultimately Michael, I hope you will discover soon, real happiness, and in fact Joy that no one can take away, despite changing circumstances, comes from serving God by seeking the good of other human beings in and through a relationship with the Crucified and Risen Christ Jesus.

May God’s Peace, real Peace, not just the absence of trials, rest and abide in your seeking soul one day in Christ Jesus. Happy new year my friend.

This might help also. Maybe.

” Corrie’s zeal to share her faith seemed to know no bounds. While all the clubs continued to thrive, she began holding religious services for children with intellectual challenges. It was such a joy, she wrote, to know that the Lord doesn’t need a high IQ in a person in order to reveal himself. In fact people of normalmor superior intelligence likewise need the help of Holy Spirit to understand the spiritual truths, which are only spiritually discerned.”

Another extract from Metaxas’ really interesting, nay intriguing book, in light of this discussion.

The point being that for Jamaica to rise up successfully and in a sustained manner against the evil that has beset our country, both men and women of faith, need to be in the forefront of the struggle. There is no room for competition among the sexes in Christian endeavors. We all need to carry our various God given gifts to the table and work together in love and harmony to free our nation from the secular influence which has caused so much harm, even to people of faith and, worse to the unsuspecting and uninitiated into the things of God. No wonder then that there is so much that has gone wrong in our homes, the community, the schools, the workplace and the wider society. All of which has combined to generate the awful and sickening levels of wickedness and mayhem in our country.

Finally an email sent to my church on New Year’s Day offers a word about the foundation of our faith. And which foundation, that Jesus died for our sins, and was raised from the dead, has become in this modern world a highly inflammatory statement which can provoke even usually reasonable people to wrath. But we must never be ‘ashamed of the Gospel”, for it is the only way that sinful mankind can be reconciled to a Holy God.’ A fact which no doubt moved Corrie ten Bloom and her faithful sister to share God’s Word of salvation even when faced with the horrors of a stinking and flea infested German Concentration Camp. So let us as the writer recommend, and which observation is validated by Holy Scriptures, ” resolve this year to live a resurrected life. To the glory of God and for the rescuing of our beleaguered nation.

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As we start the New year, let us resolve to start it the right way. With the foundation of our faith in our minds. Which is what the meditation from Chris Tiegreen on New Year’s day – no randomly opening of pages this time – proclaims based on The Word of God. As I write this comes  to mind; part of my early morning prayers.

Jacob Boehme ….On Rising…..Rule over me this day, O God, leading me on the path of righteousness. Put you 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….

AN EARTH SHATTERING EVENT

What I received  I passed on to you as of first importance: that Jesus died for our sins….that he was raised on the third day…that he appeared…. 

1 Corinthians 15:3-5

……………This was the earth shattering foundation of the church. Jesus’ teachings were profound, His miracles spectacular; but they didn’t define the church. The new movement that began in a small Roman outpost was based on a revolutionary, shocking truth: The specter of death had lost its power. A man, certifiably dead, was now alive. And he promised life to all who believed in Him.

It’s impossible to understand two millennia later, how utterly radical the idea of a resurrection was. It was not an illusion of prescientific people; Jesus appeared to a lot of people, for many days, and displayed His eternal body. Many who saw Him were later martyred for admitting it. That doesn’t happen en mass with illusions. It only happens with historical fact.

If you think about it this fact changes everything. it changes how we live, how we think, how we plan, how we work – everything. Let it change you; no, let is define you. Resolve this year to live a resurrected life.

Jesus has forced open door that had been locked since the death of the first man…Everything is different because he has done so – C. S. Lewis

And nestled in the pages of this Scripture in my Classic Devotional Bible is this profound observation:

The primary declaration of Christianity is not “ This Do”, but 

“ This Happened” – Evelyn Underwood.

Peace and in Obedience.

Lord renew thy church, beginning  with me ( and all of us); Lord renew the church that the church may renew the ( crime infested) nation(s)

LWJ

Went to bed last night. After 1:30 am. Attending watch-night service at church. Came home. Opened my gate. Closed it. Went inside. Collected my padlock and piece of iron. Padlocked my gate. And went inside . Safely. In a land where over 1300 people were murdered last year. Went to bed. Woke up, in my right mind,  at around 6:30 am, and this song came into my heart. As I got up! 

In a world where many folks did not wake up this morning, January 1, 2020. And if they did, they have no idea who or  where there are! So we give thanks, that “ You my God woke me up this morning”. Again! Once again. So how many times must He wake me up, or you, so that we can know how much He loves us. But most of all, “ When we were lost in sin and sorrow, “ God Himself in the Person of Jesus  died for us.

So as He proved in 2019, how many times must He do the same in 2020, to prove how much He loves us?

Then my finger ‘accidentally ‘, touched the song on YouTube, which has become for me,  an anthem. So I just spend time exalting the Name of Jesus, and magnified His Holy Name. Hope you will too.

Finally, on turning the pages of the Bible to find the Psalm “ My help comes from thee “, I found this in my Classic Devotional Bible:

 

I ARISE TODAY

VERSE : PSALM 23:4

Patrick of Ireland

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot m;

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guide me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s hosts to save me,

From the snares of the devil,

From temptations and vices,

From every one who desires me ill

Afar or anear,

Alone or in a multitude.

In this context, then, of thanksgiving to a God who “stepped out of nothing, saw nothing, spoke to nothing ( a preacher yesterday on TBC FM) and when He was finished, something – Creation – appeared”, that I wish for all of us a Happy New Year. Thanksgiving to a God who woke us up this morning. And to a God who died for us on Calvary. May our lives exalt His Holy Name during this year and for evermore.

Peace.

In obedience to a God who is making all things new. Every day! So let us taste and see this year, that the Lord is good. Very good.

LWJ