Sunday, July 4, 2010

Judgment is mine says the Lord: What do you say ?

The first Bombshell that fell this week happened on public television when a former ("top cop") Commissioner Hardley Lewin implied that Dudus Christopher Coke, now safely behind bars in the USA, had been tipped off, within minutes of the information being shared with the Minister of National Security and the Prime Minister, about the extradition request by the USA officials, And then repeated his call for the Prime Minister to resign. The juxtapositioning of the two issues then leaving no doubt in the minds of the viewers whom he thought was to blame. Of course the reaction was swift and predictable with the goverment not only defending its position but casting doubt on the motive and integrity of the former top cop. But the debate rages on. Is this the ranting of a bitter and disgruntled man who was fired by the PM last year, because his tenure was attended by a spike rather than a decrease in the murder rate and whoo would go to any length to hurt the PM? Can he substantiate such a " wild " charge which, if true, would virtually amount to obstructing the course of justice? Who provided the intelligence that led him to make such a bold staement? And why now? Do we really know this Prime Minister? Is there a side of him which has not really turned its back, as previously trumpeted, on the link between criminals and politics? What are we to think, and to do? Will there be a public enquiry into the whole affair? Why don't we just move on and be happy that the murder rate has fallen significantly and not rake up all this " mud" again! Who really knows the answers to all these questions!



The second bombshell is one which fell last week and the effects are still being felt this week. The arrest and the charging of well known, highly respected and highly placed in government circles, Pastor Al Miller for harbouring a fugitive - Dudus was found - allegedly "bewigged" - in his car after the police had been trailing them for hours. His claim that he was transporting Dudus to the American Embassy has not impressed the police and he has been slapped with charges and is out on bail. What was he thinking? Why did he feel he could bypass the law of the land? Did the Americans agree to this handing over? Since he was instrumental in " handing over" Dudus'

bother and sister to the police, did he not prove that he was a man of good intent and anxious to assist in getting Dudus to give himself up rather that continue the tension and fear in the country? Should we not be showering praise on this pastor rather than attempting to vilify him?

Who knows!.



The third bombshell came in two parts. One on Friday, the other on Saturday. Both happened far from here in South Africa. And the defeat of two of the best teams in world football has sent shock waves around the world, with both of them going back home to the same continent. How could Brazil lose? Even to a talented team like Holland! And how could the mighty Messi- led- Argentina be humbled by such a young German team? Will they go on the win the World Cup or will Spain, inspired by Nadal's win at Winbledon, stop them in their tracks? Who knows?

And how could Ghana miss a gift, a penalty in the dying moments of the game, and so throw away so cruelly the chances of an African team progressing to the semi-finals for the first time?

Who knows.



What I do know however, and heard from the Lord, in the midst of these bombshells concerning human nature and human frailties and the uncertainties of life, is that God's Word is unchanging and unchangeable. The first word was from meditations by Chris Tiegen



CHANGED EXPECTATIONS



Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Acts 5:1. 6



......What kingdom have you been expecting? Whatever it is, stop striving for it. Live instead for the agenda of Jesus' Kingdom. Be His witness, live in His Spirit, seek His will on earth as it is in heaven......



Before we can pray " Thy kingdom come," we must be wiling to pray, " My kingdom go".

Alan Redpath





I thought long and hard about this meditation and when I was led to read The following Isaiah passage early this morning it all came together.



" Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.
For this is what the high and lofty One says---
I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in sprit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the spirit of the contrite>"
Isaiah 57:14-15 NIV

The question therefore arises of what is former Commissioner of Police Lewin's agenda. It is the truth or is it self-vindication? Is it God's agenda of justice of is it a narrow personal grudge? Is he lowly of heart and contrite? Is the Prime Minister lowly of heart and contrite? Is Rev. Miller following his own agenda, despite the laudable intentions, or is he following his own? Is he lowly of heart and humble? Does he need to reflect carefully, especially since he is a man of God, on Redpath's assertion that:
" Before we can pray" Thy kingdom come", we must be willing to pray , " My kingdom go".

Is it a lesson for the PM also? So many of our current leaders, in the Western world, disciples of Christ or not, so easily pronounce blessings on their country. God bless America! God bless Jamaica! But are they willing to " let go of their own kingdom" and "let go of their own agenda", as Jesus told the early disciples as recorded in the book of Acts. Is it not a lesson for Maradonna in particular also? As although Argentina had quality players and a good team, I just did not want then to win as Maradonna was just too proud an individual. Can you imagine what the world would have to put up with if his team had won the World Cup.

But there is more. God not only lives in the humble heart but does so in order that we may :
" revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the spirit of the contrite."
In other words be like a John the Baptist which is what the opening verse suggests.
" build up and prepare...remove the obstacles.
Read again the message from John the Baptist as recorded in Luke:

A voice calling in the desert,
Prepare the way for the Lord..........
John said to the crowds coming out to be Baptized by him. You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance....
Luke 3: 4-8 NIV

So it is very clear that God lives in high and lofty places, but also in the hearts of the lowly and contrite, not for our salvation alone, but that we too may call people to repentance. And in so doing, to watch closely, as we ourselves are called to produce, for fruits of repentance. For acts that show that the inner man has changed, that a new creation is in place. Not the old man in new clothes.
Why the need for repentance? The answer is to be found in another passage that the Lord led me to reflect on this week. It's a bit of Scripture which is often used in the argument about God's pronouncement on the homosexual lifestyle, but if one reads pass that passage in the first chapter of Romans then we are confronted by this - which not only explains the uncertainties of human behaviour and our often quick and easy reaction - pronouncing judgment - but the also the remedy for the problems.

" ...Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil, they are disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very same things but also approve of those who practice them.
You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on some one else, for a whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same thing. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same thing, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you towards repentance?
Romans 1:28-2:4. NIV

So who wants to be the first to pass judgment on the Prime Minister? Or Rev. Miller? or the former Commissioner? Did you see yourself in that list in Romans? Were you there? I am sure you saw Dudus there! Did you see the Jamaicans for Justice there? Did you see the PNP or JLP there? Did you see the PSOJ there? Did you see the Council of churches there? Did you see the journalists there? Perhaps! But did you see yourself? Did I see myself? Yes I did. And that why I love Jesus. Cause He saved a wretch like me. And now He lives in my heart and calls me to call others like me to repentance.
Finally a dear friend and a Christian woman, had surgery done last week and words from the following hymn touched her heart in a special way as she lay there in he hospital bed awaiting the operation. And as I read them again the message from the Lord was clear, as we are called again to let go of our own agendas and let His will reign in our hearts. As then and only then will our country find peace in this troubled and confusing world.


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 blessèd Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessèd Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

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

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

Refrain

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Refrain

Amen
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