In recent times in my country, two issues readily emerge whenever we meet up together. "Do you have water at home"? Yes! "For how many days for the week". Or , "you are lucky that you have a tank, poor me, every so often I have to buy water". For some it has been even more miserable; " I have not had water in my pipe for weeks"! Well, thank God the rains came this week and fell equally on " those who had prayed and those who had not prayed". So we are hoping that the farmers will produce and that the aquifers and dams will fill up soon, as it has been a long and difficult drought - perhaps one of the worse ones we have had to face in recent memory. A word of warning and perhaps a teachable moment though! This week I read some interesting facts in a copy of The National Geographic Magazine devoted to " Water". That folks in the USA use, on average, 100 gallons of the precious stuff each day, compared to 5 gallons/day in parts of Africa. Further that only 3% of the water on earth is readily available for human use. The rest is locked in ice and in the salty sea. So there is a great need for us to conserve the precious stuff, as it is predicted that sometime soon up to 5 Billion persons on earth will live in areas where water is scarce. So a lady in New Mexico makes a point of bathing three times a week and military style - get wet, turn off the shower,; soap up, the shower on again to wash off - in order to contribute to the preservation of water. Whilst some of us had to shower, or bathe military style, but thank God, every day, there is no question of the need to practise conservation. A teachable moment indeed, but who is listening?
The other issue is of course the high level of homicide in our country. And recently The Daily Gleaner, our oldest and most influential daily newspaper, stepped up informing the nation about this frightening issue another notch. First they they carried the daily body count at the top of the front page. Now it's in the lower third and beside it, for the past three days, has been a
" front page editorial". Friday - 466 dead in 105 days. Saturday - 472 in 106 days. Sunday(today) - 482 dead in 107 days. So 16 dead in 3 days! And then inside is a " blood" stained full page advert , captioned " There were our family". Today's' editorial is entitled " We must all get angry". A teachable moment indeed. But who is listening/
In the the midst of this " teaching " about our nation and our planet, the Lord led me through several "teachable moments", for my own understanding and in order to spread the word.
Did you know that " Eternal Life" has nothing to do with Time? And therefore, that life begins here on earth, long before we get to heaven! I had an idea, but the full import of it hit home this week, as, if we Christians, and even the non-Christians among us, understood this basic doctrine of the church, the power of God, to fix a " broken nation" , would flow more readily through Jamaica. What power! This " game changing" lesson was shared with me by a meditation written by Oswald Chambers famous worldwide for his classic devotion " My Utmost for His Highest".
MORAL DOMINION APRIL 12
" Death hath no more dominion over Him.....in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God."
Co-Eternal Life. Eternal life was the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human plane, and it is the same life, not a copy of it, which is manifested in our mortal flesh when we are born of God. Eternal Life is not a gift from God, eternal life is the gift of God. The energy and the power which was manifested in Jesus will be manifested in us by the sheer sovereign grace of God when once we have made the moral decision about sin.
" Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost" - not power as a gift from the Holy Ghost; the power is the Holy Ghost, not something which He imparts. The life that was in Jesus is made ours by means of His Cross when once we make the decision to be identified with Him. if it is difficult to get right with God, it is because we will not decide definitely about sin Immediately we do decide, the full life of God comes in. Jesus came to give us endless supplies of life: " that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God." Eternal Life has nothing to do with Time. It is the life that Jesus lived when he was down here. The only source of Life is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The weakest saint can experience the power of the Deity of the Son of god if once he is willing to
" let go". Any stand of our energy will blur the life of Jesus. We have to keep letting go, and slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.
What a revelation! It means that our country with so many churches per square mile, one of the highest in the world, is not without hope or without a future. Once the weakest Christian, those who the world count as nothing, decides definitely to " let go" of sin, the full power of God will be let loose to heal this land. Of murder and of " bloodshed following bloodshed". The blood of our family, friends and neighbours and just fellow Jamaicans.
It cannot be coincidence that recently this passage of Scripture came into my mind.
" I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask n my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." John 14:12-13
So therefore, what ever happened to the " even greater than these"? The kind of wonders and miracles which the redeemed people of God should be exhibiting and thus to be in vanguard on the struggle to over the evil which has taken over this nations. What went wrong, as God's promises can never fail? Sin ! That's the cold hard fact of life. Unrepentant sin. Disobedience, and rebellion against God in " minor " things and big things, either because we think that our intellectual abilities are equal to, or greater than, God's, or that " God will understand"! Or worse , that He does not exist at all.
In fact early one morning this week, about 3:00 am, I was " awakened" to send this message to who has power in this nation.
" Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him". 1 Cor. 1:26-29
So then, if there is not to be any " boasting" before the Lord, let us shake off every aspect of disobedience in our lives, so that the " rain may fall on the just and the unjust". Let us let go of any " hint of sin" so that the full force of the power, mercy and grace of God may be let loose in this nation. That's what God teaches. But who is listening?
Who listening to the teaching of Paul as I was led to read this week.
" I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn then from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
So then King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision from heaven"
It is then a matter of disobedience to the heavenly vision. So who is at fault? We who have been taught and have become disobedient? Or those who have not taught at all, who have placed a focus on other things, who have been disobedient to the heavenly vision, or those who have taught " based on their own imagination", and have not been with Jesus.
Again God who answers all questions revealed an answer in Acts 18 this week.
" When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to teaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."
The great need then for the church and indeed for the world is for our leaders to get back to their core function of teaching the flock. And then the power of God will be revealed to a dying nation.
Finally another profound teachable moment this week - about who are Christians? In the same way that eternal Life has nothing to do with Time, being a Christian has nothing to do with being a part of the social sector of this or any nation. And that's an empowering reality. Equally so however, a reality that demands sacrifice and requires suffering and promotes service in love, to neighbour and persecutor, as the highest good. But first we must become what we are called to be - Holy.
THE HOLY ONES APRIL 17TH. CHRIS TIEGEN
" You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.
1 Peter 2: 9
The new community in Christ has a new identity. We aren't just people who have made a religious decision or aligned themselves with a social movement. We aren't an organization or an institution. We are a people hand-selected by God to be like Him - to be different, to be set apart, to be holy.
That's how the early believers saw themselves, and apostles like Peter helped cultivate this sense of identity. It was important to understand that this community was not just a religious movement but a new kind of humanity. There was no room for a sense of superiority - anyone who believed could join this new creation. No, it was a humbling calling and a sacred identity. the children of God had been born. The world had never seen anything like this.
That's our identity too. We forget it often, seeing ourselves simply as believers, or churchgoers, or evangelicals. We are characterized by our society as a subculture or social sector. We have been explained in psychological, sociological, and historical terms as one religious movement among many that the world has known. But in our hearts, we have to go beyond those designations. We have to understand that the life we live is humanity fulfilled, a completion of what was lacking, and a restoration of what was lost with the first sin. We are unlike any other human being. We are born of God's Spirit.
Do you believe that? Let it sink in. It's important because the lives we live will reflect the sense of identity at our core. If we see ourselves as sinners who have made a religious decision, that's how we will act. But if we see ourselves as holy ones, set apart for God's special use, a priesthood to stand between God and a lost world, that's how we will act. it all depends on what we know, deep inside, about ourselves. And according to God, we are chosen to be holy.
The question remains though, who is listening? Listening to what God is saying, or to what our
" itching ears wish to hear"? Who is listening to what God is teaching. About creation and about sin. About a people living in darkness and in the power of Satan. I pray God that all of us, and myself more than any other, will take heed and seek to live a holy life in Christ Jesus, so that by grace and mercy the Eternal Life of the Spirit of Christ will flow throughout out nation and bring " showers of refreshment and healing".
I am thine O Lord..........
Consecrate me now, to thy service Lord,
By the power of love divine
Let my heart look up, with a steadfast gaze
And my will be lost in thine.
Cho. Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord
To thy Cross where thou has died
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord
To thy precious bleeding side.