I just cannot get it out of my head! Murder on a mini-bus. Twice in a couple of days. What kind of mad country we live in that allows such animal kind of behaviour to happen on public transportation on which so many of our people depend. Young and old. Can you imagine the absolute terror that young people, in particular, face when such atrocities take place. I spent three weeks in Singapore in 2001 taking part in a Leadership course in Evangelism sponsored by the Haggai Institute. Early one morning I was doing my exercises - walking fast - and spotted a young girl at the bus stop all alone. And when I asked how come, I was told that no one would dare interfere with her. Since then it has been one of my fervent wishes that young girls in particular, and young women in general, could walk the streets of my city at any hour of day or night and not be fearful of being molested. What a dramatic change that would be! During this week also a young school boy was shot dead by an " aggrieved" driver who pulled his gun on a taxi-man with whom he apparently had a dispute, having met in a crash with that vehicle. And instead of the driver being shot, the only passenger, a young boy died tragically. What a country indeed! May God have mercy on us.
So on whom are we going to depend in the midst of this madness - even as the police and the government continue to assure us that crime, in general, and murder in particular, is trending down. This week the Lord reminded me that on God, and God alone will we find refuge. This instruction came from various sources. One was a little known former slave who escaped from Rome and went to live in Ireland. And which meditation I sent out to persons who I know were going through a difficult period in their lives
I arose this morning and found this meditation which was of great comfort to me. Hope it will comfort you also in these troubling times. Let us commit to praying for each other without ceasing as many of our members are going through challenging times.
I ARISE TODAY
Patrick of Ireland
Verse: Psalm 23:4 ....even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard 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 of vices,
From every one who desires me ill.
Afar or anear,
Alone in a crowd.
.The other came in the form of early ( this) morning 4:am message which should serve to allay the fears of all of us who are passing through challenging times. Personally or a nation, as there in within this passage of Scripture a prophetic assurance that, in Christ, every yoke of evil which currently dominates our lives shall be removed.
" The Lord Almighty has sworn, Surely as I have planned it, so it will be, and as i have purposed, so it will stand.
I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains will I trample him down.
His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders.
This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? "
Isaiah 14:24-27 NIV
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the way of the sea, along the Jordan -
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment
rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For unto us a child is born, to us a child is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this."
Isaiah 8:1-7 NIV
The great sadness is that many who are exposed to the Gospel, even some to whom this Ministry is sent, have yet to comprehend much less apprehend the profound promises that God has made, and which have come to pass in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth - the crucified, risen and ascended Lord.
As pointed out today during a very insightful sermon by one the Bishops in my church, Harold Daniel, and delivered during a " healing Service" this morning, in which I was privileged to participate, is the fact that God cannot, and has never lied. So when God in Jesus Christ issues an invitation to " come unto me all who are weary heavily burdened and I will give you rest" - the text from Matthew 11: 25-30 on which he preached - we can be sure that such a " rest " will happen.
Equally so, therefore, when God promised, hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, through Isaiah, that a child would be born, who would " shatter the yoke" - of sin and injustice and provide healing of mind body and spirit, and protection from every evil - we can be assured that Christ has the power to do all of that, in our personal lives, and in the live of a nation. As we are also promised that " Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance". Psalm 33: 12 NIV.
Bishop also suggested that mankind has been granted basically two gifts. One intellectual, with which he or she can use the mind to discern things. The other, the gift of love , which operates through the heart, and which is the only gift that can assist us in apprehending the mighty love of God. As God only reveals Himself to us as we love Him and place our trust in Him. All who consider themselves wise and sophisticated will never truly know God. They may know about Him, but will never have a personal relationship with Him. Mankind, no matter how hard we try, and how bright we are can never " work out God". God in His mercy reveals Himself to the humble in heart who love Him. We have arrive at a place where we have a need for God desperately, and that is why the ordinary people of this land love God so much and the wise and the intellectual, like Herod ( Luke 23:8) love to hear about Him, and wish very much to see some miracles done, but do not really recognize that He is, in Christ Jesus, and has been give all authority on heaven and on earth. And to take up His yoke, rather than the yoke of evil, murder, greed, envy and sexual immorality, which result in murder on a minibus, means simply to surrender completely to Christ. And therefore pray that , "your will, and not mine be done, Lord".
How I wish that others could have heard that sermon of healing today. But sadly many chose to attend political meetings, or attend to other "pressing " matters that they find it difficult to do on Sunday. Or simply stay at home and sleep or go to the beach. The Word of God, has come in the person of Christ, to set us free from every ill, as promised by God, and make us whole again as a nation. That young girls may walk unmolested in the mornings. That young men can take a taxi withour fear of becoming another crime statistic, and so cause parents to grieve for their offspring. The Word of God, has come in the person of Christ Jesus to set us free from all fears, " You of little faith why are you so afraid", says the Master to us, to me in the early morning and freed me from fear, as He said to the disciples two thousand years in the midst of a storm( Matthew 9:23-26) . The Word of God has come in the person of Jesus Christ to heal those " suffering from severe pain, from demon-possession, seizures and the paralyzed" ( Matthew 4:24). My country will only be rescued when as a nation we accept the invitation to come on to Him, who only can provide rest - accepting that Jesus is the Son of God, loving Him with all our hearts, and believing that He has authority over all things.
May we arise then each day with God's strength to pilot us, and God's wisdom to guide us, as nation, in and through Christ Jesus, and so enable us to find rest and peace in the midst of the storms of life. Amen