Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dudus, the Prime Minister, and the God of mercy and alone who can transform lives

Dudus is asking the wrong person for mercy. Christopher Coke, aka Dudus, that infamous Jamaican gang-lord who, by his own admission in a New York court has been convicted of serious crimes committed in the USA and whose story is so " large" that it appeared in the New York Times this week, is seeking mercy from the presiding judge whe the time comes for sentencing later this year. This is a man, the defense of whose " constitutional rights", by the leader of the country, prior to his extradition to the USA, almost brought down a sovereign government last year and resulted in severe erosion of the " political capital" of the Prime Minister. In fact news just broke today that the very same Prime Minister has decided not to seek election at the next party conference, on account of the " pressures of office". Thus paving the way for a new leader, if he stands by his decision and does not change his mind when he comes under pressure from loyal supporters. Many will readily associate the " dudus" saga with these " pressures, as well as the prevailing world economic downturn, from which Jamaica has not escaped, and the inevitable internal struggles for power that all political parties undergo. So can a judge who who has limited room in which to maneuver, grant Dudus mercy? Or does he need to appeal to another Judge? One who can punish not only in this life, but forever. And thankfully One who is slow to anger and full of mercy and can grant life not only here, but eternally, for those who would repent. And is there no hope for a politically, and no doubt emotionally drained, Prime Minister? Can he undergo a "metanoia"...a change of mind and a change in the things he cared for, and find favor with God, and with man and successfully lead this country? It is within this context that the Lord spoke this week. The message began in the book of Job......" The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding. Job 28:28 NIV. And it continued with a reflection on that most instructive hymn: MY God how wonderful thou art.... and in particular the words of verse four ....Oh, how I fear thee, Living God, with deepest tenderest fears; and worship thee with trembling hope, and penitential tears...... So all men ought to fear God. Why? Have you read the book of numbers recently? No! Well neither have I, but the Lord guided my hand to open the Bible this week to read an amazing story which caused me great fear. It's a bit long but read Numbers chapter 16 for yourself. The story is about a man named Korah and his " crew" of 250. They became, according to the Bible " insolent", and using the language of the street, " dissed", Moses and Aaron ...although Moses made it clear later that they were in fact not merely grumbling against he and Aaron, but against the Lord himself. They claimed that " the entire community was holy", and therefore why did Moses and Aaron " set yourself above the Lord's assembly". After faithful Moses had fell on his face and prayed for them " in their madness". Then Moses sent for them to prove who was right. And they " dissed " him again by refusing to appear before Moses. Then the following day " IT " happened. The glory of the Lord appeared and warned Moses and Aaron to move away from the insolent ones - who apparently did not fear God - as he was about to strike them dead. But faithful Moses and Aaron prayed for them a second time - for mercy. "Fell facedown and cried out", is what is recorded in Scripture. But it was too late. The next day the Lord, in a way that removed any doubt about in whom He found favor, caused the earth to open up and swallow the 250 " insolent" ones, who did not fear the Lord. But the story did not end there. As the entire Jewish people accused Moses of " killing off the Lord's people". So " IT" happened again. The glory of the Lord appeared and warned Moses and Aaron to get away so that " I can put an end to them"........the whole Israelite community...all of God's people! Then Moses and Aaron had to take drastic action and " make an atonement" for the community...and the Word of God said that " Aaron stood between the living and the dead". And although it was too save 14700 who perished, the plague stopped and the people were spared. Lord have mercy. So clearly, it is not a good thing to grumble against, "diss" or in any way behave in a manner that suggests that we do not fear the Living God. And this is the problem that Dudus, and anybody else will inevitable face, when they live their lives in complete disobedience to the will of God. Especially in this age when, He who has made atonement for our sins, He who stands between the living and the dead, He who stands between the anger of the evil one and the Lord's people, His death on the Cross on Calvary is known to most people in the entire world today.....and is being made known more and more each day. In fact this message is the subject of a text message I was led to send out today following a late night encounter with the Lord: " The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full." John The evil one, the devil, only wishes to lead people away from the truth that God loves all mankind, and in Christ no matter what happened before, everyone can undergo metanoia, and become a new person and " have life to the full". As a reading of the prophet Ezekiel revealed today that , " every living soul belong to God". So yes Christopher Coke, and every living soul, no matter how wicked they are, or were, can undergo change and become a useful citizen according to God's purpose if he repents and has a change of heart. And a generous God, even if the American judge gives him a harsh and deserving sentence, will give him the same pay also that others who repented before have received - the gift of eternal life. The story gets better as in church we heard a wonderful " game changing sermon today" based on the same Ezekiel passage in chapter 18, and the gospel story in Matthew ( 21:28-32) of the two sons who, one of whom said yes to the Lord, but later changed his mind and became disobedient...and lost his " salvation". And the other son who was first disobedient and then had a change of heart, repented of his sins and found favor with God. And thus the Bible says that " prostitutes and tax-collectors are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you". The essence of the story is that we should not write off anyone. And more importantly ourselves. Whether we are terrible and infamous criminals or flawed Public Servants, whether we be " teenage prostitutes" led astray by the evil one in pursuit of economic gain or homosexuals led astray by the " spirit" of this age that tells us that our case is beyond help and beyond change...as if the words of Scripture which tells us that " with God nothing is impossible", can be broken. Finally, the God who has rescued me time and time again from evil and from my own sins, woke me up again and said in the words of Scripture, again last night: " Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me, they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.............Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them whether listen or fail to listen.... I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, You will surely die, and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself". Ezekiel CHAPTERS 2&3. NIV Hopefully then the Prime Minister will receive this message...or any other similar one from whomsoever God appoints ...... and take stock, as " all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". And therefore acts of "wickedness", deserving of death, is the fate of all " unredeemed " human beings....those who the devil can easily and kill and destroy their lives....make them unproductive, blind them to the possibility of living a different life..... on a higher plane.... a more morally upstanding life, better than the one we had before even if that one were " adequate" in the sight of man and in our own regard....., and with greater wisdom, and which can result in a different legacy. But all of which hangs on him having a " repentant heart".....create in me a pure heart O God ...cried out the Psalmist David...after he had committed the most egregious of all crimes....murder in an effort to cover up his adulterous relationship...and he was known as a man after god's heart. Hopefully Christopher Coke will receive this message, or any other of a similar nature from whomsover God appoints ,and repent and seek favour with the One who will judge the living and the dead and whose kingdom will have no end. And then, with an " undivided heart", He will indeed receive mercy - from the right(eous) Judge. So we pray for repentance for every living soul, that they may not die, not become unproductive, not fail prey to what is deemed to be " inevitable", but instead will accept Christ and the power to have new, productive and an unblemished life, and have it it more abundantly in every aspect of human endeavour. All because of the Atonement wrought on the Cross of Calvary by the One whose Blood covers us and washes away all our sins and allows us to become partakers of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. So let us never write off anybody as a hopeless case, and especially our own situtation in life regardless of past mistakes Amen