It was a sad week in country this past week. The behaviour of our members of parliament in the House of Parliament descended to a new low. According to one journalist a term borrowed from elsewhere, a day of " infamy", could well be used to describe the situation in which one member described another as a "fish" - a Jamaican derogatory term for a homosexual in response to being heckled. And although he tried to contextualize it in terms of older members being "whales" and younger ones being " fish", everybody understood what he was saying, included the other member who was so accused. Of course to say it did not go down well would be to put it mildly, and so a shouting match ensued. To complicate matters, an inexperienced Deputy Speaker of the House, instructed, as it turned out quite incorrectly so, the official " security " person to eject the member who was not only guilty of using unparliamentary language, but also of ignoring the authority of the Speaker. Then all "hell broke loose", both literally andfiguratively and which debacle ended with the members of the Opposition " walking out" of the chambers. All of this of course taking place as we prepare to celebrate Jamaica 50th and go " On a Mission", to make our country a place where we can be proud and where others will wish to come and make their home too.
And so the entire nation is "up in arms " about this " madness".
In the midst of all of this " stuff" happening in my country I came across a meditation by Matthew Henry ( 1662-1714) whose multivolume
" Commentary on the Bible" is still popular some 300 years later. The part that struck a chord in my mind came right at the very end.....
" Those are unfit and unworthy to rule over men who are not willing that God should rule over them...and which sentiment goes right to heart of the problem currently " trending' in Jamaica. For being critical, and being upset and even applying sanctions of whatever nature is not going to help those who were the principal actors in the madness that took place in our Parliament. At the end of the day, unless they humble themselves and allow God to rule over them, them they will forever be unfit to rule over men and to pass paws and shape policy and attempt to place a nation " On a Mission". The Bible is even moresuccinct in its advice...." Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Perhaps a reading of the entire meditation may touch the soul of some of those in parliament.
GOD'S GREAT DELIGHT
Verse; 1 Samuel 15:22: But Samuel replied ( to King Saul who had been disobedient ot the instructions from God and sought to explain it away that he had brought back the best for the Lord):
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice
and to heed is better than the fat of lambs
Here we are plainly told...that humble, sincere, and conscientious obedience to the will of God is more pleasing to and acceptable to him than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. A careful conformity to moral precepts recommends us to God more than all ceremonial observances ) see Micah 6:6-8; Hosea 6:6). Obedience was the law of innocency, but sacrifice supposes sin come into the world and is but a feeble attempt to take that away which obedience would have prevented. it is much easier to bring a bullock or a lamb to be burnt upon the altar than to bring every high thought into obedience to God and the will subject to his will. Nothing is so provoking to god as disobedience, setting up our wills in competition with his. This here is called rebellion and stubbornness, an is said to be as bad as witchcraft and idolatry ( v. 23, KJV). It is as bad to set up other gods as to live in disobedience to the true and living God...Those are unfit to rule over men who are not willing that god should rule over them.
Correspondingly, I came across another meditation which speaks so much of the joys of being obedient to the Lord Christ. This time from one of the " fathers of the early church, Hilare of Poitiers ( 315-368) and of whom it is said, was one of those who fought against Arianism in the church, a philosophy, which if it had been successful, would have seriously undermined the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as we have come to know it, and the power of this truth.
SATURATED WITH THE SPIRIT
Hilaire of Potiers
Verse: Acts 20:24. However, i consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the work, and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Hoisting My Sails
The chief service I owe you, O God, is that every thought and word of mine should speak of you. The power of speech which you have bestowed on me can give me no greater pleasure than to serve you by preaching your gospel.
But in saying this,I am merely expressing what I want to do. If I am actually to to use this gift, I must ask you for your help - ask you to fill the sails I have hoisted for you with the wind of your holy Spirit, inspiring my mind and my voice. I know that I am often heavy with stupor, so that I am too lazy to speak of you. And I do not spend sufficient time studying your Scriptures, to ensure that my words conform to your Word. Give me the energy and the courage to share the spirit of the apostles, that like them I may truly be an ambassador of your grace.
Although I am dust and ashes, Lord I am tied to you by bonds of love. Therefore I feel I can speak freely to you. before i came to know you, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of life, and I had no understanding of myself. I have no doubt that you had a purpose in causing me to be born; yet you had no need of me, and on my own I was of no uiuse to you.
But then you decided that I should hear the words of your Son, Jesus Christ. And that as I heard his owords, you enabled his love to penetrate my heart. Now I am completely saturated in his love and faith, and there is no remedy. Now, Lord, I cannot change my attitude to my faith; I can only die for it.
Finally, as I pondered all of the above and went back to the basics of my faith, that my country will never be renewed, whether in this the year our special celebrations or henceforth, and what is true for Jamaica holds good for all countries, until the church is renewed, I recalled a message sent to officials in my church this week which is set out below
" My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest upon me. That's why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties." - The Bible
God is sufficient for all our needs, for every problem, and for every difficulty, for every broken heart, and for every human sorrow. - Peter Marshall.
It is not the sermon that needs preparation but the preacher - Oswald Chambers
I pray God that we will all be so rooted in Christ, that we may be able to rejoice like St. Paul about our joy in hardships and persecutions, and difficulties, so that, as preachers, we may be
" prepared" by the Lord to preach and live sermons according to His will and purpose as we go on " Mission" in this part of His vineyard.
In Christ Jesus.
I pray God then that as a country whose moral compass has gone astray, we may return to the One true and Almighty God, be obedient to Him and His Son Jesus, whose love for mankind as shown on the Cross of Calvary is the only remedy for the madness that has overtaken this land. A madness which featured on the front page of both major newspapers yesterday - over a hundred persons held by the police at a dance, a party in a rural area, all looking like women, but on closer inspection only 11 turned out to be bona fide females. The others were men dressed up like women - and posing for the camera. Having no shame whatsoever. May God have mercy on this country.
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