Monday, May 20, 2013

Of murder most foul, miseducation, repentance and the Power of the Holy Spirit

He and two friends were having a meal after a long day. Suddenly they heard sounds next door. A woman was breaking the glass windows trying to escape the fire.
So they did the natural thing and went to her assistance. But, without warning, and with clear intent,  a gunman suddenly appeared and fired a hail of bullets. At the end, one of the
" Good Samaritans" lay dead. And the other two in shock wondered how they had escaped death. This report in the newspapers this week  touched my very soul as once again it demonstrated how cheap life has become in my country. Yes life is cheap in Syria also. And continues be so in the USA and other countries. But my God, how long, how long before this comes to an end!

The debate continues in my country concerning the departure of the President of the Senate - our Upper House where laws passed in the lower House, where elected representatives sit, come for final approval - to " greener pastures" in Canada. Ought he  not to have known that this change in status was imminent and declined this prestigious appointment? What signal does his move to "secure a better life for his family", send to the struggling masses left behind? Should he have told the Prime Minister? And if he did, should the PM have appointed him. A debate on these ethical principles and matters of governance took the nation by storm this week. As did the Minister of Education's policy decision to limit the amount of teachers going on paid study leave and his declaration against the distribution of condoms in schools. Sex education yes! Condoms no!.

Finally, not on CNN, or on BBC or trending Twitter, but of great significance to millions across the world, is the fact that in many Christian Traditions, today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost - the birthday of the church. And as one young, just leaving his teens, but very discerning, man, observed, " what would have happened if the early disciples of Christ had opted not to spread the gospel"? Makes you wonder doesn't it? A world without the Christian tradition, without Christian values, without Christian inspired universities and schools, hospitals and clinics, churches and volunteer organizations, without the Christian ethic. Without the teaching of, " being your brother's keeper"; forgiving others as Christ forgive you; loving your enemies, and those who persecute you; its better to give than to receive; of delayed gratification; of denying one's self; of eternal life, and therefore death is not the end but in Christ, entry into another and better life where there are no tears.... Without the the teaching of the " inherent value of each human being made in the image likeness of God; without the freedoms which are taken for granted in western democracies; without the the quest for justice for all  and the concept of natural justice. Makes you wonder doesn't it? So we thank God for sending the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who alone  inspires and empowers the Christian  church to spread the Gospel - the good news that Christ died for the sins of all mankind. And to do good, in the power and love of God.

So what then did the God of the Christian Church speak about this week?

First of all, a message sent to a journalist, and others, to whom the Lord has been speaking in and through this medium, about not hardening your heart when He speaks. Which is really the case throughout the ages that the Church has been in existence. Hence the kind of wickedness which is now so pervasive in my country, and others, where people made in the image and likeness of God are murdered with impunity and with little fear of being caught. But God sees and knows and will act one day in His own time.  As those who have the privilege of shaping the minds and values in a society, have a particular 
responsibility, and therefore will be judged  more harshly. So they need to know the Word of God. Therefore the Lord speaks. And speaks. And speaks.


As they (used to say) in Angola...a luta continua.  Another message for you this morning as the struggle continues for your soul.  Why? I am just being obedient. In any case it's not just for you alone. The message yesterday did not come out of thin air. There is a context, as the Lord woke me up early Sunday morning to read the Prophetic Word of Isaiah and in particular the predicted judgement against Egypt and Cush and Tyre and even Jerusalem. The point of which,  was that those who consistently disobeyed God were in terrible danger of being subject to God's wrath. In the same way, anyone who is not in Christ, not covered by the Blood of the Lamb, is in imminent danger. Peril!  That's the sum total of all reality. Everything else, all of life's many and varied activities, is all secondary. The reporting of the news! The announcement of policy! The debate on breast feeding! The plans for the summer!  The rise in the value of stocks in the USA! The departure of Fergie from Man U.
The only reality is whether or not we belong to the family of God. So the Lord sent an invitation by way of a song we sang in church on Sunday.

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
The Family of God.

You will notice we say "brother and sister" 'round here,
It's because we're a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
The Family of God.

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
The Family of God

Then he led me to His Word, concerning joint heirs with Jesus. The best news in all of history.
Therefore,  there is now no no condemnation for those who in Christ Jesus, because through  Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death  (There is actually a song about this).
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind  is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And of the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a sprit which makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry " Abba, the Father". The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we might also share in his glory. Romans 8:1-17 NIV
Comments. One, if you think that I could dream up this kind of message all by myself, you do a great dis-service to the fertile brain that God has given you. Two, when I was a child the  book of Romans was very intimidating and I found it hard to understand. As a matu(ring)re  Christian, I now find it perhaps one of the great teaching books in the Bible. Finally, again I exhort you, do not harden your heart to the Word of God. Today, is every time the Lord speaks to you. From whatever source.

The second message I sent out this week, was again to the very same person. Again through His Word, the Lord spoke. About His church. About His disciples. And about the need for us not to be deceived, as many try to corrupt the central message of the Christian faith. And finally abut the need for repentance. All of which in the context of miseducation. The deliberate action by the spirit of Elymas. One who repeatedly tried to turn people from the faith in the early church. And who, when finally confronted by Peter, was struck with blindness ( Acts 13: 4-12 NIV) A warning to those who consistently try to pervert the ways of God. 


The miseducation of Lauryn Hill.   Remember her!  Now labeled by CNN The Tax education of Lauryn Hill having been sentenced to three months in jail recently for " tax evasion", after reportedly earning over US $600 over her illustrious lifetime. This week  on Paula  Ann's  and Alan's  early morning programme on RJR,   I heard Lady Patra speaking the English language so eloquently, and  with the kind of diction that would be the envy of many who read the news daily. I learned that she hailed from Westmoreland and once sang in church,  before she got " miseducated" and became a " female Shabba Ranks"...crawling all over the stage in pursuit of popularity. But now she has apparently stepped away from that kind of image as having achieved she is now " in control" and does what she wishes rather than what obtained in her early days..
These thoughts came to mind, and with the help of google, as I don't know the first thing about dance hall music, never having attended any of the concerts like Sting or gone to a dance, but I recall them to say this:

Tomorrow in our church,  we will celebrate the day of Pentecost. Yesterday I heard you, together with the minister and the head of the JTA,  lamenting the miseducation of our children. But the problem is even worse, as it would appear that large tracts of our population have been miseducated about the Christian faith, hence the growing number of social and economic problems we face. As were the Jews  ( miseducated) who first heard and witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit on that first day.

" When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them...........
we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues. Amazed and perplexed, they  (the crowd of witnesses from all over the world) asked one another, " What does this mean?"
Some, however made fun of them and said, ' They have had too much wine".

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd. " Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose.....No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people.......

Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was  a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs which God did among you through him, as you yourself know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him......
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.......

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, " Brothers, what shall we do"
Peter replied, " Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. The promise is for you and for your children......
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, " save yourself from this corrupt generation". Acts 2: 1-40 NIV

1. These men were eye witnesses to the resurrection of Christ. Who then has miseducated our people and caused them to question the Word of God?
2. The promise of salvation in Christ Jesus is for all and their children...these same children whose behaviour  and performance, fueled by their miseducation, both at home and in the schools and in the public square,  like radio and television ,  about whom we are so concerned.
3.Repent and be baptized and save yourself from this corrupt generation...should be a warning similar to that of Paul Revere...remember him " the British are coming".....shouted out from all radio station in Jamaica. Then our people would no longer like  Lady Patra be miseducated, but rather be conduits through whom God will again pour out His Spirit on all flesh and rescue this country. But it has to begin with you. And wouldn't that be ( lovely) a revolution in news!
Peace and hope you will go and celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the church, somewhere tomorrow. 


Finally a Word to a friend. A difficult Word. But a necessary Word. A Word not of my own making but from God. In a very dramatic way. Doesn't happen very often and so to be taken very seriously. But not only for my friend, but for all who seek to pervert the ways of God and to oppose His Word. And for all who consistently harden their hearts.  For all who persistently disobey the Word of God. The God who longs to show compassion. And which compassion found its ultimate manifestation on the cross and in the wounded hands of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. After which event He appeared to the disciples, who had all run away and left Him, and instead of  a reprimand, said to them, " Peace". Thus restoring them to a new relationship with His Father. Then He breathed on them the life giving  Holy Spirit, and told them, " as my Father has sent me so I send you" . In the power of the Spirit, to tell of the unconditional love and grace  of God and to make themselves vulnerable in the process, thus aligning themselves with He whose wounds had healed others - the essence of a sermon preached this evening during a healing Service at my church by Bishop Harry Daniel. I pray God my  friend and all of us, me first, will take it seriously on this the birthday of the Christian church.


......I went to bed deeply concerned about you and my church. And prayed. And prayed. According to Psalm 20, which " appeared" in front of  me as I prayed:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion......

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
O Lord save the king!
Answer us when we call!

Then just now, the Lord woke me up, in an unusual way. Over the years I have grown accustomed to his 4 :00 am messages from the Word. But this one was different. This time He called me by name.  So I got up and began reading the Bible. And found this Word and was led to write to you.

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, ' No we will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop
like a banner on a hill."

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are  those who wait for him.
Isaiah 30:15-18 NIV

Its a message to " The Obstinate Nation". And this passage is preceded by frightening words.
.....Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly in an instant.
It will break-in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern .

My friend, there are two messages in this early morning  Word from the Lord.
The key one is that Lord longs to be gracious to you. But first you need to repent!.
I beg you, the circumstances surrounding this message from the Lord were very dramatic. A 'chance" meeting. A pleading Word at night. A very specific  answering  Word in the early morning. So my friend, 'Today if you hear the Lord calling do not harden your heart'. I beg of you, as He longs to show you compassion and not judgement.

Your friend


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