Sunday, October 13, 2013

Malala at The UN and The White House: Christ on Calvary

I read my Bible to see what men ought to do, and read my newspapers to see what men are doing John Newton. Lord renew thy church beginning with me: Lord renew the church, that the church may renew the nation(s) It's a well used cliche but look below and see if you don't agree that in fact, a picture like this is really and truly worth a thousand words. image.png President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter, Malia, meet with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Who could have imagined that evil masquerading as a defender of the faith, in attempting to kill and teach others a lesson, instead allowed this brave young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, to take center stage in the world last week. Speaking at the UN, with her message of hope and inspiration for other young girls across the globe, echoing across the planet on television and on twitter. Gaining audience with the Obamas. And almost coping the Noble prize for Peace. What a week for a teenager! In fact she upstaged all the world's leaders, as none of them, in recent times, has commanded the attention of the media and others, except to beat war drums, as she did last week. For peace, for education, for the good of mankind everywhere. One can almost hear the Biblical injunction...and a little child shall lead the midst of the excitement and the hype. Will her efforts have an impact on her country which she clearly more drones Mr. President......? Only time will tell, and we all hope and pray that the threat of evil, will not succeed the second time around if she elects to return. But whatever is her fate, and that is in God's hands, this girl had made a mark on the world. Forever! Question is, do we have such a brave person in my country who is willing, passionate and able to inspire our people to greater heights? To rise above the petty internecine political squabbles and " frame reality and give people hope", as one commentator speaking on radio recently, suggested was the role of a leader in the 21st century. To give a nation hope in the midst of the most outrageous behavior being exhibiting by our school children, the nature of which was fully exposed in The Jamaica Observer today. To give our children hope that they will no longer have to learn " under gunfire", as was the lead story in The Daily Gleaner today. To give a people hope in the midst of one of the most challenging economic times we have ever experienced. To give a generation of young men and women reason to remain in Jamaica rather than " voting with their feet", and leaving for greener pastures up North. THE WORD OF GOD So in the midst of " Malala Week", what did the God who rescued her from sudden death, and allow her to speak at the UN and the White House, say to His people? First of all, in a note sent to senior journalists, politicians and other members of civil society, The Lord led me to speak through one who evil attempted to silence. And thought that they had, only for the words of Martin Luther King jnr, to live on in his writings and in his speeches. One of which, " The Letter to The American Christians", is featured below, as a reminder that like Malala, Christians have a unique role to play in the life of any nation. The context was an ongoing 'discussion" about the correct faith, but the Word has a far greater application in inspiring us to ' stand your ground' against anything that 'conflicts with the will of God'. No matter from whence it cometh! Such is the high calling that we have as children of God in this troubled world. THE MESSAGE I had no reason to awake at 5:30 am this morning, after having had a rough night the night before; what with one of my children falling ill far a way from me, and my having to get up early to appear on TVJ. Normally I begin my devotions with praise, but this morning after The Lord had calmed my soul when my child was ill, with the words, " All is well", and recalling that it appeared in one of the many reflections in my Bible, I went looking for it, and found out more about God's mercy. As recorded in one of the most important verses in the Bible. " For God has bound over all men to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." Romans 11:32. And so I sent it out, along with a reminder of to whom the wonderful song " your grace and mercy refers, Christ Jesus and the act of Atonement on Calvary, as a text message to you and others. Then instead of the one for which I was searching, I found this edited version of Martin Luther King jnr, famous letter; not the one from prison, but rather the one written to American Christians. You may wish to google and read the entire letter as it makes for very interesting reading about King's prophetic views on the American society. Is there a connection with the issue of mercy? Read for yourself and find out. Is there a connection to the specific issue of a " correct faith" Absolutely! And more. So much more. The question is how does this understanding of the correct faith play out in this " everything goes", and " let all ideas contend", society! FROM PAUL'S LETTER TO THE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS MARTIN LUTHER KING JNR Verse: Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way. But American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or, as I said to the Phillipian Christians, "Ye are a colony of heaven." This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God's will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God. LWJ Sent from my iPad THE SECOND MESSAGE I believe in the same way that young Malala is prepared to give it her all, and even risk her life to return to play a pivotal role in her country, Watchman Nee in this reflection on God's Word, is calling us to be " wasted" for The Lord . In the sense that our lives must become so sacramental in nature and in deed, that we are prepared to be used by God, in whatever way He choses, so that the lives of others may be rescued from bondage to Sin, to poverty, to a life of substandard education, from injustice, from immorality and from economic privation. And that kind of life, as Nee demonstrated, begins with a determination to " live in the Word". And to live " by the Word". One of the most severe disciplines for any Christian, especially the young in an age of Netflix,, facebook, twitter, iTunes, and " I text a lot". WATCHMAN NEE I met upon a reflection by Watchman Nee on " The Fragrance of God, and was searching for it online in order to send it to others and then found this sermon based on the reflection. It puts a slightly different spin to it, as W. N. was more emphatic about being " wasted " for The Lord, but still it is useful. How did this all start. With a yearning to please The Lord based on my ( current) nightly reading of John's gospel - having gone through the synoptic gospels already. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29 NIV) And then this reflection by W. N. this morning. ( 1903-1972 ...the indigenous church movement formed and fostered by by Watchman Nee in pre-world war 11 China helped to lay the foundation for for many of China's house 18 WN began to devote himself entirely to the study and preaching of the Bible....bore fruit in the formation of " The Little Flock Movement" ...arrested and tried on false charges Nee was imprisoned in 1952 and died in prison in 1972...books include " The Normal Christian Life" ..a study on Romans. THE FRAGRANCE OF GOD Verse: John 12:3 There must be something - a willingness to to yield, a breaking and a pouring out of everything to him - which gives release to that fragrance of Christ and produces in other lives an awareness of need, drawing them out and on to know The Lord . This is what I feel to be the heart of everything. The gospel has at its one object the production in us sinners of a condition that will satisfy the heart of our God. In order that he may have that, we come to him with all we have, all we are - yes even the most cherished things in our spiritual experience - and we make known to him: " Lord I am willing to to let go all of this for you: not just for your work, not for your children, not for anything else at all, but altogether and only for yourself!" Oh, to be wasted! It is a blessed thing to be wasted for The Lord . So many who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this. Many of us have been used to the full - have been used, I would say, too much - but we do not know what it means to be " wasted on God". We like to be always " on the go"; The Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison. We think in terms of apostolic journeys for God: God dares to put his greatest ambassadors in chains. " But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. ( 2 Corinthians2:14) " And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume" ( John 12:3) The Lord grant us grace that we may learn how to please him. When like Paul, we make this our supreme aim ( 2 Corinthians 5:9), the gospel will have achieved its end. Also found this: By the breaking of that flask and the anointing of the Lord Jesus, the house was pervaded with the sweetest fragrance (John 12:1). Everyone could smell it and none could be unaware of it. What is the significance of this? Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered — someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be ‘used,’ has been willing to be imprisoned by Him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else — then immediately you become aware of something. Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savour of Christ. Something has been crushed, something has been broken in that life, and so you smell the odor. The odor that filled the house that day in Bethany still fills the Church today; Mary’s fragrance never passes. It needed but one stroke to break the flask for the Lord, but that breaking and the fragrance of that anointing abides. Conclusion: My hope and prayer, that new life will indeed flow from the reading of this message from The Lord. In the same way that a Christian friend and a Pastor from Pakistan wrote and told me this week that His wife, at last is pregnant, and that I should pray for them. Coincidence? I think not. If a little child, who evil touched, can so inspire a world, how much more should the Son of Man, Christ the Savior, the Son of God, who evil tried to silence again and again, be honored and glorified and obeyed. As He Only has the Words of Eternal Life. And that picture of Him on the Cross, imprinted on the hearts of millions across the globe, is worth so much more than a thousand words. Peace. LWJ