Sunday, November 10, 2013

Haiyan in The Phillipines, Many Rivers to Cross in Jamaica, and The Name of Jesus

10:00 pm Sunday November 10th,2013. Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s). A Prayer. I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing - John Newton NEWS BBC News - Typhoon Haiyan: Thousands feared dead in Philippines 1 hour ago - Officials say up to 10000 people may have died on Leyte island, which bore the brunt of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Vietnam heads to shelter as Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall Herald Sun ‎- 36 minutes ago MORE than 600000 people have been evacuated amid fears of flooding and damaging winds as a weakened Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall ... The two reports above reveal the extent to which this monster typhoon has wreaked devastation in South East Asia, and more damage is expected. All of this occurring in an area where 20 such storms have already affected the region for this year. The road ahead will be long and hard and bleak for this part of the world. And the pictures on television of fathers and mothers having had children snatched out of their hands by the storm surge was heart breaking. Such was the effect of news on me this weekend. Also in the news for the past couple of months was the leadership race in one of our two major political parties. The Jamaica Labour Party ( JLP). Well it is all done now. Or as the young people say "so done". The incumbent and younger man - an issue raised during the hustings - Andrew Holness, is still the leader of the Parliamentary Opposition in Jamaica. And the older more experienced challenger Audley Shaw, lost. The road ahead for the party will be long and difficult, as the struggle was bruising and divisive. But time is a great healer of things, especially when the prize is state power; and politics does indeed make for some strange bedfellows. This week also local singing maestro Tessanne Chin 'made the cut' , reached the final 12. The report below says it all: Tessanne Chin: You're Going To Win 'The Voice' - Hollywood Life 5 days ago - Tessanne Chin, when you closed the Nov. 4 episode of The Voice with a powerful rendition of Jimmy Cliff's “Many Rivers To Cross,” you shed ... And a huge chunk of the Jamaican population have been following her progress as if she were a 'national heroine', ever since she entered the competition. The road ahead looks bright for her. THE WORD OF GOD In the midst of the pain and suffering which invaded my soul via the television, and in the midst of the excitement generated by the JLP leadership race and the singing sensation Tessanne Chin, words from a hymn by Charles Wesley invaded my soul. And spawned text messages, inspired prayer and led to a message written to leaders of my country. The link with the news of the day is threefold. One, that, like the message from the book of Job, where calamity struck a family and a man ' who did not deserve to suffer so much", we don't understand why, in this case the people of the Philippines suffered so much. And the same observation could be made for countless millions who have suffered inexplicably over the centuries. But as we reminded in a riveting sermon by Rev. Dr. David Kuck, on the book of Job at my church today, we know that " our Redeemer liveth". And those who hope in Jesus Christ will find peace and comfort in Him. Whether in this life or the next! So the road ahead is bright regardless of the circumstances. Two, that despite the value and role, present and historical, politics and politicians, have and play in the development of a nation, by far, and by a wide margin, is the greater value that a nation ought to place on trusting the God of Abraham and of Moses and of Christ Jesus and of children of the slaves from Africa and indentured laborers from Asia. Thirdly, whilst music is no doubt one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and we are privileged to enjoy it, the ultimate role of all of such endeavors is to give glory to God. I am sure that it is in that context that Charles Wesley's hymn, " O For a Thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer's praise", literally invaded my soul. And one thing led to another, all in praise of God, and is Son Christ our Redeemer. On this journey with Christ. THE MESSAGE - SATURDAY MORNING Two great events in history capture entirely the wonders of the grace and mercy of God. One resulted in the birth of a nation, called out from Egypt and set free from evil. The other the birth of of God's holy people, called out from the bondage of Sin and set free from evil. Martin Luther King Jnr. in a profound commentary on the first event, termed it " The Death of Evil". And observed that "evil is recalcitrant and determined and never voluntarily relinquishes its hold short of a persistent, almost fanatical resistance. But that there is a checkpoint in the Universe , as evil cannot permanently organize itself". That checkpoint we now now know, even though He was active in the liberation of the Children of Israel thousands of years before, as the One who said, " Before Abraham was I am ", to be Jesus Christ and His Atonement for Sin on Calvary. One event triggered a famous song written by Moses and Miriam. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord : “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy. (Exodus 15:1-6 NIV) The other event, triggered many songs and hymns, the words of one of which invaded my soul yesterday. All day long! O FOR A THOUSAND VOICES TO SING Charles Wesley Verse: Psalm 91 O for a thousand tongues to sing My dear Redeemer's praise, The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of his grace. My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim And spread through all the earth abroad The honors of thy name. Jesus! the name that charms our fears And bids our sorrows cease; 'Tis music in the sinners ears, 'Tis life and health and peace. Last night at the usual hour, minutes to 4 o'clock,with some urgency The Lord woke me up to read: When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. And now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. (Deuteronomy 26:1-8, 10, 11 NIV) A passage of Scripture in addition to being entirely in keeping with the thought which The Lord inspired above, also triggered in my mind thoughts of the words of a verse of " Hark my soul it is The Lord ". “I delivered thee when bound, And, when bleeding, healed thy wound; Sought thee wandering, set thee right, Turned thy darkness into light. And also a song which represents the deep struggles of our forefathers as they battled with the injustices of slavery, from which evil, God with a strong right hand, would eventually set them and us , free. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen Nobody knows but Jesus Nobody knows the trouble I've seen Glory hallelujah! So, here is the conclusion as I have heard it from The Lord. That we in the Caribbean and descendants of slaves brought to the the New World, by our Colonial Masters, whether in the USA, South America or elsewhere, are 'called out people of God". That God with a strong right hand has rescued us from the evil of slavery and Sin. Therefore as a people, and especially as the 'ecclesia', the church leading the way, our role is to call out to God for mercy for our country night and day. For our Caribbean people; for the recipients of God's mercy on enslaved people everywhere; and for the recipients of the providential mercy of God on Calvary - the whole human race. That we should offer without ceasing, thanksgiving to God, with 'living sacrifices' - our will, our hopes, our aspirations, our dreams, our goals, our vision. And so we should rejoice in all things, and worship God at all times, and pray without ceasing for the rescuing of our nations. The problem is the distractions, the obstacles, the temptations from within and without. All of which keep us from being thankful, from the worship of a faithful God, and from prayer - the great work that God has given to us. The sum total of which is probably best captured by the words of one of the verses of the great hymn," O Jesus I have promised"; O let me feel thee near me: the world is ever near; I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear; my foes are ever near me, around me and within; but, Jesus, draw thou near me, and shield my soul from sin. And so I end appropriately by going full circle back to the hymn of praise that Wesley wrote about one of the two, and the most important, of the great events of history. Jesus! the name that charms our fears And bids our sorrows cease; 'Tis music in the sinners ears, 'Tis life and health and peace. In that Name, and the constant calling of that Name, we find space and power to be thankful, to worship and to pray. Without ceasing, in a land of twitter, of facebook, of texting, of cable, of dance-hall music, of hip hop Milly Cyrus type music, of talk radio, of video games of British, Spanish, and Italian Football, of NBA, of Tiger Woods Golf, of Serena Williams Tennis, of Usain Bolt Athletics, of Political intrigue at home and abroad, of daily scandals of financial challenges, of family responsibilities, and even of Church related activities. All of which if we are not careful keep us from, in some cases temporarily in other permanently, from carrying out that which God has ordained for all mankind. And especially for those who have accepted His offer of grace and mercy! To give thanks; to worship; and to pray. All three of which translate into living a life for Justice and for Righteousness, so that we can help to rescue others from the bondage of Sin and Injustice. As we have been rescued. And the combination of which is the cause for so much of the ills that beset Jamaica, and the cause of much human suffering across the world. Peace. LWJ Finally, a message not written, but indelibly imprinted on my heart. This Word of God from 2 Kings also invaded my soul and led to much prayer. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17 NIV) Especially the prayer that God will open the eyes of my heart and those with whom I come in contact. For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:15-21 NIV) I pray God that he will assist us to call on the Name of Jesus often; that He will open our eyes that we can see that there are more who are with us than those against us; and that we will be constantly aware of His great power available to us in Christ Jesus. Whether we are facing calamity; whether change in life beckons or whether joy and peace and happiness are with us for while. Amen! Peace LWJ Sent from my iPad