They hit like a ton of bricks

1. Grief vs Solace 

If we do not mourn, we will not be comforted, Matthew 5 v 4. So we have to grieve……when it’s time for grieving we grieve; think back to times when you tried to play it strong and refuse to grieve……….How much comfort did you receive?

According to Solomon there is a time and a place for everything, including tears……..

Tears speak a language God understands. A tear is a prayer.

2. Tempted vs Tested

Jesus was tempted right after his baptism- so will we.

The devil knew Jesus was hungry, he offered food- he knows what we want too, he will offer it as well.

Matthew 4 v 4- we need more than physical food daily…..

Jesus was prepared- he knew scriptures and his faith was already honed. We look to Ephesians 6 v 10-17

Devil did not stop after one attempt, he made three attempts but fled after Jesus did not succumb, James 4 v 7

Devil is stronger than us, but not stronger than who is within us 1 John 4 v 4 

God tests but does not tempt….

We are tempted by our own desires which matures and give birth to sin James 1 v 13Jesus was tempted by the Devil, Job was tempted by the Devil………God allowed them both….think on why

We will be tempted and tested too; but we cannot survive without a strong foundation……Matthew 13 v 18-23 and Matthew 7 v 24-27

We need to remember to ask God to help us not to be led into temptation….Matthew 6 v 13.

4. Being Kind

Does God expects us to give away everything we have?

Jesus told his disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven Matthew 19 v 16-24… Does this mean the rich will never see heaven? I think not- he says where your treasure is, there your heart is. So own your treasures, but dont be owned by them.

He was also teaching that there is only one way for us to become immune to the dominant power of money, and it is for us to hold it loosely, or give it away. Chuck Swindoll explains it this way “As long as you are clutching, you will never be open to the Holy Spirit……God will gently tug at first, but if you resist he will pry it away- and I can assure you it will hurt”

The Widows Mite – Luke 21 v 1-4 she gave out of all she had. She didn’t think she had too little to give……that’s the same mind we should have… it’s never too small to give. You may want to give more, but maybe you can’t……still give what you can and of what you have been entrusted …..think hard enough and you will find you have a lot to give. He did not not say rich people should not give either, but instead I believe he meant giving is a heart condition…..

No one has to know about your giving……Matthew 6 v 2-4

It is more blessed to give than receive, the more you give the more you get and never forget he loves a cheerful giver…..Acts 20 v 35 and 2 Corinthians 9 v 6-7…..

5. The means justify the ends 

 ..….it’s your motive and intentions that make the act. Matthew 5 v 17-20….….. he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it………as without the law we would not have known what sin is Romans 7 v 7.

Grace doesn’t mean we break the law with impunity or we break it and then presume on faith. Obeying the law should not be done either in order to gain a reward, or to tick off boxes on your check list;  but should come naturally once you accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Jesus summed all Ten Commandments into two at Matthew 22 v 36-37, in essence repackaging the rules into principles. This means we have no excuse, we cannot say it’s not a part of the law so I can or cannot do this or that.

Jesus came thus and provided a deeper explanation of what it means to obey the Law look at how he spoke about murder, adultery, taking oaths, retaliation, divorce……Matthew 5 v 21-end 

6. Ask and you will receive…….Matthew 5 v 7-11

If we do not ask, seek or knock how else will someone know you need something?

God knows what we need even before we ask, however he still expects us to ask…….remember he gave us free will. He will never impose. Furthermore asking, will lead to a deepening of our relationship with him- a dependence on him……Matthew 6 v 11…… ask daily for your bread….remember what happened when the Israelites tried to hoard the manna??? Exodus 16 v 19-21

He does tell us however at James 4 v 3– that we may ask but not receive, if we ask with a selfish motive. 

He also says at John 16 v 24 that we should ask through Jesus…….and James 1 v 6-7 exhorts us to ask with faith………faith is a precondition to pleasing God and to receiving from God.

Philippians 4 v 6-7 also shows us that God invites us to ask for everything…….although our focus should not be solely on making requests.

1 John 5 v 14-15 also attaches another condition- we receive what is in accordance with his will…..

7.Fear vs. Courage 

Galatians 5 v 16-17….. flesh vs spirit. That’s the perennial war waging inside of us. This is mentioned again at Romans 8 v 4- 13 and Romans 7 v 15-23. 

We cannot fight and win this war on our own, we need God’s spirit to help us hence we need to ask for help to do this. Romans 7 v 24-25

No one is born courageous……..courage is something we practice, one small decision at a time.

Neither are we courageous all the time; our teeth will be shattering, knees knocking, palms sweating and heart pounding but depend on God to give us power beyond what is normal.

Maya Angelou said ” courage is the most important virtue, because without it we cannot practice any other virtue consistently” ……. that is a truism.

Many opportunities will arise for us to be courageous…..courage comes from our responses to them. They do not give advance notice, so we can miss them and especially too if we do not have a heart for God. We need to ask for wisdom and we need to know our limitations too……

8. What a Christian does

Fruits are borne from vines and branches. To bear fruit, the branches must get nutrients from the vine. John 15 v 5- 8. 

Suffice to say, a tree can bear bad and good fruit……Jesus is the lifeblood for good fruit and good fruits have certain characteristics ……..love, joy, peace, faith,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control……Galatians 5 v 22-23.

Test the fruit to know if it is good or bad………Matthew 7 v 15-20. Christians are called to be salt and light- food is not very tasty without salt……light is needed for us to endure darkness, light is the source of hope after darkness, and without darkness we would never appreciate light. So we are God’s handiwork created IN Jesus (the vine) to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Our faith must therefore be manifested in the works we do, or the fruits we bear. Its not a faith only or a works only theology. Just like James said, body without spirit is dead and faith without works is dead.

9. Female Dress

1 Peter 3 v 1-4……women and more specifically wives must focus on their internal traits. External traits and adornment are of lesser importance in God’s eyes, provided it is him you seek to please. The funny thing is by pleasing him, you will get what you want eventually.

Do not put emphasis on …..the braiding of hair and the wearing of gold or accoutrements for example…….. dress ‘in a way that is proper for women professing devotion to God’. God values humility, modesty, cleanliness, moderation etc….your mode of dress should reflect that. Also do not dress to draw attention to self and away from God, do not seek to become self- indulgent or narcissistic. In all circumstances it’s God who must be glorified.

Bear in mind too weather conditions, cultures and the fact that what may be expensive to me is certainly not so for Michelle Obama for example. 2 Timothy 2 v 9-10 ….I do not think this is saying either that we must buy only inferior or poor quality cheap things to wear, but rather that we should live within our means, wear what you can afford and be contented.

And one more thing – Deuteronomy 22 v 5 , should women dress like men? Definitely not. Dressing to look like a man is different from wearing pants- women wear pants all the time and certainly are not mistaken for men.

10. Shared Humanity

Pema Chrodon famously said ….”……..compassion is not a relationship between healer and wounded, it is a relationship among equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others…….” Philippians 2 v 3-4 shares a similar narrative in my mind.

Lets not focus on US vs THEM……..because we are ‘either or ‘ at some point or another. We offer help and we need to ask for help at times too. We are thus warned not to be kind, helpful, compassionate and caring to satisfy our own ego or out of rivalry. So we really should not grumble and complain before we do something, or do it to solicit a future favour……I know that’s hard at times.

Motive……are we people-pleasing and grandstanding, hustling or trying to win over, because that’s all about pleasing self and not about honouring others and its hard work too. So start with SELF and start with WHY. We can’t love others if we don’t love self, we can’t be compassionate to others if we don’t have self-compassion. That’s how I believe we consider others above self, and look out for the interest of others as well self.

 

 

Advertisements

At the Table…….

I recently became aware of a ministry called ‘Comfort Food’…..it is prayerfully and sacrificially providing meals with love, to others who are experiencing a need at a particular time. What a novel way to show God’s love to others!!!! Food can heal wounds and pause war.  This was proven at the Christmas Truce of 1914.

So it led me to start thinking about the power of food…….

  1. Jesus’s ministry involved a lot of food. He fed 5000 and he turned water into wine. He ate with his disciples at the Last Supper, he dined with Zaccheous and Matthew at their houses, and when he visited Mary and Martha….food was mentioned in the account. It seems like it is easier to get the point across and to have one’s ears when they are fed; after all you ‘cant teach a hungry man morals’. Providing food is the hospitable thing to do too……however, we must not gloss over the fact that he gave equal importance to spiritual food. Martha was scolded for shunning the more important things and the Devil was rebuked at Matthew 4 v 4.
  2. When our new minister at home insisted on having fellowship after each Sunday morning service it was met with resistance…… Everyone wanted to eat but no one wanted to provide. He insisted, he persisted……. I moved to another church and fellowship is a big part of the Sunday morning service, and this is for over 500 persons each Sunday. It works like a charm………..Now I am not sure what effect it has on the gathering but I do not discount the benefits to be derived.
  3. I knew a wife who sold the family dining table……now as far as I know the family that eats together, stays together. You see it often in the movies….and who remembers Soul Food??? I get the impression too, that part of the coping mechanism of the segregated South in the USA was the family gatherings- around food. No one can dispute that those delectable southern meals- the corn bread, gravies and stews are filled with a whole lot of love, heart and feeling. Around any table with food, is a safe haven for many discussions, decisions and reconciliation.
  4. Dim Sum got me thinking about the power of the dining table. Spanish, Lebanese, Chinese, Indian and Jamaican and spanning the religious spectrum- Christian, Hindu, Jewish and non-religious all met without acrimony to partake. There was respect for preference in food as well as effort to ensure each was satisfied and comfortable. There was tolerance and awe for those who ate animal brains, turtles, half-egg half-chicken, worm burgers, big-ass ants, dogs and donkeys and then we were regaled too with stories about using urine and snake blood as medicine. The conversation then morphed into a lesson on Hindu marriages and sacrilege; business proposals and strategies were not far behind…..Food truly relaxes the mood and opens the heart…..
  5. We have our own theories about food too. The may to a man’s heart is through his stomach……. so much so that we have some very weird beliefs as it relates to stew peas and keeping your ‘man’…..I don’t believe it works at all. In fact, I think its just nasty but belief kills and it cures.
  6. Preparing food, experimenting with menus, exotic dishes and just making tasty food………….who can deny the therapeutic effects. And if you don’t like the kitchen there is BlueApron.com and a billion dollar industry around frozen meals or you can always find a husband who loves to cook. Also, if eating is just a means of surviving for you, no problem with that either. I mean, you don’t have to be a food connoisseur or a chef to enjoy the benefits of the table….
  7. Dining etiquette, or in Jamaican vernacular ‘table manners’, that is a very essential skill to hone. Last time I checked, sitting at the table is where that is taught.  For my grandmother used to tell me, ‘manners carry you through the world’. This is not only about where to put your elbows or handbags, how to eat soup, and which cutlery to use at what time…….it’s also about talking in turn and being on time, saying please and thank you and waiting your turn. It’s about not being greedy or selfish, learning contentment and not practicing gluttony.

Food is the staff of life, but it is also so much more……

Perfect Example 

Jesus is the personification of love,……….the ultimate act of self- sacrifice, a love we hardly deserve. Romans 5 v 6-8 and John 15 v 13.

Jesus is our Saviour………..the way, the truth and life. John 14 v 6

Jesus mentored and placed emphasis on teaching and preaching……………from Jerusalem, to Galilee, Judea, Jericho……..in homes Luke 10 v 38-42 on boats Luke 5 v 3 by the sea, Matthew 13 v 1-3 on roadways Matthew 23 v 1-12, on mountains, Matthew 5 & 6-

Jesus prayed to his Father…….. at the Lord’s Supper ( Luke 22 v 14-21) before choosing the twelve, Luke 6 v 12-16 before he preached Mark 1 v 35-39, before feeding the five thousand, Luke 9 v 10- 17 and at the Transfiguration Luke 9 v 28-36  and at his death Luke 23 v 34 and many other times.

Jesus obeyed his Father……. even when he asked that the cup be passed. Luke 22 v 39-43

Jesus was baptized………. he set the perfect example for us. Matthew 3 v 13-17.

Jesus could look into hearts …….so he knew how to answer each one. The Pharisees, Nathanael John 1 v 43-51, he knew what was on Judas’ mind, John 21-30 and he told Peter he would deny him thrice, Luke 22 v 31-34.

Jesus was humble……he did not berate but corrected his disciples when they haggled about favoritism and for headship. Luke 9 v 46-48, And 22 v 24-30

Jesus was impartial…….he ate with Matthew (Matthew 9 v 9-13) & Zaccheous ( Luke 19 v 1-10) he met the woman at the well (John 4 v 7- 29), he forgave the thief on the cross (Luke 23 v 39-43), and the woman caught in adultery. John 8 v 1-11

Jesus was compassionate and full of mercy…… he cast out demons, Luke 8 v 26-33 healed the sick and raised the dead. The paralytic Matthew 9 v 1-8, Jairus’s daughter and the woman who touched his garment Mark 5 v 21-43, blind Bartimaeus Mark 10 v 46- 52, Lazarus John 11 v 28- 44, the leper Mark 1 v 40-45, the ten Lepers Luke 17 v 11-19. Mathew 4 v 23-24, sums it together.

Jesus always spoke the truth and was full of courage……. he always set things straight. Look at his encounter with Nicodemus ( John 3 v 1-21) . Remember what he did to the to money changers ( Matthew 21 v 12-13) what he said to James & John (Mark 10 v 32-45),  how he responded to Pontius Pilate (John 18 v 33-38) and  his encounters with the Pharisees. Luke 20 v 19-26, Matthew 22 v 23-40, Luke 14 v 1-6, Matthew 19 v 1-9 among others.

Jesus did not yield to temptation……….he responded to temptation by quoting the scriptures. Matthew 4 v 3-4 (Deuteronomy 8 v 3), Matthew 4 v 6-7 ( Deuteronomy 6 v 16) and Matthew 4 v 9-10 ( Deuteronomy 6v 13).

Jesus knew the scriptures …… Matthew 13 v 14

His words were like two edged swords …..”easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye…..”.  “The healthy does not need a physican, but the sick does “. ” straining out a gnat, and swallowing a camel”………” get thee behind me Satan” ” you clean the outside of the cup, but inside is dirty…….you are like whitewashed tombs” ” do not feed pearls to pigs”, ” he who has ears to hear, let him hear”…..

His whole life was a life lived for others……. and he interceded with his Father on all accounts………..he implores us to imitate him! Those who meet him are never the same!!!

Marketers

They live amongst us, some benign and some very much in our face. And, they aren’t always the big executives who work in the advertising industry. They are also the people we encounter each day. Take a closer look…..

Bildad.. Job 8, he was a powerful orator, just like his companions Eliphaz Job 4-5 and Zophar Job 11. Their speech, even if uttered today would knock us off our rockers, because it makes sense to many. But worse than that, when we are down with affliction, weak in suffering, and in need of compassion, do we have the energy to even think about our own demise or respond positively to such cutting accusations? Think too on Job’s wife Job 2 v 9.

Job was special, he reached out to God rather than turn away Job 1 v 20-22, Job 13 v 23-24.

Then came Elihu. The thing with him is that he was also bold, he countered with a truth, that truth that cuts to the core, that reaches the heart, Job 33 v 1- 13. Job 33 v 14-21- Elihu, contradicts the previous reason given for his suffering and then shows how this suffering will be perceived by those who love God and those who don’t. Job 36 v 1-15.  Psalms 119 v 71. The righteous does indeed suffer but it’s purpose is to throw light on our imperfections and our need for God, for our refinement and enlarged holiness. Double jeopardy is of man, Jesus already bore the punishment.

Decide which marketer you will be today…….

Natural & Man-made

img_40931img_32351    
As I try to create a canvass, I notice:

Trees- trees adapt and adjust to the changing scenes of life, and I don’t hear them complaining.

Flowers- beautifully arrayed, no two are alike-rich and vibrant hues, here today but gone tomorrow.

Birds- diverse species, colours and functions. They neither ‘toil or sow nor reap’ yet they are fed… why do we worry so much?

Water- changes in form (liquid, solid, gas) to suit the circumstances- turquoise blue, cold grey, icey white, green too and even black.

The Sky- shades of blue, dotted and decorated by clouds- cumulus, Sirrus, nimbo stratus……….

Contrasts- black & white, brown & black birds, green, yellow and burgundy leaves, red berries, green green deep green grass, pink blooms, pristine white……….

Parks & mountains; lakes, oceans & cliffs, rivers & ravines, fog, rain & snow, and sunshine- sunsets and sunrise, the wind……

And he man-made gifts are just as impressive, but no need for surprise….. he is a loving Master.

He gives and gives abundantly and will not hold back….we are made in his image and because of that we too are endowed with gifts to create the spectacular and awe-inspiring. Gravity-defying buildings, works of art, sloping stairways, delectable treats and snacks, you name it we have done it. But not in our own wisdom or strength, let’s never forget that.

So as we admire and ponder on nature and natural wonders- let us do the same on The Creator. For despite what we think or how we perceive it, “all good things and all perfect gifts” are from our Heavenly Father.

Some things know no bias………

1. God…… He is not partial- he sent his son as a ransom for all

2. Scrooges/ or in Jamaican vernacular – sponger

3. Bun 😂😂😂😂😂, not the one you eat with cheese.

4. Breaking the commandments- refer back to # one.

5. Bad Driving-  it’s not entirely due to bad road and traffic jams.

6. Jealousy, follow fashion and red eye – very dangerous!!!!!!

7. Green arm- 🙊🙊🙊🙊 you think a lie me a tell?

8. Pretty face and Coca Cola bottle shape

9. Mental illness and physical handicaps; oh yes, split down the middle- cut across boundaries.

10. Over- indulging….. Whether on food, shopping, selfies, entertainment, sex, gossip, ………

11. Dunce and Intelligence

12. Sexual Predators

12. Ginnals, liars, beggars and thieves

13.  Pride and show off- these ones Mek yuh feel pain though- trust me.

14. Children- at least until nurture takes effect.

15. Stingy- or to be politically correct, thrifty…..👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾

16. Shame and Stress

17. Cruff, wotliss and lazy

18. Falling in 💕, fallout out of 💕💕💕💕……..

19. Insecurity

20. Selfishness and impatience

21. Pwile and ill-mannered children

22. Picking your nose

23. Natural disasters

24. Taxes and death

25. Love of food, and especially free food

26. Gigolo, pimps, and cougars too

27. Staring at the hapless one who is stopped by the police.

And the list goes on……….. From dust we came and to dust we shall return……..

The things they say……

welcome-to-parentingYour parents say: “A no everything good fi eat, good fi talk……AND… If talk worth shilling, silence worth pound..AND…… ” if yuh don’t have good fi sey, don’t see nothing”

The Bible says: ” Be quick to hear, and slow to speak…… Learn to bridle your tongue…….James 1 v 19 and v 26 and Colossians 4 v 6. Learn to restrain your words Proverbs 17 v 27-28,  Ecclesiastes 3 v 7, Proverbs 15 v 23, 29 and chapter 12 v 18.

 

Your parents say:  “Show me your company, tell you who you are”

The Bible says ” Bad Associations spoil good habits” (1 Corinthians 15 v 33, Proverbs 13 v 20)

 

Your parents say: “Onnu nuh match, not over my dead body”

The Bible says: “Do not be unequally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6 v 14)

 

Your parents say: “Bird in the hand worth two in the bush”

The Bible says:  Better to enjoy what the eyes see than to wander after desires, this is futility, chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 6 v 9)

 

Your mother says “Let bygones be bygones”

The Bible says: “Forgive your brother” Colossians 3 v 13 et al)

 

Your parents say: “Manners carry you through the world”

The Bible says: “Train up a child the way he should grow and it will not depart from him” (Proverbs 22 v 6)

 

Your parents say: “Spread your bed hard, you lie down in it”

The Bible says: Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he shall reap…”(Galatians 6 v 7)

 

Your parents say: ”  nuh hang yuh basket where you can’t reach it…….learn fi creep before yuh walk”

The Bible says: “In all circumstances be content……… in plenty and in need be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13 v 5 and Philippians 4 v 11)

 

Your parents say: “When you a dig pit- dig two, you spit in the sky it fall inna yuh face”

The Bible says: ” Do unto others what you would have them do to you” Matthew 7 v 12 and Luke 6 v 31. Do not put a stumbling block in your brothers way (Romans 14 v 13)

 

Your parents say:  ” Don’t back ansa me gal”

The Bible says:  “Children obey your parents……….for this is right.”Ephesians 6 v 1

N.
Your parents say: “two sides to every story”

The bible says: “the man who states his case first, seems right until the others come and examine it” Proverbs 18 v 17

 

Your parents say: “good yuh do, will follow you”

The Bible says: ” Do not grow weary of doing good, for you will reap in due time if you do not give up” Galatians 6 v 9 and 1 Peter 3 v 14

 

Your parents say: “you yeye too big fi yuh stomach”

The Bible says : “If you can be trusted with little, you will be faithful with much but if you are dishonest with little, you will be dishonest with much” (Luke 16 v 10)

 

Your parents say: “don’t tek up people things, stop telling lies and don’t red yeye”

The Bible says: ” Do not steal, do not lie, do not covet…..” (Exodus 20 v 15,16,17)

 

Your parents say: ” Yuh tek up the world pon you shoulder…… poun a fret caan pay ounce a debt”

The Bible says: ” Do not worry about your life, about what to eat or drink, or what to wear……….or about tomorrow, each day has sufficient worries of its own……” Matthew 5 v 25-34

 

Your parents say:  “One one coco, full basket”

The bible says: ” Be patient, wait on God ……..submit yourselves to him” Psalms 27 v 14, James 4 v 7

 

Your parents say: “if you nuh mash ants belly, you nuh know wha inside a dem”

The Bible says:  “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…”Luke 6 v 45

 

Your parents say: “Don’t be ungrateful child”

The Bible says: “Give thanks in all circumstances ….. for everything”(1 Thessalonians 5 v 18)

 

Your parents say  ” Tick bruk off inna yuh aise, who can’t hear will feel”

The Bible says : “Listen to advice and heed discipline….” (Proverbs 15 v 22 & 19 v 20)

 

Your parents say: “Greedy choke puppy….. want all- lose all”

The Bible says:  ” Beware of becoming greedy…. (1 Timothy 6 v 9-10)

 

Your parents say: “Tek di matter out of your eye, before you tell smaddy fi dweet”

The Bible says:  “Examine yourselves first (Luke 6 v 41)……”do not judge” (Matthew 7 v 1)

 

Your parents say: “Can lead horse to water, but can’t force him to drink”

The Bible says: ” Each person must be convinced in his own mind”(Romans 14 v 5)

 

Your parents say: “Bend the tree when it young”

The bible says:  ” Do not spare the rod, and spoil the child”Proverbs 13 v 24 and Hebrews 12 v 7

 

Your parents say: “Good friends better than pocket money”

The bible says: “A friend loves at all times and is a brother born for times of distress” Proverbs 17 v 17