The Call

9 Jan

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44

The Creator deals with us as individuals. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world; a tailor-made relationship that makes one know they’re special.

When I chose to follow the teachings of Jesus, it wasn’t because the teachings of a physical church convinced me. Rather, it came in the form of a dream, and it was a warning.

I had just returned to my country after spending some time in the USA. My intentions were not to stay, I had only returned to obtain a student visa to attend a college that accepted me. But when I was refused the visa, I went into a deep depression.

My dad, who was a member of the SDA church, saw my sadness and decided to give me some space. Without him “interfering”, I felt free. I accepted my dilemma and started a plan B.

I decided to become a professional singer, so I found a manager. Then I got a job as a freelance journalist at a newspaper company. With this came the opportunity to be an interviewer on a popular local TV show geared towards the youth. I had a very cool boyfriend, and our favourite pastime was playing pool at a bar with my brother and his friends. I was very carefree and would come home after 3am every morning. But one of those mornings, my dad left a letter on my bed. In it, he questioned my behaviour and asked if I was still living a pure life. This troubled me, because I knew in my heart that I was going in the wrong direction. Then I fell asleep and dreamt.

In the dream, I watched myself in two visions. In the first, I was at a wedding reception standing near a buffet table. I proceeded to dig my whole hand into a beef lasagna and ate. When I saw myself do that, I quickly shouted “I don’t eat beef!” As soon as I said that, the scene rotated to another, and in it, I was dressed as a bride. A man also dressed in white with golden hair came to stand beside me. I understood that we were about to get married. As I watched myself, I blurted out, “I’m not marrying this man, I don’t know him!” As soon as I said that, the man disappeared and I was left alone. Then, instead of being a watcher, I was now in the dream, and frantically cried out, “Come back! Come back! I’ll marry you!” Then I woke up.

Amazingly, I woke up knowing what the dream meant. It wasn’t about diet, or getting married to a random guy. This was the interpretation that was embedded into my mind:

YOU ARE DOING THINGS THAT YOU KNOW ARE WRONG. I AM CALLING YOU. IF YOU DON’T COME, YOU WILL NOT FIND ME.

After that experience, I made a 180 degree turn. I dumped my boyfriend then I gave up my job. Why? Because all of a sudden I couldn’t walk to it! It was the strangest thing. I had to take a bus then walk a kilometre to work. I’d take two steps and couldn’t move. It was as if my brain stopped coordinating with my legs. I finally gave up and miraculously found another job much closer to my home. It was through this job, that God set my future in motion.

I became an avid reader of the Bible. I wasn’t actively attending a church, just spending time with God. I had many beautiful experiences with the Holy Spirit. Then finally, I chose to be re-Baptized and join a church.

What I want to underline, is that my relationship with God wasn’t based on the church I joined, it was based on a call to follow Christ. I see the physical church as a means to Christ, not the end. Unfortunately, after some time I became distracted. I began trying to win people to my church instead of winning them to Christ. This is something many of us are guilty of.

In Christianity, we have a dilemma when it comes to denominations. Are we called to Christ or a church? Outsiders question our faith because we appear to be very divided. Jesus prayed for unity, for by it, He said, the world will know that the Father sent Him.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20,21

I believe that this topic of unity is very important. I think I’ll write about it in more detail in my next blog. See you then!

Sacred Mind

7 Jan

Do you ever wonder if everything you are is truly you?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Born in India? Most likely Hindu and speak Hindi or English. Born in Pakistan? Most likely Muslim and speak Urdu . Born in Spain? Most likely Catholic and speak Spanish; it’s because of where you started and who raised you. It was handed down to you, and you accepted it. Your religion, your culture…so the question is; in what did you have a say?

For me, the most powerful weapon of being, is the ability to think for ourselves; to step out of our birth-boxes and form our own opinions and make choices. We may end up where we began, or in another place, but, at least we thought.

This is a very complicated topic but equally important. I remember at the age of thirteen, I discovered that I could influence other people. It was very enlightening, but scary. I didn’t like the so called power of encouraging others to accept my ideas. I felt manipulative and rejected that power very early. I didn’t feel I was mature enough to use it. I also remember the freedom of reading a published book and not agreeing with its author. Before that, I thought everything in a book was to be eaten and digested without question. Discovering that I didn’t was liberating and I embraced it.

Now, as a mature person, I use my so called power for good. I love to encourage people to think for themselves. If they end up agreeing with me, I make sure they chose and owned the choice. I encourage freedom.

In our present world, the war is on our minds. They are masters out there working hard to persuade, dissuade, even numb us. Many of us do not realize that we do not do our own thinking.

During life, circumstances can heavily influence our choices. If weak, the effects of pain can navigate us to dark places, similarly, happiness can lead us to light. For example, a broken or dysfunctional family can have adverse effects on children. Anger and unforgivable attitudes can unwittingly steer them off their course.

Imagine this: The Creator of Heaven and earth gave us beings the power of choice. We don’t choose where we start, but we have a say in where we end. Believers in Jesus ought to read and pray their way through life, for no one knows the future but The Creator. God even encourages us to reason and think for ourselves.

When reading the Bible, pray for wisdom; respectfully say you disagree and need understanding. God will answer you. I’ve learned that God loves sincere thinkers and looks forward to answering their questions.

Truth is, our minds are sacred. Treat it as such. Guard your individuality: think carefully, then choose.

« Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 »

The Power of Guilt

6 Jan

From 2000 to 2007, I was a student in Cuba. It was very challenging for many reasons. But the most challenging of them all was controlling my inner-temper while lining up for a bus. Let me explain: I’d get to the bus stop with only two people in front of me, then when the bus came, dozens of people would come out from nowhere and get in the bus before me. Just as it would be my turn to enter, the driver would say, « Ya » and close the door. What happened? Well, the two people in front of me kept spaces for their friends. It was an accepted practice which seemed to be embedded into their culture.

I used to get so angry because I was often late for class. We did have buses at the dorms but the same thing would happen: friends would guard spaces for their friends, who would come out the building at the last minute and make it in the bus before me!

I hated this so much that it affected my attitude; and yes, I called quite a few people « idiota » and « estUpida ». I sucked every tooth in my mouth and also tried to roll my eyes out of my hot head.

As a result of my bad attitude towards this cultural experience, I felt burdened. Negative feelings weighed heavily on me and I couldn’t seem to shake them off.

One day, after leaving a friend’s home, I paused at the nearby pharmacy and began to reflect on my feelings. Why was I feeling this way? Why couldn’t I seem to shake them off? Then it hit me. It was guilt! This feeling was more powerful than the act that caused it in the first place. I then told God how I felt and how sorry I was. I forgave myself and accepted His forgiveness, then I brushed my left shoulder off as a tangible sign to myself that I was moving on.

When I identified the problem, I remembered this verse:

« But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth onto those things which are before. » Philippians 3:13

I was condemning myself and was unforgiving. I was rejecting the forgiveness of God.

This may sound silly to you. But this was my spiritual dilemma at the time. I’ve since had to beat back guilt on parenting strategies and in other areas as well, but knowing the culprit helped me to push forward.

What about you? What have you done that has caused you immense guilt? Don’t compare it to mine. Sin is sin, and guilt is guilt. Don’t let them hijack you forever. Let guilt do its job, which is to provide that stepping stone to repentance which leads to forgiveness. If we confess what we feel guilty about, God will forgive us. Accept this forgiveness and move on. Keep growing in Christ and kick guilt to the curb.

Afraid?

5 Jan

Of what? Vaccines? COVID-19? Military occupation? 5G? Listen. There’s only One to fear.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5

If we are not spiritual thinkers, the above verse would have no meaning. This is because most of us only care about life in the body. We are afraid of dying because we have no hope. Everything that’s happening right now is causing us to panic. But I want to remind you that there’s just one way to deal with all of this mess: Get closer to your Creator.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8

Do not be anxious, pray, ask, be grateful and receive peace from God through Christ. Meditate on this and remember who is really in control. It may seem that we are on the losing side; it may seem that we are heading towards disaster, but remember, it was through suffering and death that Jesus gave us life.
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10

You may be okay during this time and even declare yourself a good person, but don’t ignore the state of the world around you. We are living in very dark times. Be aware, but keep the faith. Pray for believers who are suffering around the world. Stay sober.

Light shines brightest in the dark. If there ever was a time to shine, it is now. Speak hope, pray for opportunities to share the gospel, and finally, do not be afraid.


Conscience troubles

11 Aug

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20

My daughter loves to read the Babysitter’s Club books, so you could imagine our excitement to see NETFLIX come up with a series baring that name. As I watched the shows with her, it became apparent that they were intentionally trying to fashion the minds of their young viewers. I could not believe the messages that were purposefully shared on that seemingly innocent program.

Now, if you’re OK with these teachings, that’s fine. However, if you are a believer who follows the holy scriptures found in the Bible, then you need to listen up.

In season 1 episode 8, one of the babysitter’s mom gets married and a witch is officiating at the wedding. In this scene the bride and groom are holding hands then the officiating officer takes her place in front of them. When she does, a little flower girl screams. Then the newly arrived lady dressed in black, says: Karen, it’s OK.

Then she addresses the audience:

“This little girl thinks I’m a witch, so in front of this room full of witnesses, I’d like to say that…she’s right. I am a spiritual practitioner. Now, historically the term witch has been used to describe people, primarily women, who refused to conform to society’s expectations of who they should be. And there are witches here…”

At this, women around the room signal audibly that they are witches.

People do have the right to live as they please, however, if we pledge to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, there are practices that we are told to avoid. Even if the laws of the land say it’s OK to do them, that still does not make them OK.

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:31

The practice of witchcraft was so detestable to God that the punishment was severe. However, what many do not know, is that witchcraft wasn’t the only deed punishable by death. Here is a list found in Leviticus 20:

Cursing your parents, adultery, people sleeping with their mother and father in-laws, sleeping with the same sex, man sleeping with mother and daughter, bestiality, and of course, the “eye for an eye and tooth for tooth”, which is life for life.

If God’s people had committed any of the above acts, death was the consequence; so what changed the death penalty? Christ did. He died and took on our sins and iniquities. This is why the death penalty is no longer required because Jesus bore the penalty for witches, adulterers,…and everybody!

Now, there is something I must add: Throughout our generations, the character of the God Head has been tainted. I refer to individuals posing as Christians while acting unmercifully and with hatred all in the name of God. Witches weren’t the only people burnt at the stake, brave Christians were victims as well. They endured the worse punishment and torture one can ever imagined, and many risked their lives crossing the Atlantic Ocean to escape their terror.

Even now, many professing to follow Christ are anything but Christians; instead of sharing wealth, greedy evangelists spend exorbitant amounts of money on material things. Instead of taking care of our children, they are abused. So of course Christians got a bad name. If only onlookers realized that these so called believers were never following the teachings of Christ in the first place. What they were doing was destroying the reputation of true believers in the process.

The world seems to be saying, “We’ve given you a chance, now, let us do it our way”; and one of their ways is changing the way our children think by introducing their ideas through media.

We Christians are rapidly becoming the minority. Our ways are being ridiculed everywhere. Prostitution and witchcraft, as well as other ungodly acts have sympathizers who are ready to strip us to slavery if we voice what the Word of God says about their practices. Yes, we live in that time where evil is called good and good is called evil. We are a threat to the liberty of the ‘world’, a painful reminder that what they are doing, is wrong. Who wants to be reminded of that? Who wants feelings of guilt and shame? Best to get rid of conscience poking destroyers of liberty!

The prophet John the Baptist was a conscience troubler. He suffered at the hands of King Herod because he told him that he couldn’t have his brother’s wife. The latter was very upset, and when her daughter danced before him, and was offered up to half his kingdom, her mother advised her to choose the head of the prophet on a platter instead.

No matter what we’re faced with, we must always stand up for God’s Word. Yes it is unpopular, yes it appears outdated, but, it will never change. Warn the believer, tell them it’s best to be obedient than to do what he or she feels. Whatever comes our way, remember the following verse:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Courage.

Molding Minds

28 May

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. Romans 12:2

Many years ago I read Brave New World by Huxley. He wrote that book in 1930. Even though I read it in 2002, the fictional ideas were still just fiction. In 2020 however, the odd ideas presented in Huxley’s book are no longer far fetched.

As we draw closer together, thanks to technology, I see people with different ideas. These ideas are safe to them but dangerous to us, just as they see our ideas as dangerous to them. What is the solution? How can the leaders of this world control this chaos? How can one control the thinking being? All would have to digest the ideas of one single entity either by force, deceit, or willingly. But as the saying goes, « You can’t teach an old dog tricks » I ask then, wouldn’t it be more profitable to focus on the pups?

Children’s minds can easily be moulded through programs that we allow them to watch. We ought to sit with them ready to discuss confusing content because there is indeed a war for their minds.

We cannot fight the enemy alone. As a Christian, I’ve witnessed that when a person gives their mind to Christ, there’s a transformation like no other. Yes, we struggle as we let go of hurtful ideas, but the result is heaven on earth.

Is your mind moulded by good or evil? Are you thinking of your Creator daily? Are you reading the Word of God, praying and searching for ways to share Him with your world? Because there’s  only one safe way to unity, and that’s through His Love.

We’re needed

11 May
Despite the funny videos with smiling families, many are worried about unemployment and running out of food. But long ago, Jesus promised that we’d be alright if we trust him and continue to shine his light.
Practicing our faith is crucial right now. Don’t trust feelings! That’s where many are operating from nowadays. When you’re feeling down, tell yourself it will be ok. Call a friend to pray, find promises that remind you that everything will work out fine.
Here is a bible passage that will help you. Matthew 5 comes right after a chapter speaking of terrible trouble, yet Jesus reminds his people to not worry. So let’s trust him.
Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV) Bible Gateway
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What should be our concern right now? Sharing the Gospel. Finding opportunities to tell other’s about the love Jesus showed at the cross. Be courageous, be blameless, be love.

Is rest important?

2 May

Is rest important?

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:9-11

What has always been intriguing to me, is how the Bible defines a day: Evening and morning. (Gen 1:3-23). However, we have been trained to accept a day as midnight to midnight. I often wondered why God defined a day as evening and morning; was it to encourage evening prayers? Was it to encourage us to rest in the middle of the day, which in this case would be sunset? Or was it his signature mark? I must confess I’m still not sure, but this is what the Creator chose to do.

Then in Genesis 2:2,3, after creating the first man and the first woman, the bible says God rested. Did God need to rest? Absolutely not. Psalm 121:3,4 says God never sleeps. So why did he create rest? Because he simply wanted to enjoy what he created and of course, his creation would be needing rest from their labour.

Before there was ever a nation, there was a day of rest. It came right after 6 days of creation and was one of the first institutions to be sanctified. Why did God make a day holy? Because He had finished creating the world. This is significant.

We roll on down to Exodus 20, and find it is among the Ten Commandments. In fact, it is a part of those first four commands that tell us how God wants us to regard him. Still, there’s a lot of confusion over this holy day.

I remember going to the reference department of the public library in my home country Barbados, I think it was in 1994. I went to look up the history of the Sabbath for myself. I remember reading that when Constantine converted to Christianity, he asked if they could continue observing Sunday along with the biblical Sabbath. The religious leaders agreed and that’s what they did. Then a popular bishop arose and said that observing both days wasn’t good for the economy. So they made the decision to drop the biblical Sabbath. This is why Sunday is the most popular day of worship to date.

I still kept questioning and praying about the validity of the Sabbath until this thought came to me: God made it holy, that’s why. Not man, why do you need more proof?

He didn’t bless the 1st, 2nd, 3rd day, etcetera, he blessed the 7th day – Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

It’s a bold command that seems arbitrary. But God chose it for a reason.

Reflect on this: there are many organizations who are pushing Sunday to be a rest day. This goes against what God called the day of rest as well as how he defined a day.

I encourage you to study this on your own. This command does not belong to SDAs, Messianic Jews, or Sabbath keeping Churches, it belongs to all those who believe. It’s a gift for us and it has many benefits. It calls for a lot of faith and identifies clearly, that we serve the Creator of life.

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Daniel 7:25 (KJV)
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws.

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Troubling Dream

2 May

In October of 2000, I began my 7 years in Cuba. The first year was called “preparatorio”, or, preparatory year. We were to learn Spanish to enable us to study our various disciplines.

It was on October 10, 2000 that I had the following dream:

There was terrible weather. I saw utility poles thrown to the ground by strong winds. The sky was a dark grey. It reminded me of a hurricane passing through a Caribbean island. In addition to this, I sensed there wasn’t only physical destruction, but also unrest.  Though it reminded me of a big storm on a Caribbean island, somehow, I knew it was happening all over the world.

Then I was taken underground. It was dark, but not pitch. It was very calm. What I saw disturbed me; there were various public service workers waiting to take over. I understood that they were to replace those above ground. I saw the Pope, police officers, and other officials straightening their ties. They looked very serious and were in a state of readiness. I was taken above again, and the contrast was distinctly shown: chaos above and calm below.

Suddenly, I heard an urgent call in Spanish, “ Todo de pie, todo de pie! A la marcha!”  (Everyone get up! Get up! To the procession!) This voice scared me very much. It sounded like I was called to participate in something against my will. Whatever it was, it was mandatory. That scared me.
When I woke up, I realized that the voice was real, and there was someone calling the students to the marcha in celebration of Independence Day.

I remember the fear that took hold of me.  The idea of being forced to do something instead of being given a choice greatly disturbed me.

I believe the dream was telling me what was going to happen in the near future, and the distress I felt was going to be the experience of many.

 

 

The Holy Spirit

1 Apr

God indeed works within us to do His Good Will. The good we do is filthy, it is not by our works that we are saved.

Let’s mediate on this verse:

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
John 16:7

Works inspired by the Holy Spirit are to be acknowledged as work done by God through us. This should not be seen as our works because we are not capable of doing anything that’s good. Our greatest sin will be preventing the Holy Spirit from working in us and through us , to transform us into who God wants us to be. When we meditate on this, it is absolutely awesome: Jesus died so that God’s Spirit would live in our hearts.

The other day, my husband Ryan and I switched to another provider. One day later, we were having problems with regards to the set up. So, Ryan authorized the technician from the company to fix the issue by allowing him access to our computer from another location. I watched in amazement while our cursor moved over the screen, clicking here and there. He had access to our personal information. This was scary to me, for obvious reasons, and I told Ryan how I felt. He on the other hand was pleased that the technician was fixing the problem; he trusted him to go into the heart of our computer to fix it because, as Ryan put it, “He knows what he is doing”.

So it is with us and God.

Rev 3:20

20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Jesus knocks. Part of our ‘work’ is to open the door.The Lord ‘supping’ with us is His Holy Spirit working in us, and we supping with Him is us allowing Him to do the work that needs to be done within us.

Phillipians 2:13

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

So brothers and sisters lets allow God to do the work. Be mindful that He is in you and is directing your paths.

Finally, let’s consider this last verse:

Ephesians 4:30-31

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Amen.