Too Strong For Too Long

Humility is not thinking less of yourself but of yourself less. I would rather be humble than to be humbled by someone or some experience. There are some admirable things which I have done. That is the truth. In fact in life, everyone has done admirable things at one point or another. Then I realise that there is always room for improvement as this statement provides the inspiration for doing more admirable things in life, for the honour and glory of God.

tree green fresh in female hand

Make a personal development plan that will ensure that you can bring more accomplishments in life. Yet what is life with all of the accomplishments? Is it worth more? What do you do when the goals are attained? Now what? There is a plethora of information on Personal Development. That can prove daunting for some who do not have a clue on how they can start. The following are three easy steps to employ while formulating a plan. First, create a list where you write down everything you could be doing with your life, that would make a positive impact. Second motivate yourself by writing your own personal vision and mission statements so that you can create an action plan to achieve your personal goals. Finally, work at your goals and stick to them. Avoid procrastination.

So once you have created the personal development plan, constantly review your goals and ensure that they are SMART. This acronym stands for:

Specify the attainment targets. Be sure about what it is you want to achieve. Measure your goal and ensure that it can be attained. Remember that they need to be relevant to your lifestyle. They should not only benefit yourself but those who live and work with you. Finally the goals must be time-bound for they remain a plan. A goal is a plan written down. Where do you tap into that strength  that you need? Inside of you. The strength to survive is placed from your conception. Find that strength from the One who has, is and will be the strongest.




The Reason for Being

My Father is the reason I am here.

For those readers of the blog, you may have realised that I am taking a spiritual journey through the visiting of different Anglican churches across the island of Barbados. Right now I am in the island of St. Lucia, vacationing with my sons. The decision only seemed obvious to visit an Anglican Church.

I know that it is away from the original plan to visit Churches highlighted in the calendar. But there is a connection. Allow me to give some background to this visit of Holy Trinity Church in Castries, St. Lucia.

One of the churches which I covered a few months ago was St. Leonard’s Anglican Church. Quite recently the priest-in-charge was the Reverend Sonia Hinds, one of the first female ordained priests in the island of Barbados. For some time she was the priest of Holy Trinity Church. I communicated with her the desire to visit an Anglican Church on my visit to St. Lucia and she organised it well. My earthly father was also an Anglican priest and he was influential in the life of Reverend Sonia Hinds. He and my mother mentored countless young people during the 1970’s at the All Souls Anglican Church in Barbados. Reverend Sonia Hinds attended that church. She adopted me as her sister when I was born and our relationship continues with that connection of my earthly father.

Never was there a person to emulate our Heavenly Father like my earthly father. The way he lived his life was always to the glory of God. He was a simple and humble man, who never cared for a position or promotion given by man, but cared about the spiritual well being of God’s people. This was reflected in the sermon given by the Canon Curtis Robinson, from the Bahamas who officiated the service at Holy Trinity.

Canon Robinson meaningfully directed the service. He implored the congregation to stop reciting the words and to slow down and meditate on the beautiful meaning behind the prayers, inspired by scriptures which were nestled in the pages of our Book of Common Prayer. His sermon was themed: “Humility brings favor with God.” All of the Bible passages of the service were related to the theme, especially the one taken from Hebrews 13: 1-8 and 15-16. Incidentally it was read by the sister of the lady who brought us to church. Our conversation on our ride to church exposed a challenge of the Anglican Church which I will conclude this blog.

However with reference to the sermon, Canon Robinson stated that we should not be concerned with what others have. We should only be concerned in our identity in Christ. Climbing the social ladder and not having Jesus in our lives is reflecting the proverb that pride goes before a fall. Hopefully there will be some Christians below to catch you when you fall. Even one of the songs which the congregation sang lustily was “I’d Rather Have Jesus”. The second verse expounded upon the fact that being the king of a vast domain paled in comparison to having Jesus. The simple things in life feel so much better. Like a small two bedroom home with family to make it warm or eating a simple warm bread and cheese. Pride and comparison robs you of joy. Finally Canon Robinson ended his message with this gem of knowledge: be careful how you treat people in this life, for you never know that you may be down and out and the person whom you dislike may be the only person who can help you.

It all comes down to this simple truth: Treat people as you would want to be treated. This variation on the golden rule gives a platform for the conversation on the drive to Church, which would make for an emphatic conclusion. St. Lucia is predominantly Catholic and the lady who drove me to Church revealed the strategy. The Catholic Church did a survey and asked the young people what they wanted out of church. For instance some young people complained that Church was too early since they had to get ready for school during the week and do lessons on the Saturday, so getting up early for Sunday was a challenge as well. They needed a later service. The lady also made the point that the Anglican Church has less youth and more people on the “way out” as she referred to the older section of the congregation. If only they would change. Just implement one or two ideas from the young people for they are the essence of the Church. Without them there will be no future.

Yet it is because of pride those in power in the Church would not change. Change is constant and it needs to be embraced even though it may be difficult at first. That links us to the essence of this blog. We are here because of Our Father. He wants us to live lives that bring Him glory. Instead of seeking power and position and what others have, we should seek out ways to help out each other and develop our relationships to reflect the grace and mercy of God.




Pause, Stop and Think


It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and this one is long overdue. This is about a question I have been asked: how long have you been a Christian? Whenever, I’m asked that question, I pause and I stop and I think. I do that because I’m trying to remember, when did I ever start being a Christian. Truthfully I don’t remember.  A song that comes to mind is one that we sing in Church. The first line is: “I became a Christian when my  name was given.” We also call our first name our “Christian name.”

I think it was way before that. God ordained you to be. He put you in that position for a reason. He had our whole life planned out even before we were conceptualized. That’s amazing to even fathom. That’s found in Psalm 139. Even before you were knit together in your mother’s womb, all of your days have been written in His book. That feeling that you are fulfilling God’s eternal purpose.


being christianNow back to that question: how long have you been a Christian? I think about that and I think that being a Christian is an everyday decision. It’s not like you can say I became a Christian on this specific date and year. You have to decide every single day. You’re going to live a life that is pleasing to God and that takes courage and tenacity. You may go against everyone that you consider to be a friend and at the end of the day you are living a more uplifting and fulfilling life, that is positive in every way. No matter what.

So that’s my blog. Hope you like it. Hope you enjoy it.

Communication is key

As I continue my sojourn of churches in Barbados this year, I visited the church on the hill St. Silas. st.silas.jpgWe spent a good 15 minutes searching for this elusive place of worship. We drove on and on looking for a sign and those whom we asked told us to continue driving through g through the affluent district of Apes Hill St. James. It was through perseverance and faith that we found the Church and it was worth the search. The refreshing breeze came across the hill and cooled our fevered brows as we alighted from the car. The service was well underway at 9:15. We had called the day before to enquire about the service times and the person informed us that church began at 9:30. Imagine our surprise as we were ushered to our seats in a well packed church. Two reasons accounted for the packed congregation. First they were celebrating the Church’s festival and second one of the members of the congregation was turning 50 years old. He had invited several family members and friends, including the Barbados cricketing legend Desmond Haynes. gordon.jpg

For those readers of my blog who are not aware of Desmond Haynes, he was a talented Barbadian cricketer who was one of the opening batsmen for the West Indies cricket team. His was a golden age as the opening duo of himself and Gordon Greenidge saw the West Indies team to many victories during the 1990’s.

Yet I digress, for the theme of this issue is communication. Communication is displayed in the rambling nature and lack of road signage to mark the location of the church. Communication is experienced by the people telling us to keep driving and we will get there. It is further seen as miscommunication by the mixup in the starting times of the church service. Communication is the purpose of the many people who were worshipping. Communication is seen in celebration of the Church’s festival, the gentleman’s 50th birthday and the contribution of Desmond Haynes to West Indian cricket. All stem from the same source: communication is key. longfellow

The priest in charge Reverend Desmond Ward used the platform of the Gospel reading which was themed: Lord teach us to pray. Reverend Ward highlighted that Jesus led by example which was more effective than leading by opinion. Jesus was a man of prayer. On various occasions in the four gospels in the Bible, Jesus prays. He prays for his disciples, He prays before performing miracles and He prays in times of trouble and need. Most importantly, Jesus sets aside quiet moments for prayer. He extracts himself from the crowd and busyness of His life and strengthens His Spirit through prayer. We who call ourselves Christians must follow the example of Jesus.teach-us-to-pray

Prayer is communication between God and person. How do we pray? When should we pray? Why do we pray? These questions are pertinent to our spiritual development. We remember that God answers prayer and the hinge of that answer is according to God’s will. So as Reverend Ward implored us, I ask you to take some time out of your busy schedule and pray to God.

We must not only speak our prayer but take time to listen for God’s voice. In order for communication to be successful it must have these elements: a sender, a message and a receiver. In order for that message to be clearly received distractions need to be ignored and focus planted firmly on the sender. Prayer is a conversation between God and person. God speaks to us in a variety of ways: nature, His Word and people in our lives. The key is to listen for God knows what is best.


Take Everything to God

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Ever had a recurring dream? Some may go so far as to call it a nightmare. Yet this dream is a manifestation of your subconscious working out an unresolved mental challenge.  Your challenge may be based on valid or invalid anger. Whether valid or invalid, the issue haunts you even in your dreams while you sleep.

This dream becomes a vivid memory, as exact moments, colours and feelings associated with this dream can be easily recalled. Within the mental anguish, questions torment the psyche. Lord why me? Why am I unable to get over this? Where is the escape route for these overwhelming emotions? At what point in time will this situation be conquered?  There is a way to get over this. There is a means for escape from these emotions. This is a fortifying process that will lead you to your life’s ultimate purpose which has been set out for you by God.

These trials and temptations provide the opportunity to fine tune your fighting skills. Either you train your body to fight them physically or you train your psyche to fight them on a mental level. Ironically the mental training is reflected in your physical prowess. The attitude of believing in yourself serves in good stead in this mental combat. A psychological fight requires the weapons of patience and endurance. These are activated through the remembrance of God’s grace and favour. Your resolve is strengthened as the courage is built up to face this and all of life’s challenges.

What a friend we have in Jesus! God is your FFL (Friend for Life). He is by your side and He is always present. Take everything to God through the channel of prayer. Consistent prayer strengthens your connection with God. Wait quietly for God , as you put your trust and hope in Him. The Lord is intentional for the promise remains that everything works for the good of those who love Him. Your heart will grow stronger through the working of the Holy Spirit. While you wait, while you endure, stand strong. These challenges in life are the opportunities to make you stronger and draw you closer to God, for He’s intentional.


Labels: Why?

label jars

From the inception of the human race, the Biblical story of creation paints the image of God giving the man the task of giving names to everything. Labelling is in our DNA for we need to label to create awareness and achieve understanding. Labels provide definition and meaning and purpose is the central crave of the human race. Everything in life was made for a purpose. We spend our whole lives searching and fulfilling our purpose that it encompasses our daily activities.

Therefore the aim of this final part of the labelling series is to tie up any loose ends, by using the main points expressed in the previous articles. The labelling of women and children is a primary focus in many academic studies. That is not to neglect the matter of the labelling of men. For men endure many stereotypes, through the medium of labelling. Women have been labelled from the inception of time as man noted that she was from him. Woman was created from man initially as God performed the first surgery. God was the anaesthesiologist as He put the man to sleep during this procedure. Man was created from the dust and woman was created from the rib of the man. In fact the origins of the word woman gives the impression of a man with a womb. The initial saying could have been “womb-man” which converted to “woman” over time.

Fast track to the present day, where the female stereotype permeates all media sources. Women are expected to live up to that ideal. A decision which they choose to wrestle with in their lives. Children are related to woman. It is through woman that children are formed, birthed and nurtured. Children are labelled from the knowledge of their existence. At each stage of a child’s life he or she is categorised according to gender, health and possibilities. Again there is a wealth of literature on the labelling of children as these different labels create awareness of learning and developmental irregularities.

Yet the question remains: to what extent should we let labels define us? If we do not meet those ideals imposed on us through these labels does it make us any less of a person. An old adage says: “To thine own self be true.” Labels should create an awareness yet it should not be a complete definition. As we embrace the ingrained feature of labelling, there should be a balance as we use those labels in a positive way. If the case is extreme and this label causes great consternation do away with it. Yet we must strive to learn about this circumstance surrounding that label in a quest to be honest and true to ourselves. For once we do that we can be a great influence to ourselves and others. Through this influence we can magnify the glory of God and truly achieve our unique purpose in this lifetime.


Psalm Challenge Pt 4

As  I come to the end of this challenge, I would like to express a few thoughts. This is the end result of that soul searching talk with my mother. Each day I would search the Internet for the corresponding Scriptures. It felt as if I drew closer to God as he guided me along this journey. The collaborative relationship between God and I revealed so much about my personality. I wonder with hope as I look forward to future challenges in life with God by my side.

So the below slideshow comprises of the first verses of the final 30 Psalms in the Bible; Psalm 121 to 150. These petitions to God are the blue prints which reveal how to live in the ups and downs of life. These first verses to God are excellent prayer starters which can be used at anytime. Whether you are having a mountain top experience or a down in the valley experience, life goes on. Tenacity is revealed through your responses to life’s circumstances.

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Psalm Challenge Pt 3

Did you know that the Psalms reflect the themes of the first five books of the Bible?

book of psalmsfive-books-of-psalms

This journey culminates in the final part where we compile all of the experiences related to this challenge and look to the future with hope.

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Psalm Challenge Pt 2

This challenge is proving to be even more adventurous.

In this journey of discovery, these first verses of the Psalms have peaked my interest. So I find myself asking questions. Questions like why is the psalmist writing in this mood? What could have triggered this emotion in his life? How is he using his relationship with God to become even more mature in his faith?

The main writer of the Psalms is King David and he was known as a man after God’s own heart. David messed up spectacularly at times. Yet every time he fell down, he used that opportunity to pray to God and in that position he rose even more spectacularly than his fall. Through his setbacks, his dependence on God increased and his love for God endured through the generations.

We can learn from the main writer and emulate his attitude in our lives. These Psalms teach us that no matter how awful the circumstance may seem, we must rest on God’s love. Why? Because God is love.

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Speak the truth in love

There is a four letter word which some of us use every day.

When we are challenged with difficult situations in life, we sometimes use this word in our everyday dealings. Yet this word is not popular in our vernacular. When asked about the meaning of this word persons look back with a quizzical gaze as their response. This word is tact. To seek a further resolution to that quizzical gaze, the definition of tact is a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense. You tell the truth kindly.  Tact can additionally defined through the following acrostic:

T – Thoughtful

A – Appropriate

C – Considerate

T – Tasteful

Tact is conveyed in the Bible through the following verses. Proverbs 15: 1 is the seminal verse on tact, where we are encouraged to respond with gentleness. Similarly in the book of Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 15 exemplifies tact as it relates to those in authority.

In order to successfully exercise tact one must adopt the attitude  described in 1 Corinthians 9:19. This more referred to in this verse,  is gained may not be only by material gains but also lasting relationships which are worth more than tangible entities. Ephesians 4:15 reveals a supplementary understanding of the rewards of tact. By using tact we will become more mature and grow well into personal and spiritual development.

Our society teaches us to respond insult for insult. Our society teaches us that we do not have to stand for unfair treatment. Responding to insults by giving a blessing in return is perceived as a strange response by the world. Nonetheless this is a reflection of a mature and spiritually stable person. For much more is achieved through tact. One does not have to, forgive the cliché, act like a bull in a China shop, in order to acquire what is considered to be fair treatment. Yet through the art of gentle persuasion and listening, our energies will be transformed from the never ending debate of who is at fault and to the quest for a necessary remedy. For tact is about addressing the issue, while still maintaining good relations to channel kindness, gentleness, peace and overall love.

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