Thursday, 1 December 2016

What about the future

Scripture Setting: When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living [in the land]. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you Israel, must be blameless before the Lord. Deuteronomy 18:9, 12-13 NLT 

A most popular children's box office movie that has broken records is the teenage spirit medium known as Harry Potter. He has supposedly received messages from spirits of the dead to give to those who are family members and friends. The books that preceded that which was played out on the screen prompted many people (even so-called good Christians) to believe in this practice of the occult.
We live in a time and culture where many individuals are desperate to know their future, and they will turn to psychics and mediums for answers---a practice expressly forbidden in the Holy Word of Almighty God.
The ancient Israelites were desperate to know their future and God knew that they would be tempted to consult ungodly sources for answers. So He warned them to stay away from spirit mediums and those who contact the dead. (Leviticus 19:26,31; 20:27; Deut 18:9-14).
The Lord God knew that these practices would prevent ancient Israel from being a holy, set-apart people who would eventually be a tremendous blessing to all nations. The future for Israel was determined by their faithfulness to God's covenant, not the words of soothsayers and psychics. Reliance on these evil practices indicated a failure to trust the Lord (who miraculously brought them out of Egypt) with their lives.
When we become desperate for information about our future, we MUST turn to the sovereign God of heaven. He is the ONLY One who holds the answers that we seek to life's perplexing issues and problems. We too, like Israel MUST be BLAMELESS  before the Lord. The What of the future is determined by The Who of eternity. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Image of the Invisible God

Scripture Setting: But Moses protested to God, "Who am I to appear before Pharoah? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?" God answered, "I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain." But Moses protested, "if I go to the people of Israel and tell them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, they will ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" 
God replied to Moses, "I Am Who I Am" Say this to the people of Israel:Yahweh, the God of your ancestors-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. Exodus 3:11-14 NLT

Almost four thousand years ago, Moses, in His very presence asked God who He was and got a peculiar answer. God said, "Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you . . . . This is my eternal name" (Exodus 3:24-15). 

From way back in my childhood, I have wondered why God would call Himself by such a name, but I have since grown to learn its significance. In my grammar classes in elementary school I learned that a sentence needs only two things to enhance its completeness: a subject and a verb. So when God says His name is "I Am," it conveys the concept that He is complete in Himself. He is indeed both subject and verb. He is everything we could possibly need.

Jesus put flesh on God's bare-boned answer to Moses' question about God's identity. Jesus left the comfort and sanctity of Heaven to show what it means to bear His Father's name. He, in confidence told His disciples, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). He also said, "I am the bread of life" (6:48), "the light of the world" (8:12), "the good shepherd" (10:11), and "the resurrection and the life" (11:25). In Revelation, Jesus declared, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (22:13). And He said, "Before Abraham was ever born, I Am" (John 8:58). 

If you're questioning who God is, just take some time to get to know Jesus in the pages of His Word. He is undoubtedly, the image of the invisible God. ---Colossians 1:15

Friday, 28 October 2016

Prayer - An Intimate Conversation With God Our Best Friend! 

Scripture Setting: The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11

Chico (not his real name) and I have been neighbors and abiding friends since grade school. And even though our paths have taken us in different directions since those early childhood school days, we have maintained our very close and abiding friendship. 

"Chico" spent his adult life working on the high seas as a sailor and now resides and works in Brooklyn, New York. I, on the other hand have been involved in mission work in several African countries and am now serving young people in Higher education in the English-speaking Caribbean. 

Every now and then we just have to talk. So, either of us would pick up the phone and to catch up on what's been happening with our respective lives and share about our  families, and to open our hearts to each other, knowing that each others confidence would be maintained. And as we recapitulate on our childhood and adolescent days, we'd find ourselves chuckling like silly grade school boys, recalling episodes of mischief and long days of care-free existence of clean, wholesome fun.

In Exodus 33:11, we read that "the Lord would speak to Moses . . . . as one speaks to a friend."  Moses enjoyed something far better than an occasioned long-distance talk with the Lord. [Unlike Chico and I] he had frequent face-to-face conversations with Him. During those intimate talks, the Lord gave Moses instructions for leading the people of Israel to higher heights of spiritual excellence and growth.

Because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, and because the Holy Spirit lives within all followers of Christ, we too can enjoy a special relationship and closeness with God. He speaks to us through His Word and by His Spirit, and we have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer. If you're like me, as you chart the course of your day, and with busy and sometimes very stressful schedules and pressing circumstances, you'll find yourself saying to God, your Heavenly Father and Friend, "We just have to talk." Knowing that God is always available to us as Problem Solver and Friendly Guide.

In conclusion, prayer is meant to be an intimate conversation with God---our best Friend.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

God's Timing Is Always On Time!

Scripture Setting: This very day, you can see with your own eyes it isn't true. For the Lord, God placed you at my mercy in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, "I will never harm the 👑 King---he is the Lord's anointed one." 1 Samuel 24:10

There are times when it's best to wait for God to act instead of trying to make things happen ourselves. It's a lesson we see clearly when David refuse to take King Saul's life, even though was hounding his life like an animal in his quest to take his life (1 Samuel 24). When Saul was alone and vulnerable in a cave, David's men told him that this was a God-given opportunity to take the kingship that rightfully belonged to him (v. 4). But David refused saying, "The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the 👑 king and attack the Lord's anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him" (v. 6). 

After Saul left the cave, David called out to him, "May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you."" (v. 12). David knew that God had chosen him to become king. But he also knew that killing Saul was not the right way to make it happen. He would in patience wait for God to remove Saul from the throne.

Today, is there an obstacle between you and something that is rightfully yours? You believe it's God's will, but the method of obtaining it and the timing don't seem right. My encouragement to each of us today, is to, think long and pray hard before taking a bad path toward a good goal. 

Waiting for God to act is the best opportunity for the right things to happen his way. God's timing is always right, I admonish each of us today, to wait patiently for him. "For they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength . . ." 

Pastor Lester Parkinson 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Remembrance, Conviction and Comfort

Scripture: God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the ⛵️ boat. Genesis 8:1

Culture, customs and traditions are most interesting case studies. Wherever we travel on Terra firma, we cannot help but to marvel, embrace and become accustomed to these different and sometimes seemingly strange, societal and behavioral norms. One particular custom in China includes grooming gravesites and taking walks with loved ones in the countryside. Legend has it that it began when a youth's rude and foolish behavior resulted in the untimely death of his mother. So he decided that henceforth he would visit her grave every year to remember what she had done for him. Sadly, it was only after her death that he remembered and thereafter valued her.

How differently God, our Heavenly Father deals with us! In the Biblical book of beginnings, Genesis, we read how the flood destroyed the 🌎  world. Only those who were with Noah in the ark remained alive. But God remembered them (8:1) and sent a wind to dry the waters so that they could leave the ark. 

God also remembered Hannah when she prayed for a son (1Samuel 1:19). He gave her a child, Samuel. Jesus remembered the dying thief who said, "Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom." Jesus replied, I assure you today, you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:42-43). 

Be rest assured today, our God remembers us wherever or whoever we are. Our cultural backgrounds, where we were born, our preferred accents, or our customs and traditions are of meaningless value to Him. Our concerns are His concerns. Our pain is His pain. We must this day commit our challenges and difficulties to Him. He is OUR Heavenly Father, the all-seeing God who remembers us as a doting mother remembers her children, and He delights and waits to meet our needs. To know that our God sees and cares about us today and always, this reassuring remembrance brings both conviction and comfort. 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

“The Seventh Day—Jericho”

A Devotional Thought
By: Sylvan A. Lashley, University President, Interim

“I have given into thine hand Jericho”… Joshua 6:2. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30).

The day dawned bright and early as the assembled hosts awoke with keen anticipation. It was the seventh day, Sabbath! The fitness gurus had already seen to it that the people were prepared—it was the seventh day. An early, hearty breakfast, the promise of good weather, with all the attendant logistics, charted the day, as to the marching order—the ark, the priests, and then the remnant. It was the seventh day.

The reverberating echo still sounded—“I have given into thine hand Jerichoooooo?. The parsers were already at work—“I have” denoted the present tense, and “given” a past tense, culminating into the present perfect. The action had already been completed in the past, with an overlap into the present and the future in man-made time. The act of marching was a sign of obedience, followed a full faith in God’s apparent illogical yet clear instructions, and the foolishness of man’s rational logic. The hands of faith reached out across the chasm of the impossible to touch the hands of effort. And there it stood—the wall—11 feet high and 14 feet wide, with a 35 degree upward angular slope, leading up to vertical gigantic and taller stone walls, massive and impregnable, and forbidding.

To march once for six days, and then on the seventh for seven times, represented the threshold of the human and the Divine, the divide of faith and rationality, of obedience and trust. Instructions were clear and copious—“no noise on the first six days”; a sequenced order of priests then ark, and people in sequined robes, a steady plod around on the seventh-day, then the blast of trumpets, then a shout, glorious and cascading—600,000 men besides women and children, a logistical feat of no mean order. It was the shout of faith that led to the shout of victory.

Within each of us, there is that Jericho--cocky, snug and self-assured, and yet an Israel on the outside, trying to get through the walls. We live in a time of logic and rational thought, a time of proof and physical evidence, yet God is still in charge. He challenges us in the present perfect tense, and assures us of His protection and guidance. The chasm of disbelief must be crossed by the bridge of faith and obedience, for faith without works is dead. We cannot be guided by our limited vision, for man does not see as God sees. What seemed impossible by man was possible with God. What about your own life today? Is there some insurmountable mountain before you? May the Jerichos within fall before the steady march of Scripture and “Thus Saith the Lord”.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Anxiety of Uncertainty—the Antidote

Image Courtesy:

A Devotional by Sylvan A. Lashley
University of the Southern Caribbean
April 9, 2016
Scripture Setting: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” 
(Phil 4:6-7).

 We live in an age of economic uncertainty and lack of predictability and increasing personal and social insecurity. Recent events in Trinidad/Tobago point to such uncertainty, with the recent hike in petroleum at the fuel pump, taxes on online shopping, increased taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and luxury cars and the implications of a higher resultant cost of living.  Champagne tastes and mauby money represents the colloquialism by which the present scenario has been described in some places.  Several reading this missive, won’t be directly affected by the increase consumption taxes on some of the items, but higher costs on food items and inflation will be the result of the removal of gasoline and diesel subsidies.  Such events can give rise to organizational and personal uncertainty as persons grapple with the impact of a higher cost of living and a lower value in the paycheck. 
 The best news is that the Christian has a higher hope, yet even in the staunchest Christian there might remain some lingering apprehension about the portentous times ahead.  Research suggests that there is a certain anxiety level that is a corollary to uncertainty.  A team of researchers in Quebec (Douglas, 1994) developed the “Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS), the degree to which people seek out and desire predictability. High levels of IU were linked to anxiety disorders and to more worry and to brain processes such as “emotional regulation, threat detection and safety detection (Nature Reviews in Neuroscience, 2013), centered in the pre-frontal cortex.
Yet, there is an antidote prescribed in Scripture—“Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6-7); “cast all your cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7); “do not be anxious about what you will eat or what you will drink…” (Matt 6:25-34); “for I know the plans that I have for you…” (Jer 29:11); “trust in the Lord with all of your heart…” (Proverbs 3:5- 6); “cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:2); “He will not let your foot be moved for He who keeps you will not slumber…” (Psalm 121:3-8); “he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”. How then shall we live, act, plan and implement?  We have an antidote—a daily connection, a faith full of action.  We are forewarned, forearmed, pre-muscled and strengthened. What about you? What is our uncertainty and anxiety index in our lives, schools and churches? We are prone to cut back and reduce. Are these not logical and rational matters where we count the costs, or shall we act on another level, where despite the costs, we expand our efforts, by faith, to preach the gospel in our schools, and churches.  That is the question of the hour--you tell me now