Of Life. And of Death. And of the Goodness of God in Christ Jesus

A dear friend died and was buried yesterday. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend. So her husband, a schoolmate, and one of my closest friends, sent me a very touching pictorial tribute, with beautiful music in the background, which was shown at the funeral. Including a video of her giving thanks to, and praising, the Lord Jesus.

I know she is gone to heaven to be with the Lord. And so does my friend and their two wonderful Christian daughter’s and their family.

I enjoy a great privilege to attend a National event in my country each year. An event when National Honors are given out by the Constitutional head of our nation, The Governor General. Very distinguished and deserving persons receive awards. And families rightfully celebrate. My cameras, cell phone this year, or professional, help to capture these moments. But, often, and this year, attending right there with me, has been this thought: ” What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul”.

For the only certainty in life, ironically, is death. No, paying taxes, at least in my country, as the Minister of Finance is well aware, is not inescapable!

So whether ” Sugar Shane” losing, and by a wide margin, is a ” Dunn Deal “, or a figment of someone’s imagination, is interesting, but ultimately, not a critical issue.

So too, whether or not President Trump’s conversation with the widow of a ‘ fallen soildier’, was filled compassion or marked by the absence of such emotions, may be newsworthy for a while. But ultimately not critical, in the grand scheme of things as ordered by a Sovereign God.

Whether Man U, or City, or Chelsea, (no my team The Gunners will not….but a fan for life….not a wagonist) will win the Premier League in the UK, this year, may trigger lots of passionate debates. But at the end of the day? Hardly an issue to be mentioned at one’s funeral.

Then last night, #bedtimedevotions, I came upon one of the most important stories in the Bible – a Book which is always read at funerals, regardless of whether or not the dead person loved the Lord Jesus. Interesting isn’t it!

Luke 16:19-31.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

Luke 16:19‭-‬31 NIV

A story about poor man, whose sores were licked by dogs. So destitute was he. And a rich man, who had everything going for him. Lacked nothing. On earth!
They both died. Inevitably. One went to be with ” Father Abraham”, and was at peace. The once poor man!
The other went to another place. And was in torment.

A number of existentiallly important messages are contained in the one story, told by Jesus. Including:

1. That there is a great chasm between heaven and hell. Those in hell cannot receive any help from those in heaven. There is no road between the two places.

2. A plea for a warning to be sent to the rich man’s brothers, was met by an assertion that there is sufficient warning in the Bible; specifically the Old Testament.

3. A final desperate plea, that if someone from the dead, were to be sent to issue a warning, his brothers would repent. ( O Jesus have mercy! Isn’t that why you came from heaven, died and was raised from the dead). This was met by a very intriguing response. That if one does not read and believe God, in the Old Testament, people will not be convinced even by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It raises the issue, which has been well ventilated by theologians, and by the Lord Jesus Himself, on The Way to Emmaus, that Jesus Himself was very active during the Old Testament times. And therefore, a thorough understanding of Moses and the Prophets, is key to believing in the Lord Jesus.

All of this is to state the following truth. A good education is critical to personal and national development. But at the end of the day, a deep appreciation of God’s love for mankind, as manifested in the Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, born of David, is critical for our understanding of life.

That the reason for the great injustice of poverty in a world of plenty, has its roots in Sin. That the reason why some reject the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, until it’s too late, despite the many and various warnings, including the cruel death of Jesus on Calvary, has to do with Sin. And that the reason why men and women, prefer the accolades of man, rather than the blessings in Christ Jesus, offered by a compassionate and Sovereign God has to do with Sin.

Our role then, as redeemed children of God, is to present the undiluted Word of God, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to family, friends, colleagues, and all whom we meet on this journey of life. That ‘ all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. So that, at the end of the day, there may be no regrets. No desperate pleas for help. No cries from beyond to warn loved ones.

For politics is not forever. Nor sports and entertainment. There is no Netflix or CNN. No Twitter, no Facebook where we go when we die. National honors cannot get you there. We need a different kind of passport to allow us to be where my friend now resides – in the bosom of Abraham. And Isaac. And Jacob. And our Lord Jesus Christ!

And the process of changing our citizenship ( and whether you are Canadian, Jamaican or a US citizen is of little moment) starts with Repentance and acceptance of the free gift of the Atonement for Sin, wrought by Jesus on Calvary. And ends with us ‘ wearing wedding clothes ‘; putting on Christ Himself!

So yes, #ZOSO is important. So too poverty reduction measures, growth in the economy, public sector transformation, pumping money into the Justice system, improving the educational system, providing more housing solutions.

But at the end of this short life, where we spend eternity is the critical issue. And we cannot say we have not be given sufficient warning.

And so the Lord placed this song firmly in my soul all of this week.

O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.


Oh, 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 nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.


Oh, let me hear Thee speaking,
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh, speak to reassure me,
To hasten, or control;
Oh, speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.


O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory
There shall Thy servant be;
And Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Oh, give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.


Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Savior and my Friend.



Archbishop John Holder, Sin and Homosexuality, and Redemption in Christ Jesus


This morning on Friday October 13th, 2017 I wrote to my Diocesan Bishop ( of the Anglican church in Jamaica), The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory.
The subject was the contribution of the Primate of the West Indies, His Grace The Rt. Rev. John Holder to The Intimate Conference. The reason; the report on the front page of The Daily Gleaner, and a particular quote.


Citing scripture after scripture in his attempt to explain the Bible’s take on the controversial, and still criminal, offence in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Holder said that the practice of homosexuality has long been part of the human sexual experience, predating the modern concepts of sexuality

My reaction! Disappointment. Why?
Three reasons.

1. Why address a conference in Jamaica on a known controversial topic, and not, as one would expect of the ‘ Chief Shepherd ‘, first engage the flock?

2. My own experience, both locally and the USA, with priests who do not regard homosexuality as a sin. And who justify their position by promoting a doctrine which declares that God’s love for all humans is all that matters.

3. That the select quote would leave one with the impression, that the Bishop’s understanding of the genesis of homosexuality is at variance with the widely Christian perspective of the Fall. One of four foundations of Christian thought on ‘ how the world turns: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Judgment.

And before I wrote, during my #earlymorningdevotions after I opened randomly, Chris Tiegreen’s Devotional Book, The One Year Wonder of the Cross, and found this:

The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5.

A passage of Scripture which was used to conclude the note to my Bishop. And which underscores the importance of the role sin played, every kind of sin, including homosexuality, in God’s decision, ‘in the fullness of time’, to send his Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, because of His great and unfathomable love, to suffer and die on Calvary. For the sins of all mankind!

Then, this evening on Nationwide Radio, I heard the Archbishop, engaging in a very civilized and gracious discussion, with the Head of Alliance of Evangelical Churches in Jamaica, Bishop Alvin Bailey.
This time my reaction was beyond disappointment. Amazed!

Why? With my own two ears I heard an explanation from a reputable source, I had heard it before from spurious and self-serving sources, that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality. But with them being ‘ inhospitable ‘.

That Jesus welcomes all who were outcasts of society, and therefore so should we. ( Go ye and sin no more …..your many sins have been forgiven for you loved much…..seems to have escaped the attention of those who subscribe to such a limited, and increasingly popular, view of God’s love.

And that, in his view, when asked the question, the contribution of Bishop Howard Gregory on the repealing of the Buggery Law, represented the position of the Anglican church in Jamaica. An answer which was surprisingly uninformed, as Bishop Gregory had been very clear. That his contribution to Parliament was a ‘ personal’ one, and did not represent the position of the Diocese of Jamaica.

I was, however, very impressed with Bishop Holder’s calm and measured responses to an accusation that he was an ‘ apostate’. And one who was a supporter of the ‘ Gay Agenda’. Also with his insistence that dialogue and discussions were critical, if people who held opposing views were ever going to arrive at a common position on how to deal with a difficult issue. He also refuted the impression that he was in the ‘ employ’ of any lobby group, and insisted that he was invited as an Old Testament scholar.

Finally the Primate, admitted that, we in the Caribbean, were not yet at the same place, on this issue, as people in other countries were.

To which on another program, on CVM TV, Bishop Alvin Bailey responded, that the churches’ role was not to achieve consensus, but to present the gospel with a hope that all sinners might repent. And accept the free gift of salvation; ” while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

No doubt the Lord knew how this conversation would have affected me. And thus He prepared me for it. How?
Reflect with me on these postings on Twitter and Facebook last night:

We are not here to woo and win men to God we are here to present the Gospel which in individual cases will mean condemnation or salvation OC

The bedrock of Christianity is repentance #OswaldChambers

The religion of Jesus Christ is not a religion of ethical truth, but of Redemption #OswaldChambers

Everything that has been touched by sin and the devil has been redeemed. Unless we have faith in the Redemption…..

….all our activities are fussy impertinences which tell God He is doing nothing #OswaldChambers https://t.co/tT3kly8VEw

Warning ! ( My words) Social service that is not based on the Cross of Christ is the cultured blasphemy of civilized life against God; for it denies that God has done anything, and puts human effort as the only way whereby the world will be redeemed – Oswald Chambers

The final quote touched me the most. And is so contextually on target. For unless we begin with the Cross of Christ, where the full extent of God’s transforming and redeeming love, transects with the full extent of God’s wrath and Judgment against Sin, and not a desire to uphold human rights, or bring the gospel to sinners, in and by itself, we are missing the mark.

And have no power to fight against evil, to promote Justice, and no sustained ability to have mercy. And to forgive those who persecute us, and call us all kinds of names!

For the Word of God is true. That the kingdom of heaven is not about talk, whether of the Intimate variety or publicly on Radio or TV, but about Power. And about Righteousness and Peace in the Holy Spirit. And entry to which kingdom requires, not a Canadian passport, not a Jamaican passport, not a US passport, not consensus on whether or not we ought to repeal the Buggery Law, but ‘ wedding clothes ‘. The central message in the Gospel appointed in the worldwide Anglican Church for Sunday!

And only those who have been bought by the Blood of the Lamb of God, who acknowledge and accept this free gift, grace, from a merciful God, will be able to ‘ walk in Jerusalem just like John’, with Wedding Clothes. A privilege and joy which begins, once we repent and accept Christ as Lord and Savior! Right here on earth.

Otherwise what’s the point of it all. That a man or woman should gain the whole world, win every debate, have the support of many on Twitter and Facebook, and yet stand to lose his or her soul. If they don’t repent and accept Christ’s Redemption! What’s the point. Really!

Prayers which came to me over the past week:

Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s).

O breathe on me breath of God;
Fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou wouldst do.

Will thou not turn again and quicken us O Lord, that thy people may rejoice in thee…

Saint Augustine states: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”.


At 4:30 am, the Lord woke me up to read this:

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, Lord , your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord , are good.
Psalm 25:1‭-‬7 NIV

This verse was highlighted in my Bible, from years ago; and still so important today.

Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

A scriptural validation of a prayer from a saint of old, to which I was drawn this week.

Lord, Speak to me, that I may speak

Francis Ridley Havergal
Verse: Isaiah 6:8

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of thy tone;
As thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children lost and lone.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

O fill me with thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart o’erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
The love to tell, thy praise to show.

O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as thou wilt, and when and where,
Until thy blessed face I see,
The rest, the joy, thy glory share.

God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

It’s really true. God really does: ” give strength to the weary, and increases power of the weak”. Isaiah 40.

I did not send out a message last week. Too busy preparing for a preaching assignment. Then just came home after a long day. Its now 10: pm, and instead of relaxing and preparing to go to bed, I’ve been given strength and instructions to write.

Late not only account of work, but delayed by car troubles. This morning and this evening. Thank God for help along the way.

Going home, began praying about the car. That I may reach home safely. And that I need a reliable car to go back and forth to the country daily. Then recalled preaching about Bonhoeffer’s ( The great German martyr and theologian) admonition that :

“Anxiety for food and clothing ( and by extension a motor car) is clearly not the same thing as anxiety for the kingdom of God, however much we would like to persuade ourselves that when we are working for our families and concerning ourselves wirh bread and houses, we are thereby building the kingdom, as though the kingdom could be realized only through our worldly cares.

The kingdom of God and his righteousness are sharply distinguished from the gifts of the world which come our way. That kingdom is none other than the righteousness of Matthew 5 and 6, the righteousness of the Cross and the following of Jesus below the cross…..”

Accepting the mild rebuke, I began instead to pray for the Church. For renewal. ” Lord renew thy church beginning with me…..”.

Then the main ” take home” message of the sermon came back to me:

“Jesus did not just come to patch us up, He came to make us new”. – a quote from Oswald Chambers.

And the Biblical inspiration:

If any man is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and behold, all things are made new”.

So having been praying for a, ” spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened “, this is what the Lord revealed to me tonight on the way home.

That if anyone is in Christ, they really have to a new person. We cannot be the same old ‘ fraidy fraidy ‘ person, afraid of even our own shadow, worried about everything in life, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old cantankerous, miserable, unforgiving person, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old selfish, totally lost in our own little world, unaware and uncaring about what is happening around us, and claim to be in Christ.

We cannot be the same old person, easily tempted to sin, worshiping our own gods ( political party, our favourite TV show, for example) rather than spending quality time in God’s Word and in prayer, and claim that we are in Christ.

We cannot continue to be disobedient to God, and claim that we are God’s people ( like the Children of Israel did when Moses took a long time to return).

Christians are possessed of supernatural power to do good; to love enemies; to forgive those who persecute us; and people must see the Jesus in us.

Like Jesus, we must have a vision for the entire world, and not just our own parochial affairs, however pressing they might be.

The vision for the Church then, is not only to be on mission in the world. But, rather to disciple persons to become ‘ new creatures’. As if we are not made new, we cannot effectively be on mission. For to be on mission for a supernatural God, is to be empowered by the supernatural Holy Spirit to wage war against evil forces and not flesh and blood.

There is more. Much more. And will continue to be revealed. Perhaps by others. But this revelation is sufficient given the Theme for the Sermon:

Healing and Wholeness: Body, mind and spirit.

Finally the Lord reminded me of a meditation by a saint of yure, which describes the experience of one made new in Christ. Like the ‘ Gerasene Demoniac, Legion, who after an encounter with Jesus, was found, ” dressed up in his right mind”.

Finally the Lord reminded me of a meditation by a saint of yure, which describes the experience of one made new in Christ. Like the ‘ Gerasene Demoniac, Legion, who after an encounter with Jesus, was found, ” dressed up in his right mind”.


A. B. Simpson ( 1844 -1919)

Verse: Matthew 17:8 ” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone”.

Once it was his blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is his word;
Once God gift I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half of salvation, now the uttermost;
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, now he holds me fast;
Once ’twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once I hoped in Jesus, now I know he’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, now they brightly shine;
Once for death I waited, now his coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored safe within the veil.

All in all forever,
Only Christ I’ll sing;
Ev’rything is in Christ,
And Christ in ev’rything.

In obedience.



In obedience.

Who ‘ run tings’? Not McCain, Trump, Angela Merkel, only God!

Over the past couple of weeks, #BrandJamaica has been ” trending” extraordinarily well on the international scene.

Scene 1: CNN anchor employs a popular ‘ Jamaican saying’, to make a point during a major discussion on health care reform in the USA. That Senator McCain’s decision to vote against the Republican bill to replace ‘Obama Care’, showed who ‘ run tings’ in America.

we run tings; tings nuh run we

Check out @marciaforbes’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/marciaforbes/status/911609646883930112?s=09

This was such a huge moment that it had folks on Twitter tweeting about it for hours.

Scene 2: German elections. Although Angela Merkel’s party retained its position as the most popular one, the margin of victory was disappointing for its followers. And alarm bells went off as the ultra right, read Nazi party, gains huge numbers. To the point where they have a presence in the Bundestsag! The German Parliament. For the first time. Consequently there is speculation about a ‘ Jamaica coalition ‘. Parties, including Angela Merkel’s, whose flags are black, green and gold, coming together to form the government.

Clearly the Jamaica flag and its colours is a ‘ hot item’, internationally. Thanks to #UsainBolt and #Realshellyann and others. Plus the music. Plus the #Reggaeboyz.


And so I tweeted:

First CNN and our dialect. Now Germany and the colours of our flag #JamaicaCoalition. We big and broad bout yah https://t.co/1sl3oEdLsX

Scene 3: One which provoked the Gleaner cartoonist to respond ‘ impishly’.


Extract from Gleaner Article

As American president Donald Trump squares off with athletes and their silent protest during the playing of the national anthem, the world’s fastest man, our very own Usain Bolt was thrown into the mix. The president tweeted a clip of our superstar pausing mid interview as the American anthem was being played. The president tweeted, “Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time showed RESPECT for our national anthem.” Of course Jamaicans didn’t take too kindly to the mention and social media blew up with cries to keep us out of the mix up.

Then, in the middle of all this excitement about Jamaica, our dialect, our flag, and our sports heroes, a sobering Word.

About who really ‘ run tings’! Not John McCain. Not Angela Merkel. Not Usain Bolt. And definitely not Donald Trump. And soooo not the Gleaner. Nor Nationwide News. Nor The Jamaica Observer. Nor CNN.
Not the present Cabinet of the ruling JLP, nor in the future, if it so happens, the recently announced shadow cabinet of the Opposition PNP.

About who ‘ run tings’, even, and especially when the ‘ chips are down’. When ‘ dutty tuff’. When ‘ yu corner dark’. Literally! And there appears to be no hope.

Perhaps the story began when I read this section of the OT reading for Sunday in my Anglican church.

“The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses.

They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord , “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.”

So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Exodus 17:1‭-‬7 NIV

So we know that, irrespective of how dark things might look, a faithful God is, ‘ standing right there with us ‘. For He is Sovereign. And ‘ Ah Him run tings’. Always! No matter how bad the situation might appear.

Including a destroyed nation #Barbuda #Dominica #PuertoRico….out there in the middle of the Ocean. A big Ocean.
Cancer – the dreaded disease. And even death of a loved one. Relationship issues. Financial worries. A nation which continues to be plagued by Murder – ” why would they kill a 13 year old “, asked a bereaved mother this week.
Marginalization of our young men #Unattachedyouths Teenagers selling sex for money! Bikers ‘ running red lights’ with impunity. Political tribalism! Black men and police brutality on the USA. #BlackLivesMatter. Triggering #Takeaknee.

And the story which began with the Word of God, ended with an inspired Word. Found on opening my devotional guide randomly!


Chris Tiegreen

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Ephesians 1:18

The Word

We live in a world of darkness, and we get lost in it often. Plenty of voices offer to help us out too – there’s no shortage of people who will offer advice and speculate on the right decisions to make. Navigating a landscape of diverse philosophies and beliefs can be very confusing.

That’s why one of the greatest requests we can pray for each other, as St. Paul did for the Ephesians, is for a spirit of wisdom
and revelation ( vs 17). Or as he colorfully puts it, ” that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened “.

And Paul seems to have some pretty specific ideas about what our hearts need to be enlightened with.
We need to know the hope of our calling, the riches of our inheritance, and the power that is available to those who believe. If those things are firmly established in our hearts, we won’t find ourselves lost in darkness very often.

Think about it: if we are certain of our hope and know what God has called us to do; if we understand what we have already begun to inherit; and if we realize the amazing power of God working for on our behalf; then discouragement and confusion become a lot less prevalent in our lives. ….

This is a perspective-altering prayer.
When the trials of our lives loom large in our vision, we become fearful and depressed. But when we lift our sights to the truths that are greater and even more real than our circumstances, we can overcome anything.

In Deed.

If any situation oppresses you today, lift your eyes higher. Get a clear picture of the hope, the inheritance, and the power of God, and live and pray as though they are more real than anything else in your life.

Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds – Thomas Benton Brooks.

Comments: None needed. Except ” Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief “ – Holy Scripture. ( Mark 9:24 KJV)

” …….Above all, remind me constantly that I have nothing except what you give me, and can do nothing except what you enable me to do” – A morning prayer

” ....My gracious master and my God,
assist me to proclaim
and spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of the name ” – a verse from the hymn, ” O for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer’s praise.

Hurricane Maria and Sin. Big bad serial killers. God have mercy.

They tried their best to insert a light note! ” What do you do with a girl called Maria”? Invoking memories of one of the all time favourite movies; Sound of Music.

But it was not happening. For Huriicane Maria was, is, ‘ whatever ‘, a killer. A serial killer. A big, bad, serial killer. And a destroyer!

30 deaths so far in the Caribbean, and counting. Including 15 deaths in what one article termed, ‘ the obliterated Dominica’. That’s her resume!

And in the same article from Hurricane News from the #WeatherChannel:

“Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said at least 13 people have died on the island or in nearby waters due to the hurricane. He told The Weather Channel they were attempting to reach the most remote areas of the island by helicopter, as travel has been crippled by debris and downed power lines on Puerto Rico’s roads.”

As we speak Maria is lashing, again, the already devastated Turks and Caicos Islands. Is this the new normal some are asking as the Region reels from the presence, back to back, of two Category Five weather systems!

All of this while others debate the accuracy and usefulness of this bit of data put out on Twitter ( thank you Earl Moxam) by a ‘ weather expert.

Atlantic Category 5 hurricanes (33 in total):
1851-1900: 0
1901-1930: 2
1931-1960: 8
1961-1990: 10
1991-2017: 13

So lots of questions in the air. Will some islands in the Caribbean be abandoned? Can the insurance fund set to help countries in the Region recover from catastrophic events survive? Can, my country, any other country for that matter, survive a direct hit from a CAT 5 Hurricane. Bearing in my that ” Wild Gilbert”, which occasioned so much havoc, and misery, for months, was a CAT 3. And if we survive this year, can we live again after another one the year after? Will all of us just pack up and go and live in Guyana; 80, 000 square miles with 780, 000 people?

All of this happening this week as I was led to ponder deeply on the most catastrophic event ever to take place in the entire world. The entry of Sin. A killer. A serial killer. A big, bad serial killer. Of millions. And a destroyer of cataclysmic proportions. An unwanted guest in the affairs of man. And a new normal since The Fall in the Garden of Eden. The reason why names like Auschwitz, Pol Pot, Rwanda, The Atlantic Slave Trade, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Osama bin Laden, Stalin, Julius Caesar and Judas are famous.

But unlike Maria, Sin does not announce itself in a dramatic fashion. But gets into the hearts of mankind. And ” from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts “….attempted murder in the middle of Papine square last night ( breaking news on Nationwide Radio), ISIS beheading and burning people alive, immorality, greed, theft,….all of which separate us from a Holy and Loving God, and were it not for Jesus, would consign us to ‘ everlasting damnation’. Eternal life without God!

For this killer has come to ” steal, and kill and destroy “. Forever! But, thank God for Jesus, who has come, ” that we may have life, and life more abundantly “. Forever!

No doubt that’s why I was led to spend time reflecting deeply on Psalm 51 this week. A Psalm which is best read after meditating on the profound words of a popular hymn:

” Jesus sought me when a stranger
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue, me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

Oh, how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let the goodness like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee;
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love,
here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
seal it for the courts above

From the hymn ” Come, thou doubt of every blessing “.

For the reality which has haunted mankind since The Fall, A Category 100 disaster, which ‘ fly de gate’, and let in Sin, is that we are all ‘ prone to wander ‘, from our Creator God.

That’s why Jesus had to ‘ interpose his precious blood’. And that’s why the Psalmist begins with the eternal cry of humanity:

” Have mercy on me, O God “.

Why! Because we cannot, in and by ourselves, overcome the Sin that causes us to offend God. To be prone to wander from the ‘ fold of God ‘. Can’t manage.

It’s a cri de coeur, a cry from the heart, from one, who before the advent of the Indwelling of The Holy Spirit vs. The Presence, knew his transgressions. For the reality is that, it is only when the Spirit indwells us that we are truly aware of the enormity of Sin. Otherwise we seek to minimise or discount entirely, its effects on human behavior:

” When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regards to sin and righteousness and judgment…..”
John 16:8

And so we join with the Psalmist:

” Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”.

Murder, most foul. Triggering #ZOSO. Disobedient ( to their patents) children.
A burning issue which triggered this Tweet:

Can you imagine if all parents received training – preparing for parenthood, childcare & development, continuing parental development etc?💡✨

And my responses:

We are trying to reinvent the wheel with neither the obedience nor the Word. Not possible. https://t.co/Mt3nnt03H4

Part of your training growing up in the church being obedient to God’s Word…. why Jamaica was a more peaceful place in the 50’s and 60’s.

Greed….scammimg. Greed….rapacious capitalism. Part of the reason, along with politically savy, but economically devastating ( #WorsethanaCAT5) decisions, why the late great Professor Beckford’s ” Persistent Poverty ” is still a rallying call.

Then the Psalmist reveals the true extent of our helplessness ” Jesus sought me when a stranger “, and expressed his thoughts in one of the most important verses in the Bible

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”

Followed by a verse which had me singing ( in my heart) 😀 in my office today during my #lunchtimedevotions:

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

And immediately:

Are you washed, are you washed, ate you washed in the Blood of the Lamb: Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow, are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb;

came into my mind. So, deep in my soul, I sang, and recalled how, one day, a Pentecostal patient sang for me, and almost ‘ took off the roof’.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit in me…..only through Christ, has been a constant companion with me in prayer. But that which touched my heart in a special way, this time around of reading this Psalm, is the revelation that:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart , O God, you will not despise.

For the fact is, that you cannot honestly cry out ” Have mercy “, unless we are truly sorry. Deep in our souls! That we have sinned against the Lord! That we are so ‘ prone to wander ‘. Even after God rescued His people with His might power at the Red Sea. Only to read in the Old Testament reading for this Sunday in my church, how the Israelis ‘ grumbled ‘ against the Lord.

So too, have we, as a nation, rescued by the influence of the Word of God, from Slavery, in our day, have, ‘ wandered from the God we love’. And embraced Lotto, a body to die for, our favourite politician or talk show host, or Don ‘ we will die for Dudus’, or Addie a.k.a Vybes Kartel, and the ‘prosperity gospel’, which is no gospel at all.

And so the profound words from the Epistle appointed for Sunday, either escapes us, or we are determined to deny that reality:

” For he ( God) has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well…..” Philippians 1: 30.

This willingness to suffer, to share with Christ, helps us to develop a broken and contrite heart, when we understand, only in part, a very small part, of what He went through for us, on Calvary. ” Interposed his precious blood. And is therefore a key part of the Christian journey, and the Salvation story.

May we then be granted the grace to understand these things, so that we may be empowered to point the embattled people of Dominica and Puerto Rico and other areas of devastation to place their Hope in Christ. By our acts of mercy and compassion. By our words of comfort. And by the sharing of the Gospel.

For it is true, that :

God gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of weak. Isaiah 40: 29

Even, and especially in the face of Category Five weather systems. And the devastation of human souls occasioned by Sin!

But first we must repent of our sinful nature, acknowledge our helplessness, our weak state, and cry out like the Psalmist:

Have mercy on all of us O Lord!

And then the Blessed Assurances, not questions, not doubts, will follow.

” But now, this is what the Lord says –
he who created you O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel;
Fear not, for I have redeemed yoy:
I have summonded you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you ( in Barbuda, on Dominica….for I went through suffering and death for you on Calvary).
When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you ( even in death in Houston, or from cancer, or a motor vehicle crash, I will rescue you… because of Calvary).
When you walk through the fire, ( like Daniel) the flames will not set you ablaze). Isaiah 43: 1-2 NIV

For what the serial killer, and deceiver and destroyer, Sin, the firepower of the enemy, the devil, tells us, is that this life is the only one. So, eat, drink and enjoy. ” Go back to Egypt”. For life in this desert is rough. Plenty hurricanes out there.

Big lie! Thank God for Jesus, who has come, to show God’s love, for all mankind, for all have sinned, and will perish, eternally, unless we are ‘ washed in the Blood of the Lamb. And thus assured of Eternal Life with our Creator God. The Gospel Truth.
Mercy! And compassion. In a time when CAT 5 Hurricanes show no mercy. And no compassion.

God and Irma and Harvey: Redemptive Power vs Destructive

Physics was not my favourite subject in high school. English, Geography and History were the winners. And French too! But in order to get into med school, Physics was a must. At a high level! So, I dutifully learnt about Joules; a package of energy.

According to a very interesting article in the Washington Post, which caught my attention ( where else but Twitter) Irma had 112 terrajoules. A whole heap of energy….in plain Jamaica talk. And this is only the energy in a thin slice of the Hurricane measured about 10 Metres off the ground. The energy in the entire height of the system would be much bigger.


By comparison Katrina ( 2005) carried 118 terrajoules. And Andrew (1992) which caused so much devastation in South Florida only carried 15 terrajoules. Sandy which caused so much problems in New Jersey carried a massive 330 terrajoules on account of its huge windfield. Whilst Harvey, Houston destroyer, carried 28 terrajoules of energy.

Storms and Hurricanes, and even smaller weather systems are therefore awesome generators of energy, with the potential to cause much damage. No one is safe. Not even in super rich America. You cannot defend yourself against #Irma. It is unstoppable and irresistible. You either batten down, make other preparations, and pray. Or flee. To a distant State. Like New York. Definitely not Georgia.

You can imagine then, the thoughts that went through my mind this week, as I read the following passage from the book of Hebrews.
About ‘ storm’ and ‘ consuming fire’. As God Almighty is indeed an Awesome God. And therefore He is to be feared. And His Name Glorified in all the Earth. Which, according to the Bible, is the whole point of the mighty power He demonstrated in parting the Red Sea and rescuing His people from the evil that Pharoah represented.

And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him, and in Moses his servant”.
Exodus 14:31. The Old Testament reading in the worldwide Anglican Church for this Sunday.


You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded:

“If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”

The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.

You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:18‭-‬29 NIV

So, in our journey with God as humankind, we move from experiencing Him in terrifying indescribable ‘joules of power’, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant. In fact the Bible tells us that God lives in ‘ approachable light’! And that anyone who ‘ saw Him’, would die.

This kind of description of God ought really to give us pause, when we consider that with a wave of the hand and a command, Jesus ‘ stilled the storm’. Be still! And it obeyed Him. No wonder the disciples were afraid. Of Jesus! Perhaps more than the storm which had threatened to destroy them.

Perhaps the message from the various storms of life, is that we ought to fear God. Him, Who alone can help us to overcome. At the Red Sea when Pharoah and his armies approach! In Farm, Clarendon, as bullets continue to fly, whilst awaiting the declaration on the next #ZOSO! And alone broken and totally overwhelmed with the news of marital infidelity!

It is the kind of revelation which helps us to begin to understand St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians church, and his famous prayer which ended like this:


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NIV

A passage of Scripture to which I was led one morning this week in my #Earlymorningdevotions
How? Opening Chris Tiegreen’s The One Year Wonder of the Cross Devotional!

And having read, I invite you to consider deeply, in this time of #ZOSO , the chilling murder of a young female doctor, the devastation occasioned by #Irma and #Harvey, floods in Sierra Leone, and myriads of other problems that confront humanity, that we have not begun to ‘ scratch the surface ‘ of the Power of The Almighty God.


All of God
Verse: ….that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:29


It sounds arrogant to some, simply impossible to others. How can human beings be filled with all the fullness of God? After all, God is infinite; we aren’t. The human can contain some of the divine, but surely Paul is overstating a promise by using words like ‘ all’, and ‘ fullness’.

Maybe he means we can be filled to our capacity with God, assuming that our capacity has a limit. Or maybe he means that our lives can overflow with God, though it is our smallness and God’s greatness that creates the overflow.

But literally ‘ filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’s? Those words no mortal can live up to. That’s far too much to expect.

But the words of Scripture aren’t aren’t accidental. The Spirit who inspired them had something specific in mind with Paul’s words. Our minds stretch to figure out what it is,……..the claim is astounding. We’re left with the sense that life in Christ is way over our heads…..


However much you have grown in your relationship with God, however long you have walked with Him, realize that you have barely scratched the surface. You were designed to host His Spirit within you – that’s a relationship without an imposed limit. There’s no ending point, no constraint. However full of Him you are, He offers more. Accept it. Never be satisfied with ‘ enough ‘, of Him.

Comment: As I write I recall wondering from time to time, why the difference between Peter’s ” Silver and gold have I none, but in the Name of Jesus, get up and walk “, and our feeble prayers in this age.

Why isn’t the Power of God manifestly ‘ flowing out ” of believers in this wicked Jamaica where over a thousand persons have been brutally murdered to date?

The answer, that a song writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and on which words I have pondered on repeatedly, offers, is :

Yet, I may love Thee too, O Lord Almighty as Thou art;
For Thou hast stooped to ask of me
The love of my poor heart.

A verse of one of the greatest hymns of the church. And words, just came into my head, which are so contextually relevant to this reflection on God and Hurricanes.


My God, how wonderful Thou art,
Thy majesty, how bright;
How beautiful Thy mercy seat
In depths of burning light!

How dread are Thy eternal years,
O everlasting Lord,
By prostrate spirits day and night
Incessantly adored!

How wonderful, how beautiful,
The sight of Thee must be;
Thy endless wisdom, boundless power,
And glorious purity!

O how I fear Thee, living God,
With deep and tender fear;
And worship Thee with trembling hope,
And penitential tears!

Yet, I may love Thee, too, O Lord,
Almighty as Thou art;
For Thou hast stooped to ask of me
The love of my poor heart!

No earthly father loves like Thee,
No mother, e’er so mild,
Bears and forbears as Thou hast done,
With me, Thy sinful child.

Father of Jesus, love’s Reward!
What rapture it will be
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie,
And gaze, and gaze on Thee!

For, how God has ordained it, the close relationship between sinful man and an Awesome and Holy God, begins with an acceptance of Christ’s Redemptive Act of love on Calvary.

That this Almighty and Powerful and Holy God, made Himself weak, emptied Himself of all Power, ‘ and stooped to ask of sinful man ‘ our love for His Son. The Crucified One. The One who was , “slaughtered and with His Blood, ransomed for God, saints from every tribe and nation”; according to the book of Revelation.
O glory Alleluiah. O praise His Holy Name.

So, yes, the unbridled, untamed power of Irma and Harvey, and Katrina, wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and North America. In same way that other powerful and destructive forces unleashed by mankind #Hiroshima #9/11 have caused untold grief and pain.

But thank God for Jesus, He who has ultimate Power over all Creation, lives in us, by faith in the Crucified One through the Holy Spirit. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God.

The challenge for Christians, is to continually die to self, so that this Mighty Power may flow out us. To spread abroad the transforming Love of God for our neighbors. And to fight valiantly against evil.

For, truly, only when we are weak, will God’s power become perfect in us. The people in God’s Church today are far too strong. They think they can, by themselves, defeat evil. And prosper. May God have mercy and forgive us of such a misunderstanding of, and disobedience to, His Word.
” O for grace to love thee more”.

God is Sovereign and Faithful in the midst of the Storm #Irma

I normally write on a Friday night. Or Saturday morning. But does it matter. This morning, however, when the storms of life threaten some, and have left others battered and bruised, the Lord woke me up to read, and to write.

I cannot begin to imagine what the people of Barbuda, or St. Martin, or BVI, are going through at this time after the devastation occasioned by the passing of one of the most powerful weather systems in history, Hurricane Irma.

I don’t know what will happen if this monstrous hurricane targets directly, as the computer models suggests, the Florida peninsula, where my dearest and my best reside. But God knows!

And God He knows that there are many others ‘ storms ‘ which have devastated the lives of people known by me. Or whose situation has been made known to me by others. Sudden death! From ‘natural’causes. And from the hands of wicked gunmen. Bad news from the doctor. From this doctor. From other doctors. Life turns a corner. Suddenly! And relationships are shattered. Or badly affected.

Just spoke to a good Christian friend whose son did not wake up one morning. While I was reading, the Lord reminded me to call him. Asked him how he was doing. “Only Jesus’, he replied. And with this sure knowledge, he declared that he was ,’ more blessed than stressed’.

So I told him the central message that the Lord revealed to me through His Word. The Lord woke me up at 4:45. Not the usual 4: 00 am message. But does it matter.

That: ” God is light and in Him there is no darkness”.

And the Spirit reminded me that the words of a wonderful hymn point to the fact that in God there is no darkness, ” no shadow of turning with thee “, Great is thy faithfulness.

This is the all we need to know in this ‘ wild and stormy gale’, we call life. That we serve a God who is the ‘ Light of the world ‘. And that through Him all things were made. And without him not one thing was made. Including life. Precious life. And hurricanes.

So He is Sovereign over every disaster, every trial, every sudden turn in our lives. Today. Yesterday. And to come tomorrow.

More importantly we know that this Sovereign God, this Light in whom there is no darkness, cares. Even to death in a Cross. By His Son. Who suffered and died. And rose again. So that in Him, we too might experience and shine forth. The same Light, in whom there is no darkness.

It can’t therefore be coincidence that, just yesterday, I read a series of reflections by Chris Tiegreen on 1 Peter. 2.

1. That we are THE HOLY ONES

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.

The new community in Christ has a new identity. We aren’t just people who have made a religious decision or aligned ourselves with a social movement.

We aren’t an organisation or an institution. We are a people hand selected by God to be like Him – to be different, to be holy…..

We are characterized by our society as a subculture or social sector……we have to understand that the life we live is humanity fulfilled, a completion of what was lacking , and a restoration of what was lost with the first sin. We are unlike any other human being. We are born again of God’s Spirit.


….that you may declare the praises if him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.




And so this is what the Lord led me to read as I woke up and opened by Bible randomly.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1‭-‬5 NIV

And as I read John’s Gospel, words from his Epistle cane to mind.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:1‭-‬5 NIV

Then in my Classics Devotional Bible, nestled in the words of 1 John 2, I ‘ happened’ on this wonderful message of encouragement.
That though the storms of life bear down on us, our God reigns.


John Newton ( 1725 – 1807….a former slave ship owner who became a priest….experienced conversion during a storm….author of Amazing Grace.

Verse: Hebrews 10: 32…..But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with suffering.


Be still my heart! these anxious cares
To thee are burdens, thorns and snares;
They cast dishonor on the Lord,
And contradict his gracious word.

Brought safely by his hand thus far,
Why wilt thou now give place to fear?
How canst thou want if he provide,
Or lose thy way with such a guide?

When first before the mercy- seat
Thou first to him thine all commit;
He gave thee warrant from that hour
To trust his wisdom, love and power.

Did trouble yet befall,
And he refuse to hear thy call?
And has he not his promise passed,
That thou shall overcome at last?

He who has helped me hitherto
Will help me all my journey through,
And give me daily cause to raise
New Ebenezers to his praise.

Though rough and thorny be the road,
It leads thee on, apace to God;
Then count thy present trials small,
For God will make sense of all.