Personal Devotions: Sonship


Welcome to the first Personal Devotions post for 2011!

I have started to use Youversion on my Blackberry to get back into reading the Word.  Last year I was interacting with the Scripture using the Daily Audio Bible website and community, but in November I couldn’t keep up the momentum… it petered out.  So although I almost made it, I didn’t finish reading the entire Bible last year.  It was becoming a lot to take in all at once – Brian reads from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Psalms and the Proverbs every single day – as well as gives his own inspired commentary on what was read.  Then he would pray, and there was also be a section where people from the community could call in and ask for prayer, pray for others in the community or give a praise report.

It was  great. But it was a lot to take in as the year progressed and my battle with depression deepened.   So this year, on the advice of a few good friends, I have endeavoured to look for another strategic Bible plan that will ease me back into the reading of the Word.

I had downloaded the Youversion app on my Blackberry for a while, but hadn’t really used it much until I was challenged to read the Word more – specifically the Psalms.  I decided that I would find a short Bible plan using the smartphone.  And this is day two.  I’m reading a Psalm and a Proverb.  that’s’ it.

But today I heard God speak through his word in a way that I have not heard in a while.  I was arrested by Psalm 2:7

I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.

I heard him: YOU ARE MY SON.  I cried out to him, “I have not felt like your son in ages!”  But in spite of what I feel or don’t, his word still rings true to my heart today.

This Scripture naturally makes me think of Romans 8:15 as well

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, Abba,[b] Father.”

And looking at Proverbs 2, I was also arrested by the beginning two words: “My son”  The entire chapter spoke to me, but I am picking out the part that I really feel impressed on my heart right now.

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

I have had so many depressed moods, so much negativity, so much pain – that focusing on the positive was a welcome change.  So here is my devotion for today.

Lord, I have not felt like your son for ages. I can say like the Prodigal, “I am not worthy to be called your son.” But you call me son anyway. Even if I fail.  Even if I fall. Even if I decide that I am still feeling rebellious… all of this time you still call me son, and still seek my heart turning back to you. I ask that you will acknowledge my baby steps, and help me to increase my momentum. Thank you Jesus. AMEN

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One Word 2011


In an earlier post I mentioned my friend Alece who shared her concept of focusing on one word as the guiding post for the entire year, rather than coming up with a laundry list of New Year’s resolutions.  Last year her word was RISK, mine was RESURRECTION.  This year, she chose to LOOK more to find Christ in even the mundane things, I have had a personally rough year and have chosen to move forward, gaining MOMENTUM along the way.

As I was perusing my Facebook page just now, I realized that this concept has been extended to Facebook!  Alece has created a One Word 2011 page at  http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Word-2011/182416081777208?v=wall.

This concept seems to be taking off! It seems so much easier to focus on one word rather than a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’.  I can attest to the fact that ‘resurrection‘ has yet to manifest itself in my life in a full way – but you can’t resurrect something until it is dead.  In fact, I would say that there’s been a lot of death in my life recently – emotionally, relationally, even spiritually – but I would also say that that is the reason I chose my word for this year as MOMENTUM.  In order to get the resurrection I seek, I have to find a way forward; I may start with baby steps, but intend to pick up the pace as I continue.

So here’s my plug for this concept – Even as Alece exclaims “Holy Crap!” at the explosion around this concept – I’m doing my part to spread the word!

So come along! Focus on One Word tis year… and be revolutionized by God!

Bajan Christmas!


I didn’t realize it was gonna be  a  ‘series’ until my friend Linda pointed it out to me in her last comment – but I’m glad to have kept you entertained as well as informed about my culture! 😆  Now, to a season specific post –  Christmas is coming!

I will point you first to a traditional Bajan Christmas carol by Red Plastic Bag – Maizie.  Click on this link,  and listen to this song.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

……

Great, wasn’t it?  That is one song that plays every single Christmas!   “But Maizie, in all honesty… why not under the Christmas tree? Maizie I am vex because you making movements with Santa Claus…..”  😆

(Public announcement – I do not endorse cheating on your partner, even if it is with Santa Claus!)

Remember when I mentioned that “Bajan is a very onomatopoeic language“? Check out this poem I found!

Twas De Night Before Christmas (Bajan Style)

Twas de night before Christmas, when all tru dehouse,
all de fellers was tinkin ’bout puddin an’ souse.

De hams were all hung by de sideboard wid care,
in hopes that tomorrow, there’d be nuff sweet food to share.

De chil’ren were ball-up all tight in their beds,
while visions of pumpkin fritters danced in their heads.

You cud smell de sweet bread in de oven from far,
and I had just crack a fresh bottle of Cockspur 5 Star.

When out in de chicken coop there arose such a clatter.
I jump up from my ottama to see wha de ram-bam was de matter.

Away to the window I flew like a zr van,
equip wid 2 big salt breads, holdin in my hand.

The moon on de dunks tree looked so lovely an’bright,
but it suddenly occured to me that I was tired as shite.

When, what with my malicious eyes do I see?
Wuh loss! A big musty santa-pee (ie.centepede), right by my feet!

Bring de cutlass goah-blemmuh! Dis ting gine bite me!
And de nex ting I look, it was up by my knee.

More rapid than Winston Hall dis ting start to climb,
if I had some Baygon, I knew I’d be fine.

The brow of my forehead was starting to sweat,
But wait! I hadda idea…I wasn’t done for yet.

So I grabble piece a board and give it a chop,
Wax! Puhlax! Bruggadung! Brax! I would not stop.

You shudda see de ting denn, it tek so much licks…
It was now all over the floor, like corn beef on Crix.

But Beryl was ‘busing as bad as could be,
’bout how I dirty up de floor wid dead santa-pee.

Ah tell she doan worry and ah tell she don fret,
bout that foolish old gal like she ain hear ma yet.

She keep making bare noise and giving backchat,
so I chop she wid a salt bread, and dat was de end ah dat.

Author unknown

(reference: http://www.caribbeannews.com/jokes/twas_de_night_before_christmas.html)

Ok let me give you a list of traditional Bajan culture at Christmas:

  1. Getting up early, early and dressing up sharp, sharp sharp to go to Christmas service that starts at 5 AM. (You can tell we Bajans repeat for emphasis!)
  2. Leaving church and parading your finery in Queen’s Park. (Check out these links – here here and here.  Even more here!)
  3. Where the national dish changes temporarily to Farmer’s Choice ham. (It isn’t Christmas without ham, jug jug, sorrel drink and Bajan black cake!) Click here to read more about Christmas food Bajan style.
  4. The traditional “pulling down the house” for Christmas.  Others may “Spring clean”, but Bajans give the house a thorough cleaning, paint job, hang new curtains – the works – for Christmas.  Mainly because it’s the time of year to host great family feasts and family and friends will be coming from over ‘n away (Bajan for ‘overseas’) to visit and you want your house to look ‘proper’.
  5. Carrying on from  ‘mekking de house look proper’, a new tradition is springing up with some people putting up ’nuff, nuff’ ( translated: A LOT) of lights all OVER their houses. Some are so lit up you can see them quite a distance away! Look at these pics!
  6. Bajans are last minute people – so town is packed (And by ‘town’ Bajans always mean our captital, Bridgetown – even although we have 4 or 5 towns in the island)
  7. Back in the day, (since we don’t have snow here) Bajans used to sprinkle marl (crushed stone) or sand or white lime around to simulate a ‘White Christmas’.
  8. We had our own version of carolers as well, called ‘scrubbers’.  (Check out this link)

As you can tell,  I’ve gotten a lot of my links from this site.  If you’re interested, read up some more here.

And have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, everybody!!!!!!!!

NB -“Making movements” – getting involved with, hooking up with…  you get the idea. Sorta like a Bajan version of “I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus” – which was also referenced in the song above.

BWIA – The now defunct Caribbean airline British West Indies Airlines that was the regional air carrier for years until it was re-branded Caribbean Airlines.

NEEDING YOUR HELP–VOTE (via “You Will Rise Again”)


My friend Renee… you know her online as lost sheep … has been blogging about spiritual abuse for a while. I mentioned her in one of my Blog Highlights posts.

Now she has entered a competition put on by Pepsi, trying to raise awareness for spiritual abuse. I promised her I’d help her promote her page to get votes, so read below and then help her out – you who are connected to my Tweets and FB feed would have seen these already, but here’s one more for a worthy cause!!!!!!!!!!!

As you know i am working on a community awareness for spiritual abuse—i am gotten accepted into the voting part of the pepsi refresh grant/contest—-voting will take place from today through August 31—and you can vote up to 10 times a day—you can vote by going to this link: http://www.refresheverything.com/youwillriseagain or going to Pepsi Refresh on FB application or going to the pepsi refresh website and once you get to the voting part … Read More

via “You Will Rise Again”

For those who just like to get to the point:  Go to http://www.refresheverything.com/youwillriseagain and vote for Lost Sheep’s bid to raise the awareness of Spiritual Abuse via a competition put on by Pepsi.  Thanks for helping!

Personal Devotions – Trusting in the Power of the Resurrection


A couple of days ago I was stuck at this Scripture verse – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11  (MSG)

8-11We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. (emphasis mine)

These verses have struck me ….  I really HAVE felt as though I won’t make it, that it is all over for me …and OH how I’ve felt like a death row inmate over my past indiscretions.  But the concept of the fall out of my actions forcing me to trust God totally – that spoke to me.  There’s nothing else without God.  And he is the God that raises from the dead! He is the God of the resurrection!

This Scripture gives me hope, because God rescued in the past, and he’ll do it again – “… as many times as we need rescuing!”  That is so awesome to me, because I’ve been in a cycle of trying to get out of needing rescue, and then needing it again, for a while.

And “[you] and your prayers are part of the rescue operation.”  I would probably be much further away if I didn’t have so many wonderful people praying and interceding and standing beside me….. I am humbled by the support of so many I have never seen face to face, as well as those I know personally.  “I can see your faces now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of [me]….”  Well, okay, not physically see your faces – yet – but I can see them in the Spirit… and I am grateful for each one of you….  And just like Paul said, I don’t want you in the dark about that, either.  Your prayers HAVE played a crucial part in my life – and I am eternally grateful.

Please continue to pray for me – and for a couple other people who need it:

  • Amy Woodell – suffered a stroke at 24  (more details here)
  • Mandy Thompson – recently finished a blog series on her struggle with infertility –  read her blog series “The Waiting”, and pray!
  • Lost Sheep – My friend who is going through a major set of oppression, and recovering from spiritual abuse.  Read her blog here.
  • Darla – Also going through some internal struggles …. read some more here.
  • Alece – Not only personally, but for her ministry at Thrive Africa – I wrote a post about her and her ministry.  Read it here – and go over and support the Ten Buck Tuesday initiative.
  • And anyone else the Lord lays on your heart today.

Blog Highlight: Lost Sheep – You Will Rise Again


I thought that I would continue the highlights of blogs that I interact with, and friends that I have met through the blogosphere.

Lost Sheep has been my friend now for a while, and we have been walking together through her recovery from spiritual abuse.  I have been there to listen and just be a friend while she expresses her frustration and pain about being constantly told that God hated her, that she was a terrible Christian, that she would never amount to anything and the like.  It has affected her emotionally, physically and, of course, spiritually as well.  She was horrified to realize later that the ‘church’ she had joined as a brand new believer eager to know more about the Lord was actually an organization with strong cult tendencies.

She has detailed how the abuse has affected her, given her story briefly, and set up groups for mutual support and comfort for those who have been victims of spiritual abuse, as well as pastors and leaders who want to know how to help.

I have encouraged her that her story and her work is important, and it will help many.  In a real sense it will also shine light into the dark corners of spirituality (this isn’t true church by any means) and as the light shines in the darkness, it will definitely derail Satan’s plans on many levels.

So, I encourage all to go and read her blog – You Will Rise Again.  Anyone who is interested to understand how cults affect people – here is one person who is no where near the end of her journey… she is constantly battling spiritual oppression as well as apparent betrayals from those who have promised to assist her.  BUT – she keeps on going.  She keeps pressing on – albeit with a lot of encouragement from some close friends.  Her work is important.  Get involved by prayer or by reading the blog and interacting with Lost Sheep.

Pray.  Get involved.

Personal Devotions: Faith in Action!


Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? (James 2:14-17, MSG)

I’m reading through the book of James with a friend.  This morning, while reading James 2, the concept of faith being inextricably linked to works was highlighted.  The fact is, you can’t have one without the other.  As the Message Bible continues:

18I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

You need both.  It’s so important that both faith and works be together that The Message has a word picture of a corpse if they are separated:

Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? (vs 20, MSG)

and

The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. (vs 26, MSG)

So, here’s my action!  James also mentions what ‘religion’ means  to God…

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27 (NIV)

My friend, Alece, is the president of a ministry Thrive Africa, whose mission, from their website, is to “disciple Believers, equip leaders, and strengthen the Church in Southern Africa.”  She continues, ” We accomplish this through AIDS preventionpastoral development,discipleship classesyouth camps,mission trips, and more.”

I placed a banner to their store on my blog, and I’ve been folllowing Alece’s story on her personal blog Grit and Glory.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

She has become a blog friend – one who I connect with through her words on her blog, and through her story… but reading this Scripture today I am inspired to DO SOMETHING.  I am thinking about my finances and what I can do to help her ministry, but the SOMETHING I can start with is free… highlight her, her ministry, and their need here.

Thrive Africa needs assistance. Here’s part of the need from their website:

We have set a goal to raise $80,000 in new support by June 1.

$60,000 in one-time gifts by April 15

to get us up-to-date on our operating expenses

$20,000 in new monthly commitments by June 1

to continue our programs at current levels.

It is a God sized request for a God sized vision.  I want to help.  And I’m asking all to help as well.  Let us not just hear what the word says. Let’s do what it says, and help.

For more information, go to Impact South Africa, from Thrive Africa.

And get to know Alece, and her inspirational and authentic story at her personal blog – Grit and Glory.