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Conscience troubles

11 Aug

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

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

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

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

Then she addresses the audience:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courage.

Molding Minds

28 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re needed

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

Is rest important?

2 May

Is rest important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————————

Troubling Dream

2 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Holy Spirit

1 Apr

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

Let’s mediate on this verse:

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

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

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

So it is with us and God.

Rev 3:20

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

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

Phillipians 2:13

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

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

Finally, let’s consider this last verse:

Ephesians 4:30-31

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

Amen.

Listening to God Part II

27 Aug

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  (1John 13-15)

I have a friend who was introduced to a young man. Well meaning friends were sure that this guy was the one for her. She didn’t like the idea and tried in vain to dissuade them from going through with ‘setting up’ the whole thing. Well, the result was that a seed was planted in my friend’s mind. She thought about it, she prayed about it, she got what seemed to be confirmations from God and of course, she had the endorsement of adult Christian women who she truly looked up to.
My friend, let’s call her Ruby, began to dream, so much so that as much as I was happy for her, I became concerned about the matter. Building castles in the sand can destroy one’s spiritual walk. She
has a professional life that is dedicated to God and because of this, I believe that she is constantly attacked spiritually. So, I felt the need to say to her, “Let’s pray. Let’s agree on something.” I had to do something when she made me maid of honour. I knew things were looking grim.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

“What?” she asked. “Let’s ask God for confirmation on this guy. If he contacts you tomorrow, via anyting, phone, FB etc., then He’s the one for you, if not, begin pulling out”. I said this hoping she would grab at the opportunity, but Ruby didn’t really like the idea, Why? Because, what if he didn’t contact her tomorrow? As far as she knew, he didn’t have any of her contacts. We prayed then she asked me, “what did we agree on again?” I reminded her of the purpose of our prayer. She then said, “Zee, I don’t think I agreed on anything.”  “What are you scared of?” I asked.

Ruby was scared that the guy would not contact her the next day, plus, agreeing to such a term made it all seem so final. She thought of all the confirmations she already had. I asked, “Don’t you think God is able to have this gentleman call you tomorrow if he’s the one? Don’t you want to know for sure?”

The next day, DE DAY, Ruby was very nervous. She was upset. Her dreams seemed to have crumbled. But it wasn’t so much about this young man calling, rather, it was about not understanding God when He spoke. “Zee, I am tired of not being sure. I thought I had all these confirmations. It’s not about the guy, it’s about understanding God when He talks to me. I am so tired!” Ruby was in tears, and I wanted to shed some myself.
I then asked her to tell me why she believed this young man was for her. What she shared with me was extremely convincing. “Ruby, then this young man should contact you . At least, if He is a man of God, he will listen to the Holy Spirit and reveal his true desires and not play with your feelings.”
Then it came to my mind to add that the enemy is very smart and we shouldn’t take his schemes for granted. He hates us and wants us to be miserable.

Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Peter 5:8)

My major concern wasn’t the guy, rather the state my friend found herself in. This happenned to me and I remember regretting getting distracted by pouring my energies into something, or rather, someone, who God hadn’t meant for me. And although my situation was a whole lot worse than Ruby’s, like me, she allowed her self to be swept away by seemingly convincing signs and confirmations.

Did the guy call her? No. But guess what. He called the next best person, the well meaning older friend who planted the seed. He called her and pretty much said that he was just interested in friendship. Ruby’s friend wondered why he didn’t just contact her himself, but we came to the conclusion that if he had, that would have confirmed that he was the one.
It was soooooo close. Ruby could have argued, “Zee, he contacted me via her, etc.. But no, she didn’t rationalize anything. We prayed that he would contact her. He didn’t. I really wanted ‘tomorrow’ to be a day of celebration.

This was difficult for Ruby, but, can you imagine how much more pain she was saved from? This could have been a worse ordeal.

So the question is: Are we prepared to walk away when God says NO?

Miracle

9 Aug

About three months ago, some of our Church family met to pray for a special member who was  diagnosed with a terminal illness. We all wanted God to heal him yesterday. Why wasn’t he healing him? What were we doing wrong?

The day came. It was a Sabbath. He passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by the ones he loved.

The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness. (Isaiah 57:1-2)

One night, less than a month later, I couldn’t sleep so I got up to read and pray. I found John 14:12 and my thoughts went back to that prayerful moment we had for our brother. God chose not to heal him, why?

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)

Jesus says that we who believe in Him will do the same works He did, and even greater…, I got stuck on the word ‘greater’. “Father”, I asked seriously, “what do you mean by greater? What could be greater than feeding five thousand people with just five loaves and two fish, healing the sick and raising a dead man? Then came an answer right in the middle of my forehead; it was as if a very gentle touch of knowledge was being placed there. It was one word… “Conversion”.

Conversion! That made so much sense to my mortal mind!! It was as if so much knowledge had been opened up to me. Of course!! What could be greater than feeding five thousand? Feeding them with Jesus, the Bread of Life! What could be greater than healing the sick? Healing their souls with the Balm of Gilead! And what could be greater than raising a mortal man to life? Being raised to life everlasting! Was it not to save us that He died? Isn’t that why he healed and fed and raised Lazarus? So that people would believe?

So the miracles weren’t an end, rather a means to an end; to build trust, increase faith, give second chances to the incredulous and to reveal His mighty power. He’s just constantly running after lost sheep using all holy means necessary. Yes, by His Holy Spirit, I will perform many miracles, I can and I will, but I must remember that it will not be by my might or power, but by His Spirit…for His purpose.

This well known verse is even more meaningful to me now:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

It’s all about making me…us understand the depth of love He has for us.

When I entered the room where the visitation was held for our late brother, I felt incredibly happy, so much so, that I left early because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I still don’t know why God hadn’t chosen to heal our brother, but it doesn’t matter anymore because he is asleep in Christ; I know God wants everybody to go like that. This world just isn’t it.

Fear

23 Jul

It’s 6:25am and I awoke thinking of the reason I decided to blog. It started when I began experiencing fear: the earthquakes happening so frequently in unlikely places, the horrendous crimes, the state of the economy and worse of all, the apathy of many. Christians say we shouldn’t fear because the Bible says so, but how can you shut off fear because the Bible says so?

Fear taught me to look up; it showed me that I needed to get closer to God.
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 25:5)

We are told not to be afraid of physical death. This is hard for me because I don’t even like being pinched. But God wants me to understand that I cannot cultivate the resistance to this fear on my own. I need to rely on Him for that. Here is where asking comes into play again.
I need the Holy Spirit like I’ve never needed Him before. I just need to ask for Him.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to a good gift. Wow. How many of us realise how precious it is to have the Holy Spirit just for the asking?

I have to confess again about this ‘fear’ I’ve been experiencing. I’ve noticed that when God’s people did great things for Him, they would get many threats from the enemy. Elijah ran into a cave to hide from Jezebel, John the Baptist was thrown into prison and…you know what happened to him. Then there’s that verse:

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Tim 3:12)

It seems to me that the closer we get to God, the more we get attention from a certain set of beings. I’ve heard it said many times, “If everything is hunky dory for you, you need to check yourself out.” (my version ). But God has not left us defenceless. We have so much power…spiritual power; we just have to ask for the ‘weapons’ for this kind of warfare. (look up Eph 6:10-18 as well)

 27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (Matt 10:27-29)

Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without God’s will. In other words, God is still in control. Why He allows suffering is another blog. We just need to go on spreading His love and truths no matter what.

But it seems to me that fearing now is better than fearing later, because later will be too late. Those who start to fear later will be like the people described in this next verse:
Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:26,27)

That’s when it will be too late. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a bad thing to fear now…we just ought to use it as a catalyst to get even closer to Christ.

Seeking the Kingdom

22 Jul

I was just putting my daughter to sleep when the thought came to me, “ I really want to be a good mom…”. I remember praying a lot about this. Then this verse entered my mind:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33 NASB)
‘These things’.
I’ve heard this verse used many times when referring to tactile things…house, job, a mate etc. Don’t get me wrong! It isn’t bad to want material things; it isn’t bad at all to desire a spouse. However, somehow, my mind settled on spiritual things…seeking spiritual things.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
I use to be very impulsive growing up. When my dad said ‘A’ I quickly responded with ‘B’. I didn’t realise how bad it was until one day, (a much older Zelinda), a colleague at work said to me, “you’re very impulsive.” I remembered right away NOT wanting to be like that. I tried. But I still was; and next to that was intolerance.
This was totally evident in Cuba where I studied. I was impulsive and intolerant with my classmates, with strangers on the bus (that bus situation use to get on my very last nerve), and most of all, with myself. I just kept making the same mistake and remembered being very miserable about it. I use to beat-up myself about my attitude. I just wanted to overcome those negative attitudinal traits.
I would ask God to wake me up to pray because somehow I knew that a relationship with Him would do it. He would wake me up alright, but I used to be ever so tired and would say, “Sorry God, I’m just too tired, I know you understand.” I would say this on my knees then crawl back into bed. I must say that looking back, God did His part, all the time. I stopped asking Him to wake me up because I knew that He would and I didn’t want to stand Him up over and over again; He is too Holy and so High for that!!
As I laid next to my daughter, I realised that I am changing every day. I still see the impulsivity and intolerance, however, there is a Grace that precedes and I have more time to choose the right attitude.
Growing in Christ is what I seek after. I know that by looking to Him, everyday, changes will be made in me…good changes.
For the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against Such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)
I desire all that Lord…