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As the nation continues to mourn the death of world renowned religious leader Dr. Myles Munroe, and eight others who perished in a plane crash on Sunday, condolences and messages of encouragement from international leaders and celebrities have continued to come in.
Josh Reinstein, the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, said Munroe was a big supporter of Israel who came to the Jewish state twice a year, The Jerusalem Post reported.
"His faith and love of Israel was an inspiration to us all," Reinstein said. "Israel had no better friend and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was honored to work with him."
The Christian Embassy in Jerusalem said in a statement that "Myles Munroe was a key leader of the global
Evangelical movement with a big heart for Israel," and that "his tragic passing is a loss for Christians and for the Jewish people he loved".
Bishop T. D. Jakes, of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, said Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) and those around the globe were impacted by "Munroe's love of God's word, his purpose-centered teaching and passion for leaders".
"Our hearts are broken," he said on his Facebook page. "We weep with all Christendom at this unimaginable loss.
"There are few biblical clinicians whose view of ministry wasn't enriched in some way by this tremendous bible scholar.
"His voice changed the way we viewed the kingdom."
American singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige asked her Facebook friends and supporters to pray for all families of the victims.
"So saddened to hear of Dr. Myles Munroe and his beautiful wife Ruth Munroe passing away in a tragic plane crash along with the pilots and his staff," she posted.
"Praying for the Munroe family, their church family and all the families whose loved ones were lost in this tragic accident."
Pastor Benny Hinn, evangelist and best-selling author, also offered his condolences.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the Myles Munroe family and everyone who is a part of the Bahamas Faith Ministries International," Hinn posted on his Facebook page.
"...The Munroes were long-time, dearest friends to Suzanne, the entire Hinn family, and to me.
"I ask you to pray for their family and ministry friends during this time of unthinkable tragedy."
Pastor John Charles Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the loss.
"We have no fear of death," Hagee said.
"Our last breath here is our first breath there."
A book of condolences was also opened at The Bahamas Mission to the United Nations in New York yesterday to "allow members of the diplomatic community and the Bahamian diaspora in New York to pay last respects to Dr. Myles Munroe".
The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C., said the memorial gesture was sparked by the numerous telephone calls of "shock and grief" from the diplomatic community to Bahamas United Nations and Organization of American States Ambassador Dr. Elliston Rahming.
"Dr. Munroe and I were childhood friends," Rahming said.
"We were born five days apart in 1954. Even as a teenager, Dr. Munroe understood his purpose and used his special gifts to maximize his potential.
"He was a towering intellect, a multidimensional talent and servant of God with global appeal."
Creflo A. Dollar, Jr., founder of World Changers Church International, said on Instagram, "Taffi and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth.
"We send our prayers and condolences to the Munroe family and all families affected in [Sunday's] tragic event."
The crash was the greatest aviation tragedy in The Bahamas since nine men were killed in a crash in Lake Killarney in 2010.
Officials said Myles Munroe's plane left New Providence around 4:07 p.m. and crashed into a crane and exploded at the Grand Bahama Shipyard while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5:10 p.m.
The group was traveling to Grand Bahama for the Global Leadership Forum.
All nine people aboard the aircraft were killed.
Munroe, who was in Lagos, Nigeria, just days before his death, traveled extensively over the last few months sharing his message of leadership and the kingdom.
Nigerian Christian author and the founder of Living Faith Church World Wide Bishop David O. Oyedepo wrote a six-paragraph tribute to the Munroes, published on Praiseworld Radio, a popular Gospel radio station in Nigeria.
He called Munroe "a bundle of inspiration, a man of spiritual depth and insight, and a leader of leaders and teacher of teachers".
He described Ruth Munroe as a woman of "joy and divine radiance", who "[exuded] gentleness, love and care like a fountain".
"The two of you were swifter than eagles," Oyedepo said. "You literally traversed the globe.
"As you taught nations the principles of the Kingdom, you were both as strong as the unicorn.
"Energetic, untiring, never relenting, purposeful and focused."
During an address at the leadership forum on Wednesday, Myles Chairo Munroe Jr. said this is the most difficult time in his life, but declared that death will not claim any victory.
He said he will be a vessel through which his parents' legacy will live on.
Breaking his silence amid ongoing national debate on the controversial gambling issue, FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers said yesterday he would immediately shut down all of his web shops in The Bahamas and send staff home with full benefits if the January 28 referendum fails and the government orders an industry-wide shutdown.
"I would be the first to proceed to all of my stores with the assistance of any of the leaders of the no vote and assure them that each and every one of my stores would be closed immediately without any remorse. There's no doubt about that," said Flowers in an exclusive interview with The Nassau Guardian.
"The only thing that I would require would be suffient time to speak to my staff to assure them that all benefits earned by them while employed with my company, FML, they would all be recognized and paid in full.
"This decision is going to be made by the people of The Bahamas. If the people choose, a message would be sent to all of us. I am going to be the first out to close all of my stores."
Flowers said, "The word would not get off of Perry Gladstone Christie's lips quickly enough before I have every one closed."
He said he has 12 stores in New Providence, one in Grand Bahama and one in Abaco, and just under 400 employees.
Speaking to The Nassau Guardian at his Bay Street office, Flowers also strongly denied that Prime Minister Perry Christie is bringing the referendum as a pay back for numbers bosses who reportedly funded his re-election bid.
In fact, Flowers said his company did not contribute to the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) recent re-election campaign and he as a longtime supporter of the PLP only made a small personal donation.
"One would think that if there was any type of funds given to the now prime minister, why would he still go to a referendum? If he cut a deal with any of us, the only thing for him to do is to go ahead and enact that Mr. Flowers has a license and that's done, finished," Flowers said.
"He made a promise to the Bahamian people that he would have a referendum. We don't go around giving funds from our company to any political party. That's not a practice of my company."
But Flowers added, "I've been a member and a supporting member of the PLP as an individual for many, many years and for myself personally I would go in and make my contributions to (PLP secretary general) Barbara Pierre like anyone else to the party.
"Never ever would we (FML Group) go because we know the implications are going to be perceived that there is a special interest for the gaming industry."
Asked if he was disappointed in the referendum process, Flowers said he would have liked to have seen the government take a clearer position on the issue.
"Personally, I would have wanted the government to explain the purpose of the referendum a little clearer to the public at large," he said.
"The government in my mind should have taken a position to say we would welcome, we would welcome the opportunity to take on this challenge, to regulate and to tax this industry because if you give us that mandate we would certainly proceed down the road of regulating and taxing the industry, and I thought that would have been a just position for the government to take, to say please give us this opportunity to regulate because we have half of our citizens running in an out of the stores."
Christie has said repeatedly that the government has 'no horse in the race', but he has also pointed to the detrimental effect a no vote would have.
Flowers also told The Nassau Guardian he would support Bahamians being allowed to gamble in casinos and getting casino licenses.
The casino question is not on the January 28 ballot, but Christie has said if the Constitutional Commission recommends it be addressed he would ensure it is put on the ballot of the constitutional referendum promised later this year.
Asked his position on casinos, Flowers said, "Personally, I was arguing, as a matter of fact, I'm on record of stating I think Bahamians should be given licenses for casinos.
"...The industry is bigger than all of us. I honestly do think that Bahamians should be allowed to play anywhere they go personally.
"The government has its reasons for feeling otherwise and there is an enormous amount of respect from myself for the government on this issue.
"But I honestly do think there is nothing wrong [with Bahamians gambling in casinos]. The argument that was made in the past for Bahamians not to play in casinos is embarrassing, that we don't know how to act, that we're going to break up the people's place.
"We certainly know how to act, we certainly know how to conduct ourselves in the presence of others and I think when that regulation was put in place it was intended to protect us, not so much to restrict us. Today I think we have matured.
"We are able to govern ourselves and protect ourselves and do no more and no less that anyone else does in casinos."
Flowers also told The Nassau Guardian he sees value in the Christian Council's stated concerns about a regulated industry.
"At some points of the Christian Council's arguments when they debate these things and I sit and listen, if I'm not careful, many, many times they are convincing me that what they are saying and what they are doing is correct because we are all Christians and because we have a soul, an inner self. We grew up in a society as children to worship our God, to understand what our Lord Jesus Christ [wants]. That's in all of us here in The Bahamas," he said.
"I went to Sunday school. They made me go. I'm a frequent churchgoing person at St. Agnes Church so I believe in my God.
"I believe in the principles that the church is advocating, but I'm trying to find a way to undo what we sat right here for the past 55 to 60 years and let perpetuate right under our nose.
"We are all responsible and I found it somewhat strange that some of us now want to step back and point fingers because this happened on all of our watch, every one of us, whether we like it or not. How do we undo what we would have allowed to take place over 60 years? It may take us 70 years to undo it, believing [in] closing web shops isn't going to undo it."
Flowers said closing web shops would not kill the strong desire many people have to gamble.
"You'd have to kill the desire of the people for this lust," he said. "This is a lust."
While Flowers said he would be willing to shut down his operation, he noted the difficulty the government would face in trying to completely kill the industry due to the widespread use of technology.
Asked if it is possible to shut down the industry in The Bahamas, Flowers said, "It is possible, but it would have to be by closing down the [Internet]."
Flowers lived and worked in Libya in North Africa for 14 years.
"I know propaganda was critical to the survival of the government there and sometimes the government goes to the extent to contain the flow of information within their boundaries," he said.
"If this government chooses to go that far it can."
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said he will not apologize to church leaders for suggesting they accept money from web shop bosses.
Pastor Lyall Bethel, of Grace Community Church, said Davis should "do himself a big favor and say he misspoke" and "beg for forgiveness".
But the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said that suggestion is "groundless" and he will not apologize.
"Let me say, every Sunday morning in my church, I confess," Davis told The Guardian.
"I go through my act of penance and I am forgiven. Then there is my act of absolution. Every Sunday, I engage in those two principles that ground my faith."
Davis said Bethel misunderstood him.
"He is not the only one that raised the matter with me," Davis said.
"Other persons of the clergy raised the matter with me. A number of them wrote to me by email because they got that same impression.
"I explained to them why I did that and that I did not, in fact, attack the church.
"It was not for me to attack the church, but just render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's. Render the things unto God that are God's."
When the Gaming Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly last month, Bethel, along with Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson, Pastor Cedric Moss and Pastor Alfred Stewart sat in the gallery dressed in all black.
The men charged that the government is "killing democracy" by going against the results of the January 28, 2013 gambling referendum. The majority of voters voted against the regulation of the web shop industry.
During his contribution to the bill, Davis said, "I got word while I was in Samoa that members of the Bahamas Christian Council sat in the gallery Wednesday past to highlight the death of democracy in The Bahamas.
"...Having heard this, I wondered whether these same pastors that preach about the wrongs of gambling themselves have accounts or accept benefits from these gentlemen? And I ask myself why should I be asking myself that of our religious leaders? Why would they want to put me or anyone else in a position to be asking these questions?"
Pastor Henry Higgins said that he and his wife, Pastor Ann Higgins, have been walking the call that God placed on their lives for many years, and that with their affirmation and consecration as apostles, they finally caught up on earth with what God had ordained in heaven.
Funeral service for Evangelist Prophetess Lauretta Maude Rolle, 86 yrs., a resident of Tarus Court & formerly of Old Bight, Cat Island, who died on 30th March, 2012, will be held at St. James Native Baptist Church, St. James Road, on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Officiating will be Bishop Dr. Michael Symonette, assisted by Pastor Pandora Ingraham. Interment follows in St. James Cemetery.Left to cherish her memories are her Daughters: Evangelist Eleanor Burrows, Deaconess Theresa Strachan, Margaret Sweeting, Barbara Rolle, Glendora Hart, Archerlean Brown and Clara Rolle, sons: Charles, Prophet Christopher, Hamrick, Elvis and Paul Rolle, grandchildren: Rommell and Zhirvago Burrows, Samantha Forbes, Keshie Roach, Anishka Hart, Mario Elliot, Errol Clarke, Natasha Duncombe, Sonia, Kendra, Dennis Benson Kevin, Stephen Strachan, Reeshemah, Clement, Shelton, Shevette Rolle, Levardo,Tamara , Jermaine, Jamaal, Kovic Brown, Roshanda Rolle-Knowles, Shanner Hilton Rolle, Judith Rolle, Paul Jr., Nicole Fanny, Catherine Rolle, Tina Ferguson, Christina, Jeffrey and Christopher Sweeting, Rosell Hart-Joseph, Melissa and Ressa Hart, Christopher Duncombe, 100 Great great grands, 1 great grand aunt, Adline Ambrister, sisters-in-law, Clara Lindsey, Beatrice Seymour, Rochelle Rolle, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Inell Archer, Ft. Pierce, Fla, 1 brother-in-law James Pratt, sons-in-law: Prince Burrows, Solomon Strachan, Godfrey Sweeting, James Brown, Deacon Rudolph Hart and Ruben Rolle, 3 daughter-in-laws, Beverley, Edna and Denise Rolle, nieces: Betty Williams, Delores Farrington, Judith Hepburn, Pauline Bowe, Ruby Thompson, Sheryl Simmons, Mannetta Smith, Marie Russell, Karen Rolle, Maureen Archer, nephews: Locksley, Kirklin and Uriel Johnson, Kendis Archer and Ted Strachan.
Adopted children: Leroy Mackey, Jonathon Dorsette, Dwight Knowles, Brian Rolle, Wendy Rolle, Christopher Brown, Erica Brown and Adline Burrows. Other Relative and Friends including: Sister Olive Dawkins Rolle, Winifred Rolle, Julia Armbrister, Eleazer Rolle, Monica Hart, Eleanora Rolle, Lily Armbrister, Princess Styles, Rosebell Rolle, Carlton Rolle, Getta Rolle, Eugie Godet- Seymour, Emerald Brown, Delore Poitier Sister Brice, Brave Davis, Isabella Burrows, Geleta Burrows, Ralda Williams and the entire community of Old Bight, Cat Island.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.
Funeral Service for the Late Joycelyn Minerva Gibson, 73 years of #19 Eighth Terrace East, Centreville, will be held on Saturday March 31st, 11:00 a.m. at Epiphany Anglican Church, Prince Charles Drive. Rev. Fr. Atma Budhu will officiate. Interment will follow in the Western Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Joycelyn is survived her Children: Inspector Kent A. Butler, Marvin D. Butler and Rosamond Butler-Knowles; Son-in-law - Christian Knowles; Grand Children: Marvin Butler Jr. , Moneko Butler, Kendra Butler, Raechel Knowles, Cameron Knowles, Kieanna Butler, Maia Bethel and Myan Butler; Sisters: Pamela Newbold, Judy Fields, Willamae Cunningham, Bloomfield Ferguson, Patricia Bethel, Raven Pindling (Gwendolyn Bethel), Minister Sherry Bethel, Sheila Moss and Janet Bethel; Brothers: George Tucker, Kenneth Tucker, Ulan (Wendel) Bethel of Fort Lauderdale, Charles Bethel Jr. of Chicago, Clifton Bowe, Luke Bethel, Howard Bethel, William Bethel, Ricardo Bethel, Trevor Bethel, Bruce Bethel, Leroy Bethel, Godfrey Bethel and Marvin Bethel; Sisters-in-law: Catherine Tucker, Audrey Tucker and Nerva Bowe; Brothers-in-law: Clifton Fields, Rudolph Cunningham, Anthony Moss MP for Exuma; Nieces and Grandnieces: Janet & Jasma Munnings, Gaye Dean, Patrona, Vashti & Paige Cartwright, Pamela & Aleisha Williams of Jacksonville Florida, Kayla & T'nique Brown, Tonette Kemp and Julie Campbell of Atlanta, Georgia, Kayla Cartwright, Renee Tucker, Judy Tucker of Washington D.C., Bloneva Bethel, Shavannah Bridgewater of Freeport, Allison Fields of Staffordshire, England, Carol, Kieanna and Traci Atwell of Miami Florida, Ria & Mia Newbold, Cierra Cunningham, Marissah, Machara, Makira, Marchelle and Miranda Tucker, Patsy Armbrister, Susan & Shirley Bethel, Lashonda Bowe, Judy & Suna Winder and numerous other nieces; Nephews and Grandnephews: Frederick Tucker, Keith Tucker, Ken Tucker of Washington D.C., Christopher Tucker of Orlando Florida, Edward & Lydein Williams of Jacksonville Florida, Lawerance Atwell of Denver Colorado, Craig & Sean Atwell of Miami Florida, Inspector Ricardo and Joseph Fields of Staffordshire, England, Oral and O.J Newbold, Audley & Jaismal Munnings, Pastor Ricardo, R'chard & Rico Dean, Clement Cartwright, Christopher Sr. & Christopher Jr. Cunningham, Michael, Marcian and Marcel Tucker,Clifton Bowe Jr., Lathario Bowe, Garland & Patrick and numerous other nephews; Cousins: Rosetta Johnson and Family, Marjorie Johnson and Family, Warren and Gwen Gibson of Miami, Florida, Winifred Williamson and Family, Zala Johnson and Family, Rosie Gibson, Dorothy Dames and Family, Kathleen Demeritte and Family, Dr. Walter and Sandra Gibson, Hartcourt Gibson and Family,Wainwright and Vera Gibson and Family and Una Clarke and Family. Other Relatives and Friends: Samuel Brown, The Gibson Family of Eleuthera, Gregory Butler and Family, Hilda Knowles and Family, Gregg and Debra White and Family, Reverend Angela Palacious, Esther Armbrister and Family, Margaret Ramsingh and Family, Tammy Clarke, Ella Curtis, Lavendra Minus and Family, Arlene Barry, Peachette Morley, Elaine Scavella, Cleo Frazier, Lavanda McPhee, The Family of Faith Ministries International, The Church of God of Prophecy and numerous others.
The Family of Joycelyn Bethel-Gibson extends a heartfelt thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love, support, thoughts, prayers and visits, they were greatly appreciated. We wish to thank The Anglican Church of The Epiphany and Rev'd. Fr. Atma Budhu, Rev'd. Angela Palacious and the Doctors, Nurses and staff of Female Medical II Ward of The Princess Margaret Hospital.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #34 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
What does respect mean, especially in the context of our being a "Christian nation" and the exercising of our democratic rights in this particular season? We, as a people, have always had a problem drawing a line between our intentions and motives as we exercise what we claim to be "God-given discernment" in our dealings with each other; especially in our political forays.
It has been convenient for the voting population to divide the political landscape into political camps, that of the godly and ungodly. We have one political leader to whom we have ascribed a form of Christianity to and another who we see as godless. Ironically, if the men were to be judged by what they have said and done over the years, the godless leader would come out ahead. I was thinking of this just this morning as the "Nobody greater issue" surfaced again. If Hubert Ingraham is as godless as his opponents claim, he would have basked in the adulation that the song ascribed to him. But he got on the radio station the next day and made it very clear that a mistake was made. However, that news did not reach the other stations. If it did, it was not broadcast.
Was it convenient to let the perception continue? Probably. But if this is so, it brings up the issue and question of motive: how we present ourselves and how we present others, especially as some of us claim to speak for God, represent God, and claim to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what is on his mind?
Why is this a problem? It does not seem like a problem. But for those people who are making particular claims for God and what He expects from us and others, it gets complicated. It is not about what we claim, it is about the issue of motive. There is a scene in the book of Matthew chapter seven where the parameters for judgement are being laid out and if you read verses 21 to 23, it is apparent that the judgement comes not because of what is done "in His name", but the motive for what is done and the motive for doing should be grounded in the fact that "He knows us".
"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did not we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'".
This political season will be constantly punctuated by pastors, politicians and church folk getting on a particular side of the political divide and their utterances and numerous involvements will give a watching public reason for pause. Some of us are thankful that this activity only happens every five years, but I am not sure that all of the participants, especially us "Christian folk", are aware of some of the long-term consequences -- consequences and judgements that are clearly stated in that book we carry under our arms on Sunday.
- Edward Hutcheson
Walking with God is something that requires a
relationship with Him and not just religiously knowing of Him. The
evidence of religiously knowing about God is clearly seen today
throughout the religious church world; as there are many religious
leaders who are mesmerizing their congregations with claims such as:
"God told me, to tell you that He's about to anoint you or bless you
with this or that" And the itching ear, gullible, naïve religious
audience goes wild.
Relationship with God
has been made accessible for all humanity through His Son, Yeshua
Messiah (a.k.a. Jesus the Christ). The prerequisite for such
relationship is having faith in God and being a disciple of Yeshua
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. [Proverbs 31:10]
Tammy is now a mother of three, and all her children are active in Sunday School. Her daughter is excellent when it comes to public speaking and reciting, even though she is only seven or so. It happened when Tammy, then an honor roll student in Sunday school was called upon to name the books of the New Testament. Holding the microphone firmly in her hand, Tammy began: "Ladies and gentlemen, these are the names of the books of the New Testament", and in a sing-song voice she began, "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, ask the woman".
Can I tell you - the whole church erupted into laughter. Tammy had called "Acts" and "Romans", "ask the woman". And now that I look at it, many years hence, many of the problems that plague our land will have to be brought to the attention of the women of this land.
In our selected scripture today, King Lemuel's mother gives him a lesson from a woman's perspective on becoming a man. She reminded him that for nine months she carried him in her womb, and promised God that she would bring him up in the way that he should go. She warned him in Proverbs 31:3 not to give his responsibility unto women and be no part of the plot to destroy leadership. We need women who will mend a family, rather than break a family.
The king had a good mother and prayed that others would be likewise blessed - not mothers who would tell their daughters to bring shame and disgrace on others, but women who would stand tall for God, decency, dignity and decorum - women who would walk down the aisle for love and not spite.
Proverbs is calling for women who will earn the respect of their families and the love of their husbands for their womanly deeds and loyalty, women who would be called blessed rather than be cursed, women who know what it is to be kind to their mothers-in-law and in-laws, on the whole. Proverbs calls for women who will stand tall for God, country and the entire brotherhood; it calls for women who will teach their daughters how to be good wives and caring mothers and women who, at the workplace, would be peacemakers, rather than strife dealers.
Who can find a virtuous woman? Look in the mirror today, sister, and in being honest with yourself. Ask if you are a woman on whom God can depend in these last and evil days. Are you that virtuous woman who can withstand the fiery darts of the wicked and flee from temptation when it approaches? Are you that virtuous woman who will be your sister's keeper and not her love stealer?
Today, women, let us be caring and not contemptuous; give and not count the cost. Do not let power go to our heads and feet to trample over others. Let us allow our husbands and significant others be the heads, as Christ is the head of the church. Let us be good here, there and everywhere. Let us read our Bibles, pray every day and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
God, I thank you. Your spirit is moving through our land. Arise, oh women of God, daughters of Jerusalem. Put on your beautiful garments of leadership, praise and goodwill. God has deposited in you all that it takes to become our virtuous woman. It is yours for the keeping if only you will stir up the wonderful, divine and powerful gift within you.
o E-mail email@example.com, or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them."
During the trials and tribulations of this life, Christians find solace in the cross of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Consequently, even though our troubles may bear us down, we have the confidence that Jesus is with us and that he will give us relief.
At the end of life's journey, Jesus our Shepherd brings us to a safe home where we will never have to feel pain and sorrow again. We will never have to worry about wars, and starvation, and man's inhumanity to man. Our tears will be dried. And finally, we can say like Saint Paul; "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" [I Cor. 15:57].
Metaphorically, in the above text, Jesus tells the people that he is the legitimate shepherd. The Pharisees did not agree with that. They were at odds with Jesus because they claimed to be the true pastors of the church.
The sheep pen about which Jesus speaks in the text, was made of stone. The walls were about five feet high, with briers running along the top of the wall, to keep out wild animals and thieves. Shepherds coming in from the wilderness at night would place their sheep in a sheep pen. These pens had an all night watchman.
Only a shepherd with sheep in the pen could enter through the gate. Any other person trying to enter the gate or scale the walls were thieves. When morning came the true shepherd would be allowed to pass through the gate into the pen to collect his sheep. His sheep would follow him because they knew his voice.
The people did not quite understand Jesus' metaphoric statement, therefore, he told them plainly, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. The gatekeeper to the sheep pen was the one who kept intruders out and allowed the legitimate shepherds in. The gatekeeper to the pen was the gate."
When Jesus speaks of those who came before him being thieves and robbers, he is not talking about Moses, the prophets and John the Baptist. He is speaking about the Pharisees who acted as if they were the gatekeepers to the kingdom of God. They did more to keep people out o the kingdom than they did to bring them in.
Like the sheep and the good shepherd, we know him and are aware that he is our shepherd and that he cares for us. When we have troubles, the good shepherd is our only hope.
Jesus is the shepherd who leads us into green pastures. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil because the good shepherd is with us.
He gives us comfort, even in the midst of a storm. When there is turmoil, we find peace and comfort in the Lord, the good shepherd. Yes, He provides pastures and quiet waters. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
Sunday, May 11 was Mother's Day - a holiday celebrated throughout the country.
Many mothers in The Bahamas were deserving of all the honors which were heaped upon them. I believe, however, that there are also many others who do not deserve any honor or praise.
This is because they have been grossly negligent in the parental duties and responsibilities entrusted to them by God.
Many mothers have failed The Bahamas as evidenced by the sheer number of young men who are incarcerated at Her Majesty's Prisons, the skyrocketing murder rate involving young men, the inordinate gang violence among young men, the resurgent illicit drug trade, juvenile delinquency and other antisocial activities which are chipping away at the fabric of The Bahamas.
Many will conclude that I'm being unfair towards women. Why I am not taking the men to task? I am not exonerating the men who are deadbeat fathers. It cannot be denied, however, that the overwhelming majority of homes are run by single mothers.
National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage told the press on May 6 that 80 percent of residents in over-the-hill areas live with single mothers with no male presence. Is it a coincidence that that area is perhaps the most violent and criminally-infested in The Bahamas?
More and more Bahamian women are simply opting to have children out of wedlock. The nuclear family structure is dying in this country, as evidenced by what is currently trending in the over-the-hill areas. On Mother's Day I asked a congregation if they had ever heard the name Susanna Wesley. To most, if not all in the congregation, the name didn't ring a bell. I then told them that she was the mother of John and Charles Wesley. She had 17 other children besides the two. John was the founder of Methodism and Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns.
The Wesley brothers made outstanding contributions to Christianity. Church historians credit Susanna Wesley for playing an important role in the founding of Methodism, due to the godly upbringing of her children.
On the day before Mother's Day, Cable Bahamas aired a movie which was produced in New Providence. The movie gave an accurate depiction of the gratuitous violence engulfing Nassau. One of the actors in the film is Carlos Reid, a youth activist and pastor. Based on his moving testimony, Reid himself was a gang banger before his conversion to Christianity.
His testimony reminds me of the story of Nicki Cruz, a Christian evangelist who was the leader of the violent New York gang in the 1950s, the Mau Maus. According to Cruz's autobiography "Run Baby Run", he was raised in Puerto Rico by his parents, who were heavily involved in spiritism and witchcraft.
It was in his teenage years that he was sent to New York to live with a family. He then ran away and joined the Mau Mau street gang. The gang terrorized New York and was greatly feared by the police.
Cruz experienced a dramatic and shocking conversion to Christianity under the ministry of the late David Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge and Times Square Church in New York. Wilkerson chronicled Cruz's dramatic testimony and conversion in his book "The Cross and Switchblade". The book was made into a movie in 1970 by the same title starring Erik Estrada of television series "CHiPs" fame who played Cruz, and Pat Boone who played Wilkerson.
Over a decade ago I worked with a young man who loved bragging to me about his big brother - a violent gangster who terrorized Nassau in the 1990s. He was a legend in the underground world and was held in awe by other gangsters and drug traffickers. On a particular day, the young man and I were on a job in a ghetto community in Freeport, where we met a group of riff-raffs who were loafing around an apartment complex.
One of the riff-raffs cursed at me after I politely asked for the keys for the building. On our way back to the office, the young man proudly told me that had I been his big brother, the riff-raff would have never dared to curse at me. He also told me that the riff-raff didn't swear at him because they knew who he was related to.
I responded by telling him that I chose to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who didn't retaliate when he was mistreated by the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate. Moreover, there were about eight of them and only two of us. No doubt the group was armed and would have thought nothing of stabbing or shooting us.
In the course of time, the young man went to Nassau, where he stayed for about three years. When he returned to Grand Bahama, he had dramatically changed. He looked like a zombie and had a disheveled appearance. He didn't even seem to remember who I was, even though we had worked together for nearly a year. I then learned that he had witnessed one or more hitmen shooting his big brother to death. Apparently, his brother had raised the ire of a notorious and ruthless narcotics dealer and a bounty was put on his head.
And now because of his brother's bent towards violence, he lies in an early grave. He chose the switchblade philosophy, like hundreds of other young men in Nassau. I chose the cross of Christ, a philosophy my friend saw as unattractive before the violent demise of his brother. I think he understands and appreciates my position.
- Kevin Evans
Church members who look around and criticize the efforts of Christians who are trying to work for God, impedes the progress of the church said Father Jonathan Archer, rector at St. Paul's Parish in Clarence Town, Long Island as St. John's Parish celebrated its Patronal Festival.
It was the first festival of the year for one of the 11 Anglican churches found on the island. The sermon was preached to a packed church, as the priest told the members that it's not right for the critic to just sit back and laugh to themselves. He said that there are many people who seem to turn away from attending church because they fear what people who are considered Christians would say about them or to them.
In his text, Fr. Archer asked "Whom are you looking at?" as he made reference to the simple, yet profound section of scripture that comes from John's gospel chapter 21, verses 19-24. It's a passage of scripture in which Peter asks Jesus about the beloved disciple and author of this particular gospel and Jesus replies that John may remain alive until His return. News spread throughout the brotherhood that John would not die because Jesus loved him so much.
Fr. Archer shared with the congregation that John belonged to Jesus' interior cabinet of disciples and that he was always seen with Jesus during paramount times of Jesus' earthly ministry. He reminded the congregation that John gave them numerous epistles and that he wrote the last book in the Bible (Revelations) while exiled on the island of Patmos.
The priest reminded the members of how the apostle Peter had the audacity to ask about John before looking at himself after which time Jesus admonished Peter to follow him.
He told the congregation in jest that if Jesus was a Bahamian he would have told Peter, "mind your own business". And that Peter seemed to be jealous with the relationship that Jesus and John developed over the three short years. He referenced James and John's mother who came to Jesus asking that they both sit at Jesus' left and right hand.
Anglicans from St. Peter's in the north and St. Paul's in the south came together to celebrate the festival in St. John's Parish which is located centrally in the settlement of Buckley's. They sang ancient hymns of the church venerating the legacy of St. John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was a historic moment in the church as Fr. Chester Burton, rector of St. Peter's in north Long Island celebrated at the altar for the first time.
After the Eucharistic celebration members congregated to the Francis Darville Parish Hall, located adjacent to the church to share in table fellowship.
Christmas has always been the best time of year for me. Since I was a little boy I looked forward to Christmas with bated breath. Attending church to hear about the real meaning of Christmas, Christmas music, tree trimming, shopping for family and friends (and persons you simply wanted to put a smile on their faces) candy canes, Christmas trees, Santa Clause and toys all come to mind.
My parents made Christmas even more special. They really went out of their way to ensure that their children had a wonderful time. My siblings and I thank them for all their efforts for all those years. My wife and I try to do the same thing with our children. The look in their eyes and the excitement that abounds are identical and reminiscent of what I term "the good old days" for me.
I still get excited about Christmas. I start playing Christmas music from October of each year and stop on "the Twelfth Night". However, during the Christmas season and as we end another year, I do take the time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. On reflection, I thank God, as I always do, for his many blessings. But it was certainly a most difficult year. The economy continued to struggle with increased unemployment and businesses struggling to keep their doors open. Crime and the fear of crime have totally gone out of control. We do not live in a safe Bahamas and as each day passes it is increasingly difficult to say that it is truly better in The Bahamas. Rudeness, not kindness, seems to be the order of the day. Social ills are mounting and we seem not to be our brother's keeper. There is a lack of national pride in our beloved country and a total lack of respect for our environment. Somewhere we have gone wrong for such a once peace loving country that recently celebrated 40 years of independence. We must get back on track before we completely lose what is left of this place we call The Bahamas.
What we desperately need at this Christmas season and throughout the year is the "restoration of peace" - peace with God, peace with others and peace in our own hearts. Indeed, this season is about the arrival of the "Prince of Peace" who taught us in his word not only the way to peace but empowered us to live lives of peace if we trust him. Now it is incumbent on each of us to promote "peace on earth and goodwill towards men"; not only at Christmas time but all year-round. Yes indeed, the real spirit of Christmas is to have the state of mind to cherish peace and goodwill - to be plenteous in mercy. This is indeed my Christmas wish for the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
To all Bahamians everywhere, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous, healthy and safe 2014. May God bless us all and may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
- Branville McCartney, DNA leader
Funeral Service for Charlene Eloise Bethell, age 60 years, of Damien Walk West off Carmichael Road, will be held on Saturday January 14th, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church, No. 10 Sutton Street off Kemp Road. Officiating will be Father Noel Clarke. Interment will follow in Church of God Church Cemetery, Fowler Street.
Left to Cherish her memories are: her children: DeRon and Tyishia Bethell and Renauldo and Shenika Campbell; six grandchildren: Celine and Renauldo (RJ) Campbell, Nya Louis, Cardaijah Russell, J'Den Austin and Maleek Saunders; four brothers: Lionel, Leslie and Lenard Elliott and Lenard Sears; one sister: Sheri Elliott; numerous nieces and nephews including: Beverly, Marsha, Craig, Andrew and Tyrone Adderley, Khalil Elliott, Godfrey Jr., Jerome, Mario and Petty Officer Gregory Bethell; two grand nieces: Anishka Charlton and Judlicka Adderley; one grand nephew: Christopher Adderley; other relatives and friends including: Alcott Campbell, Terez McKenzie, Mermaid Blvd West Neighbours, family of the Nazareth Center, Ingrid McKenzie; and many others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Butlers' Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Friday January 13th, 2012, from 10:00 a.m until 4:30 p.m. and at the church on Saturday January 14th, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. until service time
I don't want to leave when I'm unable to leave. I want to leave while I still have some strength to enjoy my life outside pastoring of the church. So my next five to six years will be geared towards transforming the church and preparing the church for the next leader who will succeed me in a couple of years...
Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said yesterday the high rate of murder in the country is "disgraceful" and "unacceptable" and called on church leaders to play a greater role in the fight against crime.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. - John 13:34-35 It is said that one of the early church writers and defenders of the faith, Tertullian o...
Please permit me space in your paper to comment on the public's response to the recent referendum; and in particular, the church's response. As I listened attentively to the public's response to the resounding no vote in the recent referendum on gaming as was...
Funeral Service for James 'Ricky Purse' Frazer Jr., a resident of Cockburn Close off Bernard Road, will be held on Saturday, 11th June, 2011, at 11 am, at Our Lady Of The Holy Souls Catholic Church, Deveaux Street. Officiating will be Rev. Fr. Alain Laverne, interment will follow in Old Trail Cemetery, Old Trail Road.
Ricky Purse's memories will forever linger in the hearts of His Father, Anthony Frazer; Mother: Retired Nurse Delcina Frazer, Children, James Jr., Jasmine & Jermaine Frazer, Grandchildren, Kanye Jehoshua Kemp "Joshy" & Jada Claudine Frazer, Wife of 22 years and friend after, Crown Sergeant Claudia Frazer, of H.M. Prison, Brothers, Robert Frazer, Cpl. Peter Frazer of Exuma, & Ernest Frazer of West Haven C.T. (Robbie, Bennie & Frenchie); Adopted brothers, Hermis Ferguson, Michael Laing, Allan Strachan, Anthony Richardson, Clayton Miller & Christopher Miller, (H, Pastry, Big Allan, Cracker, Smiley and Lil Chris). Sisters, Gretta Gibson, & Maxine Frazer, Adopted sister, Tafficka Brown, Aunts, Nathalie, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Sister, ClareRolle, Cleora, Cynthia, Jane, Clothilda, Sandra, Myrna, Lillian, Vanria, Uncles, Richard Ambrister, Charles Johnson, Vernal & Patrick Rolle, Philip Gaitor, Nelson Lord, Charles Johnson, William Griffin Sr., & Christopher Miller Sr., of Great Harbour Cay, Grand Aunts, Marie Carey & Corine Adderley, Grand Uncle, Ezekiel Cash of Lower Bogue, Eleuthera, Grand Nieces & Nephews, Asalll, Delecia, Deshanda, Renae, Renaldo Jr., Montel, Lakayla, Sebreonna, Alicia, Crenshaw & Robert 111, Mother-in-law, Firstena Hepburn, Brothers-in-law, Carlos Gibsor:), Eric, William, Charles, George & Michael Hepburn, Sisters-in-law, Veronica, Gaille of West Haven C.T., & Betty Frazer, Margaret McKay, Leonie Buchanan, Brenda Francis Michelle & Cheryl Hepburn, Nieces, Chaurina Lawson of Miami, Monalisa, Alexandria, Rose, Ebony, Tankia, Robinique, Natalia, Alison, Britshe, Aliczia, Carrington Dwainelle, Azariah, Angelique, Erica, Ericiea, Alexis, Colleen, Heather, Melissa, Andrea, Audrey, Nephews, Robert Jr., Asa Jr., Rashard, Renaldo, Antonio, Jason, AbleSeanman Mckello, Rhmad, Dwainard, Lexton Obama, William, Everette, Omar, John, Devonne, Dedrick, Charles Jr., Kevin & Tavarei, Godfather, Leon Griffin, Godchildren, Garrard Williams & Sundae Ferguson, Numerous Cousins, Kimberley Butterfield, Leon, William Jr., Steven, Barry, Andrew, Minerva, Elizabeth, Fredricka, Pamela, Valentino, Taria, Dewitt, Dwight, Donell, Dereck, Clayton Miller, Jermaine, Sean, Corey, Phillip Jr., Devon, Nicola, Crystal, Precious, Latoya, Chartes Jr., Christopher Jr., Demetricia, Ann, Wendy, Glemous, Kathy, Pasha, Amanda, Stephanie, Andrea, Adwina, Shelly, Marco, Toney & Phillip, Felix, Willard, Chris, Father Anselm Russell O.S.B., Hubert, Terrence, Arlington, Rosemund, Millie, Ruth, Violet, Doral, Ena & Jenarosa & Jackie of Lower Bogue, Deloris, Cassie, Cassandra, Madelyn, Madeline, Stephen, Kendal, Lisa Rolle, Roy Colebroke Jr., Godbrothers, Other Relatives & friends, to0 numerous to mention but including, Barry & Andrew. Griffin, Sam Dean, Clifford Cartwright, Alfred Stubbs, Grace of Miramar FI., ' O'Neil Stubbs, Glen Williams, Mr. Rodney Moncur, Mr. Frank Cooper, Larry & Betty, Ralph, Kennie, Big Ethel, Bones Joe Boy, Dave Thurston, Eddie, Jeff Thompson, Blaze Rolle, Mr. Clifford Stubbs & family, Shirley Brown & family, Sarah Jennings & family, The Stubbs, Colebrooke, Gordon, Williams, Burrows, Pauls, Browns, Moncurs, Hepburn, Knowles; Major, Taylor, Rolle, Campbell, Richardson Family, and the entire Black Village Community, Mrs. Betsy Duvalier, Mr. Pratt and the entire staff of Security Department and the entire staff of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, Gussy and the comer boys in Fox Hill, Cockbum Close Community, Ms. Alverne King & Mr. Steve Barr, The C.C. Sweeting Class of 1980, Sherryann Heild of West End Grand Bahama, The Staff of H.M. Prison, The Staff of Airport Authority Crash and Rescue Fire Department, Dr. Bonamy and her team, also the Nurses and Staff on Male Medical 2 at P.M.H.
Relatives and friends may pay there last respects at Riverside Funeral Chapel, Market Street and Bimini Avenue on Friday from 10 am until 6 pm and at the Church on Saturday from 10 am until service time.
Funeral Service for Anario Javian Curtis age 25 of Kennsington Gardens who died on April 24th 2012 will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Mt. Nebo Union Baptist Church, Marshall Road off Baillou Hill Road South. Officiating will be Rev. Dr. Charles E. Rolle assisted by Other Ministers. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Gardens, Soldier Road.
He is survived by his Mother: Anne Wallace; his Father & Step-Mother: Emmanuel & Laverne Curtis; Grandmother: Verva Wallace: Sisters: Samantha McIntosh and Idelia Curtis; Brothers: Akeito, Camarie, Jason and Ishmael Curtis; Aunts: Ruby Curtis, Eurice and Emmazell Ferguson, Eunice, Fearlease and Lashan Wallace; Uncles: Merrill and Linville Curtis, Bishop Christopher Ferguson, Calvin, John, Percy and Lester Wallace; Nieces: Jabez and Samia McIntosh, Charlesetta Mathurin and Cha'mel Curtis; Nephew: Adeyen Curtis; Brother-in-law: Garth McIntosh; Sister-in-law: Asternique Curtis; Numerous cousins including: Phicol, Chaneil, Johnita, Patrico, Erica, Demarcio, Davontay, Deniteria, Lester Wallace Jr., KeAndra, Perron Cummings, Euthea, Damian, Dachun and Dashunique Brown, Javal, Lasheca, Jaynique Ferguson, D'Abrelle Deveaux, Chandra, Charan and Chazara Rahnming, Theres, Deandrea, Damon, Crystal, Laverne and Cephas Cooper, Miriam, Inah, Candice, Sherry, Birdie, Wilistene, Sherry, Linville Jr., Linda, Arnette, Randolph, Rodney, Beauford, Trevor, Homer Jr., Charles, Dorlan and Priscilla Curtis, Marvaret, Garin, Dereck, Karen and Anastacia Ferguson, Jackie, Lavenia, Jennifer, Renaldo, Udena, Bebiejoe, Devayne, Iziah, Alex, Kevette, Kaye, Edison, Bennie, Sandy, Kevin, Chavano and Chakera; Godson: Kevin Cunningham Jr., Special Friends: Mrs. Winsome Miller, Alvena Mortimer, Mary Taylor, Eunice Roxbury, Christine Hepburn, Agnes Carey, Mrs. Judith Sherman, Nikito Lewis, Damian Robinson, Elizabeth Grant, Henry Bannister, Stanley Fulford, Travis Cooper, Paul, Lubin, Eggie, Alexandra McKenzie, Daniesha Moss, Danielle Moss, Zorian Munnings, Mrs. Sargeant, Mrs. Pinder, Dino, Calvin and Mr. Collie. Godparents: Jackie and Wellington Woods, Sadie and Fearlease Wallace, Austin Weeks, Eric Sweeting, Madlyn Wells, Muriel Dawkins; Other Relatives & Friends: The Wallace, Bridgewater, Munroe, Moxey, Lockhart, Armbrister, Curling, Hepburn, Maycock, Wilson, Nesbitt Families, Pastor Rolle and The Mt. Nebo Family, The Golden Gates FNM Campaign Team, The National Literacy Staff, Friends at Super Value, Blue Hill Road, The Basketball Friends, The R. M. Bailey Class of 2004 and the Kennsington Gardens and Ragged Island Communities.
Friends may pay their last respects at East Sunrise Mortuary, #36 Rosetta Street, Palmdale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and again at the Church from 10 a.m. on Saturday until service time.
Nassau, Bahamas - The
Student Christian Movement (SCM) Bahamas held the opening ceremony of its SCM
retreat at the Church of God of Prophecy, Shirley Street on Thursday, February
23, 2012. The theme for the weekend retreat was "God's Mighty Army Arise -
Mission Possible." More than one hundred students from public and private
schools as well as the College of The Bahamas (C.O.B.) participated in the
the ceremony an all male praise team set the tone of praise, while young people
of all ages sang and prayed openly. Throughout the evening there was a variety
of performances by students from local and visiting Family Island schools. A skit
about young biblical figures who accomplished 'Impossible feats"...
The day will come when everyone will be given the paycheck they truly deserve according to their deeds and actions
And, behold, I come quickly. And my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be. - Revelation 22:12
I can recall my youthful years and my Aunt Nerva's husband, Uncle Bruce, going away on the contract to the United States to pick fruits. It was common for Bahamians to be recruited to work on farms. They would stay as long as three years before returning, but monetary allowances were sent back to the labor department for the upkeep of their families.
You barely had any knowledge of when the migrant workers would return. You would go out one day and return home to meet the loved one there. Although there was joy to see them, there was more joy to see the things they brought with them. Uncle Bruce had no problem with his wife sharing what he brought with her sister, Florrie, my mother. Indeed, it is a blessing to receive all that is good.
I feel goose bumps when I think of what the reward that many of us will get, according to the fashion of the days of our lives.
There was a recent report on the level of poverty that exists in The Bahamas that speaks to families in dire need. It cited a lack of housing, food, employment, social mobility, spiritual stability, disdain for knowledge and empowerment. If there is to be a noticeable change in the lives of our people, then we must seriously think of choosing the better life that gives rich and lasting reward, not only here on planet Earth, but our heavenly abode.
The Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ shows his servants things that must shortly come to pass, as given by the angel to John who was banished to the Isle of Patmos for the preaching of the word. This same John bore record of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ and of all things that he saw.
There are many who shy away from reading The Revelation of Saint John the Divine, but it clearly states that blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand.
There were strong messages for the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Philadelphia and Laodicea in Revelation 2:18: "I know thy works and thy labor and thy patience and how thou canst not bear them which are evil. And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast borne and hast patience and, for my name's sake, hast labored and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which thing I hate. I know thy works and charity and service and faith and thy patience and thy works, and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found thy works perfect before God
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
In this last chapter and book of the Bible, John is told that these sayings are faithful and true, and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things that must be done. Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
The days of our lives come in only two categories. We can either choose to be unjust and filthy in our dealings, or righteous and holy. The day will surely come when, no matter how high, rich, low or poor one may be, each man, woman, boy or girl will be given the paycheck they truly deserve according to their deeds and actions and acceptance or rejection of Jesus the Christ, and it could very well be quickly.
E-mail email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!
For most kids a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.60 is something to "crow" about, but for 15-year-old Selandia Toote, it's a source of embarrassment. Excellence to her means a grade point average that is above the 3.80 mark.
"I think my failure to get above my 3.80 mark is due to my procrastination and not completing my work as well as I should have last semester," said the Queen's College 10th grade student. "It also didn't help that I was transitioning to high school and the work is harder and there are more demands. This is the time I should have been more focused than ever, but I wasn't, so there is no excuse for not achieving above a 3.80 like I usually do. I am working harder to just stay on track and do what I know I should be doing this time around."
Toote is now making the adjustment, and now aspires to not settle for less than the best and has her sights set on achieving a 4.0 GPA. To accomplish this she knows she will have to "pull up her socks" in all of her classes -- particularly Language Arts and Literature, which she considers her weakest subjects. Right now she is even taking extra evening classes to strengthen herself in her weak areas, and tries to be even more focused and creative when doing assignments.
Some people would think Toote is being too hard on herself, taking into consideration the fact that she had the best overall and independent Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) results in the country in 2011. She was graded at A in Math, English, Social Studies, Art, Religion, Health Science, General Science and Home Economics and a B in Craft. She still believes she could have done better.
"It was a great feeling to have accomplished what I did for the BJCs. I was surprised when I was told I got the best grades overall in independent schools and the country. It was even nicer to get an award and prizes like $1,000 and a laptop as well, since I never had a personal laptop before, but I try not to focus on that too much. I still have a long road to go if I want to accomplish my dreams. I still need to be focused and really push myself to do even more. It's not good to keep looking at what you did. You still have to keep your eye on the prize and work even harder to achieve all you can at the end, so that is what I am doing," said the overachiever.
Unlike many students who may rely on their parents to push them, Toote believes that the key to her success lies greatly in her own academic independence. She said that at this stage in her education her mother, Edith Toote, a teacher herself, does not heavily assist her in her schoolwork. The high school student said she was made to be responsible for her own successes and failures. The responsible attitude her mother instilled in her, she said, has made her realize how important it is to be self-reliant. If she doesn't accomplish a goal, she said she has no one to blame but herself.
The high school student is keen on finding new strategies to self-motivate herself academically. So far she said her study schedule tactics and incorporation of extra-curricular activities to break up the humdrum existence of schoolwork has worked well for her, keeping her on the honor roll consistently. She was also given the distinction of being named salutatorian of her primary school graduating class in 2008.
As she adjusts to life in high school, young Toote is preparing herself to get ahead academically by preparing to sit the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) Art exam in eleventh grade.
Despite what she says, Toote is definitely one of the smart kids. While she has set a rigorous course of study for herself, because she says her studies are important, she said for someone like herself, it's also a must that she make time for the extra-curricular activities like soccer, volleyball and softball, which she loves.
She also plays the flute and clarinet, and is a member of the New Testament Baptist Church band, as well as the New Bethlehem Baptist Church Band. She is also a member of the National Youth Orchestra.
Toote is also a member of the Student Christian Movement and the Modern Language Club at her school. A young lady with a "civic bone" in her body, she does work with the Red Cross as well.
She said her extra-curricular activities are a way for her to relax, deal with the pressures of schoolwork and just have fun. Toote said they keep her from being bored or easily distracted. Once she commits to a schedule in which her school and social life are balanced, she said she knows she has to utilize her time wisely, which makes her better at time management.
"I have a lot of things I do, so when I slot in to study, I try not to stray away from that plan. I get the hours in, ensure I understand what I am doing and then move on," said Toote.
She doesn't like a quiet corner to do that studying in either. She likes to study with music playing. She said it makes her calmer and helps her to focus better.
"I know I have to make the most of whatever time I schedule, no matter the activity, and this has worked well for me I believe. The times when my study time is cut back I make up for it, but I don't like to do that. School is still the first priority."
Toote has a pretty packed life, but she said all of her extra activities make her a more well-rounded person.
"I have dreams of being headgirl at my school one day too, so I like it when I have opportunities to be in leadership, which is why I am glad my peers chose me to represent my class (Grade 10 Rogers) on the student representative council. I think it is absolutely important to be as involved in different things as you can be."
Young Toote hopes that her dedication to her schoolwork will earn her the chance to attend Liberty University in Virginia to study art and design, even though she's still uncertain of what she wants to do in life. It is an institution that she likes and knows that her mother would be proud if she attended it.
One lesson young Toote said she has learnt well over the years is that putting God first in life is essential to success. She said being driven by God's will gives a greater academic purpose and opens the mind to unknown possibilities.
"As a student you need to have a focal point. You have to have a reason for what you do because otherwise studying and working so hard doesn't make sense. God is the best focal point to me. He gives you a purpose that you will never lose."
This smart kid also advises other students to remember that time is precious and that tomorrow is closer than they think. She believes it is best to take advantage of whatever comes your way, because assuming it can be done later is a mistaken way of thinking.
While she wants to excel academically, she also has plans to travel the world in her more youthful years, because she said it may be a luxury she may not have later in life. Toote said she never wants to be one of those people that have to imagine, "What if ...?"
"It is important to be open to new things and embrace the world around you. Life does not end in the classroom. It is beyond those walls and it's good to get a taste of it. Education happens everywhere, so I encourage other students to just be adventurous."
(The Freeport News) -The Grand Bahama Christian Council (GBCC) will
be hosting another "Call to Prayer" gathering this Friday in the
With the focus of addressing the many challenges faced by residents
on the island, GBCC vice president Pastor Eddie Victor, said church
leaders and concerned citizens will have an opportunity to join together
to petition God in Prayer to bring about a transformation.
"Over the past decade, Grand Bahamians have experienced unusual
social and economic diversities. Crime has escalated, including
murders, theft, and domestic violence and we are still recovering from
the three major hurricanes..."
Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. In my father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:1-7)
Even though many blind people are able to find their way about, mainly in familiar territory and with special aids, they are better served when someone leads them. The person who leads them serves as their eyes. Consequently, they are protected from walking into dangerous objects.
As we walk through this life, we are like blind people. We cannot see the future, therefore, we often make mistakes, going in the wrong direction.
For this reason, we too need someone to lead us. This is why we need Jesus. He guides us and leads us, bringing hope and comfort to our lives.
In the above text, Jesus speaks words of comfort to his disciples that are also intended for us today. He informs them of his impending departure to prepare a place for them.
His disclosure gave them concern about the future. What would happen to them when their master and friend was no longer around? How would they manage?
His going away was not an earthly mission. He was returning to the place from whence he came. He was going back to the father, to his heavenly kingdom.
Unfortunately, while Jesus was speaking of heavenly things, the disciples were thinking about earthly things. Like the disciples, many Christians are confused and often ask the question, "How can I be sure that I will go to heaven?" Jesus answers this question for all in the text.
The words of this text are quite familiar to many. They are the comforting words that are commonly used at Christian funerals and memorial services.
These words of Jesus to the disciples, serve us well when we experience the loss of loved ones: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except through me."
Jesus also gives the assurance that as long as we place our faith in him, we are guaranteed eternal life. This life eternal is in heaven. Yes, heaven is guaranteed to all whose faith rests in Jesus the only begotten son.
He assures us and all who believe in him that he will return for his church. His vicarious action on the cross and his return from the grave redeems us and gives us life. Yes, life eternal.
We all encounter obstacles in this life, particularly in the face of tragedy. The evil one constantly throws missiles in our way. He tries to get us to doubt our savior's promise.
Notwithstanding this, we have no need to fear because Jesus is the way. His promise cannot be broken. Nothing and no one can change that. Our salvation is guaranteed.
I pray that you keep your eyes fastened on Jesus Christ. Trust him to deliver you, especially when you experience difficult times or you feel depressed. Be reminded, Jesus is "the way and the truth and the life." He will guide you out of any maze. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, telephone: 426-9084 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.