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But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. -- St. Matthew 6:33.
Our lesson text today is a very familiar verse of scripture that can be quoted by many. While being able to roll it off the tongue, how many have taken it to be the benchmark of success? How many have used it as the basic tenet of faith in training up their children in the way they should go? As a matter of fact, how many really believe this to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
The violent happenings in our land, especially among the youth is a loud call of national distress. No amount of foreign investment can offset the tragic loss of male life. When the quality of life is diminished among young men, the hope of the future is bleak.
Barely do I get written responses from my weekly messages, but does that mean I should not continue with the witness and the message? Indeed not! If the message is despised and the messenger rejected, then the consequences of not receiving will allow sorrow to roll like billowing seas.
Thinking of the consequences of judgment and punishment at the last day, of losing heaven and going to hell: nor even of the sorrow and loss we may perhaps bring in some future time upon others by our past misdoing, is not sufficient. That kind of observation will not bring the kingdom to us or to others. Here is the cure.
We must return to our Father at once and tell Him of our sorrow and ask for His gracious face to look upon us again, and for His help and guidance to put the wrong right, and to let us be His faithful servants again and the children of His love. And this He will certainly allow. For when we call Him our Father we mean that which is true. He really is our Father and what He desires is just for us to come back to Him. He will not keep us waiting for His forgiveness, but is already ready to welcome us.
But why is it that we find or make it difficult to trust Him so simply. Our Lord Jesus came and lived and taught and died for us just that we might know Him and trust Him when our hearts fail. Come to me He said. Come with me and I will bring you to our Father, your Father and mine. That is why we end our prayers with "Through Jesus Christ our Lord" or "For Jesus Christ's sake" -- He is our mediator.
Can we find the kingdom of God via Google, or through treasure hunts, a voyage around the world, archeological discovery, even by having national primaries and elections? Indeed not. The Bible says that the Kingdom of God is within you or among you.
Trying to play upon words whether it is within or among, matters little. What matters is that the kingdom is already here in our midst only to be recognized within our hearts, in the quiet loving thoughts which no disturbance outside can destroy. Sometimes our minds within us are themselves disturbed, as mine was a few days ago. It is at this time we can best find the kingdom -- by looking at others, at God's mercies operating around us. At the good examples others afford us. At the unexpected undiscovered kindnesses shown us by others, or even by the richness of a Sunday morning church service.
Our business is not to take the measure of our own progress. We are sent here to stick to the precept and to do right, not to plan our course and other peoples but to do good. A good conscience is a conscience open toward God, not an easily satisfied conscience. A broken contrite heart is the sacrifice. Those who are most conscious of wrong within, who confess most frequently to failure, are asking the most honest search for the kingdom -- the kingdom in which we build and are built by God's righteousness not our own.
Today, make a sincere effort to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. The treasure of such a divine search would be all that your heart should desire.
oE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS, Nassau, Bahamas, with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings!
The Bahamas has seen no end of ideas to protect Bahamian farmers yet. The consultants, bureaucrats and politicians continue to suggest that if they just get their hands on a few more tax dollars they can make it work. In simple terms, subsidies are a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Witness the new Minister for Agriculture Alfred Gray (PLP) and his recent suggestion that his first priority is food security. Presumably the interviewer did not think it advisable to ask if there was a threat to The Bahamas' food supplies to prompt his concern.
But the reality is he's no different than those that have gone before.
Frederic Bastiat's famous (tongue in cheek) essay, "A PETITION From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, Sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting", to the French Parliament in 1845, suggested they pass a law requiring blocking out the sunlight by forcing everyone to close all shutters etc., so as to protect the manufacturers of candles and more.
Silly of course, but is the "protection" of Bahamian farmers from competition through subsidies any less so?
New Zealand freed itself from the shackles of outdated public policies like these in the 1980s and had a miraculous turnaround. So what made New Zealand change its approach?
As Maurice McTigue, former member of the New Zealand Parliament and now vice president and distinguished visiting scholar at the Mercatus Center, pointed out:
"1. New Zealand's per capita income had sunk to 27th in the world, alongside Portugal and Turkey.
2. By 1984 unemployment was at 11.6 percent.
3. They had 23 successive years of deficits (sometimes ranging as high as 40 percent of GDP).
4. Debt had grown to 65 percent of GDP, and its credit ratings were continually being downgraded.
5. Government spending was a full 44 percent of GDP, and;
Government controls and micromanagement were pervasive at every level of the economy."
Reads like The Bahamas' current economic course doesn't it?
McTigue goes on to relate some specific changes to sheep farming and the results they had: "By 1984, New Zealand sheep farming was receiving about 44 percent of its income from the government in the form of subsidies. Its major product was lamb, and lamb in the international marketplace was selling for about $12.50 per carcass, while the government was providing another $12.50 per carcass.
"Well, we took away all of the sheep farming subsidies within one year. Of course, the sheep farmers were unhappy - but once they accepted the fact that the subsidies weren't coming back, they put together a team of people charged with figuring out how sheep farmers could get $30 per lamb carcass.
"The team's report said that this would be difficult, but not impossible: It required producing an entirely different product, processing it in a different way, and selling it into entirely different markets. And within two years, by 1989, they had converted their $12.50 product into something that was worth $30. By 1991, it was worth $42; by 1994 it was worth $74; and by 1999 it was worth $115. In other words, they went out into the marketplace and found people who would pay higher prices for their product. You can now go into the best restaurants in the U.S. and buy New Zealand lamb, and we'll be selling it to you at somewhere between $35 and $60 per pound."
McTigue added: "Interestingly, as we took all government support away from industry, the prediction was that there would be a massive exodus of people. But that didn't happen. For instance, in the end all that we lost was three-quarters of one percent of the farming enterprises. And these were people who shouldn't have been farming in the first place.
"In addition, some predicted a major move towards corporate as opposed to family farming. But we've seen exactly the reverse. Corporate farming moved out, and family farming expanded, probably because families are prepared to work for less than corporations are. In the end, it was the best thing that possibly could have happened. What this showed us is that if you give people no choice but to be creative and innovative, they will find solutions."
Shouldn't The Bahamas follow New Zealand's lead instead of considering more subsidies?
A brief look around New Providence proves Bahamians can succeed at farming without subsidies. Visit the farmers market at Doongalik Studios on Village Road most weekends, or once a month at the Bahamas National Trust. Good things are happening without costing the taxpayer a dime. The ingenuity of modern Bahamians is helping them create a market for their goods.
Instead of grandiose plans of food security that government promotes at the expense of everyone, for the direct benefit of a few, the private sector is developing this on its own.
Sure, food stores might be able to assist with a specialty area for locally grown produce, poultry or meat, but it's nothing more than political rhetoric to think The Bahamas can be self-sufficient in food at competitive prices. The capacity is simply not there.
While on this subject, duty concessions, favoring one industry over another should also be discontinued.
If there are farmers producing quality products all that's needed is a middle man or two to get the products to market. This way, no taxpayer money is needed to pay for packing houses where product rots and yet the farmers still get paid.
The Bahamas has a great opportunity to be more original with public policy as the national debt increases and further downgrade pressure mounts from foreign ratings agencies. The luxury of tax dollar waste, deficits and debt for political expediency is becoming an ever more dangerous policy.
- The Nassau Institute
The book of Acts is coming alive at Jesus Christ Centered Ministries International's 2012 Holy Spirit and Power Conference, which is in its last night tonight at New Life Christian Center on Prince Charles Drive.
The gospel is being put on demonstration by American pastor Dave Roberson, who pastors The Family Prayer Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He ministers powerfully in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and teaches people the way to have the power of God come alive in their own everyday lives.
Bishop Sheldon Newton, who is hosting the conference along with his wife, Pastor Jennifer Newton said that God is moving in an awesome way and people are being blessed.
"Wonderful miracles are happening, people's arms and legs have grown out, Pastor Roberson has been ministering by the Word of knowledge and 'calling out' certain diseases and people have been coming up and being ministered to and being healed," he said. "In addition, many are being filled with the Holy Spirit [with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues]."
The conference has been supported by ministers from different churches who have attended meetings.
"[On Tuesday] the ministers received an anointing of the Holy Ghost as Pastor Roberson laid hands on and ministered to pastors and ministers.
"The Word of the Lord is also coming forth in tremendous fashion," said Bishop Newton. "The people have been feeding from the table of the Lord."
Going into its final night, Bishop Newton said the conference has exceeded his expectations as people have been able to see first hand the power of God in demonstration.
"To watch people actually be healed in front of your eyes and to see hands and legs grow out right in front of you, it's an awesome sight and I think it has birthed a hunger in people for more of the supernatural power of God."
He said that miracles and healings began in the first service and that people were shouting with excitement as they watched God perform miracles right in front of their faces.
"Our members were actually up by the pulpit looking and watching as they saw things happen and we just glorify God for what He has done. These are things that Jesus is doing through His servant and these are things that are available to every Christian.
"Jesus said that [believers] shall lay hands on the sick and that they shall be healed and what we are seeing is a demonstration of what the Word of God already said believers are supposed to be doing."
Bishop Newton said Pastor Roberson is teaching a lot on the love of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit and the importance of spending time speaking with other tongues.
"Pastor Roberson is emphasizing the importance of having a spirit-filled and spirit-led life and a love walk, which allows the power of God to flow through you. If you want to walk in the gifts of the Spirit and real power, you have to learn to love people and really care about people. God has opened up a measure of divine love to [Pastor Roberson] and he is walking in a great measure of that divine love -- that's what's causing the power of God to operate through him."
Tonight's final session begins at 7:30 p.m.
Pastor Roberson is known in Christendom for his powerful teachings on fasting and prayer.
After an undeniable supernatural encounter with God in 1973 Pastor Roberson left his job in an Oregon saw mill to answer God's call to the ministry. Since then, he has preached the gospel with signs following in nations around the world through church meetings, city-wide crusades and pastor seminars. In 1990 Pastor Roberson began pastoring The Family Prayer Center.
Whether home or abroad, Pastor Roberson's ministry has always been marked by a free flow of the spiritual gifts, outstanding creative miracles and physical and emotional healings as he teaches others to hunger after a more deeper and more vital walk with God.
Measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria - Genea Barry ensured that her children had all of their required immunizations as infants, be she never thought about having her pre-teen daughters vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), the HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. And there are about 40 types of the virus that can infect the genital areas of men and women. The CDC site reports that most HPV types cause no symptoms and can go away on their own, but some types can cause cervical cancer in women, and other less common cancers - like cancers of the anus, penis, vagina and vulva (external genital area of the female) and oropharynx (back of throat, including base of tongue and tonsils). Other types of HPV can cause warts in the genital areas of men and women. Genital warts are not a life-threatening disease, but they can cause emotional stress and their treatment can be very uncomfortable.
Who will get HPV
Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. Annually in the United States, 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from the disease.
The CDC recommends that girls as young as 11 be vaccinated against the virus and that the vaccine can also be given to girls beginning at age nine years.
"I still don't know how I feel about my daughters being vaccinated against HPV. I mean they shouldn't be having sex in the first place which is how it is contracted, but from the information I am hearing now I see that having the vaccine should be a good precaution from developing cervical cancer. I take regular pap smears and I know checking myself out is good in order to prevent developing this cancer so I would be a hypocrite not to want my daughters to have the best opportunities as well," said Barry.
Any female who is sexually active is subject to acquiring HPV and should get an annual checkup from the time she becomes active, according to Dr. Mildred Hall-Watson, gynecologist and obstetrician at the Health Care Center for Women.
She said contracting HPV does not have to be life-threatening if women take precautions, and are diligent about their health. Once detected, the disease can be carefully monitored and successfully treated so that more serious illnesses like cervical cancer don't develop later on.
"HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, but due to research we have been able to define this illness a bit more. Within diagnosing HPV there are several sub types which vary from low to high association with cervical cancer. This means that not all types of HPV can develop into cancer if unchecked. In fact, some strains can be virtually harmless while others can cause venereal warts which can develop on the outer lips, inside the vagina or on the cervix itself. But once appropriately treated, there are usually no long term negative side affects," she said.
Reduce the risk
To reduce the risk of getting HPV, it is suggested that couples be monogamous in their sexual relationships and use condoms, especially if they aren't. Even if one is not sexually active it is still recommended that young ladies start their pap smears at the age of 21 since cervical cancer can still develop as a result of other factors.
The Princess Margaret Hospital opened its first HPV laboratory recently, and with the help of the PMH Foundation and Rotary Club International, the necessary equipment and reagents were able to be purchased to set up the lab.
"HPV screening is now much easier for local physicians due to the latest addition to the Princess Margaret Hospital, the HPV lab which was donated by many corporate, charity and individual sponsors in particular the Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas. This means that there will be more testing opportunities available. Prior to this time we didn't have certain equipment, space and reagents to properly prepare test slides, so while it's a really great step for HPV testing in our country, I do hope more people will be encouraged to get tested so that cervical cancer can be reduced and eventually not exist at all in our country," said the doctor.
Sixty-nine-year-old Sylvita Carey, said she wouldn't think twice about ensuring her granddaughters get vaccinated against such a preventable STD.
"As a parent I would want to think that my underage grandchildren are not out there sexually [but] I can't bury my head in the dirt and pretend, so I definitely would get my girls vaccinated," she said.
Dr. Hall-Watson said much like other cancers, cervical cancer can take years to develop, but with routine checkups and pap smears, changes in the cells of the cervix can be detected earlier and result in more effective treatment.
"Many women are afraid to get a pap smear or avoid it entirely, but this should not be. Recent statistics in the country about the numbers of women doing their annual pap smear has decreased and in some islands there are no reports of women doing their annual cervical checkup at all. This is by no means a reflection of a lack of availability or resources as efforts and equipment have been provided to do these things. So it is more so a lack of interest or education on the importance of doing this exam that is a major component in these exams not being done in my view. So we are really pushing for more women to be aware that cervical cancer is very real and very painful and also very preventable," she said.
A pap smear (a procedure in which a physician swabs a woman's cervix during a routine gynecological checkup in order to collect samples of the cervical cells) can be uncomfortable but virtually painless. It takes less than a minute to conduct, and can cost between $30 to over a $100 depending on the type or specificity of the test required, according to Dr. Hall-Watson. But she said the small price to do this annual test is far less expensive and time consuming than avoiding it, and then possibly having to go through the stresses of developing cancer then having to do a surgery which is around $40,000 and undergoing the physical and emotional stresses of chemotherapy treatments. She said it can also eliminate potential familial strains that can often result from long term cancer treatment.
Due to technological advances in medicine there are several options when it comes to treatment. Some doctors will do an office-based procedure called the colposcopy where they look at the cervix through a microscope and determine where abnormal cells are and biopsy them. This will allow the doctor to see if things are as expected, better or worse than expected. Once there has been a determination, the actual treatment options include getting a cryosurgery which is basically the freezing of the affected part of the cervix in order to destroy the pre-cancerous tissue.
Another option is the loop excision, which uses a hot medical knife to cauterize pre-cancerous lesions. A cone biopsy, a procedure in which a cone-shaped area of the cervix is removed is another common option.
Hall-Watson said if a female is still in her child-bearing years the least invasive or damaging procedure is usually suggested.
There are two follow-up colposcopy centers for persons needing to keep on top of their health after getting positive results from their pap smears - the oncology center at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the other is located at the South Beach clinic.
Beijing Construction America is considering an equity position in the $200 million World Mart, pointing out that Baha Mar is made up of essentially the same "ingredients".
Zac Henson, the president of Beijing Construction America, drew strong parallels between himself and Tiger Wu, the vice president of China Construction America and a top executive behind Baha Mar.
The latter is now full steam ahead on the $2.6 billion resort rising on Cable Beach.
"It is undetermined whether we would take an equity position, but as with many projects, we build and finance," he explained. "We are a state-owned enterprise, we are owned by the government; the banks are owned by the government. Baha Mar is run by China State Construction, which is one of our counterpart companies. We essentially do the same thing, we have the same ingredients and we're owned by the same people as they are."
Henson and other top executives of Beijing Construction America were in Freeport last week finalizing some of the particulars behind the 1.1 million square-foot facility.
He was joined by influential Chinese investors and Bahamian executives.
World Mart is designed to provide merchants from China and around the world with an international platform to promote, sell and distribute mass quantities of goods to corporations throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
While Beijing Construction is under a similar umbrella to its counterpart at Baha Mar, Henson told Guardian Business there are a few significant differences.
Unlike China State Construction, which tends to import labor, Beijing Construction will employ up to 1,200 Bahamians for the high-profile project.
World Mart executives hope to start construction by early next year.
"As you can see, our counterparts at China State deploy Chinese workers onto the island. We don't do that," he said. "At Beijing, we sub-contract work. And so, the workers and the work community will come from the sub-contract community. Where they get their works is up to them."
The statement could indeed mean a new beginning for Grand Bahama and provide a remarkable solution to the island's 21 percent unemployment rate.
Challenges, however, remain before shovels can be stuck in the ground.
Henson said Beijing Construction America is looking forward to hearing more details from the government and other local officials on exactly what international merchants can expect if they set up shop in World Mart.
The deal is beyond "dollars and cents", and foreign investors will want to perfectly understand the value of investing in The Bahamas.
"The biggest resource they have here is 'Freeport'," he added. "Those words. Free port. Free trade. Exchange. Business. Culture. You can wordsmith it any way you want, but that is the core that should be on the tip of everyone's tongue. You have something to do with trade? Come give me a hug."
Fundamental to making the World Mart concept work, however, is being sensitive to the guest experience. He told Guardian Business that the business traveler is quite different than the typical tourist, particularly a client that is coming from 9,000 miles away. He called it a challenge, but also an opportunity.
Air travel to The Bahamas is another challenge to overcome and consider.
While Nassau has gained all of the attention, Henson felt Freeport would need to generate more direct flights and attract greater attention to make the ease of travel, and business, easier.
Comprising 1,600 stalls for merchants, World Mart, as the name suggests, would not simply be populated by Chinese. In fact, executives revealed a "household name" from Korea has already made a commitment to the project.
Securing key investors in different corners of the world is considered essential for the concept to snowball.
World Mart will be divided into five districts geared towards specific areas of trade and distribution: Fashion Boulevard, Technology Way, Home Goods Avenue, Manufacturing Place and Season Street.
It is expected to include a hotel, restaurants and other amenities, and ultimately employ up to 3,000 Bahamians.
Saturday 18th September 2010 8:00 AM
Native Dishes: Chicken Souse, Sheep Tongue Souse, Stew Conch, Boil Fish & Stew Fish American Dishes: Omelets, Egg Platters, Pancake Platters, Sandwiches, Breakfast Burritos & New York Strip with Eggs Free Wi-Fi
The Local Designer Profile question and answer series is designed to
give you an intimate glimpse into the background and artistic process of
young movers and shakers in the local fashion industry in The Bahamas.
local designer David Rolle, the talent behind the line House of
Raphelita is making waves in the local fashion industry. The
twenty-something designer recently snagged The Culture and Fashion Award
at the Islands of the World Fashion Showcase (IWFS) held locally in May
and kept tongues wagging as the designer of choice, dressing the First
Lady Mrs. Bernadette Christie at the official Opening...
The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has just issued a severe thunderstorm watch update; from 1:55 p.m. until 4:00pm Friday 25th, may 2012.
A severe thunderstorm watch is now in effect for Andros, New Providence, Berry Islands, South Abaco, Middle and Upper Exuma Cays, Eleuthera, Northern Cat Island and their adjacent waters.
At 1:50 p.m. radar and satellite data indicated lines and clusters of thunderstorms pushing east and northeastward from central Cuba and the Great Bahama Bank, across the tongue of the ocean toward the watched areas.
Some of these thunderstorms are heavy to occasionally severe at times causing strong gusty winds, dangerous lightning, heavy downpours, flooding in low-lying areas, and possible waterspout or tornadic activity.
Boaters in the warning areas should seek safe harbour and residents in the warning areas should stay indoors and away from windows until conditions improve.
All boaters in the watched areas should remain alert and residents in the watched areas should try to remain in doors.
ALONG LIFE'S ROAD
Ruby Ann Darling
In her tongue is the law of kindness.--Proverbs 31:26
Sunday past as I was turning on to East Street from Ross Corner, I slowed for a young lady and two others to continue from one side of East Street to the other. While this was happening I noticed that this particular young woman had on a very nice pair of aqua heels which she carefully maneuvered avoiding some of the road works being carried out on East Street, which has gone from rags to riches in state of the art paving. Let me thank the government for"smiling"on East Street, because I can't remember when was the last time--and I just don't drive there, I lived there.
Slowing do ...
The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm watch from 1:55 pm until 4:00pm Friday 25th, May 2012.
severe thunderstorm watch is now in effect for
Andros, New Providence,
Berry Islands, South Abaco, middle and upper Exuma Cays, Eleuthera,
Northern Cat Island and their adjacent waters.
At 1:50pm Radar
and satellite data indicated lines and clusters of thunderstorms
pushing east and northeastward from central Cuba and the Great Bahama
Bank, across the tongue of the ocean toward the watched areas...