Monday, March 31, 2014

Lessons of Faith 15: AM I HEARING FROM GOD?

Lessons of Faith 15: AM I HEARING FROM GOD?

As I drove to Ocho Rios yesterday and approached the Retreat community turnoff, I was prompted by the Spirit to go to The school if one of my boys. This was now the fourth occasion in as many months that The Lord has spoken to me about this school and student in this way. 

As I arrived at the school, pulled into the parking lot and walked from the car, the students in My boy's classroom began to gather at the window looking at me from upstairs. The principal had just stepped out of her office and had a look of surprise on her face. It just happened that a short while before, she had just intervened in a situation with my youngster and other boys. My arrival apparently surprised everyone. But that is the how all if us should be in hearing and flowing in the spirit of God.

I decided to sit in the classroom just to observe the teacher and student interaction. The teacher was informed and I proceeded from the principals office to 9-GH and Mr Rose's Social Studies class.

As I sat there my attention was drawn to the seated postures, the poorly lit room, and an atmosphere of failure and defeat that I could cut with a knife, so thick and obvious it was. In a class of about 30, four girls only, not one student had a text book or writing book open, none could sufficiently articulate a point, expressions and grammar were missing the mark and the sheer lack of respect for the teacher and fellow students was eye opening.

After 15 minutes I made my exit with most of the students waving goodbye but with a heavy heart. I walked to my car reliving the sacrifices of our forefathers, their anguish, pain and their blood shed to assure this freedom that we have to be educated and it pained my innermost being, I groaned within. I was overcome with emotion for Christ himself also suffered and died for this liberty and present opportunities we all have.

What can I do, Lord? Was my question, how do I help in changing what I've just seen? He answered throughout the afternoon as I cloistered myself to seek him on this issue. Lord help us to help them  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lessons of Faith 14: "A Telling Christian Relationship, Naila and Sharon Ricketts"

Lessons of Faith 14: "A Telling Christian Relationship, Naila and Sharon Ricketts"

I came in late this morning from an all night prayer event in Kingston and while driving my heart was pondering one event of the evening and several encounters with my Brother Rev. Naila Ricketts and his wife Sharon.

Last night as I walked into the Sanctuary of Tarrant Baptist Church I noted Sister Sharon busy ensuring that guests were met, properly greeted, seated and I'm sure doing a myriad of other things within her portfolio of responsibility that evening.

As I have watched these two for the several years that I have known them, I have never seen an offensive gesture between them, I've never heard a terse or angry word exchanged, and I Have not sensed any degree of competition.

What I have perceived is a loving, loyal, respectful Abraham and Sarah like relationship that speaks volumes to us in the body of Christ. I watched last night as Sister Sharon led two periods of praise and worship and each time was so synchronized with Brother Ricketts and it was obvious she wanted to be and was not just acting so out of coercion or dogmatic authority. She would glance in his direction for his next cue to continue or adjust.

Brother Naila depends on her, leans on her, and has an undeniable love and affection for her that he does not offer to another. The Apostle Paul's writing about the man and his wife in the book of Ephesians is embodied in this marriage that I have observed for the past few years. I know, by way of testimony in meetings, not divine revelation, of some of the challenges they both faced when my brother left his secular business, the financial hardships and devil crafted devices that came against them. With all of the storms, he testifies of the resilience, support and encouragement that Sister Sharon gave him during those seasons of significant change In their life's direction and purpose. She wanted what God wanted and that's and amazing woman.

I must also note how she moves in the shadows, she has not received, at least publicly, the same accolades as he does but I don't perceive her ever saying "what about me?" Without the second string no musical instrument offers its greatest potential only a cacophony of sounds. What a pleasing rhythm is created when they work well together! I could say much more from my observations at conventions and in their office, but I believe these few words sufficient In sharing my observations this morning.

Brother Naila, I admire the example you portray as a minister of the sanctuary and as a husband. Sister Sharon, undoubtably a woman that is the personification of a submitted heart toward The Lord and her husband. May The Lord continue to bless your union and your ministry.

I chose this forum to share my experience with this couple for many see the opposite in some Christian relationships. May God continue to open our eyes.

Pastor Winston

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lessons of Faith 13: "God Understands?"

Lessons of Faith 13: "God Understands?"

Over the last few days I've listened to Pastor George Delaney share on the topic "what in the world am I here for?" I really started thinking about the subject and especially in reference to the life of Joseph.

Joseph had a dream which showed him a bit of his destiny but not how he would get there. The Lords plan involved several 'assignments' in his life. Each assignment had its own set of tests and passing was critical to getting to the next level of God's plan.

The Pit, Potiphar's house, the Prison, Paraoah's Palace, the visit of his brothers to obtain grain were all assignments. The tests showed either Godly character and integrity or shows the lack of it. I thought on this for a while and was moved by Joseph's consistent commitment to his Faith and righteousness.

I wonder what we would have done faced with the same conditions? Many of us cut corners, fall shy of integrity and good character and believe that God 'understands.' In Jamaica, ethics seem to depend on 'what is in it for me' or depend on 'who's doing what.' Righteousness depends on personal interpretation of the scripture and not on God's Biblical injunction against unholy and unrighteous conduct.

Our 'purposed' destination in Christ is only achievable when we live each assignment and come out of the testing phase with God's result and not our crafty and carnal device. Lord, take me through each season of assignment and craft each test to bring me forth as pure gold. AMEN