Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I Affect Him... I Condemn Me

How I Affect God

"But where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound." Rom 5:20

While my sin neither enhances nor compromises the fact of who God is, it has provided a canvas on which a picture of His grace is beautifully painted by the blood of Christ.

Scripture says that Heaven (God's home) rejoices when a sinner decides to return to God in repentance (Luke 15:7). It also speaks of grieving the Holy Spirit (a member of the Godhead), "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Eph. 4: 30.

Ultimately the cost of our salvation was the life of Jesus Christ, laid down for us, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3: 16. " Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1Pet 1: 18, 19.

Is God affected by us? You bet!

The Snare of Judging
In Jamaica we have a saying, "Cock mout ketch cock (Rooster's mouth catches rooster)." Probably a more universal phrase is, "Open mouth, put foot in." In other words, you're condemned by your very utterance that was intended for another. So even as we are apt to call out Elihu's "self-righteous" utterances (the very thing he accuses Job of), we must guard against falling into the same trap as he did.

My Prayer
Father in Heaven, thank You for Your marvelous grace that has been extended to all of us. Please keep us from the destructive influence of the devil who will corrupt us with the pride and smug feeling that we can so easily fall into - because we think we know it all. Help that even as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and as we share the Good News, our humility will conversely increase. May we never judge another, for that is Your exclusive privilege and prerogative - until you grant it to us to "judge angels," (1Cor 6:3).

This reading is based on Job 35.  To read and/or listen to Job 35, and to read other related blogs please click here.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Young, Brash, Chest-beating... and Wrong

"You wise men... you who give knowledge... you men of understanding," (verses 2, 10, 34). The young and brash Elihu's sarcasm, chest-beating, and disrespect are on in earnest. In verse 16 (see also verse 35) he reveals the fact that he didn't really mean in the earlier verses that these men he was addressing (including Job) were wise, "If you have understanding." Obviously he does not speak under the influence of the Holy Spirit, because, among other errors, the God of the Bible is not one to upbraid, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and UPBRAIDETH not." James 1: 5.

Also, another indication of his self-proclaimed inspiration is Elihu's reckoning of God’s justice, which isn't much unlike how many possibly see it today, (if we're honest). By Elihu's strict definition however, God would never have allowed Jesus ("who knew no sin" - 2 Cor. 5:21) to die in our stead. But obviously God's view of justice is not limited to human thinking; there's always a bigger picture (the Great Controversy, love, grace, mercy) that we often miss.

As noted with other speakers, listen to Elihu's diatribe in another context and you may be convinced that he makes some valid points. After all, which of us today does not expect divine protection in our undertakings (marriage, career choices, business investments, living locations, and the list goes on)? I believe that's a major part of why we pray and ask for prayers - desiring to remain under the wings of God's protection, "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings." Ps 17:8. Besides, the fifth commandment is one that comes with a divine promise. The challenge with Elihu is that he didn't understand the bigger picture of the Great Controversy however, and so couldn't factor the undue delays God's children sometimes experience in receiving His promises. At length however, all will be fulfilled.

Father, please help us to understand the context in which we live and operate as Your servants; that at length all your promises are true, and that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," (Rom 8:28). Amen.

This reading is based on Job 34.  To read and/or listen to Job 34 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Monday, 29 July 2013

When Truth is not Light

"..., it is because there is no light in them." Isa 8:20

"Me... I... My...." Talk about self-centred! Seen in the light of Job 33 the protocol that Elihu initially observes in Job 32 seems only for the purpose of getting permission to, as he puts it, "Declare my opinion (NKJV)."   As he now speaks his tone, by contrast to his initial display of "courtesy," is disrespectful, condescending, and dismissive; bordering arrogant.  His initial sarcasm is here betrayed. But when our utterances are of self, these manifestations are expected outcomes.

Mind you, as with the other speakers before him, and seen in another context, elements of what Elihu says may have some truth to it. But truth will not act as light when used deceitfully or as a platform for self-promotion. Satan in tempting Christ in the wilderness quoted the Scriptures, "For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:" Luke 4: 10 (Ps 91:11 was quoted). Jesus countered Satan's use of this passage with another passage of Scripture that provided the proper context in which Ps 91: 11 was to be taken, "And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Luke 4: 12.

Father in Heaven thank you for the light of Your word. May it be our guide and stay, and never the subject of selfish manipulation. Please grant us the Holy Spirit as a constant guide as we read, meditate, apply, and share Your word we ask in Jesus' name, amen.

This reading is based on Job 33.  To read and/or listen to Job 33 and to read other related blogs please click here.

Friday, 26 July 2013

To be Born of Royal Blood

As I puzzle at the global fanfare that this new born British monarch has evoked, I find myself channelled into paths of thought, including the question, “What if I were born into royalty?”  We’ll look at that question later.

But another thing about this new birth affair is how reminiscent of the original edition of the Lion King movie sequel it is. Simba is born to the proud and majestic Mufasa, king of the pride.  Although the plot isn’t quite the same, the eager interest that all the animals living in the pride take in meeting the new  prince seems rivalled by this attention showered on this new British sensation.  The quaint system of British monarchy shuffles yet.

What is it that people find so fascinating about other people’s lives that would generate all this attention?  There is no one simple answer to this question.  There’s a possibility that among the answers is that the perceived lifestyle of monarchs, movie stars and other such people is one to be desired.  So these celebrity individuals somehow capture the imagination of their fans, because in a sense, their fans wish to be in some way like them.  Usually, a story means something to you when you can see yourself in it – whether as an expression of where you are, where you were, or where you desire to be.

Now, if you grew up as a fan of a singer or a movie star chances are you could become a singer or a movie star.  If however you were not born within the royal bloodline… well, you missed it.  And while the remote possibility exists (notwithstanding the great odds against it happening) that a commoner could marry into royalty – even that will remain for the great majority of the world a distant… impossible dream.  That’s the British Monarchy for you.
But wait!  There’s another, even more alluring prospect that is amazingly accessible to everybody.  You see there’s royalty and there is Royalty.  The Royal Family of the universe (the Godhead), unbridled by typical human limitation, has devised a way for anyone who desires to experience a rebirth.  Jesus Christ the Son of the Godhead in conversation with Nicodemus by night confirmed that we can all be born of the Holy Spirit.  As far I know, have royal blood when at least one of your parents is from the royal line.  The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Godhead, so that if one is born by Him, then that one is… royalty.  Are you royalty?

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Mangocraze - with delicious, nutritious goodness

A mango is a fleshy yellow-orange fruit that is sometimes sweeter than sugar to the tastebuds. It has many textures - stringy, waxy or mild - and causes most people to scream when a wiggly worm is seen coming out of its flesh, after enjoying a portion of the succulent yet nutritious fruit.
Mango is a tropical fruit that comes in many varieties, is high in carbohydrates, fibre - soluble and insoluble, potassium and vitamins A and C.
Carbohydrates are needed for energy, but too much carbohydrate in the diet is stored as fat and increases body weight.
Insoluble fibre is found in the 'stringier' versions of mangoes, such as 'hairy', 'stringy', 'common mango', Robin, Number 11, 'green or fine skin', East Indian or 'saddle back'. Insoluble fibre is useful to increase the bulk or size of the faeces, preventing constipation and hunger, controlling weight, and reducing the risk of obesity.
Soluble fibre reduces blood cholesterol levels by preventing the absorption of cholesterol in foods and cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestines (tripe). Soluble fibre decreases the release of insulin from the pancreas, and slows the amount of glucose (blood sugar) that is absorbed in the body.
Potassium regulates the heartbeat and prevents muscle cramps. Vitamin A is important for making new cells for the skin, and repairing damaged cells that cause heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is needed for healing cuts, absorption of iron, and acts as a free radical to get rid of substances that damage cells that cause cancer and heart disease.
Mangoes cause blood sugar levels to increase and then in return, a large amount of insulin is released from the pancreas. Large amounts of insulin in the blood may result in high blood triglycerides (fat), increased fat stored in the body, increased blood clots, increased amount of fat being produced by the liver, and feeling hungry quickly after eating.
Mangoes have a high glycemic index, which means that when mangoes are eaten, there is an increase in blood glucose levels when compared to eating table sugar or white bread. The glycemic index of mango depends on the amount of fibre in the fruit (type of mango), the processing - whether it is the whole fruit, juice (strained or unstrained) and if it was consumed with or without a meal or other food items.
Mangoes are believed to have a low glycemic load, meaning, whether or not the consumption of the fruit affects one's blood sugar. This depends on the amount of fruit consumed and whether or not it was consumed with other food items. This is an interesting concept because during the mango season, mango lovers usually 'tun dung de pot' and eat a bowl full or pudding pan of mangoes with little or no other food at the same time. This practice may cause problems for persons with diabetes, because the blood sugar increases after eating a large amount of mangoes, then blood sugar may go low, especially after taking medication.
Here are some tips for the mango season:
  • Do not overeat mangoes at any one meal or sitting. Mangoes do not provide all the nutrients for a balanced meal, but should be used as an accompaniment to a meal.
  • Eat mangoes with other food items such as milk, yoghurt, nuts, peas and beans - high protein foods with a little fat to prevent the sudden increase in blood sugars and insulin secretion.
  • Wash and freeze mangoes for consumption when the fruit is not abundant at other times during the year.
To keep mangoes fresh and safe:
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Store in a cool place. Chilling reduces the amount of nutrients lost after picking.
  • Limit storage time, because mangoes start losing vitamins after picking.
  • Peel, trim and cut the mango to remove the skin, seed and rotten parts. Oxygen in the air breaks down vitamins when the surface is exposed. If possible, store the whole fruit.
Mango, a delicious fruit, should be eaten in moderation to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the year.
Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in private practice and adjunct lecturer at Northern Caribbean University; email:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wisdom: Mining the Inexhaustible Mind

If I heard Job 28 read but did not have the opportunity to also hear where it was taken from (or otherwise see it), my guess would have been that it was taken from the Book of Proverbs, or of Ecclesiastes. The influence on Solomon is very clear here. We would be well advised to be similarly instructed.

Wisdom is a timeless principle, a precious ore that has its source in the mind of God. We are tipped by the passage that wisdom isn't something we're born with, but is the outcome of a systematic process of pursuing, processing, and applying knowledge for optimal benefit of all. It is as men mine the earth for its precious metals, but is a process best presided over by God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Ps 111: 10.
You also get the very distinct sense from the passage that God somehow wants to lavish us with this wisdom as abundantly as a flowing river. Interestingly however, He doesn't seem to just want to flow it our way, He also wants to help us build dams to contain this... wisdom.

The Bible is this inexhaustible mine of precious gems (knowledge). What we do here on RBHW is mining and processing. What results in our homes, our places of work, our church congregations, our lives generally depends on how effectively this knowledge is applied. Praise the Lord though, we're not on our own; He's with us.

This reading is based on Job 28.  To read and/or listen to Job 28, and to read other related blogs, please click here.