Life is for Living Every Day

Thoughts on Faith, Family, Love, Laughter & Life


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You Also Are One Of Them

 

“Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.  A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)

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I live at the end of a cul-de-sac. The road leading to my home is pretty narrow so when my neighbors park in front of their houses the road gets even narrower. I have good neighbors. They are pleasant, will say hi and hello, and generally look out for you. So when I associate you with common decency and good manners, and someone coming to visit you parks adjacent to another car or blocks my gate or leaves their car in the middle of the road I am surprised. Why? Because if you as my neighbor go out of your way to be considerate, then I assume that your friends or associates will be considerate as well even if just by nature of association.

This thinking is not as far-fetched as it may sound at first. Remember what our mothers always told us: “You are known by the friends you keep.” Associate with alcoholics, people assume you drink. Associate with drug addicts, people assume you are a crack head. Associate with positive, career driven professionals, people assume you are goal oriented and on your way to being a successful contributor to your society.

I said all of the above to say that Peter’s denial of Jesus had many different facets. It was not only about Jesus’ foretelling of the future or of Peter’s pain after the fact. It was also about association, as evidenced by the accusation: “You also are one of them.” By extension, it was also about the price we may pay for said association … and we all know that Peter was unwilling to pay the price he knew Jesus was about to pay; hence his denial.

As we move through this Holy Week I encourage you to stand tall and be a witness to our Lord and savior. He died for us and He is coming again – those are the facts we cling to, associate with and can never deny. As a result we will not let Jesus turn and look straight at us or weep bitterly like Peter, crowing rooster or no crowing rooster.

Do I hear an Amen?

 

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If I Perish, I Perish

Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Esther 4: 9-17 (NIV)

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It’s a long passage and incomplete but are you familiar with the story above? I believe most of us are aware of it in general. Esther was an amazing woman. She was timid yet brave, quiet yet purposeful, an unwilling yet eventually confident savior of her people.  This week I wanted to highlight what I think are some of the most important phrases or thoughts in the verses above.

  1. “But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” There is that little word. But. It’s everywhere and can immobilize us. But the rent is due. But the car broke down. But I have to work late. But the cancer is terminal. But there is no way out. But I would need a miracle. But I can’t do anymore.
  2. “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Sometimes things happen in our lives which throw us into a tail spin. It’s like the journey keeps getting harder and harder. The tunnel gets longer and the light at the end gets dimmer.
  3. “And if I perish, I perish.” Who wants to perish? No-one! But we’ve got to step out, to do what needs to be done, even if it looks as though we might perish – just as Esther did, and she knew that death was more of a reality than a probability.

In a nutshell, the message on my heart and which I am sharing with you is simple. I don’t know your story and you don’t know mine BUT if you are tired, in debt, trying hard with children who do not listen, in the middle of a divorce, lost a loved one, been laid off or just diagnosed with a terminal illness stop, pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself: have you come to your royal position as a child of God for such a time as this?

Then consider these other ‘going through the valley’ questions:

  • Who are you supposed to reach out to and help?
  • Who are you supposed to bless?
  • Who are you supposed to lift up?
  • What are you to do in this particular time of your life for the glory of God? Who should you leave behind? Who should you hold on to?

As we look ahead to Easter, I believe that this time my friend, as in this exact time right now right here, no matter how good or bad it is, is God’s perfect timing for us.  If we perish, we perish but God will still be with us.  Amen?

What’s your story? Is your journey hard? Did these words help, even a little? Leave us a comment and have a great week; God bless.

 


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Much has been given

the journey is the destination

 

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” ~ Luke 12:48 (NIV)

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Crop Over is in the air, and I heartily agree with a comment made once by Father Austin Carrington of the Christ Church Parish Church who encouraged Barbadians to embrace the positive aspects of our Festival while casting away the not-so-positive ones.  And here therefore is my “Once-Upon-a-Crop-Over-Long-Ago” story … which of course stars Nathan and Gale.

That particular year we went to the beach one Sunday afternoon with friends and family to enjoy some “Pan pun de Sand”. It was hot hot hot and very crowded but the sweet sweet sweet steel pan melodies soon distracted us from dwelling on the humidity. The musicians were talented and passionately threw their bodies all across the pans, reminding me of the reason I particularly loved this time of year; when I am so very proud to be a Bajan living in the midst of so much local creativity.

Unfortunately, the evening was slightly marred by an interesting interaction involving Nathan who, when it was time to leave, could not be contacted on his cell phone. We knew he had gone off with one of his friends soon after arriving on the beach but by 8 p.m. it was more than a little dark and even more crowded; yet he hadn’t returned to our group. After many frustrating moments of unanswered calls, a close friend contacted us to advise that Nathan was with his family and would be taken home. This was good because it meant Nate was safe, but it was also disappointing because as we found out later on, Nate never even had his cell phone with him! Apparently the battery had died so he simply left it in his room at home, jumped into the car and never once said a single word as we made our way to the venue.

Needless to say, Nathan could not understand the cause for concern.  As we argued, a thought unexpectedly popped into my mind: “to whom much is given, much is expected / required”.  Years ago, I worked and paid for my first (about the size of a flat, extra-large cucumber) cell phone.  I had no parent to gift it to me and yes, times were different since Nathan had his own (high-tech) phone at a much younger age but it is expected that by having this convenient communication tool one should be better able to reach him, especially in an emergency – not so? With this acquisition therefore came the responsibility of keeping it charged (Nathan) and topped up with airtime (Gale).

As Nathan further failed to see the point, both his phone and his I-pod were eventually confiscated by his big bad momma.  Why the I-pod? Because it was always charged so he could listen to music and as a result permanently attached to his hip.  The I-pod had of course accompanied him to the beach, but no phone … were we to call him on the I-pod then when it was time to leave? Was it supposed to ring? Who would have answered? But in reality, what could he have been thinking? And I don’t know why, but as the confiscator proceeded to confiscate items from the confiscatee, another verse sprung to mind, admittedly not in the truest context as presented in the bible: “the Lord giveth … and the Lord taketh away”.

I am still not sure all these years later if Nate has learnt his lesson i.e. the importance of being more responsible and accountable. Parenting is a continuous work in progress and sometimes it looks as though there is no progress at all but I do know that on that night way back then as we went to bed (very very early) I was able to acknowledge that in the same way I had been blessed in abundance with good friends, loving family, basic health, home, car, job and the ability to write creatively, so was I required to share these blessings with others whenever I could, and before for some reason they were taken away.

So here’s the question(s): what about you? What talents or material possessions has God given to you? What testimony is He expecting you to share? Is He expecting much of you as a result of His blessings? Definitely something to think about.

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” ~ Job 1:21 (NIV)

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