Category: Inspirational Bible Based

Succession…Make the pass.

Making the Pass

In a Relay knowing when and how to make the pass is key to winning. Team members must resist the temptation to keep running when it’s time to pass the baton.

In the game of Football, Super-Bowl victories are won by active teamwork. A touchdown is never the work or skill of one player.

The Bible describes the Christian journey as a race and a battle. “The race is not for the swift, nor is the battle to the strong…” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).  Furthermore, Jesus said in Matthew 24:13—”He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” The end can be interpreted as the expiration of life here on earth, but the deeper reference is, to end of your leg of the race–knowing when and how to pass it on.

A most beautiful picture of encouragement is to see those who ran before, become cheerleaders and coaches for those who are still running. The greater, the level of competition or fight the greater the level of support needed.

Players don’t walk off the field after they’ve made a pass. They keep on playing–at a different position. The team needs the wisdom, counsel, and support of every player; until the purpose is accomplished. We haven’t won until we make a touchdown.

As a team, the Bible says Christians are one body made up of: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers, Exhorters, Givers, and Helpers.

Our defined purpose is to run this race:
For the perfecting of the saints.
• For work of the ministry.
• For the edifying of the body of Christ.

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 11-13).

In obedience to the heavenly calling; we must understand our roles and functions in the body of Christ, only then can we work together knowing it’s never about us, but it’s all for his Glory and to his Honor. We’re only Clay Vessels in the hands of the potter.

One day, “Our earthly house of this tabernacle will be dissolved…”  Moreover, when for whatever the reason, we can no longer effectively fulfill our calling or function in the ministry–it’s time to make the pass. But before we move to the next position, it’s important to prayerfully consider a faithful successor.

Eli’s eyes grew dim, yet he held on to the priesthood. (Where there is no vision– people perish. Proverbs 29:18). God was speaking to Samuel, but Eli did not understand the matter when he should have. He stayed in office, corrupting the sanctuary of God and allowing his sons to defile the women. He died, breaking his neck, as he fell backward from off his seat. (Read 1 Samuel chapters 3 and 4).

Like Eli, too many church leaders, are holding unto positions they can no longer fulfill.  In stubborn blindness, they persist in selfish ways. They run greedily after the error of Balaam for rewards. (Jude1:11). They have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with a man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. (1Peter 2:15,16.) Also read Revelations 2:14.

Remember we in this team together, we have our specific roles to perform. God is not looking for an “MVP” (most valuable player). He desires our faithfulness to the task ahead.

We must remain committed to the body; keeping in mind it’s never about us, but all for his glory. Galatians 2:20 reminds us –“It’s no longer I, but Christ…”

If you sense the need to…Make the pass. Don’t be afraid.


Make the Pass…ux-hand-off

The Blessings of Obedience.

                                      Deuteronomy 28, (KJV).

1. It shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

2. And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

3. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

4. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, the fruit of thy ground, the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

5. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6. Blessed shalt thou be when you come in, and blessed shalt thou be when you go out.

7. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

8. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto, and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

9. The LORD shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

10. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

11. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers to give thee.

12. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

13. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day–to observe, and do them:

14. And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Ps. “God means what he says and says what he means.” All these blessings are promised to those who believe and are willing to obey the voice of the lord.

Abraham Believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. What’s your response?

What Is Obedience?

Obedience Is Following Instructions. 

  •  By Sign or Signal.
  •  A  Spoken Word.
  •  Written Text.


red traffic lightSIGNAL:  A red light at an intersection means–STOP. The obedient response is to put your foot on the brake pedal, pressing into it so that the vehicle is no longer moving. It doesn’t mean slow down or pause. Stop means–stop.

comeSPOKEN:  Come…Go… (One-word commands). In obedience, you act accordingly–come or go. You heard the command, what are you waiting for?

 surgeon-general-warning WRITTEN:  In obedience, you quit smoking.

Ps. Now: Let’s Practice Obedience. Precept upon Precept.

Here Are 10 Things You Can Do Today To Practice Obedience:

1.Pray. The Bible says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will e added unto you. (Mathew 6:33).

2.Eat Healthy Foods.  A healthy breakfast is essential for a good start to a great day.

3. Be Safe. Whatever you do, safety always comes first.

  • Walk on the sidewalk
  • Use the crossways.
  • Always use protective gloves.
  • Wash hands after using the restroom.
  • Drive within the speed limits.
  • Stop at the stop sign.

4. Be Nice. “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

5. Always Ask Please?

6. Remember to say, Thank you.

7. Be On Time. If you must be at work or keep that appointment  try to be at least 10 minutes early. It’s always greatly appreciated.

8. Don’t Procrastinate. Go to the gym today, return that phone call, pay that bill, and finish what you started.

9. Thou Shalt Not Steal. If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t put it in your pocket or purse.

10. Be Grateful.  Live with an attitude of gratitude.

Practice Makes You Better… Start Today.


Teaching Obedience to Children…  

“Obedience  is not just about rules, regulations, and punishment. It is really about cooperating with one another in order to have a safe and orderly school, home, and community. Think of the peace and freedom you enjoy when neighbors respect one another and obey the law—and the chaos that follows when there is no law and order. Obedience makes teamwork and cooperation possible by clarifying your duty and doing it to the best of your ability.

I will…


The Past.

We must learn from our past. Why make the same mistakes repeatedly?
“That men do not learn from the lessons of history are the most important lesson of history.” (Aldous Huxley).
Winston Churchill said, “Forgetting our history we are doomed to repeat it.”
Too many are trapped in and by their past—living in the prisons of what was.
But, you can break free. Jesus came to set the captive free.
Forgiveness is the master key which unlocks the gates of our past and opens a highway to the future.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray—saying “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…. For if we do not forgive others neither will our heavenly father forgive us.” Matthew 6:14,15. Everyone wants forgiveness, but so few will forgive.
We must learn to forgive and be forgiven.
That uneasy, feeling you’ve been wrestling with—it’s called guilt. It’s sometimes referred to as your conscience and it will not rest until you confess. To procrastinate only delays the inevitable.
It’s not possible, to rewind the clock and undo what’s done. Whatever happened—”If we confess our sins,” “He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Repentance often involves restitution, therefore by all means restore. Accept the consequences of your actions. If you did the crime and you must “do time,” God will sustain you with his grace.
Whatever it takes—put the past behind you. Never let your past, suffocate your present and hinder you from a bright and successful future.
No! It’s never too late to begin again. I encourage you to get up, wash up, dress up, pull your pants up and stand up and step out. Take a deep breath and smile again. “Take those broken wings and learn to fly again.”
Make changes where you must, but by the grace of God—go—grow and glow.
Don’t look back… remember Lot’s wife—she turned into a pillar of salt. You cannot go forward while looking back. “That was then, this is now.”
Have you ever considered the reason the rear-view mirror in your car is only a fraction of the size of the windshield? It’s because there is so much more ahead than what’s behind. An occasional glance in the mirror is only to remind you, of how far you have traveled. So keep moving, don’t stop.
Yesterday is past, and we may never see tomorrow. All we will ever have is now. Today. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I Said A Bad Word.

Did you just say %#$@ bleep?
“Yes, I did, but I promise–you will never, hear me use those words again.”
It’s been over forty years—I was a rebellious, troubled, shy, pimple face teenager in high school.
I have not used those words since. Thank God, He’s able to keep us from falling…” I’ve been tempted many times over the years, but I refuse to let the devil win. Indeed, “I’m more than a conqueror.”

Hearing the “church boy” using profanity, shocked the entire class. For one full hour, I was flooded with question after question–like the president at a White House press conference. What happened? What’s going on here? “What’s wrong with you”? “Who or what made you that angry”? Did you pray this morning? Did you sleep last night? What’s this all about?

“It’s about time you took off the religious mask and quit trying to be so different– why can’t you be like everyone else?” That was Julia, the president of the student council.

I was merely repeating, what I had heard several times before.

Moreso, from our friendly next-door neighbor Mr. Solomon.
He was an older gentleman somewhere in his late sixties. After losing his wife to cancer, he son Ishmael, convinced him to sell his property and move in with him.

“This is the biggest mistake of my life.” A statement we heard repeatedly.

They were a quiet, peaceful family–except for those troublesome weekends when Mr. Solomon came home stoned, ready to party—all weekend long.
No one ever got invited–as his name implies. This was exclusive– “Solo”.

His weekend of entertainment began at 6:00 pm on Friday evenings as he returned home after working his cocoa and coffee plantation. Instead of riding, both he and his bicycle were staggering across the narrow, littered streets of our tiny village. Cars and trucks slowly and carefully maneuvered an opportunity to get by, and of course, he politely waved a thank-you as they passed.

Monday through Thursday, he is usually home by 4:15 pm, the same time we got home from school.

But, on these dreadful, Friday evenings, he didn’t get home until around 5:45 pm. His routine was to stop at the Liberty Inn. (a local bar) and get loaded with his favorite Black & White Scotch Whiskey, before bringing home a thirty-two ounce bottle or two. Several empty bottles became part of the fence separating our properties.

By 7:00 am, on Saturday morning the entire neighborhood would be awakened by the songs of Geetanjali. (A classical Indian-music station.) We were under siege. The station played for two hours, with brief commercial interruptions. He then switches to his “LP” (Long Playing) records. (Those 12-inch round black musical disc of the sixties.

To listen to American Top 40’s with, Casey Kasson, or watch Soul Train with Don Cornelius, you had to stay inside with all doors and windows sealed.

By 9:00 am Mr. Solomon took on a whole new personality. From an introvert, soft-spoken, friendly neighbor to a loud, foul-mouth, public figure–pacing the front porch back and forth–staggering from side to side.

Like “Action News” he headlined all his family’s private issues–carefully punctuating every other word with slurred descriptive obscenities. His son Ishmael, apparently the only other attendee to this intensive nerve-wracking weekend celebration; often responded with an equal flow of expletive rebuffs.

Both, equally under the influence, traded bleep for bleep, long into the night.

But, regardless of what was happening next door, our family diligently travailed every Saturday, with preparations for church on Sunday. Mary, my oldest sister, washed several bundles of laundry. (Back in those days a scrubbing board and a metal tub were the favorite brands of washing machines)
Maggie did the ironing.
Michael practiced haircuts on all the boys.
Malcolm cleaned and polished everyone’s shoes.
Morris (as I was called at this time) did the go-between to ensure everyone had whatever they needed to perform their task. (Notice first five children’s name began with the letter M.) But there was also Mervyn, the sixth child. A total of seven names beginning with the letter M. Carlton the 7th child and 5th boy was dad’s favorite.

Three other boys came after.

Joy the first of the last three girls, (daddy’s favorite), also the village hair stylist, sent messages by any possible means so that all outside appointments were kept as scheduled.

The rest of the kids, accompanied Mom to our nearby church, where we were assigned different tasks. Sweeping, mopping and trash removal were just some of the many chores that made up our family’s weekend rendezvous.

My family of eight boys and five girls made up a significant part of the religious community.  On any given Sunday, it was customary to see several families from the neighborhood as they walked by on their way to their respective churches.
“Good morning, Mr. Johnson.
Hello, Mrs. Jones.
Mr. Frazier– how are you today?
Hello, Mrs. McDonald– good morning.”
Apparently, almost everyone attended church somewhere. Mr. Brown, the village shoemaker, always took the time to stop and count the number of children he saw on our porch. While he counted heads, we were laughing at his three tone shoe that looks like worn-out work-boots.

He wore the same suit every Sunday or maybe they were all the same color. His coat sleeves were always too short as you could always see the cuffs of his shirt. All his polka-dot ties had that same shiny look. His overgrown hair had a permanent path down the middle; extending east and west or north and south depending on which direction he was facing

On Sundays, the cardinal rule in our household stipulated that you get up early, take a shower, and be ready for church by ten o’clock. Everyone had to go, well, except Dad. He was either at work or home resting. Sometimes, he assisted with the dinner preparations that Mom started, just after breakfast. She never missed any Sunday at church.

Whenever dad cooked, we always got larger portions. He never used Mom’s measuring cups or teaspoons; he just poured it into the pot. The leftovers were always enough to feed at least the five younger children’s dinner the next day– so they didn’t have to wait. At times we did have to eat in turns, always the younger ones first.
Dad’s cooking was the best; sugar was the main ingredient in every seasoning. I tasted sweet and sour pork on coming to America, but my dad always cooked sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour fish and sweet and sour stake. All good.

Sunday services were often extremely long and tedious. But, we didn’t have any choice. Unlike the modern-day concept, Pastor Joseph did just about everything– he led the congregational singing from the Independent Baptist Hymnals. These hymns were either, long meter or short meter. (To this day, I still cannot tell the long from the short) To me, there was no difference since they all apparently took about thirty minutes to get to the last stanza.

He then read the morning scripture–usually a chapter in length.

Next, he called on one of the deacons to pray. This prayer would be at least forty-five minutes. Deacon Chaz prayed for the wind, the rain, the news, the neighbors, his eleven children. His twenty- six grandchildren, his five brothers, seven sisters and all his cousins–calling out every name while the rest of the congregation softly hummed a chorus.

Some more singing followed which provoked shouting (dancing in the spirit as it is called today). Uncontrollable weeping and sobbing as if someone had just died, and then some more praying– this time, by Pastor Joe himself.
Although service began at 11:00 am, it’s now 1:30 pm and Pastor Joe is just about to preach the sermon. He was a long-winded preacher—it would be at least one hour and fifteen minutes before his conclusion. By this time, I had restlessly moved to every pew, as if ‘in the Pursuit of Happiness.” After a thirty-minutes warm up, he began an inspiring theatrical performance, with lots of jumping, shouting, crying, trembling and hypnotic gesticulations from the pulpit to the pews and back.

Next, the offering was collected. This was when we knew it was about time to go home. While the deacons counted the basket of noisy money, separating each into their respective denomination, the pastor would once again declare– BROTHERS AND SISTERS the announcements for this week are as follows. This goes on for another thirty minutes or so including corrections and confirmations of dates and events.

By 3:30 pm we were just leaving, to quickly return for Sunday School at 5:00 pm. Sunday school usually ran for one hour, after which we were treated to Popcorn and ice cream or both—then it was back to church, for the evening service at 7:00 pm. By 9:00 pm, we were already half asleep on our way home.
I honestly believed, we spent a lot more time in that church than the Holy Spirit did.

Mom always said, “With all these children, I need all the help I can get from the Lord.”

I became a born-again Christian at the age of ten. I enjoyed Sunday school, I loved going to church, and I loved distributing the hymnals to people in the congregation, especially those who gave me candy in exchange. I felt happy and inspired to be active in church, singing my heart out in the choir, serving the Lord. This was my world, nothing else mattered.
Since Grandpa and Grandma were life-long members, the congregation was largely made up of several uncles, aunts, and cousins. A small percentage of those assembled included in-laws, godparents, and a few neighborhood friends.

I was always getting into trouble, so all the adults kept a close watch over me. Therefore, somehow I became everyone’s favorite.
I also had my favorites–those who, whenever they sent me to the store… (Located just one hundred feet away from the church.) allowed me to keep the change. But, Mrs. Stylish (as she was called) one of the older mothers in the church who fussed and complained about almost everything, always demanded that I stand at her left side while she slowly counted how much I actually spent and what her exact change should be.

“I’ve got to keep my eyes on you, boy,” she mumbled.

One day, on hearing Mother Stylish comment, Mom interjected, “That’s right, to keep that boy from getting into mischief, you’ve got to keep your eyes on him.”

“Now, you be still young man,” said Mother Stylish, “sit right here until I tell you to get up.” “And don’t you touch anything, do you hear me?” “Leave that alone! “Stop touching! Why can’t you be like the other children? I’m praying for you boy.” She went on and on as I quietly stood there, bowing my head and gently rubbing my fingers, pretending I was listening to her rapid ramble. Whenever she paused, I respectfully answered: “Yes, ma’am.”

Mom did not tolerate disobedience or disrespect from any of her children; especially the boys; the girls got away with a whole lot of issues, but the boys were quickly turned over to Dad; who asked no questions.

“Wait till your father gets home” was a familair Judgment warning announced in our household.

Mom was blessed with an abundance of patience. She had no high school education, yet she understood child psychology like no other. Wherever her understanding failed she knew how to pray and get answers from above. But, there were times when she could do neither–Dad was the solution. When Mom turned you over to Dad it was her last resort. I hate to do this, She  often said, but it was sometimes necessary. I personally endured a few of those punishments–It was bitter, but it worked out for our good.
Mom  said, “With all these children, I need help from the Lord. If your father is the instrument that God must use, then so be it.” It often broke her heart to see us suffering even days after the encounter with Dad.

Going to church, and Dad’s no-nonsense discipline, no doubt had greatly influenced my way of thinking and my overall behavior. I knew several Bible passages and could readily recite them verbatim.

Dad demanded a standard of behavior and refused to compromise. There were things we could do, and then there were those he strictly forbade without excuses. Dad knew when Mom turned us over to him, it was not the time for a serious talk, but a swift and severe penalty.

But somewhere between the second and third year of high school; I no longer felt the need to attend church. (High School in Trinidad was a five-year program.) I  lost all interest in anything religious. I still prayed, but that was the extent of my Christianity.
From one excuse to another, I whined and complained; “I can’t find my belt!
I don’t have a clean shirt!
I need a hair-cut!
I can’t find a decent pair of socks!
I have a lot of homework!”

The excuses continued… anything and everything became a reason for not attending church.
It was not peer pressure. I have never been a casual follower. Mom always said, “Friends may take you places, but when you get in trouble they are nowhere to be found.” I’ve always preferred to either lead or simply walk alone. I would not let anyone; cause me to get in trouble.

Most of the guys in my class used foul language explicitly; it was part of their normal way of communication–just say whatever you have to say. These guys would curse in front of little kids or even their own parents or grandparents; something I could not dare think about doing.

This bothered me at first, but, it soon became common—so fluently they spewed profanity as if it were a local dialect. They were not the least bit concerned about who heard them. As Derick told me, “Nobody can bleep, bleep tell me what to say or do. I bleep, bleep, say whatever I want.  I bleep do whatever I want to do–I’m a bleep, bleep grown man”

Why do you fellas always use such vulgar words? I asked somewhat hesitantly; knowing what their response might be.

“Why don’t you mind your own bleep, bleep, bleep business.” was the fearfully anticipated, furious response by Mex. He was the outspoken leader of the pack–hypnotically gesticulating with a backhanded flick of his right wrist as if he were brushing away a bothersome house-fly.

These were not my circle of friends, so their lewd response actually meant nothing to me. I heard those words several times before. We were classmates, and that was the extent of our friendship.

On Thursdays, our first session after lunch was Oral Spanish. Ms. Rosanna, the Spanish Teacher, was absent due to a sudden illness. (She told us she would be on maternity leave soon.) Therefore, the principals’ instructions were to: “Review the past lessons, remain seated, and refrain from any unnecessary conversations.”

I sat there, not knowing what to do but nervously anxious to do something. I was never diagnosed, but all my actions at this time would have been an easy give away–This child has–ADHD.

After, about ten minutes, I began flipping through the pages of my English to Spanish dictionary. In the background, I could hear the buzzing conversations of a small group as they whispered about Ms. Rosanna’s third pregnancy. Another group of about five guys and three girls was discussing their plans for meeting at a local go-go bar that evening.

Then, out of nowhere, as if by some “stroke of genius,” I decided to look up the Spanish translations of the cuss words that I’ve been hearing all my life.

I formulated a familiar sentence and with breathless excitement, I stood boldly, carefully accentuating each word as I delivered what could be described as an Inaugural address to the entire class.

I began with, BUENOS DIAS ALUMNOS… (The same greeting with which our Spanish teacher began every session—”Good day students”) Followed by bleep, bleep, bleep, and bleep.

My translation, though not entirely accurate, alarmingly penetrated each group’s discussion. I said it in Spanish, and, of course, everyone knew exactly what I said.

However, the respectable English translation would read– Good day students, will everyone please be quiet.
With eyes and mouths wide open; both hands covering their mouths while holding their breath as if they had seen a ghost.
I heard “Did you just say…?” “Did you just say…?” “Did you just say…?” At least three or four times from different classmates but the majority, in uncontrollable laughter, repeated the statement to each other, as if it were the lesson for the day.

The uproar continued until the math teacher in the classroom next door, came over and restored order.
For the first time–smiling from ear to ear to ear, I was the center of attention. If I were playing world-cup soccer, the commentator would be shouting “G_O_A_L”, and the entire stadium would be standing, waving flags.
Those words lingered in my head all afternoon. Like Thomas Edison—I now had every bulb glowing intermittently like a Christmas tree. CNN’s breaking news that evening should have read–an English-speaking student at a local high school has discovered the way to “cuss” in Spanish–followed by a panel discussion in the situation room with Wolf Blitzer. Other news from around the world and a brief look at the weather would come next.

I felt so witty about my translation; I spent the rest of that afternoon looking up new words that I could use in other sentences. I completed several commonly used sentences with bleeps as nouns, verb, adverbs, and adjective interchangeably. Spanish suddenly became my number one, academic choice of study.
On my way home from school–a two-mile walk–I punctuated every step rehearsing both English and Spanish versions of my obscene translations. For some strange reason, it felt right. I was proud of myself. It felt good to articulate profanity both in English and Spanish.
As the days and weeks rolled by, I became increasingly comfortable with my new verbal skills. My classmates quickly becoming my best friends as I voluntarily participated in daily practice sessions.
I felt liberated to express my thoughts and feelings anyway I wanted, and no one dare stop me or make any comments about my conduct.
Those who tried got an earful of my poisoned Spanglish concoction. Filthy words often punctuated by the emphatically pronounced four-letters, fixed right before the personal pronoun.

I received a silent, honorary induction into the brotherhood of PPHSS. Profanity Professing High School Students. Somehow deep inside, I knew this was bad, but I had no intentions of stopping. I knew trouble was up ahead, but this ride was much too fast and too furious for my control. I was in the far-left lane on Interstate 95 heading south. I defiantly refuse to wear my seat belt, and the brakes were worn. Highway Patrol could not stop me. I was (as-they-say) “off the hook.”

For the next two years, I became proficient, yet outrageously eloquent in an unbalanced mixture of English and the obscene language. I was, “cussing like a sailor.” (A phrase I heard Mom mentioned on several occasions when referring to an elderly deacon at the church)

Whenever I did go to church, maybe once or twice per month; I would be ever so careful about my choice of words, especially when in conversation with my Grandparents. To the best of their knowledge, their Grandson was doing well at school, and they were proud of my outstanding academic achievements.
My God! If they only knew….

“What’s happening to me?” I asked myself over and over again. “Why can’t I control my behavior?” I hated the person I was becoming. I felt dragged down by some invisible force determined for my demise–controlling my every move.

Looking back, I could mentally trace the downward spiral my life took–sinking deeper– day by day.

For several weeks, I attended school, only during the morning session. A group of us frequented the midday matinee to watch Indian movies. We then headed downtown, provoking strangers as we passed by with foolish gestures and unkind words. Their angry protest only triggered more impolite indiscretions. We cursed at people for no justifiable reason. This behavior became a daily occurrence.
I wanted to stop; I wanted to be different, and yes, I wanted to change. But the harder I tried to break free, the worse I got. I was totally out of control. I hated my disrespectful, rebellious ways. Over and over I protested to myself –I’ve got to stop acting like this. I’ve got to change my ways. This is not the person I want to be.

I was constantly reminded by voices within– words my Sunday school teacher always said, “You must grow up, to be a man.”
The words Mom said, “Manners Maketh Man.”
The words Dad said, “Never bite off more than you can chew.”
I was miles away from these life-shaping principles.

I prayed, again and again, “Oh God, please forgive me; I’m sorry. Please help me. Lord, please change me and take these filthy words out of my mouth. Lord, please have mercy on me and save my sin-sick soul; deliver me from the devil. Set my mind free.

I became a miserable wreck; thoughts of drinking to soothe my inner turmoil often swayed across my mind. Despair, desperation, suicidal thoughts, and hopelessness, became my dark domain. I had no peace within, I was a wretched, disgusting mess, grossly dissatisfied with myself. I felt lost and trapped in a deep dark pit, I wanted to get out of, but I didn’t know how.

Late one evening in obedience to Mom’s instructions, I stood  washing the dishes thinking about my life and what had become of the happy quiet person I once was. A still small voice whispered–“I’ll set you free.”

Instantly a soothing peace and an overwhelming joy came over me like water flooding a desert place. The wind blowing the leaves on the trees outside the window made them appeared to be so liberated and happy. Then, that same wind blew right at and through me. Immediately my soul was refreshed, my burdens lifted, and a quieting peace covered me.

I spoke words I’ve never heard before.  A heavenly language—beautiful words, lovely sound and fluently uttered. I felt new and happy again.

“Thank God,” Hallelujah! He answered my prayer. I was delivered; I’ve been set free.

Soon after graduation, I walked down the aisle of a Bible believing church and recommitted my life to the lord. Five years later I became the pastor. “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” It’s Gods promise to his people. I no longer speak the obscene language. I’m striving to communicate more efficiently in English, and daily, I’m doing better at conversational Spanish. “Gloria Dios.” (Glory to God.)
I am persuaded, that He is able, to keep that which I have committed unto him… 2 Timothy 1:12.

What Is Marriage.

To re-define marriage is the current debate of our technologically advance society. Same-sex marriage is the #1 topic on this lust driven agenda.
As time and circumstances change, indeed some things become archaic and change is justifiable. But, there are certain foundational principles that cannot and should not be altered irrespective of the times or cultures.. The Bible says’ “Remove not the old landmark which thy fathers have set.” Proverbs 23:10.

Let’s take for instance—“Thou shalt not kill.” As old as this law is–according to the FBI-UCR program there were 15.693 murders in the US in 2015. Should we then redefine murder? Murder seems to be the highlight of our daily news.

By logical reasoning as with LGBT’s agenda, we should legalize this crime state by state. But, to do so would be foolish by any standards.
Likewise, marriage is one of those foundational principles that cannot be altered, regardless of modern-day trends. In the beginning, God created Adam and because he was alone God created for and from Adam a suitable helpmeet–Eve.
At first sight, Adam declared, “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

Thus, God established a pattern for marriage–a man and a woman. But, by vile affections, unseemly behavior and un-natural acts, men and women continue to change the truth of God into a lie. And, since they do not retain God in their knowledge, He has given them over to reprobate minds, to do those which are not convenient. Romans 1:21-30.

However, marriage Is:
1. Marriage is, and always will be the union of one man with one woman in a holy covenant as established by God. Genesis 2:18-25.
She was physically and emotionally different; therefore she complemented him–there was no need for competition.
She was suitable because:                                                                         A. Together, they could carry out God’s plan to multiply and replenish the earth.
B. None of the animal, birds or fish: could meet Adams needs.
C. God could not meet all of Adam’s needs. Eve was the created vessel to meet those needs. God is Spirit, Adam is Flesh.

Their sin was not sex—it was their disobedience to specific instructions.

2. Marriage is the most honorable thing a man can do in the eyes of God. However, honor wears a costly price tag—complete surrender. The noteworthy challenge is—if we will not submit to God, neither will we submit to a spouse. Honor thrives best in the spirit of humility.

3. Marriage is that divine crucible into which two people may enter, and by a series of sometimes excruciating, transformations, become one with each other. Ephesians 5:31 says, “They two shall be one flesh.”
Contrary to the modern-day trend, you cannot become one with your spouse while maintaining your individuality. “I need my own space,” is counter-productive, to becoming one. “I “ and “Me” must be replaced with “We” and “Us”. Like medicine, the taste may be un-pleasant, but it’s the panacea for the pain.

To Become Demands Change–the expense of: Time, Patience, Understanding and Forgiveness.

4. Marriage begins with a wedding, but it will take more than food and drink, gowns and tucks., pearls and diamonds, lips and hips, six-pack abs., or six-figure incomes, to have a marriage. Be warned: the emotional and physical demands are far greater than butterfly romance and tantric sex. “O for a closer walk with God” is going to be the hearts’ cry of everyone who dares to walk to the altar and vows, “I do.”

The ceremony may last a few hours, with expenditures amounting to thousands of dollars. The marriage however, is meant for life and will cost more than the proverbial “Arm and a Leg.” It has to be the total sacrifice. Not a matching 50/50, but each spouse committing one hundred percent.

5. In marriage God must be first. Not just in word but in practice. Spouses second, children third then family and friends. Every precept must be built upon a precept–first things must be set first. Initiating precepts, where there are no precepts is like trying to install a door or a window where there are no walls. Furthermore, it’s asking two people to love and care for each other, when there’s no relationship with God. The foundation of every marriage must be rooted in our devotion to God.

6. Marriage has no I did, or I will, only–I do. Yesterdays’ good deeds and tomorrows’ thoughtful intentions cannot be substituted for what is needed for the present. Therefore every day from that memorable moment at the altar, each spouse must continually say–I do.

The focus and future of the marriage cannot be the initial attractions or the honeymoon experiences. Changes in physical appearances, finances, health and many other issues do occur–so that, some of the exciting things you shared during the courtship may not be practical in the marriage.
The greater purpose for commitment should be the promises made, by the vow of the covenant.
“To have and to hold–I do
To love and to cherish–I do
In sickness or health–I do
For richer or poorer–I do.
For better or for worse–I do
Till death do us path–I do.
Each statement of promise exercised daily.
It doesn’t matter how you feel–I do.
Even when you don’t feel anything–I do.
When you’re unhappy with each other–I do.
Regardless of the circumstances–I do.

Every day should be a new day–a new beginning–all we’ll ever have is the stark reality of now–today. So that, over and over, and over again: I should be willing to do, until all that I-do–is because of all that I’ve become. Daily sacrificing self, while progressively reconciling all accounts, until the scale is balanced and one plus one, equals one.

                  What Does It Mean To Be A Wife or Husband?

7. In marriage, the husband is to the wife, what Christ is to the church, and the wife is to her husband, what the Church is to Christ. Ephesians 5:23.
8. Marriage and Christ-likeness are synonymous. Husbands must Love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Ephesians 5:25.
9. In marriage, the wife must reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33. (Another word for reverence is respect.)

                                Roles and Function:
10. Husbands and wives are not equal. As the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:24.                                                                                        This has nothing to do with culture or tradition–it’s what the Bible says.
But because he loves as Christ loves:
He sacrifices himself for her comfort, happiness, and wellbeing.
She lacks nothing that she desires.
She’s his number one priority.
She’s loved beyond measure.
She has no care. Her provisions are in abundance.
She’s protected from evil, fear and worry.
Ps. Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord. 1 Peter3:6.

11. In marriage, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Ephesians 5:23.
Regardless of what our customs and cultures have handed down to us, the word of God is the final authority on marriage. Our only response is obedience.

Married with Children/Dogs

Three years went by before we exchanged vows in October of 2014. She is everything my heart desired–a tiny five feet three inches, 110 pounds, long (salt and pepper) hair, and an enchanting smile.

I learned a lot about her character and personality, from her profile on— “Christian” Her core color—White. My core color—Red. Red is also her favorite color. It therefore, didn’t take much for me to convince her that we could easily blend into a beautiful pink–another of her favorite colors. She joyfully agreed with an exuberant– “Yes we can.”

But, on listening to the key-note-speaker, at one of the many pre-marital seminars we attended, the 85-year-old pastor testified; “My wife and I are now married 65 years. The secret—I did not fall in love.” Surprised… we looked at each other, as a deafening silence blanketed the entire audience of about three hundred.

The speaker paused–giving everyone the opportunity to tune-in, to the next statement he was about to make. “But,” he continued, “I made a conscious decision to love her, based on the wise and godly counsel of others who knew us both. Many turbulent years have passed, but I’ve stood by my decision.” “Of course,” he said, smiling confidently as he gently adjusted his glasses over his m-shaped nose–“I’m now more deeply in love with her than ever, and it’s only death that can separate us now.”
I had not heard such profundity, about love and marriage—spoken with such simplicity. Immediately 1000 watts of light turned on in my head and heart. At that very moment, I decided–this is the woman, I want to love, honor and, cherish–in sickness, or in health, for richer, or poorer, till death do we part. So help me God!

However, her marriage package includes two adult daughters, and a ten months old grand-baby-girl; who loves singing especially when we’re at church. Our favorite hymn is, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
But, the other half of this nuptial bond, involves not one, no–not two, but three dogs. Gigi, Pork Chop, and Honey– all females.  Our “empty nest” is inhabited by other life forms, which follow her footstep, everywhere. I mean every–where!

No! I don’t like pets–not cats, not dogs, not birds, not even a fish. I did as a child but I grew up and I have no time for pets, and I doubt I ever will. (Go ahead and sue me, or you can report me to the local ASPCA.)

Oh yes! Courtship can be euphoric. But, I had no idea; these four-legged creatures were going to be such a menace to our marriage. Why did I commit to this relationship? Simply… I made a decision, to love my wife, and I’m determined to go all the way.

Nevertheless, I’m convinced that before I spend my time and money on anything with four legs—canine, feline, bovine or otherwise–I would rather feed a hungry child somewhere in the world. Pet maintenance is costly. Three different brands of dog food, pee-pee pads, treats, pet licenses, and visits to the Vet…

In addition to all of the above, I’ve bought more lint brushes in the last six months, than I needed in the last fifty-five years. Dogs’ hair is everywhere, regardless of  how much we vacuum, sweep or Swiffer.

Don’t sit anywhere–is the repeated warning I hear every Sunday morning as we get dressed for church.

The constant demand for care and attention: walking, feeding, rubbing, bathing, etc. I would rather give to a human being– “Paying it Forward.” Dogs, on the other hand–regardless of the number of years of training, walking, feeding and cleaning up after–will never learn to wipe their butts or their feet before coming back into the house. These barking, Chicken-flavored-dogchow eating canines, simply walk back in, never closing the door, and get right back on the couch like nothing just happened.

Furthermore, will man’s best friend ever learn to go walking on their own, and return at a decent hour?

Can they, simply inspect each other’s rear end, without all the fussing, growling and fighting for no apparent reason?

Will they ever learn to knock on bedroom doors before entering

Will they ever learn to take baths or showers, and tidy up their beds?

When will they learn to go to the pantry, and pour a bowl of Gravy Train–cleaning up any spills?

Will they ever be able to open the door, to go out to the bathroom on their own? They seem to know how to find the right spot in the yard–so, why can’t they just open the same door, we’ve been opening since they were puppies?

I empathize with the elderly, who–in spite of adverse weather conditions, or the severity of their aches and pains–must take their dogs out for a “poop and scoop” walk. I often wonder–who’s walking whom?

And why are they holding-on to that loaded plastic bag as if it’s contents were valuable?

Will they ever come-to-terms with the fact that the mailman is here to deliver the mail and there’s no need for alarm? Enough, with all that barking and scratching, I’m sick of it!

Moreover, the older they get, the worse it becomes. Gigi’s recent visit to the Vet. for her constant vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, cost a whopping $350.00. Then, there was the special diet for two weeks, while we nursed her back to health. Dogs, ahh hh hh!


Gigi is eighteen years old. Her sister Pork Chop is seventeen. These off-breed Chihuahuas are the typical retired, older-seniors, with all the morning aches and ailments. Instead of the usual 6:00 a.m. backyard bathroom, Gigi pretends to be asleep and waits until we leave for work. She then finds her favorite corner of the living-room carpet to do her business. I think she is trying to tell us; she’s too old to go outside. (especially during those cold-winter days.)

The issue now is, whoever gets home first is greeted by the offensive odor, and therefore, must do the clean-up. I have learned after several tours of duty to remain later than usual on my job-site. (I’m self-employed). Teresa is a state employee and is usually home by 5:00 p.m. So, with “Bounty” in her right hand, the kitchen garbage container in her left—she bows to her knees, applying the quicker-thicker-picker-upper to the obnoxious, excreted mixture on the floor and walls. How does that slimy, brownish, green stuff get on the walls? We have no idea.

Pork-Chop is legally blind and also needs hearing aid. She’s an introvert, who prefers the comfort of a secret hideout behind the couch. She also has severe gas problems. You cannot be in the room for more than two minutes without getting a whiff of her presence. Yeh–she stinks.

Honey, is a 7-year-old Cocker Spaniel. A run-you-over, over-active female with a personality that’s almost human. Whenever she gets ready to play, you can either take the ball from her mouth or pick it up off the floor. But, she’ll wait about two minutes for you to decide, before dropping it–as if to say, “since you didn’t take it from me, you can pick it up yourself–but, we will play ball.”.

In their frustration–being left outside for more than thirty minutes, they’ll wander off into the neighborhood. A recent call from a not-so-friendly neighbor, turned out to be a thirty-minutes lecture on the proper care of animals. On and on she painted several scenarios of what could have happened; repeating the words–“you people” at every pause. Listening to her snobbish criticisms, you would think the dogs purposely came over to her house to complain.

This triple canine package is what I subscribed to, on marrying the woman I so dearly love. But, as the saga unfolds, the dogging evidence proves, that marriage is one thing, but with dogs–it’s O M G!

Why should she be rubbing their tummy, scratching their heads or hugging them when that kind of affection works better on me? I’ve often suggested that she makes better use of her time, especially after I’ve had a hard days’ work.

Whenever we sit together watching TV, Pork Chop sits on her right, Gigi on her left and Honey on her lap, leaving me to sit alone while they enjoy the comfort of her touch. Whenever I do get a chance to sit next to her, they will step across my lap to get to her. I’m an extremely patient man, and I love my wife, but this has got to stop.

An occasional feeding, the constant opening of the door day and night, I’m learning to deal with, but sharing my wife with dogs—this is my greatest challenge yet.

Why am I putting up with all this dog-gone drama? Has our marriage gone to the dogs? Why does a simple hug have to be always, so carefully negotiated, lest we step on the dogs? The recurring answer is–I love my wife, and yes–she loves’ me dearly.

“Love endures all things.”

I’m certainly learning patience, meekness and forgiveness, and most of all–to love–as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25,KJV).

In conclusion, My daily prayer is–Lord, whenever you visit our house–“Be-Ware of The Dogs.”