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Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Life Well Lived

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Ashford with his guitar


So reads the newspaper headline of a report in the Trinidad Express of my brother-in-law's passing a couple weeks ago. Ashford Joseph lost his battle with prostate cancer at the age of 67. He left to mourn his wife, three daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and thousands of students and fans. Ashford was regarded as a musical icon in his country. In addition to teaching music in several schools, Ashford was founder and principal of Joseph School of the Arts, which spawned many musicians. Ashford trained church choirs, wrote songs (calypsos) for many prominent calypsonians, wrote  books and films and performed the duties of husband, father, and grandfather.

But the amazing thing about Ashford is that he accomplished all this while being blind. He began losing his sight at the tender age of eight, but he did not allow this to stand in the way of his love for the arts. In an interview a few years ago, Ashford stated, "Blindness is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. I have come to terms with the loss of my sight. It does not bother me to the extent of feeling sorry for myself." To achieve his goals, Ashford took classes in Braille, psychology and journalism. From my interactions with him, I know he also had a strong faith in God. 

Ashford's legacy is a rich one. He fulfilled his calling to the best of his ability, and did not allow adversity to stand in his way. There are so many lessons we can learn from his life - his faith, his perseverance, his resilience.

As I think of him, several pieces of scripture come to mind: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4: 7

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4: 13

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3 : 14.

Read more about Ashford here:

I have come to terms with my loss of sight. It does not bother me to the extent of feeling sorry for myself. - See more at:
Blindness is not the end but the beginning of a new life; - See more at:
Blindness is not the end but the beginning of a new life; - See more at:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day Greetings

This weekend billions of dollars will be spent in purchasing cards, flowers, candy, perfume and all the usual things people use to express their love to their Valentine. And while giving these gifts, they will (hopefully) say all the right words. 

I think we would all agree that we don't need a special day to show our love to that special someone, but there's nothing wrong with celebrating your love along with the rest of the world. And you should do it in a way that means something to both of you.

Often when I read the book of John where Jesus was, in effect, saying good-bye to His disciples, tears come to my eyes. Jesus, the greatest Lover the world has ever known, poured His heart out to His Father on behalf of these men. They had been his companions for a short time, but they shared a closeness deeper than that which He shared with His own family. Let's look at some of His words:

"I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours" (John 17: 9).

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name ... (v 11)

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—
I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory ... (v 20 - 24).

Aren't those the most beautiful and loving words coming from the lips of our Lord and Savior? He prayed that the Father would protect His disciples when He was no longer with them; that they would receive glory, that they would have unity and that in the end they would be with Him in heaven. But Jesus didn't pray just for them alone. He prayed for everyone who would receive His gospel message. What a loving Savior!

On this Valentine's Day, before you celebrate with your loved one, why not pray for and with him/her? Pour your heart out to the Lord as Jesus did for us and then you would be a true Valentine. God bless.

Here's something else you might like to give your valentine. Click here
I like to suggest things I think you may like. If you do purchase, I will receive something from it. Thanks! 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Who Are You Listening To?

Have you ever taken someone's advice only to say later on, "I never should have listened to so and so." Or, "Why didn't I follow my gut feeling?"

 Many times we take the advice of an authority figure - a parent, teacher, pastor, employer, and sometimes even a friend. Listening to advice is not always a bad thing, but be careful who you listen to and judge what they are saying in the light of God's word.

One of the saddest stories I read in the Bible is recorded in 1 Kings 13 about a man of God who prophesied to King Jeroboam, a wicked king, and did great signs and wonders in his presence. So impressed was Jeroboam he invited the man of God to his home for a meal and promised him a gift. But the man declined saying, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came’ ”(v 8 -9).

The man went away taking a different route as God had instructed him. But an old prophet, hearing what the man of God had done that day, went in search of him and invited him to his home for dinner. The man gave the old prophet the same answer he'd given the king. But the old prophet lied to him and said, "And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water’ ” (v 18). The man of God believed the old prophet, went home with him and had dinner. On his way home, a lion met him and killed him.

I read this story a few times trying to figure out the old prophet's motive for lying to the man of God. Was he jealous of him? Was he really a prophet? One commentator said he was a bad man who tried to curry favor with the king by making the king believe that the man of God was an impostor because he had done the opposite of what he said he would do (or not do.) 

Be that as it may, the message behind this story is clear: be careful who you listen to. If someone comes up to you and says, "Thus saith the Lord," and what he/she says is in opposition to God's word, do not listen to them. 

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7: 15).

Monday, February 01, 2016

Birthday Thoughts


Today is my birthday. I spent it with my husband and daughter visiting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, a place I'd always wanted to visit. Even though it rained most of the time we were there, I could not have desired a better gift. Exploring the magnificent house and gardens built over a hundred years ago gave us a great deal of pleasure, and being in the company of two of my family members gave me an enjoyment that no amount of rain could dampen.

As we drove home, I reflected on how much I have to thank God for:

1. For sparing my life. Like that old house (maybe not a good comparison - I'm not that old) God has preserved me through the years and saved me from a lot of things that could have shortened my life.

2. For my family. Even though they could not all be here with me on my birthday, my children, grand-children and other relatives called and wished me Happy Birthday.

3. For my friends. Birthday greetings from my friends always give me a warm feeling, but to receive greetings from my social media friends, most of whom I've never met face to face, well, I can't express how special it makes me feel. Technology sometimes gets a bad rap, but God knows why He gave man wisdom to develop it, for without it, many people would be out of touch with the rest of the world.

4. Last, but not least, for my salvation. As I grow older, I can feel secure in the fact that if God calls me home tonight, I would go to meet Him and live with Him forever. I don't have to fear the future or fear death.
Thank you, Lord, for all these blessings. 

Vizcaya Museum