Have you ever heard it said that Caribbean people donÂ’t know how to TRAVEL LIGHT? I wonder why? Maybe because we always to buy something for everybody to bring back! Then once people know youÂ’re TRAVELLING they ask you to carry things for their family. And then on top of that we usually pack too much clothes just for the few days of travel; and we donÂ’t even wear half of them! Now even though Caribbean airlines may not make money from having regular local air travelers, both Caribbean and international airlines have made up for this shortfall by one sure avenue: checked luggage! Just about every major airline has introduced some sort of fees for checked bags. And if the weight of your bag goes beyond a particular amount, you then have to pay for the excess weight. Plus usually, if you have a second piece of luggage then thereÂ’s more cost. I canÂ’t tell you how many times IÂ’ve stood in lines at airports, where most of the passengers are from the Caribbean, and seeing folks at the check in counter trying to LIGHTEN their bags in order to avoid paying anything more. IÂ’ve learnt that if you donÂ’t want to spend any more money with the airlines after paying for your ticket, then the best thing to do is to TRAVEL LIGHT! ThatÂ’s todayÂ’s FF: TRAVEL LIGHT!
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ItÂ’s April and that means it is carnival season here in St. Thomas. I began noticing that around end of February and early March that the gym was starting to get a bit more crowded than normal. I noticed that these new members looked so COMMITTED. They were running on the treadmills, moving to the bikes and of course lifting weights. The level of intensity was admirable. But it is only after I started seeing the ads about carnival that I realized that the intensity which I was applauding for the new gym members would be most likely short lived. They were there mainly to get their bodies ready for their costumes for the upcoming parades. Unlike the regular members who had made a COMMITMENT to exercise because of the overall health benefits, these new members were there just for a short season. Though they know fully well the many advantages to be had by regular exercise, for them they were not ready to MAKE A LASTING COMMITMENT to a lifestyle change. Instead they had opted for an exciting, short-lived, intense and seasonal type of COMMITMENT. With that in mind, todayÂ’s FF challenges us to MAKE A LASTING COMMITMENT!
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I am sending todayÂ’s FF at the end of the day intentionally. This is not just any other Friday. ItÂ’s Good Friday. Christians everywhere would have spent time in worship reflecting on the passion of Jesus Christ. On our TV and our radio we would have watched or listened to programs which focused on the death and resurrection of our Lord. And so on this Good Friday, as it comes to a close and we look with joy to the Resurrection Day, I share with you this brief thought. There is life AFTER THE CROSS. We all have a CROSS to bear. As difficult as it may be, God will always send others in our lives to help us bear our CROSS. Like Jesus, we will not only carry our CROSS, but it will bring us to a place of surrender where we die to ourselves and the world. But thank God, there is life AFTER THE CROSS. And that life is like no other! We all have a different CROSS. Whatever yours may be, donÂ’t abandon your CROSS. Bear it bravely and humbly. Remember God has so much more in store for us AFTER THE CROSS.
Have a joyous Easter Day. And even as we focus on today on THE CROSS, Easter calls out to us that there is life AFTER THE CROSS!
Mikie Roberts (Rev)
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It's almost time for me to get a new mobile phone since my two year contract is about to end. Recently, I walked into Radio Shack trying to figure out which phone I should get when the time came for the upgrade. Of course I went straight over to where there was this sign advertising free models for persons upgrading. Now that's the beat price on planet earth. CanÂ’t beat free! As I got closer to the sign and started to read the small print below there were some very important information that told another side of this free offer. I laughed to myself because the fine print showed that what was free from far was actually far from free. The store didnÂ’t lie in their advertising. ItÂ’s just that they failed to say up front what were the hidden related COSTS associated with giving you a free phone. Though it was free, it was certainly NOT WITHOUT COST. That's today's FF Â– NOT WITHOUT COST!
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One of the major roadways leading into the capital city of Charlotte Amalie here in St. Thomas has been under construction for years. Traffic is always a nightmare in that particular area. I usually go through this area at least twice a day. Earlier this week, we were stuck as usual in a very long line of traffic with no one moving. I noticed that two cars ahead of me that the driver overtook a white pick-up truck. Naturally I thought to myself that this white vehicle had broken down. The other vehicle in front of me also passed. I was so thankful to finally see the traffic moving that when it was my turn I did the same thing. DonÂ’t know if I was curious or just nosy, I looked over to see what was wrong with the white pick-up truck as I slowly passed. I thought it odd that the engine was still running. And so I took a closer look. I couldnÂ’t believe my eyes. The driver was still at the steering wheel with his head propped up by his left hand on the door and his eyes closed. Guess what? He was fast asleep. The car behind me passed him too and by the time I looked in my rear view mirror I noticed that he finally got going and rejoined the slow moving traffic. Can you imagine that this guy was overtaken by at least four vehicles before he was awakened. I thought about that encounter and it led me to share with you todayÂ’s FF Â– TO KEEP MOVING, NO SLEEPING!
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ItÂ’s been nearly 3 weeks now since the SEARCH for Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 began. This is one news item that has captured the worldÂ’s attention. ItÂ’s hard to count the number of theories that have emerged trying to offer some sort of explanation as to what might have happened on board the aircraft that would have led to its disappearance. Was it a terrorist act? What about the pilots? Was it mechanical failure? Can we point fingers to the two Iranian passengers with stolen passports? What about the 5 passengers who checked in but never boarded the plane? Whatever the cause, the one thing that we are sure about is that after nearly 21 days, there are ships and planes from numerous countries all working together in the SEARCH for this plane. Though there is the fear for the worst, there is a resolve to KEEP SEARCHING until they find the exact location of all the debris that have been seen via satellites. As we continue to remember in prayer all those who have been directly impacted by this tragedy, I invite us to reflect on just one of the many lessons that can be learnt from this incident. Our FF for today expresses that and it is KEEP SEARCHING!
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Picture this: itÂ’s 5:30 AM and the blaring sound of your alarm jolts you from your sleep. You know that itÂ’s time to get up out of bed. But itÂ’s still a bit chilly and to top it all off itÂ’s raining cats and dogs on the outside. So instead of jumping out from under your nice cozy blanket you decide to just roll over to the side and catch a few more minutes. You know what youÂ’re supposed to do but another part of you wants to linger a bit longer. So the STRUGGLE begins. As inviting as staying in bed is, it is only a matter of time before you know that the STRUGGLE will eventually give way to you getting up and getting the day going. Depending on the kind of night youÂ’ve had or what may be planned for the day ahead, the STRUGGLE may be more intense. And even though youÂ’ve started your day, there remains the STRUGGLE between whether to give in to how you feel on the one hand and what you know you should do on the other. If you can identify with that tension today, then our FF is an invitation to be somewhat transparent and admit I STILL STRUGGLE.
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Not too long ago, I happened to have been driving in car and was about to put on the radio when I saw something on the carÂ’s panel that I had not seen in years. It was the opening for a cassette tape. And did the memories come flooding back! I thought of the days in the mid 80Â’s when walk-mans were the hottest thing around. Remember that one button that came in handy when you were trying to go back to find that one spot in a song? ThatÂ’s right, you could hit REWIND. But there was always a problem, sometimes you could end up going too far back or not far enough. I donÂ’t know about you but I recall getting very frustrated many times after failing to find exactly where you wanted. Eventually you just gave up and let the cassette play to the end. But the decade of the 80Â’s came and went and with it the walk-man craze has given way to the digital era. Today nobody has any reason to REWIND when youÂ’re listening to I-tunes or the latest CD. Times have certainly changed so that today we can finally say that weÂ’re DONE REWINDING. ThatÂ’s todayÂ’s FF Â– DONE REWINDING!
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If youÂ’ve ever owned a new car you know the feeling you get when you first sit behind the steering wheel. Remember that new car smell with all of those clean, unmarked seats covered over in plastic? Of course there was not a scratch to be found anywhere on the car. Can you recall how careful you were avoiding all of the potholes in the road? You may have even gone out of your way to park your car away from other vehicles in the shopping mallÂ’s parking lot. After all you wanted nobody to accidentally scratch or worse yet create a dent on your pristine new car. But then 12 months later, for many of us, the story changes. Fast forward a few years and the brand new vehicle that was worth thousands and which you treated as though it could not even be touched looks so different. Plus as you now look to sell it, you finally realize that you CHOSE, is no longer VALUED what it once did. Instead of APPRECIATING in VALUE, it has depreciated! It may be worth just a fraction of the original cost. For our FF for today I invite you to celebrate with me that when GOD is present and at work in our lives, our fortune is unlike the car of OUR CHOOSING. TodayÂ’s FF is a reminder that GODÂ’S CHOOSING APPRECIATES OUR VALUE!
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When I lived in Trinidad in the early 1990Â’s TrinidadÂ’s top designer Peter Minshall decided that year that he would give his carnival a name with just one word. So in 1995, Minshall named his carnival band HALLELUJAH! For weeks, Christians and Muslims alike voiced their disapproval of the word HALLELUJAH being associated with the playing masÂ’ at carnival. As a young pastor, though I understood the various viewpoints that were being made, I decided to withhold my judgment until the day in question when I could see what artistic concepts Peter Minshall had come up with that would merit using the word which is usually associated with praising God. So you want to know what happened on those carnival days? When I saw on my television the resplendent, kaleidoscopic blend of every imaginable color that Mishall had created against this lily white material in the midst of a cloudless, sunny Caribbean day crossing the stage at the Savannah, there was only one word that came out of my mouth. Can you guess what it was? HALLELUJAH! I wasnÂ’t praising Mishall and his creativity. I was praising God for the beauty of GodÂ’s creation. So for our FF for today I invite all of us to adopt a bold attitude that is captured in a short chorus that begins HALLELUJAH ANYHOW! ThatÂ’s todayÂ’s FF Â– HALLELUJAH ANYHOW!
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So far for the month of February, in observance of Black History Month, IÂ’ve been reflecting on various Negro Spirituals. A few days ago a ministerial colleague forwarded to me a very inspiring excerpt. It really captures many of the thoughts I wanted to share and so I felt led to share the following excerpt with you as a reflection on the spiritual STEAL AWAY. ThatÂ’s todayÂ’s FF: STEAL AWAY. Trust that you will be blessed as I was:
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IÂ’m quite sure that many of us are very familiar with the television program called 60 Minutes. It usually airs on the CBS network on Sunday evenings. A few weeks ago there was a segment on the program that dealt with people who possess this unusual ability in that they REMEMBER just about everything. Though 60 Minutes had already addressed this some years back, this time around they highlighted the ongoing research about this condition especially now that it was discovered to exist not only among adults but also among young children. Can you imagine whatÂ’s itÂ’s like to have such a long term memory that youÂ’re always able to REMEMBER events and details that the rest of us typically donÂ’t REMEMBER. Wow! With that in mind, our FF for today is drawn from another Negro Spiritual. For todayÂ’s FF we pray the petition DO LORD, REMEMBER ME!
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Few days ago I passed by the airport and noticed that a Delta aircraft was sitting on the tarmac early in the morning. I thought to myself thatÂ’s strange since I knew that their flights donÂ’t usually overnight here in St. Thomas. Later that day as I drove by, I noticed that the same aircraft was still in the same position. I thought to myself that looks like a plane that obviously developed some major mechanical problem which left it grounded. My suspicions were confirmed when the next morning as I was driving by I noticed that it was still there. IsnÂ’t it amazing that with all of the up to date technology that are used these days in flying these commercial jets that they are not perfect inventions. Even the most advanced contraptions break down and need to be FIXED. It was not until the third day that the problem was FIXED and the plane went airborne again. As we observe Black History Month in February I invite us to focus our minds on a few Negro Spirituals that are well known and which by their titles can speak a word in season to our hearts. So with that in mind our FF for today is FIX ME JESUS! FIX ME!
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There is always so much in life that we could complain about. Though there are many things that are going right, we can also identify as many things that are wrong. We can quickly testify about the many ways in which we have been blessed. But at the same time we can also. But at the same time we can lay out a litany of problems and challenges that lie before us. So the same tongue which can SPEAK ABOUT whatÂ’s good and rejoice over it can also SPEAK ABOUT the hurdles and mountains that are before them. We can choose either to murmur or complain about what needs fixing or give God praise for all of GodÂ’s goodness, kindness and faithfulness. As we come to the end of the first month of 2014, I challenge us all not to let the challenges before us to determine what how we SPEAK. That means rather than SPEAKING ABOUT the hurdle or mountain before you, SPEAK TO it. Our FF for today then is SPEAK TO, NOT ABOUT!
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I remember some time ago, passing through an airport and checking out the status of both departing and arriving flights. I noticed that there were so many different messages. For example, flights were Â“DelayedÂ”; Â“BoardingÂ”; Â“At the GateÂ” or Â“LandedÂ”. ; But there was one message that day that grabbed my attention. It was EN ROUTE. I found that to be interesting because it didnÂ’t say how long ago that particular flight had left its point of origin. Neither did it say the estimated time of arrival. Instead there was just this one confirmation that gave those who were waiting the assurance that their flight was on its way to its destination. With that in mind our FF for today is a word of assurance to those who might be waiting on God for what seems like forever. DonÂ’t stop believing and donÂ’t lose hope now for what God has promised is EN ROUTE! ThatÂ’s todayÂ’s FF Â– EN ROUTE!
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