Counting my blessings and choosing well

Today is my birthday and I have been reflecting on the gift of choice. With the gift of choice comes the awesome responsibility to choose. Every choice has a consequence, Good or bad.

As I reflect on my 51 years, I feel blessed knowing that most of my choices in life have been great, yielding results that I can be grateful for, results that can lead me to say “to God be the Glory!.

I may be slow in making decisions and sometimes it is because of doubt, but other times it’s because I am determined to carefully examine the pros and the cons and ensure I am within the protective fence that God has set up for me.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to look back and feel joy because of some great quality decisions you made in the past.

It may be a good exercise for us to think of the blessings or consequence we are enjoying today, as a result of choosing wisely yesterday. Too many times we focus on the opposite, the times when we made the wrong choice. Today, I choose to think on that which is lovely and just and of a good report.

Because I chose wisely yesterday, today I can be grateful to God for the following:

A meaningful relationship with my family

A sound reputation

Emotional and mental stability

A happy home

The ability to be engaged doing something that is fulfilling; writing, designing and contributing to the development of businesses and people.

The convenience of owning a vehicle and having a driver’s license.

Genuine friendships

A large network of individuals from various segments of my life’s journey.

Wonderful memories of ministering to young people.

This list could go on and on, in fact I will choose to keep adding to the list for the rest of my birth month.

As I move forward into my 52nd year, I am reminding myself to keep focused on the principles of God’s word and not to allow my emotions, selfish desires or misdirected passions, to guide me. I must daily die to myself, as tough as it is, I must. It’s another choice I must make to ensure my actions, my decisions and my destination, are fully endorsed by God.

I inspire you today to choose wisely!

Stop waiting on someone else to do it.

Are you constantly thinking of starting a special ministry, planning an event, initiating that important discussion, forming a charity, inviting a particular person to church, starting a business or becoming more physically active, and you constantly find yourself just waiting to start?

What are you really waiting for? Do you expect someone else to start what is meant to be your purpose and your contribution to this World?

Are you the one in the family who always seems to be sentimental, wanting to build and encourage traditions, plan great adventures and capture memories and yet you are waiting for the others to come around? Well that waiting may be as long as your years on this earth!

Consider that maybe it is your place to initiate the action and that they are probably happy and content enough to follow you as you lead. Remember some are meant to be great followers.

The fact that you are unhappy with the current status, while others are comfortable with mediocrity, is indication enough that you need to action. The fact that you can easily identify sub-standard in your society, school, workplace and even church, is an indication that you need to contribute to that change you so desire. The time for excuses is over; you need to step-up.

As I look back over the years I have been blessed with, I am grateful for the many times I took action. But the reality is that there are also those times when I didn’t, simply out of doubt and fear, and I know that I missed experiencing something great as a result. I can be tempted to ask “What if?”, but I have learnt not to look back. Instead, I pick up my bundle of valuable lessons and move forward.

I know better now! I know that the fact that the ideas are repeatedly knocking on my hearts door is an indication that God wants to use me in that area to initiate something good. I must not sit on it contemplating or seeking to understand every detail. It’s not my business to try to see what is not yet revealed to me. It is also not my business to assess the people around me to see who may be better fit to execute my God-given assignment. It’s my responsibility to act, not tomorrow but today.

When we act, great relationships and bonds are formed, victories are realised, hope is re-ignited, death and sickness are defeated, and light and salt permeates our environment. Remember! It’s our responsibility to act, not tomorrow, but today.

The featured picture was taken at a beautiful spot in Levera, St. Patrick, next to “The Pond”, a naturally created pond just below the rocks at the shore line where villagers and visitors alike would enjoy a therapeutic see bath in a somewhat secluded area.

Take action to create wonderful memories with family and friends.

So the conditions are right now, no excuses!

It is now six months and four weeks since I started my HR Consulting Business, “J’s”. It was a step of faith that offered me more of the life I wanted. One of the lifestyle changes I looked forward to then, was to exercise consistently. Today, while I am exercising more often, it is still a struggle. Pushing yourself can be hard! There is no doubt whatsoever.

As I exercised today, I felt pain but I kept pushing. My sit-ups in particular, hurt the most but I got it done by focusing on the goal (the number of sit-ups I wanted to accomplish) and not the pain I was feeling. I also observe that many times I don’t feel like exercising but again whenever I remind myself of the benefits I am motivated to get up and get. I often shift my mind to how great I usually feel just a few minutes into being active. I reminded myself that now I have the time and space to exercise as I wish and I should never take it for granted.

We must daily encourage ourselves by focusing on our goals, the outcome, the benefits, the results. And as long as the good good Father gives us life, we should seek to be excellent stewards of out time. It’s not always easy but there is always a way to get through the lazy feelings, the mental blocks and the discouraging moments. There is always a way!

The same thing applies to our family time, our prayer and bible reading time and other productive habits we should be cultivating.

We often make promises to ourselves to do better when the conditions are “right” and then when our circumstances truly changes, in our favour, and the conditions are eventually “right”, we forget where we should be heading and allow new distractions to rob us from achieving the goals, we were once excited about.

Be focused! Be purpose-minded! Keep steady!

Tough times and trials! Really?

Let me tell you a story about a coconut, an old man and his grand daughter. This old man lived with his daughter, his grand daughter and his dog Cleo. His back yard was filled with various fruit trees including mangoes, plums and coconut trees. One day, a coconut fell from one of the coconut trees, into the drain located directly under. The old man thought to himself, there is no need to move it right away, I have ample time to do so.

Before he knew it, days, then weeks passed and one morning, while cleaning Cleo’s Kennel, he noticed the coconut in the drain with tiny branches sprouting from it. Wow, he thought to himself, it’s growing, it will be a great idea to remove it and transfer it to somewhere else where it can grow freely. While he thought it was a brilliant idea, he said to himself, “I am busy now and after I am done here, it will be dark.”

His 16 year-old grand daughter noticed the growing coconut three two months after and said to her Grandfather, “Grandpa, there is a small coconut three growing in the back drain, if we do not move it now, it will be difficult to remove later”. The old man looked at his daughter and said. “I need that tree and will be transferring it to somewhere else. Grandpa will take care of it.”

Let’s jump to the end. As we say, long story short. The old man procrastinated until the three grew much bigger to the point that the drain was completely blocked and the branches extended to one of the windows of the house in which he lived. The tree was now big enough to block the sunlight that once flooded the back yard.

This coconut was allowed to form into a tree that become difficult to remove. The roots are now established and it has created a number of problems. The old man is now concerned about the tree and would need to acquire the services of a bobcat or an appropriate machine to remove the tree and of course there will be a cost for this service. (Inspired by a true story).

Sometimes we create our own tough times and trials by being lazy, by procrastinating and by acting irresponsibly. No wonder God delays giving us certain privileges and material possessions at times. We need to demonstrate that we are capable of managing the little that God has given us, before even considering asking Him for more. We need to stop creating difficulties for ourselves by simply neglecting to do what is right and to do it in a timely manner.

Stop creating your tough times and trials.

Be inspired today to be proactive and to apply wisdom daily in the management of your home affairs or your family affairs. We are expected to shine in every area of our lives.

Politics and Purpose

On June 23rd, 2022, Grenadians across the tri-island state of Grenada made their way to various polling stations to participate in the nation’s general elections. The majority of voters came out early, including a number of first time voters. Many reported of being in long lines and having to wait for up to two or three hours to cast their vote.

Citizens standing in line expressed the moment as tiring and exciting and the great turnout as evidence of the people’s desire for change. There were others who were more cautious, reminding us to wait for the results. When the results were eventually revealed it showed that the sentiments of many were right. The National Development Congress (NDC) defeated the New National Party (NNP) at the polls winning nine of Grenada’s fifteen seats; a solid victory indeed.

It is important to note that the NNP was in power from 1995 to 2008, and then again from 2013 to 2022. NNP was a formidable force over the years, the longest serving political party in the history of Grenada’s politics. Former Prime Minister, Dr. The Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell, was loved and supported by many, a man who has been often described as a lover of cricket, charismatic, a statistician and a smart politician. I am sure it would be difficult for some NNP fans to move on but Grenadians are resilient and I believe we can gracefully put the past behind us.

With a fresh compliment of leaders, who are young and vibrant, NDC has been given the opportunity, once again, to lead and many of us are filled with hope and the anticipation of good governance that emanates transparency and accountability, efforts to unify Grenada (decreasing the focus on party loyalty and symbolism), freedom of expression and service, and the strengthening of sincere, whole-hearted Grenadian patriotism.

Many, like me, have voted for both NNP and NDC in the history of Grenada’s elections, and have no interest in pledging blind allegiance to any man-made system. Many like me are disgusted by the division seen among our people, the bitter exchange of words, the animosity and the desire to defend and justify wrong doing by our leaders. What we plead for, is for our people to be first, for our nation to be first. We plead for servant leadership with integrity, leaders who would deliver on their promises and who would be diligent and productive from day one and through-out the five years.

I feel overjoyed to experience this victory, because, like many of my colleagues, we desire to experience a different kind of leadership. There is a renewed vibe, a renewed hope and for some reason I feel more comfortable expressing my views and are encouraged to become more actively involved in nation building.

I also feel motivated and energized to pray for my Government. The need for prayer is now more than ever. I feel motivated and energized to share my knowledge, experience and talents, so that others can be developed and motivated to do the same. I am particularly looking forward to the higher-level debates in Parliament, I am anticipating the establishment of new legislations and policies that would protect Grenada and Grenadians, I am anticipating the coming forward of Grenadians who have silently and sadly sunk into the background, fearing being labeled and misunderstood, when all they wish to do is offer constructive criticism.

I hate what division has done to us, I hate the fact that a great portion of our population lack the ability to reason and discuss the business of Grenada objectively, no matter who they support. I hate the fact that so many of us are poor and lack education. I hate the fact that we have become fearful of loosing Grenada. It hurts. But somehow, I see a rainbow, a silver lining and while I know man is not perfect and is subject to fail, I am positive that good will be achieved.

I honestly wish my new Government success because Grenada needs it. NDC cannot afford to fail; we need to move forward. The role of the opposition is significant to our success and I do believe that once they are able to understand their role and execute it effectively, we would see progress. Our former PM, Dr. Keith Mitchell, has vowed to provide the new government with a productive opposition and insisted it would be “nothing personal”. A healthy opposition is critical as we more FORWARD. The future can be bright, it’s all up to us.

So meanwhile, as I wish my homeland well, I am paying attention to see what my role in this new season will be. I would continue to pray that the NDC would allow God’s wisdom to permeate their minds, their discussions and their decisions.

I urge you to ask the question, “Lord what would you have me to do in this new season? How can I contribute or continue to contribute to nation-building?” The time for campaigning is over. The time for teamwork has come! Be encouraged by the words of our Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell;

“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on all Grenadians who have, prior to this, shied away from public service, who shied away from serving on boards of statutory bodies of Government entities. The doors are open, you are welcome. If you believe in serving your country, if you are a hard worker, and if you have the skills and talent, we the people of Grenada need you.”

Let’s move forward together! Grenada belongs to each and everyone of us.

Wanting a Miracle

The stories around us of sick people, especially children, can really tug at our hearts. So many are sick, so many have been suffering for long periods. In most cases they have been praying for a miracle and God seems to be too far away to hear. I would often say to myself, Lord, you can do it, you are Almighty, show your power and your might. Please give them a miracle! I know those prayers are not being prayed by me only, many others are crying out on the behalf of others.

I am speaking of the miracle of healing of overcoming or winning over a terrible illness. Many never receive that miracle and they die, waiting to be resurrected to eternal separation from God or eternity with God. Because of this, we can easily become weary, doubtful, and hopeless becoming careless with our prayer life. We can easily let bitterness and rejection of God’s plan and Hs promises slip into our hearts. We can easily walk away from God’s protection thinking our efforts are no good.

I do get weary sometimes, tempted to ask the question “why” when I see someone suffer or even die. There is another side to all this though, the side where we ignore God’s wisdom in caring for our bodies. The side where we fail to educate ourselves about the food we eat and the aspects of our lifestyle that are not healthy for us. We fail to bring our bodies into subjection to God’s word. Instead, we make excuses all day long, never disciplining ourselves to experience change. Our bodies are then victims to our bad choices.

I wish to inspire us to think of another miracle, the miracle of salvation, that gives us the opportunity to overcome bad habits, addictions, pride, greed, depression, poor organisation and anxiety. It’s the miracle of freedom that empowers us to break the chains that oppress us, to be transformed, adopting new lifestyles and habits. It’s the miracle of victory! This miracle begins at the cross. If you are still struggling, tied up in all kinds of chains, it may be a good time to visit the cross. The miracle of salvation and forgiveness, is still available.

If you and I can show the World that we are empowered to change, to cease our bad habits and cultivate new ones, many would also receive the Miracle of Salvation.

I always value a Good Plan.

Planning is a valuable tool. Have you ever noticed when you are nearing the finishing line of a project, task or a job, obstacles or distractions often reveal themselves? But then because you have planned and have planned allowing room for the unexpected, the surprises, you are able to stay on course and achieve your goal.

Some people never learnt how to plan. They live moment by moment and are often “caught with their pants down”. In some instances they are afraid to plan because they are afraid to fail. Some are even afraid of success. They miss out on great opportunities, wallow in regret and continuously seek to try catching up with life. Are you like that? Could it be me?

Do you like planning or do you think no one has control of tomorrow and planning is simply a waste of time?

I am reminded of a true story I heard concerning a young woman who knew she was dying of cancer and proceeded to plan her funeral. Do you think she was a planning freak? Do you see such efforts as extreme?

I dare to admonish us all to embrace planning some more. I have seen serious consequences as a result of planning being neglected or insufficient. We can plan our meals to encourage ourselves to consistently eat healthy. We can plan our relaxation time to ensure we have a balance. We can plan to build new habits, start new projects, get chores done and the list goes on.

I have found that successful individuals plan and sometimes their planning can be really deep or complexed. In other words, they value planning so much that they are willing to invest significant time into the process. I have found that successful individuals not only plan but they execute a high percentage of their goals.

Let’s all work on becoming better planners and committed to executing all our Plans.

Don’t just allow things to happen. Plan and implement.

Building new Habits

Building new habits could be tough. But the good news is we can be tougher than our bad habits.

Our brain works well with patterns, sometimes it seems to work the same way like an Auto Pilot, taking us through familiar experiences and cycles without us realizing that we have been driven by what feels good and what we know, when our desire is really to do otherwise.

We often find ourselves in a position where we have to “catch ourselves”. We slap ourselves in the face and say, “Wake up, get your act together”. Bad habits are so sneaky, sweet and comfortable, that sometimes we go as far as justifying the need to indulge one more time, over and over again.

I don’t know what your bad habits are but I know they should no longer be nurtured. You may feel terrible knowing that you have been trying to kick that bad habit for years and yet you continue to struggle. Don’t give up! Don’t ever believe that you can’t. It may just mean that you need to try a new strategy. Bad habits only rob you from your true potential. Therefore they cannot and must not win.

Start building new healthy habits today and watch those bad habits gradually fade away into your past.

Here are a few tips to encourage you along your journey.

  1. List the habits you wish to discontinue.
  2. Submit them to God and ask him for the endurance to pull through.
  3. List the consequences you would most likely face if you continue to feed those bad habits.
  4. Identify new healthy habits you can develop to help you let go of the bad habits.
  5. Share your desire to start building these new habits with someone in your household and ask them to hold you accountable.
  6. Journal your progress, including all your challenges.
  7. Recognise and celebrate small milestones as a means of motivation to keep pushing. Remember to thank God for enabling you.
  8. Share your success with someone who needs to be encouraged to do the same.

To make it even more practical I would share a personal example.

I love exercising! I feel great when I exercise! I have identified one of my bad habits as being inconsistent with my exercising plan. I would always find a reason not to. It’s a cycle of stopping and starting again. The consequence is that my body would not experience any significant long-term benefit simply because the results I desire require consistency. To combat this bad habit of not exercising or not exercising sufficiently, I can create a schedule around my family/work responsibilities and ensure that there are no clashes hindering me from pursuing my exercising sessions.

Further, I can ask my immediate family to encourage me when they see me lapsing. I can then journal my journey, the highs and the lows, noting and celebrating the highs. For example, my aim is to exercise three times weekly. If I can do that for three weeks in a row, I would certainly feel that I have made progress.

The good thing is I have experienced some of the short-term benefits of exercising, and that keeps me yearning for more. I never give up, no matter how inconsistent I may be. But, I need to kick the inconsistency habit, once and for all.

On the flip side of this scenario is a positive one. Since starting my blog, I have been trying to maintain a regular schedule of posting twice weekly, Mondays and Thursdays. Recently, I was finally able to do it for about three weeks consistently. It felt really good to achieve such progress and even though I recently fell out of schedule I can now say that I have made significant strides towards building a new habit. It is now easy to step back into the groove.

Be encouraged, work your strategy and kick that bad habit by doing things differently.

Feel free to share your experience overcoming bad habits or building new ones.

Keep doing the right thing

It does not matter how many times you stopped and started again, it does not matter if you got discouraged a million times or made wrong choices in the past. What matters is that you stick to it, keep working towards the outcome you desire. Consistency will eventually work out in your favor.

Doing the right thing for you may mean showing up to work every day on time, even when you feel mistreated and sidelined. It may mean going the extra mile for someone who has gone out of their way to hinder your progress. Doing the right thing may also mean saying “no” or just being honest about how you feel, even though it would cost you a friendship. Doing the right thing may mean suppressing the urge for revenge and instead choosing to rise up and walk away.

When we can see that doing the right thing is connected to our purpose; our reason for being alive, we can see the bigger picture. we can see value in doing the things that we hate, the things that require us to first become humble, to put aside hurt and rejection and still see people or situations through the eyes of a perfect God.

For the believer, our reason for persevering is larger than ourselves and the limited perspective of the world. We persevere because we want to be obedient to God, we persevere because we are equipped to conquer, to overcome, to win and in doing so, we shine. Our purpose is to win others to Christ through our lives, the way we live, the way we live; the way we treat others. The world needs to see us persevere when it really matters.

Perseverance is a sign of strength and endurance. Keep doing the right thing! Others are watching and would admire your faith and desire to do the same.

Let’s pause a minute though. This is the real world and many times we do not do the right thing. There are times when we grow weary, we throw in the towel, we experience challenges and storms that rock us violently. There are times when all we experience are blocks, walls, closed doors, and naysayers. There are times when those we trust disappoint us big time. This is the real world!

Imagine being kind to someone and giving them $1,000.00 to help them get out of a ticklish situation and that same person turns around and robs you $5,000.00. Isn’t this justifiable reason to stop being kind and to become suspicious of others. Well, based on how we think as mortal men, it can be seen as enough. But, pleasing God takes preeminence over how we see the world.

Ephesians 4:32 says it nicely, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The life-changing message here is that, we too have failed and need God’s forgiveness and as a result we should look at others with eyes of compassion, being ready to forgive. Think about it, the man who steals from you is in a sad state and needs a spiritual miracle.

Keep doing the right thing no matter what. To encourage yourself, think about school days how you persevered, think about the poverty you faced as a child and how your parents persevered. Think about that friend who was addicted to drugs and how they persevered. Think about the woman who was homeless and how she persevered. Think about the university student and how they persevered through sickness and failures. Think about the cancer patient and how they persevered. Think about minority groups and how they’ve persevered. Think about the pastor who was slandered and disrespected and how he persevered.

Then think about Jesus and His journey to the cross. He persevered through the worse pain and suffering, for you and for me. Is there anything to hard for us to do? Let’s keep doing the right thing no matter what. Do not compromise, do not fold under pressure and tough times. The blessings that will result in you doing the right thing will be indescribable and glorious.

Faith

In November 2021, I launched out in faith and started my own consultancy business. I felt a mix of emotions; I was scared and excited at the same time. As I got more and more involved in the early activities of setting up my business, I found myself pausing frequently to reflect and all I could see was Faith in action. I felt at peace, blessed, and was grateful for the opportunity to live life differently. There was no golden spoon given to me, no instruction package and no head-start advantage to enjoy. All I had was faith, family members, friends and associates who believed in me 100%. They said words like “You would do well”, “You can do it!”

There are many essential contributors to our success which includes education, experience and money, but Faith is the champion of them all. It is the energy that leads me to take each step in building my business. Faith is the catalyst that motivates me to get out of bed when I have the privilege of sleeping in a little longer. It is the spark that allows me to maintain my joy whenever I feel delayed by someone or something. It is the trampoline that launches me up and over my hurdles. Faith keeps me doing the work when there are no signs of fruit, it keeps my eyes on the target no matter how distant it may be.

How is your faith? Where is your faith? How anchored is your faith?

For me, my faith is rooted in God. I have found Him to be always available, always knowing and always powerful. His availability gives me access; I can speak to Him at anytime. He coaches me through His teachings and through his teachers. His infinite knowledge grants me the advantage of choosing wisely and making sound decisions. You see he would give me hints here and there of the dangers that lie ahead and how to prepare for them. He steers my thinking and influences my thoughts and very importantly grants me endless wisdom. Finally His power enables me to endure the toughest of challenges, to persevere and to ultimately win.

My encouragement to you is that you place your Faith in the someone who is capable of fulfilling His promises all the time. If you are about to step out into unknown paths, be sure to begin a relationship with God and let him be the source of your Faith. When your Faith is in God, you cannot go wrong because He is always right. With Him as your friend, you can guarantee to receive 100% support, 100% of the time.

He helps you to sort out every area of your life. He is fully qualified to coach and to guide you. It is easy to place our faith in our money, powerful friends, our years of experience and sound reputation, but we need to remember that while these things are great, they can change at anytime. On the other hand faith in a God who is unchangeable is a faith that can always stand.

Faith in God is a must if your success is going to be of everlasting value.