Month: December 2016

The Power to Forgive

ForgiveThis article was written just over a year ago, soon after nine parishioners at Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, lost their lives at the hands of a racially motivated gunman who has since admitted to and been found guilty of the murders. The racially motivated events we have seen this year were (at times) bitter cases of déjà vu, and make the topic of forgiveness an even harder solution to present, but a necessary beginning for everyone affected by tragic losses and other transgressions. In light of these and other events, I believe there is an urgent need and opportunity for the church to unite to show the country and the world the only realistic solution to enduring problems.


On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went out at night to betray 9 parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina after having fellowshipped with them for an hour at their weekly bible study held at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Likewise, Judas went out at night (when most sins occur) to betray Jesus after he had broken bread with him (John 13:26). There’s no doubt in my mind that, Roof felt the love that was being shown to him by the Charleston Nine because he was a visitor and it is the norm to embrace visitors who join any church service. However, because Satan had already entered him and convinced him of his assignment to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a), he rejected love and instead followed through with his diabolical plan. Judas too had an assignment that he carried out as it was prophesied, to betray Jesus; Satan entered him as well (John 13:27) and he followed through with his plan to turn Jesus over for 30 pieces of silver (Matt 26:15). Roof set out to end his story by committing suicide; Judas actually did commit suicide just after showing remorse for what he had done (Matt 27:3). Judas was remorseful and repentant to man, but he failed to be repentant to the one who had the power to save him. Instead, Judas as he was birthed to be, remained condemned. His story ended.

Some expect an apology or remorse from Dylann Roof. Without a doubt, apologies to man are gracious and human, but they are futile for a soul destined for hell. Man has no eternal rest to give, only God possesses that. In order to live in peace and to truly rest in peace, we have to be repentant to God. Unlike Judas, Roof is not the son of perdition, doomed for death that is, he did not take his life, his story has not ended, therefore, if Roof confesses his sin to God, He is faithful and just to forgive him and to cleanse him through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, just as he forgave and cleansed every other follower of His. He too will become Roof’s Lord; that’s the scandal of forgiveness. Our sin at our worst may not be the heinous murder of nine people, but we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  As Christians, Jesus is our example, the image of perfection that we will never attain. Yet, I witnessed Jesus’ example in the sister of one of the shooting victims when (it was reported that) she quickly, without reservation, said that she forgives Roof and prays for his soul. So what about us, who may not have directly lost a loved one as a result of the Charleston tragedy, similar tragedies, or other offenses great or small? This close relative, despite her grief, tapped into a power far greater than hate, the power to forgive. Power is not relinquished when we forgive, it is retained and a part of you perfected. When you forgive, a wise woman once said, “you are not letting [the perpetrator] off the hook, because they will still have to answer to God.” You are, however, making your heart lighter through the letting go of offenses. You are giving grace to others that you yourself would like to receive when you fall short, and that you expect from God (Ephesians 4:32).

We are commanded to be lights in a dark world. Tragic events like these just prove the need for Christ and make His work on the cross more valuable; there is such a desperate need for Him. Many Christians of all shades wonder what their place is in the heat of tragedies such as these and it is clear: be light, be salt, refuse to conform, and foremost of all—pray without ceasing. Furthermore, our perspective should differ from the world’s. It should be at odds with the world because we are supposed to be like Jesus. We should be Jesus to the world, be love to the world in order to win some of them over for Christ. How are you illuminating, seasoning, and being a misfit in a world of conformity?

 

Dedicated to the Charleston 9

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Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea)

3 cups unsweetened coconut milk, (the kind that is refrigerated in a carton, not canned coco milk)

3 cups filtered water

2 fingers turmeric, crushed or grated

1 1/2 fingers ginger, crushed or grated

pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add coconut milk, water, and salt to a medium saucepan
  2. Using a meat tenderizer or grater, crush or grate the turmeric and ginger, add to saucepan
  3. Bring all ingredients to a slow boil on low heat
  4. After liquid comes to a boil, remove from heat
  5. Strain the ingredients through a sieve
  6. Serve hot, in your favorite mug

Makes 4-6 servings

Tip: If you are taking golden milk to ease menstrual cramps, do not substitute sweetened coconut milk or add any sweetener as it will work against the benefits of drinking this tea and actually cause cramps. This tea is delicious and drinkable without any added sweeteners.

Story: Turmeric, with its bright orange flesh became a food interest of mine earlier this year (before all the hype) mainly because its exterior resembles fresh ginger root and ginger root has been a staple in my family’s kitchen for as long as I can remember. So, when I decided to experiment with turmeric, I researched many of its medicinal benefits and I was eager to make what I consider to be a simple way to introduce this exotic root into most diets–Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea). The truth is, and later I discovered that, ground turmeric has been in my Jamaican family’s kitchen all my life as it is a main ingredient in curry powder, as it gives curry its bright mustard yellow color. Turmeric tea soothes discomfort associated with the common cold, flu, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, and it warms the soul anytime in between. I am sharing my recipe in hopes that you will reap all of this tea’s benefits. Be Well.

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Café Croissant

“Bonjour!” It’s the authentic greeting you receive at Café Croissant, a delightful French bakery owned and operated by twin Frenchmen brothers who are incredibly charming and whose patisserie and culinary skills are excellent. From their light, flaky croissants to their silky lemon curd tart, they’re serving up their passion with the careful preparation of each menu item. This new space by the former owners of Le Royal (in Downtown South Miami) is their dream come true, a dream they cultivated 15 years to fruition. Café Croissant has been on Coral Way in the Shenandoah neighborhood since April 2016, conveniently located near Little Havana, Brickell, Downtown Miami, and Coral Gables/ Coconut Grove. There are some distinctions between their current café and the old bakery, Café Croissant features a sit-down option, where there is café bar service as you sit at the counter on black, leather stools; there are also tables for two along the wall. They’re open 7 days a week and serve breakfast all-day, or better yet, “brunch” at a great price. Their menu features made-to-order daily specials, croissants, crepes, eggs, omelets, and sandwiches. With all the extra space they have, they can accommodate large orders for parties and other special occasions. Recently, I stopped in to say, “bonjour,” and to pick up something sweet, but I look forward to going back at a time when I can stay a while, when I can linger as this inviting café has that welcoming, stay a while appeal. Café Croissant is sure to be a success as these seasoned business owners have the secret recipe for it.

 

Café Croissant

1684 Coral Way

Miami, FL

Make Jesus the Star of Christmas

pexels-photo-217840When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10–11)

It’s Christmas, starring Jesus, the reason we have anything to celebrate at all. Whether the advent of His coming is acknowledged or whether He is ‘Xed out of the world’s gatherings and plans, Jesus came to bring hope to the entire world. Despite His hope-bringing mission, He takes a less than leading role to our culture’s Xmas symbols which saturate the season with substitutions for Christ and distractions from Christ. Nevertheless in the hearts and minds of those who have accepted His sacrifice and who absolutely adore Him, Christmas is a time of reflection on a precious babe who made His appearance on the Earth He created to meet our desperate need for a Savior. The fact that Jesus left His position in heaven to descend to Earth should not be second to anything else this wonderful season has to offer, but should instead point us to everything true and pure that should be celebrated at Christmastime. Using this thoughtful list, make Jesus the star of the season in your life by sharing the kind of hope and love that make this the most wonderful time of the year.

  1. Give the best of your time, talent or resources as a symbol of how God gave us His very best in giving us Jesus and later Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice of His own life to take away the sins of the world and to make things right again between humanity and God
  2. Share a smile, an encouraging word, but most of all share and spread the truth of Christmas to keep the message of Christ’s coming to Earth as the main reason for celebration and to remind us of His promised return as a glimmer of hope in a world that needs every reminder of the plan of salvation, that the story of Jesus is (fortunately) to be continued…
  3. Forgive Honor Jesus Christ by remembering His mission on Earth—to give us access to God again through the forgiveness of our sins. If God was willing to forgive, then you should let go of the heavy weight and toxicity of an unforgiving heart; do yourself a favor and forgive.
  4. Commune It is hard to celebrate baby Jesus without celebrating resurrected Jesus and soon coming King Jesus. Find a personal and maybe even a creative way to connect with our Savior, to remember His sacrifice, and to anticipate His return. Be intentional about not following the world’s pattern of being primarily focused on the materialistic and the substitutionary symbols of the season, but settle in to calm and allow moments for worship and intimacy
  5. Be Gracious Do something unexpected for someone, such as increasing your tipping at your salon, pet groomers, or favorite lunch spot; doing something nice for a widow; babysit for or take groceries to a single mother; or whatever you find in your heart to do to shine the brightness of the light inside of you because of Jesus

 Happy a Merry Christmas! 

 

 

 

 

 

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