DO NOT REACT TO NEGATIVES

FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD

His Grace Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

Another day in the Lord to give praise and thanks for the sparing of our lives. Through all the changing scenes of time in trouble and in joy, let this be your song of praise to Almighty God.

The God whom we adore has rescued us and brought us out in this perverse and wicked generation to be His sons and daughters. Hallelujah
I want to look at St. Matthew chapter 5 this morning. Let’s read verse 11, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Praise the Lord and may Thy word be blessed in all things.
I will try by the Grace of God to help us understand the passage we have just read. Trusting God to impart the knowledge to know and to teach.
Blessed – Happy.
Persecute – To pursue after in order to overtake.
Revile – To abuse; attack with evil words.
When men shall revile you, and persecute – The persecution mentioned in the preceding verse comprehends all outward acts of violence – all that the hand can do.
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you – Reproach you; call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are Christians. Thus, they said of Jesus that he was a Samaritan and had a devil John 8:48; that he was mad John 10:20; and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross, Matthew 27:39-44. But, being reviled, he reviled not again 1 Peter 2:23; and thus being reviled, we should bless 1 Corinthians 4:12; and thus, though the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, Philippians 1:29.
All manner of evil against you falsely – An emphasis should be laid on the word falsely in this passage. It is not blessed to have evil spoken of us if we deserve it; but if we deserve it not, then we should not consider it as a calamity. We should take it patiently, and show how much the Christian, under the consciousness of innocence, can bear, 1 Peter 3:13-18.
For my sake – Because you are attached to me; because you are Christians. We are not to seek such things. We are not to do things to offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and. to court revilings. We are not to say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or offend. But if, in the faithful endeavor to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master was, then we are to take it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner. When thus reviled or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry; not reviling again; but endeavoring to do good to our persecutors and slanderers, 2 Timothy 2:24-25. In this way many have been convinced of the power and excellence of that religion which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted; and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. Long since it became a proverb, “that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Today we rest assured that we are walking in the steps of Him who has brought us out of bondage and placed us on the solid rock. My brothers and sisters of The Mystical Order I encourage you to stand on the word of God and be faithful in all things. The world will not love you and even some among you. Remember Jesus choose twelve disciples and one of them betrayed Him, one denied Him. Yet Jesus loved them all and to Peter that denied was the one who had the revelation to know who Jesus was. It was upon that Rock the church of the Living God was built, and the gates of hell can never prevail against it. Bless the Lord.
So it is my encouragement to you today that those who are living for Christ will suffer at the hands of many. From within and without it will not be easy but I am praying our faith fail not so we will be able to strengthen our brethren. You will be dragged by others, pulled down but do not give occasion to the devil. Count it all joy when you are persecuted and show your strength. To you the believer will know that all your battles are fought by the Lord.
We will bless the Lord at all times for His praise shall continually be in our mouths. I love you and may Almighty God bless and keep us, may He continue to move This Mystical Order to higher heights, and deeper depths.

 

MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

THE MYSTICAL ORDER OF SPIRITUAL BAPTIST

MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

Her Ladyship Hon. Abbess Janet McClean

As a woman, daughter, mother, Grandmother, ABBESS of The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist, I want to speak to the hearts of mothers today on this Special day. First, I want to thank God who is the Head of my life. To my Patriarch and Presiding Prelate, my Archbishop, our Queen Abbess and the many ministers, and members, many of you being mothers. Some of you have given birth to children naturally and some have spiritually.
On Mother’s Day, we honor our Mothers for all the good, the love and wisdom that they have given us in life. On this day, I honor my Mother by sharing with my fellow citizens some of her wisdom gained through hard experience. My Mother, just like most other mothers, taught me how to live right, to love and respect others and to obey the rules of authority. It is embedded in me at my ripe age and I trust that I can be of help and an example to you, not only on this day but for the rest of my life.
Many of our Caribbean women and mothers have broken the barriers of men, to excel to the very top of the Governmental ladder. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Prime Minister is a woman and likewise in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Deputy Prime Minister is a woman. Many women have climbed the corporate ladder and have out done the men. They have become Judicial Officers, Ministers of Religion and I am one example. Yet in recent days, a woman (Judicial Officer) in Trinidad was gun down, and a young woman killed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and hundreds of girls have been kidnapped in Nigeria. Those girls, if not harmed will grow up to be women and mothers for the next generation. In America, three women escaped from slavery after been captured for decades. Our societies need a change and only God can grant us this request. I will try to minister to you and I pray God grant you the understanding.
I want to talk a little from the Book of Genesis chapter 16.
In the preceding chapters, Abram has been given a word from God regarding his descendants, but in chapter 16 we find Abram and Sarai trying to ‘help’ the promise of God unfold regarding their offspring. Hagar, the maidservant, becomes pregnant by Abram and as a result of her own trivial attitude and Sarai’s insecurity, Hagar runs away and finds herself in the desert.
We can learn a few things from this story:

1. God can redeem us from the past

In verses 7 and 8 God finds Hagar, and says to her ‘Where have you come from and where are you going?’
Hagar could only answer where she had come from – ‘I’m running away!’ for thousands of women around the world, their past continually haunts them and their present circumstances contain them. Often they are victims of rape, HIV, abuse, domestic violence and rejection, trying to raise children against the back drop of poverty, or fighting sickness and often expected to do all the work. Perhaps as a mother or a father, or in fact anyone reading this email today, it seems like you are running away from the things of the past – always feeling held back and contained. The good news is that God knows where you are and like Hagar, he wants to speak hope into your life. It is often said you can run but you cannot hide, however, God has a plan for your life just as He did for me many years ago.

2. God has a purpose for every mom – In fact for everyone!

In verses 9 and 10 God gives Hagar a direction to go in – a vision of the future. There are programs, for instance, compassion’s child survival programs which focus on pregnant moms, as well as, moms with babies and toddlers. These women are not only getting instruction on nurturing children, health care and nutrition advice, but are also finding spiritual direction and hope in Jesus. The love, support and care they receive, all add to the release that comes from being found by God. Suddenly their future is looking much brighter, and the training and skills they receive will prepare and empower them to provide for their families.
For every mom and everyone else reading this email, God says this to you, “Know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11

3. God Is the God Who sees you.

Hagar discovered that, as alone as she felt, someone was watching over her (verse 13). Church, this morning – God sees you! He knows where you are, he sees the tears that fall and the pain that you so often feel. Maybe as a mom today you see things that others miss. Perhaps for you the tears are over a difficult or a disabled child, maybe a distant child or the challenge of raising a child alone. God sees you! His eye is upon you.
Perhaps part of our healing is tied up with ‘seeing’ someone else’s need and making a difference to them.

4. Even though the situation may Get Worse – God still knows what he is doing!

Hagar, called ‘that slave woman’ by Sarah, recoiled back into a place of containment, separated herself from the promise – Ishmael – and began to cry. We need to hold on to what God has promised. Don’t give up – keep trusting even when it seems like nothing is happening. God wants to cultivate a dependency and faith in him despite the circumstances.

5. God hears your cry

God not only sees but he hears and whispers to us “don’t be afraid.” To Hagar he said, “Lift the boy up, take him by the hand for I will make him into a great nation” verse 18. His intent is to lift us, take us and make us into what he wants us to be.
Genesis 21: 1-21 Abram and Sarai have had name changes to Abraham and Sarah. Hagar has now given birth to a son called Ishmael. Sarah too has had a child called Isaac. Once again jealousy and insecurity rises up and Hagar along with Ishmael are commanded to leave, but not before God reveal his purpose for Hagar to Abraham. Abraham then provides her with food and water. However that soon runs out.
Proverbs 21:13 says “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”
In our communities, the Caribbean Islands and The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist, we have a responsibility to hear the cry of the poor and come alongside the hopeless and the helpless, whether in our local area or in another part of the world.
We can respond to the cry of mothers in the developing world by lifting them up, taking them and their children by the hand and giving them a great opportunity. Just as God provided a well of water for them to drink (verse 19), why not partner with compassion to open up wells of provision – education, health care, social development, supplementary food, clothing and the opportunity to ‘see’ the one who sees them. This is our opportunity to rise up and do what is right for our women and mothers.
To be a godly mother involves a right husband relationship, a right heavenly relationship and a right home relationship. Hannah, Abigail, Sarah, Esther, Ruth and Naomi had all of that. God honored it. There, they have given us a model to follow.
In closing let me ask a couple of questions. What does this say and how do we apply this? First of all, ask yourself, are you a godly mother? Are you a godly mother? Are you preparing to be a godly mother? Are you, if you are already, older preparing younger women to be godly mothers? And to the men, I say, are you creating the environment in which your wife’s godliness can have its best effect? And are you raising sons who will lead their wives to be godly mothers? And to you young people, I ask, are you honoring your mother? Are you obeying your mother? If God has given you a godly mother, God has given you the best of gifts. None of them is perfect, but when they love the Lord Jesus Christ and have passed that on to you, they have given you the greatest present they could give. Are you thankful? And there are some who say, “My mother was not godly.” Are you praying for her? Are you praying for her and asking God’s Spirit somehow to bring you under the influence of a godly woman who can show you the things your mother never showed you?
The hope for our society really rests in what happens in the next generation which is so much in the hands of godly women. Let’s lift up our women and mothers in prayer.
Father, we thank You this morning for what You have shared with us again through the leading of Your Spirit in the teaching of Your Word. We’re refreshed, refreshed again to see how clearly You have given us the pattern to raise a godly generation. Bless the mothers of this Mystical Order. Forgive them, Lord, as I know You do for their short comings; even as You forgive us, do the same for the fathers. Strengthen them all. Those that desire to be mothers, keep them moving that they might be finally in that place where they can be a godly mother. Those that are presently mothers, may they look to the virtues that are exemplified in Hannah and Sarah and make them their portion daily. To those who are beyond that, their children grown and gone, may they instruct the younger ones. God, we just pray that these children will be raised to stand strong, to walk with faith and courage, to raise a second generation who will live to Your glory if Jesus tarries. Father, to this end we pray with thanksgiving, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
I am your servant, Abbess, and Mother
Hon. Janet McClean
The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist

MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

THE MYSTICAL ORDER OF SPIRITUAL BAPTIST Inc (International)

MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

Her Ladyship Hon. Abbess Janet McClean OM, OHPA

 

As a woman, daughter, mother, Grandmother, ABBESS of The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist, I want to speak to the hearts of mothers today on this Special day.  First, I want to thank God who is the Head of my life.  To my Patriarch and Presiding Prelate, my Archbishop, our Queen Abbess and the many ministers, and members, many of you being mothers.  Some of you have given birth to children naturally and some have spiritually.

On Mother’s Day, we honor our Mothers for all the good, the love and wisdom that they have given us in life.  On this day, I honor my Mother by sharing with my fellow citizens some of her wisdom gained through hard experience.  My Mother, just like most other mothers, taught me how to live right, to love and respect others and to obey the rules of authority.  It is embedded in me at my ripe age and I trust that I can be of help and an example to you, not only on this day but for the rest of my life.

Many of our Caribbean women and mothers have broken the barriers of men, to excel to the very top of the Governmental ladder.  In Trinidad and Tobago, the Prime Minister is a woman and likewise in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Deputy Prime Minister is a woman.  Many women have climbed the corporate ladder and have out done the men.  They have become Judicial Officers, Ministers of Religion and I am one example.  Yet in recent days, a woman (Judicial Officer) in Trinidad was gun down, and a young woman killed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and hundreds of girls have been kidnapped in Nigeria.  Those girls, if not harmed will grow up to be women and mothers for the next generation.  In America, three women escaped from slavery after been captured for decades.  Our societies need a change and only God can grant us this request.  I will try to minister to you and I pray God grant you the understanding.

I want to talk a little from the Book of Genesis chapter 16.

In the preceding chapters, Abram has been given a word from God regarding his descendants, but in chapter 16 we find Abram and Sarai trying to ‘help’ the promise of God unfold regarding their offspring.  Hagar, the maidservant, becomes pregnant by Abram and as a result of her own trivial attitude and Sarai’s insecurity, Hagar runs away and finds herself in the desert.

We can learn a few things from this story:

1. God can redeem us from the past

In verses 7 and 8 God finds Hagar, and says to her ‘Where have you come from and where are you going?’

Hagar could only answer where she had come from – ‘I’m running away!’ for thousands of women around the world, their past continually haunts them and their present circumstances contain them.  Often they are victims of rape, HIV, abuse, domestic violence and rejection, trying to raise children against the back drop of poverty, or fighting sickness and often expected to do all the work.  Perhaps as a mother or a father, or in fact anyone reading this email today, it seems like you are running away from the things of the past – always feeling held back and contained.  The good news is that God knows where you are and like Hagar, he wants to speak hope into your life.  It is often said you can run but you cannot hide, however, God has a plan for your life just as He did for me many years ago.

2. God has a purpose for every mom – In fact for everyone!

In verses 9 and 10 God gives Hagar a direction to go in – a vision of the future.  There are programs, for instance, compassion’s child survival programs which focus on pregnant moms, as well as, moms with babies and toddlers.  These women are not only getting instruction on nurturing children, health care and nutrition advice, but are also finding spiritual direction and hope in Jesus.  The love, support and care they receive, all add to the release that comes from being found by God.  Suddenly their future is looking much brighter, and the training and skills they receive will prepare and empower them to provide for their families.

For every mom and everyone else reading this email, God says this to you, “Know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11

3. God Is the God Who sees you.

 Hagar discovered that, as alone as she felt, someone was watching over her (verse 13).  Church, this morning – God sees you!  He knows where you are, he sees the tears that fall and the pain that you so often feel.  Maybe as a mom today you see things that others miss.  Perhaps for you the tears are over a difficult or a disabled child, maybe a distant child or the challenge of raising a child alone.  God sees you!  His eye is upon you.

Perhaps part of our healing is tied up with ‘seeing’ someone else’s need and making a difference to them.

4. Even though the situation may Get Worse – God still knows what he is doing!

Hagar, called ‘that slave woman’ by Sarah, recoiled back into a place of containment, separated herself from the promise – Ishmael – and began to cry.  We need to hold on to what God has promised.  Don’t give up – keep trusting even when it seems like nothing is happening.  God wants to cultivate a dependency and faith in him despite the circumstances.

5. God hears your cry

God not only sees but he hears and whispers to us “don’t be afraid.”  To Hagar he said, “Lift the boy up, take him by the hand for I will make him into a great nation” verse 18.  His intent is to lift us, take us and make us into what he wants us to be.

Genesis 21: 1-21 Abram and Sarai have had name changes to Abraham and Sarah.  Hagar has now given birth to a son called Ishmael.  Sarah too has had a child called Isaac.  Once again jealousy and insecurity rises up and Hagar along with Ishmael are commanded to leave, but not before God reveal his purpose for Hagar to Abraham.  Abraham then provides her with food and water.  However that soon runs out.

Proverbs 21:13 says “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”

In our communities, the Caribbean Islands and The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist, we have a responsibility to hear the cry of the poor and come alongside the hopeless and the helpless, whether in our local area or in another part of the world.

We can respond to the cry of mothers in the developing world by lifting them up, taking them and their children by the hand and giving them a great opportunity.  Just as God provided a well of water for them to drink (verse 19), why not partner with compassion to open up wells of provision – education, health care, social development, supplementary food, clothing and the opportunity to ‘see’ the one who sees them.  This is our opportunity to rise up and do what is right for our women and mothers.

To be a godly mother involves a right husband relationship, a right heavenly relationship and a right home relationship.  Hannah, Abigail, Sarah, Esther, Ruth and Naomi had all of that.  God honored it.  There, they have given us a model to follow.

In closing let me ask a couple of questions.  What does this say and how do we apply this?  First of all, ask yourself, are you a godly mother?  Are you a godly mother?  Are you preparing to be a godly mother?  Are you, if you are already, older preparing younger women to be godly mothers?  And to the men, I say, are you creating the environment in which your wife’s godliness can have its best effect?  And are you raising sons who will lead their wives to be godly mothers?  And to you young people, I ask, are you honoring your mother?  Are you obeying your mother?  If God has given you a godly mother, God has given you the best of gifts.  None of them is perfect, but when they love the Lord Jesus Christ and have passed that on to you, they have given you the greatest present they could give.  Are you thankful?  And there are some who say, “My mother was not godly.”  Are you praying for her?  Are you praying for her and asking God’s Spirit somehow to bring you under the influence of a godly woman who can show you the things your mother never showed you?

The hope for our society really rests in what happens in the next generation which is so much in the hands of godly women.  Let’s lift up our women and mothers in prayer.

Father, we thank You this morning for what You have shared with us again through the leading of Your Spirit in the teaching of Your Word.  We’re refreshed, refreshed again to see how clearly You have given us the pattern to raise a godly generation.  Bless the mothers of this Mystical Order.  Forgive them, Lord, as I know You do for their short comings; even as You forgive us, do the same for the fathers.  Strengthen them all.  Those that desire to be mothers, keep them moving that they might be finally in that place where they can be a godly mother. Those that are presently mothers, may they look to the virtues that are exemplified in Hannah and Sarah and make them their portion daily.  To those who are beyond that, their children grown and gone, may they instruct the younger ones.  God, we just pray that these children will be raised to stand strong, to walk with faith and courage, to raise a second generation who will live to Your glory if Jesus tarries.  Father, to this end we pray with thanksgiving, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

SUBMITTING TO AND RESPECTING AUTHORITY

FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD

His Grace Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

Submitting to and Respecting Authority

 

This morning I want to greet His All Holiness Patriarch and Presiding Prelate of this, Worthy and Noble Order. Our Beloved Queen Abbess and Cardinal. My other Ministers brothers, sisters, friends and well-wishers. Your faithfulness to God and this ministry have kept me stronger and with love to steer the course of this powerful email ministry. I thank you for your words of encouragements and to reach you every day with a new message.

As a parent I can surely tell you that when your kids don’t show you respect, it is really hard not to want to ground them or to discipline them. Discipline will instill respect like in the days of old.  We all try to instill the importance of honouring authority into our kids. Yet, we all have more than a little trouble honouring the authority that’s over our own lives.

Remember the old saying, “Do what I say, not what I do?”

We all want it. We all expect it. Yet, we want others to earn it from us. How is that supposed to work? I have a problem with that attitude and it should not be tolerated at home and NOT in the church.

God’s View of Authority

The truth is God has placed an entire network of people in this world into positions of authority. I’m not just referring to our government leaders, but also to the leaders in our workplaces and in our families, more so in our churches. Perhaps it’s time to take a look at just how God views authority and our lack of respect thereof.

Coming under authority and showing respect isn’t easy. Nobody wants to be told what to do or how to do it. We criticize anybody that makes a decision we don’t like. It’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s not good for me.

In our country (with emphasis of the Caribbean) we’ve taken our right to free speech to an unbelievable level. We openly criticize our leaders, our country, our values, and pretty much anything else that doesn’t line up with what we want. We don’t see anything wrong with complaining, whining, and showing disgust to anybody who will listen.

An open dialogue about how to solve issues is always a good thing. But some have even categorized their poor behavior as an attempt at “open dialogue.” There is much to learn about how God views these kinds of situations.

Protection and Favour

When you are in relationship with God, He provides you with protection and favour. But as you belittle and criticize those people He has placed in authority over you, that protection and favour is lifted from you. The bottom line is that God expects you to respect Him and His choices. He expects that you will respect the people He’s placed in authority over you. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with every one of their decisions, but it does mean you still need to show respect for the position, and by extension, the person who is in the position.

Romans 13:1-3 says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities does not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right and they will honour you?”

Now, do you want to respect authority? Probably not. In reality, would you rather just tell them what you think about it? Yes. So how do you go about this seemingly impossible task? How do you submit to and show respect for the authority God has placed over you when you don’t agree? And, how do you keep a good attitude while you’re doing it?

Steps for Respecting Authority

  • Start by reading and learning what God says about respecting authority. Find out just what He thinks and how much importance He places on your willingness and your attitude about it. When you discover that God will only give you authority over others when you show that you can come under authority yourself, perhaps things will look a little different to you.
  • Pray for those in authority over you. Ask God to guide them as they fulfill their tasks. Pray that their hearts would seek God as they make decisions. Ask God to show you how you can be a blessing to those in authority over you.
  • Set the example for the people around you. Show them what submitting to authority for the right reasons is supposed to look like. Don’t participate in back-biting, gossiping, or criticizing your bosses or others in authority. There is nothing wrong with having constructive conversations, but there is a fine line between offering your opinion and becoming disrespectful.
  • Understand and know ahead of time that you are not going to like every decision. If you look at the responsibility and accountability that exists within the role of your leaders, it should become clear that the scope of their authority affects more than just you and your circumstances. There are times when decisions will negatively impact you. But just remember that how you react to these times will determine how quickly God puts you in a position of authority over others.

There is no magic pill that can make you feel good about having to submit to authority—any authority. But know when you make the conscious effort to do what God says, regardless of how it feels; you are planting a wonderful seed that will produce a harvest in your life.

You can’t expect a harvest of blessings from people who will respect and honour you, if you haven’t first planted the seeds. So as hard as it is, start planting! Be respectful in behaviours and character to your Elders and Leaders in authority over you. I assure you when you obey the word that God will take note and someday place you in authority over others. Do unto others what you will like others to do unto you.

It is always my pleasure to seek the face of Almighty God who in His wisdom has made me your Archbishop and a watchman to feed His flock. I seek the face of God to find the right pasture where His children can be fed. It is because of my respect to Him and His authority I am kept as the apple of His eye. My love for my Leader and Elders, how to be respectful in kind, character and being faithful; that I am still on the land of the living to praise the Lord. Hallelujah

I trust you have a wonderful day and may Almighty God bless and keep you. God bless

Your servant,

Godfrey Gregg

Archbishop and Apostolic Head

 

Your Life Is a Witness

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PATRIARCH AND PRESIDING PRELATE

His All Holiness Sir Dr. Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson

Your Life Is a Witness

This morning I greet you in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ our soon coming King. It is with joy unspeakable and full of glory that I write to you on this blessed Sunday. To God are all the honour and the glory for taking the Queen Abbess and Senior Bishop with me to the beautiful shores of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to sup with brethren. The Bible tells us in the Book of Psalm “How good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity.” To see the lovely face of the First Lady Latoya Quow it set the tone for the fellowship we are still talking about. Let me get into the message for today.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Phil 2:14-15)

Often we think of the things we do for God as something extra on top of our regular lives. You may be looking at the calendar – full of school and church commitments, soccer games and dentist appointments  — and wondering, “How am I going to add sharing my faith to this?”

The answer is to be intentional about bringing God into what you are already doing.  Look to the places where you’ve committed your time and energy and see how they can become an opportunity to tell others about God. Look at your preaching, your church and the company you associate with outside your home. My Archbishop Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg often says” If you were not present your name will not be called.” I learnt a great lesson from that statement.

You’ve probably heard that quote, “Your life may be the only Bible someone will ever read.” It can be an intimidating thought. Whether you mean to or not, you’re witnessing about Jesus everywhere you go and every time you open your mouth. This is why it’s so important to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. On our own we’d be terrible representatives of Christ. But when we practice submitting ourselves to God moment by moment, repenting when we mess up and refocusing on what God would have us do, our lives can bear a powerful witness. Recently my Archbishop Sir Godfrey had a discussion with me; he wanted to find ways and means to further this ministry. He discussed reconciliation as one way forward. The following week I visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines to support my Bishop Hon. Andres B. Quow in a thanksgiving service. The Mystical Order was well received and acknowledge. It was my first visit there and I almost stayed with all the outpouring of love and appreciation. The love of God is ever present in the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I know I was in for a good time with the care and treatment my Queen Abbess and I received from the Hon. Abbess Lynette Charles. This was an indication of the overflowing of love from the Spiritual Baptist Community.

I want to encourage everyone that took the time to meet and greet me and welcome us to your homes and church. I can assure you that I will be back and on a higher plain. I want to extend my blessings on Archbishop Johnny Jones and Mother Trudge in a very special way. Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. First Lady Latoya the wife of our Bishop Andres has shown us great love and grace. I pray God’s divine blessings on you as you continue in the service of the Lord. I will love to single out everyone but time will not permit me and so I want to thank all the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for taking time out to fellowship with us. As I close let me not forget Deacon Berton Johnson for the wonderful greeting on our arrival.

Our lives witness. What is your life saying?

Lean in and listen. As you meet with other people, ask them about their lives. In the Mystical Order I often ask people if they’d like prayer. Many people are open to the idea of prayer, even if they have no personal connection to God. If you pray for them right there, resist the urge to preach and focus on genuinely bringing the person’s needs to God.  It may be more comfortable to pray for them later in private.

Think big, but start small.  If you have a child in a youth sports league, be the parent who doesn’t swear at the ref.  Be a blessing to the team by showing up on time, following through on promises and offering to help. As a leader you must lead by example and allow the public to read you.

Practice to be a servant for the people. In any organization, church or group there’s always a job that no one wants to do. Demonstrate your willingness to serve by taking one of those jobs and doing it with excellence.  This is sometimes easier to do at church, but it’s really, really powerful when you do it out in the community. Remember your life is a mirror, let the world see Christ in you the hope of glory.

If you’re not sure how to have a spiritual conversation, check out The Ministers of The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist. You will learn to conduct yourselves in humility, love and peace. I trust that you have a wonderful day in the Lord and please find a place to worship the King of kings.

I am your servant,

His All Holiness Sir Dr. Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson

Patriarch and Presiding Prelate

 

 

A CALL FOR UNITY

 FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD

His Grace Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

 

A CALL FOR UNITY

 

It is Saturday and to God be the glory for great things He has done for us in these trying moments. Now we are awake and see the light for God has kept us through the night. It is indeed a privilege we have above the dead on this land of the living to offer praise and thanks for all the blessings He has bestowed on us.
It is truly wonderful what the Lord has done in the past week. I speak of taking our members to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and return them safely. The reports are uplifting and the blessings are great.  This is truly a wonderful time for the Mystical Order and our Patriarch.

This is my call to all the brethren in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that the time has come for the gathering of the saints under one umbrella.  The Bible calls for one Shepherd and one voice. The Mystical Order stands ready to lead the struggle for UNITY. So let’s put our proposal forward and pray and seek the face of Almighty God for His leadership.

There is nothing the devil fears more than Christians who are united. This means that his number one tactic is to bring disunity in the Church. If he can succeed, then the Church is crippled.

Jesus spoke about the power of agreement in Matthew 18:19: “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Don’t put any limitation on this scripture. Jesus says what He means. We can receive anything if we agree about it in prayer.

The psalmist said in Psalm 133:1: “Behold, how good and how pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Someone once said: “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

As one Flock, we are gathered together.

As one Family, we dwell together.

As one Body, we are joined together.

As one Temple, we are framed together.

As one household, we are built together.

As one Kingdom, we are to strive together.

As one Church, we worship together.

It is my prayer and hope that all the churches will come together as one. In John 17:21 Jesus prayed “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?

What is the greatest power that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn’t prayer, though this is important. It isn’t good deeds, though deeds indicate a good relationship with God. It isn’t good behaviour, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons and daughters. The greatest power God’s children have over darkness is unity. Jesus talked a great deal about His oneness with the Father and the importance of unity in the Body of Christ. It is the most difficult command Jesus gave to the Church, because it wars against the most evil aspect of our sin nature-independence.

In these last days we are seeing God’s Spirit convict His children of the lack of Unity among His Church. We are seeing God move between blacks and whites, denominations, ethnic groups and other organizations. There is much work to be done and The Mystical Order has started with affiliating itself with other churches, in the hope that we all will be one in Christ. The walls of division and competition among His Body are a stench in God’s nostrils. He sees the competition and the pride of ownership and weeps for the lost who cannot come to Him because they cannot see Him in His body. Churches and ministers have put up a block between God and His people. It is a sad day for us not being able to carry out the will of God. When the Body is one, the unbelieving see that Jesus was sent by God. It is like a supernatural key that unlocks Heaven for the heathen soul. The key is in the hand of Christ’s Church.

We are a hundred times more effective when we are a unified group or church. Imagine what God can do when the church, ministers and members are unified for the same purpose. The love of God will flow through the veins of the believer. Peace will flow like a river, joy will flood the souls of men and sinners will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

This is what Jesus said to the churches He prayed that we all might be one, as the Father and He are one. He wanted the same love God has for Jesus to be in each of us. When this love is in us, we are drawn to each other with a common mission. The walls in our lives will be broken down. Our selfish spirit will be broken and destroyed. Competition will disappear. Satan’s accusations will be thwarted. The enemy will lose its grip on the people of God. Sin will be destroyed and the Blood of Jesus Christ will prevail. Our love for each other will be manifested in the world around us. Lost souls will seek this love that is ancient to them. We will be better men and women in the army of the Lord.

I have seen people’s lives change, yes there is great differences to which I can testify. Thank God for The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist and its Leaders. Our Patriarch is on a mission to enhance a better image of the faith. It will be a long process but achievable. I call on our members to walk with us every step of the way and make full proof of your vocation. This is my word for you in closing. Are you breaking down walls of competition among our brothers and sisters? Until we walk in the spirit of Unity, we will hinder those in whom God has reserved a place in Heaven. Join with me and pray that the Church of Jesus Christ will be unified in the Spirit of Truth.

May Almighty God bless and grant you peace in this day.

 

 

 

 

Grace Still Means Saying “I’m Sorry”

FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD

His Grace Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

Grace Still Means Saying “I’m Sorry”

I greet my Lord Patriarch and Presiding Prelate, Queen Abbess, Cardinal and other Ministers, brothers and sisters of this Noble Order. I often remind people, “Christ died to make us perfect!” But I have a problem: I’m not perfect.
In fact, I am far from it. Perhaps because I am so aware of God’s desire that I forsake sin and follow Him perfectly, it breaks my heart even more that I still find myself choosing sin. I am still bitter and resentful. I choose lies instead of truth, hurtful jokes instead of encouragement, jealousy instead of love, and fear instead of faith so often. Where are the love, truth, honour, respect and praise that would bring me life and bring glory to God?
There must be something terribly wrong for a Christian to know his or her own sinful nature and not be affected by it.
St. Paul tells us in the second letter to the Corinthians, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.” (2 Cor. 7:10)
True repentance doesn’t lead to regret; it leads to change. And that’s what this season of our lives is about. A practice that is most often observed by the more ritualistic Christian traditions, this season of repentance is becoming more commonly practiced across the board in Christianity. From the outside, this season can seem a little works-focused or even just “old-time.” I think it’s important that as Christians we all take some time to remember why this season is observed at all.
Stemming from the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, the forty years the Israelites spent searching for the Promised Land, and the forty days and nights of rain that Noah’s family endured, the forty days before Easter are a time for refocusing. We are called to deny temptation, turn from sin, and move into closeness with the Father. Christians all over the world carry out this call by fasting and praying for the duration of Lent. However, in this season before Pentecost it is time to tarry for the Holy Spirit to fill our lives. We are looking ahead my brethren to the out pouring of the Spirit and power of Almighty God.
The repentance Paul talks about has three components:
1. Sorrow for Sin
Sorrow for sin is a private but necessary part of reconciliation with God. It means the difference between a heartfelt apology of true contrition, and an apology to acquire forgiveness because “I know I’m supposed to be sorry.” We as a church must learn to acknowledge wrong, accept our failures and make amends. We must be sorry for our actions and be man or woman to say “I am sorry.”
2. Desire to Turn From Sin
The reason we “give up” bad habits or distractions during our Christian lives is to avoid temptation and the occasion of sin. The outward appearance, the action, of our lives means very little without the inward reverence of a person who desires to become holy.
3. Trust in God’s Grace
With the Grace Jesus died to give us and the Holy Spirit He left in His place, we can come to a real knowledge of our sins and repent in a healthy way. This season can bring us into a greater sense of the grace which makes us aware of our sin, which gives us strength to turn from our old ways, and which ultimately saves us.
Many Christians, myself included, often fall a little too far into this spirit of repentance though and suffer more from the ‘regret’ that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians. That regret, an overwhelming and sometimes crippling guilt, is not something I want to be a part of my faith. But I would never want to be entirely detached from the sorrow of my own sin, and the knowledge that my sin breaks the heart of my Father in Heaven, that my sin is what held His Son on the cross. Many people are associated with ministers and churches that fail to set the examples for the furtherance of the Gospel. We cannot stop in the place where God wants to take us and lead us into repentance and pastures green.
There’s this attitude that if you’re really a Christian, if you’re really saved, you shouldn’t grieve for or dwell on sin or suffering, and it’s not a helpful one. The way we try to hide brokenness and sin and sorrow in the name of being Christians – who are not, apparently, supposed to have anything to complain about – is astounding to me. It seems like, on the surface, there is no room for pain and sorrow in Christianity because ours is a joyful faith. But I believe that it is in knowing real sorrow that we can know real joy. Brethren unless you find yourself in the place where you can feel the pains and sorrow, you will not be able to speak about it. You will not know the joy of the Lord to be your strength. Our own actions speak louder than our words.
In remembering Christ’s passion I am reminded of the suffering He underwent for me, so that I could be forgiven, so that I could enter into eternal life with Him. I grieve for my sin and the death that a perfect God endured for my sake. The very nature of the Cross is a paradox. In the cross, grief and joy, sin and grace, death and life, are all present in the fullest sense. I don’t think it’s wrong that we experience that paradox as well.
“We are the Easter people and ‘Alleluia’ is our song!” And so this is my conclusion “A Christian should be an ‘alleluia’ from head to foot.” But being an “Easter person,” an “alleluia from head to foot,” means remembering why we can celebrate the resurrection and ascension of Jesus into Heaven; because first, He knew sorrow and pain, and it is in sharing in His death that we can truly share in the triumph of His Resurrection.
This week, be an inspiring person! As you face trials and setbacks, praise God despite them – or even because of them. Christ’s passion led to your salvation, likewise praising God through little trials can help you move closer to the heart of Christ. So in closing I trust that you will come down off your high mountains and humble yourselves before man and God. As a Christian your life begins with humility and a godly sorrow towards sin. Turn away and towards the heavens. Let the Lord be your constant guide.
May Almighty God bless and keep you in His care and Love until He comes to take us home. I will always love and serve you.

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?

FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD

His Grace Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

This is the day that the Lord has made and we are going to rejoice and be glad in it. It is a pleasure to serve the Lord in faith and know that He is the Lord of your Life. To His All Holiness Patriarch, Queen Abbess, Cardinal and our other ministers greetings. Today I want to talk a little on the topic.

Where is Your Faith?

In times of disappointment, heartache, sickness or discontent when the storms of life are raging all around God sometimes feels very far away. We can start to wonder why He let this happen, or why He isn’t doing something, right now, to stop it or fix it. He could have prevented this storm and He didn’t. As we come to the end ourselves in our storms of life, we angrily cry out, “Lord, don’t you care?” And His reply is, “Where is your faith?”
If you are not currently experiencing a time of difficulty, or time of doubt and uncertainty, then PRAISE God! But get ready, because Jesus assured us in John 16:33
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world!”
Jesus in the midst of the storm
In Luke 8:22-25 and Mark 4:35-40, we find the disciples with Jesus, in a boat, taking a trip to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They might have expected this would be one of the most amazing trips they’d ever take, and it was; just not in the way they expected.

As they crossed the Sea, a raging storm came upon them, out of nowhere. This storm brought these expert fishermen to the very end of themselves. I want you to note that these men fished for a living. We fish for men in the Kingdom of God. Our storms are spiritual and can be natural. They thought they were going to die. Have you ever been in a situation like that? Yes we all have similar stories, and sometimes we feel like giving up when we are tested, tried and tempted. One where there seems to be no way out, nothing you can do to save yourself? That same desperation is what the disciples must have felt that night. The storm was too big. We can look at their situation and think, “Didn’t they realize they had Jesus in the boat with them?” Listen, Jesus is in the boat with you too. O, how we sing “with Christ in our vessels we will smile at the storm.” Are we seeing Christ in the storm as it approaches?

The disciples struggle to keep their boat from capsizing. Finally, as a last ditch effort; turn to Jesus in anger, crying out, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are going to drown?” As they look to Him, they find Him sleeping on a cushion, in the back of the boat. When we finally turn to Jesus, we too angrily cry out, “Lord, don’t you care?” As we look to Him, we find Him resting. We wonder, “How can He rest at a time like this?” Hallelujah, my brothers and sisters don’t be angry but cry out for HELP. Jesus is just a prayer away if you know how to call.
As the story continues, Jesus awakes and says to the storm, “Peace! Be still!” and there was instant calming. A word from Jesus was all it took. The disciple’s desperation ceased and they were left in awe and amazement. We shouldn’t criticize ourselves too much for our lack of faith. The Disciples had witnessed the greatest miracles of Jesus, yet they were consumed with fear. Jesus was physically with them, and they waited until the last minute to ask Him for help. We wonder, “Shouldn’t it have it occurred to them, to ask Him for help, right away?” We should ask ourselves that same question in the desperate situations we face. Why go through all the worry and struggle, when we can just ask Jesus to calm the storm?

We can declare, “It’s just not that easy. Besides, Jesus was with them, physically.” If we believe in God’s Word, if we trust completely in what He says, then we must know that He is with us too. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear for I am with you.” Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always” So the question is, do you believe He is? When we’re consumed with fear and doubt and the wind and waves (pleasures of this world, sex and lies, fornication, inordinate affections, adultery, drunkenness) are taking us under, we can be assured that Jesus is with us. Do not let sin have any dominion over you. Jesus will hear you if you call out to Him for help.

We know that we need to trust Jesus, but practically, how do we do that when we’re being tossed about? Trusting in God means: seeking Him, entering into His rest, and trusting in His Word. Our faith requires action and right now in the time.

Faith seeks God in all things at all times. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus was very specific in telling those who were heavy-laden and overburdened to come to Him. If we’re experiencing fear and doubt, it’s because we’re not trusting God. We can’t trust Him in some things and not in others. We must give Him our all and not in part. We cannot hold back but in everything we must give thanks. There’s no such thing as God being almost sovereign.

If our situation needs a miracle, then we must realize that God is the only One that can perform that miracle. We must go to Him in prayer, casting all our cares on Him, and trust that He will handle it all, in His way, in His timing, which is always perfect. We must stop “labouring,” and start trusting.

Faith enters into God’s rest. In a violent, life-threatening storm, Jesus was peacefully asleep. In our storms of life, we too, can enter into rest with God. We must stop trying to do what only God can do. Often times, we are to stand still and watch God work (1 Chronicles 20: 15-17). Most of the time He simply wants us to believes (2 Chronicles 16:9). Entering into God’s rest, means continuing to trust Him, even if, our situation does not change. We can’t change our circumstances if the circumstances we are in are God’s will. We must trust that He has promised to work ALL things for good (Jeremiah 29:11). We might not be able to see how the trials and tribulations of our lives can possibly be used for good, but God is sovereign, we are not; His ways are higher and His ways are far better (Isaiah 55:8-9). Many times we stand in the way of our own miracle. We fail to see God working on our behalf. Do not put anything or anyone in the place of our God.

Faith trusts God and His Word. You can’t be an unbelieving believer. You either trust God or you don’t. You trust His Word or you don’t. Faith does not walk by sight, because every time you step out in faith, you can rest assured, you are going to be challenged with something that contradicts it. Faith is a choice, not a feeling. It is choice that declares, regardless of the way things appear, “I trust God.” Never forget that God sees your life from beginning to end. He is all-knowing, all-caring, and all-loving. There is nothing in your life that goes beyond His control. Trust Him to bring about victory in your life. You won’t be disappointed (1 Chronicles 5:20; Psalm 22:5).
If you find your faith and fear colliding, look to Jesus. He has not jumped out of the boat of your life. Seek God, enter into his rest, and trust His Word. When the storms of life hit you won’t have to dust off your Bible or go searching for a lost prayer. You’ll know where you faith is. Just trust the Lord even if the valley is deep or the mountain too high. Remember that prayer will make the darkest cloud withdraw. Love the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding.
I love you and God bless and keep you.
Your servant in the Lord.

THANKSGIVING

Prayer of Thanksgiving


O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.

To our Bishop Hon. Andres B. Quow and the First Lady Latoya and members of the Spiritual Baptist Faith in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Our Patriarch and Presiding Prelate His All Holiness Rt. Hon. Sir Dr. Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson of The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist # 1&2 and our Affiliate churches extend best wishes to you on this special occasion of thanksgiving. May Almighty God grant you the joy and strength to carry on.

 

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PATRIARCH AND PRESIDING PRELATE

His All Holiness Sir Dr. Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson

What is Easter Sunday – Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Today I greet my Anointed Archbishop and Apostolic Head, The Anointed Queen Abbess and Cardinal in New York, Senior Abbess in Trinidad my other ministers’ friends and well-wishers of the Mystical Order and to our Matriarch (ELECT). I am happy and privileged to be alive and on the land of the living to join with you and offer up our praise and thanks.

I want to greet my beloved Bishop Andres who will be celebrating his service thanksgiving today in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You my beloved brother has chosen a time when Christians all over the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. I can only hope that in our hearts we make that hope come alive.

I want to talk to you from the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and verses 17 to 19

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which have fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If, in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:17-19)

All of Christianity is hinged on a single event. No other topic has intrigued or disturbed people more. Some deny it, explaining with fervency that it was impossible. But those who believe in its power are given hope and life. This event is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions of the world. No other human was ever raised from the dead and still lives today, except the Son of God, Jesus Christ. His resurrection is a pivotal truth at the very heart of the entire message of redemption and salvation. Bless the Lord for us being a part of this great truth. We were not present in that time, but we are living witnesses of this great truth.

The Resurrection goes beyond a paranormal event in history. Its purpose was to redeem man, but it was also used to confound the minds of the Roman soldiers who had witnessed that Jesus was dead before his body was taken down from the cross. It was to stir up fear and fury among religious leaders who blamed his missing body on the disciples in order to cover up their evil unbelief. It was to humiliate those responsible for sealing up the tomb, thinking it would prevent his escape. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was intended to divide those who opposed its miracle from those who desired and desperately needed the restoration it promised.

Not much has been written of Thomas in Scriptures, other than reports of his apparent lack of faith, and of the day when he was changed forever. Jesus appeared to Thomas in His resurrected body and allowed the doubting disciple to touch His hands and side. This provided Thomas with the revelation that Jesus was who He said He was, and it proved that He had raised from the dead.

Peter was the first to enter Jesus’ tomb and see the empty grave clothes. Peter had suffered bitter grief when he denied he knew Jesus on the night of His arrest. After Jesus’ death, Peter may have felt there was no hope for him, or for reconciliation with Jesus. Just like many who are reading this message today. Many of us need a physical confirmation even today. But I have good news for you that we are living in faith. The doubts and fears we had in our lives are evident today of the restoration. Our faith is more alive and in this Mystical Order which I proudly lead alongside my beloved Archbishop.  At first, the empty tomb had confirmed his worst fears. But Peter’s faith was transformed when he was lovingly restored back into fellowship following a face-to-face encounter with the resurrected Christ.

The many women who had followed Jesus throughout his ministry had stood shocked and grieved at the foot of the cross. Yet they were the ones to whom the angels said, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” Matthew 28:6. Among them, Mary Magdalene was the first to speak to the risen Lord that she had so faithfully served. Mary stood weeping at the entrance to the tomb until Jesus himself appeared to her. With joy and excitement she ran to tell the disciples what she had witnessed. And so, in this Mystical order our beloved Queen Abbess Dr. Patricia, Abbess Marcia-Ann, Abbess Ursula Lawrence, Abbess Marcia Noel, Abbess Lynette and the Abbess Mother Lystra along with our Reverend Brenda, Reverend Julia faithful believers to this ministry and not forgetting our Matriarch Elect Janet. All hail to you women behold your son writing to you. As I listened in the spirit I can hear the voice of the women “Patriarch behold thy mother.”

The resurrection continues to be an anchor of hope for Christians today. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, the price for sins has been paid in full. But as a result of His resurrection, the power of death and the grave have been conquered. The same restoration that was provided for those who witnessed his resurrection is the same restoration available for those who continue to believe in its power today.

My beloved brothers and sisters of this Mystical Order I pray that God will restore to you the joy you once had and cause an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in double portions. Restore the smiles when the name of a member is mentioned. That this day the Lord will restore us into our rightful place and help us to stay in our lanes.

I will at all times be your Leader and serve you to the best of my ability is Spirit and in Truth

Your servant in Christ Jesus,