FINANCE MINISTER TABLES BUDGET—02/21/15
Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaica’s Finance Minister, has tabled a budget of $641.5 billion for 2015-2016. In the budget, which is a little more than the $102.2 billion in the government expense budget for fiscal 2014-2015. The budget estimates include over $432 billion in recurrent expenditures and $209 billion that combine various special projects. The Ministry of Finance and Planning will receive the largest portion of the resources with two -thirds of the monies marked for this ministry.
MAN CHARGED FOR LINK TO FALSE CLAIM SAYS HE WAS THREATENED—02/22/15
Maxie Robinson, the man who is facing charges of creating public mischief alleges that two operatives for the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) bribed him to report a false murder plot to law enforcement authorities. Robinson allegedly made a false claim that there was a plot to kill Andrew Holness, the leader of the JLP. He also claimed that his life was threatened by those who forced him to report the false plot.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY APPEALS REGULATOR’S DIRECTIVE—02/23/15
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) says that it plans to appeal a directive from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), which demanded the agency refund more than $973 million to its customers. OUR believes that the money was imposed unilaterally as adjustments of the foreign exchange on fuel provided by Petrojam between March and December 2013. JPS says the increase was due to the continued impact of the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.
OUR OBTAINS $24 MILLION FROM UTILITY FIRMS—02/24/15
Customers received a little less than $24 million from utility companies in 2014 due to a finding from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR). The regulator’s Consumer Affairs Unit said that $4 million of the total was recovered during the quarter from October 2014 to December 2014.
LEGISLATORS DECRIMINALIZE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA—02/25/15
Lawmakers in Jamaica decided to approval an act that will decriminalize small amounts of ganja. The act will also create a licensing agency charged with regulating a legal medicinal marijuana industry. The new rules also allow members of the Rastafari community to use marijuana freely for purposes of their religion.
JAMAICA WILL PAY BACK BILLIONS IN DEBT—02/26/15
Bond redemptions of the Jamaican government, along with other debt repayments, are expected to rise by 76 percent for the fiscal year that ends in March 2016. The total amount of debt is over $178 billion. The Ministry of Finance plans to pay out US$300 million on a nine-percent global bond that is scheduled to mature on June 2, 2015. Maturities on domestic debt will rise by nearly 195 percent to a total of $83.44 billion.
THWAITES ANNOUNCES NEW POLICY LIMITING STUDENT ATHLETES—02/27/15
Ronald Thwaites, Jamaica’s Education Minister, has announced a government policy that is meant to restrict the movement between schools of student athletes. Thwaites says that transferring a student for any reason requires the use of procedures put in place by the Education Regulations. These rules state that principals of both receiving and sending schools, and parents, must sign consent forms before any request for transfer is made of the Ministry.
STUDENTS PROTEST HIGH SCHOOL CLOSING IN TRENCH TOWN—02/27/15
The teachers and staff at Trench Town High School were blocked from entering the building for several hours as students, parents, and area residents protested the government’s plans to close the school and merge it with nearby Charlie Smith High School.
“I Am The Door”
I had done it countless times before, but this time was different. As I inserted the key in the lock in the door, the words of Jesus broke through in my spirit: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9, KJV). I got the message immediately. In the very same way going through the front door was the only way to get into my house, without breaking any of the windows, going through Jesus was the only way to salvation.
The word “saved” used in the text is the word sode’-zo in the Greek, and is best understood as “to save, deliver, or protect; to heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole” (Strong’s, G4982). This understanding, when applied, gives us a richer perspective of our position in Christ. When we enter our homes, we enter a place of safety. Closed windows and doors keep us safe not only from those who would steal, kill, and destroy, but as we go about our business in our world of anxieties and uncertainties, the comforts of home also offer us a place of refuge; a place to rest, be refreshed, and to be restored.
It is no different when we are in Christ. As Bible Scholar Matthew Henry stated, “By faith in him, as the great Mediator between God and man, we come into covenant and communion with God….True believers are at home in Christ; when they go out, they are not shut out as strangers, but have liberty to come in again; when they come in, they are not shut in as trespassers, but have liberty to go out. They go out to the field in the morning, they come into the fold at night; and in both the Shepherd leads and keeps them, and they find pasture in both: grass in the field, fodder in the fold. In public, in private, they have the word of God to converse with, by which their spiritual life is supported and nourished, and out of which their gracious desires are satisfied; they are replenished with the goodness of God’s house.”
Those benefits are only realized by those who come in through Christ. Just in case we’re tempted to think there is some other way, He stated quite emphatically, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). And in John 10:1, ““Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” We cannot come into salvation by being morally good, by doing good things, through our self-righteousness, our positions in the Church, our family connections, or even our growing up in the Church. It is only those who call upon the name of the Lord [with right feelings; that is, with a humble sense of our sinfulness and our need of pardon, and with a willingness to receive eternal life as it is offered us in the gospel” (Adam Barnes)] who shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
One door, one way, and Christ is it. For those of us who have found Him, what a comforting thought! If you have not yet found Him, you can call Him and He will answer. If you know someone still looking, why not show them that door today?