In this Era of Social Media

In this era of sophisticated technological and social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest, where the world has been reduced in size and space, how can we understand the meaning of true love?

When we do not spend quality time to know each other but with the click of the button on any smart device, find the details of someone’s life – their thoughts, their likes, dislikes…

2.gif

When we are made to feel so special because a million and one friends are reminded it’s our birthday, hence, the need to wish us…

When we sometimes do not feel the urge to wish someone a happy birthday but are afraid when it gets to our turn, they’d also not send us wishes…

When we intentionally post certain content for those group of ‘friends’ to see…

When we tip vendors to post our wedding photos and ensure they go viral for our ‘friends’ to see…

When there is no clear difference between our personal lives and what we post online…

When we have specialised in ‘branding’ ourselves so well that when others get onto our social media pages, they feel their lives are too boring and must do something about it…

When we are forced to look and act in a certain way every time because that is what attracted our followers to us…

When we sometimes check out the pages of our friends and former colleagues and they make us wonder which route of life we took…

3.gif

When our lives have even been reduced much further through the creation of ‘closed’ groups where we seem to find solace in the arms of people we hardly know…

When we see people in trouble but are concerned about getting their information online than helping them…

When we allow the photos of dead bodies and the manner in which people lost their lives to go viral but, when it comes to a church programme, the last stop for that poster will be our devices…

When we do not care so much about verifying details and the consequences they might have on victims, so far as, we are the first to report that juicy piece of information…

When we do not really care about the emotions of other people but say it anyway, because it will attract a lot of comments and reactions from our friends and followers…

When we ask people to say ‘Amen’ and share posts by putting fear in them…

“Share this to all your contacts or lose that special person in your life.”  

“If you want 1 million dollars, type Amen and share with 5,000 people.” 

giphy-downsized1.gif

When some of us are shy to declare our faith publicly because of what our friends and followers would say or do?

“Are you a Christian? No, I believe in God but not in organised religion… 

giphy-downsized

In this era of social media, it’s really hard to tell who is that genuine friend or brother or sister. The next time we decide to post on social media, remember this:

…“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. – Luke 16:15

Advertisements

Of Ebony, Life and Death

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom – Psalm 90:12

In less than three days, I’ve been forced to think of the whole phenomenon of life, death and life-and-death. First, it was the devastating news of the death a cousin who suffered some complications after delivery. Baby is fine but the mother is gone.

While recovering from this shattering news, three young lives have also been lost in a gory accident. This incident included the 20-year-old musician making waves in the country at the moment – Ebony and her friends.

The news of their death has saddened me tremendously because of their ages and the manner through which they lost their lives. Nobody deserves to die in childbirth nor an accident. Every young person deserves to go through life, age graciously and die after 70 years. Isn’t that supposed to be the case or what we normally say? It is high time we saw our lives as fleeting – it could be taken away from us anyway.

It is our prayer that the good Lord will comfort their families. Let’s not be quick to judge or propound theories (as some of us are so quick to do). The question of their salvation is between them and God since He is the omniscient one. Instead of questioning their deaths and being judges, quick assessments should rather be done in our lives. The Bible says;

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

Death is a natural process and we will all go through it one day. Just like the second coming of our Lord, we do not know the time and day it will happen, therefore, the need to be more intentional in how we live. Let’s not wait until some ‘future’ to start living out the purpose for which Christ has called us for. We need to see our lives as a loan from God and the loan recoverer  (God) may come for His money at any time and of course, with interest. How are you supposed to impact the world?

If our lives are this fleeting, why do we hold grudges against someone/people? What is the point in being so competitive while the world can accommodate all of us? Why do we accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)? Why do you keep postponing those Godly ambitions to a later date when the loan recoverer can come and take his money (life) at any time?

This post is not to make us fearful but rather designed to put us in a reflective and sombre mood.  We need to make each day count, starting now.

NB – Is it possible to convey this message to the recipients of our taxes? Can we show some sense of urgency in our developmental processes? Can there be a responsive ambulance service,  dedicated health workers who are enthusiastic about what they are doing because their salaries are sufficient and other systems are working in their facilities? Can the road contractors also be more deliberate in their work?

We will all die someday but the proper systems can slow this process a bit.

The Love of an ‘INVISIBLE’ God

‘God loves you’ is probably one of the most common phrases used by Christians. It is used during church services, when winning souls, to console people in difficult situations, when things are going well and in our daily conversations. These words have become so common that they are gradually becoming a cliché. Have we actually sat down to meditate on the meaning of this simple words? A God, who is unseen, loves me (insert your name)? Is that possible? How does this love manifest?

One of the most common ways of defining the love of God is through the biblical salvation story of Him giving His only Son to come and die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). There are other scriptures that describe this love that God has for us including:

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:26 )

Apart from what we know from the Bible, the love of this ‘invisible’ God is so ubiquitous. It is expressed in the most simple forms that we are beginning to take them for granted. It is now a normal phenomenon to wake up from bed feeling very healthy and forgetting to say ‘thank you’ to the giver of life. Through our own efforts, we go through days, months and even years of not hearing any bad news. We have worked so hard in school and are gainfully employed, therefore, we are not able to decipher the meaning of God’s love. Everything has become so normal that every gift from God is being seen as results of our hard work.

Before you categorise all of God’s gifts as ‘normal’ things, remember there are people who choked on their food. Some people board buses and are not able to reach their destinations. There are 28-year-olds who are dying of heart attacks but you wake up each morning and are able to go through the day so effortlessly.

You remember the day that guy proposed to you or when the lady accepted your love proposal? The way you heart flipped when you vowed to spend your lives together. You ensured your life and day revolved around each other. It is time to transfer this same measure of love or even more to God, the giver of life and the provider of every gift.

As for the love of this ‘invisible’ God, it is indescribable but it can be seen in the most minute forms. If you haven’t spent some time today to say ‘thank you to God,’ this is your chance to do so.

 

 

Pause. Evaluate January 

Development experts spend quite a substantial amount of their resources on monitoring and evaluation when executing a project. In fact, they hire officers in charge of this unique area even before the project starts. Why not at the end? This is because they do not underestimate the role of monitoring and evaluation. Measuring their successes and failures as they go through a project ensures they are charting the right course and perhaps, saves them more resources. If we determined to make good use of this new year, we can as well take a cue from the development experts – monitor and evaluate our progress with our various goals monthly.

Pause. Let’s go back to January 1. It’s been 30 amazing days already. How have you fared? Have you started working on your resolutions yet? Are you spending more time in prayer and reading the word? Are you working on acquiring that new skill, reading those books already or building yourself up in a specific capacity? Are you practicing that good saving habit? How about that new business? Have you started working on the proposal? If you haven’t started, it’s not too late to put down some goals, of course, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow the year to pass by without you placing some demand on God, the Father.

One practice the Bible encourages is the writing down of our visions as stated in Habakkuk 2:2,

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets …

There are certain ideas and dreams that God has laid in our hearts. You may choose to call them resolutions, goals, dreams, ambitions or aspirations, but, take a paper or your phone, state them and include how the Holy Spirit has directed you to work towards them. You can only know the mind of the spirit when you spend time praying quality prayers.

This month, we learnt that the Holy Spirit makes everything possible for believers, hence, it is important to involve God in our plans. We also learned that whatever you ingest is what we bring out as Christians, therefore, we should be wary of what we allow into our senses. Let’s learn to build ourselves up by taking in the right stuff – which will help us achieve our bigger goals. It could be reading more books or watching videos that can build our intellect.

Take some time and cast your mind back to the beginning of the year and take an assessment. Do you like how you’ve spent the month? If you do, keep it up! If not, let’s involve God and work towards the various ministries that God has before us.

It’s been a great start but we trust that God has more in store for us. Let’s hold Him by His word!

Book Review: Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul

For the Christian going through challenging times and looking for testimonies to rekindle their faith or that person who keeps wondering if God is still performing miracles as He did in the Biblical era then the Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul, compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, is the book you need to read. I chose this book purposely to improve upon my Christian storytelling ability but as I went through the pages, I realised that the Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul was not just a book, but an epistle to the modern Christian which leaves an indelible mark on the heart.

The 378-page book is filled with 101 short motivational stories under the headings of ‘giving,’ ‘love,’ ‘facing obstacles,’ ‘parent and parenting,’ ‘dealing with death,’ etc. The stories are written so clearly that it is almost impossible to decipher who the target readers are. This probably indicates that the book can be read and assimilated by anybody in any age group.

When going through the book, you can almost feel your soul moving along with the different characters and some of the stories are filled with so many emotions that if you are the type who is easily moved to tears, you need to psyche yourself up for that.

It is quite challenging to select the most inspiring story from the book but being a new parent myself, stories under the ‘parent and parenting’ and ‘facing obstacles’ categories blessed me tremendously. One of the most touching stories titled ‘Medicine’ almost moves the reader to tears. The story is narrated by a single mother whose child had developed an ear infection. She had no money and because she lived on the outskirts of town and it had snowed heavily, it was almost impossible to take the child to the hospital. She made an urgent call to a doctor who prescribed a drug and listed places where she could get it from. She made frantic phone calls to all of these places but they all asked for money.  After several attempts which failed, the mother decided to break into one of the pharmacies and steal the drug since perhaps, that could save her child. When the option of stealing occurred to her, another voice immediately directed her to make one last call to a pharmacy which she obliged. She made the call and this time, the pharmacy decided to give the drug to her on credit. Not only that, one of the workers drove through the snow, to her location to deliver the said medicine. If this is not the work of God, then tell me who else can cause such a turn-around in someone’s life.

There are several stories in that book and it is not far-fetched to say the reader can see him/herself in at least two or more of them. As Christians, the Bible even admonishes us to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonian 5:11) and Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul did exactly that to me and I highly recommend it.

NB: I would like to see the African or probably the Ghanaian version of this book so that we can relate properly to the characters and the environment better (maybe I will do that collection).

3 Biblical Principles to Having a Successful Year

Christian Blog Ghana

Dr Emmanuel Sogah || Medical Doctor|| Budding Minister

When the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of January, there seems to be some glimmer of hope that the New Year will automatically be better than the previous one. It is not bad but to have a successful year requires deliberate steps and like a soldier preparing for war, it is important to have a plan and strategy.

People start the year with different ambitions and resolutions but half-way, they lose hope even though they believe the will of God for them is to have an amazing and successful year.

To ensure 2018 becomes one of the best years yet, believers are required to follow these principles as listed by Dr. Emmanauel Sogah: 

  1.  Abide in the Word

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you – John 15:7

To have a great year, you need to be a person of the word.  It is in the word that you’ll find strategies and ideas to accomplish whichever goal you list. When there is a union between the Christian and the word of God, whatsoever you ask will be granted.

In God’s mind, there is no prayer of a Christian that should be rejected. Jesus in his earth walk demonstrated that when he, for example, spoke words to the fig tree and it was done (Mark 11:12-25).  As a Christian, this should be our everyday experience – when we speak we ought to receive answers and that can only be done when there is a perfect union between the Christian and the word of God.

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to Influence you

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:35

After setting our goals for the year, we wonder how we are going to achieve them. Just as Mary conceived her baby after she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, so shall we achieve our goals this year by the influence of the Holy Spirit.  This point is also emphasised in Zechariah 4:6

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

If you are going to achieve anything, then it is going to be by the Holy Spirit. It is also important to fellowship with the Holy Spirit by praying with other tongues. He (the Holy Spirit) will help you as emphasised in Romans 8:26.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

The Spirit gives us insight into the future for us to understand the details of projects we wish to undertake. The Holy Spirit also helps us in our shortcomings when it comes to goals we have set for the year. Joshua received unorthodox directions from God to march around the walls of Jericho, seven times (Joshua 6) in order to bring the walls down. If we are going to succeed this year, we’ll need to go by the strategies of the Holy Spirit which is sometimes uncommon and not according to the systems of the world.

  1. Pursue Excellence

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

Ensure excellence is seen whatever you do as a Christian this year. Be steadfast and immovable in the decisions you take. Pay attention to expressing your inward virtues.

If these things (aforementioned) are in you in an increasing measure, fruitfulness will be inevitable.

You can also click on the link below to listen to the audio.

Garbage in, Garbage out!

Christian Blog Ghana

                   Pastor Ernest Osei                                   Ordained Minister of the Gospel, Journalist, Life Coach, Real Estate Consultant and a Law Student.

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), in the context of information technology, is a slang expression that means regardless of how accurate a program’s logic is, the results will be incorrect if the input is invalid.

While the term is most frequently used in the context of software development, GIGO can also be used to refer to any decision-making system where failure to make right decisions with precise, accurate data could lead to wrong, nonsensical results according to Techopedia.

Similarly, as a Christian, what you feed your spirit with is very important as it has a direct reflection on your lifestyle and confessions to a greater extent. Jesus cautions in Matt. 12:34,

“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…”

When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in perverse speech or language contrary to the truth of God’s word. However, if the heart has been impregnated by the Spirit of God, the mouth will begin to speak like God does! A person’s works produce the fruits, and the heart then is known by what it produces.

Therefore for a Christian to manifest Christ, he/she would need to have the mind, which is a spirit renewed more and more. The Apostle Paul succinctly expresses it in Eph. 4:23

   “…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind”

Once the spirit of your mind is renewed, it is then reconnected to the Spirit of God which would be evidenced outwardly by your lifestyle.

Endeavour to discipline your spirit man always by fasting and the study of God’s word so that your spirit would be rekindled to enable you to connect to the Spirit of God and hear His voice when He speaks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Resolutions – Are they relevant to Christians? 

Back in Senior High School, a very good friend and I used to joke that our new year resolutions must be more terrible than the previous year. We resolved to be more ‘sly’ with our seniors, ‘cut’ school functions and simply break more rules because to us, in the previous year, we had been good but new year resolutions meant doing things differently.

Even though we were not confident enough to put into practice those resolutions, the perception we had added some excitement to the way we approached our seniors. That was also a wrong mindset and a not-so-good way to start the new year.

New Year resolutions are often defined as a tradition where individuals resolve to achieve certain goals (positive) and quit undesired behaviour.

Some of us, while we grow have stopped believing in new year resolutions because of personal reasons. We used to make lists of things we wish to achieve in a particular year but halfway, we realised we could not achieve them, hence, the decision to do without them.

We’d love to lose weight, continue our education, find better jobs, start our own businesses, find life partners, move out of our parents’ homes among others. These are some examples of new year resolutions.

The new year does not automatically change who we are. We do not become superhumans because the clock struck 12 midnight on 1-1-2018 but as Christians, we believe God’s mercies are new every morning and He’s a faithful God (Lamentations 3:22) who has the interest of His Children at heart. That is the reason He’d like to see us succeed each day and that is the reason we believe in positive new year resolutions.

From a personal experience with this blog, anytime I listed ideas of topics, I realised I was able to follow through proving right Habakkuk 2:2:

“Write down your visions on scrolls…”

Do not just fold your arms and watch the year pass by. Prayerfully seek the face of God on what He’d like to achieve with you in 2018 and list whatever He reveals to you. Go back and ask Him how He’d like you to achieve them. Hold God’s hand every day through quality prayer time and word study and see if you will not achieve what you had on that new year resolutions’ list.

We’ll be here at the end of the year to take your testimonies.

Happy New Year!

To my Husband on our Second Wedding Anniversary 

When you had chicken pox on the eve of our wedding day, I knew our marriage had begun on an interesting note. Yes, we missed our honeymoon because you had to recover from that condition but looking back now, I know it was all of God’s plans.

Several counsellors and marriage books predict that the first few years of marriage are the most difficult but I’m glad to say that we are bent on proving them wrong. You keep saying that our story should be different and our marriage should be seen in God’s eye and not from the world’s system.

Even though we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, God has been amazing to us. We always manage to pull through challenges and are able to look back with a suitcase full of lessons. I can confidently say my faith in God has increased tremendously because of our marriage and my association with you.

I now understand why counsellors place so much emphasis on developing friendships before jumping into marriage. I also understand the power and the role of communication in marriages. I’m certain that friendship and good communication are directly related. In fact, they are Siamese Twins. 😁 There is also the important role of praying, compromising and sacrificing.

I try to evaluate our marriage from time to time to ascertain if that feeling of ‘love’ is still there. The one with the butterflies fluttering at the bottom of your tummy. Yeah, I do feel it at times but I think my definition and feeling of love has changed over the years. It is now deeper and currently includes being more patient, tolerant, understanding and choosing words more carefully.

Being your supportive wife is also my definition of this new love which sometimes includes trying to educate myself on what is happening in the medical field in order to have meaningful conversations with you. In subsequent years, I hope to fall in love with Manchester United and the guy called Lukaku to the point that when he scores, I will have the urge to jubilate. I also hope to love the EPL, UEFA Champions League (didn’t even know they were two different leagues 😂) and all the other leagues in the world (Spanish, Italian, Chinese etc ). What I also hope to find bearable in the coming years is that Sunday afternoon live commentary on Citi FM.

It’s been two great years and I’m glad we chose each other for this journey. I strongly believe the next couple of years will be super amazing with God being our guide.

With so much love on this special day,

Your one and only sweetheart,

Dela.

Celebrating Christmas in Ghanaian Style 

The weather becomes dry and hazy, and there is a high demand for shea butter and other oil-based creams to keep the skin moist.

Christmas carols are sung on the radio and there is this infectious excitement which is transmitted from the presenters to listeners. The exhilaration in the atmosphere with everyone looking forward to the new year with hope and anticipation cannot be missed.

The Pentatonix music group captures almost all the television stations with their acapella renditions of the Christmas carols. Christmas-themed movies are also shown to keep everyone in high spirits.

Business owners do not cease to remind us of the season too. On both traditional and social media, giveaways are organized and those that take advantage of them, smile into the period. Others give discounts to their goods and services, in order to clear them or rather, be a blessing to their customers.

Many corporate bodies organise end-of-year dinners, awards and parties during this season and if you are daring, you could attend some of these events (without invitation) and enjoy some free food and dance to some good tunes.

Individuals, organisations and other bodies take it upon themselves to raise funds to help the poor, needy, orphans and widows in the society. One of them is currently being organised by p31 woman . They are taking usable items and would be selling them at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park on January 6th, 2018. The proceeds will be going to five different charities specialised in meeting the needs of children, therefore if you have any items gathering dust on your shelf, you could give them a call.

Another trend also, is the endless wedding invitations one is bound to receive during this period. Is it possible that couples wait until this period to get married in order to show their spouses to God right before the new year? (You tell me.)

In our churches, the decor is changed to commemorate the season – white, red and green themes are visible everywhere and huge Christmas trees with beautiful lights are mounted. Church services are organised where the scriptures are read and carols sang to reminisce about the birth of Jesus Christ who is the reason for the season. Apart from that, programmes designed to bring families together are also organised by most churches.

Families also spend time together since most schools and organizations break during this season. Most homes smell of good food and other savories in anticipation of visits from other family members and friends. Do not be amazed to find food items which are usually not purchased sitting in homes during the Christmas season.

How do you normally spend Christmas? Share your Christmas tradition (s) with us 😊