From Accounting to Gospel Music – How an ‘Encounter’ Totally Changed the Dreams of Miss Ivy Okyere

Her dreams of wearing high heels and working in corporate Ghana as an Accountant was cut short a few months after she graduated from the Pentecost University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. She wears high heels, though, but this time she stands in front of large congregations and her mission is it is to win souls, heal the sick and encourage everyone through her eight-track gospel album.

The musician, who completed Achimota School in 2006, is also a pastor at Zoe Outreach Embassy in Accra. Ivy Okyere’s life and dreams were altered when she began her national service and had a near-death experience.

“In November 2011, I fell sick and appeared somewhere that I can’t tell but I knew it is some kind of spiritual experience,” Miss Okyere said.

In what appeared to be a vision, the gospel musician went to a ‘certain place’ where she saw people dressed in white gowns and in there, she began to ask questions.

“I saw people in a queue as if they were going somewhere. A man walked up to me and told me that these people are going to present themselves to a king,” she said. “The man said I should not join because I was not part but I could only observe.”

According to the musician, that was when she moved out of the queue and became more conscious of her environment. She does not remember how she came out of the trance but what the singer recalls was the instruction she received from the ‘man’ in the said experience.

“Go and sing because this is the time for you to sing,” the exact words of the unknown man in the ‘experience.’

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It was with this instruction and later, a confirmation from another Man-of-God [name witheld] that Miss Okyere, with no prior experience in singing, began to work on her album that was released in April, this year. In between heeding to the call and to the release of her debut album, the singer made some adjustments to her career and prepared herself to do full-time ministry.

“I was working in Multicredit Savings and Loans in Kumasi before I moved to Accra and I have worked in an automobile company. Currently, I am in the process of setting my own business,” said Miss Okyere.

The musician recounts with excitement, how close friends and family react when they listen to her songs for the first time. Most of them are surprised at how an aspiring accountant could switch into full-time gospel ministry because, to them, the change has been ‘drastic.’

“They are happy. Everybody goes like I am happy for you. Everybody goes like the songs are powerful. Everybody goes like you hear the lyrics clearly and they are biblical,” she said. “It’s amazing that the whole thing happened just like that. I remember, the first time people heard me singing, actually even my own mother, she was like ‘how, what happened to you?’[Miss Okyere giggles] No one actually knew I had the voice to sing but right after the encounter, I began to have this whole experience. So it’s amazing,” the gospel artiste added.

WhatsApp Image 2018-10-17 at 14.34.10.jpegWhen questioned on the choice of her style of music, Miss Okyere remarks they are exactly what she receives in her spirit. Unlike some gospel musicians who write songs based on their experiences, she receives her inspiration while she worships and prays.

“Sometimes, I see myself singing in a dream and when I wake up, I still have the songs. What I do is I write them or I pick my phone and record them,” she said.

Her favourite track on the album is the praise song titled ‘Nkunim’ [meaning victory]. She likes it because even though she received a revelation of it, the song summarises her experiences.

Nkunim because I believe that through all the experiences I’ve had, the Lord gave me the victory. I have other songs that portray that but for now, that is my favorite,” she said.

Miss Okyere lists Don Moen, Sinach, Nathaniel Bassey, Joe Mettle, and Willy and Mike as some gospel musicians who inspire her but commenting on the current gospel tracks being produced in Ghana, the singer believes artists should be more focused on spreading the word of God.

“Money is good, fame is good and I think you have to use your talent but you shouldn’t neglect the fact that we are in the ministry with a purpose. It is a call and you have to heed to the call and not any other thing,” she said.

The gospel artiste, together with her team, are working on shooting music videos, finding radio slots to lead live-worship sessions and preparing to record tunes for her next album. In subsequent releases, she hopes to translate the songs into several other languages.

“That is what the Bible says and this is the ministry the Lord has given me. I also need to make sure that every tongue, every tribe, everybody understands the message to know what the Lord is doing, so,  it is going to be in different languages and the songs will be all over the globe,” Miss Okyere said.

“For upcoming gospel artiste, I would say, once you are in, do things right. Do not imitate the bad but correct what you think is wrong and stay focused. As long as you have chosen to go with the gospel, remember Jesus is the reason for the gospel.  Do it the Jesus’ way. Say it right and sing it right by portraying what it stands for,” she concluded.

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To listen to Miss Okyere’s album, please click on the play button. Let us know what you think about her tracks in the comment box. 😊

Guest Post: Baptism – To be Immersed or not Immersed

One spiritual exercise that has generated a lot of debate in the Christian faith is baptism. While some denominations believe that baptism should be by immersion, others believe that it can also be by sprinkling water on the believer as there is no strict form baptism has to take. In so far as there has been a symbolic act to signify baptism, that settles it.

This leads us to the question – What is Baptism?

The word ‘Baptism’ is a transliteration of the Greek word ‘Baptizo’ which means to immerse. The same word is also referred to as ‘Mikveh’ in Hebrew to mean an immersion. Basically, it is an immersion into another substance, for the purpose of being saturated with it, such as water in this instance. The new covenant also presents the immersion of a believer ‘’in the Spirit of God’’ and also ‘’with Fire’’ Matthew 3:11. For the purposes of this article, we will limit it to water baptism.

Baptism was seen as a ritual cleansing referred to as ‘Mikveh’ in Hebrew and was an established practice in Israel which was understood to be a work of the Spirit of Yahweh for inner cleansing. John’s Mikveh immersion was an outward symbol after an inner change that enabled repentant individuals to enter into an elevated state to prepare them to receive the Spirit of God and enter the Kingdom of God. John 3:5.

Baptism is, therefore, a higher spiritual exercise where the heavens open unto the believer for which matter it has to be dealt with in all seriousness. After John had announced the coming of the Messiah, he eventually baptized him in the Jordan River, further confirming the significance of water baptism. We read in Matthew 3:16 that after Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.

As Christians, we are charged to go into the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:9 KJV. This means that after a person has believed in the word of God, the second part is baptism, which is an outward expression of the believer’s faith in God.

Therefore, from what has been enunciated, a believer is either baptized or not baptized as there is no middle ground; Baptism is only by immersion!

This is a Guest Post submitted by Ernest Nana Osei. Ernest is an ordained minister of the gospel, journalist and a law student.

Book Review: The Scarlet Thread

Set apart in different centuries, Francine Rivers tells a story of two women who were related but had never met, yet, shared a similar experience. Both women, during certain periods of their marriages, had difficulties accepting the dreams/directions of their husbands. The author must be commended for doing an awesome job of weaving the two different stories in an engaging way, leaving the reader with no choice than to keep at the almost 500-page novel.

Immediately I picked the book, I could sense how the story was going to turn out. I somehow knew Sierra’s relationship with her husband wasn’t the best. What husband accepts a new role in another organisation, in a different State without discussing it thoroughly with the wife and children? Just imagine yourself waking up to the news of your husband or close relative selling your house, in the neighbourhood you’ve lived in all your life and resettling the entire family to another side of the planet because of his new job. No prepping or orientation was conducted but that same person requires you to jump with excitement to the unexpected news with the excuse that he’s mentioned this subject once. (Really? Alex. Really?Unamused Face on Samsung Experience 9.5 )Right then, I could smell a self-centred husband considering his needs, dreams, and ambitions as paramount to everyone’s. Whatever happened to proper communication in a marriage? I guess these weren’t in Alex’s thoughts since he saw Sierra as a mere housewife who had no ambition. Person Shrugging on Google Android 9.0

But Sierra gradually became a strong force later in the story and I rooted for her when she decided to pick her life up, reject monies from her husband and welcomed her independence. I loved how she transformed from the lady who always blurted out her opinion on issues to someone who paused, thought through her words and the likely implications they may have before she uttered them. To me, the husband deserved more than what was meted out to him by Sierra, in the closing pages. How the story ended was somehow expected, maybe something more tragic or dramatic would have made the book more thrilling and different but in all, it was a good book.

I felt there were some pertinent lessons in there for every Christian, particularly, for those who are married and those seeking to get married. It makes you realise the importance of the God-factor in every marriage and lays emphasis on the role of communication in every relationship. Have you or your family taken a drastic decision which has had a seemingly terrible toll on your life? Then you need to read Francine Rivers’ Scarlet Thread. It will help lessen the burden and make the change bearable.

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If you read my post last week, you’d notice I mentioned The Scarlet Thread was my first Christian novel, therefore, if you’ve read any books in this genre or you know of other great authors I should look out for, please drop the titles in the comment box. Thanks!  Grinning Face With Big Eyes on Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update

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Meet the Blogger: 7 Questions with Delali

This is the 100th post and according to the polls which ran on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the majority of you want to know more about the blog administrator/manager. I am, therefore, going to pose questions and answer them myself. If there is anything else you wish to know about me, you can leave that in the comment box. I will try to be as frank and fun as possible:

About Delali

IMG-20180616-WA0013My name is Delali and I do an 8am-4pm on weekdays as a Communications and Marketing person with an NGO. I am a mother of an almost two-year-old, a wife of almost three years and a blogger.

In 2013, I started a personal blog and a year later, I got a job as a content developer, managing the blog for a real estate marketing company. I have also blogged about cars but I made the big switch to Christian blogging in 2015. I started by posting content every day but along the line, I fell back (I was adjusting to married life, probably 😂). I wasn’t consistent in 2016 but I picked up from where I left off last year. I am more consistent, deliberate and I ensure at least a post goes up each week.

Why Christian Blogging?

First, I believe I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to start this. Secondly, because I thought there weren’t a lot of serious Ghanaian Christian Bloggers but as I searched wider, I have identified a number of them who are doing amazing things (blog post for another day). Thirdly, I see so much content that needs to be developed in this niche. In other words, there are a lot of stories that can be told about our belief and anyone who ventures into this niche will never lack content. Amen!😂 Finally, because of my background in communications, this blog gives me the avenue to apply most of what I have studied eg. in print journalism, graphic communications, advertising etc.

What inspires you?

Everything around me. I think I find it easier to write and a couple of friends have remarked that my posts are more in-depth than my speech (I don’t know why). I guess it’s my gift.

As a blogger, I make time to visit, read and comment on other people’s blogs and that provides me with ideas on what to post. Through that, I have made a number of acquaintances, an activity every blogger should take seriously. I also draw inspiration from a lot of people. I don’t have a role model yet, but, I pick lessons from the lives of different personalities.

What are your struggles as a blogger?

Do I have any? At first, I used to worry about the number of people who visited the blog after I wrote on certain subjects but I have gotten over that. How? Because I’ve realised this blog had two types of audiences – Ghanaians and other nationalities. Different posts appeal to different audiences. For instance, when I do a book review, the number of non-Ghanaians who click to read is higher and the opposite is what takes place when I create funny posts. 😂 I am learning to find the balance, ie. creating posts that appeal to both groups.

My other challenge is finding the time to put together the content. Currently, I have conducted an interview with a former classmate of mine, who is doing gospel music and I need to transcribe, create a post and upload it to the blog. I need to do a review on my first Christian novel – Francine River’s Scarlet Thread. (***Don’t be shocked. I didn’t know anyone wrote Christian novels. 😂 Perhaps, you can drop titles and authors of Christian novels in the comment box so I search and read.*** ). I am also planning a special giveaway for loyal followers of the blog and I need to find time to do all of that.

What are some of your favourite tools as a blogger?

The whiteboard hanging in my room and a marker.😂 That is where I write my ideas and because it is close to my bed, it does not only serve as a reminder but haunts me when I do not meet my timelines. I also have ‘Keep’ on my Nokia 8 which serves as a notepad and I use that to jot down my ideas.

Which are your most read posts?

My most read posts include 3 Reasons I Dislike the Empire Series for 2015, To my Husband on our Second Wedding for 2017 and for this year, Me? A pastor’s wife? Never. And the blog’s Homepage too. 😂

How do you use social media? 

I am deliberate with what I post on my personal social media pages. I am guided by this principle: I do not want people to know everything about me with just a click of a button. If you want to know more about me, you need to ask and I will provide you with the details. With this, I can say I am a very private person and that is why it has taken such a long time for me to create this post.

For blogging, social media is a useful tool. I started this blog by using a pseudonym because I had wanted to remain anonymous but I realised it was very difficult getting people to read the posts. 😂 Most people will read your blog posts because they know who is behind what they are reading, therefore, promoting the posts on social media prompts them to take a look at what you have.

How does the future look for Delali and Christian Blog?

For the Christian Blog, I am working hard to get it established. I also envision a Christian magazine whenever I look at this blog. I am also working on finding ways to remunerate guest bloggers and contributors. It wouldn’t be bad to write for the blog and get some money for sharing your personal experiences and knowledge.

Personally, I would love to take a 12-months vacation to Bali or The Maldives or Cancun and work on my first Christian novel… (it’s a dream. Please allow me!) 😂

© picasion.com_9CWp

 

Guest Post: Who is Your King?

In Africa and the world, the Ashanti Kingdom is one of the oldest surviving empires. Found in modern-day Ghana, the kingdom covers the Ashanti region, of course,  that explains its name. The Ashanti Kingdom is so vast, it stretches into other regions of the country. They were particularly known for their wealth in gold and other natural resources, past military achievements and their beautiful culture.

In the past, when a newly installed Asante Hene (Ashanti King) assumed the throne, he made a peculiar demand. He sent an order out to all who owned lands in the area considered as part of the Kingdom. The order – landowners were made to pay a levy to the Asante Hene before a set time. Defaulters automatically lost ownership of their property.

Just to let you know how powerful the Kingdom is, permit me to narrate a more recent event. This happened when the Asante Hene lost his mother, the Queen Mother. As part of the tradition, they organised a befitting burial for the Queen Mother and a curfew was declared. On a particular night, from dusk to dawn, no soul was supposed to be found on particular outlined streets in the Kingdom. That was the night the body of the Queen was conveyed to be washed and embalmed for the final burial.

The interesting thing that everyone living in that part of the country, no matter your nationality, is subject to the rules of the Asante Hene and his Kingdom. This has worked well through the years and that is synonymous to the Christian life of whoever you obey, you are subject to.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12 KJV‬‬‬‬

Today, many Christians struggle because they live double lives. They are struggling with addictions and secret sins. They profess Jesus Christ as Lord but are not ready to live as followers of Christ. They will be in church on Sunday mornings and the local club in the evenings. Christians do not even have Christian friends because they find them boring. We serve the Lord God but are fully subject to secret sins, addictions and love for money.

If every single decision you make in your life is based on how much money is involved and what you are going to earn for yourself, you are possibly serving money. If there is a pet sin that controls you, such that you are unable to stop, you are in servitude to this sin and you need to turn fully to Christ. The good book says…

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16 KJV‬‬‬‬

We cannot serve two masters. Definitely, one will be considered greater than the other. Consider this seriously and be guided by the Word…

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 KJV‬‬‬‬

If God is your king, your whole world should be ruled by Him and that includes every single aspect of your life. The Word of God is a complete manual. King Solomon said that there is no new thing under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And in fact, men have lived before us who had the same challenges as we face today. Everything recorded in the Bible is very much relevant today. Decide to live by it, and allow yourself to be guided by the Creator of the universe. Ask yourself this all-important question:

Who is my King?

This is a Guest Post submitted by Nimuah Tarko. Nimuah is a Ghanaian, a passionate Christian Blogger, a church worker, a husband, a God lover and recently a father. He is the Blog Administrator of Wisdom Treasures. 

You are a ‘FRENEMY’ if you Show any of these 15 Traits…

You may be a frenemy without knowing it. Read this post to confirm if you are one or not… 

True friendship is that relationship you have with an individual who isn’t your relative, neither are you bonded by any vows to be true to them, yet, you truly love, cherish and care about them and, will do anything in your power to ensure they are comfortable. The Bible even testifies that two heads are better that one (Ecclesiastes 4:9) and Proverbs 27:9 also says:

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” 

If true friendship is this beautiful and everyone wishes to have a friend that they can lean on, then why are there so many complaints of mistrusts and betrayal among ‘friends’ recently? This phenomenon is so bad that the radio station that I listen to at dawn has dedicated the entire week to praying against bad friends (can you imagine?) 😯. This implies bad friendships are gradually creeping into our churches and among Christians.🙄

There must be a thin line between being a genuine friend and gradually taking on the status of an enemy. I don’t want to believe anyone sets out to want to be a bad friend and cause heartaches to another person (I may be wrong, though) but the process of becoming a ‘frenemy’ may start in the mind, in the form of tiny droplets of envy and could later degenerate into actions which may be detrimental to a relationship. That is why the Bible encourages us to guard our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) because all of a sudden, the friendship that people cherished so much could detonate into a rivalry, transforming two people into ‘frenemies’ and the results are not pleasant.

All is not lost, we can still be good friends with each other but first, we need to do some introspection. These 15 signs listed below should help you determine if you are ‘frenemies’ towards certain people.

You are/may be a ‘frenemy’ when…

  1. You do not genuinely pray for the progress of your friends.
  2. You can’t stand to see the progress of your friends. You either want to be on the same or a higher level than they are and would, therefore, do everything in your capacity to ensure that.
  3. You thrive on unhealthy competition and, therefore, would want to be ahead of everyone, including your friends.
  4. You stop checking up on friends when you notice they have advanced in certain areas of their lives. For instance, they have new jobs, gotten married, travelled, etc.
  5. You only check up on your friends to see what’s new so you can silently ‘pray’ evil prayers for them.
  6. You only check up on your friends when you need their help.
  7. You do not want to offer a helping hand to your friends even though you are ‘up there.’
  8. Your heart skips a beat (out of envy) when you see their social media updates and that makes you want to probe further into their lives to see what’s new.
  9. You provoke your friends to bare their hearts to you only for you to blackmail them with that information or use that as fuel for your gossip.
  10. You always want to take from them but not give out.
  11. You start hating because your friend (in your opinion) has not experienced enough challenges like what you have, hence, does not deserve their blessing.
  12. You feel better after discovering the flaws of your friends. That amuses you.
  13. You can’t give genuine compliments to your friends.
  14. You are relieved when you are not in their presence because you pretend when you are with them.
  15. You are always looking for ways to outdo each other (rivalry).

Do you display any of these sentiments towards a friend or group of friends? You should probably stop referring to them as friends and start calling them your ‘frenemies.’😀 That is the first step to the healing process. You need to admit you are keeping a toxic relationship if you display any of these traits and find ways of cleaning it up or running away from it.

© picasion.com_9CWp

Book Review: Good Morning Holy Spirit

Benny Hinn’s ‘Good Morning Holy Spirit’ is one book that brings to readers the enormousness of the person of the Holy Spirit by clearly outlining His power and the potential influence He can have on the Believer. It shows how anyone can receive the Holy Spirit who, according to Benny Hinn, is not simply a person but God, coequal with the Father and Christ. With several biblical references, the mystery of the identity of the Holy Spirit is unveiled, making the reader yearn to develop a ‘proper’ relationship with Him.

Good Morning Holy Spirit‘ is an important resource that dispels every misconception a Christian may have about Him. It shows how to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, which begins after anyone confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives. This companionship can be sustained through constant communication and the author likens this relationship-building process to what is experienced in a marital union, where a unique bond is created between a couple through constant association. The fellowship gets better with time and it’s renewed if the Believer does not ignore the Holy Spirit, who is a person, and could be grieved (Ephesians 4:30).

This book is written quite simply and starts like any novel, taking the reader into the life of young Benny Hinn living in Jaffa, Israel. A little boy who believed he was a Christian until a friend took him to a convention where he had an encounter with Kathryn Kuhlman, the Evangelist. That was the beginning of a wonderful encounter leading to his quest to seek more knowledge and build a relationship with the Holy Spirit. He admitted the journey wasn’t smooth, particularly, with his family but he followed on with his conviction and gradually, he achieved the desired results.

This book is highly recommended for every Believer because it provides cues which can be used to assess one’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. For instance, whether you belong to the category that knows of His existence and very little about what He’s capable of doing? Or you belong to that category that knows of His existence and power, making you want to fellowship with Him on a daily basis? Like Benny Hinn, do you wake up in the morning and greet, “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” while you anxiously wait for Him to direct you into the scriptures to find out what He has for you? Do you enjoy reading the scriptures because the Holy Spirit makes every word clearer to you? What about your Christian life – do you know a relationship with the Holy Spirit is what prevents you from backsliding? These are a few questions this book poses which enables you to assess the nature of your relationship with the Him.

After you close the book, your perception of the Holy Spirit will change completely. If you haven’t desired a relationship with Him yet, this book will make you start building one. If you already have one but it’s ‘all-over-the-place’, this book will show you how to streamline that relationship. And if you have a great relationship with the Holy Spirit, Benny Hinn’s Good Morning Holy Spirit will challenge you to go further.

Below are some beautiful quotes from the book which were tweeted in the course of the month:

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