COVID-19 Sadly Revealing all We've Taken for Granted

Ever since Ghana started confirming cases of the novel corona virus (covid-19), I have not been very productive. All I find myself doing is following tweets on my personal handle to know the latest. I think I am currently suffering from the effect of its information overload and I am not proud to say I feel a little anxious on how things will eventually turn out.

Speaking about my country, we cannot boast of the best healthcare systems and the number of health workers are frankly inadequate. I watch how countries with better healthcare systems are struggling to contain the corona virus and I look at my country’s and I shudder (not too proud of this either).

Currently, Ghana has recorded 16 new cases with some suspicions of community transfers. My work place is among the ones that has been shut down because of the threat of the virus so I’ve been in isolation.

It has been my fervent prayer that God shows scientists and pharmacologists and pharmacists what is needed to fight this virus and after we successfully kick it out, I resolve:

  1. Never to take the gift of life for granted – Most of us wake up each day, muffle something that sounds like a prayer and go about our duties but when you begin to see the number of deaths being recorded as a result of a virus, you’d realise that indeed, life and good health are gifts from God.
  2. Never to trust in my own abilities – There is an advert on DSTV where a man seem to have made a lot of plans for himself and keeps using the phrase, “what could go wrong?” I think that was the phase our generation found itself in until recently. We seem to have put our hopes in our own abilities and what technology can do for us but this virus seem to have ruffled a lot of feathers. Now, we see that science is limited, thus, only a greater power can help us fight this. Even the most powerful world leaders are setting special days to seek God’s face.
  3. Never to be lackadaisical when it comes to praying for my country and the world – When the church organises prayer retreats and the topic is, ‘Now, let’s pray for financial breakthroughs.’ That is when you see fervency in the prayer of believers but immediately that is switched to ‘pray for our country and the world,‘ the level of urgency in our prayers becomes low. Covid-19 shows the need of praying constantly for our own country and the world as whole.

Even though I admit that these are trying times for everyone, I believe that God is showing us how limited we are as individuals, thus, the need to rely solely on Him. I still say my prayer for the world in these special times and I believe without any doubt that we’ll overcome this.

Let’s continue to observe the rules of social distancing, not touching our faces, washing our hands with soap and water and sanitizing them regularly. I trust that we’ll open our eyes in a few days to realise that this period is over.

In the meantime, let’s remember what God has promised us in Psalm 91:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Dear God: Parenting

Dear God,

This blog topic has been ringing in my spirit for quite some time now. I suspect You want me to write about it and be as plain and truthful as possible but before I begin, I know You are doing well. Watching us while your prophecies about the world unfold.

Now, I’d like to thank You for making me a parent. It isn’t a role that I take for granted. Like marriage, parenting is not a role that we attend a school before we qualify to be one. It is thrust on us immediately we receive the beautiful gift of a child from You and we learn as we go along. To be candid, the role is tough, especially, for those us who are reflective and ponder over every situation.

Most times, I look at this beautiful toddler and I am so confident I am being the great custodian. I pat myself at the back when I try to ensure she is eating healthy, growing beautifully, learning and doing the right things as You’d want us to do. At other times, I get confused and begin to ask myself questions, particularly, now that she is talking (very tricky stage). For, instance, one Sunday evening, she used a not-so-good word. Both her dad and I were so shocked and we inquired where she learnt that word from. She said, “Mummy said it.” I was stunned. I wondered when I used that word for her to pick up that easily. Of all the words that we’ve been using and teaching her, this was the only one she could use (this is me thinking too much). When I was driving her friend and her to the nursery school a few days later, a taxi driver was right in my lane and kept prompting me to use the other lane instead. I kept driving towards him and in my anger, I insulted the driver. Aloud. It was then that it dawned on me that I still had two toddlers in the car who will probably go and quote me in their conversation (Now, I have the Holy Spirit in the form of toddlers who keep me in check 😊).

I really thought I was patient till I had to share my roof with a toddler. I cannot recount the number of times I had lost my cool all because a little girl had refused to take a meal I had carefully planned and prepared just for her. I think about all the resources, including the precious time, that I had wasted to get her that meal and she will fold her arms and say, “I don’t like.” Or after a tiring day at work and you tell her to sit down so we complete her homework and that is the time that she wants to do every other thing and not the homework (why they give these ones assignments is a topic for another day).

These are the times that I question myself: Am I playing this role right? Am I disciplining enough? Will she and her siblings turn out right? To hit or not to hit her? Looking at her and other kids, I have come to understand exactly what the Bible describes as a ‘baby Christian’ and I really hope I don’t act like one.

Today, I pray for all parents. I ask that You’ll provide us with long life so we bring these little ones up like You want us to. I also pray that you’ll empower us to get everything right. It is also my prayer you’ll make us more environmentally-conscious that we leave a beautiful earth behind for these young ones to also come and enjoy (parenting has made me more conscious of what we’re doing currently and how that will impact the earth and future generations).

I believe it is well because You are in charge.

Love,

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Book Review: Grace Ecklu’s ‘Guilty as Grace’

I am always excited to lay my hands on any Ghanaian Christian novel and Grace Ecklu’s ‘Guilty as Grace’ is one of the few I have come across. Guilty as Grace is largely a Christian-romance involving two main characters Esther, and Ethan (Papa) with Sarah (hiding in the middle).

The romance between Ethan and Esther began over the phone when they had not met physically (quite complicated for me to summarise). For some reason, they enjoyed each others’ company. The romance continued to sizzle till Esther broke the news of her scholarship to Ethan while she was boarding a flight to Singapore. Coincidentally, Ethan was planning to meet her (physically) and this commenced the ‘roller-coaster’ relationship between the two.

Esther was a strong character who had been shaped, to a large extent, by her experiences. She was the engineer of the ‘roller coaster’ who kept the story moving with her fears, indecision and decisions. Ethan, on the other hand, was the cool, handsome, down-to-earth guy, working steadily towards becoming successful. Why Esther was acting the way she was towards a cool dude like Ethan, I may need to leave that to you to discover for yourself when you read the book. 😂

Guilty as Grace is filled with a lot of suspense and it reminded me so much of the relationship between Michael and Angel in Francine RiversRedeeming Love. Ethan was a lot like Michael when he purposed in his heart to pray about every single step of his relationship with Esther. He even sought the counsel of a pastor to understand this woman better but Esther, like Angel, had a mind of her own. It is quite ironical that society sees women as the more eager ones to ‘settle in marriage’ but certainly not these two.

I did fall in love with the character, Ethan and his ‘way of loving.’ I also enjoyed how the messages exchanged between him and Esther were included in portions of the book. I don’t know whether I missed that aspect of the story but knowing the ages of the characters would have put the story more into context as Esther’s family were putting pressure on her to get married. The author did a fantastic job of describing the scenes in East Africa but a more vivid description of Singapore would have taken the readers along with Esther when she was studying there too.

The book isn’t boring. There are several other characters who pushed the story like the bubbly Sarah (Ethan’s little sister), Pastor Perry and his wife, Esther’s mum and siblings.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone in a relationship because it teaches you how to love right (in a Godly way). Anyone struggling to accept God’s grace because of their past would thoroughly enjoy reading this book. If you are also looking for a fun and exciting novel to read and relax, Guilty as Grace should be on your reading list.

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After the Miracle, What Next?

Yesterday, you were praying for a job, a partner, a child,                                                   a car, healing, financial breakthrough, good marriage.                    You prayed to God for assistance to break the negative habit.             You asked God to touch the heart of that brother or sister that you've been evangelising to. You wanted them to know Christ.
You fasted, cried, meditated on His word, listened to sermons, prayed in tongues and in your own understanding. You anointed yourself several times in a day. You sowed seeds on the altar, you knelt with your hands raised and with tears, you rolled on the floor seeking earnestly for that breakthrough. When you felt like giving up because of the negative thoughts that filled your mind, you cast them out and chastised yourself.
You did not give up. You kept trusting even when your family, friends and loved ones taunted you for the faith you were exhibiting. Indeed, they thought you were crazy. Give up already! Your God is probably deaf. He doesn't listen to prayers. Certainly not yours. Or you have committed a sin? Is there something you are not telling? 
You know what they are saying behind you. Their taunting sometimes gets to you but you reassure yourself. Deep within your heart, you know God is working. You press on earnestly and one day, God answers your prayer.
You are gifted with the job. There, you find a spouse. Your miracle child is lying in the cot. Your bank account smells fresh because of the regular transactions. Your dream house sits beautifully on that hill. Miraculously, you are healed of that disease. The brother has now given his life to Christ. He is now serving as the chief usher in the church.
You smile. Indeed your God has finally listened to your prayer. What happens afterwards? What do you do when God gives you the breakthrough? After the miracle, what next?  

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Lyrics that Inspire Any day

Happy New Year! It’s been so long. I always feel guilty when I push the urge to blog and rather sleep or watch TV or go out or work on other projects. I had some amazing blog ideas to share with you before the holidays but a lot of things came up and I couldn’t blog. Combining blogging and regular job is a big challenge but I would try to be more regular this year. I will clear the backlog 😊🤗 🤞

Now, I want to start the year with something relaxing. I have been thinking of the lyrics of Godly/Spiritual music, popularly known as gospel tunes and how some lines are able to hit you so deeply (speaking for myself) and immediately you are healed and encouraged.

Below are a compilation of a few lines/lyrics of some gospel tunes that inspire me anytime the song rings in my spirit. Here are seven of them:

  1. “…Don’t look too far to see, how good He is. Just look at me. He took me for the miry clay, set my feet upon the rock and I am standing in His righteousness. He took away my sin and shame. Gave me a brand new name. His beloved and the redeemed. Look how He turned my life around. Made me a shining light. His glory to reveal” – Nathaniel Bassey and Micah Stampley’s I will worship Him forever.
  2. “…You will deliver. You’re a provider. I find my victory in You. Forever victorious. Forever we win. I find my victory in You. Victory belongs to Jesus. Victory belongs to Him.” – Todd Dulaney’s Victory Belongs to Jesus.
  3. “…He knows what is hidden in your heart. He knows the good thoughts He has for you. They are thoughts of peace and not sin that is why He will bring you to an expected end. He will take care of you. Eii. God will take care of you.” translated from Diana Antwi Hamilton’s Yehowa Behwe
  4. “…I don’t know where I will be if it had not for You. You goodness. Your mercy. I don’t know where I would be. This far by grace.” Pastor Edwin Dadson’s This far by grace.
  5. “…God is working. He is up to something. I may not see it but still I’m trusting. God is working, working, working. He never sleeps nor slumbers. My God the promise keeper. He sees every tear that falls. My God is never early and He is never too late. He’s always there right on time. And if He said it, surely He meant it. And if He meant it, surely He will do it.” Akesse Brempong’s God is working.
  6. “…We yielded to your word. Lord we choose Your ways yes. We are tired of our own. It failed us many times. Speak a word that we will move. Speak a word that we will do. Speak a word a word and we will go. We’ve come for directions.” Dr. Tumi’s Speak a word.
  7. “…And now we’re here. Looking back on where we come from. Because of You and nothing we’ve done. To deserve the love and mercy You’ve shown. But Your grace was strong enough to pick us up. And You made a way. When our backs were against the wall.” Travis Greene’s Made a Way.

There you go. These are the lyrics of some gospel tunes that inspire me all the time. Did I capture your favourite? Which lyrics do you sing randomly and immediately get encouraged? Share with us.

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Book Review: Nana Ama Buckman’s ‘Confessions of an African Christian’

Initially, I thought the Confessions of an African Christian was a novel. From the title also, I perceived I was going to read something hilarious and fun and not too serious but as I dug deeper into Nana Ama Buckman’s 94-page memoir, my mind began reflecting on my Christian walk. I critically assessed myself.

This book can pass as a modern-day evangelistic tool with regards to its content. The words were plain, truthful and piercing. I’m not too sure if I have seen this kind of writing yet, particularly, in the Christian sphere. Confessions of an African Christian was broken down into short chapters with each dealing with a specific topic bordering on Christianity. The author dealt with subjects like the Christian’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, with their pastors, on giving money particularly to the church, our mental health, among others.

Even though this book is not novel, I enjoyed the tiny bits of the author’s personal experiences relating to the subjects. Her style of writing was also frank, relatable and could easily be blog entries/posts.

The reader could also decipher how passionate the author was about the various subjects – they were well researched and situated in scripture. The book sets the reader’s mind contemplating, especially with the questions that were posed at the end of each chapter. They required a critical evaluation of one’s current stance based on what they’ve read. Also concluding each chapter were declarations and prayers.

If we can be truthful to ourselves, we’d admit that indeed, the modern Christian faces some tough challenges and a number of them were mentioned in the book. For instance, when we decide to put ‘God in our hearts’ to be seen and accepted as being ‘cool.’ Or when we have to silently battle emotional turmoils and depression with positive confessions while we require medical attention instead. The chapters that got me smiling the most were the ones that discussed money and pastors. They were painfully sincere. 😅😅

It is simply a good read particularly for those of us who are not into ‘prescriptive’ ‘right-in-your-face’ ‘do-this-do-that’ kind of Christian books. Confessions of an African Christian though bible-based is laced with the witty personal experiences of the writer. You are likely to act according to what is preached in the book without you realising it. It is a book I’ll recommend.

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Valuable Life Lessons – What Acquiring a Driver’s License taught me

I want to get very personal. This post is motivated by a promise I made to God before I passed my driving test for a license earlier this year. The issue of acquiring a driver’s license may seem quite trivial but to me, it is a testimony of God’s goodness because this is after several attempts.

I started taking driving lessons way back in 2015. I did acquire the skill somehow but when I took the test, I missed the pass mark by two points. I was sad. I promised myself I was going to re-sit for the test but I never did. I packed driving to the side and went about my business. A lot happened and I gave up driving entirely.

This year, with the pressure that I faced (mostly from my husband) I took up the challenge to acquire a driver’s license. My husband attempted to remind me of how to move the car, but we always ended up arguing and stopping the lessons. The idea of going to a driving school again appealed to both of us and that was how I found myself taking all of the lessons once again.

The good news in all of these was that I started to feel more confident sitting behind the wheels. The fear I initially had when I began driving four years ago had dissipated but the new challenge was acquiring the license. The time came for me to take the theoretical test and when I did, I missed the pass mark by a point. Once again, I failed.

Of course I was disappointed in myself. I questioned God. I questioned myself. I questioned the whole process of acquiring a driver’s license in Ghana. I heard several stories too. Very negative ones of people who had attempted the tests on numerous occasions but always failed. I was encouraged or rather discouraged by someone in the license acquisition space to forget the test and bring some money for the process to be expedited.

“Most people who fail this test the first time do not pass. Just give up,” she said.

I told her I was going to give her suggestion a second thought and that if I failed the second (or third time) I would get the said amount of money and forget about acquiring the licence ‘legally.’

That was how I found myself re-sitting for the drivers’ license exam for the third time in my life. I changed strategies. I read but not as I did with the previous two. I prayed and relaxed, and this time, I got the exact pass mark. It was one of the best days of my life because it had taken me four long years (that could have gotten me a degree 😂😂). I had also proven the naysayers wrong and did not have to bribe my way through the process. I was legitimately acquiring a license.

What is the import of this post? This is to fulfill my part of the bargain and the promise I made to God of sharing my long and difficult experience of acquiring a license with readers of the blog. To me, it’s a testimony and I am not exaggerating. Secondly, this is to motivate anyone who has been trying hard to do things that people do quite easily. Logically, it may be challenging but note that all things are possible with God. The task may seem arduous. You may feel like giving up but don’t listen to yourself and don’t allow people to discourage you. You can do it too!

PS: I have failed in my attempts at so many things – in examinations, in job searches and other applications, etc. I think I have mastered the act of getting up strong after failures. If you are seeking someone who understands your situation, I believe you should be speaking to me. My email address is christianblogghana@gmail.com Let’s get talking!

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