The Prophet Who wasn’t (A personal experience with two fraudsters)

He was speaking to somebody on the phone when he saw me approaching. A middle-aged man, probably in his late forties, fair in complexion and quite well-built. He wore a checked shirt, predominantly, white, red and blue and had a sling bag.

He ended the call and asked,

“Please, can you direct me to Monaco Missions.”

I was completely lost because I had lived in the neighbourhood for close to three years, yet, I had no clue where he was referring to. It had been a long day at work and the only thing on my mind was getting home to rest.

As if by some coincidence, a shorter man, possibly in his forties was passing by and this fair man asked me to inquire the location of the said Mission House.

“Oh, that place? It’s right over there,” the shorter man replied.

He pointed to a junction that I knew quite well but wasn’t sure if I had seen the building they were referring to. The shorter man volunteered to go show this man the place on condition that I came along to translate to the fairer man who needed the directions. Like the children in the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, I followed them, not knowing what laid ahead.

The fairer man who urgently needed the direction, started prophesying about the shorter man who was now providing the directions to the Mission House. He asked me to explain to the shorter man who seemed unable to communicate in English. I did most of the translation which included relaying information about the shorter man’s drinking habit to which the ‘prophet’ advised him to stop because it was hurting his heart. The shorter man would also respond,

“Oh what did he say? It’s true. Whenever I drink, my heart would be hurting,”

Once in a while, a ‘harmless prophecy’ was thrown my way which included the fact that I’ll be traveling outside of Ghana and this year will be good for me and, the usual things that I already knew about. Meanwhile, most of the prophecies were directed to the shorter man and they included pieces of advice on buying a house instead of a car, investing his money properly etc. These two men managed to get my attention fully and I thought I was helping the fairer prophet to probably win the soul of the shorter man.

Eventually, the ‘Prophet’ asked the shorter man to give me his bag and keys while the shorter man walked away to about three electric poles, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I took the shorter man’s bag while he went to do his penance and before he arrived, Fairer Prophet had mentioned two names of the people who seemed to be troubling Shorter Man. That was great. I was excited for shorter man.

“It’s now your turn. Give your bag to Shorter Man and say the Lord’s prayer and God will reveal something to you,” Fairer Prophet said.

“Please, I am not comfortable giving my bag out,” I said.

They started pulling my bag gently, cajoling me to hand my bag over to them. Shorter man swore they were good people and that God would certainly reveal something to me. Fairer Prophet chastised me for allowing worldly possession like the content in bag to prevent me from receiving my blessings.

I became confused and helpless at this point because these two men started teasing, taunting and pushing me to take the walk while reciting the Lord’s prayer. Fairer Prophet even walked a few meters with me but in a twinkle of eye, I turned and say neither him nor Shorter Man. They had bolted with my bag that contained my laptop, phone, some money and even my house key.

This is one night that I do not want to remember. Never!

One Day I met with an Atheist

One day, I met with an atheist
He challenged me
He told me my ‘religion’ wasn’t real
He said Jesus did not exist
Well, not quite
He said Christianity was a form of mental slavery
He questioned the content of the Bible and went ahead to say those stories were fabricated.

He challenged my faith
Step by step
He provided me with reasons
He said the exodus did not happen because scuba divers, after several attempts, had no evidence to it.
He said Christmas was not real and so was Easter
He laughed at me and admonished me to seek enlightenment
He pleaded with me to not follow blindly.

I listened with rapt attention because this was not my first experience with one of this kind.
I once fell into the ditch by allowing one to lead me.
That one succeeded because I started to doubt God’s existence
I decided to rely on me but instead of feeling empowered, wise and knowledgeable
I felt distraught and empty
I was confused.
I felt lost.
I had fallen.

I was locked in a cage.
Nothing made sense and then I decided to do the U-turn
I came back and pleaded for forgiveness.
I sought the presence of the Holy Spirit and vowed never to let go of Him.
The other side wasn’t meant for me
What I needed was His presence, love, grace, goodness and mercy
I found it and was overjoyed.
I prefer to face battles with Him than none without Him.
I have found peace and I won’t be convinced.
Not this time, my friend.
Not this time.

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On Keeping One’s Virginity for the Wedding Night

Facebook groups are becoming popular and an easy way of wasting ones time killing boredom. Different topics are discussed by individuals from all walks of life and people seem very comfortable sharing their opinions quite freely. A question I pounced on in one of the groups read:

The comments underneath the post varied and you’ll be shocked (or not shocked) at the reactions. Majority simply downplayed the importance of keeping one’s virginity. A guy remarked,

“Why should I waste my honeymoon breaking the virginity of my wife. I want to enjoy and not be hearing moans of pain,” 🤷🏾‍♀️

A lot of women also commented they would like to see, know and ‘taste’ their husbands to ensure they loved the size and its ‘power’ before saying ‘I do.’ 👀

It looks like the subject of keeping one’s virginity is archaic, has expired and simply lost its significance, judging from the remarks of the commentators.

It is very disheartening to know that this is the point we’ve gotten to – a place where sex is being dished out like mere handshakes and abstinence means NOTHING at all.

Yes, I agree that marrying as a virgin does not guarantee a successful marriage but even if you use logic to analyze, keeping your virginity saves you so much stress.

If you are woman, for instance:

1. You may not need a menses/ovulation calculating app when you’re not sexually active.

2. When your menses delay for a couple of days, you’re not that frightened because you know you’ve done ‘nothing.’

3. Abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and birth controls are subjects that won’t even matter to you.

4. You can dump that guy because you haven’t done ‘anything’ with them. This helps you to choose the right partner.

5. Your conscience is always clear.

For the men (yes, yes, you must keep your virginity too):

1. You’ll not connive with any woman to go commit abortion because you aren’t ready to have that child, thus, not living with the guilt.

2. In case she keeps the pregnancy, you’ll not be forced to marry her.

3. Your judgments are also not clouded when it comes to selecting a life partner. You can drop her if she does not meet your criteria.

4. Sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods are not your worries. You’re indeed a ‘free’ man till you get married.

Don’t allow the world to make you believe that keeping your virginity/abstinence means nothing. What is more beautiful than keeping yourselves for each other till after the marriage ceremony.

The Bible even admonishes us that we shouldn’t deceive ourselves because we’ll definitely reap whatever we sow. Freely dishing out sex to everyone will definitely come with its consequences.

If we (both men and women) would stick to what the Bible has instructed, most of the issues we face in our marriages concerning our sexuality, including, making comparisons with our husband and a previous sexual partner will not even come up. Both of you will enjoy your ‘naivety’ and learn what works best.

If you are at a crossroad, trying to decide whether you should keep your virginity of not, take this from someone who abstained, GUARD IT. It’s worth the wait and will save you a lot of trouble. For those who have lost it for whatever reason, don’t be sad and bitter, you can still protect what you have. If you think it’s a challenge keeping it, the Holy Spirit is always there to help you. Let Him know what your difficulties are. He’ll direct you.

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Help! I lost my job and I’m in my 40s.

Dear CBG,

I am a bit old. I’m in my 40s and this is not my first job. I’ve done several contract jobs but I knew this job was permanent. I had dreams of retiring from this organisation but just last week, my employers invited me to a meeting and bluntly informed me they were laying me off. I was sad, confused and hurt. I haven’t really saved up so much money because of some projects I’ve been undertaking. Now, look at my age. Who will employ me in their firm? I’m a good Christian and I’m wondering how God can do this to me, especially, at this time. What should I do? I’ll be reading your response.

—- A very worried woman

CBG’s Response

Hello Madam,

To start with, it’s important to note that your situation is not an isolated one neither is this the first time it’s ever happened. This should give you some comfort but how you handle this is crucial to the success of the next phase of your life.

You need, also, to note that age is just a number and it has very little to do with how much you can achieve in this world. There were those who were successful at their early age and those who were, much later in their lives. In the Bible, there are several examples of individuals that God used in their old age. When God called Moses, he was old and well-stricken in age. Moses and Noah were not young either but they were used by God. Take a cue from Col. Sanders who started KFC (a worldwide brand) in his 60’s. This is to emphasize the point that age is only a number. All you need to do is to be smart and wise about your decisions.

God is not the author of your current situation and you need to thank Him for the next phase of your life. Don’t be bitter and sore for losing your job but be grateful for what God has placed in your hands (gift and skills). Instead of displaying negative emotions, gather every positive energy because you’re going to need it.

Practically, you need to make adjustments to your lifestyle because your regular source of income has been cut off. Cut out the unnecessary expenditure and keep to your budget. It may be uncomfortable in the initial stages but you’ll gradually adjust to it.

One question God will pose to you is

“what do you have in your hands?”

Like He posed to Moses. In other words, what are your gifts, skills and, channels that God can use to bless you? You shouldn’t look too far. It could be a simple skill as baking, selling or farming. Even in your 40s, it’s not too late to learn a new skill but it’s advisable to focus on the ones you’ve gathered over the years. You can either decide to work for yourself or for another firm that requires your skills. Your age shouldn’t be a barrier. If you had dreams initially, this is the time to put them to use. Don’t lose hope, we’ll be praying with you.

To our readers who are gainfully employed now, the Bible says Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8).

The ant gathers it’s food in anticipation for the drought. There is a thing as “fat season and lean season” (drawn from Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream – Genesis 41). In simple terms be wise like Joseph who instructed Egypt to store up food during the fat season so they could have some during the lean season. Egypt became the hub of trading because of the wisdom of one man. Be wise especially in your fat season.

Do you have any piece of advice for this woman? Please share in the comment section. She’ll be reading.

Captain Hoks

Lurking in dark alleys like an apparition, he wears a black robe that hangs loosely on his thin frame except for his waist that is defined by the soft fabric serving as a belt. The over-sized hood covering his head makes his face darker, invisible and mysterious. His fingernails are gnarled and dirty and, no sound is heard when he moves but the impact he makes is quite extensive.

His victims – the wise, young, aged, vulnerable and even the strongest because status means nothing to him and his movements are purposeful. Those who encounter him limit their explanation to the tap they experience first on their shoulder that later moves steadily and slowly like a serpent. They feel his hairy hands slither into their clothes till they are rested firmly on the victim’s chest.

The impact – palpitations, cold sweat, dilation of the pupil, nausea and immobility. Delightfully, he watches on and breaks into a smile that reveals the toothless content of his mouth. All this time, his eyes never leave his victim’s and his palms presses more firmly on their chest, causing their hearts to beat faster. He moves a little more confidently this time, till he faces the victim, still maintaining eye-contact.

His most memorable moment – when the victims continue to feel the impact of his touch and try to break eye contact. When they continue to wriggle, moan and cry with indignation. It is at this point that even the most stubborn victims cower. Most of them drop down, sometimes on their knees and at other times, lying face down. Paralyzed and in tears, they plead for escape.

“I can’t do it.”
“I’ll fail.”
“I am scared”
“I’m afraid”

These are the familiar statements uttered by Captain Hok’s victims.

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Book Review: Francine Rivers’ ‘The Atonement Child’

A young lady, Dynah, is raped and gets pregnant as a result. Her fiance, who was a pastor in training, her parents, and roommate in college, all Christians, thought the only way out of that ‘dreadful’ situation was for Dynah to abort the ‘unwanted child’ and move on with her life. The Dean of the Christian College, where Dynah was a student and where the incident happened, also thought abortion was the way to go or the young lady had to leave the institution. This book slowly weaves the calamities Dynah had to face as a result of taking the unpopular decision.

‘The Atonement Child’ compared to the two other books I’ve read from this author (The Scarlet Thread and The Shofar Blew) was a bit slow and sad and I felt the writer tried a little too hard to push the theme of the book into the reader’s face. In one family alone, grandmother had had a therapeutic abortion, the mother had had an abortion and the child who had been raped was also being pushed to carry out an abortion. Dynah’s mother’s former schoolmate was also an abortionist and Dynah’s friend in college (Joe) had a girlfriend who had died from committing an abortion. How coincidental can that be?

Perhaps since the story is set in a country where abortion is legal, some of these issues are real and likely to come up in an everyday conversation. That notwithstanding, the theme of this book is very relevant, especially, now that a bill has been passed in New York permitting mothers to abort babies even at the point of birth. One thing this book did so well was to provide the reader with a clear picture of the other side of committing an abortion. The guilt and regret of taking out a life (fetus) may be carried throughout one’s lifetime and that is likely to affect their families and generations. Mostly, abortion is seen as the easiest and direct way of solving the problem of an unwanted pregnancy while the spotlight dims on the emotional and psychological damages this action may have on the women who undergo it.

In Ghana, compared to the US where the story was set, abortion is a criminal offense regulated by Act 29, section 58 of the Criminal code of 1960, amended by PNDCL 102 of 1985. However, section 2 of the law makes exceptions for victims of rape or incest and abortion can be conducted to protect the mental or physical health of the mother, or when there is a malformation of the fetus. According to the Ghana Medical Association, abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality (15-30%) because many women turn to unqualified providers and receive unsafe procedures (Rominski & Lori, 2015; Chauvkin, Baffoe & Awoonor-William, 2018).

The argument of whether a fetus is a baby yet and the legality/ illegality or the process of carrying out the abortion (safe/unsafe) will always remain and looking at the World’s politics, there will always be a divide but the most important person to take the decision is you, the individual/woman. What exactly do you want and what do you stand by? What would God have you do in that situation? It may seem difficult and challenging at a glance and the straightforward option will be an abortion, but, have you explored other alternatives? You may want to consider putting the child up for adoption and that is possible even in Ghana.

One beautiful trait about the character, Dynah, was how she remained calm amidst all the pressure and kept insisting she wanted to know God’s mind before taking any decision concerning the child in her womb. How many of us, in the midst of the storm, will insist on hearing from God first?

This 384-page book is a must-read and ideal for a book club/discussion.

Favourite Lines from Atonement Child:

Those on the side of abortion were the loudest, the most logical, the most appealing to her bruised and battered spirit. And yet there was another voice, quiet, calm, almost imperceptible, that said NO, THERE’S ANOTHER WAY.

“Well, you tell me how we can do that, Dean. Tell me how on God’s green earth we can dare offer salvation to a dying world when we’re so busy shooting our own wounded.”

– The Atonement Child,

Bibliography

Chavkin, W., Baffoe, P., & Awoonor‐Williams, K. (2018). Implementing safe abortion in Ghana: “We must tell our story and tell it well”. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics143, 25-30.

Rominski, S. D., & Lori, J. R. (2014). Abortion care in Ghana: A critical review of the literature. African journal of reproductive health18(3), 17-35.

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In 20 30 40 or 50 – Will you be Ready?

In 20, 30, 40 or 50   
When your brains are tired                                                 
And your bones frail
And your bladder weak
And darkness all you see
When your epidermis sheds
And memory not as sharp
And your teeth begin to fall out
And hair not as pretty
When you can sniff death so close                 
So close you can almost breathe it in your nostrils
Will you be ready?

In 20, 30, 40 or 50
Will your eyes be prepared to shut?
And your spirit to bid the world farewell?
Will the call be received with fear or fulfillment?
And your body be ready to rest in peace?
Or rather in despair, full of regret and anguish?
Frightful and afraid of the coldness of the grave
And uncertain of the life you’ll meet.

What if you do not have 20, 30, 40 or 50?
And your brains never get tired
Your bones still as hard
Your bladder not as weak.
And your sight still perfect.
What if your epidermis is intact
And your memory as sharp as ever.                                                                         
And your teeth so strong to break the bones
And your hair ever so lustrous
Will you still be ready to exit?

If you had 1, 2, 3 or 4
For your spirit to desert this body
But your brains and bones and bladder and sight
and skin and memory and teeth and hair unblemished 
Will you look down and back and smile?
Will the clock stop ticking and the bells stop chiming
and the birds stop chirping?
Will it be noticed that a beautiful soul is lost?

It may not be in 20, 30, 40 or 50
It could be in 1, 2, 3 or 4 
Will you be ready to bid this earth farewell?  
Not in sorrow
But in joy, you’d love to see how the world mourns at your passing.
Will you be ready? 
                                       


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