Book Review: The Spirit within & The Spirit upon

In a society where witches, diseases and sufferings are often glorified, one book that highlights the power of the Christian, puts us in our rightful place and is a must-read is Kenneth Hagin’s The Spirit Within and the Spirit Upon. Even without stating it directly, Hagin’s testimonies in this book is enough to challenge the reader to want to get to the next level in their Christian walk.

Using different biblical references, the author established how the Spirit of God comes to dwell within the believer when he/she accepts Christ. He goes further to speak of a deeper dimension which every believer must reach and that is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which empowers us unto ministry. To understand the author’s perspective on this subject better, Hagin started ministering in an era when accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior was all there was. Christians, in certain denominations, were content to be at that level but in this book, however, Kenneth Hagin allows the reader to understand why the believer needs the second dimension.

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If you know of any Christian who keeps glorifying sicknesses, poverty and witchcraft, perhaps, you may want to recommend The Spirit within & the Spirit upon. The author clearly makes us understand that when we become believers, such ‘sufferings’ no longer have power over us.

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However, the only form of ‘suffering’ a believer is permitted to have is when they are pushing the gospel. So for instance, a minister of the gospel may complain he is suffering when he is given a difficult congregation to pastor. This congregation may not flow with his doctrine on say, divine healing, and Hagin gives several scenarios of this kind of ‘suffering’ in this book. Note that such ‘sufferings’ shape the believer for the ministry.

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The 187-page book is simple to read and has the author’s testimonies which allow the reader to understand the subject matter. The Spirit within & the Spirit upon also makes the reader appreciate the work of a pastor and other church leaders. These people we see face so many challenges including loneliness stemming from being away from their families and even hunger. Hagin recounts an incident in his ministry when he and his wife were virtually starved by their hosts, who neither talked about food nor had anything edible in their fridge. For almost a week, the author battled the temptation of reporting the pastor and wife to the appropriate authorities but some reason, the Holy Spirit kept tugging at his heart not to do so. This section of the book also highlights the importance of walking in love as Christians.

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The Spirit within & the Spirit upon is highly recommended for anyone who:

  • has pastoral or ministerial ambitions, since it opens the reader up to what they need to succeed in the field of ministry.
  • has not accepted the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This book stresses on why believers need the second dimension.
  • wants to be reminded of how powerful he/she is in Jesus Christ. It makes the believer yearn to reach a higher level in their Christian walk where they can even communicate directly with God. This is a level we should all strive for – where we do not need ‘middlemen’ or fast and pray for 30 days to hear God speak to us.

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Book Review: Your Guide to Marriage

John Boakye’s Your Guide to Marriage is an encyclopedia for anyone desiring to be in a relationship that will ultimately lead to marriage and for married couples desiring to have a better relationship also, this is the reference book you need to have in your library.

The 329-page book covers the whole concept of marriage in the biblical context, how to prepare for it, the different roles of the husband and wife, communication and conflict management in marriage, dealing with in-laws, friends and work in marriage, money and sex matters, family planning, parenting, self-care, spirituality and legal matters.

The author does not mince words in spelling out what the Bible says about marriage and how to have a good one. This is probably the book we need in this era where statistics indicate that over 50 percent of Christian marriages end in divorce.

Several factors account for the high rate of divorce in Christian marriages and one of them is the question of who plays what role in the marriage institution. In John Boakye’s book, he clearly states the role of the man and the woman in marriage with the bible being his reference point. He reiterates the important point of making God and the Bible your focal point in marriage since He (God) is the author/initiator of it. The reader can thus, allude that marriage without the God-factor will definitely lead to confusion and subsequently to a divorce.

Marriage is a divine institution. It is of God and by God. He does not hand it over to you to do what pleases you with it, but He merely calls you into it to serve Him – John Boakye

While the man is the head who oversees all matters in the home, irrespective of his talent, age, wealth or education, the woman, on the hand, has the role of accepting the leadership of her husband and submitting to him as a believer of Christ. This should, however, inform the woman of who she chooses as her head.

The issue of submitting to the man in marriage is one which has raised concerns in some feminists circles in recent times. They see the concept of submission by the woman in the marriage as ‘prescriptive’ and making the woman subservient to the man. This has led to these feminist rejecting the submission concept outright but Reverend Andy Yawson in one of his sermons had this piece of advice for people, who in the name of empowerment, are not willing to adapt:

tweetThe book provides all the answers for individuals who did not go through the regular pre-marital counselling organised by the church or those who did not take it as seriously as they should have or those who simply want to refresh the memory on what they already know.

Your Guide to Marriage is written in simple language and in instances where the author needs to go technical, he does that and sometimes provides illustrations which help the reader understand the topic better. The examples provided are relatable and to the Ghanaian context.

John Boakye’s Catholic background reflects heavily on his references but that notwithstanding, Your Guide to Marriage is a must-read for any individual who desires to have a good marriage.

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).

Resources that Make Christian Relationships Work in Ghana

It’s been an awesome week for us here at Christian Blog Ghana. We appreciate the support and the “likes” that we’ve been receiving on our Facebook page. We hope the love we have received will extend to real testimonies and articles from you, our cherished readers.

Just as we are taken to school to acquire knowledge or read books to broaden our intellect, it is also wise to acquire knowledge in the field of relationships. It is amazing how much time and money we invest in our looks, clothes, food, other books among others but never spend any time seeking information on starting and keeping relationships, Proverb 19:2 says. “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” This is the reason we should seek knowledge as believers.

We may desire to have lasting relationships with the opposite sex but if we do not make time to learn about how it is done, then our relationships will not last.

As Christians, where can we seek the right information which will us build our relationships?

Books and Tapes – There are several books written by different authors on this subject. A lot of Ghanaian pastors and counselors have written books and recorded tapes on this subject. A few of them include Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Elder Amos Kevin Annan, Reverend Dr. Samuel Kissiedu and many more. If you are seeking books written by authors who are not Ghanaians, then look for Myles Munroe’s “Waiting and Dating.” There are several others by T.D Jakes. Just visit a good Christian bookshop and you will have a wide array to select from.

Radio and Television Programmes –  Helpers of our Joy is a relationship and marriage counseling programme which airs on Sweet Melodies 97.3 FM on weekdays from 9-10 pm. The programme features renowned marriage counselors who provide biblical insight into your relationship.

Mama Cathy also features on Sunny Fm 88.7 FM every Sunday at 9-11pm in a show dubbed Echoes of Hope Radio Broadcast. On Saturdays, after the 6 am news on Joy 99.7 FM, Edem Knight-Tay and her team discuss relationship and marriage issues on Home Affairs.

Counselor Luderodt is also one of the most vibrant counselors in the country at the moment. He features on several programmes both on radio and television.

Events

If you do not mind spending time with students at the University of Ghana then there are several events in relationships in that institution. What you need to do is to keep your ears wide opened and you will hear about them.

There are other events in other churches that you can attend. Just keep an open ear.

Have you been reading on the subject of relationships? What is your favorite book or programme on relationships, which you would readily recommend to anybody? Do share!