THE FRACTURED FAITH

Hello lovely readers, quite a beautiful Sunday it is. I trust you are all in perfect health? Well yes, I am! This should be my last post for the year. 2020 has been all sort of things right? Tiring? Draining? Amazing? Well, it has been God, this whole time carrying us through and assuring us He would definitely bring us to an expected end. If you are alive, count yourself blessed!

Currently, I am in isolation. By isolation I know you have already figured out what it means. During this period, I have conducted a thorough assessment of the self, and identified what I stand for, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, and ultimately my personality. A lot of amazing things can happen in your life when you come to the realization of self, so I will highly recommend it for anyone battling with self-esteem and confidence issues. Also, I have clearly defined my goals, vision and resolution for the upcoming year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year despite the persistence of the COVID-19 virus.

We meet people for different reasons in our lives. Some are passers-by, others are acquaintances and colleagues, and others are friends. Identifying this helps you build a solid network and solidify your inner circle. Ultimately the people in our lives should not drain us of the energy we have left. We are supposed to feel uplifted and encouraged just by interacting with them. Bear in mind, everyone’s experience whether good or bad is supposed to have an impact in your life, from which you can draw lessons and experience from.

The story begins with a 17 year old boy in the confines of a hospital bed after sustaining lacerations from a blunt cutlass some days ago. A typical display of biblical dexterity resulted in the admission of one, and the incarceration of the other. This scuffle ensued just because of a misunderstanding in coming into agreement with the word of God. “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

This man grew up in a loving home where both of his parents were very supportive of his goals, passion and ambition. It was his childhood dream to be a pilot; to escape the family’s status quo of being a doctor, lawyer or politician.

On his 17th birthday, his parents began to have issues. Issues they didn’t see coming. The man of the house had accepted an appointment from the Ministry of Defense. This meant he would be spending a lot of nights outside home, typically tightening up security in the country. This directly meant a higher pay grade and social recognition in the country. Was the security in his family tightened too? Were the bolts screwed tight?

As private as his wife was, she strongly objected to his decision. But her objection was not enough to change the already made-up mind of her husband. Little did they know their children were already falling into bad company.

One day, Maggie, his wife opened the door that led to the room of their first born son, Kwesi. She was led to go straight to his room after she had finished evening prayers. What welcomed her was a rather unbearable stench, with her son covered completely in smoke. “What are you doing in here, Mum? Couldn’t you have knocked and waited for the door to be opened for you before coming in?” Kwesi said, as he hid the packet of marijuana he had bought the day before under his bed.

Margaret feeling ashamed, slowly closed the door and wondered what had happened to his prayerful son. A boy who did not know how to skip worship and prayer sessions even in his busiest of times. A boy who frowned at any tiniest vice committed with so much hatred. How did he fall within the clasp of marijuana? Might have been from bad friends? The infamous peer pressure!

It was there she came to the realization her family was in shambles. She immediately reached for her phone but put it down, when she remembered her husband could only be accessed through a one way private number. What was she going to do?

Unable to sleep the whole night, she waited for her husband’s return the next day. Heavily disturbed to the core, she could not pray neither could she eat.

To her utmost surprise, her husband returned home the next day heavily drunk! This was very unusual for the morally upright man she had known for the past 36 years. The neatly pressed suit he had left home with, had been replaced by a filth-stained singlet. Immediately, she rushed to receive her husband as he alighted from his car in a dazed fashion; brushing her own complaints aside.

What welcomed her was a dirty slap. “Pick up all your things, you are leaving this house. I am bringing in a woman I love. A woman I would want to start a new family with. This family is dead!” He said as he trotted off to bed.

Margaret was torn apart. So many troubles for a day. She felt broken! Reality nudged her right in the eyes, when she attempted waking up from sleep. ‘Not today, Maggie!

She gathered the little courage she had, dialed the digits of the only man he knew aside his husband. “Dad, I am coming home!” …

Her husband’s chauffeur stood there quietly unable to take a step. He was confused. Should he comfort this woman who was clearly in despair? Or head home, like he does every time?

As he stood there dumbfounded, Kwamina, the last born charged towards him with a Bible in his hands. “Why does this have to happen to my family in a matter of split seconds? Where is the God I serve? He should come down and cause a miracle” He desperately said. No amount of Biblical quotes from this chauffeur could calm this boy down. Kwamina was so agitated he did not realize he had mistakenly picked up a wooden plank lying beside the car.

When the chauffeur realized what had happened, he tried to grab the plank from his grip, however what greeted him was a sound smack in his face in absolute fury.

The adrenaline rush of the chauffeur retaliated by finding a nearby cutlass and slashing the wrist and abdomen of his abdomen in two complete moves.

The whole scene turned bloody and horrific as Kwamina lay in a pool of blood unable to speak. All raised tempers abated as everyone rushed to the scene. The drunk father, with deep regret reached for his car keys and drove their son to the hospital in the company of his loving wife, the chauffeur, and his drug dazed son.

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Following the declaration of the presidential results after the elections, there has been unrest in some parts of the country. This had led to the death of some and the admission of others in a critical state. But this is not a time for war, but a time for peace. A time for us to accept and appreciate our differences, and move on as a country in spite of this pandemic. A time for us to pray and seek the face of God in the face of this constantly mutating COVID-19 virus. These Christmas celebration should be a period of merry making even in the presence of an empty pocket.

Be of good cheer, and make merry for you do not know what tomorrow brings. Pray and then plan your future. But remember the future starts now.

God’s hand moves when people and pastors pray together. Through prayer, God greatly multiplies our efforts and makes the impossible, possible.

Enjoy the Christmas celebrations and Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

GOD IS GREAT

Have you ever met that person who just seems to have it all together? Usually someone is good at something, when there are some people who are gifted and talented in just a few things. Who is the most talented person you know? Do you know that person who has a strong faith, great personality, athleticism, a strong intellect, musical and artistic, and good looks? There are times we all privately aspire to be like someone else who has qualities we see as better than ours. But we must remember we’ve been created in the image of the One who displays every quality perfectly!


Do you realize who you are? Do you understand your own potential? Do you comprehend you’ve been made in God’s image? That fact changes everything! It changes why you exist, your personal significance, your purpose in life, and the way you treat others. When we are looking at God’s greatness, we must remember that we’ve been created in His image to reflect and glorify Him.

Who can take nothing and create?

Hang the planets in their place?

Hold the world in His hand while thinking of man?

Only a great God!

Who can make dust into a man, and Measure Mountains in His hand?

Every word He’s decreed is already seen

Only a great God!

Circumstances may have made you doubt the greatness of our great God. Over the past week, I have to had to lay my big brother to rest. This has had a big toil on me because we had plans -even though we hardly communicated. Plans to get to places where we could elevate our family from a high pedestal. But He’s gone! Rest In Peace Nana Owusu, till we meet again! I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

It is the will of every person to enjoy perfect peace, and this comes from being rest assured in the word of God. The word of God is Life. It is what keeps us alive when we are down, what divides soul from spirit, joints from marrows and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

You don’t need to see God before you believe in Him. He is everywhere and has promised no child of His comes to harm. The journey will be difficult but He has assured us of an expected end!

It is the hope we have in Him, that keeps us confident as Christians, because we have no power of our own. Horses and chariots are prepared for the day of battle but Victory comes from the Lord!

Irrespective of what you are going through this morning: The financial difficulties, the marital distress, that chronic illness – be rest assured that God has not forgotten you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a great God like that!

When you think about the greatness of God, you can’t help but bless Him with your praise. Our God is all-knowing because He knows our faults, our weaknesses, our sins, and our rebellions, yet He loves us. Our God is all-powerful because He could snuff out our lives in an instant, yet He continues to bless us with life. Our God is all-present because He is everywhere at all times, He watches us, and is involved in all that we do. Yet, He shows grace and leads us in our lives away from spiritual and physical danger. When we think about the greatness of God compared to our sin, we cannot help but bless His awesome name!

Do you find yourself doubting God when you
are faced with a difficult situation? Are you often frustrated by negative circumstances? Is it hard for you to trust God with the challenges of life?Are you in the midst of difficult circumstances? Are you facing challenges that seem beyond your ability to cope? Do not despair, because God is with you, and He wants to help you.

How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life — your desires, motives, attitudes, words and actions — is influenced by your perception of who God is.
Your self-image will improve once you realize the awesome greatness of God and the value He places on you. The more accurate your understanding of who God really is and how He is involved in your life, the more highly motivated you will become to excel in the use of your time, talents and abilities.

Allow the truth about Him and His marvelous character to transform you. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be.

Have an awesome day and a Happy holiday!

Eliezer

FEAR NOT

I have questioned a lot of things. Things about me, things no one would question. Purpose of Existence? Purpose of Living? After many twists and turns, I think I’m gradually getting an answer. Lately a friend was going through a distressing situation for which she needed psychological help. She was crippled by fear and incapacitated by terror because of series of nightmares she had, began unveiling themselves like the plot in a stage play.

I have been pensive throughout this pandemic, reflecting on a lot of things. How a miniature virus could just emerge out of nowhere and turn the world around. Affect leaders at the helm of affairs. Turn superior economies into rubbles of sand and dust that they realize the need to seek a call far greater than their own abilities and efforts.

People die with the whiff of air, and are infected with the passage of time. Health workers hesitate to tend to patients who have blazoning temperatures on thermometers by their bedsides. Debate to attend to subjects with coughs dancing in their perimeters. Calculate whether to intubate an inmate, who presents with severe difficulty in breathing; who has failed the tried mechanical means – in the absence of Personal Protective Clothing.

I was touched when I heard the news of an Iranian doctor, Shirin Rouhani who passed away as she kept treating coronavirus infected patients till her last breath. She stood her grounds even in the absence of the required number of medical staff and cared for fear-stricken, hope-hidden, bed-ridden, lungs- bitten sufferers of coronavirus to the point of death. She picked up her handset to a distressing call her willpower tried so hard to deafen. A beat so thundering, her stethoscopes could not shame. Cries so deafening, her eardrums could not tame.

Before this deadly virus hit Africa, there were untrue claims and memes that Africans were immune to this virus. It was however a wakeup call for us to weaken ties with neighboring and distant countries by closing our borders, and strengthen our laid back health care systems. A time for us to connect the dots which link us as a family related by a culture.

But then as it seems the world is in turmoil. Bush fires in Europe and the persistence of a pandemic which takes on a new shell every second. But as Christians, should we be fazed? Should we be catapulted in a whirl storm of constant uneasiness and abhorrence? Should we let fear predominate our thoughts and actions?

What is fear?  The unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. It is that bad feeling you have when you are in danger or perceive something bad is about to happen. As we mature, we develop a better understanding of the world and its dangers. We learn to discern real threats from imagined ones. When fear comes, we do our best to think rationally and manage our emotions until the menacing situation passes.

It is normal to be afraid when your test comes out positive after being exposed to a COVID 19 infected patient. What do you do in these moments of fear? Do you let it cripple you, or it raises your head high that you come out strong and say “Not this time!

The enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories. There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with the identifiable problems of life: unmet needs, conflict, health problems and dangerous situations. To ignore danger is foolish and wrong! But it is also wrong, as well as unhealthy, to be immobilized by excessive worry. Fear will cause us to buckle and settle for less than God’s best. It’ll cause us to disobey after diluting our trust in Him, and even when do stay strong, it’ll rob us of our peace and joy.

Remember the account of the Israelites in Exodus where they were surrounded by the brigade of Egyptians on chariots. God commanded to be fearless, to be still, to be watchful and finally be quiet. The Lord fought for them! “He looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the arm into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, making them drive with difficulty and He covered the entire army of Pharaoh with the Red Sea, that not even one of them remained”

This is the power of our Great God. He expects us to leave no room to fear. Fear is a tool the devil uses against us to make us miserable and destroy our lives. It begins as a thought and then creates emotions that can rule us. It often becomes a strong, intense feeling that tries to move us to make a foolish action or tries to prevent us from doing something that would be good for us.

The Bible instructs God’s people many times to “fear not” For those who have the proper awe and respect for God and who strive to obey His commands, God makes some wonderful promises;

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10

He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

We do not face our fears alone. God created us and he knows each specific fear we have. He created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s womb. He will strengthen us in every situation and always for his glory. Whether it is the peace we find in his promises, or the confidence that our identity and worth comes from him and not in what we do, the Lord will give us the strength he promises. God is not reactive, but proactive in our lives. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is at work in us by God’s Spirit.

And we do not need to fear tomorrow. God wants us to be filled with hope and trust, not fear. He has given us hope through the promise that he can uphold us by his strength today.

It is God who is with us, and he will strengthen us with his right hand. In his perfect way, he knows exactly what we need for every situation. In every situation, his righteousness will work for our holiness. He will be our strength.

Irrespective of the condition you find yourself, you need not to fear for God is with you!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Eliezer.

THE ESSENCE OF JOURNALING

Yesterday was a statutory public holiday in Ghana, hence I enjoyed my rest by continuing a plan I started 3 days ago on the YouVersion app on my phone -Making Time to Rest. Today being the 3rd day lists journaling as an essential part of the rest process.

Writing, especially self-exploratory writing done on a regular basis, has been linked to emotional well-being and a strong sense of self-knowledge and self-trust. Writing gives insight, it gives perspective, it’s a problem-solving technique, and it can serve as an outlet for bottled up emotions, unresolved trauma, or for creative expression. Journaling is a great way to introduce self-exploratory writing into your life.

Integrating journaling as part of our daily practice does not take a lot of skill. I discovered my life took on a different turn when I started journaling-writing down my life on the canvas of a book as the days progressed into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years.

I would like to do a throwback to when my Dad got me my first diary. I was just thrilled at the mere sight of it, and the thought I had a diary, but I did not know what I was going to fill it with.

I went through his old diaries on the shelf of our library to gain a fair idea of what to put in my new found love in the form of scribbling ink. His diaries had a mixture of appointments he had fixed under the different dates and excerpts from church activities he had attended in his youth with lots of bible verses in them. He made journaling fun.

Back to me, I found myself journaling the day’s activities at the end of the day in the journal. A skill I had picked up in one of the movies I had watched where a sailor stranded on a ‘no-man’s’ land kept writing his daily adventures in a book he took along. This had then become the main theme of the series.

I again tried to create interesting activities with the purpose of filling my diary with fun-filled activities. “The day I almost drowned when I went swimming for the first time” when I could have just stayed indoors and played video games, “The day I met Akosua on my way to buy prepaid credit at a distant place from home” when I could have saved cost by purchasing it a few miles from home and buying top up credit for my new phone with the extra money I had.

I have been writing something about my every day for almost 4 years now. It has been one of the greatest and most freeing experiences in my life because I can actually slow myself down to think about what’s truly happening around me as well as my part in it.

What is Journaling? As an adult there are many great benefits to journaling as part of a self-care routine. It helps clear out all the ‘junk’, sweeping your mind clean to allow for breathing space. By journaling and documenting our thoughts we are participating in a process of deeper personal understanding which can have a very positive impact on our own health.

Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. There are several different ways to do this. Journaling, as a stress management and self-exploration tool, works best when done consistently, but even occasional, sporadic journaling can be stress relieving when the practice is focused on gratitude or emotional processing.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress with journaling is to write in detail about feelings and thoughts related to stressful events, as one would discuss topics in therapy, but there are several different ways to practice journaling. The method you choose can depend on your needs at the time, and your personality; just do what feels right.

There are two writing techniques–or journaling methods–which can help make your journaling sessions more satisfying, efficient, and effective. These two methods are the following:

  1. Proprioceptive Writing
  2. Morning Pages

Proprioceptive Writing – consists of listening to your thoughts and slowing down the thought process to the time it takes to write down what you’re thinking. It involves inner listening and an honest exploration of your thoughts and feelings. In addition, it connects your mind with your emotions, and it strengthens your sense of self.

Morning Pages – As the name suggests, Morning Pages are to be done in the morning; the waking mind is more open to free-form writing and can more easily jump from one subject to another without the constraints set by reason.

Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. It’s also a good problem-solving tool; oftentimes, one can hash out a problem and come up with solutions more easily on paper.

Journaling reminds you of a life worth living. I like to think of journaling as “my life’s story”. That alone makes it fun, enjoyable, and inspiring to write a little about myself and what is going on with me every single day. After you have journaled continuously for some time and you look back on the things that you have written you may realize that your life is much more interesting and deep than you once thought. In fact, if you are down on yourself a lot, journaling is a great way to get around this and discover that your life is truly worth living.

Journaling about traumatic events helps one process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved, and by engaging both hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated within one’s mind. Journaling can also help you to focus on areas of your life that you’re like to focus on more often.

When you start to write about your feelings and how situations in your life change your feelings you gain the ability to start to process those feelings. Rather than leaving feelings completely bottled up inside, you can put them down on paper and get them out of your heart and mind so you can process and understand them more which will lead to a more serene existence. This especially works well with feelings like anger, jealousy, resentment, etc. Putting these feeling out on paper and letting them take their course is a great way to stay balanced.

As for the health benefits of journaling, they’ve been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:

  1. Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  2. It improves cognitive functioning.
  3. It can strengthen immune system response.
  4. It can counteract many of the negative effects of stress.

The simple act of writing a few words, sentences, or paragraphs everyday can have a profound and instant effect on your life for the better. Journaling can change your life. It makes you a more interesting person through the years and makes you feel more interested in your life.

 

WORSHIP

What comes to your mind when you think of Worship? A group of people singing hymns and praise songs? Prayers that declare God’s Nature and Attributes?

Do you ever get tired of this world? Do you get tired of the monotony of life and seek a higher, more exciting plane? Do you ever long to leave all the filth and degradation behind, for just a little while? Would you like a break sometime—to just get away from it all, and go to a place where you can just leave it all behind? That is what worship does

Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Bringing pleasure to God is called worship. The Bible says “The Lord is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love”. Like a diamond, worship is multifaceted. It would take volumes to cover all there is to understand about worship.

Worship means different things to different people. From Catholicism to Protestantism, all denominations define worship in terms of their traditional thinking and cultural conditioning. For some it is nothing more than a pitiful excuse for a pathetic display of painstaking spirituality. For others it is a means of attaining eccentric esoteric experiences – a spiritual state supposedly superior to others.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament word combine not only physical posture and expression in worship, but also the words we pray or sing as we interact with the Scriptures. We do this activity solely to honor the Lord. Regardless of whether I worship by myself, or with my family or roommates, in a home fellowship group, a Bible study, a Sunday School class, or an all-church service of worship, we do it to focus on the Lord.

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines worship in two views

  1. The practice of showing respect to God, by singing with others, saying prayers.
  2. A strong feeling of love and respect for someone or something

However, it is well known that dictionary definitions are insufficient to fully determine the meaning of a word or idea but only a Christian, one who sees through the eyes of faith, can appreciate the eternal value and the absolute spiritual necessity of learning to bow down before our Lord God in adoring veneration.

Worship is hard To Define. It is not really defined in Scripture—it is shown, but not explained. The primary Old Testament term translated “worship” means “to bow downto prostrate oneself” and the primary New Testament term literally means “to kiss toward”.  “It may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims. Whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving… or by deed done in such acknowledgment” (W.E. Vine)

Worship is a spiritual exercise. It is an exercise of the mind and heart, more than just an action of the body. Time and time again people are so sidetracked by the rituals of worship that they miss the true essence of humility before God, love for one another and a holy life.

Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being- an inbuilt need to connect with God. Worship is as natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers.

Depending on your religious background, you may need to expand your understanding of ‘’worship”. You may think of church services with singing, praying and listening to as sermon. Or you may think of ceremonies, candles, and communion. Or you may think of healing, miracles, and ecstatic experiences. Worship can include these elements, but worship is far more these expressions. Worship is a lifestyle.

Worship is far more than music. If Worship was just music, then all who are nonmusical could never worship. Every part of a church service is an act of worship: praying, Scripture reading, singing, confession, silence, being still, listening to a sermon, taking notes, giving an offering, baptism, communion and even greeting other worshippers.

Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume or speed of a song. God loves all kinds of music because He invented it all- fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.

Frankly, the music style you like best says more about you- your background and personality- than it does about God. God likes variety and enjoys it all.

These two definitions, adoration and service, hold each other in a creative tension. They reinforce each other. If we are to be Biblical, we cannot have one definition without the other. Without adoring veneration on a regular basis our service becomes empty, barren activity. There is little sense of the eternal perspective in what we do. On the other hand, without the regular choice to live out the moral and ethical implications of worship through a lifestyle of obedience, times of praise and worship become hypocrisy.

If you have ever said, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” you worshiped for the wrong reason. Worship isn’t for you. It’s for God. Of course, most “worship” services also include elements of fellowship, edification and evangelism and there are benefits to worship, but we don’t worship to please ourselves. Our motive is to bring glory and pleasure to our Creator. God’s heart is not touched by tradition in worship, but by passion and commitment.

Worship is not a part of your life, it is your life. Worship is not just for church services. We are told to “worship him continually” and to “praise him from sunrise to sunset”. In the Bible, people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night. David said, “I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise Him”. Our motivation for a lifestyle of worship is God’s merciful love.

Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory and pleasure of God. Martin Luther said, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God” Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence. Real worship is all about falling in love with Jesus

We are commanded to give to our LORD the honor and respect due His Name! We are also commanded to worship, or prostrate ourselves before Him. When was the last time you fell on your face in worship of your LORD? It is at once a humbling and inspiring experience! And lest we think our beautiful buildings and fashionable apparel can garner God’s pleasure, David instructs us to worship in holiness … in the purity of our hearts and minds, for only such worship will God accept.

Worship proclaims our dependence on God. Worship is always offered to a greater being from a lesser being. God does not need our worship but He does seek it as an expression of our love and communion with Him.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Eliezer

 

 

 

 

DEPENDENCE

27th June 2018, 08:00am. Amidst the heavy traffic, I managed to get to work early today to start reviews. My current rotation has granted me the opportunity to work with critical preterm babies.

A preterm, unfortunately, is born more than three weeks before its estimated due date. It is important to keep such babies in an optimal state to prevent numerous complications that could befall them – A recognized one. Apnea of Prematurity

Mothers, oblivious of these conditions, become impatient and call for an early discharge from the hospital. With elucidation, they get to discern the importance of keeping their babies in incubators, dispensing their lungs with oxygen and nurturing them adequately before they leave the hospital. Mothers are happy, We are happy!

Reaching the ward, I started my reviews of the babies; ensuring they had their medications, monitoring their temperature, in addition to their feeding pattern and attending to any pending issues distressing the mother or the baby.

After inserting the yellow cannula into the first baby’s antecubital vein, the adjacent monitor started to beep. I was enlightened beforehand not to turn a deaf ear to any noise a monitor made, regardless of its pitch.

The AMBU bag lying in the babies incubator drew my attention to the possibility that, the baby had been resuscitated a couple of times in the night. The monitor read 32% and jumped to 26%. In the next second. I found myself resuscitating this baby with the AMBU bag in my hand.

Handclaspping the ambu bag in different motions of contraction and expansion, the baby’s chest rose and fell to this intense flux of air, waving the oxygen saturation to rise in concord. It took me a minute before I realized the environment I was in.

After bagging for an hour, the SP02 read 100%, but, the baby was not breathing; her chest was not rising. I restarted the monitor a couple of times, but the display had the same reading everytime. Could I trust this monitor? I continued bagging when I remembered the words of my lecturer “YOU are the best monitor!” I continued to impale her chest with oxygen from the bag, when I noticed the pulsation on her chest had become faster and stronger. “The best determinant of sucess of oxygen delivery was an increase in heart rate” My fingers recoiled for joy when the baby resumed spontaneous breathing strenously.

I had the opportunity to glance through the baby’s folder. Obviously the baby was at the Intensive Care Unit on account being born before her time. She had an extremely low birth weight of 0.9kg, that it made her look fragile.

On admission, she had suffered multiple episodes of seizures. We played with an initial diagnosis of Meningitis, but revised the diagnosis, when the electrolytes popped up deranged. Sodium was skyrocketing high! Hypernatremia. The CSF results turned out normal surprisingly.

The objective way I could confirm multiple episodes of resuscitation conducted for this baby was to read the nurses notes; handwritten in red. “Baby was seen desaturating at 8:35pm on intranasal oxygen. Bagging started for an hour. Spontaneous respiration resumed but weak.” This had been written three times, making reading monotonous, but it had happened. The baby had been bagged.

I had tons of babies to review but this one had captured my attention. She reminded me of the Biblical narration that moved the Good Shepherd into action to neglect the ninety- nine sheep just to save the life of that one priceless sheep in the wilderness.

With this in thought, I continued bagging, and praying God would save the life of this young lad. I felt despondent when the mother checked in, in tears and asked if everything would be fine. A question which I had no answer to.

Surprisingly,there was no chest movement, but audibly, air entry into her chest was adequate. Something was propelling this baby to strive, vive and live. A couple of people came around and asked me to stop because babies bagged for long hardly survived. But I was the firm certainty this one would make it. I didn’t know how.

I gave up after a couple of minutes and washed my hands; throwing in the towel but my conscience probed me to continue fighting for this baby. So I continued bagging, for another one hour.

Then It hit me! Why don’t I stop everything and commit the fate of this baby into the arms of His loving care. I couldn’t bag for 24 hours. He had already decided the fate of this baby irrespective of hard and insistent I was. Removing my gloves and leaving the area was a painful decision, but then I had to let God do His work. It demanded I closed my eyes before I could see through His eyes.

I said a word of prayer for her soul and left the rest of the care to God. I was because He is.

I was so hopeful to come to meet this baby in the full health the next day, so then I knew He was God.

So then, I left home very early the next day, just to see this baby in a better state; the classic miracle I was expectant of.

As I entered the room, the first thing I noticed was the white bed linen. Initially, I thought I was in the tombstone of Jesus Christ. The white empty duvet stared at my face with a sinister smile of victory.

I knew this baby had kicked the bucket, but I had to confirm that from the attending nurse, just to be sure. It had lunged to that moment, bagging the child could not save the baby any longer in the afternoon. Tired Lung Syndrome? Please don’t try looking it up.

I continued with the rest of the reviews knowing this baby’s life was safe in the hands of its Maker.

We as Christians always want things to go our way. We begin to pant in desperation and rant in defiance when we recognize the wiff of disappointment and the air of disheartenment breezing. It’s easy to accuse God when life goes wrong. He can do anything, stop anything and change anything. But sometimes He doesn’t.

This world is full of death, disease and sin. Bad things happen to good people—even exemplary Christian people. But…

God never promised we would get what we crave for, that our days would be plain sailing, just because we chose to follow Him.

That is where disappointment sets in, hitting the hardest when we becloud what we think God owes us, with what He has actually assured us of. A life full of hope!

He said we should give thanks. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus”

No matter the phase of life you are going through, Hold on! When it seems your prayers are falling on deaf ears, Hold on! When it seems there’s nothing to Hold on to, Hang in. He said we should give thanks and in His time, He would manifest Himself.

I would like to end with this

Have a lovely weekend!

Eliezer

NARROW ESCAPE

12th May 2018. Time check: 3:30am. Another night duty! I pitched my eyes across the expanse of the room with very sleepy eyes, after penning down IV Vitamin K 1mg stat, on the drug sheet of the fresh baby I had examined.

Give 192 mls of 10% plain dextrose in a fifth of Normal Saline and monitor the respiratory rate of the baby.” The ecstasy I felt after winding up the yellow folder in the palms of the nurse, could not be compared to the fufu I had taken in the afternoon; which still sauntered on my taste buds and tonsils with jest.

I moved towards the exit… then I saw it! A baby wrapped in a cot sheet, being humped into the emergency workplace. This zapped me back in; with the intention of seeing to an early discharge.

The night had been a busy night. Everyone was tired! Working for 7 hours straight! non stop Our cortices had been denied the opportunity of spatially recognizing the chairs in the room. We had seen a triad of twins, sixplets? preterm babies and babies in respiratory distress. The place was so full that it emptied the little space remaining. The coolers had been conditioned to malfunction for just a day; so the place was as recalescent as a microwave.

Place the baby on the working table” I said, reaching for the glucometer. Then I saw it – this baby was pink! I had to hide my palms momentarily not to display my own pallor. I checked the airway – which was as patent as the entrance to the emergency room. Baby was breathing unconstrained, with good inspiratory and expiratory effort. His chest moved with oscillatory pirouette; dancing to the harmony of a regular rhythm. I had never heard a chest as crystal clear as his; envisaging how perfect his lungs were, with a scapel blade in my hands.

His heart lubbed and dubbed- doubling every time the second hand nodded. Stunningly, my stethoscope refined its colour, just to match his pink body. It divulged its attachment to the preemie; pledging its allegiance.

The glucometer, after having a taste of his blood, followed his 2 second heart beat and embossed 5.1 with a huge smile. At a very low birth weight of 1.28kg, he looked active; consciously moving his limbs with a normal activity. The newborn reflexes, which signified his bond to infancy were present, except that for suckling – bespeaking his need for maternal attachment.

Carrying the baby was a nurse in scrubs, in the accompaniment of a tall dark man I presumed to be the father of the baby. To my surprise, the man turned out to be the ambulance driver.

After my initial assessment, the only problem I identified was the weight of the baby: 1.28kg. From head to toe, the baby was just fine.

This baby was found in a dustbin” The nurse said. The little dopamine I had left animated my mood, when the pen had thought of falling from my hands.

The baby’s mother was alleged to have dropped the baby in the dustbin; stationed in one of the washrooms found in the hospital. After the incident, she came to lie on the bed unflurried and unruffled– like nothing had happened.

The reporting nurse discovered the baby when she visited the washroom some minutes afterwards, where she detected the baby; by the tenor of his cry. She immediately washed the baby and rushed the baby to our location, while the mother was sent to the police station for questioning.

The baby was admitted, started on intravenous fluids and antibiotics. The antibiotics were given because it was presumed the environment he found himself, after birth was septic.

But then, he was the cutest thing I had seen in a while. The specialist during ward rounds, even had the intendment of adopting the baby.

Then the fortunate happened…

His mother appeared at the hospital the next day in tears. Just in the nick of time.

Apparently, she had experienced her ‘menses’ a month ago. The subtle complaints of intermittent abdominal pain brought her feet to the hospital. Little did she know she was 7 months pregnant.

This story did not make sense. Therefore I probed further. She was a 24 year old high school graduate, who had 2 children already, with a man with whom she was cohabiting.

She left her country of origin with the hope of landing and securing a job in Ghana; with the little education she had. Little did she know all her knots were tied.

She earned 5 cedis everyday which could not cater for her in-and out fare, to the workplace. I would draw your attention to the fact that she needed breakfast, lunch and supper.

Then, she met her savior who savored her exuberance by admitting her to a brothel. Her escapades at the brothel would not be narrated today.

Back at the hospital. The baby popped out into the water closet as she emptied her bowels. She assumed the baby was dead, judging from its size and dumped the baby into the bin.

She tried to draw the attention of the nurse who was deeply rooted in the dial of her phone, but she was dismissed with a wave of the hand. Lying on her bed, she waited for the nurse who was duty comatose but then…she slept!

She lurched into awareness when she noticed two men standing close to the bed in police apparel. She was sent to the station for questioning, as her baby was brought to our unit for assessment.

The next day, the 24 year old woman felt remorse for what she had done, after being extricated from the arms of the law.

It was a sight to behold, just to see such a tiny baby in between the breasts of his mother for warmth.

Time check : 6:06pm

Eliezer

A TALE OF THE NIGHT

It was a cold, windy, starry night. Forget about the stars, but the wind was cold. A night you would not want to spend in a cramped place like this, but in the coziness of your duvets.

Time check- 9:25pm. All I could do was marvel at the manual dexterity my boss displayed after a month at MBU. Seeing every emergency case… left… right… centre as I was sturdily taking notes with my eyes.

You have a new patient to see ASAP” brought my attention to the fact that I wasn’t being just a spectator this evening.

I rushed to the scene and realized I was really on duty. “Please where is the glucometer? Kindly add the cotton wool. Pulse oximeter please?” I was basically asking for everything, including a pen. You know that feeling where you find yourself holding a fishing rod, when you have been a carpenter your whole life, and you are suddenly looking for a fish on the open seas?

The blue color stared right at me. It was time to leave the sea and face reality. This baby was blue!! From the head to the toes. “Can you please get me the pulse oxi..” stopping in my tracks after perceiving the dirty smirk it gave me on the working table.

Beep! 68%… 78%... beep! 30%.. Beeeep! 5%. Someone looked like he wanted to pop off on me. Amidst sweats on a cold evening, I was really on the seas.

“Get me the intranasal prongs to give oxygen” I struggled out. We might have to bag, considering the turn of events. It was right there, that I noticed the frown in the form of a cleft lip and palate.

My first patient for my first duty day and this is what you throw down my neck?

I checked the accompanying the Head Ticket- the piece of paper that wielded the information surrounding the delivery of the baby. The paper read boldly not hesitating. “ Baby is being sent to your unit with Prematurity, Multiple Congenital Abnormalities and Birth Asphyxia. “

Whiz words to the neoteric ears. 28 weeks of gestation? I started to examine the baby, ignoring the plenty beeps intentionally being thrown into my ears to throw me off balance.

Complete Head to Toe Examination. His small head appeared to extrude a soft bloody swelling at the back of his head; most likely containing his brain. His head wasnt well formed. His ears were malformed. His right eye looked like it had been sewn very tight. His flat nasal bridge made inserting the oxygen prongs very difficult. The gaze was intense with the cleft lip and palate. Beeeeep! 3%. Hard guy but you cant bag.

The sounds being played by his chest were melodic, that my stethoscope danced to the tune of it. There were times his lungs would sing at a high pitch and suddenly reach a descendo. These were signs of underdeveloped heart and lungs.

A glance at the genitals had a very ambiguous look. His feet, finally was the classic Rocker Bottom. Words are not enough to describe how he looked but be informed, theres a reason why a normal pregnancy is supposed to last 38 weeks or more.

The mother was the only hope now. A call placed to the labour ward induced the appearance of her head at the entrance. “How did he make it?” she asked, looked astounded, finding the baby alive. A question only God could answer.

It was then the story materialized. She was advised to take an obstetric ultrasound when her pregnancy hit the 7month mark. Unfortunately, the ultrasound blueprinted a baby not likely to survive after he was born; because he had a congenital anomaly. A disability he was likely to be born with.

Although congenital anomalies may be the result of a genetic, infectious, nutritional or environmental factors, it is often difficult to identify the exact causes.

I tried so hard to identify how this mishap happened. “Did you attend antenatal care?, Did you fall ill during the pregnancy? Did you take the prescribed drugs? Did you take any other drug, you shouldn’t have taken during the pregnancy?” All of her responses were music to my ears, making it difficult for the risk factor to be identified.

It was then the question clicked, just like the beep from the monitor. “Did you take herbal preparations?” I asked and her reply was sensational.

Indeed, she did take locally brewed enemas with the aim of making her unborn baby strong and preventing “asram”.

In conjunction with her husband, they had intended to terminate the pregnancy at a hospital, with the erudition from the doctor who performed the ultrasound scan.

Their plan, however was unsuccessful. The baby lived! But barely, with all these malformations. The question I kept on asking myself was why we overburdened ourselves with ignorance of these herbal preparations. You just name it. Any condition with the prefix of chronic attached is caused by our dear herbal preparations. “The dissolver of hernias” and “The smelters of fibroids”. But then the complex puzzle had been solved

Beeeep!! 1%, but then the call had to be made. The child could not be allowed to suffer any more. The blue discoloration worsened and he started to gasp for air.

It was then decided that, the mother shared the remaining seconds of the baby’s life, with him on his bed, on a cold, windy, starry night in the priceless duvet of her mother’s arms.

Beep sensed the reaction, took a few bows and left the scene – returning no more.

A minute later, the baby died, in the arms of her mother. I had no option than to console her, reminding her life had a purpose and everything happened for a reason. “Transfer body to the morgue” my pen concluded, making a diagnosis of Patau Syndrome.

Time check 11:30pm.

A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.”

-Mary Mason

Pregnancy is a special and crucial period for any woman. This is the time, she needs every possible care to ensure her health, and the health of her baby are perfect.

Advice any pregnant woman to visit the clinic regularly, take the prescribed drugs judiciously and avoid herbal preparations which could adversely affect her and the baby. The world needs a better you with everyone in it.

#SayNoToHerbalPreparations.

Thanks for reading.

Eliezer

IN SYNC WITH THE SPIRIT?

I woke up today with the desire to know more about the Holy Spirit. How could I increase my relationship with him better and better with each passing day?  Growing up I was introduced to the concept of the Trinity – Three persons in one body. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s power in action, his active force. I was led to read a sermon by C. H Spurgeon in 1866, which talks about praying in the Holy Spirit. These are things I learnt, and believe are worth sharing.

The righteous build themselves up in their most holy faith and keep themselves in the love of God, when the ungodly are mocking, speaking great swelling words and chasing after their ungodly lusts. The ungodly man bears bitter bile in his mouth while the Christians lips drop the virgin honey of devotion. As the spider is said to find poison in the very flowers from which the bees suck honey, so do the wicked abuse to sin the same mercies which the godly use to the glory of God. When the wicked grow wicked, it is reckoned that we become more holy, more prayerful, more devout and desire to serve the Lord with everything we have.

Faith carries prayer in her arms, and prayer draws life from the breast of faith. Prayer then builds an altar and lays the sacrifice and the wood in order, and then love, like the priest brings holy fire from heaven and sets the offering in a blaze. Faith sees the Savior, prayer follows Him into the house, but love breaks the alabaster box of precious ointment and pours it on His head. Far seeing Hope climbs the staircase which faith has built, and bowing upon the knees of prayer looks through the window which love has opened. And sees the Lord Jesus Christ coming in His glory and endowing all His people with the eternal life which is to be their portion. The man who abounds in faith would surely abound in supplication.

Prayer is of many sorts. But prayers for others has to be multiplied as much as prayers for ourselves, otherwise we make the mercy seat become a place for the exhibition of spiritual selfishness. Prayer can be public or private, vocal or mental, protracted or short – just as the Spirit leads. Prayer may be salted with confession, or perfumed with thanksgiving: it may be sung to music, or wept out with groans; as many as are the flowers of summer, so many are the varieties of prayers. Amazingly, as diverse as the forms of prayer are, there are all in one respect, if they are acceptable with God.

Any form of prayer that is not in sync with the Holy Spirit is in the flesh, and the Bible says those in the flesh cannot please God. Thoughts which emanate from the flesh cannot please God, because they are defiled and marred. The seed of acceptable devotion must flow from heaven’s storehouse. Only the prayer which comes from God can go to God. Therefore, we must shoot the Lord’s arrows back to Him and desire what He has written upon our heart will move His heart to bring down a blessing.

On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles were gathered in one place, the Holy Spirit descended, and settled on their heads. Their tongues were touched with fire that they began to speak different languages acknowledging the fact that manifestation of tongues was a sign of the Holy Spirit. I would like to draw you to the attention, that people mocked them when they were praying in different languages because they thought the spirit filled ones were intoxicated from alcohol. People might mock us because of how incongruent, ‘imperfect’ or ‘one way’ our tongues are, but we should not be dismayed. When we align ourselves with the Spirit and concentrate on his goodness, mumbling the words God lays on our lips, the heavens tremble!

He takes notice of our frailties and our failures in the work of supplication, He sees His child fall as it tries to walk, and marks the tears with which it bemoans its weakness. He teaches the ignorant how to pray, and strengthens the weak with His own strength. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities, making intercession for us with groans that cannot be uttered.

The Holy Spirit is actually willing to help me to pray, that He will tell me how to pray, and that when I get to a point where I am at a pause and cannot express my desires, He will appear in my extremity and make intercession in me with groans which cannot be uttered. He never reads our petitions according to the outward utterance, but according to the inward groans. He notices the longing, the desiring, the sighing and the crying. If prayer is wafted to heaven in the song of the multitude, with the swell of glorious music, it is not one whit more acceptable to God than when it is wailed forth in the bitter cry of anguish from a desolate spirit.

Our new born spirit has a certain degree of power in it, but its power is never fully manifested or drawn out except when the Spirit of God quickens our spirit and excites it to activity. Even though our spirit prays, it is overshadowed and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Come to the throne of grace intelligently, understanding what it is that you require, pray for that which God moves you to pray for and be very sensitive of the Holy Spirit’s influence. His faintest breath can cause a ripple upon the sea of our soul and make it move as the Spirit would have it.

May we be led high state of sanctification when God the Spirit and our own inward spirit are perfectly in accord. May we be enriched with the good things we patiently wait for in accordance with the will of God. May we worship God in spirit and in truth and realize that He is a rewarder of they that diligently seek Him.

God bless you for reading. Have a happy Sunday and please share what you learnt in church today.

Eliezer

DUTY OF CARE

I was listening to the morning show on the radio yesterday. I was glued to my seat because the topic then being discussed was an interesting one. It was a narrative of how a 28 year old man had reported to the hospital for simple appendectomy (surgical procedure to remove the appendix) resulted in extensive third degree burns to his abdomen, waist and knees. A procedure scheduled to last 10minutes by a very skilled surgeon, inadvertently left the man being discharged from the hospital with severe complications.

The cause of this was from a malfunction of a diathermy machine (a machine which utilizes electric current to either cut through tissues, or to cauterize (burn/close) small blood vessels to stop them from bleeding.

This had happened at Ridge Hospital some months ago and left the patient admitted for several months, inspite of the medical condition he came with.

I become worried because this wasnt an expected complication. Checks were seemingly not done before the surgery. Was this the first time the diathermy machine was used? Who has to perform such checks? Doctors? After the surgery, he recuperated from the appendicitis 2 days afterwards, but the appalling state of his wounds warranted the desideratum for his daily dressings, that he spend months on his hospital bed.

According to him, he hardly saw his doctor around because of his busy surgical schedules. Surprisingly, the nurses neglected him without exception. He thus wondered the responsibility of care he had to be offered. To make matters worse, he had spent of a lot of money on drugs and hospital bills that he had run out of money.

Later, the hospital assumed responsibility for everything that had happened and paid him back every penny he had spent; but the scars still lingered.

A lot of people have openly lashed out at us with concerns on the state of health care in the country. On my recent facebook post, a user suggested the relatives of the patient sue the doctor who failed to perform adehiolysis– a surgery intended to improve the condition termed frozen abdomen in my previous post.

A lawyer well versed in medical knowledge, was then invited on the show, to inform the populace on measures they could take, if they questioned the health care rendered by a health care practitioner. According to him, before any consent form was signed, the patient of a sound mind, or a close relative had to agree to the procedure and be informed of the risks involved. In addition, they were supposed to know the complications to expect after the surgery and finally, where to report to, if things went wrong.

I literally laughed in my head, when the long list was metered out by the lawyer. Indeed, that was standard practice! I recall the first time, I asked a patient to sign a consent form for surgery. I was interrupted mid-way as I was explaining the procedure to him, not because he did not understand the language being used. He said he was going to die one day, whether he consented to the surgery or not. He did not give me the opportunity to proceed further because He was of the firm belief that his life was his and no one else’s. “Health care knowledge cant be forced! Stop talking!” As rude as he was, i hurriedly took back the paper because I was relieved that I had enough time to attend to the fifteen patients who were yet to be seen to that day.

My next session was hilarious, you should have seen me trying to explain to an 80 year old woman; who has never sat in a classroom; how a tumour of the pancreas had obstructed the flow of her intestinal contents, and the fact that she needed surgery to get better. The relatives of the patient requested she was discharged the next day because they had heard of a miracle man who could melt “stomach things” just by the touch of his hands. Further explanation fell on their stony dull ears. They brought a letter requesting for her discharge the next day.

I wont pull out the many encounters we have had with patients, but it is with unmarred patience that, we as doctors endure this profession. Many people see the labcoat and think we sleep and wake in a bed of riches, oblivious of the things we go through physically and emotionally.

They are amnesic to the fact of how it feels when your wife does not see you in 3 days? Blind to how it feels when your sleep is interrupted at 1am by the patient who is pouring his bowels out at home; right after you have returned from duty? Incognizant to how it feels when you are attacked in the middle of the night with knives because your duty could not afford you the luxury of getting home early. Inattentive to how it feels to empty your pockets everytime your duty of care conscience probes you to give willingly.

This is not the time to apportion blame, or direct fingers; as to whether the government has provided the necessary things needed to optimize health care, or unbalanced doctor-to-patient ratio which has rendered health care suboptimal. I believe it all starts at the bottom – the mass! We have to join hands as individuals to move the nation forward; by understanding things that could adversely affect our health, we have to know when to report to the hospital for health care, and know how to help doctors to help our own selves.

Its astonishing how doctors spend a majority of their time in the hospital, but so little time in church; but believe healing comes from God. There are many instances we have to gallop out from church service, just to ensure we keep the patient, on the hospital bed, who is near death, alive!

Before you lash out at any doctor or health care practitioner, please take the time to ask questions, clarify your doubts and keep a clear conscience; and not just fling insults at us, because you were treated unfairly by a doctor.

We as doctors have sworn the Hippocractic oath to make the lives of our patients our topmost priority. We are of the firm avowal, going against an oath like this carries many repercussions.

Anytime you go on your knees, pray for that doctor you have not seen yet, who spends 48 hours a day, to complete his shift, completes eight surgeries in a day and beats himself mentally and physically, that the inmates under the umbrella of his care, get well.

Pray for God’s supernatural strength for him and the mental capacity to take care of any person, with the same love and compassion. Because we, as doctors, are also human!

Eliezer