THE EASTER BREAK

Hello readers! Pardon my prolonged absence from my blog. I know you all miss my blog posts and the stories I have to tell. I am at that point in my life where I am juggling a lot of things, trying to achieve them in the shortest possible time. In the last four months, I am on the verge of completing a ton of French lessons I started when the year commenced on Duolingo. Also, I have started learning how to code using Datacamp, and finally, I am also chasing the passion of being a businessman by pursuing a Master’s program in Business Administration. Not forgetting this important assertion; I am now a full-fledged member of our church choir. A whole lot going on right? 

The essence of this post was inspired by a Bible plan I started a couple of days ago with the help of a friend, Erica. This plan elucidates the Story of Easter as narrated in different passages by the disciples. 

Even though I haven’t completed this plan yet, I place a high value on being called a Christian and this takes precedence over everything. I am cognizant of the fact that because of the love He has for me, God will send forth his only son to come in the likeness of man to die for my sins just to draw me closer to Him. Do you know what this means? He values my relationship with Him and is willing to go to all lengths to ensure that I commune and interact with Him daily. 

The story starts with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a colt. In one of the daily devotionals last week, the writer wondered why Jesus would keep a low profile the majority of his life, and finally decide to make such a grandiose entry into Jerusalem. My attention was drawn to the fact that His coming had already been prophesized so He just had to come in the likeness of a man and align himself according to the prophecy. He performed so many miracles that no man ever in his entire life would. He cast out demons, raised the dead, and healed the sick all by his touch and the sound of his voice. 

Before the disciples held the Passover feast, he went into time and outlined the plans perfectly to ensure the feast was going to be a success, even though he had never been there physically. He geographically visualized the place and had a man meet his disciples just to ensure that his body, which was His Word, would be shared by the breaking of bread. During the Last Supper with his disciples, he foretold the agony he was going to endure and again informed them of whoever was going to betray him. 

His manly nature prayed several times in the garden that the cup would be taken off him; as the agony, he was going to go through for our sake had been revealed to him. Even in the heat of the moment of his arrest, He attached the ear of a man who had been struck by the sword of Peter. He even predicted that Peter, despite his temperament which made him the rock on which he built His church was going to deny him three times before the rooster crowed. 

Despite his triumphant entry, man made him go through the humiliating experience of carrying a cross amid jeers, and a crown of thorns to Golgotha where he was crucified in the middle of two thieves. “A man who knew no sin became sin so that we would become the righteousness of God“. Can you believe that even on his deathbed – on the cross, he was still praying for us? That our sins would eventually be forgiven. 

The astonishing event that happened in history is the tearing of the veil that separated humanity from divinity, that man could confidently walk to the throne of grace with boldness and obtain grace in their time of need. 

After his death was confirmed, an angel announced his resurrection by rolling the stone that secured his tomb, to grant easier access for the disciples to see and know He is the God of the living and the dead, and to comprehend the ultimate power that he wields. 

He continued to perform miracles even after his resurrection and emerged amidst his disciples even where their doors were locked out of fear.

This God is a merciful and loving Father. If He showed such a kind gesture by sending his own Son in the form of a sacrificial lamb just to bridge his relationship with us, what is He not willing to do for you? Surprisingly, my attention has been drawn to the Bible verse that states emphatically that we would receive whatever we ask for in faith countless times this week. 

It is my prayer that as I have commenced my annual leave, he will draw me closer to him and let me know Him more and more. And that my service in his vineyard in drawing other believers closer to him would never go wasted. Finally that He would grant my heart desires and prayer requests. 

As you start your day, bear in mind that God watches over you constantly and never sleeps nor slumbers. Move in the grace and favour he has destined for your life and emerge out of your day victorious, achieving all your goals in Christ Jesus.

After one of the services at church on a fateful Sunday

Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim

BUILDING RESILIENCE

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

—Philippians 4:12-13

Resilience and persistence often work hand and hand. While resilience refers to bouncing back after enduring a crisis, persistence refers to the ability to steadfastly pursue an objective despite opposition, delays, or other disadvantages. Both resilience and persistence are important because one must not only recover from a setback but have the endurance to continue and not give up. 

Persistence naturally requires being resilient, as you can’t persist if you never get back up. On the other hand, it is important not to take persistence to the extreme. It may seem reasonable to keep going when the odds are stacked against us, but there are times when we just need to learn to let go. 

Strategies for Handling Adversity

When adversity rears its head, it is wise to follow some predetermined guidelines as to how you will cope. Here are some strategies that have helped me to overcome many problems. 

 Maintain a good attitude.“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!” Job proclaims in Job 14:1. Trouble is inevitable, but it is also a tool that produces spiritual, emotional, and psychological strength. When we resist the temptation to feel that our trials are unfair and resist the pressure to respond in a negative way, we develop the “mental muscle” needed to overcome whatever obstacles arise. We learn to analyze the situation, ask for divine assistance, and anticipate a positive outcome.

 Believe in the God who resides within you. Often in the face of adversity, our self-esteem takes a hit. Don’t allow any circumstances to make you feel less worthy. Your challenges do not define you. Adversity is just an experience; it is not your identity. Whatever happens, you are strong enough to regain control over your life. You simply need to remember that with God you can do all things. 

 Rely on your support network. Everyone can get down occasionally. During these times, you can rely on your support network to cheer you on and encourage you to get back up again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Rely on colleagues, friends, or loved ones to help get you through hard times. Challenges are easier to handle when we have someone to talk to. The people in our support group can remind us of who we are when adversity tempts us to forget. Nurture your support group and do not forget that support goes both ways. Be there for others during their trying times.

 Don’t be overly critical of yourself. Beware of allowing your mistakes or any setback to define who you are. You are not a failure if you lose your job or get passed over for a high-profile role. You still have worth and value, and you just need to get back up and prove it. Every defeat gives you the chance to learn from your mistakes, if any, and be wiser in the future.

 Don’t be afraid to accept responsibility. Sometimes adversity seems to come inexplicably out of the blue; other times, it comes as a result of our own actions. If you find that you have made unwise decisions, don’t let this incapacitate you. Accept responsibility for your part in creating the problem and learn from your mistakes. Prepare a game plan to take those necessary next steps.

 Don’t neglect self-care.Ironically, the key to resilience is first learning how to stop rather than forge ahead. It is essential to take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising are critical. Most importantly, the time spent in the empowering presence of God and his Word will reap big dividends. 

We often underestimate our ability to recover from challenging situations, but most people are far more resilient than they give themselves credit for. Many of us have already made significant accomplishments that required resilience. Often, it’s just a matter of looking back and evaluating past successes. Success in one area breeds confidence in other areas. It is often fear that holds us back from being either resilient or persistent; however, most situations aren’t as bad as we think they are. They are certainly not too hard for our omnipotent God.

PhotoCredit: Pinterest

A CONVERSATION WITH GOD ABOUT PURPOSE

Hello God, It is me again. Remember Me? I have a question for you. Why do you let your sons and daughters go through hardship, pain and distress in the bid to serve you faithfully? Why do you allow the heathen to make mockery of us and say with their chest there is no God?

If your book says “You know the plans you have for me are of good, why the sleepless nights? The spikes on an already untarred road? Eventualities? Setbacks? Pain And Guilt?

Trusting you was supposed to be an easy one they say. Just have a child like faith and you will move mountains. Why is this mole hill difficult to push aside?

God: Before I formed the foundations of this earth, I knew I had to bring you to earth at an appointed time for a purpose. Your parents might not have planned you but then I did! Because I had great plans and intentions for you. Well! I still do! The journey isn’t easy. Trust me! The road is narrow for a reason but I did not leave you to travel this journey alone. I gave you a comforter, a guide, and teacher and a leader. The Holy Spirit. He is your go-to-guy literally.

When he comes he brings to remembrance everything I have said concerning your life. He is the restorer of all broken dreams and shattered homes. He is a mind fixer, a heart regulator and a game changer.

As far as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my intentions greater than yours. You might not understand now, but it’s for a purpose. I’m bringing you to the point where people will acknowledge my presence and say I am the mighty One. The “I Am that I am” The silent, invisible but listening Father. I brought this world into being and I created the stars, moon and earth, together with the people in it.

My compassion and mercies never cease. They are new every morning. In your times of distress, Call on Me and I will answer you.

For those that wait on the Father shall renew their strength, they shall mount up wings like that of eagles. They shall run and never go weary. They shall walk and not faint. For I am their strength.

For whoever is going through a tough season right now, for which it seems there’s no help available at the moment. I would encourage you to be steady and patient and allow Jesus to steer the wheel in your life. Do not let setbacks push you to the point of giving up in your life. Push hard, fight on and press on. Cos help is on the way!

Eliezer

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

 

 

 

 

PEACE OF MIND

What is the most valuable thing in your life? Multi million dollar question! I was talking with a friend recently, who told me everything in this world is vanity. This statement happened because she had seen me in a black shirt with the image of my grandfather embossed on the front. She stated that we would all die one day, irrespective of the number of good deeds we had accomplished, the number of mansions we had built, and the amount of accolades we had won. This world made her feel empty and kicked, that she wondered if it is all worth it?

This has got me doing a lot of thinking lately about my purpose in life and what I value most. I am deciding not to ponder over so many unnecessary things anymore, but let the direction of God take its natural course in my life. I have also realized that being in sync with the spirit of God, draws Good to your life.

My next question, I asked her was, what she valued most, with the exception of her life. The least answer I expected was salvation. She valued her salvation!

What does it mean then to be saved? It implies one has to freed from impending danger. We have watched a countless movies, where a superhero appeared just in the nick of time, to prevent a calamity from happening – then back in primary school, I remember running around, carrying my football on my head thinking it was the globe- funny me, with no concern at all, oblivious of how big and wide the world was.

Are we saved thoroughly as long as we firmly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Or it requires a lot more? I believe someone saved neglects his own will, and walks in the will of God, with living faith as his steps.

Interestingly, a reply I had from another friend in response to the most important thing in life was her relationships- family and friends ;the feeling of knowing someone thought constantly about her and cared for her in every way possible. How sweet?! Our relationships, she thought are the fundamental building blocks and most important thing in the world.

I knew I would have gotten different answers if I kept asking different people. But his fast paced world seems to be moving in the direction of acquisition of a lot of things, that would fade away with time- wealth, property and fame. These things are short lived, and provide us with momentary happiness. There are a countless number of times I have envisioned myself becoming a top doctor, cruising around with the latest ride in town. But is that what God wills for me?

Honestly, I think the most important thing in life is to have inner peace; with enough understanding and knowledge to keep my mind strong in the face of discord. Not to constantly ruminate about my past experiences nor cogitate my future aspirations.

Close your eyes for a minute! Imagine yourself in a green meadow with blue skies- a world spiced with the bright colors of life; with birds chirping over your head to the sound of a melodious tune which has played in your heart for ages; and the knowledge that God has got you inscribed in the palm of his hands.

Next, Imagine a fountain flowing with milk and honey at the centre of this meadow pouring out complete goodness and love.

Lastly, imagine, all the people you love, in white gowns, coming in your direction with hands held, beaming with smiles. How I yearn for such a day? It is all in the mind!

The Bible says in Philippians 4:6-7 not be anxious about anything, but to be thankful in every situation. And with prayer and petition, present your requests to God. Following that, the peace of God, which transcends our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

So I’m deciding to take this month away from home to reflect on myself and lay my future bare before my father and Creator. It’s my prayer He moulds me into a priceless instrument for his worthy cause, and let me discover my true purpose in life .

What is your true value in life?

Eliezer