I WISH…

i wish
credit: Google images

A few days ago, I saw a picture of a girl and the caption under the picture was basically talking about how she (the girl in the picture) no longer engages when she goes to church because she has so many questions and no one at her church is willing to answer her truthfully. Since I saw the picture, I have been thinking about this lady I do not know from anywhere (I really wish I did though) and just wondering how she must be feeling.

I wish I knew her so that I could listen to her

Firstly, a lot of the problems we tend to have when it comes to helping people understand religion, the church and getting to know God is that we do not listen to them. We seem to forget that when someone wants to know more about God or Christianity- there must be a personal reason why and we need to allow them to speak.

As Christians, we often go straight ahead in bombarding people with so much information on what the bible says or how God is like and other information that will probably end up confusing some people even more depending on where they are in life.

Being able to take time and listen to someone who does not know God or who is unsure whether to turn to Him or not is very crucial to the decision the person will end up taking.

The church has a huge part to play

When i saw the picture of the lady- the next thing i wished for was that churches would actually make the effort to help their members understand the importance of knowing God through his word and not just attending church to please our pastors or other church leaders.

Nowadays- what i see is people attending church to glorify their pastors and other church leaders instead of God and his word. I see this a lot in African churches and it is very sad.

In the Bible, the disciples of Jesus had a mission to go and tell the whole world about God and make Him known all over the nations and for people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19-20 says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I do not recall Jesus telling His disciples to become greater whilst His name becomes something man would use to manipulate the poor in mind.

The church that this lady goes to must be doing something wrong if she has gotten to the point where she is no longer interested in God or church. Of course, it is up to individuals to make the effort and open up their hearts to know God. However, how can this lady do this when according to her no one at the church she attends is willing to answer her?

From personal experience, i know the church can sometimes shy away from questions that they do not think are important or to them sounds controversial. On the other hand, we are in a generation where these “controversial” questions need to be answered if we want people (especially young people) to experience the church as God through Jesus Christ intended.

Finally,  I wish as christians we would put our entire faith in God and not in anyone or nothing else. Like seriously, if we were all to put our whole faith in God and believe in the totality of His word- He would help us understand certain things and give us answers to questions we need answering through people that He would choose.

Lastly, to the lady who has zoned out at church and on God, I pray that you will have the energy to ask God to show himself to you during this time of uncertainty . Romans 8:32 says “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” This is how great God is- what makes you think he wont answer your questions?

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Chapter 24.

Okay so in a few days I’ll be turning 24. Yes. Yes 24. I’m so close to 30 I feel like it’s sitting right beside me. Shout out to those who are between the ages of 25-29. Life has not been easy.

I just literally finished praying by asking God to inspire me to write something to glorify him and now I’m writing this.

The thing is I am just short of words because when I think about all that God has done in my life for the past 23 years.. I just never seem to understand why.

God has done so much for me that I know for a fact that He is God.

Above all the uncountable things God has done- there is one thing he did for me that I will NEVER ever forget it for the rest of my life here on earth and in heaven.

What is this thing God did? Answer: God saved my life. He saved my life by allowing me to come to the saving knowledge of his son Jesus Christ. The most incredible part about me being saved is that I will always remember when and why and how.  God is so merciful. If you are a Christian you will understand what I am saying because God’s goodness is out of this world.

Let me let you in on a little secret: the day I got saved.. I was dealing with high levels of insecurity and I was just living in a state of constant confusion. But one thing about me is that I was always able to put on a front and pretend that I am strong and I have it all figured out. Meanwhile I was literally wasting away inside and wishing someone would genuinely ask me what’s wrong and I could pour out everything to them and not feel like the worst sinner in the world.

The day I got saved.. a very good friend of mine invited me to a youth service I very much did not want to attend but she kept asking because God was calling me. During the youth service, The pastor said “if people do not like you because of your red headband why do you care? You are a child of God.” I was shocked because I was the only one wearing a red headband in the whole auditorium (I know this because nobody at my church would put a red bandana on their big Afro looking like a black panther member ready to fight for her human rights).

God spoke to me that day so clearly and He just said to me “come as you are” so when they did the alter call I went and rededicated my life to Christ. I rededicated  my life because I knew of God. I just wasn’t ready to be loved by him.  I didn’t instantly become perfect the day I gave my life to Christ.

Do you know what happened though?

I became a new creation and God started his perfect work in me.

In him I am made whole. In him I am made new. In him I live to listen, trust and obey because there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to listen, trust and obey.

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My prayer for chapter 24 of my life:

God thank you for not given up on me. Thank you for choosing me in this generation to live for you. Thank you that I have your spirit living in me and I am no longer a salve to sin and fear.

Thank you God that each and every day new temptations appear but I have overcome because all the victory belongs to you. Thank you for this new age and how you are going to use it to bring glory to your name!

I love you.

Your precious daughter of Zion (DoZ)

Anabel Afia Acheampong.

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The practical truth about being a Christian…

being a christian
Image credit: google images

OK so being a Christian is actually very very fun. It is fun because I know that regardless of what happens.. come what may, whether I am happy today or not.. God is with me and he is for me and I am for him. It is literally that simple to me and that is what makes it fun. BUT.. (this is a very big BUT by the way) being a Christian can also be very difficult if you still have not found the foundation of your Christianity. it makes everyday life sooooo draining (from my opinion). So in this post, I am going to write about some of the practical truths about being a Christian and I really hope that it helps someone.

Prayer makes it all so easy

Firstly, if you are a Christian and you often feel lazy to pray.. Hmm… then you are in trouble oo. You are in trouble and you will keep being in trouble because everything you do will be based on how you feel and not what God tells you to do. I used to find it so difficult to pray. And it’s not like I didn’t believe in prayer but I just couldn’t be bothered. However, one thing I have come to realise is that- the more I pray, the less I talk. James 1: 19 tells us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” If you are like me and you have an opinion on everything because you read a lot; you tend to disregard how others feel because you just want them to know what you know all the time. For example; during my undergraduate degree, I couldn’t wait for someone to say something wrong about Africa or black people or feminism so that I can pour all the numerous critical race theory, postcolonial theory and feminism books I have read on them to make that person feel dumb for whatever they said. On the other hand, do you know how it made me look? Yeah you know lol.

I realised that I was becoming really angry at people saying things I thought was wrong even if that was an opportunity for me to listen and maybe offer further explanations or alternative perspectives. So I started praying about it. I remember I used to (and I still do it now) pray so much to God about how he needs to help me use the knowledge that I acquire appropriately and not foolishly; because you can have 10 degrees in political science or philosophy and still sound incredibly uneducated if you do not choose your words wisely.

So If you want your everyday Christian life to be easy.. Pray. Pray about everything every time. I pray when I wake up in the morning, I even pray when I get in to the bathroom because I know perfectly well that there are people who cannot even walk from their bedrooms to the bathroom. Pray and just feel free about yourself and life because God has given you a spirit not of fear but a spirit that gives us power, love and self-discipline (1 Timothy 1:7).

Pray thanksgiving prayers.. ALL THE TIME!

I think nowadays I don’t even know how I pray for things compared to before.. when I was at uni.. I would spend so much time praying for good grades and basically threatening God that if I fail he fails because I keep talking about how I believe in him and all that (woow those were desperate times when you have not revised and you think God is a juju man). Now, I just pray and thank God for everything because I know and I believe in him so much that anything he has called me to do, he will give me what I need to do it and he will also show me how to do it to glorify him.

Of course, when you are in need, pray and tell God about it (even though he already knows all your heart desires). As Christians, we are not told to shy away from telling God our problems. As a matter of fact.. the bible encourages us to speak to God in our most troubling times. So that God himself will direct and guide us in who to go for help or he himself will send helpers your way if that is what you need. The bible says in Philippians 4: 6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Yeah so God himself is telling you to pray to him and tell him what you need. However, the bible says “with thanksgiving”- I understand this part as just exercising my faith- because instead of saying Oh God I need to pass this course or I need to be able to control myself and not fall into sexual sin.. I say: God thank you for being my provider and knowing exactly what I need and when I need it and thank you for giving me a spirit of self-discipline and the wisdom to know that you are better than sex. Yes I said it. GOD IS BETTER THAN SEX. By praying this way.. I end up reassured and fired up because I know that there is so much power in having a conversation with God and putting all your faith in him.

 

Various ways to pray

Prayer does not always have to consist of the conventional way of eyes shut and looking up and saying stuff (when I was young I used to close my eyes so hard because I thought if I open my eyes and I see God or the holy spirit in church I’ll die). Nowadays, I go down on my knees and pray or I will lift my hands and worship or I will lay on my bed and pray till I fall asleep. Other times, when I feel someway (basically when the devil wanna bring himself) I write my prayers down and then read them out like how I write bible verses down so that I can memorise them. One thing I always do is, I pray about the prayer session before I begin because I want the spirit of God to guide me even in my prayer time. I suggest that anytime you are praying just tell God to come and take over even though you have it in mind to pray about something.. you will see that God will direct you in how to effectively pray to him.

 

Lastly, prayer goes hand in hand with the word of God so you can’t and you really shouldn’t spend all your time praying and not studying the bible because  “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 17 The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But I think I am going to do a continuation post and talk about the bible and the role it plays in our Christian lives. I’m gonna stop writing now because even me I don’t like reading articles that are too long.

 

PRAY. IT’S NECESSARY. YOU CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT PRAY.

 

GOD LOVES YOU.

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GOD

God is my strenght
photocredit: google images

I woke up this morning feeling so down and I did not even understand why. Around 5.30 am, I’m lying on my bed and I have no idea why I feel so sad and because of that I do not want to do anything but cry. At 6 am, I get a call from a friend and he asks for us to pray and the answer I wanna give him is “no because I am sad with my life today and I don’t understand why so I don’t want to talk to God. But politely, I tell him that I’m gonna take a shower and call him after.

As I am in the shower scrubbing away the hands of every guy that has ever touched me, I start to tell God that he is my strength and he has done great things and he will keep doing great things. I just kept repeating these words to myself till I stepped out of the shower.

So I go back to my room and I call my friend and I lead us into an opening prayer and then he says to me “I feel like God wants us to pray about our hearts.” He continued by saying “sometimes we feel betrayed in our hearts and that makes us very sad. But imagine how Jesus felt when he chose Judas to be his disciple but still Judas did not allow God to change his heart and he ended up betraying Jesus.”

Sometimes, it is very easy for us to forget that our hearts are very fragile and when we decide to carry our hearts in our fragile hands- it will fall. The great thing though is that when each and every morning we give our hearts over to God regardless of how we are feeling- God takes hold of them and he places them in his secured hands. The word of God says in Psalm 37: 3 that we should “trust in the Lord and do good and dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” The hands of God are safe and that is where our hearts need to dwell.

After I prayed with my friend, I got dressed and as I was leaving the house I said to God: “father, I know I am feeling sad, but I will not let the devil make me forget about your greatness- take my heart now and do what you do best.” I put my earphones in my phone and I started listening to songs of praise.

I am writing this post to God because sometimes I really don’t appreciate his consistency in my life enough. No matter how I am feeling- his holy spirit always sends me a helper and he empowers me. God shout out to you for always keeping me grounded in you. It is a privilege to be able to subject my body to the spirit of God and win in all areas of my life.

Shout out to you friend for allowing God to use you to speak to me at my darkest hour today. Everybody needs friends who are in tune with the spirit of God whom at all times can be vessels for God almighty to speak through to you.

And shout out to you reading this- don’t ever suffer alone. Don’t let the devil make you think that isolation or time alone can help you through your darkest times. You have people around you whom I really hope are ready at any time to hold hands with you or be at the other end of the phone and pray that depressing spirit away. If you do not have friends like that, pray and ask God to send you some. A few years ago, I prayed that prayer and up until today God keeps sending me amazing people who are not scared to tell me to do the right thing.

God be with you as you give your heart to him to carry in his safe and holy hands.

 

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