THE TWELVE CURSES ON MOUNT EBAR

​15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.

18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.

19 Cursed be he that perverteth the

judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth

his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.

21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.

22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.

24 Cursed be he that smiteth his

neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.

25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.

26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

SAYING “NO!” TO MYSELF

James 1:13-15

Luke 15:12-13 preaches that selfishness is the root of all sin. That, it is only when one chases his/her selfish desires that contact with sin is made.

Self-interest comes after the interest of others, which comes after the interest of God. To escape sin completely, the interest of God must be put first, at all times. The interests of others is however better that the interests of one’s self, undoubtedly, in avoiding sin. This can be done, i.e. self-interest can be put at its rightful place after the interest of others and the interest of God respectively by:

  • Taking up one’s own cross and following Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
  • Going out to bring others to Christ (Luke 4:23). Caring for the poor and needy, infirm, and the troubled to make their welfare your greatest concern.
  • Developing righteousness in the faith of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9)
  • Crucifying one’s self with Christ, i.e. going as Christ did on this earth. (Galatians 2:20)
  • Shunning bad company (1 Corinthians 15:33)

You can’t just pray evil away, you still have to fight it hard on your own. So, to say no to yourself you have to be very much disciplined. Let’s conclude with Proverbs 22:15, “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.” God grace abound in us this day and beyond, Amen!

FORGETFUL FORGIVENESS

The one prerequisite for membership in the true Christian church is that you be a sinner. If you do not think you are a sinner, you are not a candidate for the church. But the other side of the paradox is that Christianity holds that if you confess or acknowledge your sins with contrition, then it is wiped out. The word “contrition” is very important here, and what is required is feeling bad, suffering over what you have done. If you acknowledge your sin with contrition, then the slate is wiped clean. It is as if the sin never existed. You can start over again fresh and clean every time.

There is a very sweet story about this concept. A little Filipino girl said she talked to Jesus, and people in her village began to get excited about that. Then word got around to some of the neighbouring villages, and other people began to get excited about it. Finally, word reached the Bishop’s palace, and the Bishop became somewhat concerned, because, after all, you can’t have any unauthorized saints walking around in the Catholic Church. So he appointed a monsignor to investigate the case.

The little girl was brought to the Bishop’s palace for a series of psychotheological diagnostic interview. At the end of the third interview, the monsignor threw up his hands and said, “I just don’t know, I don’t know what to make of this. I don’t know whether you are for real or not. But there is one acid test. The next time you talk to Jesus, I want you to ask Him what I confessed to at the last confession. Would you do that?” The little girl said she would. She went away and came back for her interview the next week, and with barely disguised eagerness the monsignor asked, “So my dear, did you talk to Jesus again this past week?”

She said, “Yes, father, I did.”

“And when you talked to Jesus this past week, did you remember to ask Him what I confessed to at the last confession?”

“Yes, father, I did.”

“Well? When you asked Jesus what I confessed to at my last confession, what did He say?”

And the little girl answered, “Jesus said, ‘I have forgotten.’”

If the one we sin against forgives and forgets, why do we want to bother ourselves by keeping our confessed sins in mind? Once our sins are confessed with contrition, they are forgotten: they no longer exist in the mind of God. Let that guilt go now!

Courtesy: page 158, Further along the road Less Travelled, m. scott peck

SAYING NO TO TEMPTATION

Sir Hilliard, a renowned educationist once said, ‘a vacant mind invites dangerous inmates as a deserted mansion tempts wandering outcasts to enter and take up their abode in its desolate apartment.’ If we consider this statement well, we will really admit and cling to the belief that an idle mind is indeed the devil’s workshop.

Though some temptations do come the way of the industrious, it attacks the idle with vigor. No man can boast that he was never tempted, but it is only when we are idle that the temptation swallows us up like wild fire. If we therefore find ourselves engaged in something godly all the time, we will not or be less tempted. We must try as much as possible to keep ourselves away from the company of people who indulge in vices such as smoking, alcoholism, prostitution, gossiping, stealing, etc., because there is a saying that, “he who has no mind to trade with the devil, should be so wise to keep away from his shop.” The only reason to keep off that company is because you can be lured into practicing them to mark an occasion and before long occasions come more often than frequent, and this occasional indulgence turns a habit corrupting ones character in no time.

James 1:13-15 says that no temptation comes from God, but rather our own sinful desires. The Bible says that when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown, brings forth death. The highway of temptation surely has only one destination when one yields unto it: that’s death. If what tempts us comes from us, then we are the only people to fight them by controlling our thoughts and desires. The power has been given unto us to control whatever our desires conceive, life or death. To attempt to resist temptation and to control our dominant passions in our own unaided strength is like attempting to check by spiders thread the progress a ship borne along before wind and tide. You must always keep the good book (Bible) along with you and pray without ceasing lest you fall into temptation. Reading of the Bible is no doubt the best way to overcome temptation.

The power to overcome the enemy and trample upon him and his tricks has been given unto us. The Bible says in Luke 10:19 that, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you“. All we need to do is walk in the light that whatever temptation that comes our way is not meant to overcome us but rather the other way round. The power is in you to flee from temptation like Joseph did. Do not carry yourself about that you are bigger than temptation and so will tread its dangerous paths. My brother and my sister, that will only put you in the hard grips of sin which will consequently put you to death.

A second thought is also very important in overcoming temptation. You must always have a second thought before doing things because second thoughts as they say are the best, and character building also begins right from infancy and continues till death. We must also understand that every man is the architect of his own character. The food for thought I would like to leave you is: It will be better for you to shun the bait than to struggle or suffer in the share.

CHRISTIANITY IS A CULTURE NOT A CONCEPT

The only way we can get the best out of Christianity is when we live it, and that has to do with manifesting the radiance of Christ in our day to day activities as we put hope on hope to someday see the Lord in Heaven. I honestly do not know how a child can manifest the radiance of his father if he did not talk/ act like him, and uphold with high esteem the virtues and values of his father. My brother Paul Lawer always tells me: The best description to Christianity is laying down your life for another’s. Look at even what 1 John 3:16-17 says, “16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”

Christianity ceases to be an abstract idea once one surrenders his entire life into the hands of God through Jesus Christ, and it becomes his way of life. There and then Christianity becomes something one can feel, touch and hold, and those die hard unbelievers see them and walk boldly into Christianity. It only looks like a concept to those viewing it from afar, but to us in it, it is even more than our way of life – it is our life and our living. I always tell people: People who claim to be Christians will not denounce their identity in some circumstances if only they see their being Christian as a skin colour that they can do nothing about.

If we take Christianity as a culture that we eat, drink, think, walk, dress and wear, it will certainly become our immune system like Marimba Ani says, “Your culture is your immune system.” It is only there and then that what Paul wrote to the Corinthians to let their lives be epistles is manifested and comes into full force.

Let me quickly add that Christianity is not posing in your nicest of dresses with your Bible in hand and a necklace of the cross of Jesus hanging on your neck and dangling on your chest. There is more to it! It must be must be part of your makeup and definition. You cannot be defined without a culture and identity. So my question question is what culture have you been identified with that defines you?

A way of becoming defenceless and vulnerable is by losing your culture, your immune system. To stand your grounds as a Christian you must make it your culture and identity, not a concept and nonentity. God be with us all.

FUN AND HAVING IT

A major way by which people in Ghana, the youth especially, utilize public holidays and weekends is by going out to places with friends and family to have fun. I have been an introvert throughout my formative years, simply because I felt – I still feel – so uneasy stealing glances at people right in the eyes, so I always avoided situations, events and occasions that brought together a lot of eyes. I was always with myself, by myself, and for myself left to my own fate. No wonder social media is my mouthpiece; I get to express myself without actually watching eyes, and not show my discomfort by watching elsewhere.

Recently I have become very tired of always being by myself and with myself, so I stepped out into town with an oral questionnaire to see if this fun ‘outing’ could be a solution to my boredom, and break me free of my shyness. The only age group I considered for my research was the one between twenty and thirty because they I can relate to better. I must say I did not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, tribe, and/or academia. The questions I paid very particular attention to are: “What do you consider fun?” and “How do you have it?”

having fun?

Irrespective of the weird and strange nature of my findings, I still find it worth sharing because someone’s life is capable of being transformed for the better. Most of the ladies consider going out to do daring stuffs with guys and fellow ladies as fun, and they have it by going to the poolside, beach, and the nightclub. As inquisitive and desperate as I was, I continued with my barrage of questions, and the next as a follow up to the preceding is obviously, “What are those daring stuffs?” “Strutting my half-naked sexy self before the guys, who immediately show trait of ‘grabbing’ to take a bite. It is the best fun to have making somebody want to do something explicit with you. Taking a few puffs of the weed and dancing my head off is so fun”, one of the ladies responded emphatically.

The guys on the other hand gave similar answers like the ladies did to my questions. “Having to mingle with a lot of ladies in almost naked appearances with a lot of tobacco and weed to smoke, and drinks to quaff. You know, when much of the drink has entered the ladies, in the midst of deafening secular music, is the onset of unlimited fun. Sex is the best way of expressing youthful exuberance.” I spat out a very big housefly to send me a signal of reality.

My amazement was great because almost all the responses I had were from people who call themselves Christians. Whether they are tongue-speaking Christians or not I cannot tell, but they told me they went to church regularly. I am stopping here on my write up before my findings end up making someone want to try to have a taste of this fun.

Looking at fun and having it through the eyes of a ‘practising Christian’ is certainly what I seek to present here. The big question is, “Is this the Christian kind of fun?” I am thinking the Christian kind of fun has to do with doing something to bring someone into the House of the Lord. Your body is the temple of the Lord, so use it in a way that will give glory to the Lord. For the fact that none of what the world considers fun can be attained or done in the church means that that fun is a mistake and must be avoided at all cost.

I consider going to the beach to swim and after swimming relax with somebody, telling him/her about Christ, or call a special someone and say, “If what I have for you is love, and Christ died on the cross for you because of this same love, then love Him more than you love me.” This is my fun! Evangelism can be yours too, just give it a thought. Have the wise fun, and save your life from destruction. I love you.

 

LIFE

I sat in my room thinking of what this life is all about because I felt like doing something on my own (after completing the university) for God, and for myself. As I considered my life so far, I asked, “Is this all there is to life?” Then the Spirit of God led me to the book of Ecclesiastes where the preacher talks of what this life is all about. The substance in this book blessed me so much, and I see it worth this sharing on this medium.

In one word the preacher said that life is vanity. Under the sun, every toil, labour, effort of man in its entirety is vanity. Such is life, but you ought to live it as long as you have what it takes – breathe. Have you ever played a video game where you wished there was an extra key on the game pad for your imaginary actions?  I guess you did, but unfortunately, that wasn’t possible because life is not like that. You just cannot do anything but to use the keys you have. One can only live life by how it is designed.

Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, I realised that the preacher tells his readers to enjoy life from the fruits of their labour. “Eat, drink, make merry from the toil of thy labour, enjoy with your spouse in all the vain days of your life. Do not frustrate yourself with this life and its proceedings. Just enjoy it, considering it a gift; your heritage.” He said.

One very important point King Solomon made was that the beginning of a thing is not as important as its end – so is man. I admonish and pray that you make great impact with your life before you give up the ghost. Let the gathering at your funeral be far greater than that at your outdooring. Look at Jesus Christ, born in a manger, witnessed and visited by a handful, but when He died… Live a fulfilled life – a life full of glory.

In conclusion, the preacher declared, “Fear God and keep His commandments.” In all your life of vanity, always bear in mind that we have a home in Heaven. God has placed eternity within our hearts. Secure a place in Heaven for your soul now. Let your heart trust in God, serve Him with your all, and let your eyes constantly be set on Christ.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but a life without God is meaningless and lifeless. It is well with our souls. Amen!

By: Ameyaw Bernice Ama