This Life is too Short

9 May

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By the time my Grandmother reached her seventies she had completely lost her sight and lost her ability to walk. By her late seventies she was finding it increasingly difficult to even stand on her feet. ‘Maame’ as we called her had seriously been rocked in life. But Maame was no loser. She had raised six strong children on her meager earnings from being a trader, a hairdresser or anything that could earn anything as long as that venture was legitimate.

So at this stage of her life she made a very divinely inspired request-being catholic she asked that Holy Communion be served her at home. It was at this stage I met the Rev. Fr. Mathias Ackah, a young committed priest. He was from the old parish where my Granny used to worship. He was assigned to administer communion to her periodically. My job was to pick him up for this task as his car was faulty and therefore being serviced at the shop. After being catholic trained for three years in a prestigious catholic high school I was exposed very much to Catholic catechism, so the Rev. Father and I immediately connected. We would talk a lot about life, ministry and occasionally on my Grandmother’s predicament. He would always give a positive tone to that issue.

Many months down the line Grandma’s situation was becoming grimmer by the day but not her faith. She would always be glued to a TV or radio set listening to some preaching. She continued receiving  Holy Communion with glee. By this time she could hardly sit straight unaided. Even the slightest of movements were a challenge. We all knew we were in uncertain times. The only certainty was the inevitable.

One fine afternoon, I had a call that sent chills down my spine. Mum was at the other end. “Father Mathias just passed away”. What? How? I found myself in her house shortly afterwards, and then I got the full picture. It was a terrible motor accident involving his car. He died on the spot. He was 37. Grandma passed away some time afterwards, most certainly not having been able to fully come to terms with Father’s death.

Well it’s been several years after the Rev. Father Mathias’s passing. I still think about him sometimes but now in a more philosophical sense. That is the premise of this article. THIS LIFE IS TOO SHORT.

I am currently reading the book of Job. After his calamities Job said;

“Man that is born of a woman IS OF FEW DAYS, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”Job 14:1, 2.

Our life here is too short. We all get surprised when the year ends so soon. Our children grow so fast right before our eyes. The football season starts and ends so fast. Our cloths wear out so fast. Even Moses the servant of God said,

“Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
FOR THEY QUICKLY PASS, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

David the King agrees;

“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” Psalm 103:15.

THIS LIFE IS TOO SHORT, however there’s accountability and reward at the end of our short life. If there was no accountability and reward what is the ultimate motivation for choosing to live a saintly but difficult life like Martin Luther King Jnr. instead of Hitler? You will have to account for every minute of that short life. Did you know that though life is short this short life will be the yardstick for how you’ll spend a very long afterlife? I think about this always. A good life that is well lived for the LORD leads to an eternal afterlife of peace and joy. On the other hand a short but shoddy life lived for one’s self is in danger of eternal anguish.

THIS LIFE IS SHORT but no one knows when the giver of that life will come calling. It may come suddenly like the case of the Rev. Father Mathias or slowly like that of  Grandma. We just have to stay prepared-always. For this reason Moses pleaded;

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”. Psalm 90:12

I thank you for passing through. God bless you. Please leave a comment.

I am yours truly, Sisiba.

The Author

sisiba

Sisiba Boakye is a blogger on different issues especially on Faith, Science, human nature, history and Philosophy.

Without any formal training in theology, he has an uncanny insight in the Bible as evident in his tagging as the ‘walking Bible’ by many observers. He has a degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi majoring in Chemistry.

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How to make Bible reading a consistent practice

6 Apr

sisiba

For more than 17 years I have consistently been reading the Bible. In fact, by Divine grace I have rarely missed a day not reading the Bible. It has had a daily, detailed and deep impact on my life . However not so many people have had the strength to read the Bible on regular basis. This piece is to help readers with very practical ways to be able to do so. I define them as ‘practical’ because they are my personal experiences on how I have been able to read the Bible consistently .

  1. Develop a genuine love for  God.

The Bible is like a love letter from God who relates with us on the basis of love. To love reading this ‘love letter’, you ought to love the writer/sender. Did you know that God loves you the way you are; drunkard, adulterer, thief, sinful…? Why do we discount this love by not loving him back? In all your weaknesses let God’s love remain in your heart. When you do so you will love reading what He’s written for you in the Bible. For so many years I kept clinging to God’s love and mercies especially in times of weakness. It really kept me glued to the Bible.

PS; “How do you develop a genuine love for God?” Someone asked this question after I first posted this piece on a different platform. This was my response;

Appreciation is an ingredient of love. Appreciating God for every detail of your life (including the ‘little’ blessings) deepens your love for God. When I was in high school I used to complain a lot about my meager pocket money. Then one day, I heard the story of a mate who would have to live on the proceeds from the sale of ‘gari’ (a local staple) in a nearby market in order to survive. He had little or no financial support from home. I felt so thankful to my mother after this experience. I felt so much grateful for the sacrifices she was making for us. I sincerely desired to love and do my best for her. There are so many good things in your life for which you should be thankful to God for. Being thankful makes you happier, it makes you cherish your life and your worth much more and especially makes you appreciate, cherish and love the Giver of that life.

  1. Listen to the preaching of the Bible

Listen in church and especially in private ( in the car, from laptops, phones and other devices). Listening is a very powerful tool to stirring desire to read. Listening to a favorite preacher quote certain portions of scripture stirs desire to refer. Earlier in my Christian walk, listening to preachers like Rev. Kakra Baiden (http://kakrabaiden.org/), Rev. Eastwood Anaba (http://eastwoodanaba.com/) and    Dr. Ravi Zacharias (http://rzim.org/about/ravi-zacharias/) drew a certain taste for scripture in me. These days, I have a number of scriptures in audio which I listen to sometimes. You can try it. It works.

  1. Reading one verse in a day is better than a chapter once in two weeks.

They say, ‘slow motion is better than no motion’. Little things that are done consistently make you more productive than a big shot once in a while. It boosts one’s confidence as well. You may think, “When I go on leave or vacation there will be more time for me to read the whole book of John”. Problem is, if you fail (which most often happens) you become more demoralized in your quest to read the Bible. However, if you read a few verses a day you may possibly not finish reading through John by the time school re-opens but that will boost your morale for reading. Many times, I have stayed with just a few verses a day continuously but have been so refreshed. It’s not about volumes but about being ‘daily, detailed and deep’. Remember, the Christian life is lived daily so you need daily refreshing of God’s word, the Bible.

  1. Do not always be moved by feelings.

Sometimes it feels dry, uninspiring and dull when you’re reading the Bible. Your first response is to discontinue. Please remember we fulfill most of our responsibilities not because we feel or love to but because we have to do so in order to live. You change the baby’s diapers, or pay fees, or do laundry not because you love to do so but because you have to in order to live a meaningful life. During my early years as a believer I thought my prayer & Bible study times would always be a heavenly experience with angels ‘descending and ascending’ and a halo all around my room. I do have those feelings at times. However, maturity really means doing what you MUST necessarily do to live.

  1. Use a favorite translation or version.

Language is very fundamental to life. Language is the key to knowledge and the propagation of ideas. When the European missionaries came to Africa, they realized they could only propagate the Gospel in the natives’ language. Some of these whites therefore learned to speak these indigenous languages and even developed complete scholarship for them. You’re moved by the language that best appeals to you. Earlier in my Christian walk, I automatically had an affinity for the King James Version, KJV (which may not be the best translation). The KJV for me is poetic, historic and antique in its outlook. These characteristics appealed to me and consequently kept me reading. For me the Twi Bible is moving. For others it is some modern English translation. Finding your favorite Bible translation helps in reading the Bible consistently.

Disclaimer: Some translations may have been sloppily done and not good for consumption. The responsibility of choosing a good translation rests on the reader. The writer is not projecting the KJV or any translation over another.

  1. Write down Bible lessons in a cherished diary or notebook.

Recording lessons from Bible reading has very lasting effect. I will discuss one of the effects- Nostalgic effect.

Nostalgia is defined as the sentimental feeling associated with remembering events that evoked nice emotional responses in the past. An example is remembering a song your Kindergarten class used to sing. It always brings fond memories anytime you hear it being sung. It takes you way back. You would wish to relive such a moment. Years back anytime I read the Bible I made notes in my favourite note book or diary. Many years later, anytime I became cold in Bible reading I would go through my old notes which would bring back some nostalgia. I always felt surprised that I was the one who made all those important notes. It was great. I would always feel like missing a lot not reading the Bible.

  1. Associate with Bible readers and ‘Bible Talkers’.

The principle of associating with achievers is a universal principle in the quest to achieving any objective. Peer group influence is real. Associating with people who read, talk and quote the Bible often can inspire you to also read. That character will ‘rub’ on you, sometimes unconsciously. It works.

One day the President of our Christian fellowship had a meeting with the teenage members of which I was part. The purpose of the meeting was to admonish us to worship in a certain way he expected. One of the teenagers disagreed with him in a subtle way. After the meeting with our leader, I had a one-on-one discussion with this young man. He explained to me his side of the argument. He did so convincingly, backing his argument with scriptures. I could not meaningfully contribute to the discussion since my knowledge and understanding of Scripture was not enough to back my argument if I had any. I was impressed with this friend. That night I could not sleep. I flipped through my Bible trying to crosscheck some of the scriptures he had made references to. I therefore made a decision to always read the Bible in order to be useful in such discussions.

  1. Preaching the Bible inspires consistent reading.

When acquired knowledge is shared, it inspires more learning. Sharing the message of the Bible consistently in any form (one-on-one, group and online) can inspire one to always read. Also, having a consistent preaching schedule puts you on your toes to read the Bible. I got into preaching relatively young. I realized that any time I got a preaching engagement I’d be glued to my Bible for weeks prior. Success is a function of preparation. There will always be the natural drive to read the Bible in order to stay prepared for a preaching appointment. Show me a person who preaches the Bible frequently and I will show you one who reads it consistently.

I thank you for passing through. Please leave a comment. God bless you.

I am yours truly, Sisiba.

The Author

Sisiba Boakye is a blogger on all issues especially on Faith, Science, human nature, history and Philosophy.

Without any formal training in theology, he has an uncanny insight in the Bible as evident in his tagging as the ‘walking Bible’ by many observers. He has a degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi majoring in Chemistry.

The Bible Series

7 Oct

sisiba

Hi there!

I am beginning a new series on the Bible. This will be very

interactive, simple and direct to give you some very fundamental

knowledge on this amazing Book.

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The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.  Isaiah 40:8

  1. The Bible, A-Z

A-Authorship; The Bible was written by 40 different authors from different backgrounds-Doctors, fishermen, Shepherds, Cup-bearers, Kings, tent-makers, priests etc.They come from about 10 different countries thousands of miles apart and taking a total time frame of approximately 1600 years

B-Books; A total of 66 books make up the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament

C-1.Creation~>God created everything including man

2.Corruption~>Man disobeyed God and sinned

3.Confusion~>God confused man by making the earth multilingual in order to kill their pride

4.Cross~> Christ died to redeem man from his sin

5.Consummation~>Christ will eventually bring all things under His submission and judgment

D-Detail; The Bible gives very detailed descriptions of names of specific individuals, cities, events and stories, leaving very little to the imagination. Its contents are so detailed giving the reader the opportunity to scrutinise its claims.

E-Errors; Unbelievers’ strongest argument against the Bible has been the presence of apparent errors. However, when these so called ‘errors’ are examined individually, they seem to be nothing more than red herrings that are thrown. Some are slight errors from copyists, translation errors etc which together have no strong impact on the overall message.

F-Facts; The Bible is a book of obvious facts. Eg.,the heart of man is ‘desperately wicked’ and needs remedy. This is an obvious fact. Man is so evil. This fact is clearly demonstrated in the Bible.

G-God: The Bible not only teaches about the existence of God but His nature as Omnipotent; All powerful, Omniscient; All knowing and Omnipresent; Present everywhere.

H-Holistic; The Bible gives a holistic view on life’s origin, morality, Destiny and eternity.

H-Holy Book; A Holy God gave the message to Holy men who wrote this Holy book. “I believe the Bible from cover to cover and even the back cover which says ‘Holy Bible‘”-Anonymous

I-Inspired; It’s a book written by inspiration. This means holy men wrote the mind of God as they were ‘moved’ by His Spirit. God guided their thoughts and understanding to produce what exactly He wanted written.

I-Influence/Impact; No book has influenced people as much as the Bible. Whole constitutions of nations have been written with the Bible as a backdrop. Billions of people have lived with it’s teachings for centuries.

J-Jesus. The name Jesus is Greek. It’s Hebrew, Yehoshua, means ‘Saviour’ or ‘God who’s salvation’. Jesus is the Bible’s central figure. He is God who came down in human form to redeem man.

K-Kept; The Bible is the best kept piece of material. Most ancient works have little or no extant copies (copies from ancient times that were not lost but are still available). Most of the major literary works including religious ones cannot boast of even up to 100 copies of extant material.The New Testament alone has over 25,000 extant copies in whole or part. Remember a person’s citizenship status is much more authenticated when he has in his possession a childhood picture with a major national landmark in the background than another who has only a current passport sized photograph. There is authenticity in antiquity.

L-Language; The Old Testament was first written largely in Hebrew with some small portions in Aramaic. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, the ‘World language’ of the time.

M-Message; The central message of the Bible is Love-God’s redemptive Love. You can say that John 3:16 is ‘the Bible in a nutshell’.

N-Numbers; It’s amazing how the Bible is committed to detail with regards to stating numbers- population of peoples, ages of people, natural cycles, even animals. It leaves little to guess. When you are this detailed it means you have nothing to hide. It means you are open for scrutiny. You are genuine.

O-Organised; The content of the Bible is very much organised to enhance easy readership and understanding.

O-Order; The books have been arranged so that there’s harmony in the narrative. The order is more Thematic than chronological so that the reader can understand God’s ultimate plan and purpose for all. 

P-Prophecy; There are over 8000 predictions and prophecies in the Bible. Many of these prophecies are not vague but specific with names of places, individuals and timelines which were fulfilled with incredible accuracy (Follow my subsequent blogs for details).

Q-Qumran; For centuries, Bible critics and skeptics have doubted the precision of the Bible we have today in relation to the original or earlier copies. In 1946, a shepherd boy accidentally discovered some scrolls stored in jars in some caves in Qumran a place near the Dead sea. The amazing thing is that the Dead sea scrolls (which are mostly books of the Bible) were found to be more than 2000 years old. Even more amazing is the fact that when experts compared them with existing/previously known copies they found near perfect similarity. This means that the Bible we’ve had is exactly as was given originally, it hasn’t changed over the years as some assert.

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R-Reach ; For centuries, believers have reached every corner of the globe with the Bible. The Bible’s reach is unparalleled. It remains the most printed, the most read and the most discussed Book ever. In fact at one point, the second most printed book ever was the Pilgrim’s Progress, a book based on the Bible.

S-Survival; The Bible has survived the test of time. Throughout history very powerful kings and people have made it their agenda to destroy it. Voltaire, an atheist said that in hundred years the Bible will cease to exist. More than 200 years after his death, his house was used as a publishing house for Bibles.

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T-Timeless; Throughout the ages the Bible has proven to be relevant in offering solutions that are timeless in their appeal. These solutions were as relevant in the 15th century as it is today.

Translations- With over 1200 translations into different languages, the Bible stands out as the most translated Book ever.

U-Understood; It’s in your local language, it’s not a hidden book, it’s not shrouded in mystical language or codes that need to be deciphered in order to be understood. Much of the Bible is very relatively plain and literal so that with little help, one can understand much of its information. However it still maintains its sublimity as a fine, deep, thought provoking piece of material.

U-Universal; The truths of the Bible are universal in its application. It is non-discriminatory in its results, for “whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved”. Moreover, there are basic Biblical principles that govern the material world which when applied anywhere in life, business and human relationships yield results.

V-Verifiable; The claims of the Bible are verifiable. One can always go back to check the facts since these assertions aren’t made in obscurity. Some of the entries are repeated several times for emphasis, names of historical figures, places and historical events are recorded which can always be cross checked for its truth and authenticity

W-Wealth; The wealth of knowledge and information in the Bible is incredible. There’s so much original information from almost all fields of study-Science, History, Arts/aesthetics,Anthropology, human nature, Morality, Music and Medicine.

Y-Yahweh (Hebrew; יהוה or in the Latin letters YHWH) is the personal name of God revealed in the Bible. It tells us that everyone is capable of knowing God personally.

Z-Zeal; The Bible has produced in believers over the years so much zeal and passion. This enduring zeal has contributed in part to the overall success of the Bible as an enduring book. Many have perished in far away lands as missionaries and translators. Whole families have lost their lives in very hostile and remote corners of the globe while propagating the message of the Bible. Here in my country Ghana, Johannes G. Christaller landed on the shores in the 1800s from Basel. He preached the Gospel, translated the entire Bible into Twi, my native language, wrote a Twi dictionary and other materials all at the peril of his wife and Children’s lives. Within a few years, he had buried his wife Emily and five of his children. Even though many so called believers have carried this zeal in a militant manner (literally) and unjustly killed others to apparently  defend the cause of the Bible, such behaviour is untenable and inconsistent with the message of Christ.

  1. The Bible-In numbers; 1 to 5

1-One message; God’s redemptive love

2-Two parts; Old and New Testaments

3-Three main stages led to the Bible as we have today;

I. Revelation, II. Oral tradition and, III. Recording/Writing/Printing.

4-Four parts make up the Old Testament

– The Law,

– Israel’s History,

– Poetry/Wisdom and

– The Prophets

Four parts make up the New Testament;

-The Gospels,

-The Acts of the Apostles,

-The Letters and

-Revelation.

5-First five Books together called ‘The Pentateuch’ was written by Moses. It talks about Creation, the Sin/fall of man and Israel’s early History. It ends with Moses’ death (definitely written by another author)

to be continued

The Author

Sisiba Boakye is a blogger on all issues especially on Faith, Science, human nature, history and Philosophy.

Without any formal training in theology, he has an uncanny insight in the Bible as evident in his tagging as the ‘walking Bible’ by many observers. He has a degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi majoring in Chemistry.

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20 Apr

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24 Mar

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