Tag: lies

BLUE BALLS IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR SEX

BLUE BALLS IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR SEX

I am always at my wits end when I hear some of the ridiculous reasons why some woman give in to premarital sex against their better judgement. I have heard once too often that some have fallen prey to the popular or should I say unpopular blue balls syndrome. Since I grew up without a brother and attended a girls’ high school, I must say I am not an authority on the male anatomy. As a result, this blue balls syndrome has always piqued my curiosity.

According to wikipedia, “Blue balls is a slang term for the condition of temporary fluid congestion (vasocongestion) in the testicles accompanied by testicular pain, caused by prolonged sexual arousal in the human male without ejaculation. The term is thought to have originated in the United States, first appearing in 1916. Some urologists call the condition “epididymal hypertension; A condition that is not experienced by all males.”

Another article on cosmopolitan.com titled What exactly happens when a guy gets blue balls? Or is this just a myth?” also caught my attention.  According to the author, “If a sexually aroused guy does not ejaculate, there is a buildup of pressure, and his super sensitive balls feel the brunt of it. The sensation can range from a mild ache to worse-than-getting-kicked-in-the-crotch pain.”

He further explained that “it is not dangerous, and the guy can deal with it, whether that means helping himself out or waiting it out. The blood will eventually drain and any discomfort will disappear on its own. It’s called blue balls because the blood that has been in the scrotum for a while loses oxygen and can give the appearance of a bluish tinge.”

With a better understanding of what blue balls really is, the question that plagues my mind is whether it is a justification for a woman to give in to premarital sex. I do empathize with the men who go through this excruciating pain at the point of sexual arousal. However, I do not agree that a woman should be coerced into sex or should I rather say give in to sex to alleviate this pain.

2 Peter 1:5-7 reads “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” To the brother who feels the only way he can alleviate his pain is through sex, self- control is a better option. Men who have learned to control themselves have kept trouble at bay.

Also, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Another key here is endurance and not gratification at all cost. Blue balls is not a justification for premarital sex.

Another point worthy of note is that women also experience pain. Physical pain that can be far more excruciating than blue balls. This happens just by virtue of their biological make up. These include menstrual pain, ovulation pain, child birth pain, painful miscarriages, painful sex etc.

1 Corinthians 6:18-19 says “Run from sexual sin! No other sin clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”

Premarital sex has far reaching consequences than blue balls. So to a sister who thinks she is being cruel by refusing to alleviate someone’s blue balls pain through sex, I say weigh your options. Remember that apart from incurring the wrath of God, you risk dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, a sexuality transmitted disease, an abortion, guilt, shame and a possible broken heart from the same person whose blue balls pain you helped alleviate.

MY BODY IS NO LONGER FOR SALE!

MY BODY IS NO LONGER FOR SALE!

NB: This story is purely fictional and a result of my active imaginations. It is unrelated to any person dead or alive; any such resemblance is purely coincidental.

Amanda was single- handedly raised by her mother when her father died at the tender age of four. Her mother worked hard to ensure she had a good education and life’s basic comforts. Despite this, she fell into bad company when she entered the university. Lured by a group of friends who introduced her to a notorious pimp, her life took a turn for the worst. No more was she satisfied with the little her mother gave her. She became aware of the fact that with her graceful body, she could acquire more possessions for herself. Little did she know that she was gradually turning into something she had sworn never to become, a prostitute. By the time she realized where her greed had taken her, it was too late. After a year, she was afraid of leaving the group for fear of victimization. They threatened to expose her if she ever backed out. Furthermore, her shame prevented her from going home to her mother who had discovered her secret. Her mother begged her to return to the God who never left her. The beckoning of the Holy Spirit was becoming stronger by the day. An ugly encounter with her pimp was all the excuse she needed to run back to the place of security. Enough was enough, she stopped running from God and submitted to him. He was the only one who could turn her situation around.

 

 

God,

My heart bleeds in response to its ache. My body is so used and tired; I feel like 55 instead of 25. How did I get here? How did I go so far from you? How did I allow myself to be used like this, shoving the love you have for me in your face? Have I proved to you that sending your son to die for my sake was in vain?

Do you look down at me with disgust and regret creating me after your own image? Oh, how lucky I am that when you sigh, it does not blow me away into the pit of hell. That is where I deserve to be. If I could get away with it, I would take my own life and risk heaven. But I know better even though my life is bitter.

I have tried coming back to you several times but my head hangs so low; I cannot lift it up to you. I am grateful that even with my head buried in the ground my words are audible to you oh mighty God. Save me from myself! I am tired just as my body is tired. I am tired of the whispered lies of love in my ears at night. My mind is filled with Lies from men who want nothing but a moment of pleasure.

I am tired of how my body has been invaded making me an open book for every man to read. I am tired of the rough hands that daily grasp my tender breasts. I am tired of the pain and the useless gains. I am tired of my guilt, which evades my conscience reminding me of who I have become.

I am tired of the looks of lust in the eyes of men old enough to be my father. I am tired of how they disregard my mind like junk when I attempt an intelligent conversation. I am tired of the looks of pity as people pass me by; I dread the thoughts they think of me. I am tired of turning my head in another direction to avoid the looks in peoples’ eyes when they see me by the roadside. I am tired of how they move further away as if afraid I will infect them with a dreadful disease just by coming close. Oh lord, I am weary!

My disregard for the church close to where I stand at night looking for clients tears at my soul. My crime is greater because I defile my body that is your holy temple as well as the church built in which to worship you. The beauty you endowed me with has condemned me; I could not use it for your glory. I have misused the wisdom you gave me and directed it into folly. Your mercy is all I seek; I can ask of nothing more. Even though I have more belongings, I am perishing with the weight of sin.

Because of me, innocent men have fallen prey to seduction leaving them as helpless victims. Many could not survive the temptation when I exposed my breasts and my private parts to them in the dark. I am always ready to extract their riches causing them misfortunes. When the catholic priest I was able to lure into my bed run out weeping, my power over him gave me no joy. His shame was enough to destroy my gain. My conscience is dead and no longer convicts me. When did the Holy Spirit depart from me depart? I searched and found him no more.

When did the clothes that covered my body become so easy to discard? Little by little, ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I took your mercy and forgiveness for granted. I have entangled myself in a web of sin. You alone can disentangle the web in which I find myself; I cannot come out of it unless you save me. Going deeper into sin was easier for me. I could not retrace my steps because I did not know how to stop.

Night after night as I changed like a chameleon afraid to be recognized, I fooled myself. I wore wigs of different colors and skirts too short announcing my immorality. Underneath my skirts are no underwear. My blouses are so tight I can hardly breathe; My Lipsticks bright and sparkling in the dark as I call out loudly to men. My makeup makes me look older, hiding the innocence beneath. I call out to men unashamedly to come and enjoy my body.

Who will continue to love me but you? Recently, I heard someone preach about how you accept people just as they are. That I don’t need to change to come to you. The thought of change puts fear in me because this is how I have learned to survive. With my body so soiled, can you indeed come to live in me again or did you never leave me? If I come to you right now, will you turn your back on me and rather open your arms to your beautiful virgins who glorify you with their bodies? I pray you reach out and welcome me like the lost sheep that I am.

When I reached out for the bible hidden in my suitcase, I was searching for evidence of your love. I had shoved the bible beneath my clothes for fear of its reminder. To make nonsense of the sacrifice you made for me with the life of your dear son is to reject your mercy. Without your Mercy which I am better dead than alive.

The words in the bible have comforted me and given me the strength to come to you today. However, deep within me I knew you were waiting for me to come to you. The condemnations in the eyes of the preachers who have attempted to turn me from my ways always leave me more ashamed. Did these preachers expect me to follow them to church when their hands pointed disgustedly at me from afar? What safety can I find in a place where the sinner’s sin is always brought up? I do not want some boasting pastors to use me in their sermons claiming to have rescued me from the depths of hell. You alone have the power to rescue me.

You have protected me even in this dangerous profession; how can I explain how I stay healthy regardless? I have escaped Dreadful venereal diseases like HIV and Gonorrhea which have infected even those with few sexual encounters. It is a surprise that you still protect me in my sinful profession. The other day when some of my colleagues pondered how they had been spared from these infections, they claimed it was luck, but I know better. You know the deep-rooted issues in our heart’s that cause us to go astray. Thus, you do not withhold your mercy and grace from us.

Many find themselves here for reasons more tangible than mine. I do not have any excuse for what I have become. I have a hardworking mother who has supported me all this while to make my life comfortable. I may not be as rich as I wanted but I am definitely not a church mouse. Mum’s salary has been enough for both of us since she refused to marry when daddy died. Her dedication to my spiritual growth should have taught me better. Wanting more has almost succeeded in killing me. Set me free! Set me free from this self- inflicted pain.

My poor mother; I wonder how she found out about my little secret. I need to get out of this so I can see her smile again. The day she confronted me I couldn’t lie because I was confounded at her discovery. I will never forget the tears she shed as she knelt before me, begging me to stop. I know I should have changed that day but I was too far-gone. I was too ashamed to look her in the eyes. The disappointment was too much. Remember my mother’s tears as I do and help me turn my evil ways around.

When the pimp told me last week that I was nothing but a piece of trash worth less than a penny, I knew the time had come. The time had come for me to stand up and say No! The time had come to run back to you because at least I am worth more than that to you. The time had come for me to cut off all reminders of the one dime human being I had become. The time had come to wipe the tears from my mother’s eyes; she had not ceased praying to recue me out of the hands of the evil one. The time had come!

Oh, how bold I was to look him squarely in the face as I rose elegantly to my full 6feet height. I know you gave me courage because suddenly all my fear was gone. The look of shock and fear in his eyes made me realize I was worth more than he made me feel. I wonder where the words came from as they tumbled down my lips. Where did I get the strength to slap his face? “I may be worthless to you but I was so important to the one who created me that he sent his only begotten son to die that I may live; to turn this penny to a jewel so refined that you cannot identify her again”. The way he paled before me as I uttered those words made me know I had destroyed his defenses. What a relief I felt as I walked away; it was over. Just like that!

I was setting myself free. I had made him more money than his other prostitutes had but he had used me to his advantage sensing my insatiable need for material possessions. He thought I had nowhere to turn. He did not know that I had a God I who had been waiting for me to turn to him; One who was ready to carry the heavy burden I had placed on my own shoulders. A burden I gladly lay down at your feet. Make me your jewel oh lord, your word stays true. Who can wipe away my sins and set me free? Only you! Who can cause a new beginning to come out of an ugly past? Only you! Past, yes past, I am determined not to turn back to that path that leads to death. If you will not condemn me with my past, I don’t care about what anyone else says.

I put behind me a world I ignorantly entered, lured by the pleasures of life. I am returning to you realizing there is nothing better out there beyond the borders of your love. No matter what people say about me, it is better to enter your kingdom with a tarnished reputation than to miss heaven. Reading the bible like a thirsty drunk calms my spirit and makes me surer of one thing. It is a lie that you will not accept me as I am. It is for people like me that you sent your son. Like Paul, you will use me to confound those who thought it was over for me. I will no longer bow down my head in shame. You have already carried my shame on the cross!

I am no more Amanda the prostitute; I am Amanda the worthless vessel in transition to becoming a vessel of honor. Amanda the apple of your eye; that is what the word says you call your children. Come back into my heart Jesus and drive away all that is not worthy of your holy temple. Come back and take your place where I have placed others above you. Come and be seated in the comfort of my heart where you can heal all that is wrong within me for I am coming home again. Like the prodigal son, I have no more fears. You will give me your oil of gladness in your presence where there is fullness of joy. I am coming home to you right here where you never left me even though I left you a hundred times. I am back to my first love. I am here to stay!

I will no more look behind my shoulder only to see my own shadow. No more looking in the mirror to see a caricature looking at me dressed in ridiculous seductive clothing. No more ties with those who tied me down. No more believing in lies about your love for me; your word is my truth! If anyone recognizes the innocence beneath the decorated caricature, let the one pesewa coin shine as the jewel you will turn me into. I am ready to shine both day and night.

I come to you just as I am without fear of rejection. Back to the place of your security I come, where I belong. I am here to stay!

Amen.

 

 RELATED BIBLE VERSE

Psalm 32: 1-6

1          Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!

2          Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

3          When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long.

4  Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

5          _ Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them.

I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

6          Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time,

that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

 

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

  1. Do you believe God is capable of forgiving Amanda for the sin of prostitution?
  2. Why was the psalmist weak and miserable when he refused to confess his sin?
  3. How did Amanda’s realization that God would not reject her despite her promiscuity set her free from bondage?
  4. When Amanda realized how important she was for God to send his only begotten son to die for her, how did she value herself?
  5. Do you know anyone who refuses to accept Jesus Christ because they feel unworthy and sinful?
  6. How will you encourage them or yourself to know that He came for the sinful and not the righteous?
STOP OBSESSING OVER REPUTATION

STOP OBSESSING OVER REPUTATION

Few weeks ago, I learnt a lesson about how a person’s reputation can easily be ruined without their knowledge. After attending the wedding ceremony of a dear friend, I came home to check my Facebook account to see whether I had a message. I did have a message but not the kind I was expecting. It went like this “I just want you to know your page has been hacked. I was tagged in some porn and I know it wasn’t you, who tagged me, so be careful.” This was a message from my high school mate.

In horror, I looked on my timeline and realized my account was sending out pornographic content to my contacts. I was mortified by the mere sight of the nasty pictures on my wall. Few days before I had seen similar images on a friend’s wall and reported it to face book; I realized that was how my account was also affected. It was a malware that just wouldn’t go away. Whilst I was out there supporting my friend at her wedding, my Facebook page was busily sending out porn.

I have about a thousand contacts on Facebook made up of family, close friends, old school mates, working colleagues, Sunday school teachers and students, friends of my sisters, fellow Christian bloggers, admirers and people I just accepted as friends. Being the private person that I am, it is only a few people out of the 1,000 friends on Facebook who really know me. So imagine these people tagged in pornographic content from my account! How could they vouch for me without really knowing me?

It was about 12am and I was changing passwords and doing everything possible to ensure that the problem was solved. I had not yet realized it was a malware as I continued changing passwords countless times. Anytime I changed my password, my account would just send out a new set of pornographic videos to my contacts. I knew if I did not quickly solve the problem, my reputation would be ruined. I wondered what the over 900 Facebook friends who did not know me too well would think. Would it be easy for them to believe that I wasn’t behind the images on their wall? What would they think of me?

As these questions run through my mind, I began to realize how I had quickly misjudged the gentleman who had sent the first pornographic image to my friend’s wall. Apparently, he had also been attacked by a malware and was not deliberately sending out the nasty images. But I had told my friend to unblock the gentleman for shamelessly posting the images on her wall. His reputation had been destroyed without his knowledge. I did not know him but I had made up my mind about him by virtue of the unfortunate circumstances he had not intentionally generated. In the same way, I know my reputation had been destroyed by someone who did not know me or understand the workings of computer spam.

The bible tells us in Proverbs chapter 22: 1 “a good name is better than riches and favour better than silver or gold. This verse serves as an encouragement to choose my reputation over money. But, “how can one protect his or her own reputation when they are unaware it is being destroyed in certain quarters? How do you defend yourself from falsehood when you do not even know what is being whispered at your back? When all evidence points to the fact that someone is indeed guilty when they may in fact be innocent, how can they be vindicated?

There is a popular saying that “Let them say, but let it not be true!” But what if the things people say are so damaging and worse of all what if people believe them? When I began reading the news on one of Ghana’s popular television station at a very young age, I was exposed to the world of reputation destroyers. Matilda; I heard you were dating a business tycoon. Tilly, I hear you left the television station after getting pregnant out of wedlock. I hear Matilda was dating a Married Doctor. Etc. These are just a few interesting things I heard about myself that shocked me.

They were untrue and I wondered about the motives of those who generated these lies and the rest who had time to spread them. Sometimes I wonder the things I am yet to hear and those that I will never be privy to or have the chance to refute. Previously, I would be sad when I heard something about me that was a total lie and a dent on my reputation. But one day whilst lamenting about some of the damaging things I had heard, my mum told me to prepare for more.

Her words were, “you will hear worse things and if you cannot take these little lies, then I wonder how you will react when the bigger lies surface.” That was all I needed to stop worrying unnecessarily about what someone said about me or worse still what someone thinks about me. People will continue to talk no matter how well behaved we are and as imperfect human beings, our flaws will also be discussed. An elderly woman once told me that when two people meet, it is unlikely that they would discuss a tree when human beings were passing by. A more interesting discussion would be about the passersby.

A good name is indeed better than riches; but unfortunately, innocent people have had their reputations destroyed by slanderers, gossips, plain liars and acts of carelessness. For example a newspaper may publish an untruth about a person or organization without the necessary checks only to realize it is false. A good reputation is destroyed causing emotional turmoil to the individual, organization and their loved ones. The story may be retracted and an apology written by the same newspaper. However, those who read the initial false report may never see the retraction or apology. For those people, that person or organization is just bad news.

With such happenings, should we be too concerned when our reputation is damaged out of no fault of ours? As followers of Jesus Christ, I believe we should be concerned about reputation but not obsess over it. This is because we cannot defend ourselves everywhere all the time. We can pray to God to vindicate us and use that unfortunate incident for his glory. If we get the chance to defend ourselves, we may choose to take the necessary steps to restore our damaged reputation and just move on with our lives.

In the case of the pornographic content I described above, I quickly sent out messages to apologize stating clearly that I was not the one who sent them. But I know it is not everyone who will see the message or even believe me. Do I keep on torturing myself by trying to convince everyone that I was not to blame for those nasty videos? No! Even Jesus Christ continues to have his fair share of reputation destruction despite the good works he did whilst here on earth.

If our savior Jesus Christ had been too concerned about reputation, do you think he would have dined with Zacchaeus the hated tax collector “Luke 19:1-10”? Would he have been in a private conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well “John 4: 1-26”? Do you think he would have taken the time to defend an adulterous woman “John 8: 1-11”? Would he have allowed a sinful woman to wet his feet with her tears“Matthew 26: 7”?

I believe His ministry would not have been successful had he obsessed over a good reputation. If you google Jesus’s history, you will come up with surprising information some very ridiculous. Some say he married Mary Magdalene and had children with her; yet still others rubbish His entire ministry. But with all the power he has, why does he not just wave his hands and make all those malicious lies disappear? Romans Chapter 3: 4 says “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “that you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

In my opinion, for the truth to be made manifest, it must be placed alongside lies for discerning minds to choose what to believe. Sometimes even the most discerning minds may be confused, especially when the lies seem so truthful. However, if we are to succeed in discerning the truth, we must not be too quick to believe whatever we hear or see. It is said that seeing is believing; but I have come to realize it is not always wise to believe everything we see. For those of us whose reputation has been dented at some point in our lives, Let us encourage ourselves with the old saying; “Let them say but let it not be true!”

ME AND MY ITCHY EARS!

ME AND MY ITCHY EARS!

Are you a Lebanese? Wait a minute, was he referring to me? I was trapped, I couldn’t turn left or right; it was me alright. The man of God was looking straight at me, asking a question. Every member of the congregation looked to me for an answer. Unfortunately, it was not in the affirmative as they expected. No, I am not Lebanese, I responded. I didn’t add that the blood running through me is 100% Ghanaian although it can be argued that there is a foreign trace from my mother’s lineage.

This was one of the powerful prophets in Ghana or was I wrong? At least that is what I had been told by some respectable colleagues. How come he couldn’t detect I wasn’t Lebanese? Okay let me be merciful to him; he is not the only one to mistake me for someone who comes from another part of the world. Maybe the blonde streaks I had added to my hair contributed to his confusion. But I was surprised a prophet of such repute would make such a mistake. Could it be that he was looking at the physical rather than tapping into the spiritual?

As if that was not enough, he went on to tell me horrible things that the devil had in store for me. Some of the leading questions he asked were totally off track, but I could not vindicate myself. He said things about me that was directly opposite to the reality. But what could I do; I was in the midst of strangers who could not vouch for me. Anytime I answered differently to what he expected me to say, the congregation reacted as if I was lying. What would you do in such a horrible situation? I chose to remain silent and pray that he would quickly finish his prophecy and move on to his next victim. Thank God it was soon over!

What a shame! I wondered what those present would think of me. Fortunately, they were entranced with listening to his banter with his next victim. I was already forgotten; but as for me, I could never forget. This experience left me in fear as I thought of all the evil things the devil had in store for. I couldn’t take my mind of how helpless I had been to defend myself from the untruths in the prophecy. I would wake up in the middle of the night in fear. Unable to take it anymore, I recounted my ordeal to members of my church’s weekly prayer group. They held my hand and prayed for me. God being so good, I was totally set free from that spirit of fear and evil forebodings.

In another incidence, a friend of mine invited myself and other friends to an all-night prayer service in her home. The so-called man of God who was invited to lead the prayer service began prophesying to each of us. When it got to my turn, he told me he had told my friend I would come to the service. And that it was time for me to get closer to God. The way he spoke, it was as if, I did not know God. He sounded as if he had waved a magic wand to get me into the presence of God, my Father. Does this man know who he is talking about at all, I asked myself.

Funny, how people misjudge others from appearance. Interesting how a woman with long robes and a face without makeup is considered holier than the other with a different fashion taste. Don’t get me wrong, I am not referring to improper dressing that exposes what needs to be covered. Or could it be the fact that in my youthful exuberance, I had added two more piercings to my poor ears? Maybe that made it look like there was a wide chasm between God and me. In any case; it was not fun to have someone who knew nothing about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ sound so judgmental.

I remember my younger sister and I desperately wanted to attend an all-night prayer service few years ago. The man of God scheduled to attend had visited our church few weeks ago and we had taking a liking to his teachings. It was being organized by an Anglican church in a community not too far from ours. We were told it was going to be held in a particular high school in that community. Unfortunately, the school we had asked the taxi driver to drive us to was not the one in which the service would be held. But it was too late; the driver had driven off oblivious to our plight. However, we realized there was another Christian prayer service also taking place at that venue.

Are we not serving the same God, we deliberated? If we missed the all-night prayer service at the Anglican Church, we could just join these other worshipers. Maybe God had purposefully directed us to this particular service; we reasoned. After all, like a friend of mine would say, if Jesus is at the center of a service then all Christians are welcome. So my sister Isabella and I made our way to the unknown prayer service. Another surprise! We were entering from the rear end of the church, so the pastor who was standing before the congregation was the only one who could see us. Just then, we heard him say that he had seen in the spirit that two women were about to join the service.

Wait a minute, were we dreaming? Isabella and I looked at each other in surprise not knowing whether to venture into the service or retreat. She followed my lead and went in, but we both knew we had to leave as soon as possible. We had missed it again! We courteously sat for a few minutes and slipped out during their time of praise and worship. Here we were, two young women out in the dark simply because we wanted to go to church! What were we going to do? We were in the middle of nowhere, and we did not want to go back home without attending the all-night prayer service. We prayed and asked God to send help; after all we were out there because of him.

Luckily, we spotted another taxi driver and told him about the Anglican Church service taking place in that community. He assured us he knew where to locate it; according to him, he had just dropped off some passengers at the service. So my sister and I sat in the taxi with me directly behind the driver and my sister by my side. It was in the name of self- defense or an unforeseen attack. That should tell you how scared we were though we did not let it show. Thank God, we did arrive safely to familiar and safer territories. The Church service was in full swing and we could see familiar faces dancing happily. What a relief! Our fear evaporated as we joined them in their joyful praises. We had arrived just in time for the sermon we had not wanted to miss.

These experiences have me very skeptical about prophecies and prophets in general. As a result, anytime I attend a prophetic service, I pray to God that if he has not spoken, no one should speak to me in his name. Thank God it has worked so far! But to tell you the truth, there are times I sit in such a service and wish the man of God would prophesy to me too. I know you are thinking, Matilda! Don’t you ever learn? Of course, I have learnt from my horrible experiences. But when I encounter a true man of God who does not speak unless God has spoken, I want a word! Can I get a witness?

I remember attending such a service with my sister Gloria. We were sitting right under the nose of this powerful man of God. I was in a bright yellow dress that shone brightly in the midst of the others. He would move past us and give wonderful prophecies to those around us and even those sitting behind us. Can’t he see anything? I whispered to my sister. Hmmm, my little sister sighed obviously also eager to hear something good from the man of God. I desperately wanted to know what God had in store for me.

Would it be a wonderful job or my wedding date? Would it be my sister’s secret desire or something special about my mum? Or would it be about my other younger sisters Alberta or Isabella? Wouldn’t it be nice to surprise them at home about how the prophet had seen something about them in their absence? And it was a day when God chose to spare his children from terrible prophecies. I tapped my feet impatiently and held my breath anytime he came close to us. Was he coming to tell me something? But again he would move on to someone sitting close to my sister and me. It was as if we did not exist.

The prophecies were flowing and almost everyone in the congregation seemed to receive a word. Finally, God had mercy on us and asked the man of God to give us a word. We had almost given up and were not expecting him to stop in front of us. However, he came to us and looked me straight in the eye. Guess what he said? God is in control! He turned to my sister and repeated the words God is in control. I waited eagerly for more but he just moved on to the next person. Wait a minute, was that all? I wondered, looking at my sister. What about a new car, a scholarship or a better job opportunity? God is in control? I already knew that!

I laugh at myself anytime I think of this particular encounter. Me and my itchy ears! But I now realize it was a very beautiful prophecy that spoke to my situation at the time. This was a prophet who was not moved to speak when God had not spoken. And this virtue is rare at a time when pleasing people has become more important than pleasing God. Yes, I have gone on to have other specific prophecies after that encounter. It has not all been positive; the devil still has some wicked things in store for me. However, I have a peace about it, since it did not come from a physical influence but the spirit of God. I know the victory had already been won. God reveals to redeem!

1 Corinthians 14:1-40 says “14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

As for me, I have been both edified and obfuscated by prophecy. But it has played a very vital role in my spiritual walk. I would have given up in certain areas of my life but for the edification and encouragement I received through prophecy. According to Acts 2:17-18 “in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”

Prophecy is a beautiful spiritual gift that will be poured on so many believers in these last days. This is according to the above scripture. But if we are not circumspect, it will do us more harm than good. So let us not ignore 1 John 4: 1 that cautions “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Even as many wolves walk among the flock, let us not rubbish prophecies as admonished in “1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good.”

BROKEN PROMISES

BROKEN PROMISES

I was in the company of three naughty male cousins when we met a lovely young woman who according to them was a childhood friend. I had not met her before so I began asking general questions in my quest to know her better. One of my cousins cut into our conversation, he jokingly asked if she was available because he wanted a woman to settle down with.

She quickly responded that she was off-limits, taken and absolutely engaged. With a twinkle in her eyes, she lifted her left arm to show off a ring dazzling on her middle finger. With the seriousness with which she answered, I thought she was actually married at least traditionally.

Interested, I asked if she was married because I felt she was rather too young. She told me her boyfriend had not yet done the necessary traditional rights that would make him lay claim to her but that “He had promised”. I was shocked at the way she had completely believed in the promise without considering the possibility that the gentleman could break it.

Before I could utter a word, the notorious young men in my company burst out unanimously singing a popular praise song. “He has promised he will never fail, I will adore him, I will adore him. He has promised he will never fail, his faithfulness is forever more, his faithfulness is forever more”. We all laughed and the guys continued to tease her.  She became annoyed and told the young men they did not know what was up.

She added that they were jealous and went on to vehemently defend her boyfriend’s undying love for her. I don’t know how the story will end but I pray it ends in a happily ever after and that the gentleman would fulfill his “promise” to walk her down the aisle. Even though I found it amusing at the time, I know it will not be an amusing situation if her boyfriend breaks his promise.

When I was going through marital counseling, my husband and I were so sure we would definitely end up together. We had made up our minds and had gone through all the necessary processes. It was just left with a few days and all we had to do was the traditional marriage ceremony followed by the wedding itself. The knocking ceremony was out-of-the-way, it had been announced at church and invitations were already out.

One day during counseling, the wise priest made it clear to us that until we were pronounced man and wife after exchanging our wedding vows, any of us could change our minds. We were surprised because none of us had considered changing our minds, or was I wrong? As if in answer to my question, my husband told the priest he was not going to change his mind.

I also told him I was not planning on making a mind change. He smiled at us and gave us examples of couples whose partners changed their minds few days to their wedding. Some had made announcements at church and already sent out invitations. Yet still, some were left standing at the altar alone. The sweet promises they had made to each other lay broken before their very eyes. From that time, it was at the back of my mind that anything could happen on the road to the altar.

A popular song by boyz to men caught the hearts of many back in the day as its lyrics promised an unending love. “I swear (I swear) by the moon and the stars in the sky I’ll be there (I’ll be there) I swear (and I swear) like the shadow that’s by your side I’ll be there (I’ll be there) for better or worse (better or worse) till death do us part I’ll love you with every single beat of my heart and I swear, I swear I swear. If you are familiar with this song, i am sure you are singing along by now that is if you remember the lyrics.

Who wouldn’t love such sweet words backed by promises of until death do us part? However, it is safer to believe such words on the marital altar where it is said before a multitude of witnesses and before God. Promises are beautiful but they can be broken, In fact they are usually broken. Don’t you remember a time when you were so sure you would fulfill a promise but surprised yourself by breaking it? In other words, adding weight to a promise by swearing will not make it come to pass.

Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? That means a man or woman can lie or change their mind, it is only God who does not break his promises to his children. He is the only one who is noted for actually doing what he says he will do. King David said of the Lord in Psalm 138 verse 2 ” For You have magnified Your Word above all Your name”.

That is why Jesus cautions us in Matthew 5:33-37 “Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

It is not uncommon to see many unmarried women wearing promise rings from their lovers who promise to marry them in future. Some even wear it on their wedding ring finger to deter other suitors. What a dangerous thing to do! What if the promise is broken and all the good men who thought you were married did not dare came near you? What if a man who could have made you happier passed you by to the next single lady with no ring on her finger?

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 says “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools; Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”. This verse shows our fallibility as human beings and reiterates that it is better not to make a vow or promise than to do so and fail to fulfill our end of the bargain. If we as humans are capable of breaking our vows to God himself despite the repercussions, is it not easier to break promises we make to our fellow humans?

After all, there are so many excuses that can be appropriately used to break off a promise to a partner. With the application of such clever excuses such as my mother doesn’t like you, the one who breaks the promise takes himself out of the picture. Some even tell their partner that their parents do not agree to the tribal differences or that they had a vivid dream that revealed doom for them if they were to get married.

I am not casting a negative light at making promises which we intend to keep but rather at broken promises which has left many women broken. At times, the heartbreak and disappointment is not deliberately planned. A man can be serious at the time he promises heaven on earth. However, let us not forget Numbers 23:19 that reveals how man is prone to change his mind. Momentary feelings can be fickle and trusting in them completely can spell doom.

In the world of love and romance, men will continue to make promises to women. Some will fulfill these promises whilst others will break them due to one reason or the other. Women will also continue pledge themselves to men who have not taken serious steps towards marrying them. It is up to us to keep it at the back of our minds that promises made by man can be broken unlike promises made by God.

With this understanding, we can pray to God to allow his will for our lives come to pass. By reminding him of the promises he makes to us in His word and the fact that he cannot lie. That way, we challenge him to grant us our heart desires. Promise rings are beautiful symbols of love and many find them attractive. But the invisible seal of constant prayer on a single woman with bare fingers is better than a symbolic promise that can be broken.

When the fingers of a single woman in a relationship remain bare, her man knows that she attracts others who may be quicker in fulfilling their promises without symbols of delay. He makes himself ready to quickly lay claim to the woman he loves. The woman who constantly prays to God to fulfill his desire for her life has nothing to prove to the world. God makes sure to prove to the world around her that he is a God who does not lie.