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On the road to Damascus

„Saul Saul, why thou persecute me? Who art thou Lord? I am Jesus whom thou persecutes. It is hard to thee to kick against the pricks.“ (Acts 9:4-5 -KJV)

These were the words Saul (later Apostle Paul) heard while he was on his way to Damascus. Saul, the most Jewish out of the Jews, was permitted by the King to kill every person that preaches in the name of Jesus. Saul didn’t kill because he wanted to be a hitman; as a Jew he desired to do so because the doctrine preached by the disciples was seen as misconduct. It was not common to preach about a man who went on the cross, died, and rose from the dead to be the savior and equal to God (to some it still isn’t). The Jewish community doesn’t  play with the name God, which is a reason for Jesus’s death sentence. Religious people, in general, have a hard time understanding that – Jesus came not only for us to be saved, but also to get us to understand the God-concept of RELATIONSHIP! The Pharisees, Sadducees, Lawyers and Gentiles didn’t  know God. Even though many of them were educated and known in scriptures – it still wasn’t enough for God.

God cares more about your lifestyle than your educational background about His Word.

Why do I say this? Because it doesn’t mean anything to Him unless you live it! Let’s get back to Saul… On his way to Damascus, Saul got blinded by a light, out of the light Jesus spoke to him (look at the introduction). Due to this encounter, Saul has to be led to Damascus, where he didn’t eat in prayer for three days. It wasn’t until a disciple (named Ananias) sent by God met him and instructed him of what it was that God wanted him to do – before he received his eye-sight back (read the story in Acts 9:11-19). When I read this I saw similarities within myself… As one who wants to teach and help make the world better – change has to start with oneself. Unfortunately there’s no way around it lol..

Saul persecuted the disciples because he was hurting emotionally. Preaching the name of Jesus, in his eyes, wasn’t acceptable and went against his values. His values were his pride and joy, so for the disciples to come and create a national „disaster“ – was just unacceptable. His pride was hurt, so as a result of it, he was determined to make them pay for it…

Do you see yourself in Saul’s behavior? – I did see myself!

We all get into confrontations and uncivilized confrontation adds nothing but emotional pain. Pain, mostly, causes us to take improper actions. We are hurt, so we get resentful and even though we do not talk about it openly – we subliminal or (at times intentional) persecute the one/s that has hurt us. We start to look for ways on how to cause them the same pain we had. It’s human to do so, but this doesn’t make it right. Scripture tells us that „Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer“ (1. John 3:15 – NIV)… („But Alfred, I’m not a murderer!“) That’s known to me and I never said it – scripture did.

Sounds tough I know, did for me too…

Let me be transparent for a minute… Within the past years I’ve had former friends, random people and who not appear in my dreams. I take my dreams very serious and I’m humble enough to say that I get to interpret most of them. However, it all did not make sense to me. It was annoying, disturbing and just tiring. I know, despite what happened, I’ve forgiven everybody and wish them well. Nevertheless, my question was still hovering in the air, why wasn’t I free? If I believe in Jesus and He has set me free…wasn’t I supposed to be freed indeed? I’m sure I’m not the only person to have ever asked myself this! And if you’re still struggling with this question, I’m glad you’ve bumped unto my blog today. I got the answer… Here’s the clue…

You cannot cure emotional pain with spirituality!

As a matter of fact, we could be deeply wrapped around our spiritual senses, but be completely blinded towards our emotional health.

Let that sink in for a minute and continue to read…

You have to get this… We as a people, especially church folks, cover our emotional instability under the rug, by believing in prayer that God will take care of it. Well… He did; but at times it requires a bit more than just praying. Saul prayed for three days, but his physical health as well as emotional health did not occur, until the act of forgiveness happened. A lot of us don’t speak about our emotional pain because it could be taken for granted or laughed at. Due to this, we have so many broken relationships and frustrated people seeking for God – receiving NOTHING! It’s unfortunate that this way of thinking has spoiled an entire generation. Don’t get me wrong I believe in prayer and know that prayer is powerful, but to receive complete healing we have to act. The act of speaking openly about your pain, struggles etc. will allow you to heal during the process. Transparency is the key 😉 !

God heard Saul’s cry, but it took for Ananias to obey Gods instruction so that Saul could receive forgiveness. It’s not that we don’t have enough faith or believe in God, the problem is that we fail to act on the things God tells us. We don’t want to be seen as vulnerable because it could be seen as weak. We don’t like to get uncomfortable because it doesn’t feel right (familiar). And most of all we hate it to be in an place of uncertainty…

Saul didnt‘ know if he would ever receive his eye-sight back. Ananias didn’t think it was good to get close to him. Nevertheless, God made sure that Saul would receive what he asked for. Imagine Ananias would have disobeyed God – do you believe Saul would have received emotional health? Understand that my reason for pointing out emotional health instead of spiritual or physical is because they’re all tied in together. You cannot be perfectly fine in spirit, but completely dysfunctional within your emotions. It’s a three-way-relationship: Your spirit, your emotions & your physical being.

It takes God to reveal himself to us in Spirit, but it takes action from us to receive emotional health. Emotional stability is just as important as the other two; if you are not stable within your emotions everything else cannot be stable. Imagine having an emotional unstable partner – how draining would it be to deal with that person? The person could be the smartest and sexiest ever, however, the emotional roller coaster you had to face would be terrible.. Now picture how draining it is for God to deal with your emotional instability…

Saul emotions were hurt, which is why he persecuted the disciples. He received his eye-sight back once he prayed and surely spoke to Ananias about it openly. I believe the conversation the two had once Saul was healed – was a conversation of restoration. What you need is found in the acting on what God has told you… Don’t feel ashamed to speak openly about your pain, vulnerability can turn into accessibility, which will lead to an even greater possibility of _________(you fill in the blank).

Thank you for reading 🙂 until then, be blessed.

© Alfred Ntiamoah and authenticitee2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alfred Ntiamoah and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The life of π

When you’ve read the book or seen the movie you would know how intriguing the story is. Piscine (also known as Pi) is a young man who grows up in a wealthy household. His parents are owners of the biggest Zoo in India. Pi has got it all, due to circumstances the family decides to sell most of the animals and move to Canada. On the way to Canada the family enters a storm, Pi, the only one awake, tries his best to rescue everything; but ended up being tossed out of the ship into a small boat. The ship sank with everything and everyone on it.

Long story short Pi was on the very urge of losing his mind. He lost his family, animals, clothes, security – almost everything one could think of was gone. But through it all, he still managed to find the strength to concentrate on something more important.

His words were: “Above all, don’t lose HOPE!”

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(Here you see Pi in the middle of no where, seeking for help in a hopeless situation)

Okay, let’s get to business! There are two people I want us to look at, these two had amazing experiences and are fairly often mentioned. The bible speaks about the two, as if of no other. I’m speaking about Peter and Judas – two powerful selected disciples of Jesus Christ. Well to some Judas might be powerless I believe that this man, despite of what he did, still had abilities and the same power all the other disciples had. What I’m about to say is going to be very complex, but I encourage you to read this more than once and let it soak into your mind. It might save your life or the life others around you.

Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty shackles of silver (Lukas 22:4) whereas Peter denied being a disciple of Jesus three times (Luke 22:34). Now you might think ‘what terrible friends Jesus had,’ but I’m sure we all have met people like this before! Anyone could sing a song about “fake friends”, yet the significant part here is not the “bad thing” they both did, but how each one of them coped with what they did. When you’ve read both stories before – you know that Judas killed himself and Peter became one of the many writers of the bible. When I read both stories over and over again I asked God – Why did Judas kill himself and Peter become so great? I know that Jesus mentioned that he would build his church upon the rock and use Peter for it (Matthew 16:18), but it still didn’t answer my question.

After a thoughtful conversation the answer was clear. HOPE; it was HOPE that kept Peter alive and it was HOPELESSNESS that killed Judas. Let me go a little deeper… Peter swore to do anything for Jesus he was convinced in his own power to be strong enough for death. Matthew 26:35KJV – “Peter said unto him, though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” Strong words, however, this never happened. At the time Peter had the chance to stay behind Jesus his boldness vanished and he cursed himself denying knowing Jesus at all.

I want you to stop right here for a second and to ask yourself this – Are you loyal to your own words?

Judas – from the beginning had a different picture of Jesus. Judas was one of those Jews that thought Jesus would come, take over Rome and build Himself a Kingdom on earth. This was one of the reasons why most Pharisees could not get along with Jesus’s philosophy. The picture they had about their Savior did not match with the things Jesus did. Judas was handling Jesus’s money, which would have given him a powerful position if Jesus would have over thrown Rome. Well, this did not happen, Judas went on and betrayed Him.

Remember when I mentioned that no one should believe that his life is destined for failure (Read my last blog entry if you haven’t – it’s good)? Here’s the perfect example for this, even though they both had to deal with the heaviness of guilt and the consequences that came with denying and betraying Jesus; Peter managed to find hope in a hopeless situation; Judas went away and hung himself (Matthew 27:5). How is it that one keeps and the other forsakes it? It’s simple – it’s a heart issue.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… (2 Chronicles 16:9 – NIV). God is a living God and if you believe this fully within your heart anything that appears to be dead in your eyes has to come alive. Peter’s heart wasn’t turned against Jesus even though his words were different. Judas’s heart was completely turned against Jesus, which is why he didn’t stay alive. It is within our hearts where we find the courage to keep dreams, love, and power alive. Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23 – ISV).

Peter could have drowned in self-pity, guilt and the loss of hope but he didn’t. In his heart he was determined to stay alive because he knew who Jesus was. Do you know your God? As tough it could get there is hope found in any hopeless situation. I want you to reconsider your situation/s and seek for the loophole. God isn’t overlooking you, as a matter of fact, He is always with you!

I’m not sure how this affects you, but when I read Pi’s words it sparked something significant within me. His words gave me hope again. Hope to care, hope to love, hope not to give up, hope to keep going… it gave me hope in so many aspects that I’ve decided to write about it.

You know there are times were we all find ourselves alone, floating in the air of uncertainty, without knowing what is going to happen next. Wrapping our mind around the problems life comes with is a reason we have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. How you view the things that drag you down add a lot to the solution. Do not allow your perspective to taint your heart! I’m sure Pi had a lot more questions in mind and I know you do. But just as Pi, I want you to look within your heart; You might find something that’ll spark your eye 😉

Thank you for reading 🙂 until then, be blessed.

© Alfred Ntiamoah and authenticitee2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alfred Ntiamoah and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.