Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Secrets of Elisha 3

Compliments of the Season! Ain't you grateful that God has brought us this far? If you are not grateful, then you are not better than a great fool. In all that you do this season, always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and as you celebrate him, may He make you a celebrity. Ain't you suppose to be talking about Elisha? someone may be asking. Of course I am but I need to put down those lines in the spirit of the season.

We have diagnosed the various stages in his journey with Elijah and their spiritual significance in part 1 & 2. As I conclude this post today, I will be looking at the attributes or qualities in Elisha that stood him out from the crowd. I am afraid I may need a part 4 to conclude this series but I will try as much as possible to see that this won't be the case. I crave your patience cos u may be in for a lengthy reading but trust me, it has a lot in stock for u!

Hope you are aware that Elisha wasn't the only prophet in town at the time. Of course not! In I Kings 18: 13, Obediah reminded Elijah of how he hid an hundred prophets of the Lord in a cave away from the onslaught of Jezebel. So there were some prophets in the Land at the time. Also recall that at each stage Elijah and Elisha got to, there were sons of the prophets (these were prophets-in-waiting, i.e there were trainee prophets serving other prophets with the hope of succeeding them). It is obvious that there are other prophets at the time but why did God by pass them and went for Elisha? That's the question I will attempt to answer in this post. He by-passed them, I believe, because of the qualities He saw in Elisha. Those prophets were cowards and were not worthy to be entrusted with the great task of confronting the prophets of baal and of reviving Israel. There were alive but there impact was not being felt. It got to the point that Elijah was bold enough to declare to God that he was the only prophet left in the Land. If you know what that implies, then you would understand the extent of their cowardice. Elijah didn't know they existed, and God couldn't count on them either. If only one Elijah troubled Jezebel and her prophets, imagine what those hundred prophets could have been able to do if they were cut out of the same sterner stuff as Elijah.
God knew that these anonymous prophets would chicken out when the chips are down. Imagine them been hid in the cave by an "ordinary" Obediah who wasn't even a prophet because of a woman. So, when it was time for heaven to shop for Elijah's replacement, none of them nor their students passed heaven's test except Elisha. Elisha was , in my opinion, the least experienced in prophetic matters amongst existing prophets and sons of prophets then. Remember Elisha was not yet known until I Kings19:19 that was after Elijah confronted and defeated Jezebel and her porphets.
So, what are the qualities that made Elisha thick?
They are:

1) Desire and Hunger:
Elisha was a man with a burning desire, an insatiable hunger for the spiritual. He was never content with his spiritual level but was continuously pressing forward. Neither the joy of Gilgal, nor the splendour of Bethel, nor the oppositions of Jericho could hold him back. He refused to settle down on any of these mountains as it were. He, like apostle Paul, was in the practice of forgetting those things there were behind and reaching forth unto those things that are before. He pressed on until he reached his mark. Remember at every level they got to, there were the sons of the prophets. Elisha meets and leaves them behind at each level. These sons of the prophet lack hunger for the spiritual, although they knew what God was about to do but they were too complacent to key into it. There are such people in churches today. Year in, year out, they remain where they have always been. No growth, no progress. They can tell you how their church started, or even recite the scriptures by rot but are very anonymous. Their impact are not being felt in their churches. They leave in their past. For them it is now, "I remember when i was a soldier". And if you are not careful they may slow you down just like that old prophet did to that young prophet in the bible. Desire and hunger are spiritual lubricants that keep the wheel of your spiritual life going.

2) Focus:
"Show me a man who knows where he is going but never gets there, and I will show you a man who lacks focus, a man given to much distractions"-Prince
Elisha had a great deal of focus. The first sign of this was manifest in I Kings 19:21 when Elijah first found him. The Bible says he burnt his yoke of oxen and bade his family goodbye. In other words, he made sure nothing stands as a potential source of distraction to him. He like the early apostles, abandoned all and followed his master. Another evidence of his focus was his response to the batches of fifty sons of the prophets as each tried to distract him from following Elijah at each level they got to. He always told them, "I know but hold your peace". And the climax of it was over Jordan when Elijah asked him to make a request which he did. Elijah told him in II Kings 2: 10, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see when i am taken from thee, it shall be so unto; but if not, it shall not be so" It sounds simple but very tricky. And Elisha passed the test. One thing that is obvious is that Elisha abandoned himself to this cause and gave his all. One of the weapons the devil uses against youths of this generation is distraction. There are forces of diversion and distraction all over demanding our attention and resources. Their aim? To distract you from your goal and divert your energy and resources to something else. They are countless and abound at every turn: on campuses, in churches, in our neighborhoods etc. No matter where you find them, their mission is the same. One of the tasks you owe yourself is that of been able to discern these forces whenever they show up. Many destinies are aborted because of these forces. If you doubt me, go and ask Samson.

3) Foresight and vision:
Needless to say, Elisha was a man with profound foresight. He knew that Elijah's mission was over and there was need for a successor and thus positioned himself for it. Not only that, he had a clear vision and purpose for following Elijah which was why he didn't hesitate to state what he wanted when asked to do so.
He knew what he wanted even before he embarked on the journey. He had his desired or expected end in sight which was why he could endure the pains of that lengthy journey. It wasn't a rosy journey at all!
He knew what God has spoken concerning him and was willing to the pay the price for it.
Do you have a vision of your tomorow? What is your goal or vision concerning your present engagement. Hear this:
"your life flows in the direction of your vision"- Prince
It means without vision, your life will be without direction.

4) Ability to see and seize opportunity:
Let me say this. There was no open invitation to Elisha to come with Elijah. In fact at every turn of the journey, Elijah would try to dissuade him but he wouldn't let go because he saw in that journey an opportunity others couldn't see even though they too, knew about the journey. They (the sons of the prophets) all had an opportunity to come on board but were too blind to it. Elisha saw and seize the opportunity. For more on the dynamics of opportunity see my post on opportunity

5) Determination, persistence and patience:
Wow! Finally we've come to the last lap of the race.
Elisha was a man of great determination, persistence and patience. Not even the subtile discouragement of his master Elijah could stop him.
I believe we can all pin point how and where the trio of determination, persistence and patience were exhibited by Elisha.
I also believe there might be other qualities of Elisha than those highlighted above.
So am leaving that out for you to highlight as your comments in the comment section.


Monday, 7 December 2009

The Secrets of Elisha 2

Compliments of the season!
I know it is the trend to blog on topics that reflect the season we are or those that have to do with reviewing the year. But in keeping with my promise, I will continue with the part 2 of the secret of Elisha.
In the last post, we looked at Gilgal and Bethel and their spiritual significance in Elisha's journey vis-a-vis our own spiritual journey. We shall be looking at Elisha's next port of call viz Jericho and Jordan and if time and space permit we will look at certain things about Elisha that made him able to go this far with his master Elijah and thus received a double portion of Elijah's anointing.
I will recommend you read part 1, for those who may not have done so, so as to really know where we are coming from.

3) Jericho
II Kings 2: 4 " And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. SO they came to Jericho".
It is has at Jericho the men are separated from the boys. Jericho is a place of confrontations. Jericho means (or represents) stronghold. Joshua 6:1-3, "Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out and none came in". Immediately you meet with God at Bethel (remember what I said Bethel represents), the next major junction in your journey is to confront the walls of Jericho. The scripture says, Jericho was shut because of the children of Israel, none went out or come in. Jericho represents limitations. If there is anything Jericho wants to accomplish in your life is to make sure your Bethel (those encounters/periods you had with God that results in you making some promises and vows to HIM) is aborted. The enemy has placed Jericho on your path to limit you and you can never enter into your destiny until your Jericho is defeated. What is that Jericho in your life that tends to bring you back to square one whenever you seem to be making headway in your spiritual journey with the Lord? The Jericho you will have to confront may not be the same facing me but the truth is that we all have one Jericho or the order to confront and conquer so we can go in and possess our possession. There are those whose Jericho is fear: whenever they seem to have encountered God at Bethel making promises to HIM, everything seems to be aborted by this Jericho of a fear. That has been the story of their of lives. To others, it is women. Just like Samson, it has robbed them their fellowship with God and has been their greatest undoing.
What about talkativeness? There are individuals suffering from verbal diaorrhea/dysentery. If only they could bridle their tongues, they would be instruments of honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use. Another common Jericho, is television (home videos). Our sisters seem the most hit. If only they could invest the precious hours spent watching TV and home movies in more profitable spiritual ventures, what impact they would made. Take it or leave it, this is one of the root causes of prayerlesness in the church today. Believers now find it difficult to spend even 30mins in prayers but the same fellow just spent close to 3 hours watching TV a few minutes ago. What about gluttony? Another Jericho.
Discover that Jericho in life and deal with it. Your Jericho could be liken to the "BUT" in your life. Have you heard statements like, "she is a nice girl but... or He is very zealous but...?" Those buts are your real enemies and until you conquer them (i.e. your Jericho) your promised land will remain elusive. God help us!

4) Jordan
II Kings 2: 6, "And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on"
When you conquer Jericho, you have conquered the flesh. And when you conquer the flesh you begin to walk in the supernatural. Listen! If you ever get to the Jordanic stage without conquering your Jericho (the flesh), it will certainly pull you down sooner rather than later. I repeat, it is tantamount to sitting on a keg of gun powder if your Jericho (the flesh) is left unconquered, i mean if it is still alive and active. Have you not heard of Christians who started well but ended up badly because they refused to deal with their Jericho (the buts in their lives).
Jordanic stage is also that stage when one begins to do things that are contrary to the flesh and reasoning faculties. It is the stage of demonstrations of the power of God. It is a realm reserved for those who have their flesh under subjection, those who have conquered their flesh. Naaman after conquering his flesh (his was his pride), was healed at Jordan. To Naaman, dipping oneself into Jordan seven times didn't make sense to him. There were better rivers in Syria, he reasoned in his pride.
This is also the stage of manifestations. The scripture declares in Romans 8 that the creature awaits the manifestation of the Sons of God. No son manifests before this stage! It was at Jordan that God declares "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" about Jesus. At this stage the heavens open, it is a stage of possibilities!
It was at this stage that Elisha had the privilege of making a request. Hmm! There are requests you can't make at Gilgal, Bethel or Jericho. And if you make them, you won't have them granted. The reason is that they are reserved for sons and not children. They might ruin you if granted. By delaying them, God is simply asking you to grow up.

I will highlight some attributes or qualities in Elisha that made him go the whole lap of the journey with Elijah and will look at them in details in my next port.
They are desire, hunger, focus, foresight, ability to see and seize opportunity, determination, persistence and patience

So watch out for the concluding part.

Till then,

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Secrets of Elisha (1)

Below is an excerpt from a message I preached in one of our youth meetings. And I am sure it will bless your life.

Text: II Kings 2:1-15.
Our text is about the account of Elijah and Elisha, a very familiar story in the Scriptures but for the sake of time and space, we wont read it all at a go now. Rather we will read it in bits as we go along.

Let me say that there is a great spiritual lesson to learn from this account. Elisha came to limelight because of this encounter he had with Elijah. Men who have gone far with the Lord consciously or unconsciously passed through this spiritual pathway.
If you desire to be one among those who will change the tide of time in this generation, then get set because God is looking for vessels upon whom He will release a double portion of His Spirit. There is always a price tag on every exploit in life whether in spiritual or secular settings.
Before we examine the price Elisha paid, lets first examine the pathway or stages he went through as revealed in our text. The price he had to pay as well the entire pathway he went through are the secrets to greatness and exploits in His kingdom.

1) Gilgal
II Kings 2:1 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal"
Every spiritual journey begins from Gilgal. If in your spiritual journey, Gilgal is missing, then you've got a wrong beginning. Elisha would have been of all men most miserable if he had not had the Gilgal experience. Remember, Elisha has been ministering to Elijah before this time but when it was time for him to really begin his assignment, it was needful that he start all over again from Gilgal.
So, what does Gilgal represent or symbolize? Joshua 5:9 " And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day"
Gilgal represents what we call the salvation (or born again) experience. It is at Gilgal that God rolls away the reproach of Egypt (Sin) from the individual. This experience gives the individual the right footing to start off from in his spiritual journey.
It may surprise you to know that there are individuals who, though very busy with the things of God in churches today, do not have a gilgal xperience. They are busy in the choir, ushering, protocol etc depts. How do I know, ask them when they got born again, and you will see them fumble with words. They can't tell. The Lord said unto Joshua, "THIS DAY HAVE I..." This experience is such that can not be forgotten in a hurry. It can not be faked or counterfeited: if it has not taken place, then it has not taken place and can not be substituted. If you can not tell the day you gave your life to the Lord, then check up. But come to think of it, how could you forget the day you were born into God's kingdom? I mean your spiritual (and real) birthday.
I repeat, one can be very busy with religious activities but lack this experience. John Wesley was a missionary for years but little did he know that he hadn't been saved until the day the Lord opened his eyes to this truth. That very day, the reality of his spiritual standing with God dawned on him. He saw that he has been standing on a sinking (religious) ground. Thank God he eventually got saved and his ministry was officially commissioned by heaven thereafter.
What can we say about Isaiah's cry in Chapter6:5 when he had an encounter with the Most High: "Then said I, woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts"
What a confession. See the result in verse7 " And he (The seraphims from God's alter with a purging coal in his hand) laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged.
A spiritual journey started without a gilgal experience is a journey founded on sinking sand. Like they would say, ''first things first''. Remember the story of Simon in Acts8:9-24. This fellow heard the gospel, got baptized and joined Philip's missionary team but was not born again. Thank God for the gift of discernment at work in Peter's life. At times I wonder what would have been our response today to someone like Simon in our contemporary churches. So sad that many who have manifested and shown these traits or even worse in churches today have gone away with just slaps on their wrists even though we know such traits are pointers to something more deadly locked up within. Think about that.
Make sure you have a gilgal experience and if you have lost yours, remember He is a God of a second chance.

2) Bethel
II Kings 2:2 "And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bthel. ANd Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel"
Bethel was Elisha's next port of call as it were.
While every spiritual journey begins from gilgal, it must not end there. Gilgal, as mentioned above, is regarded as salvation experience. Don't limit yourself to gilgal, there is bethel waiting for you. There are no commitments nor challenges at gilgal. Gilgal is the baby stage, dont dwell there. I challenge you to come over to bethel, a place of communion and intimacy with God.
Bethel is a place of commitment. The first place Jacob made a vow was at bethel. Alters are raised at bethel (see Genesis 12: 8; 13:4; 28:16-19, ). God's voice is always heard at bethel (see Genesis 35: 15). Bethel is the secret place of the Most High.
A lot of Christians operate without a bethel in their lives. These are Christians without commitments; they don't know what it means to hear the voice of God.
Bethel is God's reference point in your life, that is for those who have had the bethel experience. That period in your life when you (just like Jacob) promised God heaven and earth; when you vowed to do exploits for Him in your generation; when to you, it was as though you literally saw God each time you closed your eyes in prayers , was when you had a bethel experience. Everywhere to you then was like the house of God because you were in tune with Him.
Hear Jacob when he had this experience in Genesis 28: 16-19 "...and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not...this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven...And he called the name of that place Bethel..."
Have you ever had a bethel experience?

Now hear me, your bethel must be kept alive. No wonder God had to command Jacob to go back to bethel where He first appeared unto him (see Genesis 35:1-2). Jacob, at that time, seemed to have forgotten his bethel and was busy about with cattle here and there. He was losing sight of his commitments with God. God stepped in to avert an abortion of His purpose for his life. You bethel must be kept alive! If you have lost your bethel, God is asking you to "go back to bethel and dwell there" Genesis 35:1. be continued
Watch out for part 2 as we take a look at Elisha's next ports of call-Jericho and Jordan

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Understanding the Laws of Opportunity

Wow! What a great feeling to be back from my forced vacation. lol. Let me not bother you with the reasons I have not updated for quite a long time, May be I should do a blog entitled: "the return of the Prince" where that may be taken care The only person I hinted was one of my mentors, Adeolu Akinyemi, in one of the messages I sent to him on facebook. But on a serious note, It wasn't funny at all during this period of my ''forced'' vacation, well thank God am back.

Now lets get serious! I was privileged to speak to the youths of my Assembly during one of our meetings. I took my text from I Samuel 17: 17-30. We all know the story, its about David and Goliath and my message was entitled "Is there not a cause?". However, before I served them the main meal (the message), I served them a dessert (a pep talk) on "opportunity" derived basically from the same text which I would like to share with us here.

I announced to them that we are in our seasons of opportunities but we need to understand some facts about opportunities. Facts, which for the sake of this post, I have refered to them as the "Laws of opportunity". Hope you are aware that your life today is a sum total of the opportunities in life you have utilized and those you allowed to pass you by. And like they say, to be POOR means to Pass Over Opportunities Repeatedly. If you ask any of your folk, he or she would tell you that his or her life would have been a lot better off if not for certain opportunities he missed or abused. At least my own dad has told me some of his esp. what he did with the first money he made as a bachelor.

Come with me as we examine these laws:
1) Breakthrough is birthed when opportunity meets preparation:
Hope you know David came prepared. How else would you explain the fact that he came along with his sling (and stones) even though he knew he was not going for hunting, if not that he knew anything can happen at any time. Like the boys scout would say, "Be prepared". He didn't have to go back home to pick up his slings. To have been very confident and skillful in the usage of the sling speaks of one who has mastered it over time. The young lad has been in the wilderness practicing and training with bears and lions.

2) There is nothing like a golden opportuniy:
What makes an opportunity golden is a function of what you do with it. To the on-lookers and by-standers, that moment was a golden opportunity for David. Isn't it? But the same opportunity was there begging to be grabbed before David showed up. This is how many of us have been wasting in the bid of waiting for our golden opportunities which never was. Why wait and become a waste when you can start and become a star?

3) What you do with an opportunity is not a function of what you have or are per se but a function of decision:
David didn't have the best of weapons nor had he the best of military training available to Saul and his men then. But he understood the power of decision.
Jesus in Matthew 13:44-46 spake a parable that the kingdom of God if like a pearl or treasure of great price which when a man finds, he sold all he had and bought it. But in Matthew 19:16-22, the Bible speaks of a rich man who came to Jesus seeking for the same kingdom but who, when he was told to go and sell all that he had so he could have this heavenly treasure, walked away sorrowfully. The same opportunity, different results: the one missed it while the other utilized not based on what they had but their decisions.

4) There is no customized opportunity:
Even when an opportunity seemed to be customized (i.e. meant for an individual), if the person to whom it was meant misses out on it, the sharp guy next door seizes it. There was no prophecy anywhere that David will kill Goliath, so it was not a matter of predestination: that what shall be shall be. The God in whom David put his faith is the same God Saul and his army served. He is the same God that Goliath defiled. David confronted him on the basis of God covenant with the Israelites which was why he called him an uncircumcised philistine. A truth known to Saul and his entire army.
Opportunity is a traveler and it takes men who understand to attract it. The Shunamite woman was not the only barren woman (according to Jesus) in town when Elisha was passing by on a regular basis. Elisha has been an opportunity on transit waiting to be keyed into but none of the other widows could decipher this. Elisha although a prophet, didn't hear expresly from God to go and bless this woman rather the woman attracted the opportunity to herself and thus provoked the blessing.
What about the woman with the issue of blood in the Matthew 9: 18-22. Jesus was just passing by on His way to that ruler's house to heal his sick daughter. While every other person (including some sick folks) followed, the woman saw it as an opportunity to be healed of her infirmity. The same is true of blind Beartimeaus. On both accounts, it was obvious that Jesus wasn't there for them but they attracted him and got their miracles. While other were busy waiting for the day and time that Jesus would personally mention their cases or come to their houses, these ones attracted such opportunities to themselves.

5) Opportunities often come as challenges and are often a call to responsibility:
Opportunities often come in capsules called challenges and those who run away from challenges miss out on them. David love challenges or else he had every reason not to meddle with strictly military affair. How dare him, a bloody civilian. That challenge facing you could be an opportunity for promotion. Rise to the occasion! There are abilities lying within you and all you need is the right opportunity either as challenges or a call to responsibility to demonstrate them. Stop hiding! come out of your caves.

6) Opportunities are unique:
We often hear stuffs like, "opportunity comes but once". I have disputed that statement in the past but had to reconsider my stand as my eyes open to this fact: that no two opportunities are exactly the same. There are things which if you miss out on them today, doing them later may cause you more than they would have caused today. No two opportunities are exactly same, they may be geared towards the same end but the circumstances (terms and conditions) surrounding them surely will differ.
Opportunity lost may never be regained in the same form and manner. What you get is often a second chance may be with some sacrifice but the first is surely gone for good.
For instance, if one fails to go to school as a youth today, he has lost that opportunity. If he still decides to go later in life, it will involve a lost of sacrifice...Hope you know there are times when it is easier (or easiest) to give one's life to the Lord? Yes, we can do it anytime of our life but there are periods when the decision would have been much easier to make. No wonder Ecclessiates 12:1 admonishes to remember our creator now in the days of our youth when then evil days come not. Why not decide for Jesus now. Don't wait until circumstances compel you to.

7) There is no small or big opportunity:
Every small opportunity you seize opens you up and prepares you for greater one. Most of what we do today is a product of what we did with little opportunities that came our way.
Time and space will fail me to share from my personal experience how this law has worked in my life. So whenever you are called to do anything no matter how small, don't look down on it. Yes, it may not befit your status but go ahead and do it. You don't know who may be watching. He who is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in much. If you are not faithful in little responsibilities, who will commit to you greater ones.
David has been killing wild animals in the wilderness. A feat that attracted no attention at least on a national scale. Of course, the opportunity that brought him to the bigger stage was a little one ( that of going on a erand) but he seized it gladly. This law is closely related to the fifth one above. Most times pride blinds us to the reality of this truth. Remember King Saul, before he became king? He was sent on an erand as well by his father to go look for the missing sheep. A responsibility Saul would have delegated to one of his father's servants rather he em-backed on it gladly even going an extra. It was in the process he met Prophet Samuel. We know the rest of the story.

I know there may be other laws, keep 'em coming in the comment section.

Love you!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Lessons from Port-Harcourt Part 2

Port-Harcourt could be said to be a city under (re)construction even though it is as old as most other major cities across the nation and I have been sharing with us some of the lessons I learned from the Governor's approach to this onerous task. I discovered in the governor three qualities that have made this task, though every daunting, a mission well in progress. We looked at the first which is conviction in part1 (click here to read the part1) and will be dealing with the others viz the law of intolerance and the law of implemenation in the post. I just hope there will be no part3, cos there is one more lesson i intend sharing as well. I didn't include it among the three because it is not a quality but nonetheless, its something worth sharing.

We saw in part 1 the power of conviction and how that without conviction one is bound to compromise on certains issues when push comes to shove. We also saw how lack of conviction on the part of leadership has been the reasons certain national malaise like corruption has not been effectively tackled.

So lets make progress and look at the other lessons as well.

The Law of Intolerance

"What you tolerate, you can not change"-Unknown

Looking at the passion with which Gov. Amaechi goes about restoring the graden city status of PHC, I see this law at work, It was as though he had been obsessed with the condition of the city even while he was the speaker of the state house and has been waiting for an opportunity like this.

We , as individuals and as a nation, all need a measure of this intolerance to get us out of the present mess we are in. We still seem to tolerate corruption, injustice and illegality and as for our leaders, they don't only tolerate, they are comfortable with them. This sums up why we are where we are as a nation. Our leaders will always take us for a ride until such a time when our collective intolerance reaches a boiling point. I mean a point of zero tolerance.

I don't know what mess in your life that has refused to go away. It could be because you still have a soft spot for it whether it be a challenge or a habit. Have you tried to rebuke a child of its folly but he wouldn't listen until a point when it sees (or senses) the anger in your eyes and voice? At this point you have become intolerant of his folly.

Some of us still battle with certain sins. It is one thing to avoid sin, it is quite another to hate it. Those who only avoid it, compromise with reasons when presented with an opporunity to do it.
It was Jesus who taught this law of intolerance when He said, "if your right hand or eye causes you to sin, cut or pluck it off...". There are certain problems and challenges of life that do not understand any langauge other than that of Matthew11:12 "...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent taketh it by force" They understand and respond only to this langauge and until you speak and act in this manner to them nothing happens.

What you are comfortable with, you can not confront and what you do not confront, you can not conquer- Unknown

Do you still have reasons why you put up with that habit?
My pastor once told a story of a woman who was praying fervently, "God take it away from me, God take it away from me". The intensity with which she repeated this statement prompted her pastor to call her and find out what actually it was that she wanted God to take away from her. So, when asked, she told the pastor that it was her snuff box, that she wanted to quite snuff. Surprisingly, when the pastor asked her where the box was, she said it was around her waiste wrapped up in her wrapper. lol
That is the issue with some fellow, they are physically or emotionaly tied to thier condition. If you want to be free from poverty, you must hate poverty. If you want to be free from sin, the same principle applies. You can't hate poverty and don't love prosperity. You can't hate sin and don't love righteousness, you can't hate failure and don't love success. It is mutually exclusive! So when i said hate, I am invariably saying love the opposite. If you ask most of the self-made millioniares with poor background how they made it, you will discover that they hated poverty with a passion and overcoming it became a daily challenge to them.
Let me shock you! God does not use men who are comfortable with the status quo whenever He wants to send revival or deliverance to a people. This was the secret behind His choice of men like Moses, Gideon and Nehemiah. Moses demonstrated his intolerant, albeit prematurely, when he killed that Egyptian. If he was tolerant of the condition the Isrealites were in then, he wouldn't have bothered. After all he lacked nothing as an Egyptian Prince. Most of us describe Gideon as a coward but I beg to differ. I see in him a man saddened and burdened by the situation of his people at the time. His questions to the angel revealed this. Judges 6:13 "And Gideon said unto him (the angel who appeared unto him), Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of..." No! Gideon wasn't a coward, no wonder he was called a mighty man of valour and was told to "go in this thy might and thou shalt save Isreal..."
I don't know how comfortable you are in that condition you find yourself. Somebody may say but the Bible admonishes us "to be content with our state" (Hebrews 13:5). Yes! this admonition was given as a panacea to a life of greed. It was given to guard against murmuring and complaining and its never a licence to stagnation. It is a necessary foundation for a life of thanksgiving and gratitude. It helps us thank God for what we have or our situation per time while we have our eyes set on better things "reaching unto those things that are before"
Whenever God finds a man of conviction who is intolerant of the status quo, then He has found an insturment of change-Prince
The Law of Implementation
Behind every unachieved plan, is the lack of implementation-Prince
Gov. Ameachi's work seems to be cut out for him since they claim that there is an existing master plan. Although, he just unvailed a new master plan, The Greater Port-Harcourt Developtment Master Plan, it baffles me that previous administrations have all behaved as though PH never had a plan. Infact the original plan was drafted by the first military administrator of the state HRM King Afred Diete Spiff. I remember telling someone that if the immediate past administration has done what Gov. Amaechi is doing today, we would have been reaping the benefits by now.
This brings us to another reasons why Nigeria is where it is today-lack of proper implementation of programmes and policies.
I for one, I believe our problem as a nation is not lack of planning but lact of dispassionate implementation of government policies and programmes. In the education sector for instance, the 6-3-3-4 system will soon be history as the nation fully embrace the universal basic system. We are quick to embrace or copy any programme esp. when formulated by world bodies. The problem is not the system but the implemenation of it. You would agree with me that our parents, teachers and elder ones who studied under the previous system (prior to 6-3-3-4) are better off than us.
We now have a ministry of planning or something like that but I would suggest we also create one for implementaion. A watchdog sort off to ensure proper implementation of goverment policies and programmes.
How many times have we had cases of non-implementation of budgets. Why should there be unspent funds after a whole year? Does it mean there was nothing for which those monies were released for? Wonders shall never end!
For crying out loud, our problem is lack of implementation. Every government that comes to power is quick to abandone his predecessor's programmes and come up with his only to abandone them even before take off. Vision 2010, vision 2020, the 7-point agenda or whatever you call them are basically the same in soul although the colour of thier skins may differ.
We now hear of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to which our government was signatory to. But up until now how many of that goals have been pursued and achieved even though the life span for this project is 2015? Pls keep the answer to yourself!
The other day I heard that the FG released a list of those entitle to police escorts and use of sirens. The question I asked my landlord on whose radio I heard the news was, "will they implement it?". You need to come to PHC and see how flagrantly this order is been violated esp. by company executives. Not only do they go with military (not just police) escorts with deafening sirens, they violate traffic rules with impunity. You mean they are not aware of the FG's directive? They are but they also know it will remain just that- another news item, or just an announcement, without any efforts to to enforce it.

The difference between planning and achieving that which has been planned for is implementation

Lack of implementation is a culture that runs deep in our lives as Nigerians. Hope you know that nothing works until you work them. Your plan no matter how good it is, is lifeless until you work it out. Implementation is the junction where men are separated from boys, doers from talkers, and visioners from day-dreamers.
Except one is not sincere about implementing his plans from the word go, one of the major reasons people fail to implement thier plans is distractions and this is because they lack focus. Focus is the backbone of implementation.
There's a lot to write about implementation but let me hang up on it at this point so that we can look at the fourth lesson as promised earlier.

Lesson Four

Every meaningful reformation, development or positive change is often preceeded by an aparent discomfort, sacrifice, and pains.

Nature has so ordain it to be so. Life is in stages and the arrival of each of these stages is always announced by crisis or challenges. Our progression and development from foetus to embrayo through childhood to adulthood is laced with several of such experiences.

If we look at the pains, we may never count the gains. One of the reasons why Mile I market has been left as batcher over the years is because of the pains the traders will have to go through. And yet they have been forced through such pains by the many fire outbreaks that have gutted the place.

My heart goes out to all those who in one way or the other were affected in the ongoing reconstrcution exercise especially the residents, traders and tenants who are the most hit. Most landlords were duly compensated while thier tenants were left to count thier losses. In fact we all have been affected in several ways. The road where our place of worship (church building) is situated has been marked for dualization and all buildings along it will be affected.

Though painfull, we know PHC will be better off for it.


Monday, 30 March 2009

Lessons from Port-Harcourt- Part 1

Wao! Its been a long lull. I have not posted any article of mine in a long while now for some heaven-knows-what reasons. Actually am inexcusable no matter the work load or challenges because looking at the likes of Adeolu, Dipo, Bridget, Odedeyi, and Topsie (I mean blogs i don't miss), I am challenged to bury my excuses and keep it up. Infact these folks have been great sources of motivation to me in this school of blogging. I am greatly indebted to you all.

What I am about to blog about has actually been on my mind for over a month or so now but for reasons I don't want to offer as excuses (lol), it has not seen the light of the day. Its about my beloved Garden City, the capital of the treasure base of the nation. Enjoy!

Well, for those who may not have read my complete profile, I stay in Port-Harcourt City (PHC). In fact I was born and brought up here. Ever since the present government of Gov. Chibuike Amaechi came to power, the story of PHC has been a tale of one demolition after another. Before I delve into the main gist of this post which are some positive lessons God taught me from this, let me do a brief run down of events so far.

Like I said earlier, it has been a tale of one demolition after another. Mile One market (the busiest and may be the biggest market in PHC) has been under construction even before Gov. Amaechi came to power. The old structures there were "batchers" (woods) and have been gutted by fire several times, the latest was in January 2004. So the then government of Celestine Omehia decided to put up a befitting structure and so, had to demolish about two-third of the existing structure. The plan was to build it in phase so as to cushion its effect on the traders. The traders were displaced and temporal sites provided for them while those who couldn't afford shops at these (two) temporal sites moved to places like fly over park, mile III market, others went into streets to rent stores, put up stalls/kioks and table tops, while others took to hawking. While the market is still under construction even as I write, Gov. Amaechi demolished and drove out all those trading at the fly over park. Another batch of the demolition was carried out at mile III market thus forcing the affected traders to move into streets in the manner described above. Some others as a result were forced out of business.

While these displaced traders were counting thier losses and trying to regain lost grounds in the various improvised locations they now find themselves, the government came up again this time moving into streets demolishing kioks, stores, extensions and in some cases residences. While some buildings were partly affected some others were completely leveled. It means some traders lost both thier business premises and residence.

Initialy, the reasons given were that these buildings were either illegal structures or they were too close to the roads. For this reason, no compensation whatsoever was paid. The rapidity and manner these demolitions were been executed, makes a child's play of Fashola's version in Lagos. At least I was in Lagos for some days in January for my younger sister's wedding and was in a postion to compare the two.

The second of this demolition exercise is billed for the second quater of the year and this time, the reason is that certain roads are to be dualised and as such houses whether illegal or not have been marked and owners given ultimatum to comply. Sorry! I forgot to inform you that in places like Trans-Amadi (oginigba), Old Aba road and co, that the dualisation project is already in top gear and stores and houses have already been demolished. However, this time landlords were duly compensated but trust them, thier tenants (residents and traders) were left to bear the brunt while they smiled to the banks. Our office was heavily affected and the reconstruction works to move it backward away from the road was born by our management without any input from our landlord even after he has been duly compensated. That's by the way...

As if that wasn't enough, Okada (commercial motocyclists) was outlawed in PHC and its environs on Dec. 31st 2008. There are areas in PHC where fences are not permitted and have all been pull down while for other areas they must, as a matter of state policy, be see-through. You can imagine the level unemployment and angst in the land. As they would say, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge but space will fail me to highlight them in details.

Those in government have taken the pain to explain to us that they are trying to implement the Port-Harcourt master plan which some claim has been a dust collector at the brick house (i.e Rivers version of the Aso Rock).
And I was told that Gov. Amaechi, speaking as a special guest at a ministers conference earlier in the year stunned his audience when he asserted that it was God who instructed him to embark on his policies.

I am one of those who have been very critical of the government for all these "anti" people policies and moves. But get me right! I am of the school of thought that "Rome was not built in a day". My criticism has been that the governor is taking too many things all at once thus exposing the masses to untold hardship instead of taking it "one step at a time". So, one morning while treking to work and reflecting on the state of things in the city, as I passed by heaps of demolished houses and shops, the Spirit of God started opening my eyes to the other side of the story. I was saying to myself bitterly that Gov. Amaechi shouldn't think of reversing all these mess just all at once because they came to be over a peroid of years. Yes! PHC was (is) a mess as it has lost its much touted garden city status. The situation was such that every available space in town including drainages, parking lots, backyards, around fences etc was converted to shops, residence and stuffs like that. With refuse dumps (heaps) almost at every major junction.

I was actually advocating, though to myself, a gradual approach when suddenly the Spirit of God took over and started teaching me some stuffs. You know what the Spirit said? He drew a similarity between these happenings and the treatment of a full blown cancer. "Though cancer develops over a period of years, dealing with a full blown cancer does not require a gradual one-step-at-a-time approach but a drastic one, certain changes (in our lives) require a drastic approach and not a one-step-at-a-time one". It was at this point I started studying the governors approach to tackling this problem and the lessons gained are what I want to share with you.

Looking at Gov. Amaechi's approach, I discovered the following at work: (1) conviction (2) the law of intolerance and (3) the law of implementation.

I shall deal extensively on these qualities and how they relate to our progress as individuals and as a nation in the following paragraphs and subsequent post.

Show me a man who is unstable as a reed and I will show you a man of no conviction.

Gov. Amaechi claimed that he has the backing of the Almighty. Wao! what other surest source is there for a man to base his conviction than on God whether right or wrong. This explains why he is undaunted and relentless cos he believes he is pursuing a worthy cause. And that is why he doesn't care a hoot no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody is spared, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the good, the bad, and the ugly have all in one way or the other had a feel of the "amaechi" fever. That is, so long as their properties are wrongly situated or fall within the circumference of the road (re)construction works. If Pamo Clinics owned by former governor, Dr. Odili ( a man to whom Gov. Amaechi owes his political career and rise to fame) was not spared, then you know how serious the matter is. In fact, if the business premises of Gov. Amaechi's wife was reduced to heaps how much more should POWA shopping complex along Mile 1 be. It takes a man of steel conviction to withstand the barrage of criticisms and political maneuvering as Gov. Amaechi has done. When talks were going round that okada (commercial motocyclists) would soon be outlawed, there were calls from every quater asking him to shelve the plan but he turned deaf ears. That is the power of conviction!
Do you know why Nigeria is where it is today? One of the reasons is that we don't have leaders with conviction. What we have are Leaders who have no clear stand on such burning issues like corruption. They speak with tongues in cheeks and when push comes to shove, they chicken out. They have no ideals/values they hold dear, only interests and when their interest is served, they sell out.
On the other hand, we the masses are also guilty of the same. We pay lip service to such burning issues we claim to believe in. We strain at a fly in public but swallow carmels in secret because we lack conviction.

Do you know that God respects men of conviction even when they are wrong? He soughts for such men? You know why? He knows if He could get them to believe in the right cause then there is not limit to what He can do with and through them. Remember Saul of Tarsus who persecuted the church of Christ? The same zeal with which he persecuted the church was the same zeal with which he propagated the gospel of Christ. Before and after his conversion, he was a man of conviction who has always had something for which he was ready to die.
Those who have nothing to die for are actually living for nothing-Unknown

God respects men of conviction! Remember the sons of Rechab (the Rechabites) in Jeremiah 35:1-19? The twenty first century christianity is plagued with christians without conviction- christians tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, christians without backbone. Circumstances and not the scripture shape thier belief system. God convinces them in their closets on an issue, circumstances (and the world around) beat them into conformity in public.
Are there values (and beliefs) you would rather die for than let go? Do you believe in your vision? Do you have something that you stand for? Some terrorists and suicide bombers would rise against this generation of christians in judgement, for if they had been instructed in the true ways of God as most of us are, they would have been more profitable to His kingdom. They were men and women who had something they were willing to die for.

We sing "Abraham blessings are mine" but we often forget that he was a man of unshakeable conviction. He left his father's house, kindred and country at age 75 being fully convinced of the intergrity and faithfulness of the one whose voice he has heard. He left with a conviction that where he was going was better than where he was.
You can not stand out from the crowd and make your mark if you are not a man of conviction.
Imagine what impact you will make if your conviction is based on the infallible word of God.
Those who stand for nothing, will fall for anything
See you in the concluding post.


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rebuilding Nigeria

Below is an article culled from the site of someone I consider a role model and with his permission and consent, I am duplicating it below . The idea conveyed in it is so novel, that I believe with proper publicity and widespread usage could prove a veritable tool in getting our leaders to reconsider their legacy during and after their days in office.
What I want to write today is an article I will love you to pirate. I’ll like you to dub it, and put it on your blog post.
I have refrained deliberately for a long time to make any comments about our National Rebranding exercise. I hope I will be able to say what boils in my throat and wrists tonight, without making too much reference to it. For all it’s worth though, I think the fundamental error I can see, is that Nigerians have not been made to own it, and hence rather than having people championing it, and helping others buy in, what we have is criticism and condemnation by the same people who would have been it’s champions.
Having said that however, I have a proposition of an exercise that we can own as Nigerians. It’s a simple idea and it came as a fallout of a discussion that ensued in my office yesterday. It’s an answer of what we can do to focus our leaders on the problems that we have as citizens and to assist them in giving it the attention it deserves. We no longer need any assitance from any source to know that our most crucial problem in Nigeria is Leadership! If we are all on the same page in this realization, then our efforts towards a better Nigeria must be channeled to support, focus and direct our leaders.
I remember shortly before the elections last year I wrote an article I titled, “Power is all we need!” I pleaded with our would be leaders not to promise us roads or education, but to promise us just one thing - Power! That if in any leaders 4yrs we can celebrate 1yr of uniterupted power supply, then we should imortalize that president. Haven been to Egypt now to watch tombs, I say we must do the same, but before they die however.
First for the nation, then the states, then our local governments. Once we have a new president for example, we should as a nation analyze our most significant problem that we want solved in his or her tenure. After we have agreed on this problem, we should then go ahead and give that problem the same name with our president. We should substitute the name of our leader with this problem in our conversations, in our articles in newspapers, in our slang’s, in our music and drama. We should do this per state and per local government as well.
Let’s say for example that we have discovered that our biggest problem in Nigeria is Electricity, and for example that our president’s name for the tenure was Yaradua. Then everytime light goes, every time we are in darkeness, everytime we have any issues, our conversations should be like this.
When it is bad as it is - “Chai, Yaradua has gone again”, “Ah, we have not had Yaradua for the last 2 days”, “This Yaradua is so unstable”, “Ah what did we do today oh, we have half Yaradua today”,” What’s wrong with you, you are complaining that you haven’t seen Yaradua for 3 days, what about people that haven’t seen Yaradua for one year! or ever!”, “I wasn’t able to do it overnight, because Yaradua kept fainting”, “We have been using Yaradua as backup to our Generator”, “Iron your shirts, Yaradua may soon go oh”, ”
When this start becoming good - ” Up Yaradua!”, “Yaradua is really trying oh, we are not where we want to be, but we are far from where we were”, “Yaradua has been consistent for the past 24hrs”, “Ah, we need to celebrate 1yr of uninterrupted Yaradua”, “Yaradua is so much better these days”, “With Yaradua so constant, Nigeria is really becoming the most desirable nation to live in on earth”. “Yaradua is constant in all the states of Nigeria and the structures are in place to get Yaradua into all the local governments.”
Can you form your own new ones? Yes!: Ameachi for traffic on Port-Harcourt roads. Example "Ameachi" this morning was very hectic. The situation of "Amaechi" in town is getting better.
If we keep speaking this way, our leaders will know that we mean business with our desire for solutions. The next president will also know that one critical unsolved problem will bear his name until it’s solved. I recommend, that whichever president fixes electric power be given the opportunity to forever bear the same name with electricity in Nigeria and be forever immortalized in the lips and minds of Nigerians. The same for every future identified problem. A similar approach should be taken to the state levels. Whatever problem we align and identify must be instantly changed to the name of the Governor. If the issue in Lagos for example was Transportation and assuming the Governor was Fashola, then by now, people should be saying “Fashola is getting better in Lagos now”, or ” I entered one wrong fashola and they collected my phone and laptop.” or “Big Fashola (BRT) is actually making life easy for Lagosians”. We can identify the states one by one and identify the problems that need to be solved and replaced with their name.
My people say that whatever hurts one, must be primary in one’s conversation -
“Oun to ba duni lo n po loro eni”
Culled from Rebuilding Nigeria, on
The challenge now is how to ensure that the president’s name (or any leader in question) becomes synonymous with the problem(s) on the lips and minds of the populace. Let me suggest that those who are privileged to be interviewed on TV esp. AIT's "people's perliament" should so use the president's name while discussing problem of national significance or the governor's name for those of state significane instead of mentioning the problem to the point that their interviewers would ask them what that means…lol. Just my humble opinion. Similarly columnists and bloggers with massive followership should adopt the same approach while discussing similar issues.
Just as every leader would be pleased to have his/her name substituted with thier developmental strides (i know it gives them joy e.g Fashola for those big buses), they should also be concerned when they hear their names being synonymously used with problems they help excalate instead of solving.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Is There Not A Cause?

The above was a question David asked his elder brother Eliab in I Samuel 17: 29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (we can read the whole account in I Samuel 17). We all know the background of the story, but let me do a summary here. Jesse sent David, his youngest son, to go deliver some victuals to his elder sons who were at the battle field under the command of king Saul and to also see how they were faring in the battle. Coincidentally, David arrived there at a time when Goliath, the gaint from Philistine, was threatening and harrasing the armies of Isreal. Each time Goliath came forth bragging, the armies of Isreal including David's elder brothers would flee to take cover in caves. So when David arrived and was asking questions regarding the situation, his elder brother Eliab became very upset and angry at him. Probably, because he thought David had just come too see what was happening for fun so he could make a mockery of them when they get back home. The embarrassment was much and in anger he confronted the little David but David replied, "what have i done? Is there not a cause for my being here?'' (emphasis mine).
While meditating on this scripture in preparation for a youth meeting, my eyes were opened to the profound truth it carries. Take it or leave it, this is a question we all have to ask ourselves at certain points in our existence. The young David asked Eliab, "what have i done?" He was like, "have i broken any law by coming here? Is there not a cuase? In other words, He was simply saying, "I have not come here by accident, I have not come here for sight seeing neither have I come here to while away time or just to occupy sapce". "I am here with a purpose and for a purpose, I am here with a definite assignment to accomplish."

This is a question we all have to answer, if we must make impact in our generation. We must know the cause for which we are here, for such is the secret of a fulfiled life. Jesue told them in John 18:37 saying, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world" . You must know the cause for which you are here (wherever you are atm), the cause for which you were born. Is there not a cause why you were born a Nigerian into that tribe and family? Is there not a cause why you are a youth at a time like this? Or you think they all happen by accident or just a coincidence.
Mordecai told Esther "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" This was what saved Esther from abusing the privilege shown her by divinity by making her the queen ahead of other women.

When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable- Myles Munroe
and When mission is not defined, derailment is unavoidable

Some of us live our lives like a child sent on an erand and who on his way, came across other children playing and decided to join them forgetting he was on an assignment. David was sent on an erand by Jesse his father and he didn't lose sight of that fact. Knowing where you are going is one thing and getting there is quite another. You are a divine vision on a mission to accomplish a divine assignment. Your life is a vision from God for you were born again not of the will of man but of God. If you lose sight of this, then your Goliath-that challenge waiting for your manifestation- will remain a threat.

Show me a man who knows where he is going but never gets there and I will show you a man who lacks focus-a man given to much distractions.

When David's brother constituted himself a distraction to him, the Bible says, David turned from him (his brother) toward another. Many of us find to difficult to select our friends because we are yet to discover our life's assignment (purpose). When you discover your purpose and stay focused on it, it selects your friends for you. Your purpose selects your friends. Not every brother in the church passes for a friend and atimes not even your blood brothers too. I mean friend and not acquintance. Your purpose selects your friend. Why do you think Jesus at one time called Judas friend and at another time, looked at Peter and rebuked him saying, get thee behind me satan? The reason is that at those times, Judas was facilitating the fulfilment of Jesus' cause while Peter was constituting a distraction from it. May God give us wisdom!

I want to challenge you to ask yourself some serious questions and go on a soul searching mission. Is there not a cause? I ask you. Is there not a cause why u are still where you are in life? why you haven't been able to achieve your set goals or pass that professional exams? Why u didn't make that interview inspite of all the efforts? May be you haven't been able to pay the stipulated price. May be you haven't worked hard and smarter enough.

It is a world of cause and effect. There was a cause why the answer to Daniel's prayers was delayed for 21 days. When the tribe of Judah was by-passed and Benjamin selected to produce the first king of Isreal despite the ancient prophecy that the lawgiver shall not depart from Judah, there was a cuase. When God told Samuel that He had rejected Saul from being king and has taken the kingdom from him, there was a cause. When David's house was on fire with incest, murders and sever in-fightings, there was cause. For Daniel a demon withstood his answer, for the tribe of Judah, Judah thier progenator committed incest and handed over his staff of authority to a supposed prostitute (his daughter in-law), for Saul his rebellion and self will casued him the kingdom and for David, it was his adultery with Beersheba and subsequent murder of Uriah her husban that triggered off those events. It is a world of cause and effect.

Is there not a cause? I ask you. Have your life been revolving round in cylce with nothing to show for it? Have you done all you think is neccessary and yet your dreams seem elusive? Does it seem that whenever you are up for something good, say an interview, a contract, a date (or proposal) and all of a sudden after one nasty night mare (or dream) everything is gone with the wind? As old as you are, perhaps a unversity graduate, do you still see yourself in your primary school as a student though with the consciousness of your present status as a grown up? I don't want to sound superstitious but we have to face these facts.To the average american christian these things MAY sound superstitious but the truth is that most of us Nigerians (and some Africans alike) are first generation christians with some serious battles to do. The other day, I heard Pastor John Haggee say he is the tenth or eleventh generation Haggee and that the first Haggee who came to America was a missionary. So we can see the difference. While his ancestors were serving the true God MOST of ours were given to wizardry, witchcraft, idolatory, carnibalism etc. Take a study of nigerian christians whose ancestors sincerely and totally embraced christianity early in life esp. those sacrificially involved in the things of God and tithing and will notice what impact it has had on them. I was surprised to hear that Pastor Chris Oyahkhilome's father was among the founding fathers of Assemblies of God in Nigeria. His family i was told is collection of servants and men of God. No wonder the psalmist says, "I have never seen the rightoues forsaken, nor his seed beg bread.There may be exceptions to this first generation christian thing, but if any of the above scenerios describes your ordeal then there is certainly a cause.

Is there not a cuase? There is and you have to find out. Yes! find out! Job 8:8-9 tells us " For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of thier father: For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing..."
Ask yourself (and parents) questions and do some soul searching, take those issues to God in prayers and pay attention to your dreams. Whatever the cause the good news is that, for this cause was the Son of God manisfested that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Which ever way whether as per purpose or challenges, whenever a man answers this question, a new dawn opens unto him. For "wisdom is a function of questions, and intelligence of answer"-Adeolu Akinyemi

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Success is not a Gift

"For every achievement there is a price tag and at the counter of success there is no bargaining; the price has to be paid and that, in full"-Unknown.
Success as we all know could mean different things to different persons. No matter what it means to you, it involves the achievement of set goals, aspirations, dreams, vision etc.
Let me stun you: God has not promised us success as a gift but as a reward, in response to the application of the principles governing it. He made this clear to Joshua in Joshua 1:8 when He instructed him thus: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shall make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success". If God promises us success as a gift, He has given us a licence to be lazy. A gift is something you didn't work for.
It has been said that God feeds the birds of the air but the truth is, He never drops the food in thier nests.
All round success is an integral part of God's covenant with Abraham and sure, he was a force to be reckoned with in his days. It is just natural that his seeds (descendants) walk in the same realm of such an unusual prosperity and success. The scriptures testified of Isaac in Genesis 26: 13,14 that he waxed great and went forward, and grew until he became very great, having great possessions to the point of becoming the envy of the Philistines. Wasn't that also the story of Jacob? Of course it was! Instructively, thier successes were not handed down to them as gifts on platters of gold. They worked thier ways through under divine providence. God, in His mercies, has brought us into the same providence having engrafted us into the stock of Abraham through faith in Christ Jesus so that the blessing of Abraham might come on us as well (Galatians 3:7-14). By virtue of this, you have no reason not to be succesful in life unless you chose not to.
Success is not a gift but a reward, and it responds not to wishes but to hardwork. The earlier you understand this truth the better. Life is like a supermarket with lots of items on display each with a price tag. When you go shopping in a supermarket, nobody has the right to question the choices you make. At the counter, what determines what you go out with is not your choices per se but your ability to pay the stipulated price tagged on the choices you have made. Whichever you can not paid for, is dropped from your cart (trolley). There is no bergaining! This is life for you! Like they would always say, "nothing is free even in freetown". Success is not without a price.
success is not a gift but a reward; it responds not to wishes but to
hardwork and only those who pay the price win the prize
Hope you know that life does not give you what you deserve but what you demand; and you don't demand for what you are not entitled to; and you are not entitled to what you are not qualified for; And you are not qualified for what you have not worked for. That is how it operates. Greatness comes with a price and only those who pay the price win the prize. There are principles governing success and if you desire success, you must be willing to pay the price. Discovering these principles and actually applying them is the PRICE you have to pay. Nobody, not even God, will do it for you. It is DIY (do it yourself). Too many a people has the same attitude as that rich man who asked Jesus in Mark 10:17 "...what shall I do to enherit eternal life" but who unfortunately walked out on Jesus when he was eventually told what he must do. Such people with a kind of what-shall-I-do-to-make-it-in-life approach attend programmes, read books, listen to messages and ask questions but are too lazy to walk the walk. They are too lazy, like the guy in the pix up there, to go to work using the tools at their disposal. They confuse day dreaming with vision not knowing that a vision that does not result in an action is day dreaming. Success, like precious metals, is not found on the surface and can only be extracted through hardwork. selah!
I believe in prayers, I believe also in positive confessions but I also believe that only those who sow through thoughtfull actions should expect a harvest. Prayers and +ve confessions often provide the right environment, attract divine favour but its never a substitute for work. Providence may offer you the opportunity for a job, but you must through hardwork proof youself worthy of such favour. If God worked and is, according to Jesus, still working you better believe in work. Do you know that "thus says the Lord" is not a licence to go and sleep? When God told Elijah to go to Zeraphat that He has commanded a widow there to sustain him, Elijah upon arrival didn't meet a widow with a very sumptous meal waiting for him. Rather he met a reluctant widow with little or nothing left for her and her son. Many of us whould have accused God of not being true to His word. "Didn't you say that you have commanded a widow to feed me, how come she doesn't even have enough for herself and besides she's resisting? we would mumur. But Elijah, armed with that divine information from on high, persisted and eventualy had his way. Thank God he understood how God works.
No wonder apostle Paul charged Timothy in I Timothy 1:18, thus: "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare"
His word has gone out concerning you that He wish that you be on top only and not beneath; that you prosper and be in health even as you soul prospereth. whether you enjoy these or not is your responsibility. Success is urs by provision but you have to do all u can to take possession of it so u could enjoy its full benefits.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Give Your Life A Change

"Life is a product of personal responbility"-Unknown

I stumbled on the above statement on a blog I once visited and it summarises what this post is all about.
God may give you a vision but what you make of it depends on you and not God.
God may reveal to you your purpose and mision in life but what you make of it depends on you.
Similarly, HE has given you life but what you make of it is your responsibility.

Let me stun you: hope you know that there are things grace will not do for you? Yes! you heard me right. The responsibility of taking hold of the provisions of grace and making them yours is yours to take and not God's. This truth runs through the entire Bible.
Stop sitting there idle expecting God to change your situation. You have to do something about it. Nothing works until you make them work.
He (God) has made every provision necessary for a better life according to II Peter 1:3,4: "According as His power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge if Him that hath called us to glory and virtue"
The decision and action to activate and enjoy these provisions are yours to take. Notice that verses 5-8 of the same chapter speak of thinks we (and not God) must have to do.

You have desire, but heaven is waiting for you to give it Xpression. Numbers 27:1-9 reveals the account of the five daughters of Zelophehad. These ladies accosted Moses demanding a portion of their father's inherintance. Something unheard of in the land of Isreal. They would have lost their inheritance if they had only a desire for it without the courage to Xpress it even in the most unsual manner. It was when they expressed this desire that divinity stepped into thier matter and decided in thier favour.

Decision determines destiny but action actualizes it-Prince

A christian brother once shared his testimony with me on how he became a distributor to particular manufacturer. He has been nursing the desire for quite some time and decided he was going to do something about it even though he hadn't the capital then. He courageously walked into the company and met with the manager. He introduced himself and his business and wsa able to sell himself to the manager. After confirming, through a series of questions, that he was truly into such business and not a fraudster, the manager decided to give him a trial. Favour or miracle, Isn't it? Yes! but his purposeful action activated it. That was how the four lepers in 2 Kings 7:3-11 stumbled on thier miracle through courageous action.

That change you so much desire could be just an action away.

The responsibility to know what action to take is yours. May God open our eyes to see what actions to take so that while others lament thier lack of finance, we would use what we have to get what we need; while some are idle waiting for thier "golden" opportunity, will would attract and create opportunities for ourselves. Stop lamenting your disability or condition expecting the world to treat you specially. I have tried that and it didn't work (lol) and i know many others have too. The bitter truth is that we live in a very selfish and insensitive world that doesn't care a hoot about your plight. If it sees how to take from you to enrich itself, it would do just that. That was how it tried to deprive blind Bartimaeus of his miracle but the blind man wouldn't let that happen (Mark 10:46-52). Ordinarily, one would expect that they would take blind Bartimaeus by the hand and bring him to Jesus knowing fuly well that Jesus could restore his sight. If blind Bartimaeus had wasted his time pleading with those close by to take him to Jesus, may be he would have missed that opportunity. Rather he used what he had to get what he needed. You have to take your destiny into your hands and fight your way through to greatness. As one of my role models, Adeolu, would always say, "your background is not the reason why your back should be on the ground". So stop lamenting your background and give your life a change.

The Bible is full of men (and women) who rose above the limitations of thier background to make it in life. We know of Jephta, Esther. What about Jabez? I don't believe that Jabez only prayed and waited for an automatic change from God. We often hear of people who use the phrase, "waiting on the Lord" as a cloak for thier idleness and inactivity. Waiting on the Lord, represents what goes on between when a farmer sows his seeds and the time of harvest. He doesn't just sit back at home idly waiting for the harvest. No! He goes from time to time to check and tend his garden, check and control pest, weed and water it, and apply fertilizer until the time of harvest. So, it is never a time of idleness. More often than not, the answers to our prayers are wrapped up in our actions.

Dreams, ideas and vision remain what they are until they are given expression

Anticipate change, plan for it and work out your plan so that the forces of change doesn't take advantage of you or take you unaware -Prince

When they say that "change is the only constant in life", how do you understand it? There are forces of change that can create changes either way (i.e negative or positive) and those who don't plan ahead are left disadvantaged. Take it or leave it, there are certain "negative" changes some guys experience which are often the effect or aftermath of certain changes initiated by others. For instance, some individual may be downsized because the MD decides to effect certain changes that will enable his organisation face the challenges at hand. Or a guy may be forced out of business becuase of the ingenuity or creativity of his next door competitor.

Boy! it is time we told ourselves the truth of why we are where we are. It is not because we don't know or have enough. It is because we are not passionate about our goals enough. We don't seem to want it so badly as to get us statrted with what we already have or know.

you are where you are not becuase you don't have or know enough but becuase
you are not passionate about your goals (or dreams) enough as to get started where
you are and with what you already have or know

Thomas Edison didn't need to know everything about physics, electricityand electronics before he embarked on his project of inventing the electric bulb. Infact, I don't think he knew as much as our professors of physics and electronics know today.

Start making enquiries about that project now; place that call, draft that letter, make that visit or request concerning that desire no matter how stupid you may look or sound.

Somebody once said, "that nothing will ever be done or attempted if all possible obstacles are first understood and dealt with" There are certain details about that idea, dream or vision burning within you that you may never get to know until you get involved. Listen! there is always a starting point and he who gets started will never get stranded.

Whatever your goal in life is: whether to further your career or studies, to get married, to start that business. And if you are passionate about it then the time to start is now. And when you start working on it make sure to act in, what Wallace in "the science of getting rich" calls, "a certain way".

Food for thought:

Life is in phases and let him who fails to anticipate and work for his
desired changes know for sure that his life will certainly undrego changes but in a manner that may constitute a burden.