No Price No Prize

With many of our ‘medal hopefuls’ knocked out of the Rio Olympics, the statement ‘No Pain No Gain’ rings louder and louder by the day. Nigerian contingent went unprepared and ill-prepared at best. The story isn’t much different for most of our African brothers.

It is time we understood as a nation and a continent that you can’t by prayers or sheer determination alone become successful at anything. You must do the grunt work. You must work hard. You must start your preparation early. You must test yourself before any major test.
Without paying price you can’t earn the prize. I felt both angry and ashamed as the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung was charging the Dream Team VI to go for gold at the men’s football. With what preparation or what motivation Mr Minister? With the background of arriving three hours before opening match in Rio? Or the background of being stranded in the hotel and having to be saved by Mikel’s personal money? Or no allowance background? Shameful leaders!

Whatever you set out to achieve, back it up with early, adequate, and right preparation, only then can your prayer makes sense.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Surviving the Times (3)

Yesterday I read that Youth Corp members in Oyo State, Nigeria are being owed nine months allowance. While I believe this is an exaggerated report, it is a further proof that times are truly hard for our government at all levels. This should also serve as a warning to Youth Corp members not to see getting white collar job as their main goal. Times have changed. This leads me to another point in this series.

Learn a trade or vocation: I have found out that people who are multi skilled find it easier to survive during times like these. They deploy all their skills at making money. If salary isn’t forthcoming, they use their skills over the weekends to augment their salary income. If all you know is just that one profession or vocation, you are at high risk of becoming unemployed or underemployed. Learn something else. Learn hair styling, tailoring, fashion designing, fashion illustration, shoe making, soap making, bead making, bag making, weaving, carving, painting, etc. Findings show that people still cut their hair, even if frequency is reduced. People still wash and need soap. You can be the soap supplier in your neighborhood. The point is, don’t be mono-skilled, not in this Era. Whatever service you are providing, put a touch of class and taste, this will separate you from the hordes.

Identify Needs in your environment: Entrepreneurs are people who identify needs in the market and provide goods or services to meet those needs at  competitive prices. There are needs all around us. As a matter of fact, the more the challenges, the greater the needs and the more the opportunities. Rather than complain about the challenges, look out for the needs therein and see how you can meet some of them profitably. Become a skilled identifier of opportunities. Successful entrepreneurs are skilful at identifying and creating opportunities. Be one.

You can and you should survive these trying times. The choice is yours to either emerge stronger or weaker.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Surviving the Times (2)

One easy way to be frustrated is to keep expecting the government of the day to solve your problems. This government is as befuddled as the citizens. The odds against this government are overwhelming though not insurmountable, if timely and right approach are adopted. The bitter truth is that there are no shortcuts or easy way out of the economic recession we have found ourselves, so it is just wise to be prepared psychologically, emotionally, and physical for the times ahead. Diversifying any economy takes years of hard work and focus. Our past leaders failed to save for the rainy days, so it is like starting all over.

Continuing from where we stopped yesterday, for you to survive the times we are in, you may further do the following :

1. Start a farm: A major part of our income is spent on food items, groceries, vegetables and fruits. With inflation rate up to 16.5%, prices of food items have doubled and in some cases, tripled. If you are lucky to have a place of your own, or if your landlord permits.  you, you should start a farm. It could be just for vegetables, or just for animal rearing. Whether we like it or not, the days of oil are over, we, especially Nigerians must go back to farm. If you can afford a big farm, this is the time to go into agricultural production. Grow your food.

2. Pool Drive: If you drive your car everyday to work or business place, you would likely be feeling the pinch more because of the cost of fuelling. It is advisable to team up with other car owners in your neighborhood and who you share same route with. You can use someone’s car as the pool car on a particularly day. All the users will just contribute a token for the fuelling. Do the same with another person the next day. If you contribute 500 naira each per day in a car of 4 people, you will fuel the car with 2000 and should cover your trip to and fro, assuming no other use for the vehicle during the day. This way, in a week you will be spending between 2500 & 3500 instead of the 10k you will need for fuelling if you were to go with your vehicle everyday of the week. This will even lead to less traffic on the road.

See you tomorrow.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Surviving the Times (1)

In the face of static and even dwindling income for some, combined with the rise in cost of living, especially for citizens of oil producing countries like mine, surviving requires some radical steps. Desperate times requires desperate measures, they say. You cannot live the same way you were living before and not feel the heat. I just want to share a few things we can do to stay ahead in this trying time.

1. Be true to yourself: If you are the type who always wants to keep up with the Joneses, this is the time to let the Joneses live their lives while you live yours. Stop the fake life and be true to yourself. Let people say whatever they want to say, stop trying to impress others with the latest car, phone, fashion or whatever. Be true to yourself. If you are the type that always buy ‘aso-ebi’ for every occasion, this may be time to wear what you have, if you must attend that occasion.

2. Cut down on frivolous or impulse spending: Those days of buying everything you see in traffic are gone. We are in the days of financial discipline. If you don’t discipline yourself financially, you will be disciplined by the hardship of life. Make a budget, weekly or monthly depending on the frequency of your income. Don’t just spend without a plan. Have a short term, medium term and long term financial plan. Stick to your budget and make room for emergencies.

3. Deal with your appetite: It will amaze you how much people spend on fast food and unhealthy junks. It is a daily habit for some. Those little spending everyday have a way of draining your purse. It is like a leaking bottle of water, slowly the water will leak away. Try to cook at home. Reduce your indulgence in fast food to once or twice a month, depending on how frequent you have been with fast food outlets. Take natural fruits instead of some of those carbonated drinks and juices.

4. Avoid Capital Projects for now: As an individual, what you need now is what can supplement your income, not what will tie your income down. So as much as possible, don’t embark on projects that will tie down your money for a long while, rather invest in projects that are self sustainable and that can repay you. This of course depends on your income size, if it is big enough to accommodate both capital and recurrent projects, then you can go for both. But remember job security is at the lowest now, so don’t be too certain of that income.

4. Avoid borrowing by all means: Borrowing will limit your expansion capacity. You will be bogged down with the burden of servicing the loan. Interest rates are even too high now to encourage borrowing. If you must borrow at all, let it be for projects with early returns (not capital projects)  and check your cash flow to be sure the income streams from such projects can repay your periodic obligations and still leave enough for the projects and you.

If you try to dance to every music played by everybody, you will never get to play your own music, let alone dance to your own music. So learn to be yourself, especially in this trying period.

We will continue this discussion tomorrow.

God bless us all.

Good morning and have a great week.

Relating With Your Enemies (6)

Anything you give attention to will appreciate. If you give more attention to your spouse, he or she will become a better person and you will enjoy your relationship better. If you give attention to your job or business, you will become better at it and you will make more income or profits. Likewise if you give attention to your enemies, they will become more and more powerful. Rather than giving attention to your enemies, give attention to your Maker, who is also the Maker of your enemies, and He will cause them to be at peace with you.

The Law of Attention is real and applies in every area of our life. Stop giving unnecessary attention to your enemies, rather give that time to God. Try praising and worshiping God instead of engaging in long prayers against your enemies.

As we conclude this series today, we will look at how to relate or interact with your enemies.

There are some enemies you need to keep afar, even though you can be praying for them and sending them gifts or goodwill messages. You need to keep them afar until God touches their hearts because they can wreck physical harm. Joseph and Mary were instructed by an angel to take baby Jesus away from Bethlehem of Judea to Egypt. You sometimes need to avoid contact with the enemies.

Some enemies must be drawn close so that you can win them over with love. Love is God and God is Love. Nothing wins an enemy over more than love. Remember Mahatma Gandhi’s quote of yesterday. Shower them with love and their heart will eventually melt towards us. They may become more angry initially, they may envy you more, but eventually they will be broken. This was Nelson Mandela’s principle, that stood him out as a legendary leader before and after his demise.

Some other enemies need to be listened to, because they say the truth about you, though sometimes exaggeratedly nonetheless the truth. Such could be critics in workplace, business, ministry, government or politics. Listen to their message and not the messenger. Their messages are sometimes laden with truths and if you pay attention to it, you will become a better person.

Finally, some enemies require to be told the truth. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Prov. 26:5. They hate you because they are ignorant of the truth, so tell them the truth so that they may learn.

In conclusion, be sure that you are not consciously or unconsciously becoming an enemy to others too. Sow more of seed of love and you will find love always coming back to you.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Relating With Your Enemies (5)

As we begin to round up on this series, my hope is that you have been able to pick one or two things that will make your life easier.

Today, we will discuss what should be done to our enemies and I think this is the toughest part because it runs contrary to some of our long held beliefs.

1. Forgive them. Tough isn’t it? Well if God relates with us on the scale of righteousness, none of us can stand, yet He forgives us whenever we ask Him. Don’t carry unforgiveness in your heart, it is toxic for your heart and body, and it is too much burden. You forgive enemies for two reasons. One, so that we can be freed, because whoever is hurt and still holds on to the hurt is the real victim. The offender may just be having a swell time, maybe he doesn’t even know! Two, we cannot secure forgiveness from God if we don’t forgive others, and without His forgiveness you cannot enjoy His blessings.

2. Make friends out of them by reciprocating with love. Abraham Lincoln said,  ‘Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.’ When they are accusing you, criticizing you, sending wicked arrows your way, send them love packages in form of messages, prayers, gifts and even commendations. You can win many of your enemies over if only you could try the love strategy. Mahatma Gandhi said it better, ”whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”

3. Pray for them. Prayer is one of the most potent weapons to conquer your enemies. Start praying that your enemies will repent from today. Truly, there are people we referred to as unrepentant enemies, but God knows how to handle such. Those meant for destruction will meet their destruction. Let God fight your battle, you just please Him. Pray that God will turn their hearts from their wickedness. Pray that the nature of God in them will be brought to the fore. Pray against the wicked spirits operating through them. Render their plans useless in the place of prayer.

Tomorrow we will conclude by looking at how to relate with our enemies.

I will end today’s discussion with this great quote from Mahatma Gandhi. ‘It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.’

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Relating With Your Enemies (4)

The intention behind this series is not to make us toy with enemies or be careless with them. The purpose is to equip us with proper understanding of who the enemies are, why we have enemies and how to handle them. Today we will discuss on why we have enemies. Why can’t we just be free of enemies?

First, let me make a startling statement, without enemies you cannot succeed. Yes, without enemies you cannot reach your goals. A man without enemy is either dead or not living (alive but not doing the right things). “A man with no enemies is a man with no character.”  – Paul Newman. Sydney Sheldon makes it clearer, he said “To be successful you need friends and to be very successful you need enemies.”

Enemies push you to raise your standard of work. They compel you to raise the bar. Nothing has revolutionized our business world more than competition. They force you to work harder. They force you to be more careful. Whether in your family, career, business or ministry, enemies sharpen your senses. You plan better. You strategize better. You pray and fast more. You pay attention to details better than if there was no critic. You double check your work and facts before presenting it for appraisal. If all you have around you are aye-sayers, then you are being deceived.

Even in the military, how did the world become so knowledgeable of inventing highly sophisticated weapons of war, whether biological, chemical, nuclear or physical? It is because of the presence of enemies. While we may not support the use of some of these weapons, the point is that the enemies force you to think innovatively.

Sometimes also, enemies are in our lives to help us towards our journey. Without the antagonism and hatred of Joseph’s brother, he wouldn’t have become the Prime Minister of Egypt. If there was no Goliath, how would the Israelites have discovered David? Many examples abound in our world today of people who rose through adversities to success stories. Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Ben Carson (who was always taunted in his neighborhood), and many others.

In summary, enemies are allowed in our lives for the following purposes :
1. To sharpen us
2. To push us to our destinies
3. To reveal our weaknesses and flaws
4. To strengthen our character
5. To humble us and make us realize the need for help

So instead of asking for no enemies, ask for strength and wisdom to confound your enemies.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Relating With Your Enemies (3)

Having established who ‘an enemy’ is and who ‘the enemy’ is, it is further important that we know the different types of enemies so that we can relate with them correctly.

There are basically two types of enemies in life, namely Internal and External Enemies.

Internal enemies are enemies within your household, your company, your business, even within you. This is the most dangerous type of enemy, because they can wreck much havoc without you knowing. Micah 7:6. They can sell your trade secrets without you knowing. They organize people’s murder without the victims ever knowing. Such enemies are like the biblical Judas. If you tolerate them, they can kill you.

Surprisingly, you can be one of your internal enemies. A man’s worst enemy is himself. Your habits, attitudes and disposition to life can obstruct your way to greatness. Just like you won’t tolerate any of the other internal enemies, you must not tolerate anything in you that can hinder your progress. Deal with those harmful habits ruthlessly, don’t spare them.

You need to be sensitive to discern internal enemies. Sometimes, you can identify them by the amount of interest they have in you. They are always seeking information about what you are doing. Be careful with what you divulge. Internal enemies work with external enemies based on the information they get from you. Samson became an easy prey for the Philistines because Delilah already supplied all the necessary information. Don’t be careless with your plans, secrets, gifts or talents.

External enemies are those outside, who often strike based on the connivance of internal enemies. Without the support of internal enemies, external enemies hardly succeed. The reasons why we fall prey to witches or wizards is because our greatest internal enemy (self) creates an opening. If the hedge is not broken, serpent cannot strike. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes EVEN his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

Your victory against external enemies starts with your victory over internal enemies. You will not be a victim of internal enemies.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Relating With Your Enemies (2)

There is an enemy and there is the enemy. Yesterday, we started this series by looking at ‘who is an enemy?’. We want to proceed further to discuss on ‘who is the enemy?’. Without any disregard or disrespect for non-Christians, I will be making references to the Bible to underscore my points.

As we discussed yesterday ‘An enemy is someone who hates, attacks, persecutes unjustly, antagonises, or works wilfully against the progress of another.’ An enemy is however different from ‘the enemy’. The enemy is the real enemy and is the Devil, Lucifer, Satan, or whichever name you call him. The devil is the one actually planting the seed of hatred and wickedness in the hearts of those you perceive as your enemies.

The devil has his own Kingdom, his own angels (demons), his minions in forms of principalities, powers, territorial spirits. He deploys all these agents all over the world to set the children of God against one another. This is why the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’

Hence, when you are praying against your enemies, your targets are not the physical people but the spirits operating in and through them. It is those spirits that require binding. Spirits don’t die, but can be bound, rebuked or cast out. The good news is that we have been given authority to rebuke, bind or cast them out.

It is important we fully digest this point because your enemy today may be your channel of blessing tomorrow, so if you  focus your defence or counter attack on him or her as a person and not the wicked spirits working through him, you may lose a destiny helper. There was a Mary in the Bible out of whom Jesus cast out seven demons, yet the same Mary was among those who ministered to Jesus before and after his death.

This leads us to understanding that your enemies need help, because they are either willing or unwilling tools in the hands of the devil. Now someone may be wondering why the devil should be held responsible for the wicked acts of men. Truly, we are all agents of choice, but our ability to choose right or wrong depends on whose spirits we carry, God’s or the devil’s spirit. When people choose to act wrongly, it is because there is a spirit behind their action. Don’t forget that the spiritual rules the physical. That is why your dreams at night turn to reality in the day.

Having identified the real enemy, we will proceed further tomorrow to discuss the different types of enemies. May God breath on this lesson and expand our understanding.

God bless us all.

Good morning!

Relating With Your Enemies (1)

Today, we live in a world full of fearful and hate-filled people. We are full of suspicion and distrust for our friends, neighbors and family members. When things go wrong, we are quick to point at someone as being responsible. We have made enemies out of ourselves. To worsen matter, our religious bodies encourage us to pray ‘fall and die’ prayers for our so called ‘enemies’. For those who pray, 60% or more, of their prayer points are directed against known and unknown enemies. I wonder if the pattern of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ has become obsolete and irrelevant for our time.

This series is to help us have proper understanding of how to relate with our enemies. We will look at the following subtopics in the course of this series:

1. Who is an Enemy?
2. Who is the Enemy?
3. Types of Enemies?
4. Why do we have enemies?
5. What should we do for our enemies?
6. How do we relate with them?

Today, we will look at ‘Who is an enemy?’ An enemy is someone who hates, attacks, persecutes unjustly, antagonises, or works wilfully against the progress of another. An enemy naturally envies and wishes that you don’t succeed at whatever you are doing.

An enemy can employ any means to achieve his purpose of thwarting your plans. He can apply physical means by trying to harm you. Or he can attack you spiritually. An enemy can also organise criticisms and spread false reports about you. An enemy can even make attempt to kill, if he sees you as a major threat to his own plans, especially in politics.

However, we need to understand also that most of the people we classify as enemies are in our lives to make us better persons. Sometimes in our career, we work with certain people who are difficult to please and delight in criticizing any work done by others. They can be supervisors, colleagues or even subordinates. We sometimes pray that they lose their jobs or be transferred. Often become so hateful of such people. They are sometimes competitors.

Critics, opposers, rivals or competitors are not necessarily enemies. As a matter of fact, you need them more than your friends, because they usually tell you the truth about yourself or your work. Friends don’t like to rock our boats and will shy away from pointing out our weaknesses. But your critics will force you to be at your best always and to always take your best foot forward.

Baltasar Gracián said, ‘A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.’ Your life will be dull and unchallenging, if you don’t have them in your life. Stop asking your critics and rivals to die, you need them more than your friends.

We will continue tomorrow. God bless us all.

Good morning!