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Womanhood: dignity & strength

Posted on November 28, 2017 at 3:57 AM Comments comments (5)
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:29-31 (NIV)

For centuries, women may have been oppressed and suppressed, many thought the right place for the woman is in the man’s shadow. It is a shame that  the women of old probably had better deals than their modern counterparts. The ancient Mesopotamian or Egyptian woman had the rights to own, buy and sell or inherit properties among other things, most of these the modern woman only got in the 19 century.

Today is not about highlighting the bigotry of chauvinism or fanning the flame of feminism. It is only to highlight the fact that when the woman choses to step out, she can achieve as much as a man perhaps much more sometimes. However she needs to stand first and stand tall in spite of personal trepidations and societal vices.

The evil of chauvinism is real, the culture of female repressions around the world is not hypothetical, however it’s going to be everywoman’s choice to stand. When you stand, you won’t be standing alone and one day, somebody will stand just because you stood.

Of course standing commands attention and the decision to stand makes you a target, don’t expect charity and don’t be patronised. Keep working in your strength and one day your work will bring you honour and praise at the city gate. Don’t you stop; greater honour awaits you.

Greatness includes you

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 3:07 AM Comments comments (8)
There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skilfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces.  Proverbs 30:24-28 (NKJV)
When you imagine outstanding performances, it’s tempting to occasionally think of great people doing extraordinary things, different people pushing the boundary of human limitation. However greatness is not so much about these extraordinary people, it is also about the normal everyday people.
The stay at home mum or dad who gets the children ready for school and makes sure they are not late, not even once. How about the parent rushing to drop off the child in school and picking up from after school club. The delivery driver cutting through inner city peak time traffic. There are stories of greatness all around us.
In the word of Dr King, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Stephen R Covey observed, Greatness is not only the domain of the powerful, rich or famous, it’s about the choices we make every day.

  •  Choice to Act; there are many things in life you have no control over but you can exercise control in your response to them
  • Choice of Purpose; deciding to act is great but you must act according to your values and long term goals
  •  Choice of Principles; act in accordance with universal principles such as “vision, innovation, humility, quality, empathy, magnanimity, perseverance and balance.”
If you can’t be the sun, be a star, it isn’t by size that you win or you fail, just be the best of whatever you are. -Martin Luther King Jr. Greatness is not reserved for the specially endowed, you too can be great; you will be great.

As within, so without

Posted on November 24, 2017 at 2:34 AM Comments comments (11)
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19 (NIV)
The world operates on laws. Some laws are more obvious than others; you hardly need to explain gravity to anyone. While people may not necessarily understand the science behind this force, even a toddler knows that things fall down.
Here is one of such laws, It says, “As within, so without.” Brian Tracy called it the law of Correspondence; in operation it implies that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. If there is beauty, harmony and orderliness in your outer life, it’s a reflection of your inner life. In the same vein, every disharmony you experience is only a reflection of the state of things internally.
If you don’t like your external circumstances, the usual tendency is to want to start from outside, that is like attacking the symptoms without tackling the cause.  With correspondence, you create within yourself the mental equivalent of what you want to experience on the outside. If you want peace and serenity on the outside, it must first be created within.
In the words of James Allen in his classic “As a Man Thinketh” The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts.
Above all, Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 As you take control of your thoughts, I see you flourish in all things.

Ditch the Excuses

Posted on November 23, 2017 at 1:08 AM Comments comments (8)
A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly. Proverbs 26:13-16 (NIV)
We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse. -Rudyard Kipling. Excuses are the way we explain away our inability to take responsibility. When you take responsibility, you look inward, with excuses, you look outward, you need someone or something to blame for failure. A true test of you accepting responsibility is you stop blaming others for your results.
Author and public speaker Brian Tracy asserts, “Accepting responsibility is one of the hardest of all disciplines, but without it, no success is possible.” Your excuses are personal to you; nobody can take them away from you. Yours could be I’m too busy, I’m the wrong gender, I’m a single parent, I’m the wrong race, I’ve got no certificate, I’m not as good as them, I’m too big, too small, the list is endless.
Success in life begins with our ability to accept the self-discipline to do the right things at the right time not just when we feel like. Most successful people have many reasons not to even try, they are plagued with the same challenges as others, usually the difference is they find a way to turn their excuses into reasons they must succeed.  
You can never excuse your way into success. Sometimes the obstacle itself truly is the only way out; stop making excuses and start making progress.

Burn off the Dross

Posted on November 22, 2017 at 2:24 AM Comments comments (130)
Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. Proverbs 25:4&5 (NIV)
Though precious metals are naturally occurring materials, they come with impurities which tend to obscure their brilliance. In some cases the impurities are so overpowering that it takes a trained eyes to recognise the precious metal.
There are various ways of removing dross from silver, ranging from using fire or intense heat to chemicals and other specialist processes. None of these processes is particularly easy both for the silver and the refiner. When the refining process is completed, the silver shines so brightly that it reflects the image of the refiner.
While human beings are not metals, we have similar impurities obscuring the true character of the person. While it’s not limited to these, a good starting point might be to consider what is referred to as the seven deadly sins; lust, gluttony, greed, envy, wrath/anger, sloth and pride. Any single one of these is formidable dross in the silver quality of a person.
You can refine a lump of silver in a few hours, not so for humans, it takes a consistent focused effort to get rid the negative personality traits that seem to cause pain on ourselves and those around us.
There are many ways of removing character defects, each starts with identifying the defects, another common step is to deduce the opposites of the traits we want to burst. Keep this list of opposites close at all times and make daily progress no matter how little.
Submit to God; He is the refiner. Be focused and persistent but always remember nobody grows overnight, take one day at a time. Your brilliance will soon shine through.

Leverage; a tool of the Wise

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 3:26 PM Comments comments (103)
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war,
and victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 24:3-6 (NIV)

Demonstrating the principle of leverage, Archimedes (287BC-212BC) asserted, “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I shall move the earth”. In practical terms, leverage refers to a mechanism that multiplies the outcome or results of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources.

There are various types of leverages, hard work, other people’s resources; money, time, wisdom, etc. To build a single house, you bring together specialists and professionals of various kinds all working together towards the same end. The architect draws the house, followed by the other specialists contributing their ingenuities; at the end you have a great house.

Knowing how to leverage is wisdom, it could be the difference between winning and losing. It makes no difference whether it is King David of old, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon or even Kim Jong-un, wars are based on intelligence and good counsel. You make the most of talent and commitment through good counsel.

If you’ll benefit from other people’s experiences, you must learn to listen. However you’ll need to pick your sources carefully, advices are freely given but very few are worth taking. Leverage is a tool of the wise.

You are awesome but not as self-sufficient as you’ll like to think, other people have what you need, it takes humility to admit it and it takes wisdom to take advantage of it. I see you receive wisdom to leverage; you will profit from other people’s resources.

Get rich; but not at all cost

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 1:27 AM Comments comments (169)
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4&5 (NIV)

Getting rich takes a lot of hard work; you’re not likely to do it otherwise. This advice above is not absorbing us from hard work. Diligence will always be required in wealth building.

Getting rich for some is like drinking salt water; the more you drink, the more you want to drink. While there’s nothing wrong with ambition, putting yourself on a perpetual treadmill with ever increasing speed is a sure way to break your health. It’s not wise to spend your health to get rich and then spend your riches to try and get your health back.

I suppose it helps to remember that money is not an end in itself; it’s a tool that makes other things possible. Let your reasons be more important that the actual riches, this should help to put things in perspective. Find your own personal reasons why you must be rich; family, friends, to support a worthy cause or even to prove a point to yourself.

A good personal reason will serve you as a stabilizing factor beyond your bank balance; everyone needs a reality check now and then.

You can weary yourself to get rich to no avail, true riches are not a product of hard labour; they are committed to your trust by God who owns it all and holds everything in His hands.

Fortified like a Tower

Posted on November 17, 2017 at 2:19 AM Comments comments (5)
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)

There are two sides to fortification; one has to do with the impregnable walls that keep the attackers out. The other side is the provisions for the people inside. A fortress is not built in a day; in the customs of ancient warfare, provisions are built up to last at least a year in case of a siege.

There’s a time for everything under the sun says the Solomon, the wise king of Israel. There’s a time to advance and a time to retreat. Sometimes, when the heart is overwhelmed, even the righteous needs a place to run to for refuge.

The same way you need to dig your well before you’re thirsty, you also need access to your refuge and know the way to it before the evil times. Once when King David was running away from Saul, he met Ahimelech the priest, he didn’t have to introduce himself to the priest. You need to foster a relationship with the Lord before the evil days.

The priest gave David bread and when David turned to leave, he asked the priest for a sword, the only one available was the same one he deposited there after the battle in the Valley of Elah. With so much going on about tithes and offering in the church today, it’s good to remember that any provision in this fortress will need to be supplied by people.

Though the name of the Lord is a fortress available to all, it’s by choice you run into it, some may choose to run away from it for various reasons. Only the righteous can run into it, righteous not for what they’ve done but for what Jesus did on their behalf.

For by grace are you saved through faith…. run to God, don’t run away from Him.

Plough in Season

Posted on November 17, 2017 at 2:16 AM Comments comments (54)
Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. Proverbs 20:4 (NIV)

There are four, three or two seasons in a year depending on where in the world you happen to live. The seasons of the year are non-negotiable. You have no autonomy over the seasons; they come and go with accurate sequence.

Sometimes I wish it was possible to choose my seasons, I will probably choose to have 2 summers, springs and autumn. The truth is we can’t chose the seasons or rearrange the sequence. What we choose is what we do in the season.

While the human life may not particularly fall into four, three or two seasons that come and go annually, our lives are still lived in seasons. Some seasons in our lives only come once while like the swigging of a pendulum, others come and go all through life.

The farmer plans in winter, sows in spring, sweats all through summer to reap in autumn. Like a seasoned farmer, though we don’t choose the seasons of our lives, we must choose the right activities for each season.

There’s a time when all you can probably do about certain situation is plan; if it could affect your performance, no detail is insignificant. After planning, you must plough and plant at the break of spring. Don’t miss your season.

Don’t complain about your season, it’s all you’ve got; cooperate with it. Be industrious, find your enthusiasm, surround yourself with good and loyal friends, be patient but be true to yourself and have faith.

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6

Laziness; the idle will suffer hunger

Posted on November 17, 2017 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (7)
Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15 (NKJV)

Lazy, sluggish, slothful all these words describe an unwillingness to do the works or activities expected but with preference for a more pleasurable alternative. A person can be described as lazy though he spends endless hours trawling the internet.  Another person sits in front of the TV for a whole day, this individual probably feels as tired and hungry as the person who’s gone out to work.

I’m sure everyone have met or worked with someone before who could probably be described as lazy. This is different from incompetence which has to do with ability. Laziness always has to do with willingness.

When I know what to do and how to do it but won’t do, this is an attitude issue. Ability or competence can be measured through knowledge, certification and experience; attitude on the other hand is a thing of the heart.

We know more today about laziness than 3 thousand year ago when Solomon wrote this proverb. We now understand the psychological and physiological issues relating to slothfulness.

I once had a personal situation that made me uninterested in many things, so I can understand when somebody sometimes doesn’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning.

To combat laziness, among other things, you must guard against distraction, exhaustion, poor nutrition, or even having too much to do. Get focused and get organised. Change your job if you have to. Do everything to give yourself good chance to do well.