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The nature of a vision 

“And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Hello, trust we all enjoyed this past weekend? Mine was very hot, sunny, sticky & sweaty. It’s all good- part of the summer fun, I guess!

Today’s quote is a biblical account of God showing a vision to Habakkuk of what was going to happen to his people. They were to go into captivity under the oppressive Babylonian regime.

I want to highlight three words underlined here: write, make it plain and read. Although this Bible passage is not addressing a subject on vision casting, there are some elements we can infer from to talk about the nature of a vision

1. Write– the first step to a vision is documenting. Some have never had a vision. Where is it written? Most have wishes but not a vision. Anytime, you write a wish down, it moves to becoming a vision. I have come to realize that people generally don’t like writing. Writing is a discipline that needs to be cultivated. After God showed the future of the people of Judah to Habakkuk in the preceding chapter, he told Habakkuk in this chapter to write what he saw down. Believe in writing and start small- writing a line or two lines down every week. Whatever you feel, aspire or think to do, start writing it. The more you write, you spark a creative thought to that idea

2. Make it plain– a vision should be simple- straight to the point, easy to remember. Don’t jumble too many words into a vision, it becomes overwhelming and harder to achieve. It is difficult to reduce your vision into a line or two; it calls for a lot of critical thinking. For example, the church I belong to has an easy to remember line as the vision: “Gospel for everyone, church for every community”. If you ask any parishioner of that setting, he or she will be able to rattle it off their head. In my opinion, a vision shouldn’t be more than two lines. Out of your vision, you begin to outline your mission which can come in many steps to achieve that.

3. Reads it– the people in Habakkuk’s time had to be in the know of their future predicament. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to them, because God told them through a vision. What do I mean by reading? Focusing, giving your time and energy to the vision. It is one thing to write, another to devote your time to the fulfillment of that vision. ‘Reading’ your vision requires discipline on your part

Let me end with a personal example. I longed to speak to people beyond my sphere of influence and reach more people. I realized the way to do that was through writing. I had to decide what will I write on a Monday which is the first day of a working week to ANYONE reading. My vision was born for Pencilled Thoughts which is “inspiring and transforming one person at a time through writing“. I had to develop a mission statement for this blog which is “looking at life’s day to day issues through a biblical worldview”. So I have goals born out of this mission which is personal, but will let you in on one: in my first year, I wanted to pen down thirty articles, which I did

I hope you are encouraged today to go the extra mile in whatever journey you are on. Add +1 to whatever you are doing this week.

Please, I will like to read your comments and thoughts on this one. Your feedback means a lot to me. Don’t forget to also like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

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Vision


“Vision is a mental picture or portrait of a preferable and desirable future communicated by the Holy Spirit which becomes your pursuit”- Rev. Richard Kwarteng-Siaw

I hope you had a great week? In this part of our world, it was a holiday, so I had a longer weekend. Today, let us turn our thoughts on the subject of vision. I have read on and heard a lot on this particular subject, but this definition I quoted is by far the best one in my book. 

I believe the true source of vision comes from God. Seek God in prayer for a vision. In all instances, the manufacturer knows more than the manufactured and in this case, there is no exception: the creator knows more than the creature. I am a man of faith and believe that this world and all that is in it including humanity was created by God. As much as it is good to know your strengths, talents and skills, sometimes these indicators are not the best at informing you your vision.

Vision starts as an idea in your mind and and birthed in your heart which becomes a sort of guidance or purpose for your very existence in life. When we talk about vision, it is imperative to talk about mission, goals and values. So what is a mission? It is the framework (plan) on what to do to accomplish the vision. To make your plan actionable, this is where goals come in. It is breaking the plan into bite size tasks which is measurable and also realistic. Values have to do with your conviction or beliefs. 

So in summation, we have understood that:

  • A vision is an idea
  • A mission is a plan
  • A goal is the action 
  • Values have to do with your personal conviction(s)

Next year’s summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The athlete competing has a vision (idea) to win the 100 meters gold medal. He states his mission (plan) to work 18 hours a week in fulfilment of that vision. He has a goal (action) of working 3 hrs in 6 days every week till the time of the event draws nigh. Out of the vision, he develops values (beliefs) which include discipline (waking up every morning putting in 3 hours), consistency (doing it six days week after week), a healthy diet (can’t eat or drink anything) among many others. Cited this example to bring today’s subject home.

I pray today’s post will not only inform but inspire you! Go for gold! Be encouraged if you don’t have a vision and decide today is the day to be intentional and on purpose. If you have one, you too, be encouraged and believe for the very best.

I value your feedback and let me thank all who take time to give it. It is encouraging and much appreciated! Last week’s post on Time received a great feedback. Most sent me texts on my personal phone and called me. Please do leave your comments here. I will prefer if it is posted here. Our community can learn from each other.

Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog 

Till, I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Time


“Use your time well, for these are evil days.” Ephesians 5:16‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Good to be on this platform again! Wow, we have just finished the first half of the year and now in the middle of week 27. I trust you have had a good first half? Within the twinkle of an eye, we will be wishing each other season’s greetings. Couldn’t post on Monday because I had writer’s block dealing with this post. I am determined to post this week hence the uncharacteristic timing

Let us talk about time. What about it? I must admit on a personal level that there is something about time I don’t get. It is difficult to place. What are your thoughts? For me, what I know is that, we have been put on this earth to be good stewards of our time. The managing of it well will determine your placement in this life.

The verse quoted above encouraged me and I want to bring it to this public forum. I believe how you use time also speaks of your level of wisdom. I heard an old wise man quipped, “there are three things you can do with time: you spend, waste or invest it, but the best option out of the three is to invest it”. I want to share my few thoughts on time

1. Time waits for no one– we have been given the gift of 86400 seconds which is equal to 1440 minutes and the same as 24 hours a day. Please, understand that when you lose one second of it, you cannot gain it back. The clock will tick away independent of how you feel; whether your tasks for the day have been completed or not, whether your deadlines have been met or not. Each and every day we grow old and get a day closer to our time of death. We have to learn to get in the rhythm of the day to make things happen sometimes. It may not be conducive, but the reality is time waits for no one

2.  Time is finite– you may disagree! Time has a beginning and an end on this earth. If time is infinite, will we have history and also talk about the future? You see, I am just thinking aloud on a concept I am still trying to understand. Time has a calendar and a time zone depending on the part of the earth you live. I heard a saying that, “the opportunity of a lifetime should be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity”. That statement changed how I viewed time from that day. Opportunities happen or stop under the element of time. That is also why human beings have a timeline. It is finite. It is not everlasting, else we will still be interacting with our great, great, great grandparents. The finiteness of time should inform our choices, our priorities, how we want our legacies written and so on. People who see time as infinite play around too much, not counting the consequences of such a perception.

3. You will never have enough of it– 24 hours in a day and that is it! Everything you have to do in a day including sleep is subjected to 24 hours. We have to be good timekeepers and time managers to maximize its usage. I believe all of us at one point felt, “today is not enough, I need more time”. This to me, makes time a mystery

Twenty six weeks gone! Left with another twenty six, what will you do with the rest of the time? What story are you writing with your life? What projects are you undertaking? Let me take this opportunity to wish you a better and greater second half! May God grace us with good health 

This is by far the most difficult post to write. My mind was really stretched and has gone places to scribble this opus. Hope I made some sense? I value your feedback and will like to read your thoughts. Please, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Building blocks

“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” Nehemiah‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My past two posts have been centered on building a business, project or something (could be your life, home, a house or anything personal). We have looked at ventures to take a note of when building in the first post. Last week, we dealt with battles to overcome when building. Today’s focus is on blocks needed in building. 

I want us to look at this biblical account of a Jewish man called Nehemiah who served as a cup bearer to Artaxerxes, King of Persia. A cup bearer was one who served wine in a palace and also a wine taster for the King. He got wind of what had happened in Judah; the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and its gates also destroyed by fire. Nehemiah made it his life mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. There are some pointers we can glean from this story on building. Although, this was in the context of building a wall, the principles have a universal application 

Block 1: turn to God

“Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked…” Nehemiah‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Undergoing any building venture is very tough and trying. Like I alluded in my last two posts, man was not designed to build things by himself, but by the help of God. Nehemiah had a huge task ahead of him and opposition. People were mocking at him. Nehemiah’s first response to his opposition was to turn to God in prayer. Your first and primary building block should be praying to God for assistance and wisdom to build and complete. I don’t know your faith or beliefs, but may I encourage you to develop the habit of praying to God who is as real as the person next to you. Not only that, but yearn to have a deeper spiritual experience with God. I can talk confidently like this in a politically correct world because of a personal, real experience 

““This is GOD ’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as GOD: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:2-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Reader, God is calling you into fellowship. He wants you to call him in prayer and He will answer you. Believe it and try it, even if this concept is alien to you

Block 2: have a mind to work

“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” ‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Building has two phases: the time to draw your envisioned plans on paper and then the working part. Many people can’t build because they have not moved beyond the drawing board. They are in love with what they have drawn thinking whatever they are involved in will materialize. There is no “abracadabra” involved in building but purely hard, hard work. Building mostly requires double of the work you will do. If it was easy, everyone will be a builder. Building has no time for wishful thinking. Building only understand four letters: W-O-R-K. Draw, plan, strategize, have think tank meetings, but a time comes when you will have to fold your sleeves to your elbow and get to the job. That is the only legitimate way you can put up a structure, be it a business or your own personal project, say, finishing an academic course

Block 3: be on guard

“… because of them we set a watch against them day and night.” Nehemiah‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭NKJV‬

The context of this verse was Nehemiah set a watch or stationed guards against the enemies who were hellbent on seeing to it that the wall will not be completed. That is wisdom. He built and fought at the same time. Most never finish anything because they grossly underestimate the level of competition. You can’t succeed in the corporate world if you go in naively thinking everybody is for you and your friend. There are serious levels of competition and opposition EVERYWHERE that you will truly have to step your game up. Nehemiah was not naive; he stationed guards to ensure he will complete his assignment. Understand you have two levels of opposition in everything you do. You have internal which has to do with your psyche (mind) or how you are feeling (emotions), then you have the external opposition which comes in the form of people. Wisdom will demand you place a guard or set a watch on these levels of opposition, else you ain’t building nothing 

My prayer is we will take time to carefully ponder and meditate on these truths so that our profiting will be evident to all. Wish you the best of God’s grace in whatever your hands are currently involved in 

Please I will like to read your comments. Your feedback means a lot to me and don’t forget to like, subscribe and share

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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It can be tough but it must be done


Last week, we spoke on the complexity of building something- it could be a business or a personal project. We talked on some ventures to watch out when building. We also touched on how difficult it is to be involved in a startup mission. Building requires tenacity because they will be many battles along the way you will have to fight through to ensure it is done. It might be tough but it must be done. I pray this inspires you to keep keeping on at all cost.

There are some distractive forces if not dealt with can be destructive. I am sure most of us can relate to these. It is not anything new but every now and then, we need to be informed to take caution. As they say, “the best defense is a good offense”. Let us consider these as we journey along

1. Discouragement– nobody will believe in you at first. It takes consistency and persistence to gain the trust and approval of people. You will have to travel the long haul for that. You will find out that people are not as enthused and don’t care about what you are passionate about. Majority sit on the fence with the “let’s wait and see” posture. Many things will not work right initially; it will not go according to what you have drawn on paper or imagined in your mind’s eye. Stick to it and win this battle. In my humble opinion, I think this is the biggest hurdle to jump over (I could be wrong) when on a startup assignment 

2. Postponement– when you start postponing stuff, it is a sure sign you are either discouraged or lazy. It has to be one of these two all the time. When we listen to our naysayers, Google search the statistics of what we are involved in and sometimes listen to the “experts” (I respect them but they can be wrong) truth be told, it gets hopeless. You will tend to lose your zeal and desire. Postponement is akin to abandoning the project. Let me add this: when starting anything, factor in a lot of hard, hard work. People get surprised when they are faced with the reality of a difficult build. That alone can demotivate you to shift it to “tomorrow”

3. Delay- when embarking on a personal project, budget your heart for disappointments, delays and detours. Life will be fun and easy peasy if everything goes according to what we have drawn on the flip chart or discussed in the boardroom. Sometimes, having  a counseling session with one you consider a sage will still not prevent these detours. I used to be astounded at delays. Personally this was a tough battle for me but with time, age, experience, wisdom and also prayer, I have gotten better at that. You may expect in a month ideally for the chips to fall in place, but realistically it will take a year for that to happen. How will you handle an unscheduled eleven month delay?

4. Laziness– sometimes laziness happens not because it is a personal habit of yours, but when you have been beaten so much and lost the battle against discouragement, postponement and delay. This is the mode one can find him or herself in. A wise man once remarked, “When you have no destiny helpers, life portrays you as a lazy man”. So unfair but true. I pray for you that you will find the right people, surround yourself with the right voices. They don’t have to be in the majority. Laziness starts mentally; when you have no fresh ideas or no plan Bs- you find it exhausting to think. It will then manifest in the actions and posture of your body 

“Then he hung the curtains forming the courtyard around the Tabernacle and the altar. And he set up the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard. So at last Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” Exodus‬ ‭40:33-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My prayer for you is that you will finish what you started. Overcome every impediment that wants to halt the growth and speed to what you are doing. There is a glory that descends on completed projects.

Please l will like to read your comments. Your feedback means a lot to me and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe

Till I come you way again…

Peace & Love

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The battle of starting a project, business or something


“Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it…” Psalms‬ ‭127:1‬ ‭

Hello folks! It has been long indeed, but I am glad to come your way again. All too soon, the first month of the second quarter is coming to an end. I hope 2019 has been good to you thus far? I am inspired to write today’s blog post and trust it will inspire you

In my mind’s eye, I want to encourage anyone who has plans of starting something (   ) in the immediacy. This article could also be informative if you are not on any project any time soon. I believe one of the most difficult things to do in this life is starting. Why so? Because it sometimes is against the natural course of things. Nature mostly dictates to us to settle and be among the status quo. It is so easy to blend in and be among the pack, but anytime you want to be exceptional, it seems you experience the force of a pushback which at times can be discouraging 

May I encourage you with the above Bible quote from the Psalmist. Man is not designed to build things alone, but with the help of God. You may have tried starting out of your own smarts and strength but ended up in exhaustion. It could be the right project or business you are undertaking, but you will have to include God by acknowledging his presence, guide and help. For anyone on a startup mission, I will advise you to pray. Out of prayer, we receive God’s enabling grace for our task ahead

“If God’s grace doesn’t help the builders, they will labor in vain to build a house…” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:1‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Although, this quote is talking about a house in context, there is a universal truth to it which is applicable: there is a grace that comes from God that enables us to build. Watch out for three ventures when building:

1. The failed one: a replica of what you are starting has been attempted by another individual who failed horribly. Perhaps it made its rounds on the social media circuit. A failed venture demotivates us from putting our best foot forward else we suffer the same fate of shame and disgrace. If you are convicted about what you are doing, just do it and let the chips fall where they may. A bad example will perhaps give you some pointers on not what to do, but shouldn’t rule you in fear and make a coward out of you. How many a story of people throwing in the towel because of a bad example? 

2. The successful one: honestly, it can be intimidating doing something that one has gone far ahead of you in leaps and bounds. Out of the word intimidate, you can spell timid. Successful ventures should  not make us timid and feel we have nothing to offer. The sky is big enough to allow two or more eagles to soar. Whenever, you are intimidated, you become timid and if not checked descends into inferiority complex. A person with a low self esteem has already failed before he lays the foundation or starting blocks to his enterprise

3. The contemporary: you may start at the same time and perhaps do the same thing. This particular venture can cause you to be competitive and very distracted. Instead of focusing on you to have the best results and release your maximum capacity, you will end up comparing notes all the time to see whether you are ahead or they are ahead of you. It breeds envy and hate. Any enterprise not built out of service and love is a house of cards

As you start this new working week, be the best version of yourself, seek God and pray for wisdom, inspiration, guidance and life to pursue what is ahead of you. I wish anyone involved in some sort of a startup mission the very best of God’s grace

Please I will like to read your comments. Your feedback means a lot to me and don’t forget to share, like and subscribe 

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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The burden of leadership III: how do I lead?

The last two posts have been on leadership. We looked at the enormity of leadership in the first one. We concluded it is a tasking position indeed. Howbeit, that should not prevent us from stepping up to the plate. There is a certain level of influence we can’t attain till we answer the call to leadership. So in the last post, we looked at what I call “myth busters”. Everybody is a leader in their own right, will you personally answer the call to it?

Today, we want to turn our thoughts on how we should lead? The “how-tos” are the missing pieces to every puzzle most of the time. After desire, your next best bet is instruction. Please, let us look at these simple steps:

1. Lead by love- the greatest leaders are those who love. My greatest leadership role model is Jesus Christ. He modeled how to walk in love. Anytime I study on him, I see how short I am in terms of my influence. He loved all, embraced all and knew how to relate to all kinds of people. There were leaders in his days but none could compare to him because of how he modeled leadership. Look at one of his leadership philosophies:

“You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”” Mark‬ ‭10:41-45‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Leadership is service and you can’t do it without love. It is giving of yourself, your time, your resources to make everybody around you better. According to Jesus, the best way to lead is to serve. You can’t lead effectively till you touch a heart before they ask for a hand

Read this prosé on love by St. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ and a founding father of the Christian church in the first century:

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

‭‭Personally, I want my leadership to be defined by love not only by competence and skill. In my early years of leadership, I thought the best leaders were of competence and skill but in my later years, those two virtues will not just cut it!

2. Lead by attitude- to me, attitude has to do with how one thinks and it eventually shows in his disposition. One who embodied this great quality was Thomas Edison, an inventor of 1,093 things and had more patents than any other person in the world; having been granted one for sixty five consecutive years. It took him ten thousand tries to find the right materials for the incandescent light bulb. Will I try again after fifty attempts? His lab in West Orange, New Jersey got burnt down. It was a fourteen building complex; his invention factory- the home of his ingenuity. He slept there many nights and everything got burned down when he was sixty seven. How will you handle this? I wrote this post last week Sunday and after editing, I lost everything (again!!! This is the second time). I let out a loud scream and just went to bed, and that was over a post! Didn’t want to think about it, woke up the next morning and said to myself, “I will write next week” which is in fact today. Well, Edison rebuilt the factory and said this, “I am sixty seven but not too old to make a fresh start. I’ve been through a lot of things like this. I am long on ideas, but short on time, I expect to live to be only about a hundred”. He kept working for another seventeen years and died at age eighty four. Don’t give up that business because it’s been four years! Young pastor, don’t close down that church because it has been five long years! Student, don’t throw your hands in despair, because of the four attempts in trying to pass that exam! Don’t give up on your marriage! It will work again! Believe in “tomorrow” and “one day”

3. Lead by skill- I personally define skill as polished talent. Talent comes in its raw state. Everyone has it! It is God given. Just as you can’t do anything with gold dug straight from the mines. You can’t do much with talent. Like gold, it has to be refined. When it comes out of its refinery process, it is called skill! In sports, you are discovered because of talent but you succeed because of skill. Operating only on a talent level will produce only mediocre performances! One of the best ways to polish talent is to read and gather relevant, applicable information. Education will fine tune your game to the next level

I trust you were encouraged by today’s post. Answer the call to leadership, embrace it and go for gold

Please I will like to read your comments and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love