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Keep running!

“Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭CEB‬‬

We are in the fall season; where leaves shrivel and wither, longer nights and short days; not forgetting the biting cold accompanying the rain making way for the winter season. In this part of the world, it is sometimes amusing when the gloominess of a weather can make us downcast at times. In November, many resign and conclude their year- whether it was a failure or success. You go to stores and you will see 2019 diaries and calendars on sale.

Well I couldn’t help seeing this scripture which served as a source of encouragement personally and thought I should share it with our community here. I came to tell you: KEEP RUNNING. Don’t know how your year has turned out to be but don’t throw in the towel yet. The next one and half months is an opportunity to end well on a victorious and good note

Let us focus our attention on the athlete (not just a runner, but the sportsman) who is running to win and see if we can glean some pointers in our race of 2018. Permit me to share a few:

Endurance– John Orozco, the US gymnast comes to mind when I think of this quality. He has faced a number of serious injuries but always came back stronger. He tore his Achilles in 2010 and 2012 which was career threatening but that didn’t stop him from rehabbing, training hard and coming back in time for the 2012 Olympics in London and won the gold. Where are you mentally and emotionally? Don’t check out! Recalibrate for the journey and keep on till it is over

Focus– I admire comeback stories. Tiger Woods in 2008 was on track to becoming the first billionaire athlete until everything around him came tumbling down in November of that year. His carefully packaged and marketable image was seen as a laughing stock. He was among the most decorated winners in his sport- golf. Lost endorsements, his marriage, and the trust of his fans who felt somewhat betrayed- just a few to mention. It has been a long road to redemption with bumps here and there. Well, in September 2018, he won the Tour Championship which has put him back in the books of the elite. The ten years of struggle had to do with his break in focus. Around this time, it is easy to break focus when you are not hitting your target. You have travelled too far to lose focus now. Keep focusing! You will win

Diet– This really counts! An athlete needs to be within a certain weight for optimal capacity. You are almost treated like a car. You get what you want out of the car, if you put in the requisite fuel! You can’t eat and drink anything for excellence on the track field. Paul Gascogne popularly known as “Gazza” could have been one of the greatest English footballers. He had skill, strength, stamina and was a very good reader of the game, but he had poor conditioning and was injury prone due to his poor dieting habits. He underachieved! What are you feeding your soul and spirit, and to an extent your body? Watch the foods that make you sluggish, overweight & prone to inertia. Please take a personal inventory after reading. Information, like fuel to the car, is food for the soul and spirit. What are you reading, watching and listening?

Treat the rest of this year like an athlete and monitor your energy levels. Don’t let anything or anyone eat at your endurance. Protect your focus and arm yourself with the necessary and relevant information! If I may add, please eat well! Be determined to finish well no matter how you started this year

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Lessons from our marriage II

Glad to be back again and sorry for unable to pen down last week. I started my week with power outage then once the hurdle was over, internet connection problems… but finally, here we are! Ha!

The last time we left on lessons from our marriage and touched on teamwork, solving issues urgently and the element of friendship in a marriage. I want to talk on five lessons so we will wrap up with the remaining two

Lesson 4: spending time together is not communication necessarily

Communication in a marriage can never be understated. Communication means both spouses speak the same language, understand each other and are on the same page. Chatting per se is not communication. The first two years of our marriage, I really understood that concept. Say, you have gone to a restaurant and ordered with the waiter that you want a plate of rice with no salt, corn with butter & steak with pepper and onions. Your meal comes in thirty minutes: salted plate of rice, corn without butter and steak with pepper but no onions. You can say there is no communication between you and the waiter because he didn’t understand you and you both were not on the same page concerning your menu. With marriage, it is patient work getting to know each other, reading each other’s moods, that is, when is a good time to talk and also getting the attention of each other and understanding what was said. So when we communicate, we make it a point to repeat what was said to each other to check whether we both are on the same page. Knowing your partner’s love language and personality aids in better communication. You can enjoy, laugh together, have fun together but not on the same frequency when it comes to certain quarters of your marriage. That is the mystery of marriage: communication is hard work which will demand time

Lesson 5: money matters because money matters

According to an article I read, 21% of divorcees cite money as the cause of their marriage breakdown. It takes faith to plan and have a wedding but once that event is over, and you are now in the institute of marriage, faith will not be enough; money talks and counts. That means there should be a regular stream of income to keep it moving. Money is a topic that should be treated intentionally and consistently. Not talking about it doesn’t mean problems will suddenly disappear. We have on our calendar a particular day of every month set on our phone reminders to have a Money Date. This implies we talk about money at least twelve times in a year. This idea is from David Bach, author of the popular and best selling book, The Automatic Millionaire. When you go online, money date questionnaires and templates are available that you can sort of use as a guide in your discussions. Our date is not wine and dine but extensive talks which means we cover all our bases, set some targets and deadlines ( if it needs be) till the following month we meet. If you don’t set the time and the place to talk on and about money, you will fight about it. To earn money comes from working; to be rich requires financial literacy. Knowledge is the key! Please get information on what to do with your hard earned money. The internet is a great resource tool. I use it a lot when it comes to this area. I don’t know about your area, but in mine, they do free financial seminars for the community so if you have the Eventbrite app, it is one of the best ways to search for such information in your location and do attend for insight if you have the time

For those about to enter into marriage, wish you the best and arm yourself with these keys of knowledge, and to those of us in a marriage, keep keeping on and upgrade your knowledge base to keep the union fresh and from stagnation

I hope you have enjoyed my take on what I have learnt as a married man. I will like to hear from you and know what you learnt and also share with us any experiences or lessons you have which can benefit us all

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Lessons from our marriage

Wow! Good to be back after a four week hiatus. Missed interacting with my audience via this medium. Wow! We are in the tenth month and all too soon, we will be drawing a closed curtain to the year

Last week was a great one because my wife and I celebrated another milestone in our union. We are grateful to God, our mentors and friends who have all impacted us in diverse ways. Thinking about our marriage made me want to pen certain truths we have all learned along the way. I am not a marriage counselor nor have I been in this journey longer, but been in it long to understand at least the dynamics of a marriage relationship

Lesson 1: it takes teamwork

A marriage will work when the spouses involved become a team. Doing things solo in a relationship sometimes widen the gap between the two. A successful marriage understands that to get the best out of each other, there has to be a synergy of one’s strengths and weaknesses, upsides and downsides for the journey ahead. You can cover each other’s weaknesses and complement each other’s strengths when that synergy takes place. A marriage where the fault of one partner is glaringly loud to the outside world communicates wrong signals… there is no cohesiveness.

Lesson 2: solve issues in the immediacy

Every marriage has fights and conflicts. You may be courting or newly married reading this so it will be hard to fathom that! Believe you me- that day will come. One advice I give to people marrying or newly married couples is you shouldn’t be afraid of having quarrels or disagreements- that is inevitable. Rather, be more concerned about the unresolved issue that brought the fight in the first place. As a pastor, one of the “not-so-cool” things to be involved in is the implosion of a marriage. Nine times out of ten, it reaches there because of an issue that wasn’t resolved and has gained deeper roots which can be the source of resentment and anger. One skill every couple should have is effective conflict resolution skills. It starts by being honest with each other. Let your spouse know “this hurts me and I am not happy”. Honesty is the base on which conflict resolution takes place. Also, try not to be too cutting and direct with your speech when solving issues- it does more harm than good! Speak the truth in love. Truth is a sharp sword so sometimes coat the edges with love so that it is easily assimilable.

Lesson 3: still be friends

When you marry, that should not be the end of the courtship process. It should continue. Love on her like when you were chasing her, be excited at him like when he was wooing you. Too many marriages die a slow painful death because of familiarity and taking each other for granted. You have to be intentional not to let that happen. Have scheduled times where you can sit and chat, take annual leave together and do the same things that you were doing when courting. Women especially complain about the “settled” attitude of husbands when they have “succeeded” in marrying the woman they wanted. I am not saying women are not capable of that but in most cases, the culprits are the men. How do friendships last? By investing time. In that same vein, invest time in your marriage and make your partner feel appreciated. It takes a lot of time to still stay friends in a marriage

Let us continue next week because I am getting long winded and it is showing in the size of the blog. I will wrap it up with two more points next week

Will love to read your comments, answer questions and know what you think

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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The edge of friendships

In our last post, we looked at the subject on friendships. We learnt that man was not created for things but for relationships. Looked at how positive and toxic relationships can impact on us. If you want friends, you will have to be friendly to attract one as I asserted in the last post

Today, let us shift our attention to why it is crucial to have a company. Before having one, please select with a fine tooth comb. You are in no haste to have a friend but it also doesn’t mean you should not have one, anyway. Please, building relationships especially great ones have an edge which I will like to share

1. You are “sharpened”

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You are sharpened like a sword ready for battle. Believe it or not, we all have blunt edges in certain parts of our lives that no matter how much self evaluation and awareness we do on ourselves, we can never sharpen that edge. This is where a friend comes in! Man was not designed to grow only in isolation but in the midst and company of people. For instance, one of the character building and molding exercises occurs when you are in a marriage relationship. You may be selfish, impatient and intolerant but because you don’t live with someone, you will think selfishness is “me-time”, impatience is “being straightforward” and intolerant is “being principled”. A spouse can force you to look hard in the mirror to realize those tags you had are nothing but an illusion. Nothing against having a me time, I am a believer and a practitioner! We are looking at balancing with having company time as well which brings total and wholistic growth. If you are a loner and start to work in an office where there are colleagues and the desk is shared, it forces you to develop interpersonal skills. Being a loner doesn’t force that growth. Serving in a leadership capacity or setting can force you to place more emphasis on emotional intelligence than brain power. Relationships are a blessing because they challenge us to an uncomfortable spot forcing us to grow. That is how you can be “sharpened”

2. You have help

“It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I heard a wise man once quipped, “without help, life makes you look like a lazy man”. So, so true! If you have lived longer than a day, you will discover that life can be pretty hard sometimes; a lot of curveballs thrown at you, unexpected turns, steep learning curves and slopes. Life can be that unpredictable and suck the juice out of you. In moments like that, friendships are like a glass of water to a thirsty soul. Do not deprive yourself the gold of good relationships because one went bad and left sour grapes in your mouth. There are people who have vowed never to trust no one because of such painful experiences. That could be a wrong approach and you will be setting yourself up for failure. All success stories have one word in common: TEAM. No one does it alone. People who have gone through adversity and came out champions have one thing in common: TEAM. People who died in adversity and couldn’t last tough times; all have one thing in common: LACK OF FRIENDSHIPS. I mean real, genuine ones! Today, may I ask, if you receive a call of a loved one passing away (God forbid!), if you are unexpectedly laid off your high earning job (God forbid!), who will you call? Or are you going to hit the bottle? Magic Johnson, NBA Legend and a successful businessman credits Cookie Johnson- his wife, the LA Lakers- the team he played for, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas- his NBA contemporaries and David Stern, the then NBA Commissioner as a source of hope and strength when he found out he had contracted the HIV Virus. He has said it on record without prayer & these friendships, he would have gone to an early grave. He looks a picture of health today and doing great things in the world of business, finance and sports. It has been said, “man can live forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only a second without hope”. I am tempted to now put hope as a basic necessity of life. My question is who is going to be your source of hope when you are an island- all by yourself because hope doesn’t come in a vacuum. It needs expression through another human

3. A time of celebration

You merry make and can have a celebration when you have friends genuinely interested in your welfare who want the best for you. It is sad to celebrate an achievement all by yourself. I have attended wedding ceremonies with a few and a large gathering. Believe you me, the company gathered determines the mood and how the event will pan out to be. Most of my greatest memories personally are when I could celebrate it with great friends and a good company all around me feeding off positive energy and vibes. It is just such a blessing!

Pardon me for my long opus today. I pray may you have an edge by reason of your company you build around you

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Friendships

“There is nothing on this earth to be prized than true friendship”- Thomas Aquinas

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬

One of the greatest mysteries in life is relationships. Relationships can be a gift and a curse at the same time. Through it, many have risen and fallen

Bill Clinton famously helped Obama win his election, and subsequently navigate the political world. Clinton reportedly helped Obama fundraise, endorsed him in various speeches, and gave him advice that would allow him to win over voters. According to CS Monitor, this was of no immediate benefit to Clinton, and was merely a way of one famous friend help another find success

On the other hand, most toxic relationships which have to do with things like drug overdose can also be caused by friends. Recently, I read an article on a celebrity that overdosed on hard drugs and was on the brink of death. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the star’s team have cut ties with friends and bad influences who were mainly the source of the star’s relapse

So now reading of these instances, one can easily be tempted to ask, “to have or not to have, that is the question”. Well, may I answer: have, but by all means have good friends who will aid you on your journey to destiny

In this world of social media, people don’t truly have physical friends but virtual ones which can be a bit superficial. Having likes and comments on your Facebook page or retweets on your Twitter page doesn’t amount to real and authentic friendship. Having a large following on your Instagram account is not friendship either. For all you know, they might be on your page to snoop on you out of nosiness and curiosity. I am in no way being a wet blanket on using social media. I am a user myself and have found it useful in terms of networking

The criteria for finding a friend is to be friendly as the last quote inferred. You cannot truly enjoy the rewards of a good relationship if you are standoffish and sort of an island. You sow a smile to reap a smile, you sow kindness to reap one. The opposite of that is true; sow selfishness, bitterness and you will reap according to the seed sown

What does it mean to be friendly? It means to be warm hearted, kind and reciprocal. The last point on being reciprocal is important to sustain relationships. It means when you text, I respond back with a text. When I see a missed call, I return that. It is simply “scratch my back and I scratch yours”. Most relationships and potentially, great ones take a nosedive because of reciprocity

I pray may we be able to build long lasting and positive relationships by being friendly

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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“Have a break, have a Kit Kat”

This is a popular catchphrase from a KitKat commercial. It portrays the message that you can’t enjoy the product till all things around you cease. To enjoy life, sometimes all things around you need to come to a stop- it is called a break

Life becomes beautiful and an experience when it is lived in balance. Some make the mistake of been at the two ends of the stick; work and work-extreme, play and play-extreme. You miss out! Don’t take your living or existence on this earth for granted. Life is multi layered and very multifaceted. Do something for once that will cause you to move out of the status quo; break the mould. Learn how to enjoy the breath of fresh air around you savoring another chance why it is good to be alive every waking morning

You are able to have a better perspective of life when you take a break. If you are a student, school goes on break- you have had your fill! If you are unemployed, this doesn’t apply to you because you are “cruising”, man. I am talking to people who work and that includes stay at home parents

If you don’t come apart, you will come apart

Meaning if you don’t take time to rest and call it a day at a point in your life, you will break down bodily, mentally and emotionally. The danger of grinding and going on and on can have some far reaching implications, negatively speaking.

When I talk of going on a break or holiday, I am not talking about traveling. If you have the money, then fine. If not, don’t put a strain on your finances. Holiday comes to an end and you are back to reality- paying your rent, utilities, going back to work… some people just go crazy and wild as if a break means the end of the world and living. I for one don’t understand why you should go for a holiday and come back broke.

A holiday to me means taking a break off work to rest and come back to what you were doing refreshed. Some people have the notion that the harder they grind without taking days off, that shows they are “hard workers”. Yes! My friend, you may be working hard but not working smart. In my opinion, hard work sometimes is overrated. I believe in working hard but also working smart- you need both to be productive

Anyway, let us consider some benefits of rest. Summer is almost over. Take advantage of that season for a break before it is too late

1. You become reflective

A break doesn’t mean you shut your mind off in relentless pursuit of fun. That is how many spend their break. They have no evaluation of what was done prior to the break so they don’t do better when they get back to the job. A break affords you the opportunity to look at what you did in the past to make any necessary adjustments- what were your past failures, past successes, strengths, weaknesses, what opportunities did you blow and what will you do if it comes your way again? I am not advocating for overthinking on your days off. That is also not a holiday either. I am just saying that whilst having fun, take a moment to be accountable

2. You become contemplative

You are able to enjoy the present which is a gift to us all. Once you go on a break, you can enjoy that walk you seldomly miss because of work, you are able to feel the beach sand in between your toes, go to the cinema or catch up on some leisure reading. I hear the youth using this expression, “stay woke”. When you “stay woke” in the present, you and I will have an appreciation for nature. Don’t feel guilty having fun on your day off. You deserve that break. It is okay not to answer every call, respond to every text message. Take a break off social media. Life can be good and fun sometimes when you are locked in the present

3. You become imaginary

Imaginary has to do with the future. When you evaluate your past, you now become better informed on what to do next once your holiday is over. Come back from your holiday a better person mentally- your mental focus should be sharper. Is it really a holiday when I come back more sluggish? Come back from your holiday a better person bodily- resting rejuvenates the body cells and prevents it from breaking down. Come back from your holiday a better person emotionally- what is the point coming back bitter and STILL holding on to past unforgivable experiences? Above all, come back better like a well oiled machine for a high powered performance at what you do in your work

Bless yourself with a holiday. Let that gift be your personal investment to yourself and with your loved ones you will take it with

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

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Overcoming when overwhelmed

Overwhelm means to overcome completely in mind and emotions to the point that you can’t think but panic

We have all been in situations like that- it seems like, “I will never get around this, I must as well die”. I remember when I received a phone call one Friday morning in November 2016 that my father had passed away. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind at once. Each and every one of us can relate to an overwhelming experience in life. As far as we live in life, we will not escape these moments or experiences so we might as well get informed and armed on how to deal with them

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

The source of some troubles that causes us to be overwhelmed is not the devil but it is just living in this world. Stuff happens when you are living- unexpected deaths of loved ones and family, miscarriage of a child you were expecting, failed an exam, gone bankrupt, business folding up, economy crashing, a loved one faced with terminal illness, you facing a life threatening disease unexpectedly, made redundant in your firm… it’s all part of life and living. In the passage above, we are admonished that troubles and hard times will and must happen- it is an appointment that we all do not look forward to. I hate to be the bearer of bad news that difficult times are part of life. Howbeit it doesn’t mean you should live life expecting a bad turn or a negative outcome. Nay! What I am saying is when hard times creep up on you unaware, it is not a phenomenon- it is just life

How do we deal with overwhelming situations? The thing you should know is never to go in with your strength. Man is intelligent- a specie unmatched in wonder and a total phenomenon but man was not designed to go through life’s troubles alone depending on his wits and will power. Life becomes bearable when we rely on Jesus who has promised us, in him we have peace. Like, I wrote earlier about my father’s passing. It was tough but I said to myself, “Lord I rely on your strength in this and place my trust in you. May I never lose my peace”. Peace was needed to think clearly on what the next steps should be, planning a funeral, sitting down with the family amongst many more. Asides that, you should be able to think clearly and analytically when emotions are high. Peace was indeed needed. Say a simple prayer that “Lord I need you in this time of my life when things are pear shaped”. I promise you, he will come through for you. He will not deny you help! He will not reject you! He will save you and he will deliver you

Overwhelming situations affects how we think and how we feel. That is why we need the peace of God that guards our minds and hearts not to go bonkers. That comes as a result of trusting Jesus. The world can’t offer you the peace you so desperately look for, money and fame can’t either! Just Friday, I read about Elon Musk’s emotional outburst in an interview which now caused his company to lose some billions in the stock exchange. He is overwhelmed and crying for help! I hope we don’t ignore that cry until it is too late. A billionaire CEO of Tesla Cars- I thought to myself he is living it but Friday shattered that illusion. Peace in our hearts and minds will grant us the serenity and the courage to go through any fire

May I pray with you, reader!

I pray for anyone reading this that may your loving peace encompass around them; guarding their hearts and minds. Lord reveal yourself to each reader this day at their various junctions of their lives! I pray for those who want to give up, throw in the towel and quit. Let your love assure them that it will be alright. Out of this, may people commit to serving you and knowing of a truth you are God indeed. I thank you that every reader has the upper hand over every overwhelming experience in Jesus name. Amen

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer

O! What peace we often forfeit?

O! What needless grief we bear?

Why? Because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Joseph M Scriven 1855