PRAYER. PROCESS… PRODUCT

alone-sad-feelings-awesome

There is a strong longing in the heart of most persons to succeed. That’s a given. By “succeed” I mean a desire to be accomplished in life so that others might reckon with such status attained. You hear severally from the lips of men how they hope not to die a commoner but to leave their marks in the history of humanity, and claim fame for their legacies. This leads to all manner of pursuit. We set targets for ourselves, compete with our imagination of others, and are pushed constantly by the perception of the external environment.

These false projections in the world are further complicated by our perception of time and its effect on desire. Many feel a sense of urgency as age furthers, so as to avoid a loss of motivation and energy to chase their dreams later. To be 40 years without owning a home, a car, stable income, proper savings, or a family is generally seen as unacceptable in society.

All these seething within a person’s mind and baked by the environment of extreme materialism, is a soul-numbing combination that really hinders the true development of sound character required for a qualitative life.

This is the context of the heart with which many come to Father God. Actually, many find Father in the spaces between need and wants, where what dominates the heart is the desire for things – healing, work, family, food, house, prosperity, education, etc. While the love of the Father will almost always take care of such desires with time, He certainly moves past the things that we want to challenge our notion of where the true value of life lies.

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NIGERIA: THE BEGGARS COLONY

This is one of those rants I cannot but punish you with because I am getting really sick and tired of its frequency. Almost anywhere you go in Nigeria, you are faced with beggars begging right up to your face and totally crowding your space that you feel your only escape is to settle them. I am not talking about the poor, haggard, and destitute soul on the street without a home to go back to; not the physically maimed citizen crisscrossing go-slows to tap on your car’s window screen for their sustenance. It is not even the poor person in the neighbourhood who has genuine need and shows up at your gate on a weekend. If it were just these, I would understand for even Jesus said we will always have the poor with us.

My concern is with the pervasiveness of subtle beggars who trudge our corridors of service, demanding privileges that they do not exactly deserve. They are everywhere from the supermarket you frequent to the professional offices where they don the most formal attires. Anywhere you go it seems you are bound to encounter what feels like an organized mob of commercial inducers, asking for settlements for all kinds of spurious reasons ranging from ‘weekend money’ to ‘big man status money’. The latter is very upsetting because you now have to pay for looking affluent, as though it were indicative on the flesh.

The matter has become very embarrassing (or ‘embarazzing’ for emphasis) to the point that I am suddenly put on the offensive every time I request a simple service. Even when I am not asking for any services, usually some freelancer suddenly appears and imposes a service for which you have to cough out something. I drive into the parking lot of a public facility and the security man directs the parking process, a role for which he is also employed along with securing the vehicle. The profuse greetings you get from the security man on alighting your vehicle has its cost implication. The doorman usually almost prostrates before opening the door even though he sees your fully functional limbs. You have to factor all these into the expense to be disbursed at your location – of course not forgetting the tips you have already given for services in the inner sanctum.
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Live in Lagos – Can I help?

Help by force!

I arrived Lagos like an Israelite carrying the half-baked dough into a determined exodus. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, particularly how I will react to the weather, coming from extreme conditions like we saw this year in the Northeast US. Nothing really changed about the humid conditions, even at 8pm the wind was warm and slightly noxious. But hey! I am used to this, just have to acclimatize a bit. Err…I will dare not talk about Murtala Mohammed Airport, else it will be the rantings of a raving lunatic. Lekki Airport to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the airport still is the famished road. It is fast becoming a bush path and reminds me of the road from Onitsha to Owerri in the late 1980s into early 1990s, It may soon need the kind of old Mercedes-Benz 9-11 trucks to ply it. It still amazes me that the government expects people to encounter that road first on a visit to the country through Lagos. Again it may be one of those roads that fall into the grey divide of Federal and State roads and no one is responsible for it. Very soon I will get dangerously upset to code red levels and will fix it. If the government refuses, private business making a fortune refuses, very rich men whole have stolen us blind also refuse to act socially responsible (at least to save face and the impending anger of the State), mere men like me will one day carry a digger and shovel to repair the road. At least beyond our children traveling safely, the police checkpoints will run smoothly and not be afraid to stop more vehicles and harass tired travelers. I have an idea, I will first start by asking my neighbour from Borno, who owns an active barn in his backyard (suitable to shoot a medieval movie), to lend me his cattle so they can graze the weeds shooting from the islands on the entire stretch of the airport road.
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THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA – 2

Moses 1

The Sheep was Moses’ primary assignment and what gave him his livelihood. It was his base profession and what woke him early in the morning to get busy. If he didn’t do that, then his well being is not guaranteed because there will be no labour demanding reward. This was obviously what life dealt him far out in the wilderness of uncertainty and was a normal course he followed in order to make the best of his days. This sounds a lot like the story of most people who have a predetermined direction for their lives. Most times it’s usually not your choice if you go to school or not, it is a given. Until you finish from a university, you are usually following a determined course for your life because it is assumed that you must of necessity follow through if your life is going to have any relevance. Some of us were born into a family of lawyers and are beclouded by that reality that it is usually not a choice if you become a lawyer, since the family business musts be preserved. Moses encountered Shepherds and was catered for by the same, thus it was only natural that he fell quickly into the profession of a Shepherd.
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THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA

MosesThere are probably some three kinds of challenges you will face as you journey through your life; the challenges that prove your abilities, those that come to swallow you up, and those that come to oppose you from moving forward. I have always tried to see how I could group the nature of my tribulations so that I can easily identify as I meet them. It was until of late when I decided to study the book of Exodus that I entered into some understanding of how I could assess the character and peculiarity of the situations which we like face all the time. These are the situations I refer to as Sheep, Snakes, and the Sea; the three great S which some of us will have to confront at one time or the other.

Before I attempt at breaking these down, it would be proper to evoke the context of the story that equips my muse on this issue. Exodus introduces the man Moses to us all, and tells us of his rather strange upbringing and how he was like nothing short of a drama from beginning to the end. But from the whole, nothing struck me as much as the opening chapters of Exodus which tells of his unfortunate attempt at leadership, which led to his ultimate escape from the palace into the wilderness. He became a Shepherd, then a deliverer sent by God, then a way maker. Through this process, one thing was central in the scheme of things, and that was the Rod in his hands. Herein lays the convergence of three separate issues: Sheep, Snakes, and the Sea. With that Rod, he tended to the Sheep, swallowed up Snakes, and parted the Sea.
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