Sunday, September 29, 2013

(Guest Post) The Importance of Having an Intimate Relationship with God (One –on –One with God)

I admit that I might not be in the best position to write on this subject, as I am also still striving in this regard; however, I am persuaded to share my thoughts with you. Without trying to justify my ‘striving’, even Apostle Paul had envisaged this awkward plight of mine when he said in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do”.

The very essence of Christianity is a personal, intimate relationship with a God that completely changes us and every aspect of our being.  As we grow in spiritual maturity, our desire for an intimate relationship with Jesus increases – but at the same time we find this pursuit difficult.  At such times we often come up with questions such as: “How do I get closer to an unseen God?” “How do I hold a conversation with someone who seems to be so non- vocal?”

A lot of our confusion today begins with the word “intimate,” which has become clichéd because of the ongoing mania with sex. The dictionary defines intimacy as a close, familiar, and affectionate personal relationship. Having an intimate relationship with God begins the minute we realize our need for Him, admit we are sinners, and in faith receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  Before the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), they both knew God on an intimate, personal level. They walked with Him in the garden and talked directly to Him. However due to the sin of man, we became separated and disconnected from God.

This personal relationship with God can be achieved through Jesus Christ and is not as hard to get as we might think, as there is no mysterious formula for getting it. I believe Christ died so we could have a robust, vital relationship with God, not just a code of rules and regulations we're forced to follow. Yes I do agree that there are certain guidelines God wants us to follow, but His sole purpose in giving them is to protect us from the consequences of sin.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Invictus; "I am the master of my fate"

Biodun Owolaja, this one is for you.

The English poet, William Ernest Henley, contacted tuberculosis of the bone at the age of 12. Over the next five years, the disease progressed to his foot, and his physicians had to amputate his leg in order to save his life. He wrote the following poem after these events, in stoic defiance of this disability. (Source: Wikipedia)

I must mention: positive change in our lives is not created by what we read; it is created by what we think about what we read. Thought, and not 'reading' does the trick.

My favorite stanza first, then the full poem afterwards:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Full poem:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
If you'd like more food for thought, also see:
If- (by Rudyard Kipling)
The Man in the Arena (by Theodore Roosevelt)

Cheers to the weekend :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Yaaaaaay! It’s my birthday again!!! *dancing azonto*

I’ve spent some time assessing the past one year, expressing gratitude to God for keeping me, and I must say I’m positively excited about my ‘todays’ and ‘tomorrows’. Please feel free to share in my joy!!!

In keeping with a tradition I instituted three years ago, I’m sharing a few random things about me today. Here goes:

1.     My favorite song ever is Immortality, by Celine Dion. Among other things, the song tells of the eternal struggle between what we feel like doing and what we should be doing. When I’m having a lazy day, all I need do is hear the opening bars of this song – and I’m immediately ‘gingered’!

2.    My most-read book till present is Winning, by Jack Welch. I chanced on it in 2006, and I’ve read it from back-back twelve times since then. Winning is a great book for understanding “how to win” at life and career, and I daresay Mr. Welch totally nailed it in this book. However, my favorite book at the moment is The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman. I think every young person should read this one!

3.    My favorite food ever is Garri (Ijebu). No exaggerations, but I have probably taken enough garri for myself and two generations to come. Guys, garri isn’t just a snack to me – it is FOOD! Given that I’m not into booze and stuff, the picture below perfectly sums up how I celebrate after achieving a milestone.
Yep, I fried those myself - and yep, I ate them all!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Makoko's Teenage Pregnancies

I'm sorry, but can someone please explain why one should bring up FOURTEEN children in this environment? Why not TWO, or THREE?
Punch Online carried an interesting feature today about Makoko and its greatly increased rate of teenage pregnancies. Like I have said more times than I can count on this blog, I find it quite strange that people who live in such abject poverty go on to have between twelve and fifteen children. Why?

Here is what Mr. Francis Agoyon Alashe (himself with FOURTEEN children) had to say about the situation:
"However, the head of the traditional chiefs in the area, 55-year-old Mr. Francis Agoyon Alashe, said the rate of teenage pregnancies in the community was nothing to worry about. “Why should we be worried? We take it as the wondrous and marvellous deed of God, that young girls at 11 or 12-year-old are getting pregnant and giving birth and that a 15-year-old boy can get a girl pregnant. In my days, we were taught that 18 was the ideal age, but times have changed,” he said.

Agoyon has 14 children — 10 boys and four girls. He said, “My first daughter, who is now 29-year-old, got pregnant at 15; the second, who is now 19-year-old, got pregnant at 16. My boys have not impregnated any girl because they are focused on their education.

“Sometimes, Egun people don’t like using condoms. Our argument is, how can you ejaculate into a rubber? There is no pleasure in that. Although common sense says the use of condom could prevent pregnancy, but we don’t need it. We like real sex, even if we give birth to many children, we don’t mind. If, for example, I get married to a 15-year-old girl, it means I will now become a younger looking man,” he said, laughing."
I am weak! Go here to read the full article, and go here to read my collection of thoughts on how we can eradicate poverty through pro-active population control and provision of quality education.

These Egun people (and indeed most of Nigeria) need quality education o!

Friday, September 06, 2013

How to Eradicate Poverty (A Simplistic Approach)

Earlier today, while thinking about a roadside mechanic in Ibadan who reportedly has TWELVE children, I developed a simplistic two-pronged approach to eradicate poverty in Nigeria and possibly other developing countries. It is not refined yet, but it is hot – so I thought to share:

1.    Teach / help people to have fewer children. The days when almost every family subsisted on produce from their farms are behind us. Back then – the larger the family, the larger the supply of ‘free labor’ – but times have changed. Today, with rising costs for everything from education to healthcare, extra-large families are no longer an asset. Many parents – their hands full with the struggle to put food on the table – cannot adequately monitor their children’s progress or afford to provide them with quality education. In a world with limited supplies of time and money – both of which are essential for raising children – it is only reasonable that people expend these resources on a fewer number of children. A mechanic who earns N30,000 a month can raise two children with more quality than if he has twelve! So far as I see it, this is unassailable logic. I must also add that fewer children equals less demand on public resources.

Given that we all can't choose where we were born or who we were born to, this could well have been me - or you...