Baby Again: the future of the African child

Fear and the inability to take risks are man created. We were not born that way. We were informally trained to be afraid, to lack courage and to avoid risk. We were brought up to think that it’s best to always play it safe. But I have come to realize that although a ship in the harbor is safe; that’s not what ships are made for. They are designed and purposed to sail the high seas and surf through the turbulent storms; and they are specially designed to serve that purpose.

Risks are a part of life; boldness i  s often essential and it is innate. Fear though seems natural, it isn’t our default setting. We picked it up along the way and dropped the courage we were born with not realizing that although fear will take us to a destination faster and safer; often it leads to the wrong one and at when best, to a destination far lesser than where we ought to and could reach.

Take a look at a baby. Regardless of who her father is or how uneducated his mother is. Even if the baby is an orphan from theimages (1) poorest of families; when you place him or her in a room filled with the most honourable and noble dignitaries of the world, the baby would still end up doing whatever it is it wants to do. If it wants to cry, cry it would; or smile or make noise or cause trouble. A baby acts without inhibition and without fear. They are a great example of courage and boldness.

And each and everyone of us was once like that baby. We were all born that way. And that’s what we need to get back to being. Fear is a habit we learnt while unlearning courage and we need to reverse that to unlearn fear and relearn courage.

We were born that way for a reason. The world we are in is one filled with opportunities. But despite the huge opportunities that lie around, what we find also is great inequality.  The resources available are not equally distributed and no matter the kind of socialist system any government tries to run, they can never be. Resources are not necessarily scarce; or let me say scarcity is relative. Resources can go round but it just won’t.  I believe that an interplay of fear, faith, courage and boldness is what decides who gets what and how much of the resources available gets to a person.

It takes the bold and courageous to stretch forth and reach for his own share. It takes a lion heart to have a lion’s share. And that courage lies within your heart. You just need to find it.

And to young parents and intending parents especially my fellow African people i have this to add: We tend to teach our children not to speak where elders are instead of teaching them how to speak where elders are. We teach our daughters to be subservient to their male counterparts rather than making them know how to be achievers in themselves as well as humble afterwards. These are the things that sniff out the boldness and courage we were born with. Little wonder we are the way we are. I believe it is important that we change some part of how we train our children. No doubt our system has given birth to really strong and defiant people and time won’t permit me to name examples, but like always said, there is always room for improvement.  Ability to adapt and to survive are not the only things we can have. images (2)Courage, confidence and boldness could be added to the character of the African child.so we need to adopt systems that would model these traits in our kids. We need to make them start seeing that the white man isn’t better and that the foreign land isn’t more blessed. That they can compete against anyone in the world because they are equally as good as anyone else of any skin type. Our children must see beyond their immediate environment; beyond their history, they must see their future. The must see that they also have a role to play, an impact to make ; a contribution to give towards making the world a better place. They have a share in greatness, and we must show them the path that leads there.

I believe in the future of the African child. I see a future where we also contribute positively to the growth and development of this world. Where we are not just a spectator as to what happens; but rather active partners in change. But to reach that future, we must re-become what we were; re-discover the baby in us and find that boldness, faith and courage God equipped us with for the prize of greatness he has destined us for.

O dabo

Soaga Afolabitumblr_ngbu62KOXQ1rrnn7po1_1280

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friends, lovers, and the friendzone.

It’s another season of love. Saturday Fe-buhari 14, couples all over the world celebrated Valentine’s Day.

Love is a serious thing and romance is deep. Although some say it’s overrated……but I guess it’s probably because they haven’t experienced it yet. Love is so serious that it was been the motivating factor behind several success stories or fairy tales and at the same time it has also been behind some tragedies. Love has been the reason why people have died for others and has also been the reason why some have killed people as well (at least that’s what they claim in their defence).

Love makes us vulnerable. It makes us soft. Even the strongest of men like Solomon can be defeated by the weakest of things when they are in ‘love’. But love is a good thing. Because despite the vulnerability involved, inside weakness sometimes lies the greatest strength. A man in love and alone is weak, but when he finds a right partner, together they are stronger.images (4)

Love as the world knows it however is not enough reason to start a relationship (see proverbs7). The fact that you are single and sooooo attracted to another single person doesn’t mean you both have to mingle. A friend of mine usually says that although love could be a commandment, relationship is a choice. And if you are going to make that choice, make sure it’s the right one.

So before one gives himself into a romantic commitment, it is always wise that one gets a full or at least a good idea of what he is going into and build the relationship on strong foundations so it would last and stand the storms that always rock the ship called relationship.

Many people have gone into relationships very ignorant of things and those relationships have ended up in heartbreaks, abuses, breakups and worse still divorces. Leaving the contributing parties heart broken and incomplete……which they carry over into their next relationship and thus creating a self-sustained cycle of Hook ups and breakups for both parties. Such is the reality we see in Hollywood.

That I can say has been one of the reasons why it is advised that we build friendships before starting relationships. By starting from the foundation of a friendship, you get to see the person you are interested in for who he/she is and your choice of either moving on to a more serious relationship would be better informed and the risk of things turning bad reduced.

But then, initiating the friendship phase does have its own challenge and threat. One is the likelihood of being locked in the friend zone. I speak from experience! download (1)

When you stay too long in the zone, you become a friend that is now like a brother. And any attempt to woo the girl could be graced with disappointment from her and further tear you two apart and ruin even the pleasant friendship which you have successfully built which also although was at the beginning only a side quest.

The Friendzone could also prevent you from making a move when due. This is because at times the friendship becomes so sweet you don’t want to risk losing it by asking her out.

There is also the issue of ‘assuming the role’. The zone comes with some benefits- Tight hugs, daylong texting, week long hangouts, frequent phone calls, and many more privileges that come with being a couple (I’m talking about a church endorsed kind of couple-hood of course. From what we’ve been told, you don’t go beyond this point). And so you could get so comfortable in the friendzone that you just begin to assume the role. Somewhere in your heart because of all those privileges, you begin to think and feel like you are the man when you are not. Voicing out further interest becomes unnecessary or at least that’s how you feel.

But the tragedy is that when someone else comes with a stronger and more direct approach and steals the love of your life away, there is usually little you can do about it.

images (3)So how do we avoid being condemned to the friendzone.

My approach is this…..while we are building the friendship, as early as possible, I start suggesting to the person that I could be wanting more. I look out for their response to what I say. Does she welcome it, or does she despise the idea? I use jokes to suggest that I want more and sometimes I just bring up discussions that will put me in positions to tell them about my strategy of ‘building friendships into relationships’ and then indirectly suggest it to them using tactics such as using them as direct examples. I highlight their qualities that make them not just good friends but potential girlfriends/spouses. From there on you can start building the Mo. till it climaxes into a serious proposal.

Has it worked so far? Well I just started this technique and you’d have to give me a little more time to know. If it doesn’t, I’d definitely let you know.

You-think-being-friend-zoned-is-bad-gale-hawthorne-32219045-444-536

PS: This article was originally written in September 2014….strategy execution has been poor from my side….so I’ll just say that I am still building my Mo. lol

purposeday

If there is something that is often spoken about and generally agreed upon by motivational speakers, pastors, life coaches, etc., it would be the subject of purpose. The reason isn’t farfetched. It is one of the most important concepts of life. It is its discovery that gives meaning and focus to our lives. And that is why it is said that a man who is yet to find that one thing he is willing to die for is not fit to live.
It is an obvious fact that we are created beings and not biological or evolutionary accidents like some would argue. Neither is the world. The bible gives credible accounts in the book of genesis of how we and our world came to be and even though it’s not a firsthand personal witness account……something deep down within us agrees with its facts that there is a supreme being somewhere who made all these happen.
Therefore, like every other created thing. We are created for a purpose. There is a reason God created every one of us. Every product before its manufacturing has an intended need it is produced to solve; so do we. And it’s said that when the purpose of a thing isn’t known abuse (abnormal use) is inevitable. Invariable thus, the key to maximizing our lives and potentials; to making impact and achieving greatness is in discovering and attaining purpose.
Among more enlightened circles the pursuit of purpose is a common goal. But I discovered something funny from a recent peak performance class I attended. The facilitator spoke about purpose. He then decided to ask some people in the audience which claim to have discovered what their purpose is. Many people were very proud to say theirs. ‘I am created to shine light for the whole world to see” said one. “I am called to draw people out of darkness and show them the part God wants them to play in life” said another. Many others too were said but just like the first two I’ve given….they were all saying the same thing using different words. I dare you to try the exercise as well……your findings are 85% certain to be the same.
This could only mean either of two things. First is that we all have the same purpose in life. Or second, most people who claim to have discovered purpose really don’t have yet a clear grasp of it. The former when looked from a perspective is very true. There is a general purpose to every man and is along the line of the examples I’ve given. (there are scriptural references to back this up); and the latter isn’t too far from the truth as well maybe because the term purpose is a very broad and sometime ambiguous concept for which most of the time we might only know in part (1cor 13:) .
Either way, this led me to seeking a different perspective and approach to the pursuit of the purpose of our lives. Now I need you to pay attention here. Most of time when we are asked what our purpose is…..our minds often tend to fly over many years into our future..10, 20, 40, and sometimes even 60 years down the line. We think about what God wants us to be doing then and where God wants us to be then.
While that is not wrong or false, a lot can happen within one year that could be the very reason on why you won’t find yourself where you have dreamed of.1 year is too long a period for us to just fly over just like that. The question I ask is:
What happens before the future….what comes before tomorrow? The answer is now; today!
Like said, today is the gift from God so that we can live the tomorrow we’ve always dreamed of. Tomorrow is but a product of the thoughts and actions of today.
A famous bishop in Nigeria is noted for saying when asked about the level of success of their ministry that “I am not surprised about where we find ourselves today, if we were not here at this level, I’d have been surprised”. Why would he have said such a thing?
First is that success isn’t something that accidentally jumps on you; second would be because they walked in light of what I’m sharing about the subject purpose.
I believe purpose isn’t just what God will have you do in the future; it was rather what God will have you do per time. Your life isn’t composed of your future alone; it is composed of every single day of your life. And since God didn’t create a purpose of your future alone…he created a purpose for your life. Therefore pursuit of purpose shouldn’t be about what I will be dong in the future…but about what you ought to do per time.
Life is lived one day at a time. The same God who created you and I created also the times and seasons. He creates the day and the nights. I believe each day has its own God ordained purpose for us. It day; we would also be fulfilling the is my submission therefore that if we can be diligent enough to discover and fulfill the purpose of the day each day; we’d also be fulfilling the purpose of our lives. And then, 10, 20, 50, or 60 years down the line, when we loo and examine our lives, we’d be able to say just like that bishop that I am not surprised at my success or where I am today….if was not here, then I’d have been surprised.
Live each day of your life purposefully. Do what you are required to do. Wherever you find yourself per time, make sure you do to our best ability whatever you find in your hands. Gradually and steadily, bigger opportunities will come your way and the days will take you further towards the big dreams that have always lingered in your heart. Remember, this is only a perspective to examine your life’s purpose from…..it’s not all there is to it to purpose. But I believe its basic and simple enough to help you discover and maximize your God ordained purpose in life. Purpose is not something that will happen; it is something that is happening. So whether today is Monday, or Friday, or Wednesday; don’t forget that every day is purposeday. Succeed! It’s in you.
Soaga Afolabi O

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the blessing of a disability: a fable!

Everyone I’ve had to share this story with had a good laugh and also a great lesson to go home with. Today, I want you also to have a taste of it. Its source is not known but its morale is similar to what the bible teaches when it tells us in Rom8:28 that we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good(MSG).
The story starts with a powerful king of an ancient city and his faithful friend who seemed to have a quite disturbing problem. This friend that I’d today call tony for the sake of identification, had a problem of not being able to see anything bad in any situation. To every event and occurrence in his life, tony would always respond by saying “It is good; it is in fact very good”. This had always disturbed this powerful and sometimes irrational royal friend of tony, but he never paid any attention to it until one faithful day.
Tony on that day crossed the limit of his friend’s patience while they were on their usual hunting spree in the thick of the forest. A wild beast attacked the king and bit off his right thumb. The king struggled to deliver himself from the beast’s grip with little or no help from tony but had to settle with his thumb forever gone, and his blood spilling all over the place…. To his great displeasure, all tony responded with was his usual saying “my king and friend, this is good; it is in fact very very good”.
Not the kind of thing anyone would want to hear after losing a member of the part of his body, the king got a little infuriated rebuking his friend and his comment for as far as he was concerned, there is nothing good about losing one’s finger. But like I said, this is something Tony seemed unable to help. So he maintained his position. “This is good my king” he kept on saying.
By the time they got back to the city, the king had it full and was fed up with his very uncompassionate and unreasonable friend and so ordered him to be locked away in the dungeon till further notice. Anything to keep his friend’s constant ‘it-is-good’ nagging would be fine he thought especially when this friend has refused to be unrepentant about this.
And so many months passed, perhaps even years. Many waters passed under the bridge and the king had gotten used to being without his friend. Deep hunting was the king’s hobby and was ingrained in his character and so in the absence of his imprisoned friend, the king had to do it all by himself.
On one of those faithful days, the king encountered yet another misfortune. This time not with a wild beast, but rather with people of his own kind but who had a habit of eating people. We call them cannibals. The brave king could not fight himself out of this one and so he found himself in the cannibal’s tribe camp in front of this massive pot about to be cooked.
As they stripped him of his hunting costume and dressed him like a Christmas or thanksgiving chicken about to be launched into the cooking oven, one of them noticed that the king was thumb-less. The unfortunate day turned out to be fortunate for the king because it was an abomination for the people of that tribe to eat anything that was not whole or complete. To their greatest disappointment, they had to release the naked man to go. The king managed to cover his nakedness a bit and made his way back to his palace.
After such a dramatic near death experience, understandably, the next few days were ones of deep reflection for the king. As he settled back to his daily routine, the king remembered again his old friend whom he threw into prison. He remembered the circumstances that surrounded that and remembered his famous words that made him irrationally lock up his friend. He had now come to agree with his friend that losing his thumb that day was a good thing because that singular ‘lil-evil’ prevented him from the greater evil of losing his whole life.
With deep remorse, he asked that his friend be released from the prison for he had treated him unjustly. While the king was still contemplating in what manner he’d apologize and try to make it up to his old friend, tony sprang in once again shouting and screaming what has become his trade mark saying “it is good, it is very good”. Neither the sight nor demeanour he expected from his friend whom the king knew had by now heard of the story of how he was saved by his ‘prophecy’ years ago; tony whom the king expected to be angry and gloomy was bubbling with sincere joy and happiness. ‘My dear king, it is good!!!” he kept on saying.
“I can understand that you are happy that I’m alive and well and that is good. But it is certainly not good that I locked you up all this while for saying something that turned out to be true after a long time”. This time around, the king would demand an explanation from his friend.
Like someone who had thought well about the question while spending his lonely days in the dark dungeon where he had been locked up all these while as if he were expecting the question, tony responded with a spontaneous sporadic but yet sound answer.
“Well my king, it is good that you lost thumb that day because clearly it has saved your life this time. Also, it is also good you locked me up because that also has saved my life. If you hadn’t, it would have been both of us hunting that day….they would have captured us both. You are incomplete, I am not….they would have released you while me…….uhmmm, you know what would have happened to me!” then he added, “my king, it really is good……in fact, very, very good.”
The morale of this interesting story is this. There is always something good about everything that happens to us. In comming to terms with this truth, we’d learn to be more grateful and appreciative of the situations that life throws our way. Even when we can’t seem to see any good in those things in the present, we can believe this that good can and will come out of them in the future.
This helps us live life enthusiastically. Enthusiasm stems from the greek word entheous; which means God within. That’s the kind of force and spirit we need to live the God life here on earth and secure the God-kind of victoty over our adversities.
Let me leave you with what joseph said in Gen 50:20. “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now–life for many people.”
It’s possible that Joseph probably heard this fable too, or maybe it was tony that read the bible. But they both were able to see and focus on the silver lining in their dark skies and were both successful at the end. You too should. Have a blessed week!

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diversity of failure

In joshua 1vs8, the bible made mention of the compound word ‘good success’. Thanks to many charismatic preachers, we have been able to establish that if there is good success, then there must be other types of success.
Failure could be said to be the opposite of success. And if what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, then failure too could be said to have various forms.
Below are some. They could be more and with time I would update the list. But these few should suffice for now and pass a message across.

1. Successful failure:(noun) a man who fails to plan, plans to fail. Such a man succeeds well at his failure.

2. Complete failure: (noun)a man who because he is trying to please everybody fail at his task and also at his desire and intention to please everybody because everybody can’t be pleased.

3. Renowned failure: (noun)a man who is known for his failure by himself and sometimes by others simply because he fails to learn from them and as such, continues to repeat them. Such a man could also be called A fool.

That would be all for now. You could add your own in the comment space below. The message here is to not be any of the stuffs described above.

So plan so you don’t end up being a successful failure, realize all men can’t be pleased so don’t live life solely to please people so you don’t end up a complete failure and learn so you don’t earn yourself a name as a renowned failure.
Succeed!
Soaga Afolabi O.

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my tale of frank dunga..(my job interview)

Life they say can only be understood backwards, but we need to live it forward. I have had to live life forward these past few days and it has been one experience that will linger in my memory for a while. Here is my own frank dunga’s tale from my first job interview on Monday. It’s not really a story but rather a lesson….enjoy!

At the conclusion of my interview on monday, my interviewer asked me the lethal and sometimes dreadful interview question, ‘do you have any questions?’ After all these years of reading about interviews, and watching them in movies (and short funny clips like frank dunga on ndani tv), I had only one sincere question lingering in my heart….’ How did I fare?’ His response wasn’t startling neither was it flattering (like I would have loved it to), he simply said ‘not too bad!’

One question. Is that a good assessment or is it a bad one. Of course, I’d get differing response if I throw it to people. Beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder. In this case, our ‘half-full’ brothers will say “that’s good stuff…be optimistic!”, while our ‘half-empty’ fellas will say “better go look for another job, you’ve lost that already”. But then I like to say, “there are some beauties that appeal to the eye of every beholder”, Just as there is a way your cup would be filled that even a lying pessimist can’t and won’t say it is empty in any way…….my point exactly is this, if he had replied “you did excellently well; I’m impressed”….we would all agree that the interview was a success.

I am here today to just possibly state how I could have done better and how I could have gotten a better answer than not too bad… as I tried understanding life backwards during my reflections afterwards, I discovered some probable reasons why he didn’t say “you did great!” Or that “you were fantastic” or something else than … “not too bad”.

First thing is preparation. Yeah, yeah, that is not something new. Any book or article geared at prepping you for an interview would have told you the same thing. I knew that too from books long before I had to go for the interview..….but today I learnt it practically from an experiential stand point and that’s why I’m saying I again. Performance is always a function of preparation. The better prepared you are, the better you will likely perform. There is almost no way you can do well at an interview if you are not prepared for it. When I woke up on Monday, I had no idea I was going to be interviewed…I thought I was going to resume to a job I had already gotten so I wasn’t prepared to answer what I would call the expected questions I was asked. (most of the questions asked were the normal questions interviewers ask…..why should I hire you, what are your strengths and weaknesses, tell us about an instance when you solved a problem, blah, blah, blah). I also wasn’t soooo dressed. I had not eaten, I had travelled a long distance, I was sweating, probably smelly, I just wasn’t that alright and so I count myself blessed and helped to have gotten a ‘not too bad’.

2. Be relaxed. These people are …….are people. Yes people. Mere people. They eat like you do, sleep like you do, use the toilet and even fart like every other human on earth. Relate with them as people. Be organized and composed. The earth isn’t about to end even though a new world is about to begin for you. Let your face reflect this. Find whatever way you can to relief yourself from tension and anxiety. One thing that can help is getting aquainted with other people around and if possible with your interviewer (a compliment on his dressing and look will most likely earn you a smile…and a smile from your interviewer should do the magic on you), but don’t cross your limit line.

Next, Pause and think before you answer. I rushed many of my answers that day and so they sounded less impressive. One reason is probably because I didn’t get past my lesson2 from the previous paragraph (being relaxed). Take enough time…be articulate, audible and exhume some sense of confidence.

Point4. Think outside the box…..don’t be limited in your reasoning…explore every option you’ve got. Any sign of restricted thinking would usually be resented and will score you low points. Most organizations are looking for problem solvers and problem solving most times requires outside the box thinking.

Know your CV. Once you enter the room and they have your CV in front of you, the first they want to do is verify all you have written there. So they’d ask you about it. For most of you that have had other people write very impressive Cvs for you, the least you can do for yourself is familiarize yourself with what they have written. You don’t have to cram what is there word for word, but make sure you know it.

Know what you are applying for. It is almost always certain they’d ask you some questions about the organization and also the post you are applying for. If not everything about it….at least some key things. They don’t expect you to know everything but they expect you to know something. It boils down to the first thing I mentioned- preparation. They expect that part of the preparation you should do for a job post interview is to learn about the job. Yes, they’ll train you after you get the job…but if they are to choose between a ready-made product and a clueless fella, I’m sure you know who they’ll pick. (not all the time though :))

Interviews are all about impressing people. It’s not a time for false humility. You need to show them why it should be you and not someone else. If you can impress well enough, you’d probably earn their approval. So don’t get all complacent with false humility and all…be competitive, give it your best shot, be on the top of your game. Interview I repeat is a game of impression and recommendations. Recommendation is a function of impression. So, When they get to your home-zone(i.e. the area of your strength and passion), make the most of it….impress them there. They’d probably still like you if they see that you know something very well even if you don’t know everything they ask you well and even if it is not what relates most to the job you are applying for. It shows that you can learn something and so you can be taught if given the chance.

You need favour…..so act accordingly. I wrote once about the favour/labour market(see article in previous posts). Favour isn’t something that responds to prayers only….certain things are favour magnets. Use them. One of them is courtesy, politeness, skill, intelligence, and even confidence. But you must learn to draw the line between pride and confidence, intelligence and arrogance. While one attracts favour, the other would attract dis-favour and wrath.

And to wrap this up, I’d say the God factor is also very important. Yeah yeah, I know it sounds all churchy and all, but like I love to say, I can’t separate my faith/belief from what I say, write, do and think. God helped me because despite my ‘not too bad’ performance that day ……I got called up!

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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coded tunes

Today, I’ll be giving my view or my take on the subject music. There has been a lot of talk about this subject particularly in recent years especially with the increased popularity of the conspiracy of the NWO( new world order) and the illuminati. I am not about to add to the list of materials about the dirty underground of the music and entertainment industry, but rather to show you how powerful music can be and why you shouldn’t listen to certain ones. There is no scientific research to my submissions here, just reports of my deep reflections and thoughts. Please, don’t just spare me your time by reading this, follow me closely as well and any comment or question afterwards can be kindly submitted at the appropriate corner at the bottom.

Before suggesting what kind of song is right or wrong, lets take an wholistic view of what a song entails first. Every song has two broad sides to it. The first side is the tune and the second is the lyrics. Most songs are like this although some have just one of this component. Both of these two sides tend to work wonders on us simultaneously.
I believe the tune or the instrumental works to soften the heart or excite it depending on the kind of genre you are listening to and the tempo of the song. But whether at a soften or excited state, the tune leaves the heart vulnerable. Thereby, it creates an opening into it; an opening for information or other ‘coded signals’ to penetrate through.
The lyrics on the other hand conveys the information the singer is trying to pass across. Words are what make up lyrics( most times that is) and words carry more than information, they are vehicles that transport attitudes, feelings, beliefs and infact spirits.
And so the trick is this, the tune is like a fore runner that prepares the way and creates an opening into the heart while the lyrics transport whatever its loaded with into the hearer.
It is generally said that we retain more of what we hear than what we read. True! Its been proven that even that which we retain in quality and quantity is tremendously boosted when there is a coded tune(music) behind it. This is the principle and reason behind teaching nursery students with rhymes. As they sing along, they unconciously learn along.
music is a very serious something and its something we shouldn’t take likely. one of the most powerful conditioning tools I know is music. Haven’t you notice that you remember and sing certain songs with ease that you didnt make delibrate efforts to learn. There are certain songs that I hate and won’t listen to for very obvious reasons that I can sing very well simply because it was played and I slightly over-heard it.
Words are quite powerful. They could mean the difference between life and death, war and peace, joy and sadness. With them God made the world and with them we can destroy or build up things. Like earlier said, they are like vehicles that convey things from speaker to hearer. Every characteristic we could ascribe to words we can also do the same with lyrics since lyrics are primarily made up of words.
Permit me to refrence a portion of the scripture that said that “as he spoke to me, the spirit entered into me”(Eze 2:2). I believe every lyric is inspired by some spirit or force, either good or bad for either good or bad. The operations of the tune and lyrics isn’t something you can conciously monitor and separate like most people claim to do by saying ‘its just the beat, I’m grooving to’ as they move almost with you not being concious at all. These spirits, attitudes, feelings and beliefs enter in stealth mode without any prior notice and then proceed to condition the mind of its hearer. They sow thoughts, thoughts generate actions, actions turn into habits and habits reap you a destiny either good or bad. Most people dont usually know how certain patterns are factored into their lifestyle but just find that their lives are producing after an order contrary to what they planned or desired and they cant help it.
This isn’t a campaign for you to change your playlist but rather an attempt to make you realize what longterm effects some songs can have on you. It is my gospel that what determines the appropraiteness of a song is the content of its lyrics.(And to some extent, the singer of the song as words and meanings could be very different at times. We’d talk about this some other time) so whether its blues, RnB, jazz, rock, afrojuju or fuji, if the words they are right and edifying or at least not damaging and destructive, then the song is right for you.
In subsequent posts, I’ll share more views on this. I hope you have enjoyed this. Please don’t forget to drop any comment, question or contribution below. Kindly reshare also on any social media platform you belong to. God bless.

i wont give my life to christ, pls dont give yours!!!

WARNING: this piece is hazardous to the religious mind of a Christian. Reader’s discretion is advised. 🙂
I have spent the past 5 years of my life as a student of the prestigious and highly religious Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy, ile-ife, Nigeria. About 2 to 3 years of that time, I served as a pastor to a campus fellowship…… a responsibilty I’m pleased to have been trusted with because it gave me a platform to bless people. Those were perhaps the best periods of my life. Having said that, something like what I titled this piece many would reason should not be heard from my lips and many of my friends and colleagues will be deeply surprised and some disappointed I am posting something like this. Despite all, I choose to maintain and stand upon what I’ve said; it isn’t a mistake, I won’t give my life to Christ and if you stick to this a little longer you’ll know why and probably opt to do the same.
First, I searched through the KJV bible (using my e-sword) and shockingly, I did not see ‘literarily’ anywhere in which Jesus asked me to give my life to him (methodology: type give your life to christ( or me) in your bible search engine and scroll through the results if you find any). I searched the epistles again which I personally attach a lot of importance to and disappointingly I still couldn’t find any such request or instruction there. Desperate to be convinced, I opened the highly contemporary THE MESSAGE translation hoping someone would have sneaked in something king James mistakenly omitted but it was still the same story.
All my life as a Christian, I’ve seen and heard many preachers (myself inclusive) ask people to give their lives to Christ. All that while all of them seemed to have used a bible when preaching but now I wonder which bible they got that idea from because I can’t seem to find it in mine.
I then decided to do something else. I replaced the ‘g’ from give with an ‘L’ to get the word live. I re-did my search and this time I came across some scriptures and I’ll love to point your attention to the one below
2Co 5:15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.
(AMP) emphasis mine

We are asked to live for him rather than give our lives to him. Now, this is the point I get to say that living for Christ and giving our lives to him pretty much mean the same thing. It’s just plain semantics but I believe it got some people’s attention but before you get at me for that let me now also state and explain the point I am really trying to get across. What I really want to bring out here however is that our life is meant to be lived not given away. God gave us life so we can live it and not just keep it or store it up somewhere.
Here is the problem with ‘giving our lives to Christ’. Most people who have this mentality tend to fall into either of these 2 groups. The first group are those who claim with their mouths to have ‘given Christ their life’ but who then go behind and take it back by the way the live that life. They are the ones who live life as they please with no regard for the precepts and instructions of God (they place all the importance on the moment they ‘confessed Christ’ and have no regard for the period after that).
The second group are the ones who ‘give their life to Christ and refuse to do anything else with it. They prefer to leave it all to him so he could do it all for them (looking at this closely, most people here do it not out of love for God but rather out of fear of hell and a selfish desire to have him do things for them). Many people that live with this give-away mind-set refuse to really live life. They are the heavenly-conscious-earthly-irrelevant-people who have trusted their lives in God’s hand waiting for Jesus second coming and doing all they can to avoid the world, its people and its system so as not to get ‘corrupted’ with the sins of this world. They won’t go into politics, entertainment, business or anything. They are okay with just getting by….they sing ‘this world is not my own, I’m going home one day to meet my God’.
So its like 2 extreme positions. Those that are over-living and those that are not living at all. Once again, balance is our problem.
Really like Dr Myles Munroe said, there is indeed no greater burden than freedom as freedom requires the highest level of responsibility. Christ has bought us freedom. However, he didn’t pay the price of his life so that we can be dummies and robots for him, rather like the verse above said, he wants us to live our lives for him. See this…..he lived because of us and died/ gave his life FOR us so we can die to self first and then LIVE FOR him. Christ expects us to be responsible enough to live right, choose right and by our living, reveal his love and wisdom to the world, spread his gospel, all of which will eventually bring glory to his name.
So salvation is not an escape route from hell as some people view it, but rather a door into a new life of kingdom responsibility. God wants us to live life and do good works here on earth while we are at it. He didn’t ask us to receive him only to wait till when he’ll return to receive us, but rather that we should get busy living our lives to establish his kingdom here on earth. In essence, the essence of salvation is not so that you will make heaven but beyond that, that we should create heaven here on earth for others around us thereby leading them in the process to God.
Jesus instructed in Luke19:13b that we occupy till he comes. In other words he was saying get busy with living life! Jesus was telling you here not just to give your life to him, fold your arms and expect him to keep it for you only, but rather that you live your life, unleash your potentials, make impact, and Achieve Greatness.
Let me state it clearly again as I conclude. Giving your life to Christ and living your life for Christ really mean the same thing. I made that decision for him a while back and it is the best I’ve made so far and I stand by it. What I have tried to point out is the problem having a ‘give your life to’ mind-set creates. It produces Christians who are either living life in their own terms with no regard to God’s will and desire, or Christians who have decided to stay alive but stop living life because Jesus is coming soon. If you fall into any of the 2 camps, you need to get out now! Start living life and this time live it for him. To do that, you’ll have to ‘die’ to self first so you can begin to live for a greater cause (john12:24-25). Remember he lived first and then he died and now he lives for ever. So live for him on earth, be his representative, touch lives, make impact, create an heaven experience for those around you, invade the systems and take over them for God, bless your generation and leave your foot prints on the sand of time. Christ’s finished work avails you all these and more. To whom much is given much is expected…. Achieve greatness.
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun
@inspireda4

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favour magnet in the labour market

My days in the university are numbered. In a couple of weeks, I’d be writing my final examinations. For me and I believe I can say the same for most of my colleagues, these are the periods we begin to intensify our preparations for the next phase. Life is a continuous ccle of ends and beginnings; the end of one phase is usually the beginning of another. Our school having held us and trained us for the past few years is about to release us into a whole new system/world. Generally, that place is called the labor market, but my darling Christian brothers and sisters over here like to call it the favour market. Today, I’ll be discussing what really makes the labour market favorable to you which is what really draws our favour from men towards you in life.

Favour indeed is sweet. It adds flavor to your labour. Encarta defines it as an act of service granted out of goodwill. It is really a wonderful thing to have. It’s so important, the bible refered to it as one of those things that characterized the ministry of Jesus and one of those things that made it successful (luke2:52)l. And like many other good things, we religious folks like to pray for it.(I’m not pointing fingers here because even if I am, my remaining four fingers point back at me…..i too pray for favour and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.)

But then, without underestimating the power of prayer, I know too well that certain things don’t respond to prayer alone. When you are hungry, you don’t pray to be filled; you get food and eat. If you are naked, don’t ask God to clothe you, get to your wardrobe and put something on. if you need money, a night vigil won’t send dollars from heaven ( Kenneth Hagin told us that that would be counterfeit money and God isn’t a fraudster and so he won’t send you such), you need to get out there and work…. So also favour, there are certain things that I saw could attract favour to man just like a nectar attracts bees to flowers..

Eccl9:11 is an excellent part of scripture. It is often quoted but most times not completely. You must have heard people say stuff like… ‘the battle isn’t to the strong, the race isn’t to the swift, blah blah blah, but time and chance happens to them all’. Once again I’m not pointing fingers, I do that too. But in that ‘blah blah blah’ lies a very strong opinion often not noticed. King Solomon there said, ‘ favor isn’t always to men of skill’. This was like a jackpot for me when I saw this because it tells me plainly the password of unlocking the access-way into favour in life.
Let me try giving a brief explanation of that scripture. It is saying that there are times when the stronger fighter loses a fight, and the faster man loses a race, because like one translation puts it ‘bad luck happens to everybody’. But then, on a normal day which of course most days are, a fight is a test of strength and so victory is a function of how strong you are relatively. A race is likewise a test of speed and so ordinarily the swifter runner gets the prize. This also applies to the other three things mentioned.

My obvious point is that IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN GETTING FAVOUR, DON’T JUST PRAY…..SKILL UP. When you are skilled, men will seek to favour you. The popular scripture of a man’s gift making way for him is applicable here to back this up. Now consider this: Have you ever had someone come to you for help and then maybe because you genuinely don’t have what they want, you turn them down? But imagine your favorite sportsman come to you to ask for help; if you love soccer imagine it’s a Lionel Messi. You wont think it twice before you agree to. Even if its beyond what we can ordinarily do for them, most of us would go the extra length to make it happen for them. That’s the power skill has over favour. Men respond to skill with favour like paper responds to fire with burning.
Check through scripture….everytime favour from men and for men was mentioned, look well around those verses you’d see some kind of skill playing a part or role in the scene. Esther was skilled in peagantry, joseph in interpretation of dreams, Daniel was smart, jesus was a skilled preacher and a miracle worker. They all had something they could offer men that made men respond to them favorably. They all have a testimony of favor but another common thing to them is that they were all skilled men. They didn’t just have something…..they were outstanding at what they had. And this takes us to the concluding part of this episode.

skill is not talent. It is the ability to do something well and that ability is usually gained through training and experience. Talent is never enough. You must develop it and make it go through a refining process so it could be useful and thus attractive to men just like raw gold is refined to unleash its real potentials. In my country, when a building is not completed, it attracts a kind of people…thieves, robbers, criminals, drug dealers and drug addicts, and even mad men. But that same building, after it’s finished attracts a different kind of people. Kings, rich people, business professional’s, politicians etc. same building, different conditions, different attraction. Our abilities are also like that…..we are all skilled in some way and so we all get favoured but at different levels that usually corresponds to the level of our skills.
To me and my colleagues world over about to leave school and join the labour or favour market; this is crucial. It is not enough we pray to get good jobs, we must be equipped enough for them. No organization in their right mind would see a right candidate for its position and turn him down. And this isn’t just for us, but for anyone that requires favor anywhere, skill can attract it for you.

So identify your field and your abilities…develop them into tradable skills and trade with them. Its my pleasure to inform you that if you do that, you could remove favour from one of those things you are seeking because it will desperately be seeking you back.
Achieve greatness, its in you!
Soaga Afolabi

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clutter: guttermost or uttermost

What we call store room in most homes and offices is actually where we have chosen to keep all our clutters. Clutters refer to those numerous possessions we have but don’t really need, or those we no longer use but then for some strange reason or the other, have simply refused to dispose.
In elementary science, I remember being taught that matter is anything that has weight and occupies space. Well, I have reached a conclusion that this definition applies to our subject matter today. Clutters have weight and occupy precious space; Space that ought to be used for something else is what most of us use to store up unnecessary clutter. One obstacle to progress and increase in life I believe is clutter. Clutter isn’t meant to be kept, but rather thrown away. And the following few paragraphs will attempt to convince you on why you clear your homes, offices and yes heart of all that is unnecessary.
Although, Clutters generally refer to materials and stuffs, but in the context I am writing from, it could also mean habits, character behaviour, desires, goals and ambitions. The morale and what needs to be done is the same. Whether it’s an idle ambition or an old skateboard, or some familiar habit, or that old shirt in your wardrobe; all clutter pose the same problem and so require the same type of counter measure.
You have probably heard about the sermon on the old wine bottle and new wine (Luke 5). These 2 Jesus taught are non-compactible. They simply can’t go together. If new wine is gonna come, old wine bottle must go. And this applies also to other life in general because if new stuffs will come in, old stuffs must go. Unaware to most people, the Clutters we keep prevent new stuff from coming in. if new stuff meets clutter inside your home, there would be chaos everywhere. And so the new prefers to stay away until you make room for it.
But then, have you ever wondered why do people tend to keep clutter? I learnt something called the revealed preference hypothesis in micro economics. Basically, this says if the new is better, the new is preferred. And this is the psychological reasoning of every rational person. So everyone wants better and everyone wants the new. So if clutter keeps stuff from coming in, why do people still keep it? The great rabbi Jesus also reasoned along this line and proffered some answer to this. He explained that no one who takes the old wine straightaway desires the new because he will feel the old is better. This is a classical problem of the human mind.
This is what I call an illusion of abundance. It has been our general assumption that having is always better than not having and that half bread is always better than none. But in reality, half bread at times is what keeps full bread from coming in. our human nature of always wanting and acquiring has mis-programmed us such that we are deceived into thinking we have abundance when we don’t dispose unnecessary stuff away. But then, it is only an illusion because that abundance is of little or no use and so doesn’t profit or bring gain. The truth however is that plenty doesn’t always represent prosperity and there are times when less is more.
There is a law that says until there is a release, there can’t be an increase. Jesus told his disciples that there is a man that scatters and yet increases but another that gathers and yet tends to nothing. The illusion that this false abundance brings is only temporary because we soon discover (even though we mostly choose to disbelieve) that the clutters we have refused to let go of so it can cause new to come in soon becomes so stale that without choice it has to go but this time it is without the ability to reproduce and cause new things to come in.

Change is not always without pain and sacrifice but still yet it is one thing I life that is inevitable. Everything changes with time either for the better or the worse. When we don’t allow for positive change that though painful, makes us better; then negative change which is even more painful would be imposed on us.
A seed needs to be killed for it to reproduce. A seed not released and sowed (killed) cannot reproduce itself. And seed just like opportunities have life span. When stored longer than necessary, they become stale and unable to reproduce. When your seed goes stale, it becomes a total loss. You can make that clutter a seed. Its your choice; will you rather sow it and let it multiply or keep it while it decays and rusts away.
In conclusion, your old wine or clutter are not necessary bad things or spoilt things nor are they bad habits or failed goals and ambitions. They could be good stuff. They don’t just refer to obsolete possessions of yours; in fact at times they might still very useful stuff. Yet, we still need to let them go. Realize this, the best enemy of the best at times is the good and so if we let go of these good stuffs, better ones can come.
The message here is to clear our clutter. Get rid of the unnecessary and stale. Give away the ones you can, sell some and others are best in the dustbin. Check your habits too. Some don’t make for greatness. Get rid of them too. Re-examine your vision, goals and ambition. Some of them need to be re-casted; others are just not in tune with what God as revealed to you as his intentions for you. No matter how wonderful they are, let them go. Re-appraise your knowledge base. The illiterate of this century are not those who can’t read or write, but rather those that can’t learn, un-learn and re-learn. Equip your mind and be willing to let some things go so that better ones can come in.
To go up, we need to give up. When we release we increase. When we clear our clutter, it moves us from the gutters to the utters of life. It teleports us from the lowest grounds we might have been struggling in to life’s peak and zenith. It’s your time to shine. Succeed
Soaga Afolabi

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