The Village Doesn’t Know…

The family is the smallest unit of the society. Every society is made up of products of families. We can safely say that if there were no families, there would be no societies.

Robert Sandifer was already stealing cars and breaking into houses by the age of eight. He was a killer by the time he was eleven years old and was himself murdered by members of his gang shortly afterwards in 1994. His mother, Lorina  Sandifer was arrested over 30 times while prostituting, a number of which were drug-related. Robert Akins (Sandifer’s father) was absent throughout his life.

This looks like a very extreme example of what could go wrong in a child’s life but there is every possibility that things could have been different if both parents were present and responsible. The troubles and crisis we have in society today are not caused by spirits but humans raised in our societies. So if members of the society are brought up as responsible citizens with decent moral standards, we may have a healthier society.

There is an African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Loosely interpreted, it means the whole community is involved in the upbringing of a child.

But these days, it appears the village doesn’t really know how to raise a child.

The village doesn’t know when children are old enough to be exposed to media with adult content.

The village thinks if it is called a children’s TV program then children of all ages can watch.

The village thinks it’s cool to buy grades for children.

The village thinks effrontery trumps honour and respect for elders in the village square.

The village is confused about what age children should be exposed to tech gadgets.

The village is not sure if it is to raise the child to be a man or a woman.

The village doesn’t know what is true about God and what isn’t.

The village thinks money must be gotten at any cost and that everything including love can be bought with money.

The village thinks we should celebrate people irrespective of how they have earned their status.

The village does not know how not to raise rapists, racists, con men, kidnappers or terrorists.

The village doesn’t know the difference between excellence and mediocrity.

The village doesn’t know what love, fairness and equity means.

The village does not know what is wrong with jungle justice

The village does not know…

So, should we leave our children to be trained by the clueless village? Or should we create a new village? Or should we train OUR children in the way they should GO?

Parents today are concerned about protecting their children from rapists, racists and bandits. But parents should also check that they themselves are not raising rapists, racists and bandits in their homes.

Parenting must be deliberate, particularly in this age.

We must model the right behaviour because children learn by example and observation. We must instruct, guide, mold and correct in love.

Food for thought: What is your contribution to grooming the future of the society?

Grandmaster

There is a Patek Philippe watch called the Grandmaster Chime. It spent about 7 years in development. For the brand’s 175th anniversary, only seven of a special edition of this watch were made. Six of them were sold and the last one is on display in the Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva. If you would want to wear one of these Patek Philippe watches, you might have to cough out 1.9 million pounds. In fact, one of them was even offered recently for 50 million dollars. That’s not all. You can’t just buy one because you have the money. You would be put on a queue, sometimes as long as eight years. You would be evaluated to see if you qualify to wear the watch. So it is beyond your money. They want to be sure you have the class. They also want to be sure you would wear it and not just buy and sell it at a higher price. Yes, it is an asset too! These investment pieces are usually kept and passed down from generation to generation. The perfection of this watch like other Patek Philippe watches is measured in microns. For context, one of your hair strands is about 100 microns, so imagine the precision involved in making one of the watches. Making one of the watches could take from 9 months to 2 years (all handmade). Patek Philippe is not just one of the most expensive brands in the world for nothing. They earned it. There is attention to detail, a tradition of innovation and a standard of excellence that is difficult to match. They have done far more than the traditional watch maker does to stand out and be where they are today.

So the question to you and I is, “What are you willing to do to stand out?”

You may want to have a YouTube video that has over 1 billion views like Ed Sheeran or Justin Bieber? Or have over 300 worldwide patents to your name like Dr. Lola Awoniyi-Oteri. Or win 5 or 6 Ballon d’Or awards like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Are you giving what it takes to lead the pack?

Let’s get some insights from Patek Philippe. Pay attention to details — fine details matter. Innovation is important — there is always a better way of doing things. Bring the edge of excellence to whatever you do — it is a moving target but it makes a better you.

Have a productive week!

The Quiet Eye

If you think about any outstanding sports person you know, he or she most probably has developed the quiet eye. The quiet eye is defined as the stare behaviour of the eye just before movement, particularly when an activity requires a pinpoint aim. It is the concentration and focus of the eye particularly when an activity or task requires inch-perfect accuracy. It is a focus void of distractions and noise. It is what researchers have discovered distinguishes top grade performers from the rest of the pack.

Studies have been conducted on sports men and women to see the role the quiet eye plays in winning. In an experiment conducted by Joan Vickers in the University of British Columbia, she connected a group of professional golfers to a device that precisely monitored their eye movements as they putted their balls. She discovered that the greatest athletes kept their eye on the ball longer than others did, no matter the pressure they felt. The same is said for other elite athletes in other sports such as basketball, football, tennis and archery, who have been studied. They keep their eyes on the goal or target longer than others who tend to have fixations lasting for shorter periods of time.

Most of us would probably have one or more favourite sport personalities, that is, if you have any interest in sports. Most likely, we love these people because of the successes they have achieved or the uniqueness they bring to the sport.

Every athlete or sports person will tell you about the discipline, pain, sweat of competing and the joy of winning. They would also tell you about the power of focus and how important it is to block out all distractions for the big moment. They know what it means to be ‘in the zone’.

We may not all be athletes or sports aficionados but we can use the quiet eye. I consider the quiet eye as the sum of all we do just before we make a significant move or decision. It could be making a business decision, writing an exam or pitching an idea. We need the highest level of concentration and focus to hit the mark. Lucidity and precision are usually the end results of the quiet eye.

The quiet eye stays calmly focused on the goal or target irrespective of the pressure, stress or distraction around. The quiet eyes stays unusually composed and comfortable.

It is easier to stay focused when we do not feel much pressure. The problem comes when we are agitated, anxious, or under stress. At such moments, our concentration wanes and we tend to lose focus.

Think about what the quiet eye could mean to you and how you can apply it in shots you have to take in life. It could be taking time away from the crowd as you prepare for that major task, blocking out the anxious thoughts, mediating on the scriptures, shutting out social media distractions in that moment or maintaining a quiet mien just before your big moment. It could also be repeating a routine over and over again until you know that you are completely focused on the goal at hand.

You can get your mental gaze or stare under control to give you high performance results that distinguish you and your outcomes.

Lifelines Podcast

Episode 12 – New Year, New God Lifelines Podcast

How is the new year going to be? What's in store? Who is in charge?
  1. Episode 12 – New Year, New God
  2. Episode 11 – Calm down
  3. Episode 10 – My car is bigger than yours
  4. Episode 9 – Level Up
  5. Episode 8 – One degree

Do you have 20/10 vision?

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Some might think 20/20 vision is the best vision possible but no, it is just normal vision. If you have 20/10 visual acuity, your eyesight is twice as sharp as that of a person with normal (20/20) vision. There is just a small fraction of people in the world with 20/10 vision, possibly as low as 1%. These people have vision that is superior to that of the average person. They can see clearly at 20 feet what people with good vision can only see at 10 feet.

Studies say that about 35 percent of adults worldwide have 20/20 vision without any aids. With corrective measures, that number goes to 75 percent of the world’s adult population. This means averagely, most people can see normally with or without some assistance. There is however a very tiny percentage of people who have extraordinary vision. They have 20/10 vision or better. Yes, it is great to have such excellent vision because that would definitely be a plus in life. You might not achieve 20/10 vision with your physical eyes but you can achieve it with the eyes of your mind. Everyone around you might have normal vision but it is possible for you to have a keenness of perception that exceeds what is considered standard or normal.

Normal vision is what you get when everyone is doing the same thing, investing in the same thing, having the same perspective to life or discussing only what is immediately visible. 20/10 vision means we are able to predict at this time what the outlook of the decade would look like 5 years, 9 years or decades from now. In a world with so much competition, the ones who would get ahead are the ones who have got great foresight or sharper vision. These are people who do not just latch onto the trends of today but who can predict the trends and tides of the future.

If you are going to achieve blitzscaling in business, you are gonna need 20/10 vision or better. If you intend to get a sizeable chunk of the pie of the markets of the future, you are going to need more than normal vision or insight.

Today, people with 20/10 vision are asking questions about the future. How far would brain hacking go? What would molecular programming help us achieve? What would workplaces look like in 2045? What impact would automation have on management jobs? What would the impact of climatic change on personality types and emotions be? The list goes on…

So here are my tips for having a 20/10 vision mindset:

Be a voracious reader. Read books, articles, papers, etc related to the space you are interested in. Keep learning new things. Take online courses and do not just depend on a university degree. Sir Isaac Newton is reported to have said, ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants’. Reading helps you achieve that.

Give some time to hobbies and games. I am talking about hobbies and games that stimulate your thinking and provide pleasure at the same time. Scientific researches indicate that certain hobbies improve our intelligence, whether it is crystallised, fluid or emotional intelligence. They also help with our cognitive abilities. Generally speaking, these hobbies are good for our brain health. Reading, playing computer games (non-addictive mode), playing an instrument, learning new languages, board games are fantastic.

Move with the right people. Your capacity for growth is largely influenced by the people around you. They determine how far you can see and how far you can go. They influence your perspective and your mindset. It is good to link up with people who have what you like but don’t have. You could have different layers and categories of relationships but it is important that your strongest links are with people who are upward and forward thinking.

Travel some more. Travelling provides a window to the world in a way nothing else does. It provides opportunities for all your senses to be engaged and stimulated by new experiences. Ideas and possibilities can be transferred from one area to another. The result is a more informed and challenged mind that is able to see beyond the horizons of your comfort zone. Thankfully, the world is larger than our small community.  So get inspired by the sights and sounds of places different from the ones you are already used to.

Walk with God. The ultimate seer has a clear picture of the future in all dimensions. He is the one who sees all and it makes maximum sense to walk with Him. Hagar called Him the God who sees. Our finite minds could be screaming in our faces that we have limits but walking with God brushes those limits aside. You may not be the impressive visionary leader, you may not always start out with the full script but you can end up with the greatest story ever, making people think you had special powers all along. But you know that all you did was follow the Seer closely.

It is a crowded space already. So many people can do what most people are already doing. It is rare insights that would distinguish you and bring you greater revenue, clients or global appeal. We can begin to create solutions for the problems of the future. Let’s go for 20/10 vision!

Gates and Social Order

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Looking everywhere, one would see lawlessness and chaos all around in various forms. We seem to have this seemingly resistant strain of lawlessness infecting every fabric of our society, eating every fiber of our being. The stench from the resultant abscess is so offensive that citizens are denying their heritage, changing nationalities and pledging allegiance to other sovereignties. Every sphere of our lives is badly infected by this disease. You find its manifestation in the various arms of government, in business circles, in our civil affairs, in our religious houses and so on. It is everywhere! Because of lawlessness, several citizens do not enjoy essential amenities. Basic health care, standard education, good roads, stable power supply appear to be alien to our world. The law enforcement agencies also appear to be fueling lawlessness rather than curbing it. Anyone denying the fact that things are not right might be living in a self-created fantasy bubble.

With all sense of regard, I put the blame for this decadence and decay at the doorstep of the church. When I talk about the church, I am talking about you and I who call ourselves brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we are the church. Let’s stop pointing the finger at others. Every one of us is culpable!

The church should see itself as the custodian of the gates of the nation it resides in. Gates control what comes in or goes out. They determine what influences are in charge or what authority dominates the territory. The church has a responsibility to the nation it is a part of. It should superintend the forces that influence the various systems that make up our society. It must have a say in the establishment of social order in the nation.

This might seem a far cry from what actually obtains today, because so many people who call themselves Christians, Christian leaders inclusive, have their hands and feet terribly stained and unable to take their place at the gates. The whole breed now appears weak and powerless. And we watch helplessly as waves and waves of disorder and lawlessness pound the nation.

We talk and talk and end our discourses by saying ‘God help us’ or ‘It shall be well’. Yes, God has helped us and will continue to help us but what have we done about the situation? I am not immediately getting on the band wagon of ‘It’s not time for prayers, it’s time for action’. We must do the two. Any spiritually discerning person knows that the spiritual controls the physical. Nothing takes place in the physical domain that has not been determined in the spiritual realm. You can talk all you want, do all you can try to do, mobilize all you can,… if it is not sanctioned in the spiritual realm, it’s gonna crumble like a pack of cards.

The scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still as relevant today as it was 3000 years ago. If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

You might say we have been praying. But what really have we been praying about? Possibly, praying self-centred prayers, praying interest-based prayers, praying for food and raiment – prayers centred around our needs and lusts. But I know what selfless, united praying for the enthronement of God’s kingdom can do. I have witnessed the power of that too. We need to return to our place of authority at the gates and pray the will of God for our land. Let’s put aside our differences – our doctrines, denominations, tribal sentiments and personal lusts and pray out disorder and lawlessness and pray in an order of peace, justice, fairness and equity over Nigeria. Cast out from our territory the demons of chaos, lawlessness and disorder. Do this in your closet, in prayer meetings, music concerts, church services and everywhere you find yourself.

I am not quite done yet! If you are really going to have effective prayers, you have to have the right standing. You can’t be an agent of disorder and pray against lawlessness. You can’t be circumventing the laws of the land and pray for order. You can’t be using your position unfairly, breaking laws, abusing civility, suppressing justice and expect a change in our situation. We must deliberately decide to think right, speak right and do right. Only then will we have the leverage to determine our destiny and redeem our land.

I urge you wherever you are, to humble yourself, turn from any wicked way, pray the blessing and government of God over Nigeria and watch Him heal the nation. I tell you, when the spiritual contract is executed, all our positive physical efforts begin to yield results. We must pray. We must be upright and stand for justice and fairness. It will then be a reality that one will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand.

SELAH.

Photo by Annette Schuman on Unsplash

The Real Feel

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It’s about 3pm now and the temperature in Lagos according to AccuWeather is 30°C. The temperature in Abuja is 27°C. I also noticed there is another temperature reading called the Realfeel® temperature which is 35°C and 32°C for Lagos and Abuja respectively. The Realfeel® temperature reading is what the temperature really feels like on the skin. It can be warmer or colder than the actual temperature depending on the weather conditions. The Realfeel® temperature is determined using a number of factors including the temperature, humidity, cloud cover, sun intensity and wind. A lot of people prefer to use the Realfeel® temperature because it gives a sense of how they really feel.

Relating this to our economy, there is the report on the state of the economy based on certain key performance indicators, which the government of the day can churn out every now and then but there is also the real feel of the economy which the average man or woman on the street senses and which defines his or her perception of how well or poorly the economy is doing. The government can look at its KPIs and adjudge itself to be performing. It could talk about the increasing foreign reserves, the stable Naira exchange rate, the improvement in ranking for ease of doing business in the country. The government could boast of several arrests bordering on corruption charges. It could talk about the savings made in spite of the lower oil prices, the GPD growth or the addition of more power generation capacity.

But the real feel is what the man on the street perceives. It appears to gauge his survival chances. It is the perception of the woman who is hawking by the street corner to be able to provide a meal for her babies. It is about the experiences of the businessman or woman who considers himself or herself to be a fundamental part of the micro-economy of the nation. It is about the payment or non-payment of salaries, the availability of stable power when a loved one has to undergo a surgical procedure. It is about our hospitals, schools and businesses staying open or closed. It is about being able to move around freely or sleep soundly without fear of having an unwanted intrusion in your space. It is about having the assurance that your life as a citizen of the nation is as valued as you think you deserve. It is knowing that the benefits of your sweat-laced labour will be available to you when you need it. It is our primordial understanding of the economy based on other connected indices like security, justice reforms, the corruption index, international relations, etc.

Leadership and government in general must be relational. It must be sincere. It must help define the right perception of the economy for all. It must encourage the development of the right narratives for its most important stakeholder – the vulnerable citizen of Nigeria. It must be concerned about how the thoughts that weave the fabric of the future of the country are strung together. It must offer genuine hope and be actively seen to be committed to the peace and stability of the nation.

At this time in our nation when we remember our latest transition from military rule to the democratic form of government, our reflections would naturally centre around evaluating the gains of democracy. We would think about the dividends of democracy and once again look to the promises of a better future. Like a lady being courted, the citizens of Nigeria need the assurance that the best days are not just ahead but are here in our time. Happy Democracy Day!

©Godreigns Amedari

THIS WILL MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT LIFE

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At one time or the other, we have had to use tanks or hoses. For example, in places where water supply is not always guaranteed, it generally makes sense to get a tank or some form of container to store water when it is available so that there would be water to use when it is no longer available from the usual source. We have also used hoses to water our lawns, wash our cars or even siphon fuel (sorry to remind you of the dark and frightful days of petrol scarcity). In life, the tank versus hose analogy might apply to the human experience and may categorize us.

A tank usually has a fixed capacity while the capacity a hose can produce is dependent on the source it is connected to. You cannot put more into a tank than it is built to hold but a hose can have an unending flow through it as long as it stays connected to its source and it has its other end open. The hose never has to bother about how much content it can hold. It never has to bother about having content for itself. As long as it is willing to serve as a hose, it would always have content for itself and for its recipients. Not a bad lifestyle. I heard someone say, Givers never lack.

A tank is usually stationary but a hose moves around. The hose has the opportunity to see more of the world as it serves its purpose. I can imagine a conversation between it and a tank at the end of the day. The hose would have several stories to tell of the places it has been while the tank has a lamentation on how boring life has been looking through the same window. Wow, the life of a hose seems more exciting than that of the tank. Who wouldn’t want a fun-filled life?

The content of a tank can quickly become stale because it is the same of the same! But a hose would always have new content flowing through it. So while a tank is stuck with the same content, a hose gets to have something different flowing through it per time.

A tank can easily retain residue, requiring it to be emptied to be cleaned. The hose always has fresh content flowing through it. It is cleaned by the same process as its use. That is, as liquid flows through it, it is also cleaned. When we live our lives as tanks, we can easily collect unwanted residue and become unnecessarily burdened. In fact, the residue and filth could get so much that our capacity for what we were meant to carry becomes reduced. The hose doesn’t have to bother about such accumulation of residue. For the tank, to get it cleaned, you would usually have to have it drained of its content. Then you can clean it out. At such points, the tank is out of season. Maybe sometimes we feel like that. We feel worthless because we have to be cleaned out. If we were hoses, we might not have such low moments.

A tank could be on its own but a hose is most useful connected to a source. If a tank is filled up, its source could be disconnected but for a hose, it must stay connected to its source to be of any use. The moment, it is disconnected from its source, it is drained of whatever was in it. Hmm, could this be a bad thing or a good thing? One might think that it is good because the tank can be independent. But from another perspective, the hose’s predicament reinforces the need to stay connected to the source. For us, that means staying connected to the source of life, God himself. This cannot be a bad thing. After all, what are we without God? We are alive and breathing because of Him. When we are connected, we can always be assured of fresh content, we can be guided to where we need to offload our contents, we can be sure that we would always stay relevant and we can be sure we would always remain wet. Blessed is the man who delights in the Lord… He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3). So my question to you today is, “Are you functioning as a hose or a tank?”

THE FEAST

chuttersnap-461238-unsplashWhat makes you tick? What starts you off? What revs your engine? What triggers the right hormones? What fires your imagination? What propels you? What excites you? What motivates you? A morning ritual, a song, a hug, a special breakfast, memories of a special moment…? How about a reminder of God’s promises? How about the excitement of eating from the Lord’s table every morning? Yes, it is a feast of fat things. There is a plate of God’s joy for you. Yes, the joy of the Lord is your strength. There is a sufficient serving of His mercies. Yes, His mercies are new every morning. There is a satisfying dish of His grace. Yes, God is able to make His grace abound towards you. There is a refreshing chalice of His goodness. Yes, surely goodness and mercies shall follow us. There is a garrison of His favour around you.  Yes, He surrounds us with His favour like a shield. There is the assurance of His power. Yes, we are kept by His power. Soak in the freshness of His precious lovingkindness. He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies. There is also a supply of the sweet Spirit of Jesus Christ. Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits. Hallelujah!

Psa. 23:5; Isa. 25:6; Neh 8:10; Lam 3:22-23; 2 Cor 9:8; Psa 23:6; Psa 5:12; I Pet 1:3-5; Psa 103:4; Phil 1:19; Psa 68:19

MUST THAT WITCH DIE?

Blog pictureAs I drove to church one Sunday morning, I saw a billboard for a church program. The bold headline was ‘That witch must die’! I gritted my teeth, my fingernails almost digging into the steering wheel as I tightened my grip. I was terribly upset. I did a quick mental scan, wondering where in the teachings of Jesus and His apostles we could find a precedent for this? How did we descend so low? How did the people of the light lose their focus and get involved in daylight witchcraft? I had thought witches and witchcraft were usually associated with nocturnal activities. More seriously, I wondered why some in the church had decided to exchange their glory for the base life. This appeared to be the other gospel Paul was referring to. He marvelled that people were turning from the grace of God to some other gospel which was different from the one they had received. (Gal 1:6-10)

We have a received a gospel that tells the good news that Christ has defeated the enemy and raised us to sit with Him in heavenly places far above all other powers including those attributed to witches. So now, our focus should not be on killing witches in the villages or the cities. On the contrary, what we need is an experiential knowledge of the victory Jesus has given us in Him.

Do you know you are seated in heavenly places far above principalities and powers? Do you know that God can prepare a table before you and give you the victory while the witches are still breathing? Do you know that Jesus came to give life to all who would receive Him including witches? The church was not sent to kill witches but to preach the good news and the full gospel.

Sadly, we have an unfortunate situation on our hands. Rather than stimulating an atmosphere of love, some are busy stoking the flames of hated, selfishness and ungodly suspicion in the body. Or what would you say about this? Two people who are children of the stock of Abraham and who were previously friends, praying to God for the death of each other’s enemy. Which of them will God kill?

Our more important business is to bring the order and domain of the kingdom of heaven to earth. The order of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. An order that demonstrates the realities of victory over sin, sickness and death. An order that lights up the world with the love of Christ and the favour of God. Church leaders must redirect the body of Christ to its mission on earth. Rather than instil fear, they must build faith.  Rather than dignify the law, they should amplify the message of God’s grace.

Christians must discern the body. They must search the scriptures themselves to be sure the things they are told and sold are true. I must say, that we have become quite a lazy and powerless bunch, almost losing our godly influence in our communities. We must continually emphasize the finished work of Christ. We must seek to understand the victory Jesus has already procured. We should pray that the eyes of our understanding are open so that we may know the extravagance of the work He has done for us and the immensity of the glory He has given us.

Christians who know their place would fear no witch. They know their lives are hid with Christ in God!