Every one of us have men in our lives. We have them as our fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins, pastors, colleagues, friends, neighbours, employers, employees, doctors, to name but a few.
These people influence our lives and positively impact the society as well. Sometimes we celebrate them (like on father’s day), sometimes we don’t. But each one of us should have at least one reason to celebrate the men in our lives.
What for? The work hard to make our lives and society better. They provide leadership, provision, protection and so on so forth for us.
I’m not suggesting that men should become the object of our collective worship. But I’m saying there is nothing wrong with celebrating men for their immense contribution to the well-being of the society.
Today is that day set aside around the world for such celebration; every year, the 19th day of November is observed as International Men’s Day (IMD). And by extension, November is sometimes referred to as International Men’s month.
Now, the question is, “What is the purpose of having an International Men’s Day?” It is generally understood as an “occasion to celebrate boys and men’s achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values” (Wikipedia).
Did you notice that boys were included alongside men to be celebrated? That is to say, it is a day earmarked to celebrate the male gender’s contribution to society. (Sorry ladies, you can wait till the 20th day of the month of March when the next International Women’s Day will be celebrated).
In pursuing the objective of celebrating men’s and boy’s positive contribution to society, special focus is made on some specific areas of boy’s and men’s lives. These are encapsulated in what is referred to as:
The 6 Pillars of International Men’s Day
According to the IMD’s website, the objectives of the International Men’s Day are as listed below:
To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
To focus on men’s health and well-being; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
These are noble objectives you might say. But to which extent are they being achieved? That’s a question for another day!
Meanwhile, if you are a male reading this, don’t just read and walk away indifferently. I would like you to take another look at the six objectives listed above as a form of self evaluation to enable you identify areas for possible personal improvement.
If you are like me, we know we have not been the best we could be or did the best we could do in those stated cardinal areas. That’s to say, there is still room for improvement for all of us boys and men.
On the other hand, if you are a non-male, you may also want to evaluate the six objectives to identify the ones that appeal to you most. You can then help the men and boys around you improve in those areas of their lives or simply suggest to them as specific areas of improvement.
Happy International Men’s Day!
Let the conversation continue in the comment section.
Recall that when I posted my review of Ufuomaee’s The House Girl, I promised you that I would also read and review some other books by the same author. This post will be my fulfillment of that promise and I am glad to do it pro bono.
Some months have passed since I’ve completed reading the Perfect Love from cover to cover. I know I should have done the review earlier than now but after several weeks of doing the reviewing in my head, I have decided to put pen to paper. So please spare me some minutes from your precious time as I share my thoughts about the book.
About the book
Perfect Love is about the travails of Onome who has been unhappily married to her husband Temi for six years. Just before their sixth wedding anniversary, Onome meets her ex-boy friend and this turns her world upside down and she became “…a wandering heart. A restless heart. A troubled heart.”
Did Onome fall into the temptations that ensued? Did her husband find out about the other man? Was their marriage consumed by the lack of love and commitment in the relationship? Was she as committed to the marriage as she was to her writing career? It will be worth your time to find out the answers to these questions and more by reading the book.
The book is written by the brainy Ofuomaee, blogger at Grace & Truth, social entrepreneur and author of multiple christian fiction books. In the Perfect Love, the author continues in her now well established style of teaching valuable christian-living lessons via fictional stories that readers find largely believable and relatable.
The only departure from the author’s usual style is that instead of her being the one telling the stories and unfolding the narratives, she allowed each character in the book to do so by themselves. In a way, that also gives the reader a special experience while devouring the book.
The journaling style the author employed in writing the book gave me a breath of fresh air while reading it – a different style of presentation from anything I’ve read recently. As I noted earlier, the author allowed the characters to tell their stories by themselves and in their own words – what they did, could have done, thought about etc.
My worst and favourite character
If I were to pick out my worst character in Perfect Love, it would have to be no other person than Onome herself. Granted that she was very a brilliant and likable person, she continued to make choices that left much to be desired.
It was very annoying to me that she professed to be a born again Christian but had little or no commitment to living up to that sublime identity. And this contributed to her being entangled in the avoidable web of marital frustrations and unhappiness that she was enmeshed in.
My take is that she was, to a greater part, the architect of her own marital misfortunes. In one moment of reflection, she hit the nail on the head when she admitted, “I think our foundation was all wrong, we’d never taken the time to correct it. Yes, we both believed in God [but] He wasn’t Lord of our hearts, our marriage [and] our home.”
Most of the things she went through could have been avoided had she been truly committed to her profession of being a child of God. But then I have realised that, in many ways, Onome is not different from many of us who claim to be christians; we acknowledged God as our Saviour but we hardly let Him be the Lord of our lives.
And we claim we know God but we live our lives like we don’t know Him. What ever happened to the injunction of Jesus to us in Matthew 5:16,
“… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”?
Enough of Onome’s spiritual and emotional immaturity! I believe we all have some serious soul-searching to do. The earlier we get started the better.
If we must claim to have a relationship with God, let it show in our words and in our actions. Otherwise, we will not be able to escape the consequences of a hypocritical lifestyle.
On the other hand, I would pick the marriage counselor as my favorite character in the book. Her uncommon wisdom, christian maturity and honour shined through her counselling room. I saw her as a good ambassador of God and her profession.
I would assure you that you would pick one or two wisdom from the lips of that impressive marriage counselor when you read the book. As she says in one instant, “When you change your priories and give more time to things that matter, your life will be better for it.”
And who doesn’t want a better life?
I think Ufuomaee did a great job in the Perfect Love, addressing such familiar but important issues as communication in marriage, dealing with infidelity, divorce, marriage counselling, forgiveness, and so on. Although the book centres mainly on marriage and family affairs, I have no doubt that both married and unmarried people will find it helpful.
I definitely had my moments of both sobriety and thrill as I rummaged the pages of Perfect Love. And I believe I have many reasons to thank Ufuomaee for yet another good contribution to the genre of christian fiction.
Thank you for reading!
You can share your own thoughts in the comment section.
Let’s assume you know where you are going, or what you want in life. That’s great and commendable on your part because many people you will find around you have not yet figured that out.
If you happen to meet someone like that whom you are interested in or whom who desire a relationship with, but you are not sure exactly where they are in their lives or what they want in future, one way you can find out is to ask them the right questions.
With the right questions about their future plans, you will be able to gain an insight into the kind of future such people envisage for themselves.
That brings us to the point where we can talk about what is known as future review questions.
Future review questions are the questions you ask so “you can help other people (and yourself) to clarify what’s important for their future” (R. J Adams).
For instance, “How do you see yourself in the next five years” is a future review question.
Future review questions help people to describe a preferred future; help them to paint a “portrait of their life as they desire it to be.”
It is about articulating the things that are important to you, without which you would not consider life to be satisfying.
It makes sense to find out where your would-be ‘relationship partner’ stand on this. Right? Continue reading…
The Possible Scenarios
There are at least three possibilities that will unfold once you begin to ask future review questions to someone you just met and with whom you are interested in establishing a warm relationship with:
He or she will be willing and is able to respond to your questions by clearly painting the portrait of the future that he or she desires.
In other words, he or she will readily answer your future review questions.
He or she is willing but unable to clearly describe the kind of the future he or she desires.
In other words, he or she has some difficulties answering your future review questions.
He or she is not willing to go into that kind of discussion with you.
In other words, he or she refuses to answer your future review questions.
Whatever response you might get from any of the three situations described above will give you a huge insight into the kind of person you are dealing with and how to further relate with him or her going forward.
Please stay with me, you will find some useful hints on how to go about it.
In his online book, How To Find A Good Christian Wife, And Keep Her, R. J. Adams gives us a detailed explanation or suggestions on how to handle any of those three scenarios.
Although his explanations were given chiefly in the context of a single man seeking for relationship with a woman, I believe the underlining principles could also be applied to other forms of mutually beneficial relationships of interest to you.
Please hear him:
“With those people who readily answer your question, you will likely have an interesting conversation about what is most important to them and what would make them satisfied. In those cases where you can add something to their preferred future, or where you can help them achieve their desired results, you have the basis for a long and satisfying friendship or relationship. In cases where you cannot help them, perhaps you can recommend a resource who can. “With people who have difficulty answering your future review question, help them by asking a series of smaller questions. Help them articulate the things that are important to them. Ask what they would like to do, where they would like to go, what they would like to have. Ask how they would prefer spending their time, what kind of people they want to be with, and so on. This can be a very creative and stimulating discussion.
…One of the greatest services you can perform for these people is to coach them to think through and talk about their desired outcomes. And, here again, if you can help make their future come true for them, you have just established the foundation for a great relationship.
What about the people who refuse to answer your future review question? Their unwillingness to answer likely means one of two things. First, their commitment may be to the past, not the future. They may not have thought about their future as something where they have any influence. Secondly, their unwillingness to share their desired future with you may indicate a lack of trust. In either case, you have no basis for a relationship. Some people don’t have the courage or desire to dream, or they don’t trust you enough to share their thoughts with you. Don’t waste your time. Move on to someone else…” (emphasis mine).
“No body is perfect,” goes the popular saying. The truth of that statement is particularly obvious in a committed marital union between a man and woman.
Except you want to deceive yourself, you will gladly own up to the fact that the person you married is not a spotless angel. But this is no time to begin pointing accusing fingers at your spouse as the one with the most imperfections, because as you know, you yourself are not without some blemishes.
In other words, you often fall below each other’s expectations. Despite these imperfections, both of you can still be at peace with each other and hopefully be happier too.
If that is part of your marital goal, then you will allow me to proffer a few suggestions that will be helpful to you in that respect:
Here are seven simple ways you can deal with the imperfections of your spouse:
1. Accept that your spouse is not perfect
Your spouse is not an angel, so don’t expect that he or she will not make mistakes sometimes. And when that happens, please do show some understanding.
Truth be told, neither you nor your spouse is perfect. Perhaps you should let this guide your expectations so that you suffer less frustrations when your spouse’s behaviour falls below your esteemed expectations.
2. Be patient with your spouse
If you have come to terms with the fact that your spouse is not perfect and you are committed to loving him or her despite that, I am going to add that you should be patient with him or her.
I will not promise you that your spouse will grow into a faultless angel someday. But I can at least opine that if he or she is committed to your marriage as you are, there will be remarkable positive change of behaviour over time when you exercise the due patience with.
3. Maintain your sanity
Your spouse will ‘lose it’ sometimes and when that happens be sure to keep your own sanity and be at your best behaviours. Things will go downhill in your marriage if both of you decide to vent and and get mad at each other at the same time.
A wise spouse once told the better-half, “If you spit fire, I will vomit water.” The point here is, you and your spouse should not be spitting fire at the same time.
4. Talk things over with your spouse
In as much as I want you to cut some slack for your spouse, there will be times when it is important you talk things over with him or her. But you have to be gentle and nice over it, else you might trigger a volcanic eruption in the process.
In talking things over with your spouse, be humble, loving and considerate. Resist the temptation of pointing accusing fingers at each other. Instead of looking for who is wrong, focus on what is wrong and deal with it.
If your spouse raises his or voice in the process, keep yours low. Apologise where necessary and accept responsibility as appropriate.
Engage in the conversation in such a away that it strengthens your marriage and not in a way that tears it apart.
5. Avoid the silent treatment
There are times silence may be golden, but at times too, it can be a time-bomb waiting to explode. I trust that you know the difference. While it is not okay to shout at your spouse, on the other hand, don’t use the silent treatment as a tool for affliction in marriage.
It is good to keep silent sometimes in order not to offend in words or as part of your anger management strategy. But if your spouse desires commmunication with you, do not give him or her the silent treatment to punish him or her for what they did to you.
6. Celebrate your spouse’s strength
Despite your spouse’s so-called imperfections, he or she must have some strengths as well. Identify those strengths and celebrate them.
I am totally convinced that your spouse is not a good-for-nothing fellow, otherwise you would not have married him or her. So I am telling you for free that you can manage your spouse’s imperfections better by focusing on his or her strengths and celebrating them.
Compliment your spouse’s good behaviours and be less critical of the bad ones. It is not easy to do, but it is worth the try.
7. Pray regularly for your spouse
It is not enough for you to talk to your spouse. You should also talk to God about spouse – not in form of endless bitter complaints but in form of regular loving prayers.
Trying to force a change in behaviour on your spouse may be counter-productive. But when you pray, you invite God to handle the situation in the best possible way.
Don’t say you don’t know what to pray about concerning your spouse. Are there things you like about your spouse? I believe the answer is yes. Begin your prayers by thanking God for those things.
Also, the things that annoy you about him or her should be part of the things you should pray about. Your dreams for her, the things she cares about, her personal goals are some of the things you can pray for your wife about.
You have read my views. Let’s hear yours in the comment section.
I have since realised that there were unique experiences we had as kids who grew up in the villages that our counterparts in a city such as Lagos may not relate to. A little of that sentiment of mine was tickled this morning when my seven year old son asked me a simple question:
“Daddy, why do some people put out buckets, bowls and other
containers when it rains?”
“To collect some rain water for use,” I replied rather too flippantly, without even looking at the direction where the question came from. But then, almost immediately the salient reality of that question began to dawn on me.
The answer I gave should have been pretty obvious to him you might think. But please give the boy a break; even if for no other reason but because collecting rain water for household use has never been part of his experience in his few years of life on earth.
With portable water now being pumped to the kitchen, bathroom and wherever else water is needed in the house, how would he appreciate the fact that many people around my country still depend on rain water for survival?
“For what kind of use, daddy?” he sought to clarify.
“My dear, it’s for domestic use.” This time I had to look at him in the face, with my hands on each of his shoulders, leaning forward in the process.
When I was at his age (more than three decades ago), I didn’t have to wonder why people harvested rain water. The experience was too common-place for me not to have known the purpose.
But his question afforded me a genuine coachable moment to point out the fact that many homes still cannot do without relying on rain water for some of – if not for all – their domestic uses. I guess that’s still part of the reality of living in a developing nation.
I went on to explain to him how we used to depend on rain water as the main source of water supply way back in the village where I was born. Just like everyone else in that small community, my mum and my older siblings would put out different sizes of containers to collect rain water whenever it poured.
Even the roof of the houses there were embedded with water conveyance systems. That way, the abundant rain water that hits atop the covering corrugated iron sheets were channeled through well-constructed gutters linked with vertical trunk pipes that emptied directly into underground concrete tanks or into big volume surface water reservoirs.
The water so-collected would then be fetched out and put to
daily use (washing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and yes, drinking) all-year
round. The process was reliable and sustainable too. And because of the
beautiful natural vegetation surrounding the environment we lived in, coupled
with the absence of fossil fuel using factories, the problem of acid rain was
You see, people like my son who were born in an urban city would never fully understand that kind of experience which we considered common-place while growing up. And I completely understand!
Perhaps a little walk back memory lane will underscore my point. I was born in a village in the present day Delta State, Nigeria. I grew up there till my teen years before I finally relocated to the city of Lagos.
That little village was blessed with a few amenities that
made it standout amidst other ones around it. It had a well-tarred Trunk B road
that ran through it from one end to another connecting it directly to the State
Capital at the far end, separated only by a few other villages and towns.
At that time telephone service was a huge luxury way beyond the reach of 99.9999% of the population. Even at that, the village was already linked to the national telephone backbone. And apart from the availability of analogue phone service powered by the now defunct NITEL (Nigeria Telecommunications), the village also had electricity supply from the national grid.
However, water supply was the biggest problem we had to grapple with in that village. No streams, no boreholes and no portable water supply from anywhere. Only rain water, which was abundant doing the wet season and scanty in the dry season, was available.
Thanks to a failed pipe-borne water project sponsored by the then
military state government, the various households in the village never had the
privilege of regular supply of treated water pumped to them. Looking back now,
I would say that was my first experience of a failed government project being
commissioned as successfully completed.
Whether it was the contractor’s gross incompetence or the systemic corruption in high places that robbed the community of a properly executed portable water facility, my young mind could not have comprehended it then. But now the picture is clearer.
That was how the pictured looked like some three decades ago. Unfortunately, that’s the same story (or even worse) that could be told of many vital but abandoned (water) projects across many states of the Federation today.
Could the experience have been better for the masses, especially with respect to water supply? You tell me what you think!
As a parent, how much do you even realise that you are your children’s number one life coach? When it comes to coaching your kids, do not underestimate your role as a parent, and please do not be lazy playing that role in your children’s lives.
You may assume that your kids will know some things on their own, but then you get to find out they don’t.
You may also assume that they should be taught everything in school, but at last you get to discover they weren’t. That means there is a learning gap between what they are supposed to know and what they actually do know.
In what little ways can you bridge that gap with your kids in a way that engenders good rapport between you and them?
Of course, there might be many ways to that end. But in this post, I will suggest capturing the coachable moments with them.
Coachable or teachable moments’ refer to those unplanned or informal opportunities for you as a parent to have conversations with your kids or wards with the aim of helping them to solve problems or learn a good lesson they could use in life.
It is about impacting valuable lessons to your kids while life is at play.
Here are 3 ways you capture the coachable moments with your kids
1. Don’t be an absentee parent
One good advice I can give you as a parent is this: be there for your kids.
And I know being there for your kids can take many forms. For instance, it can be about providing for them or paying their school fees. Any average parent would score high on those.
But how about being physically available for them as their life coach?
Certainly life will throw up coachable moments, but if you are not there for them, how can you take up that little responsibility?
2. Look out for coachable moments
When you are there for your kids, you will often find some coachable moments to explore.
They abound in your everyday relationship or activities with them.
Train your eyes (and your other senses) to recognise coachable moments with your kids and you will surely find some.
Whether you are at the dining table with them, or watching television together or you are driving them to school, always look out for coachable moments.
If you are not looking for, you may pass the opportunities when they present themselves.
3. Utilise the coachable moments
When life hands you a coachable moment with your kids, please don’t flunk it.
The coachable moment may come in two ways: an opportunity for you to reinforce an observed positive behaviour or correct a bad behaviour.
In either case, utilising the coachable moments enables you as a parent to mould your kids or wards into better version of themselves.
As a parent, if you are there for your kids or wards, life will definitely hand you some coachable moments.
Look out for such moments in your every day activities with your kids. And when you do find them, take advantage of those moments and impart lessons that will help your kids or wards become better versions of themselves
Have you had any coachable moments with your kids? Please share your experience in the comment section.
How are atheists made? Does the Bible contribute in creating atheists? Instead of revealing God to us, is the Bible now taking people away from God?
I asked those questions not because I don’t believe in the Bible anymore, neither is it because I do not know the purpose of the Bible. But because I want to frontally address a wrong notion a reader has about the Bible and atheism.
One atheist who commented on one of my posts has alleged that “the Bible is the best book for creating atheists.” I would not let that pass just like that because it’s possible there are some other people with that same kind of erroneous thinking.
First and foremost, any Christian worth the name will not dispute the divine inspiration of the Bible, neither will he or she agree with the suggestion that the Bible creates atheists. But in the interest of those who may not be so grounded, further examination may be necessary.
To examine the claim that the Bible is the best book for creating atheists, we would just take a quick look at what purpose the Bible serves.
In his second letter to Timothy, apostle Paul categorically stated the inspiration behind, and the purpose of, the (Bible) Scriptures:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
From that verse, we can see that the Bible scripture was inspired by God and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” and “to equip us for every good work.”
As one source puts it, “The Bible is great literature and the all-time number-one best-seller. It contains history, entertaining stories, poetry, philosophy, and personal letters. But, more than that, the Bible is God’s Word. If we have to speak of a single purpose of the Bible, it would be to reveal God to us. There are many things that we could never know about God unless He told them to us. The Bible is God’s self-revelation to humanity. The Bible also tells us who we are. It tells us of our sin and of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Despite the reality described above, there are people who have a complete misunderstanding of what the Bible is about. And that’s rather unfortunate.
Recently on this blog, I had an extended interaction with an atheist who read and commented on one of my posts. At some point during the online conversation, the atheist made the following comment about the Bible and God:
…The bible has numerous books filled with violence and much of this violence is by your god. It sounds like he has no idea how to be a god of peace. Doesn’t he have an anger management problem, if he exists? No wonder that the bible is the best book for creating atheists. You need to read it properly.
My response to him went as follows:
If you believe that God has an anger issue, it means you are admitting that He exists in the first place. When you are honest about that, we can begin to explore the nature of God, which obviously you have misunderstood.Your claim about the Bible being a book for creating atheists is malicious. You know it’s not true. You became an atheist by your choice… so stop blaming it on the Bible.
I don’t know what everyone else think. But in my own opinion, the Bible is not a book for creating atheists. So it could not have been the best book for doing so as claimed by that reader.
Anyone that chooses to become an atheist, does so out of his or her own volition. So it will be wrong to blame it on the Bible.
The Bible is a book about God and His people. It tells the story of man from creation till when the world will end and beyond. It is a book for conviction, instruction, correction in righteousness and it prepares us for good works.
The Bible serves to bring us closer to God; not to take us away from Him. To that effect, anyone who claims to have read the Bible back to back without discovering God in it has either read a different Bible or has read it with the wrong mindset.
Any follower of this blog would already know that I believe in God. That fact has never been hidden in any way.
I would add that I do not just believe in God in the general sense of it, I believe in Him in the sense of having a personal relationship with Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ whom I have willingly accepted as my Lord and personal Saviour.
On this blog I have written sufficient number of posts to have made it clear enough that I don’t belong to atheists’ camp. So you can imagine my surprise when one of my readers (ostensibly a first-timer) suggested in one of his comments to the post The Problems with Atheists that I could be an “atheist masquerading as a Protestant Fundamentalist.”
In the referenced post, I had pointed out that:
Atheists do not have what it takes to come to the conclusion that God does not exist. So when you have anyone claiming God does not exist, understand that he or she is either being insincere or is displaying his or her ignorance. Or as the Bible puts it, he or she is simply being foolish.
Just like the Sadducees that accosted Jesus over a question on resurrection, whereas they didn’t believe in resurrection, the problem with atheists who go about discrediting God and the notion of His existence is that they neither know the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
Though not unexpected, there were many backlashes from atheists over that post. Sad to say, many of the comments from them went off course. One of such comments was what inspired the title of this present post:
Are you a Catholic? Do you accept the teaching of the church? Isn’t it the church that interprets the bible? Or are you really an atheist who is masquerading under the mask of Protestant Fundamentalism?
If you’re a Fundamentalist, the former Fundamentalist pastor (now atheist) called Bruce Gerencser will chop your arguments up and make mince meat of them. He doesn’t hate God. He just doesn’t believe that God exists. What he hates is Fundamentalists pontificating on God and Fundamentalists misrepresenting atheists.
You guys, both Catholics and Protestants, are suffering from what Richard Dawkins calls “The God delusion”.
Although the comment was full of rabbit trails, I cut to the chase in the response I gave to it:
I’m not a Catholic, neither am I Protestant fundamentalist, as you put it. And your suggestion that I could be an atheist is even more laughable. How could I be so foolish to be an atheist? I know better!
For the avoidance of doubts, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ who believes in God as the creator of all things, who has accepted the saving grace that is available in Christ Jesus alone for the forgiveness of my sin and I’m living my life to please God.
I understand what the Bible says, “only fools say God doesn’t exist.” So between those of us who believe that God exists and those [of you] that don’t believe, we know who is delusioned.
Dawkins’ book is seriously mistaken in the claim that there is no God. From the reviews I have read, I know the book is an attack on God and Christianity. Anger. Hatred.
It is okay to note that the God he claims doesn’t exist, makes him so angry. That’s the same trait I have seen in many atheists I have interacted with.
Talking about the atheists I have had online conversations with in the past, many of them (if not all of them) would also call us delusionists for believing that God exists. Recently, I had to quip to one of them:
“If those of us who believe in God are delusionists, then those [of you] who don’t believe in Him must be worse off because atheism does not make sense at all.”
That response may appear harsh to some people, but that was as nice I could be. I believe the irony in it is clear enough for everyone to understand.
For emphasis sake, I am not an atheist. And I don’t want to be one. I believe that God exists and I believe in His Son Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour.
Atheism does not make sense to me at all. It’s all foolishness parading as knowledge. “”The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”” Psalms 14:1. I stand on that Biblical position.
All the same, I thank God for His mercies that are seeing some atheists come to Christ. How I wish these ones here will one day see their folly and also come to Christ before it becomes too late for them.
The account of the ever popular story of the prodigal son in the Bible is one of the greatest stories of forgiveness ever written. Jesus told the story to demonstrate the unconditional love of God for us mankind.
No matter how much we think we have erred against God, He will always forgive and accept us if we come back home to Him. As Jesus Himself assured us, “…he that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
As parents, can we learn and apply that principle in the way we treat our erring children? I will like to answer ‘yes’ to that question.
The prodigal son’s father forgave his betrayal, disloyalty, rebellion, foolishness, greed, recklessness, haughtiness, impatience and extravagance. There is no reason we should not extend same kind of forgiveness to our erring children – irrespective of the offences they have committed, or will ever commit against us.
We do not easily give up on those we love – whatever they do to us. And we love our children. So why shouldn’t we always forgive them when they err against us?
As humble parents, we will admit that our children constantly do things that annoy us. Blame it on the effect of hormones or peer pressure or whatever reasons that may be adduced, our children may not always be at their best behaviours towards us. That’s the reality of the life we live in as the earthly custodians of those precious souls.
A humble parent forgives his/her children all their wrongs because he/she too needs forgiveness from the Father above.
So when our children fall below our expectations (they will definitely do), should we continue to hold it against them? I think we should forgive them!
Should we ostracize them when their behaviours embarrass us? I think we shouldn’t!
First and foremost, we owe forgiveness to our children for whatever offences they have committed or will ever commit against us. Forgiveness is good for our overall mental and emotional well-being. Besides, God Himself does not expect any less from us.
Secondly, we should never cut-off from our children because they broke our hearts. Whether we like it or not, we are bound to them forever by our blood relationship. So as parent’s we cannot should not disown our children when they err.
Just like the loving father forgave the biblical prodigal son, we should always forgive our erring children. No matter how grave the offences might be, let us find it in our hearts to forgive them. It is part of our calling as parents.
How do you think parents should handle their erring children?
In the course of running this blog, I have encountered some of them and have had various interactions with them. From some of my interactions with them, I could see that even though they all claim God does not exist, many of them still have problem with God.
They sometimes question His love, His justice and His character and are obviouly angry at Him. One of them even called God ‘a baby-killer’.
To that I asked him, “I thought you claimed God didn’t exist? How could He be a baby-killer if He didn’t exist?”.
The question is, if atheists truly believe that God does not exist, why does it bother them so much when we say He does? Why do they express so much angst towards God and any mention of Him or His attributes?
I see no reason they should continue to engage in diatribes against God. I mean, what is the essence of trying to prove that a ‘non-existent’ God does not exist? They obviously have a problem they haven’t probably figured out!
As believers, atheists scorn us for believing that God exists. But they turn blind eyes to their own folly in not believing that He exists.
Also, they don’t fully realise their own limitation in not knowing all things yet are boldly proclaiming that God does not exist. Doesn’t that validate the biblical position that only fools say God does not exist?
The only way to know without an iota of doubt that God does not exist is to possess the capability of being ‘all-knowing’. As you know, no man alive or dead, including atheists themselves possess that kind of knowledge.
So I would totally agree with one Hank Hanegraaff when he said, “atheism involves a logical fallacy known as a universal negative. Simply stated, a person would have to be omniscient and omnipresent to be able to say “there is no God” from his own pool of knowledge.
“Only someone capable of being in all places at the same time — with a perfect knowledge of all that is in the universe — can make such a statement based on the facts. In other words, a person would have to be God to say there is no God. Hence, the assertion [that God does not exist] is logically indefensible.”
Simply put, atheists do not have what it takes to come to the conclusion that God does not exist. So when you have anyone claiming God does not exist, understand that he or she is either being insincere or are displaying their ignorance. Or as the Bible puts it, they are simply being foolish.
By not knowing the Scriptures here, I do not mean to say that atheists have never read the Bible, because I know many of them have. The problem is that those of them who have read it lack the proper understanding of it.
Let the conversation continue in the comment section.
That was the question someone asked on an open online social network forum I belong to. The question was asked about four years ago, but it still feels so fresh like today’s stuff. That’s why I’m revisiting it here.
You have probably heard about the over-zealous group of people in the Bible known as the Sadducees. But if you are not sure who they are, the Gospel of Matthew has it that they are a group of religious leaders who did not believe in resurrection from the dead.
That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead – Matthew 22:3, NIV.
These same arrogant people came to Jesus and began to ask him an impossible question about marriage after resurrection. Relying on the provisions of the laws of Moses on the responsibility of a man to his deceased childless brother, they contrived a theoretical case of seven brothers who had died childless and who had in turn been married to the same woman.
Let us read the encounter with the Sadducees together:
Matthew 22, NIV: 23…They posed this question: 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ 25 Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. 26 But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. 27 Last of all, the woman also died. 28 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”
Wait a minute, I thought the Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection from the dead? How come they were asking Jesus about “who will marry who” in the resurrection?
Obviously, they must have had an ulterior motive just like their counterpart, the Pharisees, who wanted to “trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested” by asking Him the question of whether or not tax should be paid to the government authority of the day (see Matthew 22:15-22).
Gratefully, Jesus caught them in the act and He gave them the profound answers that inspired this post.
29 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. 30 For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven (emphasis mine).
How I love the wisdom of Jesus in tackling knotty situations!
There you have it. According to Jesus, the mistakes of the Sadducees are in two folds: Not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God.
… Without a doubt, divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do” – Laura Petherbridge.
In a previous post, we talked about the fact that God hates divorce. The natural question that would be precipitated by that statement will be:
Why does God hate divorce?
First and foremost, we all know that hate is a strong language, meaning “an intense dislike for.”
On the other hand, Divorce connotes “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.”
There must be some good reasons God does not like divorce. And those reasons are what this post seeks to explore.
If you ask me, I would say God hates divorce chiefly because He loves us and wants the best for us. He doesn’t want us to go through the pains, regrets and difficulties divorce action might occasion.
God loves us enough to inform us that He hates for us to subject our spouses to divorce. We all know that if you truly love someone, you wouldn’t want something bad to happen to him or her. Don’t you think God feels that much sympathetic towards us?
I guess you too have your reasons you think God says He hates divorce. (And I would like it if you would drop your views in the comment section of this post). For now let’s focus on what we can glean from the foundation scripture for this post and the previous one.
Malachi 2:15-16 – Let’s read it together:
15 Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.[b] And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.16 “For I hate divorce!”[c] says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife” (NLT).
Based on this passage, let’s now explore further reasons God hates divorce:
1. God instituted marriage.
“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife?” asked Prophet Malachi.
God has made you one with the person you are married to. So why do you seek to be separated from him or her forever?
God instituted marriage for our enjoyment and His will for us is to have it as a life-long union. That’s why we say, “till death do us part” at the point of entering the marriage contract.
It is safe to say that divorce undermines the sanctity of this holy institution of marriage established by God. Therefore God hates divorce.
2. God has a purpose for instituting marriage.
God did not only institute marriage, He had a purpose for doing so. The prophet here tells us that God seeks godly children (one translation uses the word “offsprings”) from our marriages.
“… And what does he want? Godly children from your union… Remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
In order words, God expects our marital unions to bear godly seeds, godly fruits or godly results. You will agree with me that divorce will not qualify as a godly fruit.
Secondly, God also wants married couples to demonstrate loyalty to each other through thick and thin. And divorce flatly defeats that purpose.
3. Divorce has consequences
“To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Wow, did you see that point in that verse you just read? Divorce is cruelty to your spouse. Another translation describes it as treachery.
Many people may disagree with that, but I know God’s word cannot be wrong. God would rather not have you go through the pains associated with divorce.
Whatever you think, divorce will cost you – be it emotionally, financially or otherwise. Apart from the couple involved, other associated parties (including your children and other loved ones) also suffer when marriage fails and results in divorce. Divorce will cause you pains, anguish, depression and the like.
As Laura Petherbridge observed from her own experience, “…divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do.””
“Being an atheist must be like living in a closed cell with no windows” – Anthony Hopkins.
If you are a movie enthusiast, I am sure you have heard about the name, Anthony Hopkins. But if you haven’t, a simple check on Wikipedia will convince you that he is not a man of mean achievements in the movie industry.
Let’s take a little peep:
“Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE is a Welsh actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992, and was nominated three additional times. Hopkins has also won three BAFTAs, two Emmys, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In 1993, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts.”
According to a report monitored via Godupdates, “Anthony Hopkins is one of the most well-known actors of our time. For years, he was a well-known atheist, too. But all of that changed when a woman at an AA meeting challenged his disbelief with one simple question… “Why don’t you trust God?“”
It was the expression, “For years, he was a well-known atheist” that first caught my attention. But I’m glad to learn that all that has changed.
You must now use the word “former” atheist when referring to Hopkins, because he has become a firm believer in the existence of God.
Not only that, he now “lives out his real life with Christ in his heart. He’s been an atheist before finding God and now he just feels sorry for atheists, comparing a life of disbelief to “living in a closed cell with no windows.”
Sir Hopkins’s transformation and conversion from atheism to Christianity began with his positive response to that question, “Why don’t you trust God?” at a time he was dealing with alcoholism.
A reputable source has it that,”miraculously Anthony says the craving to drink was taken from him, “never to return again.” And he’s believed in God ever since, working day after day, year after year, to grow in his faith.”
In the end, he not only got helped with overcoming the spirit of alcoholism which had bedeviled him, he transformed from being a man who didn’t believe that God exists to one that now affirms that He does.
“When asked in a CNN interview with Piers Morgan if he believed in God, former-atheist Anthony Hopkins replied wholeheartedly, “Yes, I do. I do.”
It is unfortunate that some people in the modern world have chosen to dismiss the Biblical account of the resurrection story as a work of fiction or a product of deluded minds. But you see, anyone who denies that Jesus rose from the death does so at his or her own risk, one that has an eternal consequence.
Doubters may continue to doubt, but it does not change the fact that Jesus died and rose from the dead. So He is no longer in the grave.
I recently watched a movie that inspired the title of this post. It was about a best–selling author who suddenly began to face unexpected personal and financial challenges.
Missed writing deadlines, tax issues, relationship break downs, debts, etc. were some of the pressing issues she was seen to be grappling with. All these made her insensitive, irritable, rude, cold-hearted and unproductive – to the dismay of her friends and family.
The good part was that she knew things weren’t going on so well with her. she tried to concoct various plans as quick-fixes for her nagging problems.
At one point she seriously contemplated ‘relocating’ to another continent (from America to Africa) to have more time for herself. But she never went through with the plan.
In another occasion, she tried selling off her father’s restaurant business in order to raise the needed funds to settle her outstanding tax and other financial obligations that threatened to have her being put behind prison bars. But her parents opposed this idea very strongly, assuring her that there must be better ways of handling the issues.
Now this is where I am going…
In the heat of her crisis and rejection, this protagonist knelt down in her room and began to sob and to pray saying, “Oh Lord, I know You have not heard from me in a while…”
In what seemed like a short but a heartfelt prayer to God, she poured out her confusion, fears, and problems before God. Although all her problems didn’t varnish all at once, it seemed that things began to work out better for her from then onward.
“Oh Lord, I know You have not heard from me in a while…” That opening line alone got me giggling aloud.
God hasn’t heard from her, or rather, she hadn’t talked to Him in weeks, in months or possibly in years. But now in her predicaments, she remembered she could still talk to God.
You see, it reminds me about people who once had a relationship with God but are now estranged from Him. God hasn’t heard from them in a while too!
May be you are even one of such people. If only you would get back to God like this woman in our discourse or like the prodigal son got back to the waiting embrace of his father. Things would be better for you again.
Do you have any comment about this post? Let’s have your opinion in the comment section.
I know the word is not new to you as people frequently use it. What I don’t know is how much of its real meaning you have understood and applied in your own sphere of influence.
You may probably have been tempted to think that tolerance strictly means to put up with something or someone with very nasty, horrible, terrible or poignant attributes. Not really!
Please take a good look at the definition below and compare it with what you already know about the meaning of the word:
“Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”
I don’t know about you, but the definition above opened up an entirely new vista to me, of which I am glad.
It shows for instance that tolerance doesn’t say we should put up with evil or bad things or bad people. But it clearly portrays “willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from [our] own.”
Now let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the said definition:
• Willingness to accept… • Behaviour and beliefs… • Different from your own…
Tolerance would be required wherever there are inter-human relationships because you will always meet people whose behaviour and beliefs are different from yours.
That’s why tolerance may also be understood as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence or opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.”
That means you can disagree with someone without going to war with him or her.
It means you should have an open mind towards someone even when he or she has an opinion that is completely different from yours.
Due to a number of varied factors such as genetic make-up, family background, religion, education, geography, exposure, life experiences etc, all of us believe different things and behave differently from one another.
That means that at any point in time in your chequered life, you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you; whose opinions about issues are not like yours.
The question would then be, “how would you deal with such people?”
In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to tolerate them if you cannot change them.
Talking about changing people, experience has shown that many people are aware that some other people do not share their opinions, behaviour or beliefs.
But some times, they are unwilling to accept such other people who do not share their outlook. This is often the beginning of unnecessary conflicts in human interactions.
However, you may only try to effect some changes on peoples’ behaviour or beliefs if possible to suite yours; but you shouldn’t try to use force.
By the way, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t really want to be changed. You can only influence such person.
When it comes to changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs, influence should be the operating word, not force.
Otherwise, you must bring to bare the willingness to accept their behaviour and beliefs which you perceive to be different from your own and which you cannot change.
That, my friend, is the real meaning of tolerance.
Bear in mind that tolerance is a seed; as you sow it, you will reap the sweet harvest.
Don’t you realise that other people would have to tolerate you too?
I believe you know that not all your opinions, behaviour and beliefs are acceptable to everyone you come in contact with!
Although, I cannot guarantee it, other people too ought to be willing to accept your opinions, behaviour and beliefs which are different from their own. That is if they know what it means to practice tolerance.
There is no worthwhile relationships with people that do notnot requ tolerance in between.
Like all good habits, tolerance doesn’t just happen to us; it has to be cultivated deliberately and ‘open-heartedly’.
It is very important to cultivate it because you will need it if you desire to build a meaningful, harmonious and long-lasting relationship of any kind.
Here are a few areas where we can apply the principle of tolerance:
• At home, between spouses , amongst siblings or other family members;
• At work, between you and your boss, colleagues or direct reports;
• In your neighbourhood, amongst co-tenants, etc
• Amongst your friends, classmates in schools etc
• In churches, with members and leaders alike;
• In other organisations /relationships, etc
In fact, anywhere you come in contact with humans, tolerance is needed. As you well know, no body is perfect.
People are different. You are not everyone and everyone is not you. Therefore, there will always be differences in opinion, behaviour and beliefs between you and others.
There would be conflicts all the time in all kinds of human relationships if the principle of tolerance is not imbibed.
The extent to which you realise this differences and how well you are willing to accept and manage them depict your level of tolerance at any given period.
What does tolerance mean to you? Let’s hear from you in the comment section.
Previously published on this blog in 2015 as “What tolerance really means.”
The following is an outline of a 15-minute pep-talk I delivered at a breakfast meeting held by a small group of professional friends. I thought I should share it with you. Who knows, you might pick up one or two things from it.
1. Oratorial Skill
Ability to speak properly and eloquently.
Helps you to create the right impression
Enables you to be more persuasive
Enhances your leadership skill
Don’t talk too much.
Don’t say what you don’t mean.
Don’t manipulate people.
2. Negotiation Skill
The process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute: a method by which people settle differences.
Makes you less confrontational.
Helps you to save cost.
Increases your sense of satisfaction in any deal.
Don’t take advantage of people.
Don’t be mean.
Be fair; seek win-win outcomes.
3. Selling Skill
Ability to hand over or give something in exchange for money.
Boosts your self confidence.
Helps you to market your ideas, service or product better.
Increases your income or earning power.
Overcome the temptation to lie.
Don’t sell what is against your conscience.
Sell only what has value.
Ways to develop your oratorial, negotiation and selling skills
“I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability or skill that they can mine to support themselves and to succeed in life.” ~ Dean Koontz
In a sub-article , How Israel and the Jews have shaped history, Adrian Rogers observed that “As you study history, you learn that the indestructible Jew has left his indelible mark upon history. The Jewish people are not great in number. Of the world’s population, they are only 0.2%. That’s not two percent. That’s less than one-fourth ofone percent. Yet did you know that 22% of Nobel Prize winners have been Jews? In 2013, six of the 12 laureates were Jewish…”
Rogers argument is that although the Jews are few in number, they have made tremendous contributions to the development of the world as we know it – be it “…in medicine, health, music, and public life.”
Buttressing his point, Rogers employed rhetoric by drawing attention to some of the useful inventions by Jews:
“Have you ever taken an aspirin? Friedrich Bayer, whose company developed aspirin, was a Jew. Were you vaccinated for polio as a child? The injectable and oral polio vaccines of Salk and Sabin were so effective, the disease has been all but eradicated.
Has the dentist ever deadened your tooth before he started to drill? Alfred Einhorn, who developed Novocain, was a Jew…”
You can head over to Crosswalk.com to read the full article. But here in this post we will further examine it’s concluding paragraph:
“All history has been dramatically impacted by six Jews: Moses, Paul, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and above them all, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There are many things we know about these people that make them great. Time and space will fail me to delve into how all six of them dramatically impacted history.
So let us take a little peep into three of them with Biblical history: Moses, Paul and Jesus:
There many things that are remarkable about this man referred to as the meekest man on earth. As one source noted, Moses is “Universally recognised as the deliverer of his people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt, biblical and human history also credit him with establishing Israel’s judicial and religious systems.”
2. Apostle Paul
Paul has been described as the Apostle of Apostles and the writer of two-thirds of the New Testament Bible. As noted in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Paul is often considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. His epistles (letters) have had enormous influence on Christian theology, especially on the relationship between God the Father and Jesus, and on the mystical human relationship with the divine.”
3. Jesus Christ
Indeed, Moses, Paul, Freud, Einstein and Jesus impacted the history of this world as we know it. However, Jesus Christ is the greatest of all. He is the Saviour of the world. and you know what? He is my Saviour too!
Of all the thirty five questions on the list, this one (which was incidentally no 1) tickled my fancy the most:
“If you had the chance to find out where your final destination would be after you die right now at this moment, would you wanna know?”
My immediate response to that question was, “…I am glad that I don’t have to wait till I die to know where I would be when I die. As a believer in Christ, I know I will be with God when I die. Can one be sure about this on this side of the earth? Yes, but’s that’s a story for another day.”
Further to that impromptu comment of mine, this post is my humble attempt at addressing that question in detail. And I am speaking as someone who believes in God through Jesus Christ and accepts the Bible as the authentic word of God.
I reckon that we would understand the discussion better if I broke my ‘story’ into smaller units as follows:
1. There is an “after life”
First of all, let me affirm here (as rightly presupposed in the question) that there is life after death. And whether you believe in it or not does not change the fact that an ‘afterlife” exists.
If you are a believer, we have an assurance from Jesus Christ that a place is being prepared for us to be when we die. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:3.
Apostle Paul also made reference to the ‘afterlife’ in some of his Epistles. “If I am to go on living in the body,” he says, “this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (see Philippians 1:21-23).
So my dear reader, recognise that it is a fundamental human error – with an eternal consequence – to believe that we cease to exist when we die; that all we have in this life is all there is, that there is no life after death.
In the article What happens when we die?, Matt Slick points out, “Some people believe that when we die, we just stop existing. Biblically, this is not true. According to Scripture, we continue after death. But, if we stop existing we will never know it. Therefore, the only thing we could “know” after death is if we continue. Is it worth taking a chance on eternity in the afterlife by hoping you don’t exist anymore? It’s a huge risk to take.”
2. You don’t have to wait till you die to “find out where your final destination would be.”
If you have to wait till you to die to determine the question of the ‘after life’ then it would have been too late. Your time on earth is your opportunity to “decide” your final destination when you die.
If you don’t consciously decide on it before you die, you would have automatically decided that you would spend your afterlife without God. Continue reading to see ‘how’.
3. What the Bible teaches
We understand from the word of God that there are only two possible final destinations for man at the end of life here on earth. One is Heaven, and the other is Hell (Matthew 25:46).
I am sure that you have heard about heaven or hell spoken of from many perspectives. What I am not sure is whether you have firmly understood in your mind what they each stand for.
Suffice to say here that Heaven, is the presence of God, a place full of bliss. Hell, is a place without the presence of God, a place of damnation.
In Revelation 14:11, we are given a glimpse of the kind of torment that will be experienced by the occupants of hell – satan and everyone else who sides with him. “And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
4. Your destiny is in your hand.
When it comes to deciding where you will spend your after life, I would say it is up to you to decide. First, you have to ‘accept’ that there is an “after life.”
And there are only two possible places you can spend it. It will either be in heaven or in hell.
The only way to spend it in heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour while you are still alive here on earth. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
So it is in your best interest to not only acknowledge that there is an afterlife, but also to plan or prepare for it.
Do you believe in the afterlife? What’s your view?
One of the things I learnt from starting a blog was that not all your family and friends will be enthusiastic about your blog as you would want them to be. And there could be many reasons for that…
You know what they say, “A prophet has no honour in his own country.” So it could mean that some of your friends and family who do not read your blog do not believe in you enough to do so. After all, don’t they read other blogs on the internet?
If the answer is ‘no’, then I will exempt those of your friends and family who are not internet savvy or are not disposed to blog reading.
On the other hand, you might want to say they are very busy people and so could not make out sufficient time for your blog. That’s possible too, but don’t we all create time for what is important to us? I dare to say that if they considered your blog important, they would make out time for it.
Have you also thought of the fact that some of them could be jealous of you over your blog? Please forgive my frankness, but that’s the reality of our world.
Suddenly, you are doing something different (or even better) than all of them are doing. And you want them to heartily urge you on by checking out your blog and supporting it? I bet you that some of them might not want to do that wholeheartedly.
You have the freedom to expect that your friends and family members would be the most ardent followers/readers of your blog. But you might get to find out that they are not even interested. That awful reality should never discourage you.
Consider yourself fortunate if your family and friends are part of the ardent readers of your blog. I congratulate you on that too. But never you take them for-granted because they are giving you all the needed support.
There is nothing in this post that suggests that you should badger your friends and family into reading your blog. If it is okay by you, you may just let them know about your blog. But it is not okay to try to ‘force’ them to read it.
I don’t know what your experience is, but in my own case, it has not really worked out very well for me in trying to ‘get’ family and friends to regularly check out my blog. I have left that decision to them.
Let me even ask you: do you mind if your friend and family read your blog? For me, I don’t mind! But I know everybody is not like me. (Obviously!). There are some authors who don’t even want the closest people to them to read their blogs.
One of such people claimed that what she writes on her blog are things her family do not know are part of her life. So because of some kept personal secrets, she doesn’t want her family (especially her mum) to read her blog. I wonder what you think of that!
My take is that if you are not keeping personal secrets on your blog, there is no reason you shouldn’t want your friends and family to read your posts.
That brings me to the question in the heart of the post: Do your friends and family read your blog? We would like to hear from you in the comment section.
Towards the end of 2018, I read a Keith Haney’s Five ways to expand your ministry capacity. As you can see from the headline of this post, it was that referenced article that inspired this one. Thank you Keith!
Although Keith’s post was predominantly about leadership, I reckon that the things he wrote about – confidence, connections, competence, character and commitment – could also be applied in the world of blogging. Hence, I will expatiate on them here – with the hope of deepening your blogging experience.
1. “Build your confidence”
Anyone who has been blogging for sometime now will admit that blogging is not a bed of roses, neither is it a piece of cake.
Apart from the joy blogging brings, there are also moments of self-doubt, of discouragement and of negative criticisms. Building your self-confidence will help you manage better some of those less exciting moments.
In what areas do you have to build confidence in? As far as your blogging journey is concerned, any area you feel a sense of fear is the area you should start building confidence in.
Have confidence that you can write and start writing. Do not be paralysed by fear.
Have the confidence that your blog will be read and that someone out there will find your posts beneficiary.
Without the minimum level of confidence, your blogging journey will not be too enjoyable.
2. “Expand your connections”
In blogging, you cannot afford to be an island to yourself. You have to connect with other bloggers, both on their blogs and on their other social media handles.
Read other blogs apart from yours. Click the ‘like button’ on any post you have read and liked.
Most importantly, engage the author in further interactions by leaving a suitable comment on the posts you have read. Any reasonable blogger will not fail to respond to your comments.
Reach out to bloggers you admire. Deepen your connections with them.
You have to admit that you will have a lot of things to learn from them, especially if you find that they have done what you want to do or have been where you would desire to be.
Another thing you can also do is to join a blogging community, particularly those in your niche area or that similar values with you. When it comes to blogging, you cannot afford to be a recluse.
3. “Improve your competence”
Most people did not start out on their blogging journeys as pros. They were once amateurs like you and I; but they improved on their game over time.
So if you want to expand your blogging capacity, you have to improve your competence – “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”
You may be a noob today but don’t remain that way forever. Learn. Grow.
Improve on your grammar, improve on your writing/editing skills, improve on your posts’ delivery style.
Whatever, you do on your blogging journey today, do it better that you did it yesterday. That’s how we know that your competence level is improving.
Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how – and know that they want to follow you – John C. Maxwell
4. “Strengthen your character”
To deepen your blogging capacity, it is also important you strengthen your character as a person as well. Your character is who you are, your distinctive moral qualities. And just like your shadow, your character follows you wherever you go
Approach your blogging with a sense of honesty. Don’t deceive your readers. Don’t scam them. Deliver on your blogging promises to them and apologise to them where necessary.
If you are a phoney person, it will eventually manifest – no matter how much you try to hide it. And once your readers discover that you can’t be trusted, you will lose their loyalty.
I am not requesting that you should be a flawless and perfect person. While being true to yourself, be a better version of yourself. The bottom line is this: do not sacrifice your character on the altar of success, fame or fortune.
5. “Increase your commitment”
Nothing worthwhile will ever be achieved without commitment. And that’s applicable in blogging too.
“Without commitment you cannot have depth in anything – Neil Strauss.
You cannot expand your blogging capacity if you are not committed to it. Just like a serious athlete commits to his or her daily exercise routine, you have to commit to your blog.
Whether you are blogging professionally or it is a pastime for you, you have to show some level of commitment to it. This is not negotiable.
By increasing your commitment, you will be able to write posts as and when due, respond to your readers’ comments and emails. You don’t want people visiting your blog only to find out that the last time you updated it was three months. Do you?
In what other ways can you expand your blogging capacity? Leave a comment.
Many people will take the wonderful decision to start a blog this year. If you are one of such people or you have recently started a blog, I will like you to know some things which will help you in the blogging journey.
1. Your decision to start a blog is a step in the right direction
Some people would start a blog and then begin to wonder if they are doing the right thing. If you are thinking like that, then the following words are for you.
I wouldn’t know the reason you started your blog, but one assurance I can give you is that starting a blog is a good step you have taken. So don’t give in to self-doubt!
However, if you are not sure why you started a blog in the first place, take some time off to get that settled. You don’t want your blog to be directionless and purposeless. Do you?
When I started this blog, I saw it as an avenue to share my thoughts with the world and also to explore my writing skill which has remained latent over the years of my life. But I soon discovered that blogging is also a journey of personal development.
Apart from the many other benefits you will get to enjoy from starting a blog, you will get to discover that blogging will help your personal development in many ways. I don’t want to over-flog this point because as you know, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. So ride right ahead on your blogging journey.
2. Read and write extensively
As you have embarked on the blogging journey, know that you have headed in the writing direction. In other words, a blogging journey is largely a writing journey.
One notable thing that writers do is that they read a lot. So if you want to go far with your blogging experience, you have to read and write extensively. By so doing, you will gain more knowledge, have fresh ideas and improve on your writing skills.
If you have the dream to be a published author one day, know that your writing blog is a veritable platform to hone your skills. You get the point?
Your blog is new on the block hence I concede that it will take some time for it to gain due popularity. But if you think the world should read your blog because you have something valuable to share, I think it is worth it for you to take some steps to make the blog more visible than it is right now so that more and more people can discover it to read.
For instance, you should make sure your blog is indexed as ‘public’ rather than as ‘private’ to make it discoverable by search engines. Also when you publish a post on your blog, don’t go to sleep. Promote it on social media and encourage your readers to share it as well.
Those are just a few tips on how to make your blog more visible. You can find out others for yourself.
4. You need to interact with other blogs regularly
I already said you should read very extensively. Part of what you should be reading regularly are posts on other blogs – whether they are in your area of niche or not. I know from my own experience that there are many benefits of reading other people’s blogs.
Don’t be an island to yourself. Reach out and interact with other bloggers. Follow their blogs. Read their posts. Hit the like button on the posts you have read and liked.
Most importantly, leave meaningful comments on other blogs’ posts you have read. Both the writers of the blogs you comment on as well as some of their other readers may follow your trail to your blog to read your posts as well. And please, for goodness sake, don’t tell me you don’t care if no one reads your blog, because that would be a lie!
5.You will face some negative criticisms on your blog
Let no one deceive you, blogging is not a piece of cake. There would be times the feedback you get would seem like a bitter pill to swallow. But it is up to you how you would react to it.
Apart from the hard-work and personal discipline that your blog requires from you, know also that some people will harshly criticise you for it. There are those who will question your decision to start a blog. Some will dismiss your posts as irrelevant and some others will even attack your person.
6. If you leave your blog, your blog will leave you
I don’t mean that to be taken so literally. But I do want to emphasise on the need to stay ‘close’ to your blog. I have a personal rule that no day passes without me checking up on my blog. That way I am able to make draft posts, review pending posts, or catch up with responses on my readers’ comments.
I am not saying you should be like me; follow the pattern that works for you. The important thing is that you don’t leave your blog ‘unattended’ to for weeks or months. Your faithful readers will be left hanging if you do that!
In a way, having a blog is like having a baby. You have to nurture it, feed it regularly and ensure that it remains healthy. That’s what you should do to your blog too.
Respond to readers comments your posts. Write new posts regularly. If you choose to post daily, weekly or monthly as the case may be, please be consistent about it. To keep your readers coming back, you have to give them something good to regularly come back to.
7. You might see the need to start a second blog too
I already assured you that your decision to start a blog is a step in the right direction. So I take it that we are settled on that.
What about starting a second or even a third blog? That’s not a bad idea either. But you have to wait until there is a compelling need for it. Otherwise, your energy might be spread out too thinly across multiple blogs and you might stifle your main one to death.
When I started Victors’ Corner, I didn’t see the need for another blog until three years after. Being a personal blog, I had about six categories of posts I crammed into it. But I have recently seen the need to create a separate blog from the Poems’ Category. That has given rise toLiving Poems blog.
As as you make progress with your current blog, you might sense the need to set up another blog, that’s okay. You are not doing that with the aim of shutting down your current blog but with the purpose of furthering another blogging objective.
Thank you for reading my suggestions to new bloggers. Let the conversation continue in the comment section. What will be your advice to a new blogger?
Part of the joy of blogging is having people following your blog, regularly reading your written thoughts and sending you feedback through their comments, likes, emails, reblogs etc. If you have ever wondered why people are not following your blog, these may just be some of the reasons:
They don’t even know that your blog exists in the first place…
You are not following their blogs…
People get to your blog, but find out your posts care less about their core values…
Beyond sharing my thoughts and being a source of inspiration to my readers, blogging has become a journey of personal development for me. I have learnt new things, improved on my writing skills, acquired new skills, met and interacted with different kinds of people from different places around the world.
I have inspired some people and I have also been inspired by many other people. I have defended my faith, read several insightful posts, gained vast knowledge in many areas of life and so on and so forth
Racial discrimination and prejudices wear attires in Nigeria different from the ones they wear in America. While racism exists as a result of differences in colour of the skin, tribalism hinges on differences in birth-roots. Both are common societal evils that must be dealt a decisive blow in order for us to have a better world.
No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite – Nelson Mandela.
Thank you for reading and happy new year in advance.
Christmas is the season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the baby that changed the world. As we celebrate, we should not lose sight of the real essence of it, chief of which was to restore the broken relationship between God and mankind.
Remember that at the birth of Jesus, some angels proclaimed to the shepherds saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” Luke 2:14. Because of Christmas, peace was proclaimed to those who would come into a relationship with God.
So let us celebrate Christmas with a heart of peace towards God and an attitude of peace towards fellowmen. Towards that end, here are my simple suggestions on the
Three Kinds of people you should make peace with this Christmas:
1. Make peace with God
When God sent Jesus Christ to be born on earth and also gave Him up to die for the ultimate redemption of mankind, He made peace with the world. You can say the war between God and the world is now over.
On a personal level, God has made peace with you by the atonement of Jesus Christ for your sins. He is no longer at war with you over your sinful nature.
But the question now is, “Are you at peace with God?” Being at peace with God means that you have spiritual peace. It means that you have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
If that is not your story yet, let this Christmas season be that opportunity you have been waiting for to be connected back to God. Without having spiritual peace, or simply put, without being reconciled to God, peace in other areas of your life may continue to elude you. Therefore, “Yield now and be at peace with Him; Thereby good will come to you” Job 22:1.
2. Make peace with yourself
Once you have made peace with God, the next natural experience you should have is peace within yourself. Being at peace with yourself means that you have emotional peace – inner peace.
The main reason you are not at peace with yourself is because you are not at peace with God. But if you have made peace with God, it is high time you allowed the peace of God to rule your heart.
Be at peace with yourself because God is at peace with you now. Forgive yourself of your shortcomings because God has already forgiven you.
In response to that apt observation, I am writing this post to highlight some of the expectations from the husband as well. While the former post was for a predominantly women audience, this is directed mainly at men.
That not withstanding, if you are a (married) woman reading this, be sure to continue reading to the end. I assure you, you will not regret it.
Now here are:
8 Things Every Christian Man Should Regularly Give His Wife
This is the first thing a Christian man should give his wife. It is commanded of him by the Lord.
The wife expects her husband to love her wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Your wife is not perfect, but you should love her still!
A husband should ensure that the wife’s (emotional, physical, financial, spiritual) needs are provided for.
Not providing for the woman will leave her feeling stressed, frustrated and insecure.
The husband should provide protection to the wife against the harmful effects of the elements, hurtful people and other harmful things;
The husband should provide security to the wife so she has “freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) from external forces.”
The christian husband should provide all kinds of leadership, including spiritual leadership, to the wife.
The wife may be disillusioned if the husband fails to show or lead the way.
Commitment in marriage is a journey not a destination. The husband should daily demonstrate his commitment to his wife.
The wife expects her husband to be committed to her and only her. The commitment is not for a short while, she (rightly) expects it to be forever.
The Christian man should not share his affection with any other woman; he should continue to demonstrate continuing loyalty and support to his wife only.
The man should emotionally and intimately commit to being faithful to his wife. He should not seek sexual gratification from anyone other than his wife.
The wife is called the help-meet for the husband. But that doesn’t mean the husband cannot be a helper to the wife too.
A wife expects her husband to help out (especially with the chores) around the house.
The husband should seek to understand and share the feelings of his wife.
He should give a listening ear to his wife, be patient with her and forgive her a million times in a day.
Remember what the Bible says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
I was recently invited to be part of the discussants in a church’s women’s end-of-year conference. But I sent them my apologies because I had another engagement billed for the date and time they chose.
However, the organisers requested that (since I could not be physically present at the event) I sent in my contribution in writing on Things Every Christian Woman Should Give Her Husband. I obliged their request by sending them a written short note as I thought it out.
The feedback I got after the programme was that my note was a blessing to them in that meeting. So in this post, I have decided to share with you the same thoughts I shared with those church women in their conference. I hope you find something useful in it.
Like I said, I drafted the write-up for a predominantly women audience, but that does not mean that you should not read it if you are a man. So let’s go there…
7 Things Every Christian Woman Should Regularly Give Her Husband
A husband expects his wife to respect him in two ways:
By words – what she say to him and about about.
By action – how she treats him at home or outside the home.
A Christian wife should understand that intimacy and sex is very important to the husband, as this is a need only she can meet;
A wife should not deny the husband his right over her body.
A wife should provide good food, timely and regularly for the husband/family;
A wife who doesn’t know how to cook good food should go and learn.
A husband expects the wife to appreciate him for providing for the family.
A woman should have an attitude of gratitude, not grumbling, not complaining.
A wife should show trust and confidence in the ability of the man to lead the home;
A wife should support her husband’s vision or project. She should not use her mouth to tear it down.
The man will never feel peaceful at home if the wife is always nagging.
If a wife fails to create a peaceful home, the husband will not feel happy returning home.
A husband expects his wife to take good care of herself.
She should maintain good personal and family hygiene.
Remember what the Bible says:
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
The Sun was already going down for the day. And there I was seated by the window side on our staff bus being driven home after work.
The vehicle was filled with other staffers who like me had equally earned a living for the day. We were all eager to get back home to our families and to have a well-deserved night rest.
But the ever busy Lagos traffic was hampering our speed; we were moving at snail’s speed. We are used to that kind of experience!
At the moment, I was gazing blankly at the evening sky through the window screen of the vehicle. And suddenly, I perceived in my spirit something I now consider a personal revelation from Above: Your is your reward.
Really? I should have known that a long time ago!
“Your wife is your reward,” I reechoed under my breath.
But how come those words have never formed part of my regular vocabulary? After all, I have always called my wife a “Gift From Above.” And I believe that with all my heart.
Something was happening here: the eyes of my understanding were further being enlightened, with a clear message out from the blues or better put, from the Spirit of God.
Your wife is your reward! It struck me so much that I knew there must be more to those words than I had previously known. So immediately, the researcher in me was called to work; I pulled my smart phone and did a quick Google search of “Your wife is your reward.”
Instead of a preponderance of web articles being thrown up, a Bible reference was atop the search result. And I wasted no moment in opening it to examine.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that these same words, “Your wife is your reward,” are in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 9:9). I took that as a confirmation that it was God that spoke those words directly to my heart moments earlier.
Since then I have read the verse over again from different versions of the Bible. The translation in the New Living Bible helped me understand it better:
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly. Ecclesiastes 9:9, NLT.
By ordinary meaning, we know that a reward is “a thing given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement.”
And there in the Bible verse we just read, we have it that your wife is your reward for your earthly toil.
I wouldn’t know what you think of that. But As God is the One who said “Your wife is your reward,” we can be sure that He cannot be mistaken about it.
Quite recently, I ordered a copy of The House Girl, alongside two other titles by the same author. It was a privilege to have the mentioned books autographed and delivered to my door-step by the author herself.
During my meeting with the author, I had promised her that I would read the books and give her a review. (In case you missed it, you may read From a Blog friend to a true life friend, being the post I used to share my face to face meeting with the author on that fateful day).
What follows in this post will be my review of the first of the three books I purchased from her stable which I have read completely so far. Subsequent reviews will follow once I have finished reading the other titles.
Ufuomaee, the brilliant author of The House Girl, is “a young professional, a social entrepreneur and the Founder/CEO of Fair Life Africa Foundation, a charity that supports under-privileged children” in Nigeria. She is the author of Ufuoma series blog where she shares about her faith in God, and also writes “Christian romantic fiction, with lots of drama and scandal, that challenges all to think about their lifestyle and choices.”
Her blog is worthy of your visit or follow if you are interested in reading very insightful posts on faith, life and living.
About The House Girl.
The book is about a village girl who was taken to Abuja city to work as a domestic staff for a rich interracial married couple who have also promised to send her to school. While in the employ of the family, the girl discharged her house-duties as expected. But much time passed and she wasn’t registered in any school as promised to her parents.
That made the girl to feel very unhappy and this caught the attention of the man of the house. As a result, both of them began to have short but secret conversations that made them more familiar with each other. Soon enough they each began to have unholy ideas…
With their hearts burning for each other already, “all that restrained them from doing what they both desired to do was self-will and self-control. And that thing called conscience.” But they could only hold out for a little while, as it did not take long before the spirit of lust took the better part of the duo, leading to numerous consensual sexual encounters between them.
Unsurprisingly, the madam of the house soon began to suspect that there was something clandestine going on between her maid and and her husband. It was only a matter of time before her worst suspicions were validated and the aftermath shook her marriage to it’s deepest foundations.
Thankfully, in the end, the marriage narrowly survived from the brink of complete collapse. But not until after all the parties involved in the unfolding drama had been to hell and back.
In more ways than one, I found the book easy to read and the characters largely credible. Anyone who reads the book objectively will admit that that the personalities represented by each of the characters are ‘things’ that are not so far-fetched in whatever society we may find ourselves.
The main characters
Each of the characters, just like any mortal alive, has his or her strengths and weaknesses. And it is how they are managed that determines the results or consequences.
For the protagonist, Chinyere, as vulnerable as she was, she could be considered a victim of her own circumstances. At the same time, it may not be wrong for one to say that she was all too willing to engage in unwholesome canal encounter with the man of the house.
For a teenage girl whom it was implied was without a previous experience in that area, she could have exercised a bit of constraints – may be out of fear or respect, but she didn’t. So instead of one saying that Chinyere was taken advantage of by Donald, the man of the house, one can safely say that she was a willing participant in igniting the fire that almost completely engulfed her life and existence.
Donald, although a seeming gentleman became overcame by lust and exercised no sustained power of restraint in cheating on his wife again and again… May be that’s one of the consequences of his never having to acknowledge that there is a God to whom we are all accountable to.
Besides, even though he claimed he didn’t plan on cheating on his wife with their house maid, he shamefully admitted to “not being strong enough to resist [the beautiful] temptation” under the same roof with him.
The emotional and mental trauma, bribery, blackmail and risk of imprisonment that followed Donald’s misadventure remind everyone that our actions have consequences. And infidelity, like the Bible points out, is like fire. You cannot put it in your bosom and expect not to be burnt (Proverbs 6:27).
As for Osinachi, the madam of the house, at a point she was more or less an absentee wife. Her frequent trips outside the home contributed in creating the vacuum that her husband exploited to begin cheating on her with the house maid.
She also made some avoidable choices that blew up in her face. For instance, in her desperate bid to become a mother after she could not carry a baby to full term, she went on a misguided journey of adopting a child without her husband’s consent, leading to a further alienation from him.
Even after the husband had accepted the new reality of becoming a dad by force (thanks to his wife’s desperation), the adoption was later reversed contrary to their expectation and they found themselves back to square one.
Couples should endeavour to agree on issues of strategic importance in the family. If either party goes solo on such issue, it may not augur well for them at the end.
My favourite character
If I were to choose a favourite character in the book, it would have to be Mrs. Oji, Osinachi’s mum. I like the way she put things in proper perspective for her daughter, when she was seriously heart-broken over her husband’s serial infidelity.
I consider her advice and pep-talk as one of the key things that empowered Osinachi to fight to save her marriage.
“If you don’t know God for yourself…,” said Mrs Oji to her heart-broken daughter, “If you are not walking in His will, how can you lead another to Him? You are in this situation first because of your own sin! When you address that and learn from God what His will is, then you can make corrections in your life. Whether or not your marriage survives is secondary! You just have to get right with God, Osinachi.”
It was this friendly hard-knock that jolted Osinachi to reality. At that moment, she came to realise that “She has been practicing religion all these years; she didn’t know God for herself. No wonder her life could not influence her husband’s.”
Mrs Oji might have been advising her daughter over her husband. But I feel many wives around the world who love their husbands and want to save their marriages could use her other advice too: “Don’t relent in praying for him. Don’t stop forgiving him. Don’t hold back love and respect for him.”
In The House Girl, the author did a good job in telling a relatable story in such a way that vivid life lessons can be drawn from it. Each character presents a different angle to the lessons of life that can be gleaned from the book.
I found that that the following themes were covered in the book: The vulnerability of the girl child (especially the one from a less privileged background) to sexual exploitation, making an interracial marriage work, issues around child-bearing, challenges with child adoption, teenage pregnancy, living with a mental health issue, secrecy in marriage, love and commitment, forgiveness, personal relationship with God, role of parents in-law in saving a troubled marriage, rape, infidelity, blackmail, bribery, to mention but a few.
I liked reading the book and I would not hesitate in recommending it to you as well. I think that irrespective of one’s age or experiences in life, anyone that reads that books will definitely find a lesson or two to draw from it for personal application.
In closing, I will leave you with the following quotes from the book:
“It takes strength to give grace to others.”
“We are only as strong as our minds, not even our bodies.”
“We have to make sure we are working in faith and obedience if we want God’s best.”
“In service to others and in simplicity, there is so much joy to be found in life.”
“Never close the book on anyone, nor underestimate what you or anyone can be[come] tomorrow.”
“Never miss an opportunity to make impact in some one else’s life. Even if they never pay it back, they will pay it forward through the contribution they will make in the world.”
“Do not be afraid to challenge the system you enter. Do not be afraid to be the difference. All life is growth and change and you are the change the world is waiting for.”
The House Girl is available for purchase on Amazon.
In a previous post, I suggested that you could turn some of the most outstanding comments on your blog into full-fledged posts. The idea is that turning outstanding comments on your blog to full-fledged posts will open up the comments for more visibility, further discussion and more impact and penetration.
To show that I have already walked the talk, please allow me to briefly share 5 of my readers’ comments that were turned into full-blown posts on this blog. (Clicking on the highlighted titles will lead you to the full version of the post).
This particular post captured the true-life story of one of my blog readers who experienced racial discrimination in Southern Africa. It was her personal response to an earlier post of mine, namely Racism in the US Vs tribalism in Nigeria.
In the reader’s words,
“Discrimination is something that really pricks me because I have experienced it. For the life of me, I just cannot understand why people choose to look down on other people because of intangible attributes/features.
“The funny thing is that you don’t have to go as far as America to witness and feel the effect of racism. Come down to the southern part of Africa, you would see and feel it yourself. It’s more transparent in South Africa and Namibia than in other Southern African countries.”
As the discussion on racial discrimination continued on the blog, another reader introduced a different perspective saying,
“…Being prejudiced comes in many forms and it isn’t just restricted to those who have a different skin-colour – although that is one of the more obvious forms. …All of us are prejudiced in some ways; it could be education, upbringing, intelligence, success or failure and a host of other “particulars”.
But does that mean racism is justified? The answer is No!
As the reader further expatiated, “Racial prejudice is wrong in all of it’s various forms but I fear it is a condition of the human heart regardless of our skin-colour, regardless of our education or upbringing or success or failure…
“We all are creations of our Creator, made in His image and we [are in] error if we think otherwise. And most importantly, we all need the saving Grace that God in His wisdom holds over to us, namely the acceptance and saving shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, to make us new.”
This post captured some of the most interesting conversations I have had with some atheists on this blog. One of them claimed nature has helped his understanding of life more than the ‘man in the sky.” But he would not acknowledge that the man in the sky, so-called, is the Architect of the Universe, the One whom it was that put the natural world in place.
“God is out of touch with the world” claimed another so-called atheist. To that I responded, “It is even more appropriate to say that it is the people of the world that are losing touch of God. All men, including you, need to get know God better.” How can someone who doesn’t exist lose touch?
Yet another self-professed atheist got carried away during one of our conversations and he kept saying, God is wicked, God doesn’t love humans, God enjoys to see people suffer, etc. Really? I couldn’t hold back asking him, “How can the God you say doesn’t exist be wicked and loveless?
All these led me to surmise that many atheists are living in self-denial when they say that God doesn’t exist, because deep in their hearts they know that they are wrong.
In this post, I shared the comment of a reader, who in a very frank manner, identified with the pervasive personal struggle against lust and pornography, as well as the ways to overcome them.
According to this reader, we must all understand that pornography has harmful effects on our lives, careers and family. Therefore, it should not be accepted as a normal thing in our daily living.
To deal with addiction to pornography decisively, the reader recommends that we must identify the things that trigger the desire in us and set up adequate defences against them.
Worthy of mention, is the readers suggestions that “we need to spend quality time with GOD every day, not as a to-do-list or a good christian checklist. But because God wants a relationship with us, and how do we have a relationship with anyone we never spend time with?”
As a leader, you should love your team members, even when things do not go according to plan.
As one author observed, ”If you are leading anything of significance then you will regularly run into many uncertainties, obstacles, and failures. And it is the way you deal with these situations, how you handle things going wrong, that truly defines your leadership.”
And when things do go wrong, you as the leader should build a shared understanding of the root-cause of the problem through what the reader called “exploration conversations” without demoralising any member of your team.
“This approach doesn’t preclude a leader from holding people accountable for their actions. In fact, it is the opposite. If you don’t hold people accountable then you aren’t really being a loving leader.”
You have read some of the blog comments on this site that I turned into full-fledged posts. You can click on the embedded links to read the complete posts.
Have you ever turned a reader’s comment into a full-fledged post on your blog? Feel free to leave a feedback or reaction in the comment section below.
Treasures are useless if they are buried away in the earth. But once they are brought to the surface, they can be appropriately harnessed and put into meaningful uses.
That’s how it is with your readers’ invaluable comments; they will not be so useful to your other readers if they are not given the optimum attention they deserve.
Let me state categorically that it is very important you don’t fail to peruse your blog’s comment section. That way, (apart from responding to all the comments as appropriate), you can sift out the gems in your readers’ thoughts or the feedback left for you in print, and then give them maximum exposure.
Talking about maximum exposure, that’s what you should give to your readers’ most outstanding comments. You can do that if you would use some of your readers’ most impressive contributions to write full-blown posts on your blog.
My point is that as you explore your readers’ comments, you might come across veritable comments that could be converted to full-fledged posts.
As you already know, not everyone who reads your blog posts has the patience and time to go through all the other readers’ comments one by one. But you, as the blog author, should not fail to do that.
You may even find some comments on your blog that can be directly lifted and turned into full-fledged posts. And that’s the reason I am using this post to drum that point home.
Needless to say, I have been able to convert some of my readers’ comments into full-fledged posts a number of times on this blog. And the experiences have been great. So I will not hesitate to suggest you do the same thing on your blog.
Turning outstanding post comments to full-fledged posts opens up the comments for more visibility, further discussion and more impact.
One advantage of turning a good blog comment into a full-blown post is that the valuable information or insights shared by your readers will not be not buried or lost deep down there in the comment section.
It would be great if you can have everyone who reads your main post to also read all the blog comments generated by the post. But as I already pointed out, not all your readers will be able to quarry through the depths of the many comments on your blog to extract out the hidden gems.
You can help out occasionally by turning some of those invaluable comments into full-fledged posts. Doing so will make it more accessible to more of your readers.
In a subsequent post, I will highlight some of my readers’ comments that I successfully lifted and turned into full-blown posts on this blog.
What do you think of the idea of turning some outstanding comments on your blog into full-fledged posts?
You are not perfect – no one is. What you lack in one area of your life, you gain in another.
Just as all men do, you have some strengths and some weaknesses. But which ones do you focus more on?
Often times, you focus mostly on your weaknesses rather than on your strengths. By so doing, you fail to celebrate or properly harness your strengths to your fullest advantage.
How do I know you are not focusing on your strength?
You constantly think of what you don’t have instead of what you have.
You always bemoan what you can’t do instead of doing what you can.
You intentionally begrudge other people’s talent instead of harnessing yours.
You are regularly unhappy about the places you haven’t visited instead of celebrating the places you have visited.
You complain that you can’t ‘see’, but you forgot that you can ‘hear’.
While you are doing all that, you forget that time is not waiting for you. Opportunities are passing by that you could have harnessed to make your life a little better.
If that is you, then you have something to learn from the blind Bartimaeus in the Bible.
An account in the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 verse 46-47 has it that:
… and as [Jesus Christ] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth…
Did you see that?
When he heard…
That’s the pivotal phrase.
This story wasn’t about Jesus Himself per se. It was the story of Bartimaeus, a beggarly blind man, who could hear, who had faith, had courage, had focus, had a voice, who proved to be unstoppable, and who got his desired miracle: restoration of sight.
As you can see, there are many good things about our man Bartimaeus. But for many years, he failed to harness his strength, dwelling on his weakness (blindness).
Consequently, he became a despised roadside beggar until this documented encounter with Jesus Christ that completely turned his life around for the better.
In the mean time, I will chip in the following counsel:
Focus on your strength. If you use it very well, the resultant gains may cover your weakness.
Focus on doing what you can do and stop being so unhappy about what is beyond your capabilities.
Use the talent you have, and don’t kill yourself over the ones you don’t have.
Bartimaeus was blind but he could hear. He didn’t have the sight to see Jesus, but he had the ear to hear that Jesus was passing his way.
With that information, he activated his faith and his voice. And He called out to Jesus, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” And he got his sight back.
So I will ask you, if you can’t see, can you hear? Harness the power of your hearing first. Who knows, like Bartimaeus you will have your sight back in the process.
Picture Credits: 1. Photo by novia wu on Unsplash. 2. Photo by Stephen Arnold on Unsplash.
Have you ever let opportunities pass you by because you were focusing on your weakness rather than on your strength?
The whole experience of blogging is not about you churning out posts after posts for people to read, to like, to comment on and to share. It is also about you reading other people’s blogs and interacting with them as much as you can.
There are many benefits you will derive by reading other people’s logs. In this post, I will highlight seven of such benefits.
7 Benefits of reading other people’s blogs
1. You learn from other people
People share ideas, experiences and insights on their blogs. They do so not for self-amusement but for you to read them. You will learn as you read those sites.
As one of my readers once stated, “What I love about blogging is taking the time to read other people’s thoughts about faith stuff as its important to get perspectives different from my own.”
Every opportunity you have to read is an opportunity to learn something new or remind you of something’s you have forgotten.
Be honest with yourself for once: you don’t know everything. That’s why you should read what other people have written on their blogs so that you can know what they know.
2. You discover new blogs to follow.
People follow your blog and you should follow other people’s blogs too. Reading other blogs will help you determine whether or not to follow such blogs.
Although there were some blogs I followed at first sight (especially the ones recommended to me), my guiding principle is that I would need to read two or three posts on any blog before I make the affirmative decision to hit the follow-button.
3. You sharpen your writing skills.
Writers do not only write, they read a lot as well. By extension, as a blogger, in addition to updating your own blog, you should also read blogs other than yours and learn from the writing styles employed by the authors of such blogs.
Personally, I learn a lot from reading other people’s posts. Just like many WordPress users, I did not attend any training on blogging before I got started. Everything I know, I have learnt from reading what other people have written and putting them into practice.
4. You attract more followers to your blog.
“One good turn deserves another” they say. If you want people to read your posts, you too should read other people’s posts.
There is a great chance that if you add value to a blog as you read it – by leaving a comment for instance – you are likely to attract more followers to your own blog.
5. Opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers.
For you to comment on a post, you have to read it first. I would expect that you don’t want to comment on a post you haven’t read.
Essentially, a post is someone’s idea or opinion about something, somebody or some place. Your comment on the post will be your own response to it.
You could also respond to other people’s comments on the post, thereby expanding the sphere of interactions.
6. Community, fellowship and friendship.
As you interact with other bloggers, you form a kind of bond and friendship that might prove valuable to you. Some of your online or blogging friends may eventually turn into your friends in real life.
I started this blog because I believed (and still believe) that I have something good to share that would be a blessing to someone out there. I also wanted to use the blogging platform to hone my writing skills.
Over all, blogging is helping me become a better version of myself.
Another side benefit of blogging is the opportunity it has afforded me to interact online with people from across all continents of the world. In the process, I have forged many beneficial online relationships with people I am yet to meet physically.
And I know I am not the only one who has had that beautiful experience. There are bloggers who have been able to turn their blogging friends to real life friends. And it looks like I am joining that league now. Hang on, I will tell you about that in a moment…
Ufuomae (in the picture with me above), author and founder of Grace and Truth and Ufuomae’s Series Blog and Fair Life Africa was one of the earliest followers of this blog when I came on the blogosphere three years ago. Since then our interactions have continued and remained online. But all that got to change (for the better) during the week.
I have been aware that Ufuomae had published a couple of books in e-books and paperback formats. So finally I decided to place an order online for three of her books on paperbacks: The Church Girl 1&2, The House Girl and Perfect Love.
I was expecting the books to be delivered to me through a courier service. But I was pleasantly surprised when she contacted me to say she would deliver the books to me in person.
“Are you home today?” she asked. “I was thinking of bringing the books in person.”
Ostensibly, she only recently realised that we have been living in the same city all along.
“Oh really, you will bring the books in person?” I enthused. “Wow, it will be such an honour to finally meet you in person.”
Being someone I admire a lot, it had crossed my mind on several occasions that I would one day meet this passionate Christian blogger in person. But I had thought I would be the one to go look for her.
You can now see why I was feeling so excited to have her come look for me. The experience was wonderful for me. It would not be wrong to say I count it as one of the most important moments in my blogging journey.
And at the end of the day, this was how Ufuomae herself on her Instagram handle captured her experience of meeting me physically for the first time:
It was really lovely to meet you in the flesh @Victor_Uyanwanne! Wow 😎 This world is small… I think I first discovered your blog, VictorsCorner in 2015, and I was super pleased to find another African representing Christ on the blogosphere and doing it so unashamedly 😉 It was a while before I realised that you were Nigerian too 😁
The biggest surprise came when you ordered three of my books, and I learnt you actually live and work in Lagos!!! But the biggest biggest surprise was realising that you’re actually a BIG FAN of mine 😲 Wow, you made me feel like a real celebrity today 😎 thank you! It was nice getting to know you in the flesh, and I hope to learn more from you too.
Shout out to your office colleagues! Let them head over to books.ufuomaee.org and start ordering their own books.
(Yes, she met with some of my colleagues at work too. And they were pleased to meet with her as well).
Let me end this post with my response to Ufuomae’s Instagram post shown above, with the assurance that she and I have moved from being just blog friends to real life friends.
You made my day. It was my pleasure meeting you… in real life. Wow… Thank you so so much for everything. You are as fantastic in real life as you are online, even more.
Yea, it’s true I ordered your books.. The good part, noooo, the great part is that you graciously autographed them for me. You are doing great [in your blogging journey]. And I know you will do more. Just keep the flag flying. I will be there to cheer you on.
Have you ever had anyone you met through your blog become your real life friend? I look forward to reading your experience in the comment section.
As much as you love what you do, not everyone will love you for it. While some people may be indifferent about your blogging activities, there are some other people that will come against you with harsh criticisms as feedback. But that you face some negative feedback doesn’t mean you should quit on your blog’s mission.
It certainly means you should find the best ways to handle the negative criticisms that confront you in such a way that they become beneficial to you.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Charles R. Swindoll
The question is, can there be anything beneficial in negative criticisms? I will say yes!
In this post, I will show you six good things about the negative criticisms you get on your blog:
1. Criticisms show you are being noticed.
There are millions of blogs out there. So if someone takes the time to pass a critical comment on your blog, it shows that you are gaining some visibility. Or would you rather be ignored?
2. There is some thing to learn from every criticism.
No matter how cantankerous your readers get while commenting on your blog, try not to be offended. Put a positive construction on whatever criticisms you get, because you will learn something good from it if you handle it properly.
Criticisms may cause your emotions to flare up. Learn to avoid that trap and you will be better positioned to learn something from the criticism that will make your blogging experience better.
3. Criticisms are part of your personal growth process.
You have heard the saying that if people throw stones at you, you should gather them to build a monument. You can apply that principle in blogging too.
When people throw the stones of negative criticisms at you, use them to build up yourself. In order words, don’t allow criticisms to tear you down. And specifically, do not quit on your blogging mission simply because you are being criticised.
4. Criticisms give you opportunity to be nice.
Some people have never been kind in their lives. So don’t expect them to start with your blog. When they attack you with harsh words on your blog, don’t respond to them fire for fire. Show them you are made of better stuff by responding to them as lovingly and as nicely as you can be.
Some bloggers will go the easy way of deleting negative comments on their blog, but if you do so, you would lose the opportunity of responding to someone in a way that might influence his or her life positively.
5. Criticisms make you not to rest on your oars.
Complacency may set in if you never get criticised in what you do or if all you get are only praise words.
The points of criticism you receive, if properly evaluated can be helpful to you in attaining higher grounds.
6. Some critics come as friends in disguise
Ultimately, you will get to realise that not everyone who criticises you are against you. Some are friends who wanted to help but didn’t know to frame their words better.
In dealing properly with negative criticisms, you will get to learn that some people who oppose you might turn out to become your allies.
So don’t scare people off when they leave comments you don’t like on your blog. Try your best to follow them to their own blogs. Read their posts and make valuable comments. Sooner or later, you will earn their respect.
Do you think the criticisms you receive on your blog are beneficial?
One of the many side-benefits of blogging is that it will lead to your personal development. I say that because I have experienced personal growth in many areas of my life since I took up blogging as a hobby and an avenue to interact with the rest of the world in written form.
In this post, I will show you several ways blogging has helped me in personal development. If you have been blogging for a while, I am sure you will identify with some of the benefits on the list.
Otherwise, feel free to extend the conversation by sharing your own experience in the comment section.
8 ways blogging has helped my personal development
1. Blogging has made me wiser and more knowledgeable.
As a blogger, you don’t only write posts, you read other peoples posts as well. You also find yourself researching on areas of your interest. As you do all that you will pick up plenty of wisdom and knowledge.
Apart from sharing your own thoughts, a huge part of blogging involves learning from other people through what they have written.
A reader of this blog agrees with that when he stated that “… blogging is strongest in the realm of knowledge and understanding. You can gain a great deal of insight into how people think from the vast number of personalities spread across the many forums.”
2. Blogging has made me a better writer
Writing is not blogging. But blogging is writing and more. And the more I blog, the more I write and the better I become at it.
I have not arrived yet, but I know I have improved on my written communication skill since I took up blogging. For someone whose first language is not English, blogging has definitely paid-off in helping to hone my writing talent.
So if you consider yourself an aspiring writer, blogging is one step you should take in that direction.
As one commenter on this blog once stated, “I believe that blogging can definitely be helpful in achieving personal development goals. Not only with getting to develop yourself by writing out your thoughts and beliefs and helping yourself grow from laying it all there. But, you also get thousands and thousands of examples and lessons to learn from other bloggers in the community.”
3. Blogging has strengthened my ability to handle negative criticisms.
Believe it or not you will have fun blogging. But at the same time, you will face some negative backlashes. The fact that you are getting criticised shows that you getting noticed. Or would you rather be ignored?
I don’t know about you, but as for me, I have never faced as much criticisms and negative attacks in life as much as I have faced in my short blogging journey. I am okay with the fact that not everyone will agree with my points of view. But it degenerates to a negative experience when some people become abusive or unnecessarily annoying with their comments on my blog.
That doesn’t mean I should shut down the blog. But it certainly means I should find the best ways to handle the negative criticisms.
And I do that by learning from the criticisms, responding in love rather than with hate, trying not to be offended and by staying focused on the bigger picture – refusing to give up.
4. Blogging has improved my interpersonal relationship skills.
I am sure you have encountered some internet trolls whose stock-in-trade is to post “inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages” on your blog. To be honest, they are not fun to deal with, and I have encountered a couple of them! But I would say I am doing better now in handling such people than when I started blogging.
I have learnt the hard way! I am not saying I have arrived. But both online and offline, I have improved on the way I relate with people on the blogosphere.
Blogging has taught me to be more patient, more gracious, and more understanding with people.
Some people may behave nasty to you, that’s their cup of tea. You have to be nice. It may not be easy, but don’t give up before trying.
5. Blogging increased my discipline with time management.
Just like many people, I have many times been guilty of wasting my free (valuable) time doing not-so-productive things (eg watching TV) and procrastinating on doing worthwhile things. But blogging has helped me use my spare time more productively.
As blogger, you write a lot. And you need to read wide as well. You need to discipline yourself more with the time at your disposal to achieve these two goals.
6. Blogging has enriched me spiritually.
In a way, blogging has assisted in my spiritual growth. As some one whose opinions are largely based on Biblical worldview, I read several Christian blogs whose authors have continued to impress me with their deep insights and teaching of God’s word.
In that process, I have been fed with the truths of God’s word in ways that have left me spiritually uplifted. So if you are keen on your spiritual growth, be aware that blogging can help you in that area.
7. Blogging has taught me Web-designing
If you had any web-designing skill before starting your blog, could you raise your hand please?
Well, congratulations if that’s you! As for me, I had zippo idea about web designing prior to when my blog was set up.
Setting up my blog was my first experience. Thanks to WordPress’s menu-driven processes, I can set up a functional blog for you if you want.
Before I started blogging, I had thought web development was not my thing; that it was meant for only programmers or those who have a working knowledge of markup languages such as HTML and CSS.
But now having successfully designed my own blogs and a few for other people, I am convinced I would not have known web designing if not for blogging? So you see what I mean?
8. Blogging has increased my creativity
I have found that there is an improvement in my mental creativity as a result of blogging. That’s hardly surprising because, you find that in writing blog posts, you have to be imaginative, you brain-storm on topics to blog about, you engage in meaningful conversations and so on.
That’s because creativity involves “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.” And both imagination and originality are familiar concepts in blogging.
You have read my experience. And hopefully, you were able to observe that beyond being a form of self-expression, blogging has become an avenue for personal development for me in many ways.
My knowledge in many fields, places and people has increased through blogging. I hone my writing skills as I write posts after posts. I am being more productive with my spare time, and I am now more self-confident than ever with blogging.
Over all, blogging is helping me become a better version of myself. I am not saying all this to draw attention to myself. Rather I am just trying to show you how blogging can help you in your personal development journey using my own experience as a case study.
I will like to hear your own story in the comment section.
A few people have had cause to ask me, “Victor, are you making money from your blog?” The simple answer I always gave is “No.”
When I started this blog, money making was never part of the objective. And it isn’t till this point in time.
But that does not in any way suggest that I am totally against monetising the blog. I am simply saying it is not part of the plan, at least not yet.
You may be a professional blogger, but I am not. So how you see blogging may not be exactly how I see it.
Writing this blog is a hobby I engage in outside my full time job. And like I already stated, I am not making any income from it.
My bills and those of my family are taken care of from income from paid employment. So what is in it for me in this blogging journey?
I would say a lot: more than I had initially anticipated and definitely much more than time and space would allow me delve into in this short post.
From the outset of my blogging journey, I wanted to share my thoughts on the issues of life with anyone who would care to read. I was convinced that what I had to share could make life better for someone out there – one way or another.
To a large extent, that objective is being achieved. The feedback I get from my readers and critics alike convince me of that.