Pray Through To Victory!


If you study 1 Kings 18:41-46 and I think you should. You would notice that Elijah prayed seven times before He was able to effect the change. 
Sometimes, God may speak a word to your heart or a prophecy may even be given, but until we tarry in prayer, to the point of receiving a note of victory, God’s mandate in heaven will not be a reality on the earth . In essence, prayer is labour. It is conversing with God in a manner that is heartfelt and persistent until what He has said comes to pass in the earth.
In the coming weeks, I see a lot of climate issues still to come; social upheavals and unprecedented catastrophe across the world. God reveals these things, not because they are inevitable, but because He wants us to pray. 

Our prayers must not cease . In Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas didn’t just pray and sing,  they prayed until they sang. And here’s the difference: their singing was their note of victory if you noticed what happened thereafter. 

1 John 5:14-15 tells us there can be no unanswered prayers when we pray according to God’s will. He wills that our prayers be heartfelt and unceasing until we take delivery of destiny.

When the creator said men ought always to pray and not to quit (in Luke 18:1), He who constituted mankind and became a man himself, was admonishing us about how to live successfully. The prayers should not cease until victory is physically apparent.
God has a verdict on your situation. You just have to find it in the Bible and pray through to victory.

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Leadership By Affiong Ene-Obong 


Leadership is about YOU. It’s about the responsibility you have towards yourself; the legal right and moral obligation to engage in a task without recognition, reward or applause. When there are no expectations, reward or applause and your goal can be achieved with and for others, you are a leader.Leadership is characterized by your attitude- your perception to life and lives of others which has absolutely nothing to do with your position in your environs or the society at large.

A man is not just a male or human being, one who displays the qualities of strength, courage, valor, husband, father, boyfriend or any other attribute peculiar to the gender as leadership isn’t associated with gender, leadership is solely dependent on responsibility.

A leadership trait can be discovered in a person through the behavior-Its behavior that determines if the person can execute tasks (responsibility) that would shape the lives of others not the desire to be powerful or famous.

Leadership revolves around four components:

• Person – the individual who is determined to take up responsibility based on the legal rights and moral obligations without fear or favor which largely depends on behavior (actions or inactions) and perception.

• People- the humans making up a group who have common interest play a vital role in our quest to engage in a task. They watch the individual to ensure he or she engages in the task effectively to produce an end result. A leader must be prepared for criticisms, appraisal from time to time as he climbs the leadership ladder.

• Process- a leader must evolve and enjoy every step as he climbs the leadership ladder

• Performance- a leader must execute his actions taking cognizance of his actions and inactions at every stage. Failure and risks are inevitable but perseverance and believe are key.

A leader must have the heart of a dove; display meekness in every way even when people criticize or spite the individual. However, the leader should apply wisdom and tact when executing his or her responsibilities. A leader must have the skin of a rhinoceros; thick skinned and not a leopard that changes its skin.

Energy management should be a leader’s primary task; He or she should be able to multi-task to execute what he believes could shape lives and change the world.

No one is born great. We strive to be better based on our believes and experiences

One true fact remains; there are no great leaders, there are great principles

One question we should ask ourselves is, ‘’If you are leader, would you want to follow yourself?’’

Affiong Ene-Obong is a lawyer, writer, poet and artist. She holds a Law degree from Babcock University. She is member of the Association of Nigerian Authors; Rivers State chapter, a member of the Sea View Poetry Club and member of Sisters’ Interact Network; an NGO aimed at helping women actualize themselves.

Her first book, ‘A Life Called Forever’ is a collection of inspirational poetry beautifully written to inspire, impact and transform lives. She spends her free time reading, writing, researching, learning new skills.

Her articles have been published in The Redeemed Christian Church of God magazine and B.A.B.E.S. Redefined Magazine; an insightful magazine which focuses on addressing the wholeness of women and by extension, the men who value and respect them.

Her poems have also been published on various blogs and websites. She is a polyglot, polymath and purpose driven. She is currently working on her second book; a novel which is centred on giving children with special needs love, roots and wings. She writes flash fictions, essays, short stories and poems.

Her works which centre on courage, hope, strength and encouragement has been described as inspirational.

She earnestly desires to inspire, impact and transform lives, fulfilling God’s purpose.

Affiong Ene-Obong resides in Nigeria with her family.

 

The Trail of Death


A while back, say about 27 years ago, my mom received a call from a distant relative. It was a Saturday as I recall, and we very convivial about what we would have for breakfast. It would be a combination of akara and pap or moin-moin and agidi, depending on the mood mom was in. But then, the telephone conversation didn’t seem to go well. I remember mother’s face caking into a frown that left my brother and I a little uneasy.
‘What is it mommy?’ I asked after she had left off speaking and put the phone back in its place. Back then, everything was menial and Saturdays were sort of an avenue for my mom -and probably, every other working class mom in Nigeria-to communicate the ‘mechanical’ state of things that the late 1980s trickling into the early 1990s were. From having to plough through our two bedroom apartment, all covered in thick brown rug to wiping the furniture rid of dust with a dry piece of clothe, blending the beans my mom had skinned, making breakfast, eating it and eventually settling to a retinue of newspaper articles mother made me summarize, Saturdays were almost never fun, even though I still have the Old Lady to thank for it, given the few proficiencies I picked up.
But this Saturday had brought with it much more than the usual drudgery, it had brought pain. ‘Your dad’s cousin has been arrested in Malta, ‘ she flinched. It was a moment rarely seen; my mother to flinch. Anyone who knew my mother easily branded her a hot-head who had  little to zero compassion for things she considered stupidity. And getting clamped by immigration in a country you had no business in, seemed like stupidity to me.

‘Where is Malta, mum?’ My little brother asked. ‘And how did Uncle So-and-so get there?’

Mom flinched again but this time, a tear wheeled down her cheek which made us realize that there was more she wasn’t saying. In hindsight, I think my dad’s absence at the time, compounded her reaction. You see, my dad was an aviator and would very often, be away for protracted periods, in the sky, moving people and their belongings from airport to airport, almost never stopping in any location for long enough to phone home except for when he made a major stop which meant his aircraft needed fixing. Uncle So-and-so’s telephone call had coincided with such a time when my dad hadn’t called in about two days. 
‘Malta is off the coast of Africa,’ mother said and then continued, ‘near Spain.
‘Your Uncle says he was lured with getting a job in Spain as an electrician, but not having money for a plane ticket, he travelled by road to Agadez in Niger Republic and then through the Sahara Desert to a place called, Tobruk from where he boarded a boat to Malta, where he has now been arrested.’

Mother began to cry. I sense that things were worse than she was letting on but I couldn’t bring myself to begin to cry along with her as did my little brother. Dad had left me in charge. And it was a responsibility I held on to even though I didn’t know how. I kept a stiff upper lip and simply bellowed over and over again, ‘Everything would be alright.’

‘He said he was happy to have been arrested,’ mother said and then continued, ‘that the trip was gory with many deaths. Once the Tuaregs had attacked the truck he was commuting in, taking his money, belongings and his passport and those of every other person in the truck except the driver whom the bandits seemed to be in cahoots with.

Mother seemed very beaten by this news by this time as she relayed it. She was on the floor, her crying becoming a wail which made me wonder.

 But that was the story you could share with a child. The real story as I later came to learn was that Uncle So-and-so had been lured, robbed, sexually assaulted, stabbed and left for dead somewhere in Libya. A Good Samaritan had found and freighted him across the Mediterranean to Malta where he was arrested, treated and later, deported to Nigeria.

I remembered the story now because of something I saw on Facebook a few days ago about an Abeokuta-based trafficking ring and their modus operandi. It’s still the same; they lure unsuspecting people-parents of eventual victims and the youngsters themselves-with fictitious jobs abroad, offering incredible pay.
It’s the same tactic that worked on my relative twenty-seven years ago. And need I say, he later died; not from the trauma of escaping the throes of death while crossing the Sahara but from HIV that he got infected with from being sodomized on his road to fortune.

Stories about helping people find work overseas are often not true. They are a lure into prostitution and other forms of enslavement and the sad part is, the trafficking rings make you pay a fee to take you to their hell.

Monies as much as N350,000 to N1,500,000 are demanded upfront by these traffickers to take victims -desperate for a better life-to Italy, Spain, Libya or Malaysia only to make these people pay them an extra amount of money through prostitution or other forms of enslavement.

As I drift away from typing this piece, I remember a 1979 movie, Ashanti and how it captured the gloom of trans-Sahara human trafficking. The very suggestion of going to Europe through Niger is never a good prospect, if you ask me. The trail across the desert up to the Mediterranean Sea are always lined with corpses. 

Be careful.

Head and Not Tail


One of God’s promises to the Seed of Abraham was that he was to be head and not tail-above only; never beneath-in this life. To the Jews who claim this promise, this has been true. Many Jewish families coming to America from Europe in the 1940s came with about $8. Today, Jews in America are difficult not notice because they are at the helm of American politics, science & tech,  business, media and sports. You may not find many Jewish actors but the film directors and producers are almost always Jewish. The sport club owners, the venture capitalists and the hegemony of Wall Street. They too are almost all Jews.
Why? 

Because of a conditional promise in Deuteronomy 28:13 says, 

‘If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.’

The Jews, as we know, have not always kept their part of the bargain otherwise, Jesus would not have had to come and pay the penalty for their failings.

But God is ever faithful. The Bible says He is faithful even when we aren’t (2 Timothy 2:13) and that, God gives without changing His mind (Romans 11:29). 

And so, we see the Jew excel in this world. He excels with this promissory note of God; the same promise whose terms have now  been satisfied by Jesus Christ  and credited to our account. 

The Bible says we who are Christ’s are Abraham’s Seed and heirs based on the promise (Galatians 3:29). Every benefit God committed to perform when He entered into a contractual agreement with Israel belongs to us in Christ because Jesus satisfied the demands of the contract. And so the headship belongs to you and I who are born again.

This headship is what was working in Joseph that took him for the pit to the palace in a short span of time. It worked for David; taking him for tending sheep to leading a nation. It worked in Jesus when He took on lowly flesh, went to hell and sacked the place. He was raised the third day and today, He seats at the helm of everything…with you seated together.

You are the head. It is your place in Christ Jesus, and this isn’t something to be superspiritual about. Headship means leadership. And because of this gift that you now have, there can be no dispute to you place among men.

You are the head and not the tail, above only and never beneath.

Shalom!

Houses and An Inheritance: The Role of the Father


In a world where men are steadily barraged by the question of their identities, one can almost understand why so many men are so resigned. The socioeconomics of parenting particularly in the developed world has led to a rise in stay-at-home dads.  

Or maybe because women have proven to be more emotionally intelligent in the workplace, we are seeing a sustained trend of women taking the breadwinning roles at the home front.We have also witnessed more dereliction from fathers, which I must presume, comes from a place of angst at a world that has so much changed.

But it isn’t how much the world has changed as it as it is about how a lot of men have morphed away from the idea of who a man is. I mean, a real man.

Now, I would most certainly write a book were I to describe a man–not the one I am, but the one I see in the Bible; the one I aspire to be–but that’s not the reason I wrote this post.

 Like the never-ending line drawn across the horizon, the man I see for myself is an unnerving image which is why I like to look at him pixelated, in tiny bits so that my focus does not become blurred by it’s his resplendence.

Proverbs 19:14 is a pixel that I am newly accustomed to. It says,

‘A house and self-sufficiency are a father’s inheritance, but from the LORD comes an insightful wife.’

Leaving the wife part out, even though I am thankful to God for the gift of an insightful wife myself, a man is responsible for the gift of a house and riches to his child. It isn’t enough to teach them God’s ways or send them to school, you’ve got to provide a house and  start up capital for the next generation not because it is what a man should does but because it is part of who a good man is…to his children (see Proverbs 13:22)

Don’t say your parents left you nothing and so, you too would leave nothing to your own kids. 

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children not because it is what he does but because it’s who he is.

Never Question God’s Love

Sometimes, we put out our faith for something. And for every intent and purpose, we even get to a point where we know how it is going to happen; this thing we are believing God for.

But then, it doesn’t happen as planned and we are tempted to get offended. Don’t! 

In that hour, it is time to worship God; to recognize that God’s love for you cannot fail; to reaffirm in your heart your unwavering trust in the love that God has for you.

The Bible declares that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Faith may fail according to the Bible but God’s love for you never fails.

Never question God’s love for you! Worship Him, don’t complain…

Christ In You


Christianity is not a religion. And this isn’t about making cliches or semantics. Christianity is the vivacious life of God infused and operative in a person. 

Before Jesus came and died, God our Father would provisionally let Christ come upon certain people for certain specific purposes and then it would lift off of them when that purpose was accomplished. It was given by measure unto them. 

But when Jesus came, He came as the Christ -the Overflow of God’s wisdom and ability-for the Bible declares that He (Jesus) whom God had sent speaketh the Word of God for God has not given to Him the Spirit by measure unto Him (see John 3:34). Jesus was the first to come with the Overflow of God’s anointing. 

Now, we who are in Christ have been born into this Overflow of wisdom and power. It was what was meant in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 when the Bible declared:

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things have become new. And all things are of God…

‘Behold’ is the operative word in these verses. It means that in Christ we are to behold the newness of life; the harmonization of our lives with that of Almighty God by Jesus Christ.

We are one with God.

But beyond being in Christ, Christ is in you. When you got Born Again, you didn’t just get immersed into Christ, Christ sipped into you too through and through; giving you the assurance that you share in God’s wisdom and power.

It is a mystery but know this, if it is possible with God, you too can achieve it in Christ and with Christ in you.