Tested by Fire 10

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Gen. 22:1-2

This story often reminds me about how some little children behave when you give them candy and immediately ask for it, they hide behind their backs, I marvel about how soon they forget the source of the sweet, is it lack of faith that they won’t get it back when they give you, I wonder.

Unfortunately, that is what we do to God often atimes, when God gives us anything and wants it back we fight back, we are bold enough to even ask the question “why me?” Huh!

Abraham waited for the promised child for more than 20years, only for God to want it back within a few moment, Abraham without questions, hesitation and any iota of doubt just carry on with the instruction hmmmm

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. Gen. 22:3”

What kind of man was Abraham?

A man that has His footing planted on the rock and not things, and that is why He wasn’t shaken by the fire.

Abraham was Pure gold and God reaffirm his promises for him in Gen. 22:16-18″and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” “

By Duwara
#GodHasAbetterIdea

Tested by Fire 10

Tested by Fire 10
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Gen. 22:1-2

This story often reminds me about how some little children behave when you give them candy and immediately ask for it, they hide behind their backs, I marvel about how soon they forget the source of the sweet, is it lack of faith that they won’t get it back when they give you, I wonder.

Unfortunately, that is what we do to God often atimes, when God gives us anything and wants it back we fight back, we are bold enough to even ask the question “why me?” Huh!

Abraham waited for the promised child for more than 20years, only for God to want it back within a few moment, Abraham without questions, hesitation and any iota of doubt just carry on with the instruction hmmmm

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. Gen. 22:3”

What kind of man was Abraham?

A man that has His footing planted on the rock and not things, and that is why He wasn’t shaken by the fire.

Abraham was Pure gold and God reaffirm his promises for him in Gen. 22:16-18″and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” “

By Duwara
#GodHasAbetterIdea

WHAT WE SHOULDN’T DO TO NIGERIA

Over the years I have read different articles about Nigeria, with different views and opinions about the state of the nation, I have also written articles and two songs to mark Inpendence which are; Niaja, Dan Nigeria.

Independence is supposed to be a day to celebrate the achievements of a nation after it gained freedom but it is not always the case in Nigeria, I am yet to meet an excited Nigerian apart from those benefiting directly from Nigeria (“the National Cake”).

The focus of this article is what we shouldn’t do to Nigeria, last year I wrote about what we should do to Nigeria.

Firstly, Let’s establish the fact that Nigeria as a Nation is not where She is supposed to be.

Now, that we have established that let’s drive into our focus.

As citizen of this great Nation, what do you think contributed to where we are today?

Today some of the big issues militating the Nation are corruption, banditry, attacks, poor maintenance culture, and unaccountability.

All these issues started from the grass roots and where nurtured by political, religious and tribal interest.

As a citizen of this great Nation you shouldn’t be part of corruption in your everyday dealings, if you are a business person do it without unnecessary inflation of prices or deceit, if you are a white collar worker or in the civil service, avoid the use of office resources for personal gain or any form of corrupt practices.

As a youth avoid any form of drug abuse, love academics avoid malpractices, avoid cultism and any form of vices, remember also to live modestly and look decent at all times.

I have adopted something for a while now, anytime I find myself in public places(transport, markets, banks etc.) and people are discussing the state of the nation I avoid making contributions, this is why, the discussions are normally full of disappointments, about those handling the affairs of the nation especially Mr. President, I see that as a negative energy hovering around the citizens and if we don’t stop that it will get to us and when we get there we will carry same energy and rule.

Now lets see what the bible says about authorities;
1Peter 2:13-15 ” Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

This is the word of God about our place as citizens, not to insult the authorities, the question of if the election was rigged or not is between them and God.

The Nigeria I knew as a child was the kind that all my Neighbors brought their food outside and we ate varieties every evening, a Nigeria where anytime am going out I drop keys with my Neighbors, a Nigeria where in my primary schools days most times I pass through people selling fruits with my uniform they give me fruits, where my Taylor in primary school made new uniforms for me because we carry thesame name.

Wow such a beautiful Country, what happened to her, is it age? No for a nation 60years is still in babyhood.

Am optimistic one day we will wake up to a beautiful Nigeria.

I want to also use this opportunity to congratulate Governor of Borno Babagana Umara Zulum for a selfless Governance towards a better Nation, hmmm atlast something good came out from Borno since Boko Haram inception, I am also extending this to any good leader from the family upto the presidency.

By Duwara
Happy Independence Day
#GodHasAbetterIdea
Graphics by one of my graphic student, Hope

TESTED BY FIRE 9

God’s word holds lot of promises to those who indulge in its truth (2 Cor 1:20). Sometimes the fire that we pass through is so we can see for ourselves that God’s word stand true and flawless (Psalms 19:1-11) regardless our circumstances and situation.

Test and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), His promises are ye and amen (2 Cor 1:20). He shall keep to the promise He has made to his loved ones.
The trying of our faith (James 1:1-4) yields for us a far more exceeding glory (2 cor 4:17) and we are brought even more closer to him as we learn to depend on his word for all that pertains to life and Godliness.

We therefore need to maintain a Joyful attitude of Thanksgiving when we pass through diverse temptation for we know God is treating us as sons (Heb 12:7) and build us through the word we received of him.

It is able to build us and give us an inheritance among them that are sanctified (Acts 20:32).

We should know that those who went before us went through similar ordeal but have counted God as faithful.

Therefore let us by the same spirit of faith say; the Lord is with me , He will never leave me nor forsake me.
Sometimes what we go through or why we go through stuff doesn’t really matter. What really matter is that we saw God in it, Job saw God through his pains.

Fire reveals us as God’s Sons and Daughters of the kingdom.

By Jeremiah Dawus
#GodHasAbetterIdea

SEXUAL CONSENT OBTAINED FROM A MINOR; WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

We’ve known each other way back. Edward was a neighbor and also a family friend. He did come visiting or to mingle with my elder brother; Pisto though he was a bit older than Pisto.

We use to call him uncle Eddy. I was only fourteen years when I began to notice his masculine biceps, deep voice and beards. At this point he was already in the university and in his early twenties.


I got fond of uncle Eddy that I anticipate when he will show up. We may not necessarily talk, but there was this joy getting to see him. Sometimes I will shy away from where ever he was and hide. I will stare at him unnoticed from the kitchen; I really didn’t know what was happening to me.


I will think of him before I sleep and the first thing in the morning when I wake up. He was quite smart and intelligent. He has helped me with my mathematics homework a couple of times. He also had this great sense of humor, but that might have been because I was just into him.


On my fifteenth birthday, he came around as usual. Fortunately, the heavens smiled at me. He seemed to noticed how beautiful I am. In his words “wow, you have grown into a big girl now, see your fine shape.” This was the highlight of the day for me.


The next day he came over and I was the only one at home: I had just returned back from school. My parents were still at work and I didn’t know where my elder brother went to. His visit seemed to be calculated.


I welcomed him in: we sat in the living room. I felt so uncomfortable especially with the way he was looking at me. We sat at opposite ends and both pretended to be watching the television. Honestly, I was lost in thought. I watched him approach me to where I was sitting. At this point I already had goose pimples.


He sat close to me and wrapped his right hand around my shoulder. I turned mute, I was stuttering, couldn’t say “no nor yes.” He noticed how tensed I was and laughed hysterically in a bid to lighten up the atmosphere.


The smell of his perfume was disarming; his gimlet stare to and fro my face and middle body raked my bone marrow. His eyes were like furnace arousing deep affection: I was already palpitating. He placed his right hand on my chest and told me not to fear. He assured me that he was not going to hurt me.


At this point, my guards became loose. His static telling look was occasionally interrupted by the sound of the television. He told me how he had noticed me for a while now and how he had tried to act normal but couldn’t help it and that he has fallen in love with me. He said he knows the feeling is mutual and I have grown enough to be able to take my own decisions.


This ushered us into a new era; the beginning of the end. He promised to keep this a secret. I will sneak out of the house to visit him and other times abscond from school.

I actually looked at him with mixed admiration especially that I was becoming deviant at home, absent minded and losing interest in school. My conscience was jabbing me in the neck but I rested in his promises that he loved me and will never leave me nor forsake me… “hahaha!”


On this day, I watched him unclothe me while I grinned sheepishly. I only became sober upon the spill of blood. At this point I realized I have been disvirgined by my very own Uncle Eddy. I cried and watched him with disgust. Sagely, he talked me into believing that, that was the consolidation of our love and that everyone is doing it.


My mum noticed the behavioral change I was exhibiting; talked to be but off course, she doesn’t have the facts so I will give her a confuse stare as though she was speaking a language I do not understand and shrug away. I did same to my class teacher who attempted talking to me. Only Anita my friend was in the light of what was happening to me. She will sometimes cover up or assist me sneak out of school.


Weeks later… I started having this feelings of being sick. I was obsessed with Eddy that I didn’t realized I had missed my monthly flow for over two months. I became sullen: The body changes were becoming evident. I took ill and was taken to the hospital. Upon diagnosis and test, It was discovered with rude shock and dismay by my parents that I was pregnant.


This introduced me into the university of reality; especially that Eddy was nowhere to be found. This was the first time I saw my Dad shedding tears. He was speechless the whole time. He is actually not a man of many words. I could not read the uncertain expression on my mother’s face. Seems I was mightily deceived or maybe Eddy is not man enough to take responsibility or that he was afraid and flee. But he left without a hint of apology or respect…hmmm!


I was on a dignified road to depression, not to talk about the shame I have brought to my family. My school had hit the snooze button. I could only trust God to take the helm. I fell into a good grief and a mess in a world of promise. I am now a teenage mother and also a secondary school drop out.


With the little wit left, I kept hope alive. Though panned out but we move.

Such a hazy recollection my premature love experience!

AGE OF CONSENT
There is such a thing as age of consent for carnal knowledge. Recently, conversations and activism against rape has been intense especially due to recent events and occurrences. However, the emphasis seemed to be on forceful penetration and the absence of consent.


WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE LAW ON CONSENT GIVEN BY A MINOR?
The age of consent under the Nigerian Law is 18. Suffice is to say that sexual consent from a person below 18 is null and void.


Section 31(3)(a) of the Child’s Rights Act 2003 states as follows “where a person is charged with an offence of (unlawful sexual relations with a child) under this section, it is immaterial that the offender believed the person to be of or above the age of eighteen years.”


Whilst this provision doesn’t expressly mention this fact, an implied reading of section 31 outlines 18 years as the bench mark for determining an adult and a minor. In essence, if the law is unconcerned about the consent granted by the minor or the wrong perception of the victim’s age, it therefore upholds the 18 years as the age of consent.


The Matrimonial Causes Act is silent about the age of marriage or consent but simply mentioned marriageable age. Section 3(1)(e) simply states that a marriage is void if any of the party is bellow a marriageable age.


In like vain, section 18 of the Marriage Act stipulates the minimum age for consent for marriage to be 21. Conversely, section 18 of the Child’s Rights Act stipulates the minimum age to contract a valid marriage as 18.


The differences in the provisions of these laws is an academic exercise especially because the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is silent about it. However, it is pertinent to know that the age of sexual consent under the Nigerian jurisprudence is 18 years.


A collective reading of these provisions pari pasu the provisions The Sexual Offences Bill passed in 2015 by the National Assembly gives us a safe landing. Section 7 stipulates life imprisonment to any person convicted of having sexual intercourse with a minor.


All being said, a person should not seize the vulnerability, ignorance or exuberance of these teenagers and strike. It is simply put; unfair, opportunistic and inconsiderate. With your untamed emotions and lust you visit these young ones with untold grief.


Huncle, allow that young girl in your neighborhood to grow. If you can’t help her at least don’t harm her!

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Tested by Fire 8

Mat 13:21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Job 19:25-26
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God

It’s a common and important thing for any product to be tested before releasing to end users to ensure delivery of the valued proposition.

There wouldn’t be need for testing if there isn’t probability that the product could fail the test. At the center of a test is the objective to check if the valued proposition still holds. In system development parlance, The accuracy and workability of the product says alot about the developer and the product owner. This implies that the product’s reliability only reveals the intelligibility of its maker.

A fire does burn, true. But it also reveals as in the case of Gold purification and petrochemical products. This part of the series Tested by fire is to help you see God amidst the fire of your testing ( in you and with you through his word)

God wants to showcase us to the world ( as his icons or trophies) and as examples to those coming after us -kind of like a cloud of witnesses. In the previous part of this series Tested by fire 7 we saw the life of job and his ordeal and the latter part of his life.

God’s word holds lot of promise to those who indulge in its truth (2 Cor 1:20). Sometimes the fire that we pass through is so we can see for ourselves that God’s word stand true and flawless (Psalms 19:1-11) regardless our circumstances and situation. Test and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), His promises are ye and amen (2 Cor 1:20). He shall keep to the promise He has made to his loved ones.

My dear friends may we find strength in the scriptures and be comforted by them in the times of our testing.

Prayer: Father we know you want us see you as Lord beyond the storms, and so, remember the word in which you have caused your servant to hope. May the fire of your word be with us and keep us warm in the wilderness of our testing. Amen.

By Jeremiah Dawus
#GodHasAbetterIdea

LONELY PATHS

‘Lonely paths’

She’s the regular kinda girl.
She’s beautiful not in the conventional way-
Pet peeving her way through life
She’s on a virgin land;
A wilderness she’s daring to route.

There’s always a price:
glamour has rough paths,
mot to talk about the crazy patch.
Some days she cries her self to sleep,
other days she wakes up with great wit
bossing up and ready to plough with grit.

You don’t wish yourself into the lala land.
Late nights and early mornings,
mass acquittances with small circle
being misunderstood by the many she’s fighting for.
Trying to live above her superstitious society,
some days quitting seems appealing.
When efforts hounds frustration and daunting
or the fear of missing out.
Let’s not talk about the days she sleeps on the couch
only to dream of tea lights and candles;
seeing a higher horizon beckoning.

Oh Monalisa!
She’s been nick named frugalista
and an area snob.
But that felt at sea by her steely determination to rise.
Friends think she’s book smart,
her decisions proved she’s also Street smart.
These lonely paths, she made familiar
fixing rotted wrecks,
giving value and fighting to stay within Budget;
Making giant strides from consistent creeping.

Keep your spirits strong,
Turn your conviction into fortune.
You’re doing just fine
Keep being obsessed with the price.
One day, it will pay off:
Failure is not in your DNA.
Keep pushing, it’s okay to trade a few years to secure a lifetime
They’ll be bad days, never concede
Wax strong into an unbeatable 21st century woman,
Making tremendous valor,
Making tremendous impact.

OPPORTUNITIES

OPPORTUNITIES
“…time and chance happens to them all.”


I arrived my lodge at Frankfurt Marriott Hotel, at the break of noon after a long day. I was speaking earlier at THE ALLIANCE FOR INTEGRITY’S GLOBAL CONFERENCE in Frankfurt Germany with representation from at least 21 countries including America. It is a one-day conference bringing together stakeholders from different regions, sectors and industries. It was quite engaging for me. I spoke on the topic “the socio-economic impact of corruption”. During the break out session, I had appointment with top government officials from china and Nigeria. I could hardly wait to retire for the day.


I lay on the fussily comfy bed in my immaculate and austere apartment, pleasantly curtained in purple clothe and with luxurious interior design, elegant and modern. The stillness was thorough, I could but hear the throbs of my heartbeat while perceiving the smell of flower scented solitude. I was quite exhausted to switch on the television. I started meditating on how the day went; it was actually pleasant and successful. Almost dozing off, I thought I should check my mails briefly.


Upon opening my mail, BOOM! I was welcomed by a congratulatory message. It reads “BARNES AND NOBEL AWARDS LIST” and then “Congratulations Evelyn Pulle, your book…has been listed for the platinum best seller award”


The beaming duking smile over my face could lit the whole earth. I did not know whether to scream or jump but certainly being calm was not among my options. Wow! I know my book was travelling far and wide but I honestly did not see this award coming. What a rude but pleasant shock!


This got me thinking really. My mind tour the history lane. The small beginnings, the sleepless night seemingly futile but has obviously paid off. On a second thought my mind was opened to other realities. These are the opportunities that opened it arms for me, the people who supported me and the ones that did not stand on my way. Actually it appears that I have gotten this far not only because of my hard work and skill but most importantly; opportunities. Realizing this was humbling. I am only a person with whom life was benevolent with opportunities and Adam’s hand helped me seize same.


I went back to quickly respond to the mail and subsequent mails. Half way through, I dozed off.


I woke up not to the sound of my alarm nor the sound of door bells but the heavy knock on my door and the scream of my name. It was quite confusing. I was wondering how the hotel attendants could call me by name and with such heavy knocks.
So I was forced to open my eyes to attend to my caller only to realize that I was in my small room, enveloped inside my small sized bed in Jos, Nigeria and it was my brother knocking ferociously to collect his phone charger that I had borrowed to use overnight. So neither the award nor lecture was real…SMH. I was heartbroken.

Life presents us with different opportunities at different points. These opportunities are not the same for everyone. These opportunities are hidden advantage that makes us who we are. It just seems like some people are luckier than others; this is both true and false.


We don’t undermine the place of hard work nor denigrate the efforts of accomplished men. They are celebrated because of the opportunities that came through for them and their ability to make sense of it which is commendable.


Motivational speakers are doing great in recent times. The gospel of rising from nothing to something is thriving. But really, we do not rise from nothing. There are hidden advantages released to different persons at different points. These opportunities could otherwise be time, family, cultural legacies, relationships, parentage, demography et al. They could also be situations that allowed you rise, work or learn.


I quote a portion from Malcom Gladwell; Outliers “the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn, it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it is deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapping and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But we do know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, the rabbits and lumber jacks they were lucky to avoid”


While in Law School, a self-acclaimed and renown young lawyer came to speak to us as aspirants to the Nigerian Bar. His slogan was “focus on your focus.” His message centered on his sleepless night, how he reads for 18 hours a day, no friends, no social media handles, television nor sport and how that he understands better when he reads on hungry stomach hence he was eating once a day. Really applauding, such hard work! Another rising from nothing story.


When we cling to that idea, it makes us pompous and self-acclaimed and in fact, frustrate the effort of others trying to rise and denigrate the help and opportunities that came through.
Success is fundamentally a result of an accumulative advantage. Hard work and talent is an ingredient of success. But you dear reader will believe with me that the people known today as successful athletes, artistes or professionals are not the most talented but they merely had opportunities that opened up for them at the right time. You can be talented but someone has to give you the opportunity to be an expert.


This accumulative advantage also includes what seems like a disadvantage but turns out not to be a disadvantage at all. What is sometimes called a setback may in turn be an advantage hence it becomes desirable to an extent.
Put that extra effort, work a little bit harder, burn the mid-night candle, practice and invest those ten thousand hours into what you do. Be daring enough to dream and more than anything else be open to see the opportunities opening for you. I take guts!


I will end with this quote by Malcom Gladwell “what distinguishes our histories is not our extra-ordinary talents but our extra-ordinary opportunities”


Thank you.

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Tested by Fire 7

Tested by Fire 7
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity?

curse God and die!

” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job 2:7-9

A test is given to reveal the true worth, quality or value of something, in a school setting after students are taught, the teacher always ask these,

“do you understand? Any question?”

At the end for the teacher to be sure the student(s) level of understanding He/She gives a test.

Job was tested by taking all He had including his health, you may not understand the kind of fire job was tested with until you understand the life of a wealthy person, a wealthy person is someone that does what ever He/She thinks with a minimal amount of effort or stress.

Job had all the resources to do things without the need to even lifting a finger, but Job had a very quality lifestyle that He understood that it is God’s favour over his life and not his wisdom that placed Him in that position, His response to His wife is gold.

can you do that?

If you can accept good from God, how about trouble?

Let your worship surpass what you want to get from God, because with or without God remains God.

Shalom!
Duwara
#GodHasAbetterIdea

Tested by Fire 6

TESTED BY FIRE
Anchor scripture
Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [1 Corinthians 3:13]

Depending on the substance with which your work is made of, it will either be destroyed to ashes or purified to reveal its true brilliance and beauty. If your motive (for service, giving, praying, teaching, and any other goodwill) is to be tested by fire, what will it bring forth?

As defined by The English Dictionary, motive is a reason for doing something, or anything that prompted a choice of action.

Let’s consider motives behind the request made in prayers.

If you believe that prayer works, you will pray. If you get result when you pray, you will love to pray. Because prayer works! Unfortunately, a lot of people pray, without result to show forth. God’s word has revealed to us the possibility to miss out in prayers.

There is such thing as “error prayer”.

Apart from not forgiving and unbelief, the bible says, ‘selfishness’ is also a hindrance
to receiving from God.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. [James 4:3]

Selfish requests in prayer are not in accordance to God’s will; they are evil prayers. Such as prayed for success to steal, cheat, and kill; prayer that both the means and end is to be used for self; to receive glory that is due for God etc. Does God answer evil prayers? Emphatically, no! God cannot be an accomplice in evil.

Decision: I choose to align my motive to the will of God.
Further reading: James 4

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GodHasABetterIdea
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