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REFRESHING WATER

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By Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne.

So…this morning, around 3:00 am I was awake, and came downstairs to have a glass of water. As I poured myself a glass and took a sip, it suddenly occurred to me how tasteless the water was. I wondered why something so wonderful would come so plain.

Suddenly, it hit me how good men are very similar to water.

Compared to other drinks, water is plain. Tasteless. Colourless. Odourless. Few drinks are as unattractive as water. Water does not have the bright attractive colour of Fanta. It does not taste as sweet as Coke. Water doesn’t even have the tantalizing aroma of beverage.

But no drink can rehydrate and refresh as naturally as water does. No drink cleanses your system faster. No drink balances your pH more effortlessly. Hardly any other drink has as little side effects as water. It has medicinal properties. It agrees with all your body fluids. It’s an ally to your good health.

It works wonders.

We singles are sometimes caught up in the glam. We want spice, we want swag, and we want something that gets our adrenaline high. He must look good, smell good and have an intimidatingly awesome profile. He must be tall, dark and handsome, or fair, cute and lovable, with a bulging bank account.

All these are good…but at the end of the day, they aren’t the ultimate. Good men don’t always come in the best of packages, but the content is worth more than diamonds. They sometimes come as plain as water- no outstanding fragrance, no sharp colours, no taste.

But the things they’ll bring into your life will be amazing. The wisdom, the care, the love. Motivating you to achieve your dreams. Helping you to grow in God. Loving you and treating you like a queen
Ah, my sister, there are more important things than a good face or a hunk of a figure. Sometimes, it’s the deeper things that are more important- a man’s character, his walk with God… and how much he is willing to give up for you…and most importantly, if he’s God’s plan for you.

Don’t be too quick to let that person go because they don’t have what you think you want. No, my sister. Look a little closer. Consider deeper issues. Think about the long run, not just today. Re-prioritize. Because in the end, the important things are not the looks…or the physique….or even the size of the bank account.

The important thing is being in the centre of God’s will for your life.

In the end, a most vital consideration isn’t just necessarily that he makes your heart flutter, but that he also gives your heart rest.

Lord, I pray for wisdom even as many of us make this very important decision at this time of our lives- the choice of a life partner.
May we not judge by the seeing of our eyes or by the hearing of our ears…but let us be led by You, and cause us to walk in the right paths You have ordered for our lives, for we know that You make all things beautiful in Your time, and You will do so for each and every one of us in Jesus’ Name.
Amen.

Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne studied Medicine in the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is the author of Practical Advice for Girls and A Reason to Hope. Her life’s passion is helping young people discover and fulfill their God given destiny. She is married to her lovely friend and they are blessed with children.

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The Parable of the Forgotten Shoes

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By Benjamin Dike

So this was how I was dressed in church today!

Forgot my shoes? No. My wife did. Before you think my wife practically slaves for me, she doesn’t. She is actually the boss; I live in her house. So here is what happened.

We had got set for church and I was carrying things to the car. As I stooped to pick my shoes (I don’t like driving with my shoes on if I can help it), she offered to help me bring the shoes to the car.


I pulled out the car and we drive to church. Then I asked her for my shoes. Now you already know the response. She had forgotten the shoes at home. First, I ‘froze’. This was quite serious. I can’t go home to get the shoes. Home is on the Island; Church is on the mainland. Then I was about saying, But I wanted to pick the shoes and you … (Yeah, at least I should blame her). But one look at her stopped me in my tracks. She looked so subdued and beaten like a little child.

This woman is one of the most meticulous persons I know. I can keep something somewhere in her absence and will later forget where I kept it. My only hope is my wife or the Holy Spirit (when she is not available). I will just tell her that I am looking for so and so and she will either tell me where it is or she will go find it. So, one look at Madam Meticulous, I felt enormous pity (or was it compassion) well up inside me. She obviously had no bad intentions. Things just happen sometimes.


I chuckled and told her not to worry. My mood shifted immediately. It was now a sense of excitement to dress up in my nice suit – with a slipper on! I will look different, I told myself. And I will leave people guessing – that is if they even notice! (Often we forget that people are busy focusing on themselves that they may not even notice the shoes you are wearing).

I started looking forward to it. Then I asked myself, what has my dressing got to do with my worship after all? Wow! It felt so liberating. It was a powerful deliverance from human expectations and convention. It was a refocusing on what really matters. Perhaps, it’s really my heart that matters, my heart that God cares about, not merely the outer trappings. Don’t get me wrong, proper dressing is proper – when you can help it! But now, I couldn’t help it. And I wasn’t about to ruin my day and my worship on the altar of a ‘forgotten shoes’.

Meanwhile, my wife was still deeply beaten and looking for how to fix the ‘mess’. She got one of my young men to go home and get me his shoes. But I flatly refused. I was just fine. Sometimes a little bit of mischief can spice up life. And I was loving the mischief of a suit with some marching slippers!

So here are 4 quick lessons that came to mind


1) How you live your day is a choice – joy or ruin.


2) Sometimes, people don’t wrong you because they are bad. It’s just because they are people – they can fail.


3) What if we were to judge people by their true intentions and not their actions. Maybe we will have better relationships. The reality is that we often judge people by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions.


4) What you see as a problem is what becomes a problem. A messy situation is really a matter of interpretation.

My friends, trust me, I had a very beautiful time in church today – shoes or no shoes. So, focus on what’s important and free yourself from the needless clutter than ruin your fun in life.

Choose to enjoy your life, mbok!



Benjamin C. Dike, PhD

Benjamin is the executive Chairman of Joshua Leadership Project. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom and a Doctorate degree in Credit Management from the  International University of Panama. Benjamin is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Fellow of both the Institute of Credit Administration and the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria. A prolific and insightful writer, he has several published works, including God of My Right Hand and EveryDay Leadership.

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Hearts Without Thorns…

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The Christian Medical and Dental Association of Nigeria – Students’ arm, Abia State University Teaching Hospital (CMDA Nigeria – Students ABSUTH) presents her healing balm newsletter for the year 2020 titled “HEARTS WITHOUT THORNS”.

It’s a book culled to enable it’s reader to understand the concept of living a life free from thorns and toxins which make our love for God unstable and wavering.

It aims at equipping every reader with the knowledge and consciousness of his existential state.

You know we happen to live in a world where everyone is doing it the way they seem fit, some feel they’re doing it right, some know they’re not on track but they’re just doing it anyways.

It’s expedient for us to understand that not everyone who is a Christian is actually one. You know Judas was a follower of Jesus for 3yrs yet the scriptures recorded that he loved money so much, which was the legal premise by which the devil found expression in him to betray JESUS.

This book will enable us to understand some deep facts about staying in alignment with Christ and his Business.

School Editor-in-Chief.

Click below to download…

(more…)
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Features

Is rape preventable?

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Rape is a violent crime, and a very sensitive subject, that creates all kinds of emotions when talked about. Recently I wanted to do a talk on rape and needed a lawyer’s input, I wanted the lawyer to be part of the discussion, but her response was in the negative. In her words “I may be too emotional because I have had three near-rape incidents.”

Rape is caused by the rapist/s, but how do we protect our boys, girls, and ourselves from rape? I asked this question on my Facebook account and got some responses, which I would love to share here and I would also wish you can respond as well, as we learn and play our part to have a rape free society.

Ichechi Wokeh Esq; ‘Give the girl child good martial arts training to afford her a fighting chance in case of any eventuality... Truth is: rape, like many other vices, cannot be totally wiped off the face of the earth. We just have to find ways to avoid being victims. We can’t just sit back and wait it out. They should also be taught not to be with the wrong people at the wrong places, about the possibility of being drugged, about opening up, etc. Rape is a capital offence. They should beat the shame, report, and save the next girl from that particular rapist. Rape suspects hardly meet their bail conditions given the nature of the crime. I just can’t comprehend it when I hear people shy away from reporting rape cases. It’s not the shaming, but the resources to follow up your complaint. If you try that one with a family having the resources, that suspect is dead meat. It’s just the money to pursue case. Na money matter. Who born rapist??? If you see their physical condition in court, you’ll even forgive them.’

Dr. Charles Okpani; ‘Ovundah Nyeche we have to start instituting Christian family upbringing again. The men who rape were raised in homes, bro it will continue. Christian school education with well thought out sex education for every age group. Churches need to start organizing parenting classes for couples to learn.’

Dr. Comfort Ogidi; ‘There is no easy way to protect our children, God’s protection is all. I have heard of people who have ‘followed all protocols’ to prevent situations that can lead to rape and still got raped. Rape can happen anywhere, not mainly males but also females, friends, family, fathers, robbers, strangers are all culprits. Homes, boyfriends houses, streets, alleyways, buses, clubs and now churches have all been implicated. So I cannot tell my child don’t dress indecently( so you don’t get raped. I might have other reasons to tell them so but not that. Also a place you think is secluded today might be the only passageway tomorrow, and a regular route today might be secluded tomorrow. So basically, I would only ask parents to teach their children consent, and also ask our government to make rape punishment stiffer, and the culture of victim blaming reduced. Finally, having weapons such as pepper spray and such might not be a bad idea. Although one prays our children never meet a situation where they would have to use it.‘ When quizzed further about a comment she made about dressing, she added ‘I will tell them this…dress the way you want to be addressed….In this part of the world (Nigeria) if you dress with too much skin exposed, you would be seen as fickle, someone who has nothing much to bring to the conversation and that’s why you are calling attention to your body unnecessarily. In fact, to simpletons you are a slut. So dress the way you want to be seen as. Dress smart, dress to the occasion, dress to the place. Be smart, be emotionally intelligent. I don’t use the word ‘indecent dressing’ at all, as decency of dressing is relative to the place.What is seen as a decent dressing in Port Harcourt is indecent in Borno, and what is seen as decent in Essex is indecent in Lagos.

Emmanuel Nwakanma a Sociologist; ‘Dr. There may be no direct way of stopping or protecting people from rape, however putting some things in place can discourage it to a large extent. For instance:1. Perfecting forensic investigation. When people know that if they commit a crime, no matter how perfect, the justice system will always catch them, less crimes will be committed.2. Improve on our security system. We don’t really take security serious in Nigeria. No CCTVs on our streets alleys. Even on main roads, you can drive for hours and you won’t see one security personnel on the road. 3. Ensure perpetrators are dealt with in order to discourage others from such behaviour. 4. Teaching boys and girls self defence. 5. Improving on rapid response to SOS. Do we have a ‘911’? What’s the response rate? 6. Street lights, regular electricity. 7. Regularly educating boys and girls on risk factors, triggers and dynamics of rape. They look like irrelevant things but they can go a long way.

Dr. Boma Nyananyo; ‘Tell the boys… rape is wrong… teach them how to take no for an answer…Also protect the boys, many have been molested by women when they were younger.If all fails,don’t cover up.. don’t blame a girl who was raped… it hurts.’

Pst. Judah Olorunmaiye; ‘My thoughts are very scattered, please pardon me. I’ll also like to emphasize a few other things that may not have been echoed previously. Sir, Sex has been redefined by modern society. The first step is to be loud on the sacredness of sex. When we speak of Chastity, people believe it’s just another sexual orientation of someone who is low on libido, but as long as sex is just a body gift that can be received casually or stolen(Rape) we cannot even deal with the fundamental issues.It’s honestly difficult to give counsel on protecting yourself from rape because I’ve never been close to such situations, but I believe I can give general suggestions that may help us. Let’s start with the value of every human. While this may seem like an inconsequential point, it determines a lot in terms of how others are treated. Sexual, emotional and physical abuse, ranging from police brutality to domestic violence is founded on the premise of a lack of value for another human being’s emotions and feelings. There has been a systematic erasing of our conscience on the last decade, so much so that the hurts and pains of others doesn’t seem to bother us again. Our minds are constantly being trained to see pain and brutality as the norm among humans, we watch it in our favorite movies and hear of constant blood shed from activities of terrorism and kidnappers, and so slowly and surely we’ve added the trauma, pain and cruelty of rape as part of human society that can be endured and tolerated. There are already numerous counsels written here about how toxic the media can be to the young generation but let me buttress that point again. Our generation has been sexually pumped up. This is primarily because the average celebrity is a loose cannon who engages in all kind of pervert pleasure and gives an impression that this is how to live successfully. From Politicians buying sex toys to Religious leaders accused severally of sexual misconduct, we have deceived the next generation, that sexual pleasure inevitably comes with being at the Top.While we can acknowledge that some of these people have succeeded know their personal endeavors, we must refuse the temptation to paint them as heroes just because they are rich and famous.We are quick to label them as role models irrespective of their pervert views on sacred subjects and so our children may imitate their drive and tenacity towards success but they will also imbibe their values and reflect their principles.I also believe we have given too much respect to “Elders and Erring Leaders”The average rape case often involves a young lady and an older man, This older man believes his sins will be pardoned because he has grey hairs. No one will report him because they will respect his age and respect the tradition that protects an erring leader. I am a firm believer in honouring the aged, but it’s more priority to punish evil than to respect age and tradition. If the western world are more decisive with dealing with rape crimes, this is where they differ from Africa.The Pastor must know that he won’t be spared if his church finds out his evil, the political leaders must know they won’t be re elected if their constituency is told of their sex crimes. Finally, let’s scrap to a large degree the facilitators of a massive loss of self control. Our society preached about condoms and abortion pills in the name of safe sex but sold a message captioned.. “We must have sex, we can’t control our bodies, but just make it safe”, We should be preaching self control and not safe sex. Alcohol abstinence is now being mocked as being religious, meanwhile the consumption of that substance makes people lose their senses and think ugly thoughts.Everything that encourages the weakening of self control should be deemphasized no matter how logical they sound. If we can control our hormones and preach to others that it is not hard at all, we can save the next generation from the beast of sexual misconduct.’

Pst. Austine Oviawe; ‘We live in a very sexualized society, whose constant exposure homosexual innuendos and overtures is unparalleled. Sex is glamourized on every hand, entertainment, social media, arts, sports and even religion has become sexualized. Feminists have ignored the sexual gravity of men towards the woman’s nakedness, and defend every woman right to dress half naked, one has seen all sorts as women now dress sexy, not to cover nakedness. A naked woman does something to any sexually active male. Every man will respond sexually to a naked woman!As society is plunging into a sexual abyss, there is little or no knowledge to the young teens on handling and dealing with the sexual pressure that barrages them daily. Society through the internet is breeding all sorts of sexual perverts. The musical videos on even government television channels are for the most part x-rated. Little children as young as 2 years old can twerk and dance seductively like crazed adult whores. Sadly, most parent work, thus leaving an entire generation to school systems, the street, and TV programs after school, and these children are seeded with perverse sights and sounds.Kids have been caught kissing passionately in school toilets, and anywhere they have privacy, even our kids church are not spared, we spend more time monitoring interactions between kids who seem to have only had a week of innocence as babies. I don’t allow my kids attend other kids birthday parties anymore, what goes on in kids birthday party is worrisome. We need to declare an emergency in our schools, churches, homes, and society at large to tackle the sex lies, pressure, and perversion that seeks to overthrow an entire generation of young people. The need is for healthy and holistic sex education for teens and pre-teens, legislation to protect our young from defiling entertainment and creating boundaries where these have become trampled, and training both sexes how to possess their vessels in honour and sanctification. We must become proactive, and not reactive only when young girls are violated. We must do better that trend hashtags and take responsibility to raise youths who are sexually informed, and responsible. Parents must do their jobs and not delegate the responsibility of raising their kids to schools and churches. The entertainment outlets available to the kids must be properly vetted and controlled. It high time we have books for 3 and 4 year old on sexual exploitation and how to prevent and resist such. Exposing abuse at such early age of innocence by encouraging them to speak up and expose any one and everyone that violates their body. Parents must pay attention to kids mood and limit who and what their kids is exposed to, including kids their age too.

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