Lift up your eyes!!!

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:1-2‬ ‭KJV

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought with it fear, anxiety, confusion, and an uncertainty about the future, however, God doesn’t want any of these for us. The Bible encourages us not to be fearful. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Why should we lift up our eyes to the hills? One easy answer- it is the only option we have now. The world systems can’t give us hope- they appear to be failing- the governments around the world don’t have answers to the pandemic, the stock markets can’t  give us a guarantee on our investments, our jobs are not necessarily secure and our families can not fill all the gaps in our respective lives but one thing is for sure- God is the maker of the heavens and the earth and if he made these, he knows who we are, where we are, what we need or what our challenges are, and we can rely on him by ‘lifting up our eyes to the hills,’When we lift up our eyes to the hills, what can we see? We can see God’s faithfulness, majesty, strength, and power, which give hope.

Our eyes must be fixed on God because when we do that, we take a position of faith, trust and hope in the one that rules in the affairs of men.  The Corona pandemic didn’t take God by surprise- he is working it out for our good- can we trust him, can we look to him as the source of our help provision, and strength? Yes we can, he is the anchor of our hope. We may not be meeting physically in a building to encourage each other. God is still with us wherever we are, he is omnipresent- he is same God that remains unchanged- he is the same God that helped the Israelites, through Joshua, to cross the river Jordan even when that certain period was trying for them- they made a headway when they trusted God and stepped out in faith. It didn’t make sense after they received an instruction from God to step into the flooded river. Once they did this, God honored their faith- the flooding stopped and all of Israel crossed over the Jordan on dry land into the promised land (Joshua 3:9-17).

All over the scriptures, we see God telling us to be at ‘peace’ and be filled with ‘joy.’ We  can only get these when our eyes are lifted high.

In Genesis 28, we read about Jacob fleeing from his brother, Esau. because he had received his brother’s blessings from his father Isaac deceitfully. As he ran away in fear, he wasn’t at peace until God appeared to him in a dream. “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;” Genesis‬ ‭28:12-13‬ ‭KJV‬‬. Just like the angels of God surrounded Jacob, God’s angels are around you today and are keeping watch over you and I. His mercy didn’t not run out on Jacob and his mercy still hasn’t run out today.

In Matthew 14: 22-30, Jesus disciples were fighting heavy waves on the sea and they were afraid. Jesus told them “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ” verse 27. Peter stepped out in faith, looked up to Jesus and started to walk on the water towards Jesus but as soon as he looked down to the strong winds and waves, he became terrified and started to sink. Take courage, don’t be afraid, don’t doubt. Life today is akin to the sea that Peter dared to walk on. Walking on water or living or sailing through storms requires the supernatural help of God. Lift up your eyes to the hills, don’t look at the storms or meditate on the negative news around you.

Finally in Exodus 8, we read about how the
plagues of flies were sent to Egypt when the Israelites were still slaves to the Egyptians and lived in Goshen. Then came the time in verse 22 when God said ‘I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.’
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬. God is a covenant keeping God That covenant between God and his children (his people) remains today and it is sealed by the blood of Jesus. God will separate us for his glory. You and I have what it takes, just like the Israelites and Peter, to make it through the storms that we are faced with today. “For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As we navigate these times, let us remember to continue to ‘Lift up our eyes; keep your eyes on Jesus, don’t look at the storms, stay in faith- stay in the word of God, and after God gives  victory, don’t forget to build your personal altar(just like Jacob did). The Holy Spirit, our wonderful counselor will always be there to guide us.

Written by Clara Ogunsemi and culled from a message by Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu. The writer can be contacted at

10 tips for thriving during and after a pandemic (COVID-19 )

May 2020 marks the 2nd month anniversary from the day the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 disease a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. A lungs and respiratory disease caused by a virus that is deadly and spreads quickly when one inhales droplets from an infected person that sneezes, coughs or is in close proximity with such person, COVID- 19 has made its point, left its psychological scars on many, and given us new problems in the medical and non- medical worlds to solve- simply a shift has taken place in world economies and our lives are forever changed. This pandemic means different things to different people and regardless of what we can take away from these past weeks, it is clear that there is a new ‘normal;’ a new ‘world’ is here and ‘change’ is now demanded. Also, I think everyone is simply trying to cope. I will attempt to share 10 general tips to help us cope and hopefully thrive during this time. Some of these tips may be helpful if you are running a business as well.

  • 1. Take one day at a time. One thing that has helped me during these past weeks is to be spiritually alert and attentive during this time. Every new day comes with its uniqueness. This is a time to hold on to our ‘faith.’ and rely on our creator when things look bleak. For me, simply asking God what he will have me do every day and carrying out those specific instructions have been helpful in coping successfully.
  • 2. Accept the new ‘world’ and decide that you can not back to how you were operating. COVID-19 has already forced many of us to make some new changes to our personal lives, most especially with regards to our health. Post COVID- 19, you and I will need to be carry on from here and be more innovative, creative and strategic. We will need to be more flexible, emphathetic and more focused on our vision, goals and ‘purpose.’ Accepting the fact that ‘change is here to stay’ is a first step and then recalibrating your expectations going forward. If you don’t accept that ‘change’ is here, then it might be difficult to navigate and adapt to this new ‘world.’
  • 3. Be grateful– there is at least one thing to be grateful for.
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  • 4. If you run your business- carry along your employees because when things get better, you may need them. Communicate your plans and next steps with and for them going forward. Don’t keep them in the dark. What ever you decide to do as a business should be okay, once you have carefully considered all factors: financial and non financial.
  • 5. Carry along your family members and encourage them to be a part of this change- attend to their emotional needs where possible; if you have children, encourage them to get in on the technology advancement that we have today- for instance they can take zoom classes or classes online for instance, of course with your oversight, if they are younger. Make sure everyone is on the same page so that you can all go through this period successfully and better prepared to thrive in this new ‘world.’
  • 6. Create some time for fun activities: You can do something that you have been wanting to do before the pandemic . For example, challenge yourself to do something new each day- for instance a few days ago, I applied for a scholarship for a certification that i had always wanted to take. You can do something exciting like – cook a new meal, braid your hair yourself, try some indoor activities, etc . There is no better time than now since many of us are ‘locked-in’ inside our homes as directed by several governments outside Asia.
  • 7. Reach out to your community, customers and friends:this is a great time to stay in touch- a phone call, solidarity email to your customers, at this time, only shows that you care. Customers remember what we do for them, especially during trying periods. The more we give of our time, and resources, the more we feel personally fulfilled. It also helps us not to dwell on the problems that we might be facing- which is a healthy activity.
  • 8. Find out what is going on out there: During a pandemic, avoiding news that instill fear or result in panic is a good idea but avoiding the ‘news’ and staying clueless is a bad idea. Many problems typically come with their opportunities. This pandemic is already revealing opportunities in science, finance, technology, etc. and it will only be wise to follow the news (reliable and accurate mediums of communication) to gain insights and perspective into what is going on in your industry, country and around the world. For instance, at this time, there are grants and free resources that are available to SMEs, businesses and individuals due to COVID – 19; countless opportunities to join free webinars at no cost also abound.
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  1. 9. Think ahead– this calls for introspective and reflective thinking to help you start planning what is next. You may not have your ‘1 year‘ plan or even 6 month plan clearly spelt out- however simply jotting them down and journaling your thoughts is a helpful activity. If you have savings, think of what investments you can make- should you buy shares, should you hedge the prices of your commodities if you are a huge enterprise; should you scale back your operations or convert your operations to virtual offices? It is okay not to have concrete plans at this point (during a pandemic) but you are a step ahead by jotting down and thinking through your questions.
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  • 10. Be a life long learner- we must focus on the continuous development of ourselves personally and professionally and work on becoming better versions. Work on your self every day. Take some free courses on line or use this opportunity to hone some skills like technology or digital. This is a time to explore and it is okay to do it on a part- time basis. Make sure your learning goals are specific and have deadlines. Understand your limitations but don’t back down. Celebrate your accomplishment and stay accountable to someone that can help you in staying focused on your personal and professional development.

I hope the these tips have been helpful. I welcome your questions, thoughts and feedback on my article and hope I can learn how you have been coping and thriving during this Pandemic, you may reach me at