Listen, dare & fly…, 2021 is here and you might be wondering, What is my assignment and purpose on earth?


Ever wondered what your assignment on earth is? Yes, there is a specific assignment for you and I and God will reveal it to us at some point in our lives. We only need to tune in to his voice. He speaks, he is speaking and he will speak again and again.

Jeremiah had a specific assignment and his was to stand against nations and kingdoms. “Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.” Jeremiah‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God had revealed to Jeremiah his purpose or assignment over a period of time, across the reigns of three kings. Jeremiah 1:
1-3. As Jeremiah resisted and complained that he was too young, “The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” Jeremiah 1:7. God makes provision for his assignment so you don’t have to worry about the resources. He will provide them- the people that will support you in the assignment, the strategies and the tactics. You only need to find out or learn what that assignment is and take that first step of faith/action/obedience to carrying it out. The sure way to learn your purpose is to plug yourself into the holy book- the Bible and its reading consistently. God said in Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart lt.” This reminds us that you and I have been set apart for a specific assignment.

You also don’t need to fear. God was telling Jeremiah that he had put his words in his mouth and he wasn’t to be afraid and he would be with him and protect him (Jeremiah 1:8). How comforting is that? We only need to trust God but first we must listen for his voice to hear when he speaks.
Yes we will need to tune your ears to his voice today and obey him. Let your faith be rock solid and never be shaken and wait to see where he will take you…

Every wondered what communion is all about?

What is communion and why is so important?

Today is communion sharing at TPH but before we go ahead with it, it is important for us to understand what communion is and why we do it. 

WHAT IS COMMUNION?
In layman terms, it is ‘a common union with Christ.’ If you check the definition in the dictionary, it is ‘an act or instance of sharing.’ Typically, bread, which symbolizes the body of Christ and wine/juice, which symbolizes the blood of Jesus is shared amongst the congregants or a family unit during communion. 

Let’s go to first book of the Bible:

Gen 2:17; Gen 3:2
God gave a command that Adam and Eve could ‘eat of every tree in the garden but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat.’ God told them that the day that they ate of this tree, they will die. Once they broke this rule, they lost their position and authority in God- the God nature that they had in them died and they were separated from the realm of the spirit. And as we read on, sin began then and continued to propagate from there on. In the realm of the spirit, there are different levels of operation- the good and bad. We must connect to what operates for us positively and supernaturally and this we can get through communion. 

Communion is a spiritual action and there are many spiritual benefits to it.

WHY DO WE HAVE COMMUNION OR WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? 

First off, Jesus Christ said we should do it often it in remembrance of him (1 Corinthians 11:24). When we take communion, it signifies our blood covenant with the Lord and this was only made possible by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only son, our high priest (Hebrews 9: 11-27). In doing so, we proclaim the death of Christ, which came about as a result of our blood covenant with God, which was made possible by his son, Jesus Christ, who willing agreed to
do a sin sacrifice and helped us to regain full reconciliation to God, since the fall of Adam and Eve. We thank God for the blood covenant – we do not have to rely on “the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer that could only cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity only. We have something more superior- the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews‬ 9:13)

Communion not only helps us come to a place and reminder of our salvation (where are souls have been saved from sins, evil or its effects) but It helps to remind us that God can heal us, and we can have victory. We can break off from all limitations and we become whole because it  brings us to a place of oneness with Christ. God desires for us to be in a place of total victory. God desires for us to prosper and be in health as our soul prospers. This is why he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place and your place (3 John 1:2).  God truly desires us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Please never feel condemned or feel less than this. You are made to proposer and to be in health.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission or forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus Christ had to shed his blood and die so that we can regain the initial intimacy and direct access that Adam and Eve had with God when they were created and before they sinned. The significance of the shedding of Jesus’ blood and in essence that blood covenant that we have with God is activated when we take communion. 


THE BENEFITS OF COMMUNION
When you share communion, we are doing something seemingly mysterious, but we must not forget that Jesus’ death was the final victory, and he didn’t die in vain. Following are some benefits of partaking in communion:

1. Figuratively speaking, you lay hold of a life of God, who is sovereign and our only hope. Jesus Christ said, ‘unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink the blood, you have no life in you’ (John 6:35)
2. You receive deliverance and healing. When we take communion, we are reminded that we have deliverance from sickness and fear and are reminded of God’s power, love and sound mind that he has given to us and that we already possess. As your take communion today or anytime, it is a time again to take all your requests to God and believe that the blood of his son Jesus Christ has settled all your problems, weaknesses, delays, disappointments and short comings.
3. God’s grace abounds more as you take communion and more frequently.  The blood of Jesus is superior and is the most reliable than any other that has been shed (Hebrew 12:24). When we eat our bread and drink our wine, we are symbolically drinking his blood that was shed and eating of his body that was bruised for the remission of our sins. This action speaks of our faith in God that we have his favor, authority, grace and Hope, which are available for anyone in Christ. When you take communion, you can begin to have the grace to do those things that you couldn’t do-. This is why we do it often in remembrance of this significant act of God, who brought us salvation and redemption through his son, Jesus Christ

You and I are not ordinary beings but spiritual beings. We must begin to understand that life is fundamentally spiritual and therefore we must engage in realm of the spirit. When we share communion, we share in the body and blood of Christ and become one with him. We share in the life of God and we do it often to remind us of why we must continually do this. 

One thing to note though, you must take communion in a worthy manner. The Bible tells us that “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord; you ought to be discerning so that you are not guilty of eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died” (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). 

Today just like Jesus did in 1 Corinthians 11: 24, ‘give thanks for the communion first off and understand the spiritual significance and benefits of communion.  Paul said “…  on the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. “Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.”

Clara enjoys writing. She is a serial entrepreneur and enjoys past-time like traveling, reading, analysis, and spending time with her family. She also volunteers for our religious organization’s e-church. This writeup is an except of a sermon by Pastor Kemala Okara. For inquires or questions, you can contact clara at cogunsemi@yahoo.com

60 years gone by too long…a new and better Nigeria we desperately seek

Are you wondering: why are the protests in Nigeria still ongoing? They are ongoing because the youths are deeply aggressed- they feel victimized, marginalized, and trampled on.. they are very hurt and are not backing down.

End Special Anti-Robbery Squad (End SARS) or #EndSARS is a movement in Nigeria that was started on Twitter and kicked off a few days after Nigeria’s 60th year independence anniversary on October 1 2020. The aim of the movement is a call to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force, which has promoted police oppression and brutality in Nigeria. According to Wikipedia, within the past weekend, October 9-11, 2020, the movement #EndSARS has garnered over 28 million tweets and support across the country and the world, including religious organizations and celebrities, who have posted the hashtag as a clarion call to end the injustice (unlawful arrests, torture, killings etc) that has primarily been experienced by Nigerian youths, who are a growing group (ages 18-35) in the approximately 200 million people population.

You may not have personally experienced police brutality but you can empathize with them or can appreciate their pain; you join in solidarity because you have heard their stories; this resulting event is a familiar narrative that mirrors the sad and deploring decadence of the various facets of Nigeria’s economy, our public educational system and governance. These protests have encouraged more people to speak up about their dissatisfaction with the continued scarcity, unavailability, or inaffordability of the basic human needs (food, water, shelter and even clothing) by the masses in Nigeria and the ‘laid back’ or ‘back seat’ approach of our current government to improving the citizens and residents’ living conditions. The anti-SARS movement is a starting point and sparks an inflection point in Nigeria’s history.

May our prayers of many decades (oh yes, my parents, my generation, and the youths of today are still on our knees praying for Nigeria’s rise from its lowly state) and the protests of this 60th anniversary month eventually birth the ‘New and Better’ Nigeria that we desperately seek.

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.
Shalom!!

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

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 cogunsemi@yahoo.com



Roller coaster month…then came ‘calm.’

February 2002 was a definitely a roller coaster month that was full of ups and downs but by the end of the month, it ended A- okay.

The days leading up to the new month (February 2020)  started out with series of calls to our agent, who was responsible for clearing our major client’s goods from the sea’s port. The news I kept getting wasn’t  a positive one -‘there is congestion at the port, and all the goods coming into the country are stuck; there was no place for them to berth.’

First week, I proceeded on an ‘out of town’ visit to see my first two children in boarding school.  I always look forward to seeing my children during ‘family weekends,’  but those trips have a way of wearing out the body especially when the plane ride takes more than 10 hours with a stop over, or sometimes, ‘two.’ On this trip, I had to make a stop-over in one city, rest for a night, and then carried on with my journey to their school, this time in a rental car. On my way there, a car rear- ended me unexpectedly and I found myself on the other side of the highway. My car wasn’t as badly damaged as the other car that was at fault, but both cars had to be towed away. I am so much thankful that the accident didn’t result in the loss of any life.  I was shaken up a bit during and after the experience but the joy of seeing my children the following day overshadowed the surreal experience of the previous day. I spent the next couple of days with my teens and took the advantage of ‘teachable’ moments to coach and encourage them to pursue their academic and other goals, just like any mom would do. By the end of my visit, I was glad to have come a long way to be there for them, but i had to return back home, far away, where I still had the responsibilities of managing two businesses with 14 employees, while juggling family responsibilities and my personal upkeep. 

By the second and third week, I had become very stressed out by the continued demands and pressure of being an entrepreneur in a bustling and very demanding city like Lagos, Nigeria. Every night, I consistently had a backlog of work that still had to be completed. I was mentally and physically drained by the daily grind of being a ‘working’ mom and couldn’t pinpoint why I had become exasperated but I knew that on top of the list was ‘our uncleared goods at the port.’ Amidst the stress and anxiety, I leaned on ‘family‘ and most importantly God to get me back into his ‘rest.’ As I prayed every day and asked God to show himself faithful, I got specific instructions on what to do or how to manage my time. At this time, I told God that I wanted the ‘port’ issue or anything that was responsible for my ‘drain’ to be behind me and dealt with by the end of ‘February 2020.’

By the fourth week, things began to get better as I took ‘one day at a time.’ On the last day of the month, February 29, 2020, we delivered our products to our major customer and I felt a huge burden on my heart lifted. God granted my wish and showed me that he was still in control of my affairs. Interestingly, despite the challenges that I faced during this month, I was still able to attend a spiritual class, cook for my family, attend a high performance coaching course,  finish reading a book that I had started to read, while I balanced the operational demands of my businesses and the daily affairs of my home. I definitely have several takeaways from my ordeal and I am thankful to God for the experience. I take no credit- I was simply holding on to God’s promises, although many times I was anxious and worried. I am so glad that I felt so much better at the end the experience- I experienced an indescribable ‘peace,’ which I cannot describe, at the end of the it. The experience was the ‘testing’ of my faith, which produced ‘perseverance, which completed it work in me so that I could be mature and complete, and not lacking anything’ (James 1:3-4). 

Dear reader, when life seems challenging, remember my write up- though my February 2020 was filled with ups and down, at the end of it, it turned out A-okay. Your roller coaster experience will eventually result in ‘calm,’ friend.





Kobe Bryant’s life and his painful exit

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM KOBE’s LIFE AND HIS PAINFUL EXIT

Kobe Bryant became a household name in the mid ‘90s, being the youngest person to be drafted into the NBA(National Basketball Association), straight from high school,  and to play in an All star game. Many like myself spent our childhood, teenage or early adult years, at evening times, watching Kobe on TV play basketball.  We didn’t get a chance to meet him in person but we knew of him. I for one, even as a non-sport enthusiast, stayed glued to my TV during those years and could sit through the games because of players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.  But Kobe was different- he was young, vibrant and brought a unique perspective to the game of basketball.

Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

You  could have easily loved Kobe,  whether you were a ‘Lakers’ fan or not. It was hard to hate him- his unrelenting doggedness, evident  talent and the tenacity that he brought to the game of basketball made he all the more endearing and made basketball a more respected game in the USA. He had a rigorous work-out routine and always said he couldn’t relate to lazy people. ‘We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you… I don’t want to understand you,’ Kobe once said.

Kobe always woke  up before 5am to work-out, while his team mates were still sleeping. He was known to consciously outwork every member of his team as a way to gain a competitive edge. This idea of outworking his peers came to him and proved very useful when he failed to exercise his talent at a summer basketball camp, where he didn’t get one score during the games, in his early teens. In his words, ‘I was very bad,’ and It was at that point that he realized that if he did the work and put in the effort, success would be possible. He continued  this workout and ‘plan to succeed’ routine with a fierce passion for the game, during the course of his two-decade career with the NBA, earning him the respect of his team members, fans, competitors and even critics. His ground breaking results on the ‘court,’ unique, and inspiring persona and incredible work ethic that hadn’t been seen in any other athlete across the league earned him the ‘huge’ respect and built the resulting legacy, which many of his fans and millions around the world now hold dearly. It is no surprise that Kobe went on be termed as a ‘legend’ that was truly invincible during his tenure in the NBA, which ended in 2016.  Post retirement, in 2018, in his autobiography, ‘the Mamba mentality, ‘he explains that the end goal is important but what is more important is the journey to reaching the end goal- the hard work, sleepless night and the resolve to win and not give up.

Kobe taught us that anything is possible once you put in ‘hard work, determination and consistency.’ He encouraged us to ‘focus on  your passion and whatever you love to do.’ Once you find it, pursue it with determination and give it all it will take to help you reach that goal – don’t find the easy way out, instead give your best shot to make your dreams and passion a reality,’

Kobe made an impact on me personally. In 1996, when he started playing in the NBA, I was in my second year in college and could relate to him as a teenager as well. He inspired me to reach for the skies, although unconsciously at the time, and served as role model for me to want to succeed the more.  ‘If Kobe could be successful in his game of basketball, I could succeed in college as well, ‘ i had often wondered at the time. I guess some people make such huge impact on your life and you don’t really realize how huge that impact is until they are gone.

ONE WRONG ACTION BUT HIS SUCCESS OVERSHADOWED IT 

In 2003, his progressive career and life was marred by a wrong’ choice of action that led to a lawsuit that was filed by a female employee, at a Colorado hotel, who accused him of rape.  Kobe insisted that he  that it was a consensual action and not rape. The case was later settled out of court but was a dark period in his life and affected the early years of his marriage to his wife, Vanessa, whom he later recommitted his love to years after. In his post retirement years, he evidently became a devoted husband and father to his wife and children, who where all girls. His devotion to his family earned him the nickname #girldad and he instantly became a role model to many other parents, particularly fathers, who believed that they can also become as devoted as Kobe was to his daughters and spouse.  The ‘dark period’ in his life, surprisingly, didn’t affect his stellar performance on the court but instead made him more determined to be better in a game that he was so passionate about. He was able to achieve this by creating the ‘ Black Mamba,’ an alter ego, to separate himself from the personal ordeals he was dealing with at the time and was successfully associated with this name for the rest of his life.

Kobe went on the become a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 15-time All-NBA player, 18-time NBA All-Star and the NBA’s 3rd all-time leading scorer  during his 20 season career in the NBA with one single team (the Lakers). Two years after his retirement from the NBA, in 2018, he become an Academy-award winner of the Best Animated Short Film  ‘Dear Basketball.’ He also became a storyteller, after his retirement, something  he realized, later in life,  that he also had a passion for and discovered while he spent more time at home with his younger and third  daughter, Bianca , who was born in 2016. Through his studios @granity, he created  a number of books: Wizenard series, the Legend and the queen, and Epoca: the tree of Ecrof, middle grade novels, which landed in the top 3 spots of New York Best seller list a week after his tragic death. He had hoped to translate these books into ‘film’ in the near future.  Very sadly, his life and the life of his second daughter, Gigi, whom he had begun to coach in basketball, and who was becoming so great in the game , along with the lives of seven others were cut shot in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, 2020, while they were on their way to play in a basketball tournament.

KOBE AND THE POWER OF HIS TONGUE

All you need to do, to find motivational quotes about Kobe, is  google his name’, Kobe Bryant,’ and you will find so many that are credited to his name. During the 4.1 decades of his purposeful life, he knew what he was wanted at different points in his life and pursued these goals with drive, passion, determination,  and with whatever was required or needed to meet those goals. Kobe said or professed ahead whatever he wanted  and got it but he always put in the ‘work.’

He didn’t want to be ‘Michael Jordan’ but better and he became  greater and better than Michael Jordan in basketball.

He wanted to get married to Vanessa, whom he met when she was 17, and he did, a year after they met,  despite the lack of support from his family.

He wanted to get a helicopter so that he could beat the rush hour Los Angeles (LA ) traffic and spend more time with his family. He did.

He wanted people to know him for something other than the ‘basketball.’ and so he retired and went on to do something different.  He started storytelling and created granity studios (@granity) and other business empires.

He was a devoted daddy to his children (all girls) and had his last two daughters,  Bianca and Capri, with his wife, Vanessa, after his retirement, in 2016 and 2019. Capri Kobe Bryant, his last daughter, was only born less than a year before his tragic death. His first two daughters, Natalia and Gigi (now deceased) were born in 2003 and 2006.

He was married to one wife, Vanessa Bryant. Despite the challenges that they faced together in their marriage, they stayed committed to each other and were married for 19 years before his death.

Despite rumors of his strained relationship with his parents, he credited his parents as being his initial role models and first teachers during his interview with John Lewis Howes in 2018. ‘My parent exposed me to a world of curiosity’ by moving the family to Italy. My mom was there for me on a daily basis and i learned that I could pursue whatever I wanted to do, provided that I put in the ‘work.’ His upbringing reinforced the belief that ‘you do the work, if you work hard enough, dreams come true.’ My hope is that he reconciled with his parents before his untimely death.

According to Kobe’ former league mate and friend, Tracy McGrady, whom had spend a lot of time with in the Bryant household, as ateeanger, Kobe always said ‘he wanted to die young and be immortalized,’ ‘He spoke this,’ and ‘he said it so much frequently’ that Tracy said it felt weird and wondered why he said this. Sadly, this one came to pass too. This revelation by Tracy really touched and saddened me because if Kobe knew that he was a man of potent words, he shouldn’t have said these words frequently. Kobe is survived by his retired parents, older sisters,vwife and daughters.  41 is such a young age for Kobe to have died despite the great impact he had made and I am sure he had more plans to impact our world and didn’t wish to die at 41 years with the unfulfilled dreams he had and are yet to be accomplished.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED 

From Kobe’s story, we can learn a thing or two. We can learn about the possibility of becoming successful at whatever you have passion for; success doesn’t come overnight. It requires effort, determination and resilience:

We also can learn that you can become what you say. Words must be chosen carefully and not thrown around lightly. Choose to speak what you want like Kobe but I will add ‘think critically before you say or affirm your words.’ Words are life!!! The power of the tongue is huge. Life and death are in this power. ‘

For me, I am not sure why I am so drawn to this great man- one that had not only left a positive impact on the young, middle aged and old in the USA but also across continents and the world at large, but I will like to think of the fact that he was just a human being that served as an inspiration because he always came out stronger and better after every adversity that was thrown at him, whether on the ‘court,’ or ‘off the court.’ I will agree that ‘he had flaws but he was hero enough to overcome them,’ (TD Jakes). For me, I think his being human and the ability to have lived a purposeful life and with an intent to have always wanted to leave a huge impact  made him such an attractive person, even in death.

KOBE’S HELICOPTER CRASH: SOMEWHAT A MYSTERY

Now, why Kobe had to die by way of a helicopter crash along with his second daughter, who had a suspecting and bright WNBA future ahead of her, is heart wrenching and somewhat a mystery. There are still many more questions, in the minds of many like myself, that have been left unanswered.

I personally think that the crash could have been avoided: why was clearance given to only them, especially when the LA (Los Angeles) police had grounded their helicopters due to foggy weather conditions? Were all protocols observed? We can go on and on but unfortunately we can’t bring Kobe or other innocent occupants back to life- we can’t turn back the hand of the clock but we can learn from his legacy and apply some lessons to our life’s journeys that we must continue to pursue. My continued prayers are offered to Kobe’s family and the families of the other passengers  of the January 26, 2020 Callabas helicopter crash. Rip Kobe Bryant. Rip Gianna Bryant. Rip John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Rip Sarah and Payton Chester. Rip Christina Mauser. Rip Ara Zobayan ? ?

Seed that Harvest

One of the things I love about my church( TPH) is the opportunity to hear the varied biblical viewpoints of visiting speakers when they come to visit. Well, I don’t always agree with them; Infact, on one occasion, we had a regular speaker whose viewpoints I don’t typically agree with come and what I did, if I recall now, when I was feeling uncomfortable with his view point, was to respectfully step out of the building to get a breather and came back to my seat when I had calmed down or perhaps I pinched my hubby and gave that shocked ? or ‘head to the left and right no-no’look.

Well today, we had Stephen Chandler, current pastor of one of the fastest growing church in the states- not surprised at this because clearly his dad, who started the church and Stephen, who followed after, had sown the ‘good’ seeds. But seriously, I totally was hyped by this ‘Seeding your Harvest’ message and just had get my fingers and phone to work immediately.
I hope you learn a thing or two and the write-up encourages you as you journey in life this week and beyond.

‘It is your responsibility to seed your harvest…’ Chandler, Stephen, This Present House (The Dome, Lagos, Nigeria), Live Streaming, 24 November 2019. You have to sow the seed- no one else will. Even God called called forth light, the moon and stars etc .. no one did it for him. Your parents, mentors, counselors can train, advise or counsel you, but you have to sow that seed- that word -that action yourself. Here are some key things to note:

1. Everything that you see today in whole form started in ‘seed’ form- the seed is the Word..Luke 8:11. The seed is the beginning…you have to start from
A to get to Z.

A seed is a response to the word of God. It is simply carrying out what you hear from the whisper of the Holy spirit. If the Holy Spirit says that you should carry out an unpopular action like sowing a financial
seed to an organization that doesn’t hold your beliefs… it simply means you are sowing a good seed as long as it is backed up by the word of God. Yes it is unpopular… but you see God honors Obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Make sure but you have checked off the following, in carrying out your seed sowing process:
‘God told me to do this’ ✔
‘I have confirmed it with the word of God.’ ✔
‘I am sure of the directive that I have heard.’ ✔

Well, if you didn’t hear it and did it.. please you are on your own ? (OYO)

3. Don’t forget that you are not only going to sow the seed, you will still need to water and nurture it until you see it grow. ‘Oh no!…,’ at the process. Yeeaah!! Rome wasn’t built in a day.. this applies to any establishment or culture-shaping area of societal influence- media, government, education, economy, family, religion, and arts and entertainment (Enlow, Johnny, The Seven Mountain Prophecy). You still have to sow, water and nurture any seed that you sow until it becomes harvest. The positive values of excellence, consistency, integrity are still very key during the germination process.

4. Sometime we tend to judge a harvest or make assumptions of how one got a harvest.. you can’t do that because you don’t know the full story.. you don’t know what has been sown to bring forth that harvest. Face your front, Mind your business and sow your own seed …lol!

4. You can’t get a great harvest unless you sow a good seed. So, why not sow a good seed. Bad seeds will germinate a bad harvest, conversely.

5. Every seed takes time to become harvest.

There is seed time
There is time – wait time
There is Harvest time
Sometimes you have to ‘wait.’

6. Every seed MUST produce- whether good or bad.
God is not a debtor that he will forget your past, current or future seeds. Isaiah 55:10. God’s word will not return to him to void. That is why the word of God..the holy book should be your backup/reference.

7. Not every seed is financial or involves money. You can sow kindness, food, anything that isn’t financial or is financial, but it must be backed by the word of God/the holy book/ a promise that you hold on to beyond a shadow of a doubt(faith). … Likewise, not every harvest will be financial. This isn’t magic.. it is just the law of ‘seed time and harvest…Gen 8:22 ‘you get what you put it… beyond the physical, there is a higher force that makes that seed eventually become harvest and there is that ‘wait’ period: drought, hail, snow, or rain, some trimming or pruning, etc, will come first before the ‘harvest.’

3. Your harvest doesn’t come from people. Stop looking at people for your harvest

My summary

Sow that seed/word/action – take that first move. NO SEED NO HARVEST

Be consistent – don’t give up during the process- God remembers it all

After all has been said and done … sit back and wait patiently until it is time to start reaping your bountiful harvest (because you have sown good seeds o).

A few notes from my Sunday morning today… Musings of a 21st century Nigerian American woman mother and writer 21stCNAWMW @DeeCla Publishing