Blogging in 2017: What should bloggers focus on (tips & trends)?

“Successful blogging is not about one-time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.” – David Aston

Without mincing words, 2017 will be the most rewarding as well as most challenging year yet known to the blogging enterprise. The template for that impossible mix is not just created today – it started off several years ago.

Several experts have shared that view. In Larry Kin, the CEO of Wordstream’s words, in 2017,  “there’ll be FEWER WINNERS with much bigger jackpots.” So, get that straight.

How it all started?

Blogging started off with concerted efforts of forums like mod.ber in the mid-80s. The main focus was to present the many scattered reports and information generated in an organised and uniform way to their audience.

From then, there were a couple of adjustments and innovations till sometimes in the 2000s when the social media stepped in. Since then, blogging has never remained the same again. The transformation has been epic.

Today, there are over a hundred million active blogs with hundreds of millions contents shared on a monthly basis. The low side, however, is that there are so many blogs and contents resulting in drastic reduction of ROI on the contents.

The question therefore is, what should a blogger focus on to drive the impacts of his/her works and, consequently, generate values for every dime invested into his/her blogging business? That’s the focuses of this article with tips on what experts need to do to create the special appeals that will drive their blogs successfully in the coming year.

Before we go into this, let’s consider a couple of statistics that show the current influence of blogging on businesses across the world.

The Amazing Impacts of Quality Blog Contents

According to BlogHer, 81 percent of American online consumers trust advice from blogs for their shopping decisions. If you ever intend to sway their purchase decisions in your favour, better consider blogging.

It also said that 61 percent of American online consumers have made purchase decisions based on recommendations from blogs in the past.

Furthermore, in a tweet showing the results of a research carried out by Hubspot, it was said that companies that blog has 97% more inbound links than those who don’t. If you have any doubt on the huge investments being planted into blogging and content creation by multinational companies, consider this. Content Plus discovered that 60 percent of consumers develop more confidence and trust organisations more after reading custom contents on their sites.

This reality is underscored by professionals in charge of companies’ marketing across the USA when ContentPlus discovered that about 40 percent of them consider blogs as the most valuable type of content marketing tool.

Lastly, TMG Custom Media discovered that 90 percent of customers consider custom contents useful and 78 percent of them believe companies producing the contents are interested in building a good relationship beyond just selling products and services.

In a summary, these are strong proofs that justify companies’ massive investments on quality contents in their marketing drives?

How To Thrive As A Blogger in 2017

Set A Clear Target

A study undertaken by Harvard Business School which was released recently had it that 84% of graduates surveyed had no clearly set goals. Out of the remaining 16 percent, only 3 percent had their goals written down with strategies aimed at achieving them.

Your guess is as good as mine! The 3 percent with concrete written goals end up earning the average of 10 times incomes more than the rest of the 97 percent without a written goal! (From https://draxe.com).

In Scott Reed’s words, this one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything. It actually works far more than you could envisage without putting it to work.

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I am assuming that you’ve got the goals for 2017 in place for your blog. What’s your plan for the number of traffic you intend to drive at the end of the first quarter? How do you want to be ranked? What do you want your brand to be known for? And, how do you intend to achieve these goals?

If you get this right, they will become your propelling force through the year.

Re-evaluate the quality of your contents

If you haven’t heard the expression, On the internet, content is the king, you need to take time and pause to give your blogging job a new look. You should consider how relevant your content materials are to your audience and, the quality of such contents.

Think through how much of their questions are getting answered and how problems are getting solved by your works. Let your contents be the light that brightens the darkness of their doubts.

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Furthermore, think about how incisive your contents are. Will they resonate better as videos? Or, are they more incisive on CD, e-books or infographs? Work on making them more engaging and optimised for easy use on the web.

Ultimately, find how to beat the competitions with classic contents that put you in a class ahead of the rest and reach the target with precision.

Think Compatibility

In 2017, if you want to make the right impact and reach the number of audiences that will place you among elite bloggers, you need to start thinking beyond your current reach.

What plans are you having for other media through which people can access your work? About 70 percent of internet users are now accessing the web through mobile devices. That number is even higher among teenagers with some researches recording over 90 percent use.

Simplicity

Internet users, including your visitors, have had enough headaches for being online. There are so many tasks, so many attractions and distractions on the internet that you don’t have to add to them.

The rule to keeping your audience attracted and glued to your works is, keep it simple! Ensure professionalism, quality and simplicity run through your video materials, sentences and structures used in your contents, reduce sentence length and jargons as much as possible.

There is this certain and incontestable trace of mastering that sparks through the pages of a work delivered with simplicity. Albert Eistein puts it this way,

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

Install and constantly update social media plug-ins.

If you want your blog contents to go wide within a very short time, help your readers to promote the work. Ensure all the popular social media plug-ins are right there on your blog.

Of course, the most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube but you may need to include a few other especially those specific for certain posts. Professional contents will be very much appreciated on LindekIn and Pinterest for instance while you can work around Snapchat for creative still and motion pictures.

Besides, these will also serve as media for promoting the works.

Update the security of your blog.

The coming year is going to pose a huge security threat and scams on both bloggers and internet users generally. This is expected considering the huge activities and commercial activities expected on the digital media in the coming year.

If you want to thrive and peacefully navigate through the terrain, put strong security measures in place that will also ensure your blog visitors can also trust to do businesses comfortably with you.

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Verisign DDoS Protection Services

Be original and consistent

Don’t try to play anyone else; you will only end up a carbon copy of the person. Create a niche that you are excited about and run with it until you build a popular brand around it.

You should also be consistent with your schedules. If you want to be taken seriously, create schedules and stick to it. You will be surprised to learn about the number of people waiting to receive your updates all the time.

Get Creative with Messages

A lot of battles, conversions and deals will be won through creative and personalised e-mails.

Of course, the internet will be a lot more crowded in the coming year. Internet audience will be bombarded with so much information, contents and advertising that more of them will be confused after getting online. But the way you undertake your e-mail marketing could make a lot of difference.

Take the mail above for instance, it wasn’t just welcoming the customers. It thanked him for making a download and closed with an opportunity to interact further with the sender.

Brush up your skills here and learn to reach your audience with more personalised messages that speak appealingly individually.

Ensure your posts and campaign strategies are properly planned.

Taking guesses with trials and errors won’t get you through many blocks in 2017. You will need to clearly specify the purpose of every campaign and put definite schedules around them.

 

 

There are software on the internet that can aid your schedules and ensure your works are timely, precise and take a lot of job off your desk. You can give socialpilot a trial. Check it out at socialpilot.co

Keep Learning

Besides being a great thinker and writer, a blogger is also a wide reader. Read, study and learn consistently to increase your skills and expertise of your chosen niche.

You can identify what you need to learn at every quarter and get training and materials that will give you a boost. Whatever happens, as a blogger, you begin to lose it immediately your audience realise you aren’t on top of the trends in your niche.

That’s a terrible low for any blogger and it spells a huge loss in this competitive era.

If you are ready to take on 2017, here is your best chance. If not, it isn’t late yet.  Get on your feet and reach for the skies.

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OVERPAMPERED: TRAINING YOUR CHILD THE RIGHT WAY

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline – Mortimer J. Adler
To start with, every child deserves the cares and love of her parents and, indeed, all the adults around. Show of love, care and affection should, therefore, never be confused with pampering a child. Of course, everything – no matter how good, becomes bad when misused, abused or overused.

Giving a child an appropriate dose of care and attention is not what is considered pampering in this context. In fact, these are privileges that every child deserves. So, what do I mean by pampering a child and how does it impact the life of such child?

To pamper a child is to ignore making clear and definite corrections when a child dabbles into wrong deeds. It is allowing unguided freedom that deprives him/her a sense of order. Sometimes, the action of pampering is directed at saving a child from immediate pains and stress but it is exactly what is needed to build self-worth and resilience that will help the child later in life. A popular quote by Henry David Thoreau is precise on this: “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and makes crooked men.”
If you want a life out of order, a life without purpose or control, lead a child without rules and clear boundaries. Such a child will grow and learn to be irresponsible, undependable and will be without principles. A life can hardly get more complicated!
A popular African adage has a perfect imagery for this: “A fish should be bent before being roasted since any attempt to bend it after, breaks (destroys) it.” One of the biggest illusions on child training is that a child should be left to grow and mature before being disciplined. That’s a huge error! From two, it is safest to start teaching discipline and confidence to your child.
Join him in the tasks if need be. Guide him to get it done if necessary. Then, watch him fail and improve by the day. Don’t get overprotective. Give him corrections lovingly but do not hesitate to give clear and firm instructions when the need arises, you will be happier later in life for it.
If you wait for your children to grow before setting boundaries, before showing disciplines, like a fish left for the fire before being bent, you will break them. You need to show them “how” while they are young, then step aside and watch them practice. The plan is to raise healthy, independent beings that are capable of standing up for themselves through life.

Another excuse parents use to neglect and indulge their children today is work. To bridge the gaps created by their absence, career parents provide virtually everything the children need, mostly in excess. You overlook and indulge their disrespectful behaviours. The truth is, nothing will replace the attention, the affections and the presence of parents in their children’s lives.

According to Clinical psychologist, Dr Maggie Mamen, author of The Pampered Child Syndrome, “giving your child everything or doing everything for him/her deprives them of learning important messages that will stay with them through life.” This, instead, will only create chaos and make them largely irresponsible. Such kids grow without considerations and respect for others. The depth and quality of their reasoning are usually shallow because, of course, their parents never allow them to put their minds to work. The greatest gift you can give your child is to help them develop a sense of self-worth. Anything less will make them a liability to you, your family and the society at large.

Conversely, to make life worth living, parents should exhibit the quality of discipline and draw clearly articulated boundaries. Children raised under such atmosphere will become responsible and responsive adults who are capable of being trusted by others. They are also able to lead others more purposefully and productively.

Every parent should understand that they will not always be there for their children, it is better to imbibe in them the quality of resilience, independence and self-discipline. In the unlikely event of being always around, it will be a huge disservice to raise children who are incapable of being independent beyond the shadows of their parents’ influence. To raise physically healthy children in such abysmal way is a classic example of failed parenthood. Every child needs to be given the opportunity to become responsible, independent adults.

So, to avoid pampering your child to decadence, you must:

– Set clear boundaries and ensure they are respected. They will learn to respect it.

– Do not set rules you do not intend to enforce. It will eventually lead to anarchy.

– Make them help and give supports, no matter how little, around the house.

– Delegate tasks and share routine tasks among them.

– Sincerely show them love. Do not raise them like robots, know your limits. Everyone, including parents, should have limits.

– Apologise if necessary but do not beg to enforce rules.

– Be a role model to your children. They learn more quickly through what they see.

– Do not pretend to be infallible. Accept when you are wrong and make necessary corrections.

– Teach them respect, teamwork and tolerance. They will need them to survive later in life.

Lastly, no one is born a perfect parent. Learn every day, make adjustments and become a better parent on a daily basis.

 

Sanusi Okesola S

17/10/2016child

UNBOWED

 “Roar!!!” He heard the sound again, again and again.

By now, it’s certain the beast was just a few metres away. Its escape ranked John’s life’s biggest dilemma.

Caught earlier in one of his several traps, the one at the centre of the groove, John had prepared the usual poisoned spear and landed a blow on the fierce but exhausted beast. The bow that was supposed to drain life out of it veins in minutes. It didn’t!

For the first time in his over twenty years hunting experience, that turned the tonic needed to sprout its strength. Within a minute, its dazed eyeballs turned fiery and, with no explanations in particular, broke loose from the trap.

How John climbed the tree is a sheer bravery.

The beast, furious and fierce, wobbled to the same tree.  Again, John lazed yet another spear and landed what was supposed to be the final blow.

It was. But then, the hunter became the hunted. He would have none of his carcass as it staggered yet along, red and furious.

(Submitted as a flash fiction to Etisalat in 2013)

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THE BEAUTY OF FIRE

Not too many people love a discourse that dabbles around fire. I won’t blame them; God didn’t give man the luxury of being comfortable around the blazing flame.

From it terrifying damages on valuables to it destructive blows on lives, fires haven’t really created too many lovely memories after its known interaction with man through ages. Yes, very important in the kitchen, when it’s meticulously placed under control.

But then, there is a special kind of heat generated from God-controlled fire. With man, fire burns, but God shares a different view. From God’s perspective, fire beautifies if it’s received properly! The only part of God’s fire I dread the most, is the one that takes a man through the whole fiery process again when he fails to be properly baked!
And, that’s the best God will do for love. The alternative is to leave you for fragility and deformity!

Have you ever imagined what will become of a potter’s work if he fails to take it through the necessary heat of the fire? The potter isn’t looking at the burns, his focus is fixed on the strength and beauty built in the vessel by the fire. Without the fire, the potter’s work may still be beautiful but will be fragile!

As I have discovered, the rule is: don’t put yourself in the fire. Don’t allow others to walk you into fires. Just then, you can blossom and grow from God-produced/controlled fired. Always remember that, God may send a load but, never an overload.

Next time, when you have the privilege to stroll through the fire experience, remember what Peter said.

“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:7.

If we live without the pressures of fire, we are as fragile as the potter’s unfired vase.

Firstposted on June 21, 2013
(C) Sanusi Okesola S

STUCK IN THE BLUES

Bang! Bang!! Bang!!! Everything in the room shivered. The hinges holding the door cringed like a man bitten by a snake. Akin heard the deafening sounds driven through the tightly locked wooden door. The sound permeated the expansive room. Beyond the room, the sound crawled menacingly into his mind. Akin wished there were padlocks on his ears.

Eventually, it curled into his heart like a sacred python with penetrating evil eyes.  Every sound from the door painfully repainted his misdeed last night forcing his heart to skip a beat.

Akin knew it was a matter of time before the boots of the soldiers dribbled through the obstinate door. He looked at the blue curtain dancing gently behind the door and wished it was a second door.

But Akin was determined to stick on. The fierce looking soldiers, like a hawk on a trail of an injured snake, haven’t been the best of friends to anyone recently. Since they overthrew the President, they’ve been terrorists in military uniforms. Lives assumed little importance where it had any. The constant assaults from the army were devastating. Akin believed his people only needed someone to mobilize them for a revolution.

He looked at the machete in his hand as he lay fearfully on the ceiling. Its blazing-edge suddenly lost its sting as he compared it to the death-spitting sticks hanging between the soldiers’ shoulders.

“Should I just surrender? No,” he shook his head, “that is clear cowardice.” The dread of the height he must endure before he gets painfully smashed against the ground made using the window the worst route to hell.

“From the seventh floor!” An electric shock dribbled through his spine.

Still, he couldn’t believe that no one stood by him yesterday. “A Yoruba man will go through anything just to be alive,” a look of contempt wrapped his face. That just three soldiers went on rampage amidst a bursting Lagos city full of youths beat his imaginations.

He was appalled by the indifference of the people yesterday after he dished out a fatal lesson to one of the soldiers. He had thought the young men will continue from where he stopped. Instead, he watched painfully as they shifted backwards – surprise and guilt written boldly on their faces. No use trying to mobilize this pathetic group who cannot defile a quarter of a dozen soldiers. He bolted.

Just then, another kick at the door jolted his heart back to life. Akin thought he heard a cracking noise by his side. Before he could readjust, another kick sent the door swimming through everything in the large room. Akin’s heart skipped a breath again.

Another crack and he was crashing down the floor. He had no time to think or look around. His feet snatched the power of his mind and dashed at the window. It happened fast, maybe a couple of seconds.

“A-k-i-n!” He couldn’t have missed it. That was his mother’s voice. But he was already diving through the thin air. He wished he could lay his hands on something and stop to hug his mother. But he could feel the penetrating gaze of death below, squeezing through his chest right into his soul.

Suddenly, he felt a strong grip. Then, he noticed another soft tender grip. Four palms curled around him pinning him to something – soft and comforting. That was when he opened his eyes.

He saw his parents with faces covered in tear and fear. But he couldn’t keep his eyes opened for too long. “Calm down baby, it’s the fever,” his mother voice rang faintly as he snoozed back to his woes.

 

KNOWLEDGE IS EVIL

Air is always free and clean
The cool evening breeze
A respite from the hot blazing sun of the day
That was before we knew of climate change

The soil were rich and bud in greens
Nothing fails to spring at spring
After a bit splashes of rainfall
Until we learnt about soil degradation

Our houses were made of leaves
And, at best, of mud mixed with water
Most do not even have foundations
Until we return from years of training in architecture
Affordable peaceful homes were the cost of learning to know more

The home was a place of nature’s love
Where little tender feet were taught to stand
And be a part of the force to defend the future
Until we learnt that with more work we can own the Universe

The waters used to be golden and fresh
But we learnt of pollution
The streams giggle with lives and calms
Until contaminations became a new word

O, our thirst and gluttony for more
Knowledge brought to the fore
The ills that were years unknown to us
And we celebrate the pains

contamination became a new wordr thirst and gluttony for more

Knowledge brought to the fore
The ills that were years unknown to us
And we celebrate the pains

NAILED! (short story)

“Life couldn’t have been crueller,” Emmy thought as she ruminates on the events of the last few months. A painful experience that ushers in the nastiest stories she thinks history has ever written.

The last few days has taught her that the head, not the fist is the finest arsenal against a daring foe. For her, even the hottest of tears won’t get her any close to the temple of freedom. More tears forced their way through the doors of her eyes as she watched the time juggled down on her breath.

Emmy couldn’t believe a simple frivolity could hand her such grievous injustice. It all started when she caught Lara with her boyfriend at the east-wing of the University of Benin stadium.

At first, she thought it was a dream. She struggled to wake up from the terrifying nightmare only to be denied the bliss of reversing the painful reality; her best friend in the bosoms of her boy-friend.

At first she thought she could outsmart the dreadful emotion roaring like the sea in her but Lara didn’t help the case. She was stone blunt and an unrepentant ‘bitch’.

Other things played out like a film over which the viewers has no iota of control. She couldn’t really tell when she lifted her hands, at least not to her knowledge. But then, she remembered it landed on her cheeks.

The fight was fierce and raw. She can’t still believe she had such violence hidden inside of her. Worse still, she never thought Lara could be so wicked. She (Lara) handed her the beating of her life: teeth, nails and blows, all flying through her dazzle eyes.

Half crying, half threatening, she swore to ensure that Lara paid for this with her very life before the week ran out. Eventually, it seemed that was the only thing no ear missed that strange night.

Indeed, Lara did! In court, for over eight months, Emmy failed to proof she wasn’t responsible for Lara’s death four days after the fight. Even her boyfriend testified again her! Emmy was sure the script of the dreadful night was written from the deepest part of hell.

It was a battle of her words against facts and reality. She failed and was sent to the hangmen!

deepest part of hell.

It was a battle of her words against facts and reality. She failed and was sent to the hangmen!

WHY GOD WANTS WOMEN TO SUBMIT

women….

For God’s will to be done on earth, His people here on earth MUST mirror the patterns of the things in heaven. ‘Thy will be done on earth AS it is in heaven…” – for it is a PATTERN. And PATTERNS are very important in spiritual matters.

In the assignment given to Moses, God admonished him again and again, “… See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the PATTERN SHEWED TO THEE IN THE MOUNT.” (Hebrews 8:5). And faithfully, Moses did so. Until he was provoked at the water of Meribah (Numbers 20:7-12). He broke a pattern. And as a consequence of that, his feet did not enter the physical Promised Land. He saw it from afar, but he could not enter.

This is very sad, particularly when we consider that this is the same man that had successfully interceded again and again for the rebellious nation of Israel, and God hearkened to his voice. But in his own case, no intercession could work for him – for a crucial PATTERN had been broken. Please meditate on the severity of God’s response to Moses in Deuteronomy 3:23-27, particularly these words in verse 26, “…and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; SPEAK NO MORE unto me of this matter.” The finality of God’s rejection of Moses’ plea is very, very sobering.

I have used this example, not to insinuate that God will not forgive us our transgressions, but to highlight the level of strategic importance that Heaven places on divine PATTERNS in relation to God’s will being done on earth. When God reveals divine patterns, it is so that they can be followed to accomplish His purpose on earth.

In our days, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a crucial pattern that the Lord has given us to follow in the smallest unit of the society – the family unit. For when family units are whole and functional, the larger society will be whole and functional. A dysfunctional society is a function of dysfunctional homes. And so, there is a divine PATTERN that God has given to His own children to follow.

Interestingly, this is a pattern that we see clearly in the relationship between God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in relation to the salvation of mankind. From Scriptures, we know that both are co-eternal and co-equal. In fact this equality is so complete that they are One, and they function as ONE UNIT. But in the matter of our salvation, we see that again and again, Jesus spoke of SUBMITTING to the Father. He came to do the Father’s will. He did nothing of His own accord – only what He saw the Father doing. His whole life revolved around not doing His own will, but the will of the Father – it was as if He had no life of His own! For the purpose of clarity, we can look at the submission of Christ in three categories:

HIS SUBMISSION WAS TOTAL: Jesus “… did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant….” (Philippians 2:6-7). And it was for this that, “…God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (verse 9). So for submission to be effective and rewarding, it must be total. IT IS A PATTERN.

HIS SUBMISSION WAS VOLUNTARY: In the context of God the Father and God the Son, submission was COMPLETELY voluntary. Submission means ‘to YIELD ONESELF to the power or authority of another’. Thus, submission that is not voluntary is no submission at all. Jesus said in John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life …. No man taketh it from me, BUT I LAY IT DOWN OF MYSELF.” So, submission MUST be voluntary. IT IS A PATTERN.

HIS SUBMISSION WAS COSTLY: Submission comes at a cost: suffering. To do the will of the Father, Jesus suffered. He suffered humiliation and endured undeserved pain. As a matter of fact, His submission to the will of the Father cost Him His life. And even at the very tail end of His life, He was tempted to exercise His personal will (and avoid the cross). But, again, He CHOSE to submit to the will of the Father; and He paid for that choice with His life. So, submission is costly. IT IS A PATTERN.

Now, let us go on to the application of this PATTERN to the 21st century believer in Christ Jesus. Just as Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father through submission, there is a divine imperative upon ALL His followers to do the same. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps….” (1 Peter 2:21). For every Christian, suffering is a calling.

In breaking down the implication of this imperative in 1 Peter chapters 2 and 3, Apostle Peter used the word ‘LIKEWISE’ to emphasise the fact that the walk of the believer must mirror the PATTERN set by Jesus – even if it involves suffering. And, in most cases, it does involve suffering.

And it is both interesting and significant that Apostle Peter, in extending the application of this DIVINE PATTERN starts, FIRST and FOREMOST, with wives (1 Peter 3:1). For primarily, he had in view, the home as the smallest unit of society. It stands to reason that the manifestation of the reign of Christ in the world must start from the Christian home. This is what accentuates the significance of the Apostle’s action in addressing the wife FIRST. And, there is a good reason for this also, as we will see shortly.

In the task of building a home, the woman is God’s appointed partner. “Every wise woman buildeth her house….” (Proverbs 14:1). In Titus 2:5, Apostle Paul instructs them to be ‘keepers at home’. Primarily, and generally speaking, men do not build homes – they are just designed to lead homes. And herein, the wise will immediately see the potential for a conflict! One builds, another leads. The builder is not the leader! This is the mystery of God’s way, and contrary to any opinion that we may have, it is a higher way. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Every man and woman that choose to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, MUST also choose to follow His examples and His way; for He indeed called Himself THE WAY. Only a few will indeed follow this challenging, narrow path (Matthew 7:14). But many will stumble, and find themselves on the broad way.

In mirroring the heavenly pattern of the Son submitting to the Father, God’s instruction (not a recommendation) for the Christian home is that the wives SHOULD submit to the husband in everything (Ephesians 5:24). This INSTRUCTION is given by God, not as a punishment for wives (for Christians are redeemed and forgiven), not as a subjugation of womanhood (for we have been made free in Christ), but it is given just for what it is – A DIVINE PATTERN. Period.

And when this pattern is faithfully followed, God has a MAN-WOMAN TEAM on earth that He can truly use, and to whom He can truly commit Himself, and His will, for our world. Please note the operative word – TEAM. It is a team effort. A team that is fit for purpose because it is built according to the divine PATTERN that reflects the Father-Son relationship. And the starting point, according to 1 Peter 3:1, is a submissive wife. For a submissive wife is the crown of her husband. “A virtuous woman is a CROWN to her husband….” (Proverbs 12:4). The husband is indeed the head of the family unit, BUT the wife is the JEWEL CROWN! (Friends, do you see the wisdom of God here?)

A head without a crown does not portray the full picture of kingship. The crown makes all the difference! This is one of the key reasons that a stable marriage and home is a KEY requirement of leadership in the Church of God (1 Timothy 3:4-5).

As a head without a crown is un-kingly, so also a crown without a head CANNOT reign. It takes the UNITY of the head and the crown for kingship (and reigning) to be established. And the trigger point of this UNITY is the submission of the wife. It is a messianic role. And it is in this respect that the life of a woman most significantly mirrors the role of Jesus Christ as Messiah – the One who CHOSE to submit to the Father so that mankind may be saved.

As the power of Jesus, and His enthronement, came through his taking the form of a servant (submission) – Philippians 2:6-11, SO ALSO will the spiritual relevance and significance of a woman lie in her VOLUNTARY willingness to cast aside her equality with man (Galatians 3:28), and to VOLUNTARILY take the route of a ‘servant’ (submission) to fulfil the will of the Father.

For that is the true nature of submission – it is given VOLUNTARILY – it is NEVER coerced. A coerced submission is NOT submission – it is SUBJUGATION. There is a world of difference between a SUBMISSIVE wife and a SUBJUGATED wife. The latter has no spiritual value in our context, for Christ said, “No man taketh my life, I LAY IT DOWN”. It was Jesus’ choice to lay it down. And it MUST be her choice.

(This should send a serious note of caution to all husbands that coerce, beat, bully, intimidate, or even ‘bribe’ their wives into ‘submission’. It is a COMPLETELY UNPROFITABLE VENTURE. And for which you will still one day give account! Submission is a heart matter. And it is ENTIRELY by choice and free-will.)

This is God’s way of setting women completely FREE to become what they CHOOSE to be. God set them FREE to become king-makers in the journey of destiny. But as satan deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, so is he today deceiving the modern woman that she also can be king herself! That she is not TRULY free (or fulfilled) until she becomes equal to a man. And sadly, many women are eating this glittering apple, oblivious to the fact that it is full of worms and death.

Women, please, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” by returning to the Garden of Eden and the deception of satan! (Galatians 5:1 modified). Satan’s promise of ‘freedom’ is a trick to put you in bondage. He whom the Son of Man has set free is free indeed (John 8:36). You are free as a moral agent to choose God’s way or satan’s way.

As written earlier in the example of Jesus, submission is neither easy nor cheap. Remember that the submission of Jesus was TOTAL, COSTLY, and VOLUNTARY. Your submission will most likely contain these elements too. It could be degrading. It could be demeaning. It could be humiliating. But Christ has left us an example that we should follow His path. In the earlier article, we wrote about the need for the 21st century Christian woman to earnestly PURSUE the attitude of a ‘meek and quiet spirit’. This is where the relevance comes in. Without a meek and quiet spirit, it will be difficult for a wife to TRULY submit to her husband, and it will be difficult to have a godly marriage and home.

Submitting to your husband does not simply mean allowing him to have the final responsibility in taking key decisions that affect the family. It is much deeper, and placed on a very high pedestal – “… AS UNTO THE LORD…” (Ephesians 5:22). Verse 24 is even more helpful, “… as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. Please ask this question, how is the Church subject to Christ? That is the same way the Lord wants you to be subject to your husband – in respect, honour, reverence, deference, etc. Challenging! But that is what the Bible says. ONLY GOD CAN EMPOWER WIVES TO FULFIL THIS ROLE. (Pls note, however, that submission does NOT entail co-operating with your husband to commit sin. That is a line that must not be crossed!)

Your submission to him is NOT dependent on his person, his income, his status, how much he loves you, etc. Your submission is 100% dependent on WHAT GOD SAYS. This is why women should depend on God before saying ‘YES’ to any man’s marriage proposal. Once you say ‘YES’, and follow a man to the altar, you have forever GIVEN UP CONTROL to that man. FOREVER! So, please do not be in any ungodly haste to get married! Please DO NOT marry an unbeliever – you dare not put a crown jewel on a spiritually dead head!!! (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

Finally, let’s bring it home. As a Christian woman, do you want to be relevant in God’s end-time agenda for the second coming of Jesus Christ? Do you want to be a vessel of honour in the salvation of mankind? As Jesus did in Philippians 2:6-8, please cast aside your divine right and put on the garb of submission. For by so doing, you are reflecting a lofty DIVINE PATTERN – God’s ultimate pattern for the salvation of mankind. Do you want to walk with Jesus in this way? The ball is entirely in your court.

Thanks for reading, God bless.

ADDENDUM:

(1) WIVES: This article does not encourage any woman to bear with any level of physical abuse. In all such cases, women should seek immediate help – even if it involves temporary/permanent separation – BUT ONLY as led by the Spirit of God. God NEVER intended ANY woman to become ANY man’s punching bag. You are The King’s daughter. It is important to remember this.

(2) HUSBANDS: God’s demand upon another full human being to place her life at your disposal is a HUGE responsibility. GREAT is the responsibility, and GREAT will be the accountability! Just as there is a ‘LIKEWISE’ in the suffering of Jesus that is directed at women in 1 Peter 3:1, SO ALSO there is a ‘LIKEWISE’ in the suffering of Jesus directed to you too in 1 Peter 3:7. Without fail or excuse, you are to dwell with her according to knowledge (verse 7). You are to honour her (verse 7). You are to love her as Christ loves the Church so much that He died for her (Ephesians 5:25)

If you do not fulfil your role, one day, sooner or later, you will encounter God as the Eternal Defender of the rights of a wife. Malachi 2:13-16 and 1 Peter 3:7 (that your prayers be not hindered) are very serious sanctions that show that an offender can NEVER fulfil his destiny! (How can you fulfil your destiny when it is God Himself that is resisting your prayers? At your altar of prayer, your conduct to your wife is an ACCESS OR DENIAL POINT. Both the Old and the New Testaments affirm this unequivocally). No wonder the Bible says, “He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). Maltreating your wife is the greatest evidence that you HATE yourself! The more you make it difficult for your wife to submit to you, the more you are HURTING your team, and God’s purpose for your team. And as the captain of the team, you are more accountable to God. As your wife submits to you, you are obliged to serve her in love. You are to lead your home, not to govern it.

Your destiny lies SQUARELY in your wife’s hands, for only she can complete you. You cannot coerce your wife into submission, you can only continue to pray for her until she stands perfect in the will and purpose of God for her life. Divorce is NOT an option with God (Malachi 2:16, Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Pray and BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL before you propose to any woman. “… BEAUTY IS VAIN: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30). A foolish man marries a woman, but a wise man marries a WIFE. It is the man that finds a WIFE that obtains favour from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22), not the one that finds a woman. BE WISE!

(3) UNMARRIED WOMEN: If you are walking in the will of God, and He does not bring a life partner your way, or if He causes you to become widowed and does not bring another man, it is ONLY because He has a HIGHER PURPOSE for your life than being a crown jewel to a man as described here. Please find that HIGHER PURPOSE and pursue it with all your heart, giving glory to His holy name.

In the scheme of God, more are the children of the desolate than the married (Isaiah 54:1). God will ONLY withhold something good from you, when He has something BETTER in mind for you. What does God have in mind for you that is better than a husband? It will be different things to different women. Please seek His face, get understanding, and pursue this HIGHER CALLING. (As you remain faithful, if a husband is in His plan for your life, He will bring him at the appointed time. If not, rejoice in your HIGHER CALLING. Apostle Paul was unmarried and He laboured more for the Lord than all the others. It is a privilege, not a punishment or a curse).

God bless.

By Church Watch in Nigeria.

LETTER TO MR PRESIDENT

Dear Mr. President,

Buhari

MY SOLEMN THOUGHT

You have not always been my first choice but I never hesitated for once the need to vote for you at this particular time. It is a clarion call.

Indeed, I believe that you failed in the last three (3) attempts to rule this nation because you were made for times like this. There is time for everything!

Mr. President, allow me to start by sounding a note of warning about the task ahead of you. This is a largely polarized entity. Recently, so much have been invested into even magnifying our polarity along the lines of tribes, religions and ethics (yes, ethics). You are asked to take charge of the ship of the nations when the storms are roaring the strongest. If you are a not so good captain, this is the best time to ask for help. The other alternative is to wreck this gigantic ship. I need not tell you the implications on the rest of the world.

Secondly, you need to choose your friends and advisers very carefully. It is clearly impossible for you to be a sheep if all your friends are dressed like wolfs with carnivorous blades in their teeth. Mr. President, if you don’t take out to choose the right co-pilots and captains, it is a matter of time. It is a tough call but the only real call.

Again, Nigeria is like a car headed for the Promised Land. The engines are worn-out, the body tattered and the wheels screeching from the pain of disuse. Indeed, you have on your hands an asthmatic cabinet driven by a gasping engine. We are in a dark and the lights are out and deem. We are headed for a light at the end of a tunnel, but my fears are that it could be the light of a train coming to end this strenuous trip.

Our economy is in red. Agriculture is in patches. Our currency is crumbled. Our reputations in the air. The hope of a successful destination rests solely on the skills and miracle of whoever takes the wheels. Sir, can you hand it over to God? Ramming into this gleaming light is a risk; it could end all of our dwindling hopes. Can you think while asleep? Can you take decisions that we have always known but feared to take? Would you restore sanity into our system? You may choose not to…we are counting days for you – someone was on your seat yesterday.

Very quickly, let me outline what I consider a redline and urgent call.

  • First, accept Fayose apology but fasten a rope on his neck. Learn from the past.
  • Pay attention to the Niger Delta and make a good friend with them. But, do not allow a pocket of militants to breed on any part of those dreadful woods.
  • Set bait for Femi-Fani Kayode. He has a running lip. He has so much to say. But DO NOT ALLOW HIM ON YOUR TEAM. I advise you hand you over to Prof Osinbanjo, he needs a good deliverance.
  • Watch your friends and company. There are too many frauds among the people hanging around the corners of Aso Rock. Watch and count your friends. Do otherwise to your perish.
  • Listen to the voice of reason. Not just listen, search for it, for your office will be located miles away from the nearest truth. How well you do this will determine your destiny in the next four years.
  • Invest in the youths. You if you have not been told, power is now residing on the fingers of the youths. And, unfortunately, they are one-way thinkers.
  • Lastly, Africans understand God more than mathematics and Science; and it has always worked for us. Lead us God’s way. Keep your explanations, just lead with integrity.

Conclusively, there are several people, indeed, millions of them that opposed your candidacy. You SHOULD NEVER PITCH YOUR TENT with tribe, religion or political affiliations. You may have dug your pit if you tread this path.

Mr. President, it is your call. You can choose to swim or drawn. Mr. President, the ball is in your court!

Sanusi Okesola S

A patriotic citizen.

A Princely Pauper

Life hasn’t always been fair

Indeed, life isn’t fair

I am a prince of a nation in shameful affluence

I am driven by numberprince

Honoured with races unnumbered

And my safe stocked with resources I can’t even stand to manage

I am a giant

With a size that intimidates both friends and foes

Blessed with human unraveled in books

Minds unbroken despite pains

And hope that never fails

I am a maiden

Even angels envy my splendor

Young men queue to take a peep

Graced in figure and style

With radiance that cripples the minds of men

I am a lion

My roar, like the dreadful warning of a marauding beast

Sends terrors through waters and seas

Even the mighty stands transfixed

Praying my furious path never to cross

I am an eagle

High up beyond the reach of hate and envy

Thrives amidst the boisterous storms

Though other birds scrambled for shelter

My wings are spread beyond the grips of storm

I am me, the pride of Africa

The cynosure of mighty nations

The over-pampered wasteful son of nature

A prince in paucity

A prince like a pauper

I am a misfit

Rule by men with the minds of a beast

A fatted cow

Milked by wolves while the lambs faint for want

A paradise without a trace of beauty or peace

A prince, yes a lonely prince

Stands at the crossroad of history

My honours flew like rocket heading to the skies

Where is my fear? Where is my majesty

Where is your place my darling crumbling giant?

…where is NIGERIA?

Africa is waiting.