Handling Criticism

Today is the 102nd day in 2017. As you may have read in previous posts, I am on a daily bible reading plan and part of its 100th day section was from Proverb 9:1-12. It talks about handling criticism. 

When we are criticised, there is no point in replying to those who are merely mocking us (v.7). If we do they will hate us even more. But it is worth replying to the ‘wise’.

Our response to criticism should never be to ‘insult’, ‘abuse’ or ‘hate’ (vv.7–8). Rather, we must learn from it in order to become ‘wiser’ and to ‘add to [our] learning’ (v.9). Indeed, our response to a rebuke should be increased ‘love’ (v.8b).

This is far from easy – our natural reaction to criticism is often to lash out, or try and justify ourselves. Yet the wise path is to seek to learn from the rebuke or instruction, however difficult that may be.

For example, I have noticed over the years that those speakers who do not like their talks criticised seldom improve. Those who invite constructive criticism and are not threatened by it often improve rapidly and become far more effective. A right relationship with God will increase your wisdom (v.10), and enable you to hear constructive criticism and grow through it.

Lord, give me wisdom to be constructive when I give criticism and gracious when I receive it.

I believe this will help you become better today. Have a nice day.

AmosCP

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Tales From FEGO: Who Stole The Corridor?

Abruptly, he was woken by the sound of the cane on the metal box at the entrance of the room. He disliked Saturday morning activities. This had made him choose a corner that had a window without louvers or net to ease his passage to the corridor outside the hostel. It was a perfect route out of the troubles of the house officials and captains.

He took his slippers that he laid between his bed and his bunk, with the search light momentarily off his direction, he took a leap – a regular leap. This leap usually takes a fraction of a second but lo and behold he was still in transit falling at the impact of gravity. He was alarmed and he cried with a loud voice “Who Stole The Corridor?!!!!

It dawned on him that he was no more in HCS Block but on the top floor of the two storey building in the hostel – The Main Block. His regular escape plan has backfired and he will most likely be caught and more worrisome is that he may get badly injured. He wept and screamed as he landed for the floor.

That was an example of the kind of shock some of went through whenever we changed hostels. It may not be as extreme as above but the need for quick adaptation is needed in order to achieve any manner of happiness. Moving from one hostel to another is a mark of promotion from one level to another. This is the case at the beginning of every session in FEGO (FGC Odogbolu) and virtually every Unity and boarding house.

This movement requires the movement of your bags, lockers and all that belongs to you to the new hostel. It is usually frantic as everyone tries to be among the early birds to get the best spots in the new hostel. In some cases you may even have to carry your bunk to the new hall. This usually happens within the first week of resumption and most likely on a Friday evening.

The ideal hostel movement in FEGO is such that the older you are in the school, the closer you are to Main Block and the Ground Floor that houses the SS3 students. From Government Block (JSS1) to PTA Block (JSS2) to HSC Block (JSS3) to Top Floor (SS1) to Middle Floor (SS2) and finally Ground Floor (SS3). This routine only differed for those that stayed in Extension and Common Room.

New Block and Government Block are far from the giding activities that happens in the vicinity of Main Block. Sadly it was difficult for SS1 boys who had to pass through the Main Block entrance at the ground floor to reach their rooms at the top floor. Nevertheless, survival was needed and included but not limited to following the back gate, feigning injuries and sickness, telling lies etc.

Who stole the corridor? Please don’t jump.

AmosCP

Picture: Recent picture from the Main Block

 

With Love From The Bible

Few days ago, it was celebrated by many as Valentine’s Day with “love in the air” but what does the bible say about love?

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – I John 4:8

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13

Do to others as you would have them do to you. – Luke 6:31

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31

And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. – Mark 12: 33

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – I John 3:18

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. – I Corinthians 13:4-8

See what kind of love the Father has given unto us, that we should called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him – I John 3:1

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Hatred stirs up  strife, but love covers all offenses. – Proverb 10:12

Do everything in love. – I Corinthians 16:14

Hello 2017!!!

First, Happy New Year!!!

I don’t mean the Chinese New Year, but that can also be implied. It is my first post of the year right here. Accept my apology for leaving blog-webs here. I had to do this before February clocks in. The demands of life is taking its toil but here am I.

So the New Year started like every other new year. Resolutions were made, goals were set, agreement made and the ball is set rolling. Like in physics, the most difficult part of motion is the inertia. You need more energy to start and accelerate until you can steady along.

One major resolve I made was to go through a Bible plan for 2017 targeted at finishing the holy book in a calendar year. Inspired by a colleague at work, being a group is helping me achieve the target. We are using the 2017 plan on Youversion E-Bible and it has been great. Each day brings something new and sharing it with a group can be encouraging. Thank you Cynthia.

In addition to the Bible plan, I got a gift version of Our Daily Bread for 2017. It has been serving as a devotion for me since the beginning of 2016. My workplace fellowship introduced the daily devotional to me and it is a regular for me before I leave my house in the morning. Thank you Barrister Ise.

There are other inspirational that have kept me going in January. Pastor John Piper and his colleagues at DesiringGod.Org is doing a great job. Blunt and realistic Gospel. You have to subscribe to that site. Thank you Favour. Yes, I have not sent you an Experience Post for your blog. Apologies.

Now don’t think everything has been perfect. We had a disjointed start within the house and I am yet to read a book in the New Year. But, we thank God in all things.

As you know I love football but in case you don’t know there is one man I love the most – Roger Federer. He is an inspiration to my love and is the greatest sports person ever. I have loved him since Adam and I used to think the name of the sport was Federer instead of Tennis.

Last Sunday, he won his 18th grandslam despite being seeded as 17th and aged 35, beating Rafal Nadal – the man that has always been on his heels. A strong opponent but Federer overcame. No matter the challenge, this year will be different.

Federer is one of three men I hope to see before my body returns to dust. You can guess the other two – a Frenchman and another from Czech.

Same Sunday, I was at the Agege stadium to witness my first NPFL match of the season in flesh abs blood. MFM FC we’re 1-0 winners over visitors Kano Pillars. But that was not the highlight. I was a guest to an honourable member and the hospitality was out of this world. Homemade juice and lunch was wow.

Ok. That should be it for today. We will work at regular posts here. We still have the FEGO series to continue and another from my NYSC camp experience. I hope it all inspires you to draw nearer to God.

I love you but God loves you more. Happy New Month.

Cheers.

AmosCP

Applying Lessons Learnt

After the test, I walked out of the hall, worried and lost. I was disappointed at my performance and couldn’t believe I was only able to attempt just one out of four questions. It was a disaster and below my expectation. I was devastated. As I took calculated steps towards my hostel, I knew I had to do something to avert the slide. We were heading for an unknown period of school strike no thanks to demands from the National Universities Commission (NUC).

We were taking stocks some weeks ago. I was taking stock of my academic life that fateful day. Have you been able to document your life in different fields? I bet you have taken your time to play back 2016. You smiled at some and frowned at others. You wished for a replay of some events and hoped that some others will never occur again.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -St. Francis of Assisi

There were some highlights you would love to hold on to for the new season. There were some methods that produced so much fruits. There was a reading pattern that helped you pass your exams. There was a bible app that helped you draw closer. There was a routine that made you healthier and happier. There was something that stood exceptionally glorious. There were friends that brought out the best in you. Hold on to them or still look for further improvement.

There were few that held you down and restricted your flight in some fields. There were colleagues that made you feel less of yourself and had a way of talking you away from your divine goal. There were patterns that hindered your activities. There were some activities that drew you away from God. There were some apps that took much of your time. Prune them. End them. Turn around.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. – Matthew 5:29

Back to my opening experience story, I spent the 2 months NUC strike on that course – Engineering Thermodynamics. For the first time, I bought two past question booklets with answers. One was for Engineering Thermodynamics and the other for Computer Studies. I just didn’t understand the latter. I buried myself in these past question booklets, answering them over and over again. I was still dazed by my performance in that test.

It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act. -The Dalai Lama

These are lessons learnt but they are not just for documentation purposes. They are for your improvement. Wouldn’t you like to be better in the New Year, the new season? There is always room for improvement. You shall have no better yesteryears.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. – Philippians 3:12-15

Cheers. @AmosCP

Originally posted on Exceller Blog

An Empty Office…

Last week was not a pleasant one. Sitting in the office today, it looks empty. The naive notion is that the festive season is on and a good number have travelled to see family and relatives. But it is not so. There was a sweep.

The economic recession in the land has taken its toil again and lightning has stricken twice at the same spot. Few months ago, it was same but worse. Four were sacrificed for the seemingly greater good but it was not to be. Last week another two joined the fray from my closet. It was shocking and was never expected. It was like Jesus dying twice for our sins.

It is a very hard decision to let go off your workforce but then the decision has to be made. It is only modest to make the right decision with the right reasons. There is no one to speak to across the wooden divide again. That cubicle is empty and filled with wrath. The wrath of voiceless injustice. Across the Niger, he is gone. Hanged for a scenario that is of little importance. The deed is done, the reaction is irreversible. Call a dog a bad name and it is easy to hang him.

When someone is hellbent about bringing you down, it is usually hard to convince him the other way. You can only do your part and hope that the forces that be favours you. It is a world of favour. I pray that God’s favour leads you on.

There is more than the eye sees. There is a 4th state of matter and another dimension of life. Fight your battles in those realms and see the results in the visible realms.

Ok enough… just Ride along with The King.

Compliments of the Season.

Time To Take Stock

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Growing up in the suburbs of Lagos, my mum had a shop – not as big as a supermarket but big enough to cater for the house and provide for normal expenses associated with kids. There was a culture I grew up to learn from my mum and that culture is STOCK TAKING.

I resolve for 1920 to sit down all by myself and take a personal stock-taking once a month. To be no more charitable in viewing my own faults than I am at viewing the faults of others. To face the facts candidly and courageously. To address myself carefully, prayerfully, to remedying effects. – B. C. Forbes

After the noisy crossover nights, infested with loud firecrackers and “Happy New Year” shouts, my mum took to the solace of the quietening environment to look back at her shop and make preparations for the New Year. She would take me and any other member of the house and we would assist her in taking stock in her shop. She needed “actuals” and not mere assumptions, generalizations nor sight deceptions.

Galatians 6:3-5 – For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load.

It was a very serious exercise for her because it gave her the opportunity to know how much goods she had and which of these goods will expire in the next 365 days and the actions thereof to eliminate them. We had our pens and papers and we divided the shop into various sections. Expired goods were disposed. Those that had 30-60 days validity period were marked out for immediate consumption while records were kept and made reference to.

As Christians, it is expected that we take time out to examine our lives and deeds with the objective of running The Race lighter, earnestly contending for The Faith, achieving the divine goal and making improvements where needed. This is usually achieved if we look at our lives into three phases: Past, Present and Future.

II Corinthians 13:5 – Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Without the past there will be no lesson learnt. Within the walls of the higher institution, the availability of my result after every session was a catalyst to taking stock of my academic life. Every present result emanated from actions in the past. These past actions have to be closely dissected to draw out lessons learnt in order to make appropriate improvements for the present and the future. If we must change, we must first recognize what is wrong. It requires deep and fearless personal searches without meandering away from the “dark spots”. This inventory has to be done accurately else the result will be skewed wrongly.

Lamentations 3:40 – Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

We are in the month of December and it sends different signals to different people. To many, it is the end of the year and a period to round off plans for the year. To others, it is just another month with nothing special other than what we decide to make of it. Make December a month for you to take stock of your life so that the New Year will kick-start on a positive note.

Press the pause button and take stock of your life. Are you on the downslide or on the rise? Take an inventory of your relationship with God, relationship with man, academic pursuit, personal goals, collective goals, family etc. No one knows you better than yourself. Put it down in black and white. It is one of those vital steps to excelling in the nearest future.

What next after taking stock? We would talk about that in the next post. For now, just take stock. Pray for the courage to take an honest assessment of your life.

@AmosCP

This was originally posted on Exceller Blog as Experience 6: Time To Take Stock. Do well to follow the Exceller Blog.