Author: Godfrey

LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days! All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass on to someone else! Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance!
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed! Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear! So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do list will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away! It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end! It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant, even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant!
SO WHAT WILL MATTER?
How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave! What will matter is not your success but your significance! What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught! What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example!
What will matter is not your competence but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone! What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you! What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what!
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice!
Make that choice today! And choose to live a life that matters!

He that hath made his refuge God

“O that I knew where I might find Him!” Job 23:3
In Job’s uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father’s face. His first prayer is not “O that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!” nor even “O that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!” but the first and uppermost cry is, “O that I knew where I might find HIM, who is my God! that I might come even to His seat!” God’s children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. “He that hath made his refuge God,” might serve as the title of a true believer. A hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave, would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true heir of heaven, he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the bosom of the God who frowned upon him. Job’s desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation. The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, “O that I knew where I might find my God!” Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth’s hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings, we rejoice in Him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God’s presence with us. Only let us enjoy His smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for His dear sake.

U.S. consulate opens application for academy for women entrepreneurs

The United States Consulate General in Lagos on Tuesday announced a call for applications for the 2020 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a US Government initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.

For the second annual AWE, 120 female entrepreneurs from across southern Nigeria would be selected to receive virtual and in-person training and mentoring.

The programme would also support the comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration of returned migrants, including 20 female returnees.

The intensive programme is scheduled to run from November 2020 to March 2021.

All successful applicants would receive lessons on business management, network with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, and learn the practical skills required to create and run successful and sustainable businesses.

United States Consulate Acting Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz, explained that the goal of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs was to teach women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs.

According to her, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy, the US Consulate General aims to work with the AWE participants to develop their businesses.

“One of the US government’s goals is to promote entrepreneurship worldwide. Through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, we are doing just that by giving ambitious businesswomen the skills they need to take their ventures to the next level. For this year’s program, we encourage motivated and self-driven female entrepreneurs to apply,” Foltz said.

Leading local business leaders will help facilitate the workshops. Also, participants will receive access to DreamBuilder, a blended business-training course developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.

The US Consulate General has partnered with Ascend Studios Foundation to administer this program.

Chief Executive Officer of Ascend Studios Foundation, Inya Lawal, said, “We are excited that the US Consulate General in Lagos has partnered with us for the second time to implement this vital program tailored for women’s economic empowerment.

“With the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, a lot more women are looking for new ways to pivot their businesses, and AWE is on the lookout for such women.”

Female entrepreneurs interested in participating in the AWE program can apply at no cost by filling out the application form via shorturl.at/bqGT6. Application closes on November 8, 2020.

The AWE is a component of the White House Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, designed to empower women worldwide to fulfil their economic potential, thereby creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all. The first edition of the program was held in Lagos in September 2019.

FG releases new details on MSMEs support scheme, budgets N200 billion for loans

The Bank of Industry will also join to coordinate the implementation of the scheme.

The Federal Government has released new details on the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) support scheme being rolled out under the National Economic Sustainability Programme.

According to estimates provided, the sum of N50 billion will be used to provide payroll support, N200 billion for loans to artisans, and N10 billion support to private transport companies and workers

The government disclosed in a tweet on the official handle of the government, the support scheme will include a Guaranteed Off-take Scheme for priority products, and an MSMEs Survival Fund.

 

Modalities for the take-off scheme

The first track is a Guaranteed Off-take Scheme which will ensure continued local production and safeguard 100,000 existing small businesses to save 300,000 jobs.

Priority products include processed foods, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, face-masks, face-shield, shoe-covers and pharmaceuticals.

The implementation committee chaired by Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, will collaborate with private sector MSME associations to verify and screen applications from bidding MSMEs, define quantity and price of products required, and also get participants to join in the procurements.

SME survival fund

With a budget of N15 billion, the SME survival fund is expected to sustain 500,000 jobs in 50,000 SMEs.

Major sectors to benefit from the SME survival fund include hotels, restaurants, creative industries, road transport, tourism, private schools and export-related businesses.

The committee will identify eligible SMEs and screening and verification for this fund will be based on company registration, and tax registration. The implementation committee will approve disbursements through microfinance banks and fin-tech credit providers.

MSMEs that are unregistered will receive support to complete registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and all participants will be expected to make payments based on signed agreements.

The Bank of Industry will also join to coordinate the implementation of the scheme.

The scheme will last 3 months with Ambassador Mariam Katagum as Chairman, while Ibukun Awosika, Founder of The Chair Centre Limited (TCCL), and First Bank Nigeria will serve as the Vice Chairman.

More details are to be released subsequently from the Implementation Committee.

In July 2020, the Federal Government announced plans to roll out a N2.3 trillion stimulus package and survival fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stay afloat amid the economic challenges imposed by the pandemic.

The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who also heads the Economic Sustainability Committee, announced it at the 2020 edition of the Micro MSMEs Awards held virtually in July.

To benefit from the scheme, MSMEs would have to go through a rigorous and painstaking verification process which will be based on certain criteria.

MSMEs that have between 10 to 50 staffs are qualified for this fund. The businesses must make their payroll available to the government for verification while applying for the fund. Once qualified, the MSMEs will be eligible to have their staff salary paid directly from the fund for 3 months.

Requirment for the free 250,000 FG-CAC Business Names Registration for MSMEs

As part of Federal Government’s post Covid-19 Pandemic survival intervention to support micro and small businesses to formalise their businesses, the Federal Government has approved the free registration of 6,606 Business Names in each of the 34 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano will have 7,906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.

Consequently, all interested Micro and Small Entrepreneurs, Artisans, Craftsmen/Women (one or more persons) that are yet to formalise their businesses should take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Aggregators have been appointed to receive applications from interested persons in line with CAC requirements.

The names and  contact details of the aggregators can be obtained on the Commission’s Website as follows: www.cac.gov.ng

The free registrations will start on the 19th October 2020.

Don’t be left out! Hurry now to any of the centres with the following documents to register your business:

  1. Three (3) Proposed Names

  2. Two (2) Passport sized photographs

  3. Valid Means of Identification

  4. Phone Number/Email address

There are forcal persons in each state of the  federation known as agregators to whom  you can submit your documents

LIST OF AGGREGATORS AND STATE FOCAL PERSONS FOR THE FREE 250,000 FG/CAC BUSINESS NAMES
REGISTRATION FOR MSMEs

Benefits of Praise

“I will praise Thee, O Lord.” Psalm 9:1
Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of heaven’s love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined His ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise Him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to Him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God’s mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master’s service.
To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellow-men; “the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” Others who have been in like circumstances shall take comfort if we can say, “Oh! magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together; this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.” Weak hearts will be strengthened, and drooping saints will be revived as they listen to our “songs of deliverance.” Their doubts and fears will be rebuked, as we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They too shall “sing in the ways of the Lord,” when they hear us magnify His holy name. Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels pray not, but they cease not to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in white robes, with palm-branches in their hands, are never weary of singing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

Drawing near to God in Holy Confidence

“Friend, go up higher.” Luke 14:10
When first the life of grace begins in the soul, we do indeed draw near to God, but it is with great fear and trembling. The soul conscious of guilt, and humbled thereby, is overawed with the solemnity of its position; it is cast to the earth by a sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands. With unfeigned bashfulness it takes the lowest room.
But, in after life, as the Christian grows in grace, although he will never forget the solemnity of his position, and will never lose that holy awe which must encompass a gracious man when he is in the presence of the God who can create or can destroy; yet his fear has all its terror taken out of it; it becomes a holy reverence, and no more an overshadowing dread. He is called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus.
Then the man of God, walking amid the splendours of Deity, and veiling his face like the glorious cherubim, with those twin wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, will, reverent and bowed in spirit, approach the throne; and seeing there a God of love, of goodness, and of mercy, he will realize rather the covenant character of God than His absolute Deity. He will see in God rather His goodness than His greatness, and more of His love than of His majesty. Then will the soul, bowing still as humbly as aforetime, enjoy a more sacred liberty of intercession; for while prostrate before the glory of the Infinite God, it will be sustained by the refreshing consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and infinite love, and by the realization of acceptance “in the Beloved.” Thus the believer is bidden to come up higher, and is enabled to exercise the privilege of rejoicing in God, and drawing near to Him in holy confidence, saying, “Abba, Father.”
“So may we go from strength to strength,
And daily grow in grace,
Till in Thine image raised at length,
We see Thee face to face.”

Lord, take not thy Holy Spirit from us!

2Chronicles 32:31

“Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”

Hezekiah was growing so inwardly great, and priding himself so much upon the favour of God, that self-righteousness crept in, and through his carnal security, the grace of God was for a time, in its more active operations, withdrawn. Here is quite enough to account with the Babylonians; for if the grace of God should leave the best Christian, there is enough of sin in his heart to make him the worst of transgressors. If left to yourselves, you who are warmest for Christ would cool down like Laodicea into sickening lukewarmness: you who are sound in the faith would be white with the leprosy of false doctrine; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would reel to and fro, and stagger with a drunkenness of evil passion. Like the moon, we borrow our light; bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are darkness itself when the Sun of Righteousness withdraws Himself.
Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. “Lord, take not thy Holy Spirit from us! Withdraw not from us Thine indwelling grace! Hast Thou not said, ‘I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day’? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against Thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny Thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us labouring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need Thee, O our God!”

The Healing Stripes of Jesus

“With His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body.
Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which His stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.
“See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty’s hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face.
With thorns His temples gor’d and gash’d
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back’s with knotted scourges lash’d.
But sharper scourges tear His heart.”
We would fain go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dear.

Christianity is heart-work

“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Psalm 24:4
Outward practical holiness is a very precious mark of grace. It is to be feared that many professors have perverted the doctrine of justification by faith in such a way as to treat good works with contempt; if so, they will receive everlasting contempt at the last great day. If our hands are not clean, let us wash them in Jesus’ precious blood, and so let us lift up pure hands unto God. But “clean hands”will not suffice, unless they are connected with “a pure heart.” True religion is heart-work. We may wash the outside of the cup and the platter as long as we please, but if the inward parts be filthy, we are filthy altogether in the sight of God, for our hearts are more truly ourselves than our hands are; the very life of our being lies in the inner nature, and hence the imperative need of purity within. The pure in heart shall see God, all others are but blind bats.
The man who is born for heaven “hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity.” All men have their joys, by which their souls are lifted up; the worldling lifts up his soul in carnal delights, which are mere empty vanities; but the saint loves more substantial things; like Jehoshaphat, he is lifted up in the ways of the Lord. He who is content with husks, will be reckoned with the swine. Does the world satisfy thee? Then thou hast thy reward and portion in this life; make much of it, for thou shalt know no other joy.
“Nor sworn deceitfully.” The saints are men of honour still. The Christian man’s word is his only oath; but that is as good as twenty oaths of other men. False speaking will shut any man out of heaven, for a liar shall not enter into God’s house, whatever may be his professions or doings. Reader, does the text before us condemn thee, or dost thou hope to ascend into the hill of the Lord?