Posts in Scribbling Sage Posts

Vodaphone, IoT, 5G and What Really Happened at Wuhan, China

I originally uploaded this content on YouTube and it was removed promptly (within six hours) for breaching Community Guidelines. I think it is worth listening to. I have made no conclusions yet but I am watching. Whatever happens, our security is in Jesus Christ.

It is with much trepidation that I upload this. Trepidation not as to what s coming but as to whether I am spreading false information. Since this whole pandemonium began in China last year so many theories have been brewed:

* Was this the result of a leaked experiment?
* Was this a deliberate weapon targeted at the United States?
* Was this a deliberate outbreak for economic gain?
* Is this a fulfilment of freak fiction book prophecies?
* Is this an Illuminati agenda for global domination?
* Is this a fulfilment of Bible prophecy?

If the speaker in this video is right then we have reason to rejoice. Rejoice because it could mean we will soon see the face of Jesus Christ! I am not drawing any conclusions here though because there are certainly some questions in the discourse:

* Why the emphasis on his cryptocurrency solution for Africa. If this is Christ’s coming then we must let it happen, right?
* How can he be the only one who knows about this among 7 billion people with millions of experts?
* Why is he unable to pronounce Huawei correctly being a former telecoms staffer?
* How could all the big ministers of God miss this and have us organizing prayers against a disease?

Questions upon questions. Theories upon theories. Prophecies upon prophecies. Whatever be the case, our security is still in Jesus Christ whether this world remains or not.

Let’s Connect!

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Kenneth Igiri

The Boundaries of Our Humanity

The current global crisis is possibly the biggest thing to hit the earth in the last century asides World War II. The peculiarity of this case if that fact that we are possibly not dealing with something that is humanly controllable strictly speaking. We can only try. Suddenly our way of life has been turned upside down. We are distant from each other forced to think about ourselves and our nuclear families, wondering whether we have enough to keep ourselves going. Wondering whether the disease will come closer to us.

When we face disasters of this nature it is almost as if God is trying to communicate something to us – telling us there are things greater that we are, things we cannot control, things we can hardly explain conclusively. No matter how smart, rich, or strong we are, we are still limited humans. All of us are limited by our mortality. Our own mortality is the greatest weapon any phenomenon can wield against us.

Think about it. In the past few weeks, the importance of stock markets, big events, night clubs, and even large church buildings has diminished because of a virus we cannot see with the naked eye. We are now strategizing on how we can secure basic needs and consistently practice basic hygiene. It makes us question ourselves: what is really important?

If you have the opportunity to live through this pandemic, how would what you have witnessed or experienced change the way you see life? Given than billionaires are parting with their billions in order to preserve life, would you still fight tooth and nail to amass billions for yourself? How does this affect your disposition to doing business? How relevant is your business now? Are you actually solving problems or just trying to make money? What would you do with your million-dollar mansion? Is it all worth anything?

Even in the context of the faith, I feel sometimes our prayers are based on a desire somewhere deep in us to hold on to what we have here, to maintain the status quo. Could it be that God has another agenda? Is there something bigger on his mind than making sure we don’t lose our jobs, or that we are able to eat three square meals? Imagine you are fleeing from war and you five-year-old child begins wailing that she left her doll behind, would you go back to get it? I think God also has to make similar decisions on an infinitely grander scale. So what really matters?

What would it take to make us bow down. What is necessary to make us acknowledge without reserve the boundaries of our humanity? What does the earth need to produce and stick in our face to communicate clearly to us that something or Someone out there is much greater than we are and needs us to pay attention to him. I hope the virus has the side effect of making us review how we live and our disposition to the Creator.

Vision – Inspiration for a Meaningful Life

About Me

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Kenneth Igiri

Between Corona and Ebola

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in [a]fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:1-4

This post might appear quite troubling to some quarters but I am doing it in spite of such a risk. While it dwells on the dicy subject of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues, I am hoping it will speak to wider issues as to how we consider our social structures and how we see each other as a body of people having a common human experience. This comes on the background of our attitude when it seems a problem is far from us and how quickly our attitude changes – from caring more to blaming governments for letting the problem come closer – when we find that we are not so distant from the problem anymore. Other brands of this “distancing attitude” is statements claiming that this is some judgement on the Chinese or recompense for eating bats.

Within the last week, two people have echoed the perception that the coronavirus has impacted largely well to do people because the spread started in and became serious two very rich regions of the world – China and Europe. The idea is that for anyone to spread the virus in Africa, he must be able to pay for an air ticket or other means of transport from one country to another. The story is also told of a significant number of case found among people who had been enjoying their trip on a cruise ship. The trend was even such that at the beginning, some fake news brokers began promoting the idea that corona does not affect Africans! Is corona a disease for the rich?

When the Ebola virus broke out in 2014 to 2016, the dominant countries affected were Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia among other African countries. We also find that the so called lower class might have been more affected since the virus was transimitted by physical contact. Those who could not afford large living spaces could have been more at risk. It is even arguable that Ebola was deadlier than corona – about 11000 people died from Ebola out of about 28000 reported cases. Maybe the spread was limited by the fact that poor Africans don’t travel much or that the diseases incapacitated people quickly. Clinician News even reported that the Ebola virus tends to evade the human immune system! Was Ebola a disease for the poor?

In covering each of these crises, the big names in global journalism would have been reporting from two points of view depending on the proximity of each of the crises to the UK, US, China etc. It is only natural, only human. It seems that the dramatic publicity the coronavirus has received within two to three months exceeds the publicity Ebola received. Is it a case of the rich being more important than the poor or rich countries being more important than poor countries? Could it be related to the economic impact. I mean the shutdown of the second largest economy in the world certainly sends shivers to America, Africa and Europe as we have seen with COVID-19! So are we really concerned about health or money?

These are just speculations based on very limited expertise. I would like your views, and I would like you to expand your thinking regarding this pattern of human behaviour. What behaviour? The tendency to be far removed from an issue if that issue doesn’t seem to affect us. It has played out in many different ways in our lives. Being more worried about paying our mortgage than about supporting children in hunger-stricken Somalia? Prayer points like: “In the name of Jesus, no citizen of my country will die from Coronavirus”? “Lord, we close the borders of this country to COVID-19”? Are we really concerned about the problems we find in our world or are we just concerned about distancing ourselves from those problems as much as we can?

Incidentally, when these catastrophes occur, they have often no respect for our wealth, social status, race, colour or creed intrinsically. It only makes sense that we should truly care when others are suffering. I even believe God wants us to experience some of these things in order to bring more love out of our hearts. It works sometimes.

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”” Luke 13:1-5 (Words of the Lord Jesus)

About Me

Kenneth Igiri
Kenneth Igiri

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

What Really Matters?

The 2016 movie Pandemic starring Tiffani Thiessen, tells the story of the spread of a viral infection starting from a beach in Australia all the way to Los Angeles and so forth. A certain character in the movie was so hell bent on following up on a business deal he had come to Los Angeles for that when the rest of the passengers were quarantined, he escaped in a luggage vehicle! Incidentally, he had also caught the virus and ended up spreading it significantly within the city while successfully closing his deal. In the midst of this development, a young female doctor appeared to be trying to raise here profile with the situation having received the first call from the Sydney-Los Angeles flight.

Many movies have been made about extinction level events, global catastrophes, alien invasions and end of age scenarios which force us to think about what really matters when an event threatens the existence of the human race, a major change in the way we understand life or even the end of our own personal lives. Pandemic, 2012, Deep Impact and Jerusalem Countdown may all be works of fiction but most adults have gone through that eerie feeling of evaluating what really matters when we lose a loved one.

When we find ourselves having to decide what to carry when running from a war, what level of makeup is necessary when diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live, how much of the stock market to watch when lying in a hospital bed and so forth. What really matters in the face of death? The recent COVID-19 pandemic has put governments in precarious position where they have had to make decisions as hard as closing borders, closing schools, choosing to let people die, banning large gatherings and so forth. It has also put individuals in awkward social crisis – avoiding close contact, travelling, events etc. It all comes down to the same basic question – What really matters?

The effects of such a global pandemic can be and have been largely negative however there are positive effects. In such situations, we find that we revert from “capitalism to socialism” – we go from selling hand sanitizers to giving them out for free, people volunteer their skills, the rich donate money and so forth. We change our priorities because we are threatened by something we cannot control. Money becomes a tool to solve a problem rather than a means for mere show off, compassion sets in, we cut off excesses and luxury and return to bare necessities.

Our frailty a humans is revealed in the face of an organism so small we can’t even see it. Our priorities are shaped by things we cannot fully comprehend. Our lofty achievement and sky high possessions lose meaning and merely become a part of our history, read out in a eulogy when we face death. What really matters?

About Me

Kenneth Igiri
Kenneth Igiri

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Gbadzeme I – 2030, The City of Games

While waiting in church today, I saw the cable cars sitting at the top of the mountains surrounding the city. Gbadzeme is surrounded by mountains like waves upon waves of interlocking water towering high above the greenery. Mount Gemi is the king of the mountains. Gemi made Amedzofe, a neighbouring city famous as the highest habitable place in Ghana decades ago. It is said that when one reaches the peak of Gemi during a storm, the clouds could blind you and the winds would almost carry you away. I couldn’t wait for the service to be over so I could take a lift to the top of the mountain and slide down in the huge cable cars. Every hour I heard the sound of a five-passenger helicopter designed by Professor Ekekwe’s Vetify landing on the other side of the wide concrete street that ran in front of the of long stairway that led up to the cathedral. The helicopters carried tourists from Lagos, Lome, Abidjan, Accra and many other west African cities. It was the “last mile” to their holiday destination – Gbadzeme, one of the most intriguing attractions on the African continent.

Most tourists stayed a weekend or a little more at the Ivory Tower, a five-star hotel built into one of the majestic mountains next to Gime. They stayed there enjoying the world class hospitality while waiting their turns to participate in the dozens of attractions crammed into a four-day weekend – cable cars, mountain climbing, para-gliding, seven-city tours, cultural dances and the like. After church, I climbed down the stairs hurriedly as I heard the last notes from the massive 18th century organ imported from Germany. I joined the queue of holiday makers as we filed into a 21st century see-through elevator which could have been good enough for a twelve storey building. It took about fourteen of us to the top of the mountain where we boarded the cable cars. As we glided down towards the cathedral, I watched the giant wheel in the valley right behind the cathedral where the children’s park had been built.

The elders and elite of Gbadzeme had made a wise deal with those investors who wanted the mountains of Avatime a decade ago. The told them Gbadzeme and the other Avatime villages would own 40% stake in the company now known as Avatime Tours Limited and 60% of the workforce would be indigenes. Gbadzeme was registered as a company, a distinct legal entity. Every year during the AGM, every clan was represented by an educated elite and every family got a share of the profits. Every three years, Avatime Tours was mandated to take up a CSR project in one of the Avatime villages and in turn get tax exemptions from the Ghanaian government. We got great roads, vetted by professionals of Gbadzeme decent; lights glowed everywhere and water flowed in every house. Avatime Tours had ingeniously deployed four massive windmills which powered turbines that supplied all seven Avatime villages with power and clean water straight from the springs.

Gbadzeme – 2030, The City of Games

Gbadzeme had become a city, her children were sent to the best schools in the world from scholarships and grants. The world was coming here to see our mountains and we were going to the world to learn what we can do to become better. All kinds of jobs had been created in Gbadzeme by this singular deal – engineers, technicians, operators, safety experts, tour guides, food vendors, handy men, waiters and waitresses …. We had taken our destiny in our hands and we didn’t even have to belong to any political party.

About Me

Kenneth Igiri
Kenneth Igiri

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Personal Tips on Protecting Yourself from Card Fraud

A few days ago a friend of mine shared with me the unfortunate experience he had when he fell victim to a card fraud syndicate based in another country. He fell victim because they managed to get him to release information about his card. While this might sound shocking to some people in the banking sector, it occurred to me that it is not far fetched for someone to be unaware of seeming fundamental practices expected in a particular field if one operates outside that field. A good example would be that we still depend on TV shows and the Internet to know about key hygiene habits and proper eating. We search for such knowledge because it borders on practical life issue which may become a matter of life and death at some point.

After he narrated his experience to me I decided to share a few tips from my personal which I feel may be helpful to the public given that we are all immersed in the digital economy. Most of us use debit cards, mobile money and Internet banking. All kinds of technology tend to come along with attendant risks which we must deal with. In the case of debit cards and digital banking in general some of these risks are related to security and people typically fall victim because of lack of knowledge. While I am sure you will find the tips useful, I must say they are personal and not professional. I am by no means a cyber security expert but I definitely have a lot of them around me.

So without further ado, I will share eight tips will help reduce the risk of falling victim to fraudsters:

1. No Sharing

Do not share your card details with ANYONE. I once posted this on a forum for married couples and I could literally feel the recoil of the wives particularly because when addressing sharing ATM PINs for example what is at stake is more than just security. A couple is expected to share EVERYTHING and thinking about it deeply, if you are unable to use your card in an emergency, your spouse is probably the next best source of help to retrieve money on your behalf. In terms of security however, you may want to consider other approaches to being prepared for emergencies that would demand a quick response to the need to cash and I think there are many strategies you can adopt. Keeping your card details to yourself should be your default habit.

2. Use Secure Websites

When using your card online, ensure the website is a secure website. Most of the time your browser will let you know if there is a problem with the website’s security. One fundamental check is to ensure the URL begins with https:// and the beginning of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) has a padlock icon next to it. The URL is what we typically call the “link”.

Fig 1. Facebook has a Padlock Next to “https://”

3. Crosscheck the URL

When using your card online ensure the website is where you actually intend to be. It pays to cross check and ensure you have not been with with something like https://g00gle.com instead of https://google.com or https://zenithbank.b.com instead of https://zenithbank.com. Often when fraudsters send you threatening emails about your card expiring or all your money about to be deducted from your account they would send URLs that look like your bank’s URL and count on your state of panic to lead you into clicking the link without really checking what you are clicking. Don’t panic, crosscheck the URL.

4. Minimize the Money

Keep as little money as possible in the bank account associated with your debit card. If in some way your account still gets hacked, you can ensure the damage is minimal by limiting the amount of money in that account. Alternatively you can ask your bank to supply you a debit card which you can fund directly. Ecobank and many others offer this service. This way you can control the amount of money on the card.

5. Use Multi-factor Authentication

Ensure you have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on your Internet banking account. This just means that when logging in to your internet banking account or at least when making a transaction, the system should ask for your password (something you know) as well as for a one time pin (OTP, something you have). Your password is the first factor, your OTP which comes from a token or from an SMS on your phone is the second factor. We say the second factor is something you have because it is typically a token or your phone. It can be inconvenient to need to go through these protocols before completing a transaction but you need to be aware that it takes ONLY ONE HIT to rob you of a large amount of money in a matter of minutes.

Image result for MFA Token
Fig. 2 MFA Token from RSA

6. Block Your Card

If you ever lose your card or accidentally expose the details in a manner that you consider risky, ensure you call your bank to block the card IMMEDIATELY. These days it is incredibly easy for criminals from remote parts of the world to clone your card once they have the details.

7. Be Careful with Terminals

A collegue of mine experience a certain business which has become popular in Nigeria last week. It involves making a Point of Sale (POS) terminal available during events so people can easily withdraw cash for the purpose of “spraying” dancers during the event. While this is an ingenious innovation in areas where Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are distant, one must be very careful because if that terminal is compromised, you may not be able to trace the merchant or the device. These terminals can be modified to include functionality that capture your card details. If you are suspicious that a device is anything more than an ATM/POS, do not use it, period. It also pays to have two or three ATMs around your home or office you use regularly if you need cash, that way you are more familiar with them.

Image result for compromised ATMs
Fig. 3 Compromised ATM Terminal

8. Block Your Mobile Phone Line

Given that most of us are also migrating aggresively to Mobile Banking an Mobile Apps, let me add a note on mobile phones here. If you lose your mobile phone, block the line immediately. Nefarious fellows can easily use your phone to onboard your bank’s Mobile app, get authenticated and then have access to your account. This can happen in a matter of minutes. A colleague of mine narrated this experience as having happened to his father just last week. He only got to know because his email address is tied to his father’s bank account. His father was completely oblivious of the transactions occurring on his bank account via the bank’s Mobile App which he himself had never used.

Conclusion

The above is not necessarily an exhaustive list of guidelines for staying safe with respect to the use of your cards and other aspects of digital banking/e-commerce. It is important to get even more education on these issus on the internet in the same way as you look for information on health, personal finance and the likes. The fundamental rules that show up in the eight points of this article are the need to be careful, be actively mentally engaged when using these facilities and to never act out of fear, panic or greed.

About Me

Image result for kenneth igiri
Kenneth Igiri

Kenneth Igiri is an IT Professional with over 14 years’ experience in Service Management, Applications and Databases currently working in the banking sector. he current works with the Enterprise Architecture Team in his organization helping to build the bank of the future. When not working, he blogs, writes and teaches Sunday School. He is active on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

A Few Lessons from Kenya's M-Pesa

In the course of a research I am currently participating in, I came across some facts about the success of M-Pesa in Kenya which gave me food for thought about how business success can come about. First of all, in my experience, whenever someone mentions M-Pesa, it is typical to think about Kenya! Meanwhile, there are several countries which speak Swahili in southern Africa and several countries where the service has been deployed or tried. Kenya stands out because of the incredible success story surrounding the product. Here are some key contributors to the success of the product:

The Unknown Innovator

There is an unverified claim by one Michael N Gichuri that M-Pesa was originally develooped by him. If this is true then it is a case of Esau selling his birthright. Many young entrepreneurs sell out too easily to the highest bidder. I think it makes sense to ask an investor to let you have shares in the product you have developed rather than selling out completely. That is if you really believe you have come up with something of value. That said, I want to add that often, new thinking from young people can be the key to a large company’s next breakthrough.

Partnership

M-Pesa was launched through a partnership between Safaricom and Vodafone. There are scenarios in business where a heavy financial, political backing or other similar strong influence is necessary to get that bright idea of the ground. Partnership could also take the form of collaboration with other young entrepreners who offer services related to your primary product. Maybe you can patronize each other, do trade by barter or even form a consortium to pay for external services such as advertising or office space together. The survival of your idea should be more important than the desire to boast that it was your idea.

Thorough Testing

In the official version of the history, M-Pesa operated in pilot mode for two whole years before the Kenyan government approved “go-live” in 2007. This is critical in any endeavour both for big companies and startups. In this day and age of stiff competition and disruptive innovation, it is important that the first impression the public has of your new product is not negative. Thorough testing or at least public awareness that the product is still in the trials phase will help to win trust and guarantee a product that will last long.

Meeting a Valid Need

Kenya had a bonafide financial inclusion problem. A large percentage of Kenyans did not have bank account and many in this category lived in the slums or in the villages which were often difficult to reach. If your product does not really meet a genuine need, it might as well be a hobby not a business! It is easier to sell a customer what he really needs that to educate him of a great discovery you have made to improve his life.

Circumstance

During the year 2008, quite a lot of Kenyans were apprehensive of moving too far away from their families due to post-election violence. Thus M-Pesa was a convenient way of sending money without endangering oneself. In addition, people had lost trust in the banks due to discord among bank executives bordering on ethnicity. It thus became wiser to save money in Mobile Phones!

Wrap Up

In summary, a great idea brewed at the right time has a good chance of making huge impact once the right partnerships and due diligence are in place. A little lesson on copying is worth touching here. Copying is a great way to leverage what has already worked elsewhere but we must copy intelligently! It is important to understand as much as possible the hidden details of the original otherwise the copy will prove to be a far cry from the original. I sure hope this has been of some use. Let me know your thoughts!

Power Distance and Culture

Two weeks ago I did a Facebook Live post where I talked about leadership. I made reference to the tendency of certain kinds of leaders to try to control their followers by exerting unnecessary force, threatening them or being verbally abusive or intimidating. My position was that a leader need not try to prove that he is a leader for his “followers” to respect him. He needs not prove that he is superior to his follower if he really is. And in my opinion a leader is not necessarily chosen because he is better than all his followers in all aspects of life. A leader needs to know that and take advantage of the reasources he has within his team to make the betst of his organization. He must be humble enought to enquire (sounds like Edgar Schein’s book).

After I shared this video on my Facebook page, my boss drew my attention to another video where Malcom Gladwell, the writer of the book, Outliers gave a talk in a church about Power Distance. It was an intriguing discussion because he started the discussion with a particular plane crash and went step by step through a series of events that led up to the plan crash. He then settled on the conversation that ensued during the last moments of the plane being airborne as was captured by the black box. That conversation revealed the real reason the simple problems could not be solved quickly enough: communication.

The Asst. Pilot was not communicating clearly that there was an emergency and that lives were at stake. In talking to the control tower, he was using mitigation in his speech and the control tower perceived it as if he was saying things were fine. He didn’t want to sound demanding or commanding and this ended up ending people’s lives. Gladwell alluded to the fact that this Power Distance problem also showed up as an issue of culture. In some cultures, people are more likely to defer to authority than in others. What struck me really was the dire consequences of something so trivial.

I think any leader who wants to hear the truth from his “followers”, really inspire people and be remembered not regretted needs to reduce that so called Power Distance between himself and the people. I believe the onus lies largely on the leader to change the culture and create the enabling environment for authentic followership. As we have seen, the effects are significant. What do you think?

60 Million Ghana Cedis in Your Face

Last Friday we heard the sad news of a collision between a bullion van and a trailer in Techiman, Ghana which killed the trailer driver and spilled a significant portion of 60 million ghana cedis on the motorway. The story has it that instead of making efforts to help the wounded, quite a number of people rather helped themselves to the free money that had suddenly flown into their space without any any effort made on their part to make it happen. The question is, if you were there, would you have taken your share of the money? Would you have justified it as mob action?

Come to think of it back in the day, one could hear the “testimony” of someone who had picked up a small sum of money that someone else had lost at a public place. As far as he was concerned, it was God making a way for the finder. Well, we could argue about that in several directions but what makes it wrong to pick spilled cash from a bullion van if one can pick lost money and claim it is a miracle. The point here is, what would you do under the same circumstances?

We can stretch this thinking to other scenarios. We have recently had some bruhaha over the Comprehensive Sexual Education content design by global organisations to deploy in Ghana and maybe other African nations. The decision as to whether or not to adopt this content now lies on the current government and maybe the next. As much as we are quick to discuss these matters in our homes and other fora, I also like to ask, If I were the president of a nation, what kind of pressures would be on me to accept such content and what would my decision be? How would I communicate my decision to the nation and to the rest of the world who may perceive my disposition as being intolerant or archaic? These are the questions on my mind this morning.

I think that the decisions we will take in the face of such dilemmas are determined by what we do now to form our character and shape our values ahead of time. The values we imbibe when we are not yet faced with complex decisions will help determine how we take those decisions. It is obvious by now that coming into contact with large amounts of money or a significant position suddenly can easily change a person depending on how strong that person’s values are. So before we discuss others and their decisions in their circumstances, we need to examine ourselves, realise we are possibly going to be exposed to similar temptations and then take our position firmly before the time comes.

A Distant God

I got into a conversation with a colleague last week on how certain things that occur in our lives that appear negative are actually blessings in disguise. While making reference to the fact that the orchestration of such things could be from an external entity he referred to this external entity as “Nature”. He went further to explain that he is of the school of thought that believes one should reserve references to “God” for more serious matters than the  matter he was discussing. He preferred to say “Nature” orchestrated the events.

While the above sounds very reverent, according due respected to the eternal Supreme Being there are number of thoughts that came to me within and after the discussion. One of them was the fact that we could be rather disrespecting to by attributing to “nature” or “the universe” like some others say things that were actually orchestrated by a living and Intelligent Being: Almighty God. If that is the case then our sense of reverence is somewhat misplaced.

Another thought that occurred to me is the distance we place between ourselves and God with our “reverence”. When the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to refer to God as “Father” not the “Most Holy, Omnipotent, Immutable Creator of the Infinite Universe who Dwells in Unapproachable Light and Has no equal in Heaven or Earth”. I am sure the Lord’s Prayer would have been much longer if He had used the latter. He simply used “Our Father”.

I am told that the original for the expression the Lord Jesus used for Father was “Abba”, an expression which was even more personal and informal than “Father”. Maybe “Daddy” or “Dad” or “Papa”. Jesus was introducing us to a more personal relationship with the Infinite Creator of the universe than the Jews were used to. He opened a door to Heaven that closes the huge gap between us and God. God came down to our level.

I respect the sense of reverence my colleague was alluding to in his school of  thought but I also think we must humbly accept the privilege God has given us and call Him “Daddy”. It may even be a much higher form of reverence than otherwise.