Dealing with Grief and Loss

“I was asleep in my dorm room when my sister called. She was frantic and crying, and said mum was in a plane crash. It took me a while to digest. It was the longest night of my life,” says Jimmy.

“On Sunday morning, when I later called home, my father told me they found her, but that she didn’t make it. I think at that moment, my legs buckled and the room seemed like it was spinning and I couldn’t understand it,” he said.

A widow whose husband died at work told a reporter: “He wasn’t sick before he left the house. He wasn’t given to fasting, so he would always eat well. We ate together before he left the house that morning. So, how did it happen? What happened to him?”

Holding her baby in her arms, she broke down in tears, “He never came back! They only brought his bag home. I never knew I wouldn’t see him again. The next time I saw him was in death. Who would take care of his four children?”

These scenarios play out all over the world. We have all received news of someone’s demise before. He or she could be a friend, relative, marriage partner, colleague, church member, or a lover. We all know how we felt at that moment.

“When I received news of my mother’s death, I fainted,” said Tope (who at the time didn’t know his father). “My mother put in all her effort for me to get educated. Death took her away. My hope was gone.”

The first normal reaction to the death of a loved one is sorrow and grief. Grief is a natural response to loss, and loss comes in different forms. It is an emotional suffering one feels when someone (or something) one loves is taken away.

The more significant the loss is, the more intense the grief. And the death of a loved one results in the most intense grief. Such loss usually inflicts a wound on a person’s heart and its scars can remain for a long time.

Some Christians believe weeping over someone’s death indicates a lack of faith. But the Bible furnishes us with examples of godly men and women who wept over tragic losses.

Abraham was a man of faith, yet when Sarah died, he “came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:2). David wept over his son, Absalom’s death (2 Sam. 18:33).

When the Lord Jesus got to Lazarus’ tomb, He wept (Jn. 11:35). When Stephen died, devout men “made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2). God is not against crying over a loss. And it’s not an indication of lack of faith.

Grief has several symptoms. This includes sadness, depression, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, apathy, loneliness, longing for who was lost, blaming of self or others and questioning of beliefs.

People differ in the way they grieve, sometimes depending on culture. Some people resort to alcohol, illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs to cope with grief. The duration of the grieving also varies from person to person.

According to a Medical textbook:

“Regardless of the duration of the grieving process, there are two basic goals: (1) healing the self and (2) recovering from the loss. Other factors that influence grieving are the type of loss, life experiences with various changes and transitions, religious beliefs, cultural background, and personality type” (Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 12th edition, Wolters Kluwer Health, 2010, pp. 105-106).

There are three main stages of grief:

(1) Early reaction – this is the stage when you newly received the news of (or witnessed) the death of a loved one. It is characterized by initial shock, disbelief, denial, emotional numbness, and anger.

At this stage, there is a tendency to become angry at the doctors, the hospital, the system, the deceased one for not taking his own health seriously and even at God for taking the person away at a critical time.

Stella, who lost her father reflects, “My mother was too flippant with my dad’s health and my dad was too stubborn. If he had listened to her he wouldn’t have died.” This is a normal stage of grief. A bereaved person lashes out at friends and relatives.

(2) Acute grief – characterized by mood changes, guilt, self-condemnation, extreme fatigue, insomnia, appetite changes, reduced work capacity, hallucinations – feeling, hearing or seeing the deceased.

A grieving person struggles with guilt. Some blame themselves for talking harshly to the deceased; for what they didn’t say or do; for not doing enough.

Ayo, who lost his wife during childbirth lamented, “The most painful thing for me is that she suffered so much before she died. She cried and bled on and on, but that did not even move [the nurses on duty] … I only took her there because that was where she had her antenatal and they knew her health history. If I had known I would have taken her to a private hospital.”

(3) Levelling off period – characterized by acceptance of the tragedy, sadness with nostalgia, more pleasant memories of the deceased and sometimes with humour. This is the stage where people recover.

It must be emphasized, however, that there is no fixed pattern of grief or time frame that everyone must follow to recover. The grieving process can be intense or shorter for many people as time goes by.

How to cope with grief after a loss.

I. Make a conscious determination to move on with life. That implies that you shouldn’t let others dictate to you how you must grieve.

Some people will tell you if don’t cry enough, you are not sorry about the loss, while some will say that you have to “be strong” in the face of a loss i.e must not cry. These are myths reinforced by cultural stereotypes.

Don’t force yourself into a mould created by the society. A grieving person needs to let out that pain and the easiest way is to cry. Though as Christians, we shouldn’t mourn like those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13-14).

II. Do not grieve alone. The grieving period is the time to turn to family and friends for support. Don’t burn all your bridges. “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgement” (Proverbs 18:1).

It’s dangerous for a grieving person to be abandoned by people. Even when Job experienced tragedy, his friends came around to comfort him (Job 2:11). If you are comforting a grieving person, you may not need to talk much, your presence and sympathy alone go a long way.

When I lost a close friend in 2012, I visited her mother. She was overwhelmed with grief. As I was struggling to offer some words of comfort, I sensed that she needed someone to listen to her tell her side of what happened. She had been accused of killing her daughter and had a lot of anger on the inside, but my presence assured her that at least someone wasn’t judging her, and that made a difference.

III. Don’t be in haste to make any critical decision. This includes moving to a new place, selling or giving away your home or items belonging to the deceased or entering a new romantic relationship. Give yourself some time to reflect on the steps you want to take.

When you are under a huge emotional stress, your sense of judgement may be clouded and you may regret some decisions later if you make them hastily. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Prov. 21:5).

IV. Look after your physical health. Grief causes either a loss of or increase in appetite for food or sleep. If these are not checked, they can affect one’s physical health. It is normal for a bereaved person to feel disoriented and anxious, but adhering to your normal daily duties and activities can help.

Have a specific time to sleep, get up, eat or do certain chores. You can combat fatigue and stress by eating, sleeping and exercising right. Avoid numbing your feeling with drugs or alcohol.

V. Find your feet spiritually. Grief makes a person vulnerable to doubting the love and power of God. There is a sort of anger that is often directed at God for not answering our prayers made for the deceased to live or for taking the person away at a critical time.

A certain man who lost his four children in a building collapse cried “I thought God would even spare one of them for me. But they came to tell me that none of them is alive.” This pain leads to doubt or apathy towards the things of God.

The devil uses such painful experiences to attack our helmet of salvation and break off our shield of faith. Some people can direct their anger inward driving them to suicide. This is why the grieving period is the time to renew one’s faith in God’s Word and seek solace in Him in prayer, otherwise it’s easy to fall away.

In the midst of that loss, look up to “the father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (2Cor. 1:3) and allow the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to comfort you in your grief. Open your heart to Jesus, the Balm of Gilead to heal your pain.

God’s Angels at Work

In several places in Scripture, we are shown how the angels of God work on behalf of God’s people and against their adversaries: both physical and spiritual.

We see angelic intervention in the lives of Christians – even after Pentecost – for the communication of God’s plans and purposes, deliverance from danger and judgement on the enemies of God (Acts 8:26; 12:5-7, 23 etc.).

In this article, I will share some true life experiences; some from mine and others from the testimonies of other Christians.

This is the first time I’m publicly sharing some of the personal stuff you will read in this piece, so I might not go into details. I just want to use them to gear up your faith in the power of God.

  1. Protection from a messenger of Satan

This happened a year after I began to walk closely with God, in 2004, to be precise.

I had formed a habit of praying every night before going to sleep. That night in April, I remember praying fervently against the operations of the powers of darkness.

That wasn’t my first time of praying these. Those days, I wasn’t even sure of what was fighting me, but the dream I had afterwards gave me a clue.

I don’t think I had slept up to 30 minutes, when I had this revelation. In it, I walked through our house and into the sitting room to see a lady there. This girl had the physical identity of a close family member, but I somehow knew in my spirit that she was diabolical.

She had a big earphone (similar to the one I used in listening to my favourite Christian music) plugged to her ears and it was connected to our stereo. She was listening to something.

I looked at my mum, but she was fast asleep on the couch (now I know what that means). I walked up to this girl and unplugged that earphone from the stereo. I then turned to go into my room which was close by.

Suddenly, I heard footsteps from behind me. As I turned to see who it was, I saw this girl about to pounce on me. This time, her form had changed; she now had fangs protuding from both sides of her mouth like the popular Dracula imagery.

In a flash, a tall man dressed in a white linen appeared between us and held her up like a tractor holding a car off the ground.

I stood back in amazement. Though this strong angel held her with just a hand, she was completely incapacitated as she struggled fruitlessly to be freed from his strong grip. Then I woke up, appreciating the Lord for His love for me.

Was that lady a demon associated with my family? Was she a human agent of Satan in my family? I will never know for sure (though I suspect the latter). But what I do know is that God protected me from her savage bloody rage.

2. “Beware of these things…”

I had this revelation mid 2006, in my late teens. I was on my Pre-Degree Science programme in the University at the time. I was much in prayer and intense study of the Word that year.

One night, in a dream, I saw myself back at home and I heard a knock on the door. When I opened it, I saw a young man standing there. He was dressed neatly and carrying a bag. His mien was like that of a preacher.

At first, I thought to myself, “Is he one of those fake ones, a Jehovah’s witness?” But without uttering a word, it suddenly flashed into my spirit that he was genuine. I quickly apologized for my mistake and he sweetly smiled and nodded in agreement.

He brought what looked like white slides or plaques. On the first one was written a word in capital letters, then he showed me the second one, on it was also written another word in capital letters. These words were sins/vices common to humanity.

On the third one, however, there was no word written on it, but a drawing, illustrating another sin. But it seems to have a double application. Then the dream cleared off.

Later as I prayed and asked the Lord for its meaning, it dawned on me that those things the angel showed me were things I must avoid in my life, particularly in years to come.

In retrospect, there are two interesting things here. One, some years later when I left the ways of the Lord, I now see that one of the things what led me astray was based on the first vice I was shown.

Two, in this present age of the social media, I now see how easy it is for me to be sucked into the second and third vices, but those warnings have helped me to be cautious in those areas.

3. The spirit of death vanquished

I had this experience in 2016. I saw myself in our family sitting room, relaxing on the first chair while my younger brother sat on the second chair. Then a tall, handsome man dressed smartly like a Navy officer walked in and moved close to where we were.

In that dream, I seem to know him from somewhere, because I had no inkling that he was a stranger. He was tall, so he easily reached his hands into the ceiling and brought out two owls nesting there – one from above my head and the other from above my brother’s.

The owls were flapping their wings and struggling, trying to escape from his grip, but he squashed them on the wall. I was shocked.

As he turned to leave, I got up from the chair and went after him. I asked, “Sir, how were you able to do that so effortlessly? But I was told that those who killed these animal familiars usually get killed?”

He looked at me with such love and understanding of my naivete and smiled without saying a word. Then he kept moving. And the dream cleared off.

There’s more to this story. Those owls represented the spirit of death. In any case, my naive question in that dream is a reflection of how our little human reasoning makes us want to figure out the supernatural or succumb to fear rather than faith.

About a year after this revelation, my brother and I were delivered from two separate happenstance that would have taken our lives. Glory to be to God.

4. Deliverance from spiritual assassins

This happened to a close family member who is an ordained minister. Let’s call her Funke. I narrate it here as she told it to me.

In 2006, Funke was ordained as a pastor and posted to a church branch. This church had been a troubled one almost from the time it was started in 1999 or so.

The church was not growing; its members were lukewarm and indifferent towards Christian living, and the last pastor had tendered his resignation after his wife died of cancer. He abruptly left the church in despair and was not heard from again.

Few months after Funke was posted there, she started to lead the church to pray aggressively and the powers of darkness fought in return. She began to experience demonic attacks – about four people (whose physical identity she knew) would pursue her in the dream with guns and shoot her.

Soon, she began to observe physical lumps growing on her breasts. She went for a scan which revealed them to be cysts and consulted a doctor. Though she knew this was a result of spiritual arrows, she also sought medical therapy.

After some sessions of spiritual warfare, the lumps disappeared. Then she had that dream again. As these people were pursuing her this time around, a man appeared and stood between her and these spiritual assassins. He also had a gun with which he shot each one of them in the head and the dream cleared away.

Since then, that nightmare never repeated itself, and soon, two of these agents of darkness, (long standing church members) physically stopped coming to the church. Funke was also transferred to another branch.

5. Rescued from kidnappers

This was a testimony relayed by a lady (I’ll call her Gloria) during a programme held in my family church in 2007.

Gloria was kidnapped by ritual murderers at a bank near Iwo Road, Ibadan. She vaguely remembered that a man walked up to her as she was leaving the bank premises, and asked her what time it was by her wrist watch. Then she took a look at her watch; that was all she could recall.

Gloria regained consciousness as she was being roughly dragged from a vehicle and forced into a room. She lost count of days.

Others victims were in the room too, incapacitated by hypnotism. These murderers would come into the room, select any of them and take them away. She never saw them again.

At a point, she was the only one left. After the last victim was taken out, the door to the room was left unlocked. It seemed far-fetched, because she didn’t hear the “click” sound the door always made each time it was closed.

Then she mustered some bravery and escaped that evening. It was dark, and after running for a while in the forest, she fell down in exhaustion and slept off. She woke up the next day and continued to try to find her way out of the forest.

Gloria finally saw a man who inquired of her and informed her that she was far from Ibadan (where she was kidnapped). He took her through a path to the main road, helped her flag down a vehicle and talked with the driver (she didn’t hear the content of their discussion) who conveyed her right back to Ibadan.

I have no doubts that the man Gloria met in that forest was an angel of God.

6. The invisible helpers in spiritual warfare

The next three stories are taken from Paul Ivbarue’s book, Deliverance: The Children’s Bread (House of Grace Publications, 2000, pp. 38-40).

I have known Pastor Paul since 2001 and I have been under his ministration. He has been (and is being) used by God in the ministry of healing and deliverance.

“Some 8 years ago at Oyo town, we were ministering deliverance to a sister. We were four, plus the sister, making five altogether. The demons in her spoke through her mouth, inviting other demons to come and attack us as the fire of prayers was too much for them to bear. The next words we heard from the sister’s mouth was: “You mean you cannot attack them because they are too many? No! They are only four, attack them and help us!”

“Immediately, it dawned on us that truly there were many heavenly angels around us to protect us during the ministration.

“A woman came for our Wednesday deliverance clinic, and the power of God touched her. She was on the floor for about 30 minutes.

“Later she testified that while on the floor, two men in white overall like doctors (angels) took her on a stretcher and wheeled her to a beautiful theatre where there were other doctors (as she called them) who began to operate her womb.

“She said when the operation was completed, the two men wheeled her back and placed her on the floor. It was then she opened her eyes.”

“We were in a meeting in Lagos, and our Father in the Lord, Rev. Kayode Kolawole was ministering. The power of God touched a sister among others. She started shouting “Give me my brain! Give me my brain!!” I moved to where the sister was and laid hands on her commanding her brain where it is hidden to be returned to her.

“Later, this sister came to me to say that when the command was being given, she saw an angel with a flaming sword cut down a big tree and there she saw her brain being held by a man under the tree. The angel ordered the man to return her brain to her and he did and fled.

“She said she was preparing to [write] her School Certificate (W.A.S.C) the third time. The ones she did were not successful despite her preparation. I then prayed with her and assured her that God has delivered her and this time around, she will succeed in her exams.”

7. A satanist arrested by angels

The following account is taken from Evangelist Kalu Abosi’s book, Born Twice: From Demonism to Christianity. In this book, he narrated his past sojourn in the kingdom of darkness and how he was caught in the net of the Lord Jesus to witness for Him.

This is the most informative book authored by an ex-satanist (published in the early 1990s) I’ve read so far exposing the infrastructure of Satanism in Africa. Unfortunately, it’s now out of print.

The part I am relaying is his encounter with the angels of God during an occult assignment in Abiriba, Abia State.

One day, at about 4:30am, while he was having sex with his “spiritual mother”, the Queen of the Coast (she would transform into a girl of about his age whenever they had intercourse), the entire palace began to shake.

They had to disengage and she changed back into her real form. At her command, their screen showed where the quake was coming from: a Christian man was preaching the gospel (“morning cry”) around Ameke Square.

Whenever the gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed in the physical world, it causes ripples in the realm of darkness.

The queen began to chant an incantation and a bottle appeared in her hand. She rubbed its gummy/sticky contents on Kalu’s face and commanded him to go after that preacher and stare at him face-face with that concoction and the demons would melt that preacher into natural water. It was a deadly occult weapon.

Kalu woke up physically, and left the house immediately. His family knew he had a habit of visiting the restroom every morning so they didn’t think it was unusual for him to go out at that time.

After walking hurriedly, he located the preacher from a distance, as he was about catching up with him, suddenly, two angels appeared and we’re walking towards him.

It soon got to a point that the angels were close to him and wouldn’t allow him go any further. He chanted an incantation against them, it didn’t work. He had been given a “special” ring when he visited Satan’s kingdom; the ring is called “the good, the bad, the destroyer.”

Satan told him that the demons attached to the ring would make a bad situation become “good”; turn a good thing into bad and would also destroy a bad thing/person. He used this ring against the angels as he had been instructed, but it didn’t faze them.

He couldn’t even stand in their presence as their countenance was like the sun in its zenith, so he began to stagger like one who is drunk. The two angels captured him and took him to a place in the woods where they had him tied down to a tree by bright white cords they produced from their bodies.

They then left their two swords by each of his ear and left the place. The sword began to sing in a most melodious voice he had ever heard and later began to preach the gospel to him.

Though he found the message tormenting (each time the name of Jesus was mentioned, he would feel burns on his body) one line from the messages stuck with him: “I will make you fishers of men if you will follow Me.”

Later, the angels returned, picked up their swords and untied him. By then, the day had dawned, and after an initial frustrated attempt, he chanted an incantation that took him back home.

We Christians simply have no idea of the invisible battles that take place in the spirit realm with each step we take for Christ. But let me assure you, if you are with Christ, God’s angels will protect you. But if you are not in Christ, you will not be protected.

 

 

Yahoo Plus and the Curse of Mammon

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Aside from paedophilia, another news trend that frequently makes the headlines in our country is the gale of Internet fraud (popularly known as “Yahoo Yahoo”) which has morphed into a raging tide of occult crimes – ranging from items of used clothing being stolen and re-sold for fetish purposes to grisly ritual murders.

These are indeed dangerous times when many people’s regard for human lives (even for family members, friends and lovers) has been completely eroded by an inordinate love for mad money.

I am aware of some African folks who sit in their Ivory Towers and dismiss such reports as urban legends. I am really not interested in convincing them to accept the reality of the supernatural anyway.

I always tell people that if these occult rites have not been working for people, they would have quit them a long time ago.

A study of ancient and modern occult-related crimes and rituals shows that virtually every culture appeases spirits in one form or the other for power and material wealth. Though their requirements and mode of operation differ.

The Nigerian lingo for Internet fraud mixed with occult ritual practices is “Yahoo plus-plus”.

The terms and conditions underlying such occult transactions boil down to offering human and animal parts to demon spirits in exchange for material prosperity.

Sometime in 2018, an Internet fraudster cum ritualist in Ghana, with the aid of graphic pictures, revealed the torment he has been enduring ever since he dabbled in his Faustian trade.

“The spiritualist also asked me to buy a pot, egg, bag and padlock and he will put the money in the pot for me and that the money will be okay for me to use after some few months,” he said.

“Since the day I brought the pot home, I do not feel free. I am being haunted and I can’t sleep till the next morning. It is always like I am being haunted by human beings, lions and fire. They appear physically and I don’t know what to do,” he lamented.

In another sad case in Ughelli, Delta State, a “Yahoo guy” in his 20s became insane and eventually committed suicide few weeks after throwing a lavish birthday party at a popular hotel in the town – spending thousands of naira on drinks for guests who attended his party.

A source revealed that, “All attempts to restrain him were fruitless as he charged at anyone that tried to restrain him [and] continued using the broken bottle on himself until he slumped and died,” a resident of the community stated.

“He ran away from the church his mother took him to the community town hall and started stabbing himself. The more sympathizers tried to stop him from continuously stabbing himself, the more he did so,” he added.

“In the last three years,” wrote Nosa Akenzua in Orient Daily News, “desperation and inordinate quest for quick money among the youths of Asaba and some top businessmen from all over the country has engendered horrendous sorrow, and even tragedy. This arises from their involvement in high-power ritual practices as the gateway to stupendous wealth.”

Many of the people in the aforementioned article throng the shrines of various pagan deities, particularly that of Onishe (Alanwanyi Asaba), a mother goddess whose shrine is situated along the banks of River Niger and is often depicted having gargantuan breasts, (said to symbolize fertility and abundance).

Every culture has a deity that is often tasked with bestowing wealth or fortune in exchange for all manner of votive offerings e.g. Yemoja, Ikenga, Lakshmi, Plutus, Ops, Fortuna, Gad, Jeng gu etc.

Many Wiccans cast such money spells using certain chants, candles, potions and energies drawn from the “Old Ones.”

In the words of Selah Towers, quoted in the New York Post, “Casting spells, I saw results. Usually, it was like — maybe I needed money or I needed a car. I needed love in my life. It was very selfish. It was all about what I wanted. I was really satisfied with my life.’”

In LaVeyan Satanism, this money ritual is called “compassion ritual.” An ancient demonic strongman that is invoked during satanic rites for wealth and is regarded as the treasurer of hell is called “Mammon.” Some Satanists call him “Zeus.”

According to former satanists, his base is in the water kingdom, and his visual representation is of a male figure having golden body parts.

The spirit of Mammon makes humans bow to money in the place of God. It leads their hearts away from God, sears their conscience to do anything to have wealth and ultimately leads them into destruction.

In African demonism, ritual culprits
also make use of women’s underwear or menstrual pads as Voodoo links wherein their victims’ womb and/or its products are offered to demons in exchange for wealth. In some cases, they utilise semen.

In a certain interview, a young man who self-identifies as a retired “Yahoo guy” admits that there are various forms of money-making rituals. One involves bathing in the public.

Another rite involves wiping of a lady’s vagina with a magickally “charged” material after sexual intercourse and there is also one in which the candidate must have sex with a girl after bathing with a local ritual soap.

Once he ejaculates into her, the lady won’t get pregnant again and if she does, she will miscarry. “That one too is very potent and many slay queens have been used for this but they don’t know yet!” he added.

“When I was active, the one I know that is 100 per cent [efficacious] is the one that you tie the person’s picture with thread and bury it beside the grave of a person whose gender is same as the person you want to hit … After the person sends you money, you must buy [a] ram and wear one tira [talisman] round its neck. The ram will die overnight.”

Satan and his demons always require human or animal sacrifices literally or symbolically for every covenant. There is no free gift in magick; it’s always by pact. It’s like the trade of Esau – giving you a plate of pottage but removing your entire birthright.

Evil spirits seduce people with promises of great wealth but what they offer is a counterfeit, diabolic wealth that ruins the lives of its recipients.

In the light of this desperation, we need to turn our attention to God’s Word:

1. It is only God who gives true material possession and will add other blessings that can’t be purchased with money to it.

“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22 NLT).

But Satan is the chief distributor of the wealth of sorrow; wealth of torment; wealth of destruction – evil wealth that will ultimately lead one to Hell a place of everlasting sorrow.

True prosperity lies with God. And you can’t receive it unless you are in His kingdom and have His righteousness. Any wealth that is not received in God’s kingdom and by the righteousness of Jesus Christ is a wealth of sorrow.

2. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17).

Satan has no good gift to offer anybody; he hates humanity! He is a master deceiver who disguises his packages to lure in the foolhardy. He offers desperate souls fresh apples but he won’t show them the deadly worms and maggots within it. He offers people sweet wine but doesn’t tell them it’s laced with Cyanide.

Why do you think many who obtain riches from the kingdom of darkness suffer endlessly from serious afflictions, untimely deaths, accidents, barrenness, prolonged ailments and destructive habits that eventually wear them out and render their wealth absolutely meaningless?

Why do you think their successive generation usually suffer from chains of poverty, inexplicable failures and mental illnesses? I will tell you why, because they received a Greek gift – one seeming benefit plus hundred troubles. That’s why many fetish priests themselves steer clear of such rituals. They know better.

3. There is much dignity in decent labour. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man” (Prov. 6:10-11).

It’s unfortunate that our value system has so much plunged that there’s a huge disconnect between the dignity of hard work, ethics and integrity and what the society has redefined as success.

As a result, many youths have cultivated magical ideas about money. They don’t desire to work for N1000 but wish to live the life of N500,000. They want to live large and cut corners to achieve it.

With the way wealth is being flaunted by Nigerian celebrities, politicians and even some “prosperity preachers,” it is not far fetched why Ponzi schemes, money-making rituals and Internet scams have continued to attract many youths. These desperadoes want to climb their trees from its leaves and circumvent reality. That’s an exercise in self-delusion!

4. We need to extricate ourselves from this nutured mentality that we can make humongous sums of money irrespective of the political and economic realities of our country.

Nigeria is currently passing through a phase of economic downturn and we need to get our acts together and fashion realistic and productive means of survival, rather than taking the devious route of making pacts with vicious spirits.

Many who resort to Internet scams and money making rituals have little or no labour skills to make it through life. Tragically, the noble culture of apprenticeship that builds a society has been virtually replaced by a culture of greed, narcissism, vanity ‘Logo Benz’ appropriating lifestyle.

Avarice is a form of idolatry. It is one of the shackles of Mammon that drags humanity away from the will and purposes of God.

5. “The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble” (Prov. 28:20).

If you have a “I-must-be-rich-at-all-cost” mindset, rest assured you will fall into many evil snares. We need to cultivate a balanced attitude towards opulence.

Those wealthy figures we admire in our TVs and magazines also had their small beginnings. They laboured from obscurity into limelight; they lived in self-denial, discipline and endured years of set back and disappointments before becoming a household name – that is, for those of them who toured a noble path.

Start with something small and watch it grow. Anybody that is too big for something small is too small for something big.

Let’s deal with this culture of greed and idolatry that is bringing the curse of Mammon on our nation and sending many people to a Christless grave after a lifetime of horrendous crimes.