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Refuse intimidation! In my opinion, the plague of intimidation is the worst of all plagues, it is worse than any killer disease. Intimidation is what brings a man to the point of saying, “now that things are like this, what can one do? So he becomes weak, hopeless and remains on the same spot with his hands folded. The truth is, there is always something you can do no matter how bad the situation looks. That is one thing that God can never deny us of. He never allows us to be faced with a situation where there is nothing we can do.

In every challenge, He provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). So, in the face of obviously negative circumstances there is always something you can do no matter how small. Never let your circumstances intimidate you. When you are intimidated you lose hope. Never let difficulties stop your mind from functioning. If you must create a new beginning, you must look beyond the existing to the non-existent. The existent will always seek to resist the non-existent, the present will always resist the future in a bid to stop you from moving forward, but that is the best time to move. Remember that it was when the earth was without form and void that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And that movement resulted in creation (Genesis 1:2).

When nothing seems to be moving, that is when you must move. The best time to introduce motion is when there is obvious stagnation because the cure of stagnation is motion. You don’t progress by staring at your situation; you make progress by stirring yourself up for action. That is why you should bother less about the situation and more about yourself because the situation is not your problem. The problem is you! If you don’t move, the situation around confronting you does not have a signal to disappear. Your action is the signal for your situation to vanish. Staring at your situation allows it to multiply in strength but moving against it sends out signals that you are ready to take charge and start something new. If you don’t move, your situation will remove you. The intention of every opposition and negative circumstances that comes your way is to move you out of your place and the only way not to be moved is to move against whatever that confronts you. So, keep moving no matter what happens. Stop starring at your situation.

Start stirring yourself up by looking inward for solutions. Those who stare at your situation will go under but those who stir themselves up for action will remain in charge, because in the process of being stirred up, hope is fired up and motion resumes. So, when nothing seems to be working, move. When you don’t have money in your pocket for instance, that is when to move and give. The worst time not to give is when you think you don’t have enough. You don’t come out of poverty by keeping what remains; you come out of poverty by giving what remains. That is kingdom principle (Luke 6:38).

Nothing breeds stagnation like intimidation. When you are faced with a situation and you don’t know where to begin to handle it from, just do something, and take the step. Sometimes, your first step may be imperfect but it will eventually lead you to the perfect one. There are very few occasions you will get an excellent result from your first attempt and if you want to wait for that time you may never get anything done. So, don’t be intimidated and become withdrawn when you make a mistake. If you will dare to take another attempt, you will get it right. Those who have never been wrong may never also be right.

As you can see from the situation in Genesis 1:2, everything was wrong, without form, void, chaotic and in darkness but God said, “We can’t watch it this way, I must move, I must do something.” And the Spirit moved. If you will watch what has gone bad it will get worse, so don’t watch it. Do something! Never say, “This is impossible situation.” You can break the ice. Overcome fear and intimidation by taking steps. What you don’t move towards will continue to scare you, but as you move, it begins to give way for you. Apart from that you will also make new discoveries and gain more confidence because courage grows with action.

Dr. Lester Sumrall of blessed memory¸ had a big television station worth millions of dollars as an arm of his evangelistic ministry. One day, the station was razed down by fire due to an electrical accident but what did he do? He got there, cleared the debris and started reconstruction. At the time his autobiography was being written, his ministry owned and operated eight stations in different cities of the world! He was not at all intimidated when the first station was burnt down. As a matter of fact, he refused to go and see the place when his son told him about it, instead he continued his preaching engagement as scheduled (Sumrall; 1997).

Creativity begins with movement. After the Spirit of God moved upon the waters, God declared, “Let there be light.” And there was light (Genesis1:3). Ideas only come your way when you begin to move. Your best ideas come to you when you are in the move not when you sit down in despondency. Ideas are never forth coming as long as man remains stagnated, but they unwind from the deposit within you and are loose when there is motion. When you move, your brain moves. So the reason you don’t know what next to do is because you are not doing anything. As you do what you can, God will do what you can’t. When you do what you know, He will show you what you don’t know.

Encourage yourself! Hopelessness attempts to take its root in the soul. So also, the power to fight is generated within. That is why I believe that the greatest power a man has lies within him and there is no external force that can match it. I am talking about the power of enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic about life, the pressure outside can not take away the pleasure that emerges from within. If you are not enthusiastic you can not be encouraged. When discourage set in, hopelessness results, but the force on your inside is such that encourages you. Enthusiasm puts positive courage inside you.

The word ‘encourage’ simply positive or upward or enhance courage while the word ‘discouragement’ means reduced or depressed courage. Someday, according to 1 Samuel chapter 30, King David and his men returned from an assignment only to find that their camp had been invaded by the Amalekites and all their children and wives were carried away as captives. David and all his men were in such despondency that they wept till they had no more strength to weep. Then, the men turned their frustration on David and wanted to stone him. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters…” (1 Samuel 30:6). But in the midst of that, David realized that he could generate a force from himself that would change his situation so he did something most outstanding. “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

You may find yourself in such a situation, where everything seems to be working against you and rather than offer you encouragement, the people around you are castigating you. That is not the time to sit down in hopelessness, it is time to get encouraged so as to locate the way forward and the best person to encourage you is you. From David’s story, it is clear that there is no one on earth that can do anything to discourage you. People who talk about discouragement are simply not putting to use the force that is on their inside. If only you can stir it up, it will beat hands down all the hopelessness and discouragement around you. Have you ever wondered how some people in the midst of criticism and castigation wax stronger and stronger?

It is simply because rather than looking outwards, they have decided to focus inwards; to look at the treasure within and draw out what it takes to move forward in spite of all oppositions. When you look outward, you are strengthening your enemies against yourself, but when you look inward, you are strengthening yourself against your enemies. Those who look outward end up weakened, but those who look inward end up strengthen. That was what David did. He encouraged himself in the Lord and he was strengthened. He assembled his men together again and they went back to fight and recovered all that was stolen. You have to be able to encourage yourself to move forward, no matter what is happening around you. I don’t know what you have lost or what difficulty you are facing, you can still be stirred up from within; you can charge up yourself to take charge of your life and possess what belong to you.

You don’t wait for things to happen, you make things happen. Often times we claim that other people do not care for us but you know nobody can care for you like you. Nobody can handle your life for you better than yourself. The earlier you accept the truth the better for you, because no matter how much someone is helping you, one day he will withdraw either deliberately or other wise. As you can see from that story, David never looked to someone to encourage him, neither he shift responsibility and begin to blame people for his predicament, but he went straight on and encouraged himself. Please accept the responsibility of catering for yourself. Take charge of your life and move forward.

Be conscious of God’s presence! The Psalmist said: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). When you are conscious of God’s presence you become immovable. Has he not promised that He would go before you to make the crooked places straight (Isaiah 45:2). He said He will bless you in your going out and in your coming in, in the city and in the field (Deuteronomy 28:3, 6). The fact that you have a little setback does not mean that God has left you; He is with you at every place and all times.

Your awareness of His presence will continually stir up your hope, because then you will be assure that He is making a way of escape for you from whatever you are going through. Have a sense of appreciation! Another way to stir up your hope is to have a sense of appreciation. When people think that they are not making progress, their hope is naturally destroyed. The truth is that if you check your life very well, you will discover that you have made tremendous progress, you have made some impacts and your life generally has appreciated in some ways, no matter how small. But when you lack a sense of appreciation, you are bound to look dejected and unfulfilled and soon you begin to rain condemnation upon yourself. A man in this condition goes as far as seeing himself as ‘good for nothing’. He withdraws goodwill from himself so much as he blocks every avenue through which anything good could come his way. Even when he has another opportunity to move forward, he misses it because he has lost faith in himself.

I would like you to look around your life, check your results and you discover that something good has been added to you. This is how to raise and maintain your hope. Look around for areas of increase in your life and begin to thank the Almighty God for the additions, no matter how little. Remember, it is small plus small that becomes big. Every addition, no matter how little, is worth appreciating because it can multiply great substance in the nearest future. That little position are privileged to occupy today, maybe as a driver, a clerk or a sales boy, appreciate it, because it is a good starting point for greatness.

It will interest you to know that the things that some people have thrown away for lack of appreciation are the same thing that others have picked up and use to become great in life. Life is a process and it is operated by principles. Many of us want to see lot of things happen in our lives before we can be appreciative or be thankful to God, but that is not the way He operates. If you are able to appreciate one, God will multiply it to ten or even thousands, because He knows what you will do. There are people who measure their lives by what they see in others. But, 2 Corinthians 10:12makes it clear that those who compare their lives with others are simply exhibiting their foolishness. You are free to be inspired and motivated by the lives of others, but you will only destroy your hope if you begin to compare yourself with them and strive to compete with or without them.

When I see people making progress, I examine them and get inspiration from them, but l never compare myself with them, because life is not a game of comparison, it is a game of individuality. Never you think that if you haven’t achieve3d as much as your neighbour, friend or colleague then you are a failure. No! You must be able to appreciate the fact that there are factors responsible for where he is and that such factors are peculiar to him. There are also other factors that are peculiar to you which will work to your own advantage, progress and success at the right time. You may be complaining about your crawling business, but that is still better than complete stagnation, because from crawling it will graduate into walking. Life is in graduations, it progresses in phases, just as children grow from crawling to walking, and then to running. So be happy and excited about where you are. Know where you are per time and keep your hope alive!

Be persuaded! To remain hopeful, you have to get to a point of persuasion in all your pursuits. Hope is all about persistence and you know at the root of persistence is persuasion or conviction. Abraham was so persuaded. He was convinced that he would certainly become the father of many nations, so he hoped against hope till the promise came (Rom. 4:18, 21). There is a future set before you and you must be persuaded that God hasn’t changed His mind about your dream. It is persuasion that supplies you the strength to remain hopeful till you hit the mark. I impart to you the power of hope. The hopelessness that is beclouding your life is destroyed now by the power of God, in Jesus name, Amen! (Resource: Bishop David Abioye, Creating A New Beginning).

Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena
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