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by Babangida Joseph
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As we start a new year, we have lots of things to be thankful to God for despite the challenging situation and events in 2013 alone. So many people have lost their loved ones and/or properties. Some have lost loved ones thus creating a vacuum and the need to adjust to new challenges. No matter the circumstances, so far so good. You are still here. You are alive. You made it! Let's be grateful to God for that. As we commence a new journey in 2014, I trust that you will put behind you all that have transpired last year and look forward with hope. "One thing I do", says the apostle Paul, "putting behind me that which is behind me. I stretch for the goal ahead of me".

Crossing to the other side of 2014 is a journey that none of us has ever embarked upon. But for us to cross over with full assurance of making it successfully, we will do well to observe the following:

1. Don't cross alone. Let Jesus be in your ship as you attempt to cross over. I am assuming He is already Lord in your life. That would be the wisest decision you will ever make in 2014: making Him Lord and choosing to go all the way with Him. With Him there sitting next to you, you will make it even when tempestuous winds threaten to capsize your ship, you will arrive the other shore in one piece. He knows everything about you. Making Him the Lord, Bishop and Captain of your life at all times guarantee a complete voyage without any abortion of the mission. Just like Moses, our prayers should be 'Lord, if Your presence doesn't go with us, we don't want to leave this place.'

2. Cast away unnecessary baggage: You will recall that when the ship in which Jonah was travelling on was tossed to and fro, the men threw their cargo overboard to lighten the ship. Any unnecessary cargo will only be an extra load that has the potency of hampering your journey. You need faith, hope, and love as part of the luggage for the journey. Faith will serve as the rudder to give your ship direction. Hope makes one to persevere in the midst of the storm while love guides your conduct and cause you to empathize with others who may be struggling along the sea of life. Don't travel with people who are not passionate about what you intend to do together. They are not necessary. They are not destined to go with you. Like Naomi located Ruth and discarded Orpah, so you need also to act. Make no room for anyone who will be a threat to fulfilling your mission in 2014 in your life!

3. Watch out for icebergs: The idea is to get you to the other side successfully. Ships sail on water without allowing the water get into them. If a ship hits an iceberg, the impact could result in a collision that will cause a rift which may end up sinking it. Don't allow what you hear and see get into you in 2014. Sail through the seas of life by avoiding the icebergs of criticism and cynicism. Meander around the icebergs of discouraging comments and statements borne out of jealousy. There is no point in having a head-on collision with the icebergs of bitterness, regret, rejection or failure. Watch out for these pitfalls and avoid them like a plague.

4. Use your time well: Say no to unproductive use of your time. Invest wisely in what you do with your time. For after all has been said and done all you have left is time. There are a lot of frivolous things that capture our attention that we can do without. Determine how much time you devout to watching soap operas, movies, clubbing with friends, watching football etc. and contrast it with the time you reserve for the word of God. For friends, I'd like you to know that the map you need so as not to be lost in the middle of the seas of life is the WORD OF GOD. Where adjustments need to be made, do not hesitate. Your very life depends on this. God please give us the wisdom to give your word the priority it deserves.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But I strongly believe these pointers, if followed diligently, will ensure that we reach our destinations with joy, having conquered along the high seas on which we are travelling. By 31st December, 2014, you will look back and give God thanks for being with you on the cruise, for giving you the wisdom to discard wrong company. You will shout hallelujah for all the icebergs you encountered and meandered around and celebrate God's gift of the wise use of your time. See you at the top at the end your cruise.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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