Hello, its me…

In October 2015, Adele came out with the striking lead single Hello from her studio album 25, which created a powerful positive social media buzz that resonated with fans all over the world. After almost a 5 year silence since her James Bond theme tune Skyfall, in a letter to fans, Adele stated: ‘the song Hello is as much about making amends with yourself as it is about making amends with an ex’. An internal dialogue themed around her journey into adulthood, fans felt privy to be a part of the journey with her.

I have in no way been silent for 5 years. Nor do I consider this new platform a vehicle to receive praise and a hefty welcome back after a mere 3.5 months off the social media world! I do however, wish to introduce you to me: my story, thoughts, passions, lessons… to attempt (although this isn’t my primary focus) to answer some unspoken questions: ‘why is she like this?’ ‘why is she so harsh?’ ‘is she without sin?’ ‘she has been married for only a year and 7 months – what does she know about marriage?’ ‘does she think she is better than everyone?’ and so on and so forth.

Rubytols.com is an internal yet, public dialogue themed around my journey into adulthood – dashing into the past to make sense of my present whilst growing into the future which I think is known, contrary to cliché sayings of: ‘the future is unknown.’ (That is for another day). For now, I will draw on the few but significant chapters of my life that have shaped me to this point – where my ethos, outlook and doctrines come from: what I can compromise on and what I can’t! What I’ve learnt, and what I’m still learning about human beings – their emotions, decisions, behaviours and drive.

In October 2015 I encountered the worst enemy of my life: me. (Ok, it wasn’t exactly October, it was May 2015 – but I was still at war with my enemy in October fighting the final round, it just sounds better and ties in with Adele! Please allow me lol)! To be ordained as a Pastor two years later, married and with a thriving business – I think I have a little to say.

Join me as I shed light on the three main topics which currently shape my being: Ministry (God), Marriage (Family) and Business (Money).

Transparency brings Healing.

TB

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Business 103: The Law of Honour

As mentioned in previous posts, wisdom is the ability to recognise difference: difference in people, places, time, seasons etc. God created laws and established principles which govern and rule the world we live in; hence why an unbeliever, for example, should they practise and become consistent with such laws, become prosperous without the Jesus card.

The purpose of these laws is to establish order. The purpose of order is to avoid pain and live a purposeful joyful life. One purpose of wisdom is to identify who one must honour. Why? Because the difference between success and failure is in the opinion of who we have decided to honour. There are principles for life, there are principles for living, there are principles for business etc. However, the Law of Honour affects everything we do in so many ways. Observation has taught me that young people do not know how to honour. So, I’m going to talk about it.

This law has heavily impacted my life and business. People my age, especially, are too familiar and quite frankly, very disrespectful. This does not simply apply to parents, adults etc. but even to one another. We fail to recognise, accept and celebrate our differences. We in turn fight each other for our differences. No wonder so many in my generation end up living below their God-given potential. Whether one accepts it or not, these laws are real and possess much power for success. The church needs to arise from its slumber and begin to instil such laws into everyday preaching, starting from the young. A mentor once said: ‘if you do not teach your child the Law of Honour; that child cannot succeed. If you do, you have taught him/her enough. They cannot fail.’

A young person who knows how to honour cannot fail. Stay with me.

Business has taught me, everyday I am offered an opportunity to build credibility or to destroy it. When I wake up, I have the power with my choices to show honour or dishonour. What is honour?

The celebration of difference: the rewarding of someone’s difference which is very different to respect. Respect is an attitude. Honour is a demonstration.

Young people talk anyhow. We are dishonourable with our words, conduct and practises. This is not to say I have not in the past been like this. One thing is sure, I have never enjoyed or engaged in demeaning or disrespectful banter all in the name of fun. You see, familiarity breeds contempt and sadly some of the people we are called to minister to, will never be able to receive from us due to how we choose to engage. Wisdom teaches how to engage and relate with all people at different levels. We must also be consistent with how we engage.

Because of familiarity, people forget who they’re talking to and wonder why certain doors are closed. It is a law and everything that proceeds out of our mouths goes forth as seeds to germinate, whether good or bad. We are to honour people who are in positions of authority or power regardless of their shortcomings or past. We have no right to dictate or correct upward. My Head Mentor once said: ‘only a fool corrects upward. Do not correct an elder.‘ We may not like it, but the prison is full of people who were not taught order. What prison are you in today? We are not authorised to correct anyone who is in direct authority over us either.

You see, honour makes one unforgettable. It is the seed for access. It will make one a fragrance instead of an odour. Honour will take you further than genius or intellect. Honour has the power to take you in one day further than your work or business will take you in 10 years. Wherever one sows honour, unexplainable doors open. I am living proof.

I used to think being a lover of the truth meant one could ‘say it how it is‘ to those above us, you know, show them this is what the Word of God says and engage in back and forth debates fuelled often by pain, conviction and/or pride. Reproof, maturity and growth in the Word quickly taught me that I do not have the anointing to do so: I certainly should never correct a leader in front of someone who is under them. All these things add to why people live a life of abundance and wealth (not just money) and why others don’t. I only have the power of my seed and tongue. We are to pray earnestly for those in leadership should we see anything that is against scripture or negatively affecting the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit does the convicting and changing, not me.

In order to be fruitful in business, I have to identify those who have gone ahead of me and have established themselves successfully in and out of my field (never limit where you can gain wisdom) and pay homage to them. I observe them, read their stories (the rise and fall), follow their journeys and whenever I can, attend seminars/events where they’ll be present and introduce myself. I’ll start conversations with compliments and ask relevant questions based on what they discussed and what I have read about them. (This isn’t the easiest thing for me to do – as I am extremely shy!! But gracefully growing out of it – nonetheless, it is necessary). In other circumstances, once good-talking ground is established and contact details are exchanged, I proceed to sow into he/she’s life: one thing is constant, seed time and harvest time. As a young person, I can never know it all. God places ‘men’ in our lives to add/aid/take us to the next level. If we cannot honour ‘men’ that we see, howbeit a God we cannot see? (God places leaders in our lives to create order. A life of disorder leads to an unfruitful life. Order is everything). Such ‘aid-men’ come in packages and rare opportunities. To seize every opportunity presented, the Law of Honour is a law-weapon that should be used at every given opportunity.

I sow into greatness so that I can be great. I draw circles in my life where I place people: those I must honour and those I won’t. (You have no business honouring people who do not honour others: honour is contagious, it is a law: do not be quick to throw pearls to swines. Take time to observe those who claim to be great – what have they birthed or achieved consistently over a certain amount of time?) I honour by being on time or readily available for their face-to-face or phone meetings. I honour by paying for coffee, drinks, lunch/dinner. I honour by buying gifts – a good introductory gift starts at £300+ but should increase based on the value of the relationship. It is a seed to go into the ground. It is a seed for an appointed time. It is an investment – that is where most of our money goes, honour is crucial! When we do not have in ‘excess’, I honour by promoting their events, offering my hand of help, sending good-will messages and believe it or not, acknowledging their posts on social media, if they have an account. It is in the smallest of things reader which bring extraordinary results.

One’s reaction to greatness, to a gift, shows honour. Backbiting/gossip, disobedience, familiarity and ungratefulness are proofs of dishonour. If you do not know how to honour, people will not honour you. There are various ways one can honour. I’ll end today’s post by mentioning a few:

Honour God through worship and adhering to biblical instructions, doctrines and principles.

Honour those under you if you are a leader/mentor/employer/sibling etc. by inspiration, stability, consistency and truthfulness.

Honour your church/household of Faith with faithfulness, diligence and servanthood.

Honour those above you (mentor, pastor, manager, employer etc.) by listening, learning, preparing an environment of honour and respect for them.

Transparency brings Healing.

TB

PS. This will be my last blog post for 2017 as the holidays are fast approaching and family activities increase. I sincerely thank every single one of you readers: my silent and public readers, those who have taken the time to share the site with their organisations, for those who send transparent messages of help and encouragement. My Mondays are devoted to opening me up so that I can help others.

Here is to many more potent and transparent posts – to a greater and brighter 2018 full of content and lessons learnt. To growth, fruitfulness and an increase to everything which concerns us positively – for truth and devotion to the only God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

From mine to yours:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year in advance!

See you in 2018 readers!

 

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Process: Learn and know your measure.

Today’s post may be disjointed as I will be writing as the thoughts come. I don’t intend to hold back because quite frankly, my heart is heavy. My people need to do better.

This blog was created to be an internal public dialogue so I’m doing just that: maybe a video would have been better, but no time for that and I’m seriously not interested in all that video stuff; its heavily saturated with, in my opinion, 1-2% of people speaking undiluted truth and impacting lives the way it ought to be.

I look at everything that makes me, me: where I was born, the family I’m a part of, who they are, what they have achieved or are currently pursuing: I observe childhood friends – where they are, who they are seeing, their mindsets, what social media has become, why Africans, so to speak (I really mean Nigerians as I am one) are backwards – why the African church, so to speak, is powerless and quite frankly, irritating. I observe and ask God a thousand and one questions everyday; because I just don’t get it. It is worse now as many cases fall on my lap as a Pastor, which positively enables me to grow by the second but does not remove the constant why as a question.

Young people have issues! I was going to say: most young people have issues then deleted it because I wanted to be diplomatic: but diplomacy isn’t truth. I stand for truth and I know being truthful comes with its consequences as many things do: but I have resolved in my heart not to bend.

In today’s world, an average young person by the age of 13 already has deep issues which carries them through to their adult life. They are exposed to violence, sexual abuse, immigration problems, poverty, anger, pride, fraud, infidelity and early pregnancy, low self-esteem, depression, bullying, bulimia, shame, disgrace, peer pressure and so much more. I have been exposed to all of the above and more. Yes, not all had me heavily involved but I can be honest to say that, most of them formed the way I viewed the world and how I related with people; consciously and subconsciously.

A young lady who is rowdy, constantly in fights or endorsing social media wars has issues. She has become a product of her environment and such a lifestyle will only keep reoccurring in her lineage. Young people don’t think generationally; even the ones that say they do – I’m so over the wise words, affirmations which seem sound from many young people, yet their actions speak otherwise. 

A young lady who cannot see that exposing her breasts or bra strap, or uploads a video with her dancing provocatively all in the name of ‘fun’ is a hefty sign of a deep issue and that breaks my heart. What makes it worse is that many claim to be Christians and have moments when they profess this publicly, yet do the above constantly and so many endorse or cannot correct in love because of fear: I am not talking about a new believer, I am talking about the ones who really claim they know God and for years, live the same way with no fruit to show for their faith! It confuses the very ones we are supposed to reach. Even those who are not ‘religious’ and have made a fortune, a big name for themselves who we look up to, fail to conduct themselves in such ways. Everything goes for our generation and for those who have grown up in African poverty-infested churches.

Stay with me…

Young people want promotion without process! The lack of process, which burns and eradicates such profanities, isn’t embraced, experienced or completed. As a young woman, there are a handful of dignified Men and Women I look up to because they have gone through process! Process is what produces greatness. It is quite interesting to say the least as I used to be one of those people who thought my hard-work and personal devotion to God will make way for me until I observed many of the auntie’s and uncle’s around me. Many of which who had big dreams at my age and have amounted to nothing. I also used to give excuses for them because their circumstances were brutal and testing; however, my mouth quickly swallowed my words in regret, as I came across other men and women in the same age bracket, with similar backgrounds who achieved extraordinary things we as young people hail today.

What am I trying to say? Every man has a choice and has been given an opportunity to maximise their gifts and talents. It will not be ok reader; things will not get better reader if you do not embrace process when you are young and have energy to burn! Time is not on our side as young people contrary to popular belief. We are obsessed with a future yet neglect today’s processes. We want the gold medal yet cannot put ourselves under extreme training to win. Anyone and everyone who isn’t living their best life now, so to speak, is an eccentric and overtly weird. We condemn and misconstrue anything which isn’t what we are used to then complain and harbour jealousy when the fruits of such people begin to show. With everything comes a cost: even down to how you dress and portray yourself on social media. If you are naked, you will get naked praise and a name which will eventually be known for undignified purposes.

God promotes us according to our tolerance level of pain. He will never promote you to an area where you cannot handle the pain and weight of a position. Many young people fail to operate within their measure. They are constantly looking and aiming for so and so’s position yet have pain thresholds of a 2 year old! I often ask my mentees (my actual mentees now, as you do not pick your mentor: your mentor picks you! Some think I am their mentor but fail to follow simple instructions or decide to live a life which simply put, is embarrassing and I can only ‘give birth’ to what I am… another day…) you desire my ‘much’ but can you handle the much I have been through? You’ve just got to be married because it looks good to be married, but you know deep down you’re not a wife! Why? Because you do not have the measure to be a wife! The same way buying a girl a ring doesn’t make a ‘man’ a husband or being a great preacher but not being a great pastor. Some people are just not wired for these things, and the problem with our generation is we cannot accept it. You can’t marry and not give yourself wholly to the other: you put big in, you get big out. You put small in, you get small out. If you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully: you can’t get more withdrawals than less deposits.

You do not call yourself a wife. You are called to be a wife. Process, real process now, will dictate your measure and what sort of wife you will be, if called for it. A wife is not about cooking, cleaning, making love and having a few wise words to console a man: neither is it just about knowing when to speak and not to speak or being close to your in laws etc. It is about giving birth to that man’s destiny: seeing the stages, knowing the hurdles or cycles of his life and monitoring his progress with God as your compass. It is about stirring and determining the atmosphere in a home so that it is conducive enough for the man to grow and for the Holy Spirit to reign! It is about having inner man strength to cut that man off from people, his logic, his ‘world’, anything or anyone that will contaminate his purpose for living. If you cannot see when single; if you cannot hear and know the voice of God for yourself or know your purpose for living, you have no business desiring to be married.

The sad thing is, many young women go into marriage regardless of the above and hope to learn these things as time goes on. The truth is this: it will be unnecessarily painful, trying, testing, frustrating and very very few will have inner man strength to stick it out! To develop inner man strength comes through process. What I find is, many young women determine to make their marriages work but eventually get tired and resolve to living and having a mediocre life and marriage because inner strength is not present!

We must learn to operate within our measures.

With process comes cost, usually unbearable too. We want our names in lights, we want to be better than our parents, we talk and desire to put our future children in private education and to own many houses and live good lives: but we are not prepared to let go of our lives! Again, when mentees ask how my Beloved and I managed to buy our home before marriage and at 25, him 28, have over 4 houses, are Pastors, working full-time and building businesses etc. I respond with: cost! I mentioned the prior because that is what many in our generation strive and live for. It is, quite honestly, a very good evangelism tool. It is, so to speak, something rare and we have come to realise all we claim to have is not for us. It is to state to win souls and propel many to do better! All of this and more is possible when we let go of our lives.

I had to stomach for years being judged and called proud. I had to stomach for years not being able to drive or go out like most of my peers did. I had to stomach sitting under the word in Saved Church for 3-4 hours, sitting by the feet of my then Bishop. I had to stomach going out to evangelise, singing in the choir whilst living a double-life and not knowing if this Christian thing would work for me but still doing it anyway. I had to stomach watching Bloomberg, CNN and CBN – reading/listening to Kenneth Copeland, Dr. Mike Murdock, Keith Green, Dr. Juanita Bynum from a very young age. I had to stomach living at home and not staying on campus for Uni so that I could save money: I had to stomach holding on firm to cultural values which many age-mates rejected. I had to stomach public disgrace and shame, postponing of my wedding, endure rejection and overcome sexual abuse for the little people know and see today!

Who you really are: what measure you have for greatness is revealed in moments of extreme difficulty known as refinement. What Christian you claim to be is revealed when excruciating sufferings arise. We want God’s glory but forfeit His suffering and persecution! You cannot be hot one day or for months then become selfishly cold the next and expect extraordinary results.

Pay close attention to those who live this way reader. Watch their lives. Nothing rarely changes. Their testimonies and experiences in life remain the same. Promotion at work, a salary increase is the best they’ll ever get because they cannot let go of their life! Their friendship circles fail to change, the problems they discuss are always the same.

There is so much to say but I’ll end today’s post with a quote from Lord Lugard:

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is lacking in foresight…with little sense of veracity, fond of music [never lacking in children]…His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past. He lacks the power of organisation…He loves the display of power, but fails to realise its responsibility…

Message me privately if you would like to know the book which the above was taken from.

We have to do better. But should you decide you won’t, do not pull others down who want to with your lack of discipline and foresight! To be better will require a different method to what we have been used to!

Transparency brings Healing

TB

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December Evaluation: I am Grateful.

2017 has been my year of Gold.

My year of fixing my eyes on the prize and being extremely unapologetic about it.

2017 has seen the first year of my marriage: a union ordained and orchestrated by God – a union for His use and extremely bigger purpose. What we are, where we are: I never saw it coming, my ordination and increase in business and so many things!

I am Grateful.

Is it for health, resources, destiny? Is it for strength to pursue my dreams? Is it for my siblings both far and near? Powerful new relationships? For loved ones who have been promoted and are excelling in their fields? Is it for wisdom, which I prayed for as number 1 on my yearly prayer sheet?

I am Grateful.

At the start of every year, call it old-school, I write my yearly prayer-goal list: (I am specific. We deal with a specific God: He wants details and that is what I present to Him), I sit secluded for a very long time and once done, I place the list in my study Bible throughout the year. Most times, for 3 years straight, one or two of the things I ask God for in the year gets done that same day! There is power in Faith. I incline my ear and intently listen to what God requires of me in the new year and I write those goals and prayer points based on the instructions He gives. It is important to note the following:

  1. my Husband and I discuss joint/family goals together and often, the Lord gives him a scripture or ‘theme’ for the year for us and we follow suit. We did this during our ‘courtship’ and it is something we have continued with into marriage. What you consistently do, whether good or bad during ‘courtship’, if attention is not given will follow you and magnify itself in marriage!
  2. I discuss my personal goals/visions with God first, then my Husband and he does the same. We have joint and personal goals as we both have a destiny/purpose to fulfill: our destinies are in line – we are only together because God in His infinite mercy knew, if we remain on course, that we will help each other to the finish line! Ensure that your personal goals are not forgotten. You do not get married and throw your purpose away before God because of a man.
  3. I don’t pray daily on the points or lift them up towards God. I simply endeavour or better still, decide to adhere to His daily promptings and instructions. A life of obedience to God brings results. I am living proof. They somehow get answered and ticked off! I know when it has been done because my secluded time with God when writing the list at the start of the year, means they all somehow, get transferred and written on my heart. 

For 2 years straight, at the top of my prayer list has been WISDOM: ‘Wisdom is the principal thing, the ability to discern: get wisdom, get understanding…’ as the book of Proverbs says. I know nothing I have been shown by God can be achieved without wisdom despite Him showing it to me. I still have my part to play and a mouth to ask for the things which will enable me to achieve them successfully.

There is also a time-frame as to when God asks for things to be done – for the next milestone we are to climb. The trouble is, most people despite the yearly goals and fancy mood boards etc. fail to recognise those things shown by God in a yearmust be accomplished in that year. Walking with God also brings long-term vision. God may decide, as He has done with me in the past, show you what 3-5 years from now may look like but scale it down to what must be achieved in one year in order for the grand vision to be accomplished. Time is of the essence to us: but not to a God who sits outside of time. I have been taught God looks at purpose and its development stage in a ‘child’s’ life from a different ‘timing’ perspective: ‘is he/she there yet? have they overcome this and that yet? they are behind schedule… we are on schedule!’ The people we need to let go of, the new people we need to meet has also been assigned for every year.

My sister once had a dream where she saw a certain lift and pressed the ‘lift call button.’ When it arrived she entered the lift alone. At various levels or floors, she saw some people coming in and out of the same lift. Some stayed for a longer time with her passing through the levels as the lift progressed higher: some got out of the lift permanently. There were certain people who came in the lift whose only mission was to pass on a message; the ones that seemed to remain for a long time when she got to the highest level told her they could not continue. It apparently hurt her in the dream then she woke up and was given an interpretation.

Every year sees many unexpected situations despite the glorious things God shows at the start of the year which gets us excited and ready to march on. However, I have observed that many of us start the year with God, so to speak, then we slow down or dwindle off because life got busier or harder or our desires became so extreme it consumed us and altered how we hear from God. The ability to remain on track from the beginning to the end helps eradicate evil and distracting paths which inevitably will rise up during the year! The truth is, everything is up to us. God cannot force His way or wrestle with someone forever.

Our generation does not know how to be consistent with God. We go through cycles and we compromise on everything our spirit man tells us not to do. Everything is: ‘it’s not that deep…’ I never understood why, in the past, I was on fire one month then cold the next until I came across a Father! (In the year I met my Spiritual Father/Head Mentor, the Lord told me He was going to send someone so I was aware: my sister even had a vision. I just didn’t know how or when. It happened on a day so ordinary, I could have easily missed it if I was not on my lane!) My Father taught me that the life of man is in his blood and what affected our parents will affect us if we do not stand and decide to go on a path which most find difficult.

It is easy to blame God or be sad at the end of the year when what is in front of you is extremely bleak, repetitive, boring or trying: but I write this post today to cause a reader to evaluate themselves, deeply. Where did you compromise or think you still have time to ‘play?’ Who did you keep around you or let in due to emotions concealed in outer, false strength? Who taught you the voice of God? Everyone is hearing from God now a days! Who said you should leave that place or post? Where did you go wrong and use the card of ‘God’s mercy’ in hope that you will be restored to His original plan yet remain broken?

The start and end of every year God allows us to see, ought to cause us to evaluate. Even during the year, we are to evaluate: daily checking in with God to know if we have fallen short of Grace. When I’ve experienced a ‘stand-still’ on anything, it has been because I have failed to carry out an instruction given to me at the start of the year or I need to seek wisdom. I have to evaluate and repent. Gratitude should never be offered because everything is sweet. The best gratitude to God is when we acknowledge we have fallen short and have a broken and contrite spirit and appreciate God in advance for healing, restoration, advancement etc.

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and every year He grants us to get one step closer to that goal, purpose/destiny which often is greater than our strength or capability.

I am grateful for my 2017, for the stretching, the beating and the pressing: for the spirit of selflessness and servanthood God is building in me and my beloved Husband.

Transparency brings Healing

TB

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Scars: a proof of Friendship?

I will be teaching in this Post. Want to know how to study/read your Bible? Keep reading…

Friendship has been on my heart for a little while so when this morning, God spoke directly about it, I thought it nice to share my conversation with God as today’s blog post.

Proverbs 27: Proverb for Friendship, for me.

I have read it over and over, in various versions too but there is something about what Season one is in and how the Word constantly becomes new. One revelation is never enough. God speaks: all. the. time. I often tell mentees to read their daily chapters in the following 3 versions as they are not only my absolute favourites, but they have a way of bringing a perfect harmony of understanding: NKJV/NIV, MSG and AMP.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,

But kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Verse: 6, NKJV

The above is our key verse. However, we cannot dissect the above without paying close attention to how Proverbs 27 begins. Themes such as pride, anger and jealousy are explored and wisdom is offered there. There was a time I used to read the Bible on face value – especially the book of Proverbs. Some verses resonated, some were a bit odd: other times, certain verses made perfect sense but I failed to understand why some verses dealt with different topics and others seemed to jump to another.

They never do.

All verses precede each other and beautifully link into the next. In addition, when one takes a step back at the end of a chapter, (away from the microglass of reading in bits, stage by stage as with a verse) and overviews the chapter completely, we find the core message(s).

A prideful/boastful man cannot take correction: verse: 1

A man hell-bent on hearing praise without end cannot take correction: verse: 2

A man consumed by anger, cruelty and jealousy – a man who is used to carrying dead weights which seem essential to his/her life or people/things/ideologies which have formed their foundation (stone/sand) cannot take correction: verse 3/4.

‘Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed’ – verse 5. The adjective ‘concealed’ means to hide, tuck away, disguise, mask: hello MAC! So ‘love’ can be concealed?! In other words, there can be people who genuinely love you but will prefer to hide your faults, ignore your shortcomings, deal with your mistakes quietly, are afraid to call out your ‘ugly’ and keep such business between you and them: you know, they have your back for life. Your secret is safe with them…

If there is this type of love then that means there is another type? Sure thing. A love which openly rebukes – a love which is not fuelled by fear, a love which is free and holds its integrity and noble position. A love that knows itself as love regardless of how it is perceived. A love so whole, so true.

You can decide what type of love’ you want your friendships/relationships to be based on. In my opinion, there is only one ‘love’ I want and choose to stand by: Love enveloped in Truth – as that of Jesus Christ who is Love and Truth personified.

Now to verse 6: the key verse.

Always look out for the key words in a verse and look up the definitions. I looked up: ‘faithful’, ‘wounds’, ‘friend’, ‘kisses’, ‘enemy’, ‘deceitful’ which made my conversation with the Lord fuller. Speak out loud as you will a physical person and ask questions out loud. The Lord will respond and expand on the definitions in front of you. Write as much down in a notebook so that you do not forget!

Faithful: is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. 

Wound: a noun, often caused by a cut, blow or slash of great impact.

Friend: a noun, a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, a companion typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Kisses: a verb, a sign of love or affection, sexual desire or a greeting.

Enemy: a noun, a person who is actively opposed to something or someone.

Deceitful: an adjective: dishonest, misleading, untruthful, false, insincere, unprincipled.

Howbeit that a friend who wounds me is considered faithful? Wounds hurt. Wounds are far from pleasant; wounds are a physical representation of pain. I have severely cut my skin by mistakenly allowing myself to be cut by a knife when cooking, it was painful and needed immediate attention – there was a cause to the pain. Soon after, the pain developed into a wound, the injured area of my skin was still sore – I couldn’t place a plaster over it straight away; it was as though no other part of my body existed. All I could feel was the pain. Over time, the wound goes down and a plaster or first aid ointment can be applied to prevent bacterial infection. So aware of the incident, I adjust to accommodate the pain and take caution not to inflict the wound with further pain.

How does this relate? Pain according to our key text is TRUTH. Wounds develop as a result of TRUTH. Depending on how wounds are treated, they progress to heal and become SCARS.

At the wound stage, one can choose to apply medical prescribed solutions or allow time/nature heal it by living life as normal. In other words, if a friend causes significant pain by the truth they tell and it causes you to consider them jealous, prideful, cruel or you become angry that you distance yourself: chances are, you are all those things! How we respond to the truth is a direct reflection as to what is current in our hearts and how open we are to the spirit of correction. My Head Mentor considers these things as silent chapters – that which only ourselves know, the thoughts and comments which we quietly negotiate in our hearts about the words our friends have said in love, that go against our desire, will and passion.

Friendship should never be based on fear or time. I used to think it should be based on time: ‘we grew up together, we know each other’s parents – we went to the same school, we’ve been through so much…’ As one gets older, you find friendship should be based on principles and values. We have the power to teach our friends our values – very easily, by being ourselves. However, if overtime values appear to be different – there is no need for an intimate relationship. If I am openly rebuked by a friend (v:5) – meaning my critical offence is exposed so that help and the correct treatment is rendered despite how I feel: I am Blessed. If my sin and critical behaviour is concealed and wrapped up in jokes in order not to offend me and to appear jolly in front of those who know we are friends: I am Doomed.

Be careful of those who kiss your ego because you live in the world of defense and emotion. Take a good look at yourself. I have found that it is not enough to say: ‘I will support so and so because he/she has found happiness or seems to be at peace with a decision which has no principle or spiritual backing. If we are to love, we are to love without misleading one another and sometimes that means being the only one who seems to oppose a seemingly good cause. Too often in my very short-time in ministry have I heard and shed tears about people who failed to adhere to sound advice and considered those who stood for truth as their enemy!

A prudent man sees evil and hides himself and avoids it,
But the naive [who are easily misled] continue on and are punished [by suffering the consequences of sin] – Pro 27: 12

Check your circle of influence always. What do they listen to? Are they submitted to a Spiritual Head? Or everything they do and say is: ‘not that deep?!’ If they are not around you all the time, who are they with and what values do those people uphold? Behaviour, of any kind, always begins with subtle suggestion or influence until they become a part of someone’s lifestyle.

How many scars can you count on your ‘arm’ which have been caused by painful wounds from a faithful friend? If you are that friend who stands for truth, please do not change or become intimidated by sharing your truth even if for a season, the relationship has ‘broken’ down. It often takes time to win a friend over depending on the circumstance: consistent prayer and a lifestyle so unapologetic is just the right type of love to render in the meantime without wavering from the truth. It is often lonely too – so be ready for it. Grace is available.

I often say, I can only speak on things I have experienced or know so I hope this helps. I have developed an intimate relationship with an unlikely candidate simply because I took the bold step of sharing what others were afraid to say: such person is now on the road to total divine recovery. Truth always sets free – IF received.

Remember, misery likes company. In our day, misery sadly is not obvious with endless photos of friends, parties and celebrations.

I thank God for the ‘Scars’ I have: each one reminds me of various special people!

Transparency brings Healing

TB

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Purpose is greater than Marriage.

All roads led to me being married by the age of 23. I was engaged by 21 and spent what many would consider a healthy amount of time being engaged and ‘preparing’ for marriage. We didn’t rush the process – I didn’t idolise marriage and I was pretty comfortable continuing as we were, best of friends. Marriage was never something I dreamed or was anxious about, although this is not my gripe for today, I genuinely did not seek to be married.

Marriage came to me, I was called into it – I did not run or force my way towards it.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not like discussing relationships or marriage. I honestly find the subject tedious. There seems to be a lot to say on the topic because in recent times, the idea of marriage has been put on a pedestal and majority of issues people face today stem from there. You do not have to be married to experience negativity from it, your parents, loved ones, guardians etc. due to their marriage/relationship, may have affected you. Stay with me.

When asked questions about the above, the passion and power behind my response or exhortation which comes across ‘too much’ or ‘archaic’ comes from a place of brokenness – a brokenness birthed through pain and has left a healed scar which reminds me that no one, not even an enemy, deserves to experience if such can be avoided.

According to statistics, the divorce rate in the UK has increased for the first time in 7 years. On average, women under 30 have been reported to have been divorced 3 times! Mental health issues such as depression, has been reported to affect many more men from ethnic minority backgrounds in comparison to other races, when they marry young! There is also, officially on record, a culturally-appropriate time to marry and this contributes to the high percentage of early and broken marriages our society now sees. I used to think the culture one was in my head, an observation often discussed with others, but to see it in PhD, psychological and mental health manuscripts caused me to say: ‘shut the front door!’

Marriage is a call, which means not all will marry – I also believe anything, even if it is positive but outside purpose, that becomes a desire which consumes an individual is dangerous. We should never get involved with anything that only drives and fuels our emotions or ego’s. We should never do anything because of time, experience, age or cultural pressure; but rather because of purpose, a higher call, vision, problem solving etc. Not even love, for there are different types/variations of love – which I have observed, many in this generation do not know or abide by. Even those in the church. 

When a person is frightened at the thought of being alone, does not know how to be alone or is frustrated because the time of being alone seems to be longer than he or she (often she) wants, such an individual should stay clear of any relationship. Motives determine outcomes and honestly, overtime, no matter how hard someone tries to conceal true motives, it will be revealed. During my engagement, severe anger issues undetected for years came out of the woodworks! I do not understand how people claim to have relationships with The Holy Spirit yet can not sense, admit, acknowledge, feel, see their deep issues. If He does not call it out immediately, He eventually does – His Word cuts through any gimmick, veil or emotion. My fiancé (now Husband) was one practical mirror God gave me to see what was wrong with me. He was and still is the better version of myself when it comes to patience, anger and emotional control. Our journey together and true friendship meant there was no room for hiding or pretense. It doesn’t take long for someone to know someone – I’m big on emotional intelligence. This can be learnt by the way, look it up online or just use your eyes – don’t be love blind!

What I said when we had misunderstandings, he made note of it. How I reacted under pressure, he ‘recorded’ it, how I treated people, what others said of me, how I was amongst friends – who they were, how they carried themselves, how I was at home – he took it all in and analysed it and made a decision. He wasn’t afraid to call out my ugly because he was attracted to me and made his intention to marry me public. He wasn’t afraid to take it to mentors and God in prayer to find the best possible solution. God gave him eyes to see two possible outcomes: to continue as normal, ‘she’s beautiful and I’ve invested time…’, succumb to pressure/pride, and hope for change without taking reasonable steps to rectify the problem and end in devastating, disgraceful, expensive divorce or cease all plans regarding the wedding with only 3 months to go, forgetting the ‘time’ and ‘effort’ it has taken to reach the point of marriage and take a stand to love differently, the way Christ loves the Church, taking on every guilt, shame and disgrace for a better outcome.

My anger issues stemmed from my childhood. I had a severe rage for men and I was determined to never be considered a weak woman – I had ‘loved’ hard, given my all, been a good daughter – why doesn’t my Father love me the same? Why did he change from being my hero to a villain? It often started with how I perceived a situation, if it hit my pride or wounded emotion I had to defend myself and fight back. The words I said, how I said them completely emasculated him when I was angry. To make matters worse, his love language is words of affirmation. He was in a relationship with two different people. From negative words to physical abuse – yet he NEVER laid a finger or raised a strong word to me. You see, my understanding of love was flawed despite me being in the church and doing all christian good girl activities. I prayed in tongues, I led songs in the choir – outwardly I was thriving and ‘hearing from God’, but I had deep issues.

The Holy Spirit convicted me over and over to allow Him access to heal me for years before engagement. He tried again during engagement – I did not let Him. Due to the purpose He had, which is bigger than ourselves and who we are as people, He allowed my Beloved to grow at a faster rate than me – God gave him eyes to see and the strength to be a man. He did not idolise marriage (even men nowadays do, not just women) – my beloved ‘idolised’ purpose so he waited: paused, trusted and obeyed.

Time to us is one thing. Time to God is another. We need to allow God’s time. Anything man made, forced or out of purpose no matter how beautiful it seems on social media, how many prayers said over a marriage etc. or wedding celebration will eventually fall apart. The Holy Spirit does not respect your emotion or position. He will destroy everything and anything that does not look like Him. It is only a matter of time.

Heaven on Earth marriages are possible and exist when people follow the patterns, doctrines and the faith. It is possible when purpose/destiny is weighed above uncontrollable desire and time: it is possible when extreme prices are paid for God given results. All the pain and stories we hear can be avoided when mentorship, submission and patience is applied. We often see the red flags and signs before we commit to things but because of fear: fear of man, fear of time, fear of loneliness etc. we proceed into what is obvious will be a struggle to maintain. Marriage as it seems now, is deeper than what people intend it to be. How can the very institution God calls honourable be the very thing the enemy has used to cause a lack of focus from the primary agenda in our generation? Across the globe too!

In closing, I write this as a sound warning and plea to anyone who may be warring internally with the idea of marriage or relationships: embrace your singleness (to be honest, singleness isn’t what we have been taught either – you are tied and united with Christ, again, for another day), get healed, get stronger and whole – marriage if destined for you will come to you and not the other way round. For those who are hurting because a relationship/marriage has broken down, take solace from this. Every mess can be turned into a beautiful message if you allow time for the Holy Spirit to dissect and sit on you – your experience will liberate others. You will advocate and speak passionately to cause others to avoid the mistakes you have made. God intends to use this generation to reach those in the same generation because we look and sound the same, we are relatable, we come from similar backgrounds – we are approachable.

Purpose is greater than marriage: not the other way round. Protect and defend the call of purpose with everything you have. Do not be afraid.

Transparency brings Healing.

TB

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‘God never made a Chair… He made a Tree!’ Business 102 – The 10 year Rule.

Vision is like Architecture. There are systems, there are structures, there are thought processes that go behind everything we see and who successful people are – it is not magic, it is strategic. God gives you an opportunity and what you do with it is your gift to Him. He never made one table, a chair… He just made a tree and the rest is up to us. When He hands you a tree, we are to imagine a chair, a table, a wall in a room etc.

We did just that!

It will be a year this month when my Sister, (@toyo_jewel on Instagram, follow her) felt the strongest inclination to go into Interior and Luxury Furniture design, to add this to our current Property Investment Management business. We researched and discussed hours on end about the trends, the industry, who is who and what is what – we noticed the Furniture and Interior design market in Nigeria booming exceptionally and we were so inspired! It didn’t look that hard lol! Although we found that the industry is heavily saturated from established brands to freelancers, we just knew there was room for us. We had the audacity to believe.

You see, our brain is our defence. The problem with church people is that we are taught that God makes furniture! We pray and pray and fast and fast for things to materialise once we have been shown the vision and what to do – God doesn’t make furniture, He makes trees. God wants us to look around our lives for trees: opportunities – He always brings it within the reach of our minds then it is left to us to create, reproduce and dominate.

We knew the vision was beyond our capacity. We also knew our God wanted glory from it and excellence is the very essence of His being, so we had to ensure every move we made was just that. We also knew that the journey was going to be long, testing and expensive. We also knew we were not called to do this to become rich – it is simply a part of our purpose and God put a demand on it. I remember browsing the internet, reading up on laws, making phone calls and sending emails to various manufacturers, suppliers and reaching out to those who were already doing what we wanted to do in Nigeria. The reception was warm, it all appeared too easy and things seemed like it was picking up fast! One after the other, nothing substantial over time came about. The vision looked like a distant pilgrimage – moments of discouragement and doubt came.

When we hit those roadblocks, we sought mentorship and God had His way of filling the mouths of those who speak over our lives with what we needed to hear (you cannot allow just anybody to speak over your life, pay attention to the fruits): ‘Slow and steady always wins the race… why are you in a hurry… educate yourself, experts are always made, not born.’ We realised and God does a great job through The Holy Spirit to remind us that, this vision was given to us but not about us. We went back to the drawing board but kept our eyes and ears open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We registered and paid for Furniture and Fire Regulations to be certified – the institute created a unique course for us as they did not have one, we wanted their approval and backing! We had to be excellent!

The journey to true superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. This is where ‘The 10 Year Rule’ comes in as introduced to us by our Senior Mentor through the Spacnation Foundation. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in deliberate practice – practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. Above all, to achieve top performance as a leader, one must forget the folklore about genius that makes many church people think they cannot take a scientific or practical approach to developing expertise. To people who have never reached a national or international level of competition, it may appear that excellence is simply the result of practicing daily for years or even decades. However, living in a cave does not make you a geologist. Not all practice makes perfect. You need a particular kind of practice—deliberate practice—to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on the things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.

My sister and I built (and still do, as we have not arrived), our strategies based on our stares! yes, based on what we saw! Who surrounds us currently that are good people but are stagnant? Who drains us of our brain and emotional power? Who are those we love but do not hold the same values as we do? Once you can envision where you are going then you can tell what you don’t need. We need to tailor our lives down to things which are necessary to take us to where we need to go. What you are willing to leave behind is the problem – never where you are trying to go! If you are going to soar, you have to sow into a law, which is the law of gravity! Fighting those things which will try to pull you down to where you were, to the dirt, where you came from is a deliberate action.

I think it is fair to say that a lot can happen in one year if you put your mind to it. We are on the verge of releasing our e-commerce website in 3 days (follow @tt.homesgroup on Instagram for more information), we have experienced proposals being denied, furniture being ‘stuck’ in transit, lack of finance, lack of projects – but we have gained knowledge to adjust our strategy. A mentor of mine once said: ‘the vision remains the same, but the strategy will always change. You have not failed just because you have had to change strategies over and over! Thank God you started young – you’ve got enough time to grow and experiment!’ Many people are naive about how long it takes to become an expert. We listen to silly and insignificant voices of people who have no clue and are local champions in their peer groups who seem to know everything and anything about people: we spend most of our time trying to please them, to gain their approval – no need! When examining the developmental histories of experts, we unfailingly discover that they spent a lot of time in training and preparation. Sam Snead, who’d been called “the best natural player ever,” told Golf Digest, “People always said I had a natural swing. They thought I wasn’t a hard worker. But when I was young, I’d play and practice all day, then practice more at night by my car’s headlights. My hands bled. Nobody worked harder at golf than I did.” (When you don’t read, you will lack knowledge and easily become discouraged because all you think about and see is your situation. Many great people we cheer on today walked the same path we are on. The only difference is, they remained on course!)

Not only do you have to be prepared to invest time in becoming an expert, you have to start early – at least in some fields. My Sister is 21 and I am 25. We started this Interior and Furniture journey when she was 20 and me, 24. Time is vital! Your ability to attain expert performance is clearly constrained if you have fewer opportunities to engage in deliberate practice, and this is far from trivial. We now know how to deal with our manufacturers, how to price materials, how to design our own furniture, as of last year, my sister had NEVER drawn or designed a piece of furniture let alone pillowcase, how to source unique goods to add to our collection, how to advertise, still learning, how to build a team and manage business relationships, how to lose and make money – where to go for funding. The list is endless but we have learnt!

It does not matter your age, circumstance or background – all that is required is audacity to go after your dreams and remain on course and in your lane. Not looking to the left or the right for childhood friends to cheer you on. You’re doing this for you, you’re doing this for purpose and for those who will see and be inspired to go after their dreams! The journey has just started but so help us God that we remain on track!

Transparency brings Healing.

TB

the TOYÉ table, named after my Beloved Husband…

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Pt. 2

I felt it right to round off my previous post with another, as this heart and mind topic is so broad yet so recent for me: there is a lot to say. I ended by stating it is near impossible for me to receive from a vessel, no matter how morally put together they are, who is determined to look at others from a place of prejudice. I dare to ask if such ‘vessel’ is operating from self or the Holy Spirit, for He convicts hearts!

The scientific and spiritual element of The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story by Robert Louis Stevenson, really got me thinking and looking at how we interact with one another based off our ‘electromagnetic or ‘energetic’ communication system, which operates just below our conscious awareness’ through our heart (The Brain in the Heart, Prof. Mohammed Omar Salem). Some Psychologists/Psychiatrists believe that the heart has its own brain, known as the ‘little brain’ where intrinsic and intricate types of neurons, proteins and support cells similar to those found in the brain are kept and function independently to the cranial brain! – Apparently, there is now evidence to suggest that such ‘energetic’ waves from our heart’s system contributes to the attractions or repulsions that occur between individuals, which ultimately affects social relationships. It is also found that one person’s brain waves (mind) can synchronize with another person’s heart!

Ever had moments when you were certain this brother or sister (usually amongst women) is not feeling you? Without the paranoia too! Or there is something up but you cannot seem to place your finger on it, as nothing dramatic has occurred, but you just know a once had connection is broken or a first time meeting at a social is so awkward you end up saying to yourself: he/she does not like me OR I do not like he/she? 8/10 times such moments happen to us if we have communicated such things in our minds which somehow connects to the other party’s heart. It is easily picked up and the message is understood without dialogue because man is a spiritual being! We are more spiritual than we think! To take this further, The Holy Spirit: the Spirit of knowing, truth and comfort also reveals such things. He has the power to let you in on ‘secret’, ‘silent’ sayings of the hearts and minds of men.

But what is my point exactly? When we feel such things as the ones mentioned above, it is often triggered by what someone may have said about the other person, or what we may know about their past or who they are associated with. I’m also not ruling out the idea of discernment or perception on a first-time basis – this exists and I personally, advocate for this. However, my point here still remains that we are not to judge people or be afraid to form friendships with people based off people’s negative experiences or stories from people’s past. People have the power to change and all people are openly receptive to faults, mistakes etc. We ought to allow people come up with their own conclusions about a person’s character – for God has His ways. Getting to this point took a lot out of me, please believe me. I was all for cutting people off based off second-hand information. 

How about those who appear to be morally upright and always seem to have a wise word to say? Those who mobilise and have platforms where they aim to liberate others yet suffer from the possible plurality of the human consciousness? They are amazing and faultless to majority (the public) yet showcase the amoral side to very few, if at all, (the private). The battles of the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ court of who we are and what we really think of others and ourselves are played out in everyone of us! There was a time when a certain sister (why am I even downplaying, certain multiple sisters) seemed to be everywhere and anywhere doing amazing, ground-breaking things which honestly were inspiring! I remember attending their events, forwarding on messages to social groups, reposting, liking, commenting, spreading the word on their behalf – showing support whilst feeling torn inside. My moral side knew everything they were doing was for a good cause and I was in on the highs and lows of their journeys – I watched some of them grow and how they overcame major challenges to get to where they were and I was proud. I celebrated them and pushed hard for them, after all – that is how I would love to receive support. However, the ‘silent chapter’ of my heart seemed louder than a hummingbird! The evil thoughts of the mind and heart were recurring and playing over and over. It repulsed me. I couldn’t understand why I felt insignificant and jealous. It was so hidden – so discreet I could have missed it myself if not for true intimacy with The Holy Spirit. He does not play, if you allow Him – He calls it out and makes you address and confess it.

Rather than pull away from them (oh, and by the wayduring such times the enemy really knew how to magnify the ancient sin of jealousy by somehow allowing me to hear or be told stories about some of these women – you know, to allow my heart/mind to grow even colder!) with the help of the Spirit of truth, I told them exactly how I was feeling without mincing my words! (yes, I did. It is often said it is near impossible for a woman to tell another woman she is suffering from jealousy etc. I can understand why but confession with boldness to be set free from the claws of the enemy is possible!) I also had frank conversations with myself, did the opposite to how the evil side of me wanted to me to behave and I prayed for them to prosper more than myself! Overtime I grew to realise, such emotions cannot be ‘controlled’ (oh, I felt like Dr. Jekyll wanting to separate myself permanently from my evil other Mr. Hyde), one cannot ban them from coming in – but we have the power to control how we react to such emotions once they do. I realised deeply, the damaging effects on mankind since the fall at the beginning. I have concluded that man, as long as we are in this body/flesh; will forever battle with the complexities of the heart/mind.

I have written this post as transparent as possible to set someone free from the warzone they may be having in their heart/mind towards someone. You are human! I have been there and have been privileged to have been given this revelation on how to deal with such matters. This is not to say the temptation of being jealous towards someone else has not come since then – I now just know how to overcome it quicker! (Free people, free people. I cannot speak on matters I have not been through or overcome). We must not hide under the umbrella of Ministry or God and refuse to question why we are the way we are with others? Why we fail to acknowledge other people’s victories? What drives our motives? Why we refuse to let go of people’s pasts, shortcomings and why we seem to have an issue with those who have decided to form friendships off their own backs with people who may have hurt us in the past? We have to call out our ugly, every single one of it – for they will always remain! That is why the Word must to cleanse us daily, we are to be Born Again daily so secret sins can be exposed.

I pray continuously to see a generation of millennials who are not afraid to speak the truth and deal with issues head on. To ask for Wisdom and to operate in it as we confess our sins to one another, most especially when such sins involve the other. I sincerely believe that is how we can cause havoc to the kingdom of hell and have power over our flesh as we strive to live in the Spirit always. The enemy is after all, the father of all lies!

Transparency brings Healing: and so does Truth!

TB

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Disclaimer: evil in this text not only refers to the ‘gruesome’ and ‘gravest’ of sins (although before God all sin is sin) such as murder, but also to the hidden and unseen intents, judgements, thoughts and feelings of the heart/mind. 

heart/mind is interchangeable as according to scripture.

brother/sister: people, neighbour, brethren.

man in this text refers to a human being of either sex: a person