Wednesday, April 19

WHITE STONES AND SECRET NAMES



I curled up in his warm embrace. It was the best arms I have ever been in.  Talk about strong, cozy and safe?  Those are inadequate to describe what his arms wrapped around my body felt like.

It has been a crazy long wait.

I used to think LDR (Long distance relationships) were hard until I fell in love with Him.  


This was the first time I set my eyes on him. It had been communication via correspondence in the past many years. Yes, many cos I have lost track of time while waiting for this one.

He called my name with such personal tone attached.

  “Annie, my love”, He said while holding me so closely.

Instantly, my heart couldn’t take it anymore and I busted in tears. Tears of rapturous delight not of pain; because at last I can finally feel his body next to mine.

“I adore you”, He said.


I took a few steps back to truly behold this amazement standing before me and I realized that He was indeed worth the crazy wait.

“I have something to show you, my bride”, He said

With his hands placed around my waist, he led me gently to the stream of crystal clear waters.
I couldn’t quite suck in all the delight orchestrated by his touch, the environment nor my consistently pounding heart. Everything felt too good to be true.


“Sit my love”, He said looking in my eyes while holding my hands.

We sat by the shores of the stream. I wasn’t quite sure what He was going to do next.

He kissed my hands and gently placed a shiny white stone in them.
I opened my hands in order to take a close look at the stone.
It was more beautiful than diamonds. I wondered why it was called a stone.

“It’s beautiful, my King”, I said beaming with smiles. “Why a white stone? I added.

Read: My dream

The wind blew my hair, covering my entire face. He lovingly swayed my hair to the back of my ears while staring intently into my eyes. It felt like he could see into me. I’m pretty sure he could see not only my passion for him but how intensely satisfied I was to finally feel and touch him tangibly.
He pulled me to himself such that I was reclined on his chest while he laid on his back.

“The white stone is proof that you are forever accepted and belong here. There’s nothing anyone can say or do about it anymore. It is proof that you overcame all the threats posed against our love through the years. It is a symbol of the bond we forever share” He explained

My eyes were shut tightly as he whispered those words in the most alluring voice ever.
Turning to his side, I laid side by side with him.

“Take a close look at the stone my love”, He said

Read: Ecstasy 

I raised the stone closely to my eyes, it was then I saw the name….
No one else knew that name. It was just He and I. No one could ever call me by that name. They could never guess. It was so intimately engraved in the stone that no one else would ever see it even if they used a microscope.

That name sealed it all.
He loves me personally and He owns me in a customized way.

Khum khum (a throat clearing sound came from a brief distance)
“Father wants to see you both”, the voice said

My Man picked me up and lifted me off the ground unto his back as we went to meet his father.

It was time for our wedding banquet…..

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (ESV)

Would you conquer? Or would you let the deceit of the world shatter the reward of your wait?

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 (KJB)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20 (KJB)

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Saturday, April 15

LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN AFTER A SHAMEFUL FALL

Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock

Adline wasn’t sure what she felt. She had taken out time over the weekend to brood over last week’s incidence. She stretched fully on the couch, looking intently at the ceiling as though her eyes could see the grains of ceiling sheets.

“Knock, Knock” came a hit at her bedroom door.

The housekeeper walked in.

Standing erect like a sergeant in the police force, he declared his mission. “Madam, I come tell you say those people come in the morning. Dem say dem one see you urgently.” He said in pidgin English.

Adline wove her hands in the air, signaling the housekeeper to leave. 

She has heard his message but had nothing to say nor the strength to give any reply.

For three years she’s worked with Fordfield Corporation, a high browed secret intelligence service.

At the time she applied for this job, she was in desperate need of financial stability. Her husband of 8 years had just passed on, leaving nothing but their 3 year old daughter behind. She needed the job not only to make ends meet but also for sheer sanity of mind.


Everything appeared perfect the first two years at Fordfield until that eventful day in June 2012. The office of the president had instructed that no one who identifies with any form of religion was to keep working at Fordfield. The letter explained that religion made people biased and so everyone who intended to remain with Fordfield must denounce any form of religion.

“Adline, I will like you to begin a cell group in your home with younger women”, the still voice had said to her in January 2012.

Adline tried to ignore the voice but she couldn’t shake off the burden and in March 2012, she began. The presence of God moved mightily in those cell meetings at her home. Women came to know the Lord and many were steered into total devotion to God’s purpose for their lives.

It was only three months ago, that these things began to happen in her life. How could she be in this mess? Adline couldn’t find the answers.

Everyone came to the office as usual. It was a clear weather morning and the sun was out in its boisterous glow. Adline had hoped no one would ask about her faith after the news of the letter began to spread.

“Meeting at 9am”, the memo on the email said.

The atmosphere in the office moved from calm to tense  in one minute, the moment they settled at the conference room in front of a camera.

“Khum Khum, Good morning everyone”, the Chairman of Fordfield said clearing his throat.

“Good morning” members of staff responded.

“Today, we shall make a solemn declaration, denouncing any form of religion or religious ties as instructed by the office of the president.

Silence as cold as death fell in the room. No one made a sound not even their eyes could move from left to right. They thought it was a rumour until this morning.

Adline’s heart sank ten thousand miles deep into her belly. She feared this moment.

“We will begin with you, Mr Tunde”, the chairman said gesturing to the Director of Finance.

 He walked briskly to the front of the camera and said the words.

“Religion is a bout of confusion. I don’t believe in any God-animate or inanimate. My soul devotion is to the safety of my nation and I hereby declare that I serve no God but my nation”

One after the other they took turns to make those declarations.


Adline fought hard with those lines. How would she deny the God who gave her this Job in the first place. How would she claim not to know or serve the God who has touched the lives of those women she began gathering in her home, barely three months ago.

Shaking in fear, she stood up to approach the camera.

“Religion is a bout of confusion” she began.

“Adline, don’t say the next line. Walk away ” the voice in her head said

“what’s there. Would they come to your house to see if you go to church or not?  Didn’t  Mr Femi say it? After all he is a pastor in one of the well known churches. You are only a church member in your parish. Make the declaration and keep your job!” another voice said so loudly.

“Adline,we are waiting for you” the chairman called to her.

She didn’t know she had been quiet for almost five minutes.

“We will cut that and you will begin recording afresh. Don’t waste our time madam”, said the chairman.

Feigning strength Adline began afresh

 “Religion is a bout of confusion. I don’t believe in any God-animate or inanimate. My soul devotion is to the safety of my nation and I hereby declare that I serve no God but my nation”

“That’s it. Who will know you said a thing like that?  Isn’t it over?” said the voice.

Adline felt sick instantly.

Read: Betrayed

The meeting ended with a heavy party. There was no work for the members of staff at Fordfield that day.

It took six months later for Adline to come to terms with the effect of her action at work that day.

The corporation had published the video on national television in bid to encourage other citizens to do the same. Being a secret service organization, they didn’t let out the name of the corporation but they let out the names of the individuals.

The news had gone viral. The women who had been attending the cell meeting for the past 9 months at Adline’s couldn’t believe their ears.
Her pastor, members of the church and Adline’s parents who were ministers at the church were deeply disappointed.

Adline couldn’t deal with the weight of guilt she felt in the midst of all this. No one came for the cell meeting anymore and the last time she was in church, she seemed to hear the words, “hypocrite” from every corner of the church. She wasn’t sure she heard it in the voice of people but she could see it in the way they looked at her.

How could she explain that she didn’t mean it to turn out this way?
How would she undo that declaration? Even if she did and resigned, How would she clean that off  the internet?
These questions hunted her to bits.
She laid on the floor weeping profusely.
What was once a solace has become her undoing.

Adline tried to pray. Stretched on the floor she....

To be continued…

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Friday, April 14

THE EXCHANGE






He had lived for this moment. He was born for this moment. He had talked about it several times.
He often mentioned it while speaking to the multitude, saying he would pull down this temple and raise it up in three days. They thought he was a lunatic because they assumed he referred to Solomon’s temple. Why wouldn’t he be a lunatic if he was referring to a building that took 7 solid years to erect?

He seemed enthusiastic about this moment until it actually came staring him in the face.

He had asked three of his dearest to “watch” with him and he requested that they prayed along with him. Just when he needed to feel/sense their solidarity the most, they unwillingly abandoned him to dance to his rhythm alone. They needed to sleep afterall, they also didn’t know what temple he referred to all the while.

One of his closest had earlier gone to negotiate over him like folks do over easter turkey. The price seemed like a lot of money. Why wasn’t it gold? I can’t help but wonder.


Why thirty pieces of silver? Was that how much he was worth to Judas? Ordinary silver? After all these years of brotherhood, togetherness and unmatched transparency? At least, Judas should have asked for gold and many other precious stones, but no. Thirty pieces of silver sounded good. Afterall, it could buy an empty land with no building on it. A land “expensive” enough to be his private cementry for a bit.

Jesus stared at the cold face of death. It scared him to his core, so much that beads of sweat progressed into an unceasing flow of liquid as thick as blood. In a moment, it dawned on him how scary the task of pulling and raising the building in three days really is.

If only these three dearest knew how crucial this moment was. They won’t be able to sleep.
“You should pray for yourself because this is going to affect you too” He told them.
He was no longer going to ask to be prayed for. It was obvious that this was his private detour to take alone.

I’m not sure if it was the “aloneness” that scared him or the horrible cold look on the face of Mr. Death. I simply know that this moment, the one he had lived for, the one he was born for,  had become frightening that he contemplated turning back.

The frailty of his humanity fought so hard to live. His one hundred percent man nature was frightened so much that it cowered and he negotiated with the father. Stuttering he said, “If there’s any other route around this, please let’s take it. I didn’t see this coming.”

But again, his one hundred percent God-part thought about how this indecision could forever ruin every chance there is to save me, to save you from the fiercely cold grip of death and sin. Then, he found the courage to mutter, “Nevertheless, not my will but yours”.

Rising from that spot he saw his betrayer approaching with the mob. Apparently, it was too late to have changed the plan. The course for my salvation and yours had been set in motion and there was no turning back.

“Leaning towards his right cheek, Judas kissed him. The Kiss that sealed the thirty pieces of silver deal.

It was then one of the three dearest named peter, realized he should show solidarity by cutting off the ear of one of Jesus’ arresters.

Read: Betrayed

Too bad that wasn’t the kind of solidarity Jesus needed. He was about to be tried by pilate and it was important that no guilt be found in him. He had to stay perfect as the lamb used for Passover. Therefore he stuck back the bleeding ear to the soldier’s head. 
That was it!
No fault could be found in him.

The night of trial was long and painful. It started from 9pm the previous night until 9 am the next day when he was finally hung on a pitiable wood like a criminal that he became for me, for you, for us.

At 12 pm, darkness began to cover the earth because the one who was the light of men, who lit all things (John 1:1-5) had himself become darkness. Who then would lit the sun? Even the earth was in tumultuous trouble.

For three long hours (12pm to 3pm), darkness stayed upon the whole earth as he traded places with me, with you, with us.

 He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Then……
He died!

That was it. The moment he feared had come.

But that wasn’t how the story ended!!!

In death, his blood poured furiously against the face of death. Death didn’t like how it tasted. Someone had played a fast one on him. Everyone who came that way tasted really sweet. This one was supposed to taste so because he had been labeled as sin.

Death couldn’t recover from the shocking and appalling taste when the watchmen announced, “lift up your heads oh ye gates! Be lifted up ye everlasting doors!!!

Huh? 
Really? 
No one has ever come in with such rude announcement.All who came in, came trembling. Who could this be, Death and Hades wondered alike.

“Let the king of glory come in”, the watchmen proceeded.
“who is this King of glory?”  Hades and death asked in unison.
“THE LORD OF HOSTS, HE IS THE KING OF GLORY” the watchmen replied. (Psalm 24:7-8)

Everyone came alone. Who was this one called the Lord of hosts?

As Jesus approached, the gates of hell flung open. It wasn’t just the gate at the main entrance but every grave, every cell that had a soul flung open and hell broke lose!!! It was certainly on this day that the phrase, “ hell broke lose” was born!

Sin, death and Hades couldn’t let their ego burn. They had been lord over these millions of generations of mankind. How dare this man walk into their territory to deliver men at the price of a blood so horrible they couldn’t even get a drink?

They didn’t tremble at his appearance, after all the captives in those cells that had just broken open were legal captives. 

They put up a fight. Infact, their best fight but …
.
They didn’t win him as an infant when Herod gave the order that every child within age three (3) and below should be killed.

They didn’t win him at the wilderness when they tried to get him to turn stone to bread, bow to satan in worship or fall off a pinnacle.

They didn’t win him when they scared the living day light out of him at the garden of Gethsemane, where his three dearest couldn’t stand by him.

How could they possibly win him here?


He effortlessly flung a deadly blow that landed on the nose of death. Death itself died.

Using his pinky finger, he raised sin to the roof and smashed him against the ground. Sin was forever paralysed and died instantly!

The people in Hades jeered in thorough excitement. For the first time in ages,  the lawful captives of Hades saw light. They had never seen light ever since they left earth. This man was indeed a champion and had no rival.

As Jesus fought with them , no sorry, beat them to stupor; the curtain at Solomon's temple tore in two halves.The earth had an earthquake and rocks bursted in different direction. (Mathew 27:51)

His blood was too powerful for death to handle!!!!!!!
His blood, the seal of my/your/our redemption.

He made an open show of sin, death, Hades and every form of darkness and its work. He triumphed over them in it (the battle for my/your/our restoration).
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:15 (KJB)
He took back all the good things they stole from us many years ago at the Garden of Eden. 
Our dominion, our authority was restored in that historic fight!!!

The deliverance was so true that by the third day, as Jesus matched triumphantly out of death (resurrection), the dead people also resurrected and went into the city of Jerusalem, appearing to people they knew. (Mathew 27: 51-52).


This wasn’t the end either!!!!!

Jesus returned to the father.
Walking majestically towards the mercy seat, He spelt my name and yours on the mercy seat using his blood. So now, the father no longer inputs sin against me/you because CHRIST-the anointed one had become sin for me/you and now I/WE AM/ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. The same goes for as many that believes in HIM and acknowledges HIM as the SON OF GOD.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18

MEN WERE DEAD BUT HE CAME TO GIVE LIFE- ETERNAL LIFE.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17: 3

 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NLT)


HOW CAN  I BE SAVED? 
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV)

Do you believe?
If you believe and are ready to be saved please say this prayer.

 God the Father I come to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ,
 I admit that I am a sinner and no good works of mine can make me clean and acceptable before you.
 I ask that you forgive me of my sins and wash me clean by the blood of Jesus Christ your son.
I believe that Jesus died for me and He resurrected to justify me.
I ask that you change my heart through your Holyspirit and that you come live inside of me.
I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour and I am saved because He has made me the righteousness of God
Amen!

Congratulations! You just used the ONLY and RIGHT way to GOD!!!

(CLICK) HERE ARE FREE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GROW IN CHRIST


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Monday, March 27

TEN THINGS I WISH I KNEW TEN YEARS AGO





So this past Saturday, the very first arm of the Birthplace (Eagle’s soar) marked her 10th year anniversary. It’s been a journey of growth, trust and capacity building for me. I’m saying a huge thank you to everyone who made it to the conference.
I understand that most young people are beginning to find boldness in their callings and launching businesses, non-governmental organizations and others.  This makes me so happy.  If you fall in the above category, I have written this post to encourage you and share some of my lessons with you.
I wish I knew

     1.That dreams cost everything: 
    Granted, I knew my calling/the Birthplace would require sacrifices. I just didn’t know it will require everything. I‘ve had to empty my bank many times to see that we make impart. I’ve had to let go relationships I considered dear but unhealthy, I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights and sometimes I needed to give up my idea of “fine girl”  just to make sure I see lives fulfill their destinies. Many times I cried when I had to let people go or give up so much than I felt necessary; but I often thought about how it would feel to finally see all God intended to do with me playout.
On your journey, be prepared to give up anything. Sentiments would burn you if you ignore this truth. Dreams cost everything to move from paper to playoutTM


     2.   That consistency is a choice
No one not even God will coerce you into scheduling responsibilities and keeping up with plans and projects.  You would have to push yourself consistently. At first, I thought I was always going to want to do what’s required of me. Not until I had days when preparing and writing content for mentoring courses, blogging, speaking engagements, planning conferences/outreaches clash with deadlines on my secular job/career. Oh wait, do I have to talk about moments when the girl thing (menstrual cramps), come at me like a ferocious foe when I have a speaking engagement to prepare for or book writing to wrap up?  Or would you want to hear about how I had to host one of the eagle’s soar conferences soon after a heart break? In all of those times, I have had to pull through and do the needful irrespective of how I felt.  Consistency/commitment to your goals is a choice. You must choose in favour of your goals/dream/vision daily.


     3.   That excellence is learnt:
I actually thought once you have the “money”, you can do things excellently cos good things cost money. However, I learnt that excellence is a spirit cultivated, a skill learnt and an attitude imbibed. I learnt to maximize the resources within my capacity at each moment such that we get the most possible excellent results. My counsel would be, before embarking on anything, ask these questions. Is this the best quality our money can afford? Is this the best personnel within our reach? Is this the best?
Ask the right questions always with “what’s the best right now mentality?”


    4. That growth is first within:
I noticed how the Lord plants desires in my heart each time I’m due for a stretch/growth. However the desires weren’t automatically granted. With each desire came a new semester of several courses, lessons and tests that I had to pass in order to adequately build capacity for the desired level.
Regardless of what your organization, vision or goal is about? You will have to become (grow) before you can begin (cause growth) in your organization. If I knew this ten years ago, I would not have cried during my tests or spent time wondering if God was on vacation.
(Laughs)
So relax and enjoy the stretching seasons and there will be many of them if you’re going to birth something solid.


     5.   That opportunities are rarely obvious:
I know you’ve probably heard this before but do you lead your life like you know opportunities won’t scream their identities to your face? Folks often tell us, when it’s time for something, you will know. You will sense it. You will feel it; and I walked into my calling with that mentality. Listen honey, that’s a myth. You won’t often “know” by intuition when an opportunity comes. You will only recognize those opportunities that you have prepared for. How/what are you preparing for?


     6.   That you don’t have to know everything
Sometimes we are tempted to wait until we are surely sure about how things will play out before we head out. If you’re waiting to be surely sure all the time, there’s little you can do at the end of time. Ten years ago, I thought I needed to know everything in order to effectively execute the mission of the birthplace and so I read voraciously. However, I soon learnt that even though there are applicable lessons you might draw from others; your own journey is unique. Did those plenty reading help? Yes! Where they necessary? Yes! Where they indispensible? NO!
When we try to know everything, we might become too overwhelmed with information such that we end up doing little because we are become overly careful of making mistakes. So study, prepare, pray and trust the one who called and is leading you. Christians can’t rule out the place of faith in God no matter what area of life we’ve been called to serve in.


     7.   That people are taking notes:
I was aware that people eventually notice when one is doing something good or bad; but that people are taking notes of when and how I did things? I’m not sure I knew that will happen. Many times people I don’t recognize come to say they’ve watched me for years and they wanted to thank me for being consistent. They go on to tell how seeing me do what I do over time has inspired them to stay committed to their purposes. Perhaps if I knew earlier that this would be, I would be more committed to my calling. (Laughs)


    8.   That collaborations/partnerships are indispensable:
I’ve never done a birthplace event without assistance from others. My team is made up of human beings with diverse capacity, potential and resource. I can’t be the protocol officer, the speaker, the liason officer, the financier all at the same time.
If there is anything you would need on your journey, it is the gift of men.
At the start I knew I needed to collaborate or partner with people or organizations, I just didn’t understand how truly indispensable that is until I came to points where partnership/collaborations saved the day. I’m presently looking out for organizations/ individuals to collaborate/partner with for mutual benefit and efficiency.
At this point, I must say a big thank you to everyone who’s ever served on our volunteer team or donated a kobo to help execute the mission. THANK YOU SO MUCH!



      9.    That progress is deliberate
    Ten years ago, I thought with the years come increase. I was so wrong. I soon learnt that there are principles that must be adhered to move an organization from one point to the other. From conference attendance to structure of an event to every detail you can think about, progress or increase is never by accident.What progress do you want to make on your organization or personally? Put your heart to it and deliberately take steps towards it. 


      10. That faith is a constant necessity:
I have gone from trusting God for little things to trusting Him for bigger things. Earlier, I thought the first test on trusting the Lord to provide would be all. How wrong I was to notice a consistent pattern of faith-required-situations each year. with every project, event or programme, irrespective of how well I appear to prepare there was always something I couldn’t help myself with. I must confess that I like it this way because it prevents me from growing independent of the Lord.
Does any of these lessons resonate with you on any level? I will like to hear from you.

Read: Baby Steps

Committed to your fulfillment


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