Category: Blog
What You Need To Know About Jesus’ Life Of Sacrifice

Pressure.

I have been feeling a lot of pressure for the last few weeks with organizing our cross country tour as well as a huge concert and some of my major business deadlines for this year, all creating a perfect storm in this month of April.

Last week especially, I began to complain inwardly about how much I was sacrificing while doing the things God had called me to do. I was careful not to speak about it much, but my mind was having a field day reminding myself of how much was “on my plate” and all the other things I would like to do with my time –

Like sit on the beach, legs crossed, listening to worship music and reading one of my favourite books on the planet although that book would probably have my face in the sand praying and crying out for the city that beach is in.

I allowed myself to become overwhelmed, became sluggish about my output and gave in to lies that had been playing themselves over in my mind. Lies about my inability to finish all that was left for me to do, on time.

But God!

I would’ve continued down this path and wasted the entire month working with a sour heart if it wasn’t for God’s graaaace and mercy!

I was in a prayer meeting at church this week where my Pastor spoke on the values of godly leadership and Jesus began to rock and challenge me with the example of His life and leadership.

He reminded me that pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling destiny and also, that He sacrificed more than I could ever try to match through His own life. 

Pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling your destiny. Don’t run away from the pressure, embrace it. Learn to thrive!Click To Tweet

What He said during that time was more than one blog can handle so I will share it in two parts.

Today, we are going to speak about what you need to know about Jesus’ life of sacrifice and in part 2 I will share with you “The Necessity of Sacrifice In Fulfilling Your Destiny”.

Now I know many of you want to hear about the necessity of sacrifice in fulfilling your destiny (which will explain how this relates to you). However, you will not be able to receive what I will say there without the foundation that is being laid in this blog, so read on, and pay attention.

 

Jesus' sacrifice

God values sacrifice.

How can I make that statement? When God wanted to show us the express image of Himself, what He would do and look like on the earth, He showed us His son Jesus Christ.

One of the distinguishing factors of Jesus’ life was His willingness to sacrifice – over and over and over again. This is exactly where Abba began to deal with me and where we will start today.

Jesus Christ made more sacrifices
than our minds can even understand.
He didn’t just talk the talk, He walked it.

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – Incarnation

It all began when He chose to leave His rights and privileges as Deity. The second part of the Trinity. The son of God, glorious in holiness and fearful in praises.

He became a man and laid aside the fullness of His glory to wear this frail, broken finite skin.

Think about the glory of Jesus when John saw him in the first chapter of Revelation. Or the time when Peter, James and John saw Him transfigured on the mountain.

Both times, they were so overwhelmed by the Jesus they saw, they fell to the ground. That was a tiny glimpse of the glory He chose to lay aside for the sake of the work He had to do on earth.

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – How He lived

During his life, He made it very clear that He did nothing for Himself. Instead, He lived in such a way that God would get the maximum glory through His life.

…”My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”…

And then

…”the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner”…

Let’s look at one day in the life of Christ to understand just how much He gave of Himself.

In Mark 1, He began His ministry in Galilee, and after preaching, He had to choose disciples – think of this as the administrative part of ministry work ;-). Then they went to the synagogue.

There, He immediately entered the task of teaching the scripture to the people who  were present. That alone was so powerful that all the people who were in the house were shocked by His authority.

While teaching, someone who was oppressed by an unclean spirit spoke up. So He did what you would imagine, He set him free from that spirit, and kept on teaching. No biggie.

After that, he visited Peter’s house and before Peter’s mother-in-law could serve them, He healed her of a fever that had her on a sick bed.

“That evening, they brought to Him ALL who were sick and those who were demon possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” [Emphasis added]

Hm. Ok, let’s picture this scene guys. This wasn’t a placid crowd of observers casually stopping by to greet a new visitor to their town.

They were hungry, broken, sick, desperate and demanded His time. They needed healing and the more He healed the more they grew, the hungrier they became and they more they demanded of Him.

And still He gave.

He poured out everything He had and more. Not one complaint, not one murmur.

He had the most dejected members of the city rammed at this doorstep begging to have an opportunity to see/touch/hear the one who could (and still can) heal any disease.

“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” [Emphasis added]

You would imagine that the crowd at that house kept him up until pretty late in the night, yet he made the sacrifice to wake up early and seek God, speak to His Father and see what He had planned for them for the next day.

But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Now imagine, just as things were getting hot. Just as He was becoming the latest craze, He left.

He wasn’t there for fame. He shunned the honour of men, the flattery “everyone is looking for you” fell on ears that were already in tune with God’s voice over men’s opinions.

He sacrificed the tempting flattery of being needed to obey God’s call and go where He was sending Him.

And this picture of His day wasn’t a one-off occasion. It was what He did. Peter later said this of Him,

what you need to know about jesus sacrifice

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – His Death

And as if all that is not enough, He didn’t just live a sacrificial life because of love, He died a sacrificial death. 

Until today, the death of Jesus Christ is still the most powerful portrayal of an ultimate sacrifice. What a person is willing to do for the sake of those He loves- God the Father and us sinners.

So let’s take a peek into His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:36-41

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”

And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?

Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” [Emphasis added]

You have to understand-

Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human and even in His perfect human nature, he still struggled with the need to accept the separation from God, torture and shame that was waiting for Him at the cross.

He was about to drink the cup of God’s wrath for all of humanity and it was not a trivial thing.

When He prayed “Let this cup pass from me,” He was in a battle with His flesh over its desire for self-preservation and comfort. The struggle was real:

Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. In Luke’s version he noted that Jesus was sweating blood, which is a sign of extreme agony .

Jesus Christ knew the sacrifice He was about to make. 

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31

It was going to be more than physical; it would be spiritual and emotional.

Jesus knew that God’s will was to crush Him, to allow Him to be “pierced for our transgressions” and wounded for our healing (Isaiah 53:5–10).

Yes Jesus loved God enough to want this, He loved YOU enough to do this.

At another time, He said –

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:27-28 [Emphasis added]

Can you imagine that?!

Jesus knew that dying on the cross was the purpose for His coming to this earth and when it was time, He did it. He fulfilled His purpose.Click To Tweet

When He prayed, He said, “If it is possible.” If there was any other way to redeem mankind, He wanted to take that other way. But we can see that there was no other way;

His death was the only possible sacrifice to redeem the world (John 1:29; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:14; Revelation 5:9).

Also He prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Which shows us that in the midst of His sacrifice, once again, it was about the will of God. He was completely committed to God – body, mind, and soul.

In Gethsemane, Jesus conquered His flesh. He made the ultimate sacrifice anyone can ever make. He gave His life for the sake of others. He demonstrated what love really looks like.

He lived and died for the sake of love. And He calls us to do the same.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:12-14

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

In the midst of such a heart-wrenching time of commitment for Christ. A time where He chose to follow God’s path even when it killed Him. He went back to his closest friends – Peter, James and John and found them unable to stay awake for one hour to pray with him.

They weren’t just lazy. When Luke described that moment, he said that they were “sleeping from sorrow”. That means they had wept themselves tired.

Yet, He could not find them waiting and pressing through the pressure with Him.

And the same thing is happening all over the body of Christ today.

In the next blog, we will talk about the necessity of sacrifice for you to fulfill your destiny and what Jesus’ example means for us.

 

Let’s Talk

What stood out to you from the first part of this series?
Why does Jesus’ sacrifice mean something to you?
What would you add to this discussion about the sacrifices that Jesus made on our behalf?


The Remarkable Value of Time and 4 Ways To Avoid Wasting It!

The busy and the bored.
The Asian and the African.
The Millennial and the Boomer.
The billionaire and the homeless man.
You and I.

What do we all have in common?

Time.

Time is the most valuable resource available to man and we have all been given a piece of it. It’s your greatest wealth. A universal gift equally given to people who will use it wisely and those who won’t. More specifically, we all have 24 hours within each day. No one gets a little extra and no one has been shortchanged.

In this blog you are going to discover the remarkable value of your time and 4 ways you can avoid wasting it!

time is value, don't waste it

 

Value 1. Time Over Money.

Ever heard the phrase “time is money”? Well that’s barely half of the story. Time can be used to produce money but in itself, it is so much more valuable than currency.

Many people think of their assets, houses, cars or bank statements as their most valuable resource, but all of these things can be replenished.

In fact, I’m certain you’ve heard countless stories of people who went from broke to millions [and wish they were related to you ;)]. As well as others who went from millions to broke and are right back where they started.

Money can be earned, spent, invested, multiplied, wasted and maybe just maybe, there is more to spare. But, no one person has that same luxury with time.

ecclesiastes 3:1 seasons and times bible verse

No one can reclaim or re-earn time. It cannot be recycled and refuses to be stalled (with the exception of once in history where God showed Himself as the master of time.)

However, if you’re not Joshua in ~1000BC,
each moment you receive comes once and then it is forever gone.
Finito. Done. Irretrievable.

Value 2. Time Creates.

Time was used to create everything you see.

Your house, car, food and even the relationships you have are all product of time. What about your work, salary or income? Yup, you guessed it, simply a product of time. Even your child is a product of time.

How? It took people time to study and think in order to create all that you see. The raw material would still be untouched if someone didn’t take the time to convert it into a tangible product that is useful for you.

For the period of 9 months, God handcrafted your child and took them patiently step-by-step through each necessary level of development to enable them to survive outside your womb.

Even when God created the very basis and foundation of life on earth, He started by establishing time as a marker for his work.

“In the beginning, God created…”

Before anything else was made (birds, trees, beasts or man), God started the clock of time. It was the very first thing He recorded for us to see! And guess what? After that He continued His work in measurements of time –

“On the first day… On the second day…”

He has given you the exact same raw material you need to function in His image and likeness. He has given you the ability to use time to create anything.

You have to understand this –

If you have time, you can do anything, create anything and become anyone.

Even if you have natural ability in a skill/field, you still require a huge investment of time in order to become an outlier (someone who will stand out in that field). Paraphrased from Malcolm Gladwell.

3. Time Is Life.

You must learn how to convert time into knowledge, materials or products, and value for yourself and others. Because if you don’t know how to master and convert time, you will waste it. And if you waste time, you waste life.

Say what now?

Yep, I’ll say it again.
If you waste your time, you waste your life.

A second becomes a minute
A minute becomes an hour
An hour becomes a day
A day becomes a year
Years are the entirety of your life
The value you place on each second determines the value you place on your life.

So many people figure they’re just wasting a bit of time. One hour, one evening, one week and don’t realize that your life is made up of these smaller fragments of time

Whoever controls your time, controls your life.

For most people, your time is controlled by everything and everyone else but you. From the moment you wake up, you are moved by the tyranny of the urgent. Jumping through hoops with no larger plan and very little accomplished because you are being spread so thin.

Your eyes open up and immediately the wastage begins. Your time gets sucked into Snapchat, Facebook, phone calls, Snapchat, emails, people, people, people, errands, Snapchat, Snapchat, Instagram, blank mind space worrying… friends, family, Snapchat, enemies, problems and challenges. And then Snapchat.

You are driven from the most demanding, to the most enticing, to whatever is dished to you until you are completely wiped out and the day is gone.

Does Church Own Your Time?

*watches and waves as half of our readers walk out of the room*

For many people, church controls your time. Not God, like you would like to think. Religion is in charge of your life. Your time is taken in church activity and tradition but there is no fruit to show for it.

I’m not talking to those who barely go to church and don’t see the value in a church community for growth and accountability in our Christian walk. A Christian community is valuable and necessary for every christian.

I’m speaking to those who think that their life is being fulfilled by living and serving ONLY within those 4 walls without any attempt to put action to their prayers. Or have an impact in the lives of the people in the communities around them, outside of the church. Going to church is great, but are you actually using time to apply what you are learning outside?

How God Uses Time

God is the originator of time. He used time first and He did so masterfully. What was His example to us from the first 7 days of time?

Creation and Rest.

He created the seed necessary for every.single.created thing we see and haven’t yet discovered in the Universe.

He took time to rest.

Now, how can you say that you have given your life (and time) over to this same God and he has you simply sitting in a pew multiple times a week, listening to someone. And then living the rest of your life like everyone else who doesn’t have a relationship with Him?

If God owns your life, if He controls your time, there should be fruit that is birthed from it.

I don’t mean you need to have “accomplished success” on men’s terms, but there must be arenas where you are adding tangible value to yourself and others. There must be something you are adding to this earth. People you are pouring into, knowledge and wisdom you are gaining. Things you are producing.

Look at how much God produced in the first day alone! Much less the 3-6th.

He Rested.

If you say God controls your time but you don’t have a day to rest because you are always working, I humbly disagree. God doesn’t play with time. He doesn’t make light of days and hours. He teaches us to work and also to rest. If you are always on the go, God isn’t in charge of your time, people, projects, or maybe even money is, but not God.

He gives His beloved rest.

You are not just God's work horse, you are a child of His and He takes good care of those who follow His leadership.Click To Tweet

So if you say that God controls your life/time, make sure it is not actually the fear of man, church, old traditions, a pastor or your own perception of religion.

Make sure it is really, God.

Wasters of Time.

Ever had those conversations where someone calls to tell you one thing or ask one question but spends the first 30 minutes greeting you? I’m talking acquaintances, not family or close friends. (And all the Nigerians said mmmmhmm 👀  )

Sometimes, this waste of time is presented as fun, pleasure or friendship. But if you use all your free time to go “have fun”, when do you work? I don’t mean the time you invest into a job or working per hour. I mean the time you invest into creating value in yourself and others.

Most people who waste time don’t realize it. They’re trying to be nice. They don’t want to offend people, so they never say no. Someone calls to speak to them and they cannot let them know they were working on something else. Or getting rest, or simply cannot have that conversation at that time. They must always be a listening ear at all times.

My friend, you are not the Messiah.
It is not your job to solve everyone else’s problems and you cannot do it, even if you tried.

Masters Of Time

Masters of time are productive. And you either are one, or know them. They don’t just plan well, set great goals, or have good character, they fight for every minute of their day. They are purposeful about the use of their time.

The most productive people fight for every minute of their day. They are purposeful about how they use their time.Click To Tweet

They know when to say yes and when the only appropriate response is a big, fat N-O.

They set priorities and fill up their time accordingly.

Have you ever tried to meet with a successful person? Outside of them being your parent or spouse. Do you find them to be completely available for calls at any time of the day (and long-winded conversations at that)? NO.

If you respect their time by sending them concise short emails, keeping your conversations to the point, it means you value their time.

But do you value your own time? Do others value your time?

See, other people will attribute to you, the same exact value you put on your time. If you are a time waster, they will help you to waste it well. If you are a wise woman or man who fights for every minute of your day, they will also respect your time.

But I Don’t Have Time!

Now I can already hear you thinking, “this is all well and good but Toyin, my problem is I don’t have time!” And this is where I’m going to be that friend that rains on your pity party and points out that you do in fact, have time.

You have a whopping 168 hours every week!!

That means that even if you work a full-time job, and then factor in eating, hygiene and sleeping you still have at least 40 hours each week that belongs completely to you, to do with as you please.

So here’s the truth – You have enough time to do anything that matters. But you only enjoy the time you have been given if you discipline yourself to understand and become a master of your own time. Which leads me to my last point-

Why I Have Never Owned A TV

I remember when I was younger, myself and my sisters spent quite a lot of time watching the television (owned by my parents, hence the title of this section :-P) lol. My dad would often walk into the living room and say – “stop watching other people live, go do something that will cause others to watch you. Instead of watching TV, get on TV.“

Some of you are smiling because that is such a Nigerian parent thing to say (it is).
And it worked.

I took his advice and stopped wasting my time watching the TV. Since then I have been featured on TV numerous times and guess what? After I moved out of my parent’s place and since I’ve been married, I have not yet owned a TV. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because I know that if I did, it would be my kryptonite. My number one time (life) waster.

Now, don’t all go selling your TV’s on Kijiji (many of you just thought “YEA RIGHT, like I was going to do that”) lol. You do not have to do what I did, but you should be determined to deal with whatever is taking up the majority of your time outside of purposeful living.

If you don’t know where to start, I am about to share with you 4 secrets I use to avoid wasting time (apart from having a TV-less home).

4 Ways To Avoid Wasting Time!

1. Learn to say NO.

If you say no to the wrong things, you will have the capacity to say YES to the things that matter most.

Have priorities!

  • Prioritize what relationships and friendships you want to develop so that you are saying yes to them. Time management doesn’t mean you don’t spend time with people, it means, you spend time where it matters most. Remember, it is a very limited resource.

Do you tend to go out all the time?

  • Here’s a liberating truth – you do not have to attend every social gathering or be in every conference, concert or chill session. You just don’t have to be there. Yes they’ll miss you. Yes you’ll miss them, but generations will be grateful that you chose to take control of your life and produce something valuable with it instead. When it’s time to rest, do so, when it’s time to have fun, go out. But if you are going out every single weekend and using all your spare time at “meet-ups” you need to sit back and think hard about where you’re trying to go.

But I have ministry to do…

  • My father once told me, “there will always be ministry work to do”. So you think you are the only one available to do everything under the sun but when you die, ministry will continue. When you are behind on God’s plan for you and trying to catch up, that ministry will look you square in the face with nothing to offer you but an excuse.
  • Like we said in point one, focus in on your priorities and only do the things that God is leading you to do because the need will always be greater than your capacity.

2. Phones, oh Lord, our phones

Here are some tips I use to be productive despite the constant temptation of my phone.

  • Charge your phone in a different room from where you sleep so that when you wake up, you can greet God, your loved ones and read a bit of the Word before you even get tempted to catch up on what happened in the world, overnight.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode – plug yourself out of the noise and focus in on what work you need to do. When it’s time to rest or take a break, you can catch up on all that happened in the world during your 2 hours of focused living ;)
  • Instead of making phone calls, send a text message, or an email. It will be much more direct and save you and the recipient tons of time. If it’s a relationship you want to build or if you need to make calls for your business etc, go ahead and speak to them directly, just don’t make calls for everything and with everyone.
  • Remember that this disconnect from your phone is to allow you to connect in real life with those friends and family members you value the most.

3. What if you can’t afford to get off social media?

  • Social media can be a great tool or it can be one of the greatest time wasters of your life. In order to utilize it properly, you have to know exactly why you came on and exactly why you cannot afford to stay on beyond that. I am still learning on this point, but I refuse to give my most precious resource (time) to living in a virtual space.
  • If you work with Social Media but find yourself getting lost on Facebook, here’s a Google Chrome Extension that has boosted my productivity and “get off Facebook” time by 8,000% lol – Kill News Feed. It literally stops you from seeing everyone else’s posts so that you can get on, engage with the exact people/groups you want to, then get off and live life. Guys, this free download SAVED. MY. LIFE! lolol

4. Daily/Weekly Schedule

Even if you are filling in your days with “nothing” like Homer, (those would be your Sabbath rest days *wink wink*), you need a written plan of action for your days and weeks.

  • Your daily schedule can change in different seasons, and you may not follow it perfectly. But if you submit yourself to a schedule that is targeted at your life’s greater purpose at all times, you will hit the mark MUCH more than you would without it.

 BONUS TIP 5 – This one is for my friends who have the lovely app called “Whatsapp”.

Though I can’t answer Isi’s question here about who on earth introduced the Broadcast function to Nigerian parent’s [I almost cried from laughter at her post btw], I can say this –

You are by no means obligated to read through every story that is sent to you, watch each video or click on each link.
  • There are some messages you get that will enhance your day, but a majority of them are simply clutter and information overload for your mind.
  • Now, I periodically send messages to a group of friends on Whatsapp and I recently sent a video of myself and my 11 month old daughter singing and playing the djembe. While I was really glad about all the people we gave a smile, I was also pleasantly surprised by this response I received –

  • <<—- That screenshot has me cheering YES! all over again. Because despite my great intentions, if it is a distraction from something productive that you are doing, it’s better to pay me no mind and check it out when you can.
  • Sometimes you may have to block those who send consistent spam if you ask them to take you off their broadcast list and they don’t bother.
  • Lastly, no, you are not CNN. Don’t be the one sending daily news updates and forwarded messages from 10 years ago. It may be tempting, but just, say, no. 

 


Conclusion

Fight to regain your seconds.
Fight to become a master of time.
Remember, the seconds will become minutes, the minutes will become hours, the hours, days and years will eventually produce the outcome or fruit of your life.

psalm 90:12 teach us to number our days

If you are trying to use your time to get tangible results in New Year’s goals or resolutions, check out this blog to make sure you’re doing them right. Also, get on our email list so that you do not miss our next blog, the 4 Most Valuable Things You Should Be Doing With Your Time.

If you would like to speak to me regarding my “Get Out Of Debt” or Life Coaching services, schedule your Purpose call today or email me at toyin@toyindada dot com – one word :)


Let’s Talk!

Share with me! What stood out to you from this blog? What takes up the MOST of your time every week (apart from sleep)? Is it in line with your overall life’s vision? What is your biggest time waster? How can you deal with it?


Why Excuses Are Your Greatest Enemy of Progress – Are you an Excuse Giver? Take the quiz.

This blog is not for the easily offended. In it, I hold no punches. So if you’re up for some serious self-reflection and improvement, take a deep breath and dive into our discussion on excuses and those who give them.

Excuse giver QUIZ

“Oh sorry, I was late because – ”
“I didn’t practice because – ”
“I haven’t yet finished because – ”
“I wasn’t there because – ”
“I didn’t study because – “

Sound familiar?

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who achieve success and those who give excuses. Excuses don’t make money, progress or anything else in fact.

Excuses are tools of the incompetent
used to build monuments to nothing.
Those who specialize in them
will never be good at anything else.
–Anonymous

The sad part is that those who give excuses think they are on the road to progress. They simply don’t understand why things haven’t been working for them over the years.

They usually do not see what so many around them painfully cannot ignore, their habit of giving excuses. There is always a reason for their inability to make decisions or follow through on commitments.

Excuse givers are so stuck in their habit that over the years, I (and probably others) can notice them, predict the areas and ways they will always disappoint and see it happen. It is like clockwork. It is almost impossible to help or correct an excuse giver because guess what? They will give you an excuse for whatever flaws you show them.

So I decided to write this blog to give you an opportunity to take a quiz. A character examination if you will, and figure out if you are an excuse giver yourself.

This quiz will help you determine whether you have been passing up opportunities and great personal advancement because of this huge but hidden flaw in your own character. But before you take the quiz, let’s look at some symptoms of excuse givers.

Symptoms of “Excuse Givers”

Blame others/circumstances/childhood

Excuse givers blame everyone and everything else for their lack of progress. They are never wrong, but always correct. They wonder why people cannot just see things from their perspective every time. If they did not follow through on a commitment, it is never their fault. Their dog ate their homework. Their mother did not raise them in the best way. Their father left them when they were young.

Here’s a story my father once shared of two men who were raised by an alcoholic and abusive father. One of the men became a greatly successful career man with a strong family. He loved his wife dearly, and took amazing care of his children.

His brother, became an alcoholic and even more abusive than his father. He mistreated everyone around him and could never seem to get anywhere in life.

One day someone asked this man why he is so destructive to himself and others around him. His response was, “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. I am who I am because of my father.”

That person also seeing how successful his brother was, went and asked him. How have you been able to achieve so much in the short time you have lived? How do you have a heart to take such care of your family and balance that with such a high level of achievement in your workplace?

His response was,  “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. So I determined to be a better father to my children and husband to my wife. I determine to love them like Christ and give them what I never had. I am who I am because of my father.”

Same upbringing. Different outcome.

You can use the exact same situation as a crutch for your inability to move forward or develop yourself, or you can use it as a stepping stone. Past hurts can become fuel in your heart to forgive, do better and live your fullest life. Sometimes you do have to take time to recover and heal but too many people choose to spend all, and I mean the entirety of their lives, recovering from the mistakes of the past.

Some people love to be a victim. They embrace it as their identity and do not strive for healing forgiveness and progress. They give excuses constantly of who and what circumstances have restricted them and focus only on those instead of their personal responsibility to rule their decisions, emotions and life.

Lack personal responsibility

Have you ever tried to correct someone who lacks personal responsibility? It can be one of the most frustrating conversations you have. Nothing sticks to them. They may “hear” where they are wrong, but they never accept it. They are always right and the misdoing is deflected to another person or circumstance leaving them free to continue to self-destruct instead of admitting their fault and seeking restoration.

Trying to make good of their words, they give the excuse and expect it to be dropped and left there. Unresolved. So they give excuses like –

“I was late because of my ride or traffic”
“I can’t get out of debt because I don’t have enough money”
“I didn’t study for my exam because I fell sick this week”
“I can’t start a bible study at my workplace or school because I am not ordained”
“I can’t improve myself or find my calling because I don’t have time”
“I can’t share the gospel because I am not an evangelist”
“I don’t pray for healing for people because I haven’t been given the gift of healing”
“I don’t pay tithe because I don’t earn enough”

Lack of improvement

Another way you can determine if you are an excuse giver is if you have not improved on specific issues over the last couple of years. You may have had different people raise up the same topic of correction to you repeatedly, or your workplace, or teachers continue to tell you the same thing.

Generally, you want to examine yourself whenever corrected once, but if you get corrected about the same thing from two or more different people, you need to admit that they may be seeing something inside of you that you simply are not seeing but is there. Then you need to fight to change it.

Stuck in mediocrity

This lack of improvement almost always results in being “stuck” and feeling like they are not doing anything with their lives. They never seem to “get ahead”. They get passed up for opportunities and even when they receive opportunities, things never seem to work out.

They get jobs and lose them – consistently. They get accepted into programs but it just never seems to work. They have a huge list of unfinished projects, and unresolved issues. Which leads to the saddest part of the life of an excuse giver.

They die with regret

This is the saddest part of being an excuse giver. They die with regrets. Not of what they did, but what they didn’t do. Dreams they never fulfilled. Friendships they lost.

They die blaming others for the final product of their lives and waste this short period of time they had, the same time everyone else had not doing anything to impact their generation and make history.

Alright, it’s time for some soul searching. Remember to be totally honest with yourself. Take the quiz below, share your results (if you dare). There’s much more to the story so I’ll see you at the end of the blog *exits the room to give you some privacy*

Take the quiz!

When you're running late you-


How did you do? Did you find your Achilles heel, breath a sign of relief or get charged up to keep making history? Here’s the truth –

Life is hard. For everyone.

If you think that those who are achieving success have it easier or better than you, you are greatly deceived. It is easy to see the moments of glory in another person’s life, but you need to know they had to fight through something to get there. NO ONE HAS A PERFECT LIFE!

I grew up in great circumstances, the daughter of a loving father, a pastor, and a hardworking and caring mother. Yet I ended up in a 4 year long destructive relationship, with 2 abortions and $23,000 debt to show for it.

During that season of my life, I failed 5 out of 7 University courses in one year though I had entered University at 16 with a grade average of 92% and had never before then failed one course all my life. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

I hit rock bottom but that was the exact season and set of circumstances God used to show me His ridiculous love through His son Jesus Christ, save me and give me a passion that drives me every day. Someone may see me today- married to the best husband on the planet, thriving in ministry and career, 4 albums under my belt, countless awards and accomplishments, and say – she doesn’t know what struggle is.

And true, your situation may be different and much more difficult than mine. But I refused to remain a victim. I forgave my ex, forgave myself, became debt free, got my Bachelor of Science and am so much more since then.

And I’m not the only one,

Joyce Meyer was abused mentally, verbally, emotionally, sexually from when she could remember until she was 18 years old. She was raped by her father over 200 times. Yet she overcame that experience and commenced a television ministry that has today become one of the largest Christian ministries of the world.

Its programme ‘Enjoying Everyday Life’ is viewed by more than 4.5 billion viewers and is broadcast in 40 languages on 900 TV and radio stations.

 

Oprah Winfrey was born to an unmarried teenage mother, raised in abject poverty, received her first pair of shoes at the age of 6 and learned to read at age 2½.

She was repeatedly molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, eventually ran away from home and unrelated to these, gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14. The baby died after 2 weeks, from complications of being born 2 months premature.

Yet despite all this, she has since become the most successful woman on TV, with a net worth of $2.9 billion and described by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century”.

Albert Einstein didn’t speak for the first three years of his life, and throughout elementary school, many of his teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself.

He went on to contribute significantly in the development of our world. His four Annus Mirabilis (‘miracle year’) papers, released in 1905, laid the foundation of modern physics and changed the way we think about space, time, mass, and energy forever.

When Jim Carrey was 15, he had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician and at a point the entire family lived in a van. But he didn’t let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.

He went from working 8 hours shifts after school at a factory, to performing at a local Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto, to starring in mega-blockbusters and becoming one of the best comedic actors in our time.

Enough proof that your past doesn’t have to determine where you go?
That successful people had a past to overcome themselves?
I think so.

“It doesn't matter if you come from the inner city. People who fail in life are those who find lots of excuses.” Ben CarsonClick To Tweet
Ben Carson – Medical history maker
2008 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian award.

Back to the Excuse Giver Quiz

If you have noticed that you display at least 2 of these symptoms described above or you got the “Achilles Heel” or “PHEW!” response, you have to decide immediately what you will do with this information. You can shove the conviction away and you will be very successful at that.

The busyness of life will allow you to hide it sure enough, but you may well remember this blog on your dying day, as you look back with regret. Or you can choose to change.

If you want change, here is the one way you can stop being an excuse giver.

It’s simple. Pray for God to change you. Then decide never to give another excuse. Break the habit. The next time you flop, say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that. Despite how unfair it feels not to highlight that it took place because your ride was late. Or you fell sick. Or you didn’t know. Or anything else.

Simply apologize and make it right.

Tell your friends to check you on this and keep you accountable. If your friends can’t correct you because they’re excuse givers too, change your friends. (I mean that). You are who you surround yourself with.

Then whenever next you are corrected, receive it without defending yourself. Go back to your quiet place and ask yourself if that person was right. Really examine yourself without allowing excuses even inside yourself.

When you’ve done that over and over, you will begin to see the areas where your life has been slipping through your fingers. You will become frustrated with the output you have been producing and begin the process of change. You will stop blaming others, take personal responsibility for your life, begin to improve and get yourself out of mediocrity.

You will notice that things begin to shift around you, you begin to receive more opportunities and seem to find more favour than normal.

I’ll let you in on a secret, It’s not just favour. It is reliability. You have become reliable and trustworthy. Someone others can depend on to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Your yes has become your yes. You have stopped being an excuse giver and become a history maker.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my Get Wisdom courses and subscribe to my email list for more content that will push you to be the best “you” there is!

Your sis,

Toyin

Real moment.

I could not sleep because of this blog. Though I planned on writing about a completely different topic this week, it burned in my mind for hours until I finally gave in, woke up out of bed and typed the whole thing up at an ungodly hour of the morning. I know it is for a specific person and if that person is you, I pray that you are set free from a life of mediocrity and excuses and released into becoming the best “you” there is. Doing what God has called you to, when He calls you to it. Without any regrets when you die.

 

Let’s Talk –

Leave a comment, let us know what stood out to you. Have you previously been an excuse giver? What are you going to change? If you already changed, how did you do it? What do you think of excuses?


Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail (and what you can do to come out smiling!)

I just got back from my week long End of Year Retreat and since my return to the real world, I’ve been asked this a couple of times – What are your resolutions for 2017? It makes perfect sense to set these resolutions, after all, it’s the beginning of a new year. Perfect time to turn a new page, start a new chapter, be a new you! Yes? Not quite.

The guys at Statistic Brain Research Institute state that over 40% of people who start New Year’s Resolutions, fail. While only 9% feel they are actually successful in achieving their resolution each year. NINE PERCENT>> Yikes!

I’m about to share with you the four (and a half) biggest mistakes people make when setting their New Year’s Resolutions – which causes them to fail. As well as exactly what you need to do to one-up these mistakes and ensure you are living your highest potential with each new year.

After all, we’ve only got a few years on this planet. Let’s live them well. Read on!

Why most new year's resolutions fail, and what you can do to come out smiling!

1. Resolution Overload!

I’ll start with one of the biggest mistakes people make when setting new year’s resolutions. Making too many of them! It’s as though we sometimes think we have become super human or worse- god-like and can do absolutely everything at the same time. You cannot! You have to be aware of your finite nature, your finite brain, body and energy and let yourself off that hook.

God is omnipresent (everywhere at once). You’re not. He is omniscient (all-knowing). Once again, you aren’t. He can and is doing more each second than you can even imagine, but you can only do a certain number of focused tasks -successfully- at a time.

Yet we want to have our cake, plus 5 other ones in hand and eat them all too. So we make a New Years resolution list that looks like this –

  1. Grow business by 50%
  2. Start healthy lifestyle- exercise 3x a week
  3. Come out of $20,000 debt
  4. Apply for a Master’s Program
  5. Get a promotion at work
  6. Spend more time with family

AND

7. Learn how to drive stick

It feels great to have a list like this. Feels like you’re about to conquer the world. Like you are going to KILL this year and finally start living the perfect life you have envisioned from way too long ago.

Yet 3 weeks in, you feel completely overwhelmed, unsure of where to start, what to focus on and are completely stressed out and tired from trying to do it all. As they say you’re burning the rope from EVERY end.

new year's resolutions fail

Wisdom Key

Instead of making a list with an undetermined number of goals for the year, limit yourself to 3 top things you want to see changed this year. You can have a side wish list with absolutely everything you want.

After you have accomplished one of the three, then include the next one from your wish list, but do not add to your plate until you have fleshed out each new habit or completed one task. Until you have begun to live out one of your lifestyle changes effortlessly. Capishe? Capishe.

2. You Put Matter Over Mind (Get it? Mind over matter? lolol)

Instead of focusing on how to change the way you think, you focus on changing external habits alone. Forgetting that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So you grit your teeth, squeeze your eyes, wrinkle your forehead, cross your fingers – toes – eyes – trying to become someone you are not inside.

Trying to change the externals, when you haven’t dealt with the necessary mind patterns that dictate the daily decisions you are making.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 #livewell #wisdomClick To Tweet

This can actually prove to be very detrimental to you. If you push your body to adjust to a reality that your mind has not accepted, you end up sabotaging yourself in that endeavour. Then, your past or present failure within that task becomes a greater burden to overcome as you try the next time to accomplish it (or other tasks).

For example, you can make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or start going to the gym, but  ignore targeting your mind. Changing the way you view your body, the way you understand healthy living, the way you view food (comfort, stress relief etc)… starting to get my point?

Your resolution is much bigger than the final product. It’s about what thought patterns have led you to where you are now, and what you are changing about it, to ensure your entire being is headed in the direction you think it is or want it to.

2b. There is no Carrot on the Stick!

When you address the mind behind your new year’s resolution, you must also address the why. You have to know the deep, root reason you have that item on your list.

WHAT IS YO’ CARROT?!

Too many people think their minds will be satisfied with simply losing weight. Uhhh, no. Your inner being needs to begin to understand what losing weight will do for your entire life. The inner you is crying out to know why you have been subjecting yourself to these past 2 weeks of grueling gym time.

Is it to have more energy to run around with your nieces and nephews?
Or because your family has had a history of diabetes and that is the last thing you need in life?
Is it because you love your hubby and want to look your best for him?

Why do you want to lose weight?

If you do not know why, you will, not might, will fail at it. Because once the first challenge smacks you on the behind, it will become too inconvenient to continue.

Wisdom Key

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

As you make your top 3 resolutions (or goals as I call them), begin to ask yourself these questions-

What brought me to this point (financially, health wise, in my relationships etc)?
What do I have to change internally to make sure that if I hit this goal, I do not default back to where I am now or worse?
Why do I want to change this?
Where do I envision myself related to this matter?
Why?
Is this matter holding me back in other areas of my life?
What thought patterns can I begin to implement to change the way I think about this entire topic?

When you have limited the number of resolutions or goals you are focusing on, answered these questions, you can then move forward to the third reason most New Year’s Resolutions.

3. They make wishes and not goals.

Ooooh this one is a kicker. It deserves to be numero UNO because so.many.people.DO IT! They treat New Year’s Resolutions like wishes! Like letters to the tooth fairy that you can simply write, place under your pillow (or on the altar at church with your offering stuffed in it), do absolutely nothing and still see a magical turnaround by the end of the year. 

Half way through, they realize they haven’t gotten as far as they had hoped, figure the wish simply wasn’t granted and “move on” carrying the baggage of despondency, discouragement and hope deferred.

Wisdom Key

Make for gosh-darn sure your New Year’s goals are actionable. Please.

There is so much to say on this, but that is a blog post all it’s own. Until that blog post is created, click here to get on the waiting list for my FREE goal setting (and accomplishing) email course or schedule a one-on-one Purpose Call where we can see whether I am the right fit to help coach you into living at your life’s highest potential.

The last reason I believe many people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions is
*Drum roll please*

4. Because they take themselves WAY too seriously.

I’ve seen way way WAY :) too many people give up and beat themselves up when things don’t work out they way they envisioned. Instead of getting back up, dusting themselves off and getting back in the race. Nike said “Just Do It”, I say “Keep on doing it”. Keep on doing it even after you’ve “failed” in men’s eyes or by your own standards.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
Proverbs 24:16

That’s so good I’ll say it again-

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
Proverbs 24:16

You choose what camp you’re in. Get back up after you’ve fallen. Laugh at your own mistakes. Myself and my husband say the exact same thing after tiny inconsequential mistakes and huge “it’s gonna take us a few months to recover from this one” mistakes – “You live and you learn”. We laugh, encourage each other and keep it moving.

If you’ve made the mistake today, at least you are much less likely to make that mistake again tomorrow. So laugh it off, forgive yourself and move on!

Ya hurd?

Alright! Now ask yourself the following questions as you set (or reset) your New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

  1. Is it concise. Limited. Finite. Like I am?
  2. What part of my thinking led me here and how can I change it?
  3. WHAT IS MY CARROT?
  4. What is my goal? Is it actionable? Is it SMART?
  5. Have I allowed me past failures to sap my joy and drive? How can I begin to forgive myself and enjoy life – mistakes included?

new year's resolutions fail

Your friends and family also have goals, resolutions and want to achieve their BEST this year so make sure to share this blog with them and give them tools to getting ’em done! 

If you have been battling with the same New Year’s Resolutions for years and have yet to see yours (or God’s) dreams come to life, you might need a life coach! Click here to book a Purpose Call, and see whether I am the right fit to help you begin to live at your life’s highest potential.

Until next time, live well, live wisely
Toyin


Let’s Talk!

What are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions (or goals as I call mine)?
A few of mine are learn to cook 3 more Nigerian dishes -one of my highlights from last year,
Be a LOT more flexible about everything around me -I’m expecting TONS of change this year,
And fearlessly do what God is telling me to do- nothing more, nothing less. (this is a much more specific list I’m just pleading the 5th on the deets ;)


The Most Powerful Way To End Your Year

Alright folks, 2016 is coming to a close and you need to make sure that you are ending this year in the most powerful way possible.

We’ve all experienced 2016 differently. For some of you, this year was full of surprises. Joy, breakthrough and the miraculous taking place. While for others you made it to the end by the skin of your teeth. You faced many disappointments from others and even yourself. It felt like life only dealt tough hands and rough punches. And for the rest, this year was a mixture of both.

most powerful way to end year

As we transition into the new year, there’s one place we must all meet. One way by which we can bring our year to a strong close despite the good, bad and ugly.

This is the way of solitude and godly reflection.

Take 3 days away from the noise of friends, holidays, people and social media. Take time to reflect with God on your year.

end of year solitude retreat guide

Then reflect on these questions:

What was the biggest thing I saw God do?

You need to be able to see where the hand of God moved in your year. You may have many answers to this question, and that’s fine. Boast on God. Thank Him. Be grateful.

What am I most grateful for (if different)?

What specific things do you want to take time to thank Him for this year? If you cannot think of anything at all, remember, He has given you a gift beyond anything else you may be asking Him for. The gift of Himself. His son, Jesus Christ who loved you enough to die on the cross for you. The gift of love. Undeserved, abounding love and mercy. Remember He did not have to preserve your life to see today.

Remember His goodness, they are more than I can write in a blog. Tell yourself to find the good in our God. It’s overwhelming when you choose to do it.

What was the hardest part of this year?

Be real. Cry if you must. Bring your pain to Him and allow Him to heal and speak over it. Admit how it broke you.

As you reflect on 2016, be real with God about any pain. He isn't afraid of it and will not allow it to overwhelm youClick To Tweet

In this time, note that you must be willing to allow Him to bring healing and comfort to your pains and disappointment. This is not the time to fall into a self-pity, woe is me pit. Be sensitive to His spirit. Cry it out, but allow His healing to bring you to life and do not give in to a worldly sorrow which leads to death and depression. Remember His goodness even in remembering the hardships.

What did I learn from it?

Every single difficulty has a lesson if you are willing to hear it. If you are willing to look at it through His eyes and learn. So ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you what lessons He wanted to teach you out of your toughest season this year. Thank Him for His love and correction.

Where or when did I have the most fun this year?

What adventures did you take? Any trips? Any sweet moments of laughter with family? Friends? Catch up on some TV shows? Fell in love with a new song?

No matter how hard your year may have been, there were moments of laughter. Smile, remember, and write them down.

How has God used my church family as well as other blogs, FB live videos, Youtube Videos etc. to encourage me this year?

Be grateful for those who have poured into you this year. Reflect on the biggest lessons you learned from your mentors and leaders. Take time to send them a thank you message. You wouldn’t be who you are today without the input of certain leaders (close and distant) who have poured into you.

most powerful way to end your year questions

What -if anything- do I feel He is saying for 2017?

Take some time to ask Him what He wants to do in 2017. Ask Him for words of encouragement. Any warnings? Don’t simply wait to hear what your Pastor is going to share from God on January 1st. To do that would be like the people of Israel motioning Moses to go ahead and meet God on the mountain without desiring to meet with Him themselves.

Instead, be like Joshua and go with your leaders into His presence to hear His voice over your life and your family. This does not discount what your Pastor will hear. Use it all. Write it all down and watch what God does in 2017.

What am I asking Him to do in 2017?

If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. If you don’t ask, you won’t even know what you really want. Write down a few things you would like to see God help you do in 2017. You can ask for a specific friend or family member who does not yet know Christ to receive His love and truth. It could be related to your spiritual growth, finances, academics, workplace, relationships. Nothing is off limits for Abba.

What am I going to change in 2017?

This is more than a new year’s resolution. Ask yourself, what attitudes have held you back this year? Resolve and pray for grace to leave them behind in this year. What do you want to begin to do in 2017 which would bring you closer to His purpose and dream for your life? What structures of accountability are you setting up to make sure you follow through?

For my personal responses to these questions, check my Fireside Chat Facebook Live youtube playlist.

As we transition into 2017, make sure you are ending this year in a powerful way. Take time away from everyone to reflect on the year.

Glean all you can from your highlights and mistakes.
Grow.
Listen to Jesus’ heart for your city, nation and family.
Drop the baggage of the previous year and go in with faith. Believing that He will do more in 2017 than you have ever yet seen.

God will respond to your faith. He will meet you there.

Click here for our “End Of Year Solitude (Retreat) Guide” PDF.

Let’s Talk!

How do you transition into the new year? Where do you go on New Year’s Eve? What do you make sure to do at the end of each year?


How To Get The Most Out Of Life Changing Sermons!

You’ve been here before, heard a sermon that was absolutely life changing! Compelling! Convicting! Impacting! Unforgettable even!
Two days later you mention this sermon to a friend excited about all that it did for you.
You friend asks “Cool, what was it about? What did you learn?”
You “uhh… ummm… God is good? Lol I can’t really remember the details but I promise you it was SO GOOD! You need to listen to it!”

You’re probably laughing right now because you’ve had this conversation at least once.

You’ve forgotten most of what was said and only remember how great it felt and what an AHA! moment it was when you first heard it.

You’ve already lost the seed that was planted into your heart.  (Matthew 13:19-23)
Now, it’s not entirely your fault,

Your mind is bombarded with SO much information on a daily basis, it’s impossible to hold on to the things that matter the most unless you are purposeful about doing so.

Like it or not, we have become accustomed to listening for entertainment. We want to be moved and yes sometimes, your spirit man is affected, but there is also a listening to be CHANGED. This is what you want to fight for.

Get my free Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide that’ll help you put this post into action the information you are hearing- especially when you want to make it “flesh” in you. (See John 1:14).

practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

So here is how to up the ante and get the most from any life-changing sermon you hear!

  1. Repetition Repetition Repetition.

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” Norman Vincent Peale

If this is a sermon teaching you a specific way of thinking that you want to become an automatic reflex, for example – you knew you have long needed to step out in faith in something God is calling you to do. You have been charged by this sermon to take hold of that faith and begin to run.

Then you need to listen to the sermon many times over in order to get your mind to really begin to believe what you have heard. Your mind has acknowledged that this is good information, but it hasn’t yet created the fruit. The material.

You haven’t yet STARTED, and stayed there until your task was complete. So here’s how you make sure you have heard that word or sermon enough.

If you heard the sermon at a live event, get the MP3.

Trust me, that pastor isn’t going to get wealthy off your $2 purchase of what he just taught. So many people act like spending money on resources that can change your own life is a conspiracy cooked up by the speaker. It’s not. Getting the mp3 will help you to grow and apply that word much more than just hearing it once.

If you cannot afford the cost of the recording, many teachers and sound departments are willing to allow you to have it for free or with whatever you can give. Just get over yourself and ask.

OR you can simply begin recording with your phone if you can sense they are going somewhere you need to really take in. If you want to change, you have to get desperate enough to have truth getting in your system.

Which ones?!

It’s not every single sermon you need to get the audio version of and re-listen to, but I’m talking about moments where you know what you’re hearing can impact your life greatly if applied. Those are the words you need to replay!

Put it in your car, or your phone. Listen to it while on the bus. While washing dishes, going for a walk, listen to it with a friend. Just continue to listen to it until you really -get it. Until it bears fruit in you.

Tip – You can do this with the Bible itself. In fact, you should be. You’ll be surprised how much your way of thinking will change!

For more on the principles of remembering, check out this article by Psychotactics.

  1. Talk About It!

When you’re trying to actually benefit from the massive amount of sermons you hear, the solution is often right before you! Begin to share what you are learning. Be purposeful about talking about the sermon (or whatever God spoke to you through) right after the event, on your way home, the next day.

The art of teaching or sharing information actually solidifies the information in yourself. It capitalizes on the power of repetition, and actually takes it up a notch because it forces your brain to reprocess the teaching in a way that your friend can receive it. So when you do this, it isn’t coming at your brain once, but you get to reconstruct that teaching and apply it to your friend’s situation, which increases your understanding of it.

In other words, you “sow to grow!” Feel free to Pin the image below as a daily reminder!

This applies to all principles God teaches you.

Keep in mind, if it was a really strong, encouraging teaching, it will probably help someone else as well. So go and share. Try to highlight at least two statements that stood out to you from the sermon. When you commit to doing this you will actually pay closer attention while listening, because you know you want to share a part of it and you get the added benefit of enriching someone else’s life!

What if there’s no one to share it with?

Then post it on one of the social media platforms you’re on. Someone may see it and be encouraged by it. This would still force you to rephrase what you heard and apply it to your friends online so it still has the benefits of sharing. However, even if you’re surrounded by tons of people who don’t know Jesus, you can share with them what points in the teaching impacted you and why. You’d be surprised how your testimony moves them, even if they don’t understand the full picture yet.

It’s ok if you don’t say everything exactly as it was said before, it’s also fine if you make some mistakes, it’s part of the learning process and still helps your brain!

  1. Take Notes!

This one goes without saying. If you are serious about maximizing your church/conference/youtube sermon experience, you need to be taking notes. To simply sit and listen is to be entertained. You cannot afford to be in that category of people any longer. If you take notes in school, you should be taking notes in church. If you take notes at work, how much less the place where you are being equipped not simply to file papers or do tasks but to change the world for the glory of God.

Some people feel their pastor’s sermons are not “worth” note-taking. He only tells stories, or —–. Guess what? If you go in with that expectation, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Listen with ears to hear.

“The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.” Dr Amos DadaClick To Tweet

You aren’t just taking notes of what the teacher/preacher/pastor is saying. You are also taking note of what God is saying to you during that time. Write down any other ideas, points of connection He is making to you. Highlight specific phrases that you want to chew on later.

Pen and Paper!

Whenever I tell my ladies to use pen and paper in taking notes, I sometimes catch flak for it. We’re so used to our memo pad, ipads, and eletronic note taking devices that it has become a huge inconveniece to carry a pen and notebook around.

However, “brain scans have shown that when learning, handwriting activates more areas of the brain than typing.” (Longcamp et al. 2008)

Also handwriting may play a role in better synthesis and retention of complex ideas. In three studies, Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) found that typed note taking of lectures resulted in “shallower processing” than by longhand note taking of lectures (p. 1159).

Something happens when your hand holds the pencil or pen, touches paper and you have to reconstruct what you are hearing  in order to put it down on the paper. It actually helps you retain the information better.

When taking notes, put down the date and location of what you heard. It helps you to track your growth timeline and put an exact face to the lesson. Years later, you may read those notes, see how much it has impacted you since and be able to actually imagine yourself right where you were when you took those notes down.

If you’re wondering how to take proper notes during the sermon, you will love our Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide, available to you for FREE.  practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

  1. Ask Questions.

Ask God, ask the teacher. Wrestle with any part of it that doesn’t make sense to you. If it makes sense and you’ve been practicing it, but don’t see the fruit, ask God what is missing.

Questions help you to clarify the meaning of terms, words or ideologies that aren’t clear to your brain. They strengthen relationships between different teachings and help you build on what you have learned previously. They establish continuity and help you build your memory on the subject.

Some questions you can ask yourself or the speaker is –

  • What does this mean?
  • If I apply what is being taught, how will my life be affected by it?
  • Has God been highlighting this to me previously?
  • How does it fit in?
  • What does this change about the way I think?

For other non-negotiable questions you need to be asking yourself, download our Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide here.

5. Avoid Distraction

Concentration greatly multiplies the impact of what you’re hearing. Allowing yourself to actively listen as opposed to a shallow “hearing” of what is being said.

Writing with a pen and paper helps curb digital temptations as you can put your phone aside for that time and focus. If you want to take sermons seriously, you also have to steer clear of the chatty sections in every church more concerned with side jokes, weekly updates, and fashion comparison.

Discussion on what is being taught and response to the speaker is fine. But you don’t want to be getting caught up in conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with what is taking place – at that time! Remind them that you can speak to them right after the sermon. Self control.

  1. Arrive on time! (If it’s a physical meeting)

Arrive on time.

Please.

Don’t be that girl, sauntering in at the end of the service like – Jesus, I’ve come to meet with you. Sermon finished, altar call done.  

Just don’t.

So the next time you hear a sermon that is absolutely rocking you to the core, make sure it goes beyond emotional highs and bears fruit in your life by applying these tips. Get the mp3 or record it on your phone and re-listen to it throughout your week, talk to your friends or spouse about it, write a blog or small encouraging status update. Take great notes. Remember, even the simplest concepts aren’t just learned. They need to be discussed, talked, and written about!

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word”

Download the Sermon Note Taking Guide for a step by step fillable guide helping you to maximize and apply the next life-changing sermon you hear, to your life!

practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

If you found this blog useful to you, share it with your friends using any of the tabs below. :-*

Live well,
Toyin C.

Let’s Talk!

What other tips do you use to remember and apply a really good sermon?


5 Ways To Know If He’s “THE ONE” (Part 2)

 

Hey ladies, welcome to our Part 2, continuation of our previous blog. We are discussing 3 more questions you must ask yourself to determine if this Chris (our hypothetical suitor) is “the one”. If you haven’t read the first blog check it and then return for the final 3 points you must consider!

5 ways to know he's the one part 2

  1. Who Do Men Say That He Is?

What do his family or friends say about him? Better yet, what does your family or what do your friends think about him. This question doesn’t rank as high as “Is he a Christian? Really?” or “Do you like him?”, yet it definitely needs to be taken into consideration.

There are many troubles you can avoid if you simply listen to the counsel of people you trust and love. Family and friends are good for highlighting certain things about a guy that you can’t see yourself. Like it or not, being blinded by “love” or “infatuation” is real. If everyone around you is cautioning you to step back for legitimate reasons (not just “I just don’t like him”).

“In the multitude of counsel, there is safety”.

They could be telling you “he doesn’t treat you well”. Or “you don’t seem happy when you’re with him”. Or you notice that there is a whole lot of drama around him (you are never sure if you’re the only one he is pursuing) etc. If this is the case, take time to pray and think about the decision you are about to make. There is a proverb that says “in the multitude of counsel, there is safety”. And “in the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing is established”. Listen to those around you, use your safety net.

Also, when you are in the middle of this decision process, talk to a mature believer about it. If they know both of you, that’s even better. Ask them for counsel on the matter and take their counsel into consideration.

5 ways to know he's the one short checklist

  1. Have you prayed about it?

When we ask about prayer, we do not mean that you need to have 8 dreams and see 2 visions. Along with an angelic visitation assuring you that “This Chris, is your gift from the Most High God”. These type of confirmations are good, but not necessary in order to know if he is God’s will.

The question here is, have you brought this decision before the Lord in prayer? Have you said “Abba, this is the person that I’m considering getting married to, tell me anything you have to say about it”. And then just listened to what the Lord has to say?

It may not be an audible voice speaking, but if you listen closely, God begins to highlight different things. Ways He’s led you to that point (showing you His hand in the matter). Character traits about that person that you overlooked and wouldn’t be able to live with. Or He may simply give you a still small “yes”. Or an uncomfortable feeling when you try to think about your future together with that person. The way God speaks differs for each person, but as you build your relationship with Him, you will recognize how He speaks to you.

Now, here’s the catch.

It gets very hard to hear what God is saying about Chris if you have already thrown your heart into the relationship before you prayed about it. So take a step back. If you are already in relationship with him, spend a few days alone. Yes, I mean without talking to him, maybe a couple of weeks. Just to hear what God is saying. If it’s God’s will, you will be able to go forward with full confidence. If it isn’t God’s will that you are together, you are both better off not pursuing that relationship.

When a marriage is built on a foundation that you both prayed about it individually and got a go ahead from your heavenly Father, you are much more confident addressing the storms that will come your way during the marriage. You are able to go back to God in prayer when you face challenges and say – “God, You brought us here, help us!” But if you go in completely unsure if it is God’s will for you to be there, even small challenges will trip you up. The tiniest storm will bring you back to the point of – am I supposed to be here at all? Was this God’s will?

God knows the future of yourself and this “Chris” much better than you do so trust Him with this decision, trust His leadership. Listen without any pre-set desires and you will hear His voice.

This is not a point to be over spiritualized and neither is it meant to be downplayed. It is critical that you pray before you make this decision. It is a decision that will affect the rest of your life so don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t matter.

Pin this checklist to keep all 5 points in your back pocket for when you need it or share it with your single friends!

5 ways to know he's the one short checklist

  1. Does he want to marry you?

This is one of those points that may seem completely ridiculous to have on the list, but time and time again women pray and fast asking God whether or not their “Chris” is “the one”… and he hasn’t yet clearly approached them and laid out his intentions relating to marriage or anything serious.

Sister, he may be super nice to you every time he sees you or maybe he always goes out of his way to treat you specially. He calls you a nickname no one else does, or cracks jokes with you for days. It does not mean he is pursuing you. A lot of the time guys are just being nice Christian men and get in trouble for being that! Yes I could write a blog post to them about being clear about their intentions and cooling it when they are not pursuing, but this blog is for you, not them.

If Chris hasn’t come to you articulating what he wants. If he is too immature – sorry, afraid to say it clearly. Or he hasn’t yet made up his mind enough to say- “I like you”, or “I love you” or “I’d like to go somewhere with this” or “I can see us having a future together, please pray into this” or “what do you think of having a relationship with me” you get the gist. There’s no need for you to be worrying your mind praying and stressing your girlfriends and they mama’s about whether or not he is the right guy for you!

You be mature about it!

If you’re unclear because Chris has been making moves that make it seem like he is interested, but he hasn’t had any clear conversations with you, you can be mature about it. Ask him to speak in a semi-private or private setting. Then you can say something like “hey, just wanted to check in if there is something happening here? I’ve been noticing ____”. Or “Is there something going on that I don’t know of?”

Once you put it on the table, you will get a clear response from him of “yes” or “no”. If he says anything that is confusing and muddled, it’s a no. A man who is ready to pursue a relationship with a lady does not need her to explain that to him.

He may say “yes, I am interested but I would like to take things slowly”. Or “I am interested but didn’t know how to say so” or something else explaining why he wasn’t clear in the first place, and that’s fine. You can go back and start praying and following the earlier steps mentioned. But if Chris says “oh no, I didn’t mean it that way”, at least you’re not stressing trying to figure out whether or not he likes you!

A man who is ready to pursue a relationship with a lady does not need her to explain that to him.Click To Tweet

I’ve seen many ladies resolve confusing, time wasting situations by applying this one tip and having a conversation to clear things up. Some of them are now in relationship with, or married to those men and for others, the guys apologized for leading them on falsely. Be encouraged, even they have moved on and forgotten about the whole episode of crushing on the guy or thinking he was crushing on them.

It’s simple. It’s necessary. Stop playing high school games and doing guess work with your mind and time, just talk to the guy.

That’s all for this week ladies! I pray your process toward marriage honors and glorifies God and brings both you and your “Chris” great joy. Pin this abridged checklist so that you can remember our 5 points when it matters!

5 ways to know he's the one checklist

xoxo
Toyin C

Let’s Talk!

What are some other necessary questions for a young woman to ask before she gets into a serious relationship?
What are some non-negotiables for you personally?
Which of these points would be the hardest to consider?
Let me know in your comments!


5 Ways To Know He Is “The One”. (Part 1)

Ok, so this guy – let’s call him “Chris” seems to be pursuing you or has made it clear he would like to get in a relationship. After investing all this time growing close to Jesus, getting used to your singleness and beginning to thrive in it. Or maybe getting a bit tired of being single because everyone around you is getting married, it’s a welcome change. Chris has been making a good case for himself (as they always do) and now it begins.

That -sometimes- agonizing process of prayer and seeking for God’s perfect will for your life.
Is he the one you are to spend the rest of you life with? How do you know?
What questions should you ask?
Which character traits give him brownie points and which should be completely overlooked?
What if you’re not physically attracted to him, but you do think he’s a good Christian?
What if he bores you in conversation but he’s one of the hottest guys you’ve met?
How do you know if he’s “the one”?!

5 ways to know he's the one

Here 5 simple questions to ask yourself about the person you are considering getting married to-

1.        IS HE CHRISTIAN? REALLY?

This is the beginning point for any godly woman considering marriage. It’s the very first question you need to ask yourself (and him if you don’t know him from adam). “Christian” is a very loosely defined word in our culture as you probably know a few folks who call themselves Christian but hate the principles in the Word of God, don’t care too much to follow in the character of Christ, or purposely embrace a sinful lifestyle.

Finding out if he is “Christian” is not a check to see if he simply goes to church, lifts his hand up real high, knows how to pray in public or shouts hallelujah the loudest. It is someone who genuinely loves the Lord Jesus Christ, whose life has come under submission to the word of God and it is evident in his character and lifestyle choices.

A CHRISTIAN IS SOMEONE WHOSE LIFE HAS COME UNDER SUBMISSION TO THE WORD OF GOD AND IT IS EVIDENT IN HIS CHARACTER AND LIFESTYLE CHOICES.

Someone who is living with God’s glory in mind, he may not be perfect but you can see that the priority in his life is to become more and more like… Christ. Go figure. Christ-ian. This point has to be clarified because there a lot of men who are in the church looking for a godly “demure” (as they think equals godliness) woman to get in a relationship and do with as they please.

5 ways to know he's the one short checklist

Why Does This Matter?

Sister, you cannot afford to be in covenant with someone who is not in covenant with God. It is danger beyond your imagination. It doesn’t matter how sweet his words are, how cute he is, how loving his family is, or even how much he professes to love you. One day that love for you will not suffice anymore to sustain your relationship.

How do you know if he is a real Christian?

Listen to his conversation – with you and others. Out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth will speak. If you only ever hear him talking about money, sports, politics, work, jokes and his Jesus- centered conversation is reserved to only within bible study meetings, take note.

Also check to see- How does he make decisions? How does he conduct himself outside of the church? What type of jokes does he tell? Make sure that his life has come under submission to the word of God even if it isn’t perfect, that He loves Jesus and has truly made Him the Lord and Saviour of his life.

THE SECOND QUESTION YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF.

So! Let’s say Chris is Christian, loves Jesus and serves Him with his life. Amazing!

He goes so deep in worship you have to dig him out in order to have conversation. Great!

In fact this Chris can preach fire down from heaven when called to do so, impromptu. Terrific!

Another question you have to ask yourself if you’re considering getting married to him is this-

2.       DO YOU LIKE HIM?

Guess what? At the end of the day you’re not going to be married to Chris’ anointing. You are going to be married to him as a person. A friend of mine used to say – “the anointing is attractive” because we would notice that anytime I would share a “fire” word in our university bible study group there’d be one or two guys calling my phone around 12a.m. while I was speaking with her.

So the additional question here is do you like him? Do you like his character? Do you get along with him? Too many people are praying to marry a guy that you actually do not get along with. You aren’t going to live in the church! The glory cloud isn’t going to cover you in 100,000 hours of time with the hubby. Marriage is a long long time, make sure you are with someone you can actually talk to.

What If He’s Really… Really Cute?!

Also, it doesn’t matter if he’s the most physically attractive person you’ve ever met. Physical attraction isn’t going to keep you in a marriage. People change, bodies change. Make sure it’s someone who makes you smile, someone who shows you love, who you makes you laugh, makes you think.

Physical attraction isn't going to keep you in a marriage. People change, bodies change. Look deeper!Click To Tweet

If in your dating time you’ve found that you can’t stand being around him for too long, don’t marry the dude! It seems silly and obvious to mention but too many times, I see ladies who stay within a relationship they are really not interested in because they want to be nice. The nicest thing you can do for that guy is allow him to be with someone who will appreciate him the way he is while you wait for the right person to approach you. 

is he the one checklist

What About While We Get To Know Each Other?

Finally, this is not in reference to that -sometimes- awkward stage of getting to know one another if you weren’t friends for some time before dating. This is when you’ve gotten to know each other and find you still have nothing to say. You know it’s not the cute romantic fuzzy feels, “your mind is blank because your heart is pounding so hard” stuff. You simply have nothing to talk about or do not care about enough of the same things to meet in the middle. Marriage is not a sentence or a punishment, think that through before going ahead with a “yes!“.

See 5 Ways To Know He Is The One (Part 2) for the rest of this post!