Life’s not a competition 

We are not in competition with anyone. 

The race of life is self run. God has a lane for everyone. Those who know their life purpose stay in their lane. 

Those who have grace don’t do things to prove a point to anybody. Any man or woman that lacks grace is impatient to succeed. 

When it’s your time, every door will open for you and nothing can stop your destiny

#LifeIsFreedom

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I’ll Alter Him: Story of A Bride

A story is told of a young bride-to-be who was very nervous on the day before her wedding, so she spoke with her minister. “I’m afraid I might not make it through the ceremony properly,” she confessed.

The minister assured her that everything would be fine: “When you enter the church tomorrow and the processional begins, you will be walking down the same aisle you’ve walked many times before. Concentrate on that aisle. When you get halfway down the aisle, you’ll see the altar, where you and your family have worshiped for many years. Concentrate on that altar. Then, when you’re almost to the altar, you will see your groom, the one you love. Concentrate on him.”

The bride was relieved, and left to prepare for her big moment. The next day, she walked down the aisle with her chin up and eyes bright—a beautiful, confident bride. But those along the center were a bit surprised to hear her muttering over and over. 

What she muttered was “Aisle, altar, him. Aisle, altar, him.”

But they heard: “I’LL ALTER HIM!
MORAL OF STORY: People around you will always misunderstand or misrepresent you. You’re the best judge of thy own truth. 

TODAY’S CHURCHES

Today’s churches are not content with small membership that they can be sure are true practicing Christians. They are not interested in small branches either. Church growth targets are more about good financial standing than about depopulating hell and discipleship. High church attendance equals growth in offertory and that’s where the story ends.

Church growth targets are more tailored to either profit-making projects or merely having the biggest auditorium (membership), usually under the guise of the word of God reaching many. Need we talk about the expensive popularity-influenced programme advertisements, hyped conferences and expensive guest speakers and “ministers”? Oh, big edifices are good especially because it would attract rich and high class people to the Church. Don’t we know rich people are attracted to the appearance of church buildings and repelled by sloppy appearances and concerned about where their expensive cars get parked; and of course not in the parking lot of a Church with cheap edifice/architecture?

Stationary pastors who no longer go out to the field, the hinterlands to propagate the gospel but are content with once-a-year evangelism programmes that never get to rural areas. Going to and setting up churches in rural areas is not lucrative enough. Of course that would defeat the business model operation of the Church. Right? Pastors no longer honour invitations to rural Churches to go and preach because there’s no financial incentive.

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Sunday praise and worship sessions so short and so not as uplifting compared to the spirit-filled experience you have playing same songs or listening to them on radio in your closet. Choirs interested in setting aside other times aside normal Sunday services for high cost worship/praise programmes 12 times in a year to entertain themselves (very little outside folks or sinners attending), under the guise of it serving as a means of evangelism.

Funny church membership rules linked closely to financial obligations under the guise of the church burying members when they die, or attending/officiating their celebrations, etc. Membership never comes into question during the collection of the many offerings they have instituted like Sunday/Mid-week offertories, special offerings, tithes, appeal for funds, “covenant offerings”, “first fruit offerings”, thanksgiving offerings, “annual harvest contributions”, church building offerings, Pastor’s appreciation offerings, Pastor’s car offerings, pastor’s birthday offerings, “all night service offerings”, “deliverance service offerings”, etc but only when a “member” who has fulfilled all those responsibilities dies or falls into some category of need. Then the Church says “where is your membership card and record of contributions?” Then they say “yes, we agree he’s been attending this Church for so long but because he’s not a “card-bearing” member, we are not obligated to do one, two and three”.

When the Pastor is so rich with material things but the members lack both material and spiritual things then something must be wrong? When after all those contributions or offertories the monies end up in buying private planes and jets to fly high in luxury, buying and riding exotic cars and living in expensive mansions when members live in abject poverty, then something must be wrong? When the monies are even used to build universities that are then priced so high members children themselves cannot afford; when the Pastor now preaches more motivational messages than salvation messages and more about how to make it in this life than how to make it to Heaven, must we start getting worried??

Well I don’t know. But I guess I could be right to say that there is an increasing perception among Church members that the Church is increasingly becoming unconcerned about their lives in the public sphere and only interested in their monies. Whatever they go through to make ends meet is no business of the Church but what they must give to the Church is what’s important to the Church. After all, the Pastor will find a way to tell you God will always provide even when you give all your money to Him every month and go home empty. And you must give because all the money you have belongs to God.

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Some say Churches now only command compulsory financial obligations and not willful giving. Some say the church is now so interested in money and profits that it’s a shame they even request two offertories at church wedding ceremonies of their own “members” and later give them some very meager amount as the church’s own donation because they are not “welfare contributors”. As if that is not “shameful” enough, the new trend is Churches collecting two offertories at funerals! Two offertories: one for the Church, one for the bereaved family. So funeral grounds are also now money making grounds for the Church?

Some say they can bet their lives that there can never be a “no offertory Sunday” ever in their Church and wonder if money making and profiting is not increasingly being the focus of the church, then why can’t that happen.

Some bemoan the “psychological methods” used by Pastors or Churches in extorting from members instead of biblical willful giving and the imposition of levies on members like in secular associations/organizations.

Some say they understand the Church has fiscal responsibilities but there’s a difference between the Church having fiscal responsibilities and the Church operating a business model and thus if we try to operate the Church as a business, we will find ourselves at odds with God’s design.

Again some have observed that the new trend is to find Pastors now preaching that complaining about giving to God (they mean themselves or the church they mismanage) or not giving to God so much that you feel it cost you like David did is a sin/unfaithfulness.

What’s true however (and perhaps the Pastor cares less about) is that, when people feel like they are only being used for their finances, they will eventually leave the Church. Trust me; it will not be hard to find that most highly successful (rich) church members share the sentiment that the only value their Pastors seem to place on them is the fact that their tithe pumps so much money into the Church or their pockets. There’s a reason why most billionaires either don’t go to Church or choose to give their tithes to foundations or non-profit charities they have created and the reason is simply the financial mismanagement of the tithe/monies by the Church, and the lack of accountability thereof. They wonder why they give millions to the Church yet the “food they have put in God’s storehouse” never feeds the poor, needy and deprived in the same Church they give to. They wonder why the Church will rather focus on building big edifices and holding wasteful programmes with the money and not feed the poor and needy in the Church instead.

What’s the calling of the Church again? I keep forgetting because all I keep seeing is Churches running like corporate businesses.

Well, I guess the line between church and business is too thin that it gets so confusingly messy! Whatever the case is, watch out for manipulative Churches and Pastors and don’t let the Church decide your destiny. The Church cannot take you to Heaven; only Christ will.

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My simple rule is: Don’t do Church; Do Christ!

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

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In the search for true love…

“Believe it or not, one of men’s deepest dreams is to find true love. During that search for love we are often hurt or heartbroken — sometimes unintentionally. Women sometimes don’t know this, because we do a good job at hiding our pain”

~~Mariel Reimann

#Quotes

I pray God helps everyone find true love…the kind that brings eternal happiness to the heart and leaves the world a better place because it spreads love to other hearts. 

Marriage is a blessing

God has given you a great blessing in your spouse and in your marriage. God speaks highly of marriage because it is one of His blessings to mankind. 

Focus then on the good in your spouse and marriage, and celebrate. Always celebrate each other! Always! 

At the same time, realize that your marriage is bigger than you and your spouse. So, allow your relationship to also be a blessing to other couples (or even singles if you like). You don’t have to be a marriage “expert” to do this. You can help somebody from your unique experiences in marriage.

Finally, always bear in mind: 

“what’s taken for granted will eventually be taken away; then you end up missing most what you least appreciated”

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

A journey of love and friendship 

Today I said this sincere prayer:

Dear Lord, 

Thank you for 8 years of sweet friendship. Many couldn’t have it this way. 

Thank you for sending me to her door and thanks for that awkward moment that followed that knock on her door.

Thank you that it was never love at first sight, for the girl had no chill kora 😂😎

Thank you for the opportunity to experiment and grow our love.

Thank you that “better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof” 😋

Thank you that today, we can look back and see a glorious future and not a gloomy or dingy one.

Thank you for blessing us with so much that we cannot even see. 

Thank you for our journey thus far and the priceless lessons along the way.

Thank you that our years have been nothing short of amazing! 

Thank you that on this day, 8 years ago, our eyes met.

And because of that divine meeting we can today mark and celebrate…

8 years of solid friendship!

7 years, 4 months and 18 days of falling in love thereafter!  

2 years, 8 months and 11 days of a marriage we can be proud of ourselves!

Thank you that it is you…

“…who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way, with countless gifts of love and still is ours today” 

Finally Lord, thank you for what psychology says…😎


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Bonus Pictures:


©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

Be.You.Tiful

There’s a part of being beautiful that means “BE YOU” and don’t take on other people’s image; emulate, but don’t imitate. 

Make “BE YOU” the greater part of your personality and the other “tifuls” will fall in place. 

Being beautiful is not only about your makeup and outward appearance as the media and fashion world often projects. That aspect is very important but there’s a more important aspect which is the totality of your personality

How would people define you? The woman with the prettiest face and makeup but ugliest character? The woman that’s most sort after for the cover of every fashion magazine because of your fame in exposing your nakedness or the one that elicits the most sexual fantasy in men and gets them masturbating to or having sex with your images in mind? That’s your beautiful? That’s an interesting beautiful. 

You can only be unique when you are you; not somebody else, not trying to copy or be like someone else. You are not beautiful when you are easily swayed by people’s opinions of you. The worse part is when you lose your self identity by trying hard to live out people’s opinions of you. 

A part of staying beautiful and relevant is when people remember you for who you are, what you stand for, the unique aura you carry. That’s the biggest impression you leave with people, for good or for bad. 

When people cannot easily tell what sort of person you are, or what sort of impression you leave with them, then you are simply not being relevant because they don’t know where to put you; because you are not being you…you are not being BE.YOU.Tiful 😊

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

(PS: Title of post inspired by a June 5 post on justifiedecstasy blog). 

Abuse of the marriage covenant

Here’s a great marriage vow:

“I will be with you, no matter what happens to us and between us.  If you should become blind tomorrow, I will be there.  If you achieve no success and attain no status in our society, I will be there.  When we argue and are angry, as we inevitably will, I will work to bring us together.  When we seem totally at odds and neither of us is having needs fulfilled, I will persist in trying to understand and in trying to restore our relationship.  When our marriage seems utterly sterile and going nowhere at all, I will believe that it can work and I will want it to work and I will do my part to make it work.  And when all is wonderful and we are happy, I will rejoice over our life together, and continue to strive to keep our relationship growing and strong.” ~~ Elizabeth Achtemeier

I don’t know how different it is from the usual “for better for worse, till death do us part” Church vow. But when we say the marriage vow in Church, we are literally saying our spouses are supposed to love us “no matter what” and always find us beautiful or handsome, no questions asked. Of course, that’s the essence of the marriage vow.

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But sometimes we take advantage of that binding agreement and just let ourselves go intentionally in so many ways. We go like, oh how great it feels that we’ve just signed a contract that binds the other person to us for their whole life and nothing, except sexual infidelity, can save their skin! Sweet! Now I can relax, for every bad action or inaction of mine as long as it is not infidelity, should technically be coped with, endured and at best forgiven. Per the vow or covenant we’ve just entered into, everything is allowed as long as it does not border on infidelity…Hurray!

I vowed to love you “no matter what” so now you are at liberty to take your looks for granted! You can now just let yourself eat all the junk foods ever made, grow fat and out of shape. Oh, he should just understand that I’m now a mother and childbirth, raising children, taking care of him and all that just makes many a woman get out of shape. She should just understand that the ever-increasing responsibilities, stressful nature of my job, late night eating and all that just makes many a man develop a pot belly. Just understand and accept it as it is…so I wouldn’t have to put in any effort.

The deed is done, you have now taken the “no matter what” vow, so you can now stop giving much attention to your physique and every other thing as you used to and just corner your partner with the “no matter what” attitude whenever he/she raises a concern. Just remind him/her of the “no matter what” vow they took so they can stop whining about things you feel you cannot change. You think that’s a really safe zone? How sweet!

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Well, these and many others are the sentiments/frustrations shared by many. Problem is too many people treat marriage as a place of arrival, acceptance and comfort; a kind of destination that they arrive at and then everything else in terms of effort stops. People don’t put as much effort into bettering themselves in marriage like they did in the dating phase. After all, if it’s Christian, it never should be broken on any other grounds, right? And then upon that, if you are a man, you are allowed to force your wife into subjection no matter all the ills you do, right? How sad. That’s how God wants it?

“It is so easy to take a spouse for granted, and to take intimacy for license. We can subconsciously think since we’re married, I don’t have to be careful to be polite. We have to love each other regardless, so I can just speak without thinking about how it is perceived” ~~ Shaunti Feldhahn

Right after marriage, many people begin to take so many things for granted. The problem is not the reality that the “no matter what” covenant marriage puts us in. The problem is to be a Christian yet hide consciously or unconsciously behind that and not put in any effort to better anything. I think that is a way of dishonoring your partner and your marriage and making God look stupid for instituting marriage and giving ground rules. Nothing must be taken for granted in marriage. Marriage (and all that comes with it) should not put an end to personal development. We must not pick up a habit of putting our spouses through the “no matter what” test, especially when it is something we can make the effort to change for the betterment of the union.

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The caution is that sometimes it becomes too late to salvage anything and we must not let ourselves get to that point. And I hope it is the Bible that said:

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
~~ James 4:17

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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Image source: www.federalna.ba

Every girl lives for her wedding day

​”Every girl lives for her wedding day”???

Well, embrace your wedding day…prepare for it, celebrate it.

But after that few hours of fame, the spotlight on you will be gone forever…and the real work starts.

What’s scary?

Truth: “the first year of marriage is hard…really hard“.

And it’s even more when you don’t work at marrying somebody with similar goals, dreams and passions but rather in pursuit of the “soul mate” fantasy.

If only we (especially ladies) will think and prepare more for the marriage as we do for the wedding… like how we make sure, and spend sleepless nights planning for nothing to go wrong, a lot will change in marriages.

Why women especially? Because they are powerful stakeholders of the home. A lot depends on them; even though running the home is an equal partnership. 

~Credit: Frank Powell

 (Edited and expanded)
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

God, Sex and Marriage

I subscribe to marriage devotionals always. That’s because I always do not like a day to end without reading something on marriage…just anything, as long as it’s related to marriage. I find Christian devotionals on marriage the best choice. 

This is what I’m currently subscribed to; and today’s reading was quite interesting that I felt I should share. 

So here it goes:

Title: God Has An Opinion About Sex

Everyone has an opinion about sex. But did you know that God also has an opinion… a definite, distinct perspective? Unfortunately, many Christians have confused the voice of Christian leaders for the opinion of God. When it comes to sex, Christian leaders throughout the ages have had differing opinions on the topic. Here’s a brief sample…

Nothing is so much to be shunned as sexual relations. ~~St. Augustine.

The Holy Spirit leaves the room when a married couple has sex, even if they do it without passion. ~~Peter Lombard, respected 12th century theologian.

Intercourse is never without sin. ~~Martin Luther.

If anyone says that sex itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. ~~C.S. Lewis.

A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. ~~John Piper.

No wonder Christians are confused. Who speaks for God? 

Ultimately, God speaks for Himself through His inspired Word. If you want to know God’s opinion, look no further than the Bible. It may surprise you that the Bible has quite a bit to say on the topic. Some of it you’ll love and some of it is difficult to accept. 

When a person like you or me has an opinion, it’s just that – an opinion. When God has an opinion, we call it something else – the truth. Truth is the one opinion against which every other opinion is measured. 

We all have thoughts and beliefs about sex that are not based on truth. Perhaps your misinformation about sex even came from Christian sources. However, if you truly want to see the gift of sexuality as it was created to be experienced, you must be willing to expose the lies you’ve believed as measured by the truth of God’s Word. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the primary sources that formed your opinion on sex? Can you identify any lies you believe about sex?

The End

(PS: Hope you found it interesting too? Let me know what you think. Share your thoughts with us)  
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author