The two visitors 

Two visitors came to see me, both at the same time,

Both were trying to win control of my body, heart, and mind

One was dressed quite plainly, one dressed fit to kill,

I couldn’t see the battle they were waging for my will.

One promised to give fame, friends and riches beyond compare,

Anything I wanted, it seemed, and while I was standing there,

He showed me how life could be, for a little while at least,

I couldn’t see beneath the clothes, to recognize the beast.

The other told of hard times, of sacrifice and pain,

Ridicule and persecution, nothing much to gain,

But there was something deep in this visitor’s eyes

That made me feel to choose Him, somehow would be wise.

I guess you know the outcome…..

Watch your associations

Some people don’t want us to become better than them so they always find a way to discourage you or create doubts in your mind about your plans.

It’s important that you never become comfortable with your associations or where you have reached in life. Sometimes your vision is bigger than that of your associates and you need to always realize that so you don’t settle with their mediocrity.

One of my favorite quotes is by Steve Maraboli. He says:

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. When you change for the better, the people around you will be inspired to change also….but only after doing their best to make you stop. Live your truth and don’t ever stop.

You must get to a point in life when you can tell yourself you’ve got no time for negative energies. Life is too short to entertain, court or waste time on negative judgmental assumptions of people or the attitude of people who constantly try to make you feel bad or doubt yourself.

This year, resolve to live your best life and be your best self.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Your righteousness can be sinful…

Your righteousness can be sinful and your salvation questionable…if it blinds you to the gospel of grace, when it makes you feel exalted above all, when it gives you no patience for the sinner, when it makes you feel it is for you that Christ came and not the worst of sinners, when it makes you forget that it is God himself who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure and that of our own we can do no good thing.

The posture of some Christians on social media is sometimes worrisome as a lot of people’s activities or contents are loaded with unnecessary arguments, labelling and putting people down. I do feel mostly that nobody gets saved by what seems like insults, judgments and castigations on social media, especially when people express opposing views to our Christian posts or messages. In many cases, it perhaps makes us no different from the people throwing stones at the biblical woman caught in adultery.

It is not here (social media) that we are coming to differentiate between what is morally wrong and morally right…it is mostly common knowledge. Nonetheless, if that has to be done, it must be done with a lot of tactfulness. To the best of my knowledge, people don’t become good when all you do is constantly hammer their wrongs in their face; they become worse. If you like, try that approach on your child and see how they turn out.

It doesn’t mean a Christian should never point out people’s wrongs, but there’s always a good way to do that; the approach matters sometimes more than the message. It is always important to remember that it is by grace that some of us even turned out good. We must always acknowledge the grace of God in our lives because sitting on social media, loading our timelines with Bible verses and acting all clean and righteous is not what is at stake. Fact is, when someone’s sin or actions bothers you more than your own and instead of working on you, you will rather judge and castigate them, you have a problem! It’s like today’s Christians are more interested in pointing out sinners than even praying for them so God does His own work in them. We just like to let people see they are the bad nuts and we are the good ones, I guess.

I may be right or wrong but I never maintain that I speak truth; I speak my mind on issues. It’s the recipients of what I say, write, publish, etc. that are the judge of whether it is truth (makes sense) for them or not. That’s why I don’t go about forcing my opinion on others for them to accept it as the truth, and if they don’t, they become the enemy. No, God alone is true and I’m not a Pastor so I don’t lay claim to “speaking the mind of God” and forcing His will on people. I’m focusing on living my Christian life the way I know best.

Social media is a great place to evangelize and spread the message of the gospel but we must never lose sight of our approach and conduct in achieving that aim so we don’t look self-righteous. We surely can build each other up, but we can’t force our truth on people and make enemies out of the very people we are sending the gospel to. And we can’t be hypocritical either, keeping our timelines flooded with scriptures just to look good outside while our real lives are questionable.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

The rise of women and the struggles of men living in a woman’s shadow

Perhaps, many men out there are very insecure and so used to a male dominated world that they want things to stay just as it has always been, to their advantage. It seems difficult for them to live in the shadow of a woman, especially in this modern day progressively feminine world. Men are born leaders and their ego worries them a lot, especially when they are not able to function in their natural role of providing and fully leading, or just being in total control of things. It worries many a man when his woman begins to rise above him and call the shots in the union and he appears to gradually lose his voice as a man. Many men will worry about having to adjust their life to tag along their woman’s lead.

It appears society is more accepting of a woman building her life around her man’s dreams rather than the opposite. Majority of men are yet to get used to such a life of being the “follower” in a relationship. Perhaps, that concept is a huge paradigm shift for a man or perhaps, it is rather the way some women handle their rise above men that freaks men out. Truth be told, some very successful women can really rub it in their man’s face with their kind of attitude.

It appears that it is not enough at the dating stage for a man to say he has no problem with his woman rising above him, say earning more than him, being more educated than him, being more vocal and wanting to be heard more than him, etc. Many women fall for that only for reality to hit home later when the same man who said he has no problems with stuff like that suddenly begins to struggle to come to terms with it when that reality manifests. See below one woman’s sad agony:

Even though it shouldn’t be, in our part of the world, a woman’s rise above her man sometimes hurts the man’s very nature and gradually develops into a life of insecurity and if not managed, depression could set in. In such instances, nothing the woman does going forward seems to satisfy the man. He may sometimes be successful in his own field but he still feels his woman is now competition…especially because many such women too don’t learn to shut up sometimes. They begin to feel bossy and act like they don’t need the man for anything as she is now self-made and anything she needs she can get…she may only need the man for sex.

Before her rise, the man probably feels he has 70% voice in the decisions of the house or decisions about their life. After her rise and the fact that the home has to perhaps adjust to her schedules to run effectively, he naturally feels he’s only got 30% voice or control in matters of their life/family and that “kills” most men silently. It’s perhaps not an inferiority complex but the fact that the natural course of nature/society as men have been used to is changing faster than they can handle. It takes very few exceptional men today with great understanding, to see their women rise above or be more successful than them and not complain, want to “kill” themselves or move to take a woman at a lower level that they can more easily control or command.

Somehow, it appears many men just can’t stand women calling the shots in any setting. However, women also appear to have grown tired of sacrificing their dreams and passions to simply follow a man’s bidding or vision for life and becoming reduced to mere housewives taking orders from their men.

It’s a difficult decision for today’s woman who wants to be independent of her man, achieve her own dreams and build a life of her own, to now have to tag along her man’s dreams or leadership. Unfortunately as it becomes, many women find themselves in a seemingly bitter place of either choosing her own rise and risking it all, or sacrificing her rise and focusing only or more on becoming a man’s home builder.

That kind of sucks because today’s woman kind of hates the tag “home builder” or “housewife”. They didn’t ask to be called by that and feel it’s a stereotype society/religion (at the time) has put on them. They now feel their purpose in life is way beyond just building a home. They are or want to be commanding leaders too and want that to sink into every man’s head. Whatever she chooses to sacrifice in the end (her own rise in the corporate world as against building a home) is her choice. It’s a difficult one but it’s a personal choice that she does not want to be resented for.

After all, life is all about choices and perhaps, it should be okay for homes to run on two separate visions, the woman’s and that of the man’s? Some say many marriages or homes are breaking today because it is increasingly difficult to find homes running on a common vision and united front; rather, you find the woman pushing her own separate dreams and the man likewise. Building a stable home has become secondary to our careers and dreams and nobody is willing to make the bigger sacrifice, it seems. Perhaps, the greatest losers are the children born in such homes as they become often lost in the mix as daddy and mummy are left exhausted daily after chasing their personal dreams and have little time to spare building a home.

Perhaps, it may be best for couples to strive for a good balance in their personal interests and dreams. Nonetheless, the kind of life we want to live is always our personal choice and whatever we choose in the end, we must be ready to live with the consequences. But we hope and pray our choices turn out right and work for us. For good or bad, society’s wellbeing depends on our choices.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Cover image source: John Ritter |theatlantic.com

Accommodate people’s personal choices 

Tell me why you feel my life choices offend you or are wrong to you?“. This is the question I mostly ask “nosy, know it all people” who enjoy prying into my personal life. And on a countless number of times, I realize they don’t always have any good reason for their disapprovals; it’s just something they themselves are uncomfortable with, their own fears, their self-created rules (dos and don’ts) for life.

In the end, those who are wise enough realize one simple truth: their fears do not have to be my fears; their life choices do not have to be my life choices. Their mission in life is completely different from mine!

The kind of man we will become in the future is entirely based on our life choices. So, sometimes you have to allow us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. We just need to know that we are answerable to our own choices. You need to allow us room to be men; to own up our choices and accept responsibility for the outcome…whether good or bad.

So, as difficult as it is, can we try this new year not to be quick to judge people? When you fear for someone’s personal choices, just pray for them that their choices, no matter how uncomfortable you are with them, turns out good for them.

It’s true we have to learn from other people’s mistakes and take caution every now and then. But it’s also true that what killed my mother is not necessarily what will kill your mother.

Simply, let’s make room to accommodate other people’s life choices. There’s a reason why God made us all different in the same human skin.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2020

Quit the blame game

There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.

The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you and you can’t afford to keep blaming people forever!!

The day you realize that you are in charge of how you approach problems in your life, and that things will turn out better or worse because of YOU and nobody else, only from then on that you would be a happier and healthier person and truly build a life that matters.

I beseech you…PLEASE QUIT THE BLAME GAME NOW AND MAKE THE BEST OUT OF YOUR TODAY!

Positive declarations and prayer

Today, I feel led to speak LIFE over you:
I command every dead thing in your life to come back to life.
May your business, finances, marriage, relationship, education, etc witness a glorious facelift.
I declare that your joy is returning and out of your belly shall flow springs of living waters.
I see God writing your story anew and I see the windows of heaven open over you.
You shall not die before your time but you shall live to be celebrated.
I silence every voice of accusation against you.
You are delivered from the grave!
The hand of the devil is lifted off your business, marriage, family, children, etc!
From today onwards, your destiny is secured and God’s pillar of fire is separating your camp and that of your enemies.
No evil shall befall you and no plague shall come near your dwelling.
You are blessed, an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord.
Many shall come to enjoy your fruits, to drink of your waters.
You are victorious in life and nothing can change that;
For He that has promised is faithful and He shall perform it!!!
Amen and Amen!!

It’s a prayer to be claimed…so if you believe it, shout a big AMEN to receive it.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Temptation

If you have been tempted in some areas and you have not fallen, it doesn’t make you a superman. Maybe you have not been really tempted yet in the area of your weakness or possibly the area of your greatest need which is not being met.

One of my favorite quotes has always been “wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he falls“.

That quote always keeps me silent many times when people are talking rubbish and going all spiritually hyper – being overconfident, self-righteous, judgmental and feeling immune to temptation.

You think you’re Jesus? 😜

Our vulnerabilities

One of the fundamental reasons for cheating in relationships is the fact that we always crave what we miss in our life and partners, and we become vulnerable when we find it in another person. It is in that moment of lack that our cravings and the temptations associated with them grows. Talk of craving friendship, affection, true love, sex, empathy, quality time, real communication, etc.

How long can one stand being starved on those?

Pressures of young married couples

Young married couples need money to run their life. Once you marry in our part of the world, your responsibilities skyrocket because it’s never about just you and your partner. There’s so much to do and there’s so much external pressures…especially from our families. You don’t have to complain in our part of the world…you just have to cope; it’s called being “responsible“.

We’ve seen many young couples unable to survive because many fail to sit down and plan their monthly expenditure early in their marriage. When you do, you’ll actually realize you have very little to save for your future after trying so hard to satisfy “everybody”.

Everybody is trying to get money out of you in our part of the world and funny enough, they see it as their “right” to have a part in your small money. Family, friends, church, strangers, etc. Some take it as a loan and do not pay back, perhaps thinking your situation is better than theirs. Others think it is their “human right” to demand money from you just because they are your family. The Churches especially, if they have their own way, they will take all your monthly salary and tell you to go depend on God’s supply.

Many churches these days don’t care the source of your money or how their members make a living. It doesn’t matter to them how young folks make their money (genuinely or not), as long as they bring it to Church. The more you give in church, the more you’re liked and the closer you get to (or the better attention you get from) the “man of God”. The more affluent you seem, the more the Church tries to get closer to you or act as if they care about you. Minus the money, you’re on your own. Some Pastors live on Church funds (which of course keeps growing) so it doesn’t matter to them to even think about the kind of financial responsibilities their members carry outside the Church.

Out of over spirituality too, many struggling young couples themselves too don’t mind throwing money at Church even if they can’t feed their family. If their family member is in real need even, they will rather send the money to church than help the family member with it and not have anything (e.g. tithe) to give at Church.

Some churches have no clue at all what work their young members do. In fact, they know close to nothing about the people they call “members”. They care rather more about “members” bringing in money to give tithe, offertory, covenant offering and all the many others they have devised in our part of the world.

We are living in a time where many people are doing very dubious things just to make money and some feel encouraged or rather pushed by our churches and their constant demand for money and so will do just anything to “save face” in church or feel they also belong. Imagine how close you are to the “man of God” or the position you hold in Church and most times that he asks for members to sow “a seed befitting your status” you are unable to give. Some Pastors will even force you to give by calling out your name or putting you on the spot with all manner of tricks.

But the sad truth is that, most times when young married couples or “members” are even in need, family and friends offer help faster than the Churches we give all our lives to with 100% religious devotion. In fact, you even feel more comfortable going to family and friends for help than the Church. The Church mostly becomes the last resort when all avenues have been exhausted. How many churches even help their poor members? Most times, they even take longer to help. It is mostly when “members” need the Church to come through for them that the Church starts acting funny with their “are you a member in good standing” antics, but surprisingly, one’s membership never comes into question when the Church needs your money (tithes,offerings,fund raisings for projects, etc).

The financial pressures are just so much on young married couples…but many times too, we are our own enemies because we try to do too much to please everybody. We must learn to live within our means, always watch our finances and have good financial plans for our life. We must live with the mind that help is never coming from anywhere. It’s sad because I often see young married couples depend on alms just to get by, yet still give all they have without thought to church, family and friends…just to save face and thereafter wallow back into poverty. I don’t know what kind of mentality that is though. 🤔

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Image source: El Carna Studios