Remove the labels!

You may have had some negative things spoken about you lately or throughout your life, but you must know this:

YOU ARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE LABEL YOU…YOU ARE WHAT GOD LABELS YOU!! HE ALONE MUST HAVE THE FINAL SAY!!!

So quit believing those things…and put on your new found label in Christ. And begin telling yourself all the good stuff: I am beautiful, caring, intelligent, the best… (the list is endless!).

Say it TODAY! Do not remain what people think and say that you are. There’s never a great time to break free from all that negativity than everyday. Everyday is the right time! So, make a conscious effort everyday to cast off all those cloaks of negative labels!

See you at the top!

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Stop lying to yourself

This new year, I hope that part of our resolutions would be to stop living a lie in our marriages and relationships just to keep or save face. If your marriage/relationship is not good or healthy, it’s just not good. Face that ‘shit’ and deal with it!

Stop all that “playing religious” just to hide the garbage in your marriage. It’s not good for your health. If you die in it, we’ll bury you anyways. There is so much to live for, and a whole lot not worth dying for. A lot of marriages only look good on the outside because we keep playing the game of religious pretense, deceiving our own selves.

I hope you do not realize too late to save yourself from a bad and toxic marriage or relationship this new year, before it kills you.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2021! 💪🏽

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Featured image credit: https://instagram.com/serwaaamihere?igshid=kyrilkeealxj

Christmas

Christmas is here again and for some, it’s just one of those festivals… that great time for wild partying, boozing and doing all the worldly fun stuff.

Fun is healthy and good for the soul, and it’s worth remembering, connecting and celebrating with family and friends. And Christmas offers a perfect time to.
But, Jesus Christ would want us not to just get caught up in all the merry making and wild partying.
He would want us to also take a moment and remember the man of the season, our Jesus, our Saviour.
Reflect we must, about His love, and the fact that He wasn’t only born, but He died too; then think about His place in our life and what value He holds in our life. But, why do all these?

“People don’t remember, let alone celebrate something of no value”.

To celebrate Christmas should surely mean that Christ must have some very important value as someone who ever lived (and still lives) and has impacted lives positively. He must have left remarkable footprints in our hearts to merit remembrance and celebration.
He must therefore take glory in our joyful celebrations, and we must lift Him high like a banner that flies across every land, so all men will see and know that He alone is Christ our Saviour, the risen Lord, the soon coming King, and the only true way and promise to heaven!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
May our celebrations glorify God as we spread love and happiness this season.

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Featured image source: https://instagram.com/iamamamcbrown?igshid=b1e0cit2ttwx

Public Opinions

Sometimes in life, when you seek too many opinions from people, you never get to make any bold decision! And most times too, when you need others’ opinion, you never get it until after a decision is made and then their “expert opinions” on your decision (actions) come flying in torrents. “Oh, you should have done it like this or that, or you should have gone this other way”, etc., will always be the feedback from your critics, who funny enough, just sit and wait to offer their criticism only after an action is taken.

The spirit of unhealthy criticism seems to have gotten into many of us, and all we know and do lately, is turn ourselves into “social commentators” who just sit and talk (commenting) all day on other people’s life choices, especially all over the media platforms. Whenever news gets into our ears or our social media feeds, of people around us who are striving in life and daily putting themselves out there to make ends meet – often on the back of many critical personal decisions – we quickly zoom into our default criticism mode and make unwholesome comments about them. If only we are putting in the works ourselves, that could be cool, but no, we always forget we have so many decisions to make about our own lives that we ourselves are not even courageous enough to make. Sadly, instead of lifting people up with inspiring opinions, we instead specialize only in pointing out other’s faults, denigrating them or hating on them. This is becoming the growing trend with this new generation of ours, especially on social media platforms.

This unwholesome trend is making social media no longer fun for a lot of people. It is no longer a place for the faint hearted, but those who can grow the toughest skin to all manner of criticism, abuse or cyber bully. It is now a place where even a post with the most innocent of intentions can place you in deep waters of cyber bully which can cripple your very existence.

Funny enough, most of the people we always find expedient to criticize for making what to us are ‘wrong choices’, as if that is our paid job, are the ones not just sitting down like us, trying to act all clean and angelic. Rather, they are at least doing something with their life, they are the ones putting their hands to the plow and trying out what works or will not work for them, learning valuable lessons and making future improvements. One day, they are the ones that will grow to become resilient influencers and world game changers. On the contrary, it is we, the critics, who now call ourselves “social media commentators”, who will remain at the same place with apparently nothing better to do with our lives, other than offering vitriolic criticism.

Perhaps, the most talked about people are always people who are doing something and trying to get somewhere. Critics will always remain to talk down achievers, but may themselves not be achievers. Very few achievers seem to waste time talking down others.

Well, criticism in itself is not a bad thing, but it must be constructive. Otherwise, it is only damaging and never builds a person up. People struggle to turn out good when they constantly hear negative words thrown at them. Try that on your child or spouse and see how they turn out. Words carry power and our words must always be measured, even if we want to criticize. Negative environments are just so caustic, and we must do all that we can to avoid them – at least, for our own mental health.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | @adina_thembi

https://instagram.com/adina_thembi?igshid=okjw7q120usi

God is sharing marriage partners 😊

God always brings the right person; but it’s your job to know and to take the chance. He obviously won’t just drop a perfect partner on your lap just because you’re the most faithful or committed Christian, so you can just take him/her and go. Or would He?

There’s something called searching and deciding (taking a step of faith) when it comes to landing a life partner. This is a personal commitment or personal effort. If you like, do nothing, just pray all you want and continue shying away from all the good guys and ladies (with all those flimsy excuses and wish lists) and see how that works out?

Well, the longer you wait for God to do some magic for you, the more the years come flying by. Well, miracles do happen, but, if you want it, you got to go out there, strategically position yourself and be discoverable. Of course, trust the hand of God in the process but also take personal responsibility and step out in faith.

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©Mark Gadogbe (2020)

A Philanthropist in Need?

Sometimes, the people who make the big sacrifices, who readily go out of their way to help others, don’t get help easily when they need it.

Maybe people just don’t believe their helpers can also ever be in need. How can a Philanthropist ever be in need?

But thank goodness there’s a God who supplies man’s every need.

Man out of his limited resources will draw, but God’s resources are limitless; what better helper than Him? He alone remains our help in ages past; our hope for years to come!

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Kneel down before I accept your marriage proposal

The convention in the Western world, and as depicted in many movies, is for a man to kneel down when proposing to his lady, especially if done in public. But, what happens when a guy doesn’t kneel down when proposing?

Well, below is a short excerpt from a marriage proposal video (involving two African lovers in Africa) that made rounds recently on social media, and that has divided opinions among our African brothers and sisters.

A lady refused a guy’s public proposal because he refused to kneel down while proposing. The lady says that’s embarrassing and cannot fathom why he wouldn’t kneel down for her. The guy says kneeling down is not what proves he loves her, and in any case, during church weddings, Pastors don’t ask the groom to kneel down before his bride when exchanging vows (putting on the ring).

This is the matter they have been trying to settle since 😊🙈. Your opinion may help our dear African brother and sister who apparently were madly in love, until the proposal 😊🤷🏽‍♂.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | hazelandgraceillustrations

Know your worth?

I met a sales guy the other day. He was coming from behind me and called out to me. When he got closer he said “Boss, I saw in a revelation that your girl was going to leave you for somebody else, probably me”. Apparently that was his way of striking a conversation. Wierd, right? Lol.

But I think my response struck him when I said “Wow, that’s cool bro. No problem at all”.
He was like “I thought you would have a problem with that and will you just let her go easy like that? Won’t you fight for her to prove you love her?”

I laughed and told him to forget that Hollywood stuff and that she can go all the way to Hell if she wants to.

He asked why and I said to him “Whoever does not value you enough to leave your life for another, you must let go and close the door. Life is simple and you will always find better”.

He nodded in agreement with a broad smile on his face and we got into other important sales matters.

(But why I’m I sharing this? Lol)

Let’s just say, it’s a fun post to usher in yet another new month of being alive…amidst all the COVID-19 ‘tribulations’. Dear July, be good to us and keep us safe! 🙏🏾

Witnessed a mix of good and bad fatherhood

Our fathers are great (not all though), but we do not want to be like them when we become fathers…we want to be better. Yes, better than they are or were! Come on fathers, a charge to keep we have…!

A charge to keep…🤔

My view of fatherhood has been a balanced one because of my personal experiences. Even though I focus most on the good, I appreciate the ‘bad’ as well.

Ultimately, dad has been a great dad, but he had his good times and bad times with parenting. I had a fairly balanced experience of fatherhood growing up. I grew up to witness at first hand, both the good and the bad. Dad had largely been a great dad; but at a point, he admittedly became a bad dad and neglected his responsibilities towards us. I wouldn’t say he is fully to blame for my parents’ divorce and our bitter experiences of growing up in a broken home, but he obviously contributed. Mum single handedly shouldered a lot of responsibilities until her untimely demise. But I’ve been blessed to also see Dad acknowledge his shortcomings openly to us following mum’s death and trying his best to make amends. I have seen a beautiful lesson of a Dad pick himself up and try to be better.

Even though it had to take the shock of mum’s death to perhaps bring our Dad back to his senses, I guess he really did his best to reunite with his children. Ten years on, after mum’s demise, he’s still trying his best to be there for us in every capacity as a Dad, obviously having learned his lessons. On our part as his children, I wouldn’t say there’s still any bitterness towards him for the way things went (trust me, words can’t describe how really broken our relationship with Dad was), except that we do sometimes wish mum hadn’t gone that early.

But we also do know that there are no guarantees in this life and that our story or experiences is obviously still better than many people who had to go through worse. Whether we like it or not, the obvious truth is that, there are families much more devastated by divorce and failings of parents. It is therefore important to have that balanced thought and always be reminded that, no matter what we are going through or facing today, our story is still better than millions out there.

So, on every Father’s Day going forward, we just feel blessed that things turned around for us and our Dad, when we never even imagined it would. And then, we also remind ourselves of our resolve to do better and be better.

Indeed, a charge to keep we have and a God to glorify! Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing fathers out there! Keep giving fatherhood your best shot, God being our help! 🙏🏾

Been grateful for this one thing…all my life 😊😁

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Take a stand against rape and all other sexual violations

Here in our side of the world, we have demonized everything sexual so much that it blinds us to real issues on the subject. Sadly, this apparent demonization makes it all the more difficult for people to be openly expressive about their sexuality and prevents open discussions on sexual abuse issues, especially rape. Quite sadly, innocent victims who try to speak out about their abuses rather get labelled, or their situation made light of.

Very frankly, there is a general kind of hypocrisy here in our side of the world, of everybody behaving like saints who have never had sex before, talk less of ever being abused sexually or ever coming close to being violated. Our “outwardly religious but inwardly sinful” nature will never allow us to openly make a stand against sexual violence. And that is how we allow it to even take root right in our Churches (the house of God) and yet pretend it is not happening.

Sometimes, it is difficult to place a hand on the real causes of rape especially. However, there is some positive feeling that, perhaps the culture of over sexualization of women which has seen almost every man growing up to see women as sexual objects (for the most part) to be dominated and to be used at will for their satisfaction, could be a major contributory factor. Trust me, even in today’s developed world, if a man and woman should be involved in a sexual abuse issue like rape, the man will simply have the upper hand and one wouldn’t be surprised if no blame at all is given to the man and made to walk free. The man’s power or ability to coerce a woman to have his way with her will be totally overlooked and it will surely be the usual rhetoric of it is the woman who doesn’t know how to keep her legs closed or her breasts covered enough, or doesn’t know how to carry herself modestly enough to avoid being raped, etc.

Yes, women are beautiful and many times could be objects of sexual desire, but that shouldn’t mean that it is okay for men to find women worth raping. Of course, any man would find a woman with all the right curves in the right places very attractive, appealing and desirable, but that obviously must not give any man a justification for birthing the slightest thought of rape.

Sexual objectification of women, as we see even in so many works of art, may contribute somehow to the culture of rape but it still is not okay. Let us not forget that women desire or lust after men too, but we rarely see them always going about raping men all over the place.

Obviously, the argument is not that women must absolutely be believed and to not hold any blame in a sexual abuse case (because men get abused too), but there just shouldn’t be any systemic bias towards men, and women must be given a voice to speak out against their abusers and demand justice. It is also important that the wheel of justice does not continue to grind slowly for female victims of sexual abuse, as it appears to be the case. Justice delayed could be justice denied.

We certainly need more public outrage, support and demand for justice in the fight against rape, like in the recent rape and murder of the young Nigerian student Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, right in a church where she felt was a safe haven to go and study in. The growing silence of us as a people only gives room for sexual abuse cases to keep growing and for the offenders to even feel free to walk about in society and continue to perpetuate more evil. We must all continue to lend our voice to the fight against sexual abuses because just one day, it could be any of us or our family members falling victims.

Maybe it is easy for me to relate with this rape and sexual abuse thing because someone very close to me almost got raped by a Pastor she held in high esteem and trusted as a brother and friend. Such traumatising experience is one that lives with victims their whole life and only God knows the damage it creates on various aspects of their life.

Maybe that is why a big part of my problem with rape and all other forms of sexual abuse is mostly with the Church, who I expect to take some lead in the fight against sexual abuses, but somehow they seem to play a laid back role and rarely add their voice against this social canker. But that’s not surprising because hardly would you find any Church on the surface of this earth that has not somehow tried to shelve issues of sexual abuse right in the Church under the carpet. If the Churches are constantly seen to be practicing and encouraging sexual abuse, how would they then have the moral right and confidence to come out and speak boldly against the practice?

It’s a really tough world out there for women to get justice for sexual abuses because this male dominated systems or support structures (including the Church) seem only interested in preying on women. The best we see them do is offering women a platform to hear them out but that’s where it seems to end; meanwhile what is of more essence to the victims and the public is real action or justice beyond just being heard. It’s really important for our justice systems and social support structures to be seen to be working effectively.

Perhaps the real work starts with all of us playing our part in creating a safe society for all and really taking a stand against sexual violence. May we not be seen to rather encourage it by either being silent or shielding offenders because they might be our Pastors, employers, family members, friends, and what have you. A victim somewhere is perhaps depending on us. We can all be the voice of the voiceless.

#SayNoToRape #NoToSexualViolence

Kindly share your opinion with us, for together, we can all become a strong voice in creating a safe world for all.

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©Mark Gadogbe (2020)