Good hearts

God created some of us with a heart for others.

Yet it’s been trampled on many times.

And a million times we wanted to give up on people.

Yet He keeps whispering…

“Son, do not give up; I’ll be the strength you need”

Again and again He will say

“Just hang in a little, soon you will know why I needed you not to”

It can be difficult at times not to give up

When people take advantage of your good heart

But if the Master requires we don’t

His will we must obey

Maybe there’s a lesson in there for us

How He never gives up on us

For the many times His love for granted we took

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

twitter

 

image source: Dreamstime.com

 

 

Marriage on a mission

Is your marriage on a mission? Ours is! We believe God has a mission for every marriage. He has a mental picture of how He wants every marriage to turn out.

Part of our marriage mission is:

“Our God wants from us a compellingly attractive marriage that turns people’s head and makes them want to know how much more beautiful God’s love for mankind is”

A lot of people have criticized us many times on how our open or public demonstration of love makes them uncomfortable and how immature it makes us. However, as often as we can, we try to remind ourselves of that ultimate call on our marriage so we can exert ourselves the best ways we can in accomplishing that calling or mission. And we evaluate our marriage and relationship often in light of that so we identify areas where more works needs to be done. At least when God was putting us together He didn’t say we were too immature so we’ve learned to ward off a lot of criticism.

Got a marriage/relationship mission you commit to? Or you are just living through the motion?

A great marriage requires a lifetime’s worth of dedicated work and having a marriage mission is like a shared goal that builds teamwork and the bonds of the marriage thereof.

We believe that in God’s mind, marriage is a tool for evangelism because the love we demonstrate in marriage reflects God’s love for all humankind. How we treat our spouses must reflect or mirror God; our love for our spouses must show in ways that make people around us take notice. John 13:35 says “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.

photostudio_1476964991422

I once wrote a post where I advocated that we celebrate openly our marital blessings because it is through doing that people can see what the glory of God in marriage looks like. It’s just like in Matthew 7:16-17, people will only know your fruits if they can see it. If they don’t see the flowers of a plant in beautiful display they can’t be attracted to it and can’t glorify it. Similarly, people will never know about the goodness of God unless we make them see it some way or the other.

Christian marriages can do that and Christians might want to begin to see their marriages as effective tools for evangelism. Like it is said in Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” See? Evidence-based! And the evidences are in the daily blessings poured out on our marriages that we are always tempted to hide.

There are however people who do not believe in making a public spectacle of their marriages, kids, blessings, etc for some very good personal reasons. Many others also believe that the more they “glorify” their marriage or blessings, the more they expose their marriage or relationship to the radar of Satan and evil people so they are better off hiding in some corner. Well, if the motive is good, stick to it.

However, fear only begets more fear and you will never be able to overcome your fears while still living in fear. The fear of Satan and his many evil works will only make him have more control over you and eventually cripple your public testimony of God’s goodness. And that’s always the goal of the enemy.

Someone once wrote:

“If all we who call ourselves Christians loved our spouses in a deep, real, vibrant and obvious way, imagine what it would do to the world. Imagine if it were undeniable that those who follow Jesus are more in love, more happily married, more sexually satisfied, and just had better marriages all around. In a world full of divorce and troubled marriages, such a public testimony would show people that faith in Jesus is more than just a claim”

Think about it!

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

​IN TIMES OF NEED…

I was in need.
But instead of helping me

I helped you. 

I did because I realized 

Your need was greater than mine.

But did that erase my own needs?

No, it delayed my own needs being met. 

It’s called sacrifice, fellow feeling.

Being Christian, maybe.  

But after your needs got met

You forgot to “help me help me”.

Somehow you forgot that sometimes 

Unmet needs produce more needs.

So eventually my needs did increase. 

Maybe I did mention my needs at a point.

Maybe I never did.

But somehow I thought you will just know

One good turn deserves another.

Maybe I thought you knew

How unwise it is not to return a help.

I thought you knew

Not keeping to a promise creates unsavoury reputation 

And breaks the beautiful chain 

Of being a blessing to others.

Maybe I got it all wrong.

Maybe I should have just rather helped me. 

But by not helping me help me, 

You have now created in me

A fear of helping others. 

But no, others we must continue to help

Because it’s our Christian duty to.

And our defaulters we must forgive.
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2016

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

MARRIAGE IS FOR MEN, NOT BOYS. IT’S NO MONKEY BUSINESS

When it comes to marriage, the difference between a man and a boy is not about age but maturity of the mind, emotions, intellect, actions, etc. Maturity does matter; but not necessarily in terms of age. As John Grier is believed to have said, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime”. See the difference?

A marriage between a 20 year old man and a 19 year old woman will be a rare occurrence in many parts of the world, where it appears the very first and sometimes most important determinant of the success of a marriage is the physical age of the people involved. In many such cultures and places the “a young man married is a man that’s marred” Shakespearean ideology rules.

Surprisingly though, the legal adult and marriageable age of 18 or lower is recognized for almost all purposes in this same places. It is well known that about 82% of the world’s countries and 67% of countries in Africa prescribe 18 years as the marriageable age. So what is the problem? Why hold strongly that marriage between 20 year olds will not succeed then?

Irrespective of all the benefits of marrying “young”, I always maintain that marriage is huge; very huge! Anybody entering that institution must thus “study to show himself approved” and anyone irrespective of the age (18 and above) who has done his or her homework well and has prepared adequately for it must be permitted to go in without raising of eyebrows simply because they are “young”. As the age old adage goes, “a child who learns to wash his hands well can eat with the elders”. Similarly, anybody no matter the age, who learns well the rudiments of marriage, can succeed in the institution. Or can we easily say as a fact that it is only at a particular age that people will be fully prepared for marriage and to succeed thereof?

Nonetheless, for a man, I think he should also make sure that aside every other thing, he is financially sound to run his family and if he can at 20, then glory hallelujah! And for a woman, if at the age of 19 she is well informed about marriage, motherhood and all wifely roles and is ready for it, glory hallelujah!

By 20 years however, most men and women in Africa and some parts of the world by the nature or structure of their educational and support systems would still be in school anyways. Funny enough, most will still be in high school anyways…and why think about marriage, sex, starting a family and all that when you are in school, probably still under your parents care and most definitely without any job anyways?

men-not-boys

“Marriage is no child’s play” does not mean a man/woman should be above 30/40 before marrying. There are no rules. It just means marriage is no monkey business; it’s not a frivolous venture, but is serious in content, attitude and behavior (and the list goes on). It’s a maturity issue and we do know that in many cases maturity is not commensurate with age. Proof is that we’ve seen so many old folks behaving so immature!

I do believe in marrying “young” but not rushing into marriage when one is not well prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually…and all the “llys” one can think of.

Marriage is an exciting journey…so good luck to everyone considering it, irrespective of age. Just know it’s no monkey business.

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

 

Happy New Year! Don’t trade your relationship…

​While love is universal, every relationship is unique…

This new year, don’t trade your relationship for someone else’s…

Yours is just as unique as theirs.

Start the year aright! 

Distance marriage fears

One night I had an attack; one I cannot expand on. It amplified one of the greatest fears I have with distance relationship/marriage…the fear of something terrible happening in the loneliness of the night and there’s no one to cry out to for help. Those midnight emergency situations where your health or strength fails and someone close by like your spouse is your only guarantee of life saving help.

In distance marriages, one of a couple’s greatest prayers is centered on asking for doses of God’s protection and being kept entirely in good health so no emergency situations materialize. Such emergency situations that will require you being there asap but geographical distance won’t allow it are very dreadful and praying against them tops a long distance couple’s prayer list.

long-distance-relationship-image

What if something happens to your partner out there and you are needed immediately but can never show up in time (actually days) because you now have to be at the mercy of some embassy visa processes since you don’t have a diplomatic passport to just get up and go? Not forgetting that “flight tickets cost an arm and a leg” anyways. All those situations that a call or text is not enough to offer comfort are very dreadful.

…And far from the fears, need I say a lot of funny jealousies build up sometimes too? Lol

tumblr_o5nmrwmapi1v5kbzpo1_500

Well…God is good all the time and He keeps having our backs! Forever our refuge in times of trouble, right?

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Lateness at our weddings

I had written this a long time ago but could not publish it because a couple of friends who got married around that time would have said it’s about them. Funny it is, but I have learned one thing in recent times that timing is very important even with publishing of my posts and I still have unpublished posts that are over a year old. So now that at least I know of no close friend whose invite I am honouring soon, I feel at liberty to publish this. Lol.

I thought the day and age where we used to keep people waiting hours at marriage and wedding ceremonies should have been long gone now but sadly it’s still with us. If there was any glamour in it in years past, my dear bride and groom, it’s no longer glamorous. The age we are in now, time is of big essence to throw away waiting for a bride and groom for hours. It adds no value to anybody’s life to have to wait hours for a marriage/wedding ceremony to start. It doesn’t make any bride or groom too any more valuable than they already are. If anything, it rather looks disrespectful of people’s valuable time and for you the bride and groom, it creates a bad image on you especially when you are of the educated or elite class.

Of course we all know sometimes things don’t go as planned and some unexpected stuffs can cause delays but seriously, for hours? Hell no! It’s unacceptable! Of course it’s your day and all your guests have put off important things for your sake just to show their love; but don’t take them for granted! It’s a choice you have to make way before the wedding day.

575088

In this part of our world where marriage is not just between bride and groom but a family affair, it makes it even more important that you accord a little bit of courtesy to important family members most of whom are way older than you that at least you should respect their time. It surely is very annoying when your entire family and important guests gather at the time you yourself has given them and now have to wait for you for hours!

Ok, we in this part of the world are never on time so that’s why if it’s supposed to start at 12pm you let your invite read every 10am? Oh come on! A few minutes late may be pardonable (doesn’t mean it’s encouraged), but not 2 hours late for God’s sake! But that’s what our educated brides and grooms are doing to us.

When I was getting married my wife and I agreed that we are educated and should not embarrass ourselves with excessive lateness. We were glad and even more put on edge when the presiding Pastor also stressed same to us during our last meeting with him a day before the event with the words “you guys are learned so don’t act otherwise and keep everybody waiting”. And he was glad after the ceremony that we did not disappoint him and all the people who had travelled from very far to honour us.

There were circumstances that could have made us late especially my camera man deciding not to show up on time. I remember leaving to the Church without him doing the coverage and sending strict instructions to my wife and the bridal team not to wait for him and that I would be so pissed if we had to go against our “no lateness” resolve because of him. Luckily, he was able to catch up with my wife and the bridal team on their way. So as it were, things didn’t go as planned and he couldn’t cover the dressing and preparations before the wedding as agreed and yet wanted to hold us against our resolve, demanding we wait for him. Annoyingly though he saw nothing wrong with it because according to him it is unusual for weddings to start almost on time and that almost all the weddings he has covered started at least an hour after start time.

photostudio_1476968558448

It is very unfortunate when at a wedding guests begin to make comments like “If I had known I would have taken my time and not come on time or at least eat before coming” just because by the time your reception starts (going by when programme was supposed to start), your guests would have been dying of hunger just because of that little cocktail or buffet. Of course a start time of 10am for a church wedding does not mean groom must be there exactly 10am because they arrive first (that will be great though) but both groom and bride not arriving so many minutes or hours beyond start time in my opinion is disrespectful of people’s time!

Well, maybe it’s just so ingrained in us that we just can’t help it. Then again I thought we only do that while here at home but no, we do it even when we are living abroad. I almost left a wedding of some friends when I was in the UK had it not being that it started to rain just about the time my patience run out. And the atmosphere in the Church that day and the embarrassing expressions of the Pastor, officiating ministers and the groom who had to wait hours for the bride (yet everybody switching to happy mood the moment bride finally entered as if they were not boiling and complaining moments ago) is one that I can never forget.

Shame on us!

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

Like, Comment, Share…and Subscribe!

Unethical Prophets and “Men of God”

There’s so much ethical crisis in the Church (leadership) today, from mishandling and dishonesty with church finances to living extravagant lifestyles at expense of poor church members’ offerings, proud, arrogant and immoral lifestyles, showing no concern for views and trials of church members, increasing interest in cheap fame/popularity and misusing God’s anointing, among others.

When it comes to spiritual things or callings, some people believe they are a law unto themselves and don’t need being regulated. They decide what they want to do as long as they can hide behind the idea that it is a spiritual direction from God…or wherever they get their direction from. They give no regards to normal ethics even in its simplest forms. It appears lately there are no ethics to spiritual callings and the “office of Prophets” especially appears the most unethical. We see too many unethical Prophets and “men of God” these days that an increasing number of people no longer appreciate prophecy or believe in it. And many times one will wonder if they ever learn or are taught anything like ministerial ethics.

What I personally don’t fathom sometimes is how we often see in our churches many unethical Prophets and “men of God” who put people’s personal issues out to the congregation during “deliverance services” claiming they have received one revelation or the other from God about the person. I’ve got no problems with deliverance services or revelations, but I do feel sometimes that the fact that God reveals something to you during your ministration about somebody’s situation shouldn’t give you the right or permission to put it out there just like that without even weighing in on the impact that could yield later. If the revelation is about the person, I believe there is a good way to tell the person without screaming in the microphone about it to the entire congregation!

There are a lot of very sensitive issues that come out mostly in churches and in the aftermath of the “revelations”, peoples’ lives are left worse off…mostly because of the victimization and ill attitude they encounter later from church folks.

I’m tempted to believe in Bible days when God gives his Prophets a revelation about or a message for somebody, the message is for the person’s hearing alone, whether it is a good or bad message? The fact that it is a congregational service doesn’t mean when you call someone forward and a message comes to you about the person you blurt it out there in the microphone, whether it be a good or bad message?

hqdefault

People are told “I see you getting married before the year ends” to resounding cheers and then the year ends and nothing happens and church folks begin to jeer, gossip and do all sort of things. And many times the Prophets are “always right” to many Christians so when the things they declare on people don’t see the light of day, then they blame is on the person who apparently must have gone to commit some sin or not prayed on the prophecy or not acted in ways to bring the prophecy into being so they suffer for it in the sight of other members.

People are told “I see God calling you to be this and that” and some people just forcefully align their destinies with what the Prophet has said and of course the expectations of Church folks to function as such and so end up struggling to function in callings that as it may God himself has not destined for them. Then there are others who after fasting and praying themselves on the Prophet’s “authentic declaration” and being convinced the calling is not for them and so make no effort to “become what the Prophet said” are looked at some way by Church folks; the courageous ones questioning them why they have “refused” to become what Prophet said they will become.

I remember a true story a friend of mine shared with me. She narrated how her church once hosted a Prophet who during his ministration called forward a lady chorister and told the whole congregation “what God has revealed to him” about the lady. And his revelation was that the said lady is a fornicator and has an unholy relationship with her boyfriend who promised marrying her but has been abusing her yet for the love she has for him she is still with him. According to her the whole church was thrown into a state of murmurings, including her fellow choristers; and the lady couldn’t bear the public shame that God apparently was putting her through and broke down crying. According to my friend she herself felt so embarrassed and couldn’t imagine being in the lady’s shoes and all that might be going through her mind. Apparently in her words, the lady is one of the choristers who sing as if heaven has engulfed the church so it was a good day for the church folks who were screaming “eeii” “eeii” to the revelation. She wondered whether the Prophet couldn’t have handled the revelation meant for the lady in a much better way or he was too much under the “anointing” that ethics didn’t matter. Weeks later she told me she hasn’t been seeing the lady singing with her fellow choristers again and she suspects she might have stopped coming to church.

Then there was another lady called forward of whom the prophet said her mother is a witch and the reason for all her many misfortunes and she wondered what use is that sensitive information that can wreck a family to her my friend as a congregant to know. She asked me rhetorically, couldn’t they the congregation have still prayed for the said lady without that information being blurted out? Then she said if it were the lady she would just have stopped the church because she can’t imagine all the eyes that will be looking at her every Sunday and perhaps screaming in their heads “here comes the daughter of a witch”. “Even if my own mother is a witch and I even know it myself, there’s no way I am going to announce it to a whole church so why should God be interested in doing that?”, she expressed in worry.

And the examples go on and on and all over in almost every “spiritual” church. Not everybody is comfortable with every detail about them, whether good or bad, thrown out to public domain all in the name of prophesy? What code of ethics do ministers of God work with anyways?

Many men of God are doing so many unethical and humiliating things to people in the Church all in the name of the practice of spiritual callings. I’m not a Prophet to understand why and maybe I’m not “spiritual” so cannot discern spiritual things with my carnal mind but I sure do not think God’s intention for the prophetic and pastoral calling is how we see it being practiced.

fb_img_1455263628391

As for some of the Prophets and “men of God” who apparently God reveals football match and election results to so that we know and do what about, and whose only motive is to pride themselves with public declarations or “prophecies” about the death of people and not to save them, the least said about them the better. For now all I can say is, if of all the things happening in the world the only ones God cares about to inform us to just know for knowing sake are football and election results, then “I can’t think far” as Ghanaians have coined. And who knows, maybe mere prediction and soothsaying (perhaps under the influence of having eaten too much) is the same thing as prophesying under the unction of the Holy Spirit; or maybe we as Christians are just too gullible.

Well, the thing with opinions…maybe I’m getting it all wrong but whatever it is, God help his people!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

Like, Comment, Share…And Subscribe!

Featured Image source:
LifeandLeadership.com

Fornication…

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife”
~~Exodus 22:16

Many believe that in our present day and age, the enforcement of the Exodus 22:16 verse/law would be a great encouragement to fornication. Some also think applying Mosaic Law in the New Testament dispensation is like crucifying Christ again.

In others view too, if the focus of the new testament is only about fleeing fornication, then what happens in a situation when someone is unable to follow the rules all the way through and where do we find a remedy for that situation. Are they totally condemned because they couldn’t flee?

Again, others feel there should be a balance so we don’t try to live the Christian life only on the basis of the New Testament, after all the Bible in its entirety is our manual, not just the New Testament.

images

So what do I think? I think both verses (Exodus 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:18) being in the Bible makes the Bible a holistic book.  Though there are some varied histories behind the Exodus verse and what was the norm in those days, I do not believe the verse is meant for pagans; neither do I believe it is there to encourage promiscuity or the lack of self control. And whether or not its application or relevance should be left to die with the practice of old and not brought into modern day Christianity, the reality is that I believe God in His infinite wisdom knows that even in today’s Christendom, some will get caught up in a situation where they are unable to exercise self-control and have “unmarried sex” and maybe have pregnancy on their hands before marriage. And what should then be the Bible’s requirement when that happens to a virgin or woman of marriageable age? Judge and condemn them because “fornicators” shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and on that basis prevent them from getting married because of the sin? Should they be made to look like the worse of sinners as some Churches do or be allowed to marry even when they are willing?

I do not see the application of Exodus 22:16 as condoning wrong or encouraging sin but just the recommendation of the Word of God. Repentance will not be required of Christians and mentioned in the Bible if God was oblivious of the fact that Christians do sin or will sin (not as a habit though). All sin is sin; fornication (whether a one-time act or serial act) is an equal sin as any other sin. Christians do mess up, don’t they?

Far from it, I’m not encouraging fornication; just sharing my thought on the Exodus 22:16 verse. Premarital sex is a sin and that’s undisputed! Premarital sex is sexual immorality and all sexually immoral (I believe those whose actions have become a conscious habit and not just someone who once fell into sexual sin and repented) will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

sexual-sin

But what’s the atonement for every form of sin as the Christian knows and lives by? Isn’t it simply a genuine repentance and change from one’s old ways (though some consequences of one’s sins cannot be undone)? And aren’t all Christians, including Pastors, only being perfected in that regard? Is it not true that we all are not perfect; at least, not yet?

So yes, I’m not encouraging premarital sex. I’m only saying that the practice where a Christian brother and a Christian sister are made to feel like the worse of sinners when either by “mistake” or some unrestrained passions they fornicate and even refused marriage by the Church even when they are willing to is too extreme and not a balanced Christian principle in my view. Of course I do not expect the Church to encourage sex before marriage or preach it, but neither do I expect the Church to assume that Christians are without sin. Christians were sinners before accepting Christ and Christians are not without sin after accepting Christ.

What do we sometimes see in Churches? Some churches decline such folk marriage even when the people involved have acknowledged their sin, repented and are willing to. Some churches say they have to punish or discipline the people involved in order to maybe purge out the sin or serve as deterrent to others. To do this therefore they instill certain rules. In some churches the Church Pastor brings them before the whole congregation and shames them, telling of their act. Then, the “fornicators” (not the appropriate tag because I don’t believe someone who fornicates and then repents still qualifies to be called a fornicator) when in Church cannot sit among the congregation but at the far back of the church in specially reserved seats for such folks. He/she is also not allowed to partake in communion; neither is he/she allowed to come near the “altar”, among other restrictions.

The Biblical basis for such actions is sometimes “absurd” to me; but surprisingly many Christians submit to these kinds of treatments by the Church, maybe out of respect for Church elders or “Church discipline”. Those who are unable to handle the ill treatment just leave the Church altogether.  Church discipline especially regarding dating and relationships is a very sensitive and divisive issue to many Church folks anyways.

hold-hands

When two people are unable to exercise self-control which leads them to fornicate, I’m convinced the Biblical solution is to pray for them and encourage them to repent and mentor them. And should pregnancy be the outcome, they should be made to consider marrying especially if they are of marriageable age and offered as much help that the Church can in that regard.

Isn’t that what Exodus 22:16 recommends? Even if marriage is not the option they want to pursue, a lot can still be done for them other than shaming? Why a Church will rather chose to not encourage the praying for, mentoring and marriage option, but be interested in shaming and “disciplining” instead is what is sometimes not [biblically] clear.

Nonetheless, here’s how one Dr Lawson Stone interprets Exodus 22:16:

“Clearly this text has no idea of justifying or legitimizing any kind of sexual intercourse prior to marriage, but is a sanction enforcing marriage as the only setting for sexual union. The Church’s emphasis on sexual sin appears selective, harsh and hypocritical”

Well, the thing with opinions; they are so varied!

God help us!

(PS: Fornication is sin; as much as you can, flee it!)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author