Dear Christian, Are Your Sins Any Different?

There are people in church who commit worse sins than people in the world yet they always feel they are better than the people “in the world”. They feel they should be the only beneficiaries of the grace of God. In life, it is sad that it is the one whose sins are in the open that is seen as the worse or baddest of all human creations. 

It is always surprising for me why we Christians tend to judge people so much…because just a minute’s reflection before you pass judgement on another would have shown you how much of a sinner yourself you are. I thought it is by grace that we ourselves have been saved and not because of any special privilege? I thought it’s the Church that says there’s no greater sin and that every sin is a sin, that the sin of murder is as equal as the sin of lying or even covetousness?

It’s such a shame the way we make the Gospel of Christ look these days!

Is is not Paul that said in 1 Cor 9:22 that, “…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some“? How is that even possible when today’s Christian always feels he is better that everybody else among God’s creations? 

It’s truly scary that the Gospel of Christ is becoming everything else except the Gospel of love and one that reaches out to even the worse of sinners. This is what happens when today’s men of God care so much about their reputation in society than demonstrating love to those who are seen to be “of the world”. 

Shame on us! 

Man of God, keep acquiring the wealth, keep preaching only in the comfort of your “big churches” and only to Christians…and keep giving yourselves whatever titles imaginable as men of God, and keep being happy about the death of souls that God sent you out to go and snatch from the pit of hell and keep being concerned about only your offertories in Church. 

Keep being only concerned about the monetary benefits or blessings of being a child of God. Keep being busy about preaching only in churches (or from church to church) because of the honorarium or “small envelopes” you give each other for honouring invitations amongst yourselves. Keep forsaking the souls trooping to night clubs, orgies, strip clubs, pubs, souls on the streets, etc because no “small envelopes” comes from that, except the risk to your reputation of going to such places with the Gospel. We know you intercede fervently for us your members do that no harm comes to us, but you need to do more and stand in the gap even more for the unsaved souls out there. When God gives you an opportunity for a soul that needs saving, you need to chase after them; they don’t need to chase after you, I guess? 

Do you even hold one single crusade outside of your church in a year these days? Do you even give just a small part of the monies you keep asking us to sow in church day and night to orphanages and other charities so we can also assuage our consciences of not doing anything for the less privileged in society? Except for invites for which if you are lucky one or two “worldly people” pass through the church, what else are you doing to go out there? You have left that work to campus ministries whose “Students In Church Evangelism (SICE) crusades you have even refused to support lately because to you the “mother churches”, the logistics (expenditure) is always greater than the number of souls won and churches planted from these student programs.  

I thought you believed that no amount of money can compare with the value of a single soul for whom Christ paid the ultimate price? 

Thank God your judgement would be greater as men of God. But for me, I pray God does not strike us down, especially you “men of God”. May He rather have mercy on our souls and be patient with us to change our own ways even in the house of God. It is really our souls that God should have mercy on because it will be much more regrettable if we ourselves miss the mark of the upward calling.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2018

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Every woman… 

Every woman has a longing. 

An innate desire of usefulness to a man because from man she came

But whether her value will go beyond the bedroom 

Beyond just being a man’s object of sexual gratification 

All depends on how she sees and carries herself 

The value she places on herself and sells out to the man she’s with

Will ultimately decide how her man will see her

Men always know the difference 

They know who makes it only to the bedroom as a “sin partner”

And who makes it to being a wife and a destiny partner

When all you bring to the table is your body and chopping of a man’s money

You’ve already decided where you will end

You hold the power to determine your usefulness.
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

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

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.

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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

Divorced Marriage Counsellors

When the world (including Christians) looks at marriage counsellors, they often want to see “perfect” people or people in “perfect relationships or marriages”. Very often we come across debates on whether or not divorcees should be marriage counsellors in the Church or not; and whether or not they are qualified (seeing that they couldn’t hold their own marriage together) to counsel would-be couples. Not just counsellors, but also Pastors who have had the unfortunate situation of going through a divorce are not spared the “bad image” and their credibility always raises eyebrows.

If you ask for my personal sentiments, I would say we don’t need “perfect” people or only people with “perfect marriages” to counsel us…we just need the truth of God’s Word. And that can come from even divorced couples or divorced Pastors.

Today’s Church likes to “play clean” and whilst preaching the essence of God’s forgiveness and restoration, the Church is still the first to castigate people whose sins come to the fore, even after they have repented. The Church will even try to deny them of continuing in their God-given calling even after they have repented and God himself probably have forgiven them.

Or the fact that God hates divorce means He hates the people involved too just like that?

It’s quite funny sometimes how the Churches scream things like “all are sinners”, “there’s none righteous”, “our righteousness is a filthy rag before God”, “God forgives all sins”, etc, which means they understand (maybe superficially) that no man (the holiest of Christians alike) is without sin. But when sin presents itself before them, they try to then not associate with it even in its “repented form”. Every Christian sins whether we like it or not; Pastors, Shepherds, Prophets, Ministers, what have you, all sin! And divorce is an equal sin as any other sin! But does that make anybody less of a Christian? People commit “weightier” sins in the Church, then repent and continue still in their roles. Could it be that some sins are not as glaring as the “sin of a broken marriage” that’s why Counsellors who experience divorce cannot continue in their calling?

marriagebroken

There is the story of a Christian Minister whose marriage was experiencing divorce and managed to keep it private (secret) for a few years before it went public when all hopes of salvaging it was lost. I’m tempted to believe that in all those years of secrecy, if he/she were a Counsellor in the Church, he/she would have still continued in that role until the point where it became public. And if that was the case, what puts him in good standing to give marriage counsel while working through his “secret divorce process” and what puts him not in good standing to perform same roles after going public? Have we not seen, heard and read about Pastors who are divorced and still continue in their Pastoral callings; some even re-marrying…and God’s still working through them?

Then again, not every Christian who is divorced had wished to be or is happy about it; and not every Christian who is divorced is the cause of the divorce. So why then do some still think that they are not worth being called good Christians or even worthy of giving good advice?

Taking counsel from a divorcee in Church is not a case of being unequally yoked or taking counsel from ungodly folks; is it?

No, these are Christians…and very good Christians in many cases! Nobody while marrying prays for a divorce I guess? They made a mistake and so what? Many of these folks are people who have regretted their actions and for some, if only their partners were willing, they would do anything just to restore their marriages. But sadly, many times it’s just a situation one cannot salvage. Sadly divorce seems an easier option than putting in the hard work to restore a breaking marriage; thus not surprising how amicable divorce processes are.

'Was your divorce amicable?'   'It was more amicable than the marriage.'

OK…one more story before we wrap up.

There’s the story of a female marriage Counsellor of a Church who discovered after 25 good years of marriage that the husband had been married to another woman even before her. As it were he had deceived her prior to their marriage about his marital status and there was no evidence of him being already married or perhaps she had just trusted him enough not to seek it. But as it now is, he’s fathered a child with this other woman too whilst still in this marriage. Two wives! And she’s only now finding out after 25 years! Now she’s worried that her own marriage has been a lie from the start and here she is a Counsellor who has advised couples for many years. And now she’s worried if she divorces the man, all the people she’d counseled and many others will say how come she a Counsellor has not been able to manage her own marriage. She’s worried her Church folks will begin seeing her in bad light and opine she’s not a good model to would-be couples and should not continue counselling. Question is what’s her crime? And why can’t she continue counselling people?

You see, we always make that mistake and see fellow Christians as our element of perfection. A divorced Christian is no less a Christian than those who are not; neither a divorced Pastor less a Pastor than others.

Maybe we have created a mess for ourselves in Christendom thinking divorcees cannot be good Counsellors so we make do with people who look clean outside but with so much filth and garbage going on in their homes only trying to deceive everybody that they have got it all together.

Who knows, on the judgment day we may be surprised to find that many divorcees are even better than those whose marriages are intact but with a billion hidden sins; sins weightier than the “sin of divorce”, maybe.

Does God forgive divorced couples and restores them in good standing as Christians when they seek His forgiveness? Or are they perpetually condemned on the grounds that He hates divorce and thus can no longer have a place in His kingdom? Well, ponder hard!

 

(PS: Not justifying divorce; God still hates divorce. His will is for all marriages to work)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Breasts Everywhere

Breasts are everywhere!

The breastfeeding mum’s fully exposed ones in public staring a man in the face does not seem to cause any problem. No rush of testosterone and those little adrenal cortex hormones at all! No complains!
But…A young lady’s half exposed ones staring a man in the face causes so much problem! Seest thou a man struggling to control his eyes and hormones at such a sight?

Hahaha…I’m not approving anything o. Not appending my signature to endorse indecent exposure in the name of contemporary trends in fashion o! I’m just thinking how to conclude this piece for my blog.

And I’m just so stuck trying to answer why a half naked breast of a young lady causes a (Christian) man to lust (sin) whiles a fully exposed one of a breastfeeding mum seems to not taint his holiness or stir up any hormones or lust. Or does it??

Maybe some breasts are more beautiful and enticing than others?
Maybe it’s a battle of the mind?

Screenshot_2015-08-21-09-18-31-1    Screenshot_2015-08-21-09-20-10-1

OK! I’m getting some answers…
(To be continued)

 

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

MARRIAGE IS ENJOYABLY HARD

Marriage is the hardest work that you still enjoy best. A lot of people complain about many things in their marriage that stresses them out yet when asked if they are willing to let it all go on those grounds for an independent solitary life are quick to say no. Of course we human beings are created with a high need for intimacy and an attraction to something quite different from the stuffs we are made of. The attraction is not the problem but living with and accommodating the differences is the real stress, but who can do without interdependence?

Knowing how to disagree and work through your disagreements is thus a vital key in holding marriages together because whether you like it or not you will have so many things to disagree about in marriage.

I am not exempted because my wife and I do have many disagreements too. But the thing is many of these disagreements I do not even remember anymore because the initial hurts seem no longer there because we’ve quickly worked through it. Many of the disagreements you even think back on and find to be very funny, trivial, unnecessary and avoidable…and yet which could have rocked your marital boat or relationship so bad beyond repairs.

ma

Guess all we humans tend to either focus or dwell too much on the bad stuffs in relationships than the good stuffs. One silly or even accidental mistake from one partner will just within minutes cancel out all the million good deeds and nature of the person! It gives a feeling like you’ve just been bad and worse all your life or all the period you’ve being with each other and that’s so deadening! Nobody just wants to make room for the bad stuffs at all…just the good! Meanwhile, life as well as marriage is made of both good and bad moments. The heartbreaking part is that in majority of cases, only a few of those bad actions are even done intentionally to hurt the other.

Many times I have realized that one of the quickest way my wife and I have ended disagreements and hurtful feelings for the other out of one person’s actions or inactions is when any of us are quick to remember and tell the other something like “Honey, you know I wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt you right? I didn’t mean to offend you…it wasn’t intentional”. And like magic that begins to calm the storm. Of course, that’s not what entirely calms it but it starts the process because we both are fully convinced that all things being equal, we wouldn’t intentionally seek to hurt each other. And once that reminder comes, all other things begin to fall in place.

int

I believe no conflict in marriage should be unsolvable. Well, that’s how God intentioned it when He instituted marriage. No wonder Jesus said even divorce on whatever grounds was not permitted by God in the original intent (Ref: Matthew 19:8). God wouldn’t have loosened up on His original intent to now permit divorce on the grounds of sexual immorality if not for the hardness of man’s heart (Ref: Matthew 19:9). But even with this permission I believe God is still not pleased with the breaking of marriage on grounds of sexual immorality looking at the fact that considering all the heinous sins of man He still doesn’t throw man away but picks him up, forgives him, cleans him up and relates with him like nothing has happened. I believe He expects close to same with all marriages; that no sin in marriage should be too difficult to forgive once forgiveness is sought.

No wonder the caution to love her like Christ’s undying love for the Church is a very deep and spiritual thing that the physical/carnal man cannot do. It takes a very spiritual husband/wife to forgive and still remain married to an unfaithful partner whether or not such a partner has repented of the act. I guess someone will begin to use that as a criterion for choosing a marriage partner. Good luck! Haha.

But seriously, a Church/creation lost in sexual immorality Christ will still reach out to, forgive and bring back to himself as long as genuine repentance is made. The same attitude I believe God expects of all marriages under the New Covenant even though permission has been given for divorce. This is why marriage is serious business to God and should not be trivialized.

god

Attitude and behavior I was taught are the major sources of conflict in marriage and as long as with the help of God we develop good Christian attitude and wisdom in handling our marriages, we are sure to save them and fulfill God’s intent for establishing it. “So many people have the will to have a strong marriage but don’t have the skill” Kathy Beirne said. I pray the Holy Spirit teaches everyone the skills we need to make our relationships and marriages work.

worksThanks for your attention dear reader!

God bless!

~Mark Gadogbe (McApple)