Friday, August 31, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry V {Guest Post}

This guest post is by Richard Rohlin: the Gentleman Adventurer.

And he's talking about who you should not marry. 

THIS is the fifth  and final part of the series.

And I know you will appreciate his insight.

People You Shouldn’t Marry (Pt 5)

Don’t Be a Jezebel (Cont’d)
Thirdly, a Jezebel exalts physical beauty over spiritual beauty. I want to be careful about how I say this because I don’t believe for a moment that being spiritually beautiful means that you can’t keep up with fashion, or that you don’t take care of yourself or your physical appearance. Sadly, there are women who think and operate this way, overshooting modesty and hitting frumpy instead. To make sure we keep things in balance, let’s take a look for a moment at the original Jezebel and where she went wrong.
In 2 Kings 9, the reformer Jehu has ascended to the throne and is now on his way to destroy the last of Ahab’s household. Upon hearing of his coming, Jezebel promptly begins putting on her makeup to prepare herself to meet him. Now, here’s the key: there is nothing inherently sinful about makeup. There’s not even anything wrong with putting your best foot forward when you are about to meet someone important.
The problem here is that Jezebel is trying to use her physical appearance to compensate for the wickedness of her heart. She wants to charm and impress her way into Jehu’s good graces – something she’s probably been able to do herwhole life. And that’s the problem – using physical appearance or charms to compensate for lack of depth of character.
I think that most girls probably do this without realizing it. It’s the ones that realize what they’re doing that worry me the most – the girls that proclaim modesty to others while pushing the boundaries themselves. But the hyper-modest are equally guilty.
Don’t get me wrong – modesty is important. But it is not the be-all, end-all standard of good Christianity. The woman who obsesses over her modesty and snidely condemns the immodesty in others is still guilty of the same idolatry as the girl who dresses to attract or impress men. It is the idolatry of physical appearance over inner beauty. Here is what Peter says:
Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands… (1Pe 3:3-5)
Peter is not telling women that they cannot braid their hair or wear jewelry any more than he is telling them that they cannot wear clothes. The key is in these words: “…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart…” It is not that you should not look nice or wear nice things. But that is not your adorning. That is not the standard by which you will judge your own worth or the worth of others.
So there you have it, my little Tirza. Do not marry an Ahab. Do not be a Jezebel.  I hope that wherever you are, whenever you are reading this, that you are well and that you know that your Daddy still loves you with all of his heart.
Your Doting Daddy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Muse II {Guest Post}

The continuation of The Muse I {Guest Post} is here! My brother Ben writes on...

Well liked, the young lieutenant had risen quickly in the ranks, catching the attention of his commanders by volunteering for the most uncharitable and well nigh suicidal missions fighting first the French, then the Colonists, and every type and sort between. Finally mustered out after a sword swinging rant against the Kings cowardly practice of paying other nations to fight Napoleon when, in his words, he would “put him down for a bob,” the battered old man had found himself with nowhere to go but to the home he hated.

On that particular and auspicious evening, the Colonel was sitting, as was his daily custom, before the low
fire in the drawing room. Staring into the embers he was seated stiffly in an armless wooden chair, smoking in slow puffs, waiting for his supper. All around him, peeping out from under a great many dusty oilcloths his ancestral furnishings languished and sagged, dreaming silent furniture dreams of the day when curtains might be thrown back, a great suffocating cloud of dust would be kicked up, and they would live again. Like many wild fancies however, it was very unlikely. If the Colonel had his way, he would die tomorrow and upon the reading of his will his few distant and conniving relations would learn that he had left them nothing at all. The furniture and the grounds would have been sold, the proceeds having found their way to the Soldiers Hospital in Edinburgh. He had even specified that his medals, his pistols and his sword be buried with him lest they find their way to a pawnbrokers and be lost upon his charmless relations.

As the old hall clock struck seven, there was a knock on the door. Mrs. Mulrooney, staunch and red faced
trundled to answer it. It was a rare soul that ventured over the moor to the House at all, let alone at this hour. From time to time, the butcher or the dairyman or the grocer would make a delivery at Mrs. Mulrooney's request during her market day excursions, but that had been last Thursday and she had received all which she required for the Colonels meager sustenance.

“Hello?” The woman pressed her ear to the door. There was no answer. She called out again. “Hello?”

Hearing no answer the woman returned to her kitchen and pausing to contemplate her armory, selected a pewter ladle. A God fearing woman and the mother of three grown boys, Mrs. Mulrooney had learned long ago that a good wooden ladle swung at sufficient speed was as good a weapon as an Iroquois war club, and a good deal easier to come by. Holding it aloft, she challenged the door yet again. “If that’s you Daniel Fairbarnes, you may expect a sound drubbing.”

It was not Daniel Fairbarnes. Glaring out into the cobbled yard, Mrs. Mulrooney looked down to see a small basket the color of rubbed ebony, its fine, willow whip sides gleaming in the glow from the kitchen door. A white silk blanket, dotted with raindrops covered whatever lay inside. Her frown deepened. There was absolutely no one she could bring to mind who would leave a costly basket on the inhospitable steps of a forbidding great house on this least charitable of evenings.

Bending over she plucked a note from where it was pinned to the shimmering cloth.

"For John Dunnagh. Sorrow born of joy may yet birth joy. Moss may yet grow green and flower on a stone."

The woman’s brow furrowed deeper still. Reaching down she scooped up the basket, finding it uncommonly solid and heavy. A moment later it was sitting on the Colonel’s table next to an iron plate of boiled potatoes and roast beef.

The Colonel growled, pinching the scrap of paper between his thumb and forefinger. The note was on parchment and even to his one good eye and in dim, flaring light of the single taper, the Colonel could see it was very fine. “What is this?”

“Someone left it for you at the kitchen door. Just left it and ran, I reckon. Didn’t see who. ” There was a weighty pause as the colonel stared at the note. Mrs. Mulrooney fidgeted with her apron. “Are you going to open it?”

Wordlessly the man placed the paper next to his plate and unfolded the silk. He paused and cocked his head. Mrs. Mulrooney craned her neck like a hen snatching at a fly. The Colonel began to weep.

To be continued...

Friday, August 24, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry IV {Guest Post}

This guest post is by Richard Rohlin: the Gentleman Adventurer.

And he's talking about who you should not marry. 

THIS is the fourth part, and its for the ladies...Or is it for the men?

And I know you will appreciate his insight.

People You Shouldn’t Marry (Pt 4)

Don’t Be a Jezebel
Lastly dear heart, as important as it is that you should not marry an Ahab, it is just as important that you should not be a Jezebel.
Jezebel – Even the mere mention of the name conjures up images of a woman who is morally-loose. As a culture we associate Jezebel with the temptress, the sorceress, the seductress. There are vague impressions of too much makeup, of muslin veils and dimly-lit palaces. But, when it comes right down to it, Jezebel is really much simpler than that. Jezebel is probably a very nice girl to hang out with and it’s quite likely she goes to church. She has a normal family, and given time she will almost certainly marry, or at least date a good deal, because she is the kind of woman for which the Ahabs of the world are looking.
First, Jezebel attains her self-worth and self-identity through idolatry. In ancient times, a person’s name carried great power and significance. It told you something about that person, and in a very real way it was their identity. Jezebel’s name, literally-translated from her native tongue, means “The Prince Baal Lives,” or “The Prince Baal Exists.” As I’m sure you know by now, Baal is a Canaanite fertility and weather god, worshiped by the same Syro-Phoenicean religion of which Jezebel’s own father was high priest before he became king of Sidon.
But in Hebrew, and this is a most unfortunate play on words, Jezebel’s name can mean, “There is no nobility.” The point, whether or not you put stock in the meaning of Biblical names, is that Jezebel was a woman who found her identity and her fulfillment in promoting her false religion – in promoting idolatry. In this way, she is not so different from the Jezebels of our own time, who seek for their fulfillment and self-worth on all of the pagan altars of the world: On Facebook, in their career, in their physical appearance, in ministry, and in men.
Of course the problem with this is that looking to any of these things for the fulfillment that you can only attain via a personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ is the very essence of idolatry, not less than Jezebel’s altars and asherim. A woman who does this is not just rejecting her God-given purpose as a woman, she is rejecting what it means to be a Christian. Such a woman I hope and pray that you will not be, and such a woman is not ready or fit to be a helpmeet.
Secondly, Jezebels will cater to a man’s selfishness. Going back to 1 Kings 21, we see Ahab sulking because Naboth would not violate the Mosaic law and sell his ancestral inheritance out of his tribe. Jezebel, perhaps history’s worst example of an enabler, took matters into her own hands and had Naboth brought up on trumped-up charges and promptly executed.
Tirza, if you remember nothing else of this little talk, remember this: A woman who will cater to her husband’s selfish impulses will be the single most destructive influence in his life.
One of the things that I have always admired about your mother, and one of the things which first endeared her to me, was the fact that she has quite simply never put up with my crap. Lovingly, gently, she has maintained high expectations of the man I ought to be, and she is ever holding me to them. I think it is something that she does unconsciously, and frankly I find it unnerving at times. But she expects manhood of me, and that affects my behavior because I love her and want her to be happy.
I don’t mean to sound as though your mother somehow bullies me into Christianity, because that is not the case. But you need to understand that very much of how a man behaves is based upon the expectations that people have for him. If people will tolerate or reward his selfishness and unrestrained ego, then that is how he will behave. But if you treat your man like a Man, and lay upon him all the commensurate responsibilities and rewards, he will very quickly grow into them. If he doesn’t, then he’s not the man you are looking for.

Friday, August 17, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry III {Guest Post}

This guest post is by Richard Rohlin: the Gentleman Adventurer.

And he's talking about who you should not marry. 

THIS is the third part, and I hope it makes people squirm--just a little.

And I know you will appreciate his insight.

People You Shouldn’t Marry (Pt 3)

Spotting an Ahab (Cont’d)
Third, an Ahab will shift blame. Psychologists call this having an “external locus of control.” Simply put, when things are going badly, it’s never their fault. It’s your fault, or their parents’ fault, or their employer’s fault or the system’s fault. We see this plainly demonstrated in Ahab’s confrontation with Elijah in the wilderness, where he blames Elijah for the years of drought that Israel has experience as a result of God’s judgment:
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?”(1Ki 18:17)
Elijah is quick to point out Ahab’s error, as well as remind him of the true source of Israel’s woes:
And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals…” (1Ki 18:18)
This brings us to an important question you should ask yourself about any young man: does he shift blame or take responsibility? Now, this is tricky, my dear, because some Ahabs are smart enough to shift the blame while at the same time making it look like they are taking responsibility, especially if you are accommodating.
They will verbally castigate themselves all the while dropping hints to you about how hard their environment is, how negative the culture or people around them are, or the seemingly insurmountable odds that they have tried in vain to overcome – and they will do this until you have no choice but to sympathize and tell them that it isn’t really their fault.
That’s actually a really good place to transition to the fourth unique trait of an Ahab – Ahabs will ultimately look to a woman to solve their problems. It might be their mother, or their girlfriend, or the suspiciously-large circle of girls they hang out with that are “just friends” (which should also always be a warning sign, by the way), but at the end of the day they will seek their validation and fulfillment in the Woman instead of the Word.
The classic example of this is found in 1 Kings 21. Ahab, who is already moping because of the judgment pronounced upon him by Elijah, decides to engage in a little retail therapy. He sees the vineyard of Naboth (which is roughly Hebrew for “vineyard guy”, leading me to think that this must have been a very nice vineyard indeed) and wants to buy it.
Naboth won’t sell, because of his desire to adhere to a stipulation of the Mosaic Law, and so Ahab promptly goes to his room and pouts and refuses to eat until Jezebel finally solves his problem via an elaborate scheme involving trumped-up blasphemy charges and a kangaroo court.
There is a trickier variety of this which is more difficult to spot – the man who pines away for female companionship or recognition, and uses this to fuel the engine of self-pity. Like any other kind of sin, this is ultimately a corruption of something that God created, in this case the God-given need for woman. And I don’t even mean to say that all men who greatly desire female companionship are like this. The rule should be, if you even have to ask if your candidate is the exception, he probably isn’t. As I said earlier, he should need you to make his good life great, not his miserable life good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry II {Guest Post}

This guest post is by Richard Rohlin: the Gentleman Adventurer.

And he's talking about who you should not marry. 

THIS is the second part, that I like even more than the first part (which I didn't previously think possible).

And I know you will appreciate his insight.

People You Shouldn’t Marry (Pt 2)

Spotting an Ahab
Spotting an Ahab is easy, if you know what to look for. You will find them on the street, you will find them in the workplace, and you will probably find a disproportionately large number of them in the church. The church is a sort of safe-haven for scoundrels. The outside world is largely still a meritocracy, where men are judged based on a number of criteria. Although these criteria are often not biblical, there remains a certain expectation that a man must act in certain ways and accomplish certain things to be considered respectable.
On the other hand, the church has been hearing “judge not” for so long that they have begun to lose sight of wisdom and discernment. And so the church is full of perfectly placid “good boys” and “decent guys” who share all of Ahabs’ weaknesses, if perhaps none of his malice.
First, an Ahab serves only when it is convenient or advantageous to do so. We see this in 1 Kings 20-21, when Ahab is given victory over Ben-Hadad of Syria. Ahab obeys God’s leading and God consequently gives him a great victory over the Syrians. But then at the end of the battle, Ben-Hadad is taken captive and brought before Ahab.
Ahab, though he is commanded by God to kill this wicked gentile king, instead decides to grant him clemency in exchange for some territorial and political concessions. No doubt this seemed to Ahab to be a good plan at the time, saving him a lot of effort and conquest. But it was also in direct disobedience to the Word of God.
This is what Ahabs do. They will serve in the church, as long as people notice what they are doing and it accrues to their credit. They will be honorable, so long as there is something to be gained by it. But the Ahab lacks the courage and integrity to do what is right when it will not tip the scale in his favor.
Secondly, an Ahab feeds on self-pity. We see this in 1 Kings 21, where Ahab essentially goes into severe depression and stops eating simply because he cannot get what he wants. He is self-focused, incapable of showing love to others except where it benefits himself.
Ahabs will have a lot of friends – in fact, they may be completely surrounded with people. Many of these people may even genuinely like Ahab and think that he is a “good guy.” But when you take a closer look at the dynamic of these relationships, a disturbing trend emerges. Ahab is not the energy-giver, he is the energy-taker. He wears his friends and his family out with his constant craving for self-attention and self-exaltation.
It is this very trait which will probably endear him to you. He needs you. He can’t get along without you. And there is a certain kind of person, a certain species of pride, which will thrive and feed off of the Ahab because on a fundamental level it needs to be needed. This particular kind of relationship is damaging and destructive because each species of pride and self-absorption feeds on the other.
Here’s a quick-and-dirty rule for you, Tirza, when considering a future spouse: Is he already a “whole person” without you? Before you came along, was he a healthy, energy-giving servant of the king? If the answer is “no”, then he is not the man for you. It isn’t that a good spouse shouldn’t complete you – but the man you marry needs to be the sort of man who has already grounded himself in Jesus Christ. You are not his salvation. You are not his fulfillment. Any man who is wallowing in self-pity before you come along and pick him up out of the gutter will make an idol out of you as he has himself. And what we idolize, we will eventually come to despise.
To be continued...

Monday, August 13, 2012

People You Shouldn't Marry I {Guest Post}

This guest post is by Richard Rohlin: the  Gentleman Adventurer

And he's talking about who you should not marry. 

THIS I find very interesting. 

And I know you will, too.

People You Shouldn’t Marry (Part 1)

In Living Like a King, Richard Rohlin will be examining the kings of Israel and Judah during the Divided Kingdom period. He’ll look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, and from them we’ll learn together what kind of men we ought – or ought not – to be.
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.” (1Ki 16:30)
As of this last Friday, my daughter, Tirza, is just six weeks old. This past weekend we took her for her first serious roadtrip when we went out of town for a family member’s wedding. As the bride came down the aisle, it was hard not to look down at the little girl I held in my arms and wonder if that would be my daughter some twenty years hence. I think most dads with daughters will agreewith me that no thought is quite so terrifying.
What kind of woman will she be? Who will she marry? Will it be someone who is good for her – a man who will lead her in a loving and Christlike fashion? Will I have the discernment to know the good men from the charletons and fakes? I pray that I will. But while I am uncertain about many things regarding my daughter’s future and my role in it, I am certain of one thing: I do not want her to marry an Ahab, nor do I want her to be a Jezebel.
So Tirza, if you’re reading this, all those years from now, this one’s for you.
You probably already know about Ahab and Jezebel. You know that they were bad people. In fact, when your mother and I chose your name, there was a long list of names from which we could chosen – but Jezebel never even made the list. It’s synonymous today with a wicked and morally loose woman, and there’s a good reason for that. The original Jezebel set a precedent for wickedness that has ruined the name for any future Jezebels who came after her.
Ahab wasn’t any saint, either. In 1 Kings, we read that Ahab did more evil than any of the kings that were before him. It actually goes into more detail than that, because we see that Ahab knew he was evil and he took pleasure in it, his depraved heart constantly looking for more ways to sin.
And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. (1Ki 16:31)
Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel is listed as one of the greatest and most aggregious of his sins – and there’s a good reason for that. Marriage changes you in ways that nothing else will. If you marry well, as I believe I have, then it will be a wonderful blessing that will draw you closer to God in ways unexplainable to a single person. But if you, as a woman, marry an Ahab (or for a man, a Jezebel), it will equally define your life for the worse.
One of the things that a spouse will do is amplify everything aspect of your personality. That is, a good spouse will draw out the good things and make them more so, and a bad spouse will do the same with the bad things. In Ahab’s case, he was already a wicked and idolatrous man, but it was through Jezebel that Baal-worship would first be introduced to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. On the other hand, a good spouse should make you more Christ-like; they are one of the tools that God uses in the process of sanctification.
To be continued…

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What He Says

His smile got to me before his steps. But this morning his mother handed me a few slips of paper. "He was praying the other day, and God told him to tell you this." She read it aloud to me, her finger tracing under the capitalized letters with no punctuation. Tears came and were only chased away by smiles. I think God is rather sweet to tell me all this through His servant. As I read it again, I realized it is for everyone from God, but I added ellipses where it got personal.

"I am tending to your heart's garden.
"Daughter, you have passed many tests.
"Every time you pass, I move you to another phase of freedom.
"Remember that I am with you.
"You will never feel alone when you remember this.
"Give to Me your whole heart and I will add unto you its desires, as you seek Me with continued diligence.
"I have given to you many dreams and see every secret longing.
"Wear My Spirit as a comfort, and allow My fullness to become your passion to advance My kingdom to liberate captives...
"You were made to draw men to Myself.
"I am the Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
"I have established My plans for you to thrive in life, and you will succeed whenever you put Me first.
"You are so very special to Me.
"I see you now, and smile at the eagerness you have to live your life.
"Rest in Me, Daughter, and work from rest so that it can become the joy set before you as you move with the effortlessness of My Spirit's wind...
"Fill up on Me, Beloved, when you lay at the feet of your Savior...and give Me the offering of your time and attention.
"I will shower you in the glory of My righteousness so that you will not slip on anything unholy...
"You cannot do anything to be more approved by your Father in Heaven.
"You have been justified and now carry My gift of righteousness.
"I am lifting from you every burden so that with the lightness of My yoke you can achieve.
"Draw near to Me, as I draw near to you and know that I can see you.
"You are not alone for I Am with you.
"Even as you admire...much more I admire your sweetness.
"Give to Me your faith in motion and I will become the shield around you, protecting you from the fears of life.
"You are surrounded now with wings of everlasting.
"Soar with Me, Precious, and rise up to be a beacon of light shining...
"You were not made to fully understand the depths of My love.
"Your heart is My garden, and we will plant together seed that produces life.
"I have collected your tears in My hand, knowing what purpose has been produced to cause you to become more like Me."

Isn't God just beyond amazing? I cherish His personal love to me...