Category Archives: Biblical Manhood

Mordecai, the Unsung Hero

When I read the book of Esther, I am always so amazed at the beauty of her character—the gentle, quiet spirit that surpasses all adornments and that is so pleasing to God (1 Pet 3:4). I am always so envious of how she seemed to obtain the favor of all who saw her, how courageous, selfless, and wise she was in her dealings with the problems that surrounded her life, and how readily she entrusted everything to God through prayer!

But this time around, my eyes were opened to the great love, faith, and humility of someone I had always seemed to brush over: Mordecai.

Though the Bible never hints at whether or not Mordecai had his own family to take care of, we can see from his actions that his heart was faithfully devoted to his own family, his people, and to his God. Continue reading

Boaz – A Special Wealthy Gentleman

Often when we read the book of Ruth, some of us may think that it teaches how mothers and daughter-in-laws should behave towards one another. It is the truth that both can learn much from Naomi and Ruth in this respect. But surely, there are teachings for brothers too?

1. Wealthy, but not snobby
Boaz was “a man of great wealth” (Ruth 2.1) – yet he greeted those who served him instead of waiting for them to greet him (Ruth 2.4). He did not only  have company with those who were elders of the people, but could identify someone who was lowly and in need and brought them closer to himself to help them (Ruth 4.1-2; 2.14).

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Reflections on Married Life: My Single Life

My single years have so far been the most productive in my faith. Prior to falling in love with Kevin, I fell in love with Jesus Christ. I had time to serve God with greater flexibility when I only had one schedule to consider – mine. I found him. Remember the Creator in the days of your youth. I enjoyed that time in singlehood and I enjoyed praying to God to find me spouse and to bless my future marriage. I can’t say that one part of my life is better than the other because both were given by God and through both, God walked by my side. Married life is wonderful, but don’t waste away single life fantasizing about married life. Single life is also a blessing, so use it to be productive for Christ. I had crushes and I dated other guys briefly, and I thank God that none of those experiences led to sin. Those experiences are things I want to share with my younger sisters and brothers in Christ to let them know the dangers of college dorms and even “casual” relationships and how God protected me.

Now I really look forward to serving God with my new partner, but this might take some time as even the Israelite army in the Old Testament excused soldiers from active duty for one year from their wedding.

When You’re Happy, I’m Happy

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built like a city
That is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statue given to Israel.
There the thrones of judgment stand,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels,”
for the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will see your prosperity.
Song of Ascents, Psalm 122 (NIV)

This is just one of the many examples of David’s heart, a passage I return to often to encourage and evaluate myself. Some people, when they speak, you just want to listen–you just know that the things that pour out of their lips are pouring directly out of their hearts. Men like David are not men of contradictions. His actions always matched up with his words–how he truly felt about God, how he really felt about people, and how he wholly served.

He may not have been a perfect man, but he’s proven over and over that his heart belonged to God. One of his defining qualities is the spirit with which he served. He looked always to the glory and joy of the Lord. He cared for the people with only His possession in mind. It was a mindfully genuine and selfless reign. He saw the bigger picture–he looked towards the end of the race course, and he sought out that one beautiful expression of God’s love: peace.

Peace within His walls, peace among His people, not for David’s sake, so that his reign would be smoother, so he could avoid hassle, so it won’t be inconvenient to his other parallel pursuits in life, so he could “get it over with,” so it becomes some political lobby to gain votes when time nears the election of God’s council. Rather, for the sake of his brothers and friends (not his subjects or inheritance)–for the sake of the house of the Lord.

In his personal life, though, and during his reign, did he really have peace? That’s debatable. There was too much bloodshed, God said. He could not build those walls. It wasn’t going to be him. But nevertheless, even though he did not stand for personal gain, he sought the peace of the assembly and prayed it with his whole heart. It was his lifelong and final desire.

That which he possessed as a little boy, he never forgot or traded or compromised. He offered it to the Lord until the very end–his heart of gold. It is the most beautiful part of a person; the inner mettle we are made of, and what refinement will reveal when the fire has had its way with us.

It’s not a wonder why God, while He may have been disappointed now and then through the years with this willful child, He was always satisfied and pleased with this select creation, because for this servant, God’s happiness was his own –and this was functionally measurable: he loved the people of God and he sought their prosperity. This degree of commitment can only be made possible through selflessness. That’s why I am convinced: this man gave his Master his all.

Ruth: How to be a single, dating Christian (woman)

Ruth worked hard at her job, staying into the evening until she had finished beating out the grain she had collected.  She is a biblical example of a woman who spent time to develop her career skills, a nod to the many sisters who pursue graduate degrees or career promotions. She did not, however, ignore the other aspects of her life. As a single woman, Ruth had her hands full with multiple responsibilities–her mother-in-law, financial duty, and a budding relationship.

Ruth shared her wages with her family, Naomi, and took care of Naomi’s needs.  While many youths starting jobs and careers will pour their earnings and free time into entertainment, better clothes, bigger flatscreen TVs, or other self-centered products, Christian youths should remember God’s standard in their spending priority.  Perhaps we can hire a lawn mower for our aging parents or buy groceries for them once a month.  When we remember our parents, God will remember us.

In addition to maintaining a connection with a parent, she also started a romantic connection.  While the student spiritual convocations teach high school and younger youths to abstain from dating, there is also a time to date and we read about Ruth during that appropriate time: when one is ready to continue life’s journey with a partner in marriage.  Ruth carried on a courtship while she also kept busy gleaning grain, so working on a career or education is not mutually exclusive with taking out the time to date.  We should accept opportunities of courtship, or at least consider them and putting them in prayer. Ruth listened to Naomi’s suggestion of Boaz, which requires stepping outside her comfortable routine and into the unknown–as we might have to when we talk to a church marriage coordinator or accept a brother’s invitation to start an email correspondence or chat over coffee.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from Ruth is to follow God’s standard for finding a husband. Ruth had a duty to marry her husband’s relative, just like we have a duty to marry a member in the True Jesus Church. Boaz was older, and Ruth had the pick of younger men in the field or finding a man in her hometown. For sisters, the men we meet in the world may be more educated, wealthier, or more handsome than church brothers we know, but what use of a companion would he be if he couldn’t share in our joy of experiencing the Holy Spirit and if he couldn’t lift up our faith and pray with us when we’re feeling down. Just like God led Ruth to Boaz in the land of Canaan, we can trust that God will lead us to the right brother in True Jesus Church.

Once Ruth starts a relationship with Boaz, she demonstrates the Biblical principle that the purpose of dating is to get married. This couple seeks the counsel of elders and the next of kin for permission to get married. Instead of drawing out their courtship, they were wise to seek out any barriers as soon as possible. Dating for too long, more than one or two years, makes breaking up much harder when the couple and their friends and family are emotionally, and unfortunately for the couple perhaps even physically, entangled. But if we treat our boyfriends and girlfriends with purity and aim to draw closer to God together, then a break up is not a shameful matter, but rather a praiseworthy moment where we can thank God for helping us to grow through this relationship and for finding out that we are not compatible before it’s too late, like after tying the knot.

Ruth is an excellent role model for how a modern Christian woman, and also man, can glorify God during singlehood. It is a time for us to develop a caring relationship with our parents, as well as allowing ourselves to develop godly romantic relationships (one at a time, of course).