To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Give Them A Guilt-Trip

It is something that I have often heard in preaching and it goes something like this: “I don’t want to make you feel guilty….” The background to the statement is that the preacher is preaching to the end that they want the people to respond to the love of Christ and not because they feel guilty about some trait or behaviour.

However, if you start looking in the Old testament you will soon be finding that the prophets, in particular, are wanting to send the nation on a guilt trip. By way of example if you read through Hosea 4-14 you will find that the material is presented within the frame of an indictment against the nation of Israel for their turning form the Lord and His ways. So we read The Lord has an indictment against Judah and will punish Jacob according to his ways; he will repay him according to his deeds. (Hos. 12:2)

And read Micah 6:2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel.

And again in the writings of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5-15 there is a listing of charges by the Lord against His people.

This all leads me to ponder upon the issue of the appropriateness of preaching so that the people of God are knowing and feeling their guilt. I ask, if the Lord was doing such through His servants of old why should we not be doing the same today? So go, fellow preacher, to preach to make the people of God know their guilt.

However, this determination to preach to the end of producing guilt should never be without the colourings of grace.

If we preach guilt as simply failing to meet the standards of righteousness required by God, then we preach a message that engenders lives of drudgery among the people. Such people are ever seeking to reach the standards of a divine being who is a detached king whose regulations we must adhere to as His submissive subjects. And there is not much pleasure and joy in that!

However, there is a grander biblical motif in which to preach guilt and that is of the divine marriage. Most beautifully this is expressed in how the people of God are the bride of Christ. Let’s dwell upon that. In marriage if one of the spouses fails to give due honour and attention to the other then they are guilty of relationship crimes. The one they are called to devotedly share life with is spurned for selfish purposes. For such a person we want them to feel their guilt.

And so it is when we preach the Word. We want the people of God to know that any breaking of their devotion to their beloved bridegroom in heaven is turning against the One who has devotedly loved them and committed Himself with eternal, self-sacrificial, blood shedding love. We want to make the people feel their guilt over this outrage.

When we are  aware of our guilt as His adulterous children we repent and return to our Lord. All the while through our estrangement the marriage bond stands and so our cuckolded husband does not sue for divorce,  but rather He stands ready to welcome us back into the enchantment of the harmony of sharing life with Him. This we once again enjoy through the blessings that flow from repentance.

We need to preach this kind of guilt because it is appropriate in the context of Saviour’s determination for us to be blessed in enjoying the goodness of being with Him.









India (1)

I am now in India. I arrived yesterday at about 14:30 at Chennai Airport.

The travel involved a transit stop in Muscat; beautiful airport. Journey was uneventful in many ways. Great views of Chennai coming in. I embarrassed myself a couple of times.

Firstly, by messing up my Bluetooth connection on my headphones. I had my headphones on and was happily listening to A Gospel Coalition podcast. Alas all those surrounding me were also listening given that what I was hearing was not through my headphones, but from my phone. Drrrrrrrrrrr. Happily a man on a nearby seat alerted me to my predicament.

My second happened with me wresting to open a packet of potato snacks. I only prevailed when I resorted to using the connection on my phone charger as a dagger.

Notwithstanding the superficially uneventful journey , something remarkable did happen.

I left Heathrow in a pit of despair. Through, my indiscretion and weakness, May Lin and myself had a very difficult forty minutes or so prior to her leaving me at the airport. My behaviour descended into a vortex of self-recrimination combined with harshness to May Lin. Happily we were, through repentance and forgiveness, able to bind together over the phone and “draw a line” before I left. However, to have failed so spectacularly, cast a long shadow over me.

When I got to Muscat I was particularly cast down in my mental and emotional state. Memories of my experience of depression of earlier in the year cast me in a state of uncertainty as I looked ahead to my time away.

However, the Lord gave me much restoring grace at the beginning of the flight to Chennai from Muscat. How beautiful was that time as in my brokenness I felt Him putting me back together. Chastened by the whole experience as I trust I am, I have also been made sensible of my own weakness which must be “kept on file” for permanent reference. Since then I picked up and felt a sobered optimism. Conscious of my weakness and similarly conscious of our great forgiving Lord and the blessing of a good wife to me and mother to our children.

The hotel in Chennai was decent with a great room. Had a swim this morning which was very pleasant.

I managed to keep going until 7,45 last night before collapsing into bed. I woke at about 6.15. What a kindness from the Lord to be given a great night of sleep.

The roads are something to behold. There is a continual cacophony of blowing horns. People can suddenly appear on the side of the road going the other way. Cows mingle in with the traffic. Motor-cycles are in abundance. Ladies riding side-saddle and the carriage of cargo are a couple of the interesting motor-cycling sights.

I am now in Machilipatnam having flown up today. Picked up by Pastor Sukumar Bandrapalli in Vijayawada  and very warmly welcomed into his home here with his dear family.

A 3×3 For You

Hoping for a brand new 4×4?!  Well here is something far better on offer. And if used regularly (and appropriately) this will enhance you life more than any elaborate 4×4 will.

So here is my 3×3 for you:


To have that 3×3 in our lives, marriages, families, churches, workplaces and communities will lead to all such realms being much enhanced. We are not talking about disingenuous manipulation here, whereby an apology is used for selfish purposes. Apologises are to be made out of love not self-protection or self aggrandisement.

Alas, the problem is often the other way. There are too many people who do not seem to have “sorry” in their vocabulary. Either these people are perfect, which is unlikely or self-deceived or proud. The latter two amount to the same thing. We are talking about people caught up in their own self-interests.

Rather, when love is found among us then there will be the beautiful functioning of this beautiful 3×3. What an impact that will have for you and me in all realms of our lives.

Please please accept the offer of this 3×3 today and I promise it will revolutionise your life.



Christian Young Men Considering “Dating”.

  • The biblical frame is that men and women come together for marriage. You should never “date” or “go out” with someone unless you feel there is some prospect that you might marry this person.
  • Casual dating should not be considered.
  • Clear communication must be had with the sister in Christ you are considering going out with so that there is no confusion as regards to each other’s intentions.
  • You are the man and in God’s order of things you have responsibility to lead things from the beginning. You should be the initiative taker.
  • You should only go out with another believer. It is wrong to be unequally yoked. The Lord says in 2 Corinthians 6:14  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 
  • Start by praying and reading the Bible together. Make that a key ingredient of your relationship right from the beginning.
  • Don’t be insular. Yes “go out” together, but make sure you mix with others. You will find out a lot about the young lady’s character through this (and she about yours).
  • Encourage each other to be going to church.
  • Going back to the biblical frame, the fundamental character of a male/female relationship being established is that the woman leaves her parents home to join the man in the new marital home (see Gen. 2:24). Regard should be had so that the parents of the sister are respected and at some point the father approached as regards to taking his daughter into marriage, should the relationship develop that way.
  • Make sure that you are very careful about the physical aspects of your relationship. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. But stirring up feelings through amorous contact is wrong too. The Spirit says in Hebrews 13:4: Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
  • Before marriage you are exploring whether you are compatible in the Lord and in marriage. The physical aspects of the relationship are for marriage. It is good therefore outside of marriage to make sure that certain parts of your body do not come into contact.
  • Any woman should have nothing to do with a man who disrespects her so much that he would “try it on” before marriage.
  • If you are in a relationship and you realise that it is not working out, then you should be clear with the lady involved. You must not let things drift on and let feelings  become intensified.

Your Wife.

Here is a good article by Tim Challies about his own wife, but with direct implications for all of us men who are married. From this I am provoked to think about:

  • Giving thanks for May Lin. To have a sister in Christ, as my wife, who desires to be faithful to the Lord surely should lead me to thank the Lord.
  • Praying for May Lin. How I need to continually bringing her to the Lord for her growth in the Lord and usefulness in all His ways.
  • Appreciating May Lin. Now I do not want to digress into how different people respond to certain appreciation, but I do want to make sure that May Lin does feel appreciated.
  • I want to encourage May Lin. I want to encourage her to move forward for the Lord.
  • Releasing May Lin. I want her to fulfill her ministry and so I should be laboring to see her released into fruitful ministry.
  • Enjoying May Lin. I need to set time aside so that we can have opportunity to enjoy being together.

In all this we will be building up our wives and building our marriages and that must be for good.

Church Newsletter

Here is the Feltham Evangelical church newsletter for October 2018. It has an article on the relationship between children and parents.

Happy Families

  • The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother and sacrifice himself for her good..
  • The best thing a mother can do for her children is to respect their father and be subject to him.
  • Husbands should make it easy for their wives to respect them and be subject to them, by loving them with self-sacrificing devotion.
  • Wives should make it easy for their husbands to love them with self-sacrificing devotion, by respecting them and being subject to them.

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