My Great Gift

What is going on when treasuring takes place? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday on her blog, my wife wrote a very touching piece about me. I figure I should do the same. What we have goes both ways. It’s quite unique also because in many ways, we’re so very very different.

People who know me know that for the longest time, my great question in life is would I ever get married. When I first entered the Master’s program at Bible College, I was invited along with the other students to attend a dinner at the president’s houses. Others were told to bring their spouses. I couldn’t, so I asked if I could bring my parents, which was fine. When I got there one of the professors did ask me “Nick. How did you get through here without getting married?”

Yeah. You’re not the only one asking that question.

Then some of my friends around me started to marry. Okay. I tried to live with it, but I was often really hurting. It’s selfish, yes, but I was thinking about myself. When is it going to be my time? When I meet guys who are still wondering that, I totally get it.

Eventually, I moved to Charlotte. There I started getting in touch with several apologists and I did have a new circle of friends. Most of them weren’t married. Among the apologists I had got to meet was Gary Habermas and we emailed from time to time.

One day I was getting off of work from the Christian Research Institute and heading home. I remembered hearing Gary was going to be teaching a seminar at SES, my seminary then, on the historical Jesus. I thought I’d drop by and just say hi to him. While I’m there, he asks me if I know who Mike Licona is. I tell him I do. He had debated Bart Ehrman there and he co-wrote a book on the resurrection with Gary.

Gary tells me that he was talking with some others about Mike because he had a daughter who was going through a hard time. Frank Turek was among them and I think Alex McFarland might have been another. In the conversation, it came up that Mike’s daughter, Allie, has Aspergers. Frank said “Well, Nick Peters has Aspergers.” Gary asked me if I’d like to contact Allie and help her out.

I agreed to do this and so we emailed. I was nothing that Allie was expecting. You see, Allie was thinking apologists were all these high academic types and sharing similar interests would not be there. She was surprised. When she started talking about playing Pokemon, I was right there. I had played the games too and knew about them. We could talk about Final Fantasy as well. When she got silent one night during the conversation on AIM or Facebook, I started worrying she had done something. It might be a bit stalker like to some, but I didn’t want to take chances. I found her number on her Facebook and gave her a call. She didn’t know who it was, but it touched her when she saw how concerned I was for her.

Interestingly, she had been wanting to get back together with an ex when I came along and she just wanted me to be a friend. Besides, she saw my Facebook picture. It said nerd all over it to her. She did not want to be with a nerd, unless he was Asian.

Well, that was the plan at least.

More of the story can be found on Facebook, but let’s just say that when she told her mother we were dating, it was Labor Day. Gary and his wife Eileen were visiting the Liconas then. Eileen turned to Debbie, Mike’s wife, after Allie left and said “summer wedding.”

She was right. Within a year, we were married.

Her parents had seen us as a perfect fit, and they were right. Of course, I am nearly ten years older than Allie and normally, that would give suspicion, but they saw the character of the guy who was dating her. No matter what, I always wanted to do more and more to please Allie. Shortly after we got engaged, Debbie put up a status on Facebook about Mike building her a porch and how her husband spoils her. When I said something about her future son-in-law doing the same, she replied that Mr. Peters is the king of spoiling.

Hey. My wife’s love language is gifts. I like to get her things.

People don’t enter marriage intending to change, but they do. Both of us have changed, but I can speak firsthand about the changes with me, and people who know me have seen the change. I have a greater maturity that wasn’t there before. Am I still a tease and a prankster and everything else? Yes. At the same time, there is a deep deep commitment.

You see, I did something unusual. I trusted myself to a woman. Marriage involves the greatest trust between two human beings. To be fully intimate with your spouse means you have to be open. If you are not open, you do not get the full joy of loving and being loved. You are depriving marriage of all that it could be for you.

I found that trust was totally transforming. No earthly love has had the effect on me that Allie’s love has had. Nothing has made me strive to want to be a better man. I did this so much that I made my own Facebook group for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry to help us all learn how to be good husbands.

I found I was more confident in ministry as well. When Allie gives me trust and affirmation and lives it out, I am able to do most anything. There’s honestly nothing like it. I can walk with a lot more confidence in my own ministry because I have such great affirmation from her.

It’s totally transforming and I don’t understand it. I see myself as someone who is striving to be rational in all things and understanding all that I can. Still, I do not understand this love. I don’t think I ever will, but I think I will always try. I do not understand what it is about Allie that drives me crazy in such a good way. I have loved this woman so much, and I do not still understand really what it is.

In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest says at one point “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” I disagree with that. Love is indeed a great mystery. It is something we grasp to understand, but I do not think we can say we have ever arrived. How could we? It is the nature of God after all.

In so many ways, I can say Allie gets me to let my guard down. Can I get hurt sometimes? Yes, but I let it down still because Allie’s love is worth it. Sure we have our disagreements and arguments, but they don’t last. We come back to our foundation every time of our love for one another. Allie is someone I don’t think I have to hide around.

One time we were in New Orleans. We had been invited to attend the Defend The Faith Conference and I gave a talk there on reaching youth. While at a table one night having dinner with other attendees, Gary Habermas was there as was Tim McGrew, who it was my great honor to meet there. In fact, Allie describes our relationship as a bromance. Someone at the table said something about B.B. Warfield going on his honeymoon and his wife getting struck by lightning and being paralyzed and he took care of her till death did them part. Gary just says “Huh. So Nicholas, would you do that if that happened to Allie?”

I wasn’t expecting to be called on so I still had some shock and then Tim said, “He absolutely would.” I was very pleased by this and I went up privately to Tim afterward and told him I wanted to thank him for the compliment.

“What compliment?”

“What you said about how I’d take care of Allie.”

“Nick. You absolutely adore Allie and everyone here can see it.”

My wife assures me I got several compliments on my intellect and apologetics ability there. Why does she assure me? Not because I’m doubting it, but because I don’t remember any of them. I remember that compliment. That one reigns supreme.

You see, the greatest compliment I can get now is to be told I’m a good husband to my wife. Anyone can really study hard and be smart and be a great apologist or thinker if they really want to be. To be a great spouse though is a lesson in virtue.

In fact, my wife has opened me up to a great spiritual side. In many ways, I’m jealous of her spiritual life. Allie does have profound spiritual experiences and gets far more excited about the love of God than I do. When God feels distant to her, it’s hard on her. She really is the deer panting for the water. I wonder then why it is that I am not like that. Perhaps it is just the way that I am wired, but I know often in a more devotional side, she does far better than I do. She is the one who remembers to pray for people and reminds me to.

This is another way we complement each other. I say I am the head and she is the heart. If you want sympathy and someone to care about what you’re going through, Allie is the person to talk to. If you want advice and to know how to deal with it, come to me.

It might sound superficial, but Allie has taught me about beauty as well. When we men are growing up and single, the human female is a mystery to us, especially if we wisely avoid pornography. What is it about that body that makes it so beautiful? Why do we find that so beautiful? I do not know why to this day, but I know that it is true. When I get to see my wife, I am reminded of what it means for something to be beautiful. If something does get me into praise, it is thinking about how beautiful my wife is. I just cannot conceive that God made something that looks that good.

It leaves me thankful. I have a woman I can kiss every day of the year. I can hold her close in an embrace. We can even have full intimacy if we want to. We sleep next to each other every night. It’s not just me in this world. It’s we. I am never truly alone. I have a companion in everything, and I think just the companion I need.

Princess. I love you deeply. Nothing I say could ever be sufficient to share your worth and value to me. If I kept going with this blog, it would be the longest ever and considering I have had blogs with over 10,000 words, that would be something. The past seven years have been amazing. I just can’t fathom what it was like beforehand and I know everyone else who knew me before has seen the change. It is a great honor when I have friends now getting married and they say they want to treat their wives like I treat you.

Love you, Princess. You are my gift.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Hugh Hefner’s Disgusting Legacy

What did Hugh Hefner leave behind? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, Hugh Hefner passed on. From reading and watching much of the media, you would have thought someone like the Pope died and we were nominating them for sainthood. By contrast, just a couple of days ago, Monty Hall from Let’s Make A Deal died and I have yet to hear the celebration of his life. Somehow, Hugh Hefner gets celebrated. Why?

Hugh Hefner was the one who started Playboy magazine. What did he do when he did this? Did he make it that men suddenly became lustful creatures? No. Men have always struggled with lust. Did he invent pornography? Of course not. There has always been pornography of some kind around. Did he make it so that the naked human female form became attractive? Not at all. It always has been all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

No. Hugh Hefner made pornography mainstream. He made it much more easily accessible. Many people (Not me actually) knew whose Dad had that stack of Playboys and where it was. I meet many young men who struggle greatly with pornography. The effects that it has one them is devastating.

The thing is, pornography is a lie. Sure, the women are definitely real women, but they’re not really interested in the men reading the magazines. When you see that image, that woman cares nothing about you. She is not trying to impress you. She will never sleep with you. All she is to you at that point is a body meant for your arousal.

Men no doubt tie their masculinity into their sexuality. Feeling aroused and sexual leaves us feeling like men. It is a very strong and powerful feeling and a woman in pornography can easily give that delusion. The man sees the image and he gets aroused and he feels like a man and that’s a great experience for him to have.

The problem is that when something like this is treated as if it’s a consumer good alone, then you always need more. You will never truly be satisfied. It requires more and more to get you aroused and at a certain point, normal women just don’t do it anymore. There are men in their 20’s today who need to take Viagra because they can’t get aroused by a real woman.

Not only that, the whole thing is a lie in its presentation. Watching pornography will not teach you the way sex really is. If I was talking to a couple getting ready to get married and the topic of sex was being discussed, which it should be, I would tell them that they need to forget what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies. That is not what sex is really like. If you go into the marriage with that assumption, it’s going to hurt.

Pornography does not teach a man how to approach a real woman. C.S. Lewis years ago talked about a man wrestling greatly with sexual desire and lust and how it was said he needs a woman. Lewis said a woman is the last thing he needs. If he met a real woman, he wouldn’t know what to do with her. He just wants pleasure and the female body is the apparatus by which he wants to get that pleasure.

You see, if you want sex really, you do have to approach a woman and you have to treat her like a woman. One doesn’t go to the woman just because they want sex, but ladies, if a guy starts getting serious with you in a relationship, rest assured sex is on his mind. It’s not because he’s a pervert or he’s using you. It’s that because for a man, sex is a powerful expression of love. He can’t imagine the thought of loving you and not wanting to have sex with you.

If you have porn though, you don’t have to make that effort to win a real woman. Instead, you can just retreat back to your fake woman regularly and you will never know the reality because you’ve been so busy chasing the illusion. If you do get to the reality, you would have damaged it greatly already. It can still be redeemed, but why would you want to risk it?

When you marry your wife, there is nothing like it. Porn will not teach you how to properly love a woman. It is no replacement for undressing your wife for the first time and having her do the same to you. It is no replacement for all the physical sensations of being able to touch each other wherever you want. It is no replacement for getting to make love together for the first time. You don’t have to have porn to do any of these things and porn will only make it worse.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that pornography nowadays is not just a man’s problem. There are many women who struggle with porn. I encourage you to consider it from the opposite perspective. I can’t write on a firsthand approach for women obviously.

Porn will not enhance your marriage either. Men have a constant flood of images going through their heads. Why use porn and fill it with images of women other than your wife? In turn wives, keep this in mind. Let your man see you and see you often. The more he sees you, the easier it will be to deal with temptation for him. He can be thinking everytime he notices another woman, which he will, “Sorry, but I’ve got better at home.”

Once you marry men also, definitely stop porn. You know what message it gives your wife if she realizes you are watching porn? It tells her that she is inadequate. She has to compete with a woman on a screen who has had plenty of make-up and photoshop and everything else done. Why should she trust you when she realizes that you could be thinking about that other woman from earlier?

I think ultimately, Hefner’s greatest damage was that he lowered sex for everyone. He did this by making it less than sacred. There are plenty of men who would never want to look at porn because they’re good and honorable men. They suffer too. Why? Because the women in their lives have seen too many of the other type of man. How do they know that this man is different?

Dare I say it, but I don’t think we can say Hugh Hefner ever truly enjoyed sex because it’s doubtful he ever truly enjoyed a woman. Oh he got a lot of joy from their bodies no doubt, but what about the woman herself? Sheila Wray Gregoire over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum has a saying that many people have had sex, but how many have made love? It’s a good question to ask.

Ravi Zacharias years ago said there was a Spanish proverb that said that he who loves many women has loved none. He who loves one has loved them all. The real measure of a man is not how much sex you have. The real measure is how do you treat the women in your life? If you’re married, how do you treat your wife especially?

Unfortunately, with Hefner, his legacy went far beyond the magazine. Now we have the internet making things even more accessible for men. There is even rule 34, which states that if it exists, there is porn of it on the internet. I have heard of pornography of even the most innocent things, such as Charles Schultz’s Peanuts existing on the internet. Yes. It’s out there.

In an age like this, is it any wonder that we don’t have a clue about what sex is? Men don’t really know much about how to romance women because all they often know about is getting sex. The goal is often to get her to go to bed. It’s not to be a real man for her and to get to spend the rest of your life loving and cherishing her.

Don’t think I am downing the desire for sex. I certainly am not. Don’t think I am denying at all the beauty of the human female form. I certainly am not. What I am saying is that we need an age of real men who don’t want to just pretend they are men by porn, but want to show they are men by loving real women. If you plan to marry, love a real woman by treating her life a jewel all her life. If you don’t plan to marry, honor the women around you by treating you like women and avoiding sex. If you really want sex, then marry someone you want to share it with for a lifetime. Don’t just use a woman for sex.

Hefner is gone, but sadly his legacy follows behind him. It is my hope that we can get men to rise up and throw off this legacy that does us no good. It might give us what we think is short-term gain, but the long-term results are disastrous. If you really want sex, don’t chase after the illusion of porn. Go for the reality of loving a real and actual woman and treasure her for all your life because she is a treasure.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Importance of Thanks

Does it matter if we’re thankful or not? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my wife had a sleep test done. It was to take place in the middle of the day with periodic naps. We had to be there at 6:30 in the morning. That meant that for all the time to get ready, we got up at 5 in the morning. I don’t like that. You see, if I know I have to get up early, it can make it harder to go to sleep because I start thinking “What if I don’t get enough sleep?” Then all these disaster situations play, especially since Allie can’t drive and if she can’t drive she can’t get there, etc. etc. etc.

So I went to bed that night trying to think about what to do about it and remembered what Paul said. “Be anxious about nothing.” Yeah. Good idea Paul. Too bad you didn’t tell us how to do that exactly.

Or did he…..

In fact, I think he did. I remembered immediately it was said afterward, but in everything give thanks. So what did I do? I just started thinking about all the things I was thankful for. My mood began to change as I started to ponder on all the good things I have in my life.

I woke up a few times during the night, but I always got back to sleep. I slept enough to get Allie to her appointment in time, and there was a lesson learned. Give thanks. It sounds simple, but it’s something that needs to be done.

How serious a matter is this? It’s serious enough to earn the wrath of God. Think I’m making it up? Look at Romans 1.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Because people did not give thanks to God for what He had done, the wrath of God was coming on them. A lack of thankfulness is something that leads us to think that we owe nothing to God. We owe no honor to Him whatsoever. We can do everything on our own. We can’t.

Not only do we need to thank God, we need to thank one another. We need to thank those that are closest to us. Today, I was shown that one of my Facebook friends who has greatly helped Allie is depressed about how people don’t seem to interact with her. It happens. I know from my perspective that people often come for questions, but they don’t come for much else.

This can also happen between husbands and wives and ironically, it works in opposite ways. Many a wife wants to be appreciated for the things she does around the house and taking care of the kids and usually thinks she just gets appreciated for sex. The man meanwhile wants to be appreciated for being the breadwinner often, but he would love to be appreciated for sex.

Go out in public and when someone does something good for you even if it’s just their job. Many people throughout the day could have their whole attitude changed if someone just thanked them for what they do instead of having it be a thankless job. As one who worked in retail for several years, I know I was used to it.

And why would this help with anxiety? Because it’s hard to be anxious when your mind is focused on all the good things, which is also what Paul tells us to do in Philippians 4:8. Those are the things to think about. Giving thanks gives honor to God, builds up those who we are close to, helps our fellow man, and relieves us of our anxiety.

Give thanks.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

And Then They Came For My Fun

Do we have our priorities out of whack? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend there was a church shooting in Tennessee. You might not have heard about this. The media gave it some lip service and then it went to the big story. What’s the big story? Football players kneeling during the National Anthem.

It’s not to say that this isn’t worthy of discussion. For what it’s worth, I find it deplorable that so many players are doing this, but at the same time, I don’t really care. My attitude towards most sports has always been that I don’t care. When the Super Bowl comes on here, Allie watches the game. I put down my book and watch during the commercials. If the NFL dies over this, it won’t affect me one bit.

Yet I do notice something. Americans don’t tend to get excited about a topic unless it affects their entertainment. You might say that Christians are not like that. Oh no. Sadly, Christians in America are just like that. Go after everything else in the world and that’s fine, but focus in on their fun and it’s time for war.

A few years ago, there was a major controversy when Duck Dynasty was pulled from the air. Why? Because one of the main characters had said something against homosexual practice. A&E pulled the show and before too long, there was a Facebook page set up with a million members and protests as people had their cable disconnected. Cracker Barrel in an amazing suicide stunt decided to join in and received the same attention. Eventually, A&E and Cracker Barrel relented.

So there you have it. Christians across this nation won a great victory because they stood up and spoke. They got their TV show back and after this great victory, they did what is the next obvious step.

That’s right. Absolutely nothing.

What about Chick-Fil-A? Now this is something that I can have some interest in as I do like their waffle fries, but other than that, I’m not a chicken fan. So then we have the media go after Chick-Fil-A and then we go after that by having Chick-Fil-A Day. It’s a rousing success. Chick-Fil-A shatters business records that day. People waited in long lines just to have something at Chick-Fil-A. After this great success, Christians again who saw what a difference their voice can make when they speak did the obvious thing with a great victory.

That’s right. Absolutely nothing.

So what do I gather from this?

We in America, and Christians are not an exception, care about an issue when it interferes with our fun. Other than that, it doesn’t affect us supposedly so leave it alone. Sure, the homosexual left has been going after marriage for awhile, but who cares about defending that? Just don’t let them go after Chick-Fil-A! That’s when we stand up and say we will not accept this!

There are many issues we can talk about in our country, but obviously what needs to be fixed first is the NFL issue. Again, it’s not saying we absolutely avoid talking about it, but we ask based on how much time we spend discussing things what our priorities are. If we are willing to stand up for Chick-Fil-A, and not saying we shouldn’t, but we aren’t standing up for marriage, then what are we to say? Do Christians value Chick-Fil-A more than marriage? Sadly, I think we do.

The solution to this I think is to raise greater awareness. Why should we defend marriage? Should we care about things greater than our entertainment? This won’t be an easy task because too many of us think “Unless it affects my life, I just don’t care.” If you don’t care enough about a problem to do something about it though, you have to ask if you really care about it at all.

So what do we care about?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Secret Battle of Ideas About God

What do I think of Jeff Myers’s book published by David C. Cook? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jeff Myers’s latest book certainly starts off getting your attention. How can it not with talking about people who were directly tied in to 9/11? This then gets directly linked to virus outbreaks that have taken place which is finally compared with the idea of mind viruses. Myers doesn’t mean some disease you need to go see your doctor about, but rather ideas that spread and people don’t have much defense for, including and especially, younger Christians.

Myers work is to deal with a problem which is that many of our younger Christians believe things that are entirely at odds with orthodox Christianity and they don’t even realize it. They’ve been made victims in a war that they don’t even realize that they’re fighting in, something immediately reminiscent of The Green Book is Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. These people have not been given a Christian worldview. As I’ve said many times before, it might be shocking to realize that to develop a good Christian lifestyle, you might need to have more than concerts and pizza parties at church.

Myers says that there are essentially five other kinds of worldviews, though no doubt there is some overlapping. These are secularism, Marxism, postmodernism, New Spirituality, and Islam. As I write this, I know Christian friends who have fallen especially for New Spirituality and Islam. Myers contrasts these worldviews with Christianity in the book.

One good aspect about the book is Myers is very open about himself and his own struggles and mistakes. When he writes about a failed marriage, he doesn’t hide it. When he talks about anger with God, that’s out there in the open. When he talks about mistakes in the past in the area of sex, that’s right there. When he says that counseling drains him, he means it. That kind of openness I admire.

Those questions are relevant because what Myers is really dealing with in the book is existential questions. Am I loved? Why am I hurting? Does life have any meaning? Can’t we all just get along? Is there hope for the world? Does God matter? Many of us in apologetics would like to leap straight to the questions of if God exists or if Jesus rose from the dead, but many people are not starting with those questions. They’re starting with these. We need to get to those questions, but how does Christianity answer these questions in contrast to other worldviews?

Myers’s book is clear and easy to read. You don’t have to be a professional philosopher to understand his arguments. There’s about 200 pages of content, but it’s still a relatively short read and it’s one that you could present to someone who is exploring Christianity and wondering about these kinds of questions.

If there was something I would like to see more of, it is that while the book is clear that Christianity does answer these questions, that doesn’t show Christianity is true. It’s fine to have a book dedicated to existential questions, but I would have liked to have seen a section at the end that would include apologetics books for further reading on the other questions that can show that Christianity is true. Perhaps it could point to other authors like J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel.

Still, this is a good book to read to help with the questions. It’s easy to read that when I finished, I put it in a stack of books for my wife so that she could go through it as she’s been learning a lot about these questions as well. If she does go through it, I am sure she will be blessed by it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Why I Read Marriage Books

With so much in apologetics to study, why study marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I love having a Kindle. It’s a wonderful gift. It’s especially helpful when Allie wants to go to bed at an early time and wants me nearby, but I still want to read. I just get in and use a light dimmer and read my Kindle. Since mine is a Fire, it also works as a portable office.

I also am quite frugal so I subscribe to email lists about discount and free books related to Christian interests of mine. One of those is books on marriage. Sometimes, I will get one and read through it. I take my time normally and read only a chapter a day. Other books I go through quickly, but on these I try to go much more steadily.

But why? There is so much to keep up with in the world of apologetics. There are so many debates to prepare for. How is it that I am bettering the world by reading a book on marriage?

It’s because despite what people will tell you, marriage is work. Anything worthwhile is. I work at my marriage because it’s one of the greatest gifts I have. I want to know how to be the best at this relationship. The better my relationship with my wife is, the better everything else is in this world.

I think also this is important for our marriage debates today. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t work on showing that marriage is a man and a woman for life, but I think the reason the world denounces marriage is in many ways, we did it first. Sure, the divorce rate is not as high among committed Christians as the world would have you believe, but it is still there.

What we need to do is treat marriage like a treasure. Some of the best evangelism that you can do starts in your own home. If you cannot show love to your immediate family, it’s going to be hard to show the rest of the world that you have love for them. Love begins at home.

I also tell people in ministry that if you are a great debater, a great apologist, you can answer every question, and you write excellent bestsellers, but you fail to be a spouse to your spouse and a parent to your children, then I count you as a failure in ministry. Your family should have no justifiable doubt on where they stand with you.

We all know one of the benefits of marriage is sex, and this is another way that the church can do better. If you watch media, you will think the world has the better deal. Couples fall in love and have sex constantly and there’s never anything afterwards that goes wrong directly related to sex. Those of us who are married know better.

Sex itself takes work, but it’s worth it. In fact, we as Christians should be living out the best sex lives. It should be that if people want the idea of what a truly awesome sex life looks like, they should look to their Christian friends. It’s our God who made this gift. Why should we not be the ones celebrating it?

My working on marriage is because of how much my own wife means to me. My wife is a sacred gift and she entrusts me also with a very sacred gift, herself. If I have such a great gift as that, why should I not want to work on it and improve it? My marriage should never suffer because I have an apologetics ministry.

And your relationships shouldn’t suffer for ministry either.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Follow The Pence Rule

Is there a reason to avoid contact with non-family women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few months ago, Mike Pence apparently caused a scandal when it was revealed he won’t go out to eat alone with a woman that he is not married to. This was obviously a shock to much of the world that a conservative man might actually live by such principles and that a Christian man might want to honor his marriage. At this point, it doesn’t really matter to me how you vote. I think Pence has an excellent rule.

For me, my Christian walk is first and foremost, but next after that is my relationship to my wife. My wife is the most precious gift that anyone could ever give me. I made sure to be cautious while we were dating to avoid sexual contact. After all, once you’re married, there’s plenty of time for that.

Once you do get married, you have made a promise of sexual exclusivity to that other person for life. When I did that, I said that I would not be intimate with any other woman and I think that includes sharing anything intimate whatsoever, which also means guys that pornography is not allowed.

My wife is all I need for me, but that does not mean that a man does not face temptations. One time I remember being tempted long before Allie came along was heading home alone from my solo trip to the National Apologetics Conference. I passed by one of those “clubs” and for a brief thought I was tempted with the idea that no one would ever know. I didn’t slow down or anything. I kept right on driving.

Now that I am married, I have even more reason. You see, my ministry would definitely be hurt by what I do, but I also know that many other people could do the ministry that I do. My wife is the one who would be hurt the most if I did something, and many other people could do the ministry that I do, but no one else is going to do the job of being a husband to Allie Peters.

I also do this because women are sacred. That’s another reason you won’t see me at strip clubs or engaging in pornography. Women are sacred and are not to be treated like objects. Sadly, this can even happen in marriage as many men have an idea that their wives are objects meant to satisfy their sexual desire. For many of us men, what is more important is not how much our wives satisfy us because, hey, they’re giving us sex and that’s satisfaction enough, but how much we satisfy them.

Too many men today view women as objects to be conquered. That’s why you can say a saying such as hit it and quit it. The goal is to just get the woman in bed. It’s not to build a lifelong relationship with her. It’s not to be a man worthy of that woman for life. It’s just to bed her.

For many men, a woman is an object to verify their masculinity. When you see a woman stripping or naked, it’s natural to be aroused and that leads to the natural feeling that one is a man. No. A physiological sensation does not make you a man. One true measure of a man is how, if he is married, he treats the woman he loves. Watching a girl perform an action at a club or on a video who does not know you at all doesn’t prove you are a man. It proves you can download a video or pay money to get into a club. A real man is one who honors the women that he meets by saying that the woman he wants is worth a lifelong commitment.

So how does this play out? It means that I avoid interacting with women that I am not married to in a private setting if my wife is not around and that woman is not family. I would be fine with my mother, my sister, or my mother-in-law, for instance. For everyone else, I put my guard up.

Now could I be paranoid? Perhaps, but if any woman will be offended by my actions, that woman will not be my wife! You see, most people who fall into sexual sin don’t intend to. They don’t set out to have an affair. It just happens. How? It normally starts with an emotional commitment and then that turns into something physical.

My rule is I don’t even want to give it a possibility. I want to honor my wife in such a way that if anyone did make a charge, the world would look and laugh. “Are you serious? No one questions how much he loves his wife!”

It’s up to you if you want to follow the Pence rule. For me, I do. My Allie is my Princess and she is not worth any risk like that. I promised exclusivity to her and that is a promise I keep for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/2/2017: Rebecca Lemke

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us tend to think in extremes. We’re either too conservative or too liberal. This happens in Christian circles as well. We either go all in with something that is wrong and join the culture, like many progressives, or like some conservatives, we go all out and practically avoid anything just because we don’t want to be thought of doing anything wrong and can easily create a guilt culture.

So when it comes to sexuality, we tend to think the same way. Many of our progressives have taken wrong stances. Pre-marital sex is okay! You can live together before you get married! Some even have no problem accepting the historical position of the church on homosexuality. Many of us realize that this is a problem.

Yet can we go too far the other way? Perhaps we can. Perhaps in an eagerness to rightly avoid falling into sin, the purity movement has gone too far. Of course, this is not to undermine sin. Sin is sin still. It is to say that maybe not everything we think of as sinful is. Maybe it could also be that if we do sin along the way, we are not ruined for life.

My guest this Saturday went through the purity movement and was greatly hurt by it. Today, there is no animosity towards Christianity or the movement itself as she continues to be a Christian woman encouraging other Christian women how to honor God and stay holy without being in the purity movement. Her name is Rebecca Lemke, author of The Scarlet Virgins.

So who is she?

Rebecca Lemke is the author of The Scarlet Virgins. She has appeared on The Federalist, Huffington Post, Iron Ladies, and To Love Honor and Vacuum, in addition to speaking on live radio about the topics in her book.

Many of you might remember the book I Kissed Dating Good-Bye, which was in many ways another book of the Bible for a lot of people. The author has since even admitted he could have been wrong on a lot of it. It’s easy to understand that sex before marriage is a big mistake, but even a kiss before marriage was viewed as a big mistake.

For many women, the ideas of maintaining purity meant you had to dress every way to avoid being desirable to the great big walking hormones out there known as men. It also meant that if you gave in and had sex before marriage, you were damaged goods. In the end, on your wedding night you would have nothing to give your husband. Women were not taught how to properly think about sex. It’s not much of a shock then that the wedding night can be awfully hard for some women as they have to somehow immediately flip a switch from off to on.

Guys don’t have as hard a time with that switch, but if there is something I think guys struggle with, it’s the question of lust. If a guy thinks a girl is attractive, is he guilty of lust? Is it wrong to ever think about sex? We have rightfully avoided much of the sins of progressivism, but we have often gone to the other extreme and turned into a guilt culture that I think Scripture never intended.

Join me this Saturday as we talk about the purity culture. How can young people stay “pure” without being part of the purity movement? How can we properly teach our youth about sex and sexuality? We don’t want to say anything goes, but at the same time, what boundaries should we be setting?

Be watching for the next episode and please do go on ITunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Lies Couples Believe

What do I think of Chris Thurman’s book by David C. Cook. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Lies. We live in a world of them. Fake news abounds and how many stories can be shared on Facebook that are absolutely false? Christians also share these stories. It’s easy if something lines up with what you already believe to share it like it’s Gospel.

As Christians, we at least know that Scripture won’t lie to us, but sadly another source we think won’t lie to us is ourselves. We’re going to be honest with ourselves and our own situation. Right? Not likely. If we lie to ourselves, imagine as married couples the lies we can tell ourselves about that!

A great problem with this is that so many of the lies are easily believable. They often have a grain of truth with them. Should your spouse love you just as you are? Absolutely they should! Unfortunately, we take that through to “So I don’t need to change. My spouse just needs to change the way they look at me.” Absolutely not. No doubt, your spouse doesn’t view you perfectly, but Scripture’s view of you is that you’re a fallen human being in need of sanctification constantly.

It’s also easy to blame everything in the marriage on one spouse in particular. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. None of you gets off with a free pass. In every conflict that takes place, including in marriage, it is rarely ever a case of 100-0 with percentage of ownership. Most everyone does something wrong. Even if you are the one that owns the 1%, you need to own that 1%.

Thurman also admits in the book that he himself is still at times believing some of these lies. Odds are that we will never grow entirely out of believing the lies, but that is something that we aim for every day. No one is doing marriage perfectly. The best marriage seminar experts out there still have their marital struggles.

In the book, Thurman ends each section with some truths on the issues to see where the distortions really lie. He takes you through a step by step process and then includes things you can do to help along the process of change. These also include honest confessions to your spouse of ways that you have erred on the path and a prayer that you can pray to help you on the journey. That makes this a good book then for couples to also read together and then they can discuss the lies that they find. (No doubt with some, “See? I told you so,” showing up.

I would have liked to have seen more in this book on the issue of sexuality in marriage, especially since this is one of the big areas that couples fight about in marriage. It would be good to know how the lies couples believe apply to that area. I also did at times not agree with some of the interpretation of Scripture, but none of the interpretation I recall really changed the essential point of each of the lies.

This is a good book for couples to go through together. Both husband and wife could then learn together how they are believing things that are false and how they can improve. The more lies that are removed from a marriage, the better it will be.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Beauty A Bad Thing?

Is it wrong to want to look your best? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, I had someone making a remark about a Christian about how good they looked and asked about it. Aren’t Christians supposed to not be vain? Do we just disregard appearances and look only at the heart? That’s what 1 Samuel tells us God does, isn’t it? Is it wrong if a woman decides she’s going to buy make-up?

Now to remove a possible bias at the start here, let me say that I really just don’t care for make-up. My Princess is beautiful enough without it. I’d rather save the money and spend it on other things that can help us out, but she does wear it some to give herself a more feminine feel so it’s an area I’m willing to compromise on.

Christians do know that the heart of a person is what is important, but that does not mean that the body is unimportant. The body is not this add-on that we’ve been given that is irrelevant. It is something that we are supposed to take care of and cherish. It is the means through which other people see us and we interact with them. In physical affection, the love that the man and woman have for one another is expressed in the body and the greatest expression is in the ultimate act of trust.

Many times in the Bible when a female character is introduced, her beauty can be spoken of. Abigail is described as wise and beautiful. Esther is known for her beauty as well. In fact, the Bible commends in the love relationship the beauty that a man finds in a woman. Look at Proverbs 5:18-19.

18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Odds are you will never hear this passage discussed in church. By all means, if you’re discussing intimate topics like this, let it be known so that parents with small children can take them to the nursery if they want to, but these issues need to be talked about. This is especially so for our young people. Our young women particularly need to know that they are beautiful and there is nothing wrong with striving for beauty but please save that beauty for a man who deserves it, that is, one who puts a wedding ring on your finger and says I do. Then after that is done, bless him with that beauty. It’s one of the reasons that he married you!

In fact, I could go on to the Song of Songs which even more explicitly expresses the beauty of the male and the female. I also think that I stress the beauty of the female because believe it or not ladies, you’re much more beautiful than we men are. I think with us, there’s not much to really look at. For women, even among other women the beauty of the female is something amazing. As a married man, I can certainly say that I don’t know what it is about my wife’s beauty, but whenever I get blessed with all of her beauty, I am indeed blessed.

Just recently, we had the solar eclipse. A man we saw on the news said it was the second most beautiful thing he had ever seen. I was convinced at that point that he had to be married and was saying that nothing compared in beauty to his wife. If so, I agree.

“But Nick! Don’t you know about 1 Peter? Peter says that a woman’s beauty is her inner beauty.”

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Yes. There is a great emphasis on a wife listening to her husband here and having her beauty come from within instead of through outward adornment. However, nothing in here condemns outward adornment. In fact, we can safely say that if the woman ever went out in public, she would have to have something on outward. There is indeed something beautiful to a man when his wife does treat him like this, but that is not to say that nothing else can be used. Peter is telling us that if the focus of our beauty is in what we wear externally instead of being beautiful on the inside, we’re missing the point. There’s nothing wrong with both.

In fact, the Bible has both used. When Esther is to appear before the king, she gets the beauty treatments that are recommended.

“That’s a pagan king so of course!”

What about Ruth and Boaz? When it comes time for Ruth to ask for Boaz to be the kinsman-redeemer and marry her. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, tells her to wash, put on her perfume, and her best clothes. She wants Ruth to make the best impression that she can on Boaz.

By the way ladies, if you are married and you want to make yourself more beautiful, your husband will find it much easier to stand out of the way and let you do this. A beautiful wife to him is a badge of honor. How you treat yourself is a reflection of how you treat him. At the same time, if you’re married to a godly man, he will always find you beautiful, but do strive to be the best for him because marriage is for life and for all you know, you’re the only one he’ll ever be with.

If this sounds focusing on the ladies, that’s true for the men also. Men need to strive to be the best they can be for their wives. If you think that woman is truly pleasing to you and such a great gift, then you should be living your life every day in that way.

This focus also reminds me of an article recently by Gary Thomas about the idea of being good in bed. Some of you might even be shocked that such an issue is brought up and if you are, that’s part of the problem. Thomas talks about a movie where the girl tells the guy this. The problem he thought of was why didn’t he ever ask himself that question?

You see, when you’re single, you can find several publications that can tell you how to be good in bed to please your lover, but this isn’t discussed at all with marriage really. The question doesn’t even come up. This despite the fact that in Christian marriage, that person you’re making love to is the only one you’ll be making love to and you will be the one they make love to. Shouldn’t you strive that it be the best for that person and that person strive to make it the best for you?

And of course, this goes to other fields. What kind of communicator are you? How good are you at whatever it is that you bring to the relationship? Are you looking out for your own interests or for those of your spouse? Do you look at sex, housework, careers, or anything else as a duty that you just have to do or a way to be eager about something that you can use to please your spouse?

This includes beauty. I often wish I could have an even better body for my Princess. Unfortunately, with a steel rod on my spine designed for a certain weight, I really can’t gain weight so I will never have the really muscular body I’d like to have for Allie, but I can maintain what I do have for her good and work on my attitude as well.

I will also say I certainly take the time to appreciate Allie’s beauty. When I need something positive to think about throughout the day, I often think about her beauty and many times I can be left spellbound as I can’t believe I get trusted with a gift so sacred. Her beauty is one of the great motivators for me to be a better person.

When it becomes vanity is when you make it all about you and don’t work on your inner character. It is vanity when it becomes a source of pride and you think yourself better than everyone else because of beauty. That kind of attitude is often quite ugly in fact. Be realistic and delight in your beauty, but also recognize it as a gift. Be beauitful also because you represent a beautiful God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters