Happy Valentine’s Day!

Should we enjoy the gift of love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day. I really did. It was a reminder that I was single and alone in the world. I know you can all say you have friends and you have God, but even when it was man and God, God said it was not good for man to be alone. That was me. I was alone.

Last night, I was getting ready for bed and thinking that I am not alone. For the past 9 prior Valentine’s Days, I have not been alone. I go to bed next to my beautiful wife every Valentine’s Day now. We have spent the past few years building our lives together.

Love is a gift. It is a gift between two people who seek the good of one another. Interestingly in marriage, the good of one another is the other person. In friendships, we can say it’s the company the person provides or a function we serve together or a hobby we enjoy together. In marriage only is it directly that the other person themselves is the gift. It is in marriage that we have the most embodied love as marriage needs the two bodies to come together.

I often tell my wife that my favorite Valentine’s Day gift is her. I mean it. As a man, no gift compares to the love of my wife, but it is more than her physical being. Her physicalness comes with her emotions and her trust in me and her desire for me. All of this is quite powerful.

This is also the idea of God. God designed love and He designed marriage. This isn’t some dirty effect of the fall that we need to move past. The systems were designed for this purpose and God made man and woman to love one another in a unique way.

The romance between the man and the woman also is a picture of the love of God for the church. Everything that we see here is in essence God flirting with us. Picture any good that you have and this is just a clue. It is a hint of what God has coming for us.

When you read accounts of people who have near-death experiences an aspect of Heaven that keeps coming back is beauty. So it is that even here in romantic love, beauty is such a great draw. When I have to think of what is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, it’s no contest. My wife is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and I admire the handiwork of the creator when I see her.

As it stands, I gave Allie a board game and a game for the Switch for Valentine’s Day today. We had an early lunch date earlier this week and today we’re going to go see Alita: Battle Angel thanks to the donation of some Fandango gift cards to us by a friend of our ministry. Whatever you do today, celebrate the one you love. For those still waiting and wanting, have hope please. I know it seems hard, but I was there once and it seemed hopeless too. Still, it happened, and there is some truth that it happens when you least expect it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Impossible Love

What do I think of Craig and Medine Keener’s book published by Chosen books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’re married, do you remember dating your current spouse? Like so many relationships, there were barriers to overcome. There are many events in life that can present so many challenges for a couple just to spend time together. We’ve all seen them.

Take my own relationship. My wife and I had it so that one of us had to travel about 250 miles to get to go on a date together. What a burden! Or take the Keeners! They had to overcome divorces from previous painful marriages, international war, and travel through a war-torn region where you had to eat bugs and scrounge for food and water to survive.

Okay. Now that I think about it, those two aren’t exactly comparable.

This is the love story of Craig Keener and his wife Medine. I have had Craig on my podcast before and he is a real individual. He has responded promptly many times when I have emailed him about something and reading this was a fascinating look into his life.

When I read this, I saw someone who strove to please God, but many times was broken and insecure. I suspect that that played a part probably in his diving into scholarship and producing excellent works, but it didn’t change that there was something he was lacking in his life, which I remember from my own experience, a woman to love.

Many of us who know Craig have not got to know his wife Medine, and yet her story is fascinating as well. You get introduced to Medine’s family and her parents in the book are such incredible people especially. Many people who complain about suffering and evil today can’t begin to imagine what Medine and her family went through and yet her parents had more faith and joy than many of us do today. We are truly a shameful people.

I cannot tell much about the story, but it involves Craig meeting Medine when she came to America as a student and never losing touch with her. Always there was a physical and romantic draw between the two of them, but both of them were hesitant. Also, many people around them were making prophetic statements about their lives and they inevitably led to the two of them coming together.

That being said, I do have this concern about that in that so many people might come away as we often do today thinking that this is how it should be for all of us. We should all receive messages of prophecy telling us who we are to marry and thus make the right choice. I doubt the Keeners would agree with such a sentiment. I think sometimes there are some individuals that need a specific spouse for a specific task and God does the work to bring them together, but I don’t think that’s the case for everyone.

One addition I thought would have helped would to have as much as possible a timeline of what happened. I was wondering when the events took place and one clue I did find was when 9/11 was referenced. Most of us don’t know about when a Civil War hit the area of the Congo. I am sure the Keeners did not take explicit notes of when everything happened, but some idea of chronology would be helpful.

This story is incredibly touching and will leave you thinking of the love that you have. It’s also helpful for those who often are perceived as living in the ivory towers to come out from time to time and speak to us on their own inner lives. It is good to know Craig the scholar, for instance, but it is better to know Craig the man, and now I have a deeper knowledge of his wife as well.

Congratulations to the Keeners on their impossible love and may all who read this be blessed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Can A True Christian Be Depressed?

If you are a true Christian, will you ever despair? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The church has been sorely lacking when it comes to issues of mental health, at least here in the West. It’s a subject that’s very relevant to my wife and I seeing as we both have Aspergers and she has Borderline Personality Disorder on top of that which comes with depression. We are sadly disappointed by how the Christian community usually handles the problems.

This isn’t to say that all of them are like that. My wife and I both attend a Celebrate Recovery program which is an excellent program when it comes to these issues. I encourage Christians struggling with things like pornography and such to go find a Celebrate Recovery.

Too many Christians instead start looking down on a Christian struggling with depression. We can ask if a Christian should be depressed and if they should be depressed over what they are depressed over, but to ask if a Christian should be depressed is a strange question. After all, our Lord was said to be a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering and you can go through the Pauline epistles and regularly find Paul talking about his pain for the churches and what he was going through.

Not only that, when they confess that they are depressed, then we don’t help them often. Instead, we say things that make them feel worse. What do I have in mind? Well….

“You must not have a lot of faith.”

“You must be dealing with some sin.”

“Have you repented of everything?”

“Christians are supposed to have joy.”

“Your prayer life must be lacking.”

“Go read the Bible and pray.”

“Maybe you need a demon cast out of you.”

“Good Christians don’t get depressed.”

I am sure I could add many more. The problem with these is they don’t really take the time to listen to what is going on with the person. The whole philosophy seems to be that we can’t have a depressed person in our midst. I mean, it would be absolutely awful if people realized people in the church have struggles and weaknesses.”

There could even be some truth sometimes to some of these. For instance, sometimes if someone is depressed, it could be because of sin. At that point, we need to work with them and see what it could be and once they ask forgiveness for it, leave it there. Many women can be depressed after getting an abortion and many men after encouraging the women to do so. When this comes out, let the church be the place of forgiveness and then bring it up no more.

We also need to realize that many times we can’t control our feelings as much as we would like. Feelings and emotions come and arise and sometimes we don’t have anything to do with them or know what causes them. Sometimes I can experience some sadness and I don’t know why. It just happens. I try to move on.

That being said, we have much more control over what we do than we realize. Getting depressed isn’t necessarily a choice, but choosing to engage in self-harm or isolation or something of that sort is. I’m not saying it is an easy choice, but it is a choice.

There have been some times where I have had to have my wife hospitalized due to depression and those are tragic times to me. When those times come, I really don’t want to do anything and I have to push myself to do the blog or any apologetics. Whenever I get the chance, I visit her in the hospital, and sometimes I have been very concerned.

There are hospitals out there that do not have good treatment for their patients and the cleanliness and such of the hospital is quite poor. I am left thinking that we wouldn’t put up with this for our physical hospitals. Why do we give our mental hospitals the sort of leftovers?

There are many organizations that people support for physical health such as cancer and other diseases, and we should. Mental health often seems to get the shaft. Many times when we think about mental health? People who do things like mass shootings. As soon as one of these takes place, mental health issues are brought up. It seems foreign to people that sometimes people do evil not because of mental problems, but because they’re, well, evil.

If someone comes to church and we hear that they have cancer, we have a prayer vigil and such, and we should. We don’t seem to treat mental health issues the same way. It’s okay to have cancer in the church. It’s not okay to have depression.

This is especially relevant since many who struggle with this can after some time possibly wrestle with suicide. How can it be we let this happen and yet people are scared to come to the church and talk about these issues? Can you imagine someone struggling with depression being scared to talk to Jesus about it in His earthly ministry? By the way, His earthly ministry hasn’t ended. We’re supposed to continue it, and if people don’t want to come to us when they would to Jesus, we are doing it wrong.

Part of the Christian life is ups and downs. We will all have them. If we want to ask about why someone doesn’t have joy when they have Jesus, let’s ask ourselves first. I sometimes wonder why I can seem to get excited about many more things in my life than about Jesus.

If we ask how a Christian can struggle with depression, let’s ask how they can struggle with pornography or gluttony or greed or anything else. All Christians have some sort of struggle. If you are reading this as a Christian, you have a struggle. The sin that seriously tempts you might be something I don’t get bothered by in the least. Perhaps you couldn’t walk past a bar without being tempted to drink alcohol. I have zero temptation there, but maybe you’re less tempted with pride than I am. We all have something.

I’m also definitely not opposed to Scripture and prayer, but there’s a danger in treating them like a magic charm. “Go and read Psalm X and you will feel just fine!” You can get great comfort and encouragement, but it doesn’t mean the problem goes away.

We should also definitely be encouraging therapy for these people who struggle, but when they come to you with a struggle, they don’t really usually want you to do something about the problem. If you can, great, but one of the best things you can say is absolutely nothing. Just listen. Give a hug. (By the way, I encourage women to share with women and men with men. It’s way too easy for any emotional closeness like that to turn into sexual closeness that it shouldn’t.)

There’s also no sin in taking medication for this. If there is something going on with the brain, this isn’t wrong. Medication can’t be the cure-all and consistently, therapy does better than medication, but it can be an aid. Christians struggling with depression don’t need the added weight put on their shoulders of being told they’re deficient in Christianity due to having depression or taking medication.

Your church has people in it that are hurting greatly. Please always keep that in mind and be willing to be a listening ear and a friend. Do something simple for them. Just taking a friend in need out to lunch might seem small, but it could mean immensely more to the person who gets it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Some Thoughts On Beauty

What is beauty and what does it do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been reading a book by N.T. Wright about worship. At the start, he asks us about many things we consider beautiful. He talks about a home-cooked meal with taste and smell, holding a child’s hand, sights of nature, and other things. He asks us to think about what is the most beautiful experience we have had in this past week. I thought the question had an easy answer.

My wife, Allie.

On this Earth, there is no more beautiful sight to me in the world than my wife. There are many sights I would love to see in this world. Jerusalem, Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and Sphinx, The Mona Lisa, you get the idea. None of those wonderful works though compare at all to my Princess. I would much rather see her any day of the week.

As a husband also, I get exclusive rights. That beauty of hers tells me that I am trusted in a way that no other man is. I am unique. To get back to Wright, he asks us to think about what effect this beauty has on us. The beauty is amazing. It makes me want to be a better man. I am left with awe and amazement.

It would be tempting to look at myself and get prideful about it, but strangely, that is not a temptation at all. I could hypothetically say “I must just be so awesome if Allie trusts me this much.” It’s not like that at all. I have no delusions that if Allie didn’t know me and she saw me out in public that she would immediately be saying “Oh wow! That’s him! That is the man that I want!”

Yet today, that is exactly what she says.

That doesn’t lead me to pride. It leads me instead to humility. It leads me to want to be a better man just to somehow think I am worthy of this great honor my wife has given. Her beauty often leaves me walking with an extra swing in my step and able to overcome many of the struggles I have with Aspergers.

Being on the spectrum, diet has always been something difficult for me. Not only was I not changing, I didn’t really want to change. Nope. I was happy where I was. Then Allie came along. Allie did get me to change, and she never really pushed at all for me to change. I wasn’t a project. Allie just loved me and her love and beauty won me over so that the change came from within and I wanted to change and wound up changing.

Many men could say similar things about how their wives lead them to change and I wish that so many wives would realize this. What you see in the mirror is not normally what your husband sees. It is so painful on a husband when a wife denies compliments of beauty. We never want you to have shame around us.

And while I think Allie’s body is beautiful, the beauty somehow goes beyond that. My idea of beauty has been shaped by Allie and I have found her to be more beautiful over the years. The same has happened in reverse. At the start, there was nothing in me physically that made her want me. Now there is. Whatever physical changes I go through, I will still be the man that she wants.

Now let’s talk about this with God. We don’t often think about God as beautiful and that’s a problem for us. We don’t really know what it means to think that way. Can I say God is beautiful in the same way that Allie is? Absolutely not.

What about Jesus? Jesus is God in the flesh. Again, no. Especially not as a man. This is also why I balk at many worship songs that seem to present Jesus in this kind of light. Guys don’t normally talk about Jesus as beautiful like that.

Yet I cannot deny the beauty of God. At the same time, I don’t think it has sunk in. After all, if we find something is beautiful, we desire it. We pursue that which we think is good, true, and beautiful. Something I have often told my wife is I know what she really wants by what she chases after. The same can be said of me and all of us. If God is the greatest in my life, are my pursuits showing that?

This could be why worship is so hard on us at times. We talk about attending a worship service at church instead of living life as worship. A friend of mine does music of this sort and has told me a great quote he heard where a worship leader of youth was asked if he could tell if the kids were really worshipping or not. He said it was easy to tell. If the way they lived when they left mirrored what they sang about in here, then they were worshipping.

And if we are really worshipping, we should experience change in our life. The beauty of my wife draws me to her. It makes me want to experience her and know her more and have more of her. Does the beauty of God have the same effect on me? Am I drawn to Him? Do I want more of Him?

Is God really appealing to me?

It’s also important to realize it’s hard to put a finger on why something is beautiful. We men can easily talk about what we love about our wives’ bodies, but why? What makes her so beautiful? God designed a woman’s body in such a way to drive her man absolutely wild, but why is it that way? I agree the human female form is the most beautiful creation, but why is that so?

And so it is with God. I do not know. I could try to speak of Him as beautiful in some way that appeals to the senses, but that won’t work since God is not material. At the same time, He’s not just an idea. Physicists and such can talk about beautiful equations. Do I think God is beautiful or is it just God as an idea is beautiful?

All of this has left me with a lot to think about, which is something I like about Wright’s books. They always leave me thinking. If you wanted clear and definitive answers, I cannot give them this time. That’s not always my purpose in blogging. It’s not to tell you what I think always, but to get you thinking about what I’m thinking about if you think it’s worthwhile. If one person gets thinking more about the pursuit of God in His beauty, it will be enough.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Humble Pie

What does it take to learn from mistakes? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife and I have for a year or two gone to therapy together. It’s not because of marriage troubles per se, but because I spoke somewhere once and a lady in the audience really liked my story on disabilities and offered to work with us. It was a free offer and we took her up on it.

One of the things I’ve tried to do is be a good husband and I’ve prided myself as one who has reached that goal. Generally, my wife, Allie, would agree with this. She would tell you I am a kind and loving man. That does not mean I am not without my faults. Of course, that’s not a shock. No one can be a perfect husband or wife.

Yet yesterday in therapy, my own mistakes came out. That was that in some ways, I have been neglectful of her. Some might wonder how that can be. Don’t I post six days a week on Facebook about how much I love her? Don’t I regularly dote on her?

It’s possible to do those things and be neglectful.

What happened is one of my love languages with Allie is physical touch and I tend to want to be with her so much I can smother her and it turns her off. I wind up getting frustrated and we’re both disappointed. Sometimes Allie just wants to talk and I don’t do it so well and that’s because I’ve been focused on my own needs.

The sad message my wife has got from that is that I only care about her for her body and that’s it. Now that is not to say that my desires are wrong, but I have been looking for my own desires first and not focusing on her own desires. It has been an insistence on myself at the expense of hers.

What is important to realize for me now is that Allie does want to meet the desires that I have, but it has to be a two-way street. It’s the secret that if in a marriage either of you focus on your own needs, both parties will be hurt somehow. If you focus on the needs of your spouse, both of you will be happy.

Let’s just say the car ride home yesterday afternoon was very apologetic on my part. It was turning off the radio and apologizing to Allie for everything I could. It’s also realizing that sometimes Allie expresses something hurtful. The sad thing is it hurts me when she says it and hurt people hurt people. I can get defensive with anger and sarcasm. Anger might not always be wrong. The question is what I do with it. Allie has told me she would accept if I get really angry if I just say, “I need some time to myself” and then come back later when I’ve cooled down some more.

I also have some men in my life that I have talked to and while they know me in person, one of them sees us on a regular basis. I have urged them to check with me and hold me accountable. I plan on sharing such with my Celebrate Recovery men’s group as well. In turn, Allie is also realizing things she has to work on and is trying to do such. We both have to. It’s part of being the best for one another.

So why would I share this as a post that’s publicly humiliating for me? First off, it would be delusional to think that I cannot dare present a flaw in myself because my readers have to see me as perfect. The only perfect human being ever was crucified and is now reigning in Heaven.

Second, in sharing this, I am publicly stating what I want to be better. My own readers can then be watchful at times. Anyone could even go and ask Allie if I’m doing the things I need to be doing.

Third, because this is a good way to ask for prayer too. Allie and I are on a journey and we both want to have a great marriage. We both have some learning to do. I think I know a lot, but I don’t know all that I ought.

Fourth, I hope this is inspirational for others. I think some men could be out there and realizing their mistake and maybe even showing this to their wives who will say, “He’s right. You have the same problem.” Maybe this will help other marriages out there.

And of course, I love my wife greatly. I cannot picture a world without her as she is my beacon of sanity in a world of craziness. She is one who gives me joy every day and sadly, I have apparently not been doing the same for her and I hope to do better.

Thank you for reading.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

I Really Hate Porn

What is so degrading about pornography? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my office where I write my blog from, I have two pictures. One is on my desk. One is on my bookshelf. There are some other pictures in here, but these are my favorite ones. These are both pictures of my wife Allie.

I look at them and I think that I married a beautiful woman.

I also think that I am the man she trusts her very self to and all of her beauty to.

That is not to brag about me! Not a bit! I still don’t understand it! I’m just a nerdy little apologist. The song Angel Eyes with the line of “What you’re doing with a clown like me is surely one of life’s little mysteries” fits so well.

I’m not the only one who wonders this. There’s a story that when my mother found out I was dating Allie, my sister showed her some of Allie’s pictures on Facebook. My Mom apparently said, “Good grief. How did he get a girl like her?” Allie thought I would be insulted hearing it. Not a bit. I took it as a compliment. How could I be insulted when I ask myself the same thing?

There’s also the reality that as an Aspie, my diet has always been unusual. My parents tried to work with several people for years to get me to change. Didn’t budge an inch. Allie did it easily within marriage and hardly had to try. Could it be female beauty is a motivator?

I have been terrified of water for years. It was a long time after my conversion before I was even baptized. When we went on our honeymoon at Ocean Isle Beach, Allie got me in five feet of water in the pool away from the edge and into waist deep water in the ocean. I was still scared silly, especially in the pool, but I did it.

Could it be female beauty is a motivator?

I don’t care for the movie or the book, but I did watch Heaven Is For Real and there’s a scene where the husband of the family is saying he does not want to go somewhere, I think it was Denver. The wife comes out and talks to him. She says something like, “Really? Because I thought we could” and then goes and whispers in his ear.

The next thing you hear is him immediately telling the kids to pack the bags.

Every husband understands that scene.

You see, Allie sharing her body with me is an expression of love and trust to me. It is a great motivator and confidence builder. Many women think sex is a physical need for men, and while the physical is there, it is also a great emotional need. It is what makes us feel close and desired by our wives. It resonates deeply with the heart of a man. It’s the loudest way my wife tells me that I am her man.

That’s why I hate pornography.

Now I know some women could be reading this and saying, “Pornography is also a struggle for many women!” I know it is. I’m not denying that. I am speaking as a man and from the perspective of a man. You can try to extrapolate what you can for the female.

I don’t struggle with porn, but I have a sympathy for guys who do. I understand it some. I mean, God made women beautiful. It is no sin to think that. It would be crazy to not think that. We men always notice beautiful women. I can’t go through the grocery store without noticing beautiful women. If the only argument I had for the existence of God was the beauty of the human female form, it would be more than enough.

Pornography cheapens that. It tells me that if I want to get a woman’s beauty, all I need to do is click a button on my computer. Really? How does that make me a man? Any guy can do that. I can click a button if I want to buy a book on Amazon. Doesn’t make me a man.

If anything, I think watching porn will make you less of a man. After all, no need to go out there and win over the woman. Can’t do it? Go watch porn. Wife’s not in the mood tonight? Okay. Go click on a link and just watch some other woman. Get your fix in. (Which also means you end up treating women like objects.)

That requires no real effort. Anytime Allie trusts me with herself, it is her telling me that I have shown myself to be a trustworthy man and she knows she can be completely vulnerable to me. You don’t get that from porn. Porn requires nothing of you.

And let’s be honest. The woman on the screen you’re watching? She doesn’t know about you. She doesn’t have any passionate thoughts about you. She doesn’t care about you. She is not aiming to please you. She is just doing a job for her.

By the way, let’s also be clear. Some women are not in the field by choice. The sex trafficking industry captures a number of women and they are forced into this kind of thing. Yes. Watching pornography could be also encouraging the sex trafficking of women.

Pornography would also be me telling Allie that somehow, she is inadequate. Her body is not enough. I need another female body. Why on Earth would I want to do that? I’m more than amazed I got the woman that I got! Am I tempted? Of course. We all have struggles of the flesh, but I would not want to give up a lifetime of Allie for a quick glance at another woman.

It’s also why I have no desire to have an affair and why I watch myself around other women. I don’t want to have something come back and haunt me later on. I don’t want to raise the slightest rumor that I’m in any way unfaithful to my wife, and I realize there can indeed be set-ups like that. I fully support the rule of people like Billy Graham and Mike Pence.

I also have a theory about the commercials I often hear driving. I hear so many commercials about erectile dysfunction here. I think pornography could be one of the reasons. I think some men have spent so much time being aroused by fake women and they need more and more that a real woman no longer turns them on.

It’s been eight years for Allie and I and she is still the woman that drives me wild and her beauty never gets tiring.

Also men, pornography will not tell you what real love is like with a woman. Anytime we see a sex scene even in a movie or a TV show, my wife and I know it’s unrealistic. In the movies, everything always works and flows perfectly. No one makes mistakes or has a learning curve and there’s never anything that goes wrong. Not at all realistic. Sadly also something that is missed is that you don’t hit your peak immediately, but that’s a good thing. It just keeps getting better. Why would it not? I spend my marriage diving into the ocean of one woman instead of wading in the shallow pools of many.

Keep in mind what I am agreeing to guys. Women are beautiful. That’s something clear in reality and clear in Scripture. We might hesitate to speak sexually, but Scripture sure doesn’t! I happen to think woman as the last creation of God was meant to be God giving us an image of beauty. If we ever have a daughter one day, I want to name her some variant of Eve. Why? I want her to know that she is a representative of God’s beauty on this Earth and every man out there better treat her beauty as sacred.

That’s what it comes down to in many ways. Pornography does not treat a woman’s beauty as sacred. It treats it as cheap and common.

Now of course, many men are struggling with porn out there. I think we need to give them support and understanding if they are really wanting to get past it. This includes wives of such men. Don’t compromise, but try to work with them. If they really want to get past it, give them your support.

If you are married, be thankful for your wife. Enjoy her love. Scripture commands you to, but hey, that’s a pretty easy command to follow. When Scripture tells me to rejoice in the wife of my youth I can playfully say, “Well sure, God. If you really insist….” As if I needed any encouragement!

Pornography treats women in a cheap way. If you treat one woman like that, you treat all of them like that. Treasure the woman that you have. If you love the one woman you do have, you are showing love to all women.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

38 Years

How do I celebrate 38 years? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today, I am taking a break from book plunges not only because I still have to finish reading some books, but also because today is a special day for me. Today, I celebrate having gone around the sun 38 times. It’s something to think about. Years can seem so long and yet so short at the same time. My wife and I have been married for eight years and yet I still find myself wondering if it really has been that time. It seems so short, and yet I have had this woman be so much a part of my life that it is like we are practically joined at the hip or rather have one heart beating in two bodies.

When you’re a kid, it seems like you think about all that you want to get for your birthday. I can think about to getting my first Nintendo when I was eight years old. Some things haven’t changed seeing as we will be busy tomorrow and my wife gave me a gift earlier, which was three Kingdom Hearts games in one for the PS4. Yes. That gamer has never died in me.

Despite this, it has been hard for me to think of things that I really want to have. Books I get from publishers now so that’s not a problem. I finally thought of asking my parents for Ready Player One on DVD which could be the best movie I have seen.

I still enjoy the material things, but they don’t mean as much as they used to. Enjoying a good book is one of the great privileges. Enjoying the love of my wife is certainly a great joy to have. We have a Wii system now that is a modified one with several old games on there and I find myself going on there and playing old classic ones from the past.

This is also a reminder of how far I have come. If I watch an old TV show now, I think back and consider the questions I can ask from a theological and philosophical perspective and wonder why is it that I never thought of such things before? How did I not see these in that light? It doesn’t decrease my enjoyment. It rather increases it.

I do wish I was doing more with my life now. It seems I have a better online presence than I would have thought and people come to me with questions, yet I wonder what more is there? This is one area I don’t think I can ever be satisfied in personally. I always want more and more. I don’t settle. That little boy who wants to go on adventures every day has never died. He just wants more adventure on the path.

I look at the friends that I have made on the journey as well. These are my teammates and partners. These are my allies in the good fight. So many people I know so well today that I had no idea existed years ago. The rise of the internet has helped with that as I know people from all over the world. As is stands, on the 18th, I had birthday wishes coming in from places like Australia and New Zealand and it’s something to think that people all over the world like that want to do something to celebrate that you are in the world.

And isn’t that something special to think about? Each one of us is a great might-not-have-been. My wife and I recently saw Unbroken together. It was the second one and I came to a realization of what I should have always known in it. As long as we are still breathing here, God has some purpose for us, as He does not waste us. Nothing we do in this life will be wasted ultimately. If God puts us through any suffering, He will use it for our good.

How many more years will God grant me? I don’t know, but I honestly hope they’re a lot, and I hope all of them are spent with my wife as well. If anything, my prayer would be that either we die together one day or that she goes one day before I do. Until then, I pray that we adventure together and do as much good as we can.

The boy has never lost sight of the fact that good and evil are still realities. There is still the dreamer who sees them in the games and in the TV shows and in the movies, but there is the adult who sees it in the real world and realizes that while I cannot perhaps affect things at this point on a national or global scale, I can at least do something where I am at. I can fight evil on a local scale and dare I say it, but the best place to fight evil is under my own roof and specifically, within my own soul. How can I defeat the evil in me to be a better ambassador for the Kingdom of God and a better husband to my beautiful wife?

I am grateful to my parents for raising me the way they did and making sure that I was a faithful church attendee. If they had known about apologetics, I am sure they would have introduced me to that. I am thankful to my in-laws as well for giving me their daughter in marriage. I am especially thankful to my wife since she gives me the gift of herself, the greatest honor that someone like that has ever given me and something that I continually celebrate and I am so proud of how her diet plan is going and how she’s being an inspiration.

And lastly, I am most thankful to God in Heaven. It is by His grace that I have made these trips around the sun. I cannot help but be amazed at the impact that I have having in this life and I hope it continues more and more. When I enter into the full Kingdom, I anticipate I will be amazed to see how God was working through it all and I look forward to spending eternity in the presence of God and going on those adventures that I could never have dreamed of in the past. The boy who was thrilled with them at a young age and still enjoys them today will find his true home at that point where he is most at home, with God and His people.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/1/2018: Allie Peters

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

Life is a beautiful and sacred gift, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like that. We all have times where suffering enters into our lives. Christians aren’t immune. Unfortunately, even Christians can be tempted to make awful choices when that happens. Even Christians can be tempted to throw in the towel. Even Christians can actually attempt to give up, and sadly some will succeed.

Some will not. Some will live on to tell the tale. Life can still be a battle for them, but they will tell the tale about what happened. They can talk about the impact they saw on the people around them and how it affected them. They can talk about what they have learned.

September is suicide awareness month. It is a time of the year when we try to remember that this is a real problem and it’s still with us. Whenever a celebrity has successfully committed suicide, unfortunately, the suicide rates make a spike after that. Sin breeds sin after all.

My wife is one person who has been affected by this greatly seeing as she is herself a suicide survivor. This is after more than one attempt. Her parents have found her after an attempt and I have found her after an attempt. Both of us were left devastated by such events. Indeed, to this day, I cannot hear the siren of a first responder without thinking about it.

We’ll be talking about Allie’s life some as bullying definitely played an impact on her as she was growing up. We might look at this as “kids will be kids” but it is getting worse and social media isn’t helping. I personally place a lot of blame on the self-esteem movement as I am not convinced we can stop all bullying, but we can certainly equip kids to be better able to respond to bullying.

But how can a Christian ever feel this way or even do this? Doesn’t this contradict what we are told in Scripture? If we really think this, is it proper to talk to someone about their salvation status if they are really considering the choice of suicide?

What about other people out there listening? How should we respond if we think someone around us could be contemplating suicide? Are there any warning signs to look for? What do we do if we think that there is someone around us or even on social media who we think could be suicidal? How should we respond to such a claim?

I hope you’ll be listening. As is no doubt known, my wife is my favorite guest to have on the show and we will be here together to talk about this important topic. September is the month for suicide awareness and if you are considering this awful choice or know someone who is, I really hope you’ll listen and please don’t do this choice. All of life is sacred and that includes you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Risk Of Love

What does it mean to love someone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, my wife posted an article about Borderline Personality Disorder. The person talked about their past romantic relationships and how hard romance was for someone like them. A friend commented saying how hard it can be to love some people and sometimes you might have to take a break for your own well-being.

Being married to someone who has been diagnosed with BPD, I had a few things to say.

Can it be hard to love someone like that? It can be, but that depends first off on what is meant by love. Second, it can be because it can be hard to love ANYONE. As C.S. Lewis said years ago, we are all very hard to live with.

So let’s start with love. We have four kinds.

Storge is the familiar love. It’s the love we show to just random people on the street we meet and also associated with family. Sometimes for family, they’re seen as people we probably wouldn’t love if we weren’t related, but because we are we become invested in them. There’s not much risk involved here. Someone could be a jerk, but it’s not the norm.

Phileo love is a bit more personal. It’s when you refer to someone as a friend. This is a love Lewis wrote a great deal about as did Aristotle. This is indeed a much more risky position and some friends you will open up to more than you will to others. It depends on how close the friendship is.

Agape love is often seen as godly love. I would think of it as passionate or self-sacrificial love. It is often used to describe the love of God. This requires a good deal of risk from us because we can make ourselves very vulnerable.

Eros love is the romantic and sexual love. For us, this can be one of the biggest risks of all. At full fruition, it requires total vulnerability as one’s very body has to be openly displayed and shared for it to reach the goal. This is one more reason I think the full expression of eros should be saved for marriage as at that point, one has made a total commitment worthy of the action of total commitment.

Let’s also consider something else about love. Love is not having warm fuzzies for someone. Love is not a feeling. It can produce feelings, but it itself is not a feeling. Love is a commitment of the will. It is a commitment to seek the good of the other for the sake of the other.

That’s hard for any of us. It requires that we put someone else above ourselves. Often when I read what newlyweds say about marriage, I notice something is left out. You get used to getting to have sex, sleeping in a bed together, sharing a budget, sharing personal space, what you’ll watch on Netflix, etc.

Very few if any seem to say something about learning more about putting the other person above yourself. That is a real challenge. It doesn’t help that marriage really gives you a good picture of what you’re really like.

Perhaps I’ve just sat down and Allie needs me to go to the store. I really don’t want to. I want to watch Netflix or read a book or play a game on the Wii or something like that. Nope. Allie needs something so off I go.

But you know, the more you do that, the more you become a better person. It’s almost as if doing the right thing helps you become a good person. It’s almost as if once you stop looking out for #1, you find your own happiness and joy waiting there for you.

This is what makes love so hard. It is dying to yourself. If you do not love someone as you should, it says very little about them. It says a lot about you. Lack of love cannot be blamed on the other person. It can only be blamed on you. Love is not just love when the other person is easy to love. Love is there when the other person can be hard to love, as all of us can be at times.

Our society has often confused that, mainly by thinking love is a feeling. You will not always feel love for someone you do love or are supposed to love. Love rises above the feelings. If you do the loving thing just when you feel like it, what love is that? Love is doing the loving thing also when you don’t feel like it. You rise above what you want and seek the good of the other above your own.

If you do stop loving, it says a lot more about you. Does the other person have faults and problems that can make it hard? Yes. So do you. None of us is perfect. Ironically, the only one who is perfect is the one we can sometimes have the hardest time loving. It’s not because of anything on His part. Once again, it’s entirely on us.

Over time, loving my wife has become more and more natural because the more you do something, the easier it can become. Love has become more of a second nature. As I consistently seek that which is good for her and give of myself, I find it actually becomes my joy. I have often said that if we came into money, I would be more prone to buy her whatever is good for her. It could be that trip to Japan or that horse farm or those dance lessons. Whatever it is. It means more to me to see that smile on her face than any of the things that I want.

Loving Allie is its own reward now. Loving God is its own reward. Loving anyone is its own reward. What am I going to do to grow in the love I am supposed to have for my fellow man? It’s easy to ask how others can change for me. I need to ask how I can change for them.

And to my Princess, know always love is a risk, and one you are worth very much.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Happy 28th Birthday Princess!

What’s going on today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is a special day, like all days, but some days are extra special. This is one such day. 28 years ago today the world was blessed with a demonstration of God’s beauty on this Earth as Allie Licona came into the world. Of course, that’s her maiden name. Today, she is known as Allie Peters. She has been the woman I have been married to for the past eight years. That means more than a quarter of her life has been spent being married to her man.

Princess. Let me say that you amaze me so much. Through your love, I have grown to be more and more the man I need to be. I have way more confidence than I ever did and my diet is far better than it has ever been. I have worked to overcome more and more hurdles. Of course, there is a long way to go, but you have made the difference.

You did it just by being you. It’s the strangest thing. I am no longer looking out for #1. Of course, there is that tendency to do that still, but more and more I learn what it means to sacrifice. I learn what it means to love as Christ loved the church. I learn to put my own desires on hold and do things I normally wouldn’t. In reality then, your good has become my good as I see your good as something greater and worth pursuing.

It is my hope everyday that I will do something to bring you joy that day. Your smile is one of the most beautiful sights I see and I love it especially when I know I am the one who brought it to you. When I go to bed and give thanks for my blessings, you’re one of the first ones I give thanks for. I cannot believe I have a beautiful and special woman in my life sometimes who shares everything with me. You share your life and body with me and now even have my name given to you and may you see it as a name that is a badge of honor to have.

Love is a sacred gift. Sometimes it’s said that the gift God gave us is Himself. Sometimes it’s said He gave us love. The answer is one and the same. God in giving us Himself gives us love for He is love. The same it is with you. The gift of yourself to me is the gift of love to me. That gift makes me want to be a better Christian. It makes me want to be more like Jesus.

I have something planned for you today. I really wish I had enough to do everything. If money weren’t an object, I would love to fly you to Kyoto someday or anywhere in the world you want to go. I have a hard time thinking of things that I want for myself nowadays. I have Jesus and I have you and that is plenty enough to keep me happy. I appreciate all the books I get from publishers and the like, but you are a far better gift than any addition to my library could ever be.

Princess. To some people, you may not mean anything, but to one person at least, you mean everything. There is one person at least who sees you as the bright spot in his world everyday and dreads a darkness where you are not there. You are loved immensely and any gift I give you will fall far short of expressing the true and deep love for you I have in me.

Happy birthday, Princess. May you have another wonderful 28 years and even more after this! Your man still wants to grow old with you.

Love you, Princess.

In Christ,
Nick Peters