Being Right Isn’t Always Right.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through lately a look at marriage one year later and what all has been learned in this time. While I hope I’m right in what all I’m saying, I wish to make the point tonight that it isn’t always right to be right.

In saying that, I am not saying it isn’t always right to seek truth or want to hold to a true belief, but as an apologist, it can be a great danger to see every interaction as a possible apologetics interaction. Simple questions can be turned into whole apologetics dialogues. If you’ve ever read Plato, you know that this can happen for Socrates easily as he’ll latch onto something someone says and question them relentlessly on it.

We should seek to be right, but there are also even in apologetics some battles that aren’t worth fighting. For instance, consider the creation/evolution debate. For me, I can say my thinking has “evolved” to the point where this is a non-issue. Now do I have a side on the issue? Yes. I do. However, I see the truth of Christianity being based on if Jesus rose from the dead and if the texts are reliable enough to demonstrate that. If they are, it really doesn’t matter to me what happened at the beginning. You can be saved regardless.

In other words, I think atheists and Christians who make that the issue could win the battle but lose the war. If we are to win a war, I think it’s far more important that we choose which hills we’re willing to die on. This is especially the case with secondary issues in Christianity today.

Now we come back to marriage. Believe it or not single friends, sometimes husbands and wives disagree on matters. My wife and I hold different views on the age of the Earth and eschatology. She knows my views and respects them and vice-versa and in fact likes to see me debate them. She does ask for my opinion on many matters and I’m happy to share.

However, there are issues that rise up that can be areas of serious disagreement. Married couples know all about these issues. I have found in many cases that more important than trying to prove to my spouse that I am right, is still in the midst of all of it being a good and loving husband and not losing sight of the person in the midst of the discussion. As I have said in other places, it is more important to be righteous than it is to be right a lot of times. (Righteousness is always important. Being right isn’t always essential.)

Can I disagree agreeably and even if I am absolutely certain that I am right in the matter, does it really matter in this case? Will proving that I am right be a way of increasing my ego simply instead of looking for the good of my spouse. If so, then I think it would be wisest to just drop it. My ego does not need to demonstrate to everyone that I am right every single time. If it is an important matter that I need to demonstrate correct thinking on, I can still do that in a way that I try to put her best interests at heart.

But in all things with your spouse, be righteous, right or wrong.

Marriage: One Year Later: Look At Me!

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Lately, I’ve been going through a series on marriage and how my thoughts have changed after one year. Today, I’m going to be talking about how I spend so much time looking at myself in marriage.

Some of you will probably be surprised when I wrote last time on how marriage is not about me, and today, the idea is “Look at me!” Of course, I did such purposefully just to show a contrast. While I do believe that I should look at myself, I don’t believe I look at myself the same way.

It has been said that when you marry God gives you a giant mirror and says “This is what you are like!” When we live with a spouse, it’s easy to really see all the negatives. After all, we all have them. When you marry, there are no secrets left. You get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were.

So what happens when you find something about that person that you just wish wasn’t there or find something really irritating? It’s so tempting to say “How can they possibly be that way?” It is at that point then that the “Look at me” idea comes into play. While it is easy to condemn attitudes and such in others, we can just forget about how we do the same thing.

Looking at me makes me realize “Wait. I’m being a bit hypocritical here.” Now of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s always an exact one-to-one parallel, but we all have areas we can improve on and when we see our spouse’s areas, we can choose to think about how we have to change them rather than realizing the only person we can directly change is ourselves.

Note that this is not the same as condoning. In these cases, you can readily admit that these are things that need to change. This is the biblical principle about removing the log from your own eye before removing the speck from your neighbor’s eye. That speck needs to be removed, but your log needs to be removed as well. The best way you can help your spouse is by working to change yourself.

If you’re doing this also, you will live with a lot more grace and come to realize just how great that grace is for you. The realization can come of “Wow. In some ways I really am like that.” What you can do then is to work on yourself the most, realizing you will influence your spouse, and perhaps that influence will come through the change of yourself. It will be the change that makes the spouse be inspired to change themselves.

In conclusion, the point of today is that we need to make sure we’re getting our own houses cleaned. While we can discuss such matters with our spouse, we need to be willing to look in the mirror at ourselves and say “They do need to change here, but am I any better? What am I going to do about myself?”

Marriage. What I’ve Learned: It’s Not About Me

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we’re diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be continuing our look at marriage from a perspective of one year later as the Mrs. and I just celebrated one year together recently. Last time, I emphasized that marriage was a covenant. Covenants involve two parties at least.

So in this covenant, which party should I seek the best for?

The answer? Her. Who should she be seeking the best for? Me. If I am seeking her good and finding joy in that, we both win. If she is seeking my good and finding joy in that, we both win also. We win doubly when we both do that. Of course, this means being aware of what you want and being able to communicate that to your spouse in the hopes that it will get fulfilled.

Often, we can make the mistake of thinking that what we want is obviously what the other person will want. In our marriage, I’m the bookworm. My wife will not be as thrilled as I would be however to get books as a gift. Meanwhile, she’s the artist, but she knows a book of art will not please me as much as a book. Just because she likes it doesn’t mean it’s what I want and vice-versa.

This can also happen with other interests. Because she finds great joy in doing something, it does not mean that I will find the same joy. Because I find great joy in doing something it does not mean she will find the same. In some cases, you will need to do what the other spouse wants realizing that they will also do what you want. No one person can dominate. Marriage needs 50/50.

When you’re single, it’s easy to lose sight of this. You’re on your own and you have to look out for yourself and you can develop a mindset of look out for #1. When you get married, you have to change that mindset. No ifs, ands, or buts. You have to! You can’t be with someone and focused on your needs and desires and have the other person be too.

Naturally, we all fail at this at times. I am aware of the times that my wife wants something and I’m thinking “What can I get out of this?” when in reality if I am thinking what I can get out of this the answer should be “The joy and happiness of my wife and that is enough for hers joy and happiness is mine.”

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 for example that the bodies of the spouses belong to each other. While Paul was talking about sex in that passage, it goes beyond just sex. You and that person are interwoven now till death do you part. They are not just another limb of your body that it would be hard if something happened to, but they’re not the main thing. They have to be connected so that their pain is yours and their joy is yours.

In all this of course, keep in mind that that person is your spouse. They are not your god. Both of you are to keep Christ first in your marriage and as you move closer to Him, you will in turn move closer to one another. Something I will write on later that I find extremely helpful is that my wife and I pray together every night before we go to sleep. I cannot stress how important this is and I think all couples should be doing this. (In fact, in our phone conversations, we did this even before marriage. Yes. This includes times staying up till 1 A.M. even talking on the phone)

So how about you in your marriage? Is it about you or about them?

We shall continue next time.

One Year Later. What I’ve Learned. Covenant.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I did not realize how long my last series would take as I had hoped to start this one around the anniversary, but it was not to be. As readers know, my wife and I recently celebrated our first anniversary and for those interested, I think I can assure you she was very pleased with how her husband treated her.

Having gone through a year now, I want to write about what all I’ve learned in yet another series. I hope this will be helpful first off to my friends who are single. If you wish to marry, I hope that what I write will be of encouragement to you and a way you can start preparing yourself. Second, I want to write it to single friends who through divorce, being widowed, or just never married and not wanting to be married, can see some more about the married life. Some might look back with fondness. Some might understand more what goes on with their married friends. Third, I want to write this for those who are currently in marriage and quite new to it like ourselves. Hopefully, my experience can ring with your experience and we can come have good discussion on this issue. (We do have a Facebook page for those wanting discussion as well) Finally, I write for those who have been married for longer and here I definitely welcome your feedback. I’m writing more from personal experience and certainly realizing I have a lot to learn.

So having said that, let’s begin.

Some of you might be surprised with the title. Did I not know marriage was a covenant beforehand? Of course I did. However, there is a way of knowing in a more abstract way as if you know facts about something, and then there is a way of knowing intimately in that you have personal experience of it. You can read and read about something like public speaking, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you do it.

Marriage is a covenant and is in that way unlike so many other agreements we make. If you don’t like your job, you can conceivably quit it and go work elsewhere. You are not obligated to work for the same company all your life. If you don’t like the school you’re at, you can go to another. If you don’t like your degree program, you can even change that. If you don’t like your roommate, you can get another. If your friends are a problem, well you see the pattern.

Not so with marriage. In marriage, you have come and bound yourself to one person and said that you will honor that person till death do you part.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a private agreement either. It’s an agreement made before God and men. In America, there have to be witnesses to every wedding. Someone else has to be able to attest that they saw these two people become husband and wife.

That seriousness needs to sink in and in marriage, it does. You come to realize what it means to have your whole life connected to this person and to have part of you revolve as it were around this person. You cannot think of yourself as a lone entity any more. There are two of you together.

Notice all the ways traditionally this is said to take place.

“For richer or poorer.”

If you and your spouse become rich, you are to remain together. Money could be a great temptation to make one person stay away as there is no need of dependence or it could be used to get away. Greed could easily enter into a relationship. The marriage could be more about earning money than about the love of the man and the woman. I’m not saying it always happens, but it could.

And for poorer? Well I assure you readers that at the time of this writing, my wife and I are definitely in the poorer state so much so that I do get very anxious often about our finances. (Keep in mind that if you support what we are doing here, you can donate to us and you can do so through as a tax-deductible gift as well.)

My job that was paying me very well laid me off three months before my wedding. It was through the donations and gifts of several others that we managed to stay afloat and even have a good honeymoon. Any time I have been worried about finances, God has always come through somehow, but that does not mean that I do not worry.

It can be hard to be poor and married, especially since you want to do so much for that other person and you feel like you are failing. Money is something couples can regularly fight about. Couples should discuss money, but they should also realize where money comes from ultimately. It’s from God. This doesn’t mean to be reckless, but it means to love through the hard times despite the financial situation and when you get back in good financial standing again, learn from the previous experience.

“In sickness and in health.”

Sickness has happened often in our marriage. I will give one example. My grandmother passed away back in November of last year and I drove to Knoxville to do her funeral. It was just after Thanksgiving and we drove back and returned here to Charlotte. Shortly afterwards, we had gone to bed one night and I was reading Romans 8 to my wife, while battling a little stomach ache that had been highly persistent that evening.

She saw the light reaching under our bedroom door. I told her that I had left it on thinking she might need the light to get something to take with her medications. She told me she’d already taken them and asked me to turn the light off. Very well. I get up to do so and my stomach seems to keep acting up.

Let’s just say that when I made it back to our bedroom, I commenced to screaming, screaming at a volume the Mrs. was really unused to.

We have a good friend whose sons were groomsmen in our wedding who came over then to see me. He started pushing my stomach at which I screamed again. He insisted on taking me to the emergency room, seeing as due to a medical condition my wife can’t drive. Thus, the three of us went to the hospital and around 3:30 in the morning, we found out that I had gallstones and would have to have my gallbladder removed.

My wife was my companion throughout all of this. I was no stranger to surgery, but this time, I was scared of it. Why? “What if I don’t wake up? Who will take care of her?” Fortunately, as you can tell, I did wake up, and I have been told by numerous people that my wife’s name was the last thing I said before I went under and the first thing I said when I came out.

To make this story more interesting, we live in an apartment with a walkway to the mainland and I had to go to an appointment once, still unable to drive. Some friends came by to pick me up. It’d been snowing lately and the complex had not removed the ice from our walkway and I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was airborne and crashed down. (That happened a second time on the way to church by the way)

We’ve had the flu, we’ve had sinus infections, we’ve had rushes to the Emergency room. Everything has happened.

Keep in mind paying for all of this definitely adds to the “for poorer” part.

Sickness is a time to come together. It’s where you learn that you have to rely on the other and the idea of the glamour of marriage is not so readily seen when your spouse looks to be in absolutely terrible condition. Still, you have to stick together.

Health might seem easier, but it could be health could be a hard time as well. When you’re healthy, you don’t really realize how much you need the other person. It’s easy to take them for granted. You don’t have to do anything with them because you always have your health. Well not always.

“To love, honor, and cherish.”

These are commands. These are not options. These are also not feelings. These are actions. You are not commanded to feel. You are commanded to do. This is in fact your privilege. I plan to expand much more on aspects of these throughout this series so I’ll leave it at that for the time being.

“Till death do you part.”

And here is the covenant aspect. This is until death do you part. Marriage is final and marriage is for life. I realize there are sad circumstances where that isn’t always the case, such as abuse or infidelity, but too many people seem to want to break the knot for reasons that are not biblical.

My wife and I are in this for life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As one continues down that road, they do notice several changes along the way. What are they?

Well that’s what this series is about isn’t it, so I guess you’ll have to keep reading as we go along.

But today, the point is that marriage is a covenant. Let that really sink in.

Clearing Up Grace

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Last time, I wrote on the need for the leadership of the PCUSA to repent. A faithful reader emailed me in response with some questions about what I had said about grace so I’d like to clear that up.

The first question was on what I had said about for grace to take place, there must be repentance from sin. Am I making repentance a way of earning grace? To be sure, I am speaking about salvific grace, in the grace that gives us forgiveness of sin. I do not consider repentance to be a work but rather an acknowledgment that you can do no works to earn grace but must rely solely on the blessing of the benefactor.

Do I believe confession comes first? Yes. If we say God forgives sin that is not confessed, then we might as well be universalists as that God does not require us to be in right relation with Him to enjoy His presence. However, if we are to enjoy the presence of God, we must be in right relation to Him as nothing unholy can be in His presence.

Now I did state that having grace for someone not doing something sinful would be like saying I need grace for loving my wife. There is a sense in which I need grace for loving her. I need grace in the case of common grace that I need the love of God to overcome my sinful nature. However, let us take an unforgiven non-Christian man. This man does love his wife. When he comes to Christ, does he need to say “God. Please forgive me for loving my wife.”?

No. Grace is there to forgive us when we fall short of the goal. You do not need to be forgiven for doing what God says. Forgiveness is the blessing given by God in His grace after all and He does not need to forgive a truly good act. Of course, if there is one evil act, the forgiveness of God is needed and in that case, God’s grace is needed.

Hence, when the PCUSA speaks about grace for people, if there is no sexual sin being committed, what exactly is the grace for? By the language, I do not think that they mean common grace and even if they do, exactly what about common grace is supposed to deal with sexual sin?

Finally, are grace and forgiveness interchangeable? No. They’re closely related however. Grace is a good disposition in God towards us and the result is that He grants us forgiveness. This is in the case of salvific grace of course. It does not apply in common grace as that kind of grace goes out to both believer and unbeliever.

I sincerely hope that this clears up any misconceptions anyone else might have had and keep in mind that I do want to hear such feedback from readers and if you think there’s something you’re misunderstanding or even that I’m wrong on something, by all means say so. Rest assured, I am not mocking grace, as one who hopes to give it to others and who has often received it himself from them and definitely from God.

Call For Repentance to the PCUSA

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I was planning on continuing our series on presuppositionalism, but a friend in the PCUSA has informed me about the denomination changing rules on sexual behavior. The story can be found here.

This has nothing to do with presuppositionalism also. It is no secret that presuppositionalists are Calvinists, but not all Calvinists are presuppositionalists. A number of strong critics of the method there come from the Calvinist camp. What I say is something I want Arminians and Calvinists both to agree on. I do not say this to the PCUSA for their stance on Calvinism, but for their stance on morality, a stance that all Christians should reject.

The question under concern is if sexual fidelity really matters. We should thus start by asking why it is that sexual fidelity does matter. What is sex? is it just a bodily function like any other function? Do a man and a woman get together for a first date and eat a meal, which is a bodily function, and then go back to “her place” and have sex together which is a “bodily function.”?

The two functions are quite different. For one thing, eating is a necessity to life. No one can survive and not eat. People can survive however and not engage in sex. Of course, the species as a whole would die out if we never had sex, but having sex is not essential to any particular human surviving.

Sex is what brings about babies because the family unit is the unit to raise children in for the interaction of male and female. A child learns what a man is like and what a woman is like. Naturally, there are some people who cannot do this due to one spouse divorcing them or the death of another spouse. This does not mean the children are scarred for life, but they will be benefited by finding someone of the opposite sex to be a mentor figure to them.

The act of sex is something that brings about great trust. When a husband and wife have sex, they have to have total openness with one another as nothing is held back. As a married man, it is a great joy for me to know that my wife delights in my body and that I can delight in hers as well. I love the fact that I have someone I can be totally open with. I also love the fact that I have someone I can adore.

That great trust however is based on the covenant promise we made to one another. We promised one another to be faithful and indeed we have been. Neither one of us had any sexual partners prior to marriage and the only person we have each known sexually is the other. I know her in a way no one else does and she knows me in a way no one else does.

We often think about couples who do not have that commitment. In that case, sexual intercourse can be a test to see if someone is “worthy of marriage.” There is no total trust. What we have is that we can go to sleep next to each other every night and know we’re going to be there for each other. For me, it is a great wonder still to sleep next to a woman every night and know that we’re in a covenant together.

Sex with the opposite sex also means trust in what the other person is experiencing. I cannot know what my wife is feeling physically due to my not being a woman. She cannot know what I am feeling physically due to my being a man. We just have to have the trust with one another about what we do like and trust that the other person is getting that joy.

Why is sex so different? Because it’s not just a function like any other function. It is a function based on the whole body. Every bit of my body is male and I function as a male just as my wife’s body is all female and she functions as a female. It is bodily, but it is not merely bodily.

In our day and age, many of us can be insecure with our bodies. News flash for you men out there. Looking in the mirror and flexing will not determine your masculinity. You can be built like a tank and not be what God really means by a man by virtue of lack of masculine character. I, for one, definitely do not have a strong build as I am underweight, but my wife would affirm my masculinity not because of my body, which she does love, but because of my attitude and the way I love her and treat her.

For you women, while I affirm I love my wife’s body, she is not her body and her femininity is not to be found in her body. I have nothing against my wife using make-up for instance, although I do have specific tastes there. I like her to go light and not have a color different from her natural color. However, I want it to be clear that her femininity does not lie in the make-up.

Masculinity and femininity are character traits of the soul as well. Are we men acting like men? Are women acting like women? More important than your body is your attitude. Of course, we must be careful and this brings us to another point. The danger with what is being said is that in Christianity, the body does matter and so does what you do with it.

One could say only character matters, but character is often expressed bodily. I realize for instance that I have not treated my body right for several years based on an attitude problem. That is my own fault. That does not have to define me however and I am working on changing that.

God came to redeem a world of matter however and matter is good. The Son took on a body and rose in a body because the body is good. We are not angels. We are meant to be unities of body and soul. Male attitudes need to be functioning with male bodies and the same with females.

It would have been good of the PCUSA to have provided actual Scripture to justify sexual immorality. Sexual morality has always been something important to Christians. It is not just a physical action, while it is that. It is a powerful joining together of two bodies meant to mirror Christ and the church and I would add the greatest physical pleasure we can have on Earth meant to remind us of the great love in the Holy Trinity.

When sexual behavior is seen as something that does not matter, we are getting to the point of the incarnation not mattering and the body not mattering. God came to redeem a fallen world and that is a material world. If he says sexuality matters, then we need to know it matters.

But what about grace? Oh I’m all for grace! However, for there to be grace there must be repentance from sin. For there to be repentance, there must be confession. For there to be confession, there has to be awareness. One must have a moral standard of sexuality to be aware of sexual sin. Destroy the concept of sexual sin and there is no grace there. It would be like saying I need God’s grace FOR loving my wife as I ought. I can say I need His grace to do that as a fallen human being, but I certainly do not need forgiveness for that which is no sin.

In closing, I call on the PCUSA to change this policy. Continue with the historic Christian church in affirming not just orthodoxy in belief, but orthopraxy in lifestyle.

On Devotion

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Our look at romance in America has been interesting. For those who are reading this at the blog, I invite you to come to Deeper Waters at TheologyWeb where a discussion is going on around this topic. Tonight, I’d like to look at devotion, and that would be devotion in marriage.

One major prayer I pray for my relationship with my wife is to be more devoted every day to her well-being. A month or two ago, I had some Mormons visit us and during the conversation, we talked about covenants and promises. Whenever this came up, I’d indicate my ring and let them know that I take promises very seriously.

Saying “I do” is a huge promise. Incidentally, whenever you become a Christian, it is essentially what you are saying to Christ. The call to believe in Christ is really a marriage call. Of course, we must be careful to not read in to the text modern ideas of marriage. The Bible has nothing in mind of many young single women who say they’re in love with Jesus and that Jesus is their husband. (I mention the women since it would be a bit awkward for the men to call Jesus their husband)

These ideas can often be based on emotional highs. Some people are more wired that way. I just want to make sure such people also have those emotions grounded on a firm reality. Our faith does not need to be a shallow faith and while it is good to have zeal, remember that Paul said we need zeal according to knowledge. Christianity is not meant to be just a high for people.

The rest of us who aren’t like that do differ in our Christian walk. For instance, I saw an atheist recently say the reason I was posting on an atheist blog in argument was because I’m on a mission to let others have the peace and joy of salvation that I have. Well, if you’re talking about an emotional experience, no. I do not have strong emotions over my salvation. If you’re talking about an internal awareness that I am at peace with God and He loves me, then yes.

We must remember in our Christian walk as well that it is not our choice to serve God. It is our duty. We are to do this and that is irrespective of our mood. I recall in the past, and I’m sure there will be some in the future, days when I would get up in the morning and I would be angry with my God on how my life was going, but I would get on the computer and serve Him anyway. My service was required of me regardless of my feelings at the time.

Why not in our marriages as well?

Now I’m largely going to be speaking to the men, though sometimes to the women as well, but I hope the women will pay attention to what I say and draw the necessary parallels.

We men can often once we get married fail to keep chasing our bride. It is easy to take them for granted at that point. While in the past, we’d make every move we could to sweep our brides off our feet, there are some marriages where I fear that that goal has gone away. The bride has been caught. Now we can relax.

Instead, make it a point to romance your wife every day. I often tell people that my wife has made me a master of one-handed driving. When we’re driving down the road, I have a hand on the wheel, but my other hand is locked in hers and hers in mine. It’s a great bonding experience when driving. Every now and then, I’ll have to move away to check directions on my phone, but when done, it’s back to normal.

Of course, before we even get in the car, I will open the car door for her and get her in. Even if someone else is driving the car, I do this anyway. When we get to our destination, I do the same thing. I recently was visiting some friends of mine and as I was leaving, their parents were leaving after me. I saw their Dad do this and I was quite impressed.

Be willing to take the lower place for your wife if need be. Right now, my wife is sick, and I ask your prayers for her recovery. Because she could still give the sickness to me, our doctor suggested we might avoid the same bed for the time being. Therefore, I am taking the position of sleeping on the couch. She wasn’t too keen on this for awhile, but I did state that it was a man thing. As a man, I just can’t make my wife sleep on a couch while I get a bed.

Remember that also women. Always let your men be men.

There have been times when something has happened that it would be easy to get angry over. Before getting angry, ask yourself what it would accomplish. Is your wife feeling guilty enough over this behavior already? Don’t make it worse then. You can express disappointment at something, but that’s no reason to get angry. Let it go. Give her the love you can rather than say something you can’t ever take back. I can gladly say that having it be 13 weeks today, my wife and I have yet to have an argument or fight. Disagreements? Yes. Arguments? No. When we have a disagreement, we sit down quietly and talk things out.

Men. Be ready first also to look for deficiencies in yourself. C.S. Lewis said that we’re all hard to live with, and he was right. Before you begin to think critically of your spouse, I recommend you look and see if it could be a deficit in you first that needs to be dealt with. What is your attitude to what is going on? Why is it that way? Could it be you that has the problem?

Ironically, one experience I had I described in a sermon I gave at my church on holiness and marriage. I spoke on how on a recent night, I had been upset internally with my wife over something thinking I was in the right. At night after going to bed, I was awake still analyzing the situation and then realized I was in the wrong and she was right. When she woke up for a bit that night, I told her what I’d found out in my pondering and asked her forgiveness admitting I was sorry for it all. She gave it, although she still says she was wanting to get back to sleep as well. What I told the congregation was that I wanted to be sure I had peace with my wife before going to bed that night.

What I didn’t tell them, was it was that very night before that that had happened.

If you must get angry about something however, find something substantial. Right now, the new atheists are wanting to destroy religion. Get angry and then get educated so you can deal with them. Muslims are wanting to build a mosque at 9/11. Homosexual activists are wanting to totally redefine marriage.

Or heck, be real gutsy. Look in the mirror and get angry at your own sins for a change.

Be willing to help your wife out. Fellow men. It won’t kill you to do some housework. Be there to help your wife with the laundry and the dishes. In fact, I’d recommend learning some about cooking so you could cook something special for her every now and then. (I’m still working on that, although we did cook pizza together tonight)

Make sure when you do this, you’re not doing it for ulterior motives either. We all know what we men want of course, but that is also your wife’s choice and that choice is to be honored. The reason you are to do housework or bring home a gift or anything of that sort is because you love your wife and you want to show her how much she means to you.

Make sure you’re giving her what she wants also. Women. For you, I can stress that a husband can like a clean home and a good meal, but because those are fixed, he’s not going to be celebrating entirely. He’ll be appreciative, but if you are a housewife, it is also what he is used to seeing when he gets home every day. Do something special for him that is what he’d want and not what you’d want. Fix a romantic dinner. Get a movie that he’ll like. Put on a really nice outfit that you know he’ll really enjoy.

We men need to do the same. My wife and I were recently at the apologetics conference. It might surprise some of you, but my wife is not really into apologetics. However, she does support her husband in this field and wants him to be the best that he can be. Thus, she was willing to go with me and join me. If I’m traveling for ministry purposes and she’s available, she’d want to go as well to join and support me.

On the other hand, my wife loves anime and so if I wanted to do likewise with her, then we’d be on our way to an anime convention. Now there are some things there that I think I’d enjoy, but overall, that convention would be for her. What is important, or should be important to me, is that she is enjoying herself.

Also, pray and read Scripture. This is a nightly ritual for my wife and I. We end our nights with Scripture and prayer. One question we ask each other before going to bed is “How may I pray for you tonight?” It is not much of a shock to each of us that our prayers are consistently about how we want to be better for one another.

Remember every day to get up and love your wife. For me, it is my joy to get to take care of the woman I’ve chosen to pledge my life to. As I believe I’ve said, my in-laws know that while I am using calm and peaceable, if anyone ever dared to harm my wife, they would find a fierce side of me that they weren’t expecting.

Devotion takes work also, but it’s worth it. Talk to married men and women and learn from them. Read good books on the topic. If you were wanting to do well in school, you’d read material for the course and learn the topic. Why is it that we don’t do the same when it comes to marriage? Some aspects can come naturally, but some do take work.

And I close with what someone recently said at a marriage talk we attended together, the best way to be a better husband or wife is to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

Holiness will always improve your marriage.

On Lust

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Tonight, we’re going to continue what I was discussing a bit about dating yesterday with a look at lust.

Part of this comes from reading an atheist giving a testimony of what he struggled with growing up in church. For him, it was anathema to think about sex. He was told not to do it. We all know what happens. It’s the same thing that would happen if I told you not to think about a pink elephant for five minutes.

Honestly, I resonate with a story like this. I can understand it. I grew up somewhat legalistic. I was very sheltered. I still have a highly sensitive conscience. It is good to be moral, but sometimes we can overdo things. The intention of the Pharisees was good, but they overdid it.

The church has not been good with its attitude towards sex. All we’ve told young people numerous times is “Do not! Do not! Do not!” Now I believe the “do nots” are important. However, what is important is also why we observe the “do nots” as well as giving some “dos.”

Also, we need to watch how this is being presented. At a church I once attended, we had an event called the Silver Ring Thing. I kid you not. The pastor who spoke was boring me to no end. It is a shame if you can speak about the topic of sex and end up having your congregation be bored.

What was also ironic was he was giving reasons for not having sex before marriage. He was saying the reasons for having sex would be selfish reasons, and I agree. He did say in contrast to “Think of what you would say to your future spouse” or “You could get pregnant” or “You could get a disease.”

Maybe it was just me, but those were also selfish reasons to me also.

Nothing about what the nature of sexuality is. Nothing about what the nature of marriage is. There was no theological content to it. Instead, there was only applicational content. I’m not against application, but application needs to rest on something stronger and this atheist was obviously just given application without a background of sexual thought.

So let’s talk about lust then. First off, it is not “thinking about sex.” On the contrary, I think young people should be thinking about sex. God created it and it is something that falls into Philippians 4:8. I think my single friends should look forward to making love to their future spouse.

Second, it is also not admiration. You should have the right to admire someone of the opposite sex who is attractive. If the problem of lust is admiration, then you’d better never go on a date because I guarantee you you will be admiring that person who is sitting across from you. (By the way guys, don’t make a movie the first date. With a movie, you stare at the screen and don’t interact. Get a date where you interact. My wife and I went to an aquarium on our first date for instance)

Third, that person was also made beautiful for a reason. God made the aspects of the human body to be desired and to be appreciated. Go read the Song of Songs some time and look at how the body is emphasized. I get tired of Christians saying it’s an allegory. You could find some parallels with Christ and the church of course, but could it be the main reason for this was to celebrate the joy of marriage and the beauty of sexuality? Would it be that hard to read that in the text?

Of course, some of you are thinking I am giving a free pass. I’m saying anything goes in your thought life, and I’m not. I see lust as excessive desire. This is desire that cannot contain itself. When you start objectifying that person and treating them as just an object, you are guilty of lust.

This is also the problem with pornography. Pornography tells you to view women as simply objects of desire. (The reverse for women who struggle with porn of course) I would remind men that that girl in that picture is someone’s daughter. That is someone special. For Christians, that is someone who bears the image of God.

Porn is wrong because it treats a human being as just an object. Now to an extent, we do utilize human beings at times. If you bought something at a store today, you had to have a human being likely check you out. Still, that human being was serving a functional role, but if you treated them as just that role, you’d demean them.

Well guys, if you want to show a girl you’re devoted to her and she can trust you with herself, that’s a great way to do that. It’s called marriage. I would like you women to think about the alternative. Picture a man saying to you “Dearest. I love you. I want you to take all your clothes off for me, make yourself entirely vulnerable to me, and let me enjoy you. I just don’t think I want to make a lifelong commitment to you.”

No Romeo would say that with their lips, but several do with their actions.

To those who think they’re struggling with lust, I would say, lighten up. God gave you hormones for a reason. It doesn’t mean you have to get married and you’re under no obligation to get married. If you really want this gift of sex however, then the Bible only has one option for you. Marriage. It’s also a great option. (90 days today!)

If you really need someone to talk to, find a good group of guys that you can talk to about sex. Make them Christian men of course. Having others share your struggle is excellent. If you are struggling with porn, I have been told that the ministry of is one of the best you can go to.

Also, really think about sex. Don’t just think about “doing it”, but what it really is. What is the meaning behind this action? Why is it the way it is? What can this tell you about God? Yes. Sex can tell you about God. An excellent look on this can be found at with his talk of “Is There Sex In Heaven?” (I confess to listening to that one more than once.)

And if you’re a Christian and really struggling, remember the grace of God is there. It’s a battle, but he can help you overcome sexual addictions.

Above all, remember to honor people of the opposite sex in your life. Do that, and you will not lust after them, but rather desire them appropriately and love them.

We shall continue tomorrow.

The Dating Subculture

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Tonight, I’d like to write something for a friend of mine who seems to have had some bad luck in the area of romance lately and as I discussed this with him, he asked me to write some problems on how our American culture approaches this.

One of the first things we noted together is that we place emphasis on feelings way too much. Feelings come and feelings go. For me and my wife, my main attribute that I have for her is devotion. That doesn’t deny feelings and those can be powerful when they come. Right now, she’s not feeling well and I have to keep my distance for my own health, but we had a moment where we did get close enough to stare into one another’s eyes. It was quite a touching moment.

When I talk to my in-laws, I can do nothing but express my devotion to their daughter over and over. They’ve said that usually I’m mild and easy-going, but if someone was to come after her in some way, that this Crouching Tiger would quickly turn into a Hidden Dragon.

It’s the truth. When I’m with her, I’m guarding her like a hawk and making sure no one mistreats her. The only disagreement we ever really have that we can’t resolve is the one about if we are in a dangerous situation, who will be the one to get hurt for who. Neither one of us wants to see the other get hurt at all.

What I’ve learned is best summed up in what a counselor friend told me. Emotions follow motions. Why should this be a surprise? We do it in our Christian walk every day. We don’t feel like doing something that we know Scripture commands us to do but once we do it, we end up feeling pretty good about things. The example he has given is working out at the gym. Getting the motivation to get there is hard, but once you get there, it’s easy.

When I am in class, I will often think back to how I want to go home and see my wife and I call her during the class break. As it stands, she’s sick right now and being a man to respect her as she doesn’t want me to get it and the doctor even approved of this, I’m sleeping on the couch for the time being. It was hard last night because my main desire was that I wanted to be with my wife.

Don’t look to your feelings first then. Instead, look to reality. The question I ask of my wife is if she helps me grow in personal holiness and if I help her do the same. I think others would say I do that for her and I do not want to be the one who comes and says this of her, though she would definitely say it.

For her with me however, my desire has greatly increased to be holy. I have seen ways of thinking in myself that need to change. As I was driving today, I had a green light and as I was going across, I had someone pull right out in front of me in my lane. Bothered a bit? Yeah. I wasn’t angry however. The old me before my wife came along would have been angry and I’d have been ranting about it the rest of the day.

I used to worry a lot more about my apologetics as well. I believe that is because in the past, that was where I got most of my validation and I could not accept an error then. Now, I get my validation as well from my wife and because of that, if I make a mistake in this field, I make a mistake.

Even after my bachelor party as I was walking with some friends back to our cars, I told them “Guys. Work on personal holiness now.” Just a few weeks ago at my church, I did a sermon on marriage and holiness. I emphasized how we need to return to the idea of holiness and what it means and maybe marriage will become a respectable institution again. Friends. If the world is clamoring for homosexual marriage now, that’s our fault. We dropped the ball on marriage and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

My own pastor after the wedding met with my wife and I to tell me how I’d changed since meeting her, something he’d been reluctant to share. He wanted to wait until the time. He told me I was more other-focused than I’d ever been before. I wasn’t spending time in my own world.

In fact, a friend of mine who attends church with me and happened to be my best man told me that the day after our wedding, a Sunday, my pastor referred to me in the sermon. My pastor had offered to pray with me at the wedding ten minutes before I walked down the aisle and asked how he could pray for me. My prayer was that I wanted to be more holy.

I don’t say this to lift up myself. I say this to lift up my wife. I say this to show the effect that she has had on me.

Also, love every day is a choice and that choice gets easier as time goes on. I make it a point with my wife for instance to not get angry. There are times she’s done things that she’d say I could have justifiably got angry with her over. I just pause and realize that wouldn’t do any good. She’s beating herself up enough. I’m not going to add to it. That doesn’t mean I can’t get firm at times. This isn’t done in hate or anger though. I will sometimes just tell her the way things are and that’s for her good. I always end by affirming my love for her and begin the same way. If I don’t, I at least hope I do.

I can even remember one time when my wife and I had an event and it doesn’t need to be said what it was, but I was upset and hurt and wondering why my wife could think the way she did. How could she not agree with my reasoning? It was around 10 at night that I was in bed going over this while she was asleep and then realized what we all knew I would.

I was wrong. She was right.

I do not kid you in saying that I stayed up until midnight until she woke up as I had been pacing around looking for some wisdom on the topic to deal with until I could talk to her. When she woke up, I talked to her and told her how I saw things anew and apologized and asked her forgiveness. She gave it, although she does say she probably just wanted to go back to sleep. When I gave my sermon on holiness, I referred to that and said that it was a recent night that that happened.

The reality was, it was the very night before that that had happened.

Love is a choice and anger is a choice. Disagreements will come, and how you handle them determines everything. My wife and I are still devoted to prayer and Scripture, though we haven’t been able to as much since she’s been sick lately. (And please people, do pray for my wife’s recovery)

Our culture instead thinks too much on what the other person can do for me. We should instead be thinking about what we can do for the other person. When we look at ourselves too much, we will become more prideful. I make it a point to look to my wife and before I could criticize on anything, I would want to see if the deficiency lies with me first. Is this a lack of holiness on my part? I will give her the benefit of the doubt, something a friend of mine noted. He said that whatever she does, I will bend over backwards to try to understand where she’s coming from.

I would say I am more devoted now to my wife than I ever have been before and ten years from now, I will look back and think “Psssh! I thought I was devoted then?! That can’t compare to now!”

Our dating culture I believe will work best when we stop looking for the truth of a good relationship within ourselves and look for it from the outside. By all means, seek the counsel of wise Christians, which I did. I talked to a number of people before I proposed to my wife, and some of them had a very hard time keeping it a secret. I also had good friends, like my best man, who knew where this was going very early on and the advice of several who saw this was and is a match made in Heaven.

My wife helps me grow as an apologist, as a man, and most importantly, as a disciple of Jesus Christ. To her, I am grateful and I give my love.

To My Wife On Her Birthday

Hello everyone and welcome to Deeper Waters. I know I said that we’d continue looking at Providence, but I think today, I’ll write something to my wife. Now I am keeping her name secret, but on Theologyweb, she goes by the name of Toodles. Today, she celebrates her birthday and I wish to celebrate it with her.

A year ago Princess, you were not even a blip on the radar. I knew nothing of your existence. It was only when that mutual friend of ours told me about you and I got in touch with you and saw who you are and realized that you’re an Aspie like I am and that no one could bring as much happiness as you can.

So our adventure together really began in September. I came to see you for the first time in October. Come December 24th of last year, you had a ring on your finger and we were preparing to walk down the aisle as you did agree that you want to spend the rest of your life with me.

For me, it began the quest of holiness and right now, I tell friends in the apologetics field about how important that holiness is. It is so easy to spend all our time in apologetics in only the intellectual arena. We don’t really let the doctrine of God influence us like we should. We keep thinking the ideas will change us, but in many ways they don’t.

I knew a lot of the ways I needed to change long before you showed up. However, once you showed up, I started making it a higher priority than ever before. I started looking at the ways I treat other people in my mind and the ways I treat myself and saw that too often, I am very self-focused.

Hence, how my pastor told you that one change that’s come along in my life since you came is that I’m more other-focused. What matters more to me now is how you feel about something and what you think. I am secondary. I find that I have had an entire priority shift.

You caused me to look inside myself and see the inner darkness I have had for so long. I can freely admit that I am a fallen and imperfect man now. I can freely admit the natural tendency I see in me to sin, and I seek all the more to make it be more and more my natural tendency to choose love.

It has been a journey of seventeen days today. We’ve been through a lot together, but in the end, we’re always together. You stand by my side and I stand by yours. I’ve had to adjust in many ways, but it’s all been a good adjustment. You’ve helped me face fears I never thought I could. I have seen your heart, and I have prayed that I will have a heart more like yours.

I have also seen the stern side of you. I saw it tonight in how you helped with some friends of ours in facing something in their life, and I was pleased with what I saw. You have a growing commitment to godliness. You’re working on growing more in that area, and I’m standing beside you.

While I’ve been quick to think some things obviously true, you have also helped me watch what I say. I realize more and more that I could be wrong in many areas and how my arguments can come across to many people. You have an outlook that sees many things that I’ve missed.

I am certain I have grown much since I have known you and I am growing more and more. You have been God’s instrument in grace to help free me from what sins I have been caught in and help me embrace life as God intended for me to embrace it.

You are the most important person in my life, and I love you dearly. Happy Birthday Princess. Thank you for being my wife.