Beginning Year Nine

Where do we go from here? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Thanks to everyone who gave us anniversary wishes yesterday. My wife and I had a great day together. So now that we’ve been together for eight years, what do we do at this point?

We go to year nine.

Year nine begins right now. I have told several guys that as soon as you finish one year of marriage, you need to start working on the next one. Of all your earthly relationships, the marriage that you have is the most important one and no other one must come before that.

This is especially a danger for those of us in ministry. Some of us can be so caught up in doing the work of building up “God’s kingdom” in the world that we don’t do it in our own home. Wives and children can feel neglected. There are jokes about how when some men walk across a stage to get their Ph.D.s, their wives are waiting at the other end with divorce papers. There are plenty of kids of those in ministry who wind up rebelling. Many of them could do so because ministry took their families away from them.

If you are in ministry then, always make time for your family. I realize as one in this field that there are plenty of other people that can do the work that I do. There is only one person though who can be a husband to Allie. That is my job. I don’t want to slouch so much in that area that she winds up looking for a replacement.

All of this has to be taken seriously. I hate to say it, but when I meet people and tell them how long I’ve been married, and before yesterday it was seven years, they say that that’s a long time. Seven years to me is not a long time, at least for marriage. I think about couples that have been married for decades. They can say they’ve been married for a long time.

So already, I’m planning ideas in mind for what I can do for Allie next year. Her birthday is next month and I already have something in mind for that. All of this is done to show that I have an investment in her. By showing I have an investment in her, it lets her know how much she matters to me.

That’s the way it is with anything. You will invest in what matters most to you. If your family doesn’t matter or your marriage doesn’t matter that much to you, then you won’t invest in them. I have been warning not to get too involved in ministry, but don’t neglect that either. It is the kingdom of God. It does matter, but you’re not the only one serving that Kingdom. Never act like the Kingdom depends on you because it doesn’t and God can have a great way of showing that.

Again, my thanks for the anniversary wishes! Here’s to the ninth year of marriage!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Eight Years!

How do we celebrate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out!

This is a blog post that is much more personal. It’s about how my Princess and I celebrate eight years of marriage today. Nine years ago, neither of us knew the other existed. I might have had some small clue since in the book her Dad wrote with Gary Habermas, he mentions a kid of his named Alex, but that can also be a boy’s name so I had no idea of her beyond that.

And yet when Allie came into my life, before long she became central in my life. Aside from Jesus Christ, Allie has been the most transforming person in my life. If you want to talk about the person who has had the most impact on my ministry thus far, it’s Allie. Allie has given me the confidence to reach beyond where I was and seek to become what I need to be.

With our age difference, it’s interesting to compare our lives to our marriage. Allie will turn 28 next month and I will turn 38 in the month after. That means over a quarter of her life has been spent in marriage to me and over a fifth of my life has been spent in marriage to her.

I am also amazed that I found a woman who accepts me as I am and loves me and yes, even wants me. Allie does not have pity on me and did not choose me for that. She wanted to be with me because she saw someone who loves her.

In turn, I did not have pity either. Many times when Allie asks why I love her, I tell her it’s because she loved me and I had never seen anything like that. I often think of the text of the Bible that says we love because He first loved us. Because Allie loved me, I found myself being more and more transformed into who I need to be.

Love like that does have a more transforming power. If anyone wants to talk to me about empathy and care and things of that sort, Allie has the most to do with that. I am often wondering what Allie would think of the things that I say or do. She is my constant reminder to live a holy life, because I want to be a man worthy of her.

Both of us went through a lot of rejection from the opposite sex in our life, but in the end I am thankful for it. If those guys had not rejected her, I would not be the one with her. If I had not been rejected by other girls, I would be with someone else besides her. We are a unique couple that I think is perfectly fit for one another. We balance each other out so well with our differences and work so well together with our similarities.

So today I want to say again happy anniversary to my Princess! I love you so much Allie Licona Peters! Thank you for being in my life! I look forward to all the years to come!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Something Worth Guarding

What do you do with what matters most? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today, my wife Allie and I have been married for seven and a half years, which is incredible to think about. It really seems like something incredible to realize that when I go so many places, I have my wife going with me. That is a treasure. When I get together with other couples, we are just that, a couple. When I get together with my own family, we are together and it seems odd to think I sleep next to my wife in the room I used to have to myself alone.

One question asked to me today was about relationships with other women. This is something I keep guard on. Why? Picture you have a safe-deposit box at the bank. What are you going to put in it? Will you put in the groceries you bought at the store today? Will you put in a bottle of medicine you bought over-the-counter at the drugstore? Will you put in a can of cat food you bought at the pet store?

Or will you more likely put in fine jewelry, important documents you have, money, family heirlooms, etc. Why? These are things of far greater value. They need to be guarded and protected. What matters most is what you protect the most.

In earthly relationships, my marriage matters the most to me. That is why I guard it. In my ministry capacity, I often have to answer questions from women that get in touch with me. For a simple question, that is fine, but if it becomes anything involving intimate issues, then I always ask if my wife can be in the correspondence. If this is not agreed to, I tell them I must pass them off to a female who can answer their questions.

Most affairs do not start out with a guy getting out of bed one day and saying “You know what? I think today would be a good day to cheat on my wife.” They start with a guy in an innocent relationship with a woman, perhaps at the office, and she starts giving him some attention that he likes. He starts talking to her and before too long, he’s joining her on her lunch break or vice-versa. The relationship is emotional but as that emotion starts to build up, the people in it want to turn it physical and lo and behold, they wind up at a hotel together.

This is also why I follow the Pence rule. A lot of people mocked Pence when that came out. (I do realize it is not original to Pence, but it is called that often.) If Harvey Weinstein had followed this rule, how different would things have turned out? My relationship with my wife is not worth risking.

Also, this means that pornography has absolutely no place whatsoever in my marriage. I never look at the stuff. If it accidentally pops up on my computer, I feel awful. I go and tell Allie about it immediately. I don’t want her to ever be on my computer and see a link come up that makes her wonder what I’ve been doing.

Sexual fidelity is a major deal for me. Allie is the only woman I have ever had sex with and I intend to keep it that way. Why would I want another woman in my head when I’m with my wife? Do I dare want to say that Allie is not good enough for me? Absolutely not! I regularly tell her she’s the most beautiful sight I have ever seen! Just the chance to see her and be with her has been a great motivation in my life for necessary change that I need.

Being on the spectrum, we also have therapy together and that is a great benefit to our relationship. We have no problem going to other people when we are in a tough situation and getting their input. That’s just seeking wisdom and we realize many people have been married far longer than we have been and know a lot more.

I also do the steps to maintain our relationship everyday. If you are on Facebook and are friends with me, you know that I don’t post on Sunday, but every other day, I post something about how I love my wife. People also know that I can be mild-mannered. I can sometimes be rough in a debate with a skeptic, but there are limits.

Yet if anyone dares to insult my Allie on there, then people know the rule. Stay back and get out popcorn. Rage is the only word to describe it. You could say my philosophy then is “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I take no prisoners and I let anyone have it who dares to go after her. Efforts to calm me down in that state are pointless. You might as well try to calm down the Hulk when he goes into a rage.

It also means you plan in advance for birthdays and anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. Our anniversary is on July 24th. That means that planning for the next year begins on July 25th. As it stands, I am right now considering multiple options for what I will do on that day. Normally also, book sales that I have saved up under my ministry partner are used to support what I want to do that day.

This requires intentional work. This requires sacrifice. It also requires many times going against my feelings. There are times my wife wants me to do something and I don’t really feel like doing it. Imagine she needs something and I have just sat down and want to read my book and hear, “Nick. Will you go to the store and get some milk?” My wife can’t drive due to a brain injury, so I have to do it. I can assure you I don’t want to do it most of the time. I don’t feel like doing it. I would love it if someone else could do it. I still do it. Why? Because I love her and if there is something my wife needs and my feelings don’t care for it, my feelings have to take a back seat.

If you build your relationship on your feelings, you’re dooming it to failure. No feeling can last forever. It shouldn’t even. Many of us could not focus at all if even positive feelings always lasted forever. Sometimes, negative feelings will show up, and you have to go against them. There are always little foxes seeking to destroy the relationship.

Christianity plays an integral part in what we do as well. When it comes to nighttime, before we go to sleep, we read a little bit from the Bible and then we pray together. Prayer is something we turn to in crisis. We’re also available when we need it to do ministry. We make an interesting team. I tell people I’m the head and she’s the heart. If you want someone to really listen to you and emphasize with you and feel your pain with you, go talk to her. She’s better. If you want someone who can reach your head and answer your questions, come to me.

Today, one of the greatest reasons I am the man I am today is because of my wife. She has transformed me in ways that even my own parents who have known me longest in my life think of as remarkable. My old roommate before I married Allie knows I used to pretty much have frozen pizza en masse in the freezer for my dinner every evening. When I told him that is no longer the case because Allie has changed my diet, he just said “Wow.”

If you have a marriage, work to build it. Should your spouse work to build it too? Yeah, but if they’re not, that doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility. Of course, this is different if you are in a relationship where you are actively being abused or the children are being abused. In that case, get out while you can. At least go with separation for the time being and demand that the offending spouse get some therapy and don’t go back into the relationship until a therapist okays it. (Of course, you also don’t be going and having affairs with other people in a time of separation.)

If you think your marriage is valuable, you will cultivate it. If you don’t, you won’t. The reality is that if something is important to you, you spend time on it and learn about it and do what you can with it. My wife is a gift and I treasure the relationship with her and it’s always new to me. Some things never get old. Loving my wife is one of them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

My Apologetics Story

So what is the story behind Deeper Waters? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A couple of days ago I was listening to my friend Kurt Jaros’s podcast Veracity Hill. In this episode, he was talking about how he got to be doing what he’s doing. This is a question I often ask of my guests on my own show and it occurred to me that since people often refer to my work and tag me on Facebook for apologetics questions, maybe some of my readers would like me to do that for myself.

I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. To be more specific, it was in a little suburb of Knoxville called Corryton. From an early age, my parents could tell that I was different. I wasn’t really speaking normally like other kids would. I was engrossed in books instead. (Some things haven’t changed.) If there was any book that apparently held fascination for me, it was this big white King James Bible. (This Bible is currently in my office)

My parents thought I was just intrigued by the shapes of the letters and such. One day, they pointed out a word to me that I was curious about. That word was chapter. Again, they see me going over this book regularly and don’t know what to make of it, but I guess if it keeps me content and happy and out of trouble, why not?

One day, my Dad takes me to a department store and puts me in front of a computer. Since I was born in 1980, we’re not really talking about anything high-tech, at least for our time. There’s a blank screen in front of me to type and he’s expecting me to type some gibberish. Before too long, there’s a crowd in front of the computer looking at it. My Dad comes back to see what’s going on.

On the screen are all the books of the Bible in order, spelled correctly, and with how many chapters they had.

The crowd asks if I did this. My Dad doesn’t know for sure, but he knows how to find out. He clears the screen and tells me to do it again. I do it again.

Something is different.

My parents were hesitant to put me in kindergarten because I was still having a hard time with speech. Only my close relatives could translate what I said, and even then it was difficult. Still, I went, but when that year was done, I was put in Transition instead of going off to first grade, and that meant transferring to a different school.

My parents were worried about it, but as it is I fit in wonderfully at this school. I went all the way through Elementary school there. I do have great memories of that time. Second grade was wonderful and I did win my 5th grade school spelling bee. When I was in 4th grade I was in a class split between 4th and 5th grade and there was some competition we had in the class between two groups of 5th graders and us 4th graders. The teacher decided to settle it by having each group choose a representative to come up and answer a long division question on the board. I was chosen for the 4th graders.

The 4th graders also won the day.

A big change that came there was the video game culture. Nintendo was beginning their ascension and that’s all my friends were talking about. In second grade, my parents got me one for my birthday and I became the resident game master before too long. To this day, I’m still heavily in the gaming culture.

Also in 5th grade, my parents got some answers. I had been in an out of a disability center in elementary school. It was there that I was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum. This was something that made sense to my parents. I didn’t understand it at the time, but later on in my life, it would become much more relevant.

So let’s skip ahead to high school. It was there that I remember having doubts about my relationship with God. It wasn’t Christianity that I doubted. It was myself. Part of it was that I was big into the role playing culture as well. My hobbies including Dungeons and Dragons and Magic; The Gathering. Today, I have no problem with such things really, but back then, I was naive and didn’t know how to answer charges brought against me. This led me into a fear of my salvation which resulted in panic attacks and depression.

Interestingly enough, I was often teaching youth group at the same time at my church.

I was also on the internet at this time and instead of talking about games, I found it odd that I was talking about Christianity with people, and I didn’t know why. I found a lot of people knew and thought differently than I did. I also found a lot of people were actually atheists.

On another note, I was a part of a group of guys at my school called TNT which stood for Thursday Night Talk. We had guys get together with no girls allowed. We had a leader who would talk to us about Jesus regularly and we would have three-hour meetings. Think about this. Guys meeting for three hours being respectful and listening and talking about Jesus. The guys you would think were the toughest would often break down in tears and be crying about mistakes they had made. We saw several people come to Christ. Good times.

I should also explain something about my study habits. I didn’t have them. I was the kid who did my work in class, doodled in a notebook when I was done, came home and played video games all day, and still easily passed all my classes. When I was in my senior year I got elected Most Studious Male Senior. I thought it was odd since, well, I didn’t study.

When I graduated, I had to go somewhere for college. Fortunately, due to my disability Voc Rehab was willing to pay for my college, but that came with an assessment first. The people there thought I was so academically inclined that I should go into some field like engineering. No offense to any readers and friends who are engineers, but that just didn’t interest me. I was interested in Christianity and wanted to go into ministry. They recommended I not take this path. Why?

I would not be able to handle public speaking.

I laugh when I think about it today.

So I went to Johnson Bible College, now Johnson University. While there, I remember speaking to a student once in the student center and asked him what he was studying. He said it was apologetics. I had never heard this term and asked about what it was. He told me and I filed that away.

Like I said earlier, I was doing internet evangelism and realized I needed to learn how to deal with these atheists. I had a friend recommend More Than A Carpenter and I went out and read that and just devoured it. Still, there was something more I was wanting. Then I remembered hearing about this story about a journalist who set out to disprove Christianity and later came to embrace it through his study. The guy was named Lee Strobel and the book was The Case for Christ.

I call that the book that lit my fire.

From that point on after reading that, I was constantly buying any book that I could and devouring it. Something strange happened then. My depression and such started to go away. I was able to be more open. If there’s any professor that saw this take place at the college, it was David Wheeler. He and I regularly talk to this day and he tells about how when I showed up, I didn’t interact with anyone and I was as shy as could be. After apologetics, I was showing up at his office sharing jokes and such. I was also becoming well-known on campus as the apologetics go-to guy.

In some classes, this became fun. One class was systematic theology. My professor and I did not see eye to eye because I thought a lot of stuff he was teaching was horrible. The biggest one was that he said God created man because He needed someone to love. I would raise my hand at this point. My circle of friends around me would watch to see how long I would be able to have my hand raised before I would be called on. Our longest time was 19 minutes.

In a different class, the topic came up of if Moses was based on Sargon. I had read something on this recently so I got up and started saying something. After class, a student came up to me and was very excited. He told me he had heard me quoting Ravi Zacharias and knew I had an apologetics interest. He told me about an apologetics conference at this place called Southern Evangelical Seminary where you could get a Master’s in apologetics.

My path was set.

And also, I decided to join these guys on their trip to the conference. You have to understand what a big step this was. As someone on the spectrum, I hadn’t left my parents house and I commuted to school. I didn’t really go on overnight trips like this. Now I was. My parents I am sure talked to this friend, named Paul, and made sure all was good.

I loved the conference and I think I spent $400 there on apologetics materials. The joke was after awhile that the students in the bookstore were happy to see me come because that meant their tuition would be paid that year. Anyway, my future path was decided at that point.

Also in my senior year at Bible College, I gave my senior sermon. This was to a crowd of the entire student body, about 1,000 people, and all professors that would be present. Remember Voc Rehab saying I couldn’t handle public speaking? Yeah. I wish they could have been there. Even a year later as I was trying to do a Master’s there, I had students coming up to me telling me how much they loved the message.

My Master’s there wasn’t successful, but I decided I’d just go to SES instead. That was in Charlotte, and I didn’t want my parents to worry about me being so far away. Thus, I decided I’d spend a year proving myself. How? I just came home one day and told my parents I had put money down on an apartment in the city. Yep. No discussion there. Just done. The next day, my mother came home with some supplies to help me out.

So I lived in an apartment about 15 miles or so away. I did this to demonstrate that I could handle things by myself. When the time for the conference came, I went by myself. All was going well. I applied to SES and lo and behold, I was accepted. There was some concern due to SES having a strong doctrinal statement and my being an orthodox Preterist. I was just told to not evangelize my views. No biggie. I didn’t come to teach Preterism but to learn apologetics more.

Yet there was one more barrier. Things were much more expensive. Could I really go it alone entirely? Wouldn’t it be nice if I found some friend that could join me? Yet none of my friends in the area cared about apologetics.

Fortunately, I had a friend from a web site named Theology Web who had been wanting to go to Bible College for some time. His name was David. He lived in Missouri at the time, but we talked very regularly and had met a few times. He decided he would join me, so he and his mother come over and meet us in Knoxville and the next day, we set out together to Charlotte where our apartment is waiting.

SES was a great time and before too long, David and I were climbing up the ranks. I had got to know the president very quickly and was being well-known in my classes. The church David and I went to met at the seminary and had a strong apologetics emphasis and before too long, we found there was a lot of talk about these two young guys who were gung-ho about spiritual things.

We also made several friends there. One such was our friend Chris. Today, Chris and I are still good friends. Had it not been for my having a flu bug, I would have been a groomsman at his wedding last December. Chris and I regularly got together to watch Smallville and we would all play a game like Smash Brothers together.

Now if there was anything that was still greatly lacking in my life, it was that I was someone who was always wondering if I would get married one day. Paul from Bible College had been at SES for awhile and he told the Christian Research Institute about me which led to my being hired as a researcher. One day I was heading home from work and remembered that Gary Habermas was coming to SES to teach a module. Gary and I had spoken before when he did a talk at the church at SES. He was helping me with doubt, not about Christianity, but about myself. I was always doubting my own ability in apologetics. I figured I’d go see him.

When I saw him, he told me when we were alone that he and Frank Turek and some others had been talking together. He asked me if I knew who Mike Licona was. Of course, I did. I had read their book together. He asked me if I knew if Mike had a daughter. I did not. Mike had spoken at a debate with Bart Ehrman at SES recently and I remembered he looked awfully young. I was shocked to find out he had a daughter who was 19. (I was a month away from 29)

Gary told me that he and Frank and someone else had been speaking about this daughter. She was going through a hard time and that she had Aspergers made it harder until Frank said, “Well, Nick Peters has Aspergers.” Gary asked me if I would be willing to email her and talk to her.

I did. I wasn’t even really looking for love at the time, but I did become a friend. Like I said, I wasn’t looking for love. Nosiree. Allie was all the way in Atlanta after all. Such a thing would not work out.

Except come Labor Day we decided we were going to be a dating couple.

In October, I went to see her. Her parents were pleased to thrill me and we had a great time together. Our first date was at the Georgia Aquarium. Some friends at SES knew we were going to marry then because Allie actually got me to touch some fish in the aquarium. I never touch anything like that. Never.

I understand when I came back home and was talking about the event, David and Chris were saying they needed to book a wedding chapel. I also had some friends who were identical twins. We would get together every Sunday night and play Smash Brothers and then go bowling with their Dad. I got to tell them all the story about our first date, including how Allie and I definitely kissed on our first date, and was full of excitement. Their Dad wasn’t home at the time and I remember we were playing Smash Brothers and I was unbeatable that evening. My mood was off the charts. Then I heard their Dad had just got home and I wanted to tell him the story. We were nearing the end of that round and my last opponent had one life left so I said it was time to finish this.

My friend was stunned. “What? We’re not even near”

BAM!

Before he could blink I had indeed finished him off.

So this is how excited I was.

Come November, David knew what was going on when we went to the mall together. He wanted some jeans, and I was just going to jewelry stores. There’s really only one reason David knew I would be going to jewelry stores. Later that month he messaged me at work saying he was moving in with someone else. He told me he’d been reading the tea leaves as it were and knew that before too long, Allie and I would not want to have him around since we were obviously getting married. I told him the reality was he wouldn’t want to be around.

For the annual apologetics conference. Allie had come to see me. Her big highlight there was in a special meeting for speakers and their families. She had everywhere been introduced as “Mike Licona’s daughter” and she didn’t like it. This time, when she was introduced, people were told, “This is Nick Peters’s girlfriend.” She liked that title a lot more.

So while I was at work after that, I remember turning to go to my office again and hearing someone say “Mike Licona’s daughter.” I stopped. Then I heard another guy there speaking and saying things like “Wonderful couple.” “So perfect together.” “Probably going to get married.” I came around the corner and said that was more definitely. It was through that that I learned where to go to buy the ring at a good price. My aunt owed me a good deal of money and I had her send it to me so I could buy it.

Back in December, I saw the president of our college. I told him that I had been practicing proposing. When I told him my plan, he told me “I always knew you were a theologian. I had no idea you were such a romantic.” I also saw Frank Turek. I thanked him for being instrumental in my getting to know Allie. He asked how that was going. I told him I was looking for a ring.

Fistbump.

So come December, most everyone else knew what was going on, but Allie was still in the dark. I had already privately called her parents and told them my intentions and got their blessing. I encourage every guy to do this if possible. You’re going to a family and asking for their baby girl after all.

Allie was to spend Christmas Eve with me and my family. (by the way, if anyone is worried about something, Allie and I never did anything remotely inappropriate before marriage.) I picked her up at the Charlotte airport. The place has a star-shaped fountain pool with a statue of Queen Charlotte in the center. I told her I wanted her to see this first. We’re out there and I have the jewelry box in my pocket. I am fumbling around making sure it opens the right way. I don’t want to open it and have a ring come falling on the ground. Finally, I have it all ready and go into the pitch I had been preparing.

“So Princess (The nickname I still have for her to this day). Have you ever thought about being a queen?”

“Only if you’re the king.”

(Isn’t that an awesome anwer?!)

“Well, I guess you’ve made this easy for me.”

Then Allie is just stunned, a look I still remember to this day, as I get down on one knee and open up the box to show the ring and ask “Allie Licona. Will you marry me?”

We were both stunned because my cell phone went off at that time. It’s odd to hear “Somebody Save Me” from Smallville playing as you’re proposing. I just considered it a way to start the adventure. I ignored it of course, but I knew who it had to be. Mom. She always calls at the worst times.

Of course, Allie said yes. I then checked after awhile to see who it was that called. Half-right. It was her mother. She wanted me to know Allie’s plane had arrived early. Her mother has been scared that it would be something I would always bring up over and over.

And if you know me at all, those fears are well-founded.

The interstate to Tennessee had been blocked by a landslide that year, so I had directions from AAA to get around it. It was a long drive through the snow in towns I was unfamiliar with. When we got to our first stop, you have to realize that these were people who had never seen Allie before. Some might have not even known about her at all. Therefore, I told Allie my plan for introducing her.

I went in with my hand tightly clutched around hers covering the ring. We were the last ones to get there due to the snow and all so I came in and said “Hi everyone. This is Allie. She and I have been dating for three months and as of a few hours ago, she’s become somewhat more important in my life.” At that point, I released her hand so everyone could see the ring and then I dove out of the way to avoid all the girls coming up wanting to see that ring.

Our next stop was my aunt’s and we did the same thing. Christmas was great that year. Allie still recounts it as the best Christmas gift she has ever been given.

Our wedding was to be in July. I had arranged it even before I proposed. I knew I wanted to go in the summer because of school. I also knew I wanted to go to Ocean Isle Beach. Chris had shown us that place and I knew it was where I would want to go on a honeymoon. I saw that July 24 was a Saturday and the next day, a Sunday, had a full moon.

Honeymoon with a full moon on the beach? Not passing that up.

I went back to SES the month after the proposal to start classes for that semester wondering if anyone really knew about what had happened with me. I open up our weekly newsletter in my mailbox and see in prayers and praises a note saying “God’s blessing on Nick Peters and Allie Licona’s engagement.”

I guess they know.

In my first class, the professor said he wanted us to all be paying attention. He didn’t want me for instance over there just sitting and saying to myself “I’m getting married” over and over, and then said, “Which is true by the way, congratulations.” Yes. Word was out.

David was my best man at the wedding. No one else could have taken that position. I also surrounded myself with men who could counsel me about marriage, sex, and everything else. Our wedding was a fairy tale wedding. Everything went perfectly without a hitch. It was a beautiful one. Gary Habermas who introduced us was the one who married us.

I used to say the depression was the worst thing I had ever gone through, but I was grateful because it led me to apologetics. I no longer say that. I now say it led me to apologetics, and that led me to Allie. With Allie by my side, confidence issues started to become less and less. I have a woman who actually believes in me and desires me. It’s incredible. When my friend Chris got married last December, he sought me out for advice. Why? Because he saw Allie and I together and he wanted that. It’s great to get a compliment on intellectual ability. It’s great, but anyone can do that with study. It’s something better to be told I’m a good husband to Allie. That’s virtue.

As many of you know, I had to leave SES eventually. When Norman Geisler went after Mike on inerrancy, I couldn’t stay silent. I feared I had made enough enemies that I would not be able to graduate. Today, I am in Atlanta. I assist Mike with his ministry. I’m trying to complete a Master’s in New Testament distance learning through Johnson again. I am busy learning Greek and trying to review books for my podcast, which I am quite pleased with, and doing work for Mike still.

This is also one reason I ask for donations on the show. Employment isn’t available because I have to make enough to cover my health-care and Allie’s. She is on Social Securit disability. It puts us in a tight spot, but I’m happy with her. I love my wife and this has been a growing time for me in learning how to be a good husband. I get plenty of books from authors wanting me to review them. I enjoy that I have got to know several scholars.

So are things in a rough path financially? Yeah, but we’re going to make it. I also like to encourage those growing up and starting apologetics. It took a long time to get to where I was. For a time, I would regularly get myself into situations I couldn’t handle, but it took a lot of study. Yes. I am doing that study now.

Apologetics has been a great gift to me. I get to serve Jesus doing the work that I love and I get to help others along the way. Of course, I also have Allie by my side as well. My friends who knew me before and after know that Allie has had a marked improvement on my life. One such way is food. As an Aspie, my diet had always been restricted. Counselor and friends and parents tried to get me to change it for decades. Not going to happen.

Allie didn’t even have to try.

Do I still have areas to work on? Yes. Allie is trying to work with me on those and I’m sometimes resistant, but if I was detective Monk, she’s my Natalie. She helps keep me sane in this crazy world. She’s someone who stabilizes me when I can’t handle things. People get amazed at the love I show for her in public and on Facebook. I didn’t even realize I had it in me, but I do apparently.

Well, that’s been my story. I haven’t told everything of course. No one could. Still, I want it to be a way that you can get to know the guy behind Deeper Waters. I hope in some ways, it’s an inspiration too, especially if you’re disabled and want ot know if you can ever do anything.

And of course, if I haven’t said it, I love my Princess.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Six Years

What’s there to celebrate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast I will be interviewing……no one.

Why?

Well I’m essentially in charge of Deeper Waters and if I think there’s a good enough reason, I can take a Saturday off. In this case, I do think there is good enough reason. This Sunday, Allie and I will be celebrating six years of marriage together and if we do manage to do anything for our anniversary, it will likely be on the Saturday before. I have a commitment to my ministry and my podcast, but my first commitment is to my wife.

It’s really fascinating to think that we have been together for six years. Sometimes, Allie asks me what it was like when I was single or living with a roommate. Honesty, I cannot remember much about it. I really can’t. To think of life without Allie in it is unimaginable.

Yesterday I had to drive around town for some dental work. We found a dentist who will work with me on a sliding scale due to financial reasons and is a fellow Christian. I had to drive to another part of Georgia to get a form afterwards. I left that morning around 8:30 and didn’t get home until 6. So much throughout the day, I wanted to get home and just kiss my wife again. It had been so long.

That is still something I don’t take for granted. There’s a lesson that has been said that women need to learn that if you want a devoted husband, a nerd is often the most devoted. We will just be so stunned and amazed that you want to be with us that we never really stop celebrating it. I at this moment have a really good friend who has just popped the question (And she said yes!) and I am talking to him from time to time to tell him about marriage and advise him.

Marriage is a wonderful gift. There is something good in knowing you don’t have to go through life alone. I don’t have to come home to an empty house. In fact, there have been times Allie has been away and I have had to come home to an empty house. Those can be some of my most depressing times. I mean, maybe I can turn on Netflix a lot easier and not have to share things, but I would easily trade that all away just to be with Allie.

Allie has touched my life in so many ways and she is more beautiful to me today than she has ever been. I’m also proud of her work lately to overcome many issues in her own life and to get in better shape. Moving to Georgia I think has been a great thing for her. She has some great set of mentors around here and frankly, Pokemon Go has got her going outside the house and exercising.

Marriage is also transforming. You learn to die to yourself. You learn to put your desires second. Both of you give to one another and give selflessly. Nothing belongs to just you any more. In fact, that is so much true that not even your very bodies belong to just you. There is no place for selfishness here. Marriage is one place where the more you give, the more you get as well.

It’s also a place where you really learn just how selfish you are. You see what you do to your spouse sometimes and wonder “What the heck is wrong with me?” You realize what it means to say “Yes. This person made a commitment to me.” Allie and I in many ways both have trust areas to work on. For me, it’s the swimming pool. I’m terrified of water. Allie isn’t.

For me, the gift of Allie is Allie is one person I feel comfortable being myself around. This is one person who accepts me just as I am and I delight in being myself around her. Of course, while she accepts me as I am, she loves me too much to leave me as I am and wants me to be better and better every day.

So this Saturday, there won’t be a show. I hope we’ll be doing something special to celebrate. It’s a special time. I look forward to six more years. I look forward in fact to sixty years.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Four Years!

What’s so special about July 24th? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For many people, July 24th is just another day on the calendar. Nothing against it, but it’s just a day. Most people will get up today and go to work and live out their days like it’s nothing really special. Look at the calendar and today is no holiday. That is all true, but for some people, today is a very special day.

Like at our household.

Travel back in time four years from today and go to First Baptist Church in Matthews, NC. It’s a pleasant Saturday afternoon and people from all over have come. Some have come from Tennessee where my family lives. Some have come from Georgia where Allie’s family lives. Others have come from the neighboring town of Charlotte where I live at the time, not so much of a drive for them. Still others have come from Florida, Virginia, D.C., and even one flying all the way from California.

So what got so many people to come to this place at this time?

It was a wedding.

It was our wedding.

It was a quite beautiful occasion. As far as I’m concerned, everything went off perfectly and we still often watch the DVD of our wedding together. It was great to spend time with family and friends. Since many of our friends came from TheologyWeb, I understand there was even a little mini convention that evening. (Somehow, for some reason, Allie and I missed the get together. It’s just a mystery why that was…)

Today we celebrate four years together and I think this past year has been one of the most important ones. Due to our finding an excellent church that really encourages Christian growth and Allie forming such good friends there, she had her depression miraculously removed from her. She has had so much joy in all of this and even her psychiatrist is convinced that her depression is gone. She no longer takes any medication for it.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to worship God in Christ through the Holy Spirit to have marriage run so well, the way it was meant to run. Of course, we still have our struggles and difficulties, but we are learning more and more each day.

Marriage is a great way to come out of yourself and we see that happening. I think Allie would say I’ve become more sensitive and caring over the past four years and I’ve seen Allie come more and more in touch with her intellectual side the past four years. Marriage helps each of us push further and further wanting to strive to be the best that we can for one another.

The adventure has been an exciting one and I’m sure that there are big things ahead for us in the future. We do not know where the road is taking us of course, but we want to go wherever it is that God has for us and we look forward to seeing what He plans for us to do as a team together.

Love to you greatly my Princess! Happy Anniversary!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 1

Are right-wing Christians the problem? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today we have a guest post on Deeper Waters. I was quite surprised to find last night that my wife took to doing a few hours of online research and such to deal with an article she found online. Now I don’t agree with everything she has here. There are parts I don’t agree with and there are parts I do agree with, but I’m pleased of how she did for a first major endeavor into the field. I wanted to share it. So without further ado, here’s Allie:

I just finished reading this article and being that I have a lot of Atheist friends, I thought I’d try to address some of the issues this article addresses and clear up the misconceptions. I’ll be doing more than one note on this because there are so many misconceptions I’m doing each note on each section to get into enough details to explain it all. For a link to the article, here is the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0

1. Opposing protections and rights for children is evil.

There’s a link you can click on from this section on what they considered were wrong in the Bible for opposing protections and rights for children. (http://awaypoint.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/why-bible-believers-have-such-a-hard-time-getting-child-protection-right/) Let’s go through those first:

Abraham, the verse they quote is Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you. (Genesis 22:1-12 nasv) This is very deceptive of the author of the article to just use this verse without using it in its full context. Isaac was the child God promised to give to Abraham. Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:2-5 NLT) If Isaac was the promised son to Abraham, and through Isaac, Abraham would have as many descendants as there are stars, why in the world would God ask Abraham to kill Isaac? This was a test. This was a test to see how much faith Abraham had in God and how obedient he would be to God. Abraham knew God had promised him Isaac and many descendants through Isaac, so as much as this may have confused him that God would make such a request of him, he must’ve had so much trust in God that he believed, “God is going to keep his promise to me. Either he will stop me, or he’s going to bring my kid back from the dead.” So Abraham and Isaac go up the Mountain for the sacrifice and Isaac asks his father, “Where’s the ram?” Abraham tells him, “Son, you’re the sacrifice.” Isaac must be terrified at this point. His name means “he laughs,” he probably wasn’t doing much laughing at that point. So Isaac is tied up to the altar they’ve made and he’s laying there, probably scared out of his wits. Abraham pulls out his knife and is probably thinking, “God, I’m trusting you here, don’t fail me now.” Then we come to this part: At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied, “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:11-12 NLT) Basically, Abraham was willing to give God everything, even his own son. This does not mean God wants us to sacrifice children. In fact, there are many passages in the Bible where people are sacrificing children and this angers God. They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. (Ezekiel 23:37 NLT) Is an example. Another example: “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the TEMPLE that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Tpheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deedl it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” (Jeremiah 7:30-31 NLT)

The story of Lot giving up his daughters to be raped. They quote the verse “Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Gen 19:8 nrsv) Again, this has been taken out of context. You need to read the whole story. The angels came to Lot’s house to warn Lot and his family that they were going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (the city Lot and his family lived in). Then a bunch of men came to Lot’s door, They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (Genesis 19:5 NLT) Yea, it literally says that, those guys wanted to rape the angels! Lot goes outside and is probably so scared he’s about to pee his robe or whatever he’s wearing because there’s an over-sexed mob wanting to rape these angels in his house! So Lot’s like, “Please guys, you really don’t want to do that! That could end REALLY bad for you! But I’ll tell you what, if it’ll get you out of here, I’ll give you my daughters – they’re virgins and if they can satisfy your lustful hunger please leave my guests alone.” Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not good he was offering his daughters up like this. It’s true women back then were not usually thought of very highly. But the mob outside his door are getting even more upset, “Dude you need to get out of here and give us those guys that are in your pad! You’re just as much of an outsider as they are so if you don’t get out of the way, we’ll treat you far worse than what we’re going to do to them!” Then they lung at Lot and try to break the door! But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside. (Geneses 19:10-11 NLT) So what does this mean? God didn’t let Lot give up his daughters. God kept his daughters safe. But it doesn’t end there. After the angels warned Lot about the destruction that was about to happen in his city and that he and his family needed to flee, Lot tried to tell his daughter’s fiance’s, but they laughed and thought Lot was joking! So Lot, his wife, and his two daughters leave the city as it’s being destroyed. Lot’s wife dies in the process by turning into a pillar of salt because they were warned to not look back at the city, but she looked back. So it was just Lot and his two daughters. So you really think Lot’s daughters were so innocent? Well get this, Lot and his daughters went to live in a cave up in the mountains. One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, “I had sex with our father last night. Let’s get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. (Genesis 19:30-36 NLT) So essentially, the two daughters rape their father. Who’s the wicked one now?

The Love triangle between Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: the verses they use are: After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.” Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong, that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. But that night it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. (Laban had Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.) But when Jacob woke up in the morning – it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel too – provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) So Jacob slept with Rachel too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. (Genesis 29:14-30 NLT) At least they haven’t forgotten any verses around it this time, but it’s partly taken out of context still. The article states this is just a deal between men, “You can have one if you do such and such for me.” Jacob and Rachel loved each other. Jacob was willing to work for her. It’s not that Leah was unattractive, but he didn’t see that same “sparkle” in her eye as he saw Rachel have. Leah didn’t make his heart race so fast that it felt like it was going to jump out of his throat! Rachel though, Rachel was the most beautiful person he had ever seen before. He loved her so much, that when he worked for her father for seven years, it only felt like a few days to him! So after seven years are up, Jacob says to Laban, “I’ve done what I promised, now I’m here to marry Rachel.” Laban’s like, “Sure, you kept your promise, I’ll keep my promise. Besides, I wouldn’t want her to be with anyone except for you!” So Jacob goes to bed after the wedding that night and sleeps with his bride. It’s dark, so he can’t see. He wakes up the next morning, and it’s not the love of his life he sees, but it’s his lovers sister! Now, think about if you were in his shoes. You worked seven years so you could marry the love of your life, and when you wake-up the next morning you find out the person you actually married and had sex with is not the person you love, but their sister/brother! You’d be pretty ticked off wouldn’t you? Well he was too! He goes up to his now father-in-law and is like, “Pops, why have you cheated me? You gave me the wrong daughter!” Laban is like, “Oh, sorry, I forgot to tell ya, here we marry off our older daughters first before the younger ones. But I’ll tell you what kid, if you still want her, work for me for another seven years and I’ll give her to you too!” Jacob says, “Fine, I’ll work another seven years, but you have to give me Rachel first.” So he gets Rachel a week after the bridal week and works for another seven years. But he doesn’t get rid of Leah. Even though he doesn’t love Leah and only loves Rachel, he still took care of Leah.

The foolish vow: verse quoted is a long one – At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephithah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory, He crushed the Ammonites, devastating about twenty towns from Aroer to an area near Minnith and as far away as Abel-keramim. In this way Israel defeated the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tamborine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “Oh, my daughter!” he cried out. “You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the LORD, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he sent her away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. (Judges 11:29-40 NLT) I’ll admit, I struggled a little bit with this one. I mean, if God isn’t for child sacrifices, why wouldn’t he have stopped this from happening? I looked at the notes for this passage in my Bible for a little help and here’s what it says “Jephthah’s recovery and leadership were guided by the Holy Spirit, but he still made a foolish mistake. His vow, which was an attempt to “cut a deal” with God to ensure military victory, is a classic example of what it means to “stifle the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Jephthah lived to regret the vow he made in the heat of the crisis. Often we do the same thing. We beg for God to fulfill some shortsighted goal, and in obtaining it, we miss God’s best. (This note comes from The Life Recovery Bible NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) I looked at this and thought, “What does stifle even mean?” So I looked it up:
1) make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.
2) restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion).

The prize to the victor, verse quoted – Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriathsepher. Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife. (Judges 1:12-13 NLT) To understand this verse, you have to understand the culture. I had to ask my husband about this one because he does more study about this than me, and he said it was an honor thing. It was also security for the daughter. I mean think about it, if the guy can bring victory for an army, you think he can protect a woman? Our culture today thinks very negatively on the idea of arranged marriages. But back then, arranged marriages weren’t as bad as we imagine them to be. They were common, but their way was in a way better than our way. Today, our culture has so much divorce. There are so many different statistics on the percentages of divorce, I never know which one is right, but to me, all the percentages are too high. We fall in love and get married, then a lot of times, we later fall out of love and get divorced. But back then, they didn’t get married necessarily because they were in love (though that’s not to say there were times where they were in love), but after they married, they loved each other. I would say this is a better system than the one we have now if you think of it that way! There were very few divorces because divorce was frowned upon, while today divorce is a casual thing. The whole thing with giving a daughter as a wife as a prize has gone on for a very long time, not just during Biblical times. I mean think about today, when a guy wants to marry a girl, he often times wants to impress her parents right? Why? Because they are the ones who are giving their daughter away in marriage. It’s of course different today than it was back then, but essentially, some things haven’t changed so much either.

Death sentence for the firstborn, they quoted Exodus 11 (NLT) – Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me ‘Please leave!’ they will beg ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh. Now the LORD had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even mightier miracles in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. Okay, so God gave Pharaoh many warnings. He caused plagues such as swarms of locusts, the Nile River turning into blood, invasion of frogs, boils, darkness, and even more plagues. He even caused Moses’ staff to turn into a snake and it ate the other snakes Pharaoh’s magicians called out! But Pharaoh still would not listen! So God gave him one final warning. If Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people be free from their slavery, the angel of death would kill every firstborn son in Pharaoh’s kingdom. The angel of death knew which houses were the Israelites because they celebrated Passover by using the blood of a lamb and putting it on their doors so the angel of death would pass over them. But the homes that didn’t have the blood of the lamb on the doors, they were the Egyptians who didn’t take God’s warning seriously. For a while, this got Pharaoh’s attention when he found his son dead. He realized the Israelites God was serious business and things are just going to get worse if he doesn’t let them go. So he lets them go. But when he realizes he let them ALL go and has no more slaves, he practically forgets what happened! He’s like, “Soldiers, get the chariots ready, we’re going after them! We’re getting them back!” So the Israelites see the Egyptians coming after them and they’re blocked off by the Red Sea. The Israelites turn on Moses and are like, “Dude! We were better off in Egypt! Now they’re going to kill us! Look what you’ve done to us! We should’ve stayed back there!” Moses isn’t going to have any of it! So he tells the people to stay calm because God is going to rescue them. God tells Moses to pick up his staff and raise his right hand over the sea. God divides the water and the people walk across to the other side. When they get to the other side and the Egyptians are rushing after them, God closes the waters the Egyptian army is wiped away in the ocean.

The faithful servant, verses they quote are Job 1 and Job 42:12-13. This is pretty long, but the reason I’m typing out all of the verses is because some of you may not actually look up the verses, so I thought I might as well provide them for you. So let’s start with Job 1 (NLT) – There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless – a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended – sometimes after several days – Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, patrolling everything that’s going on.” Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless – a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. Next verse is Job 42:12-13 (NLT) – So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. So Job is a really good guy right? He stays away from evil, and he’s even really faithful to God; so God wouldn’t ever let anything bad happen to Job right? That was Satan’s case too. God’s braggin’ on Job, “Have you seen this awesome guy on earth named Job? He’s a pretty cool dude, he stays away from evil and is faithful to me.” Satan’s like, “Yea I’ve seen him, but you know WHY he’s so faithful to you? It’s because you spoil him! You give him more than he needs! Have you seen his house for instance? Anyone with a house like his would be worshiping you without hesitating! He might as well have a jet ski! If you took everything he had away from him though, there’s no way he’d serve you. In fact, I bet he’d even curse you and spit in your face!” God knows if he does this, this is going to be really difficult on Job. But God also believes in Job. God believes Job will remain faithful to him. So God says, “Fine, you can take away what he has, BUT, you can’t hurt him physically.” So Satan does that. He takes away Job’s cattle, servants, and children. Job is so distraught that he tears his clothes and is completely naked. He shaves his head and what does he do? Does he curse God? No. Does he spit in God’s face? No. He WORSHIPS God! How many people would actually do that? We usually worship God only when the times are good or when it’s convenient. But we should worship God even when times are tough, even when it seems unbearable. It certainly seemed unbearable for Job, and throughout the story of Job, things kept getting worse, but he continued to be faithful to God. Because of his faithfulness to God, God blessed him even more than before!

10th Commandment blues, the quote is – You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me. (Exodus 20:5) I’ll keep this short with two verses in response to this. First, Deuteronomy 24:16 (NLT) – Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes. Next verse is Ezekiel 18:20 – The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. In summary, whoever makes the sin will be punished for their own sin. The kids are not going to be punished for their parents sin, nor are the parents going to be punished for the kids sin. I hope that clears things up.

Another misinterpretation, quoted verse – O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock! (Psalm 137:9) When you listen/read to song lyrics or poems, there’s a lot of emotion in them aren’t there? Well that’s what the book of Psalms consists of. Songs and poems (mainly songs). If you’re battling a country that’s bashing your babies into rocks and other awful stuff, you may be thinking, “I hope the same thing happens to you!” You’re thinking of revenge! Babylon had been oppressing the Israelites severely and doing awful stuff to them. They wanted revenge and were just saying, “What you’re doing to us, it’s coming right back at you!”

The truth about Jesus, quoted verse John 3:16 (NLT) – “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” They forgot to add verses 17-21: “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. But anyone who does not believe in him already has been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” So here’s the deal, people/humans are evil. They’re filled with darkness. Look around you, there is evil all around the world. Who causes the evil? People. Do you see evil animals? No. Do you see evil plants? No. Now, you may say natural disasters are evil. Natural disasters themselves are not evil, but the devastations they cause are evil. But in general, where do we see evil come from? We see evil come from people! You might say “There are a lot of good people too!” Yes, there are good people, but in what sense are they good? To your standard? To the standard of the law of the government? To your neighbor’s standard? To my standard? You’ve got people in the middle east yelling Jihad (holy war) strapping bombs onto themselves to blow up as many infidels as they can. According to their standards, they’re good people. Adolf Hitler when trying to make a superior race of people and getting rid of the Jewish people according to his standards was a good person. But according to our standards, these are all evil people! So when evaluating who are good people, by whose standards are you evaluating them? According to the Bible, we were originally created “good” (Genesis 1:31 NLT – Then God looked over all he had made, and saw that it was very good!) But then Adam and Eve sinned by listening to Satan’s lies and we inherited their curse. We kept becoming more and more evil. We were separated from God. We originally were created to be with God, but our sin became a barrier between us and God. So we offered sacrifices to God. But we kept on sinning, and the sacrifices just weren’t enough. Animal blood wasn’t enough to pay the price for the evil we didn’t just commit, but the darkness in our hearts as well. God didn’t want us to be separated from him, he longed for us, and while many turned away from him, there were those who longed for him too. A price had to be paid. Here’s the thing about God and his Son, as confusing as this sounds, they are ONE. Even Jesus said they are one. John 10:30 (NLT) – “The Father and I are one.” It wasn’t just God saying, “Okay kid, you’ve gotta go die to save the world!” God himself was going to sacrifice himself, because the Father is God, and the Son is God (not Gods, but singular – the Trinity is three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, I know it’s confusing but that’s for another discussion)! So the Son comes to earth as a baby, not like Hercules baby falling from the sky, but from a miracle! God made a virgin woman get pregnant! This virgin woman (Mary) gave birth to God (the Son) and his name was Jesus (or Yeshua which means “Salvation”). Jesus was fully God, but also fully human. He had to eat like a person. He had to sleep like a person. I’m sure if he didn’t bathe he probably smelled bad like a person. It’s funny actually, sometimes I ask my husband the most random questions like, “Do you think Jesus ever went swimming? Do you think Jesus was hairy? Do you think Jesus had long hair or short hair? Do you think Jesus ever had to go to the bathroom?” Answers for those my husband gave me were probably, yes, most likely short because long hair was dishonorable at that time for men, and yes. Anyway, before I get way off track, he was God and human. He taught people about the Kingdom of Heaven, he healed people from illnesses and injuries, he raised people from the dead, he fed people, of all people to consider good by anyone standards, look at his life and I think most of us would say, “He was a pretty good guy.” But he was tough. He was honest, and I mean brutally honest. He said things the way they were. He was gentle, but when the hard truth needed to be said, he said it. He didn’t hold back. He called people hypocrites. There were instances where he grabbed ropes and held them like whips and started pushing over tables because people were cheating other people in the Temple by selling flawed animals for sacrifices for high amounts of money! People tend to imagine Jesus as this guy who was always meek and mild, happy-go-lucky, always laughing kind of guy. No doubt, he had a lot of joy, but he was a man of great sorrow too, and he had anger. But he never sinned. He never did anything wrong. You may say “Well, he was God!” Yea, but he was as human as you and I too. He was as much flesh as you and I are. He was tempted in every way we are, yet he never gave in. As he waited in the garden and prayed, he knew one of his best friends was betraying him to the people who were going to put him to death. When Jesus prayed, he asked his Father to let this cup pass from him if possible. Now, this is just my speculation, I’ll admit, I could be wrong here, but here’s what I personally think here. I think Jesus might’ve been a little afraid of what was going to happen – hear me out before totally counting me wrong! He knew he was going to have to endure excruciating physical pain, and no one likes that, but I don’t even think that was what he was scared of. He was going to die a painful and humiliating way of death, but even that I don’t think was what he was afraid of. He was going to take on the sins of the world and be separated from his Father – that, I think was what he was afraid of. He was in so much distress he sweat blood! This is a rare occurrence, but it does actually happen (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810702/) But Jesus said “If it’s possible” which means “If it’s possible for a different way to save the people, can we do that way instead?” But then Jesus said, “But let your will be done, not mine.” This is really powerful and I think we need to learn this for our own lives as well. If we let God’s will control our lives more instead of our own will, I think we’d be in less trouble than we get ourselves in. So Jesus is arrested, tried, tortured, and put to death. I saw this picture once on DeviantArt someone did with Jesus carrying his cross and angels are ready to come in and save him, but he holds his hand out to stop them. Can’t you imagine it? The angels must’ve been ready to go down from Heaven and save Jesus if he even so much as gave them a look. They must’ve been anxiously waiting, ready to slaughter all the people who were doing awful things to him. But he never gave the angels any look. He continued going. He gets nailed to the cross and he’s hanging there, naked, and people walk by hurling insults at him. I mean he’s soaked in blood. He’s all sliced up, he’s probably got some bones sticking out. Roman flogging was extremely severe, and it says that he even got that severely, which means it had to have been REALLY bad. Splinters in the cross was probably the least of the worries. It would’ve been really hard to breathe because in order to be able to get breathes of air, they’d have to push up on their feet, which were nailed to the cross. And as soon as they’d fall back down after pushing themselves up, they’d feel it in their feet and probably their hands too, which were also nailed. If you’re crucified on a roman cross, my guess is you’re hoping you die quickly because it’s so horrible. So while people are hurling insults at him, I can imagine Satan in that last moment curling up to his ear whispering, “This isn’t worth it! Look! They don’t feel a bit sorry for what they’ve done to you! These pathetic humans aren’t worth you dieing! If you come down the cross now, surely they’ll believe you’re their Messiah! After all, who’s going to worship a dead God?” People are pretty much repeating the same thing, “If you are the Savior, come down from cross and we’ll believe you!” Even if he did come down, they wouldn’t believe him. They accused him before of being a demon when he was casting out demons! Who’s to say they wouldn’t just accuse him of that again? As soon as he’d get down, they’d just nail him right back on there. Even if they did believe, a price still needed to be paid that only God could pay. As the people cursed Jesus, he never said a bad thing back to them, instead, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Even at that moment, he still loved them! He still wanted to redeem them! Some time passes, and he feels really alone. He’s separated from his Father. He’s never been away from his Father before, and this is devastating to him. He cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Don’t you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Well, Jesus felt that way too. Then he said, “It’s finished” and bowed his head and died. What was finished? The power evil had was finished! The barrier between us and God was finished! Three days later Jesus came out of the grave alive! He defeated death itself! Now when we truly believe Jesus is Lord and that he sacrificed his life for you and me to set us free from our bondage, our chains of our addictions, our pain, our anxieties, our problems, our mistakes, our sins, and he came back to life and rescued us, then that barrier between God and us is gone! We can finally be with God!

Next note will be: 2. Denying young people accurate information about their bodies is evil.

Miss Shining Star Beauty Pageant

What about the least of these? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Okay. Today, I’m going to try to do something new on the blog and that is to add a picture. If it works well, I hope to do so whenever I do a book review. At any rate, I’m taking a little break from Book Plunges to write about what happened this weekend.

Saturday, my wife Allie was invited to participate in a beauty pageant for women with disabilities. It was the Miss Shining Star Pageant put on in large part with the help of Joni and Friends of Knoxville. Around 25 disabled girls participated in this pageant with ages from 4 to 34.

As readers of this blog know, Allie and I both have Asperger’s and that was how Allie entered. There were four categories. There was Tiny Shining Star with ages 4-7, Little Miss Shining Star with ages 8-12, Teen Shining Star with ages 13-17, and then Shining Star for 18+ and one overall Miss Shining Star. There was also a talent competition and a photogenic and personality contest.

As I watched the event I remember being marveled and thinking from an apologetics perspective about the least of these. It is because of the coming of Christ that we do have such compassion largely. Leaving the young to die in the time of the Roman Empire was something common, and that could be just for being female. It would be all the more likely if a female was clearly disabled.

We might say we’re better, but are we? I know a couple at our church who when they were told their child would be born with Down’s Syndrome was told that they had “other options” they could consider. No way. Not one bit! This life was a valuable life. Why? Because of their Christian worldview. They knew that this life was someone in the image of God and today, they delight in their Down’s Syndrome baby.

I watched this whole show go on thinking about how each of these people would in some way be someone who would normally be rejected by the world. There is instead a contrast to a position such as 1 Cor. 1 where the weak are the ones who are said to shame the strong. God has taken the lowly and despised by the world in order to showcase his glory.

Christianity tells us each of us has value as we are not because of what we do, but because in some way, all of us bear the image of God and all of us who submit to God will be conformed to the likeness of the Son, the ultimate image of God. God can take us and transform us, disabilities and all. The very aspects about us we consider shameful are those that He could plan to use to bring about His glory the most.

As for how the competition ended in case you’re wondering, I think it was wonderful. Allie was actually the only contestant in the competition who was married and got to give a talk about finding her one true love in the interview portion.

Apparently the judges really liked it.

After all, I was the man who got to go home with Miss Shining Star 2014! Congratulations to my wife Allie for being crowned Miss Shining Star and may she be an inspiration to other women who might have given up on themselves. You might be tempted to, but don’t think God has given up on you. You can still shine!

MissShiningStar2014Miss Shining Star 2014 Allie Peters!

In Christ,
Nick Peters