Humble Pie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

What Is Religious Passion?

What does a passionate Christian look like? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Passion is a difficult term to describe. Most of us when we hear of passion think immediately of romantic passion, and yet that is part of the problem of defining it. Watch a TV show or movie and you will think all passion takes place in the bedroom. Well, there’s supposed to be a lot of passion there, but ask most any married couple and there will be other places of passion. A wife can fix a great dinner for her husband with passion. A husband can passionately express his love through gifts or writing or music to his wife.

When it comes to religious passion, we often have some negative ideas about it. We might think of people barking like dogs and calling that the work of the Holy Spirit. Religious passion often seems to be equated with a show. It is a strongly expressed feeling or emotion.

Well, yeah. It can be. Maybe it isn’t just that. Maybe it’s something different and maybe it’s different from person to person.

My wife and I were talking about someone we admire very much who gave an excellent testimony at Celebrate Recovery and during the music in the last service talked about how she was dancing in the center aisle and she used to think there was something wrong with people like that. I asked Allie if she could ever see me doing that yesterday. Nope. Not at all.

Yet she still thinks I’m passionate about Christianity.

I think many of us know several Christians who we would say are passionate about that, but would not express that passion the same way. Get me together with some of my theological friends and there will be passionate discussion about matters of faith and practice. There won’t be dancing going on, but there’s a lot of excitement.

This doesn’t mean that we always have a strong feeling about what we are doing, and this is really a good thing. C.S. Lewis said something once similar about being in love. When you fall in love with someone, it is an emotional explosion at first, but if you stayed that way, you would not be able to function. The explosion dies down, but the will can stay there and that should be the strongest. It would be a mistake to coast from that point on after the explosion.

That passion can still show up momentarily. The great feeling shows up when you actually do the loving things you’re supposed to. So it is with religion. When my friends and I get together, I may not be feeling it at the moment, but get some discussion going and before too long, there is passion and excitement once more.

There is a mistake along those lines that we often make that we often think all genuine action must be backed by genuine feeling. Not at all. What virtue is it to you to act the way you feel? Anyone can do that. We could make a parallel to the words of Christ. You love those who love you? Wow! Aren’t you just awesome? If you love those who hate you, that is real love. You love when you feel like loving? Impressive! Your parents must be so proud! When you love when the feeling isn’t there and maybe even the opposite one is, that is real love.

As I told my wife yesterday about this, there have been mornings I have got up and thought the heavens seemed silent and I am angry with my God. What do I do? I go and serve Him anyway. Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do and nothing in Christianity says “Do the right thing provided you feel like it.”

“But I feel so fake doing that?” So what. That’s again putting the cart before the horse. Is it better to say, “I feel fake doing this so I won’t do what is the right thing to do.”? If your intention is you want to serve or you want to have a certain mindset, God knows and I believe honors your intention. Do you not feel like reading your Bible or praying but want it to be a priority? Then do it. Many times our feelings don’t change until we act. As long as we act the same way, our feelings will continue.

“But it’s just duty then!” And sometimes duty is where you have to begin. For one thing, duty does not mean that you don’t like it. For example, a husband in Scripture is required to give his wife her conjugal rights. I am sure so many husbands were saying “Well geez. If I gotta do it, I gotta do it.” That’s a duty, but it’s a wonderful duty to so many of us men.

We also have to be on guard that passion itself is not a goal. If we are coming to God because we want to feel really good, then we are just using God. Holiness is our real goal. If passion comes with that, great. If not, oh well. We have done the right thing.

But if you do want some excitement, I do have some recommendations. First, I think you really need to make sure you have some apologetic grounding. Not every Christian is meant to specialize in theology and/or apologetics, but all Christians are called to do those things. You have to do them. You might as well do them well.

At the same time, those of us more intellectually inclined need to remember that while Scripture says that there is zeal not according to knowledge which is dangerous, there is the reality that knowledge puffs up. We need to study. I think Lewis once spoke of seeing a lady in church and thinking she probably doesn’t have a clue about the Nicene Creed, but then realizing that when it comes to holy and devout prayer and living, she has him beat by spades.

Then just go and do what you are supposed to do. It doesn’t matter if you feel like it or not. Do it anyway. Let the actions and will lead the feelings instead of the other way around. Nothing says “Love your neighbor as yourself, provided you feel like it.” When our neighbor is being an agreeable person, we are to love them. When they are being a total jerk, we are also called to love them. Don’t like that? Keep in mind God’s love for you doesn’t change when you are a complete jerk, including to him.

To come back to Lewis again, when you start loving your jerk neighbor, you will notice a strange thing. You start to love him. If you wait until you feel like loving him, you will never do it. If you just do it because it is the right thing, you will eventually have the love for him.

Passion is good, but it is not to be our foundation. Enjoy emotions when they come, but do not make a steady diet out of them. Instead, shape your will to serve God more and do the right thing regardless of the feeling.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

The Agenda Project’s Ad

What does a baby deserve? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So Agenda Project has an ad that has been making rounds lately. It has a cute little baby smiling and giggling as babies do. All along words regularly pop up on the screen. I could tell you more, but hey, why not take less than a minute and watch the ad yourself?

At the start when watching, I was wondering what the point of this ad was. We are told the baby deserves to be wanted. The baby deserves to be loved. Yes. Who would dispute that? Then the third one, at least for me, gives a chill. She deserves to be a choice.

To deserve according to the dictionary means to be worthy of. With that, then we can say with the meme on the internet at the three things this baby deserves, one of them is not like the other. Something in the list just really doesn’t belong.

Is the ad saying that if the baby is not loved and not wanted supposedly, she should be a choice? But then that doesn’t fit. If she is not loved and not wanted, why change the last one then to “She is a choice.”? If she is loved and she is wanted, why should she be a choice?

Let’s also acknowledge something. Abortion activists have been telling us that this is not a baby for so long. What is in the womb is a fetus. This ad dispels the myth. Now some abortion advocates are, at last, acknowledging that these are babies. Good on them at least for that! It’s still wicked and evil, but hopefully, confession is the path to recovery.

Sadly, I’m skeptical of that. I think groups like Planned Parenthood know very well that these are babies. They just don’t care. The problem with these babies is that they may deserve to be loved and wanted, and they are, but they also get in the way of our sex lives and our careers and well, we can’t have that now can we?

This ad is also unclear. This is a baby that is not in the womb. Does this mean that infanticide is now okay? Is the baby always a choice? Can she be a choice when she is outside of the womb?

I have no intention of holding back. Abortion is just an evil practice. When we read our Old Testaments and read about the Canaanites that Israel drove out, we need to realize we are worse than they were. They sacrificed their children to be sure, but usually, they did it for something like the good of the harvest for the community. When we do it, we do it at the altar of convenience.

Years ago I was at an apologetics conference where Chuck Colson was speaking and he said that if you are a Christian who supports abortion, you really need to check on the status of your faith. He got a standing ovation and sadly that surprised him because usually, that statement was quite controversial. Perhaps it is, but I agree with it.

Perhaps in the future, more abortions activists might be even more straightforward. We can hope. My fear is that if they are, our society would have reached such a place of immorality that they still won’t care.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Does It Mean To Love?

When we say we love something or someone, what do we mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Like God, love is one of the most meaningless words in the universe.

Wait. Does that sound problematic to some of you? Do I sound like a nihilist? Well, on both counts, I believe both of them.

Is it because neither are real? Absolutely not. Love is real and God is real. The problem with these words is usually they’re said devoid of content. Ask someone if they believe in God. Whatever the answer, you always have to ask what they mean by that. Someone in a pantheistic religion means something far different by that than a devout Christian in the West does.

And what about love? I can tell you numerous things and people that I love. God. My wife. My family. Friends. Gaming. My cat. Reading. Good debate. All of these are things or persons that I love. The problem is I can’t give love the same meaning across the board entirely.

I love my God, but that has to be a far greater love than anything else on the list. I also love my wife, but when I say I love the rest of my family, there are certainly ways that I love my wife that I will never love my family. This is so strong that if anyone in my family or even extended family with marriage tried to love my wife the same way, we would be moving away from them entirely and possibly having a lot of counseling.

Generally, when it comes to persons, I think the idea of love also means that we seek what is genuinely good for the other for the sake of the other. We won’t do that perfectly in the sense that we can have a false idea of what is good for the other, though to be fair, our intentions are good.

But what role do our feelings play in this? Some people have this idea that if you love someone, you should always feel a certain way towards them. You won’t. Sometimes, you might feel the opposite. There are mornings I have got up and I have been upset about how my life is going and I have not felt love for God in me. What of it? That means that day I have no responsibility to walk a Christian life? Not at all. God is my king, and when you have a king, it doesn’t matter if you feel like serving Him or not.

I have a wife also, and there are many times that I can be upset with her about something. In every marriage, there is some conflict. I do not believe Jesus was married, but if He was, He would not have had a perfect marriage because He would have been married to an imperfect woman. If He could not have had a perfect marriage, I don’t expect I will.

So what happens if I get up in the morning and Allie and I are fighting and I don’t really feel a lot of love in me? I love anyway. We have this strange view in our culture that if you love someone when you don’t feel like it, it’s not genuine. On the contrary, I think that’s when love is the most genuine. It’s when one rises above their moods and does the right thing regardless.

Lindsay Harold on her blog wrote a piece arguing that wives as an example should have sex with their husbands even when they don’t feel like it. It’s another example. What virtue is it to do what you feel like doing? Wow. You did good because you felt like doing it. You obviously deserve a reward!

Can love produce feelings? It sure can. Does that mean it is a feeling? Of course not. We have turned the idea of falling into love as something sacred and there can be no wrong. It’s why we have this idea that our hearts are so infallible and that we just need to follow our heart constantly. We all know from Scripture that that is not really the case.

How did we get to this point in our culture? It’s because like many other things, we stopped thinking about it. We don’t think about God. We don’t think about love. We don’t think about sex. We don’t really think much about anything. We spend a lot of time doing things. We don’t spend time thinking about what we’re doing. We do what we feel like and that’s that.

None of this is to say feelings and emotions are evil. They are not. God gave them to us for a reason. It is to say that they are not to control us. When we know the right thing to do, we are to do it anyway. If you feel like it, fine. If not, it doesn’t matter. Do it anyway.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Sex. It’s Worth Waiting For

What do I think of Greg Speck’s book published by Moody Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If I’m not reading on apologetics, I’m often reading on sex and marriage. One topic that’s interesting in this is encouraging young people to wait for marriage, like my wife and I both did. The importance in this topic is to find the balance.

One clear memory I have is being at a church I attended when they had a Silver Ring Thing, which is like True Love Waits. The pastor speaking was saying if you have sex for marriage, it will be for selfish reasons. Okay. I can agree with that. Then he encouraged thinking about the consequences. What if you get pregnant? Get an STD? What will you have to tell your future spouse one day? What about shame? What about guilt?

And I’m thinking, “Those sound like selfish reasons to me also.”

This guy went on and on. He gave about a sentence about the joy of sex in marriage and kept going on about not having it beforehand. I started zoning out. Pastors. If you are teaching about sex in church and a college-age guy is in the audience and getting bored, you are doing it wrong.

Greg Speck’s book is written to teenagers so it is a bit odd for someone in his late-thirties to be reading it, but I want to see what is said. I liked a lot of what I said. Speck’s style is easy to follow. He writes in a way that teenagers will understand. (Okay. To be fair, I didn’t read the whole section on STDs. That was a bit gross.) He also writes with a pastoral heart.

There are many chapters. Speck wants the readers to first off know, sex is more than just intercourse. It can start off small, and then go on from there. Many times, we want to know how close we can get to the line without crossing. It’s a quite foolish stance, though understandable. It’s like we want to put ourselves in unnecessary risk. I personally recommend couples go no further past step eight in their relationship in The Twelve Steps of Intimacy until they marry.

Speck goes into Biblical reasons also for waiting until marriage, but then he also has testimonials from teenagers who didn’t. I think the last part is particularly worthwhile. Sadly for many young people, a few Bible verses will not be enough. If you’re sitting with your girlfriend on a couch, a random verse from Paul won’t likely stop anything. Now if you have a thoroughly thought out position of sex and know how it fits into a Christian worldview, that’s a different matter, but many young people do not. (And honestly, many adults don’t either.)

From there, Speck goes on to various other situations involving sexuality. These are ones that often aren’t talked about with teenagers, but they need to be. These include incest, rape, and the fear that you could be homosexual. There is also a section on pornography and masturbation and with the former, Speck does admit he had to struggle with that.

This is followed with sections for guys only and girls only. I found these a bit interesting, but I was curious. An unmarried guy wrote for the girls and an unmarried woman for the boys. I suppose that you could always look at different ways this could be done. Perhaps in a future edition there could be testimonials from married couples who waited.

While there is a section on God’s design for marriage, I would have liked to have seen something more at the end. I think too often we can give the negatives, but we definitely need to emphasize those positives. Yes. This is something great worth waiting for. This would be the benefit of testimonials of people who waited until marriage. There’s a saying that the devil will do anything he can to get you to have sex before you’re married, and afterward he will do anything he can to keep you from having sex.

Which brings me to one small criticism. As an Orthodox Preterist, I already think the devil is bound. This does not mean there are not demons running around still, but I think we give the devil far too much power. Speck does point to the devil being a cause of temptation many times. I am of the persuasion that often we don’t need the devil to be tempted, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. As the saying goes, “Lead me not into temptation. I will find it myself.”

Still, I think this would be a very helpful book for youth groups to go through together. Naturally, I think guys and girls would need to go through it separately. Having guys and girls together and talking about an issue like this in close quarters could have the opposite effect desired after all!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Some Thoughts On Erotica

Is Mommy porn a problem? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of mine messaged me this weekend telling me that I’d written about porn, which is a great struggle for men (And also more and more so for women), but couldn’t a lot of erotica be in the same boat? Could this be for many women what porn is for men? Isn’t that worthy of a post?

Request granted.

Granted also that I don’t read erotica. I have no desire to do so either. I consider it the same as saying that I don’t need to go and watch porn in order to do research on porn.

Let’s also be clear what I mean by erotica. I don’t mean just any romance novel. There are some Christian romance novels out there. I do not know how good they are, but they are out there. I definitely mean material that is much more explicit, such as, say, Fifty Shades of Grey.

I also don’t necessarily mean chick flicks either. I think I, like all guys who date, had to watch The Notebook, for example. (It’s a hidden rule I think all women have that guys they’re with have to watch it.) Yet at the same time, we all know which sex was going the most to see Magic Mike.

I also don’t mean the traditional love stories, although let’s be clear that there are some myths in them, and I don’t mean Cinderella having a pumpkin turn into a coach. I mean the idea that you will meet a man and because he’s a prince, he will sweep you off your feet and naturally, those words that are never really accurate, “Happily Ever After.” Cinderella may have married Prince Charming, but she would wake up one day and realized he had bad morning breath and that he left his dirty socks outside the laundry basket.

But that could get us to something that is the problem. Unrealistic expectations many times. If we talk about pornography, we can talk about girls that have their features altered so that they have vastly unrealistic proportions. Today, women often think they have to compete with that hot actress on the TV show. You know, the one that has undergone hours of make-up and such before she ever gets on the set.

Most of us men say you don’t. You’re gorgeous to us as you are.

The problem with erotica is that women are usually more turned on through words and touch than they are through sight. That doesn’t mean sight is irrelevant, but it doesn’t woo a woman the same way. For me, just give me the sight of my bride and that is more than enough. I just don’t understand why it is sometimes that doesn’t work the same way in reverse. (And hey, it can’t be me because obviously Allie married a total stud. Right? Why are you laughing?)

Women have dreams of romance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When my sister was four, she was already planning her wedding out. When something like Sleeping Beauty is on, men relate to the knight fighting and slaying the dragon. Women relate most to being rescued by the knight. (But hey, we men aren’t going to complain about waking her up with a kiss either.)

And men, let’s sadly face it that too many of us stop this after we marry her. Now many men I know say their wives could not keep their hands off of them when they were dating and wanted to kiss so much, but when they married, that all changed. We change too. Many a man no longer works to impress their wives. It’s a common trope to hear about men forgetting anniversaries and birthdays.

Part of that is we men are conquerors and when we’ve already succeeded at one task, winning the bride, we move on to the next. How about we make the task be “Impressing the bride?” This doesn’t mean you go all out every day, but it does mean that you make an effort everyday to please.

But for women, well it’s too easy to be resistant to your husband and then go and read an erotica novel and then come back and expect your husband to behave exactly like the man does. It’s as unrealistic as a man expecting the woman he’s with to act like that porn star does. Your man is not scripted. He is not written out. He will not do things perfect.

Yes. Your man will do many many stupid things in romance with you. He might take you to a restaurant you don’t like or he might belch in the middle of an intimate moment. Prince Charming can have morning breath. He’s not going to be perfect.

But if you have too many false ideas built up just like he can with pornography, it’s going to be harder and harder for him to measure up and could get you looking elsewhere. The grass might be greener on the other side of the fence. A big problem when many people leave relationships is that they go to the next one thinking it will be better because that other person was such a problem. Many times this is done without them looking at themselves and improving themselves and the history just repeats.

Ladies. Here’s a little tip for you to interact with your man. If you want something, just say it. We men are totally oblivious with hints. My wife has told me there have been three times she’s been in a romantic mood and tried to tell me and I totally missed her hints. Three times! (Excuse me. I have to pause writing this to go and mourn.)

In all honesty, if you tell your man something that you really want, he will want to do it for you. If my wife is out somewhere and I’m with her and I see her mention something she’d like, I remember it. She and I both play Pokemon and once when she was out, she saw a Sylveon at a Wal-Mart that she really wanted. We didn’t have the money in the wallet so I said I couldn’t. I went home where I had Amazon credit and ordered all nine forms of Eevee including Sylveon on Amazon for her. They were much smaller in size, but she got all of them.

I really don’t think I’m alone.

Ladies. Your man is always wanting to know that he’s your man. He’s always wanting to measure up. Make him think he has to compete with erotica and it can be just like you think you have to compete with porn, and you shouldn’t. If your man is no longer trying really and doesn’t seem to care, that’s something else to work on and perhaps counseling would help, but please try to give your man the benefit of the doubt. He wants to please you.

Even if he doesn’t do perfect, remember him when he tries. Men take criticism from their wives very seriously. Every time it makes us think we’re failing and if we get the message enough, we just stop trying. I don’t even care for it if I’m taking a break and playing a video game and my wife likes to point out every time I make a mistake. That might seem minor to you, but that’s the way we men are. We want to be great at everything we do no matter how small.

Ladies. Be careful about the books that you’re picking up just like he should about the websites he’s visiting. Perhaps it might be better instead of reading a book about how you want to be romanced, for you to read a book about how to romance your husband. You can be sure he will greatly appreciate it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

How Should A Christian See Themselves?

What’s the way a Christian should view themselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christians are supposed to be people of humility. No disagreement there. The problem is sometimes we think humility means thinking less of yourself and thinking lowly of yourself. It means you can’t accept compliments or praise from other people. This is not humility. If anything, it’s pride. It’s putting an emphasis on yourself really instead of graciously accepting praise. (You can receive praise in an arrogant manner after all.)

Yet the reality is we should not think of ourselves in lowly ways. We should realize the Bible itself really speaks highly of us. Of course, I can’t cover everything, but I will try to hit some highlights. Note I won’t share something if I think it applies specifically to, say, the nation of Israel and not to us.

First off, Genesis 1:26-27 says we’re in the image of God. Now in my view, this is meant to say that we are to represent God on Earth, but whatever view one takes, it’s not a lowly thing. Of everything in creation, only human beings share the image of God. Angels don’t. Other animals don’t. Only us.

Psalm 139 is one of my wife’s favorite passages. Why does the Psalmist praise God? Because he is fearfully and wonderfully made? Wonderful? Yep. You are a wonderful creation. My own wife struggles with a lot of mental illnesses and wonders how I can love someone like that. I tell her consistently I don’t see the illnesses. I know they’re there and I’m not blind to them, but I see her first. As far as I’m concerned, she is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

If we move on to the New Testament, the incarnation itself is a statement about us. God is not ashamed to take on the form of a man. The Son to this day still maintains His humanity. Humanity is not a disgusting and shameful thing.

If anything, Jesus is the only one who is truly human. He is the most normal human being that has ever been. Every other human being is unhuman in some ways, insofar as we are sinners. Jesus had no shame in being a human being and has no shame in it right now.

In speaking of us in the sermon on the mount, He calls us a city on a hill, the light of the world, and the salt of the Earth. We are to be all of that to the world around us. Jesus could have had it be that He would go out into all the world or send angels into all the world. Nope. He trusted the Great Commission to us.

In Luke 12:32, we have one of my favorite passages. “Fear not little flock. It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Get that? Not obligation. Not duty. Pleasure. God takes joy in giving us the Kingdom.

If anything, God has no obligations and duties towards us. The only thing God ever owes us really is what He’s already promised us. If we all got what we deserved, well, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now and I’d be in a place of eternal shame and misery. So would you. This should also give us pause with our own enemies at times. We often pray for justice for them and mercy for ourselves. Whatever they have done to us, we have done worse to God.

Jesus also tells us that we are worth more than the sparrows and the flowers and that God knows what we need. He doesn’t promise to give us our wants, but ultimately, we will get what we need. It’s our own fault if we do not trust Him.

Romans 8 is a great passage for Christians to turn to. I have a fear that many of us turn to Romans 7 and read it as autobiography and see ourselves in it. We should really realize that if we want to see what Paul says about us now, it’s in Romans 8. Go through and read the passage. It’s about you.

In 1 Cor. 3, Paul tells the church that they are the temple of God. Think about this. Your bodies are where the Holy Spirit now dwells if you are in Christ. Paul wrote this while the temple was standing. That beautiful massive work that took about 30 acres or more up in Israel was just nice architecture then. The real true temple is you. God has chosen to take up residence in you.

Galatians tells us that we are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. (Or daughters) Do you realize how big a deal adoption is? A reigning Caesar was an adopted son even. God has taken you into His family.

There’s a story that Napoleon was on the battlefield once and his horse ran off. A private ran after the horse, retrieved it, and brought it back. Napoleon looked at him and said, “Thank you, captain.” That men went back to the camp and immediately went into the captain’s quarters and lived like a captain. Napoleon had said he was one. That was good enough.

From the late first to the early second century there was a philosopher named Epictetus. He wasn’t a Christian, but he had a lot of wisdom. One of his favorite of the golden sayings of his that I like is the following, the ninth one.

“If a man could be throughly penetrated, as he ought, with this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of Gods, full surely he would never conceive aught ignoble or base of himself. Whereas if Caesar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the son of God? Now however it is not so with us: but seeing that in our birth these two things are commingled–the body which we share with the animals, and the Reason and Thought which we share with the Gods, many decline towards this unhappy kinship with the dead, few rise to the blessed kinship with the Divine. Since then every one must deal with each thing according to the view which he forms about it, those few who hold that they are born for fidelity, modesty, and unerring sureness in dealing with the things of sense, never conceive aught base or ignoble of themselves: but the multitude the contrary. Why, what am I?–A wretched human creature; with this miserable flesh of mine. Miserable indeed! but you have something better than that paltry flesh of yours. Why then cling to the one, and neglect the other?”

Seriously. If God says you are His son (or daughter) on what basis do you downplay yourself? Is it a lowly thing to be a child of God? It’s really prideful to try to overrule that with lowly thoughts.

Ephesians 2 tells us that God has already seated us in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus. He will have us in His presence for all the ages to show the love He has for us. Get that? God loves us so much that He will take eternity to show us how much He loves us. If it could ever be fully expressed, it’s not much of a love.

Why do spouses pursue and chase after each other? (Or they should.) It is because they can never fully express the love they have for the other. The beautiful thing also about such love is it keeps growing itself. It’s a cycle that the more you do loving things, the more you love. The more you love, the more you do loving things. I love my wife today more than I did when I married her. I hope when we’re together for fifteen years I will say, “Wow. I didn’t have a clue what love was back then compared to what it is now.”

Paul goes on to tell us that we are no longer strangers and aliens, but we are citizens of God’s house. We are fellow citizens with saints. We are not slaves in the household. We are heirs in the household. We aren’t hired hands. We have been asked to live there and it’s not because we provide a service, but because we are wanted.

In Philippians 3, Paul will refer to the people as citizens of the Kingdom. This was said to a colony where everyone was a Roman citizen, the most powerful empire on Earth at the time. That citizenship didn’t matter nearly as much as citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

Peter tells us we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. It’s like Peter is trying to lay it on us how much God has done for us. This was to be the case for Israel, but now it’s the case for us.

1 John 3:1 is a very explicit passage. It’s about the love that God has lavished on us that we should be His children, and that is what we are! It’s as if John cannot really believe it or doesn’t really think we’ll believe it, or both. He has to restate it so it will hit home.

All of this and more is what God says of us. If anything, our problem isn’t humility, but pride. We think we know better than God. We think we know who we are and He doesn’t.

How are to respond to this? Think of the way a spouse responds to another. If you respond with arrogance, it’s wrong. When I realize the love my wife has for me, it leaves me in humility. It leaves me amazed that someone like me is loved and it makes me want to be a better man.

God does not love us because we are worthy. He loves us even when we are worthless so that we can be worthy. The lesson of Beauty and the Beast is that you must love something before it becomes lovable. It’s not that we’re so awesome God loves us. It’s that God loves us because He’s so awesome, and that love makes us pretty awesome in the end too.

In the same way a spouse should respond, so should we. I can assure you if I responded to Allie’s love by acting like I was all that, I would be very unlovable. Nothing wrong with confidence. That’s good. Something wrong with inflating your own ego. Graciousness and appreciation is the way to respond.

Christian. You are loved. Have an honest assessment of yourself starting with what is said in Scripture about you. It will help immensely.

Book Plunge: I Wish He Had Come With Instructions- The Woman’s Guide To A Man’s Brain

What do I think of Mike Bechtle’s published by Revell books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So why would I, a married guy, read a book written for women on how to understand men? Because a married man likes myself is always trying to understand myself as well. We guys are often seen as simple creatures, and to some extent we are, but there are also facets about ourselves that we don’t understand.

Bechtle’s book helps to bring these out. One rule he starts off with seems obvious, but it’s one we often forget. Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking. They’re usually wrong and will only lead to trouble. Don’t bother. Try to find out in their own words what they’re thinking.

He also points out that women usually see men as having faulty thinking. It’s amazing that in our culture, men are told that they need to be more like women in the name of “equality”, but strangely enough, women don’t get the opposite message.

Bechtle says that we need to also not focus on our differences, but first on what we have in common. Those are far greater. Some of those differences, after all, will never change because one person is male and the other is female. At this point, it’s good to point out that the material in this book is not just good for husbands and wives, but other relationships, like mothers and sons.

If you want to see the other person changed, don’t try to change them directly. Don’t try to fix them. No one likes that. Instead, show them they’re loved and accepted as they are and give them a safe place. Many a man will change on his own.

It’s also important to note that Bechtle writes what he does assuming good and healthy males. This does not apply to a situation where abuse is taking place. If this is you in a relationship, this book is not for you and you need to get some help immediately.

Another recurring theme is that when men are little boys, they want an audience to see what they’ve done. I remember I wanted to show my parents my beating video games and when I got together with the other boys, I was always happy to show them how it was that you were supposed to beat the boss. Well, what happened to that boy when he grew up? He got taller. He’s still the same boy and especially in a marriage, he’s more often than a woman realizes trying to say to his wife, “Look at me! Look at me!”

In the marriage relationship, which will be my primary focus, this is another reason a man will often want to do anything to make his wife happy. He is still trying to impress her and if he feels rejected, it strikes him greatly. This is another point. All men are really insecure. We put on a brave face, but there’s a hidden insecurity.

Every man is in competition it seems with every other man. To go back to video games, this is one area where my friends and I constantly challenged one another growing up. I remember I got Chronotrigger after my best friend at the time had had it for a week. We were still in a competition to see who could finish it first. Naturally, the only reason I bring up that competition is to point out that I did finish it first. I think four hours before he did actually.

This is why praise from a woman means so much to a man. It tells him that the relationship is still good. If men experience or don’t experience something in a relationship that leads them to think something is wrong, they’re not as able to function. Their mind is going back to what they think a problem is and trying to fix it. We aim to impress.

There are also several quotes he has from men that they wish women knew. The ideas are ones I’ve felt in my own marriage. We think you’re pretty as you are and mean it so please stop arguing with us when we say it. We understand you put on make-up, but we think you look great naturally. Confidence is extremely beautiful to us and we want you to have confidence around us.

He also pointed out that men connect with activity, which did help me understand some things. Why is it that I want to watch that TV show only when my wife is around? Because it’s not just about the show, but it’s also about connecting with her. This is something we do together.

Also, men want to feel desired. We don’t just want to be a duty necessity that you have to please. If you flirt with us, it can change our outlook for the day. For me, something I like is holding my wife close and just having her rest her head on my chest. It means a lot. It tells me she feels safe with me, something I thought a woman would never ever think.

Men also tend to be more singularly focused. Now this might not apply to me as I do tend to multitask in everything that I do, but it does explain why we can zone out. Have a man watching a game and his wife talking to him and he won’t hear everything going on. She doesn’t understand it. For him, he’s just caught in another world. He’s not trying to be rude.

Men also have a desire to be a hero. Listen to a news story about a guy who suddenly becomes a hero one day, like Sully. What is every man thinking? “I want to be that guy.” Look at the video games he plays and the movies he watches. Those usually involve a hero the guy wants to be like. (It’s also amazing how many times the hero does something to impress the woman. That’s how men see romance.)

So ladies, your man might not ever be a Sully and receive worldwide acclaim for something, but you know what will suffice for him? If he gets to be your hero. If you treat him as the man who has rescued you and swept you off your feet, you will leave him walking tall.

Let’s go a step further. Your guy could be the hero to everyone else out there, but if he doesn’t think he’s your hero, he doesn’t care. None of it matters. Your man wants to be your hero more than anyone else’s. He would rather be a failure to everyone else and a hero to you than vice-versa.

This also means ladies that be very careful about criticizing your man. If he goes and cleans the dishes for you and does it wrong, if you start immediately telling him what he did wrong, he will get the opposite message. He has been criticized and his ability, which means his masculinity, has been called into question. It’s safer to not risk that again.

Start off with praise first. Praise is huge to a man. Give him praise when he does good and he will listen. Praise him when he does the dishes and then show him how he can make it even better and he will wash the dishes every time for that praise.

This is definitely true ladies. As I heard a man say years ago, many a man will do something absolutely stupid and reckless just to hear some other guy say, “You the man!” It means that much to us.

Some women will also wonder why their husband was Prince Charming when dating but turned into a slob when they married or just didn’t seem to take it as seriously. Let me also bring out something Becthle doesn’t mention. Many men I know say “My wife couldn’t keep her hands off of me when we were dating and now that we’re married she’s suddenly switched.” Yeah. It frustrates us also. Men do this because we are better at conquering than maintaining. We got your heart. We won the prize. We tend to think it’s time to go on to the next endeavor in the relationship. (I will say I do not think I am like this. I am still always trying to sweep my Princess off her feet.)

Also, for the most part, men don’t understand emotions. They tend to have fear or anger as their main emotions. Be aware of this in disagreement.

Also, men do connect with doing as I said, but men all still like to play. They want to play with the women in their lives. This doesn’t mean just sex, although it sure does include that, but it means any activity together. Maybe it might not seem like fun to you, but it does to him. We want the relationship to be fun.

Men also do indeed need sex in a marriage, but something they want more is passion. They want to know you’re excited. You see sex with them as a privilege and not just a duty. Think about it women. How many of you want your guy to treat you to a dinner date and then just say, “Well let’s just make this quick” or “I guess if we have to go out we have to.” You want him to really enjoy his time with you and consider it a chance to connect. That’s how your man views sex and when you are passionate and eager for him, it tells him that he is desirable. When you are not and he is just duty sex, it tells him he’s not. Actions speak louder.

Becthle’s book is full of great insights. Not just women need to read this. Men do too. Perhaps even, dare I say it, husbands and wives go through this together. I can imagine a wife many times saying “Is that true?” and hearing “Yep” and being amazed. Men are simple creatures, but maybe we’re not as simple as you think.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex

When I’m reading books that aren’t apologetics, I’m usually reading marriage books, and when I’m reading those, it’s not a shock as a married guy that sex is one of the favorite topics. When you see the topic of what wives wish their husbands knew, that’s even better.

However, to be fair,  I do wish a book with such a title was written by women. I understand that the men all have professional experience as counselors, but still, going to the source is good. Nevertheless, these men want to have a frank talk with us fellow men.

They also want it to be fully Biblical. At the start they say that if Christians are mean to be exemplars of love, we should be the greatest lover of all. Think about it. When have you heard about women getting together chatting and if one says she’s dating a Christian will be told, “You are going to get a great guy. Those guys really love their wives!”

It doesn’t happen often sadly. That’s something we Christian husbands need to be aware of. Christian husbands should be seen as the best lovers in the world.

The authors also point out the problems of the attitudes of Puritanism and pornography. Now I’m skeptical that the take on Puritanism historically is accurate, but let’s go with the attitude for now that we all know is being talked about. Puritanism of this sort makes it that we should have no sexual desires and it’s something dirty to not be talked about. Pornography does the exact opposite saying that anything sexual is good.

Both turn us into cowards. As the authors say, puritanism makes a man about as passionate as a wet chihuahua. Pornography makes a man settle for a virtual image instead of going out and getting a real woman.

The authors also ask us to think about how many times we’ve heard sermons on sex. Did they focus on the negatives instead of the positives? The only positives I can remember is as a boy hearing someone from Hope Resource Center in Knoxville speaking about sex.

Sadly, the other main time I remember is being a college student at a Silver Ring Thing service which is like True Love Waits. The associate pastor got up and he started talking about sex. He told the people there that if they gave in before marriage that it would be for selfish reasons. Okay. I can agree with that.

Then he went on to say “What if you get pregnant? Think about the shame you’ll feel. Think about what you’ll tell a future spouse. Think about if you get an STD.”

I was sitting back there thinking those were selfish reasons as well.

And oh yeah, I was getting bored.

And if you are teaching about sex and you have a college age guy in the audience getting bored, you’re doing it wrong.

The authors also want us to know that men need to be patient. We guys are ready to go from the get go. Usually, if you are a wife and want to get a husband in the mood, just ask him if he’d like to have sex. He’ll likely be in the mood already. Women aren’t like that, and that’s not always a bad thing.

Guys. If it takes more to get the wives excited, go with it. That’s more time you get to spend with her anyway and more time giving her happiness. Isn’t her happiness worth it?

Also, there’s a saying I heard years ago that the authors go with though they never say it. Sex begins at breakfast. Cultivate a relationship throughout the day with your wife. Too many guys come home after doing nothing with their wives all day, including sending loving text messages, prop their feet up on the footstool, turn on the remote, ask for dinner, and then expect their wife to be lovey-duvey at the end of the day.

Guys. Court your wives. Treat her the way you did when you were dating. Yesterday, my wife and I were leaving somewhere and I was getting her in the car and a girl comes out and said, “Awww! He holds open the car door for you.”

Well, of course, I do. Why wouldn’t I? That’s being a gentleman! I also want Allie and everyone else to know that I’m serious about her. I desire her. Because I’m married doesn’t mean that I need to coast.

And guys, women really struggle with feeling beautiful. Look at all the women that they see in public. Sure they’re airbrushed and everything else. It doesn’t change things. Women think they need to look like supermodels.

The authors also stick a lot of times with the Song of Songs. Great place to go to talk about sex. Look at the way the woman speaks in there. She doesn’t see a problem with talking about the flesh. Her body is not sinful or dirty. It is to be appreciated and enjoyed. A lot of women sadly think that anything dealing with the body is dirty. Not at all. Your body was designed to be enjoyed and so that you could experience that joy fully.

And ladies, that’s how God designed it. Men have a need to be physically close with their wives. You can be with your husband all day and in the same room and everything else, but without physical contact, you might as well be miles apart. I know many a man who has bemoaned a lack of sex in his marriage. It’s a real issue. Without sex, a man does not feel close to his wife.

At the same time, the authors want to give a caution. Men will not feel like they’re in the mood all the time. Sometimes, we do think about other things. (It’s rare, but it happens.) Meanwhile, women can actually get in the mood without being warmed up first. It happens. There’s nothing wrong with them.

The writers also talk about a comedian who was mocking monogamy saying monogamy is like having the same box of cereal for breakfast everyday. They give a good jab back in saying that if you are comparing sex to cold cereal, you’re doing sex wrong. Monogamy is a wonderful way to experience sex. You get to dive deeper and deeper into that love.

The authors tells us that if sex is only for your appetite, then you’re not going to enjoy it. If it’s to get to know a person and come to embrace a person, welcome to Paradise. The best thing about sex really is not that you have sex, but that you get to have it with that person.

They also say good sex is not about technique really. It’s true. Honestly, much of what is needed is simply just active desire for the other person. Ladies. It’s okay to be active in the bedroom. If anything, your husband would love it.

The authors are right that if we could learn more about sex and making it great, how awesome that would be. What would it say if the world knew that if you wanted to learn how to have a great sex life, you go to the Christians? Why shouldn’t they anyway? Our God literally created it and He wrote the book on it, the Song of Songs.

They also encourage men that they need to be men and not Peter Pan. Embrace their manhood, which could include dealing with past father wounds. Do what you can to take care of your body as well. It is the temple you bring to your wife after all.

Vulnerability is also essential to sex, and the more you’re comfortable and willing to be vulnerable, the more you can enjoy it. Trust is huge. Really. Husbands and wives both need to learn that they’re accepted just as they are. For my part, it blows my mind that my wife accepts me just as I am. That makes me so happy to be around her. This is the one woman who really accepts me as I am so why not enjoy it?

There’s also a chapter in there for the ladies. What do your husbands wish you knew? One thing is we wish you would just tell us what you want. We can’t read minds and we’re very slow to pick up cues. Just tell us.

Also, believe it or not, good husbands spend a lot of time thinking about their wife’s happiness.  That includes in the bedroom. If we think we’re not making you happy there, we see ourselves as failures. If you don’t desire us, we see ourselves that way.

That’s why we love it when you initiate. It’s not just one-sided. No man wants to be just duty sex in his marriage. He wants you to love not just being a woman, but being his woman. If sex is a delight for you like it is for him, you will have a happy man.

By the way, try to understand him on this. If you want to understand why your husband looks at your body with such awe, realize God wired him that way. Men have a whole lot more testosterone flowing through their bodies. We will think about sex a whole lot more. We have to control it, but it’s not an evil about us really.

Overall, I think this is a very good book and it’s very humorous at times. I do hope men will get this to learn how to be better lovers. Hopefully also, our wives will want to help us in our learning experience.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Struggle Of Men

What does a man have to deal with in today’s world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have seen two different things this past week and yet, I think they’re both related. One is a female friend of mine who posted about what it is like probably for seminarians and ministers who are men. She is not justifying any struggles that they have with pornography, but is wanting us to understand why they turn to pornography.

When you go to seminary or enter ministry, you sign up for a hard life really. I went to Southern Evangelical for quite awhile and sadly, thinking back, I don’t really remember anything being said about pornography. Maybe it was and I’ve forgotten it. I don’t doubt looking back that some of my fellow students were struggling with pornography.

Often while driving with my wife down the road, we hear commercials here for men who are struggling with ED. I tell my Princess regularly that I suspect the reason for much of the struggle is pornography. There are men in their 20’s who have to be on Viagra. This is many times because they’ve got so used to airbrushed and fake women in porn that they don’t know how to get aroused by a real woman. That’s too tame for them.

Btw, let’s keep in mind also that many people in porn could be there because of human trafficking. Watching porn can, in that case, be giving power to this kind of thing. I find it interesting that many atheists who complain about slavery in the Bible can have no problem with porn which can lead to sexual slavery easily.

Many men turn to this because, first off, we tend to be very visual and have a high drive. This is not the case for all, but it is our natural tendency. We also live in a world where sex is all around us. You can say that we can turn off the TV and things like that. Yeah. Not going to solve the problem. A man just needs to go to the grocery store. I’m not even talking about the magazine rack. Men are drawn to beautiful women and in our day and age, women do dress to be beautiful.

I am not saying that is wrong at all! Women should do that! Women are beautiful and that should be celebrated. If a man cannot control himself, that is the fault of the man. Of course, there is a difference if a woman is trying to deliberate show herself off. There is a fine line here where both sides need to be considerate of the other.

Men often feel the pressure and pornography will make a man feel like a man. This is something all men long for. All men want to be men and if a man feels aroused, he certainly feels like a man. The problem is it’s all fake. It really requires nothing of the man. It is not a challenge. All he has to do is click the right web sites on his computer today.

In the past, women complained about being treated like objects, and rightly so, but today the women are often objectifying themselves. It’s too easy to go out and give everything you have to a guy immediately or have these topless marches and put yourself out there on display. If anything, this allows women to be treated more like objects. Abortion on demand doesn’t make it any better. Now men don’t have to worry about consequences, like children.

Many good guys have suffered from this. This past week I have seen good guys struggle with being single. It really touched me, because I do remember those days. What really irked me was hearing women talk about how they just wanted a nice guy who cared about them and their feelings. Never did believe it. Good men often get overlooked and the guys who are often some of the sleaziest do not.

These men really struggle.

Getting married doesn’t necessarily end all the problems. It can help, but many times our society has taught women that men are dirty perverts because they think about sex so much. While for the most part, we do, that’s not because we’re perverts. This is a good thing that God made and He made men and women to enjoy it.

For we men, there’s great misunderstanding on how essential this is to us in marriage. Often a man will complain about getting duty sex where the wife just goes along because she knows her husband needs it, but there’s no real desire on that part. For a man, duty sex beats no sex, but it’s not really satisfying. Men want to be wanted. They want to know they are appealing and attractive and bring joy to their wives.

A man will often measure himself by his accomplishments and for a husband, one of those is bringing joy to his wife. If a man brings joy to his wife everywhere else, but he doesn’t seem to in the bedroom, he feels like a failure. This is really such a great area in men’s lives that many women just don’t understand. (An excellent place to go to is the XY Code by Paul Byerly. He writes from a Christian perspective to help women understand men.)

Here’s the good news for you wives. If you do desire and pursue your husband, you will make this so much easier for him. You have great power. It’s really hard for men and they struggle more when they don’t feel desired and they’re trying to work with this burning question of their own masculinity looming in the background. (Women wanting help in this area can be blessed greatly by going to To Love, Honor, And Vacuum.)

Men struggle today and I am convinced our society is in a war against men. Masculinity is looked down on in our world. Men are in a struggle to determine if they really are men and sadly, they think going out and having sex will prove that they are. It won’t. It can give that feeling no doubt, but the best way to be a man is to properly love the women in your life, and this includes even if you are single. You do not have to be sexually active to be a man after all.

For those of us who are Christians, that means definitely avoiding pornography which treats women as objects and doesn’t require any challenge of going out and winning the heart of a real woman, a real accomplishment. It is far better to win the heart and then body of a real woman than to go out and do nothing to get a fake one, and sadly the fake one can make it harder to act with the real one. Also, save sex for marriage. Make a covenant with the woman first and then enjoy the fruit of the covenant.

And women, we men should understand you, but understand where the men you encounter are coming from. I know many men who struggle with porn and wish that they didn’t and are working to overcome it. (Women can struggle too, but this post is about men.) Your husband also is not a pervert because he thinks about sex so much. This is the way God made men and they function best when kept happy. What they really want is not just a release, but they want you. They want to feel close to you and accepted and loved by you and sex does that best.

It’s a hard time to be a man in today’s world. The church needs to recognize this as well and be there for men, especially those struggling with pornography. Condemn the action, but remember the man can often be a victim of his own desires.

In Christ,
Nick Peters