No Shame

Is nudity shameful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Genesis goes on to tell us that the man and woman were both naked and unashamed. Why would this need to be said? Because Moses knew about his own time, (Presuming he wrote this which is secondary to the point anyway) and he knew that there was shame in his day.

That shame has extended to our day. Why is it this way? Is the body something we ought to be ashamed of to hide before everyone else?

Genesis ends with a favorite verse that says “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.” Indeed. Unfortunately, what God intended for good, the human body, is often used for evil.

Of course, you could ask why that would be the case today. Why would people be concerned about how their bodies look? Do people still think that way?

Hey. Have you seen that show with all the hot females in skimpy clothing?

Odds are, you might have thought, “Which one?”

That’s the problem.

I want to focus on women first because most women I know tend to have this problem. When I hear news stories about concerns about people struggling with image due to Instagram or Facebook, it’s teenage girls. They look at all the other girls around them and they think they don’t measure up.

These women tend to shame themselves with their bodies. They might think there is always someone prettier out there. The truth is in some aspects, someone will always be better at you in something out there. No human today is a master of everything.

However, the #1 person to compete against is really yourself. Are you doing enough to make yourself a better person today? Not just a physically beautiful person, but an internally beautiful person. That is the most important beauty.

And ladies, if you are married, you no longer have to compete. Your husband already chose you. If he tells you he thinks you’re beautiful, believe him.

Of course, there is that one exception.

Guys. Stop watching porn, especially if you’re already married. Whether you mean it or not, you are telling your wife that she is inadequate. Yes, women. In that case, I fully understand you distrusting your husbands. Their actions and their words are not lining up.

Some women unfortunately go the other way. They go all out freely offering their bodies to most anyone who comes along. The idea of nudity is really saying how much you trust someone. The problem is people are saying “I trust you totally with my body, but I don’t trust you totally with a lifelong commitment.” It’s a way of being used.

When a man and a woman come together in matrimony and are engaged in sex, what they are saying is they alone are the ones who trust each other entirely with their bodies. Marriage is the place for that total trust and commitment. Marriage is where that promise has already been made and then the action of sex lines up with that promise. It is a way of saying that here there is no shame.

It is a recreation of Paradise. When you have covenant love fully going on, you are to have Paradise. In this way, some secular artists do have it right. Intimate love is often compared to Heaven and Paradise. They’re right in that this is a microcosm of what God has for us. They’re wrong in thinking that this is indeed Heaven and Paradise. The finger is great to point at the moon, but it is horrible to mistake the finger for the moon.

Now on to men.

Yes. Men themselves struggle with this. I have had my own difficulties. I weigh just a little under 130 and I am 5’7″. Technically, I am underweight, but I am incapable of gaining weight too much due to the steel rod on my spine being designed for a certain weight.

I well remember as a man in my 20’s working at a grocery store in the back room on break and seated with the girls and here them talk about some guy going by and one of them jumping up to pursue him because “You’re so hot.”

Yeah. I’m just some guy in the room.

Guys worry that they don’t compete with other guys as well. Maybe not as much as women do, but that is there. Men have a tendency to want to one-up one another in anything. It might be the stupidest kind of contest ever, but we want to be #1.

Years ago I remember working at the Christian Research Institute and sitting in the break room with some of the guys there and we were talking about painful physical experiences in our lives. Slowly, I noticed that after one of us told our story, another guy had to come and say “This is my story.” We weren’t just sharing stories. It was along the lines of, “You think you went through a lot? Let me tell you what I went through!” It was as if the bigger man had the bigger story.

By the way, I think I won when I brought up my back surgery.

When I was married, I remember going to the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge with my ex-wife. There, you could stick your arm in water that was the temperature that the water was around the iceberg when it was hit by the Titanic. I thought I would roll up my sleeve and show her what a man I was by putting my arm in there as long as I could.

I think I lasted about a minute.

So yes, guys do have those insecurities, but I noticed when I was married, I had none of that around my ex-wife. In my mind, I was already accepted. Why hide? Not all guys are like that. Insecurity is real.

Shame has distorted what God meant for good.

We somehow think if our bodies are less in some way, we are less in some way.

Our values are not determined by if we have a super hourglass figure or how tall we are or if we have six-pack abs or how much we weigh on a scale. These can matter to some extent, as we should try to be healthy, but they don’t determine our value. Our value is found in being in the image of God.

Every marriage is meant to be a microcosm of the love of God and man together. This includes even a secular marriage. Just because it wasn’t done in a church doesn’t mean it’s not something from God.

We are to have no shame before God. We are to have no shame before our spouses. Treating the body like it’s just something common and anyone can see is a false view as not everyone is worthy of that covenant relationship. Marriage is a way of saying one person is.

Treat your body well. Respect it, and save it for someone who is worthy of it. You are worth that too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

One Flesh

What does it mean to be one flesh? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

At this point in the Genesis narrative, we are told once Adam and Eve meet that for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. For us, we think, “Yes. A boy meets a girl, falls in love, leaves his parents’ house and marries her.” In the world of the Bible, it would be much deeper than that.

Family structures run deeper than we imagine. This was saying that the husband and wife would really become a whole new family unit in a sense. The main bond would no longer be between the man and his original family, but between the man and his new wife.

This is also the first wedding in the Bible. It’s tempting to think that just having sex with someone makes you husband and wife, but as we go through this series on marriage in the Bible, I hope to show that that is not accurate. God is the one who marries Adam and Eve together ultimately.

But what is this one flesh?

The word is echad for one and it refers to a powerful unity, a unity that is in the nature of God in the Trinity. When we speak of the three persons as one being, we really speak of a deep and powerful inseparable connection. Such is supposed to take place between husband and wife.

Obviously, this can’t refer to just sex as if you see a husband and wife walking around, they can walk around a part. A couple doesn’t become glued to each other forever when they have sex. At the same time, this means more, but as N.T. Wright would mean, it doesn’t mean less.

For a Christian marriage, a sexual union is supposed to mirror the union that takes place everywhere else, and vice-versa. Barring any medical problems or problems of distance (Such as a husband serving overseas in the military) if the home life is good, the sex life should be good, and if the sex life is good, the home life should be good. The two build on one another.

As one recovering from a divorce, I can definitely say that the separation of the bond that is meant to be there is extremely painful. This is the one kind of relationship where you can say you gave someone everything you had in a covenant promise and they rejected it. It is such a great sting that it cannot compare to any other kind. You never really realize that until it happens to you.

I used to say that I would rather lose my library than to lose my wife, and I meant it. It has been more painful by far. I could easily go out there and earn any number of books all over again. I cannot do that in the area of another human being. You do not truly replace a spouse you lost. Persons are not interchangeable for the most part. You just go out and try to find someone new, but that wound is still there. Just today I had a message from someone who remarried over a decade after his divorce and yet had a hard time with trust still.

However, the bodily union is powerful, and it’s supposed to be. We are not Gnostics. We are embodied creatures and God made us that way and He made the sexual union the way that it is as well. Those who have experienced it do know that there is indeed something extremely connecting about it. It didn’t take me long to find this out in my experience.

God blesses the couple in this. He wants them to be fruitful and multiply as was said in Genesis 1. (Which some guys I know have said is the best commandment God ever gave man.) It’s not something dirty. It’s something sacred God made.

But there’s another part to this passage isn’t there? Yes. We will cover that when we continue.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Eve’s Beauty

What makes a woman beautiful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Adam is alone and God decides to give a companion for him. He takes a rib from Adam’s body and when Adam wakes up, out comes Eve to him. We also know that she was naked as the text says they both were and had no shame. Adam sees Eve and says “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.”

Now I don’t know Hebrew, but I know people who do, and I have been told that a direct Hebrew way of understanding what Adam said there is “YOWZA!”

Adam was impressed.

Now I’m going to look at the whole one flesh statement another time, but it deserves something on its own so today, I just want to focus on Eve. Who was she?

Now when I was growing up, Eve was one part of the Bible that I sometimes wished had been illustrated. Just think about it. A woman that God Himself hand-crafted. What a looker she must have been! She must have been a total beauty queen! Every man would be thrilled to see her. Helen of Troy has nothing on her!

Now, I’m not so sure of that.

Let’s consider that we have three races. Now usually, if a girl buys a baby doll at a store, she will buy a doll from her own race. After all, that’s the kind of kid she’s likely to have someday. Many people do often desire someone of their own race. Not all do, but we all have our preferences.

Some guys like girls that are slim. Some like girls that are heavier. Some like a certain hair color. We could go on and on and since this is a blog I would hope a family could read, I don’t want to go too far down this road.

So let’s talk about Eve. What do we not know first off? Well, I’m going to have to use modern standards, but there are several things we don’t know.

We don’t know her height.

We don’t know her weight.

We don’t know her race.

We don’t know her hair or eye color.

We don’t know how long her legs were.

We don’t know what her bra size would have been.

We don’t know what her voice sounded like.

We don’t know about her complexion.

And there’s no universal idea of what a woman should look like here so it could be some guys today would see Eve and think she’s no big deal. Others would and be going internally crazy at the sight of her. Some guys have a wife they gush on and on about her beauty and their friends just don’t see it, but that guy sure does.

Here’s the important fact. Adam thought she was beautiful.

That’s all that matters.

And thank God then we don’t have a description of Eve. Can you imagine if we knew Eve was a brunette for example? Every woman who was a blond could think there was something wrong with her and she wasn’t the ideal woman. Every woman who had a different bra size or legs of a different length or was of a different race could feel like they have to compare themselves and many a man would compare his wife to Eve.

Without knowing what she looked like, no comparisons can truly be made.

And you know why that is?

Because every woman is truly meant to be Eve.

Eve is the pinnacle of God’s creation. If I have a daughter in the future, I want to name her some variation of Eve, like maybe Eva. Why is that? Because I want her to know that she is a representation of God’s beauty on this Earth. Woman in the account is the last created and I think the jewel of creation. Certainly in beauty. Nothing on Earth compares in beauty to the beauty of a woman.

All women somewhere in them have that beauty. All are to be treasured somewhere. That beauty should also be sacred and not shared cheaply. Sadly, too many women are doing that today. This is especially so in the porn industry where a man can see a woman’s body without having to make any real effort to be a man.

A woman does not have to compare herself to Eve, but she is still meant to be Eve. She is meant to represent the beauty of God on this Earth. As a man, I am amazed at the handiwork of God when I see a beautiful woman. It boggles my mind how many women don’t see just how beautiful they are in the eyes of their husbands. They live their lives in shame of their bodies and we are sitting back thinking “What the heck are you thinking?”

Ladies. Every time your husband compliments you physically and you argue against it, in some way, you are calling your husband a liar.

Adam saw Eve and he was pleased. The two became one flesh.

This we shall talk about another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Adam’s Loneliness

Why was Adam lonely? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the things often told to a divorced person is to find their joy in God, and that’s true, but that often treats it like God is the only aspect of the world to enjoy and if you have Him, that’s enough. If so, one has to ask why He gives us so many other things? Why does the text in 1 Timothy 6:17 say that He gives us all things richly for our enjoyment.

Maybe, just maybe, God wants us to enjoy other things besides just Him.

In Genesis 2, man is put in the garden to tend and care for it. All the animals are brought to him for him to name. This is showing that man has a place of authority. Whatever he calls that creature, that is what its name is. Even God goes along with this. There’s no indication of God ever saying “No Adam. I want that creature to be called a lion.”

Yet here we have a virtual paradise of sorts with no sin in it and yet we are told something is wrong. We are told that man is not alone. It is not good for the man to be alone either.

Wait a second. How can man be alone? Man was just put in a garden where every creature came to him and he got to name him. Don’t we all love having animal companions either way? I know I refer to my cat in here as one of my best friends. Dogs are normally referred to by that title, but I prefer my little kitty.

Not only that. Man has God. Didn’t Paul say that a man who is married worries about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife? Surely when it is just man and God, God will keep it that way.

Well, it would be kind of hard for the species to move further that way. However, there are some interpretations that say Adam and Eve were put in the garden as representatives for other people who were out there. Even if this is a correct interpretation, man is still alone and it is not good.

The idea is that man is incomplete at this point. Man needs someone else there to complete him. He needs to be fulfilled. Speaking as a person who is divorced, I can tell you this resonates with me.

Many times when I am at home, for the most part, I can be fine. I have enough that I can do. However, take me to work and get me doing something I don’t like and I am very miserable. I have nothing to distract me and being surrounded by people is incredibly lonely.

Crowds can be one of the loneliest places to be.

Why? Because you see people all around you going about their lives and you don’t think any of them really care about you. When I am at home, I do have my family who cares about me and my cat, but I also can easily jump on the internet and find people who know me and care about me. I can call a friend and talk about my troubles if need be. I am not alone.

When I go to bed at night, I am also alone. Shiro doesn’t usually like to sleep on me and if he tries to get on top of me as I sleep, well I just can’t sleep that way and you can’t really explain that to a cat. I used to sleep next to someone and wake up next to someone, but not now. That is painful.

Does this mean God is insufficient? No, but there are some types of companionship God cannot provide based on who He is. I remember getting together with friends to play video games together. God doesn’t do that with me. You don’t go out to eat with God. You don’t kiss God or have physical intimacy with Him either or sleep next to Him at night.

I think God recognizes different kinds of companionship. He did not make us to be isolated beings. He made us to be creatures who tend to be social. Some are more so than others, but all of us to some extent need other people.

If there was anyone who it could have ever been said did not need anyone like that, two people come to mind. Those are Adam and Jesus. Adam had no sin and all the animals and God and still that scenario was not good for man was alone. Jesus meanwhile was the perfect Son of God living on Earth and yet He had His family and His friends with Him.

I’m thankful this text is here. It tells me God understands my own desires. I don’t want to be without a special companion in life. God hears that. As I thought about this today, God says He clothes the flowers in the field and He feeds the birds.

He also does bring companions into the lives of animals.

Maybe I have met that companion and I’m just waiting for a relationship to blossom. Maybe I will meet her in the future. I do not know, but I am trying to trust that my God knows the desires of my heart and if it is a good desire that He will provide for it. I pray that He does.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Genesis 1 and Opposites

What are male and female in Genesis 1? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some people now are asking about my view of divorce and remarriage in the Bible. In order to explain that, I think we also have to look at marriage in the Bible. What is it and what is it for? For that, let’s just start at the very beginning with Genesis 1.

If you’re wondering here whether we’re going to discuss the age of the Earth or if evolution was a part of the plan, you’re going to be disappointed. Whichever the true view is in this, I fear that too often we get caught up in the hows instead of the why and read Genesis in a way it wasn’t meant to be read. It’s my hope that whatever view you take on the how of creation, my look at the why will be able to resonate with you.

Something you notice in Genesis 1 is that there are opposites and these opposites are usually separated. Light and darkness and different waters are opposite. Those things which are opposed are divided.

This seems to happen fairly consistently even if the word divided or separated isn’t used. There is one great exception. This is when man and woman are created and these are not separated.

Man and woman are when the text turns truly poetic as this is the peak of the creation of God. Now I am sure some people who are not Christians are saying “Well here is where Genesis 1 and 2 contradict since in 1 they are created together and in 2 at different times!” I hear that, but that is not going to be my focus today.

Now in my view of this, humanity is created in the image of God in that they are meant to be the idol of God, which will represent God in the temple He has built, which is the entire cosmos. Man is meant to rule over the creation on behalf of God. We are to be the stewards making sure everything is kept in good order.

Yet here, you have two that can be considered opposites, but there is no separation mentioned. These two are to work together. God could have created one gender if He wanted to, but He didn’t. He made two and He made them to work together.

Also note something for those who think the Bible is misogynistic. In this passage, men and women are both in the image of God. There is no distinction in this. Man is not made largely in the image and woman has a pale reflection of that. Both of them are in the image of God. It’s really hard to think of a higher way to lift up women than to say they are fully in the image of God.

This also helps explain how we can all be equally human. If you were to point to our genetics and say that based on that we’re all equally human, well aside from identical twins, we have different genes. Our bodies are designed differently. Our brains can work differently. Even within the same sex, there are vast differences between us.

So what do we all have equally? The image of God. We all carry that. Every man is to treat his neighbor well because his neighbor is a fellow image-bearer.

Next time we do this, we’ll look some at Genesis 2 where we will interact more with the idea of male and female and how they come together. I also have some specific thoughts on female beauty in Genesis 2 that may surprise some of you. I know I got surprised with my final conclusion when I took a deeper look at that topic, but that is for another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Peace of Jesus

What does it mean to have the peace of Christ? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m really wrestling with this one right now, but while at the movies with a friend yesterday, to which we saw the Ten Rings movie which I thought was excellent, I was thinking about this. I have said I am on a journey as a fellow traveler walking through the pain of divorce and even if I am just one step ahead of a traveler on the journey, that’s one step I can help him through. It’s worth it.

Sometimes, I can have a hard time sleeping at night. I am very prone to anxiety. I often wonder if my marriage had anything to do with it. Imagine what goes through a person when they have to speed down the highway near their home because they think their wife could be killing themselves at any minute. Welcome to what was my world.

As an Aspie also, I have a constant fear as well of doing the wrong thing even in minor areas. Taking a risk can be very difficult for me. Yesterday, I also went to a psychiatrist and got put on the minimum dosage of an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication. I don’t want to say which because inevitably, someone will give me a horror story.

Sometimes when I get this anxious, I think of the story of Jesus on the boat calming the storms. Yes. We know. Jesus calms the storms in our lives. Isn’t that wonderful? Well, yes, but that’s not the point I think about when I think of this story.

I think that Jesus is asleep in the story.

That’s the part that really astounds me the most. It’s easy to understand how a man who is also fully God can stop a storm. Not a problem there. What blows my mind is that this guy could with a dozen men in a ship that is rocking and reeling from a storm and just sleeping. When He is woken up by His disciples, there is really no sense of urgency in His life. He seems puzzled that His disciples were ever panic-stricken to begin with.

In some ways, as I go through this, it’s making me look at Jesus through fresh eyes. You know how we can sometimes worry what other people think about us and wonder? You never see Jesus doing that. Jesus is the one person who never changes who He is to try to please the people around Him. Jesus is never in an identity crisis that we know of. Jesus knows who He is and He lives it out.

This means that what people thought of Jesus didn’t even bother Him that way. His identity was never based on it. Even when He is crucified, one can think that even if you don’t believe in the Gospels, it’s evident that the Jesus in the Gospels is in control the whole time.

Look at what happens when the crowds come to arrest Him. In John, Jesus speaks forcibly, the soldiers fall back, and He tells the people to take Him and let the others go. Jesus is being arrested and yet He is giving the orders and being the real threat. Now some could say this account is made up, but honestly, if someone made up this person, I want to know who this person is who made Him up. I find it hard to imagine someone like this. You can call that an argument from incredulity if you want, but it is something striking about Jesus.

This Jesus is never panicked about what’s going on in the world. He openly goes through an area where Caesar has power and tells the people that the Kingdom of God has come. Herod wants to kill Him? Well, go tell that old fox….

This is a guy who is a peasant talking about the king who can put Him to death and He refers to that king as an old fox.

There’s something amazing about that.

This Jesus doesn’t mince words. Want to know what He thinks of the Pharisees? He just comes right out and says it. It’s never “I didn’t want to tell you Pharisees this, but….” My favorite example of this is Luke 11. In it, Jesus is going after the Pharisees and the teachers of the law say “Excuse me, but do you realize you are insulting us when you say this?”

There is no indication Jesus turns apologetic. Quite the opposite. He turns and gives the teachers of the law the exact same treatment. You can picture those guys walking away at the end of this and one of them saying to the one who spoke up, “Nice going. You got Him on our case also.”

It really shows that Jesus is the most amazing figure more and more who ever lived.

And so what about His peace? We keep thinking often about the peace that Jesus can give us. I think before we think about that, we need to think about why Jesus had peace to begin with. The answer i come up with is He had total confidence that whatever happened, God was in charge. We know He knew some things about His destiny, but that doesn’t mean He had to know everything that was going to happen to Him as He walked this Earth. When Jesus asks the father of a boy with a demon in Mark 9 how long this has been going on, I don’t see any theological depth to the question. I think Jesus is just seeking information. Jesus had to learn and grow like the rest of us.

Yet no matter what happens, He is in charge. Even when He prays passionately in the garden out of sorrow, He is still in charge. He scolds His disciples and is not caught off-guard by the arrest. There is no begging for mercy from Him on the cross. At the same time, it’s not really pride we see in Him. It’s more just confidence. It’s His confidence in God.

Now here’s where it gets scary.

If I am to walk as Jesus walked, I am to have that much confidence in God too. Whatever happens, He is in charge of the story. If I was one of the Hebrew boys in Daniel, could I say “Our God is able to save us from the furnace you have, BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN’T, we will not bow to your idol.” Think about that. They had no certainty. They had no guarantee. They could have died that day and they didn’t even have a promise of resurrection! I would like to say I’d have that courage as well, but I can’t guarantee that I would.

For me, this is all about getting a better picture of who Jesus is. We can talk about Him with His love for us, but usually when we think about Jesus, it’s about what He does for us. We never think about what He did for Himself or how He managed His own life, but we should. We talk about how Jesus helps us in sadness, but never how He dealt with His own. We also talk about how Jesus gives us peace, but perhaps we should do the same with that. We should ask how Jesus had peace first and go beyond the pat “He’s God” answer. It’s true, but if we follow that consistently, we are left with no reason to emulate His life since we know we can’t do it for that reason. No. In His humanity, we are to fully emulate Him.

Am I good at this yet? No. Not really. I still stress out and have to call my friends. I still worry about pleasing other people at times. I still panic about doing the wrong thing. I still have a hard time being confident that God is in charge of the story.

But you know, knowing is half the battle. I should at least give thanks that I know these things so I know what to work on. It is better to know my faults and that I need to work on them than to go in the world believing a myth that I am a pretty good guy doing alright.

I hope you will join me on this journey, fellow travelers. In some ways, it’s actually fun to see Jesus in this new light.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Are emotions an emergency? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let’s just say I had a rough weekend. I was working with my company to get my health insurance and when I told them I was going through a divorce and wanted to see a psychiatrist, they agreed to speed it up. I have an appointment today and should get something. I have been told by some that I could use something in this time to help regulate my emotions while actively doing therapy. Thankfully, most Christians no longer have a problem with this.

Anyway, they needed to see how the divorce process was and so I contacted my former mother-in-law who sent me a photo of the document showing that it was a done deal. It wasn’t new information, but it was still painful. It was a way of reality setting in. Yep. I am officially divorced.

Officially abandoned, betrayed, rejected, undesired by her, etc. So many negative statements receive verification at that point.

Add in that shortly after that, I see a Christian couple in my line with a son and they share a long kiss of love before they get to me. I know they’re Christian because they’re talking about the Bible and when I ask them when they get to me, they’re talking about how husbands and wives are to treat each other. Oh, we talk about that, but my mind is still thinking about the kiss. I miss it. I miss those kisses and where they could lead and everything.

I come back from lunch and I’m depressed about it and one of my managers asks me what I’m down about and I talk about the divorce being final and wondering why I’m not more appealing. I mentioned all the things I don’t do which included porn to which she was absolutely stunned. When it came up with the other managers, they were stunned too. No condemnation of me, and all the people talking there were women, but for some reason, I felt like an outsider still. I found myself being tempted thinking about everything and that temptation seemed hard to resist, until sometime yesterday it just died and everything is back to normal.

Fortunately, I also had a good talk with my pastor about this and he is praying for me. Several friends are praying I will get a fulfillment of Proverbs 18:22. I long for that too.

Yet as I thought about the time, I also thought that we have a hard time with emotions in the church. I am reading books on Kindle on managing anxiety and depression. One of the statements I see is that these are not problems in themselves. Some anxiety can be good as it can alert us to danger. I think some anxiety is sinful, but I’m not convinced all of it is. As for depression, some of it can be sinful, but not all of it I think is. I think sometimes we should be depressed about some things.

One of my friends put it well. One different friend had said tomorrow will be better. A month from now will be better. A year from now will be better. I said I agreed, but today just sucked. The friend who put things well (And to be fair, my other one did too) said “What would suck is if it didn’t suck.”

True enough. I think it would be twisted if I threw a party celebrating that she is gone from my life. I happen to think if you promise love, you should do just that, even if the other person wants nothing to do with you. I still want the best for her and hope that nothing bad happens to her. This is not to say I am never experiencing anger towards her or wanting justice, but by and large, I realize the negativity does me no good.

Sometimes in the church, if someone is sad, we act like that has to be taken care of. As I think about it though, I don’t think Scripture tells us to cheer up those who are sad. It tells us instead to mourn with those who mourn. This is not to say to never provide cheer, but sometimes, just mourning is good enough.

Yes. I am sad. I am uncertain about the future. I sometimes wrestle with temptation. I sometimes get anxious about where I am going in my life. What if all of this is just part of the normal Christian life and I just accept that? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that the temptation we face is common to man. I remember Father Barnabas at the Orthodox Church talking about being at retreats for teenagers and hearing young men say “Father. I’m struggling with lust.”

Join the club.

Last I checked, that’s nearly every man out there in existence who struggles with that. What? Do I think I am too good to be tempted to have my mind wander when I see a beautiful woman? If anything, there has to be some level of desire or else a relationship will never get off the ground. It’s normally said that looks aren’t everything, but they do tend to open the door.

Am I depressed? Yes. It could be worse if I wasn’t. Am I concerned about my future? Yes. Then let that push me to make it better. Am I not happy with my situation now? Sure. Then let me push to make it better.

Sadly, I do tend to dwell on the emotion and the strangest thing, that never seems to work. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but before I go to bed in the evening, I get out my Nintendo Switch and set a timer and play for ten minutes. For those ten minutes, I do tend to forget about the emotion and I do get to experience some joy. That’s one reason being at work can be hard for me. I have nothing to distract me sadly.

If I treat my emotions as an emergency however, I am only going to make them worse. If you water a plant, it will grow bigger. If I feed an emotion with panic, it will get worse. I’m trying to say now that I’m any number of things. Maybe I’m depressed. Maybe I’m anxious. Maybe I’m angry with God even. That’s okay. As long as I handle those things maturely and properly, that’s fine. As for anger with God, heck, it’s all in the Psalms. It’s not like I can fool Him anyway.

So for now, things aren’t okay. That’s okay. They will get better, but today, they’re allowed to be miserable. Only one thing is the end of the world and that’s the end of the world. For everything else, I have my God and I have my friends to support me.

Thank you, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Steps of Healing: Bible Study and Prayer

How do these help in divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t bring this up first? One reason is most of us already know this. Many of us get tired of hearing just to read your Bible and pray when we have a hard time.

I will also say sometimes I find these to be difficult. I have read the Bible all my life and it’s hard to sit down and look at a text and try to find something you haven’t before. I really question people when they say “I get something new out of the Bible everyday.”

This also relates to prayer. Many of when we’re Christians around other Christians want to present our best spiritual sides. Greg Koukl has talked about these people such as they say something like “I was thinking about you while I was memorizing Jeremiah” or “You came to my heart during my third prayer time today.”

Most people don’t want to present spiritual struggles. They just want to present spiritual successes. Color me skeptical if I meet someone who only has successes to talk about and no failures.

So with Bible study, for me it’s reading a chapter of both testaments in the morning before I get up. I pray beforehand and I pray after. Those can be good times to learn something, but there’s also one other interesting way I read the Scripture.

Before I go to bed, I read just one verse of a book and go through it and just think about that while I go to sleep. Sometimes, I don’t get a lot, but sometimes I do. Right now, I’m going through the book of Revelation and reading it slowly is a great way to approach the text differently.

Now as for prayer, prayer can be difficult for me since it can be hard to know how to talk to ordinary people and so much more so, a divine person. I’m also super-skeptical of many people who talk about listening in prayer, which I never hear being spoken of as a regular practice in the Bible.

For prayer then, I do so in the morning and in the evening and in the evening, I email a mentor every night after that and tell him how my day went as well. I really encourage everyone else to get such a mentor. It really helps keep you accountable and helps to know that someone cares about you enough to hear you talk about every day.

I also regularly do what I call minute prayers. When I meet someone at work who is struggling with something, I offer up a quick prayer. When I am driving, if I hear sirens coming from somewhere, I also offer up a quick prayer. (Rest assured, no closing my eyes then.) If anything, I think minute prayers reflexively can be one of the best items because it really does show your constant dependence on God.

However, I also think in prayer, you have to be real. If I want to complain, I complain. Jeremiah did. Job did. The Psalmists did. It’s okay. It’s not like God doesn’t know in my heart that I’m upset and hurting over something. I might as well tell Him.

For instance, when I get in a state where I really want to have another woman in my life, which is incredibly often, I tell Him so. At earlier times when I was in the even worst pains of agony, I let Him know. God is said to be a counselor, but if you can’t share your deepest troubles with Him, you must not think He’s a real counselor.

Ultimately, I just think you should be real. This also includes with fellow Christians that you trust. Something I have been told about my writings on divorce either here are on Facebook is that people appreciate that I am candid about what is going on. I have no wish to present myself as a spiritual giant to you. I don’t see myself as one anyway.

All of us have problems and struggles in life. If someone acts like they don’t, they’re not fooling me and I suspect they’re not fooling you either. Let’s just be real.

And if talking to someone means you need to get a therapist, go for it. I have one and he’s a great guy and we talk weekly. I’m also working on my health insurance and going to see a psychiatrist at least for the time being. No shame in that either. It’s actually okay to be a Christian and need help.

I hope these basic tips help you. After all, if you are on this walk, you need all the help you can get. Stay strong, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Steps of Healing: Hobbies

What’s the purpose of fun? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I really hate having to go to work. I hate it because so many times I am just bored there as my mind is not challenged. I thrive on challenge and love to face a real challenge. Sometimes at home, my Dad will come to see me or call me because he’s struggling with a word game.

This is a game where you are given six letters and told to make as many words as you possibly can from those letters. He can be wrestling with something for half an hour trying to find the word. I will come and look at it for about five seconds, tell him what the word is, and go back to what I was doing.

When I am at work, too many times I am not challenged. My mind wanders then and it wanders to places that it shouldn’t go. I am more tempted to brood. Not only that, but when you’re surrounded by a lot of people, it’s an odd paradox, but it can be easy to feel lonely. I suppose it would be the same as if you were on a diet and sitting at a massive banquet table filled with your favorite foods. You would long to eat, but you know that you can’t, and that fills you with hunger and misery. I am around people and it reminds me that I am missing a relationship in my life I desperately want again.

This is why it’s so important to have hobbies in this time. For me, mine is gaming. Sure, I enjoy online debating, but you can’t always force an online debate and as much fun as it is, sometimes, it gets tiresome answering the same old questions over and over again.

Gaming gives you a challenge and it also can give you instant rewards. I can see the progress that I am making. When I am playing Final Fantasy XIV, I can see what the next level I need to reach is. When I am in the dungeon with the party, I am playing a part then to help out my team. The beauty of quests is that they give me a clear destination with clear rewards.

Tonight, I finished playing Aria of Sorrow, a Castlevania game, and I do believe I did everything. I found this one fascinating as there were so many secrets to discover and the leveling system was very fun. I started tonight then continuing that collection as it’s all the Gameboy Advance Castlevania games by playing Harmony of Dissonance. I’ve also got Skyward Sword in the wings and the newest Blaster Master and a friend got me FF XV Royal Edition. I am thankful God has blessed me like this.

During this time, I am also often listening to YouTube videos. Many times, those can be apologetics related as I learn something about my faith at the same time. I meant to watch some about the expansion of the universe today, but sadly I just forgot about it with everything going on in my life.

Sometimes though, I just sit down and just watch fun videos. These are little clips from favorite shows that make me laugh or just bring joy and a smile to me. You might not care for them, but that’s okay. I don’t do them for you. I do them for me. Each time I get a little smile and that little smile is good.

One thing my therapist told me that’s interesting is when we look at other people’s hobbies that we don’t understand, we’re tempted to say they’re idols. I don’t understand why some people get so caught up in professional sports. At least my hobby has you actively engaged in something and using your mind, but hey, some people seem to really care for it.

Of course, sometimes these things can become an idol, whether it’s my hobby or yours, but before we tell someone that they have an idol, we need to consider. With what I am going through, is it not understandable if I need a little bit more time to distract myself? A good friend around here has told me he might not have made it through is divorce if it wasn’t for friends on World of Warcraft. He could find someone on there at most any time who was a friend that he could do something with.

For those healing then, I encourage them to find a hobby, provided of course that you are not doing anything immoral. For instance, per my last post, if your hobby is watching pornography, get a new hobby. If your hobby is sleeping with people you are not married to, get a new hobby. (And also repent.)

If you see me somewhere and I am staring into my phone and smiling, sure I may be playing a game on there or something, but let it be. When a divorce is going on like this, smiles are hard to come by. I give thanks that God has provided me with many blessings and I urge you if you are in this camp to find something that gives you that blessing.

Have fun on the journey, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Steps of Healing: Avoid Pornography

Are there negative steps to take to heal? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

I have been blessed all my life to be someone who has not had a pornography problem. When researchers want to study the effects of porn, they have a hard time finding guys nowadays who are young and do not have a porn problem at all or do not use it. I would be one of those rare guys.

One definite hard part about going through divorce is the missing of physical interaction. I am a subscriber to the DivorceCare newsletter and now, it’s going through issues relating to sex. I have seen that many people who get divorced due bend the rules in this area, such as people my own parents grew up with who when they get divorced, before their next marriage, decide to live together first.

When a divorce comes, a man comes from being able to be in an intimate relationship with a woman to not being able to be in one. He used to have a woman he could kiss and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman whose body he could see and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman he could be intimate with and now he doesn’t.

This is extremely frustrating for a man. Note with all of this I am saying for a man. I am not going to attempt to guess what it’s like for a woman, though I can imagine that it is difficult for them as well and yes, women have desires in this area as well.

When I talk with men going through divorce, this topic tends to come up. Men struggle. It’s one reason many of them can easily jump into a physical relationship with someone else. Of course, sometimes, encountering the opposite sex can be difficult, but today, there is an easy way many men deal with this.

Just turn on your computer and go to a link.

In all of this, I am not at all saying that the desire for physical intimacy is wrong. Men are wired to want to see and be with women. If a man is doing something thoroughly thoroughly stupid, quite likely, it’s because there’s a woman involved in the picture somehow and he’s not thinking straight.

However, i contend pornography is not the way to meet that need nor are sexual relationships outside of marriage. Some people have asked me if my views have changed on sex and marriage. Would it be tempting to say that an exception could be made for sex outside of marriage for people who have been divorced? Yes. It would be, but I cannot. I have to remain faithful to what I think Jesus commands us to do.

Pornography is a quick fix for a real desire, but it’s an illicit one. It is one that only cheapens. If a man wants to see a woman, that’s a natural desire that I contend God gave Him. There are two different things the man can do. He can go out and actually be a real man for a woman, love her for who she is, and earn her trust and marry her. That’s one option.

The other option is he can turn on his computer or phone and click a link.

One path requires that you work hard and sacrifice of yourself and go out and take risks. The other doesn’t. The other is in many ways, the coward’s way out. Not only that, it is a way that is dehumanizing to women.

The woman on the screen does not care about you. She does not desire you. She doesn’t want you. She doesn’t even know your name. She is an actress and while acting is a skill indeed, it is also fake.

I also contend that going this route is keeping you away from a real woman. It is a way of saying, “I cannot get a real woman, so I will go out and get a fake one instead.” Now I realize that many men do have a real woman in their lives and watch porn, but why bother? Is that woman you have inadequate? Wouldn’t that time be better spent romancing her instead? After all, one woman you have a relationship with. One woman you never will.

Not only this, many people in pornography are there because of sex trafficking. By watching, you can be unknowingly supporting sex trafficking. I have read a number of accounts of women who have escaped the industry. It’s never a good experience for them when they’re in it.

This is not to say that for many men, this is a real struggle. There have been some very rare times when I have felt a strong temptation to give in to this one since the divorce. By God’s grace, I have resisted every time. Generally, what seems inevitable after awhile can become “What was I even worried about?”

What are some things to do? For one thing, just go and do something else. If I have to turn on a game instead, that’s all the better. As my therapist told me, “I would rather you were playing a game than watching pornography.” I also try to not panic. It’s a real temptation and that’s okay. No one goes through life without being tempted.

If you need to, get a program like Covenant Eyes that can help you and a male accountability partner. (Women struggling get a female one.) Go also and get involved in a group like Celebrate Recovery. This should not be faced alone.

I have also told my friends that I have plans for when I do find someone wanting to date. Assuming I have my own place by then, I have made a personal vow that I don’t want to have a girl with me alone in my place or have me be alone with her in that place. That kind of situation could be way too tempting and a sure way to increase the likelihood that you will fall into a temptation is to think that you cannot fall into it or that you can handle it.

Again, no exceptions can be made. Too many ministries have been ruined by sexual sin. Do I need to remind us all of Ravi Zacharias? Who is to say any one of us could not be him as well?

So men, the desire is real. I have it. Odds are, you have it. We want love and we want to be special to a woman. That’s fine and it’s the way made it, but go and meet that desire the honorable way. Be someone special to a woman. Be someone loving to her. Treat her like a treasure. Treat one like a treasure and you treat all of them like one. Try to desire every woman and you truly desire none.

If you are struggling with porn, please get help. My friends at Proven Men would be glad to help you out as well. It will help you also with future relationships as I am convinced the reason many young men, including younger men, men younger than I, struggle with ED is because of watching pornography. Don’t go for fake women so much you won’t be able to please a real one.

If you struggle, it’s a real one and you have my sympathy for it. I hope my words can help you overcome it. I remain convinced pornography is one of the greatest evils of our day and hopefully, we can eliminate it one day.

Stay strong, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)