Isaac and Rebekkah and Parenting

What was a big mistake in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekkah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re quite sure Isaac loved Rebekkah. Even when he was lying and saying she was his sister, he was caught in public showing husbandly affection to her. When she was not having children, Isaac prayed for her and she conceived. However, after the children came, that’s when trouble came.

The mistake each of them made was that they each had a favorite. Isaac favored Esau who was into more of the things that would be deemed manly and Rebekkah favored Jacob who was more of a homebody and today we would likely consider a Momma’s Boy. This is always a recipe for disaster.

As someone doing online dating, I wonder when I see women whose profiles say that their children will always be #1. Really? Does that mean that if I married you, your children would come first? Husbands and wives are to love their children, to be sure, but the spouse must come before the children and be the first priority.

As the story progresses, we see where this leads. Jacob becomes a trickster who lives up to his name that means deceiver. He ends up tricking Esau out of his birthright, but then the situation gets worse. He apparently inherited this deception from his mother who not only helped Jacob secure the blessing, she did so by being an accomplice to Jacob in tricking her own husband.

Let’s also mention that Isaac was going blind at the time. Rebekkah decided that she would take advantage of her own husband’s disability and incapacity to see and use it to get her favored son what he wanted and what she wanted for him. Nothing is said here about any love that she has towards Esau. In her mind now, it’s okay to neglect him because she has to make sure that her favorite is taken care of.

Today, the same mistake can be made. If a couple gets married, no matter how many children they have, the children should not become the focus of the marriage. After all, you’re not raising those children to hold on to them forever. You’re going to let them go out into the world at some point. Someday, you are going to have an empty nest and what are you going to do then? Your spouse will be a stranger at that point.

One of the best ways you can actually bless your children is by showing a deep love for your spouse. Don’t be afraid to kiss in front of them or show affection and when they get older and you send them to their grandparents for date night and the older kids know what that means, that’s okay. What you are doing in this is modeling a biblical marriage for your children where they will learn how to love their future spouse and how to be loved by their future spouse.

Kids are a gift, but don’t let them become a means of separation and that can easily happen by making them the focus. They are to be a focus, but your first duty in marriage is to your spouse. Don’t replace them.

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

 

Oprah Winfrey on Divorce

What do I think of Oprah’s message on divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We have been going through the story of the Bible to see what it says on divorce and marriage, but I’m going to interrupt that again to talk about Oprah some. Oprah recently interviewed the popular singer Adele. I didn’t bother watching because I don’t care for Oprah or Adele, but I did see Rebecca McLaughlin share a tweet about what happened in this interview.

Yes. What a great message this is. Women. If you are not 100% happy in your marriage, then you need to know you can get a divorce.

I can’t imagine that her husband feels the same way. Of course, I did see something that indicates he might have got a lot of money from the deal, but that might not matter. Many of us would gladly give up money to get love.

The couple also has one child together, a son named Angelo, who was born before the couple even married, big surprise there. As of now, Angelo is nine. The couple married in 2016 and divorced in 2019.

However, here a few lines from this interview about the divorce. See if you notice any common theme.

“I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy,” she told journalist Abby Aguirre.

“Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved,” she continued. “It’s really important to me I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.”

“Meanwhile, she told Giles Hattersley in British Vogue that she and Konecki “kept their split “to ourselves for a very long time. “We had to take our time because there was a child involved. I’d trust him with my life. I definitely chose the perfect person to have my child with. That – after making a lot of knee-jerk reactions — is one of my proudest things I’ve ever done,” she explained.”

“That said, Adele has had a hard time reconciling the fact that their divorce affected their son. “If I can reach the reason why I left, which was the pursuit of my own happiness, even though it made Angelo really unhappy — if I can find that happiness and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I’ll be able to forgive myself for it,” she said of the family dynamic.”

It’s not hard to miss the common theme. I, myself, me, etc. Adele is all about what she wants here. The last quote is the saddest. Angelo is unhappy. The child is the worst victim in all of this and many children of divorce grow up to blame themselves for it. In what could be some self-realization, at least Adele seems to have some clue that she did something wrong, well if he can eventually come to see her as being happy, then all will be okay. After all, he needs to see her being loved.

Oh sure. She wants him to see her really love, but she hasn’t done a great start by destroying her own first marriage. If anything, she has sent Angelo a powerful message. Love is temporary. You can’t put your total trust in anyone. People will break your heart. Marriage is not meant to be a lifelong covenant. The focus of marriage is supposed to be your happiness.

If Angelo can’t even trust his own mother, who can he trust?

Now Oprah instead looks at this and sees this as an empowering message for women. Here you go women! Here’s your power! If your man isn’t making you 100% happy, then by golly, go ahead and destroy that relationship because the purpose of the man in marriage is to make you happy and the reason you marry a man is to make you happy.

Now to some extent, we do marry for our happiness. However, it is a different happiness. We are happy making the other person happy. We marry not just so we can be loved by the other person, which is a gift indeed, but so that we can love the other person.

Also, unless you’re talking about Jesus Christ, no one can make you 100% happy and when we are not 100% happy in Jesus, the flaw is not in Him. It is in us. If Adele was not happy, she should have asked herself “Why am I not happy?” She could have instead gone on to ask “What can I do to make my husband and son happy?” and found joy in that. She instead said “I don’t care about your happiness. I only care about my own.”

The article states that she is dating Lebron James’s agent, Rich Paul, now. If Rich is a smart man, he will leave right now. If she did it to her first husband, there’s no reason to think she won’t do it to you. Adele has already shown she is all about her and believe it or not, really passionate sex, while good, is not going to seal the deal on a covenant. If anything, both people could just be using each other. I can’t speak for Rich since I don’t know anything about him, but I think we’ve already seen what Adele is like.

Speaking as a man wrongfully divorced, I can easily say Oprah’s message is a horrible message. It does not empower women one bit. If anything, it makes them more victims. Oprah is telling them that their happiness is dependent on the man that they are married to. Why can’t they find happiness in how they love that man more? Sure, the man is to bring her happiness and a good man will want to, but if a woman is not happy, the first person to look at is herself.

Please keep in mind I am having in mind a normal marriage here also. A  marriage involving abuse and infidelity is a completely different animal. There are cases of rightful divorce. I was told before that I could have easily filed for divorce. Even an Orthodox priest told me that. In my case, it was my ex-wife who filed for the divorce.

No one should listen to Oprah on anything related to morality. Actually, we could cut out “related to morality” and it would still be a true sentence. Unfortunately, Oprah is the high priest of our culture and having a lasting impact on it. What she says here fits in just fine with an anti-family agenda that many people have today.

Oprah is creating more narcissistic women like Adele. These women might be able to provide men temporary joy in sexual passion, but they sure won’t be the wives that they will find joy in. They sure won’t be the mothers that their sons and daughters can admire. Sons won’t want to marry a woman like their Mom and daughters won’t want to be like their Mom, at least let’s hope they won’t!

It is often said that if you want change, be the change. Now that would be an empowering message for women. Tell women they have the power to bring joy and happiness into a marriage even if it seems dead. They have the power to fight for the promise that they made to their spouse and to show their children what a loving family is to be like. If a woman leaves a husband just because of her own happiness though, it will happen again with the next guy. Marriage is not about living for yourself. It is about dying to yourself and living for the good of those beyond yourself.

Men. Stay away from Adele and women like her. Women. Don’t be like her and don’t bother listening to Oprah please. There are plenty of good and godly women you can listen to instead. Show Oprah and Adele what real women are supposed to be like and how they are truly powerful.

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

 

Abraham and Hagar

What was the point of concubines? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Our next look will be further ahead at the life of Abraham as we study what the Bible says about marriage. Abraham is told by God that he will have a son through him he will bless the world. I had a pastor once who said you can picture Abraham going home that evening, turning on some Barry Manilow, and telling Sarah that they had to do their part in faithfulness to the promise of God.

Yet despite whatever might have happened, that promise didn’t seem to be being fulfilled. So Sarah decided she needed to help God fulfill the promise. Isn’t that nice of her? Technically, God had said Abraham would have a child. That doesn’t have to be through Sarah. Here. Take my concubine Abraham and have your way with her and let the promise come through her.

Now in the biblical account, this doesn’t end well. Some people claim that Ishmael’s descendants became the Arabs and that led to Islam, but I don’t know if we have any hard data on that one so I won’t accept it now, but there was still enmity many times between the Ishmaelites and the Israelites. The home life at the start was also disrupted as Ishmael was hardly friendly to Isaac.

But why would God allow concubines?

Something we see in Scripture is that people fell and they fell and often seemed to hit rock bottom immediately. God is a gentle teacher and sees that they are progressing so He allows certain borderline practices that He does not consider ideal as they go on their journey. I consider Israelite slavery to be better than the surrounding nations, but still a practice God tolerated but never considered ideal.

We also need to keep in mind that in those days, infant mortality was high. Not only could children die at a young age, before the advent of better medicine, but mothers could also often die in childbirth. That can still happen today, but normally, expectant mothers don’t worry that they will die in the delivery room as they are giving birth.

In those cases, it was often thought that this was a way of keeping the wife alive and increasing the number of children that could come about. Later in the history of Judah, we will see, for example, that Joash is given two wives when he becomes king, which makes sense since most of the Davidic line had been wiped out by his grandmother, even if it wasn’t ideal.

Does this constitute a change in marriage? No. You still have the man-woman unit being central. What we do see is the numerous problems that develop. Fortunately for Hagar, Sarah’s concubine, the story works out for her. After all, she is the innocent party and was just doing what she had been told, although there was the exception of her possibly being rude to Sarah. God indeed blesses her and she is actually the first person in Scripture to see the angel of the Lord specifically.

Concubines will show up later throughout the text, but there is no need to discuss their role further, though we will mention at times when they show up.

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

More Than Heaven

Is there more for Christians to talk about than Heaven. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s the time of year where Vacation Bible School is going on and the emphasis is to try to get children to make a decision to follow Jesus. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with how it is done and what we are telling them. We get them in the classroom and then we tell them that they need to accept Jesus to make sure that they can go to Heaven when they die.

I do realize that tragedies can happen and children can die. From my class of 99 in high school, we have already had a few deaths. Some were to suicide and at least one was to a car crash. It happens. However, if we were betting on the odds, we would say that these kids are likely to live a few more decades.

And we’re to tell the youngest among us that the goal of life to focus on is to focus on what will happen to them decades in the future?

What do they do now? Why are they here for these decades that they have? What is the point of living?

Our “Christian” influence would have them think that the only point of life is what happens when you die. They need to know this life matters. Christ told us that He came that we might have life and have it in abundance. There’s no indication that He meant that you will have that life when you die. One of the fruit of the Spirit we are to have now is joy. Nothing indicates that you will have joy when you die, but you won’t in this life.

What are we teaching children about the hear and now? Eternal life doesn’t begin in Christianity just when you die. It begins when you trust Jesus right now. You are to begin holy living right now. Are we teaching the children about the resurrection of Jesus, or is that doctrine only a means to talk about Heaven? Are we teaching them about holy living now, especially when they will face temptation in the future and bluntly, our children will especially face sexual temptation in the near future? Are they ready for that?

This isn’t just for the kids either. We do this with adults. Adults are taught intentionally or unintentionally that the whole goal of Christianity is to get to Heaven. They are not taught about the hear and now. The overwhelming majority of people I fear could tell you about Heaven but they will also confuse that with the Kingdom of Heaven. They don’t realize the Kingdom of Heaven is a teaching for here and now.

If this is the case, we should not be surprised if people aren’t excited about their Christianity or know what to do with it. All they have to do here is to be a “good person” because we know that absolutely no one else in society has that goal at all. For many, it’s like this life is just a sort of trial run and the real purpose of life comes when you die. This life isn’t a trial run, but it is a trial in a sense and it is here we determine if we are really focused on the matters of God or not.

So what do we teach children? I am not saying don’t teach them about Heaven and I am not saying don’t teach them to live good lives. Teach them why. We are to live holy lives here because Jesus came and by His death and resurrection revealed Himself to be God’s King. We are to live our lives as servants of the King and how we live them will reflect how we see the King and in turn how people will see the King through us.

Salvation is not a one-time decision. It is a lifetime. When you marry someone, you make a decision that you publicly announce at once, but it is a lifetime decision to be faithful and true to the person you have committed to. Why do you then go out and live a life of faithfulness to that person? It is not so that you will be married. You do it because you are married. In the same way, salvation is a decision made at one time, but it is also a lifetime decision. You don’t live a good life before the King because you want Him to take you to Heaven when you die. You do it because He is your King and it is not about what the King does for you, but it is about what you do for Him.

I would like to hope that someday the church will realize this, but I keep fearing that our future focus is getting us so caught that we don’t realize what we are to do in the present and we are not giving our young people anything different for the here and now than the world has. If anything, we feed into their individualism and selfish mindsets where the goal of Christianity is all about them and what happens when they die. Christianity is about every facet of your life, and that includes the here and now.

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

Letting Kids Be Kids

Are we robbing children of their childhood? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend for some dinner and gaming together. My friend’s wife was away for her job and one of his daughters was home with him who is ten years old. As we are having dinner, I don’t remember what led to it, but somehow, she started talking about pride month. She excused herself for some reason and I turned to him and said “I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a thing about homosexuality when I was ten years old.” Heck. Most of us were just then starting to learn the facts of life when I was that old. Today, I suspect many kindergarteners already know.

When I was ten, my great thought I had when coming home was what video game am I going to be going through today. Today, if kids need to be making difficult choices at all, it really should be something like “Which Pokemon is going to be my starter Pokemon?” Of course, some of us still ask that question today.

Kids are being raised now to take a side on certain issues when they don’t know enough about the sides to make an informed decision. A child’s youth should be spent on playing games and having fun and getting to enjoy being a kid, something that they can only do once. Why should we steal that from them?

Let’s be fair. It’s also not just pride month that is doing this. Heterosexuals are doing the same thing. What does it do when we see ads with women pretty much in their underwear on TV during shows that kids could be watching with parents? Imagine a kid riding with his parents in the car hearing radio ads and saying “Mom. What’s erectile dysfunction?”

C.S. Lewis once wrote about a book called The Green Book by him in his book The Abolition of Man. His first chapter in it was called Men Without Chests. No. He is not referring to guys like myself who are physically small. He has something different in mind.

Lewis wrote about a boy and his dad walking together and seeing a beautiful waterfall and the boy saying it was sublime. The authors want it to be known that there is no such thing as a sublime waterfall. Instead, the boy feels small compared to the waterfall and says it’s sublime, but he is really making a statement about his personal feelings and not about the waterfall.

Lewis said the boy learned very little English that day, but he learned a lot of philosophy. He was drafted to take a side in a war he didn’t even know was going on. If we extend this further, it will be a world where we all go by feelings alone and those feelings are really just glands secreting juices in us and there’s no ultimate reality out there to them. It would lead to moral relativity eventually. The result then would be a generation of men without chests, no heart.

Now we have gone a different route where we listen to our feelings on everything and children are told to trust their feelings. Hardly good advice. Now instead of a generation of men without chests, we have a generation of women without chests where women are having top surgery to remove their breasts not because there is something unhealthy about them, but because they want to think they’re really men. That is not a decision that can really be reversed. Oh you can make something with plastic surgery, but it’s not the same as the real thing with several intricate nerves.

Kids are being told to try to find their gender identity and being enlisted in the battle the adults are having. None of us need to really be doing this. If we have to teach them ideas, teach them on a child’s level. A child in Sunday School does not need to be learning adult lessons on sexuality. Start off with basic truths that you want to teach them and then proportion it as they get older. The number one thing we need to teach any child though in all of this is how to think. We spend too much time teaching them what to think instead.

While many of us in debates on Facebook and other places will have our sides and debate them vigorously, I hope we can agree that we really should be keeping the children out of it. Let them grow up and make their decisions in the proper time, but let’s not steal their childhood from them to meet our own desires. Children only have one shot at being children. Let them have that.

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

Book Plunge: Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part Two

What do I think of Jim Hall’s first arguments? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jim Hall’s book begins with a list of facts that you’re not supposed to know about. Let’s start with the first one which showed me what I was getting into. The early church had female clergy.

Yeah. I get it. You all are about to apostasize right now.

Yes. The church did move much more against the direction of female leadership of any kind, but the leadership is right there in the New Testament. Nothing said here was a shock to me and I seriously doubt Hall has done any reading on the debate in Christian scholarship.

The next one is the tried and true trope of God approves slavery. God forbid that Hall ever read any sort of scholarship on the issue. He could do what I did and talk to a scholar on the issue, but that won’t happen. We eagerly await Hall’s brilliant solution on where Joe Israelite in the past was supposed to go to be able to provide for himself and/or his family, but Hall has never thought past that.

Sadly, as Mark Noll says, Hall reads the text of Scripture the exact same way the slaveowners he condemns does.

“On the other front, nuanced biblical attacks on American slavery faced rough going precisely because they were nuanced. This position could not simply be read out of any one biblical text; it could not be lifted directly from the page. Rather, it needed patient reflection on the entirety of the Scriptures; it required expert knowledge of the historical circumstances of ancient Near Eastern and Roman slave systems as well as of the actually existing conditions in the slave states; and it demanded that sophisticated interpretative practice replace a commonsensically literal approach to the sacred text. In short, this was an argument of elites requiring that the populace defer to its intellectual betters. As such, it contradicted democratic and republican intellectual instincts. In the culture of the United States, as that culture had been constructed by three generations of evangelical Bible believers, the nuanced biblical argument was doomed” – Mark Noll, The Civil War As A Theological Crisis.

The next thing to cover is Elisha and the two bears. Hall refers to this as just teasing and name-calling. Not at all. These boys were boys old enough to be wandering around on their own away from their families. They also weren’t just teasing Elisha, but they were teasing YHWH and mocking Elisha as a prophet of His and telling Him to go away just like Elijah. The text also says 42 were hurt by the bears. Bears can be fast, but they could not hurt that many unless some of them stayed around to fight. Again, this is not mere toddlers teasing someone. This has the makings of turning into assault and is outright rebellion against the covenant.

Another one to comment on is a howler about the Gospel of Andrew. Hall says there were some sixty Gospels that weren’t included and many of them were older than the ones we have. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Perfection, and Eve. Good luck finding any scholarship whatsoever that will back Hall on this. If he finds anything, it’s the fringe. We can be sure he will never pick up a work like Who Chose The Gospels? by Charles Hill either.

Naturally, we have something about believe in me or burn in hell is not an act of love but compulsion and somehow violates free-will. First off, the Christian claim is not to believe or burn in hell. Most evangelical scholars don’t even believe the flames are literal. It’s also not about demanding love. God rightly is owed our honor and if we don’t want to give it, God honors our free-will and sends us away from Him.

We also have Isaiah 45:7 with God creating evil. Hall apparently doesn’t realize that the word there refers better in this case to chaos and disaster in the lines of Hebrew parallelism. Nope. That would require Hall might have to pick up a book of scholarship he disagrees with and read it. Maybe Hall wants to avoid “cognitive dissonance.”

Hall also says that Jesus taught the end of the world was at hand in saying “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” 2,000 years and we’ll still waiting. Except Jesus never mentions the end of the world. He’s talking about the Kingdom of Heaven and Hall would need to demonstrate that is what is meant. As an orthodox Preterist, I am convinced Jesus was right on in this claim.

Hall also says Christians couldn’t decide for 300 years if Jesus was created or eternal and it required Nicea. Nonsense. All of the early church held that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Nicea was there because someone was saying otherwise and that was the unheard of part. Again, Hall just demonstrates his own ignorance in this kind of topic.

Let’s also look at a list of references he gives on how fathers should murder their sons.

The first is to eat them according to Ezekiel 5:10, but the Ezekiel passage is a judgment passage. It’s not YHWH prescribing this. It’s Him saying that these are the consequences that will happen if repentance doesn’t come in line with the treaty Israel accepted in Deuteronomy. God will withdraw His hand of protection and Israel will have to live under a siege. Cannibalism happened then.

The same is happening in Lamentations 4:4. YHWH is not telling parents to not feed their children. He’s saying in a siege there’s nothing to feed them with. This can be seen just by simply reading the passage within the chapter, something Hall doesn’t do.

The next is to strike them dead referring to the angel of death in Exodus 12. Of course, this was after nine judgments had been established and a way had been told to directly avoid this one. It’s also not fathers killing children in that passage anyway. It’s YHWH, who has a right to all life, taking back a life if He chooses.

Next is stoning in Deuteronomy which we have dealt with here.

The next one is from Joshua on the conquest saying to smite them with a sword. Naturally, Hall hasn’t bothered interacting with the work of people like Copan on this question. After all, Hall has to stay in that bubble to avoid contrary thought.

Nahum 3:10 is next with kids being smashed in the streets, but this is also a judgment motif. It’s not recommending this. It’s a shame Hall needs this spelled out so much.

Next he goes to Matthew 19:29 and says that this is about abandoning children. Keep in mind Peter was said to have left everything and followed Jesus and yet has a wife later on when Paul writes about him in Corinthians. All Jesus is saying is that Kingdom loyalty comes before family loyalty.

Next is Revelation 2:23. Hall says the text says kill them with death wondering what that means. Naturally, he’s going by the KJV still sticking with his fundamentalist roots. At any rate, the passage is a judgment passage on one particular person and the children mean here followers. Again, this is basic reading comprehension that Hall fails at.

No list would be complete without Psalm 137 and dashing them against the stones. In this passage, Israel is rebuking Babylon and saying “May someone do to you what you did to us!” It is not saying they will do it at all or prescribing it. It’s a common Middle Eastern motif of trash talking with your opponent and letting all the rage out at the start.

Deuteronomy 32:24 about poisoning is also the judgment motif again. Nothing more needs to be said.

Hall goes on to say Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Let that sink in for a moment. Sure. He also never said anything about rape or pederasty or anything like that. That’s because no one was debating these issues in Israel. The Law was clear. If anything, Jesus’s silence would indicate agreement with the moral stance.

Hall then says there are two creation accounts in Genesis and they don’t agree. Hall will not dare interact with John Walton’s work on this topic nor any of the scholarship that has come out to address this supposed problem. We can guess it’s because the books don’t contain pictures.

Hall also says that six of the Pauline epistles are known forgeries. It is true that these are debated and some scholars do think that, but Hall provides no sources and gives no arguments. He also doesn’t interact with the scholarship on the other side at all.

Hall also shows his fundamentalism with a howler about Christmas trees being forbidden. His reference is Jeremiah 10, of course. This is one that has already been dealt with ad nauseum. For someone who says there is no such thing as too much information, Hall never seems to want to go out and get that information.

This has been a lot, and really, we’re only scratching the surface. Hall’s book thus far is filled with error after error and with very little if any research. I keep thinking there seems to be a competition among atheists to see who can write the worst book and do the least research. Hall is trying to be a strong contender.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy.

What do I think of Rhonda Stoppe’s book published by Harvest House Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I make it a point to read books on marriage regularly and though this one was meant for the wives, I found it on a Kindle sale and decided to pick it up. I want to understand matters from a woman’s perspective after all. Rhonda Stoppe is writing from the perspective of a pastor’s wife to women who are believing very foolish things about marriage.

I know very well that we men are just as guilty, but this book is for the women. Each chapter also ends with a note from her husband Steve. There are also references to their website so you can see a video of her and Steve talking about the issue under question.

She emphasizes at the start that the way to love your husband best, and anyone else for that matter, is to love God first. If you are in a marriage and you and your spouse are both loving God first, loving each other will come much more easily. It’s a sort of win-win. You have a good walk with God and you have a better marriage as a result.

She also rightly says that if you make it about your feelings, then you’re going to suffer for it. Feelings are something that change and are unstable. We all know this. Strangely enough, so many of us still like to base reality on our feelings. Your marriage is not about a promise to have good feelings towards one another. It’s about a promise to love one another and do good to one another.

She’s also correct that men tend to thrive on respect more than they do on love. A man does not want his wife to be another mother. He wants someone who relies on him, believes in him, and who celebrates his accomplishments. In essence, he wants someone who will look at him and say “You are my man.” (Yes women! We would love to hear that and even more to have it shown to us!)

She also notes that your husband isn’t perfect, and this mainly in a chapter about how women believe their marriage would be better if they were prettier. Your husband cannot do for you what only God can. I’d also like to say at this point that we already find you beautiful anyway. That’s one reason we married you. As much as you might think you’re not beautiful, we think about that body of yours that you don’t think is beautiful much more than you realize and we think it’s much more beautiful than you realize.

This is followed by the chapter on sex, a chapter I was certainly very eager to get to as a man. In this, she says

“So why are wives so resistant to minister to their husband’s need for sex? The most common reason is selfishness, plain and simple. Because of our sin nature, the basic problem all people have is a preoccupation with self. In short, every sin results from this preoccupation. (Yes, I just implied that not having sex with your husband is a sin that stems from selfishness.)”

At this, most every Christian man in the world wants Rhonda Stoppe to come and give a talk at his church. One of my favorite Family Feud clips is of Steve Harvey asking the question that was asked to 100 married men. I would blank for sex. Every guy who answers, except for the final one who listened to the women, nailed it. The women always missed. As Steve says in it, “You don’t know how deep this runs with us!”

This often shows a disconnect that Rhonda understands. Sex to a man is far more than getting his game on for a physical release. It is the way we feel desired and adored and wanted by our wives. It is the way that we know we are the man. Duty sex itself won’t do this. The more passion you give a man, the more you will empower that man. This is an honest need in a man’s life.

The problem I think is that too many women do think that a man is just wanting a physical joy with his wife instead of realizing that this is often how he connects emotionally as well. Dare I say it, but it’s a prideful attitude just like Rhonda says. Too often women expect their men to be more like them and thus more “refined” as it were and that their husband is a lowly and filthy creature for wanting sex. Not at all.

Rhonda also says that to remember your kids won’t always need you. Your husband will always need you in his life. Don’t replace the husband with the kids. Too many marriages have the marriage centered around the children. This should never be.

She is also right in saying that a husband wants a joyful wife. Be someone that your husband enjoys being around. Be a source of joy. That doesn’t mean never ever be sad and come to him in pain if you really are that way, but it does mean try to have joy around him.

For housework, most men don’t care about a house being spotless. They would much rather that the house just be livable. To go back to what was said above, many men would be far more happy if women who are so eager to make sure the house is perfect would spend more time working on the areas that they’re concerned about the most.

Rhonda will deal with many myths in the book. Most every wife would likely hold to a couple of them at least. There are many myths that men believe as well, but this is for the women. I appreciate Rhonda’s book here and it is one I can easily recommend to wives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Your First Ministry

Where does your Christian service begin? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this post, I’m mainly writing to my fellow apologists, but I think what I say applies to every field of ministry. Also, I will be using male pronouns throughout and such, but if you’re a woman, just find the counterpart. It will apply to you just as much.

In apologetics, it’s understandable that you have to be specially equipped. You have to spend that time in study and there are those debates that you have to attend to. That happens. I have the same situation. I read my books as much as I can. I want to be able to answer as much as I can.

We also know that what we do, well, we do for God. There should be no question about that. We are not in the ministry for ourselves. We are in it for the cause of a  greater good. God is not a means to the success of our kingdoms. We are a means to the success of His.

Despite all of this, many of could still be failures in ministry. I have something specific in mind for a failure in ministry. This is someone who no matter how good they do in the apologetics field, even if they’re someone like the next William Lane Craig, they have failed their first ministry.

That ministry is their family.

Now I know some of you might say “Well Jesus said if we do not hate our families, we cannot be His disciples.” We all know that means that the Kingdom has to come before our families, yes. If we rank our priorities, the Kingdom is our first priority. Still, that doesn’t mean we abandon our family responsibilities for the Kingdom. This is said in passages such as Jesus talking to the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands or in Paul’s talking in 1 Tim. 3 about the requirements of a deacon and one being that they lead their own families.

You see, if you’re in apologetics, there are plenty of other people that can take the work for you if you need a break. I don’t debate on Sundays for instance. It’s just a day to recharge. On those days, I don’t worry. There are plenty of other people who can do apologetics meanwhile. I don’t have to jump into every debate I see. There are other people who can handle debates.

Despite all that I do, there is only one person who can be a husband to Allie, and that is me. So it is for all of you out there. Only one person can be a husband to your wife and only one person can be a father to your children. You don’t want to risk that role going to another man because you shirked your responsibilities.

I encourage men for instance when they get married, go on your honeymoon and take no book with you except your Bible for daily reading with your spouse, not for academic reading for yourself. Do not do Facebook or email while there. The world can wait. This time should be devoted to your spouse and the rest of the world can wait.

Now, of course, there will be valid exceptions. If you’re on your honeymoon and you meet someone who just wants to know how to be a Christian or you encounter someone who is suicidal, by all means, do your Christian duty, but don’t be seeking it out. These kinds of exceptions apply across the board, but don’t be looking for them.

Please never ever forget this. Your marriage should be your first priority and dare I say it, it is more important even than your children. One of the best gifts you can give your children is a good marriage. In fact, don’t hesitate to gross the kiddies out. Let them see you two kissing together.

Some of you who follow me on Facebook know that every day, except Sunday, I’m posting something about how much Allie means to me. Why do I do this? Because it’s my belief that a husband and wife should have Facebook pages that others can be clear about their love for their spouse. If you come to my page, I want you to know how much Jesus means to me and I want you to know how much Allie means to me.

So my friends, please do the work and study hard and learn all you can, but remember, if you have a family, do not neglect them. You have a work with them that no one else can do. Your family is your first ministry.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 10/8/2016: Mary Flo Ridley

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

I hope you all were fine with not having a week of podcasts. I’ve got someone else now who is helping with producing my podcasts and we’re getting into that groove so it’s taking a little while longer. We did release a new one yesterday. The one with Biologos is next in line. Having said that, let’s discuss this Saturday.

It’s often awkward to talk to your teenagers about sex, but that time doesn’t just come out of nowhere. It happens after years of raising your kids. How do you handle matters before that? You’re not going to tell your three year-old all about the birds and the bees, but you are going to notice them exploring their bodies. What are you to do?

You take the advice of Mary Flo Ridley. She’s my guest on the Deeper Waters Podcast this Saturday. Who is she?

maryfloridley

According to her bio:

In 1986 Mary Flo Ridley began presenting a popular parenting seminar in the Dallas area teaching parents how to talk to their children about sex. Armed with medical research, personal stories and humor, Mary Flo walks parents through very specific ways to answer their children’s early questions with confidence. She gives parents a simple strategy that allows them to share their values along with the basic biology and develop a positive plan for introducing this subject in the preschool and early elementary years.

Through her first book and DVD Series, Simple Truths with Mary Flo Ridley, and as an international speaker, Mary Flo gives parents the simple tools they need to begin these conversations. In her second book, God’s Very Good Design, parents can see this strategy unfold in a Biblical context. She is thrilled to partner with Megan Michelson to bring this message to a new generation.

Mary Flo grew up in El Paso, Texas and graduated from SMU. She has been joyfully married to her husband Dave for 36 years and they have three married children and six grandchildren.

Mary Flo is committed to passing on these important truths about raising children and being ready to talk to them about sex. Why does this matter? Because sexual issues are becoming more and more important. Even today you’ll have children being raised in the public school system to accept the idea that homosexuality and transgenderism are normal lifestyles. It’s much harder to unteach something from someone than it is to teach them. While many parents are abandoning the public school system, many people aren’t and some will need to know what to say in these situations in order to train their children properly in Biblical attitudes to the gift of sexuality.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to this new episode. We’ll be recording from 3-5 PM EST and I hope to have it released as soon as possible. I also want you all to know that before too long, we will be transferring everything over to deeperwatersapologetics.com. We’ve got the name registered now and there’s a technical guru I know doing the work. Please also consider with the podcast going on ITunes and leaving a positive review. It means a lot to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is This Apologetics Stuff Really Necessary?

Does it really matter if we do apologetics? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So we’ve been going over apologetics basics lately and some of you might think it sounds like a lot of work. Is this something we really need to do? Can’t we just take our children to church every Sunday and expect them to turn out okay? It’s good if you’re wondering that. Let’s talk about why it matters.

Would you really consider doing something like this in any other situation? Would you say that you take your child to the doctor so regularly health habits at home to take care of their body aren’t necessary? Would you say you have your child in school so their studying on their own isn’t really necessary? Would you say that you live with your spouse every day so working to maintain your marriage really isn’t necessary?

Why do you take care of all these things? You do so because you think they’re important and they require diligence to maintain. Why not treat faith the same way?

Next, let’s suppose you want people to believe in Christianity. Why? Do you want to believe in Jesus because that will make them into a good person? Do you want them to believe because you want them to go to Heaven? Do you want them to believe because they will avoid Hell? Those can be good reasons, but they are not the reasons. All those reasons depend on Christianity being true. The promise of Heaven and the warning of Hell only matter if Christianity is true. Being a good person is great, but would you want that goodness to be based on truth or not?

So let’s look at the main reason someone should believe in Christianity. In fact, it’s the reason that we should believe in anything. It’s true. What do we mean when we say it’s true? Do we mean it makes you a good person? No. Do we mean it’s a great moral system? No. Do we mean that it brings joy in life? No. Those could all be true, but none of those state what it means to say Christianity is true.

What it means is this. You believe that Jesus, a person who is fully man and fully God, came on Earth, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, worked miracles, was crucified, buried, and rose bodily again from the dead and that He calls for allegiance from everyone. You believe forgiveness is found only in Him. These are indeed amazing claims.

Let’s grant the new atheists something on this. When they say that if you were told your spouse was cheating on you, you’d want evidence, but when you’re told the above, you think it’s a virtue to blindly believe, they have a point. Unfortunately, that does describe many Christians. If you don’t have a reason that you should believe other than your personal feelings, then why should anyone else.

Would you want your marriage to be maintained on personal feelings? Would you want your employment to be based on personal feelings? Would you want your relationship with your children to be based on personal feelings? Of course not. These are good when they come, but one can’t make a steady diet out of them, because those feelings will fade from time to time for any number of reasons.

How about instead having another reason? How about having something historical? Now it could be you evangelize someone and your personal testimony is enough, but what if it isn’t? Do you want to be caught flat-footed? Do you want to tell people Jesus is the most important aspect of your life and not be prepared when people ask you for any evidence of the reality of this? Do you want to say you’ve never thought like this about the most important aspect of your life? Or what you say is the most important aspect?

This is especially so for parents. Often times, you’re sending your children to college with about a dozen years of Sunday School vs. a professor with twenty-five years of atheism. Do you really think this is a fair fight? Do you really think your children have a chance? Now sure, some who abandon the faith come back later, but look at all the time they spend away and some of their most important choices are made in that time, such as marriage and career choices. All this time they could be a testimony of Jesus. Instead, they’re a testimony against Christians as long as they’re apostate.

Not only that, but this will help you more to realize the importance of a holy life. This will be something you can say is a reality. This will give you confidence in your evangelism. There won’t be people you’re scared to evangelize because they might have questions. You can’t specialize in every worldview out there. You’re not going to be an expert on every religious group and non-religious group in the world. You can be someone who knows your own worldview at least so you can have something to talk about when you meet someone who doesn’t believe what you believe.

Of course, some of you could be wondering how you can fit this into your schedule. You don’t have time to be a scholar. What do you do?

That’s for another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters