Saturday, September 15, 2018

My Advice on Marriage

  Marriage is a sacred institution created by God. The blessings of a healthy marriage are beyond measure.  However, this does not mean it is easy to have a healthy marriage. Quite the opposite actually. As with most of life, great things require a great amount of work, effort, and sacrifice. This post is a reminder of what I should be doing as much as it is advice for others.

Reasons Marriages Don't Last

  I feel that marriages are often broken for many reasons, but that most of the reasons fall under these general concepts:

- Not believing that marriage is a life-long sacred institution created by God.
- Neglecting your relationship with God.
- Not practicing the art of being selfless enough.
- Not sacrificing your selfish desires for your spouse and your marriage.
- Not  putting enough thought, prayer, reading, or effort into marriage before you actually get married.
- Not  putting enough thought, prayer, reading, or effort into marriage after you get married.
- Doing things the way your parents did them, even when you know they are bad for marriage.
- Not Improving yourself to be more like the spouse God created you to be.
- Not dealing with hurts, habits, or hangups as soon as possible.
- Failing to appreciate and be thankful for what you have.
- Marrying someone who has very different values than you do. Don't be "unequally yoked."

My Advice on having a lasting marriage:

Keep God at the center of your marriage
  In the circle of christian marriage resources, the phrase "keep God at the center of your marriage" is used very frequently. There is a reason for this.  I thought, and rightly so, that the reason for this was that God will make my marriage better and healthy. However, there is another equally important or perhaps more important reason: valuing what God says about marriage and seeing marriage the way God sees it, may be the only thing that holds your marriage together during the fiercest storms.  Depending on who you talk to during times of marital crisis, God may be the only one telling you to repair their wreckage instead of abandoning ship.

Start applying more effort now.
  Whether you are getting married soon, just married, or you have been married for many years; the best time to start working on your marriage is now.  I have found that marriage books/resources are useful, but they provide value regardless of their content. The act of spending time and thought on marriage resources forces you to put thoughts about your marriage at a higher priority in your mind then they would normally be placed. This new level of marriage in your mind will increase the chances that you will choose thoughtful actions. You are more likely to do something kind/thoughtful for your spouse or to hold your tongue when you should be slow to speak.  This means you should start reading marriage resources today and never stop! Go to marriage weekends and marriage conferences and be involved in marriage resources provided by your church. Being married well means developing that skill like you would any other skill, with intention and time.

Make an effort to Learn about your spouse, and to genuinely care.
  Never stop learning about your spouse. Don't assume you know them perfectly. My wife has a built in method of helping me with this: she never stops changing.  Many men will find the ever changing nature of their wife to be frustrating. Do not let it be. See it as a challenge to keep learning about your spouse. Maybe she wants mayo one day and mustard the next, embrace it instead of letting it make you upset. When your spouse talks about something they care about that you do not care about, try to give them your full attention. Learn to like or at least tolerate that subject more. You can learn to like any topic if you really care about your spouse. They can tell when you are fake caring. It may take time, but train yourself to genuinely care about things that matter to your spouse. You need to care at least some.

Do Not Keep Secrets / Be Transparent / Be One
  This means sharing your passwords with your spouse. Sharing bank accounts.  Sharing your struggles. Sharing the things you are not proud of.  Sharing the areas where you struggle with sin.  Keeping anything in the dark is a breeding ground for sin and for treacherous seas for your marriage.

Get Help Early and Get Help Often
  This doesn't mean you should go see a marriage counselor for marriage problems starting on day one, but it does mean that you should not wait until year 17 to see a counselor for the first time. Counselors are not evil monsters and seeing a marriage counselor does not mean you are a failure!  Seeing a counselor even when the idea is unpleasant means you care enough about your marriage to do uncomfortable things!  Having a good marriage means being uncomfortable at times. You can do it!  If you get help early enough, before it has eaten away at your marriage like a cancer, then you may not need to see a professional marriage counselor. You might be able to get help from: your church, a wise mentor, a support group, or a friend.  Every person brings baggage and scars with them when they get married. Don't ignore them. Resolve them, heal them, improve them, just do something.

Practice Kindness Daily
  Say and do nice things for your spouse often. At home, in front of others, as often as possible.  Encourage your spouse and reassure them when things are not going their way.  Kindness is one of the first things to be discarded in a marriage. Somehow our culture believes that kindness if for strangers, guests, extended family, but not our spouse.  We know our spouse too well and we know all their faults. We don't need to be kind to them.  That is a horrible lie, but many marriages act like this.  We treat our friends and our dates with kindness, but after they move into the spouse arena we slowly forget the kindness. Do NOT let that happen to you. Say "thank you" and "you're welcome". Give hugs. Say nice words. Pickup the slack around the house even when it isn't your fault. When you run into disagreements and conflicts try to think how you would talk and deal with these issues with your best friend. Most people treat their best friends with a lot more courtesy and kindness during conflict than they do with a spouse. It should not be that way.

Give Your Spouse the Benefit of the Doubt
  Don't assume you know the motivations for each thing your spouse does. Ask questions instead of making statements. Assumptions should be avoided most of the time in most areas of your life, but especially with your spouse. Don't assume they leave messes on purpose to annoy you or that they destroy your stuff on purpose.  Calmly ask them if they know they care doing [fill in the blank] and that it bothers you. Don't assume your spouse is up to something nefarious when they are one hour late from work. Calmly ask them where they were. If you have build an environment of honesty and transparency, they will tell you where they were. Maybe they were planning a surprise for your birthday.

What Does My Marriage Advice Look Like When Acted Out?

  Too often marriage resources tell you what you should be doing, but don't show you want it looks like.  I am not perfect at these things. In fact I am far from perfect most days, but here are some examples of what my advice would look like:

- Not going out with your friends when you know that your spouse needs your help. Maybe they are sick or the kids are being extra crazy. It doesn't matter that you planned bowling night with your friends weeks ago. [sacrifice] [selfless]
- Your spouse says "Hey can I see your phone for a minute?". You should say "sure, here is it." Not "Why?" "What are you going to do with it?" [no secrets]
- Read your Bible daily. Go to Church. Be involved at church. Share your faith. Learn to defend your faith. Know why you believe what you believe. [keep God at the center of your marriage]
- When your spouse damages something you care about. Don't assume they did it on purpose. Approach them as calmly as possible and ask question instead of making accusations.  [Give Your Spouse the Benefit of the Doubt]
- Letting your spouse win a debate, even when you think you are right and they are wrong. [selfless] [sacrifice]

(!) A Warning From The Battlefield

  Just as God loves marriage, Satan hates marriage.  Their is a spiritual war raging around us each day. This war has two sides: God, Truth, reality versus The Devil, Lies, and illusions.  Do not take this war lightly or thing that there is no war. That is what our enemy wants. Everything the world and the enemy has will be thrown at you to keep you from having a healthy marriage. You have to be ready and you have to be constantly preparing for war. There will be many lies whispered into your ear to destroy your marriage. That is why you must constantly work to keep God at the center and to keep our selfishness at bay.  The biggest lie is probably this: "That having a great marriage is easy and takes very little effort" or perhaps it is this: "marriage is only useful if it serves my desires. When it fails at this, get rid of it."

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Improved Civil Rights are not the fruits of a single political party

This post is not a blanket endorsement of any specific political party. I simply found it interesting that both parties worked together and both parties took leading roles in a positive change for our country that many people might associate with a single political party.
Today I learned:

Referring to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act...

"The degree of Republican support for the two bills actually exceeded the degree of Democratic support, and it's also fair to say that Republicans took leading roles in both measures, even though they had far fewer seats, and thus less power, at the time. Both of these factors are enough to earn Steele a rating of True."

"Once the filibuster was broken, Time magazine put Dirksen on its cover." Dirksen was a republican.

I never knew those things before. We should remember not to generalize about what one party has accomplished or what they do or did stand for. We should take each person and each issue one at a time and not lump them into a box so we can label it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Is the Bible reliable today? Has it been changed through translation?

Some Videos I Found that Help People Understand Why The bible is Reliable:

"How Did We Get the Bible?" - Animated Video

The Back Story About How We Really Got Our Bible!


Just because you can show the Bible does not have copying mistakes does not show that it is historically accurate. Is The Bible Historically accurate?

Is Jesus and/or Christianity a creation of the Bible [New Testament]?
Many people think the Bible gave us Jesus and that the Bible gave us Christianity. The Problem with that is that Jesus lived before the New Testament was written and that thousands of people were followers of Jesus before a single verse of the New Testament had been written.  Do you want a reasonable explanation for: why we have the new testament today, why many of the disciples died for Jesus, and why we even know the name Jesus today at all?  Because Jesus rose from the dead.  We all know that people who die, stay dead. Jesus defied that norm thus creating Christianity and followers who were inspired to write down what they saw and heard.

The 3rd video link above mentions two secular (not from the Bible) sources that confirm some of the details about Jesus. Image Below:


For Further Reading:

A General Introduction to the Bible Hardcover – August 8, 1986
by Norman L. Geisler (Author), William E. Nix (Author)

7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible Paperback – August 4, 2015 by Erwin W. Lutzer (Author)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Reaching Your Mormon Friends with The Good News of Jesus

Check out this page and the book they mention. Eric Johnson and Sean Mcdowell have written a great book about: Sharing the Good News with Mormons.

Sharing the Good News with Mormons.

Another good article:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mathew Vines Debates with Sean McDowell on Gay Christian Marriage

Quick Publish. May need edited more:

Youtube video of the debate here:

Here are some comments, thoughts, and quick notes on this debate:

Sean  McDowell

Jesus raised the bar on sexual standards, not lowered it. Jesus went more conservative on sexual standards not progressive. Jesus went farther than he needed to in his response to convey details that we should not miss. He mentioned Genesis when he did not need to. Jesus mentions male and female, when he did not need to.

Matthew Vines

Experience and feeling being used to share are views. Driving us to scripture is one thing, but shaping how we see reality and truth is different.

Matthew vines mentions Exodus international closing down to prove a point that they did not "convert" any homosexuals to heterosexuals. It appears the point he is making, or at least directing listeners toward, is that sexual orientation is fixed and unchangeable. He fails to mention that many people have lived a homosexual lifestyle and then transitioned to a heterosexual lifestyle and they are glad they did.

The Exodus International case is just one case where an organization failed and imploded. To generalize about ex-gay's using only this case is to make the logical fallacy of hasty generalization. To learn more about the Exodus International situation and those who do a better job at ministering to homosexuals, read this:

Here are some other articles and organizations that deal with reaching homosexuals with truth:

* some of those links are posts from "gay" Christians who are choosing not to act on their impulses, because they care what God says on the subject.

Here is a man with same sex attraction doing exactly what Matthew vines says in unacceptable: living a single life:

Side Note: sometimes you may be asked "Did you choose to be heterosexual?". If you say "no", they are making the point that sexual orientation is not chosen. However, stories like the ones above make the counter point that some people change orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. I don't have to say "Yes" to make a counter point. I only have to prove that at least one person existed at some point in history who did.  Also, I do choose to deny my impulses often, so I have personal experience with self control.

Comparing geocentric views versus sexuality. Apples and oranges or a good comparison? I think this comparison is poor. Matthew appears to be saying that because the Church was wrong about what they thought the bible said about the sun orbiting the earth, so the Church is fallible and could be wrong on homosexual topics too. This seems like a hasty generalization as well. You have to deal with issues like this on a case by case basis. The church's previous geocentric views were not explicitly in the bible (homosexual behavior is), but were deduced by humans from the text of the bible and they got it wrong.

Calling on a group of humans to be celibate for life. Calling on humans to deny their impulses for life? The bible is constantly calling on believers to deny their sinful nature and to follow God. This is not a demand being made only on a single class of believers. All believers are called to suppress their impulses when those impulses are directing them to sin. i.e. sometimes we want to: steal, or lie, or hurt someone.

What about environmental celibacy like shipwrecked on an island with only your family for life? Under the right circumstances heterosexuals are expected to be celibate for life.

I noticed that Matthew vines appears to be using different arguments then his original speech / paper. Why new arguments? I've read most of his original arguments being refuted pretty well. I will guess that is why his arguments have changed. I think this shows a few things: Matthew Vines has a goal of finding some scripture to support what he wants to be true. If some scripture he puts forward for his goal gets refuted well, he will just find more. He wants his view to be true. He appears to not be seeking what is true, but only searching for what will support the view he wants to be true.

Now I may seem harsh, but I actually understand his view. He sees all this pain, suffering, and death and wants to find a way to resolve this. This is a noble effort to help these people, but he is making some crucial flaws at the root of his quest.

1) If Christians are contributing to this pain and suffering, this does not mean the bible is wrong. Maybe it is Christians not seeking understanding and compassion. Treating people as fellow humans.

2) If God’s commands and standards cause pain, even infinite pain, does that mean his standards are wrong? If I run into a guard rail an infinite number of times and I get more hurt each time until I die, is the guard rail at fault? The guard rail is not moving. If the pain is being caused by how a Christian is behaving, then the Christian is probably not behaving properly. If the pain is being caused by an internal struggle between what a person wants and what the bible says, then the person is wrong and it is sin (sin = disobedience to God) that is causing them pain, not God.  Sin is always painful, even if not at first.

Experience driving us to scripture is good, because reading God's words are always a good idea. However, if every time we hit a conflict and we go to the bible and we find a new way of reading the bible to support our desired view, then we have a problem. If we can always find what we want when we look at the bible hard enough, then we are not really trusting in the bible at all. We are trusting in our self and our views of the bible. The bible is not meant to be an easy, pleasant view. If a person reads the bible and it isn't convicting them to change some thing in their life, then they are not reading it correctly. They should take a class on proper biblical interpretation.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tragedy or Comedy? Meaining in Life. Atheism vs. Christianity

I just listed to this Unbelievable podcast:

Is death a tragedy for atheists, is resurrection wishful thinking for Christians.
with Glen Scrivener and atheist journalist Michael Collett.

It was good episode of the Unbelievable radio show.  I thought the most interesting parts were learning about Collett's views and opinions on things.

Here are some of my thoughts on this and related topics.

Picking the Beliefs that Feel Food
   Collett made some interesting comments like: Atheism is taking the easier way out and is more pleasant in some situations like the tragic death of a non-Christian friend. For a Christian, painful; for an atheist, not so much.  I found this interesting because it is often said that Christianity is just a pleasant fairy tale.  Comments like this show that people may be atheists for the same type of poor reasons that atheists claim people choose to be Christians.  Choosing a worldview (belief system) based on which one you find to be more attractive or more pleasant or more appealing is missing the point of a proper worldview.  A worldview should be about shaping our beliefs and ideas to the ones that match reality. In other words, is is about which ideas and beliefs are true. Something may be very true and still unpleasant or painful. The inverse is also a possibility, that something may be very pleasant to believe, but be extremely false.
   I applaud Collett for many of his comments during this radio show. They show that he was being transparent and authentic about what motivates his belief. This is something that does not always happen when an atheist is publicly talking with a Christian.
   In my constant journey towards truth I have been reading and hearing more comments about what motivates someone to be an atheist.  I am starting to notice some themes.  I cannot say all atheists seem to fit into one of these themes, but I will say that many seem to. One of these themes, is not to posit compelling evidence to show there is not God, but instead to show how a certain aspect of Christianity or attribute of God is unjust, unthinkable, unpleasant, or difficult to accept.  They do not normally attempt to show the logical falsehood of the aspect or attribute that they don't like. They just present how unfair/unjust/unpleasant it is, and then jump to their belief that flows from that.  They seem to be skipping, or not taking seriously, whether or not their is reasonable evidence indicating whether it is true or not.

Can a Christian and an Atheist both find meaning?
   Near the end of the show Collett made some comments about how he does find meaning in his atheist life that is just as meaningful as Scrivener finds in Christian life. I think Collett was trying to say that Scrivener's comments implying that people cannot find meaning with God, were false.  I would like to point out that felling fulfilled and feeling like your life has meaning is often a subjective, personal viewpoint. Two people could both feel 100% fulfilled and feel 100% meaning, but one of them could be right and one could be wrong, when measured against an objective standard of meaning.  The question should not be can an atheist find equal meaning to life as a Christian can.  The real question(s) should be: Is there an objective standard to measure life's purpose and meaning? If yes, which worldview best directs people on a path towards this objective purpose and meaning?
   If these is no God, no higher power, no afterlife, then life's purpose and meaning are whatever we want it to be for each one of us. We can all have perfectly valid purpose and meaning even though we each choose different answers.
  If there is a God and he created us for a reason and a purpose, then we can feel however we want about meaning and purpose, but it may be wrong if it does not align with God's intended purpose for our existence.

Truth Quest or Happiness Quest
   Frank Turek has said it many times on is show: "It seems many people are not on a Truth quest. They are on a happiness quest. "
   The more I hear from non-Christians the more this claim seems to be true.  Atheists say many things and make many comments, but often they boil down to something like:
- I cannot believe in a God who would....
- If I were God, I would do ____ better, because....
- God cannot exist because he is doing certain things wrong/poorly.

Frank Turek has mentioned asking this question to an atheist: If Christianity were true, who you become a Christian?

   They can say yes or no, but the comments to justify the "no" are interesting to hear. Many of them seem to be judging God as unjust or unfair. Sometimes they just do not agree with the way God does things so they would not follow him. Unfortunately for us humans, if something God does seems unfair or unjust does not mean it is. If God does exist, and I believe he does, then when are views conflict with God's, we are the ones who are wrong.  An act may appear extremely unjust, but in fact be very just when viewed from God's all knowing perspective.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Are We Really Being Tolerant and Do We Listen?

   Those who claim tolerance often behave very intolerant, but they do not seem to be aware of the contradiction.  When we encounter those we disagree with, our goal should be to educate them.  If we try to silence them, or punish them, or insult them, then we are not being tolerant or compassionate.

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
― Rick Warren 

 (!) Do not fall for those lies!

Don't Prejudge me and I won't Prejudge you
   If I hold some view you disagree with and you want to judge me, draw your conclusions, and end our conversation; that is up to you.  It is your loss that you will never get to know the real me.  Peoples views are complex and we can only know what someone believes by asking them about their beliefs..... all of them.  If we assume that since they believe A they also believe B; we are judging them prematurely. If we assume someone holds certain views just because of who they associated with or once quoted on Facebook, then again, we are judging them prematurely. I can like one quote that someone said without endorsing every action they have ever done!  I can call myself a follower of Christ without agreeing with every action every taken by Christians throughout all of history.  If you want to know my views on a topic, ask me. Then we willing to listen for a while. My views won't make a good headline.  Any well developed belief on a topic will require a significant amount of time to convey.  If you ask my view on a topic, but start writing your rebuttal in your head after my fifth word, then you really didn't want to know my view.  You just wanted to tell me I was wrong.