This diagram is taken from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. It is often called The Duluth Model. Even though it is not blatantly from a Christian or other faith tradition, it offers much for how men, in particular Christian men, should view marriage. I encourage you to download the pdf for this diagram. Just click on the wheel and you will receive that file.
A messed up marriage is based on power and control. However, if you notice, a marvelous marriage is one of equality and respect. A Christian man will have a marriage that involves these eight factors:
1. Non-threatening behavior - your wife is comfortable in expressing herself
2. Respect - valuing your wife's opinion and being emotionally affirming
3. Trust & support - supporting your wife's goals
4. Honesty & accountability - communicating openly and truthfully to your wife
5. Responsible parenting - sharing parental responsibility
6. Shared responsibility - making family decisions together
7. Economic partnership - making financial decisions together
8. Negotiation & fairness - seeking mutually satisfactory compromises
What does the Bible say about marriage?
- Marriage should be honored
- God instituted and blessed marriage
- A man who loves his wife loves himself
- There is no fear in love
- If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us
- Love is patient and kind
So, how does your marriage stack up to what the Bible says?
Do you honor your marriage?
Do you present a marital atmosphere of love and respect?
Are you patient and kind?
BE A MAN.
There is an important principle in handling temptation. Did you know that many times, you can resist temptation? God tells us to submit to Him and then when we resist temptation, it will flee.
Resistance can be a matter of remembering this acronym:
H - are you HUNGRY? If your stomach is rumbling, if you feel weak from not having eaten for a while and you find yourself entertaining ungodly thoughts, go get something to eat. The renewed energy will give you strength to think clearer. If it's healthy food, you will feel even better than devouring a whole pizza.
A - are you ANGRY? Harboring anger makes you susceptible to temptation. I'm not saying anger is always bad. But dwelling on angry feelings and not letting go of things puts you in a precarious position where its easier to say yes to temptation.
L - are you LONELY? Being lonely causes a man to do stupid things. If you find yourself doing things you need not do because you're chasing away loneliness, then find a good male friend and spend some time together praying for each other. In this modern society, you will have a number of friends immediately available by Facebook, cell phone, texting, and/or email .
T - are you TIRED? When you're tired, your resistance to temptation is greatly weakened. If you find yourself tempted to do something sinful, just go to bed. Get some sleep.
S - are you SICK? Take some medication to improve your symptoms. It will increase your resistance to the bug of temptation.
S - are you SAD? Find a good male friend and spend some time praying for each other. Remember that the joy of the LORD is your strength.
This is the principle to handling temptation: submit to God and remember HALTSS
You can't use the excuse, "I just couldn't help myself, after all I'm only human." God gave you a brain, you're not stupid. You're not an animal that just reacts. You can HALTSS temptation...
BE A MAN.
This posted was adapted from an article in the Grapevine in 1971
I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.
Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.
This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.
This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.
However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.
According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.
The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.
1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.
Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.
I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.
The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she's looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.
Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.
I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.
When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.
2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.
Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.
It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.
However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.
For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.
To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.
Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.
Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
3. Marriage can change the world.
John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”
Medina's answer alludes to a surprising truth.
In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.
What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.
Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?
“Go home and love your wife.”
Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”
The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.
So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.
This post is written by Tyler Ward. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/3-things-i-wish-i-knew-we-got-married
BE A MAN.
I’m pro-marriage. I always have been, always will be and I’ll make no apologies for it. As a matter of fact, most of you should be apologizing to me. Yeah, I said it. Whether you're one with a successful marriage who's remained silent on its myriad virtues, or merely a single, lonely critic... America, you've got some 'splaining to do.
Sadly, marriage has become a punchline in today’s society. From referring to the wife as “the old ball and chain” to nearly every poorly written sitcom that we watch, the message we’re sending to today’s generation is clear… Marriage = no fun.
Men on TV constantly joke about how wives are incredibly expensive, demanding and overall vacuums of all things fun. By that same token, the women complain about their fat, lazy, insensitive husbands as they swoon over their trimmed, manicured and chest-waxed Hollywood counterparts.
Ever see a commercial with a wife and husband shopping together? Yeah, we always play the idiot.
I know plenty of people my age that will never get married because they genuinely believe the false cultural meme that marriage has sadly become. There’s only one problem. It’s completely untrue.
Even more of a problem, those who know it to be untrue often do nothing to correct the lie.
As someone who comes from a family of lifers (along with my wife), I just want to say, flat out…
… Marriage is a really good deal.
Let’s assume for a second that you don’t think of humans as inherently spiritual beings. So let’s remove the fact that married people claim to be happier, more fulfilled, complete and purposeful. Some of you are even thinking,
“Love? Who needs love!”
Okay. Here are a few purely statistical reasons as to why marriage (when done correctly) is conducive to an undeniably better life. Hold onto your butts.
1. You’ll be richer – Yes. Not only do married couples make more, save more, have a higher net worth and qualify for more benefits/financial incentives than lonely, single folk… but your kids will be richer too. Which brings me to my next point
2. Would somebody please think of the children!! – The single biggest indicator of child poverty is whether both original parents are still together. Not only that, but children in married households get better grades, are less disruptive in class and less likely to develop behavioral disorders than children from non-married households. So be married long and prosper. Your kids will too.
3. You’ll have more sex… A LOT MORE SEX – Okay so you may not want kids. You may despise them. I get it. Sticky hands. Let’s say you’re just another selfish, narcissistic bachelor (or bachelorette) who quite frankly, isn’t deserving of the unconditional love you may oh-so-luckily find. You just want the sex. Statistically, not only do married people have more sex, they have better, more satisfying sex. If the two of you should hold off on sex until marriage, those statistics become even more promising. Here’s a perfect example of where Hollywood gets it wrong. In the real world, while Alfie fruitlessly toiled away at picking up harlots from the bar, suffering a mean case of whiskey-wiener, Mr. Cleaver was getting busy on the regular. Them’s the real breaks.
4. You won’t be such a pathetic sloth – Married people are more productive. Married men in particular, have higher employment rates, work longer hours and receive better wages. It’s time to stop wading through puddles of your own filth as you reach for the hotpockets and have a dame whip you into shape. You’re welcome.
5. Don’t die sick, miserable and alone. This would seem to be self-explanatory. Sadly, it’s not. Young people think that being young and single is the “fun and free” time of your life, while marriage is something that can wait for the days when you’re ready to grow fat, boring and settle down. Married people not only live longer lives, they live healthier lives. There are too many factors at play here to even list. From married people statistically maintaining healthier weights, being more active and having lower mortality rates, to married women incurring less severe illnesses, enjoying better cancer survival rates and of course… lower rates of domestic abuse (as opposed to those merely cohabitating). Yes ladies, it’s true, living with an uncommitted, self-absorbed jackass can be hazardous to your health.
All of this to basically say that people need to start being more honest and vocal about the virtues of marriage. Americans need to stop feeding and buying into the lie that we’ve all been fed. Whether you’re young old, male, female, marriage (when done correctly) will make your life, and this country better off. The facts are undeniable. If the facts aren’t enough, maybe this’ll help…
Picture coming home every night to your best friend, your greatest fan, and your number one supporter. She (or he) makes each good day better, and each bad day good again. Every day, you get to live what is essentially a 24/7 sleepover party with the greatest friend you’ve ever had.
… Now add sex and sandwiches.
Get married, like, now.
This post was written by Steve Crowder. For the original post, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/26/man-top-5-reasons-to-grow-up-and-get-married/
BE A MAN.
If you stumble into sin, believer, don't give up; don't allow hopelessness to consume you, the deceitfulness of sin to blind you, or the weight of shame to defeat you. In the morning and evening prayer we pray, in part, the following: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fall" (Ps. 16:8
). Christ is
at your right hand, and this fall shall not be final for you; He took the final fall.
Yes, you may feel as though your worst day has cast a shadow over you that will never break to show the light of day, but, happily, you're wrong. God, in Christ, has declared you to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21
). Of the righteous we read: "for though they fall seven times, they will rise again" (Prov. 24:16
NRSV). You will rise, friend, because Christ will lift you up. He took the ultimate fall in order that you should rise.
No one knows how many times I've had to encourage myself, thinking these thoughts, repeating the words of this post to myself. How I didn't play dead but arose from sin is a testimony to God's sheer grace. This post is as much an exhortation to myself as it is for anyone else experiencing difficulties or tragedies, whether self-caused or otherwise.
What do you do on the worst day of your life? Rise: not because you're inherently worthy of being named righteous. Rise because the one who took the ultimate fall declares you righteous. Rise because, though you sinned, though you deserve the fate of the wicked like the rest of us, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1
But rise, too, because you neither honor the Lord nor serve the body of Christ by remaining fallen. Don't play dead, possum. In Christ you have been made alive (Col. 2:13
). Play dead to your old, sinful nature or past. But in Christ, even when you sin, don't play dead -- don't remain defeated. In Him you are more than one who has conquered all spiritually negative realities (Rom. 8:37
). "So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1
You can avoid re-offending others by rising, and thinking healthy, spiritual thoughts: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8
). All offenses begin with thoughts. We are instructed to destroy arguments raised up against the knowledge of God.
But the apostle Paul also added, "We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle
raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5
NRSV, emphasis added). How many thoughts rise up against the reality of God's holy existence and righteous standards? We are taught to destroy such thoughts, to take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5
I picture such thoughts as personified. I imagine capturing them, putting them into a prison cell, while Christ stands watch over them as Guard. If I fail to do so, then I may entertain such thoughts, have them affect me emotionally, and then obey them. When I obey them, I sin. "But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved" (James 1:15-16
But when you sin, no matter the degree, take it immediately to Christ. "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9
NRSV). Don't let sin drag you into a hopeless, despondent, dejected place, out of which you feel impossible to escape. By His grace and forgiveness you rise up, and you keep rising up. You don't rise up only once. You will need to rise up every time you fall.
More than that, you will need to rise up every time you think
about a past fall. Such thoughts about your past have a tendency to paralyze you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Paralyzed, you will play dead. No: in Christ you must rise up from the guilt of your past. Though you fall seven times a day, you will rise -- you must
rise (Prov. 24:16
The Lord foreknew every sin you would ever commit when He by grace through faith in Christ saved your soul. You don't ever take Him by surprise by any thought, desire, or action. In Christ He has already declared you holy, sanctified (set apart from the world and for His service and care), and righteous. You don't let Him down because you don't hold Him up.
You are becoming more and more like Christ (Rom. 8:29
), slow as such may seem, and your heavenly Father understands completely all of your eccentricities, particularities, and unique qualities. This is how, you see, you keep on rising. Give your defeats to the One who defeated sin, death, and hell (1 Cor. 15:56-57
; 1 John 3:8
). Give your hopelessness to the God of hope (Rom. 15:13
). Whatever you do, don't play dead, possum, but rise. This post was written by William Watson Birch. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/saturday-devotion-dont-play-dead.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
When the parents that I work with first discover that their son or daughter has been viewing pornography, their initial reaction is driven by emotion: they feel confused, ashamed, saddened and often struggle with denial. They simply don’t want to believe that their little boy could ever possibly want to look at such graphic, sexual content. As a result, many parents decide to say nothing, sit back and wait for the next shoe to drop. They pretend that nothing ever happened and write their son’s use of pornography off as a “one time event” or a mistake that they can’t conceive of their child ever doing again.
Unfortunately, due to the highly addictive qualities of pornography, it’s likely that if you discover your child viewing pornographic images once that they’ve probably looked at it before or will look at it soon again. Parents must understand that their sons are sexual beings, with real, legitimate questions about their bodies and sexuality. It’s perfectly natural for them to be curious and to have questions and desires about sex as they approach and move through puberty. If you aren’t engaging with them on these issues and acknowledging that you have a critical role to play in their healthy sexual development, then your son will take his cues from the shows on TV or from the porn they find online.
When we discover that our kids are struggling with pornography, it’s important to leave our own shame, guilt and anger at the door; how you first engage with your kids on this issue will set the tone for future conversations. Do you want your child to struggle with a pornography addiction? If the answer is “no”, then it’s important that you are willing to take steps with them on the path towards sobriety, and despite your impulse to pretend that everything is OK or that your child isn’t struggling, opening dialogue and getting the struggle out in the open is a key step towards healing.
A lot of parents ask me whether it’s weird or hard to talk about sex addictions, lust and sexual struggles with their children, and I often tell them that, yes, talking about these issues with their kids isn’t going to be easy. But with time, the conversations will become easier and easier; the biggest hurdle is to keep the conversation going, but once you do, you’ll often find that your kids are eager for advice and help—especially if you are able to keep from blaming and shaming your child.
I was recently talking with a thirteen-year-old boy who had this to share:“My mom and dad walked in on me last year masturbating to porn. I thought my life was going to be over. I’ve never been so embarrassed and upset in my life. That night, they didn’t say anything, and at first, I was really hoping that they would never say anything. I asked God to help me and promised Him that I would never look at it again as long as I didn’t have to talk to my parents about it. Then, the next day, my parents sat me down, and I knew what was coming. They were actually really nice about it. They said they were sorry for not using filters on the computer and for leaving me to figure things out on my own. They also said that they were really sorry that I had to see those images and they started to talk about how porn can actually be pretty bad and lead to other problems. After that first talk, my dad set up a time for us to have breakfast together before school, one morning a week. He didn’t always ask me about porn and we didn’t always talk about sex, but sometimes he did. He asked me how I was doing and how I was struggling, and he shared about what was hard for him growing up and some of what was hard for him now. I really looked forward to those conversations. My dad helped me learn about being pure and he told me what sex was really about. If I’m having a hard time, I know I can talk to him and he can help me figure it out. Now, I actually thank God that my parents talked to me about looking at porn.”
If you need help in getting the conversation going, I would strongly encourage you to check out our resources, like “The Talk
” and our guidebooks on pornograph
y and kids. Also remember, prevention is the best approach--so, no matter the age of your child, consider installing a filter and parental controls on ALL of your Internet-enabled devices (like our X3watchPRO
)This post was written by Cris Logan. You can find the original post here: http://www.xxxchurch.com/parents/sobriety-is-keeping-the-conversation-going.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
“Everything happens for a reason.” How many times have you heard this short, pithy saying echoed in response to tragedy? Hospital rooms and crime scenes across the world are littered with these words. Such a seemingly innocent idea appears to provide many Christians with serenity and strength in the midst of great calamity. It is truly a concept that has brought many Christian sufferers a profound sense of security and comfort in moments of intense grief. The notion that there is a reason, or a purpose, for all events seems to say something positive about the sovereign care of God. To affirm this popular Christian idea is to affirm that, even in the midst of utter chaos and confusion, God has everything under control; all events are a part of God’s magnificent, immutable plan for his creation. When viewed in this light, it is no wonder why so many well-meaning believers hold on to this popular Christian motto.
But what are the dangers, if any, of such an understanding? It seems to me that this seemingly harmless idea carries with it some heavy theological implications. A quick analysis of the key terms used in this common Christian saying will be more than sufficient in demonstrating this. The word “everything” obviously means “all occurrences,” or “all events”—from the greatest acts of self-sacrificial love, or pure altruism, to the most horrendous evils imaginable.
The phrase “for a reason” seems to imply that the event in question was necessary to some greater good; it is a part of a greater divine plan. In this schema, there are no accidents, no pointless events; nothing happens merely by chance. This means that God is involved in every single event; the hand of God is somehow behind all occurrences. Thus, meaning can be found everywhere. There is hope that even the most horrific evils serve some higher purpose.
Overall, this weighty Christian motto seems to lead to two possible theological conclusions: Either (1) all events are caused by God or (2) God deliberately chooses not to intervene in particular situations, and thus not to prevent certain evils, in order to fulfill his set purposes, which would not have materialized had he intervened. In other words, either all things are divinely determined or God allows particular evils to occur in particular situations because they are necessary to greater goods which justify their occurrence.
Both of these options are based on the notion of particular providence
, or meticulous divine governance
, and thus both of them deny the existence of gratuitous evils. Again, if everything indeed happens for a reason, then there is no such thing as a pointless, purely accidental, or even unnecessary evil.
Based on this analysis, it should not be surprising that this common Christian understanding has often led to some controversial public pronouncements, to say the least. For instance, in the time before the election, a certain Republican senate candidate
allegedly claimed that rape is the will of God. Whether or not this is actually what the prospective senator meant is unclear (personally I do not think that it was). Nevertheless, the words of this senatorial candidate have been interpreted in this very manner.
This recent charade is just another example of how problematic, and even dangerous, this theological viewpoint can be. Not only can it be detrimental to Christian witness in the world—as it can easily portray God as the author of evil—but it can also be injurious to personal faith for the same exact reasons. One can imagine the trauma that a person can undergo when that person sincerely believes that God is the cause of her husband’s physical suffering or her daughter’s mental disability. The trauma might even be more intense in cases that involve the repugnant stain of moral evils (all evil that stems from the will of human beings) like rape.
With all of this in mind, my purpose in writing is to correct what I see as a highly-problematic misunderstanding in popular Christian theology. In order to effectively deal with the troubling words of the Indiana senatorial candidate mentioned above, I will narrow my focus to the concept of moral evil in particular.
It is impossible to prove that the idea of particular providence, or meticulous divine governance, actually corresponds to reality. Unfortunately, it is also impossible to prove that it does not. Thus, when discussing such matters, we must be willing to put aside our desire to make objective, matter-of-fact claims. What we can do, however, is discuss what we think is reasonable.
I would argue that the ontological existence of gratuitous, pointless, unnecessary evil makes much more sense of Christian theology and human experience than its nonexistence does. Likewise, I would also argue that the notion of genuine libertarian free will, which allows for the existence of gratuitous evils, makes more sense of reality and Christian theology than its alternatives--either the idea that God causes everything or the idea that God meticulously overrides all human actions that would have resulted in moral evils except for those that are necessary to greater goods.
Human beings are free moral agents and thus possess the God-given capacity to make free moral choices. God endowed human beings with personal and moral freedom because he values sincerity of choice and sincerity of action. God is not in the business of creating robots that are programmed to think and act in a set, predetermined manner. Instead, God created human beings in his image, which involves personal and moral freedom, so that they may be able to choose the good out of the sincerity of their heart, rather than out of the coercion of the divine will.
In a world where sincere human freedom exists, and thus in a world where God does not jeopardize the integrity of the moral order by continually tinkering in human affairs, the potentiality for gratuitous, or pointless, evil exists; gratuitous evil will always be a possibility in a world occupied by free moral agents who are generally unabated by the coercive will of God. In fact, the same moral freedom that allows for some of the most selfless acts of love also allows for some of the most horrific acts of evil. Mother Teresa used her moral freedom to minister to the poor of India; Ted Bundy used his moral freedom to murder innocent young women. Freedom is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a dangerous thing.
In light of this, I tend to believe that, more often than not, evil is an abuse of human freedom, rather than an abuse of divine freedom; God does not force people to do bad things, people sincerely choose to do bad things. We must allow man to be evil and God to be good. When we ascribe evil to the will of God, we basically blame God for things that he plays no part in, things that he actually despises. To be quite honest, this is insulting to the nature and character of God.
If human beings truly are free moral agents, equipped with the ability to make free moral choices, and if God truly values the sincerity of human action and the integrity of the moral order, then it follows that some things do not happen for a higher, divine purpose. Again, if God truly allows his creatures to act as they may, without intervening every time they are about to commit a moral evil that is not necessary to a greater good, then some evil is entirely pointless. Because moral evil is often the sole result of human perversity, evil is not always necessary to greater goods. In a world endowed with human freedom, some evil is simply meaningless.
So, in response to the recent controversial remarks from the Indiana senatorial candidate mentioned above, we can rightly say that rape is not the will of God. Instead, it can be said that rape is a perverse expression of the depraved human will. In general, the act of rape is a meaningless, pointless, gratuitous evil that opposes God’s good purposes for his creation; it is a good example of a thing that happens for no higher purpose, or reason.
Fortunately, however, we do serve a God who both can and will redeem all evils, and who, in some way, can beautify even the ugliest perversities of the human will. Even though some things may not happen for a reason, and even though God’s perfect will does not always come to fruition in the midst of a rebellious world, God is never far from us. He is here. He has not abandoned us, and never will he. Though it may not always seem like it, God is working to make all things new. He will not allow evil to reign in this world forever. Although our world may be consumed with evil, even gratuitous evil, God is surely able to turn that which is ugly into something that is beautiful, even glorious; we worship a God who seeks to use the bad for good. This is what Christians call redemption, and this is the eternal plan of the Triune God.This post was written by Ryan Ragozine who is a Master Arts in Theological Studies student at Asbury Theological Seminary. He received a B.A. in theological studies from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and plans to pursue a Ph.D in historical theology.For the original post, go to: http://seedbed.com/feed/evil-sometimes-the-human-explanation-is-better-than-the-divine-explanation
“My car ran out of gas and it stranded me on the highway for a while.” “The store at the mall declined my credit card because it was maxed out.” “I didn’t get my coffee today”.
Have you ever heard phrases like these? Have you ever been the one to say them?
In our culture, I hear phrases like these every day. Sometimes, I hear them on TV, sometimes in the midst of counseling sessions, and more often online. The attitude behind these statements reflects a reason for the deterioration of the world around us.
It is a victim mentality that convinces us that everything that is bad in this world is a personal attack.
As a result of this idea, we fail to take responsibility for our own actions. If your car ran out of gas, it may be because you didn’t fill it (sometimes it is a money issue). If you are on a shopping spree for things you don’t need, and your credit card declines…then maybe one of the culprits could be your spending habits.
Also, yes, you are still responsible for your behavior if you did not get your coffee…go to bed earlier if possible! Granted, there are times when we can’t help or prevent what happens to us, but true character is displayed when we respond to these adversities in a noble manner.
Now before I start getting hate mail accusing me of being judgmental, it is important to note that I have fallen victim of a victim mentality many times in my life. I was convinced that the bad I was experiencing was happening to me and I never questioned whether I was contributing.
If we never take responsibility for what we have caused, what we have done, or who we have hurt, then our spiritual growth will be stunted. We will never see the need for redemption and will continue to believe that the world is out to make our lives miserable. This is no way to live.
Take steps to grow.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2012/12/05/oops-did-i-just-say-that/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I recently picked up a copy of Premarital Sex in America
by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker and was pleasantly surprised at some of the insights. While I have been writing, teaching, and speaking for years to both teens and adults on the issue of premarital sex, this book opened my eyes to some of the more important trends emerging today.
This blog is adapted from the last chapter in the book entitled, “The Power of Stories and Ten Myths about Sex in Emerging Adulthood.” The empirical data suggests that these are true most
of the time. There are exceptions, of course.MYTH 1: Long-term relationships are a thing of the past
Many emerging adults (ages 18-23) tend to hold two views in tension—that sexual experimentation is valuable and yet one should not cheat on a monogamous partner. Indeed, many consider it stupid and unhealthy not
to be sexually active in various relational settings. And yet most desire a lasting exclusive relationship. According to the research of Regnerus and Uecker, at least 50 percent of marriages last a lifetime
, despite what most emerging adults tend to think.MYTH 2: Sex is necessary to maintain a struggling relationship
The reality is that most
relationships fail and the sooner one introduces sex into the relationship the greater chance it will fail.MYTH 3: The sexual double standard between men and women is wrong and should be resisted
The authors of Premarital Sex in America
argue that there are genuine differences in how men and women approach and experience sex that are deeply engrained. They conclude, “Unfortunately, many well-meaning adults and educators want so badly to dismantle the double standard that they work to normalize any and all consensual sexual relationships, rather than considering whether common experiences of sexual regret are in fact telling us something” (244).MYTH 4: Boys are sexual beings and cannot be expected to follow sexual norms
This myth is both false and harmful. Young men can make wise sexual decisions if they are taught how to and the standard is set high.MYTH 5: You are entirely in charge of your own sexuality; others’ decisions don’t matter
Despite the individualistic mindset that dominates how emerging adults think about sexuality our choices are deeply influenced by other people’s sexual decisions. The choices of other people affect us financially, emotionally, relationally, and in terms of our expectations of sexual behavior.MYTH 6: Porn will not affect your relationshipsI have written on this elsewhere
, so I won’t go into detail. The reality is that porn use has a significant negative impact on relationships.MYTH 7: Others are having more sex than you
Most emerging adults significantly overestimate how much sex is really going on around them. Most think that other people are having more sex than they actually are. As a result, emerging adults act on this false
perception rather than reality.MYTH 8: Sex doesn’t need to mean much
In reality sex is a very significant matter. There is nothing humans do that involves more of our minds, hearts, emotions, memories, self-image, and bodies. Sexual decisions stay with us for a lifetime.MYTH 9: Marriage can wait for later
Despite common perceptions, the majority of emerging adults want to get married. But most want to wait awhile before doing so. The reality is that this is easier said than done. Life plans don’t always progress as young people envision.MYTH 10: Living together is a positive step towards marriage
Between 50 and 70 percent of couples cohabit today. But only about 1 in 5 such relationships result in marriage. And the results are consistently pessimistic for those cohabiters who do marry (202).
I would highly recommend Premarital Sex in America
for those who work with either emerging adults or younger students. It provides a deeply researched and balanced insight into the sexual lives of 18-23 year-olds.
This post was written by Sean McDowell. You can find the original post here: http://www.conversantlife.com/relationships/ten-myths-about-premarital-sexBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Dreams are odd. In dreams we can fly, shape shift, transmogrify, meet people that we admire and also be turned on sexually. There is also a psychological technique called "lucid dreaming" where one learns the techniques to manipulate dreams.
Men, when they are teens, experience "wet dreams" that are usually intensely sexual. So, men have a history from early in their lives of connecting dreams to sexual arousal. Many of the men that I counsel tell me that their dreams often trigger their sexual acting out.
How does one handle sexual dreams? Often they are not under our conscious control. So, are we responsible for our dreams? Are we responsible for our acting out sexually when aroused by a dream? How does one stay pure,
even while sleeping?
You are VERY responsible if you practice lucid dreaming. If you purposely manipulate your dreams, then you will be accountable for such.
However, there are things that one can do to try and keep one's dreams from turning too sexual:
1. Pay attention to what you think about while you are falling asleep.
2. Memorize scripture that you can repeat in your mind while falling asleep. Philippians 4:8
is a scripture that is made for just such an occasion. Proverbs 4:23
and Malachi 2:15
are excellent as well.
3. Pray while you are falling asleep. This is a great time to talk to God.
4. In your prayer, ask God to protect your mind while you sleep. God can do that, if you learn to count on His faithfulness.
5. Pay attention to what you watch on TV, in the theatre and on the internet, especially right before you go to sleep. You may have to take the TV out of your bedroom. Dreams often are an amalgamation of our daily experiences.
6. If you work with a professional counselor, you can dissect your dreams to help understand them a little bit. Even though a dream may be sexual, the core of the dream may also be something that y0u need to confront in yourself.
If you wake up sexually aroused from a dream, what can you do to prevent acting out?
1. Urinate. Many times an erection is simply the result of a full bladder.
2. Read something non-sexual. Opening God's Word and talking to God about what you are physically feeling is way of strengthening your relationship with HIm and beating temptation.
3. Call a member of your accountability group.
4. Take a cold shower.
5. Stay away from TV and the Internet while you are aroused.
6. Do not recreate the dream in your mind. Distract yourself by thinking in a pure manner.
So, even though your dreams are often not under your conscious control, you can control what you watch and think throughout the day. God is faithful. If you ask Him for His assistance in this area, He will help. Also, arousal does not mean that you have to do something sexual. You can choose to act out or you can choose not to act out.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.