Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fun Times

I love my kids, and I try to enjoy as much time with them as I can. One day, I know that they will probably not want to spend as much time with me and I will probably get on their nerves, so I am glad that we had some fun times together over the past week or so. We went out to eat, we went for a nice little drive, and the next day we went bowling and shopping. Initially Faith seemed to be having a fun time bowling, but by the second game she was bored and tired. However, Grace enjoyed herself throughout. I got a kick out of the expressions on her face and her excitement, especially when she bowled her first strike - the ball didn't even hit the bumpers. I hope that when my kids get older they won't be like I was; once I hit 16 or 17, I never wanted to do things with my dad. I can't explain it, but I know quite a few teens go through that, and I just hope my kids will still want me around. Grace is growing up so fast, and Faith is right on her tail. I guess I just have to enjoy life while I can.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I hope everyone had a good Easter, I know I did. I got to hang out with friends and family. I didn't get to go to my old church, but I was able to attend church none-the-less, so it wasn't that bad. Needless to say, I wasn't a big fan of my old pastors sermons anyways, I was able to get a little bit out of the sermon from my in-law's church, not much, but it was alright. I also made a kickin' Ham that used beer (Hefeweizen again, but this time Widmer's) if you're interested I'll send you the recipe. Then I had a great chat with my wife's family right before we drove back home.

Then I show up to work and find that not only did my tax return show up in my bank account, I got paid, and received a nice little bonus from my employer (that everyone received, not a personal bonus)... sweeeet! I'm excited. Then we get that whole economic stimulus thing... I might be able to afford that carpet after all or get those cabinets.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is it Better Not to Marry?

In 1 Corinthians 7, it is said that Paul says it's better not to marry or it's good not to marry, but why would he say such a thing? Better yet, did he say such a thing?

The Greek used here in verse 1 that has been translated in the NIV as "to marry," actually refers to touch (this exact form of the term is only used in Luke 6:19 where it actually refers to the multitude trying to touch Jesus), but the NIV has translated it as "better not to marry." The ESV translates the last part of verse 1 as "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." The KJV translates this, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." (Download a free Interlinear Scripture Analyzer) I don't want to argue translation, but I think that there is more going on here than just saying it's better for people not to marry. Paul goes on to say that due to all the fornication, adultery, homosexuality (sexual immorality - porneia in the Greek) that each man should have one wife and each woman one husband. This second verse and on is the obvious answer to the question posed in the first verse "Now for the matters you wrote about...", but it is my belief that this question was most likely regarding sexual immorality, as this was a huge problem at this time in Corinth (see chapter 6), rather than the issue of not getting married, but I'm no expert of the Greek Lexicon.

Paul continues on and begins to talk about sex within the marriage, that it should be mutual and somewhat often, due to a lack of self-control and temptation. I believe that self-control is the real issue at hand here and temptation and self-control are mentioned at least 5 times throughout the chapter and 4 of them are in the first half. Continuing on, Paul says in verse 7, "I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." Some have taken this to mean that I wish that all were unmarried as he is, but how does that relate to his gift. This does not directly say, "I wish that all were not married," this is referring to his gift of self-control. Marriage is a gift from God, Paul is not saying that refraining from marriage is a gift. He had a special gift, he was able to abstain from sexual immorality without burning passions; he had self-control, which is what he is referring to in this chapter. Not everyone has that gift, we each have our own gifts.

Each of Paul's letters were written to a specific group of people at a specific time with certain issues and problems. The Corinthians were struggling with sexual immorality. Some of the problems included marriage and divorce, which Paul specifically addresses in this chapter, "10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." We know that according to the bible that if you divorce and remarry that it's considered adultery, but the big point here was not to divorce at all.

James 1: "16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Marriage is a gift from God and this gift is perfect because marriage of man and wife are modeled after God's perfect love for the Church, therefore God would not tell us that it is better not to marry, unless there were certain circumstances.

Verse 26: "Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are." If you are married, stay married, if you are not, don't get married. This is again not speaking against marriage. There was a "crisis" at this time; churches were being persecuted, people being persecuted for their beliefs. A married man would be worried about his wife and family and "worldly things" in these times of persecution and distress, rather than the Lord's affairs (Look at 1 Cor 7:25-28). Paul wants the people of Corinth to be "free from anxieties" (v. 32) that marriage would cause, the problems they would have to face, as we all know marriage is not easy, and I'm sure this would be amplified in these times.

It may have been at that time better not to marry, and at some other times in history this may have also been the case as well as some point in the future, but there is no reason to refrain from marriage through an oath of celibacy, or require anyone to do so. 1 Timothy 4:2-3 speaks against these hypocritical teachings that come from deceiving spirits and demons.

So, it is biblical to get married, and marriage is something that God created and intended from creation of man and woman. But, in some cases it may be beneficial to not marry, but in no way is it required or commanded by God, ever. However, this decision to not marry should fall in the hands of the individual through much prayer and study, and should also be based on their ability to abstain from sexual lusts and desires. Remember, even thinking lustful thoughts is considered adultery, so if you cannot abstain from said sexual desires, you should marry. In the NIV, Paul says, starting at the second half of verse 8 toward the unmarried and widows "...I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." In the KJV, "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I," which is talking about them "abiding" and not giving in to their lustful desires, rather than his position on marriage.

Being married is a blessing, but it brings on additional turmoil that can be hard on Christians in their walk with God, and can add to a couple the additional pressure of providing for family, needs, shelter, and other concerns.

Read the English Standard Version or KJV or NASB and some others, and I believe that you will get a better understanding of what Paul is actually saying in this chapter. I have no issue with KJV, NIV, ESV or any other version, but I think that some things are not always as they seem in any version. If you have a better understanding or more insight, please feel free to comment and correct me, because that's what we are instructed to do. Matter of fact, if you read it, just tell me what you think or what you liked or disliked.

Love Your Spouse

Ever wondered what it means to love your wife like Christ loved the Church? It's a little more than just a sacraficial love.

Ever wondered what it meant or questioned the idea of wives being submissive to their husbands. It's more than what you might think.

Check out this page on the wonderful description of exactly that. It's eloquently described, and beautifully expounded upon.

Check it out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tax Time

Okay, so I've had all my important tax forms ready for at least a month, but today I just found the strength to get started on my tax return. I knew that there would be no way that I would get over $7000 back like I did last year... that was just a fluke due to some crazy taxes on a bonus I received and selling my house. And, now that I'm out of the military this year, I was sure that I would have to fork over some dough to the IRS.

Anyways, I had never really had problems trying to figure out capitol gains on the buying and selling of stocks, until now. One of my stocks split, then that company was bought out, the buying company set up a deal that gave me a little more than half of the worth of my stock in cash and the other portion in shares of their companies stock. This wouldn't have been too hard, but the deal left me with a partial share of their stock, and since you can't have those, of course, my brokerage company sold it. This meant that I had to figure out my cost basis on the stock that was bought out for the $300 or so and stock, and the cost basis of the nearly six-tenths of a share of stock... and the worst part was I had to split it into 3 separate transactions because I had bought 4 of my 10 shares less than 1 year ago. Mannnnnn! I've never been so frustrated, and I didn't even sell any stocks for this reason, but somehow I get stuck figuring this junk out, yet again. I'm so glad I paid some attention in my Accounting class in college, the whole FIFO thing wasn't difficult to understand.

At least it's all over, and I'm getting a rebate. I found out that my refunds were high while in the Navy because I must've forgotten (or they forgot) to update my W-4 after I got married, so they kept taking out a cubic truck-load of taxes because they had me as single, then I would get most, if not all of it, back come tax time. Now, I've got my deductions up-to-date and I'm glad that I get a little money back... plus don't forget that nice little rebate in May... sweet!!! I might actually do what the government wants me to do with the rebate check and put it right back into our economy, we really need new carpet, or fix our deck, or fix the heating/cooling, or you get the picture, but we'll see. Anything can happen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What God Says About Homosexuality

Hey, I was perusing the internet and I found a link from a site that had one of my pastor's sermons on it (it just so happens I found a link to it via a blog now listed first under Blogs of Interest to the right over there... down a little... there you go). He's really good, this one's okay and has a lot of good points in it, it is on Homosexuality, but touches on God's design, idolatry, and sinful desires, if you have 30 or so minutes available it's worth a listen.

Follow these links if you don't have a bible ready and you want to follow along.

Romans 1:

1 Corinthians 6

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

First of all, I don't usually watch this show, and you're probably wondering how this will fit into marriage, but it does.

I came home from work today and Jodi had the show on, so I started watching it. I usually hate this show, cause there's always crying people, and I don't know what it is about crying people, but why would I want to watch that? Well, needless to say, I was actually interested (people crying and all). They had a an Army person who has been serving over in Iraq for our country. Well, you're probably thinking "yah ... there's thousand of guys over there, and tons of them have families and issues at home, why is this guy getting a huge house over everyone else," but still it was awesome to see this story of appreciation toward those that serve.

Toby Keith came on and sang, "American Soldier," to a bunch of army men and women. Every time I hear that song it really gets to me. I can't really consider myself a soldier, but I did serve my country, and the song has always given me that little lump in the back of my throat out of the respect behind the words. If you didn't know, I was in the Navy for 9 years. While listening to the song, I start thinking about this guy having to go back to Iraq under intense conditions. Then I think about his wife and family and the other soldiers' wives and families, it gets me to think about the sacrifice of soldiers every day, which is why I love that song. Toby Keith understands, maybe not through personal experience, but he understands how much military personnel must sacrafice for their country, the sweat, the tears, and the hard work. "Freedom don't come free," that's for sure Toby.

I also have a lot of respect for the military wives. It's not just the soldiers that have the hard job, but the wives who keep order and are basically a single parent for 3 months, 6 months, a year or longer. They have to worry about their children and their husband off at war. Luckily, when I was in the military, the longest I had ever been away from my wife and kid (only had one kid at the time I was on sea duty) was a little over 3 months, but I know it was still hard on her, and I respect her for that. But, I also knew that I couldn't make Jodi go through that again or for much longer (which is part of the reason why I'm no longer in the military); it's very stressful and hard on a marriage. I'm glad that there are people serving our country and continue to do so, and it was cool to see this story and the appreciation shown to these soldiers who have been at war, who continue to fight for you and for me despite the stress it puts on them, their home life, and family life. To everyone who has ever served, Thank You!

Remember Your Vows

You probably said something along the lines of "for better or worse, in sickness and in health," and this is pretty much all encompassing, whether you think you "fell out of love" or not. There are reasons that God says that it's okay to break these vows, but other than that, that vow that you made is binding between you and your spouse and God.

Read Judges 11 about Jephthah and his vow. He kept it. Don't make vows unless you intend on keeping them. Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin." Making a vow of marriage is a big deal, and so is breaking it. Even Jesus speaks against making oaths and Divorce in Matthew 5.

When you break a vow, you become a liar. God can and has dealt harshly with liars... not to mention it's a sin to lie as well. Think about the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They were husband and wife that were members of a congregation of believers that shared their possessions. They even went as far as selling property and giving the money to support the needy. There were no needy in this church, they shared everything they had. That's one great example of community right there. God doesn't expect us to become socialist nations or anything, nor to go to this extent, but this is extreme brotherly love in action to give us an example of sacrifice for one another. Needless to say, Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife conspired together to sell their property and claim that they were giving it all to the church, but hold some back for themselves. The Greek used here for "kept back" means to purloin or steal. You would think that this is their money and they can do with it how they want. That would be true if they didn't make a vow to God to give all the money to him. Read here from Acts 5.

3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

The obvious explanation for why they would be confronted would be that they had to have made a vow to God to give it all - they used to call this Corban, setting apart something for God. Ananias and Sapphira died within 3 hours of each other. Pretty harsh punishment for breaking a vow. Imagine how that could have torn the early churches apart if God didn't harshly punish embezzlers, liars, and thiefs working within the church. God considers vows a huge deal, and they should be to you. Don't give up on your vows. Don't lie to God.