Thursday, March 30, 2023

Amusement in the church

Originally posted in August, 2007. Now I have to add more amusements: like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok, and all the like. Back when I originally wrote this, we did not have the internet at home and I did not have a 'smart phone'. I had a simple flip phone, and we used the internet at the library once a week at a scheduled day and time. 


I found this today and really appreciated it. I wonder how it would differ if he were to write the same thing today? TV's, video games, movies, game rooms, coffee houses and so on are all included in many churches today. I've read of some even having their own amusement parks and such. Hmm...

Well, on to the point of this post. Here is something from Charles Spergeon. I do not know much about him, but recently made it a plan to start reading some of his works. I happened upon this today by accident (?) and I guess it was a good place to start.

But wait, can I just add this passage? It fits well and is one of my favorites:
1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

From Charles Spurgeon in 1887:
“An evil resides in the professed camp of the Lord so gross in its impudence that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
“My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ That is clear enough. So it would have been if He has added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.’ Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll. “Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? ‘Ye are the salt,’ not sugar candy — something the world will spite out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’ He was in awful earnestness!
“Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’ Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel amusement. Their message is, ‘Come out, keep out, keep clean out!’ Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
“After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord grant Thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.’ If they ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They ‘turned the world upside down.’ That is the difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods. “Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to affect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy-laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.”
-Charles Spurgeon (1887)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The True Vine

This was originally published in August of 2007. Oh my how time flies! 


Jesus says in John 15:
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

This is one of my favorite passages :o) I was listening to a sermon today on the way to and from the foster class and the man spoke on this passage. It was very good. I only had time to listen to most of the first message titled "Every Branch In Me That Beareth Not Fruit..." but look forward to hearing the rest of it. Something the preacher said was that in newer translations, the word "purge" used in verse 2 is changed to 'cleanse' which does not correctly reflect the true meaning of what the Lord does. Purging can hurt and cause pain! The Lord will purge us! Of course I cannot do it justice the way he said it in the sermon, but it made me like the passage even more. If we abide in Him, we WILL be purged and bring forth much fruit and glorify the Lord. If we do not, we will be cast into the fire.

Go on to 1 John 2:
3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
7Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

How do we know that we abide in Christ? If we keep His commandments. If we say we know Him and DO NOT keep His commandments, we are a liar and the truth is not in us. If we say we abide in Christ, we should walk as He walked. How did He walk? And what are His commandments? Did He walk and teach contrary to the Father? 

I love the simplicity of the Word. In my opinion, it only gets complicated when people try to explain why it does not mean what it says.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

"Conversation" and "Fear"

Another oldie but goodie! I originally posted this in August 2007 ... it's fun to look back and see where my mind was at that moment in time. That was almost 16 YEARS ago! Back when I was still a pretty new believer. We were living in Omaha (our home town), but still taking care of a former house we had for a while in Iowa.
Here's the complete, original post. Enjoy!


1 Peter 1:15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

We were listening to a sermon on the way to mow our other lawn today (that was a hard job!) and this passage was read. Actually, just vs. 17 was read along with other verses in other books ... but I liked the two before it so I thought I'd better put them too. We are to be holy in all manner of conversation. Remember though, 'conversation' does not just mean what comes out of our mouths!!! Webster's says:
General course of manners; behavior; deportment; especially as it respects morals (see Phil. i and 1 Peter i).
So, everything about us should be holy because the Lord is holy & we are to strive to be like Him. We are to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear (Webster's: In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and His laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience). Remember wives, we are to have a chaste (pure; free from obscenity; uncorrupt) conversation, coupled with fear! Some people think this fear is wrong or bad, however the Bible says:

Psalm 19:9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Here's some more verses about fear:

Psalm 96: 9O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Psalm 103:17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
Psalm 111:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Psalm 112:1Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Psalm 128:1Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
Proverbs 1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 8:13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 9:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 14:2He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
Proverbs 14: 27The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Proverbs 15:16Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Proverbs 16:6By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Proverbs 31:30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

WELL, I could put so many other verses down, but I want to get off this computer now!!! Just know that FEARING THE LORD is a good thing :o)

Friday, March 24, 2023

Fear / Phobeō / φοβέω

This was originally posted in 2011; I am still trying to go through this blog and re-release older posts, and maybe instead of posting them at their original date, I'll just post them as new and state that it was an older post? Hmmm. We'll see. I seem to be very hit-and-miss with this blog, but I assure you, I'm still here! 
Ok - here's the original post, with a new section added in.

This is me, thinking out loud. Just thought I'd share it with others this time.

The Greek word Phobeō / φοβέω (Strong's #5399) is pronounced fo-be'-ō and is in the New Testament nearly 100 times. Here is the breakdown [for the KJV]:

62 times it is translated into the English word 'fear' 'feared' 'feareth' 'fearing'
23 times it is translated into 'be afraid'
5 times it is translated into 'be afraid of'
1 time it is translated into 'reverence'

Then there is also #5401 phobos / φόβος pronounced fo'-bos which is in the NT nearly 50 times: 41 times as 'fear' and three times as 'terror'. It is also coupled with 5399 once as 'afraid'.

And there is #5400 phobētron / φόβητρον pronounced fo'-bā-tron which is in the NT once as 'fearful sights'.

[New section: And if you dig into the Septuagint side of things, the first use of G5399 in the OT is Genesis 3:10 ... where God asked Adam why he hid and Adam said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." G5399 is in the Greek OT 327 times. As far as I can tell, it's Hebrew equal is H3372 - found in the Hebrew OT 314 times, mostly as "fear", "afraid", "terrible", "dreadful", and three times as "reverence". Side note, the first use of H3372 is also Genesis 3:10.]

So ... what is my point?

Many months ago I was writing an article about wives submitting to their husbands. This word 'reverence' came up in one of the verses to women, so I looked it up in the Strong's. The English word 'reverence' is used in the NT 6 times ... in 3 different gospels accounting the same parable (the parable of the husbandmen and vineyard 'they will reverence my son'). In Hebrews it's used twice, both in chapter 12 ... and then of course it's used in Ephesians 5:33 - let the wife see that she reverence her husband.

I noticed that the word 'reverence' here was a different Greek word than the others. I am no Greek scholar and I do not trust in Strong's definitions entirely, so when I look up a particular word, I do not just assume Strong's has the right definition of the word. Instead, I like to see how that SAME Greek word is used in other parts of the bible - I think this gives a better picture of the use of the word in question. The word 'reverence' here in Ephesians is the Greek word "phobeo" ... and yes ... this is the ONLY time this word is translated as 'reverence' instead of 'fear' or 'be afraid' or 'terror'. Another thing I like to do is interchange the words and see if any or all of the English words used for one Greek word will fit in the different verses the word is used in context ... in almost every case, the word reverence did not make sense if it was used to replace 'fear', 'afraid' or 'terror'.

So here is the Greek word used almost 150 times in the NT. Each time it is the English word 'fear' or something very similar. One time it is the English word 'reverence' and conveniently that one time is in regards to the husband/wife relationship. Why is that? My personal thought - our modern day perverted ways of thinking cannot fathom the thought of a wife fearing her husband in that way. Sarah feared Abraham and called him lord. She submitted to him in everything. She trusted in the Lord for the one He put over her and she is the only woman specifically pointed out as an example for us in the NT.

I cannot imagine very many wives calling their husband 'lord' or even submitting to them as the scriptures say they are supposed to.

Well, those are my thoughts.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

A State of Prayer

Recently I saw this question posted in a group I am a part of; basically: How are you able to get in time with the Lord - doing bible study and praying - with small children? 

I have touched on this in the past, but I believe it's good to bring it up again. First I'd like to say: there was no bible 2,000+ years ago. Second I'd like to say: praying can [and should!] happen at ANY TIME during the day. 

I believe the MOST IMPORTANT THING is to actually be LIVING OUT what you know to be true. Usually these truths are very, very easy to understand, yet sometimes the simplicity gets lost in the routine / ho-hum of life. We might be able to "fit in" a specific time dedicated to bible reading and prayer, however what are we doing the rest of the day?? Are we grateful? Loving? Kind? In our proper place as women? Attentive mothers? NO ONE would argue with me when I say these things are very precious to the Father. He LOVES a grateful heart. He LOVES a meek and quiet spirit. He LOVES a woman who is mindful of the needs of her husband and seeks to be the best helper she can be. (and so on)
Or maybe you have your specific time for prayer and bible reading, but then the rest of the day you are ungrateful, grumpy, not attentive to the needs of your children / husband / household, etc. If that's the case, then your bible reading and prayer time has actually become a WORK that the Father hates. 

Anyone can read the bible and pray, however only a true believer will actually walk out the truth in their daily lives REGARDLESS of whether or not they had  a specific time to read and pray that day.

If you are at a season in your life where you do not have time for [what you believe is] the ideal bible study and prayer, consider approaching it in a more natural way. When you wake up in the morning, make it a habit to talk with the Father before you even get out of bed. Something as simple as, "Thank you, Father, for another day. Please help me live this day out in a way that is pleasing to you." If there is something specific you are working on, include that in your prayer. Say, for example, you have a problem getting irritated ... before your feet even hit the ground, ask the Father to help you have a "meek and quiet spirit" today. This takes less than a minute, but it puts your mind and heart in the right place and is a great foundation for the rest of the day. 

If you are the type that needs a reminder for prayer, set yourself up for success by designating certain tasks as "cues". Certain prayers can be set for each task, or just pray whatever comes to your heart. I'll try to give a few examples. When you are doing laundry, make that your "cue" to pray for your family. When you are washing the dishes, make that your "cue" to pray for your life as a wife [or sister] and mother. When you are in the garden, make that your "cue" to pray for your fellowship. When you are sweeping the floor, make that your "cue" to meditate on all the things you have to be thankful for. And so on ... OR ... just pray anything! 

Each "cue" should also include seeking the Father's will / wisdom. What areas in your life need improvement? How can you better serve your family? How can you better run your household? How can you be a better wife? Actively seek these things daily, and that will benefit you so much more than fitting in reading the bible. 

Something I personally do: whenever I'm at a stop sign or stoplight, I pray for the people I see driving or walking by. When I'm at the store, I pray for whoever the Father brings to my attention. Not too long ago I was thinking about how a lot of those people might not have ANYONE praying for them!!! Can you imagine? How sad! 

Am I clear enough? This post feels really scattered, but I think it's understandable. It's more important to LIVE the bible out than to read it. But by all means, do both if you can!! And learn how to be in a near-constant state of prayer ... being sure to include GRATEFULNESS and also always seek for wisdom and help aligning yourself to the Father's will.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

You're Grounded

I would like to share my thoughts on this. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong - I'm open for the thoughts of others. Here is a picture I saw the other day. Look at it carefully and then read what I have to say. (NOTE: I started this post about 8 years ago!!!)

Ok. Did you read it? What was this child's offense? "Playing on the phone AFTER bed time." This child obviously broke some before-stated rule: no phone after bed. While we do not have this issue in our home, if we did I would make the punishment fit the crime.

So you want to break my rule and play on your phone after bed? Fine. Give me your phone for xxx days/weeks. No phone, no playing.

But what is the punishment for this child? Write a nice letter to a family member. Why is that considered a punishment? It should be considered a blessing and a privilege, but this child is being taught otherwise by having it as a punishment.
Make dinner. A punishment??? No!!! A blessing! And FUN too (but maybe not for this person since it has become a punishment).
Do laundry. Do the dishes. Vacuum. Water the plants. Clean bathroom. Take out the trash. Clean the litter box. Really? These are things that need to be done every day. They are not 'punishments', they are just normal, daily things that have to be done whether we like it or not. What is this child being taught by having these as a punishment?

I don't know how to word what all is in my head about this. It's just not right. I'm sure the parents had nothing but good intentions, but what are they unknowingly teaching here? I can just imagine said teenager (I assume it was a teen anyway?) moping around the house, ho-humming over all the things he/she has to do in order to earn enough points to get his/her phone back. OR, maybe he/she is like, "HEY, I'll just do xyandz really fast so I can hurry up and get my phone back." Let's think about this.

Ok, 500 points. Let's see.
Get laundry going first. 100 points. Total hands-on time from start to finish, including folding and putting away, maybe 15 minutes.
Clean the bathroom. 50 points. 20 minutes of work maybe.
Clean and organize a few kitchen cupboards (we'll pick the easy ones of course). 50 points each x 3 cupboards 150 points total. Easy ones in my house would take about 10 minutes each to unload, scrub and reload. So that's maybe 30 minutes.

Ok, now that's 300 points. We need 200 more.
Empty AND load dishwasher - 100 points. It's been a while since I've had a dishwasher, but when I did, Corban was about 10 years old and part of his morning routine was unloading the dishwasher. It took him about 5 minutes (and was full). I loaded it throughout the day, but it couldn't have taken me more than 10 minutes total. So that's 15 minutes.

Up to 400 points now. 100 more to earn.
We'll have our imaginary unruly child dust the living room and clean and wash the kitchen counters for another 50 points. It takes about 2 minutes to dust my living room, but I do not like stuff sitting around so there's not much to dust. I've been cleaning houses professionally for many years and I cannot think of very many living rooms that took me more than 15 minutes to dust.
And cleaning and washing the kitchen counters, again, this is not very time consuming at all. I cannot see why it would take more than 10 minutes, but we'll say 15 just in case.

For the final 50 points, our child is going to prepare and cook dinner. What kind of dinner? I don't know. How about spaghetti. A jar of store sauce, a package of pasta and a bag of frozen vegetables. Done. Easy. Healthy enough. Preparing AND cooking this would take about 15 minutes if you have good pans that bring water to a boil relatively quickly.

500 points. Roughly 2 hours of work. Cell phone is back in said child's hands the very next day after the offense.

Well, I'm glad I did all of that because I CAN see how the child MIGHT learn SOMETHING from this, however I still do not believe it is right to punish a child with normal, daily house duties and being kind to family. PLEASE make the punishment fit the crime. And what is a child doing with a cellphone anyway? Another subject for another time, perhaps. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Angels of Light

Something I think about on occasion is how baffling it is that [for some ... or maybe for many?] as long as someone looks right and/or sounds right and/or talks right, they are acceptable. But then get an honest person who is just trying to do their best - maybe they are a bit rough around the edges or they don't quite dress or talk or act the way "you" think they should - and they are not acceptable. 
Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. Give me the honest but "rough around the edges" person any day over a smooth talking person who can say / look / do all of the right things but is dark on the inside.