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Sacred Snippet: Tests and Trials

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Tests and Trials

You look okay on the outside. Everything looks great to others, but privately you feel threats, encounter significant problems, or experience suffering that people can’t see. The Bible calls these tests and trials.

When people start seeing through you, it’s tough. You don’t want to feel weak in front of other people. You don’t want them to see the difficulties you might be facing, the threats you might be encountering, or the internal turmoil you are going through. However, you know they are there.

My Test and Trial

One day, I opened my blog website and discovered it was no longer there. Panic engulfed me. Also, emails were being sent to my blog subscribers, which I did not send. I panicked–fearful some obscene image or article might show up on my site sent by an intruder. I tried to fix the problem on my own. But the backend software (the hidden infrastructure of the website) was in complete disarray. I went to my paid subscription sources and hosting site and got partial help. But internally, the data inside my blog was corrupt. There were severe problems–five, to be exact. “Hacked” was a word I never wanted to hear, but hackers were precisely who infiltrated my site. [However, if you are reading this now, no worries, it has all been fixed, my dear friends.]

God is our Source

In our lives today, personal pressures and problems consume our thoughts, and nobody but us know they are there. They destroy our thinking. We even go to trusted websites or self-help books to help to no avail. When we face inner struggles, our heavenly Father is the one to approach first. He knows what is going on in our minds, personal ruminations, and physical selves. God is there not only to help us with these difficulties but to walk alongside us until the time is right for Him to show us His purposes. 

Children, take your intimate struggles to the Lord and ask Jesus to plead with your heavenly Father to show His purpose. 

Sit before Your Heavenly Father

The Bible says we will have struggles and trials. Being a believer does not alleviate living in this fallen world. Before reaching out to friends, family, or Internet sources, go first to God, sit before him, rest, and ask Him to handle your threats, problems, struggles, and concealed thoughts. He is there for you. 

James 1: 2-5 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Then wait in prayer, meditation, and Bible reading for an answer. Sometimes God answers quickly, but oftentimes, we are left waiting, yearning, and seeking His response for even years. As we wait, let us be growing in an abundance of love for our Lord and Savior. Live in joy and service until the time comes when we have “been approved” for our dedication and undefiled obedience, whether in this life or the next.

James says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

How to Handle Tests and Trials

  • Recognize that tests and trials come to all people,
  • Realize our adverse circumstances allow us to reach greater maturity in Him,
  • Pray for guidance,
  • Seek His wisdom,
  • Obey God’s principles and precepts,
  • Understand that our trials are opportunities to honor the Lord,
  • Be joyful through testing and trials,
  • Trust that God knows what He is doing,
  • Know that when the trials cease, our faith will be stronger,
  • Stand firm no matter how long our testing or preparation takes, and
  • Know that the ‘Crown of Life’ awaits us when we have stood the test and our trials are over.

Just as it took time to fix my website, commit to journeying with the Lord during your wait time and love Him with your entire being, no matter what!

God Bless,




Books by Patti Greene


Psalms: Genres, Authorship, Themes, Structure, and Chapter Headings

I hate to admit it, but there was a time I was not particularly eager to read the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. I found myself just wanting to be learning something “more substantial and productive.” Fortunately, in time, I saw the benefits of reading this 150-chapter book of the Bible. It came about when I realized I just needed to be still before the Lord, when I needed to rest in Him, and when I needed His presence more deeply in my life. Maybe you are in the same boat, so I want to share some information—yes, to me, important information, that might help you get started. Start with a chapter whose title sounds interesting. Cross them off when you read each one, and then come back and comment if reading this book makes sense to you.


The chapters in the Book of Psalms include the following number of different genres. The genres in Psalms identify and group the books by the main idea of the psalm. Below you will see how the 150 psalms are categorized by their overall subject matter. Some say the genres are like prayers.

  • Lament  - 59
  • Praise  - 41
  • Hymn  - 17
  • Royal  - 10
  • Wisdom  - 9
  • Thanksgiving  - 8
  • Trust - 6


Psalms authorship can be attributed to multiple people.

  • David
  • Asaph
  • Korahites
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Anonymous


There are multiple themes in the Book of Psalms. The most prominent are listed below.

  • Worship
  • Faith
  • Prayer: Petition
  • Thankfulness
  • God: Providence
  • Righteousness
  • God: Faithfulness
  • God: Love


Many types of structures consist in Psalms. Here are just a few you might recognize when you read through this mighty book.

  • Strophe-a structural division of a poem containing stanzas of varying line length, especially an ode or free verse poem.
  • Chiasm-a repetition of any group of verse elements (including rhyme and grammatical structure in reverse order.
  • Acrostic-a poem, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

Chapter Headings

Now, it is time for you to browse through the titles of the psalms. If it helps, print off this list, keep it in your Bible and check off the ones you read. Find ones that interest you first and go from there.

Psalm 1           The Ways of the Righteous and the Wicked

Psalm 2           The Messiah’s Reign

Psalm 3           A Call to Yahweh in Distress

Psalm 4           Safety in Yahweh

Psalm 5           Prayer for Guidance and Protection

Psalm 6           An Appeal for Forgiveness and Deliverance

Psalm 7           Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 8           Yahweh’s Glory in Creation

Psalm 9           Praise for Yahweh’s Justice

Psalm 10         Prayer for God to Throwdown the Wicked

Psalm 11         Confidence in Yahweh’s Righteousness

Psalm 12         Human Faithlessness and God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 13         Trust in the Salvation of Yahweh

Psalm 14         The Folly of the Godless and God’s Final Triumph

Psalm 15         Description of Those Who May Dwell with Yahweh

Psalm 16         Confidence in Yahweh

Psalm 17         Prayer for Vindication and Protection

Psalm 18         Praise to God for His Deliverance

Psalm 19         Yahweh’s Creation and Law

Psalm 20         God’s Blessing on the King

Psalm 21         Joy in the Salvation of Yahweh

Psalm 22         Suffering and Waiting for Deliverance

Psalm 23         Yahweh the Shepherd

Psalm 24         The King of Glory

Psalm 25         A Prayer for Guidance, Deliverance, and Forgiveness

Psalm 26         A Prayer for Vindication

Psalm 27         Declaration of Trust

Psalm 28         Prayer for Help, and Joy in Its Answer

Psalm 29         Praise to God for His Glory and Strength

Psalm 30         Thanksgiving for Answered Prayer

Psalm 31         Yahweh is a Fortress

Psalm 32         Thanksgiving for Forgiveness of Sins

Psalm 33         Praise to Yahweh for His Character and Creation

Psalm 34         Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Deliverance

Psalm 35         Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 36         Human Wickedness and God’s Love

Psalm 37         The Protection of the Righteous and the Destruction of the Wicked

Psalm 38         Prayer of Repentance

Psalm 39         The Brevity of Human Life

Psalm 40         God’s Faithfulness and Deliverance

Psalm 41         Thanksgiving for God’s Provision in Time of Sickness

Psalm 42         Hope in God in the Midst of Despair

Psalm 43         Prayer for Rescue

Psalm 44         Present Defeat and Past Deliverance

Psalm 45         Celebration of a Royal Wedding

Psalm 46         God Provides for and Protects His People

Psalm 47         God Is King over All the Earth

Psalm 48         The Greatness of God in Zion

Psalm 49         Wealth and the Fate of the Wicked

Psalm 50         An Oracle Concerning Sacrifices

Psalm 51         Prayer of Repentance and Plea for Mercy

Psalm 52         God’s Judgment on the Wicked and Love for the Faithful

Psalm 53         The Folly of the Godless and Salvation for Israel

Psalm 54         Answered Prayer for Deliverance from Adversaries

Psalm 55         Betrayal of a Friend and Trust in God

Psalm 56         Prayer for Deliverance and Confidence in God

Psalm 57         Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 58         Judgment on the Wicked

Psalm 59         A Prayer for Protection

Psalm 60         Lament After a Defeat and a Prayer for Restoration

Psalm 61         Confidence in God’s Protection

Psalm 62         Confidence in God’s Salvation

Psalm 63         Longing for God

Psalm 64         Plea for Divine Retribution

Psalm 65         Thanksgiving for God’s Provision

Psalm 66         Thanksgiving to God for His Works

Psalm 67         Prayer of Blessing

Psalm 68         Praise to God for Providing Victory

Psalm 69         Plea for Deliverance from Persecution

Psalm 70         Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 71         A Prayer to God the Rock of Refuge

Psalm 72         Prayer for the Prosperity of God’s Anointed King

Psalm 73         The Wicked and the Righteous Contrasted

Psalm 74         Lament in Time of National Defeat

Psalm 75         Thanksgiving for God’s Future Help

Psalm 76         Praise to God for His Rescue of Israel

Psalm 77         Remembering God’s Help for Israel

Psalm 78         God’s Faithfulness in Israel’s History

Psalm 79         Lament for Jerusalem after Its Destruction

Psalm 80         Prayer to Restore Israel

Psalm 81         An Appeal from God to Israel

Psalm 82         God Commands Justice

Psalm 83         Request to Act against Israel’s Neighbors

Psalm 84         The Joy of Worshiping in the Temple

Psalm 85         Hope in God’s Future Help

Psalm 86         Prayer for Help against Ruthless Men

Psalm 87         Foreign Nations Come to Worship in Jerusalem

Psalm 88         Prayer for Help in Despair

Psalm 89         Remembering the Covenant with David, and Sorrow for Lost Blessings

Psalm 90         God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

Psalm 91         God’s Protection in Times of Crisis

Psalm 92         Thanksgiving to Yahweh for Victory

Psalm 93         Yahweh Is King Over All the Earth

Psalm 94         Prayer for Retribution against Oppressors

Psalm 95         Call to Worship and Obey

Psalm 96         Yahweh the King Comes in Judgment

Psalm 97         Yahweh’s Glorious Reign

Psalm 98         Praise to Yahweh for His Salvation and Judgment

Psalm 99         Yahweh Is a Holy King

Psalm 100       Worship God with Joy

Psalm 101       Promise to Act with Integrity

Psalm 102       Plea for Personal and National Help

Psalm 103       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Compassion

Psalm 104       Praise to Yahweh for His Creation and Providence

Psalm 105       Praise to Yahweh for His Work on Behalf of Israel

Psalm 106       Praise to Yahweh for His Faithfulness in Israel’s History

Psalm 107       Thanksgiving to Yahweh for His Deliverance

Psalm 108       Prayer to Yahweh for Victory over Enemies

Psalm 109       Prayer for Help against Enemies

Psalm 110       Yahweh Gives Authority to His Messiah

Psalm 111       Praise to God for His Work and Commands

Psalm 112       The Path of the Righteous and the Path of the Wicked

Psalm 113       God’s Majesty and Care for the Needy

Psalm 114       Praise to God for His Works During the Exodus

Psalm 115       Dead Idols and the Living God

Psalm 116       Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

Psalm 117       Let All Peoples Praise Yahweh

Psalm 118       Praise to God for His Loyal Love

Psalm 119       Meditation on Yahweh’s Law

Psalm 120       Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 121       Trust in God’s Protection

Psalm 122       Jerusalem the Site of God’s Presence

Psalm 123       Prayer for Yahweh’s Action in the Face of Scorn

Psalm 124       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Help

Psalm 125       Confidence in Yahweh’s Protection

Psalm 126       Prayer for Restoration

Psalm 127       Prayer for Protection and Prosperity

Psalm 128       Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears Yahweh

Psalm 129       Victory Over the Enemies of Zion

Psalm 130       Hope for the Redemption of Yahweh

Psalm 131       Calm Trust in Yahweh

Psalm 132       Yahweh Dwells in Zion

Psalm 133       The People of God Dwell in Unity

Psalm 134       Praising Yahweh in the Temple at Night

Psalm 135       Praise to God for His Power and Redemption

Psalm 136       Praise to God for His Creation and Deliverance

Psalm 137       Lament During the Babylonian Exile

Psalm 138       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Goodness

Psalm 139       The Knowledge of God

Psalm 140       Prayer for Help in the Face of Enemies

Psalm 141       Prayer for God’s Help in Maintaining Integrity

Psalm 142       Prayer for Deliverance from Pursuers

Psalm 143       Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 144       Prayer for National Safety

Psalm 145       Song of God’s Majesty and Love

Psalm 146       Praise to Yahweh for His Help

Psalm 147       Praise to Yahweh for His Provision

Psalm 148       Let all Creation Praise Yahweh

Psalm 149       Praise to God for His Future Judgment

Psalm 150       Let Everything Praise Yahweh


I hope you enjoyed this browse through these psalms. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, at one time I was not particularly interested in reading the psalms. But God has a way of enlightening us! Only God’s sense of humor would have put me in a position where I am now facilitating a seventeen-session Bible study on the Book of Psalms from the Joy of Living Bible Study. God is good, wise, and always wants us to move on with Him.

God bless.

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Verses come from the New American Standard Bible. Photo Credit: Canva

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Sacred Snippet: Regrets

As I read The Book of Matthew, I realized how similar I am to the three disciples who slept while Jesus was preparing Himself for His death on the cross. My blogs often encourage, but today you will find me struggling with the Christian life issue of REGRET!

“Then he [Jesus] returned to his disciples and found them sleeping” (Matthew 26:40a NIV).

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter” (Matthew 26:38-40 NIV).

I can relate to the disciples in these short verses. Jesus wanted his three disciples close by praying for Him as He went through a deep, agonizing struggle before being arrested and facing death on the cross. But physically, Peter, James, and John could not keep awake.

Maybe the disciples didn’t intentionally want to fall asleep. Perhaps they didn’t stay awake because they knew Jesus was going to pray too long. I guess that their physical stamina was limited, and they could not fight their weariness. But we can tell by Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:40b NIV that He was disappointed in them when He found them and said, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?”

One day in August 2021 I could not fight my weariness. It was the day my mother passed away. My older brother called me at 2:15 AM to come to her house. I arrived a short time later, and after twelve hours, by 2 PM, I was exhausted. I could not stay awake, so I went upstairs to take a nap. Mom died while I was asleep. Like the disciples, I couldn’t stay awake for Mom, not even my mom!

Yes, I regret that I was not present when she passed away. I wanted to be right by her side, holding her hand and cuddling her as she was ushered into her heavenly home, but physically I could not stay awake.

There are some lessons for me as I dwell on this today. I am waiting patiently for the Lord to show me what they are.

My dear followers, please pray for me because I still regret that I was not in the room with her holding her when she passed from this world to the next, just as the disciples most likely regretted their falling asleep on Jesus.  Despite their failure, these disciples were strategic instruments in proclaiming Christ throughout the early church, and that is my prayer—that you and I honor Christ in the generation we are now living.

Jesus was the best shepherd ever, and Mom was the best Mom ever! God’s strength will get me through today. However, occasionally, we face regrets. That is when we must fall into the arms of our Savior and rest in Him.

God’s strength will get YOU through today. However, every once in a while, on our Christian journey, we face regrets.

When regrets face us, let us remember what Jesus said.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NASB)

But God is so good. He left me with some loving pictures from when I held and cuddled Mom earlier in the day. Those pictures are tokens from heaven reminding me that I was there, just not right at the moment I wished I was.

God Bless,

Biblegateway. Accessed Jan 7, 2022.

Edited by E. Johnson

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Psalm 51 Bible Study

Are you looking for a Bible study to teach or to work on yourself?

Below you will find a Bible study on Psalm 51 that can be worked on at any time. By studying straight from the Bible, my prayer is that you will discover spiritual truth and direction in your life or in the lives of others.


Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for background information about King David’s sin and Nathan’s rebuke of him. This will enhance your understanding of the Bible study lesson.

A few years ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby needing help. The article titled, “Dear Abby, Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide.” This man had been married for 19 years and had two children. He fooled around, convincing himself that the women knew what they were doing and that he never promised them anything. His affairs became public, and his reputation was in ruins. He asked “Dear Abby” to provide a solution. He signed off calling himself Shattered in Louisiana. ¹

We find a similar real-life story in the fourth and most well-known penitential psalm, Psalm 51. Penitential psalms are psalms that express deep sorrow leading to a person’s true repentance of sin. Most scholars claim that King David wrote this psalm, or if not, by someone who knew the extent of the deep suffering he experienced. This prayer psalm was written after Nathan, the prophet, confronted David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. King David was on his palace rooftop when many say he should have been with his men in battle. He looks out and sees Bathsheba bathing. He asks his men to fetch her and bring her back to the palace, where he has sex with her. She becomes pregnant. David arranges for her husband to come home from battle, anticipating that he will sleep with her and then he would take the responsibility of fatherhood. However, being an honorable man, Uriah does not go into Bathsheba and camps in tents away from her presence. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. [1]

  1. As a married woman, what do these two stories speak to you about being faithful in marriage?


The King James Version uses the word mercy to describe what David wants from God. He is crying out to God for help. David’s goal is for God to blot out his sin, so he can be cleansed and resume fellowship with Him. To grasp how the Bible looks at blotting, cleansing, and washing away sins, refer to Isaiah 43:25, Leviticus 11:32, and Isaiah 1:18, respectively. He is aware that he willfully rebelled against God and is grieved. David is ready to confess his sin and have fellowship with God again. Today, our sins are covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.

  1. Describe a time you reached a breaking point, and you called out to God for forgiveness?

RECOGNITION OF SIN. Read Psalm 51:3-6.

David begins to openly concede he has sinned. In verse 3, David acknowledges that his sin is “ever before me.” Although he knows his sin was towards Bathsheba, Uriah, and the entire nation of Israel, he is addressing his grave sin toward God. His sin against the LORD was the most offensive. David shows his seriousness when talking of his sin by calling it EVIL.

  1. What does David’s example teach us about the seriousness of sin?

In verse 5, David is now ready to accept whatever judgment God may choose for him. David recognizes that he was born in sin in verse 5. He is not using that as an excuse for his sin, but he acknowledges that he is human. All humankind has a sinful nature within them. Here it is important that one mustn’t think David is criticizing conception or birth, but that he is just conversing with God regarding what he understands about human nature. Moving to verse 6, we find David wanting God’s truth to be within his innermost being.

In the Compact Bible Commentary, the inward parts are described as “a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicating something clouded over, difficult for anyone to see but God.” ² David trusted God so much that he does not mind God searching for his innermost being. These verses conclude with David desiring wisdom—God’s wisdom. [2][3]

  1. In James 1:5, what does James say we should do if we lack wisdom?


These verses contain the phrases, “purify me, wash me, make me hear joy and gladness, let my broken bones rejoice, and hide thy face from my sins.” David is pleading for cleansing from his sin. Verse 7 mentions hyssop. Hyssop was a bush whose stems were dipped in blood or water and then sprinkled on people who needed cleansing. See Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Ceremonial hyssop was used on lepers and others during this period. Today, we receive our cleansing from the mighty blood of Jesus Christ. David desires true repentance and pleads for a clean heart—one that will wash him, make him joyful, and heal him. He wants his life to be as white as snow. When a person accepts Christ, there are testimonies of how they feel so clean and pure inside. That is David’s desire to have his life like that again. He also wants his sins hidden from the LORD. Verse 8 is intriguing. David declares how his sin has affected his eyes and bones. It is easy to deduce that more had been affected as well. Keep in mind that when we sin, our sin does affect us. We can become depressed, ill, and even suicidal. We should take a special interest in caring for our friends and loved ones if we see their destructive behavior. Verse 9 circles back around to David desiring God to blot out his sin. (See Psalm 51:1) This repetition shows that David really is serious about repenting of all his sin.

  1. What matters most in David’s life at this point is God’s forgiveness. What matters most in your life, and how is God intertwined in the matter?


The central verse (theological principle) in this Bible study comes in Psalm 51:10 when David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David desires to be renewed, restored, and transformed. In verse 10, the word create is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, which states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His power called the world into being, and God in his power can cleanse David from his agonizing sin. David wants a new heart and a new spirit. He recognizes that he cannot do this by himself. It is up to God. We see God cleansing Israel and giving Israel a new heart and spirit in Ezekiel 36:25-27. This concept is very similar to Psalm 51 where it speaks of sprinkling water on the Israelites for cleansing, giving them a new heart and a new spirit, and allowing them to walk in His ways again. David wants to be in God’s presence again when he says he does not want to be cast from God’s presence in verse 11. He wants God’s Spirit, and he is ready to do the Lord’s will. In our life, we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Striving to keep ourselves clean from sin is necessary for God’s Holy Spirit to move in our lives and keep us from temptation. Compare to Acts 15:8-9.

  1. While the LORD did forgive David, there were still consequences to his sin, one being the death of his son when he was 7-days old. (2 Samuel 12:18) What outcomes have you seen in your or other peoples’ lives due to sin?

Verse 12 speaks of regaining the joy of one’s salvation. David wants that “feeling” of purity and love for God back into his life. He wants it to be a sustainable feeling as well. He does not want to lose fellowship with his LORD again.

  1. Describe a time you or someone you know lost fellowship with God but then had it restored.


In verses 13-15, David expresses his desire to be of service to God. He wants to teach others (sinners) and take what he has experienced and learned to help others. He wants to see people restored as he had been. It is a glorious event when we see others offering themselves up to serve God. Romans 5:20b eloquently states, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” David recognized his sin, and now that he has experienced restoration, he wanted to share God’s righteousness with others. Verse 14 speaks, delivering David from bloodguiltiness. Scholars believe this refers to Uriah’s blood. David experienced forgiveness for all his sins. He got right with God.

  1. What does God call David in Psalm 51:14?
  2. Have you ever experienced God’s gift of salvation? Would you like to share your salvation testimony with the class?

DELIGHT IN GOD. Read Psalm 51: 18-19.

When we look at verses 18 and 19, David is longing for God’s security. This is what he is referring to when he says, “Build the walls of Jerusalem” The walls were to be a security to God’s holy city, and that is how he wants his heart to be—secure in His LORD and to delight in Him. David gave God the sacrifice He desired, his heart. He is ready to be “the man after God’s own heart” that many call him today.

  1. Where can we find our security in God?


· God is gracious and compassionate; therefore, when we repent, He forgives and cleanses us.

· Sin is serious and destructive.

· We must cry out to God to create a clean heart in us.

· God desires a broken and contrite heart from us.

· Once true repentance occurs, we are restored and able to delight in the Lord, our God.


At the beginning of this study, a man asked Dear Abby for advice on dealing with his guilt over affairs, leaving him thinking of suicide. Dear Abby’s answer was purposely not shared. There is only one solution for this man. It is to follow King David’s path calling on the LORD to wash him, cleanse him, and seek repentance in Jesus Christ. Then, in God’s grace, he will become pure. His broken spirit can be healed, and he can face life with a renewed heart and spirit. If not, he will remain Shattered in Louisiana.


Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for washing me clean when I transgress against You. Lead me away from sin. Give me wisdom so that I can live with a pure heart. Keep my spirit steadfast in You. Lord, I want to be in Your presence always. Let me sing Your praises. Give me a broken and contrite heart so that I can praise You always.

In Christ Alone, Amen.

God bless,


Carson, D.A., R.T. France, J.A. Motyer, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary. Downsers
Grove: Intervarsity, 1994.

Hays, J. Daniel and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 2011.

Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody
Press, 1962.

Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House. Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,

Van Buren, Abagail, "Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide," Accessed 4
October, 2021.

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Bible: Old Testament, Job—Song of Solomon. Colorado Springs,
David C. Cook, 2004.

[1]Van Buren, Abagail, “Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide,” Accessed 4 October, 2021,

[2]Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 378.

Permission: I, Patti Greene, am the copyright owner of the above material titled Psalm 51: Bible Study. I consent to use this material with the expressed purpose of individual or group Bible Study only. Please give credit to the author by including: “Written by Patti Greene @  for use in Bible studies only.”

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Books by Patti Greene (Great for Christmas Gifts!)

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  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving



Guest Blog: Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Dear Readers,

Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, my husband and I lived for two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Some people pray, “Lord, I will do anything for You, but please don’t send me to Africa.” Being sent to Africa was one of the best things in my life. I needed to be there. God sent me there to learn some important spiritual lessons that I could only have learned from being there! I also met some lovely life-long friends during the process.

One of them was our driver Lucky. Like many people in Nigeria, two jobs are a reality. Lucky worked for us at a secular job as our driver, but his “REAL” job was that of a minister. Some people believe that pastors must have higher education. I agree that education is an excellent plus for pastors, but in some situations and some countries, that is not realistic. Lucky is a self-taught minister of the gospel, and he is good at it. Theologian A.W. Tozer sums it up when he says, “The thing that must really be understood is that our knowledge of God cannot be acquired simply through academic processes. What we really know about God is what He has faithfully revealed to us.” ¹

Lucky occasionally sends me his Sunday sermon messages. I devour them! God is using this man to preach the gospel in Lagos. Below is a recent sermon he sent me. Yes, I edited his “speech” a little—with his permission—to make it more readable to my blog followers. I hope you enjoy it, and as you read it, look for the main point. The main point is the essence of our walk with our triune God.

Patti Greene

  1. God will never allow spiritual growth if we do not manage our lives correctly. So instead of praying for something from God, we should pray for the spirit to handle our sin, guide us into His truth, and be responsible for what He has given us. God will not allow you to have something you have prayed for if you cannot manage them.
  2. God created men and women to worship Him—as God. He required a manager to manage what He made. Note that whatever you mismanage, God will not allow that area of your life to grow—until you can handle it.
  3. If we ask people why God created man, they usually say, “It is to worship God.” Correct, but we must worship Him with the right motives, the right desire, and glorify Him because He is God.
  4. Whatever you mismanage, you will most likely lose. Whatever is under your care, work diligently to protect and care for it. God cannot give you what you pray for if you do not manage what He has already given to you well. He can only provide you what you can handle. You pray for a new house. But God looks down on the apartment you have and sees it is not well-kept or clean. So, He says, “No! You have not managed the apartment I gave you, so you may not have a house.” He only gives you what you proved you could manage.
  5. Some people might get jealous of your ministry. They may not understand what is going on behind the scenes and making your ministry grow and flourish. If you do not manage your church or church assignments correctly, you may lose them, just like if you mangle your body, you might lose part of your arm, leg, or health. If you mess up your relationships, you might lose them. If you mishandle your children, it is possible to lose them. If you blow your money or bungle your business, you could lose them.
  6. To my pastor friends, I say, “So stop crying, Pastor. Don’t say, ‘I don’t know what’s happening to me. Life does not give you what you deserve but for what you fight for. Start reading Philippians 4:6.”

Ask. Seek, Find

My dear friends, the only way we can defeat the enemy we face is to pray. We must appreciate and tell the people that God has blessed us in one way or another.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).


I hope you liked my sermon and have extracted something from this message.

In God’s Grace,


Bible Verse:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23-24).


Dear Lord, I come to You today lifting my heart to You. I desire to work and serve You diligently. Please take away all my ungodly motives, my wicked spirit, and any desire to be “seen” for my works. Make me desire to live a life pleasing to You in grace, love, and humility. Remind me that my purpose in life is to understand the revealed truths You give me through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

¹ Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and Absolute Freedom is Found only in the Presence of God. New Delhi: General Press, 2020.

Verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here:

Transformation Should Be the Result of Worship

Transformation and Worship


Transformation is defined as a change—a metamorphosis. When we truly worship, we involve balancing our minds, emotions, our and will. We submit ourselves to God because He is worthy. Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 both explain how we can be transformed in our everyday life.


Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.


         Transformation involves worshiping God because He is worthy, He commands us to worship Him, and it should lead to our change. But it involves much more as we strive to worship God in spirit and truth.


Defining Transformation


Transformation means being changed on the inside, not just on the surface. If we switch to be more like the world, we are masquerading. We have the choice of whether to be a conformer or a transformer. God wants our lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus. 

First, we should give our bodies in holy service to Him. Second, since we are made in God’s image, we have our mind, which involves our intellect, emotions, and will. Our goal should be to think like Jesus does by understanding how false philosophy and Satan operate. We should be before the Lord daily in prayer, Bible study, listening to sermons, songs, and being quiet in meditation before the Lord. Third, we should not base our attitude on our feelings, but on the Holy Spirit—orienting our lives to say, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

When transformation occurs, we radiate the glory of God. People see Christ living in us. God’s spirit will be upon our hearts. We become more and more like Jesus as we allow ourselves to be transformed and desire God to be everything in our lives. A transformer’s values are different than those of most other people.

Spectator or Participant


Unfortunately, some believers are not interested in transforming their lives. They are comfortable with how they are even as they sit in the pews, week after week as an observer. They are conformers, not transformers. A vast majority of people want to be spectators and not participants.


Respected Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says that a renewed mind is happy to hear God’s word from whatever source it is available. A transformer does not have a “celebrity attitude.” According to Wiersbe, transformers worship, pray, sow seeds and trust God to do His work, whereas a conformer runs from seminar to seminar seeking new techniques, latest fads, and other quick fixes. A transformer’s goal is to become more Christlike in character and conduct. Wiersbe says, “God’s call to real worship, to an experience of transformation, is a call to dangerous and costly living.”




Extra tidbits regarding transformation are:


– The word of God should transform everyone: pastors, leaders, and laypeople.

– Transformation involves prayer, church attendance or gatherings, Bible study, meditation, and more.

– When believers present themselves as living sacrifices, transformation happens.

– A transformer hungers and thirsts for more of God. And worship is NOT a chore for him.


Defining Worship


Wiersbe talks about how we have a problem with defining worship (and transformation.) He says it is difficult to do, but there are people in the Bible that we see worshiping God. There are multiple words in the Bible for worshipping God.


One of the most used words is Shachah, which means “to bow down and do homage” in Hebrew. In Greek, Proskneo means “showing reverence to God.” While there is true worship and false worship, we must remember that genuine, authentic worship is “an adventure with the Spirit.” William Temple defines worship as “the submission of all our nature to God.”


In defining worship, we must consider that true worship is balanced and involves our mind, emotions, and will. It is when we can feel Jesus’ presence and experience Shekinah’s glory. It is when God’s Spirit touches ours. God is the object and focus of our worship. Wiersbe defines worship as “our human response to God’s initiative and our response to God’s love for us.” Worship is an ongoing thing—not to be confined to one day a week. Worship is when we experience a transformation in our souls. To do that, we must communicate with Him daily.


Bible Verses: In text



Oh Lord, let me be more like You. Increase my desire to become closer to You–I want to see my life from Your perspective. I want to rest in Your holy presence. Jesus, thank you for loving me. Transform me into Your image, to do Your work, as I seek Your Shekinah glory in my life. In Your Name. Amen.

God Bless.

 Edited by E. Johnson


Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004.


Bible verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible.

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here:


Change the Way You Walk and Worship

One thing I can say with confidence is that traveling with God far outweighs traveling without Him. We are on a journey through life deciding whether to walk with Him or without Him. In Genesis through Revelation, God is working to get His people to yearn for an intimate walk with Him. The primary way to accomplish His purpose in our lives is through Christ-centered worship.

In Psalm 84:2, King David wrote, “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for you to the living God.” True worship is giving our undivided devotion to God. Nevertheless, how do we do that?

First, we must give God complete priority in our lives. When we give Him our heart and soul in pure love, genuine worship prevails. Worship is not just singing in a choir, being on a worship team, or even listening to Christian music. Even Bible knowledge does not always connect us with the worthiness of God. Being in the presence of God daily, desiring to follow our Lord and Savior in all areas of our life cultivates true worship.

Second, we ought to worship the Lord not for what He can do for us, but for what we can do for Him. He gave His life for us to live honorably, dedicating our service to Him. Once we accept His offer of salvation, we can worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Author Warren Wiersbe defines worship as involving “wonder, witness, warfare, and wisdom.” ³

Of course, Satan does not want us to worship the King. He will try to disrupt our worship by allowing sin, distractions, evil thoughts, and more to enter our lives.  However, through Jesus, we can fight this warfare with God’s strength and power working through us.

I am a firm believer in both personal and corporate worship. Personal worship includes praying, Bible study, and a quiet time with the Lord. Every person’s modus operandi is different. For example, one might worship through music, pouring out adoration upon the Lord in prayer and Bible reading, while another person might sing while walking through a wooded area, then proceed into prayer with our heavenly Father. No matter how we worship, our actions, behaviors, and thought patterns affect our efforts—maybe through a divine appointment, a service opportunity, or a deeper walk with Him. Our unique personalities and gifts from the Holy Spirit will mark how we worship. Moreover, we cannot leave out the importance of corporate worship—worship in our Christian community. It is there where we will find means to unite with the congregation in spirit, Bible study, song, and sermons, for encouragement or conviction.

A.W. Tozer applicably states,

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” ²

Benefits abound when true worship washes over our spirit, mind, and soul. God may choose to bless us by providing us with incredible opportunities to use our spiritual gifts, a deeper faith, assurance of His will, the holy expectancy of living a life worthy of honor as His child, and more.

There may be broad and varying opinions as to the final goal in worship. However, worship’s crucial goal is to transform our mind, as stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 NASB). ¹

A verse worth memorizing!

Bible Verses: Within Text

Prayer: My gracious heavenly Father, I love You more than anything. Let me experience pure worship, both in my personal and corporate worship. Let my life be honorable to You in all I do. Show me my weaknesses and where I need to repent to be a better witness and soul-winner for You and Your Kingdom. Again, I love You. Thank You, Lord. Amen!

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited 

¹ Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Rev. ed. Chattanooga: AMG, 2008.

²Tozer, A.W., “20 Timeless Worship Quotes by A.W. Tozer. Renewing worship, accessed January 27, 2021.

³ Warren, Wiersbe. Review excerpt on the book cover. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004).

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here:

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

Have you ever felt led to pour love and grace upon a person? If so, it is most likely a person that you find great happiness being with. You want to help this person in their pursuits and passions. You protect them and wish them the best. Just as with a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, you find time to be with them—no matter what!

This is the same reason we should find time to spend with God. We do this because . . .

  • He loves us.
  • He is gracious to us.
  • He is merciful to us.
  • He forgives us, and
  • He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die for us.

Let’s see what the Bible says about how to acknowledge our heavenly Father honorably and biblically. While these ten ways are not exhaustive, they are an advantageous start to keeping our minds focused on the Lord.

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

  1. Be obedient. (See Genesis 22:1-14)

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” So, Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him. (Gen. 22:1-3)

  1. Offer Him your sacrifices. (See 2 Chronicles 7:1-9)

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Chron. 7:1)

  1. Humble yourself and pray. (See 2 Chronicles 7:12-22)

And My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron.7:14)

  1. Marvel at what He has done through His resurrection. (See Luke 24:1-12)

Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and when he stooped and looked in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:12)

  1. Follow His words. (See John 21:1-14)

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.” So, they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish. (John 21:6)

  1. Follow Him. (See John 21:15-25)

Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19)

  1. Worship Him. (See Revelation 4:1-8)

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.

And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.

(Rev. 4:8-11)

  1. Bless, honor, and glorify Him. (See Revelation 5:6-14)

Saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”

And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12-13)

  1. Give Cheerfully. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

  1.  Praise Him. (See Psalm 34:1-10)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Ps. 34:1)

When you embark on a lifestyle of poring your love and mercy upon your heavenly Father in an honorable and biblical fashion, you will notice positive changes in your life occurring and so will others! Despite anything you are going through!

And that’s awesome!


Dear Lord, help me to become more honorable to You. Allow me to become more conscientious as I go through my day to appreciate the tenderness You have shown me. I am sorry for when I have failed to recognize Your movement in my life, Let Me become more like You as I practice Your righteousness in my heart and before men.

God Bless.

All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Books by Patti Greene

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (Westbow, 2016)

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending (Awesome Librarian, 2018)

Sacred Snippet: Refilling the Pot

When the coffee pot is empty, we refill the water, the grinds, and the filter.

When this year ends, let us refill our mind, heart, and soul with the love of God!

As we approach the new year and are thinking about our New Year resolutions, we tend to think like this . . .

If I am stressed, I need to unstress.

If I am frustrated, I need to be less frustrated.

If I lust, I need to stop lusting.

If I am addicted, I need to not be addicted.

If I am proud, I need to be humble.

If I lie, I need to stop lying, and

If I am overweight, I need to stop eating.

This list could go on and on and on!

As believers, we encounter the same challenges as unbelievers. The difference is we have the power through the Holy Spirit to confront these ordeals not just in our strength, but in His.

As we face the New Year, let us commit to asking the Lord to continually show us our shortcomings and sins, then evaluate and confess them. Let us renew our relationship with Christ through daily prayer and Bible reading. Let us lay our souls bare before Him and talk to Him about EVERYTHING. He is here to hear our concerns, our weaknesses, our upcoming decisions, our plans, and our spiritual concerns. He already knows them, but by expressing ourselves to Him in either quiet meditation or loud wailing, we are connecting to the source who wants to guide up to a deeper walk with Him in holiness “. . . For He knows the secrets of our heart” (Psalm 44:21).

Below is an example of sharing one’s heart with God from Psalm 139. I challenge you to read this Hebrew prayer from King David aloud and make this prayer your prayer as we approach this upcoming year!

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

If only You would put the wicked to death, God;
Leave me, you men of bloodshed.
For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And see if there is any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139:1-24


Lord, let not anything interfere with my quiet times with You or my connection with Your church and community. Let me worship You with gratitude and live a life of perseverance in every direction You lead.

Bible Version: NASB

Are You A “Fan” of God? Guest Blogger Ellsworth Johnson

In many areas of life, there are different levels of “fandom.”

Texas and Football

For the better part of the last decade our family resided in Houston. When we moved there from Los Angeles in 2007 I had my stereotypical ideas of what Texas would be like, from watching King of the Hill reruns and recalling every visual and verbal caricature I ever encountered.

I was relieved to find out that most of my preconceived notions were way off the mark. I had imagined that parched, half-submerged cattle skeletons, bleaching themselves in the desert sun, would greet me as I drove across a vast no man’s land at the heart of the state, a domestic version of Australia’s Outback, but was instead pleasantly surprised by the many miles of lush greenness along I-10’s extremely flat landscape.

One thing I did have right about Texas, though: it is impossible to overstate its citizens’ love of football. That’s every level of football, especially high school and college. They tolerate the pros, and turn to the middle schools to wean the next generation. I’m sure they’d have elementary- and nursery-level tackle football there, too, if they were allowed.

Go to any college game in the state, and look around the stands. Never mind what’s happening on the field: today we’re more interested in the attending crowd. You can see various levels of interest, from the young woman in sundress, flip-flops and shades, clearly bored and dragged there by her boyfriend, to the weekend assistant coach, who knows all the players by name and bodily bawls out what call should have been made when the refs miss one.

But they’re amateurs when it comes to football fandom.

The real pro is Big Buford.

Believe me, you’ll know Buford when you see him. He’s the one who is shirtless, even on days when it’s less than sixty degrees outside and body-painted two colors which clearly clash. In one hand is a 22-ounce cup of something marginally flammable, and on his head are steer horns, a fish head or some other animal part.

He can probably stand to skip a couple of meals, too.

And if you can’t see him, don’t worry: even above the cheering aficionados in the stands you can hear Buford shouting encouragement to the home team, in good times and in bad.

In another place and time, he’d be the one to go out and yell for the hogs to come home.

Now, I’ve never gone that far for anything in my life. Well, actually I have, but in a quieter, more subdued (but no less intense) way. 

Today I am completely sold out for the kingdom of God.

But in my younger years, the television show Star Trek was my religion.

Star Trek and Fandom


In the early (circa 1970) Star Trek culture, there were two acronyms to describe one’s level of fandom for the show:

FIJAGH: Fandom Is Just A God-blessed Hobby

FIAWOL: Fandom Is A Way Of Life

Those in the FIJAGH camp liked the show and knew the basics, yes, but that was about it. They could take it or leave it; at the end of the day, it was simply another form of entertainment, just another TV show like “Mission: Impossible” or “Lost In Space,” albeit more intelligent and memorable than either.

FIAWOL, on the other hand, was a world unto itself. First, it was one’s imperative to know everything about the show: granular details of each episode, yes, but also the “universe” in which it existed. This included the history of the Federation, technical minutiae of starships and, for some, even creating a language for the Klingons. There is even a fan-written Star Trek Encyclopedia, where much of this gathered information resides.

The truly hard-core fans attended Star Trek conventions. These were major events held every year at large hotels in major cities around the country, which could expect to draw thousands of attendees. Many of the faithful were dressed up in Starfleet uniforms and outfitted themselves with plastic model communicators (which, it can be persuasively argued, were an inspiration for today’s cell phones) and phasers, to see and hear the show’s stars, writers and producers dish the behind-the-scenes details die-hard fans loved.


In my youth, I was one of those.

My knowledge of the show was encyclopedic, from the color of the planet Cestus III (lime green) to Captain James T. Kirk’s middle name (Tiberius). I watched the show almost every day, Monday through Friday, as it was syndicated in our city, so it took about four months to cycle through all 79 episodes. I did attend ONE Star Trek convention, in 1975… but I did not wear a uniform, and I left my toys at home.

And it does stick with you.

Many years later they came out with a Star Trek version of the board game “Trivial Pursuit”, and some friends made the mistake of challenging me to play it with them one Friday after work. I allowed that I “used to watch the show occasionally” (*smirk*) so I let them have three players on their team while I had one other person besides myself on mine.

We killed them.

So I let them have the other person, so now it was the four of them against me.

Still killed them.

Then I started drinking beer (I was not, and still am not much of a drinker) to level the playing field.

It didn’t help. Wiped them out again.

Finally, I had to visit the bathroom (all that beer!). I was going up the stairs to the facilities when my friend Kevin made his best attempt to stump me.

“OK, try this one: in the episode ‘Day of the Dove’, how many Klingons and Enterprise crew members were trapped above decks when the entity sealed the bulkheads?”

Without hesitating or breaking my stride, I shouted over my shoulder.


When I came back downstairs, the game had been put away, and the guys were watching TV.

“We give up,” Kevin droned, without looking away from the television.

What if our “fandom” for God and His Word was on that level? 

What would it be like to be driven by the same fervor, the same “need to know” that we put on non-eternal things?

The FIJAGH Christian

The “FIJAGH Christian” (just a hobby) gets it: we need a Savior, Jesus is it, and at a minimum that will keep us out of Hell. Good: that’s a start… yet it isn’t much more than that. Sure, there are lifestyle changes, frequent church attendance and a general tilt toward that which is good, but it stops short of the whole-hog “abundant life” Jesus offers us in John 10:10.

The FIAWOL Christian

For the “FIAWOL Christian” (way of life), this is only the beginning.

For starters, you would make it your mission to know everything possible about God, Jesus, the Bible, our place in it all, and how it all fits together. You’d quickly learn the main details of the books of the Bible: their names, locations, what they’re about and what happens in them. We quickly get a “feel” of who the main characters are (God, Adam, Noah,…), the book’s overall structure (Testaments, history, poetry, letters,…) and, most importantly, the wisdom and truths God wants to impart to us through His Word. 

We become voracious readers of the Scriptures and other resources, eager to soak up this information!

Once we do obtain this knowledge, do we keep it to ourselves? 

No way! 

We talk to other “fans” and compare notes at every opportunity. We consult other “fan publications” in print, on television and at the movie theatre. And we attend “conventions”: local ones every Sunday and Wednesday (church), while the truly hard-core can additionally seek out larger, more specialized functions which sell out arenas in major metropolises across the country and around the world.

Bringing your communicators and phasers is optional.

And… you won’t ever pass up the chance to talk excitedly about it to anyone who will listen, anytime, anywhere. You don’t care who knows you are a “fan of God”: you WANT them to know, you WANT to open the door for them to be a “fan”, too, and if they don’t want to be a fan, well, then, that’s on them, and you just move on down the road and don’t give it a second thought.

It was relatively natural and easy to get this worked up over a fifty-year-old television show. Why is it so hard to get behind something really exciting, like spending all of eternity with the Creator of the universe?

It is the nature of order to attract chaos, for beautiful gardens to invite weeds (and serpents!), and anything good and pure to be susceptible to contamination and perversion. Neither Star Trek nor Christianity could escape this fate.

What Happened with Star Trek

The show was on NBC for only three years, 1966-1969, and, despite a last-ditch viewer campaign to save it, was canceled due to low ratings. 

But then something truly amazing happened: the second-most-impressive “life after death” resurrection of all time took place (we’ll get to #1 a little later) as the series became more popular in syndication than it ever was as a weekly network program. Fan clubs sprang up nationwide as “Trekkies” tuned in daily in droves to local stations across the country to share the documented voyages of the U.S.S. Enterprise

Many of those same fans began producing their own books, fiction, fan magazines and even short films based on the show, completely independent of Paramount Studios, the show’s owner at the time; they turned a blind eye as fans drove up their property’s value by creating additional content, with no monetary investment on the studio’s part. Billions of dollars of merchandise was created and sold worldwide by enterprising (*nyuk nyuk*) individuals. 

This explosion of aficionado interest culminated in the franchise being resurrected in 1979 with the first of six Star Trek movies based on the series.

Did it stop there? Not a chance. 

A second television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) came along in 1987, with a whole new cast, ship and universe (it was set about 80 years post-Kirk) and ran seven seasons in syndication; it surpassed the popularity of the original show, which was no small thing. Since then, TNG went on to make even more big-screen theatrical films (ten!), and there have been four more television series since then, including the currently-running Star Trek: Discovery, with yet another, Star Trek: Picard set to premiere in 2020.

Behind the scenes, though, Paramount and CBS decided to cage their golden goose and keep an ever-larger share of the eggs it lays for themselves. 

They have done this in many ways, but most prominently by strangling fans’ license to produce filmed entertainment based on the show, much of which puts the Hollywood studios to shame. 

Some of these fan-generated works are of such outstanding quality, depth and meticulous fidelity to the original source material that they often surpass the work of the professionals, and make it impossible to believe they descend from the labor of amateurs. There is little doubt that Paramount’s disastrous attempt to “reboot” the original series of movies, begun in 2009 and since run into the ground over ill-advised changes to the Star Trek universe, played a part in this decision, as did the likely jealousy raised as far superior and better-received entertainment was produced independently with only a fraction of the studios’ expended resources.

Paramount’s and CBS’ response? They did what arguably could have been done much sooner, but was not, as long as it served their interests.

They sicced the lawyers on their own fan community.

A published list of conditions, from placing a limit of 30 minutes on the length of these films to prohibiting use of the shows’ actors, technical personnel and other resources, has hobbled the makers of fan fiction to the point of being unable to compete with the studios.

More cynical thinkers might believe: that was the point.

The current owners of Star Trek have put their money-making plans into overdrive. Besides wiping out their biggest competition – the more productive part of their own fan base — they have put their new show, Star Trek: Discovery, behind the paywall of CBS All Access (interestingly named, since only those who fork over the cash gain this “access”), and, as mentioned earlier, have several new Star Trek series waiting in the wings to go the same route.

Increasingly, their attitude seems to be: “Thanks for loving the show and keeping it alive for the last 50 years, at your expense, but we’ll take over now… both the show itself, and the money it generates…”

What Happened with Christianity

Sadly, even the realm of the sacred is not immune to the corrupting capabilities of currency.

The 1984 translation of the New International Version Bible (NIV 1984) is beloved by conservative Christian denominations nationwide, who have standardized their teaching and preaching on its text. Since then, however, it has been subject to multiple continuing revisions, causing widespread dissension and controversy in Scripture-loving circles.

According to Robert Slowley’s analysis of the text differences between the 1984 and 2010 versions of the NIV Bible, only about 61% of the total verses remained intact. ¹

In the New Testament, Matthew far and away had the greatest number of changed verses (129), while these Old Testament books were the most heavily edited:

Paul’s letters, and the works of the Minor Prophets, were relatively untouched.

Zondervan is the commercial rights holder for the NIV Bible in North America. In 1988 Zondervan was acquired by HarperCollins, one of the five largest commercial publishers in the world.

HarperCollins is owned, in turn, by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a publishing and media empire which includes Fox News, the 20th Century Fox movie studio and The Wall Street Journal. The organization is notoriously, relentlessly driven by the desire to make profits at all costs, and is not above slanting its content to achieve that purpose. It is well known that its business decisions, such as how to edit and present a text under its purview (whether it’s news copy, a textbook or a Bible), are guided primarily by management’s political leanings and how any changes would impact sales; unimportant considerations, like fidelity to God’s Word, are brusquely and contemptuously cast aside.

After a decade of work, efforts of the first major “update” since the HarperCollins-NewsCorp. acquisition bore fruit. A revised New Testament was published in March 2002, and a completed Bible version was released in February 2005. This new version, dubbed Today’s New International Version (TNIV), featured down-to-earth phrasing, a complete purge of gender-specific language (no more “He” and “His”) and a greater emphasis on literal translation (translating words, rather than ideas and concepts).

TNIV was not well-received. A few denominations accepted it, praising its gender neutrality, but over 100 evangelical leaders signed a “Statement of Concern” opposing it. The Presbyterian Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention each passed resolutions against TNIV and other inclusive-language translations. In many cases the subtle meanings of some verses were altered in the name of readability.

Gender neutrality has been a hot-and-heavy battleground issue since the late 1990s, and rages on even today. In the period 1997-1999 alone there were five related articles in the Billy-Graham-founded evangelical magazine Christianity Today, with titles like “The Battle for the Inclusive Bible”, “Bible Translators Deny Gender Agenda” and “Hands Off My NIV!”

Some language changes in the TNIV opened up erroneous interpretations not possible with the 1984 NIV. An example of this is given in 1 Corinthians 14:28 where the subject is Paul’s instruction to the church about speaking in tongues:

NIV 1984: TNIV 2005:
If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church; let them speak to themselves and to God.


The original Greek has a masculine singular pronoun corresponding to “himself.” The TNIV has nevertheless converted it to plural, “themselves,” in English. The change is made in order to avoid using generic “he” in the form “himself.” The two wordings are similar in meaning, but not the same. 

The TNIV, with “them” in the plural, allows a corporate interpretation of the verse. It opens the door to the idea that the people who speak in tongues should go off in a private group where they can speak to one another. They speak “to themselves,” that is, to other tongues-speakers rather than to the general assembly of the church. The NIV, by contrast, unambiguously expresses the correct meaning: each person speaks only to himself and to God, not to the church.

The verse makes an important practical difference today, because people who speak in tongues want to know what sort of direction Paul is giving to them. And they cannot tell from the TNIV, whose wording can easily mislead them. 

There is a big cost here in loss of clear meaning because of the refusal to use generic “he.” ²

Even the Bible guardians themselves admitted their error. In a September 2011 editorial in the magazine Christianity Today, the NIV translators and publishers allowed as much:

“Some of the criticism was justified,” [International Bible Society CEO Keith] Danby said. “We fell short of the trust that was placed in us and we made some important errors on the way. . . . We let down our partners.”

“Whatever its strengths were, the TNIV divided the evangelical Christian community,” said Zondervan president Moe Girkins. “So as we launch this new NIV, we will discontinue putting out new products with the TNIV.” ³

So, it was back to the drawing board. A few years later, in 2011, another new version of the NIV was published (NIV 2010). Its aim was to redress many of TNIV’s perceived shortcomings. It restored some of the gender-specific language TNIV removed – yet it introduced several issues of its own.

Bible scholar Michael Marlowe offers this example from Psalm 1 of how different NIV editions render the same passage (color-coding of text differences by me):

1984 NIV Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
2005 TNIV Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but who delight in the law of the LORD and meditate on his law day and night. They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
2010 NIV Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.


The change here was made in response to criticism of the TNIV which used this verse as an example of the loss of meaning that often happens when plurals are substituted for singulars. 

As I wrote in 2005, the substitution of plurals does significantly interfere with the sense here, because “the one man whose delight is in the law of the Lord is set in opposition to the many ungodly ones around him. But when the man is made to disappear into a group of genderless people, then a part of the meaning of this passage is lost.” And so the revisers have made it singular again. 

But we also see that they still refuse to use the word “man” or any masculine pronouns, leading to the awkward substitution “that person,” and the ungrammatical use of “they” with a singular antecedent. 

This continues to be objectionable, because the stylistic taboo against using the word “man” forces inaccuracy and clumsiness in the translation, and it has nothing to do with making the meaning clear. It is simply a “politically correct” avoidance of masculine terms. c

As with the TNIV, the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution against use of NIV 2010. It was adopted at their annual meeting in June 2011, and passed nearly unanimously by a show of hands. Besides gender neutrality, their complaints against it included the alteration “of the meaning of hundreds of verses” and that the new edition “goes beyond acceptable translation standards.” 

Beyond disapproving of NIV 2010’s use, the resolution went on to urge LifeWay Christian Resources to ban sales of this version in its bookstores and encourage pastors to “make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the [2010] NIV”.

Zondervan has since published 20 editions of the new NIV Bible, and LifeWay currently sells them in their bookstores and online.

HarperCollins,  owner of Zondervan, itself created a website to explain the NIV, including the translation philosophy used for the 2010 version, and interviews with some of the translators themselves. That website can be found here:

An interesting comment by one of the translators reminds us that the edition is the New International Version. The aim, he said, is to make the Word accessible for English speakers the world over, not just in the United States. This was their professed rationale for making many of their translation choices.

The Forced Extinction of NIV 1984

The Assyrians were one of the most powerful, feared and hated military nations of Biblical times. After they conquered a nation, they would seek to weaken its fabric in two ways:

  1. Deport large segments of the population to Assyria (and, thus, a brain-drain on their homeland), and
  2. Bring in people from other parts of their empire to settle the conquered nation, in sufficient numbers to dilute the nation’s identity and culture. Over time, the nation no longer existed in its original form.

They did this to the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. The Assyrian customs insinuated themselves into the dominant Jewish way of life to the point of dethroning the role of “Jewish-ness’” in Samaritan culture as the “only” or even the “preferred” way of doing things.

In later generations the Jews hated the Samaritans because of their mixed Jewish and pagan religious practices.

The publishers of the NIV Bible seem to have taken a page from the Assyrian playbook. They have locked the fairly traditional NIV 1984 translation behind a wall called “No Longer Available”, while sating current hunger for NIV Bibles with the semi-gender-neutralized 2010 edition. 

It is this edition which is being sold in Christian bookstores, used by denominations nationwide and shipped to third-world countries to which the word of God is being spread.

Over time, existing copies of  NIV 1984 will go out of circulation, never to be replaced, while NIV 2010 rushes in to fill the void. As a result, it will eventually eclipse NIV 1984 to become the dominant version.

Welcome to Samaria.

And there is something insidious about how International Bible Society (the translators, who have since renamed themselves “Biblica”), Zondervan (the publisher) and HarperCollins (owner of Zondervan) all march in lock-step in justifying the changes made to the NIV text.

The English language is constantly changing, they posit, and the Bible text has to change, too, if it is to be effective at communicating God’s message to mankind (ummm… I mean… “humanity”… ummm… “people”?).

There is something decidedly disingenuous about this. They act as if the Bible is completely unintelligible without these “updates”, and that the fundamentals of the English language have undergone a wholesale radical shift. Left behind, it is claimed, are large swaths of readers the world over who don’t have the benefit of staying up with the latest vocabulary trends. It is absolutely necessary to keep the Bible up to date, they say, so that people can understand what’s in it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, words have been added to the lexicon, and some have had their meanings augmented in various ways, but at its core English remains pretty much the same language which existed in 1984, when the last stable NIV edition was printed. 

Bible scholar Michael Marlowe is even less convinced:

The Preface of the revised edition explains that “updates are needed in order to reflect the latest developments in our understanding of the biblical world and its languages and to keep pace with changes in English usage.” 

This, however, is nothing but a piece of publisher’s boilerplate, found in all prefaces, and it is somewhat misleading, because there is little or nothing in the NIV revision prompted by “latest developments in our understanding of the biblical world and its languages.” 

After looking at the complete list of changes compiled by Robert Slowley, it seems to me that nearly all are trivial adjustments of the version’s phrasing which will be of no interest to Bible students. 

And the few changes that do involve different exegetical decisions are not really “updates.” The revision simply reflects in some places a shift in the balance of opinion among the current committee members, about options of interpretation which have been discussed by scholars for over a hundred years, without the benefit of any new information.

What HAS changed, though, are political sensibilities in some circles about gender, and a grim determination to eradicate all assumed and perceived “unconscious bias” by the original scrolls’ authors and the patriarchal societies in which they lived. 

A new NIV edition was the perfect opportunity to sneak in these edits and force the world to accept them by discontinuing previous versions.

They even removed the version number from the book’s cover, so that the less-discerning Bible shopper, looking simply for “a new NIV Bible,” would grab it off the bookstore shelf without a second thought, unaware that he (ah, that dreaded male pronoun!) has purchased a volume which is at the very least suspicious and controversial, and at most dangerously misleading.

Forget Samaria: welcome to Byzantium (literally, from where we get the word “byzantine”)!

For my part, I will keep using my NIV 1984 Bible until the pages fall out. At that point I’ll choose a different version, probably the New American Standard Bible (NASB), adopted by the first church my wife and I attended together after we got married, or the English Standard Version (ESV), because it is trusted by people I respect.

I would urge anyone shopping for a new Bible version to consult their pastor or church leaders, or simply use the edition those leaders themselves or the congregation use.

As for Star Trek, I’m pretty much through with it. I’ll watch the reruns and old movies every now and then, but the new stuff leaves me cold: it’s all so concocted and loaded with social nuances. Discovery has a homosexual continuing character; what would Captain Kirk, that interstellar womanizer of old with a girl on every planet, think? 

Plus, there’s a huge ongoing debate in the fan community over which version of events in the various shows’/movies’/books’ timelines is “canon,” i.e., real, and to be believed. Contorted explanations are trotted out to reconcile how the cool events in Film A can be reconciled with the even cooler but utterly incompatible happenings in Book B. Things like “people die”, “wars get fought”, “multiple copies of a person exist”,… it’s the same type of unscrambling which made Lost an ultimately unsatisfying experience, except this one’s still unfolding worldwide in real-time.

People born after, say, 1985 can be forgiven for not knowing that a much simpler world existed recently in place of this one. Back then, there was only ONE phone company (AT&T), ONE NIV Bible, and the starship captain always beat the bad guy, talked a machine to death (Kirk did this three times!) and/or got the girl (I lost count!). America was good, the Soviets were evil, and never the twain met.

But today we have cell phones, Facebook, Instagram. The United States is no longer the de facto world leader, and newly-resurgent countries like Russia, China and India are eating our lunch worldwide. There are now multiple phone companies.

And multiple Star Treks.

And multiple NIV Bibles.

Where will it all end?

To use the phrase: “God only knows.”


I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145:1-3

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Galatians 5:9

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.

Matthew 21:12

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

Revelation 22:18

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:10

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:9-11

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes… And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities.

2 Kings 17:6

2 Kings 17:24

All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise stated.


Father, give us the discernment to receive the pure truths of Your Word, and avoid the snares which would keep them from us. You know what our increasing complexities our future holds, and have already decided how we are to navigate them. Tell us, in ways we can understand, how to handle the troubles headed our way, and stand with us as we do so. You swore that you would never leave or forsake us, and through faith we stand on that promise in the midst of the coming storm. Bless Your name and that of our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Works Cited

¹ Slowley, Robert.“NIV2011 comparison with NIV1984 and TNIV,” 8 July 2017. comparison/

² Poythress, Vern S. “TNIV’s Altered Meanings: An Evaluation of the TNIV.”

31 May 2012

³ Olsen, Ted.  “Correcting the ‘Mistakes’ of TNIV and Inclusive NIV, Translators Will Revise NIV in 2011.”  Christianity Today  September 2011 TNIV.

⁴ Marlowe, Michael  “The 2011 Revision of the NIV.”

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