Holidays (Other)

The Mailbag: Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent

Originally published March 4, 2019

For an expanded and more detailed treatment of this topic (based on this brief article), please listen to the Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent episode of A Word Fitly Spoken.


What are Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent? Are they biblical? Should Christians participate in them?

If you don’t live in Louisiana or a heavily Catholic area, maybe you’re not very familiar with all of these observances. Let’s take a look at each of them:

What is…

Lent- Lent is a forty day period (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. It is observed by Catholics and some Protestants. Historically, it is supposed to be a period of repentance, penance, fasting, and self-denial. The aspect of Lent that people tend to be most familiar with is the idea of giving something up (self-denial/penance) for Lent such as watching TV, chocolate, smoking, or eating meat.

What is the meaning of Lent? at Got Questions

What is Lent? at 40 Acts*

Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Ashes are applied to the forehead in the shape of a cross to indicate repentance and that the recipient will begin the Lenten fast. Ash Wednesday is primarily observed by Catholics and some Protestants.

What is Ash Wednesday? at Got Questions

Ash Wednesday at Catholic Online*

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. It has its roots in Shrove Tuesday, which was originally a day of feasting on all of the foods that were forbidden during Lent so these foods would not spoil or go to waste since they could not be eaten again until after Easter. Through the years, this day of feasting has morphed into drunken revelry – sort of a “last hoorah” for getting all the sin out of your system before you have to start “being good” for Lent. In Louisiana (and a few other places, such as Mobile, Alabama), it is much more a cultural holiday than a religious observance. People from various religions as well as non-religious people participate in Mardi Gras. It is celebrated with numerous parades, balls, and other festivities. The colors of Mardi Gras are purple (representing justice), green (representing faith), and gold (representing power).

What is the origin of Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras? at Got Questions

Mardi Gras History at Mardi Gras New Orleans*

Are these days/observances biblical?

Lent Yes and no. Mostly no. The fundamental components of Lent – repentance, fasting, and the pursuit of holiness – are biblical. Repentance and holy living should be practiced by all Christians every day, and biblical fasting as the Holy Spirit convicts the individual Believer.

However, Lent is not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible, and any Catholic observance (of Lent or anything else) is fundamentally unbiblical because the Catholic religion itself is unbiblical. It is also unbiblical for a church to require that its members observe a man-made religious ritual or to imply or teach that participating in this ritual earns favor with God or absolves or makes up for sin. Furthermore, to teach that there is a special time of the year set aside for repentance and holiness is unbiblical. Christians are to walk in holiness and repentance every day.

Ash Wednesday Again, yes and no. Mostly no, and for most of the same reasons Lent is generally unbiblical. The fundamental components of Ash Wednesday – repentance of sin and the pursuit of holiness – are biblical and should be practiced by all Christians every day.

In addition to the unbiblical facets of Lent, Ash Wednesday’s forehead ashes “disfigure[s] their faces that their fasting may be seen by others” which is the exact opposite of the humble way Christ teaches us to fast.

Mardi Gras No. The drunkenness, sin, and lasciviousness that go along with typical Mardi Gras celebrations are patently unbiblical as is the idea of getting all the sin out of our systems before we have to start being good. The Bible teaches against these things.

Should Christians participate in…

Lent Catholic observances of Lent – no. Some doctrinally sound churches and individuals freely choose to set aside a time of biblical fasting, prayer, and worship in anticipation of Easter. For Christians who observe Lent in this way, as long as it is observed in keeping with Scriptural principles, it can be a valuable and meaningful time of respite and renewal with the Lord just as it could if observed at any other time of the year.

Ash Wednesday No. It is unbiblical, as cited above.

Mardi Gras Christians should not participate in any sinful activities any day of the year, including Mardi Gras, nor believe or portray to others by their actions, the unbiblical “theology” behind Mardi Gras. (And as a non-theological aside, violent crime in New Orleans during Mardi Gras has made attending Mardi Gras parades and other events very dangerous.)

However, as I mentioned, in Louisiana, Mardi Gras has become much more of a cultural holiday than an observance with religious undertones. Many smaller towns (and even some larger ones) eschew the debauchery that takes place in New Orleans and offer family-friendly parades which are basically as innocuous as our local Christmas parades or a Fourth of July fireworks show. For Christians who have worked and prayed through the appropriate biblical principles and whose consciences allow them to participate in non-sinful Mardi Gras activities such as attending these types of parades, I believe this is an issue of adiaphora (Christian liberty) similar to participating in non-sinful aspects of Halloween. (Don’t forget to take along some tracts to hand out!)


*Other than the linked article, I am not familiar with this site/organization and do not endorse it if it deviates from Scripture or any of my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs at the top of this page.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Complementarianism, Rock Your Role

Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?

“You say that women shouldn’t teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), but what about men who read your blog? Aren’t you teaching them?”

It’s the canard that will not die. Complementarian women bloggers, authors, and content creators are frequently asked this question, often by dissenters looking for a “gotcha” moment. Other times it’s a genuine concern from Christian women who want to write but still be in obedience to God’s Word as it speaks to the role of women. But, whatever the motivation for asking, it’s a great question that needs to be answered. Biblically.

It is true that God has ordained different roles for Christian men and women. Both roles are needed and important, but different. Part of the role for women is outlined in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Women are not to preach to or teach men in the gathering of the church or hold other positions of authority over men in the church body.

But notice that key phrase “in the church.” The context of all of the passages dealing with women refraining from teaching men refers to the teaching of God’s Word in the gathering together of the body of believers.

That’s not the same thing as blogging in the public square. The gathering of the church body might take place within the four walls of a church building, at a park for a Resurrection Day sunrise service, at a Christian conference, at a chapel service at a Christian college or seminary, at a Bible study in someone’s home, or a myriad of other venues, but it’s just that – a physical gathering together of the body of Christ for the purpose of worship, studying the Word, sitting under the preaching of the Word, observing the ordinances, prayer, practicing the “one anothers,” and other “churchy” things.

You’re reading this blog right now. Are you practicing the “one anothers” with anyone? Is anyone standing in front of you preaching the Word? Are you actively worshiping? Do you see an offering being taken up? Baptism? Communion? Prayer? Do you consider yourself to be attending church right now? Of course not. You’re staring at a screen reading an article. This is a blog. Not the gathering of the church.

The Greek word for “church” in the New Testament is ἐκκλησία, or ekklesia. It literally means a gathering or assembly. No gathering, no church.1 And because of that, women bloggers and other content creators aren’t violating the Scriptures that prohibit them from teaching men in the gathering of the church. (And, by the way, this all applies to women on social media, too. That’s not the gathering of the church either, praise the Lord.)

When I explain this biblical distinction to the “gotcha” folks, the pushback (that’s a polite word for it) I often get is, “You’re just hypocritically splitting hairs and doing hermeneutical gymnastics to justify yourself!”. No, you’re just conflating things the Bible clearly distinguishes from one another.

Think of it this way: If I say that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful, but I joyfully fulfill my marital duty to my husband, am I a hypocrite? Am I splitting hairs or doing hermeneutical gymnastics? No. Because there are right and wrong contexts for sexual activity just like there are right and wrong contexts for women teaching the Bible, writing on biblical topics, and so on. The Bible has defined categories and contexts. The Bible draws lines of distinction. Conflating a biblical “do” with a biblical “don’t”? That’s what’s unbiblical.

But let’s consider something else, too. Even though Scripture doesn’t require it, most godly, doctrinally sound women bloggers and online content creators – including me – aim our content primarily at Christian women. I have set up parameters for my blog (and my book, when it was in print) and for my ministry to do everything I can to place myself under the umbrella of 1 Timothy 2:12. Look at the title of this page and my Facebook page. It specifically says “Discipleship for Christian Women“. My book was always labeled and marketed as a women’s Bible study. If you’ll take a look at the “Welcome” tab at the top of this page, you’ll see I explicitly say that this blog is for Christian women and that I’m a complementarian. When I address the readers of this blog I nearly always address them as “ladies,” both because my target audience is women, and also to remind the handful of men who follow me that they are not my audience; they are, in a sense, “eavesdropping” on what I’m saying to women. My speaking engagements are for women only. I ask men not to use my Bible studies. I’m not really sure what more I need to do to make it clear that my blog and my ministry are for women, not men.

Don’t men bear any responsibility here? Why should the entire burden for women not “teaching” men fall on the shoulders of women bloggers and content creators? Why don’t the Christian men who are ostensibly so concerned about men consuming content from women address the men who are reading our blogs and following our platforms?

But sometimes these “gotcha guys” – who often have ulterior motives of undermining complementarianism – will visit my blog, claim to have learned something, and then turn around and attack me as a hypocrite for “teaching” them. This is akin to a man listening at the door of a women’s Sunday school class, then bursting in and saying, “Aha! You taught a man.” To those men, I would ask a simple question- If a female blogger puts a fence around her blog and you jump over it and trespass on her property, how is she the one at fault?

Along with Christian women, Christian men ought also to be obedient to 1 Timothy 2:12 by not seeking out female content creators for biblical instruction for themselves. While I welcome male readers – especially those who are vetting me for their wives and daughters or the women of their church, or to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting Christian women in order to lead and shepherd them better – I do not want men seeking me out for personal biblical instruction. All of my readers should look to the doctrinally sound teaching of their pastors and elders for biblical instruction. For women, my blog should only be a leisure time supplement to their sermons and classes at church.

Being a godly female blogger or content creator can be a tightrope walk. All of us have fallen off from time to time, and in those cases we ask that you extend us grace and forgiveness, knowing that we didn’t do it intentionally or rebelliously. Praise God for the “net” of God’s mercy and cleansing that catches us and puts us right back up on that tightrope so we can encourage and build up the lovely Christian ladies in our audience. You mean so much to each of us. We love you and want you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we do what we do.


1This is why it is impossible to “attend church” by watching an online church service. You are not “attending church” online, you are watching other people attend church.

This article is an updated and revamped version of the original article by the same title, published on October 23, 2015.


Additional Resources

Rock Your Role – a series examining the Scriptures governing the biblical role of women in the church

Rock Your Role FAQs

Sisters Are Part of the Family of God, Too!

Women Preaching the Gospel? at A Word Fitly Spoken (on the issue of conflation)

Discernment, Holidays (Other)

Jennie Allen and IF:Gathering

IF:Gathering 2022 is coming up next week (March 4-5). IF you aren’t aware that there are serious biblical problems with it, or IF you need some information and evidence to share with friends who are planning to attend, or IF, unfortunately, your church is hosting a simulcast, you need to read this…


If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.


This article is kept continuously updated as needed.

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Jennie Allen is “a Bible teacher, author, and the founder and visionary of IF:Gathering,” an annual conference for women. She also blogs, hosts the Made for This podcast, and speaks at IF:Gathering and other events.

The IF:Gathering conference organization (now including IF:Pray, IF:Lead, IF:Equip, IF:Table, IF:Local, IF:TV, and Discipleship Collective), around which most of Jennie’s ministry centers, was “inspired by the question, ‘If God is real…then what?‘.” If God is real– is a troubling premise for an ostensibly Christian ministry. The Christian existence does not center around the pablum possibility that God is real, but on the rock-solid, stake your life and your eternity on it certainty that He is not only real but the Creator of, and Sovereign over, the universe, and the only hope of salvation for sinners. If God is real…then what? as the foundation of a Christian ministry is somewhat akin to If 1+1=2, then what? as the foundational concept of a Mensa-esque organization for the top mathematical minds in the world.

As to the “…then what?” part of the equation, Jennie’s and IF’s solution is woefully unbiblical. Jennie has an established history of embracing and partnering in ministry with false teachers, female “pastors,” and women who preach to men. Just a few of the many available examples:

Some of the guests on Jennie’s podcast have included Priscilla Shirer and Chrystal Evans Hurst (ep. 08), Beth Moore (ep. 04), Christine Caine (ep. 09), and “diversity expert” and Black Lives Matter supporter, LaTasha Morrison (multiple episodes).

Since the launch of IF:Gathering in 2014, Jennie has habitually featured false and biblically problematic teachers and female preachers/pastors as speakers and as part of IF’s leadership team:

Top Row: Melissa Greene, Lauren Chandler, Tara Jenkins, Esther Havens, Bianca Olthoff, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp Bottom Row: Lindsey Nobles, Jennie Allen, Rebekah Lyons, Angie Smith

Speakers featured at IF:Gathering over the years (many of them appearing multiple times) have included: Jen Hatmaker (here, in 2015), female “pastor” and homosexuality advocate Melissa Greene,  Ann Voskamp, Bianca Olthoff, Rebekah Lyons, Lysa TerKeurst, Jill Briscoe, Shauna Niequist, Angie Smith, Kay Warren (Rick Warren’s wife), female “pastor” Jenni Catron, Christine Caine, female “preacher” and author of Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey

…(then) female “co-pastor” Keisha Polonio, female “pastor” Jeanne Stevens…

Lauren Chandler, female “pastor” Layla de la Garza, Beth Moore, and others. (2020)

IF 2022 includes a similar tableau of false teachers, female preachers/pastors, and racialists (some are returning speakers, some are new):

My guess is that all of the women who have spoken at IF have no qualms about preaching to men, and there may also be more female “pastors” in the bunch, but I was unable to research each of them, so I will just say, a large number of the women who have spoken at IF disobey God’s Word by preaching to men and/or “pastoring”.

In addition to Beth Moore speaking at IF:Gathering 2020 and IF:Lead 2020, Jennie’s partnerships and displays of affinity with her are far too numerous to list (just Google Jennie Allen Beth Moore, and you’ll see what I mean) and have been going on for years. A couple of recent examples:

A webinar with Beth Moore:

An IF:Gathering video with Beth Moore:

Mutual admiration on Twitter: 

And here’s Jennie at a meeting “with twenty women leaders [including Bianca Olthoff] under the wisdom of Christine Caine and Joyce Meyer.”

Jennie has worked with and has been a featured speaker several times (including 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020) at the Catalyst conference, which is not only co-ed (so Jennie is teaching/preaching to men) but is also plagued by doctrinal problems and has featured a plethora of false teachers including founder Andy Stanley, Brian Houston, female “pastor” Charlotte Gambill, Brandon and Jen Hatmaker, and Rebekah Lyons among many others.

Just a few further examples of Jennie preaching to men herself include:

Jennie preaching the chapel service at Dallas Theological Seminary (Stopping The Spiral – Mrs. Jennie Allen | February 15, 2022 – Men clearly visible in the audience at 1:47)

Jennie preaching at The Porch (United Together | Jennie Allen, September 15, 2021 – Men clearly visible in the audience at 4:52)

Jennie preaching the chapel service at Oklahoma Baptist University (Jennie Allen – March 10, 2021 – OBU Chapel Message, Streamed live on March 10, 2021 – All students are required to attend chapel.)

Jennie preaching at Liberty University’s convocation (chapel) (LU Convocation – Mar.6, 10:30 AM, Streamed Live on March 6, 2020 – Jennie begins preaching at 40:59) Starting at 38:40 the man introducing Jennie says, “…I believe Jennie has a message for every single one of us…I’m so excited to sit under her teaching because I don’t believe…the principles that she has for us are just for women…I want you to know, especially the men in this room, that I believe that what God has brought through this messenger at this very moment is not just for the ladies in the room. It would be very closed minded for us to think that…every time a man shows up here that’s just for the men in the room and every time a woman comes, that’s just for the other [women]…”

I can’t seem to locate a statement of faith for Jennie or what church she currently attends, so you’ll have to infer what she believes by reading her books and blog, but I have learned a few specifics about her theology. Jennie is a proponent of the unbiblical Enneagram. Jennie believes in extra-biblical revelation, and started IF:Gathering because “a voice from the sky” told her to. Jennie often focuses on “dreaming” (in the sense of future goals or creative aspirations), a concept foreign to Scripture. I downloaded her “Dream Guide” for 2019 and found some of her statements troubling:

 It really is as simple as this. Do the best you can in this world and as you’re going, love God and give Him away to people.

“Do the best you can in this world”? Where does the Bible say that? “And as you’re going, love God”? Like it’s an afterthought or an accessory to your life of “doing the best you can”? No. It really is as simple as this: Repent and believe the gospel, and walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

When we create and thrive for the good of others, you’re participating in God’s redemptive work of making the world better. 

Again, the Bible doesn’t teach this anywhere. “God’s redemptive work” is not “making the world better.” The Bible clearly says that “the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants,” and, “the world is passing away along with its desires.” Furthermore, “God’s redemptive work” is to save people. That’s the entire point of the whole Bible. His redemptive work was completed in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to save sinners. And if you want to “participate in God’s redemptive work,” you don’t “create and thrive” (whatever that means) “for the good of others,” you share the gospel with them and disciple them as we’re commanded to in the Great Commission.

..this is our goal, to create beauty out of chaos and thrive.

Also not in the Bible anywhere. Also not our goal. As Christians, our goal is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, pursue holiness, and carry out the Great Commission. All of which are in the Bible.

Dreaming is an incredible privilege. It is a stewardship of the opportunities God has put in front of us.

Not to sound like a broken record, but, again, none of this is in the Bible, and the second sentence doesn’t even make logical sense. To “steward” something is to use it wisely and for a godly purpose. To do something with it to the glory of God. Sitting around “dreaming” isn’t doing anything. In fact, since “dreaming” isn’t something we’re instructed to do in Scripture, it’s actually squandering the “opportunities God has put in front of us” – opportunities like sharing the gospel, serving others, studying our Bibles, prayer, worship, etc. – which are things Scripture instructs us to do, in favor of sitting around relying on our dreams.

At the end of the “Dream Guide” are several “conversation card” questions about how you can improve yourself in the coming year. One of them is pretty good: “How could you better plug into and serve the local church?”. The rest are fairly narcissistic, and there’s nothing about studying Scripture, growing in holiness, prayer, or repenting of sin. Additionally Jennie quotes only one passage of Scripture in the entire booklet, and she quotes it from The Message, one of the worst versions (it’s a paraphrase, not a translation) of the Bible out there.

And regarding “being a strong woman in the church,” while Jennie mostly stays vague and neutral, she does touch on a few biblical concepts:

18:35- “What my husband heard from me was: My wife has strong gifts and a strong passion for God, and she wants to serve Him, and she’s not because of me.” As if she couldn’t passionately serve God with her gifts by being a godly wife and serving and submitting to her husband.

22:31- “I know that the obvious question that everybody wants to know the answer of is ‘What about roles and positions in the church?’…But I think we oftentimes get so distracted by that…that we are missing all the work that God has for us. And, you know, my view on that is every local church is going to have a different opinion about that…So wherever you go, Scripture just says, ‘Don’t be divisive,’…but the bigger issue to me is the way we view each other, the way we value each other…” Notice Jennie uses no Scripture to answer the “obvious question” everybody wants to know the answer to, she only gives her personal opinion that we are getting “distracted” by this legitimate, biblical question, and that the bigger issue – to her – is not what the Bible says about the role of women in the church, but “the way we value each other”. It’s a problem that “every local church is going to have a different opinion” about the role of women in the church because there is only one position on that issue that’s biblical. The local church doesn’t get to have an opinion on that issue, the issue is decided by Scripture and the church is to submit to and uphold Scripture’s teaching on it. Furthermore, Scripture does not just say, “Don’t be divisive.” Scripture is abundantly clear what the role of women in the church is to be, and both individual women and church leaders are to obey it.

The fact that Jennie consistently and unrepentantly platforms female “pastors” and women who preach to men at IF speaks much more clearly about her personal (and unbiblical) opinion on the role of women in the church than her finessing answer here.

27:21- The interviewer asks Jennie, “What does submission mean?” Her response is much too long to quote, so I’ll summarize. The first words out of Jennie’s mouth are, “That word? To me?” She then proceeds to give a not altogether unbiblical answer about how she loves submission, but it is mainly her opinion and personal experience with her own husband, not Scripture, and primarily centers around the fact that if she brings something to her husband for a decision and he decides unbiblically, he will have to answer to God for it, not her, and that she will have no accountability to God for any sin she might commit in the process. “It’s gonna be awesome!” she chortles, as the audience laughs along, as though there’s something funny about her husband standing before God and giving an account for his decision, and her blaming him for it. Jennie then pivots to describing how “that word [submit] has been used like a pistol to [many women’s] heads” and says “so the fact that that word has a bad rap makes sense to me…Here’s the problem, guys, we’re divided, but there’s reasons on it for both sides.” She seems to be saying that submitting or not submitting is not based on Scripture’s commands, but on personal experiences and situations, and that both submitting and refusing to submit are equally valid choices depending on our own experiences, feelings, and opinions. (And, no, I am not saying women should “submit” to being abused. That’s not the biblical definition of submission.)

Jennie seems like a lovely, genuinely caring person, and earnest when she speaks and writes, but none of those things qualify someone to teach Scripture. And in this case, Jennie is disqualified by her errant theology and unbiblical practices. I regret that I’m forced to recommend that you not receive teaching from Jennie Allen, her materials and conferences, or anyone connected to the IF organization.


Additional Resources:

IF:Gathering:

Why You should just say “NO” to IF:Gathering at A Worthy Walk

Important questions for church leaders at Berean Research

Almost: Our Encouragement and Concern with the IF:Gathering and
Almost: an addendum since releasing this episode at Sheologians

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3, the IF:Gathering at The End Time

If:Gathering: more information, including video claiming direct revelation at The End Time

IF:Gathering – updated review four years later at The End Time

If:Gathering: more information at The End Time

Thinking of attending an If:Gathering? Please read this, it’s eye-opening at The End Time

Book Reviews:

A Review of Jennie Allen’s “Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul”

Other:

Review of Jennie Allen/Beth Moore webinar, and the ‘big announcement’ revealed at The End Time

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3,

Read Psalm 119:33-48

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. Notice the structure of 33-39. How does each sentence start? Is it a declaration, a question, an exclamation, or an imperative (request or command)? Who is doing the requesting? To whom? For whom? (This will be easier to see if you’ll make a verse by verse list, starting with “Teach me…” in 33.) Does verse 40 start the same way? What about the end of 40? How is this passage “bookended” (beginning of 33, end of 40)? What is the main idea of these imperatives?

Now notice how each verse (33-39) concludes. We’ve seen the initial imperative (“Do this”) of each verse. The structure of the conclusion of each verse is “…so that ______.” How would you fill in that blank with a description of the conclusions of the verses? (Again, this is easier if you make a verse by verse list, starting with, “and I will keep it” in 33.) What is the main idea of these conclusions?

How does this passage demonstrate – both in content and in structure – that God must take the initiative in illuminating the psalmist’s understanding of the Word, and that, when God does this, blessings follow? How does the structure reinforce the content? Does the psalmist want God to take this initiative? Why? What are the blessings that result from God increasing the psalmist’s understanding of, love for, and obedience to His Word? What are your thoughts on God taking the initiative in illuminating your understanding of His Word? What are some blessings you’ve experienced as God has increased your understanding of, love for, and obedience to His Word?

3. In verse 37, what might the psalmist have meant by “worthless things” in his life? Could they, in general, have been some of the same worthless things in your life? Think about the things on which you spend your time. What are some worthless things you need to ask God to turn your eyes from in order that He might give you a richer life in His ways? What would He need to turn your eyes and your focus to in order to accomplish this? Connect the thought in verse 37 with these verses in John.

4. What key word do verses 41, 47, and 48 all have in common? This is the first appearance of this word in Psalm 119. Notice how it bookends this section (41-48). Who is the initiator of love (41)? What is the psalmist’s response (47-48) to God’s love coming to him (41)? How does 1 John 4:19 echo this concept?

5. Until this section (41-48) the psalmist’s main focus has been on his own personal relationship to God’s Word, and, through God’s Word, to God Himself. He has focused primarily on God, and secondarily on himself (e.g. “teach me,” “lead me,” etc.). In this passage, he brings others into the mix. Who are the others he speaks of in 42 and 46?

42- How does the content of God’s Word help us to answer scoffers and taunters? How does the Christian character that studying the Word builds help us to answer scoffers and taunters?

46- How do both the content of God’s Word and the character His Word builds in us help us to answer or testify to His goodness before those who have more power or influence than we do, or are intimidating? Why is the psalmist confident he will not ultimately be put to shame (46-47- Remember, read all the way to the end of the sentence.)? What if the “king” ridicules (or worse) the psalmist’s beliefs and testimony, or mocks God?

Explain how our confidence and security hinges on Who or what we trust in.

6. Verse 43 is the psalmist’s first use of the word “hope”. Some people believe, and some religions teach that our only hope of Heaven or being right with God is in keeping God’s rules, being a “good person,” or for our good deeds to outweigh the bad. Is that what the psalmist is saying in this verse? Why or why not, and how do you know? If an unsaved friend tried to use this verse to justify her belief that God is happy with her because she keeps His rules, how would you answer her? Consider verse 43 in light of John 6:68.

7. What is the difference between the “wide place” in 44-45 and the “wide gate” in Matthew 7:13-14? Can you walk in the “wide place” if you enter through the “wide gate”?

8. What have you learned from today’s passage about God being the initiator of illumination and love? What about other spiritual matters? Can you think of any spiritual matter in which man is the initiator rather than God?


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse

Complementarianism

Sammiches of Oppression and Subjugation

Obviously, there are many, many serious issues in the church and world today, and if you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you know I have a good track record of dealing with those issues on a regular basis in a serious way: Bible study…the gospel…sin…obedience to Scripture…discernment…and so on.

But sometimes, as human beings, we just need a momentary break from the serious to be silly and laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that just as there is a time to weep, there is an equally valid, and righteous, and good time to laugh. Sometimes I talk to Christians who seem to believe that we’re supposed to have our sense of humor amputated when we get saved, and that’s just not true. Proverbs 17:22 says:

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

We need to laugh. We need moments of of refreshing.

If you disagree with any of that, or you just don’t like, or are easily offended by humor for whatever reason, this would be a good time to stop reading and go do something you enjoy, or tackle that “to do” list, or whatever. You’ve been warned. No complainies.

In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid them, there are feminists out there who can’t wrap their tiny little closed minds around the fact that godly women actually find joy in loving and serving our husbands and families. They seem to think – out loud, vociferously, and frequently, particularly on social media – that the only reason a woman might do such a thing is because she’s been brainwashed, downtrodden, or forced to.

So, I did a thing on Twitter the other day, and I thought it might give you a smile…

Everything – I mean, everything – has to be caveated and explained to death these days (are y’all as sick of that as I am?)…

I kid you not, somebody asked me what my motive was for saying, “I *are* one,” instead of, “I *am* one.” Humor, my friend. Humor.

Of course, then everybody had to get in on the act. Back off, people. Can’t you tell I’m a humor professional?

Men. They’re just lost without a helper.

Leslie is usually so on the ball with these sorts of things. It’s not like her to leave out an ingredient.

I started to say, “That heifer is out of the barn,” but I’m sure that’s sexist…to somebody.

These men will never learn…

That’s right, just keep on wallowing in your wrongy-wrongness of manhood.

Yes, three slices. That’s why you’re still aspiring, honey.

Everybody’s a comedian. But since he’s a MAN, I’ll let him have the last word, as is fitting.

Now get in the kitchen and make your man a sammich of oppression and subjugation, ladies. (My husband said it was OK for me to say that. :0)