Do We Even Know What Is Evil?

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. –Proverbs 8:13

Do we hate evil? Most people will automatically state that they do. When we think of evilness, we think of the killing of innocent people, being cruel to others, or other heinous actions. But do we hate the other evil that we would consider lesser sins?

Do we condone lesser evils?

Many times we are okay with evil as long as it’s not too bad. We might say, “It’s not something I would do, but if that’s what someone is going to do, then that’s their problem.” The problem with this attitude is that we have just told ourselves its okay if I don’t do it. Later down the road it will become more and more okay in our minds. Until one day, for some, it becomes okay for them to start that sin. Let me be clear, we should not hate the person, but the sin we should hate.

Do we even know what is considered evil?

This is the point I want to discuss a little bit more. Do we even know what is sinful, aka evil? LifeWay Research did a survey and found that 53% of the people found have only read a few passages or less of the Bible.

If we don’t read the book that tells us what is right or wrong, we are never going to know what is evil. If those individuals are rearing kids, and never give an example of being in the word on a daily basis, those children will likely not get the Biblical truth. They will get their moral compass somewhere else, most likely, somewhere that’s not good. Then the moral compass becomes more and more corrupted as the generations go.

As you can see in the above graph, there are many excuses for not reading the Bible more. Maybe you have used these excuses. “I don’t prioritize it,” well at least they’re being honest, but it’s God word, it should be a top priority. “I don’t have time,” only 10-20 minutes a day to read a few chapters, but we have time to watch tv for 4 hours every might. “I’ve read enough of it,” well you can never read enough, each time you read it you will pick up something new that you missed other times. “I don’t agree with what it says,” you don’t agree with God, as John Crist says, you need to check your heart. “I don’t read books,” well I bet you stare at your phone for hours reading stuff on it, there is a Bible app. “I’m intimidated by it’s size,” sometimes I’m intimidated by a foot long sub, but it take it down one bite at a time. “I don’t own a copy,” once again there is an app. “I use other spiritual books,” oh the books written be men going off the Bible? Yeah, I would go straight to the source. Then the “none of these excuses”, the my excuse is so bad I don’t want to say what it is.

There are hundreds of excuses we can make not to read the Bible. But that’s what we need to be reading so we know what is right and wrong. It’s a book we should be reading through our whole lives, not like a novel where we read it once and then throw it on the shelf. Each time through, new insights will be revealed. The Bible references itself so much, that gives new connections every single time read through. It doesn’t have to all be read at once. Reading a couple of chapters a day will do wonders!

As men, if we are going to be leading our families, we need to stay away from evil and not let it in our households. To do that, we need to be in the book that tells us what is evil, and we should hate it and not want to be near it!

Works Cited:
Bob Smietana, “LifeWay Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It”, LifeWayresearch.com, April 25, 2017

Thursday Thoughts: Why I Don’t Use My Bible App for Bible Reading.

As our phones and tablets are integral in every aspect of our lives (seriously, I turn my lights on with my phone), Bibles are also making their way onto our phones/tablets. Working the sound booth at church, I have a good view of what people use, and quite a few are using an electronic devise for their Bible (or games. . . yeah I see you).

As electronic reading devices have become more popular over the years, you hear people say I rather have a book in my hand. I want to feel the pages and smell the book. Full disclosure, I fall into this category. That musty smell and flipping through the pages lets me get my mindset that I’m going to be reading. Flipping through the pages is almost an encouragement to keep moving forward, and as you see the pages go from a stack on the right side to piling up on the left side of the book, there is a sense of accomplishment. For me, I could read twice as much on my tablet and feel like I’ve read way less than if I flipped through a book.

So what does my need to smell musty pages have to do with Bible reading?

Per a Dartmouth study, what you read on a screen compared to paper does have a difference when it comes to recollection. The study found that screen reading helped with learning concrete facts, reading off paper helped with abstract learning. So if you want to remember dates, the computer screen shows better results, while wanting to learn why those events occurred, reading off paper is better.

Screen reading has also shown that people tend to read faster or more likely skim, therefore not picking up as much information while reading. Reading off the screen also creates less of an experience making it where people tend to have difficulty reading long text, which leads to minimal comprehension.

Once again, what does this have to do with Bible reading?

First, our Bible reading should be about quality, not quantity. People are more likely to skim and speed read when using a computer screen, which leads to less comprehension. If I’m wanting to get the most from my Bible reading time, I want to comprehend it as much as I can.

Second, to understand what is going on and the why of events, it’s been shown that reading off paper gives better results. Can God speak to us and guide us if we’re on an electronic devise? Yes, but getting yourself in a better environment to do that is only going to help you understand what you’re reading and get a deeper meaning from it. We don’t go read our Bible usually in a noisy room.

Third, for me I can picture where I read something. If I need to find a verse or passage, I have a lot better chance to find it in my Bible by remember what side of the Bible or which column it was on.

Do you only use your hard copy Bible?

Nope, just as I mentioned in my third point up above, sometimes you have to find a passage and if you don’t know that verse or general location, the Bible app comes in handy, it’s far easier to search for terms or a phrase, than search your whole Bible.

In reality, it comes down to what you’re most comfortable with. I prefer to be able to jot notes down while I read. I like to make arrows and draw those points to other verses. I find it more difficult to do that on the apps. I’m also more likely to remember ideas I jot down, instead of when I type it. So for me, I’ll be sticking to my physical Bible when I do my reading.

Works Cited
Ferris Jabr, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” Scientific American April 11, 2013

Maria Gilje Torheim , “Do we read differently on paper than on a screen?” Phys.org, September 21, 2017

Michael Lazar, “Study Finds Difference In Recollection From Screen Reading Vs. Paper Reading”, huffpost.com, May 30, 2016

Our Foundation

This weekend it was finally nice out, so I was starting to get the itch to do some yard work. I noticed the retaining wall I had built a couple of years ago for the garden was starting to fall back in and was very uneven. When I started taking off the landscaping bricks, the ground was mush and the bottom row of bricks had sunk into the ground and were tilted back. My foundation was mush and couldn’t uphold the weight of everyday pressure. Although I had laid down some pea gravel a few years ago for those bricks to sit on, those tiny pieces of rock were not enough to handle the day to day pressure.

That’s a lot like our spiritual life. We do some Bible reading here or there. We pray sometimes at a meal or when our day is going bad. Church attendance happens when we don’t have anything better going on. I get it. . . we have busy schedules and we intend to do the right thing.

Men. . . we have to be building a good foundation for our spiritual life. If we don’t, just like what happened to my wall, the foundation will give way. The wall against sin will start to get uneven, sections will cave in, until the whole wall collapses and there is no defense against the adversary. Just like the picture at the top shows, we need a good solid foundation, we need solid rock to build on. How do we build that foundation?

We have to be in the word of God. We need to be regularly praying. We need to be in the church pew. We need to be keeping our thoughts on God. We need to choose our friends wisely.

After getting married my whole routine was thrown off and I could actually feel that my relationship with God was not the same. After a few months of marriage, I started getting up early before my wife did. That gave me time to read my Bible and pray, without any interruptions. My wife noticed that I was handling the stress of my job better. I was better prepared for the day and the pressures that would come. My mindset was on God first thing in the morning. That helps my thought life so I’m not letting the enemy penetrate my defense.

Without building a good foundation, we can never grow in our spiritual life. Some issue will always come along and destroy our weak wall and we’ll have to start over again. Our spiritual growth is just like math, you can’t do calculus, without the years of learning how to do addition/subtraction, then multiplication/division, then algebra, and finally calculus. We start with the basics, build on that, and then build on that, and continue to add on. However, all this knowledge does nothing, if there is no foundation to hold it. Make the investment to build a strong foundation, so your wall can withstand the pressure over time.