Thursday, October 28

Getting a Little Too Friendly

How about this for a movie?

The scene opens with the old, neighborhood busybody perched in her kitchen window. Through her peering eyes, we see people milling about in the streets of a small village on a warm summer’s evening.

But over there, over on the street corner, under the glow of the lamppost, stands one young man in a state of agitation.

Pacing in and out of the lamppost’s glow, nervously looking over his shoulder, the young man fidgets with his shirt, smoothes out his hair, and adjusts his coat.

Why? Because a certain woman, known for her friendliness, lives in the house on this corner. Her usual haunt is under this lamppost, as she watches for easy marks to stroll by. She sets her trap like the proverbial spider spins its web and entices its prey.

She is in her house and now emerges. Not what one would call high society, she is bold and shameless, not only in her manner but also in her attire.  

Catching a glimpse of her, the young man wipes the sweat from his brow as his heart pounds faster in his chest.

The two of them exchange simple greetings. Then, the woman throws her arms around the young man, kisses him, looks him straight in the eye, and says, “I saw you from my window, so I came out here to meet you!”

Spinning her web of words, she tells him she has covered her bed with fresh, Egyptian cotton sheets, has put on her most expensive perfume, and has lit scented candles. “Why don’t you come on in?” says the clichéd spider to the fly. “We’ll make love all night long. We’ll be happy in each other’s arms. My husband is gone on a long trip, and he won’t be back for weeks.”

Then, she leans over and whispers to him, tickling his ears with her flattering words. Like trapped prey, the young man succumbs to the temptation, and the two of them disappear into the house, as the woman shuts the trapdoor.

And the end result? “He is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks into a snare.” (Job 18:8 NKJV)

This is not a plot for a movie that I made up. This is real life, taken right out of the pages of Scripture and Lynnified from Proverbs 7:6-23.

Another passage (Prov. 2:16-20 NLT) encapsulates this whole scene: “Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the adulterous woman. She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God. Entering her house leads to death; it is the road to hell. The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life. Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous.”

But this scene is not just about succumbing to physical temptation. The temptress can be anything that woos us, batting its flirty eyelashes at us in an attempt to drag us away from God’s protection and into some sin. When we vacillate, we step in and out of His light, just like the young man under the lamppost.

What are you standing too close to…adultery, porn, gossip, pride, anger, cheating, lying, or anything else that God says is a no-no? Is it beckoning you with its come-hither finger of temptation? If you do not stay in God’s Light, you will succumb to sin’s seduction, finding yourself in its chamber of darkness.

When we fail to fill our hearts with God’s Word and stand on its promises, we end up saying to ourselves, “Oh, if only I had listened! If only I had not demanded my own way! Oh, why wouldn’t I take advice? Why was I so stupid?” (Prov. 5:12-13 TLB)

Is there a temptress luring you?

When once one has tasted the dainty morsels of heaven’s banquet table, the temptations of the world’s fare will never suffice.


Monday, October 25

Overcome Evil with Good

Today is the last of the Romans series. I have thoroughly enjoyed having these guests participate in the series and I hope you have, too. I want to thank each and every one for adding their special touch to the posts.

This post is written by another cyber-friend Wanda Winter-Gutierrez. Please stop by her site, The Journey by Wanda. 

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21 NKJV)

When Lynn asked me if I wanted to blog on Romans 12, I chose the 21st verse, “Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” I have been a Christian for 50 plus years and have learned a few things and have a pile more things to learn, but one thing I know for sure is that Romans 12:21 is easier read than practiced.

As a recovered, emotionally abused woman, I have faced one of my greatest challenges, which is being kind to unkind people. Along with that, I have had to learn to stop allowing others’ moods, actions, and words to control my actions. I am a work in progress.

There is a little fable about a kind, old sage who waded into the river everyday and prayed. One day in the midst of his loving prayers, he saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water and cupped his hands to carry it ashore. As he placed the spider on the ground, it stung him. Unknowingly, his prayers diluted the poison.

The next day, the same thing happened. On the third day, the kind man was knee deep, and sure enough, there was the spider, legs frantic in the water. As the man went to lift the creature yet again, the spider said, “Can’t you see that I will sting you every time, because that is what I do? Why do you keep lifting me?” And the kind man cupped his hands under the spider, replying, “Because this is what I do.”

What I am learning is that, when we go through transitions (death/illness/pain/divorce/abuse/being deceived, etc.), we have a choice to allow the situation to use us...or we can use the situation to get deeper into God’s perfect will for our lives and, at long last, be the person He created us to be.

My goal is to spend enough time in the Word that I know exactly what I will do, no matter what they do. The Bible calls it “purity of heart.” It is my choice. As long as I am on this earth, I will know or be in relationships with people just like me who carry baggage in their wounded souls. They are capable of very unkind things. My choice is to re-act out of my own woundedness...or respond from a place of peace to do and say the right thing.

The Message Bible interprets this scripture like this, “Don’t let evil get the best of you: get the best of evil by doing good.”

NOTE TO SELF: Regardless of how others act, I will do what I do...and let God handle them and the poison they try to inflict. I no longer want to just act kind...I want to be predictably kind. I choose. It is my decision.


Thursday, October 21

Heaping Coals of Fire

Today, I offer you the next post by another cyber friend, Michele Archer, who brings us the next verse in our series. Please stop by her site M. L. Archer’s Published Stories.

“...thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” (Rom. 12:20 KJV)

Wow! That sounds uncomfortable! Yup, just what I want to do…go to someone’s house and have them barbecue my hair.

Not only does that sound awful, the place it is written in scripture makes it sound completely absurd. Here, check out the King James Version…

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

As an average person reading this, I have to be pulling out my hair. In the two verses surrounding verse 20, we’re told not to give into vengeance; we’re told to overcome evil with good. But what is so good about blistering someone’s head? 

One might suggest it’s a problem with the KJV English. All that 1611 Elizabethan crazy talk...etc... Well, let’s see how later versions handled this…

The New International Version says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’”

Ouch! Not only do we have coals, now they are BURNING coals!

Below we have a translation where they attempted to give the understanding of this phrase. However, I think they missed it.

The New Living Translation says, Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, ‘I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,’ says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.’ Do not let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

Is shame to be the goal of our actions here? I don’t think so. You see, the Bible is an eastern book and to the extent that we understand it that way will greatly determine our actions when it comes to following the Word of God.

It’s a very simple tradition in play here. In the ancient villages, sometimes two women might have a flint for starting fires in the morning. Once they had their fires going, they would fill a clay jar with coals from the fire, wrap it in cloth so it would not burn, and then a young man would carry the jar on his head from house to house bringing a coal to each home.

This was not an unpleasant task.  During cold mornings, the pot of hot coal warmed him through and through.

The meaning of the scripture is not that we do good so that we make someone feel bad or ashamed, but because our goodness will warm them. And hopefully they will want to draw near the on-going fire of God’s great love.


Monday, October 18

Avenge Not Yourselves

The next verse in our series is written by another cyber friend, Julie Arduini, which is entitled Avenge Not Yourselves. Check out Julie’s like at the end of the post and hop over to her site.

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 KJV)

The world doesn’t know what to do with this verse because it goes against everything we’ve been taught as a society. Even children dealing with injustice shout to the offender, “I’ll get you back!” 

God’s way is different. God is love. God is peace. God also gets angry. God takes care of His kids. We just have to give Him a chance. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary through Bible Gateway’s public domain explains Romans 12:19 this way:

“The last verse suggests what is not easily understood by the world; that in all strife and contention, those that revenge are conquered, and those that forgive are conquerors. Be not overcome of evil. Learn to defeat ill designs against you, either to change them, or to preserve your own peace.”

Our family had our share of experiences where we were betrayed, harmed, or otherwise handed a situation where people suggested, even Christians out of love for us, that we seek revenge. We nearly lost our daughter due to doctor error. Our insurance company gave us no mercy when it came to denial of needed therapies. “Friends” smiled to our faces and stabbed us in the back with gossip and innuendo. It’s human to want to take that wrath and seek revenge.

Thing is, doing so would be taking power that isn’t ours to have. One visual that comes to mind, that in no way gives God the justice He deserves, is comic book heroes and villains. The villains are always after the power to do what they want with it. It’s not their power to have and it never ends well. Usually taking power not meant for them brings more injustice, peril, and the cycle of wrath and revenge is there to keep going.

The betrayals, injuries, and the like hurt our family in ways I can never adequately explain. I had a mentor who explained the Biblical response as God laid out in Romans 12:19 in a way I understand. She shared that all God is asking me (or you) to do in those things is to go to the couch and rest. Let Him go out the door and fight the battle. It is His to fight.

When He returns after a day of fighting on your behalf, He wants to join us on the couch.  He’d like us to allow Him to put His head on our shoulder or lap and just tell us about His day. It’s an intimate picture and seems like such a contrast to wrath and revenge. But that time He’s in battle, while we are at peace and rest, He’s using the power He is, was, and always will be. He’s taking no prisoners in an epic battle against darkness He’s already won. 

Vengeance truly is His, and it’s a temptation we need to keep at His feet so we can allow God to be God and literally rest in His promises. Doing as the verse says makes us a true conqueror. As someone who watched miraculous outcomes from devastating circumstances where vengeance was a theme, Romans 12:19 isn’t just a verse.  It’s a command.

Visit Julie at The Surrendered Scribe.


Friday, October 15

How To Live Peaceably In A Not So Peaceful World

Today, we are back to our series. This post is by another cyber friend Deborah McCarragher. Please hop over and visit her site, which is listed at the end of her post.

How To Live Peaceably In A Not So Peaceful World

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)

Don’t you just hate to be in the middle of a conflict? Or how about living in a home where there is strife and tension? I don’t know about you, but I desperately want to live in a tranquil environment. I admit it – when all is said and done, I’m a peacemaker! 

That being said, I realize I can’t always control my surroundings, but I surely have a pivotal role to play in how I relate to others when peace becomes elusive. But what happens when peace is lacking in our other family, personal, and work relationships? What if it isn’t possible to keep the peace?

In the book of Romans, Paul is addressing believers in Rome concerning their Christian duty to God, to themselves, and to their fellow man. After teaching on the believer’s position in Christ, he exhorts them to live a transformed life, thus bringing glory to God. 

Beginning in chapter 12, verse 1, Paul pleads with them to lay down their lives on the altar, as it were, for the sake of Christ. By giving over their own bodies as sacrifices, they would relinquish any right to their own destiny or desires. Their offering is purely voluntary, and thus, honoring to God.

The great bible commentator, Matthew Henry had this to say about the Romans passage: “Study the things that make for peace…peace without purity is the peace of the devil’s palace.”

When we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), we have done so without offending God and wounding our conscience. We have a dire responsibility – a holy charge if you will – to be at peace with all men, but especially in the Lord’s house. This charge conveys the urgency of nothing being left undone on our part, in order to preserve that peace.  

If you want to focus your worship on God, you’ll have to make peace with your fellow man. Matthew 5:23 says, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Jesus declared that when you are rightly related to God, you will do things differently from the world’s ways. He had just taught the famous Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes that surrounded Him on the hillside, including the beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”  

Why are the peacemakers blessed? Because they are submitted to God – under His mighty hand – useful for the Kingdom. They have rightly rejected their right to their own way. They have peaceably humbled themselves unto God (James 4).

Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…” Peace and holiness go hand in hand.  

Proverbs 4:23 declares, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Psalm 24 says only “he who has clean hands and a pure heart” can stand in the presence of God. 

Preserving peace often entails a sacrifice on our part. Sometimes, it means “biting our tongue” and swallowing unpleasant words to keep from spewing them out. We are to impart grace to the hearers (Eph. 4:29), and season our speech with salt, knowing how to answer those who are curious about our walk with the Lord, thus encouraging dialog in a peaceful manner. Remember, we are still a “work in progress” and in the process of sanctification.

Faith and patience will enable you to follow after peace and holiness. If God brings to mind something that He wants you to do to foster peace in a situation, be sure to never discard a conviction. Don’t have an obstinate attitude – realize that you will be held accountable to God for dismissing a perfectly good solution to “making peace” with your brother.

Finally, here are four brief things to keep in mind with regards to living in peace

Don’t be judgmental
Look for common ground
Pick your battles wisely
Always defer to the Holy Spirit’s leading

Remember, others are depending on you to be a peacemaker. If you are God’s child, you have all you need to be successful within God’s sovereign plan. Make it a point to do all you can to foster true peace, that God would receive all the glory!
Deborah is the author of a Christian inspirational book for women titled “Mission Possible.” The book addresses living in a spiritually-uneven household. You can visit her website at Alabaster Box Publishing for more information about her book, and visit her blog at God Mission Possible.


Thursday, October 14

World Blog Action Day 2010

 Sukandia Photography @BaliPhotoBlog

Today is World Blog Action Day. As thousands of bloggers around the world will be blogging to millions of people, they will be speaking out on the topic of water. I decided to take part in this action day as we, here in our city, have a great company that I’d like to share with you. They also have a wonderful partnering company that I’ll tell you about also.

Statistics tell us that a child dies every fifteen seconds due to unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene. Every year, an estimated 19 million children under five die from diarrheal disease. This year, about 2,200,000 children will die of dehydration caused by diarrhea. Eighty per cent of them in the first two years of their lives.

And this company is helping...

Phone: 502.568.6342
Fax: 502.568.4500
Address: 1500 Arlington Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Executive Director, Mark Hogg 

This information was taken from their site...Edge Outreach

EDGE OUTREACH trains, equips, and mobilizes ordinary people in sustainable solutions for clean water, health and hygiene, and sanitation, around the world. We work with individuals and organizations offering hands on training in scalable water solutions, and hand pump repair.

We value integrity, excellence, the community of faith, prayer, passion, partnership, imagination, celebration, devotion, learning and teaching.

They manufacture a water purification system. Here’s an illustration of how their system works...


EDGE’s Water Training is hands-on training. We teach ordinary people, missionaries, mission teams, relief workers and students to test water, implement community health education and sanitation programs, build mini water treatment plants, utilize electric pumps in the field, and repair hand pumps.

We realize the way to solve the world’s water problems is not a single one. We believe we must be well equipped in a variety of areas to empower indigenous people to provide pure water for themselves.

EDGE also works closely with another wonderful ministry, called the Shoeman Water Project.

What is the Shoeman Water Project?

Taken from their
Shoeman Water Projects
Eagle Wings Ministries
400 Tumulty, Manchester, MO 63021
636 -751 -8197

Shoeman Water Projects is a ministry of Eagle Wings Ministries, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, working to alleviate as much human suffering as possible and in the process, maximize fun with a splashing good time.

Shoeman Water Projects picks up donated used and new shoes year round from businesses, churches, schools, and shoe drives. Once collected, the shoes are given a second life when the Shoeman exports the donated shoes to retailers in the developing world.

The resale of shoes provides jobs and affordable footware. Funds generated from the export of shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair mirco businesses bringing clean, fresh water to those who thirst.

Having partnered with Water for Kenya, the Shoeman has drilled 140 Kenya wells serving about 130,000 people. Edge Outreach of Louisville, Kentucky is also a charity partner with Shoeman Water Projects extending the water aid for those who thrust with purification systems and pump repair.

Shoeman Water Projects works joyfully with all people who have shoes and believe in getting water to those who thirst.

While investigating the water crisis in Haiti, engineering contacts at Washington University introduced Shoeman Water Projects to EDGE Outreach. In 2010, Shoeman Water Projects has partnered with EDGE Outreach as their main water delivery partner.

Learn more about Shoeman Water Projects by visiting their site.


Monday, October 11

Be Careful What You Do

Today, we are back to our series in Romans 12. I bring you another cyber friend, Michael Clark. If you get a chance, hop over and visit one of his sites: Shadows of the Cross or Daily Signs of Hope.

Be Careful What You Do

“Be careful what you do what is right in the eyes of everybody.”
(Romans 12:17b NIV)

(Consider in advance what is right – beautiful).

This is a command to live a “beautiful” life. We are called upon to be faithful in the sight of all men by living the kind of life that brings glory to the Lord. The life we live should be a thing of beauty to those who observe it and to the Lord, Who also sees every move we make. Nothing is more God honoring and beautiful than a faithful life!

One of the greatest compliments we could ever receive is being a man/woman of integrity.

It’s a powerful testimony.

God calls us to be living sacrifices. If you are anything like me, you might be saying about now, “Okay, Lord, I am with You so far, but what does it look like to be a Living Sacrifice? What will it look like on Monday morning and what will it look like when I get home today?”

The Apostle Paul knew what we were thinking when he wrote to this church in Rome. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the LIVING part of the sacrifice is revealed. We are not to be a dead sacrifice, which we would prefer, but a living, acting, being sacrifice!

Our testimony is to be a living sacrifice, one that points men to God, and for that to happen, we must always strive to do what is right by God and, in so, we will be seen as doing what is right in the eyes of men. Men may not listen to our words, but they do watch our actions, and how they see us may be how they interpret what we truly believe rather than our words do.

We may be the only translation of a Bible they will read. We need to preplan our responses to situations and to life. We need to show that which is visibly, outwardly, and tangibly good so that others may see God through us.

“Do right it in the eyes of everybody” that would include yourself. Not only should your testimony and actions be a light beacon, seen right in the eyes of others, but your testimony and actions should be such that you can live with yourself, as well. 

A literal rendering of this verse could be, “Stand for what is right in the sight of all.” A true Christian should be known for their stand for godly choices. There is an implication of spiritual integrity in this verse.

“In the sight of all” implies that this integrity is a visible characterization of your personality. The maintenance of integrity is somewhat of a go-no-go endeavor. We consider a bridge to have integrity if it can hold the load for which it is designed. It only takes a small flaw for the bridge to buckle and fall under its rated load. 

Likewise, there is no room for the acceptance of a small flaw in personal integrity, since when it becomes known before men, integrity no longer exists. A love that is without hypocrisy is characterized by flawless personal integrity. Such an individual is not going to be seen doing ungodly things in private, simply because those ungodly things are not done. The implication here is not to hide our ungodliness. The implication is to live a life that does not need to be hidden but is rather visible to all people as one of honesty and integrity.

It is my conviction that we Christians must work harder and be more deliberate in cultivating an image of integrity and respect. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Luke tells us that, immediately after Pentecost, the Christian believers enjoyed “the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:47). It should be our goal to be like Titus who was “praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel” (2 Corinthians 8:18) and Demetrius who was “well spoken of by everyone” (3 John 12).

A positive image in the community or within your circle of influence enhances your ability to accomplish your goals. It also provides a positive example to those who are learning to do what you are doing. We are urged to live good lives so others can see our good deeds and glorify God.

Whereas our good deeds do not determine our salvation, they may influence the salvation of others because whether or not a person comes to Christ is going to be determined by how attractive Christianity is to him. And the attractiveness of Christianity is directly proportionate to the way the Christian faith is viewed by outsiders.

Maybe we haven’t been expressing true Biblical love in our lives, but we can start today! One of Coach John Wooden’s favorite sayings is, “If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” He had the most prepared team in the country. His players would say that compared to his practices, the games were a breeze. 

In what ways can you prepare yourself, so that when the time comes for you to respond to evil or insult, you will have the best chance to respond in a God-honoring manner?


Saturday, October 9

10-10-10 Fighting Child Trafficking One Tweet at a Time

Did you know child trafficking...

* truly exists?
* is a $34 billion (that’s with a B) a-year-plus industry?
* that it takes money and concerned hearts to fight these atrocities?

Modern-day slavery is the second largest criminal industry in the world. In the US alone, 100,000 children are trafficked for sex and labor slavery each year.

Born to Fly International founder and director Diana Scimone is an independent journalist who has traveled to more than 40 countries including Sudan, Zimbabwe, Thailand, China, and India. She first became aware of child trafficking on a trip to Mumbai, India, where she saw cages that held little girls—some as young as 5 years old—smuggled in from Nepal.

When she returned home, she founded Born to Fly to stop child trafficking around the globe and around the corner. She writes a regular blog about the effort to stop the traffic (

“Each year millions of kids are lured into sex slavery because they don’t know the deceptive tactics of traffickers,” Scimone says. “What if we could warn kids and their parents ahead of time? What if we taught them about the lies traffickers use—and how to stand up to them? The rate of trafficking would drop and millions of kids would never be trafficked.”

The goal...

Each year more than a million kids are lured into modern-day slavery where they’re raped for profit 30 or 40 times a night--night after night. Some are just 4 years old.

Imagine what a dent could be made in the trafficking pipeline if kids and their parents were educated about the tactics traffickers use before they show up on their prey’s doorstep.

That’s the goal of The B2F Project: to reach kids before the traffickers do. B2F educates at-risk children and their parents about the dangers of trafficking through a strategic 6-week community campaign.

The project’s centerpiece is a wordless picture book—wordless so that it doesn’t have to be translated into hundreds of languages. It teaches kids to make wise choices and stand up to traffickers. A 70-page companion curriculum teaches the important concepts in the book.

Diana has visited numerous safe houses to write the storyline for the wordless book, which was illustrated by artist Leah Wiedemer, and worked with a team of educators to develop the curriculum. Book and curriculum are being piloted in the Dominican Republic this month.

The final version is scheduled for release in early 2011 when Born to Fly will ship materials to a waiting list of schools and community organizations in Ghana, Thailand, Iran, Haiti, Germany, Cambodia, India, Bulgaria, the US, and elsewhere.

“Our goal is to give the materials away without charge, of course,” Diana says. “So we’re counting on crowdfunding to help get this done.”

But what if you could help?

Diana wants the Twitterverse to get angry about child trafficking--and then do something about it. Therefore, she initiated the 10/10/10 Twitterthon with a goal of 10,000 people giving $10 each—the $100,000 needed to start printing the book.

You can help!

* Donate: Go to and use the orange Chip-in button to donate $10.
* Twitter: Tweet about 10/10/10 and ask followers to donate $10.
* Email: Tell 10 people about 10/10/10.
* Blog: Post about 10/10/10. Include the logo and a link to
* Facebook: Talk about 10/10/10; include a link to
* Updates: Check Diana Scimone’s blog for the latest:

“Traffickers think kids are commodities,” Scimone says. “On 10/10/10, I challenge the Twitterverse to tell kids they’re priceless. All it takes is $10.”

I pray you will give prayerful consideration for Diana’s plea for help!


Wednesday, October 6

Do Not Repay Evil for Evil

Today’s portion of our scripture series is written by another sweet cyber-friend, Amy Sorrells. After reading this, I’m sure you’ll want to check out her site.

Do Not Repay Evil for Evil

“Do not repay evil for evil.”
(Romans 12:17a NKJV)


Its presence circles around humans like shadowy Ringwraiths from the time we enter the world until God takes us home again.

***Note: Originally nine kings of men, the Ringwraiths were given a ring of power by Sauron the Deceiver but ended being controlled and bound to his will. From Lord of the Rings***

Some folks, if they’re lucky, manage to avoid evil most their lives. Others of us fight it off all the time—either because of circumstances we’ve created ourselves, or because we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ultimately, when I think about evil, I think about injustice: purposeful, premeditated injustice. Evil is at the heart of everything from child trafficking, human slavery, rape and incest, to a boss who verbally assaults her employees, the town gossip who spreads untruths, or a bully on the playground.

I wish I could say I don’t know what any of those situations feel like, but I can’t. I was bullied as a child. I survived incest and molestation. I’ve been berated by bosses and torn down by gossips.

I’ve looked Evil in the eye, and I hate him.

I wish I could say that hate didn’t cause me to wish harm on those who’ve hurt me. I wish I could say I lifted my eyes to the heavens, embraced the pain, and forgave my perpetrators in an instant, letting anger and fear float from my heart as effortlessly as a silver mist in icy air on a clear winter morning.

But too often, I want to hurt evildoers back. I want them to feel the same pain and shame I felt. I wanted them to crumple at the burn in the gut that comes with the sunrise, awakening me to the knowledge I have another day to heal. I want them to feel the prison bars of dread and isolation that result from evil’s heyday on the soul.

Too often, I want to repay evil for evil.

Yet this attitude is in direct conflict—and indeed disobedience—to the will of the One who set me free.

I love The Message version of Romans 12:17a, “Don’t hit back.” “But Lord,” I reply, “I gotta hit back! No one besides me can make them understand how much they hurt me! Lemme at ’em! Please!”

And the longer I cry, the more my frustration morphs into bitterness.


And more pain.

Here’s the thing: when I want to hit back, I own the evil. Taking my skewed perspective of justice into my own hands means I don’t trust God enough to lay my burden in His hands.

When betrayed, hurt, or mowed over by evil, trust is difficult. Trusting an invisible God is even harder. And yet trusting God with the evil—letting Him handle it—is the only solution that frees us from the evil forever.

The familiar story of Joseph in Genesis 37 is a perfect example. Though thrown into the pit, beaten, sold and betrayed by his own brothers, Joseph did not retaliate. Even when they came to him decades later, hungry and needy beggars, Genesis 50:19-21 (The Message) tells us Joseph replied, “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.”

Surrendering our need for payback to God isn’t easy. Evil reduces a person and their view of the world and of God to a miniscule powerless enigma. Like a beaten horse with blinders on, we can’t help but kick back at those who kick us, convinced God is no greater than the man in Oz, smoke and mirrors, hiding behind a curtain. As such, our human need to repay evil for evil is to ultimately dismiss the sovereign, all-powerful, lovingkindness of God (see Isaiah 40)—who promises over and over that He sees all and knows all and brings justice to all.

The only way I’ve found to rise above the evil and the desire to payback those who’ve hurt me is to turn my eyes to creation, in order to re-remind myself of God’s greatness. As so many of the prophets and psalmists knew, turning our eyes to the expanses of the universe reminds us of the infinite power and awesomeness of our God, the One who breathed stars and worlds into existence without even lifting a finger. In doing so, we attest to truth of Proverbs 20:22, which says, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.’”

Too often it feels like no one knows or cares about the evil we face. But waiting on God...basking in the stillness of His flaming justice in the reds of the maple trees in the fall...breathing in the mercy of His presence in the form of a friend’s embrace...realizing the enormity of His grace in caring for me, a vapor in the wind of eternity...choosing those things makes evil-for-evil nonsensical.



Colossians 1:14 tells us we are redeemed through His blood. If we believe that, we must believe Christ fought our battles 2,000 years ago. He laid evil bare in the empty grave. He saved us then, and He will do it again for you today.

The blood of Christ is, was, and ever shall be the payback for evil.

And that, my friends, is payback enough for anyone.

For each one.

And for all.


Monday, October 4

Healing or Not?

***I interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this word…***

“Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until You restore me? Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love.” (Ps 6:2-4a NLT)

Have you ever cried out to God like David did? A relentless condition that displays itself spiritually may besiege us and sometimes be healed more quickly than one that is physical in nature. We realize that, in time, God always heals our spirits, if we allow Him.

However, we all wonder why God physically heals some people and, seemingly, not others. This question of life does not automatically receive an adequate answer for God does not always pull back heaven’s curtain to permit us a peek backstage into the scripted plot of His plan of action.

Recently, I read a passage of scripture that had previously escaped my notice and, in a strange way, has helped me in wrestling with this question. Concealed in a story in John 5, it relates the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.

Arriving for one of the Jewish feasts, Jesus entered Jerusalem, possibly through the Sheep Gate, for it was from here that He strolled to the pool of Bethesda. I imagine this is what He saw…

A gathering of people, amassed around the fringe of Bethesda’s pool. The blind stood with the deaf. The withered sat with the weak and feeble. The diseased leaned against the porch pillars. The crippled laid on mats.

All anticipated the disturbance of the waters of healing, waiting to be the first to jump in like a flock of seagulls, hovering over a fishing dock, ready to swoop down for the catch of the day.

Jesus saw only one person. His eyes locked onto a man paralyzed for 38 years and lying on a mat. As He approached the man, He leaned over and asked him, “Would you like to be well?”

The man looked up into the most extraordinary eyes he had ever seen. “Sir,” he said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water stirs, so someone always jumps in ahead of me.”

With a voice of power that could easily stir the waters on its own, Jesus said, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and start walking!” As the man jumped up, the prickly sensation of healing surged through his limbs.

Nothing is said of any other healings that day. I wonder why not. Did those there just stare at Jesus in bewilderment? Did they focus only on the water, awaiting their turn? Did they desire not to be healed? Were they afraid?

Maybe God desired no further healings because they would have endangered Jesus’ life even more, for the Jews sought to kill Him for healing just this one man on the Sabbath. What might they have done if He had healed everyone? For whatever reason, it was God’s purpose not to heal any others at that moment.

In my relentless physical condition, I no longer feel adrift on a sea of doubt, wondering why I am not healed. Whether I am or not, I remain part of God’s purpose and praise Him for it.

He has whispered to my spirit that He will heal me and I trust Him to keep His promise. I hold His hand as a child holds its father’s hand in trust to cross a dangerous intersection. I know that healing is still in my future, whether it comes while I am here on earth or in heaven.

For various reasons, some are healed and some are not. God knows them all.

~~This post is part of Bridget Chumbley’s One Word Blog Carnival. Please visit her site to check out the other posts on healing.


Friday, October 1

Sweet and Sour

Today is another segment of the series, which is written by another sweet cyber-friend Donna Shepherd. Donna has several sites you can visit:

Sweet and Sour

“Be not wise in your own conceits.”
Romans 12:16c KJV

A few years ago, we had a somewhat older woman visit our church. I greeted her and talked to her a bit after church. She started attending regularly and soon won the heart of my husband, the pastor. He told me, “That is one of the sweetest and godliest women I’ve ever met.”

Now is she? Or is she trying too hard? Every time we talked to her, she peppered her conversation with Bible verses. And I'm not talking about one or two. She might quote ten scriptures at a time. And the sweetness? That couldn't be genuine. She almost dripped syrup from her pores.

I pride (my first mistake!) myself on having a discerning spirit. I simply know when someone is trying to fool my husband or me. She might seem like a sweet old woman, but she’s going to have to prove herself to me!

First, weeks then months went by and I never saw anything that would contradict my husband’s first impression. Betty turned out to be a stalwart of faith, and eventually an elder in our church. I finally admitted to my husband that I had misjudged this in woman when we first met.

Perhaps my jealousy over her seemingly effortless way of memorizing and quoting scriptures stirred up a feeling of inferiority in me. Maybe it was the sweetness that never abated. Sometimes I’m called sweet, but in comparison, I felt sour. Plus the fact that most of the time, my first impressions turn out to be right. This time, I could not have been more wrong.

The Amplified Bible says, “Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16c). Although most of the time, I do have a discerning spirit – which is such a blessing when in ministry, this time I had let my own opinion and made-up mind override the Holy Spirit’s nudge when He would say to me, “Yes, she’s the real thing. She serves and loves Me.”

The apostle Paul wrote a word of warning to the Galatian church, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:25-26). Are you letting jealousy, pride, or feelings of inferiority keep you from ministering or having a relationship with someone in your church?

I am the pianist for our church services. I found out Betty played as well and asked her if she would help by playing an offertory. “Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “I get so nervous playing in front of people.”

After much urging, she played beautifully. She told me after church how much she admired me for my talent and ability to play with ease for the services. I was humbled and blessed, and once again, asked God for forgiveness for letting pride and conceit in my ability to judge people almost abort my precious relationship with sweet Betty.


Between a Rock and A Grace Place book blog tour

Today, I interrupt the series to bring you an interview with Carol Kent. You will definitely want to read about this her new book Between a Rock and a Grace Place, a seeming impossible situation of her son being imprisoned. If you would like to be in the drawing for a copy of this book, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Tell us about the Christmas gift you received. How did it help you to find grace in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation?

Two weeks before Christmas, our doorbell rang at 9:15 p.m. It was dark outside and by the time my husband, Gene, joined me at the front door, we were surprised to find no one there. It was already dark, but my eyes fell on a large, exquisitely wrapped gift. The card on top said, “Mom.” Initially, it felt like a bad joke. Nine years earlier our son, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy had been arrested for murdering his wife’s first husband and he was in prison serving a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence.

However, I am a “Mom” and the package was left on my doorstep, so I opened it. The note appeared to be in my son’s unique handwriting. The note expressed his deep love for me and his gratefulness for what I had done to help him since his arrest. He said a “friend” had helped him deliver the surprise. Opening the box, I discovered a gorgeous russet-colored silk jacket—and it fit me perfectly.

That night, I discovered something new about God and something I had forgotten about myself. He loves to interject divine surprises into our lives. His timing is always perfect, but it had been a while since I had been surprised by joy, wonder, and grace in the middle of one of the tight spots of life. 

How important are contentment and gratitude in finding grace and peace?

My son, Jason, is teaching me that I need to choose contentment and thanksgiving in all things. As an inmate in a maximum-security prison, all of his personal items must fit in one small one-foot-high and one-and a half-feet-deep and two-and-a half feet long steel lockbox. He has learned to live comfortably with very little, which brings him a surprising sense of peace.

When I was visiting him one weekend, I asked how he holds on to hope in the middle of a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence. He said, “Mom, I have a gratitude list. Whenever the clouds of depression try to discouragement, I get out a piece of paper and write down everything I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful I have two parents who will be my advocates for as long as they live. The average number of years a lifer gets visits is five years and then no one comes anymore. I’m also thankful I can be a missionary on a compound that houses up to 1,700 men.”

I’m learning from Jason that I find contentment when I choose to be thankful and when I invest my time in helping other people.

Between a Rock and a Grace Place releases 10 years after your son, Jason, was sentenced to life in a maximum security prison and includes excerpts from Jason’s letters. Can you tell us how he’s doing now?

He has just taken his 8th group of men through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Course and he will be facilitating a biblical counseling class on marriage and family this fall. He has a prayer group of twelve inmates who fast and pray for the needs of each other and their families. Prison is a depressing, dark, and sad place, but Jason is living for things that will outlast him.

When you received news about Jason’s clemency hearing being denied, how did you respond?

I wailed like a baby, sobbed, felt angry, hurt, and disappointed in God. Then, we saw Jason a day after this devastating news. He was calm and very much at peace. He hugged me as I wept and said, “Mom, this case isn’t about having the best attorney or about having the favor of Florida’s top executive political leaders. If I am ever allowed to walk in freedom in this lifetime, it will be because God miraculously opened a door that was closed.” My son helps me to develop an eternal perspective and that day he comforted me.

As a result of your journey, you and your husband have founded the nonprofit organization Speak Up for Hope. What are the goals of the organization, and how can people get involved?

Our vision: To help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.
Our mission: We exist to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement and resources.

Please go to for a list of practical ways individuals, churches, and organizations can help with specific projects. Our goal is to live out the truth of Prov. 31:8-9: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice. Stand up for the poor and destitute!” 

To purchase Carol’s book, please visit her website at

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Zondervan in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.