evil with evil

I’ve been struggling with something lately.

And once again, it takes a children’s song for me to pay attention.

The work I had done (or rather, let God do in me) to get to a certain point in my outlook on something/someone had grown to a point I was happy with. Empathy, trust, and even tenderness had grown.

But then it all come crashing down.

And I can’t seem to get back to the point of contentment.

When I was playing kids’ worship music for my daughters, a scripture song started playing about Romans 12:21, which reads:

“Do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

And I immediately thought of this person/situation.

Ugghhhh but I want to overcome evil with evil!!

I want to deal with this person in an unkind way. I want to harbor hatred. I want people not to like them as much as I don’t, if not more.

Now how terrible is that? And yet, it satisfies my grudge-holding flesh.

I feel like an iron wall, stubborn to move or knock down. And I don’t want to budge.

Overcoming evil with good is against my nature. I mean, isn’t that how most of us feel, at least at first?

The Christ-like character is one that always amazes and challenges me.

And this challenge I’m so not ready to take on.

This area is definitely an area God has to revisit and rework in me.

When Relationships Get Weird

I know what the title sounds like. A Facebook or MySpace post I would’ve written back in 2009, about relationships gone awry. But no, I’m talking about the fluctuating relationship between me and the rest of the world.

This hasn’t happened in awhile, where sometimes I feel stuck between the viewpoints I hold and the viewpoints of everyone else.

But since I haven’t been having daily devotional time with God I’m sure this is why these feelings come, and why I feel stuck yet again.

When I’m immersed in the Bible and other spiritually uplifting books, what I stand for doesn’t seem so foreign, and doesn’t become something I feel ashamed of–I feel confident, I feel bold. But the less time I spend with God and the more time I spend absorbing other things the more I notice my confidence fades away. Instead of feeling like I’m firm on the ground, I feel like a reed shaken by the wind. Interactions or moments with others where I feel like I should have said something about my faith, I keep quiet–I don’t want to offend anyone or ruffle any feathers. Sure, it’s easy for me to talk about my beliefs on this blog or on my podcast, but addressing something face-to-face with someone who might not believe the same things, especially when I’m in this weird limbo, forget it–I cower. If selfishness is my number one character flaw, cowardice is my second.

I feel like Peter, bold and outspoken one moment (or when things are going well) and then cowardly denying my association with Christ (or in my case, biblical principles) the next. Or I feel like Thomas, firmly believing one moment and then doubting an other.

If I were put on a witness stand, I feel like I’d crack under the pressure.

So again with the weird relationship part. My relationship with my past beliefs and ideals come back to try to convince me to give them another shot. Just when I feel I’ve cut off certain things or ideals, I feel reeled back in.

I really hate this.

E.G. White has this to say:

“Living by Principle Not Inclination”

I have chosen the way of truth; thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame. Psalm 119:30, 31.

“There are two great principles, one of loyalty, the other of disloyalty. We all need greater Christian courage, that we may uplift the standard on which is inscribed the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus…. The line of demarcation between the obedient and the disobedient must be plain and distinct. We must have a firm determination to do the Lord’s will at all times and in all places….”

“Christian strength is obtained by serving the Lord faithfully. Young men and young women should realize that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. By the strictest fidelity they should strive for moral independence, and this independence they should maintain against every influence that may try to turn them from righteous principles. Stronger minds may, yes, they will, make assertions that have no foundation in truth. Let the heavenly eyesalve be applied to the eyes of your understanding, that you may distinguish between truth and error. Search the Word; and when you find a “Thus saith the Lord,” take your stand….”

“In Pilgrim’s Progress there is a character called Pliable. Youth, shun this character. Those represented by it are very accommodating, but they are as a reed shaken by the wind. They possess no will power. Every youth needs to cultivate decision. A divided state of the will is a snare, and will be the ruin of many youth. Be firm, else you will be left with your house, or character, built upon a sandy foundation.21The Review and Herald, May 9, 1899.


Now again back to how my lack of devotional time has interfered with my relationship with God. Every week I get emails with prayer requests and some of these emails have short book passages attached. Even when I do open these emails I usually skip this part. While I was about to delete one of these emails the other day, something stopped me. I decided to read the passage I typically skip over, and of course it was timely. This is what the passage said:

“Abstract meditation is not enough; busy action is not enough; both are essential to the formation of Christian character. Strength acquired in earnest, secret prayer prepares us to withstand the allurements of society.”

This was a heavy-hitting reminder for me. While the prayers I lift throughout the day, or the Bible stories I read to my children, or the praise and worship music I play are great, I know private prayer and Bible time is where I receive longer, lasting strength. Where I go to know God. This is where my true, solid love lies. Not amidst the ashes of any previous, burnt out flames.

So when I step away from this relationship with God my previous “flings” (ideals) start looking good again and my relationship with God falters. I feel like I find flaws in my beliefs, or even in God’s love and power.

But the grass isn’t truly greener on the other side. This side becomes faded over time, unless I put in the effort to keep watering it. But I want to choose to let that old field brown and wither, and focus on the Water of Life that never runs dry, that keeps these new fields lush and growing.

It gets hard my friends, truly. I struggle waking up early or staying up late to pray and read. But whenever I remember what a friend we have in Jesus I remember that I don’t want any other type of relationship.

Let’s keep looking up.

What Dreams May Come

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you find yourself trying to force yourself awake, and then once awake you stay frozen in a ball, unwilling to move an inch because fear has its death grip on you?

I had one of those dreams last night.

And for whatever reason, it was about sharks.

Let’s just say I don’t plan on singing “Baby Shark” to my toddler any time soon (not that I ever really planned to do that to begin with anyway lol).

And you know how after waking up from a scary dream, irrational thoughts kind of take over?

For example, like me vowing not to sing “Slipper Fish” (another kids’ song that mentions sharks) ever again.

Going to Sea World? Nope.

Australia? Not a chance. 

Fear also makes me think of a character from a book series I used to love. This character had the ability to create a force field/shield around all the people she loved in order to protect them. Of course that left me wishing I had that same ability.

But then rationality hits, and I remember that God has that capability. 

For family worship during the last couple of weeks we have been reciting and singing the scripture song to Joshua 1:9, where God tells Joshua to be strong and have courage, to not be afraid because God is with him.

Sometimes it’s easy to gloss over something when it’s repeated, but lessons we intend for our children our also applicable to us and gives us a chance to pause and reflect… to be reminded of how much we sometimes forget God’s promises because we get so caught up in our own worries.

God loves us and has the ability to shield us and to protect us, and that’s what I have to remember.

And honestly, that’s the only thing that allows me to move passed my fears. Otherwise I’d never leave the house.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” says Proverbs 3.

Take My Life

Taking away our focus/trust in ourselves and in our own thoughts and putting that focus/trust in God.
(Inspired by Luke 18:9-14.)

I have to say, I love the lyrics to hymns. These hymnal writers were so inspired by God and His love that they penned such heartfelt lyrics of praises to God, of sacrifice, and of self-denunciation. Some hymns that I have sung many times before take on a deeper meaning when I simply pay attention to the lyrics.

Not only do I appreciate hymns for their substance, but also for these writers who used their talents to bring honor to God and allowed God to use them to reach others.

We may say to ourselves, “Well of course they used their talents for God. Why wouldn’t they? Don’t all Christians want to do that?”

But it is so easy to be satisfied with ourselves and our talents and skills that we forget to use them for God. We take our eyes off of Him and only begin to focus on how far we can get in this life (how much money we can make, how many subscribers or followers we can get, how we can advance in our careers, etc).

So even though we may say we want to use our talents for God, many of us find ourselves not doing that.

The world is filled with people putting the focus on themselves and wanting everything to go their way all the time.

And it gets so annoying.

Selfishness is so easy to get wrapped up in.

A lot of us find it so easy to think we are better than anyone and everyone else. Or that our needs take priority over others’ needs. Or that our talents are better than theirs.

A lot of us spend so much time focusing on ourselves and our own gains in life.

And this may actually happen quite a bit, maybe even more than many of us would like to admit.

But not one of us is better than anyone else.

And there is so much more to focus on than just ourselves.

There is only one true Being who can be called good, and He came down from heaven to help us and save us and guide us and love us.

Wow. And we have the nerve to make everything about ourselves?

I get tired of seeing selfishness in myself. I get tired of seeing selfishness in others.

But boy, when we think about Jesus and turn our eyes upon Him, the less we feel like exalting ourselves and the more we truly want to use all of our talents to bring others to Him.

Now on to the next part of this post: Trusting God with every aspect of our lives.

Lately the topic of trusting God (or feeling like there’s a lack of trust in God) has been brought up in some of my discussion circles. People are afraid. And because they are afraid, they let fear control their decisions, their actions, and their words.

And because they are afraid and are controlled by that fear, they feel they are not fully trusting in God.

Someone in one of these discussion groups mentioned how important it is to take certain risks in order to grow spiritually.

This made me think of how many of us may have been (or are) holding back something from God because we were (or are) too afraid of taking these necessary risks.

We are too afraid of external circumstances, or the “what ifs.”

What would happen if we just trusted God? Not in a presumptuous way, but in a truly faithful and consecrated way. In a “God, I really want to grow in my walk with You. I want to be used by You to show others Your love. I want to trust You through every season in my life,” kind of way.

What would happen if we took those risks, or stopped holding back, or stopped worrying or being afraid all of the time?

I love the lyrics to this hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal:

1 Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee. 

Let us be willing to say, “Lord, take my life. In whatever way that may be, take it. Take our lives, our hands, our talents, and let them be for You.”

Stay blessed and until next,

Come, while Christ is pleading

Dear friend,

I’m writing this letter to you.

Because I don’t want to go another moment without reaching out, without trying, without sharing.

Every day is an opportunity. Every day is another chance to change, another chance to figure out wrong from right and then do what’s right, another chance to make a choice.

What have your choices been?

What will your choices be today?

Have you ever found yourself confused, feeling empty, lacking purpose?

Have you ever felt, or have you been feeling lately, that there is something looming ahead that fills you with a bit of worry, anxiety, or fear?

Or maybe you’re not worried. Maybe you’ve never felt any fear about the future. And maybe you’ve never given God a chance, or you’ve turned away from God a long time ago.

Maybe someone hurt you. Maybe you once trusted God but then stopped. Maybe someone or something convinced you to have a distaste-or even a hatred-for anything that has to do with God.

Or maybe you feel like you can’t come to God even if you wanted to.

Whatever the case may be, it’s not too late to give God a chance. He is calling and pleading with you to come to Him.

There are so many ideas out there, so many beliefs. So many trends that continually point away from the fact that God is a powerful, loving, Creator.

He cares about you. Truly.

I get it, some things don’t make sense. Scientists don’t think there is a God. Questions remain unanswered. Pain remains felt. Darkness remains all around us.

Yet God is still there, wanting to come into your life. To help you, to guide you, to comfort you, to love you.

To lead you into the way of light.

Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Come while Christ is pleading.

He is near to those that call upon Him and is a very present help in any trouble.

The God of all comfort has comforted me, and he can comfort you.

Come to Him, dear friend. Let not the traps of this world bind you any longer. Look up, look ahead, and cling to the One who says He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Does this take trust? Yes. Does it take faith? Yes. Does it possibly take a drastic change in your life? Only you can answer that.

Whatever your life may have been or wherever you find yourself now, if you feel a need for something greater, then come boldly to God so that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Until next,

Come all ye faithful

Being faithful to God because He is faithful to us

Reading through Acts 16, I noticed how it is full to the brim with examples of faith.

How faithful Paul was to heed God’s call to go to Macedonia. How faithful Paul and Silas were in going out to pray on the Sabbath, where they met a woman who later became baptized. How faithful they were when they were imprisoned for doing God’s work, still singing praises to God and praying. How faithful they were when they did not escape from prison and helped save yet another soul (the jailor) and brought him (and his household) to Christ.

And God was faithful to them by releasing them from prison and reuniting them with their brethren.

Such incredible faith!

And how faithful God is to His people! Even through incredibly trying hours for Noah, Lot, Joseph, Elijah, Daniel, Paul and Silas… God helped them through it all. They were faithful to Him amidst their turmoils, and He was faithful to them.

How important then is it for us to remember to be faithful to God because He made a promise to always be faithful to us.

And what does that mean, being faithful?

Is there a role we have to play, a side we have to take?

There are so many beliefs, false teachings, erroneous thoughts on who God is and what He expects of and from us…

With all of that, it becomes difficult to stand up and take a side.

But we must remember to hold onto what His words says, and be faithful to it, be faithful to Him.

Let us remember to ask for the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Comforter, to show us the way. He will be faithful and lead us to all truth (John 16:13).

Christ gave us the ultimate example of faith. He gave us the ultimate example of honor and obedience. He IS the Truth (John 14:6).

Let us remember who God is, and what God’s word says.

And let us also be faithful.

Habits Can Haunt

Hi everyone!

So I’m glad I’m actually getting some writing done today. Yippee! There’s always so much I want to write.

Okay, ready and go!

I read this today:

“God help us to cultivate habits of thought, word, look, and action that will testify to all about us that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him…”

I wonder how often I’ve really thought about that…what my habits of thoughts, words, looks, and actions really are and the impact they might have on others.

Habits of thought: Negative self-talk

Habits of word: Criticizing appointed leadership.

Habits of looks: Glaring and/or rolling eyes at someone who was rude.

Habits of action: Refraining from doing a kind act because someone didn’t do something kind first.

What do all these kinds of habits say?

Do they say we’ve been spending time with Christ? Do they reflect the light of heaven?

Wow, reality sure does pack a powerful punch. I feel awful looking at all of my bad habits.

And it leads me to wonder, what blessings have been stifled all because of my bad habits?

We’re in a constant battle between selfishness and self-forgetfulness. Self-centeredness and others-centeredness.

We’re also bombarded with messages of putting ourselves first, taking care of ourselves first, and looking at what’s best for ourselves first.

But is that…right?

I find myself heeding to a lot those messages of self-centeredness more often than not.

How opposite from Christ that is.

Selfishness is such a wild beast that is so difficult to tame, so difficult to bury. It’s also unnatural to many of us.

I really need to stop and reflect today.

And maybe you do too.

How have our habits shaped us, and what are some we can change?

The way we are affects our circle, our spouses, our children, our friends, our community.

May God grant us strength and power to change these habits, and make a change for the better.

Don’t Go Changing

Sticking to what’s comfortable.
(Based on Hebrews 12)

[All quotes from the devotional “Our Father Cares” and KJV Bible.]

Just before having my devotional time for the day, I was thinking about how often I’ve refused to change my way of thinking purely because I didn’t want to, even when that way of thinking really didn’t make much sense to begin with (hey, I thought I knew everything when I was 20, okay?).

I also thought about how we refuse to change or refuse to do something even when we know better.

Why do we do that?

Immediately after I had those thoughts, I jumped into my devotional time for the day and wouldn’t you know it…

My devotional text (Hebrews 12) just so happened to reflect what I had just been thinking.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But highly unlikely.

So commenced this post.

In a culture where what we as the individual feels or thinks takes priority, it’s easy to go down a path of self-interest and self-preservation. We are in an era of #selfies and #selfcare, after all.

Okay so now I’m going to narrow it down to talking mainly about those of us choosing not to follow biblical principles or heeding God’s word because it goes against what we want or goes against our own ways and habits.

Phew let’s shake it out. I feel like my brain has already run a marathon.


So those of us who call ourselves Christians don’t want to think of ourselves as not being “doers of the Word.” Otherwise, why even call ourselves Christians, right?

But there are many of us who do just that.

We aren’t doers of the Word.

We don’t “relish the wholesome reproofs and earnest appeals” found in God’s word.

He refuse. We rationalize. We say God’s word evolves to fit our lifestyle (there’s that self-centeredness again.)

It’s easy to go that way. When we tell ourselves we don’t need to change, we try to find reasons to back that up.

But is that real obedience to God?

What says the Word? What does it actually say?

And when we see what it actually says, are we willing to trust God and follow it, no matter how contrary to our own desires it may be?

“The essence and flavor of all obedience is the outworking of a principle within—the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God.”

Do we have that love?

Do we seek to first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness?

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. KJV — Hebrews 12:11

When we decide to walk down a path God has revealed to us, it often feels like we’re swimming upstream…during an ice storm…in the dark.

Why can’t I just take that other, sunny-and warm-lazy-river-with-clear-blue-water route instead?

But it’s only after we’ve passed through the storm with our Captain that we begin to see the result of our endurance.


The endurance through chastening is what sharpens our character, is what tests our faith.

We must trust God and ask Him to guide and lead us as we change our habits, change our erroneous ways of thinking.

Our previous habits or ways of thinking don’t have to defile or define us forever.

We can trust in God’s grace and rely on that to carry us through.

We don’t have to be like Esau, who lost his right to his inheritance because he faced and uncomfortable situation and chose the easy way out (Genesis 25:31-34).

We have a royal, heavenly inheritance. Are we willing to lose it because one change of habit is too uncomfortable?

Who will we trust? Ourselves and our feelings? what other people tell us? Or will we trust what God has stated in His word and trust in the grace and power He provides for us?

Let us not be shaken, friends.

Let us rely on God’s word and rely on the power He provides for us to overcome.

Trust and obey.

“The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer, doing right because it is right.”

Doing right because it is right.

Yes, choosing what is right might be vastly different from what other people are choosing, and standing up for principle isn’t always popular and will cause people to turn their back on you (John 15:19).

Know that. Expect that. And then press forward…

In faith.

Let us choose life, choose the blessing, choose obedience (Deuteronomy 30).

Trust and obey. Choose and live.

Until next,

While We Were

I wrote a blog post not long ago about being more than what I was before. About how I felt I knew God but didn’t actually really know Him.

A lot of us hear how Christ died for our sins, but I wonder how many actually think about it.

Christ dying for our sins.

Our sins…

What would have happened if I had actually sat and thought about that when I was younger? 

I think I was about 14 when I saw Passion of the Christ and remember crying during the scenes leading up to the crucifixion. I remember someone telling me, “He did it for you.” 

I wonder what I thought that meant at the time.

He did it for me…

A part of me feels like I agreed to those words because that’s all I ever heard, that Christ died for my sins.

But, why?

Why did he do it? Why did He have to die? Why was death the answer?

The responses are simple, yet complex. 

There was a problem, and that problem was called sin.

Without going too much into that now, I want to emphasize a text found in Romans:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

I remember about a year or so after I saw the movie I was in church skimming through my youth Bible looking for some kind of excuse for a sin I was committing that I knew deep in my conscience was wrong. I kept trying to find that even while partaking in this sin, I was still “okay.”

I never found it.

See, sin is never okay.

It lead to Christ’s death. It has lead to our current heartache.

We have His written word giving us principles of right and wrong.

His word that Reformers stood up for.

That people have died for.

Some of us laugh at it.

Some of us mock it.

Some of us refuse to see our sins pointed out, refuse to let His word transform us.

But even though we were—or are— still sinners, he loves us. He died for all of us.

My friends, I want you to look at your life. Have you left God behind? Has God never even been a twinkling of a thought?

The journalist in me is always asking why.

Why did you turn from God?

Why wasn’t He ever a thought?

Why do we ignore sin, ignore His word?


He really does love us. He really does love you.

My hope is that we all learn to feel and accept that love, and that we in return can reflect that love to others.

Because it is by His death we have access to life, and it is by His grace we have the ability to do what seems impossible. 

May you see the real God today.