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.

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,

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,

No Dead Dogs

I know, the title is a little morbid. But honestly, it’s appropriate.
I recently did a vlog post about affliction and how I hate the idea of having to go through trials.
In the vlog I talk about how I don’t even like to set up mouse traps or kill ants because the idea of death makes me sad.

Just yesterday I saw a few stray dogs wandering by a busy street, and I thought, “Oh please don’t let them get hit…”
And I couldn’t really focus on much after that because I was fixated on the idea of them being roadkill and having to see their dead bodies.


Since we had to drive down the same street to go back home, I kept my eyes closed and my face covered until we reached our house.

A few months ago I saw a dog get hit. Not long before that we ran over a squirrel.

I did NOT need to see this happen again!!!

Honesty, I don’t think I could be in the medical field or part of our military.
I’d lose my mind.

But maybe that’s what I need in order to toughen up, eh? Get thicker skin.

My skin is as thin as rice paper.

Thinking about death not only makes me sad, it makes me angry.
It makes me angry because death, sickness, heartache, pain…are all a result sin.

I saw someone wearing something the other day that said: “Sinners are Winners.”


If only he knew the weight of that statement…

Sinners are winners? Really?

I would have never chosen to be part of this dark world. Yet here I am. And I have to find light and joy and hope even amidst it all.

I would never dare say sinners are winners because every single awful thing on this planet is a result of sin.

And that doesn’t sound like winning to me.

As hard as it is for me to hear about/experience affliction, turmoil, tragedies (aka results of sin), God’s promises are there for the clinging. I know I can pray and cry and pray some more…

And trust that I’ll find peace and assurance.

But that’s easier said than done.

In Sight of Sin

Sometimes I forget.

I forget the type of person I used to be.

But other times, I remember. I remember it well.

And for those moments when I do remember, those moments when things I’ve done or used to do replay before me, I cringe. I cringe in horror. I shudder in shame. I shrink back in disgust.

That person…was me?

Sometimes when we let ourselves be consumed by whatever we feel at the moment or let ourselves be molded by what surrounds us, we become something we never thought we would ever become.

By beholding, I became.

Sometimes I feel that person still inside me. My sins spread out before me like fresh blood on a white rug. They are all there. Thankfully they aren’t displayed for everyone else to see.

But I want to say this: Something I have to consistently remember is even though I may have done those things or were part of a certain lifestyle in the past, choosing to follow Christ is what helps me keep those doors closed.

I have chosen to leave it behind.

It’s all a choice.

Anyone who chooses to follow Christ is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).


If I were the same person I used to be, I wouldn’t be transformed. Dare I say, I wouldn’t even be a Christian. What would be the point?

Once we make a commitment to Christ, we are called to put off the old man and be renewed (Ephesians 4: 22-23), to be light bearers in a darkened world. To show there’s hope amidst what seems hopeless.

Christians hear and say this all the time, that God has an unconditional and inconceivable love for us. And He does. That love is there no matter where we are in our lives. He doesn’t love me any more or any less than he loves you.

We experience that love when we let Him into our lives. It must be an individual experience. I can sit here all day writing about God’s love and how He has changed my life. Though that can be helpful, only you can understand it fully when you experience it yourself.

Some more wonderful news is that God works in us to do good things, to change us the way we need and want to be changed.

The repercussions of my past actions are scars on my heart.

But I surrendered that part of me. And I have changed and will continue to change.

That’s the power of God.

People can say that the only reason I am different now is that I was driven to be different, and therefore can attribute those changes to the power I have within myself.

Oh boy, I can write another post about how false that is.

I don’t have that kind of power.

I do know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can overcome my propensities, practices, and habits that I know are dragging me down.

Every habit or practice that leads into sin and brings dishonor upon Christ must be put away, whatever the sacrifice.” -Acts of the Apostles, 312

When I made the decision to follow God (because I was so unhappy, broken, and miserable even though I was living with total “freedom”), there were some things I knew I needed to change. There were heartbreaking sacrfices I made. I questioned if the sacrifices were worth it and if it was even the right thing to do.

Was it worth it? I don’t even think I have to answer that. But I will. Yes.

So when I am burdened and stand in sight of my sins, I remember how faithful God is. I find hope in the promise that Christ will perfect our faith, perfect our characters. If we choose to serve God and let Him lead us, He will not lead us astray.



Until next,

Hide It Under a Bushel

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way.

But let’s be honest: these feelings happen more often than I would like.

Just to go back in time a little, when I was 21 years old and first really started to veer away from my old lifestyle, I quickly realized that being around all the things, places, and people I hung around wasn’t good for my progress; It was temptation overload.

And I used to be embarrassed to explain why I couldn’t go out to that certain place or partake in certain activities or be around a certain person. But handling those situations has gotten a little easier over the years.

And it’s especially easier now because I hang around different people.

But then it happens: I’m around certain people in certain situations and I really can’t do anything about it. (Except, of course, leave early haha).

And I feel shame and embarrassment for my choices all over again.


Well, I feel as though my lifestyle is offensive to them, and me being the noncombative person I am (for the most part) I automatically feel like I have to tone it (who I am and what I stand for) down a bit. Sometimes a lot. I probably eat things I shouldn’t eat, say things I shouldn’t say, talk about and agree with things I shouldn’t talk about or agree with anymore…

Or I just stay quiet, haha. Which can get awkward…

I necessarily don’t know (or am not sure ) if doing any of that is right or wrong. I want to be a good example and show how my life has changed, but I certainly don’t want to give off this self-righteous “holier-than-thou” attitude.

So I tone it down. But in the end, I feel awful. I feel awful for feeling ashamed of my choices, I feel awful for the people I was just with, I feel awful for feeling awful.

But should I care? If so, how much should I care?

 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.

Let my light shine. Not hide it under a bushel. If I have no problem saying how much I love my husband or my cat, I really should be better at standing up for my lifestyle choices… right?

I don’t know. What do you think?

Until next,

And Then I Heard a Story

We’ve all heard it before: There’s always two sides to a story.

Except I have found that usually there’s even more.

Confession time: I’ve been totally guilty of creating scenarios and stories in my head (that are probably completely wrong) about people and their situations. What they’re thinking, why they’re thinking it, and what they’re doing about what they’re thinking…

Yeah, I’ve figured it all out.

But the thing is, I haven’t. I never completely figure anything out. *Mind=blown*

And I keep learning this lesson over and over and over again.

We often don’t know the whole story, especially if we have only heard one side of it.

Or maybe we haven’t even heard any side of it (remember those scenarios I create in my head.)

For years I’ve harbored very awful and ugly feelings about something, and I thought I could never gain any peace about it, ever. There was a war raging inside of me. I needed, I yearned for, I cried for peace.

And then I heard a story.

I heard a story that changed my outlook and my feelings about what I felt awful and ugly about.

And I would have never known about any of this information had that story never been shared, had that moment and timing and circumstances been different; I could have lived forever with those feelings. But by God’s divine timing of that shared-story time, the way I felt, something I thought would never change, actually did change.

And there is probably even more to the story I still don’t know.

I know for a fact I don’t want those ugly and awful feelings I had to come back, and I pray they never do.


That story was a missing piece of my peace puzzle.

There are no coincidences.

It makes me wonder…how often do we go about our days thinking we know it all? How often do we make assumptions and spread ideas that could, in fact, be wrong?

I want to know the other side. I want to know the true story.

Instead of thinking I know, I actually want to know.


How many stories are out there that we could afford to hear?

To pay attention and listen?

There are so many sides to a story. So many opinions. So many changing elements…


Maybe there’s a part of a story you’re missing. Maybe there’s a piece, and some peace, you’ve been longing for that can only be found by making peace.


Until next,

signature (1)


A Battle, a March

I think some of you know that I teach bible lessons to a class of teens/young adults. A questioned I asked them—and ask you— is this:

If I asked you if you were 100% committed to Christ, what would you say?

Christians often say that because we’re sinners/live in a sinful world, we cannot really be in control of our actions.

“No one is perfect,” they say.

Usually, such things are uttered immediately following (or immediately before) they did or said something they inherently knew was wrong.

They say something really mean about someone: “Well, I’m not perfect.”

They curse and gossip and cheat: “That’s just who I am.”

To me, that response diminishes God’s power and tells me the God you say you serve is a God that truly isn’t all that powerful.

If I am trying to represent the God I serve and the Christ I follow, I’m not going to talk like the rest of the world talks. I’m not going to cheat like the rest of the world cheats. I’m not going to lie like the rest of the world lies. I’m not even going to eat like the rest of the world eats (well, at least the rest of the world where the standard Western diet prevails). Plain and simple.

I digress. The point I’m trying to make here is that instead of coming up with excuses to why we curse/cheat/lie/steal/mistreat our bodies/sin, we should own our mistakes, switch gears, and say “You know, that was wrong. I messed up. I shouldn’t have done/said that. But God is able to help me with this.


I get it. We struggle.

But who said this life would be easy?

“The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.”

“Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in conduct be made by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Character building is the work, not of a day, nor of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.” Ministry of Healing, page 452 & 453

It’s a struggle because we live with sin all around us. Temptations are rampant. Traumas tear our hearts. The good news is, we have a hope!

“You need not go to the ends of the earth for wisdom, for God is near. It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.” Christ’s Object Lessons, page 146

Hebrews 12:3-10 talks about what it means to love God, to allow him to transform us, to develop love to obey and willingness to let Him change our hearts.

Titus 2:11 talks about the importance of God’s grace in overcoming sin and temptation and Ephesians 2:8 talks about the importance of growing our faith.

1 Thessalonians, James, and 1 Peter all talk about trials faced throughout the Christian life.

Christ’s righteousness comes by faith (Romans 3:22), and nothing is impossible for us to achieve (Philippians 4:13). He came to change our sinful hearts, to help us obey his law in love, to overcome sin. We can do nothing without the transforming power of Christ ( John 15:5)

The test of true Christian sincerity is not in our words, but in our actions.

That said, it absolutely matters what we do—how else can we develop a heart/character fit for heaven?

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow….if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.” Isaiah 1:18-20.

Okay, this last verse sounds a bit scary. But I included it because there is a deep message here. Not meant to be scary, but definitely meant to be serious. As Christ’s disciples, we must serve Him out of love and commitment (just like a marriage). But if we refuse to obey the commitment we made and rebel against that commitment, there are consequences (just like a marriage).

Just because I make mistakes in my Christian life (and marriage) does not mean I am less committed. If I give up, then yes, I am less committed. Press forward with love and faith!

Don’t. Give. Up.

Trust in God’s power to help you overcome. (And get a brain scan if you’re really struggling. I type this to be a little humorous, but I’m actually pretty serious.)

In the end, I believe we Christians should be able to say we are 100% committed to Christ. And if we’re not, we need to ask ourselves why.

Until next,

The Thin Red Gossiping Line

Hello everyone! So I’ve been lagging on posts- I have about five that have been lingering in my drafts for ages. I really have to get on that. Does anyone else have the same issue as I do? When you know you have to work on projects, but getting to a starting point is difficult? Once I start though, the momentum kicks in and I have a hard time stopping haha. Any time limits I give myself go out the window… something else I need to work on.

But anyway, I’m going to kick off my writing projects list with this post 😀

Let’s dooo thissss.

Okay, so I may not have any statistics to back this up, but I’m going to just go out on a limb here and say many of us—dare I say most of us?—like gossip.

Yes, let’s just admit it. In some way or other, we like to hear something said about someone else. We like to say stuff about someone else. Something that in some way makes us feel better.

It’s not an easy thing to admit, I get that. I like to pretend I don’t like gossip.

But listening to or taking part in gossip is almost like a driving force, a desire within us that feels impossible to stop.

“It’s not really gossip. I’m just talking about it with other people to, you know, get advice.”

Fine. I can see that. But realllyyy thougghhh?

Based on Ecclesiastes 10:1, an author writes: “However contracted may be our sphere, we still exert an influence for weal or woe. …one rash act, one thoughtless word, on our part may exert so deep an influence on the life of another that it will prove the ruin of his soul. Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness…of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others…” Prophets & Kings, page 85,86

That is crazy. Not gossiping could most definitely be an act of self-denial—holding back our words because we know we shouldn’t say them. Do any of us ever think about what we say, or how our words affect others? Or are we so trapped in our emotions at the time that we don’t even think about what we’re going to say- we just say it?

Okay, now for the biblical texts.

Prov. 17:9 says he who repeats a matter separates friends.

1 John 3:15 says whoever hates anyone is a murderer, and murderers don’t have eternal life within them…

Do we repeat matters we shouldn’t be repeating? Do we gossip because we don’t like someone?

Or do we gossip just because it’s well, fun?

Ultimately, we have to watch what we say to people, about people, and around people. Gossip might feel good in the moment (like every other sin) but comes with negative repercussions (like every other sin).

What those of us with big mouths need to recite is Psalm 141:3,4:

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Write that down. Put it in our pocket. Look at it every day.

Sometimes things truly are better left unsaid.

And I for one have to be okay with not hearing the latest gossip. That’s going to be a challenge.

“Every day, our words and acts are making impressions upon those with whom we associate. How great the need that we set a watch upon our lips and guard carefully our steps! One reckless movement, one imprudent step, and the surging waves of some strong temptation may sweep a soul into the downward path…

On the other hand, if by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence over others. Thus hundreds and thousands are helped by our unconscious influence. The true follower of Christ strengthens the good purposes of all with whom he comes in contact. Before an unbelieving, sin-loving world he reveals the power of God’s grace and the perfection of His character.” -Prophets & Kings, page 238

Let us aid others in the development of good principles, not feed the ugly, gossiping monster within. Let us reveal love. And as Christ’s disciples, let us rememeber who we are representing.

Until next,

Brotherly Love- What Does that Mean?

In my reading of 1 John 1 and 2, I was impressed by the ideas of brotherly love.

Those in the Christian world often hear the theme of “love your neighbor” and “love one another.”

I’ve written about this theme before in Love One Another and I’m a Foolish, Fragile Spine.

Some people say that loving one another is the greatest of great commandments, the Golden Rule.

But how often do we actually do that?

How do we practice this?

I can’t even express how teeth-grinding it is for me to see hatred and bigotry portrayed and justified by using biblical texts. It makes me crazy. These hateful people declaring their hatred in the name of God is the example of Christianity they give to the world.

And we wonder why people hate Christians.

Guys, this loving your neighbor theme is serious. The Bible says if we truly love God we will love our brother also ( 1 John 4:21).

My understanding is that if I don’t love my neighbor, I don’t truly love God.

We need to extend that love to everyone—including the people we don’t like.

For me, that means including those “Christians” who spew Bible verses in order to justify their racism. And the people who say awful things about my religious group. And the friends who say (indirectly) that I’m stupid for believing in God and not in “science.”

How do we develop that love? How often do we put ourselves last and other first?

Let’s all try to develop that kind of love this week, that Christ-like love God wants us all to have.