Monday, January 23, 2012

Overcome Evil with Good

Yesterday, my Pastor at Lifechurch in Cookeville, Bobby Davis, reminded me of a Scripture that was all but forgotten to me. I’m sad to admit this but I had not stood on this verse in a long time. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NKJV). The reason I share that is because God brought it to my mind when talking to my children later that evening.
Pastor Bobby shared something to the effect that we – the Church – are on the defensive rather than the offensive. By that, I mean, that he was utilizing the metaphor of a football team to describe the Church. Obviously, there are different positions that each person within the Church are chosen to play by God. Over time, though, we often allow our comfort zone to become that which hinders us from advancing the kingdom.
Pastor referenced his own “education” in things of the Church. There was an expectation of “don’t do this” or “don’t do that” when in all actuality all that was being done was giving his sin – and everyone else’s – a name. “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are” (Romans 3:20). Maybe you’ve been told that from those who practice religion within Christianity. “Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t have sex. Don’t chew. Don’t hang out with those who do.” Now, granted, advocating abstaining from certain practices is absolutely wise but to make the “tradition” higher than the “relation” is worse than the sin.

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him” (Romans 6:1-8).

But getting back to the point, Sophia and Angus had gotten up from their nap. Amanda and I had already decided to split the afternoon/evening with them to give them each some one-on-one time. I had plans to take Sophia to Lowes and then get a bite to eat at the Manchurian Palace. The AFC Championship game was on. It was the final quarter and hard to leave when you’re hoping Tom Brady – who you don’t normally cheer for – has to do everything within him to stop Ray Lewis and the Ravens from going to the Super Bowl.
Needless to say, we got out of the door later than expected, but as we were loading up, Sophia asked me, “Daddy, can we go to a restaurant.” I began to answer her with a list of “Yes we can if you don’t ______.” How awful! Rather than giving her a yes or no, I put stipulations on her request. That, in and of itself, isn’t the bad thing about it. What’s bad is that my initial response was to give her a list of “don’ts.”
God nailed me with what Pastor Bobby said earlier; “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NKJV). What a great place to show Sophia that we can do things in a positive light! So I changed my tone. I said, “Yes, we can go to the restaurant if you have what?” Sophia said, “If I’m nice, if I smile, and if I hug myself?” She melted my heart! Thank God for little girls.
It’s a no-brainer that I’ve often acted like I don’t have a brain in the issue. Why bring my child up with the negative side of options all the time. I can teach her to begin with the thought that a lot of teachers utilize in school. The students start out with 100 or an “A” average. It’s only by jacking things up do their grades get any lower. So by doing the right thing, the reward is exactly what they expected and sometimes even richer!

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good – Romans 12:21 NLT

Here’s your challenge: read Romans!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


            Amanda and I have been looking for a place to rent in Knoxville. It’s a time-consuming, sometimes overwhelming process. It’s so much easier to move when you’re single and don’t have little people about who to be concerned. Fortunately, my case is that I do have others involved in the process. I never really understood how much of a difference my thinking would become once married with children. I guess I used to rib my mates who were married. They always seemed so much more “concerned” with the logistics of things. Wives who were mommies, in particular, always seemed to let me know how much more they knew about “real life” than I did. I can see their point – to a degree – now.
            The housing market is crazy. One house on a street runs 200K and two doors down one runs 400K because in the winter – when there are no leaves – if you stand on the right corner of the property, you can see a small portion of the Tennessee River. Now, I don’t really know that as the reason for the price increase but it sure is fun to speculate on a house you find quite attractive and pleasing to the eye.
            My question throughout our day of house hunting on scene was this, “Who really determines the value of something?” Why can the retired little, old lady who owns five of the surrounding properties ask 1K/month for a house that, anywhere else, would only draw – at the max – half that amount! It’s funny. I just haven’t been out on the market in a while so it’s been an eye-opener in regards to seeing what the perceived and accepted value of property is these days.

            Consider the parable of the Hidden Treasure:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” – Matthew 13:44
And what about the parable of Choice Pearls:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” – Matthew 13:45-46

            It’s all about the value of something. What do I value in regards to where I want my family to live? What about the values Amanda has? Are they the same? Do we need to step back, reevaluate, and move forward again with tenacity? Maybe it’s simpler than even that because we want the best for our family – we want God’s will.

            “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Luke 12:34

            I started thinking about all this because of the Life Journal reading for today. *** In particular, I was reading from Genesis and hit a scripture that has really sparked my interest in the psyche of man, especially those of us who have engaged in combat. This scripture makes me wonder if this is the origin of the issues that warriors face with combat stress, post-traumatic stress, and PTSD.

“And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image.” - Genesis 9:5-6

            After reading this post, if you have any insight to offer especially concerning Genesis 9:5-6, I would love to engage in some dialogue.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” - Philippians 3:8

***      (If you’re unfamiliar with Life Journals and would like a way to engage the Bible, check out Check out for an even deeper technological experience with your Life Journal).

Monday, January 2, 2012

What I Do - First Lyrics of 2012!

What I Do (I Don’t Want to Do)
Copyright © 2012 by Malcolm Rios

Well I know the Lord has shown me the way
He’s taken my darkness and thrown it away
But there’s something deep inside me
That wants me to stay the same
Yeah, there’s something deep inside me
That doesn’t want me to change
And what do I do
To keep on runnin’ to you

What I do I don’t want to do (x4)

Well sometimes I think it’d be easy to do
Walk away and turn my back on you
But there’s something deep inside me
That keeps me from turnin’ away
Make a choice for the hope of a lifetime
Instead of hanging on a moment today
But what do I do
To keep myself runnin’ from you

What I do I don’t want to do (x4)

And what I don’t want to do
I always end up doing to you

What I do I don’t want to do (x4)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All is Quiet on New Years Day

Another year has ended. Maybe I have finally gotten to that point in my life ... I didn't care nor do I give a rip about watching the ball drop in NYC or the note drop in Nashville although I watched them both last night with Amanda. I feel like Andy Rooney - I'm over all the hype involved in what New Years Eve has become. Over promised and under delivered ... As has been the case for so much of our media driven entertainment lately.

Enough of my complaints though because I hate whining as much as anyone else. Right now I'm lying on the couch, Sophia's on the love seat, Angus is in his crib, and Amanda is napping in the bedroom. Life is good. We are blessed and highly favored. God's been so good to us.

For me, peace is the greatest gift God is blessing me with right now. It's quiet in the house although I just heard Sophia snore. Peace has been hard to maintain grasp of this year. So many changes ... So many attempts to move mountains ... So many tragedies - too many and too close. But for all that, I think God is really beginning to open up my eyes and heart to a better understanding of what his peace really is all about.

I pray that for all of us this year.