Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Sixty Three

July 24, 2020
Dear friends,

With so many stories of evil in the news, I was very blessed to begin reading “Overcomer” by Dr. David Jeremiah this week. In the fourth chapter – “Overcoming Evil with Good” – Dr. Jeremiah shares stories of people who determined to oppose evil by doing good, including a young gymnast named Rachael Denhollander, who read her six-thousand word impact statement in court on January 24, 2018, exactly thirty months ago today. Rachael opposed evil by courageously coming forward to authorities to expose the sexual assaults of Larry Nassar, a medical doctor and athletic trainer at Michigan State University, resulting in his arrest and subsequent conviction.

I can’t imagine the emotions that filled Rachael as she spoke directly to the man who turned from her trainer to tormentor. Here is part of what she told Nassar: “Throughout the process, I have clung to a quote by C.S. Lewis, where he says, my argument against God was that the universe seems so cruel and unjust. But how did I get this idea of just, unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he first has some idea of straight. What was I comparing the universe to when I called it unjust?

Larry, I can call what you did evil and wicked because it was. And I know it was evil and wicked because the straight line exists. The straight line is not measured based on your perception or anyone else’s perception, and this means I can speak the truth about my abuse without minimization or mitigation. And I can call it evil because I know what goodness is. And that is why I pity you. Because when a person loses the ability to define good and evil, when they cannot define evil, they can no longer define and enjoy what is truly good.”

After sharing Rachael Denhollander’s testimony, Dr. Jeremiah examines the apostle Paul’s exhortation to the believers in Ephesus – “put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14) – “The breastplate of the common Roman soldier was a piece of armor made of hardened, reinforced leather. For an officer, the leather was covered with metal plating for extra protection. The breastplate covered the torso and protected the soldier’s vital organs – especially his heart. A warrior without his breastplate was vulnerable and dangerously exposed to the enemy.”

 Every morning, we have a decision to make: what to wear. Spiritually speaking, we also have a decision to make: to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1). In his Study Bible, Dr. Jeremiah writes: “Make no mistake: whether they are aware of it or not, all Christians are engaged in a very real spiritual battle between two opposing kingdoms. And those least in the know are often the first casualties. Thankfully, Paul provides believers with a self-defense course in Ephesians 6, and Jesus equips us with all six dimensions of our spiritual armor. He is our truth, our righteousness, our peace, the object of our faith, the source of our salvation, and the living Word of God. When we ‘put on’ Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27), we are protected by the only person Satan has never defeated.”

In recent months, many people have been wearing a mask in public places. I wonder how many of us have considered what the Scriptures say about God’s protection of our soul. 

Scripture for the weekend: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4 (NKJV)

Thought for the weekend: “You can’t break God’s promises by leaning on them.” – from “Together With God: Psalms,” Dave Branon, Editor, published by Discovery House from Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan


By His grace,