Faith – Overcoming Evil

Faith—Overcoming Evil
By Harvey Kiekover — Sunday, July 4, 2021
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:17-21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21

It began as a peaceful march to protest the brutal killing of George Floyd. But as the darkness deepened, it became a dark night of riotous behavior. Images of angry people smashing store fronts, of police cars ablaze, and of businesses going up in flames brought me to my knees in earnest prayer and disturbed my anxious sleep. What I saw was bad, frightening, evil.

In the morning I checked the news. The rioters were gone, but they had left a disturbing mess: smashed windows, burned cars, vile graffiti, sad ruins in the heart of the city.

A reporter surveying the damage approached a young mother with two children. He asked, “Why are you here this morning?” She said, “We saw the news; we decided that this city needs someone to show the love of God.”

Others were there too—sweeping up the glass shards, trying to restore order to chaos. The mom and her children, who were about 5 and 7 years old, were there with brushes and soap, trying to erase stubborn graffiti. They brought some light into the darkness, some of God’s love into a broken place where the evidence of evil was very real.

In that mother and her little ones, I saw the presence of Jesus. She and her children were being the church, Christ’s body—overcoming evil by doing good. As I watched, warm and grateful tears welled up from within me in a prayer of thanks to God.

Lord, give us the faith, courage, and strength to overcome evil by doing good in our broken world. Amen.

//Reframe Ministries//

The Journey of Joy

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

A group of Buddhist scholars considered the weighty question of whether the Buddha, their figure of supreme serenity and harmony, ever laughed. After carefully checking their holy books, they concluded that indeed the Buddha may have smiled on at least one occasion. Some religions lack an emphasis on joy, but there should be no doubt that Christians appreciate humor, laughter, and joy. Why? Because God himself is joyful.

In Nehemiah 8:10 we are re­minded, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” And I love the description of God in Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord . . . will take great delight in you . . . [and] will rejoice over you with singing.” Can you picture God singing for joy as he thinks about you and me?

Certainly the culmination of joy is the coming of Jesus. At Jesus’ birth the angel of the Lord proclaims, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Christ’s coming to bring salvation has brought exuberant joy into the world.

The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, makes the joy of God and Jesus our own. There is no longer any need to search for joy. The Christian can say, “I have found it!”

The apostle Paul explains that when we have the joy of the Lord, we have the peace of God as well—and that is the fruit we will look at tomorrow.

Lord, we live in a world that is missing deep joy because of disease, disaster, and emotional distress. We desperately need your joy. Holy Spirit, fill us with the joy of the Lord, we pray. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

The Journey of Joy, By Dean Deppe — Friday, June 18, 2021

//Reframe Ministries//

Governed by the Spirit

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-8

The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 7:5

Romans 8 is a key chapter about life in the Spirit. And to understand it, we need the background of Romans 6-7.

In these chapters, the apostle Paul explains that before life in the Spirit occurs, we need to give up trying to control our own lives. We need to be “crucified” with Christ so that we are no longer “slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). We also need to realize that when we live as slaves to sin—and this includes trying to live by God’s law on our own—we will always fail. We will find that (1) we cannot do the good that we want to do, and (2) we will keep on doing the bad that we do not want to do (Romans 7:14-23).

Is there any way we can be freed from this mess? “Thanks be to God!” Yes! (Romans 7:25)—and only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. When we trust in God’s power to save us, we receive new life in the Spirit, and we depend on the Spirit to lead and guide us always.

If we are governed or controlled “by the flesh,” that means we are trying to live by our own strength or under our own direction. Every day, we need to ask the Spirit to fill us and direct us.

Life in the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit accomplishes what we cannot do ourselves. Just as we must depend on and trust in God’s grace through Jesus to save us, so we must depend on and trust the Spirit to guide and govern us each day. And in his power we no longer struggle but find rest.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, help us to depend completely on your ­power to save us and to guide us. Amen.

By Dean Deppe — Wednesday, June 9, 2021
//ReFrame Ministries//

Sweet and Sour

Sweet and Sour
By Jim Poelman — Saturday, May 22, 2021

Sweet and Sour

Scripture Reading:  Revelation 10:9-11

I took the little scroll . . . and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.
Revelation 10:10

Let’s reflect some more today on what it can mean to say that the good-news message of salvation (represented by the little scroll) is sweet and sour.

When John, the narrator of this story, asked the angel to give him the little scroll, he was told, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’”

We like the “sweet as honey” part, but we don’t like the idea of a sour stomach. Couldn’t the good news of God just linger in our mouths and not sink down deep inside?

When I think about this, I am reminded of my friend Nuygen who, as an adult, came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Nuygen took in the good news and savored it. He read God’s Word, the Bible, and he studied it and loved it.

Then one day he reflected on Jesus’ teaching that says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Nuygen had grown up in Vietnam in the 1970s, and his body still carried scars inflicted by ruthless enemies. Now the good-news message, which had tasted so sweet, turned sour in his stomach. Nuygen’s memories of those scars gave him deep pain and bitterness and anger. But, in Christ, his faith grew stronger as his anger turned to forgiveness.

Faith in Jesus requires letting God’s Word sink deep down inside us to change us, wherever we may need to be changed—and healed.

Spirit of God, sink your Word deep inside me to make changes where I need them. Amen.

//ReFrame Ministries//


Destroyer by Jim Poelman — Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Scripture Reading: Revelation 9:3-12

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. . . .Revelation 9:7

It can be tempting to skip over this section in Revelation. Its message is troublesome. The swarm of locusts rising up from the Abyss, grotesque in appearance and ruthlessly determined to torment as many people as they can, are creatures we would rather avoid.

I think this fifth-trumpet scene applies the same technique Jesus used in parts of his Ser­mon on the Mount. This is hyper­bole—the use of exaggerated pictures that are not meant to be taken literally. Consider, for example, what Jesus says in Matthew 5:29-30 (NRSV): “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. . . . If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. . . .” One of my church-education students responded to this passage by saying, “Wow! Jesus asks a lot.”

She understood. She knew that Jesus was not saying we should literally harm ourselves, but she could see that he does call us to resist sin. The fifth-trumpet story says a lot about evil and the terrible pain it brings into people’s lives, and we need to resist it. With God’s protection we can do that, but we must see evil for what it is. What the Bible calls sin and evil is what we might define as “doing what I want, when I want.”

Sin may look and taste like candy. But God wants us to see sin’s real cavity-creating rot. Perhaps this truth is best brought home in the name of the driver-king who comes out of the Abyss. His name is Destroyer.

Who is your king?

Lord, deliver us each day from the evil one, the Destroyer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

//ReFrame Ministries//


By Jim Poelman — Monday, May 17, 2021


Scripture Reading — Revelation 8:3-5

The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God. . . . — Revelation 8:4

In our reading today, another thought-provoking scene unfolds. Yesterday we reflected on a half-hour of silence that took place when Jesus opened the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1-2). And now an angel offers incense to go with “the prayers of all God’s people” being lifted up to the Lord.

Prayers are a fitting response to the command “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Our prayers are expressions of faith in God’s promise to be “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

The picture here invites us to see that God always hears our prayers. “The prayers of all God’s people” include the prayers of children, of people just learning to pray, and of believers who have prayed for many years.

My friend Hank may have thought his prayers had no effect. He prayed that his coworker would come to believe in Jesus. But his coworker did not change, and after a while the two moved on to different jobs. When they met again years later, however, Hank was delighted to find that his former coworker had become a follower of Jesus. Hank asked, “What happened to make the change?” His friend said, “I listened to the prayers you gave when you invited me over for dinner in your home. You had a closeness to God that stirred my soul.”

Though the timing may not be what we expect, God always answers our prayers!


Thank you, Lord, for ­listening to all our prayers. Help us to trust in you as our ever-present help—­always! Amen.

//ReFrame Ministries//


By Jim Poelman — Sunday, May 16, 2021

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 46; Revelation 8:1-2

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Revelation 8:1

With the opening of the ­seventh seal we might have expected the story to come to a speedy conclusion. But we do not meet a cosmic display of God’s almighty forces. Instead, we are surrounded by heaven’s silence for an extended time—so that we can receive an important message.

In our fast-paced lives there are very few places where we experience silence. Not only that, but we generally don’t like to have times of prolonged silence. We’ll do anything—listen to a radio, watch TV, send text messages, read or listen to a book, play games or sports, work, do hobbies, and more—to avoid staying in silence for very long.

Silence gives us space, however, for God to speak to our hearts. It is God who speaks in Psalm 46, saying, “Be still, and know that I am God.” With the opening of the seventh seal, the story line in Revelation moves toward darkness and devastation, destruction from powers that are allowed to test and challenge people on the earth. As those who live by faith in Jesus, however, we need heaven’s silence—the stillness in which God can make himself known to us—to face any challenges to our faith.

You may be facing challenges today. The prolonged silence in today’s Bible reading promises to be God’s way of assuring us that we are not alone. God is with us as “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Slow me down, Lord. I need to stop the noise and distractions so that you can reassure me of your presence, strength, and care. Protect me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

//ReFrame Ministries//