Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Appetite of Vengeance by Jennifer Slattery: Psalm 103: 6

“Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.” ― Richelle E. GoodrichThe Tarishe Curse

Few wounds hurt as deeply as betrayal. It pains our hearts, shatters our trust, destroys relationships, and most notably, awakens our inner sense of justice. Ah, vengeance! To make the other pay for what they did, or at the very least, to feel the same pain they have caused us.

Whenever I think of betrayal, mine or someone else’s, I can’t help but think of Joseph. (Gen. 37-50) That poor man was betrayed continuously! First by his family then by his boss, then by two men he helped in a darkened dungeon. And how did Joseph respond? With bitterness, spending his time calculating how he’d get even? Or at the very least, how he’d alert everyone to how greatly he’d been wronged?

Nope. He responded with praise-filled surrender, because he knew God had it all—Joseph’s hurts, dreams, and current circumstances—under control. More than that, he knew God is a God of justice. It’s part of His very nature. Couple this with His Father’s heart, and you’ve got an all-powerful, ever-present, completely just and righteous God who, at this very moment, is working all things—all things!— for our good (Rom. 8:28) and His eternal purposes.

That means that betrayal that completely leveled us and even now causes our teeth to grind will be used for our good.

Consider this, speaking of Jesus, Paul said, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purposes and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross” (Acts 2:23—emphasis mine).

Speaking of this, in his book, The Peace Maker, Ken Sande says, “[God] chose not to restrain the acts of evil men so that His plan of redemption would be fulfilled through the death and resurrection of His Son.” (Rom. 3:21-26) (Pg. 61)

In other words, God allowed His only beloved Son to be betrayed to the point of death so that you and I might be saved. Pause and meditate on this for a moment—the very God that allowed you to be betrayed or wounded in a situation is the same one who allowed His son to be betrayed and wounded—for you. That’s a lot of love—incomprehensible love. Enough love to warrant our full surrender and trust, even when betrayed.

Because we either believe God is all-loving, or we don’t.

We either believe He’s all-powerful or we don’t.

We either believe He’s all knowing or we don’t.

We either believe He’s just and righteous or we don’t.

And let’s not forget, it was our sin that drove Christ to the cross in the first place—that led to His betrayal unto death.

If we believe those things, and if we remind ourselves of those things, especially when we’re hurting, our response to our offender will be utterly different.

Because grace changes everything and takes vengeance off the table, replacing it with surrender and praise.

Vengeance never belonged to us, anyway. As Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the LORD” (NIV).

And as Psalm 103:6, today’s focal verse says, “The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated fairly.”

In other words, God will deal with appropriately—righteously—with the offender and the offended. So take a deep breath and let it go. It’s too big of a burden for you to carry, anyway. And in trying, chances are, we’ll only get in God’s way.

As you read today’s devotion, did one hurt or person rise to the forefront of your mind? If so, ask God to take that from you, then trust Him to work all things out—for your good.

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print and kindle version)! You can get that here:

When Dawn Breaks:

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

You can buy a copy here:

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Praise the Lord, O My Soul by Sarah Ruut

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!
With all that is within me, praise his holy name!”
(Psalms 103:1, NET)

You probably know that David was not afraid to be genuine and to pour out his heart in his songs. He pleads for deliverance, vents his anger, and begs for forgiveness. Here in Psalms 103 we find him pouring out his love for the Lord.

Do we do the same? Does our worship bubble out of us, unstoppable?

I’m afraid, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes we go to church because it’s just what is expected of us. We sing the songs because that’s what you’re supposed to do. We go through the motions, doing what we ought, and then we go home. As we make our way through the week, our time and effort is spent putting out “fires” and tending to the billions of little things we all have on our overly-full plates. There’s not much time for the Lord, because we have so much else to do.

Before we know it, it’s time for church again. We load up and head out, only to repeat the same expected pattern once more.

Sound familiar? Trust me, if that describes you, you’re not alone.

So what made the difference for David? He didn't just say, “Thanks, God! You got me out of that mess!” He didn't text, “PTL!” and go on with his day. He didn't even post on Facebook: “David is feeling blessed.”

It was more than a lack of technology that made his response different! ;-) Here’s what he said: 
With all that is within me, praise his holy name!”

There’s the key. David wasn't doing what was expected of him. He wasn't going through the motions. Instead, he was praising God with ALL that was within him.

Praise like that comes from deep within us. It bubbles to the surface in response to who God is. The more we understand God, his nature and character, the more we desire to praise and obey him. It’s a natural outpouring that comes from the fullness of knowing God.

If your worship has been feeling a bit robotic lately, I encourage you to take some time digging through the following verses. I pray that He will show you, through His Word, just how praiseworthy He is. And I pray that, as your heart begins to overflow, you will join David in saying, “Praise the Lord, O my soul! With all that is within me, praise his holy name!”

Psalms 9:1
Psalms 28:7
Psalms 35:28
Psalms 40:1-3
Psalms 59:17
Psalms 68:19
Psalms 96:6
Psalms 103:20
Psalms 104:1, 14
Psalms 107:8
Psalms 119:7
Psalms 136:1, 25

Psalms 138:7

Sarah Ruut is an avid reader who loves talking books and authors on her blog. Although she is regularly interrupted by geometry proofs and foreign languages, she wouldn’t trade her homeschooling days for anything. All she needs is a cinnamon roll and a great novel to get through the rough spots!

You can find devotional thoughts as well as reviews of Christian fiction, interviews with amazing authors, giveaways and more at You can also connect with Sarah on Twitter: