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Entries in Kaley Faith Rhea (3)

Tuesday
Oct102017

Avengers [Please Do Not] Assemble!

Kaley Faith Rhea is a funny, faith-filled young woman with a strong voice for the Lord. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she encourages us to not repay "evil for evil."

"Want to know something the Bible goes over and over and over again? I’m not talking about love or peace or forgiveness," Kaley says. "I’m talking VENGEANCE."

Something about that word makes me (Dawn) shudder. That couldn't possibly be a Christian issue, right? Oh, yes it is. Often.

Kaley continues . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good Marvel movie or book as much as the next gal. Sometimes more. Sometimes maybe too much. I might be watching Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as I write this. Who knows?

But seriously, take a look with me at what the Scripture says about revenge. It’s in there a shocking number of times.

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Well, that’s just one instance of ... Oh, wait.

“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Okay, so twice it’s… Hmmm.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17).

I’d almost say Scripture is beating a dead horse about the subject, but it seems like it’s actually all about blessing the dead horse and repaying the dead horse’s evil with good.

Wait, what?

Do we even struggle that much with the desire for revenge in our modern, everyday lives?

When I think of the word "vengeance," I think of blood feuds or wrathful vendettas of old. But we come across vengeance every day.

  • Sometimes we call it “getting even.”
  • Or making sure someone “gets what they deserve.”
  • Or even “standing up for myself.”

To be clear, if someone has hurt you and remains unrepentant, it may be very necessary to place boundaries on that relationship. And if you are in an abusive situation, do not let anyone tell you you have an obligation to remain there.

But I’m talking about that very human, very dark instinct that is able to rationalize and even righteous-ize the thinking for slights big and small:

“I am hurt. And in my anger, all I want is for you to hurt too.”

Paul wrote,

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).

  • Seeking to get even robs you of your peace.
  • It reveals a lack of trust in the Lord.
  • It obliterates an opportunity to show the love of Christ.

Did you notice the part where it says “If possible, so far as it depends on you”? It won’t always be possible to live peaceably with everyone.

Where there is sin, you may be called to lovingly confront. Whether that person responds peacefully or with the same kind of love is up to them. But, beloved, “never avenge yourselves.”

If this seems impossible, well, it is. This is something we need to ask Jesus to do in and through us. Every day. Every time a car cuts us off or a coworker whispers behind our backs.

Let Jesus be your example and your strength. That way, as He works in you and through you to take a bad situation and do something good, God gets all the glory.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

So by all means, dress like Thor or Wasp or Ms. Marvel or any of the other Avengers for your costume parties this year. But when you do, use the opportunity as a reminder for your heart that the One we really want to look most like is Jesus.

When are you tempted to seek revenge? Which of the three everyday examples of "revenge" do you struggle with most?

Kaley Faith Rhea is a co-author of the Christian rom-com novel, Turtles in the Road, with two more books in the works to release in 2018. She also co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Article adapted from the Bible study companion to Turtles in the Road.

Graphic adapted, Open clip art vector courtesy of Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan172017

Catch Me

Kaley Faith Rhea is a young author and TV show co-host with a unique perspective on life. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she asks us to consider falling back on the Lord in faith and confidence.

"I’ve never hesitated to do a trust fall. Ever," Kaley says, "But I’ll admit it’s less because I’m a trusting person and more because I’m short enough a fall from this height wouldn’t cause any real damage."

Oh, Kaley, in all my years I (Dawn) have NEVER done a trust fall. I think I'd sooner jump out of a plane than trust that my pranking friends would catch me in a trust fall! But I know you've got something to teach me ... us ... here.

Kaley continues…

In seventh grade I went to a cheerleading practice. Suddenly they wanted me to let my fellow twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls lift me up, throw me into the air and catch me.

Have you ever heard the sound of twelve- or thirteen-year-olds catching another twelve- or thirteen-year-old out of the air?

I will tell you.

It sounds like getting punched in the face.

Oh, I "noped" right outta there. Really put my trust fall record into perspective.

I think I tend to do the same thing with the Lord.

Father, I will trust you...

  • Only as far as I can be sure I won’t get hurt.
  • Or only as far as I have a backup plan in place.
  • Or only as far as I’m really the one in control here.

Which is no kind of trust at all.

In my life I have determined—through a great deal of data analysis and scientific observations—there are three specific situations during which I most need reminding that God is the One in control:

1. When everything feels out of control.

2. When I’ve accidentally convinced myself I am in control.

3. All the other times.

It is so easy when things go wrong to lose sight of the One we can absolutely trust.

Or maybe even to look at God—who is in control, after all—and to blame Him. How could He let this happen? Why didn’t He stop this?

I don’t know the answer every time to be honest. But I do know that every time God is good. He is the source of goodness.

And I do know that every time God loves you. He is the God who loved us enough to send his Son Jesus to die where we deserved to die.

God is good, even in a fallen world. God is love, even when it seems like your fallen world is especially falling apart.

When you are hurting or devastated or even just proud, and you wonder Can I trust God? Can I really trust Him?

While you’re quoting Jeremiah 29:11 to yourself, maybe listen to Paul in Romans 8, too, where he writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (verses 38-39).”

Paul—whose life was filled with more hardship than I know how to imagine—had this brilliant, God-given trust that none of those hardships for one moment could keep him from experiencing the love God had for him. He could feel secure in God’s love in the face of everything. He had that assurance because of Jesus.

So I suppose in my life I have discovered—only through a miracle of grace—there are three specific things I need when I am arrogant or weary or battered enough to forget in Whom I can place my trust:

1. I need to focus on Jesus.

2. I need to read about Jesus.

3. I need to ask Jesus to, by His grace, give me the wisdom to trust Him when everything human in me is screaming Jesus may be the answer to a lot of things, but Jesus can’t be the answer to this.

Jesus IS the answer to this.

 If Jesus is the answer in the face of death and demons and “anything else in all creation,” Jesus is the answer to every one of your thises.

Dear Jesus, You are perfect. You love me perfectly. Remind me through your Spirit there is no height I could fall from too high for You to catch me. If I believe You loved me enough to go to the cross, I have to believe You love me enough to catch me when my life or my ego seems out of control. Lord Jesus, I trust You.

Are there any areas of your life where you’ve been reluctant to trust in Jesus? How can you surrender to Him today?

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, releasing this year. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Tuesday
Sep062016

Kinda Kind

Kaley Faith Rhea is a bright young woman with a promising future, and her growth in wisdom shows! In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she zeroes in on the need for intentional kindness.

"We tend, Kaley says, "to try to teach our children to be kind—to share and to say sweet words and to play nice, right? But between you and me, fellow grownups, we can be some real sass-mouth kids to each other!"

"Sass-mouth." I (Dawn) have never used that word, but oh, does it ever describe what I hear when some women talk. We need some conversational wisdom, for sure!

Kaley continues . . .

As a culture, we’re inclined to celebrate the zingers. The quick come-backs, the smart insults, the comic teasing.

Something in us loves to shout, “Ohhhh! Apply cool water to that burn!” after a particularly glorious gibe. And a lot of times, it really is all in fun.

We like to laugh. Big deal.

The potential problem is that for some it can be a bit habit forming. Has it become weird to look someone in the face and speak sincerely some kind words to them? Or to hear kind words spoken to you?

The truth is, we can so train our brains in this method of verbal sparring that we look to score points with hardly a conscious thought, while trying to honestly encourage someone is like trying to do calligraphy wrong-handed.

It’s uncomfortable. And it probably doesn’t turn out like what you had in mind.

But Ephesians 4:22 tells us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…” Those of you who have children, what could be sweeter to you than seeing your kiddos show kindness to each other?

Have you thought about ways you can bless your heavenly Father lately? Be kind. Be tenderhearted.

Where there may be discomfort or awkwardness or an odd feeling of vulnerability in the effort to replace glibness with kindness, think of Jesus and this opportunity you have to be sweet to Him.

I think sometimes today we get this idea that a kind person is this saccharine, obnoxious, weak, or false sort of person. So let’s be clear.

Kindness isn’t the same as lying or flattering or overlooking sin. In fact, sometimes confrontation is the kind thing to do.

Psalm 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.”

Replacing truth with feel-goodisms is no kind of kindness at all. It’s more like apathy, in fact.

But kindness does require approaching someone in love and with the understanding that you are not their superior. That their struggle could just as easily be yours. Kindness is dismissing the desire to put someone in their place and instead asking the Lord to use you however He wants in that moment, that you might see someone else victorious in Christ.

There is something a bit sinister, too, in the habitual teasing: it tends to keep things on a superficial level. It’s difficult to share personal struggles or victories or vices with someone whose tendency is to laugh things off or call things out.

So even if sharp but funny insults are the popular thing, they’re not generally what people are thirsting for.

We may celebrate the wit of the jokesters, but we are drawn to the hearts of the kind.

Probably because when people are being kind, they’re being like Jesus.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Kindness is an evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in you.

If you find yourself defaulting to clever put-downs or brush-offs, ask Him to change your mind. Ask Him to show you how to bless Him by blessing others with your words and actions.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that kindness is a lesson we ought to reserve for children. It’s massively important. It’s a command.

And it’s impossible to do it well without the help of our tirelessly kind and merciful Father.

How can you take kindness out of the Sunday School classroom and be intentional about it in real life?

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, releasing soon, with two more novels in the works. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Graphic: adapted, courtesy of Morguefile.