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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: "Acts" and hearts
By Gordon Lavoie


I am no stranger to cruel troubles, I’ve suffered much from man’s hands, and I’ve been beaten before. The whip also is not an unfamiliar foe, and the pain which complements the lash not an unknown caller. I have as well seen the inside of a prison cell more than one time. The cold dense rock which composes the floor is solid and unforgiving. The hard hearted jailor always seems to push you in, your leg irons not permitting you to keep balance, insures you have a firm personal acquaintance with the unyielding stone. The bars, a constant reminder that freedom only exists somewhere other than where you are. The guards, pitiless, callous, and distant. The stocks which enclose your ankles are heavy and cut deeper with each slight stride of movement you endeavor to make.

We are here on false charges. The prideful men we angered, were very prominent and wealthy businessmen, pillars of this world’s so called society. When they determined we were the reason their gain was gone, they delivered us to the magistrates, accusing us of crimes they knew the courts would condemn. We were deemed guilty long before the judges ever saw our face, but upon hearing the charges we were quickly sentenced to a severe flogging, and delivered into the inner prison. They could, and did intern our bodies, but not our souls. The soul, though itself is fenced in with bones and sinew, and captive to this body of death, is not subject to man’s malicious torment. While the flesh cries with agony the soul is free, and can sing. After all, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

It must have been fairly close to midnight when we decide to kneel and pray, and as our petitions reached unto the heavens our spirits were lifted, prayer soon turned to song, and we joyfully sang praises unto the Lord our Saviour. The other prisoners hearing wondered at the sight, and questioned why men in stocks would be singing praise, glorifying, and thanking their God for such mishap. Then the walls shook.

That hard cold stone which once firmly rested beneath our feet now shifted like tidal waters being pulled from off the shore. The foundations trembled, the walls shuddered, the doors broke open, and our shackles fell empty at our feet. The upheaval, of coarse woke the jailor, and he quickly ran to assess the damage. His concern though, was not for the structure, but whether we had fled, for he was terrified of the wrath of the judges. If we had escaped, he was fearful at what they might do to him, much more than the quake. How they would treat him I know not, but he dreaded them more than the sword he held in his hand, for his intention was to take his own life rather than face those that had rule over him.

I quickly yelled, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” He entered our presence trembling, he knew of our faith and had heard of the power of the God that freed us, for before he had pushed us into the cell we spoke to him of Christ, nevertheless his heart never heard. Now it seems that our Lord has softened that hard heart, for he earnestly enquired, “what must I do to be saved.” Silas answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shat be saved.”
….. Oh, Praise the Lord God,
…………… who can take the wrong, and weave it into glorious right,
………………. take a hardened heart, and turn it soft as evening light.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/04/09
Excellent voice in this Biblical re-telling!
Sunny Loomis 05/05/09
Very well crafted Bible story. Excellent descriptions. Thank you.
Glenda Lagerstedt05/06/09
I really liked this first-person account of a familiar story. I often ponder what biblical folks actually felt in their particular circumstance.
Deborah Porter 05/07/09
Hi Gordon. I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, Acts and Hearts, actually did very well in the Hard and Soft Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 8th in that Level. There were a lot of entries this week, and competition in Level 1 is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.
Again, well done. :-)

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)