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Flirting with the Forbidden

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The Advocate

Flirting with the Forbidden by Steven James

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"...certainly will stir our thoughts on how often we lean closer to the line and flirt with danger."

The enticing odor of temptation permeates our fallen world. The enticement to cheat, dishonor, lie, covet, and lust is a part of our everyday reality. Yet, that doesn't mean we have to let sin control and destroy us.

The refreshing reflections on familiar Bible stories in Flirting with the Forbidden are proof of the power of the narrative. James is a prolific fiction author known for his dark and heavy suspense in the Patrick Bowers Files (five titles). He is also a consummate storyteller and wordsmith pulling you inside the story where you can see yourself, two thousand years removed, experiencing a glimpse of what historical characters walked through as they lived life.

For each familiar story, conversational commentary follows and solidifies James’ learned lessons. I found myself, more often than not, agreeing with James’ insights into dealing with temptation and embracing grace.

Starting with the biblical first family in “Dusk” to John’s perspective on the Messiah in “Leaving the Boat,” James encourages the reader to develop discernment and reliance on the Holy Spirit as we encounter temptations daily!

I never thought there was a concerted connection between Naomi, Ruth and myself but I was sadly mistaken. In chapter 6 titled “Famine”, James talks about bitterness becoming the default setting for his life. I could relate more than I wanted to admit. He goes on by stating that “scripture reminds us to set our eyes on the future, to gaze into the possibilities of eternity, rather than dwell on the failures of the past.”

In chapter 2 aptly titled “The Fine Line,” he paints the pursuit of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife as two people playing with fire. That perspective makes Joseph a more believable character to the reader. I can relate to his story of being one step away from succumbing to temptation.

“Undercurrents” is a highly transparent chapter for James as he reveals in the style of CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters the demons scouting report for successfully tempting one Mr. James in Tennessee. My temptation checklist looks awfully familiar.

Flirting with the Forbidden cannot be described as earth-shattering fodder with a big bang WOW! It certainly will stir our thoughts on how often we lean closer to the line and flirt with danger. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world. . .” (Ephesians 6:12) His candid comments on social media are dead on and downright convicting!

I, for one, am thrilled that Bible stories are not just for Sunday school hour or the young ones anymore! Your imagination will come alive once again as you read these stories.

As Jesus told the ex-demoniac, “Follow me by telling them your story,” I too want to share my story of experiencing His amazing grace and undeserved mercy with others.

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.