How Many Times? (2 Peter 3:18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” 2 Peter 3:18, ESV.

In this single verse, the apostle Peter tells us everything we need to know about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus suffered only once.

He suffered and died for sinners, for persons who did not and do not deserve His sacrifice.

Jesus suffered and died to bring sinners to God ( not God to sinners, by the way ).

And how did Jesus accomplish this miracle?

Jesus brought sinners to God by “being put to death” — in other words, by execution which implies a courtroom, a judge and a sentence of death for guilt. Whose guilt? Not His own for He was and is without sin. The guilt that Jesus was sentenced to death for is mine and yours.

So stop pointing your finger at others.

We all alike condemned Jesus to the Cross.

And stop trying to crucify others.

Jesus needed to die only once.

Instead, rejoice! I say it again, Rejoice!

God & Guns


How did the Christian walk get tangled up with gun rights and gun ownership? I’ve wondered this before but recently this question has poked me. How does the ‘far right’ conservative Christian justify carrying and using a gun? (And I don’t mean a gun for hunting; I mean a gun for self-protection, a gun for defending one’s family and home).

I can’t imagine Jesus carrying and using a gun for self-defense. Remember Jesus taking the sword from Peter’s hand on the night of His crucifixion? Peter was defending God Himself, God in the flesh. Who or what could be more important to defend than Jesus? Yet, Jesus warned Peter that those who take up the sword often die by that same sword. He took the sword from Peter’s hand and told him not to strike out at the enemy.

How did the Christian come to believe that it is a fundamental human right to take up arms against another human being? Have we forgotten that Jesus Himself said, “If the thief wants your coat, give him your shoes, too.” (Yes, I know. It’s a paraphrase!) And Jesus also declared, “If he strikes you on your cheek, turn your face and offer him the other one.”

So, if Jesus didn’t care to be defended by the sword, why would He approve of one of His followers defending property with a gun? Why would Jesus approve of killing another human being in self-defense?

Tough questions.

 

 

You Have Heard It Said


You Have Heard It Said
Was it November, 2015 when Paris erupted in violence because a handful of human beings decided god was on their side and therefore against the people of that great city? Was it April, 2016 when Brussels became a place of death and destruction because the same handful of human beings decided god was on their side? Was it September, 2001 when that same group of human beings decided god was against the United States of America?
A long time ago and yet today, Jesus said that if a violent man comes against you to strike you, do not resist. In fact, offer him a new target — your other cheek. (Other than Jesus, the only person I know who has done this well is Mahatma Ghandi. Martin Luther King is a close second.)
In the light of human beings who hate so much that they are willing to kill themselves to accomplish killing others, how do we reconcile Jesus’ call to not resist this level of evil?
I heard that on the morning after the attacks in Brussels, people were back at work, refusing to be afraid. And I thought of Jesus’ words, “Do not resist an evil man.” Is Jesus asking us to ignore evil and evil people? I’m not certain that’s possible. How do you ignore someone who is trying to kill you and your family? I don’t think Jesus asks us to ignore evil in others. (We are to resist evil in ourselves.) I think Jesus expects us not to resist evil people — not to take up arms against them, not to go to war against the countries they occupy, not to strike back. Does that make sense? Probably not to our limited minds. Would Hitler have gone on killing Jews if people had not resisted him? Would Stalin have decimated his own country if no one had resisted? We certainly believe these outcomes!
What sort of resistance should we offer against such evil?
I don’t know, but I do know that when I heard that the people of Brussels refused to be afraid, I was relieved. To sow fear is the main objective of a handful of human beings who believe god is on their side and against us — the real people of the world.

A Conversation about Michael Jackson and the Gospel of Jesus Christ


I posted on my Facebook profile a video of Michael Jackson performing MAN IN THE MIRROR which I assume is the title of the song. The lyrics include, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror…” and “I’m going to make a change.” I made a comment about Mr. Jackson making white socks look “rockin’ cool.”

The following is a conversation that ensued:

J.P.F. – “Yea, the little boys loved him and he loved and lusted after them.”

Carley (i.e. me) “Well what a nice thing to say… I was just commenting on his white socks…”

J.P.F. “Yea, it sure was not nice of him to molest all those boys. Just guessing but I don’t believe he is resting in peace. I’m just shocked is all that a professed Christian would post a positive comment of a pedophile. I assume you are against pedophilia and believe it is an obombination against God?” ( Notice Obambination )

Carley (me) “I wasn’t thinking of that when I posted this; I was only thinking of the meaning of the song and that his white socks would look stupid on anyone else. That’s all. I was making NO JUDGMENTS as I leave that to God. After all, the song says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” That’s what I do — I judge myself and not others… if at all possible!”

J.P.F. “God has already judged homosexuality to be wrong. Agreeing with God is not US making the judgement.”

Carley (me) “God thinks a lot of things we do are WRONG; it’s okay to agree with God, of course. But we don’t have to stick other people’s noses in it. God is much better at that than we ever will be. We are to proclaim the GOOD NEWS; i.e. Why are you so obsessed with other people’s sins? Why don’t you just look in the mirror like Michael Jackson suggested he should do? Start with the “man in the mirror.” Change him. Take the PLANK from your eye to see the SPECK in my eye, dude.”

J.P.F. “You won’t stand against sin and stand on the side of God? OK I think the Bible clearly teaches we are His mouth peace and the Gospel is not just hHeaven as a promise but that sins nailed Jesus to the cross. We should agree with God and HATE sin. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Timothy 5:20″

Carley (me) “You can hate sin without hating the sinner or belittling him or her. You can stand with GOD who is LOVE and recognize that He forgives and that MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT (James 2:13). I can throw out verses, too. But GOD is the ultimate judge and I trust Him.”

J.P.F. “I don’t hate Michael Jackson. I also don’t promote how wonderful he was or what cool clothes or comment on his dancing. I simply stay clear. From what I can see he was NOT a friend of God and I certainly do not want to be disloyal.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s fine. Of course. I just didn’t think of his sins when I posted this; I just thought about his song which I happen to like. Take good care of yourself. And God bless. PS My point here at this juncture is to suggest that our sins do not disqualify us from doing valuable things with our lives. We are ALL sinners and we ALL fail, but we also have things to offer to other human beings. If that is not true, what’s the point of being here on earth at all?! Your position seems to be that if you commit a murder let’s say you will never do anything that is GOOD — I don’t happen to believe that is true. God says, “Go, and sin no more.” He says, “You are forgiven.” That is worth celebrating. Love always wins. Don’t you remember the man who prayed to GOD, “Thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there.” And God said, “At least that sinner over there has his head down in shame. I tell you, he is the one who is justified, not the one who thinks he is already justified.” You need to re-read the GOSPEL, Mr. F.”

J.P.F. — I believe if someone commits murder they can never do any good? Wow, where did you get that in anything I ever said? I happen to be a wicked, miserable, no good sinner that has been forgiven, not by my own doings but by the Grace and Mercy of God. I need Him now as much as the night I got Saved. There is still nothing good in me but God.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s something I agree with, Mr. F. I too am a miserable sinner saved by grace. Perhaps Mr. Jackson was saved, too — perhaps in the moment of his death, or perhaps at another time that you and I are unaware of. Let us not judge him; let’s just hope he met his maker with a clear conscience. If he didn’t, that’s not our problem (now), but his. God bless.”

“Wondering” by Carley Evans


Wondering why some Christians are “open-minded” and others are not. Wondering how it is some Christians see Christ as kind and gentle, loving and forgiving while others see Him as mean and angry, hateful of sin and judgmental? How can people who claim to believe in the same God come out so differently after reading the same Bible and praying to the same Lord?
How can some believe God hates sinners while others believe God loves sinners so much He actually DIED for them? How can some believe God wants Christians to stand up against sin to the point of harming other human beings who happen to sin while others believe they too sin and are just as deserving of the same type of “revenge” against sin?
Why do some Christians feel capable of judging other human beings while others feel entirely unworthy of the task?
Oh Lord, help us to know the Truth so it and You may set us Free. Amen.

Has This Ever Bothered You? ( Mark 4: 11-13, WYC ) by Carley Evans


11 And he said to them, To you it is given to know the private of the kingdom of God [To you it is given to know the mystery, or private, of the kingdom of God]. But to them that be withoutforth, all things be made in parables,

12 that they seeing see, and see not, and they hearing hear, and understand not; lest [that] sometime they be converted, and sins be forgiven to them.

13 And he said to them, Know not ye this parable? and how ye shall know all parables?

The implication in this exchange between Jesus and His disciples is that God hides certain truths from certain people lest those people “see” and “hear” and “understand” and “be converted” and have their “sins be forgiven to them.” At the beginning of His parable about seed (which is His Word), Jesus speaks of the birds of heaven eating the seed before it has a chance to sprout, which implies the same keeping from certain people certain truths.

Parables, says Jesus, are designed to hide truth not reveal it.

Why is this?

He asks His disciples, “Know you not this parable? And how shall you know all parables?”

And the answer?

Knowledge of God and His truth is a gift. Truth is hidden from everyone — from all people — unless God the Holy Spirit opens the eyes, the ears, the mind, the heart, the soul to that Truth.