“No One Will Take Your Joy” (John 16: 33, ESV) by Carley Evans


Here in this world, Jesus tells us we will have trouble; we will have tribulation. But, He also promises that He has overcome this world; therefore we are able to take heart. Even in the deepest pain, we find His peace is available.

“You will be sorrowful,” says Jesus. “But your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16: 20 – 22)

Jesus sings of His death and resurrection through the psalmist, David: “I will extol You, O Lord, for You have drawn Me up and have not let My foes rejoice over Me. O Lord My God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed Me. O Lord, You have brought up My soul from Sheol; You restored Me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy Name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor lasts for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30: 1 – 5)

Like Jesus before us, we leave suffering behind. Joy returns to us in the morning. And no one will take it away.

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“Trust Me; I Do Not Lie” (John 14: 1 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus tells us not to be troubled. In His Father’s house are many rooms. Jesus makes each room ready for one of His brothers or sisters, for one of His Father’s children. Where He is, we will be eventually. Jesus says that if this were not true, He would not say it.

Jesus promises that He will come back to “take [us] to [Himself].”

Therefore, we are not to worry. No fretting is allowed. Instead, Jesus commands us to believe in God, and to also believe in Him. ‘Trust Me,’ says Jesus. ‘I do not lie.’

” ‘And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?’ ” (Luke 11: 9 – 12)

Jesus reminds us that He is good; and He gives only good gifts. ‘Trust Me,’ says Jesus. ‘I do not lie.’

“Jesus’ Easy Yoke” (Matthew 11: 28, ESV) by Carley Evans


Do you labor under a heavy weight? Are you burdened in your day to day existence? Jesus says, “Come to Me. I will give you rest.”

Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon ourselves. We are to learn from Him. Jesus claims to be “gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11: 29) He says that His “yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 30)

What exactly makes Jesus’ yoke easy?

When I was little, I wanted my own way most of the time. I said ‘No’ a lot, especially to my parents. I can’t think of a single instance in which this made me happier than if I’d just said ‘Yes’ to my parents. Not one. I can’t think of a time when wanting and getting my own way helped me. My stubborn heart has harmed me more often than not.

Jesus says, “I Am gentle and lowly in heart.” Jesus, who is God, claims to be humble! He claims to set aside Himself for others. His yoke is light; His burden virtually non-existence because He puts others above Himself! He dies for the world! He sets aside His own glory for others!

Jesus calls us to enter His rest. We are to rest from our own work, and step inside His. Jesus has finished His work; and His yoke is easy to wear: light and not burdensome. His yoke calls us to set aside our own stubborn willfulness and give to others that which He gives to us — Himself.

“Forget Not” (Psalm 103: 2 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Forget not all His benefits.”

This is a great command. Remember each day, each moment, the good things God is doing for you. Remember how He knit you together in your mother’s womb; remember His bringing you into the world; remember His loving-kindnesses to you.

God is good.

No evil thing comes from Him.

Therefore, lift up your voice to Him in praise and thanksgiving. He forgives you all your sins; He heals all your diseases.

Bless His Holy Name.

“For The Rest Of The World” (Luke 2: 28 – 32, NIV) by Carley Evans


For any of us who might in the secret depths of our hearts think that Caucasians are somehow better than the rest of the world’s populations; let us recall that Jesus is the “glory of Israel.” Jesus is an Israelite, a Jew. He is not a blonde, blue-eyed, well tanned white man. He does not look like me; rather He looks like people who live in the Middle East. He may in fact look like some of our present day enemies.

I notice many images of Jesus created do not look remotely like my present day enemies. Here I am referring to those cowardly zealots of Islam who destroyed the World Trade Center and many lives in 2001.

When I look at pretty images of Jesus, I make a concerted effort to alter them in my mind’s eye for Isaiah tells us that nothing about Jesus was particularly attractive. I also remember Jesus is a Jew.

Simeon, as he holds the eight day old infant Jesus, proclaims Him to be the “glory of Israel;” but he also steps out of his comfort zone and declares Jesus will be a “revelation for the gentiles.” Simeon is a man like any other of his time; he does not associate with gentiles. But he recognizes that this child is the Christ, the Messiah who is come for Israel first, and then for the rest of the world.

“God’s Son Is Given” (Isaiah 9: 6, NIV) by Carley Evans


For us, God’s Son is given.

He is our Prince of Peace, our Everlasting Father, our Wonderful Counselor. He is the Mighty God come in the shape of a newborn infant in a manger.

He is completely helpless, totally dependent upon His human parents to provide shelter, clothing, food, guidance, love.

The government rests on Him. He speaks in the temple at twelve years of age with authority which comes directly from God, the Father. He spends forty days in the wilderness with our adversary and overcomes him with the Word of God, setting for us an example. He goes to John the Baptist to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Obedience marks His life. Again, He sets for us an example.

He preaches to us to love our enemies, to do good to those who misuse or even hate us.

God’s Son is given unto us. May we accept Him in His fullness.

“Come; See For Yourself” (Luke 2: 16 – 20, ESV) by Carley Evans


When I get good news, I want to share it.

So it is with the shepherds who rush to find Mary and Joseph in the nearby manger, seeing that the Christ child is born just as they were told by the angel.

The shepherds worship God, praising Him for His gift of salvation in progress.

Then, they go out to tell others of the good news. This is a natural inclination of people — the desire to share the good we have found in our lives. The best sharing is that which emerges from within; not an artificial trumpeting, but a soft voice saying, ‘Look here at what great event has happened among us! Come and see for yourself!’

‘Jesus is born!’