“On That Day” (Zechariah 14: 9, NEB) by Carley Evans

A future exists for us; a future at which time “living water issues from Jerusalem, half flowing to the eastern sea and half to the western, in summer and winter alike.” (Zechariah 14: 8)

“On that day is neither heat nor cold nor frost. It is all one day, whose coming is known only to the Lord, without distinction of day or night, and at evening time there is light.” (Zechariah 14: 6 – 7)

A future day which is “all one day,” in which there is only light; no darkness at all. A future day when “living water” comes out of the city of God — that is, from Jerusalem. “The whole land is leveled; (…) but Jerusalem stands high in her place, and is full of people (…) Men live there in peace.” (Zechariah 14: 7, 8, 10)

Simultaneously, all nations which war against Jerusalem are struck down by a plague — their peoples’ “flesh rots while they stand on their feet, their eyes rot in their sockets, and their tongues rot in their mouths.” (Zechariah 14: 12)

“On that day a great panic, sent by the Lord, falls on them. At the very moment when a man might encourage his comrade his hand is raised to strike him down.” (Zechariah 14: 13)

“On that day a fountain is opened for the line of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to remove all sin and impurity.” (Zechariah 13: 1)

On that day in Jerusalem, all are safe. On that day those outside and against Jerusalem are doomed.

“In Accord With God’s Will” (1 John 5: 14, NEB) by Carley Evans

“We can approach God with confidence for this reason: if we make requests which accord with His will He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know also that the things we ask for are ours.”

Lazarus falls ill.

Martha sends a message to Jesus, telling Him that His friend, Lazarus is sick. Jesus knows that “this illness will not end in death; [but] has come for the glory of God.” (John 10: 4) Therefore, He deliberately waits two days.

Lazarus dies.

Mary stays at home. Martha seeks Jesus, saying: “If You had been here, sir, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will grant You.”

Jesus promises Lazarus will rise again.

Martha tells Mary that Jesus is looking for her.

Mary – who Jesus forgives much, so that she loves much — comes to the place where Jesus is. When she sees Him, she falls at His feet and testifies: “O sir, if you had only been here my brother would not have died.” Mary and her companions are weeping.

Jesus weeps.

Jesus says, “Do I not tell you that if you have faith you see the glory of God?” (John 11: 41)

The stone is rolled away, and Jesus raises His dead friend with a “great cry: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ ”

The confidence Mary and Martha show in Jesus’ ability and willingness to save Lazarus from death is valid. They are correct — if Jesus comes while Lazarus is ill, then Lazarus does not die. But Jesus waits, confident Himself that Lazarus’ death and subsequent resurrection is “for [the] good [of Mary and Martha and others] and for the good of [their] faith.” (John 11: 15)

Jesus knows they are to “see the glory of God” which is indeed “in accord with God’s will.”

“Give Up Life” (Matthew 16: 25, KJV) by Carley Evans

As you seek to save your life, you lose it. As you give up your life for Jesus’ sake, you find it.

God provides a ram in the thicket for Abraham to sacrifice as a substitute for his son, Isaac whom he is willing to give up to God. Do not be mistaken — Abraham loves his son more than life itself. Isaac is Abraham’s only son. But he rightly fears and loves his God even more. As he raises his hand against his one and only son, God commands him not to strike Isaac.

Earlier when Isaac asks, where is the sacrificial animal, Abraham reasons with his son, saying that God provides “Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” (Genesis 22: 8) And indeed God provides that sacrificial lamb — a ram caught in a thicket by its horns.

If Abraham seeks to save his son’s life, he loses. If he gives up his rights to his son’s life, he wins, gaining the very sacrifice a lost world seeks.

Because Abraham willingly gives up his son, God promises to bless, “multiplying…thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore…and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou obey My voice.” (Genesis 22: 17, 18)

“And Abraham calls the name of that place Jehovah-ji-reh, as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22: 14)

“Love Out Of A Pure Heart” (Leviticus 19: 18, KJV) by Carley Evans

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I Am the Lord.”

A scribe asks Jesus, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12: 28)

Jesus answers, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12: 29 – 30)

Jesus then tells the scribe that the other great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mark 12: 31)

Paul reminds, “Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1: 5)

“So Ridiculous” (Jeremiah 23: 24, HCSB) by Carley Evans

God asks us pointedly how it is that we think we are able to hide from Him. After all, He fills the heavens and the earth. As David laments, no matter where he tries to hide from God’s presence, God is in that place. To hide our sins from God is downright silly.

Perhaps God is somewhat amused at our attempts to claim innocence. Granted this is conjecture; therefore I emphasize the word “perhaps.” Maybe Jesus laughs at some point in His walk among us. His gentle rebuke of Martha as she struggles to maintain household order while casting blame on her sister, Mary who sits — seemingly idle and lazy — at Jesus’ feet, is possibly filled with this holy amusement. Jesus appears amused that Martha is ultra-busy, concerned about an orderly house which does not matter in the least in the face of who He is and the opportunity she is squandering. Mary makes the better choice of the two women; and Jesus does not appear angry at Martha, but rather amused at her poor choice. His anger is against her desire to place blame on her sister.

A great intelligence such as God’s must play. How can we even imagine what sort of play occupies our God? Creation certainly does. He continues His involvement in creation; and He surely — perhaps — is amused at His creations, at one time or another.

That we try to hide our sins is so ridiculous, I can not imagine that God does not smile wryly at us even as He wields His awesome discipline.

“But The Lord Is Faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3: 3, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy inform the church of the Thessalonians that God protects Christians from “wicked and evil men” who do not have faith. In addition, God “strengthens and guards [us] from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3: 2, 3)

God “encourages [our] hearts and strengthens [us] in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 17)

“It is God who is working in [us], enabling [us] both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 13) Therefore, we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2: 12)

Why in fear and trembling? Perhaps because we live in a “crooked and perverted generation among whom [we] shine like stars in the world.” (Philippians 2: 15) Perhaps because the evil one prowls among us like a “roaring lion” wishing to consume us. He actively searches for “anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5: 8)

Peter tells us that “the God of all grace, who calls [us] to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, personally restores, establishes, strengthens, and supports [us] after [we] suffer a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever.” (1 Peter 5: 10 – 11)

Therefore, let us continue in faith, knowing that it is God who upholds us. He sees us through every obstacle and His plans do not fail.

“Greater Grace Is Given” (James 4: 1 – 3, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“You ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.” James tells us — we want and yet do not get what we want. We don’t get what we want because we fail to ask for what we want. Or, as aforementioned, we ask for what we want but what we want is only for ourselves — to meet our cravings which are “evil.”

We fight with others because we fight with ourselves. We murder others because they have what we want but can not get. They have it; why can’t we have it? If they deserve it, surely we do, too!

James encourages us, saying: Instead of submitting to our sin, we are to “submit to God.” (James 4: 7) We are to “draw near to God” so that He draws near to us. We are to “resist the Devil” so that “he flees from [us].” (James 4: 8, 7)

James reminds that: “The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously. But He gives greater grace.” (James 4: 5 – 6)

The grace of God, the Holy Spirit helps us to “cleanse [our] hands, and purify [our] hearts” despite the fact that we are both “sinners” and “double-minded people!” (James 4: 8) We are indeed double-minded, keeping one foot in the world while keeping the other in the heavenly places. We give, yet we covet. With our mouths, we both curse others and praise God. (James 3: 9)

So we must do our best to follow the “royal law” — “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2: 8) With the power of God Himself, we submit to this “law” — this grace which God provides to us, so that we are able to love one another as we love ourselves.

“Who is wise and understanding among you?” asks James. “He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness.” (James 3: 13)

“A Consuming Fire” (Hebrews 10: 26, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10: 31)

God disciplines His children, not so as to destroy them but so as to sanctify them. True, vengeance does belong to the Lord; and He does indeed repay. His vengeance falls on His Son with full payment withdrawn on the Cross of Calvary. The stripes across Christ’s back are God’s vengeance against the sins of His children. There is no other sacrifice needed.

God promises, “I never again remember their sins and their lawless acts.” (Hebrews 10: 17)

“Let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12: 28 – 29)

The great King David commits adultery with Bathsheba, daughter of Elam and wife of Uriah the Hittite. She becomes pregnant. When King David is made aware, he arranges the death of Bathsheba’s husband, writing to Jacob: “Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies.” (2 Samuel 11: 15)

Bathsheba mourns her husband, but is taken into David’s house once “the time of mourning ends.” She bears a son to David. “However, the Lord considers what David has done to be evil.” (2 Samuel 11: 27)

God uses Nathan to prick David’s conscience. Because of Nathan’s words, David repents. However, Nathan informs David of the consequence of this repentance and of this sin — “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12: 13 – 14)

David pleads with God, “fasts, goes home, and spend the night lying on the ground.” He does not eat for seven days. But, the baby dies after a week.

David gets off the ground, washes and anoints himself, changes his clothing and goes to worship the Lord. After, he goes home and eats. David accepts the Lord’s judgment. He continues to serve his God.

“Our God is a consuming fire;” and “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

“Do You Believe This?” (Romans 10: 14, HCSB) by Carley Evans

People must hear about Jesus before being able to believe in Him as Lord and Savior. And of course, writes Paul, someone must tell about Jesus before people are able to hear about Him. In order to tell others about Jesus, someone must be willing to preach.

The message to preach is: “One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10: 10) Furthermore,”everyone who believes on Him is not put to shame.” (Romans 10: 11)

Jesus witnesses of Himself, saying: “Anyone who believes in [Me] is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the One and Only Son of God.” (John 3: 18)

And He says, “I Am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25 – 26)

“In Anticipation” (Mark 8: 36, HCSB) by Carley Evans

What profit is there in denying the power of the risen Christ? What does it matter to gain the entire world — all its riches, its pleasures, its beauties, its powers — yet forfeit your soul, give up your life?

“By faith, after Moses is born, he is hidden by his parents for three months, because they see that the child is beautiful, and they do not fear the king’s edict. By faith, Moses, when he grows up, refuses to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chooses to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin. For he considers the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention is on the reward. By faith, he leaves Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses perseveres as one who sees Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11: 23 – 27)

Jesus tells us to deny ourselves as Moses denies himself, as his parents deny themselves. Jesus says to us, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8: 35)

Jesus says that we must not be ashamed of Him or “of [His] Words.” (Mark 8: 38) If we are ashamed of Him, then He is ashamed of us.

Moses is not ashamed of his God; rather he accepts the reproach associated with being a follower of the Messiah as “greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” In anticipation, Moses leaves his life behind in order to find a greater gift — eternal life.