“Remember God’s Wonders” ( 1 Chronicles 16: 8, NEB ) by Carley Evans


David ordains an offering of thanks to the Lord, saying: “Give the Lord thanks and invoke Him by Name, make His deeds known in the world around.”

We are to “remember the wonders He has wrought.” (1 Chronicles 16: 12) We are to “think upon all his wonders.” (1 Chronicles 16: 9) Memory of and meditation on the wonders of God are prerequisites to full thanksgiving, says David. With thanksgiving, honour God “with song and psalm” and “dance in His honour.” (1 Chronicles 16: 9; 30)

“Turn to the Lord, your strength, seek His presence always.” (1 Chronicles 16: 11) “Bow down to the Lord in the splendour of holiness.” (1 Chronicles 16: 29) “Ascribe to the Lord glory and might; ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His Name, bring a gift and come before Him.” (1 Chronicles 16: 28-29)

“And all the people say ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the Lord.'” (1 Chronicles 16: 36)

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“Our God Is A Consuming Fire” ( Hebrews 12: 28 – 29, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“The kingdom we are given is unshakable; let us therefore give thanks to God, and so worship Him as He would be worshiped, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

 

God’s is an unshakable kingdom, a kingdom at hand which can not fall, can not be divided, can not be corrupted, can not be destroyed. This is God’s gift to us, His children. We are to give thanks to Him for admittance into His kingdom; we are to worship Him “with reverence and awe.”

 

“God is a consuming fire.” All that does not belong is burned away in a purifying heat. “For who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine [us] like gold and silver. Then [we] will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings…will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by.” (Malachi 3:2-4, HCSB)

 

We hope in God’s kingdom. “Since we have a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance [of God] was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It is not removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18, HCSB)

 

In God’s purifying fire, our dross burns off so that we, more and more “reflect the Lord’s glory” as we “are being transformed into His likeness.”

 

“Therefore, give thanks to God.”

“Two Responses : Doubt Vs. Faith” ( Luke 1: 38, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


(Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 1:03pm)

Zechariah, when Gabriel appears to him as he is burning incense to the Lord in the temple, is “startled and overcome with fear.” (Luke 1:12) Mary, when Gabriel appears to her and speaks of God’s favor, is “deeply troubled by [his] statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.” (Luke 1:29)

 

When Gabriel tells Zechariah that his barren wife Elizabeth is to bear a son and that they shall call him John, Zechariah responds, “How can I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18) Zechariah asks for proof, given his circumstances.

 

When Gabriel tells Mary that she will be with child and bear the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) Mary asks, “How can this be?” asking to understand the message, given her circumstances. Gabriel explains, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:34, 37) With the angel’s explanation which Mary readily accepts, she responds, “I am the Lord’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

 

Elizabeth later proclaims, “She [that is, Mary] who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

 

On the other hand, Gabriel proclaims to Zechariah, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at the proper time.” (Luke 1:19-20)

 

Mary immediately acts, visiting Elizabeth so that the unborn children – Jesus and John – may meet even before their births. John leaps in the womb at the presence of His Lord, the One he will go before to prepare the way for the salvation of God’s people.

“All Else Is Sinking Sand” ( Colossians 2: 6 – 7, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Therefore, since Jesus is delivered to you as Christ and Lord, live your lives in union with Him. Be rooted in Him; be built in Him; be consolidated in the faith you are taught; let your hearts overflow with thankfulness.”

 

“In Him you are brought to completion,” writes Paul. (Colossians 2:10)

 

Add nothing to Christ. Live united to Him as a plant is to its root. He is your foundation; you are His building. What does a plant add to the root? What does a building do for its foundation? Christ is the vine; we are the branches.

 

“Christ has forgiven us all our sins; He has cancelled the bond which pledged us to the decrees of the law. It stood against us, but He has set it aside, nailing it to the cross. On that cross He discarded the cosmic powers and authorities like a garment; He made a public spectacle of them and led them as captives in His triumphal procession.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

 

The law has no power over us because Christ removed it “like a garment.” He literally tossed “it aside, nailing it to the cross.”

 

We live by faith. We are made complete in Christ.

“The Temple Of The Living God” ( Colossians 3: 15, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


(Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 8:29pm)

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you are also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.”

 

Paul writes of the “perfect bond of unity” which is love. He calls us to allow the peace of Christ to control our hearts. With Christ’s peace and His love, how can we not be united? What causes divisions in the body of Christ? Differing views of our Lord? I rather doubt that.

 

Divisions are caused by earthly things which are sometimes labeled ‘spiritual’ — usually by which church we attend or refuse to attend, whether we sprinkle or immerse for baptism, whether we call the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist or Communion, whether Mary is the Queen of Heaven or the virgin mother of Jesus, whether we use only the King James Version or we like The Living Bible, whether we speak in tongues or remain quiet in prayer, whether we respond to the ‘altar call’ or confess our sins to a priest, whether we believe in ‘laying on of hands’ or in modern medicine, whether we believe in predestination or free will, and so forth.

 

Rather than argue or fight over these sometimes important issues, Paul calls us to “accept one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit — just as [we] are called to one hope at [our] calling — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6)

 

The key element is the unity of the Spirit which is due to our calling and to the one faith we share. Focus on the Holy Spirit who unites us. For we are the temple of the Living God.

“My Love Be With All Of You” ( 1 Corinthians 1: 4 – 5, NEB ) by Carley Evans


Paul tells the believers of the church at Corinth, “I am always thanking God for you. I thank Him for His grace given to you in Christ Jesus. I thank Him for all the enrichment that has come to you in Christ. You possess full knowledge and you can given full expression to it.” Paul sincerely thanks God for these believers. He is grateful to God for His grace and for the knowledge imparted to these believers by Christ Himself. He’s even happy these believers are able to fully express their faith.

 

Yet, Paul has many concerns about their Christian walk — they are divided. (1 Corinthians 1:11, HCSB) They are immature. (1 Corinthians 3:2) They think they are “wise in this age” (1 Corinthians 3:18). They are judgmental. (1 Corinthians 4:5) They are proud. (1 Corinthians 4:6-7) They are immoral. (1 Corinthians 5:1) They take one another to court “before the unrighteous.” (1 Corinthians 6:1) They fight over things that don’t matter in the long run. (1 Corinthians 8: 8) They put their rights above the “weak consciences” of their brothers and sisters in Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:12-13) They refuse to support their spiritual leaders. (1 Corinthians 9:7) They fail to conduct worship in an orderly fashion. (1 Corinthians 11:2; 14:22) They fail to recognize the Lord in the bread and wine of their communion feasts. (1 Corinthians 11:20-21) They forget the resurrection of the body. (1 Corinthians 15:36-37) They are reluctant to take up a collection for the saints. (1 Corinthians 16: 1-2)

 

At the end of his letter, Paul encourages these very same believers. He reminds them that “the churches of Asia greet” them. He tells them that “Priscilla and Aquila greet [them] warmly in the Lord, along with the church that meets in their home. All the brothers greet [them.]” (1 Corinthians 16:19-20)

 

Finally Paul writes, “My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 16:24)

“Recognizing God’s Moment” ( Luke 19 : 41 – 42, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“When [Jesus] comes within sight of the city [Jerusalem], He weeps over it and says, “If only you knew, on this great day, the way that leads to peace! But no; it is hidden from your sight.”

 

He says, “You do not recognize God’s moment when it comes.” (Luke 19:44)

 

Jesus weeps over those who do not see; those who do not recognize “God’s moment.” Jesus prays for those who crucify Him, saying to His Father: “Forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) He says to the criminal dying beside Him on Calvary, “I tell you this: today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) To the other who taunts “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself, and us;” we can only assume Jesus weeps for this man in the same manner He weeps for those who drive the nails, and wield the lash. Jesus weeps for us, for all of us. Every human being who ever lives on this earth shares in the crucifixion of Jesus.

Some of us, however, recognize “God’s moment.” Some of us know “the way that leads to peace.” We acknowledge “[that] great day.”

Like the criminal on the cross next to Jesus, we cry: “Jesus, remember me when You come to Your throne.” (Luke 23:42) And Jesus kindly tells us, “I tell you the truth.”