“Take Heart!” ( John 16: 33, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “I tell you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Satan, our adversary, is hurled down to earth where he roams about looking for anyone he may devour. Here in this world, we have troubles — as many as the next person. We also have peace. We have peace — more than the next person — because Jesus has overcome the world and our adversary.

 

“You [O Lord] keep in perfect peace [us] whose minds [are] steadfast, because [we] trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

 

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guards [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

 

Enter God’s rest; throw off the burdens you carry. Pick up your cross; discover that its weight is light for Christ has already carried it to Calvary. Lift your hearts to God; and rejoice. Jesus has overcome the world.

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“Slight Reflections” ( Revelation 12: 10, NIV ) by Carley Evans


“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.’ ”

 

Our adversary and his demons were overcome in heaven, and hurled to the earth by Michael and his angels. “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!” (Revelation 12:12)

 

Have you ever wondered if our adversary approached God before the fall from heaven regarding Job? “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him.” (Job 1:6-8)

 

Why did God allow Satan to take “everything [Job] has?” Yet, command our adversary “not to lay a finger” “on the man himself.” (Job 1:12)

 

Think of the extraordinary amount of pain existing in the world. Perhaps God allows pain to give us a small taste of Christ’s sacrifice — imagine the glory Christ relinquished; feel the physical, emotional, spiritual agony He underwent in the days surrounding His crucifixion. The pains we experience are a slight reflection of His sufferings.

 

Job learns to accept both good and bad from the Lord — “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:20)

 

Our adversary roams the earth, looking for anyone he may devour. He no longer stands day and night at the throne of the Most High, accusing us — for he has been thrown down to the earth. Here he attempts to get us to accuse ourselves, to wallow in shame and guilt, to self-destruct or even destroy one another.

 

Instead, let us love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls; and let us love one another.

“I Do Believe; Help Me Overcome My Unbelief!” ( Mark 9: 24, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 7:22pm

Jesus’ disciples are unable to heal a boy “who is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech,” throwing him on the ground, rigid and foaming at the mouth. (Mark 9:17) Jesus is perturbed at His disciples and at the present “unbelieving generation.” (Mark 9:19) He says, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19)

 

The boy’s father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)

 

Jesus repeats the man’s words, ” ‘If you can’? ” Then tells him, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

 

The boy’s father does not hesitate, but exclaims, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

Jesus immediately commands the “deaf and mute spirit” to come out of the boy; it does. (Mark 9:25)

 

Look to Jesus for help, help even with your unbelief, your doubts, fears, worries. For “everything is possible” with God. Jesus says it Himself. There is no question Jesus can do something, can help. He is able to help the man overcome disbelief. He is able to drive out our doubt. We need only ask.

Sheltered By God On That Day ( 2 Timothy 4: 8, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Friday, December 24, 2010 at 10:12am

“There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”

 

His appearing is described many times in the old covenant as a day of retribution and judgment. “The great day of the Lord is near — near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” (Zephaniah 1:14-15, NIV) “In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” (Zephaniah 1:18)

 

“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)

 

Who are these who “will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger?” “Those who have loved His appearing,” says Paul.

 

Jesus says, “This then is the judgment: The light has come into the world, but people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:19-21, HCSB)

“Your Demonstration Of The Spirit” ( 1 Corinthians 12: 7, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial;” and “the same God activates each gift in each person.” (Hebrews 12:6)

Notice each person is gifted with “a demonstration of the Spirit;” and this gift is activated by God. In these simple statements by Paul, we learn that we all have a gift of the Spirit and that these gifts are put in motion by God Himself.  Now, Paul does exhort us to seek the greater gifts — the ‘greater gifts’ we are to seek are unity and love — gifts we each must have as Christians. But the gifts of the Spirit of which he now speaks are listed for us: “a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the performing of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, different kinds of languages, interpretation of languages.” (Hebrews 12:8-10) Notice that God the Holy Spirit “is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.” (Hebrews 12:11) Which “demonstration of the Spirit” we are given is not our choice; that’s why Paul calls these “gifts.” They are not skills we learn; they are manifestations of God within us.

Not all of us have every gift. “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ.” (Hebrews 12:12) I have one gift of the Spirit; you have another. I need you; you need me.

We are not to argue with one another over whose gift is superior. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ ” (Hebrews 12:21)

“God has put the body together, so that there would be no division in the body, but the members should have the same concern for each other.” (Hebrews 12:24,25)

Therefore, do seek the greater gifts of love and unity, but be satisfied with whatever “demonstration of the Spirit” your God has chosen to give you. Do not be conceited, as Paul says. And, on the other hand, do not think less of yourself due to a gift your God knows is best for you. Amen!

“Can Never Perfect” ( Hebrews 10: 1, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.”

 

When I was young, I used to pretend my shadow was a friend; a friend who looked very much like me except without definition — without facial features or voice or action of its own. Not only this, but my shadow was completely dependent upon a light source being behind me. Otherwise it would not cast itself before me.

 

God’s law is “not the actual form” ” of the good things to come” but only a shadow of them. Because the law is only a shadow, “it can never perfect the worshipers” who offer sacrifices “year after year.” “In the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:3-4)

 

God isn’t interested in “sacrifice and offering.” He “does not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.” (Hebrews 10:5,6) Instead, God sends His own Son so that we “are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) “This man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sits down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) “For by one offering He perfects forever those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

 

God declares, “I never again remember their sins.” (Hebrews 10:17) Don’t forget: “Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18)

 

Like our shadows, the law is a featureless reflection of the good things to come.

“The Attitude Of Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 2: 2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal,” writes Paul. That goal is to “make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Christ Jesus “emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7) Once in the likeness of mankind, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even to death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

We are to “consider others as more important than [ourselves],” looking out ‘not only for [our] own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3,4)

Look at Jesus — He did just that. He considered us as more important than Himself. He, “existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.” (Philippians 2:6) For us, He was willing to die a most shameful death, “death on a cross.” He was willing to be “crushed severely,” “oppressed and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:7,10) He was willing to be “despised and rejected by men,” to become “a man of suffering,” to “bear our sicknesses and carry our pains.” (Isaiah 53:3,4) “He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5)