Versatile Blogger Payback x 5 ( by Carley Evans )

Thanks to Jeffrey Miskell and his trusty YouTube video, I now know how to add links within my posts. Yay, Jeffrey! Thanks so much!

So, as some of you may know, I’ve been nominated/awarded the Most Versatile Blogger Award or the Versatile Blogger Award 5 times now; I think.

To thank each of you — here goes!

First, Jeff nominated me — his blog is Reveling In The Overflowing Grace of God. For his nomination, I broke the rules and only nominated 5 bloggers/blogs. What can I say — I’m a non-conformist! Thank you Jeff!

Next, Jeffrey was kind enough to nominate me. Jeffrey writes A FATHER’S LOVE ! I have yet to nominate blogs in response to his gift!

Next, I received a nomination from M.T. Sweat who writes all over the place! But his home is RESTING IN HIS GRACE. Go check out Pot Pie. For this nomination, I haven’t followed the rules at all — except to thank M.T. But, I’m working on it.

Then, I was nominated by Drusilla Mott who writes DRUSILLA MOTT. I’ve thanked Drusilla, but nothing more yet.

Finally, I was happy to receive a Versatile Blogger Award from Ula who writes JESUS CARRIES ME. Again, all I have done is thank Ula most sincerely.

So, here are my 15 VERSATILE BLOGGERS: Okay, stand by…

“Like A High Wall Collapsing” ( Isaiah 30: 21, NIV ) by Carley Evans

“The Lord longs to be gracious to [us]; He rises to show [us] compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” writes the prophet Isaiah. (30:18)

God Himself speaks to His people, telling them how they “reject this message.” Instead, they “rely on oppression and depend on deceit,” (Isaiah 30:12) choosing to believe the lies and oppression of idols. Therefore, declares the Lord, “this sin becomes for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.” (Isaiah 30:13) God sends “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction;” but “when you cry for help” He is ready and willing to be gracious. (Isaiah 30:20,19) He shows you your teachers. And, “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21)

When you hear that still small voice; then, says the Lord, “you defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you!'” (Isaiah 30:22)

No longer do you ask God to stop confronting you. Rather, you listen for that Word that says, “Here. This is the way; walk in it.” And, if you are honest, you add this prayer: “Lord, help my unbelief.”

“This Man Is Worthy” ( Luke 7: 4, ESV; KJV ) by Carley Evans

A Roman centurion, upon learning that his servant — a servant who is “dear unto him” — is sick and ready to die, sends Jewish elders to Jesus. The elders “plead earnestly with [Jesus],” saying that “this man deserves to have You do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” The Jewish elders claim this Gentile Roman is worthy of Jesus’ attention and time. Jesus goes with them.

Does Jesus go with the elders because the centurion is worthy? Has the Roman earned Jesus’ attention because he’s built a synagogue? Or, does Jesus go with the elders because of His love for the centurion and His desire to heal the servant who is on his deathbed?

The Roman centurion — second guessing his boldness in sending the elders and in sudden, total humility — sends friends to tell Jesus not to come. This man, who the elders say is worthy of Jesus, says, “Lord, trouble not Yourself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof. Wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” (Luke 7:6-7, KJV)

Worthy? The centurion doesn’t believe he’s deserving of Jesus’ special attention. If anything, he feels supremely unworthy. Yet, the Roman understands authority. He knows that with a word, Jesus is able to heal his servant. Jesus doesn’t need to be present; He can heal from a distance. And that is exactly what Jesus does. Jesus heals the servant not because the Roman centurion is worthy, but because this man has “great faith.” (Luke 7:9, KJV)

“Shadows Of What Is In Heaven” ( Hebrews 8: 5, NIV ) by Carley Evans

Everything created for the tabernacle in Moses’ day is created as a perfect pattern of Jesus who is the mediator of the new covenant — a covenant “superior to the old one, and […] founded on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) The old covenant between God and the people of Israel has “something wrong” with it, “for if there is nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place is sought for another.” (Hebrews 8:7) A new covenant is needed because “God finds fault with [His] people.” (Hebrews 8:8) Because His people are incapable of obeying the rules and regulations established in that first covenant, God provides a means of “putting [His] laws in their minds and writing them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10) God knows His people can not “remain faithful to [His] covenant” so that He must necessarily “turn away from them.” (Hebrews 8:9) God provides a new covenant — one which is not like the old. “No longer is a man to teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know [God], from the least of them to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:11)

God says, “For I forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) This is the answer — not that we love God, but that He loves us.

“Being Full Of, Is Led By” ( Luke 4: 1, KJV ) by Carley Evans

God, the Holy Spirit, descends upon Mary to produce the infant God, Jesus in her womb — so, does God the Holy Spirit enter Mary? Or does He plant His seed within her? Is this one and the same? Does it matter? Luke, the physician, records the event. The angel tells Mary, “thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His Name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father, David. The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:31-32,35)

Elizabeth’s child, John — while still in her womb — leaps with joy when Mary comes close, literally recognizing Jesus, the Son of God who resides in Mary.

Much later, God the Holy Spirit descends from the clouds on the day Jesus is baptized by John in the river Jordan. God the Father speaks, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I Am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) “And Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, returns from the Jordan, and is led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1) Here Jesus is tested by the devil for forty days and nights.

No time exists in Jesus’ earthly life when He is separate from God the Holy Spirit. Being full of God the Holy Spirit, He is led by God the Holy Spirit.

“Don’t Handle, Don’t Taste, Don’t Touch” ( Colossians 2: 21, NIV ) by Carley Evans

“Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom,” says Paul. However, “they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:23) Instead, these rules calling for you to not handle, not taste and not touch create only a “self-imposed worship,” a “false humility” and offer only “harsh treatment of the body” without any lasting effect on the state of the soul. (Colossians 2:23)

“Do not let anyone,” says Paul, “judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)

People get puffed up with false humility, warns Paul. They go on and on about conforming to rules and regulations, “which depend on human tradition.” (Colossians 2:8) Instead, rejoice that “God makes you alive with Christ. He forgives [you] all [your] sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that is against us and that stands opposed to us; He takes it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He makes a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

Because God cancels the written code, why then put yourself back under that which has no authority?

“Let God Be True” ( Romans 3: 4, NIV ) by Carley Evans

God is faithful. He brings “a righteousness from [Himself], apart from law.” This righteousness “comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:21,22) All people “sin and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) All people “are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that comes by Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:24)

God is faithful. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4)

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All turn away.” (Romans 3:10-11,12) “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18)

So, what point is Paul making? He’s saying, “Let God be true; every man is a liar!” “Every mouth is silenced and the whole world is held accountable to God. Therefore no one is declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:19,20)

Now we are not left “conscious of sin.” Rather than leaving us drenched in guilt, God provides us a simple albeit costly solution. God “justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

Therefore, says Paul, boasting is excluded. Pride in self is inappropriate for “we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Let God be true. Let God be faithful.

“Its Gates Are Burned With Fire” ( Nehemiah 1: 3, NIV ) by Carley Evans

On September 11th, our walls are broken down and our gates are burned with fire — we remember this day ten years ago when four passenger flights are hijacked and thousands of people — not only Americans — are murdered on our soil. Another day “which lives in infamy.”

The names of the lost are read aloud through the late morning and early afternoon at the memorial fountain at the site of the World Trade Center; each name with heavy meaning for the family to which he or she belongs.

The new buildings are under construction, glittering mirrored sides rising in a man-made beauty to a gorgeous God-made sky. Miniature flags — standing in the carved letters of the names of those fallen on 09-11-01 — wave gently in the breeze of this Sunday morning. Someone rightly says that our attackers can not claim victory — for though a part of our land is scarred, our hearts remain strong and free and filled with gratitude.

Cleaning Up

This morning, I cleaned up my blogroll. I discovered a few links directing myself and others to ‘dead’ or ‘failed’ blogs — one was a duplicate, living blog!

I can’t remember but on one blog I checked out a few minutes ago, I found the definition of mission — a task for a specific person or group of people. My mission is this blog, my facebook wall, my facebook page, and my other blog — obsecrations.

Sad to find others who lost the drive to continue blogging — dare I say ‘for the Lord?

Where does that drive come from? I think those of you who blog ‘for the Lord’ despite the appearance of limited readership know that answer.

“We Know And Believe The Love” ( 1 John 4: 16, KJV ) by Carley Evans

One of the saddest personality flaws is the inability to know and believe that you are loved. Janis Joplin had such a personality flaw; she was incapable of believing people loved her. Despite accolades for her music, she lead a barren existence of self-doubt, self-hatred, and abject loneliness. By loneliness, I am not referring to solitude, but to that feeling of complete isolation in the midst of shouting people — people shouting adoration and respect and yes — love. The loneliest moments for Janis were likely those in the midst of her public admirers. Janis also unfortunately did not know and believe the love of those closest to her, no matter how they tried to convince her. She found herself totally unlovable.

The author of 1 John writes that “we know and believe the love that God has to us. God is love.”

What an amazing statement — read it again. “We know and believe the love that God has to [or toward] us.” Why? Because “God is love.” And if we know and believe God, then we know and believe His love. Like Paul reminds, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) Essentially, assures Paul, nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

Do not insult God. Do not hold yourself in such low esteem that you fail to realize God is love. Know and believe the love God has toward you! His love does not depend upon you; His love is wholly dependent upon the sacrifice of His Son.