“That One Rule” ( Matthew 7: 12, KJV ) by Carley Evans


We know how to give good gifts to our children, says Jesus. We know this even though we are evil. Jesus says if we know to give good gifts to those we cherish and guide, then we may expect God, our Father, to give even better gifts to us. All we need do is ask. And, we need to ask for that which is good.

Jesus says:

“Therefore, all things whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

“Therefore” because of God’s willingness to give good gifts to us, we must be willing to do good to everyone — not just good to those we love, our children.  If we expect God to be good to us, then we must be good to others. How can we accept goodness from the hand of God while dishing out evil to neighbors, co-workers, friends, strangers, enemies?

“Enter at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in that way; because narrow is the gate, and hard is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus says it is so much easier for us to treat others poorly, without thought of the consequences to their hearts. The damage we do is the easy and broad way that leads to destruction. The narrow way is hard to follow; it’s tough to do good to others all the time. Sometimes, we are irritated, depressed, lonely, angry, insulted, haughty, insecure. Sometimes, from our hearts come all sorts of evil words and deeds.

Rather, look for opportunities to do good to others, even to those who may not treat you well. No one is beyond God’s loving-kindness. Find the narrow gate; walk in the hard way. If you stumble, pick yourself up and ask God to forgive you. Then, keep to the narrow walkway. It leads to life.

“Balancing Burdens” ( Galatians 6: 2, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, ESV)

The world is a hard place; always has been, always will be. Living here is, however, a great privilege; even as we live here as strangers. While we are here, we are called to carry or bear others’ burdens. We are to carry our own burdens, too. Paul writes, “Each one should carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:5) So, each is responsible for the burdens of others and for his own burden.

An interesting balance of priorities here — be responsible for your self, be responsible for others.

In the United States – a western nation and culture – we have decried the loss of the extended family, the sort of family dynamic more akin to eastern nations and cultures; yet recently we have started to bemoan the ‘boomerang’ generation – a generation of young people returning to live under the roofs of their parents.

Maintaining balance in life seems to be a common thread in the Word of God. Care for yourself, but care for others more. Give, but don’t throw your best to ‘swine’ who may trample you underfoot. Restore others who are fallen into sin, but don’t get so haughty you neglect to deal with your own sins. Obey and respect earthly authority, but don’t neglect to put God and His authority first.

“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.” (Galatians 6:3-4)

I love the scene in the film GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER when Sidney Poitier tells his father — who claims his son owes him for all the years of supporting him through tough postal work — that he owes him nothing. “I owe you nothing. You did what you were supposed to do. If you carried that mailbag a thousand miles, you did what you were supposed to do.”

Balance your burdens. Help your grown child find his or her way in the hard world; be happy for this taste of the lost extended family.

“The Veil Removed” ( 2 Corinthians 3: 16, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“It is not for us to do as Moses does: he puts a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing on that fading splendour [of the Lord] until it is gone.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-13)

“Now the Lord of whom this passage speaks is Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And because for us there is no veil over the face, we all reflect as in a mirror the splendour of the Lord; thus we are transfigured into His likeness, from splendour to splendour; such is the influence of the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)

The veil is removed. We, who are Christians, reflect the glory — “from splendour to splendour” — of the Lord as He transforms us into His likeness through His own Holy Spirit.

Paul reminds us that “only in Christ is the old covenant abrogated.” (2 Corinthians 3:14) With the abolishing of the old way of following the law of Moses, Christians instead are transformed through the “influence of the Lord who is Spirit.” Not an immediate alteration; rather akin to hiking a steep path with a strong dog on lead pulling you along. You can stop, but that loving dog is going to keep pulling, urging you uphill to the glorious view at the top. Now this is not to say that God is a dog. Of course not! He is actually our leader; the One who demands our keeping to the path. Yet, He is also our guarantor, making certain we reach His goal — the goal He set for us before the start of time.

Let’s stop pulling against Him.

 

“Horror” ( Ezekiel 7: 18, KJV ) by Carley Evans


“Horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.” (Ezekiel 7:18)

“They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed;  their gold and their silver shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their stomachs, because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.” (Ezekiel 7:19)

Horror is upon “their whole multitude.” (Ezekiel 7:13) “Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.” (Ezekiel 7:25)

“Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send,” says the Lord of Hosts, “Mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.” (Ezekiel 7:3)

If this coming judgment upon the whole of earth doesn’t give you the shakes, I maintain there’s something wrong with your view of God and of your understanding of the state of mankind. Men worship idols and men “worship the sun,” says God to Ezekiel. “They fill the land with violence.” (Ezekiel 8:16,17)

“I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I Am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 7:27)

Paul writes of the essential problem, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, I do.” (Romans 7:18-19) He continues with the solution, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 7:24-8:2)

And if that truth doesn’t give you a huge sigh of relief and gratitude to God, then your view of God may be askew.

“Denying Him” ( Titus 1: 16, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Paul warns Titus about “many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” who “teach things which they ought not.” (Titus 1:10, 11) These persons teach for the sake of money; Titus is to “rebuke them sharply.” (Titus 1:13) Paul is concerned that these ‘teachers’ are leading people backwards into “Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” (Titus 1:14) These ‘teachers’ are calling for Christians to be circumcised and to obey the law of Moses.

Paul writes, “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him.” (Titus 1:16)

What is the good work of God?

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11)

“No Matter How Dire” ( Deuteronomy 6: 4-6, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. (Deuteronomy 6: 4-6, HCSB)

Notice initially God is the Lord of a people, then He is the Lord of an individual. As individuals, we are part of the body of Christ and as such fit into a larger group of people, known collectively as ‘the people of God’ or as ‘the children of God.’ As individuals, each of us is a child of God. Paul calls us ‘sons’ and if sons, then heirs together with Christ. We are to keep in our hearts the key concepts expressed by Moses: God is One; and we are to love Him with all of our being and with all of our strength.

Moses calls for Israel to write these concepts on their door frames so each day the Word is visible to the eye and to the mind. He commands Israel to speak these truths with their children as they rise and as they go in and out.

At all times, the Word of God is to be within sight. As the Word is within our reach, we are prepared for any of the wiles of our adversary. Though he prowls about like a devouring lion, our armor — if intact — is able to withstand his assault. Keep the Word in your hearts, and so be ready for any situation no matter how dire. Love the Lord with all you are; and God is near.

“The Same” ( John 1: 2, KJV ) by Carley Evans


“In the beginning, God creates the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

“In the beginning,” writes John, “is the Word, and the Word is with God, and the Word is God.” (John 1:1)

God speaks and the world comes into existence. John confirms the Son of God is the Word. “All things are made by Him, and without Him is not anything made that is made.” (John 1:3)

Paul tells the church at Colosse that the Son of God “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for by Him are all things created.” (Colossians 1:15-16) The author of Hebrews writes the Son of God is “the brightness of [God’s] glory, and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3) The Son “upholds all things by the Word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus Himself says, “He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me.” (John 12:44-45)

And Jesus tells His disciples and us: “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in My Name, He teaches you all things, and brings all things to your remembrance, whatever I say unto you.” (John 14:26)

“The same is in the beginning with God.” (John 1:2)

The Triune God is indirectly referred to in the Word of God; God implies He is “three persons in One” but never that He is a divided God. God is not three little gods in One. Praise be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Of Whom Shall I Be Afraid?” ( Psalm 27: 1, NIV ) by Carley Evans


“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Ultimately, fear is obsolete for the Christian. We are under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty God. We are sheltered in Him; He is our tower, our stronghold, our sure fortress. Since God is on our side, who can be against us? Since He is the stronghold of our lives, of whom shall we be afraid? Since there is no punishment in our future, what have we to fear? Nothing should frighten us.

Fear is destroyed because the Lord Himself is our salvation. He is our light; and as we walk in His light, we know the truth and this truth sets us free — free from guilt, free from condemnation, free from sin’s power and from the sting of death.

“Though an army besiege me, my heart does not fear; though war break out against me, even then am I confident.” (Psalm 27:3)

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)