“Of The Spirit, Reap Everlasting Life” ( Galatians 6: 8, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans


7 Do not ye err, God is not scorned; for those things that a man soweth, those things he shall reap [for why what things a man soweth, also these things he shall reap].

8 For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh he shall reap corruption; but he that soweth in the Spirit, of the Spirit he shall reap everlasting life.

9 And doing good fail we not [Forsooth we doing good, fail not]; for in his time we shall reap, not failing.”

Here Paul strongly reminds his readers in Galatia that circumcision of the flesh is not the proper means to everlasting life. They are sowing “in the flesh” rather than “in the Spirit.” They are seeking to obey the Law of Moses primarily to avoid the cross of Christ, i.e. crucifixion. They have forgotten they can not scorn God; they can not make their own way to heaven. They must take up Christ’s way and so “reap everlasting life” as they “soweth in the Spirit.”

“12For whoever will please in the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised, only that they suffer not the persecution of Christ’s cross.

13 For neither they that be circumcised keep the law; but they will that ye be circumcised, that they have glory in your flesh [but they will you to be circumcised, that they glory in your flesh].

14 But far be it from me to have glory [Forsooth be it far to me to glory], but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

15 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision is any thing worth, nor prepuce, but a new creature.”

Paul says, glory not in your flesh; glory only “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember, what matters — what has worth — is being made “a new creature.” All the rest is corruption.

“Not Absurd” ( James 1:2-3, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans


James says, “guess you all joy” — imagine joy — deem it joy — decide it is joy — when you “fall into diverse temptations.” What? Read it yourself:

“My brethren, deem ye all joy [guess ye all joy], when ye fall into diverse temptations, witting, that the proving of your faith worketh patience.”

Consider that temptations prove your faith; and faith works out your patience. After all, with trials and temptations surrounding you, you must remain patient while waiting for your better country. As you anticipate finding your place in God’s house, remember Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost [you who] come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for [you].” (Hebrews 7:25, KJV)

With your eternal hope firmly in mind, facing temptations as if they are moments of joy isn’t quite as absurd as it might sound. These temptations, especially when overcome, lead you to a state of patience.

“Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4, KJV)

“Lacking nothing”, “perfect and entire” — what a description of the Christian life. Yet, James acknowledges the Christian has trials, temptations, sufferings in this world. Rather than bemoan their presence, the Christian is called to deem — guess — decide — these are joys.

“God’s Scattered People” ( John 11: 52, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Caiaphas, as high priest in the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, predicts Jesus is the savior of the nation Israel; but also the One to bring together “the children of God scattered abroad.” He says to the Pharisees, upset that Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead, worried they are to lose “both their place and nation” that they “know nothing at all.” (John 11:48,49) He says,

“Nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:50)

Caiaphas rightly predicts Jesus is to die for the nation of Israel, writes John in his gospel, but Caiaphas also predicts the gathering of the scattered people of God from the ends of the earth.

A scene in the movie X MEN comes to mind. Professor Xavier is sitting in his wheelchair in a large chamber searching for the mutants who exist all over the world. They light up in his mind like stars as he reaches out with his thoughts.

To think God is less than a character in a comic book is ridiculous. If Professor Xavier finds his people with his thoughts, then God can gather together His people scattered throughout the world and throughout the dimension of time.

Caiaphas doesn’t know, but he speaks of God’s ultimate undertaking — the salvation of His children through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

“In A Lifeboat” ( 1 Corinthians 10: 13, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans


Here on earth, we are all in the lifeboat together. The ship is going down, and we huddle in one dingy. Nothing happens to one of us that is particularly unique; suffering is spread universally. At one time, all of us are in danger of drowning. Some of us seem to suffer more than others, but nothing new is under the sun. Paul writes:
“Temptation take not you, but man’s temptationfor God is true, which shall not suffer you to be tempted above that that ye be able; but he shall make with temptation also purveyance, that ye be able to suffer [that ye may sustain].”

Being able to foresee the way out of temptation helps us sustain hope; helps us overcome our situation. Just knowing our lifeboat isn’t sinking uplifts our hearts. Those who stay on the sinking ship or who refuse to climb or be pulled into the lifeboat drown. Those who are in the dingy but think they are in the water, up over their heads, live in despair and fear.

Dinghy on the prom
Dinghy on the prom (Photo credit: jimmedia)

We who know we are secure in the lifeboat are able to live in peace and joy. The way out is a given.

“If You Bite And Eat Each Other” ( Galatians 5: 15-17, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans


Always interesting to me what part of a passage catches our attention or focus. In this portion of Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia, the verse that gains my attention is “and if ye bite, and eat each other, see ye, lest ye be wasted each from other.” This biting and devouring of one another apparently is “the desire of the flesh.” We desire to put the other down; seems this is our natural tendency. So, Paul says “to us in Christ, walk ye in Spirit.” If you walk in Spirit, “ye shall not perform the desires of the flesh.” You shall not put your brother or sister down so as to lift yourself up.
Why is this? Because, says Paul, “the flesh coveteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” The Holy Spirit has no desire to put us down, to keep us in our old desire to be powerful, to be first. Rather the Holy Spirit seeks peace, joy, goodness.
Read the passage again:
“15 And if ye bite, and eat each other, see ye, lest ye be wasted each from other.

16 And I say to you in Christ, walk ye in Spirit, and ye shall not perform the desires of the flesh.

17 For the flesh coveteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these be adversaries together, that ye do not all things that ye will [that ye do not those things, whatever ye will].”

“Live In God’s Word” ( John 8: 31-32, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans


Jesus teaches in the temple. While He is sitting on the ground, presumably in one of the many open areas, a group of Pharisees bring a young woman caught in adultery and challenge Jesus with the Law of Moses. The Law calls for her death by stoning, they remind. Jesus writes in the dirt with His finger, “as though He heard them not.” (John 8:6, KJV) The Pharisees ask Jesus again. Jesus stands up, and famously states that anyone of them who feels he is without sin may go ahead with the stoning. Then Jesus sits back down and continues to write in the dirt. One by one, the Pharisees “being convicted by their own conscience” leave. Who leaves first? The eldest, of course. The longer we live, the more sin convicts us. Jesus stands again, sees that none of the Pharisees remain to stone the woman as the Law of Moses requires. He asks the young woman where are her accusers. “Hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10) She says, “No man, Lord.” Jesus says if no man is left to condemn her, then neither is He to condemn her.  “Go,” He tells her, “and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Jesus then turns back to the Pharisees and tells them who He is: that He is the Light of the world and the Son of God. Many believe Him. To those, Jesus says:

“31 If ye dwell in my word, verily ye shall be my disciples;

32 and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

To those who continue to protest that they are slaves to no man, Jesus says they are slaves to sin. These men have learned nothing from the earlier event, when Jesus does not condemn the young woman caught in adultery. Jesus tells them,

“37 I know that ye be Abraham’s sons, but ye seek to slay me, for my word taketh not in you.”

The Pharisees continue to strongly protest, saying:

“Abraham is our father.” Jesus says to them, “If ye be the sons of Abraham, do ye the works of Abraham.

40 But now ye seek to slay me, a man that have spoken to you [the] truth, that I heard of God.”

Jesus says to live in His Word. His Word sets you free, free from the Law of sin and death. No need for stones to cast at others, or at ourselves. Jesus says, “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go, and sin no more.”

 

“Who Is My Brother Anyway?” ( 1 John 4: 21, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Remember the rich young man who seeks to justify himself to Christ by asking, “Who is my brother?” Recall the story of the good Samaritan who stops to help the injured man along the road? Despite that the injured man and the Samaritan are enemies in everyday life, this day one is a brother to the other.

I get the sense we ask God this same question all the time. Hey God, who is my brother anyway? Am I supposed to really love people I strongly disagree with, love people who hate my ideas and oppose what I consider to be good and just? Am I expected to love the person who cheats, steals, lies, murders, drinks and drives, cuts me off in traffic, runs red lights, never bathes… You get the picture. I am certain God’s response is “As a matter of fact, yes.”

“And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

The author of 1 John is speaking primarily, I think, of the love we should show to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but God clearly calls us also to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to forgive those who abuse and misuse us. Jesus says it’s easy to love those who love us, treat those well who treat us well, bless those who bless us. The love that is hard is the love that shows we are who we claim to be: His children.

“A Word Of Reconciliation” ( 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Paul says he is an ambassador for Christ. God uses him to beseech others to be reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus. Paul tells his readers that once in Christ, they each become new creations; “the old is gone, the new is come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) Paul insists that “Christ’s love compels [him].” (2 Corinthians 5:14) Convinced that one died for all, Paul writes “therefore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14) If all died, then Paul says he no longer regards anyone from a worldly point of view. Paul strongly reminds:

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV)

Paul carries the Word of reconciliation — that God no longer holds our sins against us. This not of ourselves, lest we should boast. Instead we are saved by grace. Therefore, we “should no longer live for [ourselves] but for Him who died for [us] and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

“Go And Make Disciples” ( Matthew 28: 19, NIV ) by Carley Evans


You might take this as a confession as I was called to the mission field at the not so tender age of 25. I applied to Wycliffe Bible Translators, attended the Summer Institute of Linguistics where I learned international phonetics, phonology and an amazingly fascinating task called grammatical analysis — each piece of knowledge a preparation for creating a written language for a spoken tongue. Truly exciting stuff!

My Bible expertise was lacking — they strongly recommended I attend a theological seminary such as Asbury. But, I felt called to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In Chicago, I lost my focus. By the next year, I was no longer at Moody as I’d married my college sweetheart who had quite suddenly come back into my life after a six year separation. I’m not sure I was listening to God at that time. But, I have two children I love, and a career in medical speech pathology. So, I am not complaining.

Nevertheless, putting the Word of God in a peoples’ own language is, to me, a great calling. Of course, I think and feel this because I love the Word of God so very much. I want other people to know the Word for through the Word they can know God. In knowing God, they can be saved.

Jesus says, “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” What an undertaking! “Go and make disciples.” What a privilege!