“The Champion Of Orphans; The Judge Of Widows” ( Psalm 68:4-5, WYC ) by Carley Evans


James Tissot - A Widow
James Tissot – A Widow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“(Sing ye to God, sing ye a song to his name; make ye a way for him, who rideth over the plains of the desert/who rideth upon the clouds, yea, the Lord is his name. Make ye full out joy, or rejoice, before him, but his enemies shall be troubled before him,) (who is the father of the fatherless and the motherless; and the judge of widows). God is in his holy place;”

Notice the psalmist sings: “God is in His Holy Place.” God is not in a place of darkness or evil. He is surrounded by purity and light. He “rides over the plains of the desert” and “rises upon the clouds.” God, who is holy, is also the “father of the fatherless and the motherless; and the judge of widows.”

The King James version translates “judge” as “champion.” God is the “champion of widows.” I prefer to think of God as holy judge. He is the judge of widows. But, unlike the unjust judge in Jesus’ parable, God is justice. He defends the widow! He does not condemn her or allow her to fall victim to those who seek to take advantage of her vulnerable state. So it is with the orphan. God is both mother and father to those without parents. God is their champion.

Therefore, sings the psalmist, “make yourself full out joy!”

“Surpassed Expectations” A Review of METAL MAN WALKING


A reader of METAL MAN WALKING recently wrote:

“Loved the book, Carley!! I knew it was going to be a treat, but it actually surpassed my expectations: the story (and the ending) wasn’t what I was expecting. Chuck’s approach to life breaks down stereotypes and conventional assumptions, while also challenging consumerism and achievement-oriented mentality. Metal Man Walking is beautifully written and thought-provoking, and challenges readers to ask themselves what they actually need in order to be happy and contented with life. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I’m looking forward to the next one:) Congratulations, Carley!!” – Elizabeth R.

“Pitying Your Children” ( Psalm 103:13, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Do you ever feel sorry for your child? Do you look at him or her and say to yourself, “Oh, how sorry I am that you have to go through so much pain in this world”? In other words, do you pity your baby?

Don’t you — even if you are not a mother — feel that umbilical cord between yourself and the flesh of your body? Don’t you feel what your child feels? Joy for joy, sorrow for sorrow, fear for fear?

I know I do — with both of my two children.

If you are a parent, then it follows you understand something of God’s relationship with you, His child. Hold God in awe; He loves you so much.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”

“If You Then…” ( Luke 11:13, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Heavenly and E...
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (The Pedroso Murillo) (1675-82) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus contrasts God the Father with us in a simple tale:  a human father refuses to give his child a stone when the child asks for bread. Even though the human father is ‘evil’ — imperfect, foolish, wayward, rebellious — he knows how to give good things to his offspring. Jesus says:

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus seeks to convince us that God is the perfect Giver! The Father’s gifts to us are always good! God the Father’s most perfect gift to us is His own Holy Spirit. Compared to the gift of bread the human father gives, the gift of God the Holy Spirit outshines beyond our understanding.

So, when you ask God for His Holy Spirit, expect this perfect gift. Jesus says this expectation should be natural since you know God is a much better parent than you are.

“Pouring Out Speech” ( Psalm 19:1-2, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Sydney, St Bede's Church, Drummoyne. The Warat...
Sydney, St Bede’s Church, Drummoyne. The Waratah window by Alfred Handel. depicts Australian native flowers, the red Waratah, emblem of the state of New South Wales; Flannel Flowers, Christmas Bells and Wattle (Acacia). The inscription reads “The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament showeth his handiwork.” The window was designed in 1932.http://eprints.utas.edu.au/7081/31/Ausglass_Spring_Summer_1991-1992.pdf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David, the psalmist, sings:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

Day and night the heavens and the sky “proclaim [God’s] handiwork.” Day “pours out speech” and “night reveals knowledge.” And so, says Paul to the church at Rome, “men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV) We are without excuse “because what may be known about God is plain to [us], because God makes it plain to [us]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – are clearly seen, being understood from what is made.” (Romans 1:19-20, NIV)

“Even though [we] know God”, says Paul, “we neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him, for [our] thinking becomes futile and [our] foolish hearts are darkened.” (Romans 1:21, NIV)

Paul says “you, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things… When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4, NIV)

Do not show contempt for the riches of God’s grace! Rather, withhold your judgment of others. Give thanks to God, renewing your mind, allowing His light into your heart. Listen to the day’s speech as it pours forth. Absorb the night’s knowledge as you sleep in God’s arms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Among The Heathen” ( Psalm 46:10, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...
Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1866 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God says:

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Do you think God means you to stand quietly, listening? Does He mean for you to shut your mouth? Open your ears? Does He mean for you to meditate? Pray? Is it a stillness of the body? Or, is it a stillness of the spirit? Or both?

How do you know He is God? Does He tell you? Do you just know He is God by being still? Is there some revelation? Do you become aware of Him when you are quietly still?

Do you notice God says “I Am God.” He also says, “I will be exalted among the heathen.” And, He says: “I will be exalted in the earth.” How is God exalted “among the heathen?” How is God exalted, lifted up among unbelievers? How is He exalted in the earth?

When does this knowing of God occur? I think about Job in particular; he isn’t still or quiet when God permits Satan to attack him.  Rather than be still, Job protests; he wrestles; he argues; he questions. Eventually God says, “Be quiet. Who are you to question Me?” And Job shuts up; he repents in dust and ashes because now he knows God. No longer is it just a report about God; it is a personal encounter.

Once the encounter with God is personal, then God is exalted among the heathen for this is the point at which the heathen becomes believer.

 

“Mercy: The Highest Standard” ( Colossians 3: 13, NCV ) by Carley Evans


English: Nablus image in Palestine, Never Forg...
English: Nablus image in Palestine, Never Forgive, Never Forget (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.”

Paul says to put up with each other. He says put up with your friends’ faults, your neighbors’ mistakes, your enemies’ wrongs. He reminds you to forgive the other person “because the Lord forgave you.”

I ask you — what’s more critical: to hold the other to a high standard of behavior or to forgive the other for not reaching that high standard?

I maintain Jesus comes to earth to give us the highest standard which is mercy. James tells us that “mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 3:13, NIV) He writes:

“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” (James 3:12-13)

Yes, Jesus tells you to be perfect because your Heavenly Father is perfect. But God’s perfection is attained not by your groping efforts or by your demand for good behaviors, but through the mercies of Christ on the cross. The blood of bulls and goats are not able to appease God’s wrath; only mercy is capable of bringing you to holiness.

Therefore, Jesus says:

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 7:27-28, NIV)

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that… But love your enemies, do good to them without expecting to get anything back.” (Luke 7:32-33, 35; NIV)

“Do good…without expecting anything…” Ultimately that is the Christian life : being merciful.

“The Narrow Gate” ( Matthew 7:13-14, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


English: Old and very narrow kissing gate near...

Jesus says that few find the narrow gate.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

Jesus says the road to destruction is essentially an easy one in comparison to “the road that leads to life.” The road to life is “difficult” not only to find but to travel. Yet, Jesus also says that He is the way, the truth, and the life. He says His yoke is easy; His burden is light. Jesus makes eternal life sounds easy, not difficult. Jesus says to take up your cross daily; He says to leave everything to follow Him.

Perhaps this is the narrow gate He speaks of — this leaving behind everything to walk after Him. That road is hard; that gate is narrow and tricky to navigate; less attractive to the natural man. The natural man wants his own way — the way to destruction that is broad with the gate that is wide. Many do indeed find this way, walking right by the narrow gate and the hard road to life.

“As You Are Already Doing” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:11, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Rembrandt's Timothy and his grandmother, 1648.
Rembrandt’s Timothy and his grandmother, 1648. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How rich are Paul’s words — “as you are already doing.” What a wonderful testimony to the unity of the church at Thessalonica, to their support of one another, to their love for each other. Paul, with Silas and Timothy, writes:

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.”

How does Paul suggest the Thessalonians support each other? By reminding them that “God did not appoint [them] to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for [them] so that, whether [they] are awake or asleep, [they] may live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, NIV)

What a staggering thought — they are appointed, as are we, to salvation not to wrath. What is more encouraging? Therefore, Paul is able to write:

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)