“And Now, Worship” ( Romans 12:1, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


X and P are the first two letters of Christ fr...
X and P are the first two letters of Christ from greek Χριστός; this is a very old symbol of christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul calls us – that is, Christians – “rational creatures.” As rational creatures, we owe God our “bodies as a living sacrifice.” I like Paul’s use of the plural when he refers to the bodies of Christians and the singular when he refers to the living sacrifice. Paul often refers to Christians as members of the singular “body of Christ.” The whole body of Christ, i.e. the Church is the “living sacrifice” we owe to God. Together we must “offer up [our] bodies” that are “consecrated to God and worthy of His acceptance.” Worship is a mutual undertaking, i.e. worship is meant to occur among fellow Christians. As “rational creatures,” Paul expects us to understand these truths. He calls us to worship together as one; to offer our bodies together as one, united “living sacrifice.” We are the body of Christ, the Church of which He is the head.

“And now, brethren, I appeal to you by God’s mercies to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to God and worthy of his acceptance; this is the worship due from you as rational creatures.”

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“A Favour” ( Romans 4: 4-5, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Ever done a favor for someone; perhaps even for a stranger, someone who may have knocked at your window at a stoplight to ask for money? Paul says this is what God does for us, strangers, even enemies. God does a favor for us! He makes sinners “just men.” We are not due this favor; we do not earn it. In other words, our salvation is not a reward. Rather it is a favor.

The reward given to one who works to earn it is not reckoned as a favour, it is reckoned as his due. When a man’s faith is reckoned virtue in him, according to God’s gracious plan, it is not because of anything he does; it is because he has faith, faith in the God who makes a just man of the sinner.

We gain God’s favor by recognizing, if you will – by believing that it is a favor. We recognize and believe God does us this favor “according to [His] gracious plan.” Paul says that “it is not because of anything [we do].” Yes, it’s a favor.

 


First written review of my novel, ANNIE DREAMING.

DooRFrame Books

“I highly recommend this book! It has been a long time since I’ve read a book that I didn’t want to put down, ANNIE DREAMING kept me up until nearly midnight. Carley has a wonderful way of putting into words the love and yet tension that happens in a family dynamic over time. I can picture each event as I read the words on the pages. Can’t wait to read some more today!!”

– Debra Carlson

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“True Wisdom” ( Proverbs 9:10, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


“True wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord; he best discerns, who has knowledge of holy things.”

Foolishness
Foolishness (Photo credit: WaveCult (luis.m.justino))

True wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord; who but a fool would despise such wisdom, and the lessons she teaches? Heed well, my son, thy father’s warnings, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching; no richer heirloom, crown or necklace, can be thine. 10 Turn a deaf ear, my son, to the blandishments of evil-doers that would make thee of their company. 11 There are lives to be had for the ambushing, the lives of unsuspecting folk whose uprightness shall little avail them; 12 there are fortunes to be swallowed up whole, as a man is swallowed up by death when he goes to his grave. 13 No lack of treasures here, they say, rich plunder that shall find its way into our houses; 14 thou hast but to throw in thy lot with us; every man shares alike. 15 Such errands, my son, are not for thee; never stir a foot in their company; 16 thou knowest well how eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood, 17 and the snare is laid to no purpose if the bird is watching. 18 What do they, but compass their own ruin, plot against their own lives? 19 Such is ever the end of greed; he who cherishes it must fall by it at last. (Proverbs 1: 7-19)

The opposite of true wisdom, without a doubt, is foolishness. And foolishness leads, apparently, to greed. The cherishing of money is, indeed, the root of all evils. Foolishness results in chasing after people who say “throw in with us; you’ll never lack. We’ll share our wealth with you.” The foolish one fails to see how “eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood.” When he keeps their company, he invariably sets himself up for a fall.

On the other hand, true wisdom is the fear of the Lord and “knowledge of holy things.” What is knowledge of holy things? Some would say it’s avoidance of the world. Some might say it’s keeping in the Word of God and in the company of the saints. Avoiding the world is the wrong approach to true wisdom. Rather, lean not on your own understanding. Rely on God’s understanding. How? By keeping in His Word. True wisdom is understanding that with God, life is always better than it is without Him.


Live like you’re dying, because – of course – you are!

God Running

To read the previous post on Genesis, go to Joseph and Israel, Jesus and the Jew.

Read Genesis 48:1-15

Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed. (Genesis 48:1-2)

Then he blessed Joseph. (v.15)

 

You’re dying and what to do about it

It seems apparent, Jacob knows he is dying. So here he is, on his death bed, knowing he is dying, and what does he do?

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“A Right Word Spoken” ( Proverbs 15:23, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Bruegel Proverbs
Bruegel Proverbs

Sometimes when I give advice, I wonder how it will be taken. Will the person listen? Will the person appreciate the counsel? Did I choose the correct time to speak? Was the counsel wanted? In other words, did I have any business giving the advice in the first place?

God says,

“There are times when a counsellor has good cause to be proud; nothing better than the right word spoken.”

God’s Word is encouraging. God says there’s “nothing better than the right word spoken.” Still, can I assume I gave good advice and the counsel was welcomed? Did I speak truth in love?

After all, advice without love, counsel without kindness is relatively worthless. The person is less likely to hear the truth and the counsel if love is absent.

“The right word spoken” says God is what is best. Not just any word spoken, but advice or counsel or truth which meets a need perceived. This is speaking the truth in love.

The Blogathon – Parts 1, 2, 3


This is a supplemental blog post for today, as I was recently tagged in a

by Reveling in the Overflowing Grace of God, a blog that I follow on a regular basis. I’m honored that Jeff thought enough of my blog to tap me to participate in this Blogathon. So, I am attempting to carry on this honor by participating in said “Blogathon.”

The rules (which are not obligatory, by any stretch of the imagination…in other words, please don’t feel obligated to do this if you have been tagged here) are as follows:

1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must also answer the 11 questions the “tagger” has set for them.
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4. They must then choose 11 bloggers and tag them in their post.
5. These “lucky” bloggers must then be told.
6. No tag backs.

So here goes:

Eleven things about me –

1. I’m fascinated by fire. Flames are mesmerizing. I love to build roaring fires outside, inside, anywhere that’s legal and relatively safe. And, I’m good at it, having learned techniques for fire building in the Girl Scouts in Wisconsin.

2. I love Mepkin Abbey, the only place of worship I know where the living presence of the Holy Spirit is palpable. Why I don’t go every weekend as I once did is beyond me. I think it has something to do with the price of gasoline as Mepkin Abbey is about 45 minutes from my front door. Also, sometimes I feel like an intruder on the quiet solitude of the brothers. Still…

3. I’m what I call a “mother-friend” to my two grown children. One lives with me and is dependent upon me. The other lives away from me and is independent of me. Both are my beloved children; both are my friends. Yes, I disagree that a parent can not be a friend to her child.

4. I own two Bichon Frise dogs. They are brothers. One is Hank; the other is Robi. They have the same parents but were born a year apart. They are white, feel like soft leather, have beautiful black eyes, and wonderful personalities. They love each other – no, seriously! And are super jealous for my attention. They’re spoiled rotten, too.

5. I’m a medical speech language pathologist working in a large, teaching hospital with very ill people. I work 40 hours every week doing my best for these people, then I come home and leave them to God, who cares perfectly for them. That way, I do not carry more of a load than I can handle. I love my job.

6. I’m a poet and novelist. When I was younger, I wanted to be famous and a “great” writer like Shakespeare or Hemingway or Bradbury or Golding or Orwell. Notice these writers are all male. My favorite female writers are Joyce Carol Oates, Lois Lowry, and Flannery O’Connor. I write about men and women; I make no distinction.

7. I love movies, preferably good ones. I also love plays, again preferably good ones. I used to read more than I do now. I think I’ve fallen into the trap of “instant gratification.” Sometimes it takes too long to get into a book, and I become distracted much easier than when I was younger. Also, I can do two things at once if I’m watching a movie at home. I can write while I listen. Somehow, a movie on in the background is better than the radio on in the background… Well, makes sense to me.

8. I self-published two novels this year, one in May and the other in October. Both are part of the DooRFrame Book series about Charlie Logan, a former baseball player and his family. Both are available on Amazon.com.

9. I grew up on college campuses and moved often as a child. I also moved frequently as an adult. I didn’t “settle down” until I was 40 when I moved to the Low Country of South Carolina. I think the Low Country is one of the most beautiful places in North America.

10. I was married to the same man for 28 years, but he left me for a younger woman about whom he used to say nasty things. I think that’s the essence of irony. Bitterness and anger pop into my heart here and there. To deny this is to lie about who I am. Yet, I can say without hesitation that I promised to love that man until death, and that promise I’m certain I’ll keep. Nevertheless, I can honestly say I don’t want to live with him again.

11. I love life, but consider myself a stranger in this world. This is not my home; and I long for my true place of residence beside the God who loves me. I live here in that hope, the hope of my true life.

The questions Jeff asked are:

1. What inspired you to begin blogging?

The short answer is GOD. One day, soon after joining Facebook, I got an urge to write about the Book of Job, one of those wonderful Old Testament books that seems to bewilder some people. Perhaps the problem of pain is what bewilders people. At any rate, once I started God seemed to tell me to “do that every day.” I keep blogging.

2. What one thing do you wish you could change about the world?

I’d eliminate sin – like that’s possible. I’d have Adam and Eve obey God in the garden of Eden and so change all of history. But then we might not fully know how much God loves us. I am sure that everything is working together for ultimate good, so… maybe I’d change nothing about the world.

3. How would you spend your last day on earth?

I somehow imagine I’d spend it like I spent today. I’d get up really early, take my dogs out, feed them, make coffee, take the dogs out again, drink my coffee, check my email, blogs, FB. I’d probably watch the news and maybe then find out that the world was coming to an end. If I know it’s my last day – everyone’s last day – I’d probably already be with everyone I love. I hope we’d treat each other well and tell each other how much we love the other. I hope I’d just stay calm.

4. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

My children when they were newly born – both were the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

5. What is the thing that you admire most in people?

Courtesy. If people are courteous, they are necessarily loving, kind, respectful.

6. What is the purpose of your blog?

GRACE PARTAKERS is my effort to promote the love of God and to teach tolerance.

7. What do you like about you?

I’m smart without being a complete egghead. I’m detailed without being anal. I’m courteous.

8. What genre do you most like to read?

I used to love science fiction above anything. Now, I like young adult fiction best.

9. Who is your favorite author?

Ray Bradbury.

10. What is your favorite book?

Besides the Bible, Lois Lowry’s THE GIVER is the best. Stephen King’s THE STAND is stellar. William Golding’s THE LORD OF THE FLIES is extraordinary. Ernest Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA is awesome. Larry McMurtry’s MOVING ON is great. And, Hermann Hesse’s SIDDHARTHA is tops! In other words, I can’t name one favorite book…

11. A genie has just popped out of a lamp that you rubbed. He has granted you three wishes. What do you wish for?

I wish for complete healing for my son. I wish for happiness for my daughter. I wish for an end to hatred.

Here’s Part 2:

I’m to tap or tag 11 bloggers I routinely follow and ask them to participate in this Blogathon. And, for the record, I’m not allowed to tap Jeff. And he’s already tapped one of my favorite blogs, Resting In His Grace, so that’s 2 gone up in smoke for me, anyway. So, here goes…

1. CHRISTIANITY 201 – Paul has created a clearinghouse of sorts for Christian bloggers/blogs, providing spotlights to follow back to those same bloggers/blogs. He does something different though. He doesn’t “re-blog” the post. He gives the whole rather than the part with clear reference to the original author. The whole blog points, as well it should, directly to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, I’m inviting Paul to participate in this Blogathon, but something tells me he will decline. Nevertheless, check him out.

2. THINKING OUT LOUD – Jim Thornber is just a super smart Christian who has written several – maybe more than several – books on the Christian walk. He’s been around WordPress since 2008, so there’s much to digest. Go get some meat!

3. SUMMATHETES – Brian Onken writes a strikingly amazing blog delving into specific passages – which I also do – but which he does SO MUCH BETTER. When I first started blogging, he would comment and provide support when I needed it most. Again, if you want meat rather than milk, head over there!

4. PRYDAIN – Will, a self-described Anglican from Alabama, writes a delightful blog. I especially love his excerpts from great theologians of our past.

5. VERTICAL VIEWER – Michael D. Collins sort of outlines his blog posts. He bullets his points! And they stand out like living scarecrows in dead corn fields.

6. DOERS OF THE WORD – “The Reverend Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Hyun Sook Foley, of Seoul USA, a multinational, multicultural ministry supporting the work of the indigenous underground church in North Korea and the spreading of historic underground Christian discipleship practices worldwide.” – I can’t put it any better than he does. Please stop by. His blog is worth your time.

7. CATHOLIC JOURNALING – Although I’m not officially a Roman Catholic, I do find Jason M. Roebuck’s blog a peaceful place to visit, a place to stop and rest a while.

8. TRUTH PRESSURE – Just the gospel and some other stuff. I don’t agree with all of the stuff, but…

9. FAITHRISES – Faith writes on faith and perseverance, on getting through the tough battles characteristic of life on earth. Another peaceful place to stop and rest a while.

10. LONG WIND – For a bit of humor, head over to this one. Jordan – I think! – is from South Africa and lectures, I gather, on NT Greek.

Finally, Number 11. – TIKK TOK – Macy Twain writes about anything and everything. I love stopping by here, although I don’t do it often enough. Sorry, Macy!

Here in Part 3, I am to ask those bloggers 11 questions. Those 11 questions are:

1. What’s a difficult situation that you’re willing to share with us and how did you handle it?

2. What’s one of your favorite movies?

3. Who is one of your favorite book characters?

4. What country do you want to visit before you leave this earth? Why?

5. What do you like about yourself?

6. What is one of your favorite Bible verses?

7. Look at your feet. Do you like them? Think about all the features you may not like about your body. Why do you suppose God made you look like you do?

8. Are you a cat or a dog person? Why?

9. Do you think there is intelligent life other than ours out there in the universe? If so, what do you think they are like?

10. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

11. What’s your favorite painting? Have you seen it in person?

Okay, now to let the bloggers I tapped know I tapped them.

Many blessings to all!