“Wondering” by Carley Evans


Wondering why some Christians are “open-minded” and others are not. Wondering how it is some Christians see Christ as kind and gentle, loving and forgiving while others see Him as mean and angry, hateful of sin and judgmental? How can people who claim to believe in the same God come out so differently after reading the same Bible and praying to the same Lord?
How can some believe God hates sinners while others believe God loves sinners so much He actually DIED for them? How can some believe God wants Christians to stand up against sin to the point of harming other human beings who happen to sin while others believe they too sin and are just as deserving of the same type of “revenge” against sin?
Why do some Christians feel capable of judging other human beings while others feel entirely unworthy of the task?
Oh Lord, help us to know the Truth so it and You may set us Free. Amen.

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“Abundant Hope” ( Romans 15: 13, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


May God help me!
(Photo credit: radiant guy)

The author of your hope – if you are a Christian – is God. He fills you with joy and peace “in your believing.” He desires for you to “hope in abundance.” You must recognize your hope comes “through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Perhaps you try to generate this joy and peace and hope through sheer will-power. Stop trying so hard. Jesus says, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He says, “I have come that you may have life, and that abundantly.” He promises, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. If it were not so, I would have told you.”

Therefore, Paul prays:

May God, the author of our hope, fill you with all joy and peace in your believing; so that you may have hope in abundance, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“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.”

“Who Is The Innocent In Hands?” ( Psalm 24: 3-6, WYC ) by Carley Evans


“3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord; either who shall stand in the holy place of him? (Who shall go up on the hill of the Lord? who shall stand in his holy place?)

The innocent in hands, that is, in works, and in clean heart; which took not his soul in vain, neither swore in guile to his neighbour. (Those with innocent hands, or works, and with clean, or pure, hearts; they who took not their souls unto idols, nor swore falsely to their neighbours.)

He shall take blessing of the Lord; and mercy of God his health. (They shall receive a blessing from the Lord; mercy from the God of their salvation, or of their deliverance.)

This is the generation of men seeking him; of men seeking the face of God of Jacob. (This is the generation of people seeking him; of people seeking the face of the God of Jacob.)”

I know a little of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church; I know the psalms are considered weapons against the forces of evil. As the liturgy progresses with each side of the church chanting the verse to the other side and the other side chanting the next verse to the first side – and so on, back and forth; the sounds rise and form a shield. I’ve personally felt the power of the Word of God in the audible liturgical services at Mepkin Abbey.

Participation in the liturgy, for me, is an honor I wish all Christians might experience firsthand.

In the Christian Book of Prayer this psalm – Psalm 24 – is one that stands out as special along with Psalm 95 and 100 and another I can’t recall right this minute.

God asks us, “Who shall come up here to Me? Who is able to stand in My Holy Place?”

And He answers His own question, “The innocent in hands, the clean in heart, the one who does not lie.”

I know Who that is! Do you?

“No Cause To Stumble” ( Psalm 119:165, WYC ) by Carley Evans


English: Peace, Love and Increase

What causes a Christian to stumble? God’s Word says that love of God’s Law gives “much peace” and “no cause of stumbling.” Doesn’t it follow, then, that when a Christian stumbles – I presume, sins – the cause is a lack of love for God’s Law.

So, what is God’s Law? Jesus says the greatest commandment (i.e. God’s Law) is to love the Lord your God with all the strength of your heart, your soul, your mind. And the second greatest is like it – it calls on the Christian to love his or her neighbor in the same manner as self-love.

Of course, it’s not enough to understand God’s Law. We must incorporate this law of Love into our very selves. If we love, it follows we will have peace and will have no reason to stumble.

Paul reminds that sin is anything done outside of faith. Faith is being certain of things unseen. My faith rests squarely on the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, and on absolutely nothing else. His Love – His ability to fully love – is what I rely upon. Outside of His Love, I am nothing.

“Much peace is to them that love thy law; and no cause of stumbling is to them. (There is much peace for those who love thy Law; and they have no reason to slip, or to stumble.)”

“Bear God In Your Body” ( 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20, WYC ) 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)

18 Flee ye fornication; all sin whatever sin a man doeth [all sin whatever a man shall do], is without the body; but he that doeth fornication, sinneth against his body.

19 Whether ye know not, that your members be the temple of the Holy Ghost, that is in you, whom ye have of God, and ye be not your own?

20 For ye be bought with great price. Glorify ye, and bear ye God in your body.

If you believe preachers in the pulpit, fornication ( that’s sexual intercourse outside of marriage ) is rampant. Almost everyone fornicates, again if you believe the men who stand up each Sunday and declare that sexual sins are the most difficult and the most frequent sins committed in and by the body of Christ ( uh, that’s the church ). Not hard to see why preachers preach this — it seems to be true.

Our culture no longer expects people to remain committed to one another. Marriage is now a convenience. No longer do two people promise to love and cherish one another until death even if they say these words. These words ( that’s “until death do us part” ) don’t mean the same thing as they meant for earlier generations. Instead, people decide to give up on their marriages because they are no longer convenient, no longer passionate, no longer easy, or because love has failed them.

But, God says “love never fails; love never gives up; love keeps no record of wrongs.” Remember?

The interesting part of these verses that Paul writes to the Corinthians, a church filled with Christian failures, is: “Bear you God in your body.” Ponder this command. You are purchased at great cost to God. You belong to Him, not to your self. You hold the Holy Ghost or Spirit within you. You actually carry God in your body.

Imagine God in your body. Imagine your body as a temple of the Lord God Almighty.

Now, look in the mirror. What do you see?

“He Will Save” ( Isaiah 33:22, KJV ) by Carley Evans


English: Jesus Christ, polychromed and gilded ...
English: Jesus Christ, polychromed and gilded woodcarved relief by Martin Vinazer (* 1674 in St. Ulrich in Gröden; † 1744) signed MVF (MV Fecit) Deutsch: Gefasstes Holzrelief des Martin Vinatzer gezeichnet MVF (MV Fecit) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”

You may hear certain Christians pronounce that God is Judge, God is Lawgiver, God is King; but they seem to forget that God is Savior. They conveniently forget that God’s plan is to save us. God’s intention is not to condemn, but to forgive. He comes to seek and to save what is lost. He sows seed in order to nurture it into growth, to ensure that growth is healthy and whole.

Paul writes, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1, KJV)

Walking after the flesh is being under Law; walking after the Spirit is being under Grace. Grace is not, and never has been, an excuse for sin. Grace is God’s gift to a dead world.