“Echo Already” ( Habacuc 3:19 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


English: Red deer

“The Lord, the ruler of all, is my stronghold; he will bring me safely on my way, safe as the hind whose feet echo already on the hills. (For the chief singer, to the harp’s music.)”

The picture here is of a hind – a female red deer – safely on a hillside, her feet sending echoes into the valley below. She is perfectly safe where she is. She is in her element, her stronghold; she has been safely brought to where she belongs. She will stay.

“Go On, Then” ( I Thessalonians 5:11 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


I don’t remember the exact date God asked me to do this, but He did. I used to think I must be arrogant to believe God asked me to write about a single verse every day. I used to obey every day but I’ve fallen off now and again only to get back to it, recalling this morning what He clearly commands in His Word:

Go on, then, encouraging one another and building up one another’s faith. 

 

“A Word That Gives Pain” ( Proverbs 15:1 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Who of you wants to hear “a word that gives pain?” Wouldn’t you rather be gifted with “a gentle answer?” I bet most – if not all – of you prefer “a word” that gives comfort rather than a word that “fans the flame of resentment.”

So, before you open your mouth to speak, think about whether or not what you are going to say is kind or hurtful. And remember your mother’s – or perhaps your grandmother’s advice: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

A gentle answer is a quarrel averted; a word that gives pain does but fan the flame of resentment. 

“A Good Ending And Patience” ( Jeremiah 29:11, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Once again, I find myself in a tough situation. Many people are also in tough situations – financial, health, family, personal situations that are extremely difficult. Yet, God through His prophet Jeremiah reminds me again that even in my tough situation, God knows everything. He is in charge of everything. And, He is perfect. His perfection makes me believe I am going to be okay. Actually, more than okay. Something better always come out of adversity. Always.
God tells me:

“For I know the thoughts which I think on you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, that I give to you an end and patience. (For I know the thoughts which I think about you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, so that I shall give you a good ending.)”

 

“God With Us In All Things” ( Joshua 1:9, WYC ) by Carley Evans


God tells Joshua no one will be able to stand against him for God is with him in all things “to which [he] goes.” God commands him to be comforted by his knowledge of this truth, and so not to dread or fear anything he may face.

“Lo! I command to thee; be thou comforted, and be thou strong; do not thou dread, nor be thou afeared; for thy Lord God is with thee in all things, to which thou goest. (Lo! I command thee; be thou encouraged, and be thou strong; do not thou fear, nor be thou afraid; for the Lord thy God is with thee in all things, to which thou goest.)”

If you believe God is with you in all things, then fear is impossible. Only comfort makes sense.

god lives in yu - treo_062809_002_web
(Photo credit: kevindean)

 

“Get Some Rest” ( Mark 6: 31, NIV ) by Carley Evans


My 9 year old Bichon Frise, Bolind’s Frosted Katie Hanna [Hanna for short] died suddenly this weekend. She began walking stiffly, then foaming at the mouth, vomiting water, with profound lethargy following. She died within 24 hours of the first symptoms. Apparently, the symptoms sounded like antifreeze poisoning to the vet, who was too busy to see her. And, I am currently having her dog food tested as a precaution. We buried Hanna in our backyard.

Jesus tells His apostles, “Come with Me by yourself.”

On top of my dog’s sudden death, my daughter is presently in Japan. Although she is currently safe, the constant news coverage of the six nuclear reactors in Fukushima being near meltdown has caused me some loss of sleep, despite my mental discipline of refusing to worry. I’ve actually discovered that I worry that she is worried!

Jesus says, “Come to a quiet place.”

Kindly, my supervisor at work allowed me an extra day to be at home this week. I initially thought the two days without Hanna and with my daughter in Japan might be depressing, but I needed that time to be with the Lord and to be in a quiet place.

Jesus says, “Get some rest.”

Here is the command from the Lord with which I believe many Christians have the most trouble. So much to do, so little time to do it all — how can I rest?

I can tell you from this week’s experiences — I needed a rest. I needed a quiet place. I needed to be by myself, alone with the Lord.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.” (Psalm 37:7) “Get some rest.”

“Joy In Hope, Patience In Affliction” ( Psalm 27: 14, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Wait for the Lord; be strong, take courage, and wait for the Lord.”

I can’t think of more comforting and yet challenging words than these. We are reminded that God acts; He is not idle. But the call to wait for the Lord, to be strong and take courage also implies that something difficult, even painful has entered our lives. We are staggering; we are fainting from woe. We can barely eat; we do not know the comfort of sleep. We each cry out, “I am wearied with groaning; all night long my pillow is wet with tears, I soak my bed with weeping. Grief dims my eyes; they are worn out with all my woes.” (Psalm 6: 6-7)

The comfort is that “though [our] fathers and [our] mothers forsake [us], the Lord takes [us] into His care.” (Psalm 27:10) In the Lord, “[we] find refuge.” (Psalm 7: 1) Yet, often we are left feeling abandoned, crying out: “When my prayer comes back unanswered, I walk with head bowed in grief as if for a brother; as one in sorrow for his mother I lay prostrate in mourning… O Lord, how long wilt Thou look on at those who hate me for no reason?” (Psalm 35: 13-14, 17)

We must remain “joyful in hope, patient in affliction” writes Paul. (Romans 12:12, NIV) This joyful hope as we wrestle with pain and a feeling of unanswered prayer is the essence of our faith, our belief in the essential goodness of our God. Without this faith, we are unable to “be strong” or to “take courage.” Without this faith in God’s perfection, we do not “wait for the Lord.”

Know that God is good, that He loves us beyond measure, beyond comprehension. Like the psalmist, we each must say: “But for my part I trust in Thy true love. My heart rejoices, for Thou hast set me free. I sing to the Lord, who grants all my desire.” (Psalm 13:5-6)

“Our Comfort Also Overflows” (2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Paul strongly reminds us that God is “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction.”

As we receive comfort in all troubled situations, so we are able and expected to comfort others as they face any affliction.

“For since [Jesus] Himself is tested and suffers, He is able to help those who are tested.” (Hebrews 2: 18) Since He helps us in our sufferings, we should help others as they face hardships.

Often the best person to aid another in a troubled place is the one who has been in that same difficulty. Unless you have experienced a particular hardship, it is impossible to honestly say to the other, “I understand how you feel.”

Additionally, God expects us to show others mercy as He is merciful to us. How can we hold a grudge against another when Jesus so readily forgives us our sins?

Jesus says, “{God] is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6: 35 – 37)

Let us remember that “as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1: 5)