“He Bowed Down His Ear To Me” ( Psalm 116:1-2, WYC ) by Carley Evans

Here David presents God the Father as the loving parent who seeks out His child, bows His head downward so that His ear is close by, fully able and willing to listen to His baby’s voice. God even hears and fully comprehends His child’s “inward call.”

Alleluia. I loved the Lord; for the Lord shall hear the voice of my prayer. (Alleluia. I love the Lord; for the Lord hath heard the words of my prayer.) For he bowed down his ear to me; and I shall inwardly call him in my days (and I shall call to him in all my days).

“Since We Have These Promises” ( 2 Corinthians 7: 1, MOUNCE ) by Carley Evans

The promises Paul mentions in his letter to the church at Corinth are twofold: that God is our Father and that we are his sons and daughters, fully adopted into His family. Paul then proceeds to tell us that these promises are to cause us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit” in a mighty effort to “perfect” our “holiness.”

As a child fears (respects) his or her father and mother, so we are to fear (respect) our God.

Since (echō) then (oun) we have (echō) these (houtos · ho) promises (epangelia,) dear friends (agapētos,) let us cleanse (katharizō) ourselves (heautou) from (apo) every (pas) defilement (molysmos) of flesh (sarx) and (kai) spirit (pneuma,) perfecting (epiteleō) holiness (hagiōsynē) in (en) the fear (phobos) of God (theos.)

“On His Shoulders, Our Guilt” ( Isaias 53:5-6, KNOX ) by Carley Evans

Who does this to Jesus? Is it the Romans? Is it Herod? Is it Pilate? Is it the Jews? (we hear this one, don’t we?) Is it me? Or you? Is it Satan? Is it God the Father?

“and all the while it was for our sins he was wounded, it was guilt of ours crushed him down; on him the punishment fell that brought us peace, by his bruises we were healed. Strayed sheep all of us, each following his own path; and God laid on his shoulders our guilt, the guilt of us all.”

Our sins put Jesus on the cross; that’s certain. But God the Father puts the guilt of our sins on His Son. Otherwise, we carry our guilt to the grave and beyond. Jesus’ bruises – the punishment He bears – free us from the same. Rather than anxiety, we gain peace.

Who does this? God the Father.

Do you suppose the Great Physician then decides to let us fall back into guilt? Wallow around it in like pigs? Shame on us if we even attempt to return to our squalor. For we are washed in His Son’s very blood.

“Living Hope” ( 1 Peter 1:3, WYC ) by Carley Evans

Likely you know already that God “begat us again into living hope” and that He accomplished this through “the again-rising of Jesus Christ from death.” Notice the focus of Peter’s words here – his words focus on the work of God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. The power displayed in the resurrection of Jesus from death is the same power displayed in our birth into living hope.

Read it, ponder it, love the wondrous Word of God!

“Blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which by his great mercy [which after his great mercy] begat us again into living hope, by the again-rising of Jesus Christ from death [by the again-rising of Jesus Christ from dead],”

“All Power” ( Matthew 28: 18, WYC ) by Carley Evans

The Wizard of Oz as pictured in The Wonderful ...
The Wizard of Oz as pictured in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

“And Jesus came nigh, and spake to them, and said, All power in heaven and in earth is given to Me.”

Who comes near? Jesus comes close. He approaches His disciples, i.e. His friends, and He tells them the truth. He assures them that “all” – not some or a little power “in heaven” – but not only in heaven, but also “in earth” “is given to [Him].”

Unlike the Wizard of Oz who is a mere man behind a curtain, Jesus is a man who contains “all power in heaven and in earth.” Rather than hide behind a curtain, Jesus steps out into full view. He says, “Here I Am; you may see Me; you may find Me.” Jesus stands on hilltops and in valleys, places where people can get a good view and where they can get a good touch.

Jesus also assures His friends that this power that He has is not His own; it is a gift of God the Father. Jesus does not dethrone His Father or rebel against Him; He is no demi-god like Perseus is to Zeus.

Beware of those who claim either/or – that Jesus is wizard and/or demi-god. Rather, Jesus is the Son of God.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1: 3, NIV)

“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.

“Joy Completed” ( John 16: 23 – 24, Wycliffe ) by Carley Evans

“23And in that day ye shall not ask Me any thing; truly, truly, I say to you, if ye ask the Father any thing in My Name, He shall give [it] to you. 24 Till now ye asked nothing in My Name; ask ye, and ye shall take, that your joy be full.”

Jesus says His disciples do not ask Him for any thing in that day — the day of His resurrection, a day in which their joy is complete. They have no need of any thing. From that point forward, Jesus tells us, we are to ask God the Father directly for whatever we need to be joyful. And we are to take whatever it is we need directly from God, who gives us all good things for the sake of His Son, Jesus.

Jesus reminds us God loves us because we love and believe in His Son. We believe the Son comes from the Father; and we know to listen to and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who emanates from the Son and the Father.

Jesus implies what we ask for should complete our joy.

“Judge Not-2nd Edition” ( Matthew 7: 1, KJV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus warns us not to judge others. The measure we use to judge another is the measure used to judge us. Jesus warns us not to seek out the mote in the eye of another while ignoring the beam in our own eye. Besides, the beam in our eye naturally prevents a clear view of the mote we think we see in the other person’s eye.

The hypocrite, says Jesus, believes he is without fault and so qualified to remove the mote from the sight of his brother. Jesus says to the hypocrite, “You’ve got to remove that beam from your own eye before you can possibly recognize much less remove the mote from your brother’s eye!”

And what is that beam in your eye? Perhaps self-righteousness – also known as spiritual pride – is the biggest, most destructive beam that can lodge itself in our eye. Removing it is a task best left to God, the Holy Spirit. Ask Him; He is fully capable and willing to remove that big plank that gets in His way!

“Running After Things” ( Matthew 6: 32, NIV ) by Carley Evans

God the Father, says Jesus, knows exactly what you need and exactly when you need it. Each day has evil enough of its own for you to be concerned about tomorrow. Live today, and stop worrying about yesterday and tomorrow!

Jesus isn’t saying not to prepare for your future in that He speaks elsewhere of assessing the needs of a project before you put your hand to do it. Make sure you are able to see it through to completion, or don’t bother to start. But, Jesus is saying not to put things above God. He is saying not to be anxious about what you eat, what you wear, where you sleep, what you own or don’t own. “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Running after things — isn’t that a common practice!

Walking up Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side, New York, New York — so many beautiful T-H-I-N-G-S for sale in swank shops on both sides of the street; so many quaint sidewalk cafes with delectable menus of scrumptious, high-priced dishes. Life is so short. Solomon says, “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany [you] in [your] toil all the days of the life God has given [you] under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

Jesus is not saying not to enjoy your life. He is saying your life is enjoyable because God knows what you need, when you need it; and He generously gives to you all things. So, “seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Being Full Of, Is Led By” ( Luke 4: 1, KJV ) by Carley Evans

God, the Holy Spirit, descends upon Mary to produce the infant God, Jesus in her womb — so, does God the Holy Spirit enter Mary? Or does He plant His seed within her? Is this one and the same? Does it matter? Luke, the physician, records the event. The angel tells Mary, “thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His Name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father, David. The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:31-32,35)

Elizabeth’s child, John — while still in her womb — leaps with joy when Mary comes close, literally recognizing Jesus, the Son of God who resides in Mary.

Much later, God the Holy Spirit descends from the clouds on the day Jesus is baptized by John in the river Jordan. God the Father speaks, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I Am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) “And Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, returns from the Jordan, and is led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1) Here Jesus is tested by the devil for forty days and nights.

No time exists in Jesus’ earthly life when He is separate from God the Holy Spirit. Being full of God the Holy Spirit, He is led by God the Holy Spirit.