So God Gets the Glory (Matthew 5: 16, KJV) by Carley Evans


Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Jesus tells us to let our light shine in a manner before people that they will notice. We are to perform good works which I interpret as works of kindness to others. Our kindnesses should be polite, considerate, generous, loving and done publicly so that people will take notice. But when they notice us, we ought to remind them that we are no better than they are; that our ability to behave in a kind manner — even when we are treated unkindly — is strictly due to the Light within us. That Light is Jesus.

If we shine properly, those who notice us will eventually realize we are not normal human beings, that something is different about us. And they will realize the difference in us is the Holy Spirit and they will glorify God.

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Animus, Curses, Mistreatment? Love is the Answer (Luke 6:26-28, NIV) by Carley Evans


27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Jesus tells His listeners — those who attend to His Words — to love their enemies, to do good to those who hate them, and to pray for those who mistreat them. He does not tell His listeners — those who follow after Him — to hate, curse, or mistreat their foes.

The love Jesus calls us to is not lip-service. Love is not saying, “Oh you didn’t hurt me with your cruel words” or “you didn’t damage my life with your unfair actions against me”. Rather love recognizes the harm done and calls on us to turn the other cheek. Love demands we go out of our way to do good in response to evil.

Love does not hide. God tells us that perfect loves literally drives out fear. And, perfect love keeps no record of wrongs, reminds Paul. Love never fails, never angers, never gives up.

We are to persevere in the face of mistreatment. We are never to return an insult with an insult of our own. We are never to be bitter when evil appears to succeed. Rather we are to pray — and we are not to pray for our enemy’s demise, but we are to pray for our enemy’s benefit.

Love desires what is best for the other — always.

 

How Many Times? (2 Peter 3:18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” 2 Peter 3:18, ESV.

In this single verse, the apostle Peter tells us everything we need to know about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus suffered only once.

He suffered and died for sinners, for persons who did not and do not deserve His sacrifice.

Jesus suffered and died to bring sinners to God ( not God to sinners, by the way ).

And how did Jesus accomplish this miracle?

Jesus brought sinners to God by “being put to death” — in other words, by execution which implies a courtroom, a judge and a sentence of death for guilt. Whose guilt? Not His own for He was and is without sin. The guilt that Jesus was sentenced to death for is mine and yours.

So stop pointing your finger at others.

We all alike condemned Jesus to the Cross.

And stop trying to crucify others.

Jesus needed to die only once.

Instead, rejoice! I say it again, Rejoice!

God & Guns


How did the Christian walk get tangled up with gun rights and gun ownership? I’ve wondered this before but recently this question has poked me. How does the ‘far right’ conservative Christian justify carrying and using a gun? (And I don’t mean a gun for hunting; I mean a gun for self-protection, a gun for defending one’s family and home).

I can’t imagine Jesus carrying and using a gun for self-defense. Remember Jesus taking the sword from Peter’s hand on the night of His crucifixion? Peter was defending God Himself, God in the flesh. Who or what could be more important to defend than Jesus? Yet, Jesus warned Peter that those who take up the sword often die by that same sword. He took the sword from Peter’s hand and told him not to strike out at the enemy.

How did the Christian come to believe that it is a fundamental human right to take up arms against another human being? Have we forgotten that Jesus Himself said, “If the thief wants your coat, give him your shoes, too.” (Yes, I know. It’s a paraphrase!) And Jesus also declared, “If he strikes you on your cheek, turn your face and offer him the other one.”

So, if Jesus didn’t care to be defended by the sword, why would He approve of one of His followers defending property with a gun? Why would Jesus approve of killing another human being in self-defense?

Tough questions.

 

 

You Have Heard It Said


Was it November, 2015 when Paris erupted in violence because a handful of human beings decided god was on their side and therefore against the people of that great city? Was it April, 2016 when Brussels became a place of death and destruction because the same handful of human beings decided god was on their side? Was it September, 2001 when that same group of human beings decided god was against the United States of America?
A long time ago and yet today, Jesus said that if a violent man comes against you to strike you, do not resist. In fact, offer him a new target — your other cheek. (Other than Jesus, the only person I know who has done this well is Mahatma Ghandi. Martin Luther King is a close second.)
In the light of human beings who hate so much that they are willing to kill themselves to accomplish killing others, how do we reconcile Jesus’ call to not resist this level of evil?
I heard that on the morning after the attacks in Brussels, people were back at work, refusing to be afraid. And I thought of Jesus’ words, “Do not resist an evil man.” Is Jesus asking us to ignore evil and evil people? I’m not certain that’s possible. How do you ignore someone who is trying to kill you and your family? I don’t think Jesus asks us to ignore evil in others. (We are to resist evil in ourselves.) I think Jesus expects us not to resist evil people — not to take up arms against them, not to go to war against the countries they occupy, not to strike back. Does that make sense? Probably not to our limited minds. Would Hitler have gone on killing Jews if people had not resisted him? Would Stalin have decimated his own country if no one had resisted? We certainly believe these outcomes!
What sort of resistance should we offer against such evil?
I don’t know, but I do know that when I heard that the people of Brussels refused to be afraid, I was relieved. To sow fear is the main objective of a handful of human beings who believe god is on their side and against us — the real people of the world.

“Love, Don’t Talk” (1 John 3:18 HCSB) by Carley Evans


Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

My little sons, love we not in word, neither in tongue, but in work and truth. (Wycliffe)

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (King James Version)

Jesus says exactly the same thing as His disciple says. Jesus says that the least kindness you show to the least is a kindness you show to Him – if you visit the prisoner, you visit Jesus. If you feed the homeless man, you feed Jesus. If you adopt the orphan, you adopt our Lord. And so on.

If we talk love but never show love, then the love of God is not in us. Worse, if we talk love and show hate, then our spirit is not of the Holy Spirit but of our own corrupted nature. We are like pigs remaining in our own mud and corn husks.

God calls us to love in action, not in talk.

“For of Him, and by Him, and in Him Be All Things” ( Romans 11:36-12:1, WYC ) by Carley Evans


36 For of him, and by him, and in him be all things. To him be glory into worlds [of worlds]. Amen.

12 Therefore, brethren, I beseech you by the mercy of God, that ye give your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, and your service reasonable.

 

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul highlights that everything is summed up in the head, which is Jesus Christ. Here in his letter to the church at Rome, he also emphasizes the glorious truth that all things are for, by and in Him, who is the Son of God.

If this is true ( and of course, it is ) then we ought first to recognize that Jesus deserves glory. Second, we ought to realize that it is only God’s mercy that allows us to be “living sacrifices, holy, pleasing to God.”

You hear it often in congregations of Christians: “To God be all the glory.” Yet, in the next moment, these same Christians are proclaiming how they did this or that for the Lord as if He needs anything at all from us. 

Our service to God ought to be “reasonable.” Our service ought to emerge from our understanding of our complete dependence upon His Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Without His indwelling, there is nothing – in our lowly bodies – we can do for God; nothing at all. Therefore, the statement “To God be the glory” should be matter-of-fact, part of our very nature.

“For of Him, and by Him, and in Him be all things,” writes Paul.