“Blessed Are The Peacemakers” ( James 3:17-18, KNOX ) by Carley Evans

Notice James claims that the wisdom that comes from God is – yes, “chiefly” pure, but it is also peaceful and uncensorious. Someone who is censorious is highly fault-finding, super critical and apt to accuse the other. James says this is not a part of the wisdom of God. Instead the wise Christian is “courteous” and “always ready to be convinced!” In other words, willing to listen to the opposing arguments! including those which are blasphemous. Wisdom is not finger-pointing and back-biting (or stabbing). “Peace is the seed-ground of holiness.” Read that again! “Peace is the seed-ground of holiness.” Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see the kingdom of God.”

Whereas the wisdom which does come from above is marked chiefly indeed by its purity, but also by its peacefulness; it is courteous and ready to be convinced, always taking the better part; it carries mercy with it, and a harvest of all that is good; it is uncensorious, and without affectation. Peace is the seed-ground of holiness, and those who make peace will win its harvest. James 3:17-18 KNOXImage

“The Divine Nature Through Him” ( 2 Peter 1:4, KNOX ) by Carley Evans

What does it mean to “share the divine nature?” How is that possible? The author of Hebrews writes of Jesus calling us brothers. Paul writes of us becoming sons of God – and if sons, then heirs of all God possesses, including the divine nature. (No wonder Jesus warns against spiritual pride! No wonder Paul tells us not to be “puffed up!”)

Through him God has bestowed on us high and treasured promises; you are to share the divine nature, with the world’s corruption, the world’s passions, left behind.

The part that throws us is the truth that somehow – while we remain locked in these shells we call bodies – we are to leave behind “the world’s corruption, the world’s passions.” Just as having the divine nature seems wild to our imaginations, so does leaving behind “the world’s passions.”

For what is the world passionate? Money? Power? Fame? Sex?

Hard to deny that to some extent those are normal passions –

Maybe it’s really the world’s corruption of those normal desires that we are to leave behind. After all, everyone wants to have enough money on which to live; most people want power over their own lives; many desire to be recognized for their good efforts; and everyone needs some form of sexual fulfillment.

Each of these normal desires has been and is being corrupted by the world.

Peter writes we leave this corruption behind us when “through Him” – that is, through Jesus Christ – we become partakers of the divine nature. We are radically changed from the inside out, not from the outside in. No amount of soap and water is going to cleanse us from the world’s corruption. No amount of self-flagellation will accomplish this cleansing either. Rather, the indwelling Holy Spirit – God Himself – through His great promises will bring us out of the world and into His Kingdom.

For the Kingdom of God is at hand.

“Theme Day @ Grace Partakers” ( Psalm 19:14, WYC ) by Carley Evans

On this third anniversary of GRACE PARTAKERS – well, not the actual day but you get the idea! – I stop to recognize that somewhat like David ( no I am not a “David” ) I choose to follow an urging ( I hope not to presume ) of the Holy Spirit to write a short note on a single verse of scripture each day. I’ve fallen off “each day” but I strive to meet this expectation. My prayer is like David’s:

“And the speeches of my mouth shall be such, that they please; and the thinking of mine heart is ever[more] in thy sight. Lord, mine helper; and mine again-buyer. (May the words out of my mouth be such, that they please thee; and may the thinking of my heart be acceptable before thee forevermore, O Lord; my helper, and my redeemer.)”

I’d like that “the thinking of my heart be acceptable” to God. I’d like that “the speeches of my mouth” please Him. Only God knows my heart; only He can judge my motivations. Even I not dare to say that what I write makes any difference in His Kingdom. I can only hope.

And so my theme at GRACE PARTAKERS is to glorify the Lord, my God and “mine again-buyer!”

“Everything Belongs To You, Lord” ( 1 Chronicles 29:11, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

English: The icon was painted by artist Nichol...
English: The icon was painted by artist Nicholas Morosoff in 1935 at the request of Bishop Wedgwood for the St Francis Church in Tekels Park, Camberley, and hangs above its main altar. Courtesy Liberal Catholic Church of St Francis of Assisi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We forget this simple fact: “everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to” the Lord God. God is “head over all.” Eventually, all things are summed up in Christ, who is the second person of the Trinity, who is the Lord God. Ezra sums this up nicely:

“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.”

Notice what else — ha, besides everything — belongs to the Lord God: greatness, power, glory, splendor, majesty, and the kingdom.

Jesus says to His disciples and to the people, ‘Behold, the kingdom of God is at hand.’ Being the Lord God, Jesus indicates the kingdom is present in Him. He might as well say, ‘Behold, I Am the kingdom of God.’



“Feel The Same Thing Together” ( Romans 12: 14 – 16, WYC ) by Carley Evans

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Essentially, Paul calls us to humility.

“14 Bless ye men that pursue you; bless ye, and do not ye curse;

15 for to joy with men that joy, for to weep with men that weep.

16 Feel ye the same thing together; not understanding high things, but consenting to meek things[Feeling the same thing together; not savouring, or knowing, high things, but consenting to meek things, following meek fathers]. Do not ye be prudent with yourselves;”

Of course, so does Jesus.

“3 Blessed be poor men in spirit, for the kingdom of heavens is theirs. [Blessed be the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.]

Blessed be mild men [Blessed mild], for they shall wield the earth.

Blessed be they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed be they that hunger and thirst rightwiseness, for they shall be fulfilled [for they shall be filled].

Blessed be merciful men [Blessed the merciful], for they shall get mercy.

Blessed be they that be of clean heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed be peaceable men, for they shall be called God’s children. [Blessed the peaceable, for they shall be called the sons of God.]

10 Blessed be they that suffer persecution for rightwiseness, for the kingdom of heavens is theirs [for the kingdom of heaven is theirs].”

We are not called to arrogance, war, haughtiness of spirit, ambivalence, impurity, or ease. Rather, we are called to mildness, poverty of spirit, peace, purity, mourning, and persecution.

In one sense, the words of Paul are reminiscent of the saying: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, walk a mile in them, and then think about your attitude. Then, you may bless them that pursue you; you may weep with those who weep, and be joyful with those who are joyful.

“Buried Treasure” ( Matthew 13: 44, NEB ) by Carley Evans

A man finds a treasure buried in a field. This reminds me of those people you may have seen on the beach sweeping with a metal detector. When the beeping goes off, they dig and pull up whatever it is they’ve found. The point is they are looking for buried treasure.

Most people in life are looking for treasure. They are looking for the meaning of life, at least if they are honest with themselves. Typical questions include: Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Why was I born? Why do I have to die? What happens after I die? Is this all there is?

Jesus says once the man finds the treasure that’s buried in a field, he is so joyful he buries the treasure again presumably for safe-keeping and so he knows exactly where his treasure is. Then the man sells everything he has, so he can afford to buy the field and so secure the treasure for himself.

The point Jesus makes is that the buried treasure is for the one who finds it and recognizes its great value. Likewise the kingdom of Heaven is for the one who seeks it, finds it, recognizes its “very special value, goes and sells everything and buys it.” (Matthew 13:46)


“Let The Children Come” ( Mark 10: 14, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

I know that in the moment Jesus says this, He is indignant because His disciples rebuke parents – most likely – who bring their children to Jesus for His blessing. What are you thinking!? Don’t stop them! Don’t you know, can’t you tell!? The kingdom of God belongs to people who become children – childlike: trusting, open, frank in their honesty, desirous to please. Don’t you know?

“He Gives Them Power” ( Luke 9: 1, KJV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus calls together the twelve He chose along the way, and “gives them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. And He sends them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2)

Eric Liddell, an Olympic champion in the 400 meter, whose Scottish parents and sister are missionaries in China in the 1920s, asks a crowd, “From where comes the power to see the race to its end?” Then, answers, “From within.”

And what is within? If we are Christians, then God as the Holy Spirit is within.

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Eric's head is back as he feels the pleasure of God

When Eric runs, he says: “I feel God’s pleasure.” And the further he runs, the more he feels it.

“Catching People” ( Luke 4: 42, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Presumably at daybreak, Jesus is trying to find a deserted place. But people — actually crowds — “are searching for Him. They come to Him and try to keep Him from leaving them.” These crowds want Him to remain with them, at their beck and call, at their command. And, it is not as if Jesus does not love them or want to meet their needs. Rather, He says to them, “I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I am sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

The night before, Jesus rebukes demons that shout out His true identity. He commands them not to speak “because they know He is the Messiah.” (Luke 4:41) So, on the one hand, Jesus proclaims “the kingdom of God is near” while on the other hand He silences those who know He is “the Son of God!” (Luke 4:41)

Jesus preaches of loving God above all, of having faith, of avoiding sin, of forgiving enemies, of setting aside self, of giving, of acceptance of others, of freedom from worry and oppression, of God’s favor. Simultaneously, Jesus forgives and heals. Jesus does not preach of Himself; rather He points people to the kingdom of God. He proclaims, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Luke 4:8) And, He reminds, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things are provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus preaches the Word of God to the crowds pressing in to hear. Later, with a huge catch of fish amazing Simon Peter so that he falls at the Lord’s feet, Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people!” (Luke 5:10)

Jesus catches people for the kingdom of God. For this purpose, He comes to earth.

“No One Will Say” ( Luke 17: 20-21, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

The Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is going to appear. Jesus tells them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable.”

“The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable” — really?

So many people today talk about Jesus’ return, of His appearing in the clouds, of the disappearance of presumably millions of Christians in an instant flash. Sounds observable to me! Sounds like people are going to say, “‘Look here!’ or ‘there!'”

But Jesus says, “You see, the kingdom of God is among you.”

The Pharisees do not see, but think they do. Therefore, they remain blind. The disciples listen. Jesus tells them they are going to “long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but won’t see it.” (Luke 17:22) He warns them not “to follow or run after” false messiahs just because people get excited and say, “Look here!” (Luke 17:23) Rather, the kingdom of God is within them, and within us.

Jesus says, “The man in the field must not turn back.” (Luke 17:31)