“Givers of Light” (Philippians 2: 14-16, WYC) by Carley Evans


And do ye all things without grumblings and doubtings; [Forsooth do ye all things without grutchings and doubtings;] that ye be without plaint, and simple as the sons of God, without reproof, in the middle of a depraved nation [in the middle of a shrewd nation] and a wayward; among which ye shine as givers of light in the world [among whom ye shine as givers of light in the world;]. And hold ye together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither I have travailed in vain. [holding together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither in vain travailed.]Philippians 2:14-16WYC

What are the enemies of a simple, reproof-free Christian life? Grumblings (or grutchings) and doubtings, if you read Paul. I imagine Paul bemoans the critical soul who wrings his hands and shakes his head at the world as it rushes by in its waywardness and depravity. I see Paul weeping over the Ebenezer Scrooges of the Christian world who bah-humbug their way through the Christian life. Paul does not wish to run his own race in vain. He desires the Christians he leads to “shine as givers of light in the world.” He wishes Christians to “hold…together the Word of Life” to his “glory in the day of Christ.”

Paul doesn’t say, “Do some things without grumblings and doubtings.” Rather he says to do all things with joy and faith which come of knowing the Lord. Then, and only then, will we shine as givers of light to the world.

“From the Light” ( John 3: 19-21, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“This, then, is the judgment” writes John, the beloved one. The judgment is that those who do evil avoid the Light because they hate the Light while those who do good seek out the Light because their deeds are done by God Himself. The Light exposes evil and those who do evil things hide from exposure.

And those who do good discover that those good things can not originate from themselves; instead the good emerges from the Light Himself.

19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

“Clean From All Sin” ( I John 1:7 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


wood_hole_CEEJesus’ blood, shed to save the world, cleanses us from all sin – not from some, but from all. As we join with God where He dwells, “we too live and move in Light” and we have “fellowship between us.” Living within Light overshadows the darkness that surrounds us; therefore we are clean despite living in a dirty, fallen world. Our fellowship is with the Holy Spirit and with each other. We live and move in Love.

God dwells in light; if we too live and move in light, there is fellowship between us, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin.

“The Night Is Nearly Over” ( Romans 13:12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)

Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.

“Not Like Cain” ( 1 John 3: 12, ESV ) by Carley Evans


The second great commandment and the one Jesus gives us is “that we should love one another.” (1 John 3:11) “Whoever does not love abides in death” rather than in life. (1 John 3:14) And if we hate one another, then we are become as murderers, “and you know no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15) Simply, the author is telling us that hatred leads to eternal death while love leads to eternal life.

The first murderer, Cain, murders his own brother in a fit of jealous rage. “And why did he murder [Abel]? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12) And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people love the darkness rather than the Light because their works are evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the Light and does not come to the Light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works are carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21)

The author of 1 John actually warns us that “we should not be like Cain.” (1 John 3:12) If we become like Cain, then we are “not of God” for the “one who does not love his brother” can not be “born of God” (1 John 3:10,9)

Yet, “whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” (1 John 3:20) “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Let us come to the Light so that our “works are carried out in God.” (John 3:21)

“Wandering In The Dark?” ( John 8 : 12, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Once again Jesus addresses the people: ‘ I AM the Light of the world. No follower of Mine shall wander in the dark; he shall have the Light of Life.”

 

Notice John emphasizes that Jesus speaks “once again”.  Jesus continually tells the people the same truths: the world is wrapped in darkness, and He is the only light source.

 

As a matter of fact, when a person who is blindfolded or in a dense fog is directed to walk in a straight line from point A to point B, the person will start out relatively straight but gradually begin to turn until he is walking in complete circles, eventually winding up where he began, at point A. All the while, the person will strongly believe he is walking in a straight line. Only after the blindfold is removed will he realize that he had no sense of direction and was literally wandering in the dark, wandering in circles — going absolutely nowhere.

 

Take off the blindfold, remove the dense fog and the person is able to walk in a relatively straight line. Now the same amount of effort is put forth by the person whether he is blindfolded or able to see. In both conditions, the person is moving forward. The difference in the outcomes is the difference between the conditions of darkness and Light.

 

So, when we are “followers” of Jesus Christ, we walk in a straight line not due to our forward motion or our own efforts, but because we have the Light source needed to arrive at our destination.

“Only One Who Is Good” ( John 3: 20 – 21, NIV ) by Carley Evans


“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3: 20 – 21, NIV)

The good deeds we do are “done through God.” Our adversary is the father of lies; and “hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” Everyone not aligned with God is aligned with our adversary. These persons “hate the light,” living in fear of it. As our adversary is the progenitor of evil, so is God the progenitor of good.

Jesus says, “There is only One who is good.” (Matthew 19: 17) In response to the young man who calls Him “Good teacher,” Jesus says, “No one is good — except God alone.” (Mark 10: 18) But the young man goes ahead and claims to be good, having kept all of the commandments “since [he] was a boy.” (Mark 10: 20) Jesus loves him, but tells him the truth. This young man lacks one thing. Jesus tells him to sell his possessions, “then come, follow Me.” (Mark 10: 21) Jesus tells us that this young man is incapable of saving himself — neither his obedience to God’s commandments nor his self-righteousness are able to obtain for him the eternal life he seeks.

Only one thing is needed — “come, follow [Jesus.]” Come into the light, leaving behind the deeds of darkness.

Jesus’ disciples are amazed: “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10: 26)

Jesus speaks the truth, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10: 27)

“Hold Fast To The Word” (Psalm 119: 105, ESV) by Carley Evans


What is a lamp to my feet? What is a light to my path? The Word of God, sings the psalmist.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 1 – 5)

The Word shines in the darkness, and darkness is unable to overcome it.

Paul exhorts us to “hold fast to the Word.” (1 Corinthians 15: 2) He tells us that we “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.” (Philippians 2: 15, 16)

And James commands us to “be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving [ourselves.]” (James 1: 22) He writes, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1: 25)

“The righteousness based on faith says…’The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ ” (Romans 10: 6, 8) The Word is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. Hold fast to the Word of God.

“Come To The Light” (Joshua 24: 15, ESV) by Carley Evans


Joshua tells the people to “fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.” (Joshua 24: 14) Then he suggests that it might be “evil in [their] eyes to serve the Lord.” He tells them to “choose this day whom [they] will serve, whether the gods [their] fathers served…or the gods…in whose land [they] dwell.” Joshua tells them, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’

Jesus warns us to consider a task carefully before we undertake it, to make certain we have the wherewithal to complete it, to see it through to the end. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9: 62)

Joshua warns the people as well, reminding them that the Lord “is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive [their] transgressions or [their] sins.” Joshua says to them, “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” (Joshua 24: 19, 20)

The people swear, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey.” (Joshua 24: 24)

A stone became the witness “against [them], for it heard all the words of the Lord that He spoke to [them]. Therefore it became a witness against [them], lest [they] deal falsely with [their] God. So Joshua sent the people away, each man to his inheritance.” (Joshua 24: 27, 28)

We serve a holy God, a jealous God. He gives none of His glory to another, nor should He. Joshua reminds us to serve God in sincerity and faithfulness. To be sincere is to be candid, direct, earnest, frank, genuine, guileless, heartfelt, honest, open, real, serious, simple, and wholehearted. To be faithful is to be constant, dependable, devoted, dutiful, honest, loyal, reliable, steadfast and trustworthy.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the Light and does not come to the Light, lest his works be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3: 17 – 21)

“A People Of His Own Possession” (1 Peter 2: 9, ESV) by Carley Evans


We are “a people for His own possession.” God “calls [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God creates us as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”

Of course, this is how we start in the first place. God fashions humankind out of clay, and makes us in His image. From the beginning, we owe our existence to Him. At the beginning, something mysterious and evil happens; the image of God in us distorts and we are lost. We look to something else other than God; and we fall away into the darkness, into death.

Something mysterious and marvelous happens; “God calls [us[ out of darkness.” He makes a way with His own body and blood for us to become “a people for His own possession, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Revelation 12: 10, NIV)