“Knowledge of Hope, Riches, Power” ( Ephesians 1: 18-19, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Together with Paul, I pray you may:

Know the hope of His calling.

Know the glorious riches of His inheritance.

Know the immeasurable greatness of His power.

Know the working of His vast strength.

Know Him.

Know His power demonstrated in the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead.

Know He sits above all authorities and titles given, “not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:21)

Know He is appointed “head over everything for the church, which is His body.” (Ephesians 1:23)

Know once you were dead in your sins and trespasses.

Know now you are “alive with the Messiah even though [you] were dead.” (Ephesians 2:5)

Know “you are saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:5)

Know “this is not from yourself; it is God’s gift.” (Ephesians 2:8)

How are you to know this hope, these riches, this power, this gift? Through “a spirit of wisdom and revelation” that is given to you by “the glorious Father,” “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:17)

Advertisements

“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.

“Of No Effect” ( Ephesians 2: 15, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus “makes of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He may create in Himself one new man from the two [groups – Jews and Gentiles], resulting in peace. He does this so that He may reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.” (Ephesians 2:15-16)

Jesus puts “the hostility to death.” He makes Gentiles “no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19) Today, it is easy (at least in the western world) to forget that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God. He selects one individual to favor — Abram, and through his offspring, one people. Everyone who is not of Abram is rejected; that is, until Jesus.

Once Jesus reconciles the Jew and Gentile, there is peace. Up until that event, there is violence. “When the Messiah comes, He proclaims the good news of peace to you who are far away and peace to those who are near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17) “The Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6)

This peace — this reconciliation — emerges from the law having lost its effect — the law no longer provides the means to pleasing God, reaching God. Only grace permits entrance to the Holy — only through “the incalculable riches of the Messiah” (Ephesians 3:8) do we stand justified before God. The law is of no effect.

“Open Talk” ( Mark 8: 32, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


While traveling between villages, Jesus asks His disciples who the people believe He is. They say, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” (Mark 8:28) Oddly enough, these opinions of Jesus’ true identity show that belief in resurrection from the dead is not an issue for “the people.”

Jesus then asks the disciples, “But you, who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) And Peter’s response is immediate. Peter calls Jesus “the Messiah!” (Mark 8:30) Jesus warns Peter and the disciples to keep this information to themselves.

As they continue, Jesus begins to teach them about His upcoming rejection, trial, scourging, crucifixion, and His ultimate triumph: His resurrection. “He is openly talking about this.” (Mark 8:32) And this bothers Peter so much that he takes Jesus aside. “Come here, Jesus.” He “begins to rebuke Him.” (Mark 8:32)

If you will indulge me some conjecture, imagine Peter standing tall over Jesus like a big brother telling Him, “You mustn’t talk about these things; don’t You know how upsetting this is for those of us who have given up everything to follow You? Don’t you know we’re scared? Can’t You tell that we keep anticipating Your triumph over this evil regime? What are you talking about? Come on, get Yourself together and let’s make this happen already!”

Jesus turns away from Peter, and “looking at His disciples, He rebukes Peter and says, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!” (Mark 8:33) Then He calls out for the crowd that has obviously been following closely and says, “If anyone wants to be My follower, He must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

“Never Cast Out” ( John 6: 37, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.” (John 6: 37-39)

 

Jesus Himself says that God’s will is that all who come to Jesus will be “raised up on the last day.” Jesus will “lose none of those [God] has given [Him].” Paul explains, “For it is God who is working in [us], enabling [us] both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

 

We will be raised up on the last day as members of the family of God because “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” And when Jesus comes, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

 

“[God] demonstrates this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens — far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.” (Ephesians 1:20-23)

 

We are the church; and as such, we are subject to His authority. His power, which is demonstrated in His resurrection, guarantees our relationship with Him — He is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We wait eagerly for Him, for He is “far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion.” As Paul says, “If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.” (Romans 8:31-33)

“A Wisdom God Predestined” ( 1 Corinthians 2: 9, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“We do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

Paul continues by paraphrasing Isaiah, stating that no one has seen or heard or even imagined what “God prepared [in advance] for those who love Him.”

What did God prepare?

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul writes: “For [God] chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

God prepared for us adoption into His family. He prepared us “for Himself.” He anticipated our ultimate glory — and so continues to prepare us “to be holy and blameless in His sight.”

Paul writes, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” (Ephesians 1:7)

God prepared for us our “redemption.” He planned to save us in advance of our fall into damnation. He prepared us to be owned by Him as His “possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:14)

“For this reason,” writes Paul, “I pray that [God] may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14,16-19)

“Bartimaeus Shouts” (Mark 10: 51, NIV) by Carley Evans


Monday, January 10, 2011 at 7:11pm

Jesus asks the blind man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Bartimaeus naturally wants to see. When Jesus says to him, “Your faith has healed you,” the blind man is immediately healed and then “follows Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10:52) Bartimaeus’ faith is demonstrated in his persistence and his insistence. He shouts out to Jesus even after being rebuked by many. Several times, he shouts, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48) Jesus stops. When Bartimaeus is called, he jumps up and comes to Jesus.

 

What do you want from Jesus? Do you know? Are you responding to His call? Do you shout for His attention? Do you ask for that which you want? Are you grateful when Jesus stops? Do you jump up and come near to Him? Do you follow after Him when He recognizes your faith? Do you know who He is? Do you recognize Him? Does He know your name? Do you know His?

 

Bartimaeus obviously knows who Jesus is. He knows Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah. He knows what he wants from the Lord. He also knows Jesus is able to heal him; he even believes Jesus wants to heal him. So he shouts. He asks for mercy. When Jesus calls, he jumps up — and though blind — comes to Jesus. When Jesus heals him, he is grateful, following Jesus “down the road.”