“Take Heart!” ( John 16: 33, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “I tell you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Satan, our adversary, is hurled down to earth where he roams about looking for anyone he may devour. Here in this world, we have troubles — as many as the next person. We also have peace. We have peace — more than the next person — because Jesus has overcome the world and our adversary.

 

“You [O Lord] keep in perfect peace [us] whose minds [are] steadfast, because [we] trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

 

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guards [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

 

Enter God’s rest; throw off the burdens you carry. Pick up your cross; discover that its weight is light for Christ has already carried it to Calvary. Lift your hearts to God; and rejoice. Jesus has overcome the world.

“A Mystery” ( Ephesians 1: 9 – 10, NIV ) by Carley Evans


God has a mystery — and He makes it known to us, says Paul, because He is pleased to do so. God’s mystery is that He intends “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

How mysterious it is that God — long before He created time — knew and chose me and you in love. (How humbling!) How mysterious it is that God — long before Abram was born — selected him to be the father of all who are born-again of water and Spirit. How mysterious it is that God — who knows all that is and all that will be — is nevertheless not the author of evil, but only of good. How mysterious it is that God eventually will unite and place everything (not some things) underneath the head, who is His Son, Jesus the Christ. Does this mean that at some future point — perhaps when time has ended and there is only eternity — all will be perfect again? Will everything be able then to say, ‘Oh Death, where is your sting?’ because death and hell will be no more?

Is it possible that at some point our adversary will actually cease to exist, or that he himself will be brought under the head of Christ? Not only brought under His Head, but united with everything else? The Word here in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church is hard to fathom.

A mystery understood is no longer mysterious. Paul says that God reveals this mystery — that He tells us all will be united under Christ. But, how this is to be remains a mystery. With man, much is impossible. With God, all things are possible.

“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)

“Everlasting Truths” (Psalm 119: 160, NEB) by Carley Evans


“Your Word is founded in Truth, and Your just decrees are everlasting.”

When Satan tempts Jesus to make bread from stones, our Lord retorts: “Man cannot live on bread alone; he lives on every Word that God utters.” (Matthew 4: 4) Satan tempts Jesus to prove He is the Son of God; but Jesus has no need to provide this proof.

Jesus is the Word of God in living form.

He tells us not to swear at all, not to “set [ourselves] against the man who wrongs [us].” (Matthew 5: 39), not to “make a show of [our] religion before men,” (Matthew 6: 1) and not to “let [our] left hand know what [our] right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6: 3) He tells us to be generous, but not announce our generosity. He tells us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us; to pray in secret, and “not to go babbling on like the heathen.” (Matthew 6: 7). Finally, He tells us to “forgive others the wrongs they have done.” (Matthew 6: 14)

These are God’s Word; His “just decrees” which are everlasting truths.

“Never Separate From The Love Of Christ” (Romans 8: 35, 37; ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul declares unequivocally that nothing is able to separate us from the love of Christ, who “is the One who dies — more than that, who is raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8: 34)

If Christ is indeed our constant intercessor, how is it possible for us to be separated from His love? Paul maintains that it is not possible, saying, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38 – 39)

Paul is sure. He is convinced. He knows that Jesus intercedes for us. One who intercedes on our behalf does not turn and condemn us.

Paul says, “It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” (Romans 8: 33, 34)

There is no comparison between the one who justifies and the one who tries to condemn. The one who justifies us is God Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. The one who condemns is our enemy, the one who fell from heaven, the one crushed by Eve’s seed even as he bruises her seed’s heel

Let us rejoice — God is for us; who can succeed against us?

“The Lord Is On My Side” (Psalm 118: 5 – 6, ESV) by Carley Evans


If you actually believe this statement: “The Lord is on my side;” then not much out there in the world scares you. Even in great distress, anxiety, pain; we need only call on the Lord. His response is swift. He sets us free.

Our freedom is purchased at great price, but once paid for; it never needs paying for again.

“The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on” the one who hates me. (Psalm 118: 7) Who hates me? My adversary, the one who makes accusations against me to God, to my brothers and sisters in Christ, to my fellow human beings on this planet. My adversary hates me because he hates God.

“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.” (Psalm 116: 12 – 13) He “is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”