“Wondering” by Carley Evans


Wondering why some Christians are “open-minded” and others are not. Wondering how it is some Christians see Christ as kind and gentle, loving and forgiving while others see Him as mean and angry, hateful of sin and judgmental? How can people who claim to believe in the same God come out so differently after reading the same Bible and praying to the same Lord?
How can some believe God hates sinners while others believe God loves sinners so much He actually DIED for them? How can some believe God wants Christians to stand up against sin to the point of harming other human beings who happen to sin while others believe they too sin and are just as deserving of the same type of “revenge” against sin?
Why do some Christians feel capable of judging other human beings while others feel entirely unworthy of the task?
Oh Lord, help us to know the Truth so it and You may set us Free. Amen.

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“Because You Were Filled” ( John 6:28-30, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


I have a few questions:

  1. Who seeks God?
  2. For those who seek Him, what is required of us? What makes us acceptable to God?
  3. When we seek Him, is it miracles and signs we desire? 

After Jesus feeds the 5,000 or perhaps it’s the time He feeds the 4,000, those who follow after Him ask similar questions:

28 “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they ask.

29 Jesus replies, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”

30 “What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they ask. “What are You going to perform?

Jesus answers:

 “I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.  Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” (John 6: 26-27)

“Since We Have These Promises” ( 2 Corinthians 7: 1, MOUNCE ) by Carley Evans


The promises Paul mentions in his letter to the church at Corinth are twofold: that God is our Father and that we are his sons and daughters, fully adopted into His family. Paul then proceeds to tell us that these promises are to cause us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit” in a mighty effort to “perfect” our “holiness.”

As a child fears (respects) his or her father and mother, so we are to fear (respect) our God.

Since (echō) then (oun) we have (echō) these (houtos · ho) promises (epangelia,) dear friends (agapētos,) let us cleanse (katharizō) ourselves (heautou) from (apo) every (pas) defilement (molysmos) of flesh (sarx) and (kai) spirit (pneuma,) perfecting (epiteleō) holiness (hagiōsynē) in (en) the fear (phobos) of God (theos.)

“His Truth” ( Psalm 95: 10-13, DRA ) by Carley Evans


10 Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof:

12 the fields and all things that are in them shall be joyful. Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice

13 before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with his truth.

An appropriate view of God is to recognize Him as Parent. Jesus is smart to introduce God, His Father as our Father when He prays, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.” David calls God “King” and “Judge.” And yes, God is our King and our Judge. But above these roles, He is our Parent. He corrects us like the perfect parent corrects – with justice and love.

And so, the heavens rejoice; and the earth is glad. Everything on the earth is joyful “because He comes; because He comes to judge the earth…with justice, and the people with HIS TRUTH.”

 

“Seek No Revenge” ( Leviticus 19:18, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum....
Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix).

Do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge for wrong done to thee by thy fellow-citizens; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; thy Lord is his.

God is clearly not interested in our grudges or in our desires for revenge against those who wrong us. Instead, God longs for us to love one another in the same way we love ourselves. He wants us to recognize that our fellow-citizens belong to Him, too. They are His just as we are. God is like the parent who says, “Don’t spank my kid for me, please. I’m perfectly capable of disciplining my own child –” except in our case, we are also a child of the same parent.

If you live in a glass house, you ought not to throw stones at your neighbor even if his house is also made of glass.

“How Few There Are” ( Matthew 7:13-14 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Straight And Narrow Road
(Photo credit: Bradley.Johnson.)

Jesus warns “few there are that find it.” The ‘it’ He mentions is “life.” Apparently, according to Jesus, the many find death easily; without trying. Why is that? Perhaps because death is our natural state; we are, indeed, in a state of perpetual dying. Jesus says,

Make your way in by the narrow gate. It is a broad gate and a wide road that leads on to perdition, and those who go in that way are many indeed; but how small is the gate, how narrow the road that leads on to life, and how few there are that find it!

Jesus says the way “that leads on to life” is difficult to find. The gate is small; the road is narrow. He implies this way is hidden. What makes the way to life so hard to locate? What makes the gate small? Why is the road narrow?

Perdition – hell, the underworld, death, punishment – is a broad and straight path. “And those who go in that way are many indeed,” says Jesus. The way to hell is an easy road to find because we start out on it, right from birth. We walk along with others, vaguely or painfully aware of its ultimate destination – our deaths. Some of us know that death is eternal; others do not. The gate to the other path is not obvious, according to Jesus. Rather, that path is small, narrow, hidden.

Who opens the eyes?

I think Paul tells us quite clearly that God the Holy Spirit enables the few to find the way to life. Why those few? An impossible question with an improbable answer – God selects. He is under no obligation to show mercy, but He does.

Such a hard Word. Paul responds with:

14 What does this mean? That God acts unjustly? That is not to be thought of.15 I will shew pity, he tells Moses, on those whom I pity; I will shew mercy where I am merciful;16 the effect comes, then, from God’s mercy, not from man’s will, or man’s alacrity. 17 Pharao, too, is told in scripture, This is the very reason why I have made thee what thou art, so as to give proof, in thee, of my power, and to let my name be known all over the earth.18 Thus he shews mercy where it is his will, and where it is his will he hardens men’s hearts.19 Hereupon thou wilt ask, If that is so, how can he find fault with us, since there is no resisting his will? 20 Nay, but who art thou, friend, to bandy words with God? Is the pot to ask the potter, Why hast thou fashioned me thus? 21 Is not the potter free to do what he will with the clay, using the same lump to make two objects, one for noble and one for ignoble use? 22 It may be that God has borne, long and patiently, with those who are the objects of his vengeance, fit only for destruction, meaning to give proof of that vengeance, and display his power at last;23 meaning also to display, in those who are the objects of his mercy, how rich is the glory he bestows, that glory for which he has destined them.

24 We are the objects of his mercy; we, whom he has called, Jews and Gentiles alike. [Romans 9: 14-24, KNOX]

“Echo Already” ( Habacuc 3:19 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


English: Red deer

“The Lord, the ruler of all, is my stronghold; he will bring me safely on my way, safe as the hind whose feet echo already on the hills. (For the chief singer, to the harp’s music.)”

The picture here is of a hind – a female red deer – safely on a hillside, her feet sending echoes into the valley below. She is perfectly safe where she is. She is in her element, her stronghold; she has been safely brought to where she belongs. She will stay.