“Pouring Out Speech” ( Psalm 19:1-2, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Sydney, St Bede's Church, Drummoyne. The Warat...
Sydney, St Bede’s Church, Drummoyne. The Waratah window by Alfred Handel. depicts Australian native flowers, the red Waratah, emblem of the state of New South Wales; Flannel Flowers, Christmas Bells and Wattle (Acacia). The inscription reads “The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament showeth his handiwork.” The window was designed in 1932.http://eprints.utas.edu.au/7081/31/Ausglass_Spring_Summer_1991-1992.pdf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David, the psalmist, sings:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

Day and night the heavens and the sky “proclaim [God’s] handiwork.” Day “pours out speech” and “night reveals knowledge.” And so, says Paul to the church at Rome, “men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV) We are without excuse “because what may be known about God is plain to [us], because God makes it plain to [us]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – are clearly seen, being understood from what is made.” (Romans 1:19-20, NIV)

“Even though [we] know God”, says Paul, “we neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him, for [our] thinking becomes futile and [our] foolish hearts are darkened.” (Romans 1:21, NIV)

Paul says “you, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things… When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4, NIV)

Do not show contempt for the riches of God’s grace! Rather, withhold your judgment of others. Give thanks to God, renewing your mind, allowing His light into your heart. Listen to the day’s speech as it pours forth. Absorb the night’s knowledge as you sleep in God’s arms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Among The Heathen” ( Psalm 46:10, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...
Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1866 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God says:

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Do you think God means you to stand quietly, listening? Does He mean for you to shut your mouth? Open your ears? Does He mean for you to meditate? Pray? Is it a stillness of the body? Or, is it a stillness of the spirit? Or both?

How do you know He is God? Does He tell you? Do you just know He is God by being still? Is there some revelation? Do you become aware of Him when you are quietly still?

Do you notice God says “I Am God.” He also says, “I will be exalted among the heathen.” And, He says: “I will be exalted in the earth.” How is God exalted “among the heathen?” How is God exalted, lifted up among unbelievers? How is He exalted in the earth?

When does this knowing of God occur? I think about Job in particular; he isn’t still or quiet when God permits Satan to attack him.  Rather than be still, Job protests; he wrestles; he argues; he questions. Eventually God says, “Be quiet. Who are you to question Me?” And Job shuts up; he repents in dust and ashes because now he knows God. No longer is it just a report about God; it is a personal encounter.

Once the encounter with God is personal, then God is exalted among the heathen for this is the point at which the heathen becomes believer.

 

“Which Way To Good?” ( Jeremiah 6: 16, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


The Lord God says, “Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths: Which is the way to good? Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protest, ‘We won’t!’ I appoint watchmen over you and say, ‘Listen for the sound of the ram’s horn.’ But they protest, ‘We won’t listen!’ ” (Jeremiah 6:16-17)

John the Baptist, in a camel-hair garment and leather belt around his waist, comes to the Wilderness of Judea and says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” John, who eats locusts and honey, is the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!” (Matthew 3:2-3) People listen, flocking to him to confess their sins and be baptized in the Jordan River.

Among these people are Sadducees and Pharisees. John calls out to them, “Brood of vipers!” The religious leaders of his day; and John calls them ‘vipers.’ He asks them, “Who warns you to flee the coming wrath?” essentially agreeing they own the knowledge needed to escape destruction. He goes on, however, to accuse them of not acting on that knowledge. “Therefore,” John says, “produce fruit consistent with repentance.” John warns them with the ram’s horn not to presume that because Abraham is their father, they are safe. God is able to make His children “from these stones!” declares John. The Baptist is almost saying, these stones are better children of God than you are! (Matthew 3:7-10) 

John baptizes with water, but tells of “the One who is coming after me.” (Matthew 3:11) John knows Jesus is more powerful and will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit will seal the repentant; and “the chaff He will burn up with fire that never goes out.” (Matthew 3:12) 

Which is the way to good? Jesus says, “I Am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

“Turn Us Back” ( Lamentations 5: 21, NEB ) by Carley Evans


 

“O Lord, turn us back to thyself, and we will come back.”

 

I like to fish. I love the first tug of the line; the sudden pulling away in panicked flight, the sneaky coming back at me, the leaping fight as the fish struggles to be free. I love feeling, smelling, and seeing the beauty of the fish I eventually catch.

 

Sometimes, I imagine myself as a fish on God’s line — He’s certainly got a hook in me. Yep, I took the bait. And His hook is quite secure. Oddly enough, most of the time, it does not hurt. I’m not even bleeding. Occasionally, I swim in circles. Other times, I swim away. Not as much now as I did when I was younger in the Lord.

 

God’s a skillful fisherman. For one thing, He knows exactly where I am and what I am thinking. He knows my feeble plans; He understands my little heart. He knows when to give me slack in His line; and when to pull hard to “turn [me] back.” I “[do] come back.”

 

God knows the fish he has caught — every flaw and the trophy I can be.

“To Everyone Whom The Lord May Call” (Acts 2: 38, NEB) by Carley Evans


God calls us to repentance. Repentance is first and foremost a recognition of our failure to meet God’s standards. Then, it is a turning away from anything which separates us from God. Finally it is a turning to that which draws us closer to God.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize the things which separate us from the Lord — sometimes those things appear shiny, better than they are, of more value than they can be. Everyone faces temptations that are pleasant at the time, and later sting. This is the burden of being human.

Fortunately, God has a way of manipulating events and people so that we finally see the truth — and finally turn, perhaps even run from the evil which has come into our lives. The evil may not be a person; rather it may be that the adversary has found a niche in that person, a weakness of which to take advantage so as to destroy not only that one but you as well.

Pray for those who are trapped in darkness; it is a sad place to remain. Call them to repentance as Peter does: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

“The Rescue” (Colossians 1: 13, NEB) by Carley Evans


“[God] rescues us from the domain of darkness and brings us away into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom our release is secured and our sins forgiven.”

Imagine a man drowning in the ocean. He has no way to rescue himself; he has kicked off his shoes, has tread water for as long as he is able; now, he is sinking. His end is near. Now imagine a rescue; perhaps a helicopter spotting him before he goes under for the last time lowers a boom and a strong arm reaches down into the ocean water and pulls him “from the domain of darkness” to safety. His “release” from his death “is secured;” and not by his own efforts.

God rescues us. He secures our release; He forgives us our sins. Not only this, but He “brings us away into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Our salvation is complete; we add nothing to it. The Word of God does not say, “Take two aspirin and call Me in the morning.” The Word of God says, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The Word of God says, “No one comes to the Father but by Me.”

“I Will See God In My Flesh” (Job 19: 25, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Job believes he knows God. However, through enormous adversity, Job learns that he only has heard rumors about God. In desperation Job cries, “But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see Him myself; my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me.” (Job 19: 25 – 27)

After all Job suffers, he protests and finally questions God. God responds, “Who is this who obscures My counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer Me like a man; when I question you, you will inform Me. Where were you when I established the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Once Job hears God’s great argument, he recognizes that God “can do anything and no plan of [God’s] can be thwarted.” Job says to God, “You asked, ‘Who is this who conceals My counsel with ignorance?” Then, Job confesses, “Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42: 1 – 3)

Once Job understands that he does not understand and knows that he does not know, then he responds appropriately to God, “I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42: 5 – 6)

Once we realize that we know nothing, have nothing; then we are able to repent and “know [our] living Redeemer,” Jesus Christ. We will see Him in our flesh, standing as the Last One.

“Impossible With Men” (Luke 19: 10, HCSB) by Carley Evans


“All who see it begin to complain, ‘He’s come to lodge with a sinful man!'” (Luke 19: 7)

Zacchaeus is a sinful man because he is a chief tax collector and most probably extorts funds from the poor.

Looking into the branches of the tree, Jesus “says to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.'” (Luke 19: 5)

Zacchaeus comes down from the tree, and repents. He speaks of his plans to make restitution. Jesus says, “Today salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19: 9)

Jesus explains, “For the Son of Man comes to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus promises that He is come to save the sick, not the healthy. He says to the blind man who receives his sight, “Your faith heals you.” (Luke 18: 42) He says to Zacchaeus, you “too are a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19: 9)

When a young rich man who obeys the ten commandments yet will not part with his wealth walks away from salvation, Jesus is asked, “Then who can be saved?” The Lord responds, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18: 26 – 27)

Jesus’ point is that salvation is not possible for us; it comes only through God. “For the Son of Man comes to seek and save the lost.” Jesus says, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I do not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12 – 13)

“Without Cost, Yet Utterly Priceless” (Isaiah 55: 8 – 9) by Carley Evans


God tells us that His thoughts are not like ours; His ways are also not like ours. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours just as the heaven is higher than the earth.

God calls us to Himself, saying, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55: 1 – 2) God Himself tells us that His water, His wine, His food, His milk is free — without cost, yet utterly priceless.

God desires to make “an everlasting covenant” with us. (Isaiah 55: 3) He wishes to show us compassion, pardon us abundantly, and glorify us. (Isaiah 55: 7, 5)

And, He promises that His Word — which proceeds from His own mouth — does not “return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I send it.” (Isaiah 55: 11)

The Word is made flesh, and dwells among us. The Word “makes a Name for the Lord” and is “an everlasting sign that is not cut off.” (Isaiah 55: 13) The Word asks us to “seek the Lord while He may be found; [to] call upon Him while He is near.” The Word calls us to “return to the Lord, that He may have compassion.” (Isaiah 55: 7)

“Come, buy without money and without price… what is good… that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55: 1, 2, 3)

“But He Is Not There” (Job 23: 10 – 11, ESV) by Carley Evans


Job confesses that God “knows the way that I take;” and that he is unable to hide from God’s sight. Job recognizes that of whatever he may be guilty, God is already aware. For God sees and knows all.

But for Job, it is the opposite. He looks for God. “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive Him.” (Job 23: 8) Job knows God is at work on both the left and right, but as for himself, he can “not see Him.” (Job 23: 9) He laments, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat!” (Job 23: 3)

Job knows that God “is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, that He does.” (Job 23: 13) Job desires to “lay [his] case before [God];” but since he can not find Him, he is at a loss as to how to present his arguments. And though Job states that he “keeps [God’s] way and does not turn aside;” he equally admits, “I am terrified at His presence; when I consider, I am in dread of Him. God makes my heart faint; the Almighty terrifies me.” (Job 23: 11, 15 – 16)

Job “knows that [God] can do all things, and that no purpose of [His] can be thwarted.” (Job 42: 2) God is unchangeable. God is terrifying. Only Job’s Redeemer is able to turn God’s wrath from his soul. So, Job stops his questioning and complaining.

Finally, he says, “I heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42: 5 – 6)