“All Who Are Appointed” ( by Carley Evans )

Election is mentioned outright in scripture, accepted as truth by many, rejected by many. Luke records the following:

“All who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48, NIV)

Jesus, in speaking of the future, warns of false Christs and false prophets whose miracles will be so convincing they might “deceive the elect — if that were possible.” (Mark 13:22) He speaks of days that will be so stressful that “no one will survive” and says that “for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)

When Jesus speaks of the day of His return, He tells us He “will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)

In one of the clearest and most difficult sections of a letter, Paul writes of “God’s purpose in election” revealed through God’s choice of the younger over the older of two twin brothers. Paul says God chose to love Jacob and hate Esau, “before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad.” (Romans 9:11)

“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:16)

Father God, help us to recognize that You are never unjust, never unfair. Rather You are sovereign, and Your will is always perfect. You “have mercy on whom [You] want to have mercy, and [You] harden whom [You] want to harden.” (Romans 9:18) Help us to accept election as a central theme in Your Word. Help us to understand we are still called to take Your gospel to the world and to pray for those who are perishing. Surely we are grateful God for Your extraordinary mercies. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Therefore Take Notice ( by Carley Evans )

Paul finds himself in Rome lodging by himself, except for a soldier to guard him. He spends “two full years at his own expense, with a welcome to all who come to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30-31,NEB)

Earlier in his stay, Paul tells the local Jewish leaders that Isaiah gets his message directly from God, the Holy Spirit when he writes:

“Go to this people and say: ‘You may hear and hear, but you will never understand; you may look and look, but you will never see. For this people’s mind has become gross; their ears are dulled, and their eyes are closed. Otherwise, their eyes might see, their ears hear, and their mind understand, and then they might turn again, and I would heal them.'” (Acts 28:25-28)

Paul tells them the result. He says, “Therefore take notice” God speaks to those who listen. (Acts 28:28) Paul spends two years proclaiming and teaching in Rome. Take notice: Paul teaches the facts and proclaims the truth of the salvation of God “to all who come to him.” (Acts 28:30) He welcomes them into his home for they are ready to listen and understand God’s Word.

Father God, give us Your wisdom to speak to those who are readied by Your Holy Spirit to hear Your Truths. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

The Key to Knowledge ( by Carley Evans )

I diverge a moment to ask you what is the key to knowledge, the key to which Jesus refers when He scolds “the Pharisees, the experts of the law?” Jesus tells us these experts in the law take away the key to knowledge, essentially hiding it from those who are desperately hoping to enter the kingdom of God. The Pharisees not only fail to enter the kingdom, they prevent others from doing so as well. They prevent this by “taking away the key to knowledge.” (Luke 11:52, NIV)

Jesus says, “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35) He says, “Give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything is clean for you.” (Luke 11:41) He says, “Hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) He says, “Acknowledge Me before men.” (Luke 12:8) He says, ‘Be “rich toward God.”‘ (Luke 12:21) He says, “Be dressed ready for service.” (Luke 12:35) He says, “Judge for yourselves what is right.” (Luke 12:57) He warns, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) He says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, try to enter and are not able to.” (Luke 13:24)

Jesus warns He often says, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me, you evildoers.” (Luke 13:27) He says, “Indeed there are those who are last who are first, and first who are last.” (Luke 13:30)

Father God, humble our hearts. Make Your face to shine on ours, and grant us Your Light. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Devoted to One ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus is crystal clear as He tells us to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9, NIV) What? He then says that if we are “trustworthy in handling worldly wealth” we will be trusted “with true riches.” (Luke 16:11) Okay.

Then, He warns us, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he hates the one and loves the other, or he is devoted to the one and despises the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Luke 16:13) Yes, I got that.

So, Jesus tells us to be shrewd with our use of money, to wield it as the powerful tool it actually is in this world. He encourages us that if we use worldly wealth to our advantage, i.e. to His advantage then we may be trusted with the good news as well. Don’t waste what God gives to you, says Jesus. At the same time, He commands us : Do not serve Wealth for “what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15)

Separately Thankful ( by Carley Evans )

Today is Thanksgiving.

Every Thanksgiving, I make it a point to watch the Macy’s Day Parade — not in person, but on television. I like to make pancakes, too and drink lots of coffee.

This particular Thanksgiving, my family is separated. My daughter is in Maryland at a friend’s home. How I thank them for opening their family celebration to my child! who couldn’t afford to come home and didn’t know how much time she’d have off for the holiday anyway. Turns out the same thing happened to me. Originally I had off only today this week. Now I also have off Friday, so a three day weekend ( I have Monday the 28th off ) has turned into a five day weekend. I might have gone somewhere except my son is here with me and he only got today off. So, all works out as it should.

My parents are in separate locations as well — my father is working theatre in Indiana; my mother is working theatre in Virginia. My brother’s family is in Colorado. We are spread thin and all over the U.S.A.

So, here I am up early as usual, drinking my coffee — that’s gotten cold — as usual, writing my blogs as usual and preparing to win NaNoWriMo by finishing up the last of the 50,000 words I am supposed to write by midnight November 30th. No problem here. In fact, I am setting a new goal for myself — 70,000 words by midnight next Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May God bless you and your family abundantly as only He is able.

Grateful? ( by Carley Evans )

Here in the United States, we – as a nation – celebrate the third Thursday in the month of November as Thanksgiving. We give thanks to — hmm? Who do we thank on Thanksgiving? Perhaps many of us give thanks to the unknown god. An unknown god is some thing out there some where.

And for what are we thankful? And why thank this unknown god?

As for me, I’m grateful to the Almighty God, I Am. For what am I grateful? I’m grateful He knows me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving-kindnesses. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

The Road You Take ( by Carley Evans )

God says that He often speaks against His dear son, “the child in whom [He] delights;” most likely due to this child’s straying, then finding himself “ashamed and humiliated” even to the point of beating his breast. God says, “Though I often speak against him, I still remember him.” God reminds that He does not forget or abandon His child. He declares, “My heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him.” (Jeremiah 31:19,20; NIV)

For His own sake, according to His own justice, God tells His children to:

“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” (Jeremiah 31:21)

The road we take as Christians is not the broad and easy one that so many people stroll along. Rather, the road is narrow, sometimes steep, rough, difficult to follow. If we stumble or even fall off the road, God Himself declares He remembers us. We may even forget Him for a while, but He does not abandon us for this is contrary to His nature. God the Father promises:

“I refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)

“I forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

“Is not Ephraim My dear son, the child in whom I delight?” (Jeremiah 31:20)

Thank You dear Father God for Your mercy-beyond-our-understanding. May we always delight in You; may we follow Your guideposts and road signs, and keep note of which highway we travel. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Doesn’t He Know? ( by Carley Evans )

An event in Jesus’ life puzzles me, off and on. I just read it again this morning. Jesus has just driven Legion, a multi-demon into pigs. Now He is “on His way” and crowds are all around Him. Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue, is frantic, “pleading with [Jesus] to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, is dying.” Presumably, Jesus is going with Jairus to his home when a woman, “subject to bleeding for twelve years” “comes up behind Him and touches the edge of His cloak.” At that same moment, her bleeding ceases.

Jesus asks, “Who touched Me?”

Doesn’t He know? He knows someone has touched Him, for He says so. “Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.” What? Automatically? Without His ascent?

The woman, terrified, falls at Jesus’ feet. She confesses she has been healed just by touching Jesus’ clothing! Jesus tells her, “Your faith healed you. Go in peace.” Jesus essentially is saying, “My power came out from Me because of your faith. The level of your faith didn’t require Me to be actively involved. Relax. It’s all good.”

About the same time, people come to inform Jairus that it is too late for Jesus to come. Jairus’ only daughter has died. But, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

I may be wrong, but I think that father is still terrified when Jesus comes to his home to see the dead child. Yet, with hope and desire and wishing, he enters his daughter’s room with four other men: Jesus, Peter, John, and James. People outside the room are weeping and wailing. Jesus rebukes them, telling them that the little girl is only sleeping.

Here, Jesus actively touches the dead child; she does not touch Him. He wills her to life, saying: “My child, get up!” Her father’s faith is weak; too weak for his hope, his wish, his desire to raise his daughter from the dead. “Her spirit returns” because Jesus knows power is coming from Him.

(Luke 8, NIV)

When? ( by Carley Evans )

The author of Hebrews gives us a picture of faith in response to specific moments when God does something:

1) “When God speaks” (Hebrews 11:4, NIV)

2) “[When God is] pleased” (Hebrews 11:5)

3) “When [God] warns” (Hebrews 11:7)

4) “When [God] calls” (Hebrews 11:8)

5) “[When God makes a] promise” (Hebrews 11:11)

6) “When God tests” (Hebrews 11:17)

7) “When God plans something better for us” (Hebrews 11:40)

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time…” (Hebrews 11:32)

Thank You dearest Heavenly Father for the ‘whens’ in our lives, those moments in which we know You better and follow You more closely. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A little quiet ( by Carley Evans )

For those of you who may not know, I am participating in the NaNoWriMo 2011 event, which is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November.

I’ve been keeping up with GRACE PARTAKERS, but have allowed ‘obsecrations’ to take a back seat.

I hope you understand, and will continue to follow along with my infrequent ‘pleadings’ for our Lord.

God’s blessings!