A Survey ( by Carley Evans )

I got excited this morning when I noticed a ‘certified’ envelope on my couch under a bill I need to pay. I grabbed it. Typed across the front of the envelope were the words: “Do not throw away!” Intrigued, I opened it obediently. After all, the command was “Do not throw away!”

Inside, a letter from the Republican Party.

I’ve been selected to be a representative of my congressional district. Wow! I’ve been asked to fill out a survey. Oh, I’ve seen these before. I got one last fall from the National Rifle Association. That was fun to complete. Most of the questions were: “Don’t you agree…” and had to be answered with a resounding, “No, I don’t agree…”

I sit down, truly excited to give my opinion to the Republicans.

Do I vote regularly? Yes. Do I plan to vote in the fall election? Yes.

Do I plan to vote for: Obama, the Republican candidate, someone else? I plan to vote for Obama.

Do you approve of Obama? Yes, I approve.

What is most important to your family or community right now? Select three. Education, Over-development, Waste of resources. I had to write in the last two.

Which party do you think will better address… and then a long list of such things as environmental issues, foreign policy, taxes, healthcare, education, etc. The three choices: Republican, Democrat, Other.

And my favorites: Do you approve or disapprove of the Democratic Congress? Approve.

Do you approve or disapprove of the Republican Congress? Disapprove.


God’s Work ( by Carley Evans )

Book Of Mormon

Book Of Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

The young man’s words still hang in the air, “Yes, it’s [the preaching of the gospel] confusing isn’t it?”

I think and hear myself say aloud, “No, it’s not. Not at all. The good news is simple; it really is.” And I hear myself call the young man, “honey.” Oh my goodness! Still, the words flow.

“It’s a gift. It’s all God’s work. It really is. All we need do is open the gift. We don’t need to re-wrap it or put a bow on it or anything else! We only need to accept that it is a gift; and open it the same way we’d open any other gift.”

I continue, “Man’s pride is what hampers. We have such a hard time accepting that there isn’t anything for us to do to earn the gift. It is only a gift, a glorious gift from a loving God.”

I see his eyes water only slightly. He’s asked me to listen to the words in the Book of Mormon and tell him how the words make me feel. He’s read them carefully with total eye contact with me. I don’t look away. I listen to the words, and I know how much he wants me to feel what he feels.

But I don’t.

I tell him my story of the gift, and desire for this young man — and the other with him — to know.

Christ never says, “Feel the truth, and the truth will make you happier.” Rather Jesus says, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

How Many Times? ( by Carley Evans )

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows a vertical section focusing on Jesus. The memorial window is also captioned: "To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disciples want to know how many times they must put up with the offenses of others?

How many times, Jesus, do I have to turn my cheek so as to be struck again? How many times must I allow the thief to take my cloak or my shoes or my purse? How many times do You expect me to walk an extra mile?

Jesus’ answer is straightforward — an infinite number of times!

“Then Peter comes to Jesus and asks, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’

Jesus answers, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Jesus also warns the disciples that if they are unwilling to forgive others, then they should not expect God to be willing to forgive their many sins against Him.

Think carefully on this — Jesus is actually saying that if we are capable of forgiving an infinite number of sins against us, God is even more capable and definitely more willing to forgive an infinite number of sins against Him.

Joshua's Blog

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:18-20)

Here, we can see both a warning, and an admonition:

  1. Don’t focus only on gaining money; yes, a job, and making money, is something of a requirement. But in all things, God should come first.
  2. We, if we really are the seed that’s fallen on “good soil,” should be bearing fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”.

We’re Warned Against the Deceitfulness of Riches
13 “No one can…

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Grace Partakers

Paul exhorts us to “let the Word of Christ dwell richly within.”

This is my story; this is my song! God reveals Himself primarily through His Word rather than through emotional experiences at our local church meeting. Before anyone protests, I am not saying that God is not in our church meetings or revivals or weekend retreats; I am saying that if you are looking for God, open your Bible.

The real God is found in these pages, which He writes on our hearts every day as we read and study His very Words.

Which is better? To hear the actual words of your best friend or to go to a meeting to hear someone else’s words about your best friend? The answer is obvious, writes Paul. He tells us to let the Word of Christ live inside of us with the riches of the Holy Spirit to guide us…

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Grace Partakers

“Of how much worse punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and esteemed the blood of the covenant, whereby he has been sanctified, common, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

What is insulting to the Spirit of grace? How do I fail to show esteem to the blood of the covenant? How do I trod the Son of God under my feet? How do I call my salvation, my sanctification ‘common?’

Likely numerous answers to those questions exist — which is rather odd considering we each have the same Holy Spirit dwelling within. I know some believe it is our sins which insult the Spirit of grace, trod the Lord God under our feet, and call common our great salvation. I think it’s adding to the gospel.

Jesus calls the Pharisees and scribes a “brood of vipers” — persons…

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“Fire of the Gods” ( flash fiction challenge ) by Carley Evans

Fire of the Gods

by Carley Evans

Sitting here in the dark, on the ledge beside the opening to our cave, I’m happy to have the glow of the fire I stole from the Chakra in the valley. I can see their flame from here. It rises in the trees, sending eerie shadows into the limbs and canopy of the forest. I can faintly hear their chants. I presume they’re calling down rain from their god, Hotan. I look at the night sky. The stars laugh, twinkling. Not a wisp of cloud in the expanse. I don’t think it’s going to rain no matter how hard the Chakra pray.

Anu is snoring behind me. I can’t sleep when she snores so loudly. I tried rolling her over but she just rolled back and kept snoring. So, here I sit in the dark beside the small fire.

I remember when the fire of the gods first came down from the sky. The day was fiercely black with rolling bubbling clouds rushing across the valley toward our cave. We sat at its edge and watched the band of rain moving our way. Suddenly claps of thunder, and flashes of lightning; a tree in the valley below lit up with flame.

We didn’t see the Chakra, but we heard them shouting. The rain let up briefly and the fire consumed the tree in a flash of smoke and flame. We could see small dots of red among the trees moving away from the smoldering, still ablaze stump. The small fires disappeared. The rain returned in a torrent. The stump stopped burning. The world grew still as fog rose from the ground.

Two days later, Anu spotted the first of many night-time fires. She pointed.What’s that? I didn’t know, but the odor wafting from the forest was the same as when fire descended upon that tree. The Chakra had the fire of the gods. I wanted it for Anu and the others in our cave.

Two more days, and I climbed down the escarpment to the floor of the forest. I carried a bundle of twigs and sticks and dried grass in a stone I’d fished from the creek bed. The stone had just enough of a depression to properly function as a bowl. I wrapped a rabbit skin over the top to keep the kindling from blowing away. I tied the bowl to my back with another skin so my hands remained free for the climb down into the valley.

I found the Chakra without difficulty. The flames of their fire led me. They were all asleep when I found them in the dead of night. My skill of the quiet step allowed me to steal the flame right out of their fire without awakening any one of the tribe.

The fire was ours. Rabbit tasted better when cooked in the fire of the gods. Winter nights were warmer in the cave with the fire of the gods. And, the Chakra in the valley lost nothing by our gain.