If the Law ( or laws ) could make us holy, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the Cross. No state-appointed law is going to make us clean for Him. He is SO HOLY that we don’t stand a chance. If we could make ourselves holy, then Jesus died for nothing. I think Paul says that quite eloquently. At any rate, think on it. It IS extremely tempting to think that finger pointing and condemnation will make another person BETTER, but it doesn’t work. Only the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST can make any one of us WHOLE again. Without Him, not one of us is CLEAN.
– Carley Evans, July 25th, 2013
Today I clapped my hand over my mouth and tears welled in my eyes as I heard the gay men’s choir burst into song. The song sung by the men was our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I was in my car, driving home from work, listening to NPR as I usually do. Some reporter was defending the positive nature of the coverage of the historical moment when “a group of people came together to grasp” its rights under the Constitution of the United States. No matter how you view marriage, that people who live in the United States are constitutionally protected is undeniable. (This is why babies should not be aborted, by the way. They each have a constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights outweigh any parent’s right to privacy!)
Every citizen of the United States of America has a right to pursue happiness. If you don’t believe this is the truth within our system of government, then you may be more comfortable in a different country.
I heard someone say that the Supreme Court was “out of control.” I wondered, “And whose control is that?” God is always in control, so that argument fails right there.
That the Supreme Court is not controlled by religious zealots ought to make us thankful. If only Christians controlled members of the Supreme Court, then the constitution would be at risk. So many Americans do not subscribe to the Christian lifestyle or to its core belief – that Jesus Christ came to earth from heaven to die on a Cross in order to save the world. If the Supreme Court was controlled only by the Christian Right – the conservative membership – then many people would be denied their right to pursue happiness.
Why is it that Christians ( not all of us, mind you ) want to throw stones at particular groups of people? Why the enormous focus on homosexuals?
I ask this because I find it hypocritical that Christians accept divorce and marriage to another person as part of the fabric of our lives rather than viewing the remarriage as adultery ( in many cases, at any rate. ) Before you protest that I am judging; I’m not. I’m only saying what Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.” I don’t know about you, but I find I always wind up opening my hand and allowing that stone to fall to the ground.
And so, today, I cried when I heard our national anthem sung by men ( this was a men’s choir, by the way ) who have finally gained a measure of equality in this – our great – nation. A citizen is a citizen, no matter how small. Thanks to Dr. Seuss.
Imagine if you will being born blind, unable to see. You live in a world of darkness. And what if you are also born deaf, unable to hear. You move in darkness and silence, unaware of light, unaware of sound. Your world is emptiness.
Imagine a Man comes to you. He touches your eyes, then your ears. You suddenly see and hear. You see His face; you hear His voice. He is Love, and you are fully aware that your world has changed forever in a moment because He touched you.
Now what if this same Man walks by you, and leaves you in your darkened, quiet state. Suppose He has a perfect reason for doing this, one you don’t know and couldn’t understand even if you did know.
Now imagine other people try to tell you about this Man, how He has given them everything. How would they tell you? You are blind; you are deaf. Still they try because He is everything to them. But you can’t see or hear that He is Love. You are blind; you are deaf. You are lost.
Remember how He touches you? When the Man touches you, you are able to see and hear and believe. Only a fool would not believe once the Man gives sight and hearing.
Is there a difference between conviction and guilt?
I heard that guilt is a good thing. But, I maintain that guilt is never a good thing. Instead, conviction is the good thing that leads us to change our behavior – either via apology and often through restitution. On the other hand, guilt leads to self-loathing and inaction. Guilt comes through demonic forces aligned against the Christian. The demon whispers, “Look what you’ve done! You worthless creature. How can anyone love you? Why would God forgive that?!”
Conviction comes from God, the Holy Spirit. He whispers also. But His whisper is gentle, a reminder that your guilt is taken care already through the shed blood of Jesus Christ but that apology and restitution are your tasks. God says, “Go and tell your neighbor you are sorry, and if you took from him, give it back and give something more for good measure.”
Therefore, I say, guilt is not of God. Conviction is.
This morning I realize why I don’t like church. I don’t like church because of the sometimes invisible, sometimes highly visible people inside the building who spout evil rather than good, who obviously hate rather than love. The pain I feel inside church is unimaginable. I used to try to ignore it, deny it, justify it. No more. I fully embrace this pain, this incredible disappointment in people who claim to know who Jesus is. I pause because I know how hard it is not to hate these hypocrites –right back at ya!
But, I recall Jesus dies for them, too. His agony on the cross is proportional to the level of their hatred.
Who do they hate? So-called Christians in church hate sinners. They hate “the least of these.” And they hate socialists, communists, homosexuals, abortionists, murderers, the poor, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the mentally ill, the homeless, the lost. Oops. In short, they hate themselves.
“Every day, people seek profits for the investments they make in time, in effort, in monies. Every day, some people win — what seems to them — “the whole world.” I’m not sure Jesus equates winning the whole world with loss of one’s soul. Rather, I think Jesus implies one’s focus ought not to be on getting “the whole world”, but on getting a relationship with Him so as to keep one’s soul.” (Carley Evans — hey, that’s me!)
Do you make mistakes? Do even really small mistakes in timing have terrible consequences for you? I imagine your answer is “yes” – or “maybe” – to both questions.
I made a simple mistake this spring that is going to cost me a certain amount of money over the next year. The mistake was simply a momentary distraction that turned out to be extremely unfortunate financially.
Still, tonight I read my own words from GRACE PARTAKERS and realize that compared to sustaining a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, this loss of money is akin to the loss of nothing!
Surely we each know the pain of life — the unexpected loss of job, the devastating illness or infection, the sudden or prolonged death of loved ones, the demise of self through dementia, the agony of self-loathing and self-doubt, etc. etc. etc. No one is immune. Some pretend to be immune, but no one is.
So, why can’t we say a prayer for each other? Right now!
Thanks! And many blessings!
May God meet all your needs in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, amen!
Ever wonder what Jonah thought about right before the great fish — the whale — swallowed him whole? Maybe: “How dare my shipmates throw me overboard!” or “Where is God now?” or “I’m going to drown!” or “This creature’s going to eat me!” Do you suppose he was fine with his situation? I doubt it.
I imagine Jonah was filled with fear even though he was resigned to his fate — after all, he knew it was his fault that his shipmates were in danger. His running away from God’s will, from God’s expectations caused the storm that threatened the ship. He’d even told his shipmates to throw him into the sea. Nevertheless, he may have been surprised as he was tossed overboard and as he struck the waters below.
I can’t imagine that he was not afraid as the great fish swam towards him, opening its maul to swallow him. Once inside, Jonah was stuck there for three days and three nights. He was distressed! He was probably depressed, lonely, defeated. After all, he was “banished from [God’s] sight.” (Jonah 2:4, NIV)
Yet, Jonah finds his faith even while inside a fish in the darkness. He prays, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)
And God “brings [Jonah’s] life up from the pit.” (Jonah 2:6) The great fish vomits Jonah onto dry land at God’s command.
Help us, Lord to face our fears, to believe in Your goodness and to hold fast to our faith even in dire circumstances. Help us to obey You in all things at all times. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
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.”