“Born Blind and Deaf” by Carley Evans


Imagine

(Photo credit: Javier Q.)

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.

Imagine.

They Hate ( by Carley Evans )


 

Anaclasis – A Haunting Gospel of Malice & Hatred

Anaclasis – A Haunting Gospel of Malice & Hatred (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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.

 

Losing Nothing ( by Carley Evans )


International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

(Photo credit: epSos.de)

“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!

Jesus with the Wonky Eye ( by Carley Evans )


A 6th century icon of Jesus at St. Katherine's...

A 6th century icon of Jesus at St. Katherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The image depicts Jesus Christ with two different looks on His face: One is of a loving man, and the other is a fearful judge. From http://www.pitt.edu/AFShome/s/o/sorc/public/html/ocfellow/icons.html Category:Artistic portrayals of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina this weekend, I notice — as I always do when I am there in the guest dining room — the iconic painting of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ eyes are not symmetrical — His right eye looks more and less at you while His left eye looks off into a distance you can’t imagine. A single tear appears to be falling from this eye onto His cheek.

A young man across from me mentions Jesus’ “wonky eye” and speaks briefly of how strange it looks. He’s right. Jesus’ left eye can most definitely be described as “wonky.” I laugh, but later as I stare at Jesus’ face, I think: “How odd. Jesus looks at me with His right eye which appears accepting of me while He looks away from me with His left eye as if He can not look at me. He’s calm and accepting on one side; He’s crying and rejecting on the other side.”

Looking very closely, I notice the pupil of Jesus’ right eye is at the top of His iris — giving an impression of Jesus looking upward, perhaps toward heaven. The left eye’s pupil is dead center, but the focus of the eye is definitely not the viewer of the painting. Jesus looks off to His left into distance.

Whether true or not, my impression is that Jesus — in this painting — is both accepting and rejecting me simultaneously. He is offering me heaven and warning me of hell in the same moment.

Jonah’s Great Fish ( by Carley Evans )


Prophet Jonah, Russian Orthodox icon from firs...

Prophet Jonah, Russian Orthodox icon from first quarter of 18-th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

 

Who Can Say? ( by Carley Evans )


 

Image

 

“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9, KJV)

 

I’ve heard people say this; I must admit the statement always surprises me. I’ve never said this because I’ve never accomplished this feat. I’m able to say, “Jesus made my heart clean, so I am pure from my sin.” But, I can’t say, I never sin.

To believe you never sin — that’s equivalent to believing you are perfect. You never make a mistake, you never do less than your very best, you never strike back, you never take more than your share, you never speak ill of another, you never go to bed with worry or anger in your heart, you never fail to notice someone’s pain, you never fail to help, you never roll your eyes, you never look away, you never forget to care, you never turn your back, you never run away.

I can not imagine.

I can know that Jesus is such a person. Like the lamb slaughtered as a substitute for people who sin, so Jesus substitutes Himself for me. His death on the cross wipes away my sins, though they be as red as the tide befouled by algae. And so, I stand pure before His Father in heaven.

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.