Never Denied ( by Carley Evans )

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

“or if he asketh an egg [or if he shall ask an egg], whether he shall areach him a scorpion?” (Luke 11:12, WYC)

Have you given your child a scorpion — a creature capable of killing your offspring with a single strike — when she pointed into the refrigerator and reached out to the carton of eggs? If so, then you are considered an extraordinarily inept parent, perhaps an immoral one at that!

Therefore, when you ask God for a blessing in line with His perfect will, He is incapable of denying you that good thing. This denial of good goes against His very nature; and that nature is perfection.

Father God, we praise and thank You for Your perfect will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


A Sense of Awe ( by Carley Evans )

After the day of Pentecost, the newly baptized Christians — some 3 thousand men and presumably their wives and children — “meet constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, to break bread, and to pray. A sense of awe is everywhere.” (Acts 2:42-43,NEB) This awe is “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful.”

“With one mind,” these early Christians “share their meals with unaffected joy, as they praise God and enjoy the favour of the whole people.” (Acts 2:46-47)

“A sense of awe is everywhere.” This awe explains their actions — their willingness to sell personal property to distribute funds for the needs of others; their joy and praise in their attendance at temple; their ability to be of one mind, and their obtaining of the favour of all people.

“And day by day the Lord adds to their number those whom He is saving.” (Acts 2:47)

Father God, the awe of the early Christians inspires. Help me to discover worship — true religion which calls for me to defend those who need my help — widows and orphans; to be exact — those who are abandoned, alone, helpless. Give me Jesus’ heart for the world. In His Name, amen.

When Debate becomes Argument ( by Carley Evans )

“Let me see you celebrate this,” says Michael Douglas as the U.S. President in the movie — oh my, I actually can not retrieve the title. Anyway, he stands at a podium before the seal of the presidency and says we should celebrate the freedom we have in this country to yes — burn the flag, protest abortion, lobby for gay rights, support our troops, vote in the next election. [Oh, the movie is THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT!]

We should defend the right for our sworn enemy to shout at the top of his lungs in protest of something we’d shout at the top of our lungs to support. Michael Douglas as the president says something close to this — always stand up for freedom of expression! Stand up for the right of people you do not admire or believe are correct to speak their minds.

Our right to speak our minds is extraordinarily rare in the greater world.

The problem comes when debate becomes strife. They say this; we say that. They say it again in a slightly different manner perhaps even contradicting a previous statement. We point that out; they ignore the facts. They continue their line of thinking; we continue ours. And then, one of the two sides starts to get annoyed. Emotion steps in. Debate becomes argument.

That this is the nature of disagreement is not surprising. When you hold a belief as the absolute truth, then the difficulty is in not expressing it with urgency. How do you do that? How do you tell someone they are flat out wrong without that overwhelming sense of urgency? If you care about those people or about the truth, then emotion likely plays a role.

God says to “speak the truth in love.”

Father God, help me to always remember to gently speak Your truths. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

An Enemy Did This ( by Carley Evans )

An enemy comes to a field — at night on the sly — to sow weeds among seeds of wheat planted by the owner during the daytime.

When weeds sprout among the grain, the man’s slaves are distressed. They want to know how this happened. The man knows. He tells them, “An enemy did this!” (Matthew 13:28, HCSB)

His slaves want to root out the weeds. But the man says, “No.” He knows that as they gather the weeds they may also “uproot the wheat with them.” (Matthew 13:29) He tells his slaves to allow both the weeds and the wheat to grow up together.

“At harvest time,” he says, “I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.” (Matthew 13:29-30)

Wheat, I gather, grows just fine even when surrounded by weeds, so if the enemy’s strategy is to harm, hamper, or even destroy the good seed, he fails.  The owner of the field isn’t worried about the weeds. Rather, he doesn’t want to risk damaging or losing his wheat crop just to eliminate the enemy’s sown junk. Rather, he allows the bad to grow along with the good. Once the harvest is ready, then he plans to gather the bad first for burning all at once. Then he will store the fully grown wheat in his barn.

Father God, let us not worry about the evil surrounding us. Rather, allow us Your peace. Help us to realize we are sealed by Your Holy Spirit for eternal life, now as well as after Your great harvest. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Back in Place (by Carley Evans)

Took some time off here at the end of the month to spend with my daughter before she moves. Instead of a short vacation, I got sick. Nothing serious, just a bad upper respiratory infection. Still, after 6 days of sneezing, coughing, nose blowing and super headaches, I forgot what working feels like.

It’s odd when this happens — a subtle loss of a part of self.

You become a sick person, almost purposeless except for needing to get up, go to the bathroom, shower, eat, sleep, watch vapid movies or news of a hurricane, read, write notes, and somehow get to the grocery store or pharmacy for essentials. But, working a 10 hr. day disappears — albeit briefly. That role is subjugated to the role of the temporary invalid.

Going back is like waking up to sunshine after a stent of cloudy days. What a joy to be in the company of fellow workers! What a relief to be back in place!

Father God, thanks for my health. Thanks for my career! Your blessings are many, and are always the best. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A Colossal Waste (by Carley Evans)

Without a doubt, I know that worry is a sin — not only a sin, but a colossal waste of time, energy, and spiritual favor.

Father God, continue to help Your people trust Your Perfection. Help us to know You as the loving God You are, that You carry only good will toward us who are Your children. Give us Your peace. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

“Go, Get Out Of Here” (by Carley Evans)

Jesus has appointments — specific times and certain places He must be. Pharisees locate Him as He travels between towns on His way to Jerusalem. They warn Jesus, “Go, get out of here! Herod wants to kill You!” (Luke 13:31, HCSB)

But Jesus responds, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work.’ Yet I must travel today, tomorrow, and the next day, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem!” (Luke 13:32-33)

Jesus is determined to make His appointment. He is not going to be early and certainly will not be late. In the meantime, He goes about His usual business of “driving out demons and performing healings” while He travels to His final destination — Jerusalem and the cross at Golgotha.

Dear Heavenly Father, we are grateful to Jesus, Your Son, for His willingness and yes — determination — to make His appointment. We thank You that You gave Him up for us, and that He loved You so much that He willingly died a cursed death  for our salvation. To You be the glory. In Jesus’ Name, amen.