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


Conviction versus guilt

Orestes Pursued by the Furies, by John Singer ...

Orestes Pursued by the Furies, by John Singer Sargent. 1921. The erinyes represent the guilt for murdering his mother. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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!

The New Man Forever ( by Carley Evans )

Bear with me — the following is pure speculation. To some extent this is my understanding of the fall of mankind:

Oddly enough, Eve ate the forbidden fruit first because she was deceived by the serpent. On the other hand, Adam was not deceived. He apparently preferred to please his wife over pleasing God.  In this manner, he sinned. When he did, his very DNA — his genetic make-up was altered. His entire nature changed — he suddenly had what Paul refers to as the sinful nature. Did the same happen to Eve? Something happened to her — her childbearing became painful and her relationship with Adam changed. Her DNA was altered, yes, but was it altered in the same way as Adam’s?

Roman Catholics, as I understand their traditional belief system, say that Mary, the mother of God, had to have been conceived immaculately — as was Jesus — in order to keep her baby from inheriting the sinful nature from His earthy mother. Today, it occurred to me that perhaps the sinful nature is carried on the Y chromosome and not on the X chromosome. Perhaps the sinful nature is inherited through Adam only, and not through Eve at all. The Word of God implies this interpretation could be true. Our sinful nature is always described as ‘the old man.’ Paul writes that all people die because of one man’s sin, the sin of Adam.

The first problem, of course, with my argument is that women are condemned as well as men. The second problem with my argument — and with that of the Roman Catholic Church — is Mary’s life resulted from the joining of Y and X chromosomes, so she had a sinful nature as much as the next person. Perhaps Mary was only a receptacle with the Holy Spirit providing both the sperm and ovum, so to speak. Therefore, Jesus was born without original sin as the new man.

Like I said, this is pure speculation. And may not be of any value to you, the reader. But the fall defines us completely — explains our separation from God, our eternal torment without the intervention of Jesus Christ. That the sinful nature is a very bizarre concept to many intellectuals naturally leads me to ponder. As long as I recognize I am speculating, I feel relatively safe. The key factor is that the change in our DNA makes perfect sense — explaining everything about us. Jesus’ DNA was fundamentally different; as such He was fully human — the perfect human — and fully divine.

At one time, Adam was the perfect human being. He fell into sin, and his nature changed. Jesus had a perfect human nature, and He did not fall into sin. Rather, He withstood temptations and remained perfect; and so is the new man forever.

Not Going to Lie ( by Carley Evans )

Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” I agree. I am not ashamed of the good news of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners.

And, I am not going to lie — I know a lot of sinners. First and foremost, I know myself. I also know heterosexuals who engage in sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage; I know homosexuals who do the same. I know people who drink alcohol to excess; I know people who drink in moderation; I know people who refrain from drink completely — they are all sinners. I know people who love violent movies, filled with action. I know people who never go to the movies — actually I haven’t met many people who never go to the movies. I know people who read all sorts of books and magazines; I know people who burn all sorts of books and magazines; I know people who don’t read at all  — they are all sinners.

Guess what? I love them all. Know why? Because Jesus died for me, the worst of the sinners I know. If He loves me, then I love those whom He loves.

At 51 Park Place ( by Carley Evans )

I ride the subway downtown Manhattan to see the 9/11 Memorial site — I’ve looked forward to this for several weeks now. Coming out of the tunnel into the daylight, a man – a tour guide – confronts me with a smile. “Have you come for the memorial?” When I say I have indeed, he tells me what I should already know – “You have to have a ticket. The wait for tickets is like two to three weeks.” I laugh. Yep, that’s how naive I am. To think I can just walk right up to the 9/11 Memorial site. Ah well.

The other place I am hoping to see has no long lines and only a few visitors. A controversial place it is: the new mosque is actually an old city structure being renovated, not built from the ground up. Before I see it, I think it is a new building. It’s not. Prayers are taking place in the unfinished basement — I am not allowed to see that area. But the restrooms are adjacent and I see the socked feet of men in the other room, and I hear the intoned chants. I say to my daughter after laughing loudly at the handwritten signs “female” and “male” with big red arrows drawn below the titles, “Oh, they’re praying.” Then I whisper from that point on.

That it is a work in progress becomes apparent as my daughter pulls a shard of glass from the bottom of her converse shoe — the broken glass is all over the floor outside the restroom.

Upstairs, beautiful photographs of children adorn the large white walls. These children represent all the nations of the world, but each lives somewhere in the 5 boroughs of New York City. The child has to have been born in the nation she or he represents, or her parents must be from that nation. I find the baby representing Estonia. My children are Estonian-American. Such a lovely moment. We look at children from all over the world, delighted.

A man approaches me. He asks me if he may ask me some questions about the center on camera. I agree. He asks me if I believe different religions are capable of co-existing peacefully in the world today. And I say, “I don’t know. I really don’t know given the climate we live in. But, I hope so. I really do. I really hope so.”

Now, why do I say this when I genuinely believe the only way to God is through Jesus Christ our Lord? The answer is simple — just because someone does not believe as I do, I have no right to hate them. Hatred is self-destroying as well as other-destroying.

God is Love. In Him is no darkness at all.

Every One Thrown Down ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus’ disciples stop Him as He is walking away from the temple. They want to show Him the beauty and permanence of the temple. But, Jesus rhetorically asks, “Do you see all these things?” (Matthew 24:2, NIV)

I imagine the men looking at the buildings, then at each other. The inner dialogue: ‘Didn’t we just point out the temple to Jesus? Didn’t He understand?’ I can see them each giving Jesus that blank stare; that look that communicates, ‘What are you talking about!’

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth.” In other words, I’m not lying to you. “Not one stone here,” He continues, “will be left on another, every one will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2)

In other words, Jesus tells them that all that they count on as permanent is going to be destroyed. All they build their lives upon is not worth standing on; not one stone is capable of supporting another. All of the stones of the temple will be thrown down, tossed out, deemed worthless.

The only stone that matters, the only one that lasts forever is the Cornerstone — Jesus Christ.