The Most Excellent Way ( by Carley Evans )

I’m always disturbed by Christians who denounce that God is primarily love — Christians who proclaim that God is primarily a being of wrath, retribution, punishment. God demands holiness, for sure. Our holiness, however, is due only to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who is, of course, God Himself. Without God within, we are not — in the least — holy.

Paul writes of “the most excellent way” in his letter to the church at Corinth. He says ultimately speaking in tongues, prophecy, generosity, even great faith and hope — if these exist in a vacuum devoid of love — then they are nothing; they gain nothing for us or for God.

The most excellent way is the way of love. Paul writes, “Follow the way of love.” (1 Corinthians 14:1, NIV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV)

To an Unknown God ( by Carley Evans )

“22And Paul stood in the middle of Areopagus, and said, Men of Athens, by all things I see you as vain worshippers.

23 For I passed, and saw your maumets [and saw your simulacra], and found an altar, in which was written, To the unknown God. Therefore which thing ye unknowing worship, this thing I show to you.” (Acts 17:22-23, WYC)

Paul calls the Athenians “vain worshippers.” He points out their “maumets [simulacra]” and the altar upon which is written: “To the unknown God.” Paul says God once overlooked the ignorance that allows men to worship things made by their own hands, things made of silver or stone or gold.

“But now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31, NIV)

God calls us to repent of our ignorance, to set aside — nay, destroy — our idols. He commands us to align ourselves with His Son, Jesus Christ. When God judges the world with justice, His judgment will be “by the Man appointed” to satisfy His wrath. Proof of God’s satisfaction, of His acceptance of our repentance is the resurrection of His Son from the dead.


Not Like a Thief in the Night ( by Carley Evans )

Paul says, “About dates and times, my friends, we need not write to you, for you know perfectly well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.” Non-believers, Paul continues, find “all at once calamity upon them” with “no escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; NEB) We, however, “are not in the dark, that the day should overtake [us] like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)

We are of the day; they are of the night. While non-believers sleep, we must “keep awake and sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:7) We must be “armed with faith and love for coat of mail, and the hope of salvation for helmet.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

Armed and shielded with faith, hope, and love “hearten one another,” writes Paul. “Fortify one another — as indeed you do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

And do not worry — you won’t miss the Day of the Lord even when it comes like a thief in the night.

A Challenge (by Carley Evans)

Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in Christ — [ include yourself in this group if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior ] — I challenge you. I behoove you to see, really see Jesus in one another. Look closely at the face of your fellow believer and see the Lord.

You might find this harder than it sounds, at first. But remembering your own lowly state should help for it is pride and self-righteousness which interferes with seeing Jesus in others.

Next time you’re near a mirror, take a longer look. Do you see Jesus? You should if you call yourself a believer. But, seeing Jesus in your own face should not be an occasion for puff-up-ness. Actually being able to see Him in your own face is likely to make your knees wobbly and your heart flutter. Is that the Lord? Oh my! Give me Your strength, dear God in heaven!

When you walk away, Paul says that image of truth fades too quickly for we are seeing only a reflection of glory. Next time, hold onto His image just long enough to see Him in the next face you greet. Perhaps it is your own mother’s face. You see Jesus in her eyes, in her smile. Behold, how humbling.

Dearest Lord, keep us in humility. Strike out spiritual pride, the tendency to believe that somehow we are better than another — a false idea from Your adversary planted in our minds — an infection which not only destroys others but ourselves. Thank You for Your glorious mercies. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Who Is Going To Hell? (by Carley Evans)

People seem determined to pronounce someone as condemned to the “lake of fire.” Some Christians believe they can see inside a person’s heart by looking at the outside — God says not to judge by appearances — but He also says you can know people by the fruits they produce. So, who is going to hell anyway?

Saul knew the scriptures better than anyone of his day. He persecuted the early church body diligently, fully believing Christians were evil and ‘going to hell.’ Any Christian of that day — looking at Saul from the outside — would have certainly condemned him to the “lake of fire.” But we know, looking backwards in time, that Saul converted to Christianity and now resides in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, his brother and his God.

An encounter with Jesus along a road made all the difference. And yes, Saul’s appearance changed. His outside began, almost immediately, to reflect the inside transformation.

Nevertheless, God does not call us to condemn one another. Each servant of God stands because of God, because God is fully capable to make His servants stand. And those who deny Him; those who vocally state, “No, Jesus is not the Lord God” or say like a recent commenter “Jesus is a sun god”; these people are those we who call ourselves Christian should pray for. Praying for someone’s salvation is not condemning them to hell; it is inviting their soul to paradise.

Each And Every Jot

I ponder – quite often – how it is that true love, agape love “does no wrong to a neighbor;” and therefore “is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10) Imagine, if you will, Jesus fulfilling the law – each and every jot – by loving His neighbors. Jesus didn’t love only those who loved Him. Remember, Jesus wept for Jerusalem as He longed to gather His people to Himself. Some Christians seem to think Jesus only loved those who loved and followed after Him. Actually Jesus loved all people, doing to others that which He desired for Himself – hence, the golden rule.

Jesus ate with sinners. He came to earth to seek and to save the lost, i.e. sinners.
After all, the healthy, Jesus said, have no need of salvation. Those who say they can see have no need of healing of their sight.

“Let love be genuine.” (Romans 12:9) “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)

Perhaps we should think of loving each other as a type of contest in which the person who genuinely loves the other, who surprisingly outdoes the other in showing honor, is the person who wins.

Imagine God Creator

When I look at the world (no matter how simple the locale), I always imagine the Creator God. This is not to imply that I conjure Him up, or that I don’t know Him through His Son; rather I mean to say that God is there in His work just as Paul states in the early part of his letter to the church at Rome. What God is, who He is — this is plainly seen in the natural world. That we deny Him is essentially inexcusable.