Neither Be Troubled ( by Carley Evans )

Ever wonder why some Christians seem to stir up trouble for themselves and others while other Christians seek to calm the storm? Imagine two people on either end of a giant seesaw, one pushing down while the other reaches up.

Jesus tells His disciples not to be afraid, to not allow their hearts to be troubled. He encourages them with the Word that He is with them always, even to the end of the world.

Paul reminds us – with strong exhortation – that if God is for us, what can be against us? Nothing can overpower Him; nothing can succeed against His Will.

Thank You, dearest Heavenly Father God, for being here with us now. Thank You for Your loving control of all things and for Your command to not fear and not be troubled. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Therefore Take Notice ( by Carley Evans )

Paul finds himself in Rome lodging by himself, except for a soldier to guard him. He spends “two full years at his own expense, with a welcome to all who come to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30-31,NEB)

Earlier in his stay, Paul tells the local Jewish leaders that Isaiah gets his message directly from God, the Holy Spirit when he writes:

“Go to this people and say: ‘You may hear and hear, but you will never understand; you may look and look, but you will never see. For this people’s mind has become gross; their ears are dulled, and their eyes are closed. Otherwise, their eyes might see, their ears hear, and their mind understand, and then they might turn again, and I would heal them.'” (Acts 28:25-28)

Paul tells them the result. He says, “Therefore take notice” God speaks to those who listen. (Acts 28:28) Paul spends two years proclaiming and teaching in Rome. Take notice: Paul teaches the facts and proclaims the truth of the salvation of God “to all who come to him.” (Acts 28:30) He welcomes them into his home for they are ready to listen and understand God’s Word.

Father God, give us Your wisdom to speak to those who are readied by Your Holy Spirit to hear Your Truths. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

“Whatever You Do” ( by Carley Evans )

Paul writes of our freedom in Christ, then states quite simply:

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV)

For the glory of God, Paul speaks of seeking to please others in order to save them, writing:

“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)

Though Paul claims he is free in Christ, he speaks of making himself “a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) He speaks of “putting up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9:12)

“Be careful, [then], that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9)

“Do not cause anyone to stumble.” (1 Corinthians 10:32)

“For [we] are not seeking [our] own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:33)

Glory in Weakness ( by Carley Evans )

I love how Paul relies on the Lord, saying:

“The Lord rescues me from every evil attack, and brings me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18,NIV)

When I was in high school, I used to think Paul was the most arrogant man who’d ever lived. I thought he was boasting in his letters to the churches. As a grew into my Christian faith, I came to see Paul as a man who glories in his own weakness because God’s power is shown perfect in man’s weaknesses.

John the Baptist similarly glories in his own weakness, recognizing that he is unfit to tie or untie the laces on the shoes of the Christ, who comes to him to be baptized in the Jordan. “I must decrease,” he says. “He must increase.”

The wretched sinner who does not lift his eyes when he prays glories in his own weakness for he knows he is not worthy of God’s attention, mercy, justice, love, forgiveness.

It is not the man who declares or thinks of himself as righteous who is justified; it is the man who knows he is unworthy. For everyone who exalts himself is humbled, but the humble God exalts.

“Forgive us, Lord, for thinking we can bring anything of value to You without You having given that value to us first. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”