Why Do You Call Me Good? ( by Carley Evans )

When the young rich man calls Jesus a ‘good teacher,’ Jesus immediately responds, “Only God the Father is good; why do you call Me good?”

What’s Jesus mean? He’s the Son of God! He’s perfect!

The author of Hebrews writes of Jesus learning obedience and so attaining perfection, as if Jesus is not born perfect. Jesus, after all, spends 40 days and nights in the wilderness where He is tempted by Satan himself. Jesus withstands each temptation, triumphing. In the garden of Gethsemane, again He is tempted — almost to the point of death — by Satan himself to renounce God the Father’s plan, and escape the cross of Calvary. But, Jesus withstands this ultimate temptation and prevails against evil.

If Jesus’ self-perception is that only the Father is good, how is it that any one of us feels justified to claim holiness? Rather, shouldn’t we, along with our Lord, say: “Good? Me? Why do you call me good?”

Father God, give us humility. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Better To Dream – Part 2 – The Lord Takes Away

My daughter’s dream is crushed.

And, I remember God asking Satan, “Where have you been? What have you been about?” And Satan’s response, “Oh, I’ve been walking around the earth” and thinking of his implication: “I’ve been searching for someone to devour.” God invites Satan to consider a particular man. This man, says God, is a person of “perfect integrity, who fears Me and turns away from evil.” (Job 1:8, HCSB) Satan taunts God, telling Him that this man only fears God because God has “placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns.” Satan challenges that if God stretches out His hand to “strike everything he owns, he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Job 1:10,11)

From this point, God allows Satan to destroy all of Job’s property and his servants and his children all within a few hours. Job stands up, tears his robe, shaves his head, falls to the ground and worships. He says what is so important to say and so difficult to comprehend, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the Name of Yahweh.” (Job 1:21)

“Throughout all this Job does not sin or blame God for anything.” (Job 1:22)

Father God, by no means am I a person of “perfect integrity” or one who consistently “turns away from evil,” but I do thank You for Your mercies. I thank You for Your perfect love and Your perfect will. I know that surely all things work together for good to those who are called according to Your purposes. I put myself and my children into Your hands. Your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A Spectacle of Fear; An Easy Calm

“What preserves the order of things?” asks Bill the Butcher in the film, GANGS OF NEW YORK. “The spectacle of fear. If someone steals from me, I cut off his hands. If someone insults me, I cut out his tongue.” Our adversary, like Bill the Butcher, hopes for us to live in fear, in misgiving and anxiety, in utter terror if he can manage to bring us to that condition. For Satan, putting us into a state of fear and keeping us there “preserves the order of things” for him.

God, instead, desires and plans to rescue us from fear. His perfect love drives out fear, for fear has to do with punishment. If we fear punishment, we are yet to be made perfect in and through His love. His love, as is demonstrated on the cross of Calvary when He gives up His only Son as a ransom for us, rescues us from anxiety, fear, and the utter terror Satan tries to bring upon us.

God achieves this casting out of fear through Christ living “in [our] hearts through faith — that [we], being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19,ESV)

In being “filled with all the fullness of God” there is no room for fear, misgiving, anxiety or terror. For where there is love, there is an easy calm.

Father God, we praise You for rescuing us from sin, for bringing us Your love and gaining for us freedom from fear. Your love saves us from Satan’s “order of things,” from his “spectacle of fear.” In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Speaking of Directions

This morning, I’m exhausted from driving 5.5 hrs. to meet my daughter arriving from Japan, then driving back home for 7.5 hrs. Longer coming back because we stopped more times than I did going; and I got us lost once. Interstates that run east and west but are marked west in one location and north in another; east in one location and south in another are — well, let’s just say, yucky! However, getting lost was actually my fault. I took the wrong interstate towards the wrong city! My only explanation — I used to live in that direction.

Getting lost is not hard to achieve. Directions are confusing, especially when you are backtracking. GPS is grand if you have it, and if you’ve set it up properly.

Speaking of directions and GPS, directions for living well are easily found. These are located on a great map in the pages of the Bible. GPS is less easily acquired. GPS is essentially equivalent to God, the Holy Spirit. He is my global positioning system. He always knows where I am, and He knows the direction in which I am heading. He sends me brightly colored, clear messages — even big alerts — to show me the best route for reaching the perfect destination — that’s the destination He has in mind for me, not the one I have in mind for me.

The problem is not the satellite connection, of course, between myself and God. Rather, the problem comes when I ignore or occasionally misunderstand the directing messages; or fail to check those messages against the map — the map being the written Word of God. I say this because, of course, there are many competing messages. Messages from myself, from friends, from family, from media, from FB — that’s Facebook–, from the adversary and the agents of that adversary. Sometimes, as in my illustration of heading in the wrong direction just because I once lived in that direction, I just go backwards or frankly in the wrong direction on the worst path for me.

Then, the solution — yes, you guessed it — is to turn around!

Bing Search

Out of curiosity, I did a quick Bing search on my new fav word: “obsecration.” Of course, what would come up at the top of the search — right below the free online dictionary listing — but “Obsecrations to the Horned” a heavy metal CD/album presumably created in celebration of God’s greatest enemy, the Beast, the fallen angel, Satan. Now, that’s irony.