Author Archives: evanlaar1922

About evanlaar1922

Have you ever noticed how many special ways God refers to us, His dear children? He calls us His beloved sons and daughters, the righteous, children of the kingdom, His anointed, royal priesthood, the faithful in Christ, His temple, His friends, and so many other loving names that speaks to who we are in Him. Also in many cases, the names we are given at birth have both biblical and heavenly identities tied into them. Our Heavenly Father who watches over us daily has created the ideal path for each of us to take to travel the journey of life, just as a father will make plans for his own child by putting things in place at a very early age for education, health, graduation, and marriage. God has predestined and equipped each of us to carry out a specific purpose that will create the design He desires to be in place for His kingdom to be effective in the earth.

Proverbs 31; Ecclesiastes 1-2; Matthew 14

What a great reading today – sets the tone for the day. The ideal woman is described through her activity as a wife. I was reading that the traditional hymn sung praising the mighty deeds of a warrior was transposed to extol a heroic wife – the focus on her exploits. As beautiful as all of this is, nothing really matches the words from her children and her husband as they praise her. What a portrait of a household ruled by Woman Wisdom and if you will, the home of those she has discipled. I love calling my wife a woman of wisdom.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:  – Proverbs 31:28  ESV

The man of wisdom himself, Solomon, takes the idea of being transparent seriously. I have so much to learn from him in this area.  I notice whenever he uses the word “you” in advice or warning, he actually sounds like he is speaking to himself. While he is talking to himself about things he should be doing, he finds himself not doing it. Have to remind myself not to do that when I am preaching.

The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem. – Ecclesasties 1:1  ESV

No matter what my need is, Jesus comes to me in my hour of need. He is watching over me even when I cannot see Him. The storm and the miracle of walking on water is a great picture of what Jesus still does in my life when I am sailing through my own storms which happen in the dark so often.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” – Matthew 14:27  ESV

I am meant to recognize the metaphor. If I allow myself to face my storms alone, that is on me.

Father, I look at this amazing woman of wisdom and I see this wise man filled with wisdom, and I cannot help but realise how You sent Jesus, Your wisdom personified, to walk with me in life. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Uncategorized

1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; Matthew 4; Psalm 135-136

It is interesting to me to see the various building blocks used throughout the readings today.

I talk about strategy and plans all day at work but I know at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, nothing matters more than to have God’s favour. He is my greatest building block, my cornerstone.

And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. – 1 Kings 9:3  ESV

God’s Word is another building block for me. Spending time with it is important, but obeying it is my greatest challenge and adventure. Solomon gets it too, so much so that he actually knows that He has violated what God wants and yet still pursues another path.

 Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the Lordhas come are holy.” – 2 Chronicles 8:11  ESV

Another building block has to do with discipleship or the act of being a disciple. A simple definition that involves the head, heart and hands of every follower of Jesus stares at me today.

 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19  ESV

Prayer is the last building block and it is no secret that it comes out of the Psalms. Something a little bit different and yet of incredible relevance to me these days.

Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
    in heaven and on earth,
    in the seas and all deeps.
 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
    who makes lightnings for the rain
    and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. – Psalm 136:6-7  ESV

This reminds me so much of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. As I am trying to live in the realm of the kingdom of God, my prayer life is trying to put these building blocks in play.  God is in control and I need to invite Him more and more into my life so that He can take the building blocks and make something of me so I can serve Him as a vessel of honour.

Father, You put life in me to bring You glory. May I have the blocks built into my life so that You can move me and shape me into the follower that can glorify and lead others to You. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Corinthians 8; Psalm 3

I am still learning principles that are laying foundations in my life as a disciple of Jesus. One of those lessons has been in the area of giving. It was a difficult process and in some elements, even today, there are areas that I find challenging..

 But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels[g] of silver. – 2 Samuel 24:24  ESV

A key thought – if my offering to the Lord does not cost me anything, then it is not much of an offering. As a disciple of Christ, I am called to take up my cross and follow hard after Him.

I know there are moments when we want to count what we have as opposed to how much we are giving. Satan messed up David in this matter.

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1  ESV

So Paul has these strong words, in the form of a testimony, for me that have challenged me when I have gone astray in my own thinking, especially when I was beginning to hoard.

We want you to know, brothers,[a] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,  for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2  ESV

When I find myself stressed by circumstances, bills or pressures, it is in God’s Word where I find the lessons of giving. At the end of the day, this principle has always sustained me — 

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! – Psalm 3:8

Father, continue to allow me to be a blessing on Your people, keep the joy of Your salvation in my heart, and give me a testimony of giving that will encourage and strengthen others to do the same. I still need this to cost me. May I not be tempted to step aside. Thank you for walking with me through my journey of giving. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13

Two storylines catch my eye – the transportation of the ark and the dancing before the Lord.

I wonder, with David asking everyone if it was okay to bring the ark back to Jerusalem, why he did not ask how he should do it. It never struck me before, but his choice of delivery was not the Mosaic Law, but the way the Philistines had moved the ark – by cart. This ultimately ended in someone’s death.

It amazes me that it does not matter whether it was the right decision or how demonstrative the celebrations were, it was not God’s way.  What else am I doing that follows the traditions of people as opposed to what and how God wants me to do it?

 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio,[a] the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart,  with the ark of God,[b] and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs[c] and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. – 2 Samuel 6:3-5  ESV

I have found myself, from time to time, dancing before the Lord wholeheartedly. I can say that it is an amazing form of worship for me and I feel that no one is around when I dance in His presence. However, I can also say that I have had people say negative things about it and many make comments that I do not need to repeat.

And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” And David said to Michal, “… I will celebrate before the Lord. – 2 Samuel 6:20-22  ESV

Father, it would appear that I could be doing something wrong and I believe You are looking to me to spend time with You and make sure I am getting Your instructions. It would also appear that I am getting things right too. Help me not hear the voices of those who have words to give me that are not Yours. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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1 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 8; 1 Corinthians 8; Psalm 57, 58

I know that Paul was not the most sensitive man when it came to other people’s feelings. So I loved reading about the time he was right about the insignificance of idols and the fact that there was nothing sinful about eating meat sacrificed to them. But rather than trying to make a point, I can see that he wanted to make a difference. He demonstrated to me that he didn’t want to lose the right to disciple a weaker believer by leading them into sin. I admire that he didn’t push for his point of view. Instead, just like I need to learn, he willingly limited his freedom for the sake of weaker followers of Jesus who were still trying to figure out what that freedom was all about.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. – 1 Corinthians 8:9-13  ESV

In the church I was attending there were a bunch of teenagers that thought it was okay to drink. What they did not know was that a sixteen year old girl was struggling with alcohol. Her mother fought hard, prayed hard and finally the girl broke free from her addiction. One night, when walking across a parking lot from work, she bumped into this group of teenagers (from my church) who were drinking from the trunk of a car. They invited her to participate, and even when she declined, they pressured her saying that it was not a sin. She took her first sip and fell right back into her addiction. They bullied their freedom on to someone who had said no.

Father,  even though I do not know their story, why do I presume to think that everyone is the same as me? Lord, I want to walk alongside others, not make them like me, but make them like You. Help me challenge those who cannot see, help me love and not judge, help me walk alongside as You have walked alongside me. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 4-5; Galatians 4; Psalm 77

I have never seen this before, but didn’t the army of Israel look at the ark as a good luck charm – is that why they shouted?

As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. – 1 Samuel 4:5 ESV

So now they are untouchable, not because God walked with them but because they turned the ark into their “god.” I can recall right away movie scenes where people used the cross as their good luck charm or even the Bible and they warded off evil – only in the movies of course.

What do people see I put my trust in – my hope in – where does my joy sustain itself? I was challenged to love those I am with so that they could see God’s love for them.

My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! – Galatians 4:19 ESV

What makes my relationship with God harder than a good luck charm is that it costs me. First, that I care so much, and secondly that it means that my conversations with others are not shallow, but rather deep and meaningful. Finally, I forget the change is indeed painful. I go forward because I have learned that the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Are there doubts? Of course, why else the good luck charms? That is why Psalm 77 is so relevant as we experience change. This verse in particular grabs my attention.

Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion? – Psalm 77:9 ESV

Just like Israel, just like those I am walking with, I pray and I know God answers. Problem is solved. Then my feelings get involved and I wonder if He has received my notice because nothing seems to be changing. Then I wonder if I have sinned a sin that has blocked His favour. Too much wondering, too much worry and when I settle down and relax, rest, God speaks His love and everything goes back on track. No lucky charm required.

Father, I have learned to be patient and I have learned to trust You. From time to time, I find a way to forget, but I love the fact that when we spend time together, everything else comes together too, even my memory. Your love is powerful, fills my cup each day. I am thankful for the little resemblance I have of You and joy in others seeing You in me. Thank you. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Judges 1-4; Mark 10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. – Judges 2:10  ESV

I love Joshua, I tried to live my life like Joshua since I was a teenager. I did not like reading this verse this morning. Not sure why I had not read it before but that is probably because today God is calling me to make disciples and this is on my mind and heart.

Can you imagine, being in church, seeing miracles taking place and yet deciding to do evil in the sight of God? As we are in church – we are all informed, we have seen and heard of people experiencing God and I would dare say that most of us have even had a personal experience with God, and all of that has not kept us from running after other things.

How did Joshua feel on his deathbed of the legacy he was leaving behind? It must have dawned on him that he was a disciple of Moses and had somehow failed to do the same. Was there no one with a heart or faith to follow God? If I have learned anything this year it is this – godly living, careful instructions and powerful exhortations are not enough. I see through Joshua being discipled by Moses that it requires cultivating convictions and teaching what it means to serve the Lord. I need to take my own steps of faith to experience the great work of God in my life. I need to step forward and take responsibility to lead people and make disciples who will do the same.  Who will carry on the cause of Christ when I am out of the picture? Joshua was a great man of God, but he failed to pass the baton to the next generation.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45  ESV 

What a great example Jesus gives me – a servant model. He had one task and He finished it. He laid down His life in order for it to be accomplished.

I am a servant of Jesus – that means that I submit to His authority and His right to tell me to do what He needs me to do. I know fully well that He really does not need my help. So when I read that Jesus has come to serve, even those who serve Him, I joy knowing that He uses all of His divine resources to help, strengthen, guide, support and provide me with all my needs.  With such wind in my sails, I can be a servant too and give my time to others so that they too may serve with me.

Thank you Father. You have given me Jesus and I have everything I need. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar)

 

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