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.

1 Samuel 14; Psalm 124; Acts 10

It was one of those days again, it happened this past weekend – hearing someone verbally abusing just so they could hurt our family – all because we are different – all because we are the only followers of Christ in our family.

The Philistines said, “Look! Those worthless Israelites have crawled out of the holes where they’ve been hiding.”– I Samuel 14:11  CEV

I have been verbally abused for my faith by co-workers, by neighbours, by friends – but when it is family, it hurts most.  Somehow I know the promises of God when it happens with the others, but with my family I forget that God is there to protect me too.

Let’s praise the Lord!
He protected us from enemies
    who were like wild animals – Psalm 124:6  CEV

So as our family regroups and begins to pray for when our next family visit will take place, one of the most encouraging thoughts is that grace abounds where nothing else will do.  God wants our family to know Him – everyone is accepted.  As I lead my family through grace and as we heal, this one fact remains.

Peter said to them, “You know that we Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit. – Acts 10:28  CEV

It is a whole lot easier just to invite them to a church service and have them decline.  No, God has called them to Himself and as family, we are called to share Him with them.  I am reminded of what Jesus went through when He entered the very world He created.

I loved Courtney’s post where she wrote the entire Psalm 23.  That is how powerful that Psalm is – and it helped me this past weekend to know that I do not walk alone.

Lord, thank you for Your Word.  Thank you for Psalm 23. Thank you for speaking encouragement and allowing us to see others as You see them. Thank you for showing us how to take verbal abuse for our walk with You and how not to take it personally.  Give us the strength, give us Your Holy Spirit, and allow us to continue to serve You, speak about You and most of all, follow You even in the face of difficulties. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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

Judges 12-16; Psalm 146; Luke 24

Whenever I start feeling that God no longer sees me and from time to time, hears me, I love the stories of the Old Testament that show God has a long-term plan in place.  Samson is such a story.

“A prophet who looked like an angel of God came and talked to me. I was so frightened, that I didn’t even ask where he was from. He didn’t tell me his name,  but he did say that I’m going to have a baby boy. I’m not supposed to drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God’s laws. Our son will belong to God for as long as he lives.” – Judges 13:6-7  CEV

I know that God has an agenda – He wants to love people and bring them to Him – I know that because He loved me right into His Kingdom.

The Lord sets prisoners free
    and heals blind eyes.
    He gives a helping hand
    to everyone who falls.
The Lord loves good people
    and looks after strangers.
He defends the rights
of orphans and widows,
    but destroys the wicked. – Psalm 146:7-9  CEV

Why else would He send Jesus, His Son, to die for me?  And so when those doubts cross my mind, like they find a way to do and I feel that I am not seen or heard, I remember Jesus and what He did for me. More importantly, I remember that He rose from the dead and that His Spirit is in me and I am never left alone.

But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt?  Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.” – Luke 24:38-39

Lord, I know You see me and hear me – always.  I have no idea why such doubt crosses my mind from time to time but I am thankful they do not take complete control over me.  Thank you for Your Word – it always changes me and brings me to a place of healing and holds me safe.  I love You for loving me so much. 

evanlaar

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Joshua 1-4; Psalm 143; Luke 14

When Jesus called me, He called all of me.  It all began when I was 12 years old and when I was 14, I completely surrendered to Him. I wanted everything God had for me, I wanted nothing in the way between Him and I.  I read the Bible everyday looking for ways to obey Him and follow Him just like Joshua did.  Joshua became a role model for me for many years.

Long ago I promised the ancestors of Israel that I would give this land to their descendants. So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law[b] he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. – Joshua 1:6-8   CEV

My first spiritual dry experience came soon after when I was 15.  There was a long season of not praying and not reading my Bible – it seemed that everything that was relevant was not anymore.  In my boredom one day, I picked up one of my dad’s books called, Martyrs Mirror. It has a historical record of all the martyrs who had died for their faith beginning with the apostles and those from the early church.  Very early on in the book, probably the first five pages, I wept when I read of the passion of these early followers of Jesus and was ashamed that I had lost mine.

I remember to think about
the many things
    you did
    in years gone by.
 Then I lift my hands in prayer,
because my soul is a desert,
    thirsty for water from you. – Psalm 143:5-6   CEV

When I hit my knees to surrender myself, I gave Jesus my desires and my life.  It was then that I realized that I had really given Him my all.  It was never going to be my way, always His way and I realized that this was going to be the best adventure I could ever have. He had my life in the palm of His hand.

You cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own. – Luke 14:33

Father, You have never left me and You have walked with me in whatever circumstances I have been in.  You have seen me ashamed for having nothing, seen me embarrassed for being so small and little among others who know much more than I.  Yet, when I get on my knees before You, You make me feel like a giant, like I can do and accomplish anything because You walk with me.  I may not be like others, but when I walk with You, You walk with me and I am all that I need to be because You have called me to be Your child.  I love You for this and each new day is a day where I take Your hand and follow You. With a thankful heart.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Joshua, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 34-36; Luke 4

My wife and I are reintroducing ourselves to the television series starring the lawyer, Perry Mason. Reminds me how easy it is to judge and how critical it is for me not to.  I was always taught that my name was always a precious reputation but keeping that name is not always up to me. Just the idea that God knew I could be wrongfully accused and that He set up provision for these things makes me feel that my name nestled in the palm of His hand is the best place for me to be.

After you have crossed the Jordan River and are settled in Canaan,  choose Safe Towns, where a person who has accidentally killed someone can run for protection.  If the victim’s relatives think it was murder, they might try to take revenge.[c] Anyone accused of murder can run to one of these Safe Towns for protection and not be killed before a trial is held.  There are to be six of these Safe Towns,  three on each side of the Jordan River.  They will be places of protection for anyone who lives in Israel and accidentally kills someone. – Numbers 35:10-15  CEV

I grew up hearing stories of missionaries who shared stories of how angels came to the aid of those who were under attack.  Many quoted Psalm 91 and I am glad my mother made us kids memorize that Psalm at an early age. I have used it many times.  Satan tried to manipulate Jesus in the desert with the temptation of security and comfort in line with this whole idea.  Thankfully Jesus showed how to discern what real protection looked like.

The Scriptures say: ‘God will tell his angels to take care of you. They will catch you in their arms, and you will not hurt your feet on the stones.’” – Luke 4:10-11  CEV

I try not to put God to the test, but I have no fear when I walk a dark ally, or go across a vacant parking lot during the day or night.  Somehow I know it is not my time to go home and that God has a lot of work for me to do.  My wife says angels work on overtime when I leave the house.  I just preached a sermon on the Holy Spirit’s work as our Helper.  Fits right into this thought.  I believe our lives of peace come from leaving our hands in God’s – even when things are going terrible.  If I do not leave it in God’s hand, whose hand is big enough to hold it and keep it safe?

Father, I am thankful that You want to protect me and keep me safe.  I love the fact that You care for me very much.  Even so, there are days I start without You.  Forgive for those moments when I think my life is too important for You.

Erwin

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Numbers 1-2; Psalm 64; Hebrews 11

How thrilled I was to wake up this morning and find that our readings had left Leviticus and we had moved into Numbers.  That did not last too long.  I forgot how much Numbers was like Leviticus.  Yes, no worries, Erwin, God’s Word, whether in Leviticus or Numbers still changes hearts and lives and sure enough, today is no different.  Both chapters end with a great message and the last verses scream out to me – do everything that God tells me to do!

Israel did everything the Lord had told Moses. They arranged their camp according to clans and families, with each tribe under its own banner. And that was the order by which they marched into battle. – Numbers 2:34  CEV

I know that I have a choice to disobey God, but why would I?  Why would I choose fear when I can rest in His Word?  Why trust my eyes and what they see in the world? When I close them and pray, I say Jesus’ name, He comes into that world of mine and I know I am protected and I know I am safe in the palm of His hands.

Listen to my concerns, God,
    and protect me
    from my terrible enemies.
 Keep me safe from secret plots
    of corrupt and evil gangs. – Psalm 64:1-2  CEV

So there is no need to worry that I am not making as much money as I think I should be making.  There are no worries that my home is not filled with as much expensive stuff as others have.  My only worry is that I am doing what God has asked me to do.  I want Him to welcome me home when I enter His presence.

Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah,[c] and he looked forward to his reward. – Hebrews 11:26  CEV

Father, thank you for the promises that You have given me through Jesus.  Every day I wake up I have the choice of doing what You ask me to do or staying in my own little world filled with fear. Really not a hard choice to make, but somehow, each day, it becomes a choice.  Thank you for Your Word that finds a way to reach into my heart and change me, direct me and provide me purpose for the day.  You are so amazing – as I do Your work today, protect me, keep me safe – I will treasure You wherever I go. Love You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My wife and I celebrated a little bit earlier in the week.  We attended a Comedy Night sponsored by Focus on the Family.  Leland Klassen is one of my favourite comedians and he did not disappoint.

I still remember the day I gave my heart to Jesus, still one of my favourite memories when it comes to matters of the heart. He promised to be with me always, to never leave me, to guide me and lead me in my life and for His purposes.

Those moments I experienced were usually not as intense as when the children of Israel were crossing the desert, however, His peace was just as reassuring.

 No matter where the people traveled, the Lord was with them. Each day his cloud was over the tent, and each night a fire could be seen in the cloud. – Exodus 40:38   CEV

There is something about giving my heart to Jesus that changed quite a few things in my life – but today I will tell you two of them.

First, there was a change in me from how I viewed life.  I was a mean kid, made my older brother mad and made my younger brother cry.  I was a bully at school. Love has a way of reaching into an angry heart and soothing it.  Jesus gave me eyes like His and I saw things differently and saw the needs of others more clearly.

Secondly, I noticed I was different from others and others noticed I was different than them.  Often people would come up to me and ask me how I stayed happy even when they could see the world against me.  I would gladly tell them of Jesus.

You loved justice
    and hated evil,
and so I, your God,
    have chosen you.
I appointed you
and made you happier
    than any of your friends. – Hebrews 1:9  CEV

It is my prayer today, that as we celebrate with the one we love, that we remember the One who loved us first.  I have found my love for Him is an incredible foundation and reservoir of love for me to give away.

Father, thank you for loving so much and giving so much love that when You asked me to love I had more than enough to give away.  I do thank you so much for my wife.  I love her more than any other person and am so happy that she is part of my life.  Today, as I take a moment to remember the day You became the holder of my heart, my love for You knows no bounds.  How often the English language fails me in expressing my love for You.

Erwin

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Hebrews, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Exodus 7-9; Psalm 105; Ephesians 1

When I was younger, there was this author who became famous because he wrote these three books that really turned followers of Christ into the practice of being thankful and to focus on praising God into a powerful exercise. I love worship and learned a lot from this author. I bet when Moses heard how the Egyptians would know that God was the Lord and praise Him as such that he did not understand what making Pharaoh stubborn would do to fulfill that promise.

 But I will make the king so stubborn that he won’t listen to you. He won’t listen even when I do many terrible things to him and his nation. Then I will bring a final punishment on Egypt, and the king will let Israel’s families and tribes go.  When this happens, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. – Exodus 7:3-5  CEV

Regardless of life’s outcomes, God calls me to glorify Him – He calls me to praise Him, to tell everyone the amazing things He has done in my life.  So what has He been doing?  Well, if I did not meet Him each morning to find out what my plans were for the day, I probably would have nothing to share.

Praise the Lord
    and pray in his name!
    Tell everyone
    what he has done. – Psalm 105:1  CEV

I hear testimonies from older Christians who seem to have not much going on since they experienced something amazing with God 10 years ago.  Are they really saying that God has not been kind to them yesterday or the day before or last week?  I find myself praising God every day because everyday I wake up and breathe Jesus’ name into my prayer life and bible study. I am reminded of what God has done for me.  He did not do it just because of me, He does these things because He loves Jesus and so that is why I praise God every day.

God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. – Ephesians 1:6  CEV

Father, I am so sure that Moses had a hard time praising you through the ten plagues.  He only had your promise.  I have Jesus and I am so thankful because each day I can turn over to Him all of my worries and cares and anxieties and because Jesus’ loves me, He takes all of them and He carries them for me. I cannot think how any day I start is not filled with praising You for being my God, my Father. Today is no different.  I bless You and worship You and pray that today my life may glorify You for You are so worthy of being glorified. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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