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.

Luke 6:27-8:25 

Many individuals I meet are on different spiritual journeys and many unfortunately are not on that journey using the Word of God. It makes the journey harder than it should be. Many ask me this very simple question – what does God want me to do? The Word of God has pages filled on what one must do, and some of those things are really hard to do – things I cannot do on my own, I need the Holy Spirit. Here are a few.

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer for that person. – Luke 6:27-28 MSG

Do good. When I find a way I can do something good for one of my worst enemies, I will do it. Not to shame them, but because I am trying to find it in my own evil heart to love them for Jesus’ sake.

Bless. When I think of the person who is slandering me, and saying untrue and nasty things about me, I find ways to work blessing into my thoughts. I speak a blessing out loud. When I am with friends, instead of complaining about my unjust treatment, I go out of my way (actively) to speak well of my enemies. Why? To shame them? No — though it will. But to find it in my own heart to love them.

Pray. I begin to pray for my enemies. Actively. I start to ask God to help them. I ask God to heal the hurts in their lives that are some of the motivators of their evil actions. I ask God to bless them and show mercy to them. Why? To shame them? No, in order to find it in my heart to love them.

I think it is natural to return injury and insult, that is not the walk I signed up for. I want to live by Christ-honouring and Spirit-empowered alternatives.

There may not be a duty list, but there is a list of things to do that is not my duty. It is not my duty to be and do these things, yet, as a follower of Jesus I will do them. If anything, it is the Lord’s honour that is at stake in my life and not my own honour.

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – Luke 6:35-36 MSG

Father, I pray that the fruit of the Holy Spirit would be present in my life to be able to do all these things that You would like me to do and to be. I cannot do any of these things without having a relationship with You and engaging in You and You in me.

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Mark 8:1-10:12 

I have experienced personal physical healing in my life, I have seen healing take place when I have prayed at least on one occasion and I have prayed a thousand prayers for healing that I never saw take place. I am fairly certain that the gift of faith, healing or miracles are not for me. I am fascinated though with how Jesus demonstrates so much wonder when He heals, He is so personal, so life-changing.

They arrived at Bethsaida. Some people brought a sightless man and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Taking him by the hand, he led him out of the village. He put spit in the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up. “I see men. They look like walking trees.” So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus. – Mark 8:22-25 MSG

I have read many times how Jesus rebukes weakness of faith and how He honours faith. Here are some takeaways that I want to follow in my life.

  • I love how the blind man is willing to allow Jesus to lead him – I mean it was a walk out of the village. I need to give my life to Jesus and let Him lead me – it can only mean good things
  • People asked for sight and Jesus gave it. I need to keep going with my praying faith believing full well that Jesus can keep pace with it
  • The confidence of the people and the blind man, whatever their expectations were, received. I want to give my confidence to Jesus knowing that I will receive what I need as opposed to what I want.
  • The healing is always perfect and the method is always creative. I cannot forget that I will receive perfect gifts to my imperfect faith.

It is my faith that honours Jesus, and therefore Jesus will honour it. I know that even though my prayers may not have seen healing, the fact that I prayed in faith means that I was not dishonouring Him. I cannot tell Jesus how, why and when. Jesus will heal and I know that He will because I believe in Him. He knows the best method and I trust Him without reservation.

Father, forgive me when there are moments of doubts of my own relationship with You because a prayer of faith produced no results when it comes to healing. Thank You that You have given me the opportunity of praying for so many and I know that somewhere in their lives You were present because of that prayer. I look forward to continuing to pray for others to be healed and trust You to be the one who knows the how, why and when.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Mark, New Testament, reading plan

Matthew 21-22 

I am not too sure I clearly understand what actually took place in the arena of Jesus dialoguing with the Pharisees. I see the argument and I can see why apologetics gets so much interest these days as I see Jesus winning the argument. Something tells me that He did more than just win the argument.

When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” – Matthew 22:34-36 MSG

The Pharisees decided to get together, choose their champion, and find a way to challenge Jesus’ honour, Actually, I believe they wanted to do more than that – they wanted to shame Him.

I am amazed that the Pharisees would ask this question in a public setting, among people where honour and shame were a part of everyday life. Everyone there understood that this question was asked in the context of an honour-shame challenge. The Pharisees must of thought the possibility of winning was very high. I hope it is not too funny, but I like Westerns, and it reminds me of a gun fight with four or five against one.

In a more religious context, it was probably more like an inquisition of sorts where a trap was laid out for public viewing, and the thought was that the audience would see Jesus stripped of His honour.

As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said, “David’s son.”

Jesus replied, “Well, if the Christ is David’s son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his ‘Master’?

God said to my Master,
    “Sit here at my right hand
    until I make your enemies your footstool.”

“Now if David calls him ‘Master,’ how can he at the same time be his son?”

That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good. – Matthew 22:41-46 MSG

I love how the Message translation calls this – “As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with His own test question.” Jesus is saying that if you want to play the game, let’s play. In doing so, Jesus is elevated to a place of honour and He shames the Pharisees, by winning the challenge.

Great story, with a great ending. I am not an apologetics person and I do not want to be. I will be in situations where there will be those who want to shame me – what do I do? I trust the Holy Spirit to give me the words, the prayer, the faith and boldness, even the courage just to stand. Is that enough? It will have to be.

Father, I do not doubt the work of the Holy Spirit – He is enough. Thank you for sending Him to walk with me.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Matthew 1-4 

I am not too sure where to begin – this is the first glimpse into the New Testament! Since I have been focusing on honour-shame, I think I will take a look at the power of water baptism. I remember my baptism when I was fourteen, I remember my wife’s baptism and I remember my two children and their baptism. Each of us had powerful connections with God as we obediently followed Jesus’ example.

Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. John objected, “I’m the one who needs to be baptized, not you!”

But Jesus insisted. “Do it. God’s work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism.” So John did it.

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” – Matthew 3:13-17 MSG

I look at the ascribed honour that came from the Father and what a powerful example of the work of the Trinity, of the family of God. Jesus did nothing to earn honour, it was given to Him solely because He was God’s Son.

I find that Jesus strength comes from Him being completely secure in who He was. It is how He was so meek. Jesus did not have an honour-deficit, there was no competition to gain glory. So I find myself being challenged as I see Jesus confronting the devil in the desert. Jesus is courageous in His resistance, He understands God’s Word and obeys the principle of who God is – all throughout maintaining His integrity, holiness and honour. He actually wins the honour competition with the devil.

As a follower of Jesus, this is what it means to me.

  • I experience God’s honour and love as as valuable prerequisite to ministry
  • I embrace the honour and power of the Kingdom of God with absolute humility
  • I identify rivalry as sin for there should be no honour competition in my faith community. I have experienced my shame covered and my honour restored just like the Prodigal son. This story, when I read about it here – The Father’s Love Gospel Booklet – reminded me to offer the same to my brother and sister in Christ

Thank You Father for water baptism – I went down with shame and came up with honour – such a powerful demonstration of Your love.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Obadiah 1:10-21; Jonah; Micah 1-3

Nineveh was always evil and so why did God pay special attention this time to what they were doing? Sometimes I think that I can get away with some things that I do that does not honour God. At some point, like with Nineveh, God takes exception to how I treat His honour and my sin literally ends up in God’s face.

“Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” – Jonah 1:2 MSG

I only understand this when I apply the Middle East culture of honour and shame. A culture where they try and protect their honour or even try to gain more honour for their family. A culture where I try and not lose honour or to be shamed for that would be a tragedy and I might need to take steps to defend my honour or regain the honour that was lost.

So Nineveh reached a stage in its life where God’s honour was being challenged. At least God was giving them a chance as opposed to Sodom and Gomorrah. Jonah is the prophet called on to tell these people that His honour had been violated and it was Jonah’s job to defend God’s honour.

Then they grilled him: “Confess. Why this disaster? What is your work? Where do you come from? What country? What family?” – Jonah 1:8 MSG

Jonah really messed up because he missed this purpose point of God’s honour needing to be defended. Even the people on the boat knew the storm was all about him. He tried to deny it but in the end he knew he had to confess. I know I have found myself in this very same situation – when will I learn to confess right away so that loved ones are not caught in God trying to get my attention.

I continue to have stories where I am running away from God – I cannot figure out why flight is my first response. Running away is an action that people do not like and it is considered a deviant behaviour in a honour-shame culture.

Father, I am not sure why flight is my first motivation – flight away family members, from church family, from confrontation at work – help me understand that I am called to lead and to lead means I stand. Especially if You have called me to proclaim and defend Your honour. I ask that You empower me with Your Holy Spirit so I know that I do not move forward on my own, but with You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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