Category Archives: Old Testament

Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

If you assume that Christianity means satisfaction in this life of all your desires, including the ones that lie deepest in your heart, then you live as no person was meant to live. You demand satisfaction. You live for it. You feel entitled to it. You become incapable of real love, only self-centered passion.Dr. Larry Crabb

I thought of Joseph’s brothers and just how much they wanted their father’s love, and they wanted it desperately.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[o] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:3-4 HCSB

It reminds me of an important general lesson – being satisfied in love cannot be received from a father or mother, by friends or even monetary things. To be fully satisfied and content I must look to Jesus. That emptiness in my heart is reserved there as the only place He can fill. Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.

Lord, help me to be more faithful. (Psalm 12:1)

I walk away from reading Mark chapter fourteen with this invitation. If I would receive the life-changing love of Jesus and respond with extravagant devotion, I will never be the same again.

Father, the word love can be messy – it crosses healthy boundaries and makes things that are a hindrance in my life, like co-dependency, look like a good thing. In the pursuit of love, sometimes I even use manipulation, deception, coercion and even bribery to make things happen. But there is something wrong with this foundation – it is all about what I want. I am tired of the pursuit of wanting anything other than You. Everything else comes up empty, hollow, even baseless. Teach me how to invite You into my life. Teach me how to love like You. I look at what happened to Peter and know that he followed You from a distance. I want to make the decision to follow You as close as I can. I desperately want to be more faithful. May I find myself seeking only You – Your love will never fail – and that is the love I want.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

Many of my friends, who have families, have immigrated with an arranged marriage. All the questions I have about what that looks like in real life have been answered. So when I read of arranged marriages like the one of Isaac, I have a better picture of what it means.

And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 HCSB

A new home has begun and it is filled with love. I am sure that Rebekah loved Isaac too. Not in a romantic or sentimental kind of way but the kind of love that deepends and strengthens. The kind that stands the strain of trial, nor falters in the times of sickness or trouble.

For me and my wife it was “love at first sight.” Our love has been genuine in the sense that it has become more hallowed and more tender as the thirty-six years have gone by. As much as the arrangements were in place for their marriage, I believe that Isaac and Rebekah also experienced a “love at first sight.” I love the testimony that comes with a marriage that maintains a moral and life-long unity. A unity that proves to be a mutual blessing and represents that of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.

How quickly am I reminded how the Church is so messy in this arena. When there is no unity there is arguing. Where there is arguing there is no healing.

Then He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” – Mark 9:16 HCSB

What Jesus is really asking is – what is this big tear all about? He used the expression two other times in order to shed a unique light on the problem with the absence of unity.

Father, I am thankful for Your love for me that I can so graciously give the same to my wife. A home filled with You and filled with love is definitely a blessing. It is amazing to see love live, grow, be more in awe of, yield and so much more easily shared as our marriage matures. Love within the body of Christ also becomes a testimony of the relationship of Jesus and Your Church and those who see it, get it. How terrible it is when we cannot provide that testimony to the world who are looking at us. So many churches closing down, splitting, dwindling in numbers. They all have their story. I pray that our love does not become lukewarm. I pray that the Holy Spirit will spur us on to love one another, to honour each other. I pray that our testimony will be a light to a world who has lost hope. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20

But Josiah was determined to fight. He refused to listen to what God was saying through King Neco, so he disguised himself and went into battle on the plain of Megiddo. – 2 Chronciles 35:22 GNT

I am not sure where is the line that I have stepped over when it comes to not listening to God. I am amazed at the things I do when I could simply rest and listen. If I am not listening, I am definitely not praying.

“It was not of faith, else why ‘disguise’ himself? There is no record of any prayer before the battle, as in the case of so many of his godly ancestors; and this rash act of Josiah seems unaccountable.” – Knapp

There are so many promises of safety from God, why do I choose to ignore Him when He is talking to me.

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” – Revelation 21: 4 GNT

I am reminded that if I had turned my back on God somewhere along my journey, He is still there waiting for me and willing to walk with me.

The Lord Almighty answers, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.” – Malachi 3:1 GNT

I am thankful for God’s goodness and His grace. His promises are there for me because of His goodness and His faithfulness. His patience and His mercy see me through to the end.

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” – John 20:28-29 GNT

I make progress as I grow in maturity by confessing Jesus – the one I cannot not see from time to time and yet who I believe in all the time.

Father, I am not too sure why I fight battles that are not mine to fight. I am not too sure why I do not listen to advice that is given to me. I am even more unsure of myself when I think that You are not looking at me, watching me, knowing what I am thinking and doing – bascially thinking that I am fooling You. How do I come to such a place? Your promises are clear and simple and generous and yet I find a way to walk off the path. Thank you for making my journey of faith Your business. You come and find me and walk with me until I am firmly growing in my faith, coming to a place where I do not have to see to believe, but am able to believe without having to see. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Malachi, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

2 Chron. 26; Rev. 13; Zech. 9; John 12

“Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success…But when he became powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall…”Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!” Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead.” 2 Chronicles 26: 3-23

King Uzziah let pride be his downfall. God can turn any heart around, but Uzziah let anger control him. Small acts of faithfulness don’t always seem significant at the time. But, God honors them. I think on legacy. It’s not easy to have an eternal perspective in this world. What will I be remembered for?

“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:25&26

Am I serving God with a humble heart?

“Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the Synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” John 12:42&43 NLT

Dear Father, I pray for a deeper trust in you. That I wouldn’t easily be swayed by the opinions and praise of others. That I would desire you more than anything else. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, John, Revelation, Uncategorized, Zechariah

2 Chronicles 18; Revelation 7; Zechariah 3; John 6

I ran across another leader today who modelled how to be morally brave and heroic – Micaiah.

Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers, “Arrest Micaiah and take him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Prince Joash. Tell them to throw him in prison and to put him on bread and water until I return safely.”

“If you return safely,” Micaiah exclaimed, “then the Lord has not spoken through me!” And he added, “Listen, everyone, to what I have said!” – 2 Chronicles 18:25-27 GNT

Micaiah’s strength came from knowing his life was not in his hands, but in God’s. This could be the very reason I love the book of Revelation – revealing the end from the beginning.

After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd—no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. – Revelation 7:9 GNT

Here I can stand with thankfulness for the grace of God, through faith, that I have become a part of the body of Christ – to be a light and to proclaim the Gospel and to disciple the world. I expect miracles to take place when I engage and people to be saved.

In this arena of leadership, I expect some sort of engagement with the evil one – yet my Saviour exercises His authority, preventing his advance.

The angel of the Lord[b] said to Satan, “May the Lord condemn you, Satan! May the Lord, who loves Jerusalem, condemn you. This man is like a stick snatched from the fire.” – Zechariah 3:2 GNT

Yes, I know that the evil one wants to attack and harass those who have made a decision to follow Jesus. God is still in authority and only lets things happen what He deems necessary to happen. I love the account of Jesus telling Peter that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat, but Jesus said that He was praying for Peter and would stand beside him and would not allow the evil planned to take place.

The adventure that comes in following Jesus comes as I desire to seek Him.

I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty. – John 6:35 GNT

Coming to Jesus means I receive Him as a gift from God and is showcased by my desire, prayer, assent, consent, trust and obedience.

Father, I am thrilled with the opportunity to provide leadership to those I am serving. Sometimes I think more about serving than leading and I need You to help me recognise the times I need to be up in the front lines. I pray that You and I will always be talking together. My strength and all that You have called me to be comes from our relationship. Thank You. AMEN

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation, Zechariah