Category Archives: Psalms

2 Kings 2-3; Psalm 48; Matthew 4

While Elijah did some amazing things and created a certain dynamic in his relationship with God, Elisha to me was the one who was a little more meek and perceived the things of God from a different perspective. One that I use more often. I am not known to be loud or bold.

What I love about Elisha coming across the Jordan, to Jericho, is that the prophets saw the change that took place in his life. The Spirit of God anointing His servant changes the individual bringing authenticity to life and ministry.

God, within Your temple,
we contemplate Your faithful love. – Psalm 48:9 HCSB

When I do this, my thoughts turn from a focus of the strength and majesty of God to a consideration of His covenant of love. Charles Spurgeon wrote about three different people in the church and how they should each think and speak more of the faithful love of God.

“Now, my dear sister, you have talked about that rheumatism of yours to at least fifty people who have been to see you; suppose you tell your next visitor about the lovingkindness of the Lord to you.”

“Yes, my dear brother, we all know that trade is bad, for you have told us so, every day, for I do not know how many years. And you have always been losing money, though you had no capital when you started; yet, somehow or other, you have managed to have something left even now. Well, we know that old story; could you not change your note just a little, and talk about the lovingkindness of the Lord?”

“Yes, my friend, I know that many professing Christian people are not all that they profess to be; I have heard you say soever so many times. You say also, ‘There is no love in the church.’ Well, so far as we can see, you are not overstocked with it. You say, ‘There is no zeal among the members,’ but have you any to give away to those who need it? Now, henceforward, instead of always harping on the faults and failing of God’s people – which, certainly, are numerous enough, but have not become any fewer since you talked so much about them – would it not be better to think and talk of the lovingkindness of the Lord?”

Jesus started His ministry after the 40 days and nights of fasting and one of His first acts was to begin calling disciples to follow Him. I am challenged by the bigger picture of loving God and loving others. When I hear the call, I know that I have been called too. I want to respond like the early disciples, that is, to leave my love for anything else in this world and to only love Him.

Father, thank You for loving me. I want to represent Your faithful love to others. May my spirit be so changed, that like Elisha, individuals would see You in me. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Kings, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Uncategorized

Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3

I watched a lot of black and white movies and a lot of musicals when I was back home, as a child, with my family. Here is a clip I pulled, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life. The solution to the question of the mystery of life was love.

“For it is love alone for which the world is seeking; and it is love alone which can repay.”

Solomon had not reached that conclusion yet. He is stuck on the secret of life being significance, meaningfulness, and a sense of contentment about one’s life.

There is a little more clarity here.

Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with its turmoil. – Psalm 46:2-3 HCSB

When God is on my side, how irrational fear is. Where God is there is all power and all love – why would I ever be afraid?

However, I know I can make my own choice, as Solomon did.

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 HCSB

Lovers of ourselves, love of self and focused more on self-love – they all have the word love in these expressions, but are not the words that would describe God when we say that God is love.

Love is only powerful when it reflects the very nature of God and my walk with God reveals that I have spent time with Him when in fact I have loved others as I have loved Him and He me.

Father, I want to mature in my love for You and for others. There is another way to live this life fulfilled, with meaning and with significance and that is to wrap myself in Your love and be changed by it. May my heart realize that when I am in You and You in me, I walk this life with no fear, and why should I? You walk with me. I am not sure how it is that I easily find myself thinking more about myself than others – forgive me. Teach me who I should spend time with in fellowship so that I will be encouraged and built up to serve You faithfully. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45; 2 Timothy 1

“Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity.”

Oft quoted. Sometimes even correctly attributed to the bible. But, what does it really mean, and what is the greater truth behind the statement?

I love digging into the original languages of Scripture and here we find the word “hebel” that is translated vanity. Hebel refers to something that is short-lived. Other translations of this word include the following: delusion, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futile, mere breath, nothing, useless, vapor, worthless.

Calling everything vanity is not giving it any compliments.

Next, we need to ask, “What is vanity? What is worthless?” (aside from the obvious, “all”)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 ESV

Nothing new under the sun, just lots of same ol’, same ol’ and chasing after the wind.

Solomon searched the earth for some type of meaning, purpose, or value. He tried it all. He poured himself into his work, he indulged every impulse, he achieved power and wealth, even in his wisdom he found only “vanity”– emptiness, a fraud.

That’s a little depressing. Is life just meaningless then?

10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13 ESV

Even in this vapor we call life, there is a meaning beneath the surface. In God’s love for us, He gave us this beautiful gift called life. Yes, it is full of ups and downs. Days of success and days we want to crawl back in bed, or worse. But all of that is beautiful in its time. Today I was chatting with a lady who was remembering her days of living in an urban setting and how parking tickets and getting her car towed unfortunately seemed to come with the territory. Now she can laugh about it. At the time it was a huge frustration. Now, it is a beautiful piece of the fabric of her life that even makes her smile at the memory.

22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.

Ecclesiastes 3:22a ESV

I might see an awful day (or even a good one) as mere vanity, but God’s weaving of my life takes light and dark threads. Not for my glory, but for His. Any earthly accomplishments are useless if not done in joy for God’s glory.

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

Psalm 45:1 ESV

The psalmist learned this. His tongue was ready to verbalize praise to God. He was ready, waiting for the opportunity. Sometimes the chance knocks me over the head before I take a breath and realize the perfect circumstance for praising God surrounding me.

Every moment is favorable for praise.

Promotion, lost job. Graduation, failure. Birth, death. Pain, ecstasy. Love, indignation. Fear, confidence. Change, stability. Dark, light. Progress, regression. Feast, famine.

All of it can usher us into the throne room to worship.

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14 ESV

Guard – from the Greek Phulasso. To guard, watch, constantly. Uninterrupted vigilance.

Both mountain-tops and valleys can pull our focus away from God, yet if we guard the spiritual gift of faith that we have, we will find them both a perfect time to praise Him. Uninterrupted vigilance will keep our eyes open to the spiritual perspective.

Awesome Creator-God, You have given me many gifts that I do not steward as carefully as I should. Strengthen my vigilance that it may truly be uninterrupted in guarding the purity of my faith in You and Your word. I want to worship You in each moment and learn the lessons and celebrate the moments that You place in my path. Help me to find the joy in the journey and not just rush through forgetting that You are my purpose. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Song of Solomon 7-8; Psalm 127; 2 Thessalonians 2

I love how God invades my quiet time with His Holy Spirit to tell me just how much He loves me, and how much He likes me, and how much He desires to give me favour.

I belong to my love,
and his desire is for me. – Song of Solomon 7:10 HCSB

It reminds me of a Sunday School song from years gone by – I am my beloved and He is mine, His banner over me is love.

A simple message but one that I missed in my early years of family. I had started to show the traits of a workaholic. One of the amazing gifts from God is sleep. Sleep is a gift from my Father.

In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food—
yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves. – Psalm 127:2 HCSB

When Jesus said that the truth would set me free, I can tell, by looking back over my life, that it has. In fact the love of truth is what started me on the road to becoming a follower of Jesus.

The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.  – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 HCSB

I wonder how others can reject and have no love for Jesus and the message of His salvation. The gospel in one hand and lying and deceit in the other and the other hand is chosen.

Faith combines with a sweet and voluntary reverence for God. I cannot believe the word of God unless it is lovely and pleasant to me.

Father, I am thankful every day that I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak into my life the truth of who God is and the gospel of Jesus. I cannot imagine my life without You. Today, You are truly a banner of love over me. It is as if love has empowered me and protected me in my journey with You. I love that I can set my alarm, early in the morning to spend time with You, and that I can shut work off and get to bed in a timely fashion to ensure my body and mind have the rest it needs for a fruitful and productive day. I pray that You will give me wisdom to share Your gospel in such a way as for others to sense Your love and see the power of Your truth. May many be set free. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Proverbs 11-13; Psalm 8; Romans 13

I am not too sure that I have met anyone who yielded pomp and power and was liked. I would like to say that favour is not obtained by wealth and I think that is true. I am almost absolute in believing that love is not commanded by authority or even dignity. I think there is an element of goodness found in each arena but violence has no room when it comes to being righteous. That is not to say that righteous people are all loved, but rather there is a love for the well-being of those who are righteous.

When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices,
and when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.

A city is built up by the blessing of the upright,
but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.
– Proverbs 11:10-11 HCSB

So when I reflect on who I am and my purpose I find myself reflecting on my identity and calling to lead, however, not on my own, but rather with God. I know that I am weak – how can I not? One look at the stars on a clear evening sky ensures that, yet not one second later, God seems to be whispering in my ear that He is pleased to walk with me and share His glory with me.

What is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God[c][d]
and crowned him with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:4-5 HCSB

That is why Paul is so keen to straighten us up. His world was all about earthly power. The Christians were wise to stay away from persecution by paying their taxes, doing what was good, and be subordinate to authorities established by God. But this is what warms my heart and strengthens my soul – Paul wanted those like me to acknowledge the debt of love I owed to other followers of Jesus – Paul turned the laws of the Roman State on their head.

Do not owe anyone anything,[b] except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments:

Do not commit adultery;
do not murder;
do not steal;[c]
do not covet;[d]

and whatever other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[e]

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 HCSB

How easy it is for me, when chaos strikes the world, to forget about the debt of love I owe to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Gospel calls me to love my neighbour and this comes from the debt of love prescribed by Paul.

I am challenged once again, as I have been so many times in the Old and New Testament, on the one most important commandment. I believe we call it The Great Commandment – Love God, Love People.

Father, my head knows how powerful love is, my heart knows how hard that is to do. I do believe that love can change not only my life, but my family’s, my workplace, my church and my neighbourhood. How does that look in my life? How can I be seen standing with You and still be relevant? I know what others think is normal is not normal to You – You ask more from me and You ask me to give my all, just like Jesus did. Teach me every day on how to love You, healthily and then from a place of health, teach me to love others. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, reading plan, Romans