Category Archives: reading plan

Daniel 4:28-7:12 

When God steps in my life, I know what He wants to do. Do I try and deny, definitely, but deep down I know the truth. When people say they do not know why God does what He does, something goes against who God is with that statement. I think God tells people what He is going to do because He wants the honour that comes with the actions. Nebuchadnezzar was no different.

God met with King Nebuchadnezzar and called him on his pride – 7 years is what God knew it would take for him to repent and praise and honour God at the end. I have never been given a timetable, but God has always given me a reason for what I am going through. When people ask me if I would live my life the same way again, my answer is always – yes. It was that journey, His journey, that made me who I am today.

The secret in the hard times and the redemption, reconciliation or restoration that comes after those times was that God would be praised and receive all the honour as God. I have seen this first hand in my life. It is what makes me a little weird and passionate. Let’s face it, Nebuchadnezzar saw the miraculous hand of God more than any other king. While he might have acknowledged God each time, he does not give Him full honour and praise.

Consequences are not normally as extreme, but some people have thick heads. He lost the honour of his kingdom. He was deprived of his honour as a man. And the animal he turned into was not a royal one, but rather, like an ox, ate grass.

At the end of the seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked to heaven. I was given my mind back and I blessed the High God, thanking and glorifying God, who lives forever:

“His sovereign rule lasts and lasts,
    his kingdom never declines and falls.
Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much,
    but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going.
No one can interrupt his work,
    no one can call his rule into question. – Daniel 4:34-35 MSG

Is this worth 7 years to wait for and then to spend eternity with God? For all those complaining as to what God has done in your life – I judge because so many have judged God without knowing Him. However, I need to love them back into the kingdom of God.

This is God’s goal in my life. It is why I was created, it is why Jesus came to save me – everything must serve God to His honour and praise.

What a difference between the path Pharaoh took from that of King Nebuchadnezzar. I love the choice of choosing Nebuchadnezzar’s path as wild as that might seem. I love how God restores his honour and when honoured, Nebuchadnezzar praised God for his honour. Beautiful.

Father, do what it takes to get my attention when I stray from honouring and praising You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ezekiel 32:1-34:24 

My dad would not really share the good news of the gospel with others in order for them to repent and begin to follow Jesus. No, he told them about hell and scared them into making that decision. I cannot say it was effective, and am reminded of him when I read the results of shame and the demise of entire people groups going to hell for not acknowledging God.

God, the Master, says:

I’m going to throw my net over you
    —many nations will get in on this operation—
    and haul you out with my dragnet. – Ezekiel 32:3 MSG

I notice that this net is not going to miss anyone. There will be a lot of people in this net. Those who thought they were somebody are going to be ashamed and filled with shame.

Pharaoh will see them all and, pompous old goat that he is, take comfort in the company he’ll keep—Pharaoh and his slaughtered army. Decree of God, the Master. – Ezekiel 32:31 MSG

This really gets me thinking. Pharaoh is now with the Persians, people of the north, Sidonians and Egyptians in hell, and he does not seem to have the same shame as the others. In fact, he will see everyone and – take comfort in the company he’ll keep. Seriously, there is comfort knowing that you are not the only one to suffer such shame and disgrace in judgment – I never would have figured it to be so. I have to assume Satan feels the same way.

What a picture of the destruction of nations describing what happens when I do not acknowledge God and do not repent when I do. Shame is the ultimate outcome.

I cannot end here. I have to bring Israel back into the picture – where do they land in all of this? Before they find themselves in hell as well, God commands them to be ashamed, while they are living. Here in Ezekiel 36:16-32 is the dialogue they hear from God. Their humility comes from knowing and from learning the outcomes from the punishment they have received and now the way is open for reconciliation with God. God has a definite view of honour and shame and I grasp that and I am sure the people of Israel grasped that as well. If I want a relationship with God, transparency in acknowledging shame is a good thing. It is in the offering of my shame to God that I am set free – truth sets me free. God then completes the reconciliation and the restoration and my status goes from shame to honourable shame as it becomes a part of my testimony to my relationship and journey with Him.

Father, I have to admit my shame to You and submit my pride to You. I do not want You to be only an addition to my life, I want to be a submission to You. Challenge me today, everyday, to be the man You have called and visioned me to be. Let not Your Holy Spirit leave me alone.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Ezekiel 9-12 

I have to admit that today’s reading speaks loudly into why it is good to read through the whole Bible in a year. I had forgotten so many things, but especially one thing – the mark.

Kill old men and women, young men and women, mothers and children. But don’t lay a hand on anyone with the mark. Start at my Temple. – Ezekiel 9:6 MSG

There was a cleansing going on and only those with a mark were redeemed.

“In the sanctuary God should have been most honored, but there He was most dishonored and provoked, and there His holiness would most fully and certainly be vindicated.” – Feinberg

The reason for the cleansing was because the persistent sin presumed on God’s patience and grace and it definitely dishonoured His holiness. As with Sodom and Gomorrah, God honoured the fact that some remained faithful to Him. On them He placed a mark similar to the blood splattered over the door post on the last plague that fell on Egypt – the punishment of death would passover.

This entire experience is about their relationship with God. In fact, Ezekiel creates a step by step view of the presence of God leaving the people. It is quite fascinating to know that when He leaves there is always time to repent. Why do I let pride keep me from waiting so long?

Step #1

The Glory of the God of Israel ascended from his usual place above the cherubim-angels, moved to the threshold of the Temple, and called to the man with the writing case who was dressed in linen.

Then the Glory of God ascended from the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the Temple. The cloud filled the Temple. Court and Temple were both filled with the blazing presence of the Glory of God.  – Ezekiel 9:3; 10:4 MSG

The honour and glory and presence of God – moved to the threshold of the Temple.

Step #2

Then the Glory of God left the Temple entrance and hovered over the cherubim. I watched as the cherubim spread their wings and left the ground, the wheels right with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Temple. The Glory of the God of Israel was above them. – Ezekiel 10:18-19 MSG

The honour and glory and presence of God – left the Temple entrance and hovered over the cherubim.

Step #3

Then the cherubim spread their wings, with the wheels beside them and the Glory of the God of Israel hovering over them. The Glory of God ascended from within the city and rested on the mountain to the east of the city. – Ezekiel 11:22-23 MSG

The honour and glory and presence of God – ascended…and rested on the mountain to the east of the city.

What kind of person should I avoid being like if I do not want the presence of God leaving me?

Father, I cannot miss this, I cannot miss You taking steps away from me and not be able to notice them. I am like David, praying, “take not Your Holy Spirit from me.”

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Jeremiah 41:11-45:5

I never knew how much in common Baruch and I have when it comes to ministry and our relationship with God because of that ministry. God is gracious and leads with kindness and favour and that is what makes it all work. For two years I prayed asking God to move in my life and for two years nothing. When He did move, it was an amazing thing to see and experience.

When Jeremiah finished telling all the people the whole Message that their God had sent him to give them—all these words—Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah, backed by all the self-important men, said to Jeremiah, “Liar! Our God never sent you with this message telling us not to go to Egypt and live there. Baruch son of Neriah is behind this. He has turned you against us. He’s playing into the hands of the Babylonians so we’ll either end up being killed or taken off to exile in Babylon.” Jeremiah 43:1-3 MSG

Here is Baruch, a sidekick to Jeremiah, and he is getting blamed for all the things Jeremiah is saying. Jeremiah still gets no honour as the prophet.

You say, ‘These are bad times for me! It’s one thing after another. God is piling on the pain. I’m worn out and there’s no end in sight.’ – Jeremiah 45:3 MSG

Baruch declares these times to be bad times – I have done the same. At the end of the day, I realise just how honourable it is to be a servant of God, for Baruch, a scribe to a Prophet. How much closer could he be in receiving words from the mouth of an angel.

So forget about making any big plans for yourself. Things are going to get worse before they get better. But don’t worry. I’ll keep you alive through the whole business. – Isaiah 45:5 MSG

This promise from God really matters. It mattered in my life too. God sees loyalty and that gained Baruch honour beyond anything he could have anticipated. I have seen the same honour in my life and am looking forward to seeing more favour as I continue to faithfully follow God.

Father, I do not miss the pain that growing comes with in my walk with You. I know I am going to have some more pain along the way. I love Jeremiah’s faithfulness and love how You have revealed Baruch’s thoughts for they are encouraging and they strengthen my own resolve. I look forward to serving You today and pray that I may be a blessing to all I meet along the way.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Jeremiah 16:10-20:18 

I am not a black and white kind of guy. I have felt that being moldable has far to many advantages and that kind of lands me in the gray. I have found myself staying away from famous verses in my daily readings and today, I think I hit most of them. Not only that, I have been taught a valuable lesson.

God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”

So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. – Jeremiah 18:1-4 MSG

It all starts here, at this very famous rendering of a potter’s house.

First thought – living a life of honour is not about living a perfect life. Living a life of honour means I am living in a way that lets Jesus break off the old life so He can make me into a new vessel with renewed purpose and a greater capacity to do what He has called me to do.

Lesson learned – Jesus does not define me by my brokenness. Jesus sees my full potential to honour God and serve others. Somewhere, right in the middle is a process called sanctification and it is here that I need to be moldable. Why am I still holding on to areas of my life that I do not want Him to change or shape? I can think of quite a few areas where He has molded me. I do find freedom in all of them. What is up with me holding back?

God said to me, “Go, buy a clay pot. Then get a few leaders from the people and a few of the leading priests and go out to the Valley of Ben-hinnom, just outside the Potsherd Gate, and preach there what I tell you. – Jeremiah 19:1-2 MSG

Jeremiah amazes me. He is a nobody, in fact, he is weird by any definition. Yet, he has the honour and authority to invite key leadership to meet him in a valley, outside the city and hear what he has to say – that is impressive to see God honouring His servant – Jeremiah is a least an equal to these individuals.

Father, I have heard so many sermons on who you are as a potter. I love how many try and capture Your essence in this job and I am sure, even as I am today, that we never quite get all of it. I am thankful for how You reveal Yourself and thank You for what You have shared with me today.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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