Category Archives: reading plan

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

2 Samuel 21-23; Psalm 18; Romans 3

I keep asking myself what love looks like, the more excellent way Paul alluded to. I remember this story well and even though it had to be done that did not stop love from being on display.

Rizpah, Aiah’s daughter, took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on the rock from the beginning of the harvest[g] until the rain poured down from heaven on the bodies. She kept the birds of the sky from them by day and the wild animals by night. – 2 Samuel 21:10 HCSB

There is something about a mother’s love that cannot be described, but here it is on full display. I know that a mother’s love is tried and tested and on occasion there is much sorrow. It seems that love also brings with it grief. The more deep and tender the love, so much the more poignant the grief. And, as a mother loves most, she is most susceptible of sorrow.

I look at my wife, the mother of my children, and I see someone who is utterly unselfish. She loves because it is her nature. She does not love in hope that one day they will love her back, but rather because even with those who might likely die, they will never bereave her of her love.

When David uses that same intensity of love, I take notice and compare my own love for God next to his and next to my wife.

I love You, Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1 HCSB

He used an unusual word here, an uncommon one, used more with being impulsive and emotional. I am cut off guard because it expresses a compassionate love that is used more from the stronger one to the weaker.

“Hebrew – I will love thee dearly and entirely…from the very heart-root.” – Trapp

It is the only occasion in Scripture where the word “love” is used with such special depth and tenderness. I am challenged to say “I love You” to my God who had delivered me, rescued me, and who walks with me, with such an intensity of love that has been put on display by Rizpah and David.

Father, teach me to know what it means to love in a more excellent way. How many times I get into Your Word, start studying, start praying and yet all I need to do for a moment is give some time to express our love for each other. I pray for more quiet moments like these to be able to express my love for You. While I am out and about, if my love for You needs to be passionate, may I not be embarrassed. May I give my all so that everyone watching can see the intensity of my love for You. May I find the strength to give it away with no regrets.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Samuel, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Romans

2 Samuel 1-2; 1 Chronicles 11; Psalm 96, 106; Acts 21

I was amazed at the song that David wrote for Saul and Jonathan. I am sure the words he chose came easily as he thought more about Jonathan rather than Saul. He called it the “Song of the Bow.”

There is love of country and love of a friend – more than a friend – for David never found another man he could love like Jonathan.

I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother.
You were such a friend to me.
Your love for me was more wonderful
than the love of women. – 2 Samuel 1:26 HCSB

I have never experienced such love for a friend, however, I have heard of it and understand it. I am not sure Jesus had such a friend, but I am challenged to be a Jonathan to those who are called and anointed for leadership.

David was a man, a leader, who drew other leaders to him. When he wished for water from the well in Bethlehem, those that loved him braved all danger, risked their lives, and made sure they offered him a cup of that water. I am challenged again to look at my love for Jesus, my personal love. Love is a mighty bond – Jesus’ love for me – He braved all dangers, and His love caused Him to lay down His life for me. He loves me and that love ensures that I have a covenant with Him that nothing can get in-between.

This love unites and I see it in the New Testament.

Father, I have easily written love songs to You – they flow from my heart because of Your love for me. You have been my best friend since the day I met You and You have never left me alone. You have brought me through valleys as dark as death and have surrounded me with Your protection when I faced death. I am amazed how easily I could have been destroyed, if Your hand was not there to hold me. There is not an argument in the world that can convince me otherwise, even the threat of death. I grieve for those who do not know You as I have come to know You. They have not gone through the experiences that I have. Help me be a Jonathan or a Paul or a Barnabas or a Timothy to them and allow me to love them as You have loved me. Amen

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

Judges 17-18; Psalm 21; Acts 1

Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest.” – Judges 17:13 HCSB

A striking note to me today as I think how individuals like Micah, think God comes in good luck charms. I can easily fall into a combination of Heathenism, Judaism and Christianity. While I grasp the complex concept of the Trinity, why do I still find myself thinking that God has little interest in the affairs of this world, either in a way of present control, or of future retribution?

It happens when I miss God’s goodness and grace that comes to meet me all the time.

For You meet him with rich blessings;
You place a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked You for life, and You gave it to him—
length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through Your victory;
You confer majesty and splendor on him.
You give him blessings forever;
You cheer him with joy in Your presence.
For the king relies on the Lord;
through the faithful love of the Most High
he is not shaken. – Psalm 21:3-7 HCSB

The grace of God’s love loves me before I ever loved Him. His grace of restraint keeps me from committing sins that would put me more out of reach of the Gospel.

All these were continually united in prayer,[c] along with the women, including Mary[d] the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. During these days Peter stood up among the brothers[e]—the number of people who were together was about 120… – Acts 1:14-15 HCSB

I can see this grace resulting in change that took place in the lives of the disciples. Did they not argue, on more than one occasion who among them was the greatest? Yet after the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension, they no longer argued but were truly united because there was trust among them. As a follower of Jesus I must learn to trust other followers, being united together to fulfill the Great Commission.

I saw that they were not concerned about who was the greatest, whose sin was worst or least, they were only concerned on how they could fulfill that Great Commission. That brought unity – everyone had the same goal.

Father, I pray that I do not fall into thinking like the world does about You. I pray that Your grace will meet me each day and that Your goodness will walk with me always. I pray that I will have time to honour You for Your blessings and I look forward to Your presence that enables me to rely on You and experience Your love. I sense Your strength ensuring that in my life. May I enjoy the presence of other believers and together may we share the good news of Jesus to the world that needs it and are looking for You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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

Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

What I love most reading Joshua chapter five and the first nine verses is how God places a premium on preparation. I see it in the New Testament too. Even in the preparation I am reminded that this is all for one task – cross the Jordan. It had nothing to do with the second task of taking Jericho for that required a different kind of preparation. In this case circumcision became the physical sign of a covenant, a mark that these were God’s people. I love the symbolisim of what God would do in my heart, enabling me to love Him. I am so thankful for the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

While the Israelites camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they kept the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month.[d] The day after Passover they ate unleavened bread and roasted grain from the produce of the land. – Joshua 5:10 HCSB

However, this preparation, celebrating the Passover, won my heart for I believe the spirit of unity is the soul of victory. It was a time of being thankful, together, a time to remember together.

Remember how the story of the prodigal son ended?

But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. – Luke 15:32 HCSB

The father loved the older son as much as the younger one and reminded him that all his wealth and all his property were at his disposal. There was time needed for the older son to reorient his thinking. He needed to see that they had something to celebrate – the brother who was thought dead, is alive. There had to be a party – the one lost was now found. I always wonder if the older brother ever recognized his self-righteousness, arrogance and lovelessness and made the decision to come to the party or did he resist the invitation because of his stubbornness and hard heart.

I know that same invitation to prepare, to celebrate is the same invitation that Jesus gives to me. It also is the same invitation he gave to the Pharisees and scribes and every other sinner that ever lived. What an invitation it is – a call to respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Father, I love how You prepare my heart, taking each day, one day at a time, to grow me and mature me in my walk with You. I might be tempted to see it as a walk of trust or one of faith, but in my heart I know that You are calling me to a walk of love. When I watched You pray, prepared the Last Supper, prepare hearts for Your death and resurrection and specifically Your love for Peter, who You knew would struggle and fail so hard, I know that You have me in a special place too, preparing me for what You have called me to do. May today be no different, may I expect to be in awe of Your presence in my life.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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