Category Archives: reading plan

Exodus 14:21-17:16 

When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and the entire Egyptian army died that day, Moses wrote and sang a song —

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together,

I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
    He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
    and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
    and I’m telling the world!
This is the God of my father—
    I’m spreading the news far and wide!
God is a fighter,
    pure God, through and through.
Pharaoh’s chariots and army
    he dumped in the sea,
The elite of his officers
    he drowned in the Red Sea.
Wild ocean waters poured over them;
    they sank like a rock in the deep blue sea.
Your strong right hand, God, shimmers with power;

    your strong right hand shatters the enemy.
In your mighty majesty
    you smash your upstart enemies,
You let loose your hot anger
    and burn them to a crisp.
At a blast from your nostrils
    the waters piled up;
Tumbling streams dammed up,
    wild oceans curdled into a swamp. – Exodus 15:1-8 MSG

I can feel the words declaring that God is worthy of such honour and praise because of who He is, and because of His great redemptive work.

It is a holy song, consecrated to the honour of God and intended to exalt His name and celebrate His praise which is designated only to Him – holiness to the Lord is engraved on it. To God they made the melody in the singing of it.

I find myself very easily joining them in this song for I too have reason to heap honour on God.

There is something I have to do. I have to find more ways to honour God in worship. It cannot just be with my tongue though, I have to honour Him with a humble awe on my spirit.

Here is what I know when I look at the words of this song – all the honour of the victory were reverently laid at God’s feet.

Father, I know You have heard the songs I have sung to You, whispered to You, cried to You, even whistled to You. The release of these songs have all made me a free man as I walked into the next chapter of my life a little bit more wiser than the one I was leaving. I want to honour You, may the Holy Spirit enable me to find ways to humbly come before You and keep finding ways to show You my awe of who You are. Touch and fill me with Your Spirit. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 42:29-45:15

There are two arenas I am challenged in today – discrimination and boundaries.

Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won’t eat at the same table with Hebrews; it’s repulsive to them). The brothers were seated facing Joseph, arranged in order of their age, from the oldest to the youngest. They looked at one another wide-eyed, wondering what would happen next. When the brothers’ plates were served from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s plate came piled high, far more so than his brothers. And so the brothers feasted with Joseph, drinking freely. – Genesis 43:32-34 MSG

I noticed how much prejudice there was in the seating arrangements. When it comes to discrimination, I do not believe I am even aware that I could very well be the one judging from the inside and then finding myself, on the outside, acting them out. I asked God to check my heart to see if I had ever thought I was better than others and how did I act. I am sad to say that God brought back memories of times where I did act like I was better than others and how I held them in contempt in my heart and how I portrayed that in my actions. I had to ask God for forgiveness for my arrogance. There is something about pride that enslaves – a poisonous root. I know that this type of partiality and discrimination are incompatible with being a follower of Jesus.

That leads me to my second thought about setting boundaries. While I accept God’s forgiveness, I think about what that might really look like when I am with others who have harmed me. While I have heard many sermons on what forgiveness looks like, I think I really like Joseph’s approach here. He used a test to see if his brothers were in a better place than when he was with them. How they performed in the test would determine his next course of action. I believe that today we might use the term – boundaries – when determining our trust factor.

As his father Jacob honoured him and that caused resentment among his brothers, Joseph mimicked that by honouring Benjamin as his distinguished guest. He wanted to honour Benjamin, but he was also testing his brothers’ feelings. Would they hate Benjamin as they had hated him? They passed the test.

Sometimes in the hurry towards forgiveness, which I am a fan of, I still think that boundaries are a healthy place for us to create. I never thought of testing relationships to see if they have grown or changed but it sounds like a good place to also start getting rid of some of my prejudices that I have created along the way.

Father, I am challenged today and ask that You walk with me and show me how to be more like You. I ask for Your wisdom as I navigate these two areas of my life.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 24:28-26:35

I have many friends who arrive in Canada from other cultures where arranged marriages are the norm. I pepper them with questions and ask them to help me relate to stories like Isaac and Rebekah.

The servant said, “I’m the servant of Abraham. God has blessed my master—he’s a great man; God has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, servants and maidservants, camels and donkeys. And then to top it off, Sarah, my master’s wife, gave him a son in her old age and he has passed everything on to his son. My master made me promise, ‘Don’t get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I live. No, go to my father’s home, back to my family, and get a wife for my son there.’ I said to my master, ‘But what if the woman won’t come with me?’ He said, ‘God before whom I’ve walked faithfully will send his angel with you and he’ll make things work out so that you’ll bring back a wife for my son from my family, from the house of my father. Then you’ll be free from the oath. If you go to my family and they won’t give her to you, you will also be free from the oath.’ – Genesis 24:34-41 MSG

This was my lesson from this passage as I applied this very prayer when I asked God to help me discover the woman He had planned for me to marry. Prayer mattered to me more than anything else – it closed and shut doors and guided the decision making process so that the emotion of love did not usurp the call. There was a sense of fidelity in honouring God and in trusting Him to help me make an important, life-time decision. I depended completely on the honour that God would give me because of my decision to walk with Him.

After the servant told Isaac the whole story of the trip, Isaac took Rebekah into the tent of his mother Sarah. He married Rebekah and she became his wife and he loved her. So Isaac found comfort after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 MSG

As this story closes with my thoughts of happiness for the future, I am struck with the honourable reaction of Isaac’s affection. I find that my relationship with God mirrors itself in my relationship with my wife. When God and I are good, so is my intimacy with my wife. There is another lesson here as well. Because I know that God sent a woman into my life to be my wife, I honour her and receive her as such and could not think of her in any other way – a blessing.

Father, thank you for modelling honour through the loving relationship of the Trinity. I know you want me to do the same with my family. Give me wisdom to love so that my wife will see You in me.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 1-3

What an expression of God’s honour as Creator when I read how He created the world and everything in it and made Adam and Eve in His own image.

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
    reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
    the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
    and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
    he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
    He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
    “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
    for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” – Genesis 1:26-28 MSG

I am amazed that God decided to honour us by giving us the responsibility of taking care of His creation.

Since sin had not yet appeared, Adam and Eve did not experience shame – towards God, themselves or any part of creation, although they were naked.

  The Man said,
“Finally! Bone of my bone,
    flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman
    for she was made from Man.”
    Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
    The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:25 MSG

I am not too sure that Adam and Eve so easily disdained their God-given honour to disobey Him – but they did. This not only put in place the affects of death, this action resulted in shame – both physical and spiritual.

It has become apparent that God dealt with their inward shame by killing an animal which created the precedent that sin is covered by the shedding of blood.

God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them. – Genesis 3:21 MSG

God dealt with their outward shame by providing garments from these animals’ skins to cover their nakedness. It is here where the foundation of my sin lies and here where I feel guilt and shame for doing so.

I am wired to understand that Jesus died to take care of my guilt problem, but I need to know and share with others that He also died to take care of my shame problem.

Father, thank you for sending Jesus to take care of not only the harm I have done, but the harm that has been done to me. Harm that has caused guilt and/or shame in my life. Help me share this message with others who are still struggling to give You all of this so that You may be honoured in their lives once again. This is the miracle of Your love and I thank you for it. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Job 18-20; Psalm 141; Revelation 15

Growing up in a dysfunctional home does not make me an expert as to what love looks like. Through trial and error, and many more errors, I began my journey to being relatively healthy except when it comes to conflict with those I would call my superiors in the workplace. They have not modelled love very well and to this day I still struggle with what that looks like. For those I lead, I try to be the one who loves through conflict. From the testimonies I have collected, I would say I am doing a fairly good job. In marriage I have not had that much success when it comes to speaking the truth in love. In my relationship with God, I have excelled. We have loved each other with a major intensity. He has called me out on many issues and has demanded a more closer walk with Him.

Let the righteous one strike me—
it is an act of faithful love;
let him rebuke me—
it is oil for my head;
let me[a] not refuse it.
Even now my prayer is against
the evil acts of the wicked. – Psalm 141:5 HCSB

King David learned to love rebuke too. Somehow, when God rebukes, He does not shame, He causes me to sing.

They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb:

Great and awe-inspiring are Your works,
Lord God, the Almighty;
righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the Nations. – Revelation 15:2-3 HCSB

The principle I learn is this – there is a perfect harmony in the retributive acts of God in dealing with this world and the highest conception of His love and mercy which the gospel brings. God’s dealings with me are meant to manifest His character that I may know and love Him. The motive is His own love, the end is the glory of His Name, in the love and knowledge of those like me whose life and blessedness depend on my knowing and loving Him.

God’s demand for my supreme love – is it just? That would depend on two things:

  • Whether I have the power of loving any one supremely
  • Whether God has attributes adapted to awaken this love within me

I think it is found in everyone to love some object supremely. My choice is quite easily understood then – I make a choice to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Father, thank you for calling my name in the darkest moments of my life. I am so thankful that You allowed me to hear Your voice. Every time You spoke You imparted Your love in an incredibly meaningful way. Your love mattered more than life itself. Thank You.

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