Category Archives: reading plan

Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

When my wife and I are with friends, we noticed how we have great conversation, great food, and have a long night of being together. What gets us is that at the door, with everything ready to go, we spend another 30 minutes or even more, talking some more. We were at one time embarrassed by that, but then rested in it because those 30 minutes were some of the more intimate moments of conversation that we did not have around the dining room table or in the living room. I see that a little bit in how my alone time with God has been looking. I spend time and then I want to linger. So I love the story of the two on the road to Emmaus.

 And so they strongly urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. – Luke 24:29 NASB

Is it not true? When I spend time with Jesus, I do not want to let go. I am starving for truth, for love, for conversation that takes me to a place where I am more than who I am. I have boldness, courage, strength, faith to move mountains. Is it true that faith comes from hearing the Word? It must be, because Jesus is the Word and when He speaks my life compeletely changes. Here the two men “strongly urged” Him to stay with them because they wanted to spend as much time as they could with this experience, this feeling, this life changing conversation. I keep forgetting that they just came from Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified a few days ago.

And then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. – Luke 24:31 NASB

This is crazy right? They did not see Him, recognize Him – not at all? How many times have I not prayed for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes as I read the Word? How can I possibly forget to invite Him into my world to change me, to give me an experience with Him that I will never forget? I tell you what, if I had just spent a long journey with someone who changed my life, then found out it was Jesus, the lover of my soul, and then see Him vanish before my eyes, I too would have ran back to Jerusalem to tell everyone He is indeed was risen from the dead.

I am reminded again how important the Old Testament was to Jesus. I love that we look at the Word from both an Old Testament (larger reading portion because there are more books) and from a New Testament lens every day. Each day is an adventure as to how the Holy Spirit will speak to me and from which portion of the Word.

May the time we spend together in Your presence nourish our hearts and minds; may it strengthen our relationship with You, and renew our commitment to live in this world as Your faithful disciples.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Exodus, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan

Genesis 44-47; Luke 14

I want to spend some alone time with God because I love Him. It reminds me of my granddaughter, who, sitting on Nana’s lap whispered in her ear as we were to take her home with us for a couple of days – “Nana, let’s go now, I need some alone time with you and Papa.”

When I think of the story of Joseph there are a few points that I can relate to.

Look at Joseph’s ability to forgive. Was not the miracle of grace obvious to his relationship with God? It was beautiful. When I spend time alone with God, do I not want to connect with others by praying that God would move heaven and earth in favour of those I am praying for? I can only imagine what Joseph’s prayer life looked like as he spent time with God, but something tells me his family was a key component and by doing so he was never really separated from them.

So now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the boy is not with us—since our father’s life is so attached to the boy’s life— when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. So your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant, our father, down to Sheol in sorrow.  For your servant accepted responsibility for the boy from my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then my father can let me take the blame forever.’  So now, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers.  For how shall I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear that I may see the evil that would overtake my father.” – Genesis 44:30-34 NASB

Look at the miracle speech of the brothers, so different than it was with Joseph. Somehow they too felt the power of Joseph’s prayers and each of them, especially Judah, found a way to get back to being right, leaving behind the life he once had.

And Joseph responds with affection and gives them an invitation to approach.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold to Egypt. – Genesis 45:4 NASB

While I spend time alone with God, what wonderful miracles take place when I am surrounded by those I have been praying for. The invitation to come.

I am truly saddened by how many people, including the majority of them who call themselves Christians, who are looking for meaning and purpose in the lives. They fail to see that the answer to that question is God. My purpose is not to make more money, become more powerful, sell or buy more things, do more things, travel more places, or whatever it is that I might think I am waiting for in this life. My life purposes are found in God alone.

Father, thank You for the miracles that come from being alone with You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Genesis, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan

Revelation 19-22

Sometimes I look around me and wonder if I really believe there is a war taking place over the souls of people. When I read Revelation I am reminded not only that there is a war, the best side to be on in that war is with Jesus. Especially when I read portions of scripture like Revelation 19:11-21 that describe what the war looks like.

It is Jesus who is wearing the crown. Jesus’ honour is engaged in this war. There are others who follow Him and they must be honoured to be able to do so. The clothing of Jesus is described as if they were badges of honour that He has earned.

Jesus has paid the price for me with His own precious blood, and He calls me to live in a way that brings honour and glory to Him so that I will not be ashamed when I see Him.

Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
    let us give him the glory!
The Marriage of the Lamb has come;
    his Wife has made herself ready. – Revelation 19:7 MSG

This is the honour I will be presenting to Jesus for the rest of eternity and I find it a joy to be able to do this today, everyday, until I do it when I arrive and be with Him forever. I read so much joy here and I am not alone. There are more followers of Jesus than I can imagine who have accepted the invitation to attend this marriage feast.

Conquerors inherit all this. I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to me. – Revelation 21:7 MSG

When the war is done, what a special honour to be called the sons and daughters of Jesus. To me it signifies the invitation to come into a special and intimate relationship with Him. The word “conquerors” brings me back to my original thoughts of war and it brings me back to another verse that describes me as “more than conquerors” as I actually do very little fighting. I stand faithful and Jesus fights for me. That just makes my relationship with Him even more meaningful.

Father, I know there is a war raging for the souls of people here on earth, These thoughts motivate me to participate by taking the side that You are on. It is in following You. loving You, serving You and being with You that gives me so much joy when I engage in the Marriage banquet. I want to be ready, I want to be more than a conqueror, and I want to be called Your son. Into your hands I commit my soul and my life that I may serve You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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1 Peter 3:13-5:14; 2 Peter 1-2

When my wife and I sit down for coffee these days, our conversation usually trends towards the word, “endure.” It seems there is a call on our lives, right now, to be thinking about enduring. I am going to study and practice, “Alone with God,” to help me be able to stand when the time comes to stand.

Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. – 1 Peter 3:15 MSG

Adoration means to recognize His holiness, to worship and to honour Jesus as my Master, my Lord.

‘The sanctuary was an asylum where men were safe. And if we have made our hearts temples in which Christ is honoured, worshipped, and trusted, then we shall dwell in Him as in the secret place of the Most High’ – Alexander Maclaren

There is a lot in this letter about suffering, especially in 1 Peter 4:12-19.

  • I am going to suffer by labelling myself as a Christian
  • It is not a cause for shame, but a means to glorify God
  • I am already honoured by God
  • I should honour God and entrust my life to Him while persevering in doing what is right

I have picked up a few pointers today:

  1. The essential criterion of honourable conduct is not public opinion but the will of God and reverence for God
  2. I am to look to Jesus as the paramount exemplar and enabler of such honourable conduct. Shaming and suffering should come as no surprise as my faith is in Jesus who was shamed and suffered.
  3. There is an opportunity to win over others because of my conduct. It is something to see one who has been shaming Christians and now see them glorifying and honouring God.
  4. I cannot believe I am saying this – suffering is actually something positive and honourable.

What is true is that my honour is based on my relationship with Jesus. He has brought me into the family of God and that is where I get my foundation to live honourably and holy.

So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. – 1 Peter 5:10-11 MSG

What a great way to end this letter – so clearly written where I get my glory, grace and honour from in the midst of suffering. I pray that I can completely ignore the futile attempts at shaming me, and resist the pressures to conformity and assimilation. I can stand fast in the grace of God. It seems that my task is straightforward – honour, praise and glorify Jesus.

Thank you Lord for such an encouraging word.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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1 Timothy 6; 2 Timothy 1-4 

There are times when the meaning of a person’s name matters or even how one received their name. I was reminded the name of Timothy really suits him. His name comes from two words, timan, to honour, and theos, God. This literally means he who honours God.

 Whoever is a slave must make the best of it, giving respect to his master so that outsiders don’t blame God and our teaching for his behavior. – 1 Timothy 6:1 MSG

The name of God is just as important to me and my actions imply the kind of God that He is. Is He a God of social disorder or is He a God not to be dishonoured? My walk with Jesus would indicate that I reflect His character in my patience and meekness and not in rebellion or violence. I am to walk with respect. I cannot be the one who someone would look on and say that followers of Jesus are those who produce discontent and who lead to insurrection.

I honour those who employ me because God has placed them in authority over me regardless how unworthy they may be. I learned this lesson in my very first pastoral role. My pastor did some very unworthy things and I talked about it – far too much. I love that I had someone who loved me enough to teach me what it means to be a follower of Jesus and to honour the one given authority by God and that my role was to honour and let God do His thing in his heart. Just in case word-smithing takes place here as to what honour means, I learned that honour means respect, observance, compliance and obedience.

I’m charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn’t give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don’t slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He’ll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes. – 1 Timothy 6 :13-16 MSG

I can do the things God has asked me to do and be, I can endure, because of who I am in light of eternity. I serve a living God, the one who created heaven and earth and all of creation. When I think of God as God the Creator, it is easier to see Him as the one to be honoured and to be accountable to. My response is no longer, “what can You do for me?” but rather how can I declare Your honour and everlasting power?

Father, this feels so unnatural in a world where everyone is fighting for their own rights. I want to be in a place where I am completely Yours, either as an employee, a citizen or even a prisoner. Thank You!

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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