Category Archives: reading plan

Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I cannot remember the first day I loved the name of Jesus. It is amazing how much I love His name today. I wish I could remember that day.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord
minister to Him, love the name of Yahweh
and become His servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold firmly to My covenant— Isaiah 56:6 HCSB

There is something about loving the name of God which basically means to love God. In a concrete way, loving means to obey. Loving the name of God means I love and imitate His character. That is how I and others know I am in love with Him. So there is the emotional love and the action love. Action comes in the territory of serving and is reflected in my whole life and with my whole being. It means that loving Him reflects on me keeping His law.

All of this is for one reason – so when foreigners show up in the temple because they are motivated by love for God, they will stand out from the one who have come with a deceitful motive.

It is why Jesus prayed for us to be one – under Him, our Saviour – bond together in the bond of love and peace. It is only when I walk away from God’s love does my own love grow cold. It is amazing – it is either this or I am persecuted for my love.

God, deliver me.
Hurry to help me, Lord! – Psalm 70:1 HCSB

I need God because how else will I be able to love my enemies, to do good to those that hate me and to pray for those who persecute me.

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come. – 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14,22 HCSB

While the church is open to everyone, the church does not consist of everyone. The mark of a follower of Jesus is based on their love for Jesus – not affiliation or family ties. Therefore it is my choice that I make – I chose to love.

Father, I want those who see me to see Jesus in me. While I struggle for the words, I pray that my actions will be not leave doubt. I need You Lord – there is nothing I can do on my own without You. I expect You to show up and give me wisdom and to guide me in all my relationships. It is the only way that anyone will see You in me. As You taught us to pray, I ask you to not lead me into temptation but to deliver me from evil. May Your Kingdom rule in my heart and in my life so that I may love like You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan, Uncategorized

Isaiah 33-35; 1 Corinthians 6

I am amazed today how I see so many struggle with love and justice. It seems like the two cannot get married and stay married. I was with a group of young adults, basketball players trying to make it into a league that will get them as close to the NBA as possible. I meet them once every three months or so as a spiritual advisor and encourager. As I finished up I knew I had hit a raw nerve when the coach introduced the Bible as a book of rules, contradicting my entire message which was based on God’s love.

It must have been real hard for the prophets to share this message. They only had the law and they did not have the new covenant of grace introduced by Jesus. Still, the character of God has remained the same, so they focused on that.

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad;
the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose.[q][r]
It will blossom abundantly
and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God and the redeemed of the Lord will return
and come to Zion with singing,
crowned with unending joy.
Joy and gladness will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee. – Isaiah 35:1-2,10 HCSB

The disposition of God’s heart is joy and gladness. I think God is troubled about those things that hinder love. When I look at His judgments, I see Him removing everything that hinders love. That is why He intervenes in judgment – He is zealous to fill the earth with love, humility and righteousness.

But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. – 1 Corinthians 6:17 HCSB

This is why I think that I pursue such a union with Jesus. There is nothing more I need. When I am discipling others, this becomes a stumbling stone because they want more from me and all I have is Jesus. I try to show them how precious it is to fall in love with Jesus more and more. To seek out His beauty, to delight in Him. to joy in Him and to worship Him. I ask them to train their heart to make the choice to love Jesus more than any thing or any one.

This hymn might be helpful describing what it is like to be the bride of Jesus. It is a meditation on what that would be.

Father, thank You for revealing Your joy and gladness to me in the midst of calling me to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who sustains me and calls me to make a choice everyday to love You. Your love is sustaining me and I love You for this. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, reading plan

Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

What a terrible place for me to be in that would cause God to show up and judge me for the evil I have done.

Look, the Lord is leaving His place
and coming down to trample
the heights[b] of the earth.
The mountains will melt beneath Him,
and the valleys will split apart,
like wax near a fire,
like water cascading down a mountainside.
All this will happen because of Jacob’s rebellion
and the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the rebellion of Jacob?
Isn’t it Samaria?
And what is the high place of Judah?
Isn’t it Jerusalem? – Micah 1:3-5 HCSB

What is this evil I have done? I think it is as simple as loving my self and this world more than Him. I find myself contrary to His love and my stepping away from Him, I am contrary to the truth of faith.

I cannot lose sight of this fact – that justice is a fundamental part of God’s character.

But You Yourself have seen trouble and grief,
observing it in order to take the matter into Your hands.
The helpless entrusts himself to You;
You are a helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14 HCSB

He steps in and promises protection and help for those who cannot protect themselves and He redeems injustice through His unfailing love – He invites me to participate with Him in making that happen.

What will happen if I choose not to and decide to remain in my selfish love?

Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. – Matthew 24:10-12 HCSB

Jesus foretold that love and truth could one day lose their true meaning and force in this world. I pray that I am not one who be among those who have.

Father, how I trust the Holy Spirit to not leave me in a place that would be contrary to the character of God. I want to be like Jesus in every facet of my life. I do not want to see my love for You grow cold, or even lukewarm for that matter. I know I need to step out of myself and give myself to You in my community. I know You are inviting me to participate. Forgive my cowardly fear, I pray that Your love will cast that fear out of my life. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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

Amos 4-6; Psalm 55; Matthew 14

What a statement that makes so much sense when I read the Old Testament – a people who were looking for love in all the wrong places.

For the Lord says to the house of Israel:

Seek Me and live!
Do not seek Bethel
or go to Gilgal
or journey to Beer-sheba,
for Gilgal will certainly go into exile,
and Bethel will come to nothing.

Seek Yahweh and live. – Amos 5:4-6a HCSB

It is also amazing to see the character of God remaining the same then as I see Him now. To “save” someone who refuses to be saved becomes contradictory and counter to God’s ultimate purpose for me – that I be a person who will choose to love and serve God.

My message to the world – God loves you – and He is saying, choose life.

God, listen to my prayer
and do not ignore[a] my plea for help.
Pay attention to me and answer me.

I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,
because of the enemy’s voice,
because of the pressure[b] of the wicked.
For they bring down disaster on me[c]
and harass me in anger.

My heart shudders within me;
terrors of death sweep over me.
Fear and trembling grip me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “If only I had[d] wings like a dove!
I would fly away and find rest. – Psalm 55:1-6 HCSB

I need to know that God loves me for only then can this rule of Love allow me to imitate my Father when I love an enemy.

In choosing life and accepting God’s love, I continue to extend love to my enemies so that, in fact, I am perfecting love, which means maturing in love via the very involvement of fighting and wrestling when I am troubled. I do trample the waves of this world when I love my enemies. My example is Jesus, who loved His enemies so much that on the Cross He asked His Father to forgive.

My life is love.

Love is light. If I wish for death or for solitude in the midst of all my mess, I still have this one command – to love.

Even if I was to seek some reprieve, it does not mean that I do not love – just my body needs some rest. It is a place where I can pray.

Father, each day I choose to love. I did not see it as me choosing life, but I understand much better this morning. There are so many little things that could become big things, there are so many that feel there is not enough power in this world and they are trying to grab as much as they can and there are so many that walk in darkness who want to quench the light and those who do not choose love but rather hatred. For all of these I need You. Fill me so that my flesh does not react, that my mind is transformed and renewed. Make me like You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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

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