master of life in earth, sky and sea

…and the adventure begins, the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable

Archive for the tag “Christianity”

Moving to evanlaar2013.wordpress.com

happy new year 2013Another incredible year has passed by in 2012 and I have enjoyed learning what it means to be “master of life in earth, sky and sea.”  I have been challenged more often than not and especially the last 20 postings in December have hit me more than any of the others.

I am at Urbana 2012 right now as I sign off on this last post for 2012.  I am being challenged to making 2013 a year of missions.  Emmanuel, God with us – is a theme we usually hear at Christmas but I am called to look at this every day for 2013.

What does my day look like when I really believe that God is with me?

Am I afraid – yes – will it be another year of adventures – yes – but the peace, joy, hope and love that will sustain me as I hold His right hand will make this an amazing year for sure.

Come and join me and move over to my new site.  Your encouragement matters.

Many blessings to you and your family and I pray that Emmanuel, God with us, will walk with you too each and every day!

Then the Lord will go out to fight…

beautiful valley

Life can get pretty difficult.  It gets more difficult when we see those who abuse, getting on well.  When it seems that the work of God does not move forward, but rather backward.  In our culture, we call that failure.  We begin to feel unsuccessful.

I believe that is why we are encouraged to stand.  We actually mimic the character of God by standing.  When we stand, we declare that no matter what may seem to be happening around us,  no matter what people may describe as failure, no matter how disrespected we feel in various circles, God calls us to stand.

Trick of standing is in the waiting.  How long do I stand?

How long Lord will it be when you start to fight for us and turn things around?  When do get some respect or acknowledgement of success?  When will you be honoured because of what you have done for us?

Yeah, I know, it sounds like God needs to make us look good for Him to look good.  So lets not go there.  Instead, we stand so that God can move forward and take over and receive the glory Himself as He moves through us.  Then those who have been abused get healed, those who work for God see fruit in their own lives as well as in others and the work of God moves forward.

I am not saying that when God takes over and fights for us that it will be a silent event – in fact, I believe it can be quite dramatic and eventful.  What is important to understand, what is critical for us in order to succeed in standing, is in the knowing that at some point, the Lord will go out to fight for us.  He will be the difference between life and death.  He is anticipating to surprise us with His amazing love and determination to see something happen in our lives and for us to be astounded of what can happen through our lives when we submit to His timing and His plan.

Pray that you might be found standing in the midst of whatever life has decided to through your way – and I looking forward to hearing how and when He will go out and fight on your behalf.

 

“I will be like a guard…”

i will be your guardNothing gives me more comfort than knowing that God is guarding me – looking after me.

I think that from that perspective I can see how upset He gets when we trust our inanimate objects like other man-made idols and our money.  Even when it comes to putting ourselves, our jobs or whatever else we feel makes us successful in front of our affections for Him.

It takes the heart of God and we tell Him that He does not matter and that pain must crush Him incredibly.

I see God watching us closely, watching our every move and keeping harm away from us, keeping others who curse us from being successful in doing so and making sure that no one overruns us.

That is why we can rejoice in song on Sunday morning with other followers of Christ!  That is why we can shout for joy! Our King is here, the Righteous One, the Victor!  He came at first lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt and He did that to disarm us and bring us peace.  He did that to deliver us from death in a waterless pit so that He could create a new covenant with us, sealed with blood.

Can you here Him calling?  Come to a place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope!  For every one of your woes, I will give you two mercies!

Even when I need to take up arms, the Lord leads me as I fight.  It is His arrows that fly straight, it is His trumpet that makes the call.  You will defend me, You will subdue those who are against me and because they are under your feet, I shout with triumph!

It’s like a shepherd caring for their sheep – how wonderful and beautiful is that.  Such peace and such protection ensures an abundance of wealth and young people grow strong and everyone is radiant with health and happiness.

Gifts

red-christmas-gifts

Gift giving has been a tradition that stems back to the beginning of time.

It used to be in forms of blessings, then moved to both blessings and material goods.

When material goods take on the form of blessing, then the gifts really come alive.  I remember when my wife and I were expecting our first child.  We really had nothing.  I served as a youth pastor and my wife just left her job to become a full-time mom and we really had nothing – no crib, no dresser, not a single piece of baby furniture in the house.  My brother-in-law and his wife were self-employed and they had nothing, but decided to give anyway – unbeknownst to us.  It was for them the right thing to do.  He shared the story with us sometime around the middle of July.  He had to tell us because they were not Christians but felt God blessed them for giving.  He felt that way because his business tripled in the early spring from what he had made the entire year before.

He learned how giving can be such a blessing.

Gifts are significant messages from God.  We miss them sometimes because gifts usual come with a giver and every giver has some sort of history.  That history can mess things up or can create a sense of honour and awe.

I find it amazing that the past few days we are rediscovering prophecies of Jesus coming, hundreds of years before His arrival, and they came true.  He could not have fabricated the fulfilment of these on His own.  Zechariah mentioned that people would come from afar to bring Him gifts.  Gifts befitting a King, a High Priest.  He was told that the significance was not just in the gifts, but in the fulfillment of the prophecy.  Since God’s Word is true and He has never lied, it is our kind reminder to carefully obey the Word of God in our lives.

Not by might, nor by power…

seed

Now there is a statement most of us are familiar with!

In a natural frame of mind we tend to think that in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh.  Then we get this little poke from God who says, no leave it to me and succeed because you let my Spirit reign as though you are few and weak and of course, we are.

You see, to the Spirit, He is interested in lasting value and really that is all He is interested in.  So when we are harassed, tired, discouraged and poor, we need to rethink – God is on our side.  As I live for God, I determine each day NOT to trust my own strength or abilities.  Instead, I depend on God and the work of the power of the Holy Spirit.

My success depends on this!

Looking for mountains to be flattened and ready to give God thanks for His mercy and grace.

Are we saying its not the right time?

are we saying its not the right time

Let’s face it, we all have lots of things to do, have all kinds of pressures, some of us are bombarded left, right and centre and find ourselves in more times than we care to imagine – frustrated.

So how can we encourage one another to seek God in the midst of all of this?

Encouragement I believe is the right word because when we look inside ourselves I think we can admit that we are discouraged, if left unattended, we stop our devotional time with God.  Encouragement is the tool God has given us to motivate one another, turn ourselves around, pick up our tools and continue the work we had begun in our journey of adventure.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves not there.

It seems that instead of reaching the lost world for Jesus, investing in missions, interceding, giving…we have found our hope and strength and encouragement in the building up of our wealth.  Then we have moved on to displaying that wealth in the homes we live and the decor displays our passion for luxury.

What we have failed to see is that the harder we work for ourselves, the less we have because we have ignored our spiritual calling.  The exact same principle is true in the reverse.  When we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs.  In other place of priority that we put Him in, all our efforts are futile.

Caring for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God leads only to ruin because you will find that material possessions do not satisfy.

Our problem lies in confused priorities.  Jobs, homes, vacations, and leisure activities may rank higher on our list of importance than God.  When is the right time to become unconfused?  When is the right time to connect with our relationship with God?

 

 

 

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How long must I call for help before you will listen?

Photosensitivity

For anyone who has a vision for changing the world, this seems to be a common theme in prayer.  It just seems that it takes forever for God to intervene.

This impatience of mine only gets into dangerous territory when I interpret God’s seeming snail pace movements as indifference in the face of evil.

We all can see what is going on around us and who isn’t saddened by the news we read in our headlines each day.  Worse still are the injustices that we never read about or the corruption that is hidden from our immediate view.  What about our Christian friends around the world that suffer for the very fact that they are Christians?

As rampant as injustice may seem to be, I am not called to allow my concern to cause me to doubt God or rebel against Him.  I am called to consider the message of God and to recognize God’s long-range plans and purposes.  God is doing it right, even if I do not understand why He works as He does.

Another danger sign for me is as the circumstances around me become almost unbearable, I begin to wonder if God has forgotten me.  That causes me to remind myself that He is in control.  He has a plan, He will judge, I am to stay humble and be willing to accept God’s answers and await His timing.

 

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God is jealous over those He loves

Being-Jealous-of-Gods-Generosity-300x199It is this very important passion of God that allows us to completely trust Him and enable us to put ourselves into the palm of His hand.

I know that jealousy is usually associated to sin as this characteristic is usually teamed up with control, selfishness and narcissism.  God’s jealousy is more like unconditional love, the exact opposite of what we see in ourselves when we experience jealous thoughts.

Mess with one of God’s children and He says that it is better if you were to tie a millstone around your neck and throw yourself into a river.  That brings up another word – vengeance.

For us, this is not an option.  God keeps the option of vengeance for Himself alone.  Even though He furiously will destroy His enemies, He is slow in getting angry.  Arouse Him and His power is incredible and mess with Him and find that exacts out the justice with little room for forgiveness.

If we are afraid of natural storms – hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis – imagine when God gets engaged.

A word of advice – if you are going to mess with a follower of Jesus, consider yourself messing with God Himself.

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Proud of your self-sufficiency?

self-sufficiencyOne of the things my father did when I was born, was to declare that I would be an ambassador to nations.  The one act he did to back up that statement was to purchase a set of encyclopedias from Compton in 1967 – I was 5 years old.

Almost 5 years ago, I gave that set to Goodwill.

With the rise of the internet, I had current information at my fingertips – what I did not know and could not find – I found out who did and who could.

I was self-sufficient in obtaining and understanding information.

Self-sufficiency is not bad, its being proud about it that messes you up.  I keep thinking about King Nebuchadnezzar and how God turned him into a mad person because he failed to honour God as the one who blessed Him.

When I think about all my strengths – which one do I feel most safe using and what if God took that safety net from me and I fell.   What if God orchestrated a series of events that would show my inability to be self-sufficient and I would be incredibly humbled.  What if my wealth defined me and thieves came in and stole everything I had.  What if my friends turned against me and what if I thought I had wisdom and discernment and really just ended up being confused more than anything.

Do I feel secure and proud of my self-sufficiency?   If I did, I would be just fooling myself because there is no lasting security apart from God.  If I ever felt secure in objects or people, I would have to ask myself what they really had to offer for possessions and people can disappear in a moment.  The all-sufficient God who provides everything I need is the only constant.  In fact, He is the only one who can offer the kind of security I really need.

As I contemplate my role as ambassador to the nations, my security is actually in my humility.  humility gives me incredible accuracy in providing perspective of myself and the world to which I am sent.

 

 

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Prayer is a powerful privilege

prayer a poweful privilege

I think that I forget this truth more often than not.

There is the temptation to boil prayer down to the Lord’s prayer, or prayers of petition or grace, even prayers of blessing – but powerful?

Then if I get to the section where it is part of the description of what the armour of God looks like – I think of a prayer of protection – like Psalm 91.

But you cannot look at the life of Moses and Amos and not see that to them prayer was a privilege.  Its harder to see it in Abraham because he did a lot of face to face negotiations with God and Jesus did a lot of early morning and all night stuff – so again we didn’t see a lot.

Both Moses and Amos got in good with God.  God would show them His plan for the future and both Moses and Amos saw the privilege of that close communication and asked God to spare the destruction of so many.

Is it possible that we have not stood in the gap for the world as much as we should be?  Have I taken my relationship with God so personal that I have left the things of this world to “just happen” when I could have made a difference by calling on the grace and kindness of God?

I have been reminded in the last two weeks to really think about praying for my nation.  Maybe I am the one who can stand in the gap, see revival grip my heart and those around me.  May I see prayer today as a privilege, and stand for those who either cannot or will not.

 

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