master of life in earth, sky and sea

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

Archive for the tag “Religion and Spirituality”

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.

 

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.

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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Really? “Fat cows?”

Fatcow

One of the prophets got away with calling women, “fat cows” in his day.

He must have been pretty upset because that was quite the slanderous tone to take.

It seems that the wealthy women of the day were compared to fat cows because they were pampered and well-fed.  These women selfishly pushed their husbands to oppress the helpless in order to supply their lavish life-styles.

Since I am a guy and not a gal, I have only this comment to make.

I have seen guys in ministry get messed up because of the women in their lives who desire money more than ministry, comfort more than prayer, the things of this world more than the things of God.  Since our Christian culture in ministry does not condone divorce, the men cater to the desire of their wives and eventually give up ministry all-together to pursue a “career.”

It is my hope that one day God will give me wisdom on how to advise men in this position, because as of today, I do not have the answer.

 

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Are you good at watching sheep?

New_Zealand_Sheep_are_Watching_You

There is something about watching sheep that is missing our attention.  Shepherds are on God‘s radar screen to bless because they have something in their hearts that is very close to the heart of God.

So what is it and can those of us who do not watch sheep for a living capture the same heart?

It seems that a shepherd is a shepherd so that they are not caught up in the things of this world.  When we have to make a stand or be “peculiar,” we can.  It also means that money is probably not the most important thing in our lives either.

It seems that a shepherd has time on their hands to really connect with God – how many shepherds in the Bible were not friends with God in some way, shape or form?  This passion proved to be a launching pad into ministry for many of them.

There are so many times when I am made to feel that it is not glamorous and definitely not “spiritual.”  What turns the tap in my heart that makes me look past how I feel and enables me to be a channel of God’s message to others?  What I know is that if I am in the place God wants me to be than God and I can do extraordinary things, no matter how ordinary my occupation seems to be.

 

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What are we doing with our wealth?

qatar-financial-center

How we spend our wealth indicates what are value systems are.  Most of us will take whatever prosperity we obtain and will use the money to express the idols of our hearts.

That might mean food where I will go out more often than having a family dinner at home, moving up in the real estate of our home giving us opportunity of newer and larger residences, more entertainment and more often as opposed to taking opportunity of discounted Tuesdays, newer and finer cars, we actually do not think of God nor our need of Him – we are satisfied and comfortable with what we have and we will spend it at our the desires of our heart.

It seems that the more God gives, the more we spend on ourselves.

The problem arises in this issue – the money was never ours to begin with – it all belongs to God.  I know, we forget so easily.  We think its ours because we work hard for it and yet God keeps insisting that everything in the world is His and therefore He would like us to understand that we are His managers and that our hearts should be thankful for His blessing, and our hearts should be asking, Lord what would you like me to do with this blessing that you have given me?

That could still mean that you may have the desires of your heart in terms of material wealth. However, it may mean that your vacation to Hawaii turns into a mission trip to Mongolia, or it may mean that instead of a larger and newer home you help build a house with Habitat for Humanity, and instead of a newer, finer car you provide transportation for a struggling family that has no vehicle, and instead of eating and entertainment you become part of the weekly dinner to the street people of your community and offer to be part of entertaining them during and after their meal.

As we prosper, we must look at where our money is going?  Is it being used for God’s purposes, or are we consuming it all on ourselves?

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