master of life in earth, sky and sea

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

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

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!

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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.

Bethlehem

exterior_basilica_natividad

Just thinking how little and low Bethlehem is at yet she has produced the mightest of kings.  We are obsessed with our wealth and postion and yet this tiny town, poor as it was, would be the birthplace of the only King who could save His people.  Our deliver, the Messiah, would be born, as a baby, in Bethlehem and at the time of His death would reign as the eternal King.

 Here is a click from someone who went to visit Bethlehem

 

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Do not be stubborn

I have not found a good picture in a long time that describes exactly what I am trying to say without saying it – awesome!

There is something about the Dutch, and to be fair, I have only noticed this in the men, that you might not know about – they like celebrating on the very day that there is to be a celebration.  So if you come before their birthday or after their birthday, I mean, why come at all?  If you come before Christmas or after Christmas, why bother coming?  Can you imagine two Nederlanders getting married and both their fathers want them there on Christmas – one lives in Toronto and the other in Calgary?  Requires a real act of God 🙂

I absolutely love Jesus for this.  He broke almost every manmade rule just to ensure that we knew the difference between that and the heart of God.

What mattered most was not the day of the celebration, but the fact we celebrated.

It is not the euphoria of revival, but the deep-seated change of heart and life.

Not being stubborn, but coming back to God, so that He could come back to us.  Yielding ourselves to Him, worshipping Him, so that He could bless us, give us stories of His mercy to tell our children, letting others know of His incredibly kindness to those who return to Him.

 

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The Law of Celebration

This one is tough – it makes no difference how much I “want” to celebrate, it just seems impossible to do it right – hence my desire to go with the fact that there should be a law for such things that are so important.

I think we have the idea of celebrating events from the past – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, graduation, baptism etc.  They are commemorative and in many cases, sacramental ordinances of perpetual obligation, if not in a practice in observation.

It is quite possible that I have already misled you with this photo.

I mean, what if I wanted to celebrate God – who He is?  His intensity and goodness, or His justness and mercy? What does that look like – probably more like a solemn religious joy – right?

It is my pleasure to engage in many of the celebrations in our Christian community – namely Christmas and Easter being the two clearly visible ones.  In the past twenty-five years here is the trend I have seen – Christmas is about gifts and Easter is about Spring.  Talk about the fact that Christmas is about the coming of God to earth to show us the way to Him or the fact that Easter is about God dying to take our sins upon Himself so that we could spend eternity with Him and you get a “no reaction.”

I mean how can you not celebrate the coming of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; whose sacrifice will endure while time itself lasts; and to whose merits the salvation of our soul shall be ascribable throughout eternity. We are adopted into His family, a spared and redeemed people into the fellowship of His house, and He sustains us and  refreshes our souls.

The Lord makes all things new to those whom He delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to Himself to be His people. The time when He does this is to them the beginning of a new life. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Him. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy.

So long as we live we must continue learning, growing and reflecting Christ, rejoicing in Him always, with thankful mention of the great things He has done for us.  By the way, my niece made a decision to follow Christ on Sunday – inside I am going out of my skin, the angels in heaven are having a party because the one sheep that was lost has found her way home – how am I too celebrate such an amazing event?

 

 

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