2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

moving my blog to http://evanlaar2012.wordpress.com

can’t believe two of my friends found my new blog before Iposted anything

http://evanlaar2012.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/happy-new-year/

Looking forward to staying connect with you!

“a new heaven and a new earth”

We get so caught up in this world that we are living in that we forget sometimes that this is not where we belong.

If our names are written in the Book of Life, the new heaven and earth will be our first destination where we will meet together for the first time.  A time where we will be brought to Christ, and be presented as a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle.

The new heaven and the new earth will not be separate from each other; the earth of the saints, our glorified, bodies, will be heavenly. The old world, with all its troubles and tumults, will have passed away.

There will be freedom from conflicting passions, temptations, troubles, changes, and alarms. The presence of God will be with us, it will not be interrupted as it is on earth, He will dwell with us continually. All effects of former trouble shall be done away. We have often been in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain. Christ makes all things new.

If we are willing and desirous that the gracious Redeemer should make all things new, He will make all things new in respect of our situation, till He has brought us to enjoy complete happiness.

Sensual and sinful pleasures are muddy and poisoned waters; and the best earthly comforts are like the scanty supplies of a cistern; when idolized, they become broken cisterns, and yield only vexation. But the joys which Christ imparts are like waters springing from a fountain, pure, refreshing, abundant, and eternal. The sanctifying consolations of the Holy Spirit prepare for heavenly happiness; they are streams which flow for us in the wilderness. (Matthew Henry)

For it is said, “He that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And the Lord says, Write all this; for these words are faithful and true. And He said to me, They are done.”  And this is the truth of the matter

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sanctified…preserved…called

Normally we think of “holy,” or  “saints,” but have you ever thought of yourself as beloved – if not, add that to your list of definitions for sanctified.

For sanctification is not only meant to be considered as internal, but also to election – the appointment to service – vessels set apart with design and purpose for sacred use and service.  I think it still implies a separation from the world so that we are considered a distinct and peculiar people – as such we are loved by God the Father.

We owe our preservation wholly to Jesus; and know full well that everlasting life comes only by Him. We would all fall away and perish if it were not for the grace of God keeping us.

We continue our walk in the faith unshaken knowing that this faith of ours can not be preserved unless we continue in union with Christ, by whose  grace alone we can be preserved and called.

We have a place in His heart, and we are in His hands, and are in Him, and united to Him, and we are represented by Him in the covenant of grace; and being in Him, we are preserved by Him,  We need to understand that we are not  preserved from falling   from the corruption of human nature, nor from actual sins and transgression.  However, the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, nor sin damn us, nor Satan.

We are not preserved  from indwelling sin, nor from the temptations, nor from doubts and fears and unbelief, nor from slips and falls into sin; but from the tyranny and dominion of sin, from being devoured by Satan, and from a total and final falling away;  we are preserved in the love of God, and of Christ; in the covenant of grace; in a state of adoption; and in the paths of right living, truth, faith, and holiness.

Called to be saints.

Saints is the same as Christians; to become such we are called to believe in Christ.  We are called out of darkness into light, and from bondage to liberty; and from a dependence on ourselves to the grace and righteousness of Christ; and from society to fellowship with Him; and to eternal glory.

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Angel of God

There are so many recorded experiences of angels delivering messages from God, especially when you have just read most of them during the advent season and Christmas day, and Epiphany to come soon.

Even with Paul, such a conversationalist with God, yet he too received messages from angels.

I have to admit that this is striking me awkward today.

Every cult, occult, false religion I know comes at the hand of what the founders call an angel.

Then it dawned on me.

There are angels of light and angels of darkness or angels of God and demonic angels.

There is obvious power in invoking the fact that an angel, a messenger of God, has given you a direct message from the lips of God.  God favouring you as the author and the witness of such a message – leaving no doubt, fully persuading the listening ear.

For these moments in time, God has given us the spirit of discretion, that we might not be deceived.

We do not need to hear or see angels in order to know whether a cause is approved of God or not – by that, we do not need proof.

Sounds like I am on a downer about angels. Contrary – I believe that angels are ministering spirits sent from God to assist us in our darkest hour.

Angels are not kept from us by storms, or hindered by darkness.

We rarely see their hand of involvement in our lives, but the good turns, the safe return home from a dark and stormy night, may show signs of God’s goodness to us at the hands of angels more so than not.

Is this an hour of distress with you? then ask for peculiar help. If Jesus‘ presence is what you are earnestly seeking, it will not be denied. I may struggle with the appearance of an angel, but that is what you might need during this very difficult time, but I do know, that an angel of God will be standing by you in the night of your storm, when nothing matters and when everything else has failed.

“O angel of my God, be near,

Amid the darkness hush my fear;

Loud roars the wild tempestuous sea,

Thy presence, Lord, shall comfort me.”

 

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excessive luxuries

I am really showing extremes these past two days…maybe its time to look at what wrong with excessive luxuries as opposed to being prosperous.

When I was being mentored for the ministry, my very first word of instruction was to beware of the three sins – power, money sex.

I have watched others who have not regarded these instruction or took them lightly – fall.

Basically, the instructions include this simple rule – fall for one, fall for all.

This is where excessive luxuries come in.  It’s not the wealth that ruins a soul. it’s the sense of power that does.

The sense of influence that is gained because of wealth.

That power and ability and opportunity to influence, changes people, it will change you and I.

You begin to see signs of rudeness, insolence and pride and maybe in its right connotation, proud voluptuousness, found in frivolous luxury.  Frivolous luxury is the spending of money that makes those you do business with, wealthy.  It may even mean that when you cease with spending, the people who do business with you, and are so dependent on you, and have become wealthy themselves for their association with you, go into mourning and depression, doomed, bankruptcy to follow.

I still remember the day a friend came to me to show his statement of investments.  It was at $900,000.  He said in three more months he would be a millionaire.  Something called Black Monday took place one month later, and I saw him shortly afterwards.  We talked a bit about investments and he showed me his investment statement – valued at $100,000.  I could only imagine the sense of loss of so much money, money that could have been used to save lives, possibly given to him in order that he might engage in the business of saving lives – in our world, it was all lost.

The desire for excessive luxuries causes one to do things that one would never even have contemplated in times past.  With me being such a part of the Church – and I love the Church – we have all seen some incredible things take place in the name of pursuing incredibly excessive luxuries – pretending to sell heaven.  We have seen the selling of pardons and indulgences, selling of special services to fetch souls out of purgatory, television evangelists who make more money in one year than Michael Jackson and Madonna put together.  We could all name names.

The answer is the same as with any other discussion on prosperity or never lacking – it is taking on one of the characteristics  of God – give when He has given to you – you will never have excessive luxuries to worry about, to take time away from God and your family, or to protect and maintain.  I know it is an extreme, but have you heard of individuals, especially those with incredible salaries making decisions to live on 10% and give away 90% of their income each year?  It is a shame that we do not hear of this in our papers as much as the negative publicity of our Christian friends who have fallen to the desire of excessive luxuries.  These men and women are those who very well may know that there could be a risk of losing their eternal riches being stored in heaven if they allow their earthly possessions rule them.

May we all stay as humble in our walk on this earth as Christ did, may we all take what God has asked us to be stewards of and hold them in our hands, palms open, so that God can use those very same gifts for His glory, and His purposes and may the New Year be filled with adventure as we watch God changes hearts and lives through His Word and through us.

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never lack

There is such a large and never-failing supply of gifts and grace from Jesus – there will never be a lack of the oil and the wine of Gospel truths that we can communicate of to others.

It speaks to the variety, and never-ending discovery, of these Gospel truths and they are all delivered in a manner that we are capable in receiving them.

We have a continual supply in the ministry of the Word.

We can rejoice when we enter into trials, because we know that this is divinely intended to strengthen our faith by producing endurance and if one lacks the wisdom to know how to respond to the trials of life, we need only to ask God for wisdom.

It is my prayer that for the new year coming, you will never lack.

By that I mean that you will understand the incredible character trait of God concerning His generosity – that generosity, reflected in the ability to give our money, time, energy and resources to those in need around us.

One of those oil and wine truths of the Gospel – no one can explain it – but the law of giving looks like this – the more we give, the more we receive from the hand of God.

This year I have been writing along these lines – pointing as best I can to the fact that our prosperity comes from following after God, check out the oil and wine found in His Word.

Almost forgot to be real in this as I write a bit too early in the morning without having my own time with God.

The hands and fingers of givers are always on top during an act of giving, while that of the receivers are always below, thus you’ll notice all around you, givers always seem to have enough to meet their needs, even in times of trouble, while others might find it hard to come out unscathed, givers always come out even better compared to their previous situations. That is not to say that givers cannot be receivers and I posted another friends blog to share some of those thoughts with you.

Any seed planted into the ground grows to produce a multiplication of seeds, thus your act of giving, be it time, energy, kindness or money acts as a seed, and germinates to produce multiples of its kind and the second part of the law of giving – it comes back to you.

This new year coming,  I pray God touches your heart and as you follow Him, that you will never lack.

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