OYB April 8
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Apr 08
Happy "Blessing on the Son!" Happy Passover!! We praise Yeshua today and every day!
What a glorious day to celebrate our Savior. I thought about how cool it is that the "curtains go both up at "Blessing on the sun" sunrise, and the curtains go down at Passover—perhaps it is a sign of a full-circle or completion of some kind. I surely hope so!
Here is the official Jewish "Blessing on the sun" conducted at or after sunrise: "Blessed are You, Lord, our Yahweh, King of the universe, who makes the works of creation."
Tonight we are having in informal Passover meal (called "Seder"), led by a friend who is a Messianic Jew. I've been cooking up traditional Passover dishes for a couple days, and so has everyone else. It's sure to be a FEAST—if you know what I mean.
32:35 I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them. I personally find great comfort that in "due time," the wicked will get their day in court; and then sentencing will arrive. In fact, this is a theme in both OT and NT today!
32:39 Look now; I myself am he! There is no other god but me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can [deliver] from my hand! God's sovereignty and power over life is inspiring. Only God!
32:47 These instructions are not empty words-they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River." The Israelites had no idea that these "words" were to become The Word made flesh, their "Living Torah," and their "very life." Belief and obedience from the heart were the litmus tests for their ability to enter the PL.
I believe that, because of all the references in the Torah (Gen-Deut), the PL is initially symbolic of the Millennial Kingdom (I'm positive we've discussed this all along). Remember all the references—cities you didn't build, vineyards you didn't plant, wells you didn't dig, an abundant and good land. It appears that God used the PL to foretell the Sabbath Millennium when He would take care of the needs of His people with abundance. The prophets also have some prophecies that appear to be MK (synonymous with Sabbath Millennium) specific that speak of the same. Now, as I've always said, Jewish understanding is that history repeats itself, so it probably also symbolizes the future earth after the MK, too. In fact, you could also probably apply the PL to dwelling with Christ on this earth as a believer—sort of a PL of spirit.
12:37: There will be special favor for those who are ready and waiting for his return. I tell you, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! This verse is over the top! That Jesus would serve those who are ready and waiting! This passage is clearly talking about God's faithful servants—professing believers—who continue to the end. And as I mentioned the last couple days, I believe the faithful servants will be in charge of Jesus' household and will reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom, working the Harvest (vs. 44). But also is the warning to His servants—again, professing believers—who are unfaithful. "He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the unfaithful. The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it (vs. 46-47)."
Is this evidence for eternal banishment? Or is this a season of punishment for correction? I love a passage I found in 2 Samuel 14:13-14. A woman is talking to King David about his treatment of his banished son, Absalom, imploring him to reunite: The woman said, "Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him."
12:48 But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given. This verse alone indicates that there are "levels" of punishment. If everyone's fate was the same, Jesus would not have said this. Interestingly, this verse also indicates that some are given more faith, more gifts, than others. I know this is like, "Duh!" but it is interesting that God has given us each different abilities and gifts in varying degrees. I wonder how many of us will find out we had many more gifts and abilities than we ever imagined, but we did not have the faith to work them out, and didn't even know about them. I think of one guy I knew who could sing like anything, but he never even knew it until he was an adult. One day he just started singing, and found out he had this amazing gift. I think it is like that for many of us. We have gifts that are dormant because we have not walked in faith and obedience, where God could have led us to discover and operate in our gifts!
12:51-53 Jesus is certainly a polarizing figure.
12:58-59 When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won't be free again until you have paid the very last penny. This is not a warning about dealing with people we meet on the street in our everyday lives. Jesus is talking about our future judgment. We ARE on our way to court, and if we have anyone whom we have wronged (an accuser), we should try to make it right before we are dragged before The Judge. Whatever sins we have done intentionally against others and don't make right here, we will have to "pay the last penny" until it is right, there. If we are on the receiving end of injustice, even in light of what we've been learning, we see that God's retribution will be thorough and satisfying. That is why we are to leave vengeance up to Him. He promises that The Judge will make everything right and settle every score!
Questions for reflection:
Does the thought of receiving "special favor" for being faithful to the end, give you any excitement and purpose for living in the daily grind? James 2:26 says that "faith without deeds is dead." What actions or responses to God's work in your life are necessary from you in order to be considered a "faithful servant?"
What are some of the special gifts that you have discovered you possess in recent years or as an adult? For me, I have always loved writing, but only wrote occasionally in journals. I did not begin writing as a ministry until 2003. And now I can't stop! I write full-time from home. I am discovering angles of my gift that I never knew existed until I was 37! I have also begun speaking professionally. Now this is a joke to me. 6 years ago, I would break into a sweat if I even thought about getting up to speak in front of people. It's still not easy, but God is using me. I am excited to find what other surprises lay lurking below the surface.