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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB August 28

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are 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 Aug 28
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

For Pete's sake. I couldn't contain myself today. Sorry about the length! Good nuggets, pearls, and rubies though...

Job

28:4-5 They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth. Food is grown on the earth above, but down below, the earth is melted as by fire. I always tend to think of people in Bible times as somewhat uncivilized and undiscovered. But when you read through Job, somewhere around 2,000 B.C., you realize how man has pretty much been in the same place since the beginning, with about the same discoveries, problems, fears, resources, etc. I keep seeing that there really is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon said. We think we're so civilized and smart, but it's only been in recent years that it seems like the "unveiling" has begun for the end of the age. God revealed most of the same stuff to people throughout the centuries as what we know today. Sometimes I ever wonder if they had more advanced technology than we realize in different eras.

28:12-21 (selected) "But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living. It cannot be bought with gold. It cannot be purchased with silver. It's worth more than all the gold of Ophir, Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. The price of wisdom is far above rubies. It's worth more than the purest gold. But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. This makes me feel a lot better about how much work it has been, uncovering gold, rubies, and diamonds this year together! I have friends who, when I try to explain some of the buried treasures we've discovered in the Bible this year (especially ones that go against orthodox evangelical teaching that we've all grown up with), say, "How do you know that's what the Bible is saying? I should be easier to understand than that. And how do you know there are translation errors? Don't you think God could prevent that from happening and that we just shouldn't question the way we've been taught? Why are you right and they're wrong?"

Well, God certainly could have kept if from happening, but I believe He didn't because He wants to be discovered and sought after as intently as the most precious stones and metals! Job is clear (as well as the rest of the Bible) that true understanding comes at a heavy price, but also it is rewarded with a hefty prize (think MK!, Jubilee, wedding feast, rest). As to how I know that I'm right on some things I've been mistaught? I certainly don't claim a monopoly on the truth! But I can compare modern translations of my Bible just like anyone else (or look up the Greek on studylight) and notice that they not only say different things, sometimes they contradict. Something is wrong that two translations would contradict! And someone has to be right.

Take Titus 2:11 for example. KJV and NIV basically read this way: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

NLT and NASB both read basically this way: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Totally different meanings! One says that God's grace has appeared to all men. The other says that God's grace has brought salvation to all men. Only one can be right--you should check the literal!

While we're on a roll, let's do another one, Mark 3:29. Here are a few different varieties of this verse. See if you see any differences or even contradictions between translations...

...but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (NASB) Note: KJV, AMP, NIV all agree with this "interpretation." But what do the literal translations say (in other words, not interpreted versions but just literal to Greek):

...but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment. (YLT)

...yet whoever should be blaspheming against the holy spirit is having no pardon for the eon (age), but is liable to the eonian penalty for the sin" -(CLT)

When I think about it, finding the wisdom and understanding of God SHOULD be a difficult search! That which is rare and hidden is more valued. There should be a cost in the search and the find. Gold prospectors in the mid 1800s would give up their whole lives in search of the mother lode. Most of their search was spent stabbing in the dark at nothing. That's how I feel about much of my searching, but finally I have hit the right mine shaft, and the payoff has been worth every year of searching! Anything easy to find would have cheapened my discovery. Not that I have arrived, mind you. But it's just that I have hit a vein, and I intend to stay here mining for precious gold as long as there is more to be found!

(PS if you have not followed the blog and you are clueless as to what I'm talking about, one must follow the trail into our gold mine from January 1 to grasp where we're at now. It has been quite a journey of connecting dots!)

28:28 And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding. Our search for wisdom and understanding should always take us to the fear of the Lord in a richer, deeper way! Which ultimately means that we will bear the fruit of love—love God, love people in increasing measure.

29:2-4 I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when he lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness. When I was in my prime, God's friendship was felt in my home. There seems to be a patterned method in the way God works in our lives. We have the days when we were able to perceive Him in our "baby" stage, when there was not the development of faith. But then He begins to pull back so that our faith will grow, and we will learn to walk by faith, not by sight. That is when the light turns to darkness, when He withdraws the sense of His presence just enough that we must grope and learn to listen to His voice, not be led by what we see.

29:6 My cows produced milk in abundance... I was glad to see this in a world that tells you that cows milk is bad for you. If it was good enough for the Bible folks, it's good enough for me! I only wish I could still use half and half, but my ever-waiting-in-the-shadows handle bars tell me otherwise. Gosh I love creamy lattes! Hope I get one every morning in the Kingdom! This verse gives me renewed hope (also, PL was a land flowing with MILK and HONEY, two of my favorites. They are even good mixed together!).

29:12-17 For I assisted the poor in their need...I helped those without hope...I caused the widows' hearts to sing for joy...Everything I did was honest...I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame...I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help. I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims from their teeth. Job's love for the downcast and despairing is so evident and touching. Yet his "friends" accused him of not loving them or meeting their needs. The fact is, when we are being falsely accused, it can be a good experience (I know this from experience). When people shame you, condemn you, or falsely accuse you, it is the perfect time to run to God and find out what He thinks of you. A beautiful thing can happen when you are forced to find God's mercy in ways you never needed it before! The best part is that you won't be disappointed.

29:18 I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life. A + B does not always equal C in this age. There is no formula with God; you cannot manipulate or plan your life. You must give up your rights for what His perfect plan is for you. It may include suffering, but it is eventually for a harvest of goodness, righteousness, and peace. We cannot know these things without having suffered the opposite.

30:9-11 And now they mock me with vulgar songs! They taunt me! They despise me and won't come near me, except to spit in my face. For God has cut my bowstring. He has humbled me, so they have thrown off all restraint. I think this is a mini picture of Jesus. Jesus humbled Himself, and it caused mankind to throw off restraint in the way they treated Him. Not so next time...fast horse, sharp sword, King of kings!

30:19-21 He has thrown me into the mud. I'm nothing more than dust and ashes. I cry to you, O God, but you don't answer. I stand before you, but you don't even look. You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. Luckily for Job, God has promised beauty for ashes! Though I'm not minimizing Job's suffering, we humans forget there is a bigger picture-a bigger story being written with our lives than what we can perceive. Job's suffering has a marvelous purpose in God's plan for the ages. If Job could only have seen the glory that results from his suffering in his part of the story. When life gets you down, and things look gloomy and depressing, remember a bigger story of GOOD is being written, and only in time will it unfold to reveal the glory and the victory. Hang in there! Good HAS TO RESULT. Anything less would be contrary to His nature.

30:26 So I looked for good, but evil came instead. I waited for the light, but darkness fell. Again, things are not always as they appear.

2 Corinthians

2:15-16 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume (NLT). Hey, we have a built-in translation contradiction in today's reading! Check out NASB...

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. What does it mean in this version (which matches the literal)? It means we are a fragrance to BOTH those being saved and those perishing. For those perishing, they go from death to death: existing in a state of death until they encounter the second death (until you are connected to the Vine, you are in a state of death even in life). The believers go from life to life. They are connected to the Vine and go from life in the Spirit, to life in the Kingdom. Consider this verse to clarify life and death while we are among the mortals in this life:

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace... Romans 8:5-6

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up... John 15:6

If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. Luke 9:24

Psalm

42:9 "O God my rock," I cry, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?" David and Job had exactly the same struggle in feeling abandoned! They should have considered starting a club. They could have just stopped at "Anonymous."

Big reading today. Good job! I never knew Job was so rich...I used to sort of skim through. Only a week or two and we get to head into Isaiah—one of my all time fav books. I wonder what treasures lie buried there that I've never seen before this year?? I can hardly wait! Fingers don't fail me now!