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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB December 3

  • 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 Dec 04
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Daniel

Not to make light of serious Bible prophecy, but Chapter 11 is hilariously specific. I felt like I was reading directions on a scavenger hunt: Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters... His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. But after a very brief reign, he will die, though not from anger or in battle.

I really can't shed too much light on Daniel. I'm intrigued by it all, wondering how much of it was fulfilled in history and by whom. But I'm also pretty clueless about it all. I'm sure you can study more online, but I don't have the time as this is a very exhaustive study. For now, I'll make a few light comments.

11:33 Wise leaders will give instruction to many, but these teachers will die by fire and sword, or they will be jailed and robbed. This is basically saying that in the last days, those with understanding will teach the masses, but they will also be killed or persecuted for doing it.

11:34-35 (NAS) "Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time." This is a little frightening to think about. I believe this is saying that those who teach (overcomers) will be "helped" by certain believers who secretly oppose them and oppose the truth. It will be a false help. The teachers who fall in those days will be refined and purified by this process of betrayal and death. How can we recognize these "false helpers" who claim to be believers in the last days? Interestingly, our very first two verses in 1 John today give a clue:

1 John

3:7-8 (NAS) Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. Those who are hypocrites or false in their testimony will not have the righteous actions to back up their claims. The tricky part is getting to know them well enough to discern the hypocrisy behind their behavior and the ways their actions don't match up with their words. Ultimately, overcomers will be betrayed...there is nothing that can stop it. It is part of the plan. Jesus was also betrayed!

3:10 (NAS) By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. Again, litmus test of a true believer. If anyone ever asks you, how do I know if I'm a true believer? This is the answer. Of course, this is in growing measure based on where we start. We wouldn't expect a recently converted drug addict to be "righteous" immediately, but there is growing evidence and change.

3:11-12 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. Both Cain and Abel were sons of the first Adam. We should not be surprised that there are sons of the 2nd Adam who fall into both camps-those who are righteous and those who are jealous of those who are righteousness. I think Cain and Abel are teachers that the oppression can and will come from within the family, not necessarily from out in the world. But of course, verse 13 reminds us that the hatred comes from the world too.

3:17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. This was one of the many verses exactly 3 years ago that I read when I went on my first mission trip to Haiti (November 26 was when I went into Haiti, so I was reading these very verses then) that led my husband and I to sell our home in order to buy a home for orphans in Haiti. Exactly one year later in November, they got their home! I have never looked back at that with regret, but only with joy.