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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB January 13

  • 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 Jan 13
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Today's One Year Bible (NLT) Reading

Genesis

28:12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. This Biblical account is where the famous children's song "Jacob's Ladder" comes from, but what exactly is it? This is so cool-Jesus explains it to us in John 1:51 (NASB): "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."  The ladder, Jesus Christ, is the mediator between God and man, the bridge between Heaven and earth!

Extra commentary: Jesus makes it clear that He is the access to heaven. He is the means by which heaven comes down to us and by which we can go to heaven. He is the "ladder." Jesus is this way to heaven; He does not show us a way, He is the way: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

13: The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Have you ever wondered how a little tiny nation has been able to hold onto a little sliver of land in the midst of large, powerful enemies for 5,000 plus years? It is because the land was given to the Israelites by God Himself as an eternal inheritance. It is where Jesus will set up His near future kingdom, beginning during His millennial reign and afterward when He resurrects the new earth (all to be studied later).

It's important to read the asterisks at the bottom of the page, as they lend so much insight. For instance, 28:14 says, "All the families of the earth will be blessed through your descendants." But the asterisk says, "seed," instead of descendants is a more accurate translation. This is a specific prophecy of the blessing future Messiah would bring to all families of the earth, who is of the lineage of Jacob.

28:16 "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it!" I say to you today, are you aware that "God is in this place?" Acknowledge Him! Whether you are aware or not, He is right here, right now. Commentary: Jacob was right in sensing the presence of the Lord there, but he was wrong in perhaps thinking God was in some places and not in others. David knew this: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (Psalm 139:7) From his fleshly perspective, Jacob puts too much emphasis on a particular place: How awesome is this place! He doesn't realize that if the presence of the Lord is not with him in every place, then God can never fulfill His promise to him.

29:20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Bask in the thought today (if you're a guy, translate a bit) that this is the same kind of love that Jesus has for you. Check out Hebrews 12:2: He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. His joy? Spending His eternity with you! Consider also Isaiah 62:5, "Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride."

29:25 "What have you done to me?" Jacob raged at Laban. "I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?" It is interesting that the "trickster" couldn't take a dose of his own medicine. I have noticed that often times God allows (orchestrates?) people to treat me the way I have treated others in the course of my life, so that I will have a mirror to see the ugliness of my sin. A good example of this was when my kids were little, I was so critical at times with them. Then God brought someone into my life who treated me the same way, and I was so ashamed of my behavior, and I felt terrible when I experienced the pain of being criticized all the time. There is no quicker way for me to feel repentant than to experience the pain of my own behavior! I think this is what happened to Jacob as well, which we will discover by some of his renewed attitudes tomorrow.

29:31-35 How women long for the love and approval of their husbands! The last son before she stopped having children was Judah. Judah is the line of Messiah, so her words were fitting: "Now I will praise the Lord." It is interesting to me that God honored the wife who was unloved with the insurmountable blessing of the line of Messiah! Too bad Leah didn't have verses to read like Isaiah 62:5 (above)! Let us never take for granted the incredible opportunity we have in our times of the comfort and reassurance of the precious Word of God. And for wives who are unloved by their husbands, take to heart that God sees and honors such women.

Matthew

9:27 ...two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, "Son of David, have mercy on us!" I find this ironic. Two blind men recognize (see?) Jesus as the "Son of David," which is significant since the Pharisees and many Jewish people did not recognize him as such (if they admitted that, they would have to admit He was potentially the Messiah). So you have two blind guys who can see, while the Pharisees with sight intact were blind.

Proverbs 3:11-12

Why do we get mad at God when He disciplines us? Why do our children get mad when we discipline them? (Fair) Discipline=Love! Knowing He fully loves us and wants the best for us and has a plan of good for us, we should ask God to discipline us when we go astray. I believe that is a request He will honor! I have found that when God disciplines me, He is very, very merciful about it. In fact, if I ask Him to intervene with His discipline rather than going full steam ahead in my rebellion until I end at the pain of my own consequences, the end results are so much better with the route of His discipline. Consider 2 Corinthians 7:10: For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.

Questions for personal reflection:

  • Have you ever been wronged by others in a deeply painful way? If you honestly assess your treatment of others, did you ever cause the same kind of pain to anyone else?
  • How would the internalization of Jesus' passion for you and His joy at spending eternity with you, according to today's verses, change the course of your day? Your circumstances? Your life?