Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB January 19

  • Julie Ferwerda
    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 19
  • Comments
Today’s One Year Bible (NLT) Reading

Genesis

41:9 Finally, the king's chief cup-bearer spoke up. "Today I have been reminded of my failure," he told Pharaoh. Don't miss the fact that when the cup-bearer "promptly forgot" about Joseph, this was more likely a Divine intervention than a human oversight. God saved the cup-bearer for "such a time as this" when his input would actually be a part of a bigger, significant plan. When people let you down, perhaps it is because they are part of an arrangement to bring about a much more significant plan of good in your life, and the lives of others. The more I learn about the ways of God, there is really no such thing as "chance." The things I deem as disappointing closed doors have often times turned into amazing opportunities if I am patient for God's plan to unfold on the other side!

Joseph as a Christ-type "savior." This is one of my favorite faith lessons in the Bible, and God has often used this passage to encourage me on those days when things "look" pretty gloomy on the surface. But even more than that, this is a favorite because of yet another inspiring glimpse of the future Messiah given to the people of Joseph's day! It is mind-boggling how God orchestrated these amazing Christ-types throughout the Old Testament to give the people a picture of His Son so they would recognize Him when He came. Some did. Most didn't. With the help of Mark Biltz' teaching over at El Shaddai Ministries, here's the Joseph picture of Messiah:

  • Joseph was a shepherd (compare Genesis 37:2, John 10:11).

  • He was sent by his father to find his brothers (compare Genesis 37:14, Matthew 15:24).

  • He was hated by his brothers (compare Genesis 37:3,4, John 15:25).

  • His brothers made plans to kill him (compare Genesis 37:18, Matthew 26:4).

  • His brother, Judah, sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver (compare Genesis 37: 26-27, Matthew 26:15). Remember, Judah is another name for the house of Israel and the line of Judah is the line of Messiah. It was the Jews who "sold" out Jesus. There is no connection between "Judah" and "Judas." These are English names and it is only a coincidence (as far as I know).

  • He was stripped of his clothes (compare Genesis 37:23, Matthew 27:35).

  • He was falsely accused (Genesis 39:17-18). Check.

  • He was recognized as having a supernatural spirit upon him (Genesis 41:38). Check.

  • When people pleaded for food, Pharaoh told them to, "Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you (compare Genesis 41:55, John 2:5 at the wedding of Cana)."

  • His brothers didn't recognize him (compare Genesis 42:7-8, John 1:10-11).

  • When Judah repented of his sin (Genesis 44:16, 33, 34), Joseph revealed himself (Genesis 45:1-6). I believe (as Mark Biltz suggests) that this is a beautiful symbolic picture of what the day will be like when Jesus reveals Himself to "Judah" after there is repentance (remember that most Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah). I have enhanced this passage to give you the picture:

Jesus could stand it no longer. "Out, all of you!" he cried out to his attendants. He wanted to be alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept aloud. His sobs could be heard throughout the palace.

"I am Jesus!" he said to his brothers. His brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Jesus was standing there in front of them.

"Come over here," he said. So they came closer. And he said again, "I am Jesus, your brother whom you sold to the Roman guards. But don't be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it (see Isaiah 53:10). He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

Matthew

13:12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. Just the fact that you have committed to reading your OYB, coupled with the fact that you are joining this Blog, both taking a fair amount of time, shows that you are in a place of intent listening. And that is why I'm confident that He's giving you more understanding as you feast on His Word! But we must heed the warning about the seed, making sure that we allow the seed to have fertile soil in which to grow. Any guesses how we cultivate that kind of soil?

Quiz: Which soil are you?

  • Hard soil? The life-giving, regenerating quality of God's Word cannot penetrate; therefore you have a hard time understanding the ways of God, never fully trusting Him. Perhaps unbelief, pride, lies you believe about God, fear, or laziness keep your soil from being cultivated and ready for new life?

  • Rocky soil? You get excited when you hear a message that seems just for you, or when God shows up and nudges you for change, or when you see Him doing something miraculous. But you're never quite ready to commit to real, transforming faith where you continue a pattern of growth during the hard days of life. Instead you typically revert to solving your own problems, leaving God's help out of the equation. In this life, your roots are easily pulled up when something better or easier comes along.

  • Thorny soil? This heart life is too much about you and what you can get out of it, instead of what you can give or sacrifice for God. This is the life of seeking pleasure, comforts, popularity, security, and amusement, rather than pursing the work necessary for the plans and dreams God has for you. It's all about fun and not about responsibility, forgetting that lives are at stake and this earth is not our home.

  • Good soil? This heart understands that a relationship with God is like a marriage covenant, where you are in for the long haul, committed to growing, learning, studying, and serving your mate in love. This life is full of wonder, adventure, and a quiet contentment with the unknown from day to day as His plan unfolds in according to the Divine method and calendar. This heart is characterized by devotion to God's Word where continuous transformation equips you in faith to be ready, willing, and able for His purposes. It produces the deeper life of Christ and reaps the benefits of being united with Christ-companionship, growth, love, change, joy, purpose, passion, romance, and "offspring." In other words, a great produce of godly works that benefit you and others!

Note: All of our hearts and lives can be characteristic of these different types of soil at different times. The important thing is to recognize when our soil is not ready for the planting of God's Word, figure out why, and then take the necessary steps to plow it up, get rid of the rocks, pour weed-killer on the thorns, or plant away in good soil!