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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB January 23

  • 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 23
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Today’s One Year Bible (NLT) Reading

Genesis

46:26 The total number of Jacob's direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons' wives, was sixty-six. This is a fascinating detail because Jacob went to Egypt in 1,711 BCE and then the Israelites left Egypt with Moses in 1,496 BCE--just over 200 years. In that time, the male population increased from 66 to 600,000, not including wives and children! 47:27 says, "The people of Israel settled in the land of Goshen...and their population grew rapidly."

46:34 When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds. So the Egyptians despise Hebrews AND they despise shepherds. Factor in jealousy for getting "the best of the land (47:6, 11)," and I can imagine the strife that must have been present for Joseph's family from the beginning. But God's blessing and provision was clearly upon the Israelites!

47:18-19 Our money is gone, and all our livestock and cattle are yours. We have nothing left to give but our bodies and our land. Buy us and our land in exchange for food; we offer our land and ourselves as slaves for Pharaoh. Just give us grain so we may live and not die, and so the land does not become empty and desolate. Continuing from our theme a couple days ago, this is exactly why it's important to "store up" for the seasons of spiritual famine. If we do not store up God's Word in our hearts during times of plenty, Satan's provisions will look alluring during times of want. Because they did not plan ahead, and because they did not have faith in God as Jacob's family did, the Egyptians found themselves selling off bit by bit (vs. 21), becoming Pharaoh's slaves. We too can find ourselves slaves of Satan if we begin looking to him to sooth our empty longings (addictions and habit sins) when we are spiritually unequipped for the famines. We will see in coming days that Pharaoh is indeed a "Satan-type."

Matthew

15:22-28 This woman is sort of a modern day Jacob (modern in Jesus' day). She wrestled with Jesus, saying, "I will not go until you bless me." In my opinion, Jesus already knew He was going to answer her prayer, but perhaps He allowed this situation to show us today that He is reasonable and compassionate if we are persistent.

Psalm

19:1-4 The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies (footnote: There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard); yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

I LOVE this Psalm! Especially after watching, "Star of Bethlehem." If you haven't seen it, you MUST-either order the DVD or you can read the DVD script on the website for free. The DVD is an awesome visual though.

Do you ever wonder where the saying, "It is written in the stars" came from? Perhaps it was coined before astrology twisted it for wrong purposes. I believe from things I've learned recently, that these verses reveal much more about God and His plans than just a little night-time star gazing wonder. God must have taught His people about the signs in the night skies and constellations so that they could watch for Messiah--both when He made His first appearance in Bethlehem and when He makes His next appearance in the second coming. The night skies are the way the Bible tells us that the Magi recognized The Star, even when Herod didn't (he asked them when the star appeared, as if he didn't know what to look for). It appears that the Jews should have known Messiah had come, because Paul says in Romans 10:18: But I ask: Did the [Jews] not hear? Of course they did (quoting Psalm 19:4): "Their (stars) voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

This all ties into Romans 1:19-20. "But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively (footnote says, "is manifest in them.") God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God."

Questions for personal reflection:

  • Do you "wrestle with Jesus" until you receive the blessing? Maybe you should try it. I certainly need to do this on a few issues!

  • Even before I watched, "Star of Bethlehem," I have always found great strength for my faith in looking at the night sky, seeing how big God. Did you know there scientists have determined there are at least 100 billion galaxies with 100 billion stars each, and yet God says He set each one in place and calls each by name? What does this information do for you and your faith? Personally, if I stop and think about how big God really is, it makes me want to stay on my face in worship. Can you imagine meeting Him face to face someday? Maybe touring those galaxies hand in hand with Him?