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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB January 29

  • 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 29
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Today’s One Year Bible (NLT) Reading

Exodus

Food for thought. God sent judgments against Pharaoh and all of Egypt for not letting His people go. I wonder if, when God is trying to help us get free of a habit sin/addiction (we are pleading for help), that maybe God inflicts judgments on Satan and his followers, pressuring him to give us up, even though it is a process?

9:20-21 Some of Pharaoh's officials were afraid because of what the Lord had said. But those who paid no attention to the word of the Lord left theirs out in the open. I am still stumped by people's lack of respect and acknowledgement of God, even when they have seen such miracles (and suffered from them). This is truly the spirit of the anti-Christ. Like Satan, they know all they need to know about God's power and omnipotence, yet they shake their fist in God's face and refuse to humble themselves. It has been the same throughout His-story!

9:25 It left all of Egypt in ruins. The hail struck down everything in the open field-people, animals, and plants alike. Even the trees were destroyed. I don't know what Egypt looked like before this hailstorm, but have you ever seen its topography now (you can see it quite well on Google earth)? There is hardly a tree in the whole country! I often wonder if what we see today in the characteristics of land is the result of Biblical events. Just like we saw of Sodom and Gomorrah region by the Dead Sea. I could be wrong, but I really doubt that Egypt was such a barren desert only 2,500 years after creation. I imagine the way the world was created that it was full of trees, foliage, and beauty.

Matthew

19:17 "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God (NKJV). This is a better translation, and agrees with Luke 18:19. I always wondered how Jesus could make such a derogatory statement about Himself after all He did and all He is--sinless, unconditionally loving, willing to take the hit for me, and tortured to death for being...GOOD. Was He denying His deity as God? Was He stating that He wasn't really good like we hoped and needed Him to be?

Jesus had a knack of going for the jugular. He shamelessly exposed the most vulnerable places in people's thought lives. He wasn't satisfied to talk about the weather or to shoot the breeze with the lost and leave it there. He was always looking to go deeper, to penetrate and renovate, in matters of the heart.

In this case, Jesus wasn't denying His goodness or deity at all. Instead, He was upholding it. The focus here was on the words "Why do you...?" Jesus knew this man already believed He was good, but he didn't believe Jesus was God. His unbelief was fully exposed a few verses later when Jesus told him to go and sell his many possessions and give them to the poor so he could inherit eternal life, thus fulfilling the Law of Love. This wasn't about earning his salvation by a good deed but revealing where his heart was. If the man truly believed in Jesus' deity as God, and thus was willing to enter into a saving eternal relationship with Him, giving away his wealth would have been something he was willing to do. Jesus exposed the man's unbelief openly, assuring the man he was indeed talking to the One, true, good God.

19: 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. I have given up many things for Christ, and something tells me I'm not done yet. Here is a verse that brings me great comfort, because I believe it.

Questions for personal reflection:

  • In the past, what have you given up for Jesus that cost you something?

  • If Jesus asked you to sell your home, your furniture, your cars, and your jewelry, and donate the money to your local homeless shelter, would you do it? Could you do it?

  • If not, what would your inability expose in your heart? Unbelief? Living for this world? Indifference?

Consider Matthew 16:26, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" We don't want to end up like the man who "went away sad." He gave up eternity and all the riches thereof, keeping a death grip on a few measly earthly possessions that could have been lost in a day, and surely would be lost in a few years. Maybe that's where the expression, "death grip" came from--gripping at things that cost your soul.