OYB June 4
Julie FerwerdaAre 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 Jun 04
22:1-3 David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. Had David not had enemies, including Saul, he would not have known all these things about his Rock, his "salvation," or his "Yeshua." His enemies revealed to him exactly who his God is, and gave him reason to praise. May our enemies do the same!
23:3 "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me... This sounds as if Yahweh and Jesus are having a conversation.
I love reading about David's warriors. I can't wait to see them someday. They must have been mighty intimidating! Can you imagine one man striking down 800 warriors in a single battle? Good gracious!
23:16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. What's kind of an interesting comparison is that David had his 3 mightiest warriors and Jesus had His 3 closest disciples. Here we find David's mightiest 3 breaking through enemy barriers during the heat of the battle to bring David some of the refreshing living water from the well he loved. But we find a sad contrast. On the night of His crucifixion, Jesus longed for His 3 to help strengthen Him with Living Waters from above by breaking through enemy barriers on their knees, but they fell asleep on Him. What a contrast of the THREEs.
23:20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. One book that changed my life is written about Benaiah: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson. What a book! What a mighty warrior!
2:1 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Pentecost (Jewish: Feast of Weeks or Shavuot) began last week on the sunset of May 30-31. Remember that the Holy Spirit came to inhabit believers on the same day (Pentecost) that the Jews had been celebrating for a couple thousand years. Everything was so specific and detailed. I love that about God!
2:2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. The first Pentecost or "Shavuot" took place during the giving of the written Torah on Mt. Sinai (remember that in Acts Jesus was giving His Spirit--the "Living Torah" to His followers!). Check out the parallel event passage in Exodus and see if you see any similarities:
Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. Exodus 24:15-17
2:7-8 They were completely amazed. "How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! I've often wondered if the Jews actually spoke in other languages or these people from all the other places just heard the message in their own language. It makes more sense with all those places listed (I counted 16) that they just heard the message in their own languages. Either way, it was a huge miracle!
2:17-18 ‘In the last days,' God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. The gift of prophecy is clearly not gone but is alive and well in the last days. But we must be very careful of false prophets. Here are some tips for recognizing true prophecy:
It will agree with Scripture
It will come true
It will be what God is already saying and doing elsewhere (He is never doing a work or speaking a message through only one person or church)
It can take many forms-truth telling, dreams, visions, special insight, direction for a future event, etc.
It could come from men, women or children
The person doesn't even have to be aware that they are communicating prophetically
3:21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This reminded me of a verse in Zephaniah 3:8-9: Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal. For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
2:23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. It appears to have been a joint effort—both Jews and Gentiles. I thought from other passages that the Jews got the whole responsibility, but really, we all did it. But note, it was a prearranged plan! It was not "Plan B." Jesus' death was planned and carried out right on schedule.
2:29, 34 You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn't referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. For David himself never ascended into heaven... Just this year in deeper study, I find very convincing evidence that no one has ever "gone to heaven" in a conscious state after they die. Yes, our spirits are kept safe in heaven after we die, but as of recently, I now believe that everyone who has died is still resting in the grave and will not attain consciousness until they are resurrected at the end of this age. The evidence Scripturally is overwhelming.
Consider Hebrews (Bible heroes Hall of Fame) 11:13: All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance... And verses 39-40: And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised (resurrection), because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
"No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man." John 3:13
And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything
they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money
with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met
in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy
and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of
all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those
who were being saved. I wonder if we might be adding to our numbers daily too if our fellowships looked like this. Why don't they? Hmmm...