OYB March 10
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 Mar 10
14:3 "If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!" they complained. We say the same today, but its ridiculous to think God is delivering us only to enslave us. He's calling us out to the victorious battle of faith, but we don't want to go through anything hard to grow our faith. We want it all easy but we never grow like that. Note that you just may get what you pray for, see verse 28: "As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say."
14:7-9 God's plans/purposes for you are "good land." His plans require belief & surrender.
14:9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don't be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! Remember, your obstacles and fears, no matter how big and toothy, are only helpless prey to you when God is on your side.
14:11 "Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?" This is our story today: Unbelief, in spite of the thousands of miracles we see God do in everyday life.
14:33 And your children will be like shepherds, wandering in the wilderness for forty years. In this way, they will pay for your faithlessness, until the last of you lies dead in the wilderness. Do you think our children don't suffer from our sins? How many children we see wandering in the desolate wilderness along with their parents?
Questions for reflection:
Can you name some of the miracles you have seen, whether or in everyday life or in special circumstances that should be reflected in your belief in God's power?
Can you think of ways you have led your children into the wilderness by your choices? The cool thing is that God doesn't leave them there! And all the more when we are repentant for our choices.
Have you ever felt that God wanted you to do something risky/difficult/beyond you-something that required you face fear or give up security? What was your response? What was the outcome?
Personal testimony on risk in the making : It's so weird how God prepares you ahead of time to take steps of faith! About 3 weeks ago, God put a thought into my heart: "You know, Julie, you've never had to rely solely on me for your security in this world. You don't know what I will do for you-you've never tried and proved Me on this."
It's true. I have never "set myself up" to totally trust God as if my life depended on it. In this latest challenge, I felt God calling me out onto the "spring ice" of life once again (He has done this in other ways in the past), this place where I have never fully trusted God for my security and where the ice looks a bit melted and thin for holding up my weight. It's been easier not to. This is America, for Pete's sake. I have a savings account. I have a mom who loves to "bless me." I have retirement, though quite pathetic. I have to admit, when I think about living by faith, it ruffles my security blanket. I know God can take care of me, but will He? This is the lingering question He has challenged in my heart.
Shortly after that, Shuck's dad sent us an email out of the blue, in which he went off on a tangent, telling us a story about Shuck's mom (she was a missionary who died in Lebanon in 1999 before we got married and I never met her). His words jumped off the paper, as God is famous for making happen when He's trying to drive a point home:
"And perhaps most significantly, before we left for the Middle East the second time (before our marriage), Marian agreed to freeze her modest savings account, and afterwards secretly gave it to a Christian ministry. She wanted to "prove the Lord" that although she would no longer have any salary, the Lord would provide for all her needs." It is so cool how God would use my husband's mom, ten years after we got married, to encourage us through a spiritual test! I wonder if she was smiling down from Heaven after dropping that love-note on our laps?
Two more significant things happened, all in the past couple weeks. My husband got his already low salary cut in half and benefits stripped. This was only due to the nature of the bad-economy-meets-a-donor-based ministry. We can barely pay our rent on what he's making now, and I have taken time from speaking and lucrative writing to be with my mom who is in late stages of cancer.
But the plot thickens yet again. God has given me the responsibility of a vision to carry on. In order for this vision to move forward currently, it requires quite an investment of money. It requires most of what we have in savings.
And finally, we just began reading the biography of George Muller. By accident? I don't believe in accidents. George was an 1800s missionary in England who fed and clothed over 2,000 orphans on prayer alone. He never asked for money, yet God put this vision on his heart to open a home and take care of all these children on the streets of Bristol. His story has been a shot in the arm. Whenever George acted in faith according to the vision God gave him, and prayed for provision, God sent it.
pray that my testimony will inspire you to let go of control and
security, and trust God when He is asking you to allow Him to prove
Himself to you. I have made serious decisions before to trust God, and
He has never let me down. This is just a new realm of trust, and
frankly, I'm excited about the adventure! I'm sure you'll hear some
awesome God stories this year.