OYB May 31
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 May 30
Way to go-you have rounded the corner of May. Only one more month
and you will be halfway through with this mysterious, irresistible,
magnificent, marvelous book!
17:2-3 "I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone, and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek..." I wonder if this was the thinking of the underworld the night Satan went after Jesus to kill him. NLT takes some serious liberties here by adding, "I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband."
17:5 Then Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say." I love all those moments in life when it seems like all hope is gone, fate is sealed, but then God... Hushai was minding his own business and this was the king's idea to ask his advice, which will smell less like a rat. God is so cool!
17:14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." For the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom. God answers David's prayer! God answers our prayers, too! He is always paying attention. And if you are living as a fool (not relying on God's counsel), you will get it all backwards.
Can you remember a specific prayer that God answered? If not, do you pray specifically? That is the first step. Also, I write my prayers in a journal and then often times I forget them. When I read back through my prayer journals, I discover all these specific answered prayers that I forgot about! Good reason to journal. I can share one recent answer to prayer.
As you may know, I have a book for parents coming out in July (www.onemillionarrows.com). I often feel so overwhelmed by everything that has to take place for this to happen and then to be a success. I asked God to be my marketing manager for this book, because I am only one person and I have my hands full with other things He's given me to do. Well, I can't tell you all the specifics because it would take up many pages, but He has given me some amazing opportunities to tell some key individuals about the book recently, and because of it, other key individuals who are well-connected have been contacting me to say, "I love what you are doing here. I want to help promote your book." I am like, "Wow...I have a GREAT Marketing Manager!" I can't wait to see how He continues to answer.
19:28 Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, "I am thirsty." Here's a short devotional I wrote on this verse awhile back with improvements:
When Jesus said, "I am thirsty," was He complaining? Was He stating a justified physical need in the last moment of His life? And why would the Bible say everything was finished "to fulfill the Scriptures" just before He expressed thirst?
Jesus never said extra or insignificant words. Expressing thirst was His way of telling you something very special. The fact is, Jesus thirsts for you.
You are the only empty, unsatisfied place left in His heart. You are His treasured child created in His image. He thirsts to be reunited with you again someday after all the unbelief and false illusions are burned away, and you see Him for who He really is. If you have not accepted His love, He longs for you with a deep, unquenchable, aching thirst, just as every parent of a prodigal desperately longs for their estranged child to come home.
From the moment of His death, He has longed for the day when everything will be set aright so that He can be with you again in His Kingdom. He will never get over His holy longing for you, until the day you come home to Papa.
The fact is, Jesus isn't the only One who is thirsty. Just like He reminded the woman at the well, He created you with an unsatisfied thirst for Him-a thirst that will never be quenched until you receive Him as your Father, and then go to be with Him. Like a child longs for a restored relationship with a parent, or a lonely person longs after a soul mate, you are made to always be in that place of longing for this lover of your soul.
Jesus thirsted. You thirst. One for another. This thirst will never fully be satisfied this side of the Kingdom. But someday, you will come home to Jesus, and your parched heart and soul will at last be quenched in the amazing, satisfying Living Water.
19:31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Remember that Sabbath started at sundown, and here they say this was goign to be a high Sabbath. The high Sabbath always follows Passover. So they would eat Passover right at sundown, and usher in the high Sabbath. This is even more evidence that Jesus did not eat Passover with His disciples the night before. Plus, it was bread and wine they ate together, not lamb. It was more of a communion/covenant meal they shared. The fact that this says it was to be a high Sabbath also lends to the fact that it did not have to be a Saturday, since a high Sabbath could fall on any day of the week. As you know, I believe Jesus was crucified on Wednesday.
19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. Frank Viola gave a thought provoking explanation for this verse (can you guess in which book?). In what Frank calls "the hidden romance of the Bible," he makes the argument that, just as Eve was taken out of Adam's side, so the Bride of Christ is taken out of His side (where she had been hiding since before the world began). Listen in on this passage.
Where did Eve come from? She came forth out of the side of Adam. Where did the bride of Christ come from? She came forth out of the side of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ.
This gives new meaning to the final moments of Calvary. When the Lord Jesus died, a Roman soldier pierced His side. Here we have echoes of Adam's side being opened as he was put into a deep sleep.
After Jesus Christ was put into His deep sleep, His side was opened and blood and water poured forth from His sinless body. The blood represents the cleansing from all sin. Your Lord died to cleanse His believed bride from all defilement (Eph. 5:25-27). The water represents the living waters that flow from Christ Himself (John 4:10; Rev. 21:6). It represents divine life-the very life that the bride would live by.
On that very day, the day when Christ was raised from the dead, the passion of the ages that had been restrained inside the Son of God for all eternity was unbolted. "Finally," the resting place for His passion had taken on flesh. "Finally," it had become incarnate, living, breathing, and tangible. "Finally," at last, the Son of God found His beloved bride. And God's ultimate passion found a home. (From Eternity to Here, by Frank Viola, pgs. 45-46.)
Is that not one of the coolest thoughts ever—that Jesus had a girl hiding in His side since before the world began and that it was His bride? How does that thought strike you? Perhaps the greatest reason Jesus never married on earth is because He was already betrothed to His bride for the next age (Millennial Kingdom) when He will consummate the relationship with the Grandest Wedding of all time. Wow, I can't wait!
19:41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. When Adam was put into a sleep, he was in a garden, too!
119:140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much. Me too!