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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB September 9

  • 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 Sep 08
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Isaiah

3:1 The Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on: every bit of bread and every drop of water... This prophecy was fulfilled on at least one level in AD 70 during the terrible siege and destruction of the Temple. 1,000,000 Jerusalem residents died for no food or water during the siege.

3:10 Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned! Oh how we should long to be considered godly! We can never take it for granted...it's a day-by-day choice! But it will be oh, so worth it!

4:2-3 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. The fruit of the earth will be those chosen to rule and reign with Jesus from Jerusalem! I believe the recorded for life in Jerusalem means those pre-ordained for this calling.

A lot of these prophecies use the word "Zion" instead of "Jerusalem." I Googled Zion and found this helpful definition:

Question: "What is Zion? What is Mount Zion? What is the Biblical meaning of Zion?"

Answer: Psalm 87:2-3 says, "The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God." Occurring over 150 times in the Bible, the word "Zion" essentially means "fortification." In the Bible, Zion is both the city of David and the city of God. As the Bible progresses, the word "Zion" transitions from referring primarily to a physical city to having a more spiritual meaning.

The first mention of the word "Zion" in the Bible is 2 Samuel 5:7: "Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David." Zion, therefore, was originally the name of the ancient Jebusite fortress in the city of Jerusalem. Zion came to stand not only for the fortress but also for city in which the fortress stood. After David captured "the stronghold of Zion," Zion was then called "the City of David" (1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 5:2).

When Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, Zion expanded in meaning to include the temple and the area surrounding it (Psalms 2:6, 48:2, 11-12, 132:13). Zion was eventually used as a name for the city of Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the people of Israel as a whole (Isaiah 40:9; Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:13).

The most important use of the word "Zion" is in a theological sense. Zion is used figuratively of Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). The spiritual meaning of Zion is continued in the New Testament, where it is given the Christian meaning of God's spiritual kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1). Peter refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame" (1 Peter 2:6).

5:10 Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain." I believe this is on a deeper level. Based on the poem of God planting a vineyard of choice vines, yet they did not yield a harvest, I believe this is talking about people! The last days will yield a small harvest. I am frequently struck by the verse these days from Luke 18:8, when Jesus is speaking of His chosen in context and He says, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" This is troubling, and makes me tremble in fear of losing my pure and devoted faith in the last days.

2 Corinthians

11:2 ...for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. This is a picture of the chosen being presented to Christ as His bride! How beautiful! I want to be a worthy bride, pure as a virgin and ready for my betrothed when I see Him for the first time. But again, it is not something we can take for granted. See the warning in the next verses:

11:3-4 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully [or you easily put up with this kind of thing]. We are all so susceptible! Staying on the path of truth is indeed a slippery slope. The ropes I try to use are humility, study, prayer, obedience, and sacrifice!

Psalm

53:2-3 God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! Kinda blows the theory that any of us would be good enough or believing enough to choose Him in our own free will, huh? Remember, like the apostle Paul, we are literally dragged to Him:

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw [Greek lit. "drag"] all men to Myself." John 12:32