The Bargainomics Lady 

Judy Woodward Bates

INVITE ME to speak to your church or civic group! Email me at: judywbates@bargainomics.com or visit my HOME page for more info.

BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 27


“‘I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. And He is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh – the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. I will take care of you there…’ Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him” (Genesis 45:4b-5, 8b, 10-11a, 15, NLT).


During the widespread famine, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt hoping to buy grain. How stunned they were to find that the brother they’d sold as a slave had become a powerful ruler! How terrified they were that he would take revenge on them for what they had done to him!


But look at Joseph’s response. He realized that his hardships as a slave and even in prison were all part of an amazing plan orchestrated by God Almighty. A right attitude on Joseph’s part brought blessing for himself and for his family. A right attitude can do the same for you.


“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge…, but love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 43-45


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 26


“Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, ‘Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours’” (Genesis 41:37-40, NLT).


Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers; falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife; and thrown into prison. Then after Joseph interpreted the royal cup-bearer’s dream and assured the man that he would be released from prison – which is precisely what happened – the cup-bearer completely forgot about Joseph for two full years.


But when a troubling dream upset Pharaoh, the cup-bearer remembered Joseph languishing in prison and told the Pharaoh about him. Joseph was brought to Pharaoh, interpreted the dream and, in doing so, helped the entire country prepare for a coming famine. The Pharaoh was so grateful that he put Joseph in a place of authority second to no one but himself.


Joseph used an amazing gift to help the Pharaoh. Joseph’s amazing God gave Joseph that gift; and Joseph, in turn, gave the Lord full credit for his ability.


“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor” (I Peter 5:6).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 41-42


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 25


“Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully” (Genesis 39:6b-7a, NLT).


Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and bought by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guards. The man treated Joseph kindly and trusted him. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, Joseph rejected her advances, infuriating her so that she falsely accused Joseph of trying to attack her. Joseph was sent to prison and, as far as we know, Potiphar’s wife continued her life as usual.


What was fair about that? Nothing. But you’ll find that Joseph’s circumstance does eventually change for the better.


Vera’s granddaughter stormed in one day, complaining, “My tryout was just as good as Haley’s, but she made cheerleader and I didn’t. It’s just not fair.” Vera’s answer said a mouthful: “Honey, FARE is what you pay to ride the bus.” Life isn’t always fair; but God is always faithful.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 38-40


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 24


“So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28, NLT).


Joseph’s brothers despised him and decided to kill him. One brother intervened and convinced the rest to throw him into an empty well (cistern) to die on his own – this brother’s real intent was to come back and rescue him when the rest of the brothers weren’t around to stop him. But before he could act, a chance to make a fast buck came along and Joseph was sold into slavery and carried off to Egypt.


Sounds like a horrible ending, doesn’t it? But God’s plans are so much bigger than anything we can imagine! Joseph’s journey into Egypt brought him blessings and enabled him to become the rescuer of his entire family.


Remember, my brothers and sisters: sometimes our darkest moments are truly just before dawn.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 35-37


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 23


“I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26b, NLT).


Have you ever been desperate for an answer to your prayer? I know I have. God is faithful, but you must also be. If you know in your heart that what you’re asking is in His righteous will, then do as Jesus instructed in Luke 11:9:


“…keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”


In Ephesians 1:17, the NIV quotes Paul as saying, “I keep on asking…”


Never give up. Keep praying; keep asking. Hold on and believe.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 32-34


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 22


“May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another” (Genesis 31:49, NKJV).


These were the words of Laban as he and Jacob parted ways. As they made their agreement, these men stacked stones together as a memorial and as a boundary between them.


Note what Laban’s words recognized: that even when they were not in each other’s sight, the Lord was with both of them and watching over them. No act is done in secret from God. No agreement is ever broken without His knowledge. Be faithful to your Lord and honor the commitments you’ve made.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 30-31


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 21


“Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and He said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions – to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants’” (Genesis 28:11b-14, NLT).


The Lord appeared to Jacob in a dream and made Him a promise: “…all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” And ever true to His Word, God fulfilled that promise by sending the Messiah, the Lion of Judah, through the lineage of Jacob’s son Judah. (Remember, the Lord gave Jacob a new name, Israel - see Genesis 35:10. Jacob/Israel was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel - see First Chronicles 2:1.)


Think of all the promises the Lord makes to us throughout His Word. He is faithful!


“For all God's promises are ‘Yes’ in Him [Christ Jesus]. And so through Him we can say ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God” (II Corinthians 1:20, ISV).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 27-29


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 20


“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’ (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means ‘red.’) ‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’ But Jacob said, ‘First you must swear that your birthright is mine.’ So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn” (Genesis 25:29-34, NLT).


Before her twin sons were even born, the Lord told Rebekah, “your older son will serve your younger son” (Genesis 25:23). Nothing takes God by surprise. He’s seen the future just as surely as He’s seen the past. Being first-born son was a huge honor and a huge responsibility, yet the Bible records that Esau “showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.” For a bowl of stew and a piece of bread, this man gave up his birthright.


If you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are a child of God. And Romans 8:17a says that “since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” What an incredible privilege!


And yet how often do we show contempt for our birthright as believers in Jesus Christ by talking or behaving in ways that dishonor Him just so we can fit in at the office, at school, or with “friends”?


Stay true to Christ. Before you even knew Him, He loved you so much it hurt.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 25-26


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 19


“Then [Isaac] said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering’” (Genesis 22:7b-8a, NKJV).


The Lord tested Abraham’s faith by seeing if he would place his and Sarah’s only son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. The elderly Abraham obeyed. And just as amazingly, the strapping young man Isaac obeyed his father’s command to lie down on the altar. As they walked the final steps to the place of sacrifice, Isaac looked at his father and asked, “…where is the lamb…?”


And Abraham answered with confidence, “God will provide… the lamb…” Folks, that’s faith. Two questions for you to ponder: (1) Is there anything you’re holding back from God? (2) How much are you willing to trust Him?


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 22-24


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 18


“But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26, NLT).


The blast of intense heat as God rained down judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah transformed Lot’s wife into “a pillar of salt.” Whether you want to take her demise literally at face value or delve into a more scientific explanation of the event, it happened.


Because of what? Looking back. But may I suggest that Lot’s wife did more than look back? She also hung back. See the passage again: “…as she was following behind him…” While Lot and his daughters moved away from the evil cities God was about to destroy, Lot’s wife dawdled, not wanting to break her ties with a place that, were it not for its impending destruction, she would not have wanted to leave.


If you stick close to evil, it rubs off on you and can lead to your earthly and/or eternal destruction. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, don’t look back on your old life. Look to Jesus and move forward for His glory.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 19-21


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 17


“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:13-14, NLT).


Sarah doubted, and what did God do? Fulfilled His promise. Are you struggling with doubt? Confess it – your Heavenly Father already knows.


NOTHING is “too hard for the Lord.” Trust Him to work His will, His way, in His time.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 16-18


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 16


If you’ve been reading the entire Thru-the-Bible passages for each day since we started this year-long chronological (in the order in which the passages were written) read through the Bible, you know we went through the first 11 chapters of Genesis before we read the whole book of Job. Today we move back into Genesis. Remember,


“Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’ And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:5-6, NLT).


The God of the Impossible has never made a promise He hasn’t kept. He told the aging and childless Abram that he and his wife Sarai would have descendants as abundant as the stars in the sky. A big promise? Yes. But a small thing for an Almighty God.


His Word is full of promises for you and me. What are you believing Him for today?


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 12-15


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 15


Today completes our readings in the book of Job, and we’re going to focus on what I think is one of the most important lessons in the entire book. I hope you’re committing the time to read the full Bible passage for each day. Nothing you can do with your time will bless you like absorbing the Living Word. After all, John 1:1-4 clearly identifies Jesus Christ as the Word. That said, let’s wrap up our look at Job:


“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!” (Job 42:10, NLT).


Job’s friends had been more his accusers than his defenders. Yet the Lord told those men, “My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf” (Job 42:8b). Though his friends had acted more like enemies, Job was willing to pray for them, an impossible task unless Job had refused to hold any ill will against them. He fully forgave them and asked his Creator to also forgive them.


And the result? Job was blessed. AFTER Job had “prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.”


“… I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 5:44-45a).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 40-42


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 14


One more day in the book of Job and then we’re back in Genesis. If you’re reading the entire Thru-the-Bible passage for each day, you’re starting this year off right! Now on to today’s passage:


“Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?” (Job 38:36, NLT).


An older gentleman I knew when I was growing up often said, “A fella’ll do okay if he’ll just use the sense God gave him.” There’s a lot of truth in that. Our Creator made us “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27) and, in doing so, He gave us “intuition,” which is perception of truth independent of any reasoning process. In other words, sometimes you just KNOW. Likewise with “instinct” – it’s a natural intuitive power.


Despite man’s tendency toward sin, we instinctively know when something is wrong. No one “falls” into a lifestyle of sin – a person walks in step by gradual step. Those God-given alarm bells go off, but he ignores them. And every time, it gets a little easier until, finally, he doesn’t even hear the alarm anymore.


God has given you His wisdom – read First Corinthians 1:30. Use it. No, your life won’t be trouble-free if you do; but you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary difficulties by staying attuned to the Holy Spirit’s warnings.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 38-39


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 13


“We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though He is just and righteous, He does not destroy us. No wonder people everywhere fear Him. All who are wise show Him reverence” (Job 37:23-24, NLT).


God sees our sinfulness and yet “He does not destroy us.” Why? Because He loves us. And He doesn’t just love humanity as a whole – He loves each one of us individually. The One so mighty that His Word alone spoke the world into being cares for YOU. For ME. He knows us by name; and we should daily thank Him for His grace and mercy.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 35-37


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 12


“We don’t set the time when we will come before God in judgment” (Job 34:23, NLT).


Have you ever talked to someone about the Christian life only to have them say something like, “I’m gonna get myself right with God one of these days?” How foolish for any person to risk eternity by delaying putting his faith in Jesus Christ!


None of us are guaranteed our very next breath. Life at best is short – and believe me, the older you get, the faster time flies.


Second Corinthians 6:2 reminds us: “…the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” No believer should waste an opportunity to tell someone about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And no believer should begin or end a day without consciously searching his heart and confessing any sins of omission or commission.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 32-34


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 11


“Let God weigh me on the scales of justice, for He knows my integrity” (Job 28:28, NLT).


Job’s statement is a bold one. Is your life so aligned with God’s perfect will that you could say such a thing? I know I’d be terrified to! But here’s what I don’t want us to miss: Job’s statement says more about the Lord than it does about himself. In spite of all his troubles, Job knew God was the Righteous Judge and that he could trust Him.


Do you? He’s worthy of your absolute faith and confidence.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 29-31


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 10


“…this is what He says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding’” (Job 28:28, NLT).


There’s such a thing as a healthy fear. I had great parents, but I feared them. No, I wasn’t terrified that they’d hurt me or abuse me in any way; but I did know that disobeying them carried consequences. And I also knew that many of the rules they laid down weren’t to cramp my style or spoil my fun, but to protect me and teach me. Above all, I never doubted they loved me.


Our Heavenly Father is the Greatest Parent of All, and He loves us beyond what any human can even comprehend. His rules, His commandments, are for our good. When we mature as believers, we realize this truth; and we realize that a healthy fear of who He is and His absolute authority is a very good thing.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 24-28


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 9


“I go east, but He is not there. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I look to the south, but He is concealed” (Job 23:8-9, NLT).


Have you ever felt like you were praying but no one was listening? Ever felt so alone that you had no sense of God’s presence? Job did. And I know there have been times when I’ve felt that way.


Yet the Lord Himself makes each and every believer this promise: “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). The Christian life is not just about feelings – it’s about faith. Trust Him even when it doesn’t seem He’s listening – because He is. Trust Him even when it seems He isn’t with you – because He’s there and He’ll never, ever leave you.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 21-23


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 8


“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” (Job 19:25-27, NLT).


How long has it been since you’ve stopped to think about the awesome reality that you will one day see God for yourself? That you will one day see Him with your own eyes? Job realized this truth and, even in the midst of his troubles, was “overwhelmed at the thought!”


Eternity is more real than the present. Your Redeemer is more real than your greatest difficulty or worry. Your Redeemer is more powerful than any enemy that can assail you. Your Redeemer lives! And He knows you by name. We serve a loving, all-powerful, personal God.


“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 17-20


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 7

“My eyes are red with weeping; dark shadows circle my eyes. Yet I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure” (Job 16:16-17, NLT).


Ever found yourself overwhelmed by troubles and wondering why so many things went wrong? I sure have. Many of you are aware that Larry and I have a son and daughter-in-law who, for reasons we don’t know, stopped communicating with us a number of years ago. Since that time, they’ve become the parents of our two granddaughters, neither of whom we’ve ever laid eyes on. The amount of tears we’ve shed over this situation could certainly fill an ocean.


But thanks to the wonderful indwelling Holy Spirit, our Comforter has helped us move past the pain and live in peace. Like Job’s friends, many people – even with the best of intentions – have offered us advice and tried to get me and Larry to ‘fess up to whatever we did to cause the rift. Yet we can offer no explanation for why it happened and know of nothing we could admit to having done that might have caused it.


Not all suffering can be explained, and certainly not all suffering is due to personal sin. I didn’t cause the estrangement in our family and neither did Larry. Yet here we are, living with a situation we deeply wish didn’t exist.


If you’re in a valley of sorrow and you haven’t done anything to cause your problem, know that the Lord is also aware of your innocence. And be assured that He loves you and can fill you with His peace no matter your circumstance.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 14-16


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 6


“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are His (Job 10:13, NLT).


When Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar heard of Job’s troubles and came to him, they sat with him in silence for seven days. (You can read more about the custom of “sitting shiva” by following this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_%28Judaism%29.)


And after the seven days had passed, they began to offer their words of “wisdom,” chiefly that Job should confess and repent of the sins he had committed that had caused these catastrophes to come upon him.


Job’s response was firm: “Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong” (Job 6:29). Job wisely rejected his friends’ advice and clung to his trust in God not only in spite of, but also because of, his circumstances. Troubled times are not the time to turn FROM God, but TO Him.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 10-13


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 5


“If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together” (Job 9:33, NLT).


Job longed for someone to stand between him and the Lord, someone to speak to God on his behalf,“a mediator.” How thankful we should be to have been born after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, after He sent His Holy Spirit to live within each and every believer!


Every moment of every day we have access to the One whom Job so greatly desired. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “... there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 6-9


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 4


“‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God” (Job 1:21-22, NLT).


Job had been slammed with all sorts of bad news – and more was to come. Yet he chose to trust God rather than focusing on his current difficulties and sorrow. Child of God, troubles pass; but the love of God is never-ending. The resurrected Jesus Christ sent His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to indwell every person who has put his faith in Him.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 1-5


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 3


When the floodwaters subsided and it was safe to leave the ark, what did Noah do? He “…built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose” (Genesis 8:20, NLT).


And how did God respond? “…the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night’” (Genesis 8:21-22).


Noah expressed his gratitude for God’s protection and, because he did, “…God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables” (Genesis 9:1-3).


And then God made a covenant for all time:  “…God told Noah and his sons, ‘I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you – the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals – every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.


 Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.’ Then God said to Noah, ‘Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth’” (Genesis 9:8-17).


Next time you see a rainbow, remember that it’s a promise from God. And whatever promise He’s placed in your heart, trust it, too. He is faithful.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 8-11


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 2


“When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous.’ So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him. That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth – and their wives. Then the Lord closed the door behind them” (Genesis 7:1, 5, 16b, NLT).


Prior to the flood, humans lived long, long lives. Noah was 600 years old (See Genesis 7:11) when the flood came and he’d spent years – there’s a big debate over just how many years – building the ark. The world of Noah’s day, instead of living to please God, had chosen evil. And because of that, God said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years” (Genesis 6:3).


I’ve heard people quote “three score and ten” – 70 years – as a normal lifespan. Where does that come from? Psalm 90:10a: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years…” (KJV). Or as the NLT words it: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty.” God didn’t set 70 or 80 as a limit – the writer of Psalm 90, Moses, stated it as what he was seeing as a typical lifespan. Point is, whether you live to 70, 80, or 120, God determines your years and has reduced the years of man from what it was in Noah’s day.


Several things I want us to note about Noah’s situation: (1) God told him to build the ark – God didn’t do it for him. God warned Noah of the impending flood – see Genesis 6:17 – but Noah had to choose to believe God and obey Him. God doesn’t drag any of us to His safety – He simply gives us a very clear choice. (2) Noah’s faith became his family’s faith. Noah set an example that rubbed off on his family. (3) Noah believed God in spite of the likelihood that he had never even seen rain, let alone flooding.


Lastly, (4) look who closed the door of the ark – God did: Then the Lord closed the door behind them” (Genesis 7:16b). The ark represents Christ. In Him and through Him alone is there salvation. “God waited patiently” (I Peter 3:20b) for Noah to finish building the ark and then He sent the floodwaters. Undoubtedly Noah’s sons worked alongside him in its construction and endured the scoffing and ridicule of their neighbors – the construction site had probably become a regular tourist attraction! But had any of those onlookers believed when Noah told them why he was building the ark, God would have spared them. Their unbelief, however, forced a just and holy God to close the door on their opportunity to be saved.


I don’t believe for a skinny minute that Noah neglected to warn his neighbors. There’s no way that a man like Noah could have developed a fatalistic attitude toward all those souls he knew would be lost forever. And neither can we. We are not responsible for the outcome of our witness; but we are assuredly responsible to witness. Time is short. Tell somebody about Jesus.


“Noah was a righteous man… and he walked in close fellowship with God” (Genesis 6:9b).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 4-7


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 1


Today we begin a year-long chronological (in order according to the time the passage was written) look at the Bible. I hope you’ll stick with it and go back and catch up on any days you miss. If you read the Through-the-Bible passage noted at the end of each day’s study, you’ll have read the entire Bible by the end of 2020. Each day, we’ll look at a portion of the Through-the-Bible passage:


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, ‘Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us’” (Genesis 1:1, 26a, NLT).


“In the beginning God…” The Creator of the Universe is, always was, and always will be. When Moses had his burning bush experience as God commissioned him to lead him to Israel out of slavery, Moses asked how he should identify the One who sent him. “God replied to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).


In John 8, Jesus, while teaching a crowd of Jews, said to them: “Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to My coming. He saw it and was glad.’ The people said, ‘You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” (John 8:56-58a).


God the Father was present at creation. The Holy Spirit was present at creation. Jesus was present at creation. John opens his gospel proclaiming the preexistence of Christ: In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him” (John 1:1-3).


Peter, speaking of the salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ, calls Jesus “…the Eternal, Living Word of God” (I Peter 1:23b). And as John declared, “God created everything through Him.”


So we see that the Triune God who created everything in existence did so through the Living Word. As you read today’s passage, you’ll see that Jesus literally spoke the world into being. And speaking of being, what an astounding thought that we human beings, of all living things, are the one and only part of creation made in God’s own image.


“…God is good…” (Romans 11:22, Bible in Basic English). “…God is great…” (Job 36:26, ESV). “…God is love…” (I John 4:8, NASB). And we’re to “…be like Him…” (I John 3:2, NLT). In the great heroes of the faith chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11, it is said of those who faithfully serve Him that “…God is not ashamed to be called their God…” (Hebrews 11:16b). May this be said of you and me throughout this year and always.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 1-3


Copyright 2020
Judy Woodward Bates