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 FEBRUARY 23


“So the Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses (Numbers 1:54, NLT). At least, they did on this particular occasion.


The Lord delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and promised them “the land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 33:3a, NIV). He told them to “Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy” (Numbers 33:53, NLT).


So how did they end up wandering around in the wilderness for forty long years? We find the answer in the Lord’s words in Numbers 32:11-12: Of all those I rescued from Egypt, no one who is twenty years old or older will ever see the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for they have not obeyed Me wholeheartedly. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have wholeheartedly followed the Lord.”


When the Israelites were “wholeheartedly” – not half-heartedly – obedient to the Lord’s commands, He blessed them. When they disobeyed, His favor was not with them. News flash: He still expects wholehearted obedience from those of us living today.


“I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6, NIV).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Numbers 1-2


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 22


“If you follow My decrees and are careful to obey My commands, ...I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear” (Leviticus 26:3, 6a, NLT).


Ever gone to bed fearful? Or awakened during the night, heart pounding, because of a noise you heard? Being “…able to sleep with no cause for fear is no small blessing.


But there’s a condition on God’s promise of “…peace in the land…” and restful sleep. He promises to bless us with these things “IF you follow My decrees and are careful to obey My commands.”


An obedient life is a peaceful life. Obedience doesn’t mean trouble-free living. It means having “…God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7). It means His peace even in our darkest moments.


If you want the best night’s sleep of your life, read God’s Word and talk to Him before you go to bed. Confess anything that stands between you and a right relationship with Him, “…and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear.”


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 26-27


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 21


“If you want to live securely in the land, follow My decrees and obey My regulations. Then the land will yield large crops, and you will eat your fill and live securely in it” (Leviticus 25:18-19, NLT).


The passage above or similar ones are found throughout the Bible. Over and over the Lord warns His people that the only way to “…live securely in the land [is to] follow My decrees and obey My regulations.”


Yet we’re “…a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts [are] not loyal to God, whose spirits [are] not faithful to Him” (Psalm 78:8, NIV). 


Many people today think of God as a fire extinguisher. They may not be able to remember the last time they had contact with it and they rarely ever think of it at all; but when a fire breaks out, they know it’s a very handy thing to have around.


No wonder our world, our nation, and our individual homes and lives are in such messes! We’ve taken the Creator of the Universe and subjugated Him to the level of an emergency tool.


Hear my heart on this one, folks: Jesus Christ didn’t come to HELP YOU OUT. He came to TAKE OVER. If you want daily peace and provision, get out of the driver’s seat and give Him complete control.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 24-25


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 20

Leviticus 22 continues instructions to the priests from the previous chapter, then goes into instructions about offerings. Leviticus 23 details the prescribed festivals. What I want to focus on is the offerings.


Leviticus 22:17-33 talks about burnt offerings, peace offerings, and thanksgiving offerings, giving specifics about what offerings are considered acceptable or unacceptable. In each case, the Lord says, “…whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering…,” there are explicit requirements for what is to be presented.


Which brings us to our offerings today. If you believe in the scriptural validity of tithing, then you’ve made a vow to tithe. If you’re led to give for other special offerings, then you’re also presenting gifts above and beyond your tithe. But here’s the question: what makes whatever you give acceptable or unacceptable?


Your attitude. And your attitude is determined by your spiritual condition. As God told Samuel, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart(I Samuel 16:7b, NLT).


The next time the offering plate or bag is in your hands, consider your attitude before you give. And think about your other giving: your time to prepare a lesson; rehearse with the choir; take care of the nursery; visit, phone, or send cards to the sick and shut-ins. Whatever you’re doing, remember Who you’re giving to and why you should be “…a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7, NIV).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 22-23


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates

BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 19


It would behoove all believers to spend some time in today’s Leviticus chapters. Chapter 19 is filled with commandments for personal conduct while Chapter 20 prescribes punishment for disobeying those commands. Chapter 21 instructs the priests in how to handle these things. Let’s look at just a few of the commandments from Leviticus 19:


“Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father…” (3a). Respect them, period. Nowhere does the Bible say, “IF they deserve it.”

“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people” (16). If you can’t say something nice, close your mouth.


“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives…” (17a). Don’t harbor resentment toward anyone – family or otherwise.


“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite [in other words, a believer], but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (18). As the song from “Frozen” says, “Let it go!” Let the Lord deal with those who wrong you.


“…do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord” (28b). Here’s a link to a very good article about tattoos: https://biblereasons.com/tattoos/.


“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord” (32). Don’t you dare make fun of those who are fading mentally or physically. And I think standing in honor of the elderly is a wonderful practice.


“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord” (14). If you can make fun of any sort of disability, you better back up and reassess your salvation.


I saved Verse 14 for last because I wanted to home in on it. Who is more deaf and blind than those who have yet to open their hearts to the Gospel? Don’t bad-mouth the lost. It’s not their specific sins keeping them out of heaven; it’s their rejection of Christ as Lord and Savior. Just like you and just like me, the moment anyone “…calls on the name of the Lord [that person] will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Pray for their salvation.


You should also read the punishments for breaking these commandments – you’ll be even more thankful to be living in the day of grace!


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 18


“So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all My regulations and be careful to obey My decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey My decrees and My regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18: 3-5, NLT).


God told Moses to remind the people of Israel that they were to be different from the people around them. Drawing from the warnings of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, the apostle Paul warns the believers of Corinth and of today: “…come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord” (II Corinthians 6:17a).


True life is knowing Jesus. And knowing Jesus means being holy, set apart, different. You’re not into the office gossip. You’re not into the dirty jokes. You’re not into the flirting and innuendos. Nor the dishonesty. Or backbiting. You’re into Jesus.


What will people think of Him as seen through your life today?


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 17


“But if the mildew reappears after all the stones have been replaced and the house has been scraped and replastered, the priest must return and inspect the house again. If he finds that the mildew has spread, the walls are clearly contaminated with a serious mildew, and the house is defiled. It must be torn down” (Leviticus 14: 43-45a, NLT).


More instructions about mildew? Yep. Again we see God’s care for His people’s physical health. But we also see an important lesson about spiritual health. The instructions for cleaning a mildew-contaminated house said that if the mildew persisted, the house had to be torn down. Completely destroyed.


Spiritual mildew needs to be handled likewise. Let’s say your “pet sin” is alcohol. You start out having one drink at lunch and then two or more. You begin stopping off for a nip or two on the way home, and pretty soon, you find yourself drinking at home and more heavily on weekends.


Eventually you realize your drinking has become a problem and you decide to cut back. But cutting back seems to be sporadic at best. You may slack off one day or one week, but by the weekend you find yourself right back in the same ol’ rut. Time to tear that house down, folks. Stop the drinking altogether.


Or the lying. Or the illicit affair. Or the embezzling. Or the gossiping. Or the complaining. Or the criticizing. And the list goes on and on. You get the idea. Pick your own pet sin and put it in the scenario.


If ANYTHING besides the Lord God Almighty controls YOU rather than you controlling it, you’re in trouble. Take Barney Fife’s advice and “Nip it in the bud.” Don’t cut back; cut it out.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 14-15


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 16


“Now suppose mildew contaminates some woolen or linen clothing, woolen or linen fabric, the hide of an animal, or anything made of leather. If the contaminated area in the clothing, the animal hide, the fabric, or the leather article has turned greenish or reddish, it is contaminated with mildew and must be shown to the priest. After examining the affected spot, the priest will put the article in quarantine for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must inspect it again. If the contaminated area has spread, the clothing or fabric or leather is clearly contaminated by a serious mildew and is ceremonially unclean. The priest must burn the item – the clothing, the woolen or linen fabric, or piece of leather – for it has been contaminated by a serious mildew. It must be completely destroyed by fire” (Leviticus 13: 47-52, NLT).


Care of mildew-contaminated clothing doesn’t sound very spiritual, does it? But fact is, many of the Lord’s commands were for the protection of His people’s physical health. Mildews and molds can be lethal, and by requiring these items to be inspected by the priest and appropriately cleansed or burned, the spread of the contaminant was eliminated.


As our Great High Priest (see Hebrews 4:14; 10:21), Jesus Christ sent His Holy Spirit to indwell each of us who believes on Him as Lord and Savior. His Presence convicts us to examine ourselves and confess any sin that has contaminated our lives and witness; and those confessed sins are forever blotted out by the purifying fire of His Spirit.


“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, NIV – see also Hebrews 12:29).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 11-13


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 15


The Lord gave Moses specific instructions as to the construction of the Tabernacle and everything associated with it, including the clothing and conduct of Aaron and his sons who were to serve as priests. But one day two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, disobeyed the Lord’s instructions and presented “… coals of fire in their incense burners [which they had] sprinkled incense over… In this way, they disobeyed the Lord… So fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1-2, NLT).


What prompted Nadab and Abihu to act so foolishly? The Lord’s words to Aaron make it clear what had happened: “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation” (Leviticus 10:8).


Nadab and Abihu had been drinking, and their overindulgence cost them their lives. God didn’t give us His commands in order to hamper our fun – He gave them to protect us and teach us a better way of living. Father always knows best.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 8-10


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 14


“If you are called to testify about something you have seen or that you know about, it is sinful to refuse to testify, and you will be punished for your sin” (Leviticus 5:1, NLT).


It seems that this passage has been totally forgotten by a lot of believers today. Instead, it’s been replaced with the ever-popular “I don’t want to get involved.”


How often do we read or see on news broadcasts reports about horrible crimes being witnessed by entire crowds of people who made no attempt to help the person in need or even offer information that could help the police catch the criminals? As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to help others, which includes being willing to get involved in situations we’d prefer to steer clear of.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 5-7


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 13


“If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty. If one of Israel’s leaders sins by violating one of the commands of the Lord his God but doesn’t realize it, he is still guilty. If any of the common people sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but they don’t realize it, they are still guilty” (Leviticus 4:13, 22, 27, NLT).


When the Lord spoke the words above to Moses, He followed each one of the listed sentences with: When they become aware of their sin …” (Leviticus 4:14a). In other words, at whatever point the person or persons realized they had committed a sin, they were to bring an offering before the Lord and seek His forgiveness.


And each of those offerings required the shedding of blood. As New Testament believers in the resurrected Savior, we know that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross paid the one perfect and permanent blood sacrifice for the sins of all who would accept His saving grace. However, we still need to remember that we, corporately as the body of Christ and individually as His children, have a serious obligation to confess our sins as soon as we realize them.


God never breaks fellowship with His children, but a believer can allow a barrier of unconfessed sin to build up like a wall between him and the Lord. Don’t let sin “pile up” unconfessed. As my former pastor was advised by a wise older preacher, “‘Fess ‘em as you does ‘em; don’t bunch ‘em.”


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Leviticus 1-4


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 12


“The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:38, NLT).


The people faithfully gave so the Tabernacle could be completed. Once it was finished, what happened? “... the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34, NLT). God’s presence was with the Israelites in a real and visible way and remained with them “... throughout all their journeys.”


You may never see a visible manifestation of God’s presence while here on earth, but if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have His very real Presence within you and He will remain with you “… throughout all [life’s] journeys.”


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 39-40


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 11


“So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: ‘Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!’ So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project” (Exodus 36:6-7, NLT).


Can you imagine a church with a problem like this? The people of Israel so eagerly gave to help build the Tabernacle that Moses finally had to tell them, “Enough!” Why were they so happy to give? They recognized the worthiness of the Lord, and they saw their giving as a privilege and not a burden or obligation.


How do you see your giving?


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 36-38


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 10


“The Lord replied to Moses, ‘I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.’ Moses responded, ‘Then show me Your glorious presence.’ The Lord replied, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will call out My name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at My face, for no one may see Me and live.’ The Lord continued, ‘Look, stand near Me on this rock. As My glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and let you see Me from behind. But My face will not be seen (Exodus 33:17-23, NLT).


“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.”

(He Hideth My Soul, by Fanny Crosby, 1890)


“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2, NIV).


“As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame’” (Romans 9:33, NIV).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 33-35


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 9


“Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep My Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between Me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy’” (Exodus 31:13, NLT).


Most Christians celebrate Sunday as the Sabbath, but the Jewish Sabbath was and is from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. While there are some Christians who would vehemently argue the error of worshiping on Sunday (in recognition of Sunday as the day of Christ’s resurrection) rather than Saturday, the big issue here is to set aside a day that is unlike any other and spend it resting from your normal weekday routine; meeting with fellow believers and truly worshiping the Savior; and reflecting on His goodness.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 30-32


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 8


“…Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the Lord” (Exodus 28:29, NLT).


As a member of the priesthood, Aaron represented his fellow Israelites when he stood before the Lord in the Holy of Holies. As a fellow Israelite and as a member of the priesthood, Aaron represented his Lord every time he stood before any other person, whether Jew or Gentile.


Have you ever stopped to think about who you represent? If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you represent Him wherever you go, whatever you do, and whomever you stand before. Honor Him.


“And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests” (I Peter 2:5).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 28-29


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 7

“Have the people of Israel build Me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you” (Exodus 25:8-9, NLT).


God is a God of detail and order – see First Corinthians 14:33. He didn’t instruct Moses to build some sort of sanctuary. He gave him precise instructions about every single part of it including the furnishings.


If God is so detailed, why do we think we can be so haphazard? Haphazard about what? Our time in the Word. Our attendance at our chosen place of worship. Our prayer life. Our witnessing. Our lifestyle.


Today God does a lot more than “live among” us. Jesus’ death and resurrection empowered the Holy Spirit to indwell each and every person who has trusted Christ as Lord and Savior. And when He comes to indwell a believer, He doesn’t do so sporadically. He isn’t there one moment and gone the next; He isn’t there one day and on vacation the next. He’s consistent. Faithful. Completely trustworthy.


Are you?


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 25-27


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 6


“Then [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, ‘We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood [of the sacrifice] from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, ‘Look, this blood confirms the covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions’” (Exodus 24:7-8, NLT).


When Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord, he also received many other instructions about social responsibility, annual festivals, and more. The Lord also promised to send an angel before them (see Exodus 23:20) to protect and lead them, making them this promise:


“…I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you” (Exodus 23:22).


But this promise was conditional. The Lord would fulfill His part of this particular covenant IF the Israelites kept their part of the agreement.


Making a commitment to the Lord is a serious matter. When it comes to committing your heart and life to Him, it’s truly a matter of life or death. Those who choose Jesus choose life.


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 5

“Then God gave the people all these instructions: ‘I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.’


(1) ‘You must not have any other god but Me.’

(2) ‘You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.’


(3) ‘You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.’


(4) ‘Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.’


(5) ‘Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.’


(6) ‘You must not murder.’


(7) ‘You must not commit adultery.’


(8) ‘You must not steal.’


(9) ‘You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.’


(10) ‘You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor’”


(Exodus 20:1-17, NLT).


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 4


“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow My instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual. Then Moses told them, ‘Do not keep any of it until morning.’ But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell” (Exodus 16:4-5, 19a, NLT).


The people of Israel complained about their lack of food in the desert and the Lord miraculously rained down manna from heaven, instructing them that He would provide this heavenly food every single day except the Sabbath and that the normal amount they prepared on the sixth day – be it manna-cotti or manna burgers – would be enough for the Sabbath’s meals as well.


Isn’t it interesting how quickly the Israelites became accustomed to a daily miraculous provision of manna? And even though the Lord provided for each day’s food, many still didn’t trust Him. Instead of waiting for the next day’s provision, they hoarded away extra manna just as the Lord had told them not to do. And the result? Rotten unusable manna.


That hoarded manna was just like worrying: no good to anyone. If you trust God at all, you have to trust Him daily. Jesus said, “…don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 3


“When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, ‘Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.’ So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers – the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides” (Exodus 14:26-29, NLT).


Never doubt that God is still in the miracle business. We may not see literal waters parted for our deliverance, but His hand still works to deliver His people. Does He always? No, not when it comes to earthly deliverance. His way of doing things doesn’t always jive with the way we think things should be done or turn out – read Isaiah 55:8. But still today He sometimes chooses to intervene in miraculous ways.


But what exactly constitutes a miracle? It’s far more than just the parting of the Red Sea. If you’ve never seen this news report, please take a moment to look at this brief video about a 92-year-old woman’s deliverance from a would-be mugger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDmp967UMds


God is faithful and He loves you.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 13-15


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 2


“This is what the Lord says: ‘At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites’” (Exodus 11:4b-7, NLT).


After all the plagues the Lord sent against Egypt, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and refused to release the people of Israel from slavery and allow them to leave the land. Finally, the Lord sent the most terrible plague of all – the death of the first-born. But the Israelites weren’t touched by this horror. Why? Because they were protected by the blood of the Lamb.


There is always a distinction between God’s true people and those who don’t belong to Him. When my father went home to be with the Lord, he was living with me and my husband Larry. I held his hand as he drew his last breath and Larry was right beside him. Even though we didn’t want him to leave us, we were at absolute peace because we knew where he was spending his eternity. Afterwards, when the hospice nurse arrived, she said, “We’re not supposed to talk about religion, but I know this is a Christian home. You wouldn’t believe the chaos we have to deal with when a person dies in a household where there’s no faith in Jesus Christ.”


Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? Take comfort in knowing you’re covered by the blood of the Lamb.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 10-12


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for FEBRUARY 1


“So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs” (Exodus 7:10-12, NLT).


Through Aaron and Moses the Lord worked miraculous signs and wonders before Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. When Aaron “threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, it…” was transformed into a snake. But Pharaoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing, but when they did, Aaron’s one snake swallowed all of theirs!


The Bible clearly warns us that the devil can mimic miracles. Paul reminds us that, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:14b, NLT).


But that’s just the point: it’s only a disguise. Nothing Satan can throw down is remotely as powerful as what the Lord Jesus Christ can do. Besides, Satan is really just a big dog on a short leash.


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 7-9


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 31


“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’ Then the Lord asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say’” (Exodus 4:10-12, NLT).


Many people lack self-confidence – Moses, for one. Having had the finest education the royal family of Egypt could provide, he still felt inadequate for the task God laid before him.


Do you ever feel like Moses – totally out of your own league? If you’re a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, your Heavenly Father has great confidence in you. He’s placed His Holy Spirit within you to guide and instruct you, and there is nothing He will ever call you to do without equipping you to do it.


For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps” (I Peter 2:21).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Exodus 4-6


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 30


“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. …God called to him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am!’ Moses replied. ‘Do not come any closer,’ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Then the Lord told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them... Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:2a, 4b-6a, 7-8a, 10, NLT).


By the time of Moses’ birth, Joseph’s importance to the Egyptians had long been forgotten. The Israelites had become slaves and the Egyptians had become cruel taskmasters. Fearing that the growing population of Israelites would outnumber the Egyptians and cause trouble, Pharaoh ordered the death of all Israelite baby boys.


But Moses’ mother protected him and he was taken into the household of the Pharaoh’s own daughter. Later, as an adult, Moses killed an Egyptian he saw beating an Israelite slave. He then fled for his life and ended up in Midian.


Moses may have been hiding out, but God knew exactly where to find him and the plan He had for his life.


God has a special plan for the life of every believer, including you.


For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).


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


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 29


As Jacob lay on his deathbed, he blessed each of his sons, saying to Judah:


“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will honor” (Genesis 49:10, NLT).


From the lineage of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel - look back at Genesis 35:10) came the Lion of Judah. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. What are you trusting Him for today?


“Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory” (Revelation 5:5b).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 48-50


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates 


BIBLE STUDY for JANUARY 28


“So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. ‘Jacob! Jacob!’ He called. ‘Here I am,’ Jacob replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father,’ the voice said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph attending to you’” (Genesis 46:1-4, NLT).


­When Jacob’s sons returned and told him the good news about Joseph, their father was overjoyed. Gathering all the family’s members and possessions, they headed for Egypt to live on the land Joseph had offered them.


Imagine leaving your home country at the ripe old age of 130 to settle in a foreign land. It took faith and trust in Jehovah for Jacob to make such a move. But note how Jacob began his journey: by offering sacrifices to God.


Faithfulness is always rewarded. Jacob trusted the Lord and the Lord gave and fulfilled a tremendous promise to him.


“There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (I Peter 1:6b-7).


TODAY’S THROUGH-THE-BIBLE PASSAGE: Genesis 46-47


Copyright 2020

Judy Woodward Bates


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