Read through the Bible in 2 years: Exodus 34:1-35:29
His face was shining, not because he had just married the woman of his dreams, or because he was holding his newborn son, or because he’d successfully led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, but because he had literally been in God’s presence.
I know that my face will not physically shine from my time with the Lord and meeting with Him in glory … but how I wish for my countenance to radiate the joy, peace, and hope that comes from having communed with God that day.
“Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1Peter 3:3-4 ESV
“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 ESV
Heavenly Father, May my face radiate Your glory. May my countenance reflect the joy that fills my heart. Let Your glory flow out of me, that people would see YOU when they look at me. To the glory of Your Name we pray. Amen.
The ending of Matthew’s very thorough account of Jesus’s life and ministry feels so sudden. After reading twenty-seven lengthy chapters, Matthew 28 contains only twenty verses, summarizing the resurrection of Christ, Jesus’s appearance to the Marys, the Jewish leaders’ bribing of the Romans guards, and concluding with some of Jesus’s final words to His disciples,
So, as we wrap up four weeks spent studying the words of Matthew, let these be my words to you.
Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. He can do it. Nothing is impossible for Him. You can trust Him. Therefore, you can go with confidence, under His authority, by the power of His Holy Spirit, and make disciples of all nations. He wants to use you. You don’t need to be a ordained minister to share the good news. You don’t need a seminary degree to tell people how to trust in Christ. His Spirit and His Word are all you need. He wants you to share the good news with those who have never heard. But don’t stop there – teach them to observe all that He has commanded in His word. Being a disciple is so much more than just being a fan.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. If you’d love to join me in international ministry, leave a comment or send me a message. I’d love to help you get plugged in! Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, What a blessing it is to be a laborer in the harvest! I am so thankful for Your Holy Spirit who lives in me and gives me wisdom. I pray that Your Spirit would guide me to those who are hungering to hear the good news and those who need to be discipled in obedience to Your commands. In the powerful Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord we pray, Amen.
In God’s incredible providence, Matthew 7 was my scripture memory passage to practice yesterday in my Bible Memory app. My oldest two children and I initially memorized this passage (all 29 verses!) more than 16 years ago – when my oldest two children were about 7 and 10. I love the Bible Memory app because it prompts me to continue to practice passages that I have memorized in the past. I hope you’ll check it out! Here’s a link to learn more or download it. Here’s a link to a video I made about how to use it. And here’s a link to my Teach What Is Good Bible Memory group You can join for free for some encouragement and accountability — don’t we all need that!
There is so much wisdom in all of Matthew 7, but today what I was especially thinking about were verses 21-23 and 24-27. These two passages are deeply interconnected.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
Notice that connection word “then” in verse 24. Many people say they’re Christians, listening to God’s Word, even saying “Lord, Lord,” and doing Christian things — yet they are not doing God’s will. They are not putting into practice what it is that they keep hearing about.
This reminded me of some other passages I’ve memorized – James 1:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Let’s be faithful to store up God’s word in our heart (like Psalm 119:11 says), but let’s be just as faithful to put it into practice!
This is what differentiates students from disciples: Students learn and study and listen … but disciples put into practice the words of their teacher, modeling their own lives after their master’s.
Heavenly Father, we don’t want to merely listen to your Word, thus deceiving ourselves. We want to do what it says. Help us to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, modeling our lives after His, loving and serving others, doing good to them and forgiving them, as Jesus Christ perfectly modeled for us. And help us to be faithful disciple-makers, telling others the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, and teaching them all that You have commanded us, remembering that You are always with us even to the end of the age! In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Bear with me, please, as I silently ponder aloud some thoughts from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
Is Jesus enough for me?
Can I be satisfied in Him? Or do I have to manipulate others with anger or bitterness or unforgiveness?
Can I be satisfied in Him? Or do I need to lust after that person or that thing or that circumstance, thinking that is the key to my joy?
Can I be satisfied in Him? Or do I need the praise and accolades of man? Do I need good health and good food, nice clothes and nice friends to be happy?
I can just hear the Father whispering to me, “O, Kim, you of little faith. I am enough for you. Trust Me. Look at those birds making their little nests and pulling worms from the ground. Look at those flowers poking out from the dirt. I am taking care of them and I’m taking care of you. Fear not for I am with you. I am enough. You, seek Me. You, trust Me. You, pursue Me. I’ll take care of the rest. I’ll take care of you.”
Please pray for me to cast all my cares on Him and to trust that He cares for me – that He takes care of me and He cares for me. Truly Our Father is a good, good Father. He is Enough.
Lord Jesus, I pray that we would humble ourselves before You, recognizing our need and our poverty, and acknowledging Your strength and goodness. It is indeed good to be afflicted, that we might know You and Your power in our suffering. In the good and gracious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
The Book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The first verse is a brief genealogy. Jesus descended from David who descended from Abraham, but then we get a father to son heritage from Abraham all the way to Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph. You might feel tempted to skip this, but I hope you won’t. I want to point out a few things.
The genealogy begins with Abraham, not Adam. Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. Jesus was a Jew.
There are several women mentioned in this account, but every one of them has something that tarnishes their reputation. Look up the stories of Tamar (Genesis 38:1-26), Rahab (Joshua 2:1-3 and Joshua 6:17-25), and Ruth (Ruth 1:4).
Bathsheba isn’t mentioned by name as the mother of Solomon, but rather is referred to as “the wife of Uriah,” not because of her sin but because of David’s. You can read about the story of Uriah’s death and Solomon’s birth in 2 Samuel 11-12, but 1 Kings 15:5 says “David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
Matthew didn’t try to hide the thread of sin which is woven through the background of the ancestors of Jesus, son of David. Rather, these words help to prepare the reader for the words of the angel —
Joseph, too, is a son of David, a good man but not a perfect man. God has chosen Mary, a good woman but not a perfect woman to bear His son, a perfect Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. This Son will save His people from their sins.
Joseph and Mary needed saving and so do we. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only begotten Son to save me from my sins. I am Your child and You are my Father. Thank you for showing us that we don’t have to have a sinless lineage to be children of Your Perfect Son. Thank You for my earthly father and mother who did their best to raise me right. I pray that You would bless them with everything that they need for life and godliness by the power of Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. I pray that You would make me a woman after your own heart, treasuring Your word in my heart that I would not sin against you. In the Holy, Blessed name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
I found it especially interesting to read Genesis 38 and 39 together. Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah, who got his widowed daughter-in-law pregnant, while Genesis 39 tells the story of Judah’s younger brother, Joseph, who successfully resisted Potiphar’s wife in spite of her incredible persistence.
Genesis 38 – Sexual Sin and Human Pride
I mainly want to focus on Genesis 39 today, but before we get there I do want to point out two things in Genesis 38.
"About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” - Genesis 38:24 ESV
Judah is the father of this child. Judah is the reason that Tamar is pregnant. Yet Judah is who demands that she be burned. 🥺😭
How quickly we point out the sin in other people when we are guilty of that very same sin! How prone we are to hate lying and pride and sin in other people, while overlooking it in ourselves!
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Matthew 7:3 ESV
This is part of loving your neighbor as yourself. Somehow we all manage to forgive our own lying and deceit and sexual sin and pride. We make excuses for our own misbehavior, yet we are quick to point fingers at others. May it never be.
I pray that we desire repentance in ourselves as well as our neighbor to repent. May we be merciful as we have been shown mercy. May we not think that we are somehow better than the other person when we are both eating pig slop.
As a dear Christian sister often reminds me, “We are all just beggars looking for somewhere to buy bread.”
The second thing that jumps out at me from Genesis 38 is that Perez, one of the twin sons who was conceived in Tamar through this act of sexual immorality, is the child that God chose to be in the line of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:3)
God uses all things, sometimes even sinful things, to accomplish His purposes. Does that mean we should continue in sin? May it never be. But does it mean that none of us are beyond hope and that God is able to use even our sinful past to bring Him glory? Yes. Yes, it does.
I have deep regrets over many things I did in the first 25 years of my life – maybe you do, too – yet those things shaped who I am today. I pray that God would use my brokenness to be holes for His glory to shine out of.
Genesis 29 – Handsome Joseph and Potiphar’s Persistent Wife
Let’s look next at Genesis 29 – a completely different reaction to sexual temptation.
Potiphar’s wife, a woman of authority, the wife of his boss, aggressively pursued Joseph – a very different situation than the one Judah was in – and yet Joseph remained steadfast, refusing to even “listen to her.” (Genesis 39:10)
The scriptures are full of encouragement to FLEE from temptation and sin. We must actively train ourselves – and our children – to FLEE from temptation.
And let us not be like Lot’s wife who kept looking back as she was being forced to flee Sodom. Let us not be like the Israelites who thought fondly about their years in Egyptian bondage. Let’s be women who flee from temptation with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!” Proverbs 5:3-12 ESV
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20 ESV
Thank you for Your mercy and grace and forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. I have been Tamar and I have been Potiphar’s wife. Like 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Such was I, Lord! But, Lord, You have washed me clean through the blood of Jesus. You have given me new desires and new power by Your Spirit at work in me. Praise Your name!
I pray that You would protect our husbands and sons. Please, Father, help them to keep their hearts and minds pure. Help them to think about what they’re thinking about and to pay attention to what has their attention. Show them the way of escape when they are tempted and give them the wisdom, strength, and desire to flee.
Please protect my sisters and me – and our daughters – from the temptation to be temptresses. Make us honorable women. May we be found faithful – to You and to our husbands. Create in us clean hands and pure hearts, O LORD. Teach us to that true fulfillment and satisfaction is found only at the feet of Jesus, so that we would not seek it elsewhere.
You are worthy. You alone are worthy. Thank you, Jesus!
In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
When I Think About the Lord
When I think about the Lord How He saved, how He raised me How He filled me with the Holy Ghost He healed me to the uttermost When I think about the Lord How He picked me up Turned me around How He set my feet On solid ground
That makes me want to shout Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus Lord, You’re worthy Of all the glory, and all the honor And all the praise Oh, makes me want to shout Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus Lord, You’re worthy Of all the glory, and all the honor And all the praise
In today’s reading, I kept thinking about how sometimes people will read a passage of the Bible and then take that to mean that it is the right way to behave. “Abraham lied, so it must be okay for us.” “Jacob had two wives so that must be okay.”
When we’re trying to understand the meaning of a passage, we have to consider all of the scriptures from beginning to end. In this story about the defiling of Dinah, I don’t think that God is saying that Jacob’s sons should have lied to Shechem and Hamor or that Simeon and Levi should have killed all of the males of their city.
In fact the Bible specifically addressed their sin in Jacob’s blessings over his sons as told in Genesis 49.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7 ESV
Additionally, the Bible specifically tells us –
Father, we are surrounded by a culture that glorifies wicked, evil, selfish people. Let us be imitators of Christ and not imitators of the world. Father. Help us to overcome evil with good. May we look more like Jesus and less like the world.
Help us to trust that You are a just God who is faithful to carry out the proper justice at the proper time. Let us not envy the evil, but recognize that they are suffering for their sin even now in their hearts.
Let us not be surprised at the terrible trials that we are facing in this dark world. May we not suffer as a murderer or thief or evildoer. Rather, may we suffer for the gospel, righteousness, and holiness.
To the glory and praise of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
Read Through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 19; Genesis 33
Twenty years earlier Jacob had fled for his life after lying to his father and cheating his brother Esau out of his father’s final blessing.
Jacob was terrified to go back and see Esau again. He expected Esau to kill him, his wives, and his children, or at a minimum anyone would expect Jacob to receive a severe tongue lashing, right?
This is so not what anyone would expect. Forgiveness and reconciliation are rare commodities in human relationships, even between brothers.
Like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, Esau ran to his brother and embraced him.
“How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate." - Luke 15:17-24 ESV
I’m reading about Esau, but all I can think about is God’s overwhelming, never-ending, faithful love. He loved me while I was yet His enemy. Truly He loved me first. I am able to love because He first loved me!
I confess that I don’t really understand how all this works, but I do know that it all begins and ends with our loving Father. He draws us, He pursues us, He draws us to repent, He lavishes His mercy on us.
If Esau was able to forgive his lying, deceiving, selfish brother, that takes an act of God. Likewise, if we’re able to forgive others who hurt us, it’s an act of God.
Dear sisters, God is able to do it through us! What is impossible for man is possible for God! God can give us the strength and humility to forgive others who have hurt us. And He commands it of us. We must forgive others because we have been forgiven by God of SO MUCH!
Which reminds me of another parable that Jesus told. This time in Matthew 18.
"Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’
So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
-Matthew 18:21-35 ESV
Please give us the strength and humility necessary to forgive others. Help us to say with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Help us to pursue others while they are sinners like Jesus pursues us. Help us to overcome evil with good rather than repaying wrong with wrong.
Make us more like Jesus who was willing to suffer that we could be forgiven and set free.
Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 30:25-32:32
"And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” Genesis 32:9-12 ESV
Like Jacob, I feel incredibly small and unworthy. I started my journey with the Lord as a 21-year-old nobody. God has given me so much – a husband who loves me, four beautiful children and a fantastic son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and amazing granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, not to mention a fantastic home and a fulfilling ministry and career.
But truly, the greatest things that God has given to me are His steadfast love and faithfulness which fill my life with hope and purpose. Because of the promise of God’s faithful love, I can ask Him for anything that I need and I don’t need to be afraid.
I love how Jacob makes his requests in the middle of reminding God of what He has promised him. God, You said to me that I should return to my country that You may do me good…. I’m so unworthy of all Your goodness. Now please save me and my children and their mothers…. Remember, God, You said You would surely do me good and make my offspring as numerous as the sand of the sea.
What a great model for us! Let’s pray!
Oh Father, Your Word is full of Your promises! You have blessed me beyond measure with the gift of Your steadfast love and faithfulness. You have blessed me with unimaginable blessings – both here and in eternity.
I am not worthy of the least of all the kindness You have lavished on me, Your grace and steadfast love and faithfulness. I am not worthy by my own merit. Yet, Lord, You have made me worthy by adopting me into Your family and giving me a new name, Your Name, the name that is above every name.
You, Lord are worthy. You are worthy of every song I could sing and every praise I could shout from the darkest cave to the highest heights.
Please deliver me from the schemes of the devil, extinguish the fiery darts that the deceiver has aimed at me. Protect me and my family. Guard us behind the immovable rock of Jesus Christ and hide us beneath the shelter of Your wings.
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