Wholly Loved

Exodus 19:1-15; Psalm 27:7-14; Matthew 22:34-23:12


“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

God calls His Bride, the Church, to be set apart, as a holy people. We are to “conduct [ourselves] in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). How can we live perfectly holy before an Awesome God? Well, we can’t. This is actually good news for us. It is exactly why Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to make a way for wayward people like you and me. We cannot clean ourselves up or ever be good enough- there’s a hole in our holiness. Even if we reform the outside, our hearts are dead apart from God. We are no more than a whitewashed tomb.



In our Exodus passage, God commands Moses to tell the people of Israel to prepare themselves before entering the Lord’s presence. They were to wash their clothes and consecrate themselves so by the third day they would be ready. Under the New Covenant we have Christ’s Presence always with us as His children. He did the work of making us righteous and presentable before a Holy God.

Jesus does not denounce our lack, weaknesses, or limitations. He tenderly tells those who belong to Him they are condemned no more. The indwelling Holy Spirit patiently teaches us how to live in holiness, as we learn to operate out of God’s power and not our flesh. Our Father promises to not give up on what He’s started in you and me, to make us more like Christ (Philippians 1:6). We can be confident we will see Jesus face to face one day in the land of those who’ve really lived. You are His treasure, holy and loved, wholly loved.


Grace upon grace,


Long-suffering Mercy

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Matthew 22:1-33

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:8-9
How do we handle the sins of others against us? When we’ve been deceived, betrayed, lied about, or mistreated? How does God deal with sin? How has He dealt with my sin?
We are all unrighteous before the Lord yet He freely offers grace for those who recognize their need for Him. Jesus has prepared a place for such people. Some respond to the invitation of the Gospel with apathy, others openly rebel in opposition to God’s gift. The kingdom of Heaven is not for them. So the Lord chooses an array of people from every nation, tribe, and language to serve His Name, delighting in His feast. He is mercifully long-suffering.
Moses cried out to God when the Israelites complained of hunger and thirst. The Lord heard him and miraculously provided in the desert, meeting their physical needs. Water from a rock, meat in the evening and manna in the morning- for forty years! He is mercifully long-suffering.
In His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus addressed the religious leaders intent on destroying His reputation and credibility. Jesus knew their hearts better than they did. He responds to the attacks to trap Him with patient wisdom, demonstrating His authoritative knowledge over the ways of men and Scripture. He is mercifully longsuffering.
Sometimes the word ‘long-suffering’ seem to fit better than ‘patient’. Long-suffering gives an image of endurance, perseverance, love bearing all things. This is exactly what Jesus did and does for you and me. In any of these examples God could have annihilated anyone questioning His provision, goodness or authority. But He didn’t. The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love not wishing any should eternally perish. Think of His response during the mock trials, insults, beatings, and ultimately, His crucifixion (Isaiah 53:7-11). He is mercifully long-suffering. Jesus has invested His life in all the elect, knowing we would not walk perfectly, knowing there would be days you and I completely fail.
But His mercies are new each day.
In light of how the Good Savior treats us, eventually sacrificing Himself for our eternal good, we can respond with mercy and patience when we are sinned against. Because I hope someone would extend the same grace to me when I sin against them. Cry out to God when you feel wronged, be sober-minded with self-control, quick to forgive, slow to anger. Because this is what Jesus did for you. This is what God loves.
Grace upon grace,


Exodus 10:1-12:13


More than once Pharaoh tried to compromise with Moses on conditions for letting the Israelites go worship. Moses was unwavering because these were God’s terms. Like Pharaoh, those who attempt to negotiate with the Lord have no fear of God, not rightly understanding Who He is.

The last plague left no room for compromise with judgment over every firstborn son in Egypt. The instructions for Passover were very clear, as the Israelites obeyed God’s word by placing the blood of an unblemished lamb on the sides and top of the doorframe to their homes. Then each Hebrew ate the roasted lamb, bitter herbs and bread without yeast in haste as instructed by the Lord. Because of their obedience, God spared the firstborn in each Israelite home unlike the Egyptian families.







God defends those who take His Word seriously and obey Him- these are His people.  We may think it harmless to cut corners at work, lack integrity in how we treat others, or see how far we can push the envelope, but how we live before others matters. John MacArthur points out how the Church is responsible in representing Christ to the world saying,

“The Church’s greatest testimony before the world is spiritual integrity. When Christians live below the standards of biblical morality and reverence for their Lord, they compromise the full biblical truth concerning the character, plan, and will of God. By so doing, they seriously weaken the credibility of the gospel and lessen their impact on the world.”

The truth is God will not honor bargaining His commands of any kind. He does not haggle. This is the way of the unrighteous. God’s people obey Him and serve others because this reflects the heart of Christ who did not compromise His mission on the cross. Aren’t you glad Jesus perfectly obeyed the will of the Father? Christ set the example for daily living by demonstrating whole-hearted devotion to God alone as the only way to live. It’s important to note that this isn’t done in our own strength. As we mature in our understanding of God’s grace, the Holy Spirit enables us to live out the Lord’s will. Gradually our desires begin to match His, as our hunger for God grows. How incredible God even helps us obey Him!

God’s standard is ultimately in our best interest. We need not fear “missing out” on a full life because we don’t succumb to the pressures of the culture. God’s way leads to solid joy in a forever relationship with Him. In the end, those who remain steadfast and uncompromising in the Lord will hear “well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). Keep persevering. Our Father sees your faithfulness to Him.


Grace upon grace,


Signs and Wonders

Exodus 5:22-7:25; Psalm 23; Proverbs 5:22-23


Our Father is a faithful leader guiding His people throughout history with anointed leadership, Scripture, the Holy Spirit and prayer. God used Moses and Aaron to speak on His behalf, to demonstrate His Power when the Israelites were in Egyptian captivity. Even when Israel lacked faith in God’s redemptive plan and Moses became discouraged, the Lord still moved forward in rescuing them. Moses’ staff becomes an object of God’s power and authority as it turns into a snake. His staff then swallows the Egyptian magicians’ staffs turned into snakes.

God’s goodness to never give up on His people, to guide and correct us when necessary carries over into the beautiful 23rd psalm. He is our Great Shepherd with His own staff and rod, not out of sadistic pleasure but out of His love for us. It is always for our good, as we learn to walk in the footsteps of Christ.


By contrast, Pharaoh’s hardened heart depicts the wicked who refuse to obey God’s correction. Rejecting His truth, His light, darkens the mind and sears the conscience.  The Lord will eventually give them over to their sin (Romans 1:21-25; 28). Disobedience is not freedom but eternal slavery.

God’s staff of righteousness is the perimeter by which we live our lives. Boundaries are for safety yet we must trust in our Father’s wisdom, operating within His commands. The Israelites didn’t demonstrate faith in Egypt until they were shown God’s signs and wonders.

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders who demanded a sign from Him to prove His Sonship (Matthew 12:38-41). They hated Jesus’ ministry and condemned Him to the cross. Yet this was not the end. Just as the Lord prophesied, this generation witnessed the ‘sign of Jonah’ as Jesus overcame death and lives today. What other wonder do we need? Blessed are those who acknowledge the Lord’s goodness and authority without demanding a sign and walk in obedience (John 20:29).


Grace upon grace,


Unfolding Mercy

Exodus 4:1-5:21; Psalm 22:19-31; Matthew 18:12-14


“Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.” (Exodus 4:29-31).

In our reading of Exodus today we see the Lord is placing His plan of redemption into motion for the Israelites. They have been held captive in Egyptian slavery for 400 years and at just the right time God accomplishes His purpose through them, “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (Psalm 22:24).

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Psalm 22 was written by King David as his own cry for help, laced with adoration of God. This Messianic psalm looks forward to Christ our Redeemer imaging these words as well looking back to God’s great deliverance of Israel during the exodus. The Bible is layered with experiences from different men, separated by hundreds of years, yet when their stories align we see a bigger picture unfolding- God’s great mercy saving His people for His Glory and our good.

Human emotions are as old as time. We still have a felt need to be rescued from this world of captivity, to be satisfied with something meaningful and know we are loved even though we sin. The words in Scripture are comforting because they are just as relevant today as they were for Moses and David. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows we are a needy people. When you and I recognize our need for a Savior our cries for salvation transform into songs of praise because of His mercy. Remembering that the Father delights to save and He “is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:14)  are words of certainty we can hold onto in uncertain times.


Grace upon grace,


The Cursed Serpent

Read: Genesis 3:1-4:26; Psalm 2; Matthew 3:1-6

Christ became sin for us, becoming a curse, bearing God’s wrath so that believers will never have to. Jesus has made us free (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It’s interesting that Satan is identified as a serpent in Genesis 3, to tempt the first man and woman to sin. Later on in the book of Numbers, Moses obeys the Lord’s command to construct a bronze serpent for God to heal the Israelites bitten by venomous snakes. They had complained against God’s provision and Moses’ leadership. Realizing their sin, the people repented. When they looked at the bronze snake set up on a pole, the people who were bitten lived. (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-15).

From the Fall the serpent foreshadows Jesus becoming sin for us and His sacrificial death on a cross. We see directly after the Fall how sin corrupted mankind. But God in His mercy sends Jesus to redeem His people from eternal death and give us life in Him! The serpent symbolizes our curse, but God uses this very image as a means to save us through Jesus taking on our sin. He is lifted up on a cross, like Moses placed the bronze snake on a pole. Anyone who looks to Christ will be saved from death and the serpent of Satan will not have victory over you.

Jesus crushed the head of the serpent overcoming death and sin, restoring His Beloved (Genesis 3:15). Those in Christ Jesus are called to continue this mission of mortifying the flesh, crushing the will of Satan as we engage in spiritual battle every day (Romans 16:20). This is the power of Christ at work in us. Satan does not have the final victory. The war does not belong to Him. God has already won. Praise be to God!

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”  1 Peter 2:24


Grace upon grace,



Strangely Glorious

The more I press into God the more I realize how little I know of Him. You think it would be reverse. Yet He is so vast, so rich and inconceivable to the human mind and heart. The Lord reveals to us as much as we can stand, to behold His Glory.

Just like my sin, if I really understood the horror and magnitude of it all, it would crush me. So God graciously puts believers under the knife of life-long sanctification. Some incisions cut deeper than others, but all are necessary to shed the dragon layers that keep us from complete intimacy with Him.

As when Moses’ face shone with the glory of being in God’s Presence, God knows His Shekinah Glory is more than mortals can bear (Exodus 33:12-23; 34:29-35). Instead, He mercifully shines His reflection in the face of Jesus- and there we behold Him. It is through the loveliness of Christ we see who we really are.

I am covered by His blood and can say I am His daughter. Simple though I am, He is patient to teach me for eternity (Isaiah 54:13).


Grace upon grace,