Encouragement for You Today: Bible Study - Have "Great Faith" and "Don't Let the Cares of the World Choke the Word in You"

Friday, April 03, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Bible Study from Wednesday, April 1: 
Why Did Jesus Call the Centurion's Faith "Great?"





An Exhortation for These Times: 
Don't Allow the Cares of the World to Choke the Word in You.”  
Be prepared to both recover and thrive in the next season!

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This is the season for WISDOM! Get the free e-book, "The House of Wisdom."

Thursday, March 26, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


This is the season for WISDOM! Get the free e-book, "The House of Wisdom." 

Download at NewCovenant.org

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Prov. 24:3-4

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Take Your Sunglasses

Thursday, March 26, 2020 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments



Lamentations 3:22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 
      
One day I looked outdoors and could see that it was cloudy. The weather forecast called for rain and storms. Some drops of rain were beginning to fall when by the time I gathered up my things and headed to the car.

On the way out of my house, I looked at my sunglasses laying on a table and thought, “I won't need my sunglasses since it's going to be rainy and stormy all day.” 

By mid-morning, storming warning horns were blowing and fierce storms where passing through the city. While in a meeting, I could hear the rain pelting the building and see the sheets of rain outside the window. I thought, “This is a day to stay indoors and work.” I drove in the rain and wind to get back to my office for another meeting.

By mid-afternoon, the storm had passed and the sky cleared. When I stepped outside following another meeting with a friend, the glare of the bright sun and brilliant blue sky filled my eyes. Among other things, we had been talking about the faithfulness of God during times when it seems like breakthrough is slow to come. 

My conclusion to the events of that day was this: 
God always comes through for us. He always has and He always will. God has shown His faithfulness over and over again.

Regardless of how any day begins, I will always take my sunglasses.

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FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART: Nine Insights While We Navigate This Storm

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




(Adapted from the contents of a pastoral letter)

Greetings to New Covenant Church family and friends! 

Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

We’ve entered into a season none of us have seen before. The closures, restrictions, fears, and uncertainty make one thing clear: Jesus Christ is Lord of all!

This morning I awoke with a sense of renewed purpose and optimism. We are not the first generation to face difficulty, inconvenience, and hardship. We are entering uncharted territory, but we are not sailing alone.

It appears that we are not going to be able to hold church March 22, so we’re going to lean into what we do best: Seek the Lord and care for one another. I will be communicating with our elders, deacons and leaders about this “new normal” that has been thrust upon us.

We’re going to leverage technology, conference calls, visits, and small group meetings to continue our covenant of fellowship, instruction in the word of God, and pastoral care. We’re also going to gather resources to share with individuals, families, and children. We’re also going to continue to reach out to our community.

There’s much to pray for, and rejoice in, as we enter the spring season, which is a time of renewal.

Let me offer these insights and recommendations:

1. Only look at as much news as you need to stay current. Fill your mind with the word of God and content from good books and resources.

2. Do not be fearful, which means “full of fear.” Be faithful, which means “full of faith.”

3. As always, pray, read the word of God, and have your devotional time. There are a lot of encouraging lessons and devotionals at my blog, www.bryanhudson.com. There are also links to the podcasts and other resources at the church website, www.newcovenant.org.

4. When the weather gets better, take frequent walks and enjoy fresh air. Drive to a park and walk around. Your emotional and mental health are still important!

5. Do not hesitate to call on others when you have a need.  Never be too proud to ask for help.

6. Don’t get stuck on the Internet looking at conspiracy theories and foolish prophecies. Don’t click on links from people and sources you do not know. Evil people will attempt to scam others in these desperate times.

7. Trials have already started on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Pray that scientists will be successful and that production of the vaccine will be accelerated when it’s ready.

8. Remember that coronavirus is not deadly like Ebola, but it is dangerous to elderly persons and people with other medical conditions. You won’t get it walking outside. You wouldn’t even get it from an infected person standing away from you. Do not let fear dominate your thinking and make you afraid of all people.  Use wisdom.

9. Encourage yourself in the Lord your God!

I’ll be in touch...

God is Good…All the Time!
Pastor Bryan Hudson

(Read my statement about novel coronavirus COVID-19 and current updates from federal and state government)

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Latest Teaching on Firm Foundation Podcast with Bryan Hudson “Hope In Three Dimensions"

Sunday, March 15, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Romans 15:13, I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

We usually think about hope in one way or one dimension. We understand hope as something that people need who are struggling and feeling hopeless. Thank God that when we struggle, there is hope to sustain us. When life does not makes sense and hope seems lost, there is a great hope from God to lift us up. 

Hope is more than a survival strategy. Hope is not only for the hopeless. Hope gives substance to faith. Hope is a picture. Hope is a sustaining power from the Spirit of God. Jesus is the true hope giver.

The Biblical Greek definition of hope simply means,  “An expectation.” (noun); “To anticipate” (verb).

A modern dictionary definition of Hope: 1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, 2) grounds for believing that something good may happen

I want to suggest that there are three dimensions, or aspects, of hope: 1) Expectation, 2) Desire, and 3) Purpose.

Listen to this teaching on the Firm Foundation Podcast:

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Firm Foundation Minute: Ride the Wave! (Video)

Saturday, March 14, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Firm Foundation Minute: “Ride the Wave!”
Respect the danger and power of circumstances, but have no fear!

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Dealing With Your Mountain: Leaves or Figs?

Sunday, March 08, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





We Have Come This Far By Faith
Part Four - “Dealing With Your Mountains: Leaves or Figs?”

Mark 11:12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. 
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. [“Be faithful to God and fruitful. Don’t be like this tree, putting out leaves, but showing no fruit.” 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Faith in God is not all about getting stuff, it is about doing God’s will. Don’t forget this statement: Faith begins where the will of God is known. Jesus' teaching in Mark 11 is dealing with personal character and doing the will of God.

Important question: Why did Jesus curse the fig tree, if it was not the season for figs?

It appears shocking that Jesus cursed the tree and made it wither from the roots, never to yield fruit again. This seems stunningly out of character for Jesus. What should we learn from this story?

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Joy in Every Season

Saturday, March 07, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT), Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

In the midwest, we experience four very different seasons of weather and conditions, of which one, winter, can be hard and dangerous. Life also has seasons, some of which are hard. 

The prophet Habakkuk described a hard season, in which outward conditions were troubling. In the middle of those outward conditions, he described his inward condition - JOY! Joy is not an emotion or a feeling. It is a mindset and a decision that determines an inward condition. It is a mindset shaped by the decision to stay focused on the Lord. This results in the condition of joy as expressed in rejoicing and being joyful. This brings a better feeling from within.

Sometimes circumstances do not bring encouragement. Sometimes circumstances are encouraging. Because of this, you can't depend on circumstances, but you can depend on the Lord!

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Latest Teaching on Firm Foundation: Don’t Live in Fear of Coronavirus (Or Any Other Person or Thing )

Monday, March 02, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Latest Teaching on Firm Foundation: Don’t Live in Fear of Coronavirus (Covid-19). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7


1 John 4:18, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 

While we do not ignore health threats, being fearful is a condition that breeds more fearfulness, hinders faith, and gets in the way of walking in wisdom to take appropriate preventive actions.

This message also include a brief video about the scientific effects of fear on your mind and body.

Learn how fear can be useful, but how fearfulness is a state to avoid. You will be greatly encouraged by this teaching!

LISTEN ON THE FIRM FOUNDATION PODCAST:

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Day 29 - Sanctified (Set Apart) and Sent | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Saturday, February 29, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Watching a sunrise and meditating on the Lord in December of 2019

John 17:15, My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Followers of Christ have never needed to escape from reality to find victory. We don’t need to live in denial or pretend that bad situations are not severe. Through the power of Christ, we are able to live in this world while being protected from the evil one.

As I write this post, there’s a lot of fear surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) Though it is not the worst condition that people presently face, fear has gripped the minds of many people. That’s not to say we should ignore this situation. More importantly we should face it with wisdom and faith in God. Ultimately, our condition is not determined by this world, because we’re not ultimately subject to this world. Again, we don’t act as if things in the world are not real, we live like the power of God overcomes the world.

Jesus had such confidence in God’s Spirit within those who belong to God that He sent His disciples into the world to preach the Good News. We are called to be “salt and light” in this world, having positive impact, and making a difference in people's lives.

Jesus made a remarkable promise in which He stated that we have been “sanctified,” or “set apart,” for God’s special use. It is God’s word working in us to make us distinctive in a world of commonality.

As in everything else, Jesus set the standard, made provision, and led the way. By setting Himself apart to become our Savior and the Giver of all grace, we are now in position to impact our community and world!

Reflection Question: How do you, or will you, impact this world for Jesus?

Action Item:

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Day 28 - An Astonishing Promise! | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Friday, February 28, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

These are astonishing words from Jesus Christ! All of the Gospels show us His power, His works, and His love in action. Here Jesus turned to His followers to empower them. To “empower” is to give someone authority or ability to do something one could not do before. Empowerment was the value of our education, mentoring, and training growing up. We’ve gained skills that would have never have been gained on our own.

Jesus said we will do “greater works.” Of course, we cannot do greater works in terms of the miraculous and divine nature of His work. We can do a greater quantity of work, because there are more of us Christ-followers than ever lived before. When He walked the earth, Jesus could only be in one place at a time. He certainly worked miracles in places beyond His physical presence, like healing the sick servant of the Centurion. (Matthew 8:4-6)

The message to Jesus’ disciples at the time He spoke these words, and to us who read those words today is this: We can do more of the works of Jesus in our community and around the world in leading people to salvation, to healing, to spiritual maturity, and much more. Jesus also promised to make provision by answering our prayers and petitions. He plainly stated, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Of course, “anything” is within the realm of God’s purpose and will...and we should ask!

Reflection Question: What are some of the “greater works” you are doing in representing Jesus in our day? What do you need to ask Jesus to do?

Action Item: 

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Day 27 - The Spirit of Truth in a World of Opinions | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Thursday, February 27, 2020 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments




John 16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 

The Holy Spirit is our guide into truth. What is truth? There is the act of telling the truth or truth as facts. When Jesus spoke about truth, He was speaking about reality as God defines it. The dictionary defines reality as: The state of things as they actually exist. The biblical Greek definition is similar, Of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly. (alētheia - ἀληθής, Strongs #G227)

There is considerable disagreement among people about truth in the highest sense. Many doubt the truth of Christ’s ministry, His words, and the Bible itself. Paul wrote of people,“Who changed the truth of God into a lie...” I've heard many strange statements coming from the minds and mouths of people who don't understand how biblical truth is as stable, provable, and effective as scientific laws such as gravity. There is a saying in our culture: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

However, there is no convincing people of anything who are closed to the influence of the Holy Spirit. People who are not under the guidance of God through His Spirit may imagine, believe, or say anything. 

People who live under the influence of God are like the Holy Spirit Himself who “will not speak on His own authority.” The Holy Spirit is God, yet within the Godhead He is submitted to the Father. The Apostle John wrote that He will glorify Christ.  We should do the same.

The guidance that Jesus provided to his disciples, and provides to us, can be summarized:

1. Things that cannot be understood presently will be made clearer through the influence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit
2. He guides into truth, reality, fact, and certainty
3. He gives insight into things to come -- not always specific detail, but clear direction
4. He glorifies Jesus which involves public and private worship
5. He delivers blessings and purpose designed for each of His disciples.

Reflection Question: List a few examples of the Holy Spirit working in your life as stated in the summary above.

Action Item:

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Day 26 - Your Way, Truth and Life Today! | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 14:1,  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This is one of the most encouraging Scriptures you will ever read! One of our greatest concerns involves the future. It is something we cannot know, we can only plan and hope. Jesus offers assurances about our present and future:

1. Don’t let your heart be troubled, because God is helping you manage your present and future circumstances.

2. The next life, which is coming sooner than we think, will include eternal presence and provision with God in our own “mansion.”

3. At this moment, Jesus is your Way, your Truth, and your Life!

4. Your present life will include protection and provision according to your faith.  Matthew 14:13 reads,  “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” 

Jesus provides some "heaven" to go to heaven in!

Reflection Question: How is Jesus your Way, Truth and Life?

Action Item: 

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Day 25 - Confidence In Jesus | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 2:5, His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Jesus mother, like others in his family, may have had their doubts about Jesus for a time (Mark 3:31-35). It may have been that they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of His words and His works once He began to operate in His ministry. Sometimes we struggle to relate to people we know, even family, when God uses them in unusual ways.

The brief season of Mary's concern passed. She became fully committed to her son, and her Savior. She gained full confidence in Jesus' purpose and power. By the time of the wedding at Cana, she knew Jesus could do anything.

When the wine ran out at the wedding celebration, Mary told Jesus about it. While He did not seem all that happy about having this brought to His attention, Jesus was willing to honor the confidence of his mother.

Mary sensed this and said to the people, “Whatever Jesus says, do it.” A miracle soon followed. Jesus turned water into wine, without using grapes.

I am blessed by Mary's example of placing public confidence in Jesus. I am also reminded that our Lord and Savior is willing to work with small things that can become a great witness to God's power.

Reflection Question: In what areas do you need more confidence in what Christ can do?

Action Item:

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Day 24 - Love, The Royal Law | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Monday, February 24, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Everyone knew about the Ten Commandments. Israel’s culture and religion was based on the Law that was delivered by Moses. To the Jew there was nothing greater. 

Here comes Jesus saying, “It's time for something new and better!”  The Ten Commandments was based on the performance of Jews trying to do the “do’s” and avoid doing the “don’ts.” It was a constant frustration dealing with failure and remorse. 

The New Commandment was all about loving one another. Anyone who loves will naturally keep the spirit of the commandments and properly relate to God and people. To His disciples, Jesus made it clear that living through love would best represent Himself. Looking back, we know that Jesus fulfilled the law and made it obsolete. Love made striving to keep the law unnecessary. 

James call this new commandment the Royal Law, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,‘ you do well” (James 2:8) Love is the language of the Kingdom of God.

Reflection Question: What are a couple of examples of living by the "Royal Law?"

Action Item.

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We Have Come this Far By Faith: Part Two, The Faith Habit (PODCAST)

Sunday, February 23, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things [do nothing] which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

   Faith in God produces a change in the heart, one’s life, and one’s lifestyle.
  
   Habit Defined: A settled or regular tendency or practice. Now there are good and bad habits.
   
   Anyone who would boast about believing in God should be reminded that demons believe in God too. However, the devil and demons are not in the habit of obeying and following God.
     
   Faith is not a mysterious force. Faith is habit. Faith is believing and acting on God’s word all the time. Faith speaks and believes. It also provides what is needed.
    
   Saving faith pledges allegiance to God and is not ashamed of him.
John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
        
   Practices of the Faith Habit:
1 Tim. 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
       
   “Pursue” is a faith-filled word in relation to the things of God.
What are the things that you are pursuing in relation to what God wants you to do? Paul instructed Timothy to pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
      
   1. Faith looks like a Spirit empowered pursuit of the Grace of God.
  
   2. Walking in faith is full of Grace.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
       
   3. The habit of faith requires focus and excellence
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
“Magnify” means “render it excellent”
        
   5. Nothing is impossible with faith, but faith is not possible without the habit of believing and acting on God's Word according to grace.
   
   6. Faith always requires sowing a seed...taking a action.
Your seed is an action, something you do to show faith. Again, “faith without works is dead.”
    
   For salvation, the faith action or seed is confession.
Romans 10:10, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
     
   7. For believers in Christ, being a doer of the word keeps us authentic and genuine in our witness. Being a doer also keeps us out of self-deception.
   
    James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

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Day 23 - Do You Have Belief or True Faith? | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Sunday, February 23, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

It is very interesting that many people believed in Jesus, but were too afraid to confess Him. They feared being put out of the synagogue. They also loved the praise of people that they gained from their status. 

Question: Were the rulers who only believed in Jesus saved? Answer: No. 

Believing only is not the means to salvation. This is the same mistake that many people make today. Believing is also called “mental assent,” which is simply accepting a fact in one's mind. Believing only is not faith. James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19) Satan and the demons believe in God. They also tremble in fear--which is something a lot of people don't do!

James went on to explain that “faith without works [corresponding action] is dead.” (James 2:17) Belief accepts. True faith acts in obedience to God and His word. Saving faith involves the corresponding action of public confession. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

Reflection Question: Have you been operating in belief or genuine faith? What are some examples of faith (belief) without works?

Action Item:

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Day 22 - Lose to Find | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Saturday, February 22, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Jesus said many things that were opposite to culture. In the world, loving yourself, doing for yourself, and putting self over others is the way of the world. Jesus, who came for the specific purpose of giving His life, introduced a new standard. Loving one's life leads to losing it. This does not mean death, it is “losing” one's life in terms of missing something greater. The term "hates his life" has to do with living, not with selfish intent, but to discover higher meaning in life.

As the Psalmist wrote: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11). Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” There is honor in following Jesus' example of service.

Reflection Question: What do you need to "lose" in order to find the greater?

Action Item:

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Day 21 - Why We Read the Bible | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Friday, February 21, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 12:14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written*: 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
(*Zechariah 9:9)

There are many examples in the Gospels where Jesus fulfilled prophecies. One of the unique features of the Living God is that He knows the end from the beginning. He did not orchestrate every single event in history and life, but He laid the foundation to the most important circumstances, such as the coming of Christ.

Many things Jesus did were accomplished with full knowledge of the Scriptures. He often acted specifically on the Old Testament Scriptures such as the passage from Zechariah 9:9 cited above.  Notice that the disciples could make sense of this event only after they reflected on the Scriptures. If they had not read the Scriptures, there would be no way of understanding the event. 

Our Bible reading is not just a religious exercise or passing of time. We are laying foundation in our hearts and minds to understand future purpose and events. It is possible to miss parts of God’s plan and timing because we lack knowledge of the Scriptures at the time when it is needed.

Reflection Question: How has this devotional helped you appreciate the importance of reading Scripture?

Action Item: 

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Day 20 - You Don't Know All That God Can Do | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Thursday, February 20, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



 "Jesus Raises Lazarus From The Dead" ©Ann Lukesh

John 11:23, Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

This was the end of an encounter between Jesus and His friend Martha. You may remember that the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, became ill. They sent for Jesus to come and heal him, but Jesus did not come for four days and Lazarus died. When Jesus received word, he said,  “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

If the “sickness was not unto death,” why did Lazarus die? 

This story is a powerful reminder that Mary, Martha, you, and I, do not know everything that Jesus can do! As far as Mary and Martha knew, Jesus was a healer. He can heal anyone of anything -- as long as He prays for someone BEFORE he dies. Jesus’ friends were sure they knew what he could do. Jesus had to prove them wrong!

Familiarity can breed complacency. We think we know all that God and people can do--but we don't.

When Jesus finally returned, he found his friends grieving and unhappy with Him saying, “If you had been here, our brother would not have died.” Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will rise again,” but she thought He was speaking of the general resurrection. THIS WAS ALL SHE KNEW! 

Jesus then said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He is saying to all of us,  “Do you believe this?”

Reflection Question: Are you prepared to learn more? Do you feel like you've seen about everything God can do? What things do you need to start believing again?

Action Item:

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Day 19 - Your Door, Place, and Resource | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Shepherds and sheep are bound together by purpose. Jesus publicly self-identified as a Shepherd. He didn't publicly identify as a King or a Ruler, though he is both. The “shepherd” title would be meaningless without the association with sheep. Jesus and His people are one. Those of us who serve as under-shepherds or pastors have the same mindset. God always intended Jesus and His chosen servants to care for God's people, “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15)

People often read verse 10 out of context. Abundant life and avoiding the conditions that steal, kill, and destroy is related to being shepherded, both by Jesus and by those He has sent. People who lack relationship with Christ and lack spiritual covering by His chosen under-shepherds miss out on significant blessings. They become exposed to dangers that can be either avoided or minimized.

Jesus gave his life for us in death, burial, and resurrection. Pastors give their lives in service and sacrifice for God's people. Jesus is the “door to the sheepfold.” He is your Place of resource. He is your Source of abundant life.

Reflection Question: How would you describe your relationship with Jesus? How would you describe your relationship with your pastor? 

Action Item:

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Day 18 - The Blindness of Knowing | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


John 9:18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
...24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Something very simple caused a big stir. The entirety of John Chapter Nine is devoted to the story of a man who was born blind, whom Jesus healed, resulting in the religious establishment losing their minds! 

The Pharisees were founded as men dedicated to the Scriptures and nurturing the spiritual heritage of Israel. Sadly, in their self-importance they lost sight of God's power. One of the negative aspects of religious practice without the living God and Christ, is the hardening of the heart and the darkening of understanding.

It is amazing that the Pharisees could not accept the miracle of the blind man becoming healed, or even rejoice about his happy outcome, because it was beyond their understanding and control. They questioned the authenticity of Jesus to the man, who could only say, One thing I know: I was blind, but now I see.”

Jesus came to disrupt the status quo, reveal the Kingdom of God, and humble self-important people. The same Scriptures which the Pharisees had read often plainly predicted Jesus and His works. 

The irony of the story is this: A man received his sight, but the Pharisees proved their blindness to God. 

Jesus described the Pharisee’s condition, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” (v. 40)

With all of our learning from God and standing on what we know, do not stop learning, embracing truth, and remaining open to the works of Christ.

Reflection Question: In your life, is there anything you have embraced that stands in the way of moving forward in God's power?

Action Item:

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Day 17 - Why Worship? | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Monday, February 17, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 4:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24] God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Proverbs 3:9 Honor [worship] the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10] so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine

Worship is an all encompassing, all inclusive experience. It is both spiritual and physical; temporal and eternal. It involves the total person, spirit, soul, body and even our possessions. Worship is more than our singing on Sunday morning.

We must challenge ourselves to worship God in fullness and in the release of everything to Him.

It is human nature to worship according to our own preferences and pleasures—like the Samaritan woman Jesus spoke to as recorded in the Gospel of John. 

However, the problem with such worship is that it is unbalanced and conveniently neglects that part of worship which is undesirable.

God requires that we worship Him at two levels at all times: “In Spirit” and “In Truth.”

“In Spirit” addresses the supernatural dimension of our walk with God and the transcendent nature of His presence

“In Truth” addresses the practical, everyday actions we engage in obedience to the Truth. Jesus said, “Your Word is Truth.”

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (“your act of spiritual worship” -NIV).

As it relates to our giving, worship involves how and what we give to God. Our first fruits, our tithes, and our offerings are all a reflection of our worship of God in spirit and in truth. 

Reflection Question: Why is worship important to you? How does giving relate to your worship?

Action Item:

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Day 16 - Free Indeed | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Sunday, February 16, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 8:31, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

A standard is: “Something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model, example, or point of reference.” Jesus established a new standard in His time for all time: Those who abide in His teaching are His disciples, who are made free by the truth of God they know/learn.

Some of those who heard pushed back against what Jesus said, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.” Jesus made the case of relationship with God. They made the case of privilege because of family lineage. If someone asks me why I live for Christ, my answer should not be, “Well, my grandfather was a pastor, my father is a Bible teacher, and my mother wrote Gospel songs.”

We cannot successfully argue against Jesus’ standard. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8). The people who thought they were not in bondage because they were descendants of Abraham, ignored their own sinful lifestyles. There is self-deception associated with self-righteousness. But if the Son makes you free, you will be genuinely free. 

Reflection Question:  Are there any habits or religious traditions standing in the way of knowing and living out Jesus' truth?

Action Item:     

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Day 15 - Empowered by Light | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Saturday, February 15, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




John 8:10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” 12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 

(Read John 8:1-12)
Jesus’ response to the religious leaders who demanded that a woman be condemned and punished whom they “caught” in the act of adultery is interesting and revealing. There was a problem with the clarity of their accusation: Either, 1) They were the ones committing adultery with her or, 2) They were “peeping toms.” Either way, they were in no position to judge her as a sinner. Jesus response was brilliant, “He who has no sins may cast the first stone at her.”

People are responsible for their sins and wrongdoing, but condemnation does nothing to resolve a matter. Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” It is the function of light to dispel darkness. So long as people are willing to walk in the light they will walk in freedom.

Consistent with light, Jesus said to her, “Go and sin no more.” He was not just giving her an admonition, He was assuring her that living without sin was possible by living in the light!

Reflection question: How does walking in God's light empower you to live free?

Action Item

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Day 14 - Valentine's Day Special Re-Post | LoveWorks, Jesus, Our Example of Friendship by Bryan and Patricia Hudson

Friday, February 14, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

We learn from this text is that Jesus wants a relationship with his followers. Not just religious devotion, but a loving, sincere, committed relationship and friendship.

A Definition of Friend – A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest too. Friendship is a two way relationship where both parties give and receive.
Jesus expounds to his disciples the true meaning of friendship. 


There are four levels of relationship:

1. There are acquaintances
2. There are colleagues/co-workers/partners
3. There is Christian/Kingdom Covenant with fellow believers in Christ
4. And there are true friends (Including spouse)

KEY POINT #1: True friends experience a high level of agreement
KEY POINT #2: True friends are mutually loyal and dependable
KEY POINT #3: True friends confide in one another.
KEY POINT #4: True friends speak highly of one another and empower one another, especially in times of uncertainty.

Watch the teaching below 

 

Part One also Available now on Podcast: 






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Day 13 - Living Inside Out to Your Highest Level | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Thursday, February 13, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.”

During Jesus' earthly ministry, He brought a revolutionary message, not based on performance, but based on the grace and power of God. He said things that are commonplace for us now, but at the time he said these things they were extraordinary. This is one of the reasons that the establishment leaders planned to kill him, because he was drawing people away from the dead works of religion and from the control of mere men.

Everyone understood the importance and power of water. Jesus made the astonishing statement that people who believed in him would experience “rivers” of living water flowing out of their lives. While religious leaders spoke of do's, don'ts, and regulations, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit. He spoke of a personal inner strength that people had not experienced before. Like a sunny day after weeks of clouds and gloom, Jesus brought hope. Not just hope as a concept, but hope as a real power like rivers flowing out of the heart. 

The statement that Jesus was, “not yet glorified” is very interesting. The usage of the word “glorified” suggests there is something more to life and purpose than what one has in the moment. If anybody was glorified at any time it would have been Jesus. The context indicates that there was something greater, even for Jesus, that would come. We know that the “something” was His death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 8:30 reads, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

“Glorified” indicates rising to the level of one’s highest purpose. We speak of a masterpiece as the best work of an artist. We are God's masterpiece. The Holy Spirit freely operating through us like flowing rivers of living water surely represents being glorified as believers in Christ.

Reflection Question: Looking at your life, what represents your  highest levels? Where do you find room to grow? 

Action Item:





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Day 12 - “Don’t Panic, It’s Just a Test” | February Devotional in the Gospel of John

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” 

We might say that Jesus blew the minds of His disciples! 

It is interesting that Jesus chose to speak in this manner realizing some of his disciples would not understand. Some actually thought he was speaking about cannibalism, but they should've known better.

Sometimes the situations and trials we face make no sense. As I heard a person say, “Don't panic, it's just a test.” This story shows us that God has no problem testing his disciples, and us, to help us understand how we think. Our thoughts sometimes betray us, and God!  

After working the thinking, feelings, and nerves of his disciples, He then asked, “Does this offend you?” It was also a test of trust. Unfortunately, some did not stay around to find out what Jesus was really talking about. They left confused and offended because they refused to stay, deal with their own thinking/feelings, and learn.

He finally said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus was talking about having a close relationship and being committed to purpose.

Reflection question: What is Jesus saying to you through this story? Is there any misunderstanding in your thinking that needs repentance?

Action Items:

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