Day 1 -- PRINCIPLES OF EMPOWERMENT -- Free Indeed: The Beginning of Empowerment

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Welcome to Day 1 of the devotional, "Principles of Empowerment!"

Day 1 has been posted early to help you get started. Selected lessons will be posted on this page many days this month. To follow daily, you can download the free PDF of the Principles of Empowerment  ebook or purchase the Kindle or print edition on Amazon. A link to the devotional ebook is available at www.NewCovenant.org.

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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.”

Say this out loud: “In Christ I am free indeed and free forever!”

Freedom is a treasure and a legacy. It is a treasure because it is valuable. It is a legacy because we did not create it, we only inherited freedom. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. We have the responsibility to live a certain way and we have the responsibility to share our blessings with our family and with others.
When Jesus says He makes us “free indeed” He is talking about freedom in the total sense, at every level. The word “indeed” means: Truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opposed to what is pretended, fictitious, false, conjectural.

God’s word provides the basis and operating manual for freedom of the spirit and soul.

Psalms 119:98, Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.

Many people are not living in freedom at the foundational level because they have not experienced freedom indeed through Christ.
There is a catch: With freedom comes responsibility. It is our faith followed by actions that determine if we are experiencing God’s best. Everything we enjoy may not always be God’s best for us.

Looking again at our text in John 8, notice how the Jewish people responded to Jesus’ statement about truth and freedom, 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’?” (v. 33)

They felt that their religious and racial affiliation with Abraham was enough. They reasoned they already possessed all the truth and freedom they needed. We don’t want to make that same mistake in leaning only on our feelings, on mere religious traditions, or what our society defines as freedom.

To be “free indeed” requires a Savior. Jesus is the beginning of true empowerment and association with God’s brand of truth and freedom.

Reflection Question: What have I substituted for the true freedom that only Christ can give?

Key insight I gained today:

Today’s action item based on insight:

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JUSTICE - What Is It? (Firm Foundation Audio Podcast)

Sunday, June 28, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Listen to the Firm Foundation Podcast:

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JUSTICE - What Is It?

KEYNOTE SLIDES PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zzyk26b47xmomcw/Justice_Keynote.pdf?dl=0

Message includes talks by Paul Scanlon to whites about racism.

Psalm 82:3-4, Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

It's important to understand that God's church touches our world in many different ways. People tend to have one view of the church or another. God's church as two primary functions in this world: We are pastoral and we are prophetic

1. Some may view Christ's Church as a place to come learn, to grow personally, become more Christlike, and to find purpose and happiness in life.

2. Some view Christ's Church as a place to reach out to the lost and hurting, to carry the gospel locally and around the world, behind prison walls, to support missions and relieve suffering.

3. Some view Christ's Church as salt and light in a dark world, to broken people, and as God’s agency for mercy and justice to people who are oppressed, orphan, and powerless.

4. Some view Christ's Church as a political party partner to advance God’s will by using godly and ungodly people in government. [Not a proper role for God’s church]

Justice is an important topic in our day. We hear a lot about injustice. We hear about the justice system. We see heartbreaking examples of injustice as well as justice being served.

What is justice? What is social justice? If you Google the words “Christian” and “justice" see a lot of results expressing various perspectives. There is no definitive definition for social justice come but there are many narratives. Remember that a narrative is someone’s story or interpretation about reality.

For example, the narrative says that most black males are in some kind of trouble. The truth is that most African American males are solid people who do right thing. People push back with statistics, but statistics only measure was is wrong. I am a lifelong expert on being a black male among black males.

List of justice Scriptures: https://justiceco.org/resources/gods-heart-of-justice/scriptures-on-justice-mercy-oppression-and-freedom/

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Latest teaching on the Firm Foundation podcast: “Fathers in 3D: Our Destiny. Our Design. Our Duty” (Audio)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Psalm 103:13, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Proverbs 17:6, Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.

Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother

Message Presentation Slides:


Listen on the Firm Foundation Podcast:



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Principles of Progress: Rivers & Roads

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 43:18-19  Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. 


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Are Black People Cursed? What is the Curse of Ham?

Tuesday, June 09, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Let's talk.

Many of you have heard about the "Curse of Ham." It is an antiquated and rejected "theology" regarding Black people being "cursed" by God according to Genesis 9:25. This "theology" teaches that Black people were destined for servitude because of the curse. Sadly, some still believe this doctrinal error. Historically, I think this belief has been the most significant factor in how we have been both perceived and treated. This error has also been the seed of black genocide.

Here are the biblical facts:

1) What Noah actually said (when he awoke from his wine) was, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." He didn't say "Ham."

2) Canaan was one of the four sons of Ham, so Ham was not cursed by Noah. 

3) Canaan was not the progenitor of black people.

4) Noah woke up after being drunk. What Noah said WAS NOT what God said. In other words, a drunk man cannot pronounce a curse on what God has blessed.

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY: Genesis Chapter Nine begins with these words, "SO GOD BLESSED NOAH AND HIS SONS, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.'" 

6) Noah could not curse whom God blessed. 

7) CONCLUSION: The "Curse of Ham" lie was created and promulgated by white supremacist "Christians" to justify dehumanizing and enslaving Africans in the past, as well as subjugating and abusing Black people until the present day. At a minimum, African Americans are sometimes relegated, or limited to, servile functions in some churches and organizations. Of course, we are all servants, but the expectation of servitude exists for Black people.

~ Bryan Hudson
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Further reading: 
The Curse of Ham: How Bad Scripture Interpretation Inspired Genocide

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Lessons from Nehemiah: Building with Purpose, Passion, and Joy (Audio Podcast)

Monday, June 08, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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NOTES:

Nehemiah 8:9, And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah led the effort for a select group of people to return from Babylon to Jerusalem to help people still living there who were in distress, to rebuild the wall around the city, and to restore hope and worship.

Through their effort and passion, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days—which was an amazing accomplishment. This was a testament to the power of purpose and the effort of one man to make a difference. One person can always make a difference. Be that person.

As Ezra said, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah and the people who came with him had been living in prosperous Babylon. The people in Jerusalem were in a difficult place and had many needs.

Regardless of how blessed you become in this world, do not forget your people and know that true joy comes from doing God's will. The Hebrew word for "strength" means "protection" and "safe harbor."

Israel’s captivity in Babylon was not brutal captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans, conquered Jerusalem, he only deported the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy. He left the others behind.

His intention was not to destroy the Israelites, but to use them to advance and build his own kingdom.

Nehemiah was born in Babylon and raised in exile. Nehemiah was a leader during the time when Israel was living in captivity. Nehemiah was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile. 

I realized that we have been in captivity to coronavirus COVID-19. If fact, our captivity was similar to Israel in that those of us who have not suffered from COVID have had a relatively comfortable captivity like Nehemiah and the Israelites living in Babylon.  They had homes and a community inside of Babylon. In fact, they probably had more freedom of movement than we had at a point during our shelter in place season.

The season of Nehemiah's captivity in Babylon prepared him to serve a greater purpose. Though he had no direct connection to Jerusalem, he always knew Israel was his homeland and Jerusalem was its capital city. Seasons of captivity or limitation always have a greater purpose.

Nehemiah had an interest that became a passion. That passion became a source of joy and strength. It came from an encounter with the Lord and through prayer.

There are parallels between Israel's captivity in Babylon in our captivity to coronavirus. We have to consider that part of God’s design for the season was to help us grow and grow closer to him. These seasons also provide and opportunity to purge out unnecessary things and to refocus. The old saying is, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

This is consistent with James chapter 1 which tells us guys design for trials. “Count it all joy.”

There has been another captivity with African Americans and black men in particular being subject to mistreatment and violence.  The current outcry against the murder of George Floyd, an innocent black men accused of no crime, but angered a white police officer. There is a captivity of expectation for black people to submit, to be subservient, and compliant. We are all aware of it. Some black folks just play along to get along.

Nehemiah was a man of great privilege in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. He used his privilege to serve the Lord, serve his people, and serve his purpose. 

That was that source of his joy. Joy is not an emotion. Joy leads to good emotions, but joy is strength from the Lord.

Their enemies tried to discourage and discredit them, but they kept building
Their enemies conspired against them, but they kept building
Their enemies wanted to have a conversation in ONO, but they declined and kept building

Nehemiah 6:1, Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

Sometimes when enemies cannot compete with you or defeat you, they will ask for a meeting to have a conversation and waste your time. How you use your time is part of your purpose and part of your joy.

In Nehemiah chapter 9 they experienced repentance and restoration of relationship with God

Nehemiah 9:36, “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress. 38  “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”

This was the restoration of the people of God with God. This was part of Nehemiah’s purpose and joy.

Joy comes out of the recognition of what God has done and is doing, such as when God’s people in Nehemiah’s day completed the wall around Jerusalem as they purposed to do.

Nehemiah 12:43, “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”

Joy is not denial of your own pain or the pain of others. The joy of the Lord is your strength and perspective.

Joy is your strength because joy is from the Lord and anything He provides gives your strength.

Joy is your perspective because you focus on the right things

Reminder: God's design for the outcome of trials (including COVID) is to cause you to become "mature and complete, lacking nothing." Let "patience" have its complete work -- which is developing you while you wait on Him.

James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing.”

Let your season sing!

Isaiah 55:12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

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Act Like Men

Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)

This season of challenge has spawned a renewed boldness in Black men of faith and wisdom. Many of us have decided we are not going to live one more day without speaking the truth in love, addressing evil head on, and do what is necessary. The murder of the Black man George Floyd reminded all of us African American men that we, and our sons, are subject to similar treatment by those who seem to believe we need to be controlled, managed, or require permission to act.

This is the reason you see Black men and preachers standing tall right now. We know the alternative of silence is not only unacceptable, but it is complicity with the status quo. While immature people are REACTING from a place of raw emotion and missing the opportunity to progress, we are grown men RESPONDING from a place of righteous indignation, godly motivation, and intellectual discipline. 

What many of us are doing now is consistent with the Spirit of Christ who gave us authority to overcome evil, protect the vulnerable, and defeat works of darkness. (Psalm 82:3-4, Luke 10:19)

The best is yet to come!

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Other suggested reading and listening:

African American Males in Authentic Context

Are Conversations About Race Helpful or a Distraction to Effective Action?

How to Put a Big Dent in Bigotry and Racism

Incomplete Narratives, Misplaced Focus and "Racial Division"

No, We Don’t Need to Have a Conversation About Race by Michael Harriot

(AUDIO) Current Affairs: A Kingdom Perspective by Pastor Joel A. Brooks








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