DAY 27 – Honor: Lose Your Life, Find Your Greater Life | Firm Foundation Devotional

Friday, November 27, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Matthew 10:39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

Losing your life is finding your greater life. Through the New Birth, you have died to the old life and have been spiritually born to a new life in Christ. Recognizing this truth is "losing" your old life and finding your higher life.

Honor recognizes the powers of your new life. There is a great blessing in recognizing those who are sent by God. "He who receives you receives Me." When you know what restrains Jesus, you will know what restrains you. The following text shows how a lack of honor limited Jesus' power among the people.

Mark 6:1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. 4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief.

A lack of honor reduced Jesus to something lesser and familiar in the minds of the people, and this attitude among the people blocked the blessings they could have received from Him. To his family, friends, and neighbors, Jesus was merely the kid down the street, or “the carpenter's son.” He was much more than his occupation, but “familiarity” hindered their ability to see Jesus’ greater purpose and ability.

Many times God will send what you need in a package you don’t understand or like. The Greek word for honor literally means “a valuing.” It speaks of something valuable, precious, or weighty, such as gold. Other definitions of honor  appreciation, esteem, favorable regard, respect. 

Reflection Question: How do you honor God? Who do you honor?

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

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DAY 26 – Two Liberating Words: "Thank You" | Firm Foundation Devotional

Thursday, November 26, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Hebrews 13:12, Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, [d]giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Two of the most liberating words in our language are: “Thank you.”

Just as John taught that love is shown in deeds more than words, thanksgiving is always connected to what we offer or give. That’s why we celebrate birthdays with cards and gifts, because we wish to say “Thank you” for someone’s life. That’s why we celebrate Christmas with gift giving and honoring our Savior. It’s all about saying “Thank You” to the Lord for the gift of life and new life in Christ. 

God trained His people Israel to the importance of giving thanks by instituting the Law of Peace Offerings, also called "Thanksgiving Offerings." Many things in the Old Testament that began as a law were designed to train and develop people to recognize the grace of God. The law was a “schoolmaster” to led us to Christ. (Gal. 3:24)

Leviticus 22:29, And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will

While the Law mandated many things to be done, there was the greater motivation of free will. This motivation for serving and giving came from the heart. It looked forward to the New Covenant under grace. 

The principle of free will and being thankful in our service to God is best practice for New Testament believers: 

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

Hebrews 13:15-16, Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Today, we don't need a law to mandate our service and thanksgiving to God. Because of his love and grace, we don't have to be told to serve and be thankful. We are more than willing!

Reflection Question: What are examples of free will peace offerings or thanksgiving offerings, that you bring to the Lord?  Which people do you need to encourage by saying "Thank You?"

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

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DAY 25 – I Press Forward | Firm Foundation Devotional

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Philippians 3:13-14, “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,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” 

Philippians 3:14 Good News Translation (GNT), "So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above."

In Christ you have the power, grace, and ability to press forward no matter how short or long the path! The best part is this; you don’t have to use your own strength! God is committed to help you learn about the principles and strategies for pressing forward in God’s grace and power! It is part of the process.

On the surface, the phrase “I press” feels like human works, hardship, and extreme difficulty on the way somewhere. Effort is not the thing to focus on. The thing to focus on is the prize or the goal, which is the higher call, or purpose, in life. When you focus on your purpose and outcomes more than the difficulty of moving forward,  it is easier to manage the difficulties.

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” —Barack Obama

Reflection Question: What difficulty do you need to stop focusing on? What purpose or outcomes do you need to focus on?

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

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DAY 24 – The Power of Your Testimony | Firm Foundation Devotional

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Everyone has built his or her “house.” Your house is your scope of responsibility, authority, ministry, jobs, and possessions. The Bible says that Moses was faithful in his house. His faithfulness became his testimony. Your testimony, like the chapters of a book, is written every day by your words and deeds of faith and obedience to God.

2 Corinthians 1:12, "For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you."

A good testimony is:

1) Clear conscience
2) Simple and sincere conduct in in clear view others (no hidden agendas)
3) Operating by grace, not by carnal (flesh-ruled) wisdom
4) Other-focused

Reflection Question: What is the testimony of your "house." What have you "built" with the help of the Lord?

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

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DAY 23 – Worship: God’s Way | Firm Foundation Devotional | Guest Writer: Min. Shawn R. Carter

Monday, November 23, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


by Min. Shawn Renee Carter

Micah 6:6-8 (HCSB), What should I bring before the Lord when I come to bow before God on high?Should I come before Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? 7 Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the child of my body for my own sin? 8 Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

During old testament times the Israelites, Judah, God’s people, found themselves in a perpetual cycle of disobedience, God’s judgment, repentance, and God’s forgiveness. God continued to be merciful despite their forgetfulness and ungratefulness.

God sent the prophet Micah to the people because they had once again broken their covenant and turned away from Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. Micah described their sins as perversion of worship and injustice toward others. They were guilty of worshipping other gods (the gods of the kings) and bowing before false idols. Today, there are false idols such as ambition, self-worth, money, and social positions.

Judah was guilty of all kinds of injustices, rulers demanded gifts and judges demanded bribes, corruption was the norm. According to the Bible, Micah could not find an upright person. Even today, it can be hard to find fairness, honesty, and integrity. Sin has affected our society and even our homes. However, because we have Christ, we have hope.

We are in this world, but we are not of it. Followers of Christ bring salt and light. We bring influence and we set a different standard for others to follow. That standard is love and faithfulness to God. 

Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV), But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires.”

God empowers us through the Holy Spirit to overcome temptations, sins, biases, and prejudices. He teaches us to love and treat one another right because we cannot say we love God while hating our neighbor. Whoever claims to love God, yet hates his brother or sister is a liar.

For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20 NIV) 

We must love and show mercy towards those who have wronged us. We must regularly examine our motives for dealing with people and situations. Man was created for relationship with God. We worship to maintain that fellowship. Worship is vital because God desires deserves and expects it. John 4:23 states that God looks for “true worshipers who worship in spirit and truth.”

Scripture makes it clear, “It is impossible to please Him without faith.” It is impossible to worship Him without it being in spirit and truth. The one who draws near to God is the person who is faithful in persistent pursuit of Him and committed to loving and living life the way that God requires. We present ourselves a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with God.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1. What does justice mean to you?
2. Besides singing or dancing, how to you worship God?
3. How do you overcome the temptation to conform to the ways of the world?

Action Items based on understanding:


Min. Shawn R. Carter is the worship leader at New Covenant Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.


_______________________


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Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

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DAY 22 – Rooted and Grounded With One Another | Firm Foundation Devotional

Sunday, November 22, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 Thessalonians 5:18, In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Giving thanks is not some kind of a personal pep rally. Giving thanks is a real life way to handle difficulties. Stop and think of times when you have felt overwhelmed by problems and difficulties. If you can remember, those seasons lacked a time of deep thanks giving to God. There's absolutely no way to successfully handle problems without the balance of rejoicing and giving thanks to God which releases His grace into the situation.

Prayer and thanks giving form a closely connected unity. There is no effective thanks giving with prayer. There is no prayer without giving thanks. This unity of prayer and giving thanks lifts the burden of anxiety and allows your faith to operate.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:7, “Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

Here's a lesson from giant redwood trees on being “rooted and grounded:”

Redwood trees don't have the deepest roots. Redwoods do not survive alone. They form “tribes” or communities. Sometimes they grow so close to each other they merge at the base into one tree. Redwoods grow in groups with their roots becoming intertwined. They grow more wide than deep. Redwood trees live in an embrace of one another at the root level. The entire system relies on their rooted connections.

Reflection Question: What are your root level connections? How to you contribute to the strength of the community of Christ Followers?

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:


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DAY 21 – A New Attitude, A Changed Life | Firm Foundation Devotional

Saturday, November 21, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Philippians 2:5 (NLT), You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

"A good attitude will not always change our circumstances, but it will always change us." [John Maxwell]

Because attitudes “grow” we have to pay attention to factors that affect our attitudes. 
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word "attitude" means "an internal position or feeling with regard to something else." Synonyms include: "Disposition, feeling, mood, opinion, sentiment, temper, tone, perspective, frame of mind, outlook, view, or morale."

Airplane pilots use the term "attitude" to describe their horizontal relationship with the horizon and the runway before they land. In aviation, maintaining the proper attitude is essential. Human attitude is your inward disposition towards people or circumstances. Similar to aviation, correct attitude is necessary when dealing with people and circumstances. When you become a believer in Christ, your new nature includes the capacity to develop new attitudes.

Philippians 2:5, Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus...8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Notice that Jesus' purpose shaped his attitude. He was tempted not to go through with the crucifixion, but his attitude was one of obedience to the purpose of God. As He said in the Garden of Gethsemane at the moment of His greatest temptation, "Nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

Ephesians 4:22 (NIV), You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.

You have the ability to change your attitudes. Old attitudes are unhelpful and will lead to bad outcomes. According to the Apostle Paul, there is a "new self" ready to be revealed with a change in attitude.

Reflection Question: What attitudes do you need to change?

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:











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DAY 20 – The Victorious Life You Live. | Firm Foundation Devotional

Friday, November 20, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



WATCH THE LESSON


1 Timothy 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

Galatians 6:9, And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The Biblical concept of winning is not about competing with another person. Winning is related to fulfilling your potential and purpose. You don’t always want to win for yourself. You also want to win because of who is watching; your family, your friends, and even your enemies.

The motivation to win is not about selfish pride. You want to win because other people need to see that winning is possible. Never underestimate the power of your witness. There are always people observing your life, looking for inspiration and solutions.

A minister from England I know wrote: “Always bring your ‘A’ game, even if you are the only one who sees it.” (Paul Scanlon)

The purpose for “fighting the good fight of faith” is not to win. You fight the good fight because you have already won. That's why it is a GOOD fight! You win in life because your life is a gift from God.

The Apostle Paul wrote about, “The life I live in the flesh.” Paul lived by the concept of being “crucified with Christ.” He wrote, “It is no longer I who live.” 

Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Here is the beauty of this way of thinking: All of your shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures belonged to your old life that has been “crucified” or put to death. NOW, you can focus on living the life that has been empowered by God!


Reflection Question: Describe “the life you live” today, realizing that your old life has been crucified with Christ.

Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:


_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions










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DAY 19 – Worship: Confronting Barriers | Firm Foundation Devotional | Guest Writer: Min. Shawn R. Carter

Thursday, November 19, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



by Min. Shawn Renee Carter

Read John 4:4-26 (NIV)

John 4:21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Barriers defined: Something such as an obstacle that prevents or blocks access.

Our Scripture text (John 4:4-24), tells the story of Jesus' encounter with a Samaritan woman. His goal was to reveal Himself and to teach real worship so that all would know and have access to God. To accomplish this, Jesus broke Jewish religious norms as well as social and cultural traditions. He traveled to an unclean place, talked to an unclean woman, and placed Himself in an inappropriate social situation at the wrong time of day.

Just as Jesus extended himself to the woman at the well, He continues to extend Himself and His love to us. Not only did He shed His blood for us, but He continually intercedes to the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:26). Our appropriate response to God for His acts of love is worship.

The Samaritan had her own set of issues to break through before she arrived at the well. She traveled during the hottest part of the day to make sure she did not encounter anyone. Might she have been experiencing pain, grief, shame, fear, or guilt? Whatever her situation, Jesus was there. He was waiting for her. He offered the 
Samaritan woman the truth about herself, which intrigued her. She questioned Him about the correct place to worship. Jesus explained that true, spiritual worship was God's desire. She became convinced that Jesus was a prophet, but He was much more. Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah. After hearing this, she left her water pot and ran into town to tell everyone about Jesus and invited them to meet Him (John 4:28-30).

After overcoming religious and cultural barriers in her life, the Samaritan woman had an encounter with Jesus, learned to worship Him, and she walked away with a testimony.

We know and believe what Jesus said in John 4:24, God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Reflection Questions:

1. How do you worship in the Spirit?

2. Are you experiencing any barriers that block you from encountering God? If yes, what are they and what will you do to break through?

3. Share your testimony with someone today.

Action Items based on understanding:

Min. Shawn R. Carter is the worship leader at New Covenant Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.


_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions










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DAY 18 – How God Supplies Your Need | Firm Foundation Devotional

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14, But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!

“God’s economy” is based on receiving, giving, and receiving.

The Apostle Paul explained the principles of how God supplies our needs. First, he made it clear that his strength and ability were in Christ, not within himself. Paul was supported by the churches he served, but did not view the churches as his source. They were a resource, along with his business of making tents. It is important to understand how God helps us live and get things done.

Resource: A supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.

Source: A point of origin or procurement; any thing or place from which something comes, arises, or is obtained.

1. WE RECEIVE everything from God, including seed to sow. We don't create anything. We receive everything. "What do you have that you did not receive?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)

2. WE GIVE ourselves to God’s purposes, including giving monetary seed designed for sowing. Money is not just for spending and saving. It is also design by God for giving. Think about this: Seed can be eaten. However, seed is not a very good meal. If seed is not planted, it is wasted and someone else becomes responsible for doing what we should have done. This is especially true in areas such as support of God's church and important work such as missions. We should not only look to others to resource God's work...we should also participate.

3. WE RECEIVE increase for God’s kingdom and we also increase.

We live a world where the predominant view is “Get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can” or “My name is Jimmy, I’ll take all you can gimme.” Feelings of need and greed drive this worldview. 

This can be called a "consumption mentality." We have a supply mentality––we live to give!

Reflection Question: It what ways are you a resource to God's church and His work?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

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DAY 17 – The Power of Expectation | Firm Foundation Devotional

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You. And to the saints who are on the earth, "They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight."(Psalms 16:1-3)

According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)

Expectation defined:
The state of one who looks forward to something; expectancy, anticipation, something that is expected; hope, intention, motive, notion, prospect.

Expectation is cultivated by focusing on the right/best things and 
having high personal standards. One of the greatest things we can do for one another, and for ourselves, is to have high expectations. We live in a world of low expectations followed by low achievement. 

We have hosted media training programs for youth since 2000. Youth from all walks of life have participated in single day workshops and week-long summer day camps. The success that we witnessed is attributable to our high expectations of the young men and women. We have provided them the best instructors, instructional plan, and equipment we were able to provide. We expected the best from our young digital producers. Those high expectations always resulted in great outcomes.

People will rise to meet the reasonable expectations of parents, teachers, leaders and other key persons in their lives. Jesus expects to see the grace He has provided to us. The Psalmist wrote about God's expectation for His people, "They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight."(Psalms 16:1-3) See yourself as one of God's excellent ones!

In this season of challenges, such as COVID, it is essential to maintain high exceptions of yourself, others, and God.

Reflection Question: What do your expect from yourself? What do you expect from God?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:


_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

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DAY 16 – Trust the Process. Possess Your Soul. | Firm Foundation Devotional

Monday, November 16, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Luke 21:9, But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” 10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

Jesus predicted the troubling times in which we live. "Nation against nation" literally means "ethnicity" against "ethnicity." "Kingdom" speaks of what we consider countries/nations.

The passage concludes with His words, "By your patience possess your souls." (v. 19)

Other translations of Luke 21:19 read as follows:
NIV: "Stand firm, and you will win life."
NASB: "By your endurance you will gain your lives."
NLT: "By standing firm, you will win your souls."

The context of the word patience has to do with endurance and standing firm in the midst of all the challenges coming on the earth. Patience is not simply waiting, it is waiting while under development by the Lord. Patience is honoring God’s process.

Patience like a seed that has been planted. Because it is buried, we cannot see what is happening. However, we know the process for seed germination is the beginning of producing the designed outcome of the seed.

It is helpful to think of ourselves as "planted" like a seed. Every situation we face, like COVID, requires understanding a process for dealing with it. Our seed is faith in God along and wisdom. Our planting is the commitment to go God's way.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, this is our source of endurance, standing firm, and possessing our soul. Jesus is Lord of the seed and its process.

Trust the process.

Reflection Question: In what ways have you been planted? What process have to committed to follow?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

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DAY 15 – The Need for Touch During a Pandemic | Firm Foundation Devotional

Sunday, November 15, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Luke 18:15, People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these

1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

People need to be touched, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Touching is fundamental in our culture. It is something we learned from childhood. We touch people that we love and are concerned about. During the COVID pandemic, physical touching and personal presence is limited. This also limits the emotional support we can provide and receive.

For people who do not have children or family members present, who rely on alternative families such as the church, COVID presents another set of challenges beyond infection. Comforting and building up (edifying) one another involves touching. The COVID pandemic has forced change and new behaviors upon us all. We've had to practice other ways to "touch," by means such as phone calls and virtual meetings.

When you feel lonely and isolated, remember that the presence of Christ is real. Spiritual presence is no less real than physical presence. The Apostle Paul could not be present in all the churches in served, so he sent hand written letters, which was the best technology in his time.

In our time, a phone call or FaceTime type encounter––not just a text message––can be a form of "touching." Hearing someone's voice or seeing their face is a form of touch. One way or another, the need for touch is part of our lives.

Reflection Question: How will you touch others during is time of COVID isolation?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:


_______________________


Get the new book by Bryan Hudson, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions







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DAY 14 – You Have an Advocate | Firm Foundation Devotional

Saturday, November 14, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 John 2:1 (NLT) My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

It is always God's will that we do not commit sin. The word “sin” is an archery term that means “miss the mark" (or bullseye). Christians do not sin because of an unregenerate heart. We sin because of disobedience to God in allowing darkness to invade our minds.

The difference maker for believers is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our advocate. We live within His justice and righteousness which makes provision for our mistakes and sins. An advocate is “one who pleads another's cause.” An advocate is like a lawyer. When we repent of any sin, Jesus pleads our cause before God which leads to cleansing and restoration.

Repentance is a just response because sin is serious business. It is a departure from the justice and righteousness of God that has been provided to us. The good news is that justice and righteousness remain a part of our lives in Christ. We only need to activate god's provision for cleansing.

1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is not being saved again, it's a realignment of our hearts and lives with the righteousness of God that is already present within us

Reflection Question: How does God's righteousness and justice make provision even when you come short?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

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"Biblical & Social Justice What Is It?" New Book Video Introduction by Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

Friday, November 13, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

 


Learn more about this important book and order print or digital editions for yourself, your children, and others. Discount available for purchasing multiple copies.

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DAY 13 – The High Call of God | Firm Foundation Devotional

Friday, November 13, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Philippians 3:14, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

There is always something valuable for you ahead. This is why we “press,” not in forcing anything, but staying in position through diligence. There are three elements that keep your heart prepared to walk in God's justice and righteousness.

1. Training in understanding, justice, and wisdom
To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion— A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. (Proverbs 1:2-5)

2. Receiving the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:8, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Nothing is more empowering than encountering the Source of power, God’s Spirit. In essence, we are spirit beings, so your intellect and skills require the support of the Holy Spirit to maximize your wellbeing and effectiveness.

3. The Call of God
Acts 26:16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

Everything God requires He provides. If we had to provide for ourselves that would not represent God's justice or righteousness.

Reflection Question: Why do you press on for the upward call of God?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions





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DAY 12 – Why Self-Righteousness is Unnecessary | Firm Foundation Devotional

Thursday, November 12, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Relationship with Christ created separation from self-righteousness. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were confounded, confused, and did not understand God's justice and righteousness. The Old Covenant was based on the strength of man. The New Covenant is based on the strength of God.

OLD order: Self-righteous could not produce a righteous lifestyle no matter how hard one tried. 
NEW order: The gift of righteousness produces a righteous lifestyle. The grace of God provided everything needed through Christ, which made self-righteousness unnecessary.

But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. (
1 Corinthians 1:30)

Reflection Question: Why is self-righteousness unnecessary?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions





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DAY 11 – Are There Prophets Today? What About False Prophecy? | Firm Foundation Devotional

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


WATCH THE LESSON


“Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel.” Ezekiel 13:3

This season is revealing all types of behavior. Disappointment and pressure reveal essence. Difficult times do not create character, it reveals character. God's justice and righteousness  shine into our hearts.

As a prophetic minister, I am sensitive to claims made by “prophets.” Every election cycle in the USA feature lots of “prophecies.” There is value and blessing in prophetic ministry, but there's also danger. The blessing is discussed below. The danger is "prophets" drawing people after themselves and introducing confusion leading to deception.

The Apostle Paul admonished leaders and believers to properly apply Biblical practice and truth: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

The word “divide” means, “To cut straight, hold a straight course, to handle aright.” This suggests that “workers” (ministers) are responsible to accurately represent God and His Word. The ministry of a prophet in the New Testament is not about making predictions. The prophet's ministry is part of a collective group of ministry gifts who share a God-given task to equip Christ Followers and build up the body of Christ (the church):

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Many “prophets” today identify with the likes of Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah, Elijah, and Isaiah. However, EVERYTHING changed when Jesus came!

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

What is the work of a prophet today? 

As stated earlier, the work of a prophet is to “equip” and “edify” the church. According to Ephesians the outcome of equipping the saints and edifying the body of Christ includes, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14)

Judas (not Iscariot) and Silas were examples of New Testament prophets, When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. (Acts 15:31-32)

Prophetic ministries have keen insight and grace by the Holy Spirit to strengthen believers in Christ. They are part of the core leadership of Christ's church (Acts 13). The prophetic ministry (and the spiritual gift) operates as follows: But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (1 Corinthians 14:3) Prophets like Agabus carried a greater measure of prophetic grace and spoke about a coming famine, which helped to church to prepare (Acts 11:27-29). He also spoke to his fellow-laborer Paul. (Acts 21:10)

Prophets are not “at-large” Lone Rangers making predictions like who will be the next President of the United States (as we saw in 2020). Prophets are subject to fellow ministers/elders and what they say should be judged, affirmed, or rejected. (1 Corinthians 14:23-32)

What Ezekiel said about false prophecies back in his day is true in our day: 
“Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel” (Ezekiel 13:3)

A jackal is essentially a wild canine like a dog or a fox. Many scriptures describe God's disdain for presumptuous and false prophets. He doesn't want His people looking away from Him. God wants a direct relationship (not indirect through someone) with His people through Christ. “
Jackals among ruins” speaks of disorder among confusion. It also suggests seeking prey. 

Church leaders need the courage to confront error, we must secure God's people, and identify bad influences. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)

Those among us who are recognized ministers/elders are mandated to share Jesus’ life, His word, and God's kingdom. God's people will learn to follow Christ more closely when we preach the word of God, love them, and lead by example. 

Remember that today God is speaking through His Son Jesus! Ministers represent Him.


Reflection Question: What did you learn from this lesson?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:




_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions





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DAY 10 – More Blessed to Give Than Receive | Firm Foundation Devotional

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)

Our text comes from an occasion when the Apostle Paul called for elders from Ephesus to join him at a place called Miletus. Ephesus was located in ancient eastern Greece and Miletus was located nearby in modern day Turkey.

Paul was on his way to Jerusalem. He wanted to give the church leaders some important instruction and encouragement. During the discourse Paul indicated that they would never see him again. What do you say to people you will never see again? You're going to say things that you believe are essential to leave with persons. The apostle Paul highlighted these priorities, among others:

1. Remember those who are weak. Paul was concerned about those who are vulnerable to neglect and abuse.

2. Follow the example of hard work and service he had shown them.

3. He reminded them of something that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.“

These words of Jesus are not recorded in the Bible. The Apostle John wrote, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." Jesus did and said much more than we've read.

The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of doing what we call "social justice," which is serving others from a heart of justice and righteousness towards God. In the church today, we don’t seem to have the same priority to help and protect the weak. It seems too much of the church today is more focused on gravitating towards powerful people, growing in fame, and amassing power.

Paul‘s final words to a group of leaders he would never see again in the First Century provides God's mandate to those of us who serve Christ in the 21st Century.

Reflection Question: What priorities and words of guidance would you communicate with significant others if you thought you might not see them again?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions





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DAY 9 – Why We Do Good to All | Firm Foundation Devotional

Monday, November 09, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


(Photo from mission trip to Kenya, 2013)

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)”

The work of Christ followers is not only evangelism of the lost. We don't only seek to win souls through preaching the gospel. We also seek to serve all people, from fellow believers in Christ to people in our community. Again, we can call this social justice because we are taking what God has given us, justice and righteousness, and sharing what we have gained with people around us. Paul was clear in his statement, "let us do good to all." Because we are a community of believers in Christ, or "household of faith," charity starts at home. 

It was easier to serve people they knew, so Paul challenged the Galatians to see beyond their own Christian community. We should do this type of service in our time. The keyword here is "opportunity." The word for opportunity is also the Greek word, kairos, which is defined as: A fixed and definite time, the right time, set time. Kairos does not refer to the time of day, but suggests something planned.

Doing good for all requires prayer, thinking, planning, and committing to action. We don't wait until we receive a feeling, we make a decision to make a difference for others.

Reflection Question: In what ways have you planned to serve others? Why is it unhelpful to wait for a feeling?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions






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DAY 8 – Pray for the Peace of the City and Country | Firm Foundation Devotional

Sunday, November 08, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Jeremiah 29:7, And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

Today, we do not consider ourselves as “carried away captive” to our particular nations. Although, for my African-American ancestors who came to America as slaves, this text would correctly describe their plight. The difference between Jews carried away to Babylon and Africans brought to America was stark: Jews in Babylon were not mistreated in the same manner as Africans by the American institution of slavery, which was largely condoned by Christians in the Antebellum South.

That said, we have a responsibility to pray for the city and country in which we live and to seek its peace. This should be a function of social justice flowing from God‘s justice and righteousness within believers. How we relate to our city is informed by our relationship with God.

As I write this post on November 7, major news organizations have recognized the election of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris to the presidency and vice presidency respectively. For the first time in my recollection, and probably in our nation’s history, the sitting president has not recognized the results of the election and has lied about the nature of the election. His supporters have gathered to protest and call the election “stolen” and “rigged.” This is the kind of activity that hurts a city and a nation. Democracy is voluntary and participatory. It relies on the citizenry to accept the outcome, even if the candidate we voted for does not win.

It is the responsibility of Christ Followers to provide the proper example of citizenship, to pray, and seek peace, for the city and nation. What makes this election cycle troubling is the behavior of some Christians who have put loyalty to a political office holder above loyalty to the nation. Early indications show signs of anarchy, but we are hopeful that justice and righteousness will prevail.

Reflection Question: What will you do to bring peace to your city and country?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions






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DAY 7 – Favor Follows Righteousness | Firm Foundation Devotional

Saturday, November 07, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Esther 2:8-9 …Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. 9 Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance.

Romans 14:17, For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Favor is a necessary component in life. We all hope to achieve success and recognition based on our merits, education, experience, and willingness to work hard. God has given us abilities and grace to acquire skills that we can use in life, work, and ministry.

Virtues and achievement like hard work and education are not enough. We need favor both with God and man. Favor means to give special regard to; to treat with goodwill; and to show exceptional kindness to someone. Favor often carries the benefit of preferential treatment.

Favor comes both in natural and supernatural ways. We usually only think about favor from God's supernatural perspective.

Esther received favor from the King because she was beautiful (Esther Chapter Two). This was an example of natural favor. Many people have obtained favor because of their physical appearance or other traits that people find pleasing. Natural favor is something that you should not dismiss especially when it seems you may have the "deck stacked" against you at times.

There are things we can do to increase our acceptability to others, and thus increase in favor by that measure. We should do our best to present ourselves well outwardly. Other factors of natural favor are found in performing actions in an excellent manner and in possessing an exceptionally good attitude. Doing something very well can overcome other limiting factors in the eyes of others.

Natural favor has its role in life, but God's supernatural favor is what we need more than anything. God's favor comes because of His mercy, His love, redemption provided through Christ, and His grace. God also honors the obedience, faith, and good works of his people. There are benefits that come from "doing those things that are pleasing in His sight." (1 John 3:22)

Doing that which pleases God is a key component of living in God's favor. We don't please God to get stuff. We please Him because we love the Lord. Receiving blessings and benefits are the welcome by-product of a fruitful relationship with Christ.

Favor follows those who pursue righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Psalm 102:13 You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.

Reflection Question: What favor has God shown you today?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions






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DAY 6 – The Usefulness of Division | Firm Foundation Devotional

Friday, November 06, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





1 Corinthians 11:18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

It is counterintuitive for us to think there is any purpose for division. We hear complaints about division and pleas for unity. The following Tweet came across my feed from a prominent evangelical whom I follow and respect:

"A divided country needs a united church."

He posted this in the wake of allowing others to present their arguments for voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden. His post may have been intended to follow that free-for-all to state how a unified church can help heal divisions in our nation. Many responses to his post highlighted a more important core reality:

"The country is divided because the church helped elect a Divider–In–Chief."

"Can't have a united church, when half of its leaders cravenly support corruption and immorality in pursuit of their policy lust."

(My response) "True, but unfortunately, some of the division in our nation is BECAUSE of the church."

So we are divided in BOTH the nation AND the church. However, it is not the major problem that many seem to believe it is. Division is a way towards a solution when we process it from a Biblical justice/righteousness perspective. Division can be productive. Divisiveness is always counterproductive – that's what we want to avoid.

The Apostle Paul addressed division in the church at Corinth. Suffice it to say, the Corinthian believers had "issues." Paul didn't call for an end to division. He actually said that division served a purpose. He wrote, "No doubt there have to be differences."

Divisions/differences come from a clash of ideas, beliefs, and motivations. The great fault of those who always insist on "unity" is making conformity and silence the standard. Being outspoken is considered culturally unacceptable. So people learn to stay quiet, contradict their conscience, keep strongly felt points of view to themselves, and may ultimately become disingenuous or manipulative, to avoid coming out of the shadow of "acceptance."

Sharing points of view or disagreeing with others, can "feel like" division. At that point, those who are emotionally fragile retreat to a call for "unity" or go silent to avoid feeling uncomfortable. (For some, COMFORT is job #1). The Apostle Paul stated that the purpose of division was: "...To show which of you have God’s approval."

God's approval often comes through process and conflict. When we engage in a spirit of love and God's righteousness, we always come to a place of seeing what and who is "approved." Sometimes the loudest person seems correct in the beginning. If we stay engaged, the Lord will show His wisdom and approval.  This happened at the Counsel of Jerusalem when the Apostle James spoke up after a season of division/difference on some church matters. (Acts 15:1-21)

I've had many occasions of sharing my points of view, then being shown a "more perfect way" or having to admit that I was wrong. At first, it is a hard pill to swallow, but it is something with which one becomes comfortable. This leads to a willingness to engage with others in the hopes of being helped, and sometimes helping others.  If we avoid all division, we will never find unity of purpose (there is never unity of thought.)

Reflection Question: What are examples of how "division" has been productive in your life?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:

_______________________


For a more in-depth study on matters of justice and righteousness, Get the book, 
Biblical & Social Justice: What Is It?

Available in print, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Digital Voice editions






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