Day 17 | Why Love? – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Sunday, October 17, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 13:34, A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Love is a feeling––and it is more than a feeling.

When the COVID vaccine became available, I signed up to receive it in February of 2021. As a pastor, I was given consideration as clergy/caregiver, in the group following first responders in priority. My motivation for getting vaccinated was love for others. 

Until today, many have refused the vaccines for a variety of reasons mainly revolving around politically motivated “personal freedom” and/or fear. Long before the present COVID pandemic, we faced many perils from other viruses, social problems, financial meltdowns, severe weather, and more. Facing difficulties with love for others in your heart is your best guide. Selfishness, listening to conspiracies, and making excuses mainly amounts to a lack of love.

Professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, who has refused the vaccination (as of this writing) wrote, “This is about my life and what I am choosing to do...” This is not a new mindset, not even during a public health crisis. My thoughts after reading 
Irving's statement, “I would not be in a good place today if the people who raised me and supported me over the years thought like this.”

I wish people everywhere would embrace Christ and be motivated by the love of God.

The Apostle John wrote, “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.” (1 John 4:18)

“Perfect love” is not love by your measure.  It is God's love and care for you––which is perfect. We carry that same love for others.

Reflection Questions:
1. What is love? 
2. Why is love the best motivator?

Action Items:
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Day 16 | A New Look for a New Life – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Saturday, October 16, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Ephesians 5:22 (NLT) Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness – righteous, holy, and true.

It is interesting that though we are already born again and new creations in Christ, it is sometimes necessary to “throw off” old or hindering behaviors.

Because we are new people, it is appropriate to change our surroundings and our mindset. This is like purchasing a house, then going in to take out leftover trash, repaint the walls, and remove all items that related to the previous owner.

A new life needs a new look, a new mindset, and a fresh vision. Most importantly, because of our relationship we can look like Jesus Christ in our character, live holy, and reflect His character to everyone around us.

Remember, whatever God requires, He provides.

Reflection Questions:
1. Why is it necessary, and within your ability, to throw off old behaviors? 
2. What “old things” need to go?
3. How can you reflect Christ to others through your life? (By whose ability?)

Action Items:
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Day 15 | Sealed, Safe, Secure – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Friday, October 15, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Ephesians 1:13, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

The “Word of Truth” is more than words. According to the Apostle Paul, it was (and is) the Good News (Gospel) of salvation. To be precise, it is the message of the finished work of Christ through His life, death, burial, and resurrection––not for Himself, but for you and me. Jesus did not deserve the torture and death He suffered, because He did nothing to earn it.  He was sinless. This resulted from Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, thus not inheriting the sinful nature of all humans since Adam.

What this means to you: When you trusted the Gospel (Good News) of Christ, you did not embrace a religion, but a life-changing relationship. This experience––and miracle––caused you to be “sealed” with the “Holy Spirit of promise.” What does this mean?

The New Living Translation makes it clearer: “And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”

Some mistaking think “sealed” means “sealed in,” as within an impenetrable room. In reality, the seal is Christ who “identified you as His own.” Jesus doesn't respect the requirements and religious dogmas of men forced upon people. He identifies and claims people who directly trust in God through Himself. The “Holy Spirit of promise” represents all the good things to come.

2 Timothy 2:19 (NLT) reads, “But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The LORD knows those who are his...”

You can rest in your relationship with God through Christ, walk with Him, follow His word, and never be troubled by religious demands.

Reflection Questions:
1. What does it mean to be sealed?
2. What is the “Holy Spirit of promise?”
3. Why is mere religious practice not respected by Christ? (There is a positive sense of religion as diligent practice––but it cannot be in your own strength)

Action Items:
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Day 14 | Chosen, Holy, and Blameless: How? – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Thursday, October 14, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Ephesians 1:4, Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

We know the feeling of being chosen and not being chosen. Being chosen is a great honor and creates a sense of joy and purpose.

As a high school junior art student, I recall being chosen as the winner of a county wide poster contest. My photo and poster appeared on the front page of our local newspaper. It was a great feeling, but much different than being chosen by God.

My award was based on performance and merit. We are chosen by God based on His love for us––nothing more! The only condition is willingness to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and that invitation comes from the grace of God, and the faith to accept comes from God. So, it is not based on your performance or merit.

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

The capacity to live “holy and without blame” is also based on grace, not our performance and merit. “Trying” to be a Christian is an exercise in frustration and failure. Recognizing who you are in Christ and living in relationship with Him is the strength of your life.

Remember the promise, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you know that you are chosen by God? 
2. Why is acceptance by God based on performance and merit self-defeating?
3. What is the significance of being connected (like a branch) to Christ (as the vine/tree trunk)?

Action Items:
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Day 13 | One in Christ: The Impossible Made Possible – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Galatians 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There are realities in Christ that cannot exist anywhere else. I thought about our church family, New Covenant Church in Indianapolis. We are a predominantly African American congregation, but we've always had social and economic diversity. We've had White members in the past, but the differences among people are much greater than their ethnicity and nationality.

I realized that many of the members of our church would not be related any other way, if it were not for Christ. Some came to the church with family and friends. Others came without connection to persons
 in the church. Our spiritual and kingdom connection is Jesus. 

God has made us one “body” in Christ. We've learned to value Who unites us more than things in everyday life that might separate us. We've grown to value the reality of covenant relationship through the New Covenant that Jesus ratified through his life.

In principle, this reality exists for all believers in Christ, everywhere. In fact, believers have to deal with their own training, miseducation, and social adaptation. It's not enough to quote Galatians 3:28 while failing to practice love and intelligent social engagement.

For example, the cure for systemic racism is not Galatians 3:28. Spiritual practice by itself does not unify people or solve problems in society. I often hear that the answer to social ills is getting people saved. This seems right until you realize that Christians have also created systemic problems for others, by ignorance or by neglect. As Rev. Dr. King's generation understood, we cannot wait for the oppressor to get saved to stop practicing oppression. We need public policy and laws to restrain evil people and stop oppression––which is a Scriptural concept.

Galatians 3:28 is a statement of possibility based on the reality of unity in Christ. For example, the Apostle Paul never indicated that Jewish persons who became followers of Christ ceased to be Jewish. The non-ethnic, “colorblind” fallacy only serves people whose color/culture/ethnicity is dominant.

Revelation 7:9 provides a glimpse of heaven. We see diversity within unity, not uniformity:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands

Reflection Questions:
1. Why is Galatians 3:28 not a cure for racism or social ills? 
2. What remains for you to do AFTER reading the words of Galatians 3:28?
3. How does the possibility of unity in Christ become a reality?

Action Items:
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Day 12 | What Makes Someone a Saint? – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 Corinthians 1:2, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

It is good to know what God expects from us as Christ Followers (a term I prefer to use over “Christians”). The Scriptures make it clear and easy to understand, if we have hearts to know.

God dignifies people like no other. Everything God requires, He provides. The truth of the matter is: We start with NOTHING! There is nothing within us, or about us, that is “sanctified” We have no capacity within ourselves to be “saints.”

Everything good and godly is found “In Christ.” So, our connection with Jesus and the transformation of our hearts through the New Birth opened the door to things that were impossible to achieve alone.

We are “called to be saints.” Sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God in grace calls people. In the religious world, saints are rare, extraordinary people who have been “sainted” by ecclesiastical figures by virtue of their good works. In Christ's church, saints are ordinary people in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ––full stop.

The Biblical Greek word for “saint” (ἅγιος – hagios) means: “Most holy thing, separated, consecrated, a state into which God in grace calls people.” 

The word hagios is used in other Bible verses such as Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy (hagios) angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.”

Again, in the religious world, being recognized as a saint is a matter of attainment through much labor. It is unfortunate that simple realities have become complicated by men. The qualification for being a saint is plainly stated in our text, “To those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”

Being sanctified (set apart for holy use) is a work of God, with which we cooperate. As stated in a previous post, religion is no substitute for relationship with the resurrected Christ.

According to God, you are a saint––not because you've earned it, but because it is part of your New Creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

Reflection Questions:
1. Why are you a saint? 
2. What are God's expectations for you through relationship with Christ?
3. What do you expect from your life because of your relationship with Christ?

Action Items:
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Day 11 | Bless, Blessed, and A Blessing to Others – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Monday, October 11, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

We think and talk about blessings. We say, “I'm blessed!” What does it mean? “Bless” is a beautiful word. It is something we feel and cause others to feel. Blessing is what our God and Father provided to all through Christ.

The verb form of “blessed” (εὐλογέω - eulogeō), means: To cause to prosper, to make happy, to thank or invoke a benediction upon.

Eulogeō is comprised of two words (eu, “well,” logos, “spoken word”) meaning, “to speak well of.” Other definitions include: “To praise, to celebrate with praises.”

The noun form of the word, “blessing” (εὐλογία - eulogia) means: “consecration, a (concrete) blessing, benefit.” There are equivalent meanings in the Hebrew language.

We know it's good to bless others. We know the necessity of receiving God's blessing. We can also share blessings by our words, writings (something I hope to provide here), and our actions. This is what God did for us in Christ, so that we can do it for others.

We know how receiving a note/text of praise or “well spoken words” makes us feel. That's what we do for others, not in a spirit of flattery, but in the spirit of Christ. Blessing is one of those things that is easy to understand. It is a function of love. Blessing should not have to be earned and it is not a matter of someone being “worthy.”

There was an occasion when parents brought children to Jesus, but His disciples thought these folks were unworthy or perhaps a nuisance. Jesus strongly corrected them and used the occasion to teach the disciples about God's Kingdom as inclusive, not exclusive.

Mark 10:13, Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Reflection Questions:
1. Who can you bless today with your words or actions? 
2. How have you been blessed by God through Christ? Be specific.

Action Items:
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Day 10 | Two Types of Righteousness: Choose Wisely – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Sunday, October 10, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



2 Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The idea of being “righteous” carries the danger of being “self-righteous.” On the other hand, false humility might prevent one from believing it is possible to be “righteous.” The text is clear that it is possible to become “the righteousness of God in Him.”

Everything turns on this question: “Whose righteousness––yours or God's?” There are many examples of self-righteousness in the Bible. Jesus used the religious establishment of His day as an example: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

There are two types of righteousness: 1) The type invented by men and institutions, and 2) The type given by God.

The biblical Greek definition of righteous (δικαιοσύνη) is; Right standing; The condition acceptable to God.

It is not difficult to imagine how people can easily corrupt righteousness to make it whatever they determine. Entire religions have been established and sustained on the notion that people cannot become righteous before God without their guidance/approval. This is opposite to the teachings of Christ and Scripture.

We who are spiritual leaders should help people learn, but our best work is guiding people towards a direct relationship with Christ and understanding of the Scriptures. The qualification for having the ability to make another person righteous is a tall order! “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.” Only someone who has no sin can become the standard and giver of righteousness— that rules out every human and human institution.

Righteousness is a gift. It is given, not earned. It is received, not created.

Romans 5:17, For if by the one man’s offense [Adam] death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

There is no by-passing Christ to find true righteousness. Pay attention to what people say/preach. If you don't hear a presentation that places Jesus at the center of spiritual matters (such as righteousness), you are dealing with a religious spirit, not the Spirit of God.

Reflection Questions:
1. Why is self-righteousness so easily embraced?
2. What are the two types of righteousness. Which one helps you and why?
3. Why is it not possible for people, preachers, or religious organizations to grant/impart righteousness to others?

Action Items:
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Day 9 | A New Creation Reality: From Old to New – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Saturday, October 09, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



2 Corinthians 5:17, So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away--look, what is new has come. 

Early in my life as a Christ Follower, I remember hearing a message entitled, "New Creation Realities." It was amazing and refreshing to consider the actual impact of being in Christ and God's Spirit living in me. In that day, long before social media and Google searches, we were more influenced by people and their philosophies. Anything that appeared in a book seemed credible, since only "credible" organizations could publish a book.

Through all of the noise and clutter, the idea of being a "new creation" (or new "creature" in KJV), seemed personal and real. On July 8, 1978 I asked Christ to be my Lord and Savior. What happened next was not a religious experience––I had many of those. What happened was an encounter with God through His Holy Spirit, and with Christ, precisely in the way it is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17. I knew that something old had "passed away," and the "new" had come!

Religion has never had the positive impact offered by relationship with Christ. My experience happened in my parent's home after my mother saw what God was doing in my heart (it's a long story!) and said, "You know what you need to do." For some reason I went to her and dad's bedroom, not my bedroom (It was a SMALL house without a family room). I knelt and prayed some kind of awkward version of, "Jesus help me. Jesus Save me." It was enough!

One of the most profound New Creation Realities is this: In Christ, you don't have "mental ascent" (which is merely thinking and feeling better). What God does in your heart changes you, the real you within. Your desires change. Your will changes. Your mind becomes clear. 

To be sure, this change comes under CHALLENGE and ATTACK. You stumble, but you don't fall back to your old self. You don't fall back because "OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY" and "ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW."

In the words of the old spiritual, "You Must Be Born Again:"
You know I’ve been born again
I started to walk, I had a new walk
I started to talk, I had a new talk
I looked at my hands, my hands looked new
I looked at my feet and they did too

You don't receive ALL NEW THINGS. You and your things are changed.

This is the reality of being a New Creation in Christ!


Reflection Questions:
1. What was your experience of Jesus Christ becoming your Lord and Savior? 
2. What New Creation Realities have you discovered?
3. Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Do you have religion/mental ascent or a relationship?

Action Items:
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Day 8 | The Inheritance Mindset – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Friday, October 08, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Romans 8:16, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

God has given believers an inheritance through Jesus Christ. We receive it through our understanding of God's kingdom and through faith in God. You should focus on receiving and living within the benefits and responsibilities of all that God has given to you, not only in the “sweet by and by” but here and now. You receive inheritance, not only for personal benefit, but for the benefit of others and for those who follow you.

There is no good reason to live below your inheritance and privileges in Christ. Why should your inheritance go unclaimed and unrealized? You need your inheritance because it is designed to be shared and passed along. Your present day inheritance includes practical things such as, peace of mind, joy in every situation, wisdom to solve problems, wisdom for your health, wisdom to help guide others, provision, and much more. In fact, “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) comes from the Lord as an inheritance.

You live under the blessing of Abraham, which was not only for Hebrews.

Galatians 3:14, He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Look at what God promised Abram (who became Abraham, “Father of nations”) Genesis 12:2

1. Bless you
2. Bless your family
3. Bless others through you
4. Bless those who bless you

Through our faith in Christ, we are also heirs of Abraham's inheritance and blessings. We carry forward these same blessings and responsibilities, through Christ, to bless our family generation.

Have an “inheritance mindset.” That's how you building a legacy.

Reflection Questions:
1. What does it mean to be a joint-heir with Christ?
2. What are examples of inheritance provided to you?
3. How can your inheritance help others?

Action Items:
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Day 7 | Flying With the Spirit of Life in Christ – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Thursday, October 07, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Romans 8:2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

We know the saying, “What goes up must come down.” That is one of the ways that we define the law of gravity. Without some type of intervention there is no escaping the effects of gravity. What still amazes me is boarding an airplane, barreling down the runway, and having the experience of riding in a machine weighing several tons, full of people, taking off, and flying above the clouds, and seemingly defying the law of gravity. The aeronautic “law of lift” acting on the wings of an airplane causes it to stay in the air.

In a world full of death and deeds that the Bible defines as sinful, there is the presence of something much greater. The “law of the Spirit of life in Christ” can lift you above the "law of sin and death." The word law as it is used in our text speaks of a principle like the law of gravity.

People toil their entire lives trying to understand how to overcome sin, evil, and spiritual death. People practice all sorts of religions, metaphysical cults, and even decide to reject God all together. Others turn to substances like alcohol or drugs to numb their senses. None of these will interrupt the principle of sin and death at work in human nature. Certainly, we can do a lot to help ourselves and others...but all of this amounts to relief, not victory.

Many of us who have tried many religions and all sorts of activities long ago discovered the way to rise and continue to fly is through engaging with the Spirit of Life in Christ. It is not magic. It is walking with God through Christ, learning his Word, being full of God's Holy Spirit, and staying connected to other Christ Followers in God's church.

Reflection Questions:
1. In your words, What is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ?
2. How does God use principles from His word and His Spirit to sustain you
3. What are three ways that you can walk in victory and not only experience relief? 

Action Items:
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Day 6 | What it Means to be a Friend of Jesus Christ – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Wednesday, October 06, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Some of our fondest memories in life are connected to our friends. We also had the experience of being helped and encouraged in a way that only a friend could provide.

In a time when people can have thousands of Facebook "friends," those same persons know their true friends likely number less than 10. You go into a car dealership and the salesman approaches you and says, "Hello friend!" I don't recall a time when the word friend was used as loosely as it is today. It is less a term of endearment and more a term of anticipated benefit from others.

Jesus elevated the word and reality of friendship to a divine level. The disciples likely viewed themselves as only servants and followers of Christ, functioning at a low level. They lived in a culture in which society was deeply entrenched in social and religious classes. Jesus elevated and dignified the disciples by calling them "friends."

If I lived a lifestyle that required maids and butlers in our house, whenever we had family business they would not be invited. Employees and servants serve their important purpose, but they are not members of the family. Jesus made a statement of purpose that none of us should ever forget---we are connected to Christ in a way that elevates us without diminishing Him. We are family and friends with Christ—and He is still our Lord and Savior.

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:17, "But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit..."

Living in Christ is far more than a religious experience or ritualistic mindset. As with our friends and spouses, our Union with Christ is mystical (beyond human senses) and spiritually empowered.

Being a friend of Jesus Christ is something you should think about regularly. Those thoughts will give you a strong sense of identity and security.
 

Reflection Questions:

1. How do you relate to Jesus as your friend?
2. How will your thinking change in relation to your friendship with Christ?
3. What types of responsibilities do you have with friends, and with Christ as your friend? 

Action Items:
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Day 5 | Never Accept Condemnation From Others or Yourself – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Tuesday, October 05, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

One of the complex and recurring problems that many people face is the feeling of condemnation. “Condemn” means, "To pronounce to be guilty, to sentence to punishment, or to pass judgment against.”

Condemnation is complex because it can present in many ways: 1) As real, 2) As imagined, 3) From others against yourself, 4) You against yourself, 5) As a demonic attack.

Regardless of the source, the feeling is the same: You feel guilty of something. You think you deserve punishment. This feeling can linger like a dark cloud blocking all light. The mind can replay bad experiences and hurtful words, long after (sometimes years and decades after!), something occurred. Recalling past pain creates another problem, because pain distorts memory. The distortion can become so severe that the mind can create an alternate reality – to include past things imagined that feel real when looking back at it. Real things that occurred in the past can torture your present.

There is no minimizing trauma and there are no easy answers if you are dealing with unresolved matters. This blog post is not your entire answer. Sometimes, you must reach out for help from people qualified to provide expert support such as pastoral or professional counseling.

In all cases, self-condemnation offers nothing helpful. When you've done something wrong, the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin. This may feel like condemnation, but it is not. Conviction of sin is a genuine and helpful feeling that you need to "get it right" with God and others. Neglecting the Lord, His Word, and fellowship with believers opens the door to negative feelings and mindsets such as condemnation.

Every feeling of condemnation is unnecessary because:

1. Jesus has forgiven your sins and changed your heart (if you received Him as Lord). There is NOTHING about which to feel condemned…not even things people say to you.

2. GRACE IS STRONG. It is stronger than your mistakes. It is stronger than controlling people who want to use feeling of guilt to control you. It is stronger than the devil who is called, "The accuser of our brothers and sisters..." (Revelation 12:10)

3. When you "walk in the Spirit' or walk with God moment-by-moment, you will find encouragement everywhere you look.


Reflection Questions:
1. Do you need pastoral or professional counseling to address neglected matters?
2. Why is a feeling of condemnation never necessary?
3. What will you do to allow grace to develop in your life?

Action Items:
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Day 4 | See Yourself Like An Apple Tree – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Monday, October 04, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



John 15:1, 5: I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me--and I in him--bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.

We make progress much harder than it actually is. It is a matter of perspective. When we are trying to make progress on our own, it is very difficult.

Think about a fruit tree such as an apple tree. It has to be cultivated and provided with what it needs to grow. When the tree is mature and ready to bear fruit, what you never see is an apple tree struggling to produce apples. It is the nature of the tree to produce. It doesn't have to try to produce, it only needs to be true to its design.

Many of us lived some part of our lives without Christ in our hearts. The Bible says, "The way of the transgressor is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) So, we don't think of ourselves like an apple tree because we've been more acquainted with frustration, struggle, and failure.

Living in Christ does not guarantee ease and comfort. Living in Christ does guarantee that, like an apple tree, we are connected to the Source. Because of this, producing fruit is not a struggle when we allow the Lord to cultivate us.

Reflection Questions:
1. How has your perspective changed based on what Jesus said?
2. What type of cultivation do you need to become healthy so you can bear fruit without struggle?


Action Items:
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Day 3 | Christ's Kingdom Inside You – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Sunday, October 03, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

A “kingdom” is a realm governed by a king or by elected leaders. For example, the United States is a kingdom. Nigeria is a kingdom. England is a kingdom. Nations have presidents, kings, queens, and prime ministers. These same nations have laws and customs that define their culture. All of us live within an earthly kingdom (nation) and live the experience and culture of our nations.

When Jesus walked the earth, the Pharisees did not understand God's kingdom under Christ. They looked for something outward, but Jesus showed them something no one had seen before. He stated that His kingdom would be "within" the hearts of people.

Things we do that are attached to something outside of us require special effort and personal strength. Things that come from within you become your strength and part of your character. A person with an artistic talent within is going to be able to do artistic work quicker and better than someone who has to learn it from without.

One of the great advantages of being in Christ is that God's kingdom is also within us. We still need to learn, but we're operating from a position of God's strength and not only human will.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NET) He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption

Religion is generally something people do in their own strength. Religious activities can be practiced without a relationship with Christ, which is what makes it empty from God's perspective. He did not send Jesus for us to trust works invented by man more than the work God did in Christ.

Three things religion cannot provide:

1. Righteousness: Right standing with God. What does not God consider "right?"
2. Sanctification: Meaning "set apart" for holy use. It is the process of becoming better, drawing closer to God, and farther from your old life. Jesus "becomes" our sanctification since it is something we cannot do.
3. Redemption: 1. The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. 2. the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. Who could redeem you if not Jesus?

This is the value of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Nothing compares to it.

Reflection Questions;
1. Describe the value of your relationship with Christ
2. Why is it impossible to redeem yourself?


Action Items:
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Day 2 | You are a Masterpiece Creating a Masterpiece – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Saturday, October 02, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Ephesians 2:10 NLT, For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

As a youth and young man I did artistic painting. I used oil paints, acrylic paints, and different types of brushes. Every painting started with a clean, empty canvas. An artist can decide what to paint, whether something from life such as flowers or landscapes, or something from the imagination. If the painting turns out to be your best work, it is your masterpiece---until you do something you think is better.

God created you as His masterpiece on the very first try! Every person was made in God's image, Imago Dei, which carries the potential to be realized as one of God's masterpiece works. Christ in you fulfills the potential that was born with you. People without Christ have high value, but they are living short of their full potential.

A masterpiece does not happen by accident. It is not the result of something random. A masterpiece is the result of an inspired plan. Unfortunately, the canvas of life is sometimes marked up or painted with another image that you did not choose. Sometimes people don’t get to start with a clean canvas.

Wherever you started and whatever your state now, you have the hope of being renewed in Christ: "He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

Reflection Questions:
1. What is a masterpiece?
2.  How are you God's masterpiece? Be specific.
3.  What does being renewed look like to you?

Action Items:
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Day 1 | Christ in You. The Hope of Great Things to Come! – "Who I Am In Christ" Firm Foundation 21-Day Devotional

Friday, October 01, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Colossians 1:27-28, To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 

We all have dreams and good expectations for our lives. The Apostle Paul summed up all of these desires in a single word - HOPE. Hope is the foundation for every good thing. Hope powers a life that is lived with peace, joy and encouragement. That hope is found in Christ.

The J.B. Phillips translation reads: “Christ in you, the hope of all glorious things to come."

Faith is for the present and hope is about the future. Hope paints a picture that faith in Christ can bring to pass. Sometimes we have experienced frustration and setbacks concerning things that we have hoped for. Do not let that discourage you from continuing to have hope and high expectations. Be specific about the things you're hoping for and let your fellowship with Jesus Christ help bring it to pass.

That's why we "preach" (proclaim) Christ!

Reflection Questions:
1. What are your hopes?
2. What do you believe and what are you prepared to do about your hopes? (Faith in action)
3. How does your relationship with Christ help your hope and your faith?

My Action Items:
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Systems of Failure & Success | Part Seven of Navigate: How to Successful Journey Through Life and These Times

Sunday, September 26, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV, See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Matthew 6:10, Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

What is a System?

•  A system affects the whole not only the parts, which is why we call its effect “systemic.” Systematic is doing something in steps.
•  Systems are embedded within and spread throughout and affecting a group, system, body, economy, market, or community.
•  Systems can either contribute to your failure or to your success, but you get to decide.

Common Systems In Our Lives

Education
Finance
Public Health (vaccines)
Law & Justice
Politics
Religion

God’s System

Psalm 103:19 NLT, "The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything."

•  You were born into a world and nation with systems already in place
•  Many systems were invented to help you (Family, Education, Kingdom of God).
•  Some systems were invented to control people (Segregation & Jim Crow in the past, White Supremacy today).
•  Some systems were invented to explain/expose other systems (Direct Action, Critical Race Theory)

Navigating systems of God and men is essential for living a productive life. We are all parts of things larger than ourselves. The whole concept of navigating is based on dealing with forces and factors that we cannot control. What you cannot control, you must navigate.

In our time, systems that serve or seek to control us are shaped by our habits and reinforced by something called “algorithms”

•  Social media algorithms are a way of sorting posts in a users' feed based on user preferences. 
•  Social networks prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that they'll actually want to see it. 
•  Social networks prioritize which content a user has already seen.

The Kingdom System & Algorithm 
Matthew 25:29, For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

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Navigate: The Conquerer‘s Mindset | Patricia A. Hudson

Monday, September 20, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Romans 8:31-39
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Navigating Systems of God and Men | Part Six of Navigate: How to Successful Journey Through Life and These Times

Monday, September 13, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV, See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Matthew 6:10, Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are not aware of many of the systems within which we operate. When we use the word systemic, it is mostly understood within the framework of systemic racism.

What is a System?

A system affects the whole instead of just parts, which is why we call its effect “systemic.” Systematic is doing something in steps.

Systems are embedded within and spread throughout and affecting a group, body, economy, market, or community. Systems are fundamental social, economic, religious, or political practice.

The Bible does not use the word system in the way we are talking about it today. However, God has ordered creation according to a system. We can call it the Kingdom of God.

Psalm 103:19, The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all

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10 Things You Can Do | Part Five of Navigate: How to Successfully Journey Through Life and These Times

Monday, September 06, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

At times in life we hit a rough patch. Sometimes things don't go well, but that is no commentary on your life.

God’s plan has not changed.

There is always a way forward.

You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.




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Cultish Behavior in the 21st Century

Wednesday, September 01, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


40 years ago as a young minister, the Lord allowed me to deal with low-level cults and cultish religious leaders up close. Also helped people get out of cultish movements and mindsets. Today, I see some of the same behavior and mindsets.

"For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah [deliverer, savior, anointed one].’ They will deceive many." (Matt. 24:5 NLT) 

Here are some cultish characteristics:
1. Conflate God’s kingdom with anti-church movements and political affiliation
2. Replace empirical evidence, objective truth, natural science, and facts with mere opinions
3. Overzealous and unquestioning commitment to an immoral leader.
4. Heavily influenced by confirmation bias (interpret new information as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories).
5. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are condemned.
6. Morality is subjective and adaptive. Hedonism is rampant.
7. The leader dictates how members should think, act, and feel.
8. Elitist culture, claiming special knowledge and exalted status for itself.
9. The group has an “us-versus-them” culture.
10. “Outside” information is replaced by “inside” information.
11. The leader is neither accountable nor operating under authority.
12. The group teaches or implies that its ends justify whatever means it deems necessary.
13. The leader induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members.
14. Oppose individual critical thinking and respect for scientific methods.
15. Emphasize special doctrines apart from Scripture, by taking Scripture out of context.
16. Manipulative tactics used to pull people into things to which they have not agreed.
17. People are subtly positioned, or position themselves, on the same level as Jesus Christ.

(In all of this, don't think about others before looking at yourself.)

Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

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The Compass of Love | Part 4 of Navigate: How to Successfully Journey Through Life and These Times

Sunday, August 29, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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1 John 4:7, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

WHAT IS LOVE? LOVE IS A COMPASS.

John 3:16 Tells you everything essential that you need to know about the love of God, or what we can call “the God kind of love.” There are four important ingredients to the God kind of love.
1. Love is universal and not selective
2. Love is sacrificial and not selfish
3. Love gives and doesn’t take
4. Love leads to safe places

Contrasted to the “world’s kind of love” we find quite the opposite. The worldly kind of love is:
1. Narrow and highly selective
2. Stingy and selfish
3. Motivated by selfish gain
4. The best interests of others is not in view

How we relate to, and navigate with, others is one of the most important skills of life. Entire books and courses are dedicated to how to relate to others. All this is good, but walking in love is the most helpful.

James called it the “Royal Law.”

James 2:8, Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:17-18)

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Power of Nurture: Preparing Children to Navigate Life | Part 3 of Series - NAVIGATE. How to Successfully Journey Through Life & These Times

Monday, August 23, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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How we help children function or navigate early in life, charts the path for their future. How they learn to see themselves and interact with others, leads to the best outcomes.  Children Need NURTURE. 

Defined: Care for and encourage the growth or development of

Nurture is not only teaching. Nurture is not only advice and counsel. Nurture is the lifestyle of shaping the molding the life of another, especially children. What separates a good looking garden or flowerbed from a bad looking one is nurture, which is hands-on cultivation. Nurturing contains the ingredients of prayer, protection, nourishment, instruction in the Word and in life, good examples, correction, pruning, rebuke, and providing room to grow.

Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.

Matthew 18:6, If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

2 Timothy 1:5, For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.



Reflection Questions:

1.  What is nurture?
2.  How does nurturing children help them navigate life?
3.  What are some examples or best practices of nurturing children?
4.  What is "sincere faith?"


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Self-Care: Fit for the Journey | Part Two of "Navigate: How to Successfully Journey Through Life and These Times"

Sunday, August 15, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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SPECIAL 5 MIN. MESSAGE EXCERPT
 "Navigate Well During COVID. Get Out of Fear. Get Into Love. Have Courage." 

Mark 6:30, Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

When taking a voyage of any type, before starting the navigation to the destination, check the readiness of the vessel. We are going to focus on self-care, not in a spirit of self indulgence, but in the spirit of being ready to serve the Lord. We want to be “Fit for the Journey.” The need for self-care is not evidence of a deficiency within yourself, it is evidence that you've been about the Father’s business.

Principles of Self-Care:

1. REST – Good rest is one of the most important things you can do for your self care. Rest is not only about sleeping, which is a part of rest. Rest is a state of mind. If you don’t get rest in your mind, it may be difficult to go to sleep:

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28


Reflection Questions:
1.  What do you need to “fix” on your vessel before continuing the journey?
2.  Why are you more than what you do?
3.  What is rest? Why is it more than sleep?
4.  In what do you need to reach out for help?
5.  What is your value? (Make a list)
6.  What are the two parts of the Great Commandment?

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NAVIGATE! How to Successfully Journey Through Life & These Times - Part One (Podcast & Video)

Sunday, August 08, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




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"Navigate" is the best word I have found to characterize living and working in this interesting and sometimes perilous season. Looking at people and circumstances both within my circle and within our local and national community, we see challenges related to navigating life. We have seen both successful voyages and shipwrecks.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

We can’t make sense of things that happen. We don’t dwell on bad things because “things” don’t define us.

We are defined by our LOVE for God and fulfilling His PURPOSE— which causes the puzzle of things to work for our good.

What I mean by the word NAVIGATE:

1) Plan and direct the route or course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transportation, especially by using instruments or maps.
2) To sail or travel over (a stretch of water or terrain), especially carefully or with difficulty.
3) Successful navigation or travel is based on fixed points of reference

Navigation Requires Fixed Points (coordinates)

#1 Jesus Christ: "The same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 )
#2 The Word of God 
#3 Objective Truth and Facts

We have to recognize truth at two levels:
1) Biblical truth
2) Objective truth. Believers who over spiritualize completely miss the importance of objective truth. Something which the Bible supports

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“What Defines You?” A Quick Word of Encouragement

Friday, August 06, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

We can’t make sense of things that happen. We don’t dwell on bad things because “things” don’t define us. 

We are defined by our LOVE for God and fulfilling His PURPOSE— which causes the puzzle of things to work for our good. #Selah (Pause and consider)

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"This Kind Comes Out Only By Prayer and Fasting.”

Monday, August 02, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Matthew 17:20-21 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

These verses are Jesus’ explanation and solution to His disciples following their failure to bring healing to an afflicted boy. Though they were willing, they were unable to help him. The father brought his son to Jesus and said, “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus healed the boy and made it a teachable moment for His disciples—and for us—when they asked Him why they were unable to help the boy. Jesus plainly stated the problem, “Because of your unbelief.” 

Unbelief is not believing that something can’t be done. The disciples believed in the power of God to heal, because they tried to help the boy become healed. Unbelief is more than not believing, unbelief is lacking sufficient spiritual ability to get something done. Jesus expected that they should have been able to bring God’s healing to the boy. He went on to explain how faith works by saying: “If you have faith as a mustard seed.” He did not talk about faith the SIZE of a mustard seed, He talked about faith AS a mustard seed.

Faith in God is something that must grow and develop...like a muscle. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.” Muscles grow and develop from exercise and good nutrition. Your faith in God grows the same way.

The disciples’ inability to help the boy was an issue of their need to grow and develop. A mustard seed starts small but grows to become a tree. When Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting,” He did not refer to “this kind” of demon or illness. He referred to “this kind” of faith, which is a GROWING faith that comes from a GROWING relationship with God!

This is where prayer and fasting help us. Prayer connects us to God which causes growth. Fasting disconnects us from the world which is the source of stunted spiritual growth. Seasons of not eating or indulging in some routine activities helps us focus on God and grow in grace. Anything that helps you become more aware of God’s power and grace increases your spiritual abilities, not to mention other aspects of life.

Let your faith operate “as a mustard seed” so that when someone calls on you to do something important and life-changing, you’ll be able to access the grace and power of God to get it done!

Watch brief video teaching on this topic:


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Remember. Don't Look Back. "Remember Lot's Wife" (Podcast and YouTube)

Sunday, August 01, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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One of the great challenges in life is dealing with circumstances in the present time that have roots in the past. Obviously, we are all products of our past. It’s important to separate out the negative and ungodly memories from the past and focus on the good. This is easy to say, but sometimes hard to do. Some people have lived through nightmares in their past lives. In Christ, you are a new person!

Luke 9:59, Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." 61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

2 Corinthians 5:17, (NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Beware of the lure of lesser things.
1. When given an opportunity to move forward in the purpose of God. Lesser things usually come from the past to hinder you from your future.
2. When Jesus calls you, don’t make any excuses. An excuse is usually an attachment to lesser things.

Philippians 3:13
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.

What lesson can we learn from Lot’s wife?


Luke 17:32, Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Remember and Don’t Look Back
1. Make the commitment, “This One Thing I Do.”
2. Forgetting the things that are behind. Don’t look back.
3. Reach forward to the things that are ahead.
4. Do it today!

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