What if I don't feel like forgiving?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

"What if don't feel like forgiving?" 

Have you ever been there? Me too. Check out this quick video on this tough subject.



 



I am giving away free PDF copies of an ebook 30 Scripture Readings on Forgiveness. You can get your copy by signing up here.





 

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Free eBook on Forgiveness

, by Christopher D. Hudson


Forgiveness is something we all need. If you've been part of my Facebook Bible Study Group, you've seen what a great conversation we've had on the topic. 

To assist in our discussion, my publisher and I are giving away free PDF copies of an ebook 30 Scripture Readings on Forgiveness. You can get your copy by signing up here.

What if I haven't received my copy yet?
If you have already signed up and are looking for your free ebook, it should be in your email. (Be sure to check your spam folder.)


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Forgiveness Video Devotion

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Do you need forgiveness?
Do you wrestle with guilt?
Are you hostage to shame?

This video is for you.


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What Does It Mean to "Confess" Our sins?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8–9)

To confess our sins means to admit to our sin and also to agree with God that we need forgiveness. When we genuinely confess our sins to God, he is faithful to forgive us. When we repent, he purifies us from our sins.
This doesn’t mean that you need to keep a diary of every bad thought you think and every bad deed you do and then name them to God one by one. But it does mean that, as Christians, we need to continually acknowledge that we are sinners, in need of God’s saving grace.

When we do this, God makes us new. He wipes the slate clean and gives us a fresh start—every time. We do not need to return to our sinful habits. We do not need to be slaves to our sin. Through the blood of Jesus, God sets us free from our sin. Free and forgiven.



This devotion was written for Once a Day: At the Table Family Devotional.
This is a family-oriented devotional book written by my writing team & me. Reprinted with permission.




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Jesus: Our Immanuel

, by Christopher D. Hudson

The name Immanuel means “God is with us.” Is there any single more comforting word in all of Scripture? The birth of Jesus marked an unprecedented moment in human history. God himself, the eternal I AM, came to dwell with his people in a physical form that was familiar to us. No longer was he guiding the people of Israel with a pillar of cloud or fire that moved ahead of them. No longer was he a disembodied voice who spoke from a burning bush or a storm-lashed mountaintop. In the person of Jesus, God came to live with us, just as the Old Testament prophet Isaiah had foretold.







The above article was adapted from JESUS which my team created for Time Inc. It appears in the winter of 2014-2015 as a special edition magazine within the USA.
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The Promised Ruler

, by Christopher D. Hudson


Anna was a widowed prophet who ministered in the temple in Jerusalem. Day and night she worshiped in the house of God, praying for his promised Messiah. Anna recognized the answer to her prayers the moment Mary and Joseph entered the temple with their young son. She praised God for allowing her to live long enough to see the Savior. Then she embarked on a one-woman crusade to help others in the temple recognize the truth she’d been given. Anna wanted everyone to know that the child Jesus was God’s promised King—the One who would deliver Israel.

Two years later Magi arrived from the east. The fact that these wise men referred to Jesus as the “king of the Jews” suggests they were Gentiles. The book of Matthew doesn’t tell us how these God fearing non-Jews knew about the world-changing birth that had occurred; Matthew only reveals that they followed a star.

When they got to Jerusalem, they asked  everyone they saw where they could find the young ruler. They must have been stunned to discover that no one knew who they were referring to. How could the  Jewish people be unaware that their King had been born?

Jesus’ birth may have been largely  disregarded, but someday every  person who has ever lived will fully acknowledge Jesus as the powerful King that he is (Romans 14:11). In today’s world, wealthy or influential people are often viewed as the wielders of power. Industry magazines and websites love to publish lists of the “most powerful people” in a given business universe. These lists are wildly subjective, of course. Quantifying a  person’s power and influence is hard enough. Ranking people’s relative power is nearly impossible without resorting to bias or guesswork.

What’s indisputable, as the apostle  Paul asserted, is that absolute power is found only in Jesus. Any comparative analysis between Jesus and those who top the “world’s most powerful” lists will be decidedly one-sided. The most powerful ruler or most influential person in all  human history will pale next to Jesus. 


More to the point, every powerful or  influential figure who ever lived will one day kneel before Jesus in absolute submission.



The above article was adapted from JESUS which my team created for Time Inc. It appears in the winter of 2014-2015 as a special edition magazine within the USA.
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Jesus

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Some 800 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah described what  the coming Messiah would be like. 
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

WONDERFUL COUNSELOR
“Wonderful,” in this instance, suggests something beyond human comprehension—a description that fit Jesus perfectly. Everything about him, from his teachings to his healing power, was extraordinary. “Counselor” refers to a king who offers wise guidance to his people. No one in  history offered more wise advice than Jesus did. His words changed the world. More importantly, they continue to change the lives of anyone who takes them to heart. Jesus’ wonderful counsel  is still available to all.

MIGHTY GOD
The child, whose coming Isaiah predicted, would not only be sent by God but he would also be God—the Almighty Creator of the universe.

The phrase “Mighty God” suggests a warrior mentality, a fact that likely excited the Jewish people of Isaiah’s day—and especially those of Jesus’ day. The Jewish people were waiting for a righteous warrior-king to lead them. In the first century, they were looking for such a leader to free them from Roman control. With “Mighty God” on their side, they reasoned, how could they lose? They could not wrap their heads around the fact that “Mighty God” had bigger plans—far beyond mere political skirmishes.

PRINCE OF PEACE
The prospect of a royal hero who would restore  peace to Israel surely sounded good to the people of Isaiah’s day, who faced constant threats of invasion and exile at the hands of the mighty Assyrian army. Isaiah, however, was talking about a peace much more profound and meaningful than a détente between two warring nations. Isaiah predicted the coming of One who would restore spiritual peace between God and humankind. 

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, makes it possible for us to  have a relationship with our heavenly Father through  his sacrifice. Our peace comes through his death and  resurrection. 


The above article was adapted from JESUS which my team created for Time Inc. It appears in the winter of 2014-2015 as a special edition magazine within the USA.
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Thankful for God's Presence

, by Christopher D. Hudson

God gives us salvation through his Son, Jesus. That’s the central theme of Christianity. 

With the gift of salvation, however, comes something equally valuable. The apostle John describes it this way: “God has given us his Spirit. This is how we know we are one with him, just as he is one with us” (1 John 4:13, CEV).

How do we know we belong to God? We have his Spirit inside us. We have access to his strength when we’re tempted. We have access to his guidance when we’re lost. We have access to his wisdom when we’re confused. We have a direct line to him when we need to talk. If we think it, he hears it; when we ask questions, he answers us. 

How often do we thank God for such an incredible gift? How often do we take advantage of the opportunities the Holy Spirit offers?





This article was taken from a project created by my writing team: 100 Ways the Bible Can Change Your Life. Time Home Entertainment, Inc. New York, New York: 2013. p. 39.  
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The Names of God: The Holy One

, by Christopher D. Hudson

"Woe to the sinful nation,
    a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him." (Isaiah 1:4, NIV)

The people of Israel turned their backs on the Holy One because they wanted to pursue sin. But God, in his holiness, will have nothing to do with sin.

The fact that sin cannot exist in God’s holy presence should inspire us to seek forgiveness when we do something wrong. Our wrongdoing does not put our salvation in jeopardy—Jesus paid for our sins once and for all—but it does affect our closeness to God. If we have unconfessed sin in our lives, we cannot have an intimate relationship with him. We need to confess, ask forgiveness and start fresh.

Additional Verses on God's holiness:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;    the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3, NIV)

“There is no one holy like the Lord;    there is no one besides you;    there is no Rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2, NIV)

"For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16, NIV)

"For our “ 'God is a consuming fire.' ” (Hebrew 12:29, NIV)

"Who among the gods    is like you, Lord?Who is like you—    majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,    working wonders?" (Exodus 15:11, NIV)




The above article was adapted from the Encountering God Devotional Bible, which my team created for Zondervan.
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The Names of God: I AM

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.” ’ ” (Exodus 3:14)

The Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt, where many gods were worshiped. The Lord wanted his people to know that only one deity was worthy of their worship—only one could free them from captivity.


“I am” is the perfect name for God because it contrasts his existence with the nonexistence of other gods (who might be named “They are not”). It also calls attention to his eternal nature. When nothing else existed, God could say, “I am.” If everything else ceased to exist, God could still say, “I am.” 

Nothing changes his status.


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The above article was adapted from the Encountering God Devotional Bible, which my team created for Zondervan.
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