Following Jesus: The Bible - God's Message to Us

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NLT)


Lots of books are inspiring. The Bible claims to be inspired.

By inspiration, Christians mean that the Bible is God’s message to us. The Christian teaching is that the Spirit of God superintended some forty human authors over roughly two thousand years, so that they recorded (in their own unique styles) God’s holy revelation to humanity about the spiritual history and future of the world.

In the Christian view, the Bible is God’s very Word. We read the Bible, therefore, to hear from God. We read it to learn about him and to understand how to get back on track when we lose our way. It’s by engaging and embracing the eternal truth of Scripture that we learn to live in ways that bring honor to God, blessing to others, and joy to our own souls.


Reflection Question
How should knowing that the Bible is inspired by God affect the way you read Scripture?


Prayer
Lord Jesus, your prayer is my prayer: “Make [me] holy by your truth; teach [me] your word, which is truth” (John 17:17 NLT).




This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.
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Following Jesus: The Holy Spirit - Our Live-in Counselor

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John14:26

Imagine being forced to take a graduate-level physics exam. Panic time, right? But what if just before the test you were filled with the “spirit” of the world’s greatest physicist and that person were suddenly in your head helping you solve all those complicated problems? You’d do great, don’t you think?

This isn’t a perfect analogy, but in a sense, it’s what happens in the spiritual life. When a person turns to God through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves into that individual. Suddenly, this new believer has a live-in counselor, guide, and helper. The Spirit convicts, teaches, and comforts. He helps us follow Jesus day by day.


When we give God’s Spirit free rein in our hearts, he helps us with all the complicated tests of life.


Reflection Question
The Holy Spirit wants to give us wisdom and guide us day by day. What distractions or misplaced priorities keep us from hearing his leading?

Prayer
Holy Spirit, thank you for living in me. Right now, I give you the power to control and direct my life. Amen.
This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.





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Following Jesus: Jesus' Death - The Strange Message of the Cross

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18

If people were going to create a religion out of thin air, they’d never dream up Christianity. No one would come up with these ideas: Let’s have a God who enters the world as a human baby. He’ll wait till he’s thirty to reveal himself, and then he’ll show compassion to the irreligious and wrangle with the religious elite for three years. Though he has power to crush his enemies, he will let them kill him! As he dies shamefully, he’ll triumphantly yell, “Mission accomplished!”

Christianity seems foolish to most people. And yet that’s the paradoxical gospel of Jesus: God came to us in order to bring us to himself. Love—not hate—nailed Jesus to the cross. Jesus was cursed so we might find blessing. The battered man being mocked by a raucous crowd was a victor, not a victim. Because of Jesus’ gruesome death we can experience glorious, new, never-ending life through faith in him.

The truth really is stranger than fiction.


Reflection Question
What thoughts and feelings do you have when you contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice of himself on the cross?

Prayer
Jesus, give me eyes to see the wonder of your work at the cross. Amen.

This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.


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The Gospel Message: Who Is God? (Pt 4)

, by Christopher D. Hudson

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

We have spent some time looking at who God is, why we need Him, and Jesus’s sacrifice. Now we are going to study what all of this means for us. When we accept Jesus as our savior, we are sanctified, or set apart as holy to do God’s work. There are several verses in the Bible that help us understand sanctification and how God can use us to further His kingdom.

Sanctification (Chain #3140)

2 Chr 31:18 They were enrolled with all their little children, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, the whole assembly, for they were faithful in keeping themselves holy.

Jn 17:17 {“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Ro 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Co 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

(more verses below)

What's in the back of a Thompson Chain Reference Bible? 


Ep 5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

2 Ti 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

He 10:10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

He 13:12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

1 Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.



This month's study was inspired by the news that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is being released in the ESV version of the Bible for the first time in May. Read more about it here. Because of my love for the Thompson, my company (Hudson Bible) worked with the Kirkbride to help them bring the ESV Thompson to print!
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The Gospel Message: Who Is God? (Pt 3)

, by Christopher D. Hudson

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

As we continue to learn about who God is and what He wants for us, we must spend time studying verses about Christ’s sacrifice. There is a chain dedicated to this in the Thompson Chain Reference Bible so that we can easily find all of the verses that speak directly of Jesus’s sacrifice for us. The chain starts with a prophecy in Isaiah, and it ends with the culmination of Jesus’s purpose in Revelation.

Christ’s Sacrifice (Chain #3366)

Is 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.


Jn 15:13 {“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

Jn 18:14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

2 Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Ga 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
(more verses below)


WHAT IS THE THOMPSON CHAIN BIBLE?
 


Ep 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Tit 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

He 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1 Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

1 Jn 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Re 1:5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.


This month's study was inspired by the news that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is being released in the ESV version of the Bible for the first time in May. Read more about it here. Because of my love for the Thompson, my company (Hudson Bible) worked with the Kirkbride to help them bring the ESV Thompson to print!


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The Gospel Message: Who Is God? (Pt 2)

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 


As we continue to look at the Gospel message, we must address the issue of sin. After all, we can’t be found and saved by God if we first don’t realize we’re lost and sinful!

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible has several chains about sin and temptation. One of these is the chain “Universality of Sin.” These verses tell us that sin surrounds us on earth, and the gospel frees us from that sin for eternity.

Universality of Sin (Chain #3340)

Ge 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Nu 15:22 But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses,

1 K 8:46 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin--and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near,

Jb 4:17 ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?

(more verses below)

WHAT IS THE THOMPSON CHAIN BIBLE?



Ps 14:3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Ps 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

Ps 53:3 They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Ps 130:3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

Pr 20:9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?

Ec 3:16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.

Ec 7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

Is 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Is 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Lam 3:39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?

Da 9:11 “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.

Mi 7:2 The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net.

Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Ga 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

1 Jn 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 Jn 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.



This month's study was inspired by the news that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is being released in the ESV version of the Bible for the first time in May. Read more about it here. Because of my love for the Thompson, my company (Hudson Bible) worked with the Kirkbride to help them bring the ESV Thompson to print!
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The Gospel Message: Who is God? (Pt 1)

, by Christopher D. Hudson



Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

My first Study Bible was a Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible. It was an amazing tool and best friend that changed my life and deepened my understanding of God.

The Thompson (as it's often affectionately called) offers a thoughtful chain of references on thousands of Bible topics.

During this month, I'm going to post some of the chains on topics that relate to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a first post, I wanted to share Chain #884 which offers some powerful verses about God being the Creator of the Universe

How does God being our creator relate to the Gospel? If God is the creator, then he is our authority, our king, and our source. As our maker, we realize that our sins are against him first and foremost and that our ultimate relationship is with him. The message of the Gospel is our journey back God.

So, who is God? He's our creator (Verses below taken from Thompson #884). I find there is a lot to think about as I read and reflect on what the Bible says about God in this way.

Ge 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Ge 2:3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Ex 20:11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(more verses below)


WHAT IS THE THOMPSON CHAIN BIBLE?



Ne 9:6 You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Jb 12:9 Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?

Jb 26:7 He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

Jb 26:13 By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Jb 40:15 Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox.

Ps 24:2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Ps 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Ps 95:5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Ps 102:25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Ps 104:5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.

Is 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Is 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Is 45:12 I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.

Is 48:13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.

Ac 4:24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,

Ac 7:50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

Ac 14:15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Ac 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,

He 1:10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

He 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.


Who is God? He's our creator. The one who created us and everything we see. That constant theme in the Bible is a constant reminder that I am HIS. And while he is my friend, he is also my king.

----



This month's study was inspired by the news that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is begin released in the ESV version of the Bible for the first time in May. Read more about it hereBecause of my love for the Thompson, my company (Hudson Bible) worked with the Kirkbride to help them bring the ESV Thompson to print!
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Names of God: Jehovah-Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.

To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”


In multiple hot spots of the world, you can find regions known as demilitarized zones. These are sort of no-man’s-lands between opposing nations or armies. Though you won’t likely experience whizzing bullets in such places, you will sense a great tension. The armies aren’t fighting, yet there’s no deep sense of peace. Why? Because true peace—what the Bible calls 



Shalom 

During a dark time in Israel’s history, Gideon was able to lead his people in defeating the enemy Midianites. After experiencing victory, Gideon felt great peace. It was an earthly and physical peace that comes from no longer being threatened and attacked. And it was an inner and spiritual peace that comes from knowing God had called, strengthened, and delivered him. He was so thankful that he built an altar and called it “The Lord Is Peace.”

How peaceful are you today? Maybe you live in a safe neighborhood where you don’t fear for your life. Or perhaps you have enough assets and income to not worry about your financial future.

Those are wonderful blessings, but there’s a whole other level of peace that God makes available to us. We can have peace with God through Jesus Christ. By faith we can go from being unforgiven enemies of God (Romans 5:10) to being God’s beloved children (John 1:12). It’s only when we enter into this peace with God that we begin to experience the peace of God (Philippians 4:7).

A popular bumper sticker sums it up well: “Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.” Do you know Him?

Ask Jehovah-Shalom to give you His peace, and He will give you a person, Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

PRAYER

God, life is difficult and full of conflict. May Your shalom—the peace that passes all understanding—rule in my heart today and always. Amen.


This blog post is adapted from my book, 100 Names of God. You can learn more about this daily devotional here.
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Jesus' Life and Teaching: Jesus Returns to Heaven

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

In his final act on earth as the resurrected, victorious Savior, Jesus tells his disciples to wait together in Jerusalem until God gives them the Spirit’s power.

Then they are to take the good news everywhere and make disciples of all people. This is crucial because Jesus is coming again.

Read about this in Matthew 28:16–20; Luke 24:50–53; Acts 1:3–11.



This blog post has been adapted from my new book Self-Guided Tour of the Bible. You can read more about it here


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Jesus' Life and Teaching: Jesus Is Tried, Denied, and Crucified

, by Christopher D. Hudson

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 


For Jesus, this begins a long night of illegal trials.

The high priest, the chief priests, and Israel’s elders and teachers of the law—who normally don’t agree on much of anything—unite wholeheartedly in their opposition to Jesus. Even though the witnesses testifying against Jesus give inconsistent and conflicting testimony, the leaders decide Jesus is guilty of blasphemy and deserves to die.

Meanwhile, Peter faces his own ordeal. Despite his earlier pledge of absolute commitment to the Lord (even expressing a willingness to die for him), Peter denies three times having any involvement with Jesus or even knowing him.

Since the religious leaders lack legal authority to carry out an execution, they seek approval from the Roman government. The Roman governor of that region, Pontius Pilate, rejects their case for executing Jesus. When they persist, Pilate sends Jesus to King Herod Antipas. Herod welcomes the opportunity to interview Jesus—and maybe see a miracle. When Jesus won’t answer questions, Herod and his soldiers mock Jesus and send him back to Pilate. Pilate wants to free Jesus, but when a mob forms and threatens to riot, the Roman governor reluctantly sentences Christ to death.

The soldiers take Jesus away, strip him, mock him, beat and flog him. When they grow weary of ridiculing him, they crucify him between two common criminals. Some six gruesome hours later, Jesus is dead.

Read about this in Matthew 26:57–27:56; Mark 14:53–15:41; Luke 22:54–23:49; John 18:12–19:37.


This blog post has been adapted from my new book Self-Guided Tour of the Bible. You can learn more about it here.
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