New Bible Study

, by Christopher D. Hudson

When I was working on the 100 Names of God Devotional, I was challenged to ensure that God is #1 in every area of life. He is my all-powerful God, creator, lover, and savior. As such, GOD IS MY LIFE.
That experience has inspired this month's Bible study. Topics we will look at will include:
  • * Putting God First
  • * Knowing God Is Near
  • * Experiencing God's Love
  • * Enjoying God's Peace
  • * Setting Aside Distractions
  • * Embracing God's Touch

To participate, join me twice a week on Facebook for a free Bible study. Sign up here and I'll send you a link to the Bible Study and  Join me twice a weekReadings will be posted Sundays and Thursdays. Be sure to join the discussion twice a week.

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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 


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.


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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Names of God: Elohim Ahavah (The God Who Loves)

, by Christopher D. Hudson

 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Even people who know very little about the Bible can usually cite the famous phrase “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The idea that love is God’s essential nature is incredible. It frankly sounds too good to be true. Yet the Bible declares repeatedly that it 

On the one hand, divine affection means God is 

This is how we reconcile the love of God with all His other attributes that, on first glance, maybe don’t “seem” so loving (divine holiness, justice, and wrath against sin). God is all that He is, all the time.

In other words, God doesn’t

No matter what happens, and regardless of what we’re facing, we can know that we are kept, watched, listened to, and cared for by One who is wild about us. God is love.

And there is never a time or a situation where our loving God is not right there.


God, thank You that there is never a moment when You act in any way apart from Your love. Amen.

This blog post has been adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here.
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Names of God: El Roi (God Who Sees)

, by Christopher D. Hudson

 “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

The encouraging story of Hagar is for everyone who’s ever felt invisible. Everything changed for this Egyptian servant when she was given by her barren mistress, Sarai, to Abram in order to conceive an heir for him. Hagar’s affection for Sarai quickly morphed into hatred once Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child. This led to abusive behavior at the hands of Sarai. When the harassment became intolerable, Hagar abruptly fled into the wilderness without money, food, water, or a plan. 

Trudging all alone through a desert wasteland, no doubt feeling forgotten, Hagar stumbled upon a desert spring. When she stopped to drink, she found more than refreshing water. She found supernatural help! In angelic form, the Lord met her. He reassured her with lavish promises, then sent her back home filled and strengthened with new hope. Is it any wonder Hagar gave the Lord the name “The God who sees me”? 

Implicit in this name is God’s overriding compassion. When Hagar had no idea where to go or what to do next, she was reminded that God is real, that He sees the needs of His creatures, and that He draws near to help. God doesn’t just glance our way; long and hard, He studies the difficulties we face. And then He acts.

Do you feel like you’re alone, that nobody really sees (much less understands) the troubles you face? Maybe you feel like injustice is rampant in your life. Even in such dark times, trust that God is El Roi. He sees—and He sees you. He looks intently. He notices. He studies everything and misses nothing. Others may overlook you or forget you, but God never will. And because He sees you, He knows what you need and gladly provides the comfort you are looking for.


You are the God who sees me. Thank You for keeping Your eye on me, for knowing my situation, and for caring about what happens to me. Amen.

This blog post is adapted from my book, 100 Names of God Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here.
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Names of God: El Chaiyai: God of My Life

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8

When two strangers meet and exchange handshakes and names, the inevitable first question is “So, what do you do?” A professional athlete might respond with, “I’m a linebacker for the Ravens.” A businessperson might reply, “I’m the VP of Sales for ABC Corporation.”

Most of us usually identify ourselves or describe our lives by the roles we play, by how we spend our days, and by the kind of work we do. Because we assume that activity equals identity, we say things like, “Oh, I’m just a stay-at-home mom to five kids,” or “I’m a junior at Lincoln High School.” While such labels and self-descriptions are not technically untrue, they have very little to do with who we really are. This is because 

One of the awesome teachings of the Christian faith is that we are not defined by what we do. Our identity is rooted in the everlasting God who made us, not in the things we make (careers, families, mistakes, etc.). As the One who designed us, God is the One who defines us. Before (and after) we are anything else, we are redeemed people who are beloved creatures of God—made by Him and for Him, built for His glory.

This means for the athlete, sport is not his or her life. For the mom, family is not her life. For the businessperson, career is not his or her life. Life—real life, abundant life, eternal life—comes only from God. He is our life. He names us and tells us who we are. He gives us value and purpose. Our worth and identity come from Him, not from anything we do or fail to do.

Remember today that your life is not defined by your ability in sports, devotion to your family, or success in a career. Your identity isn’t money, possessions, achievements, or the approval of others. God created you to know, to love, to serve, and to be satisfied in Him.

When you acknowledge God as your life, you start to really live!


Lord, You created me and gave me breath to live. Help me to remember that I exist because of You, God. You are the God of my life. Help me to live out this truth today. Amen.

This blog post is adapted from my upcoming book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here.
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You Humble?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

That truth is played out again and again in Scripture. Look at the following examples:

• Moses, a refugee on the run from a murder charge who found work as a shepherd
• Rahab, a prostitute in a pagan city
• Gideon, a man so unsure of himself that he needed three miracles to be convinced that God was calling him
• Ruth, a poor widow who survived by scrounging leftover grain in the fields
• Saul, a man so reluctant to become king that he hid from the people who were trying to appoint him
• David, the tagalong little brother of “real” warriors
• Mary, an unmarried young woman from a nondescript Jewish town
• Peter, Andrew, James, and John, blue-collar types with no formal religious training
• Paul, a man so misguided he started his career persecuting Christians

Each of them was used by God to accomplish something extraordinary. Their humility is what made them valuable to him.

It’s a question of glory—specifically, Who gets it? People who are prone to exalting themselves or taking a bow in God’s spotlight are useless to him. God’s purpose is to reveal himself and his power to humankind. People who don’t give him all glory and honor confuse the issue and interfere with his plan.

Those who embrace their humility, on the other hand, are perfect instruments for his work. Fake humility doesn’t cut it. Neither does self-degradation. The humility Jesus is talking about involves recognizing that all your talents and abilities are God-given, for the purpose of serving him.

In Acts 10, the apostle Peter visits the home of a Gentile named Cornelius. Cornelius is so overwhelmed by the honor that he falls down and starts worshiping Peter. The apostle is quick to pull him to his feet. “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” he emphasizes.

Peter wanted no part of the glory that was due to God alone. He knew exactly what he was—and wasn’t. That’s why he was so useful to the Lord.

I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.
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Free Names of God Study Resource

, by Christopher D. Hudson

I am sharing this free Bible study Chart to new subscribers to my email list. Sign up below and you'll receive the NAMES OF GOD eChart. This wonderful tool contains ten Hebrew names for God, their English definitions, and helpful Biblical references.

Once you receive the free download you are free to unsubscribe to my email newsletter, but I'll hope you give it a try for a month or two.
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Don’t Store Up Treasures on Earth

, by Christopher D. Hudson

As long-term investment tips go, Jesus’ advice in Matthew 6:19–21 is the gold standard against which all others are measured.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

His point is twofold. First, there’s no such thing as a secure earthly investment. Any possession—or passion—can be taken away through human misdeeds or natural occurrence. Those that aren’t taken away tend to lose their luster (or depreciate) over time.

Second, even if an earthly investment could be secured, pouring resources into it still would make little sense in the long term. Such an investment would yield sixty to seventy years of returns at most. An investment in God’s heavenly kingdom, on the other hand, has no limits on its yield. It will pay dividends forever.

To store your treasures in heaven is to

• build a portfolio of God-honoring work;

• invest in the lives of others, especially those in need;

• pour your resources—money, time, and talents—into things that benefit God’s kingdom;

• divest yourself of the greedy impulses that tempt you to pursue immediate gratification.

The fruitlessness of pursuing wealth and acquiring possessions is often summarized in a single phrase: “You can’t take it with you.” But Jesus says you can take it with you, if you invest your resources according to his strategy.

I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.
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Agree to Disagree

, by Christopher D. Hudson

The defense of one’s political and moral viewpoints has become something akin to a blood sport in our culture. Social media sites and online comments sections are especially brutal battlefields. Some attacks are so vicious, so vitriolic, that the knee-jerk reaction is to respond with an equal level of venom. Anything less, it seems, is tantamount to surrender.

In the end, little is accomplished by such responses aside from the sacrifice of biblical principles. The damage that can be done in the defense of Christian ideals and principles is staggering.

The Bible sets forth guidelines that sanction such interaction—guidelines that establish civility as the bare minimum that Christians owe their antagonists.

“Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king” (Ecclesiastes 9:17).

Quiet words are words that don’t inspire anger in others. Quiet words ease antagonism and allow real dialogue to occur.

“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips” (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV).

Gracious words acknowledge the worth of people with whom you disagree. Acknowledging people’s worth makes it more difficult to insult or attack them later.

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.

Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11–12).

Sometimes being attacked for holding a certain view or defending a certain Christian principle is a badge of honor.

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell” (Matthew 5:21–22).

God holds his people to an incredibly high standard of behavior.

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow” (Matthew 5:38–42).

Those who have experienced grace should be the first ones to extend it. Leave revenge to the only One who knows how to repay evil.

I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.
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Be Shrewd

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Before Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to carry out his ministry, he gave them some sobering advice:

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NIV).

He wanted them to understand that they were going to face opposition, resistance, and in some cases, persecution. And he wanted them to face it with a demeanor that would make an impression.

Being “innocent as doves” means turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, and showing love to enemies. It means conducting yourself in a way that’s above reproach, and not giving opponents ammunition against you.

What it doesn’t mean is being naive. Hence, Jesus’ instruction to be “as shrewd as snakes.”  Shrewdness—the ability to understand things and make good judgments—can be developed in many different ways, as it relates to Christian ministry.

1. Learn to discern people’s motives and intent.
Jesus offers an excellent model of this. He knew when his enemies were trying to trap him. He saw through their faux respectfulness and seemingly sincere questions. In fact, he often confronted them about their evil intent.

2. Recognize how you’re being perceived.
For better or worse, many people hold some rather strong opinions about followers of Jesus. The more you know about their opinions and preconceived notions, the better equipped you’ll be to address—and, ideally, change—them.

3. Anticipate opposition and debate.
Jesus’ warnings could not be any clearer. His faithful followers will face adversity. It’s not a question of if, but when. Knowing this gives his followers a chance to prepare. If you gird yourself for battle by studying God’s Word and discussing strategy with other trusted believers, you will make yourself a formidable opponent.

The guidelines Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 10:16 still apply today. The nature of the opposition has changed, but the expectations remain. The most effective ambassadors for Christ are shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.

I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.
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