Evaluate Your Situation

, by Christopher D. Hudson


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. 


The words of Psalm 139:23–24 are especially appropriate at the start of a new year:


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.



The psalmist’s invitation for God to search and test him was the perfect prelude to transformation. If you’re committed to making some changes in the coming year, try following the psalmist’s example. Ask God to guide you in evaluating your own life to determine which areas are ripest for change.


The quest for a new you requires a clear-eyed look at the current you. It begins with an evaluation of the following:

• Where you are in your life
• Where you’d like to be a year from now
• What obstacles are standing in your way
• What skills, assets, and allies you can draw on to make changes

Here are a few reflective questions to help you start the process.

1. WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW
• What do you have to be thankful for as the new year beckons? (Be specific and thorough as you list your blessings.)
• On a scale of one to ten—with one being “completely unsatisfied” and ten being “perfectly satisfied”—how happy are you right now with your health? Your finances? Your friendships and work relationships? Your spiritual state? Your family? Your personal life?
• How do you feel as you contemplate a new year and a new you? Are you excited? Confident? Nervous? Worried you’re aiming too high?

2. WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO BE
• What opportunities do you see on the horizon for the year ahead?
• What good habits can you start that will have a significant impact on your life?
• Consider your area of least satisfaction from the previous set of questions. Where would you like that number to be by the end of the year? What would it take to get there? (For example, let’s say you want to improve your health from a five to an eight. List some of the characteristics you think it takes to achieve an eight. Does it mean being within a certain weight range? Does it mean finishing a 5K race? Does it mean working out four times a week? Be specific.)

3. OBSTACLES AND CHALLENGES
• What bad habits and destructive patterns are sabotaging your life?
• What specific circumstances or situations will present challenges for you as you attempt to make changes in your life?
• What doubts, fears, or temptations do you anticipate wrestling with?

4. SKILLS, ASSETS, AND ALLIES
• What personal qualities, skills, or God-given gifts will you be able to draw on as you make changes? (Don’t be afraid to welcome input from trusted friends and loved ones. Someone who knows you well might see something in you that you haven’t recognized in yourself.)
• What have you learned from past experiences that will help you succeed this time around?
• Who can you turn to for help, encouragement, support, or companionship in the coming year?

Once you have a clear picture of who you are now, who you want to be, what obstacles and challenges lie ahead, and what sources of strength you can draw upon, then you can start to plot your course.

This blog post has been adapted from Unlock the Bible's Secrets, a special-edition magazine that is now available in stores.

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The Way, the Truth, and the Life

, by Christopher D. Hudson


am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 
John 14:6 

Articles—specifically, the words and the—are perhaps the most overlooked parts of spoken or written language. Generally speaking, they contribute so little to a sentence that we take them for granted.

Occasionally, though, an article carries supreme importance. The entire meaning and emphasis of a statement rests on its tiny shoulders. Case in point: Jesus’ description of himself in John 14:6. Article in question: the.

In the context of Jesus’ statement, the word the conveys absolute uniqueness. “I am the way and the truth and the life” (emphasis added). No one else can claim those titles. Jesus didn’t say, “I am way” or “I am one of the truths.” Jesus singled himself out as the only conduit to God— the only path through which we may receive forgiveness for sin and come to the Father.

How many people wrestle with guilt on a daily basis? How many people have trouble forgiving themselves for things they’ve done? How many people feel unclean or worthless? How many people need Jesus?

He is, after all, the only genuine source of forgiveness. Other options may dull our pain or make us forget things we’ve done. But only Jesus can wipe our slate clean. Only he can make us righteous. Only he can restore our relationship with God.

This blog post has been adapted from Who Is Jesus?, a special-edition magazine that is now available in stores wherever magazines are sold. 

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God's Lamb

, by Christopher D. Hudson


For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.


The apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth was written more than twenty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection—just enough time for skep­tics to have wormed their way into the conversation. Two decades removed from the event, it was easy for people to plant doubts, especially among new believers, by asking, “How do you know that’s what really happened?”


One way doubters attempt to explain away the events that followed Jesus’ crucifixion is to suggest that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, that he only lost consciousness or went into shock. Thus, his post-crucifixion appearances were not those of one who had conquered death but of one who had survived the cross.

Paul assured the Corinthians that Jesus had indeed died. In fact, he had been buried for three days—just as the Old Testament Scriptures said he would be.

Paul defended the truth and provided assurance to the Corinthian believers that the words of Scripture can be trusted. Jesus was not just crucified, Paul emphasized; he was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins—exactly as the Scriptures (written centuries earlier) said he would be: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV).
  

This blog post has been adapted from Who Is Jesus?, a special-edition magazine that is now available in stores wherever magazines are sold. 

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He Loved the Unlovely

, by Christopher D. Hudson


"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
 

If it’s true that you can judge a person by the company they keep, what are we to make of Jesus, who spent quite a bit of time with blue-collar types who were more than a little rough around the edges, crooked tax collectors, and even hated foreigners?



We can conclude that he

• has a heart for the entire spectrum of humankind;

• is unwilling to let people slip through the cracks of society;

• can find good in anyone;

• offers salvation that is not tied to social standing.



As a tangible example, consider how he reached out to lepers who were the outcasts of society. They were shunned not only because they were considered contagious but also because Jewish religious law declared them unclean. Many lepers were banished from Jewish settlements and made to live beyond the outskirts of cities. Few people interacted with lepers, and even fewer had physical contact with them.



Yet when Jesus visited Bethany, he stayed in the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. Simon was most likely an ex-leper at that point, having been healed by Jesus on a previous visit. What we do know is that Jesus reached out to the people whom others cowered from. He touched the untouchable.

This blog post has been adapted from the special-edition magazine Who Is Jesus?, which is available in stores wherever magazines are sold. 

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Give Back to God

, by Christopher D. Hudson


You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 

Here’s the irony. The most important step in taking the reins of your finances is acknowledging who really holds the reins of your finances. (Hint: it’s not you.)

Here are four tips to help you put God first in your financial decision making.

1. RECOGNIZE HIS HAND IN YOUR INCOME-EARNING ABILITY

Consider the following statements and decide if each is true or false:

• The skills, talents, and personal qualities that help you earn a living are God-given gifts.
• Your job—that is, your ability to earn money—is a blessing (regardless of how you may feel about it on bad days).
• Without God, your financial outlook would be much bleaker.

If you answered “true” to any of these statements, you’re well on your way to understanding who holds the reins of your finances. Now it’s time to give back to the One who gave everything to you.

2. UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Jesus wasn’t easily impressed when it came to acts of service. One woman, though, managed to capture his attention and earn his praise without even trying.

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41–44)

A God-honoring tithe requires sacrifice. It is not easy to make—nor should it be. The apostle Paul took things a step further, arguing that it’s not just the amount of the gift that matters; it’s the attitude behind it.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Finally, tucked at the end of the Old Testament is this promise from God to his people, relayed by the prophet Malachi:

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3:10)

The passage from Malachi is not necessarily a guarantee of future riches. Blessings come in many different forms, including peace of mind, wisdom, and the privilege of being part of God’s work in the world. But one thing is clear: God promises to care for those who remember him.

3. PRAY FOR WISDOM IN ALLOCATING YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Some people like to give their entire gift to their local church. They trust church leaders to distribute it as needed. Others take a more hands-on approach, dividing their tithes and offerings among several ministries (including their church) that are close to their heart.

If you’re not sure how to allocate the money you give back to God, pray about it. Ask him to make you aware of the needs around you and to guide you in making wise decisions.

4. IMAGINE WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH YOUR MONEY—THAT IS, HIS MONEY
If your tithing starts to seem rote—or if your motivation starts to falter—spend some time considering how God might use it to make a difference in the lives of others. Don’t think in terms of helping a church or an organization. Think of the people who will benefit from your faithful giving.

• Villagers in a developing country who will no longer have to walk miles for clean water every day, thanks to a well that was dug in their community
• Children who will make their first steps into God’s Word, thanks to a new interactive Bible study app
• A single mother whose prayers are answered by a donation that allows her to buy a reliable used car

A subtle change of approach can shift your thinking from How much am I required to give? to How many people can God help with my gift?

Once you put God at the center of your decision making, you can proceed to the nuts and bolts of crafting a financial strategy to maximize your generosity.

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This blog post has been adapted from the special-edition magazine Unlock the Bible's Secrets, which is now available in stores where magazines are sold.
  

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Humble and Gentle

, by Christopher D. Hudson


Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Matthew 11:29

Did the gentleness of the Savior come as a surprise? Did the prophets of old expect the Messiah, God’s chosen one, to be gentle? He was God, after all. And no one knew better than the people of Israel what God could do when his holiness was offended.

Jesus possessed extraordinary power. He could command the elements to do his bidding. He was holy, righteous, and unblemished by sin—yet he was surrounded by sinners. He was challenged, taunted, and eventually tortured and killed by his enemies. He had every reason to be vengeful. He chose to be gentle.

The Bible also records that humility was the key to Jesus’ effectiveness—as well as to the effectiveness of his followers. By conducting himself as a servant, Jesus essentially said to his followers, “Here’s how to do it.” He understood that humble people get things done. They are ideal workers. They don’t concern themselves with credit or glory. They are content to give it all to God. Humble people concentrate on the mission at hand. That might explain how Jesus was able to change the world in three short years.

Likewise, humble people make an impression on others. They are nonthreatening and nonirritating. Few people object to their presence. Even though they don’t call attention to themselves, they stand out in a crowd. They earn the right to be heard, and when they do speak, people listen.

This blog post has been adapted from the special-magazine Who Is Jesus?, which is  available in the U.S. wherever magazines are sold.

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Christmas Email Devotions

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Daily Devotions Delivered to Your Email

Would having Christmas readings delivered to you by email help you focus on Jesus a bit better this season?

Click the link below to begin receiving a daily devotions and scripture reading every day through email. This list is free and open to anyone.


3 Easy Steps1) Click the cover to get started.
2) Enter your Email
3) Confirm

Begin below.


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A Job to Do: The Great Commission

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What began as a call to become disciples ended as a commission to make disciples. 

In the wake of Jesus’ resurrection, the apostles were on the brink of a future they could not imagine. His words in Matthew 28:18–20 gave them their marching orders: 

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

Jesus gave purpose and direction to the disciples’ potential, to their burning desire to share all they had seen and heard. He channeled their energy into an unprecedented evangelical explosion. He removed the barriers standing in their way. Before long, it wasn’t only Jerusalem that was in play for them; it was the entire Roman Empire. It was Asia Minor, Europe, India, and lands beyond. All nations were prospective destinations. 

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to speak for and about him. With that authority came great power— power that was unmistakably divine. That power enabled Peter and John to heal the disabled and drive demons out of the possessed. 

With that power came great responsibility as well. The apostles’ role changed from students to teachers, leaders, counselors, mentors, and proclaimers. Christians today share that same responsibility to share the message of Jesus with the world. 

And with that responsibility comes support. Though Jesus returned to heaven, his Spirit accompanies his followers wherever we go. 

The Great Commission, as it is called, is Jesus’ final spoken message recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.  


LIFE LESSON:

Christ’s mission was (and still is) surprisingly simple: he trained twelve original disciples who would make disciples, who would make disciples . . .


This blog post has been adapted from The Twelve Apostles, a special-edition magazine now available in stores. 

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No Appointment, No Problem: Jesus and the Children

, by Christopher D. Hudson



When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. 
  



Who wouldn’t want to be a gatekeeper? A gatekeeper wields power. A gatekeeper determines who gets in and who’s left out.

So it was with the disciples. As the crowds swelled around Jesus, so did the strain on his time and attention. Everyone wanted to see him, talk to him, be healed by him, and find purpose and direction through him. There weren’t enough hours in the day to accommodate everyone who sought an audience with Jesus. 

In certain cases, the disciples took it upon themselves to manage Jesus’ schedule, to decide who got a backstage pass and who didn’t. Their intentions were good, for the most part. They wanted to protect Jesus’ much-needed alone time. Their track record as gatekeepers, however, left something to be desired. 

One day, while Jesus and his entourage were in Judea, a group of parents brought their children to be blessed by Jesus. The disciples turned them away. Apparently children and parents weren’t high on the apostles’ VIP list. To add insult to injury, the disciples scolded the parents and children for “bothering” Jesus. 

That’s when they discovered what really bothered Jesus. 

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:14–16

Jesus’ rebuke was especially pointed because the disciples represented him. If he hadn’t intervened, those children would have returned to their homes not knowing that he considered them part of his kingdom. 

The disciples eventually became extraordinary ambassadors for Jesus. The number of transformed lives left in their wake testifies to this fact. Their example should encourage us to assess how we represent Jesus to others. Do we avoid sharing the message of Jesus with certain types of people? Or are we unafraid to share the good news of Jesus with people from all walks of life?

LIFE LESSON:
Like the first disciples, we modern-day Christ followers are called to help men, women, and children get to Jesus—not keep them away from him. Seek to be an ambassador, not a gatekeeper, and watch God transform lives. 

This blog post is adapted from The Twelve Apostles, a special edition magazine that is now available in stores. 

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What is Mustard Seed Faith?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-21)



The mustard seed is a useful analogy for faith. The seed starts small and inconsequential, as did the disciples’ first attempts at ministry. Case in point: their inability to drive out a demon in Matthew 17.


Faith, like a tiny seed, has the potential to emerge from humble beginnings into something magnificent. Jesus tended to his disciples’ growth, encouraging them to branch out. According to Mark 6, he sent them out in pairs to preach from village to village. Their instructions were clear. They were to take no money or food on their journey. Each of them was allowed only a walking stick, a pair of sandals, and a coat.



They had no Bibles, no Scripture to take with them. They would preach what Jesus had taught them. They had no reservations, no itineraries, no contacts in the villages before them. They depended on those to whom they preached for food and shelter.



The experience must have strengthened their faith. In time, like the mustard seed, they blossomed and produced fruit. The Bible makes clear that the same potential exists in any follower of Jesus today.



LIFE LESSON:

God can take small, shaky faith, nurture it, grow it, and cause it to blossom into something amazing.

This blog post has been adapted from The Twelve Apostles, a special-edition magazine that is available in stores.

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The First Disciples

, by Christopher D. Hudson


You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 

What could compel ordinary men to unhesitatingly drop everything in their lives to follow a man they had only just met? 

It’s not that these men were looking for an escape. It’s not that they were impetuous, bored with their lives, or easily distracted. Men like Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Levi (Matthew) responded to Jesus’ call because they recognized something in him that demanded immediate attention and action. 

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. (Matthew 4:18–20

Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. (Luke 5:27–28

Many Bible studies have been built on the premise that Jesus could recognize something in his disciples that no one else saw. He was able to see past their rough exteriors and into their hearts. He didn’t recruit them based on who they were; he recruited them based on who they could become. Where others saw insignificance, Jesus saw potential.

Perhaps, though, to a lesser extent, the reverse was true as well. Perhaps those Jesus chose were disciple material because they could see something in him that others couldn’t. Perhaps his words triggered an inexplicable—and irresistible—reaction in them.

Consider the question two followers of Jesus asked in Luke 24:32 after realizing the man they had been conversing with was the risen (yet unrecognizable) Jesus. Acknowledging they should have known it was him, they said, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us?”

Perhaps the twelve apostles experienced a similar burning-heart sensation when Jesus said, “Follow me.” 

Like the apostles, we also have the opportunity to discover who Jesus is and respond to his invitation to follow him. How will you respond to Jesus? 

LIFE LESSON:
Like every great journey, the spiritual life begins with a response: the willingness to accept God’s invitation to leave what we know in hopes of finding something far better. 

This post has been adapted from The Twelve Apostles, a special-edition magazine that is now available in stores.

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Names of God: Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord Who Heals)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’”

When we think of healings in the Bible, we tend to think of all those jaw-dropping physical restorations: lepers made whole, the blind healed, the lame suddenly leaping through the air. Without question, these are marvelous demonstrations of God’s power. Yet His power far transcends the physical realm.



God created us in His own image, which means that He gave each of us a mind, a will, and emotions, and He enabled us to have relationships. We are complex beings, and our brokenness due to sin is complex as well. Sometimes our deepest hurts cannot be seen on an X-ray or through the results of a blood test. If you’ve wallowed in guilt and shame, felt the heartbreak of a broken relationship, agonized over a wayward family member, felt grief over a lost loved one, or been disappointed by an unfulfilled dream, you know that spiritual, emotional, and relational hurts can sometimes be more painful than physical maladies.

The good news is that God is able to heal more than just the physical—much more. In fact, our greatest need, and the one emphasized the most by the Hebrew word rapha, is spiritual healing.

When Jesus was on earth, He healed many. But none of these healings was ever an end in itself. Each compassionate healing was a sign of things to come. These physical healings pointed people toward the kingdom of God that was coming, toward a new heaven and restored earth, where there will be no more pain, no more suffering, and no more tears (see Revelation 21:4).

Today, when God heals—a broken bone, a broken heart, a broken relationship—He is giving us a foretaste of what is to come. God is Jehovah-Rapha, our healer.

God alone saves from spiritual death. He only can give eternal life.

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for caring about every part of me. You desire that I find healing—physically, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually. Thank You for providing me with a way to be healed of my sin. Amen.

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

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Names of God: Geōrgos (The Gardener)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”




“Gardener” is not a title we typically use to refer to God (even though there is a lot of agricultural imagery in the Bible). But that’s how the Scriptures portray Him, and that’s what Jesus called Him. And with good reason.



Human history began in a garden (Genesis 13). It’s there in a lush place called Eden that God met with His human creatures and instructed them to cultivate and care for His creation.



When sin entered the world, God’s garden was ruined and access to Eden was lost. What did God do? He instituted an epic plan to restore His garden paradise. Throughout the events described in the rest of the Bible, God farmed. He carefully and patiently grew a nation, in much the same way one would grow crops. God, in a sense, sowed seed. He planted and watered. He mended and tended. He replanted and transplanted. He pruned and fertilized. He drove away “pests.” He uprooted and shored up.



When God sent



In the final three chapters of the Bible, we read about a new creation—new heavens and a new earth—that sounds very “garden-like.” The apostle John described a lush and green paradise where humans once again have access to “the tree of life.” 



Meanwhile, in a world still feeling the effects of sin, the divine Gardener works. By His grace, and through our faith, He grafts us into Christ, the true vine, the source of life. We’re just branches. But as we stay firmly attached to Him, we grow and bear life-giving fruit. At times God props us up or trims us back so that we’ll be even more fruitful.



Our job is not to worry about dirt or fertilizer, or where other plants are located, or what fruit they’re producing. Our job is simply to respond to the Gardener’s care—and grow!



PRAYER


Lord, I surrender my life to You. Plant me where You want. Make me beautiful and fruitful in Your garden. Amen.

This blog post is adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional, which was released on October 20. You can learn more about it here.

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Names of God: El Kanna (Jealous God)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”


Who wants to be thought of as jealous? This unflattering description brings to mind the petty schoolgirl who bitterly resents the spotlight that a peer is enjoying, or the fact that her rival’s boyfriend is cuter than hers. To be jealous is to be vain, selfish, suspicious. It is to move through life greedily desiring all the good things that others have, never fully acknowledging or appreciating the good things in one’s own life.

And yet, there is another kind of jealousy—a holy version. It’s this noble form of jealousy that God has for His people, according to the Bible. But why is this a fitting jealousy? Why is God right to want us exclusively for Himself? Because He made us, and in Christ He purchased us (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). 

Divine jealousy isn’t motivated by greed or selfishness. God’s holy jealousy is rooted in a desire to protect, provide, and bless. He always and only wants what is best for His chosen ones. And what can be better than His perfect love? 


Instead of imagining the negative and hurtful jealousy displayed by a petty schoolgirl, we need to imagine the protecting and providing jealousy of God. Picture God more as an adoring husband who catches his once-faithful wife turning to other lovers (who have evil motives), and who jealously seeks to rescue her—not to punish her for her betrayal, but to win back her heart.


When God freed the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, He took them to Mount Sinai and, in essence, married them there, taking them as His bride. In that ceremony, they gladly pledged their loyalty and devotion to God alone. However, God told them they would soon be surrounded by neighbors who were devoted to other gods. He warned them they would be tempted to turn away and be unfaithful. Lastly, He assured them He would not stand idly by and allow that to happen. As a jealous God, He would fight fervently for their attention and affection. 
When God calls Himself jealous, it is a reminder to us that our worship cannot be divided. The Great Commandment is to love God with “all” (not part of) our hearts. He alone is worthy of our devotion. He alone is deserving of our hearts. 

Still, God’s demand for worship raises questions in the minds of many believers and nonbelievers. Is He needy? Is He being egotistical? No. Actually He’s being righteous and good. He knows that the ones He loves will find life, ultimate meaning, purpose, and joy nowhere else. He knows that He alone always seeks what’s best for us. He also knows that He alone is the one place where our hearts will find their true home. 

This is why when Jesus came, He reminded us that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). He told us that whoever is not for God is against Him (Luke 11:23). We cannot be “sort of,” “sometimes,” or “mostly” devoted to God. We either give ourselves to Him or we give ourselves to other lovers. 

God is jealous for our love because He is zealous for us to know His.

PRAYER

God, drive from my heart anything that captures my attention and affection more than You. May I not make You jealous today by being unfaithful. Amen.



This blog post is adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional, which is now available. You can learn more about it here.

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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: 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.

PRAYER

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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