20 episodes

Bryan Hudson, D.Min offers Practical Insight and inspiration for You! Follow Bryan at his Firm Foundation blog, www.BryanHudson.com

Firm Foundation with Bryan Hudson Bryan Hudson

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Bryan Hudson, D.Min offers Practical Insight and inspiration for You! Follow Bryan at his Firm Foundation blog, www.BryanHudson.com

    DAY 7 – Why Mercy is An Interpersonal Skill | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    DAY 7 – Why Mercy is An Interpersonal Skill | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    Matthew 5:7, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 
    In our day, we talk about the importance of interpersonal skills. One of the most important of those skills is the ability to be merciful. Having mercy is much more than an emotional wave of pity. It is a deliberate effort of the mind and of the will.
    There is a story in the Bible of someone who was forgiven of his debt. The sad part was, the person who was forgiven, went and demanded payment from someone who owed him some money. “He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.” (Matthew 18:21-35)
    The essence of mercy is forgiveness and compassion.
    "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy" (Jas.2:13)
    "So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you; if you do not forgive your brother from your heart" (Matt. 18:35). 
    "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors". "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:12,14,15)
    Having mercy requires empathy. We just don't feel for people, we attempt to feel with people.
    In the Bible languages, one of the words for mercy carries this idea: The wish to get inside the other person's skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.” (Barclay)
    Most people are so consumed with their own feelings that there is no room to  be concerned with the feelings of anyone else.
    Among the greatest attributes of God is His love and mercy for humanity.  
    Jesus came to the earth (Emmanuel, “God with us.”), took the form of a human, and dealt with all of the pressures and temptations of being human. This gave God the “data” or the experiential knowledge He needed show mercy towards you, me, and all people!
    The present blessing of mercy from this Beatitude is that our hearts are broken for others. Mercy paves the way for us to be useful in the lives of others.
    Reflection Question:
    For whom do you need to show mercy?

    • 3 min
    DAY 6 - How To Find Satisfaction in Life | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    DAY 6 - How To Find Satisfaction in Life | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled (satisfied)
    We live a discontented, dissatisfied world. Seems like nothing is good enough and we find room to complain while experiencing many of the best conditions in life here in the USA. We are very aware of all the things that are wrong, and don’t ignore those conditions, but we should be intentional about thinking on the things that are good.
    The Apostle Paul wrote, Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
    A function of having hunger and thirst for righteousness is focusing on right things. Biblical righteousness is “right standing with God.” Righteousness is living inside of God’s goodness. Righteousness is also “standing in the right place.”
    There is something about God’s righteousness that adjusts our attitude, helps us focus on good things, removes religious arrogance, and cancels self-righteousness. 
    The fact is that very few of us in modern conditions of life know what it is to be really hungry or really thirsty. In the ancient world it was very different. A working man's wage was the equivalent of three pence a day, and, even making every allowance for the difference in the purchasing power of money, no man ever got fat on that wage. A working man in Palestine ate meat only once a week, and in Palestine the working man and the day labourer were never far from the border-line of real hunger and actual starvation. (Barclay)
    Hunger and thirst is a passion for something needed, like food and shelter, not just something we want like a bigger television. In our culture, we confuse wants with necessities. We hunger and thirst because righteousness is NOT something we possess without Christ. In Christ, we are righteous, but we are only aware of it through fellowship with God.
    The question to ask yourself is this: How much do I want God’s goodness, provision, and righteousness? Do you want it as much as a starving man wants food? How intense is your desire for God? 
    A takeaway from this Beatitude is this: It is not enough to be satisfied with partial goodness and righteousness, because here is no such thing as partial with with God. He wants us FILLED with whatever He offers. So, don’t settle for less.
    Reflection Question:
    What does God's goodness, provision, and righteousness look like to you?

    • 3 min
    DAY 5 – Meekness is Not Weakness | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    DAY 5 – Meekness is Not Weakness | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    Matthew 5:5, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.Many years ago, I watched a television commercial in which a young Charles Barclay said, “The meek may inherit the earth, but they won’t get the ball from me."In first two Beatitudes Jesus used words like poor, mourning, and in the third, meek. In the fourth Beatitude Jesus used the words hunger and thirst. It seems that Jesus turned conventional wisdom and normal thinking upside down. He elevated “weak” words. 
    In popular culture, especially in a hyper-masculine culture, there’s nothing about being meek that is admired. Meekness is often seen as weakness.There is nothing weak about Jesus or the Kingdom of God. A “meek” Jesus did the following as recorded by Matthew:Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)I like to also point out that these were not folding chairs and card tables that He turned over. These had to be benches and tables of wood and stone––heavy items! This indicates Jesus’ physical strength and likely strong physique. Something else we don’t attribute to “meek” men.So true meekness must be something other and timidity and inaction. We see Jesus’ righteous indignation (angry with good reason) and bold actions to address injustice within a holy space.The definition of the words meek and meekness are deeper than we usually think. Being meek involves gentleness, but not without conviction and willingness to take action.Barclay’s Commentary offers this interpretation based on the Greek word for “meek” πραΰς (praus) as it was understood in the First Century: “Blessed is the man who is always angry at the right time, and never angry at the wrong time.”(Note that Jesus understood and spoke primarily in Hebrew, as well as Aramaic, Greek, and some Latin. What became New Testament Gospels and Epistles were written in Greek with some phrases from other languages)True meekness has the components of self-control and having a proper disposition for the occasion. Meek people have humility which banishes all pride.A person who is meek, as Jesus defined and demonstrated it, is someone God can entrust with inheriting the Earth. A meek person is someone who can become responsible for things far greater than himself. For example, we would never want someone too rash or too timid to handle important business. Meekness is essential to caring for people, serving people, and even correcting people.There is truly no weakness within genuine meekness!REFLECTION QUESTION:Why is there no weakness within meekness? Provide an example of true meekness from your life.ACTION ITEMS BASED ON TODAY'S LESSON:



    ___________________________

     
    RESOURCES:• Message by Dr. Tony Evans, "Blessed Are the Spiritual Beggars" (Matthew 5:3)https://go.tonyevans.org/tony-evans-sermons/blessed-are-the-spiritual-beggars• Follow this link to a resource from Zondervan Academic on the Beatitutes:https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/beatitudes
    • Follow this link to a resource on the Beatitudes from BibleGateway:https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2022/08/what-are-the-beatitudes-why-are-the-beatitudes-important/
    • Follow THIS LINK (or copy/paste) to a resource from Zondervan Academic: https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/beatitudes
    • Follow THIS LINK (or copy/paste) to the web version of Barclay's Commentary on the New Testament: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dsb.html
    • THIS LINK is a downloadable PDF of Barclay's Commentary
     
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    Listen to the Teaching
    “The Beatitudes: Blessing on Purpose”

    • 4 min
    DAY 4 | How Mourning Brings Comfort | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount | Introduction, Cont.

    DAY 4 | How Mourning Brings Comfort | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount | Introduction, Cont.

    Matt. 5:4, Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
    Typically, we only associate mourning with the death of a loved one. This is the correct meaning of the word, along with “to lament” and “to weep.” Mourning is not limited to death. We also mourn, or show compassion, for any situation that leaves people sad, hurt, or lacking. When we mourn, remember that Jesus wants someone comforted. Comfort is help on every level.
    As with all the Beatitudes, Jesus highlighted something in the present, neither looking back nor looking ahead. He also highlighted the importance of a worship relationship with God as well as a service oriented relationship with others. Mourning is founded in caring intensely for the sufferings, the sorrows, and for the needs of others. (Barclay) 
     
    The blessing is in bringing comfort to others in finding comfort within yourself––as a by-product of caring. Looking back at the first Beatitude,   we saw that it is always right to be detached from things, but it is never right to be detached from people. Being callous and unconcerned is easy. Caring for people is hard, but nothing else carries a greater reward. Caring is love in action. God is love. When we carry God’s type of love, people are helped and circumstances change..
    All Sunshine Makes a Desert
    Blessed is the man who has endured the bitterest sorrow that life can bring. The Arabs have a proverb: "All sunshine makes a desert." The land on which the sun always shines will soon become an arid place in which no fruit will grow. There are certain things which only the rains will produce; and certain experiences which only sorrow can beget.” (Barclay)
    The essence of being a Christ Follower is caring to the level where we have empathy for people, not just sympathy. It has been said that sympathy is to feel for someone, while empathy is the feel with people. This is not something we naturally can do as humans. It's one of the unique aspects of being made in gods image and likeness, and then even more, to have the heart and mind of Christ.
    Mourning produces in us a special kind of kindness toward people. It fosters a compassion that we would not gain without entering into sorrow and mourning. When things go well it is possible to live for years on the surface of things. However, when sorrow comes, we are driven to the deeper things of life. As we mourn, walking with Christ and assisting others, we find a new strength and a unique measure of comfort.
    We don’t have to wait for difficult events come upon us causing mourning, through love we can choose to mourn over (be concerned about) others. Again, this leads to comfort for others and for yourself.
    Reflection question: 
    For what or whom can you mourn that will cause compassion to rise in you leading to action and comfort? Be specific,
     

    • 3 min
    DAY 3 – ”The Wealth of Being Poor in Spirit” | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    DAY 3 – ”The Wealth of Being Poor in Spirit” | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

    Matthew 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Our western, American, prosperity-driven, materialistic mindset wants nothing to do with anything “poor.” So we should not be surprised if a person’s first, uninformed, reaction to words like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” would be “No way! Not me!” Sometimes people only read “blessed are the poor…”If material poverty was the will of God, Jesus would have never provided for people in need or told us to do the same for others. One commentary compared being poor in spirit to “bankruptcy.” This is a poor example because declaring bankruptcy comes from either unforeseen circumstances or irresponsible behavior.There is great wealth for those who are willing to be poor in spirit.In biblical Greek there are two words for “poor.” There is the word penes which describes someone who works for a living and who rises or falls based on his own efforts. Penes is not the word used in this Beatitude.The other word is ptochos, which describes a person who has absolutely nothing. This is the word used in Matthew 5:3. The idea is that a Christ and Kingdom follower has made the decision to place all of his/her trust in God rather than in material things and earthly resources.We make the decision to fill our hearts (our spirit) with God’s presence and spiritual resources. We place priority on this objective more than material gain. As Jesus also said later in this same sermon:“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 5:33)It was as if Jesus said, “When you make the choice to place my Kingdom and purposes above your own ambitions, abandon your craving for things, live to give, and forsake striving for status, I will open doors for you to find greater blessings in my Kingdom.” (my words)One of the things you will quickly notice about people who truly serve God, in the Bible and in life is this: They never lack material things and needed resources unless they decide to go without it!
    There is great wealth in being poor in spirit! That wealth is oriented in this order of priority: 1) spirit, 2) soul, 3) body. God’s way is never oriented as, 1) body, 2) soul, 3) spirit.Materially rich and poor people can commit the same sin of the heart: Lusting for money and things. The rich person (or wasteful person) lusts for stuff and gets it. The poor person lusts for stuff and does not get it (or gets it, but is unable to sustain it).So, declare yourself to be ptochos, so that Jesus can open to you the doors of His Kingdom and release blessings through the “windows of heaven.” (Malachi 3:10)REFLECTION QUESTION:
    Based on this lesson, what does being “poor in spirit look like to you?” 
     
    ACTION ITEMS BASED ON TODAY'S LESSON:

    ___________________________
     

     
    RESOURCES:• Message by Dr. Tony Evans, "Blessed Are the Spiritual Beggars" (Matthew 5:3)https://go.tonyevans.org/tony-evans-sermons/blessed-are-the-spiritual-beggars• Follow this link to a resource from Zondervan Academic on the Beatitutes:https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/beatitudes
    • Follow this link to a resource on the Beatitudes from BibleGateway:https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2022/08/what-are-the-beatitudes-why-are-the-beatitudes-important/
    • Follow THIS LINK (or copy/paste) to a resource from Zondervan Academic: https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/beatitudes
    • Follow THIS LINK (or copy/paste) to the web version of Barclay's Commentary on the New Testament: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dsb.html
    • THIS LINK is a downloadable PDF of Barclay's Commentary
     
    _______________
     
    Listen to the Teaching
    “The Beatitudes: Blessing on Purpose”

    • 4 min
    DAY 2 | Everyday and Present Blessing | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount | Introduction, Cont.

    DAY 2 | Everyday and Present Blessing | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount | Introduction, Cont.

    Jesus’ first in a series of sermons (teachings) from Matthew 5:3-12 is called “The Beatitudes.” (Re-read these verses)
    In these statements of blessings (Beatitudes), Jesus did not speak of what WILL BE, He spoke of WHAT IS. As a Christ follower, always think of blessing in the present tense, not in the future tense. 
    Definition of blessing: (Greek μακάριος transliterated, makarios)
    To speak well of, to invoke blessings upon, to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on.
    We live in a world where circumstances can incite concerns and fear. It has been said that the most basic human instinct is survival. However, a survival mentality creates a feeling of insecurity, nervousness, and uncertainty. Mass media  and social media contributes to that fear and uncertainty. For example, cities are described as "murder capitals.” Some people still fear COVID vaccines. A recent winter weather event was called a "bomb cyclone” – something that in all my decades of winter experience, I had never heard of! 
    While the circumstances we face in life are real, the state of our hearts and minds can be conditioned to live in the reality of the blessing of God. I shared this quote from Maya Angelou recently with someone who was feeling discouraged: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
    There is a way to not be reduced by circumstances: It is through establishing a foundation of living in the reality of God’s blessing. That is the objective of these devotional series. We want to help you become established in the everyday and present power of Christ in your life.
    On Day 3, we will highlight Jesus’ first beatitude and recognize the wealth of being "poor in spirit” from Matthew 5:3. Jesus taught, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for THEIRS IS the kingdom of heaven.
    Notice that Jesus did not state what would be, he stated what is. He said, “…THEIRS IS the kingdom of heaven.” This is the pattern we will follow during this study in the beatitudes. 
    We will close today's lesson with another quote from William Barclay, who further defined the word blessed:
    “Makarios describes that joy which has its secret within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and self-contained, that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and the changes of life. Human happiness is something which is dependent on the chances and the changes of life, something which life may give and which life may also destroy. The Christian blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable.”
    Reflection Question
    Describe how you will maintain encouragement and a good outlook in this crazy world.

    • 3 min

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