Love His Commanded Way

Written by Mary Hudson

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The commandments of the Lord are sacred requests that the Lord had written in stone and passed down from generation to generation. Commandments that God did not want us to forget, and just in case we struggle with that idea, He sends us reminders periodically to let us know how much he cares, even if it comes through difficulty or tragedy.

There are experiences and tragedies that shape us for the rest of our life. There was a particular night years ago when I couldn’t sleep. I was desperate for an answer but somehow deep in my heart I already knew the outcome. Sherry wouldn’t live. She was hit by a drunk driver; the crash threw her body into the air and many feet from the initial impact. By the time the ambulance arrived she had a pulse but was basically lifeless. It was long into the night before they pronounced her death.

There is more to this story. Sherry was my twin sisters, Martha best friend. My sister was a very loving Christian and accepted anyone into her world that needed a friend. Sherry desperately needed one. She grew up in a poor home. To be honest Martha’s friendship with Sherry embarrassed me, and I didn’t like the fact that my sister was her best friend. When she would call, I would answer the phone and with disdain announce that Sherry was on the phone again! But this day, the day she was involved in the crash, something inside of me cried out for mercy. I knew how I treated Sherry was wrong and I desperately asked God to forgive me and to give me a different love for people, His love. My perspective was transformed through this tragedy, and it changed me for the rest of my life.

In John 13:34-35 it says, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

None of us want the wakeup call that I got that tragic day but sometimes God will use whatever means it takes to let us know that if we aren’t loving, we will bear the consequences in a harsh way. What does it mean to love the Jesus way as He commands us?  On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the love condition of your heart? Many of us may feel we are loving at a 7 or an 8 but if we were to take an honest assessment, many of us would see that we fall short on the rare way Jesus commands us to truly love people. He wants us to love the “Jesus’ way, as He loved us.”

How is it possible to love the Jesus way in our human flesh? Humbling ourselves and being of no reputation. Knowing that the ultimate love is the love He gave us on a tree far away, bruised, battered and nailed down, what greater love could someone demonstrate and how can we do this today?

Recently I had the opportunity to show love that was extremely hard. To spend time with someone rejected by society and basically thrown away, considered a reject, and untouchable. I sat across from them and cried, listened, and eventually left my seal that under no circumstance would I turn them away. They could rely on me, and I committed to fervently pray for them. I wanted in that moment to show them the hands and heart of Jesus. To love when I didn’t want to in my flesh. It was hard. It was crushing and humbling, but we do that when we are committed to love the way that Jesus wants us to. He doesn’t throw anyone away and neither are we commanded to.

Our prayer to love this way may be offered up to God in different ways but let the sound of it come from a desperate heart and eyes that want to be enlightened and transformed. In I John 3:16 it says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Ask God to give you a love for the rejected, those thrown out to the wolves, and those forgotten, those that have been abused and cast away as being filthy and unwanted. Then watch as the opportunities come to you in unexpected ways. Will it feel good? No, it won’t. Will it feel right? If you have a heart for God and loving people, His way, it will.

When we learn to crucify our flesh, we can love the way Jesus commands us to and we will be greatly loved by Him. Our reward will be in the way we love His way. It may not always feel convenient, or feel good in our flesh, but doing it His way will reward our hearts and lives beyond what we can possibly comprehend. We will be filled with peace, contentment, and joy. People may never notice, or they may even reject the way you choose to love, but just know, that being full of His Spirit leads you to do things in a way that will please the Lord.

Jesus chose a tax collector to be one of his closest friends. He chose a woman with five husbands to spread the word of who He was. He extended mercy to a harlot when others wanted to stone her death. Did this feel good to Jesus? He didn’t care what others thought about it, He was simply showing us how to do “love His commanded way” and know it changed the world. Are you ready to change your world for Christ? Love His way and it will!


My Mentor, My Friend: Joy Haney

Writing a tribute to one of the godliest women I have ever known is an honor. To have had the privilege of knowing her was a gift I will treasure for the rest of my life. I will never forget the zeal for life that exuded her the first time I met her. She glowed with a beautiful zest for God and for people. I was sitting in class at the college I was attending in Stockton California when she walked into the room and she immediately connected with all of us sitting there, wanting to know where we were from and our purpose for choosing Christian Life College. She wanted to genuinely know us. She spoke life into us that day and let us know that if we gave her class our best, we would all be straight A students. I determined that day I wanted to do that, and I did. I ended up taking all her classes throughout my four years at the college and in the end, I was a straight A student in each of her classes. She honored me with the Radiant Women’s Award my senior year and from that moment forward she made a special attempt to connect with me writing me personal letters, sending notes of encouragement or sending text messages that were always filled with a scripture of courage and strength. At her passing, I learned that she had written over 60 books and all of them edified and lifted God and His word to encourage and strengthen people in getting to know God more and to learn of his divine faithfulness.
One of her attributes that stood out the most however was her powerful prayer life. She lived every day in prayer and in consecration to God even with dealing with some very difficult circumstances in her own life. She stood on the promises of God and shared this great strength with anyone who needed it. I remember as a student sitting in her class, she would come in full of the Spirit just leaving a prayer meeting herself and speaking life into all of us into her class to be sure we were committed to prayer and seeking God with all our heart. She believed in miracles and signs and wonders and spoke often of them, sharing her testimony of what she had witnessed even that day in prayer. This left an indelible mark on my life that still to this day has nurtured my own prayer life and has kept me close to the heart of God.
Joy Haney was the closest example in my life of someone who was completely devoted to God and living His attributes to the fullest. She was sold out to God and living the Jesus way. She was ever learning, ever growing and ever nurturing her walk with the Lord. She learned to deal with conflict with a soft and gentle spirit. I remember seeking her advice on some things Jon and I were dealing with in our ministry, and she text back with “It’s all in God’s hands and He will get the last words! It’s our duty to do our best to please Him and walk in truth.” And then she left me with this scripture “Love your enemies and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:35”
Thank you, Joy Haney, for leaving me a legacy to follow. One that is full of treasured nuggets of God’s faithfulness and love for His people. You lived out your life to glorify God and in the end, you left thousands in awe and wonder of our great and mighty God. A life sold out and saturated with Jesus!!

* Joy Haney passed on March 16, 2023

The Beautiful Attributes of the Cleaners

Some of the most humble, kind, and meek people I’ve ever met have a heart to serve, but what I’ve been most touched by is the beautiful kindness of the ones who clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, straighten the chairs and do the messy work with gladness. Whether it has been Anita, who has faithfully cleaned bathrooms, arranged chairs and vacuumed the church where we pastored for almost 20 years, or the sweet lady who has faithfully changed the trash cans at Legacy Christian School for over 20 years, or Pam, who for over 40 years, has cleaned the bathrooms and offices at Calvary Tabernacle where I attended. All of them exude a sweet, humble, glad to do it spirit that has impacted thousands of people without it ever being recognized. We take them for granted. I’ve known them all personally and here are the beautiful attributes they have that speaks volumes.
They do it with a smile and a hum in their voice. Having a heart that can hum or sing and do the dirty work while they clean is a beautiful thing to take notice of. You know they are digging into some of the most atrocious jobs while cleaning toilets, wiping down smelly changing tables, sweeping crumbs off the floor left behind from toddlers, or mopping up a messy kitchen floor, and yet, they do it all with a hum and song and with gladness, something that I admire and have taken notice of.
From what I’ve observed, they are beautifully meticulous. They don’t do a half-hearted job. They go the extra mile to make sure all the messy work gets done to almost perfection. They do these jobs with precisely the right size garbage bags, air freshener that greets your sense of smell as you walk into the building, and immaculately vacuumed floors that’s taken them hours to sweep. They care about the details; it is important to them, and they want to do their best so that those they serve have a place that is clean and welcoming.
Growing up in a fast-paced world, it is easy to overlook the detailed hard work of these beautiful servants that take precious time to clean with gladness, humbleness of heart and perfection. We tend to overlook them and take them for granted but in essence they are the ones who make our places of worship or workplaces, sanctuaries that are welcoming and beautiful.
The next time you step inside a classroom, a sanctuary, an auditorium, a school, or a bathroom, notice how well it is kept and take time to thank those servants of God that took the time to clean with a hum in their heart, a song on their lips and heart with gladness. These servants of God are worth gold to the Kingdom of God. Thank you to those cleaners who serve with gladness! The Kingdom is blessed to have you!

And Suddenly



external-content.duckduckgo“And suddenly there arose a great storm in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves, but He was asleep.” Matthew 8:24

I’ll never forget it. I can see in my mind, in slow motion, the incident. How many of you owned a banana seat bike? Our large family of 13 had one. It was light blue, with a white seat, big blue daisies were all over it, a perfect artistic master piece. My sister actually had the owner rights but she was kind enough to let me ride it once in a while. I was in fourth grade, loud and proud. After school was dismissed I ran to the bike rack excited to have the privilege of riding the bike home that day. My sister was on the back holding on tight, when down the steep hill we went, as fast as my little legs would let me go, our hair blowing in the wind. It was amazing! The faster the better! Then suddenly…out of no where, a bully threw a stick out in front of the bike… on purpose. The jerk! I didn’t have time to stop. It was a horrendous crash. I went flipping off the bike flat on my face. My sister about landing on top of me. We were scraped up and bleeding bad! I still have a scar on my knee to prove it! The beautiful blue bike lay in a mangled mess, like a crushed soda can. I was furious. I ran home, storming through the door announcing the incident at the top of my angry, crying lungs! In an instant, my oldest brother rose to the occasion, running out the door ready to meet up with this bully and give him a piece of his mind. It was not a pretty sight. My sister and I went to school the next day looking like Santa Claus; white bandages on our chins, knees and elbows. Everyone was asking what in the world happened!

It all happened so fast, so suddenly! How could someone be so mean? Why would he do that to us? Didn’t he realize who he was messing with? Anyone mistreating an Odum girl had to face 6 brothers and a dad who would be sure vengeance took place. What in this world happened?

We can all relate to a suddenly. Those moments that completely take us by surprise, unexpectedly. The accident that wasn’t your fault, that car that turned in front of you, totaling your car. That person who cut you off in line and sudden rage tore through you, tempting you with words that you never dreamed you would ever say. The phone call catching you suddenly by surprise, announcing the death of a loved one. Jealousy shows up on the job, and your job is suddenly in jeopardy. You are misunderstood, assumptions are made and your reputation is suddenly gone.  You post a picture on Facebook and it makes someone upset, creating havoc you never expected. These sudden moments can change us…for life. Without notice they come. They leave footprints on our heart that will last the rest of our lives. Uninvited but inviting us to make a choice. What we do about these “suddenly” moments is so important.

Spiritually, what happens to us when our suddenly comes? Will we make bitter decisions or better decisions? Will we decide to fight back or lay back and let God handle it? It’s not easy.  Our flesh was created to defend, the desire to fight back, to win. There is nothing wrong with the fight in us but if our attitude and spirit are wrong, we can fight until we are blue in the face and lose every battle. Fight, but do it with God and with a right spirit. You will always lose having a wrong spirit, period. You will always win having the right spirit, always! God has our best interest at heart whether it looks like it or feels like it or not, He does. Even when it seems as though others have won over us, regardless if we feel defeated, it is guaranteed that a right spirit always wins. Our suddenly will come. It will come uninvited, without warning, blind siding you, pushing you into darkness, into territory unfamiliar to you. With a right spirit, our suddenly’s become our greatest asset because God always has our best interest at heart.

What keeps us prepared when these suddenly’s come is so important. You want to be ready and we can be. You will suddenly wake up one morning, or run into someone, or get an email, or phone call and  in a moment, your circumstance will begin to work in your favor. You will feel the weight has lifted, doors have swung open and the promises that God had for you all along begin to unfold into a beautiful new awakening. It could take years, but regardless of the length of time, it will be worth the wait, if we are prepared. Don’t give in and fight the suddenly with your ugly flesh wanting desires, God made us to conquer, He made us for more. He wants to live through us, in us and for us but we have an enemy that realizes our potential with God. He will fight us emotionally, spiritually, physically, through our dearest friends and our loved ones, to defeat us. Our greatest enemy is playing havoc with our emotions and thought process and he will send careless people into our lives to derail us and get us off course but God will win when we choose, during these sudden moments in life, to stay calm and let Him fight for us. Continue reading

Dress for Success

“Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s chosen ones (His own picked representatives), who are purified and holy and well beloved by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, (and) patience (which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive. And above all these (put on) love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness (which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony). And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state) to which as (members of Christ’s) one body were also called (to live). And be thankful (appreciative), (giving praise to God always). Colossians 3:12-15

dressI was far from anything that remotely looked anything like humble or patient. My temper was second to none. I could definitely hold my own. I had the lungs in the family as my brothers often reminded me. You never had to guess where I stood on any given subject or what I was thinking. I was not tame. One particular night when my brother was watching us, he stuffed my mouth with a dirty sock and locked me in a closet. I was obnoxious and didn’t know when to keep my mouth shut. No one was going to tell me what to do, how to dress or how to act. I was confidently “Mary Odum.” I was the representative in the family that didn’t put up with unfair treatment. There was one particular time that comes to mind when my sisters came and got me and said, “Mary, you’ve got to help us. Mom is not treating us right and we don’t know what to do.” I took the situation by the reigns, marched right to my mother and said, “we will not put up with this. We aren’t going to tolerate your behavior in this situation, it is unacceptable.” My sisters were quaking in their shoes but not me, I was going to stand my ground. I stood strong, clothed myself with confidence and went straight at the issue and that was the end!

I’ve changed through the years with how I handle my disposition and I approach life situations that need confronted differently, but it was definitely a process to get there. I had to clean out my closet, my heart. I will have to say, that girl is still inside of me, but time has taught me how to properly clothe her.

How we treat others is of upmost importance in the Kingdom of God. God doesn’t tolerate behavior that is hateful, judgemental, angry, mean, ugly or filled with bitterness and un-thankfulness. When we walk around in the molly grubs, with ungrateful hearts, and wear a face that looks like we ate a sour lemon, people will have no tolerance for it. If you are wise, you won’t tolerate it either. It’s just not acceptable. We cannot be raging tornadoes or Debbie downers and expect God to answer us! We can’t make demands and shout out anything that comes to our minds. How we clothe ourselves is so important. Flee from drama, gossip, and anyone who does not represent what they should be as a child of God. It should literally scare us to tolerate behavior like this.

We were made for so much more! We have what it takes to become powerful in the Kingdom of God and in the community around us. When we clothe ourselves with peace it will leave people and lives astounded. Our lives speak so loud without ever saying a word. Our lives are extremely powerful whether we realize that or not. Our actions and behavior are effecting people every single day. Our actions will either be powerful for the good or powerful for the bad but they can’t be both. We have the power to choose! God gives us that distinctive honor to choose how we dress both in our attitudes and in how we present ourselves to the world around us. In the scripture above it is written in the word of God to clothe yourself with perfectness and yet none of us within ourselves are remotely close to being perfect. The only way we can obtain this state of being perfect is deciding that every day we are going to give God the reigns of our life and allow Him to direct and administrate our wardrobes, our lives. He’s given us the greatest honor and privilege in the world to become “like Him.” We have to choose to be clothed like Him and give our hearts whole heartedly to him withholding nothing. When we make this decision, our lives are literally filled with unexplainable peace. We can walk into the most horrendous situations and be filled with peace. God equips us with everything we need to live the life we can only hope to have without Him.

It is said that Mother Theresa lived a life of giving her all, every single day. This comment about her life is noteworthy because at the end of her life she said she felt unfulfilled, empty and lonely. She didn’t have the peace that comes from Him. In one despairing letter to a confident she wrote, “where is my faith – even deep down right in, there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness – My God – how painful is this unknown pain – I have no faith- I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart and make me suffer untold agony.” ( Mother Theresa worked hard many years of her life, advocating for very noteworthy aspirations, but left this world clothed without peace, without that perfect state of mind we are promised in Christ. The greatest thing we can ever do is get into the presence of God and ask Him to clothe us as Colossians 3 encourages us to do. When we do, we will find our purpose but more importantly, we will find the peace of God that He longs to give every one of us. When we find that, it will transform the world around us!

My hot temper didn’t get me anywhere, but looking back, I can see the mercy and hand of God on my life. He brought me to a place of humble appreciation for Him and gave me the discipline to surrender my temper. The trade brought me to a life of prayer, peace and perfect harmony. Choose to clothe yourself as God’s chosen ones, purified, holy and well loved by God. Then watch as He transforms your entire wardrobe to one that will be marked by tenderhearted pity, mercy and kind feelings towards everyone and everything life throws at you. You’ll be grateful you did! It works!

It Wasn’t Easy

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The year is marked in history as 1776, the date signifying our freedom as a nation. Long ago men fought fiercely for our freedom. Blood was shed, lives were lost and families left devastated, the price was costly, but it was worth it. We live in a beautiful country today, so much to see and enjoy, all at the cost of freedom. All because men were brave enough to fight to set us free. It was worth it!

Christ came that we would be free indeed. He too had a tremendous price to pay for our sins. It wasn’t easy, it was pain wrenching, His heart broke and stung with agony. But he knew that the outcome would be like none other in all of history, in all of time, nothing would compare to it. We all know it wasn’t easy. Thank God for our freedom! He paid the price and it was worth it!