"Forward & Upward" - Part 4, "Strategies for Strength" (audio)

"Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory." ~ Romans 5:2 (NLT)

Listen on Podbean: https://bryanhudson.podbean.com/e/forward-upward-part-4-strategies-for-strength/

Do Not Let Circumstances Degrade Your Faith

Matthew 8:23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Circumstances have a way of bringing out both the bad and good inside us.

Jesus' disciples were living in the school of life. Everyday they experienced "on the job training." Sometimes they were aware of this fact. At other times, they forgot. On the day when they crossed the lake, they were unaware of another lesson that was underway.

Whenever Jesus gives His followers an assignment, the objective is victory, not defeat. When Jesus said, "Let us go to the other side in this boat," He did not suggest that they would only go halfway before being taken down by a tempest. Of course, the disciples knew this, but the circumstance changed their minds and degraded their faith. The storm was a circumstance that challenged their view of God's plan. They panicked and woke Jesus up. Note that Jesus didn't even wake up during the storm!

They said, "We are perishing!" That's like being hungry between breakfast and dinner while saying, "I'm starving!" Their problem was this: They allowed the circumstance of the tempest to degrade their faith in God. We know that was a test because after Jesus stilled the tempest, He essentially said, "Where is your faith?" 

Jesus expected them (and us today) to do what he did. He expected them to exercise faith in God to handle the situation. It's never wrong to ask Jesus to do something, but don't forget His promise to believers, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." John 14:12

Never underestimate the power of God's grace operating inside of you. Your relationship with Christ is always the basis of your faith. Don't be fearful of your circumstances. Upgrade your faith by exercising faith in every circumstance.

Your Roads & Rivers in 2019

“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV

Watch this empowering five minute insight from last Sunday's message, "Forward & Upward. Pt. 2, Roads & Rivers." 

To listen to the entire teaching, check out the Firm Foundation podcast:

On iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/firm-foundation-with-bryan-hudson/id81271386?mt=2

On Podbean: https://bryanhudson.podbean.com/e/forward-upward-pt-2-roads-rivers/

Pressing Forward. Moving Upward. Pt. 1, Getting Clear for the New Year - (Audio)

Listen to teaching on Podbean: https://bryanhudson.podbean.com/e/pressing-forward-moving-upward-pt-1-getting-clear-for-the-new-year/

Listen to the teaching on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/firm-foundation-with-bryan-hudson/id81271386?mt=2

Download "Getting Clear" Worksheet: http://www.newcovenant.org/Pressing_Forward_Worksheet.pdf

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 

A new year is an opportunity, if you are focused on making progress and making a difference. If your focus is on settling, a new year is just another day.

Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” which I never read, begins with a famous sentance set in London and Paris during the French Revolution in the late 1790’s.

Dickens's famous opening sentence introduces the universal approach of the book:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period,”

It is always easier to remember the “worst of times,” but I challenge you to think about the “best of times.” You always have a choice, so choose wisely.

It is very important that you not focus on the “worst of times” even though you may have to deal the aftermath.

Champion athletes have the ability to forget about losses and mistakes, while learning from it. They quickly detach themselves from those things and focus forward. (Show Scanlon Video)

This is why Paul said: “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…”

You too are a champion in God’s Kingdom!

Fear is the expectation of danger and harm. FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real 

“God has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind”

Three Keys for Getting Clear for the New Year: POWER, PERSPECTIVE, PRIZE

Paul reminded us a about POWER = “…That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me..” 

You were designed by God to possess everything he designed for you to have.”

Paul gave us a PERSPECTIVE = I am not perfected, but I press on. I don’t focus on what I cannot do, I focus on what I can do. I am reminded of the manager who would not take his pitcher out of the game, even though he been pitching poorly. A couple of inning later he caught fire and began to strike out batters. In the post game, a reporter asked him “why did you leave him in the game when do was doing poorly.” The manager said, “I was not looking at he was not doing. I was looking at what he was going to do.”

Paul gave us a PRIZE = The upward or high call of God. This is kind of like the Christmas season as a child. Whatever else may have happened, the child looks forward to Christmas day and opening of gifts. It is kind of prize for the emotions.

What to Get Clear for the New Year:

All of this can be done through prayer and a quality decisions to act by faith.

A quality decision is the thing that gets done because you are committed to it. Like I also tell you, if someone ask you to do something and you say, “I’ll try” or “I might try” that is a non-quality decision. The Bible says “let your yes be yes, or no be no.” Matt 5:37, Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

1. The hindrance of self-imposed limitations resulting from broken principles and neglect of the Kingdom of God. Much of what impedes our progress has to do with neglecting a key principle or tolerating a condition that we can change. Not praying. Not giving. Not serving, etc.

2. The pain and disappointment introduced by difficult and draining situations

3. The shackles of low expectation introduced by “apparent” failure
The residue of bad encounters, disrespectful, and missed opportunities

4. The feeling of worthlessness resulting from a lack of engagement with the Lord and with your purpose

5. The sense of being drained by debts and unnecessary expenses. Form your plan to retire debts and eliminate unneccessary expenses
Determine to move straight ahead. Beware of situations that demand you to not run "straight ahead.” Philippians 3:14 So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above. (Good News Translation)

Out of the Margins and Into Purpose

The marginalization of people in our society is a problem that we can resolve. "Marginalize" means, "To treat a person or group of people as insignificant or peripheral; To put or keep someone in a powerless or unimportant position."
If it has ever happened to you, then you know the necessity of encouraging and honoring others. This is the essence of walking in love.
Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."
Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Even better, we can help others “Press Forward and Move Upward” as the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."