Blessings of Manifold Grace: "Becoming All Things to All Men"

Friday, January 29, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 9:22  "...I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 
(Read 1 Cor. 9:19-23 for context)


Paul desired to reach all types of people for Christ. This desire put him a difficult and dangerous situations for the sake of the Gospel. He was criticized by some and rejected by others, even within the church. One key to Paul's success was his reliance on the "manifold grace of God." (1 Pet. 4:10). "Manifold" means "many-sided."


Extending beyond our "one-sided-ness" to reach others is not something we can do naturally. This is why we serve God and ask Him for "Grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16) Through Him we gain enough compassion to understand others, and enough wisdom to adapt our approach, without compromising our faith.


Below is a quote from an unknown author describing the attributes of a pastor. These attributes also describe the person who desires to reach all types of people for Christ. In ourselves, we may only carry 1-2 attributes. Through manifold grace, we can become "all things to all men."


Through grace you can possess:


  • The strength of an ox,
  • The tenacity of a bulldog,
  • The daring of a lion,
  • The wisdom of an owl,
  • The harmlessness of a dove
  • The industry of a beaver,
  • The gentleness of a sheep,
  • The versatility of a chameleon.
  • The vision of an eagle,
  • The hide of a rhinoceros,
  • The perspective of a giraffe,
  • The endurance of a camel,
  • The bounce of a kangaroo,
  • The stomach of a horse,
  • The disposition of an angel,
  • The loyalty of an apostle,
  • The faithfulness of a prophet,
  • The tenderness of a shepherd,
  • The fervency of an evangelist,
  • The devotion of a mother

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You Are Like Peyton Manning

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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.

In one sense, we are like Peyton Manning. No, we don't have his fame or money. Most of us don't have his athletic ability. What we have in common with Manning is that we were chosen because of our potential to positively impact a team.

The Apostle Paul said in so many words, "I have not reached my potential, nor am I perfect. I'm going to continue to press forward to become what Jesus saw in me when He chose me."

Peyton Manning was drafted in 1998 by the Indianapolis Colts. Before he played his first game, he received a lucrative contract.  Ownership brought in great players and coaches, including Tony Dungy, to help the young quarterback develop. Today, Manning has exceeded all expectations, and has "laid hold" on "that" for which the Colts laid hold on him – a National Football League championship (maybe another one on February 7, 2010!).

You are no different than Peyton Manning in relation to God's plan and purpose. God saved you and filled you with His Spirit so that you could "lay hold" on a life of Kingdom purpose. You have a guaranteed contract of wisdom, blessings, and spiritual gifts!

Now get out there! Live in victory! Win souls to Christ, and do everything God has put in your heart!

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Haitians Need Our Help, Not Our Speculation

Monday, January 25, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



The situation in Haiti is so desperate that we struggle to find any frame of reference. Over 110,000 lives lost. Hundreds of thousands injured and homeless. Millions of dollars of investment lost.

Untold misery has been experienced by Haitians, relief workers and doctors, who have been forced, in many cases, to doing amputations on adults and children using hacksaws without anestesia. One observer described it as "civil war" field medicine.

By all accounts, the situation in Haiti is the single worse human disaster event in the history of our hemisphere. Haiti is nearer to Indianapolis than Los Angeles. Essentially, this disaster occurred in our "back yard."

On top of all the human tragedy is the tragedy of speculation and questions about "why" Haiti experienced this tragic loss. Pat Robertson stated that the Haitians (I assume he meant all of them since 1791) made a pact with the devil, resulting in a "curse" on the nation. Space doesn't permit me to address this unfortunate misconception. Suffice it to say that many Americans, past and present, have behaved far worse than Haitian people in relation to social and spiritual matters.

I think it is far better to say, "we don't understand," rather than to "spiritualize" a human tragedy and paint an entire nation, including fellow Christians, with a broad brush of spiritual darkness. Dr. Robertson and his organizations have done a lot of good work, even in Haiti, but this statement was incredibly misguided and untimely.

In 1989, the San Francisco region was struck with a 7.1 earthquake that resulted in 57 immediate deaths. On January 12, 2010, the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti resulted in more than 110,000 deaths. The only difference I can determine between the two instances were the poorly constructed buildings of Haiti. However, too many of my fellow Christians seem to be "hell-bent" on assigning blame to the Haitians, and God, for this disaster.

There are aberrant "prophetic" groups among Christians that, in my opinion, have lost all sight of facts, reason, and scriptural accuracy. There is too much self-righteousness, too much eagerness to exploit "bad news," and too little self-judgment and accountability among some in these movements.

We need to fully focus on helping the Haitian people and not further spoiling our Christian witness by condemning the Haitian people with hurtful words and misinformed commentary.

--------------

Perspective about Haiti's founding by Haitian author: "God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti"

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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 21: "Called of God" Part Two, "Your High Calling"

Saturday, January 23, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Scripture
2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 

Insight
God bless you for reaching this final day of the 21-Day Growth Challenge! This is especially significant if you have made yourself available to walk with us for 21 straight days, even if you had to catch up on daily lessons!

If you have hit and miss over the past 21 days, I bless you for making the attempt, but I encourage you to rise higher to meet future growth challenges in life and ministry.

A “calling” is a divine summons to accept responsibility and fulfill assignments. When we accept responsibility as a calling from God, whether you are a preacher or not, you receive special grace and blessing from God including:

  • Conviction, Clarity 
  • Vision/purpose (Hab. 2:2-4) 
  • Inner motivation (Jer. 20:9; 1 Cor. 9:16) 
  • Helpers or “armorbearers” (1 Sam. 14:6-7) 
  • Grace, gifts & measure (1 Pet. 4:10-11; 2 Cor. 10: 13-14) 
  • Results/fruit (Mark 16:19-20; John 15:16)
  • Power from on high (Acts 1:8)
  • Ministry partnership with Jesus Christ, “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. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:12-13)
This 21-Day Growth Challenge was a kind of calling. They way in which you responded to this challenge gives you some indication of your readiness to accept other assignments and higher callings from God.

I encourage you to continue to reach for God's best in every area of life! Run to meet your challenges! Trust God for strength and grace to do your work! Let God fill you afresh with His Spirit when you feel like giving up! Trust your biblical convictions and calling to carry you through!

God loves you and so do I!
Pastor Bryan Hudson

Day 21 Exercise
Comment on your experience and testimonies during this 21-Day Growth Challenge

If the Lord leads, you can click here to sow a seed.

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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 20: "Called of God" Part One, "Your Corporate Calling"

Friday, January 22, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:  3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Insight
The things that are most important to a believer in Christ are rooted in God's purpose and in our calling. We have both a corporate calling as well as a personal calling.  The corporate calling speaks to the "big picture" or to the larger plan of God for the ages, including our time. The personal calling speaks to our specific assignments, relationships, and Biblical values.

Regarding our corporate calling, we relate together as the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament Scriptures show us seven realities of our corporate calling:
1. As a Temple (structure/worship) Eph. 2:20
2. As a Household (family/accountability) Gal. 6:10
3. As a Body (function/relationship)  1 Cor. 12:13
4. As a Bride (covenant/intimacy/adornment)
5. As Bread (process/nourishment/life for others) 1 Cor. 10:17
6. As a Nation (identity) 1 Pet. 2:6
7. As an Army (strategic action/order/authority) 1 Tim. 2:3

The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia which is derived from two root terms; 1)  ek, meaning “out,” 2)  klesis meaning “a calling.” Taken together, ekklesia essentially means, “called out ones.”

Regardless of whatever else we may do in our lives, whether in career, in society, or in any other arena in this world, it is necessary to embrace our higher corporate calling. You are an ambassador for Christ. You are a member of the household of faith. You are salt and light in this world. You are part of God's pre-destined plan, together with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

We should also consider antithetical perspectives of God's church. We are not a:
1. Carnival: A place of thrills and chills, or of temporary pleasures and superficial delights.
2. Shopping center: A place to congregate near the latest fashions
3. Beauty salon: A place to pamper the outward man
4. Country club: A place for recreation among the elite

1 Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

Prayer
Ask God to strengthen within you the biblical realities of Christ's church. Also ask Him to keep you from behaviors or mindsets that are antithetical to God's biblical order for His church.

Exercise

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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 19: "Love in Four Directions"

Thursday, January 21, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Insight
God is love. This makes love as big and as multifaceted as God Himself. We live in a world where the concept of love is distorted by selfish motivations, lust, and insincerity. Jesus Christ is the genuine embodiment of God's love. He is the "gold standard" and reference. Love is active, not passive. Love takes action, not only has emotions. Love moves forward, never standing still.

Love moves in at least four directions:

1. Upward: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:38).
Loving God is the most important reality and action in life. When we live by that standard of loving God first, it's like having a compass that always shows which way is North, by which we can always determine East, West and South. People who are confused and misdirected need know that one cannot find his own way, without first finding "True North" in God's love.

2. Inward: "Love your neighbor as your self" (Matthew 22:39).
Too many people hate themselves. This may be the result of poor child training or coming from bad experiences in life. We are all "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psa. 139:13) by God, meaning that we all have eternal value. When we see value in ourselves, we will also see it in others.

3. Outward: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19).
God's love helps us understand that we are on a mission in this world. Love creates a desire within us to share Christ, and God's love, with others. We are motivated to personally help other people develop and strong love-relationship with God.

4. Forward: "Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:20).
The Forward direction of love centers on developing followers of Christ to be disciple-making disciples. Not only do with make disciples, we make disciples who make disciples. Love doesn't stop with the persons in front of me. God's love has a generational, forward-looking viewpoint.

Prayer
Thank God for filling you with His love. Ask Him to help you exercise love in four directions. Remember that the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in love (Rom. 5:5-8)

Exercise

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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 18: "The A,B,C's of Bible Study, Part Two"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


by Warren E. Berkley  

NOURISHMENT. Understand, that you cannot have spiritual life without the divine food that sustains that life. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4; see also, Heb. 5:12-14 & 1 Pet. 2:1-3).

OBEDIENCE. Honoring Christ and pleasing God by obeying the Word of God ... let that be your constant object (Matt. 7:24-27; Heb. 5:9).

PATIENCE. Do you sometimes think it would be great to sit down with your Bible today and have complete knowledge by noon tomorrow? That's not reality. Be patient with yourself, keep studying, and you'll add more to your store of Bible knowledge after every session (Phil. 3:15).

QUESTIONS. Use questions to learn about a text. "Who wrote this ... Who was it written to ... What was the historical circumstance ... Are there any other passages that will help me understand this ... What is there in this passage that I need to apply ... How does this passage help me understand other parts of the Bible ?? etc."

REVIEW. Don't ever finish or "get through" with any portion of Scripture. Go back and review. Start over again with key passages, and you may learn something you missed before (Phil. 3:1; 2 Pet. 3:1).

STUDY. There is a difference between reading and study! When you read, that's your first contact with the information. Next, you should think about that information: "What did it mean to them? What does this mean today? How do I apply this today? How does this passage or teaching relate to other parts of the Bible." When you study, you apply the mind God gave you to the book He gave you (Eph. 5:17).

TRACKING promises and prophecy. When you find a promise (Gen. 3:15), or a prophecy (Isa. 53) in the Old Testament, follow those passages to their fulfillment.

UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES. Especially when you read the stories in the Old Testament, don't just regard those passages as historical narratives. Look for underlying principles that transcend dispensational boundaries (Rom. 15:4).

VERSIONS. Bible bookstores' shelves are running over with all sorts of different versions and translations of the Bible, some good and helpful; others, twisted and inaccurate. Consulting several English translations can be helpful, but don't get too far away from the standard translations {King James, New King James, American Standard, New American Standard}.

WORDS. Don't deceive yourself into thinking that "word studies" and definitions are boring or unnecessary. The fact is, God has chosen to communicate with us through words. We need to know what those words mean. Use a good Bible dictionary, consult references, and respect the Biblical significance of the words you read (1 Cor. 2:13).

X marks the spot. Systematic reading all the way through the Bible is a great help to your understanding. Read a portion; mark an "X" in the margin, or put the date, then continue at that place next time.

YOURSELF. We may be tempted, in our Bible reading and study, to immediately think of others -- how they need this; how others have violated what the passage says. Our first concern must be, self-examination (2 Cor. 13:5).

ZEAL. As you read and study and gain knowledge, be sure that knowledge is accompanied by the zeal to teach and practice the truth of the gospel (Rom. 10:1-3)


Day 18 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 17: "The A,B,C's of Bible Study, Part One"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


by Warren E. Berkley  

ATTITUDE. If you have a strong desire to find out what's right, and to live as you should before God, that attitude will serve you well as you read and study the Bible. This desire becomes the motive that keeps you "on task," as you seek to discover the right way of the Lord. "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart" (Psa. 119:2; Jas. 1:21).

BALANCE. You should give attention to all the Word of God. There may be certain topics you develop a special interest in, and some passages may be especially relevant to current needs. But you need to have a good, overall knowledge of all the Word of God (Acts 20:27).

COMMANDMENTS. In your study, you will come across commandments; imperative statements which require action, and originate in divine wisdom. Carefully look into the context, and discover who the commandment is directed to. If the commandment applies to you, decide right then that you will obey (Psa. 119:4; Rev. 22:14).

DILIGENCE. Diligence means great effort and care. If you read the Bible carefully, and study the context, define words and consult references ... that requires effort, but pays great dividends. Pray as David did: "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psa. 119:18).

EXAMPLES. All through the Scriptures, there are examples. We read of people who did good things, and afford us excellent illustrations of what's right. There are also stories of good people who took wrong turns and sinned against God. In other words, there are good examples and bad examples. We should study these, and let them instruct us (1 Cor. 10:6; Phil. 4:9).

FAITH. Effective Bible study requires belief in God, trust in Jesus, and full confidence in the truth of God's Word. Mere intellectual or academic interests will never yield the fruit that is generated by faith (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6).

GOD. One vital accomplishment of Bible study is to learn about God. There is really no other way to find out who God is, what He is like, how He reacts, and what He has promised, except in the Scriptures (Rom. 11:22).

HELP. Don't ever hesitate to ask for help. Have you ever been in a preacher's office? The walls are lined with hundreds of books, and their purpose is to help the preacher understand the Bible. Dictionary books, concordances, commentaries and reference works simply imply that we may need some help. There is no shame in asking for help (Acts 8:30,31).

IMPLICATIONS. As you go through the written Word of God, not only will you learn from examples, and find commands that apply to you, there are also implications. Don't call just anything an implication, but when the information in the text leads to a conclusion, accept it and consider it to be part of God's revelation.

JESUS. "...God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...," and this good news is the theme of the Bible. Look for this everywhere! In Old Testament prophetic passages, the psalms of David, the institutions of the Mosaic system, the gospel accounts, Acts, the epistles and the Revelation of John ... Jesus is everywhere. Look for Him, and let every new experience of Bible study bring you closer to Him (John 3:16; Col. 1:18).

KNOWLEDGE. Your object is to acquire a knowledge of God's truth.

LOVE for the truth. Paul spoke of some who would perish, and he said they were deceived "because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10). Therefore, a love for the truth is an essential quality of a good Bible student.

MATURITY. Growth to maturity in Christ can never be realized, apart from Bible study. As you learn of Christ, and study His will and apply what you learn, you involve yourself in a process that produces maturity (Col. 1:28).


Day 17 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 16: "Standing Firm in Freedom"

Monday, January 18, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
Galatians 5:1, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of bondage.

Insight
Today's post comes on the holiday celebrating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We celebrate the man as well as the larger concept of freedom.

It's a day to be thankful first to God for His son Jesus Christ, who gives freedom and liberty for the heart and mind.

Second, it's a day to be thankful to live in a nation whose governing document, the Constitution, embodies the concept of freedom for all United States citizens. The words were penned at a time when many people in the United States were not recognized as citizens or afforded basic rights. However, the hope engendered by the Constitution inspired action to bring equality for all people.

Third, it's a day to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as generations of Americans since the founding of our nation who held America accountable to its creed, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

We should use our freedom to "stand firm" and resist the burdens of any "yoke of bondage." A yoke is a collar used to bind oxen together for labor.  Hatred, immorality, fear, and unbelief are examples of behaviors, or yokes, to avoid.

Ultimately, we should our freedom to help people break free from personal, social, and spiritual yokes and limitations. This will require us to draw closer to God and become more faithful to the Scriptures.

Prayer
Thank God for your all your freedoms; personally, socially, and spiritually.


Day 16 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 15: "The Year of Jubilee, Everyday"

Sunday, January 17, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Key Verses
Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19] to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

Insight
In this text in which Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1, Jesus said he came to preach the "acceptable year of the Lord," he was talking about a year of Jubilee. (Leviticus 25:9-11)

Jubilee was one the holy occasions for the Jewish people. It occurred once every 50 years and lasted for one year. It’s main features were:
1. It began on the Day of Atonement—the holiest day of the year
2. Property bought or sold reverted back to its original owners in the inheritance
3. Indentured servants were released
4. Debts were cancelled
5. The land was fallow for the year: No sowing or reaping

Jubilee was an event that Jesus transformed into a spiritual place and reality. He changed it from once every 50 years, to everyday.

Jesus' Jubilee message was simple and straightforward:
1.  Good news to the poor
2.  Healing from a broken heart
3.  Deliverance to the captives
4.  Sight (natural and spiritual) for the blind
5.  Liberty for the oppressed
6.  Jubilee all the time

These words touch every person in need. This message was so progressive, cutting-edge, and action oriented until it offended the people in the synagogue. They were not prepared to hear Jesus say, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your hearing.” It is interesting that when God makes extraordinary promises, it is the tendency of people to want to put such great blessings off to a different place or time. People think, "Surely something this great and this good could not be for us today, it must be for a day to come."

That is a religious mindset. The best things that God wants to do for people, He wants to do NOW.  Our God is a God of action. As His servants, we must adopt the same mindset.

Day 15 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 14: "For Such A Time As This"

Saturday, January 16, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Scripture
Esther 4:14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?"

Insight
The hatred of one man, Haman, put the entire Jewish nation at risk of genocide. Haman's hatred for Mordecai, who refused the king's decree to bow down and worship before another man caused him to persuade the king to destroy all the Jews.

When Esther, who was both a Jew and the Queen, learned that Mordecai had been praying and fasting for God's intervention because of the king's death decree, she requested to see him.
Esther had obtained a place of high privilege as the queen. She did not need to involve herself in the plight of "lesser" people. However, because she was a Jew, she would have probably suffered the same fate as all other Jews.

Mordechai appealed to her to intercede before the king on behalf of her people, even though appearing before the king without an invitation could bring instant death. The challenge that Mordecai issued to Esther is the same for us today, "Who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?"

We all must recognize that our lives were not given to only enjoy comfort and privilege. For Esther, it didn't get any better than being a queen.

I believe that there are occasions during our lives when the destiny and purpose of God requires of us to step outside of our comfort and privilege. In fact, our decision to risk everything in obedience to God is necessary to help and deliver others. It is not that we are the only persons that can do God's work. It is that if we do nothing when we have the opportunity to do so, someone else will suffer.

God is looking for people who recognize that they are alive "For such a time as this"and will follow the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is our time to take action!


Prayer
Ask God to help you be sensitive to the occasions when he wants you to step up and take action.  Thank him for the boldness to take action at the time that you know action is required.

Day 14 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 13: "Seeking the Kingdom"

Friday, January 15, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Insight
In yesterday's lesson, Jesus instructed us not to worry. The best way to not do something negative is to focus on doing something positive. He has set processes in place for us that will support us and help us. Seeking God's Kingdom is the thing to focus on. This will prevent worry and sin from disrupting your connection with, and awareness of, those processes.

The Kingdom of God is that process. A kingdom is the domain or territory of a king. We live in the United States of America as citizens. The USA has laws and processes for getting things done. We are also citizens of the Kingdom of God which is governed by the Word of God, and embowered by the Spirit of God. Jesus said that God's kingdom is within us. (Luke 17:21)  Because the kingdom is within us, we don'thave to struggle to get things done for God.

Example:
I am typing this lesson using my laptop computer. When I sit down to write these lessons, I don't have any anxiety concerning whether the words I type will appear on the screen. The operating system of the computer and the applications that I use are always there ready to transform my tying into a message for others.  If you will, it is the kingdom of Apple Macintosh

Jesus said, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." Things are added because it is the nature and process of the Kingdom of God, like seed sown, to produce for its seekers.

Again, keep worry "out," by keeping seeking "in."

Prayer
In your prayer, thank God for helping you keep clear of any worries or distractions that prevent you from seeking the kingdom of God and receiving the things that God wants you to have, or to do.

Day 13 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 12: "No More Worry!"

Thursday, January 14, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
Matt. 6:25  (NAS)“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34  “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Insight
Jesus said, "Do not be worried about your life." Worry defined: "give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles; cause to feel anxiety or concern." While Matthew 6:33 is the "star" of this text, the background context is "don't worry," as Jesus indicated by mentioning it five times.

Worry is a form a fear, which according to 1 John 4:18, "has torment." Worry is negative emotions and negative energy in your body and mind, which can produce bad physical effects. Most importantly, worry takes us out of a godly mindset and puts us at odds with our Heavenly Father.

When we worry, we fail to recognize the processes God has set in motion on our behalf. Jesus said, "Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin…" It is not that the lilies of the field do nothing. These plants are connected to nature and benefit from nature's processes. They are "of the field." The same goes for the birds. They are "of the air." Of course, plants and birds don't have a will like we do. They don't choose to "buck the system" by worrying if the process God has put in place will work "this time."

We are "of God." We are connected to God's Spirit and to His unfailing Word. Worrying "bucks the system" and throws us out of sync. The solution to not worrying is not failing to take action. Our solution is always: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." God's kingdom and righteousness is our "field" and "air." It is our best environment and most fruitful process. So long as we stay connected by walking in faith and obedience (like the birds and lilies), we get things done and keep the path open for provision to find us.

Example
Does anyone believe that Captain Sullenberger would have had any chance of landing his airplane in the Hudson River if he started to worry when his engines failed? God's grace and Sulley's connection to his training and skills saved everyone aboard. His calm and confidence allowed the right process to work.

Prayer
Offer a prayer that includes repentance from worrying and a renewed commitment to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" through faith and obedience.


Day 12 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 11: "All Manner of Prayer"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Special Note: As stated on Day Eight, this week, you should plan to fast and pray. Skip one or more meals per day. Click here for an in-depth lesson on prayer and fasting.

Key Scripture
“Pray at all times—on every occasion, in every season—in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).” Ephesians  6:18 Amplified (Also read  Timothy 2:1-4)


Insight
Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to pray with “all prayers" or "all manner of prayer." Prayer is certainly not a technical issue, so we don't have to fret about how we pray, so long as we are earnestly praying to God.

That said, it is helpful to examine and practice all types prayers so that we may  be more focused and motivated to pray. The scriptures show various types of prayers. Below is brief overview of common types of prayer.

1. Prayer of supplication. 1 Kings 8: 37-40, 54 - 55, Luke 11: 9 - 13, James 5: 17-18
Supplication is a specific request. The three scriptures show people were seeking (or asked to seek) for something specific. When you know what is needed, you can offer a prayer of supplication.

2. Prayer of intercession. Genesis 18: 22 - 33 (Abraham) 1 Kings 18: 41 - 46 (Elijah) 2 Kings 4: 32-36 (Elisha) Acts 12: 1 - 18 (The early church)
To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Jesus intercedes for us (Hebrews 7: 25). The Holy Spirit prays for us and through us as we pray in the Spirit (Romans 8: 26 - 27).

When we pray earnestly for other people, we enter into the realm of intercession, in which we present people and their needs to God. There is also a dimension to intercession where we "stand in the gap" for people for special blessing or protection. (Eze. 22:30)

3. Prayer of faith. Mark 11:12 -14, Mark 11: 20-25, Luke 7: 1-10, James 5: 13-18, Matthew 9: 18-26
The prayer of faith is a supernaturally confident type of prayer, that is absent of doubt. The woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9) knew that touching Jesus would get her healed. Her faith gave her the strength to press through the crowd. Strong faith and boldness accompany the prayer of faith. This manner of faith releases special blessings and miracles.

4. Prayer of agreement.  Genesis 11: 1-9, Matthew 18: 19-20, Exodus 17: 8-13, Psalm 133: 1-3, Acts 4:23, Hebrews 10: 24-25
The prayer of agreement occurs when two or a few people come together (the fewer the better), in agreement with one another and with the Word of God on something God wants to do. The prayer of agreement is connected the authority of God has vested in His church. Prayers of agreement can multiply the effects of God blessings beyond what one can do by oneself.

5. Prayer of praise, worship and thanksgiving. Psalm 100, Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 149:4-9
Praise, worship and thanksgiving can be a form a prayer that brings us into the presence of God. When we praise and thank God, we are affirming our faith in Him. This pleases God and helps our faith. Praise and thanksgiving disarm two of the most deadly enemies to our Christian walk, doubt and fear. No wonder the scriptures call praise a two edged sword (Psalm 149: 4-9)

6. Prayer of Dedication. 1 Kings 8:62-64, Mark 14:36, Acts 7:59, 9:6, 13:3, 14:23
The prayer of dedication is used to consecrate or dedicate someone or something to God. In the Old Testament, priests, altars, and tabernacles were dedicated by prayer. In the New Testament, Jesus and others dedicated (or ordained) disciples, apostles, elders deacons to the work of God.

Day 11 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day 10: "Lessons from the Prayer of Jabez, Part 2"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
I Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV) Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez  saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." So God granted him what he requested. 

Key Phrase: “Oh that you would enlarge my territory…”

Insight
Jabez was an "average" man who wanted more influence, more responsibility and more opportunity to serve God.

In Jabez’s time, part of Israel’s recent national history included Joshua's was conquest of Canaan and the partitioning of the promised land for each tribe. When Jabez cried out to God, “Enlarge my territory.”  He may have been looking at his circumstances and thinking, “Surely I was born for more than this.”

Applying Jabez's example to ourselves, our prayer might sound something like this:
“Almighty God and King, please expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for Christ. Let me do more for you!”

We have an incorrect view of what it takes to expand our territory. We may use the following formula:
My abilities + My experience + My training + Plus my personality = My enlarged territory

Jabez's formula looked more like this:
Willingness + Relationship in God + Faith in God + Humility + God’s power = Enlarged territory

Praying for enlarged territory is like asking for a miracle. A miracle is an intervention by God to make something happen that would not normally happen. This is what Jabez needed in order to overcome his name and transcend his circumstances.

In this, we are not much different than Jabez: We want God to intervene in our circumstances. Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) God intervenes when we cooperate with Him and change our mindset to embrace things that we once viewed as impossible.

Prayer
Thank God for His intervention in your circumstances. Ask Him to give you wisdom for the steps you should take in your "formula" or process.


Day 10 | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Nine: "Lessons from the Prayer of Jabez, Part 1"

Monday, January 11, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
I Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV) Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez  saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." So God granted him what he requested. 

Insight
The only mention of Jabez in the Bible is contained in this text. His prayer offers a model of faith, boldness and humility. It seems that part of Jabez' motivation was to overcome circumstances surrounding his name which meant, "pain."

Asking for blessing is not a selfish request because without the blessing of God we have nothing to offer to others. Since the blessing of God is always connected to relationship with Himself, asking for blessing deepens our walk with God.

When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for what we could acquire for ourselves. We are crying out for the goodness that only God has the power to give us. As the Bible says in Proverbs 10:22 (Living Bible), “The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it.”

Receiving and living in God’s blessing opens the door to natural and supernatural provision to do God’s will. Having this knowledge reminds us that we should not function in our own strength.

If you don’t ask for God’s blessing, you forfeit those blessings that come to you only when you ask. God wants goodness and abundance to flow into your life. Jabez understood this, and so should we.

Prayer
Offer the prayer of Jabez to Father God in Jesus' Name. Make the prayer your own by adapting the words to fit your life and circumstances.

Day Nine | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Eight: "The Fruit Factor"

Sunday, January 10, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Special Note:

For two of the next five days, you should plan to fast and pray. Skip one or more meals per day. Click here for an in-depth lesson on prayer and fasting.


Key Verse
John 15:16 (NKJV) You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.


Insight
The fruit factor represents the things that God will do for us and through us when it involves bearing fruit. Producing fruit means producing godly results and character consistent with His plan and purpose. The disciples came to a point in their spiritual growth when they would no longer be carried by faith in what they saw in Jesus. It was time for them to produce fruit by their own faith in God.


God sends people to help us grow and develop such as our parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, coaches and others, including Jesus. None of these people, nor our Savior, can produce fruit for us. The best they can do is help cultivate what God has put inside of us. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to recognize God at work in ourselves and to fully cooperate with the Holy Spirit.


In our text, Jesus made a very specific promise related to bearing fruit (results). He intends for us to receive what we ask, especially when what we ask is related to being chosen, appointed and commited to producing results for God's glory and purpose.


Prayer
Ask God to make clearer to you what seeds, abilities and gifts He has put inside you. Thank Him that you are, and will, produce godly results and character (fruit). Consistent with your knowledge of His will, ask Him to give you whatever is necessary to serve His purposes.


Day Eight | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Seven: "The Positive Power of Fellowship"

Saturday, January 09, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
Hebrews 10:24, And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25] not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Insight
Seven Reasons Why Believers Join Together in Fellowship

1. Christians are a reflection to the world of the reality and unity of the Godhead
John 17:21, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

2. Our place in the body of Christ defines our purpose and adds significance to our lives.
Romans 12:4, For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5] so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.6] Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:

3. There are levels of the grace and anointing from God that are only available in corporate gatherings of God’s people.
Acts 4:31, And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.


Psalms 133:1, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2] It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.3] It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing--Life forevermore.

4. Fellowship raises our level of holiness and reduces our temptation to sin.
1 John 1:5, This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6] If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7] But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

5. Coming together removes a self-centered focus. We avoid an independent spirit.
Proverbs 18:1, A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment. 2] A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.

6. When we join together, we are able to empathize with others
1 Corinthians 12:26, And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

7. We can demonstrate the true nature of covenant love
1 John 3:18, My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.19] And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.


1 Samuel 18:3, Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4] And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

Prayer
In your prayer time, reflect on the seven reasons for fellowship and ask God to help you become more faithful in any area which may be lacking.


Day Seven | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Six: "The Implanted Word"

Friday, January 08, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verse
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Insight
In this text, James lays out practical steps for "saving" our souls, (the mind, will, and emotions):

1.  Lay aside filthiness and wickedness. Can a Christian act wickedly? Unfortunately, yes. In New Testament Greek, filthiness is defined as, "defile, dishonor." Wickeness is defined as: “malice, ill-will, not ashamed to break rules.” There can be no advance when unconfessed sin is present.

2.  Receive the implanted Word with meekness. The implanted Word is the word that is placed in you by God and others. It is a word that we are fully prepared to "do" and not just hear.

Example
It’s like the vegetables your mother made you eat, when you would have preferred to eat cake and pies. We wanted candy, but needed good nutrition. Pastors and spiritual leaders must implant the Word. Sometimes folk just want to have church, but God wants the Word implanted. We need meekness when the word being implanted rubs you the wrong way.

3. The result of the implanted Word is the saving, or restoring and renewal of the soul. Your soul is your mind, will and emotions. How you think, how you choose, and how you feel, all need to be “saved” in the sense of becoming more Christlike.

James 1:23-24 describes the problem with believers who do not renew their minds. Seeing the condition, but not acting to change it.

James 1:25 describes believers who practice renewing of their minds. Such persons are hearers and doers of the Word and the "work" of the Lord.

Prayer
In your prayer today,  if necessary, "lay aside" any "filthiness and wickedness" which means things that defile and dishonor, or any attitude that wants to go against God's way. Thank God for grace and faith to be a doer of the Word.

Day Six | Online Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Five: "Worship God's Way"

Thursday, January 07, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments




Key Verse
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Insight
Worship begins within us and extends beyond us into the presence of God. Worship, like how we think and speak, is the true expression of our hearts and lives.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

How we worship God is not our choice. We should worship our God in a manner acceptable to Him. Three keys to presenting ourselves in worship of God:

1. Come in fullness, worshipping both in the Spirit and in Truth (Read John 4:23)

2. Come boldly to the “throne of grace” to obtain mercy and grace to help. Don’t bother trying to impress God with who you are. He is not impressed, but He loves you anyway. (Read Hebrews 4:15-16)

Example
Luke 18:10, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
3. Come to God in complete sincerity and yieldedness.
1Cor  5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8)  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Prayer
Thank God for helping you worship in a manner that pleases Him. If needed, ask Him to purge your heart of any "leaven" of insincerity or empty religion.

Day Five | Exercise
Worship Him while looking over the scriptures in this lesson and saying words to God that show your understanding of what pleases Him. 

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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Four: "Exceedingly Abundantly Above"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010 Bryan Hudson 10 Comments


Key Verse
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Insight
The closing words of this chapter reads like a "pep talk." Clearly it is much more than that. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these words, so the tone and substance of this text reflects the message God intended to convey.

The soaring words were meant to inspire faith in the Ephesian believers and all readers. On Day Two, we read Ephesians 3:17-19 and shared the truth that Christ's love fills us with God's fullness. Verse 19, "To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

It is from a perspective of fullness in God that Paul writes, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."

From that perspective, can you see God working in you in a manner that is "exceedingly abundantly above" what you ask or think? In other words, when you are full of love, you are full of God's power!

This sounds like hype, but it is not. God is perfectly capable of delivering on any promise that He makes. He wants to use us, "…according to the power that works in us."

God wants glory in His church, in every generation. That begins with you and me.

Example:
There was a football team that had lost every game. A businessman promised to buy every team member a car if they could win one game. The guys were highly motivated to win, but they lost every remaining game. Moral to the story: Hype and motivation won't make us better. We need real change, substance and power in order to improve.


Prayer
In your prayer today, ask God to help you experience the real power of God, not just "hype" about His power. Thank Him for leading you along a path of spiritual growth towards a place that is "exceedingly abundantly above" what you can ask or think.



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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Three: "By Grace Through Faith"

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Key Verses:

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Insight

When you read the word “faith,” it has two basic meanings.
1. "Faith A" is your doctrine or system of beliefs.
2. "Faith B" is believing in your heart and acting on the promises and instructions of the Word of God.

"Faith A” is “What I believe.” "Faith B” is “What I do.” You need both A and B, because A without B is only religion lacking power and relationship with God.

Every blessing and act of faith begins with the grace of God. Grace is God's favor and provision. Both grace and faith are "not of ourselves." It is the gift of God and it is our responsibility to cultivate the gifts God gave us. He does not force us to trust Him.

If we are not growing in our love relationship with God, reading/believing the Word of God, and living by faith (which is taking action in line with God’s word), we are left to "ourselves" and to our "boasting."

Again, Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For by GRACE you have been saved THROUGH FAITH, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

This is why living by grace through faith is so important. Living this way helps you realize that you are special because you are God's workmanship—crafted by God Himself. You also realize that the whole reason for "grace through faith" is to cause you to perform the "good works" for which you were purposefully designed and built by God!

Example:
If you have ever tried to use a butter knife as a screwdriver, you have a good picture what it looks like to not operate by "grace through faith." Utensils and tools are purpose designed and built.
Prayer
In your prayer today, ask God to help you avoid shortcuts such as using knives as screwdrivers. Thank God for the grace to live by faith in order to receive/recognize His gifts in your life.


Day Three | Exercise


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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day Two: "Love God"

Monday, January 04, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Key Verses: 

Matthew 22:35  (NIV) One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Ephesians 3:17 (NKJV) "…That you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Insight
Loving God is our greatest pursuit in life. Loving people follows close behind. A Pharisee tried to test Jesus' knowledge of the Law of Moses by asking,"which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus' answer permanently moved the focus of faith from religion to relationship with God. Our love relationship motivates us to live right as well as fulfill the spirit of the Law (such as "honor mother and father" or "do not covet").

The love of God is not something we produce, It is something we possess because of Jesus living in us. This love extends grace to all people, in all conditions, at all times. It is this love that allowed Jesus to suffer and die for humanity. It is this same love that allows us to serve humanity.

The love of God in us is supernatural. When we are "rooted and grounded" in love, we will, as a body of Christ, manifest God's full dimensions to people around us (His width and length and depth and height).

When we, the body of Christ, are "filled with all the fullness of God," we'll experience revival, renewal, restoration in every area, and reap harvests of souls!

Example:
In John 21;16-18 Jesus asked Peter two times, "Do you love me?" The third time Jesus asked, Peter felt hurt. Why? Peter was trying to love in his own strength and preference. Peter needed the "God kind of Love" which could not be produced, only possessed.
Prayer
In your prayer today, thank God for a love that cannot be produced, only possessed. Ask Him to empower you to love with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.


Day Two | Exercise
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21-Day Growth Challenge | Day One: "Know God"

Sunday, January 03, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Read Psalm 103 (New Living Translation)

Key Verses: 
Psalms 103:7  He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
John 14:8 (NJKV)  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

Insight
What does it mean to know God?  If we focus mainly on what God has done or will do, our knowledge and relationship with Him is based on "deeds." In this, we are like the people of Israel, who needed experiences to sustain them; seeking signs like people who did not know God. (Matt. 12:38-39)

If we focus on biblical truth and principles for living, our knowledge and relationship with Him is based on His "character" (or "ways). In this, we are like Moses, who was a friend of God because he valued relationship with God above everything else. Moses carried the heart of God to the people.  He also kept God's larger purposes and processes in view.

Example:
When Jesus feed the thousands with a few fish and loaves, most people only recognized the "deed" of feeding. In John 6:50-52 Jesus show the "character" behind the deed by declaring that He was the "Bread from heaven" and that partaking of Him would lead to eternal life.

In our text, Philip said, "Show us the Father," he desired a "shortcut" to knowing God by asking for a manifestation of His presence,  Jesus answered Philip by showing Father God's character and nature in His own life and ministry.

Because of the new birth, we have relationship with God. Technically, we "know" Him. However, as with other relationships, we can grow deeper and more intimate with God.

Prayer
In your prayer today, thank God that you are becoming increasingly aware of the character of Christ in your heart. Thank Him for His mighty deeds in your life, but ask Him to reveal the greater lessons of character through the circumstances of life.


Day One | Exercise
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