Five Life-Changing Benefits of Giving Thanks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Some years ago there was a series of television pubic service messages about education. One of tag lines was, “Reading is Fundamental.” This is a very concise and accurate statement. If a person cannot read, he cannot function effectively in life or experience the best this world has to offer.

As believers, we live by many foundational truths from the Word of God. One of the most important is: “Giving thanks to God daily is fundamental.”

Giving thanks to God is one of best things we do because it is inclusive of worship, prayer, faith, holiness, giving and sacrifice.

Five Life-Changing Benefits of Giving Thanks:

#1 “Giving thanks to God daily is fundamental:” It’s one of the things that we do that makes other things possible.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Heb. 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

#2 Giving thanks helps keep our lives clear of anxiety, sin, darkness, deception.

Romans 1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

#3 Giving Thanks is a container that allows us to hold blessings, benefits and responsibilities

Eph. 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

#4 Giving Thanks puts us in a position to allow God to transform every weakness into a strength through Christ.

2 Cor. 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

#5 Thanksgiving draws us closer to God and to others for help and healing

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Psalm 35:18, I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.

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A Lesson from Moses on Cultural Relevance and Spiritual Impact

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Hebrews 11:24 (NIV) By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Moses was raised as an Egyptian, though he was a Hebrew by birth. Moses was educated and immersed in Egyptian culture. He was Pharaoh's adopted son and a prince in Egypt. It is remarkable that God helped Moses not lose his true identity while in Egypt. Certainly, having his mother "hired" to serve as his nursemaid was part of God's plan to preserve his Hebrew heritage. It is a sad sight to see believers lose their true self to this world by failing to discover their spiritual heritage.

The Hebrews' writer weaves messianic insight into the fabric of the text when he writes in verse 26, "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt."

Clearly, Moses' life speaks to us as believers in Christ today. We live in a kind of Egypt with all of its comforts, educational systems, culture, material wealth, arts, entertainment, sinful pleasures, and the rest.

Our greatest challenge is in answering the call of God, and then turning around to admonish the same culture that God used to educate us. In essence, we must spiritually "leave" Egypt to pursue greater "value" in Christ. We must come to identify with "the people of God" or Christ's church more than all others.

I believe that God wants us to be immersed in our culture (or diverse cultures) in order to connect us to the people that we will lead to Christ. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel Chapter 3, or like the young Jesus who wandered off to be about his "Father's business," we are fully IN this world, but ultimately not OF it.

God's grace grants us the faith to persevere because we "see" the invisible Christ at work through us. Paul said it best in Philippians, 2:13-15, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

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Hope in 3D: Expectation. Desire. Purpose.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Romans 15:5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


We usually think about hope in one dimension. We understand hope as something that people need who are struggling and feeling hopeless. Thank God that when we struggle, there is hope to sustain us. When life does not makes sense and hope seems lost, there is a great hope from God to lift us up.

Hope is more than a survival strategy. Hope is not only for the hopeless. Hope is more than a campaign slogan. Hope is substance. Hope is a picture. Hope is a sustaining power from the Spirit of God. Jesus is the true hope giver.

The Biblical Greek definition of hope simply means,  “An expectation.” (noun); “To anticipate” (verb).

A modern dictionary definition of Hope: 1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, 2) grounds for believing that something good may happen

I want to suggest that there are three dimensions, or aspects, of hope: 1) Expectation, 2) Desire, and 3) Purpose.

EXPECTATION | Hope in the first dimension looks like our response to circumstances. Our expectation or anticipation in the moment comes from whatever is inside of us. We are in “response mode.” Things happens and we try to deal with it. People do something unexpected or situations arise that demand a response.

Example: If someone passed out in front of you, your expectation and anticipation are influenced or shaped by the knowledge and experience your already have, or don’t have. In this circumstance of a person who has passed out:
  • Some people might simply panic and walk away.
  • Some people might try to “cast out the devil” (thinking there’s demonic activity occurring)
  • Some people would start praying
  • However, a doctor or medic would know exactly what to do.

This first dimension of hope relies on prior knowledge or experience. This type of “response-only” hope comes naturally to all of us. But this is not the only way to understand hope.

DESIRE | Hope in the second dimension looks like the things we want, or what we desire to happen. We sometimes refer to this hope as our “dreams,” “goals,” or “desires of our hearts.” This hope is like a picture we paint of the kind of life we want to live. It looks like a picture of some reality other than we are currently experiencing. This kind of hope can be healthy or unhealthy depending upon its focus.

This kind of hope is healthy when it is based on the Word of God and rooted in genuine faith that is willing to both trust God AND work towards the desired outcome.

This kind of hope is unhealthy when we are doing little more than engaging in “pipe dreams,” “wishful thinking,” or “daydreaming” because we are unwilling to take the concrete steps necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Said another way, “faith (and hope) without works is dead.”

This second dimension or aspect of hope is made healthy and active by faith in the grace of God. The same grace that brought salvation and brings us through to victory in every tribulation, will produce the kind of character needed to sustain hope.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

PURPOSE | Hope in the third dimension looks like a mighty force for change and the emergence of greater purpose. This kind of hope shapes destiny and changes generations. This is the kind of hope that Paul imparted to the Colossians believers. Col. 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The J.B. Philips transition reads, “Christ in you, the hope of all glorious things to come.”

This third aspect of hope helped Abraham achieve an astonishing miracle and purpose for his life that birthed the Hebrew people and brought blessing to all humanity! Abraham become the “father of faith” to all who have learned to trust God.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”[d]) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”[e] 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Abraham was not simply trying to deal with a negative circumstance, as with the first dimension of hope. He was not trying to gain something he desired to have, as with the second dimension of hope. Abraham was dealing with a promise from God. He was wrestling with something far bigger than what his mind could conceive! God not only promised him a son, but He promised Abraham that He would become the father of a many nations, and that through him every person in the earth, present and future, would be blessed. That is a purpose that shapes destiny and changes generations!

There are three key thoughts in Romans Chapter Four pertaining to the third aspect of hope that God helped Abraham to achieve related to fulfilling God’s purpose in his life:

Verse 17, as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did
Key Thought #1: Hope and faith comes from the direct presence of God

Verses 18--19, who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 19And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

Key Thought #2: Hope permanently bends your expectation and anticipation away from the problems and towards the solution

Verses 20-21  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Key Thought #3: Hope produces a faith that will cause you to stand and not waiver at God’s promise because you know that Christ in You is your hope glorious things to come. You become fully convinced and persuaded that God can and will perform what he has promised. By God’s grace, you become a person of purpose on the way to bless others!

Hope is: “Having Only Positive Expectations”

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