Can we cancel Halloween?

Friday, October 31, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Is there a more useless so-called holiday than Halloween? Maybe we can ignore it to death.

Halloween hovers somewhere between satanic and silly. It certainly does not glorify God, but carnal Christians (the carnally minded branch) celebrate this so-called "holiday." The story of Halloween is as varied as the stupid costumes it inspires. Here's an except about the history of Halloween from History.com

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter. (Read the full article here)

On top of all this, some Christians are worried about demons possessing people on Halloween. Unfortunately, we already have plenty of demon-possessed people long before Halloween rolls around. Then there’s all the “fun” that children have being scared and pretending to be some imaginary person or character.  Add to this the thrill of roaming the streets at night visiting the homes of strangers to collect “treats.” The Bible says that we should "Hold forth the Word of Life," not play with the darkness.

I grew up running the streets on Halloween night "trick or treating," collecting candy from strangers, acting foolish, and sometimes trampling and breaking stuff with rambunctious friends in the 'hood. After all, we were little devils running around so we may as well act like it!

I know that regular folk characterize Halloween as wonderful, wholesome fun, but I think it is simply ridiculous. Maybe we can have two Thanksgivings. Now, that’s a holiday worth celebrating!

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What We See...What God Sees

Thursday, October 30, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 21:2, People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.

One of the great advantages of knowing the Lord is having the Holy Spirit examine our hearts. Obviously, we only know what we know. We tend to be persuaded only by our own points of view.

We are inherently subjective, meaning that we trust our own feelings more than anything else. God helps us to become objective, meaning that we can look more independently at our own circumstances and perspectives. Being overly subjective leads to self-deception and stagnation, like a body of water with no fresh source becomes stagnant.

Becoming more objective requires taking in sources that are “bigger” than yourself and challenge your subjective assumptions. These objective sources include: The Bible, your pastor and authentic spiritual leaders (not just folk who “act/talk” spiritual), your parents, grandparents, facts, and friends who are not afraid to tell you the truth.

Let the Lord examine your heart, and be willing to change your heart and mind. The word “repent” literally means, “to change one’s mind.” This is the beginning of transformation and elevation in life.

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Reflection Question: How has being subjective about a situation prevented you from achieving clarity and elevation in life? Being objective, what does God's word say about it?

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Scattering Seed to Increase

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Pre-Order your copy of the book today]

Proverbs 11:24-25, There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself. 

Giving and generosity have always been a part of prospering God's way. This is another action that seems illogical: As we scatter our seed, God causes us to increase.  If we withhold too much, it leads to decrease. Giving to the Lord does not cause lack, and failing to give does not help one prosper.

Most everything that relates to living involves the principles or cycles and sowing/reaping. Genesis 8:22, (NKJV), While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, And day and night shall not cease.

There is a principle working in the earth called "Seedtime and harvest."  It can be understood as, 1) Seed, 2) Time, 3) Harvest. The Scripture also indicates that life has cycles and seasons. When give of our three "T's" (Time-Treasure-Talents), its like putting good SEED into good soil. After a period of TIME, we can expect a HARVEST.

I have witnessed the benefits of this promise for my whole Christian life, over and over again, ".....He who waters will also be watered himself."

We should not be focused on clinging to what we have (which God gave us) or finding a way to get something from others. We should be more focused on "watering" or nourishing and refreshing others. This habit and lifestyle leads to tremendous blessing at all levels of life.

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Reflection Question: What is the status of your giving of Time, Treasure and Talents? Are you giving all three to the Lord?

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Four Ways to Become Wiser

Monday, October 27, 2014 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Pre-Order your copy of the book today]

Proverbs 13:20, Walk with the wise and become wise;  associate with fools and get in trouble.

It has been said that a person can be known by the company he keeps. After our relationship with the Lord, our relationships with other people makes the greatest impact on our lives. Walking with the wise should be our objective, but achieving this is not as easy as it sounds.

How can you identify wise people in your life? The first step is to avoid acting foolishly or connecting with foolish people. Foolish means, “resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered, unwise, a foolish action, a foolish speech, lacking forethought or caution.”

In a world consumed with darkness and deceit, simply avoiding foolishness is wise. However, spiritual growth and progress don’t come only by “not doing,” but it is a good place to start. It is better to be “pro-active,” which means, “Tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events.”

Four ways to walk with the wise and become wiser:
  1. Listen to, or read books from, people who do productive work and help others improve. 
  2. Ask good questions of people who are experts. Don’t be intimidated by people who know more than you. This is how we all learn.
  3. Read the Bible and listen to the Lord. Who’s wiser than God?
  4. Be prepared to change your mind and change your opinions when better information becomes available.
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Reflection Question: Who are 1-3 wise people in your life that you should listen to more than you do?

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Practical Wisdom to Stay on Your Pathway of Life

Saturday, October 25, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

From http://inspirationimages.zenfolio.com
Proverbs 10:17, People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.

The book of Proverbs often refers to a preferred pathway. In this text it refers to "the pathway of life." 

In our language there is a word called "pragmatic." Being pragmatic is about looking at the practical consequences of actions before actions are taken. The person who is pragmatic first considers what is best and then builds a plan to achieve it. For example, if being out of debt is the best objective, a pragmatist will not use a credit card for consumer debt.

A person on the path of life is someone who does not have a problem accepting correction from God and wise people. Sometimes people are so concerned about hurt feelings that they refuse to give or receive correction. Don't let your emotions get in the way of receiving what you need to stay on the path of life. Whatever the consequence or emotions that may follow correction cannot be worse than straying off a good pathway.


Reflection Question: What practical discipline should you apply to your life now to avoid some future problem?

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The Life-Changing Power of Instruction

Thursday, October 23, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 15:32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

Receiving God's best and giving God our best begins with an assignment. It is fully realized by recognizing the importance of instruction. Instruction and assignments are provided for our protection and provision.

Think of all the best things in your life. Now think of the broken or unfulfilled things in your life. A lot of disap- pointment in your life is related to instructions you ig- nored or did not take seriously. A wise person once said, “If I can help you change how you respond to an in- struction, I can help you change your life.”

Imagine driving on a long trip on a highway without signs or directions. That would essentially be a trip to “nowhere.” The fact that we need instruction confirms our need to learn and gain wisdom along with understanding. We also need people in our lives who know more than we know. This is especially true for God and His Word.

It is not only a matter of receiving instruction, but of being better at responding to instructors and their instructions. Prov. 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life

Reflection Question: What are 1-2 instructions you received in the past six months that need follow-up or action taken?

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God’s Air Traffic Control Tower

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 29:18, (NIV) Where there is no revelation [vision], people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. 

We would never consider running through a forest at night. We would not think of servicing the wiring in our electrical panel without knowing how it works. We would not buy a car or a house without carefully considering costs and budgets. What we will do sometimes is make a major decision without praying and consulting the word and wisdom of God.

These four statements describe the importance of “revelation” or vision. The New Living Translation uses the phrase, ”divine guidance.” Understanding and insight are obviously very important. When you see chaos, confusion, and broken lives, this is usually evidence that “restraint” has been cast off. Not many people, especially children and youth, can restrain themselves from foolish and bad behaviors if there is no guiding influence.  No one is born with revelation, vision, or divine guidance. It’s like education––everyone needs it.

One year, we had our church parking lot seal-coated, but the contractor was not able to paint the parking stripes before Sunday service. On Sunday morning, people parked their cars in strange ways, even those who had been parking on the same lot for years! The absence of lines contributed to a lack of restraint, not because of any kind of rebellion, just a lack of structure.

God’s wisdom provides “lines” and a framework for our lives. None of this is designed by God to restrict us. In reality, we are empowered to reach our full potential by being distraction-free. It is comparable to how the airport regulates when/where airplanes take off and land. Pilots don’t shout at controllers in the Control Tower, “Hey, I want to take off NOW on that runway over there!” Everyone’s safety and efficient travel is ensured when pilots follow the instructions of the Control Tower.

God wants to help us in the same way through wisdom and instruction.

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Reflection Question: What are 2-3 distractors you can clear to prepare your life for “take off?”

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Wisdom’s Way to Wealth

Monday, October 20, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]

Proverbs 8:12 (NLT) “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. 17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. 18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. 19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. 21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries."

There is a "right" way to approach the subject of wealth and material blessings. Through wisdom, we can understand how to walk in God's blessings while maintaining a godly and humble attitude. For believers in Christ, material success is a by-product of living according to God's word. Putting first things first is one of the themes of the Book of Proverbs.

Discussions and teachings that focus solely on money, without regard for greater principles, miss the mark of God's agenda. This approach leads to foolishness. It's very convenient to latch onto scriptures that promise benefits, while ignoring scriptures that call us to responsibility in Christ. If we focus on biblical responsibility, the benefits will follow.

Proverbs 8:35-36 confirms the importance of following God’s wisdom: "For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death."
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Reflection Question:  What 1-3 items that you should take responsibility for right now?

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Furniture in a Field

Saturday, October 18, 2014 Bryan Hudson 4 Comments

Proverbs 24:3, By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

It has often been said that "Knowledge is Power." According to Proverbs, knowledge can fill "rooms" with many wonderful things, which may be desirable. But knowledge alone is not enough.

Can you imagine a room full of things without a house? How useful would it be to arrange furniture on an empty lot? Knowledge without wisdom and understanding looks like furniture in a field, without structure and purpose.

Wisdom is the ability to know what to do and where to do it. Understanding is knowing the meaning of things.  Knowing the "what, where and why" of life MUST come before simply acquiring material possessions.

Therefore, POWER is really found in possessing wisdom and understanding! As always, the Word of God teaches us the best way to live!
  

Reflection Question: What do you understand after reading the Scripture and this lesson that you did not know before reading it.

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The Clean Fear of the Lord

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Bryan Hudson 3 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]

Proverbs 24:21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

In a world filled with rebellion, respecting and responding properly to higher authority opens the door to greater personal authority. Rebellion is defined as: Resistance to or defiance of authority, control, or tradition.

Proverbs 9:10, (NLT) Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

There is “good” fear and “bad” fear. Bad fear is feeling a sense of terror or doom. This kind of fear is expectation of danger and harm. Most fears are imagined, but some are real. The only good thing about bad fear is that you are motivated to take action to avoid danger. Driving in snow and ice produces a healthy kind of fear that keeps you alert and cautious.

On the other hand,the fear of the Lord is “good.” David said in Psalms 19:9, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.”

Good fear is a dread of displeasing the Lord. It is a mindset that says, “I want to please God and not allow my actions to bring Him displeasure.” Honor and godly fear are foundational to living a victorious life. Authority flows in a line, or what the military calls a “chain of command.”

Those who function in the fear of God place a high value on having a right relationship with God and people with whom they relate. They are “clean” or “pure,” not only because foul things are removed. They are clean/pure because it has already been decided.

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Reflection Question: How is the  “clean” fear of the Lord helping to change your life and please God?

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The Path Principle

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]

Proverbs 7:6, While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house…21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart.  He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.

Solomon used various methods to communicate the same message of gaining understanding and wisdom. Chapter Seven uses a first person narrative to describe someone he saw out of his window.  He says, "I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense."
What made this young man naive? The definition of naive is, "showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment." He also lacked common sense. Why did Solomon regard this young man in this manner? This young man was walking down a path that led past the dwelling of a well known immoral woman. This is called "The Path Principle," a term I first heard used by Pastor Andy Stanley.

Your path determines your destination. Your intentions and wishes do not determine your destination more than the path that has been chosen. The young man in the story did not know his day would end in sin and destruction because he was seemingly unaware of where his path led.

The message of the story is to recognize the necessity of choosing our paths well. For example, hanging out with people who are up to no good is not just "hanging out," it's a path! Spending time studying the Bible is not just reading. It's a path. Again, since every path has a destination, experiencing prosperity God's way begins with understanding our activities as paths leading to good or bad outcomes.

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Reflection Question: What “good intentions” have you mistaken for a good path? What path(s) are you actually on?

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"Holy Matrimony" is Marriage Like No Other

Monday, October 13, 2014 Bryan Hudson 4 Comments



...This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:32)

Thinking back over the recent wedding of my youngest son and his lovely new wife last weekend, I was reminded that "Holy Matrimony" in the Lord is something altogether different than what our present culture is defining, or re-defining, as "marriage." Holy means "other than." Holy things are unique, not mixed, compromised, or fashioned into any form that people imagine. Nothing that truly belongs to God can be authentically changed by mankind...whom God created.

Sitting in my son's and daughter-in-law's ceremony, I sensed the presence of the Lord. I was aware that the Holy Spirit was working to join a man and a woman in a COVENANT of marriage. The prayers and the vows gave witness to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The pronouncement of "husband and wife" by the minister of God, signified to all who were present, whether they understood it or not, they had experienced a moment of divine presence and authority. Something wonderful happened on earth AND in God's kingdom. Holy matrimony is not something that people in this broken world can experience if they reject God's order for families. For example, there is nothing holy about same sex marriage or divorce for the purpose of marrying someone else.

Authentic vs. Inauthentic

I thought about the legacies of our two families in relation to Holy Matrimony: My parents were married for 48 years until my mom's passing 11 years ago. My wife's parents have been married for 61 years. My daughter-in-law's parents have been married for 22 years. Her grandparents have been married for 48 years. My wife and I have been married for 35 years. There are generations of related people, with recognizable matriarchs and patriarchs, that comprise our family.

We all know that people experience failure in life and in marriage for many reasons, but this is not a reason to condemn anyone, nor to allow our understanding of marriage to fail because of bad experiences. Holy Matrimony does not fail. People compromise and fail. God is a God of imperfect people and second chances.

"Holy" should not be allowed to become common and unholy. If/when that happens, the fault lies with sinful people, not a Holy God. The difference between worldly marriage and Holy Matrimony (holy marriage) is the difference between photocopied artwork and artwork produced by the hands of a master artist.

Jesus Cannot Be Re-Branded

Those who believe in Holy Matrimony embrace God's holy purpose and plan for marriage, family, and life. People who reject this (as is their right) neither believe in God's word, nor follow Jesus Christ. The present cultural climate is one of eager defiance against God's plan and order for marriage. Entertainers like Whoopi Goldberg (who's been married and divorced three times) tell Christians, “You cannot stem this tide[gay marriage]. It is coming whether you're comfortable with it or not. For all of you folks who are deep Christians, as I recall as a child, I remember Jesus had a lot of different kinds of friends. Jesus never turned anybody away.”

For believers, this is not a matter of "comfort" in the face of defiance, nor "turning away" people. It is a matter of discovering who understands and honors God's holy things. It is a time of testing for people who call themselves "Christians" but do not follow Christ. It is an opportunity not to misrepresent or try to "re-brand" Jesus Christ as supportive of whatever people want to do. Jesus is a friend of sinners, as we should be, but not a friend of any culture that contradicts God's ways. (James 4:4)

We conveniently forget how Jesus lovingly ministered to a woman caught up in sexual sin: "And Jesus said, I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11)

Jesus will receive and forgive anyone, but He is still saying, "Go. From now on sin no more."

Folks can "get married" and have a civil union, but not everyone experiences marriage as "Holy Matrimony" in the presence of God. There is a difference that matters for people who love God.

Ephesians 5:25-32 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

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How to Have Clarity of Thought

Monday, October 13, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

Clarity of thought follows committing your works and plans to the Lord. Good works bring good thoughts, because you were created by God to do good works. (Eph. 2:10)

When we commit to Him, God takes responsibility for our success! Sometimes, being unclear in your thinking is an indication that you are on the wrong track or have not fully committed your work to the Lord.

Reflection Question: What prevents you from making a full commitment to God?

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The Value of Wisdom

Sunday, October 12, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Proverbs 9:7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. 8 So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. 11 Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. 12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.  If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

Wisdom and understanding are most appreciated by those who embrace it. People who mock the things of God will likely not accept correction. Such persons need prayer and the saving message of the Gospel of Christ. We would like to think that we can help or "cure" anyone. But the fact remains that the Holy Spirit must help a person become receptive—something the Lord is quite expert at doing!

Wisdom is a virtue best shared among believers in Christ. The "righteous" are people who will honor God and rejoice in His ways. According to Ephesians 4:15-16, the body of Christ "edifies itself" in love. That is, we build each other up, not for selfish reasons, but to make us more effective, and his church, in reaching our generation for the Kingdom of God.

Verse nine says, "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom." Foundations are vitally important to buildings, especially for tall structures. Laying a good foundation is the beginning to any successful building project. The "building project"of our lives requires understanding and living out the principle of the fear of the Lord. I define the fear of the Lord as "A deep desire to please and never displease the Lord."

Upon the firm foundation of godly fear comes "good judgment" (to make wise decisions and choices), long life, and other benefits as God's purpose for our lives may determine.


Reflection Question: In what way(s) can you honor God and value His wisdom?

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Come Into the House of Wisdom

Saturday, October 11, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]
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Proverbs 9:1, Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. 2 She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. 3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, 5 “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”

Wisdom has a house. Live in it.

When we abide outside the House of Wisdom, we can find ourselves being easily persuaded and enticed by people, places and powers that see our vulnerability. Wisdom provides a unique perspective on circumstances and people. Without wisdom’s perspective, we do not fully see what we are dealing with. God’s house of wisdom is also designed to help those “who lack good judgment.” Everyone has judgment. We look at things and form an opinion.  The problem is that our judgment is only as good as our level of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.

Outside the House of Wisdom, things that are bad for you might actually look good. Outside the house of wisdom, we are mostly impressed by the first, shiniest, loudest, person or thing we see.  A lot of the failed marriages, bad relationships, and unhealthy entanglements,  began as meetings, “romantic” dates or even promiscuous activity outside the House of Wisdom.
There’s always room in the House of Wisdom. Come on in!

Proverbs 9:6 “Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
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Reflection Question: What decision(s) made outside the House of Wisdom can you now correct?

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Is Your Cart in Front of Your Horse?

Thursday, October 09, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]
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Proverbs 24:27 Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.

Ambition is a powerful emotion and motivator.  Ambition defined: An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.

Wanting to build and live in a very nice house is an ambition. It is something to dream about and tell others. We all have ambitions, but ambition without purpose and vision can only lead to arrogance. We use phrases like “putting the cart before the horse” or “major on majors” to express something similar to our Scripture text.

I remember asking God about some property I considered buying. It was as if God said to me, “What about it?” I wanted God to give me a “yea” or “nay” on buying it. He wanted me to do what Proverbs 24:27 said, “plan and prepare.” Ultimately, raw ambition is little more than a form of dreamy laziness. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once used the phrase, “Irrational exuberance” to describe unrealistic investor attitudes.

Allow hope to sketch an outline of where you want to go, but spend your time planning, preparing, and exercising wisdom.


Reflection Question: What is something you feel ambitious about that needs better planning to make happen?

Click here to share your insights concerning this lesson.

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Wisdom Has Friends

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]
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Proverbs 8:12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. 17 I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. 18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. 19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. 21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries."

Wisdom is not a singular virtue. Like a bountiful garden, the wisdom of God is filled with many virtues and benefits. Wisdom has many good “friends.”

Here, as in many other passages in Proverbs, wisdom is personified. Wisdom is speaking directly to the reader and clearly defining her assets. Giving wisdom a personality is God’s way of making the message both powerful and personal. Here’s a listing of wisdom’s friends from this passage:
  1. Good judgment: Everyone has judgment. What is needed is “good” judgment.
  2. Knowledge & discernment
  3. Common sense
  4. Success
  5. Insight
  6. Strength
  7. Leadership ability
  8. Riches 
  9. Enduring wealth
  10. Honor
  11. Justice
  12. Wages (Paydays!)

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Raising Hope and Removing Fear

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional. Sign up to receive your copy of the devotional resource]
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Proverbs 10:24, The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted.

Fear and hope are strangely related. A lot of the negative things that happen to people are often attributed to fate, to the devil, to other people, and even to God.

While there is certainly no such thing as “mind over matter,” there is the reality of “mind over self.” Hopes and fears move us to action both extrinsically (outward) and intrinsically (inward). Hope and fear also motivate us consciously and unconsciously.

Hope and fear are related because both are based in expectation. Hope expects a good outcome. Fear expects danger and harm. People who live in fear will take unusual measures to guard against imagined threats and dangers. People who have hope will take measures to secure their dreams and bring to pass what they see in their hearts and minds.

Our Scripture text refers to the fears of the “wicked.” Is it possible for the godly to have fear? The answer is yes, and the godly won’t experience better outcomes if operating in fear.

We should only focus on the hopes that God wants to grant to the godly. So trust Him and live a godly life through Christ.
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Reflection Question: What are 1-3 hopes you expect to be granted?

Click here to share your insights about this article

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Benefits of Guarding Your Heart and Focusing Forward

Monday, October 06, 2014 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

From http://inspirationimages.zenfolio.com
[NOTE: This is a lesson from the House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional]

Proverbs 4:18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over…23 Guard your heart above all else,  for it determines the course of your life…25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

Everything in your life follows the condition of your heart. Emotions, thoughts, and decisions all flow from the heart. People who are sad and bitter consistently make bad decisions because “painful disappointment” (which is the definition of bitterness) shapes their thoughts. People who are confused often think others are confused, but its nothing more than distorted perception resulting from their own confusion. When dealing with negative people, remember these words; “Your perception is not my reality.”

On the positive side, a heart that is guarded by the grace of God empowers people and produces the following benefits:
  1. A bright path, which “feels” like optimism and positive outlook about self and others
  2. A brighter path day by day, setbacks not withstanding
  3. A clearer course for your life going forward
  4. A straight, stable path or foundation
  5. Ability to stay your course and not get sidetracked or distracted        
Reflection Question: Regarding your heart, what  “course correction” do you need to make?

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Why Options and Choices Seem to be Difficult

Saturday, October 04, 2014 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

NOTE: This is a lesson from The House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional To participate and obtain your copy of the devotional, visit www.NewCovenant.org
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Proverbs 2:10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. 11 Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.

Sometimes people struggle with options and choices. They have difficulty deciding which way to go. This is especially true when options and choices appear to be mostly good. We’ve heard the saying, “Everything that seems good is not necessarily good for you.” What people consider “good” is usually driven by what friends and popular culture embrace. If everyone were driving a white car, then a white car would seem to be the good option.

Because God’s wisdom and understanding are “holy,” these are not subject to the whims of people or popular culture. The best definition of the word “holy” is “other than.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the ultimate being (one God) existing as “Other Than”—absolutely nothing and no one can compare. Believers in Christ are called a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).

As partakers of holy wisdom and understanding from God, options and choices are narrowed by excluding everything that motivates people who lack wisdom, understanding, and divine purpose. When we operate on God’s resources, we experience true joy. Within that domain, you can only take the best option and make the correct choice.
 
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Reflection Question:  Which options or choices would be easier if you excluded every prideful, worldly, or marketing influence?

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The High Cost of Complacency

Thursday, October 02, 2014 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments


NOTE: This is a lesson from The House of Wisdom 30-Day Devotional To participate and obtain your copy of the devotional, visit www.NewCovenant.org
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Proverbs 1:32-33, For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.

Proverbs is full of contrasts and comparisons. Sometimes the best way to learn is to read about the consequences of bad choices by others. This is called learning “vicariously,” or through the lives of others. Making big mistakes and blunders is a very painful way to learn, if people learn at all. In fact, “experience” is not the best teacher. The wisdom of God is the best teacher.

One of the greatest enemies of progress is complacency. Here’s the definition: “A feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger.”

Feelings alone cannot be trusted anymore than looking at bright sunshine through a window. Conditions outside the window may actually be dangerous, such as a bitter cold day. Complacency can be as self-destructive as drug abuse and smoking cigarettes. Ignoring wisdom while embracing foolishness is a recipe for destruction.

On the positive and proactive side, listening to wisdom and instruction come with a guarantee of ultimately living in peace and freedom from the fear of bad outcomes.

Who do you listen to?  
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Reflection Question: What area(s) of complacency can you displace now through acting with wisdom?

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