The Deception of Perception

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Acts 28:3, But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

It is interesting that people who do not have the mind of Christ tend to regard perception is reality. In the absence of truth only superstitions and simplemindedness remain.

Notice how quickly the people observing Paul changed their opinion based on what they saw and perceived as reality.

Paul experienced shipwreck and ended up on the island of Malta warming himself by a fire.

When the snake fastened onto Paul's hand, the people perceived that Paul was cursed. However, when Paul shook off the snake and showed no ill effects of snakebite, the same people perceived that Paul was a god! At 9 o'clock he was cursed and by 10 o'clock Paul was a god! This is the deception of perception. It is one of the hallmarks of people who neither follow Christ nor live through faith in God's word.

The moral to the story is very simple and profound: it only matters what you know about God and yourself. It does not matter what people see, perceive, or say. 

Learn to be like Paul, not like the people of Malta.


How to Encourage Yourself and Recover All

Thursday, July 23, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Sam 30:1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep....6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

How would you feel if you returned from a missions trip only to find your home burned to the ground and your family missing? Would you feel encouraged or discouraged? On top of that agony, the people whom you led on the missions trip are now talking about killing you?

This is the discouraging situation David faced. “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep…6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.” (1 Sam 30:4,6)

This was a worse situation than many of us will ever face, so what can we learn from it? Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.”

What can we learn from David to help us in times of discouragement? First of all, we learn that problems and “attacks,” like upon Ziklag by the Amalekites, is an assault against your peace and encouragement. If you lose your peace and sense of encouragement, you may become dysfunctional and paralyzed. Trouble seeks to burn down your Ziklag and bring confusion in your camp and confusion to your mind.

Don’t allow that occur in the midst of your pain. Here are some steps towards victory:

The first thing David did was “encouraged” or strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Everyone around him was falling apart so he had no one to encourage him. Remember that you always have the Holy Spirit to help you.

1. Know the promises of God you are standing on. Draw directly from the Scriptures. (Psalm 119:105)
2. Know that the enemy is trying to “shipwreck” your faith and make you compromise your Christian witness. If the ship gets wrecked, it can no longer travel over the troubled waters. (1 Timothy 1:19)
3. Make no excuse for a lack of faith. Ask the Lord to “Increase your faith.” (Luke 17:5, 2 Corinthians 10:15)
4. Don’t overreact: burning bridges, severing relationships, or rendering judgement “before the time.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
5. Don’t make any critical decisions, before committing time to seek the Lord. Crisis will impair judgment and hinder your faith until you leave “crisis mode.”
6.  Pray, worship God, sing or listen to songs of worship, and be still until your peace returns and clarity fills your mind.

After David encouraged himself, got into the presence of God, and received fresh direction from the Lord, he proceeded to overtake his enemy and “RECOVER ALL.”

And so will you!


The Bent of Delight

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 

Delight is a simple word with profound significance.  It is a profound word because delight reflects our desire, disposition, and direction. Delight is verb (an action word). It is a noun, (something real). It is an adjective (describes something) when used as the word “delightful.”  In our text, “delight” is the basis of a promise from the Lord and part of a larger context of virtues.

Trust (in the Lord), Do (good), Dwell (in the land), Feed (on His faithfulness), Delight (yourself in the Lord), Commit (Your way to the Lord), Trust (in Him)

We live and thrive on the promises of God!

Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:3,  “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

These promises are “exceedingly great and precious.” These promises bring us into the “divine nature” which is the character of God. Delighting ourselves in the Lord is the entry point to receiving the desires of our hearts. That is, getting the right things in life begins with developing a healthy desire, disposition, and direction.

The definition of “delight” from the Hebrew root: “To take pleasure in, desire, incline to; to bend.”

To “delight” is to incline or bend ourselves towards the objects of our desire and sources of our pleasure. Most of our pain or satisfaction comes from how we delight. Most importantly, the direction of our delight determines our success in achieving the desires of our hearts.

How we delight describes our “bent.” Some people live in frustration because their delights have bent them in unhealthy ways that do not honor the Lord. They do not delight in the Lord. They are not bent towards Him.

The Word of God provides guidance in how to delight in life. We take a lot for granted, but we only become better people and Christians by God’s promises, and through accepting the Lord’s challenge to grow and change. We become better when we follow God’s lead and develop better delights.

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

Jesus said it best: "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure (delight) to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:31-32)

David trained his heart to delight in the Lord and in God’s Word. We can do the same through the grace of God.

Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Psalm 119:24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.
Psalm 119:47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.
Psalm 119:70 Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.
Psalm 119:77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
Psalm 119:143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights.
Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, O Lord, And Your law is my delight.

The Apostle Paul said the same thing: "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man." (Romans 7:22)


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The Mind of Christ: Higher-Level Thinking

Friday, July 10, 2015 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

Be blessed and encouraged by the message, "The Mind of Christ: Higher-Level Thinking." by Pastor Bryan Hudson. From the Masterpiece Mindset series.