Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part Three: Why Am I? | Firm Foundation (Video and Audio)

Sunday, April 18, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

God’s image - Character
God’s likeness - Outward witness
Dominion - Responsibility, tasks, duty, service
Fruitful - Utilizing abilities and gifts
Multiply - Reproduce yourself, empower others
Subdue - Create and maintain order

What is the imago Dei?
Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.”
Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose.

God’s Purpose for People
Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly,To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Isaiah 43:21,This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.

1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Corinthians 15:9, For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Imago Dei of God Calls to Imago Dei in You
Psalm 42:7, Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. 8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life.

Reaching Our Community
Romans 9:1, I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…

Factors Working Against Imago Dei
1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
2, Mindsets not introduced by family and Kingdom of God
3. Anti-Christ forces
4. Self-loathing, Self-hatred
5. Confused and negative people
6. Failure to worship God

Reflections
1. Why was I born?
2. What place does Imago Dei have in my day-to-day life?
3. What is my role in the lives of others?

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Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part Two: Restoring Human Identity and Purpose

Friday, April 16, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

 


Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Psalm 19:7 NAS, The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

What is the imago Dei?
Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.” Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose.

Psalm 86:10, For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11] Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12] I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

In today’s culture, people believe in a “God” who is made in their own image. He is a God who changes, adapts to whims and customs and permits whatever the maj
ority of people want to believe. Their god has many names, multiple personalities, no exclusive holy book and cannot be grieved by any act of sin except “intolerance.” – Dallas Willard

There are two Gods. There is the God that people generally believe in—A God who has to serve them. This God does not exist. But the God who people forget—the God whom we all have to serve—exists, and is the prime cause of our existence and of all that we perceive. God being God offends human pride. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18) When the light of God is absent, the intellect become dysfunctional, trying to devise a truth that will be compatible with the basic falsehood that man is god. 
– Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

Image
Hebrew צֶלֶם - ṣelem (Pronounced seh’-lem) 
From an unused root meaning a representative figure or image
It is best understood as representing the character of something or someone. 

Likeness
Hebrew דְּמוּת - demût (pronounced, dem-ooth’)
Stong’s dictionary word (#H1819); means, resemblance; shape; like (-ness), manner, similitude.
This is best understood as representing the likeness or appearance of something or someone. 

Indicators of the True God:

• Is from everlasting to everlasting
• Known to Adam, Abraham, Moses and the pagans of every generation
• Has the power to create, destroy, heal and reform
• Passes final judgment
• Knows the hearts of people
• Knows the motivations of the heart
• Has purpose that transcends the lifetime or sensual interests of people
• Manifests His presence in the earth through the Holy Spirit
• Has a son name Jesus Christ, who is God the Son
Thought: images, concepts, judgment; enables our will (or spirit) to range far beyond the immediate boundaries of our environment

Feeling: sensation, emotion; inclines us toward or away from things that come before our minds; involve a tone that is pleasant or unpleasant. Thoughts and feelings go together

Choice: Will, decision, character; our choices produce our unique contribution to reality. Temptation is the thought plus the inclination to sin. We must very careful about the things we allow our minds to dwell upon or allow ourselves to feel. Human life does not run by will alone. It must be organized by the will if it is to be organized at all. People nearly always act on their feelings, and think it only right.

Body: Our primary source of energy and the place from which we live. The body cannot be understood apart from human relations, The re-formation of the body is one major part of the process of spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is also and essentially a bodily process. It cannot succeed unless the body is reformed.

Social Context: The human self requires rootedness in others—God first, then people

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Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part One: Who Am I? | Firm Foundation (Video and Audio)

Sunday, April 11, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


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Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This is an instance where a biblical worldview is helpful. A Christian worldview only applies to Christians, but a biblical worldview is for everyone.

What is the imago Dei?

Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.” The term is used because it is distinctive and beautiful sounding. Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose. (Watch this video)

Humankind was created to be an image bearer of the Creator. This ideal state was to be a representation of who God is and what He is like. Of course, humanity is far from this ideal state.

“The imago Dei is not a quality possessed by man; it is a condition in which man lives, a condition of confrontation established and maintained by the Creator. … The imago Dei is that in man which constitutes him as him-whom-God-loves.” –John Piper

The imago Dei was the outcome of being created by God. No other creature was made in the image of God, not even Angels.

Look at the words image and likeness in Genesis chapter 1

Image

Hebrew צֶלֶם - ṣelem (Pronounced tseh’-lem)

From an unused root meaning a representative figure or image

Stong’s Dictionary word (#H6754) is used in the old testament as image (16x) and vain shew (1x).

It is used mostly to denote objects of false worship such as idols. It is interesting that this is the word used to describe people being made in the image of God. It shows that this word is only understood by the context in which it is used.

It is best understood as representing the character of something or someone.

For example, my father is technically inclined, a problem solver, and a hard worker. I have my father’s or character IMAGE in me. My mother loved people, served people, and had great compassion. I possess that particular image or character of my mother.

Likeness

Hebrew דְּמוּתd - demût, (pronounced, dem-ooth’)

Stong’s dictionary word (#H1819); means, resemblance; shape; like (-ness), manner, similitude.'

This is best understood as representing the likeness or appearance of something or someone. For example: I RESEMBLE both my mother and my father.

Maximizing Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-28)

God’s image - Character
God’s likeness - Outward actions
Dominion - Responsibility, tasks, duty, service
Fruitful - Utilizing abilities an gifts
Multiply - Reproduce yourself, empower others 
Subdue - Create and maintain order
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Reflection Exercise 
1. Describes ways in which you carry Imago Dei (the image of God)
2. Describes ways in which you represent God’s likeness, His witness to the world around you

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Courage and Partnership

Friday, April 09, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



1 Samuel 14:6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”

This conversation between Jonathan and his armorbearer happened at a desperate time in the history of Israel. King Saul had made the tactical error to attack the Philistines with 3000 men, but they were met by 30,000 Philistines. The outcome was tragic:

When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead." 1 Samuel 13:6 -7

Fear and panic paralyzed the army of Israel as some hid themslves and others ran away. What followed was an act of courage by Jonathan with the support of his unnamed armor bearer. Jonathan took the decision to go up alone against the Philistines, believing that God could work with few as well as with many. As important as Jonathan’s courage was the response of partnership by the armor bearer who said, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”

You can read about the victorious outcome of this courageous act in 1 Samuel chapter 14, but note how victory and encouragement for others began with a singular act of courage and partnership. Support, love, and commitment are the beginning and sustaining of great works for God!

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What is a Christian Worldview? Does It Help or Hinder?

Wednesday, April 07, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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Romans 12:2, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 2:8, See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. A worldview is a set of ideas, values, and presuppositions. It’s like putting on a pair of sunglasses that color how you view life, people, and ideas. People collect little pieces of their worldview through parents, school, movies, and friends. A Christian worldview is based on the Bible. https://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/what-is-christian-worldview/ Their worldview was one of the reasons why white churches of the 18th and 19th centuries did not work to end slavery (while many individual White believers did work to end slavery). In fact, many believed the Bible affirmed slavery and the inferior status of persons of African descent (which was part of their worldview at that time.)

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“It is done” Because Jesus said “It is finished.”

Tuesday, April 06, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

 






Philippians 3:10, That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…

John 19:28, After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

We can say “It is done” Because Jesus said “It is finished.”

#1 - Jesus finished the endless cycle of Jewish sacrifices and created the path to redemption

#2 - Jesus finished access to God the Father.

#3 - Jesus finished the endless cycle of guilt and self-condemnation.

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Jesus Is Risen! You Can Rise Too!

Sunday, April 04, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

 


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The Inertia of the Christian Worldview

Saturday, April 03, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing exploration of the topic.

"The abolitionist movement ended the physical oppression of slavery. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s changed the laws of our nation and made overt forms of discrimination illegal. The emerging civil rights movement is concerned with dismantling systemic racism." ~ Ally Henny

Reflecting on these remarkable human rights achievements reminded me of something lacking in the practice of Christianity among many churches and Christians. Those of us who follow Jesus Christ as Lord take action in society, sometimes unrelated to preaching, as part of our spiritual and civic lifestyle. We also call it "social justice." Many do not act because of an error in thinking social action, or social justice, is inconsistent with biblical faith. This is one of the reasons why white churches of the 18th and 19th centuries did not work to end slavery (while many individual White believers did work to end slavery). In fact, in the 18th and 19th centuries many believed the Bible affirmed slavery and the inferior status of persons of African descent (which was part of their worldview at that time.)

This is part of the reason why white churches of the 20th and 21st centuries remain largely ineffective and silent concerning injustice or dealing with issues such as white supremacy. Many condemn social activism and concepts such as anti-racism, Black lives matter, Critical Race Theory, protesting voter suppression, the "woke" movement, and more.

In the 19th century, Christ Followers, such as Frederick Douglass, acting as citizens  empowered by God's grace (not as church members) "agitated" for change in society based on Constitutional provisions--though the Constitution was not originally designed to serve the interests of African Americans. 

A young Black man once asked an old black man what could be done to preserve and enhance the rights of black people. The old man, Frederick Douglass, an internationally known orator, had just one word of advice: "Agitate." (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1988/11/04/the-word-was-agitate/145738e8-5b66-4152-9bba-270956c4d4fd/)

Frederick Douglass also said, 
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both." (1867)

Much of the silence and inaction of white churches has resulted from the inertia of decades and centuries of building frameworks, and worldviews, that reject "secular" practices which have proved to be highly effective in society. Examples include protest, civil disobedience, and speaking out against injustice. By contrast, these were regular practices among what we call "Black churches" in the 20th Century.

So, we need to challenge frameworks and worldviews that cause churches and Christians to be ineffective, silent, and resistant to proven methods. Everything does not have to be strictly "biblical" to be helpful and effective in the larger society. 

Much of my research of the Christian, or biblical, worldview has demonstrated its application in encouraging students and church members to adopt a preset dogma while characterizing (or mis-characterizing) other worldviews as harmful. 

This statement from a Christian homeschool resources website advertises a book offered to prepare students to guard against harmful conscience and "subconscious" worldviews, like a virus,  such as "blameism" and "conformism." (which are made-up words)

The final chapter touches on the potential influence of other worldviews on you. For example, do you consciously or subconsciously embrace scientism, technicism, hedonism, individualism, consumerism, blameism, or conformism?  http://homeschoolingteen.com/article/introduction-christian-worldview/

There is the narrative that everyone is operating from a worldview, which contributes to the notion of "competing worldviews" or a type of "war of worldviews" in which the Christian faith is perceived as under attack. 

From Union University, a Southern Baptist Convention college:
A worldview must seek to answer questions like: 
• Where did we come from?
• Who are we? 
• What has gone wrong with the world? 
• What solution can be offered to fix it?  

In addition, a worldview must seek to answer the key questions of life, whether the general implications or specific applications.  It is to these foundational questions and attending issues that we now turn our attention.  
A Christian worldview is a coherent way of seeing life, of seeing the world distinct from deism, naturalism and materialism (whether in its Darwinistic, humanistic, or Marxist forms), existentialism, polytheism, pantheism, mysticism, or deconstructionist postmodernism. Such a theistic perspective provides bearings and direction. (From Shaping a Christian Worldview: An Introduction)  https://www.uu.edu/centers/faculty/teaching/article.cfm?ID=364)

Within a different context, the Apostle Paul wrote,  "For we can do nothing against the truth, only for the truth." (2 Corinthians 13:8) God's truth is stronger than we seem to believe. A foundation of biblical truth, and relationship with Christ, are stronger than outside influences.
We should acknowledge that the missional work of preaching the Gospel, leading people to Christ, and making disciples is different than taking social action, or practicing social justice, whether ending slavery in the past, securing civil rights for Black people, or dealing with white supremacy in the present.

We can do both by the grace of God, but we can no longer be guided by frameworks or worldviews that limit what we SHOULD do. The Christian faith does not effectively address every facet of life for everyone, everywhere (as history has demonstrated). The Bible and Christ shapes our lives so that we can use every resource to help others.  

JUSTICE = RIGHTEOUSNESS

Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

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Day 21 - Kingdom Quality Giving | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:9, Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

This is one of our favorite Scriptures to motivate people to give money to the Lord through our ministries and local churches. It is appropriate for that purpose, but there is much more to it.

It is actually a Scripture that addresses the quality of our giving that leads to the quality of our harvest of blessings. Jesus said it this way, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)

These Scriptures seem to focus only on the amount given, but the quality of giving is more important than the amount. For example, if a person is complaining while giving a large amount, it is neither the “best part” nor a “good measure.” While the church that receives the offering will certainly be glad to receive it, the giver may not receive a full return. In other words, an unwilling giver might receive “wine” (some provision), but not receive “good wine” (maximum or strategic provision).

The person who offers their “best part” and “good measure” taps into the resources and blessings of the Kingdom of God in a special way. 

For example, the best part of our financial offering comes before paying taxes and bills. Giving left over offerings after taxes and bills is far from the best part.  The key words in this text are “Honor the Lord.” The word honor literally means “a valuing.” It is a picture of offering something valuable, precious or weighty, to God. Other definitions of honor include: appreciation, esteem, favorable regard, respect.

Much more than an amount of money we give to the Lord is the value, esteem, respect, you have towards God when giving it. We receive blessing from giving Him our “best part” and “good measure.” It is not a transactional exchange. It is relational.
                                
Reflection Question: 
 What are 1-2 examples of your “best part” that should be given to God?

Today’s action item based on insight:

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Day 20 - Unique Kingdom Perspectives | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Monday, March 29, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

This single passage embodies many principles that are part of the Kingdom of God. The apostle Paul had unique insight and revelation into the purposes of God. These are Kingdom principles that can work for us every day.

1. We don't lose heart or become ultimately discouraged because we know that despite our conditions we are growing stronger day by day. This happens because we are being renewed inwardly day by day.

2. What the Apostle Paul called "light affliction" was actually quite severe by our standards. (2 Cor. 11:22-28) The point Paul made, and something that we often read in his writings, was his God-given ability to change perspective about a bad situation. We might say that Paul looked for a "silver lining" in every situation. He did not do this to make himself feel better, he did it to reveal the greater power of the kingdom of God at work. He wrote that affliction was "for a moment," but that the "weight of glory," representing the good that God brings, is eternal in its effect. When the Bible talks about eternity, it is not only about the future. Eternity has already begun for those of us who are part of the kingdom of God.

3. Paul made a statement that on its surface doesn't make sense: He wrote, "We do not look at things which are seen." Furthermore he said, "We look at things which are not seen." It doesn't seem possible to not look at what you see, or to see the unseen. The only way to understand what he wrote is from a Kingdom perspective. Jesus said "the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21) We do not "see" the powers and capabilities of the Kingdom of God, because they are invisible. We don't see the wind, but we see the effects of the wind.

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church, and all Christ Followers, that what we see with our natural eyes is temporary, or it is "subject to change." The problems we detect with our senses do not affect or weaken the Kingdom of God. The things we don't see, such as the Holy Spirit, God's angels, glory, grace, and so much more, are all working on our behalf within the Kingdom of God.

This is another reason why Jesus said "Seek first the kingdom of God." Matthew 6:33

Reflection Questions:

1. According to this lesson, how you deal with discouragement?
2. What things do you see that you need to stop looking at?
3. What things are unseen that you need to begin to see?

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Day 19 - Whose Donkey Is This? | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Sunday, March 28, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Scripture Reading: Luke 19:28, When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Jesus rides on the faith of givers and worshipers. When we want Jesus to enter our lives and circumstances, we must be prepared to follow His instructions, demonstrate our faith, and worship from our heart and with our substance. Jesus looks for faith, since it is the environment of blessing and miracles. Some key points in this text:

1. Obedience, "Go into the village...."

2. Attention to detail, "Find a colt tied..." (not "now what did Jesus say?")

3. Recognition of Jesus' authority, "The Lord has need of it..."

4. Sacrificial giving by unnamed owner of donkey,

5. Sacrificial giving by the disciples and onlookers, "They spread their OWN clothes on the donkey..."

6. Remembrance of blessing, "All the mighty works they had seen..."

7. Loud praise, "Blessed is the King who comes..."

We use the name "Palm Sunday" because of the palm branches that were broken off, waved, and laid before Jesus (John 12:13). However, the REAL SACRIFICE came from the man whose donkey was borrowed.

The fact that we focus on the palm branches is an interesting commentary on the level of our faith and personal worship. Waving palms is a nice gesture, but being true worshiper requires much more. What would we call "Palm Sunday" if we recognized the greater cost of faith and worship? What if we were required to give up our own cars, expensive equipment, and our best clothes?

We would rather rip down some palm branches and wave them around than do something truly valuable.

The unknown person who allowed his donkey to be used started something. He is the most significant person in this story other than Jesus. Given our bent towards religious traditions, if the donkey owner had a name, people would have probably named a church after him. We like stories with people and things that we can imagine and dramatize. But God likes stories that highlight Jesus and principles of the Kingdom of God.

Faith and worship without commitment or cost is empty and ineffective. Being passive is another form of doubt and unbelief. David knew this when he identified a site for the construction of the temple of God.

1 Chronicles 21:23-25, But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.”24 Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” 25 So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.

David was willing to pay full price for something he intended to use for God's glory. He understood that faith and worship were not cheap.

Whose donkey is this?

Why did the owner allow his donkey to be used? Would you allow Jesus' followers to take your car, furniture or something of real value? A palm branch is not really anything significant. Donkeys were valuable and were often co-owned by several families since they were poor and unable to afford their own. Something the donkey owner may have known There have been ancient laws that required citizens to render to any King any item or service he or one of his emissaries might require.

The donkey owner clearly knew something about Jesus. I suggest to you that he loved Jesus and recognized His kingly authority. For all we know, this man or a family member may have been healed by Jesus. In John 14:23, Jesus says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word..."

Because of some level of love, the donkey owner was willing to do something significant for Jesus. He also became a part of God's prophetic plan. Somehow, he sensed that Jesus was a King who brought life, provision and a high return on any investment.

Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

If you or I had been there, would we have given your best coat, suit, dress, or garment to Jesus? We would say "Yes!"

But would if the purpose of giving your clothes was not for wearing, but to become a saddle on a donkey's back for Jesus to sit upon? Or what if your suit or dress were used to lay on the ground for Jesus and the donkey to walk on?

It's time for us to prepare the way for Jesus through raising the level of our serving, giving, and praising. We should start with something so meaningful to us that even bystanders would take notice. The Pharisees could not dampen the power of worship and praise on that day. Jesus said that if the people did not serve and praise Him, that the rocks would cry out!

Everything in creation wants to praise God! Remember: "Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation."

Now put that little palm branch down and go get something worth giving to our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Reflection Question:
1. What low level sacrifice do you need to upgrade

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Day 18 - The Strong Man to Overcome or Become | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Saturday, March 27, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Scripture Reading:
Luke 11:20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.

The context of this statement was Jesus commenting on what leads to a defeated, divided house. The religious leaders criticized Jesus for having a demon and being inauthentic BECAUSE he cast out demons. Jesus responded that it was impossible for a "house" to function when divided against itself. He then gave the illustration recorded in verses 21-22.

Many interpret the "strong man" as a demonic or evil presence. I think that the strong man is the dominant power in one's "house" or life. This may be a positive or negative power.

If the objective is to overcome a house, or person, one must first get past the strong man who protects it. When there is an evil or demonic power "guarding" it, we must overcome that evil power in Jesus' name. On the other hand, if YOU are the "strong man" protecting your own life or home, don't allow yourself to be bound, which leads to defeat and division in your house or life.

Jesus' point was that strong forces can only be overcome by stronger forces.

Overcome in Christ's name when you need to. Don't be overcome when you are called upon to take a stand.

Reflection Question:
1. What "strong man" do you need to overcome?
2. How do you need to be strong and guard your life and loved ones?

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Day 17 - Loyalty, A Kingdom Value | Our King and the Kingdom of God - 21 Day Devotional

Friday, March 26, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 28:9, As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

1 Corinthians 3:10, According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 

Psalms 11:3, If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? 

Loyalty defined: The state of being true or faithful in allegiance; faithful to the lawful government, to a prince or superior; true to plighted faith, duty, or love; not treacherous; constant.

David told Solomon to serve God with a loyal heart and a willing mind. What does it mean to have a loyal heart? It meant that Solomon needed to maintain a clarity of purpose and a sharp focus on the commands and direction of the Lord and his father/leader, David. He (and we) needed to maintain proper relationships vertically (with God) and horizontally (with prophets, priests and people) He needed to know the nature and quality of those who came along side.

Solomon had received from God the gift of wisdom a divine ability to make proper choices and decisions that were consistent with God's will. He did well as long as he maintained a loyal heart. By wisdom he built the glorious temple. By wisdom he resolved disputes among his people. By wisdom he made a great nation even greater. The Queen of Sheba came to behold the greatness of the kingdom under Solomon and to meet the man whose fame was known to many lands.

So long as he maintained a loyal heart, he served the purpose of God and enhanced the Kingdom of God. However, when he began to compromise loyalty of heart, foundations began to crack and crumble. In time, the kingdom of God suffered loss and crisis.

Sometimes, that which seems desirable from personal perspective ultimately injures the kingdom of God and the witness of christian unity in a community. We were told by the Apostle Paul to not be a partaker in the sins of another.

Disloyalty to God, to man, and to the Word creates an internal disorder which, like HIV, may take years to manifest as a deadly condition. "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Prov. 6:27).

The strength of a foundation is only known by the storms and stresses that try it. It is certain that any plan, idea, belief, action, reaction, response, or ministry that is not built by or squarely based upon the Word, will not survive major storms. It is only a matter of time before an absent or faulty foundation is revealed.

A disloyal heart displeases God because it is contrary to God's nature. Cain refused to offer an acceptable sacrifice to God or become his brother's keeper. His killing of Abel incurred the curse of becoming a vagabond one who wanders from place to place, having no home, no identity, loyal to no one but self (Gen. 4:12).

Some keys to restoring a loyal heart include:
1. Faithfulness to God-ordained relationships and purposes
2. Repentance and restitution for injuries caused by lies, gossip and false judgments
3. Understanding one's own gifts, grace and measure in the body of Christ and working within them
4. Submitting to spiritual authority as unto the Lord
5. Reading and living out the Word of God
6. Strengthening and supporting your local church/leaders and thereby enhance the larger church
7. Resolve conflicts and problems by the Word going to those with whom we have a problem.

Reflection Questions;
1. Why is loyalty a kingdom principle?
2. What are your loyalties? How do you show it?

My Action Items:
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Day 16 - Childlike Behavior | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Thursday, March 25, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Today’s lesson was written by Min. Shawn Renee Carter from New Covenant Church.

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:13-15 (NLT), 13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. 14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

There were several instances in the Bible where Jesus became angry. When that occurred there were foundational principles or practices that had been overlooked, misunderstood, or violated. In this Scripture text, Jesus was displeased because His disciples attempted to keep the children away who were brought to Him to be blessed. Could it be that the disciples did not recognize the value of the children’s presence? Jesus valued children as an integral part of the Kingdom of God. They possessed attributes essential to the Kingdom of God.

When I was a child, I would often play outside in front of my house and notice someone approaching in the distance. I could not immediately identify the person, but as they came closer, I began to recognize their walk or their stride. When I knew it was my mother arriving home from work, I would run to meet her and give her a big hug! I would grab her arm and pull her purse off her shoulder. She would warn me that it was heavy, but I did not care. I was so happy to be with her and excited to see what goodies she had for me. Most of the time there would be treat, a doll, or toy. I was always grateful because she made me feel loved.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) 

Hunger and thirst for righteousness denotes an urgent pursuit and yearning for God’s rule in our lives. Matthew 6:33 reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Can you image the children from our Scripture text (Mark 10:13-15) hurriedly running to meet Jesus to receive an impartation or blessing? It was likely the same way I ran to meet my mother with great expectation of the gifts she had for me. Children do not think about earning, deserving, or paying for blessings. They just hope and receive with joy. This is also how we receive the Kingdom of God. We cannot earn it. We do not deserve it, but we can receive the gift.

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4).

Can you see the children running towards Jesus skipping and giggling? They recognized and trusted Him. They saw Him work miracles. They recognized His voice from His teaching. I could recognize my mother from a distance because I was familiar with her stance, presence, and movements. Children recognize and respond to love.

In the same way, we who are the children in the Kingdom of God should be familiar with and respond to His presence. When we spend time in prayer, worship, and in the Word we become more familiar with His ways. Our response should be gratefulness, obedience, love, and worship. 

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Reflection Questions:
1. Are there things in your life that might make Jesus angry? How will you correct them?
Jesus loved the children. 

2. What are some childlike qualities you possess that you think Jesus would love? 

My Action Items:
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Day 15 - Special Post | Bryan & Patricia Hudson 42nd Anniversary | LoveWorks, Jesus, Our Example of Friendship | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



This is a repost from a lesson series my wife and I taught entitled Love Works from 2019. Today, we celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. For us, this annual milestone is a reminder of the steadfastness of the Kingdom of God. For you, I pray this is an encouragement, knowing that God can sustain love and relationships. 

Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you." There have been difficult times in which I felt that my love was insufficient, only to learn that acknowledging weakness is the path to gaining strength in God. The Apostle Paul wrote, "When I am weak then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)

I dedicate this lesson to my wife and best friend, Patricia Ann Hudson!

John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

We learn from this text is that Jesus wants a relationship with his followers. Not just religious devotion, but a loving, sincere, committed relationship and friendship.

A Definition of Friend – A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest too. Friendship is a two way relationship where both parties give and receive.
Jesus expounds to his disciples the true meaning of friendship. 

There are four levels of relationship:
1. There are acquaintances
2. There are colleagues/co-workers/partners
3. There is Christian/Kingdom Covenant with fellow believers in Christ
4. And there are true friends (Including spouse)

KEY POINT #1: True friends experience a high level of agreement
KEY POINT #2: True friends are mutually loyal and dependable
KEY POINT #3: True friends confide in one another.
KEY POINT #4: True friends speak highly of one another and empower one another, especially in times of uncertainty.

Watch the teaching below 

 

Part One also Available now on Podcast: 





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Words Matter! - Firm Foundation Podcast

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments





Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Hebrews 3:13, But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Proverbs 18:4 (NLT), A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”

Words Matter! In many ways, we are the product of words from our parents, teachers, coaches, and other significant people in our lives. Some have been damaged and broken by words. We live in a culture full of idol and careless words.

Those of us who are Christ followers have benefitted and found new live through the words of God as expressed by Bible writers such as David, the Apostle Paul, the Hebrews writer, and many others. Our pastors and spiritual leaders have poured truths and practical insight into us.

We have been empowered to offer words of life and encouragement to our children, our community, and to the world.

In this lesson you will learn more about the importance of the words we use as well as principles that hold us accountable and give us grace to speak blessing to our generation.


Listen on Firm Foundation Podcast


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Day 14 - Living in Kingdom Purpose and Power | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Today's lesson was written by Min. Bertha Fields from New Covenant Church

Scripture Reading: Luke 4:42, Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43-but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

In this passage of Scripture Jesus was involved in His ministry in the region of Galilee. It is stated here, and in several other Scriptures, that Jesus was involved in His usual practice of praying early in the morning, alone in the presence of Father God. In these times and seasons of prayer, He experienced the presence, power, and provision of the Father.

In John 5:19-21 Jesus states, ”Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

After times alone with the Father, Jesus would return to His followers and the other people among the large crowds that followed Him. There He would preach the realities of the Kingdom of God, heavenly truths unlike anything the people had ever heard, and He would demonstrate Kingdom power in the healing and restoration for the body, soul, and spirit for the people who gathered to hear Him.

The Gospel writer Matthew stated in 4:23-25, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him— from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

The large crowds of people in Galilee tried to keep Jesus from leaving their presence. He offered this response to the crowd, “I must preach the kingdom of God” to other people in other various places. This indicated that Jesus was determined and fully committed to proclaim and extend the ministry of the Kingdom of God and to finish His assignment. Jesus was clear concerning His purpose and He continued to submit Himself to obey the will of Father God. 

Praise the Lord God Almighty that Jesus could proclaim from the cross of Calvary “It is finished!” (John 19:30) All who decide to, can choose Him, and rest in His finished work.

REFLECTION QUESTION: 

At this point in life, about what matters do you think you are being prompted by the Lord in order to be clear about your purpose(s) as you go forward?

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Day 13 - The Law of Change | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Monday, March 22, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Scripture Reading: Matt. 21:28, "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29" 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. [change] 30"Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. [no change] 31"Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Sometimes, those of us who claim to know God have the most difficulty changing. Why is this? It may be because we presume that our relationship with Him is so profound that we have somehow been elevated to a changeless state. Be careful that you do not start thinking that you don’t have to change.

The fact is this: There is good change and bad change. There is change that you need and change that you don’t need. There are things the must change and things that must not change. Sometimes change is genuine and sometimes change is staged.

Definition of change: Make or become different; make or become a different substance entirely; transform; alter; take or use another instead of; move from one to another; remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another of the same kind; The substitution of one thing for another.

Jesus shared a parable about two sons. These two sons looked like us and everyday people. I’ll call them Billy and Bob. When asked to go work in the vineyard, Billy said “No,” but later changed his mind and went. Bob said “Yes,” but did not go.

Billy changed and Bob did not.

Why did Billy change his mind? He changed his mind because he recognized that he had a responsibility and an obligation to his father. He respected and loved his father. He loved his father more than his own unwillingness to work. Billy also recognized that working in the vineyard was a part of his purpose for that season in his life.

Why did Bob say he would go, but did not? Bob was a lazy and a liar. Bob represents one of the worse aspects of human nature. Not only did Bob not change, he tried to give the impression that he was faithful and committed. Today, Bob was the kind of person who will waste your time, money, and energy because you prepare for Bob, but he doesn’t show up.

Jesus used this parable to admonish His own Jewish people who thought their history and heritage somehow gave them an inroad to God ahead of others. However, all people, Christians, non-Christians, people from Christian homes or not, we all must CHANGE in order to follow God––and He gives grace to change. Whatever God requires, He provides.

In reality, what Billy did was REPENT. We know it because he changed his mind. The word repent means to “change one’s mind” and go in another direction.

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

Change occurs when we experience a convergence of three factors:
1) Our willingness to go in a new way
2) The light of God’s knowledge
3) Death of the old way

The Law of Change: Everyone and everything that is short of God’s standard of perfection must change. God’s perfection provides us a firm foundation for change. We continue to grow and change until Jesus returns.

Reflection Question:
1. In what ways do you need to change?

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Day 12 - God's Purpose | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Sunday, March 21, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Book reading from Rediscovering the Kingdom: Chapter One, Discovering the Origin and Purpose of Man

Scripture Reading: Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

(LESSON BY MYLES MUNROE)

These simple words changed my life again for they fully described what I was seeing with my eyes. Religion is hard work. We will never rest until we find the Kingdom. Religion is the toil of mankind in his search for the Kingdom.

GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR MAN

To understand the past and future of man and to appreciate the present state of man’s journey through time, it is crucial to consider God’s original purpose and plan for His creation. God’s purpose in the beginning was to:

Establish a family of spirit sons, not servants;
Establish a kingdom, not a religious organization;
Establish a kingdom of kings, not subjects;
Establish a commonwealth of citizens, not religious members;
Establish relationship with man, not a religion; Extend his heavenly government to earth; and Influence earth from heaven through mankind.

Reflection Question:
1. What is Jesus' yoke for you?

My Action Items:

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Day 11 - Don't Worry | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Saturday, March 20, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:34, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We wear ourselves out worrying about things and trying to get things that are always provided when we "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." God’s kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting God's kingdom first puts you in a posture of blessing and abundance even during times of adversity.

You do not have to be "super spiritual” to put the Kingdom first. You only need to follow Jesus. Being worry free is one of the gifts and benefits of being a Christ Follower.

Reflection Question:
1. What do you need to stop worrying about?

My Action Items:
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Day 10 - Worship, The Rhythm of the Kingdom | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Friday, March 19, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



Scripture Reading: Luke 19:28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet,that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 

King Jesus rides on the faith of givers and worshippers. Worship is the Rhythm of God's Kingdom. When we want Jesus to enter our lives and circumstances, we must be prepared to follow His instructions, demonstrate our faith, and worship from our heart and with our substance. Jesus looks for faith, since it is the environment of blessing and miracles. Jesus looks to see if people will honor father God, who is always looking for true worshippers who worship in Spirit and in Truth.

In that day and in many cultures today, people understand the principle of honor and the protocol of entering the presence of elders and kings. Today, there is a lack of understanding of the importance of honor and honoring people who are worthy of honor.

Israel's priests had lost sight of the principle of honor

Malachi 1:6, “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence?

When we honor God and honorable people, and keep ourselves in alignment with divine purpose and keep our hearts clear of selfish ambition. Worshippers and givers have a heart to honor and please God. From the text, look at the characteristics of people who worship and honor,

1. Obedience, "Go into the village...." (Today, follow God's lead)
2. Attention to detail, "Find a colt tied..." (Today, we say, "now what did Jesus say?")
3. Recognition of Jesus authority, "The Lord has need of it..."
4. Sacrificial giving by unnamed owner of donkey. Sacrificial giving by the disciples and onlookers, "They spread their OWN clothes on the donkey...
A sacrifice is not doing something we don’t want to do. A sacrifice is offering up something costly and precious.
5. Remembrance of blessing, "All the mighty works they had seen..."
6. Worship and praise, "Blessed is the King who comes..."

Reflection Questions:
1. What is the connection between worship and obedience?
2. What is honor? Why is it lacking?

My Action Items:
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Day 9 - The Kingdom Seeking Process | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Thursday, March 18, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments



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

The best way to not do something negative is to focus on doing something positive. God 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't have 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. That is the process of the “kingdom” Macintosh (or Windows) and the related word processing software.

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."

Reflection Questions:
1. Describe a Kingdom process at work in you
2. Why is focusing on the positive more helpful than focusing on the negative?

My Action Items:
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Day 8 - What is the Kingdom of God? What is the Kingdom of Heaven? | Our King and the Kingdom of God 21-Day Devotional

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Scripture Reading:
Matthew 13:24, Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

Romans 14:17, For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Some words/terms in the Bible have both similar and different meanings. For example, we often see the word “church.” We know the church is the people of God in union with Christ, whether inside a building or not. We also think of church as a building. The Bible Greek word for church is ἐκκλησία, which we transliterate as ekklēsia meaning “assembly” AND 
“church.” We almost always associate ekklēsia with ourselves as Christ's church. In Acts 19 ekklēsia is used for an “assembly” of angry and confused people.

And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly [
ekklēsia] was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. (vv. 30-32)

These were not church people, but an assembly of other people. It is important to understand that some words/terms in the Bible have BOTH a specific meaning and a meaning based on the context in which it is used.

In the Bible, we see clear descriptions of “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven.” In almost every instance, the two are not the same. In a few instances the terms are interchangeable such as,
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23–24)

The term Kingdom of God is used to describe the realm where God exists in complete authority, full of righteousness and holiness, and where His rule is acknowledged in the hearts of believers. The Kingdom of God indicates all of God’s rule, which has a moral and spiritual force that man does not have outside of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Examples of the Kingdom of God as His rule:
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Romans 14:16, Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

The Kingdom of Heaven, on the other hand, is inclusive of everything, good and bad, godly and sinful. The Kingdom of Heaven is always under the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is never limited to the Kingdom of Heaven. Only the people of God and the things of God are part of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Heaven will be purged of evil things. (Matthew 13:41)

The Kingdom of God is eternal and spiritual in nature, while the Kingdom of Heaven is temporary and physical

The important thing to remember is that God rules over all through Christ! (Psalm 103:19)

Reflection Questions:
1. In your own words summarize the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.
2. Why is context important when interpreting Bible words and terms?

My Action Items:
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