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Dudley's Weekly Word

Husbands and Prayer

Posted May 22, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

In marriage, the role of the husband is different from that of the wife, but the perspective and attitude are the same. Peter’s use of “likewise” or “in the same way” is common to both his instructions to the wife and to the husband and is probably referring to 2:13 where believers are exhorted to place their explicit trust in God by properly submitting to his delegated authority structures.... Keep Reading

Beautiful Wives

Posted May 9, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Since the new order has been launched in the resurrection of Jesus, every aspect of life is affected, including marriage. As all married people know, marriage can turn out to be not only different than expected, but difficult to navigate. For marriage to be anything like what God intended in the beginning, we need a new perspective. Peter is describing that new perspective in this whole section of his letter. He has already said that we have been freed and empowered to submit to God’s order by honestly respecting the delegated authority structures that allow society to function best. But just exactly how does the resurrection of Jesus affect the wife’s role in marriage?... Keep Reading

Standing in Strange Grace

Posted April 25, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The first readers of Peter’s letter might have been wondering if God’s favor was really upon them. After all, they were being persecuted for their faith. The new kingdom they had embraced upon hearing the gospel was not all tea and roses. They had come to realize that hostile powers were aligned against God’s established king and his people. Probably some had mocked them for not being more prosperous in material things and more victorious over physical maladies. There have always been some in the church who measure everything by the same metrics as the surrounding society. Peter reassures them that they have heard the true gospel and that they are experiencing the true grace of God. He exhorts them to stand in this grace.... Keep Reading

You Aren't Alone in Suffering

Posted March 28, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Last week we saw the reality of being stalked, and the necessity of resisting Satan. One of his main tactics is to interpret circumstances in such a way as to misrepresent God’s intention and involvement in our lives.... Keep Reading

We Are Being Stalked

Posted March 21, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

We have all watched the scary movies where a party is going on with everyone laughing and having a carefree time, yet a menacing bad guy is watching, waiting for the opportunity to pounce on some unsuspecting victim. We want to scream out, “Watch out! There is danger lurking!” Well, Peter does warn us all that there is a stalking enemy out there just looking for someone who will be his prey.... Keep Reading

What's the Fashion of the New Creation?

Posted March 7, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Those properly dressed in God’s kingdom are wearing humility. They are not competing for attention and vying for position. They have come to know a Father who is so big that they are not tempted to suppress themselves. Many trying to look humble are busy beating themselves down in order for God to be noticed. That is evidence of having a small God. Humanity does not have to be diminished in order for divinity to be seen as superior. Such efforts are false humility and look as cheap and out of place as overalls and sneakers at a President’s ball.... Keep Reading

Shepherd the Flock of God

Posted February 28, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Peter is an elder himself who has witnessed the glory of Christ and the suffering that comes from partaking of life with him. He is well aware of the commission he was given by the resurrected Lord after breakfast by the sea. Remember! He had promised to stand with Jesus no matter what but had failed miserably on the night of the betrayal. Jesus had confronted him over breakfast in Galilee. Jesus had three times commissioned him to tend the sheep. Now in this text, he is telling other elders how important their role is in the future of the church.... Keep Reading

The End of All Things

Posted February 21, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Many lessons have used this text to promote the idea that the end of the world was upon us. Since Peter wrote this prior to 70 AD, we would have to say he was wrong if, in fact, he was saying that. It has been 2000 plus years, and the earth is still here. Peter is telling his readers and us that everything that needed to be done had been done for God’s narrative to reach its climax.... Keep Reading

Suffering Is Not Strange

Posted February 13, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

In our culture, comfort and ease are valued so highly that the very thought of suffering as a normal part of life is unthinkable. In fact, too often the message coming from Christian leaders makes a mockery of suffering and categorizes it as outside of personal faith. Many people try to believe that they can live without suffering and still be faithful witnesses of God’s kingdom. This is a sad state of theological confusion that leaves people without adequate support when trouble comes.... Keep Reading

Trusting the Just Judge

Posted January 31, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Christians are participants in the new creation, radically born again of the imperishable seed of God’s word. They have been separated for his possession and use in this world. They are filled with light and are placed in the midst of darkness. They are often broken so the light is seen by those walking in darkness. They embrace this calling and are ready to give an answer for the radical hope that steadies them in the midst of storms. They live in the same world as those who have not yet been enlightened by the gospel, and they must submit to the same forces that inhabit the world. Injustice and unfairness are common.... Keep Reading

Live As Free People

Posted January 17, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

When bondage masquerades as liberty we must be on alert in order to escape the trap. It usually occurs when we have incorrectly identified our captors. If we think that our problem is authority or even rules, we will define liberty in terms of being out from under authority and beyond rules. Many have celebrated their presumed liberation only to find themselves deeper in bondage.... Keep Reading

Submission is to the Lord

Posted January 10, 2017 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Peter’s instructions regarding how to live in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel includes how believers are to respond to governmental structures that often put pressure on the Christian worldview. Peter reminds them and us that God has instituted certain structures in society and that submission to those God-ordained authorities is submission to God himself. The civil government is for the purpose of protecting citizens and punishing evil doers. As long as the government stays within the bounds of its purpose and is not demanding its citizens disobey the clear instructions of God, it is to be honored.... Keep Reading

The War Against Your Soul

Posted December 28, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

It has been established that we are set apart to represent our Lord on this earth. We have been forgiven and cleansed by an act of unmatched mercy. We have been identified as his people on earth. We have been born again of the imperishable seed of his word. Our purpose is to reveal what free living looks like. We are not only free from the enslaving power of sin, but we are free from the accusing voice of the Law. We have been so united with Christ by the Spirit that we as a faith community can display the original design for mankind. We must be aware that there is a war going on because God's enemy has a strategy to thwart the plan.... Keep Reading

People of Mercy

Posted December 14, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The distinguishing feature of God’s people is that they are objects of mercy and reflections of mercy. No person really knows God personally if he or she has not cried out for mercy. People don’t become living stones in the living temple of God until they have faced their own desperate need of forgiveness. We are dead in trespasses and sins. We are blind to a true perspective of God and his ways. We are enslaved to sin and energized by the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-4). We don’t just need to try harder or act better. We don’t just need more information or some inspiration. We need a new start.... Keep Reading

The Truly Elite

Posted December 7, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Writing to a group of scattered Christians who had no real identity in their culture, Peter emphasizes who these people really are. They were rejected by the Jewish community because their Savior was the same Jesus that was rejected by the Jewish system. The secular culture viewed them as some kind of strange sect that was neither Jewish nor pagan. They were followers of a rejected and crucified master. They had no status. Yet their mission was to bless all nations. How would they ever do it?... Keep Reading

The Rejected Stone

Posted November 29, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Jesus is offensive to those who have refused to respond to the previous revelations of God given through creation, conscience, and scripture. It is truly remarkable that mankind could be so blind as not to see the beauty of God in all that is around us. Yet, we are reminded daily that Jesus is rejectable. Believers should be overwhelmed with the mercy shown to us in opening our eyes to see his matchless mercy.... Keep Reading

It Is Time To Give Thanks

Posted November 22, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

We have just endured a grueling election, and feelings are still strong. Some are angry. Some are elated. Some are relieved. A huge transition is under way, and no really knows what the immediate future holds politically. There is still a lot of angst in the air. What a great time to stop and give thanks. Our souls need a refreshing and our hearts long to be whole. But more than these, God deserves to be worshipped as the source of all blessings. It is time to give thanks.... Keep Reading

Born to Worship

Posted November 8, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

We were made to worship! It is the reason for our existence. It is the only way we find our purpose, and it is the epitome of our delight. Adam and Eve worshipped God at all times. They adored him and obeyed him as they enjoyed his fellowship. It was in an act of worship that Cain became angry and killed his brother. When humans have gone astray, they have done so by worshipping something other than the true God.... Keep Reading

Coming Grace

Posted November 1, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The nature of this magnificent salvation that former prophets inquired about and angels long to see is one of ever approaching grace. It is the continual progressive revelation of Christ and his rule now and forever. The prophet Daniel had dreams about the various kingdoms in history, culminating with the establishment of God's kingdom through his people on earth. The stone rolling down the mountain and crushing the image of human governments is identified as the same stone that the Jewish leaders rejected, but who became the cornerstone of God's final temple. Jeremiah had prophesied of a new day with a new covenant and a new people. Jesus confirmed that covenant with his own life and death.... Keep Reading

No Mere Angel

Posted October 25, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Someone recently referred to the time of his death as being when he would get his harp and wings. It is a common euphemism but does not reflect the Bible's evaluation of us. We have never been angels. (Even our mothers can agree with that!) We shall never be angels. We are the unique image-bearers of God himself. The blood of God's Son has redeemed us, and that doesn't apply to angels.... Keep Reading

Taste of Good

Posted October 18, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

One taste of the kind of goodness found in God is enough to motivate one to do whatever is necessary to get more. Those who find it a chore to drink of the pure spiritual milk must not have tasted the goodness or they have somehow forgotten how it taste.... Keep Reading

Freedom Is Tricky

Posted October 11, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Many people are tired of their enslavement. It is true also that many are not. They have denied their condition and bristle at the suggestion that they are being deprived of a world of delight by holding on to their own bondage. But the ones who admit that they are tired have had enough of the fears that paralyze them, the addictions that drive them, the obsessions that haunt them, the perversions that shame them, and the cycles of oppression that keep them in confusion. They long to be free.... Keep Reading

Liberating Fear

Posted October 4, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Christians have long debated what it means to fear God. Some view him as the strict judge who is keeping a detailed record of all our misdeeds, and so they are almost paralyzed in fear of doing something wrong. Others emphasize the bigness of God and say that we are to live with a sense of awe, but not to fear any repercussions for our actions. Peter gives us some clarity: God is the impartial judge who is our Father. Both of those designations are good news.... Keep Reading

Holiness is a Fun Word

Posted September 29, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The way we sang the old hymn Holy, Holy, Holy in the little Baptist church of my upbringing didn't bring to mind visions of fun and adventure. It felt more like suppression and boredom. I'm absolutely sure it was my perspective rather than the merits of the music or the lyrics, but the idea of "holiness" did not appeal to me. Evidently it doesn't to many others as well. Too often it either is an unreachable standard we strive for without success, or it is a truncated concept of spiritual discipline resulting in self-righteous ritual.... Keep Reading

Restored Glory

Posted September 20, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

We are familiar with the statement of Paul that we have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). What glory have we come short of? It is the glory that God designed humans to have in the beginning. It is the glory of trusting God as his partner and image bearer on earth. Mankind is most honored when they are living in total trust toward God. There is a security and significance in that state that exults in being alive. Every created person longs for such glory and honor.... Keep Reading

Angelic Envy

Posted September 13, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

The salvation that has been revealed through Jesus Christ is of such a nature that the majestic angels would love to look into it, but can't. What is so intriguing to the angels? Aren't they the mighty beings of heaven that have access to realities that we can't see? Aren't they more powerful than even our imaginary superheroes of today? What is so grand about the salvation that Jesus revealed?... Keep Reading

It Was God's Idea

Posted September 6, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Christians who are under pressure because of their unfriendly culture need to hear that God is not only their comforter, but also their source. They do not need to be so focused on their efforts that they forget his. They are not breathlessly trying to get to heaven or be heavenly on this earth as much as they are the beneficiaries of God's mercy. Before they got here, God's mercy was being displayed. He has been the initiator of their salvation, and it includes their being born again into a new realm.... Keep Reading

Both Grace And Peace

Posted August 30, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

We don't pay much attention to salutations now. It is just a formality that we glance at as we move quickly into the content of the correspondence. Biblical writers viewed it with much more appreciation. In this case, Peter is speaking over his readers the blessing given in the gospel he is advocating.... Keep Reading

Set Apart to New Obedience

Posted August 23, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Peter is giving scattered first century believers reason to hope even though they are surrounded by a hostile culture. He establishes for them the truth about who they are and what has happened to them as they embrace the gospel. It is fantastic what has happened to them. It started long before they ever decided to believe. God the Father loved them and chose them to be his own. Foreknowledge means more than knowing the future. It means knowing people. He didn't just know what was going to happen when they heard the gospel. He chose them to hear the gospel and to be set apart for the purpose of living in obedience to Jesus.... Keep Reading

Chosen Sojourners

Posted August 16, 2016 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Alan Wright has wisely instructed us to get accustomed to living as missionaries in our own nation. Increasingly, the prevailing culture is becoming more hostile to the values of the gospel community. We can spend our time pining over the losses we have incurred morally, or we can take courage from the testimony of the early church that lived in the midst of cultures that were yet to be infected by the power of the gospel of Jesus. The apostle Peter wrote to such people, and we shall seek to find in his writings reasons for hope in our day.... Keep Reading

Living in Favor

Posted November 10, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is possible that the eighth chapter of Proverbs is the apex of wisdom literature. Wisdom is personified as one who has the keys to meaningful life and is eager to give them to those who recognize the value of wisdom. It points to a time in Solomon's future when ultimate wisdom is fully demonstrated in the person of Jesus the Christ. In this chapter, wisdom rehearses the role she plays in creation and the delight she has in the all of creation---especially the children of man. She declares that those who find her find life and favor from the Lord, and those who neglect her actually love death.... Keep Reading

Family Wisdom

Posted October 27, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

While many in our culture are arguing over family values and some are insisting that we abandon all restraints to sexual desires, we have the testimony of Wisdom for an anchor. Wisdom teaches us that God ordained families to train us how to view such powerful dynamics as sex and fidelity. We learn by models more than by lectures, and what we see modeled in our early life gives definition to the relationships that will mold our entire lives.... Keep Reading

Wrath & Love

Posted October 14, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Does the God of love hate? Actually, his love demands he hate that which threatens those he loves. The great news of the gospel is that his love is so great that God in Christ became the sin that is so destructive to his creatures and condemned it in the flesh (Romans 8: 3).... Keep Reading

Wake Up & Go to Work

Posted September 15, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

In a day when the value of human labor is debated, we need clarification about why and how we work. The emphasis for many in affluent societies is on less work and more play. It seems we only work when we absolutely must. The real objective is not to work. Of course, for some who have not found work, a job is desirable. Even then, however, many would not work if they could pay the bills without it.... Keep Reading

Intoxicating Marriage

Posted September 2, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Fatherly wisdom encourages us to embrace the gifts that God gives us and to refuse to settle for the substitutes offered by the deceiver. This is especially true in relation to marriage and the alternatives that compete with it. The temptation to adultery appeals to our selfishness. After all, we shouldn't be expected to be limited to just one sex partner, should we? There just seems to be great adventure in stepping outside of moral constraints. Sadly, our contemporary culture glamorizes sexual exploits before and outside of marriage and often mocks those who insist on following the advice of eternal wisdom. Movies are made portraying adult virgins as naive and even weird.... Keep Reading

Guard Your Heart

Posted August 26, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

I often hear wealthy people talk about guarding their money. Some people arm themselves, their homes, and their cars with multiple defenses. They are preparing to guard what is theirs. Likewise, there is a multi-billion dollar industry built around guarding our physical bodies. We try to eat the right foods, exercise, relieve stress, monitor blood pressure, etc. Yet I wonder if we are nearly as concerned with guarding our hearts.... Keep Reading

The Brighter Light

Posted August 19, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The voice of wisdom describes both the path of the wicked and the path of the righteous. The first leads to anxiety, mischief, fear, desolation, and violence. The first few steps look inviting---like the proposition the serpent offered Eve in the Garden. "You will be like God knowing good and evil." (Paraphrase: "You will be somebody and you won't have to listen to or depend on anyone because you will know what you need to know yourself.")... Keep Reading

Insight Is A Treasure

Posted August 5, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Paul prayed for believers to be built up in the inner man. The Epistle to the Hebrews says that those who live by faith do so by seeing something others don't see. They have inner eyes and ears. Shockingly it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. If faith comes as a result of seeing something in the inner man, it would seem that being able to see like that would be a primary goal. If we can't see with the eyes of the inner man, we can't properly believe, and we can't please God. That would mean that everything we do is worthless as far as God is concerned... Keep Reading

God's Woodshed

Posted July 29, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

On several occasions I have heard older preachers refer to divine discipline as being taken to the woodshed by God. In a previous time when people used wood as a source for heat, the shed was a good place to find a good paddle for spanking a wayward kid. No kid looked forward to a visit to the woodshed with mom or dad. Actually that is an unfortunate and misleading metaphor for being disciplined by the heavenly Father.... Keep Reading

Get Wisdom

Posted June 25, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

The previous proverbs have already said that wisdom is more valuable than gold or jewels. They have declared that God created all things by wisdom. It only seems natural that anyone wanting to make sense out of living in this wisdom-created world would want to embrace wisdom with all their might. So, where does one start?... Keep Reading

Blessed Wisdom

Posted June 9, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Everyone prefers to be blessed rather than cursed. This desire often leads some to try foolish shortcuts to get some special blessing. They long for a special person to favor them, or they look for lucky charms... Keep Reading

Delighting in Discipline

Posted June 2, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

My father had not read the contemporary books on rearing children, nor was he influenced by the politically correct crowd that is willing to put parents in prison for corporal punishment. He had not been informed about "time out." He kept his parenting instrument with him at all times, since it was holding up his trousers. My nickname was "Buddy." My normal name was Dudley. When my dad said, "John Dudley," my life began to pass before my eyes. Suffice it to say that I did not look forward to the belt.... Keep Reading

Trusting the Trustworthy

Posted May 27, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is foolish to trust those who aren't trustworthy. It is a sure path to disappointment. There is a mounting heap of broken hearts because of it. "Con men" still get away with millions because people want to believe. In fact, we want to believe so badly that we will trust things that have no capacity to produce what we expect. We trust money to make us secure. It can't. We trust government to provide what we want. It can't. We trust the Church to make us better. We trust our marriage to make us happy. And when these entities don't perform as we expected, we turn on them with blame.... Keep Reading

Gospel Charm

Posted May 19, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

Traditionally various people find a way to feature what is important to them by wearing a symbol of it, like a necklace. Sometimes the physical symbol is given the power to bring good luck or to ward off evil influences. Wisdom says that if you are going to value something that much, it should be steadfast love and faithfulness. These two virtues should not only hang around your neck, but be imbedded in your heart. Good things are in store for those who value these above all else.... Keep Reading

Parental Protection

Posted May 12, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

God has always been faithful to provide what we need. He designed the family so that we could trust the wisdom available through the perspectives of both father and mother. Just like there was a serpent in the Garden, there are enticing peers out there, tempting the young to break the apron strings and try out their wings. It is alarming to see just how powerful peer pressure is. The immature can easily be drawn into all kinds of destructive behavior just to fit in with the gang.... Keep Reading

Gospel Wisdom

Posted April 28, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is what we don't know that scares us. Since the serpent's first temptation, Adam's entire race has longed to know everything. When we don't know, everything is risky. Humanity has taken various approaches to this dilemma, including the ridiculous presumption that not even God knows---or worse, that there is no God and no fixed truth. That is a high price to pay intellectually just to ease the angst of not knowing.... Keep Reading

Contentment As Wealth

Posted April 21, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

My father bought a small farm from my grandfather back when he was first married. He reared five children and sought to train them to work hard and accept responsibility. In his latter years, he piddled around with a few head of cattle and spent a lot of time sitting under the big oak tree in his yard. It was in that setting that a discussion took place that significantly impacted my life.... Keep Reading

Dirty, But Not Dirt

Posted April 14, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The disciples had met together with Jesus for the final meal. They had been walking on manure-strewn streets to get there. Their feet were smelly and dirty. Jesus took the towel and basin and began washing their feet. Peter protested, but Jesus shook him with the statement, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."... Keep Reading

Easter Gives Hope

Posted April 1, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

We live in that special time between the Resurrection of Jesus and the final resurrection of our own bodies. Some have unfortunately focused on the individual benefit of going to heaven. Though that is a great comfort for believers, it is not all that Easter is about. Actually, the focus of the New Testament is that Jesus' resurrection was the beginning of a new creation. The hopes of Israel were fulfilled in Jesus: the new Noah, the ultimate prophet, and the final king.... Keep Reading

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Tags: Dudley Hall, DWW

Living to Please

Posted March 25, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

We are uniquely designed to please someone. We get a measure of satisfaction from pleasing someone else that is essential to our joy. This need drives us to complex relationships as we terribly complicate our lives by adopting many people to please. It would be so much simpler if there were but one person to please and all the other people in our lives were for serving. That is the hope of the gospel of Jesus. He has done all that is necessary to restore humans to the original plan of living to please God and to bless others.... Keep Reading

You Gotta Have Hope

Posted March 10, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

After reading some religious periodicals about the state of affairs on God's earth, we might wonder if the Scriptures are ever consulted. And if they are, how is hope so overlooked? Too many pundits are prophesying doom. They see the earth teetering on the brink of destruction with nothing to do but make sure we are ready to die.... Keep Reading

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Tags: Dudley Hall, DWW, Hope

It's Grace All the Way

Posted February 24, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The letter to the Colossians begins with the prayer for grace to be extended and ends with the same. Sadly, many Christians believe that we get into the family of God by grace, but once there we must grow and mature by our own methods. It is enough, they argue, that God would forgive our past sins and let us in. We can't expect him to spoil us by continuing to treat us with just grace.... Keep Reading

Salty Speech

Posted February 17, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Of course, Paul is not instructing his readers to use profanity, as might be interpreted in today's society. He is encouraging them and us to live and speak in such a way that every opportunity with outsiders would be used to the very best end.... Keep Reading

Praying for Preaching

Posted February 10, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Since God has restored us to the original status of being his partners on earth, we get to participate in the greatest adventure ever known. Even when we aren't the ones declaring the great revelation, we can participate. Remember! It was the word of God that created everything. It is the word of God that restores everything. When the gospel is preached, order begins to replace disorder.... Keep Reading

Pray As You Go

Posted February 3, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is interesting how often Paul exhorts his readers to continually pray or pray without ceasing. He obviously didn't view prayer primarily as a scheduled religious activity. It seems to be something he expected believers to do as a continual practice. Why would he think otherwise?... Keep Reading

Whatever You Do

Posted January 27, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The partnership has been restored! God created mankind to be his partner in developing what he had made. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did life together with God as they loved him, each other, and the work they were given to do. But, as a result of their sin, work took on the burden of toil as they fought the hostility of sin and its curse. But, that is not the end of the story.... Keep Reading

Gospel-Marriage

Posted January 20, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

When the "word of Christ dwells in us richly" (v. 16), we can have relationships beyond what could be expected in the natural. Since we have the very life of God as our source, we can enjoy and employ the same kind of submission found in the eternal triune Godhead. There, no rivalry exits between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. All find both honor and joy in exalting the other. With no honor to fight for and no shame to cover each person of the Trinity rejoices in the glory of each other.... Keep Reading

Wholly Work

Posted January 6, 2015 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The new perspective on life affects how we approach every detail. We are hidden with Christ in God and we simply live from that perspective. There is no separation between the secular part of life, like work and play, and the spiritual part, like prayer and fasting. We do everything in his name---as him, representing him---and for his honor.... Keep Reading

Indwelt by the Word of Christ

Posted December 9, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |1 Comments

This text seems to be a parallel admonition given by Paul to the Ephesian church. "Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." (Ephesians 5:18-19). We notice that being filled with the Spirit and being indwelt by the word of Christ produces the same kind of fruit. This is no surprise to those who remember that Jesus promised that the Spirit would make him real to the believers after his ascension (John 16).... Keep Reading

No Cross-Dressing

Posted December 2, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Just like we can wear appropriate clothes, we can put on the attitude and behavior that is consistent with our new identity in Christ. When we were alienated from God, outside his favor and unaware of his love, we behaved as such. It was common for us to fight and claw for our portion, while we strutted to prevent others from seeing how insecure we were. Holding a grudge was natural as it was the only way this side of murder to punish those who violated our sense of justice. But now, we have a new identity, and it demands new clothes.... Keep Reading

And Be Thankful

Posted November 25, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

There are not many legitimate short cuts in life, but maybe the closest thing to one is thankfulness. There is never a time when it is inappropriate. It always causes the focus to readjust. It is the heart of true worship. It is not a discipline or a habit, but it can become a regular response to any and every situation.... Keep Reading

Christ Is All and In All

Posted November 11, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Since being expelled from the Garden of Eden, mankind has been desperately trying to find something that would provide an edge in returning to fellowship with God. The dignity that was given to God's highest form of creation suffered a fatal blow. Adam and Eve were partners with God! They enjoyed a relationship that nothing else had ever had. They were created in his image and trusted with the stewardship of the earth. They were "somebody!" After the expulsion from the garden, however, they were orphan-minded rebels looking for something that would fill their need for significance. As time moved on, their descendants used geography, color of skin, vocation, intelligence, religious practices, and social status to gain an advantage over others.... Keep Reading

Being Renewed

Posted November 4, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Just like God created the universe in the beginning, he engaged in a new creation with Jesus. The original was tainted beyond repair, but not beyond redemption. There was need of a new Adam and a new race, albeit residing on the old earth. The Cross-event was not just one of many important events in history--it was a new creation event. The product of that creative event is a people who will be molded into a community capable of living in this new environment. The creator is the one who is molding the new model after his own image.... Keep Reading

Put Away the Thieves

Posted October 28, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

For many, salvation is limited to a "get out of jail free" card. They pray a prayer or submit to baptism or graduate from confirmation class only to continue to live pestered by impulses and influences that have characterized their previous life. They have some assurance that they will make it into heaven after they die, but they have little hope of being liberated from the dominion of such sins of the flesh.... Keep Reading

Once and Now

Posted October 21, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

In humanity's search for authenticity, we often demand that others accept us as we are and overlook our deficiencies. Of course we all want a break when it comes to our failures, but our demands have often locked us into prisons of defeat.... Keep Reading

The God of Wrath Is Coming

Posted October 14, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Wrath is a subject that most of us don't like to handle--unless we think someone else deserves it. Many live in fear of the wrath of God and devise plans to appease him. They have determined that God is the expanded version of some anger-filled relative or neighbor who will blow up on you if he is not pleased. Those biblical texts that mention wrath seem to jump off the pages as fear ministers to them. For others, God's wrath is such a horrible notion that they have refused to consider it. They hope that whatever love there may be in God will negate his wrath towards them. Some have even declared that wrath is a concept of the primitive mind and that the real God does not embody wrath. What kind of wrath is coming and on who or what will it be unleashed?... Keep Reading

Put to Death...

Posted October 7, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

In contemporary culture, desires rule. In fact, we have even allowed for our identity to be determined by our desires. This leaves little hope for those of us who are menaced by evil desires. What are we to do? If evil desires define us and confine us, then we have no option but to live by their demands. Others will just have to alter their definitions of evil, as well as normal, to accommodate us. Society will have to make concessions to our uncontrollable desires, even if they are destructive to our very existence.... Keep Reading

Appearing with Christ

Posted September 23, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

We all want desperately to matter! We want to appear and be seen as worth something. We need authentication from outside. We just can't handle the possibility that we have lived with no meaning or purpose and have little value. We all long for our own "15 minutes of fame."... Keep Reading

Hidden with Christ in God

Posted September 16, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

This is truth too marvelous for the human mind to grasp quickly. It often escapes us as we continue to live as if we are primarily people of the natural and fallen world. We are so accustomed to defining our reality by familiar feelings that we tend to put such truth off into a category that we label "spiritual," but we actually mean "not practical" or "not for now."... Keep Reading

Raised With Christ

Posted September 9, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The majestic mystery of Jesus' appearance is that he included us (those who are his by faith) in his death, resurrection, and ascension. Whatever happened to him, as our representative, happened to us. Truly the future has invaded the present, and we are now challenged to live each day on the basis of Christ's complete work. ... Keep Reading

Apparent Wisdom

Posted August 26, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Man-made religion is always in a battle with the flesh. Actually, it is always a surrender to the flesh. "Flesh" is a term Paul uses to describe that part of mankind that responds to the law and attempts to fulfill requirements that will gain some type of leverage with God. It is the default mode of a race that has been alienated from God and desperately wants to be back in the garden of fellowship. It cries out for identity, security, significance, and control.... Keep Reading

The Beauty of Having Died

Posted August 19, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

If we were dead, we wouldn't have struggles with flesh and frailty. But then, we would be dead. Christ has made it possible for us to have the benefits of being dead while we are still alive in our bodies.... Keep Reading

Growth

Posted August 5, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Healthy things grow until they reach maturity. We expect it. If it doesn't happen, we are alarmed and try to find the cause. If we are focused on the external, we will emphasize physical growth and tend to measure progress simply in physical terms. So there are some who think a particular church is healthy because it grows numerically, even though they would admit that big bodies don't necessarily translate into healthy people.... Keep Reading

Grounds for Disqualification

Posted July 22, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

There is a disqualifying form of Christianity being promoted among us. It leaves its adherents with a legalistic hangover and a deflated hope. It features some or all of the following characteristics: asceticism, obsession with angels, reliance on visions, confidence based on knowledge rather than relationship, and failure to exalt Jesus as the source, means, and goal of life.... Keep Reading

Falsely Judged

Posted July 15, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Human tradition and elemental spirits (Colossians 2:8) are always looking for grounds to condemn and disqualify. We are all susceptible to judging and being judged on the wrong grounds. We continue to misjudge God's true nature and thereby misjudge each other. God has never been about setting rules for the purpose of determining who is qualified and who is not. He has always been interested in showing us how we could live successfully with him.... Keep Reading

Disarming the Enemy

Posted July 8, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Before his public ministry began, Jesus met Satan in the wilderness and walked away victorious. It wasn't just his victory. He represented Adam who had faced Satan in the original Garden and lost. He also represented Israel who faced Satan in the wilderness of temptation and lost. This time both Adam and Israel won in their representative--Jesus. The new Man began a new era and a new people by establishing a new kingdom. When Jesus arrived, a new king was on the scene. Satan had nothing in him or on him. There was no law he could use against Jesus. There was no death that Jesus deserved. Satan could not prosecute Jesus for crimes that he had committed. He was only an illegal accuser.... Keep Reading

The Canceled Debt

Posted June 24, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is difficult getting accustomed to being free from debt when you have lived your whole life with its weight. You feel illegal, even ungodly. Actually, many of us demand to continue to live with some measure of debt. It gives some strange sense of comfort and normalcy. We think, "Surely we aren't totally forgiven. We can't just expect to be treated as Jesus the Son is treated." We take comfort that others around us are also conscious of their debt toward God. We fit in better if we tone down the exuberance over having our total debt of sin canceled forever. After all, as we examine ourselves, we can still see imperfections in our beliefs and behavior. This collection of moral violations must be recorded to our account. So the feeling of debt grows. We try to lessen the load by daily confessions, but we aren't sure we remembered them all and we doubt that we were truly sincere about some of them because we have done the same things repeatedly.... Keep Reading

Dead and Then Alive

Posted June 17, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is true that our spiritual dilemma was much worse than we thought, and Christ's redemption is much greater than we have imagined. Because of our relationship with Adam as well as our own choices to rebel, we were dead in our trespasses. We were cut off from God. He is holy--absolutely good. We were alienated from him and unable to enjoy him or even approach him on our own merits. Pure goodness cannot mingle with sinfulness any more than light can mingle with darkness. We can't just be partially good or even mostly good. Only good can fellowship with good. ... Keep Reading

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Tags: Dudley Hall, DWW

In The Family

Posted June 10, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

The people of Israel recognized that they were chosen by God and were a peculiar people on the earth. They had been given the Law. They were commissioned to bless other nations by being a kingdom of priests. They were to act as God's son on earth. The sign that they were people of covenant was circumcision. When the new era arrived, it became clear that God had other sheep that he was bringing into the fold, and they, too, would be his people. The Jewish believers had a difficult time accepting them unless they submitted to the Jewish rituals, especially circumcision. The gentile believers also felt somewhat second-class or "Johnny-come-lately" believers because the Jewish believers had the physical sign.... Keep Reading

Filled By Him

Posted June 3, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Everything God has ever wanted to say, he said in Jesus. He is the complete and final Word of God. It seems that human nature is determined to find some vital information outside of him. We have looked in magic, witchcraft, science, imagination, exotic religious cults, intriguing prophetic predictions, and fanciful interpretations of scripture, but we refuse to believe that we have been given the fullness of God in the person of Jesus.... Keep Reading

Watch Out For Vain Traditions

Posted May 27, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Our enemy's weapon is deceit. He is not the creator nor sustainer of this world. He only perverts what God has made good and turns beauty into ugliness. He is, however, active and seeking someone he can devour with deception. The only safe place is in the truth of Christ.... Keep Reading

It Is All Christ

Posted May 6, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Jesus is not just the starting point of eternal life. He is the journey and the destination. First we receive him because our hearts have been drawn by the Spirit and quickened to believe. Then we walk in him. We take steps of faith trusting him to supply all that we need to move ahead. His past is our past. His life is our life. We can depend on his never-ending supply of love to quiet our hearts and to empower us to treat others as he treats us.... Keep Reading

Walking as a Receiver

Posted April 22, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

A common myth is that we come to salvation by receiving mercy as a free gift, but we have to walk out salvation by our efforts to improve our character. The truth is that God is only impressed with one person's righteousness. He is fully committed to Jesus the Son. No one can compete with him in any area""and we don't have to. When we receive Jesus as our savior, salvation, sanctification, significance, and security, we are placed in him, and he lives in us through the Spirit.... Keep Reading

Protection Against Deception

Posted April 16, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Everyone likes a mystery. There is something in us that knows there is reality beyond our reach. We resent our limitations of knowledge and are vulnerable to high-sounding prospects of discovering the newest truth or the most novel interpretation.... Keep Reading

The Riches of the Mystery

Posted April 8, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

True wealth is found in understanding the mystery that is Christ. Perhaps it is too simple for the intellectual, too obvious for the curious, and too wonderful for the religious. It seems that mankind is determined to find some kind of understanding outside of Christ that will satisfy the longing to know. It is so easy to get sidetracked by even good things--Bible study, historical awareness, discovering principles that cause life on earth to work better. But the wealth that makes us rich beyond measure is found only in knowing and continuing to know Christ.... Keep Reading

The Tapestry of Love

Posted April 1, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

There was something that made all the hard work Paul did really worth it. He desperately wanted those who listened to (or read) him to discover the vast riches that lie within the life that is theirs by faith in Christ. This great secret that blows all other secrets out of the water is, simply, Christ. Sadly, too many of those in Colossae and Laodicea were willing to settle for knowing very little. It is still true today. There is a huge company of believers who truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he lived, died, was resurrected, and ascended. But they don't really know how to access the blessings that are granted in that great truth.... Keep Reading

The Struggle and the Mystery

Posted March 25, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is worth the struggle, but there is a struggle. Like Paul, we who proclaim the mystery explained in the gospel of Christ recognize that there is a battle going on as the accuser tries to nullify the effects of the message. The cross as God's remedy for mankind's dilemma is still controversial. It looks like defeat to those who want God to act on our behalf and defeat the enemy with explosive destruction. It is foolishness to those who believe we are far advanced from such primitive ideas as atonement and sacrificial death. We are much more comfortable with psychological techniques and philosophical concepts in coping with our issues. If we who represent the gospel get trapped in trying to compete on this level, we will lose heart.... Keep Reading

Energized

Posted March 11, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

It is always sad to hear that someone has "burned out" in his or her endeavors to minister in Christ's name. In our driven culture it is almost a badge of honor to claim such. "Wow!" we think, "This person has given of themselves for others to the point of total exhaustion!" They are often without vision, passion, and energy to go on, but like a field-worker whose has had a heat stroke, they are weakened and fearful of succumbing again if they reengage.... Keep Reading

Him We Proclaim

Posted March 4, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

This verse has been a part of the logo on my stationary since 1975. It has been my mission statement. I am painfully aware that I have not always adhered to its singular purpose. It is easy to get sidetracked and proclaim something less. For the Christian, there can be no other mission. To do anything less is to miss the point of ministry. What could compare to proclaiming Him? Why would we want to proclaim anything else?... Keep Reading

Revealed to the Saints

Posted February 25, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

For centuries, the fullness of God's purpose on earth was hidden. Even the great patriarchs of the faith only saw in part. They saw so much, but it wasn't fully revealed to them how the final goal would be accomplished, and they weren't sure how it would look.... Keep Reading

More On the Mystery

Posted February 18, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

Secularism purports to offer a conflict-free society since it relegates religion to the unessential and absurd---only for those not enlightened enough to face the facts of reality. It claims that religion is the cause of trouble and war. Ignoring life's design, its adherents work feverishly to make sense of life as on earth. When they can find no purpose, they boldly declare, "There is no purpose and there isn't supposed to be." Like a lonely man playing solitaire all night with a deck of 51, having extracted the king of hearts, they are busy and distracted but not meaningful. The futile game never ends.... Keep Reading

The Missing Piece

Posted February 11, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

When Jesus is not the center of the picture, the photograph is terribly out of focus. When he is not the center of the story, history is just a tale told by men full of sound and fury. When he is not the center of the puzzle, the problem is never solved.... Keep Reading

Rejoicing in Sufferings

Posted January 21, 2014 by: Dudley Hall |0 Comments

This seems an odd statement to the contemporary American Christian. We not only have been led to view suffering as something to avoid, it is often seen as evidence that our faith is defective. We are often exhorted to believe some specific admonition so that we will find the highest level of comfort and convenience possible. We are embarrassed about our suffering more than we consider it a privilege. When asked how we are doing in our efforts to represent Christ and his gospel, we tend to feature the numbers who love us and think we are grand. We seldom mention the hostility that exists in the world toward a God who refuses to conform to current societal norms.... Keep Reading

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