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Husbands: L-Y-W

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

The words intentional and consistent continue to come to mind often. You can listen here to a thought I had about them. I continue to realize the impact those two words have on my health physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally.

Most recently, I was thinking about those two words in the context of marriage and a verse was brought to my mind. Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Did you catch that? Husbands: L-Y-W (love your wife). This is one of the most challenging and most inspiring verses I have encountered in scripture. hlyw It seems impossible to do but is it? What if I as a husband, I could practically – not perfectly – walk this verse out for the lifetime of my marriage? How would that change: (1) my view of my wife (2) my marriage (3) my kids (4) other men around me and heck (5) the view of my own self.

I will not speak for other husbands but I read that verse and think; “There is no way I can do that. I ain’t Jesus.” And if deeply honest with myself, the reason why is that I wonder what I get in return? Is it really worth the effort put out? That may sound selfish but many times – as much as I try not to – my love can be self-motivated. Here is the deal, I want to love my wife well – not saying perfectly – but well. I heard a quote one time that made consider how well I love my wife. It stated, “You can tell the spiritual depth of a man by the countenance of his wife.” So I must consider; what is Jen’s countenance and how does it reflect on my love or lack thereof.

As I process this verse, I wonder, “Is it possible?  Is it really doable to love my wife as Christ loved the church.” As I considered that question, a verse came to mind. John 14:12-14 reads, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If this verse is true and I believe it to be true, then I can do ‘even greater things.’ I think we look at this verse and think missions, revivals, church plants, etc…but what if one of the most foundational ‘greater things’ is for husbands to love their wives? Would that not be world changing? Then I look at the verse again and it states, “…ask anything in my name and I will do it…” What am I asking for as a husband that is more important than loving my wife well? Heck, do I even consider asking for such a thing in the first place or am I waiting for her to love me so I can love her in return?

Based on John 14; it seems loving my wife as Christ loved the church may be more possible than I originally thought. And why? Because Christ gave me (husbands) an example of being intentional and consistent with His bride (the church). If He chose to find value in those two words, should not I do the same? As I consider all the ways I see in scripture of how Christ intentionally and consistently loved the church, four words seem to sum it all up.

(1) Sacrificed: Christ sacrificed deity for humanity. He sought us out – sacrificing His time, energy and resources not only to be with us but to see us thrive.

*** Do I sacrifice my time, energy and resources for the sake of my wife? Am I willing to put that hobby, want-list, etc..aside just to seek her out? Do I desire see her thrive in all the gifts and talents God has blessed her with?

(2) Served: Jesus served to win hearts not applause nor approval. He could have set himself up as King yet he chose to wash feet.

***Do I care more about getting her (and others) applause and approval than I do winning and tending to her heart? Am I willing to humble myself and get off my ‘high-horse’ to wash her feet? Do I expect something in return when I think I have served ‘above and beyond?’

(3) Died: He gave all regardless the cost. He was beaten and rejected; He still forgave.

***I may never have to die physically but am I willing to let my personal wants, likes and desires die so hers can come alive? When I feel rejected or beaten down, do I still forgive?

(4) Rose Again: He defeated death so we could live an abundant life.

***Regardless of the previous day or what transpired a week ago – whether fantastic or horrible; do I arise with a heart of gratitude knowing I have the ability to bring a smile to my wife’s face?

Right now, you may be thinking to yourself, you do not know my wife, I have tried – I have reached out – now it is her turn. A verse comes to mind, Romans 12:18 reads, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I know for myself, I often forget that “all” includes my family, especially my wife.  As far as it depends on me, huh? What does that look like? Betcha’ it has to be intentional and consistent?!?

Another thought about how Christ loved the church. Yes, he sacrificed, served, died and rose again but Christ was never a doormat. Christ knew who He was, who the Father was and what He was called to do. He knew His identity and purpose. Those two things allowed him to have clear and healthy boundaries which propelled Him to love God, others (the church – His bride) and even himself. I think of Ephesians 5:28; “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Husbands, do you know your identity and purpose? How would that make a difference in not only marriage but daily life? Click here  to read about two foundational questions that speak to this very issue.

What will this look like practically – again, not perfectly – in our daily lives? As each day presents itself with challenges and opportunities, I know I must be intentional and consistent to love my wife well. In regards to this, I think of a Helen Keller quote. It reads, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” The mundane of life is where I must be intentional and consistent. The mundane of life – the day to day operations of home –  is where I must sacrifice, serve, die and rise again and in doing that over and over and over again – the pursuit of my wife becomes the reality of Ephesians 5:25.  For those who are wondering – what about the wife? Well, there is an Ephesians 5:24 which is not the topic of this blog post but I have to wonder; if I – as a husband – did Ephesians 5:25 well – would Ephesians 5:24 even be an issue? To get a broader context of these two verses, click here.

Lastly, a few helpful links:

(1) Want a ‘Fierce Marriage?’ – click here.

(2) Want a ‘Connected Family?’ – click here.

(3) Men: Fight-Live-Rescue? – click here.

(4) Speak Love: click here.

BAM-KAPOW

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

BAM – KAPOW: did that make you think of the original Batman show. Oh, I hope it did! If not, please go watch an episode so you can appreciate the intro! I recently attended a chiropractic conference that had ‘Posture Expert’ Dr. Stephen Weiniger as a keynote speaker. He authored the book, “Stand Taller-Live Longer.” He spoke about the health implications of good vs poor posture. In his speech he used the acronym B.A.M. It stands for Balance, Alignment and Movement. As I listened, I thought ‘posture speaks’ bamkapowbut what is it saying both physically and spiritually about ourselves and those around us.

In chapter 6 of my book: ‘posture: a snapshot of health,‘ I write, “I am not a shopper but occasionally I will go to the mall with Jennifer.  As she is shopping, I watch people.  There are so many people of different shapes, sizes, and colors.  The array of color and beauty astonishes me.  People are having conversations, kids are crying and all while, their posture is speaking volumes to me.  That person’s head is forward; I wonder if they have headaches.  That person’s shoulders are rounded; I wonder if they have mid-back pain.  That person’s right arm does not swing as far as the left when they walk; I wonder if they have had a shoulder injury.  That person’s right foot is turned outward and their back is arched; I wonder if they have hip or low back pain.  That person will not make eye contact with anyone; I wonder what has happened.  Make no mistake posture speaks but what is it saying?  You just sat up a little straighter, didn’t you?”

Ok, posture speaks but how to we get it to say the correct thing? BAM – KAPOW… that’s how! Let’s take a deeper look at B.A.M.

1. Balance - Physically: We need it to walk, stand up straight and be aware of the world around us. If we do not have balance, the potential for falls and injuries go up exponentially. Spiritually: we need it to walk (in the right way), stand up straight (know who & whose we are) and be aware of the world around us (love others & be kind). If we do not have balance spiritually, the potential to be self-consumed (falls) goes up drastically. We must learn to be balanced both physically and spiritualy to find our way!

2. AlignPhysically: our alignment matters. Central stability helps create & maintain distal mobility. It is our alignment that helps keep our eyes on the horizon so we can move in the correct direction.  Spiritually: our alignment matters. What we put as the central stabilizer of our life can create & maintain spiritual mobility/maturity. This alignment must keep our eyes focused on the prize if we are to become more Christ-like in our thoughts & actions. Mis-alignments often cause pain, distraction and detours. Let’s us stay aligned and focused!

3. Move: Physically: we are way too sedentary. Our lack of movement perpetuates pain, decreases healing and causes a downward spiral of health & vitality. Spiritually: we are way too sedentary. Our lack of prayer (& other spiritual disciplines) perpetuates pain, decreases healing (in our own heart & other relationships) and causes a downward spiral of relational health & vitality. We must move more in order to stop suffering & start liviing!

Remember, your posture is speaking so we must BAM-KAPOW every day! How does the kapow play a part? Hmmm, no idea really; it just seems saying that while throwing my fist in the air is a good start to my morning.

Below I have listed a few helpful links:

1. Balance – A song to help find your Way.

2. Align – A song to help keep your eyes and mind focused.

3. Move - A song to remind you that nothing can stop you.

4. Kapow - A blog post to help you remain flexible in body & spirit.

CHAMPS

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I recently attended a CBMC event & heard a talk from Dave Rowe. He is a past superbowl champion & NBC sports broadcaster (click here to read more of his story). He has been around some of the biggest names in the NFL but he said the two people that impacted him more than any other were two men that we had never heard of: his high school football and track coaches. He said they taught him much more than football; they taught him to respect himself & others. They were CHAMPS champseven though they never got a ring, trophy or great recognition. As I listened to his story; I had to wonder for myself: will my life be characterized by CHAMPS regardless of the accolades, applause or awards?

What is CHAMPS? It is an acronym Dave mentioned in his speech. He said it hung above the locker room door. Dave said seeing that everyday helped him not only succeed in football but in life and that my friends is the point! Below I have copied the acronym & added a few thoughts with it.

CCourage. We are not called to the easy. We are called to the necessary. It takes courage to stand for something & do the necessary work. Take courage b/c No plans of the enemy shall prosper! (Is. 54:17)

H - Heart. Love what you do. Put your whole heart into the arena you find yourself. Guard your heart b/c from the heart all the issues of life flow. (Prov. 4:23)

AAttitude. Positive or negative – that determines much of how our day will unfold. Have the same attitude of Christ Jesus…(Philip. 2:5-11)

M - Mind. The real battleground. Set your mind on things above! (Col. 3:2)

P - Pride. Not arrogance but doing the very best each day – being intentional –  knowing you gave it all you had. Run the race with endurance. (Heb. 12:1-3)

SSacrifice. We do what it takes as long as it takes. That means living a life of intentionality & consistency: two words which I believe impact every relationship we will ever have. There is no greater love than to lay your life down…(Jn. 15:13)

CHAMPS – I’ve got my eye on it! Do you? click here for a song to get you motivated.

Thanks Dave for being & living CHAMPS and helping others see they can do the same in every area of life!

PB & no J

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Who doesn’t love a good ol’ PB&J on white soft bread? It has to be on white bread, right?!? Betcha’ can taste the goodness now and recall a memory that makes it even better. As much as we love PB&J, I had a thought this weekend that may change your mind. Let me explain.

After a family event, we were sitting around chatting about…what else, family. In the midst of the conversation, family member A (fma) said something to this affect: “She has gone wild. She’s a wild child.” Family member B (fmb) member spoke up, “I will not talk about that. Let’s not be judgmental. PBnoJWe all have a story.” FMA said, “I was not judging, I was just making a comment.” FMB replies, ‘Really? Your comment was not judgmental?’ FMA says, ‘No, it was a comment and it is not a judgement; it is the truth as far as what I see.’ FMB replies, ‘Ok then instead of judging with a comment that may or may not be truth, pray for her.’ The conversation continued but FMB’s comment made me think: How often do I cast judgement (a casual comment or not) without stopping to pray and believe in what I am praying for and who I am praying to? (Thanks FMB for making me think – love you!)

Then this came to me: As much as I like PB&J, maybe I should try a PB & no J. Pray…Believe…no Judgement. I am not saying we should not be discerning and walk in wisdom but what I do think is that I (if not careful) can mask judgement with some clever words that sound “very discerning and loving” but, for sure, I have left out the ‘P’ & ‘B’ but have plenty of the ‘J.’  And truthfully, too much ‘J’ messes up the sandwich! Mark 11:24 reads, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”  Pray and believe…that is my job. I am to pray (and keep praying) and believe in the character of God that I know to be true. Does that mean I will see the answer right away – nope! Does that mean I can trust a God who loves the person way more than I do – yep! You see, ‘J’ – judging is easy. It takes very little effort. It is the sugary sweet stuff that tastes good and goes down easy. ‘P’ & ‘B’ – prayer and belief is more difficult. It takes time and effort. It is the thick stuff that holds the sandwich together. Hmmmmm? that is food for thought at a latter time :)

Let me give a general example: I see a person that is different (behavior, race, gender, political and theological ideas, etc..) than me – truly doesn’t matter the difference, here is what often happens: b/c of fear that I cannot control the situation or change the person’s behavior that makes me uncomfortable; I judge them for a host of reasons – and the main one is that I then do not have to include them in my sphere based on my judgement thus I do not have to have relationship with them on any level. Sound familiar? Ok, maybe that is just me.  Maybe this scenario fits better: I am having one of my best days  – I see or hear of someone different than me and instead of judging I start praying for them. Sounds good, right? I am not saying it isn’t but the question I am learning to ask myself is this: What am I praying for? For the other person’s appearance, actions, behaviors, thoughts to change so I feel more comfortable around them or am I praying for my heart to change so I can see more rightly? Does the other person need to change? Possibly. Does my heart need to be changed? Absolutely. Stanley Hauerwas states it this way, “The love that is characteristic of God’s kingdom is possible only for a forgiven people – a people who have learned not to fear one another…Only when my self – my character – has been formed by God’s love, do I know I have no reason to fear the other.”

Can we allow love to drive out fear (1 Peter 4:18) – and in doing so, can we learn to enjoy a PB & no J as much as we do a real PB&J?  Ya know what…I think we can!

Kill the (f)Lie

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This morning as I sat down to be still for 15 minutes, I heard the most annoying sound: bzzzzzzzzzzzz. It would stop for a moment only to start again: bzzzzzzzzzzz. As I sat there and listened, these words came to my mind: kill the fly. A small pesky thing that can cause a great distraction.

So, how do you kill the fly? A handy little tool called a fly swatter. If you have ever tried to kill a fly with a dish towel or  some other item, it can be a little more tricky. flieA fly swatter has one job – to kill the fly. But ever notice when you need the fly swatter, you have no idea where it is at or better yet, decide not to get it. I have actually left the room where the bzzzzzz-ing was going on so I would not be annoyed. Did the fly die, nope. Did it fix the problem, nope.  Did it make me feel better momentarily, yep. When I went back to the room again, guess what, the bzzzzzzz-ing was still there?!?

Then this word came: lies do the same thing as that pesky fly. They bzzzzzzzzz around, making noise, distracting – annoying us and periodically they will be silent only to resurface. I wrote in my journal: Kill the (f)Lie.

The next question that came to my mind was: what (f)lies are bzzzzzzz-ing around? Then I listed a few that I hear bzzzzzz-ing from time to time: (1) you are not good enough (2) you are a failure (3) you are not successful (4) you could do more. I bet you have your own (f)lies that bzzzzzzzzzz around. And wow….it is annoying…it is distracting!

What kills the (f)lies? The truth – the truth of who He is and who we are. The (f)lie swatter is the very word of God. Do we know where it is at? Have we grabbed it in a while or do we grab other items – dish towel of comparison, spray bottle of accusation – trying to do the job that only the (f)lie swatter can do. Eph. 6:17 reads, “…take the sword of the spirit, which is the very word of God.” What does the sword do? It kills the (f)lie. Dead. Done. No more bzzzzzzzzz-ing.

Let’s look at the four (f)lies I gave as examples above and how the (f)lie swatter kills them.

(1) (f)lie – you are not good enough. (f)lie swatter – Gen. 1 27-31, 1 John. 4:10 & Ps. 100;5, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…and the Lord looked upon what He had made and called it good. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. For the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever…”

(2) (f)lie – you are a failure. (f)lie swatter –  Rom. 8:37 & Is. 54:17, “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us… No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants…”

(3) (f)lie – you are not successful. (f)lie swatter – Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(4) (f)lie – you could do more. (f)lie swatter – Prov. 19:21 & Jer. 29:11, “Many are the plan in a man’s heart but it is the purpose of the Lord that prevails. I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you; to give you a hope and a future.”

Kill the (f)Lie: it has nothing to do with my or your goodness. It has everything to do with His. You and I are created in His image to do good works. We are conquerors. No (f)lie (weapon) that comes against you or I shall prosper. He has plans for our future. Our heritage is success; not as the world may see it but nonetheless, it is filled with hope and the fullness of life itself!

I challenge and encourage you to write down the (f)lies that bzzzzzzz about and know what (f)lie swatter you need. And when that pesky bzzzzzz-ing happens, do what you know to do: kill the (f)Lie!

One last thought: As I was finishing up my 15 minutes, this question entered my mind: How did the (f)lie get into the house? The answer: a door was left open. The application for us: What, if any, doors are we leaving open that may be allowing (f)lies to bzzzzzzzz around?

Click here for a (f)Lie swatting song!

Pool Reflections

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Ya know? You could if you be still. This month we are doing a THRIVE challenge called “Be Still.” The premise is to Be still for 15 minutes a day. No music, no devices – just you and a journal. Then see what happens – see what you know or better yet, what you don’t know.

During one of my 15 minutes, I was given a ‘pool reflection.’ poolreflLet me give you a brief background first. We have owed an above ground pool for 4 years. At first I did not want it, not because I would not enjoy it but rather I knew the work it would take to keep it clear and clean. Nonetheless, we got one. The first year I could not keep it clear no matter what I did. Come to find out, I was not adding enough or the right proportions of chemicals to it. Who knew chlorine was so important?!? Each year has gotten progressively better. Here is the truth about having the pool: it is a blessing  to us & others on hot summer days – it is lots of work to keep it clear and clean – I have come to enjoy cleaning it.

Ok, back to my 15 minutes. As I sat down to be still that day, I felt in my spirit these words, “your pool and how you take care of it reflects your life.’ With that I wrote the below italicized words in my journal.  I will not add to it but rather just share what ‘being still’ allowed me to know that day.

Cleaning Pool Analogy.

1. Shell of pool: environment of our daily life

2. Water: us (you and I)

3. Chemicals: what we put in our water

            a. chlorine: spending time with God; prayer/devotionals/reading

            b. stabilizer: foundational identity – knowing who He is and who I am but also knowing where I am.

            c. pH balancer: healthy also in the mind and body; challenging ourselves

            d. natural clarifier: serving others – not about me

            e. algae killer: honestly in our lives; accountability; close friend group

If we keep our water clean; it is refreshing. If it is cloudy and green, no one wants to swim. Is it any different with us? Even if all the right chemicals are added debris can still get in the water. Gotta take the time to vacuum and clean out. Lots easier to do daily.

‘Pool Reflections’

  1. Our environments and our stories are all different but we matter to God. He is the living water that is clear – that is constant – that is refreshing.
  2. Just like adding chlorine to the pool to help keep it clear – our time spent with God will directly correlate to the clarity of & in our life.
  3. The stabilizer helps to reduce the amount of chlorine that is pulled out of the water from the stress of sunlight and pool use. Knowing the answers to the identity questions will help stabilize us when stress comes in our life. You can learn more about those questions here.
  4. The pH balancer helps the pool not get too acidic (unhealthy if you will). For us to be balanced is to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. We are the very temple of God and how dare us allow our temples to get acidic. With that in mind, we must, at times, challenge ourselves to achieve better health not just for a moment but for a lifestyle. I think of a quote, “Health is not a gift but something each person is responsible for through his or her own daily effort.” (R. Nakayama)
  5. I have come to know about myself this truth: when I am focused on myself – my worries, my woes, my what-evers – my mind becomes clouded with doubts. However, as I turn my attention to serving and encouraging others; my emotions are stabilized and I can allow grace and joy to abound.
  6. Algae starts slow; grows on the edges then before you know it, the whole pool is green. Untruth in our lives does the same thing. Lies start small, on the edges (white-lies) and then before you know it; our whole life is affected. It is only with honesty and accountability that we can kill the fungus of lies.

It may not be easy at times – it might require daily effort – but as I have said before; we are not called to the easy, we are called to the necessary. And make no mistake, it is absolutely necessary to keep our water clear if we are to be healthy for ourselves/family and a blessing to others. There is no other way. And yes, even in the midst of the daily effort, joy can be found – grace and love can abound…your water can be clear!

change 2 vowels

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Which vowels would you choose? w__rri__r. Simple concept. Difficult application. Change 2 vowels and go from being a wOrriEr to a wArriOr. And who doesn’t want that?!?

I was going to highlight a few personal stories to illustrate my point but let’s be honest; every one of us (yes, including me) allow our minds to take one negative thought, comment or reaction and 2vowelsthen that one thought grows with “I am nots’ or ‘I can nots’ or ‘what ifs’ or ‘should haves’ and then before we know it, we are on the worry bus to anxiety-ville. And once we are on that bus, it seems we have a hard time getting off. Heck, sometimes it does not even have to be negative encounter that puts me on that bus. Crazy how that bus seems to be always ready to pick me up but I still have a choice to climb aboard. I have a choice which vowels I use!

So, what do we do?  Olin Miller made this observation, “We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.” In other words, we should not think to highly or lowly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We should just be us – our uniquely, wonderfully created selves.  Here is a thought I just had. What if someone sees me as a warrior but I am so worried about what they think or how they will respond, I am actually a worrier masquerading as a warrior. Hmmm? Yep, I have been that guy and still can be at times. Yikes! Sherilyn Finn paints with a broader stroke, “There is something at work that’s bigger than us. It’s about having a trust in life and being at peace that things are happening the way they should. You do what you do as well as you can do it, and then you don’t worry or agonize about the outcome.” Essentially, she is saying:  ‘change 2 vowels.’

Change the O to an A:  Change the “Oh-woe-is-me attitude to an “Always pray & give thanks in all circumstances” attitude (1 Thesl. 5:16-18)

Change the E to an O. Change the ‘Everyone-does-not-like-me-every-thing-sucks’ attitude to an “O‘ God, you are my strength, my help & my shield…’ attitude (Ps. 28:7)

To become a warrior we must tear off the grave cloths of worry and put on life-sustaining armor (Eph. 6).  It will not be easy at times but we are not called to the easy; we are called to the necessary! And for ourselves & our families, ‘change 2 vowels’ is not only needed; it is of the upmost necessity.

And just in case you need a song to remind you: click here.

Let’s LMFL

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

As I walk in the treatment room, a patient is already lying on their back. They say, “All ready for ya doc.” I smile – say thanks and then I notice their shirt. It reads, ‘Love More Fear Less.’ I say: “Nice shirt. It seems we do quite the opposite at times.” lmfl2That comment led to a few minute discussion which was good for both the patient and I. And if you are wondering, I had no fear to show the patient some love with a chiropractic hug :)

Later that day, I thought about those words, “Love More Fear Less” and then this came to mind: Let’s LMFL! With so many acronyms out there, I figured this one was sure to pop up on Google but it did not. Maybe I should trademark it right now or at least make a tshirt?!? Or not…

Here’s the deal: we can buy the shirt…we can wear the shirt…but do we do the shirt? For myself, I still have plenty of times I love less than I would like and fear much more than I dare admit. But I will not let that deter me from LMFL’ing. I was reminded that day in the office; we are all imperfect and sincere in our efforts and most desire to LMFL but are unsure what to do. Below I have given a few helpful links and verses.

Click here for connection questions (i.e. helpful conversation starters)

Click here for ‘Love Does’

Click here for ‘Crazy Love’

Click here for ‘Fear Not’

Love More: (1) ‘…and the greatest of these is love…” 1 Cor. 13:13 (2) ‘…love God, love others…’ Matt. 22:37-39 (3) ‘…perfect love drives out fear…’ 1 John 4:18

Fear Less: (1) ‘…fear not for I am with you…’ Is. 41:10 (2) ‘…fear not for the Lord is my strength & song…” Is. 12:2 (3) ‘…fear less, take courage; I have overcome…’ John 16:33

I will leave you with this quote: “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.” (Dalai Lama)

4 P’s

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Most days, the staff and I start off the day with prayer. It helps set the tone of office but also helps us focus on what is most important. One morning, a prayer went something like this: ‘God, we thank you that you are our provision. We thank you for your providence in our lives. And Father, we thank you for your constant and consistent presence.” peaceAs we finished praying, three ‘P-words’ lingered in my mind: Provision. Providence. Presence. Let’s take a small glimpse at each.

1. Provision: it is defined as the ‘act of providing or supplying something for use.’ Philippians 4:19 declares, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

2. Providence: It is defined as “the foreseeing care and guidance of God over the earth.’ Nehemiah 9:6 reads, “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to all of them…” 

3. Presence: It is defined as, “the fact or condition of being present.’ Zephaniah 3:17 states, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior; He will sing over you with joy and He will be quiet in His love.”

Personally, as I continue to learn to trust in His provision; as I begin to understand His providence and as I start to enjoy His presence – the 4th P-word begins to emerge in my life. That P-word is Peace. For me, peace on a daily basis just does not happen. It can easily fade in and out. With the many demands that come at me each day, it is easy to lose focus and start to be anxious – to not trust in His provision, to doubt His providence, to not stop and recognize His presence. My daily goal is to have the ‘peace of God that not only passes understanding but also guards my heart and mind.’ If that is my desire, to obtain the 4th P-word, then I must decide to be disciplined. From that, as the other three P-words take root in my life, that initial desire will be turned into delight. And is not peace delightful?

To read about the 4-D’s (desire-decision-discipline-delight), click here.

Looking Ahead & Down

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

I recently went running with a friend. As we turned to go up 27th street, I made this comment. “This hill is such a mental game for me. I look ahead and see it and think, will I prov425make it?” We keep running up the hill. At some point, he says, “I am not sure why but I tend to keep my head down and eyes focused only a few feet in front of me while I run. Maybe it is bad posture but it seems to help.”

As we kept running, we discussed the issue of looking into the distance or looking at what is right in front of you. Which is better? Do both have a place in our journey? When to do which and so on. The conversation sure made the last mile easier. Maybe that’s the point – the journey is not meant to be done alone; hmmmmm?!?

During that last mile, my friend said something to this affect: “Maybe we are to set our eyes on Christ & what He has called us to do and then put our eyes down and go for it.” I said, “Yeah, you are right, it is not either/or but both/and.” We must look ahead and we must look down. We must look at the hill to see where we are going but if we do not look down, we could trip, fall or get discouraged at the hill that seems so long & steep. And if we only look down and never ahead, how will we know where we are going? It is no different spiritually: we must look at Christ to set a trajectory of where we are to go and then we are to look at each day, each moment with eyes down (if you will) and go for it. However, if our eyes are never focused ahead at Christ and we just get going head down, we could miss where He is calling us to go. The point: We must not only set our eyes ahead – on the distant goal –  but we must look down to do the daily work it takes to get to there.

Prov. 4:25-26 gives us counsel on this topic as well. “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight ahead of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.

Look ahead. Look down. Be established. You can do this!