Bulletin Thought – November 4th, 2012

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

There is a song of the church that I really love, the first portion of it says the following – When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well with my soul…

 

Obviously, life challenges having such a mindset. Just listening to the news is enough to unsettle any soul. But the key to having a mindset that says “It is well with my soul” is to be sure that our relationship with God is strong. As students of scripture surely we are mindful that Jesus taught His disciples that life would be filled with trials but they were to be of good cheer because He had overcome the world (John 16:33).

 

As students of scripture we encounter many individuals through the scriptures who were facing extreme challenges but yet were able to maintain a strong and confident mindset – it all went to their relationship with Jesus. They knew Him and what He was capable of doing. They were sustained by His teachings. As they were sustained by their relationship with Him and His teachings, so should it be with us.

 

Everyday our thoughts should include God, daily we should pray to Him, daily, we should nurture our souls through reading and studying His word. Everyday, we should remember the goodness of God so that when trials come (and they will come) we will not be overcome by the negative forces associated with them. We may become discouraged, but we’ll not stay discouraged because we know where our help comes from – the Lord.

 

The second portion of that song of the church I love says this – Tho’ satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed His own blood for my soul…” With Christ as my Savior, I can truly say, “It is well with my soul” in spite of. How about you?

 

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee… (Isaiah 26:3-4)

 

 

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Bulletin Thought- August 5, 2012

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

Truly these are the times that try the souls of men.  In Coloradoan individual goes on a shooting rampage at a theater while the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” is showing killing 12 individuals and wounding 58 others.  Some are in critical condition.

 

Then not long ago, the owner of Chic Fil A restaurants has created quite a stir because he believes in the traditional view of marriage based on the teaching of scripture – between a man and a woman. Mayors of metropolitan cities have come out in opposition to his restaurants coming to their cities, those with opposing views are planning a “kiss-in” of homosexuals and lesbians at some Chic Fil A restaurants.  Yes, these are the times that try the souls of men and that’s just two incidents of all that is happening in our world today.

 

But we’ve been warned it would be like this, so we really ought not to be caught off guard and in a state of panic. Scripture plainly teaches us in II Timothy 3:1-5 terrible things will happen in the last days.  What then are we to do?

 

First of all, we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ. Remember, in John 16:33 Jesus warned His disciples that tribulations would come, but we are to be encouraged because He has overcome the world.  Hebrews 12:1-2 makes reference to the saints who have come before us. Taking into consideration that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses we are to run our race with patience looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

 

Second, we must stay in constant prayer.  This is a spiritual weapon that will strengthen us for whatever we have to endure.  Remember, the effectual and fervent prayer a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).

 

Third, we must encourage each other.  Hebrews 10:23-25 speaks of our knowing the Lord is coming back, but until He returns we must hold to our faith and encourage each other as we go through.

 

Fourth, we must dig in and not allow worldly and ungodly views to corrupt our faith based on the teaching of scripture.  It will be challenging – II Timothy 3:12 says all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

 

Additionally, we must people of love, even toward those with opposing views.  In exemplifying our Savior, we can’t help but love.  It is one of the hallmarks of our faith.

 

Yes, these are the times that try the souls of men, but remember we are not without help – Romans 8:35-39.

 

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Bulletin Thought – July 1, 2012

Bulletin Thought

July 1, 2012

 

 

In the same manner He also took the cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as ye drink it in remembrance of Me.”

                                                                                                                                                       (1 Cor. 11:25)

 

In the passage above, Paul is reminding the Corinthian church of the significance of the Lord’s Supper.  Unfortunately their gathering had degenerated into one of selfishness, bickering, and drunkenness.

 

Paul reminded them of what Jesus had said to the disciples earlier, before His crucifixion, the shedding of His blood represented a new covenant with God.  Every time believers gather for Communion, it is to be a time of remembering the sacrifice Jesus paid for our salvation.

 

Just as the Corinthian church needed to be reminded of the significance of the Lord’s Supper, so do we.  Some see it just as a ritual void of meaning.  Others do it out of habit without fully appreciating the significance of it.  Communion or the Lord’s Supper is a time of believers in Christ remembering the great price He paid for our salvation.

 

He gave His body to be broken (abused and humiliated) and He shed His blood that our sins might be forgiven.  He endured the agony of the cross for our sake.  His sacrificial death and our faith in Him has made possible this great salvation we enjoy and we are blessed with the assurance of eternal life in His kingdom upon our death.

 

Jesus said – “As often as you drink of the cup, we do it in remembrance of Him.”  Having gone through my recent illness that involved losing a significant amount of blood, I was reminded of just how significant blood is.  Jesus shed His blood that I might live (spiritually), that we might live.  How can we ever forget such a sacrifice?

 

Remembering what the Lord has done for us will help us better appreciate and understand the significance of the Lord’s Supper or Communion.  As often as we do this, we show His death until He comes.  Let us never forget what the Lord has done for us.

 

Would you be free from the burden of sin? There’s pow’r in the blood…Would you o’er evil a victory win? There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood…In the blood of the Lamb.

 

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Bulletin Thought – June 3 – 2012

 

Often I say we’re on a (faith) journey from earth to glory.  This journey is more of a marathon than a sprint.  To successfully complete this journey will require faith, patience, prayer, endurance, and keeping our focus.  One Old Testament character is amazing when it comes to endurance – Caleb.  In Joshua 14:10-12 we are given a glimpse into the mindset of this amazing man:

 

  1. And, now behold, the LORD has kept me alive as He said these forty-five years, ever

      since the LORD spoke this word to Moses whileIsraelwandered in the wilderness; and

      now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.

  1. As yet I am strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.
  2. Now therefore give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day…

 

What an amazing testimony of patience and endurance.

 

Lest we forget,Israelwas at the edge of the Promised Land, but due to their disobedience, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years.  Caleb was one of the faithful ones who wanted to proceed as God had directed, but he was forced to wander for forty years as well all because of the disobedience of others.

 

Forty years later, he was still committed and wanting to do what he expected to do forty years earlier.  His patient endurance paid off.  He did indeed conquer the land promised to him.  What is amazing is his drive and commitment after wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Of course Caleb gives God the credit as he should (v. 10).

 

Well, here we are at the sixth month of our journey through 2012.  How are you holding up?  Are you just as committed six months into the New Year as you were in January?  Or have you given up or about to give up?  This journey of faith is filled with obstacles (remember we’re engaged in spiritual warfare).  But being students of scripture, we shouldn’t be surprised that obstacles get in our way.  The challenge is to keep moving – either through or around the obstacle, always keeping our focus on our Savior.

 

We would do well to visit an old song of the church while on this journey:

 

Life is like a mountain railroad, With an engineer that’s brave; We must make the run successful, From the cradle to the grave; Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels; Never falter, never fail; Keep your hand upon the throttle, And your eye upon the rail.

You will often find obstructions; Look for storms of wind and rain; On a fill, or curve, or trestle, They will almost ditch your train; Put your trust alone in Jesus; Never falter, never fail; Keep your hand upon the throttle, And your eye upon the rail. Blessed Savior Thou wilt guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore…

 

Remember, as God helped Caleb and countless others, He will help us also.

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Bulletin Thought – May 6 – 2012

May 6, 2012

Bulletin Thought

 

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

A Page of Example

(Source – Give Us This Day / Devotional Guide by Henry Brownlow)

 

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.

                                                                                                                               II Cor. 3:2

 

There are four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the fifth is You, which is the one read most by your associates.

 

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,

Are read by more than just a few.

But the one that is most read and commented on

Is the gospel according to You.

 

You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,

By things that you do and words that you say,

Men read what you write, whether faithless or true,

Say, what is the gospel according to You?

 

Is it love?  Is it forgiveness?  Is it helpfulness?  Is it fairness?  Is it truthfulness?  Is it ethics?  Is it kindness?

 

Is it courtesy?  Is it tolerance?  Is it Bible Study?  Is it church attendance?  Is it sacrifice?  Is it clean speech?  Is it unselfishness?  Is it bigness?

 

These qualities will make you an effective living epistle, admired and loved by those who read you.  And read you, they will!

 

A page of example is worth a book of preach.

 

 

 

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Bulletin Thought – March 4, 2012

 

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

                                                                                                                                      (Psalm 133:1)

 

Unity, in our world today filled with so much strife, unity is often hard to find.  Our government is torn apart by partisanship, families are torn by strife, colleagues are in heated debate about one thing or another, even houses of worship have become hostile territory.  But, if we regain our focus, unity is possible.

 

One key word to note in Psalm 133:1 is the word “brethren.”  We need to recognize our kinship as brothers and sisters in Christ and realize that it is God’s will that we live in harmony with one another.  The Life Application Bible has this commentary note on Psalm 133:1-3:

 

David stated that harmony is pleasant, precious, and refreshing.  Unfortunately, harmony does not abound in the church as it should.  People disagree and cause division over unimportant issues.  Some seem to delight in causing tension by discrediting others.  Harmony is important because: (1) it makes us a positive example to the world and helps draw others to us (Him); (2) it helps us function as a body of believers as God meant us to, giving us a foretaste of heaven; (3) it is renewing and revitalizing because there is less tension to sap our energy.  Living in harmony does not mean we will agree on everything…But we agree on our purpose in life – to work together for God… (Italize mine)

 

Let us remember, we are bound together by our common faith in Jesus Christ.  His Spirit abides in us and God is love, therefore, we are to love one another and strive to dwell together in harmony.  In doing so we become a living testimony to the power of God’s love and His presence in us – with the hope that others will be drawn to the Christ.

 

We would do well to follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi, an excerpt from his prayer – Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy…

 

 

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Bulletin Thought – February 5, 2012

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

 

The above verse is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  It simply says that God loves us in spite of our messed up selves and He proved His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us.  Jesus died for us while we were still sinners.

 

I think that many tend to miss that point – otherwise people would not say “I’ve got to get myself together before I come to the Lord.”  The Bible plainly states, “While we were still sinners – messed up, living in disobedience to God, not thinking straight, Christ died for us.”

 

Just think for a moment, if the Lord loved us enough to die for us while we were still sinners, how much more will He love us once we enter into a relationship with Him as our Savior?  You would think He couldn’t love us anymore because giving His life was such a price to pay for our salvation.  But, while we were sinners, sin separated us from God, but still He loved us in spite of.  But once we accept Him as Savior, I believe His love for us is even more because now sin no longer separates us from God.

 

He grows closer to us through His Spirit who now lives in us, especially as we walk in humble submission to Him as Lord.  God loves us.  I John 3:1 states – “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!”  God loves us so much He could have come down from the cross, but He didn’t, He died, now that’s love as the song says.

 

I encourage you to slow down, stop for a moment.  Find you a quiet place and just think about God’s love for you.  Think about all He has done and is doing for you and realize it’s because He loves you.  He loves you flaws and all.  God loves you.  Once you come to the understanding that God loves you in spite of all that might be wrong in your life, I believe you will experience a certain joy knowing that Almighty God loves you.  I know I do.  I rejoice in knowing that I’m loved by God.

 

Because He loves us He will see us through whatever it is we might be going through.  As a result of God loving us in spite of us, it only makes sense that we love Him in return.  He has proved His love for us through Jesus dying on the cross and He proves His love everyday by the blessings we enjoy.

 

So stop trying to get yourself right, you can’t.  Remember God loves you and when you open your heart to Him He will work in your life – getting and keeping you on the right path, because He loves you…

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Bulletin Thought – January 1, 2012

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV)

Praise be to our great and awesome God who has allowed us to see the beginning of a brand New Year! This is the first day of our journey into unchartered territory.

As we make our journey into the New Year, let us remember the principle of sowing and reaping. Perhaps a practical way of saying it is that if don’t sow any seeds in the ground, you won’t get any crops. If we are expecting to receive good things this year, we must be careful what kind of seeds we’re sowing.

The Bible plainly declares we reap what we sow. In other words, we can’t expect to grow spiritually if we’re not doing those things that will make for spiritual growth. Here are some examples of bad sowing that will hinder spiritual growth:

• Inconsistent reading and studying of the Bible.
• Inconsistent prayer life.
• Willfully sinning, living disobediently before God.
• Harboring ill will toward others.
• Having an ungrateful heart or attitude.
• Disrespect for God and others in our daily living.

Come on now, how in the world can we expect to grow spiritually if we’re practicing those things?

On the other hand, if we sow good seeds, then we can expect a spiritual harvest that will bless us and draw us closer to God leading us to eternal life. Obviously, sowing good seeds involves the opposite of what is listed above. It is important to have the understanding that sowing good seed does not make us immune from all the problems of life, but at least the problems we encounter will or should not be self-inflicted.

If we don’t sow good seeds then we are setting ourselves up for problems somewhere along the way. The problems may show up early on our journey or they may appear later in life. Let us remember the principle of sowing and reaping is true – you do eventually reap what you sow.

The harvest we reap in 2012 will depend on the seeds we have sown along the way.

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