CSI

Charlie 89I used to drive fast.  I mean, really fast, or perhaps I should say, “stupidly fast!”  In the early eighties, in Massachusetts, I was driving my Chevette.  Okay, you can stop laughing now.  As I was going up a hill and into a sharp turn to my left I saw a car coming fast, straight for me in my lane.  It was going to be a head on collision and I said to myself, Oh this is going to hurt!  But right before the point of impact I shut my eyes hard, and screamed, “Oh God!”

My car kept moving around the bend in the road, but my body moved back into the seat and then forward.  I remember thinking, what?  When I looked in my rear view mirror, the car was so close behind me I couldn’t see the license plate.  Did the other car go through me?

If you could go back and examine the scenes of your life.  The ones that astounded you, surprised you, or perhaps hurt you the most.  You might be compelled to look for clues to answer those nagging, lingering questions like, “How did this happen?”

If you could dust the scene for finger prints to find out who all was involved, you know like a crime scene investigator, would it surprise you if you detected God’s fingerprints?

Not that He was the one who did the damage, but that He was there.  Most likely keeping you from being killed, or injured more severely.  Perhaps it was him who got you out of there or got you help in a timely manner.  How many times have you shared your story and have actually heard people respond something like, “Wow, God was definitely with you.”

I think we will all be surprised when we learn, how involved in our lives, God was.  Either he did it because he loves those who call him Father, or he did it hoping you would feel his love and involvement and choose to love him back.  Either way, he loved!

“The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NET Bible)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing Jesus

Christmas 19cThere is a popular Christmas song, which I love, “Mary, Did You Know?”  A few years ago I turned the words around and wrote a blog post titled, “When did Mary Know?” (12/20/15)

Like how did she know he could turn water into wine before she asked him to?  When did she know he could heal the sick and set the captive free?  Or walk on water, and feed 5000 men?

I can picture Mary with Jesus on her lap talking, asking questions, and then Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet as he shared stories of the creation, and from the Old Testament.  I think she knew because she had spent a lot of time with God’s Son.  She knew him, but more importantly, she believed in him.

Imagine what you would ask Jesus to do if you really knew him.  Would you ask him to heal you, a friend or a family member?  What about heal your finances, or your broken relationships?  Would you ask for a better job, food, or a place to live of your own?  My point isn’t to get things from Jesus, but believing in him enough to ask.  Knowing that he could if that was best for you.

Sometimes it’s better to go through something than to be delivered from it.

It is good to spend time with Jesus no matter your circumstances.  This Christmas, I pray you find time to sit and just hang out with him.  Put on some Christmas music too.  After all, He is the reason for the season.

‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’ Matthew 15:9 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Don’t just worship Jesus because it’s Christmas, and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, because it will be over before you know it.  And so will your life, and after that you’ll have lots of time to spend with Jesus, oh, if you accepted him when you were on earth.

Knowing Jesus intimately, is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and others all year long.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Low on Love

Charlie 800They didn’t get enough love,
so they act ugly to you and me.
Their words hurt, and penetrate
their actions hinder us from being free.

Pull their dip stick, and I bet its low,
no wonder, in their life, love doesn’t flow.
They too probably got hurt years ago,
their stained by evil but it doesn’t show.

When you encounter one, it can catch you off guard,
like a snake striking from the weeds the bite hits hard.
Don’t hate them back, for further harm will be done,
instead, pray for them, and try to lead them to the One.

The One, Jesus, can heal their hurts and sooth their pain,
and he knows when it happened, because he knows their name.
He wants to see them set free, accept his love and be all healed up,
because they were once low on love, but now love, can be overflowing their cup.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Worse than Green Eggs and Ham

Charlie 74

Thanks for the inspiration Dr. Seuss

I don’t like it he is me,
I don’t like hate, can’t you see?
I don’t like it here or there,
I don’t like it anywhere.

There’s no reason for it, just walk away.
You don’t have to act like them in do or say.
Hate is ugly, can’t you see,
I don’t like it he is me.

I don’t like hate when it reigns,
I don’t like it on any day.
Hate should be placed in a box,
and consumed by fire with those who spread it like a fox.

Love is a higher way to live,
it’s free, and so it’s what we all should give.
I like love can’t you see,
I like love, Jesus said, because love is me.

The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NET)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

For Real?

Charlie 29I came across a YouTube video this morning where Pastor Joel Osteen interviewed Kanye West concerning his testimony of accepting Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and asking forgiveness for his sins.

Being transparent here; I had the thought, “Is this for real, or is Kanye doing this for some other reason?”  I know.  A bad thought, right?  I corrected myself fast.  I don’t know Kanye personally, but God does, and God also knows his heart.

I imagine Saul, who became the Apostle Paul had a similar issue.  Here is this man, who made it his mission, to kill off all those who professed to believe in Jesus now finding himself to be a believer also.  Who would trust him, within an inch of their lives, when he said he’s not going to kill them, but only wanted to tell them about Jesus?  Time proved Paul was for real, and he went on to lead a lot of people to Christ, that is when he wasn’t writing two thirds of the New Testament Bible.

Time will tell us if Kanye is for real as well.  In the meantime, perhaps his large platform will allow him to share the love of God with millions.  Regardless of your own thoughts, or opinions concerning this issue, we should all be praying for Kanye West.

“Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:18 (MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

People’s Peephole Perspective

Charlie 485Peepholes are kind of cool.  Instead of seeing what is directly in front of the door you get to see all around the door and porch area.  It may be called a “fish eye’s” view?  Some cameras have a similar, attachable lens.  The point is though, the peephole provides a secured view of who is at the door, but the truth is, it’s a distorted view.

People sometimes will look at their world, and other people, in a distorted way as well.  Things that have happened to them in the past, their upbringing, and other people’s opinions affect the view.  This can cause some to have trouble trusting, or believing people.  Sad, but this distorted view can also be applied when Jesus shows up.

Jesus says in Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)

You notice Jesus doesn’t barge in or break the door down?  He’s a gentleman.  He comes to you, where you are, because he knows you, sees you, and even knows what is happening in your life.  Yet, he waits for you to invite him into your life.  He knows how much you need him, but he still gives you a choice, free will.  Unless you are willing to let go of your peephole perspective, and give Jesus a chance, you will never know perfect love.  A love that can help you overcome, anything!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The movie, “A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” comes out tomorrow, starring, Tom Hanks.  I wrote a post about Mr. Rogers in April 2018.  In honor of the movie, which I heard was good, I am re-posting it.

FILE PHOTO  Fred "Mister" Rogers Dead At 74

Some of us, old farts, have no problem remembering Mr. Rogers on TV.  Below, are the lyrics of the song he sung, at the beginning of each episode:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Did Fred Rogers, get it right?  Did he fully understand the 2nd greatest commandment of God?  Lev 19:18  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Most people do love themselves, and sometimes it shows by how they act and treat others.  There are several other scriptures that warn about only loving those that are lovable, but God is commanding we love everyone as much as we love ourselves.  To love him first, and then everyone else second.  Why?  Because love never fails.

It’s hard to hate and love at the same time.  Yes, one can mistreat someone who is loved, but if the love is real the issue gets resolved rather quickly.  Can you imagine saying to your worst enemy, “I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you”?  That is what we, who love God, are called to do.  Love, overcomes all, overlooks all, and let’s go of all wrong.  Love, is so generous, it causes you to share your resources.  Love, encourages you to get your hands dirty by helping.

Yes, Fred Rogers got it right.  Mr. Rogers wanted you to be his neighbor so he could love you, as he loved himself.  So I ask you, “Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

I Do My Best

Charlie 777bIf Adam had stopped Eve from exercising her free will, and disobeying God.  If Eve had not listened to the devil in the form of a serpent.  Somebody, somewhere, in the ages of time still would have sinned requiring a perfect sacrifice to reunite us with God.  Jesus would still have found himself hanging on a cross.

Even if no one had disobeyed God, by the time I was born, I’m sure I would have been the one to mess things up.  Like the apostle Paul once said, “… My own behaviour baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. Yet surely if I do things that I really don’t want to do, I am admitting that I really agree with the Law.

… I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don’t really want to do I find I am always doing. Yet if I do things that I don’t really want to do then it is not, I repeat, “I” who do them, but the sin which has made its home within me.” Romans 7:15-20 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Even if I was the only sinner on earth, God still would have sent his son, Jesus to die for me.  That’s how much he loves me, and ya know what? He loves you that much too.  2 Peter 3:9 (NET)  because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

You know the bottom line is this:  God simply wants us to choose to be in a loving relationship with him.  I do my best, for that’s my heart’s desire as well.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jesus Wept

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“Jesus Wept” statue at the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. 4-19-1995

As a child growing up in church, the title of this post, John 11:35, was my favorite verse to quote.  I think the reason is obvious.  Saying it with accuracy would help earn me a candy bar, or something.  But these days, it has a whole new meaning.

These days, I know why Jesus wept.  I was taught it was because his good friend Lazarus had died, but I don’t believe that anymore, for Jesus already knew he was going to raise him from the dead.  Verse 4; When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (NET)

Jesus wept because the people, and his friends, who had lost their loved one were hurting.  My point to telling you this is Jesus hurts when you are hurting too, even today.  Jesus sees you, knows your name and knows what you are going through now and will go through in the future.

Verse 32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. (NET)

When you are hurting, distressed, be confident that Jesus knows, he cares, and he can’t wait for you to invite him to do something about it.  It’s true, he holds the whole world in his hands, but he’s holding you as well.  Now rest in that knowledge.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Christmas is Coming

Charlie 25Children:  “I haven’t sent my wish list yet to Santa!”  (They think they are late because they have seen Christmas items in stores since July 4th!)

Adults:  “Who’s hosting?  What are we eating?  What are we going to buy your dad this year?  Can I bring a date to the office party?  Oh, are we sending out Christmas cards?  Who’s going to sit down and write the family brag letter that no one probably reads?  I mean, they see all year how perfect our family is on Facebook.”

This happens every year.  To be honest, I saw Christmas cards here at home the other day and my heart skipped a beat thinking I was late in sending them out.  With the commercializing of Jesus’ birth it’s hard not to get caught up in it all.  I guess I’m guilty too.  I mean, here I am writing about Christmas before Thanksgiving!  And I’m writing this post while wearing white pants after Labor Day!  Who makes up these silly rules anyway?

If I want to start preparing my heart and attitude to celebrate the birthday of all birthdays, then why not?  Life wouldn’t be worth living, if it wasn’t for the love of God, and his generous, outlandish, extravagant gift of his Son, Jesus.  So, in the spirit of preparing for Christmas, below is my Christmas prayer list to God:

  1. That America would focus on our real needs instead of spending a lot of money and time on trying to get someone fired. (Okay, that has been my only political opinion expressed this whole year.)
  2. That families would work harder at loving then hurting.
  3. That my wife’s Visa to America would arrive yesterday.
  4. To be debt free.
  5. To have several books I’ve written published, and a major movie deal in the works based on my novel, Kill the Preacher Man, which would produce an Oscar Award, so my wife could meet Keanu Reeves at the awards ceremony.

Having all those prayers answered would be great, but what I want the most, and I mean this, is for everyone to give God a chance.  To realize how much He loves us, and how he never intended anything bad to happen to us, but know that when we use our free will, we allow Satan to hurt us.  Then after they give God time, and get acquainted with him, they would accept him and love him back.  Ya know, if that happened then items 1 and 2 would be taken care of.

Faith says, these prayers could be answered.  Hope says, even if they don’t, it will be okay.  Love says, regardless, I am a child of the most, high God, and love, never fails.

Do your best this year to not forget why we have Christmas.  Take time out to consider Jesus.  Know this; Christmas is coming, and Christ is coming soon to gather those who believe in him, and have accepted him.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.