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.

Inside the Lines

Charlie 62I bet they flunked out of Kindergarten for not coloring inside the lines!  Are they important?  Do they love their car that much?  I bet they live life outside the lines too.  I mean, they can’t even park their car inside the straight lines provided free of charge.

There seems to be a lot of people these days who only care about themselves.  In fact, I think there is a whole generation of people called, “Me llennials.”  Just kidding, sort of.  These people do what they want, when they want, with little thought of anyone else, as if they are entitled or something.

The only problem with this lifestyle choice is they will have to give account of how they lived.  Yes, it’s true, we have free will, but when we all stand before God, will we say, “But God, I…”  Some may try, but I have this funny feeling when we see him in all his Glory, we will fall to our knees, and weep, for the words we chose to say, and the things we decided it was okay to do.

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Romans 14:12 (AMP)

I have a funny feeling, in that moment, before God, we will have all truth, and it will be in that moment, we will know.  I can imagine, for the ones who rejected God, and didn’t choose to live within the lines He provided, free of charge, He will not say a word, but point to a door that will be an exit out of heaven and an entrance into hell.  But for the ones who did their best to live a pleasing life to him, accepting his Son, Jesus, He will offer his hand to help us up, and say the most loving words we will ever here.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Could Have Been a Murderer!

Charlie 61I was staying in hotel for a few days.  I decided to go out, and at the elevator met up with this older couple.  They were dressed in their “Sunday go to Meeting” clothes.  That’s what we say here in Oklahoma anyway.  They were dressed up very nice for those who don’t understand.

I said, “Wow!  You all look like you’re going to church.”  It was Thursday.  They both gave me a funny look as if I had spoken English to them in Sweden , or something.  I went on, “I mean, you two are dressed up so nice.”  This time I got a smile from the wife.  This encounter was awkward and getting more uncomfortable as we got into the elevator.  “Where ya all going?” I asked.  I mean, why stop now?

“We are attending a minister’s convention across the highway,” the man informed me in a very stern voice.

“Oh, well, enjoy.  Take care,” I replied.  I got no response.

As I got into my car, I couldn’t help but replay the encounter.  I thought, they didn’t know me at all.  Why didn’t they try to share Jesus with me.  I could have been a murderer for all they know and desperately in need of Jesus!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to judge them or anything, but I guess if one is a Christian, much less a minister, they should make an attempt to talk about Jesus in some way all the time.  A good friend said this recently;

“A disciple of Jesus Christ, is so different from being a Christian.”

What he means is this; a Christian has accepted Jesus as the Son of God, and has had their sins forgiven.  A disciple of Jesus Christ tries to replicate Jesus.  He does his best to share Jesus with the world in whatever form or words are available in the moment.  In some ways you could say, he is useful to God.

Some may be satisfied with only having an “Eternal Life Insurance” policy, but I’m not.  I enjoy helping others find God, or grow in their relationship with God.  Learning how to be an overcomer and stop living below what God intended for his children.  I know it’s hard to speak up, and I certainly don’t always know the right words to say, but I yield my reluctancy to God, and funny thing, with the help of his Holy Spirit, it usually turns out okay.  I think most people I talk to aren’t murderers, but then again, you never know.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Love, In the Face of Hate

75328681_10217623460756624_7249069574832783360_nWhat do you do when someone consistently shows you hate?  They would not admit it, but you know they must because they can’t ever say anything nice to you.  They can’t celebrate your accomplishments in life like retiring early, getting to move back to one’s hometown and buying a house, and not one kind word spoken when you got remarried, finding love again, after years of being divorced.

They find it so difficult to be happy for you.  Could it be because they aren’t?  Is it jealousy?  The weird thing is they seem to find others like them, and it’s as if they start a “HATE YOU” club, or something.  They band together, pick you apart as if you were shredded meat being devoured.  And the worst part is, if they decide they are right, then even if you were right, you become wrong, because they out number you.  Hate, seems to be a sick kind of magnet that attracts others.

Jesus knew this too well.  You see the religious rulers of his day hated him, because the people loved him.  They were starting to believe in him and his message of love.  The Jewish leaders knew they had to act fast and strike a death blow, or lose their status forever.  They got a large number of people to believe them, and join their “hate club” against Jesus.  Most likely the very people Jesus fed, prayed for, and healed.  Yet, on the cross, close to death, Jesus had compassion on them and loved them.  In fact he asked his Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do.  He showed them love, in the face of hate.

This past weekend, I was sitting in a drive through.  I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw one of my haters.  My flesh rose up, evil thoughts came to mind.  Anger, resentment.  Then, love came on the scene and I decided to tell the person at the drive through window I would like to pay for the person’s order who was behind me.  I’m not telling you this trying to make you think I am great, but to illustrate one simple way of showing love, in the face of hate, like Jesus did.  Although, Jesus didn’t pay for their order, he paid for their life, with his.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13  (NASB)

I overcame my flesh by repenting of hate in my heart, because I hate how I am treated.  It hurts, doesn’t make any sense, but I cannot control them, or their choice on how to live.  The only thing that matters is how Jesus sees me.  One thing I try to keep in mind is they are living with hurts of their own they never gave to God, and asked him to heal.  If you want to close down the “hate clubs” in your life then pray for them, and show love every chance you get.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If the Dead Could Speak, Would You Listen?

Charlie 666If death somehow gave us truths we didn’t have or didn’t believe while living what would we do with it?  Most, would probably want to come back to life to tell those they love and others what they now know.  One thing is for sure, when a person dies, they know in an instant there is a God, and there is judgement for how they lived and best, or worst of all, that there is indeed a heaven, and a hell.

Jesus told a true story about such a request from a dead man:

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31 (MSG)

Jesus told the people straight up, believe me, believe the Word of God (Bible), believe the many ministers, evangelist, missionaries, family members, friends, co-workers, and yes, bloggers that I have sent to tell you the Good News of the Gospel while you are living.  That is; accept Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing.  After you die, and see these truths for yourself, it will be too late for you to choose God.  You say, it’s too hard to believe in something, or someone you can’t see, yet you believe in gravity, and the wind!  It takes faith, and God gave everyone a measure of faith to get you started.  Please act on it.  Don’t live, or should I say die, to regret your decision.

One last thing; “Thank you,” to everyone who reads this blog regularly, or once in a while.  Each post starts with prayer, asking God what He wants to say to you.  I do my best to transmit his words to your hearts.  I pray for you as I write, “Words, inspiring you to grow in God”.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect

Charlie 234Perfection, is a difficult thing to achieve, for those who even try, but somehow, Jesus managed to pull it off.  His accomplishment has always intrigued me.  Many times I have wondered, If Jesus can do it, then why can’t I?  I now have my answer.

As I have studied the life and ministry of Christ, there are some consistent points he focused on:

  • Jesus was in constant communication with his Father, who just so happened to be God.
  • Jesus kept the will of his Father in the front of his mind.
  • Jesus only did what he had seen his Father do.

This kind of focused life got Jesus killed.

Ouch!  But God knew that would happen and was used by God to have a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  The very goal of sending your only Son to earth.

So if I achieved perfection, even for an hour, or a day, would it kill me?  No, but would it kill me to try?  If I prayed more I would know every day the will of God, and hopefully do what I knew my heavenly Father would do in all situations and in all conversations.  Dying to myself won’t forgive anyone of sin, but perhaps, it might lead others to Jesus, who can.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

LOOK!

Charlie 126Recently, a mother shared with me one of her two year old’s newest habit.  She said, “Everywhere we go, he announces to anyone, ‘Look, this is my mother!’”  I laughed as I pictured her adorable son smiling and making that bold declaration.

A bit later, after I had walked away, it hit me; what if we made that same kind of declaration of our Heavenly Father?  “Look, this is my Heavenly Father, God!”  Then after the introduction we go on to share his nature, his love, and the many blessings he has bestowed upon us.

The key to doing this is always being aware of God, his presence, everywhere we go.  Also, it helps to be happy being associated with God.

I’m no longer afraid to be seen in public with him.

There was a time I was more concerned about what others may think, if they knew I had those kind of connections, but now, I don’t care, and in fact, I want everyone to know.  The two scriptures below sum it all up for me:

It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”  Romans 1:16-17 The Message (MSG)

“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 10:32 The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Because He Is

Charlie 12God, I worship you, and praise your name, because you are:

Love

Patient

Kind

Merciful

Good

Long Suffering

Forgiving

Creative

You Want the Best for Me

You Endure

You Never Fail

Worthy

Deserving

God

Father God, it’s my privilege to know you, love you back, and worship your Holy name.  I can’t even begin to fathom where I would be in life without you, God.  Possibly, I would have everything the world says I should in order to claim a successful, rich, and happy life, but I know without you, I would be bankrupt!  I would have nothing.  Thank you, God, for everything that matters.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Little Touch of Heaven

goffA few years ago I had the privilege of listening to and experiencing Bob Goff.  What a humble man that is used by God in such a mighty way.  Bob shared how wherever he goes he finds a way to let people experience heaven.  One story he shared was when he rode in a limo.  He asked his driver if he had ever ridden in the back.  The driver said no, so Bob got him to pull over and they switched places.  Bob said, “I even put on the guy’s hat!” The limo driver smiled as he felt real love and concern just like we will in heaven.  He felt a little touch of heaven.

Bob went on to share numerous examples of how he doesn’t know what he is doing, but simply says, “God use me.” This is the heart of a humble man who sees his world through the eyes of Jesus.  Bob doesn’t try to convert anybody to Christ.  He leaves that up to Jesus.  Bob believes if someone touches heaven and feels heaven on earth they might just want to know how to have that feeling every day and for eternity.

My favorite story Bob shared was about his neighbor.  He told how she called and gavlove doese him the news that she was dying of cancer.  That year Bob’s neighborhood changed the path of their yearly parade, so every neighbor could wave to her as she watched from her living room window.  He later asked her if there was one thing she has never done but always wanted to.  She replied, “Toilet paper someone’s yard.”  So one day at 4:30pm they did just that.   When the police showed up and informed him it was a misdemeanor he told them, “I have diplomatic immunity and she will be dead next week.”  Bob’s neighbor had heaven touch her just before she touched heaven.

Touch the people around you with heaven.  Leave them longing for more of the love of God.