Fat Christians

Charlie 012520Yes, they’re out there.  They do exist.  In fact, I’ve seen them.  They can be difficult to spot, because they live their life without revealing their secret, they’re Christians.

  • A fat Christian is someone who only “hears” the word of God, but never acts on it.

Rick Renner, in his book “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” puts it this way: “But the problem isn’t the Word!  God’s Word was meant to be acted on.  So if you sit and listen to more and more sermons, gathering more and more information but never acting on what you’ve heard, you’ll eventually become so over saturated that you won’t want to hear any more!”

Now that’s a problem.  God says it like this: “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear.”  James 1:22 (MSG)

Anyone, and everyone can say or do something that conveys the messages of God.  A message of love, acceptance, encouragement, forgiveness, help, service, and just being there.  God tells us to go out into the world and share him with others.  If you don’t think you can then ask God to help you see the need, have compassion, and then do what you can or say to meet the need.

A big part of seeing the need is trusting God with your own issues long enough to look out from yourself, to see others.

Let me encourage you to go exercise your faith.  You will find out it doesn’t hurt as bad as exercising your body.  Also, being a follower of Jesus in good shape, is a healthy way to live your life.

Note:  In the photo is Bob Hostetler.  A real man of God who, yes, gave me permission to use the photo.  I will never forget the day he said, after reading some material I had written, which was awful, “Mark, you’re a writer.”  I am so grateful for him.  He’s an author, encourager, and one of the best speakers ever!  His website is: http://www.bobhostetler.com/

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Makes Me Hard to Love?

Charlie 012220Well this isn’t going to be fun, but I feel the need to write out a self-evaluation.  While reflecting on some recent events I was reminded of the following flaws in my personality:

  1. I expect others to do the right thing. When they don’t, I want to be the one to tell them they screwed up.  (In love of course!)
  2. I have no trouble pointing out the truth of situations, but I forget few want to hear it.
  3. I seek perfection in others, and though I try so hard, I overlook that I too come up short.
  4. I do to others what I am want them to do to me, but I have learned not everyone knows that rule.
  5. If I’m willing to listen to you, I expect you to listen to me.
  6. I tend to “nick pick”, because I think people should do everything the way I do it.

I could go on I’m sure, but this hurts.  Looking into a mirror, that sees deeper than the exterior, is hard to face.  When you see who you really are, you wonder, how can anyone love me?  Then, you might ask, how can God love me?

When God first made man, he was perfect.  But God refused to have robots obey commands to choose him, so he gave man “free will”.  It was the only way to see who would love him, because they wanted to.  God first loved us, even though that “free will” opens the door to imperfection, and makes us hard to love, he loves us anyway.  There is no means to measure, or weigh how much God loves us.  Love, is God’s core nature.

But just how does God do it?  Love us even though we are hard to love?

He looks at us through rose colored glasses.  The ones that were stained, by the blood of his son, Jesus’ when he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins.  I would be more lovable if I saw others as God does.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

April

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April Joy Cruz Brady

Say this next line in the voice of an announcer introducing a movie:

In a world, where it seems as if there is more hate than air…

It’s a fresh breath to meet someone that lives out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a which informs us what real love is.  The test, to see if you are love, is to insert your name everywhere it says “love”, and then to add the proper pronoun before the word, “Doesn’t”.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Although perfect for me, my wife, April is not perfect, but she comes as close as anyone I have ever met who can pass this test.  The only way to be real love is to be like God, because God is love.

To you April, with love.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Now What?

Charlie 011520 1You finally drop off to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning you have a few seconds of peace before the pain of your current life situation comes crashing back into your mind like a tsunami.  You lay there and say to yourself, “Oh yeah”.  You force yourself to get out of bed, but if it wasn’t for having to go to the bathroom you would more likely pull the covers over your head and try to go back to sleep.

If this is you, what do you do?  You may feel your only options are; runaway, become a hermit, seek revenge on those that have hurt you, drown your sorrow in alcohol, over eat, pop pills, or even worse bring physical harm to yourself.  For those who have a relationship with God, the only thing you can do is lean into him even more.  Anything else is of the flesh, and it will not ease the pain like God can.  It may take all you have left inside you to even ask him to help you trust him more, but He will.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, now is the perfect time to ask for him to forgive you and come into your life.

The words of old hymns can be comforting, reminders of God’s reality, which is more true than our own.  Read the words of the song below.  Let the melodic words soak into your soul.  Be encouraged with the truth of knowing that this too will pass.  May God bless you, and comfort you.  Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

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Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Place Your Life Before God

Charlie 011120Why are you reading this blog when you could be reading God’s words for yourself?  I’m glad you read this blog, as humbling as it is, but this portion of scripture, Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2, from The Message Bible, was just too good not to share.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Promise Fulfilled

Carlie 04.2Many years ago, like 33 of them, I left full time ministry.  I had been a youth pastor in two different churches.  I left under circumstances that should have never taken place.  I then entered my own desert and had my own version of Mt. Sinai to march around.

I was so mad for allowing Satan to deceive me into thinking my sin was right, but after all, that’s his specialty.  Thinking I would never again get to minister to people, hurt beyond belief, and one of the things I enjoyed the most was preaching from behind a pulpit.

A friend wrote me a letter as I was entering the desert.  She said she was praying for me and she shared a word she got from God for me.  Jeremiah 31:4   It says, “I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt.”

I hid that word from God in my heart for those many years waiting and wondering how God would fulfill his promise.

Tomorrow, at First Baptist Church in Prue, Oklahoma, I will get to stand behind the pulpit once again and minister to God’s people.  I am a little nervous, but excited at the same time.  I trust this is the first of many opportunities to minister around the world.

I am so grateful to my loving God, for caring so much for me that he would not leave me wondering in the desert, but showed me the exit.  After all, the gritty sand had done its work.  I was ready!

I am also thankful to Pastor Garry McDevitt for listening to God, trusting me and giving me this opportunity.  He is doing a great work for God in the community, as people are accepting Jesus and getting baptized almost every week.

Be encouraged, you have not done so much that God can’t use you.  He loves humble, willing, remorseful, ordinary people to do his work.  Oh, and he will help you get the sand out of, well, everywhere!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect Vision

charlie 2020Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions?  I used to, but honestly if I had this year I’m sure one of them would be broken before I could finish this blog post.

Last year though I did manage to change how I think about what is going on around me.  You see, when I become aware of a situation going on around me that is less than what would please God I take steps to change it.  I’m actually writing a book about it titled (so far), “It’s Time to Ask, Flip and Invite”.  Because it has come to my knowledge publishers don’t want to print a book that has been fully or even partially shared in any format I cannot give you the details.

I can share this though because it is not in the book:

When you bring every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5), and put the correct value on it, soon, how you think will change.  That in turns, changes your heart, or what you believe.  Once your heart has changed, it will change how you speak, for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

You might say I am getting 2020 vision!  If only more people would see things the way God sees them.  Then, they might stop getting offended in their minds, at the drop of a hat, and damaging their hearts and vomiting hate all over the news, work places and especially on social media.  The only way to see things clearly is to see them from God’s point of view.

This might be one goal that is worth resolving this year.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.