Devoted to Devotions?

Charlie 70How many times have you beat yourself up for not doing your devotions?  Me?  I used to constantly be black and blue!  I didn’t like it.  Am I not serious about serving God?  I used to ask myself.  I wanted to make God happy with me, so why did I constantly feel as though I was disappointing him?

It took a while, okay years, but one day I realized being devoted to devotions was not the same as being devoted to God.  I begin to walk in freedom, because now I was devoted to God, and I knew I could talk to him anytime I wanted to.  I could worship, read his word, and praise him throughout the entire day, and not just at a particular time of day.  There may be those that like having a set time each day, but that didn’t work for me.  Some people, I’m afraid, do their devotions, but then forget what they read or said to God as soon as they are done.  They experienced time gone by, but fail to experience God.

Just like I can’t make you mad, I can’t make God have an emotional response to me as well.  We choose our reactions to others and God chooses his reactions to us.  I’m sure it’s an easy choice for him though when we talk to him and are mindful of him all day long.  God, no doubt, wants to hang out with his children and listen to them, and have them listen to him.  God has a lot to say.

Therefore, your hearts are to be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as [you are doing] today.”  (1 Kings 8:61 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If You Only Knew

Charlie 69.jpg“No!  I won’t give it to him,” cried out the six year old.

“But it will please God.  It’s better to give than to receive, and you get lots of toys from McDos.”  (What they call McDonalds in the Philippines.)

He shakes his head indicating, “no.”

“And you know what?  I bet if you give your car to him it won’t be long before you get blessed in a bigger way.  Okay?  Let’s go over to the next table and give him the car.”

“No!”

It’s hard to teach a child something that goes against what his culture screams, “Take care of yourself first!”  If he only knew.  We were at the mall, and I wanted like crazy to see the bewilderment on my little friend’s face when the other young man received something he didn’t earn, or even ask for.  There is something about “unexpected joy”.  It looks right, and I know, it feels right.  Then, if my young friend had given the toy away, I was going to take him to the gaming area where you play games of chance to get tickets, only to cash them in on cheaper toys, because he likes it.

I suspect God is the same way with us.  “Come on, give, and it will be given to you.  Trust me in this.”  But it defies our human logic, and we hang on to something that is cheap.  It’s so hard for us to imagine that we will have enough or more than enough when we are already hurting.  If you only knew, there is freedom, and tremendous joy in giving.  God knows of this joy, because He gave us his only Son, Jesus.  Now you know.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking for Me?

Charlie 67How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:

Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can’t get around.
But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me,
you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.  (Rom. 9:33-39)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Life doesn’t Look Anything like the Brochure!

travel brochure template printable e To Canada A travel brochure using typical CanadianWell, here you are.  In the middle of life, and honestly, it’s not what you expected.  What do you do?  Give up?  Run away?  Get a divorce?  The attraction is; wherever I go has to be better than this!  Disappointing job, house, spouse, church, etc. doesn’t really matter.  It sucks!

Some look for the answer at the bottom of a bottle, only to find it’s empty.  Others turn to substances that only dulls the pain, but never removes it.  Some fight.  They fight society, the government, churches, and worse yet, other people.  You want to know the truth? Whenever any of this happens, Satan sits back and laughs.  John 10:10 says, “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy…”  What you might ask?  YOU!  He’s still mad at God for not letting him have his way, and he is using you to get even.

You want to know the Truth?  The rest of John 10:10 says “…but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Jesus said that, and He is Truth.  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Accepting Jesus and living his way is not a cliche, it is truth, and it works.  He doesn’t promise you a perfect life with a perfect job, house, spouse or church, but He says He will be there with you through it.  The reason you keep hearing this is because it is truth, and it will set you free.  Pastor Linda Budd, of RiverGate Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma said last Sunday, “Jesus doesn’t speak the problem, he speaks the answer.”  Jesus didn’t say, “Oh my.  It’s stormy out here.  We could be in danger.  Perhaps we should go back.”  No!  He said to the storm, “Peace be still!”

I needed to write this today, because I needed to remind myself of the truth, about Truth, and what He says to storms, disappointments in life.  I say to my storm, “In the name of Jesus, peace be still!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Blessed and Highly Favored!

“Hi Mark.  This is Cathy.  Are you hungry?”
“I could eat.  Why?”
“We’re slow at the restaurant and I was wondering if you wanted to come eat here today?”
“Oh, I see.  Because I’m a generous tipper?”
“You’re not that good of a tipper,” Cathy said while laughing.
I laughed too.  “Okay.  Then why do you want me to come eat?”
“I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed that whenever you come to the restaurant, we get slammed with business, and yes, I have more opportunities to earn tips.”

charlie 63The above conversation was changed a bit, but is true.  It’s something I had noticed as well, but didn’t know anyone else had.  Several years ago I begin to see that after I walked into a place of business, any business, they started getting very busy.  One day I had understanding as to why.  It is because I am a child of God and I am blessed and highly favored.  Therefore, the places I visit are blessed as well.  The blessings don’t stop there either.  I find favor among men in many ways and at many times, and am blessed.

I’m not boasting in this, you can be as well.  Mary, the mother of Jesus was blessed and highly favored and she knew it, because the Angel of the Lord told her she was.  You gain this by drawing close to God.  Know that you are his adopted son or daughter with privileges.  You have all the blessings of heaven at your disposal.  Ask for them.  Tell your Abba Father (Daddy God) what you need, and even what you want.  You might just be surprised.  A scripture says, “You have not, because you ask not!”  That is so true.  God is just waiting to hear from you.  He’s not Santa Clause, or your credit card, for He is so much more than that, but He is love, and He loves you so much!  Love him back.

Get to know him, and spend time with him.  One of the best ways to know God is to read his word, the Bible.  God reveals himself and his character throughout the scriptures.  Also look at the life of Jesus.  Jesus even said, “If you have seen me then you have seen the Father.”  Get intimate with Jesus, for you are the bride of Christ, after you accept him.  Live like you know it!  Walk around professing, “I am blessed and highly favored,” because as a child, who draws close to God, you are!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Magkano?

charlie 62Being with somebody must cost a lot, because most people don’t spend enough time with others.  Especially time with older people.  Sure, they might tell you the same stories you have heard a hundred times, and bore you, but there is one thing, no matter their health, older people can still do; talk!  Magkano?  In the Philippines it means, “How much?”  So magkano time are you willing to spend?

Spending time with God will enlarge your heart for others.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Everyone Has a Mountain to Climb

Charlie 60

Golgotha

Life can be tough, especially when there are people in it.  We are all challenged to face life, deal with life in the midst of people.  Life can come with mountains.  It seems as if everyone has one to climb.  While trying our best to scale the mountain in front of us we, many times, will stumble over someone else.  That’s when someone usually gets hurt.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t God’s idea, plan or intent, and it still isn’t.  He made man and placed him in a garden.  Typically, a garden is a mountain free zone.  This doesn’t mean God is allergic to mountains.  He has used mountains, or hills to do some of his best work.  From Mt. Sinai, He gave us The Ten Commandments, which if followed, helps us live a better life.  Jesus taught about his Heavenly Father, life, and many other important issues to help us from many hills, or mounts around Jerusalem.  Of course it was the hill of Golgotha, where Jesus died for our sins, that gives us life eternal.

So what do we do with mountains?  We should name them for what they are.  Face them with boldness, but the most important thing to do is to ask Jesus to guide you through it, around it or over it.  Even Jesus had a mountain (Golgotha) to face, but didn’t want to.  He asked his Father to remove it from him, but then he went on to say, “Not my will, but your will be done.”  When mountains are conquered, you can stick a flag in it that waves in the wind declaring to all that someone made it.  It might just encourage them to keep climbing, to keep hanging on, and take another step where the Master has stepped before us.

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.” (1 Pt. 2:21 MSG)

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

House Rules

Charlie 58It can be challenging, trying to blend two cultures, but it can also be fun.  For instance, I grew up in America where my mother and father had a lot of people over to play card games, eat, and laugh.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Something I have tried to emulate as an adult.

In the last week, I have been teaching my Filipino wife, American games and card games.  Today, I taught her a new card game and while going over the rules, I mentioned they can change depending on whose house you are playing at.  It’s called, “House Rules”.  Meaning, if you are at one friend’s house, then you play the game according to how they play it there.  Sometimes you may not agree with how they play the game, but you are at their house, so it is their rules, that rules the game.

That got me thinking about how we are in God’s house.  Not in church, but on his earth.  “for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”  (Psalms 50:12 NIV)  He has made things simple.  You can live on his earth, according to your rules, if you want to, but if you want to live forever in his heaven you must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and accept him into your life.  To do so otherwise means you spend eternity, dying forever, in hell.  It’s his rule, which, should, rule your life.

If you haven’t, consider accepting God’s rule of your life.  Doing so helps you get through it, hopefully, with lots of love, friends, family and laughter.

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Noticed

Charlie 57I now know what an animal in a zoo exhibit feels like!  The other day I thought I heard a little boy ask his mother if he could feed the American.  I have mentioned a few times, that I am now living in the Philippines.  Now that I have been here for a while, I forget when I go out, and am near my home, that I am not in America, so when someone stares at me, I start thinking Is my zipper down on my pants?  Did I forget to shower and my hair is a mess?

The point is; I stand out!  I’m noticed!  It’s impossible for me to blend in.  It happened again tonight, as I was walking down the street, to the convenient store.  I smiled and sometimes I wave or say, “Hi.”  I am conscious of the fact I am representing America.  Some have actually told me that I am the first American they have ever seen in person.

This got me thinking, shouldn’t I have the same awareness about being a follower of Jesus Christ?  Shouldn’t I be thinking What if I am the first Christian they have ever met in person?  Or, I am representing God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  The truth is, it should be my nature and not a thought I have to keep in mind.  And my response?  Smile, wave, say “Hello”, be love.  I know I mention this theme of being love often, but the first two commandments mention love, so it must be important to God.

  1. Love God, and put him first in our lives.
  2. Love others as we love ourselves. (And some of you really do love yourselves a lot, as do I sometimes!)

When you walk around being love, you’re being like God.   “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 JN. 4:8 NIV)  Please stop trying to blend in, and rather, desire to be noticed!
Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.