How Much?

book 1I would go visit them, and before I knew it, they would be giving me a guided tour of their latest acquisitions.  Antiques, what nots, weird things, but things that appealed to them.  I would hear the story of where they found it, and why they liked it.  The one fact that never went unnoticed was how excited they were over their latest find, and the one thing that always struck me funny was when they would ask, “You want to know how much I paid?”

I was reminiscing the other day about those times and chuckling when I begin to envision Jesus showing me his latest acquisitions.  “This is John.  He was in a bar when he realized his life needed to change. He asked me to help.  This is Manjola from Albania.  I pursued him a long time before he finally accepted me.  Oh!  Over here is Akemi.  She’s from Japan.  She was desperate for real love, and a friend told her about me.”

Person, after person.  Jesus was enthusiastic over every one of them.  He told me their story.  How long He looked for them, as they were lost, but the one thing He never asked was, “You want to know how much I paid?”

“You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]” (1Co 7:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Confession

20180618_161958Confession:  I have never been inside a confessional booth.  I grew up in a church where doing so was not part of our spiritual practice.  I am at a temple where there is one.  I am writing this blog post while sitting inside it.  Not intended, but in order to see I brought a small, but bright LED light.  It is casting such a white glow I think it scared a couple checking out the temple.

Here I sit, in this small, wooden structure.  It smells old, musty, perhaps from tears soaking the carpeted board beneath my feet.  There is carpet on the walls as well.  I guess to absorb the sound, but aren’t confessions meant to be heard?

I think there is also supposed to be a man in the booth next door.  A man to hear my sins?  My wrong doing?  What if he is actually a newspaper reporter?  Wait, when Jesus died on the cross, didn’t his selfless act of love cut out the middle man?  After all, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  The veil that once separated man from God.  Now Jesus is our High Priest.

I guess while I am in here I might as well start talking.  Heavenly Father bless me.  It has been 23 minutes since my last confession.  You remember.  Oh, you don’t?  Then maybe I should choose to forget it also.

Now, I confess all my sins.  The ones that denied you, dissatisfied you, destroyed me and demolished others.  The sins that dishonored you, discomforted you.  The ones that would disqualify me from your presence, if it were not for your Son.  The sins that diminished others, disgruntled my employers, and devalued my wife and children.  And don’t forget the one that deflowered me before I was with the proper one at the proper time.  The ones that delayed me from being obedient unto you and your plans.  I also confess the times I digested things that defiled my body, your temple.  The words I spoke that derailed others on track to finding you.  The times my actions denounced you.  The sins that I allowed that wound up discouraging me and damaging my faith.

Forgive me Father.  I ask for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for not deleting my name from your Book of Life.  Thank you for forgiveness, and for your Son, Jesus who gives life through his death.

Now what do I do Lord God?  “Go and sin no more.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

It’s About Time!

clockOld Testament time:  Mankind was given “time” by God.  He created light, and separated it from dark.  He called the light “day”, and the dark “night”.  That was day one. (Gen. 1:3-5)  Pastor Robert Morris says, time gives us stability, and rhythm to life.  During eternity, there will be no need for time.  Jesus operates in a whole different realm than we do.  He is not bound by time.  He can go back in time, and forward in time, in no time.

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had time reversed for her body and appearance.  She did not look like an old grandma when she had Isaac at the age of 90, but like a beautiful young woman.  So much so, while Abraham was camping in Gerar, he lied, and said she was his sister so he would not be killed for actually being her husband. (Gen. 20:1-18)

New Testament time:  When Jesus’ mother, Mary, asked her son to turn water into wine, while at a wedding, he answered her request.  One of the wedding guest commented the host saved the best wine for last.  Good wine takes 2 years to make.  How did Jesus do it?  I’m not sure, but I believe he could, can and did.  Mary believed as well. (John 2:1-11)

Your time:  I heard a testimony the other day where a kid closed the car door on his hand.  His mother prayed that his hand would go back to how it felt 2 minutes before the accident.  When she got done praying, he said his hand didn’t hurt any more.

Why am I sharing this?  There is a realm, we who call ourselves believers, need to move into.  The realm of possibilities that Jesus lives in.  A realm that is not bound by time.  Being “Christ like” can be for these days, and not just after we arrive in heaven.  Why now?  Because as we approach the last days our faith will need to be stronger.  We will need to know the impossible has always been possible, if we just learn to believe it, and ask for it, like Mary did.  We don’t have to know how, but that it can be done.  The Holy Spirit is sharing this with others around the world.  Jesus will help us and welcome us into this new realm of believing and living.  In fact he will probably say, “It’s about time!”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Have You Considered?

dome 1

Covering of protection

Have you ever considered what your breaking point would be in life?  How much you could take?  What could you handle, but what is too much?  Severe sickness of you, or of the ones you love the most?  Losing your entire net worth?  Being abandoned by the very ones you thought cared the most about you?

“And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job?”  Satan replied, “Have You not put a hedge (a covering) about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” (Job 1:8 & 10 AMP)

God, because of Job’s relationship with him, had put a covering over him, or had his hand over him, so the results of a fallen, sinful, world could not affect Job, his family, or his possessions.  Once I got really angry at one of my neighbors.  I was so mad, I wanted to harm her, but I didn’t.  Instead I prayed and asked God to take revenge on her for hurting me,  After all, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Rom. 12:19 MSG)  One day I asked God what happens when he gets vengeance on someone.  He whispered back, “I slowly remove my hand from their life.”

I shuttered!  As time went on, I witnessed my neighbor losing her job, experiencing vandalism, and worst yet, the death of her oldest daughter.  I prayed for her.  I know God was hoping she would stop resisting him, and in turn, run to him.  She finally did.

Job resisted the temptation to blame God for his troubles and die, but eventually repented of his prideful way of thinking.  Then God restored everything back to him and doubled what he had lost.  Could you have handled such loss?  Or perhaps the better question is this, would God ever say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant: __________?“ (fill in blank with your name)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Whew!  Sundays Over!

Church 1 (2)

Photo by Michael Wall of Wall2Wall Foto

A girl in my 11th grade English class once said, “I love being Catholic!  I can have my sins forgiven Saturday night, and then live like hell the rest of the week.”  Now, I’m just quoting her and not saying a thing about the Catholic faith, so please, no emails.  I’m not Catholic, but being honest, have had similar thoughts.  Only mine are more like, “Ok.  I got the Sunday thing done.  Now, I can indulge my flesh.”

A fight, a struggle.  I want to do the right thing.  I want to please and obey God, but I find no matter how long I have been doing this, I still struggle with thoughts of wanting to do what I want to do.  Some are just down right thoughts of being lazy.

The great apostle Paul struggled as well.

Rom 7:18  I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.
Rom 7:19  I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. (MSG)

So how, or what are we to do then?  1) Of course ask God to help us.  We will never be able to do it on our own.  2) Bring every thought into captivity.  Be honest about the thought, and if it is a bad thought then start looking for the door that has a sign above it that reads, “EXIT”.  God promises to make a way of escape.  Sometimes that exit may be praying.  Have you ever sinned while praying?  I haven’t.  Leave the room.  See what your family is doing, or call a friend.  And if they are a trusted friend, tell them you are struggling.

My classmate, I mentioned in the beginning, was married.  Her husband shoved a shotgun in her mouth and pulled the trigger before that school year was over.  I have often wondered what God thinks when people live like she did on a regular basis.  I yield my opinions to God.  This one thing I know for sure:  I can overcome, because Jesus overcame first, and so can you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Stumble or Build?

stone 1There it is.  Right there in front of you.  It is unwelcomed, and even now, is unwanted, but there it is.  A situation has developed in your presence.  One that activates emotions.  They seem to come out of nowhere, and they arrive so fast.

Immediately, you are forced to answer the question; “Am I going to stumble, or am I going to build?”  You’re interacting with someone when all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a misunderstanding, or someone acting ugly.  What do you do?  Do you match their level of intensity?  Lobby similar words?

One way of reacting will most likely cause you to “stumble”.  Your relationship could break down, or fall apart.  Over what?  A situation?  But what if you took a moment, breathed, and responded in a way that would “build” your relationship?  That would cause you to grow closer to the individual, or grow and mature inwardly.

AND [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come! (Luk 17:1 AMP)

Satan casts the first stone.  He definitely wants you to stumble.  Hoping you will fall, and get hurt.  Jesus hands you a hammer in hopes you break up the stone and build a stronger relationship.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

God’s Top Ten List

The Ten

  1. No other Gods before me.
    I’m to be your first priority.
  2. Nothing should be your idol.
    Keep your life pure.
  3. Don’t use my name when cussing.
    Understanding this can bring humility.
  4. Keep Sundays Holy.
    Resting one day a week is a wonderful thing.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
    Doing so will bless your life.
  6. Killing is not good.
    Love is a much better way.
  7. Committing adultery tears people apart.
    Learning intimacy will bring people together.
  8. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
    If you do, you’ll never learn to trust.
  9. Lying is a bad idea.
    Honesty is always the way to go.
  10. You shouldn’t want what isn’t yours.
    Contentment brings peace to your life.

God didn’t come up with these 10 commandments to make your life miserable.  He didn’t do it so we would become “religious”, and start a bunch of denominations with a list of “rules” to live by.  He gave us these principles, to live by, so we could relate to him better, and with each other.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

How Much Do You Charge for Your Love?

Cost of Love_FREEWhat do you charge for your LOVE?  Is that by the ounce, gallon, hour, or some other form of measurement?  Do people, or your family, feel you can’t be bothered?  Your friends never ask for a favor, because they know you won’t help for whatever convenient excuse you flip to in your “excuse Rolodex”?  LOVE is more than words.  It is action.  It does.  It does whatever it takes.  It does, whatever it can, for others.

Jesus, gave premium LOVE, free!  He didn’t require any form of payment, or reimbursement.  No one had to be “good” enough, or had to earn it.  They may not even have deserved it, but he LOVED anyway.  Jesus, only did what he saw his heavenly Father do.  We should do the same.  As Jesus has freely given LOVE to us, we should freely give LOVE to others.  LOVE can overcome anything when there are no limits put on it.

Real LOVE, is felt.  Authentic LOVE, saves people.  Mature LOVE, looks for opportunities to be expressed.  Premium LOVE fills you up!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Your First Thought

20180412_200110It happened again.  The explosive temper from one I am supposed to love, and I do, but the pain.  I left their presence, but I was a “walking wounded”.  I kept rewinding the scene and playing it over and over in my mind.  Why?  This didn’t need to happen.  I begin seeking comfort.

I went to one of my favorite pizza places and ordered a pizza.  Sad, I know, but I tend to turn to favorite foods for comforting.  Later in the evening God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me for comfort?”  I searched for the truth and then had the realization, so my reply was, “It wasn’t my first thought.  God… (tears) I’m so sorry!  Help me loving Father to make you my first thought.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement) 2Co 1:3-6 (AMP)

But I turned to pizza instead of God.  The very pizza pictured in the photo.  It was extremely windy, and as I was taking my second step out of the restaurant a gust of wind blew the box right out of my hand.  I went back in, ordered another one, and then cleaned up the parking lot.  To be honest I looked both ways to see if anyone was watching.  You know, that five second rule.  I decided it didn’t apply to asphalt!  My turning to food first, instead of God, made for a very expensive medium pizza.  Lesson learned, I hope!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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 © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved