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

Dump or Garden?

CtS21ft CamH3' 35mm 0001Mankind’s first address was inside Garden Grove Estates.  God gave Adam and Eve a home there, but they wanted more.  They wanted to know what God knew, even though he told them that kind of knowledge wasn’t for them.  They disobeyed, and got evicted.

Do you live in a garden?  I don’t live in a perfect one yet, but things are growing.  And I don’t even have a green thumb either!  My neighbor one day saw me trying to plant some flowers.  She said, “You don’t know what you are doing!”  I said, “I know, but I am having a great time.”  I desire, ache to live where God intended, meaning the kind of life, but since I don’t know what I am doing I need him.  I need him to design it.  I need him to remove the weeds, remove the trash, move boulders, and dig trenches for the living waters to flow in my garden.

I look around, and I see very few people living in gardens.  Instead, they have, like Adam and Eve, believed the lies of the devil, and have paid the consequences.  They have gotten hurt, down, defeated, or have settled.  Some have given up.  They act like “hope” is a four letter word, so they accept life in a dump.  It stinks!  It’s dirty, toxic, hazardous to your health, but they accept it.  More and more broken, ugly, bent, faded, rusty things of life, gets  dumped on them day after day, and they take it.  They call it life, and just assume, it can’t get any better.

This is not the kind of life God intended for you.  It hurts him to see pile after pile of trash dumped upon you.  Guess what?  You don’t have to live there!  You can move out of the dump, and into a garden, but you will need the help of the Gardner.  The One who loves you like you can’t even imagine.  Will you accept his invitation?  Will you change your address?  Come live in the garden God wanted you to live in.  Oh, and the cost?  Free, for his Son, Jesus paid it for you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Mark Brady    1962 – 2018

my tomb stone 2We are gathered here today to pay our respects to Mark Brady.  In this grave, six feet below us, lies his body, his flesh.  Living by his flesh caused him to hurt a lot of people.  Wife, children, friends, sibling, coworkers, and even his mother and father.  Being led by his flesh opened the door to enter into a sin, where the result cast him out of the will of God.

Mark wondered around his own Mt. Sinai for 30 years.  After getting tired of the heat, of the desert, and the sand, he said, “oh the gritty, annoying sand got everywhere”, he begin looking for the exit ramp.

The act of dying doesn’t hurt, but killing your flesh does.  It goes against everything you know.  We’re afraid, if we do, we won’t be comfortable with ourselves, or others won’t, but is that more important than having Jesus comfortable with us?  It’s completely living the way Jesus showed us how to live.  Meaning, how to respond to others in our world.  An old man once said, “Life isn’t hard.  It’s all the freakin people that make it hard.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].  (Mat 16:24 AMP)

Jesus told us to take up “our” cross and follow him.  The cross being an instrument of death.  So why would one want to?  It’s hard to describe unless you begin to experience it, but there is such joy in becoming intimate with God.  Becoming a son, like Jesus is.  God loves his Son, Jesus so much!  With that said, when you begin to walk in son ship with God, there is more peace, more joy, more faith, and definitely, more love than you could ever imagine!  It’s living life more abundantly!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

FLOW

 

080412 335A river flows downstream.  Life in a boat, doing nothing, on that stream, comes easy, natural.  It takes no effort, but to go upstream is another story.  The mightier the current, the harder one must paddle, or use external power.  You stop for one instance, or turn off the engine, and you begin going back down.

We can’t get to our destination upstream on our own.  We must have the power from the One who has been in the boat.  From the One, who has walked on the water.  From the One who has made it to the other side.  From the One who said, “It is finished!”

I desire to FLOW with God.  I will do my part, but I will rely on Him for the power I don’t have in and of myself.  Following His FLOW will take me where He wants me.  The more I make this my life practice it will get easier, and become more natural.

Keith Hector, recently preached a message at my church on FLOW.  He said flow is:

F aith
L ove
O bedience
W isdom

Flowing with God, and in God takes all of the above.  It requires trusting Jesus.  It demands following the Holy Spirit.  God asks us to do things that are not natural to our flesh, so we cannot boast in and of ourselves.  He also knows the joy we experience when we FLOW with Him.  He knows the confidence we experience, and He knows it encourages us to go further.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:   “My main attempt in this short life is to deeply love humankind. I long to love like Jesus: intentionally, authentically, and with no boundaries. So here I am, a messy 14 year old making art, learning to love, and writing.”  Click:  ~ ava lucia ~

 

What Makes a Good Bridge?

Bridge 2“Look, I’m not hurting anything.  I just want to sit here and rest,” he said.  To his right my church had a sign that stated, “No Loitering”
“It’s okay,” I replied in a gentle voice.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“Yes.”

I went and got him a sack of food we keep for such occasions, and some water.

“Here ya go.”
“Thank you.”
“Your welcome.  You mind if I hang out with you for a while?”
“Suit yourself,” he said as the sack crinkled while he checked out the food.
“What’s your name?”
“John,” he replied.  His eyes, piercing, as if searching my soul.

The small talk started.  It became clear he was a philosopher who didn’t have a place to hang his diploma.  He also had a sense of humor.  He shared he had made a mistake with his wife and kids, and she wasn’t willing to forgive.  I felt that was my que to talk about God’s forgiveness.  I tried hard to get him to come inside and sit in on the church service.

“I stink,” he kept saying.
“I assure you John, no one inside will care.”  He was right about the odor too, but he insisted on attending the church service there on the sidewalk.

We talked for another 30 minutes or so.  Before I left I offered to pray with him.

“You can do that in private, but not in front of me,”  he said.

I didn’t understand, but respected his wishes.  I’ve  looked, but have never seen John again.  Though thought of him often, I have prayed for him even more.  I regretted not taking him to a restaurant to get something hot to eat.  I also wish I had been brave enough to invite him to my house.  He could have showered, I could have washed his clothes, and he could have slept on a soft, warm surface, even if for one night.  I have consoled myself with knowing I did something, but I know I could have done more.  Perhaps next time I will.

Since I have never seen an episode of “Bridge Hunters” on HGTV he replied, “One that has a flat surface to sleep on, and that isn’t facing into the wind.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:  God never intended heaven to be served from earth.  heartland church

Heaven Won’t be the Same Without You, But Hell Will

healingAt the age of seven, I knew I was a convicted cookie thief!  I went to a church, where the anointed man of God, my pastor, scared the hell out of me!  He preached straight up sermons concerning what would happen if we died and had not accepted Jesus to forgive us of our sins.  As a result, out of fear of going to hell, I choose God, and heaven.

Today, I realize, some don’t chose God, because they don’t have firsthand knowledge of the Holy.  They don’t know God.  They don’t know what makes him smile, laugh, or hurt.  They don’t know He gets jealous when someone worships anything, or anyone other than him, and they obviously don’t know He is serious about only two places to spend eternity.  They haven’t felt his great love.  People then, believe more in themselves than they do him.

God created heaven for his followers.  He created hell for Satan, and the fallen angels that followed him.  When men started rejecting God, he had to expand hell to accommodate them.

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).  “Therefore Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it” (Isaiah 5:14).

Now, at my current age, I have experienced the love of God in such a way, there is no other place I would rather be, than in heaven with him.  Therefore I feel commissioned, everywhere I go, to make myself available as God leads to share his great love with those who don’t know.  I spoke the title of this blog to a very dear friend of mine, because it is absolutely true.  If my friend chooses God, heaven will be better, but hell won’t change at all without him.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:  See helpful life keys. Beth Olsen

Understanding vs Knowing

PowerThere are things, that go on in this world, I do not understand.  I ask questions like, “Why”, and “How?”  There are also things of God I do not understand, but I never used to question Him.  To be honest, I felt as if it showed a lack of faith.  So I have grown in my relationship with God just believing, and trusting, and knowing, “He’s got this!”  And in some ways that is good.  I relied on the following verses whenever I couldn’t understand or know what God was doing in my life, or in other’s lives around me:

Isa 55:9  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (MSG)
Phi 4:7  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (KJV+)

But now I am learning from my pastor to ask God, and it’s okay.  It’s not a lack of faith.  Especially when I sense knowledge coming from Him.  Maybe another way to put it is; if I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me something, and I do not understand what I am sensing or seeing, I ask God, “What is this?”  “What does this mean?”  “Who is this for?”

My pastors are Joel & Linda Budd.  They teach a lot about this in their book, Fill Me or Kill Me.  God wants to teach us how to reach people with power and authority.  How to set the captive free, and heal the broken-hearted.  In order to do that, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised this power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8.  Jesus also illistrated this kind of power in His ministry while here on earth, so it’s nothing to fear.  You won’t be weird.  In truth, you will be more like Jesus.  And isn’t that what being a Christian means, an imitator of Christ?

When the Holy Spirit hands you the keys to someone’s heart, real ministry can take place.  The receiver won’t argue religion, won’t ask unanswerable questions, but they will receive God’s love through you.  Understanding is good, but there is power in knowing!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Does God Go to Your Church?

Church 1You might be asking, “How would I know?”

Are people accepting God, and His message?  Are people getting healed?  Are there words of prophecy, or of knowledge being spoken?  Are people walking away touched by God and filled spiritually from hearing God’s word?  I once quit going to a church because I left hungrier for God then when I went in.

Or is your church more of a social club?  Maybe your church is popular and therefore has large numbers attending and people think, “Now that’s a good church, because so many people go there.”  But is it good?  Does God go there?  A good church should not be measured by the number of attendees.

If you leave church hungry, or wanting more, then perhaps it’s time to start looking for a church that God goes to.  Don’t just go to the same church, because that is what you have always done, unless of course you can say God goes there.  I know, it’s hard to change, but go to a church that you can get excited about, and you want everyone you know, or meet, to experience God in the ways you have.

As times get harder, and they will, the only ones to make it will be those who know God.  Go to a church where you can meet him and get to know him.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:
Creative, fun, talented.  Give him a minute:  https://jefflossau.com/

 

 

Descending Order of Predominance

Can Label 1According to our government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food packages have to list the ingredients, but in a particular order.  Here is the rule:

INGREDIENT LISTS 1. The ingredient list on a food label is the listing of each ingredient in descending order of predominance.

Great!  So, what does that mean?  It means all of the ingredients, in that container of food, has to be listed in order of which ingredient’s total weight is the most to the least.  I would put it this way: the predominant ingredient is listed first.  I actually looked this information up.  (I know.  I need a life!)

If someone was to list the ingredients in your life what would be the predominant one?  Greed?  Lust?  Power?  I hope not, but looking at how some people, whose lives are lived out in front of us these days, I know it is true their predominant ingredient would not be good.

I strive, to live my life in such a way, so the first ingredient would be God.  It’s hard!  My flesh’s sinful nature keeps trying to reduce the amount of God in my life.  Knowing this, I purpose my life, in a way, that focuses on God as much as possible.  I talk to him throughout my day, and read his word.  (I enjoy reading “The Message” by Eugene H. Peterson.  It’s a modern English Bible translation.)  I also spend time with others who believe as I do.

If this is your desire as well, then go for it.  Don’t get weary from trying your best.  God knows your heart’s desire, and remember this, his grace is sufficient, and new every morning.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:
For a heart set on following Christ:  https://redeemedview.wordpress.com/home/