Do You Know the Jesus of Christmas?

Christmas Card 1After Jesus was born to Mary, Satan used King Herod to kill all the boys in the land under the age of two.  It was a shotgun attempt to kill Jesus, the Son of God.  For Satan heard the same stories and rumors others did, but he didn’t know for sure who, or where Jesus was.

In the movie, The Young Messiah there is a line spoken by young Jesus.  Jesus looked at Satan and said, “You don’t know who I am do you?”  I’m sure Satan saw glimpses of Jesus, but probably too, couldn’t believe that God would send His son, to earth, as a child.

Satan didn’t know who Jesus was until Jesus was baptized.  For when Jesus came up out of the water there was a loud voice from heaven saying, “…this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mat. 3:17)  Afterwards, Jesus went into the dessert to fast and pray for 40 days, then Satan tried to tempt Him.  If Jesus had given in, God’s plan would have been killed.

Your whole life, God has been trying to reveal His Son to you.  Do you believe it?  Have you accepted God’s plan?  Your whole life Satan has been trying to kill God’s plan for you.  It’s true.

Please, take a moment this Christmas.  Get quiet, and look at the Christmas cards around you.  It’s more than a holiday.  It’s more than a story.  And it’s definitely more than a time to go into debt!  It’s the beginning of a love story.  God’s love for you.  Accept the Jesus of Christmas.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

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The Right Wood, Nails, and Man, Became the Perfect Savior

20171209_162330Jesus, being the son of a carpenter, learned all about wood.  How to pick out the right kind perfect for its intended use.  He was shown by his father how to cut it, sand it, and assemble it so it could serve its purpose.  Jesus also became acquainted with nails.  Where to put them, and what size was needed.

When Jesus grew up, he didn’t continue in his earthly father’s business, but being the Son of God, changed over to his Heavenly Father’s business.  He didn’t get away from wood, or nails.  In fact, He needed them.  When he saw the cross, on which he would soon die, he recognized it was perfect for its intended purpose.  Then he saw the nails, “They’ll hold.”

In the process of dying, Jesus returned to being a carpenter.  In his death, he became the Savior.  Through the use of wood and nails, he built a connection, between God and man that would hold for eternity.  Jesus did that for you, out of LOVE.

Col 1:22  But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. (MSG)

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Accidently on Purpose

Know God

Your coworker took time to listen to your struggles.
You found an envelope with cash and an anonymous  note, “To help you out.”
A man pulled over and changed your tire not asking for anything in return.
A woman, at the light, handed you five dollars.
They stopped and helped you pick up items that had fallen through your bag and then carried them to your destination.
A person shared their umbrella, which was made for one, but they made sure you stayed dry.
They stopped to hold the door, they gave you directions with a smile, they paid for your coffee in the drive thru.

Random acts of kindness?
Perhaps.

Or were they actually people, just like you,

who have fallen in love with God?

And so desperately wanted you to know Him,

that they went out of their way to show you what He would do in that same moment?

 

They didn’t preach.

They didn’t judge.

They didn’t condemn.

They LOVED!

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Is This It?

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The church, where I first learned about a better life.

Have you ever asked yourself is this it?  What’s next?  Is there more?

As I was giving thanks to God this week for His many blessings upon my life, a thought hit me.  One I don’t recall having before.  For those who have never accepted Jesus as their savior, and had their sins, wrongs forgiven, then this is it!  This life is the best they will ever have.  For them, there is no hope for an even better life.

This life, with its hardships, struggles, and pain.  This life with its sickness and diseases.  With its final blow, death!

But we don’t have to settle for just this life.  We can choose to have the hope of a better life.  A life with no hurt, sickness, and no death.  Think of it this way; if those who believe and have accepted God are wrong then we have only gotten the same as you.  This life.  But, if we are right, if our faith delivers the hope God’s word says is waiting for us then we have so much more.  So much more than just this life.  And on the way to that better life, is God.

Act 2:26-28   I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades (Hell); I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around. (MSG)

 Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

A Better Way to Live

sin

NOUN

  1. an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law:
    “a sin in the eyes of God” ·

synonyms: immoral act · wrong · wrongdoing · act of evil/wickedness · transgression · crime · offense · misdeed · misdemeanor
· trespass · wickedness · wrongdoing · wrong · evil · evildoing · sinfulness
· immorality · iniquity · vice · crime

In a time where one’s, thought to be hidden sins, are being exposed like an uncontrollable leak in a dam.  In a time where an accusation brings quick judgement and sentencing handed down before all the facts are known.  You would think realizing that everything done in darkness will be exposed, would spur one to find a better way to live.

The truth though is we are sold a big fat lie by the devil.  That lie is: You won’t be the one that will get caught.  Guess what?  The devil is probably the one that will tell on you.  Why?  Because he wants to hurt you beyond belief.  I write about it often:  John 10:10 – Satan comes to kill steal and destroy!  Satan HATES you!  He can’t stand you, because YOU are made in the image of God, and he hates God.

A better way to live?  Sure.  Don’t sin.  It’s that simple.  Okay, it’s not, but you can actually learn, or train yourself to sin less.

  1. Capture every thought and bring it into captivity.  In other words, if a thought is about doing something wrong (sin) then realize it, and choose not to.  Love instead.  Do the right thing.  Say the right thing.
  2. Put on God’s bullet proof vest. (Ephesians 6:11-18)  Imagine a policeman these days not wearing his bullet proof vest.

Eph 6:11  So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.
Eph 6:12  This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Eph 6:13  Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Eph 6:14  Truth, righteousness,
Eph 6:15  peace,
Eph 6:16  faith,
Eph 6:17  and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
Eph 6:18  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (MSG)

These are just a couple of purposeful things to do to live a better life.  Here are a few more:  Turn away wrath with love.  When one speaks out against you, smile and love them anyway.  When someone proclaims they are living a life you know is not pleasing to God, please don’t judge and sentence them, but accept them, and love them.  That is not the same as accepting their wrong doing.  Calling out sin on Facebook isn’t going to show anyone there is a better way to live either.  The world needs to see Love.  Jesus is Love.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

The Ironic Paradox

PhotographHow do you convince, “believe in someone you can’t see”?  How is it understood?  Why is it easier for some and yet others find ‘having faith in God’ is like believing they could fly around the room.  God knew it would prove difficult, so He gave everyone, yes even you, a “measure of faith” to start life with.

God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Rom. 12:3 KJV+)

A pastor once preached a faith message series titled, “Walking off the Edge of the Map”.  You wouldn’t dare take another step once you got to the edge if you didn’t know where you would land.  But what if someone else knew?  Would you trust them?

You look at a photograph, but your eyes have to stop at the borders of the photo.  But there is one who can see beyond the borders of a photograph.  We are limited by what we see and know, but God is not.  He can see beyond the edge of a map, and past the limits of a photograph, and even the boundaries of your eyes. He sees, He knows, and the truth is, He cares.

God wants us to have faith in Him, because of all of the above.  God is not limited; by anything!  It doesn’t make sense, but by believing in God, whom you can’t see you are able to see beyond your own understanding.  And it’s nice knowing in your heart that because He sees what’s coming He’s already preparing you to handle it, go through it, or go over it.  Faith in God is knowing, “He’s got this!”

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Evicting Spiders

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWarm sunny morning.  As I opened the curtains I see the shadow of a large spider projected onto my roller shade.  I slowly raised the shade to revel an ugly spider.  I hate spiders, so when it comes to sharing earth with them I have one rule: “I get the inside of the house and they can have the entire outside”.  I think it’s a fair deal.

I had never seen a spider like this one before, so as creeped out as I was I wanted to get a closer look.  I leaned in toward the window, extending my index finger and wondered what he would do if I tapped on the glass.  As my finger was about to reach the glass I had the horrifying realization He’s on the inside!  Now I wish I had grabbed my phone and taken a picture, but I went for the kill.  I didn’t want him packing up and leaving Dodge alive.

Sin is like spiders; creepy, stealth like, and can be very harmful.  As is with spiders, some sin seems harmless, while other sins can lead to death, but sin, like spiders on the inside of the house, must be evicted.  There is no place for sin.  Mankind rates sin, but God doesn’t.  He knows that sin is sin, and all of it is harmful and can even kill you.  Rom 6:23  Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (MSG)  Evict sin.  Don’t allow any wrong doing in your life.  Always do the right thing at any cost.  Doing so might just save your life.

Note:  I was working on a project titled “What was God Thinking…” and one chapter was “When He Created Spiders?”  In my research I learned spiders are necessary.  They control the population of other insects.  So we need them, but God, really, did you have to make them so creepy?  Oh, and one last thing, only one was spider was actually harmed in the making of this post!

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Moving the Holy

20171026_142958Moving the Holy is moving the heart of God.  One thing that moves his heart is obedience.  Whenever I didn’t obey as a child my unholy backside got moved!  When God speaks and directs you through his Spirit, you have two choices, obey or not.  It may be extremely painful and difficult to obey, but you should do it anyway.  You may feel silly, do it anyway.  The other, who may be a recipient of what God told you to do may not understand, do it anyway.  If God’s direction causes you to sacrifice something, well then it moves the heart of God even more.  GOD IS HOLY!

Rev 4:8  The Four Animals were winged, each with six wings. They were all eyes, seeing around and within. And they chanted night and day, never taking a break: Holy, holy, holy Is God our Master, Sovereign-Strong, THE WAS, THE IS, THE COMING. (MSG)

The more difficult it is to obey, the greater the victory will be on the other side.  There is no higher feeling than knowing you made God glad.  Your obedience may bless another, but honestly, you will be blessed beyond belief!  Obedience exercises your faith, which causes it to grow, which causes it to mature.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Stay With It to the End

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“Behold!  The coming of Jesus is so soon, it’s as if He is standing up now getting ready to go gather his church home!”  I was about 8 years old, when that word of prophesy sure got my attention.  I thought dang!  I had better tie my shoes!  I was ready then to stand before God and to give an account for how I had lived my life.  After serious soul searching and one more prayer asking God to forgive me of all of my sins I can say right now I am ready to stand before God.

In these last days, one has to be intentional about staying focused on the prize of eternal life.  Satan is working overtime, and with the help of the Russians putting out “fake” news to keep Americans stirred up (okay, kidding), but honestly, it can be extremely difficult to maintain a straight path toward heaven.

Mar 13:4-13  “Tell us, when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head?”  Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers.  Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people.  When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end.  Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming.  “And watch out! They’re going to drag you into court. And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’re placed there as sentinels to truth.  The Message has to be preached all across the world.  “When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart–the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.  “It’s going to be brother killing brother, father killing child, children killing parents.  There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. “Stay with it–that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved. (MSG)

All one has to do is read the above verses, and then turn on the world news.  Am I predicting a date of Jesus’ return?  NO WAY!  If you read further down chapter 13 it goes on to say that only God knows the exact day and hour.  Therefore, I beseech you, okay a little too much King James, but I urge you strongly to keep your focus on God, hold Jesus’ hand, and listen to the Holy Spirit, and you will make it home.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Do You Know My Father?

Sen_MOI was visiting the small town, in Missouri, my father was born and reared in.  A woman walked out of the convenient store, looked over at me and came to an abrupt halt.  “You’re a Brady!” She exclaimed.  “I don’t know who your father is, but you, you are definitely a Brady.”

I would rather people, who see me, say, “You’re a child of God!”  This is certainly one of my goals here on earth.  The way to see that happen is to imitate Christ.  In other words, “LOVE!”

1Jo 3:2-3  But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him–and in seeing him, become like him.  All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own. (MSG)

Love, and accept, not judge, and reject.
Love, and help out, not turn away and doubt.
Love, and my gifts share, not hoard, or not care.

So, if you see me and don’t know who my Father is, I would be more than happy to introduce you.  Oh, but don’t get embarrassed when He already knows your name.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved