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

Believing Builds Believing

“I just don’t believe there could be one, all-powerful being,” David said.

“So you would like proof, first, before you would choose to believe in God,” I replied.

“Yes!”

“God asks us to believe in him by faith,” I said.

“I need proof.”

“Okay.  Let’s say God will, because of how much he loves you, let you have proof first.  What would it take?  What would you need to see, or witness, in order to believe in God?” I asked.

As David sat in his office chair, he was visibly considering my question.  After ten minutes, he turned, looked at me, and said, “I don’t know.  I don’t know what would be enough.”

God_you thereA somber event took place in front of me.  The reality is this; for a man, using his own reasoning, which is limited, nothing could satisfy him.  No proof would be enough.  Everything God might do, or has done, to prove his own existence, some men would reason it away, and have.  It’s as if they try to make God conform to their rules of existence, and that’s just not going to happen.

Another reality is this; God does exist.  I have met him.  I have talked to him, and he has answered me.  I have seen his work, in creation, in the most intricate details of nature, and in the life of a man.  Only God, can take the vilest of men, and change him forever.  One example is Saul.  He saw Jesus.  Saul had a life changing encounter with Jesus, and he went from wanting to kill those who believed in God, to preaching to those that didn’t.

All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem. He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. (Act 9:1-5 MSG)

If you want to see God the Father, then study the life of Christ.  For Jesus himself said, “To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?” (Joh 14:9 MSG)

(Note: The person’s name, in this real story, was changed.)

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

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

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

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

Call of Duty

A hurt soul needs a mender.
One rejected needs acceptance.
A depressed one needs to be encouraged.
One feeling like a waste needs to know their value.
A person struggling with an addiction needs a cheerleader.
Someone down and out needs a break.
One near the edge needs hope.
A person ill needs healing.
Someone lonely needs a friend.

peopleThe list, could go on.  The truth is, these individuals need Jesus.  Most do not think to turn to him, because they can’t see him, but they can see you.  In a time, when our world is in so much pain, those who know Jesus, and has the hope he provides, needs to answer the call of duty.

God has placed you where he needs you.  You’re the one, who can take the time, speak a word, or give a hug.  You may never know the impact of taking a risk of faith to say, go or do, but one day you will.  “Do not be afraid,” the angel of the Lord would say to you.  The more you reach out, the more you say, and the more you come along side someone, you will find it strengthens you, encourages you, and increases your faith to do more. God will lead you, as you are his servant, saving lives.

Keep one thing in mind; there was someone, just like you, who took the time to be there for you, and shared the love of Jesus with you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Check it out:
Touching, Spirit filled, sincere, encouraging words: https://tostrengthenamothersheart.wordpress.com