You Are What You Eat

This is not a Thanksgiving post!  You will not be a turkey because you ate turkey this coming Thursday!  This is funny; I was asked if I would come over for Thanksgiving one year.  When I accepted, my friend said, “Oh good.  Now we have a turkey!”  Some friend, right?

Anyway, what I am addressing is being what you believe, what you accept to be true, even though it may not be.  Why the eating tie in?  Because people will digest something, and then they become that.

For example, people will become a worrier, simply by spending time worrying about something that most likely won’t even come into existent.  They are accepting lies as if they are truth and it affects them.  It shapes them into who they are, because of what they believe.

I told a lady the other day, “You worry a lot, and let anxiety overcome you.”  She agreed and said, “I always have, and I always will.”  What a lie from hell!  The devil has convinced her of this, even though it doesn’t have to be that way.  It certainly is not the life God wants for her, and every time she gets hurt, or believes these lies and it hurts her, it breaks the heart of God.  He loves her so much, and desires for her to be set free from this self-built prison!  This is not the life He intended for her to live.

The word of God teaches how to overcome such a life:

“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”  2 Cor. 10:5 (TPT)

In case you missed it; we should analyze every thought and ask, “Is this true?  Is it a good thought that lifts us up, or is it a negative thought that tares us down?”  If the thought isn’t going to do us any good, then dismiss it.  Throw it out!  Quick!  Get rid of it, don’t entertain it one more second, and definitely don’t believe it.  If you will learn to do this, overtime you will change.  You will become the person God designed you to be, and live the life He intended for you to live.

Now the truth above is something to be thankful for!  Perhaps this is a Thanksgiving post after all?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Two Things that Make Me Cry

Yes, I still own a “Man Card”!  Stopping and asking for directions doesn’t make me any less of a man.  In fact, it demonstrates I don’t have an issue with pride.  So there!  LOL  Admitting I cry doesn’t make me any less of a man either.  So what are the two things that will almost guarantee I will reach for a tissue?

  1. When I begin thinking about God’s goodness, and blessings to me and my wife I get misty eyed.  Like the other day we received three unexpected checks in the mail.  They really helped us out, and before you ask me for a loan they went to pay off some debt.  They were nice checks.  When I opened the envelopes and saw them I sat down and cried.

    A few weeks ago I wrote about sowing into someone else’s financial needs.  I helped a friend work on his condo.  He offered to pay me and I wanted to accept the money, but God whispered, “No.  Sow into their need.”  They didn’t need to spend any more on the condo.

    God has established certain universal laws, and one of them is “sowing and reaping”.  If you sow, give time or money it doesn’t always come back to you in the same form you gave it, but it does come back.  But you have to be willing to give without expecting it to come back, which has to do with the attitude of your heart.

  2. The other thing that gets my eyes to leaking is sensing the presence of God.  When his Spirit comes over me and hovers, and I know I am in the company of God it over whelms me.  To think, the God of the universe wants to spend time with me.  I can’t see him, but I know He is there.  I can’t see the wind, but I know when it blows.  Lately, when this happens, I have been saying, “Come a little closer, stay a little longer.  I can’t get enough of you.”

Okay, in full disclosure those are the words to a new worship song I just discovered the other day.  “Just Like Heaven” by Brandon Lake.  When I hear this song on the radio it ushers me into an attitude of worship.  Expressing my love and admiration to God for who He is, for his holiness.  Worship, does a lot for us, even though we are giving it to God.

So yes, there are times I cry, but they are good tears not bad ones that flow out because of hurt, or pain.  Tears are a release of emotion, and God gave us that capability, and I am so grateful He did.  I can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t cry.  I’m no expert in biology, but I have feeling my emotion would come out somewhere, somehow, in some form.  I choose tears.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Were That, but Now You Are This

“You’re such a nice person,” said the new co-worker.  The woman had been hurt by many men in the past and so naturally she was leery of any man who seemed, “nice” in the beginning of a new relationship.  Evidently, trusting a nice man and letting her guard down has put her in the position to get hurt in the past, but this guy was different.  His attitude seemed real, genuine.  She wondered how this could be.

After meeting Jesus Christ, and accepting who he is as God’s son, that encounter should change you.  It changed Saul, who was later named “Paul”.  You see after Saul’s salvation, or conversion he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and into him entered the fruit of the Spirit.

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man [Saul] and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

26-27 Back in Jerusalem he [Saul] tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.

28-30 After that he was accepted as one of them, going in and out of Jerusalem with no questions asked, uninhibited as he preached in the Master’s name.  Acts 9:13-14, 26-30 (MSG)

So what changes a person so drastically?  It’s the fruit of the Spirit.  Each attribute of the Spirit replaces one(s) in the flesh:

Love replaces hate.

Joy replaces sadness, depression.

Peace replaces nervousness, anxiety, fears.

Longsuffering replaces quick tempers.  Gives time for understanding.

Gentleness replaces anger, rage.

Goodness replaces selfishness.

Faith replaces worry, and hopelessness.

Having the fruit of the Spirit within you provides life, real life, the way God intended it.  People will see the difference and be drawn to you, but what they are really being drawn to is the heart of God.  If you have not been filled with the Spirit of God then ask God to fill you with his Spirit.  Then allow it to perfect your walk with God, and affect the world, the people around you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If My Life Was a Movie

I would like the role of me to be played by Keanu Reeves.  That way, I am guaranteed my wife will watch it.  The movie would definitely be a drama, a romantic comedy, oh wait, and in parts, a thriller, but isn’t that life?  There would be scenes depicting tremendous joy, moral failure, and of mediocre accomplishments.  Would it win an Oscar?  “The envelope please.  And the Oscar goes to…” not my life.

I suppose to mankind, since I have not made any great scientific discoveries, found a cure for cancer, written the next great American novel, or become the world’s richest man, my life doesn’t stand out.  Does that matter?  Not to me.

The movie could contain dramatic scenes of my life, but the most important ones are when I accepted Jesus into my life at age 7, which guided me into the person I have become, and the Sunday morning, at age 17, I dedicated my life to living for God.  Since then, I have done my best to go where He has asked me to, have spoken the words He has placed in my mouth, and do as He has directed.

The majority of my life I have tried to do what is right.  I have shared my faith with many, and in many ways.  When I have fallen, I have taken hold of God’s hand and have asked him to help me get back up.  In moments I felt the deepest pain I hid in his palm, so He could touch my heart.  During my victories I have given the glory to God.

So, at the end of it all, the only thing that matters is what God thinks of how I have chosen to live my life.  I may not win an award created by man, but hopefully I will hear from God, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”  Then perhaps He will give me a crown, at which point I will bow, and place it at the feet of Jesus, for none of the good in my life would have been possible if it wasn’t for the good He did in his life.

The last and final word is this:
Fear God.
Do what he tells you. Ecc. 12:13 (MSG)

Director: God
Producer: Jesus Christ
Set Designer: God
Lighting: God
Sound: God
Special Effects: The Holy Spirit
Support: Jesus Christ
Casting: God
Screenplay: God (with the exceptions when Mark edited it.)

Cast:
Mark: Keanu Reeves
Mark’s Wife: Kim So-eun
Mark’s Father: Jimmy Houston
Mark’s Mother: Meryl Streep

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Fruit Section of Life

Your life has come to an end.  As happens after every death, people will reflect on what kind of person you were, or at least what kind of person you were to them.  Without a doubt, their decision will be based solely on how you treated them, or responded to their behavior.  There are times though when you will be judged, and remembered unfairly.  A person’s mind is powerful, so much so, it can bend truth.

What is it people see that makes up one’s mind considering you?  It’s the fruit your life bears.  Is that fruit sweet, or sour?  Does your life, your words, your actions leave a good taste in the mouths of others, or do they want to spit them out?  Jesus even eluded to the fact people are known by the fruit their life bears.

And I don’t mean like, someone is bananas!

I’m referring to the fruit of the spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

If there is no law against these fruits, then they cannot be judged.

The way for the fruit of your life to be, and stay healthy is for you to always stay connected to the vine.  Jesus instructs us with these words in John 15 from The Passion Translation:

Jesus the Living Vine

“I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.

“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

The purpose of operating in the fruit of the Spirit of God isn’t so people will know us as good, or even great, but that God will be glorified.  If you are in need of getting back to the vine, Jesus, then by all means do it.  There are too many people out there who are not connected to Jesus and they do a lot of damage in the lives of others.  And if you need some help, I’ve heard of a product called, “Miracle Grow”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Life Is No Game

A man was walking through an art museum, when he suddenly stopped.  In front of him was a painting that portrayed two individuals playing the game of chess.  The man, being a chess champion was intrigued, and studied the piece of art with intense focus.  The title of the painting was “Checkmate”.  In the game of chess that means the king is about to be overcome, and there is nothing he can do about it.  “Checkmate”, is a word that indicates or announces, you’re done.  It’s over.  It may even invoke fear.

Do you feel as though someone, or circumstances has recently said, “Checkmate” to you?  Is your heart being gripped by fear?  I was watching the news the other day, and heard how many people are still unemployed, and are being threatened of losing their dwelling place, and worst yet, are hunger challenged.  I don’t like to see anyone suffer, and if it hurts me I know it must hurt God.  Yes, God has emotions.  Where do you think we got ours as we are created in his image.

There is truth in saying that “some” people create their own problem(s) by how they live, or by what they do with their money, but now is not the time to give a lecture when they are already on their knees.  We can only hope they dislike their circumstances so much they make drastic change as soon as they can.  In other words, they find a glimmer of hope, and they hang on to that hope, because truth is, there may not be anything else to hold on to.  The kind of hope that can eliminate fear.  The kind of hope that can only be found in Jesus who is the King of Kings!

The chess expert in the museum cried out,

“This painting is incorrectly titled!”

The museum curator came rushing over to see why the man was making such an outrageous claim.  “Sir, why do you claim it is titled wrong?” asked the curator.  “Because I have looked at every possibility, and the king has one more move that will cause his opponent to be checkmated!”  The piece of art is now in a private collection.

You see, when you place your hope, your trust and faith in the King, you don’t ever have to worry about it being over, for the King of Kings always has one more move.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Are You Making People Thirsty?

The other day, I witnessed a lady at the grocery store, who knocked a large bottle of wine off the moving belt and onto the floor where it crashed and made a big mess.  I had the urge to run over and pray that the “wine” would turn into “water”, so it would be easier to clean up.  I didn’t.

There is different kinds of water out there in nature.  There is clear water, mineral infused water, which looks yellowish, and there is also yukky water called, brackish.

In John 4, Jesus talked about water:

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

11-12 The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

In a way, she was asking, “Who do you think you are?”

13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

After the above conversation, Jesus shared with the woman the details of her life.  They had never met, so in that moment she became thirsty for his kind of water.

Through Jesus’ death one can have life, living water, and that water can nourish you for the rest of your life.  So what does this have to do with us, who have drank this water?  Wherever we are around other people, our attitude can affect the atmosphere.  At times, our personality can draw others to us, because of the love of God in us.  It can actually cause people to inquire why we are so different than others they have met before.  This happened once with my neighbor, who he and his wife wound up accepting Jesus Christ.

So I ask, what kind of water are you serving others, in your community, your workplace, or in your home?  Is it clear, refreshing, or is it yukky?  Does it quench those around you, or leave a bad taste in their mouth?  I hope, for their sake, they will desire the water you are serving up.  If it needs to be different then try using a “Jesus” filter, which infuses love into your words and actions.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Feeling Shipwrecked?

082120It seems as if these days can be very challenging to hold firm to your faith.  I think the devil and his crew are working overtime.  It’s as if they are doing to their best to use the current circumstances to wear the children of God down.  Have you wanted to quit?  Throw in the towel?  The thought has crossed my mind even, but does any of us know what serving God through hard times is really like?

The Apostle, Paul in his missionary journeys, suffered many hard times.  He was shipwrecked more than once, bitten by a poisonous snake, beaten, falsely accused, and was imprisoned.  If anyone living with God had a reason to quit, he did!

BUT HE DIDN’T!

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  Phi. 3:12-14 (MSG)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Phi. 4:6-7 (MSG)

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”  2 Thes. 2:15-17 (MSG)

“You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.”  2 Tim. 4:7-8 (MSG)

Paul revealed how he got through life with God, no matter what was thrown at him, and he wrote these words to encourage us to do the same.  Learn these words.  Remember them, but more importantly, live them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Need the Rainbow

080212TB 228This year, 2020, has proven to be one big storm that won’t stop.  It has harmed so many people, in so many ways.  Interview them, and you would hear different versions of the same story, “Hurt”.  Whether it’s a lost job, drowning in debt, the death of a loved one due to Covid, keeping family and friends from gathering as they once did, or new challenges no one saw coming.  When will it end?

Isaiah 61:3  The Passion Translation

to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss instead of tears,
    and the mantle of joyous praise
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.

You see, the only way to get through the storm, to silence the thunder, to calm fear when lightning flashes, is to look up, see God, and put on the mantle of joyous praise.  Praise him with full throat.  A friend, who lives in Taiwan, said he was singing praises to God while riding his scooter the other day.  Not caring who heard him, but unless they knew English, they probably didn’t even know what he was saying anyway.

The last few blogs have had this theme, of looking only at God, so I know this is the message of heaven to all for this time, but especially to those who love God.  The storm will end and when it does people will come out to survey the damage, and even if they see what harm has come upon you, but then look at your face they will see peace, love, God.  They may ask, “How can you still love God?  How is it you can still smile?”  Your answer will be, “I’m a tree planted by Yahweh as a living display of His glory!”

The storm will end, and when it does, I hope you are still standing, and still looking up, because only then will you see the rainbow.  The symbol from God, signaling, the storm is over.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Be the Movie

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationA month ago I was the guest speaker at a writer’s group meeting.  It was an honor, but this speaking engagement was different.  You see with Covid-19 still a great risk, the group currently meets on-line.  I had never done that before.

I was using my phone to attend the meeting, and the way it was set up, whoever was speaking is the person I viewed.  The president of this group introduced me, so she was the last person I saw.

About 20 minutes into my talk, she gets up and goes elsewhere, leaving me with no one to look at while I was speaking.  Normally, a speaker will scan the attendees, making eye contact, and looking for positive feedback at what is being said.

A few minutes later, she came back with a bowl of what looked like popcorn, and a drink.  I thought, wow! now I know what it feels like to be a movie.

The truth is this; if you are open and outspoken about your faith, your relationship with God, then people are watching you.  They listen to what you say, about current issues, our government leaders, and others around us.  They watch how we respond to troubling times.

Would the people watching you give a positive review on “Rotten Tomatoes”?  What if we had “Yelp” for humans?  Would you, would I, receive a thumbs up, or down?  Would people want to visit us after reading an accurate review on one of these platforms?  Probably not, if it was negative.

“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
John 13:34-35 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus knew people will watch us, for they watched him.  He was ever aware that he could only display the qualities of his father, God.  Those would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)

So be aware of this no matter where you are, whether at work, out and about, or at home.  You want your life to be a movie people want to see over and over again.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.