Because He Does It

For the last several years, God has been nudging me to learn how to love unconditionally. What that boils down to is this; accepting someone just the way they are. That can be extremely hard to do, especially when you are around them. You might live with them, work with them, or be connected to them in another way. You might even know them through the church.

They probably don’t think like you and certainly don’t do everything the way you do or the way you think it should be done. They might even have personal habits that discuss you or you choose to get angry about. It’s hard and, at times, extremely hard! Especially when you are tired or low on patience and understanding. The problem may be with you. Like you may have high expectations. Or you might have arrogance issues thinking your way is the only way.

So how do you love the one that is so different than you? First, you have to make a willful decision to love them. To accept them as they are. They’re most likely not ever going to change, but you can. Then you have to remind yourself what real love is constantly.

Real love demonstrates patience, and genuine love is kind to the other person. Unconditional love puts up with the other person for a long time. It also forgets when they make the same mistake again and again. This kind of love means not having to have everything your way and it wants the best for the other person. That kind of love also does what it can to encourage them. If you practice this kind of love, you will not show how frustrated you are with your face or body language but will smile and assure them everything is alright.

Showing another person the kind of love above, God’s love, will make them feel loved. It might even change them, but that should not be your motive. Love them because it’s the right thing to do. It’s hard, but you can do it because He does it.

Psalms 36:7

7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalms 109:26

26 Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love.

Romans 5:8

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:7

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Romans 5:5

5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

1 John 4:8

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:16

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:19

19 We love because he first loved us.

Jeremiah 31:3

3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Psalms 86:15

15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalms 136:26

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Romans 8:37-39

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

John 13:34-35

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:12

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

1 Corinthians 13:8a

Love never ends.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Me? Grumpy?

Photo by: George Desipris

I recently hit a milestone in age. Stop singing. I’m not happy about it. In fact, I was glad April didn’t feel up to celebrating it due to recovering from surgery two days earlier. (Her recovery is going well.) I’ll confess, I scheduled her surgery knowing she wouldn’t feel up to it. Okay, I’ll tell ya, I turned 60.

Combining my age with my current attitude toward others and their behavior, one could call me Walter. As in “Walter Matthau.” As in, from the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” Especially when it comes to how people drive these days. It seems as if I can’t even go two blocks from my house, and I’m disgruntled. If you are the lead dog at the intersection, please pay attention to the light. When it turns green, GO!

Two days ago, at 4:56 AM: I was heading home after dropping April off at work, and I almost slammed into the back of an older pickup truck. It was parked in the driving lane of an exit ramp with no lights on. The area of that highway is under construction, and the new highway lights aren’t on yet. And there was room for the broken down driver to have pulled in between construction barrels. My grumpiness isn’t just with drivers. It seems to be with anyone exhibiting behavior I don’t like.

April diagnosed the problem accurately. She said I get upset when others don’t treat me the way I treat them. You see, I grew up having learned the “Golden Rule.” You know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Based on; Luke 6:31) The problem is, they do unto me things I wouldn’t do unto them. It seems these days as if they don’t care about others, only themselves. And they know when they have done wrong, but they will make it seem as if you are the one who committed a crime.

I know my grumpiness isn’t of God. I should love like He is to us. I need to show everyone “love,” and here is why. These are some of the qualities of genuine love:

  • Love is patient – True love can tolerate pain or suffering without complaining or getting angry.
  • Love is humble – True love is not proud and boastful. It is humble enough to admit its own mistakes and strive to correct them. It also forgives to get rid of hatred and enjoy peacefulness.
  • Love is respectful.
  • Love is calm – True love always maintains the mind’s clarity and the heart’s softness. Its heart is deep, and its mind is not narrow.
  • Love is persistent – True love doesn’t easily give up. True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18-19 (NIV)

 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33 (NIV)

“Dear God, please help me, love, as you love us. I certainly don’t want to be known as a ‘grumpy old man’ but as a ‘man of God’. A man of love.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

The Greatest Moment in the History of Sportsmanship

Photo by: Tima Miroshnichenko

It happened in the very first inning of the Southwest Region championship. Two boys who when they woke up this morning only cared about one thing… get to Williamsport. Suddenly everything changed, because in real life things happen just like that … things change in a heartbeat.

Kaiden Shelton is the big man on the powerful Pearland team, their big pitcher, their big hitter. Isiah Jarvis is the shortstop on the scrappy Oklahoma team that had through incredible perseverance made it to the championship game . One team has already been to Williamsport, the other has never been.

The Pearland team scored 3 runs in the top of the first, but Oklahoma came right back at them in the bottom of the inning , they scored 2 runs and had a big rally going on, there was noise everywhere, coaches were yelling for the pitcher Shelton and the batter Jarvis to ”Battle” “win the battle.”

Then it happened, a twist of fate, Shelton lost control of a fastball and hit Jarvis right in the helmet, and Jarvis fell in a heap at home plate

Suddenly nobody was thinking about Williamsport anymore. With Isiah laying there and coaches and medical staff rushing to his prone body, Shelton kind of circled around the area between home and the pitchers mound. The staduim was silent. Jarvis’s mom stood in the stands , one hand clasped to her face, the other to her heart. And every mom who has ever sent their boys into these games was right there with her.

The Pearland players took a knee, eventually so did Shelton. Seconds seemed like hours. On one knee, Shelton was totally alone with his thoughts. But going through his mind were the words of the umpire immediately after Jarvis had gone down .”Oh my God” the umpire had said.

Finally they helped Jarvis to his feet , on replay you could see how the ball had hit his helmet in a good spot , it got more helmet then anything, Jarvis had been more frightened then anything . He trotted down to first , but now the trouble was with Shelton.

Before that pitch he had only one thought – Battle… win the battle … the words of coaches…now the only words he could hear in his mind… were the words of the umpire: “Oh my god.”

And just like that he started to cry. He was standing on the mound crying, and nobody went to him, not his teammates, not his coaches . Then one person did go to him… Isiah Jarvis left first base threw his helmet off, walked right to him and hugged him. That hug said… it’s okay. It was just what Shelton needed at that particular moment , I am sure his mom had wanted to Rush out there and hug her boy, Isiah took care of that for her , because Shelton was a big kid with a big heart and he didn’t want to hurt anybody , he didn’t want to hear an umpire say “Oh my god” over something he did . He was there to play baseball and make new friends, he hadn’t bargained for this

The game resumed , somebody won , somebody lost, one team went to Williamsport, the other packed their bags for home, it will all be forgotten , but that moment of perfect sportsmanship will live for as long as there is human competition

Before the tournament Isiah Jarvis said his biggest dream was to make sports center . I think it’s going to happen.

His name is Isiah and in the book of Isiah there is a famous passage about coming quickly to the rescue “I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” It’s almost perfectly symbolic that a boy named Isiah would come quickly to the rescue and do it when it was most needed.

(I searched but could not find the author of the above post.)

Hundreds reacted to this post with comments they were fighting tears. This true story touches our hearts because for a moment love was displayed. We don’t always see it sadly, these days, but when we do we sit up and pay attention. Whether a person is a child of God or not their spirit man sees the love of God in action and is drawn to it.

You see, in real life, we are the pitcher who throws a foul ball but in our case sins and hurts a real person. The batter is Jesus Christ. And like in this story He comes over to the mound and offers us forgiveness. If you were touched by this story then perhaps the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart. Saying, “It’s okay. Don’t get hung up on what you did that was wrong, that hurt people, or yourself. There is One who has already paid the price for your foul ball. His name is Jesus and He died on a cross for you, because he wanted to demonstrate just how much He loves you and cares.” I pray you will react to the Holy Spirit by accepting that forgiveness and accepting Jesus into your life.

for all have sinned (thrown a foul ball) and fall short of the glory of God, Rom. 3:23 (NKJV  Italics are mine)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

He Forgot

Photo by: Bob Vander Roest

He was driving his young, observant, daughter to school.  The sun shined bright in the early morning causing sharp glares all about them.  While waiting for the light to turn green his daughter announced, “Daddy look,” as she pointed up in the sky toward the western horizon, “God forgot to turn the moon off this morning after he used it.”  A rule her father most likely preached in their household.

The little girl made a cute declaration, but we know the truth is; the moon is always on.  And just like the moon, God is always there too.  There are times we may not see him though we are desperately looking for his presence.  At other times we may only see a sliver of Him in our lives.  I think our favorite times are when we see God big, and bright, and fully present in our lives.

But the real test of our faith is moving forward in the darkest times of our lives.  Perhaps proceeding slowly, reaching out, grasping for something familiar so we know where we are and where we are going.  Knowing full well God is there even though we may not see him.  It is in those days that our faith is on exhibit for all to see.  Others are most likely watching to see how we cope with a lost job, a lost loved one, or a less than favorable medical report.

Those dark days are not the days our faith is grown, but relied upon to get us through the storm.

Hopefully we filled up our faith tank before this journey begin.

Something that is done by spending time with God in the “things are going great” days.  Talking to him on a regular basis, learning his nature, and his character.  Being confident He is always there.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,[a] fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

The little girl will continue to grow, and learn.  She will study astronomy, and realize the moon is not an object that is turned on or off, but forever present, used, and needed somewhere around the globe.  And hopefully she will learn about God, and that He doesn’t waste anything, especially the people He makes.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Love at First Sight

“No!  I won’t allow it,” said the editor of my novel, “Kill the Preacher Man”.  (Not yet published.)  “I write romance novels, and love doesn’t happen that fast,” she went on to say.  I considered her chastising comments and thought, I’m not writing a romance novel!  Besides, over my many years, I have heard several stories where one, or the other of a married couple knew early on they had met their mate.  I myself have fallen in love with a woman at first sight.  Twice!  The second one, I married.

My current wife, I first saw a postage size photo of her, and said, “Wow!  Who is that?”  I wanted to click on her profile first and find out more about her.  I know now, what I saw that Friday afternoon, was the love of God in her.  I have written about it before in a post titled, “The April Affect”.  God’s love is so strong in her that people who have never met her are attracted to her.  Especially children.

So if it is possible to fall in love with someone at first sight, then shouldn’t it be possible to fall in love with God at first sight?  After all, we are made in his image.  Now not everyone acts like God, but that’s the individual’s fault, not Gods.

Yes, there are some that are crazy about God right after they meet him.  They accept his free gift of salvation and feel instant relief from the burden of sin, and they go around telling everybody about their new love.

For others, it seems as if their love of God grows as the relationship grows.  As they learn, or discover the benefits of being in a relationship with God they appreciate and their love for him grows.

A popular church proclaims, “For whoever finds God, finds life.”  I like to say, “For whoever finds God, finds love.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The April Effect

As most of my regular readers know, my wife April is now here with me in America as her immigration visa finally arrived.  In the past three weeks, she has been here, not only have I introduced her to life in America, and our foods, but also our conveniences.  It has been an enjoyable experience for me.

One such highlight was when we went through an automatic car wash.  You have thought we were at Disneyland and it was a ride.  Like “Mr. Toad’s Moving Lilly Pad”, or something.  She smiled, she laughed, and squealed through each phase of the process.  Evidently they don’t have them in the Philippines, or she had never seen one before.

But an even greater experience, for me at least, has been watching how my friends, and family members have reacted to her.  I have taken notice how easily they open up, and start sharing with her.  They warm up to her quickly and seem to feel comfortable around her, as if she was their “comfy” clothes they wear when at home.  One friend even said to her, “I feel as if I have known you all my life!”  Of course I smile with adoration when I witness this phenomenon.

Yesterday though I started thinking more about why this was the case.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out.  Okay, to be honest, I probably got a download from the Holy Spirit whispered into my mind.  God, is love. (1 John 4:8)  And my wife, April is a child of God.  She loves him very much and has taken on his character of loving people.  So whether people realize it or not they are responding, or reacting to the love of God in my wife’s heart.

I believe with strong passion that from the time a baby is born, the spirit man inside that child starts on a journey to be reunited with God.  So when a person enters their world, the spirit inside of them recognizes the Spirit of God inside the person who just entered, and they connect with the person easily.

This “effect” begs the question, shouldn’t all, who have a good relationship with God, seek and desire more of him and his love?  So when we are out and about in the world people will open up to us sooner, and easier and begin to have serious conversations that can eventually lead to God and potentially lead them to God?  Of course, the answer is, “Yes”.  What hinders this to happen is us.  We get in the way of God with our “rights” and our own “understanding” and “values”.  Ones that should be disregarded perhaps, or lined up to confirm to God’s “values”, and truths.

“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Rom. 12:2 (TPT)

So, in conclusion, “The April Effect” isn’t really her, but what is happening when people encounter her is “The God Effect”.  May we all grow, in our hearts, an enormous amount of the love of God that it effects people.  It moves them closer to him then where they were before we entered their world.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Feeling Loved

There are a lot of emotions when it comes to living life.  There are lots of feelings as well, but the best feeling is when you feel loved.  It’s like the warmth when sitting in front of a fireplace, the surrounding of a warm bath, or the natural softness when wrapped up in a quilt.

There is no guessing, or wondering, you know.  Being loved is confidence that somebody cares deeply about you.  They care about your past, your present and your future.  They do all they can to protect you, to serve you, and to give good things to you.  The ones that do it best are the ones that do it with no strings attached.  It’s called unconditional love.

It’s hard to find someone with those qualities, with that kind of deep concern, but when you do, hang on to them, for they are indeed a rare find.  Gold. A precious jewel.  I’m reminded of the parable in the Bible of the man who found a great treasure in a field.  He re-hid it and then sold all he had to buy that field, so the treasure would be his forever.  If and when you find someone who loves you unconditionally, you have found a valuable gift.

Here are the partial lyrics to an older Amy Grant song titled, “Doubly Good to You”:

You can thank the Father
For the things that He has done.
And thank Him for the things He’s yet to do.
And if you find a love that’s tender,
if you find someone who’s true,
Thank the Lord —
He’s been doubly good to you.

I am so thankful to God for my wife.  She loves unconditionally.  She’s a love that’s tender, she’s a love that is true.  I told her mother, “I have searched all my life for a woman like your daughter, April, and up till now I didn’t think she existed, but God lead me to her.”  April is not perfect, but certainly created in the image of God.  For God is love, and He loves with perfection.  His love to us is unconditional, and nothing can separate us from his love.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!  Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

Seek God and his unending, unconditional love.  Recognize its value and treasure it.  His love is not hard to find, for it is right there waiting for you, for feeling loved, is a wonderful thing.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Home

“Here ya go, Mommy,” said the young son.

“Oh, thanks.  What is this?” inquired his mother.

“You said you got lost last night in the big building you now work in, so I drew you a map to help you find your way out.”

According to his mother, he also drew her a map, to guide her home, in the shape of a heart.  He obviously loves his mother very much and wants to make sure she comes home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Grab a tissue, right?

When Adam and Eve sinned they were banished from their home. The Garden of Eden. A beautiful, warm place. Peaceful and full of love, visited by God daily. Man was doomed to be lost forever, unless someone provided mankind with a plan, with a map to find their way home again.

God drew a map. The starting point is wherever you currently are in life, You make your way to the cross where God’s only son died for us for He was the perfect sacrifice to make atonement for our sins, (wrong doing).  Jesus, the ultimate gift, exhibiting the ultimate kind of love.

Once there at the cross you turn right and go straight by reading God’s word which shows us how to live our lives, so we are guaranteed to find our way home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

The Best Four Letter Word

072420 3There are lots of four letter words, and when we say, “four letter word” some go to a dark place and think of the ones that have a dirty meaning.  (No, I’m not going to give you an example.)

The best four letter word is: agape

You see, agape is so profound it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show itself to its recipient. If necessary, agape will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes.

Agape is the highest form of love,
a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action.

“Agape is a love that has no strings attached. It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give . Its awe of the one who is loved is so deep that it is compelled to shower love upon that object or person regardless of the response. This is the profound love God has for the human race, for He loved man when he was still lost in sin with no ability to love Him back. God simply loved mankind without any thought or expectation of receiving love in return.

When you love with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love. You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them. This kind of love is much higher than eros love that is based on selfishness; stergo love that is restricted by limitations; or phileo love that is rooted in mutual satisfaction. These three types of love are what I call low-level love, but agape is high-level love. It is a love that has no strings attached, a love that loves simply and purely –

– the God-kind of love.

Further explaining the role of agape in our lives, John said, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but indeed and in truth” (John 3:18). The word “love” is again the word agape, which tells us that when agape is at work, it is a force so strong that it demonstrates itself with deeds and actions. This is not an empty love that talks but does nothing. It is a love that does something, just as God loved us and then did something to save us from our lost and sinful condition.

This is the love that Paul urged us to follow after when he wrote in First Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity [agape love].…” The word “follow” is the Greek word dioko , which means to hotly pursue . It was a hunting term that pictured a hunter following the tracks of an animal until he finally gets his game. This means that attaining this high-level love doesn’t come easy. If we want to attain agape love and regularly walk in it, we must hotly pursue it! It must be the focus and the aim of our lives.

If agape is the basis of your sexual relationship with your spouse instead of eros , you will always seek to serve and please your spouse rather than being self-centered and focused only on your needs.

If agape is the basis of your family relationships rather than stergo , you will always remain devoted to your family, regardless of the disappointments that may occur along the way. And if agape is the basis of your friendships rather than phileo , you will be a faithful, immovable friend for life rather than a come-and-go friend who is faithful only as long as you get what you want out of the relationship. In fact, if agape is the driving motivation of your life and the force behind all your relationships, it will make you to be the best, most devoted, faithful, and reliable friend anyone has ever known.” (From, “Sparkling Gems From The Greek 1” Rick Renner)

Therefore, the best four letter word is: LOVE  the agape kind.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How It All Began

061620August 1969.  I would celebrate my seventh birthday in September.  I didn’t want to go to hell for being a liar, and a convicted cookie thief, and according to the big man, wearing a black suit, speaking loud, if I died without accepting Jesus in my heart, I would have.  Pictured here, his name was H.D. Pieratt.  He was a fine example of a man, after God’s own heart.

You might say, I first confessed I was a sinner and recognized Jesus as God’s son, then asked him to forgive me of my wrong doing, because I was scared of hell.  That viewpoint stayed with me for several years, until I learned about God’s love.

What might have started out as a fire escape plan turned into a loving relationship with God as I got to know him.  Ten years after making his acquaintance, I dedicated my life to going, doing, and saying whatever He wants me to.

It’s sad, but there are individuals who have only accepted enough Jesus to keep them out of hell.  Their more afraid of eternal damnation than they love God.  You have probably encountered one of them, because they don’t reflect the love of God.  The light, the truth, the hope in them is dull, and in fact, they might have hurt you.  I’m sorry if you have encountered one, and have gotten hurt.  Also, I feel bad when I let situations get to me and I choose to extinguish the light of God in me if only long enough to let my flesh rule.  I always regret those moments and ask God to forgive me and help me not to do it again.

I feel like Paul, when he wrote in Romans 7:15:
I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. (TPT)

Training will help me to love first in those situations, and in all others.  The only way to act, and react with love is to continue to get to know the source of love, God.  For God is love.  1 John 4:8.  It comes down to your heart’s desire, and God knows what those are, so he will help you be more like him.  The light of God, in Rev. Pieratt, shined upon my heart when I was a child, and I’m so thankful.  I was drawn to it, I was drawn to God, and that is how it all began.

Be love.  Our world needs a lot more Truth, light, and love!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.