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.

Love Laws

060520Last week I mentioned how my new life with my Filipino wife wasn’t easy in the beginning.  There were obvious things to overcome.  Cultural differences being a big one, and even though she can speak English, our language has enough quirks to rattle anyone.  I’m glad I don’t have to learn English.  A friend once told me she had ESL and I asked her if it was terminal.  (English, Second Language)

I knew if our marriage was going to survive, it had to be built on love.  I got the bright idea to post the characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a all over our apartment in the Philippines.  I thought seeing the Post-it Notes would always remind us to be loving.

In the midst of one heated battle I went around and removed, ripped, and threw the Post-its away.  I thought, “Love isn’t working!”  But the honest truth is this, I wasn’t working love.

God’s word tells us that love never fails, so the problem wasn’t love, but me.  I had the love laws in my head, but they had not made their way into my heart.  Once things are in your heart they come out of your mouth.  The words that come out of your mouth affects how you live, because they are based on what you believe to be true.

In practical terms, once the laws of love were in my heart it caused me to act and react, then say things to my wife in a loving way more consistently.  That made all the difference in the world.  One thing that also helped was believing she really loved me unconditionally.  Reminds me of God.  Her love to me has replaced past hurts.  I’m still learning to let my first reaction be love, but it’s getting easier.  My wife gives me lots of opportunities to practice.  Kidding.  (Well sort of.)

I encourage you to learn the love laws for yourself, and then place them into your heart.  Life is better when you love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NET Bible)

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.

It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.

It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

 

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Simply Love

060220 1Racism.  Injustice.  Hate.  Protest.  Peace rallies turned into riots.  You know what I am talking about, or referring to.  It’s sad to see so many unhappy, hurting, people.  They can’t take it anymore, and their hearts are crying out for something to believe in that won’t cause anymore pain.  Ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has been saying, “I know what is good and what is evil.”  You see, before they ate the fruit God told them what was good, and He told them what was evil, but they were deceived.

Today, mankind is still being deceived, thinking “they” know what is right, and that “they” know what is evil.  Like Adam and Eve, they won’t be told by anyone else, especially by God.  Can we all agree on the fact each man defining good and evil, on his own terms, isn’t working?

So what’s the solution?

Love.  It’s the only answer.  You see, love, love for others helps you listen to someone else.  It empowers you to understand their views, their values.  Not adopt them, but listen to them.  People just want to be heard.  When I was doing church security, we sometimes had someone come in and interrupt the service.  After I escorted them out, I would always give them a chance to say what they wanted us to hear.  I didn’t care, or really listened, but it was amazing how it calmed them down.

Love says, I accept you no matter where you are from, what color your skin is, or what you believe.  Love helps you not get angry if their views are a lot different than yours.  Love strengthens you to not remember what one might say that hurts you.  Love empowers you to be kind, patient, and not to become easily angered.  Love allows you to want the best for someone else.

The truth is this; love works and will work, because it never fails.  That’s why God puts a big emphasis on accepting love and in fact, God is love.

Can we all try love?  Please?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Much More?

052620How do you convince someone you love them?  You could tell them over and over perhaps.  You could show them in every way possible.  You could do everything you can think of.  You could even learn their love language, and speak it fluently.  After all the effort you would expect them to accept you, to accept your love, but what if they don’t?  Can you imagine the frustration you would feel?  Then, what if you told them, “In order to prove how much I love you, I’ll die for you.”  They might still reject your offer, and even say, “You’re crazy!”

Choose Love!

The truth is, God did this very thing, but He even went one step further.  He gave us his only son to die for us.  It is never right for a child to die before the parent.  It’s not natural.  To think this was God’s plan, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  I mean, how much more can God do to prove how much He loves us?

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)

In these days we are living in, everyone who hasn’t, should run to God and accept his free gift.  Are you afraid of being obligated of loving God back?  Are you concerned you might have to live in a way you would rather not?  You know it doesn’t matter what you have done in your past, his forgiveness will cover it.  If you disagree then you are listening to the one, Satan, who wants you to die for eternity.  Living for eternity is better, and there is only one way, God’s.  How much more can He do?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where’s the Love

051420There once was a lady, no, not from Nantucket, who was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, a worker, and a church goer.  Yes, she seemed to once have a strong love for God, family, people in general, and especially children.

I thought I knew her, but after being separated off and on over the years, it took me a while to notice it, but after being around this lady again, I could tell something had changed.

I suspected many things, which I won’t go into, but it wasn’t until today, as I was talking about her that I labeled the problem correctly.  Love had leaked out over the years.  Perhaps even unnoticed by her, but she had changed. To friends, family and fellow church goers it’s got to be obvious.

So how did this happen?  I think she had gotten hurt over the years and never dealt with it.  Hurt by her husband, her children, friends, work situations, other family members, and yes, even by those at her church.  You see, there seems to be a connection between getting hurt, not dealing with it in a proper manner, like going to God with it, and love.  Also, if one is not getting filled back up on love by spending time with God then a person runs low.  It’s not obvious, because there is no internal dip stick for our love tanks.

When love leaks out, others get hurt.  A lack of love can cause many problems, so it is very important to know if you are leaking love, and why.  If you have experienced great pain from a conversation or situation last week, last year, or several years ago, please deal with it.  Either try to go back to the person who hurt you, and if that is not possible then definitely go to God with it, and ask him to help you overcome the pain.

I found myself going to God, because when I confronted the women mentioned above and shared how she had hurt me she replied, “Well just get over it!”  I was stunned, and now hurt worse.  A wounded person may come across as cynical, judgmental, critical, hateful, difficult, controlling, and even as a racist.  When love runs out it is replaced with these, and other negative attitudes.

I wonder if, after sinning, she tells God, “just get over it!”

It’s hard to love these type of people.  In my case, I now stay away to protect my heart and I pray for her.  I hope God will bring her, and others like her to a situation where they one day see how low on love they are.  It’s not too late for them.  God can easily love them back to full, but they need to get close to him, know him, converse with him and read his word.  You see, living with love shared takes two.  If only one sided, it is simply, love given.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Can You Endure?

050120Jobs have disappeared,
God is now worshiped online,
but Love endures.

401s have dried up,
social clubs perhaps have gone viral,
but Love endures.

School, now taught at home,
what jobs remain, are in the room next door,
but Love endures.

Hairstyles have changed,
celebrations have too,
but Love endures.

Handshakes are what?
Careful, stay six feet away,
but Love endures.

N95s are worth more than gold,
liters of water cost more than gas,
but Love endures.

Can’t go here,
can’t go there,
but Love endures.

All of this, because of an unseen villain.
Yet another unseen villain is denied to exist,
but Love endures.

As all the world is fighting Corona,
the other villain has already been defeated,
because Love endured.

Yes, Corona has come and will go,
as will Satan, you should know,
because Love endured.

When Jesus died upon the cross,
he became the perfect sacrifice for us all,
Because Love endured.

There is life after Corona coming soon,
there is eternal life after death if you accept Love, Jesus,
because Love endured.

Satan was defeated, by Love,
Because Love never fails,
and Love endured.

You too can endure to the very end,
by believing, and trusting in Jesus,
Because Jesus endured.

Hebrews 12:2 The Passion Translation (TPT)

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Who?”

94231915_924151661369801_2906645677645758464_nI received the T shirt pictured here in the mail yesterday.  I laughed, and couldn’t believe my knucklehead friend/ex coworker would do such a thing.  Okay, now you are probably asking yourself, “Who’s Mike?”  Mike was a manager where my friend and I worked.  He was a different soul, went by the book, and talked a lot!  I often wondered how he kept from going hoarse every day.

Over the years, my friend would say something about this Mike, and my standard reply was, “Who?”  I would say most people didn’t care for Mike.  I must admit I was one of them.  My friend knew that.  Mike had a way of doing his best to make sure you knew he was a manager, and that he was smarter than you.  My friend and I were in the union.

There were a lot of people who didn’t like Jesus either.  Yes, when he performed miracles he would draw quite a crowd and then teach them about his heavenly Father.  He taught them about “love”.  He taught them and was an example of a better way to live.  The way of “love”.  To let “love” rule over everything.  All relationships, conversations, and decisions,

because “love” never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)

To this day, a lot of people are drawn to having a relationship with God, via Jesus.  But not all make that decision to accept Jesus into their life.  I think mainly because they don’t want to change the way they are living.  Although, if they were honest with themselves they would have to admit, the way they live doesn’t provide total peace like knowing Jesus does.  A true follower of Jesus, a disciple, does everything he can to become like Jesus.  To become, “love”.

So, I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want to be like Jesus?”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Makes Me Hard to Love?

Charlie 012220Well this isn’t going to be fun, but I feel the need to write out a self-evaluation.  While reflecting on some recent events I was reminded of the following flaws in my personality:

  1. I expect others to do the right thing. When they don’t, I want to be the one to tell them they screwed up.  (In love of course!)
  2. I have no trouble pointing out the truth of situations, but I forget few want to hear it.
  3. I seek perfection in others, and though I try so hard, I overlook that I too come up short.
  4. I do to others what I am want them to do to me, but I have learned not everyone knows that rule.
  5. If I’m willing to listen to you, I expect you to listen to me.
  6. I tend to “nick pick”, because I think people should do everything the way I do it.

I could go on I’m sure, but this hurts.  Looking into a mirror, that sees deeper than the exterior, is hard to face.  When you see who you really are, you wonder, how can anyone love me?  Then, you might ask, how can God love me?

When God first made man, he was perfect.  But God refused to have robots obey commands to choose him, so he gave man “free will”.  It was the only way to see who would love him, because they wanted to.  God first loved us, even though that “free will” opens the door to imperfection, and makes us hard to love, he loves us anyway.  There is no means to measure, or weigh how much God loves us.  Love, is God’s core nature.

But just how does God do it?  Love us even though we are hard to love?

He looks at us through rose colored glasses.  The ones that were stained, by the blood of his son, Jesus’ when he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins.  I would be more lovable if I saw others as God does.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

April

081119 (10)

April Joy Cruz Brady

Say this next line in the voice of an announcer introducing a movie:

In a world, where it seems as if there is more hate than air…

It’s a fresh breath to meet someone that lives out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a which informs us what real love is.  The test, to see if you are love, is to insert your name everywhere it says “love”, and then to add the proper pronoun before the word, “Doesn’t”.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Although perfect for me, my wife, April is not perfect, but she comes as close as anyone I have ever met who can pass this test.  The only way to be real love is to be like God, because God is love.

To you April, with love.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.