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.

Low on Love

Charlie 800They didn’t get enough love,
so they act ugly to you and me.
Their words hurt, and penetrate
their actions hinder us from being free.

Pull their dip stick, and I bet its low,
no wonder, in their life, love doesn’t flow.
They too probably got hurt years ago,
their stained by evil but it doesn’t show.

When you encounter one, it can catch you off guard,
like a snake striking from the weeds the bite hits hard.
Don’t hate them back, for further harm will be done,
instead, pray for them, and try to lead them to the One.

The One, Jesus, can heal their hurts and sooth their pain,
and he knows when it happened, because he knows their name.
He wants to see them set free, accept his love and be all healed up,
because they were once low on love, but now love, can be overflowing their cup.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Worse than Green Eggs and Ham

Charlie 74

Thanks for the inspiration Dr. Seuss

I don’t like it he is me,
I don’t like hate, can’t you see?
I don’t like it here or there,
I don’t like it anywhere.

There’s no reason for it, just walk away.
You don’t have to act like them in do or say.
Hate is ugly, can’t you see,
I don’t like it he is me.

I don’t like hate when it reigns,
I don’t like it on any day.
Hate should be placed in a box,
and consumed by fire with those who spread it like a fox.

Love is a higher way to live,
it’s free, and so it’s what we all should give.
I like love can’t you see,
I like love, Jesus said, because love is me.

The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NET)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The movie, “A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” comes out tomorrow, starring, Tom Hanks.  I wrote a post about Mr. Rogers in April 2018.  In honor of the movie, which I heard was good, I am re-posting it.

FILE PHOTO  Fred "Mister" Rogers Dead At 74

Some of us, old farts, have no problem remembering Mr. Rogers on TV.  Below, are the lyrics of the song he sung, at the beginning of each episode:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Did Fred Rogers, get it right?  Did he fully understand the 2nd greatest commandment of God?  Lev 19:18  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Most people do love themselves, and sometimes it shows by how they act and treat others.  There are several other scriptures that warn about only loving those that are lovable, but God is commanding we love everyone as much as we love ourselves.  To love him first, and then everyone else second.  Why?  Because love never fails.

It’s hard to hate and love at the same time.  Yes, one can mistreat someone who is loved, but if the love is real the issue gets resolved rather quickly.  Can you imagine saying to your worst enemy, “I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you”?  That is what we, who love God, are called to do.  Love, overcomes all, overlooks all, and let’s go of all wrong.  Love, is so generous, it causes you to share your resources.  Love, encourages you to get your hands dirty by helping.

Yes, Fred Rogers got it right.  Mr. Rogers wanted you to be his neighbor so he could love you, as he loved himself.  So I ask you, “Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Love, In the Face of Hate

75328681_10217623460756624_7249069574832783360_nWhat do you do when someone consistently shows you hate?  They would not admit it, but you know they must because they can’t ever say anything nice to you.  They can’t celebrate your accomplishments in life like retiring early, getting to move back to one’s hometown and buying a house, and not one kind word spoken when you got remarried, finding love again, after years of being divorced.

They find it so difficult to be happy for you.  Could it be because they aren’t?  Is it jealousy?  The weird thing is they seem to find others like them, and it’s as if they start a “HATE YOU” club, or something.  They band together, pick you apart as if you were shredded meat being devoured.  And the worst part is, if they decide they are right, then even if you were right, you become wrong, because they out number you.  Hate, seems to be a sick kind of magnet that attracts others.

Jesus knew this too well.  You see the religious rulers of his day hated him, because the people loved him.  They were starting to believe in him and his message of love.  The Jewish leaders knew they had to act fast and strike a death blow, or lose their status forever.  They got a large number of people to believe them, and join their “hate club” against Jesus.  Most likely the very people Jesus fed, prayed for, and healed.  Yet, on the cross, close to death, Jesus had compassion on them and loved them.  In fact he asked his Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do.  He showed them love, in the face of hate.

This past weekend, I was sitting in a drive through.  I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw one of my haters.  My flesh rose up, evil thoughts came to mind.  Anger, resentment.  Then, love came on the scene and I decided to tell the person at the drive through window I would like to pay for the person’s order who was behind me.  I’m not telling you this trying to make you think I am great, but to illustrate one simple way of showing love, in the face of hate, like Jesus did.  Although, Jesus didn’t pay for their order, he paid for their life, with his.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13  (NASB)

I overcame my flesh by repenting of hate in my heart, because I hate how I am treated.  It hurts, doesn’t make any sense, but I cannot control them, or their choice on how to live.  The only thing that matters is how Jesus sees me.  One thing I try to keep in mind is they are living with hurts of their own they never gave to God, and asked him to heal.  If you want to close down the “hate clubs” in your life then pray for them, and show love every chance you get.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Little Touch of Heaven

goffA few years ago I had the privilege of listening to and experiencing Bob Goff.  What a humble man that is used by God in such a mighty way.  Bob shared how wherever he goes he finds a way to let people experience heaven.  One story he shared was when he rode in a limo.  He asked his driver if he had ever ridden in the back.  The driver said no, so Bob got him to pull over and they switched places.  Bob said, “I even put on the guy’s hat!” The limo driver smiled as he felt real love and concern just like we will in heaven.  He felt a little touch of heaven.

Bob went on to share numerous examples of how he doesn’t know what he is doing, but simply says, “God use me.” This is the heart of a humble man who sees his world through the eyes of Jesus.  Bob doesn’t try to convert anybody to Christ.  He leaves that up to Jesus.  Bob believes if someone touches heaven and feels heaven on earth they might just want to know how to have that feeling every day and for eternity.

My favorite story Bob shared was about his neighbor.  He told how she called and gavlove doese him the news that she was dying of cancer.  That year Bob’s neighborhood changed the path of their yearly parade, so every neighbor could wave to her as she watched from her living room window.  He later asked her if there was one thing she has never done but always wanted to.  She replied, “Toilet paper someone’s yard.”  So one day at 4:30pm they did just that.   When the police showed up and informed him it was a misdemeanor he told them, “I have diplomatic immunity and she will be dead next week.”  Bob’s neighbor had heaven touch her just before she touched heaven.

Touch the people around you with heaven.  Leave them longing for more of the love of God.

Life Changing Love

Charlie 1.pngThere is this unbelievable feeling when you are in love with someone. You think about them all the time.  You can’t wait to see, talk, or be with them again.  There is nothing else that feels the same way.  This is how I feel about my wife.  Ok, I know some of you, who know us, will say, “Yeah, but you two have only been married 7 months!”  This may be true, but you see I have purposed in my heart to never fall “out” of love with her.  I have this desire to forever find another way, to make her feel loved.

Which is a nice segue into my second point.  A greater feeling than loving someone else is knowing that you are loved by them.  Again, I have to point to my wife.  She is so understanding, patient, and forgiving.  Knowing I am loved by her will cause me to smile for no particular reason.

But even greater than her love, is God’s love.  His love is perfect, and again I will smile when I sense his love come over me in waves.  Not because He just did something for me, but because I am his child.  God can’t help but love us because, after all, He is love. (1 John 4:8)

Ways to experience this kind of love:

  1. This kind of love is recognized when you spend time with God.
  2. This kind of love is known after spending time reading the Bible, and learning how He has loved others.
  3. This kind of love is solidified by loving God back. You do that by praising him, and worshipping him.  When you are confident, knowing how much God loves you, nothing that happens to you in life can threaten your relationship with God.

Be love to others:

In the current condition of our world, we, who know, have, and trust in God’s love need more now than ever to share that kind of love with others, who may be lost, confused, or scared.  God’s love through you, might just be the very thing that saves their life now and for eternity!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But They Go to Church

Charlie 33There it is.  Another ugly, races, hateful, hurtful word from one I know very well.  “I don’t understand,” has been cried out to God many times after one of their zingers comes out of their mouth.  “God, why do they still feel, act, and say these things?  After all, they go to church!”

Just the other day, when this happened again, I questioned heaven for understanding, I sensed the Lord spoke and said, “But church doesn’t go to them.”  It was in that moment I realized that even though they go to church every time the doors are open, the doors to their heart are closed!  They might even be locked, boarded up with a sign posted, “No Trespassing”.

Jane Rubietta writes, in her book, Come Closer,

“After all, what difference does the gospel make if it doesn’t make a difference, right?”

The word of God should change us, and make us more like Jesus.  It should soften our heart toward others.  Does that mean be tolerant of their sins?  Not at all, but give us understanding as to why they act out like they do.

So what do we do when someone we kind of have to be around says or does something that hurts?  We pray for them as we stand up for Truth, and then we surround them with love.  God’s love, perfect love, is the only key to opening the doors to their wounded hearts.  They must see love, hear love, and feel loved even after they hurt us or others.

If the message they hear at church isn’t getting through, then the love they witness from us just might.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Spontaneous Love

By Oswald Chambers

Love suffers long and is kind… —1 Corinthians 13:4

LOVE 105Love is not premeditated– it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.

© 2019 My Utmost For His Highest