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

Being Noticed

Charlie 57I now know what an animal in a zoo exhibit feels like!  The other day I thought I heard a little boy ask his mother if he could feed the American.  I have mentioned a few times, that I am now living in the Philippines.  Now that I have been here for a while, I forget when I go out, and am near my home, that I am not in America, so when someone stares at me, I start thinking Is my zipper down on my pants?  Did I forget to shower and my hair is a mess?

The point is; I stand out!  I’m noticed!  It’s impossible for me to blend in.  It happened again tonight, as I was walking down the street, to the convenient store.  I smiled and sometimes I wave or say, “Hi.”  I am conscious of the fact I am representing America.  Some have actually told me that I am the first American they have ever seen in person.

This got me thinking, shouldn’t I have the same awareness about being a follower of Jesus Christ?  Shouldn’t I be thinking What if I am the first Christian they have ever met in person?  Or, I am representing God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  The truth is, it should be my nature and not a thought I have to keep in mind.  And my response?  Smile, wave, say “Hello”, be love.  I know I mention this theme of being love often, but the first two commandments mention love, so it must be important to God.

  1. Love God, and put him first in our lives.
  2. Love others as we love ourselves. (And some of you really do love yourselves a lot, as do I sometimes!)

When you walk around being love, you’re being like God.   “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 JN. 4:8 NIV)  Please stop trying to blend in, and rather, desire to be noticed!
Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing You Are Loved

Charlie 58I had a friend that once stated she doesn’t want to hear her spouse say, “I love you” every day.  Somehow, she feels it cheapens the words.  I asked her, “Well, how do you want to know you are loved then?”  She replied, “Just knowing someone is thinking about me makes me feel loved.”  Yes, the next question I had to ask was, “How do you know you are being thought of if that person doesn’t express it in some form?”

I like hearing I am loved.  I like better knowing that I am.  My new spouse left me the note that is pictured here.  A wave of love flowed over me when I found it hanging on my desk.  Expressing our love to others doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but goes a long way in building strong bonds in a relationship, family, friends or otherwise.  Another aspect to expressing your love is there are so many ways to do it, and one can get very creative.

God was extremely creative when He expressed his love to us.  Who else, but God would have thought of giving us his only son and that son coming to us in a small package of a baby.  As that baby grew, so did his love for mankind.  In fact, it’s Jesus’ love for us that caused him to say, “Not my will Father, but yours be done.”

Today, I can read God’s love notes to me all through his word.  The Bible is full of them.  Like Romans 8:37-39 describes how nothing can separate us from God’s love.  He won’t allow it.  Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.  To sum it up:

God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.  ~ Rick Warren

KNOW THAT, YOU ARE LOVED!

 
Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Drawn by Love

Jesus 1I once had a neighbor, who on the way to the hardware mega store asked, “Why are you so different?”  I had helped them with several needs after they had moved into their new home.  He asked, I told him.  The truth appealed to him and his wife, and they accepted Jesus.

Do people in your world know you believe in God?  Can they tell you have accepted Jesus Christ and you live your life for him?  Do they think you are a Jesus freak, or a normal person who happens to love God, a lot?

Jesus hung out with people, who the Pharisees judged as “sinners”.  Jesus called them people who needed his love.  This means that even though Jesus spoke about his Father in heaven, and believing in him, the people still wanted to be around him.  They were drawn to him, because he showed love.  Jesus met them where they were.  He didn’t change his actions or message when in the presence of people of the world, but turned up the love!

Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. (Joh 17:15-16 MSG)

We would be wise to follow Jesus’ example.  People will be drawn to us because of our love, and then they will be interested in hearing our message of Jesus.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Risky Business

DSC_7833One of the hardest decisions to make, after having your heart ran through a shredder, is to try again.  You have said, “No way!” “I could never trust again.” “I can’t take the chance, or I never want to feel that kind of pain again!”

Me?  What did I used to say?  “God, it’s too hard.”

I once quoted, to a lady,  a line from a song, “All my ex’s live in Texas.”  After she got done laughing, she asked, “My God, how many do you have?”  “One,” I replied, “But that’s all of them!”  Through the many years since my divorce I have learned what real love is, by becoming intimate with my Heavenly Father, and also when man fell out with God, he fell out with women as well.  I have the vertical connection, with God, in place, and now I am open and willing, to take a risk, to try again, with the horizontal connection with a woman.

Notice the cross?  Yes, that one.  The one Jesus died on because he took the ultimate risk of love coming here to die for our sins.  I’m sure his heart aches when people reject him.  If a relationship is based on loving Jesus, then together you will have the vertical and the horizontal connections in place that will support a healthy, loving relationship.

Love is a “risky business”, but when done the way God intended, I’m trusting it will be one more thing God will look at and say, “It is good.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

ENOUGH!

Hate

Hate, is like cancer, it kills!

The other day, I heard another story of hate.  What got me was, this hate took place in a church.  Has hate, in our country, spread that far?  I’m beginning to decrease watching the world news every evening because of the hate.  The hate they call, “news”!

Growing up, the rule was, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”  Yes, I’m old, but it wasn’t a bad rule.  These days, people not only speak their hate, but share it on social media, and then start a movement to spread it.  Hate is a cancer, and some people can’t bear the weight of it, so they take their own life instead of trying to face another day.  Bullying, is hate, and even adults are sometimes bullied.

Since all this hate hurts me, I realized this week, it must really hurt Jesus.  He died for the one hated, but he also died for the hater.  When he came to earth, one of the things he did was show us how to live, walk, and speak in love.  I met a lady last weekend, traveling across America, trying to spread love and motivate others to pass it on.  I pray she is successful, and she makes America great again!  Can we join her?  Instead of hating, can we try to love?  It is a better way.  If you do choose to spread love, I know it will cause Jesus to smile, for you will never hear anyone say, “Stop!  That’s enough love.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved