Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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 © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

FLOW

 

080412 335A river flows downstream.  Life in a boat, doing nothing, on that stream, comes easy, natural.  It takes no effort, but to go upstream is another story.  The mightier the current, the harder one must paddle, or use external power.  You stop for one instance, or turn off the engine, and you begin going back down.

We can’t get to our destination upstream on our own.  We must have the power from the One who has been in the boat.  From the One, who has walked on the water.  From the One who has made it to the other side.  From the One who said, “It is finished!”

I desire to FLOW with God.  I will do my part, but I will rely on Him for the power I don’t have in and of myself.  Following His FLOW will take me where He wants me.  The more I make this my life practice it will get easier, and become more natural.

Keith Hector, recently preached a message at my church on FLOW.  He said flow is:

F aith
L ove
O bedience
W isdom

Flowing with God, and in God takes all of the above.  It requires trusting Jesus.  It demands following the Holy Spirit.  God asks us to do things that are not natural to our flesh, so we cannot boast in and of ourselves.  He also knows the joy we experience when we FLOW with Him.  He knows the confidence we experience, and He knows it encourages us to go further.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:   “My main attempt in this short life is to deeply love humankind. I long to love like Jesus: intentionally, authentically, and with no boundaries. So here I am, a messy 14 year old making art, learning to love, and writing.”  Click:  ~ ava lucia ~

 

“In God We Trust”

US coinOur founding fathers didn’t declare this, but congress did in 1956.  They could have declared a lot of things when they were deciding what to inscribe on our currency.  Something that would be used around the world.  I’m sure after a lot of thought, it became obvious, the only thing to say was who they trusted in.  Those men knew God and His word.  After all, men came to this land for the “pursuit of religious freedom.”  It just makes cents!

2Sa 22:31   As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those who trust and take refuge in Him.  (AMP)

There is an old hymn my church sang when I was young, that had the following line; “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.”  I know, it’s hard to do.  You can’t see God, but if you trust Him, you might just see His hand move about your life.  You might hear His voice calm you in the midst of life’s storms.  By the way, you can’t see the wind either, but what fool would dare deny its existence?

Whats inscribed upon your heart?  What do you declare to the world to trust or believe in?

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

God?

It would be so much easier if you could see God, touch Him, and hear Him audibly.  But if all that was possible don’t you think it would cheapen your faith?  I mean faith’s value goes through the roof when you chose to believe in who you can’t see, touch, or hear, and yet the things you have been talking to God about, happen.

If you asked God for His will for your life and the next morning you found an email in your inbox from God telling you to do something that you didn’t like you probably would label it as “Spam”.  Or, you might be tempted to click on “unsubscribe”.  You see God has a way of taking His desires for our lives and developing them in us to the point we start asking Him for the same thing.  Thinking it was our idea.Steering wheel isolated on a white background

One thing about God’s will is the timing.  Maybe you do know His will, but do you know His timing?  A good way to discover His timing is by moving.  It’s hard to steer a car when it is parked.  When you are moving in the direction you think is God’s will He can steer you, but you have to prayerfully watch the road signs.  It’s like this, just because someone offers you a job out of the blue, doesn’t mean it is God’s will for you to work there.

Another way to find His will and timing is to talk to mature Christians who have been there and have done that.  They can counsel you in the ways of God, and also be praying with you.  Remember this verse:  Isa 55:9  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (MSG)  Trusting, believing, and obeying provides you the greatest adventures you will ever have and the most rewarding, and satisfied life.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

You Want Me to do What?

Trust Obey.jpgWhat would you do, if one day God asked you to do something, well, crazy?  Would you say, “Let me pray about that.”?  Or would you obey, no questions asked?  I am reading from the book of Hosea, in the Old Testament.  God asked him to marry a prostitute.  Can you imagine?

Some time ago a friend asked me to take her to have an abortion.  She hadn’t even told her husband she was pregnant.  Can you imagine a “pro-life” believer in an abortion clinic?  But I felt if I said, “No.” she would try to drive home after the procedure by herself.  I told her I would take her, but then I started praying like crazy.  I asked God what to do.  I sensed His Spirit whisper, “Humanize the baby.”  After some thought, I understood, and I did.  I started asking her, “You want a boy or a girl?”  “What would you name her?”  A few days later she called.  “Mark, I heard the baby’s heart today.  I can’t kill the baby.”  I cried, and gave thanks to God.

The point here is being obedient.  You may not be asked to do something crazy, but every day God is asking you to reflect Him, His nature, His love, His grace and mercy.  Also to share His plan to forgive sin with those around you.  That’s what God is asking you to do.

Mat 28:19  Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Mat 28:20  Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (MSG)

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Are You Wrong?

wrongEverybody has an opinion on what happens after they die.  Some of those opinions are: nothing happens, reincarnation, you go to heaven, and various other beliefs.  I personally believe that if one has accepted Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and have asked him to forgive their sins then they go to heaven.  If they haven’t then they go to hell.  Either way, it’s for eternity!

I was talking about this subject with a coworker several years ago, and he believed then in reincarnation.  Our conversation ended by me saying, “John (not his name), if your belief is right then neither one of us have anything to worry about, BUT, if I am right then you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while you are standing before God giving an account as to how you lived.”  He walked away concerned.

Also, keep in mind, just because one claims to know Jesus, doesn’t mean they have accepted him, or obeyed his commandments.  Consider these verses from the Bible:

Mat 7:21 – 23  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?  And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly. (AMP)

So the question then is this:  “Are you okay being wrong?”

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Looking Your Best for God

big-hatThere was an emphasis on wearing your “Sunday best” when I was growing up.  Every week at church most would be decked out in the nicest piece of wardrobe in their closet.  “You should look your best when going to church,” was often heard.  Believe it or not, in some churches, the hats worn on Easter are so large one cannot see the pastor when sitting behind such monstrosities.

Now there is certainly nothing wrong with looking nice when one attends a church service, but note that wearing your best is on the outside.  God probably appreciates the effort, but what is likely more important is someone coming into God’s house looking nice on the inside.  In other words, having a contrite heart, or a heart after God’s heart.  A heart that is concerned for others, and where they will spend eternity.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”  Psa. 51:10 (AMP)

Knowing this, perhaps here at the beginning of a new year, it is time to clean out your “spiritual” closet.  Get rid of all of the things that make you look good only on the outside.  Let God examine your heart, and guide you in where changes need to be made.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Wisdom from God’s Word

Work is tough.  Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and He told them that work would be hard, it has been just that.  I grew up believing in the American dream.  That a person could find employment doing something they enjoyed.  At first I did, but over the years things have changed.  Now, work is hard and it isn’t enjoyable at all.  There are good moments, but mainly those moments are on a personal level.

In these current times we, who try our best to be Godly, are often thrown under the bus, lied about, ridiculed, and mistreated even though some of the treatment goes against the business code of conduct.rev-1

If I had things my way I would be living in an RV, traveling across America, writing.  I want this kind of life.  I desire this life with everything in my heart.  Then I read Proverbs 16:9:

We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it.

My faith in God requires that I believe this from God’s word.  More importantly, I live it.  The worst thing I could do is try to make the life I so desperately want happen.  I yield to the truth that if God wants it to happen, then it will, but in His timing, and in His way.  Hopefully doing so will help me to be wise.

HONEST

The story you are about to read is true.

The name was changed to protect the Honest one.  The time: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 8:43pm.  The setting:  Conversation after dinner at McDonalds.

Me:  Do you ever feel as though God is telling you to go talk to someone sitting near you in church?
Honest:  Yes
Me:  What?  Really?  You do?  Do you obey?
Honest:  No.
Me:  Why not?
Honest:  Fear051412_02.4JB
Me:  Fear of what?
Honest:  I’m afraid I won’t know what to say next that could help them.

This is probably a very common issue if everyone was Honest.  The simple truth though is this:  If God is prompting you to go do something, or say something He will give you the words to say, or guide you in what to do.  Maybe it does take a couple of times to get this trust relationship working well, but once it is God can speak through you to encourage, to uplift, to motivate, to help someone who just needs to know that someone else cares and so does God.

Please, the next time you sense God speaking to you for a particular reason, obey.  God delights in obedience.

Phi 2:9  Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him (Jesus)…  (MSG)