Your First Thought

20180412_200110It happened again.  The explosive temper from one I am supposed to love, and I do, but the pain.  I left their presence, but I was a “walking wounded”.  I kept rewinding the scene and playing it over and over in my mind.  Why?  This didn’t need to happen.  I begin seeking comfort.

I went to one of my favorite pizza places and ordered a pizza.  Sad, I know, but I tend to turn to favorite foods for comforting.  Later in the evening God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me for comfort?”  I searched for the truth and then had the realization, so my reply was, “It wasn’t my first thought.  God… (tears) I’m so sorry!  Help me loving Father to make you my first thought.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement) 2Co 1:3-6 (AMP)

But I turned to pizza instead of God.  The very pizza pictured in the photo.  It was extremely windy, and as I was taking my second step out of the restaurant a gust of wind blew the box right out of my hand.  I went back in, ordered another one, and then cleaned up the parking lot.  To be honest I looked both ways to see if anyone was watching.  You know, that five second rule.  I decided it didn’t apply to asphalt!  My turning to food first, instead of God, made for a very expensive medium pizza.  Lesson learned, I hope!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Dump or Garden?

CtS21ft CamH3' 35mm 0001Mankind’s first address was inside Garden Grove Estates.  God gave Adam and Eve a home there, but they wanted more.  They wanted to know what God knew, even though he told them that kind of knowledge wasn’t for them.  They disobeyed, and got evicted.

Do you live in a garden?  I don’t live in a perfect one yet, but things are growing.  And I don’t even have a green thumb either!  My neighbor one day saw me trying to plant some flowers.  She said, “You don’t know what you are doing!”  I said, “I know, but I am having a great time.”  I desire, ache to live where God intended, meaning the kind of life, but since I don’t know what I am doing I need him.  I need him to design it.  I need him to remove the weeds, remove the trash, move boulders, and dig trenches for the living waters to flow in my garden.

I look around, and I see very few people living in gardens.  Instead, they have, like Adam and Eve, believed the lies of the devil, and have paid the consequences.  They have gotten hurt, down, defeated, or have settled.  Some have given up.  They act like “hope” is a four letter word, so they accept life in a dump.  It stinks!  It’s dirty, toxic, hazardous to your health, but they accept it.  More and more broken, ugly, bent, faded, rusty things of life, gets  dumped on them day after day, and they take it.  They call it life, and just assume, it can’t get any better.

This is not the kind of life God intended for you.  It hurts him to see pile after pile of trash dumped upon you.  Guess what?  You don’t have to live there!  You can move out of the dump, and into a garden, but you will need the help of the Gardner.  The One who loves you like you can’t even imagine.  Will you accept his invitation?  Will you change your address?  Come live in the garden God wanted you to live in.  Oh, and the cost?  Free, for his Son, Jesus paid it for you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Other Side of Pain

PAINP ersonal
A nguish
I ntense
N umbness

N eeds
I llustrated
A wareness
P rovided

Beautiful songs are composed out of PAIN.  Books, cards, and letters as well.  When one hears, or reads words that were birthed in PAIN, it resonates, it feels familiar, and it comforts.  It lets you know, “You’re not the only one who has felt this way.”

Respect PAIN, but don’t hang on to it too long.  Place it in the hands of the One who has felt the very same thing.  Jesus is there, waiting, loving, comforting.  Saying to you, “You’re not alone in this.”

Then, look around you.  There are people, who are a part of your world, who are hanging on to PAIN.  You can see it in their eyes.  For you saw it in yours, every time you looked in the mirror.  Get beside them.  Be Jesus in that moment to them, and say, “You’re not alone.  Let me show you how to give it to Jesus.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

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Call of Duty

A hurt soul needs a mender.
One rejected needs acceptance.
A depressed one needs to be encouraged.
One feeling like a waste needs to know their value.
A person struggling with an addiction needs a cheerleader.
Someone down and out needs a break.
One near the edge needs hope.
A person ill needs healing.
Someone lonely needs a friend.

peopleThe list, could go on.  The truth is, these individuals need Jesus.  Most do not think to turn to him, because they can’t see him, but they can see you.  In a time, when our world is in so much pain, those who know Jesus, and has the hope he provides, needs to answer the call of duty.

God has placed you where he needs you.  You’re the one, who can take the time, speak a word, or give a hug.  You may never know the impact of taking a risk of faith to say, go or do, but one day you will.  “Do not be afraid,” the angel of the Lord would say to you.  The more you reach out, the more you say, and the more you come along side someone, you will find it strengthens you, encourages you, and increases your faith to do more. God will lead you, as you are his servant, saving lives.

Keep one thing in mind; there was someone, just like you, who took the time to be there for you, and shared the love of Jesus with you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

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Is This It?

20171122_144820

The church, where I first learned about a better life.

Have you ever asked yourself is this it?  What’s next?  Is there more?

As I was giving thanks to God this week for His many blessings upon my life, a thought hit me.  One I don’t recall having before.  For those who have never accepted Jesus as their savior, and had their sins, wrongs forgiven, then this is it!  This life is the best they will ever have.  For them, there is no hope for an even better life.

This life, with its hardships, struggles, and pain.  This life with its sickness and diseases.  With its final blow, death!

But we don’t have to settle for just this life.  We can choose to have the hope of a better life.  A life with no hurt, sickness, and no death.  Think of it this way; if those who believe and have accepted God are wrong then we have only gotten the same as you.  This life.  But, if we are right, if our faith delivers the hope God’s word says is waiting for us then we have so much more.  So much more than just this life.  And on the way to that better life, is God.

Act 2:26-28   I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades (Hell); I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around. (MSG)

 Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

A Better Way to Live

sin

NOUN

  1. an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law:
    “a sin in the eyes of God” ·

synonyms: immoral act · wrong · wrongdoing · act of evil/wickedness · transgression · crime · offense · misdeed · misdemeanor
· trespass · wickedness · wrongdoing · wrong · evil · evildoing · sinfulness
· immorality · iniquity · vice · crime

In a time where one’s, thought to be hidden sins, are being exposed like an uncontrollable leak in a dam.  In a time where an accusation brings quick judgement and sentencing handed down before all the facts are known.  You would think realizing that everything done in darkness will be exposed, would spur one to find a better way to live.

The truth though is we are sold a big fat lie by the devil.  That lie is: You won’t be the one that will get caught.  Guess what?  The devil is probably the one that will tell on you.  Why?  Because he wants to hurt you beyond belief.  I write about it often:  John 10:10 – Satan comes to kill steal and destroy!  Satan HATES you!  He can’t stand you, because YOU are made in the image of God, and he hates God.

A better way to live?  Sure.  Don’t sin.  It’s that simple.  Okay, it’s not, but you can actually learn, or train yourself to sin less.

  1. Capture every thought and bring it into captivity.  In other words, if a thought is about doing something wrong (sin) then realize it, and choose not to.  Love instead.  Do the right thing.  Say the right thing.
  2. Put on God’s bullet proof vest. (Ephesians 6:11-18)  Imagine a policeman these days not wearing his bullet proof vest.

Eph 6:11  So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.
Eph 6:12  This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Eph 6:13  Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Eph 6:14  Truth, righteousness,
Eph 6:15  peace,
Eph 6:16  faith,
Eph 6:17  and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
Eph 6:18  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (MSG)

These are just a couple of purposeful things to do to live a better life.  Here are a few more:  Turn away wrath with love.  When one speaks out against you, smile and love them anyway.  When someone proclaims they are living a life you know is not pleasing to God, please don’t judge and sentence them, but accept them, and love them.  That is not the same as accepting their wrong doing.  Calling out sin on Facebook isn’t going to show anyone there is a better way to live either.  The world needs to see Love.  Jesus is Love.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Moving the Holy

20171026_142958Moving the Holy is moving the heart of God.  One thing that moves his heart is obedience.  Whenever I didn’t obey as a child my unholy backside got moved!  When God speaks and directs you through his Spirit, you have two choices, obey or not.  It may be extremely painful and difficult to obey, but you should do it anyway.  You may feel silly, do it anyway.  The other, who may be a recipient of what God told you to do may not understand, do it anyway.  If God’s direction causes you to sacrifice something, well then it moves the heart of God even more.  GOD IS HOLY!

Rev 4:8  The Four Animals were winged, each with six wings. They were all eyes, seeing around and within. And they chanted night and day, never taking a break: Holy, holy, holy Is God our Master, Sovereign-Strong, THE WAS, THE IS, THE COMING. (MSG)

The more difficult it is to obey, the greater the victory will be on the other side.  There is no higher feeling than knowing you made God glad.  Your obedience may bless another, but honestly, you will be blessed beyond belief!  Obedience exercises your faith, which causes it to grow, which causes it to mature.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

One Man’s Sin

DSC_6186As we saw this past week, in a very visual way, one man’s sin, hurts another human being.  It doesn’t have to be a mass killing either.  It can be a lie, but when found out another is hurt for they got deceived.  A cheating spouse, a wayward leader.  Someone else will get hurt.

Unfortunately, as long as there is sin in this world, there will be hurt.  There is sin in the world because of evil spirits that rule over this world.  When Adam and Eve sinned (disobeyed God) it opened up the door for evil to come over us.

Eph 6:12   For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

But there is hope!  For those who have accepted God’s free gift of having their sin’s forgiven, by accepting that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins.  There will come a day when God’s Spirit rules over a new earth, and that will cause peace, and no more pain, and no more tears.

My heart ache’s for those that were affected this week by one’s man sin, but I do not get discouraged, or want to give up, because I know, without a doubt, God’s word is true, and one day there will be peace.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Does God Blink?

eyesWhen there are people in your life who seem to enjoy making you hurt, miserable, or angry you begin to wonder if God indeed has His eye on you or, if He blinked for a moment?  You think to yourself how could He let this happen to me over and over again?  Where is His revenge on these people?  I gave it to Him as he instructs us to.

The truth is, He never takes His eyes off of us.  Not even for a split second to blink.  Pro 2:8  He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.

Another truth is you don’t know what is going on in that person’s life that you don’t see.  God has never liked it when someone willfully hurts one of His own.  To the ones who do He has some very harsh words:

Mic 2:1-3  Doom to those who plot evil, who go to bed dreaming up crimes! As soon as it’s morning, they’re off, full of energy, doing what they’ve planned.  They covet fields and grab them, find homes and take them. They bully the neighbor and his family, see people only for what they can get out of them.  GOD has had enough. He says, “I have some plans of my own: Disaster because of this interbreeding evil! Your necks are on the line. You’re not walking away from this. It’s doomsday for you.

If you feel you are being treated unfairly, take heart.  God sees, and knows, and He will deal justly with those who are not just.  If you are one of those hurting others, beware!  God sees you too, and He will avenge the innocent.  If you are the innocent, pray God’s judgement will turn the heart of the guilty to God.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

It Hurts!

HURTYou listen as they describe their current pain, despair, nightmare of a life.  They go on and on without the slightest glimmer of hope on their face, or in their voice.  They want relief, they want out, they want something so different then what they have.  Like a blind man looking for his glasses, their searching is in vain.

You’ve heard it before, from them and from others you care so much about.  Will this be the time they listen to you?  Have they reached the end of their rope?  Have they had enough?  Maybe, maybe this will be the time they here you share the life they could have if they would only accept the free gift of Jesus Christ.  How His death provides life.  How His taking on the whole worlds sin and sorrow deliveres eternal joy, happiness, and peace, if we just say, “Yes” to His offer.

It hurts, when we hear them say, “Thanks, but it’s not for me.”  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s hard for us to understand.  Irwin McManis put it like this, “People would rather live a bad life “they” purchased, than a great life that is free.”

Keep praying and trusting God for those you care about.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved