I Was Found Guilty!

“Mark, you have the right to remain silent. In fact, just don’t say anything at all unless I ask you to. Anything you do say will definitely be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, and at the age of seven I doubt you can, one will be appointed for you, but you won’t find any available.”

I appealed to have my hearing moved to the neighbor’s house, hoping that would allow for a fair trial, or at least a lighter sentence. The judge denied my request. As we begin, I looked around and failed to see a jury of my six, seven, and eight-year-old peers.

“Mark, where were you on the morning of July 7th?” asked my mother.

“I was in my bedroom, building a new train station,” I replied.

“Did you or did you not take cookies from the cookie jar after being told not to?” she persisted while raising her voice hoping I would crack.

Sweat began to bubble up on my back. “No. It wasn’t me.”

“You sure?”

“Yes!”

“That’s odd because I have an eyewitness that says you did.”

Gees! My accuser struck again. Seems like my older sister always caught me doing what I wasn’t supposed to be doing, and then she would run and tell my mother. In this case I was found guilty as charged. I would forever be known as a convicted cookie thief.

We all will stand before God one day. And the accuser of the brethren will be there telling on us. Informing God what we did wrong, our sins while we were on earth. We will be found guilty. But then, Jesus Christ will step forward and say to his Heavenly Father, “No punishment will be necessary. I have already paid the wages of their sin. We will escape eternal damnation, and not spend eternity in hell.

Jesus Christ did that for every one of us, out of love. Out of obedience to his Heavenly Father, God. It’s there for the asking, and it’s free. His forgiveness of our wrongdoing means we can no longer be known as a cookie thief or be forced to wear any other degrading title. We will be known as children of God and invited to enter heaven, and live happily ever after.

Salvation and power are established!
    Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
    who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness. Rev. 12:10-11 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God, My Enemy?

Have you ever heard someone blame God for their troubles?  Or insurance companies label calamities as an “Act of God”?  I have.  Job, from the Bible, he certainly did.  In fact, he went so far as to accuse God as his enemy.  (Job 16:9)  I have also heard people say this, “When I get out of the hospital I am going to start living for God.”  Yeah, as you might have guessed, months later they are still living life in the same manner before they went into the hospital.

I was cleaning a stain from the ottoman we recently picked up with a chair for our new “Conference Room” where we go to meet with God.  I looked at the can of “stain remover” and couldn’t help thinking about God removing stains from our own lives.  The foam that comes oozing out of the can is white, and because Jesus died for our stains, our sins, he makes us white as snow.

Though your sins have stained you like the color red,
you can become white like snow;
though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet,
you can become white like wool. Isaiah 1:18

Did you notice who makes the stain remover?  “Woolite”.  Did you also see the brush on the end of the can?  Even after our sins are forgiven when we accept Jesus and ask for that forgiveness there can be consequences of wrong doing in our life.  And sometimes it takes a lot of work, or “scrubbing” for those results to be removed.  It can take time and commitment to clean up the mess we have previously made with our lives.  Max Lucado once wrote,

“My mess, is His message.”

I also liked on the can where it said, “Triple Action”.  As you know the Trinity is made of God the Father, Jesus, God’s son, and the Holy Spirit.  All three work together to bring us to the saving grace of God.  I am so thankful to know that when I make mistakes I can be forgiven.  Being clean, free from sin, is a good feeling. God is not our enemy, but our friend and loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

WARNING!

Charlie 106Here in the Philippines, they print pictures on the packages of cigarettes, that show what could happen if you smoke.  Is it effective?  I don’t know, but I don’t see a lot of smoking going on.  Of course that could be due to the cost of cigarettes.

God told us, in his word, what would happen if you sin – death!  Is it effective?  I don’t know, because I see a lot of people sinning, including me from time to time.  God also showed us what our sin cost – the death of his only Son, Jesus.  You can pay for your sins, or accept Jesus’ payment.  It’s up to you.

”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Strength Helping Weakness

Charlie 80The words break free of my mouth, before I can think them through,
before I remember, the words of God, that tells, of the damage they will do.
As the last word, in the long ranting, damaging train does its part,
the sorrow, the remorse is already being felt inside my heart.

I don’t want to hurt, and I certainly don’t want to be mean as well,
so why then do I do this over and over again?  Can you tell?
If only there was some way to stop, and think, before I spoke,
then perhaps, the other person, wouldn’t feel as if they’re being choked.

I pray, and ask God to forgive, and then to help me not to do,
I feel better as if it will never happen again, and I will never again hurt you.

I know the great apostle Paul struggled as well.  In 2 Cor. 12:7-10,
He told us that Satan did his best to get him down again.
He begged God to remove this thorn in his flesh,
but God only replied “My grace is enough.” In other words, rest.

Then, “My strength comes into its own in your weakness” so let it be,
so Paul accepted it, realizing that when he is weak, “God works in me!”

So the truth is, on my own, I will never overcome,
but when I am weak, God and I, can become one.
Then, in that moment, before I speak, God’s power will take over,
my response will be of love and peace, and His grace will bring closure.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Rights

20171209_162330“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

Above is the “Miranda Rights”, which you have heard on TV or in a movie.  In heaven, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, these rights will go something like this:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in the court room of heaven by Satan. You have a right to an attorney. You cannot afford the One True Attorney, but He, Jesus, will be appointed for you.”

Jesus, has already paid the full penalty, death, for your wrong doing.  Case dismissed.  You are free to go.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Confessing Sin

charlie 3I am guilty of expecting perfection of others.  I know, it’s wrong.  When someone disappoints me and I express it, they are instantly hurt to the core.  I hate it when I do it, because I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially the ones I love.

I am trying, by asking God to help me replace expectation with mercy.  Then, when one makes a mistake, I will express mercy, and they will feel love.  Our Heavenly Father does this very thing for us.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36 NIV)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Confession

20180618_161958Confession:  I have never been inside a confessional booth.  I grew up in a church where doing so was not part of our spiritual practice.  I am at a temple where there is one.  I am writing this blog post while sitting inside it.  Not intended, but in order to see I brought a small, but bright LED light.  It is casting such a white glow I think it scared a couple checking out the temple.

Here I sit, in this small, wooden structure.  It smells old, musty, perhaps from tears soaking the carpeted board beneath my feet.  There is carpet on the walls as well.  I guess to absorb the sound, but aren’t confessions meant to be heard?

I think there is also supposed to be a man in the booth next door.  A man to hear my sins?  My wrong doing?  What if he is actually a newspaper reporter?  Wait, when Jesus died on the cross, didn’t his selfless act of love cut out the middle man?  After all, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  The veil that once separated man from God.  Now Jesus is our High Priest.

I guess while I am in here I might as well start talking.  Heavenly Father bless me.  It has been 23 minutes since my last confession.  You remember.  Oh, you don’t?  Then maybe I should choose to forget it also.

Now, I confess all my sins.  The ones that denied you, dissatisfied you, destroyed me and demolished others.  The sins that dishonored you, discomforted you.  The ones that would disqualify me from your presence, if it were not for your Son.  The sins that diminished others, disgruntled my employers, and devalued my wife and children.  And don’t forget the one that deflowered me before I was with the proper one at the proper time.  The ones that delayed me from being obedient unto you and your plans.  I also confess the times I digested things that defiled my body, your temple.  The words I spoke that derailed others on track to finding you.  The times my actions denounced you.  The sins that I allowed that wound up discouraging me and damaging my faith.

Forgive me Father.  I ask for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for not deleting my name from your Book of Life.  Thank you for forgiveness, and for your Son, Jesus who gives life through his death.

Now what do I do Lord God?  “Go and sin no more.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Have You Considered?

dome 1

Covering of protection

Have you ever considered what your breaking point would be in life?  How much you could take?  What could you handle, but what is too much?  Severe sickness of you, or of the ones you love the most?  Losing your entire net worth?  Being abandoned by the very ones you thought cared the most about you?

“And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job?”  Satan replied, “Have You not put a hedge (a covering) about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” (Job 1:8 & 10 AMP)

God, because of Job’s relationship with him, had put a covering over him, or had his hand over him, so the results of a fallen, sinful, world could not affect Job, his family, or his possessions.  Once I got really angry at one of my neighbors.  I was so mad, I wanted to harm her, but I didn’t.  Instead I prayed and asked God to take revenge on her for hurting me,  After all, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Rom. 12:19 MSG)  One day I asked God what happens when he gets vengeance on someone.  He whispered back, “I slowly remove my hand from their life.”

I shuttered!  As time went on, I witnessed my neighbor losing her job, experiencing vandalism, and worst yet, the death of her oldest daughter.  I prayed for her.  I know God was hoping she would stop resisting him, and in turn, run to him.  She finally did.

Job resisted the temptation to blame God for his troubles and die, but eventually repented of his prideful way of thinking.  Then God restored everything back to him and doubled what he had lost.  Could you have handled such loss?  Or perhaps the better question is this, would God ever say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant: __________?“ (fill in blank with your name)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Whew!  Sundays Over!

Church 1 (2)

Photo by Michael Wall of Wall2Wall Foto

A girl in my 11th grade English class once said, “I love being Catholic!  I can have my sins forgiven Saturday night, and then live like hell the rest of the week.”  Now, I’m just quoting her and not saying a thing about the Catholic faith, so please, no emails.  I’m not Catholic, but being honest, have had similar thoughts.  Only mine are more like, “Ok.  I got the Sunday thing done.  Now, I can indulge my flesh.”

A fight, a struggle.  I want to do the right thing.  I want to please and obey God, but I find no matter how long I have been doing this, I still struggle with thoughts of wanting to do what I want to do.  Some are just down right thoughts of being lazy.

The great apostle Paul struggled as well.

Rom 7:18  I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.
Rom 7:19  I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. (MSG)

So how, or what are we to do then?  1) Of course ask God to help us.  We will never be able to do it on our own.  2) Bring every thought into captivity.  Be honest about the thought, and if it is a bad thought then start looking for the door that has a sign above it that reads, “EXIT”.  God promises to make a way of escape.  Sometimes that exit may be praying.  Have you ever sinned while praying?  I haven’t.  Leave the room.  See what your family is doing, or call a friend.  And if they are a trusted friend, tell them you are struggling.

My classmate, I mentioned in the beginning, was married.  Her husband shoved a shotgun in her mouth and pulled the trigger before that school year was over.  I have often wondered what God thinks when people live like she did on a regular basis.  I yield my opinions to God.  This one thing I know for sure:  I can overcome, because Jesus overcame first, and so can you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

God’s Top Ten List

The Ten

  1. No other Gods before me.
    I’m to be your first priority.
  2. Nothing should be your idol.
    Keep your life pure.
  3. Don’t use my name when cussing.
    Understanding this can bring humility.
  4. Keep Sundays Holy.
    Resting one day a week is a wonderful thing.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
    Doing so will bless your life.
  6. Killing is not good.
    Love is a much better way.
  7. Committing adultery tears people apart.
    Learning intimacy will bring people together.
  8. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
    If you do, you’ll never learn to trust.
  9. Lying is a bad idea.
    Honesty is always the way to go.
  10. You shouldn’t want what isn’t yours.
    Contentment brings peace to your life.

God didn’t come up with these 10 commandments to make your life miserable.  He didn’t do it so we would become “religious”, and start a bunch of denominations with a list of “rules” to live by.  He gave us these principles, to live by, so we could relate to him better, and with each other.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved