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

What Makes a Good Bridge?

Bridge 2“Look, I’m not hurting anything.  I just want to sit here and rest,” he said.  To his right my church had a sign that stated, “No Loitering”
“It’s okay,” I replied in a gentle voice.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“Yes.”

I went and got him a sack of food we keep for such occasions, and some water.

“Here ya go.”
“Thank you.”
“Your welcome.  You mind if I hang out with you for a while?”
“Suit yourself,” he said as the sack crinkled while he checked out the food.
“What’s your name?”
“John,” he replied.  His eyes, piercing, as if searching my soul.

The small talk started.  It became clear he was a philosopher who didn’t have a place to hang his diploma.  He also had a sense of humor.  He shared he had made a mistake with his wife and kids, and she wasn’t willing to forgive.  I felt that was my que to talk about God’s forgiveness.  I tried hard to get him to come inside and sit in on the church service.

“I stink,” he kept saying.
“I assure you John, no one inside will care.”  He was right about the odor too, but he insisted on attending the church service there on the sidewalk.

We talked for another 30 minutes or so.  Before I left I offered to pray with him.

“You can do that in private, but not in front of me,”  he said.

I didn’t understand, but respected his wishes.  I’ve  looked, but have never seen John again.  Though thought of him often, I have prayed for him even more.  I regretted not taking him to a restaurant to get something hot to eat.  I also wish I had been brave enough to invite him to my house.  He could have showered, I could have washed his clothes, and he could have slept on a soft, warm surface, even if for one night.  I have consoled myself with knowing I did something, but I know I could have done more.  Perhaps next time I will.

Since I have never seen an episode of “Bridge Hunters” on HGTV he replied, “One that has a flat surface to sleep on, and that isn’t facing into the wind.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:  God never intended heaven to be served from earth.  heartland church

The Storm Whisperer

sailing-in-a-storm-frank-botello

Sailing in a Storm by Frank Botello

“Son, let’s take the boat out for a nice afternoon of sailing.”

“Okay, Father.”

They boarded, pushed off, and stated enjoying their time together.  Then, as if out of nowhere, the skies darkened, and a violent storm was upon them. The family boat was tossed around as if it was a canoe.  The father struggled to steer in the mighty wind.

I’m a captain of large ships!  I have sailed the oceans and have faced many storms.  This one shouldn’t be a problem he thought.

Then a huge wave slammed the side of the boat knocking the father to the left where he hit his head and became unconscious.  His son watched in disbelief while coward up in the bottom.

“Father! Father!  What do I do?  I’m scared!”  He yelled, not knowing if his father could even hear him over the roar of the ferocious wind.

Many hours later the father lifted his head.  He saw the seas were calm, and the sun was about to set.  He also recognized the shore line, and realized they were close to home.

My son!  Where’s my son?  He got to his knees and then staggered to his feet.  He turned to survey the boat looking for his son.  Then he turned and found him in the last place he expected.

“Son!  I can’t believe it.  How?”

“Father, when you were knocked out, so was my hope of surviving.  Then I crawled to the wheel, and used it to pull myself up.  I gripped it tighter than I had ever hung on to anything before.  I was so scared.  You had taught me how to sail, but not how to survive a storm.  Then, I recalled the story in the Bible where Jesus calmed the storm after the disciples woke him up.  So I prayed.  Well, more like yelled for his help, and he answered.  It wasn’t immediately, and I wasn’t even sure he had heard me, but eventually Jesus got us through the storm.”

 

I assure you, 2018 will present its own set of storms.  I have started giving mine names like they do hurricanes!  The true story is found in Mark 4:35-41.  Jesus had told His disciples, “Let’s go to the other side.”  If Jesus wants to take you to the other side then guess what?  You will make it!  Have faith.  And when Jesus answers your cry for help, in the midst of a storm, he will cause the wind to run out of breath!  Don’t try to get to the other side on your own, no matter how many storms you have been through before.  You still need the Storm Whisperer.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Check it out:
Entertaining, thought provoking poetry:     https://franksolanki.wordpress.com/

 

 

Is This It?

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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

Life’s Speed Bumps

speedbumpMy daughter once said, “Squirrels are God’s little speed bumps.”  I’m not saying I agree.  I realized something this past week as I talked to some people.  They were telling me of the trouble they are currently having in their lives.  I felt bad for them.  Then I thought it seems as if there is always so much drama in their lives that they don’t have time to focus on the important things in their life.  Maybe another way to say it is this; they are so busy putting out fires, they never spend time preventing them.

I once told a friend concerning my failed marriage, “I was so busy repairing I never got time to build.”  A good marriage is something important in life.  Teaching your children how to live life right is important as well.  But of course the most important thing in life is deciding where you want to spend eternity.  Yes, it is your decision.

So where does all this trouble come from?  Circumstances; sure.  Most likely as a result of poor decisions.  But consider another source; the devil.  In John 10:10 Jesus said, “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy.  That means steal your time, destroy relationships, and includes killing your soul.  Then Jesus said, “But I have come so that you may have life.  Abundant life.”  He doesn’t want you to live life on earth suffering.  Jesus wants to help you with living life.  He can and will once you accept him as God’s son and invite him to be the Lord of your life.  Once you do that read about him, study him in the Bible.  He will help you get over life’s speed bumps more smoothly.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Good Words

Max LucadoI recently read this devotion by Max Lucado, and was moved by the truth and power of the words.  I decided the best thing to do was to share it with others.

Quarry the Deep Qualities of God

Don’t equate the presence of God with a good mood or a pleasant temperament. God is near whether you’re happy or not. But do quarry from your Bible a list of the deep qualities of God, and press them to your heart. My list reads like this:

  • ·  He is still sovereign.
  • ·  He still knows my name.
  • ·  Angels still respond to His call.
  • ·  God is still faithful.
  • ·  He is not caught off guard.
  • ·  He uses everything for His glory and my ultimate good.

Lay hold of the unchanging character of God. Pray your pain out. Pound the table. Even Jesus offered up prayers with what Hebrews 5:7 describes as “loud cries and tears.” Your family may be gone. Your supporters may have left. But God has not budged! His promise still stands, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”

To read more from Max, or to sign up for his devotions click on the link below:

Max Lucado

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

Because You Are Different

yellow-in-purple_oregonYou try so hard to do what is right.  You even think you are doing what Jesus would do.  You’re honest, you’re loyal, you’re trust worthy.  Yet you are misunderstood, mistreated, not trusted.  You feel picked on.  Whenever something happens you are the one people turn to first to find out what “you” had done.  It’s not right, it’s not fair, but it continues to happen to you over and over again, and it hurts, and you just don’t understand.

Can you relate?  I can.  In the past few years I have been asking God to help me understand, and perhaps He has been trying to tell me, but I couldn’t hear it.  Tonight, while watching a movie, I heard it.  I heard the reason I have been searching for that would help me understand why.  Here is what I heard straight from the movie, “The Accountant”.

“You think if you don’t fight back they will like you?  They don’t like you, they don’t dislike you.  They’re afraid of you.  You’re different.  Sooner or later different scares people.”

I know, right?  I paused the movie, wrote those words down, and pondered them.  They are certainly profound words.  Then my thoughts turned to the life of Jesus Christ.  He was different, and there certainly were those who were afraid of Him.  So much so they wanted Him dead, and they got what they wanted.  Because you act differently than they do, they may not understand that you are trying to do your best to be like Christ.  They don’t know this, because they don’t know Jesus.  Do your best to share Jesus with them.  By getting to know, and accepting Him, they will one day accept you.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

False Accusations

False-stampBeing accused of something is difficult to handle, but when those accusations are false it really hurts.  Each assault can cut really deep.  What makes these accusations even worse is when the truth is staring the accusers in the face, and yet they choose to ignore it.

Last night, on my train ride home, my thoughts turned to Jesus.  One week people were singing his praises, and the following week amidst false accusations some of those same individuals were screaming for his death.  The thing we must realize is this; he was, and still is, the Son of God.  He is Truth, and being such, he had the capability to prove his innocence, but he chose not to.  If he had of, we would not have salvation, and the hope of living in heaven for eternity.

I guess I can find comfort in knowing that if it wasn’t for individuals refusing to believe the Truth, who was standing right in front of them, I wouldn’t have salvation.  Another thing I can find comfort in is knowing that God sees all truth, and one day will reveal truth to all.

1Co 3:13  The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. (AMP)

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

They Walk Among Us

Jessica, while at a red light, feels moisture drip upon her cheeks.  She can’t believe the hurt has reached her eyes.  Roger, holds his head in the stream of water showering upon him while he mumbles words.  A prayer perhaps?  He hopes the sound of the falling water conceals his pain, his desperation.  Cassandra stares at the dark ceiling, instead of sleeping, longing for an answer.  An answer that would change her life.  Manuel walks aimlessly, at times looking up, hoping any minute now God would heal him.

Just stories lines, or glimpses of real life?  Perhaps they feel real because you have been there, or you are there now.  No matter where you are, or what you are going through, know this; YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You are not the only one who has ever walked the path you are on, even though it feels like it.  There are others, who are there now, or who have found the exit.

Where are these people?  Who are they?  Include in your prayers to God to lead you to them.  They might be in your church, or they might be your neighbor, or across the aisle at work, but the truth is they walk among us.  They can help you.  They can listen to you.  They can pray for you, or with you.  But in order for that to happen they have to know.  They have to know what you are going through.  Take a chance on being honest when someone ask you how you are.  And if you are one who hears a story of real life going on dare to listen int051312_01-3jbently.  Believe with them for God to deliver them, answer them, or heal them.  Life is hard, but it is even harder by yourself.

If you struggle finding someone, or trusting someone enough to open up with the truth, you are still not alone.  There is no where you can go to escape the eye of God, or His love.  Have faith, have hope for your exit may be within the next mile.

 

Copyright © 2016 Mark Brady, All rights reserved