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

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 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

Check it out:  Inspired, rich words: believemiraclesblog.wordpress.com

Understanding vs Knowing

PowerThere are things, that go on in this world, I do not understand.  I ask questions like, “Why”, and “How?”  There are also things of God I do not understand, but I never used to question Him.  To be honest, I felt as if it showed a lack of faith.  So I have grown in my relationship with God just believing, and trusting, and knowing, “He’s got this!”  And in some ways that is good.  I relied on the following verses whenever I couldn’t understand or know what God was doing in my life, or in other’s lives around me:

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)
Phi 4:7  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (KJV+)

But now I am learning from my pastor to ask God, and it’s okay.  It’s not a lack of faith.  Especially when I sense knowledge coming from Him.  Maybe another way to put it is; if I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me something, and I do not understand what I am sensing or seeing, I ask God, “What is this?”  “What does this mean?”  “Who is this for?”

My pastors are Joel & Linda Budd.  They teach a lot about this in their book, Fill Me or Kill Me.  God wants to teach us how to reach people with power and authority.  How to set the captive free, and heal the broken-hearted.  In order to do that, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised this power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8.  Jesus also illistrated this kind of power in His ministry while here on earth, so it’s nothing to fear.  You won’t be weird.  In truth, you will be more like Jesus.  And isn’t that what being a Christian means, an imitator of Christ?

When the Holy Spirit hands you the keys to someone’s heart, real ministry can take place.  The receiver won’t argue religion, won’t ask unanswerable questions, but they will receive God’s love through you.  Understanding is good, but there is power in knowing!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Full Service

Fuel gauge 2A man wondered into the church.  He was hungry.  He was given a sack lunch.  The man was also deaf, but could read.  He understood two people in the church wanted to pray for his hearing, and he let them.  Then he shared his car was almost out of gas and he wouldn’t be able to get to work the next day.  One of the two went with him and filled up his car.  He shared while pumping the gas, God spoke to him and said, “Full Service.”  He knew what God meant, but to help him remember, he washed the windshield as well.

A person who has a need, is more apt to listen to you share God, after their immediate need is met.  Doing so, shows you really care for the “whole” person (Full Service).  There were times when Jesus healed one’s body, but also healed their heart.  Forgave them of their sins (Full Service).

When sharing God with another, keep an eye on the fuel gauge.  You never want to share more than the individual can hold.  When you share too much it spills over and makes a mess.  I learned this lesson while sharing God with a fellow commuter on the train.  She avoided me for the next several weeks.

Last of all, be careful with your attitude when serving.  Jesus said it best:

Mat 6:1  “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” (MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:
Honest words about finding her way:  https://katelynvallstruth.wordpress.com/

 

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

 

Check it out:
Touching, Spirit filled, sincere, encouraging words: https://tostrengthenamothersheart.wordpress.com

Accidently on Purpose

Know God

Your coworker took time to listen to your struggles.
You found an envelope with cash and an anonymous  note, “To help you out.”
A man pulled over and changed your tire not asking for anything in return.
A woman, at the light, handed you five dollars.
They stopped and helped you pick up items that had fallen through your bag and then carried them to your destination.
A person shared their umbrella, which was made for one, but they made sure you stayed dry.
They stopped to hold the door, they gave you directions with a smile, they paid for your coffee in the drive thru.

Random acts of kindness?
Perhaps.

Or were they actually people, just like you,

who have fallen in love with God?

And so desperately wanted you to know Him,

that they went out of their way to show you what He would do in that same moment?

 

They didn’t preach.

They didn’t judge.

They didn’t condemn.

They LOVED!

 

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

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

 

Jesus is Lord!!

jesus-is-lordA young lady in my church, who hides behind a recliner to talk to her parent’s bible study group stands up with boldness in front of her class.  The 15 year old shared with them why God should be allowed back into schools.  She revealed students have a right to proclaim “Jesus is Lord”.  She stood there in the power of the Holy Spirit as He enabled her.  In her own might it would never happen, but she loves God and wants to be used by Him.

We are in full blown Christmas mode right now.  This is the easiest time of the year to share “Jesus is Lord”.  After all, Jesus is the reason for this season.  People are hungry for truth and Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  All, who know “Jesus is Lord”, should be watching for opportunities to share their faith.  Ready to give an answer to those searching.  The Holy Spirit has been drawing them to God.  Now we need to be asking the Holy Spirit to help us to be ready and bold, like the young lady in my church.

This holiday season give more than an earthly gift.  Give the gift God gave us.  His son Jesus.  Share with all, why Jesus is the answer to their needs.  Give a gift that hopefully no one returns.

 

Copyright © 2016 Mark Brady, All rights reserved