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

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

To Know

To know unconditional love;
is to know God.
To know real forgiveness;
is to know Jesus.
To know perfect direction;
is to know the Holy Spirit.

To know pure laughter;
is to know true friends.
To know great joy;
is to know a child.
To know time;
is to know an elderly person.

To know gratitude;
is to feed the hungry.
To know security;
is to clothe the naked.
To know health;
is to visit the sick.

To know peace;
is to know contentment.
To know lasting hope;
is to know faith.
To know wisdom;
is to know the Word of God.

In a Moment

20160508_113818Touching a life is one of the most special things we, as humans, can ever do.  In the first book I wrote, “Authentic Ministry” (now in the process of being re-written because I tried to write it like my favorite author Max Lucado, and God whispered to me one day, “I already have a Max Lucado, write in your voice.”), so it is not out yet, but I wrote a whole chapter about touching lives, one of my favorite subjects.

There are so many ways to touch another’s life.  Through spoken words, through written words, through a song you share, sometimes the right photo, or simply reaching over and holding a hand.  The nice thing is you don’t have to be gifted, or have a doctorates’ degree in Theology.  If you are a human, you are qualified.  Just do what seems right…for that moment.

The one thing that you do need is practice to see the moments.  Many times we go too fast in life to see them, hear them, or sense them.  And they aren’t there very long, that’s why they are called “moments”.  Or worse yet we are so obsessed with our own lives to even notice someone else’s.

The other day I was talking to a coworker through our instant messaging tool.  All of sudden I sensed it.  I was in the middle of “a moment”.  This person needed to hear an encouraging word.  I shared one.  They thought God had told me to share that word with them.  I told them it came from me, but the more I thought about it I had this realization;  when one spends time with God, reads his word, talks with him through prayer you begin to really know him.  You learn his character, and you begin to take on his character.  I told my coworker this, and then went on to say, “I think if God was physically the one typing the message that is what he would have said to you.”

Don’t miss the moments.  Look hard for them.  Search them out, and then don’t be afraid to convey a message in whatever form comes natural to you.  Today, being Mother’s Day, is the perfect “moment” to share in a way God himself would.

What’s wrong with This Picture?

DSC_5568I just spent a week in Ndola, Zambia.  If one just drives through some of the poorer communities, as we did, you are filled with guilt, compassion, and sorrow.  We in America think we know how fortunate we are, but until you see firsthand how others on the same planet live you really don’t know the depth of our fortune.

This trip wasn’t just to drive through their communities, but to get out and to walk among them.  To talk, to listen, to build relationships that encourage, and to make sure their hope continues.  We were careful not to promise them resources that would be a strain to sustain, for that would be helping that hurts.  The perfect plan to change someone else’s living conditions is to find ways to get those that live there to come up with the plans that will change their lives, change their communities.

Building those relationships started out slow, but by mid-week bonds were beginning to form.  Smiles begin showing up on faces that on day one were not there.  It was strange being in a community where you were the first mazunga, “white” person some of the kids had ever seen.  I have recently learned there are three things that crosses any boundary; love, laughter and God.

DSC_5473By the end of our week some tears were shed as we cDSC_5524elebrated God together and said our goodbyes.  A lot had been accomplished as we visited each church of the seven in Fubuku.  As we led a bible study in spiritual gifts, as we “tried” to stucco a mill house, and as we moved most of the 3000 concrete blocks into positions so those who did know what they were doing could put them in place.  As we did some home visits to those who were HIV positive, or the widow who was raising 10 orphans on her own.  This group of God believing, God fearing Zambians find ways to survive, not just
every month, but every day.

DSC_5150We feel our goal of building relationships was accomplished.  We even gave them a DSC_5309picture of a person from my church section with their name, so they could pray for them.  Then likewise we took their pictures holding up the photo of the one they selected.  The response to this was overwhelming.  They stood in a line, some for 30 minutes waiting for their turn to be photographed.

Yes, there is a lot wrong with the picture of their lives, their schools, or lack of, but today their hope is stronger than ever as they now know there are disciples of Christ who live 8252 miles away, who are praying for them, love them, and who believe in them.

If you haven’t seen it yet check out the short video of our trip:

https://www.facebook.com/206Saturdays/videos/483025878547210/

Reach Out and Touch Someone

touching-heartThey’re all around you.  They are hurting, discouraged, lost, or broken.  Life has not been fair to them either through circumstances, or even perhaps by their own doing.  Regardless, they still need a touch.  There is nothing like the touch of another human being.  A study was done some years ago and found that infants who were touched, held, cuddled had fewer health problems in the early years of their lives.

There are so many ways to touch someone.  I heard a street beggar once say, “Even if you don’t want to help me at least acknowledge that I exist by looking at me!”  Wow!  So you see, a simple glance, or smile can touch a person’s life whether you know them or not.  But for those you do know, you can do more.  Encourage them with a spoken word, an unexpected hug, a note they will find later that expresses your love and appreciation of them.

One of the biggest keys to touching lives is seeing them, and being mindful of them.  Sometimes they give you clues as to what they need from you.  Sometimes it’s a shot in the dark, but an effort that misses the mark is still a message that says, “I know something’s wrong, and I care.”

When you look at others, and try to touch them in some way you will many times find that your own heart is touched.  It’s a quick and easy investment in others, and it pays back in great dividends.  I hope you will follow the One who first touched you, by touching others.