Me? Grumpy?

Photo by: George Desipris

I recently hit a milestone in age. Stop singing. I’m not happy about it. In fact, I was glad April didn’t feel up to celebrating it due to recovering from surgery two days earlier. (Her recovery is going well.) I’ll confess, I scheduled her surgery knowing she wouldn’t feel up to it. Okay, I’ll tell ya, I turned 60.

Combining my age with my current attitude toward others and their behavior, one could call me Walter. As in “Walter Matthau.” As in, from the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” Especially when it comes to how people drive these days. It seems as if I can’t even go two blocks from my house, and I’m disgruntled. If you are the lead dog at the intersection, please pay attention to the light. When it turns green, GO!

Two days ago, at 4:56 AM: I was heading home after dropping April off at work, and I almost slammed into the back of an older pickup truck. It was parked in the driving lane of an exit ramp with no lights on. The area of that highway is under construction, and the new highway lights aren’t on yet. And there was room for the broken down driver to have pulled in between construction barrels. My grumpiness isn’t just with drivers. It seems to be with anyone exhibiting behavior I don’t like.

April diagnosed the problem accurately. She said I get upset when others don’t treat me the way I treat them. You see, I grew up having learned the “Golden Rule.” You know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Based on; Luke 6:31) The problem is, they do unto me things I wouldn’t do unto them. It seems these days as if they don’t care about others, only themselves. And they know when they have done wrong, but they will make it seem as if you are the one who committed a crime.

I know my grumpiness isn’t of God. I should love like He is to us. I need to show everyone “love,” and here is why. These are some of the qualities of genuine love:

  • Love is patient – True love can tolerate pain or suffering without complaining or getting angry.
  • Love is humble – True love is not proud and boastful. It is humble enough to admit its own mistakes and strive to correct them. It also forgives to get rid of hatred and enjoy peacefulness.
  • Love is respectful.
  • Love is calm – True love always maintains the mind’s clarity and the heart’s softness. Its heart is deep, and its mind is not narrow.
  • Love is persistent – True love doesn’t easily give up. True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18-19 (NIV)

 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33 (NIV)

“Dear God, please help me, love, as you love us. I certainly don’t want to be known as a ‘grumpy old man’ but as a ‘man of God’. A man of love.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Be a Truth Teller

Photo by: Magda Ehlers

It amazes me how powerful the mind is. It can convince one to do unspeakable things, and they can actually believe their action is okay. For instance, have you ever heard someone on trial make a ridiculous statement like, “God told me to murder my mother.”? And the defendant believes that to be the truth.

What one calls “truth” may be anything but the truth. This is one example of how powerful the mind is. Someone can go and do something and even say, “I heard from God!” What they really heard was their own truth spoken to themselves because, whether they admit it or not, they are a god unto themselves. And they go so far as to reject the “real” truth when they hear it, even if they give the teller of that truth permission to speak into their life. And even if that speaker is a trusted friend, a fellow follower of Jesus Christ who only wants the best for them out of Godly love.

The above kind of behavior is dangerous. It is immaturity and or spiritual immaturity on their part. If it’s compounded by a “defense mechanism,” then when they hear the “truth,” they will quickly defend their behavior or actions and, in the most childish of ways, throw insults and low–blows back at you. If you are speaking to them via a phone, they might even get so upset they throw out a lame excuse, say, “Goodbye.” and hang up on you.

If you are the teller of “truth,” it is essential for you not to take it personally. It is also important to recognize when the conversation is not producing good fruit and to find a way to end it peacefully or change the subject. But you do not have to take, put up with, or endure their insults, yelling, and lies.

Knowing how powerful the mind is, the Apostle Paul urges us strongly to renew our minds. You certainly don’t want to act like those in the world who do not have the love of God in them. Seeking revenge or at work only doing your job and not being willing to help your coworker, or as Jesus called it, “Going the extra mile.” Nothing says “love of God,” like doing something for another when you don’t have to or are not required to.

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Rom. 12:1-2 (MSG)

If you think you may be believing “false truth,” then pray and ask God to help you renew your mind. Remember this; the truth will set you free! Even from strong defense mechanisms. Give the people or the situation to God and trust him to take care of it. Know that if you were indeed wronged, then God will make it right. So stop walking around wounded.

If you are a “truth” teller, then be encouraged. Keep sharing the ‘truth” with others if given the opportunity to or permission to. It can set them free! The other person may call you names or never speak to you again, but know that God will deal with them, and they will be held accountable because they heard the truth. Keep loving the person and praying for them.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

To Tell the Truth

At current time, there is a popular game show on TV where celebrities try to figure out which of three individuals is telling the truth and is the actual person described at the beginning of each round.  The real person is the only one who has sworn to tell the truth.

The Bible says that the truth will set you free.

“For if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives.”
John 8:32 (TPT)

Telling the truth can be difficult, at times, but as I trained my children, “speak the truth, for the truth can always be dealt with.”  Dealing with lies is even harder.  Lies, create mistrust.  But what do you do if you need to speak the truth to someone about their life?  You don’t want to hurt them, or take the risk of them getting mad and never speaking to you again, so a lot of the times we don’t say anything.  We sit back and watch them struggle or continue with a habit in their life that hurts others, while hoping all along they will see the light, and change on their own, but that doesn’t happen very often or quick enough.

One principle I have learned is to “ask” permission to speak into someone’s life.  I will say something like, “May I speak into your life concerning something I see that I feel needs to be corrected?”  Now it is up to them to grant that permission or not.  If they say, “No” then I say, “Okay” and I move on.  But if they agree then after I share the truth to them that I feel they need to hear, they cannot get angry with me, because they gave me permission to speak first. It is important though to always speak the truth with love when touching on a personal issue.

They may disagree with what I said, or they may not understand it right away, and there is a chance they will not want to correct their behavior, but that is all on them.  Using this principle is very effective.  After a person hears the truth and then chooses to accept it, they will begin to journey down the path that leads to freedom, not just for them, but for all the people in their life.  Especially for those they previously hurt with their old behavior.  This new found freedom fosters love and acceptance in their family, friends, and working relationships.  God’s word is again proven to be correct.  He gave us these words to help us have better and happier lives on earth, which was part of his original plan all along.

To truth and freedom.  May both spread without hesitations and roadblocks.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.