Knowing the Way

040420When I was four years old I was able to show people how to get from our house to JCPenny.  I didn’t know the street names, but I knew when to get off the highway, and when to turn and which way.  This may be more important; I knew how to get back home.

Funny story; when I was five, we had been to JCPenny and other stores at the outdoor mall, it was the mid-sixties okay, and I had seen at least four different “Santa Clauses”.  Something just didn’t add up.  Then it hit me, and while we were on our way home, I blurted out the truth of how the whole thing worked.  My mother almost wrecked the 1963 Chevy Impala trying to reach over the back of the front seat and slap my legs, or whatever she should make contact with and screaming at me, “Shut up!”  My older sister started crying and whimpering, “It’s not true!  It can’t be true!”

A couple of years ago, I was working security at my church, when a middle age couple approached me and asked for money.  They said they had been in town to visit his sister who was in the hospital.  They shared they had intended to drive into town, visit, and drive back home.  Instead, they said they got lost and turned around several times.  So much so, their gas tank was almost empty.

I felt bad for them, and I didn’t give them cash, so I walked across the street and filled up their car.  While the man she was living with, it was an impression, went in to the store to do something, I had the opportunity to speak to the woman sitting in the car.

After meeting them I kept getting a feeling, or was hearing from God, that she used to go to church, but because of some bad choices in life had gotten away from the faith of her youth.  I squatted down so I could look at her in the face through the driver’s window and said, “I feel like God wants me to give you a message.  He wants you to know he misses you.”  She started crying.  I said, “I feel like you used to go to church when you were a little girl.”  She, now wiping tears, mentioned, “My grandma used to take us kids every Sunday.”  I encouraged her to, no matter what, with or without him, to go back to church again.  I told her I was sure God wouldn’t hold it against her that she had been MIA for so long, because he just wanted to see her come home.  Hang out, talk, and get caught up.

Before writing this blog tonight, I got the impression there is one, or perhaps many people who need to go home again.  Not just to a “church building”, but to a place where you can learn the true nature of God.  How much he loves you.  I think the message God had for her is similar to the message he wants you to hear.  If you don’t know how to find your way home, ask Him to help you.  He will.  He knows the way.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Home Cooked Meals

HotpotIn the last blog post I mentioned a friend living overseas who had not found a church yet where he is getting a steady diet of spiritual nutrition.  Not that he hasn’t tried.

We are very fortunate here in America to have many churches where the pastor feeds the people the word of God, and we can turn on the TV at any time of the day and find religious programming.  Now hold on, I agree there are some that are much better than others.  In fact there is a very small list of who I will give my time to.  There is also opportunity to see some speakers of God’s messages on YouTube as well.

My approach in preparing to speak publicly is this, I pray and ask God what He wants to say.  I call this process getting the meal plan.  Then I want to get God’s recipe for the items He wants to serve.  In other words, I don’t want to say the same thing the way I would, but I want to say those things the way God would if He was standing in front of the people himself.  This step is my studying.  Then, when I speak I serve God’s meal, his words, to the people.

Your pastor feeds you every week.  When a guest speaker talks, it’s like eating out!

After more discussion with my friend, he got revelation that he needed to stop relying so much on others to feed him, and start preparing home cooked meals.  We aren’t talking about TV dinners that you heat up in 4 minutes either.  He is going to get back into God’s word.  He is going to study.  He’s going to pray.  He is going to cook his own meals as God directs.  He may have to eat alone, but then he can eat as much as he wants, and after he is full he can then go out and feed others.

Dietitians have been telling us for years that eating healthy foods, prepared at home is good for us.  There is nothing wrong with eating out.  There is nothing wrong with going to church and eating with others.  There is nothing wrong with ministers on TV or via social media, as long as they are preaching the word of God, but remember to have a balanced diet.

“He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.” Psalms 107:9 (MSG)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But They Go to Church

Charlie 33There it is.  Another ugly, races, hateful, hurtful word from one I know very well.  “I don’t understand,” has been cried out to God many times after one of their zingers comes out of their mouth.  “God, why do they still feel, act, and say these things?  After all, they go to church!”

Just the other day, when this happened again, I questioned heaven for understanding, I sensed the Lord spoke and said, “But church doesn’t go to them.”  It was in that moment I realized that even though they go to church every time the doors are open, the doors to their heart are closed!  They might even be locked, boarded up with a sign posted, “No Trespassing”.

Jane Rubietta writes, in her book, Come Closer,

“After all, what difference does the gospel make if it doesn’t make a difference, right?”

The word of God should change us, and make us more like Jesus.  It should soften our heart toward others.  Does that mean be tolerant of their sins?  Not at all, but give us understanding as to why they act out like they do.

So what do we do when someone we kind of have to be around says or does something that hurts?  We pray for them as we stand up for Truth, and then we surround them with love.  God’s love, perfect love, is the only key to opening the doors to their wounded hearts.  They must see love, hear love, and feel loved even after they hurt us or others.

If the message they hear at church isn’t getting through, then the love they witness from us just might.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God is Not Religious

Charlie 230Satan is religious.  He loves churches that try to get you to follow a list of dos and don’ts knowing when you fail, you will probably hate yourself and possibly hate God.  Satan religiously tries to get you to believe the lie that you have to follow a list of rules.  The problem is simple:  you are trusting man to tell you what God desires from you instead of finding out for yourself.

If God wanted us to be religious, he would have not sent his Son, Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins, but instead would have stayed in the temple, behind a curtain.  When Jesus died that curtain ripped from top to bottom.  God doesn’t want religion from us, but a relationship with us.

When you get to know God for yourself, you’ll fall in love with him, and because you don’t want to hurt the One you love, you change your behavior.  Even if you slip up, out of love He forgives, comforts, encourages, and helps you.  This paradigm is a much better way to live.

A friend once said he didn’t have a relationship with God.  I said, “Sure you do!  It’s just not a good one.”  Everyone has a relationship with God.  He loves you, and if you haven’t talked to him in a while, then I’m sure he misses you!  God knows where you are, what you are going through, and he still knows your name.  Can you hear him whispering it?

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Life doesn’t Look Anything like the Brochure!

travel brochure template printable e To Canada A travel brochure using typical CanadianWell, here you are.  In the middle of life, and honestly, it’s not what you expected.  What do you do?  Give up?  Run away?  Get a divorce?  The attraction is; wherever I go has to be better than this!  Disappointing job, house, spouse, church, etc. doesn’t really matter.  It sucks!

Some look for the answer at the bottom of a bottle, only to find it’s empty.  Others turn to substances that only dulls the pain, but never removes it.  Some fight.  They fight society, the government, churches, and worse yet, other people.  You want to know the truth? Whenever any of this happens, Satan sits back and laughs.  John 10:10 says, “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy…”  What you might ask?  YOU!  He’s still mad at God for not letting him have his way, and he is using you to get even.

You want to know the Truth?  The rest of John 10:10 says “…but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Jesus said that, and He is Truth.  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Accepting Jesus and living his way is not a cliche, it is truth, and it works.  He doesn’t promise you a perfect life with a perfect job, house, spouse or church, but He says He will be there with you through it.  The reason you keep hearing this is because it is truth, and it will set you free.  Pastor Linda Budd, of RiverGate Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma said last Sunday, “Jesus doesn’t speak the problem, he speaks the answer.”  Jesus didn’t say, “Oh my.  It’s stormy out here.  We could be in danger.  Perhaps we should go back.”  No!  He said to the storm, “Peace be still!”

I needed to write this today, because I needed to remind myself of the truth, about Truth, and what He says to storms, disappointments in life.  I say to my storm, “In the name of Jesus, peace be still!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Guilty as Charged

judge officeI was in a court room this week.  On trial was my perception of someone.  After hearing arguments from both the accuser and the defendant, the judge was ready to rule.  I was found guilty of thinking I knew someone and the motive behind their behavior.  If the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God was told, the fact of the case was, I didn’t.  Honestly, I didn’t know them at all.  In court, both parties in the case, sat down and explained their side.  Each party was heard.

“Communication brings understanding.  Understanding brings acceptance.”

In God’s family, talking usually works, as long as both parties involved feel as though they have been heard.  It should be that easy in the world in general, but unfortunately it isn’t.  Some people feel they have a right.  A right to be mad.  A right to hate, and will not even consider talking, or listening to the other person.  Carrying around that kind of “right” gets heavy, and weighs one down.  Living by love is a much better way.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. (Col 3:12-15 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 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

The Temple

20180618_103427I was sitting in a church admiring the grandeur, the architecture.  Then, I opened my Bible to a random spot.

As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!” Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.” (Mar 13:1-2 MSG)

Then I heard God whisper, “They try so hard to please me.  To follow rules.  To get every step of pomp and circumstance in order without missing a beat.  But I, the Lord God simply want to rule their heart.  I will put my rhythm in their steps.  I will take their chaos and create order.  Even the windows to their hearts are stained.  There are many doors, but where do they lead?  Do they lead to me?

Their prayers are simply memorized.  Just hit play!  Where is the freshness that drips from their lips?  Their place of worship is hard and cold.  I desire 20180618_103903they worship me from their soft, warm, living hearts.  They feel their good deeds achieve tally marks on a chalk board by my chair.  I would rather the receivers of those deeds feel me.  They step into a dark, small closet to confess their sins.  I say confess them loudly from your roof tops, so you are less likely to repeat them.

The water by the doors is not holy.  Only I, the Lord God Almighty is Holy.  Dip your fingers in me.  Sprinkle me upon your body.  And while you’re at it, take a shower in me.”

God can be in any building, in fact He can be anywhere like your home, office, or car, but only if you take him there, or invite him in.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

5 Gifts I Received From My Father

Jerry R BradyAfter my father passed away, recently, I reflected on his life, and realized there were a lot of gifts, “life lessons” he gave me, but today I want to share the 5 biggest ones.

5. My father taught me how to fish. You see, he is the greatest fisherman I have ever met.  I realize I will never be as good as him, but I learned the sport of it, the joy of being in nature, and taking on the challenge.  Go fishing, and take a young person with you.

4. My father taught me how to be a good worker. I can only count maybe 10 days my father missed work, other than weekends and vacations.  He taught me; at work, look around, there is always something to do.  Be loyal, and work hard.

3. My father showed me, you can talk to anyone. My father was funny, and even a few seconds after meeting a stranger, a friend, or a loved one they would be smiling.  Spending time with someone is a gift.  Be generous.

2. My father taught me how to plan, be organized, and resourceful. A greater gift than I ever realized when I was young. This lesson, has saved time, helped me be prepared, and in general, made life easier.  Be ready for your next event.

1. My father (and mother) took me, and my sister, faithfully to church where I fell in love with the most amazing God. I accepted his free gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus.  I grew in knowledge of God, and dedicated my life to living for him.  I have not always gotten it right, but my loving Heavenly Father has understood, has forgiven me, and has helped me to move on.  This was the greatest gift my father and mother ever gave me.  It’s the greatest gift you could ever give anyone.  Share God.

Dad was ready for his final event as well.  Dying.  I hope you will be too.  I pray if you have never made that decision to accept God’s greatest gift, you will right now.  Just say, “God, I accept your Son, Jesus.  I ask him to forgive me of my sins, my wrong doings in life, and to come into my life and show me how to truly live.”

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. (Phi 1:3 AMP)  I love you Dad!

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