Heaven or Hell?

My friend and I were riding the commuter train, from Chicago, home after a long day. Somehow, the conversation turned to God and each of us shared our beliefs on what happens to us when we die.

He said he was convinced, after we die, we are reincarnated.

Then I shared my belief that if we have accepted Jesus Christ, as God’s son, and have invited him to forgive us of our sin, wrong doing, then when we die we spend eternity in heaven. If we don’t accept Jesus Christ, then we spend eternity in hell.

We were able to listen to each other, with respect, but then I told my friend this; “If you are right, then I have nothing to be concerned about. If I am correct, you may have a long time to regret it.

We exited the train, and before heading to our cars, he said, “You sure have given me something to think about.” I hope and pray he has now accepted Jesus, but on that day, he wasn’t ready.

You have to choose one or the other. There is no way around it. There are no excuses for not selecting. You can’t say it is impossible to know, for God reveals himself to everyone.

Romans 1:19-25 (TPT)

19 In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. 20 Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.

21 Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. 22 Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were in fact shallow fools. 23 For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!

24 This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves— 25 all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory and praises to him for eternity of eternities! Amen!

Choose God before it is too late. He has already chosen you, and He loves you more than you will ever know.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

I Need the Rainbow

080212TB 228This year, 2020, has proven to be one big storm that won’t stop.  It has harmed so many people, in so many ways.  Interview them, and you would hear different versions of the same story, “Hurt”.  Whether it’s a lost job, drowning in debt, the death of a loved one due to Covid, keeping family and friends from gathering as they once did, or new challenges no one saw coming.  When will it end?

Isaiah 61:3  The Passion Translation

to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss instead of tears,
    and the mantle of joyous praise
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.

You see, the only way to get through the storm, to silence the thunder, to calm fear when lightning flashes, is to look up, see God, and put on the mantle of joyous praise.  Praise him with full throat.  A friend, who lives in Taiwan, said he was singing praises to God while riding his scooter the other day.  Not caring who heard him, but unless they knew English, they probably didn’t even know what he was saying anyway.

The last few blogs have had this theme, of looking only at God, so I know this is the message of heaven to all for this time, but especially to those who love God.  The storm will end and when it does people will come out to survey the damage, and even if they see what harm has come upon you, but then look at your face they will see peace, love, God.  They may ask, “How can you still love God?  How is it you can still smile?”  Your answer will be, “I’m a tree planted by Yahweh as a living display of His glory!”

The storm will end, and when it does, I hope you are still standing, and still looking up, because only then will you see the rainbow.  The symbol from God, signaling, the storm is over.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Protest Hell

060920 2Throughout this whole COVID-19 ordeal, I have been sad as the numbers climbed, but the impact did not land on my front porch, until now.  Ten days ago, my friend, Chris called and informed me he caught the disease from work.  Chris is 65.  Today, I called to see how he was doing, but he did not answer the phone.  About an hour later I received a text message letting me know he was now in the ICU.

I prayed for Chris and his wife, who also has it, but I felt as if I needed more people to agree with me in prayer on his behalf.  We needed to pray and protest hell!  You see, sickness, death, hate, and disease is of the devil.   There is power when people gather, agree, and pray.  Picture hundreds, or thousands marching against the gates of hell, pushing back evil.

Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer my heavenly Father will do it for you.” Matthew 18:19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

I posted in Facebook the need, and right away people started telling me they were praying.  At first, three, then 20, and at last check over 90 people have said, “I will stand with you Mark, in the gap for your friend Chris.”  I even heard from people 8000 miles away.

My heart was touched, and to be honest, my eyes started leaking at the out pouring of concern, and love.  This is the kind of action we need to take right now for our world as well.  I would say, not one of those who said they would pray, knows Chris, but they took time to pray anyway.

I didn’t know George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, or the others who have died when they shouldn’t have.  I didn’t know the five police officers ambushed in Dallas either.

My point is this; we, who do know God, should be praying more now than ever for all people affected by the recent events and for our country.  This cannot be the story of America.  We don’t have to know them first, like those praying for Chris don’t know him, but prayed anyway, expecting results.

Thank you to all who have prayed for Chris, or will after reading this post.  People of God cannot give up hope, grow weary, get discouraged, or turn to fear, because we know God is bigger than all things, and he is more powerful than evil.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Much More?

052620How do you convince someone you love them?  You could tell them over and over perhaps.  You could show them in every way possible.  You could do everything you can think of.  You could even learn their love language, and speak it fluently.  After all the effort you would expect them to accept you, to accept your love, but what if they don’t?  Can you imagine the frustration you would feel?  Then, what if you told them, “In order to prove how much I love you, I’ll die for you.”  They might still reject your offer, and even say, “You’re crazy!”

Choose Love!

The truth is, God did this very thing, but He even went one step further.  He gave us his only son to die for us.  It is never right for a child to die before the parent.  It’s not natural.  To think this was God’s plan, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  I mean, how much more can God do to prove how much He loves us?

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)

In these days we are living in, everyone who hasn’t, should run to God and accept his free gift.  Are you afraid of being obligated of loving God back?  Are you concerned you might have to live in a way you would rather not?  You know it doesn’t matter what you have done in your past, his forgiveness will cover it.  If you disagree then you are listening to the one, Satan, who wants you to die for eternity.  Living for eternity is better, and there is only one way, God’s.  How much more can He do?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If the Dead Could Speak, Would You Listen?

Charlie 666If death somehow gave us truths we didn’t have or didn’t believe while living what would we do with it?  Most, would probably want to come back to life to tell those they love and others what they now know.  One thing is for sure, when a person dies, they know in an instant there is a God, and there is judgement for how they lived and best, or worst of all, that there is indeed a heaven, and a hell.

Jesus told a true story about such a request from a dead man:

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31 (MSG)

Jesus told the people straight up, believe me, believe the Word of God (Bible), believe the many ministers, evangelist, missionaries, family members, friends, co-workers, and yes, bloggers that I have sent to tell you the Good News of the Gospel while you are living.  That is; accept Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing.  After you die, and see these truths for yourself, it will be too late for you to choose God.  You say, it’s too hard to believe in something, or someone you can’t see, yet you believe in gravity, and the wind!  It takes faith, and God gave everyone a measure of faith to get you started.  Please act on it.  Don’t live, or should I say die, to regret your decision.

One last thing; “Thank you,” to everyone who reads this blog regularly, or once in a while.  Each post starts with prayer, asking God what He wants to say to you.  I do my best to transmit his words to your hearts.  I pray for you as I write, “Words, inspiring you to grow in God”.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

WARNING!

Charlie 106Here in the Philippines, they print pictures on the packages of cigarettes, that show what could happen if you smoke.  Is it effective?  I don’t know, but I don’t see a lot of smoking going on.  Of course that could be due to the cost of cigarettes.

God told us, in his word, what would happen if you sin – death!  Is it effective?  I don’t know, because I see a lot of people sinning, including me from time to time.  God also showed us what our sin cost – the death of his only Son, Jesus.  You can pay for your sins, or accept Jesus’ payment.  It’s up to you.

”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Still Looking?

Charlie 75Do you know the first thing Jesus said, when he exited the tomb?  “Ta-Da!”  Answered a third grader in a Sunday school class one Easter.  He probably didn’t, but should have.  Perhaps he said, “I told you!”  I don’t really know, but it doesn’t matter.  What does count is what he did for you and me by dying, being the perfect sacrifice for our wrong doing, and then defeating death at its own game.

Something I had never thought of before; the word “tombstone” probably came from Jesus’ tomb stone.  Although his never got engraved with something like:

Here lies Jesus Christ
Son of God, and Mary
0 – 33

Luke 24 1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.

4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head. (MSG)

I love when the angel said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery?”  Are you still looking for answers to your life?  Are you looking for them in a cemetery?  Why?  Jesus, is the One you are searching for, or for more of, even if you don’t realize it.  Your spirit is crying out to be reunited with God and that is only possible through accepting Jesus.

So where is Jesus then?  He is right there with you now.  Waiting for you to turn to him either for the first time, or again.  Everything else in life, and every other place will be empty.  As empty as the tomb Jesus borrowed for three days.  Stop looking, and start accepting that Jesus Christ has risen, and is alive, and he’s been pursuing you, waiting for you to believe.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Cleaning up Life

20181130_231402I was going through my father’s papers the other day.  I had to keep some of them, but most of them were old records about his life that were no longer of value, so I shredded them.  While going through that process I thought about a man’s life, and the summation of it all.  Is the end result a bag of shredded documents?  I hope not.

Our lives, our legacies should live on after we are said and done.  The love we showed others should still be echoing off the walls of their hearts.  The kind deeds we expressed should still be bringing smiles to the ones who received them.  Love, is the only thing that will endure to the end.  Knowing this, it becomes paramount that we learn how to love unconditionally.  The only way to do that is to fall in love with the One who is love, and that is God.

“The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love–so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”  (1Jo 4:8 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Three Days of Darkness

dispelThere is nothing like the fear that comes from physical, or emotional darkness.  When you can’t see your way, and you have no clue on when and where light will come.  Your heart can pound like a concert bass drum.

Exo 10:21-23 MSG   GOD said to Moses: “Stretch your hand to the skies. Let darkness descend on the land of Egypt–a darkness so dark you can touch it.”  Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days.  Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites: they had light where they were living.

Another time, when there was darkness on the earth, for three days, was when the Son of God, Jesus died.  You talk about your only ray of light going out and sickness settling in, to the very depths of your being.  Jesus had once said, “I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.” (Joh 12:46 MSG)  Three days of darkness, until Jesus was resurrected from the dead, then Light once again walked on the earth.

Are you stumbling around in life desperately running your hand along the wall, panicking as you look for the switch?  Has your darkness lasted much longer than three days?  Don’t get angry, as Pharaoh did.  Don’t let your heart be hardened, as his did, and definitely don’t shake your fist at God.  He may be allowing the darkness, to move you toward Him, who is Light.  Accept Light.  Accept God.  Try living in a way, where you can see your way, by believing in God’s way.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Your View

Jesus 1

“Jesus” by Titus (age 6)

Your view of Jesus has a lot to do with how close you are to him.  Is your knowledge of the Son of God first hand, or secondary?  Do you look at him from above, therefore looking down on him?  Or is your perspective from his side, as if equal?  Perhaps one should look at Jesus from the foot of the cross.  Feeling crimson forgiveness of sin drip on you.  Hearing deep gasps of air as he spoke his last words.  Smelling the stench of death waiting in the wings to take him.  Watching the Savior of the world, arms opened, exhibiting love, even in death.

He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?” (Mat 16:15 MSG)

This is the truth about who Jesus is; He is the Son of God, the only one born of a virgin, who fulfilled 400 prophesies concerning the Messiah, who healed the sick, the lame, the hurting, who spoke truth, and was without sin, therefore being the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, who died and was resurrected three days later whether this is your view or not.

We will all stand before Jesus one of these days, and he will ask us the same question, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

 Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved