I Had To

This week I choose to do something I didn’t want to do.  My heart was restless as the date approached.  I discussed the situation with a friend, and also with my wife.  Then two days before the event my wife, my helpmate, said one word.  As soon as I heard it, I knew.  I knew what I had to do.  I was thankful for her hearing God where I struggled.

You see, there are times when someone hurts you, and the pain goes deep into your heart.  You tell them what they did, but they don’t care at all, and their pride keeps them from admitting wrong and apologizing.  When this happens, you find yourself wanting to avoid them to protect your heart from future pain.  As well, you don’t want to do anything for them, as you feel they do not deserve it.  I had forgiven them, but I didn’t want to see them.  I don’t mean to be so secret about the details, but I don’t want to give any clues that might identify the perp.

God’s word tells how to handle hurt:

Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. Ephesians 4:31-32 TPT

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:28 NLT

I did do the right thing, but I had to pray, a lot, and ask God for help.  I also asked him to protect me, and help me not bring up the past while I was there.  They did do one thing that bothered me while I was in their presence, but I left before the pain erupted.  God is good at helping us in our time of need. His specialty is loving those who don’t deserve it.

If you are facing a similar situation, pray, and ask God to help you do the right thing that will glorify Him.  You never know, but your loving kindness might just be the catalyst to change things around.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Good, But Best

good, better and best word written by 3d hand“The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough.” (Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest – May 25)

Confused?  Let me explain.

We can be confident, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]”. 2 Tim. 1:7 (AMP)

Therefore, with our free will, we should be able to make good, sound, decisions for our own lives.  I felt like I had done that.  I retired from AT&T, at the age of 55, and instead of buying an RV and traveling, I decided to move back to my home town to take care of my father, to write, and occasionally speak publically.  I was happy with these good, sound decisions.

Not my will, but thine be done.

Life was, and would have remained good, but I always yield my choices and decisions to God.  Before my father passed, not long after I had moved back, we had some great moments fishing again.  (Not to tell a fish story, but we managed to “keep” 167 fish in only 3 outings.)  I bought a house I really enjoyed living in.  I was getting used to my new, good life, but God wanted “his best life for me”.  (Kind of sounds like something Joel Osteen would say.)

You see, I had been divorced for 24 years.  I kind of wanted to be married again, but was content being single.  Looking back, I see all the people God had put in front of me to work on my heart toward marriage.  One Friday I found myself filling out a profile on a dating website.  I submitted it and there she was.  From all of the women presented, the one, who would later become my wife, stood out.  I could see the love of God radiating from her postage stamp size photo.

To make a long story short, I contacted her, we texted, then talked, and then video chatted via Messenger.  I went to the Philippines to visit her and the family.  One month after returning home from the trip, I put everything in storage, rented my house out, and moved there to marry her.  It has not been a “cake walk”, but we always had love to build on.

While waiting for her immigration process to be completed, we have grown together, and lately started dreaming about our future.  There are several things beginning to open up, and reveal to us the will of God, for us, as a couple.  I love it!

You see, I could have continued to be single and have a good life, but because I surrendered my will to God, I am now living the best life I could ever have.  I thank God for loving me so much.  And ya know what?  He loves you too, just as much!

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.

False Advertising?

052220I attended a funeral this week.  My aunt.  She was the last sibling to pass on, from my father’s side.  There were 10 of them.  After the grave side service I walked over to my father’s grave.  I cleaned it off and told him I missed him, even though he was a handful to deal with in the last years of his life.

My father was 82 when he passed away.  As I was looking at his tombstone, I saw his favorite photo attached to it.  (See photo)  I laughed as I recalled teasing him, before he passed, about ripping it off of there, with a crowbar.  He’s the one who glued it on there in the first place.  It dawned on me, toward the end of his life, this is how he saw himself, still 21 and a, “Lady’s Man”.  At 70, divorced, he even had wallet size copies made up with his phone number written on the back of them.  He would hand them out to women he met at the dance halls.  I would say to my father, “That’s false advertising!”  He didn’t see the humor in it.

This brings me to a point:  Is how you see yourself, the same as others see you?  Do you think more highly of yourself than you should?  Do you consider yourself to be a better person than others would say you are?  Or, would others say more good things about you than you would say about yourself?  What about when you are at home?  Are you the same person others see in public?  At church?  Ouch!  I’ll admit, at times my wife sees my temper when it takes a lot for it to show up in public.  Reminds me of the book, “Who You Are (When No One is Looking)”.  The title alone was convicting.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,…” Romains 12:3a (NKJV)

Having an accurate, positive, balanced, and God focused image of yourself is very healthy.  I think it helps you relax, as well as those around you.  Anything more could be considered, “false advertising”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where’s the Love

051420There once was a lady, no, not from Nantucket, who was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, a worker, and a church goer.  Yes, she seemed to once have a strong love for God, family, people in general, and especially children.

I thought I knew her, but after being separated off and on over the years, it took me a while to notice it, but after being around this lady again, I could tell something had changed.

I suspected many things, which I won’t go into, but it wasn’t until today, as I was talking about her that I labeled the problem correctly.  Love had leaked out over the years.  Perhaps even unnoticed by her, but she had changed. To friends, family and fellow church goers it’s got to be obvious.

So how did this happen?  I think she had gotten hurt over the years and never dealt with it.  Hurt by her husband, her children, friends, work situations, other family members, and yes, even by those at her church.  You see, there seems to be a connection between getting hurt, not dealing with it in a proper manner, like going to God with it, and love.  Also, if one is not getting filled back up on love by spending time with God then a person runs low.  It’s not obvious, because there is no internal dip stick for our love tanks.

When love leaks out, others get hurt.  A lack of love can cause many problems, so it is very important to know if you are leaking love, and why.  If you have experienced great pain from a conversation or situation last week, last year, or several years ago, please deal with it.  Either try to go back to the person who hurt you, and if that is not possible then definitely go to God with it, and ask him to help you overcome the pain.

I found myself going to God, because when I confronted the women mentioned above and shared how she had hurt me she replied, “Well just get over it!”  I was stunned, and now hurt worse.  A wounded person may come across as cynical, judgmental, critical, hateful, difficult, controlling, and even as a racist.  When love runs out it is replaced with these, and other negative attitudes.

I wonder if, after sinning, she tells God, “just get over it!”

It’s hard to love these type of people.  In my case, I now stay away to protect my heart and I pray for her.  I hope God will bring her, and others like her to a situation where they one day see how low on love they are.  It’s not too late for them.  God can easily love them back to full, but they need to get close to him, know him, converse with him and read his word.  You see, living with love shared takes two.  If only one sided, it is simply, love given.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Two Can do More Than One

051220Considering the challenges, it’s understandable why my wife and I had a difficult time in the beginning adjusting to each other.  An American who didn’t understand Filipino culture, and a Filipino who wasn’t used to a man making decisions.  My wife’s father left the family when she was young.

We had several, heated discussions to say the least.  Many times, either of us wanted to say, “Forget it!”  But one thing kept us trying to figure it out.  We both had to admit there was no doubt God wanted us to be together.  There were too many strong confirmations this marriage was being formed in heaven.

The one line that always got us to stop fighting and take a breath was this,

“We can’t let Satan win!”

It seems as if we were battled by fierce forces unseen, and the truth was, we were!  Satan wanted to put asunder what God had joined together.  “Asunder”, means interfere.

Today, we are doing great.  My wife has only messed up once in the last three months.  Did I say, “My wife”?  I meant me.  The other night we were talking, and I said something about helping others, more than we currently are.  It was then, my wife opened up and shared her dream of helping lives in tangible ways ever since she was a little girl.  I had no idea.  We then dreamed about what that would look like.

The next day I had the opportunity to help a young father, who had relocated to Tulsa from the Covid hot spot of Boston.  They arrived in an old vehicle with only the things they could pack in it.  After he pulled away I was moved to tears as I thought about the shoes he walks in, and I was thankful I was not wearing them.  I don’t have a lot of “extra” right now, as our own budget is tight, but the things he really needed, I had.  It was while thinking on what had just transpired, I said to myself, “Two can do more than one.”  Walking out my wife’s dream had just begun.

I am thankful to God for his many blessings, and I look forward to seeing what and how God will do more through us together as his Spirit leads.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If I Could Just Touch

050820 3I love the story, in the Bible, of the woman with the issue of blood.  Not because of her sickness, but because of her faith.  In case you don’t know it, she bled for 12 years.  Broke, and tired of being considered, “unclean” she thought, “If I could just touch the hem of his garment, I would be healed.”  She did, and she was.

To share some personal reflections concerning the time we are living in: you hear some talking about we are in “end times”.  “End times”, meaning the last days on earth as we enter into the days described in a book of the Bible, “Revelation”.  It’s easy to see a path where the world will try to come together and form a “One World Order”.  Using one currency, anywhere in the world.  Buying and selling by placing a chip in one’s hand or forehead.  They would first tell us this is how we have to have our Coronavirus vaccination.  Of course some call that chip, “The Mark of the Beast”.  Crazy?  No.  The Bible talks about it and it may not look exactly like that, but it will happen.

I also think after this first round of the virus you will see a lot of people move out of the “hot spots” and into smaller cities.  Especially now, realizing they can work remotely.

What does all that have to do with those who still believe in God, and the women mentioned at the top of this post?

We will need to have the kind of faith the woman had.  To believe God, no matter what so many others may be trying to convince us of.  To ignore their passion, beliefs, and convictions so we can concentrate on what God says.  Provisions could get scarce tempting us to cave and go along with the multitudes just to survive.  Could we put the carcass of a chicken in a pot at night and believe God for a whole chicken in that pot by the next morning?  Why not?  I heard a testimony of this actually happening.  Is that any harder to believe for than thinking you would be healed just because you managed to touch only the hem of Jesus’ garment?

My point is this:  As the days get harder, and on the outside scarier, will we maintain our faith?  Will we do what it takes to go against the crowd and reach out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment?  I say this, When you reach out and touch Jesus’ garment don’t let go!  Hang on till the very end.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Was a Pig!

050520A pig is very selfish.  Also, it will kick and scream to live until the very last drop of blood drips out of its body.  Pigs will do anything it takes to survive, and to get theirs.  Sound like anyone you know?

Okay, I would like to say I haven’t been that bad, but still, I too was a pig, until, God started converting me, patiently, and lovingly, to be a lamb.

Arthur Katz, in his book, “Reality: The Hope of Glory” writes about the difference in a lamb and a pig.  A lamb is quiet while it gives up its life, but a pig, will squeal and fight to the very end and will not choose, of its own will, to lay down its life for any reason, especially, for the benefit of another.

Art wrote about the experience he was given to take the life of a pig they were planning to roast.  After giving it some thought, he thought it was better to hand the knife to one who knew how to use it with surgical precision.

I don’t want to be a pig.  I don’t want to live the kind of life that would be considered selfish, dirty, self seeking just so my needs can be met.  I want to be a lamb.  In order to become a lamb, I must exercise my free will, and hand God the knife.  I must ask him to cut away, until everything inside of me that resembles a pig, will be removed.  Ouch!

What is my motivation for this desire?  Being a follower of Jesus Christ, and knowing the Bible talks about Jesus being a lamb.

John 1:36 (NET Bible)

Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

Isaiah 53:7 (NET Bible)

He was treated harshly and afflicted,
but he did not even open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,
like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not even open his mouth.

The scripture in Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus.  Like Jesus did, I too desire to quietly give my life to God, for whatever purpose he has for me.  I don’t want to do it reluctantly, but with gladness in my heart.  Knowing that any personal suffering is only for a moment, but the effects will last forever.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Because He Went Looking

050120 4I had a conversation with one of my neighbors today.  He conveyed a story of one of his, and his wife’s travels back to the U.S. from Uganda.  He shared how the plane developed some trouble and they landed safely in the middle of the night un-expectantly.

After a few hours of mass confusion and people cutting to get in front of him and his wife, they finally got to their hotel room the airlines placed them in.  Ironically, by being one of the last to be taken care of, they found themselves in a five star hotel, and in a plush room.  The airlines does not give out the expensive rooms first!

“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” (Mat. 20:16 MSG)

But my neighbor’s story got even better.  They expected to have reached their destination, instead they found themselves delayed, and hungry.  He said he set out to find some food.  When he went back to the main floor of the hotel, he found in a room an impressive spread of food.

The next day they got word the plane was ready.  While in line boarding, a passenger who had spent the night at the same hotel he was at, mentioned how they starved, and how she had to beg a maid for some crackers.  The difference?  My neighbor went looking.

You may be delayed in life, and not sure what the problem is.  You may even be hungry, not for food, but for something that truly satisfies.  I write about it a lot in this blog, but knowing God better than anyone else does satisfy.  God is so loving, funny, comforting, and caring.  You won’t be able to understand my claims unless you go looking for him.  But the truth is this, God has already found you.

Right there where you are, you can make his acquaintance by recognizing Jesus is his Son, realizing he died on a cross to forgive you of your mistakes, and then inviting him into your life.  Afterwards, hang out with God.  Talk to him like he is right beside you, because he is.  A good way of getting to know God is to read the Bible.  I suggest a translation to start with like, “The Message” or “The Passion Translation”.

God already loves you, if you do your part to get to know him, you will fall in love with him.  You will, become satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.