Identity Thief

WIYTGIG 1I have a theory that human spirits are in heaven, with God, and then, the moment a child is conceived a human spirit is installed.  It’s just a thought, okay?  One reason I believe this is I was in a grocery store and I saw a small child in their mother’s arms.  When the child saw me I smiled, and without hesitation the child tried to leap out of the arms of their mother into mine.  The child’s spirit wanted to be reunited with God’s Spirit, which dwells in me.

the child saw God

I didn’t encourage the child at all.  I simply smiled.  I have thought about that moment and I came to realize the child sensed God’s Spirit within me.  That led to the question, “how did the child know God?”

I have been reading “Translating God” by Shawn Bolz.  He talks about seeing people as the original version of them God intended.  This will help you relate to them better when you begin to see them as God does.

So what happens then?  How do we get so off course from being the image of God he designed?  Life, temptation, sin, and free will.  Those are the things that steal our true identity.  I know a man, who had a dream about his son before he was ever born.  In the dream he got his name and his destiny from God.  Sure enough a son was born, but today that son is not living a life anything close to what God intended.  The man continues to love his son anyway, and continues to pray for him, and believe that one day the real version will emerge, and his son will be a mighty, spiritual warrior.

It’s like when we are born, our life is perfect, and wrinkled free.  Then, as life happens we get wrinkled, but the moment we accept Jesus we go to the cleaners and there, the Holy Spirit, as steam, gets all of the wrinkles out.  He restores us to our original design, and purpose.  Yes, it takes discipleship, healing of the heart, and spending a lot of time with God getting to know him fully and his nature, but it can be done.

Jeremiah 1:5 (The Message)

 “Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

I encourage you to be hungry to be the person God intended you to be.  Ask God to show you his plan, design, and purpose for your life.  Then, I encourage you to live it.  If you choose to do this you will never be happier!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.

You Know What?

alte6596873Big news!  I have been invited to Washington D.C. to meet with President Trump and a commission he is putting together on creativity.  I think I was selected because of this blog.  The president wants to find different ways to get young people to express themselves, to set goals, and have dreams to live for.  Okay, April’s fool.

To be honest, I have never understood this day.
It’s lying.

One year I was asked to be at a wedding.  I traveled hundreds of miles to get there and the next day, as I was on my way to where the event was to be held, it dawned on me the date was April 1st.  When I saw the young couple I said, “If this is an April fool’s joke you’re dead!”  They laughed and then assured me it wasn’t.  I guess it does make it easier to remember the wedding date.

You know what?  There are fools year round, not just in April, and people do foolish things all the time.  Believe it or not, I’ve been known to do a foolish thing here and there, but that’s another blog I don’t want to write!  The most foolish person is the one who does not believe in God.

“The fool says in his heart, there is no God.”
Psalm 14:1 (NIV)

There are people who say, “There is no God.”  I wonder what they will say when they stand in front of him?  How do they arrive to this opinion?  I’m not sure, but the Bible says God gave everyone a measure of faith.  I tend to think when these people boast about their opinion they have a measure of doubt.  I’m sure they hope they are right.

One might live like a fool, but you don’t have to die a fool.  You can believe in God, accept his Son, and then ask him to help your unbelief.  You know what?  He will.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Truth or Dare?

Charlie 030720“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”  A famous line from the movie A Few Good Men, yelled at Tom Cruise by the one and only Jack Nicholson.  Jack’s character thought his actions, which wound up killing a man, were right, because of the location of where they were serving in the military.  He thought his truth was real.

In my early elementary days, a school bully forced me to do something that was wrong, very wrong.  I didn’t tell anyone because I was bound by fear of getting beat up if I did.  I think the bully lived in fear of being exposed.  I found it odd when that same bully came up to me at our 10 year high school reunion and apologized.  I think his admission of guilt, once and for all, set him free.  All those years he may have justified his actions in a number of ways thinking it was truth, but it wasn’t.

I have witnessed firsthand, the damage that can be caused when someone’s truth is their reality, when in reality their truth isn’t the truth at all.  Some may be afraid to face, or own up to the truth.  Those individuals may be afraid of what the truth coming out will do to them, or to their reputation.  I can’t help but think of big time movie producer who recently was found guilty of wrong doing.  Now that people have learned the truth his life will never be the same.  Fear can bind you up, but the truth can set you free. John 8:32

Will you accept the truth, or forever dare to believe a lie?

There have been so many times people around me have chosen to believe lies told about me.  Those situations always seem to hurt the worse.  What really hurts is when those same individuals haven’t even asked me for my side of the story.  The only comfort I can grab a hold of is this; the truth always comes out.  If not here, while on earth, then one day, as we all stand before God, the truth will finally be told.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

350, 1 Hour, Serve

Charlie 0320 8You go to a friend’s house and they serve a wonderful dinner.  You go on and on over the entree and you even ask for the recipe so you can imitate it, or duplicate it at home.  Then the day comes when you make the item, and you have great anticipation of it melting in your mouth the way it did when you first tried it, but it doesn’t.  You go over the recipe line by line and you swear to yourself you followed it 100 percent.  Disappointment sets in, perhaps even anger.

I have noticed whenever there is a guest speaker, people will flock to the church and sit there with pen and paper taking notes.  The speaker may be sharing their testimony of what God did in their life.  The people listen with intent.  Then when they go home they start doing the things in their life, just like the guest speaker, but they don’t get the same results.  Disappointment with God sets in, and perhaps even anger.

There are two reasons why:

1) You aren’t them. God worked in the guest speaker’s life in a unique way knowing the best process to minister to and through them.  Now, with that said, there certainly are some principles based on the word of God that can be applied to every believer.

2) God is creative. I think he likes doing things differently for each person.

Is it the guest speaker’s fault?

No.  There is nothing wrong with them sharing their experiences with God, because their victory can increase your faith.  Just don’t expect God to do the same thing as he did for them at least in the same way.

A better way:

Instead of trying to duplicate someone else’s success with God try getting to know him.  I mean know him so well you don’t ever second guess his commandments, or instructions.  There are no shortcuts in this process.  It takes time, lots of time hanging out with the creator of the universe.  Did you know God had a great sense of humor?  There is nothing like talking to God and then having a belly laugh moment with him!  Get to know his nature, his love, and then imitate him.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Vacancy, For Rent, or Move In?

Charlie 032420Is your heart a hotel for God?  Let’s face it, some let God check in, but then tell him when check out time is.  Worse, others may even post a “No Vacancy” sign.

Or perhaps you rent your heart to God.  You let God in for a particular term of time.  You specify the rules, and how things should be left when He moves out.  It wouldn’t surprise me if you even asked for references.

Why are so many people afraid to give their heart to God?  Because they are afraid he will make changes.  Like clean up the dirt, get rid of the clutter and even rearrange the furniture.  “No!  Not the furniture!”  So many people aren’t happy, but they don’t want to give up control.

If one wants God to do his best work they must sign over the deed to their heart.  Allow him to clean, declutter and yes, even rearrange the furniture.  I assure you, if you trust him to do what needs to be done in order for you to have a better life you will like the improvements.

Rick Renner, from his book “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19)  He leads us in a prayer and a confession:

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY  Lord, I am so excited to think that You made my heart Your home. It is so overwhelming to think that You want to live inside me. Help me see myself as Your dwelling place and to honor Your Presence inside me by the kind of life I lead. I want to bless You and honor You, so please help me do the right things that bring You the greatest pleasure and joy. I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY  I gratefully acknowledge that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit lives inside me. My heart is not a hotel where He occasionally visits; rather, my heart has become His home. He has invested His power, His gifts, His fruit, and the life of Jesus Christ in me. Inwardly I am highly adorned with the goodness of God. My spirit is so marvelously created in Christ Jesus that God Himself is comfortable to live inside me! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

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.

One Mile till Empty

Charlie 0320Just before a car’s engine runs out of gas it shakes violently, sputters, and knocks hard.  It is then, the driver’s stomach does the same thing.  Unless you are driving a very old clunker there is a light on the dash that does its best to tell you when you are running out of and in need of filling up again.

A friend of mine is living overseas.  No friends, or family went with him.  He has been there long enough to make new friends, get new co-workers, but he hasn’t found a church quite like what he had in America.  In fact, not even close.  We were talking the other day, and I said to him, “You are getting low on God.”  How did I know?  By the way he talked about life there, and I could tell he was forgetting a lot of the wisdom and understanding from the Word of God he had learned.  He agreed.

It is critical, to the life of one who is a serious follower of Jesus Christ,

to keep an eye on the God gauge.

To know the signs of when you are drifting away from true north.  When your half of the relationship with Jesus isn’t what it once was.

Some of the things that cause this to happen are; busyness in life, missing church, you know, the forsaking the assembling of the brethren, slacking off on your devotion to God, and over all lacking in spending time with Him.  It happens slowly, and before you know it.

As we are entering into troubling times it is more important than ever to stay close to God.  In fact, it wouldn’t hurt anything to draw near to God even more!  Take you fears and concerns to him.  Walk in confidence of knowing God, and knowing he knew long before the news channels what today would reveal.  God loves you so much, and he cares about the things you are concerned with.  Spending time with Him fuels you to overcome the things in life that can trip you up.  When your tank stays full of God you wind up getting more MPG (Miles per God) in life.  You never want to find yourself on the road of life and realize you are one mile till empty.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

In the Ring

Charlie 030820 1I was running late for church one Saturday evening, but I was extremely hungry and thought I could concentrate on the message better if I ate dinner before I got there.  That sounds like solid spirituality to me.  So I drove quickly to one of my favorite fast food restaurants, grabbed my order from the drive through window and took off.

I was speeding down a road I was not familiar with when all of a sudden I see my lane is about to end.  I signaled to get over and saw a white truck behind me.  The driver of the white truck, for some reason, sped up.  I suppose he didn’t want me ahead of him.  In a  “Go, or no go” situation I chose to go and got over in front of the white truck.

I was eating my burger and shoving fries in my mouth when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the white truck tailgating.

I knew he wasn’t a tailgater, tailgating, to get to his tailgate party!

He followed me all the way to church.  I pulled into a parking spot and this big guy hops out of his truck.  All I could hear was, “LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!” and then the fight bell go off.  The man started speaking loud and using French words.  Well, that’s what people say anyway, “Pardon my French!”  I pointed out to him we were in a church parking lot and there were children around, so he toned it down.

I asked him, “Are you hurt, or did I damage your truck?  He replied, “No.”  I responded, “Then why are you so angry?  And in fact, I had plenty of room to get over, but when you saw my blinker you sped up.”  The man was wearing a black jacket from “Midas”.  A company that fixes mufflers and other things on cars.  I approached him and asked, “What’s going on in your life?  You seem so angry.  Is your job okay?  Having problems at home, with your wife?”  I saw a ring on the proper finger.  Then I offered, “Can I pray for you?”  It was then he bolted back into his truck and sped off.

A friend of mine sent me a recording the other day of a conversation he had with his boss’s boss.  We talked about it a few days after that and I asked for his permission to speak honestly about what I heard.  He gave me that freedom, and I said, “I felt as if you walked in there as a fighter and not a peacemaker.”  My friend got the message and agreed.

Whenever you find yourself in the ring, in the middle of a disagreement, you have two positions you can take.  Either a fighter, or a peacemaker.  Trust me, for I have learned, being a peacemaker is the way to go.  Yes, perhaps you were wronged, or your rights were violated, and you could be right, but what is more right is saying or doing whatever you can to bring peace.

Here is a different translation of a very familiar verse, Matthew 5:9 from The Message (MSG):

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

I encourage you to climb out of the ring and do your best to be a peacemaker.  You and the world will be a better place for it.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Prison Didn’t Change Him

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was saddened the other night, as I watched a news report, of a man whose prison sentence had been commuted.  Not so much because he was out early, but when he spoke to the reporters it seemed as if he had not changed at all.  He still came across arrogant, and defiant, as if he did nothing wrong.  He felt he was unjustly charged, but was found guilty and put behind bars.  Prison didn’t change him.

From the Bible, when Joseph the Dreamer, came out of prison he was a changed man.  I believe a wiser version of himself, but one who, though had been humbled, still believed the dream God had given him many years earlier.  Prison changed him.

When the Apostle Paul was in prison, in Acts chapter 16, he didn’t let prison change him either.  At the midnight hour, he and Silas began singing, yes worshipping while their beaten bodies hung on a cold, damp dungeon wall, when so many others would have complained.  “God, look at what I got for obeying you.  Do you see the pain I am in?”  Dan Betzer tells this story better than anyone I have ever heard.  Dan believes when the voices of those two men rose to heaven and God heard their praises He turned to his Son, and said, “What this song needs is a lot of percussion.”

It was then, in their darkest hour, an earthquake took place, and the men found themselves freed from the chains that held them tight, and the door to their cell flung open.  The guard knew if the prisoners escaped it would mean the end to his life, so he drew his own sword to take it, but Paul stopped him, by saying, “We are all still here.”  The guard was so moved he invited Paul and Silas to his house for dinner where his whole family accepted Jesus.  Paul was not changed by prison, but Paul changed prison!

What prison are you in at the current time?  Is there something holding you back?  A person or situation that is keeping you from being the person God sees you being?  You don’t have to let your circumstances change you, but with God’s power, you can change your circumstances.  You can be freed from your situation.  Your sentence can be commuted.  Ask God for what you need to move out of prison, and to move on with your life, your dream.  He loves you, sees you, and cares for you so much.  Live life free.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.