The Unexpected Sermon

“It’s okay.  It’s all in the past,” said my great niece as she waved her hands back and forth down low by her side.  She had gotten caught doing something that turned out okay, but would not had been sanctioned by either of her parents.

We laughed as my mother shared the story of the incident with my wife and me, but later in the week my wife quoted my great niece after doing something I did not appreciate.  Yes it’s true, I’m a recovering control freak, and I always argue that I like things done a certain way, because to me it seems like the fastest and easiest way to accomplish that task.  I know, there are many ways to doing some things, and there are times when someone would rather do it their way.

It may seem silly, but my four year old great niece preached with conviction a sermon I needed to hear, but more than that, live out!  I have spent the last several days practicing to let things go and not to mention that my wife may have done or said something that turned out okay, but not something I would have done.  And you know what?  Our marriage is better for it!

In those times when we mess up, do things that God would rather we hadn’t, and we go to him and ask for forgiveness, he always says, “Its okay.  You’re forgiven.  It’s now in the past.”

God makes everything come out right;
    he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
    opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
    so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
    he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
    like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
    leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
    eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
    as they follow his Covenant ways
    and remember to do whatever he said. (Psalms 103:6-18 MSG)

Forgiveness is not a license to go sin more, or even again, but it lifts the burden of guilt off of us, and allows us to go on, living life in peace.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God, My Enemy?

Have you ever heard someone blame God for their troubles?  Or insurance companies label calamities as an “Act of God”?  I have.  Job, from the Bible, he certainly did.  In fact, he went so far as to accuse God as his enemy.  (Job 16:9)  I have also heard people say this, “When I get out of the hospital I am going to start living for God.”  Yeah, as you might have guessed, months later they are still living life in the same manner before they went into the hospital.

I was cleaning a stain from the ottoman we recently picked up with a chair for our new “Conference Room” where we go to meet with God.  I looked at the can of “stain remover” and couldn’t help thinking about God removing stains from our own lives.  The foam that comes oozing out of the can is white, and because Jesus died for our stains, our sins, he makes us white as snow.

Though your sins have stained you like the color red,
you can become white like snow;
though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet,
you can become white like wool. Isaiah 1:18

Did you notice who makes the stain remover?  “Woolite”.  Did you also see the brush on the end of the can?  Even after our sins are forgiven when we accept Jesus and ask for that forgiveness there can be consequences of wrong doing in our life.  And sometimes it takes a lot of work, or “scrubbing” for those results to be removed.  It can take time and commitment to clean up the mess we have previously made with our lives.  Max Lucado once wrote,

“My mess, is His message.”

I also liked on the can where it said, “Triple Action”.  As you know the Trinity is made of God the Father, Jesus, God’s son, and the Holy Spirit.  All three work together to bring us to the saving grace of God.  I am so thankful to know that when I make mistakes I can be forgiven.  Being clean, free from sin, is a good feeling. God is not our enemy, but our friend and loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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. 

Healing River

What would it take for you to say, “I’ll never forgive them!”?

This past weekend I watched a great movie titled, “Healing River”.  Here is my (un)professional review:

In a world, where it is easier to hate, than to love, where it is easier to give up, than to accept, comes the movie “Healing River”.  An amazing story, of amazing grace.  “Healing River” will not only touch your heart, but tug at it as well.  Mitch Teemley, and his crew, did an awesome job of allowing the movie to flow naturally as real life does.

You will be glad you watched “Healing River”, a powerful story you will not forget as the credits are rolling, but a story which will stay with you for a long time.  It’s a movie everyone needs to see, especially in the current days we are living.  “Healing Rivers” demonstrates the strength, and guts it takes to let go of the past, accept the present, and look forward to a brighter future.  In the difficult act of forgiveness, one finds the beginning of healing.

Forgiveness doesn’t set them free, but you.  Holding onto un-forgiveness keeps you locked up in a cell of your own making.  Jesus died a painful death, to provide forgiveness, for everyone, no matter what they have done, if they only ask him to.  Yes, even those man considers the worse.  Not fair?  They deserve the same kind of forgiveness you do.  “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Go for forgiveness, for you and for others.

Living life healed is the best way to live.

Delve further into the creative, talented, funny mind of Mitch Teemley at: https://mitchteemley.com/

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Makes Me Hard to Love?

Charlie 012220Well this isn’t going to be fun, but I feel the need to write out a self-evaluation.  While reflecting on some recent events I was reminded of the following flaws in my personality:

  1. I expect others to do the right thing. When they don’t, I want to be the one to tell them they screwed up.  (In love of course!)
  2. I have no trouble pointing out the truth of situations, but I forget few want to hear it.
  3. I seek perfection in others, and though I try so hard, I overlook that I too come up short.
  4. I do to others what I am want them to do to me, but I have learned not everyone knows that rule.
  5. If I’m willing to listen to you, I expect you to listen to me.
  6. I tend to “nick pick”, because I think people should do everything the way I do it.

I could go on I’m sure, but this hurts.  Looking into a mirror, that sees deeper than the exterior, is hard to face.  When you see who you really are, you wonder, how can anyone love me?  Then, you might ask, how can God love me?

When God first made man, he was perfect.  But God refused to have robots obey commands to choose him, so he gave man “free will”.  It was the only way to see who would love him, because they wanted to.  God first loved us, even though that “free will” opens the door to imperfection, and makes us hard to love, he loves us anyway.  There is no means to measure, or weigh how much God loves us.  Love, is God’s core nature.

But just how does God do it?  Love us even though we are hard to love?

He looks at us through rose colored glasses.  The ones that were stained, by the blood of his son, Jesus’ when he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins.  I would be more lovable if I saw others as God does.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect

Charlie 234Perfection, is a difficult thing to achieve, for those who even try, but somehow, Jesus managed to pull it off.  His accomplishment has always intrigued me.  Many times I have wondered, If Jesus can do it, then why can’t I?  I now have my answer.

As I have studied the life and ministry of Christ, there are some consistent points he focused on:

  • Jesus was in constant communication with his Father, who just so happened to be God.
  • Jesus kept the will of his Father in the front of his mind.
  • Jesus only did what he had seen his Father do.

This kind of focused life got Jesus killed.

Ouch!  But God knew that would happen and was used by God to have a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  The very goal of sending your only Son to earth.

So if I achieved perfection, even for an hour, or a day, would it kill me?  No, but would it kill me to try?  If I prayed more I would know every day the will of God, and hopefully do what I knew my heavenly Father would do in all situations and in all conversations.  Dying to myself won’t forgive anyone of sin, but perhaps, it might lead others to Jesus, who can.

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.

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

Forgiveness

Boulder 1Exhibiting true forgiveness, allows you to be in the presence of the one you forgave.  The same goes for God.  That is why accepting Jesus, for the atonement of our sins, is so important.

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