First Bank and Trust

Life sure can be rough at times, and dealing with people can make it even more difficult.  It can be hard to believe people and extremely challenging when it comes to trusting them.  Being hurt by someone in the past comes into play when deciding to trust a new person in your life.  You can be afraid to open up your heart knowing, like before, you could get that heartbroken, again.

When you hold back your trust the person desiring it can get agitated, even mad.  Only they know if what they are telling you is 100% true or not.  This may be someone you love, a lot, and you really do want to believe them, but your past experience can cause you to proceed with caution.

There is nothing wrong with being careful, but not opening up your heart to love again most likely will lend you to being single the rest of your life or in a relationship that experiences bumps along the way.

When it comes to God, be assured, you can trust him completely.  In fact, in order for the relationship with God to work best trust is vital.  Trust, believes what is said, and what is done believing that the motives are pure, and with God, they are.  Please don’t project on God the hurts you have experienced from humans.

God did not come from Adam and Eve, as mankind did.

“The Lord came to us from far away, saying, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness.” Jer. 31:3 (NLV)

God has not sinned.  He is Holy. He will always treat you with the utmost love, concern, and care.  You can bank on it.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why Do You Let Your Emotions Take Over?

The title to this blog is a good question.  One asked by Job’s friend, Eliphaz in Job 15 from the Bible.  The reason we do is because it’s natural.  We instinctually go there first, to our emotions that is.  Expressing one’s emotion has gotten so popular these days we can even respond by sending an “emoji”. Of course, not all emotions are harmful, and not all are based in fear.

I remember a time when I got extremely mad and hurt from my father.  On the way home, from that encounter, I ordered a pizza.  I dropped it onto the asphalt on the way to my car due to high winds.  I had to go back inside and order another one.

When I finally got home and was eating it, God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me first?”

OUCH!

I thought about it and answered, “Because you weren’t my first thought, God.”

That’s probably why we turn to our emotions first and allow them, or empower them to take over us.  We have not yet trained ourselves to think of God first, and allow him to help us react to life in a peaceful manner.  Or to respond to a person and or situation with one of the fruits of the Spirit.  Can you imagine how much better life would be, or go if we could retrain our minds?  It is possible!  While in the midst of the process of getting my wife’s immigration to America completed I got depressed, and instead of turning to food, and allowing my emotions to rule, I prayed.

A key to learning to change our behavior is asking God for help to do so.  I had to do this as well.  God loves us so much and doesn’t want to see us get bogged down because we allow our emotions to rule us.  So the next time something happens that “gets your dandruff up”, or raises a red flag, stop, and ask God to help you.  I know you will be glad you did.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Lies about Lies

Job, from the Bible says, “Your lies might convince a jury – but would they convince God?” Ch. 13 (MSG) Then he goes on to say, “… they’re for nothing but gathering dust.”

It amazes me how often people lie.  What amazes me more is when the liar will defend themselves knowing they had lied.  Of course the first lie ever told was by Satan to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he said to her, “You will not surely die.”  Some lies have half trues embedded in them.  No, Eve did not die immediately, this was true, but she did die spiritually in the moment she took that first bite, ever separating her from God.

  • There is no such thing as a “white” lie.  Where did that even come from?
  • There is no such thing as a “little” lie.  A lie is deception no matter what.
  • A lie is okay if it protects someone else’s feelings. Nope!
  • They will never know.

The truth always comes out in the end.  I used to teach my children, “Tell me the truth, for the truth can always be dealt with.”  Lies hurt people, create distrust, and can cause division.  A lie, no matter how small one may think it is brings about destruction.

Real harm is when people lie to themselves.  Some lie so often they can’t even remember who they have lied to and what lie they told, so they tell more lies to attempt to cover themselves.  The truth is this; there will come a day, when we all stand before God and all truth will be revealed.  Your lies might convince a jury – but would they convince God? There will be no denying the truth as God knows it, and certainly no defense mounted that can hold up to the truth.  Scriptures tell us that the truth sets us free, and the real Truth, Jesus, sets us free indeed.  Free from eternal damnation in hell.

Now you know the truth.  Please accept it, and live free, now and forevermore.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Your Spouse Preaches

The best preachers are the ones who receive a particular word, message for their upcoming audience.  Then, at the given time, they deliver those special words from God.  If this person shouted and screamed you might be tempted to leave, or at least tune them out.  So how words are spoken is everything.

What if that preacher is your spouse?  I know.  It’s harder to hear the words being spoken because they are coming from someone who you might also hear nagging, complaining, or gripping from.  You may be thinking, don’t lecture me!  Or, why are you on my case?  But if the words are spoken in a loving way then you should probably listen.  After all, this is your helpmate.  He or she is there to be used of God to guide you, direct you, comfort you, and yes even speak words of life into your soul.

This happened to me recently.  We were driving in the construction zone I have spoken of a few posts ago.  I was trying to merge into the line of cars, and I got cut off.  I started fussing and my wife gently, and in a loving way said, “Your problem is this; you expect others to treat, or do for you the way you treat or do for them.  And when they don’t, you get mad or hurt.”  Her words made sense, because they were true, but because they came from her I dismissed them somewhat.

Fast forward to last night:

I couldn’t fall asleep, so I got up and came into our home office and turned on the TV.  I soon sensed God directing me to watch Joel Osteen.  I tuned in.  Wouldn’t you know he started preaching similar words that my wife was speaking just a few days earlier?  Coming from him it seemed easier to hear and accept.  Then some guilt creeped in, so this morning I confessed to my wife what had happened and that I was sorry I had not heard God’s message from her first, but I vowed to begin listening to the one on earth who loves me when she begins to speak words of life into my soul.

The lesson here is to listen to the message God is trying to say to us despite the vessel he chooses to use.  God likes to work with people to do his business.  They don’t have to be on TV either or come with credentials in order to deserve your time and respect.  If the message is on target then listen with your heart wide open.  It’s God loving on you, because He cares about you so much.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Feeling Loved

There are a lot of emotions when it comes to living life.  There are lots of feelings as well, but the best feeling is when you feel loved.  It’s like the warmth when sitting in front of a fireplace, the surrounding of a warm bath, or the natural softness when wrapped up in a quilt.

There is no guessing, or wondering, you know.  Being loved is confidence that somebody cares deeply about you.  They care about your past, your present and your future.  They do all they can to protect you, to serve you, and to give good things to you.  The ones that do it best are the ones that do it with no strings attached.  It’s called unconditional love.

It’s hard to find someone with those qualities, with that kind of deep concern, but when you do, hang on to them, for they are indeed a rare find.  Gold. A precious jewel.  I’m reminded of the parable in the Bible of the man who found a great treasure in a field.  He re-hid it and then sold all he had to buy that field, so the treasure would be his forever.  If and when you find someone who loves you unconditionally, you have found a valuable gift.

Here are the partial lyrics to an older Amy Grant song titled, “Doubly Good to You”:

You can thank the Father
For the things that He has done.
And thank Him for the things He’s yet to do.
And if you find a love that’s tender,
if you find someone who’s true,
Thank the Lord —
He’s been doubly good to you.

I am so thankful to God for my wife.  She loves unconditionally.  She’s a love that’s tender, she’s a love that is true.  I told her mother, “I have searched all my life for a woman like your daughter, April, and up till now I didn’t think she existed, but God lead me to her.”  April is not perfect, but certainly created in the image of God.  For God is love, and He loves with perfection.  His love to us is unconditional, and nothing can separate us from his love.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!  Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

Seek God and his unending, unconditional love.  Recognize its value and treasure it.  His love is not hard to find, for it is right there waiting for you, for feeling loved, is a wonderful thing.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

From Hope, to Reality

As you faithful readers of this blog know, I have been waiting for my wife’s immigration to America for two years.  Those were very difficult, trying, and long years, but the one thing that kept us going was hope!

Hope is recognizing there is very little you can do, while wanting a certain result.

Well, if all went as planned, I met my wife yesterday at an airport in America.  Waiting for her just outside the doors to the immigration section.  This process has been such a challenge that I have said, “I won’t believe it until I see her.”  But yesterday, my hope turned into reality.  God is so good.  He kept us close to his heart especially on the days when our hearts were breaking, aching, and we struggled to see us crossing the finish line.

I know we are not alone.  Many of you are facing your own struggles where all you can do is hope.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let go of God’s hand.  I know He will never let go of yours.  I recently posted a blog where I wrote about the women with the issue of blood, from the Bible.  Her reality took 12 years to arrive.  Her sickness bankrupted her, but she never gave up hope.  Then the day came where Jesus appeared on the scene.  She was healed by simply touching the hem of his garment as he walked by.  It was her faith in Jesus that healed her and not the robe he was wearing.

“So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.”
Rom. 8:25 (TPT)

So whatever it is you are hoping for, a job, a healing, a spouse, or salvation for a loved one don’t stop hoping.  You never know the day when Jesus may show up on the scene.  It would be a tragedy to give up the day before he passes by. For Jesus passing by in the life of me and my wife I am so grateful.  Praising and worshipping his mighty name all the way across the finish line.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

He Did it For Me

My father came from a large family.  At an early age he learned how to catch fish, and not just go fishing.  He realized he was helping to put food on the table for his family, but he also discovered how much he enjoyed it.  He became a good fisherman.

When I got old enough to go with him he started teaching me.  One of my father’s favorite places to fish was on a creek.  You wade in the water from fishing hole to the next fishing hole.  Along the way nature is all around you, including the occasional snake.  I watched as my father remained calm and deal with them, so though I learned which ones were poisonous I also learned how to stay safe.  I respect snakes, but I do not have a fear of them.  Now, I come across a tiny spider in the house, I’m squealing like a school girl and yelling for my wife to come kill it!

One night, while we were in the creek catching our bait I said, “Dad, I’ve got a snake up against my left leg.”  “Okay, I’ll be there in a minute,” he replied as he continued picking up crawdads.  He moved in behind me and grabbed the snake by the tale and gave it a good toss.  It was not poisonous and the ones that were, he killed.  My father was my hero, my deliverer.

Several years later, we were on the creek, and dad was in some deep water when a snake came at him.  He tried like crazy to push the snake away with his fishing pole, but the snake kept coming and getting closer.  Dad started screaming while I remained safe on the bank laughing.  After he got the snake to go away from him he expressed his displeasure of my reaction to, according to him, “his close call with death”.  (The snake was not even poisonous.)

“Dad, why are you so angry?  You’re not afraid of snakes,” I said.
“Are you kidding me?  I hate those things.  I am horribly afraid of them!” he replied.
All those years I had no idea.  My father faced one of his greatest fears.  He did that for me.

God, my Heavenly Father, doesn’t fear anything at all, but He too had to do something He didn’t want to.  He allowed his only son, Jesus die on a cross to take on the sins of all of humanity.  It grieved him, and in the final hour, because God is Holy and cannot even look at sin, had to turn away from his son while he was dying a horrible death.  He did it for me, but He also did for you.  That’s how much God loves us.  Here it is, in its simplest form:

“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)

God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are my heroes, my deliverers.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No Way!

I was sitting here at my desk waiting on direction from God on what to write, while looking out the window.  We have a lot of snow right now in my city, and the sun is out.  It looks beautiful outside, like you would want to be there, but it is only 5 degrees with a negative degree wind-chill. A couple of thoughts came to mind:

  1. When we are forgiven of our wrong doing, our souls are as white as snow.

“Take away my sin, and I will be clean.
    Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Psl. 51:7 (Int. Children’s Bible)

2. How on the outside of a person, everything may look beautiful, but once you enter into their world, you discern the flaws, or hurts behind the public image.

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Sam. 16:7 (NIV)

But what really got my attention, was a squirrel going out to the very limits of a tree limb.  There was another tree that looked to be several feet away.  I was in the process of thinking, “There is no way he will try to jump.  It’s way too…” and before I could finish he started running and leaped into the thin, cold, air and landed on a limb, on the other tree.  Now his form was excellent.  I gave him a “9.5”, but the Russian judge only gave him a “6”.  Perhaps because he wasn’t a “Red” squirrel. Witnessing this “leap of faith” triggered another thought:

  1. The squirrel knew he would make it.  He was so confident that he ran vigorously with no plan “B” in mind.  There was no backup plan.

If only we, who walk with God, could be so bold and sure of Him that we live with astounding assurance.  We can, by knowing the God we serve.

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Phi. 1:6 (NKJV)

God has a purpose, a plan, and a path for each one of us.  We can, via several means, determine what God has for us and then walk it out with confidence.  As George Zimmer would say, of “The Men’s Warehouse”, “I guarantee it!”  So go ahead and take that leap of faith!  The Russian judge may not give you a good score, but the angels will and that great cloud of witnesses in heaven will root you on.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

This Side of Heaven

I was “Two Way Journaling” this morning, a spiritual practice I don’t do enough of.  It’s writing out your conversation to God, and then waiting to hear in your spirit what God would say to you.  I was thanking him for using me to be his “Man on the street” if you will.  In other words, it seems as if whenever I am out in public I come across a soul that needs encouragement, acceptance, love, or to be introduced to God.

It humbles me knowing that God would work with me, or I should say through me for I don’t do life in a perfect manner all the time.  I think one reason He does reach people through people is to put a physical dimension to the encounter the person is having, for after all, we are made in God’s image, and I strive to be made in his nature.

I often think about those God directed me to, and I wonder, how is their relationship with God now?  Are they closer to accepting Truth?  Have they learned to take God’s hand and overcome with him their struggles?  Below is a comment from one of my faithful readers of this blog, and what she said about a woman God directed her to in a coffee shop.  (You can also get to her blog posts by clicking on the link.)

From seekingdivineperspective:

“Thanks for taking the time to write, Mark, and especially for praying. We’ll probably never know this side of heaven what happened to that young woman, but God knows, and I hope we will meet her when we all get there.”

There are a few times we do get to know how things turn out, but those are seldom.  For instance; did the lady at a Quick Trip get reacquainted with God and go back to the church her grandmother took her to, or is she still living with the guy she was with that day, hoping for real love?  Will a woman at work accept God and his love and allow him to comfort her in the loss of her mother?  Did the gentleman I talked to while sitting on a cold sidewalk give God a chance to restore his life and his relationship with his wife and kids?

So it’s important to not hurry out there to run our errands and then hurry back home, or to just go to work and only do what is expected of you,

but while living life, look for opportunities to give life.

For as Life Church declares all the time,

“Whoever finds God, finds life.”

You may not know the results, this side of heaven, but something will happen, and one day, when you get to that side of heaven, you will know, and if the results were good you will probably tear up, and give thanks to God for using you, and be thankful for the work God did in the life of the other person.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God’s Glory

I mentioned in my last post about people who are never wrong and how frustrating I get when I encounter such an individual.  Well, my week continued to be frustrating, until today.  A conversation with a friend brought up music by Brandon Lake. (I’ve mentioned him before in a previous post.)  My friend sent me a link to a video on YouTube he has been enjoying.  The video started playing and at first, honestly, nothing, but then, the video kept going, and things started to change.

Brandon begin singing a new song, and the more I listened to it the more it ministered to me.  It drew me in, and the next thing I knew I was worshiping God.  Whenever you worship God in spirit and in truth, you get caught up into his presence and your spirit gets energized.

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:23-24 (MSG)

Brandon Lake introduced that new song, “Show Me Your Glory” by sharing something Bill Johnson said,

“When the glory of God comes into the room, nothing else is needed.”

A true and powerful statement.

The song broke through my frustration, refocused my thoughts on what is most important, God.  Everything else going on grew strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.  So I challenge you right now to put on some worship music, or click on the YouTube link below, and turn off those electronic interrupters and just soak in the presence of God.  You too will discover peace, comfort, love, and the proper perspective on whatever is going on in your life.

Blessings

The link on YouTube my friend shared with me:

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.