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

The Temple

20180618_103427I was sitting in a church admiring the grandeur, the architecture.  Then, I opened my Bible to a random spot.

As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!” Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.” (Mar 13:1-2 MSG)

Then I heard God whisper, “They try so hard to please me.  To follow rules.  To get every step of pomp and circumstance in order without missing a beat.  But I, the Lord God simply want to rule their heart.  I will put my rhythm in their steps.  I will take their chaos and create order.  Even the windows to their hearts are stained.  There are many doors, but where do they lead?  Do they lead to me?

Their prayers are simply memorized.  Just hit play!  Where is the freshness that drips from their lips?  Their place of worship is hard and cold.  I desire 20180618_103903they worship me from their soft, warm, living hearts.  They feel their good deeds achieve tally marks on a chalk board by my chair.  I would rather the receivers of those deeds feel me.  They step into a dark, small closet to confess their sins.  I say confess them loudly from your roof tops, so you are less likely to repeat them.

The water by the doors is not holy.  Only I, the Lord God Almighty is Holy.  Dip your fingers in me.  Sprinkle me upon your body.  And while you’re at it, take a shower in me.”

God can be in any building, in fact He can be anywhere like your home, office, or car, but only if you take him there, or invite him in.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

My Chair

20180605_123227HER CHAIR:  “Hi.  How are you?”  I stood, holding open the door to the bank.

“Oh, I’m okay I suppose.  I just came from seeing my foot doctor, and well, I just can’t wait to get home to my chair,” the elderly lady said doing her best to conceal her pain.

A CHAIR:  As I reached the car, the words “my chair” were still echoing in my ears.  I was reminded of a pastor I once listened to, who used to encourage us to have a chair, where we would sit and have time with God.

THE CHAIR:  Then I thought of James Rubart’s book, “The Chair”.  A good read about an antiques dealer who is given, what appears to be a simple chair, but he is told it was made by Jesus when he was working in his dad’s carpenter shop.  He struggled to believe this, but when things happened to those who sat in it, his acceptance, begin to grow.

Your CHAIR:  Do you have one?  Do you have a special place where you like to go and sit and spend time with God?  Either in his word, or talking with him through prayer, or a place where you just go and absorb God.  I hope so.

MY CHAIR:  I have a chair, and I value the time I take to sit in God’s presence.  Yes, I know, life gets busy, and it takes discipline, or a strong desire to be with God, to take a moment and step off of the hamster wheel.  You know the wheel just goes round and round.  No matter how hard you try, you get nowhere.  Perhaps getting off, and resting with God will get you further down the road of life than you ever could imagine.  Sit, invite God into your room, into your life, and see what begins to happen in you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Believing Builds Believing

“I just don’t believe there could be one, all-powerful being,” David said.

“So you would like proof, first, before you would choose to believe in God,” I replied.

“Yes!”

“God asks us to believe in him by faith,” I said.

“I need proof.”

“Okay.  Let’s say God will, because of how much he loves you, let you have proof first.  What would it take?  What would you need to see, or witness, in order to believe in God?” I asked.

As David sat in his office chair, he was visibly considering my question.  After ten minutes, he turned, looked at me, and said, “I don’t know.  I don’t know what would be enough.”

God_you thereA somber event took place in front of me.  The reality is this; for a man, using his own reasoning, which is limited, nothing could satisfy him.  No proof would be enough.  Everything God might do, or has done, to prove his own existence, some men would reason it away, and have.  It’s as if they try to make God conform to their rules of existence, and that’s just not going to happen.

Another reality is this; God does exist.  I have met him.  I have talked to him, and he has answered me.  I have seen his work, in creation, in the most intricate details of nature, and in the life of a man.  Only God, can take the vilest of men, and change him forever.  One example is Saul.  He saw Jesus.  Saul had a life changing encounter with Jesus, and he went from wanting to kill those who believed in God, to preaching to those that didn’t.

All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem. He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. (Act 9:1-5 MSG)

If you want to see God the Father, then study the life of Christ.  For Jesus himself said, “To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?” (Joh 14:9 MSG)

(Note: The person’s name, in this real story, was changed.)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Day Stephen Hawking Accepted God

Your own willFree will, to do what you want, say what you want, is a great gift from God.  It does come with a lot of responsibility though.  God took a risk giving us such freedom, but it opens the door for us to, of our own will, accept Him, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

God didn’t want little robots, programmed to serve him, but a being, like him, to choose him, as He has chosen us.  Stephen Hawking chose not to.  Below are his own words:

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Rom 14:11  Read it for yourself in Scripture: “As I live and breathe,” God says, “every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God.” (MSG)

Stephen Hawking died March 14, 2018.  March 14, 2018 is the day Stephen Hawking accepted God!  Oh how I would have preferred he had done it before he passed, but I do not know of the contrary.  I pray, all living men and women will accept God, and profess with their mouths that there is only one God.  That Jesus Christ is His son, and admit the Holy Spirit completes the Trinity.

So, that brings me to ask one question:  What day did you accept God?

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

FLOW

 

080412 335A river flows downstream.  Life in a boat, doing nothing, on that stream, comes easy, natural.  It takes no effort, but to go upstream is another story.  The mightier the current, the harder one must paddle, or use external power.  You stop for one instance, or turn off the engine, and you begin going back down.

We can’t get to our destination upstream on our own.  We must have the power from the One who has been in the boat.  From the One, who has walked on the water.  From the One who has made it to the other side.  From the One who said, “It is finished!”

I desire to FLOW with God.  I will do my part, but I will rely on Him for the power I don’t have in and of myself.  Following His FLOW will take me where He wants me.  The more I make this my life practice it will get easier, and become more natural.

Keith Hector, recently preached a message at my church on FLOW.  He said flow is:

F aith
L ove
O bedience
W isdom

Flowing with God, and in God takes all of the above.  It requires trusting Jesus.  It demands following the Holy Spirit.  God asks us to do things that are not natural to our flesh, so we cannot boast in and of ourselves.  He also knows the joy we experience when we FLOW with Him.  He knows the confidence we experience, and He knows it encourages us to go further.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:   “My main attempt in this short life is to deeply love humankind. I long to love like Jesus: intentionally, authentically, and with no boundaries. So here I am, a messy 14 year old making art, learning to love, and writing.”  Click:  ~ ava lucia ~

 

Heaven Won’t be the Same Without You, But Hell Will

healingAt the age of seven, I knew I was a convicted cookie thief!  I went to a church, where the anointed man of God, my pastor, scared the hell out of me!  He preached straight up sermons concerning what would happen if we died and had not accepted Jesus to forgive us of our sins.  As a result, out of fear of going to hell, I choose God, and heaven.

Today, I realize, some don’t chose God, because they don’t have firsthand knowledge of the Holy.  They don’t know God.  They don’t know what makes him smile, laugh, or hurt.  They don’t know He gets jealous when someone worships anything, or anyone other than him, and they obviously don’t know He is serious about only two places to spend eternity.  They haven’t felt his great love.  People then, believe more in themselves than they do him.

God created heaven for his followers.  He created hell for Satan, and the fallen angels that followed him.  When men started rejecting God, he had to expand hell to accommodate them.

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).  “Therefore Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it” (Isaiah 5:14).

Now, at my current age, I have experienced the love of God in such a way, there is no other place I would rather be, than in heaven with him.  Therefore I feel commissioned, everywhere I go, to make myself available as God leads to share his great love with those who don’t know.  I spoke the title of this blog to a very dear friend of mine, because it is absolutely true.  If my friend chooses God, heaven will be better, but hell won’t change at all without him.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Check it out:  See helpful life keys. Beth Olsen

Understanding vs Knowing

PowerThere are things, that go on in this world, I do not understand.  I ask questions like, “Why”, and “How?”  There are also things of God I do not understand, but I never used to question Him.  To be honest, I felt as if it showed a lack of faith.  So I have grown in my relationship with God just believing, and trusting, and knowing, “He’s got this!”  And in some ways that is good.  I relied on the following verses whenever I couldn’t understand or know what God was doing in my life, or in other’s lives around me:

Isa 55:9  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (MSG)
Phi 4:7  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (KJV+)

But now I am learning from my pastor to ask God, and it’s okay.  It’s not a lack of faith.  Especially when I sense knowledge coming from Him.  Maybe another way to put it is; if I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me something, and I do not understand what I am sensing or seeing, I ask God, “What is this?”  “What does this mean?”  “Who is this for?”

My pastors are Joel & Linda Budd.  They teach a lot about this in their book, Fill Me or Kill Me.  God wants to teach us how to reach people with power and authority.  How to set the captive free, and heal the broken-hearted.  In order to do that, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised this power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8.  Jesus also illistrated this kind of power in His ministry while here on earth, so it’s nothing to fear.  You won’t be weird.  In truth, you will be more like Jesus.  And isn’t that what being a Christian means, an imitator of Christ?

When the Holy Spirit hands you the keys to someone’s heart, real ministry can take place.  The receiver won’t argue religion, won’t ask unanswerable questions, but they will receive God’s love through you.  Understanding is good, but there is power in knowing!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved