Life Is No Game

A man was walking through an art museum, when he suddenly stopped.  In front of him was a painting that portrayed two individuals playing the game of chess.  The man, being a chess champion was intrigued, and studied the piece of art with intense focus.  The title of the painting was “Checkmate”.  In the game of chess that means the king is about to be overcome, and there is nothing he can do about it.  “Checkmate”, is a word that indicates or announces, you’re done.  It’s over.  It may even invoke fear.

Do you feel as though someone, or circumstances has recently said, “Checkmate” to you?  Is your heart being gripped by fear?  I was watching the news the other day, and heard how many people are still unemployed, and are being threatened of losing their dwelling place, and worst yet, are hunger challenged.  I don’t like to see anyone suffer, and if it hurts me I know it must hurt God.  Yes, God has emotions.  Where do you think we got ours as we are created in his image.

There is truth in saying that “some” people create their own problem(s) by how they live, or by what they do with their money, but now is not the time to give a lecture when they are already on their knees.  We can only hope they dislike their circumstances so much they make drastic change as soon as they can.  In other words, they find a glimmer of hope, and they hang on to that hope, because truth is, there may not be anything else to hold on to.  The kind of hope that can eliminate fear.  The kind of hope that can only be found in Jesus who is the King of Kings!

The chess expert in the museum cried out,

“This painting is incorrectly titled!”

The museum curator came rushing over to see why the man was making such an outrageous claim.  “Sir, why do you claim it is titled wrong?” asked the curator.  “Because I have looked at every possibility, and the king has one more move that will cause his opponent to be checkmated!”  The piece of art is now in a private collection.

You see, when you place your hope, your trust and faith in the King, you don’t ever have to worry about it being over, for the King of Kings always has one more move.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

What Day is This?

061220I notice patterns.  I also see common denominators.  I can’t help it.  It’s the way I am made.  I think I could have that disorder: Denoterns.  Anyway, perhaps many others have it as well, but I have noticed several times in the Bible where it took three days to change someone, or something.

Take Jonah.  God gave him direct instructions to go to Nineveh and share whatever message God told him to.  I think Jonah took it upon himself to judge the people there, and he boarded a ship going the opposite direction.  Perhaps his heart was full of hurt he associated with the people there and he wanted God to wipe them off the map.  You can read the whole story for yourself in the book of Jonah in the Bible, but after he was thrown overboard and spending three days in the stomach of a great fish, his heart changed.

Three days!

There are many other instances whether they journeyed, stayed or not ate for three days.  Three days can seem like eternity when you are hungry, thirsty, hurting, or desperate for an answer from God.

Jesus in the tomb is probably the most famous story of a three day ordeal in the Bible, but after his third day, anyone in the world can have their wrong doing forgiven, just by accepting Jesus.

On a personal note, three days after my wife gave up on hoping, asking, and believing God to send her a husband I sent her a message.  On the fourth day, her life changed.  It seems as if it takes three days to work out the flesh.  In other words, it takes that long to realize that when your situation changes it wasn’t you, but had to be God.

I don’t like going through a three day ordeal, but I hang on, because I love the fourth day.

If you are going through something, and you have turned it over to God, realizing you can’t do anything about it otherwise, then know this; your forth day is coming!

CONFESSION:  I made up the disorder Denoterns.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Can You Endure?

050120Jobs have disappeared,
God is now worshiped online,
but Love endures.

401s have dried up,
social clubs perhaps have gone viral,
but Love endures.

School, now taught at home,
what jobs remain, are in the room next door,
but Love endures.

Hairstyles have changed,
celebrations have too,
but Love endures.

Handshakes are what?
Careful, stay six feet away,
but Love endures.

N95s are worth more than gold,
liters of water cost more than gas,
but Love endures.

Can’t go here,
can’t go there,
but Love endures.

All of this, because of an unseen villain.
Yet another unseen villain is denied to exist,
but Love endures.

As all the world is fighting Corona,
the other villain has already been defeated,
because Love endured.

Yes, Corona has come and will go,
as will Satan, you should know,
because Love endured.

When Jesus died upon the cross,
he became the perfect sacrifice for us all,
Because Love endured.

There is life after Corona coming soon,
there is eternal life after death if you accept Love, Jesus,
because Love endured.

Satan was defeated, by Love,
Because Love never fails,
and Love endured.

You too can endure to the very end,
by believing, and trusting in Jesus,
Because Jesus endured.

Hebrews 12:2 The Passion Translation (TPT)

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Naked Tree

91878710_1505334622963387_7096843525702025216_nMy neighbor, across the street, is taking down his own tree, as you can see in the photo.  I looked out the window and commented, “That tree looks naked.”  I laughed, but then realized it will no longer serve its purpose.  The tree’s beauty will no longer be admired.  The shade, the tree once provided, the comfort, will no longer be there.

There is another tree, we tend to think about this week, in fact today, that was cut down, stripped of its leaves, and shaped to serve a purpose other than the one it was created for.  That’s right, the tree that was used as the cross Jesus was nailed to.  That tree would no longer be able to fulfill its original purpose, but was stolen by Satan, to be used for his purpose.

Then there is the Tree of Life, Jesus.  At the prime of his ministry, the religious leaders cut him down, took action to stop him from fulfilling his purpose.  They arrested Jesus, and made false accusations about him.  They stripped him of his outer garment, he became practically naked.  They beat him, and cut him as he was flogged with a whip that had stones in the ends of it.  They nailed him to the cross, and couldn’t wait for him to die.

Neither could Satan.

People ran and quarantined, hid themselves in their homes out of fear.  Kind of sounds like today’s times.  They thought all hope was gone.  Jesus had walked among them and showed them how to live, but more importantly, he showed them how to love.

The ironic thing, concerning the life of Jesus is this, those that were used by Satan to try to stop Jesus’ original purpose actually helped him achieve it.  Three days after they thought the story had ended, a new chapter began.  Jesus rose up and exited the grave, because he had defeated death.  Many of you may be feeling like your story is about to end, but no one has written, “The End” yet.  Jesus’ new story opens with him defeating all pain, all diseases, all sickness, and death itself.

Right now, it may feel like Friday night after Jesus had died, or Saturday afternoon, but Sunday is coming!  You may be losing hope, but Hope hasn’t lost you.  Your faith might feel weak, but the Author and Finisher of our faith is now seated at the right hand of God.  (Heb. 12:2)  And Jesus, the Tree of Life, is no longer naked, but clothed in glory!

Happy Resurrection Day Everybody!

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.

Now What?

Charlie 011520 1You finally drop off to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning you have a few seconds of peace before the pain of your current life situation comes crashing back into your mind like a tsunami.  You lay there and say to yourself, “Oh yeah”.  You force yourself to get out of bed, but if it wasn’t for having to go to the bathroom you would more likely pull the covers over your head and try to go back to sleep.

If this is you, what do you do?  You may feel your only options are; runaway, become a hermit, seek revenge on those that have hurt you, drown your sorrow in alcohol, over eat, pop pills, or even worse bring physical harm to yourself.  For those who have a relationship with God, the only thing you can do is lean into him even more.  Anything else is of the flesh, and it will not ease the pain like God can.  It may take all you have left inside you to even ask him to help you trust him more, but He will.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, now is the perfect time to ask for him to forgive you and come into your life.

The words of old hymns can be comforting, reminders of God’s reality, which is more true than our own.  Read the words of the song below.  Let the melodic words soak into your soul.  Be encouraged with the truth of knowing that this too will pass.  May God bless you, and comfort you.  Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

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Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jollibee

20181220_215148On a recent trip to the Philippines, I saw a lot of life I had never seen before. I experienced several new things as food, phrases, and culture. One thing that I couldn’t help but notice was the local rival to McDonalds, Jollibee. It has what McDonalds has as well a local favorite, chicken with rice and gravy.

Something that really stood out were the people. One, there were a lot of them. Two, as in America, there were different classes of them, but the lowest class seemed to be living in a darkness like I had never seen. Their eyes were so dim, as if the light was about to go out of their lives. They certainly have nothing to “bee jollie” about.

I looked at some and managed to do or say something that brought a small smile to their faces, but soon, the reality of their world would return, and the smiles faded. In those moments, what I really wanted was the time and the ability to share in their local language, Tagalog the hope of Jesus Christ that is within me. Just knowing Jesus is there with me in this life brings joy. He gives me a reason to “bee jollie”.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps. 42:11 NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady  All rights reserved

 

Three Days

Charlie 1A young woman had been praying for a man of God for years.  She had cried out, “God do you not care?”  Not seeing any positive movement via the dating site she had joined, she decided to close her account.  Three days later she received a message from an interested man.  Love blossomed.

A man was asked by God to go to a certain village to evangelize.  The man didn’t do it.  Instead, he went the other way, and boarded a ship.  After setting sail, the ship encountered some very bad weather.  Before going down, the superstitious men on board decided their trouble was due to one man.  They threw him overboard where a great fish swallowed him up.  Three days later, the fish vomited the man out.  He then decided to be obedient and go where God had commanded in the first place.

After Jesus drew his last breathe on the cross, his followers thought it was over.  They recalled his acts of love, and his stories that inspired, but he was gone.  For three days, all hope was lost, until Jesus was resurrected.  He overcame the darkness and once again, Light filled the earth!

What is it, about three days of darkness?  Is it a test to see if your faith will hang on?  Does it take at least that long for your will to line up with God’s?  How many days has it been for you?  What have you been calling out to God for?  Is your hope lost?  Are you thinking, “What’s the use” or perhaps you are thinking, “Well, it was nice while it lasted.”

As long as you are alive, hope exist!  Why does God allow certain things to happen in ways we might call cruel and unusual, I don’t know.  But I do know this, God is still and will forever be on the throne controlling things especially for those who submit their lives to him.

Remember this:  I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jer 29:11 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved