A Great Place to Be

063020

Painting by Akiane Kramarik

I mentioned last week how I hate injustice, yet this past weekend it has happened to me again.  One, close to me, has accused me of wrong doing.  I can’t go into detail, but yes, their accusations hurt, but as the swelling was subsiding, I realized this person’s attack on me came from a heart that is in so much pain.  This person’s personal life has suffered a lot in the short amount of time I have known them.

I begin to pray for them.  I see God allowing these things to happen in their life, not to punish them, but out of a deep desire to be reconnected with them again.  Hoping they will cry out to him and lay it all down at the feet of Jesus.  God wants their relationship to change from estranged to hearts knitted together.  It’s difficult for mankind to understand God’s way of loving us, but I know he does with an incredible amount.  God is longing, that the path of life they are walking on, will lead them back to him.

Yeah, I could continue to complain about what they did to me, how unfair it was, but thankfully my focus is on Jesus and that has allowed me to see what they are doing to themselves.

Just because they throw mud,

it doesn’t have to stick!

We can count on this, we do not need to stand up and defend ourselves, but rather allow the Lord to do it for us.  I know one day the accuser will see they were wrong.  Will they apologize to me?  It doesn’t matter one way or the other if they do.

“The Lord is your mighty defender,
perfect and just in all his ways;
Your God is faithful and true;
he does what is right and fair. Deuteronomy 32:4 (GNT)

In these days we are living in, one cannot afford to take their eyes off of Jesus Christ, but must do all to concentrate on him.  One way to only see Jesus, and not be distracted by the things going on in the world, is to stand directly in front of him.  Standing in that spot is a great place to be.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why Can’t I Achieve Mental, & Physical Health?

062620 5It happened last week, last year, or even longer ago, but the memory of the hurt and pain can still rise to the surface so fast.  A word, a name, a song, a phrase can trigger the instance to come back.  You feel those emotions…again.  You say you have forgiven the offender, you even tell yourself you have moved on, so then why does it still rise up and bite you, and at times with the same emotions you experienced when it first happened?

There are many types of hurt others can do to you, but the one thing I struggle with the most is injustice.  It seems so unfair when you are falsely accused.  Jesus had to suffer through this.  He was accused of things untrue, yet he remained silent.  Those accusations were so strong I think some who knew him well started changing what they thought of him.

As difficult as it may be to not defend yourself, but inside let the truth stand, we must follow Jesus’ example.  Hanging on to all of the hurt and pain affects us mentally and I believe also physically.  And, for those asking God to heal them of a physical ailment, hanging on to the hurts of any kind could be blocking your healing, or the renewing of your mind.  The song, “Lay it All Down”, by Will Reagan, can point us to the first step in removing the pain, for good.  Here are a few of the lyrics below:

When we’ve given up, on better days
There are memories, we can’t erase
Lay it all down … lay it all down

We’ve come to fear, what we can’t explain
There’s nothing here, that can ease the pain
Lay it all down … lay it all down
At the feet of Jesus … at the feet of Jesus

After we lay it all down at the feet of Jesus I assure you, there will be temptation to pick it back up.  Don’t!  Turn around, walk away, and never mention it again to anyone, unless the incident can be used for God’s glory in the teaching and exhortation of others.  Jesus is more than capable, and qualified to handle your hurt and pain.  Give it to him, and see how much better you begin to feel after you do.

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” 1 Pt. 5:7 (TPT)

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.

As if You Were Single

Charlie 012920_5Have you ever wondered why you do things and it doesn’t go like you thought it would?  I mean you roll played it in your head so many times and not one of those times did it go like it did in real life.  What actually went down, you never ever imagined.  You’re hurt.  You’re angry at God.  You don’t understand how it wound up like this.  Let me tell you why it did.

When you said, “Yes” to Jesus’ invitation to accept him, and you asked him to forgive you of your sins, you became his bride.  When you are his bride, you come under his authority.  Not that he will “lord” over you, but protect you.  It’s as if he becomes an umbrella over you.

So when you make a decision and do something that is not part of God’s will for your life you are walking out from under Jesus’ protection.  You are acting again as if you were single.  Making your own decisions.  Doing your own thing.  It may seem right to you, but it’s not what God wants for you, or it is not his timing, or his way.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

 If you find yourself getting wet with the hurts of life, repent, apologize to God, and get back under the umbrella of protection.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

CSI

Charlie 89I used to drive fast.  I mean, really fast, or perhaps I should say, “stupidly fast!”  In the early eighties, in Massachusetts, I was driving my Chevette.  Okay, you can stop laughing now.  As I was going up a hill and into a sharp turn to my left I saw a car coming fast, straight for me in my lane.  It was going to be a head on collision and I said to myself, Oh this is going to hurt!  But right before the point of impact I shut my eyes hard, and screamed, “Oh God!”

My car kept moving around the bend in the road, but my body moved back into the seat and then forward.  I remember thinking, what?  When I looked in my rear view mirror, the car was so close behind me I couldn’t see the license plate.  Did the other car go through me?

If you could go back and examine the scenes of your life.  The ones that astounded you, surprised you, or perhaps hurt you the most.  You might be compelled to look for clues to answer those nagging, lingering questions like, “How did this happen?”

If you could dust the scene for finger prints to find out who all was involved, you know like a crime scene investigator, would it surprise you if you detected God’s fingerprints?

Not that He was the one who did the damage, but that He was there.  Most likely keeping you from being killed, or injured more severely.  Perhaps it was him who got you out of there or got you help in a timely manner.  How many times have you shared your story and have actually heard people respond something like, “Wow, God was definitely with you.”

I think we will all be surprised when we learn, how involved in our lives, God was.  Either he did it because he loves those who call him Father, or he did it hoping you would feel his love and involvement and choose to love him back.  Either way, he loved!

“The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NET Bible)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Low on Love

Charlie 800They didn’t get enough love,
so they act ugly to you and me.
Their words hurt, and penetrate
their actions hinder us from being free.

Pull their dip stick, and I bet its low,
no wonder, in their life, love doesn’t flow.
They too probably got hurt years ago,
their stained by evil but it doesn’t show.

When you encounter one, it can catch you off guard,
like a snake striking from the weeds the bite hits hard.
Don’t hate them back, for further harm will be done,
instead, pray for them, and try to lead them to the One.

The One, Jesus, can heal their hurts and sooth their pain,
and he knows when it happened, because he knows their name.
He wants to see them set free, accept his love and be all healed up,
because they were once low on love, but now love, can be overflowing their cup.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jesus Wept

092813 015

“Jesus Wept” statue at the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. 4-19-1995

As a child growing up in church, the title of this post, John 11:35, was my favorite verse to quote.  I think the reason is obvious.  Saying it with accuracy would help earn me a candy bar, or something.  But these days, it has a whole new meaning.

These days, I know why Jesus wept.  I was taught it was because his good friend Lazarus had died, but I don’t believe that anymore, for Jesus already knew he was going to raise him from the dead.  Verse 4; When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (NET)

Jesus wept because the people, and his friends, who had lost their loved one were hurting.  My point to telling you this is Jesus hurts when you are hurting too, even today.  Jesus sees you, knows your name and knows what you are going through now and will go through in the future.

Verse 32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. (NET)

When you are hurting, distressed, be confident that Jesus knows, he cares, and he can’t wait for you to invite him to do something about it.  It’s true, he holds the whole world in his hands, but he’s holding you as well.  Now rest in that knowledge.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But They Go to Church

Charlie 33There it is.  Another ugly, races, hateful, hurtful word from one I know very well.  “I don’t understand,” has been cried out to God many times after one of their zingers comes out of their mouth.  “God, why do they still feel, act, and say these things?  After all, they go to church!”

Just the other day, when this happened again, I questioned heaven for understanding, I sensed the Lord spoke and said, “But church doesn’t go to them.”  It was in that moment I realized that even though they go to church every time the doors are open, the doors to their heart are closed!  They might even be locked, boarded up with a sign posted, “No Trespassing”.

Jane Rubietta writes, in her book, Come Closer,

“After all, what difference does the gospel make if it doesn’t make a difference, right?”

The word of God should change us, and make us more like Jesus.  It should soften our heart toward others.  Does that mean be tolerant of their sins?  Not at all, but give us understanding as to why they act out like they do.

So what do we do when someone we kind of have to be around says or does something that hurts?  We pray for them as we stand up for Truth, and then we surround them with love.  God’s love, perfect love, is the only key to opening the doors to their wounded hearts.  They must see love, hear love, and feel loved even after they hurt us or others.

If the message they hear at church isn’t getting through, then the love they witness from us just might.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God, I Promise I will …, If You Will …

PowerAfter living here four months, it finally happened!  I got very sick this past week from being an American and being careless with the water here in the Philippines.  While I was lying in my hospital bed, there was a series of thoughts like, “Is God punishing me?  Am I not praying enough?  What lesson is God wanting me to learn?  Should I be praying more?”  Then there are those who try to bargain with God like, “God, I will go to church, if you get me out of this.”

Then, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “No.”

The truth is, we live in a world of sin, pain, grief, hurt, and disease.  But we are so superstitious, or think we control God by what “we” do.  Bad things happen to good people.  Why does God allow it?  Only He knows.  “I don’t think the way you think.  The way you work isn’t the way I work.”  God’s Decree.” (Isaiah 55:8 MSG)

I like what Mitch Teemley (https://mitchteemley.com) posted this week in his blog: “Faith doesn’t do miracles, God does.”

Did I still pray for healing?  Yes, and I did get better and got to come home.  Accepting God, and believing in him means trusting him, 100%.  Accepting his will is best.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No One Ever Treated Me That Way

Charlie55

tricycle

I am a middle aged man, and have been driving a tricycle in Baliuag, Philippines for many years, but today, today I experienced something for the first time.  I’m not sure what to call it, but it felt good.  You see, this couple, I picked up for fare, while on their way to their destination wanted to stop at 7 Eleven and get something to drink.  Just before the man entered the store he stopped, turned to me, and asked, “Would you like something to drink?”

I didn’t know how to respond, and before I could think about it, I responded with a, “Yes.  Whatever you are getting.”  When he returned he handed me a large bottle of a soft drink.  In fact, my drink was larger than his.  I was shocked, stunned, and didn’t know what to think or say.  “Thank you,” I finally said.

As I dropped them off at their final destination, the man asked me, “How much?”  I wanted to say, “No charge,” but the truth is I really needed the money for my family.  He said, “I’ll decide how much.”, and he handed me a lot more than the fare should have been.  I watched with stunned feelings as the nice couple walked away.  His last words still echoing in my head, “Sir, I bless you today, because God blesses me.  He loves me, and he loves you too!”  Perhaps I should get to know such a loving God.

 

We never know who we will encounter each day.  It is important to be lead by the Holy Spirit to know what to say, or do, when He prompts us to, and then to be obedient.  James 3:10 refers to curses and blessing coming out of the same mouth and how this shouldn’t be, but also be aware that the same hands can hurt, or give blessings.  Let’s bless others with our mouths, and with our hands.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.