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.

Drive thru God

Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:

“Would you mind if I said something to you?
    Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
    that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
    put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting!
    You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?
    Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?  Job 4:1-6 (MSG)

Do you find it difficult to encourage yourself, even with the very words you have used with others?  I do.  At times it seems impossible to find hope and peace when you look at your own life.  Funny, how sure you are of the power of the words you spoke to another, but when it comes to applying them to your situation, not so much.  They seem empty.

In the above portion of scripture, Job’s friend, Eliphaz (it’s ok, I don’t know how to pronounce it either) was trying to remind him of what he has done to help others.  What he has said that encouraged, lifted up, and gave them hope.  Then he asked two very good questions. “Shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?  Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?”

The answer is, “YES!”  It should, and will if you allow it.  God hasn’t changed, just your current situation has.  I struggled with this myself as I have described in recent post.  Yes, I knew better, and after giving it a lot of thought I think I have figured out partly why.  Time.

We live in such an instant gratification world that we expect everything to get resolved fast.  I mean, we have fast food, Prime same day delivery, one hour photos, why not “Fast God”?  Would it be asking too much for God to open up a drive thru?

Time seems to do a work in us.  Someone once said, “Time heals all wounds.”  Not sure about that.  It does seem to make us take survey of our lives though.  I think there are some things we go through when God gives us the time we need to know the bottom line is, we need him to do his best work in the situation.  I know the end of Job’s story and that is what happened in his life.  God did a work in the heart of Job by allowing tragedy to strike.

God really does work all things to his glory.

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”  Rom. 8:26-28 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Hunt for Red October

“Give me one ping, and one ping only please.”  A line from the movie, “Hunt for Red October”, I like to say in my best, which isn’t that good, Sean Connery voice.  I have always been intrigued by submarines, and Red October is a large, Russian, ballistic missile loaded one.  It fascinates me how they knew where they were before the use of a computerized guidance systems.

Some followers of Jesus Christ could be called, “Submarine Christians”.  By that, I mean they stay undetected as they move about when it comes to their faith in God.  They might raise their periscope, every once in a while and take a look around to see if it is safe to surface.  They have their personal reasons for not being detected, most likely out of some degree of fear.  In the movie, “Red October”, the enemy on paper turned out to be their ally, and helped them achieve their goal.

God, through his word, encourages us not to hide our faith.  In fact, there are several verses that direct us to shine bright. Here is one of them:

“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.” Mat. 5:14-15 (TPT)

People who are far from God need to see him, they need to hear him.  They need to find him, in us.  You never know where hurting, or lost people are unless you look them in the face and listen to the words they say.  People who need God do give clues, if you are paying attention, if you are hunting.

Instead of computers guiding us, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit.  Led of God to where the sick need healing, the oppressed need to be set free.  God’s word equips us with spiritual weapons to take out the enemy, the devil.

The ping, Sean Connery asked for, verified his distance from his ally.  By coming to the surface, finding those who are with us, we can work together to complete God’s mission to save the whole world.

“That the whole world might be saved…”
John 3:17

Whether people realize it, or not, they are hunting for God.  The spirit man inside each of them is striving to be reunited with God’s spirit.  Let’s be out there helping them connect their heart to the heart of God.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Naked Prayer

Last week, I mentioned crying out to God, but today I want to share a little more about prayer.  Oh, and “Naked Prayer” is bearing your soul to God, so there is nothing left unseen.  He knows it anyway, but it’s as if He wants you to reveal it and give, or surrender it to him, like a child, who doesn’t know to hide their heart truth.

In John 10:10, where it says, “Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” the Greek word for “kill” doesn’t mean, “take your life”, but it actually indicates you “giving your life, or surrendering something to the devil.” That means you give up hope.  It indicates you are giving up on God, and when you are convinced God is not going to answer your prayer then Satan can sweep in and gain a stronghold into your life.

“Prayers don’t expire,” says Robert Madu

Your prayers don’t have an expiration date on them, or have a statute of limitations with God.  He can answer your prayer anytime He wants to, and He knows when the answer will work out best for you.  Also, there could be a good reason, to God, for not answering your prayer, and that is when faith is the most difficult.

A miracle, is still a miracle, no matter how long it takes.

Perhaps God knew if he answered a couple of my prayers before now, I would not have meditated on this subject and have written these words to hopefully help you, or encourage you.  The truth is; I don’t know, but that is where my faith and trust in him comes into play.  I am confident that God knows best, He has heard me, and will work in my life, and through my life, regardless of an answer to my request.  For that I say, “Thank you, God, and thank you for loving me.”

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.

Where’s the Love

051420There once was a lady, no, not from Nantucket, who was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, a worker, and a church goer.  Yes, she seemed to once have a strong love for God, family, people in general, and especially children.

I thought I knew her, but after being separated off and on over the years, it took me a while to notice it, but after being around this lady again, I could tell something had changed.

I suspected many things, which I won’t go into, but it wasn’t until today, as I was talking about her that I labeled the problem correctly.  Love had leaked out over the years.  Perhaps even unnoticed by her, but she had changed. To friends, family and fellow church goers it’s got to be obvious.

So how did this happen?  I think she had gotten hurt over the years and never dealt with it.  Hurt by her husband, her children, friends, work situations, other family members, and yes, even by those at her church.  You see, there seems to be a connection between getting hurt, not dealing with it in a proper manner, like going to God with it, and love.  Also, if one is not getting filled back up on love by spending time with God then a person runs low.  It’s not obvious, because there is no internal dip stick for our love tanks.

When love leaks out, others get hurt.  A lack of love can cause many problems, so it is very important to know if you are leaking love, and why.  If you have experienced great pain from a conversation or situation last week, last year, or several years ago, please deal with it.  Either try to go back to the person who hurt you, and if that is not possible then definitely go to God with it, and ask him to help you overcome the pain.

I found myself going to God, because when I confronted the women mentioned above and shared how she had hurt me she replied, “Well just get over it!”  I was stunned, and now hurt worse.  A wounded person may come across as cynical, judgmental, critical, hateful, difficult, controlling, and even as a racist.  When love runs out it is replaced with these, and other negative attitudes.

I wonder if, after sinning, she tells God, “just get over it!”

It’s hard to love these type of people.  In my case, I now stay away to protect my heart and I pray for her.  I hope God will bring her, and others like her to a situation where they one day see how low on love they are.  It’s not too late for them.  God can easily love them back to full, but they need to get close to him, know him, converse with him and read his word.  You see, living with love shared takes two.  If only one sided, it is simply, love given.

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.

Love, In the Face of Hate

75328681_10217623460756624_7249069574832783360_nWhat do you do when someone consistently shows you hate?  They would not admit it, but you know they must because they can’t ever say anything nice to you.  They can’t celebrate your accomplishments in life like retiring early, getting to move back to one’s hometown and buying a house, and not one kind word spoken when you got remarried, finding love again, after years of being divorced.

They find it so difficult to be happy for you.  Could it be because they aren’t?  Is it jealousy?  The weird thing is they seem to find others like them, and it’s as if they start a “HATE YOU” club, or something.  They band together, pick you apart as if you were shredded meat being devoured.  And the worst part is, if they decide they are right, then even if you were right, you become wrong, because they out number you.  Hate, seems to be a sick kind of magnet that attracts others.

Jesus knew this too well.  You see the religious rulers of his day hated him, because the people loved him.  They were starting to believe in him and his message of love.  The Jewish leaders knew they had to act fast and strike a death blow, or lose their status forever.  They got a large number of people to believe them, and join their “hate club” against Jesus.  Most likely the very people Jesus fed, prayed for, and healed.  Yet, on the cross, close to death, Jesus had compassion on them and loved them.  In fact he asked his Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do.  He showed them love, in the face of hate.

This past weekend, I was sitting in a drive through.  I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw one of my haters.  My flesh rose up, evil thoughts came to mind.  Anger, resentment.  Then, love came on the scene and I decided to tell the person at the drive through window I would like to pay for the person’s order who was behind me.  I’m not telling you this trying to make you think I am great, but to illustrate one simple way of showing love, in the face of hate, like Jesus did.  Although, Jesus didn’t pay for their order, he paid for their life, with his.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13  (NASB)

I overcame my flesh by repenting of hate in my heart, because I hate how I am treated.  It hurts, doesn’t make any sense, but I cannot control them, or their choice on how to live.  The only thing that matters is how Jesus sees me.  One thing I try to keep in mind is they are living with hurts of their own they never gave to God, and asked him to heal.  If you want to close down the “hate clubs” in your life then pray for them, and show love every chance you get.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Help

HPWhat has to happen, or be said, to get you to help?  Especially, to someone you don’t know.  For Jesus, he just had to see.  See the need.

Four times in the gospels, Jesus “saw” the multitude, and was moved with compassion, which in the Greek language means; “guts”.  So Jesus “felt” the need.

Today, I saw a need of someone I didn’t know.  I’ll confess my trepidation when I invited him into my car.  I thought I was off the hook when I delivered them to their desired destination for panhandling.  I went on to Lowes.  Completed my business, and then sat in my car and thought about his business, God’s.  I went back to where I had last seen him.  Not there.  I headed to my next stop.  There he was.  Justice, that’s his name.  A young man, trying his best to feed three little kids, and keep the lights on.  I took him to Target and bought enough to take care of one of his immediate needs.

I’m reading, Rees Howells, Intercessor.  I was given the book by Paul Brady, (no relations) the pastor of Millennial Tulsa.  I read when interceding for an individual, you must “identify” with the need to the point their suffering becomes your own, and their need, your responsibility.  Today, after dropping Justice off where he lives, I started crying.  It was then, I realized what I read, had moved from head knowledge, to heart knowledge.  I didn’t just read it, but was living it.  Now, I can intercede for Justice and his needs, because I have seen, and have “felt” his desperation.  Now, I can truly help.

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