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.

It’s Worse than Green Eggs and Ham

Charlie 74

Thanks for the inspiration Dr. Seuss

I don’t like it he is me,
I don’t like hate, can’t you see?
I don’t like it here or there,
I don’t like it anywhere.

There’s no reason for it, just walk away.
You don’t have to act like them in do or say.
Hate is ugly, can’t you see,
I don’t like it he is me.

I don’t like hate when it reigns,
I don’t like it on any day.
Hate should be placed in a box,
and consumed by fire with those who spread it like a fox.

Love is a higher way to live,
it’s free, and so it’s what we all should give.
I like love can’t you see,
I like love, Jesus said, because love is me.

The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NET)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

For Real?

Charlie 29I came across a YouTube video this morning where Pastor Joel Osteen interviewed Kanye West concerning his testimony of accepting Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and asking forgiveness for his sins.

Being transparent here; I had the thought, “Is this for real, or is Kanye doing this for some other reason?”  I know.  A bad thought, right?  I corrected myself fast.  I don’t know Kanye personally, but God does, and God also knows his heart.

I imagine Saul, who became the Apostle Paul had a similar issue.  Here is this man, who made it his mission, to kill off all those who professed to believe in Jesus now finding himself to be a believer also.  Who would trust him, within an inch of their lives, when he said he’s not going to kill them, but only wanted to tell them about Jesus?  Time proved Paul was for real, and he went on to lead a lot of people to Christ, that is when he wasn’t writing two thirds of the New Testament Bible.

Time will tell us if Kanye is for real as well.  In the meantime, perhaps his large platform will allow him to share the love of God with millions.  Regardless of your own thoughts, or opinions concerning this issue, we should all be praying for Kanye West.

“Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:18 (MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

People’s Peephole Perspective

Charlie 485Peepholes are kind of cool.  Instead of seeing what is directly in front of the door you get to see all around the door and porch area.  It may be called a “fish eye’s” view?  Some cameras have a similar, attachable lens.  The point is though, the peephole provides a secured view of who is at the door, but the truth is, it’s a distorted view.

People sometimes will look at their world, and other people, in a distorted way as well.  Things that have happened to them in the past, their upbringing, and other people’s opinions affect the view.  This can cause some to have trouble trusting, or believing people.  Sad, but this distorted view can also be applied when Jesus shows up.

Jesus says in Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)

You notice Jesus doesn’t barge in or break the door down?  He’s a gentleman.  He comes to you, where you are, because he knows you, sees you, and even knows what is happening in your life.  Yet, he waits for you to invite him into your life.  He knows how much you need him, but he still gives you a choice, free will.  Unless you are willing to let go of your peephole perspective, and give Jesus a chance, you will never know perfect love.  A love that can help you overcome, anything!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The movie, “A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” comes out tomorrow, starring, Tom Hanks.  I wrote a post about Mr. Rogers in April 2018.  In honor of the movie, which I heard was good, I am re-posting it.

FILE PHOTO  Fred "Mister" Rogers Dead At 74

Some of us, old farts, have no problem remembering Mr. Rogers on TV.  Below, are the lyrics of the song he sung, at the beginning of each episode:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Did Fred Rogers, get it right?  Did he fully understand the 2nd greatest commandment of God?  Lev 19:18  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Most people do love themselves, and sometimes it shows by how they act and treat others.  There are several other scriptures that warn about only loving those that are lovable, but God is commanding we love everyone as much as we love ourselves.  To love him first, and then everyone else second.  Why?  Because love never fails.

It’s hard to hate and love at the same time.  Yes, one can mistreat someone who is loved, but if the love is real the issue gets resolved rather quickly.  Can you imagine saying to your worst enemy, “I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you”?  That is what we, who love God, are called to do.  Love, overcomes all, overlooks all, and let’s go of all wrong.  Love, is so generous, it causes you to share your resources.  Love, encourages you to get your hands dirty by helping.

Yes, Fred Rogers got it right.  Mr. Rogers wanted you to be his neighbor so he could love you, as he loved himself.  So I ask you, “Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

I Do My Best

Charlie 777bIf Adam had stopped Eve from exercising her free will, and disobeying God.  If Eve had not listened to the devil in the form of a serpent.  Somebody, somewhere, in the ages of time still would have sinned requiring a perfect sacrifice to reunite us with God.  Jesus would still have found himself hanging on a cross.

Even if no one had disobeyed God, by the time I was born, I’m sure I would have been the one to mess things up.  Like the apostle Paul once said, “… My own behaviour baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. Yet surely if I do things that I really don’t want to do, I am admitting that I really agree with the Law.

… I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don’t really want to do I find I am always doing. Yet if I do things that I don’t really want to do then it is not, I repeat, “I” who do them, but the sin which has made its home within me.” Romans 7:15-20 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Even if I was the only sinner on earth, God still would have sent his son, Jesus to die for me.  That’s how much he loves me, and ya know what? He loves you that much too.  2 Peter 3:9 (NET)  because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

You know the bottom line is this:  God simply wants us to choose to be in a loving relationship with him.  I do my best, for that’s my heart’s desire as well.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jesus Wept

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“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.

Christmas is Coming

Charlie 25Children:  “I haven’t sent my wish list yet to Santa!”  (They think they are late because they have seen Christmas items in stores since July 4th!)

Adults:  “Who’s hosting?  What are we eating?  What are we going to buy your dad this year?  Can I bring a date to the office party?  Oh, are we sending out Christmas cards?  Who’s going to sit down and write the family brag letter that no one probably reads?  I mean, they see all year how perfect our family is on Facebook.”

This happens every year.  To be honest, I saw Christmas cards here at home the other day and my heart skipped a beat thinking I was late in sending them out.  With the commercializing of Jesus’ birth it’s hard not to get caught up in it all.  I guess I’m guilty too.  I mean, here I am writing about Christmas before Thanksgiving!  And I’m writing this post while wearing white pants after Labor Day!  Who makes up these silly rules anyway?

If I want to start preparing my heart and attitude to celebrate the birthday of all birthdays, then why not?  Life wouldn’t be worth living, if it wasn’t for the love of God, and his generous, outlandish, extravagant gift of his Son, Jesus.  So, in the spirit of preparing for Christmas, below is my Christmas prayer list to God:

  1. That America would focus on our real needs instead of spending a lot of money and time on trying to get someone fired. (Okay, that has been my only political opinion expressed this whole year.)
  2. That families would work harder at loving then hurting.
  3. That my wife’s Visa to America would arrive yesterday.
  4. To be debt free.
  5. To have several books I’ve written published, and a major movie deal in the works based on my novel, Kill the Preacher Man, which would produce an Oscar Award, so my wife could meet Keanu Reeves at the awards ceremony.

Having all those prayers answered would be great, but what I want the most, and I mean this, is for everyone to give God a chance.  To realize how much He loves us, and how he never intended anything bad to happen to us, but know that when we use our free will, we allow Satan to hurt us.  Then after they give God time, and get acquainted with him, they would accept him and love him back.  Ya know, if that happened then items 1 and 2 would be taken care of.

Faith says, these prayers could be answered.  Hope says, even if they don’t, it will be okay.  Love says, regardless, I am a child of the most, high God, and love, never fails.

Do your best this year to not forget why we have Christmas.  Take time out to consider Jesus.  Know this; Christmas is coming, and Christ is coming soon to gather those who believe in him, and have accepted him.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Inside the Lines

Charlie 62I bet they flunked out of Kindergarten for not coloring inside the lines!  Are they important?  Do they love their car that much?  I bet they live life outside the lines too.  I mean, they can’t even park their car inside the straight lines provided free of charge.

There seems to be a lot of people these days who only care about themselves.  In fact, I think there is a whole generation of people called, “Me llennials.”  Just kidding, sort of.  These people do what they want, when they want, with little thought of anyone else, as if they are entitled or something.

The only problem with this lifestyle choice is they will have to give account of how they lived.  Yes, it’s true, we have free will, but when we all stand before God, will we say, “But God, I…”  Some may try, but I have this funny feeling when we see him in all his Glory, we will fall to our knees, and weep, for the words we chose to say, and the things we decided it was okay to do.

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Romans 14:12 (AMP)

I have a funny feeling, in that moment, before God, we will have all truth, and it will be in that moment, we will know.  I can imagine, for the ones who rejected God, and didn’t choose to live within the lines He provided, free of charge, He will not say a word, but point to a door that will be an exit out of heaven and an entrance into hell.  But for the ones who did their best to live a pleasing life to him, accepting his Son, Jesus, He will offer his hand to help us up, and say the most loving words we will ever here.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Could Have Been a Murderer!

Charlie 61I was staying in hotel for a few days.  I decided to go out, and at the elevator met up with this older couple.  They were dressed in their “Sunday go to Meeting” clothes.  That’s what we say here in Oklahoma anyway.  They were dressed up very nice for those who don’t understand.

I said, “Wow!  You all look like you’re going to church.”  It was Thursday.  They both gave me a funny look as if I had spoken English to them in Sweden , or something.  I went on, “I mean, you two are dressed up so nice.”  This time I got a smile from the wife.  This encounter was awkward and getting more uncomfortable as we got into the elevator.  “Where ya all going?” I asked.  I mean, why stop now?

“We are attending a minister’s convention across the highway,” the man informed me in a very stern voice.

“Oh, well, enjoy.  Take care,” I replied.  I got no response.

As I got into my car, I couldn’t help but replay the encounter.  I thought, they didn’t know me at all.  Why didn’t they try to share Jesus with me.  I could have been a murderer for all they know and desperately in need of Jesus!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to judge them or anything, but I guess if one is a Christian, much less a minister, they should make an attempt to talk about Jesus in some way all the time.  A good friend said this recently;

“A disciple of Jesus Christ, is so different from being a Christian.”

What he means is this; a Christian has accepted Jesus as the Son of God, and has had their sins forgiven.  A disciple of Jesus Christ tries to replicate Jesus.  He does his best to share Jesus with the world in whatever form or words are available in the moment.  In some ways you could say, he is useful to God.

Some may be satisfied with only having an “Eternal Life Insurance” policy, but I’m not.  I enjoy helping others find God, or grow in their relationship with God.  Learning how to be an overcomer and stop living below what God intended for his children.  I know it’s hard to speak up, and I certainly don’t always know the right words to say, but I yield my reluctancy to God, and funny thing, with the help of his Holy Spirit, it usually turns out okay.  I think most people I talk to aren’t murderers, but then again, you never know.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.