April

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April Joy Cruz Brady

Say this next line in the voice of an announcer introducing a movie:

In a world, where it seems as if there is more hate than air…

It’s a fresh breath to meet someone that lives out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a which informs us what real love is.  The test, to see if you are love, is to insert your name everywhere it says “love”, and then to add the proper pronoun before the word, “Doesn’t”.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Although perfect for me, my wife, April is not perfect, but she comes as close as anyone I have ever met who can pass this test.  The only way to be real love is to be like God, because God is love.

To you April, with love.

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.

Place Your Life Before God

Charlie 011120Why are you reading this blog when you could be reading God’s words for yourself?  I’m glad you read this blog, as humbling as it is, but this portion of scripture, Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2, from The Message Bible, was just too good not to share.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Promise Fulfilled

Carlie 04.2Many years ago, like 33 of them, I left full time ministry.  I had been a youth pastor in two different churches.  I left under circumstances that should have never taken place.  I then entered my own desert and had my own version of Mt. Sinai to march around.

I was so mad for allowing Satan to deceive me into thinking my sin was right, but after all, that’s his specialty.  Thinking I would never again get to minister to people, hurt beyond belief, and one of the things I enjoyed the most was preaching from behind a pulpit.

A friend wrote me a letter as I was entering the desert.  She said she was praying for me and she shared a word she got from God for me.  Jeremiah 31:4   It says, “I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt.”

I hid that word from God in my heart for those many years waiting and wondering how God would fulfill his promise.

Tomorrow, at First Baptist Church in Prue, Oklahoma, I will get to stand behind the pulpit once again and minister to God’s people.  I am a little nervous, but excited at the same time.  I trust this is the first of many opportunities to minister around the world.

I am so grateful to my loving God, for caring so much for me that he would not leave me wondering in the desert, but showed me the exit.  After all, the gritty sand had done its work.  I was ready!

I am also thankful to Pastor Garry McDevitt for listening to God, trusting me and giving me this opportunity.  He is doing a great work for God in the community, as people are accepting Jesus and getting baptized almost every week.

Be encouraged, you have not done so much that God can’t use you.  He loves humble, willing, remorseful, ordinary people to do his work.  Oh, and he will help you get the sand out of, well, everywhere!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect Vision

charlie 2020Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions?  I used to, but honestly if I had this year I’m sure one of them would be broken before I could finish this blog post.

Last year though I did manage to change how I think about what is going on around me.  You see, when I become aware of a situation going on around me that is less than what would please God I take steps to change it.  I’m actually writing a book about it titled (so far), “It’s Time to Ask, Flip and Invite”.  Because it has come to my knowledge publishers don’t want to print a book that has been fully or even partially shared in any format I cannot give you the details.

I can share this though because it is not in the book:

When you bring every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5), and put the correct value on it, soon, how you think will change.  That in turns, changes your heart, or what you believe.  Once your heart has changed, it will change how you speak, for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

You might say I am getting 2020 vision!  If only more people would see things the way God sees them.  Then, they might stop getting offended in their minds, at the drop of a hat, and damaging their hearts and vomiting hate all over the news, work places and especially on social media.  The only way to see things clearly is to see them from God’s point of view.

This might be one goal that is worth resolving this year.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Over?

Charlie 26Christmas is over, at least the actual day.
Don’t throw out the Spirit of Christmas in anyway.
But let the Spirit of Christmas last into the new year,
and live your life with joy, and without any fear.

Continue to smile as through your day you go,
give cheerfully to those in need, even if their names you don’t know.
Be nice to your family, and show that you really do care,
you don’t want to spread hate, especially there.

Jesus gave it all up to be born unto you,
He came for more than just one day, in fact with us to spend eternity through.
Continue to believe in him, accept him despite what you hear and see,
cling to him when times are hard and you just don’t know what will be.

Jesus is your Savior, your Comforter, your Prince of Peace,
Your Counselor, your mighty God, so much more than a Christmas wreath!
So as you clean up from the actual Christmas day,
I beg you not to throw away the Spirit of Christmas, in any way.

Copyright © 2019 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.

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.