God is Not Religious

Charlie 230Satan is religious.  He loves churches that try to get you to follow a list of dos and don’ts knowing when you fail, you will probably hate yourself and possibly hate God.  Satan religiously tries to get you to believe the lie that you have to follow a list of rules.  The problem is simple:  you are trusting man to tell you what God desires from you instead of finding out for yourself.

If God wanted us to be religious, he would have not sent his Son, Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins, but instead would have stayed in the temple, behind a curtain.  When Jesus died that curtain ripped from top to bottom.  God doesn’t want religion from us, but a relationship with us.

When you get to know God for yourself, you’ll fall in love with him, and because you don’t want to hurt the One you love, you change your behavior.  Even if you slip up, out of love He forgives, comforts, encourages, and helps you.  This paradigm is a much better way to live.

A friend once said he didn’t have a relationship with God.  I said, “Sure you do!  It’s just not a good one.”  Everyone has a relationship with God.  He loves you, and if you haven’t talked to him in a while, then I’m sure he misses you!  God knows where you are, what you are going through, and he still knows your name.  Can you hear him whispering it?

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Spontaneous Love

By Oswald Chambers

Love suffers long and is kind… —1 Corinthians 13:4

LOVE 105Love is not premeditated– it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.

© 2019 My Utmost For His Highest

When Life doesn’t Look Anything like the Brochure!

travel brochure template printable e To Canada A travel brochure using typical CanadianWell, here you are.  In the middle of life, and honestly, it’s not what you expected.  What do you do?  Give up?  Run away?  Get a divorce?  The attraction is; wherever I go has to be better than this!  Disappointing job, house, spouse, church, etc. doesn’t really matter.  It sucks!

Some look for the answer at the bottom of a bottle, only to find it’s empty.  Others turn to substances that only dulls the pain, but never removes it.  Some fight.  They fight society, the government, churches, and worse yet, other people.  You want to know the truth? Whenever any of this happens, Satan sits back and laughs.  John 10:10 says, “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy…”  What you might ask?  YOU!  He’s still mad at God for not letting him have his way, and he is using you to get even.

You want to know the Truth?  The rest of John 10:10 says “…but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Jesus said that, and He is Truth.  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Accepting Jesus and living his way is not a cliche, it is truth, and it works.  He doesn’t promise you a perfect life with a perfect job, house, spouse or church, but He says He will be there with you through it.  The reason you keep hearing this is because it is truth, and it will set you free.  Pastor Linda Budd, of RiverGate Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma said last Sunday, “Jesus doesn’t speak the problem, he speaks the answer.”  Jesus didn’t say, “Oh my.  It’s stormy out here.  We could be in danger.  Perhaps we should go back.”  No!  He said to the storm, “Peace be still!”

I needed to write this today, because I needed to remind myself of the truth, about Truth, and what He says to storms, disappointments in life.  I say to my storm, “In the name of Jesus, peace be still!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Blessed and Highly Favored!

“Hi Mark.  This is Cathy.  Are you hungry?”
“I could eat.  Why?”
“We’re slow at the restaurant and I was wondering if you wanted to come eat here today?”
“Oh, I see.  Because I’m a generous tipper?”
“You’re not that good of a tipper,” Cathy said while laughing.
I laughed too.  “Okay.  Then why do you want me to come eat?”
“I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed that whenever you come to the restaurant, we get slammed with business, and yes, I have more opportunities to earn tips.”

charlie 63The above conversation was changed a bit, but is true.  It’s something I had noticed as well, but didn’t know anyone else had.  Several years ago I begin to see that after I walked into a place of business, any business, they started getting very busy.  One day I had understanding as to why.  It is because I am a child of God and I am blessed and highly favored.  Therefore, the places I visit are blessed as well.  The blessings don’t stop there either.  I find favor among men in many ways and at many times, and am blessed.

I’m not boasting in this, you can be as well.  Mary, the mother of Jesus was blessed and highly favored and she knew it, because the Angel of the Lord told her she was.  You gain this by drawing close to God.  Know that you are his adopted son or daughter with privileges.  You have all the blessings of heaven at your disposal.  Ask for them.  Tell your Abba Father (Daddy God) what you need, and even what you want.  You might just be surprised.  A scripture says, “You have not, because you ask not!”  That is so true.  God is just waiting to hear from you.  He’s not Santa Clause, or your credit card, for He is so much more than that, but He is love, and He loves you so much!  Love him back.

Get to know him, and spend time with him.  One of the best ways to know God is to read his word, the Bible.  God reveals himself and his character throughout the scriptures.  Also look at the life of Jesus.  Jesus even said, “If you have seen me then you have seen the Father.”  Get intimate with Jesus, for you are the bride of Christ, after you accept him.  Live like you know it!  Walk around professing, “I am blessed and highly favored,” because as a child, who draws close to God, you are!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Magkano?

charlie 62Being with somebody must cost a lot, because most people don’t spend enough time with others.  Especially time with older people.  Sure, they might tell you the same stories you have heard a hundred times, and bore you, but there is one thing, no matter their health, older people can still do; talk!  Magkano?  In the Philippines it means, “How much?”  So magkano time are you willing to spend?

Spending time with God will enlarge your heart for others.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Everyone Has a Mountain to Climb

Charlie 60

Golgotha

Life can be tough, especially when there are people in it.  We are all challenged to face life, deal with life in the midst of people.  Life can come with mountains.  It seems as if everyone has one to climb.  While trying our best to scale the mountain in front of us we, many times, will stumble over someone else.  That’s when someone usually gets hurt.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t God’s idea, plan or intent, and it still isn’t.  He made man and placed him in a garden.  Typically, a garden is a mountain free zone.  This doesn’t mean God is allergic to mountains.  He has used mountains, or hills to do some of his best work.  From Mt. Sinai, He gave us The Ten Commandments, which if followed, helps us live a better life.  Jesus taught about his Heavenly Father, life, and many other important issues to help us from many hills, or mounts around Jerusalem.  Of course it was the hill of Golgotha, where Jesus died for our sins, that gives us life eternal.

So what do we do with mountains?  We should name them for what they are.  Face them with boldness, but the most important thing to do is to ask Jesus to guide you through it, around it or over it.  Even Jesus had a mountain (Golgotha) to face, but didn’t want to.  He asked his Father to remove it from him, but then he went on to say, “Not my will, but your will be done.”  When mountains are conquered, you can stick a flag in it that waves in the wind declaring to all that someone made it.  It might just encourage them to keep climbing, to keep hanging on, and take another step where the Master has stepped before us.

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.” (1 Pt. 2:21 MSG)

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

House Rules

Charlie 58It can be challenging, trying to blend two cultures, but it can also be fun.  For instance, I grew up in America where my mother and father had a lot of people over to play card games, eat, and laugh.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Something I have tried to emulate as an adult.

In the last week, I have been teaching my Filipino wife, American games and card games.  Today, I taught her a new card game and while going over the rules, I mentioned they can change depending on whose house you are playing at.  It’s called, “House Rules”.  Meaning, if you are at one friend’s house, then you play the game according to how they play it there.  Sometimes you may not agree with how they play the game, but you are at their house, so it is their rules, that rules the game.

That got me thinking about how we are in God’s house.  Not in church, but on his earth.  “for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”  (Psalms 50:12 NIV)  He has made things simple.  You can live on his earth, according to your rules, if you want to, but if you want to live forever in his heaven you must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and accept him into your life.  To do so otherwise means you spend eternity, dying forever, in hell.  It’s his rule, which, should, rule your life.

If you haven’t, consider accepting God’s rule of your life.  Doing so helps you get through it, hopefully, with lots of love, friends, family and laughter.

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Noticed

Charlie 57I now know what an animal in a zoo exhibit feels like!  The other day I thought I heard a little boy ask his mother if he could feed the American.  I have mentioned a few times, that I am now living in the Philippines.  Now that I have been here for a while, I forget when I go out, and am near my home, that I am not in America, so when someone stares at me, I start thinking Is my zipper down on my pants?  Did I forget to shower and my hair is a mess?

The point is; I stand out!  I’m noticed!  It’s impossible for me to blend in.  It happened again tonight, as I was walking down the street, to the convenient store.  I smiled and sometimes I wave or say, “Hi.”  I am conscious of the fact I am representing America.  Some have actually told me that I am the first American they have ever seen in person.

This got me thinking, shouldn’t I have the same awareness about being a follower of Jesus Christ?  Shouldn’t I be thinking What if I am the first Christian they have ever met in person?  Or, I am representing God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  The truth is, it should be my nature and not a thought I have to keep in mind.  And my response?  Smile, wave, say “Hello”, be love.  I know I mention this theme of being love often, but the first two commandments mention love, so it must be important to God.

  1. Love God, and put him first in our lives.
  2. Love others as we love ourselves. (And some of you really do love yourselves a lot, as do I sometimes!)

When you walk around being love, you’re being like God.   “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 JN. 4:8 NIV)  Please stop trying to blend in, and rather, desire to be noticed!
Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing You Are Loved

Charlie 58I had a friend that once stated she doesn’t want to hear her spouse say, “I love you” every day.  Somehow, she feels it cheapens the words.  I asked her, “Well, how do you want to know you are loved then?”  She replied, “Just knowing someone is thinking about me makes me feel loved.”  Yes, the next question I had to ask was, “How do you know you are being thought of if that person doesn’t express it in some form?”

I like hearing I am loved.  I like better knowing that I am.  My new spouse left me the note that is pictured here.  A wave of love flowed over me when I found it hanging on my desk.  Expressing our love to others doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but goes a long way in building strong bonds in a relationship, family, friends or otherwise.  Another aspect to expressing your love is there are so many ways to do it, and one can get very creative.

God was extremely creative when He expressed his love to us.  Who else, but God would have thought of giving us his only son and that son coming to us in a small package of a baby.  As that baby grew, so did his love for mankind.  In fact, it’s Jesus’ love for us that caused him to say, “Not my will Father, but yours be done.”

Today, I can read God’s love notes to me all through his word.  The Bible is full of them.  Like Romans 8:37-39 describes how nothing can separate us from God’s love.  He won’t allow it.  Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.  To sum it up:

God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.  ~ Rick Warren

KNOW THAT, YOU ARE LOVED!

 
Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.