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.

Why Do You Let Your Emotions Take Over?

The title to this blog is a good question.  One asked by Job’s friend, Eliphaz in Job 15 from the Bible.  The reason we do is because it’s natural.  We instinctually go there first, to our emotions that is.  Expressing one’s emotion has gotten so popular these days we can even respond by sending an “emoji”. Of course, not all emotions are harmful, and not all are based in fear.

I remember a time when I got extremely mad and hurt from my father.  On the way home, from that encounter, I ordered a pizza.  I dropped it onto the asphalt on the way to my car due to high winds.  I had to go back inside and order another one.

When I finally got home and was eating it, God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me first?”

OUCH!

I thought about it and answered, “Because you weren’t my first thought, God.”

That’s probably why we turn to our emotions first and allow them, or empower them to take over us.  We have not yet trained ourselves to think of God first, and allow him to help us react to life in a peaceful manner.  Or to respond to a person and or situation with one of the fruits of the Spirit.  Can you imagine how much better life would be, or go if we could retrain our minds?  It is possible!  While in the midst of the process of getting my wife’s immigration to America completed I got depressed, and instead of turning to food, and allowing my emotions to rule, I prayed.

A key to learning to change our behavior is asking God for help to do so.  I had to do this as well.  God loves us so much and doesn’t want to see us get bogged down because we allow our emotions to rule us.  So the next time something happens that “gets your dandruff up”, or raises a red flag, stop, and ask God to help you.  I know you will be glad you did.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Your Spouse Preaches

The best preachers are the ones who receive a particular word, message for their upcoming audience.  Then, at the given time, they deliver those special words from God.  If this person shouted and screamed you might be tempted to leave, or at least tune them out.  So how words are spoken is everything.

What if that preacher is your spouse?  I know.  It’s harder to hear the words being spoken because they are coming from someone who you might also hear nagging, complaining, or gripping from.  You may be thinking, don’t lecture me!  Or, why are you on my case?  But if the words are spoken in a loving way then you should probably listen.  After all, this is your helpmate.  He or she is there to be used of God to guide you, direct you, comfort you, and yes even speak words of life into your soul.

This happened to me recently.  We were driving in the construction zone I have spoken of a few posts ago.  I was trying to merge into the line of cars, and I got cut off.  I started fussing and my wife gently, and in a loving way said, “Your problem is this; you expect others to treat, or do for you the way you treat or do for them.  And when they don’t, you get mad or hurt.”  Her words made sense, because they were true, but because they came from her I dismissed them somewhat.

Fast forward to last night:

I couldn’t fall asleep, so I got up and came into our home office and turned on the TV.  I soon sensed God directing me to watch Joel Osteen.  I tuned in.  Wouldn’t you know he started preaching similar words that my wife was speaking just a few days earlier?  Coming from him it seemed easier to hear and accept.  Then some guilt creeped in, so this morning I confessed to my wife what had happened and that I was sorry I had not heard God’s message from her first, but I vowed to begin listening to the one on earth who loves me when she begins to speak words of life into my soul.

The lesson here is to listen to the message God is trying to say to us despite the vessel he chooses to use.  God likes to work with people to do his business.  They don’t have to be on TV either or come with credentials in order to deserve your time and respect.  If the message is on target then listen with your heart wide open.  It’s God loving on you, because He cares about you so much.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Happy?  Pappy?”

Technology, computers were supposed to make our lives easier.  Give us more time to sit back and enjoy life, friends and family.  Can anyone say that is the case in their life?  Doesn’t it seem as if there is always somewhere we have to be and something we have to do?  Are you caught up on the latest hot shows?  Then there is the constant ringing, dinging, buzzing of our cell phones.  Here’s the latest news, latest text from friends, family and work.  Do you ever want to roll the car window down and chuck it?  Then there are the calls you don’t want.  “Spam Risk” my phone now alerts me.  And if I want to extend my car’s warranty, I’ll call you!

We deal with this manic life day in and day out.  It begs the question, “What, or who are we living for?”  What is at the end of it all?  And when you get there, will you be happy?  Will you look back at it all and be satisfied?  Will you be able to say your life was one that was well lived?

Paul, the apostle from the Bible, didn’t have to be connected all the time, but I’m sure there were things that brought on similar feelings and situations we face today.  Yet he was able to put things in proper perspective.  Here are his own words, spoken at the end of his life:

You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.” 2 Tim. 4:6-8 (MSG)

Paul lived his life for God.  The man was sold out to his commitment to be God’s servant.  He went where God wanted him to go.  He did what God wanted him to do, and he said whatever God asked of him to say.  The beatings he suffered made his determination more fervent.  The many mishaps as he traveled to spread the gospel speared him on to reach his destinations.  Paul looked at the results of his devoted life to God and was happy at the end.  Satisfied.

If your life isn’t truly and honestly fulfilling, know that it can be.  Living for God, by God’s word will bring such peace and happiness to anyone’s life when placed in the proper perspective.  Is it easy, no, but is it worth it, yes!  I challenge you to try it.  Start today, for your connected life to the world may delay you , or worse, prevent you from ever obtaining true happiness.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Feeling Loved

There are a lot of emotions when it comes to living life.  There are lots of feelings as well, but the best feeling is when you feel loved.  It’s like the warmth when sitting in front of a fireplace, the surrounding of a warm bath, or the natural softness when wrapped up in a quilt.

There is no guessing, or wondering, you know.  Being loved is confidence that somebody cares deeply about you.  They care about your past, your present and your future.  They do all they can to protect you, to serve you, and to give good things to you.  The ones that do it best are the ones that do it with no strings attached.  It’s called unconditional love.

It’s hard to find someone with those qualities, with that kind of deep concern, but when you do, hang on to them, for they are indeed a rare find.  Gold. A precious jewel.  I’m reminded of the parable in the Bible of the man who found a great treasure in a field.  He re-hid it and then sold all he had to buy that field, so the treasure would be his forever.  If and when you find someone who loves you unconditionally, you have found a valuable gift.

Here are the partial lyrics to an older Amy Grant song titled, “Doubly Good to You”:

You can thank the Father
For the things that He has done.
And thank Him for the things He’s yet to do.
And if you find a love that’s tender,
if you find someone who’s true,
Thank the Lord —
He’s been doubly good to you.

I am so thankful to God for my wife.  She loves unconditionally.  She’s a love that’s tender, she’s a love that is true.  I told her mother, “I have searched all my life for a woman like your daughter, April, and up till now I didn’t think she existed, but God lead me to her.”  April is not perfect, but certainly created in the image of God.  For God is love, and He loves with perfection.  His love to us is unconditional, and nothing can separate us from his love.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!  Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

Seek God and his unending, unconditional love.  Recognize its value and treasure it.  His love is not hard to find, for it is right there waiting for you, for feeling loved, is a wonderful thing.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Road Construction

At the entrance to my subdivision there is road construction.  I can only exit and enter by going one way while they upgrade the infrastructure, water, electric, and sewer that runs along the road, or under it.  Then, they will put down a new road, with new lane stripes and new signs.  They say it will take 6 months to complete.  It has already been two and a half.

If that wasn’t enough to endure, they have torn up a major highway interchange just blocks from the road I mentioned above.  It is reported to take two years to finish.  The officials say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

As I have shared in previous posts, I married a Filipino woman in 2019.  Soon after the wedding, we worked with an immigration attorney to get the process started to bring my wife to America.  I lived in the Philippines for several months until I needed an eye procedure.  We discussed the situation and felt it was best if I came back to America to have it done here.  Thinking her immigration process wouldn’t take that long and she would follow me here shortly.  It seemed as if they had missed placed her file and then shortly after they started working on her case, Covid hit.

At the time of this writing, my wife is still not here with me.  There have been lots of conversations with God about the process and questions of, “Why is it taking so long?”  Walking with God in life is definitely a journey.  As we are now getting toward the end of the immigration process I can look back and see with greater understanding.  I can see how God has updated power lines in our lives making sure that in the future we look to him for uninterrupted power to live by.  He has put in a new sewer system to remove the waste and potentially toxic aspects of our personalities away safely and quickly.  My wife compares my temper to passing gas.  She says, “It stinks at first, but it doesn’t last long.”  She has learned to let me vent and then we can return to our regularly scheduled life already in progress.

If God didn’t take the time to pour new pavement in our lives we would be traveling with him on dirt, and when the storms come get bogged down in mud.  Yuk!  If he only put down stones travel would be easier but it would be a bumpy and rough ride.  Not enjoyable at all.  But God has used the time, while waiting for her immigration to be completed, to put down nice smooth pavement.  When the final touches are completed my wife and I will be able to come and go quickly in any direction with ease.  We will be able to see the lanes we should stay in so we avoid head on collisions and harm.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Yes, walking with God is difficult at times, and it is hard to see what He is doing, because some improvements are below the surface. At times it’s hard to understand why it is taking so long, but He would say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Life” – The Ride

I love riding roller coasters.  The thrill, the excitement, the rush they provide is satisfying.  Being surprised by sudden twists and turns, dips, and loops.  Corkscrews are always a nice touch.  One thing I have noticed designers give their coasters big names.  Such as, The Texas Giant, Millennium Force, The Beast, Nitro, Magnum XL-200, Intimidator 305, Goliath, and Cyclone in the famous Coney Island, to name a few.

Life, at times, feels like a roller coaster.  Up one minute, down the next.  Cheering with exhilaration, or screaming with terror.  Laughing one second and potentially tearing up in the next turn.  Life can change drastically in a moment.  A life is born, or a life can end.  One can meet their new spouse, or get handed divorce papers.  A job can be gained, or one can be terminated, in a moment.

Life moves, in a constant motion.  Never pausing, chilling out, or taking a rest.  It’s impossible to stay in a good moment very long.  Dealing with this moving force can be overwhelming at times.  There is no way, once the ride goes over the first hill, you can ask the operator to stop and let you off.  Sad, but true, some riders get off the ride by taking matters into their own hands and prematurely end it, causing, “an unfinished life!”  I think this is due to not knowing the Operator, and trusting Him.

Coasters are designed to keep riders safe, and getting them to the end.  Yes, freak accidents do occur at times, just like in life.  There are no guarantees, and there is no posted sign that discourages getting on the ride due to things like height, or lack of, your health, pregnancy, or recovering from a recent surgery.

The key to surviving a coaster and life is trusting the Operator.  Accepting His love, his Son, and His Spirit to ride next to you.  On my honeymoon, my wife and I went to an amusement park.  I made the mistake of asking her to ride next to me.  I didn’t get hurt from the ride, but my arm was bleeding from her digging in her finger nails, and my ear was ringing from her screams, “Take me home!”  The Operator will rejoice with you in the highs, and comfort you during the lows.  He, God, can keep you calm with the many twists and turns that comes with life.

Don’t attempt to ride life alone.  Accept God’s offer to join you.  The admission price was paid for by His son, Jesus when He died on the cross for you.  One thing I can promise you is “Life” – The Ride is much better with God.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Tempting, Isn’t it?

I once wrote a parody of Genesis 3:1-7, where Satan tempted Eve.  I expressed the idea of Satan not being successful in his first, or second attempt.  He soon realized he had to step up his game and be the best salesman there ever was or will be.  He begin convincing Eve the fruit would complete her ensemble (a word I learned from my first wife) and the forbidden fruit went well with the shoes she was wearing.  As you know, the rest of the story, it worked.

I had a Chinese friend, a few years ago, who referred to temptation as,

“her favorite sin”,

and she was convinced the devil knew what it was and how to use it against her.

What is yours?  What does your snake say to you?

But now I’m afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s clever lies, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may lose your single-hearted devotion and pure love for Christ. 2 Cor. 11:3 (TPT)

One of the greatest tools we have is knowing how Satan comes against us using the same temptation usually every time.

“so that we would not be exploited by the adversary, Satan, for we know his clever schemes.” 2 Cor. 2:11 (TPT)

So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” Heb. 4:16 (TPT)

“We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously. 1 Cor. 10:13 (TPT)

The tempter wants you to fail,

but the tester wants you to succeed.

Remember Jesus has already overcome the evil one, and He is there to help you do the same.  Call upon his name, and trust He hears you and will show you the way to be an overcomer.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Initial Words

“What’s that symbol tattooed on your back?” I asked the girl I worked with.  I knew, I thought, what it was, but had not seen one that elaborate.  “It’s a pentagram,” she replied.  “I’m a Pagan.”  “Oh, well I don’t judge,” were my initial words.  She said, “I know.”  I wasn’t exactly sure why she said that, but she did.

Because of my cautious and prayerfully planned out approach to the inquisition, I found out later it’s what I “didn’t say” that allowed for an ongoing conversation concerning her beliefs and spiritual practices vs. my own to take place.

Now, you may find it odd knowing a Christian is even talking to a Pagan, but I ask you, “Why?”  Jesus was misunderstood for talking to tax collectors, or prostitutes, and he about gave the so called “religious leaders” of his day, a heart attack if he dined with them.

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and misfits?”

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Mat. 9:10-13 (MSG)

Why venture outside of your comfort zone, and talk with those who choose to live a different lifestyle than you?

Because they need to know, see, and hear the love of Jesus as much as anyone else, perhaps more!

They need to feel what is authentic and that might help them reject, cast off, Satan’s cheap substitutes or imitations of what is real.

So what was it that I “didn’t” say to the self-proclaimed Pagan?  After hearing what she was, I didn’t say, “Oh, I’ll be praying for you.”  She explained hearing those words infuriates her, and she refuses to listen to anything else a person who says that has to say.  She said it immediately makes her feel as if her choice is wrong.

Say a prayer before engaging one that you know is living a life less than what God intended.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your tongue, as you dare, or take a risk to speak words of life to them.  Your initial words may be the only ones they hear, but hopefully they’ll stick around to hear more, and perhaps even dine with you.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Some time ago I met a lady at work, and the first thing she started informing me was she was the best one, on our shift, doing the job.  She wanted me to know that her “rate per hour” never dipped below 500, and even on the day she poked herself in the eye she maintained her excellence.  For reference, the average rate per hour is around 270.  I must confess, her boasting was a turn off.  Later I thought, if you are that great at your job then why haven’t I heard about you from others?

The second time I encountered this same woman she was bragging to some other coworkers, in the break room, of her greatness in doing her job.  The third time I crossed her path she was wearing a shirt that proclaimed, “The Boss”.  The very next day she wore a T-shirt stating, “World’s Best Mom”.

It got me to thinking, perhaps she is extremely insecure in who she truly is, and tries to command respect by telling everyone who she wants to be?

After thinking about this for a while I heard in my mind a question Jesus once asked;

“But you—who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked.
Mat. 16:15 (TPT)

Jesus knew who he was, and didn’t go bragging about it to anyone, or ware a tunic stating it.  In fact, God declared who Jesus was when he rose up from the water after being baptized.  God said, “This is my Son, whom I am well pleased.”

It’s important to know who Jesus is.  He’s a healer, a brother that never leaves you, a calming source in any storm, but most important, he’s a savior whose death on the cross saves your soul from hell, if you accept who he is and ask him to forgive you for your sins, wrong doing.  Your eternal life depends on this because one day you will stand before Jesus, and He will ask you, “Who do you say I am?”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.