No Plan “B”

NoPlanB-01What if Mary had said, “No” to God when he asked her to have his Son?  After all, many have said, “No” to God perhaps out of fear, or not wanting to risk, or sacrifice anything.  Did He have a plan “B”?  Was there an understudy waiting in the wings for her big chance?

I heard a story of a man who grew up very different from the rest of his family.  You see, they all went to the same church, but the others, in his family, resisted when God tried to change them from the inside out.  They evidently, just wanted enough of Jesus to escape hell.  He wondered, and so did those who heard his story of the way his family treated him and others, how, or why he didn’t turn out like them.  His father passed away, and as he was walking through the now empty house, he felt God’s Spirit whisper to him, “While you were growing up in this house, I kept my hand tight around your heart, because I knew one day, you would give it to me.”

“So God, who knows the heart,…”
Acts 15:8 (NKJV)

God knew He didn’t need a plan “B”, because He knew Mary would agree to his will. God knew Mary’s heart belonged to him, so Christmas went off without a hitch, and the rest of God’s plan did as well.  What, or who have you given your heart to?

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.

Knowing Jesus

Christmas 19cThere is a popular Christmas song, which I love, “Mary, Did You Know?”  A few years ago I turned the words around and wrote a blog post titled, “When did Mary Know?” (12/20/15)

Like how did she know he could turn water into wine before she asked him to?  When did she know he could heal the sick and set the captive free?  Or walk on water, and feed 5000 men?

I can picture Mary with Jesus on her lap talking, asking questions, and then Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet as he shared stories of the creation, and from the Old Testament.  I think she knew because she had spent a lot of time with God’s Son.  She knew him, but more importantly, she believed in him.

Imagine what you would ask Jesus to do if you really knew him.  Would you ask him to heal you, a friend or a family member?  What about heal your finances, or your broken relationships?  Would you ask for a better job, food, or a place to live of your own?  My point isn’t to get things from Jesus, but believing in him enough to ask.  Knowing that he could if that was best for you.

Sometimes it’s better to go through something than to be delivered from it.

It is good to spend time with Jesus no matter your circumstances.  This Christmas, I pray you find time to sit and just hang out with him.  Put on some Christmas music too.  After all, He is the reason for the season.

‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’ Matthew 15:9 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Don’t just worship Jesus because it’s Christmas, and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, because it will be over before you know it.  And so will your life, and after that you’ll have lots of time to spend with Jesus, oh, if you accepted him when you were on earth.

Knowing Jesus intimately, is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and others all year long.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.

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.

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.

If the Dead Could Speak, Would You Listen?

Charlie 666If death somehow gave us truths we didn’t have or didn’t believe while living what would we do with it?  Most, would probably want to come back to life to tell those they love and others what they now know.  One thing is for sure, when a person dies, they know in an instant there is a God, and there is judgement for how they lived and best, or worst of all, that there is indeed a heaven, and a hell.

Jesus told a true story about such a request from a dead man:

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31 (MSG)

Jesus told the people straight up, believe me, believe the Word of God (Bible), believe the many ministers, evangelist, missionaries, family members, friends, co-workers, and yes, bloggers that I have sent to tell you the Good News of the Gospel while you are living.  That is; accept Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing.  After you die, and see these truths for yourself, it will be too late for you to choose God.  You say, it’s too hard to believe in something, or someone you can’t see, yet you believe in gravity, and the wind!  It takes faith, and God gave everyone a measure of faith to get you started.  Please act on it.  Don’t live, or should I say die, to regret your decision.

One last thing; “Thank you,” to everyone who reads this blog regularly, or once in a while.  Each post starts with prayer, asking God what He wants to say to you.  I do my best to transmit his words to your hearts.  I pray for you as I write, “Words, inspiring you to grow in God”.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.