Me? Grumpy?

Photo by: George Desipris

I recently hit a milestone in age. Stop singing. I’m not happy about it. In fact, I was glad April didn’t feel up to celebrating it due to recovering from surgery two days earlier. (Her recovery is going well.) I’ll confess, I scheduled her surgery knowing she wouldn’t feel up to it. Okay, I’ll tell ya, I turned 60.

Combining my age with my current attitude toward others and their behavior, one could call me Walter. As in “Walter Matthau.” As in, from the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” Especially when it comes to how people drive these days. It seems as if I can’t even go two blocks from my house, and I’m disgruntled. If you are the lead dog at the intersection, please pay attention to the light. When it turns green, GO!

Two days ago, at 4:56 AM: I was heading home after dropping April off at work, and I almost slammed into the back of an older pickup truck. It was parked in the driving lane of an exit ramp with no lights on. The area of that highway is under construction, and the new highway lights aren’t on yet. And there was room for the broken down driver to have pulled in between construction barrels. My grumpiness isn’t just with drivers. It seems to be with anyone exhibiting behavior I don’t like.

April diagnosed the problem accurately. She said I get upset when others don’t treat me the way I treat them. You see, I grew up having learned the “Golden Rule.” You know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Based on; Luke 6:31) The problem is, they do unto me things I wouldn’t do unto them. It seems these days as if they don’t care about others, only themselves. And they know when they have done wrong, but they will make it seem as if you are the one who committed a crime.

I know my grumpiness isn’t of God. I should love like He is to us. I need to show everyone “love,” and here is why. These are some of the qualities of genuine love:

  • Love is patient – True love can tolerate pain or suffering without complaining or getting angry.
  • Love is humble – True love is not proud and boastful. It is humble enough to admit its own mistakes and strive to correct them. It also forgives to get rid of hatred and enjoy peacefulness.
  • Love is respectful.
  • Love is calm – True love always maintains the mind’s clarity and the heart’s softness. Its heart is deep, and its mind is not narrow.
  • Love is persistent – True love doesn’t easily give up. True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18-19 (NIV)

 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33 (NIV)

“Dear God, please help me, love, as you love us. I certainly don’t want to be known as a ‘grumpy old man’ but as a ‘man of God’. A man of love.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

The Greatest Moment in the History of Sportsmanship

Photo by: Tima Miroshnichenko

It happened in the very first inning of the Southwest Region championship. Two boys who when they woke up this morning only cared about one thing… get to Williamsport. Suddenly everything changed, because in real life things happen just like that … things change in a heartbeat.

Kaiden Shelton is the big man on the powerful Pearland team, their big pitcher, their big hitter. Isiah Jarvis is the shortstop on the scrappy Oklahoma team that had through incredible perseverance made it to the championship game . One team has already been to Williamsport, the other has never been.

The Pearland team scored 3 runs in the top of the first, but Oklahoma came right back at them in the bottom of the inning , they scored 2 runs and had a big rally going on, there was noise everywhere, coaches were yelling for the pitcher Shelton and the batter Jarvis to ”Battle” “win the battle.”

Then it happened, a twist of fate, Shelton lost control of a fastball and hit Jarvis right in the helmet, and Jarvis fell in a heap at home plate

Suddenly nobody was thinking about Williamsport anymore. With Isiah laying there and coaches and medical staff rushing to his prone body, Shelton kind of circled around the area between home and the pitchers mound. The staduim was silent. Jarvis’s mom stood in the stands , one hand clasped to her face, the other to her heart. And every mom who has ever sent their boys into these games was right there with her.

The Pearland players took a knee, eventually so did Shelton. Seconds seemed like hours. On one knee, Shelton was totally alone with his thoughts. But going through his mind were the words of the umpire immediately after Jarvis had gone down .”Oh my God” the umpire had said.

Finally they helped Jarvis to his feet , on replay you could see how the ball had hit his helmet in a good spot , it got more helmet then anything, Jarvis had been more frightened then anything . He trotted down to first , but now the trouble was with Shelton.

Before that pitch he had only one thought – Battle… win the battle … the words of coaches…now the only words he could hear in his mind… were the words of the umpire: “Oh my god.”

And just like that he started to cry. He was standing on the mound crying, and nobody went to him, not his teammates, not his coaches . Then one person did go to him… Isiah Jarvis left first base threw his helmet off, walked right to him and hugged him. That hug said… it’s okay. It was just what Shelton needed at that particular moment , I am sure his mom had wanted to Rush out there and hug her boy, Isiah took care of that for her , because Shelton was a big kid with a big heart and he didn’t want to hurt anybody , he didn’t want to hear an umpire say “Oh my god” over something he did . He was there to play baseball and make new friends, he hadn’t bargained for this

The game resumed , somebody won , somebody lost, one team went to Williamsport, the other packed their bags for home, it will all be forgotten , but that moment of perfect sportsmanship will live for as long as there is human competition

Before the tournament Isiah Jarvis said his biggest dream was to make sports center . I think it’s going to happen.

His name is Isiah and in the book of Isiah there is a famous passage about coming quickly to the rescue “I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” It’s almost perfectly symbolic that a boy named Isiah would come quickly to the rescue and do it when it was most needed.

(I searched but could not find the author of the above post.)

Hundreds reacted to this post with comments they were fighting tears. This true story touches our hearts because for a moment love was displayed. We don’t always see it sadly, these days, but when we do we sit up and pay attention. Whether a person is a child of God or not their spirit man sees the love of God in action and is drawn to it.

You see, in real life, we are the pitcher who throws a foul ball but in our case sins and hurts a real person. The batter is Jesus Christ. And like in this story He comes over to the mound and offers us forgiveness. If you were touched by this story then perhaps the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart. Saying, “It’s okay. Don’t get hung up on what you did that was wrong, that hurt people, or yourself. There is One who has already paid the price for your foul ball. His name is Jesus and He died on a cross for you, because he wanted to demonstrate just how much He loves you and cares.” I pray you will react to the Holy Spirit by accepting that forgiveness and accepting Jesus into your life.

for all have sinned (thrown a foul ball) and fall short of the glory of God, Rom. 3:23 (NKJV  Italics are mine)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Hearing Aid

As a follower of Jesus Christ for many years, there can still be circumstances that can weigh us down to the point that even for us there can be moments where we might still ask, “Does God exist?” It’s okay when that happens as long as those “moments” aren’t too often and last too long.

Imagine then how difficult it can be for one who has never accepted God and has not had the experience of walking with Him. They are not aware of His goodness and His faithfulness. They have not witnessed His miracle-working power for themselves in their lives. They have not seen God make a way when their back is up against the wall and in the natural world, there is no way! They need help, they need an aid.

May I propose they could benefit from a “hearing aid”? The one who doesn’t know God intimately yet needs you to “tell” them about Him. They need you to list His credentials and share His character. They desperately need to know now and therefore they need you now.

13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

14 But how will people call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher (messenger)? 15 And how will they preach unless they are commissioned and sent [for that purpose]? Just as it is written and forever remains written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:13-15 (AMP)

People are desiring help, guidance, and direction. They want to know what to do and where to turn. They are listening. Unfortunately, if they don’t hear about the hope of Jesus Christ they will listen to the world, and the media, and for the most part their message is not a positive one.

Allow God to use you to be a “hearing aid” for someone. Don’t think you have to know the word of God like a preacher does simply share your testimony and share what God means to you. Tell them of His unbelievable love. They’ll listen.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

They Lost It!

I know there are several people who absolutely LOVE Christmas. If it was more socially accepted they would leave the tree and the decorations up all year and they would probably go as far as to leave the lights on the house, lit! I know one particular person who has been posting on Facebook a countdown of how many days till Christmas. I think she started it on January 1st.

One Christmas lover does leave ornaments out in various rooms around the house. I heard that one day a friend who wanted to play a joke removed one of the ornaments that were displayed in the guest bathroom. They hung on to it for a few weeks expecting to get a call that would be accompanied by an accusation. The call never came.

Apparently, when the missing ornament was discovered the one who seriously loves Christmas went on a rampage trying to find out what happened to it or who took it. I guess they got quite upset over the ordeal. One family member tried their best to find or order a replacement in order to restore peace in the home but learned the ornament was no longer being made.

It happens. A person’s “joy” can be taken, or even stolen if they let it. It doesn’t take much at times. What we should do is calmly evaluate the situation and realize “no one got hurt”, “it’s only a thing”, and recognize that though it may bother you or hurt it’s not the end of the world. That it was simply an item and not a person. It certainly isn’t worth hurting a relationship over!

My brothers, you will have many kinds of troubles. But when these things happen, you should be very happy (joyful). You know that these things are testing your faith. And this will give you patience. James 1:2-3 (ICB)
[The “joyful” in the parenthesis was inserted by me.]

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Neh. 8:10

The person who took the ornament eventually gave it back and though the Christmas lover laughed and said they were okay they ended the friendship. They lost more than an ornament for a time, they lost a friend. Sad end to the story especially when the ornament (pictured) shared “joy” and was an emblem of love and happiness expressed at Christmas.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Craig

I met Craig at a church called Redeeming Grace
Like he understood my “I don’t want to be here” face
I felt out of place and I smelled like beer
But he just shook my hand, said “I’m glad you’re here”
He said “we’ll all be judged”
But he was never judgemental
And even though my songs don’t belong in no hymnal,
He’d quote me my lyrics, slap me on the back,
Said “Man you’ve got a gift! How you write like that?”

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
I still ain’t figured out church yet
But Craig, I get
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did

Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

You lose a record deal, all the perks fade fast
Dealership said, “We’re going to need to get that mini-van back”
So we were down on one car
And broke as I felt,
My wife and six kids with only five seat belts
I needed help but couldn’t admit, I was strong
Said, “Craig, it’s all good”
But he knew it all wasn’t
A “Hey man I’m praying for you” would’ve been sufficient but nah
He took roadside assistance to a
Whole other level, to sacrificial heights

Showed up at the ballpark after my son’s game one night
In two cars, with his wife Barb watching from the other
Said “What in the world are y’all doing here, brother?”
He just laughed inside that old Chrysler Town and Country van
With the keys, and a title, and a pen in his hand
Said “Man, all you got to do is sign and it’s yours”
I said “No, no way”
But he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer
Said “Please do,
Somebody did this for me once, just let me do this for you”
We argued about it for a little while
Then I teared up, and Craig smiled

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did
Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

My pride was way too ashamed to be adequately grateful at the moment
But I signed the dotted line, and I drove the kids home
And when the cop pulled up beside us
At the light, they didn’t have to duck
Because thanks to Craig
They were all buckled up

“Craig” by songwriter: Walker Hayes.

God, Crazy?

If you created something, perfected it, and then gave it away, most would call you crazy!

If you gave your only child’s life, so that someone else could live, most would call you crazy!

God did those very things. He made you, and then gave you away to exercise your own freewill! And when you failed, and would then die for eternity in hell, he gave you his only Son, Jesus to pay for your failures, sins. Jesus’ blood was spilled for you. God’s only Son purchased you back, so you could live for eternity in heaven with your maker. BUT then he gave you away again, because He wants you to CHOOSE to love him, and accept him.

Some might call what God did, “crazy”,
but He calls it, “love”!

Yes, God loves you that much! It doesn’t matter what you have done, He loves you regardless.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 (MSG)

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Rom. 8:37-39 (MSG)

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.  Isaiah 55:8-9 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Show God Cares

It amazes me still, how God can lead our steps, and direct our timing so we will be where he needs us to be, to work with him in showing love, support, and encouragement to others. He cares so much for people and what they are going through that He will position his servants where He needs them.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Ps. 37:23 (KJV)

April and I were talking about this subject last week. I reminded her of one thing; you have to see the people and recognize the need. It may mean your own agenda gets interrupted, or you may get behind, but showing God’s love is more important.

I remember one time I had taken the wrong road to get to Walmart. I was angry with myself because I had gone the slow way when I was in a hurry! When I arrived I looked over and saw an older woman struggling to remove packs of soda from her cart. I went and asked if I could help her.  She let me. Then she asked, “Where did you come from any way?” I replied, “God sent me!” The look on her face was priceless. One of amazement realizing, perhaps for the first time, God cared!

Show the world how much He cares about them and even the little things of their life. The results may be eternal life, for them!

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Crumbs of Rumors

“I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
    now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

Job 43:5-6 (MSG)

There are a lot of people who only hear about God, but they have never “experienced” God for themselves!  They “go” to church thinking that He takes attendance, or something. He doesn’t! As if their “going to church” is the only thing required of them in order to go to heaven. I would think after hearing how great God is, how marvelous, how wonderful, and how loving they would want to spend time getting to know him. You know, reading his number one, bestselling, book, and talk to him on a regular basis.

I find it difficult to understand why they only want to “hear” about God. Perhaps they attend a church service that is lifeless, an hour of following the same rules week after week, therefore thinking that knowing God is not life at all? On the contrary, knowing God is really living! The most exciting adventure you will ever experience!

I have heard others say their priest or minister has told them the Bible is too difficult to understand. The truth is, the gospel of Jesus Christ is so simplistic that even a child can understand and accept it. Don’t over complicate the Word of God, or his plan of salvation. It’s all about an “invitation of the dying love”. That sounds like a book’s subtitle I once heard of.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Now Serving Number 5”

You hear the announcement, and yes, you look down at the number on the tag you pulled out of the dispenser when you walked in, even though you already know it wasn’t your number they called. You might as well be holding number “2275”.

 Sad, but at least in America we are so impatient. We are spoiled. We are used to getting things now. Unfortunately, there are times when we take that attitude toward waiting for things from God. We make our needs known to God, and then we have to wait for the answer. Depending on the situation it can be extremely difficult. We wonder, “Did He even hear me?”

 When we don’t see the answer we expect, and by the time we feel we need it, we can develop an attitude, toward others and even toward God. The truth is how do you know God isn’t working on it? What do you think He is doing? Here is what Oswald Chambers says:

 “We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

I like how Chambers worded this issue. When we “ask” God, then our next step is to “trust” God. Know, be confident that He has heard you and that He “is” working things out in the way that is “best” for you. Keep in mind, God isn’t working on one request at a time, but on every request of everyone around the world who ask, all at the same time. He doesn’t take care of one request and then call the next number of whoever is line. Yes God is that omnipotent and powerful, but also so loving that He puts on every job a personal touch designed just for you.  And that my friend is called, “Love”!

Fun for all ages

Have you ever met someone for the very first time, and you immediately like them? They are usually smiling, relaxed, mild mannered, and you just begin to match their level of gel.  You find yourself feeling like they value you, and they aren’t in a hurry to get away from you. As if in that very moment, you are the only thing and one that matters.

I believe Jesus was just that kind of person. I think this is why he appealed to men, women, some high ranking officials, sinners and children. Honestly, the only ones that he didn’t appeal to were the ones who felt as if his way of living threatened their livelihood, or power.

It was this kind of appeal that gave him the ability to talk about “love”, “forgiveness”, and “the Kingdom of God”. Because of how he made them feel they listened! And many times they responded positively. Would we get the same results if we drew people toward us as he did?  That should be the goal anyway.

It was Paul who said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor.11:1) Paul obviously recognized this about Jesus and strived to imitate him. Three practical steps to living this kind of life:

  1. See the people.  Be observant to the people around you while being attentive to the Holy Spirit who may prompt you to speak to them.
  2. .See the need in their life.  You do this step by listening to them. Not just talking about yourself. It’s not always about you!
  3. .See the path they should take to find God. Whether they need forgiveness, healing, or some other type of ministry, we should then lead them along that path.

Ask God to help you declutter your own life so you will have the time to spend with people. One thing I learned from my father is this; spending time with people is a gift. We should be generous.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.