Good, But Best

good, better and best word written by 3d hand“The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough.” (Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest – May 25)

Confused?  Let me explain.

We can be confident, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]”. 2 Tim. 1:7 (AMP)

Therefore, with our free will, we should be able to make good, sound, decisions for our own lives.  I felt like I had done that.  I retired from AT&T, at the age of 55, and instead of buying an RV and traveling, I decided to move back to my home town to take care of my father, to write, and occasionally speak publically.  I was happy with these good, sound decisions.

Not my will, but thine be done.

Life was, and would have remained good, but I always yield my choices and decisions to God.  Before my father passed, not long after I had moved back, we had some great moments fishing again.  (Not to tell a fish story, but we managed to “keep” 167 fish in only 3 outings.)  I bought a house I really enjoyed living in.  I was getting used to my new, good life, but God wanted “his best life for me”.  (Kind of sounds like something Joel Osteen would say.)

You see, I had been divorced for 24 years.  I kind of wanted to be married again, but was content being single.  Looking back, I see all the people God had put in front of me to work on my heart toward marriage.  One Friday I found myself filling out a profile on a dating website.  I submitted it and there she was.  From all of the women presented, the one, who would later become my wife, stood out.  I could see the love of God radiating from her postage stamp size photo.

To make a long story short, I contacted her, we texted, then talked, and then video chatted via Messenger.  I went to the Philippines to visit her and the family.  One month after returning home from the trip, I put everything in storage, rented my house out, and moved there to marry her.  It has not been a “cake walk”, but we always had love to build on.

While waiting for her immigration process to be completed, we have grown together, and lately started dreaming about our future.  There are several things beginning to open up, and reveal to us the will of God, for us, as a couple.  I love it!

You see, I could have continued to be single and have a good life, but because I surrendered my will to God, I am now living the best life I could ever have.  I thank God for loving me so much.  And ya know what?  He loves you too, just as much!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Much More?

052620How do you convince someone you love them?  You could tell them over and over perhaps.  You could show them in every way possible.  You could do everything you can think of.  You could even learn their love language, and speak it fluently.  After all the effort you would expect them to accept you, to accept your love, but what if they don’t?  Can you imagine the frustration you would feel?  Then, what if you told them, “In order to prove how much I love you, I’ll die for you.”  They might still reject your offer, and even say, “You’re crazy!”

Choose Love!

The truth is, God did this very thing, but He even went one step further.  He gave us his only son to die for us.  It is never right for a child to die before the parent.  It’s not natural.  To think this was God’s plan, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  I mean, how much more can God do to prove how much He loves us?

“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)

In these days we are living in, everyone who hasn’t, should run to God and accept his free gift.  Are you afraid of being obligated of loving God back?  Are you concerned you might have to live in a way you would rather not?  You know it doesn’t matter what you have done in your past, his forgiveness will cover it.  If you disagree then you are listening to the one, Satan, who wants you to die for eternity.  Living for eternity is better, and there is only one way, God’s.  How much more can He do?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where’s the Love

051420There once was a lady, no, not from Nantucket, who was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, a worker, and a church goer.  Yes, she seemed to once have a strong love for God, family, people in general, and especially children.

I thought I knew her, but after being separated off and on over the years, it took me a while to notice it, but after being around this lady again, I could tell something had changed.

I suspected many things, which I won’t go into, but it wasn’t until today, as I was talking about her that I labeled the problem correctly.  Love had leaked out over the years.  Perhaps even unnoticed by her, but she had changed. To friends, family and fellow church goers it’s got to be obvious.

So how did this happen?  I think she had gotten hurt over the years and never dealt with it.  Hurt by her husband, her children, friends, work situations, other family members, and yes, even by those at her church.  You see, there seems to be a connection between getting hurt, not dealing with it in a proper manner, like going to God with it, and love.  Also, if one is not getting filled back up on love by spending time with God then a person runs low.  It’s not obvious, because there is no internal dip stick for our love tanks.

When love leaks out, others get hurt.  A lack of love can cause many problems, so it is very important to know if you are leaking love, and why.  If you have experienced great pain from a conversation or situation last week, last year, or several years ago, please deal with it.  Either try to go back to the person who hurt you, and if that is not possible then definitely go to God with it, and ask him to help you overcome the pain.

I found myself going to God, because when I confronted the women mentioned above and shared how she had hurt me she replied, “Well just get over it!”  I was stunned, and now hurt worse.  A wounded person may come across as cynical, judgmental, critical, hateful, difficult, controlling, and even as a racist.  When love runs out it is replaced with these, and other negative attitudes.

I wonder if, after sinning, she tells God, “just get over it!”

It’s hard to love these type of people.  In my case, I now stay away to protect my heart and I pray for her.  I hope God will bring her, and others like her to a situation where they one day see how low on love they are.  It’s not too late for them.  God can easily love them back to full, but they need to get close to him, know him, converse with him and read his word.  You see, living with love shared takes two.  If only one sided, it is simply, love given.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Can You Endure?

050120Jobs have disappeared,
God is now worshiped online,
but Love endures.

401s have dried up,
social clubs perhaps have gone viral,
but Love endures.

School, now taught at home,
what jobs remain, are in the room next door,
but Love endures.

Hairstyles have changed,
celebrations have too,
but Love endures.

Handshakes are what?
Careful, stay six feet away,
but Love endures.

N95s are worth more than gold,
liters of water cost more than gas,
but Love endures.

Can’t go here,
can’t go there,
but Love endures.

All of this, because of an unseen villain.
Yet another unseen villain is denied to exist,
but Love endures.

As all the world is fighting Corona,
the other villain has already been defeated,
because Love endured.

Yes, Corona has come and will go,
as will Satan, you should know,
because Love endured.

When Jesus died upon the cross,
he became the perfect sacrifice for us all,
Because Love endured.

There is life after Corona coming soon,
there is eternal life after death if you accept Love, Jesus,
because Love endured.

Satan was defeated, by Love,
Because Love never fails,
and Love endured.

You too can endure to the very end,
by believing, and trusting in Jesus,
Because Jesus endured.

Hebrews 12:2 The Passion Translation (TPT)

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Who?”

94231915_924151661369801_2906645677645758464_nI received the T shirt pictured here in the mail yesterday.  I laughed, and couldn’t believe my knucklehead friend/ex coworker would do such a thing.  Okay, now you are probably asking yourself, “Who’s Mike?”  Mike was a manager where my friend and I worked.  He was a different soul, went by the book, and talked a lot!  I often wondered how he kept from going hoarse every day.

Over the years, my friend would say something about this Mike, and my standard reply was, “Who?”  I would say most people didn’t care for Mike.  I must admit I was one of them.  My friend knew that.  Mike had a way of doing his best to make sure you knew he was a manager, and that he was smarter than you.  My friend and I were in the union.

There were a lot of people who didn’t like Jesus either.  Yes, when he performed miracles he would draw quite a crowd and then teach them about his heavenly Father.  He taught them about “love”.  He taught them and was an example of a better way to live.  The way of “love”.  To let “love” rule over everything.  All relationships, conversations, and decisions,

because “love” never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)

To this day, a lot of people are drawn to having a relationship with God, via Jesus.  But not all make that decision to accept Jesus into their life.  I think mainly because they don’t want to change the way they are living.  Although, if they were honest with themselves they would have to admit, the way they live doesn’t provide total peace like knowing Jesus does.  A true follower of Jesus, a disciple, does everything he can to become like Jesus.  To become, “love”.

So, I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want to be like Jesus?”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Surviving, Starts With Believing

041720It has been said, faith isn’t grown in a crises, but displayed.  I think today’s times would qualify as a crises.  I’m not trying to brag, but I, as well as many others, have been at perfect peace for the last two months, or so.  How did this come to be?  It started a long time ago:

Jan 1, 2020 to present day = (57) Surviving the Corona Virus peacefully.
Jan 1, 2019 = (56) Trusted God to move to the Philippines and get married.  That is working well.
November 2017 = (55) Followed God to a church, where I have learned more about Him.
September 7, 2017 = (55) Moved into my new house, back in my hometown.  I love it.
September 6, 2017 = (55) believed in God to retire.  I have enjoyed it.  God has and is still providing for all my needs.
June 2012 to September 6, 2017 = (50-55) Survived a threatening work environment, where it seemed as if my boss tried to fire me every day, or make things so hard on me to get me to quit.  If I had of, I would have lost out on half of my pension.
May 1998 = (35) God helped me survive a very rough divorce. (She asked for it, to go in a new direction.)
December 5, 1994 = (32) Started working at AT&T.  God used that company to provide for me and the family.
October 1994 = (32) Trusted and followed God to a new city in hopes of a good job.
August 1990 = (27) Heard God correctly, and moved to a place where I landed a job in two hours.
June 1988 = (25) Got married for the first time.  God had fulfilled the promise of getting married.
March 1986 = (23) Survived a moral failure situation, that at one time, tempted me to take my life.
September 1983 = (21) Followed God to be a youth minister, moved over 1,600 miles from home.
September 1980 = (18) Received a scholarship for more than my grades from H.S. should have allowed.
November 1979 = (17) Got serious about living for God.  Dedicated my life to his service.
August 1967 = (7) While attending Vacation Bible School, invited Jesus Christ into my life, to forgive me of my sins.

God has been so good and faithful to me all these years.  Not all has been perfect, as you can see, but I survived.  Over the years, hearing and reading about God has taught me his true nature, and that is of love.  God loves us so much.  My knowledge, and confidence of God has led me to this present day, these current times, and is why I can live through them with peace.

You don’t have to accept Jesus as a child, as I did, in order to have this kind of confidence in God.  You can start today, but that will require you trusting and believing before you have generated your own testimonies of God’s powerful, and loving hand to lead you, guide you, and sustain you.  It can be done.  How exciting would it be to say your first overcoming experience with God was surviving the Corona Virus, but it all starts with believing.

Psalm 57:1 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Triumphant Faith

Please, God, show me mercy!
Open your grace-fountain for me,
for you are my soul’s true shelter.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your embrace,
under the wings of your cherubim,
until this terrible trouble is past.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Naked Tree

91878710_1505334622963387_7096843525702025216_nMy neighbor, across the street, is taking down his own tree, as you can see in the photo.  I looked out the window and commented, “That tree looks naked.”  I laughed, but then realized it will no longer serve its purpose.  The tree’s beauty will no longer be admired.  The shade, the tree once provided, the comfort, will no longer be there.

There is another tree, we tend to think about this week, in fact today, that was cut down, stripped of its leaves, and shaped to serve a purpose other than the one it was created for.  That’s right, the tree that was used as the cross Jesus was nailed to.  That tree would no longer be able to fulfill its original purpose, but was stolen by Satan, to be used for his purpose.

Then there is the Tree of Life, Jesus.  At the prime of his ministry, the religious leaders cut him down, took action to stop him from fulfilling his purpose.  They arrested Jesus, and made false accusations about him.  They stripped him of his outer garment, he became practically naked.  They beat him, and cut him as he was flogged with a whip that had stones in the ends of it.  They nailed him to the cross, and couldn’t wait for him to die.

Neither could Satan.

People ran and quarantined, hid themselves in their homes out of fear.  Kind of sounds like today’s times.  They thought all hope was gone.  Jesus had walked among them and showed them how to live, but more importantly, he showed them how to love.

The ironic thing, concerning the life of Jesus is this, those that were used by Satan to try to stop Jesus’ original purpose actually helped him achieve it.  Three days after they thought the story had ended, a new chapter began.  Jesus rose up and exited the grave, because he had defeated death.  Many of you may be feeling like your story is about to end, but no one has written, “The End” yet.  Jesus’ new story opens with him defeating all pain, all diseases, all sickness, and death itself.

Right now, it may feel like Friday night after Jesus had died, or Saturday afternoon, but Sunday is coming!  You may be losing hope, but Hope hasn’t lost you.  Your faith might feel weak, but the Author and Finisher of our faith is now seated at the right hand of God.  (Heb. 12:2)  And Jesus, the Tree of Life, is no longer naked, but clothed in glory!

Happy Resurrection Day Everybody!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

In the Ring

Charlie 030820 1I was running late for church one Saturday evening, but I was extremely hungry and thought I could concentrate on the message better if I ate dinner before I got there.  That sounds like solid spirituality to me.  So I drove quickly to one of my favorite fast food restaurants, grabbed my order from the drive through window and took off.

I was speeding down a road I was not familiar with when all of a sudden I see my lane is about to end.  I signaled to get over and saw a white truck behind me.  The driver of the white truck, for some reason, sped up.  I suppose he didn’t want me ahead of him.  In a  “Go, or no go” situation I chose to go and got over in front of the white truck.

I was eating my burger and shoving fries in my mouth when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the white truck tailgating.

I knew he wasn’t a tailgater, tailgating, to get to his tailgate party!

He followed me all the way to church.  I pulled into a parking spot and this big guy hops out of his truck.  All I could hear was, “LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!” and then the fight bell go off.  The man started speaking loud and using French words.  Well, that’s what people say anyway, “Pardon my French!”  I pointed out to him we were in a church parking lot and there were children around, so he toned it down.

I asked him, “Are you hurt, or did I damage your truck?  He replied, “No.”  I responded, “Then why are you so angry?  And in fact, I had plenty of room to get over, but when you saw my blinker you sped up.”  The man was wearing a black jacket from “Midas”.  A company that fixes mufflers and other things on cars.  I approached him and asked, “What’s going on in your life?  You seem so angry.  Is your job okay?  Having problems at home, with your wife?”  I saw a ring on the proper finger.  Then I offered, “Can I pray for you?”  It was then he bolted back into his truck and sped off.

A friend of mine sent me a recording the other day of a conversation he had with his boss’s boss.  We talked about it a few days after that and I asked for his permission to speak honestly about what I heard.  He gave me that freedom, and I said, “I felt as if you walked in there as a fighter and not a peacemaker.”  My friend got the message and agreed.

Whenever you find yourself in the ring, in the middle of a disagreement, you have two positions you can take.  Either a fighter, or a peacemaker.  Trust me, for I have learned, being a peacemaker is the way to go.  Yes, perhaps you were wronged, or your rights were violated, and you could be right, but what is more right is saying or doing whatever you can to bring peace.

Here is a different translation of a very familiar verse, Matthew 5:9 from The Message (MSG):

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

I encourage you to climb out of the ring and do your best to be a peacemaker.  You and the world will be a better place for it.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If I Fail

Charlie 022920“If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”  Something a few people forget before they get taken financially.  In other words, there aren’t many good deals or 100% guarantees in life.  So when I saw the picture with this blog post, which is a sticker that was on the side of a product, I laughed.

As I was laughing, my thoughts turned to God.  What if God came with this sticker?

I heard a testimony tonight where a prophet shared God’s love with a dictator.  The prophet told the dictator the code name of a top secret mission, and he also told him something that happened on his daughter’s birthday the dictator felt very bad about.  The dictator replied, “Those things are guarded secrets.  How did you know?”  The prophet said, “God told me.”  The dictator was so moved he accepted God and tried to give the prophet a bag of money.  The prophet laughed, but said, “The only cost to God’s love was paid for by his Son, Jesus when he died on a cross for our sins.”

So if there is no cost to accepting God then there would be no money back if you one was not satisfied.  Could that be why some don’t accept him, his love, his Son?  They want a written guarantee before they believe?  If they read the Bible they will get their written guarantee.

God will never fail.  1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never fails, and 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love.  If one gets to know God, his true nature, they would walk with him 100% satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Last One to Speak

Charlie 021920DAY 1  A man’s daughter was struck with a sudden severe illness that required her to be put on life support.  The man captioned this event “The Psalms 23 Experience”.  He felt his family, “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”, they feared no evil, because they knew God was with them.  He believed this in spite of all the negative reports they received, at the hospital, on day one.

We judge most things by what we hear and see.  We tend to believe these things because our flesh perceived them first, but what if there was climate change?  What if we created an environment that showed God our faith?  What would happen if we allowed our spirit to perceive God?  If we began to hear what God said about the situation we were in?

If you’re going to pray for rain, bring an umbrella.

The man, whose daughter was sick, spoke of setting up an environment that gave God an opportunity to do some of his best work.  They played Spirit Spa instrumental worship.  They spoke of healing while in the hospital room, but they first “asked” God for what they wanted him to do.

Asking God, is huge!

I know, and agree, in the moment, we often believe what we hear and see.  We too many times take the first words spoken in a situation as truth.  The only truth.  It’s okay to acknowledge truth, but appeal to the One who can make things more true.  It was true the man’s daughter was sick, but what was more true was the fact, God, was going to heal her.

DAY 17  The man’s daughter returned home with a clean bill of health.  God, had the final word.  God, was the last one, to speak.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.