Stella, This Ain’t Hollywood

20170921_092347I watched a good movie the other night.  I won’t say which one, because I am going to give away the ending, and I don’t believe in “spoiler alerts!”  The movie was about a father and a son, and their relationship.  At the end of the movie the two were out fishing, and the father finally said some words his son had waited a very long time to hear, and then the father died.  I lost it.  Tears all over the couch.  It was a real mess that even challenged “Bounty”, the quicker picker upper!

The truth is, the last few months my father was alive was difficult.  He was acting out of fear and it hurt.  I saw one of my father’s old friends last week, and he told me my father started fearing me controlling his life before I ever moved back to my home town after retirement to assist him as he wanted and needed.  So by the time I had gotten here, my father had it in his mind how life would go, but it didn’t, and he refused to accept it, because it wasn’t the reality he had built up in his mind.  I’m so glad though, four days before my father passed, we had a nice, peaceful, fun conversation.

Why am I sharing this?  To vindicate myself?  No.  I know in my heart and before God how I treated my father, but the point is, I wanted my father’s last days to be his best days.  I dreamed of my father and I out fishing.  Having a nice day.  Lots of laughs, and because he loved to fish, dad finally catching his trophy fish.  Me, snapping a picture, and dad releasing the fish back into the lake, and then passing on, similar to the movie I mentioned above.  But this ain’t Hollywood, and life doesn’t go like the well scripted, command performance acting, as in the movies.

So when life doesn’t go as scripted, what do we do?  We give it to God, and we do everything to love the other people in the scene as best as we can.  Love endures, remembers no wrong, and writes a great ending because love, always wins. (Love – 1 Cor. 13)

(The title of this post came from the Christian rock group, DeGarmo & Key, from 1980)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Anointed

Charlie 287 2

Question: “What is the anointing? What does it mean to be anointed?”

Answer: The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep’s head, they could burrow into the sheep’s ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep’s head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep’s ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.

The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” are chrio, which means “to smear or rub with oil” and, by implication, “to consecrate for office or religious service”; and aleipho, which means “to anoint.” In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing or call on that person’s life (Exodus 29:7Exodus 40:92 Kings 9:6Ecclesiastes 9:8James 5:14). A person was anointed for a special purpose—to be a king, to be a prophet, to be a builder, etc.  The enemy, Satan, does not like it when people get anointed, take it seriously, and get busy accomplishing a thing for God.

In modern times, those who activate their anointing, and operate in its power and purpose, attract attention.  Recently, a friend was telling me about his day, and how four specific people reacted to the anointing God has upon his life.  The more we talked about these 4 individuals we labeled each according to their response to his anointing:

Touch the Anointed:  In the morning, while sitting in a coffee shop, a young boy came in.  After the youth looked around, he sat at the very table of my friend without an invitation to, and interacted with him.  The owner said he had seen the boy once before, but he had never sat with a stranger, and interact with them.  The young boy just wanted to sit for a while, in the presence of one, who sits in the presence of God.

Resent the Anointed:  Later in the day, while at work, my friend said he kept getting strange and somewhat evil looks from his boss.  Let’s just say, his boss has chosen a lifestyle that is not pleasing to God.  No doubt sensing the anointing, my friend walks around with, forces him to see or feel something his own spirit man cries out for, but the reality is this, he’s not willing to let go of the shortcut to love Satan has presented him with.

Distract the Anointed:  On his way home, he passed a young woman on the sidewalk, only to hear a noise as he did.  When he turned he saw she had fallen.  He took a step back to help her up.  His flesh noticed she was fairly nice looking.  When she reached up she took hold of his forearm and held onto it for a while, even after getting up.  He didn’t allow her appearance, distract his purpose, for God.

Arrest the Anointed:  That same night, he crossed the road in the middle of a block only to be stopped by a policeman.  He thought for sure he was going to get taken in to the station.  He gave the officer what ID he could, and that seemed to satisfy.  He was told he was free to go.  What God has taught him, in the last year, about giving up his rights kept his mouth shut, for he knew he had done nothing wrong, which in turn, kept him out of jail, and possibly would have stopped what God is doing through him to minister to others.

In one day, my friend’s anointing attracted attention.  Note: Not one of those four individuals were invited!  God’s touch is strong upon him.  It drew one who was curious, one who was resenting, another, who wanted to distract him, knowingly or not, and the last, wanted to stop him.  The only one successful, was the young boy, for his motive was pure.

Guard your anointing.  Value it.  God anoints your head with oil to keep those who want to harm you from succeeding.  The only way they win, is if you assist them, but that doesn’t keep them from trying.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Switching from Mood to Mode

Char;ie 123Moods are typically reactionary.

Modes are purposeful.

Moods can be because of others.

Modes are, typically for others.

Mood:

Mode:

cranky

gracious

happy

generous

sad

kind

agitated

thoughtful

disgusted

appreciative

tired

serving

Moving from a mood to a mode is difficult at times, but often necessary in order to stop hurting others.  I have found asking for God’s help with this practice is required.  Growing in love with God, and then with others is also required.

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Chaos

nikko-macaspac-263785-unsplash

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

The rains pour down, the grass grows tall,
the sun comes out, and the lawnmower won’t start at all.
I need to get to work, but the car is making a funny sound,
I take it in to the shop and he said, “No issue can be found.”

The kid gets sick, so to the doctor we must go,
I tried to pick up the prescription, but the store says, “No.”
No money on my card, but I just got paid,
I call the bank, they research, “Oh, sorry, a mistake was made.”

I wake up to find water on the kitchen floor,
Great!  The refrigerator gone out, and the frozen foods leaked out the door.
The neighbor’s kid was outside playing baseball,
a home run hit, ball through my window, it’s now in my hall.

The alarm doesn’t ring, I guess the power went out,
I’m late for work, and my boss yells and shouts.
My spouse fell and tore their work clothes too,
how are we going to replace with all these bills due?

Why is my life such a chaotic mess?
I’m so tired of all this distress!
Is this life?  For better or for worse?
I can’t take it any longer, so put me in a hearse!

Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, so he’s behind it all,
Jesus came to give abundant life.  To restore things after “The Fall”.
Adam and Eve, thought they could do life on their own,
they disobeyed God, life became hard, and so they moan.

Accepting Jesus isn’t a magic pill, to make the chaos all go away,
but you can devote yourself to Him, and with you He will stay.
All the chaos is just one big distraction, keeping you from God,
Speak to it, in the name of Jesus, “Peace be still”, even if it feels odd.

God tells us to take dominion over the earth, to rule with him in this life.
We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, so you won’t even need a knife.
Use the power He gives you, in His name.  Drive out evil spirits that disrupt,
Call forth peace, joy, and love to come into your life.  These things are not corrupt!

You can live life now, the way God first intended, rich and full,
you don’t have to put up with the chaos, which is nothing, but Satan’s bull!
It’s up to you.  A life of peace, or a life of crises,
Give your life to Jesus, and you can overcome, Satan’s devices.

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

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.

Are You an Answer to Prayer?

tripleTwice now, in my life, it has come to my attention that I have been the answer to someone’s prayers.  A very humbling experience.  The first time there was a new church in Massachusetts praying for a youth minister.  They focused on this need one particular night in September.  They had no idea how they could do this, because the church was so small they couldn’t afford to pay, but yet they had several youth in the church.  Note; despite the facts they prayed.  They believed God would hear, and God would answer.

One year later I arrived as their new youth minister who agreed to work with no salary.  I went because I knew God would bless my obedience and somehow meet my needs, and that he did.  A few months after working in the church I got into a discussion about how I came to be there.  One of the church elders told me about the prayer meeting.  I pressed to know the actual date.  When he recalled and shared the date I realized that was the very night God called me into the ministry.  During the following year God got me ready for the ministry.

The second time is more recent.  I have been divorced for 23 years or so.  A long time.  For the most part, I have been content with my situation.  I had even said I didn’t want to be married again, that I was okay.  Then in the past year, something begin to change.  I started hearing several testimonials of success from online dating.  Something I did not believe in.  Also I started meeting women who had come to America from the Philippines and were happily married.  They shared their stories, and encouraged me to try.

One Friday afternoon I found myself filling out a profile on a Filipino dating site.  I submitted it and my matches came up.  As soon as I saw April’s cute face my heart was captivated.  I read her profile and was hopeful.  Could she be real? I wondered.  I found her on Facebook and sent her a message.  I never expected to hear from her but two hours later I did.

We begin texting a lot.  Every chance we could.  Then, I called her.  She was so shy but cute.  Eventually, we took one giant step and video called.  Wow!  She’s real, and I haven’t been talking to a man in Yemen.  As the conversations continued, our hearts became knitted.  I decided it was time to go meet her and her family in person.

I traveled the 7000 plus miles.  After being there several days I learned that April and her family had been praying for years for a man to marry her.  I have come to accept that I am the answer.  The only way to be the answer to someone’s prayer is by yielding to God’s will.  To be willing to go, do, and say as he directs. I’m not special, just willing.  There may be a people group in a foreign country praying for you, or a manager praying for a dedicated worker.  Whatever the case may be, I hope you look beyond your own desires and accept God’s desires for your life.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved