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

 

Cleaning up Life

20181130_231402I was going through my father’s papers the other day.  I had to keep some of them, but most of them were old records about his life that were no longer of value, so I shredded them.  While going through that process I thought about a man’s life, and the summation of it all.  Is the end result a bag of shredded documents?  I hope not.

Our lives, our legacies should live on after we are said and done.  The love we showed others should still be echoing off the walls of their hearts.  The kind deeds we expressed should still be bringing smiles to the ones who received them.  Love, is the only thing that will endure to the end.  Knowing this, it becomes paramount that we learn how to love unconditionally.  The only way to do that is to fall in love with the One who is love, and that is God.

“The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love–so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”  (1Jo 4:8 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Fashionably Late

red-crossI have always said, “I would rather be one mile behind God than one inch in front of him!”  But recently, I feel as though I am trying to catch my breath doing my best to keep up with him.  It’s as if I am running late to the party, God has been inviting me to all year.  I just didn’t see it.  He was orchestrating a new season in my life, and I didn’t even notice him hanging the decorations.

God wants to bless his children.  He desires to give them good gifts.  Our responsibility is to be in a place in life to receive them.  In step with God, desiring God, and no matter what happens around us continuing to focus on God.  Not getting caught up in the everyday sludge that tries to pull us down and overcome us.

“Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.”  (Jam 1:17 MSG)

Watch your door step.  It’s the season of gift giving.  God could be trying to give you a gift.  Don’t allow it to be taken by the devil’s porch piracy program!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Words Unsaid

20181129_173114I was looking for my leftover Christmas cards when I came across a Father’s Day card that never got sent this year, because he passed the previous month.  It caused me to pause and think about words unsaid.

“People matter,” you’ve heard it said, but do you act like it?  Do you take the time for the ones who mean the most to you?  Do you tell them how much you love and or appreciate them?  I know, it’s hard when life seems to move at Mach 2, but it’s important.  And the thing is, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost anything at all.

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.” (Phi 1:3 MSG)

In the season of giving, give words!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved