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.

This Line Isn’t Moving

Photo by: Miguel Barrera

Waiting. The final frontier. To boldly go where no man wants to go. I don’t know about you, but I hate to wait on just about anything. No, I’m not that important, where I have to have everything right this second, but it would be nice.

Just today, my wife, April, is at the hospital waiting her turn to have a procedure done. They told us to be at the hospital at 10:15 AM, but they did not get her procedure started until 2:22 PM. As you know, one is not allowed to eat or drink after midnight before an operation, so needless to say, April was hangry! Yeah, that’s right, hungry and angry. I must say, she handled the delay a lot better than I would have. That’s because she is a very patient person. I, on the other hand, am not. It’s just not one of my finer qualities, although I desire it to be.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges (and traffic and lines that don’t move) come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (Words in parenthesis mine.)
Jam. 1:2-4 (MSG)

Waiting in a line of traffic is challenging, and in a line to be served at a restaurant can be worse. Both are excruciating experiences to suffer through especially when the line next to you is moving, but yours is not. I hesitate to pray and ask God for help because I am afraid, He will put me in more situations to practice. Something I am not a big fan of in the first place. James 1:2-4; What challenging verses to live out!

Probably though, the most difficult thing to wait for is for God to provide help with your finances or a healing. It’s a toss-up between the two. If you are in a similar situation at this juncture in your journey called “life,” be encouraged. It may take a while for God to get all things lined up or to get your heart lined up with his perfect will for you, but He will do it.

So, hang on, hang in there. Keep believing, keep trusting, be patient with God because though you may not see the line moving know it is, and you will not be in that same spot forever. You will reach your destination. After all, isn’t that the goal?

[Post note: The surgery went well, and April is resting and recovering now but prayers are always welcome! Thanks.]

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”!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Be the Movie

A month ago I was the guest speaker at a writer’s group meeting.  It was an honor, but this speaking engagement was different.  You see with Covid-19 still a great risk, the group currently meets on-line.  I had never done that before.

I was using my phone to attend the meeting, and the way it was set up, whoever was speaking is the person I viewed.  The president of this group introduced me, so she was the last person I saw.

About 20 minutes into my talk, she gets up and goes elsewhere, leaving me with no one to look at while I was speaking.  Normally, a speaker will scan the attendees, making eye contact, and looking for positive feedback at what is being said.

A few minutes later, she came back with a bowl of what looked like popcorn, and a drink.  I thought, wow! now I know what it feels like to be a movie.

The truth is this; if you are open and outspoken about your faith, your relationship with God, then people are watching you.  They listen to what you say, about current issues, our government leaders, and others around us.  They watch how we respond to troubling times.

Would the people watching you give a positive review on “Rotten Tomatoes”?  What if we had “Yelp” for humans?  Would you, would I, receive a thumbs up, or down?  Would people want to visit us after reading an accurate review on one of these platforms?  Probably not, if it was negative.

“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
John 13:34-35 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus knew people will watch us, for they watched him.  He was ever aware that he could only display the qualities of his father, God.  Those would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)

So be aware of this no matter where you are, whether at work, out and about, or at home.  You want your life to be a movie people want to see over and over again.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.