Be the Movie

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationA 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.

Establish the Mood

062320What happens when you walk into a room of people?  Are they glad to see you, or do they cringe?  Do they come up to you and greet you, or do they pretend to be busy, and walk away hoping to avoid you?  I had a boss that every morning when I saw her enter our department, I knew my peace was about to leave.

What kind of mood encompasses us, goes with us and enters, when we do?  Does your very presence change the environment, the atmosphere of a place?  It should.

Back when I worked in an office building, in Chicago, I took on the challenge of trying my best to put a smile on my fellow passenger’s faces while we were in the elevator.  Difficult, because some of them got off on the lower floors, giving me only seconds to come up with something to do or say that would change them.  That would leave them better when they got off the elevator than when they got on.  Pun intended, my words could lift them up, or let them down.

Once there were several people entering the elevator.  I said, “Call out the floor you need.”  They did, then I announced, “I like pushing people’s buttons.”  I wonder if that was some’s only laugh for the whole day?

As the years went by, people would get on the elevator, see me, and smile immediately.  I’m not boasting, because I knew two things:

  1. The love and joy in my life, I shared with others, only came from God.

  2. I entered the elevator on purpose, with a purpose.

For those who have accepted God, have his love, his truth, and his life inside, we can change, or flip the environment of a home, office, church, store, or wherever we go, just by walking in.  Oh, how the world needs us to enter their lives and shatter the darkness they dwell in with the light of God!  “Let there be light!”  Offer them the hope of Jesus.  When we welcome the presence of God in our lives He goes with us.  People sense it, and are either drawn to it, or openly resist it.

No matter where your feet take you, take God.

Be there on purpose, with a purpose.  Be mindful of those around you.  Roger, a good friend of mine, does this every day when he goes to work.  Share hope, peace, faith and love.  Scatter lots of joy.  Show everyone there is a better way to live.  Make them curious how you can still be smiling despite all that is going on around us.  Establish the mood!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Simply Love

060220 1Racism.  Injustice.  Hate.  Protest.  Peace rallies turned into riots.  You know what I am talking about, or referring to.  It’s sad to see so many unhappy, hurting, people.  They can’t take it anymore, and their hearts are crying out for something to believe in that won’t cause anymore pain.  Ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has been saying, “I know what is good and what is evil.”  You see, before they ate the fruit God told them what was good, and He told them what was evil, but they were deceived.

Today, mankind is still being deceived, thinking “they” know what is right, and that “they” know what is evil.  Like Adam and Eve, they won’t be told by anyone else, especially by God.  Can we all agree on the fact each man defining good and evil, on his own terms, isn’t working?

So what’s the solution?

Love.  It’s the only answer.  You see, love, love for others helps you listen to someone else.  It empowers you to understand their views, their values.  Not adopt them, but listen to them.  People just want to be heard.  When I was doing church security, we sometimes had someone come in and interrupt the service.  After I escorted them out, I would always give them a chance to say what they wanted us to hear.  I didn’t care, or really listened, but it was amazing how it calmed them down.

Love says, I accept you no matter where you are from, what color your skin is, or what you believe.  Love helps you not get angry if their views are a lot different than yours.  Love strengthens you to not remember what one might say that hurts you.  Love empowers you to be kind, patient, and not to become easily angered.  Love allows you to want the best for someone else.

The truth is this; love works and will work, because it never fails.  That’s why God puts a big emphasis on accepting love and in fact, God is love.

Can we all try love?  Please?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No Smell of Fire

042120Do you feel, like right now, you are in the fire?  You were thrown in, because who, in their right mind, would jump in on their own?  Maybe your finances are being consumed, your influence, the things you once counted on to define you, or sustain you, gone!  Burnt up!  You didn’t ask for this, but have been forced into it, and what scares you the most, is you don’t see your way out.

Some are being forced to be quiet during these isolated times.  They are struggling, because they don’t know how to live without “noise”, people, parties, activities around them all the time.  You see, there are some who don’t want to face what their life really is.  It’s not what they wanted, but they haven’t found yet what they “really” need.  They haven’t identified true happiness comes from having a relationship with God.  Talking to him, hanging out with him.

Here is a beautiful story of three young men, who in the midst of crazy life kept their focus on God.  (If you can’t pronounce their names it’s okay.  Just substitute in some other name.  I do this.)

Daniel 3:26-29 The Message (MSG)

26 Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.

27 All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes,

not even the smell of fire on them!

28 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own.

29 “Therefore I issue this decree: Anyone anywhere, of any race, color, or creed, who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and their houses torn down. There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.”

There are people who dismiss others, who claimed to know God when life was good, but these days they can’t look away.  They are watching you in the furnace, to see if you will be consumed by the fire of today’s times, if your God will rescue you, or will it be revealed you, are no different than them.

Know God sees you, loves you, and cares so much for you and for those you love.  Another part of the story, above, is this:  they threw in the three young men, but those looking into the fire saw four men walking around.  You may not see God in this moment with you, but He is.  You can be confident of it.  And perhaps on the other side of these days things aren’t exactly what you would have chosen, if you were in control of the pen writing the story of your life, but because you never took your eyes off of God, you’ll know, it will be okay.

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.

What If, “What If,” Never Happens?

Charlie 24WHAT IF’S:  Its sad, but so many live in fear.  What makes it worse is, they don’t think they do.  They deny it.  You talk about being deceived by the devil.  They believe his lies instead of Truth.  They roll play, “Well what if…” this happens, or that happens?  You want to know the truth?  Many times, those “What if’s” never happen!  They only steal your time thinking about them, and worrying about them.  Even worse, living bound up by those fears hurts others, especially those who know the Truth, who know Jesus, who have themselves been set free.  The battle is fear vs faith. Terror vs trust.  Fear and terror may never happen, but faith and trust always does!

You can annihilate the “What if’s” with “God, if’s”

GOD, IF’S:  When something in life comes up, and you don’t know what is going to happen, or how things are going to turn out, instead of worry and fear, instead of “Well, what if?”, you can simply pray, “God, if you will take care of this for me.”  Or, “God, if you will walk with me through this.”

Living like this will calm your mind, calm your spirit man down to where you can walk, and live in peace.  How else would one walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil?  This is how you can sit, and relax enough to eat, at a table, in the presence of your enemies. (Psalms 23)

The battle is in the mind.  You must learn to rethink how you look at things and situations.

Look at things from God’s point of view!

Asking God, will break the chains of fear, and will set you free.  You will feel better, because now, you will breath like you have never drawn a breath before.  You will skip down the sidewalk, because of the joy you now feel.  Because of the Light in your life instead of darkness.  Okay, perhaps you won’t actually skip, but you will want to.

“God, I thank you personally, that we have an alternative we can choose from.  In you, and in your strength, we can flip the environment.  Just knowing we don’t have to live in bondage is liberating in itself.  I love you God, and I know you love me, and everyone, and especially those who have read this battle plan to defeat the devil.  You’re so awesome.  Thanks!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Are You a Part Time Atheist?

c2gpic1If someone asked you that question, most of you would say something like, “Of course not!  How dare you!”  Or, “I go to church, and I give money too”, but whenever you stand at the bottom of a “life mountain”, and you stretch your neck to see the top of it, you start thinking, “this is impossible!”  It’s almost as if you are saying, “This is too big for God!”

Doubting God’s power is like doubting God even exist!  If you are going to choose, to believe in him, then you must also believe in his character of being all powerful, all knowing, having a mighty hand, and a heart full of love toward his children.  Otherwise, you are a part time atheist.

A full time believer knows God loves the word “impossible”!  Just because you don’t see a way doesn’t mean God doesn’t.  He never looks at us, shrugs his shoulders and say, “Boy. You got me on this one.”  Or, “Good luck.  Let me know how it turns out for ya.”  No.  He looks at us, smiles, and says, “Thanks for trusting me enough to let me handle this for you.  I’ve got this.”  Full belief, delivers rest.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.  Philippians 4:6-7 The Message (MSG)

So believe fully, and walk with your God in confidence, but know, it’s okay to hold his hand.

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.

Guilty as Charged

judge officeI was in a court room this week.  On trial was my perception of someone.  After hearing arguments from both the accuser and the defendant, the judge was ready to rule.  I was found guilty of thinking I knew someone and the motive behind their behavior.  If the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God was told, the fact of the case was, I didn’t.  Honestly, I didn’t know them at all.  In court, both parties in the case, sat down and explained their side.  Each party was heard.

“Communication brings understanding.  Understanding brings acceptance.”

In God’s family, talking usually works, as long as both parties involved feel as though they have been heard.  It should be that easy in the world in general, but unfortunately it isn’t.  Some people feel they have a right.  A right to be mad.  A right to hate, and will not even consider talking, or listening to the other person.  Carrying around that kind of “right” gets heavy, and weighs one down.  Living by love is a much better way.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. (Col 3:12-15 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved