I’m Not a Gardener

Charlie 021220 1You might not be a gardener if you purchase annuals thinking it will save you money by not having to buy more flowers next year.  Yes, that really happened.  As I was planting them, my neighbor watched for a moment and then she said, “You don’t know what you’re doing!”  “I know,” I replied, “but I’m having a great time!”

A few months ago I heard, “Every relationship has a gardener and a flower.”  In some of my relationships I know I’m the gardener.  Just like planting those flowers, I don’t always know what I am doing.  I do know one thing though, flowers are fragile and when around them, one must be very careful.  As the gardener, you should show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The fruit of the Spirit of God. (Gal. 5:22-23)

The most common way to water a relationship is with words, but the ones chosen should be selected with wisdom.  Do not speak to someone about issues in their life with a heart half listening.  You like them, don’t you?  Listen with intent.  Pay attention.  Be focused on them and please, I repeat, please do not look at your phone.

Realizing time is a valuable gift, giving it to someone can cost you so much.  We, ourselves have so much to do and to get done.  It seems as if there just isn’t enough time.

Don’t let them see the price tag attached to your time, and be extravagant!

Whenever I don’t know how to do something, or what to say to someone, I turn to God and ask him to give me words, or instructions.  God loves us so much and is always available to talk to us.  He gives you all the time you want, and he knows what to say.

God waters you enough to allow you to grow at the right speed.

He also knows how much to shine upon you.  God, is a good, good gardener.  Oh, and as for the price, his son, Jesus paid it for you.

Trust the master gardener to show you how to feed, and nourish someone else.  I have come to recognize I enjoy gardening, in the spiritual sense.  So I guess I would have to change the title now to, “I’m a Gardener”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

LOOK!

Charlie 126Recently, a mother shared with me one of her two year old’s newest habit.  She said, “Everywhere we go, he announces to anyone, ‘Look, this is my mother!’”  I laughed as I pictured her adorable son smiling and making that bold declaration.

A bit later, after I had walked away, it hit me; what if we made that same kind of declaration of our Heavenly Father?  “Look, this is my Heavenly Father, God!”  Then after the introduction we go on to share his nature, his love, and the many blessings he has bestowed upon us.

The key to doing this is always being aware of God, his presence, everywhere we go.  Also, it helps to be happy being associated with God.

I’m no longer afraid to be seen in public with him.

There was a time I was more concerned about what others may think, if they knew I had those kind of connections, but now, I don’t care, and in fact, I want everyone to know.  The two scriptures below sum it all up for me:

It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”  Romans 1:16-17 The Message (MSG)

“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 10:32 The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Life Changing Love

Charlie 1.pngThere is this unbelievable feeling when you are in love with someone. You think about them all the time.  You can’t wait to see, talk, or be with them again.  There is nothing else that feels the same way.  This is how I feel about my wife.  Ok, I know some of you, who know us, will say, “Yeah, but you two have only been married 7 months!”  This may be true, but you see I have purposed in my heart to never fall “out” of love with her.  I have this desire to forever find another way, to make her feel loved.

Which is a nice segue into my second point.  A greater feeling than loving someone else is knowing that you are loved by them.  Again, I have to point to my wife.  She is so understanding, patient, and forgiving.  Knowing I am loved by her will cause me to smile for no particular reason.

But even greater than her love, is God’s love.  His love is perfect, and again I will smile when I sense his love come over me in waves.  Not because He just did something for me, but because I am his child.  God can’t help but love us because, after all, He is love. (1 John 4:8)

Ways to experience this kind of love:

  1. This kind of love is recognized when you spend time with God.
  2. This kind of love is known after spending time reading the Bible, and learning how He has loved others.
  3. This kind of love is solidified by loving God back. You do that by praising him, and worshipping him.  When you are confident, knowing how much God loves you, nothing that happens to you in life can threaten your relationship with God.

Be love to others:

In the current condition of our world, we, who know, have, and trust in God’s love need more now than ever to share that kind of love with others, who may be lost, confused, or scared.  God’s love through you, might just be the very thing that saves their life now and for eternity!

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.

IR

Charlie 7I got remarried yesterday evening, after being divorced for twenty-three years.  I no longer have to check that dreaded little box, “Divorced”.  I married a wonderful woman of God who is a Filipino.  The only problem is, I’m an American, and she is not allowed to enter the United States without a Visa, which could take a year or longer to arrive.  When she said, “I do,” she became an “IR”.  Instant Relative.  This status gives her priority over everyone else trying to enter America by any other means.  Work Visa, Student Visa, Fiancé Visa, etc.  It also gives her access to a “Green Card” and two weeks after she arrives in America she will get her Social Security card.  Being an “IR” has instant privileges.

When one accepts God’s free gift of salvation, through his Son Jesus, they instantly become an “IR”.  They become a son or daughter to the God of the universe.  You will walk around, with a smile on your face, knowing whose you are, that you belong to God, and He is your Abba Father.  (Daddy God)  That status brings instant privileges as well.  Like having access to the throne of God.  Being able to walk with him and talk about anything.  God will guide you, Jesus will be with you, and the Holy Spirit will comfort you.  You have a free Attorney, Jesus, to defend you against Satan’s accusations.  Also, there will be free of charge, to you, accommodations in heaven that have no check out date or time, and who could argue with the blessing of eternal life?  Yes, being a child of God is good!

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? (Mat. 7:11 MSG)

There are so many reasons to accept Jesus, mainly, because He first loved us.  If you are not currently, my prayer is that you will become an “IR” with God.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Risky Business

DSC_7833One of the hardest decisions to make, after having your heart ran through a shredder, is to try again.  You have said, “No way!” “I could never trust again.” “I can’t take the chance, or I never want to feel that kind of pain again!”

Me?  What did I used to say?  “God, it’s too hard.”

I once quoted, to a lady,  a line from a song, “All my ex’s live in Texas.”  After she got done laughing, she asked, “My God, how many do you have?”  “One,” I replied, “But that’s all of them!”  Through the many years since my divorce I have learned what real love is, by becoming intimate with my Heavenly Father, and also when man fell out with God, he fell out with women as well.  I have the vertical connection, with God, in place, and now I am open and willing, to take a risk, to try again, with the horizontal connection with a woman.

Notice the cross?  Yes, that one.  The one Jesus died on because he took the ultimate risk of love coming here to die for our sins.  I’m sure his heart aches when people reject him.  If a relationship is based on loving Jesus, then together you will have the vertical and the horizontal connections in place that will support a healthy, loving relationship.

Love is a “risky business”, but when done the way God intended, I’m trusting it will be one more thing God will look at and say, “It is good.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

In the Last Year

DSC_7954Yesterday, I celebrated being retired for one year.  I also had a birthday this past week.  In reflecting back upon both, it didn’t take long to see God’s goodness.  His mighty hand, his gentle kindness, his correction, his presence, but in all of it, his love!

I know his love has been there my whole life, but now, I am more sensitive to recognizing it, in my life, and in the life of others.  So I had to ask myself, “Why is that?  Why do I see it clearer now, and not as much before?”  I don’t want to come across as “spiritual”, or “more special” than anyone else, but in the last year I have desireed and strived, in all times and situations,  to be just like Jesus, who is, Love.

It’s like recognizing an Armani suit, which I wouldn’t know if it bit me.  You’re so familiar with the original, it stands out.  Oh, trust me.  It’s much easier to be me, but I have seen enough of what I can be with and around people.  Yuk!  Who wants more of that?  I don’t, and I’m so sure no one else does either.

So, what’s the plan for this next year?  Going deeper into the things of God.  Having the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and the spirit of counsel and might in my life.  I want to journey closer to the source of “Living waters”.  I want to constantly be in the presence of God, which is why I choose a picture of the arc of the covenant.  Until the moment Jesus died, on the cross, the arc is where God’s presence resided.  Now, I want His presence to reside in me.

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (Isa 11:2 KJV+)

Copyright © 2018 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