First Bank and Trust

Life sure can be rough at times, and dealing with people can make it even more difficult.  It can be hard to believe people and extremely challenging when it comes to trusting them.  Being hurt by someone in the past comes into play when deciding to trust a new person in your life.  You can be afraid to open up your heart knowing, like before, you could get that heartbroken, again.

When you hold back your trust the person desiring it can get agitated, even mad.  Only they know if what they are telling you is 100% true or not.  This may be someone you love, a lot, and you really do want to believe them, but your past experience can cause you to proceed with caution.

There is nothing wrong with being careful, but not opening up your heart to love again most likely will lend you to being single the rest of your life or in a relationship that experiences bumps along the way.

When it comes to God, be assured, you can trust him completely.  In fact, in order for the relationship with God to work best trust is vital.  Trust, believes what is said, and what is done believing that the motives are pure, and with God, they are.  Please don’t project on God the hurts you have experienced from humans.

God did not come from Adam and Eve, as mankind did.

“The Lord came to us from far away, saying, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness.” Jer. 31:3 (NLV)

God has not sinned.  He is Holy. He will always treat you with the utmost love, concern, and care.  You can bank on it.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Road Construction

At the entrance to my subdivision there is road construction.  I can only exit and enter by going one way while they upgrade the infrastructure, water, electric, and sewer that runs along the road, or under it.  Then, they will put down a new road, with new lane stripes and new signs.  They say it will take 6 months to complete.  It has already been two and a half.

If that wasn’t enough to endure, they have torn up a major highway interchange just blocks from the road I mentioned above.  It is reported to take two years to finish.  The officials say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

As I have shared in previous posts, I married a Filipino woman in 2019.  Soon after the wedding, we worked with an immigration attorney to get the process started to bring my wife to America.  I lived in the Philippines for several months until I needed an eye procedure.  We discussed the situation and felt it was best if I came back to America to have it done here.  Thinking her immigration process wouldn’t take that long and she would follow me here shortly.  It seemed as if they had missed placed her file and then shortly after they started working on her case, Covid hit.

At the time of this writing, my wife is still not here with me.  There have been lots of conversations with God about the process and questions of, “Why is it taking so long?”  Walking with God in life is definitely a journey.  As we are now getting toward the end of the immigration process I can look back and see with greater understanding.  I can see how God has updated power lines in our lives making sure that in the future we look to him for uninterrupted power to live by.  He has put in a new sewer system to remove the waste and potentially toxic aspects of our personalities away safely and quickly.  My wife compares my temper to passing gas.  She says, “It stinks at first, but it doesn’t last long.”  She has learned to let me vent and then we can return to our regularly scheduled life already in progress.

If God didn’t take the time to pour new pavement in our lives we would be traveling with him on dirt, and when the storms come get bogged down in mud.  Yuk!  If he only put down stones travel would be easier but it would be a bumpy and rough ride.  Not enjoyable at all.  But God has used the time, while waiting for her immigration to be completed, to put down nice smooth pavement.  When the final touches are completed my wife and I will be able to come and go quickly in any direction with ease.  We will be able to see the lanes we should stay in so we avoid head on collisions and harm.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Yes, walking with God is difficult at times, and it is hard to see what He is doing, because some improvements are below the surface. At times it’s hard to understand why it is taking so long, but He would say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Give it to Me

A child grows up believing they’re an awful person, because their parent told them so.  The only time they heard words come out of their parent’s mouth was when it was a complaint.  And perhaps the volume was turned up way too high when those words were spoken.  The parent’s own hurt created a toxic mess in the child’s heart.  Know this; it wasn’t your fault.  You didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

Years go by, and that ungodly belief sticks to the heart of the child, and it actually affects every future relationship that child grows up to have.  One way to relate to hurt people is to wear a hazmat suit when around them, but those things are hot and heavy, and not readily available.  So what is the answer?

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

That beaten down and battered child grows up denying the pain exist.  Even saying things like, “Oh, its okay.  That’s just the way my parent was.”  Yet they walk on in life struggling to carry the weight of it all, believing the lies.  At times they buckle under the load and they wind up hurting someone else.  Perhaps their own child, or spouse.  Those hit by friendly fire walk away questioning, “What did I do?”

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

There is only one way to fix it, to get delivered from the burden.  In case you haven’t noticed I’ll repeat it one more time, give it to Jesus.  He wants to take the load from you.  He has been there your whole life, patiently waiting, but his heart broke when you wouldn’t surrender it to him.  He has felt your pain, and every time you hurt he did too.  Jesus doesn’t like to see those he died for hurting, and he died for everyone.  Every time you have cried most likely he did too.

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

Please, you have carried it way too long.  It’s time to give it to Jesus.  He can handle it.  Don’t go another day living with the pain and trying to carry the load.  Don’t fall asleep one more night on a wet pillow.  Simply ask, “Jesus, will you take this from me, and heal my heart.”  Then trust that he has heard you and will do just that.  You will feel so much better.  Your steps will be lighter, and you will see your world in living color.

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.  Mat. 11:28 (TPT)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why Can’t I Achieve Mental, & Physical Health?

062620 5It happened last week, last year, or even longer ago, but the memory of the hurt and pain can still rise to the surface so fast.  A word, a name, a song, a phrase can trigger the instance to come back.  You feel those emotions…again.  You say you have forgiven the offender, you even tell yourself you have moved on, so then why does it still rise up and bite you, and at times with the same emotions you experienced when it first happened?

There are many types of hurt others can do to you, but the one thing I struggle with the most is injustice.  It seems so unfair when you are falsely accused.  Jesus had to suffer through this.  He was accused of things untrue, yet he remained silent.  Those accusations were so strong I think some who knew him well started changing what they thought of him.

As difficult as it may be to not defend yourself, but inside let the truth stand, we must follow Jesus’ example.  Hanging on to all of the hurt and pain affects us mentally and I believe also physically.  And, for those asking God to heal them of a physical ailment, hanging on to the hurts of any kind could be blocking your healing, or the renewing of your mind.  The song, “Lay it All Down”, by Will Reagan, can point us to the first step in removing the pain, for good.  Here are a few of the lyrics below:

When we’ve given up, on better days
There are memories, we can’t erase
Lay it all down … lay it all down

We’ve come to fear, what we can’t explain
There’s nothing here, that can ease the pain
Lay it all down … lay it all down
At the feet of Jesus … at the feet of Jesus

After we lay it all down at the feet of Jesus I assure you, there will be temptation to pick it back up.  Don’t!  Turn around, walk away, and never mention it again to anyone, unless the incident can be used for God’s glory in the teaching and exhortation of others.  Jesus is more than capable, and qualified to handle your hurt and pain.  Give it to him, and see how much better you begin to feel after you do.

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” 1 Pt. 5:7 (TPT)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How It All Began

061620August 1969.  I would celebrate my seventh birthday in September.  I didn’t want to go to hell for being a liar, and a convicted cookie thief, and according to the big man, wearing a black suit, speaking loud, if I died without accepting Jesus in my heart, I would have.  Pictured here, his name was H.D. Pieratt.  He was a fine example of a man, after God’s own heart.

You might say, I first confessed I was a sinner and recognized Jesus as God’s son, then asked him to forgive me of my wrong doing, because I was scared of hell.  That viewpoint stayed with me for several years, until I learned about God’s love.

What might have started out as a fire escape plan turned into a loving relationship with God as I got to know him.  Ten years after making his acquaintance, I dedicated my life to going, doing, and saying whatever He wants me to.

It’s sad, but there are individuals who have only accepted enough Jesus to keep them out of hell.  Their more afraid of eternal damnation than they love God.  You have probably encountered one of them, because they don’t reflect the love of God.  The light, the truth, the hope in them is dull, and in fact, they might have hurt you.  I’m sorry if you have encountered one, and have gotten hurt.  Also, I feel bad when I let situations get to me and I choose to extinguish the light of God in me if only long enough to let my flesh rule.  I always regret those moments and ask God to forgive me and help me not to do it again.

I feel like Paul, when he wrote in Romans 7:15:
I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. (TPT)

Training will help me to love first in those situations, and in all others.  The only way to act, and react with love is to continue to get to know the source of love, God.  For God is love.  1 John 4:8.  It comes down to your heart’s desire, and God knows what those are, so he will help you be more like him.  The light of God, in Rev. Pieratt, shined upon my heart when I was a child, and I’m so thankful.  I was drawn to it, I was drawn to God, and that is how it all began.

Be love.  Our world needs a lot more Truth, light, and love!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where’s the Love

051420There once was a lady, no, not from Nantucket, who was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, a worker, and a church goer.  Yes, she seemed to once have a strong love for God, family, people in general, and especially children.

I thought I knew her, but after being separated off and on over the years, it took me a while to notice it, but after being around this lady again, I could tell something had changed.

I suspected many things, which I won’t go into, but it wasn’t until today, as I was talking about her that I labeled the problem correctly.  Love had leaked out over the years.  Perhaps even unnoticed by her, but she had changed. To friends, family and fellow church goers it’s got to be obvious.

So how did this happen?  I think she had gotten hurt over the years and never dealt with it.  Hurt by her husband, her children, friends, work situations, other family members, and yes, even by those at her church.  You see, there seems to be a connection between getting hurt, not dealing with it in a proper manner, like going to God with it, and love.  Also, if one is not getting filled back up on love by spending time with God then a person runs low.  It’s not obvious, because there is no internal dip stick for our love tanks.

When love leaks out, others get hurt.  A lack of love can cause many problems, so it is very important to know if you are leaking love, and why.  If you have experienced great pain from a conversation or situation last week, last year, or several years ago, please deal with it.  Either try to go back to the person who hurt you, and if that is not possible then definitely go to God with it, and ask him to help you overcome the pain.

I found myself going to God, because when I confronted the women mentioned above and shared how she had hurt me she replied, “Well just get over it!”  I was stunned, and now hurt worse.  A wounded person may come across as cynical, judgmental, critical, hateful, difficult, controlling, and even as a racist.  When love runs out it is replaced with these, and other negative attitudes.

I wonder if, after sinning, she tells God, “just get over it!”

It’s hard to love these type of people.  In my case, I now stay away to protect my heart and I pray for her.  I hope God will bring her, and others like her to a situation where they one day see how low on love they are.  It’s not too late for them.  God can easily love them back to full, but they need to get close to him, know him, converse with him and read his word.  You see, living with love shared takes two.  If only one sided, it is simply, love given.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Who?”

94231915_924151661369801_2906645677645758464_nI received the T shirt pictured here in the mail yesterday.  I laughed, and couldn’t believe my knucklehead friend/ex coworker would do such a thing.  Okay, now you are probably asking yourself, “Who’s Mike?”  Mike was a manager where my friend and I worked.  He was a different soul, went by the book, and talked a lot!  I often wondered how he kept from going hoarse every day.

Over the years, my friend would say something about this Mike, and my standard reply was, “Who?”  I would say most people didn’t care for Mike.  I must admit I was one of them.  My friend knew that.  Mike had a way of doing his best to make sure you knew he was a manager, and that he was smarter than you.  My friend and I were in the union.

There were a lot of people who didn’t like Jesus either.  Yes, when he performed miracles he would draw quite a crowd and then teach them about his heavenly Father.  He taught them about “love”.  He taught them and was an example of a better way to live.  The way of “love”.  To let “love” rule over everything.  All relationships, conversations, and decisions,

because “love” never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)

To this day, a lot of people are drawn to having a relationship with God, via Jesus.  But not all make that decision to accept Jesus into their life.  I think mainly because they don’t want to change the way they are living.  Although, if they were honest with themselves they would have to admit, the way they live doesn’t provide total peace like knowing Jesus does.  A true follower of Jesus, a disciple, does everything he can to become like Jesus.  To become, “love”.

So, I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want to be like Jesus?”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.