They Lost It!

I know there are several people who absolutely LOVE Christmas. If it was more socially accepted they would leave the tree and the decorations up all year and they would probably go as far as to leave the lights on the house, lit! I know one particular person who has been posting on Facebook a countdown of how many days till Christmas. I think she started it on January 1st.

One Christmas lover does leave ornaments out in various rooms around the house. I heard that one day a friend who wanted to play a joke removed one of the ornaments that were displayed in the guest bathroom. They hung on to it for a few weeks expecting to get a call that would be accompanied by an accusation. The call never came.

Apparently, when the missing ornament was discovered the one who seriously loves Christmas went on a rampage trying to find out what happened to it or who took it. I guess they got quite upset over the ordeal. One family member tried their best to find or order a replacement in order to restore peace in the home but learned the ornament was no longer being made.

It happens. A person’s “joy” can be taken, or even stolen if they let it. It doesn’t take much at times. What we should do is calmly evaluate the situation and realize “no one got hurt”, “it’s only a thing”, and recognize that though it may bother you or hurt it’s not the end of the world. That it was simply an item and not a person. It certainly isn’t worth hurting a relationship over!

My brothers, you will have many kinds of troubles. But when these things happen, you should be very happy (joyful). You know that these things are testing your faith. And this will give you patience. James 1:2-3 (ICB)
[The “joyful” in the parenthesis was inserted by me.]

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Neh. 8:10

The person who took the ornament eventually gave it back and though the Christmas lover laughed and said they were okay they ended the friendship. They lost more than an ornament for a time, they lost a friend. Sad end to the story especially when the ornament (pictured) shared “joy” and was an emblem of love and happiness expressed at Christmas.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Magkano?

I heard it said the other day, “Every relationship is a transaction.” This expression caught my attention, and I have thought a lot about it. What the man who said those words went on to share was this, “In each relationship, you are either giving or taking.”

In my lifetime, I have been in a lot of different types of relationships. Working relationships, family relationships, friendships, general acquaintances, and marriage to name just a few. So what the man was saying was that in each one of those relationships, one was giving and one was taking, or at least some percentage of both.

Was I the giver? Or was I the taker? Or somehow did I manage the relationship to give and take? Did I take more than I gave? In some of those encounters with those individuals was I fair? Was I ever starving for so much that I partook first before considering the other’s needs?

I know me and in full disclosure, I have to consciously make an effort to stop talking and purposely make myself ask the other person questions about them. I like to talk, I like to tell stories, after all, I am a writer. But there are times when it is best to not say a word about me, and to listen, to inquire, and show that I care about them.

Jesus certainly was a giver in every relationship. He gave comfort, hope, and teachings on how to live an abundant life, and He still does! He also gave his life so that we may live eternally with Him in heaven.

Are you a giver, or a taker? Magkano (ma-con-o) in Tagalog (language of the Philippines) means “how much?” A phrase I learned to ask my tricycle driver when he would taxi me into town, or back home. It wasn’t long for the local ones to not answer me when I asked them, “Magkano?” I think word had gotten out that the American who had married April Joy Santiago Cruz was generous, and he would often pay more than the actual cost. This was a good reputation to have.

Be a giver. When meeting someone, ask yourself on the inside, magkano? Meaning how much is this going to cost me? You may have a lot of untold stories pent up inside, but investing in another person is always a good investment to make. They will certainly be richer for it, and in many ways, so will you! This will be a good reputation to have.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Not Me, it’s You

Have you ever found yourself in one of those relationships where the other person does something that offends you, or hurts you? And then when you tried to share with them how it bothered you they act out and try to turn things around as if it was your fault. What the heck? Right? It can be extremely frustrating.

I was thinking about this scenario and feeling exasperated. I asked God about it as I do now when I am in need of wisdom and understanding. He is so faithful to provide an answer. He shared with me that when you speak “truth” it can convict. This can make them uncomfortable and they can get defensive. The other thing that may happen is they will distance themselves from you.

It may be they come up with excuses as to why they can’t get together anymore, or stop inviting you to events, or family gatherings. What makes it hard on you is they convince themselves and others that “you” are the problem, but it is NOT you, it’s them!

I know it hurts. It’s not right. It’s an injustice. So how do we handle it? As difficult as it is, we must still love them, and pray for them. Realize you are in good company! Jesus was falsely accused. Some of the people around him, religious leaders of that day, etc. were confronted with Truth. It convicted how they should be living. To push Jesus out of their lives they crucified him. I don’t think your family and friends will go to that extreme so don’t despair.

Keep in mind when Jesus wants to enter a person’s life, heart, He stands at the door and knocks. He waits for an invitation to enter. We cannot force someone to change. Continue to speak the truth in love, and hope that your loving actions will be used by the Holy Spirit to work into their hearts.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me. Rev. 3:20 (AMPC)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Here’s What You Do

What do you do when they correct you and then proceed to give you instructions on how to accomplish a particular task? Here is how God responded to Job:

“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
    Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
    Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
    Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
    Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
    Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
    faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
    you can surely save yourself with no help from me! Job 40:8-14 (MSG)

It seems as if God was sarcastic.  Knowing very well Job couldn’t do anything he asked him to do. As we humans are now on Earth, there is no way we can know everything! I was talking to a friend the other day about this same issue, and I mentioned how I had learned to say, “I’ll take that under advisement”.  He laughed and then shared what he says, which is, “That’s a great idea.  I’ll look into it.” Both responses sends the “know it all” away with a sense of pride and accomplishment. They probably feel as if they just helped another one!

God was sarcastic with Job, because He knew Job couldn’t do those things, or even knew how. We don’t know what a person knows, so perhaps what to do is simply listen, and execute our escape as soon as possible. That’s better than hurting the other person or debating and or arguing.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.