Spiritual Growth

Young boy measuring his growth in heightHow do you measure spiritual growth?  Do you compare yourself to Billy Graham?  The Apostle Paul?  Mother Teresa?  Joel Osteen?  Or perhaps you compare yourself to your pastor.  First of all, what is “spiritual growth”?  It is the process of becoming more mature in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger-painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. (Heb 6:1 MSG)

So how should one measure spiritual growth?  By love.  As you grow in Christ you will grow in love.  Love, will be your first thought, your first word, and your first reaction to people and things in this world that come at you.  Do people look at you and see love?  Hear love?  Feel love?  If they do then go ahead.  Go ahead and stand up next to love, and put another mark on it.  You’re growing!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Forgiveness

Boulder 1Exhibiting true forgiveness, allows you to be in the presence of the one you forgave.  The same goes for God.  That is why accepting Jesus, for the atonement of our sins, is so important.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Confession

20180618_161958Confession:  I have never been inside a confessional booth.  I grew up in a church where doing so was not part of our spiritual practice.  I am at a temple where there is one.  I am writing this blog post while sitting inside it.  Not intended, but in order to see I brought a small, but bright LED light.  It is casting such a white glow I think it scared a couple checking out the temple.

Here I sit, in this small, wooden structure.  It smells old, musty, perhaps from tears soaking the carpeted board beneath my feet.  There is carpet on the walls as well.  I guess to absorb the sound, but aren’t confessions meant to be heard?

I think there is also supposed to be a man in the booth next door.  A man to hear my sins?  My wrong doing?  What if he is actually a newspaper reporter?  Wait, when Jesus died on the cross, didn’t his selfless act of love cut out the middle man?  After all, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  The veil that once separated man from God.  Now Jesus is our High Priest.

I guess while I am in here I might as well start talking.  Heavenly Father bless me.  It has been 23 minutes since my last confession.  You remember.  Oh, you don’t?  Then maybe I should choose to forget it also.

Now, I confess all my sins.  The ones that denied you, dissatisfied you, destroyed me and demolished others.  The sins that dishonored you, discomforted you.  The ones that would disqualify me from your presence, if it were not for your Son.  The sins that diminished others, disgruntled my employers, and devalued my wife and children.  And don’t forget the one that deflowered me before I was with the proper one at the proper time.  The ones that delayed me from being obedient unto you and your plans.  I also confess the times I digested things that defiled my body, your temple.  The words I spoke that derailed others on track to finding you.  The times my actions denounced you.  The sins that I allowed that wound up discouraging me and damaging my faith.

Forgive me Father.  I ask for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for not deleting my name from your Book of Life.  Thank you for forgiveness, and for your Son, Jesus who gives life through his death.

Now what do I do Lord God?  “Go and sin no more.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Have You Considered?

dome 1

Covering of protection

Have you ever considered what your breaking point would be in life?  How much you could take?  What could you handle, but what is too much?  Severe sickness of you, or of the ones you love the most?  Losing your entire net worth?  Being abandoned by the very ones you thought cared the most about you?

“And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job?”  Satan replied, “Have You not put a hedge (a covering) about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” (Job 1:8 & 10 AMP)

God, because of Job’s relationship with him, had put a covering over him, or had his hand over him, so the results of a fallen, sinful, world could not affect Job, his family, or his possessions.  Once I got really angry at one of my neighbors.  I was so mad, I wanted to harm her, but I didn’t.  Instead I prayed and asked God to take revenge on her for hurting me,  After all, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Rom. 12:19 MSG)  One day I asked God what happens when he gets vengeance on someone.  He whispered back, “I slowly remove my hand from their life.”

I shuttered!  As time went on, I witnessed my neighbor losing her job, experiencing vandalism, and worst yet, the death of her oldest daughter.  I prayed for her.  I know God was hoping she would stop resisting him, and in turn, run to him.  She finally did.

Job resisted the temptation to blame God for his troubles and die, but eventually repented of his prideful way of thinking.  Then God restored everything back to him and doubled what he had lost.  Could you have handled such loss?  Or perhaps the better question is this, would God ever say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant: __________?“ (fill in blank with your name)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Stumble or Build?

stone 1There it is.  Right there in front of you.  It is unwelcomed, and even now, is unwanted, but there it is.  A situation has developed in your presence.  One that activates emotions.  They seem to come out of nowhere, and they arrive so fast.

Immediately, you are forced to answer the question; “Am I going to stumble, or am I going to build?”  You’re interacting with someone when all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a misunderstanding, or someone acting ugly.  What do you do?  Do you match their level of intensity?  Lobby similar words?

One way of reacting will most likely cause you to “stumble”.  Your relationship could break down, or fall apart.  Over what?  A situation?  But what if you took a moment, breathed, and responded in a way that would “build” your relationship?  That would cause you to grow closer to the individual, or grow and mature inwardly.

AND [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come! (Luk 17:1 AMP)

Satan casts the first stone.  He definitely wants you to stumble.  Hoping you will fall, and get hurt.  Jesus hands you a hammer in hopes you break up the stone and build a stronger relationship.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved