Identity Thief

WIYTGIG 1I have a theory that human spirits are in heaven, with God, and then, the moment a child is conceived a human spirit is installed.  It’s just a thought, okay?  One reason I believe this is I was in a grocery store and I saw a small child in their mother’s arms.  When the child saw me I smiled, and without hesitation the child tried to leap out of the arms of their mother into mine.  The child’s spirit wanted to be reunited with God’s Spirit, which dwells in me.

the child saw God

I didn’t encourage the child at all.  I simply smiled.  I have thought about that moment and I came to realize the child sensed God’s Spirit within me.  That led to the question, “how did the child know God?”

I have been reading “Translating God” by Shawn Bolz.  He talks about seeing people as the original version of them God intended.  This will help you relate to them better when you begin to see them as God does.

So what happens then?  How do we get so off course from being the image of God he designed?  Life, temptation, sin, and free will.  Those are the things that steal our true identity.  I know a man, who had a dream about his son before he was ever born.  In the dream he got his name and his destiny from God.  Sure enough a son was born, but today that son is not living a life anything close to what God intended.  The man continues to love his son anyway, and continues to pray for him, and believe that one day the real version will emerge, and his son will be a mighty, spiritual warrior.

It’s like when we are born, our life is perfect, and wrinkled free.  Then, as life happens we get wrinkled, but the moment we accept Jesus we go to the cleaners and there, the Holy Spirit, as steam, gets all of the wrinkles out.  He restores us to our original design, and purpose.  Yes, it takes discipleship, healing of the heart, and spending a lot of time with God getting to know him fully and his nature, but it can be done.

Jeremiah 1:5 (The Message)

 “Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

I encourage you to be hungry to be the person God intended you to be.  Ask God to show you his plan, design, and purpose for your life.  Then, I encourage you to live it.  If you choose to do this you will never be happier!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Makes Me Hard to Love?

Charlie 012220Well this isn’t going to be fun, but I feel the need to write out a self-evaluation.  While reflecting on some recent events I was reminded of the following flaws in my personality:

  1. I expect others to do the right thing. When they don’t, I want to be the one to tell them they screwed up.  (In love of course!)
  2. I have no trouble pointing out the truth of situations, but I forget few want to hear it.
  3. I seek perfection in others, and though I try so hard, I overlook that I too come up short.
  4. I do to others what I am want them to do to me, but I have learned not everyone knows that rule.
  5. If I’m willing to listen to you, I expect you to listen to me.
  6. I tend to “nick pick”, because I think people should do everything the way I do it.

I could go on I’m sure, but this hurts.  Looking into a mirror, that sees deeper than the exterior, is hard to face.  When you see who you really are, you wonder, how can anyone love me?  Then, you might ask, how can God love me?

When God first made man, he was perfect.  But God refused to have robots obey commands to choose him, so he gave man “free will”.  It was the only way to see who would love him, because they wanted to.  God first loved us, even though that “free will” opens the door to imperfection, and makes us hard to love, he loves us anyway.  There is no means to measure, or weigh how much God loves us.  Love, is God’s core nature.

But just how does God do it?  Love us even though we are hard to love?

He looks at us through rose colored glasses.  The ones that were stained, by the blood of his son, Jesus’ when he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins.  I would be more lovable if I saw others as God does.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Promise Fulfilled

Carlie 04.2Many years ago, like 33 of them, I left full time ministry.  I had been a youth pastor in two different churches.  I left under circumstances that should have never taken place.  I then entered my own desert and had my own version of Mt. Sinai to march around.

I was so mad for allowing Satan to deceive me into thinking my sin was right, but after all, that’s his specialty.  Thinking I would never again get to minister to people, hurt beyond belief, and one of the things I enjoyed the most was preaching from behind a pulpit.

A friend wrote me a letter as I was entering the desert.  She said she was praying for me and she shared a word she got from God for me.  Jeremiah 31:4   It says, “I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt.”

I hid that word from God in my heart for those many years waiting and wondering how God would fulfill his promise.

Tomorrow, at First Baptist Church in Prue, Oklahoma, I will get to stand behind the pulpit once again and minister to God’s people.  I am a little nervous, but excited at the same time.  I trust this is the first of many opportunities to minister around the world.

I am so grateful to my loving God, for caring so much for me that he would not leave me wondering in the desert, but showed me the exit.  After all, the gritty sand had done its work.  I was ready!

I am also thankful to Pastor Garry McDevitt for listening to God, trusting me and giving me this opportunity.  He is doing a great work for God in the community, as people are accepting Jesus and getting baptized almost every week.

Be encouraged, you have not done so much that God can’t use you.  He loves humble, willing, remorseful, ordinary people to do his work.  Oh, and he will help you get the sand out of, well, everywhere!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Do My Best

Charlie 777bIf Adam had stopped Eve from exercising her free will, and disobeying God.  If Eve had not listened to the devil in the form of a serpent.  Somebody, somewhere, in the ages of time still would have sinned requiring a perfect sacrifice to reunite us with God.  Jesus would still have found himself hanging on a cross.

Even if no one had disobeyed God, by the time I was born, I’m sure I would have been the one to mess things up.  Like the apostle Paul once said, “… My own behaviour baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. Yet surely if I do things that I really don’t want to do, I am admitting that I really agree with the Law.

… I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don’t really want to do I find I am always doing. Yet if I do things that I don’t really want to do then it is not, I repeat, “I” who do them, but the sin which has made its home within me.” Romans 7:15-20 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Even if I was the only sinner on earth, God still would have sent his son, Jesus to die for me.  That’s how much he loves me, and ya know what? He loves you that much too.  2 Peter 3:9 (NET)  because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

You know the bottom line is this:  God simply wants us to choose to be in a loving relationship with him.  I do my best, for that’s my heart’s desire as well.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect

Charlie 234Perfection, is a difficult thing to achieve, for those who even try, but somehow, Jesus managed to pull it off.  His accomplishment has always intrigued me.  Many times I have wondered, If Jesus can do it, then why can’t I?  I now have my answer.

As I have studied the life and ministry of Christ, there are some consistent points he focused on:

  • Jesus was in constant communication with his Father, who just so happened to be God.
  • Jesus kept the will of his Father in the front of his mind.
  • Jesus only did what he had seen his Father do.

This kind of focused life got Jesus killed.

Ouch!  But God knew that would happen and was used by God to have a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  The very goal of sending your only Son to earth.

So if I achieved perfection, even for an hour, or a day, would it kill me?  No, but would it kill me to try?  If I prayed more I would know every day the will of God, and hopefully do what I knew my heavenly Father would do in all situations and in all conversations.  Dying to myself won’t forgive anyone of sin, but perhaps, it might lead others to Jesus, who can.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Valley, the Bridge, and the Other Side

Charlie 126A long, long time ago, there was a beautiful place where a man, and woman lived in peace.  It was like they lived in a garden.  They tended to its needs, but it wasn’t work.  One of their task was to name things, since they were the first residents of this wonderful place.  They enjoyed it and looked forward to Mondays, their first day back to work, after a day of rest.  They would walk and talk to each other, and at certain times of the day they had the privilege of getting to spend time with the Creator of their home.  They loved those moments, and sought out to be in the Creator’s presence.  Life was good.

Then one day, the woman was walking around by herself when an uninvited guest showed up.  He was tall, and had a slender build.  His approach to the woman was stealth like.  His appearance was like a morning star.  She was intrigued from the first moment she laid eyes on him.  Then, when he opened his mouth and spoke, she was captivated by his apparent wisdom.

His words were convincing.  “The Creator doesn’t mean you will actually die if you make a choice to do what you want to do.  I mean, after all, it’s your life.  Don’t you have the right to do what you want?  I do what I want, and I haven’t died.”

The woman thought about it, and even though it felt wrong, to disobey the Creator, she took what she lusted for.  She stole, what wasn’t hers, and ate it.  In that moment the earth quaked, but appeared to be okay.  Now the uninvited guest had seduced her into working for him.  “Why don’t you take one to your husband?  I’m sure he will want to taste the sweetness of knowing good and evil.”

She did as she was told.  At first, he was shocked to learn of her actions.  “Woman!  What have you done?”  He turned away, and wouldn’t look at her.  She, now having knowledge of her nakedness, used her body, to entice him in thinking about joining her, and to take a bite from the delicious looking fruit.

She said, “Having knowledge is good, I feel powerful.”

He was interested and soon opened up his eyes, that moments before had been shut tight.  He took a bite and while he was saying, “You’re right.  This is good, and wow, you look good also,” their homeland shook very hard and they fell.  They got scared and hid.  They didn’t know then the consequences of their selfish actions.  The uninvited guest wasn’t too far away, laughing.

#

It didn’t take them long to learn why the earth shook so violently the previous day.  As they were walking around the next morning, they came to the edge of a deep, and wide valley.  They knew it was not there the day before.

“So this is why the earth was trembling yesterday,” said the man.

They could not see the bottom of the valley, and rising out of it was hot, sulfur smelling air.

It was difficult, but they could see the other side of the valley.  As they were checking it out, they both spotted who they believed to be the Creator, but wasn’t positive.  They could hear a sound that might have been a voice calling out to them, but was unable know for sure.  They looked to their left, and to their right, hoping to see a bridge.  None.  They saw no way to cross the valley.  It was too deep for them to climb down, and besides the heat rising was almost unbearable.  It was then, the realization of the situation hit them; they were separated from the Creator.  Grief set in.

They walked around for days, trying to figure out how this happened.  They missed the Creator.  They missed his presence.  They missed his love, his encouragement, and his humor too.  The man and the woman started retracing the events that led up to the earth rumbling, shaking, and to the days before the valley appeared.

The woman, with sadness on her face, looked at the man, and said, “Everything was fine until the day I disobeyed the Creator, and ate the fruit, of the tree of good and evil.”

“You’re right!  Ah!  How could we not have realized that?”  Asked the man.  Then sadness set in for they now knew what their actions had done.

Over the next few years, they tried to build their own bridge to get to the other side.  To once again be reunited, with the Creator, but all of their efforts failed.  Even their attempt to be good and never eat of that tree again was not enough to make the valley go away.  They concentrated on their efforts to reach the Creator so much, their garden, turned into a jungle.  It became chaos and a mess, so they left with only their memories of what once was.  Their relationship too became over grown with hurts, accusations, and resentment.

“How could have disobeyed the Creator?” Asked the man.

“Where were you?  How come you weren’t there to protect me?” Asked the woman.

The man and the woman accepted this was their new life.  The uninvited guest was so happy.

#

As time went on, the population grew, many tried their own way to build a bridge to reach the other side.  Some found it impossible to believe that there ever was a Creator.  They had never seen him, so they thought the story of him was made up.  A story made up to control their behavior.  All they cared about was living how they wanted.  Many, so called, “experts”, thought their way to believe was best.  Each one found people to join their group, and follow them.  Soon, there were many different groups one could join.  Most decided on a group because it lined up with how they wanted to live.

On the other side, the Creator could see, and he could hear the pain the people were in.  He never wanted this for them.  He gave them a beautiful place to live.  He too, in the beginning, enjoyed walking and talking to the people he made.  Oh, how he wished they had not disobeyed him in the first place.  When he made them he gave them free will, so it would be their choice to join his group and follow him.  After all, he only gave them two commandments, and they violated one of them, causing the great valley between them.  He had seen enough.

“Son, I know you are aware of what is taking place on the other side.  The people are living their lives as they want.  They are hurting each other.  There is so much pain, and so many tears.  They need hope,” said the Creator.

“Yes, Father.  I have seen, and I have heard their cries.”

“You know what has to be done don’t you?”  Asked the Creator.

“Yes, I do.  I was wondering when you were going to bring up the subject,” said the Son.  “I will do it.  I’ll be obedient to you, I’ll be the sacrifice for them, and I’ll be the one to defeat sin, and death.”

“You are willing to lay down your life, to be a bridge, so that we can once again be together?”  Asked the Creator.

“Yes, for there is no other way,” said the Son.

“Okay.  I’ll make all the necessary arrangements.”

#

The Creator did, he sent his Son to the other side, but in a form, those who believed, never imagined, as a baby.  His Son was looked after and taken care of, and when it was time, he revealed who he was, and why he came to the other side.  Many found it hard to believe, because they had not heard from the Creator in so many years.  The Son said he was going to build a bridge in three days that would span the valley.  Most did not believe his truth either.  Their natural minds could not accept the plan, because they compared it to their reality.  No one had even come close to reaching the other side.

Three years the Son walked around sharing the plan.  He also did many signs and wonders and that convinced some, because it reminded them of the stories they had been told of the Creator.  Others, from the powerful groups, who had the most to lose, if he was right, hated him, and wanted his message to go away, but the only way they could figure out how to do that was to make him go away.  They plotted, and came up with lies about him, and got the people to hear their words, and believe them.  They had their support, so they took the Son to court, and the courts knew it was not right, but was afraid of the people, and gave them what they wanted.

They killed the Son, but on the third day, after he had died, they got up and found a bridge that spanned the valley.  Yes, the Son had kept his word.  He built a bridge with wood and nails, and with the power of the Creator’s Spirit,.  Now anyone, who accepts the Son, is from the Creator, can walk across the bridge over the valley, and once again, be united with God, the Creator of it all.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

 

WARNING!

Charlie 106Here in the Philippines, they print pictures on the packages of cigarettes, that show what could happen if you smoke.  Is it effective?  I don’t know, but I don’t see a lot of smoking going on.  Of course that could be due to the cost of cigarettes.

God told us, in his word, what would happen if you sin – death!  Is it effective?  I don’t know, because I see a lot of people sinning, including me from time to time.  God also showed us what our sin cost – the death of his only Son, Jesus.  You can pay for your sins, or accept Jesus’ payment.  It’s up to you.

”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Strength Helping Weakness

Charlie 80The words break free of my mouth, before I can think them through,
before I remember, the words of God, that tells, of the damage they will do.
As the last word, in the long ranting, damaging train does its part,
the sorrow, the remorse is already being felt inside my heart.

I don’t want to hurt, and I certainly don’t want to be mean as well,
so why then do I do this over and over again?  Can you tell?
If only there was some way to stop, and think, before I spoke,
then perhaps, the other person, wouldn’t feel as if they’re being choked.

I pray, and ask God to forgive, and then to help me not to do,
I feel better as if it will never happen again, and I will never again hurt you.

I know the great apostle Paul struggled as well.  In 2 Cor. 12:7-10,
He told us that Satan did his best to get him down again.
He begged God to remove this thorn in his flesh,
but God only replied “My grace is enough.” In other words, rest.

Then, “My strength comes into its own in your weakness” so let it be,
so Paul accepted it, realizing that when he is weak, “God works in me!”

So the truth is, on my own, I will never overcome,
but when I am weak, God and I, can become one.
Then, in that moment, before I speak, God’s power will take over,
my response will be of love and peace, and His grace will bring closure.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Rights

20171209_162330“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

Above is the “Miranda Rights”, which you have heard on TV or in a movie.  In heaven, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, these rights will go something like this:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in the court room of heaven by Satan. You have a right to an attorney. You cannot afford the One True Attorney, but He, Jesus, will be appointed for you.”

Jesus, has already paid the full penalty, death, for your wrong doing.  Case dismissed.  You are free to go.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.