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.

He Finished Well

Later today, I am going to the funeral of the man pictured here, a friend.  I have known this man for probably 54 years.  After I heard the news last Friday evening, I was latter on Facebook.  A lady from his church posted his obituary and arrangements.  Below her post, people who knew him, started remembering, and honoring him.  They commented about his smile, his kindness, his servant’s heart, and his laughter. They were good words.

I begin reflecting on this out pouring of love, and thought about what kind of life one lives that moves people to respond as they were.  It didn’t take long for the answer to appear in my heart.

First, and foremost, you love.  You love God, and then love others.  You chose to ignore what other people say about someone, and you love them anyway.

Secondly, you show kindness.  You show it at work, at church, in your community, and at home.  With customers, family and friends.

Third, you serve others, which really is “love” in action. One man posted how my friend came and got them after their car would not start.

You do all this, not to receive kind words spoken or written about you when you die, but because this is the example Christ demonstrated for us while he walked the earth.  It’s simply the kind of life God calls us to.

I have fought an excellent fight. I have finished my full course with all my might and I’ve kept my heart full of faith. There’s a crown of righteousness waiting in heaven for me, and I know that my Lord will reward me on his day of righteous judgment. And this crown is not only waiting for me, but for all who love and long for his unveiling.  2 Tim. 4:7-8 (TPT)

In the above verse, Paul compares living life on earth as a race. It’s not a competition though with others to see who finishes first, second, or third. And unlike youth community sports programs, not everyone will receive a participation trophy! It’s about reaching the finish line, with God, and in my friend’s case, he finished well.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Well!”

You’ve encountered them.  You might possibly even work with one.  And there is the regrettable chance you live with one.  “Who?” you ask.  The person who is ALWAYS right in their own eyes.  The self-righteous ones. The perfect among mankind.

“Self-righteousness has killed more people than smoking.” John McCarthy

Of course we, the realistic people of earth, know there is no such thing as a perfect person, but don’t you dare tell them they aren’t perfect.  They will argue that fact.  If you have encountered such a monster then you know how frustrating it can be to do life with them, or to have any kind of interaction with them at all.

If finding fault generated wealth then they would be among the richest people on earth.  “Well, if you hadn’t of …” so quickly and easily comes out of their mouths.  What shocks me is how deceived they are.  It’s like they are allergic to truth. They defend the smallest of actions.

Job, from the Bible, had this issue I believe:

“We’ve all heard Job say, ‘I’m in the right,
    but God won’t give me a fair trial.
When I defend myself, I’m called a liar to my face.
    I’ve done nothing wrong, and I get punished anyway.’
Have you ever heard anything to beat this?
    Does nothing faze this man Job?  Job 34:5-7 (MSG)

The burning question on my mind is this, “Will they dare try to defend themselves when they stand before Almighty God and give an account as to how they lived their life?”  Will they try to blame God?  Of course God is perfect, as his son Jesus is, and has done nothing wrong.  I’ve been talking to a friend lately about this, and I have told them, “It’s okay to be wrong!”  In fact, it’s admirable, and respectful when one can sincerely say, “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.”

The Bible actually says, “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)  Of course knowing Truth, or Jesus will set you free.  Free from your sins and free from eternal damnation.  But knowing, owning up to, and admitting the truth is living free.  If you find yourself always defending your actions then stop it!  Try being wrong once in a while.  You might like how it feels.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Choices

Life is full of making choices.  We do it every day, all day.  The first one is; “Do I want to get out of bed?”  Having bills to pay usually answers that one for us. Then, there is, “What am I going to wear today?”  My wife and I have a friend who confessed on the average day, it would take her an hour to decide what to wear.  It bothered her, and frustrated her husband, because her final decision was most of the time the first thing he told her she looked nice in.  She prayed and God directed her to limit her choices to only four colors, and only a few items to mix and match.  Wisdom, from on high!

“What am I going to eat?” is one of my favorite choices to make each day, and it is becoming more and more important as I age.  There are so many things to decide that affect our time, who is in charge of our city, our state, and our federal government.  The type of vehicle we drive, where to live, our marital status, and how many children to have, if any?

So, it’s clear.  Some choices are a lot more important than other ones, but there is one choice to make before we leave this earth and that is;

where do you want to spend eternity?

God’s word makes it clear and easy to understand, but for some, it is so difficult to make.  That may be because they think they will give up their freewill, their freedom, or become like some of the weird “Christian” friends! I made that decision when I was 7 years old.  Others take a risk and make it on their death bed.

Not making that decision is the same as making it.  You either confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and ask him to forgive you of all the bad choices you have ever made in your life, or you don’t.  Doing so gives you life and gives it to you in abundance.  (John 10:10)   No one can make this choice for you, not even God.  He desires that everyone be in a full and rich relationship with him, personally, having discussions all during the day.

Please, take this seriously, for no one knows the day or hour they might die.  I speak from personal experience when I say;

life with God is rich in love.

“If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. …  As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.” Joshua 24:15 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Seeing the Invisible

Let’s face it, faith is difficult.  It’s not hard to find it as we all start with a measure of it, according to the word of God. (Rom. 12:3b)  But growing your faith is something else.  One of the best ways is to listen to testimonies.  If God can do it for them, then it’s possible for him to do it for us.  That’s one of the reasons we have the Bible.  Reading the stories of God doing the impossible when a solution looked improbable.  Also, faith grows by hearing the word of God, according to Romans 10:17.

We can use our invisible faith
to believe in the invisible God!

If we learned anything from 2020 we should have learned that no one knows what a year will bring us.  Some had good years while others have bad years before Covid, and I have even heard of a few thankful people for 2020.  What?  Yeah, some have given thanks that the pandemic forced them to slow down, take a survey of what was really important in life, while others are grateful for the time they got to spend with their immediate families.

Businesses found out people can work from home, which reduced commuting, which reduced pollution, which has allowed nature to return to some areas where it has not been seen for a long time.  There are other things to be seen that we often loose site of when things are going well.  Like how precious life itself is, and how valuable time is.  By taking walks, some saw the beauty of nature again.

You know, perhaps 2020 did open our eyes after all, if you were looking.  So the point to this blog has to be, “open your eyes, and keep them open”.  Always be looking for the invisible in life.  Always be looking for God, because he speaks, he ministers and he teaches us despite any circumstances going on around us.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Help Wanted

Believe it or not, there was a time when jobs were posted in a newspaper.  A newspaper is a set of thin papers with black ink printed on them, which came off on to your hands, and the paper contained news, ads, and was the social media of the day.  One would pour over the listings and usually circled the jobs with red ink which looked promising.

These days, jobs are posted online by individual companies or via websites that advertise opportunities to work.  Even with the new ease of finding whose hiring, it can still take a lot of effort and energy getting noticed, in the crowd, and getting your foot in the door.

I have worked 46 years of my life, and I have never had any trouble finding a job.  The longest I have been unemployed is four months.  One time, after moving to a new city, I found a job in two hours.  So am I just lucky?  Maybe, but I contribute my success to one simple thing:

Tithing

My first tithe was 10 cents.  I was eleven, and had earned a dollar.  My parents and my church taught, lived, and preached about tithing.  In case you don’t know what tithing is, it is this:

Returning to God the first 10% of your paycheck.  It is important to pay the tithe first, and then live on the rest.  Yes, it can be difficult to do, especially if times are extremely tough, but I assure you it is worth it.  You are returning to God what is his anyway.  Tithing tells God, “I trust you.” and a loving father likes to be trusted.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10 Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake…  Mal.3:8-11 (AMP)

You cannot out give God!

Tithing, and being happy to do it, thrills God, because He loves a cheerful giver.  You give the tithe to your local church, or to the ministry where you are getting fed spiritually.  Then, if you want to give above your tithes it is called an “offering”.

It all starts by going through the “Help Wanted” section of a newspaper, or website.  By asking God for a job isn’t that what you are saying to him?  “God, your help is wanted.”  Then, when He answers, what better way to thank him every time you hold that paycheck in your hand, but to return back 10%.  Come to think of how times have changed, I guess we no longer hold paychecks in our hands either.  I miss holding that document that expressed the fruits of my labor.  “Thank you God, for your love and faithfulness to provide for me all these years.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Are You Making People Thirsty?

The other day, I witnessed a lady at the grocery store, who knocked a large bottle of wine off the moving belt and onto the floor where it crashed and made a big mess.  I had the urge to run over and pray that the “wine” would turn into “water”, so it would be easier to clean up.  I didn’t.

There is different kinds of water out there in nature.  There is clear water, mineral infused water, which looks yellowish, and there is also yukky water called, brackish.

In John 4, Jesus talked about water:

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

11-12 The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

In a way, she was asking, “Who do you think you are?”

13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

After the above conversation, Jesus shared with the woman the details of her life.  They had never met, so in that moment she became thirsty for his kind of water.

Through Jesus’ death one can have life, living water, and that water can nourish you for the rest of your life.  So what does this have to do with us, who have drank this water?  Wherever we are around other people, our attitude can affect the atmosphere.  At times, our personality can draw others to us, because of the love of God in us.  It can actually cause people to inquire why we are so different than others they have met before.  This happened once with my neighbor, who he and his wife wound up accepting Jesus Christ.

So I ask, what kind of water are you serving others, in your community, your workplace, or in your home?  Is it clear, refreshing, or is it yukky?  Does it quench those around you, or leave a bad taste in their mouth?  I hope, for their sake, they will desire the water you are serving up.  If it needs to be different then try using a “Jesus” filter, which infuses love into your words and actions.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Establish the Mood

062320What happens when you walk into a room of people?  Are they glad to see you, or do they cringe?  Do they come up to you and greet you, or do they pretend to be busy, and walk away hoping to avoid you?  I had a boss that every morning when I saw her enter our department, I knew my peace was about to leave.

What kind of mood encompasses us, goes with us and enters, when we do?  Does your very presence change the environment, the atmosphere of a place?  It should.

Back when I worked in an office building, in Chicago, I took on the challenge of trying my best to put a smile on my fellow passenger’s faces while we were in the elevator.  Difficult, because some of them got off on the lower floors, giving me only seconds to come up with something to do or say that would change them.  That would leave them better when they got off the elevator than when they got on.  Pun intended, my words could lift them up, or let them down.

Once there were several people entering the elevator.  I said, “Call out the floor you need.”  They did, then I announced, “I like pushing people’s buttons.”  I wonder if that was some’s only laugh for the whole day?

As the years went by, people would get on the elevator, see me, and smile immediately.  I’m not boasting, because I knew two things:

  1. The love and joy in my life, I shared with others, only came from God.

  2. I entered the elevator on purpose, with a purpose.

For those who have accepted God, have his love, his truth, and his life inside, we can change, or flip the environment of a home, office, church, store, or wherever we go, just by walking in.  Oh, how the world needs us to enter their lives and shatter the darkness they dwell in with the light of God!  “Let there be light!”  Offer them the hope of Jesus.  When we welcome the presence of God in our lives He goes with us.  People sense it, and are either drawn to it, or openly resist it.

No matter where your feet take you, take God.

Be there on purpose, with a purpose.  Be mindful of those around you.  Roger, a good friend of mine, does this every day when he goes to work.  Share hope, peace, faith and love.  Scatter lots of joy.  Show everyone there is a better way to live.  Make them curious how you can still be smiling despite all that is going on around us.  Establish the mood!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Enough?

charlie 3When is enough, enough?  Have you had it with an individual, or a workplace?  What about a country?  You scream so loud on the inside you’re surprised that dogs don’t howl!  Why do people, work rules, or a countries procedures have to be ridiculous?  If they made sense, or had a justifiable reason behind them, then fine, so be it.  For someone to say, “But that’s the rule,” or “that’s the way it is,” over and over doesn’t help either.  It hurts, beating your head against the wall repeatedly, trying to find a sliver of logic to it all when the truth is, there is none!

I imagine there will come a day, when God says to his Son, “Enough.”  God is patient, and long suffering, but He too can only take so much.  He did it in the days of Noah, and with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Jesus will know what his Father is saying is, “Go, and bring my people home.  Deliver them from the sin, the injustices, from the insanity, from those who “think” they are in control, the hypocritical, from those that oppress, and from the work of the evil one.”  Jesus will stand up and make his way to earth, and the trumpet will sound.

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 MSG)

Be encouraged.  The way this world is going where right is wrong, and wrong has become right, it won’t be long before God will say, “Enough!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.