Look in the Mirror

What makes people decide to accept God?

  1. The airplane is about to crash!
  2. They’re afraid of hell.
  3. A life changing moment.
  4. They are so moved by the love of God.

For me, it was the second one.  I was only 7 and we attended a church that was pastored by a “hell fire and brimstone” preacher.  Meaning, he held nothing back when it came to sharing what sin, wrong doing in your life, truly cost. At that age, I was a convicted cookie thief!  I disobeyed my mother and then would lie about it.  I was afraid if I died without God’s forgiveness I would go to hell. As I got older I learned being saved from your sins was actually about having a relationship with a loving God through Jesus.

But for others what is it? What has to happen in their life to get them to realize how loving God is? Do they need to be face to face with death before they will finally make a decision? What if they don’t have a conscience mind when they are crossing the threshold between life and death? By not making a decision is making a decision.

58 Then they pounced on him and threw him outside the city walls to stone him. His accusers, one by one, placed their outer garments at the feet of a young man named Saul of Tarsus. 59 As they hurled stone after stone at him, Stephen prayed, “Our Lord Jesus, accept my spirit into your presence.” 60 He crumpled to his knees and shouted in a loud voice, “Our Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” And then he died.
Acts 7:58-60 (TPT)

I am convinced this really messed with Saul.  So because the Holy Spirit had been drawing him to God, when he saw Jesus appear he was ready to believe. You see, God had been pursuing Saul.

So he obtained the authorization and left for Damascus. Just outside the city, a brilliant light flashing from heaven suddenly exploded all around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a booming voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5–7 The men accompanying Saul were stunned and speechless, for they heard a heavenly voice but could see no one. Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, the Victorious, the one you are persecuting Acts 9:3-7 (TPT)

Talk about a life changing moment! Wow.

God is pursuing you too! If you pay attention to moments in life you will see God. You bump into him more than you realize. It’s like the car mirror, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. God is closer than you think.

“The only way people come to me is by the Father who sent me—he pulls on their hearts to embrace me. And those who are drawn to me, I will certainly raise them up in the last day.” John6:44 (TPT)

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.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, …

You become aware, in a moment that your very life is in jeopardy.  When this happens, as we have seen in movies, people tend to think about what happens after we die.  They think about God.  Some will even, in that moment, attempt to make deals with God.  He will answer sincere prayers, because only He knows the attitude of the heart, but I don’t think God is in the “deal making” business.

The truth is; no man knows when the countdown clock of his life will reach “0”!  I once took a youth group to a cemetery and it became obvious some life’s lasted years, while others only lasted a few, or even just days.  Like the song by Kansas, “Dust in the Wind”:

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Now don’t hang on
Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

No one likes to think about dying, but it is one of the most important decisions you can make BEFORE you die.  For once your last breath escapes your body your soul is ushered into eternity.  The only options are: heaven or hell.  By using your freewill and not choosing to recognize God’s son Jesus as your savior who died for all of the wrong things you have done in your life, then you are choosing hell.

God doesn’t send any human to hell, they send themselves.

A lot of people thought about life and death during the peak of the Corona Virus, and as a result, several made the decision to accept Jesus, forgiveness, and life.  Now times are getting better again, but as we witnessed in the collapse of the condo building in Surfside, FL., one never knows when their life will be required of them.  One moment sleeping sound in bed, and the next, standing before God.

“But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes!” James 4:14 (TPT)

Please, purpose a moment to make that important decision, before the clock of your life reaches “0”.  If you choose God, I assure you will be glad you did.

I pray now for everyone who hasn’t taken the time to do this and I ask God to help you and to help you overcome the obstacles that might be holding you back from choosing Him.  Blessings.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Rules of the Game

Starting with the Banker, each player in turn throws the dice. The player with the highest total starts the play. Place your token on the corner marked “GO”, then throw the dice and move your token (in the direction of the arrow) the number of spaces indicated by the dice…..

You buy a new game and you can’t wait to play it, but in reality, you don’t know how, because you don’t know the rules.  Reading the rules takes time and can be kind-of, should we say, boring?  We just want to start playing.  And have you noticed?  There always seems to be that one person who volunteers to read the rules and then proceeds to tell the others their interpretation of what they know?

Rules are very specific, or should be.  They are important.  They can help protect you, if you and everyone else will follow them.  Like when driving.  When it comes to God, mankind, has come up with his own set of rules.  I mentioned a few weeks ago there are over 4000 religions.  That’s a lot!  Which one is right?  Could they “all” be wrong?  Probably.

God wrote his own, not “rules” to live by, but the kind of relationship you should desire to have with him.  In his Word, He makes it very clear, that the only way to him is by accepting that Jesus is his son and died on the cross to forgive you of your sins, wrong doings, and we have all done something wrong.

You see, God is Holy and cannot be in the presence of sin.  That is why he gave his own son to die for us, which makes us clean again.  Then He can be with us and we can be with him.  No “rules” just relationship.  It’s so simple, but mankind has a hard time with that.  He thinks it sounds too good to be true, but when it comes to God, it is true, and it sets us free.  Mankind complicates it.  It is so simple I understood it at the age of 7.

Satan knows how God designed things, and he knows he’s not going to win, but he still tries so hard to get mankind to loose with him.  He either gets them to write their own rules by telling them God didn’t mean what He said, or he accuses others of cheating and tries to make them feel bad about themselves.

Read God’s Word.  Learn about the relationship that God has wanted from the very beginning with mankind.  Doing so will give you the authority to tell the devil to, “shut up!”  Playing, or living I should say, this way will cause you to win in the end, because life is no game.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Yolk, The White, The Shell

A lot of people recognize God.  Some will acknowledge Jesus as God’s son.  Few though, it seems, mention the third member of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.  I am so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  For it was He who drew me to God in the first place.  It was He who convicted me of sin.  Though I was only 7 years old, I knew right from wrong, and my pastor preached with God’s authority, that being wrong was sin, and that sin lead to eternal death in hell.

I am thankful, for now I will not be lost forever in the pitch darkness of eternal damnation, alone, and with the feeling of falling forever.  For the pit of hell is bottomless.  Mankind needs two things to feel human, time, and gravity.  Time provides a schedule, a rhythm to life, and gravity helps us feel grounded.  In hell neither exist.

Many years ago, I spent a few hours in jail.  Shocked? Yeah, well, whatever. It happened. Anyway, I noticed there were no clocks, and I didn’t like not knowing what time it was.  The only way to know was by what food items they served us.  Pancakes; must be morning.  Bologna sandwich and chips; has to be afternoon.  Chicken; it’s got to be evening now.

The Holy Spirit also provides great comfort in the times when I don’t understand what is going on with life, or when my heart is breaking for one reason or another. He may not calm the storm, but He calms me down, and helps me know I will get through it.

More than leading me to Jesus, which accepting his work on the cross grants me access to the throne room of God, the Holy Spirit gives me power.  Like Jesus promised us in Acts 1:8. The power I need to speak, and minister to someone in need.  Honestly, many times I wouldn’t have a clue what to say, but I rely on the Holy Spirit.  I open my heart to be willing, and then I open my mouth and God’s words come out.  I know it is God, through the Holy Spirit, because I am usually just as amazed as the one I am speaking to at the wisdom, or love of the words spoken.

But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”  Acts 1:8 (TPT)

Every person who believes in God should ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is a separate event from salvation and water baptism.  For the scriptures say that when Jesus came up out of the water, meaning after his baptism, then the Holy Spirit lit upon him.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to endure the cross.  In his own human strength it was more than He could bear.

Just like there are three parts to an egg, the yolk, the white, and the shell, it is still only one egg.  So there is Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God, but there is still only one God.  The three are one, and I will be forever grateful for all three, and the work they have done in my one life. If you choose not to believe in the trinity of God, you may find yourself someday with egg on your face.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Had To

This week I choose to do something I didn’t want to do.  My heart was restless as the date approached.  I discussed the situation with a friend, and also with my wife.  Then two days before the event my wife, my helpmate, said one word.  As soon as I heard it, I knew.  I knew what I had to do.  I was thankful for her hearing God where I struggled.

You see, there are times when someone hurts you, and the pain goes deep into your heart.  You tell them what they did, but they don’t care at all, and their pride keeps them from admitting wrong and apologizing.  When this happens, you find yourself wanting to avoid them to protect your heart from future pain.  As well, you don’t want to do anything for them, as you feel they do not deserve it.  I had forgiven them, but I didn’t want to see them.  I don’t mean to be so secret about the details, but I don’t want to give any clues that might identify the perp.

God’s word tells how to handle hurt:

Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. Ephesians 4:31-32 TPT

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:28 NLT

I did do the right thing, but I had to pray, a lot, and ask God for help.  I also asked him to protect me, and help me not bring up the past while I was there.  They did do one thing that bothered me while I was in their presence, but I left before the pain erupted.  God is good at helping us in our time of need. His specialty is loving those who don’t deserve it.

If you are facing a similar situation, pray, and ask God to help you do the right thing that will glorify Him.  You never know, but your loving kindness might just be the catalyst to change things around.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Can You Stand Naked before God?

Garden 21

Photo by Michael Wall of Wall2WallFoto

Feeling uncomfortable right now?  I know I did, at first, when I asked myself that question.  Ironically, I was about to step into the shower when the thought came to me, but then my thoughts soon turned to my current reading in the book of Genesis.

God walked through the garden.  He was looking for Adam and Eve.  He called out for them.  They hid after doing their best to cover up their nakedness.  It wasn’t their bodies they were ashamed of.  It was their sin.  Adam and Eve had disobeyed God.  You see, when the presence of God shows up the Holy Spirit convicts.  What matters is how we react to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

People still sin today.  They still disobey God.  They still try to cover up their sinfulness. They try to hide.  But I tell you the truth, God searches diligently for you.  He calls out your name.  To point His finger at you and condemn you?  No!  To love you.  To forgive you.  To cleanse you, if you will let Him.  You see, for Adam and Eve, God spilled the blood of an innocent animal to cover their nakedness.  For you, He allowed His innocent Son’s blood to be spilled to cover you.

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.  (Rom 5:8 AMP)

When you accept God’s forgiveness, there is no problem standing before Him naked, for you no longer have anything to hide.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

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