People

Photo by: Paweł L.

“Life would be easy if it wasn’t for all of the freaken people!” Anonymous

True confession: The older I get, the less I enjoy getting out. Not sure if that’s common or not. I enjoy getting to stay home. The main reason is because of self-serving, distracted drivers these days. And sometimes those same drivers are standing in line in front of me.

This last week, I encountered two such individuals. The first one was while I was in line at a discount store. I looked, and the lady in front of me had “two” carts full. I had “four” items. She even turned, looked at me, and I was holding my “four” items up high to make sure she could see them. I was expecting her to say, “Oh, go in front of me.” But she didn’t. So I proceeded to count my items out loud. “1, 2, 3, 4, items,” I said. Again she looked at me. Even the cashier seemed bewildered by the woman’s self-serving action. The woman proceeded to check out. “87 items,” the cashier noted. I was mad, but I held my tongue and then even helped the lady by putting her two carts up where they went. The woman seemed to be angry, evil, and perhaps oppressed by a demon.

 The second was, of all places, the post office. The mother seemed decent, at first, at least until her exhausted little girl started acting out. There were a lot of others there as well, and getting annoyed quickly! The man behind me left. I tried my best to ignore her behavior and the mother’s obnoxious parenting. You’ve witnessed this scene, I’m sure. “Now, (name of child), stop it. You’re going to get spanked. Stop hurting my face. It’s not nice. Yes, everyone is looking at you and your bad behavior. I’m going to leave you here.” The line was long and moving slowly. I was hoping the woman would leave and take her child home and put her to bed. Everybody was hoping!

Then I decided to pray over the child and the atmosphere. As I was praying, the little girl looked right at me, and with her dark eyes, she seemed to snarl at me. It was scary. I then whispered for the evil spirit to leave the little girl. He didn’t. I prayed for the environment to be flipped. From a place of distress to one of peace. It didn’t work. There were thoughts of going “postal.” Just kidding.

I realize now why my prayers didn’t work. I should have thought of it earlier because I am writing a book on the subject. I didn’t try to cast out the demon from the little girl out loud. Neither did I speak to the environment to change out loud. In my book, I write about how spiritual warfare has to be done out loud. Whenever Jesus encountered “people” who needed to be set free from anything, He spoke out loud. Yes, I know the others in the post office would have heard me, but shouldn’t they witness that we can have dominion over this world and the evil spirits that try to rule it?

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. Eph. 6:12-17 (MSG)

The more familiar version says:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Eph. 6:12-13 (NET)

I can’t avoid going out, and I can’t avoid people. I shouldn’t want to because it is people that need to hear the truth about God and how much He loves them. It’s people, and their daughters, that need to be set free from sin, bondage, and demonic influences. Love people as Jesus did. Have compassion on them and take your authority in the name of Jesus and do what Jesus would do. Just do it out loud!

Below is part of the story where Jesus cast out demons from a possed man. The whole story can be read in Mark 5:1-20.

1-5 They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.

6-8 When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then howled in protest, “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, “Out! Get out of the man!”)  (MSG)

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Just Add Water

April and I visited a church that we had never been to before. It was one of those “mega” churches. The worship was great. I sensed God’s presence in the house, His house! The sermon was good as well. The pastor spoke about the attitude of giving. I had found two pennies earlier that morning and told April, “Here’s our offering today. Like the widow’s mite.” He spoke about the attitude of the widow when she gave her offering. April turned to me and smiled.

Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!” Luke 21:3-4 (MSG)

Then, at the end of the service, the worship team was again singing. A bright light came on to the right of the platform. There, standing in water, were several individuals huddled up. They broke the huddle, and one by one, they were baptized. Now I have seen many water baptisms in my lifetime, so when my eyes teared up, it surprised me.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the one who was being baptized was being led through the process by, most likely, the one who led them to God in the first place. That technique I had never witnessed before. As each person rose out of the water, the congregation applauded with enthusiasm. It was then I got a glimpse of heaven and angels standing, looking over the edge and applauding as well. More tears flowed. I later learned this church does this at the end of every Sunday service.

Pastor Robert Morris teaches that there are three baptisms.

  1. Baptism into salvation. The act of accepting Jesus as God’s Son and what He did on the cross to forgive us of our sins.
  2. Water baptism. The act of going public with your decision to accept Jesus into your life and symbolically the washing away of your sins.
  3. Baptism into the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Holy Spirit is getting the power to minister and the ability to be used by God supernaturally as He leads.

Water baptism is an important step in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t taken this step, I pray that you will consider getting it done soon. You won’t believe how clean you feel when you rise up out of the water. Find the one who introduced you to God, and then just add water.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Three Men, One Opinion

Recently, I shared with three different men, at three different times, what was going on lately with April and me. Meaning, what God has us doing and why, as best as we understand it. I will admit it is not conventional, but when did God do things that made sense to us anyway?

In their own way, they proceeded to comment, share, or lecture me with their opinions on the matter. Needless to say, I didn’t like what they said, but I found it funny when one concluded with, “But the bottom line is between you, April and God.” If that’s the bottom line, then why did he feel the need to comment? Another said, “This is just a suggestion as a brother in the Lord.” It didn’t feel like it! The difference with the third one was that I could tell he wanted to comment on the situation, and I gave him an opportunity to by inviting him to speak into my life. He did. I still didn’t like what he said, but it didn’t hurt or offend me because I gave him an invitation.

The truth is this, none of them are walking in my shoes. What they see on the outside looks bizarre to them, and they don’t understand it perhaps. But why they felt they had to comment bothered me, so I asked God why. I woke up in the middle of the night, and their comments were still on my mind. Then, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “They commented because what you have they want. They are jealous of your situation.” I couldn’t believe it.

If God has directed you to do something, then it is best to be obedient no matter what it may look like to others. No matter if they understand it or not. They may criticize you out of jealousy but continue to walk in the way God leads. God loves obedience, and he rewards it by blessing you by, at times, making your path easy.

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Sam. 15:22 (NIV)

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

He Knows (cont.)

Photo by: ambermb

Have you ever heard someone say, “I am just worried sick!” “I am so afraid something is going to happen.” “Well, what if?”

All of these statements are rooted in fear. Fear is like a disease because it can become so powerful that it can actually cripple or debilitate someone. Fear stops people and can even prevent God from moving on your behalf. He may have the plan to help you with what you need, but if you have fear in your heart, you will most likely never try it.

I have been to countries where “fear” seemed to be one of the controlling spirits of the land. The people there would try to do things independently instead of trusting God. It was sad to witness their struggle.

I know one lady, shortly after meeting her, said to me, “My greatest fear is getting a knock on the door at 3 AM informing us that our son has been killed in an auto accident.” About three years later, her fear became a reality. The Bible addresses fear. One scripture says, The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened.” Job 3:25 (MSG)

The only thing greater than “fear” is “hope”! That is why the devil wants you to believe the lie that you have no hope.

“As long as you are alive, you have hope.”

Pastor Robert Morris

This is why I place my hope in the Lord, for He is the author and finisher of my faith. For God is Love, and perfect love drives out fear!

17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God, and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home, and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:17-18 (MSG).

God knows what you fear and wants to help you trust him with it. Allow him so, and then his perfect love will drive it out of you as you learn to count on him.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

He Knows (cont.)

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV)

Jesus spoke the words above. He was trying to teach the people in his day and us today not to worry. A lot of people do worry today. They live in fear of many things. Will their job last? And if they lost their job, how would they pay their bills? As an adult, I went through unemployment twice. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun at all! It’s hard not to fall into the temptation to worry.

It’s understandable with inflation, supply chain issues, and the war in Ukraine. We just came through the Coronavirus, and our nation is divided. But can any of us control these things? Or other items not listed?

This is why we need to place all of our trust in God. He can control all things even when He allows humankind free will. He does know what we have need of and wants to make sure we have those things and more. He is a good Father who loves us so much and wants to give us good gifts. He wants to see all of our needs met so that we have enough and am able to bless others out of our abundance.

The key to this life of trusting God is seeking him first. Pursuing the things of God, especially his character. His most remarkable character is love. Everything God did and everything God does is out of love. It is out of this love that He knows.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

He Knows

When I was a teenager, I worked in a grocery store. Next to the time clock was a sign that read, “Sometimes doing a good job at work is like wetting your pants while wearing a dark suit. You get a warm feeling, but no one else notices.”

There have been many times in my life when I feel good about the job I have done, whether in the natural sense or for God. But as I wait for an “At a boy” or a “Thank you” at the very least, I often get disappointed when it never comes. I know we should work unto the Lord and be good and faithful servants and probably never desire approval, but there is something inside me that wants to hear it once in a while. I’ll still go on and do an excellent job on future tasks, but it would be nice to be recognized once in a while for using the gifts and talents God has blessed me with.

I strive to do the very best I can. To serve others and to provide what is needed. Is getting a little appreciation for that asking too much? I don’t think so. Yet it seems as if others just don’t notice or take the time to stop what is important to them to say, “Thanks.”

I move on. I continue. I keep doing my best, knowing that one of these days, when I stand before God, all will be seen. All those big and little things I did for people, whether publicly or in secret. Afterward, I will receive the crown of life as one who has accepted Jesus into my life. Then I will gladly lay it down before my King, Jesus. For none of what I did would even matter if it was not for what He did for us. Giving his very life, that is.

I do realize that seeking recognition is of the flesh. It is the very desire that got Satan kicked out of heaven. Therefore it should come with a warning label: “Seeking recognition from others could be hazardous to where you spend eternity.” The desire is most likely based on pride, so it would be good to ignore that feeling anyway.

So do your best with everything you do, even if no one notices. It might not be what you want, but at least it will provide a warm feeling.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Following God

I have written about this subject several times over the years, but I still find it challenging. We want to be in God’s perfect will and follow God with all our might. We want to be where He wants us and do what He wants us to do. Many times, where that is and what that does not only benefit us, but He has orchestrated it to help others. To answer their prayers. God is so cool like that.

There are times when one must step out in faith. Must put down a deposit and lay out real money before the confirmation comes forth. That is when the difficulty of following him gets real. Real Scary, that is!

When reading the Bible, you come across several stories of individuals in similar situations. Whether they were asked to go to war with only 300 men or give birth to God’s Son, it was challenging for them.

To overcome this fear is to Know God. To know of his faithfulness to us. To know his word and the outcome of those testimonies in the Bible. Another way is to pray about the direction we are sensing in our lives with others. It is helpful to find people of like precious faith. That is one of the benefits of attending a local church. Also, there is nothing wrong with asking God to confirm his will and direction.

We can lean on his scriptures of promises. Like, “in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your path straight.” And “I know the plans I have for you.” Then sit back and watch God work. Observe how he puts people in your path at the right moment to assist you or to say an encouraging word. Notice how as you take practical steps, things will work out and be easy to accomplish.

So, take heart. You are not alone in this. Others are walking with God like you are. You may feel you are wobbling like a toddler learning to walk but keep putting one step in front of the other. Keep trusting and keep believing. You will get there. If you sit and wait for it all to work out before you take a step, you will most likely never reach the goal. I have often written that a parked car cannot be steered.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

But the Menu Board is Lit

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know April and I went to Louisville, Kentucky, for Christmas. April’s sister had to work the day shift at the hospital, so she wasn’t hosting Christmas lunch, and her family had prior plans with a friend. So after we left the church, we had no place to go for dinner.

There were several eating establishments by our hotel, but none appeared to be open. Then I noticed cars in line at the drive-through for McDonald’s. We both looked at each other and said, “Nothing else is open!” We took our place at the end of one of the split lines. We started reviewing our choices on the lit-up menu board. Then I noticed no muffled voices were speaking to the people in the cars ahead of us. I commented to April, “I don’t think they’re open.” She replied, “Well then, why are cars in line?” “Because the menu board is lit,” I replied.

Apparently, when McDonald’s closed, they forgot to turn off the menu boards. I have noticed Americans will get in a line even if it is not the right line. I know I am guilty of that. I recall what my senior year English teacher, Ms. Tibbs, once said, “Drive your own bus! You don’t know where someone else driving their bus may be going.” I think she was trying to teach us not to follow the crowd.

We got out of the line, went next door to a gas station, and bought some noodles. But on the way back to our hotel, we noticed Waffle House was open. We went in. Being there on Christmas day reminded me of Randy Stonehill’s song, “Christmas At Denny’s.” Considering it was the only restaurant open, the food was outstanding! Later that night, we had dinner with April’s sister and family. On our way there, we noticed new cars in the drive-through line at McDonald’s. Yes, the menu board was still lit!

Tragically, too many people mindlessly follow the crowd. Whatever the multitude is doing or just bought, they too must do or have.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Mat. 7:13 (NKJV)

Sometimes it may feel you are alone if you have chosen to accept God and His gift of forgiveness for your sins. But you aren’t alone. Don’t fall into the temptation to be accepted by being a part of the crowd. You can ask God to help you stand alone if needed, and He will. Jesus went to the cross alone. He knows what it feels like to be rejected, despised, and hated. The menu board may be lit up, but you don’t have to place an order. Doing so could cost you where you spend eternity.

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Light in Louisville

“I’ll never go to Louisville, Kentucky again!” I proclaimed after having a bad experience.

Many years later, I found April online and went to the Philippines to meet her in person. A month later, I returned to the Philippians to marry her. April has two brothers and one sister. I could not meet April’s sister because she was living in Dubai and working as a nurse.

After my bad experience in Louisville, I considered it a dark place.

Little did I know, one day, April’s sister would join a company who finds nurses from around the world and brings them to America to fulfill the shortage of nurses we have here. She arrived with her husband and son in August of 2022. If you don’t see where this is going, she chooses to be a nurse in. of all places. Louisville.

When we learned that April’s company would be closed for twelve days over the holidays, I brought it to April’s attention that we should visit her sister and family for Christmas. It was challenging to wrap my head around the fact that I would be returning to Louisville, but giving April a chance to see her sister after three years was more important. Then I realized I had the opportunity to meet one of my most faithful blog readers in person. Ann Aschauer from the website I recently featured, “SEEKINGDIVINEWISDOM.COM”. Meeting Ann was awesome, and she is as delightful in person as she comes across in her blogs.

After emailing Ann and asking if we could meet, we decided to meet at her church on Christmas morning. While listening to the pastor preaching about Jesus, Emanual, the Prince of Peace, Counselor, and Savior, he referred to him as “the Light of the World.” At that moment, I looked around, and knowing about the people of that church from what Ann writes in her blog post, it hit me, there is light in Louisville!

I felt bad. Convicted of my negative attitude. I repented quietly of my wrong. The rest of our trip was great. I met some wonderful people who are bearers of Light in Louisville. I will never forget this experience and be cautious ever again about labeling a city as dark.

“Thank you, God, for being patient with me and teaching me this valuable lesson lovingly. Again, I repent of my negative attitude toward Louisville, Kentucky. May you raise up more bearers of Light here and in every place worldwide.”

Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:10 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Catch The Boat

But it has never rained before, just like Jesus has never returned for his church before. As in the days of Noah, it is difficult for people to believe when they hear the truth. It takes faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Can you imagine the ridicule Noah had to endure every single day when people realized he was building a boat? And not a little fishing boat but a small cruise ship. Big enough for more than just his family, for all who believed.

Noah’s ark was a type of salvation. God provided a way to save humankind from destruction if they believed the message. God did not tolerate man living for themselves, so he allowed them to destroy themselves. The same goes for today. God has sent out his message to all that He gave his son, Jesus, to us to forgive us of our sins if we believe.

Last week, April and I had the privilege of seeing and entering the full-size replica of Noah’s ark. We went in two by two. It is located in Williamstown, Kentucky. The size of the boat was impressive. Inside, you get to see how Noah and his family lived and how they fed and watered the animals and removed their waste.

The exhibit did a great job answering the questions of man. How did Noah get all of the animals there? How could they all fit? Etc. Noah was a man of great faith! He did not care about what others thought of him. He knew it was better to be obedient to God and that God loves and honors obedience.

Even today, God still rewards obedience. If He is asking you to do something, you may not understand or know how to get it done, it is best to try anyway. Do what you can with his help. Ask Him constantly for guidance, direction, and wisdom in the matter. As Noah did, you will succeed in the task He asks of you.

Believe me, God will once again say, “Enough of mankind doing their own thing,” He will dispatch his son, Jesus, to come back to earth to gather his people. Then, the end will come. If you are still on earth when that time begins, you will regret not listening to God’s message through countless ministers, friends, and family members. You may think people who believe in God are crazy, but they aren’t. They accept the truth and act on what they believe.

“God, please help people believe in you and your Son. Help them accept the truth concerning salvation by accepting your Son into their life and believe the impending end times.”

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.