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.

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.

Until a Person Finds God

My eye doctor informed me that my eyes will never get better, or go back to the way they were before the disease set in them.  He said, “All we can do is maintain them so you can continue to see.” I said, “So the only chance I have then is if God heals me.”  He didn’t say anything.  I continued, “I know God can do it, and I ask him to and thank him for the healing often.”  Still nothing from him.  Then I had the bright idea to ask, “What would you do if God did heal me and I came in with perfect vision?”  He thought, for an awkward amount of time and then stammered.  I said, “You would be speechless like you are now.”  Then he said something I will never forget.  He said, “Well, I know one thing, I would not contribute the reverse in your condition to God healing you!”  After he stepped out of the exam room I said, “Okay God, the stage has been set!”

I do realize it can be difficult for highly educated individuals, doctors, scientist, etc. to get out of their “natural mind”, and think on a “spiritual” level.  The issue is compounded if they struggle to believe in a God they can’t see. They would rather make something up, even if its not true then believe in God. For example; scientist have done that with the subject of evolution. God explains the issue like this:

Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:14 (TPT)

The ironic thing is this; when my eyes are healed the eye doctor will see God’s work done by his hand, which could be thought of as “seeing God”.

A co-worker of mine, many years ago, was trying to see if God was real.  He went on a trip to the Grand Canyon, saw his handiwork and immediately accepted him into his life. Regardless if people know it, or ever admit it, they are seeking God their whole life until they find Him. One’s spirit man desires and seeks to be reunited with the Spirit of God once they have sinned and separation sets in.

Please take my word for it, accept God is real, and that He loves you so much. For He is always there waiting for you to look up and see him and take his hand.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Flakes of God

As this past Christmas was April’s first in America, she was just as excited when she heard we could have snow. Growing up in the Philippines it would be her first time to see it, feel it, and see its beauty as it covers the ground. As I witnessed her enthusiasm I thought of people who have heard about God, but have never seen him, or felt his presence.

I have known some people that seem to stay on the fringes of God. They might even hear that God is at a certain location doing marvelous signs and wonders, but despite their own need for him, they won’t go.  They might need a healing, a place to live, or a job, but it’s as if they would rather continue to struggle and hurt on their own then accept Him, and truly know what real living is all about.  They settle for only “flakes of God”. They have never sensed his presence or have experienced the peace of his Spirit, and they have no idea how beautiful it is when their sins have been covered as white as snow.

Come now and let’s deliberate over the next steps to take together.
Yahweh promises you over and over:
“Though your sins stain you like scarlet,
I will whiten them like bright, new-fallen snow!
Even though they are deep red like crimson,
they will be made white like wool!” Isaiah 1:18 (TPT)

I heard this morning there is a chance of snow later this week. Hopefully this next front coming through will generate some accumulation instead of only flakes, or flurries, and perhaps provide enough snow so April can learn how to make a snowman, or a snow angel. I’m forecasting there is a move of God coming soon. I sense He wants to make himself known.  He wants to heal, He wants to rule and reign in the life of those who love him. I pray for those who have not ever experienced God in a personal way will seek him, and know for themselves what it is like to have their sins forgiven, and be white as snow.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Were You There?

“There has to be aliens, or other beings on the other planets!  Why else would they be there?”  I thought for a second, and fortunately the Holy Spirit whispered in my soul, “How do you know that the other planets aren’t just weights and balances that keep earth in its place? Like a machine that fills the universe?” My co-worker pondered what I was told to say.  Then she yielded, “I don’t know.” The debate ended.

In that exchange I was mindful of when God questioned Job.  He said to him,

“Where were you when I created the earth?
    Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
    Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
    and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
    and all the angels shouted praise?

“And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’
    told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
    and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
    brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked—
    they’re caught in the very act! Job 38:4-7, 12-15(MSG)

You see man, who can’t fathom an all-powerful being has to make up his own explanation as to how things came about.  Some have said there was a big bang!  I simply ask, “If that is so, and it isn’t, then who lit the fuse?”  I don’t have a “big bang” theory, I have knowledge of a big God! No man was there when God created the heavens and earth.  No one but God decided how big, or how little things should be.  He, and He alone put all things in order.  He has told us so in his word, the Bible. I believe in God, and therefore what He says! Even Charles Darwin doubted his own theory!  Read chapters 6 and 9 in his book, “The Origins of Species”.

So as the New Year approaches, I challenge you to start thinking new.  Your old way probably, if you would admit it, isn’t working for you.  When you are alone, and lying in bed trying to go to sleep, your mind questions your own theories.  You spot holes in what you hope is truth.  Read God’s word.  There, you will learn everything about life that you absolutely need to know for now.  Everything else will be revealed when we die, so don’t waste your time now writing your own theories.  Believe in God. And trust in him.  He’s got this!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My First Christmas in America

by April Joy Brady (Mark’s wife)

This is my first Christmas in America.  My previous ones have been in my home country of the Philippines.  People’s attitudes here toward Christmas are a lot different than there.  It seems as if some of the people are forgetting the real reason for Christmas.  Some even go as far as to remove “Christ” from the word Christmas with “X-mas”.  It makes me wonder if they have removed Christ from their hearts as well.  I’m not trying to be judging, it would be difficult not to be that way growing up here in America, with constantly being bombarded with TV ads and popular culture.

This season here seems to be more about parties, gifts, and where to spend the holiday.  When in the Philippines, where resources don’t flow so freely, Christmas tends to be much simpler, and we are happy to get to see family and share a simple meal, and laugh.  There is a lot of laughter back home.  I imagine Jesus’s first Christmas was simple as well.  Mary and Joseph adoring their new born son, lying still in a feeding trough with some hay, and perhaps an animal’s covering over him.  A far cry from a beautiful wooden crib from Ashley Furniture with blankets from Macys!

I think I have been blessed to have my previous life and Christmas’ in the Philippines.  I hope in the years to come I do not stray too far from my roots, especially when it comes to the attitude of what Christmas really is, or supposed to be about.

I will enjoy the time spent with my husband and the gifts he has bought for me as well as the other gifts from friends and coworkers, but in my heart I will be in Bethlehem, humming, “Away in the Manger”.

Merry Christmas everyone.  May Christ fill your hearts with his love.

April

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

In the Beginning

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

God spoke: “Light!”
    And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
    and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
    he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One.”

Genesis 1:1-5 (MSG)

In the End

Because of sin, God saw that the earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. It needed light!

God gave his only Son: “Light!”
    And light appeared.
God saw that Light was good
    and separated Light from dark.
God named the light, Jesus,
    he named the dark, satan.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One of the end.

Light, Jesus dispels darkness.  Over takes it.  Walk into any room and flip on the switch and immediately darkness is gone.  This Christmas, accept the fact that hope remains and any darkness, trouble, depression. pain, or discomfort can be eased or dispelled by the power Jesus has over darkness, over satan, because He is the light of the world, here at Christmas time and forevermore.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Plan “A”

“I know!  Let’s confuse the wise, by doing the unexpected.”

“What do you mean?”

“Their looking for a king, and we’ll provide one, but not in the manner they are expecting.”

“So what are you thinking?”

“A baby.  A baby born to a virgin.”

“Oh, like that won’t mess with their heads!”

“So who is going to be the baby?”

“You.”

So when the proper time came about, God sent an angel to announce part of his plan to Mary, and God’s plan was launched.

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.”

29 Mary was deeply troubled over the words of the angel and bewildered over what this may mean for her. 30 But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. 31 You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone him as King on the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign as King of Israel forever, and his reign will have no limit.”

34 Mary said, “But how could this happen? I am still a virgin!”

35 Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread his shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your aged aunt, Elizabeth, has also become pregnant with a son. The ‘barren one’ is now in her sixth month. 37 Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!”

38 Then Mary responded, saying, “Yes! I will be a mother for the Lord! As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.” And the angel left her. Luke 1:28-38 (TPT)

Fast forward; we know God’s plan worked.  Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)  He stayed in constant communication with his heavenly Father, and despite his own will completed the plan.  It’s a good thing too, because there never was a plan “B”.

Why would God do such an incredible selfless thing for you and me?  There is only one reason; LOVE.  God is love, and He loves us so much that he spared no expense to rescue us from our own selves and our eternal demise.  We celebrate God’s love by celebrating Christmas.  The event that if believed and accepted gives us life.

Merry Christmas

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.