It’s Christmas at Denny’s Tonight

I dream of what my life might have been, if only…

Do you live with regret?  I could, if I allowed myself to.  I sometimes wonder what the church would look like if I had stayed on track and became the pastor I believed God had called me to be.  Would we, the people of the church be an Acts chapter 2 type of church?  Believing in, and walking out the power of the Holy Spirit.  Would we see souls saved daily?  What about signs and wonders?  If only.

But instead, I stopped holding on to, waiting for the promises of God, and I accepted the devil’s substitute for my life, because it was there, now, in the moment.  I just had to believe the lies he was telling me that it was okay.  Kind of like accepting the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, Satan tempts or attacks us where we are weak.

Life didn’t end there, for me, as I imagined it would.  I could have become a shell of a man.  I didn’t.  I received God’s forgiveness, asked that his Spirit not depart from me, and moved on.  That is what one should do when things don’t work out the way we think they should.

I read a post on Facebook the other day.  A young woman just had a child in the hospital, but after returning home her and her husband came down with Covid.  The baby was fine, but had to be separated from his new mother.  The baby’s father had to return to the hospital, this time in the intensive care unit.  The young mother wrote something along the lines of, “We dreamed of hiking in the mountains with a tour guide.  But now we are hiking through this with the Lord as our guide.”

Life is not going the way they dreamed, but her focus remains on target.  On the Lord.

That is the only way to deal with potential regret.  Give it to him, and continue to seek him for guidance, for his leading.  He knows the way.  Life may feel like Christmas at Denny’s, but it doesn’t have to.  It comes down to your perspective.  Your view of life.  Is your current situation a set back?  A delay?  A roadblock, or simply a detour?  No matter what it is, God can speak into your spirit and say, “Recalculating.”  God knows the way.  He will get you through the storm and to the other side.

Trust in the Lord completely,
    and do not rely on your own opinions.
    With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
    and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
    and he will lead you wherever you go Prov. 3:5-6 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Diabolical

In pouring through the case file I came across a photo of the woman, we were after, and her young son.  As I studied the photograph I saw he was holding a large, light blue teddy bear.  The photo was old because the bear was almost as big as he was back then, but now he is much older.  “That’s it!” I thought.  “We’ve got her now.”

A few hours later, we were in place.  The woman was hiding out in an old abandoned warehouse.  She had been on the run for a few years now.  She made no purchases herself or appeared in public.  She had help, a support network to keep her whereabouts secret.  That is until one of those with her turned against her and disclosed her location to one of my associates.

I walked up to the front of the warehouse carrying the bear.  The same one her son used to have.  I walked away and then we announced over a bullhorn that we had her son.  A few minutes later the door to the warehouse opened and someone, other than her, reached through it and grabbed the bear.  About fifteen minutes later the woman gave herself up.

This peaceful capture of a fugitive worked because we hit her where she was weak.  We realized she probably struggled every day with the guilt of leaving her son behind in order to live a life of crime, and to stay hidden so she could be what she thought was free.  But what kind of freedom is it to never be able to show your face in public, or hug your son?

Okay, in full disclosure, I borrowed the above plot, with a little bit of tweaking from a well written, popular TV drama on Netflix.  I did so to make a couple of points:

  1. Satan knows where you are weak, and he will do anything to attack you in that place.  He does not play fair at all. His operation is completely diabolical. He hates God, and to him, you are nothing but a pawn in the battle over souls.  The devil lies, steals, and cheats to build his kingdom.  God uses love to build his kingdom. And He gave as well.  He gave us his only Son to die for us, so we could live.
  2. True freedom is in Christ Jesus.  Having your sins forgiven, your wrong doing wiped away by the action of Jesus on the cross.  You see, when your sins are forgiven there is nothing the devil can use to attack you.  You don’t live with guilt, or regret.  You have the word of God that can be used against the devil to resist temptation as well.  But wait, there’s more!  You have the power of all of heaven on your side to help fight the battle and to stand firm.

Stop the sneaky attacks of Satan once and for all.  Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and enter into a realm of living in freedom.  Bask in the love of God and share this Truth with others, so they too can experience God, experience life the way God intended it to be.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Aren’t You Glad She Ain’t God?

I was sharing with my friend that I had been talking to a woman last week, who questioned how in the world could King David be considered such a man of God?  “After all,” she said, “he had an affair with Bathsheba, and after learning she was pregnant he had her husband killed.”  Yes, King David sinned, had a moral failure, but after being confronted by the prophet Nathan, repented and begged God not to remove his Holy Spirit from him.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

The entire chapter of Psalms 51 is a prayer of repentance.  King David was confident that God could, and would forgive him.  He also knew the feeling of awesomeness of being in the very presence of God, and he knew of the power of the Holy Spirit, because he had experienced it firsthand.

God did forgive him.  If God would forgive him, then why wouldn’t the woman I was talking to forgive him?  Mankind is the one who rates sin.  Has the woman never sinned herself?  True forgiveness forgives and then moves on.  Even God separates our sins as far as the East is from the West. (Ps. 103:12)  Another important issue is this; if the woman hasn’t truly forgiven King David, can God forgive her of her sins?

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mat. 6:14-15 (NKJV)

This makes me wonder, who else has she not forgiven?  Perhaps even her own family members?  If that is the case then how sad for her.  Those not forgiven by her will go on with their lives regardless, so the result only hurts her.  At the end of my sharing with my friend he said to me, “Aren’t you glad she ain’t God?”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“One Way, or Round Trip?”

Unfortunately, death has been all around me lately.  Not in my personal family, but in the families of others and some people I know.  My mother-in-law informed us on the street she lives, there is one person, or more who die every day.  She lives in the Philippines.  Covid is a thief of life!

But yet others have passed away from illnesses and diseases we are more acquainted with, like cancer.  Losing a family member, friend, neighbor, or a coworker hurts.  We mourn, grieve, and cry, because we will miss them, and that’s understood.  Although the pain can be great, when one we know passes but has first accepted Jesus Christ as God’s son, and has made a public confession of their faith in him, then we can be assured we will see them again.  Our grief is temporary as the sting of death first hits us.  That statement is only true if we too have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, asking him to forgive us of every wrong thing we have ever done.  I sense I need to write that there is nothing you have done that God will not forgive, nothing!

I had a coworker several years back that believed in reincarnation.  I learned that as we talked about life after death while riding the commuter train out of Chicago, IL.  We respected each other’s views and opinions.  You might say he believed that life offered up “Round Trip” tickets.  My view was it’s a “One Way” ticket.  Meaning, you only get one opportunity to make that important decision to accept Jesus.

27 Every human being is appointed to die once, and then to face God’s judgment. 28 But when we die we will be face-to-face with Christ, the One who experienced death once for all to bear the sins of many!  Heb. 9:27-28 (TPT)

As my friend and I debarked the train, I turned to him and said, “If you are right, and I am wrong, then I have nothing to be concerned about.  But if I am right, and you are wrong, then you will find yourself standing before God explaining to him why you didn’t accept him in your one life.”  I went on to explain that the wages of sin, unforgiven wrong deeds, is death.  For eternity!  As one of my cousins said, “Eternity is a very long time!”

So I ask you, before you die, “Would you like a one way ticket?”  Oh, and by the way, no charge.  Jesus paid the price for you when he died on the cross.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Contentment Rules

His eyes take it all in.  He sees and hears things that he does not know what they are, but he is okay.  Why is he okay, even though he doesn’t understand?  Because he looks at his mother and father and observes how they are reacting to those things.  He remains calm, because they remain calm. He is content.

This child is one year old.  He is adorable.  He can be in the company of adults and yet his personality does not distract from what the adults are doing.  Of course he has needs, like hunger, but somehow he doesn’t have to tell his parents he is hungry, they know and they feed him.  He knows his every need will be met. He trusts them, so he doesn’t have to cry out to make his needs known.

As I witnessed this child, and the above thoughts went through my head, I started comparing my own contentment to this child’s.  It wasn’t long before I realized what the child was doing that made him an expert in contentment.

The child focused on his mother and father.

When we are in situations we do not know what is happening or why, we need to keep our focus on our heavenly Father.  We need to watch and see how He is reacting to the news, the weather, our boss, and our family members, to anything that personally affects us.  Is God running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming, “Now what?” or is God remaining calm therefore we can remain calm?

The child didn’t have to cry out in order to get his “needs” met.

God knows what we have need of.  “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mat.6:8 (NIV)   It’s about knowing God and trusting him.

True contentment brings peace.  This kind of contentment allows you to sleep, and experience true rest. A calmness that, at times, can’t be explained.  Others will be in amazed when they see it.  That is what it is like when contentment rules.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“One Friend Coming Up!”

This is not a continuation of my last post about friends.  This is different.

Do you ever find yourself saying something like, “God, if I only had …”   Or something along the line of, “I wish I had a …”   I’m sure you have no problem filling in those blanks.  You are not alone.  A lot of people will “wish” they had something they feel they need or want.

What if you could speak what you strongly desire into existence?  Guess what, you can.  And how much would you pay for that?  But wait, there’s more.  A few years ago I heard a story of a lady who was up in her years of life.  She decided one day she would start looking into the mirror and declaring, “I look younger every day.”  Crazy?  Perhaps.  Until you hear the rest of the story.  After some time, her friends and family started telling her that she keeps looking younger and younger instead of aging as she would in the natural.

When I heard her testimony I was intrigued.  I knew the way God did it for her probably wouldn’t work for me, but the principle is the same, and here it is:

Speak, out loud, what you want, or desire.

Some call it making declarations, I think God calls it, “Speaking it into existence.”  I started doing this.  Whenever I would think of it I would stop and say out loud what I wanted.  I’m not going to list them, because they are personal.  What they are doesn’t matter, but what does matter is this; it works.  The things I have spoken out loud are coming to past. They are coming into existence!

This is not the same as sitting in a restaurant and going over a menu selecting what you want.  What you are declaring should be submitted to God, for He knows if this is a need or a want.  Will this help you, or hurt you in your relationship with Him or with others. As well, this is not “name it and claim it” type of faith either.

The mouth is a very powerful tool.  And the words that come out of our mouth are critical.  In a nut shell, every time we speak, we are either creating or tearing down.  We are building up, or destroying something, or worse, someone.

So a friend of mine, the other day, talked about wanting a friend to hang out with.  His other friends have moved away, or have transitioned into new chapters of their lives.  I challenged him to begin speaking out loud what he wanted.

I can only imagine God looking at him and saying, “One friend coming up!”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Have a Friend in Me

friend

  1. a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

So what’s your definition of a friend?  A true friend is difficult to find.  And when you think you have found one, it can take more time to know if you can completely trust them.  Do you have such a friend?

The Bible talks about, “Confess your sins one to another.” (James 5:16)  After becoming aware of this scripture I first thought, “No way!”  And for many years I didn’t.  How in the world could you trust someone with the darkest side of you?  Here is a good test to see if you can trust a friend with something you did wrong.  You tell them something, that if it got out would be embarrassing, but not career ending.  Then, you can feel safe confessing your sins.

I have such a friend.  It took a few years of getting to know him before I knew I could trust him with anything.  I have told him things I have not spoken of to any other living person.  He has shared likewise.  I value my friendship with him very much.  We talk to each other every week.  As well, we pray, intercede, and there are times when one of us has to correct the other’s attitude toward another person or situation.  I thank God for him, for he is a sure gift from God.

The great philosopher Woody, from the movie “Toy Story” put it like this:

You’ve got troubles, and I’ve got ’em, too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and we see it through
‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me

I hope you have such a friend.  If not I pray you would find one, and if you don’t, you should ask God to help you find one.  You will be glad you did.  I should also add, if someone opens up their heart, and confesses a sin in their life to you, please do not speak of it to anyone else.  The damage you could cause may take years to heal in them, if they ever do.

Like my trusted friend once said, after revealing a sin in his life, “Wow, I feel so much better, and lighter after sharing that with you.”  That is something you can’t put a price tag on.  It’s priceless!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why I Keep Posting

I have posted 525 blogs in the last eight years.  This site has been seen by over 20,000 people, which is humbling.  I do realize there are a lot of bloggers who have far exceeded these numbers.  New followers come along every week, and now are in the hundreds.  That’s doing great considering Jesus only had 12.  But I’m tired.

There is one stat that keeps me going.  This blog has been read in 120 countries out of 167. (Depends on whose list of countries you agree with.)  Why does this one fact affect me so much?  When I was a child, growing up in church, I heard the great commission:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Mat. 28:19 (KJV)

I wanted to do this, but I remember thinking, “How?  I’m just a kid in Oklahoma!”  I underestimated God, and of course I had no knowledge of the Internet, but in the late 60s very few did as it was still in its prehistoric state.

The fact that this blog could potentially educate someone in every country around the world about God, and the love of God keeps me going.  As well as some have told me these blogs have changed their life.  All I can say is, “Only God!”

Every post starts with the same question, “God, what do you want to say to your people?”  Then I do what I can to hear his reply and then write out that message.  I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read these blogs.  I pray for God to make himself real in your life.

Blessings

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Who Do You Want to Be?

I had a mission before me this morning, so I prepared.  I ate a meal, used the bathroom, twice and put on comfortable clothing, and shoes.  I gathered my necessary paperwork, ran down my checklist.  I was ready.  Yes, I was going to the DMV.

I arrived early, and the line inside the door wasn’t too bad.  I was hopeful to be done before needing another bathroom trip.  You don’t want to be in there when they call your number! 

(Hmmm, that sounds like a future blog.  I’ll have to write that down.)

Okay, I’m done putting that idea in my notebook.  I made it pass Charlie Checkpoint Number 1.  I had the proper paperwork with me.  Next, I had to fill out a small form I was given at Charlie Checkpoint Number 2 and then pay attention for my number to be called.

“Number 462,” cried out the attendant, who then directed me as to which window to proceed to.  I greeted the woman, whose grey hair was pulled back into a pony tail, with a warm smile.  I have learned, the hard way mind you, these people own you for the next few minutes of your life and you want to be on their good side.  I also thanked her for serving us, and was thinking, “Flowers.  I should have brought flowers!”

As she proceeded through her own checklist she begin asking me questions.  “What color do you want your hair?”  “What color eyes do you want?”  “How much do you ‘want’ to weigh?”  And my favorite, “How tall do you want to be?”

It was in that moment I felt as though she was asking me, “Who do you want to be?”

As I left I was still thinking about that question.  The obvious answers came to mind, “A Christian”, “A Disciple of Jesus Christ”, but those seemed cliché.  After getting home I saw a friend had shared a short message by Rev. Craig Groeschel.  Craig explained that the first people to follow Jesus were called, “the Way”.

“All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:2 (MSG)

In other words, these individuals didn’t just accept the truths of Jesus, but also accepted and adopted into their own lives the “way” Jesus lived.  I agree with this kind of life, and this is who I want to be.  One who lives the same “way” Jesus did.  The only external identifiers that matter are, what comes out of my mouth, and how I react to others, for who they are, and how they have chosen to live.

I want to be like Jesus, who not only was the way, but showed the way to his Father, and lived in a particular way that was pleasing to his Father, God. Who do you want to be?

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Pursued

I asked my wife, April the other day if she felt guilty for living in America now, knowing the rest of her family and friends were still in the Philippines.  I think I would, at least a little.  But her immediate reply was profound, and full of wisdom.  She said, “No.  Not at all.  For God has bestowed upon me “favor” for all of my sacrifices.”  Her response surprised me, and after more pondering I realized it was true, and balanced.

Is this the realization of the verse in Psalms 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”?

My friend and I were discussing this issue, and he mentioned hearing a message where the minister talked about “favor” pursuing you.  Hunting you down, if you will.  I take that as meaning this; blessings coming your way and upon your life before you even ask God for help or even perhaps before you are aware you have a need.

So how does one enter a life of being pursued?  By fully, completely placing all of your trust and faith in God.  Walking and communicating with God on a daily basis.  Doing your best to live according to his commands.  By the way, those commands don’t exist to “harsh your mellow”, but to actually give you a good life free from hurt, pain, and harm.

In the last month my wife and I have had some blessings come our way and they were unexpected.  We weren’t looking for them, but they found us.  We appreciate it a lot and are thankful we have favor with God.  He loves his children and wants to do good things for He is a loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.