It Was Bigger Than Me!

Charlie 021520Big companies have a big pool of customers, and a bigger database of files.  Welcome to the computer age where you can automate systems to handle this big work load.  Sounds good, but what if one of the employees pushes the wrong button?

From my own experience I’ll tell you what happens.  A mess!  A big mess.

I discovered this today as I called a big company who sent me an email saying my bill was past due.  “What?”  “How can that be?”  “I pay my bills!”  According to the first person I spoke to I owed several hundred dollars.  Not something you want to hear.

The first guy passed me off to another department and after being on hold for a while the second guy came back with an answer and a resolution.  Evidence pointed to an employee, a year earlier, pushing a button that shouldn’t have ever been pushed.  The company informed me I did not owe the money.

I asked the second guy, “How did you figure this all out?”  He said, “When I first started looking at it, I realized this was bigger than me!  I asked for help.”

His phrase got my attention, and I thought, some people, including me, don’t recognize quick enough how big a situation in our life is.  Before you know it, things can get out of control and start causing a lot of pain.  The point is this; we should take “everything” to God in prayer from the very first indication of life being out of order.

“Oh what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Ask for help from God at the beginning, you know, the first moment you sense something is wrong.  You don’t always have to be the hero.  It’s okay to say, “This is bigger than me.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I’m Not a Gardener

Charlie 021220 1You might not be a gardener if you purchase annuals thinking it will save you money by not having to buy more flowers next year.  Yes, that really happened.  As I was planting them, my neighbor watched for a moment and then she said, “You don’t know what you’re doing!”  “I know,” I replied, “but I’m having a great time!”

A few months ago I heard, “Every relationship has a gardener and a flower.”  In some of my relationships I know I’m the gardener.  Just like planting those flowers, I don’t always know what I am doing.  I do know one thing though, flowers are fragile and when around them, one must be very careful.  As the gardener, you should show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The fruit of the Spirit of God. (Gal. 5:22-23)

The most common way to water a relationship is with words, but the ones chosen should be selected with wisdom.  Do not speak to someone about issues in their life with a heart half listening.  You like them, don’t you?  Listen with intent.  Pay attention.  Be focused on them and please, I repeat, please do not look at your phone.

Realizing time is a valuable gift, giving it to someone can cost you so much.  We, ourselves have so much to do and to get done.  It seems as if there just isn’t enough time.

Don’t let them see the price tag attached to your time, and be extravagant!

Whenever I don’t know how to do something, or what to say to someone, I turn to God and ask him to give me words, or instructions.  God loves us so much and is always available to talk to us.  He gives you all the time you want, and he knows what to say.

God waters you enough to allow you to grow at the right speed.

He also knows how much to shine upon you.  God, is a good, good gardener.  Oh, and as for the price, his son, Jesus paid it for you.

Trust the master gardener to show you how to feed, and nourish someone else.  I have come to recognize I enjoy gardening, in the spiritual sense.  So I guess I would have to change the title now to, “I’m a Gardener”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Don’t Sweat It

Charlie 020820I went shopping earlier in the week and one of the items on my list, I really needed, was deodorant.  The store I buy it from, most often, was out of it, and that store was my last stop for the day.  After I got home I had to start a new list with this item at the top.

Today, I had to go to CVS (inside a Target store) to pick up a medication.  The young lady who works there is always lecturing me about not letting the $5 off coupons expire.  She’s kind of fanatic about it, but I do see her point, it’s free money, and to be honest, the budget is tight these days and any savings helps.

So, before I left the store I thought about my next shopping list and the only thing I could remember, that was on it, was deodorant.  I found my brand and noticed it was marked “Clearance”.  I bought four of them.  The normal price for four would have been $11.96, but since they were a clearance item and I had the $5.00 off coupon, I only paid $3.32.

When I save money like that, I always walk out smiling, because I feel as though I shopped like a woman.  That’s meant as a compliment.  Now I know, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me I was thanking God.  I thanked him for the other store being out of it, and helping me not to complain about it, too much.  I thanked him for helping our budget.  This may be a little thing, but it shows the God of the universe cares about us, our lives, and even the little things.  Either that, or he didn’t want me walking around stinking!

But seriously, think about it, if God cares about the little things in our lives, then how much more does he care about the big things in our lives that need his attention.  There is a common phrase, “Don’t sweat the small things.”, but with God, we don’t have to sweat the big things either!  Here is what his word promises us:

Matthew 6:31-34 (MSG)  “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Flight 449

Charlie 020520 (5)Every day, about 4:10 PM, I see a Southwest Airlines jet flying over my house, if I am outside at the time, and if the wind is blowing from the south.  I did some research and found the plane starts in Dallas, TX. as flight #21, flies to Houston, TX. and changes its flight number to #449.  It’s known as a “scheduled” flight.

Schedules are nice.  You can count on them, but life doesn’t follow a schedule.

There can be things you are standing at the gate waiting to arrive and they don’t arrive.  A contract, a bonus check, a meeting with someone you are hoping will lead to new ventures.  Disappointment, discouragement, and disconnection can set in.  “Now what?” you might be asking yourself, or “What am I going to do?”

Even when you are a believer in God, and you have heard all the sermons, and have seen all the Facebook post that tell you, “God’s got this”, or “All things work together for the good of those who love God”, in that moment, it doesn’t feel like it.

Faith in God is hard.  We are such tangible creatures.  We want to see, we want to hear, and we want to touch.  Doing so seems so comforting.  We even have phrases like, “I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t of seen it with my own eyes.”  It is so easy for us to have doubt, about our lives, our choices, decisions and yes, even about God.

Why is doubt easier to have than faith?

What doubt really does is rob you!  It steals from you joy.  The real issue though, is It diminishes the size of the miracle when God works it all out in your life in a way that is best for you.  Can’t you hear Thomas, the disciple, after reaching his hand inside the opening where the Roman soldier pierced Jesus on the cross, saying, “I knew it was him.  Yep, I believed Jesus when he told us he would rise again after being dead for three days.”  I don’t mean any disrespect to Thomas, but I picture him as Deputy Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show”.  Charlie 020520

You see the truth is this; faith grows, becomes more real, when you have no idea how it’s going to work out, or even when, but you trust God anyway.  You place it in his hands and then force yourself not to take it back a few days later.

Just because at 4:10 PM, if I am outside and looking up, I don’t see flight 449 making its final decent into Tulsa International Airport, doesn’t mean it wasn’t scheduled to fly that day.  It simply means, the wind was blowing out of the north.

Perhaps in your life, the Spirit of God is blowing in a direction you are not aware of.  Trust anyway, because the love of God is always on schedule.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What’s Your Seat Number?

Charlie 020120 God’s is speaking a lot lately, through many means, but seems to be saying the same thing.  When that happens, pay attention and listen to the message, because God doesn’t want you to miss it.

God is separating the sheep from the goats now.  God doesn’t want those who only play “church”, or go to church because the calendar says it’s Sunday, but he wants those who are true worshipers and those who desire to go deeper with him.  He is taking his flock of sheep and getting them ready, trained, equipped to be a part of the most mighty out pouring of his Spirit like the earth has never seen before.  God delights in using his people to accomplish his will.  God wants you to be a part of it too.  As for what God is getting ready to do:

I just don’t want to see it,
I just don’t want to hear it,
I just don’t want to feel it,
but I want to be a part of it!

Tomorrow is Super Bowl LIV (That’s 54 for those who don’t speak Roman).  There will be thousands at the game.  There will be millions watching on TV around the world, but there will be 22 on the field.  Only twenty-two playing the game.

I don’t know what your seat number is, but I want to be on the field.  I might not know what to do, but I trust my God to lead me, and guide me in the moment.  I don’t want to be a spectator, but a player.

Training camp is in session.

I don’t want to be in the limelight, that’s not my goal, but to do everything God ask me to do to advance his kingdom, for his glory.

Get ready.  It’s about to happen.  Tune in to God, and find your place.  I pray you will join me on the field.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.