There’s No Other Way!

It happened before I knew it. Facing a trying time, where facts were present regardless of having an understanding as to why, was very difficult for me. When you have to do another withdraw from your savings when in your mind you keep saying, “But, God, I know for sure we heard you!” I don’t understand why this venture has cost us financially, when it should have grown our finances.

By Saturday, while sitting in front of a warm fire, I realized I had not read from my current devotional, “Jesus Calling” all week. I went to get it. Ironically? No, but smacking me in the face was the overall theme for the week was, regardless of the circumstances, keep trusting me, and obeying also.

I needed to read that message every single day of this past week, but I wasn’t. Funny how quickly we take ownership of our situations in our minds. Then what’s odd is we seem to allow those situations to take ownership of us.

There are SO many good stanzas in this old hymn. Words that need to be taken to heart, and lived by.

“Father, I repent for taking my eyes off of you this past week. Please forgive me. I know and believe, that you are sovereign and you do know what you are doing in my life. I gave it to you. Help me not to take it back again. Thank you, God. Amen.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Who’s it For?

“Hi. How can I help you?”

“I need to…”  “Sorry.”

“It’s quite alright.”

“I need to pick out a casket.”

“Okay. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Thanks.”

“Step this way. Did you have something in mind?”

“Yeah. Nothing ‘over the top’. It should be simple, but natural looking. Not that there is anything ‘natural’ about dying. I think it should reflect the kind of life the one lived who will be using it.”

“I understand. What do you think of this model over here?”

“Model? Gees! You make it sound like they are vehicles that transport the dead into eternity. Is this the newest model or a late model?”

“My apologies sir. It’s a particular style of casket. It’s in our ‘Wood Grain’ family.”

“Umm, not bad. May I see the interior, please?”

“Of course.”

“No squeaks. That’s good. Wouldn’t want to scare any children that may be at the funeral. I guess that one will do.”

“Very good, sir. Why don’t we go back to my office now and we can start the paper work.”

“You mean loan papers don’t you? With what these cost and everything.”

“Sir, they must be paid for upfront. We certainly don’t have a ‘Lay-a-way’ plan here.”

“Is that supposed to be funny?”

“It was.”

“Oh. Well I guess it kind of was. I’m just not in a laughing mood.”

“My apologies, sir.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

“Ok. Tell me about the deceased.”

“In general, all his life he tried his best to be a good man. To live according to God’s words, and overall, live a life pleasing to God. He was born here in this town, reared here also, but lived in several other places as an adult. He loved to travel. He was married twice, to two different women, had two children and two grandchildren. His first wife poisoned his children about him though, so after they became young adults they told their father he was a horrible man, and they never wanted to see him ever again.”

“Was he?”

“What?”

“A bad man.”

“No. Not perfect, but not bad either. He provided everything he possibly could for his children. Even though he was paying child support, if he saw his kids had a need, he met it. He took them places in America too. They loved traveling as much as he did. He also took them to church. He introduced them to the loving, one, true, God of the universe. He was faithful in taking them there so their faith could grow.

I guess it has become obvious which force won his kids over. They chose ‘evil’ over ‘good’. They know that their sins will cost them their life for eternity, but even though they saw ‘God” at work in the life of their father, it didn’t make the impact it should have. That broke his heart more than not getting to see and spoil his grandchildren.”

“That’s too bad. Seeing, or hearing from their father most likely brought on guilt, and the Holy Spirit bringing to their mind they should be living for God, instead of for themselves. By the way, I’ll also need where all he went to school, and the primary places he lived and worked, and for how many years. Any affiliations he was associated with and any other hobbies he had. Oh! One thing I failed to ask, who’s the casket for?”

“Sir?”

“Sir?”

“Who’s the casket for?”

“Me.”

Hebrews 9:27 (MSG) Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

As the World Turns

My mother claims she started watching the above “soap opera” when it debuted when she was only 16 years old. As my sister and I grew up, we knew not to interrupt mom’s “program”! In fact, the story goes that when I was only 4, I would hear the theme song play and start heading to my bedroom saying, “Time to go to bed!”

The program was about people and their lives, the drama they experienced. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I have never heard, or understood why they called these types of programs, “soaps”. Well the other day, I was talking to an old friend after a few years of losing contact with them. As they shared with me their family’s “drama” I started feeling dirty, if you will. When I began to figure out why I felt that way I realized it was because “God” was not involved in their lives!

Now there is no way I would say that I have lived a perfect, or spotless life, but it has all been washed by the blood of Jesus and my sins are gone. Plus, life is good these days. Yes, things still breakdown occasionally and we have some struggles and challenges with finances, but knowing that God is right here with me makes me feel better about the things of life. I feel clean. Also, I know He protects us from the evil one, who wants to kill steal, and destroy!

Many people know how they should be living, and some were even raised up in the church, but for one reason or another, they choose not to live according to God’s words. He gave us those very words, not to make our lives boring, or a drudgery, but on the contrary to give us real life.  Abundant life! When He made man and woman, He placed them in a garden.  That’s the kind of life He wants us to have, but out of freewill, many choose to live in the city dump. It breaks my heart that they are missing out now, and will miss out for eternity unless they accept Jesus and ask him to be Lord of their life. To cleanse them by washing their sins away through his death on the cross and making them white as snow.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Tomorrow, March 03 by 7:00 P.M.

Journeys vary in length! Duh. Everyone knows that! But this particular journey took eight years. I’ll never forget how it started. My friend asked me, “What’s stopping you?” After much thought, I answered his question the following week. “Fear!”

Fear paralysis a lot of people before their journey actually starts sometimes, and that is sad. There is greater joy in overcoming than in feeling scared. The other thing I had to overcome on this journey was when someone extremely close to me asked, “What makes you think you’re a…” It hurt, a lot, and I almost believed them I wasn’t. Then, God put in front of me a wise, spiritual man who simply said, “Mark, you are.” And those words I did believe, and so my journey took off. I went from baby steps to running.

I came up with lots of excuses why my journey was taking so long. I stumbled when another person’s own hurts and past were projected onto me. This person should have supported me and guided me while setting their own issues aside. I understand, now, but back then, I didn’t. I did stop the journey for two months, and blamed them. Then God got tired of me feeling bad for myself, and whispered, “Mark, no one can finish this, but you. Because I gave it to you to do.” I heard him, and started my journey again.

My journey is getting longer and taking on more of an influence, but one key part of it is ending Tomorrow, March 03, by 7:00 P.M. My first novel, Kill The Preacher Man is being delivered. I am beyond excited.

This blog is being written on March 02, but it won’t post until March 18th, which happens to be part of that growing influence. When you read this, I will be in the middle of hosting my first writer’s conference with my business partner. I hope by the end of it I too will have been used of God to empower someone else on a journey, to believe they’re a writer.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You can check out the book at bradymarka.com/books

What Does it Mean?

Do you ever notice numbers? Like if you see the same number over and over? The other day I noticed there were “252” people who had visited a particular website. Then, the next day I had an offering to give. I was going to split the full amount of the offering with another person. The amount for each of us was “252”. The following day I wrote a blog post and it had, yep, “252” words in it!

I thought, “Wow! This is amazing.” Not the first time this kind of thing has happened to me, but this time it seemed more amazing and meaningful. So I looked up what the spiritual number “252” means? Here is the definition:

“252 symbolizes diplomacy, harmony, respect and acknowledgement. It also symbolizes uniqueness, individuality, creativity, unconventionality, and curiosity.”

Another connection is this; last year I started the business “Experience Writing, LLC” with my neighbor, another writer. Our first writer’s conference starts this Thursday. Our core values for the business are:

  • Out of the box
  • Unique
  • Individual
  • Creative

Do you see it? Three of our core values are contained within the meaning, “252”. It would be all four if you considered “unconventionality” as “Out of the box”.

So what am I to do with this knowledge and awareness?

  1. Not start looking under every number for meaning. Not depend, or rely on seeing number patterns for direction, or guidance. Doing so would become a “religion”.
  2. I am to know, be confident that I am at the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. Just another special delivery from God. It delights the soul as well.

As for the first meaning of “252”; in the spirit of diplomacy and harmony, I have learned to respect and acknowledge the special gifting of my business partner. So I am not going to get hung up on seeing “252”, but I am going to give thanks to God for the confirmation I am on the right track in my journey with him.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Show God Cares

It amazes me still, how God can lead our steps, and direct our timing so we will be where he needs us to be, to work with him in showing love, support, and encouragement to others. He cares so much for people and what they are going through that He will position his servants where He needs them.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Ps. 37:23 (KJV)

April and I were talking about this subject last week. I reminded her of one thing; you have to see the people and recognize the need. It may mean your own agenda gets interrupted, or you may get behind, but showing God’s love is more important.

I remember one time I had taken the wrong road to get to Walmart. I was angry with myself because I had gone the slow way when I was in a hurry! When I arrived I looked over and saw an older woman struggling to remove packs of soda from her cart. I went and asked if I could help her.  She let me. Then she asked, “Where did you come from any way?” I replied, “God sent me!” The look on her face was priceless. One of amazement realizing, perhaps for the first time, God cared!

Show the world how much He cares about them and even the little things of their life. The results may be eternal life, for them!

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

This Isn’t What I Expected

Are you living the life you once day dreamed about?  I’m not! I’m not saying it’s bad or anything, but there is room for improvement. Especially if it is going to be like what I desired. I wanted a large family for myself. A real “Brady” bunch if you will. I love children. But after I saw the price tag for two my first wife and I decided that was enough. I wanted to marry into a large family. I did, but it wasn’t long before the realization of how one bad, sour fruit hanging on the family tree can spoil relations.

After I divorced it was many years before I dared say, “I do” a second time. And once again I found another sour fruit on the family tree. Then in my own family, yep you guessed it. Some of the sourest fruit you have ever been exposed to. So the dream of “one big, happy family” has never manifested.

I could be downright depressed about it, and at times I have been. I have prayed, asked, griped and complained. Eventually, God began to give me knowledge and understanding concerning the bad actors in this cast. That has helped. It certainly is better than giving up and running away, or doing everything and anything to avoid them.

I saw the sign in this photo and realized that’s what I’m doing, but hadn’t labeled it. God is helping me know that all I can do is make sure my attitude is right, and pleasing to him when it comes to family. I can enjoy the life I have with April, and make the most of it. I’m happy being retired, and writing books now. And next week I and my business partner will be hosting our first writer’s conference, held in the setting of an old west town. (see expwriting.com) Then my first book is coming out soon. A modern day novel, “Kill The Preacher Man”. I am extremely excited about that. So really, life isn’t what I wanted, but it’s not bad either! Thank you God for taking all of my messes, and making something that can be pleasing to you.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
1 Thes. 5:16-18 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Recovery

I have a friend who got severely injured at the end of last year. Satan most likely tried to take her out! Why? Because he attacks those who do what they see their heavenly Father do. Like he took out Jesus, who always said, “I only do as I see my Father in heaven do.” (John 5:19) Satan doesn’t need to bother, or attack those who are content just “going to church”!

I was praying for my friend’s recovery the other day, and the thought came to me, “Perhaps there are other types of recovery?”

  • The recovery of lost items.
  • The recovery of forgotten things.
  • The recovery of time to do the things that got laid aside in the past.
  • The recovery of an old friendship.

I’m sure there could be many more. Healing is a funny thing. I know, and believe God can heal instantly, but there are times He chooses not to. God always knows what He is doing, and what He wants to accomplish in our lives. That’s why trusting him is so important! Maybe He wants us to slow down, or perhaps know what it is to ultimately trust him on a minute by minute basis? To taste and see that He is God, and blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalms 34:8)

It would be a good practice to ask God what is his desire for us while we are “recovering”? You may just see a side of your loving, heavenly Father that you have never been able to before. You most likely still won’t like what has happened to you, but you will know when you get to the other side of it, you will be better off.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Cross That Line

The best I can recall, most stories in the Bible involved a person who wasn’t qualified, had a natural defect, or an attitude. They didn’t know how to do what God had asked of them, felt they weren’t good enough to accomplish the task, or didn’t want to.

When God called me into the ministry, I started out as a youth minister. I had been in a couple of youth groups, but had never led one. I didn’t feel qualified, and believe it or not, I felt as though I was too short to be respected. After all, some in the high school group were taller than me. Even some of the girls! At the age of 21, after accepting who I was in height, I actually grew two more inches. I was told that was impossible.

Since I felt so unqualified I realized I needed God, a lot! I once prayed for two hours, one morning, a very long request of God to help me at anything I may encounter in ministry. I titled it my, “Oh God” prayer. Boy, did I pray it often. I would find myself in situations I was either uncomfortable, or simply just didn’t know what to do or say. I would pray under my breath, “Oh God”. He knew I had asked him to honor that two hour prayer any time I said those words. He did then, and still does to this day, honor that prayer!

David was short, but slew a giant. Joshua led a generation into the promise land who had heard from their parents and grandparents, probably more than once how the land was filled with giants. Jonah had an attitude. Moses stuttered. Peter denied Christ. Noah endured years of ridicule to build a boat when it had never rained. The prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven. There are so many more.

You see, the one thing all of these individuals had in common is this, they couldn’t say, “No.” to God, and they then accepted and believed that He would help them, and He did! He helped them and He will help you as well. God will help you accomplish the task and cross the finish line.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.