Go

This past week, William Shatner boldly went where no other 90 year old had gone before.  When asked, “What do you want to do when you get there?”  Shatner replied, “Come back down!”

It got me to thinking, Am I where God wants me to be?  Have I gone where God has asked me to boldly go?  Being obedient to God’s calling can be challenging some times.  It may also offer opportunities to be scared.  I can’t announce it yet, but He has recently asked me to go do something that in the natural doesn’t make sense.  The few close friends I have told have been greatly surprised, and are probably secretly wondering if I am qualified.

But I am going.  I have found over the years that when I am obedient in an area I do not feel naturally comfortable that it is in those times I rely on God all the more.  I lean not to my own understanding.  As a result, I am happy that I obeyed.  I generally realize the task was easier than it first seemed in my mind.  And when made known to me, I am excited with the results of what God did through me.

God is speaking to some of you right now.  Reading this post has brought to your mind something God’s Spirit has whispered to your heart to go do.  It may not be to go to the mission field, but possibly go across the aisle in your office, or across the street.  Go.  Go boldly.  You don’t always get to know the results of your obedience this side of heaven, but you should go anyway.  Don’t judge the results by what your eyes see, or don’t see.  You are not responsible for the results.  You’re simply asked to be obedient.

You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! Deu. 13:4 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where Does Real Wisdom Come From?

There have been times when I have sat in awe of some of the stuff that comes out of the mouths of the old.  I’m talking about those that are supposed to be smart, experienced, and relatively wise in their field.  I don’t want to name, names, but some are billionaires, politicians, and one was a renowned theoretical physicist who once said, “There is no God.”  Of course the Bible says that only a fool says there is no God. (Psalms 14:1)  So really old age, intelligence and certainly not money determines wisdom.  So where does real wisdom come from?

“I’m a young man,
    and you are all old and experienced.
That’s why I kept quiet
    and held back from joining the discussion.
I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell.
    The longer you live, the wiser you become.’
But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.

The experts have no corner on wisdom;
    getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. Job 32:6-9 (MSG)

Therefore, honestly, anyone who is filled with the Spirit of God can have wisdom.  Ask God questions.  Tell him you want understanding of people, and of situations.  God wants to tell us things.  He is just waiting for people, who will use the knowledge for his purposes to start asking.

I have found this profound truth to be quite useful, and helpful.  In a couple of cases where people, who I thought would be the very last people to hurt me, have and I didn’t understand how, or why.  I asked, and in one case I was directed to a TV minister for the answer that came in his message.  The other, the Spirit of God showed me instantly a picture of how a minister has surrounded himself with others who are deceived in the same manner as he is.  Now I know how to pray for these individuals.

Yes, you can learn some things from the old and experienced, if it aligns with the truth from God’s word, but you can also go to God directly and simply ask, but don’t act so surprised when He answers you.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Do You Need a Tune Up?

You know, perhaps the hard way, that every once in a while you have to take your car in for a tune up, or for maintenance.  New tires for traveling, new spark plugs so you don’t lose that fire, or the oil changed because it is dirty.

In a relationship with God, there are times when you need a tune up as well.  Most likely more often than your car.  You cannot simply start your relationship with God, and then simply turn on the cruise control.  You can’t take your foot off of the gas pedal and coast either.  You won’t make it over the next mountain if you do that.  It doesn’t work that way.  If you try, you will get stuck, or worse, breakdown.  Have you ever noticed that breakdowns don’t occur at good times?

Your local, or TV minister don’t tell you to pray, and read your Bible just for the heck of it!  They know that is the easiest way to stay finely tuned in your relationship with God.  Or one could say, in tune with God.  Walking in perfect step, harmony with him at his pace.

So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
    for they affect all that you are.
    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
    for from there flows the wellspring of life. Pro. 4:23 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Discarded

Do you easily discard things?  Do you ever feel as though you have been discarded?  In America, many things are thrown out without a second thought.  We even have a phrase here of, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  Some people have even started making a living by going around and collecting items that have been placed by the curb.  They see that those items still have value.  They will take them to a shop, clean them up and resell them.

There can be lots of good reasons to throw something out.  It could truly be trash, or something that no longer fits, or an item that is no longer needed, or wanted.  And instead of taking the time to find that item a new home it is simply discarded.

But what if the item no longer wanted is a person?  “This isn’t working out.  I want a divorce.”  It seems these days that relationships are too easily discarded.  Instead of staying together and lovingly trying to find the real root of the problem(s) people just give up.  I suppose “working” on a marriage is too difficult or time consuming to some.  The issue could be this; one partner doesn’t see the value of the other.  That’s sad.

Every person has value.  Yes, it can be difficult to see at times, but it is there.  If you don’t see it then ask God to help you see it.  I have a relative who is so hateful and mean to others.  I admit I struggle to see their value, but I know it is there.  I do know they help out financially a young family, so maybe that is it.

When Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth the religious leaders of that day wanted to discard him.  Why?  He spoke of love, he introduced God, he healed the sick, and not only taught, but demonstrated a better way to live life.  When he grew in popularity they were “afraid” he would run them out of power and control of the masses.  So they schemed to discard of him.  Of course we know from the Bible that He got the last word.  By showing them that even though they did all within their power, God’s power is greater and he arose from the dead three days after they killed him.  They failed to see his value, or perhaps didn’t want to.

If you are feeling discarded today know this; you have value.  God has placed something inside of you that only you can give away for free in your own unique way.  Don’t believe those who have their own issues to overcome who show you hate, and please stop believing the lies of the devil!  He will put thoughts in your head that could cause you to discard your own life.  Don’t!  If there is no one else around who can see your value know that God does, because He loves you and placed inside you a gift, a treasure, a heart of love to give away.

Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.” Mark 2:17 (GNT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Search Me?

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life. Ps. 139:23-24 (MSG)

It takes guts to pray the above prayer.  Most of us don’t want to face the truth of who we really are.  And in fact go great lengths at times to hide the darker side of ourselves, from others, and even from ourselves.  My pastor last Sunday challenged us to do just that.  To have God examine us and see if there was any wrong in us.  Whether deeds, motives, or actions.

There are some people that have such an intense time facing who they really are that they try their best to stay busy.  One guy I know said he is always looking for the next party.  The worst time for these people is when they are alone in the dark and they can’t sleep, their conscience begins to speak.  That is probably why these same people medicate themselves before going to bed so they do not have to listen to their inner voice.

That inner voice is doing its job.  It’s trying hard to get a person to face truth.  Truth they have done some things in life that were wrong and they are in need of having those things forgiven.  Another force at work is that of the Holy Spirit.  One of his jobs is to draw us to God via the forgiving power of Jesus.

If you find yourself in this situation the only thing to do is yield.  Give up trying to write your own religion and accept the relationship that God has already provided.  Say to God, “then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Not Automatic

I stood there in the bathroom with soap on my hands.  Soap that was dispensed automatically.  In an automatic world there is now a dispenser that tells me how much soap is enough, and a towel dispenser only gives me enough to wipe a finger or two.  So why wouldn’t there be an auto faucet that turns on for me and decides what temperature is appropriate? I’ve seen them before.

I moved my hands up and down, back and forth, closer and further away trying to get the water to turn on.  All the while soap was dripping from my hands.  I tried everything.  Over and over again.  Then, I guess the man waiting behind me had enough.  He reached around me and turned the water on by raising the lever.

Having a relationship with God is not automatic either.  Going to church doesn’t determine your destination for eternity.  Have you ever noticed at most funerals the friends and family assumes their loved one is in heaven?  The Bible says this:

Enter through the narrow gate because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! Mat. 7:13 (TPT)

So odds are, unless their friend, or loved one made a public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and have asked for the forgiveness of their sins they aren’t in heaven.  Sorry, but that is truth from the word of God.  Not my words.

God wants to have a relationship with us.  He gave us his only son to die for us which paves the way.  God invites us and has done all but make the decision for us.  He leaves that to us and our freewill.  The relationship with God is not automatic.  Your sins aren’t washed away automatically without asking Jesus to cleanse you.  How you live after you are in the kingdom of God is between you and him.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phl. 2:12-13 (NKJV)

The above words are good words to live by, and to the man who helped me in the bathroom, “Thank you.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

He Forgot

Photo by: Bob Vander Roest

He was driving his young, observant, daughter to school.  The sun shined bright in the early morning causing sharp glares all about them.  While waiting for the light to turn green his daughter announced, “Daddy look,” as she pointed up in the sky toward the western horizon, “God forgot to turn the moon off this morning after he used it.”  A rule her father most likely preached in their household.

The little girl made a cute declaration, but we know the truth is; the moon is always on.  And just like the moon, God is always there too.  There are times we may not see him though we are desperately looking for his presence.  At other times we may only see a sliver of Him in our lives.  I think our favorite times are when we see God big, and bright, and fully present in our lives.

But the real test of our faith is moving forward in the darkest times of our lives.  Perhaps proceeding slowly, reaching out, grasping for something familiar so we know where we are and where we are going.  Knowing full well God is there even though we may not see him.  It is in those days that our faith is on exhibit for all to see.  Others are most likely watching to see how we cope with a lost job, a lost loved one, or a less than favorable medical report.

Those dark days are not the days our faith is grown, but relied upon to get us through the storm.

Hopefully we filled up our faith tank before this journey begin.

Something that is done by spending time with God in the “things are going great” days.  Talking to him on a regular basis, learning his nature, and his character.  Being confident He is always there.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,[a] fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

The little girl will continue to grow, and learn.  She will study astronomy, and realize the moon is not an object that is turned on or off, but forever present, used, and needed somewhere around the globe.  And hopefully she will learn about God, and that He doesn’t waste anything, especially the people He makes.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Let it Flow

We, well Americans anyway, like to move, and move fast.  We hurry home, to the store, to work and even to church.  We have drive-thrus to make our trips even faster.  We believe we have too much to do, so we have to go at a frantic pace.  But what if God had something He wanted to get done?  And what if his plan included you?  Would you proceed with the same fervency?  Or would you dig your heels in and say, “Let me pray about it.”

There is nothing wrong with discerning God’s perfect will and timing.  And that is probably a wise thing to do before launching a new church program.  Did we ever see Jesus form a committee to discern the will of God?  No.  Did we ever see him say, “Wait, let me go pray about that before I speak to your disease.”

My point is this; Jesus, who was filled with the Spirit of God, flowed with his heavenly Father.  He didn’t have to stop and pray, or set aside a three day fast first, he just knew already the will of the Father.  He also operated in the power of the Holy Spirit.  For instance, when Jesus encountered the woman at the well, he was operating in the gift of the Spirit of knowledge.  Jesus knew she had many previous husbands and in fact the guy she was currently with was not her husband.

No one has to go and get ceremonially clean anymore before entering the Holy of Holies, the presence of God.  You can walk in his presence and actually live in it.  If you remain in that atmosphere all the time you just know.  You know things.  You can have wisdom and understanding of people and of issues all around you.

It’s important to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Mat. 3:16 (MSG)

Understand the Holy Spirit gives you power to minister:

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 (AMPC)

The veil that once separated from the presence of God has been torn in two by God:

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. Mat. 27:51 (MSG)

While flowing in the Spirit you will do great things for the kingdom of God:

I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! John 14:12 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.