Looking For Jesus (Part 1)

Mary.  Singing.  Dreaming of her upcoming life as the young bride of Joseph.  Tending to the laundry.  What would have been another typical day, of her life, turned into the most extraordinary day of her life.  An angel appeared.  “Fear not.”  Yeah, right.  If it happened to me I would have had to do some more laundry.

“You have found favor with God.  You will become pregnant with a Son, and you will name him, Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  God will give him the throne of his father, David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary questioned God’s plan, considering she had never been with a man.

But the angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be holy, in fact he will be called, the Son of God.” (Luke 1)

From that day forward, Mary found herself looking for Jesus.  As he grew inside her, when he turned, kicked, and did all the things babies do inside the womb, she had to have wondered, what will he look like it?  Will I see the face of God, or will he look like me?  Time would reveal that Jesus looked just like God in all ways.  For he always said, “I only do what I have seen my Father in heaven do.”

I’m sure Mary wasn’t the perfect parent, but Jesus forgave her for that.  His death on the cross not only forgave her, but all of us who accept him for who he is, the Son of God.  And guess what, he’s coming back.  He’s coming to gather those who believe and call him, Lord.  To take us to his home now, heaven to be with him forever.  I’m living my life in a manner to be invited for the second greatest coming in the history of the earth!  I’m looking for Jesus, are you?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why Do You Love God?

A true story:

One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!

“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.

Sometime later, while Job’s children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth.
God gives, God takes.
    God’s name be ever blessed.

Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. Job 1:6-22 (MSG)

Wow!  What would your response be if this happened to you?  Many people blame God for evil, and pain in this world, but we can see here God doesn’t cause it, the devil does.  2020 has been a very painful year for a lot of people around the world.  Have people, or you blamed God, or the men that created the virus for evil?  Do those who on January 1st, 2020 who praised God and confessed their love for Him still do?  Do you only love God when He is good to you?

It is so important, no, it is vital that we keep our perspective true when facing difficult times.  To know God didn’t bring, or cause the pain although He did allow it knowing that if we keep our focus on him we will get through it.  Job loved God simply because, He is God!

We don’t know when the events of 2020 are going to end.  We don’t know who will still be above ground and the totality of it all, but don’t for one second take your eyes off of God.  Know He is still God, and love him accordingly.

The end of Job’s story:

God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life. Job 42:12 (MSG)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Are What You Eat

This is not a Thanksgiving post!  You will not be a turkey because you ate turkey this coming Thursday!  This is funny; I was asked if I would come over for Thanksgiving one year.  When I accepted, my friend said, “Oh good.  Now we have a turkey!”  Some friend, right?

Anyway, what I am addressing is being what you believe, what you accept to be true, even though it may not be.  Why the eating tie in?  Because people will digest something, and then they become that.

For example, people will become a worrier, simply by spending time worrying about something that most likely won’t even come into existent.  They are accepting lies as if they are truth and it affects them.  It shapes them into who they are, because of what they believe.

I told a lady the other day, “You worry a lot, and let anxiety overcome you.”  She agreed and said, “I always have, and I always will.”  What a lie from hell!  The devil has convinced her of this, even though it doesn’t have to be that way.  It certainly is not the life God wants for her, and every time she gets hurt, or believes these lies and it hurts her, it breaks the heart of God.  He loves her so much, and desires for her to be set free from this self-built prison!  This is not the life He intended for her to live.

The word of God teaches how to overcome such a life:

“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”  2 Cor. 10:5 (TPT)

In case you missed it; we should analyze every thought and ask, “Is this true?  Is it a good thought that lifts us up, or is it a negative thought that tares us down?”  If the thought isn’t going to do us any good, then dismiss it.  Throw it out!  Quick!  Get rid of it, don’t entertain it one more second, and definitely don’t believe it.  If you will learn to do this, overtime you will change.  You will become the person God designed you to be, and live the life He intended for you to live.

Now the truth above is something to be thankful for!  Perhaps this is a Thanksgiving post after all?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Two Things that Make Me Cry

Yes, I still own a “Man Card”!  Stopping and asking for directions doesn’t make me any less of a man.  In fact, it demonstrates I don’t have an issue with pride.  So there!  LOL  Admitting I cry doesn’t make me any less of a man either.  So what are the two things that will almost guarantee I will reach for a tissue?

  1. When I begin thinking about God’s goodness, and blessings to me and my wife I get misty eyed.  Like the other day we received three unexpected checks in the mail.  They really helped us out, and before you ask me for a loan they went to pay off some debt.  They were nice checks.  When I opened the envelopes and saw them I sat down and cried.

    A few weeks ago I wrote about sowing into someone else’s financial needs.  I helped a friend work on his condo.  He offered to pay me and I wanted to accept the money, but God whispered, “No.  Sow into their need.”  They didn’t need to spend any more on the condo.

    God has established certain universal laws, and one of them is “sowing and reaping”.  If you sow, give time or money it doesn’t always come back to you in the same form you gave it, but it does come back.  But you have to be willing to give without expecting it to come back, which has to do with the attitude of your heart.

  2. The other thing that gets my eyes to leaking is sensing the presence of God.  When his Spirit comes over me and hovers, and I know I am in the company of God it over whelms me.  To think, the God of the universe wants to spend time with me.  I can’t see him, but I know He is there.  I can’t see the wind, but I know when it blows.  Lately, when this happens, I have been saying, “Come a little closer, stay a little longer.  I can’t get enough of you.”

Okay, in full disclosure those are the words to a new worship song I just discovered the other day.  “Just Like Heaven” by Brandon Lake.  When I hear this song on the radio it ushers me into an attitude of worship.  Expressing my love and admiration to God for who He is, for his holiness.  Worship, does a lot for us, even though we are giving it to God.

So yes, there are times I cry, but they are good tears not bad ones that flow out because of hurt, or pain.  Tears are a release of emotion, and God gave us that capability, and I am so grateful He did.  I can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t cry.  I’m no expert in biology, but I have feeling my emotion would come out somewhere, somehow, in some form.  I choose tears.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Were That, but Now You Are This

“You’re such a nice person,” said the new co-worker.  The woman had been hurt by many men in the past and so naturally she was leery of any man who seemed, “nice” in the beginning of a new relationship.  Evidently, trusting a nice man and letting her guard down has put her in the position to get hurt in the past, but this guy was different.  His attitude seemed real, genuine.  She wondered how this could be.

After meeting Jesus Christ, and accepting who he is as God’s son, that encounter should change you.  It changed Saul, who was later named “Paul”.  You see after Saul’s salvation, or conversion he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and into him entered the fruit of the Spirit.

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man [Saul] and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

26-27 Back in Jerusalem he [Saul] tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.

28-30 After that he was accepted as one of them, going in and out of Jerusalem with no questions asked, uninhibited as he preached in the Master’s name.  Acts 9:13-14, 26-30 (MSG)

So what changes a person so drastically?  It’s the fruit of the Spirit.  Each attribute of the Spirit replaces one(s) in the flesh:

Love replaces hate.

Joy replaces sadness, depression.

Peace replaces nervousness, anxiety, fears.

Longsuffering replaces quick tempers.  Gives time for understanding.

Gentleness replaces anger, rage.

Goodness replaces selfishness.

Faith replaces worry, and hopelessness.

Having the fruit of the Spirit within you provides life, real life, the way God intended it.  People will see the difference and be drawn to you, but what they are really being drawn to is the heart of God.  If you have not been filled with the Spirit of God then ask God to fill you with his Spirit.  Then allow it to perfect your walk with God, and affect the world, the people around you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Have to do Something!

God sent ONE angel to defeat the entire Assyrian army.

Whenever we are in a rough spot, and our backs are up against the wall, there is something innate within that forces us to want to find our own way out.  We will do just about anything, and it seems the more desperate the situation the more radicle our action will be.  Most people seem to have a fight mentality when we are in a corner.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 32, we read that Jerusalem was threatened by the Assyrian army, a horrible group of men, who had no respect for mankind, and they had no fear of God.  This army would first send tablets into a town they were set on over taking.  These tablets showed detail pictures of how they were planning on torturing their captives in savage ways, which struck ultimate fear in their hearts.  The people of Jerusalem knew for sure life was all over.  There was only one thing they could do,

pray.

King Hezekiah, joined by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, responded by praying, calling up to heaven. God answered by sending an angel who wiped out everyone in the Assyrian camp, both warriors and officers. Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace, tail between his legs. When he went into the temple of his god, his own sons killed him. 2 Chr. 32:20-21 (MSG)

You pray.  You commit the situation to God and then you wait.  That’s right.  There are times when you have to trust God, like in Psalms 46:10a

“Be still, and know that I am God…”

It’s hard not to do anything.  My wife has been stuck in the Philippines for several months now.  She is done with the immigration process and only needs her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  It’s difficult to be separated for so long. It hurts!.  I have tried everything I could think of, but nothing has happened.  I surrendered it to God, I’m being still.  Another version of this verse says, “Stop striving…”  That is what I have had to do.

In 2 Chr. 32 above, it says they prayed, and God answered, and sent one angel who wiped out the entire army.  God may need to send more than one angel to deal with the U.S. government, (kidding) but I do know the answer to my prayer is on the way.

Whatever situation you may be facing, painful, dreadful, frightening, or whatever, pray.  Give it to God and then be still and watch him answer as He sees fit to do so.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You May Not Like It

“I’ve been crying out to God, for an answer to my current marriage situation,” said the lady I had just met earlier that day.  I have never understood, exactly why, but people feel comfortable opening up to me, even after moments of talking.  Sometimes I wonder if I am wearing a sign that says, “Will listen to you for food.”  I’ve been told I have the heart of a shepherd, a pastor.  If that’s the case, my congregation doesn’t meet under one roof, but where ever I happen to be in this world.

She went on to share that after 16 years of being married her husband had a moment of indiscretion.  Perhaps the stress of 2020 has caused a lot of people to do things they wouldn’t dare do before.  I encouraged her to speak out loud and demand the demonic forces, that are trying to tear her home apart, to get out, in the name of Jesus.  Then flip the environment and invite God’s presence into the home.  I instructed her to speak the fruit of the spirit over her family.  Love, joy, peace, etc.  I told her it was her home, her family, her life and not to give up hope.  She smiled through teary eyes and agreed to take action.

I went back to my task which brought us together in the first place.  It’s a task I don’t like, but it is an answer to one of my prayers.  I was reflecting upon the encounter, and praying for her, and the family.  It was in that moment I sensed God speak to me and say,

“I brought you here as a result of your prayers, but I also brought you here as a result of her prayers.”

You see, God delights in using his servants to do his business.  God is in the people business because He loves us so much.  We, believers in God, are co-laborers with Jesus.

“He [Jesus] came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God’s Spirit is on me;
    he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
    recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
    to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”  Luke 4:16-21 (MSG)

We are all called of God to do the same as Jesus did.  To be in the business of people.  To be there to see them, listen to them, and then to speak life giving words that can set them free, or say a prayer that can heal them.  Sometimes, a home needs to be healed, or a marriage.

You may not like it, where God has you at the moment, but look around, He has you there for a purpose, his!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Yolk, The White, The Shell

A lot of people recognize God.  Some will acknowledge Jesus as God’s son.  Few though, it seems, mention the third member of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.  I am so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  For it was He who drew me to God in the first place.  It was He who convicted me of sin.  Though I was only 7 years old, I knew right from wrong, and my pastor preached with God’s authority, that being wrong was sin, and that sin lead to eternal death in hell.

I am thankful, for now I will not be lost forever in the pitch darkness of eternal damnation, alone, and with the feeling of falling forever.  For the pit of hell is bottomless.  Mankind needs two things to feel human, time, and gravity.  Time provides a schedule, a rhythm to life, and gravity helps us feel grounded.  In hell neither exist.

Many years ago, I spent a few hours in jail.  Shocked? Yeah, well, whatever. It happened. Anyway, I noticed there were no clocks, and I didn’t like not knowing what time it was.  The only way to know was by what food items they served us.  Pancakes; must be morning.  Bologna sandwich and chips; has to be afternoon.  Chicken; it’s got to be evening now.

The Holy Spirit also provides great comfort in the times when I don’t understand what is going on with life, or when my heart is breaking for one reason or another. He may not calm the storm, but He calms me down, and helps me know I will get through it.

More than leading me to Jesus, which accepting his work on the cross grants me access to the throne room of God, the Holy Spirit gives me power.  Like Jesus promised us in Acts 1:8. The power I need to speak, and minister to someone in need.  Honestly, many times I wouldn’t have a clue what to say, but I rely on the Holy Spirit.  I open my heart to be willing, and then I open my mouth and God’s words come out.  I know it is God, through the Holy Spirit, because I am usually just as amazed as the one I am speaking to at the wisdom, or love of the words spoken.

But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”  Acts 1:8 (TPT)

Every person who believes in God should ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is a separate event from salvation and water baptism.  For the scriptures say that when Jesus came up out of the water, meaning after his baptism, then the Holy Spirit lit upon him.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to endure the cross.  In his own human strength it was more than He could bear.

Just like there are three parts to an egg, the yolk, the white, and the shell, it is still only one egg.  So there is Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God, but there is still only one God.  The three are one, and I will be forever grateful for all three, and the work they have done in my one life. If you choose not to believe in the trinity of God, you may find yourself someday with egg on your face.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“To Hear Our Hours, Press 5”

In some countries, people are focused on working hard, succeeding, and reaching their goals.  Some of those individuals are followers of Christ.  I have seen where they are so focused on their “get er done lists” that they seem to fail in other areas, like community.  In other words, they are making great strides in life, in business, but falling short in doing life with others, friends, neighbors, and perhaps even family.

There is nothing wrong with success, especially if achieving greater finances allows one to be more generous, but if someone needs to talk, to share their current struggles, do they need to make an appointment?  Are those high achievers generous with their time? Or do people who have needs, need to come back during normal hours of operation?

Spending time with others is a gift;
be generous!

I don’t see this as the example Jesus set for us.  He was there, in the moment, for the people, and he still managed to achieve the goals his heavenly father set before him to accomplish.  Yes, there were moments when he set time aside to be in communication with God, his father, but if you read the gospel you will see when people sought him out, he responded.

There are a few verses in the Bible that share when Jesus saw the multitude, he was moved with “compassion”.  The word “compassion” means in the Greek “to do whatever it takes to alleviate the need.”

Compassion starts with seeing!

When he saw the vast crowds of people, Jesus’ heart was deeply moved with compassion, because they seemed weary and helpless, like wandering sheep without a shepherd.  Mat. 9:36 (TPT)

Jesus didn’t keep office hours.

If you make yourself available to people, the very people who live next door, at school, at work, and even those who attend church with you, then you are being like Jesus.  You are following his example, and therefore being a true Christian, which means Christ like, or little Christ one.  This should be our goal, and you know what, God will still help you reach your goals, when you avail yourself to others.

I challenge you to try it, because there is a whole world of lost people out there.  They are sick, they are oppressed, they are depressed, they need God, and you are right there next to them.  Please don’t say, “Well, spending time with them is not on my ‘To-Do-List’.”  Here’s the thing, those people are on God’s “To-Do-List”, because He loves them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”

The title of this post comes from the famous line delivered by Jack Nicholson in the movie, “A Few Good Men”.  He was right.  There is truth out there we don’t want to know.  We can’t handle.  For instance, we are just learning, in main stream media, about cults, or groups that enslave women, children for the sexual pleasure of others.  That truth is so heavy it is difficult to comprehend.

Not all truth is so burdensome.  Like when two individuals have a disagreement. A “He said this, he said that” scenario.  Others who hear one side of the argument have only heard half of the truth if any.  A wise person will seek out the other person and listen to them, hear their version of the truth before making judgement.  Honestly though, seldom do people seek out the whole truth.  They listen to the side of the person they like the most, as if truth had something to do with popularity.

Truth is so important our judicial system will ask each witness, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”  Why?  Because judges know that proper judgements can be made when the truth is known.

Here is something else that is true that needs to be said; individuals, who are getting killed by the police, as some have alleged, “without cause”, should comply with the officer’s orders.  In other words, simply put, when the police arrive on a scene they don’t know who is right, or who is the threat.  They try to calm everyone down, make sure the scene is safe, so they can investigate, and then decide what action to take.  If those getting “unjustly” killed by the police would listen and follow their orders they would live.  If they are as innocent as their mother says they are the police will find that out during their investigation.

So what does God say about truth?  Jesus said that knowing the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)  Yes, He was specifically talking about knowing him will set you free from the bondage of religion, but knowing truth is freedom.

I used to beg my children to always tell me the truth.  I did my best to instill the idea in them that the truth can always be dealt with.  Right now in my personal life there is some hard truth to face, but admitting it is there has helped me determine the best approach to handling the situation.

Sad truth:

Some individuals, after meeting God, and hearing how much He loves them still turn their back and reject him.  They believe the lies of the devil that they know more than God what is best for their life.

Even sadder truth:

When those who reject God die they will be judged and receive eternal death of their own freewill.

Good truth:

For those who accepted God will have an advocate, named Jesus Christ who will say to his heavenly father, “Their debt, sin has been paid by me.”  Then that individual will be ushered into heaven for eternity.  That’s the truth, nothing but the truth so says God.

Now, how are you going to handle the truth?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.