How Fortunate!

I seldom get down, and depressed, but it happened the other day.  I knew what all was bothering me, but I could not come up with an answer to the problem.

I asked God, “What should I do?”

I sensed He whispered, “Love”.

I thought for a moment and said, “What else you got?”

His answer seemed impossible considering the circumstances, so I continued to remain quiet, and sad.

I wrote, just last week, how God gets creative whenever He communicates with us.  Last night, He just showed off!  A friend texted with a request to help her and so we agreed and went over to a different neighborhood than ours and took care of her need.  I could have completed the task by myself, but thought about the restaurants in that area and asked my wife if she would go with me.  I didn’t tell her what I was planning, but I knew one of her favorite eating establishments was close by.

I took care of the deed, and then drove about a block to the Chinese restaurant.  The look on my wife’s face of pure excitement and joy was worth the trip alone.  We ordered and she went and found us a place to sit to enjoy our meal.  I, on the other hand, got our drink, plastic ware, napkins, soy sauce, and of course a fortune cookie.  There was a whole basket of cookies, but I randomly picked one.

We ate and then I cracked opened the cookie.  Now, I am not one to believe in fortunes, or horoscopes, or the like, but when I read the message inside, I knew it was meant to be.  It read,

“Hope is the most precious treasure to a person.”

As the, so called, “random” message sunk in, I sensed a feeling of love, and God saying, “Gottcha!”  I believe in hope, I write about the importance of hope, and of the power of hope.  In that moment all of my depression left, and I knew the situation was going to be okay, and yes, his earlier message of “Love” was going to be the key.

God speaks.  Look for his words, seek them out, expect them, and listen when He does whisper to your soul.  He communicates because He loves us so much.

God always answers, one way or another,
    even when people don’t recognize his presence.
Job 33:14 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

There is More Than This

How much effort does it take to “hope”?  Hoping for a life that is better than the one you are currently living.  I think most don’t say, “I hope I …”, but instead they say, “I wish I …”.

Hope definition is – to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true

Wish definition is – feel or express a strong desire for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen.

Do you see it?  Do you see the difference in “wishing” and “hoping”?  “Hoping” comes with anticipation, because it can actually happen!  This is why “hope” is so powerful.  Hope can restore a marriage.  Hope can lead to someone getting their health back.  Hope can get you a better job.  Hope causes things to happen. 

God’s word says, “These three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)  I like what “The Message” translation says, “Trust steadily in God (that’s faith), hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.”

Hope, can help you go from where you are to the kind of life God intended for you all along.  I mean seriously, he started man and woman out living in a garden.  It’s a lie from hell to accept, “Well, this is as good as its ever going to get.”  NO!  You can have what God wants for you.  How?  Ask for it.  Ask God to help you achieve that life.  Believe it can happen.  Start today renewing the way you think, for what you think is what you believe, and what you believe is what you say, and what you say comes to pass for words have a lot of power.

Every time you speak, generally, you are speaking life, or death.  Start listening to how you talk, and pay attention to the kind of words you use the most.  Especially those words you say to other people.  Those words matter, but also what you say to yourself in your mind.  Changing those words can change your life.

God loves you, and wants you to have his best.  He doesn’t want you living in a dump, but in a garden.  He wants you to live above your current situation.  He wants you looking up, for something better, for there is more than this, and when you are looking up he can see you smile.  God wants so much love, happiness, and joy for his children, who love him, and He does work “all” things out for good, for those who love him. (Rom. 8:28)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

From Hope, to Reality

As you faithful readers of this blog know, I have been waiting for my wife’s immigration to America for two years.  Those were very difficult, trying, and long years, but the one thing that kept us going was hope!

Hope is recognizing there is very little you can do, while wanting a certain result.

Well, if all went as planned, I met my wife yesterday at an airport in America.  Waiting for her just outside the doors to the immigration section.  This process has been such a challenge that I have said, “I won’t believe it until I see her.”  But yesterday, my hope turned into reality.  God is so good.  He kept us close to his heart especially on the days when our hearts were breaking, aching, and we struggled to see us crossing the finish line.

I know we are not alone.  Many of you are facing your own struggles where all you can do is hope.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let go of God’s hand.  I know He will never let go of yours.  I recently posted a blog where I wrote about the women with the issue of blood, from the Bible.  Her reality took 12 years to arrive.  Her sickness bankrupted her, but she never gave up hope.  Then the day came where Jesus appeared on the scene.  She was healed by simply touching the hem of his garment as he walked by.  It was her faith in Jesus that healed her and not the robe he was wearing.

“So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.”
Rom. 8:25 (TPT)

So whatever it is you are hoping for, a job, a healing, a spouse, or salvation for a loved one don’t stop hoping.  You never know the day when Jesus may show up on the scene.  It would be a tragedy to give up the day before he passes by. For Jesus passing by in the life of me and my wife I am so grateful.  Praising and worshipping his mighty name all the way across the finish line.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jollibee

20181220_215148On a recent trip to the Philippines, I saw a lot of life I had never seen before. I experienced several new things as food, phrases, and culture. One thing that I couldn’t help but notice was the local rival to McDonalds, Jollibee. It has what McDonalds has as well a local favorite, chicken with rice and gravy.

Something that really stood out were the people. One, there were a lot of them. Two, as in America, there were different classes of them, but the lowest class seemed to be living in a darkness like I had never seen. Their eyes were so dim, as if the light was about to go out of their lives. They certainly have nothing to “bee jollie” about.

I looked at some and managed to do or say something that brought a small smile to their faces, but soon, the reality of their world would return, and the smiles faded. In those moments, what I really wanted was the time and the ability to share in their local language, Tagalog the hope of Jesus Christ that is within me. Just knowing Jesus is there with me in this life brings joy. He gives me a reason to “bee jollie”.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps. 42:11 NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady  All rights reserved

 

Three Days

Charlie 1A young woman had been praying for a man of God for years.  She had cried out, “God do you not care?”  Not seeing any positive movement via the dating site she had joined, she decided to close her account.  Three days later she received a message from an interested man.  Love blossomed.

A man was asked by God to go to a certain village to evangelize.  The man didn’t do it.  Instead, he went the other way, and boarded a ship.  After setting sail, the ship encountered some very bad weather.  Before going down, the superstitious men on board decided their trouble was due to one man.  They threw him overboard where a great fish swallowed him up.  Three days later, the fish vomited the man out.  He then decided to be obedient and go where God had commanded in the first place.

After Jesus drew his last breathe on the cross, his followers thought it was over.  They recalled his acts of love, and his stories that inspired, but he was gone.  For three days, all hope was lost, until Jesus was resurrected.  He overcame the darkness and once again, Light filled the earth!

What is it, about three days of darkness?  Is it a test to see if your faith will hang on?  Does it take at least that long for your will to line up with God’s?  How many days has it been for you?  What have you been calling out to God for?  Is your hope lost?  Are you thinking, “What’s the use” or perhaps you are thinking, “Well, it was nice while it lasted.”

As long as you are alive, hope exist!  Why does God allow certain things to happen in ways we might call cruel and unusual, I don’t know.  But I do know this, God is still and will forever be on the throne controlling things especially for those who submit their lives to him.

Remember this:  I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jer 29:11 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

How Much?

book 1I would go visit them, and before I knew it, they would be giving me a guided tour of their latest acquisitions.  Antiques, what nots, weird things, but things that appealed to them.  I would hear the story of where they found it, and why they liked it.  The one fact that never went unnoticed was how excited they were over their latest find, and the one thing that always struck me funny was when they would ask, “You want to know how much I paid?”

I was reminiscing the other day about those times and chuckling when I begin to envision Jesus showing me his latest acquisitions.  “This is John.  He was in a bar when he realized his life needed to change. He asked me to help.  This is Manjola from Albania.  I pursued him a long time before he finally accepted me.  Oh!  Over here is Akemi.  She’s from Japan.  She was desperate for real love, and a friend told her about me.”

Person, after person.  Jesus was enthusiastic over every one of them.  He told me their story.  How long He looked for them, as they were lost, but the one thing He never asked was, “You want to know how much I paid?”

“You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]” (1Co 7:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Confession

20180618_161958Confession:  I have never been inside a confessional booth.  I grew up in a church where doing so was not part of our spiritual practice.  I am at a temple where there is one.  I am writing this blog post while sitting inside it.  Not intended, but in order to see I brought a small, but bright LED light.  It is casting such a white glow I think it scared a couple checking out the temple.

Here I sit, in this small, wooden structure.  It smells old, musty, perhaps from tears soaking the carpeted board beneath my feet.  There is carpet on the walls as well.  I guess to absorb the sound, but aren’t confessions meant to be heard?

I think there is also supposed to be a man in the booth next door.  A man to hear my sins?  My wrong doing?  What if he is actually a newspaper reporter?  Wait, when Jesus died on the cross, didn’t his selfless act of love cut out the middle man?  After all, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  The veil that once separated man from God.  Now Jesus is our High Priest.

I guess while I am in here I might as well start talking.  Heavenly Father bless me.  It has been 23 minutes since my last confession.  You remember.  Oh, you don’t?  Then maybe I should choose to forget it also.

Now, I confess all my sins.  The ones that denied you, dissatisfied you, destroyed me and demolished others.  The sins that dishonored you, discomforted you.  The ones that would disqualify me from your presence, if it were not for your Son.  The sins that diminished others, disgruntled my employers, and devalued my wife and children.  And don’t forget the one that deflowered me before I was with the proper one at the proper time.  The ones that delayed me from being obedient unto you and your plans.  I also confess the times I digested things that defiled my body, your temple.  The words I spoke that derailed others on track to finding you.  The times my actions denounced you.  The sins that I allowed that wound up discouraging me and damaging my faith.

Forgive me Father.  I ask for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for not deleting my name from your Book of Life.  Thank you for forgiveness, and for your Son, Jesus who gives life through his death.

Now what do I do Lord God?  “Go and sin no more.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Believing Builds Believing

“I just don’t believe there could be one, all-powerful being,” David said.

“So you would like proof, first, before you would choose to believe in God,” I replied.

“Yes!”

“God asks us to believe in him by faith,” I said.

“I need proof.”

“Okay.  Let’s say God will, because of how much he loves you, let you have proof first.  What would it take?  What would you need to see, or witness, in order to believe in God?” I asked.

As David sat in his office chair, he was visibly considering my question.  After ten minutes, he turned, looked at me, and said, “I don’t know.  I don’t know what would be enough.”

God_you thereA somber event took place in front of me.  The reality is this; for a man, using his own reasoning, which is limited, nothing could satisfy him.  No proof would be enough.  Everything God might do, or has done, to prove his own existence, some men would reason it away, and have.  It’s as if they try to make God conform to their rules of existence, and that’s just not going to happen.

Another reality is this; God does exist.  I have met him.  I have talked to him, and he has answered me.  I have seen his work, in creation, in the most intricate details of nature, and in the life of a man.  Only God, can take the vilest of men, and change him forever.  One example is Saul.  He saw Jesus.  Saul had a life changing encounter with Jesus, and he went from wanting to kill those who believed in God, to preaching to those that didn’t.

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. He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. (Act 9:1-5 MSG)

If you want to see God the Father, then study the life of Christ.  For Jesus himself said, “To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?” (Joh 14:9 MSG)

(Note: The person’s name, in this real story, was changed.)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Have You Considered?

dome 1

Covering of protection

Have you ever considered what your breaking point would be in life?  How much you could take?  What could you handle, but what is too much?  Severe sickness of you, or of the ones you love the most?  Losing your entire net worth?  Being abandoned by the very ones you thought cared the most about you?

“And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job?”  Satan replied, “Have You not put a hedge (a covering) about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” (Job 1:8 & 10 AMP)

God, because of Job’s relationship with him, had put a covering over him, or had his hand over him, so the results of a fallen, sinful, world could not affect Job, his family, or his possessions.  Once I got really angry at one of my neighbors.  I was so mad, I wanted to harm her, but I didn’t.  Instead I prayed and asked God to take revenge on her for hurting me,  After all, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Rom. 12:19 MSG)  One day I asked God what happens when he gets vengeance on someone.  He whispered back, “I slowly remove my hand from their life.”

I shuttered!  As time went on, I witnessed my neighbor losing her job, experiencing vandalism, and worst yet, the death of her oldest daughter.  I prayed for her.  I know God was hoping she would stop resisting him, and in turn, run to him.  She finally did.

Job resisted the temptation to blame God for his troubles and die, but eventually repented of his prideful way of thinking.  Then God restored everything back to him and doubled what he had lost.  Could you have handled such loss?  Or perhaps the better question is this, would God ever say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant: __________?“ (fill in blank with your name)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

God’s Top Ten List

The Ten

  1. No other Gods before me.
    I’m to be your first priority.
  2. Nothing should be your idol.
    Keep your life pure.
  3. Don’t use my name when cussing.
    Understanding this can bring humility.
  4. Keep Sundays Holy.
    Resting one day a week is a wonderful thing.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
    Doing so will bless your life.
  6. Killing is not good.
    Love is a much better way.
  7. Committing adultery tears people apart.
    Learning intimacy will bring people together.
  8. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
    If you do, you’ll never learn to trust.
  9. Lying is a bad idea.
    Honesty is always the way to go.
  10. You shouldn’t want what isn’t yours.
    Contentment brings peace to your life.

God didn’t come up with these 10 commandments to make your life miserable.  He didn’t do it so we would become “religious”, and start a bunch of denominations with a list of “rules” to live by.  He gave us these principles, to live by, so we could relate to him better, and with each other.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved