When Life doesn’t Look Anything like the Brochure!

travel brochure template printable e To Canada A travel brochure using typical CanadianWell, here you are.  In the middle of life, and honestly, it’s not what you expected.  What do you do?  Give up?  Run away?  Get a divorce?  The attraction is; wherever I go has to be better than this!  Disappointing job, house, spouse, church, etc. doesn’t really matter.  It sucks!

Some look for the answer at the bottom of a bottle, only to find it’s empty.  Others turn to substances that only dulls the pain, but never removes it.  Some fight.  They fight society, the government, churches, and worse yet, other people.  You want to know the truth? Whenever any of this happens, Satan sits back and laughs.  John 10:10 says, “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy…”  What you might ask?  YOU!  He’s still mad at God for not letting him have his way, and he is using you to get even.

You want to know the Truth?  The rest of John 10:10 says “…but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Jesus said that, and He is Truth.  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Accepting Jesus and living his way is not a cliche, it is truth, and it works.  He doesn’t promise you a perfect life with a perfect job, house, spouse or church, but He says He will be there with you through it.  The reason you keep hearing this is because it is truth, and it will set you free.  Pastor Linda Budd, of RiverGate Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma said last Sunday, “Jesus doesn’t speak the problem, he speaks the answer.”  Jesus didn’t say, “Oh my.  It’s stormy out here.  We could be in danger.  Perhaps we should go back.”  No!  He said to the storm, “Peace be still!”

I needed to write this today, because I needed to remind myself of the truth, about Truth, and what He says to storms, disappointments in life.  I say to my storm, “In the name of Jesus, peace be still!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Everyone Has a Mountain to Climb

Charlie 60

Golgotha

Life can be tough, especially when there are people in it.  We are all challenged to face life, deal with life in the midst of people.  Life can come with mountains.  It seems as if everyone has one to climb.  While trying our best to scale the mountain in front of us we, many times, will stumble over someone else.  That’s when someone usually gets hurt.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t God’s idea, plan or intent, and it still isn’t.  He made man and placed him in a garden.  Typically, a garden is a mountain free zone.  This doesn’t mean God is allergic to mountains.  He has used mountains, or hills to do some of his best work.  From Mt. Sinai, He gave us The Ten Commandments, which if followed, helps us live a better life.  Jesus taught about his Heavenly Father, life, and many other important issues to help us from many hills, or mounts around Jerusalem.  Of course it was the hill of Golgotha, where Jesus died for our sins, that gives us life eternal.

So what do we do with mountains?  We should name them for what they are.  Face them with boldness, but the most important thing to do is to ask Jesus to guide you through it, around it or over it.  Even Jesus had a mountain (Golgotha) to face, but didn’t want to.  He asked his Father to remove it from him, but then he went on to say, “Not my will, but your will be done.”  When mountains are conquered, you can stick a flag in it that waves in the wind declaring to all that someone made it.  It might just encourage them to keep climbing, to keep hanging on, and take another step where the Master has stepped before us.

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.” (1 Pt. 2:21 MSG)

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

House Rules

Charlie 58It can be challenging, trying to blend two cultures, but it can also be fun.  For instance, I grew up in America where my mother and father had a lot of people over to play card games, eat, and laugh.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Something I have tried to emulate as an adult.

In the last week, I have been teaching my Filipino wife, American games and card games.  Today, I taught her a new card game and while going over the rules, I mentioned they can change depending on whose house you are playing at.  It’s called, “House Rules”.  Meaning, if you are at one friend’s house, then you play the game according to how they play it there.  Sometimes you may not agree with how they play the game, but you are at their house, so it is their rules, that rules the game.

That got me thinking about how we are in God’s house.  Not in church, but on his earth.  “for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”  (Psalms 50:12 NIV)  He has made things simple.  You can live on his earth, according to your rules, if you want to, but if you want to live forever in his heaven you must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and accept him into your life.  To do so otherwise means you spend eternity, dying forever, in hell.  It’s his rule, which, should, rule your life.

If you haven’t, consider accepting God’s rule of your life.  Doing so helps you get through it, hopefully, with lots of love, friends, family and laughter.

 

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

IR

Charlie 7I got remarried yesterday evening, after being divorced for twenty-three years.  I no longer have to check that dreaded little box, “Divorced”.  I married a wonderful woman of God who is a Filipino.  The only problem is, I’m an American, and she is not allowed to enter the United States without a Visa, which could take a year or longer to arrive.  When she said, “I do,” she became an “IR”.  Instant Relative.  This status gives her priority over everyone else trying to enter America by any other means.  Work Visa, Student Visa, Fiancé Visa, etc.  It also gives her access to a “Green Card” and two weeks after she arrives in America she will get her Social Security card.  Being an “IR” has instant privileges.

When one accepts God’s free gift of salvation, through his Son Jesus, they instantly become an “IR”.  They become a son or daughter to the God of the universe.  You will walk around, with a smile on your face, knowing whose you are, that you belong to God, and He is your Abba Father.  (Daddy God)  That status brings instant privileges as well.  Like having access to the throne of God.  Being able to walk with him and talk about anything.  God will guide you, Jesus will be with you, and the Holy Spirit will comfort you.  You have a free Attorney, Jesus, to defend you against Satan’s accusations.  Also, there will be free of charge, to you, accommodations in heaven that have no check out date or time, and who could argue with the blessing of eternal life?  Yes, being a child of God is good!

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? (Mat. 7:11 MSG)

There are so many reasons to accept Jesus, mainly, because He first loved us.  If you are not currently, my prayer is that you will become an “IR” with God.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Enough?

charlie 3When is enough, enough?  Have you had it with an individual, or a workplace?  What about a country?  You scream so loud on the inside you’re surprised that dogs don’t howl!  Why do people, work rules, or a countries procedures have to be ridiculous?  If they made sense, or had a justifiable reason behind them, then fine, so be it.  For someone to say, “But that’s the rule,” or “that’s the way it is,” over and over doesn’t help either.  It hurts, beating your head against the wall repeatedly, trying to find a sliver of logic to it all when the truth is, there is none!

I imagine there will come a day, when God says to his Son, “Enough.”  God is patient, and long suffering, but He too can only take so much.  He did it in the days of Noah, and with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Jesus will know what his Father is saying is, “Go, and bring my people home.  Deliver them from the sin, the injustices, from the insanity, from those who “think” they are in control, the hypocritical, from those that oppress, and from the work of the evil one.”  Jesus will stand up and make his way to earth, and the trumpet will sound.

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 MSG)

Be encouraged.  The way this world is going where right is wrong, and wrong has become right, it won’t be long before God will say, “Enough!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When God Kills You

Charlie 2I once wrote, the act of dying doesn’t hurt.  I am learning it does, when you die, while you are still living.  What in the world am I saying?  I thought I had fully surrendered everything to God, and then I moved to the Philippines following his direction.  Now, he is requiring more of me.  To give up my self-reliant attitude.  Living in a foreign country, where they speak some English, but not fluently, and I only know about 12 Tagalog words.

Now I am reliant on others to help me know what is being said, where to go to purchase basic needs, etc.  I am not used to this, nor do I like it very much.  I have grown accustomed to doing what I want, how I want which I think is very productive and effective.  I’m dying.  I believe God is asking me to give up, give in, and give way to his Holy Spirit.  To be humble, ask for help, and when things don’t go as I think they should, to smile graciously and be thankful that someone cares enough to try to help me.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Do I have to die?  No.  I can go on living as I am and probably hurt more people along the way.  God is most likely removing this from me, so when the next chapter in my life starts, I will be ready.  In that case Lord, kill me.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Joseph, call Clarence.”

its timeYes, that quote is from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Why am I referencing it?  Well, for the last two weeks I have been working many hours a day to prepare for a major move in my life, and I have witnessed God’s mighty hand all along the way.

For instance, I rented my house in ten minutes.  My fiancé found us an apartment in one hour that met all of our requirements and came in way under budget.  I lost my wallet on a city street and after walking away one and half blocks I realized it.  I hurried back to find it on the ground, undisturbed.  As this adventure with God has begun, I have seen one miracle after another.  I would hear the Holy Spirit whisper who to talk to and when.  I made the right calls at the right time that expedited my needs being met, but my favorite testimony is this:

I was stacking my belongings in my storage unit.  I had a ladder so I could place items all the way up to the ceiling.  I climbed up the ladder with a sofa cushion and was trying to put it in a spot up high.  I couldn’t reach it, so I placed one foot over on a pile of furniture, thinking it was stable.  It wasn’t!  I fell from about six feet up and landed, on my back, on the storage unit’s concrete floor.  The fall scared me.  I laid there expecting pain, blood, a broken bone, something, but there was none of that.  I got up and kept working.  Even the next day I had no pain from the fall.

The funny thing was, when I recounted the incident, it felt as if someone had caught me and laid me on the concrete floor.  If that’s true then I think in heaven the conversation went something like this:

“Excuse me God, but it’s almost that time on earth when Mark is about to make that bone head move in the storage unit,” said Joseph

“Yes, it is isn’t it?” replied God “Whose turn is it to go down there to help one of my children?”

“Clarence sir.”

“Joseph, call Clarence”

Now I don’t know if the angel’s name was Clarence, and I doubt my blunder got him his wings.  But I do know this, living for God, and allowing him to guide, direct and be active in our lives really does make for a wonderful life.  I wouldn’t want to live life any other way.  If you have not accepted God’s gift, Jesus, his son to forgive you of your sins then do it.  Begin right now experiencing what I have learned, and lived for a long time.  And thanks to God I have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Why Were You Made?

2beYou weren’t made to stare at your phone.
You weren’t made to be all alone.
You weren’t made to sit and worry,
or hate others on social media in a flurry.

You weren’t made to hoard lots of stuff.
You weren’t made to barely have enough.
You weren’t made to work your life away,
or made to all day only play.

You were made to be with God and walk.
You were made to be with God and talk.
You were made to worship him freely,
and seek him out for guidance completely.

In his image you were made.
He intended your love for him to never fade.
You were made to first seek him,
And to live eternally in his presence and win.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

A Casual Christian?

coldIn my last blog, I mentioned being in the Philippines. On that trip, one thing that really caught me off guard, was how hard it was to try to blend in. For instances, when in a grocery store I was looking for chili to put on hot dogs. They took me to the hot sauce isle. Then trying to speak their language was a disaster most of the time. They have a phrase there when you are trying to speak a foreign language, and doing a poor job of it, your nose bleeds. My bled a lot! The most difficult part was trying to accept how they do things there. At times, it felt like a part of me was dying. To quote Seinfeld, “If the two worlds collide, the George you know, will no longer exist!”

Going through this experience made me think of someone trying to live for God, and trying to fit in with the world. It doesn’t work, and usually, someone will get hurt. You! As it turns out God doesn’t think too much of it either. In Rev. 3:16 it says that God would rather you be hot or cold. And if you insist on being lukewarm, He will spit you out of his mouth.

So this very day make a decision. Accept God, and live for him, or don’t. That way, people who encounter you will know what to expect from you. And if you try not to make that decision today, I assure you, as the days move closer to the last one, you will be forced to.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved