Be Like God

Most of her life she heard, “You’re so stupid.”  “You can’t do anything right.”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “Why can’t you get this?  It’s not hard.”  She heard messages that she wasn’t good enough and that she never would be.  One negative message after another, and the worst thing happened…she believed them.

Thirty some years later, after thinking that life was just okay, and it couldn’t get any better, because she was taught not to expect anything special, it happened.  She moved away from those she loved, and into the arms of man, who loved her, but more importantly, loved God.  After a while he recognized her insecurities, but he knew how to reverse the years of damage and pain done to her.

He begin being gentle with his deeds, and especially with his words.  He had to make sure he didn’t expect perfection out of every task, as he had been raised to.  He needed to find the capacity to let her do things her way, and then to compliment her on a job well done.  She needed to know he trusted her, and believed in her.  He had to speak love to her and to speak life. He would hide notes and things around the house for her to find that reinforced what he was verbally telling her.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.  (Prov. 18:21 MSG)

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.  (Prov. 15:4 MSG)

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.  (Col. 4:6 MSG)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.  (Eph. 4:29 MSG)

Over time, because he will be like God to her (and not “a god” over her) she will heal.  Her mind will be cleansed of all of those negative comments.  Each day, she will grow in confidence.  She will soon stand up straight and hold her head up high.  She will begin to believe that she is a child of the most high God and that He loves her, and she will start acting like she knows it.  She will seek out God’s plan and design for her life and purse it with strong conviction.  One day she will be God, or be like God to someone else who is currently walking where she once did.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Cook Was Sick

The other day, while at a restaurant, I commented, to my wife how the beef and broccoli wasn’t as good as it normally is.  She replied, “Well, maybe the cook is sick.”  I laughed and thought she was just being silly.  She’s often funny like that, but she went on to explain how that phrase was a real thing in the Philippines.

I was intrigued and thought about this.  So what she was saying was. The food wasn’t at its best, because of sickness.  Isn’t that like us at times, servants of God?  When we allow sin into our life we are not at our best.  We do things, small perhaps, but they allow sin into our lives, and sin, is sickness, which can, if ignored, lead to death, spiritual and even physical. We miss opportunities to speak of the love of God.  To testify of his glory.  We miss experiences with others that can lift someone up, or encourage them.

A “diet” is defined as: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats, or a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. 

It seems as if some people restrict God from their life, and boy, do they ever pay for it.

Those who live by their own rules, not God’s, can expect nothing but trouble,
    and the longer they live, the worse it gets.
Every little sound terrifies them.
    Just when they think they have it made, disaster strikes.
They despair of things ever getting better—
    they’re on the list of people for whom things always turn out for the worst.
They wander here and there,
    never knowing where the next meal is coming from—
    every day is doomsday!
They live in constant terror,
    always with their backs up against the wall
Because they insist on shaking their fists at God,
    defying God Almighty to his face,
Always and ever at odds with God,
    always on the defensive. Job 15:18-26 (MSG)

Even though they may look fine on the outside, things are not healthy on the inside, and just like your body, it will manifest.

As God can be restricted, so can sin, but it’s a choice.  When we encounter an opportunity to sin we can call out to God to help, for when we are weak, He is strong, therefore we are strong. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Just as maintaining a healthy diet and saying, “No” to things we shouldn’t partake of helps us continue to be strong, we should maintain a healthy balanced diet built on God.  A diet of prayer, reading God’s word, and taking action to serve God as he directs.

It would be a shame for someone to encounter us, and leave with a bad taste in their mouth, because we were not at our best.  Remember this; as children of God, we are always reflections of our Heavenly Father.  And people do watch us constantly, looking for a reason to not accept God.  Their favorite excuse is this, “If they are a so called Christian, then that’s not for me, because I don’t want to be like them.”  Yes, it’s true we are forgiven, but they do not understand such things yet, for they have not experienced that forgiveness for themselves.  So be careful, every day.  Stay healthy, and stay good.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Conference Room

You really can “walk with God”.  It’s not a clique only found in the Bible at all, but something you can ask for, something you can expect, count on, and do. 

Leviticus 26:12 “And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

Each morning my wife and I join hands to pray over our breakfast. We include the words, “and God lead us this day.  Guide our steps.  Direct us to those who we need to spend time with and when there give us your words to speak to them.”  It’s not something we have memorized, so the actual words may come out different each time, but that keeps it fresh.

I knew of a child and when called upon to pray over their evening meal she said the same thing every night.  It got to be kind of a joke to the whole family.  In fact, it didn’t take long for it to get the nickname, “Prayer number 505.”  The family got seated each night for dinner and settled by 5:05 PM.

I know God has guided my steps for most of my life.  After all, He has lead me to my wife April, and I am now experiencing the fullness of what it means to be married, at least how God intends a marriage to be.  But it seems as if in the last month his direction has been every day, and in the last week especially.

God has lead us to the right people, at the right time, to have the right conversations.  A big blessing this past week has been putting together our new room, “The Conference Room”, as my wife labeled it, because it is there we meet with God.  We dedicate that room for time with God, whether in his word, or in conversations with him, as we pray for friends, family and others around the world.  Or perhaps we will just sit and wait for God to provide wisdom, understanding and direction for a particular need.

The original idea for this room only came about Sunday just over a week ago, and before a week could go by, the room has taken shape, and is only in need of a few final pieces, like photos hung on the wall of those we pray for.  The room came about so quickly because we wrote out a list of what we wanted and we prayed over it.  Then, early in the week, I told a friend of what we wanted.  He mentioned, the next day, seeing a chair for our room at a new discount store where the proceeds go to build housing for those in need.  A cause I can get behind and support, by shopping at the store.

So needless to say we visited the store and bought the majority of the pieces we desired from that store and the bookshelf came from a curbside, discard pile of a homeowner’s furniture. The bookshelf just needed a little cleaning up and some minor repairs.  There have been times in my life when I may have been discarded, thrown out of someone else’s life and Jesus looked at me and said, “He just needs a little cleaning up and some minor repairs.”

My wife’s and mine first action in our new room was to pray, and dedicate it to God.  For his purposes, to his Glory, and to advance his kingdom.  This blog post was also written there, so from “The Conference Room” to your heart comes a message from God to you.

Dream with God.  Ask him to make it happen.  Write it down.  Doing so will increase your faith.  It will help you start seeing it even though it is not there.  Then, ask God to lead you and guide you to the right places, at the right time, to have the right conversations.  That is walking with God.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Your Spouse Preaches

The best preachers are the ones who receive a particular word, message for their upcoming audience.  Then, at the given time, they deliver those special words from God.  If this person shouted and screamed you might be tempted to leave, or at least tune them out.  So how words are spoken is everything.

What if that preacher is your spouse?  I know.  It’s harder to hear the words being spoken because they are coming from someone who you might also hear nagging, complaining, or gripping from.  You may be thinking, don’t lecture me!  Or, why are you on my case?  But if the words are spoken in a loving way then you should probably listen.  After all, this is your helpmate.  He or she is there to be used of God to guide you, direct you, comfort you, and yes even speak words of life into your soul.

This happened to me recently.  We were driving in the construction zone I have spoken of a few posts ago.  I was trying to merge into the line of cars, and I got cut off.  I started fussing and my wife gently, and in a loving way said, “Your problem is this; you expect others to treat, or do for you the way you treat or do for them.  And when they don’t, you get mad or hurt.”  Her words made sense, because they were true, but because they came from her I dismissed them somewhat.

Fast forward to last night:

I couldn’t fall asleep, so I got up and came into our home office and turned on the TV.  I soon sensed God directing me to watch Joel Osteen.  I tuned in.  Wouldn’t you know he started preaching similar words that my wife was speaking just a few days earlier?  Coming from him it seemed easier to hear and accept.  Then some guilt creeped in, so this morning I confessed to my wife what had happened and that I was sorry I had not heard God’s message from her first, but I vowed to begin listening to the one on earth who loves me when she begins to speak words of life into my soul.

The lesson here is to listen to the message God is trying to say to us despite the vessel he chooses to use.  God likes to work with people to do his business.  They don’t have to be on TV either or come with credentials in order to deserve your time and respect.  If the message is on target then listen with your heart wide open.  It’s God loving on you, because He cares about you so much.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Happy?  Pappy?”

Technology, computers were supposed to make our lives easier.  Give us more time to sit back and enjoy life, friends and family.  Can anyone say that is the case in their life?  Doesn’t it seem as if there is always somewhere we have to be and something we have to do?  Are you caught up on the latest hot shows?  Then there is the constant ringing, dinging, buzzing of our cell phones.  Here’s the latest news, latest text from friends, family and work.  Do you ever want to roll the car window down and chuck it?  Then there are the calls you don’t want.  “Spam Risk” my phone now alerts me.  And if I want to extend my car’s warranty, I’ll call you!

We deal with this manic life day in and day out.  It begs the question, “What, or who are we living for?”  What is at the end of it all?  And when you get there, will you be happy?  Will you look back at it all and be satisfied?  Will you be able to say your life was one that was well lived?

Paul, the apostle from the Bible, didn’t have to be connected all the time, but I’m sure there were things that brought on similar feelings and situations we face today.  Yet he was able to put things in proper perspective.  Here are his own words, spoken at the end of his life:

You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.” 2 Tim. 4:6-8 (MSG)

Paul lived his life for God.  The man was sold out to his commitment to be God’s servant.  He went where God wanted him to go.  He did what God wanted him to do, and he said whatever God asked of him to say.  The beatings he suffered made his determination more fervent.  The many mishaps as he traveled to spread the gospel speared him on to reach his destinations.  Paul looked at the results of his devoted life to God and was happy at the end.  Satisfied.

If your life isn’t truly and honestly fulfilling, know that it can be.  Living for God, by God’s word will bring such peace and happiness to anyone’s life when placed in the proper perspective.  Is it easy, no, but is it worth it, yes!  I challenge you to try it.  Start today, for your connected life to the world may delay you , or worse, prevent you from ever obtaining true happiness.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Road Construction

At the entrance to my subdivision there is road construction.  I can only exit and enter by going one way while they upgrade the infrastructure, water, electric, and sewer that runs along the road, or under it.  Then, they will put down a new road, with new lane stripes and new signs.  They say it will take 6 months to complete.  It has already been two and a half.

If that wasn’t enough to endure, they have torn up a major highway interchange just blocks from the road I mentioned above.  It is reported to take two years to finish.  The officials say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

As I have shared in previous posts, I married a Filipino woman in 2019.  Soon after the wedding, we worked with an immigration attorney to get the process started to bring my wife to America.  I lived in the Philippines for several months until I needed an eye procedure.  We discussed the situation and felt it was best if I came back to America to have it done here.  Thinking her immigration process wouldn’t take that long and she would follow me here shortly.  It seemed as if they had missed placed her file and then shortly after they started working on her case, Covid hit.

At the time of this writing, my wife is still not here with me.  There have been lots of conversations with God about the process and questions of, “Why is it taking so long?”  Walking with God in life is definitely a journey.  As we are now getting toward the end of the immigration process I can look back and see with greater understanding.  I can see how God has updated power lines in our lives making sure that in the future we look to him for uninterrupted power to live by.  He has put in a new sewer system to remove the waste and potentially toxic aspects of our personalities away safely and quickly.  My wife compares my temper to passing gas.  She says, “It stinks at first, but it doesn’t last long.”  She has learned to let me vent and then we can return to our regularly scheduled life already in progress.

If God didn’t take the time to pour new pavement in our lives we would be traveling with him on dirt, and when the storms come get bogged down in mud.  Yuk!  If he only put down stones travel would be easier but it would be a bumpy and rough ride.  Not enjoyable at all.  But God has used the time, while waiting for her immigration to be completed, to put down nice smooth pavement.  When the final touches are completed my wife and I will be able to come and go quickly in any direction with ease.  We will be able to see the lanes we should stay in so we avoid head on collisions and harm.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Yes, walking with God is difficult at times, and it is hard to see what He is doing, because some improvements are below the surface. At times it’s hard to understand why it is taking so long, but He would say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Life” – The Ride

I love riding roller coasters.  The thrill, the excitement, the rush they provide is satisfying.  Being surprised by sudden twists and turns, dips, and loops.  Corkscrews are always a nice touch.  One thing I have noticed designers give their coasters big names.  Such as, The Texas Giant, Millennium Force, The Beast, Nitro, Magnum XL-200, Intimidator 305, Goliath, and Cyclone in the famous Coney Island, to name a few.

Life, at times, feels like a roller coaster.  Up one minute, down the next.  Cheering with exhilaration, or screaming with terror.  Laughing one second and potentially tearing up in the next turn.  Life can change drastically in a moment.  A life is born, or a life can end.  One can meet their new spouse, or get handed divorce papers.  A job can be gained, or one can be terminated, in a moment.

Life moves, in a constant motion.  Never pausing, chilling out, or taking a rest.  It’s impossible to stay in a good moment very long.  Dealing with this moving force can be overwhelming at times.  There is no way, once the ride goes over the first hill, you can ask the operator to stop and let you off.  Sad, but true, some riders get off the ride by taking matters into their own hands and prematurely end it, causing, “an unfinished life!”  I think this is due to not knowing the Operator, and trusting Him.

Coasters are designed to keep riders safe, and getting them to the end.  Yes, freak accidents do occur at times, just like in life.  There are no guarantees, and there is no posted sign that discourages getting on the ride due to things like height, or lack of, your health, pregnancy, or recovering from a recent surgery.

The key to surviving a coaster and life is trusting the Operator.  Accepting His love, his Son, and His Spirit to ride next to you.  On my honeymoon, my wife and I went to an amusement park.  I made the mistake of asking her to ride next to me.  I didn’t get hurt from the ride, but my arm was bleeding from her digging in her finger nails, and my ear was ringing from her screams, “Take me home!”  The Operator will rejoice with you in the highs, and comfort you during the lows.  He, God, can keep you calm with the many twists and turns that comes with life.

Don’t attempt to ride life alone.  Accept God’s offer to join you.  The admission price was paid for by His son, Jesus when He died on the cross for you.  One thing I can promise you is “Life” – The Ride is much better with God.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Grumpy Old Man?

I believe I have expressed how much I dislike “injustice” before, but it seems like I am becoming more vocal when I see it.  Either out loud, or under my breath.  I don’t like how it makes me feel, and if I am not careful, I go on way too long about it.  This is a pattern I’m not too fond of.

The other day, and I wish I could remember the source, I was involved in my devotional time and I came across the phrase, “a gentle and quiet spirit”.  It keeps resonating in my head.  Kind of like a “LSS” (Last Song Syndrome).  You know, the last song in your head that you keep singing over and over.  It seems I can’t get away from thinking about it, so I determined, this must be something God is calling me to.

Now, raising awareness of an injustice is needed and getting loud about it is important for it can draw attention to the situation and cause others to stop, look and decide to join you in your fight to alleviate it, but in everyday life, how you call out something that isn’t fair and or even mention it at all, is important.  That’s where I have been failing in recent days.

Not using the right words, the correct volume or the Godly wisdom to get my point across.

So mush so, I could be labeled as a “Grumpy Old Man”!  I don’t want to be known that way.  When I hear that phrase, I think of the old man in the Disney movie, “Up”.  And now that I think about it, there was a movie titled, “Grumpy Old Men”.

So I am now in the process of transforming my mind.  Training it to “capture” every thought of negative, grumpy, stinking, old criticism and renewing it to handle what I see that bothers me in a “gentle and quiet” way.  I may actually find that technique gets more people to hear what I am saying.

“Do not be shaped by this world. Instead be changed within by a new way of thinking.”  Rom. 12:2 (ICB)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Which Way Do I Go?

Direction.  We seek it a lot, especially for those who have a strong and thriving relationship with God.  We want to go in the correct direction and not waste time or resources.  I sure messed up the other night.  I live in a city that doesn’t receive huge amounts of snow that often and as a result the city doesn’t have the equipment to remove it as say, Chicago does.  So when the meteorologist were predicting 6, 8 to 10 inches of snow, and hyped it up, I left where I was sooner than I needed to in order to get home safe.

I realize now I could have asked God for direction on when to leave, but I didn’t.  I acted out of fear instead.  At times, it’s hard not to.  There is something innate about us that wants to be moving.  This inward motivation makes it difficult to sit and wait, and when it comes to waiting on God for direction it is even harder.  Do we not trust Him?  We should!  We have His word we can go to and read of His promise to guide us:

1–2 I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.
But then I realize that our true help and protection
come only from the Lord,
our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.
He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall.
God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.
He will never slumber nor sleep;
he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel.
Jehovah himself will watch over you;
he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence.
He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night.
He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity
as he continually watches over you.
You will be guarded by God himself.
You will be safe when you leave your home
and safely you will return.
He will protect you now,
and he’ll protect you forevermore!  Psalms 121 (TPT)

I was having a conversation this morning, with a friend, about this very topic.  He has been asking God for direction when it comes to finding his spouse.  There are a few potential mates and he has been trying to discern God’s will on the matter.  As we continued to speak, it became obvious to both of us that he needs to stay in “neutral” right now.  If you think about the gear shift on a car from neutral you can go forward or backwards, but you can move in an instant.  Your only other option is “Park”.

A parked car doesn’t need to be steered,

because it isn’t going anywhere!

So I challenge you, if you find yourself needing direction, guidance from God, be patient and be willing to sit in neutral for a while.  Keep your foot on the brake. You are ready to move, and you will, when the time and direction is right, therefore not wasting either time or resources, and when it comes to matters of love, possibly not suffering another heartbreak.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Drive thru God

Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:

“Would you mind if I said something to you?
    Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
    that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
    put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting!
    You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?
    Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?  Job 4:1-6 (MSG)

Do you find it difficult to encourage yourself, even with the very words you have used with others?  I do.  At times it seems impossible to find hope and peace when you look at your own life.  Funny, how sure you are of the power of the words you spoke to another, but when it comes to applying them to your situation, not so much.  They seem empty.

In the above portion of scripture, Job’s friend, Eliphaz (it’s ok, I don’t know how to pronounce it either) was trying to remind him of what he has done to help others.  What he has said that encouraged, lifted up, and gave them hope.  Then he asked two very good questions. “Shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?  Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?”

The answer is, “YES!”  It should, and will if you allow it.  God hasn’t changed, just your current situation has.  I struggled with this myself as I have described in recent post.  Yes, I knew better, and after giving it a lot of thought I think I have figured out partly why.  Time.

We live in such an instant gratification world that we expect everything to get resolved fast.  I mean, we have fast food, Prime same day delivery, one hour photos, why not “Fast God”?  Would it be asking too much for God to open up a drive thru?

Time seems to do a work in us.  Someone once said, “Time heals all wounds.”  Not sure about that.  It does seem to make us take survey of our lives though.  I think there are some things we go through when God gives us the time we need to know the bottom line is, we need him to do his best work in the situation.  I know the end of Job’s story and that is what happened in his life.  God did a work in the heart of Job by allowing tragedy to strike.

God really does work all things to his glory.

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”  Rom. 8:26-28 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.