Circus Town

I have lived in Oklahoma for at least half my life, but I learned something new the other day. “Circus Town” Back when circuses were popular, and traveled from town to town 22 different ones wintered in Hugo, Oklahoma. Hugo, came to be known as “Circus Town”.

I know what you are saying, “Now Mark, how in the world are you going to share a kingdom principle out of this?” Watch me.

In this town, the circus people became one. They married, they had families, children, and yes, they even died there.  Others would be out on the road and when they died, they had asked to be buried in the “Circus Town” cemetery. From the three ring leaders, to the clowns, bearded ladies, and lion trainers they were family. They had a common interest in life, unity, and such as it was, they wanted to be buried together in their final resting place.  The town’s cemetery is filled with unique tomb stones to say the least! As pictured above the markers typically mentioned what the person did in the circus.

Believers, those who follow Jesus Christ also have common interest and expect to be together, not in their final resting place, but in eternity with Jesus.

So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. Phi. 2:2 (TPT)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Were You There?

“There has to be aliens, or other beings on the other planets!  Why else would they be there?”  I thought for a second, and fortunately the Holy Spirit whispered in my soul, “How do you know that the other planets aren’t just weights and balances that keep earth in its place? Like a machine that fills the universe?” My co-worker pondered what I was told to say.  Then she yielded, “I don’t know.” The debate ended.

In that exchange I was mindful of when God questioned Job.  He said to him,

“Where were you when I created the earth?
    Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
    Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
    and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
    and all the angels shouted praise?

“And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’
    told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
    and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
    brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked—
    they’re caught in the very act! Job 38:4-7, 12-15(MSG)

You see man, who can’t fathom an all-powerful being has to make up his own explanation as to how things came about.  Some have said there was a big bang!  I simply ask, “If that is so, and it isn’t, then who lit the fuse?”  I don’t have a “big bang” theory, I have knowledge of a big God! No man was there when God created the heavens and earth.  No one but God decided how big, or how little things should be.  He, and He alone put all things in order.  He has told us so in his word, the Bible. I believe in God, and therefore what He says! Even Charles Darwin doubted his own theory!  Read chapters 6 and 9 in his book, “The Origins of Species”.

So as the New Year approaches, I challenge you to start thinking new.  Your old way probably, if you would admit it, isn’t working for you.  When you are alone, and lying in bed trying to go to sleep, your mind questions your own theories.  You spot holes in what you hope is truth.  Read God’s word.  There, you will learn everything about life that you absolutely need to know for now.  Everything else will be revealed when we die, so don’t waste your time now writing your own theories.  Believe in God. And trust in him.  He’s got this!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Big Chicken Day!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, or as April calls it, “Big Chicken Day!”  Being thankful should come easy, but this year I had to think a moment.  Yes, I have survived any sickness from Covid, and those around me that got it have come through okay.  April and I were finally reunited earlier this year, that was awesome!  And I got medical attention before having serious issues.  So yes, I did have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I forgot, God consistently provides for our financial needs and helps us bless others as well.

It bothers me that it took a bit of time to remember.  Those were big moments worthy of a big chicken to celebrate God’s faithfulness to me, his child, and his servant.  Why is it easier for me to only focus on the current irritants of life?  I don’t like it!

Recalling what God has done for us in the past helps our faith grow, which can help us with what we are currently going through.  The verse below is very popular, but here is a fresh spin on it.  It should help us remember how great God is; all the time:

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
    beside streams of refreshing water.
    He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
    steering me off worn, hard paths
    to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.

Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
    I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
    near with Your protection and guidance,
    I am comforted.

You spread out a table before me,
    provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
    filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
    where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
    in Your house forever.

Psalms 23 (The Voice)

So thank you God, for all, and for everything, on this day, but especially on Big Chicken day!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Stop the Presses!

You don’t have to watch the news very long to see there are a lot of problems, issues, and concerns in the world.  It can be over whelming at times.  Then, you take a look at your own life, and you may have similar concerns.

Doing life with God certainly helps.  It doesn’t prevent problems, those are around us due to sin in the world, but being in a loving relationship with God helps us cope with the problems.

While working on this post I listened to a message by, Craig Groeschel, lead pastor of Life Church.  His message was titled, “Write Your Own Headlines”.  It was message on how to change your perspective of the events currently happening locally and around the world.  In a nut shell, he encouraged people to take a headline, and learn to rewrite it with a positive, Godly spin on it. You can do this for headlines in your own life as well.  Pastor Craig did such a great job conveying what I started out attempting to say I thought I would simply provide you with a link to his message.

Enjoy the message, but more importantly, apply the principles within it. You’ll feel better.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Seeing Them

What is that a shadow of? I asked myself.  I turned slowly to see it was being made by a man.  A young, tall, thin man sporting a “man bun”.  He just stood there and starred while I completed my task.  I felt weirded out, to say the least.  I saw him at other times and made a decision that I didn’t like him.  Why?  Because of how he looked?  Because he didn’t say anything?  Perhaps.

About a month later he was in front of me with a young man.  He asked if his son could mow the lawn.  At first I was tempted to flee the scene as fast as possible by responding with a kind, “No thank you.”  But inside, I knew that wouldn’t do.  I introduced myself and learned their names. I told the father I noticed he was new to the neighborhood, and asked why if he didn’t mind sharing.  He said, “I’ve been away for a while.”  Instantly I had the gift of knowledge as I heard in my spirit, “prison”.  I didn’t mention it to him.

After the lawn was mowed, trimmed, and cleaned up I went outside to pay the young man.  After handing the money to him I turned to the father and felt as if I was to honor him.  I said, “I respect the fact that you are teaching your son the value of hard work and of earning money.”  He smiled.  I wondered if anyone had ever honored him before.  Judging by the surprise look on his face I am guessing not.  I think it made him feel warm and fuzzy inside.  I know listening to the Holy Spirit lead me in the situation and conversation made me feel that way.  Later on I saw him outside and asked, “Would you like some tomatoes?  We have more than we can use from our harvest.”  When I gave them to him and some chili peppers he smiled again.  He told me he loves spicy food.

Later that night I was reflecting on the events, and the conversation with him of the day.  I realized this was the beginning of what I call, “Life style evangelism.”  You come across normal when they first encounter you.  You help them, bless them, or simply give them your time.  Then, after a while, they will notice there is something different about you than in others, and they ask, “What makes you different?”  They always ask.  It is in that moment you can tell them about the love of Jesus Christ that dwells within you, and that He is the Hope of the world.

“the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even
        among far-off unbelievers.”  Mat. 12:21 (MSG)

Because they have first seen “love in action” they will listen.  And hopefully they will respond to the Holy Spirit working within them and accept that love, accept Jesus.  But all of this has to start with an action. That action is seeing them!

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.