“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!”

You are in a fight! It may even be the fight of your life. It may be a fight for your life. As the noise of the situation you are in is loud, it seems slurred because it’s as if time is slower. You can’t get to the other side of what is happening to you fast enough.

“How did I get into this fight?” “Where did my foe come from?” “How many rounds will it last?” “Wait, Aren’t I supposed to get a break from the punches between rounds?” Are these the types of questions you have asked yourself lately?

If so, know that you are not alone! It seems as if everywhere you turn, you encounter someone who is facing a difficult situation, who is in a fight. The Apostle Paul compared living life to a fight, and he said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight…” Those who have accepted Jesus are not fighting by themselves. Jesus is in your corner, rooting you on and empowering you so that you may come out victorious! You will receive the title belt, so to speak.

The enemy who has come against you may not fight fair, and he will most likely hit you below the belt or keep wailing on you even after you lie flat on the mat. Do not despair, do not throw in the towel. The fight is not over until you are declared the winner.

You might even see an imp prancing around the ring, displaying what round it is. An ugly, vulgar, disgusting character who is rooting for your enemy. You may be shocked to discover who the enemy uses to come against you, but greater is He who is in you than anyone in the world.

No matter how long you have been fighting, know that fights don’t last forever. I agree it is difficult, tiring, and sometimes you want to or have someone else end it, but don’t! When you come through a winner, you, like Paul, can encourage others.

Prayer: “Father God, help us ask you to help us. Then help us to take your hand and not let go. Please help us to keep our focus on you, and no matter how long it takes, strengthen us to endure to the end. Thank you. Amen.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Your Address Matters

I often see Facebook posts by someone I know personally but won’t name them here because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is, what they post. It seems that a lot of life happens to them, and I say, “Life Happens” instead of using the other word.

The other day after reading yet another one of these posts, I started thinking and asked, “Why?” It didn’t take long before I realized their address was wrong, and that’s the problem.

No, I’m not saying that it is because they are poor and can’t afford to live in one of the nicest areas of their town because those people can have “life” happen to them as well. The issue is this; they do not live in the garden!

God created a garden, made Man, and intended him to always live in that garden. But after God gave Man free will, Man decided to exercise it and choose not to live by God’s rule to stay in the garden.

God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order. God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.” Gen. 2:15-17 (MSG)

That’s the very problem today with people. For whatever reason, they may think they have, decided not to follow God’s commandments and live according to His Word, the Bible. Therefore their address is where trash goes, and life “dumps” upon them often, perhaps even daily!

It doesn’t have to be like that!

I will not claim that accepting Jesus into your life and making Him “Lord” of your life eliminates all of life’s problems, but it sure makes getting through them more manageable. You can be assured that you have a loving God to help you get through the trials, and being the great provider that He is famous for, you might even be surprised at how He takes care of those trials. You have to trust in Him.

So accept Jesus into your life by asking him to forgive you of your past wrongdoings and then read God’s Word and start talking to Him daily. Oh, and get some boxes and start packing because you are about to start living in a garden.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Counterfeit

Life is hard sometimes. Lately, it seems like, for April and me, things have been more difficult than usual. Perhaps I had gotten too used to God pouring out his blessings regularly because life was easy. Direction came easy, and so did His provisions.

I know what the scriptures say about trials and patients but that doesn’t mean I have to like them! It can be extremely challenging to wait on God. To accept the idea that it is better to live according to the watch that He wears. Some people give up hope and decide to settle for Satan’s substitutes.  Their “knock-offs” of God’s original designs. “Counterfeits.”

“Satan can’t give you the fruits of the Spirit!”

Sadie Robertson Huff of Duck Dynasty fame.

He can’t give you love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, or self-control. If you think he can, examine it thoroughly because it’s a fake!

You know, perhaps God’s pouring out His blessings from a higher dimension, and that is why it is taking longer to get here but when it does it will be abundant, more than enough, overflowing. “Okay, God. I’ll wait for your originals in my life. Thanks and I love you!”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How do You Measure it?

Growing up, a lot of children’s parents mark their bedroom door jambs and date it as to how tall their child is. This is a way to measure their physical growth. A child’s maturity growth is measured by the fact that they can make sound decisions in life situations. But how does one measure spiritual growth? Paul gives us the answer:

“However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. You are still worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]?” 1 Cor. 3:1-3 (AMP)

In other words, one displays spiritual maturity in Christ Jesus when they react to world situations and relationships the way Jesus would. And that is with one or more of the fruits of the Spirit. You know them; love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I like how Paul says, “unchanged by faith”. When you have known someone for a while who you know claims to be a Christian, a Christ-follower, and you have yet to see spiritual growth in them, then you know for sure that their faith in God has not changed them. Most likely, they are not reading their Bible, talking to God other than to make a request for something, and while in the church are probably making out their shopping list!

A true, mature, developed, and strong relationship with God will change us. Why? Because we see, feel, and experience his love and we begin to desire to imitate his character in our own lives. It’s all part of being made in his image.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Is This Heaven?

Today has been downright frustrating! First of all, I didn’t sleep much last night. That’s never a good way to start the day. I took April to the dentist and then I went to the gym. Shortly after picking her up, I got frustrated because she couldn’t tell me why the dentist pulled one of her teeth. That was not in the treatment plan for this visit or any of the four.

Fine. Silence the rest of the way home. A little bit later while I was trying to get some sleep April texted me that she was supposed to pick up a prescription. I don’t like having to get back out after getting home when I’m tired. We talked a little bit and then decided it was best to call the pharmacy to make sure it was ready before driving over there. It hadn’t even been called in.

I called the dentist’s office and informed them. They apologized and said they would call it in, but asked us to give the process an hour. Fine.  We gave it two hours. We stopped to get a small lunch and April a shake on the way. We were told the ice cream machine was being cleaned. What? Who does that during the lunch hour? We left. Trying to exit their parking lot we almost got the front of our car taken off by a big truck where, I guess, the driver never saw us. We went to another restaurant next door but decided to go to a different place. While making that decision in the parking lot a lady pulled in next to us and when she opened her door she dinged our car. I honked, but she never looked at me or cared to apologize.

We went on to the pharmacy without eating. When we arrived we learned the prescription had not been called in yet. What? I called the dentist’s office again. More apologies and was assured this time it would be done. It was.

We made our way to another franchise hoping their ice cream machine wasn’t being cleaned. It wasn’t. We ordered our lunch and April’s shake. We wound up getting a free drink of our choice, I got water, and they accidentally made two chocolate shakes and so they gave us the second one free. I felt so guilty!

During all those prior frustrating moments I complained, a lot! I know I expect too much out of people, too often, but I would hope they would be safe and apologize when they wrong somebody. When someone is rude and cuts in front of us April will say, “Their V.I.P.” I guess in their mind they are!

We got back home and I finally now was lying down and almost asleep. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Yep, the kid next door decided to play basketball. I hate the constant pounding of a basketball on concrete. It not only prevents me from sleeping but at times will cause a headache. So I got up to write this blog.

“Yes, there will be frustrating days, but I have come to give you peace,” Jesus said. At least in the MAB Translation. (Mark A. Brady) I had a little taste of peace and heaven while eating lunch and being blessed, but the rest of the day was anything but heaven!

I read a friend’s Facebook post where she talked about surviving a big home remodeling project and the only way she said she got through it was to die to herself. Hum. Perhaps I need to remember to do that on days like this. Help me Jesus to do so while submitting every day to you.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Irreconcilable Differences

Being in a relationship can be challenging at times for a variety of reasons. When married couples find that changing, or compromising is harder than they think it is worth it they many times end up in divorce court claiming, “Irreconcilable Differences”.

I had to look up what those two words mean.

Definition of Irreconcilable Differences

Noun

  1. Differences of opinion or will that cannot be brought into harmony, or cannot be brought into an agreement through compromise.
  2. A relationship that has become relentlessly hostile.

One could make the case that God and Satan declared, “Irreconcilable Differences”! That God and Satan have a relationship that has become relentlessly hostile! Although there is one definite distinction; God had the final say-so when it came to the final judgment of their case. When Satan insisted on being a “god”, in his own eyes, and having the angels worship him God said, “No way! There is only one true God and it is me, and He was not about to compromise.

To this day Satan is working day and night trying hard to appeal God’s final judgment. He is even trying to use people to win his case. He tells them lies, half-truths that convince them of things like there is no God, there is no punishment for sin, or that there is no eternity. In other words, as he told Eve in the Garden of Eden, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) People believe him when he tells them, “There is more to life than what you currently have now, and you deserve more. You’ve earned it.”

It’s sad when they buy into his deception. If they are not set free with the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ then they will stand before God when they die and He will declare with them as well, “Irreconcilable Differences” and they will be forever divorced, separated from the presence of God, and that is called, “hell”!

Please, accept Jesus Christ into your life before it is too late. Ask for forgiveness of your sins, and wrongdoing. Read God’s word, “The Bible”. Learn about the love of God and come into harmony with Him. When all truth is revealed, and it will be, you will be glad you did.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What To Do

A whole lot is going on these days in our world, in America, and most likely in your private lives. It would be easy for one to look at others and focus on what they are saying or doing. One may be invading a country another maybe ignoring that a lot of Americans are financially struggling, and a lot of people are more concerned about their own selfish rights than the life of a child who can’t yet protest their opinion of wanting to live.

I can just see the devil having a hay day laughing while so many people are running around screaming trying to get their view heard. He is behind these evil things, unjust actions, and selfish rights.

Instead of joining those trying to be heard I implore you to keep your eyes on Jesus! To keep a good, strong, and tight connection to the vine. Continue to bear, produce much fruit, the fresh fruit of God.

Psalm 1   The Message

How well God must like you—
    you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats,
    you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings,
    you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
    who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
    unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take leads to nowhere.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Marking Your Journey

Do you mark your journey? I don’t, not in a physical way that is. Like by keeping a journal, or something. Perhaps I should because it is good to look back. We are usually caught up in the moment thinking and praying about today’s needs and tomorrow’s.

But looking back is a good practice. I tend to end each day by saying, “Well, God, you got us through today. The bills that were due today were paid. The needs were met today. We ate today, and there was gas in the car to go where all we needed to go, today. Thank you, God!” And the truth is this; last year at this time I was praying about the day’s needs and the future back then. Yet, I made it through and have come to this point one year later.

You could say my journey is marked with “Mile Markers”, yet others are marked with “Tombstones”.

A mile marker indicates how far you have traveled. A tombstone indicates your journey ended. A living person’s tombstones could be where their job ended, their marriage, or even their relationship with God.

The Israelites used to pile up stones to mark where God did a great thing for them as part of their journey.

“Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder, a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, so you’ll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, ‘What are these stones to you?’ you’ll say, ‘The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan—stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.” Joshua 4:5b-7 (MSG)

Be mindful of what God has done for you in the past, because the truth is, He is doing it today as well!

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Happened?

Have you ever wondered, where did it all go wrong? Or, how did they end up like this? I have. You look at someone’s life and you can’t quite figure out how they got where they are today.

I heard it said the other day, “I made a wrong turn on the way to church!” That kind of says it all. Somehow the individual took their eyes off of Jesus and looked instead at what was around them. Kind of like Peter when he was walking on the water. He let his circumstances disrupt his fixed gaze on the Master, on Jesus.

“Church” doesn’t save you, or even just “going to church” doesn’t either! I know a couple of women who “go to church” every time the doors are open, but there is no love of God in their hearts! As a result, people get hurt.

Back to the people who have strayed from the truth; they started looking at what Satan was offering them “now” that would fulfill that longing desire in their heart instead of waiting on God to provide something or someone pure, holy, and a part of Him.

The wonderful truth is this; it’s never too late to backtrack and take the right street to the church. In other words, it’s never too late to return to God. Most likely there is someone who is praying you would and God is sitting on the front porch staring down the road as far as He can hoping to see you come over the horizon toward him! He is waiting with open arms.

Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living
    and reorder our lives under God. Lam. 3:40 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Despite What May Be

One of the hardest things on this journey we call, “life” is overcoming. It seems as if it will never happen. Either the hole of debt we have dug is too deep, or the struggle with the one we once loved hurts too much. Perhaps the sickness seems as if it will never get better. You know, all too well, what I am talking about, and so do I.

When Jesus taught the multitudes he would often direct their attention to nature to emphasize the point he was trying to make. He didn’t have a “whiteboard” or a “PowerPoint” presentation. He used what he had, and it worked!

To borrow this method from the great Teacher, let me show you some illustrations from nature about overcoming.   Notice this Ferris wheel will someday be totally overcome by this growth in nature. It has probably taken a few years to get this to this point, but what one might of once thought was impossible, has become possible.

Consider this pile of rubble. One may make the comparison that this mess is similar to their own life. I know I once did, after making, what I thought, was a mistake that would end my service to God forever. Turns out, I was wrong on that point. In the midst of my personal, broken pile of a mess life, He slowly began to rebuild me and make me useable to him and others once again.

Then there is this tree. It found life close to disaster. It lives on the edge. Some may consider that exciting, while others would find it nerve-racking realizing that at any moment, a strong storm could come and it would lose its grip. The tree seems confident trusting the hold it has on the unmovable rock.

One can learn from this tree that finds itself so close to falling, so close to going over the edge, from becoming firewood.  Burnt up and consumed, yet today, it stands tall. If we trust our “Rock and salvation” we too could stand tall no matter what storms may come.

Admire this flower. It bloomed and grew despite not being in a beautiful garden. It has no dedicated gardener to provide daily watering, plant food, or bend down and remove any weeds that may try to enter its territory. Yet it survives and fragrances the environment around it with a sweet smell.

Maybe you’re not currently living in a garden, and maybe you struggle to have your basic needs met. Take a lesson from this flower; bloom, grow and be a pleasant odor in your world.

With God’s help, you can grow and survive despite your past, or present situation. Regardless if you have a lot or a little. Make it part of your mind to be an overcomer. Set it in your heart and mind despite what may be today.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.