Tired of Sand in Your Underwear?

sand“But it’s what I know!  Yes, you’re right.  I don’t like living like this, but…I just don’t know how to change it,” said  the man, asking for a handout.

Because of where my church is located, I see several people who don’t live like I do.  I feel bad for them, as you see them year after year in the same dessert, making another trip around Mt. Sinai.  They remind me of the Children of Israel.  They wanted so bad out of Egypt, but after they were out, they wouldn’t let go of Egypt.  Most found their new life required them to trust God daily for their needs.  Believe it or not they wanted to go back and live and die in Egypt.

The Israelites said, “Why didn’t GOD let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!”  (Exo 16:3 MSG)

The children of Isreal would have rather lived in slavery then in freedom in the land flowing with milk and honey that God promised was theirs.  The effort to take the land proved to be too daunting, so they lived in sand.  I see some people choosing to live the same way today!

I find sand to be irritating.  It’s gets into everything and everywhere!  When I got tired of sand in my underwear, I decided it was time to trust God and go to a new place, a new level in him to walk and live.  I have been learning how to defeat the giants in the land, and when you put your trust 100% in him you find it doesn’t require that much of you.  God simply wants to be trusted.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

It’s All About Obedience

simple truthI have been reading from the Bible book of Exodus.  Today, I read a portion of chapter 12.  The true story of Pharaoh and the children of Israel has always intrigued me.  In meditating, upon this portion of God’s word, I realized one thing, being with God, being in his presence, is all about obedience.

You see, it was disobedience, by Adam and Eve that caused mankind to be separated from God in the first place, when they ate fruit from the tree, God told them not to.  Then, God gave us his son, Jesus, and it takes obedience of accepting him to be back in God’s presence.

Growing up in an Assembly of God church, we sang the song, Trust and Obey.  Some words in that song say, “there’s no other way.”  Simple truth, but truth none-the-less that will save your soul from eternal damnation.  God knows that when you obey him, and come into his presence, you enter into the greatest love story ever written.  It’s an amazing feeling to wake up loved, to lay down at night and close your eyes wrapped up in love, and living in between with God’s love abounding in your life.  God welcomes you, invites you, to partake of his love.  All you have to do is obey him, and stop eating the fruit the devil keeps putting in front of you.  A simple verse, but a true, loving verse none-the-less:

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.  (Joh 3:16 AMP)

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

It’s About Time!

clockOld Testament time:  Mankind was given “time” by God.  He created light, and separated it from dark.  He called the light “day”, and the dark “night”.  That was day one. (Gen. 1:3-5)  Pastor Robert Morris says, time gives us stability, and rhythm to life.  During eternity, there will be no need for time.  Jesus operates in a whole different realm than we do.  He is not bound by time.  He can go back in time, and forward in time, in no time.

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had time reversed for her body and appearance.  She did not look like an old grandma when she had Isaac at the age of 90, but like a beautiful young woman.  So much so, while Abraham was camping in Gerar, he lied, and said she was his sister so he would not be killed for actually being her husband. (Gen. 20:1-18)

New Testament time:  When Jesus’ mother, Mary, asked her son to turn water into wine, while at a wedding, he answered her request.  One of the wedding guest commented the host saved the best wine for last.  Good wine takes 2 years to make.  How did Jesus do it?  I’m not sure, but I believe he could, can and did.  Mary believed as well. (John 2:1-11)

Your time:  I heard a testimony the other day where a kid closed the car door on his hand.  His mother prayed that his hand would go back to how it felt 2 minutes before the accident.  When she got done praying, he said his hand didn’t hurt any more.

Why am I sharing this?  There is a realm, we who call ourselves believers, need to move into.  The realm of possibilities that Jesus lives in.  A realm that is not bound by time.  Being “Christ like” can be for these days, and not just after we arrive in heaven.  Why now?  Because as we approach the last days our faith will need to be stronger.  We will need to know the impossible has always been possible, if we just learn to believe it, and ask for it, like Mary did.  We don’t have to know how, but that it can be done.  The Holy Spirit is sharing this with others around the world.  Jesus will help us and welcome us into this new realm of believing and living.  In fact he will probably say, “It’s about time!”

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

Your First Thought

20180412_200110It happened again.  The explosive temper from one I am supposed to love, and I do, but the pain.  I left their presence, but I was a “walking wounded”.  I kept rewinding the scene and playing it over and over in my mind.  Why?  This didn’t need to happen.  I begin seeking comfort.

I went to one of my favorite pizza places and ordered a pizza.  Sad, I know, but I tend to turn to favorite foods for comforting.  Later in the evening God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me for comfort?”  I searched for the truth and then had the realization, so my reply was, “It wasn’t my first thought.  God… (tears) I’m so sorry!  Help me loving Father to make you my first thought.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement) 2Co 1:3-6 (AMP)

But I turned to pizza instead of God.  The very pizza pictured in the photo.  It was extremely windy, and as I was taking my second step out of the restaurant a gust of wind blew the box right out of my hand.  I went back in, ordered another one, and then cleaned up the parking lot.  To be honest I looked both ways to see if anyone was watching.  You know, that five second rule.  I decided it didn’t apply to asphalt!  My turning to food first, instead of God, made for a very expensive medium pizza.  Lesson learned, I hope!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Understanding vs Knowing

PowerThere are things, that go on in this world, I do not understand.  I ask questions like, “Why”, and “How?”  There are also things of God I do not understand, but I never used to question Him.  To be honest, I felt as if it showed a lack of faith.  So I have grown in my relationship with God just believing, and trusting, and knowing, “He’s got this!”  And in some ways that is good.  I relied on the following verses whenever I couldn’t understand or know what God was doing in my life, or in other’s lives around me:

Isa 55:9  “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (MSG)
Phi 4:7  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (KJV+)

But now I am learning from my pastor to ask God, and it’s okay.  It’s not a lack of faith.  Especially when I sense knowledge coming from Him.  Maybe another way to put it is; if I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me something, and I do not understand what I am sensing or seeing, I ask God, “What is this?”  “What does this mean?”  “Who is this for?”

My pastors are Joel & Linda Budd.  They teach a lot about this in their book, Fill Me or Kill Me.  God wants to teach us how to reach people with power and authority.  How to set the captive free, and heal the broken-hearted.  In order to do that, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised this power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8.  Jesus also illistrated this kind of power in His ministry while here on earth, so it’s nothing to fear.  You won’t be weird.  In truth, you will be more like Jesus.  And isn’t that what being a Christian means, an imitator of Christ?

When the Holy Spirit hands you the keys to someone’s heart, real ministry can take place.  The receiver won’t argue religion, won’t ask unanswerable questions, but they will receive God’s love through you.  Understanding is good, but there is power in knowing!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Ironic Paradox

PhotographHow do you convince, “believe in someone you can’t see”?  How is it understood?  Why is it easier for some and yet others find ‘having faith in God’ is like believing they could fly around the room.  God knew it would prove difficult, so He gave everyone, yes even you, a “measure of faith” to start life with.

God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Rom. 12:3 KJV+)

A pastor once preached a faith message series titled, “Walking off the Edge of the Map”.  You wouldn’t dare take another step once you got to the edge if you didn’t know where you would land.  But what if someone else knew?  Would you trust them?

You look at a photograph, but your eyes have to stop at the borders of the photo.  But there is one who can see beyond the borders of a photograph.  We are limited by what we see and know, but God is not.  He can see beyond the edge of a map, and past the limits of a photograph, and even the boundaries of your eyes. He sees, He knows, and the truth is, He cares.

God wants us to have faith in Him, because of all of the above.  God is not limited; by anything!  It doesn’t make sense, but by believing in God, whom you can’t see you are able to see beyond your own understanding.  And it’s nice knowing in your heart that because He sees what’s coming He’s already preparing you to handle it, go through it, or go over it.  Faith in God is knowing, “He’s got this!”

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Key to Your Life

KeysCurrently, I only use two keys.  It feels good.  It means I am not responsible for much.  I do not unlock a church anymore or even a desk.  So, in a way, the keys on your key ring tell others about you, about your life.

Most will have a house key, but you could also have a key to a cabin.  A car key, or two.  A key to your company’s building, company’s vehicle, your office door, or just your desk.  You could have a boat key.  One for your gym locker, gun locker, school locker, or even a foot locker.  But what if your key ring had one to your lover’s apartment, or to a lock box that no one else knew about?  Are there secrets to your life that require a hidden key?

Jesus knows about every key you poses.  Hidden or otherwise.  Jesus has keys too.  Rev 1:18   “I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates.” (MSG)  The only key that really matters in this life is the one that unlocks your heart.  Who, or what, have you given that key to?  I hope you have given it to Jesus.  Doing so, says you trust him with everything that is important to you.  Everything you value, even your very life.

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Do You Trust Me?

Trust.  It’s hard to trust someone else, and sometimes even ourselves.  God, throughout the centuries has asked people to trust Him.  Some did, others didn’t, but most did so with some fear and trepidation.  Another thing that is difficult is change.  Either change a job, a living location, but the hardest thing to change is yourself.  Putting the two things together will just about overwhelm you!

Whenever God calls you to change an area of your life, take it from me, it is best to blindly believe, and then obey.  Will you know how it will all work out?  Probably not.  Will you know ahead of time how you will make it?  No!  But the point is; God does.  That is where the trust comes into play.

One thing I have learned, the hard way, is God loves obedience.  When you figure out a direction God wants you to go, and then you go when the time is right He blesses you like nothing you have experienced before.  So when God asks you that question, say, “Yes”.

copyright 2017 Mark Brady