What’s the Problem?

Life can come at you hard and fast at times.  Bills you can’t pay arrive in the mail.  A routine checkup delivers a death sentence.  Your spouse announces their love for you has run dry.  Yes, these may be the extreme cases of life, but even the everyday life can cause you to gasp for air.  You feel, “If I could only reach the surface, I could breath.”

It is in those moments having a trusted friend helps.  So does having a church to go to where God has prepared a meal for you from his word via your pastor.  There are also an abundance of messages online, or on YouTube.  Listening to someone else’s testimony can encourage your faith, but keep in mind, just because God did something in one person’s life in a particular way does not mean He will do it that way in your life.  The point of a story, or testimony is to help you believe, be convinced, God sees you, knows you, loves you and wants to be active in your life,

Keep this fact in mind; Jesus went to the cross.  He died on that cross.  His body was removed from that cross, so he is no longer suffering to the point of death.  Then, three days after his body was placed in the tomb to rot, to decay, to go away, he overcame the chains of death.  He arose from the dead.  The stone was rolled away and the light of the morning became his “exit” sign.

My point is this: if you believe in Jesus and the power he demonstrated, and you place your trust in him and you believe that he overcame and can empower you, and lead you to be an overcomer then what’s the problem?

It’s not ignoring the issue(s) of life, but placing them in the hands of the One who overcame not only life, but death!  The problem you are currently dealing with does not own you.  It does not define you.  It has no power over you, because if you give it to Jesus, then you will overcome it.  Not only will you look at it in the rearview mirror someday, but you will recount the story of it, to others, to encourage them.  To help them overcome their current situation as well.

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

222

Just three little numbers, right?  Yeah, I thought so too the first time I noticed them.  That was the number of my room at the Chiara Center in Springfield, IL.  Chiara is, “Grounded in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Chiara Center offers a peaceful, inspirational setting for individuals, couples and groups who seek Christ’s healing presence.”  I stayed there for a couple of days, about a month after my father passed away, three years ago.

I did indeed find peaceful solitude and had some great moments with God.  Most people there take on a vow of silence while on the grounds.  I like to talk, so that was difficult for me to abide by, but in the long run, helped me.

After leaving Chiara, I slowly started noticing the number “222” popping up in all kinds of places.  It was so odd that I begin searching out, why, and what does it mean?  A friend helped me learn it meant “New Beginnings”.  Four months later I met my Filipino wife April.  That certainly was a new beginning, perhaps that is what God had in mind all along.  Then I wound up moving to the Philippines and living there for seven months.  Living in a foreign country was new to me.  Could that be it?  But I kept seeing the number, even after these big events took place.

I saw the number everywhere, and almost all the time, as addresses, on the clock, house numbers, as part of phone numbers, and even “order” numbers.

Then recently, my wife and I were invited to go to a lakeside resort, about an hour from our house, to pray with the team restarting the lodge, and creating a new ministry.  We arrived and fell in love with the place, and the location.  The lodge is close to where my father and I used to catch a lot of fish.  We listened to their vision over dinner and then went to our room and continued to pray, seek God.  We caught a hold of a vision of one way the place could be utilized.  The idea caught on and sparked further discussion by others.  At the end of the meeting, Saturday morning, we were excited about what all God wanted and could do at this location.

We stayed a second night with our neighbors, the host of the meeting and the cooks.  While sitting around a bon fire and April eating her first S’more, hearts and past experiences were shared.  Something started to grow inside April and me.  That next week we found ourselves back out to the lodge to take pictures for social media.  We were now volunteering.  To make things easier for us, we were given a room where we could leave some things and not have to pack everything, every time we went there.

Yep, you have probably guessed by now, our room key was to room “222”.  Tears swelled up in my eyes, and my heart flooded with joy.  This was what God was bringing April and me to, all along.  We are so excited, to now be a part of the ministry that will be happening here.  Lives will be changed.  Souls will be added to the kingdom of God.  Hearts will be reunited with others and with God.  Callings will take place here, and others will be strengthened.  The tired will find rest, and then the strength to go on.

As April and I begin our lives together and after we were married there were a few times when it almost all ended, and it felt like heaven and hell were warring, one side trying to keep us together, and the other side trying to pull us apart.  It was at those times, after the heat would die down, I would look at April and say, “Ya know, God must have something big for us to be a part of, because the devil is working really hard to tear us apart!”

Turns out, I was right, and we are so thankful God worked so hard to help us get to the day we found out that “222” was for this new beginning.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Have They Heard Yet?

“World Famous”.  There are lots of things that are known around the world.  There are places, there are people, and there is food to name a few.  When I lived in the Philippines, back in 2019, I was always surprised by what the people there knew of, but then I started realizing most had cell phones and with that comes social media and YouTube, etc.

I am still reading from the book of Job, in the Bible, and I came across the following verse:

“After all, he’s famous for great and unexpected acts;
    there’s no end to his surprises.” Job 5:9 (MSG)

That verse struck me as so true, and so profound.  When we least expect it, sometimes, that is when God answers our prayers.  It seems as if it happens when we realize it has to be God, because there is nothing left for us to do, or there is no way we can accomplish it ourselves.  Perhaps He waits for us to get out of the way, or maybe He wants us to know it was definitely him who did it.

As I meditated on the verse above one thing hit me,

“fame only comes when people hear!”

In other words, we need to share with everyone, who is willing to listen, about God and how much He loves us and wants to be a part of our lives.  He wants to be that loving father we so desperately need all the time, and yes, even in the good times.  This thought triggered another verse in my mind:

“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
    telling all the good things of God!

But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” Rom. 10:14-17 (MSG)

So get out there.  Talk about God, and his involvement in your life.  Let’s make God famous!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 1)

Mary.  Singing.  Dreaming of her upcoming life as the young bride of Joseph.  Tending to the laundry.  What would have been another typical day, of her life, turned into the most extraordinary day of her life.  An angel appeared.  “Fear not.”  Yeah, right.  If it happened to me I would have had to do some more laundry.

“You have found favor with God.  You will become pregnant with a Son, and you will name him, Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  God will give him the throne of his father, David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary questioned God’s plan, considering she had never been with a man.

But the angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be holy, in fact he will be called, the Son of God.” (Luke 1)

From that day forward, Mary found herself looking for Jesus.  As he grew inside her, when he turned, kicked, and did all the things babies do inside the womb, she had to have wondered, what will he look like it?  Will I see the face of God, or will he look like me?  Time would reveal that Jesus looked just like God in all ways.  For he always said, “I only do what I have seen my Father in heaven do.”

I’m sure Mary wasn’t the perfect parent, but Jesus forgave her for that.  His death on the cross not only forgave her, but all of us who accept him for who he is, the Son of God.  And guess what, he’s coming back.  He’s coming to gather those who believe and call him, Lord.  To take us to his home now, heaven to be with him forever.  I’m living my life in a manner to be invited for the second greatest coming in the history of the earth!  I’m looking for Jesus, are you?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Great Place to Be

063020

Painting by Akiane Kramarik

I mentioned last week how I hate injustice, yet this past weekend it has happened to me again.  One, close to me, has accused me of wrong doing.  I can’t go into detail, but yes, their accusations hurt, but as the swelling was subsiding, I realized this person’s attack on me came from a heart that is in so much pain.  This person’s personal life has suffered a lot in the short amount of time I have known them.

I begin to pray for them.  I see God allowing these things to happen in their life, not to punish them, but out of a deep desire to be reconnected with them again.  Hoping they will cry out to him and lay it all down at the feet of Jesus.  God wants their relationship to change from estranged to hearts knitted together.  It’s difficult for mankind to understand God’s way of loving us, but I know he does with an incredible amount.  God is longing, that the path of life they are walking on, will lead them back to him.

Yeah, I could continue to complain about what they did to me, how unfair it was, but thankfully my focus is on Jesus and that has allowed me to see what they are doing to themselves.

Just because they throw mud,

it doesn’t have to stick!

We can count on this, we do not need to stand up and defend ourselves, but rather allow the Lord to do it for us.  I know one day the accuser will see they were wrong.  Will they apologize to me?  It doesn’t matter one way or the other if they do.

“The Lord is your mighty defender,
perfect and just in all his ways;
Your God is faithful and true;
he does what is right and fair. Deuteronomy 32:4 (GNT)

In these days we are living in, one cannot afford to take their eyes off of Jesus Christ, but must do all to concentrate on him.  One way to only see Jesus, and not be distracted by the things going on in the world, is to stand directly in front of him.  Standing in that spot is a great place to be.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Day is This?

061220I notice patterns.  I also see common denominators.  I can’t help it.  It’s the way I am made.  I think I could have that disorder: Denoterns.  Anyway, perhaps many others have it as well, but I have noticed several times in the Bible where it took three days to change someone, or something.

Take Jonah.  God gave him direct instructions to go to Nineveh and share whatever message God told him to.  I think Jonah took it upon himself to judge the people there, and he boarded a ship going the opposite direction.  Perhaps his heart was full of hurt he associated with the people there and he wanted God to wipe them off the map.  You can read the whole story for yourself in the book of Jonah in the Bible, but after he was thrown overboard and spending three days in the stomach of a great fish, his heart changed.

Three days!

There are many other instances whether they journeyed, stayed or not ate for three days.  Three days can seem like eternity when you are hungry, thirsty, hurting, or desperate for an answer from God.

Jesus in the tomb is probably the most famous story of a three day ordeal in the Bible, but after his third day, anyone in the world can have their wrong doing forgiven, just by accepting Jesus.

On a personal note, three days after my wife gave up on hoping, asking, and believing God to send her a husband I sent her a message.  On the fourth day, her life changed.  It seems as if it takes three days to work out the flesh.  In other words, it takes that long to realize that when your situation changes it wasn’t you, but had to be God.

I don’t like going through a three day ordeal, but I hang on, because I love the fourth day.

If you are going through something, and you have turned it over to God, realizing you can’t do anything about it otherwise, then know this; your forth day is coming!

CONFESSION:  I made up the disorder Denoterns.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Protest Hell

060920 2Throughout this whole COVID-19 ordeal, I have been sad as the numbers climbed, but the impact did not land on my front porch, until now.  Ten days ago, my friend, Chris called and informed me he caught the disease from work.  Chris is 65.  Today, I called to see how he was doing, but he did not answer the phone.  About an hour later I received a text message letting me know he was now in the ICU.

I prayed for Chris and his wife, who also has it, but I felt as if I needed more people to agree with me in prayer on his behalf.  We needed to pray and protest hell!  You see, sickness, death, hate, and disease is of the devil.   There is power when people gather, agree, and pray.  Picture hundreds, or thousands marching against the gates of hell, pushing back evil.

Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer my heavenly Father will do it for you.” Matthew 18:19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

I posted in Facebook the need, and right away people started telling me they were praying.  At first, three, then 20, and at last check over 90 people have said, “I will stand with you Mark, in the gap for your friend Chris.”  I even heard from people 8000 miles away.

My heart was touched, and to be honest, my eyes started leaking at the out pouring of concern, and love.  This is the kind of action we need to take right now for our world as well.  I would say, not one of those who said they would pray, knows Chris, but they took time to pray anyway.

I didn’t know George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, or the others who have died when they shouldn’t have.  I didn’t know the five police officers ambushed in Dallas either.

My point is this; we, who do know God, should be praying more now than ever for all people affected by the recent events and for our country.  This cannot be the story of America.  We don’t have to know them first, like those praying for Chris don’t know him, but prayed anyway, expecting results.

Thank you to all who have prayed for Chris, or will after reading this post.  People of God cannot give up hope, grow weary, get discouraged, or turn to fear, because we know God is bigger than all things, and he is more powerful than evil.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

2019

I wanted to share a post from Ava. She is a fifteen year old young lady, from my church, who is an amazing follower of Jesus Christ, and a great writer. Be blessed by the words God led her to share.

a collection of sunsets

Well, my main goal in 2018 was to write one blog post every month and I am proud that I accomplished it! (December 31st, 2018 / 11:24 p.m.) I promise I posted this when it was still 2018 😉

Even if this year has been hard for you or people you love, we can still be thankful for it. We must learn to dance in the victory that we believe is coming even while tears stream down our faces. The Lord is teaching his children to dance on disappointment. Whether you experienced the greatest joy or the greatest sorrow (or a mixture of the two) God is with you, fighting your battles. understanding that we have a Father who knows us and cares about us is so important; his reckless love and power are always there to rescue you. he is fighting your battle, you need only to continue to…

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Short

loving JesusMy phone is short on battery life.  Some are short on money.  Many find themselves short on time, but there is one thing we are never ever short of, and that, is the love of God!

Copyright 2018.  Mark Brady. All rights reserved.