Feeling Shipwrecked?

082120It seems as if these days can be very challenging to hold firm to your faith.  I think the devil and his crew are working overtime.  It’s as if they are doing to their best to use the current circumstances to wear the children of God down.  Have you wanted to quit?  Throw in the towel?  The thought has crossed my mind even, but does any of us know what serving God through hard times is really like?

The Apostle, Paul in his missionary journeys, suffered many hard times.  He was shipwrecked more than once, bitten by a poisonous snake, beaten, falsely accused, and was imprisoned.  If anyone living with God had a reason to quit, he did!

BUT HE DIDN’T!

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  Phi. 3:12-14 (MSG)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Phi. 4:6-7 (MSG)

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”  2 Thes. 2:15-17 (MSG)

“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. 4:7-8 (MSG)

Paul revealed how he got through life with God, no matter what was thrown at him, and he wrote these words to encourage us to do the same.  Learn these words.  Remember them, but more importantly, live them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Like Today!

clockOne of the hardest things, about walking with God, is knowing, “when”.

You are trusting God to do something in your life.  You have asked for it more than a child asking for candy.  Whether you are waiting for your spouse, or waiting for the correct time to start that business that has been brewing in your heart for 10 years.  Or in my case, when am I going to win an Oscar award for the New York Times best seller I wrote?  Some maybe hanging on to the promise that one day they will be debt free.  We want to know “when”, and when we focus on the not knowing it distracts us from living today.

A father and mother knew they were taking their two daughters to Disneyland, but also knew there was no way they could tell them until that day had come.  Why?  Because those wise parents knew that every day before would be a disappointment to those girls if “that” day wasn’t “the” day they got to go.

Do you see now why God can’t tell us “when” what He has already commissioned to take place in our life will happen, because if He did it would ruin “today” if “today” wasn’t the “day” it came about.

If God told a man who his wife was going to be before it was time, that same man would most likely get a restraining order from that woman, because he would get caught stalking her simply because he wanted to see her, and get to know her.  A woman’s business may fail because she opened it too early, or in the wrong place.  Then she might be tempted to walk away from God, thinking, “Well God you said I would have my own business!”  I probably wouldn’t enjoy writing any book if I only focused on, “Is this the one?”

I would rather be a mile behind God,
than one inch in front of him.

Enjoy the journey.  Enjoy today.  Like today!  See God’s hand in your life today. You might be saying to yourself, “I haven’t seen God today at all.”  My reply would be, “You woke up didn’t you?”  Last year I went through a time of asking God for more money to pay the extra bills we had.  I remember God asking me, “Okay, how much money do you need today?”  I thought about it and realized the bills for the whole month had already been paid and “today” I didn’t need any.  God could have said, “Well then shut up!” but He didn’t.  He didn’t have to, because by his question I knew He had met all my needs for “today”.

TRUST will help you overcome the word, “when”.  Trust doesn’t mean you throw your hands up and say, “I don’t have to do anything.”  But it can calm you down knowing God will work it out when it is time.

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 AMPC)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Heard God

081420“The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it.” – Oswald Chambers

I had two dreams, in the same night, several days ago that was kind of strange, and no, they weren’t brought on by late night pizza.  In both dreams, I was being instructed on how to write this blog.  I was told to make it more, “grunge”.  What is “grunge” I asked myself.  I had heard of it before.  Webster says, “The untidy fashions typical of fans of grunge”.  Okay, so how does that relate to writing my blog, I asked God.  Is that writing wearing casual Friday clothing on steroids? I sensed as though it meant to write more “raw”, “revealing”, if you will.  I draw from my life for inspiration or examples, but not always in detail that reveals personal feelings.

A week ago or so, I was feeling down, and depressed, because Covid has caused my wife and me to remain apart longer than needed.  I haven’t held her in my arms for over a year now, and that hurts.  With the current conditions, I could not see a path for us to be together any time soon.  We are done with the immigration process, and she just needs her medical exam and her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  Then she would get her Visa and come home.  It is difficult to be apart from one you love, and even harder when that person loves you back.  I have tried everything I could, even emailing the embassy to see if they would do a “tele-interview”.  They said, “No.”

I cried out to God, I begged, and I pleaded.  To make things worse, He wasn’t saying a thing, or if He was, his answer was so soft I couldn’t hear it.  Then, I confessed my attitude to a friend, who listened and didn’t just quote scriptures I had heard so many times before, but he assured me God knew and then he prayed for me.

An hour later, as I was writing a blog, I came across a scripture in God’s word, and I realized God was speaking to me and to my circumstances.  My smile came back, and my heart felt like a ton of bricks had been unloaded, the heaviness was gone.

God does hear us, and yes he cares about what his children are going through, but it is so reassuring to hear his voice.  He can speak to us in many different ways, like through his word, dreams, through others, blog post, and that still small voice inside, if we calm down enough to hear it.  God also knows what we have need of, before we even ask. (Matthew 6:8)  Remember this: If you aren’t hearing God right now, it has nothing to do with him loving you less.  He’s just waiting for the right time, for when it will make sense.

Has God miraculously made a way for my wife to come to America? No, but now I have understanding as to how He plans on using this for his Glory., I’m okay with that.  My friend called me back a few days later and I told him, “Through a scripture, I heard God, and I am good now!”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Want to Speak to the One in Charge

071120“I demand a new pair of jeans,” said the man holding a pair of Levis.

I had to ask, “What’s wrong with those?”

“Their flawed.  The fabric has come apart.  See?”  he replied.

I looked at the spot he was pointing to.  “Sir,” I responded, “Those are ripped.  You must have gotten them caught on something.”

“I did no such thing,” he insisted as he started stomping around displaying his anger.

I was about to enlighten this man that when denim rips, it does so in an “L” pattern, like the one on his blue jeans.  But before I could get the words out of my mouth I heard, “Mark, I’ll take it from here.”  The words were spoken by the store manager, Jim.

Jim looked at the jeans.  His fingers rubbed across the ripped area feeling the loose strings.  He then looked at the tag over the right back pocket taking in the waist size and the length.  He looked at the man square in the eyes, and said, “One moment.”  Jim walked over to where we kept the Levis and he retrieved a brand new pair.  When he returned to the sales counter he placed them in a shopping bag and handed them to the man.  He smiled at him and said, “Here you go sir.  Thank you for your business.”

I didn’t understand and started to ask Jim, “Why”, but Jim said to me, “Wait.”  After the man left the small clothing store, in the small town, Jim turned and said to me, “Sometimes it is better to give a customer what they want, even when you know they are lying.  You see, that man is satisfied.  He knows he made a mistake, but he didn’t want to pay for it.  He will return to do more shopping here.”  I stood there, letting the words sink in, and then Jim said, with an old, wrinkled smile on his face, “And besides, I can send those jeans back and get refunded.”  Jim was the man in charge, and Jim knew what could be done, and when.

Here’s the thing, all of us have made mistakes we don’t want to pay for.  Some even deny it.  God is the one in charge of everything.  He will run his finger over the rip in your life feeling the loose disconnected strings.  He will walk you over to a shelf where your new life sits.  He will smile and offer it to you.  You may be wondering how you can pay for it.  Will your good deeds be enough?  No, so how can you take it?

God will tell you how he gave his only son, Jesus to die on a cross and how his death pays for your new life.  Then he will encourage you to accept this free gift.  So if you are feeling lost, depressed, forgotten, or hopeless ask to speak to the one in charge.  Receive his free gift of salvation.  After doing so, I assure you, things will look up, and you will feel satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Need the Rainbow

080212TB 228This year, 2020, has proven to be one big storm that won’t stop.  It has harmed so many people, in so many ways.  Interview them, and you would hear different versions of the same story, “Hurt”.  Whether it’s a lost job, drowning in debt, the death of a loved one due to Covid, keeping family and friends from gathering as they once did, or new challenges no one saw coming.  When will it end?

Isaiah 61:3  The Passion Translation

to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss instead of tears,
    and the mantle of joyous praise
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.

You see, the only way to get through the storm, to silence the thunder, to calm fear when lightning flashes, is to look up, see God, and put on the mantle of joyous praise.  Praise him with full throat.  A friend, who lives in Taiwan, said he was singing praises to God while riding his scooter the other day.  Not caring who heard him, but unless they knew English, they probably didn’t even know what he was saying anyway.

The last few blogs have had this theme, of looking only at God, so I know this is the message of heaven to all for this time, but especially to those who love God.  The storm will end and when it does people will come out to survey the damage, and even if they see what harm has come upon you, but then look at your face they will see peace, love, God.  They may ask, “How can you still love God?  How is it you can still smile?”  Your answer will be, “I’m a tree planted by Yahweh as a living display of His glory!”

The storm will end, and when it does, I hope you are still standing, and still looking up, because only then will you see the rainbow.  The symbol from God, signaling, the storm is over.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Don’t Look Away

080420Why are people changing because of what is going on in the world?  Does that make sense to you?  Who you are before hard times should only strengthen during those times.

Why let circumstances alter your relationship with God for the worse?  If it is going to change at all, it should grow and get stronger, but as I have heard from several others in the last few days, that is not happening with some.  As reported, a lot of people are turning away from God in these times, and the lifestyle that once fostered their relationship with God is being discarded.

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (TPT)

God’s word (like above) encourages us not to look at what is happening around us, but to keep our focus on God if we want to be an overcomer.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Did it Come to This?

073120I haven’t said much concerning the attitudes of the people protesting everything these days.  To be honest, I have a hard time relating to them, or even beginning to understand them.  While watching the news this last week, I think I had some revelation to where they are coming from, but first, we have to look back.

In 1983 I visited a reproduction of the “Mayflower” ship in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where I saw a sign that stated, “In pursuit of religious freedom.”  So America was founded in having a deep belief, and relationship with God, and our society was established on His principles of living.

Back then, most people went to church.  If a husband passed away, the church community would support the widow, and if children lost their parents, the orphans would be looked after until they were adopted into another family.  There were other benefits as well, for if one had a sickness, or other life event their immediate needs would be taken care of.  Doing life together with people you knew is what Jesus taught and the disciples lived out in the early church.  This meant there was no need for social security, welfare, or other government involvement.

But at one point, some Americans begin to determine what was good and evil for themselves.  Others formed another brand of religion because they didn’t agree with the one they were in.  Before they knew it, there were at least 150 different kinds of churches and most lost sight of the importance of having a relationship with God and put an emphasis on rules, made up by them, trying to be good enough (works) to make it into heaven.

More and more got tired of failing on the “rules” and became disillusioned with God and turned away seeking happiness in making money, and spending it.  Those individuals had children who never had the opportunity to know God the way He intended, and they grew up not seeing a need for Him.

Several years later, like June 25, 1962 they even got prayer removed from school.  And on January 22, 1973 made it legal to kill babies still in the womb.  Their religion was, “Do whatever feels right to you.”  These days, it’s also “I have rights!”  There were a lot of other issues where people departed from God’s word.  As the years went on people who were not part of a church family still needed help and the government stepped in.  Now, government is too big with people who do not have a relationship with God, or don’t even know God and churches are too small and being too quiet, most likely too afraid of offending someone.

So you see, the people protesting and like wanting to defund the police, aren’t stupid or ignorant, but totally deceived by Satan.  Now people are a god to themselves, and don’t want to hear about the one true God and the wages of sin, because to them, there is no sin.  Everything they do is right in their own eyes.  None of this is a surprise to God, for it is in his word, the Bible:

But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of GodPeople will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.

They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. 2 Tim. 3:1-4 (TPT)

These days, true believers are being separated from pretend ones.  The current times are making one reveal what, and who they believe in.  It is important if your life is based on God, and his words, then continue to focus on him, and talk to him more now than ever. Doing so, you will be found a good and faithful servant and endure till the end.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Naked Prayer

072820 1Last week, I mentioned crying out to God, but today I want to share a little more about prayer.  Oh, and “Naked Prayer” is bearing your soul to God, so there is nothing left unseen.  He knows it anyway, but it’s as if He wants you to reveal it and give, or surrender it to him, like a child, who doesn’t know to hide their heart truth.

In John 10:10, where it says, “Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” the Greek word for “kill” doesn’t mean, “take your life”, but it actually indicates you “giving your life, or surrendering something to the devil.” That means you give up hope.  It indicates you are giving up on God, and when you are convinced God is not going to answer your prayer then Satan can sweep in and gain a stronghold into your life.

“Prayers don’t expire,” says Robert Madu

Your prayers don’t have an expiration date on them, or have a statute of limitations with God.  He can answer your prayer anytime He wants to, and He knows when the answer will work out best for you.  Also, there could be a good reason, to God, for not answering your prayer, and that is when faith is the most difficult.

A miracle, is still a miracle, no matter how long it takes.

Perhaps God knew if he answered a couple of my prayers before now, I would not have meditated on this subject and have written these words to hopefully help you, or encourage you.  The truth is; I don’t know, but that is where my faith and trust in him comes into play.  I am confident that God knows best, He has heard me, and will work in my life, and through my life, regardless of an answer to my request.  For that I say, “Thank you, God, and thank you for loving me.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Best Four Letter Word

072420 3There are lots of four letter words, and when we say, “four letter word” some go to a dark place and think of the ones that have a dirty meaning.  (No, I’m not going to give you an example.)

The best four letter word is: agape

You see, agape is so profound it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show itself to its recipient. If necessary, agape will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes.

Agape is the highest form of love,
a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action.

“Agape is a love that has no strings attached. It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give . Its awe of the one who is loved is so deep that it is compelled to shower love upon that object or person regardless of the response. This is the profound love God has for the human race, for He loved man when he was still lost in sin with no ability to love Him back. God simply loved mankind without any thought or expectation of receiving love in return.

When you love with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love. You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them. This kind of love is much higher than eros love that is based on selfishness; stergo love that is restricted by limitations; or phileo love that is rooted in mutual satisfaction. These three types of love are what I call low-level love, but agape is high-level love. It is a love that has no strings attached, a love that loves simply and purely –

– the God-kind of love.

Further explaining the role of agape in our lives, John said, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but indeed and in truth” (John 3:18). The word “love” is again the word agape, which tells us that when agape is at work, it is a force so strong that it demonstrates itself with deeds and actions. This is not an empty love that talks but does nothing. It is a love that does something, just as God loved us and then did something to save us from our lost and sinful condition.

This is the love that Paul urged us to follow after when he wrote in First Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity [agape love].…” The word “follow” is the Greek word dioko , which means to hotly pursue . It was a hunting term that pictured a hunter following the tracks of an animal until he finally gets his game. This means that attaining this high-level love doesn’t come easy. If we want to attain agape love and regularly walk in it, we must hotly pursue it! It must be the focus and the aim of our lives.

If agape is the basis of your sexual relationship with your spouse instead of eros , you will always seek to serve and please your spouse rather than being self-centered and focused only on your needs.

If agape is the basis of your family relationships rather than stergo , you will always remain devoted to your family, regardless of the disappointments that may occur along the way. And if agape is the basis of your friendships rather than phileo , you will be a faithful, immovable friend for life rather than a come-and-go friend who is faithful only as long as you get what you want out of the relationship. In fact, if agape is the driving motivation of your life and the force behind all your relationships, it will make you to be the best, most devoted, faithful, and reliable friend anyone has ever known.” (From, “Sparkling Gems From The Greek 1” Rick Renner)

Therefore, the best four letter word is: LOVE  the agape kind.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Kiss it!

072120Remember going to your mother, or father, and asking them to kiss your boo boo?  To make it go away?  Or do you remember your own child asking you?  My son, when he was about one year old, fell on some hard plastic toys, and hurt his bum.  He cried as he climbed up on the sofa, laid back holding his legs up in the air and said, “Mommy, kiss my butt.”  We know a kiss from a loving parent didn’t do anything, but there is something comforting knowing one who loves you, knows you are hurting.

Technically, I’m okay, but there is a something going on in my life right now, and it hurts.  I don’t like it, and whether it is my fault or not I have blamed myself.  I want to fix it, and have tried everything I can, to do just that, but the issue is still there.  My wife responded with accuracy, “All we really need is help from God, not from anybody else.”  So that leaves me with only one thing to do, cry out to God.

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, but you may be aware of only three of them.” John Piper

It’s okay to cry out to God.  It’s okay so tell him how much it hurts, how much you don’t like it and how bad you want it gone, or over. God loves spending time with you and hearing from his children, because it gives him the opportunity to hug you, to comfort you, to kiss it, and make it go away.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.