In the Beginning

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

God spoke: “Light!”
    And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
    and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
    he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One.”

Genesis 1:1-5 (MSG)

In the End

Because of sin, God saw that the earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. It needed light!

God gave his only Son: “Light!”
    And light appeared.
God saw that Light was good
    and separated Light from dark.
God named the light, Jesus,
    he named the dark, satan.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One of the end.

Light, Jesus dispels darkness.  Over takes it.  Walk into any room and flip on the switch and immediately darkness is gone.  This Christmas, accept the fact that hope remains and any darkness, trouble, depression. pain, or discomfort can be eased or dispelled by the power Jesus has over darkness, over satan, because He is the light of the world, here at Christmas time and forevermore.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Plan “A”

“I know!  Let’s confuse the wise, by doing the unexpected.”

“What do you mean?”

“Their looking for a king, and we’ll provide one, but not in the manner they are expecting.”

“So what are you thinking?”

“A baby.  A baby born to a virgin.”

“Oh, like that won’t mess with their heads!”

“So who is going to be the baby?”

“You.”

So when the proper time came about, God sent an angel to announce part of his plan to Mary, and God’s plan was launched.

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.”

29 Mary was deeply troubled over the words of the angel and bewildered over what this may mean for her. 30 But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. 31 You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone him as King on the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign as King of Israel forever, and his reign will have no limit.”

34 Mary said, “But how could this happen? I am still a virgin!”

35 Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread his shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your aged aunt, Elizabeth, has also become pregnant with a son. The ‘barren one’ is now in her sixth month. 37 Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!”

38 Then Mary responded, saying, “Yes! I will be a mother for the Lord! As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.” And the angel left her. Luke 1:28-38 (TPT)

Fast forward; we know God’s plan worked.  Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)  He stayed in constant communication with his heavenly Father, and despite his own will completed the plan.  It’s a good thing too, because there never was a plan “B”.

Why would God do such an incredible selfless thing for you and me?  There is only one reason; LOVE.  God is love, and He loves us so much that he spared no expense to rescue us from our own selves and our eternal demise.  We celebrate God’s love by celebrating Christmas.  The event that if believed and accepted gives us life.

Merry Christmas

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What I Really Want for Christmas

Getting ready for Christmas can be tiring!  There are so many things to do, places to go, and people to see.  It’s great to have the opportunity to see people.  In fact, receiving a Christmas card each year is the only time I get to hear from some people.

I just laughed, because it dawned on me that Christmas is the only time God gets to hear from some people too!  Okay, it’s actually not funny at all.  Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas the other day.  They suggested we go share a meal at one of my favorite local restaurants, but what I really want for Christmas is to be with them on Christmas day.  I can’t go into details as to why I can’t be with them, because I don’t want to change the names in order protect the guilty.

After all, Christmas is really only about people, or should be.  You see it was God loving his people, and wanting to be with them so bad that He was willing to give his only son to become a sacrifice for us. For the things that “we”, not him have done wrong.  God wants to be with people.  He loves us so much, and hates it when we suffer, and struggle in life.  When we hurt, feel so alone and don’t know what to do, or where to turn. You see, we are all on God’s Christmas list.  Even those of us who accepted his Christmas gift to us a long time ago.  We drift away from him from time to time.

So what do you say?  Can you join me in giving God what He wants for Christmas?  Spend some time with him?  Talk to him?  Give him an opportunity to reply to your heart.  I know this, you will be glad you did.  It might even turn out to be the best Christmas Party you go to all season!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Joy to the World

I notice things.  Annoying to April, but I think it helps me as a writer. Regardless, this holiday season I have noticed the word, “joy” everywhere.  On buttons worn by Walmart employees, in TV commercials, in print, and placed on products.  It almost seems as if after the last two years we have had experienced people are desperate for some “joy” in their lives!

They want it bad, so they declare it, they proclaim it, and they even wear it.  People want “joy”, they need “joy”.  But saying it, wishing for it, doesn’t make “joy” appear.  Not real joy anyway.  Real, lasting “joy” can only be found in Jesus Christ.  By giving your life to him and recognizing that He gave his life to you.  To die for you, as a sacrifice for every little thing you have ever done wrong in your life, otherwise known as “sin”.  Real joy is:

J = Jesus
O = others
Y = you

You accept Jesus, make him the most important person in your life, read the book his father wrote, and learn to take on his nature, then “joy” begins.  The next step in finding real “joy” is putting others before yourself.

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.
Mat. 22:37-39 (MSG)

This is the formula for finding “joy”, not just at Christmas time, but all year round.  Serving others brings “joy” as well.  Another way to find “joy” is to marry it.  You see I was divorced for 24 years.  I was content with that, well most of the time, but I longed for joy.  My first marriage had its good moments, but I always felt in my heart that it could be better.  And now I know I was right.  You see my second wife’s name is, “April Joy”.  I have said it before, but when I am doing my part, to love her as Christ loves the church, then she fills my life with so much “joy” words cannot describe.  She knows the formula for “joy”, and she is so full of the love of God in her life.  That love oozes out and covers others.

Yes, it’s Christmas, and certainly “Joy to the World” indeed, but if you want real “joy” that can last a lifetime then pursue Jesus, love others, and love yourself.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Little Drummer Boy

I saw the posted image in Facebook the other day.  I had to read it twice before my mind drew the correct image of what was being said.  Then I laughed, and immediately shared it with a couple of friends.  One didn’t get it until I started singing the song.  If they had gotten it on their own they wouldn’t have had to hear me sing, “Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum!”

“Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum! That line has become synonymous with the Christmas season as part of the beloved carol “The Little Drummer Boy.” The song is believed to have been written by Katherine K. Davis, and it was first recorded in 1951. The lyrics are in the first person, and the speaker is a little drummer boy at the manger scene who had nothing to give baby Jesus but his drum solo. The song is sweet, reverent, and imaginative, but, no, the little drummer boy is not in the Bible.”

Source: gotquestions.org

This Christmas song was not one of my favorites, at all.  That is, until I heard a version of it by, “White Heart”.  I found the song dull and boring before, but not anymore.

A few days have gone by since that Facebook post, but then yesterday, as April and I were out running errands and a particular Christmas song came on the radio, it dawned on me, I haven’t paused yet to reflect the true meaning of Christmas.  I haven’t stopped long enough to prepare my heart to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Back to the little drummer boy; whether just a made up story or not, taking time to give Jesus what you have is a valuable lesson to reflect on.  He had nothing to give, but his talent of playing drums.  If it was true, I can see him standing there in perfect single formation, playing that drum with all of his heart!  Playing an anthem fit for a king, and in this case the King of Kings.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Only God

“God, you want me to do what?”  What in the world does a kid from Oklahoma know about hosting a writer’s conference?  I mean, I have been to a few, but put one on?  One thing I have learned, the hard way, is simply be obedient and do what God is telling you to do, whether you know how, or not!   Truth is, sometimes it’s better if you don’t know what you are doing, because then you are more likely to rely on God.

So, for the last several months my neighbor, Janice Buswell and I have come together, fasted and prayed, listened to the voice of God, developed a writer’s conference, built a website, and formed a company. I give you, “Experience Writing”.

At the conference, Janice Buswell, Jane Rubietta, Tara Lynn Thompson, yours truly, and the legendary, Jared Buswell will share what the writing experience can be, could be, and should be.  Through our combined journeys we will share the truth concerning publishing.  There are a lot of people who will tell you how to write, what to write to be successful, and what they feel is the only path to getting published, but each writer needs to discover their own story, and find the personal method to put that story on paper and present it to the world, who is just waiting to read it.

If you are a writer, or have ever thought about getting that story in your spirit out then you should consider attending the Experience Writing Conference.  All the important information is included in the website:

expwriting.com

As Jared Buswell would say, “It’s going to be epic!”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

They Don’t Like God

I was involved in an interesting discussion the other day.  Okay, some might even call it an argument.  You know how those go, someone, or both may say something hurtful to the other person.  Not really meaning it, but to push a button.  I used to stand close to the buttons in elevators and ask people, “What floor?”  Then after pressing the correct button announce, “I like pushing people’s button.”  Not really true, but at least it made them smile.

Back to the, “discussion”.  I was accused of being so bad that even certain people close to me don’t want to be around me.  This issue used to really bother me.  A lot of tears have been poured out believing that somehow I was that horrible.  Its funny how easily satan can get you to believe a lie.  I strive to be “Christ” like.  To be like God, loving.

In the middle of that, “discussion” wisdom and understanding came to me for the first time concerning this issue.  It’s not me they don’t like, it’s God!  They don’t like God.  In fact, they don’t like being in the presence of God, and when a person lives as God calls them to then surrounding them is God’s presence.  Consider this;

God is perfect and hasn’t done anything wrong to them, but yet they don’t want to be around God either!

The other person doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable simply because you are there amongst them.  Their sinful heart, chosen lifestyle, or demons get irritated when you are there.  But they will lie about you, make all kinds of wild, and false accusations of things that you have never done, and because you have a soft heart, you begin to think they are right.

Now knowing this doesn’t make it easier to deal with the hurt when you aren’t invited to be a part of the office gatherings, friend’s party, or even family gatherings, but at least you have understanding as to why.  Praying for those, the Spirit of God is working on, helps.  It helps by keeping your attitude in the proper place.  But let me say this, “I’m sorry they treat you that way.  It isn’t fair at all.”  I find comfort in the following verse:

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. Mat. 5:4  (MSG)

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.

Don’t Forsake the Children

Her family just emigrated from India.  Mother, father, little brother, and Anara.  Anara is only three years old, and when she arrived in America, just a few short months ago she couldn’t speak any English.  Anara’s parents thought it would be best to enroll her in preschool, so they did.

Anara is smart, and soon she started learning the language, but she also started learning the Bible stories the preschool taught.  It wasn’t long before she begin sharing her excitement, of those stories, with her family.  They witnessed Anara’s happiness, and joy as she grew in her love for the one true God.

Intrigued, her father inquired of the school, and asked if they could get an advance copy of those stories.  From the mouth of a three year old, the gospel of Jesus Christ is going forth.

Jesus: Let the little children come to Me; do not get in their way. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to children like these.  Mat. 19:14 (The Voice)

Children accept Truth easier than adults.  The older one is, the more their mind gets in the way of faith.  Simple faith, like that of a child is just believing.  Not questioning, and not reasoning, because a lot of the things of God don’t make sense to mankind.  And that is because God’s ways are much higher than ours.

Be like a child, be like Anara, and simply believe.  Then, as time goes by, and you begin to experience the love of God for yourself and see his hand in your life, only then will you understand.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

We Get in Our Own Way

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments…and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free….” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “…you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.

By Oswald Chambers

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.