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“Here ya go, Mommy,” said the young son.

“Oh, thanks.  What is this?” inquired his mother.

“You said you got lost last night in the big building you now work in, so I drew you a map to help you find your way out.”

According to his mother, he also drew her a map, to guide her home, in the shape of a heart.  He obviously loves his mother very much and wants to make sure she comes home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Grab a tissue, right?

When Adam and Eve sinned they were banished from their home. The Garden of Eden. A beautiful, warm place. Peaceful and full of love, visited by God daily. Man was doomed to be lost forever, unless someone provided mankind with a plan, with a map to find their way home again.

God drew a map. The starting point is wherever you currently are in life, You make your way to the cross where God’s only son died for us for He was the perfect sacrifice to make atonement for our sins, (wrong doing).  Jesus, the ultimate gift, exhibiting the ultimate kind of love.

Once there at the cross you turn right and go straight by reading God’s word which shows us how to live our lives, so we are guaranteed to find our way home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Hunt for Red October

“Give me one ping, and one ping only please.”  A line from the movie, “Hunt for Red October”, I like to say in my best, which isn’t that good, Sean Connery voice.  I have always been intrigued by submarines, and Red October is a large, Russian, ballistic missile loaded one.  It fascinates me how they knew where they were before the use of a computerized guidance systems.

Some followers of Jesus Christ could be called, “Submarine Christians”.  By that, I mean they stay undetected as they move about when it comes to their faith in God.  They might raise their periscope, every once in a while and take a look around to see if it is safe to surface.  They have their personal reasons for not being detected, most likely out of some degree of fear.  In the movie, “Red October”, the enemy on paper turned out to be their ally, and helped them achieve their goal.

God, through his word, encourages us not to hide our faith.  In fact, there are several verses that direct us to shine bright. Here is one of them:

“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.” Mat. 5:14-15 (TPT)

People who are far from God need to see him, they need to hear him.  They need to find him, in us.  You never know where hurting, or lost people are unless you look them in the face and listen to the words they say.  People who need God do give clues, if you are paying attention, if you are hunting.

Instead of computers guiding us, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit.  Led of God to where the sick need healing, the oppressed need to be set free.  God’s word equips us with spiritual weapons to take out the enemy, the devil.

The ping, Sean Connery asked for, verified his distance from his ally.  By coming to the surface, finding those who are with us, we can work together to complete God’s mission to save the whole world.

“That the whole world might be saved…”
John 3:17

Whether people realize it, or not, they are hunting for God.  The spirit man inside each of them is striving to be reunited with God’s spirit.  Let’s be out there helping them connect their heart to the heart of God.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Will God Show Up?

There is a lot going on in our world at this time.  Two weeks from today, America will decide to keep the president we currently have, or to elect a new one in.  The most trying thing concerning these times is, how will our decisions effect the future of America, our own lives, or the effect they will have on the world?

This kind of uncertainty can be unnerving, even scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m sure there are people all around the world asking the same question, “When will God show up?”  I share this message with you this day,

He already has!

You see when Jesus died on the cross the veil in the temple of God ripped from top to bottom, and this was no thin, cheap curtain either one might purchase at a discount store.  The only way that curtain could be ripped was by God.  He did it to show that now, through the death of his only son, when we accept Jesus into our lives we can enter into the very presence of God any time we want to.

As a result, for the people who believe in God, his presence is with us as we now are the temple of God.  And we take his presence everywhere we go into the world, and into our homes.  Those are the places where people are, and those people need to see God through us.  The peace He gives unto us to live in the current times we are in.

There are a lot of lies out there being spread.  You could call it, “Fake News”.  Always ask God what He says about the things others are telling us.  Remember this, just because it is on the news or on the internet does not make it true.  Even if part of it is true, God has the final word.

Believers need to place their hope and trust in God, knowing that they are his children, and God, being the loving father He is, takes care of his children.

When others are running aimlessly around in fear they will notice the peace and calm that is within you.  Remember as God’s temple, take his presence to the people of the world.  Be visible, be vocal, so they too may have the hope and peace you have.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

If My Life Was a Movie

I would like the role of me to be played by Keanu Reeves.  That way, I am guaranteed my wife will watch it.  The movie would definitely be a drama, a romantic comedy, oh wait, and in parts, a thriller, but isn’t that life?  There would be scenes depicting tremendous joy, moral failure, and of mediocre accomplishments.  Would it win an Oscar?  “The envelope please.  And the Oscar goes to…” not my life.

I suppose to mankind, since I have not made any great scientific discoveries, found a cure for cancer, written the next great American novel, or become the world’s richest man, my life doesn’t stand out.  Does that matter?  Not to me.

The movie could contain dramatic scenes of my life, but the most important ones are when I accepted Jesus into my life at age 7, which guided me into the person I have become, and the Sunday morning, at age 17, I dedicated my life to living for God.  Since then, I have done my best to go where He has asked me to, have spoken the words He has placed in my mouth, and do as He has directed.

The majority of my life I have tried to do what is right.  I have shared my faith with many, and in many ways.  When I have fallen, I have taken hold of God’s hand and have asked him to help me get back up.  In moments I felt the deepest pain I hid in his palm, so He could touch my heart.  During my victories I have given the glory to God.

So, at the end of it all, the only thing that matters is what God thinks of how I have chosen to live my life.  I may not win an award created by man, but hopefully I will hear from God, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”  Then perhaps He will give me a crown, at which point I will bow, and place it at the feet of Jesus, for none of the good in my life would have been possible if it wasn’t for the good He did in his life.

The last and final word is this:
Fear God.
Do what he tells you. Ecc. 12:13 (MSG)

Director: God
Producer: Jesus Christ
Set Designer: God
Lighting: God
Sound: God
Special Effects: The Holy Spirit
Support: Jesus Christ
Casting: God
Screenplay: God (with the exceptions when Mark edited it.)

Cast:
Mark: Keanu Reeves
Mark’s Wife: Kim So-eun
Mark’s Father: Jimmy Houston
Mark’s Mother: Meryl Streep

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Heaven or Hell?

My friend and I were riding the commuter train, from Chicago, home after a long day. Somehow, the conversation turned to God and each of us shared our beliefs on what happens to us when we die.

He said he was convinced, after we die, we are reincarnated.

Then I shared my belief that if we have accepted Jesus Christ, as God’s son, and have invited him to forgive us of our sin, wrong doing, then when we die we spend eternity in heaven. If we don’t accept Jesus Christ, then we spend eternity in hell.

We were able to listen to each other, with respect, but then I told my friend this; “If you are right, then I have nothing to be concerned about. If I am correct, you may have a long time to regret it.

We exited the train, and before heading to our cars, he said, “You sure have given me something to think about.” I hope and pray he has now accepted Jesus, but on that day, he wasn’t ready.

You have to choose one or the other. There is no way around it. There are no excuses for not selecting. You can’t say it is impossible to know, for God reveals himself to everyone.

Romans 1:19-25 (TPT)

19 In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. 20 Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.

21 Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. 22 Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were in fact shallow fools. 23 For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!

24 This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves— 25 all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory and praises to him for eternity of eternities! Amen!

Choose God before it is too late. He has already chosen you, and He loves you more than you will ever know.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Give it to Me

A child grows up believing they’re an awful person, because their parent told them so.  The only time they heard words come out of their parent’s mouth was when it was a complaint.  And perhaps the volume was turned up way too high when those words were spoken.  The parent’s own hurt created a toxic mess in the child’s heart.  Know this; it wasn’t your fault.  You didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

Years go by, and that ungodly belief sticks to the heart of the child, and it actually affects every future relationship that child grows up to have.  One way to relate to hurt people is to wear a hazmat suit when around them, but those things are hot and heavy, and not readily available.  So what is the answer?

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

That beaten down and battered child grows up denying the pain exist.  Even saying things like, “Oh, its okay.  That’s just the way my parent was.”  Yet they walk on in life struggling to carry the weight of it all, believing the lies.  At times they buckle under the load and they wind up hurting someone else.  Perhaps their own child, or spouse.  Those hit by friendly fire walk away questioning, “What did I do?”

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

There is only one way to fix it, to get delivered from the burden.  In case you haven’t noticed I’ll repeat it one more time, give it to Jesus.  He wants to take the load from you.  He has been there your whole life, patiently waiting, but his heart broke when you wouldn’t surrender it to him.  He has felt your pain, and every time you hurt he did too.  Jesus doesn’t like to see those he died for hurting, and he died for everyone.  Every time you have cried most likely he did too.

Jesus says, “Give it to me.”

Please, you have carried it way too long.  It’s time to give it to Jesus.  He can handle it.  Don’t go another day living with the pain and trying to carry the load.  Don’t fall asleep one more night on a wet pillow.  Simply ask, “Jesus, will you take this from me, and heal my heart.”  Then trust that he has heard you and will do just that.  You will feel so much better.  Your steps will be lighter, and you will see your world in living color.

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.  Mat. 11:28 (TPT)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Help Wanted

Believe it or not, there was a time when jobs were posted in a newspaper.  A newspaper is a set of thin papers with black ink printed on them, which came off on to your hands, and the paper contained news, ads, and was the social media of the day.  One would pour over the listings and usually circled the jobs with red ink which looked promising.

These days, jobs are posted online by individual companies or via websites that advertise opportunities to work.  Even with the new ease of finding whose hiring, it can still take a lot of effort and energy getting noticed, in the crowd, and getting your foot in the door.

I have worked 46 years of my life, and I have never had any trouble finding a job.  The longest I have been unemployed is four months.  One time, after moving to a new city, I found a job in two hours.  So am I just lucky?  Maybe, but I contribute my success to one simple thing:

Tithing

My first tithe was 10 cents.  I was eleven, and had earned a dollar.  My parents and my church taught, lived, and preached about tithing.  In case you don’t know what tithing is, it is this:

Returning to God the first 10% of your paycheck.  It is important to pay the tithe first, and then live on the rest.  Yes, it can be difficult to do, especially if times are extremely tough, but I assure you it is worth it.  You are returning to God what is his anyway.  Tithing tells God, “I trust you.” and a loving father likes to be trusted.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10 Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake…  Mal.3:8-11 (AMP)

You cannot out give God!

Tithing, and being happy to do it, thrills God, because He loves a cheerful giver.  You give the tithe to your local church, or to the ministry where you are getting fed spiritually.  Then, if you want to give above your tithes it is called an “offering”.

It all starts by going through the “Help Wanted” section of a newspaper, or website.  By asking God for a job isn’t that what you are saying to him?  “God, your help is wanted.”  Then, when He answers, what better way to thank him every time you hold that paycheck in your hand, but to return back 10%.  Come to think of how times have changed, I guess we no longer hold paychecks in our hands either.  I miss holding that document that expressed the fruits of my labor.  “Thank you God, for your love and faithfulness to provide for me all these years.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Finding Direction

Believe it or not, after my divorce, when it came to meeting a woman to potentially marry, I used to ask God to send her to my door and have her say, “Hi.  I’m God’s woman for you.”  In turn, I would say, “Great.  Let me get my coat.”  I was living in the Chicago area back then and it is cold 9 months out of the year.  Guess what?  It never happened.  I didn’t like all of the effort it took to date after divorce, and I wasn’t real sure I even wanted to remarry, but one thing I did know, if God wanted to lead me that way He could have.

My approach was kind of like praying for money, but not going out and looking for a job.  I used to tell my concerned friends, “Hey, I’m not looking for a wife, but my eyes aren’t closed either.”

One sure way to receive direction from God is to be moving.  You can’t steer a car if it’s not rolling.  With that said, you don’t stop praying while you are in motion.  God can certainly open and close doors, or lead you to someone who knows someone who God can use to meet your need, or desire.

I know of a single woman who is looking for a mate.  She keeps doing it her way, which seems as if she takes the first man to message her, and she gets involved in another long distance relationship that eventually ends badly.  After a few days of hurt, and anger she’s back at it again.  The problem is this; her expiration date is approaching.  I get the sense she is not focusing on God first, and trusting him to lead her.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “No” to a man when you get a check in your spirit.  God will give her the desires of her heart when the right man comes along.  In the meantime, she can have intimacy with God.

It’s important to yield to the plans of God.

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jer. 29:11 (MSG)

For six years, before my retirement, I planned on buying an RV, travel America, and write.  That didn’t happen then, but I now see a chance where it may happen in the future.  My wife likes to add this phrase after making plans of her own, “If God permits.”  Not a bad way to live at all.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Cor. 5:7 (AMP)

It’s not easy walking with God, I get that, but it sure is exciting!

Whether you need direction for a spouse, a job, a place to live, what to say to someone who needs to hear from God, etc. choose to live in boldness.  Don’t sit in your living room and wait for the answers to come to you, oh, and don’t expect a billboard along the highway either, but get up, get out, and move.  Then trust the one who has the wheel of your life.  You’ll enjoy the destination that much better!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The “Who’s” In Your Life

“So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.”

Do you recognize those words?  The famous opening lyrics to the hit TV show, “Friends”.  There are a lot of different people in your life.  Some you choose and, well, others you didn’t, but we’ll ignore them for now.  The ones you chose are your friends.  You picked them and got to know them because you were like minded, for the most part, and yet even if their lifestyle and choices are different than yours, you enjoy being around them.  They make you laugh, they make you feel important, and perhaps, even loved.

As I write this post I am recounting the past few days.  I have had the privilege of getting to spend time with 10 different friends in different ways.

My friend Steve:  He called me and we caught up.  We laughed, we remembered, and we encouraged each other.  He and I used to spend Saturday nights, after church, at McWillows talking, laughing, and wondering what to do with our love lives, or the lack of.  It felt so good to hear his voice again.  Steve is the man God used to get me writing.  He simply asked, “What’s keeping you from writing?”  Three days later I found the answer, and decided to take the risk.

My friend Roger:  I worked with him on his current home remolding project.  Blood, sweat and the prevention of tears.  My friend needed help, and encouragement and I got to be there for him.  There is nothing as satisfying as finishing a day’s work, stepping back and saying, “It is good.”  I think God coined that phrase.

My friend John:  It had been a while since I had spoken to John, who I used to work with, so I called him.  His company is closing his department and I was concerned about his future, but he informed me he will be okay as he is transferring to a new department that supports the State Farm Insurance Company and my friend will now be known as “Jake, from State Farm”.  I asked him what he was wearing.  If you are aware of the TV commercial then you are laughing.

My friends Andrew and Debra:  I met Andrew on the commuter train that ran in and out of Chicago.  After very little communication, I saw his wrist band, and asked about it.  Since that day the communication hasn’t ended.  God used Andrew to help me learn about opportunities where my skills in writing could grow.  I later met his wife Debra.  This past week they came to visit me where we applied Covid safety.  We had a great time catching up as I had not seen them in four years.

My friend Michael:  The next day Michael made a stop with his friend as they are exploring Route 66.  Michael was a summer intern at AT&T some years ago, and we became friends.  Again, it was good to catch up and spend time together while respecting Covid.

My friend Chris:  We are staying in touch, especially after he fought a hard bout with Covid and with God’s help, won!  Chris is a good man who cares about others.

My friends Russ and Ginger:  I received a letter (a piece of paper written on and then folded and placed in an envelope, addressed, and stamped, then placed in the mail) from them that caught me up and touched my heart.

My favorite friend:  Every night, I get to see and talk to my wife via Messenger.  Lately, we have gotten excited about our future and we have been dreaming concerning how it will work out.  So many things are coming together that were once a mystery.

A man who has good friends is rich beyond measure.

The friends mentioned above have been so helpful, encouraging, and uplifting over the years, each in their own way.  Jesus is also our friend and He will stay with you closer than a brother.  That is if you have invited him to be one of the Who’s in your life.  Having good friends requires you be a good friend.  Some friends may come and go in and out of your life, but the good ones stay and are there for your day, your week, your month, or even your year.  And this year has proven to be one that requires good friends.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

It’s Free to Dream

One of the most famous dreamers in the Bible is Joseph.  As you know, he dreamed about being in a position where even his brothers would bow down to him.  As you can imagine this didn’t set well with them when he told them about the dream, and at one point they even planned to kill him.

Dreaming gives God an opportunity to communicate with you, even while you are sleeping.  Maybe He likes to talk to us in our sleep because we can’t argue with him, or reason in our natural mind.

99% of your dreams are about you.

The dream is most likely about you even if you see something happen to someone else.  Dreams can give you guidance, understanding, and warnings.

Your waking life!

Dr. Charity Kayembe teaches that one should line up their dreams with what is going on in their waking life.  There is a lot to learn about interpreting dreams, but it is not impossible.  Dr. Kayembe has several good teachings on the matter.  Here are some tips about dreams:

Know who to share your dreams with and when.
If your dream is about something in the future be aware someone may try to kill your dream by speaking negative words into your life, and please don’t tell yourself, “No”.
God uses your vocabulary, so you will recognize the symbols and words in your dream.
Symbols in your dreams may mean something else to another person, so don’t get hung up on items in the dream, or while referring to a dream language interpretation book.
Pay attention to how your dream made you feel.  Excited, scared, happy, etc.
Consider the setting, or location.  These are often clues to the meaning.

God talking to me via dreams is awesome.  When I think of it, before falling asleep, I invite God to speak to me in the night.  By the way, the title of this post came from my wonderful wife.  She is such a loving helpmate.

Another area, new to me as in understanding and walking out, is “day dreaming”.  It is dreaming about the desires of your heart.  Earlier this year I was day dreaming about speaking to other writers.  Three days later I received my first invitation to do just that.

Once you have a good, solid, biblical interpretation of your dream then the most important thing to do is follow it, or act on it.  Don’t let fear overcome you either, and pray against dreams that might be scary, or nightmarish.  It’s exciting to dream, in fact, I think I am going to go take a nap now!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.