If I Fail

Charlie 022920“If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”  Something a few people forget before they get taken financially.  In other words, there aren’t many good deals or 100% guarantees in life.  So when I saw the picture with this blog post, which is a sticker that was on the side of a product, I laughed.

As I was laughing, my thoughts turned to God.  What if God came with this sticker?

I heard a testimony tonight where a prophet shared God’s love with a dictator.  The prophet told the dictator the code name of a top secret mission, and he also told him something that happened on his daughter’s birthday the dictator felt very bad about.  The dictator replied, “Those things are guarded secrets.  How did you know?”  The prophet said, “God told me.”  The dictator was so moved he accepted God and tried to give the prophet a bag of money.  The prophet laughed, but said, “The only cost to God’s love was paid for by his Son, Jesus when he died on a cross for our sins.”

So if there is no cost to accepting God then there would be no money back if you one was not satisfied.  Could that be why some don’t accept him, his love, his Son?  They want a written guarantee before they believe?  If they read the Bible they will get their written guarantee.

God will never fail.  1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never fails, and 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love.  If one gets to know God, his true nature, they would walk with him 100% satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If God…

c2gpic1If God healed me of one of my issues, there would be no reason to go to the doctor who is treating me for that issue.  The truth is though that doctor is searching for God.  Over the last two years I have developed a safe and trusted relationship with him as I listen to his thoughts, and opinions and he listens to mine.  If God healed me, who would be there to share the gospel with him?  Sure, God could send a new patient, but building that relationship takes time.  Also, would the next patient be open to share God?

If God provided all the money I would ever need, all at one time, would I continue to rely on him to meet my every need?  There was one time I was asking God for money to pay off a credit card and a small loan.  I sensed He asked me, “How much money do you need today?”  I thought about it and said, “Well, actually all the monthly bills have been paid and there is food in the kitchen and gas in the car.”  Then God said, “Then why are you asking me for money today?  I will provide as you have need.”

How you respond, when you need God to move in your life, is a benchmark of your trust in him.

If God showed you your spouse before it was time what do you think would happen?  I tend to think you would contact them and make a mess of things and not wind up together.  Why?  Because it wasn’t time.

If God told you about losing your job in advance, most would put matters in their own hands and go get a new job before it was time.  That sounds like good planning, but it robs you of the opportunity to act on your faith.  The Lord God almighty, might lead you to a better job making even more money than the job you found.

Yes, there are times when God acts on your behalf before you need it, or does tell you what is about to happen before it does, but most of the time He knows it is best to let these things happen to you and then see how you react to them.

Faith isn’t built in a time of need, but displayed.

God can do anything, at any time.  Knowing that is why we need to trust him and his timing.  God loves it when his child, who is walking through a very dark time in their life, reaches over and takes hold of his hand.  There’s no reason to say, “If God…”, but there is every reason to say, “God, I need you.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Last One to Speak

Charlie 021920DAY 1  A man’s daughter was struck with a sudden severe illness that required her to be put on life support.  The man captioned this event “The Psalms 23 Experience”.  He felt his family, “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”, they feared no evil, because they knew God was with them.  He believed this in spite of all the negative reports they received, at the hospital, on day one.

We judge most things by what we hear and see.  We tend to believe these things because our flesh perceived them first, but what if there was climate change?  What if we created an environment that showed God our faith?  What would happen if we allowed our spirit to perceive God?  If we began to hear what God said about the situation we were in?

If you’re going to pray for rain, bring an umbrella.

The man, whose daughter was sick, spoke of setting up an environment that gave God an opportunity to do some of his best work.  They played Spirit Spa instrumental worship.  They spoke of healing while in the hospital room, but they first “asked” God for what they wanted him to do.

Asking God, is huge!

I know, and agree, in the moment, we often believe what we hear and see.  We too many times take the first words spoken in a situation as truth.  The only truth.  It’s okay to acknowledge truth, but appeal to the One who can make things more true.  It was true the man’s daughter was sick, but what was more true was the fact, God, was going to heal her.

DAY 17  The man’s daughter returned home with a clean bill of health.  God, had the final word.  God, was the last one, to speak.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It Was Bigger Than Me!

Charlie 021520Big companies have a big pool of customers, and a bigger database of files.  Welcome to the computer age where you can automate systems to handle this big work load.  Sounds good, but what if one of the employees pushes the wrong button?

From my own experience I’ll tell you what happens.  A mess!  A big mess.

I discovered this today as I called a big company who sent me an email saying my bill was past due.  “What?”  “How can that be?”  “I pay my bills!”  According to the first person I spoke to I owed several hundred dollars.  Not something you want to hear.

The first guy passed me off to another department and after being on hold for a while the second guy came back with an answer and a resolution.  Evidence pointed to an employee, a year earlier, pushing a button that shouldn’t have ever been pushed.  The company informed me I did not owe the money.

I asked the second guy, “How did you figure this all out?”  He said, “When I first started looking at it, I realized this was bigger than me!  I asked for help.”

His phrase got my attention, and I thought, some people, including me, don’t recognize quick enough how big a situation in our life is.  Before you know it, things can get out of control and start causing a lot of pain.  The point is this; we should take “everything” to God in prayer from the very first indication of life being out of order.

“Oh what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Ask for help from God at the beginning, you know, the first moment you sense something is wrong.  You don’t always have to be the hero.  It’s okay to say, “This is bigger than me.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I’m Not a Gardener

Charlie 021220 1You might not be a gardener if you purchase annuals thinking it will save you money by not having to buy more flowers next year.  Yes, that really happened.  As I was planting them, my neighbor watched for a moment and then she said, “You don’t know what you’re doing!”  “I know,” I replied, “but I’m having a great time!”

A few months ago I heard, “Every relationship has a gardener and a flower.”  In some of my relationships I know I’m the gardener.  Just like planting those flowers, I don’t always know what I am doing.  I do know one thing though, flowers are fragile and when around them, one must be very careful.  As the gardener, you should show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The fruit of the Spirit of God. (Gal. 5:22-23)

The most common way to water a relationship is with words, but the ones chosen should be selected with wisdom.  Do not speak to someone about issues in their life with a heart half listening.  You like them, don’t you?  Listen with intent.  Pay attention.  Be focused on them and please, I repeat, please do not look at your phone.

Realizing time is a valuable gift, giving it to someone can cost you so much.  We, ourselves have so much to do and to get done.  It seems as if there just isn’t enough time.

Don’t let them see the price tag attached to your time, and be extravagant!

Whenever I don’t know how to do something, or what to say to someone, I turn to God and ask him to give me words, or instructions.  God loves us so much and is always available to talk to us.  He gives you all the time you want, and he knows what to say.

God waters you enough to allow you to grow at the right speed.

He also knows how much to shine upon you.  God, is a good, good gardener.  Oh, and as for the price, his son, Jesus paid it for you.

Trust the master gardener to show you how to feed, and nourish someone else.  I have come to recognize I enjoy gardening, in the spiritual sense.  So I guess I would have to change the title now to, “I’m a Gardener”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Don’t Sweat It

Charlie 020820I went shopping earlier in the week and one of the items on my list, I really needed, was deodorant.  The store I buy it from, most often, was out of it, and that store was my last stop for the day.  After I got home I had to start a new list with this item at the top.

Today, I had to go to CVS (inside a Target store) to pick up a medication.  The young lady who works there is always lecturing me about not letting the $5 off coupons expire.  She’s kind of fanatic about it, but I do see her point, it’s free money, and to be honest, the budget is tight these days and any savings helps.

So, before I left the store I thought about my next shopping list and the only thing I could remember, that was on it, was deodorant.  I found my brand and noticed it was marked “Clearance”.  I bought four of them.  The normal price for four would have been $11.96, but since they were a clearance item and I had the $5.00 off coupon, I only paid $3.32.

When I save money like that, I always walk out smiling, because I feel as though I shopped like a woman.  That’s meant as a compliment.  Now I know, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me I was thanking God.  I thanked him for the other store being out of it, and helping me not to complain about it, too much.  I thanked him for helping our budget.  This may be a little thing, but it shows the God of the universe cares about us, our lives, and even the little things.  Either that, or he didn’t want me walking around stinking!

But seriously, think about it, if God cares about the little things in our lives, then how much more does he care about the big things in our lives that need his attention.  There is a common phrase, “Don’t sweat the small things.”, but with God, we don’t have to sweat the big things either!  Here is what his word promises us:

Matthew 6:31-34 (MSG)  “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Flight 449

Charlie 020520 (5)Every day, about 4:10 PM, I see a Southwest Airlines jet flying over my house, if I am outside at the time, and if the wind is blowing from the south.  I did some research and found the plane starts in Dallas, TX. as flight #21, flies to Houston, TX. and changes its flight number to #449.  It’s known as a “scheduled” flight.

Schedules are nice.  You can count on them, but life doesn’t follow a schedule.

There can be things you are standing at the gate waiting to arrive and they don’t arrive.  A contract, a bonus check, a meeting with someone you are hoping will lead to new ventures.  Disappointment, discouragement, and disconnection can set in.  “Now what?” you might be asking yourself, or “What am I going to do?”

Even when you are a believer in God, and you have heard all the sermons, and have seen all the Facebook post that tell you, “God’s got this”, or “All things work together for the good of those who love God”, in that moment, it doesn’t feel like it.

Faith in God is hard.  We are such tangible creatures.  We want to see, we want to hear, and we want to touch.  Doing so seems so comforting.  We even have phrases like, “I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t of seen it with my own eyes.”  It is so easy for us to have doubt, about our lives, our choices, decisions and yes, even about God.

Why is doubt easier to have than faith?

What doubt really does is rob you!  It steals from you joy.  The real issue though, is It diminishes the size of the miracle when God works it all out in your life in a way that is best for you.  Can’t you hear Thomas, the disciple, after reaching his hand inside the opening where the Roman soldier pierced Jesus on the cross, saying, “I knew it was him.  Yep, I believed Jesus when he told us he would rise again after being dead for three days.”  I don’t mean any disrespect to Thomas, but I picture him as Deputy Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show”.  Charlie 020520

You see the truth is this; faith grows, becomes more real, when you have no idea how it’s going to work out, or even when, but you trust God anyway.  You place it in his hands and then force yourself not to take it back a few days later.

Just because at 4:10 PM, if I am outside and looking up, I don’t see flight 449 making its final decent into Tulsa International Airport, doesn’t mean it wasn’t scheduled to fly that day.  It simply means, the wind was blowing out of the north.

Perhaps in your life, the Spirit of God is blowing in a direction you are not aware of.  Trust anyway, because the love of God is always on schedule.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What’s Your Seat Number?

Charlie 020120 God’s is speaking a lot lately, through many means, but seems to be saying the same thing.  When that happens, pay attention and listen to the message, because God doesn’t want you to miss it.

God is separating the sheep from the goats now.  God doesn’t want those who only play “church”, or go to church because the calendar says it’s Sunday, but he wants those who are true worshipers and those who desire to go deeper with him.  He is taking his flock of sheep and getting them ready, trained, equipped to be a part of the most mighty out pouring of his Spirit like the earth has never seen before.  God delights in using his people to accomplish his will.  God wants you to be a part of it too.  As for what God is getting ready to do:

I just don’t want to see it,
I just don’t want to hear it,
I just don’t want to feel it,
but I want to be a part of it!

Tomorrow is Super Bowl LIV (That’s 54 for those who don’t speak Roman).  There will be thousands at the game.  There will be millions watching on TV around the world, but there will be 22 on the field.  Only twenty-two playing the game.

I don’t know what your seat number is, but I want to be on the field.  I might not know what to do, but I trust my God to lead me, and guide me in the moment.  I don’t want to be a spectator, but a player.

Training camp is in session.

I don’t want to be in the limelight, that’s not my goal, but to do everything God ask me to do to advance his kingdom, for his glory.

Get ready.  It’s about to happen.  Tune in to God, and find your place.  I pray you will join me on the field.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

As if You Were Single

Charlie 012920_5Have you ever wondered why you do things and it doesn’t go like you thought it would?  I mean you roll played it in your head so many times and not one of those times did it go like it did in real life.  What actually went down, you never ever imagined.  You’re hurt.  You’re angry at God.  You don’t understand how it wound up like this.  Let me tell you why it did.

When you said, “Yes” to Jesus’ invitation to accept him, and you asked him to forgive you of your sins, you became his bride.  When you are his bride, you come under his authority.  Not that he will “lord” over you, but protect you.  It’s as if he becomes an umbrella over you.

So when you make a decision and do something that is not part of God’s will for your life you are walking out from under Jesus’ protection.  You are acting again as if you were single.  Making your own decisions.  Doing your own thing.  It may seem right to you, but it’s not what God wants for you, or it is not his timing, or his way.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

 If you find yourself getting wet with the hurts of life, repent, apologize to God, and get back under the umbrella of protection.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.