What Makes God Smile

We call God “Father,” and He calls us his children. Many scriptures talk about this relationship, this connection we have with the creator of the universe and with the One true God. It is a bond that encompasses security, true love, and joy. At times it can be overwhelming when you sense his presence. Many times it will be so strong I will tear up. It often feels like God hugging me.

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 

Like our earthly parent-child relationships, there are times when other emotions rise up. Sometimes, God gets angry with us, usually if we are acting out. You know, trying to do things our way. Or if we are blatantly disobeying him. We might be angry at God. Like in times when we feel He is not listening to us. And it’s okay to express that anger with him. But there are other times when we laugh with God and express tremendous joy, especially when we see him answering our prayers. I felt this emotion yesterday as I realized God was moving on my behalf in a relationship that has been challenging.

Sometimes, God needs to discipline us, but He does so with perfect love. And because He loves us, He takes the time to correct us.

For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Prov. 3:12 (AMPC)

But God can smile too. Like a loving parent, it is when we, his children, obey his commandments, which are only there to guide us into a better life. What makes Him smile big is when we walk in faith. When we dare take Him at His word and step out to do something we don’t think we can do, accomplish or overcome.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 (AMPC)

It pleases him because He knows we believe him, believe in him, and trust him. Obedience shows we are mindful enough of his power, authority as God, and might to act on what He speaks into our souls. Our action with him to do of his will and good pleasure. To actively advance the kingdom of heaven and watch it prevail. Being witnesses and testifying of his greatness.

This is what makes God smile! May you make him smile daily as you walk in your relationship with him.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Underdog

I like to root for the underdog unless they are playing against one of my favorite teams. There is something about a team or an individual achieving something they shouldn’t be able to do. Like in the movie, “Rudy.” If you have seen it, then you know how emotional it is when he finally achieves his childhood dream of getting to play football for Norte Dame. “Rudy, you’re too small. You’ll never make the team.” It played on late-night TV the other day again. I told myself, “I’m not going to cry this time.” I have seen it probably, 18 times. I cried like a big o baby at the end. Fortunately, April was asleep!

Whenever someone beats the odds.

A famous biblical example is David defeating Goliath. Men who do not know God or his power look at things in the natural. With their eyes, like Goliath did.

The Philistine started walking toward David, with his shield bearer walking in front of him. He kept coming closer, 42 and when he got a good look at David, he was filled with scorn for him because he was just a nice, good-looking boy. 43 He said to David, “What’s that stick for? Do you think I’m a dog?” And he called down curses from his god on David. 44 “Come on,” he challenged David, “and I will give your body to the birds and animals to eat.”

45 David answered, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied. 46 This very day the Lord will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God, 47 and everyone here will see that the Lord does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power.”

48 Goliath started walking toward David again, and David ran quickly toward the Philistine battle line to fight him. 49 He reached into his bag and took out a stone, which he slung at Goliath. It hit him on the forehead and broke his skull, and Goliath fell face downward on the ground. 50 And so, without a sword, David defeated and killed Goliath with a sling and a stone! 51 He ran to him, stood over him, took Goliath’s sword out of its sheath, and cut off his head and killed him. (1 Sam. 17: 41-52  GNT)  David knew what God could do with a willing servant!

Men are not the only ones who will try to tell you there is no hope in trying. To give up. To sit down and be quiet. The devil will do all he can to convince you of the same. Someone who believes doesn’t stop, doesn’t quit, or gives up. They keep going until the impossible is accomplished.

The underdog becomes an unstoppable force as one believer under God.

If you find yourself in an impossible-seeming situation, recall what God has done with you and for you in the past or read what God did with others in the Bible. God never runs out of power, and He never changes. I think God likes to say, “Oh really? Huh. Watch this.” So don’t listen to anyone else but God. When He asks you to do something, know that He will be with you, empowering you to do His will.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

You Could be a Winner!

Photo by: Engin Akyurt

$100.00 to the first 50 people that “like” and “comment” on this post to show my appreciation to my readers!*

Do I have your attention? Did you think, even for a moment, this could be an easy way to get $100? Scams are everywhere lately. Most of the ones I get come as text messages requiring me to click on a link and render my payment method to fix my account. I got one this past week that said my October payment for a subscription couldn’t be processed. My heart leaped for a moment, and I almost clicked on the link.

Many scams are written with fear built-in or hope to hit it rich without working hard for it. They remind me of how satan talks to us. He will tell us perhaps a half-truth but not the whole truth. He will dangle something we desperately want in front of us and make it seem so easy to obtain. Like he said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, Then he lied to her by saying, “You will not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) He even tried to tempt Jesus.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Mat. 4:1-11 (NIV)

The devil tried three separate times and ways to get Jesus to stumble. Some say he tempted him in the big three: the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes. It’s important to note how Jesus overcame satan;

  1. Jesus knew the word of God.
  2. Jesus did not respond with his knowledge and reasoning but quoted scripture. Doing so is so powerful!
  3. Jesus resisted the devil, and he fled. (James 4:7)

Whether it’s a scam or the devil’s temptation, do not act out of fear or as a quick way to alleviate a desperate desire or need. Think about it, and check to see if it aligns with God’s word. That will require you to know what is written in the Bible, which will require you to read it. Remember this:

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is!

The tester wants you to pass. The tempter wants you to fail!

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (MEV)

*(This was only an example of this post meant to get your attention, and no money will actually be paid out. Sorry, but I do appreciate everyone who reads this post.)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

The Tiny Sermon

April works hard at a manufacturing facility. They build things that use extremely tiny parts, tiny screws, etc. Since I am retired, I willingly keep the house, including doing the laundry. If you wash the clothes in your household, you also know that you find things inside the washing machine from time to time.

The other day, I found a small screw. Actually, the one pictured here. At first, I was upset. This washing machine terrorist could easily get through one of the holes in the machine that the water drains through. Who knows what kind of damage that could cause? This is not the first time I have found one, either. I have asked April several times to check her pockets before putting things in the dirty clothes basket. Often, she doesn’t do this. Her favorite item to overlook is tissues. Yep, they make a mess!

So, while I was angry, thinking about how I would complain, chew her out, or make an issue out of it, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Don’t say a word.” I think it is part of my Heaven Training Program to become a “quiet man.” (See the previous post but not right now. After you finish reading this one.) I know my high standard of perfection, and my unreachable expectations come from my parents. I know they meant well, as do I, but there is a way to point things out where people hear you but don’t feel bad. You know, like God does.

God loves us enough not to leave us the way we are.

God disciplines those He loves. (Prov. 3:12)

I want April to learn about life here in America. That simple mistakes can have expensive consequences. If I leave this world before her, I wouldn’t want her to suffer when a little carefulness can spare her hardship. I know God would help her, though, and bless her as she lives a life pleasing him and as she honors him. I think my parents had the same desire for me.

I’ve decided to keep the tiny screw and perhaps even put it in a case and display it where I can be reminded as often as needed till I learn to apply the message of that little sermon. Many people take notes while the minister is preaching, but how many reviews those notes afterward? I am thankful for the tiny sermon. I’m glad God still speaks in small ways. Now, if I could only get April to leave money in her pockets.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

The Quiet Man

I have always admired the man with experience in his hair and wisdom in his eyes. You’ve seen the type. They usually are tall, thin, and have grey hair. They typically have a subtle smile on their face. They watch and observe but say very little unless asked to contribute.

I think of the man pictured here in this post. I recall a time when I was mowing the church lawn, and I can’t remember why I was upset, but when Pastor Russ pulled into the parking lot, I immediately felt an atmosphere of peace come over the place. It was then I nicknamed him “Moses” for he helped me that day, and I considered him “my deliverer.” God knew what was going on. He knew my struggles, and He had heard my complaints. God sent me Moses.

I desire to be a “quiet man” without grey hair. Even at age 60, I still have a decent head of hair and very few grey strands. It’s the only good thing about my physical being. Trust me, I’ve seen the rest of it! But I respect the demeanor of a “quiet man.” I find it difficult to hold my tongue often, especially when I witness an injustice, or am offended. Too many times, I speak out first.

The hoary [grey] head is a crown of beauty and glory if it is found in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).
Prov. 16:31 (AMPC)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. James 1:19-21 (MSG)

So if I want to be a “quiet man,” I need to apply the word of God in my life. After accepting this truth, I should practice and practice and practice being slow to anger and listening with my heart. I should have started working much earlier on this. I will probably have grey hair by the time I master it.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

I Was Begging for God

Photo by: Timur Weber

I knew how life was supposed to be lived, but I struggled every day to meet that challenge. I failed to finish high school, failed at being a husband, and now, as a father. So I found myself, despite the weather, on the side of an off-ramp, begging for money.

I understood it was hard for passers-by to give. They didn’t know my story. I looked normal; therefore, they wondered why I didn’t have a job instead of sitting there. As if I liked doing it. They probably thought I was just lazy and didn’t know about the mental illness I struggled with, which made it difficult to concentrate. Employers expect so much, and I found it hard to remember what I should be doing—I needed help!

One bright and sunny Sunday morning, a couple waiting for a green light gave me a $10 bill. I remember thinking, “Oh wow, they’re generous.” The following Sunday, they did the same thing. Now they had my attention. Whether they knew or understood me, they reached out to help me. They gave me the ten dollars the third week and asked, “Hey, we’re on our way to church. Would you like to go with us? They have free snacks, good music, and you’ll hear a positive message from the word of God.” I replied, “Church people don’t want me in their building.” They quickly came back with, “Our church accepts everyone.” I thought, Why not? I could at least get some food and use the bathroom.

The people at this church were friendly, and they actually shook my hand. I used the bathroom, grabbed some snacks, and my hosts got some for me, also. We found our seats, and the service started. The music was loud, upbeat, and positive. I didn’t know the words, but I liked it. Then they took up the offering. But this church was different and announced that if you needed help, feel free to take any cash out of the bucket when it came by. I couldn’t believe what I had heard.

Then they showed a video of the senior pastor. He preached a message about love, God’s love, and how it was for anyone, even people like me. For the first time in my life, I felt hope. I responded to the pastor’s invitation to accept this loving God into my life. There were tears, but they were cleansing. After the service, my hosts had me meet the local branch pastor. I told him what I did, and he hugged me and welcomed me to the family of God. Then he paused, looked at me, and said the church had developed a new program to help people in my situation.

Now I have a job, working for the church, working for people that understand me and my struggles. I contacted my ex-wife, and she is happy for me. She is even considering allowing me to see my kids. I still see the couple who used to give me $10 but giving me the opportunity to hear a message from God was worth so much more than the money.

The above story flashed through my mind while sitting in church last Sunday. April and I had just given a man sitting on the side of an off-ramp $10. I suggested inviting him to church, and April wisely said, “Build up a relationship with him for a couple of weeks.” I’ve been praying for him and looking forward to the coming weeks. Who knows what can happen by meeting someone’s physical needs first? After doing so, they might be open to an invitation to come and hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. There are many ways to build the kingdom of God.

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? Romans 10:14 (MSG)

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Grace is Enough

What reason do I have to wake up with the rising sun
And not be held down by the weight of all the things I’ve done?
What reason do I have to feel this hope instead of hurt?
How can it be I don’t receive the judgement I deserve?

How can you see me at my worst and still say I am loved?
What promise can I stand on when I don’t feel good enough?
When the enemy’s reminding me of all that I’ve done wrong
What freedom do I have to sing this new creation song?

I know the only reason I can stand here free of all my shame
Is wave upon wave of grace upon grace
Wave upon wave of grace upon grace
Upon grace

I have done so many things wrong in my life and, at times, still do. I’m not too fond of it when my wife, who is full of love and grace herself, sees the darkest side of me. There are times I am ashamed of my behavior. I thought by now, with God’s help, all my personal struggles would have been defeated. I can only continue to ask for forgiveness, ask for help, receive God’s grace, and continue fighting the good fight of faith. God’s grace is for you too!

But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses. 1 Tim. 6:12 (MSG)


Parts of the song “Grace Upon Grace” were used.
Songwriters: Matthew West, Aj Pruis

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

He Knew

Photo by: Pixabay

I don’t usually open with scriptures, but I need to today to set the stage. I love this true story from the Bible. It speaks of love in action and adequately uses of “words of knowledge.”

John 8:1-11 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

One could write about a lot from this passage, but I want to focus on one part. Most theologians, of which I do not consider myself to be one, honestly I had to look up how to spell it, agree that when Jesus bent down and wrote in the dust, he was writing the sins of the woman’s accusers.

So one might ask, “How did Jesus know their sins?” Yes, Jesus was the son of God, but he was the son of man when he walked the earth. Here is the answer; Jesus was filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

16-17 The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Mat. 3:16-17 (MSG)

The Holy Spirit filled Jesus the moment the dove landed on him. With the infilling comes power, as Jesus foretold his disciples before he ascended into heaven. Part of that power is knowing things about people. Sometimes, something they don’t want you to know. This is called; “word of knowledge.” This gift of the Spirit is sometimes needed to lead you on how to pray for someone, to get someone’s attention, so they will hear what comes after the supernatural event. One should not focus or get hung up on the gift when it is demonstrated but instead focus on what God wants to do.

I once got word of knowledge concerning a man and a woman in our church who weren’t married to each other. The Holy Spirit whispered, “affair.” After the initial shock, and I didn’t tell anyone in the church, which would have hurt them tremendously, but I prayed for them. A few weeks later, the woman’s husband was offered a job out of state, and they moved. God wanted me to pray, potentially preventing their desires from overtaking them. Am I special? Am I a saint? Am I a super Christian? No! The Holy Spirit chooses who to give this gift to, when, and where. (see 1 Cor. 12:11 but not now. After you finish this post.)

It is humbling to know things, to be used of God. So take it seriously, and be responsible with what you know. Jesus used his knowledge of the woman’s accusers to demonstrate forgiveness and love. Do you think the woman went away unchanged? No. She left forever changed, and no doubt shared her story with everyone. Be filled with the Spirit of God, and be open to being used by God to help change lives for eternity.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Clutter? Or Clean?

Photo by: cottonbro

Is there any correlation between a clean house and a clean spiritual life? Is someone who is too busy, too lazy, or too distracted by life to pick up the place where they live also due to that stuff challenged to pick up the mess in their life with God? I would dare say, “yes.”


I’ll share a truth with ya; if people enter your home and don’t see clutter, they tend to think your house is clean, even if it isn’t, but if they see a mess everywhere, they will sense your home is dirty.


Keeping a house clean is a constant job. There are no days off, vacations, or holidays. The same goes for maintaining your spiritual life with God. I learned from my parents to look around whenever moving about the house and to pick up something out of place and return it. I also learned to put things up as soon as you finish with them. I understand that living with others who do not share your desire to keep items picked up can make your job more difficult.

So how does all of this relate to your spiritual life? Keeping on top of your relationship with God takes desire, time, and effort. You have to make a mental decision to make it a priority. Even when there are things in life that are begging for your attention. Yes, you may be tired, have distractions, hardships, financial pressure, or have relationship struggles, but you still need to make time to spend with God. In fact, if you have anything from that list going on, you would be crazy not to go to God and take it with you to turn all of it to him.

15 But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds were gathering together to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. 16 Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
Luke 5:15-16 (NET)

Sometimes you can’t get to the house, but don’t let anything keep you from your time with your heavenly Father. Take the example of Jesus himself. He knew how important it was to spend time with his heavenly Father. Doing so keeps your mind and heart clear, clean, and uncluttered.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Me? Grumpy?

Photo by: George Desipris

I recently hit a milestone in age. Stop singing. I’m not happy about it. In fact, I was glad April didn’t feel up to celebrating it due to recovering from surgery two days earlier. (Her recovery is going well.) I’ll confess, I scheduled her surgery knowing she wouldn’t feel up to it. Okay, I’ll tell ya, I turned 60.

Combining my age with my current attitude toward others and their behavior, one could call me Walter. As in “Walter Matthau.” As in, from the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” Especially when it comes to how people drive these days. It seems as if I can’t even go two blocks from my house, and I’m disgruntled. If you are the lead dog at the intersection, please pay attention to the light. When it turns green, GO!

Two days ago, at 4:56 AM: I was heading home after dropping April off at work, and I almost slammed into the back of an older pickup truck. It was parked in the driving lane of an exit ramp with no lights on. The area of that highway is under construction, and the new highway lights aren’t on yet. And there was room for the broken down driver to have pulled in between construction barrels. My grumpiness isn’t just with drivers. It seems to be with anyone exhibiting behavior I don’t like.

April diagnosed the problem accurately. She said I get upset when others don’t treat me the way I treat them. You see, I grew up having learned the “Golden Rule.” You know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Based on; Luke 6:31) The problem is, they do unto me things I wouldn’t do unto them. It seems these days as if they don’t care about others, only themselves. And they know when they have done wrong, but they will make it seem as if you are the one who committed a crime.

I know my grumpiness isn’t of God. I should love like He is to us. I need to show everyone “love,” and here is why. These are some of the qualities of genuine love:

  • Love is patient – True love can tolerate pain or suffering without complaining or getting angry.
  • Love is humble – True love is not proud and boastful. It is humble enough to admit its own mistakes and strive to correct them. It also forgives to get rid of hatred and enjoy peacefulness.
  • Love is respectful.
  • Love is calm – True love always maintains the mind’s clarity and the heart’s softness. Its heart is deep, and its mind is not narrow.
  • Love is persistent – True love doesn’t easily give up. True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18-19 (NIV)

 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33 (NIV)

“Dear God, please help me, love, as you love us. I certainly don’t want to be known as a ‘grumpy old man’ but as a ‘man of God’. A man of love.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.