The April Effect

As most of my regular readers know, my wife April is now here with me in America as her immigration visa finally arrived.  In the past three weeks, she has been here, not only have I introduced her to life in America, and our foods, but also our conveniences.  It has been an enjoyable experience for me.

One such highlight was when we went through an automatic car wash.  You have thought we were at Disneyland and it was a ride.  Like “Mr. Toad’s Moving Lilly Pad”, or something.  She smiled, she laughed, and squealed through each phase of the process.  Evidently they don’t have them in the Philippines, or she had never seen one before.

But an even greater experience, for me at least, has been watching how my friends, and family members have reacted to her.  I have taken notice how easily they open up, and start sharing with her.  They warm up to her quickly and seem to feel comfortable around her, as if she was their “comfy” clothes they wear when at home.  One friend even said to her, “I feel as if I have known you all my life!”  Of course I smile with adoration when I witness this phenomenon.

Yesterday though I started thinking more about why this was the case.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out.  Okay, to be honest, I probably got a download from the Holy Spirit whispered into my mind.  God, is love. (1 John 4:8)  And my wife, April is a child of God.  She loves him very much and has taken on his character of loving people.  So whether people realize it or not they are responding, or reacting to the love of God in my wife’s heart.

I believe with strong passion that from the time a baby is born, the spirit man inside that child starts on a journey to be reunited with God.  So when a person enters their world, the spirit inside of them recognizes the Spirit of God inside the person who just entered, and they connect with the person easily.

This “effect” begs the question, shouldn’t all, who have a good relationship with God, seek and desire more of him and his love?  So when we are out and about in the world people will open up to us sooner, and easier and begin to have serious conversations that can eventually lead to God and potentially lead them to God?  Of course, the answer is, “Yes”.  What hinders this to happen is us.  We get in the way of God with our “rights” and our own “understanding” and “values”.  Ones that should be disregarded perhaps, or lined up to confirm to God’s “values”, and truths.

“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Rom. 12:2 (TPT)

So, in conclusion, “The April Effect” isn’t really her, but what is happening when people encounter her is “The God Effect”.  May we all grow, in our hearts, an enormous amount of the love of God that it effects people.  It moves them closer to him then where they were before we entered their world.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

From Hope, to Reality

As you faithful readers of this blog know, I have been waiting for my wife’s immigration to America for two years.  Those were very difficult, trying, and long years, but the one thing that kept us going was hope!

Hope is recognizing there is very little you can do, while wanting a certain result.

Well, if all went as planned, I met my wife yesterday at an airport in America.  Waiting for her just outside the doors to the immigration section.  This process has been such a challenge that I have said, “I won’t believe it until I see her.”  But yesterday, my hope turned into reality.  God is so good.  He kept us close to his heart especially on the days when our hearts were breaking, aching, and we struggled to see us crossing the finish line.

I know we are not alone.  Many of you are facing your own struggles where all you can do is hope.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let go of God’s hand.  I know He will never let go of yours.  I recently posted a blog where I wrote about the women with the issue of blood, from the Bible.  Her reality took 12 years to arrive.  Her sickness bankrupted her, but she never gave up hope.  Then the day came where Jesus appeared on the scene.  She was healed by simply touching the hem of his garment as he walked by.  It was her faith in Jesus that healed her and not the robe he was wearing.

“So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.”
Rom. 8:25 (TPT)

So whatever it is you are hoping for, a job, a healing, a spouse, or salvation for a loved one don’t stop hoping.  You never know the day when Jesus may show up on the scene.  It would be a tragedy to give up the day before he passes by. For Jesus passing by in the life of me and my wife I am so grateful.  Praising and worshipping his mighty name all the way across the finish line.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Road Construction

At the entrance to my subdivision there is road construction.  I can only exit and enter by going one way while they upgrade the infrastructure, water, electric, and sewer that runs along the road, or under it.  Then, they will put down a new road, with new lane stripes and new signs.  They say it will take 6 months to complete.  It has already been two and a half.

If that wasn’t enough to endure, they have torn up a major highway interchange just blocks from the road I mentioned above.  It is reported to take two years to finish.  The officials say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

As I have shared in previous posts, I married a Filipino woman in 2019.  Soon after the wedding, we worked with an immigration attorney to get the process started to bring my wife to America.  I lived in the Philippines for several months until I needed an eye procedure.  We discussed the situation and felt it was best if I came back to America to have it done here.  Thinking her immigration process wouldn’t take that long and she would follow me here shortly.  It seemed as if they had missed placed her file and then shortly after they started working on her case, Covid hit.

At the time of this writing, my wife is still not here with me.  There have been lots of conversations with God about the process and questions of, “Why is it taking so long?”  Walking with God in life is definitely a journey.  As we are now getting toward the end of the immigration process I can look back and see with greater understanding.  I can see how God has updated power lines in our lives making sure that in the future we look to him for uninterrupted power to live by.  He has put in a new sewer system to remove the waste and potentially toxic aspects of our personalities away safely and quickly.  My wife compares my temper to passing gas.  She says, “It stinks at first, but it doesn’t last long.”  She has learned to let me vent and then we can return to our regularly scheduled life already in progress.

If God didn’t take the time to pour new pavement in our lives we would be traveling with him on dirt, and when the storms come get bogged down in mud.  Yuk!  If he only put down stones travel would be easier but it would be a bumpy and rough ride.  Not enjoyable at all.  But God has used the time, while waiting for her immigration to be completed, to put down nice smooth pavement.  When the final touches are completed my wife and I will be able to come and go quickly in any direction with ease.  We will be able to see the lanes we should stay in so we avoid head on collisions and harm.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Yes, walking with God is difficult at times, and it is hard to see what He is doing, because some improvements are below the surface. At times it’s hard to understand why it is taking so long, but He would say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A New Chapter

America.  She changed today.  Maybe the reality is, she changed a long time ago from the innocent days I once knew, but this truth is obvious today.  I grew up in Oklahoma, in a middle class family that somehow, always seem to have enough and then some.  I watched as my parents made good decisions and choices who worked hard for what they wanted.  “The American Dream”.  I believed in this dream and I too sought it out.  I wanted to own my own house, well after paying 30 years of payments.  I desired a good job, a loving wife, 2.5 kids, one of each sex, and to be a happy family.

The truth is, it took me 35 years to buy the house that will be mine in 26 and 1/2 years.  I have two kids, one of each sex, who don’t talk to me, and, their mother divorced me after she made a huge mistake, but convinced everyone our marriage failed solely due to me.  As a result, my biological family doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, so you could say I don’t have the happy family I desired.  Many Christmas days have been spent filling the empty stocking with tears.

After years of checking the “Divorced” box on forms I met and then married a Filipino woman.  I thought perhaps now I would get the happy family I desired.  You know what?  There are cynical, greedy, lying family members in all cultures, but the woman I married is the exception to a few members of her own family.  I have written about it a few times; my wife lives out God’s definition of love.

After our wedding, I was with her for seven months in the Philippines, until I needed a medical procedure, so I left her there thinking immigration wouldn’t take that long and she would come to America on my heels.  There was some delay in the process, but as we were reaching the finish line Covid hit.  Another year without her, another moist Christmas day.  A lot of crying out to God, and asking, “Why?”  The big three set in: Discouragement, Disappointment and yes, even Depression.  As I crawled through those dark days way down, deep inside me, was a mustard seed of faith that was whispering, “God knows what He is doing.”  In full disclosure, my mind was asking, “Are you sure?”

January 7th, we received an email stating my wife has her long awaited interview with the U.S. embassy in Manila.  LIGHT pierced our darkness.  I wanted to wait to share this until she was actually here, but someone needs to read these words now.  We are hoping we will be together by Valentine’s Day.  What a time to reunite our love for each other and for our God who loves us beyond belief.

When my wife is in our home in Oklahoma a new chapter of our lives together will begin.  Unfortunately, she will never know the “America” I grew up in.  Today, those with money want more, and those who “think” they have power want total control.  I sense days may be coming that perhaps will not be comfortable.  Standing up for what is true, for what is right could prove to be difficult.  There will most likely be a separation of those who have a solid relationship with God from those who were pretending, because in the America I grew up in, it was popular to say you were a “Christian”, but not anymore.

Yes a new chapter will be starting soon in my life, but also a new chapter in the life of America.  Our country’s slogan, printed on our currency, may no longer be, “In God We Trust”. Sometimes I wonder who is really holding the pen, writing each chapter.  As for my life, I want God to, because whether I understand his ways or not, He does know what He is doing!

Isaiah 55:8-11(MSG)

8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Peace of Mind

One doesn’t have to look around very far, or watch the news very long to see there is a lack of peace in our world.  And social media, these days, should come with a pain scale.

When I try to watch the news I find myself yelling at the so called “leaders” of our country.  You know, just because they control the media doesn’t mean they are speaking truth.  I don’t like how I feel when that happens, or when I witness unrest.

I don’t think I am alone when I say, what I desire most, right now, is peace.  Last year, 2020, kept us on edge.  “What’s going to happen?”  “What do I need to do?”  “How can I stay safe?”  “Where can I find toilet paper?” “How do I keep those I love healthy?”

When Jesus found himself in a storm, he simply said, “Peace be still.”  Is that all it takes?  Well, sort of.  It’s a start.  It’s declaring, I’m not going to get caught up in all of the unrest.  I don’t have to state my position or opinions on social media.  I can turn on the TV in time to get my weather update and then turn it off again, and make an effort to stay away from world news.

Jesus offered us peace by trusting in him.

“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 (TPT)

Instead, I can commit to fill my mind, my time, my world with things I enjoy.  With things that build up, instead of teardown.  With activities, words, relationships that inspire, or bring peace.  It’s my world after all.  I do have a say so, and so do you.  Take control of your own life, when and where you can.  You will find more peace that way, and feel better too.

Peace out!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Did it Come to This?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Last Stop

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Living in the Philippines, for the last six months, has taught me a lot!  More than I could have ever imagined.  I have observed, and recorded in my mind the people, their lives, their world.  I foresee, one of these days, the residents here showing up in a story somewhere.

I have tried my best to settle in, and get comfortable, which is difficult when you are a pampered American.  I have done what I could to fit in, but looking so different than them, some wouldn’t let me.  Like today, at the time of this writing, I was cursed and the old woman made a spitting motion at my feet three times.  I’m not saying I know racism in its fullest now, like some do in America, but I have experienced a taste of it, and it doesn’t taste too good.  On the flip side, I have made friends, who call out my name whenever they see me out on the streets.  That’s a good feeling no matter where you live!

As I made this place home, there were days I was jolted when the realization hit me, Mark, this is not your home.  You’re an alien, a sojourner.  Just passing through, for a specific time and purpose.  For that matter, America is not my home either.  I’m an alien there as well, just passing through for a specific time and purpose.

So where is my residence?

“So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Ephesians 2:19 (ASV)

After I accepted Jesus, my forwarding address was in heaven, God’s kingdom.  As a residence of that land, I have full rights to everything the kingdom of God offers.  I’m an heir to the King of Kings.  I fit in.  Everyone is accepted, no matter how weird they are on earth.  Racism doesn’t exist!  With nothing but love there, I am making heaven, my last stop.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

IR

Charlie 7I got remarried yesterday evening, after being divorced for twenty-three years.  I no longer have to check that dreaded little box, “Divorced”.  I married a wonderful woman of God who is a Filipino.  The only problem is, I’m an American, and she is not allowed to enter the United States without a Visa, which could take a year or longer to arrive.  When she said, “I do,” she became an “IR”.  Instant Relative.  This status gives her priority over everyone else trying to enter America by any other means.  Work Visa, Student Visa, Fiancé Visa, etc.  It also gives her access to a “Green Card” and two weeks after she arrives in America she will get her Social Security card.  Being an “IR” has instant privileges.

When one accepts God’s free gift of salvation, through his Son Jesus, they instantly become an “IR”.  They become a son or daughter to the God of the universe.  You will walk around, with a smile on your face, knowing whose you are, that you belong to God, and He is your Abba Father.  (Daddy God)  That status brings instant privileges as well.  Like having access to the throne of God.  Being able to walk with him and talk about anything.  God will guide you, Jesus will be with you, and the Holy Spirit will comfort you.  You have a free Attorney, Jesus, to defend you against Satan’s accusations.  Also, there will be free of charge, to you, accommodations in heaven that have no check out date or time, and who could argue with the blessing of eternal life?  Yes, being a child of God is good!

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? (Mat. 7:11 MSG)

There are so many reasons to accept Jesus, mainly, because He first loved us.  If you are not currently, my prayer is that you will become an “IR” with God.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.