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.

Why We Have Christmas

The Virgin Mary, accepted God’s plan, by opening up her heart,
her fiancé Joseph opened up his mind, to do his part.
Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth bore John the Baptist, though she was old,
He lived God’s call to roll out the red carpet for Salvation; freely given, not sold.

The shepherds worshiped baby Jesus, and offered him gifts, as he laid in the hay,
but their gifts wouldn’t compare to the one He would be give us some day.
The wise men searched for him, and even consulted the king,
but being warned of his plan, they went home a different way, after doing their thing.

Satan tried to use King Herod to take out Jesus, before he could live his life,
all the children in the area, under two were killed, probably with the use of a knife.
Mary and Joseph escaped to Egypt, as God is always one step ahead of Satan.
Not knowing if he was successful the devil must have been haten!

Jesus grew in stature, and knowledge of his heavenly Father’s plan,
to show the world real love, to offer freedom from sin and death to every man.
He succeeded, but had to die a horrific death on a cross with big nails,
but three days later, Jesus arose from the grave, God’s plan did not fail.

So that’s why we have Christmas day.
The beginning of God’s perfect way.
It rescued mankind from himself, as you now know.
If you accept this free gift, and do your best to be love, heaven you will go.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 7)

You.  If you have read the previous parts of this series, you have seen, most of those who played a part in the birth and early days of Jesus, were people God found to have good morals.  They were set apart from the majority of those around them in the world at that time.

Perhaps as you read those post, you thought, “I’m not righteous.  I’m not in right standing with God.”  Maybe you even had the thought, “God would never choose me, or even want me.”  Guess what?  That thought was a lie from hell, yes the devil.  He wants you to believe you have no value, no worth, to God, or even to others.  NOT TRUE! See yourself, as God sees you. Everyone, yes even you, has something to give, to offer to another person.  It’s no accident you are reading this post, or that you have read the previous 6.  Christmas will be here in a few days.

I heard a commercial on TV this morning say, “We need to rescue Christmas, for others.”  The truth of the matter is this:

We needed Christmas to rescue us!

You see Jesus IS the reason for the season.  It’s more than a cliché, and so much more than a Christmas card.  It is truth.  Without the birth of Jesus, we would be born, sin, and be destined to eternal damnation, for God is Holy, and cannot have sin in his presence.  That’s why God gave us the greatest gift, his only son.  And so we have Christmas, to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

It’s sad, how so many have lost focus of why we have Christmas, and they rush around trying to buy some happiness for those on their “nice” list, or family.  A friend of mine, who has believed the lies of the devil, and has walked away from any relationship with God in order to do his own thing, which he calls, “party” texted me the other day, “You can’t say, ‘Merry Christmas anymore’.”  I texted back, “I can, and will never stop.”  I mean come on, without Jesus there’s no “merry”, no hope, no joy, and certainly no real, agape, unselfish love, as Jesus demonstrated through his life and death on the cross.

Merry Christmas!

Okay, so now you know you have value.  Surly there is something you can do for someone else.  Even if it’s sit and listen to an elderly person retell their favorite stories, because that is the only thing they can still do, talk.  God loves you so much.  He wants you to have the kind of life He designed for you.  Living in a garden and not in a dump!

This Christmas, look for Jesus.  He has already found you, and is waiting for you to open your arms to welcome him into your life.  He opened his on the cross to welcome you into eternal life, if you only believe.  Don’t be concerned about how your life may change if you stop listening to the devil who hates you, and wants to destroy you to get back at God.  Get to know God through his word, and talk to him, just like you would talk to me.

Know I just prayed for you.  This current year, 2020 has truly opened up people’s eyes to the fight between good and evil, and to how precious life is.  A new year is coming soon, and it could be the greatest year of your life.  Look for Jesus to save you, and to deliver you out from your current struggles that weigh you down.

This Christmas, open God’s gift first.  His son Jesus, and throw away the box others try so hard to put, or keep him in.

Thank you so much for reading this blog.  I was just a kid from Oklahoma who accepted God’s gift, Jesus into his heart at an early age, and then has tried his best to live according to the word of God, the Bible.  Then to say, “Here I am Lord, use me.”  I trust He has, by speaking words of life into your heart.

Blessings,
Mark

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 6)

Simeon.  He was righteous and devout, looking for the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  The Holy Spirit revealed to him he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

What the scriptures don’t share with us is how long Simeon had to wait for that promise to be fulfilled.  Did he have days where he doubted if he had really heard God, or perhaps wanted something so bad to happen that he made it up?  We don’t know, but we do know this, he never gave up.

Walking with God can be a challenging journey at times.  Especially after receiving direction, a word, a promise from God.  Day after day goes by and you lay your head on the pillow again with your heart feeling empty, because that day, wasn’t THE day what God spoke to you came true.

But know this; you are one more step closer!

I just paused from writing this post and sat in one of my favorite chairs and cried.  I too am waiting.  I know and feel your pain!  I am waiting to be reunited with my wife.  Due to slow immigration and now Covid we are separated.  I told a friend, “It’s like knowing what you are getting for Christmas, but then all the clocks stop, and Christmas never arrives!”  It’s been one year, 4 months, 15 days, or 12,048 hours since I last held my wife in my arms, smelled her hair, and felt the warmth of her love.  But I know this; when we are together again, every one of those new embraces will contain that much more value. Instead of looking at what I don’t have yet, I choose to focus on what I do have, Jesus.

Okay. I got it together again, so lets go on.

The Holy Spirit led Simeon into the temple courts on the day Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to do what was customary to the law.  Simeon took the child into his arms and blessed God saying, “Lord and Master, I am your loving servant, and now I can die content, for your promise to me has been fulfilled.  With my own eyes I have seen your Word, the Savior you sent into the world. He will be glory for your people Israel, and the Revelation Light for all people everywhere!” Luke 2:29-32 (MSG)

Simeon was looking for Jesus, and before he died, he not only saw God’s son, but held him in his arms, and spoke a blessing over him.  What an honor, to play an important part in the life of Christ.  What role does God want you to play in the life of someone else?

I close this post with a link to Michael Card’s beautiful singing of this story from scripture.  This holiday season, it’s not too late to look for Jesus.  It’s not too late to take him in your arms and as this song says, “Your life will never end.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 5)

The shepherds.  The evening started as normal as any other.  The shepherds had done their duty of setting their night watches over their sheep.  Then, out of nowhere, an angel stood among them, and said, “Don’t be afraid.  I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 (MSG)

Soon after, they no doubt, took a selfie of them with the angel to post on Biblebook, then decided to go over to Bethlehem as quick as they could to see for themselves what God had revealed to them.  Sure enough, seeing was believing, and they told everyone what the angel had said to them.

They left looking for Jesus.  Not believing, at first, what God had revealed to them, but after seeing Jesus they praised and worshipped him.

There are several truths here:

  1. God shows up with good news when least expected.  On the normal days.
  2. God can show up when you are going about your regular duties.
  3. There are times when his presence will catch you off guard.  When you are not looking for Him.
  4. God will use the least expected to do his work.
  5. Jesus’ birth was meant for everybody, worldwide.
  6. Some people have to see Jesus to believe, but it was still faith that got the shepherds to go to Bethlehem in the first place.

And the greatest truth in this post:

All, everyone, even you, will praise and worship Jesus when he is seen.  In that moment, everything you or they have heard, all their life, about God, and his son Jesus will be confirmed.

In everyday life, do what you need to do, but always be looking for Jesus to show up, to give you a message, forgiveness, an answer to prayer, or a gift.  And most important, be willing to share what Jesus gives you with others.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 4)

King Herod.  He was not looking for Jesus, at first.  But after the wise men came to him asking, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” King Herod became interested.  In fact, the scriptures say, “he was alarmed, and all of Jerusalem with him.”  They must have liked things the way they were.

This is one of the main reasons why people don’t look for Jesus.  They like things the way they are.

King Herod gathered all the chief priest and experts in the law.  They knew the scriptures, the Old Testament and told the king exactly where Jesus would be born.  He then schemed to use the wise men to be his spies, and after finding the Christ child to report back.  Even as a child, Jesus threatened the status quo.  When the wise men found Jesus in Bethlehem they were warned not to return to the king, so they went back home via a different route.

An angel warned Joseph to take his family to Egypt so he did.  Soon after King Herod saw he had been tricked by the wise men, he became enraged.  He then sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem and throughout the surrounding region from the age of two and under.

So now King Herod was looking for Jesus, but only because he was influenced by Satan.  The devil did not, and still doesn’t know God’s plans, but because he was once in heaven he knew the name of Jesus.  Satan, the devil used Herod to apply a shotgun approach to kill Jesus before he could grow up and do the will of God, and that was to defeat sin and death.

Satan will never win over God.  And he doesn’t know what God is doing in your life either.  Life with God is so much better than without him.  When you surrender your life to God, and ask him to lead you and guide you, I assure you, life will be so much better.  This season, look for Jesus for the right reasons.  You will soon be glad you did.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 3)

Elizabeth.  The Virgin Mary’s cousin.  Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah were quite old, and childless.  They lived honorably before God, yet while on a normal day, at work, when an unannounced angel appeared to him in the temple of God, he was frightened.  Of course the angel said, “Fear not.”  The angel went on to inform Zachariah that his wife would become pregnant with a son, and he was to name him, “John”.  Then the angel continued and gave him instructions for John and told his life cause was to prepare the people for God.  He returned home, and I’m sure he had a difficult time getting his wife to join him in the bedroom, but soon after Elizabeth got pregnant.

I love how God takes everyday, ordinary people to join him in doing some of his most extraordinary work.  “How?” you ask. “Really?  You don’t think God can use you, that you have nothing to offer?  Watch God.  You’re never too old, too short, too tall, too under resourced, or too anything.  All God needs from you is a willing heart.  One that has been given to him.

I had a similar experience when I was married to my first wife.  In a dream I was told our first “born” child would be a boy, and that we were to name him, “Joshua David”, and he was to be a spiritual warrior.  We lost our first child after 9 or 10 weeks of pregnancy, and sure enough, our first born was a son.  You can bet we had no problem picking out his name.  And I am holding God to his word that my son will be what God has called him to be.

Zachariah, being a priest of Judah, had to have known the heart of God’s chosen people were turning away.  He and his wife had been waiting for so long for God to answer their prayers for their nation and for their own lives, but God did.  They certainly had no idea God would use them and their son to set people free from sin.  In fact, I love what Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.  Luke 2:25 (MSG)

Mary went to see Elizabeth and to announce her own pregnancy.  I’m sure Mary knew what had happened to her cousin, and would have no problem believing her own testimony, because of it.  The scriptures say that when Elizabeth heard the news of Mary the baby she was carrying leaped.

Elizabeth was not only looking for her own son, John, but now of a greater one her son would later say he was not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.  She too was looking for Jesus.

It seems some people have a hard time accepting and believing Truth.  When they hear how much God loves them and that He gave his only son to die on a cross for them.  I think the reason is they try to figure out God with their natural minds, but God is spiritual.

This Christmas season, and always, look harder for Jesus.  Expect and believe even when it doesn’t make sense.  Look for your healing.  For the salvation of your family and friends.  For the future of your children, or for the financial miracle you desperately need.  Who knows?  You may soon be responding like Elizabeth, “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 2)

Joseph.  A good man, in fact, a righteous man.  “Righteous”, a $12 dollar word which means, in right standing with God.  A smart man, reasonable in his dealing with people.  How do I know this?  Simple.  By reading the scriptures.

You see, when Mary told him she was pregnant, he of course was shocked and bewildered.  How could she do this to him?  And before they were to get married.  Did she truly love him, or was she marrying him for some other reason?  Men seem to have a hard time trusting women ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.  Due to the curse of sin men and women have had issues relating.

Back to him being a good man, he decided to end the engagement privately hoping it would save Mary and her family public embarrassment, but people talk and would have found out anyway.  Especially when Mary would start showing from her pregnancy.  But then:

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. Mat. 1:20-25 (MSG)

Because Joseph was a God fearing man, he obeyed, and he too begin looking for Jesus.  Can you imagine what he was going through?  A new husband to a woman who has found favor with the God of the universe and is now carrying His son.  I’m sure Joseph had more questions than answers.  What do I do with him? Do I teach him how to be a carpenter, like me? Teach him about wood and nails? Many people have questions when they accept Jesus, and that’s okay, but Joseph accepted Jesus, and he accepted God’s plan.

Look for Jesus.  You will find him, because He has already found you. Don’t get hung up on the details. Don’t try to figure out God’s plan with your mind, because you never will fully understand it, but trust me, it’s all about love. Love for the people of the world. Love for you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 1)

Mary.  Singing.  Dreaming of her upcoming life as the young bride of Joseph.  Tending to the laundry.  What would have been another typical day, of her life, turned into the most extraordinary day of her life.  An angel appeared.  “Fear not.”  Yeah, right.  If it happened to me I would have had to do some more laundry.

“You have found favor with God.  You will become pregnant with a Son, and you will name him, Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  God will give him the throne of his father, David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary questioned God’s plan, considering she had never been with a man.

But the angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be holy, in fact he will be called, the Son of God.” (Luke 1)

From that day forward, Mary found herself looking for Jesus.  As he grew inside her, when he turned, kicked, and did all the things babies do inside the womb, she had to have wondered, what will he look like it?  Will I see the face of God, or will he look like me?  Time would reveal that Jesus looked just like God in all ways.  For he always said, “I only do what I have seen my Father in heaven do.”

I’m sure Mary wasn’t the perfect parent, but Jesus forgave her for that.  His death on the cross not only forgave her, but all of us who accept him for who he is, the Son of God.  And guess what, he’s coming back.  He’s coming to gather those who believe and call him, Lord.  To take us to his home now, heaven to be with him forever.  I’m living my life in a manner to be invited for the second greatest coming in the history of the earth!  I’m looking for Jesus, are you?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Over?

Charlie 26Christmas is over, at least the actual day.
Don’t throw out the Spirit of Christmas in anyway.
But let the Spirit of Christmas last into the new year,
and live your life with joy, and without any fear.

Continue to smile as through your day you go,
give cheerfully to those in need, even if their names you don’t know.
Be nice to your family, and show that you really do care,
you don’t want to spread hate, especially there.

Jesus gave it all up to be born unto you,
He came for more than just one day, in fact with us to spend eternity through.
Continue to believe in him, accept him despite what you hear and see,
cling to him when times are hard and you just don’t know what will be.

Jesus is your Savior, your Comforter, your Prince of Peace,
Your Counselor, your mighty God, so much more than a Christmas wreath!
So as you clean up from the actual Christmas day,
I beg you not to throw away the Spirit of Christmas, in any way.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.