Seeing the Invisible

Let’s face it, faith is difficult.  It’s not hard to find it as we all start with a measure of it, according to the word of God. (Rom. 12:3b)  But growing your faith is something else.  One of the best ways is to listen to testimonies.  If God can do it for them, then it’s possible for him to do it for us.  That’s one of the reasons we have the Bible.  Reading the stories of God doing the impossible when a solution looked improbable.  Also, faith grows by hearing the word of God, according to Romans 10:17.

We can use our invisible faith
to believe in the invisible God!

If we learned anything from 2020 we should have learned that no one knows what a year will bring us.  Some had good years while others have bad years before Covid, and I have even heard of a few thankful people for 2020.  What?  Yeah, some have given thanks that the pandemic forced them to slow down, take a survey of what was really important in life, while others are grateful for the time they got to spend with their immediate families.

Businesses found out people can work from home, which reduced commuting, which reduced pollution, which has allowed nature to return to some areas where it has not been seen for a long time.  There are other things to be seen that we often loose site of when things are going well.  Like how precious life itself is, and how valuable time is.  By taking walks, some saw the beauty of nature again.

You know, perhaps 2020 did open our eyes after all, if you were looking.  So the point to this blog has to be, “open your eyes, and keep them open”.  Always be looking for the invisible in life.  Always be looking for God, because he speaks, he ministers and he teaches us despite any circumstances going on around us.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The End is Here

If you are reading this, in a few days you will be able to say, “I survived 2020.”  You might even be able to say that you beat Covid.  My friend in Chicago did.  I give the glory to God for that one, because he got close to the edge, but God escorted him back to give him another opportunity to accept him and his love.  I also know of a few people who didn’t.  Others have lost jobs, while some have lost their freedom to visit family, or attend a church service in person.

Yes, it’s been an especially tough year, but as I opened the mail today, and read what a friend went through in the two previous years. It was in that moment, I was reminded;

any year can be a difficult year!

That truth is a result of sin, brought into the world by the original sinners, Adam and Eve.  So even today, mankind is born into sin.  Therefore, God sent us a Savior to rescue us from ourselves.  If our greatest need had been education He would have given us a teacher.  If our greatest need would have been money then God would have given us a financial wizard.  But God, who loves us so much, and wants nothing more than to commune with us daily, gave us his son, his only son.

I have noticed the Holy Spirit has led me all year to write about God’s love, God’s son, and the free gift of salvation.  That tells me that He, God, wants to be reunited with everyone, before the end of the earth comes as we know it.

The Bible is true, and as the last book in it, Revelation, tells us in detail what is about to happen.  We are on the very threshold of the days, and events mentioned in the book of Revelation, coming true.  Please don’t dismiss God calling you home.  Don’t let another year go by without acting on his call to come into the family of God.  Life may get even harder than it was in 2020, and I tell you this, the only way I survived this current year was by doing life with God.  Drawing even closer to him like a child afraid of people they just met.

Please, I beseech you, accept Jesus into your life.  You will not die regretting it, but live forever rejoicing you did.

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.

Why Do You Love God?

A true story:

One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!

“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.

Sometime later, while Job’s children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened.”

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth.
God gives, God takes.
    God’s name be ever blessed.

Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. Job 1:6-22 (MSG)

Wow!  What would your response be if this happened to you?  Many people blame God for evil, and pain in this world, but we can see here God doesn’t cause it, the devil does.  2020 has been a very painful year for a lot of people around the world.  Have people, or you blamed God, or the men that created the virus for evil?  Do those who on January 1st, 2020 who praised God and confessed their love for Him still do?  Do you only love God when He is good to you?

It is so important, no, it is vital that we keep our perspective true when facing difficult times.  To know God didn’t bring, or cause the pain although He did allow it knowing that if we keep our focus on him we will get through it.  Job loved God simply because, He is God!

We don’t know when the events of 2020 are going to end.  We don’t know who will still be above ground and the totality of it all, but don’t for one second take your eyes off of God.  Know He is still God, and love him accordingly.

The end of Job’s story:

God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life. Job 42:12 (MSG)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The “Who’s” In Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A man who has good friends is rich beyond measure.

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

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

I Need the Rainbow

080212TB 228This year, 2020, has proven to be one big storm that won’t stop.  It has harmed so many people, in so many ways.  Interview them, and you would hear different versions of the same story, “Hurt”.  Whether it’s a lost job, drowning in debt, the death of a loved one due to Covid, keeping family and friends from gathering as they once did, or new challenges no one saw coming.  When will it end?

Isaiah 61:3  The Passion Translation

to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss instead of tears,
    and the mantle of joyous praise
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.

You see, the only way to get through the storm, to silence the thunder, to calm fear when lightning flashes, is to look up, see God, and put on the mantle of joyous praise.  Praise him with full throat.  A friend, who lives in Taiwan, said he was singing praises to God while riding his scooter the other day.  Not caring who heard him, but unless they knew English, they probably didn’t even know what he was saying anyway.

The last few blogs have had this theme, of looking only at God, so I know this is the message of heaven to all for this time, but especially to those who love God.  The storm will end and when it does people will come out to survey the damage, and even if they see what harm has come upon you, but then look at your face they will see peace, love, God.  They may ask, “How can you still love God?  How is it you can still smile?”  Your answer will be, “I’m a tree planted by Yahweh as a living display of His glory!”

The storm will end, and when it does, I hope you are still standing, and still looking up, because only then will you see the rainbow.  The symbol from God, signaling, the storm is over.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.