Hemmed In

Your back is up against the wall.  You have found yourself in a corner, or down an ally with no apparent way out.  Your mind is limited on how to resolve your situation.  You cannot see any reasonable way out.  Your resources are gone.  Your bank account, savings, or 401 has been depleted.

Now what?

Such was the story of a woman in the Bible.  She is one of my favorite heroes, for she was a woman of great faith who despite what she saw with her natural eyes she believed, “My situation doesn’t have to be this way.”  She knew when to tie a knot and hang on.  She was hemmed in, her back was up against the wall.

Yes, I’m talking about the woman with the issue of blood.  She suffered from a physical aliment that lasted for 12 whole years.  She spent every dime she had visiting multiple doctors trying to find a cure.  What’s even worse, those who knew her, called her, “Unclean”.  I’m sure they assumed God was punishing her for some sin in her life.  You think the thought, “I want to die!” never entered her mine?  Or, how many times did she question God, “Why?  Why God is this happening to me?”

People, who haven’t earned the right to put on a robe,
judge anyway.

What are you facing?  What challenges are you dealing with?  Can you identify with this woman?  I too am facing a situation today as I write these words that I honestly cannot see how the situation is going to end.  My emotions got on a roller coaster today, and I did not enjoy the ride at all.  Then I saw one of my friends, Jeff Lossau, posted a new blog. (https://jefflossau.com/)  As I read God’s words, from Psalms 34, I cried.

Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
Your faces will glisten with glory.
You’ll never wear that shame-face again.
When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.
The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed,
encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
He will do this for everyone who fears God.
Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.
Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives
to all who turn to hide themselves in him.
Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!
For all who fear him will feast with plenty.
10 Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry,
but those who passionately pursue the Lord
will never lack any good thing.
11 Come, children of God, and listen to me.
I’ll share the lesson I’ve learned of fearing the Lord.
12–13 Do you want to live a long, good life,
enjoying the beauty that fills each day?
Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words
to come from your mouth.
14 Keep turning your back on every sin,
and make “peace” your life motto.
Practice being at peace with everyone.
15 The Lord sees all we do;
he watches over his friends day and night.
His godly ones receive the answers they seek
whenever they cry out to him.
16 But the Lord has made up his mind to oppose evildoers
and to wipe out even the memory of them
from the face of the earth.
17 Yet when holy lovers of God cry out
to him with all their hearts,
the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them
from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,
and he is always ready to restore the repentant one.
19 Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,
the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated
by what they face.
20 God will be your bodyguard to protect you
when trouble is near.
Not one bone will be broken.
21 But the wicked commit slow suicide.
For they hate and persecute the lovers of God.
Make no mistake about it,
God will hold them guilty and punish them;
they will pay the penalty!
22 But the Lord has paid for the freedom of his servants,
and he will freely pardon those who love him.
He will declare them free and innocent
when they turn to hide themselves in him. (from, The Passion Translation)

The woman with the issue of blood risked everything, and went into a crowd. She pushed her way through it until she was where Jesus would pass by.  She even violated her society’s rules, because she knew with what little faith she had left, if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed.  She no doubt had heard the testimonies of his healing power.  She did, He passed by, and she bowed to touch the hem of his garment, and she was healed instantly.  In a single moment, that she never could have foreseen, her issue went away, and so can yours! (Mark 5:25-34)

THEN, you can proclaim the first part of Psalms 34:

Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!
My lips are full of perpetual praise.
I’m boasting of you and all your works,
so let all who are discouraged take heart.
Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.
Let’s make him famous!
Let’s make his name glorious to all.

The woman made God famous, and I’m willing to endure what my wife and I are going through, for someone else, so I can make God famous.

How about you?

Copyright © 2021 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.

“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”

The title of this post comes from the famous line delivered by Jack Nicholson in the movie, “A Few Good Men”.  He was right.  There is truth out there we don’t want to know.  We can’t handle.  For instance, we are just learning, in main stream media, about cults, or groups that enslave women, children for the sexual pleasure of others.  That truth is so heavy it is difficult to comprehend.

Not all truth is so burdensome.  Like when two individuals have a disagreement. A “He said this, he said that” scenario.  Others who hear one side of the argument have only heard half of the truth if any.  A wise person will seek out the other person and listen to them, hear their version of the truth before making judgement.  Honestly though, seldom do people seek out the whole truth.  They listen to the side of the person they like the most, as if truth had something to do with popularity.

Truth is so important our judicial system will ask each witness, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”  Why?  Because judges know that proper judgements can be made when the truth is known.

Here is something else that is true that needs to be said; individuals, who are getting killed by the police, as some have alleged, “without cause”, should comply with the officer’s orders.  In other words, simply put, when the police arrive on a scene they don’t know who is right, or who is the threat.  They try to calm everyone down, make sure the scene is safe, so they can investigate, and then decide what action to take.  If those getting “unjustly” killed by the police would listen and follow their orders they would live.  If they are as innocent as their mother says they are the police will find that out during their investigation.

So what does God say about truth?  Jesus said that knowing the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)  Yes, He was specifically talking about knowing him will set you free from the bondage of religion, but knowing truth is freedom.

I used to beg my children to always tell me the truth.  I did my best to instill the idea in them that the truth can always be dealt with.  Right now in my personal life there is some hard truth to face, but admitting it is there has helped me determine the best approach to handling the situation.

Sad truth:

Some individuals, after meeting God, and hearing how much He loves them still turn their back and reject him.  They believe the lies of the devil that they know more than God what is best for their life.

Even sadder truth:

When those who reject God die they will be judged and receive eternal death of their own freewill.

Good truth:

For those who accepted God will have an advocate, named Jesus Christ who will say to his heavenly father, “Their debt, sin has been paid by me.”  Then that individual will be ushered into heaven for eternity.  That’s the truth, nothing but the truth so says God.

Now, how are you going to handle the truth?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Heaven or Hell?

My friend and I were riding the commuter train, from Chicago, home after a long day. Somehow, the conversation turned to God and each of us shared our beliefs on what happens to us when we die.

He said he was convinced, after we die, we are reincarnated.

Then I shared my belief that if we have accepted Jesus Christ, as God’s son, and have invited him to forgive us of our sin, wrong doing, then when we die we spend eternity in heaven. If we don’t accept Jesus Christ, then we spend eternity in hell.

We were able to listen to each other, with respect, but then I told my friend this; “If you are right, then I have nothing to be concerned about. If I am correct, you may have a long time to regret it.

We exited the train, and before heading to our cars, he said, “You sure have given me something to think about.” I hope and pray he has now accepted Jesus, but on that day, he wasn’t ready.

You have to choose one or the other. There is no way around it. There are no excuses for not selecting. You can’t say it is impossible to know, for God reveals himself to everyone.

Romans 1:19-25 (TPT)

19 In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. 20 Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.

21 Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. 22 Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were in fact shallow fools. 23 For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!

24 This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves— 25 all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory and praises to him for eternity of eternities! Amen!

Choose God before it is too late. He has already chosen you, and He loves you more than you will ever know.

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.

Protest Hell

060920 2Throughout this whole COVID-19 ordeal, I have been sad as the numbers climbed, but the impact did not land on my front porch, until now.  Ten days ago, my friend, Chris called and informed me he caught the disease from work.  Chris is 65.  Today, I called to see how he was doing, but he did not answer the phone.  About an hour later I received a text message letting me know he was now in the ICU.

I prayed for Chris and his wife, who also has it, but I felt as if I needed more people to agree with me in prayer on his behalf.  We needed to pray and protest hell!  You see, sickness, death, hate, and disease is of the devil.   There is power when people gather, agree, and pray.  Picture hundreds, or thousands marching against the gates of hell, pushing back evil.

Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer my heavenly Father will do it for you.” Matthew 18:19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

I posted in Facebook the need, and right away people started telling me they were praying.  At first, three, then 20, and at last check over 90 people have said, “I will stand with you Mark, in the gap for your friend Chris.”  I even heard from people 8000 miles away.

My heart was touched, and to be honest, my eyes started leaking at the out pouring of concern, and love.  This is the kind of action we need to take right now for our world as well.  I would say, not one of those who said they would pray, knows Chris, but they took time to pray anyway.

I didn’t know George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, or the others who have died when they shouldn’t have.  I didn’t know the five police officers ambushed in Dallas either.

My point is this; we, who do know God, should be praying more now than ever for all people affected by the recent events and for our country.  This cannot be the story of America.  We don’t have to know them first, like those praying for Chris don’t know him, but prayed anyway, expecting results.

Thank you to all who have prayed for Chris, or will after reading this post.  People of God cannot give up hope, grow weary, get discouraged, or turn to fear, because we know God is bigger than all things, and he is more powerful than evil.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Much More?

052620How do you convince someone you love them?  You could tell them over and over perhaps.  You could show them in every way possible.  You could do everything you can think of.  You could even learn their love language, and speak it fluently.  After all the effort you would expect them to accept you, to accept your love, but what if they don’t?  Can you imagine the frustration you would feel?  Then, what if you told them, “In order to prove how much I love you, I’ll die for you.”  They might still reject your offer, and even say, “You’re crazy!”

Choose Love!

The truth is, God did this very thing, but He even went one step further.  He gave us his only son to die for us.  It is never right for a child to die before the parent.  It’s not natural.  To think this was God’s plan, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  I mean, how much more can God do to prove how much He loves us?

“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)

In these days we are living in, everyone who hasn’t, should run to God and accept his free gift.  Are you afraid of being obligated of loving God back?  Are you concerned you might have to live in a way you would rather not?  You know it doesn’t matter what you have done in your past, his forgiveness will cover it.  If you disagree then you are listening to the one, Satan, who wants you to die for eternity.  Living for eternity is better, and there is only one way, God’s.  How much more can He do?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If the Dead Could Speak, Would You Listen?

Charlie 666If death somehow gave us truths we didn’t have or didn’t believe while living what would we do with it?  Most, would probably want to come back to life to tell those they love and others what they now know.  One thing is for sure, when a person dies, they know in an instant there is a God, and there is judgement for how they lived and best, or worst of all, that there is indeed a heaven, and a hell.

Jesus told a true story about such a request from a dead man:

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31 (MSG)

Jesus told the people straight up, believe me, believe the Word of God (Bible), believe the many ministers, evangelist, missionaries, family members, friends, co-workers, and yes, bloggers that I have sent to tell you the Good News of the Gospel while you are living.  That is; accept Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing.  After you die, and see these truths for yourself, it will be too late for you to choose God.  You say, it’s too hard to believe in something, or someone you can’t see, yet you believe in gravity, and the wind!  It takes faith, and God gave everyone a measure of faith to get you started.  Please act on it.  Don’t live, or should I say die, to regret your decision.

One last thing; “Thank you,” to everyone who reads this blog regularly, or once in a while.  Each post starts with prayer, asking God what He wants to say to you.  I do my best to transmit his words to your hearts.  I pray for you as I write, “Words, inspiring you to grow in God”.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

WARNING!

Charlie 106Here in the Philippines, they print pictures on the packages of cigarettes, that show what could happen if you smoke.  Is it effective?  I don’t know, but I don’t see a lot of smoking going on.  Of course that could be due to the cost of cigarettes.

God told us, in his word, what would happen if you sin – death!  Is it effective?  I don’t know, because I see a lot of people sinning, including me from time to time.  God also showed us what our sin cost – the death of his only Son, Jesus.  You can pay for your sins, or accept Jesus’ payment.  It’s up to you.

”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Still Looking?

Charlie 75Do you know the first thing Jesus said, when he exited the tomb?  “Ta-Da!”  Answered a third grader in a Sunday school class one Easter.  He probably didn’t, but should have.  Perhaps he said, “I told you!”  I don’t really know, but it doesn’t matter.  What does count is what he did for you and me by dying, being the perfect sacrifice for our wrong doing, and then defeating death at its own game.

Something I had never thought of before; the word “tombstone” probably came from Jesus’ tomb stone.  Although his never got engraved with something like:

Here lies Jesus Christ
Son of God, and Mary
0 – 33

Luke 24 1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.

4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head. (MSG)

I love when the angel said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery?”  Are you still looking for answers to your life?  Are you looking for them in a cemetery?  Why?  Jesus, is the One you are searching for, or for more of, even if you don’t realize it.  Your spirit is crying out to be reunited with God and that is only possible through accepting Jesus.

So where is Jesus then?  He is right there with you now.  Waiting for you to turn to him either for the first time, or again.  Everything else in life, and every other place will be empty.  As empty as the tomb Jesus borrowed for three days.  Stop looking, and start accepting that Jesus Christ has risen, and is alive, and he’s been pursuing you, waiting for you to believe.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.