What’s the Problem?

Life can come at you hard and fast at times.  Bills you can’t pay arrive in the mail.  A routine checkup delivers a death sentence.  Your spouse announces their love for you has run dry.  Yes, these may be the extreme cases of life, but even the everyday life can cause you to gasp for air.  You feel, “If I could only reach the surface, I could breath.”

It is in those moments having a trusted friend helps.  So does having a church to go to where God has prepared a meal for you from his word via your pastor.  There are also an abundance of messages online, or on YouTube.  Listening to someone else’s testimony can encourage your faith, but keep in mind, just because God did something in one person’s life in a particular way does not mean He will do it that way in your life.  The point of a story, or testimony is to help you believe, be convinced, God sees you, knows you, loves you and wants to be active in your life,

Keep this fact in mind; Jesus went to the cross.  He died on that cross.  His body was removed from that cross, so he is no longer suffering to the point of death.  Then, three days after his body was placed in the tomb to rot, to decay, to go away, he overcame the chains of death.  He arose from the dead.  The stone was rolled away and the light of the morning became his “exit” sign.

My point is this: if you believe in Jesus and the power he demonstrated, and you place your trust in him and you believe that he overcame and can empower you, and lead you to be an overcomer then what’s the problem?

It’s not ignoring the issue(s) of life, but placing them in the hands of the One who overcame not only life, but death!  The problem you are currently dealing with does not own you.  It does not define you.  It has no power over you, because if you give it to Jesus, then you will overcome it.  Not only will you look at it in the rearview mirror someday, but you will recount the story of it, to others, to encourage them.  To help them overcome their current situation as well.

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Fortunate!

I seldom get down, and depressed, but it happened the other day.  I knew what all was bothering me, but I could not come up with an answer to the problem.

I asked God, “What should I do?”

I sensed He whispered, “Love”.

I thought for a moment and said, “What else you got?”

His answer seemed impossible considering the circumstances, so I continued to remain quiet, and sad.

I wrote, just last week, how God gets creative whenever He communicates with us.  Last night, He just showed off!  A friend texted with a request to help her and so we agreed and went over to a different neighborhood than ours and took care of her need.  I could have completed the task by myself, but thought about the restaurants in that area and asked my wife if she would go with me.  I didn’t tell her what I was planning, but I knew one of her favorite eating establishments was close by.

I took care of the deed, and then drove about a block to the Chinese restaurant.  The look on my wife’s face of pure excitement and joy was worth the trip alone.  We ordered and she went and found us a place to sit to enjoy our meal.  I, on the other hand, got our drink, plastic ware, napkins, soy sauce, and of course a fortune cookie.  There was a whole basket of cookies, but I randomly picked one.

We ate and then I cracked opened the cookie.  Now, I am not one to believe in fortunes, or horoscopes, or the like, but when I read the message inside, I knew it was meant to be.  It read,

“Hope is the most precious treasure to a person.”

As the, so called, “random” message sunk in, I sensed a feeling of love, and God saying, “Gottcha!”  I believe in hope, I write about the importance of hope, and of the power of hope.  In that moment all of my depression left, and I knew the situation was going to be okay, and yes, his earlier message of “Love” was going to be the key.

God speaks.  Look for his words, seek them out, expect them, and listen when He does whisper to your soul.  He communicates because He loves us so much.

God always answers, one way or another,
    even when people don’t recognize his presence.
Job 33:14 (MSG)

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.

Let There Be

I love it that God spoke the world into existence, and it started with him saying, “Let there be light.”  Before he said those words the earth was there, and it was dark and shapeless, but the Holy Spirit was hovering above.

I think a lot of people are going through a very difficult time right now.  One might say, dark and shapeless, but know this, the Spirit of God is hovering above.  Keeping an eye on you, so you are not alone in the darkness although it may feel like it.

What if, in your darkness, someone said,
“Let there be light”?

Your healing could be separated from the darkness.  Your employment situation could be brighter.  Your long awaited spouse steps out of the shadows into full sight.  Whatever it is, in the time it takes for God to say, “Let there be light”, your whole situation can change.  So what is God waiting on?  When the moment is right.  When you are right, or when the other person is ready, or the employment connection is made.

In the meantime, we wait, as patiently as we can, knowing that while life is dark the Holy Spirit is hovering overhead.  Remember, light dispels darkness immediately, in an instant.  Light over powers darkness.  It cast it aside.

After God spoke light into existence he looked at it said, “It is good.”  When God speaks into your life, your situation, your darkness afterwards he will say, “It is good.”  And it will be.  Your darkness will be over.  It will be gone, and you see your new day dawning.  You will breathe in and out like you never have before for the weight of the darkness will have lifted.  If you place your hope and trust in God I promise you will see the end of the doom and gloom.

So lift your head and say, “Let there be light.”

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.

I Heard God

081420“The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it.” – Oswald Chambers

I had two dreams, in the same night, several days ago that was kind of strange, and no, they weren’t brought on by late night pizza.  In both dreams, I was being instructed on how to write this blog.  I was told to make it more, “grunge”.  What is “grunge” I asked myself.  I had heard of it before.  Webster says, “The untidy fashions typical of fans of grunge”.  Okay, so how does that relate to writing my blog, I asked God.  Is that writing wearing casual Friday clothing on steroids? I sensed as though it meant to write more “raw”, “revealing”, if you will.  I draw from my life for inspiration or examples, but not always in detail that reveals personal feelings.

A week ago or so, I was feeling down, and depressed, because Covid has caused my wife and me to remain apart longer than needed.  I haven’t held her in my arms for over a year now, and that hurts.  With the current conditions, I could not see a path for us to be together any time soon.  We are done with the immigration process, and she just needs her medical exam and her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  Then she would get her Visa and come home.  It is difficult to be apart from one you love, and even harder when that person loves you back.  I have tried everything I could, even emailing the embassy to see if they would do a “tele-interview”.  They said, “No.”

I cried out to God, I begged, and I pleaded.  To make things worse, He wasn’t saying a thing, or if He was, his answer was so soft I couldn’t hear it.  Then, I confessed my attitude to a friend, who listened and didn’t just quote scriptures I had heard so many times before, but he assured me God knew and then he prayed for me.

An hour later, as I was writing a blog, I came across a scripture in God’s word, and I realized God was speaking to me and to my circumstances.  My smile came back, and my heart felt like a ton of bricks had been unloaded, the heaviness was gone.

God does hear us, and yes he cares about what his children are going through, but it is so reassuring to hear his voice.  He can speak to us in many different ways, like through his word, dreams, through others, blog post, and that still small voice inside, if we calm down enough to hear it.  God also knows what we have need of, before we even ask. (Matthew 6:8)  Remember this: If you aren’t hearing God right now, it has nothing to do with him loving you less.  He’s just waiting for the right time, for when it will make sense.

Has God miraculously made a way for my wife to come to America? No, but now I have understanding as to how He plans on using this for his Glory., I’m okay with that.  My friend called me back a few days later and I told him, “Through a scripture, I heard God, and I am good now!”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Now What?

Charlie 011520 1You finally drop off to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning you have a few seconds of peace before the pain of your current life situation comes crashing back into your mind like a tsunami.  You lay there and say to yourself, “Oh yeah”.  You force yourself to get out of bed, but if it wasn’t for having to go to the bathroom you would more likely pull the covers over your head and try to go back to sleep.

If this is you, what do you do?  You may feel your only options are; runaway, become a hermit, seek revenge on those that have hurt you, drown your sorrow in alcohol, over eat, pop pills, or even worse bring physical harm to yourself.  For those who have a relationship with God, the only thing you can do is lean into him even more.  Anything else is of the flesh, and it will not ease the pain like God can.  It may take all you have left inside you to even ask him to help you trust him more, but He will.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, now is the perfect time to ask for him to forgive you and come into your life.

The words of old hymns can be comforting, reminders of God’s reality, which is more true than our own.  Read the words of the song below.  Let the melodic words soak into your soul.  Be encouraged with the truth of knowing that this too will pass.  May God bless you, and comfort you.  Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

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Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Three Days of Darkness

dispelThere is nothing like the fear that comes from physical, or emotional darkness.  When you can’t see your way, and you have no clue on when and where light will come.  Your heart can pound like a concert bass drum.

Exo 10:21-23 MSG   GOD said to Moses: “Stretch your hand to the skies. Let darkness descend on the land of Egypt–a darkness so dark you can touch it.”  Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days.  Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites: they had light where they were living.

Another time, when there was darkness on the earth, for three days, was when the Son of God, Jesus died.  You talk about your only ray of light going out and sickness settling in, to the very depths of your being.  Jesus had once said, “I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.” (Joh 12:46 MSG)  Three days of darkness, until Jesus was resurrected from the dead, then Light once again walked on the earth.

Are you stumbling around in life desperately running your hand along the wall, panicking as you look for the switch?  Has your darkness lasted much longer than three days?  Don’t get angry, as Pharaoh did.  Don’t let your heart be hardened, as his did, and definitely don’t shake your fist at God.  He may be allowing the darkness, to move you toward Him, who is Light.  Accept Light.  Accept God.  Try living in a way, where you can see your way, by believing in God’s way.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Your First Thought

20180412_200110It happened again.  The explosive temper from one I am supposed to love, and I do, but the pain.  I left their presence, but I was a “walking wounded”.  I kept rewinding the scene and playing it over and over in my mind.  Why?  This didn’t need to happen.  I begin seeking comfort.

I went to one of my favorite pizza places and ordered a pizza.  Sad, I know, but I tend to turn to favorite foods for comforting.  Later in the evening God whispered, “Why didn’t you turn to me for comfort?”  I searched for the truth and then had the realization, so my reply was, “It wasn’t my first thought.  God… (tears) I’m so sorry!  Help me loving Father to make you my first thought.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement) 2Co 1:3-6 (AMP)

But I turned to pizza instead of God.  The very pizza pictured in the photo.  It was extremely windy, and as I was taking my second step out of the restaurant a gust of wind blew the box right out of my hand.  I went back in, ordered another one, and then cleaned up the parking lot.  To be honest I looked both ways to see if anyone was watching.  You know, that five second rule.  I decided it didn’t apply to asphalt!  My turning to food first, instead of God, made for a very expensive medium pizza.  Lesson learned, I hope!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved