Go

This past week, William Shatner boldly went where no other 90 year old had gone before.  When asked, “What do you want to do when you get there?”  Shatner replied, “Come back down!”

It got me to thinking, Am I where God wants me to be?  Have I gone where God has asked me to boldly go?  Being obedient to God’s calling can be challenging some times.  It may also offer opportunities to be scared.  I can’t announce it yet, but He has recently asked me to go do something that in the natural doesn’t make sense.  The few close friends I have told have been greatly surprised, and are probably secretly wondering if I am qualified.

But I am going.  I have found over the years that when I am obedient in an area I do not feel naturally comfortable that it is in those times I rely on God all the more.  I lean not to my own understanding.  As a result, I am happy that I obeyed.  I generally realize the task was easier than it first seemed in my mind.  And when made known to me, I am excited with the results of what God did through me.

God is speaking to some of you right now.  Reading this post has brought to your mind something God’s Spirit has whispered to your heart to go do.  It may not be to go to the mission field, but possibly go across the aisle in your office, or across the street.  Go.  Go boldly.  You don’t always get to know the results of your obedience this side of heaven, but you should go anyway.  Don’t judge the results by what your eyes see, or don’t see.  You are not responsible for the results.  You’re simply asked to be obedient.

You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! Deu. 13:4 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

He Forgot

Photo by: Bob Vander Roest

He was driving his young, observant, daughter to school.  The sun shined bright in the early morning causing sharp glares all about them.  While waiting for the light to turn green his daughter announced, “Daddy look,” as she pointed up in the sky toward the western horizon, “God forgot to turn the moon off this morning after he used it.”  A rule her father most likely preached in their household.

The little girl made a cute declaration, but we know the truth is; the moon is always on.  And just like the moon, God is always there too.  There are times we may not see him though we are desperately looking for his presence.  At other times we may only see a sliver of Him in our lives.  I think our favorite times are when we see God big, and bright, and fully present in our lives.

But the real test of our faith is moving forward in the darkest times of our lives.  Perhaps proceeding slowly, reaching out, grasping for something familiar so we know where we are and where we are going.  Knowing full well God is there even though we may not see him.  It is in those days that our faith is on exhibit for all to see.  Others are most likely watching to see how we cope with a lost job, a lost loved one, or a less than favorable medical report.

Those dark days are not the days our faith is grown, but relied upon to get us through the storm.

Hopefully we filled up our faith tank before this journey begin.

Something that is done by spending time with God in the “things are going great” days.  Talking to him on a regular basis, learning his nature, and his character.  Being confident He is always there.

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,[a] fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! Rom. 8:38-39 (TPT)

The little girl will continue to grow, and learn.  She will study astronomy, and realize the moon is not an object that is turned on or off, but forever present, used, and needed somewhere around the globe.  And hopefully she will learn about God, and that He doesn’t waste anything, especially the people He makes.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Pursued

I asked my wife, April the other day if she felt guilty for living in America now, knowing the rest of her family and friends were still in the Philippines.  I think I would, at least a little.  But her immediate reply was profound, and full of wisdom.  She said, “No.  Not at all.  For God has bestowed upon me “favor” for all of my sacrifices.”  Her response surprised me, and after more pondering I realized it was true, and balanced.

Is this the realization of the verse in Psalms 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”?

My friend and I were discussing this issue, and he mentioned hearing a message where the minister talked about “favor” pursuing you.  Hunting you down, if you will.  I take that as meaning this; blessings coming your way and upon your life before you even ask God for help or even perhaps before you are aware you have a need.

So how does one enter a life of being pursued?  By fully, completely placing all of your trust and faith in God.  Walking and communicating with God on a daily basis.  Doing your best to live according to his commands.  By the way, those commands don’t exist to “harsh your mellow”, but to actually give you a good life free from hurt, pain, and harm.

In the last month my wife and I have had some blessings come our way and they were unexpected.  We weren’t looking for them, but they found us.  We appreciate it a lot and are thankful we have favor with God.  He loves his children and wants to do good things for He is a loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Angels in the Audience?

Have you thought about where two thirds of the angels were that didn’t challenge God like Satan and one third of the angels did?  Did they encircle the thrown of God and draw their swords?  Were they ready to fight to the death to protect the realm God had setup?  Did God stand up and say, “Its okay guys.  I’ve got this.”  Or did they know the awesome power of God and simply set back in the grandstand, with popcorn, and say to each other, “Oh this is going to be good.”

I think about stuff like the above.  I know, there are more important things to think about, but it intrigues me.  As well as thinking about what is their day like?  Are they laying around on clouds and watching us?  Or are they there, by our side, waiting for us to ask God for help, knowing He can dispatch them in a moment’s notice to do of his good pleasure in our lives.

Angels are definitely real.  They must be big and overwhelming, because typically the first words out of their mouth, when appearing to a human, are this, “Fear not!”  Not sure I want to see one, but I totally want them active in my life.  God dispatches them to minister to us.  To deliver healing, hope, encouragement.  They help fight our battles especially when that battle takes place in the spiritual realm.  The one that is very real, but unseen.

Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  EPH. 6:12 (TPT)

So just as the devil and demons (fallen angels) are real, so are God’s angels, and their not fat, weak little cherubs that have been painted over the centuries, but instead, they are messengers, and warriors ready to fight.

7-8 “I, Daniel, was the only one to see this. The men who were with me, although they didn’t see it, were overcome with fear and ran off and hid, fearing the worst. Left alone after the appearance, abandoned by my friends, I went weak in the knees, the blood drained from my face.

9-10 “I heard his voice. At the sound of it I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees.

11 “‘Daniel,’ he said, ‘man of quality, listen carefully to my message. And get up on your feet. Stand at attention. I’ve been sent to bring you news.’

“When he had said this, I stood up, but I was still shaking.

12-14 “‘Relax, Daniel,’ he continued, ‘don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you understand what will eventually happen to your people. The vision has to do with what’s ahead.’  DAN. 10:7-14 (MSG)

I took a class titled, “Seeing Angels”, based on the book by Joshua Mills.  It was a good class, and a great book.  I learned there is a hierarchy of angels, and they have different jobs, or assignments.  I begin to find it encouraging, and exciting to work with angels.  To be watchful of their presence, and activity around me.  Yes they are there, but they aren’t simply in the audience, but at hand, ready to go.

I encourage you to learn about them if you never have.  They are one more resource we have in defeating the enemy, the devil, and advancing God’s kingdom.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Do You See Him?

There is an old story, yet true, of three Jewish teenagers.  Their real names are hard to say, and spell, so let’s call them, Jerry, George, and Bob.  Bob was kind of strange, but there were moments when he would say or do something that caused Jerry and George to laugh, so they accepted him.

Their country was currently controlled by a foreign government.  Along with new rules to live by came a demand to conform to the foreign country’s religion.  One that included worshiping before a golden idol of their god.

Jerry, George, and Bob believed in the one, true, God, but their faith was about to be put to an extreme test.  When the king, of the foreign government, learned of their devotion to their God he demanded they bow down to the idol, or to be thrown into a fiery furnace.

“Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Said the king.

Bob spoke up with boldness in his voice and said, “King, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

This made the king so angry he ordered the furnace to be heated up seven times hotter. The three young men were tied up and when they were thrown into the furnace, three of the king’s guards died from the heat coming through the opening.

Then the king leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Yes, almighty God delivered Jerry, George and Bob from the fiery furnace, and from the hand of the king.  As a result, the king ordered that all the land worship the one, true, God of Jerry, George, and Bob.

Last week I wrote about life’s problems, and your attitude toward them.  I know that is easier said than done for some, or perhaps even most.  But know this; when you are facing a storm, or even a trial that challenges your faith in God, look around for the Son of God who is in the fire with you.

He may say, “Peace be still” to your storm, he may extinguish the flames, or he may choose to walk through either with you.  The bottom line is this;

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Your God has not forgotten you, or abandoned you.  He has heard your prayers, and has counted every tear.  He loves you more than you will ever know, and when you hurt, He hurts.  We are created in his image, and so God does have emotions.  Trust him.

(If you would like to read the above story for yourself, you can find it in the Bible; Daniel chapter 3.)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Where Am I?

We are spoiled.  We have access to all kinds of technology these days, but my favorite is “GPS” (Global Positioning System).  No longer are we dependent on paper maps or atlases to tell us where we are.  I recall traveling across America and pulling into a rest stop, and looking at the big state map on the wall and searching for those familiar, reassuring, words, “You are here”. 

It’s nice to know where you are.  It’s also good to know where you are going, but God doesn’t always provide one, or the other, or both.  “Blind faith!”  But there are times when you can look back at where you have been and at what you have done, and project a path toward the future.  Doing so may provide some clue as to what God is up to and what He may have for you.  It’s kind of like solving a mystery.

As much as we may want to know where God is taking us the important thing to remember is to be obedient each and every day.  In other words, do today what you know is the pleasing and perfect will of God.  Taking each step, each day will lead you to the destination, action, or even the provisioning God has for you.

The challenge is to keep going, to not get discouraged, but to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That process is how individuals have done amazing things, so why wouldn’t it work in your journey with God?

I find Paul’s words encouraging.  I hope you do as well:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” PHI. 3:12-14 (MSG)

I suppose, in some way, you could define “GPS” as “God’s Positioning System”. I also find it comforting that although I may not know what God is doing in my life, or where He is taking me, He always knows, “Where I am!”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Power of Praise

Okay.  I’m going to go all Steven Furtick on ya now:
You think you are all ALONE, but God is right there with you!
You believe the lie that your MARRIAGE is over, but God says, “Commit it to me!
”You think your JOB is going nowhere, but God wants to show you why you are there!
You were promised a PALACE, but you are in a PIT, God says, “Its part of the journey!”

Yes, LIVING is hard, but God is greater!
Yes HEAVEN seems so far away, but it is closer than you think!
One way to overcome life is through the power of praise.  It works.  It lifts your spirit, it strengthens your faith.  Whether you simply praise God with just words, or if you add music.

From the song, “Praise Him”
Let praise be a weapon that conquers all anxiety
We sing your name in the dark and it changes everything
Let it rise, let praise arise.
We’ll watch the giants fall

Fear cannot survive when we praise You
The God of breakthrough’s on our side
Forever lift Him high
With all creation cry,
God we praise You

Oh, we praise You, oh

Let faith be the song that overcomes the raging sea
Let faith be the song that calms the storm inside of me
Let it rise, let praise arise

This is what living looks like
This is what heaven sounds like
We praise You, we praise You

Try praising God despite what you see, or hear in the natural.  Then witness the power that comes with it, or through it, for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

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.

First Church of Walmart

A few weeks ago, we were in a small town, in Oklahoma, on a Sunday morning, and there weren’t many people stirring around.  There were a couple of gas stations open and one donut shop.

A few days later we were warned not to go to the Walmart in that town on a Sunday morning, because all of the crazies are there at that time, instead of being in church.  Now there are a few crazies at church too, I’ve met them, but I’m talking about the ones that make the front page of Facebook as to how they dress when they go to Walmart.  Oh come on, you know what I’m talking about, and you have laughed probably harder than I have!

We went to church this past Sunday.  Yes, in person, where previously we had attended online.  My first time since January of 2020.  I said I wouldn’t go back until my toilet paper hoarding pile was used up. (kidding) I got to say, It felt good, to be with others worshiping God.  I definitely sensed the presence of God among us, but I must add there were plenty of times I sensed his presence here at home as well.

You see, “going to church” doesn’t save you.  Just “going” won’t get you into heaven. You have to accept God’s son, Jesus as the Lord of your life and the one who paid the price for you sins, wrong doing. To my knowledge, God doesn’t take attendance.  You go to church to be with others who believe like you do.  To be encouraged, and to encourage others.  To develop friendships that help each other through life.  You know, the ups, as well as the downs. God’s word mentions how he will tell some, who even did great things in his name, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” You can go to church every time the doors are open, but unless it changes your heart and fills you with the love of God, then you are probably taking a seat that could be used by one who is serious, devoted about living for God, a true believer and follower. By someone who will let “love” rule in their life.

One can feel God where ever they are, if they know him, and have a relationship with him.  In a way, God got rid of the formal church when his son, Jesus died on the cross.  For in that moment, God ripped the veil from top to bottom ever inviting mankind into an intimate relationship with him, for the purification process was taken on by his son.

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

The photo was taken inside a “Life Church”.  I love their attitude, position, and inventiveness.  In the meantime, go to church as much as you go to Walmart, and don’t forget “the bread”.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“God is Good”

Every time a friend of mine hears that statement he responds, “All the time!”  And you know what?  He’s right.  “Good” is part of God’s nature.  He can’t help himself but be good.  When I was in Africa I learned, they also respond in the same way.

Why is it important to remember this part of God’s nature?  Because we live in a world that tries to tell us who and what God is, yet they don’t even know him.  Some have never even made his acquaintance.

“Pinpointing precisely how many religions there are in the world today is next to impossible, although some estimate the number exceeds four thousand. The vast majority of those faiths are contained within a handful of major religious groups.” (By Mary Fairchild, updated 03/22/21)

It’s this kind of “I know how to get to God” that has caused mankind to create over four thousand “religions”.  What is a religion?  In a nut shell, its man’s way to God, but technically;

“Religion can briefly be defined as a specific belief system about God or gods expressed through a code of conduct, ethics, forms of worship, and rituals. Religion includes social, ethical, and ceremonial elements combined with the belief in an unseen world and often a deity.”

Mary Fairchild

This is why it is important to know and accept “God’s way to man”, which is through “relationship”.  It is through his son, Jesus.  By accepting that He is God’s son and asking him to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing, and then inviting him to live and dwell in your heart.  All that means is live like Jesus did.

To love on people like Jesus did.  To value, and spend time with people like Jesus did.  To walk with them in life and show them there is a better way to live.  That, it is possible to have life, now on earth and to have it abundantly!

God is good, and in recent days He has shown himself extra good to my wife and me.  He has lead us to a ministry that we are excited about, and we are getting in on the ground floor.  But even in the valleys, and the days seem so dark, and so long, God is still good.  It’s in those days we have to lean in a little closer to him, and ask him for help.  To get to your destination you have to travel.  Some journeys take you through some pretty rough neighborhoods, over rough terrain, or stormy seas, but none of that diminishes God’s goodness.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.